People were flooding out the South exit as fast as their legs would let them. They bobbed and weaved trying to get out without hurting themselves and whatever wares they managed to scoop up in the initial attack. This let the main attack force move in some resistance but the mentality of the scared people were to avoid all those going in and most of the group moved unscathed or opposed. A few villagers that were scared of the samurai's wrath ofter this group of invaders was killed cried out in warning them of the group lead by Tsuyoi. But with all the crying and yelling from everyone... their traitorous chants.
As they breached the main gate and into the corridor leading to the trader's square. Tsuyoi looked over the thinning sea of people. There appeared to still be a few stubborn merchants guarding their stalls holding makeshift weapons such was brooms or gardening tools.
Three samurai stood out near the mouth of the entrance to the square. The armor they donned almost glowed in the morning light. The team followed the hand signals of Tsuyoi and broke into three lines. Where he was sure that he could take on one samurai solo, he did not want to chance it and most of the younger students needed support.
Shigeru ran up the center with Nami and Kyo while Tsuyoi took the right side. Atsushi and Keitaro lead the left side with Kokoro picking up the rear.
Weaving in and out of a few more running merchants, the path to them was clear. This however meant they were clear to see as well. Shouting came from the three samurai and they brandished their swords. Tsuyoi had his out and to his side as he picked up pace to meet the guard head on. Looking to his left he saw Shigeru had already pulled out his kunai.
Behind him, he could hear Sayo keeping a fare distance back. She was a good mid range fighters and much to Sayo's argument that she was a good close range fighter, Tsuyoi knew that these were not the enemies to mess around with. She accepted his logic and would provide the needed genjutsu to protect the villagers.
The two charged at the oncoming samurai knowing they would take the offensive. Tsuyoi jerked his sword upward and parried the strike from the samurai. His eye's were cold and almost black as night as he looked into Tsuyoi's eyes. He pushed with all his strength up and the samurai stumbled back.
Shigeru met the sword in mid swing. He was not ready for the strength of the warrior and it almost knocked him down deflecting it. He fought with all his strength to hold it up, but he was losing ground fast. Nami was struggling to catch back up to Shigeru to offer assistance but more and more civilians were heading towards the exit they entered. She could not use her ninjutsu here, she could accidentally hit a person.
Atsushi and Keitaro were closing in on their samurai. Between the two of them, they had some skill with Tai and Tool but the odds were not the best but with Kokoro they were more likely to have a better chance.
Keitaro looked back with a grin on his face which suddenly turned into fear.
"Umm... Atsushi..." he said in a unusual manor.
"What? He is about in weapon range." He said clenching his fist.
"It.. it is Kokoro..." He said trailing off.
Atsushi turned and to his horror saw it all unfold.
Kokoro was trying to catch up to the others, but Kuzon was trying to steal food from the unattended cart. Once she had gotten him away from the fish they raced to action with Kuzon spouting off as many profanities as he could. She almost tripped over a basket that was overturned. She stopped to spin around it and then she was frozen in her tracks. A lone samurai had come from a small alley way. His sword drawn and looking around with a crazed look. She was silent and scared. There was no way she could take on one of their soldiers by herself.
He turned and saw her. His blue eyes as beautiful as they were bore into her soul and froze it with terror. He turned his whole body and began to swing at her. The first swing was poorly planned and was just out of range for him to even hit her. She kicked the basket at him in hopes of slowing him down. At the most it was a minor annoyance and he sliced the basket in two kicking the remains to the side. Kuzon jumped on her shoulder and on to the roof. Kokoro gave an even more panicked look as thoughts of her fox leaving her alone was horrifying.
"Kuzon? Where are you going?" She struggled out as she dodged overturned carts and wares to get away from the samurai.
"Patience! I have a plan, lead him over here!" He yelled to her.
She saw the direction he was running and took off down that path. She looked back, his sword was only inches away from striking her now. She might not make it in time to see this plan go through.
The gap between them was closing so fast. Kokoro struggled to move faster to reach Kuzon. All she could hear in her was her own heart beat and breathing, they both were deafening. Then one sound broke the two as she heard the samurai jump. She turned to see his blade coming down upon her. Pushing with more strength than she knew she had, the blade sliced a portion of her shoulder and blade area. It was nothing more than a flesh wound and despite the pain, fear was keeping her moving. She tumbled over a fallen stool. He was standing over her now with murderous intent. He brought the blade up and swung it like he was going to split her in two. Kokoro grabbed the stool in a last ditch effort to stay alive and blocked the attack. The blade Splintered and tore through the first leg supports and then again through the second set. Kokoro was sure she was about to die when the sound of wood splitting rang in her ears... but no pain.
She opened her eyes. She saw the samurai struggling to get free from the stool that was still firmly held in Kokoro's hands. In a moment of instant genius or stupidity she pulled on the stool to her chest bringing the samurai with it and firmly kicked both feet into his chest armor. He exhaled so hard it made her chest hurt from the sound. She continued to push and pull till she had flipped the smaurai over her body and onto more downed furniture. His weight broke some of it while other parts of his body tangled themselves in the supports and legs.
Kokoro stood up quickly and started to run pass the fallen samurai that was already getting up.
"Dumb Bitch!" He yelled as he got to his feet, sword in hand as she started after her again. His armor clanked as it was now uneven thanks to her attack. He closed on her much quicker than last time. She could hear him breath, she could hear the sound of his armor almost take over her senses. Then she heard him grunt and knew she was swinging his sword again. She pushed off the wall and spun. The blade this time grazing her side causing the sensation of pain and blood to return.
The strike hit the wall causing sparks to fly. He quickly recovered from the miss and moved towards her again. Suddenly, like a voice from a god Kuzon yelled for her to hit the floor. Kokoro did so as he chewed the last of the ropes holding the make shift balcony up for repairs of the roof of the building they were standing beside. It snapped and Kuzon jumped off the falling thick wooden beams and on to the roof again. They swung down hard because of their weight and just missed Kokoro's head as all three crashed into the samurai. His armor was broken, bent, and shattered as pieces of the expensive protection stuck him in all places. His nose bent all the way to the side and he felt his teeth shatter. The force of the three beams sent him flying backwards in the air and on the hard cobblestone road. He lay there, not moving and so did Kokoro.
Kyo was watching the failed attack unfold as Shigeru fought to hold ground to with the samurai. He has holding his kunai tight and wanted to help but knew foolishly running in could get both of them hurt, no he needed an opportunity to present itself. However, beside Shigeru Tsuyoi was holding his own against his opponent. It did some work on his pride too, these soldiers who were trained by a wealthy lord was being ran through the paces by a simple villager.
Tsuyoi paused as Shigeru finally lost his footing and fell to the ground. Seconds would pass before he would make the final strike on his life time teammate. Reaching into his pocket, Tsuyoi pulled out two of the three kunai in his pouch. Placing his index and middle finger in the holes of the handle he crossed them to make a scissor like formation. Bringing up his sword he forced the blade of his opponent down and it hit the cobblestone with a clang. He had little time to move but he brought the left hand that had the two kunai up and intercepted the blade of Shigeru's opponent. The scissor like kunai caught the blade in the center preventing it from harming both Tsuyoi or Shigeru.
Tsuyoi smiled as his plan had worked. Unfortunately, the samurai were also quick on their feet and both of them brought their knees forward into Tsuyoi's chest. His armor took most of the impact but the force sent him backwards until his head cracked against the hard wall of a house. His eyes were dancing and he felt a little dizzy.
Shigeru was not going to let Tsuyoi get attacked by both of them at once and noticed he was at the right angle that he could see the flaps of the sectional armor his opponent had on. Clenching the kunai tight he let out a horrible fierce roar of anger and slammed the weapon up one of the flaps. He held it in place until he felt blood run down his hands. The samurai seemed in shock that he was hurt. Shigeru pulled the weapon from the wound and stood up fast to bring his elbow to blows with the samurai's. He staggered back and Shigeru kicked the area where he had stabbed him moments ago. This caused the man to bellow with pain and huttle together like an infant to a wound. Shigeru ran up grabbing both ends of his helmet and slammed his face into his knee. With a crack the samurai went limp and fell to the ground unconscious.
Shigeru turned to the other samurai but then lost his footing. Kyo ran up and caught the older shinobi. He was exhausted.
Kyo looked around. Atsushi and Keitaro were struggling hard to keep their opponent at bay, taking shot after shot and rotating in hopes of tiring him out. Kokoro was no where to be found. Sayo was knelt beside Tsuyoi trying to get him to focus, then suddenly.
Fire ripped across the trader's square as another samurai ran from the explosion covered in flame. He was screaming and hitting all parts of himself and grabbing at the armor to pull off the super heated metal. Chieri, Isao, and Chinatsu now leaning on Isao shoulder came around the corner. The samurai that was moving towards Tsuyoi and Sayo stopped and turned to see what the commotion was about. Chieri saw her fallen friend and the man standing with a sword near him. Her eyes went cold and held her sword out to him.
Tsuyoi had ample time to recover from his head wound and looked up at the samurai that was not paying him any attention at the moment. His eyes wondered and saw Chieri facing him, her eyes were not like he had seen before. They were angry and cold. Taking the opportunity to end this before it began, he grabbed his sword. Sayo moved back and smiled over what might come. Tsuyoi took note of the mission armor pieces and slashed his blade across the unprotected back end of the samurai's knee. He buckled under the pain and fell to the ground howling and trying to grab at his damaged leg. His armor was restricting him and he flopped around like a fish out of water and bleeding all over the ground. Tsuyoi knew it was only a matter of time before his removed the armor to treat his leg. Stepping on the man's wrist held it in place. The samurai tried to struggle but with the pain and everything else going on in his mind, fighting back was harder than it seemed. Tsuyoi took his sword and plunged it into the man's hand. It was a deep wound but it would heal or at the very least limit what he could do against his team.
On the other side Jun and Tsuneo both kicked a samurai at the same time sending to the ground. He rolled around before stopping succumbing to his injuries. There was only one samurai left on the field, the one fighting Atsushi and Keitaro.
The samurai noticed quickly what was going on. He was surrounded and no where to go. He panicked and saw a merchant that was trying to get out of the fighting zone. He took a few steps and brought his blade down across his back. Blood began to spew from the wound. Then the samurai grabbed the man and help him to his chest with his sword near his neck.
"Go..go.go away. If you come any closer... I will kill this man." He said with all tone of a whimpering kid.
Jun and Tsuneo tried talking to the man in hopes of calming him down.
Kyo just stood there beside Shigeru who was now on his feet. A hot white rage came over him. How dare he bring a civilian into this fight, how dare he!" ran through his mind as he bolted towards the samurai. He was to occupied with Jun to notice his approach and slammed into his back. The shock caused him losen his grip on the man and he pushed the arm with the sword in it away. Kyo jumped on the fallen samurai and rested on his chest. He pulled out a kunai and held it over his head. Thrusting it down he aimed for a unprotected part of the samurai's neck. Sensing this, the samurai kicked off with one foot sliding him up enough the blade missed his neck and stabbed the armored portion of his chest. The blade side across the metal armor with a ear bleeding sound.
Then the white rage that was overtaking Kyo turned into red pain. He looked to his left shoulder. A small blade from a tonto was piercing it. The samurai had gotten to his tonto on his back and used the missed attack to launch one of his own.
Jun ran as quick as he could grabbing Kyo and lifting him up while holding down the samurai's arm with his foot. Taking him to a safe place Tsuneo and Sayo rushed over to the still fallen samurai and detained him.
The next hour was spent gathering the remaining samurai and holding them for the local constable. Outside of the one man taken prisoner injuries were light. Tsuyoi had his head bandaged and Kyo was treated for his shoulder wound. Kokoro had chosen to take care of her wounds herself, not wanting to show everyone her burns.
Once the people were resettling, Tsuyoi, Chieri, Isao, and Shigeru went to investigate the North Entrances where the samurai had made their base. Reaching the Inn that was a makeshift headquarters Tsuyoi stopped the group to notice the red substance leaking from under the wooden door. Shigeru lit a lantern and handed it to Tsuyoi.
Slowly opening the door Tsuyoi was hit with a wave of foul smelling odor that almost felt solid going in his nose. He untied his blue sash and placed it over his nose. Inside there was bodies of samurai laying all along the floor. Only a few lanterns remained lit and all the candles looked to have long burned out. Creeping further in they saw the table with a map of the town and a man dressed in fine gold armor slumped over the table.
"My god... are they all dead?" Isao asked trying to hold in his breakfast.
Tsuyoi looked at the well armored corpse. "I would say for at least a day or two."
Shigeru snorted and looked at the near by body. "How can you tell?" he said kicking the dead samurai.
The body broke apart and large amounts of maggots rolled out of the body. Chieri jumped back as well as Isao.
"The larva have grown." Tsuyoi added remember reading about death stages for a story he wrote a long time ago.
"Isao, take note of what this place looks like, catch every detail you can. I have a bad feeling about all this." Tsuyoi ordered.
Chieri and Tsuyoi went and filled the lamps in the Inn so that Isao could get a better look. Once they finished the job, the four of them left to regroup with the rest of the team.
Something was troubling Tsuyoi about the way they found the inn. Why would the samurai continue to guard this place if their leader was murdered? Unless they didn't know they were and were told to stay away from the inn. That possibility made less sense. What makes more sense is that they were not or no longer in charge and someone else was giving the orders. The possibilities puzzled him and hoped to get better answers when he reported his findings at the village.