Sogetsu Samurai Shodown
Fan Fiction
--The website dedicated to all Samurai Spirits fans--~ver5.0~
Thunder and Redness
by Irene Trent
Homepage: Save the Sugar

Chapter 12

       "That is me, brother," Sogetsu stated proudly. "I'm quite surprised you remembered me." 
       "What-what has happened to you. . ." 
       From behind the shack, I saw him emerge. He wore this red demon mask with horns and a long black cape which hissed like a snake when he walked. Even behind the mask, I still knew who it was. I could see his eyes. He stood beside Sogetsu, with a hand on the man's shoulder, and laughed. 
       Kazuki shot forth: "What did you do to my brother, you bastard?! What did you do to him?! What did you do to him?!" 
       His voice was low, calm. "Your brother serves me now. He has become quite an assassin." 
       "What the-why him?! Let him go!" 
       "I don't think that would be good right now. Your brother enjoys serving me, don't you Sogetsu." 
       "I do, master." His voice was zombie-like and fluid, with one boring pitch. He stared at both of us with empty eyes. 
       "You bastard!" I huffed. "You bastard!" 
       "Why my brother?! Why, Sogetsu?! Why?!" 
       "Sogetsu has found a place with me," Amakusa replied, his voice chilling. "With me, he doesn't endure the torture and shunning inflicted on him by the people. He finds comfort in my recognition of his otherwise insulted gifts. He is. . .quite special, wouldn't you say." 
       I glared back at him. He was going to ruin us one by one-before ruining all honor and goodness. Sogetsu looked at me and grinned with nothing but hate in his eyes. 
       "Soon we will all serve Our Mighty Lord, for He will overtake all. It is a great honor to serve Lord Amakusa." He turned to the evil one in the red mask, "How may I serve you, master?" 
       "Dispose of your brother," he spat. 
       "No!" Kazuki cried. "Sogetsu don't listen to him!" 
       "There is no use, boy. . ." Amakusa chided. "He serves me and only me. He only listens to me." He turned to Sogetsu. "Kill him!" 
       He marched forward with his sword drawn; the tine was pointed at the throat of his own brother. "It is time to die, Kazuki." 
       "Sogetsu, no!!" he cried, "Why?! I'm your own brother! He's evil! He wants you hurt you! Once he finds no use for you he'll kill you too." 
       The boy was crying and shaking. His eyes were wide; they didn't blink. Mucus dripped from his nose and he was too afraid to wipe it. 
       "Nonsense. It is only natural that I destroy you. Fire is bad. Fire eats everything in its path and leaves only black nothingness. Water cleanses the earth and makes things pure while fire is only destructive. Water stops the evil of fire. Just look at the evil it does. It burned Gairyu Isle to the ground. It killed Kei. It destroyed our home. I, the one who beholds the power of mizu, the almighty force of good, must kill you. You are dangerous, Kazuki. Water quenches fire; it is a timeless rule. It is only natural that I kill you." 
       His lips trembled and his eyes were wide open and red. He shuddered with broken breath and perspiration beads on his forehead. Except for his shaking, he stood perfectly still, as he were to accept his horrible fate. Sogetsu's cold and empty eyes admired the helplessness of the boy as he trembled before his own brother. Truly this was not natural. 
       I glared at him, standing perfectly still in that long, black robe, and behind that red mask I could see his grin-that slow, upward curve of his thin lips until the ends of his mouth reached his amber eyes and they would light up with this cold spark when he saw perversion he lived for perversion he lived for perversion it was only natural that I would restore Father's honor and he broke it he broke it and I'll bet he was grinning that day as he watched Death his beautiful creation destruction was his creation destruction was his creation I had to destroy his creation! 
       Sogetsu slowly brought back his arm, preparing to behead his own brother with the sickle-shaped sword. I watched with my eyes open and my brows narrowed at the perverted scene. I could not let it happen. . . 
       He paused a few seconds before swinging the sword 
       Could not let this happen. . . 
       I never thought when I grabbed my scabbard and clubbed the young man over the head with it. He uttered a short, soft cry and fell helpless to the ground. Blood seeped from his forehead. I backed away from the silent body, just knowing what I had done. His sword lay beside him. 
       Kazuki stopped shaking. 
       "Shame, Shame, Haohmaru. . ." Amakusa said. "It seems you killed this poor boy's brother. I must pay you some gratitude for allowing one less soul to kill." 
       I dropped to the ground as I looked at the two brothers, the younger kneeling over the older and calling his name with soft desperation. He lay still, peaceful. What had I done?! 
       I knelt, resting my arm on my knee and my head on my arm. I couldn't look-he is part of me! He is part of me and he screams inside a caged beast roaring to be released absorbing my honor and blood making it poisoned and evil. . . 
       I rose. 
       "You monster!" I hissed, drawing my sword. "You did this! You did it all!!" 
       "Nonsense. You were doomed the moment your father placed a sword in your hand. If only he could see the monster you turned out to be." 
       The sight of the two brothers brought much shame and dishonor, so much I couldn't become enraged. I felt him disappear from the shack, and the coldness went away. The oppressive heat returned. Kazuki's head lay atop his brother's still chest. He stopped shaking, but he was still crying very quietly. 
       I turned my back on the scene that I couldn't bear to look at. A symbol of dishonor. A chaos that I had created. . . 
       Chaos the chaos that he created it was true it was true I was in turn creating destruction it was my creation too it was both of our creations I had a unity 
       a unity with that bastard that dishonorable bastard 
       I had created destruction from the day I was born I carried that dirty seal nailed to my heart making me bad telling me that destruction is the only creation he had killed my father I had killed Sogetsu all the boy had coming following us saving Masashige and the look in his big eyes that first day praying and praying he knelt before us his eyes groveling with anxiety beseeching our help all he had red he came to us with red hair and the redness spread all over from his brother's forehead his dead brother his dead brother that I Haohmaru son of Akira murdered son of Akira I was with the filth smothered across his honor a swine wallowing in the dirt that I created 
       Father once told me that a Samurai who was dishonorable could not live 
       that he must take his life because it was the only way he could regain his honor is that my fate is that my fate I believe it is so that was what he would have wanted me to do that is what he would have wanted me to do cut myself open and pour out my dirty blood my dirty blood. . . 
       There were footsteps. 
       "What has happened in here?" I heard her inquire. She called my name. 
       I fled from the shack with the redness, and the trees looked brown and the forest didn't look like a forest, but a rotting wasteland. My thoughts ran with me and the world raced behind me as I moved forward faster and faster. I could not look back at the shack. 
       It ran faster than I, waiting for me at a clearing of the forest where I dropped myself in anguish. It ran in circles inside my head, never tiring, never breathless. 
       Yes, there was a place where honor is forever immortal where Father's honor would never be lost I must leave the Earth, place of loss. 
       I was the monster I was the monster he lived inside me wrenching me around and nailing his evilness into my blood I had to destroy it I had to destroy it destroy it to create destroy it to recreate to retrieve what was lost 
       I had to end it 
       I knelt down on my knees and quickly unsheathed the dagger the dagger he killed Father with it was rusty with his blood with the dagger inside that blood would enter me and the tainted blood would spill onto the earth and become lost as everything else on the earth was. 
       My stomach quivered as I pointed it toward my loins, the knife shaking in my hands 
       I had to do it 
       End myself to end it 
       I closed my eyes feeling it slowly poke at me- 
       I whirled around. She looked at me with blazing eyes, like blue flames. 
       "Go away!" I spat 
       "Just put it down!" 
       "I said go away!" 
       "NO! I won't let you do this!" 
       "It is only right and only good!" 
       She wanted to stop me, did she?! There she was with those hot-cold eyes just like her father just like her father she was a curse from him trying to stop me from doing what I had to forcing me to live with shame gloating as I suffered with its rocks on my back dragging me down dragging me down into the ground the earth where I would be lost forever. 
       I continued to poke the knife into my stomach and I could feel a small sting as it penetrated me. My back was turned to her. 
       She screamed and ran over to me, grabbing my arm as hard as she could, trying to pull the knife from my stomach. I gripped it tightly so I wouldn't drop it; she would snatch it from me if I did. I knew better, I knew better! 
       "Let go of me, woman!" I growled right from my throat with my teeth clenched together. 
       "Haohmaru, you must stop this at once! Put the knife down!" 
       I looked at her, gripping the knife harder. Her eyes were red like devils' and her face was streaked with dried tears and her small mouth was crying and screaming. Her hands gripped harder at my arm. I was amazed; she was pretty strong, but I wouldn't let her overpower me! Her eyes were bluer, they were so blue they nearly blinded me just like her father's just like her father's. I wanted to kill that man and drive a knife through his- 
       Her arm retreated, covered in redness. It spread across her white skin and dripped in a puddle on to the ground She stared at it with wide eyes and a tight mouth, looking at me. A lone tear dripped from her eyes, looking from her arm to me and back at her arm and then at me. I froze and dropped the knife looking at her arm and then at her and then at her arm, which pulsed as she held it gently in her other hand. I had done it. I had done what I knew I would do-what I was afraid I would do. 
       She was still alive, standing straight up, regal in her blue, tailored jacket. Everything was regal and empress-like except for her face, twisted in torment. She still stared at me, that lone tear just about to fall from her chin. Her pink mouth twitched slightly like a rabbit's. I thought that she was going to say something for a moment. I was just glad she was alive. 
       The tear finally fell from her chin and onto her pants, making a dark stain. She folded her dainty hands and looked down at it, the blue eyes disappearing. Her golden hair covered her face. She let her arm bleed, letting it gush from her arm and her skin was turning even whiter; I never thought she could get any whiter. I tore off part of my clothing and leaned over to her, wrapping it around her arm to stop the bleeding. I knelt, my shameful head resting on my arm. I couldn't say anything, so I stayed there and helped her arm heal. 
       "I'm sorry. . ." I said, but the words sounded strange and hollow. It was all I could say. 
       She didn't seem angry at me for what I had done, nor at what had come out of my mouth. She looked down on me, her mouth twitching again. I waited for the words, not patiently. I closed my eyes. What would she say what would she say? She would say she hated me! No-I would hurt her again if I thought that. But she should, anyway. 
       "Haohmaru. . ." 
       I waited, bracing myself, the child waiting to be whipped, praying to be whipped fast and quickly. Three words. Three words. I closed my eyes tightly as the stones were piled onto my back. She was going to say it again. 
       "I-I love you." 
       I opened them and looked up at her. I could feel the gods lift the stones from my back, not only knowing what she said, but that she didn't scorn me. 
       "You-you asked me why I came here when I met you again," she continued, "and I told you that I wanted to explore. That was true, but-but it wasn't my prime motivation." 
       "It was me, wasn't it?" I asked, confused. She said she hated me. 
       She nodded slowly. "All my life I had been so curious about you, and I had missed you so much. I wondered how you had lived and what you had done. And I was so angry that you refused to live with us. I tried so hard to understand-and as I got older I tried to tell myself that my father and my brother would have been cruel to you, and the other children would make fun of you. But I am very selfish. . ." she started to cry, and I listened, "I wished you would have lived with me despite that. And I wanted to see you, but my father wouldn't let me take a vessel all the way here. I knew not to even ask. He had hid the map from me, as if he knew what I'd wanted to do, and he would never go back. He had received his pay. As much as you refuse to believe it, I hated living in a home of such prejudice and bigotry. But he was my father, and I couldn't help but love him." 
       "But how did you get here?" 
       "I-I came behind my father's back, with Sieger's help." 
       Her words were rather quick. 
       She looked very beautiful, even though her clothing was stained in blood and dirt and tears. I couldn't help but eye her. It was dangerous-very dangerous. She seemed so beautiful when she was suffering below me. But more guilt fell upon me. If only I had known why she was here. It couldn't have been a trick. Her words sounded very true, and I had not one feeling of skepticism. She had never hated me. She had never hated me. 
       I held her frail body in my arms. She felt so limp, and she slightly lay her head against my shoulder, breathing slowly. We stayed like that for a few minutes longer until Masashige appeared. He was silent for a moment, his eyes fixed on us, before he said anything. 
       "Um. . .Sogetsu is alive." He merely stated. 
       Alive! My heart leapt. I was not like him I was not like him! The thought of seppuku tickled my mind, for I was not dishonorable! It would have been silly to take my life! And she was not a tool of him, but a tool of the kami, for stopping me. I held her tighter. 
       "Come, Charlotte, we must go back," I said softy, helping her from the ground. She was just strong enough to walk back, even though her cut had stopped bleeding.

       Masashige led us back to the rest of them, who had congregated in front of the old shack all that while. They were circled around the young man like a bunch of ants, and I could barely see him, but his head was propped against a rock, his eyes half-closed. But I saw the rise and fall of his chest, and I knew for sure he was going to live. 
       "Hey, Haohmaru, where have you been?" Galford questioned, with a glint of mischief in his blue eyes. 
       "None of your concern," I replied harshly. 
       I gently put my arm around her waist and told her to rest awhile, and she went away and fell asleep on a soft patch of grass. 
       I plowed my way through the small crowd of people so I could get a closer look. 
       Kazuki ran over to me and squeezed me, nearly crushing my ribs. "Haohmaru, my savior!" he cried, overjoyed. I beamed. Destruction was not my creation. 
       Sogetsu weakly called his brother's name, reaching his arm out to him. 
       "I'm here, Sogetsu." 
       "What. . .what happened? Where am I? Who are. . ." 
       "These are the people who helped save you." 
       "Save me? Save me from what?" 
       "Amakusa, of course." 
       "Amakusa. . ." 
       He looked up at us from his kneeling stance. "He doesn't know. . ." he whispered. "He doesn't. . ." 
       "That's a good thing," Nakoruru said, in her fast, high-pitched voice. She turned to me. "I think you did the guy a favor by whacking him on the head." 
       "Well. . .I didn't think it was a favor at the time. . ." I replied, scratching my head. 
       "What do you last remember?" she asked Sogetsu. 
       He turned his head to see her, his eyes still half-closed, his body limp. "Walking alone on the seaside after escaping into the water. . ." his voiced sounded weak. 
       "A man came to me. He was dressed in a dark cloth and had amber eyes, and he. . .he placed his hand on my head. It was very bony. . ." 
       I knew who he was describing, "And after that?" 
       "I-I don't know?" 
       "Come on, tell me." 
       "I woke up here, with you people. . ." 
       "I'm not playing around, I want to know!" I demanded. 
       "Haohmaru!" Nakoruru scolded. "He doesn't remember!" 
       "The man's name was Amakusa. . ." I told him, my tone more gentle. "Amakusa is evil. He's a demon. He's the demon of all demons. And you served him." 
       Kazuki looked at me, with wide, child-like eyes. "He often escapes to the seaside when they torment him. . ." he replied, his voice an octave higher. 
       "Who torments him?" 
       "The townspeople." 
       He sighed. "They know of his powers. He has special characteristics that they know of. Look, behind his ear. . ." 
       Kazuki lifted his earlobe to reveal a second flap of skin. "See that? It's a gill. He can breathe underwater. And look at his hands and feet; they're webbed so he can swim" 
       "Amazing. . ." Galford gasped. 
       "Why should they taunt him?" Nakoruru asked. "He's been given special gifts." 
       "Because they think he's a mutant. They shun him because of his gills, and women. . ." His voice froze, and his eyes were wider than ever. He drew his hand to his lip, preparing to bite his nails. "Oh my! Oh--!" 
       "Well, what is it?" I interrogated. 
       "That day-the day he disappeared. I-I remember what had happened before. . ." 
       "What?" I asked. 
       "There was a girl in the village-a very beautiful, nice girl who was the daughter of a wealthy merchant. She had long, flowing hair and dainty hands. Many men were attracted to her, but-none more than Sogetsu of course. He had been fascinated with her for years, since he was fifteen. He would watch her walk into town with her tiny feet barely touching the ground. She was royalty, beauty, and perfection to him. Why, he even knew where she went at certain times during the day. But she didn't know-for years she didn't know of his infatuation. Sogetsu had been trained in the art of Ninja, and he knew just where to hide and watch her. 
       "But he was too shy and afraid to speak one word to her, and he kept his infatuation discreet. I was the only one who knew of it. Sogetsu was always discreet, very quiet. He hardly smiled because he lived a life of torment. He knew what the people thought of him. Everyday he endured the taunts, the insults, and the shunning. I was the only friend he had; we had suffered so much together, but-it was awfully hard to be a friend amidst his rejection. It had dampened his confidence. He assumed that she would just be one of them-another element of cruelty. 
       "And I-I told him differently. I always had, but especially on that one day. We were at the market, buying bread and fish together, talking about insignificant things. I don't even remember what it was. We were happy-well, I was happy, he was content. Sogetsu was never happy. And she showed up. His eyes turned away from mine as we talked. I knew he felt her presence. He watched her with gazing, longing, sad eyes as she carefully picked out apples. I nudged him, urging him to speak at least a word to her. He backed away at first, too inhibited, but still staring. I told him that he would never know for sure if he never even spoke to her. He started shaking his head and denying my words, but still looking. But as I kept telling him to talk to her, telling him to release those burdensome feelings, he began to believe me. 
       "Was that a mistake. He slowly walked over to her. I could feel his nervousness. She minded her own business, picking out fruit, when he tapped her on the shoulder. I moved my ear closer to hear what she would say. She turned around-and screamed, dropping the apples: 'Mutant! Mutant! The water monster-it's attacking me! Help!' And the market manager ran to her defense and grabbed my brother, who was kicking and screaming. People started hitting him with brooms and throwing food at him, yelling every possible insult. I tried to help him, but the mob thrashed me around. I tried so hard to break through it. His face and stained clothes looked outraged., but that was not the last thing I saw. When he finally broke free of the mob, he flashed me a look of cold anger as he ran away. 
       "The next day I looked near the seaside where he secluded himself. At first I had figured he was underwater, and he would come up soon. So I fell asleep nearby on the coast the following night, expecting him there. That was when I began to feel at fault. I looked everywhere around town, but he wasn't there. He'd run away before, but always came back after a week. Two had passed and he hadn't returned, and I figured it that he was captured-and that it was my duty to save him, to repent for the lie that I had told him." 
       I listened carefully to every word. I knew the boy had a lot of trust in me, and I felt horrible for him, and for his brother. Then I remembered what Amakusa had said in the shack, about him finding comfort in serving him. . . 
       "He figured that Amakusa would be a friend to him," I sighed, "but Amakusa is not a friend to anybody. You were right in looking for him at the hiding place-he did say the last thing he remembered was at the seaside. . ." 
       "Yes he did." 
       "His mind is blank. There is a period where he remembers nothing." 
       He inched closer to me. "Is it a good thing-like Nakoruru says?" 
       I sighed, not knowing a true answer. "Only time will tell. Only time will tell."

Chapter 13

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