“It was me,” Suzu said, in the female ninja’s voice. His stride was suddenly different, as if revealing himself to be…a female ninja.
I must be delusional.
“You’re a good guy, Jiro. So good that it makes me vomit,” Suzu said in a disgusted tone. The contrast between this Suzu and the Suzu I’d thought I knew was too great, I felt as if time itself had stopped.
Suzu took out his—her—his—no, it was her—dagger, and stabbed at my waist. Before I had time to react, Master Kaemon had blocked the blow with his blade. Then, the silent woman raised her own dagger in joy. As Master Minoru gazed at her encouragingly, she giggled, and aimed for the master from the back.
I couldn’t react fast enough to protect my own life, but I could for Master Kaemon. It was instinct, after all, and it didn’t require thinking. Battling Suzu required too much brainwork. Being in the confusion that I was, I failed to fend off her attack like I had done just a moment ago. Instead, my blade pierced straight through her heart, and hers dug into my abdomen. At that moment, I couldn’t even register the fact that I had been stabbed. I watched in pure shock as the woman fell dead before my feet, I watched as Master Minoru shouted her name “Amaya”. He cradled her in his arms, and carried her away—but not before throwing a glare of hatred towards me. Even his smirk had faded then.
My gaze fell upon Suzu’s figure then.
He—she ripped a piece of cloth away from one of her thighs, revealing the odd scar that Master Kaemon had left on the ninja that night. Still, I stood rooted to the ground, unable to take in all that had happened.
“You knew back then, didn’t you?” Suzu directed the question at Master Kaemon, scoffing. “That’s why you let me go. But I’ll bet you’re regretting it now.” At the last statement, she leered at me.
I looked up at Master Kaemon. He was standing beside me, supporting me by holding my shoulder. His expression was nothing if not troubled. He was immensely angry, but at the same time, his hand on his katana was still. At last, the master made up his mind. “Stand on your own,” he muttered to me without actually looking at me. He then released his hold on me, causing me to stagger on my feet—but I stood, nonetheless. I watched Master Kaemon take a step towards Suzu, and punch her hard. He punched her so hard that she fell unconscious to the ground.
By then, the battle was over. With their leader gone, the rest of the clan had left as well.
That was when I let out a stifled sob. I had covered my mouth with both hands then, not wanting anyone to hear, but Master Kaemon turned to me. “It’s okay,” he said softly, reaching out to me with an arm.
The sight of Mistress Nara striding in an elegant manner almost zapped me awake entirely. However, I was stunned once again when she smiled at me. The mistress then picked Suzu up, and walked away. Dumbfounded, I blinked at the master. He was still waiting for me with an arm reached out, so I reached for him too, taking a step forward.
With a swift motion, he scooped me up. That was when I finally let the pain take over, and closed my eyes.