Disclaimer: All characters, areas, etc. of Muramasa – The Demon Blade belong to Vanillaware (c) 2009. I own the interpretations of the characters within this story, and any made up characters, and my interpretation of the areas. This fan story is based off the Wii version of Muramasa, though has some of the translations from the Vita. Names from the Wii version will be used, so do not be alarmed if you see those.
SPOILER WARNING: This story is based off Momohime's second ending from the game. If you have not gotten that far, it is highly recommended that you complete that first before reading this story.
Oboro Muramasa: A Shattered Past
Act 1: A Faint Memory
"Jinkuro..." she called, wandering in the darkness. "Where are you? ... who are you?" She shivered. Wherever she was, it was cold. She could see her icy breath escape her mouth.
She continued to walk through the darkness, carrying her sheathed Muramasa blade in her hand. "Jinkuro? Anyone? Someone answer me!" she called out.
"You can't find him," said a dark voice from behind her. She spun around to see a figure approach her. The figure was shadowed, so she couldn't make out a face. "You don't know him... and you don't even know yourself."
She reached for her blade's hilt. "Who are you?" she asked with a shaky voice.
The figure laughed. "I am your end."
Chains shot out from the darkness, binding every limb she had—arms and legs. She struggled, but the chains were too strong for her.
"Let me go!" she cried out.
"I can't," the shadowed figure said. "Because... you have chosen to bind yourself to him!"
Oboro woke up screaming, "Jinkuro!" She opened her eyes and realized she was not in the darkness anymore. She shivered, wrapping her arms around herself while sitting in the snow. In front of her was a dead fire pit.
Oboro looked around and saw that her Muramasa—her grandpa's blade—was still next to her on the ground. But that was not what worried her.
"Kiku?" She called out with all the strength she could muster in the snow. "Kiku!" Oboro took in deep breaths and swallowed. I need warmth... she thought.
She noticed her winter kimono had fallen on the ground. Breathing quickly and heavily, she picked it up and shook the snow off of it. Pulling it over the top of her orange and yellow kimono, Oboro began to feel warmer already.
She called out again, "Kiku! Where are you, little fox?"
Then, a fox with a white coat appeared from behind a snow pile. Oboro didn't understand why she could see her in the blizzard, but was happy to see the white fox.
Kiku bounced over to Oboro and let out a yelp.
"Good girl," Oboro said, feeling relieved. She rubbed Kiku's head with gentleness, and Kiku appeared to smile (at least, so Oboro thought).
She shivered again. It was the nightmare again; her nightmares were never the same, save that she would always be bound by chains, and the same phrase coming from the figure at the end. Sometimes, the chains were immediate, other times, Oboro felt like she traveled through her nightmare for days, maybe weeks even, before she met the shadowed figure.
And always, she was seeking out 'Jinkuro.'
Who is this 'Jinkuro?' She wondered. Why do I have these odd feelings of longing whenever I think of his name? Who was he? Or who is he?
The words from her nightmare echoed. "I can't, because... you have chosen to bind yourself to him!"
Did that mean this 'Jinkuro' was a terrible person? Someone out to harm her? Yet, her heart kept telling her something else. How could she find the answers she sought?
She looked toward the large mountain—Mount Fuji—in the distance. They say that those who climb to the top can receive the deepest answers of their heart. But... who gives those answers?
Feeling warm again, Oboro reached over and took hold of her Muramasa. She slid the weapon out of the sheath, wondering and gazing into its shining blade. They also say those who stare too long at a Muramasa will be driven insane with bloodlust. Yet, Oboro had stared many times at her Muramasa in admiration of its perfect edge and somehow never lost her sanity.
Her grandpa had found her with the blade, unconscious over half a year ago. He and his wife took care of her for that time. Oboro had never been so happy. Yet, one day...
Demons approached Oboro's house—onis—One was crimson as heated metal, and he was gigantic, while the others were small.
And they wanted to eat her. The giant one was already salivating at the sight of Oboro. "Such fair and soft-looking skin. You'll be more delicious than the girls from the other village."
"Buddha..." Oboro's grandma muttered in prayer. "Please save Oboro's life."
"You two run for it while... I distract them. Oh, dear..." her grandpa had said, holding the blade in his shaky hand.
Then something happened. Oboro snatched the blade out of her grandpa's hand with the speed of lightning and then slashed apart the demons with swift strikes.
"What...? How can this happen?" the large oni asked before his head fell to ground, joining his lifeless body.
Oboro—as if this was natural—twirled the blade twice before sheathing it. Her grandparents questioned how she did it. "I don't know," she had said. "The blade just felt comfortable in my hand, like I was born to wield it." Tears broke from her brown eyes. "If anyone found out about this, you would be in danger. I'm sorry, but I must leave you—to find my own identity and who this 'Jinkuro' is."
Oboro wiped the tears from her eyes. One month... and I still miss them. She felt someone tug at her kimono sleeve and she glanced over to Kiku trying to get her attention. Oboro smiled.
"Are you hungry?" she asked. Kiku nodded. "All right." She searched her knapsack and took out a piece of tofu. It was frozen. "Hum... I think—"
Kiku didn't seem to care, instead she grabbed the tofu and nibbled on it.
Kiku... Oboro had met this white fox while living with grandpa and grandma. For some odd reason, she felt a connection to Kiku. Almost every day, the fox had visited her with a sad look in her eyes. That look kept making Oboro wonder if she had forgotten something very important.
When she left, the fox had followed her, and Oboro decided to let her come along while giving her the name she was now called by.
Despite her friend's stubbornness, Oboro took a stone and flint, flicking them together, and started a small fire. As if she knew, Kiku brought the tofu over to the fire to let it thaw.
The heat of the fire was well appreciated by Oboro. She blew onto her hand, wrapped in cloth and rubbed them together.
So quiet... so lonely... Oboro tried to listen for any sounds of life besides her breath and Kiku's crunching, but all she heard was the wind and snow. She started to smell the tofu warm up and sizzle—making herself hungry.
She reached into her knapsack and took out a peach. Oboro bit down on it—it was delicious, yet cold to her taste. Regardless, she kept eating until she had finished the fruit. She looked at her friend.
"Kiku, are you finished?" she asked with a smile.
The fox didn't respond, instead, she kept gnawing at the thawing meat. She seemed to have eaten a portion of it and it worried Oboro. I hope she's not cold inside. She rubbed Kiku's back and then scratched behind her ears.
"Come now," Oboro said after a few moments. "Kiku, we need to leave. The top of the mountain is waiting for us." And all the answers I'm looking for...
After prodding her a bit, Kiku got up—still carrying the tofu—and looked ready to go. Oboro put out the fire and stood up, bandaging her hands with cloth in order to keep them warm. With another smile at her fox friend, she turned around with Muramasa in hand and began her journey to the top.
Oboro's black hair made it easy for her to stand out in the snow. She kept encountering assassins—ninjas, who wanted her dead. And they continued to call her...
"Look, it's Princess Momohime!" a ninja in black said, fiddling with a shuriken. "Get her!"
Three other ninjas jumped out of the snow, unsheathing their wakizashis, running at her.
Oboro was only fifteen, yet despite her age, she always felt focused when she entered combat with others. She drew grandpa's blade with swiftness. The first ninja who had called her 'Momohime,' threw his shuriken at her.
Oboro rolled back to avoid the other three and then struck the shuriken with her blade, repelling it back at its owner. He tried to dodge, but the shuriken landed right into his leg. He let out a grunt of pain and tore it out.
The other three surrounded her. "Get back, Kiku!" she commanded. But her friend, as usual, would never leave Oboro's side. Instead, the fox growled and attacked the ninja to Oboro's side, taking a bite out of his arm. He yelped in surprise and tried to shake Kiku off.
Then, Oboro was suddenly grabbed around the throat; it was one of the ninja's wakizashis that threatened to slice open her neck. Oboro turned her blade backward and stabbed the ninja in the gut. The ninja fell to the ground and then crawled to his knees.
Oboro with grace, spun in a circle and severed the ninja's head off cleanly with her Muramasa.
The ninja that had been attacked by Kiku, jumped back and pulled out a shuriken, he thrust it Oboro's direction, but again, she deflected it with her blade in time, knocking back into the ninja's chest. He let a yelp of pain before ripping out the shuriken.
Oboro was worried. Where's Kiku? She turned around to see the ninja with the injured leg being bitten the same location by Kiku. He raised his wakizashi to slice the fox in half. Oboro was too fast for him as she clashed her blade against his own to protect her friend.
She saw Kiku let go and then ram into the wounded leg of the ninja. He stumbled and fell down pass the hill straight onto the flat, snowy ground. Oboro heard a sickening crack from below and she winced.
The two remaining ninjas flanked Oboro. She immediately jumped away from the cliff and dashed toward the one in front of her. She swung her weapon at him, but her foe sidestepped and cut her arm with his wakizashi. Then, he punched her in the face, knocking her to the ground. Oboro tasted blood and wiped it from her face.
Flipping backwards into the air to avoid another shuriken (which landed plainly in the arm of the ninja, who had injured her), Oboro impaled the ninja that had been behind her to the ground with her Muramasa. The sword's power instantly killed the ninja.
Only one remained; he started to run for it. Oboro rolled forward and managed to slice his feet, disabling his ability to move. He fell face-first into the snow and grunted.
She picked him up by the back of his shirt and brought her blade to his neck. Really... why are all these assassins after me? she wondered. Oboro shuddered at the trail of blood and dead bodies she left behind.
However, she spoke in a stern voice to the ninja. "Surrender and I'll spare your life. Refuse and I will be forced to kill you."
"Wha-what do you want?" the ninja asked with shaky voice. Oboro could barely see the beads of sweat running down his face. "I'll tell you anything! J-just let me go, princess."
"First, why do you keep calling me 'Momohime?' she asked. "My name is Oboro. And I hardly believe that I can be a princess."
"Can't you notice?" the ninja asked. "Your grace... your lady-like manners. Most village girls aren't born or taught to be as elegant as you... Oboro," he added, almost spitting her name.
Oboro paused for a moment, taking in his words. "Are you trying to flatter me?" she asked.
"No! I'm telling the truth!" the ninja said. "Please let me go!"
"Not yet... I have more questions," she said flatly. "I fought many ninjas on my way to Mount Fuji. Why are so many trying to kill me?"
"Because... you're Princess Momohime," said the ninja. "You... must have amnesia or something. You can't even remember your real name! Or even accept it."
"If I am Momohime," Oboro said slowly, yet with a softer voice. "Then I need to find that out for myself. I do not think I can believe the words of an assassin. Maybe you're right, maybe you're wrong. I'll spare your life on the condition that you tell your fellow assassins not to attack me. I am seeking enlightenment that is at the peak of this mountain."
"As you wish," the ninja said, sounding relieved. He had stopped shaking. "However, I cannot guarantee that they will avoid attacking you, Oboro. We're being paid to kill you. But I will promise that I won't try to harm you anymore. Deal?"
Oboro lowered her sword from his neck. "I will honor your promise then," she said, letting him go. "I hope you honor yours. Now, let me help you bandage your feet so you can move."
"You would... help an enemy?" the ninja asked, turning around. His eyes were wide with amazement. "You astonish me, princess. But then again, they always said you were a kind person."
Oboro nodded and sheathed her blade. She took some bandages from her knapsack (which she had dropped before combat) and helped the ninja bind his wounds. "I have one more question for you," Oboro said. "Who is paying you to kill me?"
The ninja shrugged. "We don't really know," he said. Oboro hoped he was being honest. "We've seen him, a man wearing robes as dark as a starless night. We've never seen his face, but he promised gold in return for your capture or your head."
Oboro nodded. "Very well," she said. Standing up, she added, "when your wounds heal, leave. If our paths cross again, I hope they will be on friendly terms."
The ninja also nodded. "They will be... because of your kindness. Thank you, Momo—err... Oboro."
She nodded at him again, walked back to her knapsack, and placed it over her shoulder. "Kiku?" she called out. The white fox bounced over to her again to her feet. Oboro couldn't help but smile. She rubbed the fox's head. "Good girl. You fought well. Come, let's go."
With that, she left the wounded ninja behind. She continued to glance behind her in case he broke his promise, but she noticed that he never even looked back at her.
The climb to the peak of Mount Fuji continued, and the way became steeper for Oboro and Kiku, making it a difficult journey.
The ice cut into her skin despite being wrapped in thick bandages, and she winced with pain. Yet she kept climbing, and finally, she reached a flat cliff. Pulling herself up with the unusual strength she had, Oboro let herself fall flat on the plateau.
It's not possible that I can make it to the top if the climb is going to get worse. Then she heard a little yelp and felt a tongue licking her face. "Kiku? How did you—ack!" she allowed herself giggle as the fox vigorously licked her. "Stop, stop, stop!" Oboro said, sitting up. Kiku sat on her rump, looking confused.
"It's all right, I just need to catch my breath," she said.
Taking a look at her hands, Oboro noted that the cloths on them had ripped. She reached for her knapsack and pulled out more bandages. She then wrapped her hand up in the cloth and placed pressure on it. She wondered again who Jinkuro was. Being on the mountain made her think and then... What? I... feel like I've been somewhere like here before.
In her mind, she saw the peak of a fiery mountain, and she saw... herself? She was kneeling on the ground next to a dead boy, and she covered in blood and wounds, as if she were about to die.
But then the memory slipped from her mind. "What was that?" she said aloud. "Did... I die? Am I someone else reincarnated? No. That can't be possible." She shook her head. The memory had become so faint that all she could remember was the fiery mountain now. The images of herself and the boy had vanished.
Her head was aching from the image. "Ugh..." She placed a hand on her head to soothe the pain; though it only increased. Soon, however, the pain went away. Oboro didn't understand. Why does my head hurt whenever I remember something?
The last time Oboro had experienced this pain was when she was traveling through the Totomi province. She had seen another vision, however, she could not remember it anymore. Would this recent vision slip away as the other did?
Sighing, Oboro stood up, she noticed Kiku looking at her with a worried glimmer in her eyes. "I will be all right, Kiku," she said with a soothing voice. She continued to place pressure on her hand's wound. After waiting for what seemed an hour in cold, Oboro decided to move on—her hand had stopped hurting.
She continued to climb—this time it was easier—going up slope by slope. She pulled herself onto another plateau and then gazed below. "We're above the clouds," she noted. "I think we're half-way there, Kiku."
"The way up is clear, but the way down is dark," a hollow voice said from behind her.
Oboro spun around, fingering her Muramasa. Before her stood a man in a large brown cloak; she couldn't see his face. He stood before a cavity in the mountain. Was this the figure from her nightmares?
"Who are you?" she asked as calmly as she could, still keeping her hand on her blade's hilt. She could hear Kiku growling at the man.
"Who you see is lost in the light, yet found in the darkness," the man said.
"I don't understand," Oboro said, relaxing her grip on her blade, yet eying him with suspicion. "Do you know something about me? Is that why you're here?"
"The gods will block your path; there will be no hope."
"What?" Oboro blinked, shaking her head in disbelief. "Nothing you say makes any sense."
"All becomes clear with Jinkuro, yet when will the skies clear?"
Oboro gasped. Jinkuro? Does this man know something about him? "Please!" she said, taking hold of the man's shoulders. "You mentioned 'Jinkuro.' Who is he? Why do I seek him in my dreams and why do I cry out his name when I sleep?"
"Your mind is like a delicate plate; at the point of breaking," the man said, not reacting to Oboro's outburst. "If you saw him, it will shatter now, but if you wait, it will piece together."
"I don't understand," she said, letting go of his shoulders. "Wait... is that why my head hurts whenever I remember something?"
"Beware the Narukami; for it will beat you."
Oboro raised a confused brow. How could a location beat her? And what did he mean by 'beat?'
"Farewell, may your journey be complete." The cloaked man then turned around and headed into the cave.
"Wait!" Oboro called out. "You know something! Speak sense to me!" She followed the man into the cave, only to find a dead end. Where had the man gone? She looked left and right, confused.
She scratched her head and let out a heavy sigh. Oboro looked down to see Kiku looking at her as well. "Well, I suppose we must keep climbing to find the answers." The fox seemed to nod at her. Oboro smiled and scratched her head. "You're a good friend, Kiku." The fox licked her hand.
It only became more difficult. Oboro's hands were stained with blood from the wounds they had received from the ice. She grunted as she pulled herself up each slope, wincing. I will... make... it... to the top. Somehow, a hidden strength she had kept Oboro going despite her painful wounds. Her stomach growled loudly, and her eyes were threatening to close on her.
Yet, she continued to ascend.
Finally, after several hours of climbing, Oboro pulled herself onto a flat cliff ledge and saw a road-like path ahead of her. Breathing in relief, she started to run, only to fall into the snow. She felt Kiku's tongue lick her face, and she opened her eyes. She tried to push herself up, but her hands complained with rage.
"Ugh..." Oboro winced. "Too much..." She took out some more bandages and wrapped up her hands. Using her body, Oboro pressed against her wounded hands, applying more pressure. "Ugh..." she breathed. "Why... didn't I bring gloves?" She bit her lip and the pain was becoming too strong.
With all the strength she he could muster, Oboro reached into her knapsack and took out a flask of sake. Grimacing as she touched the cold beverage with her hand, she opened the lid and downed the contents. Fortunately, the bag had managed to keep it warm enough so that it didn't freeze. Though, that didn't explain the tofu.
But Oboro didn't care. In fact, the sake helped dull the pain in her hands. Taking in deep breaths, she pushed herself up from the ground, and then pulled the knapsack over her shoulder.
She walked up the road-like path, Kiku following her, carrying her Muramasa in her right hand. Soon, she felt warmth overcoming the cold as she walked up the path. Am I close to the top? She wondered. Oboro kept pressing forward, ignoring the pain in her hands.
The path circled around and Oboro could see the peak just above her. She ran up the steps only stopping to wait for Kiku, and then crawled up onto the summit.
A triumphant smile passed over her face. "I did it!" she cried, raising her hands into the sky.
Then a large shadow passed over her and Kiku and a loud voice echoed above them.
"Another mortal dares to climb my mountain!" the voice said. "What are you seeking? Gold? Power? Immortality? I will give none of these things to mortals."
"W-who's there?" Oboro asked, shaking, and looking around in the sky. She noticed thick, black clouds covering the sky. "I... I climbed the mountain seeking answers. I-I need to know who I am!"
Then the voice spoke again, less harsh this time. "Who you are?" it repeated. "I have never met a mortal who sought to know their true identity before."
The clouds broke open and large dragon appeared in front of Oboro and Kiku. The first thing that crossed Oboro's mind was run! But she was frozen in place, with her mouth opening and closing.
"You asked who is here," the dragon said to her. "I am the dragon god. You remind me of a mortal who defeated me in battle once. Using a sword like yours: a Muramasa."
Oboro felt like she could move again as her body stopped shaking. "Th-the dragon god?" she muttered. "Um... are you the one who answers the questions of what people desire most?"
"I do," he said. "Except it has been become quite tiring as many ask for what I already told you: gold, power, immortality, and other things of nonsense. Yet, your intentions seem noble. I will answer your questions."
"Thank you, o great one," Oboro said with a deep bow. "I need to know who I am. This blade—this Muramasa—feels comfortable in my hand, as if I were created to use it. I was able to defeat a group of demons who threatened my family with it. Yet... I'm not sure how. What do I do? How do I find out who I am?"
"I know your face," the dragon god said. "Yes, yes, I know your face. Tell me, what have people called you as you came to my mountain?"
"Well," Oboro said with a pause. "People in villages just called me by my name—Oboro—but assassins who attacked me on my way up here continued to call me 'Princess Momohime.' I don't understand, and I can't believe that I'm a princess."
"You doubt that name, then?"
"Yes, I do."
"What is it?" Oboro asked, feeling a little nervous again.
"Your mind... no," he started, shaking his head. "No, you cannot know that yet."
"But... I... I need to know," Oboro pleaded, clasping her hands together. "Please. Every night I sleep, I have nightmares, I talk in my sleep about a 'Jinkuro,' and in my dreams I am always searching for him."
The dragon god's eyes widened to Oboro's surprise. "Jinkuro," he breathed. "It's best you did not learn the full truth yet. This much I can tell you; the being you seek is a demon, or a man considered to be like one."
The words struck her like a sharpened blade. A demon? Jinkuro's a demon? "Wh-what?" she muttered. She raised her head to the dragon god. "Why would I seek out a demon?"
"I don't know," the dragon god said to her disappointment. "But... not all demons are inherently evil. Perhaps you seek him to redeem him, perhaps you seek him for other reasons. I do not know because I cannot answer all your questions that I see in your mind. Not yet."
"What happens when you remember something, Oboro?"
She looked down and pressed her fingers to her lips. "My head hurts," she said. "Sometimes, I forget the visions I had of my past because of the pain. I... I don't know what to do." She buried her face in her hands. If the dragon god couldn't answer her questions, then who could?
"Do not cry, Oboro," the dragon god said with a gentle voice. "It is perfectly natural for you—at this point—for your head to hurt whenever you remember a part of your past."
"Why is that?" Oboro asked, licking her lips.
"It must have something to do with something that happened in your past," the dragon god said. "Fear not, I know of a way to solve your dilemma. Go to the Musashi Province east of here, and someone there will guide you."
"All right," she nodded. Oboro bowed again. "Thank you for helping me, o dragon god." She turned around to descend the mountain, but noticed that it was covered in the darkness of night.
The way up is clear, but the way down is dark. She remembered the words of the cloaked man. Is he... some sort of prophet? She turned back to face the dragon god. "Forgive me, but do you know a cloaked man on this mountain?"
"No," he said. "I have not sensed a being as such in my mountain. Your hands are weak," he added, noting them. "You cannot climb down Mount Fuji with such wounds, Oboro. Let me heal your hands and by the breath of my mouth, I will carry you to the edge of Musashi. Seek out a shrine, and there, you will find your guide."
Oboro nodded. "Thank you. Please," she added, swallowing. "Let this white fox named Kiku come with me, o great one."
"Of course, I already planned for that." Then, he breathed wind onto Oboro and Kiku. Oboro felt her hands become painless and her body regain its warmth. The wind picked her and her friend up into the air and she began to float away from the summit.
"Good luck, Oboro," the dragon god said. "I will pray for your success."