The boy stood in silence behind the lamppost glaring at some distant object. It was dark lonely lane surrounded by screeching of bats flying over the little boy. He picked up his bag lying on the street and started walking towards it. Something was withholding him from going further on. But nonetheless he continued walking.
"What is it...I need to find out,'' he whispered. He wasn't sure if he should go further. But curiosity had held the boy's imagination in its tight clutches.
As he kept walking he came closer and closer to the unknown object. It started to become clearer.
Although he had a preconceived notion regarding the object that it may bring harm to him if he goes closer to it but he kept walking. Slowly and steadily his endeavour came to an end. He stood next to the object, rubbed his eyes as he couldn't believe what it was. "Is it??...Oh no I can't believe...No it cannot be?!...
Suddenly he felt something on his shoulder. He didn't want to turn his head. He was terrified. Asahi Hamasaki, came a whisper from behind. The unknown person had a husky but fragile voice.
"Who is it", he thought and how does he know my name... Though Asahi thought at first of just running away but he wanted to know how the person standing behind him knew his name. Still keeping his back towards the man, he asked Sir please may I know your name?,to which the man replied,"I am your Godfather son."
The boy turned around to face the man. He had never seen him before. The man had winter-white hair and wrinkles all over his face. His blood-speckled brown eyes were fixed on Asahi as if he was trying to read his mind. "And what proof do you have sir...to be honest I think you're some random old man trying to trick me into something which as far as I think isn't good for me at all". The old man smiled a diabolic smile and said,"My name is Kaito Shinkai and once upon a time, many years ago I had saved your mother Akari Hamamoto.
"How does he know my mother's name...is he speaking the truth ??",thought Asahi turning his face away from Kaito. What did you do to save her and what was the need??", asked Asahi sternly turning back to Kaito.
Kaito smiled and offered the boy to walk with him down the lane. Asahi, at first was a little hesitant but he wanted to hear what the old man had to say. And so, he reluctantly concurred with him somehow concealing his dissent. They started walking slowly. The boy looked behind at the incredible object for which he had come so far. "I'll tell you everything about it son, don't worry...when the right time arrives, you'll be the one using it for a greater good." whispered Kaito close to Asahi's ears.
Is it really the legendary sword of the great Samurai Sanada Hideyoshi?, asked Asahi hesitantly while he walked beside Kaito. "Yes, it is son and you, Asahi Hamasaki is the next heir who would wield the magnificent sword...you are the chosen one dear. Asahi was perplexed by the old man's words. He didn't comply to what Kaito said and tried to dig deeper. " And may I ask you how do you know all this" to which Kaito smiled and said I was the closest friend of your father - the great Samurai warrior Sanada Hideyoshi and when I saw you for the first time in the arms of Akari I knew it that no-one else but you were "The Hero who might appear once in a hundred years". Asahi was shocked hearing about it and did not know how to react. They kept walking for a while in complete silence until the lane came to an end. "Come with me", offered Kaito to Asahi to come along with him to his house. Two Ninjas followed them from behind in traditional Shinobi Shozoku which completely concealed their identity except for their fiery eyes. Each of them were carrying a ninjatō tied by their waist.
They picked up the glorious sword cautiously and followed Kaito and Asahi softly and quietly making no sound at all. But Asahi somehow knew that they were being followed and when they reached the end of the lane, he turned to his right and asked Kaito about them. Kaito said, "They are Ninja warriors, the best I must say and only you the rightful heir of the great Samurai warrior Sanada Hideyoshi could figure out their soundless steps. Asahi in the meanwhile hid himself behind Kaito. He was terrified by the sight of those physically well built figures covered in black. "Come forward son, you don't have to be afraid of them. They are your guardians and they'll transform you into a warrior, a Samurai Warrior skilled in ninjutsu as well. You'll be the first in centuries to have skills and courage of both Samurai and Ninja. I hope you comprehend what I say son. Asahi couldn't and so he plainly replied,"No I don't and what's more important is that I don't want to".
Asahi used to live in an orphanage called Kami no Kodomodachi | God's Children, in ancient Japan. Kaito had been keeping an eye and protecting the boy since his mother, Akari died due to serious illness after the death of her husband, Sanada Hideyoshi. He didn't let any danger cross Asahi's way. He used to stay hidden but was always there. Asahi was fourteen then and it was time he knew about his past, that he was a born warrior gifted with skills no-one could ever surmount and that he was the son of Samurai Sanada Hideyoshi popularly known as the "Crimson Demon of War" and rightful heir to his magnificent sword. This was the reason Kaito finally decided to meet Asahi and reveal himself.
Asahi assented to Kaito's offer and went with him. The two Ninjas followed them. A Goshoguruma( ox carriages used by emperor and empress or aristocrats) waited for them at some distance. After they comfortably settled down, the wheels started to roll on the unpaved path. Asahi turned back to see the two Ninjas but they weren't there. Kaito without looking at the boy said, " They move with lightning speed son, you'll definitely need some training to figure "that" out." Don't worry, they'll be waiting at the mansion to welcome us.
Asahi said nothing and nodded his head innocently. The mansion was at a stone's throw from the lane. Two Ninjas stood at the main entrance which itself was about five and teen feet and similar in width. They opened the gates for their master bowing down to their knees in reverence. Asahi hopped down of the Goshoguruma, somehow dragged his bag and started to walk looking downwards. One of the ninja warriors came running towards the Goshoguruma, went to his knees keeping both his hands at different levels as if performing some ritual only known to their clan. Kaito kept his left foot on one of his hands and then his right foot on the other and got down. "Take care of the boy... protect him from any threat whatsoever,'' murmured Kaito in the ninja's ears. The ninja nodded his head in agreement and said, "Sure Master". He went straight towards the boy who was quite occupied by then watching a group of boys and girls practicing ninjutsu and reciting some strange mantra in unison. As the ninja warrior reached Asahi, he said, " I don't need your help, leave me alone," keeping his back towards him.
Sir, I apologize for this sudden intrusion but I have taken an oath to always be with you, protect you. Only in death will I be kept from this oath...said the ninja warrior.
My name is Fujibayashi Hanzo but you can call me Oji | uncle |.
Fujibayashi was going to teach Asahi everything about ninjutsu and the practices, rituals of a ninja.
He took Asahi to his room and asked him to take some rest. The next day, Asahi was woken up by Fujibayashi quite early in the morning. "Let me sleep...go away,'' said Asahi angrily trying to push Fujibayashi's leg while he lay on the floor with his eyes closed. "It's time for training. Get up.," said Fujibayashi authoritatively. When Asahi held onto his stubbornness, Fujibayashi made him understand what it meant to be a part of the elite ninja warriors and how to value it. He picked Asahi up in his arms and threw him out of the room. The little boy got hurt but he got up dusting sand particles from his tender palms and knees making a furious face at Fujibayashi. "You told me yesterday to call you Oji and now you do this to me…" yelled Asahi crying in agony.
"This pain won't last son. You need to know your purpose in life or else you'll just keep wandering aimlessly, `` said Fujibayashi. "Listen, I'm done with all this and now you people need to let me go. I'm not interested in knowing anything…
"Not even if I tell you who murdered the mighty warrior Sanada and your mother Akira?," interrupted Fujibayashi. Asahi didn't want to stay there but he wanted to know who killed his parents and how in a night all of a sudden his clan ceased to exist. No-one of his clan was left alive on that gory night. Each samurai was searched for and killed brutally such that none of their faces could be recognised. Asahi was rescued by Fujibayashi who left him in the orphanage and informed Kaito about the incident.
" Do you know who killed my parents?,_ asked Asahi wiping his tears in the sleeves of his torn white t shirt. "Yes, I do and I would reveal it to you the day you become a warrior capable enough to fight that monster." Asahi nodded his head reluctantly and agreed to abide by whatever Fujibayashi would ask him to do.
After 14 years
It was lush and green everywhere. The calm stream added to the tranquility of the scene. A grown up Asahi stood in front of an older and more fragile Fujibayashi. Both of them joined their hands and bowed before each other. It was a common ritual practiced by the ninjas before they started a fight. They went a few steps back and took out their Katanas with a scraping sound as the Katanas brushed against the bamboo sheath. The fight started. When the blades of both the Katanas clashed against one another, sparks could be seen. The fight continued as both the warriors displayed their skills. Asahi had mastered all the stealth and sword fighting skills over the years. But Fujibayashi in spite of being old was still a better fighter than Asahi. He was said to be undefeated till that day. Asahi had managed to bring him down to his knees as his sword split in half. He kept the katana on Fujibayashi's scruff and asked,"Oji, tell me who killed my parents...who was behind all that bloodshed…"... Fujibayashi had been defeated for the first time in his life. He was surprised but really proud at the same time. He accepted his defeat and got up smiling. "As I had promised that I'd tell you about him when you're capable enough of fighting him...I will... come, let's take a walk together." After the walk both of them returned to the mansion in the evening. Kaito came towards Asahi and gave him a tight hug. Asahi on the other hand pushed him away. Visuals of his walk with Fujibayashi had preoccupied his mind where he said, " the man who killed your parents and your clan had a Norse Viking symbol of three interlocked triangles on his neck also known as Odin's symbol. You must have seen it somewhere and if you can successfully recall, you'll find the person on your own. Asahi ran towards his room where the glorious sword of Sanada Hideyoshi was kept. Kaito, by then had slit Fujibayashi's neck with his blood dripping on the floor. As Asahi came out with sword, he saw Fujibayashi lying on the floor, covered in his own blood. His face was turning pale. Asahi came running towards Kaito in rage screaming his name at the top of his voice and pushed the sword through Kaito's chest. As the sword pierced into the mushy flesh of Kaito, he spilled blood on the sword. Asahi took the sword out and started stabbing him again and again until Kaito took his last breath. While he lay on the floor beside Fujibayashi with the sword struck inside his chest, Kaito said gasping for breath, " It is true son that a Samurai and a Ninja can never be friends. I was never as good a fighter as your father, Sanada. I had to kill your clan because it was the only way to prove my loyalty towards the ninja warriors. I loved your mother, Akira as my own daughter but she being a warrior herself had almost killed me that night when the other ninjas of my clan attacked her. They outnumbered her and it was necessary, too or else she would have killed all of us one by one. I couldn't kill you that night…"
Asahi didn't look at Kaito while he was speaking. He just started walking slowly towards his room. After Kaito took his last breath, Asahi left the mansion and the other ninja warriors with his father's sword tied to his waist never to return.