Ghentan inches his katana out from its sheath.
The cherry blossom trees around him creak as a calm breeze comes through the narrow mountain pass. The moonlight behind him gleams off the short swords of the three ninjas in front.
Father will be executed if I do not reach him by dawn. And these ninja goons aren’t going to stop me.
Ghentan rushes to the closest ninja. His wooden sandals clack against the rocky pass with every step. In one fluid movement, he unsheathes the katana, and slashes his foe across the chest. Blood sprays Ghentan across the forehead. The ninja’s body droops toward the ground.
He sees a ninja’s reflection in his katana. Ghentan feels sharp pains coming from his shoulder blades. Damn, ninja stars.
“Fool. You cannot save your traitorous father. Both of you will die!”
Ghentan dives to the ground as two more ninja stars whistle through the air above him. A shadow appears on the ground. He rolls onto his left side. A ninja is diving down onto him with his short sword extended.
Ghentan raises his katana, and guides it into the ninja’s neck. Gravity pulls the ninja’s head further into the katana. And a quarter of the katana blade exits the top of the ninja’s skull. The jugular vein explodes and gushes blood onto Ghentan’s face. The body crashes down next to him, breaking his grip on his katana handle. The corpse lies on its side. The dead ninja’s surprised eyes stare into Ghentan’s own.
Two down. One to go.
His shoulder blades are burning now. Ninja stars aren’t supposed to feel like this. He grimaces. Poison.
“Like that? That poison will rob you of whatever strength you had. And now–”
A blade whistles through the air behind him. Ghentan rolls onto the dead ninja next to him. Based on the sound, he calculates where his attacker’s sword should be. He launches his feet, and kicks his attacker’s sword out of his hand. But not before the sword slices him in the thigh.
Ghentan attempts to rise and collapses back onto the dead ninja. The poison must have weakened him. And his katana is stuck in the dead ninja’s skull. It’ll take too long to pull out.
He glances over his shoulder to the remaining ninja, who’s taking out some ninja stars.
Ghentan rolls away from his attacker, holding the dead ninja’s body as a shield. He hears the sound of ninja stars striking flesh. More blood flows onto Ghentan’s body from the dead ninja’s wounds.
“Well, if I have to come finish you face to face, I will.”
The remaining ninja retrieves his short sword, and walks over to the lying down Ghentan and his corpse shield, katana still sticking out from its skull.
He stands over Ghentan and attempts to stab his chest. Ghentan angles his corpse shield toward his remaining foe and sweeps his attacker’s feet from underneath. The ninja collapses into his fallen compatriots head.
Ghentan brings his feet under him into a squatting position. He takes his katana handle, and pushes it further through the long dead ninja and into his remaining foe. The blade enters the second ninja’s stomach. Ghentan’s katana is now hilt to flesh as it skewers his two foes.
Three down. None to go.
Ghentan recovers his katana from the pile of dead ninjas. And he removes the two ninja stars from his back.
The poison can wait. I must save Father.
The twilight sky outlines the other side of the mountain pass. His enemy’s blood drips from his face onto the cherry blossom petals on the path before him.
He limps onward.