The Glutton Demon and the Capture of Hanzo
Lush forest blankets the southernmost point of Cadia Riverlands. Few venture the lands so for Hanzo, the place became a safe haven. Although Minsitthar sensed his ominous presence, the City of the Sand left the hiding ninja alone. The army will mobilize if Hanzo posed an immediate threat. But Hanzo kept a safe distance from urban areas.
Deep in the forest, an evil laugh echoes. Hawks would scatter, afraid, and the beasts would hid in terror.
"Blood!" is the word that repeats in Hanzo's lips.
*Feed.... Me..." whispers a gritty low demonic voice.
It was the Hanekage demon inside him.
Hanzo secluded himself in the forest to recover his grievous injuries and to practice to use the Ame no Habakiri. A decade ago, Hanzo massacred members of the great Akakage clan and so they were hunting him down for justice, vengeance, and retribution.
"Those cursed clan were traitors..." the demon whispered.
Hanzo swings the Ame no Habakiri in the air as if it's out of control. His foot wobbled with his slashes until it thundered on the ground. Hanzo couldn't pull it up again.
He was tired.
"Hanekage. I'll become the most powerful ninja." Hanzo replied.
"I... Will... Help you. So feed me..." the demon replied.
Hanzo grab the hilt of Ame no Habakiri and kicked the back of it's blade. The legendary sword swings towards a tree, cutting it clean. The tree rushed down with a loud boom. And there on the trunk, Hanzo took a seat.
"Yesterday, I've feed you four wandering adventurers around here, and a week before that, we have razed and burned a village down."
"Pitiful." the demon retorted. "You feed me blood of scums. I want the blood that is better than those of Akakage's. Are you not powerful enough to give me what I want?"
"Hunt them yourself." Hanzo replied. "I am tired anyway--"
"Ha! Ha! Ha!" the demon burst. It pushed itself out of Hanzo's chest and rushed towards the depths of the forest to hunt for blood.
It had been years since Hanzo trained to master the pinnacles of ninjutsu. He learned and acquired knowledge of forbidden techniques, and took the demon Hanekage to his side to satisfy his desire. But the pinnacle of ninjutsu that his forefathers had enjoyed was still out of his grasps. Doubt filled his brain that Hanekage was tricking him. He was indeed the most powerful ninja of the Akakage in this age. The thirst for blood, the enjoyment of death, and the thrill of battle made his blood excited. He could feel his soul to have been blessed with power and ability. He could sense his own spirit and blood to be special and extraordinary than those of the Akakages before him. He had reached feats that no other in history of the clan had ever achieved, and he defeated, killed, and destroyed the Akakage himself. But why does he cannot master the pinnacle of ninjutsu like his forefathers?
"How can I be powerful if I cannot master the highest art of ninjutsu?" Hanzo said to himself.
"...by destruction and killing people... burning and taking souls and blood." the demon Hanekage replied. Even though the demon left Hanzo's body to hunt, their minds are still connected.
Hanzo closed his eyes in a trance and in deep concentration to see what the demon sees. But in the vision, he caught the presence of several stares under the shade of the canopies.
"Come back... Something's wrong." Hanzo said.
"I don't want to believe that the past year made you a chicken."
"You know why I became one of the best ninja? It's because of my ability to sense danger."
"Danger." the demon Hanekage scoffed. But from the edges of his eyes, a reflection of a sharp and pointed spear zoomed to his direction. The demon blocked it with it's arms but the spear penetrated to his chest.
The demon growled. He grabbed the spear with both of his hands, and stumbled down with his elbows crashing on the ground.
"What?" Hanzo exclaimed but before the demon could reply, Hanzo only heard the demon cried, "Aaargh!"
The spear retreated and with it the demon Hanekage was carried to a big man, muscular with brawny gaze, stiff face. The man covered in golden armor smacked the demon with a golden shield.
He was King Minsitthar.
Minsitthar came to the south of his territory to address the concerns of the people around his city. Trades and transportation were halted and economy decreased. Crimes rose in the south and criminals hid in the area. People flee to the north and left their works and jobs for safety. Because of this situation, Minsitthar effectively lost a huge chunk of territory and large sum of his city's richess.
"This is the one? Prepare!" Minsitthar exclaimed.
A couple dozen of soldiers leapt to surround Hanekage. Their sturdy shields and sharp spears covered all directions of possible escape. Magic casters shoot spells to immobilize the demon, and the reserve imperial soldiers rushed around to set the chains that as thick as an arm.
Minsitthar raised his fist to signal the platoon. Be alert! The archers on the flanks, and the file of vanguard spearmen locked their grounds.
But the demon Hanekage, upon raising it's arms, vanished.
"What are you doing? Come back!" Hanzo exclaimed. But in his ears, he heard the mind of the demon screaming in jubilation. "Blood! Blood!" it said.
Almost as fast as a blink of an eye, Minsitthar realized that his platoon was impaled with spikes. Blood burst and bathe the ground. The greenery of the forest and grasses turned to red. The ground turned to mud from the pool of blood, and Hanekage, the evil demon reappeared a few steps before Minsitthar.
Most of the impaled soldiers died in the instant, but those who survived suffered severed limbs or holes in their bodies.
Arrows rained towards the demon. But before a single arrowhead could hit, Hanekage then vanished. He turned to a trail of shadow and flew towards the hostile archers.
Hanekage hailed the Ame no Habakiri and slashed all the archers that the sword can reach. Blood spilled to the ground, and the coppery smell and sweet scent of flesh, earth, metal, and the vegetations of the forest were crumpled all together. Hanekage crushed all the things around that he could reach, and that put him in a frenzy.
Hanekage assaulted the archers as slow as it could possibly be. His desire was to maximize the pain, suffering, and terror. He enjoyed the slaughter, and filled the air with evil laugh. Though some archers crawled their way out, none escape without loosing a limb or two.
After Hanekage chopped the archers as fine as a grain, he stomped the ground, showing his evil smile. The demon rushed to Minsitthar and exclaimed, "I need more blood!"
Soaked in blood, dirts, and human flesh, the demon rushed to the file of spearmen that looked like a wall of thorns. It angled its own body, and dashed to the little gaps of the spears. When Hanekage reached the perfect range, the demon snapped its momentum and quickly shrugged the dirts in its body. He raised it's arms to launch an attack.
The soldiers bawled their eyes at the stance that the demon's show. The familiar pose before it attack. It's coming! "Spikes!"
Quickly as the wind, Minsitthar leapt to Hanekage. "No! You don't!"
The royal guards that protected the flanks and rear of Minsitthar screamed. Their muscles bulged as if a dose of power surged into their veins. Their spears shimmered in gold and their eyes turned at Minsitthar. Like a lightning, they vanished and reappeared around their King. They buried the blades of their spears on the demon, and Minsitthar bashed Hanekage with a golden shield.
Minsitthar leapt above Hanekage, and with his spear, he struck Hanekage's abdomen
The still able-bodied soldiers rushed. They impaled the demon to hold it in place but their spears struggled against the demon. So Minsitthar called the available reserves.
"Bind it with the chain!"
A second later, Hanekage seemed to loose strength. He contest with the spears no more. His body fell limply like a vegetable until he dissipated in thin air as a smoke.
They noticed not the direction where Hanekage escaped to, nor heard the demon's traces. The demon left not a bit of chill nor heat, a smell or taste. But Minsitthar and his soldiers just knew where to find the demon.
The sixth sense.
Above the trunk that Hanzo slashed, he was concentrating and in a deep trance when he realized the death of Hanekage. Though the demon was immortal, Hanekage would need blood to spare in order to revive. Moreover, the demon's death ultimately weakened Hanzo's body.
The evil ninja fell on the trunk. Hanzo's fingers struggle to move even an inch. The ground seemed to hold his body, and it felt as though the tree trunk was stuck on his back.
The soldiers of the City of the Sand spare no minute to hunt Hanzo, so they found the weakened demon-possessed ninja.
"So this is your true form!" Minsitthar exclaimed as he stabbed four of Hanzo's limbs with his royal guard's spear.
Hanzo was too weak, he couldn't even react with sound from the pain.
"Cage this demon. We'll execute him in the city to ease the worry of our citizens. We've captured the demon!"
The soldiers chained Hanzo hard and tight that only his nose peeked outside. They even hammered irons and steel, nails and bolts to his legs and arms. They tied his neck and all the joints from where his body could bend with magic threads that binds his power to use spatial magic. Blinks and flickers won't work.
The soldiers imprisoned the evil ninja into a cage that looked like a coffin.
Minsitthar and his platoon returned to the City of the Sand. The battle ended in a victory but it looked like a procession of soldiers returning from a war. Out of the forty-four strong soldiers, thirty suffered severe injuries or had died. Some would return to their families in pieces, while some would return with their faces *******ed.
Such a miscalculation in Minsitthar as a King. Although they had captured the demon, the looses was far too great. He forgot one critical piece of strategy; preparations from what the enemy could do. The lack of information caused them this loses.
"Weak! How weak." Hanekage whispered.
"In the history of the Akakages, I am the greatest ninja! To face such humiliation as getting captured--"
"--because you are weak! Hanzo, you are weak."
"This is brought by your stupidity. Demons have small brains, that's why history cursed you with defeats and imprisonment."
"Admit it, Hanzo... You are weak!"
"I am Hanzo, the strongest ninja in this age. I wield the Ame no Habakiri, the legendary sword of Akakage. I've killed and defeated countless ninjas. So, how am I weak?"
"You cower and hide from a safe distance. It is I who fight, and it is you who hide. Hanzo, the enemy do not fear you-- they fear me!"
"Fear you?" Hanzo snarled as he struggled to unbind the chains. The demon's insult urged him to go on rampage but the powerful seals do a good job to keep him still. "Shut up! I hold your life, so you shall fear me."
"Your strength rely on me. So how can I fear you? Remember; the enemy will never-- never run away from you, Hanzo. They will run away from me!"
"Are you sure about that?" Hanzo said.
Hanekage sneered. "You won't even win against that ninja."
"Who...? The elders? The chiefs?"
"Huh? Much younger."
"The powerful leaders of the Akakage failed to save themselves when I killed them. And you expect a ninja who lack experience to win against me, the great Hanzo?"
"Then, it'll be amusing to watch your humiliating defeat against that kid. It'll be much more entertaining than getting captured by these scums."
Hanzo continued to struggle. "State his name."
Hanzo screamed, "Hayabusa?" His eyes sharpened and his struggles intensified that his cage shook.
The soldiers, surprised, dropped the cage, and in a split second, they had their spears raised at Hanzo's box.
Minsitthar simply walked towards the cage and said, "Easy, the demon won't be going anywhere. You can carry it to the city."
The soldiers that served Minsitthar are loyal from the flesh to the bone. For the glory of their people and homeland, they will offer their lives and follow the orders of Minsitthar. But they made second thoughts about carrying the demon's cage. They touched the box and felt the cage at first and upon realizing that the demon had calmed down, they carried it again.
"Hayabusa will never win against me." Hanzo said almost silently.
"How can you win if even this scums can capture you?" the demon Hanekage replied. "I cannot wield Ame no Habakiri like you do because it was made by those traitors to seal me, but no doubt you are weaker than me. Even if you had that legendary sword."
"That's not true. My power comes from my own."
"You cannot admit that anyone can kill you easily once they catch you. Just like.... now. You're heading to your death, oh, legendary ninja." Hanekage said sarcastically.
"You're going to die too."
"Me?" Hanekage laughed evily. "Made with the darkness that lives in each of the ninjas of the past and present, this form can return as long as Ninja's are around."
"So, why did you choose me?
"It's not me who choose you, a god, perhaps, chose you to be my vessel. I thought you're special, but it seemed you'll die today."
Although the weather was calm, the breeze was a little arid, and the summer skies were clear, Hanzo's breathe turned thick and white as if he was in the northern wastelands of Northern Vale. He felt cold. Even he, himself, was surprised. "Is this fear?" he thought.
"Hanekage, I wanted to be strong."
"I planned to help you do so."
"So why haven't you--"
"I don't help cowards."
"What is it that you wanted?" Hanzo said almost in pale and deathly tone and submissive voice. He had exhausted all options and was on his wit's end. It's true that death awaited him. Legends don't die young, hero might. But Hanzo wanted to be the feared and most powerful ninja of all, and he don't have business becoming a hero. He had no choice but turn to the demon Hanekage's wishes.
"Feed me with blood, show me the grand orchestra of screams and pain in this world."
"If I promise you that, will you free me in this cage?"
"I can free you anytime. But I cannot have you return in seclusion in that accursed forest! It's better to change vessels even if I waited for another century."
"I will cross the sea to satisfy your hunger. I promise to feed you blood. I'll even swallow an entire country, just make me strong so I'll never again suffer such humiliation and fear."
"Fear?" Hanekage laughed. "What a disgrace, but you are weak and it is normal for the weak to feel fear."
"Then help me master the pinnacle of ninjutsu."
"Uh-hmm!" the demon retorted in a creaking sound.
A dark miasma covered the cage. The eight soldiers, who carried the cage, were suffocated. The dark miasma rushed to all the holes the miasma could enter in their faces.
The anguish and pain echoed through their screams as their skins seemed to burn or smoldered, though it also looked like it's melting from the miasma's potent evil presence. It's pressure and presence was so intense that an ordinary soldier could see the distortion of light around the cage
The soldiers cried for help as they reached their arms to the nearest person around them, some fell as if they wanted the earth to swallow them to end the pain.
The cage remained afloat amidst the chaos.
"Battle formation!" Minsitthar exclaimed. But he felt another presence of hostily at the back of his file.
The Ame no Habakiri was pulsating a hostile vibe. They secured it in a wood but it seemed to cry, filled with anger and hate. The feeling of animosity was too strong that the soldiers raised on guard.
In the opposite side, screams continued and the horrific torture intensified. Blood oozed on all exits of the soldiers body. The miasma seemed to siphoned their souls out from their flesh. Their distorted expression made the other soldiers ****. When strength seemed to recede from their muscles, their cries wane. A pool of blood floated around the soldiers and it made their body shrunk like a stick, with their weight looking like a feather. After a split second, these bodies flew and zoomed towards Minsitthar.
Minsitthar dodged. But the body continued to fly towards the Ame no Habakiri.
A demonic mouth appeared from the blade of the Ame no Habakiri. The mouth caught the flying soldiers and swallowed those bodies on an instant.
The soldiers, horrified, couldn't move or even raised their guards and spears. Never in Cadia Riverlands did they see such an experience.
Inside Hanzo's cage, the body of the evil ninja turned into a glowing blackness. A black phantom burst from his body out to the cage.
Hanzo turned into Demon Pneuma and bulldoze the soldiers to clear an escape.
"It's body must be in the box!" Minsitthar exclaimed. "Kill it! Right here and now!"
"The box! Hurry!"
Hanekage rushed out of sight. He dived into the rocks. The Demon Pneuma, with Hanzo's spirit can travel through materials.
Arrows and spells rained on the cage until it was wrecked and crumpled so much that it burned and only ashes and little pieces remained.
"Where's the body?"
At the back of the file, the evil smile of Hanzo shocked the soldiers. Hanzo had butchered the guards of the legendary weapon, Ame no Habakiri.
"I am here!" he said, "You sure take care of my body back there." Hanzo added as he licked the wounds on his arms. Then he turned into Demon Pneuma. The demon Hanekage rushed to the vegetations to escape.
Hanzo's face turned into a relaxed expression as if he meditated. He floated in the air and crossed his legs.
"What're you waiting for! Kill it!" Minsitthar exclaimed.
When the soldiers turned to Hanzo's body, the evil ninja disappeared like a bubble that burst in thin air. Little miasma in the form of smoke dissipated from the wind and Hanzo was no more.
The demon escaped.
Inside the protection of the forest, Hanzo laughed evily.
"You laughed, but remember your promise." Hanekage said.
"The expression in their faces was excellent. I can't wait to experience that moment of excitement once again, so expect me that I'll work on the end of my bargain."
"You're the chosen one, so you shall be the unrivaled ninja in this world."
"We shall become evil if that's what it needed to get the power I most desire. It's so exciting and fun. How could I forgot this feeling? They once again run out luck... We will have the last laugh, this isn't a fairytale after all."
Deep inside Hanzo's consciousness, Hanekage said without Hanzo realizing, "Just as planned."
Author's Note: "Thanks for reading! Let me write much more interesting and beautiful stories. Tell me your opinions, constructive citicism, and thoughts about this story. Comment which parts are funny, boring, and interesting. Finally, give me idea if this story became relatable in your life experience. Enjoy!
To my PHC readers, I love that you react in the story that I thought so hard to write. But please, I wish for you to comment your thoughts other than "thanks." Your comment, positive or negative, will be welcomed and it will inspire me to write more and improve even better. Long live the readers! Let's train our minds and imagination!