The woman curls up to protect herself from the guard, holding her head down to the ground. Expecting some kind of retaliation for the kicks, nothing happens for a few moments. She slowly lifts her head up, looking at the guard with fright and fear in her eyes; there’s a blade piercing through guard’s stomach, blood dripping from its tip.
“Wh… What happened?”
The blade is forcefully yanked from out of the guard, causing the body to fall limp to the ground. Behind the guard stands Rikimaru. He’s looking directly at the woman on the ground.
“Don’t worry. I’m here to bring you back home.”
Stuck in shock, the woman’s eyes keep darting between Rikimaru’s bloodied ninjato and the deceased guard’s body. They finally break the patten and look up at Rikimaru, straight into his right eye. He leans down on one knee and extends his hand as a safe gesture. Hesitantly, the woman puts the palm of her hand in Rikimaru’s hand, feeling the warmth of his body heat flow through to her numb limbs. Rikimaru helps her back onto her feet.
“Are you okay?”
“Y-Yes… You’re not one of ‘them,’ right? A slave trader?”
Rikimaru shakes his head, “I bring an end to those who sell off people for profit. There’s no honor in living like that.”
The woman lets out a small sigh of relief, “Thank you.”
“Let’s not stay here for too long. Somebody will be here eventually.”
The front door of the building flies open. A deep, masculine voice can be heard, “It’s too late for that.”
Rikimaru and the woman look toward the building; standing in the doorway, there’s one man looking right at them. He has on the normal garb of a commoner, but it’s ripped and torn in some spots with his chest exposed. Without having to flex even the slightest, the muscular build is easily visible in his arms. An eye-patch over his right eye and a large sword being carried over his shoulder, he slowly walks out of the building. He brings his gaze to Rikimaru first; the woman quickly runs to hide behind Rikimaru.
“What brings you here to my territory? Interested in buying somebody for you?”
“Selling others as slaves for your own gains brings nothing but shame and dishonor to you. And for that, you must pay the price. With your life.”
The approaching man looks at the dead body in the snow, “It’s obvious he paid his price. You also have something that belongs to me.”