The Line Between Love and Hate - Chapter 5 - Free
"Argh! How could I be so stupid?!" Kunimitsu shouted as she stomped down the alley. Kunimitsu had just left Chiteki's apartment, and already she was beginning to question her actions. She came to the conclusion that maybe she had made a mistake in letting Yoshimitsu go. It was a mistake that she desperately wanted to correct.
It was very late and not a single star could be seen in the dark, cloudy sky. The temperature had almost dropped to freezing, and the winds made it worse. Kunimitsu, being among the tall building and narrow alleys, didn?t feel so cold. She mostly felt foolish.
"Fuck!" she shouted angrily, kicking at anything that came into her way.
"You shouldn?t beat yourself up like that," suddenly said a voice, causing Kunimitsu to hold her dagger up in defense, spinning around to the source of the voice.
A man stepped out of a darkened alley and into the light.
"Who the hell are you?" asked Kunimitsu, with a threatening tone.
"My name is Tagaki. I am a messenger for the Black Pheasant Syndicate. My Lady has heard about you and wishes to meet with you. She's heard that you both have the same enemy."
Kunimitsu, rather than cutting the messenger down where he stood, thought about it for a moment. If someone had enough resources to "hear" about her, they might actually be worth talking to.
"... Alright, I'll meet your Lady... Yeah, why the hell not?"
A sigh of relief. "Right this way."
"So, it was you who got in the way and gave Kenka such an ache in the arm," Lady Dokuja said in an amused voice as she leaned back in her chair.
"I didn't know I was such a nuisance," sardonically replied Kunimitsu, as she sat in the chair in front of the large desk. Kunimitsu made quick, unnoticeable glances around the room.
"Quite," Dokuja said bluntly, "I'm sure you've been giving Yoshimitsu loads of trouble, which is why I?ve asked you to come here."
"Go on." Kunimitsu studied the desk and the large window behind it. The lights of the neon signs and the cars below illuminated the dark city.
"I think we might be able to help each other. We both want Yoshimitsu dead, right? I'm sure we can work out some sort of agreement." Lady Dokuja leaned back in her chair, interlacing her fingers as she looked at Kunimitsu with interest and natural mistrust.
"Hmm. I help you, you help me, Yoshimitsu dies. So far, I like how that sounds," Kunimitsu stood up and leaned over the desk, "But..."
"But?" asked Dokuja, becoming a little annoyed.
"I'll help you if you swear that I'll be able to fight Yoshimitsu. Alone. None of this 'gang up on the bastard' shit. Just one-on-one. You can watch if you like," smirked Kunimitsu. Dokuja's face became tense with quiet anger.
'Who does this disrespectful bitch think she is?!' she steamed in her mind as she looked at Kunimitsu. However, she merely let out a sigh and nodded in agreement.
"... Fine. You can fight Yoshimitsu alone, but bring him here before he dies. I want to see him suffer."
"You can be sure of that." Without being excused, Kunimitsu turned around and barged through the doors. When she left, Dokuja slammed a fist on the armrest of her chair.
"Do all Manji ninja have to be so damn arrogant?!" Dokuja asked as she rubbed her temples.
"Perhaps it's in their nature," replied the messenger with a blank expression as he stood by the door.
"Takagi," began Dokuja, looking at the messenger, "Tell Kenka to have some men ready by tomorrow morning. We're going to give the Manji Clan a little visit. Have the motorcycle squad go along with them. Tell them to search the area and find the Manji Base.
"Yes ma'am," Takagi quickly replied as he headed off. He then thought to himself, 'Search the area? Oh, that's right...' He suddenly became worried, 'The first messenger never made it back...'
"The air still smells of the dead," Noriko commented as he passed the gourd of sake to Yoshimitsu. The two old Manji warriors were sitting cross-legged at one of the many bonfires that had been built in a clearing in the forest.
"Aye, but the memories of the dead will last far longer than the smell," Yoshimitsu replied as he lifted his skeletal mask slightly and took a sip from the gourd. He gazed into the roaring fire and then up at the cloud covered moon.
Yoshimitsu's thoughts were still on the funeral. In his mind, he could see the tears and hear the weeping of the people. After the mass funeral, the Manji Clan began preparing for tomorrow's assault by enjoying what could most likely be the last night of their lives. Most of them merely sat beside the warm fires with their friends and sharpened their swords, while others...
"There you are, Master!" cheerfully shouted Hiroyuki as he and Kitsune, arms over each others' shoulders, stumbled over to Yoshimitsu and Noriko. Hiroyuki's black cotton mask was pulled down, and a bright, beaming smile could be seen on his face.
"We're playing a really fun drinking game, Master!" beamed Kitsune, who had discarded her metal oni mask. "You have to throw a rock up into the air as high as you can and, and, and if you can't catch it behind your back, then you take a drink of rice wine! I'm not very good at it, but it's a fun game! You should join us, Master! You?d have fun!"
Kitsune then left Hiroyuki?s side, staggered around the fire, and sat down right in Yoshimitsu's lap! Shocked and uncomfortable- perhaps due to the fact that he was actually quite comfortable- Yoshimitsu dropped the gourd on the ground beside him and tried to talk to the drunk Kitsune.
"U-ummm, Kitsune, could you please...? Well, umm... You see, you're sitting on me, and... well..." stammered Yoshimitsu as he tried to find the words. He took Kitsune's arm off his shoulders and set it in her lap, "This kind of behavior is, well, unbecoming and I suggest that you-"
"Aww, don't be so troubled, Master," Kitsune said quite cheerfully as she wrapped an arm around Yoshimitsu's shoulders, "You've been really stressed out lately," slurring the 's', "and I think you need to take a moment to relax 'n stuff like that. You worry too much!" Kitsune then became calm and looked deep into the eyes of Yoshimitsu's mask.
"Don't worry, Master," she said in an almost inaudible voice, "She'll eventually see the truth." Kitsune then giggled and playfully tapped Yoshimitsu on the ridge of his skeleton mask nose.
'Is she talking about Kunimitsu?' Yoshimitsu pondered.
"Come on, Kitsune, you silly fool!" Hiroyuki exclaimed with a smile, as he tottered over to Yoshimitsu.
Noriko just shook his head in that way that most old men do when disapproving of the actions of the youth, while Hiroyuki tottered and laughed. Some of the Manji ninja at the nearby bonfire glanced over at the gleeful pair and shook their heads in laughter.
Kitsune then staggered to her feet, using Yoshimitsu's head as a basis to push herself up, and threw an arm over Hiroyuki's shoulders. The two stumbled off until their laughter was drowned out by the crackling of the fire.
"Crazy kids," grumbled Noriko, who was being quite the old stick-in-the-mud, "Getting drunk and galooping around like idiots."
Noriko didn't really have a tone of contempt in his words, but rather the tone of one who was reminiscing his own 'galooping' days.
"We should let them enjoy life. This could be their last night of it," solemnly replied Yoshimitsu. He sounded far off in his mind due to the fact that he was actually thinking about what Kitsune had said a few seconds ago.
'Will Kunimitsu ever see?' thought Yoshimitsu, who was suddenly surprised by a hand on his shoulder. He looked over at Noriko.
"Nonetheless, the girl's right. You do worry too much, old friend," said Noriko, with a smirk, "Maybe it's you who should enjoy life."
Meanwhile, instead of returning to the drinking game, Hiroyuki and Kitsune were walking away from the clearing and back to the Main Building, where most of the clan members lived.
"Are you afraid?" asked Kitsune. She and Hiroyuki had grown more serious as they discussed tomorrow's assault.
"I don't know what to think. I don't ever remember the Manji Clan doing something like this before," modestly replied Hiroyuki, "We've both been with the Manji Clan for years now, but something about this upcoming assault seems different. So yeah, I'm a little worried."
Hiroyuki glanced around at the trees and the sky. The wind blew through the branches and made the leaves dance in the moonlight.
"Hehehe... Maybe if I wish hard enough, this night will never end and we can all stay here and not worry about a thing," said Kitsune wistfully.
Hiroyuki suddenly stopped walking, making Kitsune halt in her tracks.
"What's wrong?" asked Kitsune, as she tried to find the answer in Hiroyuki's visage.
"Kitsune, I would love it if we could stay here. I don?t want you to get hurt tomorrow."
Kitsune was silenced with surprise from Hiroyuki's confession of concern. The two had known each other for years, and she now realized what that deep, hidden feeling, the one she had always felt, really was.
"Hiroyuki, nothing is going to happen to me. Besides, you'll be there with me!" Kitsune said in a brighter tone, to try to cheer up the mood.
"You're right," agreed Hiroyuki, as if he had just said something wrong and was corrected, "I am probably just worrying too much. We should head back to the others now."
Hiroyuki turned around and started to head back to the clearing, but before he could take another step, Kitsune quickly grabbed his arm and stopped him.
Hiroyuki looked back at her in surprise and Kitsune asked in a very pure, expressive way, "Do we have to go back?"
Hiroyuki smiled sincerely and placed a hand on her face gently, moving her dark hair to the side so that her whole face was illuminated in the cold moonlight.
"No, we can go wherever you want."
Hiroyuki then leaned in and kissed her deeply. After a moment, the two began walking closely. Rather than going back to the others, however, they headed back to the fairly unoccupied mountain base.
"Are you positive that you're alright?" asked Yoshimitsu, as he took his eyes away from the clipboard he was holding and looked over at Kitsune.
"Yes, Master. I'm fine," assured a very tired looking Kitsune.
"This truck is empty now, Master," interrupted a Manji ninja, who, along with a group of others, was unloading supplies.
Yoshimitsu nodded to the ninja and made a few check marks on the list from the clipboard. The Manji ninja went right away to help the others unload the next truck.
"Kitsune," continued Yoshimitsu, "You still look a little fatigued. You probably didn't get any sleep at all. Maybe you should stay behind when we go to the Black Pheasant Headquarters."
"And miss out on all the fun?" joked Kitsune, as she rubbed her eyes and held back a yawn.
Yoshimitsu glanced around at all the other Manji ninja. He realized that they all looked tired from the night before, but none so much as Kitsune.
"We can stop right here," Yoshimitsu said to everyone around him, "What we have unloaded should do for a few days. Now, we must prepare for the assault on the Black Pheasants."
All of the Manji ninja nodded their heads and left to get ready.
"Now try to raise your left leg," said Hiroyuki, as he looked up at Harper, who was trying his hardest to balance on a fairly tall pole.
"It's too hard... I can barely stay... up as it is!" replied Harper, pausing whenever he came close to losing his balance.
"Hiroyuki!" called Yoshimitsu, as he walked up to the two in the Training Ground. The dirt swirled up from the dusty ground as a cool winter wind swept through the buildings.
Harper looked over at Yoshimitsu, causing himself to break his concentration and fall.
"Yes Master?" asked Hiroyuki, while Harper stood up and dusted himself off.
"We are getting ready to leave now," said Yoshimitsu. He studied Hiroyuki for a moment. Hiroyuki seemed more alert than usual, but he had a relaxed, good mood about him. A very good mood, actually. "You'll have to cut your lessons with Harper short for today," resumed Yoshimitsu.
"Oh? Yes Master," Hiroyuki replied, a little oblivious, but cheerful. He then bowed and left for the Main Building.
'Something's strange about him, too,' thought Yoshimitsu.
Yoshimitsu then turned to Harper, who was wearing the black clothing of a ninja, which contrasted with his bright, blond hair.
"So, I see that Hiroyuki is teaching you the importnace of balance," said Yoshimitsu. He thought he might as well try to say a few things to the boy, which he hadn't really done much of before.
"Yes sir- or Master,? Harper said quickly while looking down at his feet.
"We are leaving soon," began Yoshimitsu, "I want you to stay here and train. Meditation would also do you some good. Do you understand?"
"Yes Master," Harper said in reply and bowed, "Umm, Master? May I ask you something?"
"Yes?" inquired Yoshimitsu.
"I still feel like I should do something for you, since you allowed me to start my training. You see, when I was in Russia, I helped a volunteer worker teach the people how to speak and read English. I thought that maybe I could teach you."
"You? Teach me English?" Yoshimitsu asked with genuine curiosity.
"Well, I thought that it would be good for business if you knew English. That way, you wouldn't have to pay for translators."
Yoshimtisu looked to the side like he usually did when thinking.
"When everything calms down, I'll take you up on your offer," agreed Yoshimitsu. Harper's icy eyes lit up with excitement.
"Thank you, Master!" said Harper, as he bowed many times, "You won't regret it!"
"So, you've held up your end of our bargain?" asked Kunimitsu, as she stood, arms crossed, in front of Dokuja's desk.
"They should be arriving any moment," began Dokuja, as she spun around in her chair and looked out of the large window, "Damn it all. I'd send all of my forces there if I knew where the hell it was!"
Kunimitsu thought about what Dokuja just said and began to laugh.
"What?! Hahaha! You mean to tell me that you sent a messenger and an attack force to the Manji Clan Base, and yet you still don't know where it is?! That's just too damn funny!" Kunimitsu declared as she continued to laugh hysterically, knowing very well that there was no way in Hell that she'd tell Dokuja the location of her sworn enemy.
"Oh shut up!" Dokuja shouted in frustrated humiliation, "My first messenger made it there, but he never came back. Damn Manji bastards probably killed him... Then you showed up," Dokuja rotated her large office chair slightly and glared over at Kunimitsu, "We made our deal and I sent Kenka with some of my best fighters to find the Manji Clan base. They never came back either."
"Well, I'm sure they made it and raised hell," said Kunimitsu, as she started to casually pace around the large room, "Yoshimitsu's more than likely pissed and already gathering a Manji strike force. Your man Kenka and them are dead, there's no doubt about that."
"You know where the Manji Clan Base is," Dokuja said suddenly, "This could all be finished if you'd just-"
"No. There's no point in going there if they're already on there way here," Kunimitsu said matter-of-factly, "Your men can hold off the rest of the Manji Clan, and I'll deal with Yoshimitsu once he's alone. Just remember, the deal is that I'll help you if I get to fight Yoshimitsu all by myself."
"As long as I get to see him suffer," said Dokuja, with a hint of contempt.
"Well," began Kunimitsu, as she turned around and began walking towards the large office doors, "The show's about to start. Try to keep up so you don't miss the finale." Kunimitsu stood in front of the two large doors, waiting for them to be opened. When they were, she quickly walked through and disappeared when they closed shut.
"Oh, there's no way in Hell I'm letting that former Manji bitch take away my only chance of avenging my father," spat Dokuja, as she rubbed her temples, trying to relieve her stress-induced headache.
The Black Pheasant Headquarters Building looked like any regular business building when looked at from the outside world. People in cars, on bikes, and on foot passed by the rotating front doors by the thousands on any given day. With this in mind, Kunimitsu took the back way out, avoiding the possibility of being seen in the revealing sunlight.
'That stupid, rancorous bitch' thought Kunimitsu, as she quietly made her way down the alley, 'She's going to find some way to cheat my out of my fight with Yoshimitsu. I'll show her not to piss me off." Kunimitsu reached into her shirt jacket and pulled out a small smoke bomb. She then flung in on the pavement and disappeared from the alley.
"All systems are go, captain!" Taka shouted over the roar of the rotating helicopter blades as she went through a mental checklist of all the necessary measures.
"Alright! Let's get this girl up in the air!" cheered Iiguru, as he flipped a few switches on the helicopter control panel, which was located all over the cockpit.
Iiguru and Taka were the two pilots of the Manji Clan's very own multi-task helicopter. Iiguru was a very optimistic fellow, and his co-pilot counterpart, Taka, shared the same optimism. Both were young, lively Manji ninja, ready to jump into action at a moments notice. Yoshimitsu was very glad to have such devoted pilots.
"So, Master, who's all coming along for the ride?" Iiguru asked loudly as he and Taka were adjusting the microphones on their helmets.
"I and a group of twelve," called back Yoshimitsu as he stood outside the cockpit window and looked up at the excited pilot, "Do you think ol' Youkai can handle it?" Yoshimitsu went on to ask in a witty tone, using the helicopter's given nickname.
The Manji helicopter was an incredible machine that could do just about anything the pilots could dream up. Not only did she have a large payload, but she also could carry four air-to-air and two air-to-surface missiles. She was fast, stealthy for her size, and sported twin machine guns. Due to her stealth capabilities and black color, she was dubbed Youkai.
Iiguru smiled and gave the yoke an affectionate pat, as if petting a faithful horse.
"She can handle anything, Master."
The mid-afternoon sun reflected off of the mirror-like glass windows of the city buildings as thousands of people made their way through the crowded city streets below. The sounds of the city were soon accompanied by the distant chopping sound of helicopter blades.
"There it is," shouted Yoshimitsu, as the Manji helicopter made it's way towards the Black Pheasant Syndicate Headquarters Building.
"That's it?!" asked Taka, with a perplexed look on her face, "It looks so normal..."
"Master," shouted Iiguru, as he piloted Youkai closer and closer towards the building, "How should I approach the target?"
"Fly in high and dive down. Take us in as close as you can, then pull back," answered Yoshimitsu.
Iiguru was slightly confused by the order for such a bizarre maneuver, but he trusted that Yoshimitsu knew what he was doing.
The helicopter rocked back and forth as Iiguru increased the throttle. The Manji ninja jolted in their seats while they sat quietly in the back, waiting for the moment to come.
The building was now in plain sight.
"Here we go!" shouted Iiguru, as he quickly approached the building and swiftly pulled up. Then, he sent Youkai into a gut-clenching dive. Everyone aboard stood up next to Yoshimitsu and braced themselves as they neared the reflective surface of the building.
Yoshimitsu opened up the hatch and, at that exact moment, Iiguru pulled back and whipped Youkai around so that the opened hatch was facing the building. Using the momentum of the abrupt halt, the Manji assault force leaped through the chilly air and came crashing through the windows, causing the alarms to go off.
The Manji ninja landed on the marble floor of the wide hallway and then somersaulted into crouched positions, weapons at the ready. Yoshimitsu stood up and looked around. There was a long corridor in front of him and hallways to his left and right. He quickly turned around and nodded to his clan members.
The Manji ninja immediately split up into two groups. Group A, led by Noriko, rushed down the left hallway. Group B, led by Hiroyuki, sprinted down the right. That left Yoshimitsu with the center corridor.
He sighed and thought to himself, 'We better hurry up before this annoying alarm gives us all headaches.'
The job of both Group A and Group B was simple: engage the Black Pheasants and give them hell. Group A quickly flew down the hallway until they reached a 'fork in the road.' Noriko looked to the left and saw a hallway of doors. He then looked to the right and saw a door that lead to a stairwell.
"Damn..." Noriko swore under his breath as he tried to think of the next move.
Eijumitsu, one of the remaining "old" Manji Clan members pulled a folded piece of paper out of his jacket and showed it to Noriko.
"Master gave this to me. Look here," he showed Noriko a map of the 29th floor. He pointed to a square on the map that read 'Control Room,' "We should go there and turn off the lights."
"Right! Let's go!" Group A quietly took the right hallway and quickly made their way into the stairwell.
Yoshimitsu decided that the best thing to do would be to go right to the source.
In his mind, he was retracing his steps from his previous visit. He took a deep breath and tried to concentrate, despite the blaring alarm. He knew he had to find out where to go, and fast. He couldn?t afford to waste any time.
So Yoshimitsu quickly went to work traveling through countless hallways and stairwells until he ended up at a place that he knew. Sure enough, this familiar place had the same layout as the place where the Manji assault force had made their landing.
Yoshimitsu looked down the left hallway, the center corridor, and then the right.
At that moment, the alarms went off.
'About damn time...' He sighed as he looked around a little more, 'Something's not right. I should have run into someone by now.'
Just then, since the alarms were now silenced, Yoshimitsu could pick up on a distinct echoing sound. Footsteps, and close.
He looked over and saw a group of Black Pheasants running towards him. The one in the front seemed to be the leader, as the rest of them stopped when he did.
"I'm assuming that you are Yoshimitsu, the leader of the Manji Clan," began Gunsotsu, the leader, as he took a step towards Yoshimitsu.
"You are correct. And you are?" He tightened his grip on his sword and thought to himself, 'I don't have time for this! I need to defeat Lady Dokuja and get everyone out of here before anyone gets hurt!'
Gunsotsu smirked. "I'm Gunsotsu, head of security here." The men behind him drew their swords and began to take cautious steps forward.
Yoshimitsu focused in on Gunsotsu's eyes, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. There was a moment of silence and then... there was a strange sort of chopping sound. It was like a low humming.
The Black Pheasants looked around, trying to find the source of the sound, and let their eyes go back to Yoshimitsu. However, the humming sound persisted.
"What the hell is that?!" came a confused outburst from one of the Black Pheasants.
Yoshimitsu then, to keep their focus on him and not the strange sound, charged at them, seeming to quickly glide.
The Black Pheasants bared their sword and even started to charge when, all of a sudden, Yoshimitsu vanished. The Black Pheasants halted and blinked, as if they were testing their eyes. Then, when the humming sound was very apparent, the Black Pheasants looked passed the point where Yoshimitsu had been and saw something large hovering right outside the window: a black helicopter.
Iiguru and Taka smiled, eyes closed and faces beaming, at the Black Pheasants and waved... all while preparing the machine guns. Taka, laughing, blew a kiss to the intensely confused and terrified Black Pheasants, and the two Manji pilots opened fire on them, devastating the hallway.
A few seconds after the rain of hot lead ceased, Yoshimitsu reappeared and walked out into the middle of the hallway. He went to the window and looked out at the Black Pheasants.
"Hello there, Master!" called Hiroyuki.
Yoshimitsu nodded, "Thank you! You've saved me a lot of time."
"No problem, Master!" shouted Taka. She then looked over to the right to see police cars in the distance, "Yikes, we better go..."
Yoshimitsu nodded. "Try to stay as long as you can and get the others out of here. I'll defeat Dokuja and make my own way back to the Base. Good luck!" He was then gone.
"... Good luck, Master," whispered Iiguru as he piloted Youkai onward.
"There they are, Ma'am," said Shinryo, a new young man who had taken the late Kenka's place, as he pointed to one of the many T.V. screens, which showed footage from the various security cameras.
Lady Dokuja's eyes lit up with rage when she saw a group of Manji ninja dash across the screen.
"We're all go!" suddenly said a voice coming from the radio at Shinryo's side.
"Ma'am, that was Gunsotsu. Two groups have been released to try to disperse the Manji Clan assault forces."
Lady Dokuja continued to glare at the many T.V. screens and thought to herself, 'Where the fuck is that bastard, Yoshimitsu?!'
Lady Dokuja then stood up and reached for her sword, which was resting on a sword stand on the wall. The scabbard was black and plain, but the blade itself was sharp and fierce.
"While Gunsotsu and the rest are fighting those Manji fools, I'll find Yoshimitsu and deal with him myself," she stated, lifting up her sword and heading towards the door of her office.
'Forget that Manji bitch, Kunimitsu,' Dokuja thought, 'I've been waiting far too long for this.'
At that moment, all of the T.V. screens suddenly went blank.
"What the hell?!" Shinryo quickly brought his radio to his mouth, "Control! Control, come in! This is the Main Office! Control!" A response from the Control Room came in.
"... Your day of judgment has arrived..."
"Damn it!" screamed Lady Dokuja, "They're in the Control Room! Shinryo, come!" Shinryo nodded and followed Dokuja out of the room.
Moments passed, and then the doors suddenly came open and a figure quietly entered the room.
Group B raced down the hallway, trying to find the Black Pheasants.
'This doesn't feel good at all," thought Hiroyuki to himself as he ran at the head of the group, "They should have found us by now..."
Kitsune, who was also in Group B, suddenly stopped running, causing the whole group to freeze.
"What is it?" asked Hiroyuki, as he turned and walked up to Kitsune.
"Do you hear that?" The Manji ninja listened for any sound. Then they heard it: footsteps.
"The Black Pheasants are close," continued Kitsune, in a whisper.
All of the Manji ninja looked down the hallway and saw the shadows of the Black Pheasants coming from around the corner.
The Black Pheasants turned the corner, only to find an empty hallway. Group B had run back a few meters and found an intersecting hallway that gave them a place to hide.
Hiroyuki, back to the wall, edged closer to the hallway that the Pheasants were walking down. He looked across the hallway at Kitsune, who was alone on the other side, and nodded to her.
He, along with all the other Manji ninja, left Kitsune there to wait for the Black Pheasants. She was a little shocked as she saw them leave her behind, but the reason for it came to her and she understood.
Kitsune knelt down low, drew a dagger, and waited for the Black Pheasants to come into view, their footsteps growing louder as they drew near. Then, she saw one step right in front of her. Time seemed to slow as she executed her attack. She waited for the man to take a step forward and put all of his weight on his lead foot. She then cupped the heel of his rear foot in her palm and swept it forward, out from under him. Since all of his weight was already on his lead foot, he couldn?t catch himself, so he lost balance and fell backwards. Kitsune then came down on him with her dagger, swiftly plunging it deep into his heart, killing him instantly.
It didn't take long for all of the other Black Pheasants to realize what had just happened. By the time they started shouting and drawing their swords, Kitsune already started dashing down the hallway that her comrades had taken. Although she could easily outrun her pursuers, she chose to run just fast enough so that is was easy for the Black Pheasants to follow her.
Kitsune continued to bolt down the hallway, passing by many identical doors until she spotted one that was open slightly. She then saw a black scarf lying on the floor in the doorway, so she stopped in front of the door.
'This is the place' she thought to herself.
Before entering, Kitsune looked down the hallway to see the Black Pheasants turn the corner. Once she was sure they had seen her, she picked up the black scarf and ran into the room.
When Kitsune entered the room, she found it to be an office of some sort, empty except for the many desks and computers. More than likely used by the Black Pheasant Syndicate to obtain information.
Hiroyuki then appeared from his hiding spot behind a desk and beckoned Kitsune to him. She ran up to the desk and quickly knelt down next to him.
"It worked," whispered Kitsune, "They're coming."
"Right," Hiroyuki said, as he nodded to her. He then looked at his other comrades and said, "Get ready, everyone."
There was dead silence and then the sounds of the Black Pheasants running into the room. They came in suddenly, but then were still once they saw the suspicious tranquility of the office room.
The Manji ninja controlled their breathing so that they were in audible as the Black Pheasants cautiously walked deeper into the room. Just then, to everyone's surprise, the lights went off, making the room dark except for the small lights coming from the computers.
'What the hell?! Well, it works for us, anyway,' thought Hiroyuki, as he prepared to leap out at the Black Pheasants.
One Black Pheasant in particular, a younger man, was growing more nervous and nervous by the second. He knew that there were people in that room who meant to kill him, but the fact that he couldn't see them, or anything else for that matter, made his heart race.
Just as he dared to walk up to a desk, he looked down to see a strange shape that was softly outlined in the glow of the computer light. Then, the horrid face of a demon mask appeared from the strange shape. It had deep, piercing eyes and long, threatening fangs.
The young Black Pheasant couldn't help but let out a shout of fear. At hearing him shout, the Manji ninja, along with the other Manji ninja, shouted a battle cry and leaped from their positions of concealment, ambushing the Black Pheasants.
"Control! Control, come in, this is the Main Office! Control!" shouted the other voice from the end of the radio, right after Eijumitsu had turned off all of the security cameras.
"Your day of judgment has arrived," Norkio answered bluntly, as he turned off the radio. He then stepped over the dead bodies of the Black Pheasants Control Room operatives and walked up to Eijumitsu.
"That should show them that we're serious, don't you agree? Now, all we need to do is turn off the lights and find Mas-Ugh!" Noriko fell forward as something fast came down on him and struck him in the back of the head, knocking him out cold.
Eijumitsu and the other Manji ninja quickly drew their weapons and looked around frantically, trying to find Noriko's assailant. Suddenly, two other Manji ninja were knocked down by something. That something landed between the two and stood up slowly.
"I-It's you!" Eijumitsu cried out, right before Kunimitsu leaped at him and knocked him out. The other Manji ninja were no match for Kunimitsu as she quickly took them down.
After dealing with everyone in the room, Kunimitsu looked around and tried to think of what they might have been trying to do. She didn't bother turning the cameras back on. That would make Yoshimitsu suspicious, and it would also allow Lady Dokuja to find him.
'They must have come here to mess around with everything, throw the enemy off,' Kunimitsu thought to herself, '...They were going to turn the lights off.'
Kunimitsu walked up to the control panel and found the many switches that controlled the lights in the buildings. Kunimitsu turned all of the lights off and left the room.
'Yoshimitsu, you're next.'
Hiroyuki grabbed the jacket of the nearest Black Pheasant and threw him into a computer as the battle raged on. In was hard to see in the dark, but the Manji ninja were skilled in such things.
A Black Pheasant pushed his attacker away and slashed blindly at him, missing by a hair. The other Black Pheasants were being quickly defeated until there were only a few left. Kitsune saw a Black Pheasant run at Hiroyuki. Hiroyuki was busy fighting with another Black Pheasant to notice the man coming behind him.
"Hiroyuki!" Kitsune raced to Hiroyuki and cut down the Black Pheasant before he could make his move. Hiroyuki looked back at Kitsune after finishing off the Black Pheasant that he was fighting with. When he looked back, his eyes got wide. The Black Pheasant that Kitsune had just cut down wasn?t dead.
"Kitsune!" shouted Hiroyuki, but it was too late.
"Aaaaaah!" Kitsune screamed at the top of her lungs as the cold blade tore through her flesh and sliced through the nerves and bone, ripping all the way through her leg. She fell to the floor and held onto the stump of her leg tightly, trying desperately to stop the massive bleeding. It was only a matter of time before she passed out from shock.
"Kitsune!!!" At hearing Hiroyuki scream, the other Manji ninja glanced over at the sight. Knowing what would come next, all of the Manji ninja suddenly ducked low to the ground.
Furious, Hiroyuki leaped up and reached his hands into his jacket. When he pulled his hands out, they were laden with throwing knives. He let out a shout and threw dozens of knives in all directions. Everyone but the Manji ninja were struck down in a horrific instant.
When Hiroyuki landed back on his feet, he suddenly felt very tired. He ran, stumbling, over to Kitsune and used his black jacket as a means to bind Kitsune's large wound.
"Kitsune!" Hiroyuki checked her pulse, frantically, to make sure she was still alive, "We have to leave! We have to get her out of here!"
"I'll call Iiguru and Taka!" hastily replied one of the Manji ninja as he pulled up a radio.
Lady Dokuja and Shinryo walked hurriedly down the hallways, searching for the Manji ninja. As the two turned a corner, the lights suddenly went off.
"Damn it!" cursed Lady Dokuja. Without moving, she gave a quick order to Shinryo, and he left immediately. She turned slowly, enraged.
'Fucking Yoshimitsu!!!' she screamed in her mind as she headed back to her office.
Dokuja opened the door and pulled open a hatch on the wall. She hit a switch, turning the emergency lights on in her room and walked deeper into the large office.
Dokuja's large office chair suddenly turned around to reveal a seated Yoshimitsu, sword in hand. Dokuja jumped back a little in surprise.
"Hello Lady Dokuja," calmly began Yoshimitsu, "You made a big mistake when you brought me here a while back. You see, you didn't have your men blindfold me. One look around was all it took for me to be able to find my way here."
"You fucker!" spat Dokuja, as she brought up her sheathed sword. Without taking her eyes off of Yoshimitsu, she reached for the hilt, violently drew the sword in one quick motion, and threw the sheath on the ground.
Yoshimitsu stood up, placed a foot on the desk, and leaped over it in a single bound. He landed and started slowly stepping towards Dokuja, who was stepping towards him as well.
"This is where we end this! Your greed and lust for revenge has twisted your mind! You have lost your soul!"
"I'll kill you!" suddenly screamed Dokuja as she ran up to Yoshimitsu and slashed at him. Yoshimitsu blocked her attack and pushed her back. She then started stepping back towards the door.
'She's not getting away!' thought Yoshimitsu, as he charged towards her. Yoshimitsu attacked twice, the first being blocked and the last cutting Dokuja's shoulder. She screamed in pain and lunged at Yoshimitsu, who evaded the lunge with a back-handspring.
Seeing this as her only chance to flee, Dokuja turned and ran into the hallway. Yoshimitsu quickly ran after her. Dokuja ran up flight after flight of stairs until she eventually reached the roof. Lady Dokuja hid behind the heavy door as it remained open, in wait of Yoshimitsu.
Yoshimitsu ran out onto the roof and gazed around for Dokuja. It was now dark, so there were no shadows to give off her hiding place. He tried to listen for her breathing and even searched around for body heat, but the loud, steaming vents clouded his senses of sight and sound.
Yoshimitsu stepped away from the door and towards the edge of the rooftop. Dokuja suddenly pushed the door aside and took a step towards Yoshimitsu. However, instead of baring her sword, she drew something from her suit: a black handgun. Yoshimitsu, sensing her movement, quickly turned around to face her.
Before Yoshimitsu had time to react, Dokuja fired and hit him dead center in the middle of his forehead, sending him falling head over heals on his back. Luckily, his new bulletproof armor worked, and the bullet ricocheted off of his helmet. But still, he wasn't quite accustomed to receiving such a blow. He was sprawled out on his back, trying to regain control of his senses.
Dokuja, smirking evilly, walked up to Yoshimitsu and knelt down beside him. She took the handgun and, starting at the crotch of Yoshimitsu's suit, let the barrel of the gun scrape across the armor lightly as she dragged it up to Yoshimitsu's throat. She let out a laugh. Yoshimitsu tensed up as he tried to get away, but couldn't. Feeling Dokuja's hands on him made him squirm.
"It's almost a shame, to waste such a perfectly good body," she smirked and leaned in close, whispering, "I mean sure, you're a little banged up and, of course, a cyborg. But, you're still a man, nonetheless. I'm sure I could've found a use for you." Laughs cruelly. "You and Kunimitsu have quite a history, don't you? I bet you two had a lot of fun..."
At hearing this, Yoshimitsu became furious. Normally, he would keep his composure and think clearly, but not now. Dokuja had gone too far. He looked deep into her cold eyes and roared, "You evil, sadistic bitch!"
At that moment, Yoshimitsu spit out a small mist of purple-colored acid. Being a cyborg, Yoshimitsu had the ability to store acid in a section of his upper body and use it as a surprise attack, and in definitely surprised Dokuja.
"Aaaaah! My eyes!! You son of a bitch!!? Dokuja screamed as she leaped up to her feet, rubbing her irritated eyes as pain pounded through them.
She forced her eyes open and glared down at Yoshimitsu, gun still in hand. Her eyes were burning red, with anger and pain. She raised the gun up, hands shaking with fury, and pointed it at Yoshimitsu. The extent of her rage was now fully exposed.
"I-I'm going to kill you, you bastard!!!"
Yoshimitsu, still unable to move quickly, closed his eyes and waited for his fate. It was dark, and then he heard a gunshot. It echoed for a few seconds, and then the sound of the cars rushing by below once again flowed into his ears.
He opened his eyes to see Dokuja still standing above him. Although, something about her was different. The malice and hatred that once tinted her expression was now gone. Her eyes were actually filled with surprise.
Yoshimitsu took another look at her and noticed that she was grasping at her chest, which was drenched with blood. Dokuja looked at Yoshimitsu for a moment and opened her mouth as if to mutter something. She let out a small, defeated groan and fell to the side, dead.
As Dokuja fell, Yoshimitsu saw that Kunimitsu was standing a few yards behind her, gun in hand. She threw the gun to the side as if she was disgusted with it. She then looked over at Dokuja's body and spoke in a bitter, sardonic voice.
"I already told you, Lady Dokuja, I am the one who's going to kill Yoshimitsu."
At seeing her, Yoshimitsu forced himself, up, still feeling a little shaken. He picked up the sword of the Manji Clan and faced Kunimitsu.
"Kunimitsu!" He couldn't bring himself to say anything but that.
"This is where you and I settle this. I swear, I will kill you." She stepped closer and drew up her dagger.
"Kunimitsu... Please, step down. We don't have to do this... Don't you remember?!" He stepped closer to her, showing his seriousness, "Don't you remember how it was back then?! Didn't that mean anything to you at all?! Please, Kunimitsu! Please tell me that our past was more than fights and philandering!"
Kunimitsu froze for a moment as she remembered their tumultuous past. She remembered the helicopter rides with the rest of the Manji Clan as they went to their next job, the next corrupt business. She thought about training with Yoshimitsu and the others and learning the art of the Manji ninja. She remembered how she and Yoshimitsu would joke with each other, always trying to best the other in skill. She remembered the nights after victory, how Yoshimitsu would make her feel so great...
"... That's all over now..." Kunimitsu muttered, then shouted, "That was nothing! I... I hate you!"
"... So be it." Yoshimitsu braced his sword out in front of him and prepared for the fight.
Kunimitsu shouted and charged at him. Yoshimitsu blocked her attack and pushed her back. He then dashed in to feign a punch, but he leaped into the air and came down on her with his sword. She fell back and disappeared, causing him to miss and land on his feet. He quickly turned around, bringing his sword with him.
Yoshimitsu slashed at the air, kitting something hard, like steel. Kunimitsu appeared as she blocked Yoshimitsu's attack. She ducked down low and, pivoting with her hand, she swung her legs around in a trip-kick. Yoshimitsu jumped back with a spin.
Yoshimitsu then charged at her with a volley of quick slashes.
"Haaaaa!" screamed Kunimitsu, as she back-flipped to avoid Yoshimitsu's attacks. When she came to the end of her flips, she found herself balancing on... the back of a stone gargoyle.
Yoshimitsu froze and absorbed the moment. He looked around in shock as he felt the fire burning in his heart. He knew this. He knew what was going to happen.
"Kunimitsu!" he called out as he ran towards her. He wasn't about to let her go. Not this time.
Kunimitsu let her guard down in surprise.
'Why is he running towards me like that?' she thought. At that moment, she felt a chill down her spine and in her heart. She felt sadness. A deep grief. She realized that she never wanted things to be this way. She didn't want to-
"What do you think you're doing?!" suddenly roared a deep voice. Kunimitsu turned around and was suddenly taken aback by a powerful hand around her throat. She gasped and clawed at the hand as Devil lifted her up. He glared at her. "I've given you time! I've given you the power of hatred so that you could kill Yoshimitsu and take the sword! And what do you do?! You hesitate!!"
Kunimitsu cried out and kicked, trying to escape. She felt the desperation of constantly trying to escape from what she had become. Years of it, all swelled up inside of her to explode at this moment.
"Kunimitsu!" Yoshimitsu ran and leaped up to them, intent on striking Devil down.
Devil seemed to fall backwards, bringing Kunimitsu down with him. She screamed and kicked, wanting to get away from the evil in her heart.
No longer hesitating, Yoshimitsu ran to the edge. There was no reaching out this time. He kept running and dove off the edge of the roof.
The three fell down, passing the many mirrored windows. As Yoshimitsu fell, he could hear the wind whistling in his ears, so loudly that it was almost unbearable. He saw the glowing stream of cars getting closer and closer. He had to do something before it was too late.
"Yoshimitsu!!!" desperately screamed Kunimitsu as she reached out to her former leader. Devil laughed and pulled Kunimitsu down farther, flapping his large wings, making the two plunge faster and faster down to the cold, hard pavement.
"Hahahaha! You cannot save her from her fate!" shouted Devil, laughing evilly.
Just then, Yoshimitsu felt warmth in his heart. He then felt a smooth hand on his own, tighting his grip on the sword of his predecessors. He looked at the delicate hand and followed the arm with his eyes until he saw the pure face of an Angel. She was right behind Yoshimitsu, with an arm wrapped protectively around his waist and holding the sword with him.
The two looked at Devil as he kept his firm grip on Kunimitsu. Devil, seeing that Angel was there, became enraged. Yoshimitsu and Angel drew the sword back and, Yoshimitsu shouted out at Devil.
"You say I cannot save her?! Just watch me!!!"
At that moment, Yoshimitsu and Angel hurled the sword straight at Devil, impaling him in the chest. Devil's eyes grew wide as he roared and shrieked in pain and rage. He released Kunimitsu, cursing at Yoshimitsu and Angel.
"I swear! I'll always been there, so long as there is filth and treachery in this pathetic world!! You can never escape from me!!" Devil warned as he disappeared into the shadows. Kunimitsu looked over at the sword, falling just inches away from her, and instantly snatched it out of the air. She gazed at it for a moment, but then looked up at Yoshimitsu, remembering where she was.
Yoshimitsu tried his best to fall faster than Kunimitsu, taking her in his arms. Kunimitsu clung to him, speechless. Yoshimitsu saw the ground getting closer and closer every second. He opened his wings. This was the time.
Angel looked at Kunimitsu and smiled. She then faded away, and it almost seemed like the two great powers weren't ever there to begin with.
Yoshimitsu tried to pull up, but it was very difficult. He started to panic, but he thought of what had just happened. Kunimitsu was with him. He had to save the both of them now.
He pulled up and, as if he was made for flight, the two soared up into the canopy of the city, amongst the bright, neon lights.
They were going extremely fast as they flew passed scores of buildings. Yoshimitsu could hear people call out in surprise as they saw the two buzz by in a blur. Kunimitsu now came to her senses, realizing what was happening.
"Aaaah! Y-You're flying?! Damn it, Yoshimitsu! Put me down before you get me killed!" She commanded as she took the horn on Yoshimitsu's helmet in both hands and shook his head back and forth, "Land, damn you!"
"Uaaa! Kunimitsu, be still! I can't-" Yoshimitsu was cut off as he tried his best to dodge a neon sign. He clipped his knee on the sign, leaving a gash. The two then started to spiral out of control.
They hit the pavement fairly hard, sending Kunimitsu and Yoshimitsu sprawling out on the sidewalk. Kunimitsu's legs where a little torn up, but nothing completely serious. She laid there, too tired to get up. Yoshimitsu quickly got to his feet, eager to escape the shocked stares of the people around him. He ran up to Kunimitsu, hobbling a bit from the bleeding gash in his knee, and looked down at her to see if she was alright.
Kunimitsu opened her eyes and, looking up at Yoshimitsu, said, "That Devil... he's gone. He's gone and I feel... free."
"Come on, Kunimitsu," began Yoshimitsu, speaking in a warm tone that he had not used with her for over twenty years, "Let's go home."
For what seemed like the first time in ages, Kunimitsu smiled behind the cover of her byakko mask. She took Yoshimitsu's hand and he pulled her up to her feet. The two ninja then disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
Author's Note: I hope you enjoyed reading Chapter 5. I tried my best to fix all of the "s and 's and what not. Well, feel free to leave a comment. I'll have the sixth and final chapter up in no time, so stay tuned! ^_~