Still warm, but lifeless, he finds the corpse of an unmasked ninja. In the middle of the chest there’s a single gash that leads right from the collar bone straight down to the ribcage, even cutting through the clothing. Blood seems to have just finished pouring out from the gash. The remaining pieces of clothing is thrown in disaray, as if somebody searched the entire body for something.
“Somebody got to the informant first. Whoever they are, they have what I’m looking for. I can’t leave yet until I get it.”
Rikimaru gets back on his feet and looks up, seeing the elevated cliff above him. He jumps and hastily pulls himself up, keeping low to the ground. Just a few meters away, he can see the gate, but there’s another guard standing in the way. His back is turned, so it seems like he’s looking out towards the forest to prevent anybody from passing through.
Standing between Rikimaru and the gate are a few guards and the watchtower. He looks up at tower and tries to figure out a way to get through. As he’s looking at the tower, a shadow leaps out from one of the leaves below and on top of the guard in the tower.
“There’s another ninja?”
Without missing a step, the figure jumps down from the tower and lands onto of another guard, swiftly moving from one to the next, quickly taking them out. With each guard taken out, the faint sound of cracking bone echoes through, sounding like twigs being stepped on. After the figure takes out the last guard, they just stand there. Not detecting any other enemies in the area, Rikimaru slowly gets up and walks towards the figure; the details becomes more clear with each step, resembling a familiar person.
A muscular build with a strong stance, a dark blue open robe top that exposes his chest with a Japanese inscribed phrase on the back, black wide opened hakama bottoms, and low shaved haircut, the figure patiently waits there, cracking his knuckles; one hand is covered in black bandage wraps while the other has a beaded armlet on his wrist. His deep voice calm and quietly pierces the silence.
“That only leaves the one at the gate.”
Responding to the name, the figure, former Muzen assassin Tesshu Fujioka turns around and faces, Rikimaru.
“Rikimaru of the Azuma.”
“What are you doing?”
Tesshu reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small needle. He looks towards the guard at the gate and tosses it, piercing him in a very percise spot in the back of his neck; the guard drops his weapon and falls straight to the ground, becoming a lifeless corpse.
“Making sure nobody is left.”