The year is 1577. Akechi Mitsuhide sat on his horse. Behind him, an army of samurai rode on similar animals. They clopped along a rough, rocky road. They had been riding like this for two days, just like Oda Nobunaga had told them too. Oda Nobunaga was their daimyo; a daimyo is a general, a warlord, a ruler. He controlled a lot of power in Japan. It looked as though Oda might win the war that was going on. His ruthless tactics made him a feared daimyo. Akechi stopped his horse; the army behind him did likewise. "We are here," Akechi said to himself. It was the middle of the day. The sun was burning high in the sky, and the heat beated down on them. The army was at a castle that belonged to the Hatano clan. This clan was not nearly as powerful as Oda's.
Seeing as there was an army at their doors, a messenger of the Hatano clan ran out to meet them.
"He-hello. Is there a reason you have come he-here?" A bead of sweat dripped down his face; this was probably a combination of the heat and his nervousness. His fear was obvious, as he was stuttering.
"Yes," Akechi said. "Bring your master and his brother to me. Now."
"You- you want Hatano Hideharu and-" the messenger started to say.
"Yes! I just said that!" Akechi shouted, annoyed. "Now bring them to me now or this army will tear down your walls!
"Of course," The messenger ran off. Minutes later, two people walked towards them - the daimyo and his brother.
"What do you want?" Hatano spat.
"You're coming with me back to Oda. Or we can attack your castle," Akechi said. Hatano sighed.
"Fine. I know when I'm beat," Akechi pulled out two lengths of rope from his horse's saddle. He tied Hatano's hands together and did the same with his brother. Akechi lifted them up onto his horse.
They all rode back to the castle where Oda resided. Akechi brought the two prisoners to him.
"Master, I have the prisoners you requested," said Akechi.
"Good," Oda said. He pulled out his katana - a blade that samurai often used.
"Master," Akechi said uncertainly, "what are you doing?" Without a word, Oda brought the blade down on the prisoners' necks. Akechi's mouth dropped open with shock.
"Thank you Akechi. You can leave now," Oda said. It was clear that he was not going to elaborate, so Akechi left.
Akechi walked out of the building. He leisurely walked along the road, making his way to his house. He kept a house outside of the castle; he liked the isolation. As he exited the castle's large doors, he was approached by a shady figure in black robes.
"Hey you. I know what you've done. You and Oda killed my master. He was my father! Well I'm not going to just take it. Right now, a group of Hatano's other retainers should be getting revenge right now. You'll see what it feels like to lose a loved one. By now, you're mother is dead," He ran off after that.
Akechi couldn't believe. He filled with rage and fury. More than he had ever imagined was possible. He started to chase down the man in black. He found him, and drew his katana. The man screamed as Akechi drove his blade through him.
"This was all Oda's fault," Akechi muttered. "I'm going to get revenge."
Chapter 1 - The WitnessEdit
4 years later.
Yoshi Tanaka cursed under his breath as he worked. He used a kunai - a small tool similar to a trowel - to plant rice plants. He had been working in fields for hours. He and many other orphans worked like that, driven with an iron fist by Nobu Watanabe.
Yoshi was sent here because his parents died when he was very young. He had asked Nobu what happened to them before.
"They were killed. What else is there to know? Now get back to work!" Nobu had said.
Yoshi hated Nobu. Nobu was mean, cruel, and selfish. Often at night, Nobu would leave and come back in the morning. He owned a large amount of farm land, which was worked by orphans. Often, if a child's parents died, they would be sent to him. Nobu treated the orphans unfairly. They had a very hard life. And Yoshi was tired of it.
At night time, Yoshi would go into a small hut, along with many other orphans. They lived in three different huts, and were cramped in them.
Yoshi was hot and tired. He stopped for a moment to rest.
"Hey, Yoshi!" Nobu shouted. "Get back to work!"
Yoshi sighed with annoyance.
I can't take this anymore! He thought. Tonight, i'm going to run away.
Yoshi worked for the rest of the day. He was excited; he couldn't wait for night to come. When it finally did come, Yoshi wasn't exactly sure what to do. Planning wasn't exactly his specialty. He decided he would just improvise. Yoshi carefully and quietly walked out of the hut. Across a small stretch of grass, there was a hut much larger and nicer than the others. It was where Nobu stayed.
Yoshi creeped his way towards it. He peeked inside the window, hoping that Nobu had left, like he often did during the night. What he saw instead shocked him.
Nobu sat at a table. A figure appeared out of the shadows of a different room. He was wearing a black outfit that covered his whole body except for a small area araound his eyes. He was a ninja.
The ninja crouched and slowly crept behind Nobu. He reached inside the folds of his clothes and pulled out a knife. He approached Nobu and lifted the weapon.
Yoshi was about to shout a warning, but he didn't need to. Nobu stepped away from his chair and tossed it at the ninja. The ninja ducked beneath it and cursed. He threw his knife. Nobu sidestepped it and threw a punch at the ninja. The ninja raised his left arm to block it. He retaliated with a punch. Nobu blocked it and kicked the ninja. The ninja jumped away. Nobu ran to another room and returned holding a ninjato - a sword slightly shorter than a katana that ninjas used. He swung it at the ninja.
The ninja dodged and cursed. He then climbed out a window several feet away from Yoshi. Nobu walked into a different room. As the ninja climbed out, Yoshi ran behind a corner of the building so that he wouldn't be seen. The ninja ran off and disappeared into the night.
"Wow," Yoshi muttered under his breath. He ran off after the ninja.
Yoshi saw the ninja run into a forest. After that, he became much harder to track. The only footprints he could see were animal tracks. If the ninja was anywhere around, Yoshi couldn't see him. Right when he was about to turn back, he got lucky.
Yoshi saw the ninja running between trees. He was easier to see now, because his black clothes didn't blend in as well in the forest. However, every time he ran into a shadow, he seemed to disappear.
Yoshi ran after him, keeping some distance between him and the ninja. He was very unsure of what he was doing and why he was doing it. All he knew was that he couldn't live with Nobu anymore.
Yoshi kept following the ninja through the forest.The ninja would stop and look around at times. Yoshi would quickly hide wherever he could find. Then he would walk as quietly as he could while following the ninja. Eventually, the ninja reached a river. Near the bank, he pushed aside a large rock. Underneath was a hole containing some other clothes, some tools, and some weapons. The ninja started to grab certain items.
Yoshi wasn't sure what to do now. There was no way he could go back now - he would never be able to find the way. He decided to approach the ninja, and run if he was hostile. He walked behind the ninja, who didn't notice him - or so Yoshi thought. When he reached him, the ninja turned and sweeped his leg at Yoshi. Yoshi was knocked to the ground. The ninja pulled out a ninjato. Yoshi didn't even notice the sheath before then. The ninja pointed his blade at Yoshi.
"Who are you? Why have you been following me? Are you with the Fuma clan?" The ninja said with rage. His eyes softened when he realized that Yoshi was only sixteen. "Oh. A boy."
"I, uh, well, sorry I followed you," Yoshi said uncertainly. He was scared.
"How long have you been following me?" The ninja asked.
"I saw you sneak up on Nobu, and then-"
"Nobu?" The ninja said, confused.
"Yeah. That guy in the house over there. You snuck up on him, but he got a sword and-"
"Oh," The ninja interrupted. "His name isn't Nobu, it's - wait a second. You saw that?"
"Yeah...." Yoshi was scared that the ninja would be angry.
"How did you...." The ninja started to say with disbelief. "Oh well. It doesn't matter. So you've been following me since then?"
"Yes," Yoshi said.
"Incredible...." The ninja muttered under his breath.
"I'm sorry, what?" Yoshi asked.
"Nothing. Listen. That man there is a very bad man," said the ninja.
"Tell me about it," Yoshi said.
"He's worse than you think. He's not just mean to you orphans. His name is Fuma Kotaro. He's a ninja. He leads the Fuma clan of ninjas. That clan is evil. They kill many people, and are enemies to Oda Nobunaga," The ninja said. Yoshi lived in an area that was loyal to Oda.
"Are you serious?" Yoshi asked in disbelief. Maybe that's why he's always gone at night, Yoshi thought.
"Yes. Now come with me. I think I have a place for you to go," The ninja started running off without another word. Yoshi paused for a moment, and then decided to follow him. They ran through the forest for a long time. When they finally reached the end, it was light outside. The night was over.
"We have a far way to go," The ninja said. "Excuse me for one moment." The ninja went back into the forest, then returned with normal clothes on. The man had kind of long, black hair. He looked to be in his twenties, and there was a small scar on his chin.
"How did you...."asked Yoshi, who was confused.
"I'm always prepared," The ninja said.
"Always prepared, huh?" A voice asked from behind them. "I sure hope that's not true." Then a dark figure flew out of the woods towards them.