|The Way of the Samurai|
|Date Started: October 6th, 2021|
Date Finished: th, 2021
Setting: 15 years ago from current timeline in Wano Country
|Zeospark * Eastie|
Encounter with the Shichibukai
In Wano Country, one that is closed off to the world itself, the citizens of the country can be seen enjoying their daily lives as usual. Throughout the large crowd walking, Ieyasu himself can be seen waving politely to the people as they waved back at him. Ieyasu was as calm and friendly as ever as even children wanted to play with him. However, he was currently doing his own route of patrolling around the Flower Capital to make sure things are going well. He had stopped an earlier skirmish that was settled pretty easily at the end and make sure to do another round of patrolling before moving on.
"Hmm. Nothing else to report as of yet. However, I will make sure to keep an eye out in case someone needs help, or if trouble is a-foot." Ieyasu remarked to himself as he kept walking around, with his two blades that can be seen by his waist.
It was approximately three years since the rogue ninja had gained the status of privateer by the World Government, Shinzui, on his other ventures, had found himself enjoying the delicacies of the Flower Capital. He had just finished pawning off some treasure he found at a local pawnshop and was making his way back to his hiding place. Wearing standard ninja gear, he kept a low profile as he walked through the city, overhearing the several gossips happening in the city. Earlier he had just seen a skirmish that was resolved which caused his blood to boil from excitement.
As Shinzui was about to leave the Capital, he noticed in front of him, patrolling was the patrolman of the previously mentioned skirmish. "Quite a very rough day isn't it ?" Shinzui spoke to the man, as he was an acquaintance.
Ieyasu looks over at the ninja that just suddenly showed up to him; of course, Ieyasu knows who he was and what he had recently accomplished. Ieyasu greets Shinzui with a bow before he speaks with him. "It really wasn't anything to it I assure you. It was a disagreement that turned rather violent. It happens every now and again, unfortunately. However, what doesn't happen as often is seeing someone such as yourself step out of the shadows. May I ask what is the occasion?" Ieyasu asked, not trying to be suspicious of Shinzui, but is genuinely wondering why he is out and about.
"Such a violent state of affairs is it not, why can't people be as pure as flowers," Shinzui replies by sitting in a street corner meant for tired travelers to rest and picked up a violet flower randomly growing on a flower pot beside him. "As for me, things haven't been going so well, my only friend went somewhere I can never reach, I was just bored so I decided to come back to my routes," Shinzui replied to the patrolman. Shinzui's face showed no emotions, neither did his mind, like a dead body his words were tough to ascertain how much of it was true, how much of it was a lie. "Its tough to see my capital in such disarray,"
Ieyasu was rather enthralled at what Shinzui was speaking of. He could tell his words spoke without any weight to him. And by looking at his face, even he cannot make out what Shinzui truly feels. It could be genuine sadness, or even something completely different. Nonetheless, Ieyasu is the type that will help out nearly anyone that seems to be in need and decided to do as such as he feels it is also his duty to help all those in need. "Quite. But even those flowers, may have their thorns I must say. We must do our best to help keep order in this fine country. However, you do seem rather conflicted right now. If there is anything you need for me to assist you with, I'd be glad to offer my help."
Shinzui smirked. The only expression visible from his face, as he listened to the officer's reply. Looking at Ieyasu's eyes, rather, staring at them, Shinzui replied, "You are the type of guy who would burn a rose just because of its thorn. I believe, such a philosophy is warranted for an officer such as yourself to keep society clean. Ieyasu was it? How do I know? the walls have ears and the door's eyes. You have a stern resolve, yet you do not swing your blade at a pirate like me, as soon as you see me, I wonder why? You are interesting, care to spend some time on a spar? I haven't been challenged in a while."
Ieyasu was admittedly caught off-guard by Shinzui's request but had a feeling that the pirate before him wanted to fight. Ieyasu only has practice matches with any students that train under him, so the idea of a spar with someone honestly rarely crosses his mind. After hearing what else Shinzui has said about him, Ieyasu nods upon hearing this. "Well, it is always in my nature to hear both sides before carelessly charging into battle. However, I do see you simply want someone to face you in battle. If that is something that will help ease your soul, then I accept." Ieyasu comments with a bow.
"I see, there is a beast within you ready to cause havoc. Follow me to fields south of Mt. Fuji, it would be bad if he causes havoc in the middle of the city," Shinzui said, "Don't be late, I get bored easily," as he vanished with a puff of smoke covering the place where he stood.
Ieyasu nods as he watched Shinzui leave, and couldn't help but be taken aback by his words. "A beast within me ready to cause havoc? That is quite an interesting way to put it. Although, one creature such as that does come to mind, but I'd rather not even bother to use it. It does make me wonder if he may know of my secret, that none other except for the ones closest to me knows about? I am sure he may be referring to something else. I'd better go ahead and meet him at the location he has requested me to. It will be rude to keep him waiting." Ieyasu said to himself as he started to walk off in the direction of Mt. Fuji.
The Clash of Beasts
Ieyasu was seen walking calmly to the open fields, which Mt. Fuji itself can be seen overlooking them. He, of course, had his blades by his side as he stopped walking after reaching a certain distance in the fields. "I have arrived in decent time. I hope I wasn't too late as I had to help some people along the way, but I made sure to make haste over here." Ieyasu said to himself.
Shinzui was whistling to the tunes of the local birds that resided in the region, he sitting on a branch of a tree, waiting for the patrolman. "Why did you come here ?" he asked Ieyasu, "You made me wait for a long time." Jumping down from the tree, Shinzui walked towards the man, standing at least a mid-distance away from him, "Let's begin the fight."
Ieyasu does a polite bow as he knew that he was late and was then quick to take out his two blades, one was shorter than the other, but it is his weapon of choice. After arming himself, he then prepares to speak. "I apologize. It wasn't my intention to be too late. However, I assure you I am indeed ready for this battle. It will be a nice change of pace for the both of us I am certain." Ieyasu stated as he got into a shin no kamae stance with his two blades facing forward toward Shinzui.
"That stance,....." Shinzui thought to himself as he bowed in response to Ieyasu. "I hate the dramatic polite rituals you samurai display during a spar, but I will honor your tradition with hopes that you will honor me with a good duel," Shinzui replied to the Samurai. Shinzui threw a scroll to the ground in front of him, opening it, in a puff of smoke, a Kusarigama appeared popping out of the fallen scroll and jumped into Shinzui's hands, as he caught it swinging the weighted part of the weapon. Mimicking Ieyasu's posture and his confidence, Shinzui spoke, "So be it, hope it would indeed be a nice change of pace"
"Quite the sorcery summoning your weapon out from scrolls such as those. A Kusarigama I see." Ieyasu said as he scans over the weapon quickly and adjusts his stance to aim a bit higher at Shinzui. "That kind of weapon is used primarily for immobilization. He could go either high for my blades, or low for my legs. I need to make sure I avoid being ensnared. Let's see how he fairs against some of my long-ranged attacks before going in close." Ieyasu thought to himself as he quickly started to move forward. Nitoryu: Wolfen Slash!" Ieyasu shouted as, with a quick swing of his blades, released two light purple sword beams that formed into the shape of wolves toward Shinzui.
Shinzui was following the thought processes of the man, indeed primarily Kusarigama was built as a weapon for immobilization, but Shinzui was here to change the game and he meant it. "Sorcery my dear friend, it is called ninjutsu, the most ultimate of all martial arts you see, because its only limitation is the person's creative limit." Having said so, Shinzui followed Ieyasu's movements rushing towards him his excitement looming on his face. It was further amplified, by the wild display of dancing wolves coming straight at him, like a wild boar, Shinzui went straight at them, dodging at the last second, and moving straight towards Ieyasu, faking a chain swing, Shinzui aimed his Kusarigama sickle, pointing them straight at the samurai's face. trying to make a clean blow.
Ieyasu was watching Shinzui's moves the entire time and was already preparing to counter the attack. Using the shorter blade of his daisho set, he would use it to block the attack. Ieyasu would already be ready to use his free arm to swing his long sword as Ieyasu's unique way of using his daisho is using the short blade to parry and the longer blade to strike back. Ieyasu had a rare competitive smile on his face as, he too, was already enjoying this encounter knowing Shinzui is going to be a worthy opponent to him. "Though our encounter had just begun, I can tell you do handle your Kusarigama quite differently from others I've faced in the past. Especially with the fake chain swing you've done there. However, I regret to say I won't be stuck so easily." Ieyasu proclaims as he used his other sword to swing at Shizui's torso which may cause a cut if it lands.
As soon as the shorter of Ieyasu's blades blocked the pointy edge of the sickle Shinzui used all his momentum and force, to jump high and above Ieyasu, using the sickly as an anchor to keep his balance. He dodged the longer blade strike by increasing his jump faster, while also taking into account that Ieyasu would predict his jump speed and attack the point of contact instead of attacking the dodging body perfectly, as Shinzui reached straight above Ieyasu, "You won't be stuck easily you say, great, that makes it much exciting," Shinzui continued his somersault, and released his chain swing, directly to Ieyasu's back, as he set foot on the ground.
Ieyasu could sense the incoming attack, not as something from the future, but more as a heightened sixth sense. Ieyasu quickly dodges the chain before it could strike at his back and, despite his taller frame, can perform a front flip off his own where he has his blades positioned to the sides, preparing his next move. "My apologies, but a swordsman should never be stuck on their backs. I do much prefer frontal attacks. However, this is getting quite exciting as well. I think it is time to show you just a small bit of the power I was granted." Ieyasu said as he formed an "X" with his blades and they suddenly became coated with ice. " Nitoryu: Shikenjigoku!" Ieyasu said as he let out a sword beam covered with the ice he had formed with his blade over toward Shinzui!
"Impressive indeed," Shinzui's excitement, went back to a blank expression. "You Samurai are such boring, I say, rules in a life or death situation. Why ?" Shinzui stood facing Ieyasu, taking on his attack, as it phased through his body. Did it phase through though? perhaps not, Shinzui was not a ghost. However, it was thanks to his reflexes and speed. he was able to dodge out of the way and get back to his location in mere seconds the ice spears passed through the initial location where his body stood, creating an illusion of the spear phasing through him. "Give me and show me your best," Shinzui yelled back, whatever slipped from Ieyasu's mouth, did not pass through Shinzui however, as he caught Ieyasu saying, "power I was granted," and he wanted to know more about it, but as usual, his thoughts were as intangible as ever, not forming even in his consciences.
Ieyasu grips his blades as Shinzui's words echo through his head. Although he was taken aback by the "boring" term, he understood his opponent values strength in a life-or-death battle and nothing more. As Ieyasu adjusts his stance, and with a close of his eyes, he prepares to speak once more. "So you request me to fight at my best, then I shall. The only words that slip out of the mouth, will be those of my attacks." Ieyasu said as he opened his eyes revealing they are now a deep crimson red. Many would think it's just his natural bloodlust taking hold, but it is something entirely different. Ieyasu had a sudden burst of strength as he held his blades in an upward stance as he then coats his blades in Haki turning them into a deep dark blue. "Ittoryu: Hokkaido Fuyu!" Ieyasu shouted as he sent forward an intense sword beam of ice from his swords that were enhanced in strength after he hardened his swords in Haki. Even if Shinzui dodged, the attack would still be fierce enough to go cut through any trees that were behind him.
"Bring it on!" Shinzui readied his body to face whatever Ieyasu was about to do. Having retired his Kusarigama into the scroll it was taken out from, Shinzui was barehanded against the samurai. Assuming the pose of a goalkeeper ready to face a penalty shootout, Shinzui stood being his back a bit front, feet apart and his arms swung sideways. Shinzui's own eyes glowing crimson red, in response to his opponents' bloodlust. Haki began leaking out the Shinobi's body, decreasing the temperature of the surroundings as the cold stare continued. As Ieyasu launched the beam of ice, Shinzui immediately changed his pose, now with his feet closer together almost touching one another, he lifted his left foot and place it on the side of his right knee. With his arms clasped together and eyes closed, devoid of all thoughts and emotions, Shinzui prayed. The Haki emitting out of his body increased in potency. Someone trained as a warrior like Ieyasu would be able to see the beast, however, for an untrained eye, it was as if Shinzui had become a Yokai. Not downplaying the strength and speed of the ice beam launched at the Ninja, however, even it wasn't able to penetrate the beasts' aura. Split into two pieces right in front of Shinzui and encircling him, only to cause an explosion as the divided ice beams hit each other, causing ice particles to spread out into the field, dropping the temperature even further. However, Shinzuis' menacing aura had subjugated the explosion, controlling it and also shaping it into a form of Giant Lotus of ice crystals behind Shinzui. Thanks in part to the output of ice launched by the samurai, the Lotus was thrice the size of the man whose back was facing it and as wide as the length of three school buses parked one behind the other. As the lotus finished completion, the beastly Haki emitted by Shinzui, calmed down now peacefully like a bodhisattva meditating on a lotus in the calm surroundings of a river.
It was only then, did Shinzui's eyes open up, immediately bringing out a katana from one of his scrolls, and wasting no motion, Shinzui sped up towards Ieyasu. It wasn't his top speed yet he was faster than most trained adults, his eyes staring right into Ieyasu's eyes or rather his soul and screaming, "Please try reading my movements." both his palms parrying the katana blade, which hid behind the running man's back. The stance was completely that of a man who had spent years mastering the art form. Without the blade facing the samurai, Shinzui's opponent had to predict, would the ninja attempt a top-down diagonal slash, a bottom-up diagonal slash, or a simple sideways slash, what would he follow up with, for each of these counters, would Shinzui even think 2-3 steps into the future? Also is the man purposefully slower than usual? Did he catch frostbite from the earliest attack? With Shinzui on the move, yet another mystical event took place, as Shinzui began to vomit or rather drool, his eyes widening in shock, yet he continued his pace.
Ieyasu was scanning his opponent trying to make out what he is doing. He has had his own experience in fighting many opponents in the past, thousands of swordsmen naturally. Even still, Ieyasu could tell that Shinzui was up to something as he appeared to be slowing down his attacks on purpose. Ieyasu knows that his opponent wouldn't be weakened already especially how early in the fight it is. Ieyasu is a strong individual alright, but not as strong to easily start to weaken someone like Shinzui. Anticipating the possible attacks that Shinzui will do, Ieyasu gets into a stance where both of his swords are facing forward in a downward position, preparing to parry them. "Your movements are unique I will admit. I am sensing over three different attacks you can be doing. Let us see if I can repel any one of them. I am not a fool to fall for the slower act that you are currently doing."
Shinzui continued down his path, still in pain. Other than that he possessed no other thoughts, he was like a horse trying to reach the finish line. Noticing Ieyasu's change in his stance and hearing also his words, Shinzui was expressionless. Why? Any form of expression showered by an individual during a life or death situation can be used as a weapon against themselves. These were the words young Shinzui was taught by his guardian and master. As Shinzui appeared closer to Ieyasu, Shinzui rattled his blade getting ready to strike. However, he did not. Instead, Shinzui breezed through at almost what happened to be faster than a naked eye movement, without as much as laying a hand or even faking a shot at the Samurai. He also made sure to stay a certain distance away from the Samurai, not too far, not too close, since he didn't want to be hit by a sudden strike, despite being confident that any attack laid on him during that time, he was fast enough to evade them, but also didn't want to be far enough to not give Ieyasu the feeling of being threatened by an enemy closer to him. Once Shinzui looked back, he laughed. "Not attacking is also an attack," he said to Ieyasu, in his mind, Shinzui was just a kid happy winning over a small game against his classmate.
Shinzui paced, in and around the place he had taken stance swing his blade around. Like a happy child, he was, that he forgot that they were still in the middle of a sparring session. "The only words that slip out of the mouth will be those of my attacks.", these words began echoing around the area where they both had been present. It was Shinzui's ventriloquism in action. Ventriloquism, or ventriloquy, is a performance act of stagecraft in which a person (a ventriloquist) creates the illusion that their voice is coming from elsewhere, usually a puppeteered prop known as a "dummy". Shinzui knew about ventriloquism ? It was a tactic used by shinobi to divert attention in the night alright, and somehow Shinzui was mocking his enemy using stagecraft. To make more mockery of the man, Shinzui had modulated his voice to mimic the Samurai's own. Multiple voices, there being thrown out from various directions, all saying the same thing again and again and again. Such an act of dishonor was not beneath the Shinobi's way, and he felt no remorse in employing such tactics, this is how he fought and this is how he survived so far.
Ieyasu was slightly taken aback by this kind of technique. It was something he hasn't seen quite often before. Ieyasu smiles faintly at such a move, knowing it is how his opponent fights. Ieyasu has been around a long time to know of voice mimicry, and he wasn't caught off guard that he was suddenly able to mimic his voice. Ieyasu then closes his eyes and appears to be taking deep breaths in and out. It is a skill that allows Ieyasu to mentally block out all of the voices that he was hearing through his ears to feel the patterns of his foe. In a matter, it is similar to a blind person being able to feel out others using their keen senses. At that moment, Ieyasu would turn to hopefully sense the real Shinzui that was projecting these images.
"Interesting maneuver there. That is quite something I expect from you. Makes me wonder what other tricks you will have up your sleeve?" Ieyasu said in a calm tone as he kept his blades up. Appearing to be waiting for his foe to strike first.
"Quite an Interesting tactic out there," Shinzui praised his opponent's way of combating him, as he stopped dancing, and stood on the spot. Looking at his opponent who was anticipating an attack, Shinzui laughed, "Are you sure you want to close off your senses ?" Shinzui asked, "Who am I even talking to, you can even hear me talk." Shinzui facepalmed hard. "Are we gonna stand and stare our aura's at each other, my friend ?" Shinzui asked, continuing his talk, "Unless you have a different way to sense me, you are going to give yourself away you know." The voices taunting the Samurai faded, as Shinzui began talking in his normal voice, even for a master like Shinzui, it was difficult to use his voice and then project a modulated voice into the distance. Clapping his hand to signal the end of his technique, Shinzui proceeded to walk towards Ieyasu with baby steps. Shinzui was walking so slowly and steadily, that even a tortoise would beat him in a race.
"I wonder how are you able to locate me? Sight ? have you by chance kept your eyes a bit slightly open? that's cheating." Shinzui quizzed the Samurai. "Hearing? Don't tell me you aren't listening to me, not to my words not to my footsteps, not to the sound of my heart that is screaming in pain from the lack of action ?" Shinzui continued, disheartened, Shinzui, smelled his underarms, "No way, I do not wear a lot, okay, and I made sure I was odorless when I began traveling today morning." He suddenly exclaimed. Shinzui was a man who kept his body odorless, whenever he traveled to major human crossroads of civilization. A black cloak to hide his presence in the shadows, cat-like footwork to walk around unnoticed and a body that reeked of nothing were the things Shinzui used to hide from the natural order of the living. Now Shinzui was intrigued which of these things was Ieyasu trying to pull against him. "That is three sensory parts down, I will count taste and touch out of this." Shinzui continued rambling as he continued walking towards Ieyasu. Having not even reached half the distance between Ieyasu and Shinzui, Shinzui was still looking at the change in the Samurai's reaction. The twitching of his nerves, the dancing of his hair in the wind, the moment air braced his exposed blade, his footwork among several other voluntary and nonvoluntary cues, Shinzui was keeping an eye on each one of them to note changes in the man's composure and intent. If in case the man did hear his rambling, a slight change in any of these cues would help Shinzui in getting into his thoughts.
"Oh! By chance, you must be using Haki right? right ?" Shinzui raised his left hand and clenched his fist forward while raising his index finger. "Ah! sensing an aura is such a wonderful ability, noticing the unknowns among the knowns. Man is such an insignificant being. Despite having five sense organs, there are a lot of things he can't perceive otherwise. But what can you do, I hopefully assume you are trying to bank on such a technique, how does my aura feel like ?" Shinzui asked the Samurai while he was in a state of no emotions or intent. "All you can do is look at me, are you confident enough to block me just by looking into the aura of my presence? What if I straight up bisect you? Do you have the intent to stop my attack? How amusing...I could just throw a katana straight at your heart right now, too bad you wouldn't be able to sense the katana since it doesn't have an aura of its own." Shinzui spoke loudly, he was aware the samurai had flaws in his utilization of Kenbunshoku Haki, as seen earlier when Shinzui had thrown fake intentions at the man and he wasn't able to figure out Shinzui movements, a few minutes ago. Shinzui was having fun, having understood what kind of a man Ueyasu was on the surface, now he wanted to peel in deeper into his subconscious to see what the man truly was.
"Oh yea, I do not know if you are listening, but too much usage of the technique also depletes it faster, so my piece of advice is to not waste your precious energy on it," Shinzui began advising the Samurai. Shinzui had been there multiple times before, where he had wasted quite a lot of stamina by depleting his Haki reserves, which was a very rare moment due to his otherwise above-average Haki reserves. Even now, Shinzui was wary of his supplies of Haki, especially after the massive lotus display earlier, which took him some reserves of his Haki to make and therefore was avoiding utilization fo it, unless it was needed.
And with all the quizzes and the small walk, Shinzui had finally reached around halfway mark from his original location towards Ieyasu. crouching forward as if he was beginning the stance of an Iaidō technique, Shinzui kept his right palm near the scabbard he had hanging down the waist on his left side. Shinzui knew if Ieyasu was indeed using his Kenbunshoku Haki, or any other technique for the matter, the sudden change in posture would certainly alert his sparring opponent. With a sudden flick of his wrist, Shinzui faked a shuriken throw thrice in a matter of seconds or even lesser than that. But it was just a fake to confuse the Samurai, with his ability to fake his intent mixed with actual intent Shinzui knew he would be expecting some reaction from the Samurai. As if that little play was not enough, Shinzui's aura had vanished as soon as he faked the throw, in order to build up layers over layers of his actual intentions and to spread the lies among truth and the truth among lies. Shinzui's aura would suddenly appear on top of the Lotus he had managed to create earlier.
The Ice lotus was standing tall, despite the warm temperature of the surroundings, the cold disposition of the duo had managed to keep the lotus frozen despite leaking droplets of pure water from a few points in its nicely carved petals. Shinzui sat on top of the core of the lotus, still keeping an eye out for Ieyasu, especially since he wanted to know Ieyasu's reaction to his fake. "It wouldn't really be a challenge if you know, you are standing there waiting for my attack, I will not lie it is a wonderful tactic, but against me, you have to go plus ultra," Shinzui continued talking, "Or do you want to give up ?".
Shinzui had held his right arm in a position as if he were lifting a weight for biceps training, his palms faced upwards and opened up. three small droplets of water, which the shinobi had collected from the ice encircled around an invisible circular orbit above his palm. Ready for another round, Shinzui waited.
Ieyasu lets out a small chuckle upon hearing Shinzui's words. Not of disrespect, but of at the sight of his opponent and his antics. Ieyasu appears to be sheathing his swords, but in reality, he is preparing for an attack. As he got into a certain stance, he swiped his swords in the air rapidly and, as he finished, he formed an "X" with them as he stares Shinzui with intensity. "Fair not, I do not intend to to flee. I was merely "testing the waters" if that is how that old expression goes. You are quite careful yourself, however, you can't be too careless against someone as myself. As I have already used my technique. Mastering many swords styles is my specialty including this one I have picked up in my old days. "Iaijutsu: Hell no Soru!" Ieyasu stated as he sheathed his swords once more and, upon doing so, the entire area started to become slashed apart including the ice lotus sculpture that Shinzui himself had made himself at home at.