Years of Peace II
by Otaku Yuri
The escort met us on the road to Shiro no Kakita. A magistrate named Kakita Diro and his two yojimbos were waiting for us. "A small honor for the services of a Imperial Magistrate, "was what the Kakita said. My message that I will be accompanying Asahina Hazuko to help investigated the death of Asahina Yori seems to be have arrived safely and it did not go down too well with Diro. Oh, he was polite about it. Diro was all courtly manners and speech but anytime I ask anything about Yori and the suspected maho involvement, he would divert the talk to another topic in the way the Cranes are "famous" for. "Of course Yuri-sama, we are all worried about the honor of a man such as Yori-sama, but look at the land around us. Why, the humble...." I suspect that this was a matter the Crane would like to keep as quiet as possible, but I will not be denied. And we Unicorns are not known for their demure behavior if they do not get their way.
His yojimbos were, unfortunately, only slightly better. The man called Saito from the Kakita family was polite but to the point (very unCrane-like), leaving no doubt in anyone's mind that he would rather not be babysitting a Imperial Magistrate and a shugenja on a journey that they could complete on their own. His fellow yojimbo, a man named Daidoji Genju, was much the same only he was much more like Diro. I suspect that they had orders to keep quiet. But still, things should change once for we get to the city.
A group of heimin bow in respect as we pass. Hazuko smiled at the peasant, she has a kind heart I'll give her that. If only she would be less... A arrow flies out of the thin air, hitting Hazuko like in the chest. "Ambush," a needless cry rang out from one of the yojimbos. Three men stand out from behind one of the rocks. Ianji immediately respond to my command to charge. He cut down the distance between me and the ronin in a few heartbeats as my mother's katana flies from its' saya, but they were ready. Another of the wave-men shot a arrow. I hear the sound of air as it flies... right pass me. One of the men had stepped forward, hopping to buy some time for his comrades. I charge straight at him... and straight pass him.The bowmen were clearly surprise by my tactics and tried to get some protection by rising his bow. The katana in my hand cut both flesh and wood as I made my fist pass. Ianji and I were one as he turned and charge again. The remaining bowman had dropped his weapon seeking instead to draw his katana. It was barely out of his saya when I cut his head off. The last ronin stood firm as I wheel towards him, raising his katana over his head...awaiting my arrival. At the last moment, the ronin cut across Ianji, coming to my other side. Both katanas flash as I ride pass but I was true. Without looking back I know that the ronin now lies dead on the ground. But the sounds of battle still ring aloud in the air! The group of heimin we passed weren't heimin at all. Ianji turned and I suddenly feel faint. The land turned to darkness as I suddenly feel the ground beneath me. NOOoooooooooooooo!!!