Keep going and don't stop.

Live by your sword.

I'll find you and catch up.

Die by MY sword.

Yet that was the last I saw of him; as he floated away like a phantom, and disappeared into the abyss of shadows.

Her vision, her eyes; nothing read! It was all hazy. Dizziness knocked at her door making the throbbing in her head intensify. Despite her perverted surroundings those primal senses gave its user perfect direction. The girl's enlightened nose easily registered that oh too familiar aroma. But she didn't want to accept it, no, she COULDN'T accept it! Her heart raged trying to break out of its breastplate prison.

Finally the teenage female had reached the end of her hall. A loud thud echoed as she tripped on her kimono. But her will drove her on. With all the strength she could muster she pulled her self up and forced open the damaged paper door. "AH--------HHH!" an ear piercing scream raged from her lungs. It was a painting; the most horrifying painting to ever be cursed upon this home, HER home! It was a wall painting with crimson paper walls for a canvas. And as proof, the paintbrushes laid before her, her parents' maimed bodies.

Chapter 1

Squinty eyed, vision seemed to slowly return. But the sun bathed in its entire morning splendor didn't aid the eyes' owner. "Uh-h," he moaned while lifting his right hand like a shield to his face. After a few moments he spread his index and middle finger allowing his fully awake left eye to see the gorgeous azure heavens. "That guy." He paused. "That guy always did creep me out when he did that phantom thing."

With a sway of his short, dark pony tail the rested traveler stood. Unexpectedly a yawn managed to escape. "No!" he tapped his face. "No, no, none of that." He looked up at the cloud filled sky. "Another day, another chance to become stronger."

The "traveler" pushed his leather-clad wrists out of his gi. As blue as the summer horizon with soft pink cheery blossoms randomly etched on. The person tightened his obi around his brown hakkama pants and turned toward the tree he was leaning against. "Come Tsuyosa, you too Funbetsu," he said to two oak colored sticks. But these were not sticks. One was a katana length bokken accompanied by a wakazashi-sized bokken both with circular hand guards just above the smooth grip area. He slid both into his obi like regular swords and trotted off down a dirt path.

"Good morning!" hollered a voice to the traveler's left. Brushing his hair that hung over his right eye aside he caught a glimpse of his announcer. Why it was an elderly, rather thin farmer. The pointed straw hat looked merely like an extension of the old man's withered body. Save his tattered, knee high, patch covered kimono and splintering cane he was full of vigor. This sight caused the traveler's lips to curl upwards.

"Good morning!" the samurai replied back. After waving he continued on his way,

1609 The rule of the shogunates reigns after the great Battle of Sekigahra five or so years ago. In wars such as Sekigahara there are always great leaders and teachers but few warriors. Yet one of those exceptional warriors was Miyamoto Musashi the legendary samurai known to be most proficient at wielding two swords at once with superhuman ease. And now he seeks to hone his skills by traveling the entire nation of Japan and asking for duels from every school he can find. This is Miyamoto Musashi…

South West Japan: Aki fief

The hustle and bustle of the Hiko village could be heard a good few paces away. Grant it the village was smaller and more humble than the others residing around it but it reaped decent prosperity; at least enough for its many residents to get by. But with his keen warrior senses Musashi easily caught ear of the village much earlier than any average traveler would. Humming he trotted into the town. "Supposedly there is a decent dojo here," he pulled a rice ball out of his gi. "Bottoms up!" he smiled as he tossed the ball into the air just a few inches above his head. With a wide mouth Musashi eagerly greeted his tiny cuisine. Suddenly… THUD! All he tasted was dirt.

"Sorry mister!" a kid sat up. Musashi looked over at the kid who had knocked him over. While staring the ball bounced off the samurai's head and landed on the dusty ground. "Rmmmmm," he grunted. Realizing what he had done, the boy jumped to his knees and bowed with his face to the ground.

"P-p-please forgive me, samurai-san!" begged the child. Musashi eyed the child, after pulling his head out of the dirt of coarse. The child looked about twelve and was scrappy with matted jet-black hair flying out to all sides. His sleeveless kimono looked like it came from the same wardrobe of that old farmer from earlier. Musashi sighed.

"No worries kid," he patted the boy on the head. "Just tell me where I might find a dojo and we'll call it even." A long pause followed.

"I-I'm sorry, I don't know of one," mumbled the boy now shivering. Musashi's eyes narrowed. Just then the boy looked up locking his gaze with Musashi's face. "But you could try the tavern over there," he pointed down the main road. "Two shacks down, I swear!"

Musashi patted the boy's head and lifted him up. "Don't cower in front of another man, especially if he's a warrior. Stand strong and face your fear. That is what it means to be a man. Don't dishonor your family with cowardice." And with that he followed the boy's directions.

As Musashi departed the awe struck boy, someone else approached him from behind. "EEP!" he squealed as a hand rested upon his shoulder.

"Shhh, keep it down Ota," a soft female voice spoke. Ota turned to find a girl with dark brown bangs hanging in front of him. Behind the bangs was the soft, heart shaped face of an 18-year-old girl.

"Hikari," Ota caught his breath. "Sister, where have you been?"

"Still searching," she stood tall looking to the side.

"Are- are you still looking for a samurai?" he inquired with hesitation occupying his lips. Hikari softly nodded with a sigh. Straightening out her pink, flower decorated kimono she eyed her sibling.

"Go back home, I'll keep looking."

"Awe, can't we just stop? The Miyabe clan is scar-" suddenly Ota remembered what Musashi had said to him. He bit his lip.

Hikari shook her head. "No." Ota shivered at the resentment that tainted her lovely voice. He noticed the heat of flames conjure in her eyes as she stared into the distance. "Mother and Father must be avenged. It is our right! No, my right!" Ota could feel the tears welling up just from the vibe his sister seem to radiate. But as quickly as the wind can change direction so did Hikari's tone and mood. "I'll keep looking you go home," her sweet voice chimed. Ota nodded and began to walk in the direction behind her. "I'm sorry," she said under her breath. "But I can't let our parents die without being avenged! Ah, I need to loosen up! I'll have some sake. And I just might find someone inside that awful pig pen." Thus she stormed off toward the tavern.

As the curtain drew back it was as if the floodgates had been opened. The repugnant stench of alcohol leaped into Hikari's nostrils as if taking cover from an unforeseen enemy. She began to feel a bit light headed but quickly shook it off and adjusted to the scenery. She scanned the small hut for some hope of a competent warrior. Seven out of the ten tables were full with men of different classes and rank. With a sigh she trotted over to the far left corner where 4 men sat chatting. "Not what I'd call the best but I guess they'll have to do. No one else here looks adequate. Heck there's a guy with a bokken. Must be some silly trainee," she scoffed in her mind.

"Excuse me," she almost purred adding a sweet twang to her voice. All four turned. And at once they all raised a brow. The closest one to Hikari was a tall and lanky fellow with slicked back hair, sharp chin, and a nose that curved to a point. Hikari shivered as his piercing eyes took in all of her. She bit her lip to stop her self from slapping that bony face.

"Can we help you?" spoke a burly one near the back. His jaw was square showing he had a large build yet his sagging eyes and lump like nose gave him a sleazy vibe. The other two were merely average sized men with their hair back in a high bun.

"Um-well," Hikari turned away trying to avoid the fact all four were now eyeing her entire body. But before she could ask for help her mouth decided to speak on its own. "Sorry, I thought you were decent men. I'll be leaving." Obviously they didn't take that too kindly. Hikari felt a tug on her right arm slowing her brisk walk. The grip was crushing. It was the burly guy.

"Now, now, that was rude, hic," he grumbled as his other hand reached behind him. She recognized that sliding sound; the sound of steel being drawn from its home. "You need to be disciplined. After all we're with the Denkoo No Butsu Ryu dojo. Show hic some respect!" Customers at other tables began backing away or leaving from the commotion.

"Excuse- me," an older lady came out. "I'm the manager and if you don't stop you need to-"

"Shut it!" growled the burly man lifting his sword. "We have privileges. And unless you want to lose your hands then shut hic up!" The woman quieted down and backed off.

"No- No please, I-" Hikari pleaded. A loud thump was heard as her wrist was plopped on top of their table. "Please!"

"Now hic now," grinned the thin man. "Take it like a good girl!"

"Punishment!" Hikari shut her eyes tight enough for tears to flow. Her arm would have been trembling with the rest of her body if not for the man holding her down. She heard the silver blade rise into the air and then- and then a rattling sound.

Slowly she opened her eyes to find that the sword had stopped in mid air right before a chopstick; a chopstick that was sticking out of the wood brace mounted on the wall. All five turned to the opposite side of the building. Brushing hair out of his right eye Musashi swallowed his last piece of sushi. "A dojo you say?" he stood up. After retrieving his katana shaped bokken from the edge of the table he trotted up to the burly man. "Disgraceful. A drunken brawl between men is one thing, but a drunk over powering a woman, how disgraceful. I think I'll be disappointed here."

"What, hic?!" cried one of the lesser men. "You-" But before he could finish Musashi was at the door and interrupted.

"Outside, NOW!" he threw his second chopstick just centimeters from the man's head.

People cleared the main street outside of the tavern as Musashi lead the drunks. Once the warriors were positioned facing each other Musashi spoke, "Let her go. I'll pay for her rudeness.

"I'll fight you but I won't let her go," grinned the burly man. "Not unless you can beat us all!" Musashi grinned. He drew his wakazashi bokken, Funbetsu.

"I'll ask you all just as I do before all my duels," began Musashi, "Do you wish to fight until a victor or until death?"

"Idiot, death of COUARSE!" leaped both of the average men. But before they knew it they were unconscious on the ground. Slowly Musashi lowered his right arm. He rubbed his chin with his free hand that was still inside his gi.

"Disgraceful," he sighed.

"I'll show you disgraceful!" attacked the lanky man drawing his sword. Swiftly Musashi ducked the horizontal swipe. With a flick of his wrist to turn his wooden blade upward, and not an instant later he thrust his left palm into the back of the bokken. And before he had finished his swing the opponent's sharp chin was now flat with him flying into the air. A loud thud sounded as Musashi adjusted his gi, putting his left hand through the sleeve.

The final man didn't say a word. A drunken rage built in his eyes as if it had been held back for ages. Pulling his blade up he charged Musashi. But before the drunk knew it his adversary was gone. Sliding to a stop he looked around. Then he heard it; the fluttering of those exaggerated sleeves that flap of pleats of hakkamas. There was Musashi floating above.

"F-f-flying?!" he gasped. With his back to his opponent, Musashi's right toes touched the ground in anticipation of his landing. But the samurai didn't stop there! When feeling the Earth he spun around and was rebounding at his enemy who was still staring at the empty sky.

KRACK! It echoed into the sky. As the last enemy fell Musashi was found with his bokken extended tip first. "No, I jump well," he poised himself brushing his hair away from his right eye. "Oh, and THAT'S a thrust."

"Wow!" Hikari beamed as she gazed at Musashi with wonder. "He isn't bad." Just then something caught her eye. Shoving the victor out of the way she snatched hold of one of the men's gi.

"Hey, you what's the big-" Musashi chastised.

"Wha- what have you-done?!" gasped Hikari in a panic. "What have you done?!"

"Huh?" Musashi wore a puzzled look.

Author's Note:

If you've read this far I need to tell you something: THANK YOU. Thank you for bearing with me. I know it was a bit slow. Sometimes I have a hard time starting, hey don't we all. I tried to spice it up at the end! But I promise to deliver in the future. This is a fun samurai historical fiction story and I really want to do some fun action sequences. So don't give up on Double Edge cause there's going to be a ton more involving the legendary Miyamoto Musashi! Thanks again!