Naruto: Tetsuden - 105

Chakra Wizard

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Well, Masurao squared off against Airon and Manako last time, so I guess it’s on me to show how dominating he is against lesser swordsmen. Hopefully, I pulled it offxd As always, enjoy:)

Here’s my previous chapters, for those who missed any:











Chapter 105: Masurao the Swordmaster


– Moments Earlier –​



With Masurao’s reputation still residing mostly within his home village, Mei took it upon herself to explain the danger he posed now that he was somewhere on the battlefield. Having faced him once before, Manako backed up all of her claims. Rounin grew increasingly concerned with each new piece of trivia thrown his way.

Rounin: He’s not supporting Unagi, is he?

Mei: No, most likely not. Not with the way Unagi was so quick to retreat.

Manako: That doesn’t mean he couldn’t be supporting Otori, though. Allies or not, that old man has his own ambitions. The fact that he came out of nowhere as the new Raikage is proof of that.

Rounin: (He nodded in agreement, stroking his chin as he sought to build on this notion.) Why send him here, though? This is his home, so too many shinobi here know of his crimes. Not to mention, what would be his goal, anyways? Kill for both sides?

Manako: Yeah, that’s a good point.

A few moans of increasing volume prompted them to turn around, finding to their relief that Suigetsu had returned to consciousness. He quickly sat up, despite his medical-nin’s insistence otherwise, and they all gathered around him.

Manako: It’s about time.

Suigetsu: Uuuggghhh…what’s going on? Where’s Daragetsu?

Manako: (He stared at the ground in remorse.) Dead.

Suigetsu: Huh…well, at least someone else got him. Still wish it was me, though.

He obviously didn’t take the hint regarding Daragetsu’s fate, but knowing his character well, Manako allowed this to slide, as did the others. Suigetsu took a moment to look around before asking any further questions, the sight of the dead and the wounded clearly not having the same effect it did on them.

Suigetsu: So the battle’s over now?

Rounin: Not quite, I’m afraid.

Mei leaned in closer to be the one to give him the news. Her eyes told him everything he needed to know beforehand.

Mei: Suigetsu…Masurao’s somewhere nearby.

The shock in Suigetsu’s eyes was promptly overshadowed by fear. He turned to his right and heaved a sigh of relief when he found Kagetsu lying there. A quick look around left him with disappointment and he frantically turned back to Mei.

Suigetsu: Where’s Hedero? And the others?

Mei: Not sure. Somewhere on this beach, most likely.

Suigetsu: That’s not good. We need to find him. And any other swordsmen, all of them need to get away from this island.

Rounin: Why the swordsmen?

Suigetsu: Because they’re who Masurao’s here for, that’s why!

When he had the chance to calm down, Suigetsu related the story of how, five years ago, an eighteen year-old Masurao effortlessly slaughtered every seasoned swordsmen in their village, how he came after him and his six teammates at the time and how his Hydrification technique allowed him to survive while his comrades fell all around him. The others became more disturbed with each new graphic retelling, particularly when he explained how Masurao took the time to explain the reason for his actions as he carved out the emblem on his own headband, knowing he had no chance of returning the village again.

Suigetsu: He’ll wipe out every swordsman on this continent until he meets one whose good enough to kill him. So anyone here who’s even halfway skilled with a sword needs to be evacuated now.

Rounin: (He turned to Mei and Manako after taking a moment to collect himself.) That explains why he’s here then. In the Land of Water.

Manako: No better place to hunt for skilled swordsmen. Especially with your samurai making up a bulk of the forces.

Mei: And the Seven Swordsmen are prime candidates. We need to search the beach for Hedero and get him to safety.

Rounin: And the rest of the members, too, preferably.

Suigetsu: Rounin, you’re joking, right? Even if those little shits aren’t already long gone, you really wanna waste manpower getting them out, too?

Manako: (He made a scowl in his direction, remembering both Airon’s and Unagi’s words.) If they’re in danger, we can’t just leave them to get killed when there’s a chance we can rescue them. …We have to send the right message going forward. We’re not here to squash a threat to the Union, we’re here to convince our allies to rejoin it…and that means showing mercy as well as force.

Suigetsu: (He nodded after overcoming his surprise, unable to ignore the boy’s striking similarities to his grandfather.) …Yeah, I guess so. We’re gonna have a hell of a time finding ‘em, though.

????: Milady!

They all turned to find a young kunoichi running their way. It seemed those sitting nearby had decided to conduct a search on the leaders’ behalf.

????: I saw Hedero head into the trees some time ago! He never returned!

Manako: (He turned to Suigetsu with a sense of dread.) Do you think he’s dead?

Suigetsu: Doubt it. He probably went to find our other members. He's talked about doing it ever since we left the village.

Mei: So if he hasn’t returned, he most likely found them and they’re battling now. We need to go retrieve them.

Rounin: (He rested his hand on her shoulder when she tried to stand up.) There’s no need for that, milady, not in your shape. I’ll take a squad and go find them myself.

Niyo: General Rounin! You can use mine, sir!

Rounin: (He turned around in surprise.) Niyo. Airon Namikaze's unit, correct?

Niyo: Yes, sir. I heard Manako Uchiha’s testimony, so I’m positive our captain is also seeking out Masurao and we need to find him quickly.

Rounin: That’s a fair point. Very well, anyone still in shape to fight, stand and follow me.

Airon’s unit contained over two dozen samurai, and all but five of these stood up to follow Rounin’s lead. Whether this was testament to his leadership skills or Niyo’s was anyone’s guess.

Manako: I’m coming, too. If Airon doesn’t show, I’m your next best candidate to face off with Masurao.

Rounin: I’m sorry, but I can’t allow that.

Manako: General, it’s in your best-

Rounin: Don’t think I forgot your testimony at the summit regarding your first encounter with him, Manako Uchiha. If your cousin really doesn't appear, I’m not about to let you receive another sword through your chest without someone of his prowess there to heal your wounds.

The insistence is still on Manako’s face, but with the refusal more visible in Rounin’s, he ultimately steps down. His squad ready, the samurai general makes good time embarking on his search for the other five Swordsmen, though not before receiving one final warning.

Mei: Be careful, Rounin. Masurao’s unlike any swordsman you’ve ever faced.

Rounin: (At this, he can’t help but smile.) I’ll be fine, Lady Mizukage. No disrespect to this Masurao, but I learned from the best.

With this, he sets off with Niyo’s unit in tow. His confidence was evident, but it did nothing to quell their concern for his fate.


– Now –​


Rounin had never heard mention of Masurao until the Summit two weeks earlier, and it wasn’t until his conversation minutes ago that word of how dangerous he was caught his ear. Perhaps for this reason his confidence was entirely well-earned when he left the shoreline to search for him, but now that he was face-to-face with the notorious missing-nin, his aura alone told him that Suigetsu and Mei had understated the kind of monster he was. Masurao took a step forward. As everyone else moved back, Rounin moved up, keeping Masurao’s eyes on him rather than the five Swordsmen behind him.

Rounin: Masurao, whatever your reasons, this can all end right now if you just walk away.

Masurao: I’m sorry, but that statement couldn’t be more false. I’m a missing-nin. I turn to walk away and you’re all obligated by law to stab me in the back. …Trust me, if I leave here, it’ll be after I’ve tested the ones I came here to test.

As he spoke, he reached behind him for the second sword sitting above his waist. Having a well-trained eye, Rounin was able to deflect it with his own when he threw it, but was just shocked as everyone else when the sword drifted through the air back to its owner, who returned it to its sheath.

Masurao: And now that you’re here, I do believe that includes you and your men, samurai.

Hedero held out his sword to accept the challenge, but Rounin quickly stopped him with his own.

Hedero: General-

Rounin: He came to find you and your teammates, Hedero. Don’t give him what he wants.

With no one else keen to get in his way, Rounin stepped forward to assume his stance and Masurao his, everyone now watching in grim anticipation.

Masurao: These past five years, I’ve never once squared off with a samurai. I hope your reputation doesn’t exceed you, General.

Rounin: It doesn’t.

Taking a note from his old masters, Rounin initiated the duel with a sudden sprint forward as he drew his blade, instantly recognizable as the samurai teaching Iaidō. Whether it was a move he’d seen before or not, though, Masurao was none the more impressed by it and countered it easily, something Rounin’s expression supposed he’d never seen before. What followed was a show of aggression on Rounin’s part, but nonetheless one-sided duel. It ended with a standoff which allowed them to examine their opponent’s face as their blades pushed against one another, again surprising Rounin when he found not a drop of sweat on Masurao’s brow. The others just watched this in silence, eventually leading Rounin to take notice.

Rounin: What are you doing? …Start moving…now…

Still reluctant to do so, the only one to begin moving was Ruko, who used her twin swords to cut the threads that tied Ichigo to the ground before helping him to his feet. Masurao noticed from afar and, needless to say, was none the more pleased.

Masurao: I don’t think so.

In a sudden motion, he disappeared from his current spot, leaving his chakra-laden sword to carry on his duel with Rounin. He reemerged directly behind Ruko, his second sword out and pressed against her neck. To allow the moment to sink in, he didn’t a move for several seconds, taking the time to sink the blade deeper into her flesh, drawing more blood with each subtle movement. To his disappointment, everybody, even Ruko, was too frozen with fear to make a move against or away from him. She just stood there, her eyes watering, wandering from person to person in a desperate plea for help. Her gaze fell last upon Ichigo, whose lip trembled with the intense desire, but unshakable fear to beg forgiveness for his stillness. Perhaps this was what she sought to answer as she opened her mouth for the last time, only to have her head dislodged from her body in one clean swipe. Before any of her friends had the chance to scream her name, Masurao had suddenly returned to his previous location, spinning around violently and putting a large gash across Rounin’s chest. To the elder man’s credit, his well-trained eye picked up on the intent just a moment too early, as the infliction was intended to be fatal.

Niyo: General Rounin!!

Masurao: (He grabbed a cloth dangling from his side and wiped the blood from his blade.) Most don’t survive that maneuver. I have to say, where your reflexes are concerned, I’m almost tempted to say I’m impressed. Your sword skills, though…once again, I’m left wanting more.

As he returned the cloth to his side, Rounin returned his sword to his sheath, assuming the stance he did at the beginning of their duel. It was a move Masurao blocked easily the first time, though, and recognizing the stance already, it took all his energy not to shake his head in disappointment.

Masurao: Please don’t waste your energy. It only took one viewing and I’ve already read your entire playbook. …And to think, all the things I’ve heard about Iaidō, it turned out to be just as predictable as everything else.

He used Body Flicker to appear behind him, his sword at his neck just as it had been at Ruko’s moments ago.

Masurao: So just stand still a moment and I promise I’ll make this quick and painless for both of us.

Niyo: No!! General Rounin!

Half of his squad followed Niyo’s charge, but one-by-one, all of them were quickly dispatched by Masurao. The first he picked off with a stab to the gut by his second sword, not even wasting the energy it took to turn his head away from Rounin. What followed was a combination of Body Flicker and ferocious yet elegant swordplay which left all eleven samurai in pieces, and Niyo pinned to the ground by his shoulder.

Masurao: Are you done?

Silence followed, once again everyone too terrified to speak. He yanked his sword from Niyo’s shoulder and looked around, pointing it at Rounin, who had not moved since he began slaughtering his samurai.

Masurao: Then if you don’t mind, I’m going to finish off your leader, then I’m going to pick through the rest of these Swordsmen one by one to see if they’ve learned anything from their predecessors. You showed courage and determination to protect your master, samurai, so I’ll spare you for today, but those who failed to step up will die with the rest as punishment for their cowardice. …Now does anyone have any changes they’d like to recommend?

The way he said it, it might have been an honest offer, but once again, no one was brave enough to speak up. The surviving samurai stared at their fallen brethren, just as Ichigo and the other Swordsmen looked down at Ruko’s severed head, tears still in her open eyes just as there were in theirs. Masurao used Body Flicker once more to return to Rounin’s front, assuming his starting stance and holding his sword out to gain his attention.

Masurao: Then it’s settled.

With either great fear or great reluctance, Rounin wrapped his hand around his sword to draw. The two waited for what felt like forever until, all at once, they charged forward sword in hand. The clanking of metal was heard, but the blades never collided. Instead, they found themselves pinned against either side of a sword belonging to a third combatant. Even Masurao found himself overcome with surprise at his sudden intrusion. Perhaps because this particular combatant was standing six feet above the ground.

Airon: I have one. It involves finishing what we started before you start making plans for the future.


Airon arrives to resume their duel – how will he fair the second time around!!?

The End
 
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zedek

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Nice chap wish someone would have stepped up to save ruko even if they died trying bunch of Cowards they just sit there and watch its messed up but they jumped in when it was rounin RIP ruko
 

Chakra Wizard

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Nice chap wish someone would have stepped up to save ruko even if they died trying bunch of Cowards they just sit there and watch its messed up but they jumped in when it was rounin RIP ruko
I honestly didn't make that connection, but there is kind of a statement being made therexd
 

Omega

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Ruko had me in the feels like for real, I was hyped to see Airon but I'm still in the feels man. Why you do me like that? I have to applause Rounin's courage and skill for surviving that long against the bad assery that is Masurao...did i spell that right? Good chapter.
 

Chakra Wizard

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Ruko had me in the feels like for real, I was hyped to see Airon but I'm still in the feels man. Why you do me like that? I have to applause Rounin's courage and skill for surviving that long against the bad assery that is Masurao...did i spell that right? Good chapter.
Yes you did;) lol I'm honestly surprised by all the response I've got about that specifically. None of the Swordsmen are particularly major characters save for Suigetsu and Kagetsu, so it's pretty strange to me that Ruko's getting so much attention for her death.

Thanks for the feedback, man. I'm hoping I can finally get this next chapter out today, being the birthday and all*_* lol
 

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Yes you did;) lol I'm honestly surprised by all the response I've got about that specifically. None of the Swordsmen are particularly major characters save for Suigetsu and Kagetsu, so it's pretty strange to me that Ruko's getting so much attention for her death.

Thanks for the feedback, man. I'm hoping I can finally get this next chapter out today, being the birthday and all*_* lol
Bday chapter special!!! Lol, but yeah I guess that's just a testament to your writing to make us get the feels of a minor character. ;_; cruel but good. xD
 
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