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Affiliates: The Sheath :: The Crouching Tiger's Realm

Blood and Snow
Chapter 28: A Horizon Of Pain

by: Yasai-chan

           Shinta glared at the man who stepped out of the shadows, his hand still on the hilt of his sword. For some reason the man didn't seem to quite fit in the Chinese style clothes that he wore, and there was something disconcerting about his smile, his eyes almost closed they were so tilted shut.

           "What do you want" Shinta said bluntly, dropping the polite mannerism he usually adopted. The man seemed to grin wider, and Shinta felt all the more that there was something missing from the equation.

            "Aa," the man started in a friendly voice "I was wondering if you've heard anything about a man called Himura Battousai" he spoke, one eye opening slightly, showing the amber depths as he enunciated the last word a little more meaningfully than the rest. Shinta relaxed his grip just slightly as he shook his head, sighing inwardly.

            There was still something disturbing about the man, but Shinta assumed he may just be some sort of undercover law official, as that was the sort of aura the man set off.

            "Is there anything else I can help you with Mr.…." Shinta trailed off, going back to his more polite speech.

            "Fujita.." the man said smiling. "Maa, I believe that is all" he almost seemed to chuckle "Be sure to look out for him though, he is armed and dangerous and there's no telling what his motives are" Shinta tensed and grasped his hilt tighter

            "Can you tell me anymore about him?" Shinta said almost nervously, was this battousai a threat to him and his family?

            "Aa. Well, I can give you his description" Fujita said still smiling. Shinta nodded at the man

            "Please do" he requested politely. Fujita turned around and opened his eyes, his smile falling into a smirk, although Shinta could not see it.

            "A short man, with hair the color of blood and amber eyes" he intoned dramatically, his grin widening "He bears a cross-shaped scar on his left cheek, said to be carved there by his wife as he murdered her in cold blood." By this time Shinta's eyes were wide and he was grasping the hilt so tight his knuckles were white. Saitoh didn't bother to turn around and see his expression before he walked off, already knowing what it would be.

            As soon as Saitoh was far enough away he leaned into the shadows of the wall and laughed, lighting a cigarette as the air filled with his maniacal malice. Where Saitoh left him, Shinta stood frozen, looking after the officer in a mix of fear and anger. He hadn't yet realized who the description resembled.

            He didn't understand the rush of feelings that ran through him, one of them being hatred. Had he known this man before he lost his memory? Shinta wondered. Would it jeapordise his family if he didn't remember everything? Was it time to let go of this new future and go spiraling into the past in order to protect it?

            He shivered at the thought, although not certain why he should be so reluctant and frightened. What did the past hold that he was afraid to face? He clenched his other hand in a fist so tightly that his nails dug little red lines of blood in his palm.

            Behind him lay a trail of blood, bodies slumped against the wall covered in their own guts and refuse, faces contorted in hideous death masks of surprise and pain. Yet he walked by them unaffected. Neither heaven nor hell could hold him, and although he didn't think people had the right to judge others, this wasn't judgment, but justice.

            Enishi grinned bitterly as he tore through another of the guards. Fang would regret even thinking about touching Kaoru, much less doing it. If he caused her any more anguish than Enishi already had himself, he would lower himself to Fangs level and take every second of pain given to Kaoru out in an hour of terror and screaming from Fang. It likely wouldn't take much as Fang was used to being the Torturer, not the tortured.

            He cut down another of Fangs Pseudo-ninjas. Damn, where the fuck did they all come from, Enishi wondered as one slammed into the wall, cracking it's head open and sliding down leaving a bloody smear behind. This was getting rather obnoxious he thought to himself as he stepped onto the exposed ribcage of a fallen acolyte of Fang's. He shook the body off and winced as his shoe and pant leg up to his ankle was dyed a dark, almost burgundy color by the blood.

            Through what eyes would Kaoru see him, covered in blood not his own. She had seen the pit, but he hadn't had a chance to find out how she saw him after that. Would she scream and shy away from him? He wondered painfully. He had no experience in what to do in this sort of situation. Kaoru was his first… the first person he'd cared for.

            Damn it, what would Fang do to her, would he dare do anything. Enishi shuddered in rage, taking it out on the next lackey as he left his sword by his side in one hand and used the other to crush the man's skull, spattering brains and blood across his face.

            Knowing Fang, the boy would likely not try to hide, expecting to be able to manipulate him. Enishi knew full well what Fang had tried to do years prior, and despite Fangs obvious thoughts, it hadn't even come close to working. Enishi headed towards the Tower, where Fang kept all of his other "toys." Kaoru would be held in the top, in the room Fang used to break people.

            Hang on Kaoru, I'm on my way.

            Mao sat in the corridor where Enishi had left him, running off to who knows where. No, Mao corrected, running off to Kaoru. Enishi had it bad, Mao grinned at the thought. He sobered up as he considered everything that was happening. His plans were ruined, although the result would likely be carried out anyway, he hated to see Kaoru have to go through what was ahead of her. He narrowed his eyes as he felt a presence.

            "Show yourself you whore" he spoke into the silence "It's time you told me what you have against me and why you dragged Enishi into it. You never so much as harmed him before. If I don't kill you first, he'll surely finish the job." Mao raised an eyebrow as he was rewarded with feminine laughter.

            "You still have no clue do you" the familiar voice spoke out. He'd never learned her name, and although he knew Enishi was aware of it… Enishi had never told him. "Although I have other spoken to you I have never shown myself" the voice continued "Perhaps it is time to do so now." She said stepping out of the shadows with a round object in hand. Mao blinked in surprise and gasped

            "Imouto-chan!" He exclaimed.

            "That's right" she grinned bitterly "Your precious little sister, your precious little sister that you killed…" she sneered with her sightless eyes. "You burned me in the house along with okasan and otousan's already bleeding and dead bodies!" she screamed, holding out the skull for Mao to see. "Our brother you impaled with a spear through his skull and hung on the wall… he was somehow still alive!" she cried, sobbing in her tirade.

            "He saved my life, in order that I promise to live out his and kill you." She whimpered, clutching the skull to her chest.

            "You were four years old" Mao said bluntly "And you actually understood what he asked?" he sneered, his face a replica of hers. "I was right to kill all of you. I still feel no remorse, you were monsters" he spat out at her "And now it seems I must finish the job." He sobered up as he finished one last thought.

            "You were always my favorite" he spoke to her "This killing.. I will actually regret"

            Enishi kicked open the huge oaken door with one solid thump, knocking it over into the room. He looked around seeing only various contraptions and disturbing devices that he shuddered to think of Kaoru in any contact with. There was no sign of either Fang or Kaoru. He cursed.

            "What the hell do you want from me Fang." He asked finally.

            "Now now, that tone of voice won't get you anything." Fangs voice reverberated into the room. He must be in one of the passages. There were hundreds of webs of passages between all the rooms in the castle. Fang likely knew every one by heart. Enishi cursed again, wishing he had stayed around long enough to learn all of those, instead of just the labyrinth below.

            "What can I do for you" Enishi bit out, mock politely.

            "Well that's no good either, but it's the most I'll get from you for now so it will do" Fang responded. It was coming from the wall to the west. Enishi wondered how long he could keep the fool talking.

            "It won't do you any good to locate me and take me out either" Fang said humorously "Kaoru is hidden well, and it would likely take months to find her, by which time she would have starved to death. You'll just have to comply until I see fit to lead you to her, and then you can work out any silly plans of your own." Enishi's eye twitched in frustration.

            Mao panted, warn out from the long battle they'd had. His sister was stronger in the arts than either of his parents or his brother had been. He held her bloodied body in his arms and looked at the shattered skull. He hated his brother all the more for what he'd done. She'd been innocent of all of that before. Half of the reason he'd killed them then was to save her from the corruption. She wasn't supposed to have been in the house when he burned it. When he'd found that out later, that was when he'd decided to turn himself in, overtaken by the accidental killing of his sister.

            For all of this to happen was a nightmare beyond what he'd been through before. All he'd done had only served to further the goals of his family in the end. But he'd won... He'd finally finished it all, if you could really call it winning. In wars, no one ever wins. And he'd lost more than he ever dreamed.

            He sobbed over her battered body, his hands slipping on the blood as he cradled her face. He shook as he held her, she was barely breathing yet but he knew it was to late anyhow.

            "Nee," she whispered brokenly, sounding like the little girl that she had once been "Why are you crying brother" it spoke to him.

            "Because I've lost everything I ever fought for," he whispered back.

            "I understand…" she whispered, her voice fading "I didn't know it was an accident" Mao's eyes widened. Had she mastered that hardest art of reading the very thoughts in people's heads? "I forgive you, don't be sad" she said raising a bloody hand halfway to his face before it fell limply to her side. Mao screamed.

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Disclaimer: Site created by the ExK no Tenshi-tachi. Enishi, Kaoru & other Rurouni Kenshin characters belong to Watsuki Nobuhiro-sensei, Sony, and Shonen Jump. The rest are products of the webdominatrices' imagination. Please don't sue us. We're very poor.