Corrupt, Chp.1: Penance

The informant had given him his next targets. A group of six within the town of Avuitis, a large, sprawling city of over twenty-thousand; it would be a simple case. Nothing more was known of these men besides their appearance. However, that's just how Kendai preferred it, no name to recall, no history to relate to. Keeping things non-personal meant a quicker, more efficient job with less backlash of regret. He wasn't his own anymore, he was another's last will.

--

The room was enclosed with gray, stone-covered walls. These drab enclosings almost blocked out all sunlight; although, a few high windows let some fleeting morning rays shine in. A large, rectangular wooden table with a red underlying mat decorated the middle of the room, with brass lamps flourishing the sides. Six men sat along the table, with one more, Kendai, seated as a guest. The six looked very affluent, fat, and well-kempt. Kendai seemed a little out of place, with his rugged countenance and his dirty clothing. He wore his dark-brown hair in a flipped-out style. It would extend to his shoulders if left uncared for. His tunic was golden on one side, and a dark brown on the other. His appearance was finished with a sword on his shoulder, iron gauntlets on his hands, and dark green pants fitted with boots.

"All right everyone, William will start us off shortly," spoke a seated man who looked much like a giant grape.

Taking the man's cue, another man, assumed by Kendai to be William, stood and up and cleared his throat;"During these past thirty years, we've overlooked this growing city, from its minor beginnings to its new, outstanding economic hold on the region. I'm glad to say that today we add another region to our expanding estate; please welcome Mr. Juy, our newest district leader."

Kendai looked up, he had taken on this new persona after reading the attendees list. Giving his most sincere look, Kendai addressed the other men, "I am very glad to join you elite few in creating the future of this place. Yes, I've lived in Avuitis' southern district for many years now and I truly believe that I can help turn it into another center for trade and commerce."

William and the rest shook their heads in agreement to Kendai's little welcome speech. One of the other men took it upon himself to join in; "Ah, I'm sure you'll do a great job, Mr. Juy, but I must ask, you look like a rather rough and wild man. Like a beast you come before us, would you mind telling us a little bit about that?"

Kendai sighed, looked down, then back at all of the men that sat around him. "Well," he began, placing one of his hands firmly beneath the table, "I guess it comes from my past."

Like lighting, he flipped the wooden table with one hand , causing it to crash down on William's head, making a loud crack reverberate through the small room. Blood gushing from his forehead, William managed to steady the table in a vertical position while the rest screamed in fright and surprise.

"Looks like your municipal plans are ruined," Kendai whispered, his voice passing through the thin wood of the table, "I don't having anything personal against you, but my friend...my friend saw fit to end you..."

William, hearing Kendai's voice, even through the howls of the others, replied with a tremble in his voice a few inaudible words, probably curses, but it didn't matter anymore. Grabbing his sword's handle, Kendai removed it from his shoulder and made a powerful horizontal slice through and table and consequently cleaved William in two.

The two parts of the table dropped to the floor with a heavy crash, and in response the other men ran towards chamber door, but only to find it locked from the outside.

"Di...did you do this as well?" One of the confused men cried.

"I do my work thoroughly, I don't take chances, and I don't accept miscalculations or mistakes. Doing so, I've become disturbingly proficient at my job," Kendai answered.

One of the men, a smaller one, fell to his knees and begged; "Wai..wait! Did you say 'job'? Juy, listen to me, I can give you far more than whoever paid you!"

Kendai gave him an intuitive glance, just to play with him a little.

"Hah..ha..hahah...," the little man replied, "I thought this might of been an act of passion, but I'm glad you can be reasoned with!"

Kendai retracted his fake, negotiating eyes and replaced them with a stern, dark stare.

"Everything you've said to me means nothing, I don't bargain."

Swiftly, Kendai smashed his iron fist in-between the man's eyes, breaking the bridge of his noise and sending the force of the punch directly to his brain; an instant kill. The man's body slid down a now blood-soaked wall and laid itself in a sitting position upon the floor. The man's mouth was left a little agape, so Kendai plunged his hand into the deceased man's mouth. Picking him up with that hold, Kendai began swinging him in a wide circle, only to fling him across the room towards the other four, who were currently clinging to the opposite wall. With a thud, the man's corpse hit three others, pinning them down.

Kendai waltzed over to the trapped victims, observing their plight and smiling a little. Raising his black sword, he made one great slice and finished two of them, but the third held fast, whimpering from the pain of an open gash on his back. Kendai noticed that this man's head was close to the stone wall. "Guess I won't have to expend the energy swinging this thing..," Kendai spoke to himself, placing his sword at this side. With an observing look-over, he raised his leg and booted the man into the wall, his victim's skull fracturing upon impact. Kendai was sure that the man was finished, which left one other. This last victim stood to his left, noticeably calmer than the others he had already taken care of.

"What's the deal," Kendai started, "not terror stricken like the others?"

"Ha," the last man replied, "You just did me a great favor. Got less competition now, maybe I'll let my kids visit your grave when they see what lustrous gifts I can afford to give them."

"Your almost creepier than me," replied Kendai, a cocky air to his reply. "You call yourself something?"

"Heh, I thought your kind didn't like to know the names of their victims? Doesn't that allow you to sympathize with them?"

"Nah, I don't mind knowing yours, I don't think I'll lose too much sleep over it."

Smiling, the man revealed a ball and chain that was concealed as an iron belt around his waist. "The name's Akuza, and unlike the rest, I didn't grow up under the easiest of conditions."

Kendai held his blade towards Akuza; "Can't say the same for me, I'm just learning the basics."

"Glad to know you're just a beginner, but I'll give you credit, you're pretty good."

"Thanks, but I think this chit-chat has gone on long enough, don't you agree?"

Akuza nodded, Kendai made his move. With a quick vertical swipe of his black blade, Kendai made contact with Akuza's chain, which was held diagonally across his torso and, upon contact with Kendai's weapon, it twisted, locking Kendai's blade.

"Ha, you look surprised," mocked Akuza as he tightened the chain's grip.

"Yeah, I didn't think you'd be that stupid."

Kendai moved his blade in a saw-like motion and Akuza's iron chains were quickly severed. Akuza himself jumped back, surprised at how his weapon had failed.

"And what kind of metal is that black blade of yours?"

With a scholarly look about him, Kendai replied, "Not metal, obsidian, an ancient material. Don't laugh because the primitives used it; it has been known to sever a horse's head."

"I see, but there must be more to it. Even the sharpest material couldn't cut with full power without enough momentum, and with my tight grip on your sword, there is no way you could of put enough force into it to eat away my iron," Akuza said, with an equal amount of scholarly approach.

"So there's a little magic in my muscles; you shouldn't be surprised in this day and age."

A general feeling of respect grew between them. A few moments later, some invisible signal rang as the two lunged at each other. Akuza's iron ball struck Kendai's sword and, due to the ball's spherical from, deflected it upon contact. Now in close quarters, Akuza kneed Kendai in his gut, cracking a few lower ribs. With an angry grunt, Akuza continued his assault, laying down haymaker's into Kendai's face as well as striking Kendai's loose ribs with furious kicks, dislodging them painfully further aprat. After a few moments of this relentless attack, Akuza had knocked Kendai up against the opposite stone wall.

With blood surging from his mouth and bruises forming from the near-fatal punches, Kendai almost thought that it was all over, but he knew better than that. Oddly enough, no matter how bad the circumstances were, no matter how close to death he got, some saving action would keep him in the living. Perhaps it meant he was to serve his master forever, to carry out each and every of his last wills, or maybe it just meant he was lucky. Either way, Kendai knew that something would come to give him an opening.

A final blunt kick by Akuza mad Kendai fall to the floor, hapless to his assailant's future blows. That's when Kendai saw it, what might finally give him an opening. The floor was slippery with blood, Kendai could predict the rest. Akuza grinned, so close to victory, and rose his leg to give the finishing blow when, to Akuza's complete surprise, his grounded leg slipped on the blood, his body came crashing down. With great haste, Kendai leaped up from his former state of helplessness and studied the now defenseless Akuza.

"Can't say that I didn't see this coming, how should I finish this?" Kendai spoke down to Akuza

"You...you thought all of this out?" Asked a confused Akuza.

"Not really, it just seems to happen. Perhaps it is a mockery, perhaps it is a gift. I don't know, I don't really care."

With one final brutal punch of his blood-stained gauntlets, Akuza was finished. This job was particularly bloody, and Kendai reflected on how his new injuries would incapacitate him for a few days. Glad that he wouldn't be the one to clean this up, Kendai left the room, slicing the locked door with his sword, and strolled out into the busy streets, trying to conceal himself from the crowd. However, as Kendai well knew, a wounded man was not uncommon in this world.