Hi guys, Kikaromi here. Since I had to take down my most "valuable" fanfic, I've decided to make up for it by unloading the tiny one-shots I've done while managing that and the requests I've been doing.
Hope it makes someone happy!
Do I even have any true friends? Magoichi mused, isolated from the rest of the world. Hell, do I even live for a reason…?
Polishing and adjusting Marksman's Pride, a custom-made rifle carefully designed to work only in the hands of a true marksman, the crow, separated from the rest of the flock, wasted away in his quarters. Retainers passed by, chatting aimlessly about their family and friends. Magoichi envied them, as he lacked both on a genuine level.
Living half across Japan, he hardly saw his father for anything besides emergencies and information gathering. His mother died along with most of the Saika after Nobunaga sought revenge and burned the village to ashes. The village had long since been rebuilt beyond its former glory, though there was nothing to cover up the bodies and ashes lying below the prospering soil. Many things left Magoichi's life with those ashes vanishing in the wind, his trusting in others one of those qualities.
Hideyoshi, Magoichi's best friends even today, spearheaded this traumatizing event. Even though his heart and conscience told him destroying your friend's village would bring nothing but suffering, the monkey listened to the Devil King's temptations and betrayed all those remotely related to the Saika Renegades. Magoichi especially.
No amount of apologies fixed this tragedy. Revenge was an uglier beast, sowing more seeds of chaos and even brought out the chaos reaper, Kotaro Fuma, from the shadows to enjoy the anger and sorrow running amok. Every attempt to mend him and his disenchanted spirit ended as his village's remains: tears, ashes, and gunpowder. He'd rot a horrible man with nowhere to go and no one to guide him.
Or so it initially seemed.
Hideyoshi redeemed himself to Magoichi, promising redemption if he lent his strength against Mitsuhide Akechi, the "killer" of Nobunaga Oda. He used their lord as a stepping stone, rising to power and forcing his ideals to those standing between him and supremacy. Alas, his forces stood no chance against the charisma of Hideyoshi Hashiba with his massive army of friends, allies, and ronin who were attracted to his ruling aura.
From the day they met as kids to those last days together, Magoichi put Hideyoshi miles ahead of everyone else in his life. The monkey may have been weak on his own, though those supporting him made this one man an immovable wall. And even with such power at the palm of his hand, Hideyoshi knew not to torture the people of Japan; he'd seen what the horrors of war left in its wake.
Hideyoshi's…my only true friend. But-
Hideyoshi Toyotomi died of illness two years ago. A messenger requested his presence at Osaka castle days after his friend caught a disease untreatable by any sort of medicine and medical treatment. Hideyoshi looked so pale and defenseless, wrapped in a yellow blanket decorated by his family seal. Magoichi received an order to move closer, as Hideyoshi was slowly losing his ability to talk. He entrusted the dream of creating a world where everyone could be happy to his best friend, saying he'd be able to achieve it with the support of others.
And Magoichi tried to honor Hideyoshi's last wish. His sole drive became to create Hideyoshi's world before he himself left this place for good, and the remnants of the Toyotomi were the support he'd need. However, Ieyasu, an old friend of Hideyoshi's as well, instead wanted to establish his own rule and attacked Osaka castle in the year 1614.
Hideyori, Hideyoshi's son, entrusted Magoichi in defending the inner gates of the castle; Musashi Minamoto covered the outer gates, two swords at the ready. They lasted countless waves of men, yet they showed no sign of flagging. Soon, the outer gates burst open, a cannon bigger than the gates themselves blasting those in the line of fire. Lady Luck showed her affection in sparing him run-ins with cannonballs double the size of his handsome face, and he got to meet a young man who'd change his broken way of living.
Some cocky one-eyed kid came running from behind the cannon, sword swinging and pistols firing. That confident smile on his face showed his sense of dignity and pride, meanwhile his plain black eye patch showed he endured much making it this far.
"You're the guy they trusted to guard the castle gates?" The boy clutched his stomach and laughed, "What a joke! I'll beat you into the dust without breaking a sweat!"
Magoichi laughed too, moreso amused at how stubborn the kid proved to be after one exchange of words. He happened to like that stubborn attitude, considering he wore a scar plain on his face of a distant tragedy common folk couldn't possibly figure out. The kid wore that scar proudly, smirking and showing all sorts of emotions he'd given up years ago. Like a rainbow in the dark.
"My pal Hideyoshi's going to make this world a better place. I won't let you ruin that." Magoichi said plainly, rifle raised to meet the one-eyed offender's chest.
He smiled, walking in a circle around Magoichi, flaunting his hands in over exaggerated motions, "You idiot!" Lots of emphasis went on the word, almost like he was trying to say something super important using a single insult, "Hideyoshi's time has passed. If you want a better world, then I'm your man!"
"You think you have what it takes?"
"I'll prove it!" Two barrels of two separate pistols met the single rifle, hand (or hands in the kid's case) ready to pull the trigger. Sprays of bullets and blood flew between them, several bayonet and sword duels cutting through the hail of incoming fire. Both men avoided being blasted sky high by Ieyasu's mobile cannon, though their battle remained on the move and constantly switching from high to low grounds.
Eventually, the kid got the upper hand when it came to stamina and pelted Magoichi with bullets and his prized saber, the older man slumping to the ground. Marksman's Pride adopted the task of holding him upwards, as he refused to completely give up in the face of death. If this kid wanted to kill him, he'd face it head high, not cowering in fear. Hideyoshi always did say you'd have to be the one to smile first before you could make anyone else do the same.
"Join me Magoichi!" Magoichi's opponent met him at eye level and then turned around to face the sky, "Follow me, and I'll give you what you're looking for!"
Magoichi admired this kid from the brief time they met and struck each other in an engaging battle. And if he offered to keep him alive in exchange for service, what was there to lose? Hideyoshi told him that he couldn't make the world where everyone could be happy alone, and a rebellious teenager who matched even his expertise with a gun might be the ticket to fulfill their dream.
"You're quite the dreamer kid…" Magoichi stumbled on his way to standing, though he managed to keep his balance firm, "But…I guess I was once too."
The kid stuffed his pistols behind his cape and held out his hand. Magoichi went under the assumption it meant shake his hand, which he did. They shook hands and randomly started laughing as they retained such serious faces for so long.
"Alright Magoichi, consider yourself part of the Date forces. I am Masamune Date, your lord and leader of the Date clan. Any objections and expect to be dismissed." Masamune introduced himself and his strict policies, both men safely inside the interior of Osaka to avoid cannon fire, "Before anyone notices us 'enemies' conversing during the heat of battle, do you mind explaining yourself briefly, Magoichi?"
Magoichi paused, immersing himself in thought. What was there to share besides the sob stories? His origin for one, but even that brought back tears and memories better left behind. Masamune probably expected him to share his family name, possible clan leadership, and a slight background. He could at least try…
"Alright, I'm Magoichi Saika, leader of the Saika Renegades. We…erm…used to live in Saika village, though stuff's happened in the past and-"
Masamune shushed him before he finished, "You can stop your explanation there. For now, I advise you sneak off this battlefield and near the Tokugawa main camp. I shall meet you there and convince Lord Ieyasu that you are now my retainer and if harm comes to you, I won't hesitate to retaliate against the man who dared to harm those under my leadership."
Magoichi parted ways with Masamune, the shorter (and younger) heading up the stairs to Yukimura and Hideyori. Hideyori shouldn't have be much of a problem, but Yukimura and his honor? He wasn't called the greatest warrior in Japan by even Ieyasu overnight. Despite his worries, Masamune's health went below his own; standing here, the Tokugawa wouldn't hesitate to behead him and take him in as a war prisoner. There were side entrances to the east and west of Osaka; he could escape by either one and be completely out of sight and mind.
"Lord Magoichi! Lord Magoichi!" Knocks banged on the door to his quarters, Magoichi grunting a little to signal he heard them, "Lord Masamune requests your presence for a formal meeting!"
Another meeting? Yeesh, they returned for another one barely an hour ago! Did Masamune second guess himself? Kids weren't the best at a solid decision, were they?
"Tell him I'm getting dressed and I'll be a bit. And if Masamune doesn't like that, I'm not showin' up. 'Kay?"
"Y-Yes sir!" The dreading servant gulped and let Magoichi slide.
Magoichi literally meant he wanted time to get dressed. During the recollection, he subconsciously undressed himself down to his half-on pale green pants. Showing up without some sort of pants and a shirt would earn him disapproval by sword or bullet, possibly a knife is someone else joined in. Count it a miracle his face remained flawless and scarless.
He showed up putting on whatever coat he found on the floor and hooked on a belt before he started fiddling with his pants and accidentally unbuttoned them all the way in front of Masamune's other chief retainers. Masamune seated on the north-most seat on the left, opposed to Magoichi's "late seat" in the far seat to the right. His lord's fingertips tapped irritably on the table, everyone completely silent as Magoichi joined in.
"You're late." Masamune stated plainly.
"Told ya. I was getting' dressed. Want me to show up completely naked next time? I sure wouldn't mind that."
Magoichi's sarcastic remark dodged a bullet to the face, smoke fluttering out Masamune's pistol barrel. A hole joined the various others in the wall from Masamune's fits and gunfights; Kojuro spent most of his free time patching the walls of Sendai Castle due to his master's wild behavior. Those seated within the ring knew not to comment if they themselves wanted to avoid a similar fate.
"Hmph. Maybe I should force you to the next time you keep me waiting. Considering there is not a female in sight, you may find yourself regretting those words, Magoichi." Masamune sipped a cup of water, tossing the glass in the air and shattering it in a midair slice, "Or better, I can have you fix anything I break for a week. Holes in the wall included. Does that change your mind?"
"Okay, okay, I gotcha. No showin' up late. When did you become my wife, anyway?" Magoichi yawned.
Masamune shook off a slight blush, ignoring further offenses Magoichi plotted as he openly spoke of his plans against Ieyasu and policies to keep the income from Oshu prospering. Magoichi immediately started spacing out and yawned a second time. As the discussion boomed, the crow fell asleep on the floor, snoring and murmuring all kinds of nonsense women-related. Masamune threw a cup at him to wake him up, though Magoichi simply flipped over and went back to snoring.
"And to think, I rescued you from Osaka. What kinds of drugs were they feeding me in the Tokugawa?" Masamune remarked, dismissing the others to empty the room to him and Magoichi, "You're a stupid, lazy idiot, you know that? You better enjoy your nap now; I promise you, the work load you'll wake up to will make you regret sleeping on the job."
Masamune whispered a "goodnight" and left as well. Magoichi, still snoring and fast asleep, formed a smile as he registered his lord's affection.
I probably am an idiot, considering some One-Eyed Dragon as the last "True Friend" I got left. I'm diggin' my own grave, aren't I? Magoichi yawned a final time, cuddling a pillow to dismiss the heavy thinking and actually sleep off the impending work overload.