THE Fatal Fury vs Samurai Showdown Epic: Canto IV
Why do these pitiful humans continue to try? It is pointless. It has been for years, and will continue to be so. Even with the so called "holy-warriors," it is totally USELESS to attempt to deny what fate has decreed so long ago. In all of my vast knowledge and power, I fail to understand these beings know as humans. They see a revolution by some rebellious colonists in the Americas, and now everyone seems to be doing so. Now, it has reached the nation of France. The peasants will no longer sit by as their young starve or are "accidentally" run over by the aristocrats. Everyday they starve while their wealthy counterparts grow fatter by the day. Like all things that are common with these humans; they always resort to killing.
"Now that is something I can appreciate about humans!" Amakusa's voice echoed the room. Then, when it faded, he took a moment to reflect on his thoughts. He then laughed like a banshee.
Now, there was the unfortunate accident involving one of the nobles of France, Charolette. She had vanished in a blazing light from her home in France. On the other side of the world, a strangely clad woman with fiery hair appeared. In a single strike, she defeated Gen-an! Now this would be the ultimate sacrifice. A woman with such power would be magnificent. But first, to learn how she came into this world, and what happened to Charolette. If one could gain control over it and learn what it was, the possibilities could be endless.
Amakusa looked into his orb, and saw that the "holy warriors," along with others that were gathering together and will be coming to his fortress.
"I must ready myself and my humble home, I shall soon have guests!" and again Amakusa laughed like a banshee, knowing what they were going to do before they had arrived.
"Ok, we all know why we are here, right?"
"Oh, yea! We know why we are here, but what about you, Haohmaru?" asked Galford, who continued to tease him and how he didn't want to admit his feelings for any woman, no matter who she was.
"Would you drop that for now, Galford? This is a serious matter to attend to. If, as Haohmaru suspects that Amakusa did this, then there is no time to waste!" replied Jubei with authority.
"At a time, I would say that this was beyond his power. But it is now near impossible to be certain of anything. First, it was Amakusa, then Mizuki, and recently, it was Zankuro. Though the second was freed, it is not out of the question that it may have taken control of her again by some means that we do not know of. I agree with Jubei, we must put all other issues off for now and investigate this at once!"
As Hanzo finished, all could detect a slight quaver in his voice, for they all knew of his relationship to Amakusa. This would prove to be as a difficult a task for him as much as anyone else. He in particular had suffered much, for it was hard for him to live, knowing his own son, his very flesh and blood, was responsible for the demise of so many.
They had all seen much death. The possessed Amakusa Shiro Toshin with the demon within saw fit to sacrifice countless beings, just so that they could be "saved" and to be "redeemed" of their sins and the crimes they had committed throughout their lives. All have at one time or another committed an act that was wrong, and knew it. Whatever the reason was, it's done regardless of its right or wrong. Yet for many, there is a feeling of guilt afterwards. There is a desire to make amends, however we can, and often, we do so without bothering to seek answers. All that can be thought of is the wrong we did, and our duty to make amends.
Amakusa knew this, and that is why he has such a strong following. With the demon within, he masterfully played on the deep, dark, painful fears that his followers have, and used it to have his followers obey his every will; no questions asked, for fear of being sacrificed before the others, thus losing their only chance for redemption.
More recently, there was another demon, Zankuro. Unlike Amakusa, Zankuro leveled entire villages, killing thousands upon thousands of people, without any assistance. This is what made him all the more dangerous, for if he could do this to entire villages, what could he do one-to-one? Or perhaps a better question was, what if Zankuro had formed some kind of "unholy alliance" with the dreadful Shiro to finally eliminate them forever? If they could somehow "spirit away" Charolette, what could stop them from doing it to the rest of them. This, Nakoruru's younger sister, Rimururu asked.
"Ok, let me see if I understand this all. According to Galford, Charolette disappeared in some crazy light from her home in France. Later, you come to Japan, and tell Haohmaru what you saw. Nakoruru then says there are rumors of a red-haired woman taking out Gen-an in one hit. You go out to seek Shiro, only to meet this woman. You listen to her story, and decide that this is way bigger than you originally thought, and have decided to get help. It all seems far-fetched."
"Believe it, honey! I don't believe a single word of it, yet here I am. I look like I'm in some reject section of Shogun!" finished Mai.
As she came into view, everyone who was in the room was shocked. The woman hardly wore any clothing, she moved like nothing any of them, even Kyoshiro, had ever seen. As for her language, it was unmistakably Japanese, yet it was in such a way that they all hoped that their descendants wouldn't turn out to be even remotely like the one before them.
After a long silence, Jubie spoke: "My mind rejects what all of my other senses tell me. The story is like some story used to frighten kids, yet here is proof. She is Japanese, yet is not of this Japan. I agree, we must set out at once."
"Yes, but then what? If they really did this to Charolette and Mai, what's to stop them from doing it to us? Who knows where we could wind up, or even if we'd live through it!"
"Hey, if I can go through it and live, there's no doubt that you can do it. You just need to have faith and to trust me on this..."
Now, they will set out for the fortress of Amakusa Shiro Toshin. Who all would they confront? Has their worst fears finally come into existence? Have fears that they could never have imagined be coming into play? There is only one way to find out!
Night had fallen on the end of the last day of their second week on their long journey. There had been many questions asked of Mai, both by the younger ones there, and by the older ones.
Hisame asked about how cities of the 1900s compared with that of today (to him, the time he was living in was modern, the 1900s are the future). He was appalled by the levels of crime and the kinds that were committed, as well as the numerous weapons that were developed to "destroy the world." He did marvel at other things, such as being able to see what the surface of the moon was like, the Peace Corps, and "The Magic of Disney." He wondered how Disney's magic could compete against the magic of Amakusa's.
Nakoruru was horrified by the rate at which mankind was destroying nature for his own interests. How can we destroy our natural home in exchange for "modernization?" Earth isn't just for us humans, it is for all of Nature's creatures to love and enjoy. Mai told her not to worry, for there were numerous groups dedicated to protecting animals, habitats, and more. There are even attempts to have laws protecting the animals from extinction, as well as providing safe places for animals to raise their young, both for those that breath on land and in the water. This relieved her.
Haohmaru hardly spoke to her throughout the journey. Was it because he felt like an idiot for loosing his temper with Mai and not being patient? Did it have more to do with Charolette's disappearance?
"Hey, stop bending yourself out of shape, Haohmaru! I need to stop beating myself up over it. We'll find her, I know it!"
He heard the laugh of someone he hadn't heard in a long time, someone who was very vain.
"So, now the `great Haohmaru' finds himself too great to talk to other people, and talks only to himself, but so that others may hear!"
"Ukyo! I'm glad to see that you can enjoy yourself. What brings you here?"
"I heard you and others were heading for Amakusa's. I've decided that now is the time for a rematch. What do you say?"
"I'd love to, but I'm very busy right now. Perhaps later."
"Oh, the `mighty Haohmaru' doesn't have time for a friendly challenge. Can it be true? Perhaps it is because he is actually afraid. At last, you know that you have met your match. You are no longer the best! No, you are now second rate!"
"All right! You've got your wish. Now, I'm going to kick your ass!"
"That's the Haohmaru I know. Let's go...!"
The blades clashed and it seemed as if the two were frozen in time. Neither seemed to move, and it would only be by being next to them could you see their muscles tense as they tried to overpower their opponent. Finally, they each broke and fell back, but not before both of their blades flew out of their hands. There they stood, neither reaching for his sword, for they could not risk turning their head from their opponent in case they proved to be faster with the blade. Again, time froze, broken only by the sounds of the two warriors breathing.
"STOP THIS AT ONCE!"
Without looking for the source, they each dove for their blades, took a quick glance at who it was, and were back at each other's throats, hacking, stabbing, and parrying.
"Rimururu! What did you do?" demanded her older sister.
"I just told those two to stop fighting. Their blades had been knocked out of their hands, so I yelled at them to stop. When I did that, they dove for their blades and started up again! Honest, that's all!"
"Oh, no! Not this again! When are those two going to give it a rest. We have more important things to do than to let those to try and settle some silly feud."
"For once, Galford, I agree with you. We must try and get those two to stop."
"Sis, what do you mean `try?' We have to get them apart."
"Nakoruru knows what she means. Those two have a long history, and it ain't easy to get them apart. The last time, it took nearly an hour to break them up entirely. I'm just glad it isn't the other one. That guy has a head that makes Haohmaru's seem soft."
As the blades clashed, the rest of the party came, and were quickly informed as to what they had suspected may have happened. Unfortunately, they had no idea as to how to break this quickly, without doing more harm than good. Mai, however, had an idea that seemed so crazy, that she did it without consulting the others on her plan, being as outgoing as ever.
"Hey, boys! How about you stop a moment a take a looky here," Mai started, being as bouncy as only she could. It seemed to work, for the two guys paused, or rather, went blank.
"I'm sure this is a very important duel, but Haohmaru needs to come with us now! We need his help if we are going to rescue Charolette."
"What? Charolette is missing? If she is, I shall help find the fair flower. And...what manner of woman are you? I have never seen ANY that look like you."
"Lately, everyone I meet keeps telling me that, and I love the attention," Mai finished with the same giggle as she recalled Andy's shock when she sat on his lap.
She told of her adventures, how she got where she is now, and where they are now going. Ukyo agreed to go. Whatever Amakusa was planning, it could not be left unchecked.
Their journey passed without incident until they had reached site of Amakusa's fortress on the horizon. The one Galford hoped wouldn't confront them did, and he was not as willing to let Haohmaru pass as Ukyo had been.
"So, you are the boy that Haohmaru made a vow to. A small blade, and fights with a razor edged umbrella. This is a most unusual combination of weaponry, but that would be why he took such an interest in you. He cannot defend himself, so he looks for someone weaker than himself to protect. That is so typical."
"What!? Who dares to...you! Not you, Genjuro Kibagami!"
"At least that loser has taught you the name of his better. It seems I was mistaken, there actually is something he can do right. I am impressed."
"You should be! He has more respect from others than you could ever dream of!"
"Respect doesn't equal victory. That is why he is a loser."
"Yeah, and I missed you too, Kibagami."
"Ah, at last you show your face. I was afraid that you were sending this boy to tell me what a wimp you are. So, now you come to personally tell me that you are weak."
"You will be afraid! Today you're going to meet death. This time, there will be no holding back. Kibagami, the time is now!"
"Agreed! You will meet your end and there will be no holding back. Before the day ends, you will be in the company of your ancestors!"
As he finished, he threw Hisame out of the way, both to prevent interference and to enrage Haohmaru to throw off his game.
Once again, Haohmaru clashed with a long-time rival. This time, it was much different. Before, it was simply a duel to test skills. With Genjuro, it was to be a fight to the death. He cared nothing for Haohmaru, and he let others know it. While it appeared that Genjuro was physically stronger, Haohmaru was skilled enough, so that if Genjuro was physically stronger, it was of no use.
Time and again their blades had clashed, making those that were present (if any) look on in awe, for it was rare indeed to witness two Samurai of such levels fight each other. If nobody was present, then nature itself stopped to watch these two men fight it out.
However, each time they collided, there had never been a decisive victor. There was always something to stop it. Genjuro was nauseated by it, which is why he threw Shizumaru into the bushes so that no one would interfere.
Hm, he's better than I suspected. I don't recall him being so strong. Could it be the connection with him and the boy is something more than I suspected. No! There's something else. I'd heard some rumors about something or another disappearing, dying, or something like that. Apparently, something, or someone, that he has a great fondness for is gone. Just fitting that he shall join it.
"Oooohhh! What hit me? What happened?"
"Hisame?! Hisame! Answer me! Are you ok?"
"Huh? Rimururu? Where am I? Why does it feel like I just got hit by a tree?"
"I think, in a sense you were. Never mind. Hey everyone, over here! I found Hisame!"
DAMN IT! If I want to finish this, it must be quick. Apparently the rumors, to some extent, are true. The holy warriors are on the move toward Amakusa's. I need more time to wear him down. He still has too much power to kill right now. In a while, I could kill him, but now--impossible.
With that, he broke off, and started to leave, then he yelled back to Haohmaru, "Someday, your luck will run out. We will finish this and your end will come. Your luck won't last forever. If the rumors are right, I hope you come back from Amakusa's."
"I didn't know you cared..."
"...So that I can personally kill you!"
With that, he was gone, leaving them to their own.
"Oh my! This could only mean that Genjuro Kibagami was here! Is everyone ok?" asked Kyoshiro.
"Yea, thanks to Rimmy. Had she not called you, I don't know how long I could have kept that up. He seemed to be holding something back, but what? That's not like him. He wants my head. To be honest, I'm rather attached to it."
They made camp for the night, many having trouble sleeping. They knew Genjuro Kibagami was a man of honor, to a degree. When Haohmaru was hurt, he allowed him time to recover. That was years ago, or so it seemed. Many couldn't stop fearing that he would attack at night. Fortunately, it never came.
Finally, after some more time, they reached their destiny, the fortress of Amakusa Shiro Toshin. It was even more ghastly than the original. For those who hadn't seen the previous one, this was enough to make them glad they hadn't.
What would they find once they got in? Was Charolette there, or was she even alive? Had the demons formed a pact? What was the source of the time rift and how would they handle it? Would they all come out alive, or would any of them die?
"There's only one way to find out! Let's get ready to go!" shouted Wan-fu.