Hanzo Samurai Shodown
Fan Fiction
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Electric Demon
by Mark Patraw
Homepage: Mark's Art Page

Chapter 1

      "What a wretched night!!!" Old Ashufu spat angrily as he tripped over yet another nigh-invisible root in the darkness. It seemed the tangled forest had taken an immediate disliking to the elderly man and decided it was going to do its best to trip him up and make him fall and snap his scrawny, little neck. The sliver of a moon was covered by black clouds, which allowed precious little light to see by. No matter how he squinted his ancient eyes, Old Ashufu would always miss a root or a rock and down he would go again.
      "This forest is cursed is what it is! Crazy demons hiding in the tree branches and laughing at me while I fall on my fat nose!" He exclaimed with disgust.
      Somewhere in the dank smelling marsh to his left, a bunch of frogs suddenly broke into a mating chorus, drowning out the gentle creaks of the crickets and the occasional song of the night birds. Old Ashufu jumped.
      "Shut up you toads!!! An old man lost at night in the woods has enough problems without you slimy things driving him mad!!!"
      Ashufu noted with satisfaction that the frogs immediately obeyed his command. Grimly, he continued his trudge on through the inky wilderness. What you ought to do is find a comfortable tree to lean against and take a nap till morning comes the ancient traveler lectured to himself.
      A drop of water struck his forearm and interrupted his thoughts. Then another landed on his hand, and another. Soon, it began to rain in earnest. Thunder rumbled dully in the distance.
      "Can this night get any worse?!" Old Ashufu murmured as he pulled his tattered jacket closer around his bony shoulders to protect himself against the sudden chill in the midnight air. Lightning flashed across the heavens, and in that brief, unnatural light he just barely glimpsed another gnarled root before he stumbled upon it.
      "Hah! Perhaps this storm is good for something after…" His words were cut off as the skies exploded above with a deafening thunderclap. He instinctively moved to cover his ears as he leapt a foot in the air, clean out of his sandals!
      "Eeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! My poor heart can't take much more of this!" He gasped, clenching his chest. It felt like a small rabbit was trying to escape out of the cage his ribs formed.
      "My ears will probably ring for a fortnight; if this rain doesn't give me a cold and kill me first that is…"
      The skies churned noisily again and the rain descended even harder. Small hailstones stung Ashufu's baldhead. Unexpectedly the downpour suddenly stopped. It didn't taper off; it just simply ceased to fall instantly.
       Old Ashufu studied the vague clouds in the sky incredulously.
      "What strange weather! Never in all my years have I seen a storm end so…"
      The blast that ripped through the sky made the previous ones seem like utter silence. Old Ashufu fell to the ground clutching his throbbing ears, tears spilling from the corners of his eyes.
      He really had gone deaf. A faint buzz echoed in his skull, but that was all. He could feel the earth and sky shaking as the thunder continued, but his ears refused to register it. Ashufu mouthed something, or at least he thought so - without the under-appreciated sound of his voice, it was difficult to tell. He stared with fear and wonder at the suddenly silent darkness around himself. Ashufu could still smell the rain in the air and feel the cool breeze on his hairy arms, but other than that, the world seemed much like a clever painting without the luxury of noise.
      And then it got worse.
      There was a flash - lightning, but much, much too close for comfort. Fire seared his skin and roasted the air as everything went white. No, Ashufu though to himself in terror, now I'm blind too! But he was mercifully wrong. It took some time before Ashufu's eyes re-adjusted, but his sight did return. Phantom fireflies still danced before his eyes, and no amount of shooing would dispel them.
      A great, glowing crater sat before him. And in the bottom of it lay a naked man, curled into a ball. He was young and well muscled, but his short hair was white as snow. How on earth had he gotten there?
      Are you all right? Those are the words that Ashufu shaped with his lips, but whether he actually spoke them or not, he could only guess.
      Obviously he had, the man's head slowly turned and regarded Ashufu. He had a handsome face, but his gaze was terrible to behold. Lightning danced unnaturally in the two dark holes where other men had eyes!
      Ashufu stepped backwards in horror. The young man smiled cruelly and his lips formed something as he rose out of the pit the lightning had created. What he spoke was lost upon the old man.
      Ashufu died screaming, although he did not know it.


      "Again." Hanzo commanded.
      Galford concentrated. He felt the power within him build like a fire as it had so many times before. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end and the dry, summer air hummed with life.
      "PLASMA BLADE!" Galford cried as he brought his arms together in a knife-like motion and released the energy he could no longer contain. The two whirling blades he had created, arcs of electricity sizzling and snapping between them, flew from his clenched fists towards their target.
      The practice dummy exploded with a rustle of air and vanished in a puff of smoke. A moment later, the sky began to rain straw all around them. Galford grinned as he picked an errant strand out of the air.
      "Guess I overdid it a little that time, huh?"
      Hanzo grunted. He stood a short distance away, arms crossed, his lacquered black armor glistening in the sun.
      "No, you're still holding back. I'm afraid you unconsciously refuse to use your full potential, Galford."
      Galford frowned at the ground.
      "What do you mean?"
      Hanzo sighed.
      "You have a natural affinity to control lightning, Galford. But you choose to repress it. You can tap into it when you desire, as your plasma blade technique demonstrates, but you are capable of far, far more."
      Galford considered this carefully. Sometimes he did feel like he could summon, well, more. That was why he was here after all, to train with the legendary Hanzo to perfect new fighting techniques. He surveyed the rocky outcropping which served as a ninja training ground. The smoking litter of the other dummies he had destroyed earlier lay everywhere.
      "Why would I need more?" Galford smiled again as he swept his hand at the mess he had created.
      Hanzo laughed, a rarity for the master ninja.
      "You're a good man, Galford. And you're quite right. I think the reason you shy away from your destructive power is that you value life too much. That's an admirable quality to have, and nothing to be ashamed of." Hanzo paused for a moment, studying the clouds in the sky, "A quality I wish more of us possessed."
      Galford's eyes wandered to his dog, Poppy. She was lying on her back several yards away in a patch of sand, sunning her black and white fur. The wind blew a blade of grass onto her nose and she sneezed. His grin widened.
      "Who needs lightning when I've got Poppy, the deadliest ninja dog in the world?"
      At the sound of her name, Poppy's ears rose and she looked up expectantly at her master with her beautiful, pale blue eyes.
      "Hai, Poppy! Go back to sleep girl."
      Obediently, she put her head back down and closed her eyes.
      Hanzo strode over to where Galford stood and together they studied her. The wind gently rustled the pale hair on her chest; it looked like waves on the sea. The large, ugly scar on her right side made Galford wince as it always did. Poppy had gotten that mark saving his life years ago, but it still made him feel guilty. Of course, he had scars of his own as well.
      "Aye, that's one special animal, Galford. I've never seen anything like it, well, except for Nakoruru." Hanzo murmured at length.
      At the sound of her name, Galford blushed and he dug nervously at the dusty earth with his foot. Underneath his ninja cowl, Hanzo smiled. Galford had a huge crush on the young Ainu maiden, and everybody knew it.
      "Patience my lad, you'll be back with her before you know it. In fact, I think I'll send you on your way tomorrow, there's little more to teach you." Hanzo consoled, enjoying watching Galford's face turn an even deeper shade of red, almost purple. It looked quite comical to see a grown man behave so, and Hanzo had some difficulty not chuckling. Gai-jin, foreigners, behaved very strangely sometimes, but he liked Galford all the same. Unfortunately, he doubted Nakoruru's grandfather would agree, but he didn't have the heart to tell Galford this. Let them be happy while they can, he told himself, there's precious little happiness in the world as it is.

Chapter 2

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