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

Chapter 5

      "I don't know." Rimururu whispered in answer to his question, her eyes sympathetic to his pain. "But, if we can find this other Galford, we can prove that you're innocent."
      "And what then?" Galford said, his voice devoid of hope, "Even if we do find him and clear my name, whenever Nakoruru looks at me she'll always see HIM. Every time she looks at my face, she'll remember what he did to her, over and over again."
      It made him want to go mad. Whether he destroyed this fiend or not, he had already lost. There was no hope left for him, only revenge. He would find this other 'Galford' and make him pay for what he did to Nakoruru, but he could never make it better. Just the sight of him would send waves of revulsion throughout Nakoruru's body every time her eyes met his. He couldn't keep putting her through that, he wouldn't. It'd be like making her live through the torture all over again.
      "You don't know that, Galford. When Nakoruru sees the truth, she'll still love you; I know it." Rimururu said optimistically, but Galford didn't believe a word of it. She squeezed his shoulder reassuringly, but he shrugged her hand off.
      "Well, I don't know about the two of you, but I'm going back to fortress Iga and getting Hanzo. Something is seriously wrong here, and if anybody can get to the bottom of it, he can. Whining over what can't be helped will get us nowhere." Ruoh stated and immediately did an about face and began to sprint back in the direction they had originally come, his ebony hair trailing behind him. Galford knew his emotional weakness sickened Ruoh and that he had lost face in front of the ninja, but he didn't care.
      "Boy, he's heartless. What rock did Hanzo find him under?" Rimururu wondered.
      "Ruoh can be cold, but he's right. Hanzo will know what to do."
      They both watched him disappear into the thick, green foliage, his black ninja attire mixing and then becoming one with the shadows. Rimururu slowly began to back away from Galford in the direction Ruoh had gone, her eyes beckoning him to follow. Konril floated lazily in the air behind her awaiting his decision as well. With a heavy heart, he rose to his feet and took one last, long look in the direction he had been heading. Somewhere, a songbird was singing its lonely song to its missing lover. A single, yellow leaf floated slowly through the air in a revolving circle from the green canopy above as he listened to the unseen bird's warbling. Galford watched until it gently touched its brother and sisters below on the forest floor. Nakoruru was out there, fragile and helpless like that leaf, and he couldn't help her.
      Damn. Damn! DAMN!
      Poppy looked up at him and barked an encouraging woof.
      "C'mon Poppy, let's go."
      The dog whined and fell into step with him.
      "We'll make it better, Galford, you'll see!" Rimururu smiled cautiously, looking back at him.
      He forced himself to place one heavy foot in front of the other, over and over again. They left the gaping pit and the remains of the charred old man behind them. Galford wondered who would break the news to Ashufu's wife? He had already witnessed his own heartbreak today; he had no wish to observe another. Hopefully Rimururu would do it; she was a sympathetic soul…
      He stopped.
      This was wrong.
      He knew what he had to do, and they weren't going to stop him this time.
      Galford whirled and began a mad dash in the other direction. Poppy leapt ahead of him excitedly, barking wildly and leading the way. She was like a sleek bullet as she sped along, cutting a path through the underbrush. It was all he could do to keep up. The world moved by him in a blur of green and sunlight as the piston pumping motion of his legs drove him forward. He didn't know what he was doing, or how he was going to convince Nakoruru of his innocence, but he was going to try.
      "GAAAAAAAAAALFORD!!! COOOOOOOOOME BAAAAAACK!!!" Rimururu called after him.
      The depression that had settled on his mind like a dark fog had lifted. A faint glimmer of hope kindled in his heart again, with any luck and a little tender care, it might become a flame.
      I'm coming, Nakoruru!


      Galford chuckled to himself as he skinned the rabbit with the edge of his shining blade. The skin parted from the muscle easily and the bitter smell of exposed flesh stroked his pallet. There was a bandage on one of the animal's hind legs, which he carelessly tore off. Damn, he was hungry; all of the day's fun had really made him ravenous. He tossed the skin out of the doorway, where it landed unceremoniously on one of the black heaps that littered the yard.
      They looked like great globs of dung left by some impossibly huge animal, lying there helter-skelter like that.
      Speaking of dung… Whoo! They really stunk! He was going to have to clean that up later on. Too much juice, but then there had been too many to take down individually. He had to fry them all at once. Too bad, it had ended far too quickly for his tastes. He resolved to make his next victim suffer more slowly.
      The Grandfather had been the toughest of the lot, surprisingly resilient for such an old coot. It didn't matter, he was dead with the rest of them. Fools, every last one of them.
      The nerve of some people! Here, he had selflessly gone out into the dangerous forest to get something to eat for himself and his little woman, and when he returned hours later, he had found a small army of angry, little men waiting for him. Violent little buggers too, they had immediately attacked him. Of course, he would have killed them even if they had welcomed him back with open arms, but that was beside the point…
      "Usagi…" Nakoruru's hoarse voice whispered from the shadows, behind him and to the left. His thoughts returned to her and her Grandmother.
      Galford slowly turned and stared at them, the rabbit's body limp in his hand. Drops of blood pattered on the earthen floor below, which greedily sucked them up. He wiped the blood from his sword and re-sheathed it on his back. It slid in with a staccato click. Nakoruru was really becoming a drag. All she did was slouch there in the dark, cowering in her Grandmother's embrace. She had been broken all too easily, child's play really.
      "What was that, dear?"
      "Leave her alone." The Grandmother hissed.
      Galford mockingly bowed to the wrinkled old hag.
      "When I want your advice, Honored Mother, I will ask for it."
      The air hummed and the rabbit's flesh began to smoke in his hand. The humming turned into an angry snapping noise and the buzzing grew louder. Satisfied, Galford examined his dinner. Perfect. He hungrily tore off a mouthful of the succulent meat and chewed it noisily.
      "Mmmmmm-mmmmm! Nothing like lightning fried rabbit!"
      "It was nothing. I didn't say anything." Nakoruru whispered at last, barely audibly. They both stared at him with wide eyes, filled with utter terror, just the way he liked it. The Grandmother mechanically stroked the young woman's disheveled, black hair. As long as they stayed afraid, they'd cause him no trouble.
      "That's what I thought." Galford favored them both with a less-than-charming smile and was pleased to see them both cringe. He tore off a third of the rabbit and threw it at them. It struck the stupid bird Nakoruru had in her lap, which protested weakly.
      "Eat your dinner. And get rid of that damn bird before I get rid of it for you…" He waved the hand with the remaining hunk of meat in it above his head, "This won't keep me full for long, and I'm really starting to get a craving for roast eagle, if you know what I mean."
      He half choked on his food, giggling. Absently, he wiped the sticky, warm grease from his fingers onto his trousers. Wouldn't that be a pathetic way to die? Choking on your dinner. Ha!
      "Now, hurry up before your food gets cold, or there'll be no dessert for you two!"'
      They didn't move; he didn't expect them to. He shook his head mirthlessly as he rounded the corner and stepped back outside. Nakoruru and her Grandmother were quickly boring him. He needed adventure and excitement in his life, and this secluded shack out in the middle of nowhere was tiresome as all hell. Soon, it would be time to move on. Very soon. There was a whole world out there, and he meant to see it all.
      Galford wolfed down the last of his meal and sat down on a wooden stump to let it digest. He let his gaze wander over the bodies again and out past them. The tall trees circling this little glen seemed to be drawing closer, suffocating him. A smile curled his lips. I do believe I'll set a little forest fire before I go, he silently promised himself.
      Movement just barely caught the periphery of his vision. He turned his head just in time to see Nakoruru and her Grandmother vanish into the brush.
      "You little witches!" Galford laughed as he leapt off the stump and bounded after them at a leisurely pace. A predatory leer dripped from his face and lightning snapped in his eyes; it looked like there was still some spunk left in them after all…

Chapter 6

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