Haohmaru 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 23

       "Are we going to fight?!" I shouted at him, as he was levitated before me, "Because if so, then I am ready and more than willing!"
       He chuckled-a sound that came from deep within his evil heart-if he had one at all. And then something strange happened to his voice as he laughed. It became softer and less angry. I could not understand what was happening, and then his whole form began to change. The skin on his face had suddenly smoothened and his eyes lost their amber color to a deep brown, and the hair-which had become gray-became long and black and flowing. When I recognized the face, I felt my heart leap deep inside my chest and then it began to lob fiercely, so hard that I could not breathe.
       Asura stood in the shadows, watching the confrontation, and his eyes seemed wide in awe.
       My mouth gaped open and I was drawn to the new shape. How could he-
       "A samurai never fears death. He never runs away, and confronts it with bravery and honor."
       That voice sounded the same as it did nineteen years ago. Father's voice-and Father's face.
       Before I could call out to him, the form changed back into the regular and loathsome form of Amakusa, who stood before me, laughing hysterically. It was a taunt. A taunt!
       The more I heard him laugh the more I could feel it choking me, consuming everything inside me making me want to tear out his tongue so he could never laugh at me again. I tried so hard to breathe but I couldn't and my breath became ragged and hoarse and I gripped the hilt of my sword and quickly unsheathed the blade, which glinted in all directions from the flickering candles.
       All he was doing was taunting me. At that time in the restaurant and then after the fire and then in the shack with Sogetsu he never tried to attack me and he never came for me but I came for him and he was just an arms length away and I could never reach him and whenever I tried he would avoid my grasp I wanted to kill him for laughing and jeering at me-
       I couldn't control it anymore and I ran towards him, waving my blade in the air and screaming and then I sliced my way through him, but before I could raise my katana for the final slice, I felt a tingling force go through me and throw me against the large double doors through which I entered. Pain shot through my back, and I for a moment I was almost too weak to stumble onto my feet.
       When I looked up, I saw his hand surrounded in a bright, white light. I was in the restaurant and Cham Cham was there and she insulted him and then something shot forth from his palm. Then I returned to the large room in his palace and then I realized the power that he had. Perhaps he was right-that I was a failure.
       I felt a hand on my arm. It was Asura, who helped me to the ground.
       "Be wise, for he is powerful-frighteningly powerful. . ."
       And then he faded back into the darkness, and I was left alone again to fight Amakusa. I tried to swallow my fear, but it was overwhelming me and it made me want to run away where no one would see me and then end it right there.
       End it because I was dishonorable to Father I could not stop him he was immortal and he was powerful and he knew that I was a failure why had I wasted my time and my life and the lives of the others to kill something that was already dead-
       I crumbled to the ground, and then heard laughter. Loud, hysterical laughter that filled the entire room.
       "What foolishness! Are you not a man to get up to try and fight me? To avenge your father's wishes? Fulfill your destiny, Haohmaru. . ." his voice changed to a mocking sneer, and then fresh bursts of laughter echoed throughout the large room. It started to quell inside me again, but the blow had made me so weak I was more exhausted than angry. I tried to lift myself to my feet, but my arms felt incredibly weak, as if all life had been drained from them.
       More laughter.
       "Oh, wait. You have no destiny, for I know what you are thinking! You want to kill me, don't you? But you don't know how! I am immortal and we both know it! So you have no destiny and therefore no reason to be here!"
       I coughed, still trying to rise and defeat him. I was not dead yet, and I know that Father told me that a great Samurai fights to the death.
       "It is not worth your efforts, Haohmaru," he chided, shaking his head as he saw me try to stand, "We both know that it is best for you to surrender to me now-commit your sacred seppuku-and die an honorable death, for the death I will give you is far from honorable."
       "I will find a way!" I huffed with exhausted rage. Slowly, I felt strength return to my body, and I could pull myself from the cold ground. I would find a way-for Father. I had to. Somehow I felt that there was a way, and that I could not die until my father's honor had been preserved. It was not natural that he should have a second chance, and even if he was to take my life, perhaps I could defeat him in the spiritual realm. And that made me immortal.
       Then I jumped to my feet after experiencing such enlightenment, prepared to battle. I firmly gripped my sword with my hands.
       "So you want to fight me, do you?" he scoffed again.
       "To my death!"
       "Then so be it!"
       With that, Asura handed him his sword and bowed. The man baffled me, for one moment he was helping me, and then giving Amakusa his sword-the sword that cut through Hidoshi's troops like a hot knife through rice paper. I gulped and hoped for a quick death, which I hoped would allow my own soul to be immortal and then have a fair chance. I strongly believed so, for it was my only hope.
       I recalled Asura's words-to be wise, but I could not trust him.
       I swung my blade first, just a hair away from striking him, but then he quickly dodged and I nearly stumbled to the ground. All the forces inside me had been wasted for that single swipe-the swipe that I hoped would kill him.
       He continued to laugh, and I attempted another blow, but he quickly evaded me. It began to seethe inside me like the brew in a witch's cauldron. I tried many time to strike him, but he managed to escape, and the only thing I had struck was the steel of the large blade, and I felt the vibrations of the blow run though my arms. He took a swing, showing no strain as he lifted the sword. I ducked to the ground just in time to save my head. He went right for the throat.
       More consecutive strikes and returns, and that large sword of his felt massive, and every time it struck against the steel of my blade, my arms ached. I felt that my own Fugu blade would cave in, yet it still held strong and protected me. He was quick, but not so quick as to sneak a blow, for with that large sword he moved more slowly.
       "You fight quite well," Amakusa stated, his voice sounding very calm, but there was a hint of spite that began to boil to the surface. "It is your father's doing! Even without proper Samurai training you are still a natural!"
       We exchanged more blows. It took little training, for it seemed that it was merely my instinct which helped me to determine when he was striking and-more importantly-when he was preparing to strike me. He was no Samurai warrior himself, but he was quite skilled, and every time he swung his blade I quickly prayed that it would not be the one that would cut me in half.
       "This is for my mother!" I managed to cut through him, but-like the time at the restaurant-the mortal wound healed itself.
       He laughed, and I became more vengeful.
       "This is for my father!" I swiped again, forming another non-existent cut.
       I saw it again-the redness-and everything around me was flashing red and my chest felt as if it was going to collapse from intense pain. My arms shook violently and my head felt as if it was throbbing; I felt as if I were whirling away into a world of redness and chaos, where I could not control myself-
       "And this is for ruining me!" I managed to spit out, yet I saw that the loathsome form before me had vanished.
       Before I had a chance to wonder where he went, I heard a shrill voice.
       'Haohmaru, watch out!"
       It sent me stumbling to the ground, and then I looked behind me and saw him, his blade coming down harshly onto the ground. He struck stone, and the force of it caused shards and dust to fly from the gorund. I covered my eyes.
       Amakusa began to laugh again, a deep, throaty laugh.
       "You think you can save him, don't you!" he sneered.
       I looked and saw her, and she was backed by all my companions. They stood tall and firm, prepared to battle.
       "How did you. . ." I began, feeling slightly weak.
       "We came in through another entrance," she replied, out of breath, "but unfortunately we lost Sieger to a lone warrior of Hidoshi's-still bitter about the battle. God rest his soul. . ."
       I felt a momentary pang of grief, but there were more important things. He was a brave man-more willing to die for our sake than to die for the king if his own country. It made me awe with admiration. I stood up, and had to be brave as he had, to destroy that nasty, rotten thing that had caused all conflict. To avenge Sieger as well.
       Amakusa started laughing again, so loud that I thought the palace was going to crumble. The high, vaulted walls shook, and the mere sound of it make my ears feels as if they were shattering.
       "Well, Haohmaru. . .it seems as if your friends are going to try and save you! I will destroy you all you offensive fiends!! Each one of you makes the gall rise in my throat! I will make sure that you die painfully!"
       "It is you who is the offensive fiend!" Charlotte, shouted, her voice rich with vigor. She sounded refreshed, renewed, and strong, "You have become rotten! A disgrace to God!"
       All of a sudden the building trembled and the windows exploded. I covered my face to avoid the shards. I felt an intense heat surround me, as if I was choking in a fire and could not breathe.
       "HOW DARE you speak that name to me!"
       A burst of wind with the force of a thousand horses slammed against us and we all stumbled to the ground.
       He laughed as we tried to lift our weak bodies from the ground. "You pathetic fools! I am immortal! There is no way that you can stop me! I AM IMMORTAL!!"
       "You will pay for this, Amakusa!" Masashige growled, his fists and teeth were tightly clenched, "You will pay for what you have done! And it is quite a debt you owe."
       "I do not owe any debt at all!" he sneered at the ninja and hissed, "You traitor. I am immortal! All powerful! Even more powerful that the ultimate traitor! The one who I had spent my life serving! And He put me in HELL!! But I am more powerful! I AM IMMORTAL!"
       "You are not more powerful than God, for He will not let you last like this forever!" Charlotte shot back.
       "Quiet, whore!"
       He blasted her with that white-blue light from his palm and she fell to the ground. I heard her grunt in pain. I glared at him, and my breathing became short and raspy and I hated him for what he had done-that he hurt her, and I could not let him do it again. I couldn't let him disgrace her like he digraced my mother and Cham Cham and then I saw her and she was hanging her blond hair hanging limply and the face twisted in death and cold blue eyes and slashes on her thighs-
       "You BASTARD!" I cried, slicing at him with full force. I had hit his arm, and I saw that it had severed, and it fell to the ground. Where his arm used to be there was a clean, red circle-of flesh and bone. My companions eyed me in awe, and for one short moment I felt triumph, as if I was doing what I was here to do. That he was finally in my clutches, and I would defeat him and gain back what I had lost.
       And then he laughed again, a sneer on his face. "Well, Haohmaru, I suppose that I struck something deeper in you than the gash on my arm. . ."
       He got louder and the walls and the window panes and the broken tile floors began to shake and then I felt the intense heat begin to choke me. My heart pounded. What would he do next? Every move that he made, I hoped it would not be the move that caused my death.
       The gash in his arm began to spew blood. It was red blood, human blood, and I hoped that he was finally bleeding to death-that he was suffering. But he wasn't. He was still laughing, his amber eyes shining so brightly they nearly blinded me and his mouth was curved in a malicious grin.
       "Oh!" Nakoruru exclaimed, stepping back in fear. Her eyes were wide and brown, with the bright white haze of Amakusa's aura reflected in her eyes, "How can that-?!"
       "I have never seen anything like it!" Asura gasped in awe.
       I looked down to the broken tiles, and when the drops of blood spilled from his arm, they became black and scuttled across the floor like spiders. And there will millions of drops and millions of spiders, heading towards us in a swarm, their tiny feet making a sound like a shiver up my spine.
       "There are millions of them!" Nakoruru exclaimed.
       "I do not like them. . ." Charlotte whimpered, edging closer to me, "I fear those things like the plague. They are disgusting!"
       "Then we will stomp on them!" I declared, and as the onslaught approaches us, we tried to stomp on as many as we could, smashing them dead into piles of yellow liquid. But there were just too many and they were coming and coming like a black wave and we kept stomping and stomping and smashing them down. They crawled up our legs and we tried to shake them off and I could hear him cackling hysterically over the scuttling of the spiders. It was no use to try and kill them all, for there was a myriad of them.
       Kazuki helped us a great deal by shooting forth flames from his fists and torching numbers of them, and Sogetsu sprayed them with rushes of water, but the more we eradicated them, the more they seems to rush at us. Masashige threw shuriken at them, and Asura rushed into help, slicing the creatures with his mighty sword. Nakoruru and Galford stomped as fast as they could, and the young American held Shizumaru on his back to protect him from bites. The child was wailing and we were up to our ankles in spiders and the feeling of them moving all around me nauseated me. Charlotte tried hard to suppress her screams while trying to smash the spiders.
       All of a sudden, I heard her moan in pain, and she held her leg.
       "Charlotte!" I cried.
       "I've been bitten, Haohmaru," she barely whispered, "They were venomous with a great toxin. . ."
       "I must get you out of here!" I cried, lifting her up from the black masses that were crawling up my legs and almost to my knee.
       "No. . ." Sogetsu stated. "Please, let me take her. You must fight him."
       I looked at the young man, at his warm blue eyes, and a wave of compassion had swallowed me. It was only right. He was right. And my father's words rang through my head once more.
       "Yes, take her. Help her!" I called to him, and then I bowed, "I am indebted to you, Sogetsu."
       He bowed and quickly ran off, carrying her away.
       I had to forget about her to save her.
       Kazuki had inflamed most of them spiders, and they had begun to decrease in number. My feet were sore from squashing spiders, and I huffed from exhaustion.
       "Is that all?" I glared at him.
       "Trying to sound strong, are you, Haohmaru?" He cackled. "Why don't you go save her instead of leaving her to that traitor Sogetsu! He won't take care of her like you. . ."
       I covered my ears and tried to not listen to him, for everything he said was a lie! I knew that he was the one not to trust and so I had to forget about her, but it was very hard for I could not let her die. I could not let him take her away.
       "You may have succeeded in killing my father, but you will never kill her!" I shouted back.
       He roared with laughter and then the building began to shake rather violently and more windows broke and when I looked down at the tiles on the ground they started vibrating. The ceiling began to sway and then the roof split and pieces of wood began to rain on us and then I could see the gray-red sky above. Then I realized that what was shaking was more that his cackling, but something else, deep beneath the earth.
       "An earthquake!" Nakoruru exclaimed, "We've got to get out of here!"
       She covered her head to protect herself, and I grabbed Shizumaru and we started to run.
       "Unzen-san will erupt and we will all become molten!" Masashige exclaimed.
       "Nature will have her way with you, beast!" Nakoruru shouted back.
       And, as the palace walls began to collapse, he laughed louder, and then I saw that his form was growing larger.


Chapter 24

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