Tenchu: Shadows of Azuma – 1. Punish the Underhanded Merchant

The sound a two swords being sheathed can be heard, “You just got lucky.” Ayame walks up to Rikimaru before continuing her talk. “You want me to check for roof access? With the size of this place, there should be an opening that leads into the attic.”

“We’ll find Echigoya faster that way. Knowing the history of large homes, there’s bound to be guards that lead through from the attic to the second floor. Keep your guard up.”

Ayame nods before leaping off onto a nearby rooftop. Rikimaru walks up to the front door and grabs the handle, slowly sliding the door open. The entire house is illuminated, fully furnished and filled with various doors and hallways. As Rikimaru enters the house, he slows his pace, masking the sound of his footsteps. Before heading around each new hallway, he presses against the wall, taking small glances around the corner to make sure no guard are patrolling his destination.

When he presses against one wall, he can hear the sound of footsteps approaching from around the corner. He waits, gauging how close the footsteps to him; it’s another guard similar to the ones outside of the house. The guard stops a few feet from the corner, before turning around to walk back. Before the guard even takes a step, Rikimaru reaches from around the corner and pulls the guard back with one hand. He presses him into the wall and, in one motion, draws his sword and plunges it deep into the guard’s neck and pierces right through into the wall. Rikimaru withdraws the blade and the guard’s body slides down against the wall, leaving a streak of blood in its path; the guard lets out faint gargling sounds for a moment.

Continuing his way through the house, Rikimaru approaches another sliding door, gently opening it ever so slightly to get a glance inside. It’s a small empty room with light furnishings matching that of a bedroom. He backs away and closes the door, moving down another hallway. In the hallway, the sound of snoring becomes louder and louder. He peers around a corner and sees a larger sliding door; it’s marked with floral patterns all along the door. He approaches it and glances inside.

It’s a larger room, easily tripling the size of the bedroom before. The walls are lined with thin screens, possibly leading to the outside. There’s a room divider in the middle of the room, but there’s enough space to walk around it. Rikimaru enters the room and presses against one side of the divider, peeking around the corner. The snoring is now as loud as it could be; on the floor, there’s an older man laying on his side, wearing a heavy set of clothing, signifying his status as some kind merchant or trader.

Rikimaru approaches him and observes for a moment. He places the tip of his sword on the exposed neck of his target, Noboru Echigoya. Before he plunges the blade, one of the ceiling boards suddenly slides open and a figure drops to the floor, perfectly landing on their feet; Ayame managed to find her way into the room. She looks at Rikimaru, and then down at Noboru. She crosses her arms.

“This was too easy. Didn’t even need both of us on this one.”

Rikimaru looks back at Ayame, “Everything is easier when done in pairs.”

Ayame gives off a small shrug. “I guess. Those guards barely noticed a thing.”

Rikimaru brings is sword over is head and quickly brings it back down, slicing clean through Noboru’s exposed neck. He then drags the blade back a bit, making sure the head is completely severed from the body; blood sprays out from the large opening of the neck. Rikimaru gives a flick of his wrist; the blood on his sword slides off, splattering along the floor. He sheaths the sword one last time.

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