I have been watching the Jōgehyō army from various vantage points for a couple of days now. Including watching them train and spar. Finally, I decided I must engage one of them in combat to gain a true knowledge of their mettle.

I waited until one was separated from his comrades, then got ahead of him. I could easily have jumped him from behind, but not everyone in Noriaibasha’s armies is a ninja. Many of our warriors would have to deal with the Jōgehyō face-to-face, without the benefit of surprise.

So I dropped from a roof to the street about ten feet in front of him, said, “I challenge you. One on one!” as I drew my kusarigama, and then attacked as I saw he was ready.

After all, I was there to test his combat skills, not his ability to detect stealthy observers.

His combat skills were… quite good. For an hour we battled, blocking and thrusting, chains whirling as we sought to tear each other’s flesh with our grappling hooks. In the end, I was able to take him down, of course.

But it was not at all easy.

The Jōgehyō do not control much territory. Though fighting these valiant warriors would be excellent practice and bring me much honor, it is not an appropriate use of my time and skills. I have reported to Kento, and he has decided that we will tell Clan Hekoayu: We are not going to battle the Jōgehyō. The strategies of the Saitekika campaign should be adjusted accordingly.

This was originally published at The Tales of the Ninja Coder. You may comment here, if you wish, but Ichirō invites you to comment at his humble blog.


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