Demonic Monk Staff
Walking with Hachiro down a hallway in long abandoned centuries-old ruins that must have once been home to local nobility, Chika could not shake the words of his Captain from his mind. In his ten years as a samurai he had never seen the captain of the Private Militia speak with such fear.
“It is a weapon like no other. There has been nothing like it in the past, and there will never be another one like it in the future. It is living proof that demons are, in themselves, the most powerful weapons.”
The Captain’s hands shook as he spoke.
The story was very confusing to Hachiro, who found the whole thing too fantastical to be true. After all, how could a simple monk’s staff instill fear into anyone, particularly a samurai? Rain was hammering against the walls of the outer ruins of the building the samurai were using as temporary quarters. The city in which the man holding the Demon Staff was hiding was over half in ruins, making the terrain that much more difficult to navigate for the samurai.
According to report circulated by the Captain, there had been fourteen spies already sent after this man and most of those were reported to have gotten close enough to see him. None succeeded. Each of the 14 simply vanished off the map, as their tracking devices fell off the radar one by one. Once the flashing lights of the tracker disappeared from the map, the corporation knew that spy in question had been killed.
The dusk outside the quarters provided little guidance as Hachiro and Chika walked through the long tunnel from the debriefing room to the outer doors. For Hachiro, this was a nice mission for Hachiro, as he received very little peace in his normal missions so this was like taking a nice walk in an abandoned cemetery, creepy but harmless. Chika, on the other hand, was obsessing over the mission, an obsession which was more concerning for Hachiro than the facts of the mission themselves.
Suddenly, the sound of a nearby explosion shook plaster loose from the walls of the hallway and the two samurai began to run towards the noise, lunging over and around rubble as they approached the exit to the street of the city.
Chika’s jaw dropped as he looked upwards, and Hachiro followed suit. What they saw was too stupendous to be understood. Tentacles standing nearly eight stories tall were swimming through the air, with all of them in the act of throwing people, some, like Hachiro and Chika, fellow samurai, and others seemingly mere citizens of this ruined place. As they watched, a pair of civilians met their demise as they were flung into the buildings in front of the pair of warriors.
“What the hell is that thing?” Hachiro spoke, as the rest of his body was frozen with shock.
“I don’t know, but we need to kill it.” Chika answered, as he began to move away from their quarters and towards what he thought was the source of the tentacles.
Seeing his partner move into action, Hachiro regained his composure and ran him. For a few moments, there was only silence the partners felt like they were running in slow motion, now they knew what lay ahead. Far from being pleased at the thought of an easy mission, Hachiro looked back fondly at the ease of his previous challenges. As the two men approached their quarry, they could see that the damage sustained by the city was widespread. Judging by the relative position of the tentacles, they could also see that they were getting very close to the tentacles and would need to begin formulating a plan of attack.
Instead of charging straight forward, the two sought a back alley that would lead them to the ancient plaza were they believed the Demon Staff was located and which they were positive was the origin of the murderous tentacles. Chika handed his binoculars to his partner, who then used the tool to view their fate. The man they had heard too much about from the reports was meditating in the middle of the plaza while samurai and other courageous men rushed him from all sides. A wooden staff was standing upright behind him and there were had tentacles emerging from its sides, growing wider the further away they were from their base. The tentacles ends were having no difficulties in repelling the attackers, lassoing them one by one and flinging them around the city to a quick and fearful doom.
Hachiro lowered the binoculars and sighed heavily with regret for agreeing to participate in this mission. He had been a fool to accept a mission such as this with so little thought.
Chika, with a blank expression, a mixture of fear and resoluteness, began to elaborate on his thoughts. “One of us need to distract the tentacles so the other can get in close.”
Not willing to look his partner in the eyes, Hachiro looked at the ground as he made his offer, “You get in close. You are a far greater sprinter than I.”
Chika nodded in agreement and the two sprang into action. Even though they were too far away from the man to see them and identify them clearly, the enemy stood up even as they were going over their plan. The tentacles had retreated back into the staff and he was looked directly at them. As they had been so focused on the evil power of the tentacles, the two samurai gained confidence as they ran towards what was now a single man without any conventional weaponry.
As they began to close in, the man swung the staff in front of him towards the samurai. Chika dove out of the way to his left but Hachiro was not so quick as the sound wave that emerged from the staff destroyed the ground in from of him and sent him flying backwards. Hachiro’s world was spinning but he could still see his partner continue to move in closer to the man. Once again, the man swung his staff but this time, instead of a sound wave, pure electricity flew out emerged and hit Chika with great force. Chika was instantly covered in flames and screamed in agony as he rolled on the ground trying to extinguish them.
Recovering his footing, Hachiro was now determined to avenge the injury done to his friend and partner climbed back into his run. The enemy now thrust the staff into the ground and Hachiro, still more than 20 feet away, found himself falling forward to the ground. Looking down, he was mortified to see skeletal hands grasping firmly unto his feet, keeping him rooted to his spot.
Another wave shook loose the undead fingers from his feet and threw Hachiro back into the air. His world went dark as hid head hit the ground.
Coming to, Hachiro felt a gentle push from a hand on his chest as he lay on the ground. The ringing in his ears made his head ache and the sound of his own pounding heart only made his head hurt worse. As the push grew stronger, he struggled to open his eyes. The enemy was now standing above him but even though it was clear that the man was staring at him, Hachiro could not see his eyes. Where expected eyes, there was only a blankness. The man then disappeared in a wisp of smoke as Hachiro heard footsteps pounding the ground towards him.
Looking towards the sound he saw Chika’s burnt face as his wounded partner came to a sliding halt. Chika grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him while shouting but Hachiro could not make out his partner’s words. Chika, not able to wait for confirmation from his friend, hoisted him off of the ground. Hachiro, bouncing over Chika’s armored shoulder, looked towards the middle of the plaza but he only saw a black door covered in blue flames.
The Captain frowned as he looked at Chika’s charred faced. “You two have completely failed,” he spoke with resignation more than disappointment.
Chika struggled to contain his tears in front of his commander, “We were not able to get close enough to him. We were underequipped, sir.”
“Underequipped? You two are the only survivors from that plaza and you want to say you were underequipped? I told you what would happen if you went after Muramasa Sengo’s staff, did I not?”