Haru and Sasume were on their way to Satsume Shrine through the Forest of the Shadow Blade. Dressed in no armor at all, they were explicitly told to dress in casual clothing but to carry their blades with them in case any assassins try to disrupt their mission on finding the shrine and the person their master was so interested in. Even though it was early in the day, the thick canvas of the forest practically shrouded the light from the forest ground. Haru was dressed in black garbs with their village symbol on his chest while Sasume wore white garbs also having the village symbol in on her chest. It was on her left while Haru had it on his right.
“So, what is so important about this ronin?” Haru asked, looking around at their surroundings to be safe.
“Master Kanata said that this ronin used to be a great ally to Sanahobi. That, and the person knows the whereabouts of this sword.” Sasume said with a small smile.
“You do know what a ronin is, right Sasume?” Haru asked seriously.
“Not really, but I have heard it a lot around the village.”
“A ronin is a samurai without a lord or master. Once their master died, they used the term to someone who was unemployed.” Haru explained as they continued through the forest.
Sasume looked over to her older brother as he gave her a quick lesson. Being in the samurai clan longer, Haru would give Sasume a quick lesson on the world she has entered. Ever since Sasume wanted to hold her brother’s sword and trained with him, Haru decided to be her teacher under the praise of Master Kanata. Since they were alone and on a mission that depended on their senses, he had a quick thought on another small lesson.
“Sasume, I think it would be a good idea to show you a quick quirk most samurai have.” he smiled knowingly at her.
“What is it?”
He turned in front of her and stopped, setting his hands on his hips while she stopped as well.
“We really shouldn’t be stopping now Haru.” Sasume said. “We should take this mission very seriously.”
“I understand that, but this would really make you a very commendable ally.” Haru said, smiling more at her. “Have you ever heard of sensing?”
“Sensing?” she asked, seeming very clueless. “No, I never heard of it.”
“Well, most samurai focus on an enemy right in front of them. But when closing their eyes, their senses heightened and they are able to anticipate another attacker, possibly even their next move. That’s what I want you to do now.”
“You want me to anticipate an attack by closing my eyes?” Sasume asked, not seeming sure of herself. “I’m not sure if I can do that yet. According to you, I’m still in training.”
“It’s like what Master Kanata said, believe in your own strength. Give it a try Sasume.” Haru encouraged.
Sasume took in a deep breath and nodded before closing her eyes. Every time they would begin a training excersie, Haru would tell her to take a deep breath first. He said it was to clear her head so she could focus on what they were training for. As Haru watched, Sasume was controlling her breathing. Inside, however, she heard her heartbeat get louder, the rustling of the trees, and even her brother’s heartbeat. Her hand rested on the handle on her katana as she waited to feel something different, or even someone new.
“You feel anything Sasume?” Haru asked.
“Nothing really. But I can sense my heartbeat and yours. Like I can feel them both in my head.” she explained to him with her eyes closed. Haru smiled proudly.
“Your progression of becoming a great warrior is nothing short of amazing, Sasume.” Haru praised as Sasume slowly opened her eyes. “Keep training and soon you’ll be protecting the village with ease.”
Sasume smiled and continued their journey through the dangerous forest, not realizing the multiple amount of eyes watching them from afar, way out of reach from where Sasume was sensing.
Sasume and Haru emerged from the forest where they saw a shrine sitting in front of a quite looking house. There was sign in the front gates that read ‘Satsume Shrine: Do Not Enter’ that both siblings took notice of. Haru slowly and carefully took the first steps into the shrine as his sister walked in behind him. They took slow, careful spins to check their surroundings and to spot if any one followed them. As they felt as if no one was around, Haru loosened up his stance and took one step forward before feeling a wire under his feet get snagged. A snap was heard as a circular blade was sent flying at Haru’s face.
“Brother, look out!” Sasume warned.
Haru turned around quickly and saw his imminent demise coming straight at his face. He narrowed his eyes and quickly drew his blade and knocked the spinning blade away into the dirt. His breathing was hard and ragged as Sasume ran over and placed her hand on his back for reassurance. He turned towards her and look into her eyes which showed a slight hint of shock in them. He smiled and placed his hand over hers.
“It’s okay Sasume, I’m alright. Thank you for the warning.” Haru stood up and sheath his blade.
“You’re welcome, but be careful please. Master Kanata did say a ronin is here. who knows how many traps are here.” Sasume smiled and walked a bit forward before stopping abruptly. “Haru, Katsumi is here.”
Haru and Sasume looked at the entrance to the house that was a few feet from them. In the doorway, a woman wearing a light blue kimono with pink flower petal design on it with a white and blue fox mask on her face to cover her identity stood with a sword in her hand. Haru and Sasume and took hold of their blades as well and prepared for a fight. Before they could charge, the woman moved aside and let someone walk out next to her. Sasume looked towards her brother in confusion before turning back.
“Here you go, Master Katsumi.” the kimono clad woman said.
“Thank you dear.” a woman voice was heard.
“Are you Katsumi?” Haru asked the other person. She was dressed in dark colored robes, but didn’t hide her face. She had bright blonde hair with dark brown eyes that seemed to pierce anything better than her blade would.
“Who wants to know?” Katsumi asked.
“Master Kanata wants something from you. An artifact he says is very important.” Sasume informed. Katsumi looked down with her eyes closed then shook her head.
“Nope, never heard of this person you speak of.”
“He said you used to be a great ally to the village of Sanahobi. You must come with us.” Haru insisted.
“And if I refuse?” Katsumi watched as both the sibling unsheathe their weapons.
“I rather this not to get bloody.” Haru spoke.
“Fine then.” With a snap of her finger, dozens of ninjas walked out from the forest surrounding them as well as from bushes. Haru and Sasume stood back to back, watching which one would make their first move for an attack.
“Still feeling like the master made a correct choice in picking us for this mission?”
“With out a doubt.” Sasume said with a grin. Haru looked at their opponents and smiled as well, tightening the grip on his sword.
“Alright, let’s go.”