Moving On

The village of the Kuroya carries a strange scent at nightfall. There is but one name for it, that scent that intertwines decay and rust. The name of it is death. Something that Rin had become surprisingly skilled at causing.

Rin, last of the Hagakure. She grimaced at the title as she extricated her sword from her freshest victim. There was an honor she had never wanted. She stepped back and sheathed the blade, Natsume, her only partner now.

She gazed at the dying man before her. He collapsed to the ground shuddering, before going still at last. Blood pulled around him, the moon reflected in his dark fluid. She couldn't find it within her to feel sadness or even a vague pity. Not now. Another Kuroya member fallen. The last, from the looks of it. What seemed like hours before, they had surrounded her, ready to avenge their fallen leader. They had all died by her hand, and her hand alone.

Hadn't killing Jyuzou been enough?

No. His death had been the catalyst among his clan. The rest of the Kuroya attacked her after that. Piling about her, each wanting the revenge upon the one who killed the boss. Oddly enough, Rin could relate. She had faced them without aid. Ayame had refrained from fighting, understanding Rin's need to resolve this. The Azuma had gone home, letting the Beniya finish her battle. None had withstood her. She had become unmatched. That fact did not give any sense of pride.

No more running.

Rin looked upon the surrounding dead. The Kuroya were truly gone from this world, onto whatever hell deserved them. Slowly, she began to walk down the village pathway. In her left hand she held the remaining half of her severed mask. Her right hand was firmly set upon Natsume's hilt. The thought occurred to her that she would't mind meeting Ayame again in this lifetime. If nothing else, now that she was gone, her life should quiet down a bit. Hopefully.

Silently, the Beniya headed towards the village border. An open road lay before her as she reached it. Tiredly, she looked into the sky, at the moon, so large it could consume the sky and every star with it. Her head tilted slightly, soon her body followed. Gradually, she faced the path she had crossed. His body would still be there. Until nature consumed him entirely, Jyuzou would remain within this village. On the other hand, she would forever carry his death.

Back and forth, Rin gazed between the path and the village. What was left? Whether or not Ogin lived, she would return to the Beniya. And then what? Shall more die by my hands? Such was the life of a ninja, Hagakure or not, right?

Does it end?

She had made her choice. Did she regret Jyuzou's death? Or any of the deaths of the Kuroya?

No... She regretted the waste of life. The waste of great warriors, exceptional ninja. But, even in Jyuzou's last extremity, she could not forgive.

"In time, you will forget what has happened to the Hagakure."

"Come with me, and bear me a child.

No, she could not forgive.

"We shall expand the Kuroya."

The Hagakure had faded, like ash brushed off one's sleeve. The Kuroya lay dead behind her, decaying in the dirt.

Jyuzou had made but one mistake.

"I shall walk by the light of the sun, and the land shall be covered in the darkness of my shadow."

Such a life was not meant for the likes of ninja. Shadows could only run when faced with the light of day. The Beniya took a final glance at the village behind her. Winds blew about her, scented with the proof of this night. She ran, leaving the dead village to decay in silence. After all, it's too late to turn back.