"No! There was just nowhere else to camp!" He insisted aggressively.
"Then march further, or back track. Splitting your forces to camp is folly."
He clenched his fists tightly, shaking at the assault on his character. "The… Oda. They employed the help of demons! That is the only way the able to get the upper hand."
"Ah yes, then the whole world must have demons apart from you. The misfortune of birth, eh? You should not have been put into a position of such responsibility. I do not blame you for that. You merely are not suited to the role. At most, I would trust you as a baker, or something similar. But the fact remains that you were given such power, and in wielding it, not only are you incompetent, but you also lack integrity. Every single man here despises you, for you have acted against them."
"Hah! The squawking of chickens! Of course they would hate a man greater than they – jealousy runs through every man's bones."
Gengyo shook his head, disappointed with the Lord's inability to see sense right till the very end. "Togashi, lend your blade to Yoshimoto."
"As your say." The bearded man flung his blade, embedding it in the arm of Imagawa's throne, causing the obese Lord to jump to his feet with a start.
"In light of your supposed greatness, Yoshimoto, I will offer you a chance. Defeat me in combat, and I will allow you to live." Gengyo's men barely even flinched at such a proposal, knowing the fight to be entirely one sided, yet Imagawa noticed not such a reaction, as he grasped the sword with vigour.
"Hah! Come and taste your end then, rebel!" He roared, thundering down the steps, sword held high overhead, feeling the wind rushing through his hair, and convinced by the own immense speed that he was running at. There were still a few metres between Gengyo and him, but once he closed that gap, then the rebels' end would be assured.
"Now you see." Gengyo murmured. "The difference between an actor and a swordsman."
"Huh?" Imagawa frowned, not because of Gengyo's words, but because his feet would not move forward, no matter how hard he pushed. He was sweating intensely, but his body was frozen, he could not fathom it.
And then both hands slipped from their wrists, and the blade clattered to the floor.
"AHHHHHHHHHHH! OH GODS! OH GODS!" He howled, collapsing onto the ground, blood spraying from his wrists at a high pressure, coating his face in their liquid. At this rate, he would bleed out.
Gengyo took a step forward. "STAY BACK! STAY BACK YOU CURSED DEMON! YOU MONSTER! AHHHHHHH!"
He leisurely unfurled Imagawa's still frozen fingers from around the blade, before casting the weapon back towards Togashi. He looked at Imagawa squealed in terror, a sad smile on his face. How unfortunate it was, that their problems – their grievances – were caused by such a pathetic man. It made it difficult to extract satisfaction from their victory. But Gengyo was determined. Before he let the man die, he would wake him up, and shatter his reality. That would be even worse than death for a man as delusional as he.
He tore cloth from his own clothes, and fastened them around the meat of the squirming walrus' wrist, stemming the flow of blood so that it was not quite so intense.
"As I said, Yoshimoto, every man present has come here bearing hatred. You have caused each of us problems, and as you bleed out and are confronted with the terror of death, I will make you recall all that you have done."
"AHHHHHH GODS! THE PAIN! MAKE IT STOP!" He begged.
"Does the name Niwa mean anything to you? Of course it doesn't. I doubt you even remember the name of your generals, never mind a samurai from a little village. Have you ever wondered, why? Why it was that you were not immediately overrun at Okehazama? I doubt it, but let me enlighten you anyway. It was the efforts of our small Niwa force. We saw the intruding army, and we did what we could to bring your forces together whilst our Lord yet slept. Our reward? Betrayal. By the very man we endeavoured to help. We were branded cowards, and sent to our deaths. Am I bringing any memories back, little Lord?"
"Oh gods… Oh gods…" He m.o.a.ned, tears dripping down his face.
"Oh gods indeed. But the gods did not help us. You were right in calling me a demon – that was what we all had to become to survive. And survive we did, but precious few of us. Still, here we stand, those precious few, with an army of over a thousand men at our backs. It would seem, there had only need be a single spark to ignite the raging blaze."
He wreathed on the floor, tears flowing down his cheeks, flopping in a pool of his own blood, light headed from loss of it, as Gengyo loomed over him.
"And the rest of them? Men who do not respect you. Men who have been treated worse than dung by you – your own men, just as we were. See, Imagawa, the people do not ask for much. They don't ask that you make the world a better place, they merely ask that you do not make it worse."
He once more stepped towards him, and slowly thrust his sword through his chest, taking care to avoid his internal organs. "That is for my brother – a man with boundless potential. That is for my master – the embodiment of the samurai spirit. For every man that I trained with, and fought alongside. For every man that dreamed of glory, only to have their lives snatched away by your betrayal."
He left him like that, and returned to his comrades, giving them the nod.
Akiko stepped forward first, tears flowing beneath her mask, as she drove her blade through his stomach, looking him in the eye, doing just as Gengyo did and avoiding the internal organs. "For… For my father." She croaked, returning to her husband's side, leaning her head on his shoulder, as he patted her back sadly.
With angry footsteps, Rin stepped forward, and ruthlessly slid her sword in the same. "That's for my brother, you damn bastard…" She paused a moment, staring back at his childish little face, and teary eyes, before kicking him in irritation. It wasn't enough. It would never be enough. She felt just as empty she did before. It was injustice – the whole world was. Why was it someone like this that held the power? Why was it such a weak man that was their enemy? There was no satisfaction in victory. It simply wasn't enough.
Deep down, they all knew that. But revenge must be delivered all the same. Jikouji took slow steps forward, passing the young woman, feeling through her eyes the same irritation that she felt. "Apologise to your ancestors, as I will apologise to me. Rest peacefully, Niwa Nakatane." He murmured, slicing his blade carefully in, seemingly devoid of emotion.
Rokkaku and Morohira stepped forward as one, each having imagined how it would feel if Imagawa died before they would get their chance. They would make good use of the opportunity.
"Bastard…" Morohira muttered, seeing his friend walking forwards alongside him.
"Bastard." Rokakku agreed.
Unlike the others, Morohira could not bear to simply thrust through the man with his sword, and what came falling down upon him was a fist instead.
"Guh…" Imagawa complained weakly, barely conscious at this point. The only thing keeping him from passing on with his intense fear of death, and what lay beyond it.
Morohira dragged him to his feet once more, and sent another fist falling down upon his face, breaking his nose. "You're f.u.c.k.i.n.g soft…" He spat, irritated. "What gives you the right, to sit up there, on that f.u.c.k.i.n.g horse of yours, and… F.u.c.k you." He turned to the others, tears running down his face. "Who… Who put this f.u.c.ker in charge?" Another punch greeted Imagawa. "Why..? Why Masaatsu? He was a good boy. Don't you see? HE WAS A GOOD BOY!" He grabbed his fat shoulders, and roared in his face, as the tears rolled. "I didn't even get to show him how good I could be… He died thinking me pathetic, as I had always been. I didn't even get the chance to say sorry… YOU BASTARD!" He aimed to cut off his head with his sword, consumed by emotion, but Rokkaku dragged his body out of the way at the last second resulted in only a severed arm.
"Let the others have their chance, eh bud?" He said lightly, his voice filled with sorrow. One glance at him and Morohira could see that he was just as upset as him.
"Aye… You do what you have to do…" He murmured, in the voice of a broken man, as he patted his comrade on the back, and made his way back to his people with slow steps.