I have heard the name for weeks. First, before Doravenour. When plans were made for me to meet Tanaka. Then throughout the training with Tanaka. The name is Fujinaki. I am expecting another male teacher. Perhaps.
Fujinaki is supposed to be a samurai. Traditionally, that would entail that the practitioner be a male. I have read my history. And I know.
But I have been called down to the arena. Our visitor, Fujinaki, has arrived. I can’t wait to meet him. I can’t wait to learn.
I step into the arena and look around. All I see is a woman standing next to McCall. “Where is Fujinaki?” I am eager.
The lady steps forward. “I am Fujinaki. I was the only child of my father The great Fujinaki. Last of the samurai. I was chosen to carry on his legacy. He accepted that. And I have taught many, becoming master of my clan. I am Onani Fujinaki” She bows.
“But I thought that only men could be samurais.” I blurt it out before I think.
She smiles. “That was true in the old days, when samurai were honored defenders of the emperor. When they were hunted down and executed, it ceased. My father went into self-imposed exile to avoid death. Tanaka and his clan took father in. While with Tanaka, he married the ninja master’s sister and I was the only child from that union.”
“I am sorry.” I am embarrassed.
“Why?” She smiles. “You only voiced the truth. Yet, I stand here the only woman samurai. Truva should have told you. My Father had no choice. He had no son. But the gods demanded he pass his legacy on. I was born and I had powers he had never seen. I grew fast and learned even faster. I was sent to him by the gods, child.”
She is as demanding as Tanaka. But I am enjoying the lessons in honor and service. It deepens my conviction to the cause. I was meant for this.
I excel at these things. Warfare. Self defense. Finding purpose.
I have been learning quickly. Soon, I will have completed training with her as well. I keep my concentration on what I am being taught. I want to absorb as much as I can.
After a week of training, I have finally completed my training. I have done in one week what others attain after a lifetime of training. I can’t wait to put my new skills to test. She has also presented me a sword. I will have to store it somewhere in case I lose one of my current swords.
She is already gone, back to Japan. Or I suppose that is where she has gone. We are now getting ready to go on a hunt. How I have looked to this since I began training with Doravenour. Now, after training with Tanaka and Fujinaki, I have more skill.
I am putting on my new armor as Truva comes to retrieve me. “You look stunning! It is ingenious how they tucked your scabbards under your wings! I know it makes it more dangerous, but if you’re careful…”
“I know. I will get used to it.” I throw my cloak over my shoulders and close the clasp. “Is he ready?”
“Yes. Tonight, you hunt a female vampire by the name of Darienne. She is from the same locale as you, but must have gotten away from you and your family.” My head snaps to attention when he says your locale and female.”
“What is her full name?” I am now hesitant.
“Darienne Juarez, why?” He suddenly realizes why I asked. “Cris, there is no saving her. She has become one of Vassare’s little followers. I know she is your aunt, but…”
“It isn’t that, Truva.” I am glaring at him. “When I went to find her, she was gone. She lost both of her daughters because of me. Lil tried to follow me out on a hunt and was taken by W.D. I sent Isabel to the sisters at the convent of Santa Lucia. Auntie Darienne died blaming me for those losses. and now, I have to face her. What if I am not good enough. What if–”
“Knock it off, Cristina. She may be older, but you are stronger and better trained. She is no longer your aunt. Hell. she ain’t even family to you anymore. Vassare has seen to that.”
It doesn’t take us long to find her after we leave the sanctuary. I can’t help but think that she is making it far too easy. Something isn’t right. The air smells wrong.
She stands out in the open, dressed in all black. “I have longed for this moment since you robbed me of my daughters, Crissy.” her lips curl in a snarl of contempt. “Your mama would be disappointed in you. Look at you. Fighting the human’s fight for him.”
“You can say what you like. Mama and papa asked me for the mercy of death if things happened as they did. I was supposed to do it for you too. But you disappeared. Why? Were you afraid?”
“Of you?” She cuts loose with an crazed laugh. An evil laugh. “you must be kidding. Why should I be afraid of you? You couldn’t kill me. You still can’t. You aren’t fast enough.”
“I might surprise you.” I draw my swords. “Let’s dance.”
She is surprisingly fast, but I am faster. She throws herself at me. I dodge. I catch her off guard with a thrust. Though it won’t kill her, she is still shocked. “What have you done?” She mocks, though surprised. Then she bursts into more laughter.
“I have done nothing yet, Auntie.” I am direct. She throws herself at me again and again. She thrusts, I parry. She jabs, I thrust.
“I would have thought they would teach you better than this. Is this how you treat your betters?” She is still mocking me.
I smile sadly. “Good bye, Dearest Aunt. May God forgive you for all your sins.” I turn as if I am going. It is a move meant to draw her within striking distance. It works.
“God has nothing to do with me, you vile creature! He abandoned us all! There is only Vassare now!” She rushes me and I swing around too fast for her to dodge. My sword meets her neck and her head falls to the ground. As does her useless body.
“God be merciful to you, Auntie.” I whisper.