I was supposed to go back to Nagoya today. It’s not happening. (Not that I’m complaining.)

Early this morning, there was a meeting to discuss some of our strategies for dealing with peasants and understanding their needs and desires. I could have skipped it and gone to Nagoya… but it is good for me to stay aware of the clan’s larger operations, not simply the things I’m dealing with on any given day. (Besides, it kept me out of Nagoya for another hour.)

After that meeting, I found that there is a minor problem in Ichimen, the city we took during the Teitōken campaign. This problem will not be difficult to resolve, but it must be done very soon. So I prepared to go to Ichimen…

But then there was another meeting I had to attend, where a pair of our warriors demonstrated some new city-fighting techniques that will enable all our various teams to fight together more efficiently. Truly, these techniques are quite elegant, and it will be intriguing to use them in combat. But it will be some time before we receive actual training; for now, we have simply seen a demonstration.

Now that this meeting is done, I have an hour before I must attend yet another one. We must discuss Clan Hekoayu’s plans for our upcoming battle strategies.

I think I will not be going to Nagoya today. I will be lucky even to make it to Ichimen.

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.

I am no longer dealing with only one campaign. I had thought that my association with the Teitōken campaign was done, having pacified the city of Ichimen. Now I find that there is one final push happening this weekend. They may need a ninja on call, just in case they encounter any resistance that requires assassination or city operation.

Hence, I must hold myself in readiness, prepared at any moment to rush to the battlefield. I will serve, but I hope I am not called.

In the meantime, the Shiemesu Raisei campaign is becoming contentious. Ryōsuke wants to have everything complete within six weeks. The other warriors have all just pointed out that we are trying to learn an entirely new ryū, and we have no idea how long anything will take. We certainly do not wish to commit to an untried, unfamiliar strategy and claim that we will have such-and-so accomplished, and then discover that we can only accomplish half of it in the time allotted.

Ryōsuke is adamant about the six-week deadline. We will see what we can commit to — if anything.

Aside from that, there is a problem occurring in Settsu Province. I need to deliver a message and some small supplies to one of our operatives there. It will be an interesting case of courier duty, combined with some reconnaissance — when I am done, I should report back to Tsukimi on what I saw while delivering the message.

It will be a busy day.

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.

Akane and I have successfully reconsecrated the shrine of Inari. We have even strung a new shimenawa around the premises.

Happily, we were done in time to visit the wonderful local restaurant, which makes some of the best okonomiyaki in all of Kansai. It was quite delicious!

The following day — yesterday — I went back to Castle Noriaibasha. Nobody seems to have noticed my absence the previous afternoon, or if they did, they didn’t mind. Over the past two days, the Teitōken campaign has been slowly and painfully winding down. Every time I think things are done, they find one more pocket of resistance. These are rarely in the city; Seijun’s team has been quite busy rousting out foes in the forest. But occasionally, a message of great and terrible urgency tells me to proceed to Ichimen and find such-and-so target.

Tonight should be the end of this. We are already a day past deadline. I have spent part of the day reading the scrolls and maps pertaining to the upcoming Shiemesu Raisei campaign; that should occupy much more of my time tomorrow.

For now, I have an appointment to meet an old friend in the capital for a sushi dinner.

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.

As always, everything is in flux. Kento tells me that the training sessions to begin the Shiemesu Raisei campaign have been postponed by a week. This means that my schedule for next week is completely unknown. (But perhaps this means I will finally have some time to re-consecrate the temple of Inari in Hoshiakari — I have been laying some plans in that regard, and this may be the opportunity I need!)

All the Mōjin have been driven from Ichimen. However, every time we think the Ayamari are gone, more show up. I suspect there is some sort of secret Ayamari lair somewhere, with a hidden tunnel that allows the sneak in from outside the city. A pack of them surprised me during my battle with the rōnin from Mikawa yesterday afternoon. By the time I had dispatched them, the rōnin was gone.

I had already wounded him sorely. He may have died of his wounds later on, or he may have decided to leave the area entirely. Or he may come back to bedevil us next week. There is no way of knowing.

It may be just as well. This morning, it seems the younger brother of the bandit from Yoshino, who I slew over two weeks ago, has arrived to seek vengeance. Fortunately, he does not seem such a skilled fighter as his elder brother — but the Yoshino tactics allow him to fade back into the forest, and I cannot pursue without help from Seijun or his team.

Needless to say, they are all too busy right now. If only one of them would become available for assistance, I could finish off this last foe.

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.

Only a week ago, it seemed this campaign would never end. But we seem to have run out of Ayamari. The group that seemed such an unstoppable tide before have now been exterminated. Haruna and Satonori have been detached from the Teitōken unit and sent to other fronts in the war.

Over the past few days, I have whittled down the Mōjin fighters, and they now seem to be gone, too. A pair of Sōtō Zen monks and the scout, Jun-ichirō, will verify that tomorrow morning. Even the bandit from Yoshino is gone. The Nichiren and Tendai priests are ready to proclaim this realm pacified and integrate it into our territories and power structure.

All that remains is to kill the rōnin from Mikawa. My last battle with him was inconclusive. He escaped into Ichimen, and is lurking… somewhere.

I have until Friday to find him. That will be my last day on the Teitōken Campaign; starting on Monday, I will be assigned to a new campaign called Shiemesu Raisei. I know very little of what this campaign will entail, as yet. I know that it will be another long one, like Teitōken has been (and unlike, say, Kanezukai was). It seems it will involve widely-spread operations ranging throughout Yamato Province, and maybe also in Ōmi and perhaps Settsu. Beyond that? The campaign’s specifics are still somewhat mysterious to me.

I understand that the first week will involve hours and hours of training in one of the halls of Castle Noriaibasha. I have my suspicions that the training will be tedious, and by the end of it, I will be itching to get outside, clamber across a roof, and kill a half-dozen people.

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.

Today promises to be very busy. In the afternoon, Seijun and I must meet with some representatives from Clan Seija, our allies who are assisting with some operations outside of Ichimen. I know they have encountered difficulties; I don’t know if we will go out to try to slay the enemies at once, or merely plan.

Also, we have determined that the rōnin from Mikawa Province has obtained some enemy battle plans. By lunch time tomorrow, I must kill him and deliver those plans to Seijun and Rajan, so they can effectively counter the enemy’s strategies. But the rōnin from Mikawa will be no easy opponent. He is skilled on rooftops, and a powerful fighter with the manrikigusari.

In the meantime, I also have a nest of Mōjin fighters to deal with… but they could wait until Friday, if necessary. (I think it will be necessary. Even a ninja can only handle so many foes at once.)

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.

I still have no access to the armory.

The bandit from Yoshino is still around. I must find some time to coordinate with Seijun so that we can finish him off. And then there’s a rōnin who’s just arrived from Mikawa province, who is skilled in rooftop fighting. Originally, I was supposed to ensure that was dead by tomorrow afternoon.

But I can’t do that just yet, because the nobles have determined that we must stage an orderly withdrawal from the district of Minichato, adjacent to Keishutsu. An orderly withdrawal is not the same thing as “just running away” — it means we must destroy certain caches of supplies and weapons so they cannot be used by our enemies when they take the territory. And it also means operating in hostile territory, where we may frequently have to fight off enemies while we take care of retreating.

And this takes priority over all else. The bandit from Yoshino and the rōnin from Mikawa will just have to wait. (Which means that soon I’ll be asked why those two are still alive, and I’ll have to explain that the retreat from Minichato is a higher priority.)

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.

The bandit from Yoshino is still bedeviling us. He seems to mostly be hiding in the forests lately, outside my realm. Seijun and his team have been far too busy with other matters to even pursue him.

The greatest of those “other matters” is the dire situation in Kurabero-no-Hako. We knew at the outset that we would have to handle a gang there called the Obigurafu. Seijun said his team could take care of them, using a style especially designed for such problems called the Kabachaato-ryū. Unfortunately, it turns out the Obigurafu gang is quite persistent… and the Kabachaato style is simply not flexible enough to handle their tactics.

If we cannot eradicate the Obigurafu, the entire campaign will be a failure.

Of course, even if we can, there are still many other problems. The Mōjin have made a resurgence, and if we do not deal with them, we will be forced to retreat and give up the entire territory — we would otherwise be in violation of the Emperor’s decree. Just as the Obigurafu gang is Seijun’s problem, so the Mōjin are mine.

And still the Ayamari proliferate, and we are falling further and further behind schedule.

I have just received a message from Kento: One of the high nobles will be coming to investigate our progress, and try to determine what can be done.

My suspicion is that the entire campaign will have to be called off… or at least, subjected to a complete restructuring.

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.

There is a bandit from Yoshino who has been causing some problems for a while. He’s been a minor enemy until now — now that Haruna, Satonori and I have finally managed to eradicate many of the Ayamari in Ichimen. Now, it is time to deal with this rogue.

Unfortunately, he’s a border-runner, who strikes into the city and then melts back into the forest when I try to pursue. Seijun is assisting me in trying to corral him so we can do him in.

It’s not going well. He is very wily. But we will persevere.

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.

On Thursday, we finally found a way that Satonori can vouch for me with the armory guards so I can have weapons. He and Haruna are now both assisting me in Ichimen. They are both carving a path of blood and death through the kama-wielding Ayamari, while I take on the rooftop fighters.

On Friday morning, I awoke to news that the shrine of Amaterasu had once again been occupied by an oni. I could do nothing about it; my duties to Clan Noriaibasha required my presence in Ichimen. So off I went, to slay Ayamari — and then to be called into no fewer than five meetings, consuming most of my day.

At least one of these meetings was useful, though: We went through all of the assassination orders and target descriptions supplied by the Sōtō Zen monks, and were able to identify many cases where two different orders described the same target. “The man in the green kimono? He’s the same as the kama fighter with a slight limp in his left leg.” “Ah, then we will combine these orders.” When we were done, the number of enemies had dropped from 35 to under 30.

But one of the worst problems is still the rooftop fighters. Before I left the castle on Friday evening, Kento presided over a meeting with me, Haruna and Satonori. We agreed that we would divide up the enemies yet to be fought, and that I would spend my weekend in Ichimen clearing off the rooftops.

Then I left, and did not go home. I went directly to the shrine of Amaterasu, where I drove off the oni. I arrived home late at night, and Akane poured me a vase of sake and put me to bed. The next morning, I knew I would simply have to arise and go back to Ichimen.

When I have time, I must tell the tale of this morning… and then the tale of this afternoon.

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.

On Sunday night, I had a dream. The nobles had decreed that we might no longer kill our enemies in the field. Instead, we had to drag them to Castle Noriaibasha and execute them there. Of course, this would be completely impossible, and would bring all our efforts to a halt. But one cannot explain such things to nobles who have their minds set on doing something idiotic. Especially in a dream, where logic is in short supply.

I woke up on Monday morning with this dream fresh in my mind, fearful that it was a bad omen for the week.

It is beginning to seem that my fears were correct. Yesterday, I got news of a disaster in Nagoya, just as I was racing to the capital to meet Akane to deal with some of our business with the minor bureaucracy of the Emperor’s court. I had no time to deal with the problem… and when I was done at court and went to Nagoya, I could find no trace of it! All that panic, for nothing.

And there were reports of multiple Ayamari in Shiryō-no-Hako, but the samurai teams were engaged in pitched battle at the gates to that district, so I could not even get inside it at all.

Still, yesterday was more productive than today. Today, I arrived at the Castle to find that there had been a mix-up in the papers giving orders to let me into the armory. The new gate guard denied me entrance, and so I had no weapons with which to do my job. (Yes, of course ninjas know how to get past guards and gates. But using such skills against one’s own employer is a very bad idea.) I was able to attend one planning meeting, but aside from that, I achieved absolutely nothing of any consequence in my entire day. And, due to the ineptitude of the quartermaster’s department, there is no assurance that I will be able to accomplish anything tomorrow. Even the best ninja can do little with no kama or manrikigusari.

In my dream, I could accomplish nothing because of the decisions of some of my clan-mates. In reality… I can accomplish nothing. And it is because of some of my clan-mates’ decisions, even if not the nobles.

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.

The Teitōken campaign is in a shambles.

For all of its history, the Teitōken campaign has been part of the greater, overarching Futa Jūichi-yon schedule. In order for us to meet that schedule, all enemies in Ichimen and the surrounding forests and wilderness had to be neutralized by June 20th.

On Thursday, as it became clear that this was never going to happen, the nobles made a decision: The entire campaign was shifted to the Mitsu Jūichi-rei schedule. This would give us another full month to get everything complete…

…but things are never that easy. In addition to all the foes we’ve been worrying about, there has been a resurgence of the Mōjin resistance movement. We can no longer ignore them.

To make matters worse, the Tendai priesthood is insisting that we capture the suburb of Koyōshi, on the outskirts of the Keishutsu district. Kento is quite upset at this news; he asks, “Where were they during all the strategy meetings? We showed them the maps, we asked them if there was any other territory we might need. They said nothing! Why do they think they can suddenly ask for new conquests now?!”

I agree with him completely, but there is no arguing with them.

Finally, because I am now a full member of Clan Noriaibasha, I must have entirely new weapons with the clan crest on the pommels and scabbards and so forth. I am sure it doesn’t matter to my enemies if the manrikigusari I strangle them with has a tassel in the Noriaibasha clan colors just behind the grappling hook or not, but it does change the weapon’s balance and slows me down.

That’s not even counting the fact that I spent almost all of Friday waiting around for the quartermaster to issue me weapons, and the weaponsmith to sharpen and polish them for use.

Finally, Seijun still has the idea that we will somehow vanquish the previously-identified Ayamari by the old June 20 deadline. Seijun is deluded. I will have to explain this to him on Monday.

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.

On Thursday afternoon, I was busy in Ichimen when I received an urgent message from one of the Nichiren priests. He and Haruna and some of the others had come across a problem in the ongoing Kanezukai campaign. I had fought in the early stages of that campaign, back in the fall. They needed my help with an enemy lurking in ancient, cramped Fujiwara-kyō. The time I had to spend on that was time I couldn’t spend in Ichimen on the Teitōken campaign.

That may be part of why I got to the castle on Friday morning to find a message from Seijun, asking: “There are still a great many Ayamari in the city walls of Ichimen. Are you having trouble? Do you require aid?”

This is not the first time he or Kento has asked me if I needed assistance with this phase of the campaign. But this time, I found that even more of them had flooded into the city since I left on Thursday night. I finally gave in and said yes, please send another ninja to help.

After a while, Kento showed up with Satonori, and instructed me to give Satonori a quick orientation in the streets and alleys of Ichimen. The rooftops are somewhat more complex terrain, so he will be handling the kama work on the ground while I deal with the remaining chain-wielding enemies. If the situation is still dire on Monday, Kento will see if Haruna can assist us, too.

Did that resolve matters? It turns out — no, it did not.

As I was battling on the rooftops of Ichimen, a message came from Hoshiakari: The shrine of Amaterasu was under attack, yet again, by the usual oni. Yes, in broad daylight. The creature is becoming bolder!

There was nothing I could do while busy fighting on Clan Noriaibasha’s behalf. The news simply weighed on my mind until sundown, when I left to go home. Akane and I went to the shrine in the dead of the night, surprising the monster with the suddenness and fury of our attack in the rainstorm that was going on.

As usual, the oni escaped at the last moment. I must find a way to purify the shrine once and for all!

In the meantime, this week has been long and difficult, and I am a very tired ninja.

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.

Now that I am a full member of Clan Noriaibasha, I am allowed to attend the special meetings that happen twice every week. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, we city fighters of the Keitai Team meet with the Nichiren priests, the artists and carpenters and the tea masters. We discuss matters of philosophy and artistry and strategy and battle, and how all these things are interrelated, and how they affect our Way and our relations with the peasants in the areas we control.

These meetings are — with occasional exceptions — restricted to full clan-members only. Kento allowed me to attend one early in my tenure here, and it was most enlightening.

Now, I can attend whenever I want… except that I am so busy trying to rid Ichimen of Ayamari, there is no time for me to spend in meetings that aren’t directly related to the Teitōken campaign!

On that score… there are 32 Ayamari that we must kill by the end of the day tomorrow. And fully half of them are ones that I must slay, by myself. I will be quite busy.

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.

This week has been very busy. There are Ayamari all over Ichimen, just like there were last week. I eradicated at least a dozen last week, and left for Iga Province feeling good on Friday. Then, over the weekend, something happened. I don’t know if our scouts found a new squadron of Ayamari that they’d missed before, or if the foul rabble sneaked in under cover, and actually hadn’t been present before.

Either way, I am desperately trying to kill them all. It is slow going, because something has gone wrong in the armory. We must have gotten a shipment of substandard steel for our weaponry, because my blades constantly need re-sharpening, and my chain’s links keep coming loose. I keep having to return to Castle Noriaibasha and wait while the smiths repair and resharpen them.

I have also had some of my time and energy taken up with attending the rites of initiation that induct me into the clan, and reading and signing various scrolls of welcome and suchlike. Between the ceremonies and the armory visits, I have spent very little time in Ichimen… It’s no wonder the Ayamari are flourishing there.

I will not be in Ichimen or Sakai tomorrow, for there is a grand festival weekend in Iga Province. I have already informed Kento that I will be away. And Monday is the day of rest decreed by the Emperor.

I shall try very hard not to worry too much about the situation in Ichimen. Not until I return to Castle Noriaibasha on Tuesday. I can only hope our enemies will be easier to slay when I am better rested.

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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( May. 14th, 2011 07:32 pm)

It has been a long, hard week of battling Ayamari in Ichimen. For the first part of the week, it seemed that every time I killed one, I would receive a message from one of the Sōtō Zen monks informing me of two more. But by Thursday, the number of newly-discovered foes leveled off. Throughout Friday, I slew the remaining Ayamari, until none were left in Ichimen.

There are still some of them out there in the forests, bedeviling poor Seijun and his team I wish there were something I could do to help him, but the forest problems are a job for katana-wielding samurai.

Instead, I have to worry about a few other enemies that are still within the city. Though ask the Ayamari are slain, there is a rōnin who comes from Mikawa Province. There are also a few undercover agitators from Clan Shimasu, who even the Sōtō Zen monks have not yet noticed. If I can kill them quickly, it will help to ensure that our plans succeed more smoothly.

But first, on Monday morning, I must continue demonstrating my kata for the other warriors’ approval. I am far less nervous this time around.

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.

Yes, there are Ayamari all over Ichimen. This makes me very grumpy. But, oh Sōtō Zen monks of Clan Noriaibasha: Just because there are Ayamari all over, that does not mean that everyone you see is an Ayamari!

Please stop telling me that people are Ayamari, then letting me discover that they are actually peace-loving peasants who just happen to look vaguely similar to Ayamari fighters that I killed last week. It wastes my time.

And I have very little time to waste, right now. Because there are Ayamari all over the city. That much is true.

(I am starting to wonder if some enemy wizard or demon has cast a spell that is misleading our monks in their meditations. Or perhaps Sachiko and her team back at Clan Iwinaga have spoiled me?)

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.

I was right to be worried about misfortune yesterday… I was simply wrong about just what shape the misfortune would take.

My demonstration was not a failure. Not a great success, either, for there were so many things to show that we ran out of time, and I will have to schedule a second session. But certainly, it was more of a success than a failure.

Unfortunately, many other things yesterday were failures. In particular, I discovered that there has been a massive incursion of Ayamari into Ichimen. The messages from the Sōtō Zen monks had not been reaching me. Someone within Clan Noriaibasha has made a grave mistake, but tracking down the culprit will have to wait. First, we must retake the city.

And, while I was busily trying to curb the Ayamaris’ numbers, I received a message from Hoshiakari: More trouble in the shrine of Amaterasu. Once again, I had to cancel a dinner with Akane and go deal with the hateful oni’s mischief.

This time, however, Akane offered to come with me. Even if we didn’t have the dinner we’d been hoping for, we did get to spend some time together. With her help, driving away the demon was even easier than usual.

But still, this situation cannot continue. We must find a way to kill the thing.

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.

I dreamed of work last night.

Back when I was a member of Clan Tenya, such dreams were a common occurrence. Nothing ever seemed good enough for them, and there was never enough time. My overly-busy days began to haunt my nights. I dreamed of rooftop battles in Kotobasatsuki, and of tangling with the city guard of Nagoya.

It was not pleasant.

My dreams last night had a different cause. Today, I must show Kento and Seijun and Rajan the kata I have developed for use in patrolling Ichimen. They will be inspecting my moves and my form carefully, to ensure that all will be well for our final push.

And I am worried, because I have never done such a demonstration with Clan Noriaibasha before. I want to give a good showing of myself.

My mind says I need not worry — that my skills and my kata are sufficient, that I will not bring dishonor upon myself. But my heart is still anxious.

Once I finish the demonstration, all will be better. Chifumi, the junior Tendai priestess, is leaving the clan, so there will be an enkai to celebrate her departure. She has long desired to join one of the clans of Settsu Province and leave Izumi behind. In the winter, she thought she had found one to accept her, but then they suffered a crushing defeat when Oda Nobunaga sundered his alliance with them. But Chifumi has persevered in her search, and will now be joining a small clan of Naniwa.

All of us wish her well in her future, and we will toast her at the enkai at day’s end… but I cannot stay for long! I must leave to go meet with Akane at a fine restaurant overlooking the bay. We shall eat fine food and drink fine sake and shōchū, and enjoy each other’s company.

All I need to do is make a good impression at the demonstration. Then everything gets better.

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.

Sometimes, the enemies you’re most scared of turn out to be those in your own mind. In my mind, I had imagined that the rōnin from Hikone would be a terrifyingly dangerous foe, skilled on rooftops and deadly with the kusarigama. But I would not let fear keep me from my duty.

I went to Ichimen, hoisted myself up to the rooftops, and started searching for him. Atop the Nanashi-ji Temple, there is a high vantage point. From there, I could see many parts of the city. A little west of the temple — right near the intersection of Shiryō-no-Hako, Kuraberu-no-Hako, and Migaku — there’s a marketplace full of food stands, with an inn on one side. And there he was, buying some yakitori for a snack.

Stealthily, I crept to the roof of the inn. It would be in bad form to attack him in the marketplace, frightening all those civilians. Instead, I threw a kunai into the wood of the table he was sitting at, making it easy for him to track the angle back to my position atop the roof. As he looked toward me, I stood up with my kusarigama at the ready, then pointed it at him. A challenge.

He threw his meal aside and came to meet me.

I gave him space to clamber up the side of the inn, waiting with my kama in a salute position. If I was to die this day, I had no wish to have my last moments be anything less than honorable.

Shinobi!” he cried, “You have met your doom!” And he flourished his kusarigama in a threatening manner, then dropped into stance… And I saw that his center was not focused. I sprang to attack, and he deflected me, but not well.

He counter-attacked, and I blocked it easily. And I realized that I was better than him, and he was starting to see it, too.

After that, it was simply a matter of time. He gave a brave account of himself, but in the end, he could not stop me from sinking my kama blade into his chest. As he slumped onto the roof of the inn, I whispered in his ear, “I am sorry, my brother. You fought well.”

In the future, I must remember never to let fear become my master. That way lies destruction.

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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