Tenchu: Shadows of Azuma – 3. An Approaching Enemy

Ayame turns back around and looks at the dead body. Seeing it gives her an idea, “If this one is traveling by foot, then the other two probably are as well. I should probably stay grounded.”

With a plan of action, Ayame moves away from the shed and starts traveling by foot, peeking around the corners of homes and shops to keep her presence hidden. Passing by small lanterns perched on top of sticks, underneath red archways that trail a gravel path, and taking quick dashes through small alleyways, Ayame makes sure to stick to the shadows, only walking through the moonlight when needed.

When she reaches the corner behind another house, she can see a lone woman off in the distance. The woman has on a light, summer style kimono, detailed in a bright red and orange floral design. Her hair is put into an up-do, with large hair pins holding the back together from falling down. Even though it’s night, she’s casually taking a stroll around the town, taking in the cool breeze.

With such a great distance between the two, Ayame knows the woman won’t be able to see her, so Ayame moves a bit more from the corner to get a better view. The woman walks behind a house for a moment. Ayame then hears the woman scream and quickly turn around and run as if something is chasing her. Ayame hides back around the corner, inching just enough to look around.

A few steps behind the woman, there’s an enemy ninja chasing after her. Even though the ninja is trained to be swift on their feet, this one ninja can’t keep up with the woman. The woman changes directions and starts running down the path that leads to Ayame.

“Damn, she’s heading this way!”

With the woman quickly coming near, Ayame moves back and hides in a nearby bush, waiting for the woman to pass. After a few seconds, Ayame can hear the sound of rushing footsteps pass through the area and quickly fade off, going further and further away. Shortly after, a second pair of footsteps can be heard, followed by heavy breathing. Ayame opens a small patch of the bush to get a look at who else is there. The enemy ninja that was chasing the woman has stopped, trying to catch his breath.

In one motion, Ayame stands up and somersaults over to the ninja, taking out her kodachi mid-flip. Out of breath, the ninja turns his head to see what’s happening, but doesn’t have enough energy or time to do a defensive action; Ayame lands right next to him and slashes at his exposed neck, her kodachi slashing clean through to the other side. Blood sprayed from the cut area, his head slowly sliding off of the body and falling to the ground. The decapitated body falls back and bleeds out. Ayame cleans the blood off and sheaths her weapons.

“Why did he suddenly attack that woman? Weren’t they just suppose to scout around?”

Deep in thought for a moment, Ayame looks at the headless body and notices something on the torso. Sticking out of the opening of the jacket, there’s some kind of paper. She reaches down and takes it out.; it’s a note with detailed instructions on assassinating civilians.

“’After reaching Gohda territory, assassinate three of its citizens and leave them out in the open. This will be a warning sign of our approaching war campaign.’ Somebody is going to attack?”

At the bottom of the note, there is a signed signature, but it’s smeared. Ayame stares at the note for moment before putting it away in one of her pockets. She plans on showing the note to Lord Gohda immediately, but must find the last ninja that is suppose to arrive. Wanting to finish as fast as possible, she leaps up onto the roof of the nearest house and travels across the rooftops again. She makes it to a house near the front gate before coming to a stop. The note lingers deep in her mind.

“Who the hell is trying to attack, and why?”

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