CHRONICLES OF DUSK

Chronicle I

Chapter 1: Takehiko of the Thousand Blades----

By Blue Ciel

I—+—I

Author's Note: Yay! My first samurai story! Or well, a great imitation of it. Anyway, please R and R!

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Every land has its own divisions.

That is the same with its people.

Sometimes, not only different in physical appearance or ideals, but also of what they are.

That is the downside of existence.

A crisp, cold wind blows the cherry blossoms through the old man's coat, sending a small chill down his spine. Walking quite steadily, the man's black cane propels him to move forward even in the strong wind.

"Eh?" the man looks up, taking his peasant's hat of the cover of his eyes to get a better view. He sees, not so far in the distance, the fleeing of terrified people, as well as a gathering of men who were wearing the official uniform of the Imperial's landmass troops.

As the old man walked closer to the town nearby, a soldier gets in his way. "This route is closed, old man! The town is under strict quarantine right now! What is your business here?"

"I see," the old man said gruffly under his heavy coat, his eyes not meeting the soldier's. The old man looked around with quite a sudden interest. "There seems to be a lot of young men going around. What is with all the commotion?"

The guard spits to his face. "Are you senile, peasant? The Imperial's had this going on for months! Although, the plans have changed…"

Something in the peasant's eyes gleamed. "…Changed, you say?"

"Yeah," the soldier continued. "The pursuit of the outlaw Takehiko Minoru has been transferred to the Elite. Instead, now we've been traveling from town to town, searching for the Foul Beast, Yoshiro."

The old man looked down to the ground with a hidden smile. "He is… the one called Yuu of the Soundless Death, is he not?"

The soldier grunted. "You're pretty well informed, old man. Although everyone's probably heard of that demon by now… The double-bladed assassin who can kill hundreds of men right in front of their faces without making a single sound…"

"I have heard such a far-fetched story from several other travelers – all of the stories about him more far-fetched than the last," the old man commented along with a small cough. "He does not assassinate secretly, but does it out in the open where he can be seen by hundreds of witnesses."

"Those hear-says are probably true, considering that demon's maniacal aggression towards the Imperial's finest." The soldier then scratches his head in annoyance. "But this is such a useless waste of time! While we're interrogating some of these village's pathetic peasants, I heard some say they saw him going to the direction of the Heian..."

"That's upwards north then…" the old man mumbled to himself. Then with a smile, he looked at the soldier again. "Thank you, kind sir, for this valuable information."

"What the hell are you rambling about?"

To the soldier's surprise, the old man suddenly removes his huge coat – revealing a black and spiky-haired, short-pony tailed, jacketed young samurai in disguise!

The soldier eyed the mysterious newcomer with some thought. Although his hair was quite black and was wearing something similar to a peasant's clothes, the jacket to them was far enough evidence to realize…

"You… that oversized jacket… that horrible character design… Takehiko!"

"That's right!… Well, except for the thing about my character design," smirked the spiky-haired young man with the oversized silk jacket as his scarf flew in the wind. "I thought my character design was pretty good… Well, anyway… I knew I couldn't rely on the Imperial's lackeys to find the Soundless Death… but your information is good enough for me."

The soldier swallowed really hard, stepping back a few steps. "G…Guards! Alert them all! Takehiko is here!" With that, an alarm bell was rung and tens of soldiers arrived at their position, surrounding Takehiko in the process.

"Is that him?" a soldier comments.

"That jacket… That's gotta be him…" another replies.

"No way, he's way too young… and isn't Takehiko's hair supposed to be dark gray?"

"Yeah, 'cause he's a member of the--"

"This guys just probably posing as Takehiko to get his kicks."

Suddenly, a flying kick came out of nowhere and knocks out the guard with the last comment. "WHO YOU CALLIN' A POSER!?" Takehiko shouted with his mouth wide open. With that, he positions the cane he was carrying near the left side of his waist – his traditional battle stance.

"That proves it! It IS him… Takehiko of a Hundred Blades…"

"Yeah… I heard he defeated Elites with a stroke of his sword."

Takehiko blushed. "Wow! Really? Do those Elites really think so highly of me? You know, I have nothing against the Imperial…"

"However!" He declares suddenly. To all of the soldier's surprise, his eyes tweaked with ferocity, a burning sensation ran through their bodies as he spoke. "Unlike most of the Imperial soldiers I've met, you guys are a clump of the worst! Rummaging through people's possessions using that dangerous swordsman as an excuse! You guys... are JUST PLAIN STUPID!" With that, he sticks his tongue out at them with a rasping sound.

"Why, you…" a soldier said angrily, as the others with him charged with their swords at the young, raven-haired man.

Takehiko takes out the sword hidden in his cane and positions it horizontally in front of him. "Gale Art – !Kaze-enkei!"

With a quick spin of his sword, a force field of wind envelops him, sending all of his attackers backwards and partially stunned.

"A good swordsman knows he is outnumbered," Takehiko smiled as his opponents were sent off with the powerful wind in almost every direction. "If you think a powerful swordsman can beat as many opponents as you at the same time, then you probably read too much manga."

"A smart tactician knows that when his enemies know the same moves, they move as accordingly… and as such, their weaknesses are obvious and they can be taken down easier one by one," Takehiko explained as he took his sword back in its place – the hidden scabbard inside his fake walking cane. "With such a strong wind enveloping this place, wind techniques are strengthened six-fold.

"Now," he added, quickly waving his hand to opposite sides, revealing the back of his jacket as it blew in the wind. Connected on the inside back of his jacket was an innumerable collection of many different types of swords – his secret technique. He places his "cane disguise" sword on one of the slots and takes out a different sword and sheath. "…Kosenka, release!"

He takes out the sword from the scabbard, revealing a bright, silver, short sword with the standard blade curve. He positions it for attack as the Imperial's soldiers get back up again.

"H-He's the real thing!"

"The Hundred Blades!"

"Sorry," he smirks evilly. "But you've got it all wrong." In several minutes, he finishes the lot of soldiers that were left standing with the Kosenka. With all of his enemies defeated, he puts the "short practice" sword back into its sheath and into one of his jacket's inner slots.

"…That's a Thousand Blades to you, but you can call me Minoru. Takehiko Minoru of the Thousand Blades." Satisfied, he wipes the dust of his clothes and looks at his pathetic opponents.

"Another thing," he finalized. "A good swordsman knows… that he should never be intimidated by his opponent even before the fight has started… else, he has already lost before the battle had even begun."

After a few minutes of dusting himself, he suddenly realizes that several accusing eyes were on him. The eyes of the townsfolk that is - armed with quite a lot of pointy things. With a sweat drop and a dismissing gesture, he says, " Nothing to see here, folks! Just a bunch of unconscious guys… That I purposely beat up for you... Not that interesting…"

But before he could comment any further, he sees several of the townsfolk arms up and moving towards him. "Okay, maybe I came at a bad time…"

Quickly, he runs away from the town and into the north mountainous region with such anime-like speed that he breaks the sound barrier (the sound barrier was fixed the next Tuesday). He pauses for a quick breath. "Dang! You think they'd be grateful for that…"

"Can't blame them, can you? You are, after all, near the top on the Tenma Elite's wanted list."

Minoru looks up surprised to see where the voice came from. From the clothing and hair color, she was obviously from a ninja clan.

"Hi. I heard you had information on the Soundless Death. May I kill you for it?"

To be continued…

I—+—I

NEXT CHAPTER: Takehiko Minoru meets Ren the Infinity who is famous for the skill of "Law Above". Against a ninja, no normal samurai would survive without his own hidden tricks. What does Takehiko have up his sleeve?

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CHAPTER'S SKILLS AND ARSENAL

1. Kaze-enkei – The wind circle. Under the category Gale Art of Takehiko's style, Ikusen Katachi, this technique is mainly for defense or retreat by making a huge force field of wind around the user.

2. "Cane disguise" sword – usually called the Bengoki, the "cane disguise" sword is technically just an ordinary sword disguised as a walking stick. The blade overall is badly forged and cannot be used effectively, unless otherwise used really as a walking stick.

3. Kosenka – nicknamed the "short practice" sword because it was basically made for practicing one's single-handed sword-handling skills. Held like a ninja assassin's knife or a samurai's wakizashi, Kosenka is a speed-type sword.

4. Shibalsin – nicknamed the "purifier sword," Takehiko has yet to use it in a battle. As explained, the Shibalsin uses a lot of energy because as the nickname states, it is a sword used in performing exorcism.

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Author's Note: How's that for my first samurai-kinda story? Please R&R and I'll promise to return the favor!