The samurai stared at the scene in front of him.
The moon was starting to rise in the dark sky above, which allowed him to more clearly understand what had just happened.
Just moments earlier, he had been enjoying the quiet night, drinking some warm wine with his friend, who he was close enough to be brothers with.
But that quiet night brought with it horribly foul luck.
They had attacked from an opposite room of the house, and killed his friend like it was nothing.
Seconds later screams could be heard from the other rooms — most likely from his wife and young son.
Not having drunk too much wine, he reacted in a fraction of a second, defeating the attacker in front of him instantly, but he was too late to save anyone.
Just as fast as it started, it had already finished.
The only person he ended up saving, was himself.
Through the broken door that let outside, the moonlight crept in, and the shock of what really happened hit him.
His good friend, whom he survived many hardships together with, was laying motionless in a pool of his own blood, while at arm's length away was the attacker.
Now, it may have just been because it was difficult to see, but the attacker didn't look like anyone he knew. If anything, he was rather young.
With no time to spare, he ran over to the room where his wife and son were sleeping, but they were no where to be found.
He was thinking to himself, hoping they were still alive, but at the same time scared of the deeper truth that they were probably dead and taken away.
Not knowing what to do, he collapsed to his knees, with his heart filled with despair.
Upon placing his hands on the soft floor matting, he immediately noticed it was wet, and even a bit warm for this cold night.
His eyes having properly adjusted, and the tears that swelled up pushed out of the way, he noticed that there was a trail of blood that led eastwards towards the porch where the doors were open.
Prepared for the worst, he grabbed his sword and ran outside, following the faint trail the blood had made on the smooth rocks that were laid out in the garden.
The led him into the bamboo forrest, and judging by the broken branches near his feet, he knew he was going in the right direction.
Suddenly, from his right, someone else attacked.
Having trained for years, and being particularly clear minded despite the situation, the samurai cut down the attacker effortlessly.
From the left, two more came to attack, and he dealt with them the same.
But the attackers looked no different from the farming wives who worked nearby.
Knowing that the situation was definitely strange, he continued to follow the path, this time running through the bamboo forest.
More attackers came, but having seen them clearly, the samurai skillfully twisted his blade and attacked with the blunt end, hoping that he wouldn't need to kill any more people in a single night.
However, no matter how hard he hit, that got back up instantly.
The didn't even attempt to dodge.
They simply got hit over and over, their movements definitely slowed, but they never collapsed.
It was as if they felt no pain.
As if they were simply puppets.
As more and more came, a small hint of fear manifested itself in the samurai's heart, and without hesitation his instincts took over and cut down all the attackers.
The samurai was horrified of his actions.
Women, children, farmers, carpenters — they were all dead.
Why were they attacking him?
He simply didn't know. However, he hesitantly took a step forward, and started running again.
He could easily turn around and run away.
If fact, this thought echoed in his head, and even overcame the sound of his wildly beating heart.
As he ran though, he noticed that no one came after him any more.
In fact, it became very quiet.
Worried, he started to pay more attention to his surroundings, and slowed down.
Looking around, he noticed in the faint moonlight a silhouette in front him.
The hairs on his arms instinctively ran a chill up his arms.
The last time he felt such a chill was during the last great war, that upon his great feats earned him his home and his wealth.
He knew that this one in front wasn't like the townspeople from before.
He knew how to fight.
Taking a strong stance just a few meters in front of him, he readied his grip of the hilt of his sword that was sheathed at his waist.
Slowly, the moon above started to hide behind the ragged clouds, and bathed both fighters in complete darkness.
Hearing a small shuffle from the other party, the samurai slowly stepped forward, and slowly pulled his sword out of its sheath, taking great care not to make a single sound.
Leaning a bit toward his left, he flipped the tip of the sword high up in the air, and made it land on the ground in front of the attacker.
A noticeable ring emanated from the blade, and at that moment the attacker swung his sword down at the spot he might have thought the samurai was standing.
Prepared for this, he was already at the side, and even in this complete darkness, he knew his attacker's location now.
With a graceful swing, he cut him down as well.
The moonlight began to peek through the clouds at the conclusion of the dual, but this unsettled the samurai deeply.
It the man that lay in front of him was indeed a formidable swordsman, but it was also his friend who died in front of him just minutes ago.
There was nothing about this situation that he liked, and the only thing that he wanted to do was save his family, and find whoever was responsible for this.
With a clear resolve in his heart, he rushed forwards, until he ended up in an open patch of grass in the middle of the bamboo forest.
Was there such a place? he thought to himself.
In fact, he hardly remembered the forrest being this big.
This whole thing was almost like an illusion, a maze that one could enter, but never leave.
In other words, the work of demons.
Dismissing such a silly idea, he ran forward, but at that moment, he noticed the silhouette of a woman caring something.
It was his wife.
As he walked closer, almost in disbelief, he noticed that she was carrying his son, who seemed terribly limp.
Almost as if she were trying to escape, she limped towards him.
Fearing for their safety, the samurai ran towards them and embraced them both in his arms.
He was so worried about them.
But in that short instant, he had let his guard down, and didn't even catch a glimpse of the enormous killing intent that was behind his poor wife.
He hardly felt the sword pierce though his stomach from behind his wife.
If was almost like a dream.
But a cough told him it wasn't, as he tasted the blood reach his mouth.
Collapsing on the ground, he continued to embrace his wife and son.
He realized that they were both dead, and were simply a trap for him to lower his guard.
Despite that, he was rather calm.
It really didn't feel like he was dying.
Put in another way, he expected dying to feel quite different.
From behind him he heard footsteps approaching.
Catching a clear glimpse of the figure from the corner of his eye, he know that it was responsible.
A truly hideous demon stood above him.
It looked very pleased at the results of its hard work.
It had, after all, thoroughly enjoyed tonight's hunt, for prey tasted best when it is bathed in despair and the blood of others.
But it had made one mistake, for the samurai wasn't dead yet.
It showed itself much too early.
In fact, upon seeing its ugly mug, a fire lit in the samurai's heart.
In an instant, he pulled the sword out from his stomach, and used the one he still had in hand to slide though both of the demon's legs.
A single swing afterwards ended its life by cutting off its head.
He had succeeded.
He thought to himself, now all those townsfolk, along with his wife and son, could finally be at piece.
As he thought this, he looked up at the moon that was straight above him.
Its figure was so pure, completely round and peaceful.
As his grip loosened, his sword hit the ground with a muffled klang.
And he continued to stare, with a small smile on his face that he was able to do some good on this horrendous night.
An as he stood there, his life slipped away until he collapsed to the ground, his tears dampening the soil underneath him.
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