No matter how many times he slashed and killed, Jirou felt empty. As the last bandit fell from his blade, he stared at his weapon tainted with blood.
Is this how you fell, father? Did it feel this empty obeying the Lord? Killing this group of bandits is the same as dirtying my sword. They’re trash that don’t deserve to die at my, at a samurai’s hands.
With one swing, he cleaned the blood from his blade and sheathed the sword. Is that why Yasuhiro-sama left his house? Because he felt there was something more for him? He turned to the leader he had killed. Killing them won’t bring honor to my name…
They were not weak bandits. As time passed and the war came closer, they grew both in numbers and in infame. So much the new Lord, son of the previous one, sent a group of forty foot soldiers led by one of his generals to deal with them.
When no one came back, the Lord offered a reward for killing the group. Jirou volunteered to lead the new group. He had no need for the money. Other than his daily necessities, he didn’t care for riches or luxury. But he wanted the honor of serving his Lord. The honor for saving the region from those bandits.
But when the samurai got there, he realized there was little honor in killing those bandits. Because their only strength was their numbers. After Jirou broke that advantage, killing them all was just a matter of time.
However, that didn’t make the samurai happy. He touched the hilt of his sword, of Asahi. Father, you always talked about how much honor there was in serving the Lord, but is that true? How much honor can a samurai have by killing men like them? For how many years will I be soiling my sword with their blood?
Without realizing, the samurai squeezed the handle of Asahi harder. Forgive me father but I’m unlike you. I see no honor in serving the new Lord… All I can see is my blade dulling… As he closed his eyes and thought, he heard something.
Screams. But not of pain. Not of fear. Screams of joy.
Opening his eyes, Jirou saw the people of the village running towards him. They cry and thanked him for defeating the bandits who had taken over their village. Then he realized something.
For those peasants, he wasn’t just a samurai. He was their savior, someone who would be remembered for a long time.
With a tiny smile, Jirou accepted their invitation and joined in the humble celebration. Guess there’s some honor in this too, right, father? Even if it’s unknown forever. He looked towards the bright sky.
If I can breathe, I can fight. As long as I have a sword in my hands, I can carve my own path to honor. Isn’t that right, Yasuhiro-sama?
Father, please, forgive my disrespect, but I think you’re wrong. Honor isn’t something you receive from others. Is something you earn for yourself.
After many more thanks, the samurai and his soldiers left the village. He headed to his Lord’s stare to report the situation, but there was something different in him. He was no longer the same samurai who had left the fortress.
I won’t hesitate anymore. I’ll use my blade the way I want. That’s is my samurai way.
It was night by the time their arrived.
“Jirou-sama!” The samurai heard someone screaming when the gates became visible. “Jirou-sama!”
One of the servants ran towards the samurai’s horse. He stopped a few steps away from the animal and bowed to him in a hurry, barely breathing.
“Jirou-sama, I have… terrible news…” the man tried to speak before recovering his breath. “Your father… Daigorou-sama… has been arrested… for betraying… our Lord!”
Jirou felt the world going cold and numb.
Father… arrested… for betrayal…