A STORY OF THE DIAMOND EMPIRE
BY Aaron Medwin
The squad advanced silently on the clutch of Oni, as the demons huddled in the center of a circle of large rocks. Behind one of the rocks, Sergeant Hotep put his finger to his mouth, reminding Yasuki Matsuro to remain quiet. He signaled the rest of his unit to ready weapons and surround the oni, then turned back to the young Rokugani recruit. Almost ready to attack.
Matsuro fidgeted nervously. He checked his gun. It was fine. Dad said it was the finest tetsukami gun available. He glanced at his armor. Also tetsukami. Practically impermeable.
"Listen, kid," Hotep whispered, as if sensing the anxiety of his newest soldier. "Aim good. We shouldn't have much trouble with these little ones, but you need to remember to keep a cool head." He pointed to a spot on his own Senpet battle armor, three small dents in the metal where Matsuro had shot him. They were very close together. "Do that again."
Matsuro nodded and tried to smile.
Hotep pressed a button on his waist. Nineteen other displays on the wrists of the other soldiers flashed. Five lights, a five second countdown.
One of the Oni craned it's head above the masses, and peered about. It sniffed the air, as if it could detect the radio signal from Hotep.
Four seconds. it's glance darted about, and settled it's gaze on one of the other soldiers. It couldn't actually see him, but it began to creep towards him, with the rest of the Oni.
"Damn," Hotep hissed.
Three seconds. two. and the lead Oni coiled, preparing to jump over the rock it's target was hiding behind.
Suddenly, the Oni in front exploded in a pearly white flash of light. Matsuro held his small holdout pistol in his hands, shaking.
"FIRE!" Hotep barked, and the Oni found themselves shot at from all directions.
The demons panicked, and scattered. Most found themselves gunned down by the gaijin troops. One demon escaped by leaping a rock, though, and before the startled soldier had thought to react, a claw slashed across his throat, and his face was bitten off.
Hotep got to the surviving demon too late, and seeing his dead man on the ground, he snarled a battle cry in a language Matsuro didn't understand, and tackled the demon, pinning its arms to the ground. It spat at him, and his face burned as the acid began to dissolve his skin.
Matsuro was stunned, but the other, more trained soldiers weren't. One shoved it's gun into the Oni's face.
The Oni flipped backwards, tossing Hotep into the soldier. It scampered away quickly. The squad, with three men down and leaderless, did what any unit of soldiers would do to a retreating enemy. They opened fire, but the bullets didn't stop the Oni's retreat.
Matsuro saw his friend and commander downed, and it all became clear. This was the enemy that his blood had been urging him to kill. He heard a voice sing in his mind, and he knew it was a powerful warrior of his ancestry. With the clarity granted by his ancestor, he leveled his holdout pistol, and pulled the trigger. The Oni exploded in a flash of bright white light.
That night, as the rations were being handed out, Hotep sat down next to Matsuro. Hotep looked into the fire, and then looked down at the kid he recruited.
"You did good today, Matsuro," Hotep said.
"Thanks." Matsuro held a stick out, letting the other end burn. He glanced up at Hotep, and swallowed hard as he looked at Hotep's face. It was horribly scarred, but still recognizable.
Hotep let the praise sink in for a moment. Then, he spoke again "In my homeland, we have beetles called scarabs." He held his thumb and forefinger a few inches apart, to indicate the size. "They've got a very tough shell, and they're incredibly deadly. When you fired at that demon, you reminded me of one of those."
Matsuro's face brightened, and a smile broke through his sullen demeanor.. "Thanks, Hotep, err- Sir."
"Just keep it up, little scarab. And get some rest, you've got watch in the early morning."
The room was still, and silent. Five men sat around a table for six, in ritualistic silence. Doctor Isawa Kinobe approached the table, and bowed reverently.
"Speak, Kinobe." The Master of Air spoke curtly.
"As you know, I have been charged with overseeing Nakira-sama's condition and recovery. In the time that I have had him at Phoenix Mercy, he has shown signs of paranoid delusions, schizophrenia, multiple personality disorder, as well as a host of other mental illnesses. I will get straight to the point here. If he were any other man, he would be locked away for the rest of his life. If he were an animal, he would be put down. In my professional opinion, there is nothing I can do for him. The answer, if there is one, lies with your magic."
The room filled with silence for many long minutes, and then the Master of Fire spoke. "The nature of his soul precludes any magical solution."
"Hai, Isawa-sama," Kinobe replied. "That is why you sent him to me."
"You knew this, and yet you report failure? Your assignment was to cure him, not give us half-baked excuses for your own incompetence!"
Kinobe bowed his head. "Hai, Isawa-sama."
Shiba Yaokuro spoke. "Hiroto, Nakira's condition was not his fault. Nor is it Kinobe's fault that Kinobe cannot be cured."
"Kinobe, you may leave now," came a whisper from Isawa Teiden, the Master of Void.
Kinobe bowed deeply, and left the room.
"Who is to say Nakira is the insane one? He speaks to Shiba every day, for all we know, he could actually be Shiba!" Takige stood and began to pace.
"Shiba's soul is distinct from Nakira's, that much I can assure you of," spoke the Master of Void.
"Perhaps we should allow the soul to flow to a new host." wondered Kujishi, the Master of Water.
"Absolutely not!" Yaokuro thundered. "You will not kill the Phoenix Clan Champion, old man!"
"You know that wasn't what I meant. I was just, well, thinking of opening his soul to allow it to flow to another body." Kujishi paused. "Teiden, is that possible?"
"Impossible. Shiba's soul is not a thing to be trifled with. You cannot toy with it." Yaokuro spoke in a deliberate flat tone.
"The time comes for everything. Would you have us lose Nakira, or Shiba and the entire clan, even possibly Rokugan itself?" challenged Hiroto.
"The war has not come to that. If it does, that will be a different issue. In the meantime, we should ensure Nakira receives all the help he can get." Yaokuro looked around the room, and the nods showed that the consensus seemed to be reached.
Nezumi love technology. It's almost a universal desire of the race to embrace and accept new devices as soon as they're developed. They also love to create. The whiskers of a Fuzake after his creation is perfected curl up in ecstasy, and the feeling only improves when the gadget makes it's way into mainstream culture. For all their love of creation, they hate destruction. It's so wasteful. A Fuzake pressed into combat will not be a happy person at all.
Fuzake Nez, on the other hand, was an odd individual. He didn't hate the concept of destroying, only of being destroyed. As the zombies closed in, those were his only thoughts.
Shorn tail-less gun-gun, no greenstone ammo. Sun in my eyes, Wall in bad shape if I can see the sun.
He fired almost his entire clip, and still they came. They surrounded him totally, and he lost all hope of survival. The zombies were moaning, and for a brief moment, he wondered if Nezumi went to Jigoku, or somewhere else.
At that moment, a human voice rang out, and Nez saw a man running towards him. His armor was ancient, and his katana drawn. He looked like the Akodo that Nez had seen in the history books. "FOR THE GLORY OF THE LION!" he cried, and charged the zombies.
The man swung only once, and two zombies collapsed, torsos cut in half. Still, they clawed at his legs, but the kicks from the human drove them away. Nez saw his opportunity, and leaped over the human, and away from the zombies. The undead horde turned, and they came at once toward the man, who screamed battle kiai at the top of his lungs as he swung his katana with incredible precision.
Nez was no fool, One crazed lunatic taking on a dozen zombies wasn't great odds, and so he looked for a weapon. He saw it, in the hands of a Crab samurai, dead after he fell when the Wall partially collapsed. The sun continued to shine down through the broken ceiling high above his head, onto the greenstone studded tetsubo.
Nez grabbed the weapon, and felt a surge of pride. He remembered the legendary warrior Chitachikkan, and raised the weapon high. Turning back to the battle, however, he was disappointed.
The Lion stood over the now-still corpses, all decapitated. He was breathing heavily, and looked tired.
"Lion? You're pretty good-good. What's your name?" Nez asked.
The man grunted, and looked at Nez. "I have no name anymore, ratling. I am a Deathseeker."
"You're not very good at it, Lion-Lion. You're still alive."
"Ratling," the man warned. "I have no patience for you. Just tell me how to get back up there." He pointed straight up, to the top of the Wall.
"I am Fuzake Nez, and I am no 'ratling'." He spat out that last word. "I am Nezumi!"
The Deathseeker's bravado deflated in the face of Nez' pride. "Sorry." He took a deep breath, and released it slowly. "Nez-sama, how do I get back to the roof?" The tone of his request seemed almost apologetic. He walked to the wall, and eased himself down, wincing at the pain.
Nez walked over to the man, carrying the tetsubo. He kneeled down, and looked the man in the eye. His nose was scant inches away from the human's face. With all seriousness, he said "You can fly."
The man groaned and rolled his eyes. Nez saw another opportunity, and decided to seize it.
"Lion-san, tell me your-your name. Before you were a Deathseeker."
"I was called Matsu Jishikuro. Before I was dishonored."
"Get the hell-hell up, Matsu-san. I restore your name, and your honor, on condition that you serve-serve as my yojimbo."
Jishikuro looked, up his gaze meeting Nez's, and whispered "You can't do that. Don't even joke about it."
"I can-can do it. My cousin is the Fuzake daimyo-chief, and he has plenty of authority. I Rheon you in his name. Have you heard of Fuzake Roch'tik'ki?" Nez asked.
Jishikuro sat, stunned. "Y-yes. he could," he stammered, as he began to smile broadly. He stood up, and bowed formally to Nez. He took his katana, and handed it to Nez. "Fuzake-sama, I pledge my life to you. With your approval, I will give my life for yours, as your yojimbo."
"Good. Take your katana back, and let's get going. These tunnels aren't safe-secure at all. Watch carefully."
Nez turned and walked down a tunnel, the only one that remained usable. Jishikuro followed, his gaze watching all around the unlikely pair for danger. His observant gaze didn't miss a thing.
Shiniko was crying again. These past few days, she had gotten a fever, and began throwing up more often than she ate. Her face grew pale, and she grew weak. She hadn't even gotten out of her bed in a day.
Punu carried the tea over to her bed, and gently handed the cup of lukewarm tea to his daughter. She weakly smiled to him, and took the teacup in her tiny hands.
He sat next to her, and put his hand on her forehead. The fever remained. "How's my little girl doing today?"
She whispered hoarsely, "I'm feeling a little better, Daddy."
"That's good." He sipped his tea, and looked into his daughter's eyes.
"Daddy?" No response. She made a few silly faces, and he seemed to ignore them. "Daddy? Are you okay?"
"Huh? Oh, yes, sweetie. I'm fine. I was just thinking of." Your mother. How every time I look at you, I see her, and my heart aches just being around you, after losing her. "Of what I'm going to do now. I don't' exactly have a village to run anymore."
"You'll think of something. You always do. Now go away, it's radio time." She reached over to the radio by her bed, and began tuning it. Finally, an inane jingle came blaring through the radio's tiny speakers, and the radio loudly proclaimed that it was Doji Shiya's Story Time. She shooed her father away, and so he left.
He kneeled next to the telephone, and let out a great sigh. Shiniko needed money, and he had nothing to offer anyone. The only person who could help him now was his Supervisor.
He picked up the phone, and dialed the number for Daidoji Kurichiki.
A woman's voice answered, and Punu recognized her as Kurichiki's secretary. "Daidoji Supervisory Office, this is Kurichiki's desk. How may I assist you, sama?"
"Yes, this is Governor Yasuki Punu, requesting an audience with Daidoji-sama." Punu wasn't sure if he would be able to speak with Kurichiki.
"Please hold, Yasuki-san." A small pause, a click, and then Kurichiki spoke, "What is it now, Punu-san?"
"Kurichiki-sama, it is a pleasure to speak with you, as always. How is your most esteemed father?"
"Punu-san, I must ask that you keep this short. I'm very busy." Kurichiki sounded irritated.
"Hai, Kurichiki-sama." Punu felt like he was talking to a Hida. "I need medical supplies."
"Denied. Good day, Punu-san." Kurichiki said quickly.
"W-wait! My daughter, she is sick. She needs medical attention!" Punu's anxiety was evident in his tone.
"So do your cousins on the Wall. I'm very sorry, but, in all honesty, there is nothing I can do for her or you. I have already bent the rules for you once, and I cannot do it again."
Punu began to sob. "Kurichiki-sama, I implore you! I will do anything you ask, anything at all, but if you do not send me what I need, she will die! I've already lost my wife, and my son has gone to war. Shiniko is all I have left."
Kurichiki sighed. "Punu, I will do what I can. Good day." With a click, the connection was lost.
Punu held the phone long after the Crane hung up, and after a while, a loud buzz began in his ear. It didn't matter, the monotone resonated with his heart. There was nothing left he could do, but hope and wait.
Iuchi Arumiko had to schedule an appointment to see Hacharui, for the first time in two years. Usually, she just walked into his office and sat down. Sometimes he sent her away, but most of the time she had his undivided attention for as long as she needed it. Lately, though, he had become more and more busy. Her formal lessons had ended months ago, but he hadn't even checked up on her in a week.
The war, she thought. Everyone wants YogoTech equipment, and she couldn't help but feel a twinge of pride at that. After all, she had helped with the design and development of fully a quarter of YogoTech's products. She hadn't created her own marketable design - that's why she remained an apprentice, but that was about to change.
"Hacharui, I have a surprise for you," she said as she entered his office, a wide smile on her face.
"Ah, Arumiko, always good to see you." He sighed loudly, and stood up from his desk. "This war has got me swamped in paperwork, it's as though nobody remembers that I used to design these things."
Arumiko was silent, and the pair stood in somewhat uncomfortable silence. The Unicorn maiden waited for Hacharui to speak again.
"You had something to show me?" he finally asked.
"Yes, it's finally done. Follow me, and I'll show you the fruits of my labors," she said cryptically.
He followed her down the hall, through several labs, and into his own lab, that he shared with his apprentice. Arumiko walked first to the mirror on the wall, and lit the ten candles that surrounded it, offering a prayer for each of the ten kami. Then she reached into the mirror, and it allowed her hands to pass through as if it were not there. The surface rippled as she pulled out a mask from the tetsukami hiding place.
With barely contained enthusiasm, she turned around to her teacher, and showed him the mask.
Hacharui looked at it. It was a red plastic mask, with a leather strap and a black design on the face of the mask. Two small eyes of ivory were inlayed on it, and it reminded Hacharui of nothing so much as a child's design, though it was made of expensive materials.
"Okay, so sell me this product. What's it supposed to do?" he prompted her.
To answer it, she put the mask on, and faced him. Her mask was incongruous with the fashionable clothing she wore, he thought.
She walked to the table in the center of the lab, and held up a single finger. "One try, and I'll lift this desk."
"That's not a bad test, 'miko. It's screwed into the floor, and practically immovable," Yogo Hacharui couldn't help but sneer. She was so sure of herself, but sometimes she needed to be reminded of practicality.
"That's fine. Unlike all the other strength augmentation devices we've used previously, this one has three power sources. It uses the kami placed in the device like everything else does, it draws from the wearer's chi, which is also typical, but the third was something really exciting. I found some ambient energy around here, and I figured out how to tap into it. I'm not sure if it's a temporary thing, so I designed the mask so as to not require it, but it's really helpful in the augmentation. It seems like it's designed for use with tetsukami, but I've never heard of it. It merits investigation, so I was going to go tomorrow and get a spell to find out." She trailed off, refocused on the task at hand, and took a hold of the table. "Uh, right. One, two, three," and on three, she pulled up.
The floor creaked and Hacharui heard metal grind against metal. The noise was almost unbearable, and he winced at the sound.
"I did it," she said, daring him to prove her wrong. The table legs were three feet above the floor.
Hacharui raised his eyebrows, and nodded in response. "Congratulations, Iuchi Arumiko. I guess this means you don't need me anymore. Your apprenticeship is over." He smiled as he gave her the good news.
She ripped the mask off her face, and her joy was fully apparent. Almost, she ran up and hugged him, for the ultimate reward she had received. She composed herself, however, and formally bowed. "Yogo Hacharui-sama, I thank you for the tutelage you have given me these past years. I could have no better teacher."
He smiled. "Now, child, or should I say 'my dear'. Certainly you're no child any longer. This was the final portion of your gempukku, right?" She nodded. "Then, as an adult and my ally, I have something to show you that you might find interesting." He looked at his watch, and frowned. "In three hours. Meet me in the lobby, and I'll show you the secret of YogoTech."
The gaijin entered the alley, and called out "Ganwu? Honzo? Come out and face me, once and for all! I'm tired of your games!" He looked around, but he saw no other human souls.
What he did see was a man and a woman leaping down onto him, knocking him to the ground. His head hit the ground with a resounding crack, and he lost consciousness.
His assailants stood up, and looked down at their victim. The woman laughed. "Yajinden, you're getting pathetic in your old age. Jumping on gaijin for victims?"
Miya Sanon scowled, and answered "It works. I don't see you using your powers to help us either."
She lifted the unconscious man to his feet by the scruff of his neck, and replied "You know as well as I do that the guards are paranoid about Shadowlands activity. The Imperial Seers have said that the Emperor will die soon, and everyone's jumpy." She giggled at the pun, and then she noticed the large wound on the gaijin. His skull had cracked open. "Yaj... I think you should get another one. We need a live one for the sacrifice," she said.
Sanon scowled. "He was special. Gaijin blood summoning an Oni? Who knows what the result would be, but I'm sure it'll be strong. Strong enough to give us a partner."
"Oh please. Like you haven't tried a dozen times to bind an oni to you. They all die, your spirit's too powerful." She grinned, and licked her teeth suggestively. "And a little tasty," she purred. She was a pennaggolan, a vampire that fed on humanity. Ancient and evil though she was, she was possessed of a child's love for irritation.
He waved his arms, and using the power of blood, healed the wound on the gaijin as he stared at her. He was almost sixteen hundred years old, and still he was constantly surprised by his undead companion.
"That's why this one will help. He's stronger than all the others. His soul burns with a fire I can barely identify. He's got some connection to the past."
"So this Oni will be a walking history book."
"Probably slithering, actually. And imagine the power to know the past with perfect detail. All of Iuchiban's methods would be laid bare. We could witness all the important historical events. Mirumoto Hitomi's ascendance, even." Yajinden explained.
"So what?" Kamiko shrugged, uncaring.
Yajinden held up his hand for silence. He chanted an ancient spell, and a portal opened up, to their apartment a few miles away. Stepping through into his living room, he paused and waited for Kamiko to emerge. "There are secrets we can find. The past is full of them. All we need," he motioned to the unconscious man over her shoulder "is someone with the right connections."
She dropped the gaijin on a couch, and sat down next to him, facing Yajinden. "I think you're crazy," she said with a smile.
"You always think I'm crazy. Let's just get down to business." He leaned over and grabbed a knife from the coffee table in front of him. "Lay out the gaijin on the table. It's connection to Mirumoto Miruzui should help," Yajinden instructed.
Kamiko obliged her companion. "So what name are you going to give it?" she asked.
"Miya Sanon, of course."
"Sanon doesn't exist anymore. You devoured his soul, remember?"
"I've done this before. The name is connected to the body, and since I'm using some of Sanon's blood, it'll work fine," he explained as he raised the knife and began chanting.
The gong rang, calling to all who heard it for the evening meditations. Hoshi Ki, the temple's silent caretaker stood and waited for many minutes. Not a soul showed up, but that did not surprise him. Most of the other inhabitants had been killed days ago. The cold he had sensed the week before had come in strong, and it had come to stay.
With the cold had come the Oni. Various sizes and shapes, breeds and names came, and began a slaughter of the countryside. Above all, though, were the Tsuburu. The mountains of the Dragon were overrun, only the monasteries and temples left untouched, for reasons Ki could only guess at. The other monks of the Shintao monastery went to fight the Oni days ago, but none had returned. Even those who had been trained in the methods of the legendary Tetsuya were missing, and Ki feared the worst. Of this small monastery, all that remained were two ize zumi; Hoshi Ki, and the Dragon, Hitomi Hatsuyoko.
She ran into the great hall. Without saying a word, she stopped in front of Ki, and hastily bowed. "Ki-sama," she said formally. He nodded in acknowledgement. She opened her mouth to speak, but was silenced by a loud crash from the front gate.
Hatsuyoko ran to the front entrance, and there she saw a young man, wounded and bleeding. He was dressed in purple armor and through his wounds, managed to speak the words "Humans, heh. Didn't think there were any left." With those words, he closed his eyes, and lay still.
Hatsuyoko ran to the man's body, and placed her ear to the man's mouth. He was still breathing, but it was weak and ragged. She swallowed hard, and stared at the arrowroot on her arm. Placing her hand on the man's chest, she drew the man's pain into herself. It was a painful process; she nearly lost consciousness, and collapsed onto the stone floor, but the rewards were worth it.
As she picked herself up from the floor, the man was sitting up himself. He looked at her, and her arm, which bled profusely from the tattoo of the arrowroot. "Togashi-sama," he said, acknowledging her presence and thanking her in the same breath.
She shook her head. "Hitomi. I am Hitomi Hatsuyoko."
"A thousand apologies, Hitomi-sama. I am Otaku Nakano, of the Unicorn White Guard. It is good to meet another human soul."
She looked at him skeptically. Reaching into her pocket, she produced a sliver of jade. "Give me your hand, Otaku-san." He looked at her quizzically. "Please?" she asked, and he reached his hand over.
She took it in one hand, and pressed the jade firmly against it with the other. She held it there for several seconds, and then pulled him to his feet. "You're not Tainted."
"Good to hear that, Hatsuyoko-sama."
"Just Hatsuyoko, please. Come this way." She started walking back into the temple proper, and motioned for him to follow. He did. "I've got someone you need to meet."
Ki stepped into the hallway at that moment. Hatsuyoko, nonplussed, turned to Nakano, and said, "This is Ki. He's the caretaker of this monastery." To Ki, she said, "He's clean."
Nakano swallowed hard, and bowed reverently. "H-Hoshi-sama," he stuttered. "I h-have the reconnaissance you requested." He took a deep breath in, and let it out.
Hatsuyoko looked back and forth between the two men. "Reconnaissance report? You're involved in the war effort?" Ki nodded. He sighed, and motioned for Nakano to continue.
"Most of the Oni are gone from the Dragon mountains, but the Tsuburu remain. And. they came in hard and fast. The. the Tsuburu Overlord is here. Not far from here, either. Hoshi-sama, we have to flee. The protection this monastery provides will not last forever, and there's nobody left alive in the province who can take on the Overlord and survive, let alone win. I've got my bike outside, it's big enough for the three of us-"
Ki held up his hand. He shook his head, as if correcting a small child. He looked straight into Hatsuyoko's eyes.
Hatsuyoko swallowed hard.
"...give you shape, give you form," he gasped, his energy nearly gone after the exhausting ritual, "Come now, Oni no Sanon!" With those final words, he plunged the kansen infested knife through both his hand and the end of the mist-arm. It instantly solidified into a human's shape, an identical duplicate of the victim.
The Oni looked into the eyes of it's summoner and creator, and asked, in a resoundingly deep voice, "Sanon?"
Yajinden nodded. "I have summoned you, Oni no Sanon. You will do my bidding."
The Oni looked at the eviscerated corpse on the table in front of it. It looked almost perplexed as it gazed into sightless eyes that were an exact duplicate of it's own. "No," it said in a chilling voice.
Kamiko slinked up to the Oni, and sat next to it, and put an arm around it. "Mmm. Yajinden, I like it already." She ran her fingers through it's hair, and began to nibble on its ear.
It spoke again. "Yajinden? You are not Sanon, then," it said in an oddly staccato voice. "You are Yajinden."
"I am both, demon. You serve me, I will ask the questions." He gazed into his creation's eyes, and saw a blackness of soul that rivaled his own ancient evil.
"Ask questions? Of the past. I know the past. I know you are not Sanon. You tricked me to come to the mortal plane with a name that was not yours to give. I came anyway, and you have no name for me."
Yajinden blanched. Kamiko untangled herself from it, and began to back away, but it shot out an arm, and caught her by the face, restraining her. As a pennaggolan, she could separate her true self- her head and vital organs - from her body, but with her head restrained, she began to know the true terror of captivity.
It looked at her. "Should I be Oni no Kamiko? Would that suit you, Yajinden? No, I need a human's name. Should I take yours? Oni no Yajinden?"
Yajinden's face hardened. He prepared for a contest of wills, one he knew he could win. Still, it was a waste to destroy his oni.
"No, I would not be the first. You have bound Oni to you before, but your spirit is strong. Probably stronger than mine, were I to fight you in your body for your own name. No, I shall learn from your design." It looked down at the corpse that was his duplicate. "He had a past, and memory. A strong connection, one I now share." It stood up, keeping Kamiko in an iron grip. She struggled against the demon, but to no avail.
"I am Oni no Boukyaku, the demon of memory," it spoke with damning finality.
Yajinden balled up his soul, ready to attack the hostile Oni, when Kamiko began to flail about suddenly. Boukyaku looked at the pennaggolan, into her eyes. He saw an immortal begging for her life. He felt no mercy. He exerted a little more force, and crushed her skull, destroying her forever.
Yajinden leaped at the demon, lashing out with a force stronger than any other soul in Rokugan. Boukyaku flinched, but fought back. During the conflict of wills, Boukyaku grew stronger, and Yajinden grew weaker, until Yajinden eventually collapsed, defeated.
"You tried to command me, Yajinden. You sought control, and knowledge," it intoned. "I am stronger than you, now that I have your memories. I know what you are, what you wanted, and... who you wanted." He looked briefly at the remains of Shinko Kamiko, already crumbling to dust. "You are nothing, and so you shall remain, amnesiac and lost."
With that damning statement, the Oni walked to the window, and leaped out, flying directly to the Shadowlands. Akuma awaited it, the newest Oni Overlord.