Rage...That was all I can feel while being confined into my workshop, with two of the invading ninja's staying there like jailers, denying me any right to leave the place. Hour's had passed since the invader's had taken control of the village and I simple been knocked out by the man who killed the chief. My father...No, Noboru betrayed the village by leaking out the location of the island and destroyed the barrier to allow the ninja's to invaded our home. When I regained consciousness, I was locked away in my own workshop and couldn't leave the building due to the those murderous ninja's are patrolling the whole village. I spend thirty minute screaming and demanding to know what is going on, till one of those killers talked behind my door and told me much of what transpired when I went unconscious, as to make me shut up afterward, else I will have my tongue cut off as a warning. After killing the chief, Noboru took out the Blue Oni Mask from within the shrine and soon afterward leave with another group as to find more of the Oni Mask's, while leaving a small group of ninja's to watch over the village to be certain no escape or tries to call for help. I had no idea if Machirou was still alive, if anyone else was killed, or if the whole island is soon going to be under the control of those invaders.
"Dammit...DAMMIT!!" I grabbed a hammer near and slammed it hard on the anvil, pouring all my raged and frustration in that blow.
"Noboru, my whole world has been turned upside down because of you. You left me behind without even telling me why and caused all this disaster upon our home. I hate you Noboru, so much that I can't even stand being locked in my own workshop like a prisoner. It just can't end like this..."
"It doesn't have to end, if that what you desire." I frozen the moment I heard that deep, low voice and open my eyes to notice that the whole room was cover in darkness, expect for the anvil that is next to me. I quickly stood up and look the whole surrounding to see if anyone was with me.
"Who there...Show yourself!" I turn around one more and this time a figure emerge right out from the darkness. I fell hard on my bottom, for what stood before me appear to be a living skeleton who entire body is made of charcoal and is completely cover in raging flame. I nearly fell down again in my attempt to get up on my feet and feel my heart pounding loud in my chest, as it was a challenge to even stared at this ungodly being. "Am...Am I-"
"No, you are not dead, and this is not a dream." The figure voice was a deep and harsh, it moved it boney body toward me with the flame still stuck to him. "As I said before, do you not desire your life to end?"
"W-what the hell do you mean by that. And more importantly, w-who the hell are y-you?" I tried my best to act strong, yet already my body was shacking violently and my face was showing fear all over it. I'm not very fond with talking to dead thing, especially to this kind of creature before me.
"I can understand your confusion, so at least relax and hear me out." I took much time breathing and taking a moment to calm down and look at him without freaking out, as I was curious more as of who this being is. "This pathetic, shadow of a man that stand before you is none other the once fame, respected blacksmith of the Tenshi Clan, Doman Kajiya."
"Doman Kajiya! The Doman Kajiya!?" I was filled with so much excitement from hearing the name, I nearly scream like some fan girl and had to shut my mouth to not be such a fool in front of the formerly dead Doman. "I have heard stories of your skills to be legendary blacksmith that used to land lords back when you were only a teen made incredible weapons that made some warrior to be legend's."
"Yes, I remember back in my youth I crafted the my master pieces and sold them to either lords or great warriors of all kinds, yet I was foolish not to realize the price I pay for forging those weapons." The moment I heard his word, all the excitement I had quickly faded away, replace now by this rather gloomed and cold atmosphere.
"As I made those weapons and sold them away, I was in fact taking the lives of innocent soul's and causing destruction upon different villages across the land. Every time I tried to sleep at night's, I could hear the voice of the damned who wanted my head and desire to dragged me into the pit of hell for revenge." I could see the flames that cover his body began to form strange specters moaned in pain and their expression full of hate, only to return back to flames.
"I couldn't bare the voice's anymore, yet I couldn't stop forging as the lord's threaten me to make more weapon for war, else I would be hanged. I feared that I would forever be thrown in a cycle of suffering, until she came before me..." The flame soon took on a form of a woman who had two horns and a third eye on the middle of her forehead; it was none other than Kaguya Otsutsuki .
"When she ate the Fruit of the World Tree, she brought an end to war and free me from the life of forging weapons against my will, allowing me the chance to lived a life of peace. I was able to lived up to my elderly years and raised a fine family of my own, all thanks to her...Yet soon that peace would be shattered by them!" The flames once again changed to show images of two men who sealed away Kaguya, indicating that those were Kaguya children.
"Damn that Hagoromo, thanks to him the Golden Age came to an end, while-"
"Whoa, wait a second there," I called out to the spirt Doman. "Wasn't Kaguya the villain who was turning the villagers into her personal army, who didn't care about mankind and only wanting to keep all the charka's to herself? It was proven when she came back and nearly capture everyone in her power illusions, and it took the legendary hero's of the Fourth Ninja War to-"
"Silence!" The flame nearly caught me that symbol Doman rage that nearly scared me to death. "*sign* I can understand how you think and perhaps some of it is true, but she is still my goddess no matter what and nothing can change that. While his brother choose to go to the moon, Hagoromo went on a journey to spread 'Ninshu' to everyone, yet he forgotten about our clan and left us to die in the wasteland. It was his fault that my clan suffer for years and ignore our plea for help, so we had to travel the land to find a new home while being attack by both beasts and men alike."
"Is that when you..." Doman didn't need to say anything and from the flames shown an image of a mask that look like a demon.
"I...was overflow with hatred, toward everything and everyone around me. Soon my hatred had soon consume me and I soon became what most people called me a 'demon'. So blinded by hatred, I forged something filled with evil and malice that soon took on an image of an demon, thus giving formed the "Oni Mask of Darkness". Soon afterward, four more mask's came to existence from the original, granting anyone wearing them to become a demon and gained the power equal to that of a Tailed Beast's. No army could even lay a scratch on them, no disaster's could make them tremble in fear, and no wall could stop them."
"But wait, that couldn't be possible right? They still are human and can be killed like any other." If he still had some skin, I could see him raising a brow and was thinking to himself 'really?'
"I can see that you are not much of a believe, not even realize that you are talking to a dead spirit right before you, but it really doesn't matter if you believe me or not." The flames shows the images of the four mask's and four beast that reside above them. "As I said, these mask's transform the wearers into demon, but they can go further and transform into monster's. Each mask's are different from each others and possess different abilities; The Blue Mask of Sorrow, Byakko. The Green Mask of Secret, Genbu. The White Mask of Desire, Seiryu. And lastly, the Red Mask of Wraith, Suzaku. Each mask are the symbol and representation of the Four Holy Beasts of legends, and they all are created from the Oni Mask of Darkness, name after the Golden Dragon, Koryu."
"Okay, I get it, they are a big deal. So is it true then that Hidemitsu was able to beat them with the Muramasa Blade?"
"Ah, my finest creation, but yet that was only half true." Soon the image of the demon slayer, Muramasa appear in a form of fire in Doman hand. "It was when I saw what those mask's was doing to my clan, that I realize I had made a horrible mistake. I was helpless to stop my own family from becoming monster's, while I could feel my life slowly faded away. I had to do something, not die to know that the world could be destroyed because of me, so I used what little life left in my body and pour every ounce of it into forging a sword. The Muramasa had one purpose, to slay only the demons that I created and given them to Hidemitsu, knowing that he would put an end to our clan suffering and destroyed those mask's for good. For you see, it isn't the sword that make the weapon legendary, but the one who wield the weapon. I thought it was done, yet realize that Hidemitsu was unable to destroyed the mask's even with the sword, and even in death I knew that eventually the cycle we begin again."
"Wait, you mean Noboru is somehow involve with this whole mess you're talking about?"
"Yes, thought I have no idea what he is planning or why he desire the mask's. I do know that his true goal isn't the four mask's, but rather the original mask, to which is the true threat to the world. To gain the Oni Mask of Darkness, Noboru and his allies would need the four mask's and gather them at the center of the island, to release it from it sacred tomb and bring darkness forth to the world. You must simply prevent him from gathering all four mask's, without them Noboru plan will never be complete."
"But wait, how am I suppose to fight off the invader and stop Noboru from getting the mask's? I can't face a whole army of rogue ninja's, by myself, I don't even know how to fight?" I roared out my concerns, despite wanting to stop this madness, I had nothing that could possible stop the like of those ninja's. Doman stood before me and pointed his finger right at me.
"Young man, that is why I have come to give you a choice; simply do nothing and let the man who betray you to get away and unleash chaos upon the world. Or, you can change your fate and make a sacrifice."
Before I could even ask what he meant, I feel a sharp sensation in my hand's and quickly notice that both were being cover in the same kind of flames as Doman. He slowly moved his finger and pointed at the anvil, where on top of it were the rusted, broken sword of Muramasa were resting on.
"If you desire revenge, if you wish to save your island, than forge your own sword."
"What the hell you mean forge a sword? What good will that do? I will just have a sword against an army of experience and deadly ninja's!"
"Your not understanding what I mean; melted my sword Muramasa and used it to forge a new sword, one that would be more powerful than my masterpiece. Add your hatred and rage into the blade, and you can create a weapon that can kill not just ninja's, but even demons." The way he said it sounded cool, yet my heart felt like it was getting tight from fear, and soon I slowly began to understand why I felt scared.
"But wait...Doesn't that mean that I would end up like you?" I can already see Doman face giving me a serious look.
"Yes, it mean you will end up like me; consumed by the flames of your hatred, to become a demon just like me." His voice begin to get deeper, I could hear an echo caused by him. "Momotaro...You must remember, that by forging a new weapon, you will eventually become a demon and may even lose your life at the end of this journey. Your mission is to not only gather the mask's, but you will have to kill anyone who possess these mask's, while also killing all who are involve with these mask's, whether they are your friend's or enemies. Now, what will be your choice?"
I didn't say anything, my mind was so having a hard time absorbing all this information and I could feel like my heart drowned with fear and doubts. This was perhaps the most difficult decision that was bare before me; do nothing and possible let the end of the world to happen, or wield my hammer to forge a cursed weapon, transformed into a demon and forever be condemn in solitude and hatred. To battle against the likes of ninjas and demons, especially killing someone was quite shocking to hear. I had never seen people killing right before my eyes till today, and just seeing that monster stabbing right through the chief caused me to hurled out what food I eat today. Yet the image of Noboru helping the invader attempt to bring about the end of the world, the way he ruined my only friend Machirou by killing his father, and how he simply lie to me my whole life on the island...
"...I don't have much of an opinion, if I just stand by and let those close to me suffer. But if I become a demon in the end, I will take Noboru down with me in hell."
I could actually image Doman with a human face as he attempt to grin and brought out his hand in front of me, for out from the flames emerge a black hammer. I took it out from his hand and moved toward the anvil, as Doman began melting the remains of his sword Muramasa. Afterward, out came a slanged of metal right about the anvil and I brought the hammer right above it, my hands blazing with raging fire's and went on pounding the metal non-stop. I don't much remember what happen afterward, yet it felt like I was working on the new weapon for hours, with my eyes burning with hatred and flames actually spewing right out from my mouth. After coming back to sense's, I soon notice that I had return back to my workshop in the real world, with no sight of Doman spirit and my hands are no longer on fire. Yet despite being back to the real world, I could feel like my body was so sore all over, barely able to move my fingers without causing minor pain's. I soon remember something important, slowly move my head to see what lay above the anvil; It was tall, double-edge Longsword that had leather-wrapped pommel and the blade itself look simply black metal. The hilt has been customize to appear to have a crest of a helmet on the center of the hilt and the cross guard shape out of an arc. The blade has a straight, perfect form that goes from the hilt and all the way to the end, appearing more of piercing than cutting. I gripped the sword with one hand, surprise how easily this sword despite looking so long and heavy, yet it felt like it was meant for me. I won't lie, wielding my masterpiece gave me the feeling that I was unstoppable, that I can change the fate of my home and bring justice to all who were killed by those intruder.
"Now...Now I can free my village from those bastards, then begin my hunt on Noboru and all who are involve with this madness!" I held the sword tightly on one hand and slowly march toward the door, with the attempt to cut my way through and defeat the one taking control of my home. As I raised my sword up and prepare to take the first swing, a scream of a dying man nearly froze my whole body with terror and end up dropped the sword to the ground, losing all sense of courage and confident just minutes ago.
"What the hell?" That was all I could say to myself. I was frighten and confused at what that sound was, yet soon I could hear other things happening just on the other side of my door; clashing of metal's, a woman yelling in rage, the ground shaking by something heavy, and even the sound of something being hit by huge, heavy water. Whatever is happening just outside, it seem that someone is actually fighting the invaders, yet I have no clue who could even face them or if they are either winning or losing.
There was no time to turn chicken now, I made this decision and I decided to go through it, reaching right for the handle and opening the door wide. Emerging out from my shop, I was staring at my village being cover of corpse's, though it only seem to be only the invaders and no sight of the villagers anywhere. Could anyone of them be safe, and what on earth just happen while I was forging? I check on the closet dead body of the invader's, notice that this ninja body look like it was on fire, most of his skin's were melted along with the burned clothing, yet strangely there were trance of vaporize water where the burn marks are. I slowly move my hand to examine the injuries, yet suddenly a kunai was place right by my throat, moving my head to see a wounded ninja right behind me, without me even knowing that he was there.
"Silence, worm! Don't even try to act like a hero, else I cut your throat as painful as I can." He place his whole arm around my waist while maintaining his weapon on my throat, thus making me his shield. I was such an moron; I actually believe that I had a chance to facing against someone like a ninja, yet instead I forgot my sword and left myself defenseless, while even a wounded ninja was able to get the jump on me. The cowardly ninja keep forcing me to move toward the shore, as if attempting to retreat back home, yet soon as huge mist began covering right in front of us, with someone running right out from it. When I caught my sight on this figure, it look to be a woman running straight at us, yet the bastard behind held the kunai closer to my throat.
"Stop right there, or this worthless trash is going to becoming a fountain of blood!" His threat could be heard to the woman, as she soon came to a complete halt and stood right in front of us. I could hear the bastard laughing to himself, and out of nowhere hurled a second kunai from his other hand, stabbing right to the woman torso. I just stood, being so helpless and witness that poor woman being stabbed right before my eyes, not noticing that my kidnapper let go of me and move closer to the dying woman.
"Not tough now, are you bitch! You killed my brothers in arm's, and now I will be taking out your lovely eyes as souvenirs." He brought out his other kunai and prepare to strike the killing blow, yet I soon notice that the wounded woman...was smiling.
"Water Style: Burning Clone Jutsu!" As the woman shout out loud, I witness her leaping right at her attacker and hugged him with all her strength, than she completely burst into mist's. As the mist began to swallow the ninja body, his body was engulf in flames and already he began screaming and thrashing, fighting crazily to escape the mist. After a minute had pass, the ninja fell hard to the ground while the flames had soon ceased, simply having lost conscious from the pain.
I just look at the nearly cooked body, yet quickly I can hear footsteps coming from behind me and was shocked to see the same woman who turned into mist's was now standing behind me. Having a better look of her, she appeared to be around her 30's, having fully-arm body gears clothing, also wearing a black jacket on top of the gears that had the word "Elite Hunter" on the back of it. As I stared at her face, she look to have light-gray eyes with a two scar's that run up between her left cheek, dark-blue hair that nearly conceal her face with a long pony-tail on the back, and she was wearing a metal headband on her forehead that had the emblem of waving lines.
"Are you alright? I hope that you didn't get hurt from the whole event." She said with her hand reaching out to me, her voice sound mature, yet held compassion in her tones. I paused for a moment till I realize she was trying to help, giving her my hand to help me stand back on my feet's. I couldn't think of the words to say to my savior, yet she simply beamed with a rather innocent smile on her face, despite the fact that I notice that her jacket had smudge of blood on it. Soon I can hear the sound of people gasping right in front of me, the villagers emerging out from their homes and seeing the whole field of corpse's laying before them. Most of the parents cover their children's eyes soon that they don't see the massacre, while the rest try to understand the situation that occur outside. The woman decided to leave me and march up to the crowd, though I return back the corpse of the bastard who was closed to killing me, only hating myself for once more being useless.
"Dammit...I froze up and couldn't even kill at least one of this bastard's." As second's went by, I slowly realize that I actually wanted to kill someone, despite minutes ago how he actually despise killing people. "I guess what he says was true...I already became a demon."
I simply return back to my workshop to begin working on something else, not even being part of the conversation between the elders and the woman who save my life. As far as I can guess, the woman wanted information regarding the one who invaded our village and would like to know where they are going or what their plan was. Yet the villagers weren't willing to trust strangers as of today, due to already having bad experience with the one's that came before her and demanded that she should leave. The woman try to reason with them, saying that she only came to bring justice of the one responsible for causing trouble to the village, yet the people would not share anything with her and thus force her to leave with little information. As she slowly move toward the forest, two more people arrived from the shore and regroup with the woman, believing to be her allies. As the trio soon venture out into the forest, I walked out from my workshop, this time bring with me the Longsword, Onisureiyā (Oni Slayer), and a bag that look to be bigger than most normal bag, yet I can easily carry it without issues. I turned my head back to the villagers, seeing them trying to live through this harsh day with the help of the former chief son's, such as gathering food's and fixing some of the home's that were damage during the invasion. I would like to stay and help the recovering of our damage village, yet I had a greater purpose to do and somehow those people may in fact be able to help me out in the situation. I turned away from the villager, yet before me was my best friend Machirou just ran up to me and hug me in embraces. "Oh my god, I'm so glad that you were alive! I just stood there and when I witness my father die right before me; even though he had treated me poorly and we had a strain relationship, he was still my father and all I wanted was his love. Now...Now he gone. But if you were to die as well, I don't know if I could even muster what little strength I had to live through this day. I'm just glad that you were okay and-" He look at me with his face cover in tears, he eye's looking red from crying so much, yet his emotional expression change to confusion the moment he gaze at the bag on my back.
"Wait a minute, where do you think you're going?" I knew that lying wasn't going to work on this guy, he knows me way too much and could tell the second I make a lie.
"Listen Machirou, I need to go after Noboru." I spoke with no hesitation in my tone.
"Momotaro, have you gone mad, and not the emotional kind! I get why you feel so angry, but he was your father and-"
"It doesn't excuse him for killing your father and bring harm to the village!" I shout right at Machirou who got startled.
"I'm not saying that I don't know how you are feeling, after all he killed my father. Even so, you shouldn't chase after him; after all, he is with those invaders and they will chop you into pieces the moment they got their sight on you."
Listen, I have to stop him, and this is not just for revenge. He about to do something truly terrible and I think I'm going to need the help of that woman to do so."
"The outsiders!? You can't just trust them simply because they save our live; they were only after those intruders and could backstab us later.
"Listen to yourself, I'm also a outsider as well. And if she were like those guy's, she wouldn't waste her time fighting against them or even saving my life. Whether we trust them or not isn't important, it about saving the island and perhaps the world." I slowly took a moment to breath, getting tired of losing my rage, especially toward my own friend.
"Listen, just stay here at the village and keep an eye on everyone. I promise I will return when all this is done and-" Just then Machirou shout at me, and this was the second time that I'm seeing him actually pushing back.
"No, you're my friend and I can't just leave you on your own and have to worry about your life while I'm here! If nothing I said will stop you from going on a insane journey with a group of suspicion people, than I may as well go with you and stay by your side. Someone has to stick with you so that you don't get yourself in trouble from your recklessness and end up dead. I am the son of the former chief, and it my duty to find a way to stop those invaders from achieving whatever goal they had in mind." I was quite surprise to see how grown Machirou became in just a day, though chances are that he will revert back to his usual self again, but I got to respect his courage.
"Alright, but we better catch up to those guys before night come, else we will lose them for good." Machirou nodded his head in agreement and quickly run toward his home, bring as much supplies needed to travel into the forest. As I wait for my friend return, I look back to the forest and came to realize that I'm about to go on my very first adventure since the day I end up on the shore of this island. Already dozen of question soon began to float around in my head; will those people welcome us or if they are our enemies, if I had what it take to actually face the enemies, and if I will come out of this alive or...something worse...