bbbbbThis page will consist of transcriptions of the prologues included in Maximum Impact 2. Each playable character has one, unlocked by clearing story mode as that individual.
As Mai Shiranui headed for the dojo, it had been her habit since childhood to silence her footsteps and movements. Hanzo Shiranui, her teacher in Shiranui Ninja Arts and grandfather, had told her to attack him if she caught him with his guard down. And if she was successful, he would buy her whatever she had desired at the time-- That was what he had always promised the young Mai.
Come to think of it, Mai had never stood a chance. In spite of his age, a girl of 10 or so had no chance of beating Hanzo Shiranui, master of the Ninja Arts of Shiranui and various modalities of motion. Of course this was just the hindsight of the adult Mai, but the younger Mai remained eager to beat her grandfather. Recalling he always would meditate at dusk in the dojo, it took no time to plot a surprise attack from behind at this time. But in the end Hanzo had sensed the young Mai approaching before she reached the dojo, and she had not once succeeded in surprising him, but her habit of silencing her movements and footsteps still stayed with her.
And today Mai is imperceptible as she heads for the dojo. If Hanzo were still alive, she might have won -- she thinks without conceit as she slips into the dojo and heads for the alcove and sits back and laughs silently.
As if tossing her fan, Mai pinches an envelope in her fingers and lets it fly. Just after the slight sound of it slicing the wind is audible, the frozen figure on the mat quickly spins to snag the envelope.
"Stop goofing off, Mai." Just when did he notice her? Andy Bogard, in a simple singlet, looked at Mai and giggled.
"I'm not goofing off." Slightly discouraged at her foiled attack, yet reassured by his dependable reflexes, Mai entered the dojo. "This came for you."
"An invitation to The King of Fighters, is it?" Andy heaves a sigh as he sees Mai with the same envelope. Mai plops herself down next to Andy and tilts her head curiously when she notices his expression turn grim.
"What's wrong? Naturally you're going to enter, right?"
"No, not this time."
"Huh? You're not entering. What do you mean?" Mai, who took his entry for granted, is dumbstruck at Andy's words. "Are you worried about the dojo? You do have a point with both of us taking off at the same time. But it's only once a year, right? At a time like this, both of us could join the tournament, couldn't we?"
"I'm not passing it by to watch over the dojo." Andy shakes his long blond hair and brushes it back.
"Then what is it?"
"Well." Andy smiles wryly as if put out, slaps his knees and rises. "It's because I'm still not sure I can beat my brother."
"That's the one." Andy refastens the belt to his singlet and slowly moves away. He slowly assumes a simple form that is a fundamental Shiranui position and flawlessly repeats the move in silence. It's not a tough move, but the beads of sweat on his forehead make clear it's no picnic. Even as the sweat begins to cascade down his face, he ignores it and presses on. "I haven't been able to beat him even once." Having muttered this, just what was Andy fixing his gaze on? "For me the guy called Terry Bogard is just one obstacle I am obligated to clear someday."
"If that's the case-"
Andy immediately cuts off Mai, who was obviously about to convince him that KOF would be just the chance to do this. "I still can't beat him with my current strength. I may not even be in his league. Even if I did take him on, I'd only disappoint him."
So now is the time to lay low for awhile to be able to beat Terry Bogard the next time they meet- That's the message Mai got as she stood behind him and watched him train in silence. Maybe this is what masculine pride was all about.
And perhaps Mai felt a little jealousy at this time, too. Mai couldn't help feeling a tightness in her chest at Andy, as a fighter, being only fixated on Terry, but if her grandfather and father were still alive, Mai, too, would be working to surpass them. Because she understood Andy's feelings, Mai decided to not bother him any longer.
• • • • •
"Take good care of yourself." The morning Mai was packed and headed for the airport. Andy, too, would leave the dojo for the mountains during KOF. "As always, there's no guarantee this tournament is on the up and up."
"Yeah, I know. Well, I gotta be going."
Andy suddenly took Mai's hands in his. "I'm praying for your safety." Andy's slightly awkward parting and his gentle kiss on her forehead are two things Mai will never forget.
The host of a garden party for philanthropists at a certain mansion asks Seth, "So, what do you do?"
Seth ponders a bit, and then says: "To put it simply... I guess you'd say I'm a crime fighter."
"Well, that is nice." Taking Seth's reply as a joke, the lady's pudgy body begins to quiver with laughter.
Seth mainly does work for the good of society. His presence here tonight speaks to that. The husband of the old lady he's speaking with is a drug lord who fronts for Southeast Asian insurgents. His wife is most likely ignorant of this. If she knew most of the wealth that she's devoted to philanthropy came from poppies, she'd not be acting so naively.
While chatting up the lady, Seth shifted his finger with a camera inside its ring getting proof to put her husband away. If this ample proof compiled in the party's confusion were sent to the authorities, she'd never see her kind hubby again.
Seth shakes his head lightly, pressing his temple. "I guess I've had a little too much to drink." It was not his head, but heart, that hurt for this lady who failed to see through his lies.
"Oh, you poor thing."
"Will you excuse me? I'd like to take in some of the evening air to clear my head."
"Go ahead. The night is still young, after all."
"I shall be right back, madam." He bows to take leave of this credulous conversation lover and the partiers and heads for the vicinity of the dark pond.
"Would you like a cool glass of water, sir?" A tall waiter supporting a silver tray approaches Seth as he stares into the pond. Seth, looking back behind him, squints happily. In the next instant, the two bow to each other meaningfully.
"Thank you." Gulping down the well-chilled water, Seth removes his ring to toss it in the emptied glass and return it to the tray. "One more thing."
"What is it, sir?"
"Please kindly tell the madam I became sick and went back home, would you? Also, add that I'll make up for my discourtesy later."
"Yes, I will do so." The waiter bows deeply as Seth leaves him behind and takes his leave of the madam's party.
"Mission accomplished... I guess." Certainly, the gardens in which the guests from the world of politics and finance partied would be filled with police tomorrow afternoon. Among these would be the waiter with his badge on a frayed suit. And the madam in a pricey gown would be staring blankly as her husband's taken into custody. "Forgive me, madam. This too, is the cost of social justice." Seth tears off his tight ascot and slings his tuxedo over his shoulder, looking back a little sadly at the ornamented gate.
What had brought Seth closer to the powerful Southtown boss Fate was a need to approach the larger syndicate Addes that led the rising Mephistopheles. It wasn't as if they had made a contract, but the two had come to a certain understanding. Seth would provide Fate with information on Mephistopheles he would not otherwise be able to get, and Fate would shake things up for Mephistopheles in turn. Fate's objective was to rid Southtown of Mephistopheles and its boss, Duke, while Seth intended to drive the syndicate to its destruction and smoke out the upper echelons of Addes in the process. The two entered a calculated relationship, using and being used by the other, which went well, at least up to a point. Their only miscalculation was Fate being assassinated before Seth reached his objective.
After the party, Seth had walked back to his office, buffeted by the evening breeze, and found a white envelope waiting for him on his office's glass table. Seth heaves a deep sigh as he looks over the letter with its seal sporting the scythes of the reaper and raptor wings.
Seth, having been once again invited to KOF, surmises Addes is behind this and decides to join--this may be his chance. But those twins may also have arrived at the same decision. Alba and Soiree Meira, raised by Fate as if they were his own sons, have crossed paths before.
Tossing away his tuxedo jacket, Seth tumbles onto the couch. "A pro never lets his personal feelings into his mission..." But this belief does not help him get used to the glares of those two thirsting for revenge. He knows Alba and Soiree believe Seth used Fate like a tissue, only to toss him away once he was through with him.
This, of course, isn't true, but Seth sees Alba's logic and he's too young to see the truth. "...I know I will always be in their sights for letting Fate die like that, but..." He picks up the bottle of bourbon on the table, takes a swig, and then heaves out a sigh. Seth looks up at the dark ceiling and begins to mumble. How he can square things with those two twins remains a riddle he just can't solve.
It wasn't the first time Seth had to sacrifice something for the sake of the mission. Even so, he never quite got used to its bitter aftertaste. Even more, this time a person's life had been sacrificed. With the death of one, the lives of many had been saved. Fate's life was not wasted. But sophisms like this don't hold true for the family of the dead.
Billy's eyes meet with the neighbor over the wall as he hangs some white sheets on the clothesline in his yard. The man remembers what his sister has always told him and makes a flustered greeting. Although intending to smile as amiably as possible, one could only view it objectively as a smile with a certain hint of intimidation to it. The old woman fiddling with the grass and flowers seems to suffer from poor eyesight, so she returns his greeting unfazed. She may have thought that Billy was a tad curt, but this quiet, taciturn man did look after his sister.
"Whoo." Having finished hanging up all the wash, Billy sits down before the service door and sighs as he looks up at the sheets flapping in the breeze. Billy notices the beautiful blue sky and then refreshes himself with the balmy breezes. A load like this should be mostly dry by the afternoon. Another tranquil day - this world, a bit too calm perhaps, appears to be the exact opposite of the savage underworld he has lived in till now. This town in the English countryside he has moved to with his beloved sister is also not as boring as he thought it would be. But as one would expect, there is something missing. Somewhere deep within his breast, there is a gaping hole that he cannot fill no matter what he tries. Removing the bandana wrapped around his head, Billy heaves another sigh.
Billy Kane - any denizen of the American underworld would certainly have heard that name. He was equally feared by those in the same line of work and those who weren't as the loyal right-hand man of Geese Howard, known as the dark king and ruler of Southtown. In other words, Billy was Geese's walking weapon. Some say, his rabid dog. But Billy, the man feared far and wide, quit the underworld after Geese's death and holed up in this town in the English countryside. The only thing that kept Billy linked to that former world anyway was the charismatic existence of Geese alone, and after he died, Billy had no intention of becoming Geese's successor himself, nor did he intend to serve any other boss in Geese's stead.
"......" Then all of a sudden, Billy sensed the presence of someone and looked up. Beyond the lattice gate facing the street stood a well-built man dressed in black. He stared at Billy over the top of his sunglasses. He was a stranger in these parts. For Billy, this was a face he'd never seen before. But at this moment, Billy sensed a certain feeling of simpatico with this guy. Yet it wasn't as if he looked like anyone Billy knew. Then, Billy realized intuitively that this was a man like himself who had turned his back to the light of day, a person who lived in a world that was anything but tranquil. The "stench" this stranger released, in a manner of speaking, made him feel this to be so.
Thanking his luck that Lilly has gone shopping, Billy slowly stands up. Grabbing a washing line rod resting against the line, he starts toward the man, eyes fixed on his potential target.
"You got some business with me?" Billy curtly queries as he rests the clothesline rod on his shoulder.
"Mister Kane?" Sticking a hand into his black suit jacket, the man cocks his head inquisitively to the side. If the thing the man had pulled out was a pistol, the rod that Billy possessed would swing into action and with a single blow to his throat, shatter his neck bone. That, or a single thrust squarely to his breast would perhaps crush his sternum. But what emerges turns out not to be a gleaming black gun, but a white envelope. Billy keeps staring at him, glancing at the envelope thrust through the metal lattice.
"What is it?"
"It's an invitation addressed to you." Then the man pompously adds: "-for The King of Fighters." Billy is hit with a chill and his heart begins to race at these words.
But Billy dares to ignore his feelings. "Not interested." Blurting out the answer, he turns and starts back.
The man calls out behind him: "Don't you think about it? What has become of your old town?" Billy stops in his tracks. "Doesn't it eat at you when you think about it - just who is running that city now?"
"......" As he looks back, Billy's eyes focus not on the man dressed in black, but he stares at the invitation with its creepy seal stamped on it.
Numerous gangland syndicates have battled it out in Southtown following Geese's rule: the new syndicate "Mephistopheles" that rose out of the long period of chaos led by Duke, and Alba Meira and his crew, who defeated Duke and restored order to the city as its young "king" along with his younger brother Soiree Meira. When Billy hears of these thugs, who act as though they own the once glorious Southtown which Geese built, a black rage grows within his breast that thrusts itself to the surface. This is what he has forgotten long ago, since he moved to this land - this is what he supposedly tried to forget. This dark fury is in a sense what made Billy, "Billy."
Yes, it sure was a fortunate twist of fate that Lilly wasn't here today. For were she here, she would have cried and been able to stop him. Concealing his vermillion-finished three-jointed cane, which should have stayed locked away with his past, under his shirt, all Billy leaves is a briefly-penned note as he leaves the house. Billy has to show those gangland thugs who don't know their own place and the residents of Southtown just whose realm the "kingdom" known as Southtown really is. Along with the name of its one true king, Geese Howard.
"That place - that city is no place for vermin like you to put your grubby little hands on...!"
After mass at the town church, Lilly dropped by the marketplace. As she passed the oldest pub in this town on the way, she greeted some old men playing cards out front. Lilly was their idol. Although they did not know each other's names and only met on the weekend as she walked by, she'd always offer a smile and a kind word, and they'd doff their hunting hats. Once in a while, a stray cat sleeping at their feet yawned in salutation. This was the extent of their relationship, but it was a great source of joy for Lilly.
"Some eggs, please." Having finished her weekly rendezvous, Lilly bought some fresh eggs and vegetables. Billy, her big brother, loved her egg dishes most of all. Perhaps tonight some Scotch eggs, a quiche, or just a plain old omelet? She mulled over tonight's menu as she headed toward their rented house on the town's outskirts. She could be heard humming, proof of her thinking happy thoughts.
Compared with living in that major metropolis -- the flashy and stimulating city colored by dark memories of inhumanity known as Southtown -- Lilly finds the quite humble and modest life of this country town they've moved to a welcome change of pace. Who needs the wealth and flash? Lilly had always dreamed of a living peacefully with Billy, her older brother. If only Billy could get used to a life void of violence...
The metal gate creaks slightly when opened and rust flakes off. "I'll have to get Billy to paint that when he gets some time." Some white sheets flap in the breeze in their cozy little garden surrounded by hedges. Lilly liked doing the laundry, but Billy made it his avocation. If she failed to clean the sheets, Billy would happily take care of it in her absence, but he always left the fine washables to her. "...Maybe I should let these dry a little longer?" Lilly swings up the shopping bag she held to her chest to check the sheets.
"Oh, Ms. Kane," the old lady living next door calls to Lilly from across the hedges.
"Oh, good afternoon." Lilly bows, a bit taken aback. This refined old lady -- whose real name happens to be Smithson -- smiles over her glasses as she sees Lilly's braids dance.
"You are like two peas in a pod."
"When your laconic older brother left, he went to the trouble of telling me to say goodbye to you for him. I understand he has left for a business trip?"
"Huh?" Suddenly, the ground crumbles beneath her, as if she were tumbling down a bottomless pit. Afterwards, Lilly couldn't recall how she had taken her leave of the old lady next door. The only thing she can remember is the sad sound of the eggs she'd just bought smashing on the floor.
"Billy!" Rushing into the house, she had tossed her groceries onto the kitchen table and dashed through every room in search of her big brother. Through the living room, into Billy's bedroom, even the bathroom and restroom, but Billy was nowhere to be found.
Billy was no longer home. No, two hours earlier, Billy had packed up a few things and gone to inform their kindly neighbor. But Lilly could not help going through the house to make sure. Lilly finally returned to the kitchen after searching through the house, her eyes red with emotion, and noticed a piece of paper sticking out from under the bag she'd tossed on the table.
Her hands trembling, Lilly picked up and read the scrawled message.
I'll be gone for a while. No need to worry. Wait for me there.
How many times had she heard this same message while she had lived in Southtown? And how many times had she tended to his wounds when he arrived back home? Billy never told her what he had been up to, but Lilly was no longer the same powerless, innocent girl she once was. Even though she didn't know exactly what people thought of Billy or what work he did, she had learned enough. That's why they had left Southtown and moved here, to take him out of that world.
"Billy... how could you?!" Lilly's voice trembles as she crumples up Billy's note.
• • • • •
The singing of birds wakes her. Lilly had waited long into the night for Billy's return and had fallen asleep at the table. Lily rubs her tear-stained eyes, swollen and red from crying, then stands up and looks out the window, lips pursed. Billy hadn't returned. And it was certain he had already left the country. Lilly was sure of it. She didn't know where he was headed, but she could guess why.
"...I've got to stop him." The white sheets left outside through the night were now billowing in the dew-drenched morning breeze. Lilly, mumbling as she gazes at the sheets, suddenly rushes out into the garden and grabs an extra laundry pole leaning up against the house.
"I'm bringing Billy back!" The wash-line pole fits her grip as if it were an extension of her sinewy arms forged by the passion she held for doing the daily wash. Wiping the tears brimming in her eyes with her tiny fists, she puts the pole over her shoulder and runs off. She runs off to pull her one and only treasured brother back into the light...
He dreamt of the man-- A perfectly evil genius, more arrogant than anyone, who sent him reeling with his "spirit" as fierce as a whirlwind while his blond hair fluttered wildly. He and Ryo had only fought together once. And Ryo had won that time. But what left him with the feeling he had not was the fact he was covered with wounds and barely standing while the supposed loser had enough energy left to make his escape from the scene. If they had fought until either of them had run out of strength, perhaps he would not have been the victor. Ryo ruminated over that day's fight until daybreak, his eyes half open in the dim light.
In a corner of the teeming metropolis Southtown, National Park managed to remain a vast wilderness of natural beauty. It wasn't important to him if this was a remnant of the primordial past or a human reconstruction of it. This environment was just the thing he needed to get away from the big-city hustle and face his inner demons.
"Hey!" called a cheerful man's voice out of the blue while Ryo waded in the flow of the river and faced a giant waterfall in the distance as he went through his simple karate routine of slow movements that seemingly used every muscle in his body. He looked back to see a spiffy gentleman dressed in a toasty-looking leather jacket standing on the river bank. He had a backpack over one shoulder and appeared to be in the middle of a carefree getaway. Ryo gave a quizzical look as he recognized his old friend.
"You don't seem to be here by pure coincidence... Terry."
"That's right. I dropped into the dojo and heard you were in mountain seclusion." Terry shrugged as he tossed his things onto the dry grass. "--was it Marco? That man with the afro kept begging me to go a few rounds with him."
"Did he give you that bruise?"
"I gave him three times more. He looks like a grape now." Terry laughed, pressing the corners of his mouth with his hand.
"Marco lost a fight he picked? Looks like someone needs some tougher training." Ryo giggled along with Terry as he continued his routine. Terry sat on a suitably sized rock and whistled in admiration as he watched him practice.
"Always the stoic. I was kind of wondering why you haven't taken part in any competitions, but I see you've been buffing yourself up." At this, Ryo abruptly halted his movements in mid-punch.
"I've been thinking recently."
"Maybe I've been growing a tad weaker than I used to be."
"Huh?" Terry gazed at Ryo's profile with a surprised, perhaps ticked-off look on his face. "Are you joking? How could a guy like you who devotes every day to training be getting weaker?"
"I have been training. But... Yeah, I should rephrase that. I'm not weaker than I was, maybe I was way too strong before."
"What's the difference?"
"I used to fight more fearlessly. To make a living, to raise my sister, I had to win at any cost. I was hungry to win. My eyes blazed with the desire to win." He mumbled this and gazed up at the sky that was as limpid as his own eyes. Turning his gaze to Terry, he inquired: "Don't you feel the same way?"
"...Yeah. Could be."
"But recently I've lost that feeling. I've become more philosophical, to put it in a good light, but I've lost my hunger to win. I was even surprised when I caught myself thinking even if I lost once, it's no big deal--how did I get to be so complacent?"
"If that's the case, it only proves how strong you've become. Only the weak hunger to win. The strong don't, because even if they lose, they possess the power to get right back up."
"That's one way to look at it..."
"Or it could just prove that you've become an adult." Terry rose to his feet and shoved both hands in the pockets of his jacket. "Only simple kids decide a person's value with their fists."
"That's harsh. But if that's the case, maybe I should find my hidden child and test my skill in your basic mix-up." Ryo rises up out of the water and stares Terry down from a few meters away. "I know you didn't come for a little chit-chat."
"Well, I suppose not." Terry dusts off the seat of his jeans and casually pulls out a white envelope from the pocket of his leather jacket. "I suppose you got one of these things too, didn't you?"
"Yup. I wasn't particularly interested in it, but I got one."
"Still not interested?"
"Nah--my interest's been piqued. A good thing, don't you think?" Ryo faces off with Terry at a suitable distance. "It may be a coincidence, but I had a dream about Geese last night."
"In the end, I only got to fight him once when I was younger."
"And you beat him. Didn't you?"
"I don't think I did. It's been eating at me all these years. I can't settle things with him now, but I hope to remove this knot in my gut... If I can win against the person who beat him twice."
"You're going to settle things with Geese through me?"
"Hey, I don't care." Terry brushes the tip of his nose with his thumb and clenches his fists. Even with his long hair cut and his trademark cap in storage, his strong stance hasn't changed.
Standing before a formidable opponent, Ryo quietly inhales. He had always wanted to beat this man and confirm the true extent of his strength.
Daybreak. The high-pitched cry of a shrike cuts through the forest shrouded in an early morning mist. Its cries are ended with the loud thud of flesh crashing onto the moist undergrowth. Hanzo's heart jumps a little at the same sound, but he remains unfazed and stays hidden.
"Gah..." Another person expires in this dense cedar forest. --Kihachi, perhaps? Hanzo firmly clenches his ninja sword's handle as he hears his young ninja's dying gasps. Three Iga ninja have died in this forest already.
But perhaps "died" is too kind of a word for it. They have been slaughtered. --Just who is it? Hanzo wonders as he holds his breath and stays concealed.
The mission Hanzo received from the counselor was a special one--a covert investigation of members of the Imperial family. Failure was not an option, which was why Hanzo himself had embarked on this cause. Thinking back, Hanzo had made the right call. The forbidden option was about to become reality.
The enemy had been lying in wait in this forest for Hanzo and the others. Hanzo still can't tell who the enemy is, how many there are, or what their objective is. All he knows for sure is that his Iga ninja, who scattered when they sensed an ambush, are being picked off one by one by an unseen enemy.
One thing he does know is these are no ordinary warriors. Hanzo along with the others are seasoned ninja who have trained under his tutelage. All can spot ninja high in the cedar trees, slay enemies without any wasted moves, and do what samurai are unable to. --And so, too, can his enemies.
Then a certain memory flashes in his mind's eye: The passive resistance. Those clans pledging open loyalty to the Tokugawas, but secretly working against them. The family Hanzo was sent to investigate supports a ninja army sufficient to oppose Hanzo and his group. But Hanzo is disturbed by the fact the enemy is slaughtering them as if they were children.
Since he's painted the blade of his ninja sword that is drawn slightly from the mouth of the sheath, his blade does not reflect light that would give him away. Hanzo squints through the brush, ready to draw his sword at any time.
In an instant, Hanzo springs up onto a cedar tree, conceals himself, then slips into the morning mist. A cluster of blue-black flame grazes him, landing at his feet. --Katon! if he had been just a bit off, he'd have become toast with shards of bark in his back. The blast was strong enough to dry his clothes, wet from the damp air.
Next Hanzo has to make his way through extending spikes. Not arrows or dirks, but spikes. The spikes approach as if knitting their ways through the slits between the trees.
"Umph....!?" A cry involuntarily leaks from Hanzo's mouth which is covered with a mask. Suddenly drawing his ninja sword from its sheath and with a flash of his blade, he attempts to deflect the spikes, but the deflected spike heads in Hanzo's direction. --Was that a spike?! Hanzo, grabbing onto the top branch of another cedar tree, with a lightness as if walking through the air, opens his eyes and gulps hard.
On the tips of the spikes that pursued Hanzo from the brush, undulating like serpents, which he can now see returning to their original position, Hanzo counts 5 fingers and 5 talon-like short swords. Noticing the nature of the spikes, Hanzo realizes he's up against a single enemy. Concealed in the dimness of forest shrouded by mist, what cut down the Iga ninja Hanzo had led here was surely a single ninja acting alone.
At that instant, a bone-chillingly hoarse voice reverberated through the forest. "So this is the way of the Iga? ...And you seem to be the most skilled of the bunch."
"!" Hanzo looked directly above him in the direction the voice seemed to originate from. A long serpent-like hand was closing in on him. --Tricked! Hanzo kicked off from the thick branch in an attempt to evade the attack, but was caught by the ankle. As if caught in a vise, Hanzo was tugged down to the ground below.
"You are strong, I give you that... Behold!" said the man atop the tree and laughed. Crouching securely down on the branch, the man in black under his own power lifted Hanzo's body into the air with his extending right hand. His eyes glowed with a strange light as he positioned his left hand to strike at his victim. "...This is the Dark Talon." The man unleashed his punches on Hanzo who was hanging upside down. His sharp talons formed a literal giant spike which could easily pierce someone's breastbone. But Hanzo's body was caught in the bright blast of an explosion faster than it could be ventilated with hideous holes.
When the smell of gunpowder had finally been dispersed by the wind, the black shadow of Hanzo appeared in the forest restored to its former quiet. There wasn't a hint of any scorching from the blast on his body. Along with being an extremely gifted warrior, he was the most skilled in the uses of gunpowder in his village.
"......." Hanzo sighed as he looked up at the twigs on the cedars. He had resigned himself to dying with his assailant in the blast, but right before he was hit by the full force of the blast, he had vanished. Although he failed to find out his true identity, he did realize he was up against a new foe with terrifyingly other-world abilities.
"Lord Hanzo." Only two ninja had stolen up behind Hanzo. The remainder had all died at that man's hands.
"Gather the dead. After that, return to your duties."
"There's no need for pursuit. Focus on finishing your present duties and those alone."
--We may meet up with that man again sooner than we'd hope-- Without feeling the need to voice this thought to his companions, Hanzo and his small band disappear into the darkness of the forest mist.