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Chapter one: attention to detail [slayer of a thousand nations v 1.1]
The crude grassy plain was dimly lit by the crescent moon, brightening the night sky- which was partially carpeted by thin wisps of cloudy mist, resulting in oddly impressed rays of light laminating the ground. The green horizon was disturbed only by a small hill, which was more a rugged bump than a fixed feature, bearing a stout tree. The hill was a gentle bump on a grassy plain, like a master painter put it there with an elegant stroke of his brush. The small tree that the hill hosted had thick dense leaves that cast deep shadows, unrepentantly dark and desperately grave.
If it was not for the breeze molesting the still night air, the winter evening would be motionless. The slivers of light from the stars above populated the ground around the tree producing an eerie glow. The grass glistened with a white light from a frozen winter’s due, serving as a chilling testimony to the season. The wet ground would have normally made a great home for insects, and crawling creatures of the night, but it was barren and cold.
The sway of the breeze seemed to mimic Yoshimichi Keitaro’s breathing, collecting as he inhaled and blowing freely as he exhaled; the wind blew fiercely further displacing his unkempt-matted hair. His solid black eyes, drowning in a pool of weary flesh, telling the tale of sleepless nights, were squinted and focused almost as if they were transfixed. Keitaro breathed, the wind blew, and the leaves from the tree in front of him rustled. His footsteps depressed the stiff grass showing the patterned line that took him to the hill where he now stood. Standing on top of the gentle bump, breathing steadily, Keitaro faced the tree and its grave shadows, peering into the ominous essence.
“So, you want to try my Kanto style!” menacingly inquired a voice that gave life to the shadows beneath the tree, hissing like a poised viper- followed by erratic grunting laughs. The forcefully voiced question was accompanied by the clang of steel against hollow wood. The abruptly drawn Katana gleamed majestically against the moon and star light; its long curved steel seemed to whisper its legendry tradition of murder, echoing the gospel of death. Keitaro answered the daring voice with a steady stern reply,
“Yes, I believe I would like to try your Kanto style . . . it is fabled that with your mystic blade and style, you painted an entire battle field with blood and turned a thousand wives into widows, if such legends are true perhaps your Kanto style is worthy to be tried.” The demeanor in Keitaro’s voice was void of any emotion or concern, suffocating to any notion of fear or worry; it was dry, blunt, and certain.
Keitaro flicked off his sandals and tunneled his feet into the earth; he drew his katana slow enough to harmonize with his steady breathing. He unsheathed his blade but an inch and hoisted it over his head with two hands so that his katana was pressed horizontally across his forehead, parallel to his shoulders. The wind blew, carrying a cold chill, Keitaro breathed.
Yoshimichi’s body was in harmony with the universe; as he breathed the cool air it replenished him with an abundance of energy. A gust of wind rushed from underneath the tree unsettling dust, followed by the pitter pat of trained feet against the grass, and the bright tip of a katana all emerged from beneath the tree at once. All Keitaro’s senses were bombarded simultaneously. The blade and its wielder seemed to be suspended in the air, time and motion seemed to be absent from reality, but only for a spilt moment. Ruko’s body was perpendicular to Yoshimichi’s. Ruko rocketed from the ground. He was in mid-air with both hands on his blade which was held above his head on the same plane as his spine, flying while thrusting his saber. In half the time it would take for a fly to flap it wings once Keitaro exposed his blade and with his feet securing his body to the ground he bent back so that his head and his rear where on the same level. He swung his sword with his forearm spilling the guts of Ruko’s stomach on the ground. Ruko’s guts peppered the earth and steamed profusely against the cold tundra. Keitaro erected his body, with a quiver of his blade he flicked off Ruko’s flesh and sheathed his sword. The man, who was clad in a maroon cloak and straw hat, groped after his spilling insides, his pupils narrowing in shock.
“How did you defeat my Kanto style . . .?” Ruko gasped like a fish out of water, his slandered talk was interrupted by the blood that poured from his mouth. Keitaro sneered arrogantly,
“No style is perfect, every style is flawed by the personality and habits of its master . . . your overly aggressive your style is formidable, but it lacks control and defensive posture, no doubt your style has slain a nation of men but your Kanto style has only led you to the gates of hell in the end! Fool I know many style and I have surpassed them all I have evolved past the limitations of any one style!” the look on Ruko’s face was bewildered as he keeled over with blind anger.
“Oni! . . . Dam Oni Kyuketsuki B-astard!” Ruko sputtered fighting to breathe between words.
“My Kanto style has killed a hundred battalion fields of men . . . . I cannot be . . . defeated.” Ruko’s words seemed to defeat themselves and lose purpose as his voice faded and faced the reality of death. Ruko’s blood bathed the once green grass, baptizing the earth in blood and death, his beady black eyes rolled into his head, and his intestines served as a decorative piece in the gory scene of horror. Keitro forced Ruko’s body down the hill with his sandal and into a shallow ditch. There laid Ruko, master of the Kanto style, his gray hairs muddied in the ditch were he lay lifeless, the agony of death burrowed onto his face. His physique almost intact, save the small line that went through his mid-section and the deep gash were his intestines poured out. From a feared warrior demigod to crow feed in a matter of moments.