Tenchu: Shadows of Azuma – 3. An Approaching Enemy

A bright, white moon patiently sits high in the night sky. Scattered clouds full the sky around it, occasionally blocking the gentle moonlight from shining down on the town. Barely a soul is out traveling at this time, except for those who conduct business under the cover of night, such as merchants selling wares. However, just outside of the town walls, a lone shadow casually makes her routine rounds of the town.

With each foot slowly stepping along the path around the walls, Ayame takes quick glances around every few steps. Along the edge of the path, there is a small moat that surrounds the town on three sides, the last side protected by the forest nearby. Any travelers or potential attackers are forced to cross the bridge over the moat. Although this is in place, Ayame’s duty is to protect the town from both attackers and shadows that may approach.

With one of her kodachi tightly gripped in her hand, Ayame lightly drags the edge of the blade along the wall, “This has been the quietest patrol I’ve ever had. The only thing I hear are my footsteps and crickets.

She then lets out a small sigh before sheathing the kodachi. She stops and crosses her arms, taking one more glance around, “Damn, I’m bored.”

Ayame notices a rock in front of her and kicks it, sending it further down the path. As the rock comes to a stop a small, white figure jumps out from around the corner of the wall and starts swatting the rock from side to side. It’s crouched low to the ground while a slim, white tail playfully wags around. Confused, Ayame walks up to the figure and crouches down to it.

“A cat? What’s it doing here?”

Ayame looks at the white cat, which is deeply focused on trying to play with the rock. Ayame picks up the rock and tosses it down the path, landing next to the front gate that leads into town; the cat quickly chase after it. Ayame shrugs and turn around, beginning to head back down her route. Before she can even take a few steps, she can hear the sound of footsteps off in the distance.

Without a moment of hesitation, Ayame draws her dual kodachi and presses against the wall. She peeks around the corner and can see two figures a few feet away.

Just from looking at their clothing, Ayame can easily tell that they’re male. They both have a dark brown scarf wrapped around the head, revealing only their eyes. They also have on matching stealth jacket and hakama, the typical shinobi outfit.

Ayame squints her eyes at the realization, “Ninja. What the hell are they doing here?”

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