Fight For Tomorrow
Part Six

Sezaru knew where his sister would be long before he ever saw her. As an ishiken - a master of Void magic - he had an uncanny sense of other people. His sister was easier to read than most. Tsudao stood out like a beacon wherever she was, her light igniting the souls of others and encouraging them to grow more brightly as well. But to say she was easy to read did not imply she was easy to understand. There was a sadness, a distance to his sister that few ever saw. It was a feeling that Sezaru could empathize with, as he knew his brothers could.

In all the Empire, there were none quite like the Four Winds. There were none so powerful, none so influential, and none so alone.

Sezaru quietly picked his way through the grove. The many soldiers who guarded the outer perimeter took no notice of the Wolf, for he did not wish to be noticed. He paused just behind his sister, where she knelt before a modest shrine. She wore a simple gold kimono, her hair tied back in a long braid over one shoulder. Her head was bowed, and she did not move at his approach.

"Hello, Sezaru," Tsudao said softly. "I knew you would be the first to arrive. Mother wishes to see you."

"I cannot see her yet," Sezaru said, kneeling quietly beside his sister. "I always felt that father should have a finer resting place," he said, looking down at the small shrine. It was nothing more than a pile of white stones, marked by a black enameled helmet.

"This was his wish," Tsudao replied with a small smile.

"Typical of him," Sezaru chuckled. "He was the greatest Emperor our land has ever known, and his grave is hardly any better than that of a wandering ronin."

"Except for the honor guard of forty Seppun," Tsudao replied.

"You know what I mean, sister," Tsudao said. "Father was a great man… he should have a great monument to his memory."

"He does," Tsudao said, looking up at Sezaru. Her eyes glistened with tears. "Father's monument is the Empire."

Sezaru looked at his sister for a long time. A slow, rare smile spread across his weathered features. "And everyone tells me that I am supposed to be the wise one."

"And you are," Tsudao said, laying her hand on her brother's. "You proved it by coming here to help."

Sezaru nodded, expression thoughtful. "Let us pray that our brothers are also so wise."

* * * *

Fight For Tomorrow
Part Seven

The City of Lies was many things, but it was very rarely ever quiet. Today, silence fell over Ryoko Owari, a silence that was chilling to those familiar with the normal sounds of life and activity that filled the streets. Peasants huddled in their homes, peering out cautiously at the ranks of armored samurai that filled the streets. Hundreds of Scorpion samurai stood at attention along the sides of the road, watching cautiously as ranks of Lion, Mantis, and Unicorn marched through the City of Lies. The Shogun’s army marched upon the governor’s palace, and now the Scorpion Clan stood aside. From the highest tower of the palace, Naseru watched patiently.

“Are you certain about this, Naseru?” Bayushi Sunetra asked. “The Scorpion will drive him from the city if you ask.”

“Of that I have no doubt, Sunetra-chan,” Naseru said, “but would they fight for the city’s sake or only for mine?”

Sunetra’s eyes narrowed behind her porcelain mempo. “The Shogun intends to kill you, Naseru. Your words can do little to stay Kaneka’s blade.”

“An acceptable risk,” Naseru replied.

“I see,” Sunetra replied. “You do not intend to tell me what you will do.”

“Why Sunetra,” Naseru said, looking at her in feigned surprise. “You are the Master of Secrets now. I thought you already knew.”

“Fine, then,” Sunetra said in an irritated voice. “If he kills you, his army will leave the city unharmed as you have asked, but nothing will protect him from our vengeance.”

Naseru said nothing in reply. There was no need. She was already gone. He sat at his low desk and waited. Several minutes later, the door to his chambers opened and a weathered samurai in battered armor strode into the room. In the dim light, Naseru was surprised by how muck Akodo Kaneka truly resembled Toturi. His face was twisted in a grim scowl. One hand rested on the hilt of his katana as he scanned the chambers.

“No guards, no yojimbo?” he asked sharply.

“They will make no difference,” Naseru said, drawing a long pipe from his desk.

“Stand up, Naseru,” Kaneka demanded. “Face me.”

Naseru took his time filling the pipe and lighting it, then slowly rose and turned to face the Shogun. “Yes?” he asked blandly.

“What do you have to say for yourself, Anvil?” Kaneka asked. “I know you have sent assassins to destroy me.”

Naseru’s lip twitched a bit at the sound of the word ‘brother.’ He took a long draw from the pipe and exhaled. “I sent no assassins,” he replied, tone mildly insulted. “I sent swordsmen to challenge and destroy you, for I felt an honorable death was what you deserved. You slew them with ease, or so I am told. Why do you dwell upon them? Were you afraid you would die?”

“You feel I deserve honor, yet you insult my courage in Otosan Uchi?” Kaneka replied with a smirk. He circled around Naseru, watching him like some hunting cat. “You trip over your own words, Naseru.”

“I do believe that you failed in Otosan Uchi, and I regret none of my words,” Naseru replied. “I feel that any celebration of our ‘victory’ in that city is ludicrous. Or am I confused?” He looked flatly at Kaneka. “Has the Imperial City not been destroyed?”

“Fair enough,” Kaneka said. “Then answer this. What of the Yasuki War? I know you were behind the forgery that claimed I was the true Yasuki daimyo - some pathetic attempt to soil my name. Is there any reason why I should not slay you now and cleanse the shame you bring upon our family, brother?”

“None whatsoever,” Naseru replied. “Kill me as you killed Kakita Kaiten and heap another name onto your reputation.”

Kaneka chuckled. His hand moved away from his sword. “It is true, Naseru, you have many enemies,” Kaneka replied. “If I were to kill you I would gain favor just as my war against the Crane earned me favor. But I am certain your many allies would use it to bring shame to me as well, to destroy my chances to gain the throne by painting me as a bully and a killer. No, I will not kill you, Naseru.”

“Then why did you come here?”  Naseru asked.

“Because I intend to spare you,” Kaneka said. “And when the Empire sees the mercy I have bestowed upon my treacherous, manipulative brother your plan will backlash upon you. It is you who will no longer stand a chance at the throne, once my courtiers are through with you.”

Naseru laughed lightly. “You assume that I will survive to prove your mercy,” Naseru replied. “I know many Scorpion who would be glad to kill me and claim that you cut me down in a wanton, mad act of violence.”

“You would not dare do such a thing,” Kaneka scoffed.

Naseru took another draw from his pipe and looked at the Shogun with an intense eye. “You know quite well that my desire for a peaceful, stable Empire surpasses my concern for individual lives,” he said. “Did you assume my own life was an exception to that rule?”

Kaneka looked at Naseru for a long time, gauging the sincerity of his words. He finally nodded, a gleam of respect in his eye. “So we are at an impasse. What shall we do? I cannot let you live, I cannot let you die, and you can do nothing to me.”

“We negotiate,” Naseru said.

“Negotiate?”

“Let us be honest, Kaneka,” Naseru said, tapping the end of his pipe on one shoulder as he began to pace before the Shogun. “Each of us has loyal followers, but Tsudao has greater support than both of us combined, and Sezaru rules the religious hearts of the people. If either of us still intends to gain the throne, we must do something drastic.”

Kaneka folded his arms across his thick chest and laughed. “We must do something none would expect.”

Naseru looked at Kaneka and a sly grin spread across his face. “We must band together.”

“I despise you, Naseru,” Kaneka said.

“And I you, Shogun, have no doubt of that,” he replied, “but a place beside the throne is just as good to me as a place upon it, and if I gain the throne I guarantee you the same as Shogun of all Rokugan. Friendship does not breed good politics, Kaneka-san, and I think that gives us an advantage. Together, we could dominate this Empire.”

“I am listening…” Kaneka replied.

* * * *

Fight For Tomorrow
Part Eight

Daigotsu knelt before the altar of Fu Leng, the stern visage of the Fallen Kami looking down upon him. The Dark Lord prayed, his sword and mask set neatly on the temple floor beside him. He meditated upon the battle to come, gathered his strength for the confrontation that he knew was unavoidable, and the long road that would follow. Somewhere, in the shadows, he knew that Kyoden watched over him. The Obsidian Champion always sought to protect him, as he had since they were children among the Bloodspeakers. As close to brothers as they could be, the two had sworn loyalty to one another long ago.

Kyoden's loyalty would be tested greatly soon, Daigotsu thought. He knew that Kyoden would not be found wanting. The irony of that amused the Dark Lord. The Rokugani clung to their honor and spat upon the gifts Jigoku offered. The fools did not realize that honor and corruption were not mutually exclusive. Such shortsightedness would destroy the Empire one day.

"Dark Lord," said the smooth voice of Chuda Mishime, Daigotsu's hatamoto. The elegantly dressed shugenja stepped into the temple chamber and waited patiently for his master's recognition.

"Speak," Daigotsu replied, lifting his head from his prayers. His long white hair, a mark of magical power, spilled over his shoulders.

"The Four Winds gather at Kyuden Seppun," Mishime replied, "The Oracle of the Void advises them of your weaknesses, and they gird themselves for battle as you knew they would."

"As the Dark Oracle of the Void warned me they would," Daigotsu agreed in a resigned voice. "Destiny can be irritating in its punctuality. Inform Noekam. Our armies must be prepared for their arrival."

Mishime nodded. "I have already informed General Noekam, and he is unafraid. He has been studying the Empire's armies for the last decade, and believes that the Crab Clan's supplies of jade are too low to mount any significant attack upon the City of the Lost."

Daigotsu stood, turning to face Mishime. His face was cool and emotionless. "Inform General Noekam that he is wrong," Daigotsu replied. "The Winds will find a way to attack this city, and if we are unprepared, Fu Leng will fall. Ask him if he is prepared to risk our god's wrath upon that possibility."

"Yes, Dark Lord," Mishime replied.

"And we must see to it that Toguchi Shinden is well defended as well," Daigotsu replied.

"The Tsuno temple?" Mishime replied, confused.

"The Lion have made great leaps toward understanding Tsuno magic of late," Daigotsu replied. "The Tsuno are still our allies. We cannot afford to lose them. Kyoden, take a Mishime and a legion of your finest troops and march to Toguchi Shinden. Remain there until you hear word from me."

Kyoden appeared from the darkness and bowed. Though he showed now outward sign, Daigotsu knew his yojimbo was outraged to be sent from the battle. Yet, he would not question Daigotsu's command. Kyoden, of them all, never questioned. The ebon-armored samurai turned and left the chamber, Mishime following close behind. Daigotsu turned and knelt before the statue of Fu Leng again, cocked his head slightly, and smiled.

"Hello, Shahai," he said.

The darkness around the statue wavered like a silk curtain. A pretty young girl in a clean white dress appeared from nothing, lounging against the massive statue's feet. She smiled in return, her lips a bright, blood red.

"You should not show such disrespect to the Kami's statue," Daigotsu said in a chiding voice.

"I am his Dark Daughter," she replied in a bored voice. "He makes allowances. Why did you send Kyoden away?"

"Because Toguchi Shinden may be in danger, as I said," Daigotsu answered.

"You cannot lie to me, Daigotsu," she said, frowning. "The Rokugani do not even know the Tsuno temple exists, much less can they spare forces to attack it. Why did you send your finest warrior away?"

"It needed to be done," Daigotsu replied.

Shahai gave Daigotsu a studied look, then rose, smoothing her dress over her slim body. "This has to do with your visit to the Dark Oracle of the Void," she said. It was a statement, not a question. She already knew the truth.

"Yes," Daigotsu said, looking up at her intently.

"Why?" she asked, eyes narrowing in anger. "Are we to lose our battle here? Is the Shadowlands doomed to fail again? If so, tell me now, and we shall be gone from this place."

"No," Daigotsu replied, shaking his head. "We may yet have our victory. Should we repel the Four Winds from the Temple, the Shadowlands will devour the Plains Above Evil, and Fu Leng will reign in heaven for eternity."

Shahai looked at Daigotsu intently. "Tell me the rest," she demanded.

Daigotsu was silent for a long time. When he spoke again, his voice was thick. "I am going to die," he said. "The Dark Oracle has foreseen it. If I face the Four Winds, I may triumph, but I will not survive."

"So then flee from here," Shahai replied quickly. She stepped close to him, sitting beside him and looking up intently with her strange, lavender eyes. Her slim white hand grasped his own. "Leave us to fight the Four Winds. Mishime, Kyoden, the Onisu, even Omoni have the power to repel them from here. You must survive."

Daigotsu looked down at her sadly. "I am Fu Leng's chosen, his most faithful servant," he replied. "If I fail him, there can be no victory."

Shahai looked into his eyes, her gaze unflinching. In two years, the two had come to know one another and enjoy one another's presence. Perhaps they had come to love one another, if two so wicked could be capable of love. She shook her head slowly. "There must be another way. Death is not eternal."

"There is a path by which I might return," Daigotsu said. "I have paved the way, but you must be strong enough to walk it. Can you do this for me, Shahai?"

"I can," she said. "Tell me what I must do."

* * * *

Fight For Tomorrow
Part Nine

For the first time in two years, the Four Winds stood together. Side by side, brothers and sister, in the halls of Kyuden Seppun. Each looked upon the other with uncertainty and no small amount of suspicion. Together, they were to fight the greatest threat Rokugan had known. But how could four stand together to save an Empire when they could not agree who should rule it? Around the edges of the room stood some of the most prominent and powerful samurai in the Empire. Asahina Sekawa. Isawa Nakamuro. Akodo Ginawa. Yasuki Hachi. Hida Reiha. Mirumoto Rosanjin. Bayushi Kaukatsu. Tsuruchi Ichiro. Shinjo Shono. Toku. Yoritomo Komori. All were here to offer their support and aid to the Four Winds.

None spoke of the throne, where Kaede now slumped, a withered husk of her once beautiful self. None spoke of their father. Each realized that they could not speak of the throne while there was work yet to do.

"Mother claims that we four are to defeat the Dark Lord," Sezaru said in his raspy voice. "She says that each of us holds a piece of the puzzle, each bears some ability or information that can lead to his defeat. I suggest we pool any such information now. Let me begin." Sezaru reached into his robes and drew out a small wooden box, opening it to reveal four long slivers of jade, more brilliant than any the others had seen before.

"What are those?" Tsudao asked.

"The Tears of the First Emperor," Sezaru replied. "Also known as Lady Doji's Tears. They are an ancient and powerful artifact of the Imperial Family, which it was my honor to inherit. The jade does not tarnish, even in the heart of the Shadowlands. The Crab may not have enough jade to protect an army, but this will be enough for each of us."

"For what little good that will do," Naseru replied. "Without an army, how can we hope to assault the Dark Lord's Temple?"

"We shall have an army," Tsudao replied. "Sekawa?"

The Jade Champion stepped forward and bowed deeply before the Four Winds. "Some time ago," he began, "my agents discovered something strange and powerful hidden away by the Phoenix Thunder, Isawa Tadaka. They were weapons meant to be used against Fu Leng. Perhaps they might still serve that purpose."

The doors of the throne room opened, and through them marched two dozen armored soldiers made of pure clay. The warriors marched in perfect formation, in perfect time, and knelt before the Four Winds. When they ceased moving they were so still it was difficult to believe they had ever moved at all.

"There are hundreds more," Sekawa said. "They are immune to the Taint, and adept at fighting the minions of darkness."

"Hundreds against thousands?" Kaneka replied. "That gives us slim odds."

"Better than no chance at all," Tsudao replied fiercely.

"And you will not be alone," said another voice from the doorway. A young woman entered, dressed in scandalously revealing purple silk. Her features were dark and exotic, and her eyes shimmered with a pale green glow.

"I introduce Akasha, Legacy of the Naga," Tsudao replied.

"The Naga, like Sekawa's soldiers, are prepared to fight," Akasha said.

"The Naga sleep," Sezaru replied. "Only a handful remain awake. How can you aid us?"

"The Tsuno have used Yume-do, the Realm of Dreams, to torment my people long enough," Akasha said, her voice filled with steel and anger. "Today, we will show them that they are not the masters of dreams. When you reach the City of the Lost you will not need to worry about the Tsuno. The Naga shall draw them to the Realm of Dreams and fight them there."

"Excellent," Sezaru said with a small chuckle. "Perhaps we might have some chance after all, then. And Kaneka? What do you offer our alliance?"

The Shogun scowled and drew a handful of rolled maps from his obi. "I have spent much of my time among the Crab, as you know, and only a foolish general would not make himself aware of the Shadowlands threat so close to the wall. The Hiruma have given me their most recent maps of the Shadowlands, though given the nature of that wretched place they will not remain useful for long. I can show us the swiftest, safest way through the Shadowlands. There is only one difficulty."

"And what is that?" Tsudao asked.

"None of the Scouts know the location of the City of the Lost," he replied, "much less Daigotsu's temple. Perhaps no uncorrupted man knows."

"I know where it is," Naseru said.

The other three Winds all turned to face the Anvil, looks of surprised upon their faces.

"Months ago a spy from Daigotsu's ranks approached me," Naseru replied, "hoping to enter an alliance with me. Using magic, he showed me where I could meet Daigotsu and secure our bargain."

"And what happened to the spy?" Sezaru asked.

"He made the fatal mistake of underestimating my character," Naseru said simply.

Kaneka laughed. "So we have jade. We have an army. We have a route, and we have a target. What else do we need?"

"Courage," Tsudao replied. "Courage to defeat a foe who has never been defeated."

"Then let us find it, my sister," Sezaru replied, "together."

And, for the first time in two years, the Four Winds stood together.

* * * *

Fight For Tomorrow
Part Ten

Toturi Tsudao led the charge. Around her, the legions of clay soldiers marched, trudging across the endless expanse of the Shadowlands. The routes Kaneka's scouts reported had been true, and occasionally she even caught a glimpse of shining eyes or a long, rodent's tail from the shadows. The Crab had sent their allies, the Nezumi, to watch over them. Though it was unlikely they could rely upon the Ratlings when the battle grew fierce - as she understood it the creatures had a tendency to look to their own safety first - she was grateful for any allies they could call upon.

The Sword looked up at the greasy gray sky, an uncomfortable frown upon her face. Though the bleak, blasted lands were filled with an unsettling half-light, there was no sign of the sun. How horrible it would be, she thought, to die in a place like this.

She could almost hear her father's voice chiding her. "If that is what you fear, Tsudao-chan, then don't die." A small smile crossed her lips, and she rode on.

The other Winds rode beside her, each lost in their own thoughts. She wondered what would become of them in the battle ahead. The last time she had faced Daigotsu, she could easily have died. Perhaps this time she or one of her brothers would not return. All was uncertainty, as they still did not yet know the extent of the threat they faced.

Tsudao drew her horse to a halt and regarded the road ahead with a curious expression. A tall Ratling, taller than any she had ever seen, stood in the path before them. He leaned upon a heavy staff decorated with bones and feathers. Many amulets of shiny metal and stone dangled from his fur, and he looked at them with sharp, bright eyes.

"Omen-sama said you would be coming," the Ratling said, his Rokugani extraordinarily clear and precise. "Four Winds now flow together, forever chasing Tomorrow."

"We are ready to fight, if that is what you mean," Tsudao said, urging her steed forward.

"Good," Te'tik'kir said, rubbing one paw over his long whiskers. "Good-good-good. Cause ready to fight or not, Four Winds, fight be coming to you. See?"

Tsudao crested the ridge where the Ratling had appeared and looked down into the valley bellow. A small gasp escpaed her lips when she saw the vast city laid out before them, the impossibly tall city at its center, the thousands upon thousands of ebony-armored samurai that awaited them.

"Yes," Tsudao whispered, one hand clutching the sun amulet that hung about her throat. "It is time to fight."

o

Naseru shrugged uncomfortably in his armor. He had not worn such accoutrements since his bushi training under his father, and to be sure he had not missed them. The plates hung in the most awkward manner and chafed in the most uncomfortable places. Even so, he realized quite clearly, the pain would be much greater if he were to forego wearing the suit at all.

When he reached Tsudao's side and saw the city below, his expression did not change. The city looked much as it had when Daigotsu's nameless emissary had approached him with his bargain of an alliance. Only the lines of combat-ready troops that now surrounded the city were different, and they were not surprising in the least.

"We are greatly outnumbered," Tsudao said, looking at her brother gravely.

"I think not," Naseru replied. "Four to one, the odds are in our favor."

"I think you have miscounted, Naseru," Kaneka said, moving his horse beside the Anvil's. The Shogun wore a grim scowl as he tallied the opposing forces in his head.

"Oh?" Naseru replied. "Did mother send us to defeat all of these soldiers as well? I had thought we were only intended to defeat the Dark Lord. All we need do, I think, is make certain that this army is sufficiently distracted by the troops the Jade Champion has given us. Then, between yourself and my sister, I'm certain you might find some weakness in their defenses that we might exploit to rush past them and invade the temple. We need not defeat this army, only its master."

"When they realize what we have done, there may be no escape for us," Kaneka replied.

"Escape was only an option, never a certainty," Naseru replied. "We must destroy our enemy. That is the only goal that matters."

"Mercilessly efficient as always, Naseru," Sezaru said with a nod of respect. The shugenja lifted his porcelain mask from his belt, carefully placing it over his face and drawing the laces together as he prepared for battle. "Though I confess I never took you for the self-sacrificing type. Impressive."

"Well let us hope that we are fortunate then, brother," Naseru said with a chuckle. "I would still prefer to survive."

o

The clay soldiers attacked from the north, drawing the brunt of the Lost army's wrath. The Four Winds charged the city from the south, but it was not long before Daigotsu's reserves realized their gambit. Sezaru shouted a defiant cry and held one fist to the sky as he galloped into their ranks. Bolts of pure white lightning echoed from the heavens, tearing through the Tainted clouds to devour ranks of corrupted samurai. A savage thrill surged through Sezaru as he saw his enemies fall. He clutched his fist and held it toward another platoon of Tainted cavalry. A surge of wind, powerful as a hurricane, swept the samurai from their steeds, crushing them on the rocks.

[[Yes. Return to them the pain that they showed your father!]]

Sezaru clapped his hands together and a wave of inky void rolled forward across Daigotsu's legions. Soldiers screamed and scattered as the absolute power returned all it touched to nothing. Lost samurai vanished in their tracks, never to be seen again. A grotesque, jagged scar was torn across the earth as the energy crackled away.

[[Show no mercy. There can be no mercy for ones such as these.]]

A Lost samurai swung his no-dachi at Sezaru's steed, cutting the horse's legs from beneath it. Sezaru rose into the air, oblivious to the loss of his horse, and grasped the samurai's mempo with one bare hand. The samurai screamed as his helmet suddenly glowed red hot. He fell to his knees screaming with the smell of burning flesh.

[[Make them all suffer. Show them the power of the true Emperor.]]

Sezaru cut the air with a swift gesture, his concentration focused upon a platoon of mounted soldiers. He clenched his fist and felt the strings of their souls tighten in his hand. With a swift yank, he turned the soldiers upon their brethren, fighting their former companions and screaming defiantly in the name of the Wolf.

[[This is the power of vengeance.]]

"No," Sezaru said fiercely, and for once he felt a tremor of fear from the voice in his head. "This is the power of justice."

o

Akodo Kaneka remained as close to Sezaru as he dared. The shugenja smote a path of destruction all about him, and Kaneka was not entirely certain that the Wolf could still determine friend from foe. Nonetheless, he was certainly the most powerful among them, and their chances of reaching the Temple of the Ninth Kami were greatest the closer they remained to him.

Across the battlefield, Kaneka saw a withered man in dark green robes begin chanting and gesturing toward Sezaru. Without a second thought, Kaneka drew his bow and fired, leaving two arrows in the man's throat before he could complete whatever spell he had been casting. Sezaru glanced back in surprise as the arrows whistled past. His eyes fixed on Kaneka's and he nodded in acknowledgment.

"Thank you, brother," Sezaru said, and threw himself back into the battle.

Kaneka blinked. Though he did not let the words fray his focus, he could not help his surprise. This was the first time, perhaps, that one of Toturi's other children had truly acknowledged him as one of their own. Not as the bastard son of their father. Not as a competitor seeking the throne. A brother. A welcome ally. After spending most of his life struggling to be free of his father's shadow, Kaneka was surprised to find that the feeling of family was not entirely unwelcome.

But there would be time enough for such sentimental nonsense later.

"For my father and the Empire!" the Shogun roared, drawing his sword and holding it high.

o

"The Four Winds are coming, Dark Lord," Omoni said, peering down from the window of the temple. "Though Noekam's forces have destroyed most of their clay soldiers."

"Tadaka's Children are irrelevant," Daigotsu replied. He held the golden sword of the Hantei in one hand, his eyes following the black flames that covered its length. "The Four Winds would have reached this place regardless. Such is the power of destiny."

"So you will fight them," Omoni asked. "You will fight them here?"

"Of course," Daigotsu replied.

"Are you certain that is a good idea, Dark Lord?" the little man asked. "Sezaru alone is very powerful, and Tsudao has defeated you once before."

"Tsudao injured me once before," Daigotsu corrected firmly. "There was no defeat. Go now, Omoni. See to your bakemono. I will deal with the Four Winds"

Omoni looked at his master, his eyes wide like a confused animal's. "But is it wise to fight them alone?" he asked.

Daigotsu looked up at the statue of Fu Leng behind him, then looked back at Omoni with a small smile. The goblin master was overwhelmed by the sudden awesome aura of power that emanated from the statue. Unconsciously, he fell to his knees and pressed his forehead to the floor.

"As you see, Omoni, I will hardly be alone," Daigotsu replied.

To Be Concluded