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  1. Character Name: Kenshi Itaro Current Week: 8/15 Overall Word Count: 314
  2. Kenshi stared at the map, somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of information that had just been presented to him. It took him a moment to realize that the man was waiting for a response. Still maintaining his typical stoic expression, despite being completely confused in face of everything he had just head, Kenshi looked over to the man opposite him. “I’m sorry, you seem to have me at quite the disadvantage in this discussion…” He paused for a moment, searching for a proper way to address the Shinigami but soon realized that he still had no clue, despite the man indicating something about his badge earlier. “I apologize if I’ve given off the impression of knowing much about your business but I am at a loss for what if feel is the significance of the situation. I understand that stopping bandits and criminals from obtaining weapons is important, but I don’t think I know what this Asauchi is that you say he can produce. I assume it is a particularly potent weapon, but I do not understand the nature of it or why it is so dangerous. As for the plan itself, it seems to be a sound one I suppose, although I can’t help but notice that I seem to be included quite heavily in it. I am assuming that I should take this to mean that you would like for us to work together, though I do not recall agreeing to such a thing. I have only agreed to travel with you in order to fulfill my desire to duel you.” Kenshi points to the badge on the man’s arm as he speaks. “And though you have asked to be referred to by your title, I do not know what that title is. I assume it is one of importance, but still knowledge of how you wish to be addressed escapes me.” WC 314
  3. Character Name: Kenshi Itaro Current Week: 8/1 Overall Word Count: 1136
  4. Kenshi was left in awe as the warmth flowed through his body and he watched as the various wounds that covered him were quickly closing themselves. While he had heard rumors of the various powers of the soul reapers, he’d never seen such a feat in person. His body felt completely revitalized and ready to fight once again, but now wasn’t the time for that. As the healing was completed, Kenshi brought his thoughts back to the man in front of him. “I see so you’re saying that the Shinigami have changed? I hope then that you speak the truth. The people here have suffered far too long as things are now.” Kenshi turned and began to walk toward the tent that he intended to rest in. Just before entering, he looked back over his shoulder, “That’s quite a power you have. If the others are like you, then I may have been mistaken in my judgement of your people. Once we have rested, I would like to know what your plans are regarding this area.” As he finished speaking, he slipped inside and found himself a place on the ground to sit. He knew that just after having his body completely rejuvenated, he would be unable to sleep but this would give him time to meditate and think on the strange vision that had occurred earlier. As he got into position to meditate, he went to place his sword on the ground beside him but just as he was going to release his hand, he felt an urge to remain attached to it. He didn’t truly understand any of the events that lead to him understanding how to draw out the power of his Zanpakutō, but he knew that the sword itself was somehow responsible. So, he instead pulled it across his lap as he began to focus on himself and replay the days events in his head. A sudden chill was sent up his spine as he felt a faint presence on him, as if someone was leaning on his back with their arms draped over his shoulder. “You stopped fighting.” A familiar and slightly seductive voice whispered in his ear. The reaction to turn his head towards the voice was purely involuntary, prompted by the shock of the noise. He thought his eyes must have been deceiving him, as he was clearly still alone in the tent. “Why did you stop? I was just starting to have fun.” This time the voice was in his other ear, as if purposely appearing that it was just out of sight. Kenshi quickly turned his head once again, only to be met with the still empty space on the other side of the tent. “Who are you? Where are you?” He asked the seemingly omnipotent voice, still searching for its source. “Oh you poor boy, you still don’t understand?” She laughed playfully. “I am always with you. I always have been, and always will be. I represent the predator that hides behind the facade of a man constantly seeking his prey with the false guise of morality. And just the same, I am the hunger that drives such action. The hunger for battle, for blood. A hunger that was not fed.” The last sentence left her lips with a sting of viciousness and contempt. In the same moment, Kenshi felt as if a sword had been driven into his back, causing him to tighten his body and groan in pain. “Do not present me with a meal if you do not intend to allow me to feed. I am not some tool to use as you please. Though we may be one and the same, do not think that will stop me from turning you into prey if you chose to starve me as you did.” The ethereal blade that seemed to be plunged into his back was withdrawn and he could tell that there was no physical damage, as no pain lingered after it had disappeared. “There will be other battles, that was simply not an appropriate time.” He reasoned with his counterpart. “We are not mindless animals. You claim to be a predator, but even the most basic predator knows there are times when the hunt is futile. Still, your… displeasure has been noted. I will do my best to call upon you only when necessary.” The memory of the sharp pain in his back only moments ago serving as a simple reminder not to displease her. “I’m glad you understand. With that now behind us, we may continue our partnership in harmony. There are many more things that I wish to show you, when you are ready for them. When you have earned them.” As the last word left her lips, the strange sensation that had marked her slight presence was gone, leaving him truly alone now. The encounter was brief but informative. Though he didn’t have any specific information on exactly what she was, he was beginning to at least understand the nature of her being. He contemplated exactly what her explanation had meant as he laid down and attempted to sleep. The Shinigami from before had spoken of his weapon as a piece of his soul, was she the same? A piece of his own soul? Was his drive to fight so deep that it could spawn such a creature? He had plenty of time to think on the matter as sleep did not come quickly. Due to the healing, his body wasn’t tired and due to the many thoughts racing through his head, his mind was not tired either. When he finally poked his head out of the tent the next day, it was painfully obvious that he’d overslept. The Shinigami that had taken over the camp on the previous day were almost finished packing up everything that they intended to take with them. Kenshi couldn’t help wonder for a moment that had he slept any longer that he may have been left behind. Collecting his things, he headed out to join the Shinigami before the set out. After asking around for a few moments, Kenshi was eventually pointed to where the veiled leader of the group was overseeing their departure. Kenshi approached, offering a simple wave as a greeting. “My apologies for my late arrival, I suppose that yesterday’s events took more out of me than I thought. I also feel that an apology is necessary regarding my behavior during the conflict yesterday. I was … not in my typical state of mind when you arrived. I am not typically one for formal introductions, but I would appreciate it if you would disregard yesterdays events and allow us to begin again. I am Kenshi, may I ask your name Shinigami?” He asked, offering his hand to the veiled man. WC 1136
  5. Character Name: Kenshi Itaro Current Week: 7/18 Overall Word Count: 277
  6. Kenshi’s gaze is quickly drawn to the small ornate weapon that the Shinigami held in his hand. The strange glow and oddly soothing sound that the weapon produced, along with the words that had accompanied its presentation, served to pique his interest. Though it was only for a moment, the stoic look that typically rested on Kenshi’s face was replaced with a hint of curiosity before he was able to correct the change. “I will not pretend to understand what this weapon or its abilities have to do with your soul, but I will allow you to show me this power that you claim to have.” He continued to pull the many needles out of his back, one by one, as he spoke. Stepping forward, he opened the front of his robe to show the severity of his wounds. “You truly believe that you can heal this here and now?” The most pressing wound clearly being the one in his chest, delivered in the fight moments ago, but there was also a large cut down the length of his torso and a hole in his stomach, both of which had been reopened in the fighting. “You reapers truly are a mystery to me. I go my entire life only knowing you to be murderers and thieves, and yet here you are speaking like you know of life out here and offering to heal the wounds of a commoner like myself. Have I been mistaken or are you some saint among your kind?” The tone with which he spoke was just as blunt as the words as he made no effort to disguise his feelings towards the Shinigami. WC 277
  7. Not exactly sure of who exactly this “Central 46” the man spoke of what, Kenshi simply nodded in agreement of the expected punishment. “As long as he’s unable to return here, then whatever your superiors agree on will likely suffice.” Noticing now that the fighting seems to have finished, he returns his sword to its scabbard, though his hand remains resting on the hilt as a final precaution. Kenshi was somewhat impressed with how quickly the Shinigami had ended the fight. Their attack having taken advantage of the bandit’s distraction, but even still there was a certain efficiency in it that he’d not ever seen before. Takada was a Shinigami and quite a difficult opponent, so did that mean that each of the Shinigami here was just as strong or was Takada exceptional in some way? If that was true then this veiled man must be on a level that Kenshi had never even conceived if he was leading this many of them. “I am without a home to return to, though there are people who would appreciate word that I am not dead. Though, I do not suppose that is a particularly urgent task. I can travel with your group if it means that I will get to face you. I wish to see what a Shinigami of your position is capable of. I’ve heard many stories about your kind and I would like to see just how much is true.” He’d once again spit out a mouth full of blood onto the ground. “Though if we are not going to have our duel now, then it would be wise for me to go rest. These wounds will not heal quickly and I must clear my mind to understand exactly what happened to me during that fight. Do you intend to move these tents or may I use one of them to rest?” He asked, pulling out one of the many long, sharp needles that were embedded into his back and pointing at a nearby bandit tent. WC 338
  8. Seal his Zanpakuto? This man was now refusing to fight him after interjecting himself into the fight he was just starting to enjoy? Kenshi griped his sword tightly in frustration at the call for peace at a time like this. Glancing behind himself for a moment, Kenshi finally takes a look at the battle taking place around him. Smoke still lingered on the battlefield but it was still clear that the Shinigami had swiftly taken the upper hand in the fight, though not without their own casualties. Kenshi had no love for Shinigami, as positive word of them was rare so far out from the Seireitei and typically only rogue Shinigami were found in these areas of the Rukongai, but it did seem that they were here making an effort to clean up their mess. Kenshi could feel the anger emanating from his blade as its liquid form slowly began to solidify back into its normal form. The air began to clear as the toxic vapors were no longer being produced. While he did seal his Zanpaktuto, Kenshi still kept it drawn as he refused to completely let down his defenses. Taking a few steps away from Takada’s still frozen form, he finally responded to the veiled Shinigami. “Fine. I will not interfere with your efforts here, though this does not free you of your debt to me. Once your men are free from danger and you have completed whatever business you have here, you will return and give me a fight worthy of the one you have taken from me here.” His sword points to Takada as he speaks of the fight being taken. “And as for him, what punishment is he to face under your justice?” There is an obvious mistrust in his voice, not hiding the fact that he fully expects that little will likely come of this incident. WC 312 Total WC 1017
  9. As the veiled stranger seemed to disengage from the battle, Kenshi couldn’t help but allow a grin to form on his face. It seemed that the man had heeded his warning and was going to allow the fight to continue uninterrupted. He didn’t quite understand it fully, but his brief encounter with his Zanpakutō spirit had left him refreshed and eager to continue the fight. Takada, on the other hand, felt a sense of dread at the situation in front of him. The brief opportunity that his opponents would turn against each other has seemed to quickly fade away and the look on Kenshi’s face was similarly unsettling. After the two men had just taken what would easily be fatal blows to lesser spirit beings, he seemed to be beginning to enjoy himself and eager to get right back to fighting. “Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can start enjoying ourselves again.” Kenshi spoke through his bloody smile as he began towards Takada. Though before Kenshi could actually make his move to continue the fight, he would be interrupted by the sudden appearance of four massive pillars slamming into the ground around them. Their appearance was so swift that the two men weren’t even able to react to their presence until they were already firmly in place. Although Kenshi was oblivious to their significance, Takada realized at that moment the severity of his situation. The appearance of such a high level Kido meant that whoever this man was had to be comparable to a captain class Shinigami. Takada’s mind raced as any concern that he’d had for Kenshi was quickly replaced by trying to determine just what he was fighting. He hadn’t seen a captain’s haori on the man so had he just not noticed a lieutenant’s badge somewhere? While the two men were still attempting to assess what exactly was happening around them, a golden rope had found its place on the pillars to create a prison of sorts for the two men. This too would only be noticed by the men once it had been firmly locked in place. Before any response could be given, they would both be bathed in a red light that seemed to hold them in a sort of paralysis. Following the series of binding spells, Kenshi began to realize, as Takada had, that this new arrival was certainly a formidable opponent. Still, this wouldn’t be enough to cause Kenshi to sit back and simply allow himself to be defeated. [1] Mustering all of his strength, Kenshi forced his body to move despite the glowing aura that kept him in place. “Petty Shinigami tricks.” Kenshi mutters as he feels the spell shatter around him. He quickly noticed that, either from hesitation at the situation or simple inability, Takada hadn’t yet broken the spell. [2] Not wanting to let such an advantage go to waste, Kenshi quickly brought the hilt of his sword into the defenseless man’s face, sending his paralyzed body to the ground. Content that the threat inside the cage had been dealt with, at least for the moment, Kenshi turned to face the stranger that was now perched in a tree. “I don’t know who you are and I don’t know why you’re here, but I was just starting to enjoy myself when you go involved.” [3] He called out to the man as he brought his sword down into the golden bindings that were holding the cage in place, cutting deep into them but not quite making it all the way through. “So, since you seem so interested in inserting yourself into this fight, come down here and fight me without all of these pointless tricks. Common foe or not, I’m not going to let your Shinigami squabbles deprive me of a worthy fight.” [4] He continued as he brought his blade down into the bindings once more, this time cutting clean through them. As the ropes fell away, Kenshi looked at the pillars that still formed a barrier between him and his new opponent. He had already grown tired of his predicament, but with nothing else to do he prepared himself to continue his attacks on the prison that held him. WC 705 --------------------------------------- Actions: [1] Action spent breaking out of Bakudo #9 [STR 75] [2] Attacked Takada with the hilt of his sword [3] Attacked Bakudo #63 [STR 75] [4] Attacked Bakudo # 63 [STR 75] Breaking the seal. Abilities: Stats:
  10. The camp was thrown into chaos as the surprise assault began. The smokescreen that covered the assailants prevented the men in the camp from fully understanding what was happening, but nonetheless the attack was not without resistance. Those that had their weapons on hand swung them wildly in an attempt to protect themselves from whatever was coming for them. Those without weapons ran to find something to arm themselves with while trying to avoid being captured. A small number of the more cowardly of them ran desperately for the forest in an attempt to flee. While many of the bandits in the camp were simply powerless souls who posed no threat to the Shinigami that were imbedded in the assault, there were a select few that would not be taken so easily. These men held their ground while others panicked. These men would not be broken so quickly, instead using the cover of their frantic comrades to launch attacks on those that were distracted by the lesser of their rank. Men that had slept through the initial commotion of the duel had now certainly been awoken and were beginning to exit their tents. These men, scattered throughout the camp, would join in on the fighting from within and around their enemy, turning the fight in to a much more chaotic scene than it may have originally been. Shouting erupted from around the battlefield as the bandits attempted to gain some sense of control without the presence of their leader, who was still locked in combat in the center of the camp. “Like hell it is!” Takada shouted at the mysterious figure that had appeared on the sidelines of the fight he was engaged in, blood still falling from his mouth. He looked out as his camp was overrun and driven into a wild battle, one that his men would likely not survive. Still, even in the face of such a situation, Takada was a warrior and wouldn’t be stopped with words alone. Wanting to try and find a moment to asses the situation at hand, to understand who it was that was attacking him, Takada began to try and separate from his opponent only to be stopped by Kenshi’s hand holding the collar of his Shihakusho. “Liquify, Ginki.” Kenshi spoke through gritted teeth, still holding Takada on his blade. The blade imbedded in Takada’s chest let out a burst of vapor that filled the area as it seemed to begin dripping a strange silver liquid from its surface. In a matter of moments, the blade itself would be completely liquid, dripping and forming small puddles on the ground as well as continuing to produce the toxic vapors into the air. Takada, as well as some of the men who were fighting near the center of the camp would begin to cough as their lungs began to burn as they were breathing in the gas that began to fill the air. Takada would just as well feel the veins in his body burn as the liquid from the blade slowly entered his bloodstream. Only once the effects of the poison had clearly begun to take effect did Kenshi release his grip on Takada’s collar and step back, pulling his blade from Takada’s chest and Takada’s blade from his own chest. Blood began to pour from the open wound as Kenshi stepped back, holding it with one hand breathing heavily as he occasionally coughed up blood. It was only then that Kenshi realized what was happening around him and noticed the presence of the veiled figure in their fight. He turned to the new combatant, unsure of his purpose here but recognizing that he intended to end the fighting. “I don’t know who you are, but stay out of this. This is my fight and I will end it. Unless you intend on killing me here, I will defeat that man.” Kenshi spit the blood that had gathered in his mouth on to the floor and poised himself to attack once again, thought his eyes rested on the stranger as if waiting to see how he would respond. Takada would take the moment of separation to wipe the blood from his chin and grip his Zanpakutō tightly. “Explode, Senhari.” Once again, the needle covered mace would appear in his hands. Taking a defensive stance, his gaze would shift back and forth between Kenshi and the veiled stranger, attempting to anticipate where the next attack would come from. Though he made no aggressive moves in hopes that these two opponents might turn on each other. WC 762 Total WC 3,054
  11. The cool wind washed over Kenshi and as he regained his awareness, he realized that he was in a familiar place, thought not the fight that he was just experiencing. As he took in his surroundings, he realized that he was in a peaceful forest grove and he was looking out over a lake of silver. It was just like the dream, but this felt more… real. The wounds that he’d been dealing with up to this point were absent and he felt refreshed. Was he dreaming now? In the middle of a fight? With his mind racing, he slowly stood up from his kneeling position at the edge of the lake. He’d never been able to move in the dreams, always being stuck watching and unable to react. “So finally you’ve decided to move. Oh, how long I’ve waited for this. Come now Kenshi, step out on to the lake so that we may finally see each other face to face.” The voice that carried over the wind was calm and gentle, seductive even. Kenshi couldn’t shake the feeling of trepidation as he took a step out onto the silver water that made up the lake. The surface of the water broke slightly as his foot made contact, causing him to ever so slowly sink into the thick silver liquid. “Is that fear?” The voice could be heard again, this time laughing at him in a somewhat mocking tone. “How unlike you. If you’re not sure of yourself when you step out, then you’ll sink to the bottom. This is not a place for fear. Fear serves only to weaken you. To kill you.” As she spoke, the woman’s voice became more and more serious, the mocking and seductive undertones abruptly absent. How was he supposed to be sure of anything right now, much less himself? He had no idea where he was or how he got here. What about the fight? Did he lose? Did he win? His mind raced faster than ever before trying to process the information. As if in response to this, the sinking began to quicken, taking in more and more of his foot. With his foot submerged up past his ankle, it was apparent that he would certainly sink should he attempt to walk out. Suddenly it struck him like a punch to the gut. This was the lake from his dreams. This was what he has spent so much time searching for. The hows and the whys didn’t matter now, because he was here. His next step was firm and confident, seeming to sense this the liquid below him held firm. Keeping his head clear of distractions as he walked, he was able to join the woman in the center of the lake. where the woman was seated. She was a pale slender woman with long silver hair and white eyes. She wore a long white dress that floated around her on the lake as she sat on the water. The only real color on her was the subtle pink hue to her lips. As he reached her, she slowly rose to meet him. Once the two were face to face, she would reach out and let her fingertips caress the side of his face. “Oh, you don’t know how long I’ve waited for this. How long I’ve spent trying to get you here, but you’re such a stubborn boy. But all that matters is that you’re here now.” Her hand slowly moved down to his chest, stopping at the spot where he’d been stabbed in the chest just before arriving here. Though there was no visible wound, her touch caused the pain he’d felt to rush back as if he’d been stabbed all over again. She bit her bottom lip in excitement as she watched his face react to the sudden reemergence of the pain. “Oh, I know it hurts, but you love it don’t you? You love that feeling of teetering on the edge, not knowing if this is going to be the last thing you feel. Do you think you can win the fight like this? Do you think you can push through the pain and overcome an enemy that’s mastered his Zanpakutō while you haven’t?” “Yes. I can beat him. It doesn’t matter what tricks he can use. I’m faster and stronger, that’s all that matters.” Kenshi spoke with conviction, ignoring the pain shooting through his chest. “Good. That’s the confidence I’m used to hearing from you. You’ll never win if you don’t believe that you can with no doubt of any other outcome. And I believe you can win this fight without my help, I really do….but I’m tired of sitting and watching the fighting. I can only enjoy so much while being sealed away. That’s why you’re not leaving here until you understand how to use me properly.” She stepped back away from him, leaving a few feet of space between the two. Kenshi wasn’t quite sure what she was even talking about at this point. She had been speaking to him as if she knew him despite this being their first meeting. Her talk of being sealed and being used served to only deepen his confusion, but he could feel a sudden aggression in her as she backed away. She meant to fight him, but with what? She had no weapons on her. “I don’t understand. What does any of this mean? Who are you?” He was hoping for some kind of answer but his hand was resting on the hilt of his sword nonetheless, as he could feel deep in himself that this wasn’t going to be solved without a fight. “I could spend hours explaining all of the little details to you, but we both know you’ll learn nothing from that. I already said it before, you’re a stubborn boy. You always have been. The only way to make sure you learn this lesson is to beat it into you.” As she spoke, she reached down just under the surface of the water, as if grabbing something. When she stood up once again, in her hand was a sword identical to the one that Kenshi wore on his hip. Thought there was a slight difference, the blade itself seemed to be made of the same silver liquid as the lake. The blade slowly dripped with the strange liquid and, thought it was quite difficult to see, there seemed to be a strange vapor emanating from the blade. As he took a closer look, he realized that the entire lake seemed to be producing the strange gas. As the realization hit him, he found it suddenly difficult to breath. His eyes began to water and his skin began to burn slightly. He could feel his once stable footing on the lake start to give way as he found it almost impossible to focus. “The water in this lake is beautiful isn’t it? The same could be said for this sword.” She ran her finger along the blade, collecting some of the liquid on her finger and raising it up so that it caught the light of the moon on it. “Look at how beautifully the silver shines in the full moon. Ah..but its not silver. You see the beauty on the surface is but an illusion. What you see here, and what this lake is made of, is pure mercury. Beautiful to look at, but oh so deadly to be near. Right about now I’d imagine it’s getting quite difficult to breath. That’s the vapors attacking your body from the inside. While normally I’d protect you from this, I feel that you need to fully understand me. Now, remember that I’m only doing this to teach you, so no matter how much this might hurt just know that we’re on the same side. Oh…and if it seems like I’m enjoying myself, its because I am.” There was no delay between the moment she stopped speaking and the moment she was face to face with Kenshi. Her speed seemed to match his almost exactly, and it was for that reason alone that he was able to draw his sword and block the blow. Though as the two blades met, the liquid from her sword seemed to be thrown around the battlefield. As the new liquid flew through the air, the air seemed to thicken as the gas that surrounded them thickened. The two would clash repeatedly for several seconds, though Kenshi could feel his body tiring faster than normal as he continued. Seeing an opening to separate, he jumped back to get enough distance between them to try and collect his thoughts. Kenshi’s body felt heavy, like he was having to push himself to fight like he normally would. His reactions were ever so slightly slower but worse than that he wasn’t able to put his full force behind his attacks without tiring himself out now. “You can feel it can’t you? The poison is making it hard to fight back isn’t it? Hard to breath? Hard to move? Fight it. Prove to me that you have what it takes to wield me.” She griped her sword with both hands and held it out to the side, as if preparing to attack despite the distance separating them. The liquid dripping from the blade seemed to overflow for a moment as she focused on her stance. With a powerful swing, the excess of liquid that had been building in the moments before were propelled towards Kenshi. As the mass of liquid metal flew through the air, it began to separate into four separate masses and solidify into blade like shapes. Striking back at these flying blades, Kenshi was easily able to smash through each of the blades flying his direction, though as they shattered, they began to fill the area with the thick vapors once again. He couldn’t help but cough heavily as he breathed in more of the toxic gas, feeling the effects worsening his condition. Realizing that this was a losing battle if he stayed on the defense, he forced himself to rush her and attack. Much to his annoyance, each swing of his sword was met with an almost effortlessly matched swing of her own. “Oh, you poor thing. Can’t even land a single hit?” She taunted him as she gracefully matched his swings. The semiliquid nature of the blade seemed to be lessening the impact of his strikes to further weaken his attacks past what the poison was doing to him. For the first time in a long history of fights, Kenshi could feel himself getting frustrated as it seemed impossible that he’d even be able to touch his opponent. Seeming to grow tired from simply clashing blades with him, in a sudden rush of speed she knocked his sword aside and delivered a swift slash across his stomach. As if there was some kind of reaction between the blade and the poison already in his veins, he could feel a burning sensation explode throughout his body that caused him to cry out in pain. His cries of pain only served to cause the woman to laugh. She made no attempts to hide her enjoyment at watching him struggle before her. Her laughing only stopped when she ran her tongue up the length of her blood covered blade. A moan of pleasure would escape her lips as she tasted his blood. “Of all of the blood that I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting, yours is without a doubt the most delicious. Now, how about w-“ Kenshi had used the pause in the battle to close the distance and was thrusting the tip of his sword right at her face. Just as the strike was inches from connecting, liquid metal from the surrounding area formed a disk between the two and stopped the attack from connecting. Though the disk had hardened just before the impact, it wasn’t quite solid enough to absorb the full power behind the blow and shattered completely as the sword connected. As the attack carried through and was able to graze the side of her cheek, he felt an odd resistance once again as if he’d met with yet another shield. As the two separated once again, she wiped a strange mixture of blood and mercury that was dripping from the wound. “Well it wasn’t much, but you did manage to finally connect with something. If it wasn’t for the mercury in my blood stopping that attack, I might have had a problem there.” She laughed as she licked her thumb clean of her own blood. “So now that we’ve crossed blades for a moment, are you beginning to understand what’s happening here? Can you understand how to properly utilize what you’re holding there? I’m eager to finally get involved instead of just watching for once, so I think you’ve earned a small taste. Let us finish this so that we can get back to the fight that’s actually important.” She took a defensive stance that mirrored Kenshi’s own stance that he’d used often in the past. Kenshi rushed forward, thrusting at her in an attempt to bypass her defenses but was fully prepared for her to deflect the blow. So prepared that he was shocked when she allowed the attack to connect, instead matching it with a thrust of her own. The two came together exactly as Kenshi and Takada had done in the moments before Kenshi had arrived here. Kenshi could feel the same sensation from that moment as well, as if fading out of reality. In the very last moments that he was present on the lake, he felt her pull him close and whisper something into his ear. WC 2,294 Shikai Learned 2,294/1,500
  12. [Continued from The Wanderer] Kenshi sat just behind the tree line, watching the camp intently. The light from the torches and lanterns scattered throughout the camp kept it well lit in the darkness of the early morning. The camp was mostly a collection of tents scattered throughout the clearing, there were one or two buildings that had been constructed from wood, with a few more that seemed to be in the process of being built. It seemed that they were in the process of turning the temporary encampment into a permanent base. The outer perimeter of the camp was surrounded by what seemed to be the beginnings of an outer wall being built as well as a few guards patrolling the area. As Kenshi looked on, trying to get an idea of just how many people were housed in the camp, he ran his hand over the wound still present on his chest. His wounds had still not fully healed in the two and a half days it had taken him to get here. He had managed to get a full night of sleep after his first full day of travel that had left him felling much better, but he knew as soon as he starting fighting seriously his wounds would reopen. While his hand traced what was certainly going to be a new scar to add to the many that littered his body, he began to weigh the strategies of how best to kill his target. Thoughts of stealth and subterfuge crossed his mind and, while likely the more efficient approach, were quickly cast aside. His desire for a fight wouldn’t let him handle this in any way other than a direct confrontation. In fact, his desire to fight had never been so great and he wasn’t quite sure what was pushing him to feel so eager. Taking a deep breath to clear his head before moving in, he could feel it once again. The blade at his hip was radiating the same desire, seemingly resonating with his own to deepen the feeling. Was this what was pushing him? Was his weapon wanting this fight too? But how could a sword produce such a feeling? Before he lost himself in his thoughts, Kenshi left the cover of the trees and began to approach the camp. He walked calmly as to not draw too much attention, though he wasn’t surprised when he was stopped before he could make it to the unfinished wall. “Stop there! What the hell do you think you’re doing?” A guard called, moving closer to Kenshi with a rather simple spear drawn. “I’m here to speak with Takada. I’d like you to take me to him.” The guard simply laughed, as if it was a joke despite Kenshi’s matter of fact tone making it clear that it was not. “Who do you think you are to come in here and demand to talk to the boss like that?” He continued his laughing and let out a whistle to attracted the attention of the other guards. He continued to speak as three more armed men began to approach, “What business do you have with the boss? If its important enough, then you can wait till he’s had his morning piss and then he’ll see you when he feels like it.” As the man spoke, the other guards took a semicircle position around Kenshi, not quite surrounding him but ensuring that he couldn’t easily get past them into the camp. Kenshi was unbothered by this as he could tell that these were just regular souls with no real power to speak of. “I’m here to kill him. I’d suggest that you not get in my way, unless you’d like to join him.” The guard he’d been speaking to immediately realized that Kenshi was completely serious and pulled back his spear slightly before making a quick thrust. Unfortunately for the guard, his movements were practically in slow motion to Kenshi. The three other guards hadn’t even realized what was going on by the time their comrade had hit the ground with a gaping wound from his hip to his shoulder. The men stumbled back and readied their spears at the man who now had his sword drawn, thought they’d never seen him move for it. “Go get Takada and tell him that the man who killed his swordsmen is here to see him. Tell him that I would like to see how he earned the title ‘Executioner’.” Understanding that they stood no chance against a man who’s attack they couldn’t even see, the men dropped their spears and ran off in a panic. Kenshi wasn’t quite sure if they were fleeing simply to get away or if they were in fact doing as he’d asked. He took his time cleaning his weapon before sheathing it, giving the men all the time they needed to warn their boss of his arrival. Beginning his walk through the camp, he could see only a few people walking around outside their tents. Those that were walking around seemed to be gathering together weapons and supplies. It was obvious to Kenshi that they weren’t in the process of abandoning the camp, as they were in the process of making it permanent, so the only explanation he could think of was that they were preparing a raid on the 72nd district. After coming to this conclusion, Kenshi couldn’t help but feel better about his decision to come here, as it confirmed his prediction about their moves. He stopped his walk in front of the large wooden building that had been constructed in the center of the camp, assuming that this would be Takada’s home, and waited to see if the warlord would deem him worthy of an audience. Watching the camp around him slowly stir to life, he waited patiently and began to prepare himself for the possibility of having to fight the entirety of the camp. The relative silence that hung over the camp was broken as the door to the wooden building burst open, its back slamming against the outer wall of the structure. In the doorway stood a tall, broad man with short spiked hair. His face was twisted in an unpleasant frown, likely from having been disturbed so early in the morning. Most importantly, the man was wearing a Shihakusho and had a sword at his hip. Standing at the top of the steps that lead to the door, the man looked down at Kenshi as if judging his capabilities. “So, you’re the man that’s been causing all of the problems for my men out there then? Thanks to you, I need to find myself some new bodyguards. From what I’ve heard, it sounds like you were able to fight all of them at the same time. I think then it would only be fair that you be paid as much as all four of them combined. The position is yours, friend. So how about we end this like civilized men and you come in and have a drink to celebrate our new partnership.” Kenshi was genuinely stunned by the suggestion that he join these men. He’d never even considered the possibility that Takada would do anything other than kill him. Although he was caught off guard by the question, he didn’t need any time at all find his answer. “I don’t think that I will. I came here with a purpose and I intend to see that through. Now, are you going to continue to hide behind money you’ve stolen from other people or will you draw your sword and face me like the warrior you claim to be?” Kenshi cemented the answer by drawing his swords, making it clear that he did not intend on backing out of this fight. “I’d hoped that you’d accept the offer. It seems like such a waste to simply kill someone with your talent, but if you insist on dying then nothing can be done.” Takada responded as he drew his own blade. “You’ll soon regret your decision to come here and when that time comes, I want you to beg for your life. I want to hear how much your life means to you right before I take it. You’re about to learn why they call Iriko Takada the Executioner.” Takada swiftly dashed down the stairs bringing his sword down with one hand, though it was easily deflected and knocked aside. The swing was meant to be nothing but a distraction though, as he brought his hand up to Kenshi’s stomach, “Hadō # 31: Shakkahō”. Though Kenshi had never heard those particular words, he immediately recognized that it was some kind of shinigami spell and spun out of the way before the red ball left Takada’s hand. The ball of energy exploded as it struck the unfinished wall on the other side of the camp. After completing his spin, Kenshi brought down both blades in an overhead swing. Though Takada was able to bring his sword up to block the attack, he was forced back by the strength of the combined strikes and was obviously strained by having to block such an attack. A momentary look of concern crossed Takada’s face as he realized that he didn’t outmatch Kenshi as greatly as he’d originally thought. This was quickly replaced by a slight smirk. “I see that you’re victory over my men was well earned. So tell me, can you use that Zanpakutō in your hand or is it just for show? Let’s find out. Explode, Senhari.” Suddenly the sword in Takada’s hand was replaced by a mace with a head covered in countless tiny needle like spikes. Though they were several feet apart, Takada brought the mace out to his side in a wide swing. Part way through the swing the chain on the mace began to extend, sending the needle covered ball directly at Kenshi. Once again, the attack was slow enough to be knocked aside, though the momentum of the heavy mace head carried it past Kenshi. Kenshi noticed the smile on Takada’s face too late and as he turned to see what was happening behind him, the head of the mace exploded like a grenade, sending the needles flying in all directions. There was little that Kenshi could do in response, other than block the vital parts of his body, as he was littered with dozens, if not hundreds, of needles. Kenshi turned to face Takada again, the entire left side of his body covered in the needles that pierced deep into his flesh. The head of the mace had already begun to reform the needles, though the seemed to be quite a bit shorter at the moment. With a quick dash, Kenshi closed the distance in an attempt to prevent another attack like he’d just received. Pulling his swords to opposite sides of his body and slashing out with them, like a pair of scissors, Kenshi hoped that by attacking from both sides there would be no way for Takada to block both attacks. Unfortunately for Kenshi, Takada grabbed the head of the mace with his free hand, seemingly unbothered by the needles, and pulled it to the other side of his body. On strike was caught by the head of the mace and the other on the wooden handle, though it was still clear that Takada wasn’t blocking the full force of the attack. Seeing an opportunity, Kenshi brought a knee into Takada’s gut, sending him stumbling backwards. Attempting to take advantage of the opening, Kenshi approached with a flurry of swings. Unlike previous opponents, Takada was able to quickly recover and block the incoming strikes, even following up with a counter attack of his own. The mace head was sent flying straight at Kenshi’s chest. At the same time, Takada raised his free hand and aimed it at Kenshi’s head. “Hadō # 33. Sōkatsui.” The eruption of blue energy exploded towards Kenshi’s face. Starting to feel his adrenaline pump and getting into the rhythm of the fight, Kenshi kept swinging with full force. The blade in his left hand collided with the head of the mace, driving it into the ground and the blade in his right hand met the Kido head on, causing the beam to split and dissipate behind him. Quickly reacting to the situation, Kenshi spun the sword in his hand around, leaving the point aimed at the ground, and thrust it through the links of the chain that connected the two parts of the mace. Now that the dangerous part of his opponent’s weapon had been disabled, Kenshi rushed in with his sword poised to thrust into Takada’s chest. Though Takada wasn’t able to react and move out of the way in time, he did something that Kenshi didn’t even conceive as being possible. The mace that Takada was holding suddenly reverted back to a katana. Both blades met their mark and were driven deep into the other’s chest, causing both men to cough up blood. The men in the camp, who’d be awoken by the noise of the fighting had begun to surround the fight, unsure of if they should get involved or not. They all simply watched on in confusion as their boss fought with some stranger in the middle of camp, though most had their weapons ready in case they were called on to fight. Kenshi’s chest burned red hot as he could feel the blade being driven deep into him. This pain didn’t last long though as a wave of calm washed over his body and the pain from his wounds, both old and new, began to fade. The last thing he felt before everything went black was a cool breeze on his back. WC 2,292
  13. Kenshi awoke and immediately began to feel the results of his previous fight. His body was sore and his wounds echoed the pain that he’d felt as they were inflicted. As he fully came to, he realized that he was laying down and not outside where he’d fallen asleep. It only took a moment for him to realize that he was inside of Artie’s shack and that his upper body was wrapped in blood soaked strips of cloth that were acting as bandages. Everyone seemed to be gone from the shack, save for Isabelle who was sitting in the corner opposite him, looking over an unsheathed blade. As he sat up, he let out a groan that caught her attention, prompting her to jump up from the corner and rush to his side. “Don’t get up yet, your wounds are still fresh. You need to rest.” She said as she gently put a hand on his shoulder to try and keep him from sitting up. Just as quickly as she’d placed it there, he quickly brushed her hand aside and finished his motion. As he sat up straight, he let out another subtle groan as the pain from the wound in his stomach shot through his body. “I’ll be fine, this isn’t the first time I’ve been hurt like this. We don’t have the time to waste for me to be sitting around relaxing. How long have I been asleep? And how long have you been sitting there?” He did his best to hide his discomfort as he spoke, hoping not to make her worry too much for his safety. As he took another look around the room, now sitting up and paying full attention to his surroundings, he noticed a nice, clean robe folded up on the table with two swords laying across it, one being his own and the other being the one he’d picked up in the fight. “Well you slept all through the night and most of today, so almost a full day at this point. I haven’t been siting here that long, thought.” She added quickly at the end, likely trying to not seem too overly protective. “We’ve been taking turns watching over you while you rest. Right now, Maki and Jun are out practicing with their new swords.” She reached over and grabbed the blade she’d been holding before, holding it up to him now. “We each took one when we were done burying the swordsmen. We figured that since you seem to like fighting with both hands, you might want to take the last one yourself. I also took the leaders clothes before we buried him, I thought you might want them since yours are kind of falling apart and he didn’t really seem like he needed them anymore.” “Thank you for thinking of that, I suppose that it is time that I get rid of these rags.” Using the wall to steady himself, he stood up and walked over to the table. “You know, you really do have the mind of someone who can make it out here. You’re going to need to make sure to teach that to the others while I’m gone.” As he spoke, he reached down to take the swords that lay on the table. “I’m going to head out to find their camp, kill this Takada, and be done with this whole thing.” He drew each sword from its scabbard and inspected it for a moment. The first, one he knew by heart, was gold with a white handle and an oval guard. The blade was free of blemishes, a fact that had always stood out to him. He’d always taken care of the weapon but the perfection of the blade was still more than he ever thought he’d be able to maintain. The second, one he’d only wielded once before, was gold as well but with a blue handle and rounded square guard. The blade of this one, while still high quality, seemed to lack the feeling of perfection that his own blade radiated. He could tell that the blade had been cleaned recently but something seemed different. Something about this sword just felt inferior to his own, but none the less it was a tool that would still serve its purpose. He looked up from the swords as he returned the second one to its scabbard, “I’m not sure when I’ll be back, or if I’m going to make it back at all. Either way, I want you to keep teaching the other two. I can already tell that you’ve completely memorized everything I’ve taught you up to this point, so there isn’t really anymore help I can be anyway.” “What?! You can’t be seriously thinking about going out there in your current condition! You’re nowhere near healed enough to go fight all of them!” Isabelle snapped at him, jumping up quickly from her spot on the floor. “There’s no telling how many of them are in their camp and you don’t even know if you can fight Takada one on one, much less with all of his goons around him. Just wait until you’ve healed, and then we can go with you and help you fight them. We have real weapons now; we can fight with you.” Tears were beginning to form in her eyes, though Kenshi couldn’t tell if they were from sadness or frustration. “Thank you for caring enough to even feel that way. Its been a long time since anyone’s shown such emotion at anything I’ve done.” As he spoke, he reached out and placed a hand on her shoulder. “I know that there’s a chance that I’m not going to make it back if I go out there, but the alternative is letting them come here. Now if Artie was right when I first got here, Takada has at least twenty men with him, maybe more. While I don’t know for sure if I can fight him one on one, or with all of them, we will at least be out there in the woods or their camp. If he comes here, it will be to send a message and that means he’ll bring all of them. I know for a fact that I can’t fight them and defend everyone in the village at the same time. Going to them is the only way that I know for sure that no one here will be caught in the fighting.” He pulled her into a hug, wincing slightly from the pain. “And I’ve never had students before and, regardless of how much you’ve grown, I don’t want to watch you die in a fight that I might be able to handle myself. Now, wipe your eyes and go join the others. I’ll be out right after I change.” She stepped back, wiping the tears from her face quickly as if to hide the fact that she’d been crying at all, despite the fact that he’d just mentioned it. For a moment it appeared as if she was going to speak but it seemed the words were caught in her throat, leaving here to just shaker her head and look down to the floor. Silence hung in the are as she walked to the door and headed out. Once the room was empty, Kenshi let out a sigh as he allowed himself to stop holding back the pain for the sake of Isabelle. Slowly he unwrapped the bloody pieces of cloth that were wrapped around him and began to look over his wounds. The less sever wounds had already stopped bleeding, as it appeared that they had been treated with some kind of salve that was keeping them sealed. The two direct his that he’d taken to his chest and stomach, while still covered in the salve, were still bleeding slightly when he moved. While he knew they would heal eventually, it was pretty clear to him that he was going to have to endure these injuries during the upcoming fight. As he undressed, he began to rip apart the tattered cloth that he once called clothing and used the strips to redress his wounds. While it wasn’t perfect, I was certainly better than leaving them open or covered in the old blood covered rags from before. There was a sense of rejuvenation as he put on the new clothing. It had been so long since he’d had a decent set of clothing that he’d almost forgotten how refreshing it was. He strapped both of his blades to his waist and stretched slightly as he adjusted to his new clothes. Once he was comfortable enough in them, he stepped outside and headed down the street to meet the others before he set out. “What the hell? You’re seriously going out there already?” Maki yelled at him from the field as he approached. The group was standing in a circle, obviously having just discussed the conversation he’d had with Isabelle moments before. “How in the hell are you even walking after the hits you took yesterday? How do you expect to go out there and fight like that?” He continued, his concern being expressed through anger in the moment. Kenshi stopped for a moment to look over the group before responding, not really sure what to even say to them at this point. He’d always been rather direct and he couldn’t really think of another way to express what he wanted to say, so he just began speaking in a very matter of fact tone. “I’ve already explained my reasoning to Isabelle and I’m not going to go over it again. I’m doing what I think is best for everyone here, you included. It may not be the right choice, but it’s the best one that I feel that I have. I can’t let you go out and get hurt because you’re all that’s left to defend the village if I don’t make it back.” He finished by wrapping one arm around Maki and pulling him into a hug. “You just have to trust me, alright?” As he stepped away, he turned his attention to Jun, who was surprisingly not as upset as the others. It was clear he’d been crying at some point but that seemed to have passed already. Kenshi knelt down to be at more of an eye level with him. “You seem to be taking this better than the others. You have anything you want to say?” Jun responded with a quick shake of his head, “No, cause I know you’re going to win. You won yesterday and I know you can do it again.” His words lacked the confidence to back up what he was saying, more like he was trying to convince himself more than Kenshi. Kenshi nodded in agreement, trying to reassure the boy that he was correct, before pulling him into a hug as well. “You three look out for each other, alright?” Jun nodded in agreement as Kenshi backed away. “Alright, now get back to training. You’re going to need to learn how to use those for real.” He spoke over his shoulder as he began to walk down the street. As he reached Artie’s stand, he stopped and looked at the old merchant behind the stand. “I’m going to go take care of this. I’m not sure when exactly I will be back, but look over the kids while I’m gone.” He didn’t give the old man a chance to respond before he continued his walk down the street. There was a slight shaking in his hands as he walked, though this was not from fear but excitement. He knew the coming fight would be hard fought and would push him to his limit, and he couldn’t wait to get it started. Though he wasn’t quite sure how he could feel it, he could swear the same excitement was radiating from his blade. WC 1,990 [Continued in A fated encounter, Kenshi faces the Executioner]
  15. The next two days would continue much like the last with the group meeting in the empty field to first spar with Kenshi as a group and then with each other one on one. Many of the mistakes made by the students would begin to disappear as their days were spent fighting each other over and over. While their skills were still that of novices, Kenshi was continually impressed with the speed at which they were able to adapt and learn. He knew that they were nowhere near his level of ability, even when all fighting together, but he had no doubt that if they continued to train like this after he left then they wouldn’t take long to catch him. The group continued to stay with Artie, at his shack, who happily provided them all with food during their stay. Kenshi would still spend his nights either sleeping outside or wandering the streets as he was still concerned that the thugs would return in larger numbers in the night. The third day had begun the same as the others, with the group meeting in the field to train. The three students had surrounded Kenshi and were waiting for the perfect moment to attack together. Maki, as always, was the first to move. He quickly lurched forward and began to close the distance, the other students following his lead and doing the same. Unlike the first day, their stances were much tighter and much more difficult for Kenshi to simply counter. Maki brought down a powerful overhead strike that Kenshi easily blocked by bringing his sheathed blade up above his face, allowing the two weapons to meet in a “+” shape in front of him. Instead of simply allowing his blade to be deflected Maki seemed to add more force behind the blow after the weapons had connected. Kenshi quickly realized that Maki’s intention was never to land a hit, but to keep his weapon occupied while the others struck. As if on cue, both Isabelle and Jun each thrust at him from opposite sides. Reacting as quickly as he could, Kenshi brought his second hand up to his sheath to hold it in place while he drew his sword from it, making sure to twist it so that he wasn’t using the bladed edge. He brought his blade down to intercept Isabelle’s strike, knocking it to the side with ease. Following through with the motion, Kenshi would spin away from the group just in time to avoid Jun’s stab. “Hey, that’s cheating!” Isabelle called out. “You can’t just pull out your sword like that!” Kenshi looked at her for a moment, somewhat caught off guard by the accusation. “There’s no such thing as cheating in a fight. Fights aren’t fair. When you’re fighting to the death, it doesn’t matter how you make it to the end, all that matters at that point is that you live and they don’t.” Kenshi sheathed his sword and began to walk away from the group. “Remember that from now on. Never hold back anything on someone you intend to kill, there’s no point.” At that moment the sounds of people beginning to talk and stir could be heard from down the road. People were quickly moving off of the main road that went down the center of the district. Soon after, five people would come walking down the street. The four people leading the group were all dressed in rather high quality kimonos with each having a sword at his hip. Following close behind them was a familiar face, Sal the thug that Kenshi had met on his first day in the village. “There! That’s him! He’s the one who thinks he can tell us what we can do around here!” Sal shouted, pointing at Kenshi. One of the figures, a tall man with his long brown hair held up in a ponytail, nodded and made a motion to Kenshi as well. “Alright then, lets get this over with.” The man’s tone made it quite apparent that he was uninterested in what was going on. The other three men began to step forward, spreading across the field, while the tall man, who seemed to be the leader, was content to stay standing in the road with his hand casually resting on the hilt of his katana. Kenshi wasted no time in drawing his sword and stepping forward to face the three men that were approaching him. “Kids, stay back. I don’t want you getting involved in this.” He said over his shoulder before quickly turning back to face the intruders. There were a few mumbles of discontent from the students but, realizing that they weren’t equipped to really do anything, they eventually backed away. “I’m going to assume that the only reason you’ve come is because your friend there didn’t properly inform you of the danger of coming here. I’m only going to say this once, any of you that draw your weapons will not be leaving here alive.” A collective laughter erupted from the group, mocking the threat. The three that were advancing drew their swords and formed a semicircle around Kenshi. Knowing that he was too outnumbered to try and make this a defensive fight, Kenshi quickly rushed the man to his left. His opponents were slightly caught off guard by his sudden advance. Kenshi’s initial attempt to slice at the man’s stomach was just barely deflected, but his follow up strike with his sheath landed directly on the man’s temple. The man staggered back, clutching his head. Unfortunately for Kenshi, his aggressive opening left him unable to fully dodge the counter strike from the second man in the line. While he was able to sidestep in order to avoid a direct blow, the sword would slice down the length of his back. Kenshi gritted his teeth through the pain of the cut and continued to press on his original target. Kenshi threw a flurry of swings at the man, who was increasingly unable to block or dodge them, while circling around him to prevent the two other men from being able to land a blow on him. Sensing an opening in the man’s faltering defenses, he would thrust his blade into the man’s chest, causing him to spit up blood and fall limp. Before Kenshi could remove his blade from the man’s chest, he heard their leader utter something he’d never heard before. “Hadō # 4: Byakurai.” Kenshi was only able to look just in time to see the lightning bolt as it slammed into his stomach. The pain was intense as the lightning ripped through him, leaving a hole behind. Though the man had attacked, he still made no move to engage in the fight. Kenshi stepped back, clenching his stomach as he pulled his sword from his original opponent’s chest and allowing the dead man to fall to the ground. Kenshi took a deep breath as he felt a calm fall over him. With a smile on his face, he took a defensive stance as the remaining two men that were engaged with him approached. He lived for these moments. Moments where he wasn’t certain he would make it through to the other side. Moments that let him truly feel the joy of combat. The men seemed not to care much that their comrade had fallen, though their caution of Kenshi as an opponent was marked in their more defensive stances. Taking advantage of their hesitation, Kenshi slid his foot forward underneath the sword of the dead man at his feet, kicking it up a few feet off of the ground. At the same moment, he threw his sheath at the two men in front of him and caught the sword with his now free hand. Now armed with two weapons, Kenshi leapt forward and let loose a series of wild swings. While this initially put his opponents on the defensive, they soon attempted to counter attack and take advantage of the lack of defense in Kenshi’s movements. The ring of metal on metal could be heard over and over as each strike was met in kind with a full force swing from Kenshi. While they were all similarly matched in speed, Kenshi’s strength and stamina became clear as the fight continued. As their blades clashed over and over Kenshi’s opponents began to tire and their attacks began to lose the speed and force that they once held while Kenshi refused to let up even a little. “Hadō # 4: Byakurai” Another lighting bolt ripped through the air but this time was unable to connect as Kenshi had been waiting for the attack. Unfortunately, in order to dodge the attack successfully, he was forced to let up on his assault. Now forced to block his opponents’ attacks, Kenshi was put on the defensive as they continued their assault. The leader, no longer content to simply sit idly by, drew his sword and moved behind Kenshi. As he sensed this new opponent approaching from behind, Kenshi knew he had to do something drastic to gain the upper hand. As all three opponents were attacking simultaneously, Kenshi spun to the left, bringing the sword in his right hand to meet with the attack that was now coming from his right. He then released all of the spiritual power that he could muster just as the first blow was going to land in the center of his back, stopping the attack dead in its tracks and knocking the man back. Instead of attempting to block the incoming leader’s attack, Kenshi instead allowed the blow to land, cutting him down his chest and stomach, but in return Kenshi delivered an attack of his own. With the full force of all of his spiritual power behind the blow, Kenshi brought the blade in his left hand down directly into the leader’s head, killing him instantly. Kenshi pulled his blade from the skull of the leader as he tuned back to face his opponents once more, his chest now pouring blood from the violent wound he’d just received. “Now that we got that interruption out of the way, should we get back to it?” Kenshi’s breath was getting heavier as the damage he’d taken and the strain of the fight had begun to take its toll on him. The men in front of him were in complete shock as they’d just watched their leader just get killed in a single blow. “You might want to pay attention.” Kenshi stated calmly to the men as he leapt forward and brought both blades down at the man on his right side. The man was only able to block one of the attacks in time, allowing the other to catch him in the collar and cut deep into his chest. Quickly letting go of the sword in his right hand, Kenshi brought an elbow into the man’s throat before he could recover from his block. The man’s eyes lost all signs of life as he fell back in a heap on the ground. The man last man left took advantage of the situation and quickly ran his sword through Kenshi’s ribs, stabbing him all the way through. Kenshi let out a grunt of pain but acted quickly in grabbing the hilt of his opponent’s sword, not allowing him to pull it away. Coughing up blood, Kenshi delivered the final blow, slashing the man’s throat as he struggled to retrieve his weapon. Kenshi fell to his knees, breathing heavily and bleeding from his multiple wounds. With a grimace on his face he’d pull the sword from his side and allow it to fall to the ground. Quickly remembering there was still one more person who’d come with them, Kenshi turned his head to the road where Sal had been standing only to find that he’d disappeared. “Coward.” He’d mumble to himself as he’d begin to stand. All of the kids quickly ran to his side and helped him stand. “Oh my god, we thought you were going to die!” Jun said, wiping tears from his eyes as he followed behind the group as they lead Kenshi to a nearby wall. Kenshi leaned up against it and tried to catch his breath. “Seriously though, that was way too close. We were really worried that something was going to happen to you. A..are you alright?” Isabelle asked as she looked over Kenshi’s wounds. “I’ll be fine, I think. Don’t worry about me right now, just get back to the house and I’ll take care of all of this. We’ll continue training tomorrow.” He responded as he stood up a bit straighter, holding the wounds on his ribs. “Dude, we’re not going just going to leave you here like this. We’ll take care of all of this while you rest. Just sit down here and we’ll get rid of them.” Maki shook his head and walked away before Kenshi could even respond. The other two followed him and they began to collect the fallen weapons. Maki and Isabelle gathered all of the bodies and together they drug them outside of the village. Kenshi sat, leaning against the wall and watched as they worked to clean up the field that has just served as his arena. Eventually he closed his eyes and began to drift off to sleep. Before fully drifting off he heard a whisper from a voice he thought sounded familiar. “Oh my, that was wonderful. I can’t to feed like that again.” WC 2253
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