Kenshiro Hidori
Chapter 1A

Caution: This Time Travel Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Consensual, Romantic, Heterosexual, Fiction, Time Travel, Historical, Superhero,

Desc: Time Travel Sex Story: Chapter 1A - This story is about a young man dreaming of what would happen if he could fight in the battles of the past. Offered a place in a strange but real game he is given that chance. In this separate time how will history look on him. Will he be a hero or a man quickly forgotten?

Have you ever wondered if you were born in the wrong era? People all the time imagine what they would have been like living in the dark ages or renaissance. You see them at fairs or special events that allow them to act out the part of someone from their favorite time period. These people are easily recognizable, but what about a more select group? They are more difficult to distinguish then the first group. They are people or persons who live by a romantic ideal that causes them to feel out of place in the modern world. Kenshiro Hidori was such a person. At the age of five his parents were taken hostage during a bank robbery. In a hostage situation gone bad the hostage takers killed the young couple as an example, this happened when they found out things were not going their way. The police report said that all but one of the hostage takers were killed when the police raided the bank. The last was sent to prison only to escape before making it to trial. Both Yoshi and Kenshiro were denied the justice they had waited for after his parents' death. The criminal was never recaptured and was walking free on the streets. It was a memory that would haunt him the rest of his days.

When young Kenshiro saw the bodies of his parents lying lifeless in their open caskets tears streamed down his face. His world was left reeling; he was lost without anything to hold onto. It was like drowning in a sea of sadness with no way to get out. It was then in his most desperate hour that a comforting hand gripped his shoulder. Turning to see who it was he saw his paternal grandfather Yoshi Hidori who was his mentor in the samurai arts. His mother had encouraged the relationship hoping the two would bond and she had been right. The two Hidori males though separated by generations welcomed the other's company whenever the opportunity presented itself. Kenshiro's father Samata Hidori was a military man who had served in the U.S. Navy before ending his tour and joining Japan's defense forces. His career had been glorious and during it he had met Kenshiro's mother Mariko Yamata who had been born and raised in America and was of mixed descent. She followed her husband whenever she could to his new bases even after the birth of their son Kenshiro. Kenshiro had been born on a U.S. base in Japan his mother insisted that their son be raised in Japan for she loved the land and believed he would love it too, again she had been quite correct in her prediction of the future. Kenshiro had been given dual citizenship which gave him native born rights in both America and Japan. When he had traveled to America with his family he had always found himself wishing to return to Japan, that land was his true home.

Among his mother's family members he felt so out of place even among his Japanese-American relatives. They spoke the language but they did not practice any part of their ancestor's culture. While his mother had embraced this part of their history, they had seemed determined to fit in with the people around them discarding much of their Japanese heritage for a shared history with their neighbors. While they were polite Kenshiro still felt strange around them. Her mother's other relative were similar in that they did not share the same culture he did but they too were polite though his feeling toward them were similar as the rest. When they finally returned to Japan Kenshiro would immediately rush to his grandfather seeking something familiar to him. Now their bond in this moment of crisis lent strength to Kenshiro, strength he needed to get a handle on things.

"Cry as much as you need Kenshiro. Let your tears flow until you can shed no more. After today you will never cry again." Yoshi Hidori said. It had been his grandfather who had been asked to identify the bodies. Kenshiro was too young to perform the duty himself. Seeing his parents in those caskets was enough to deeply affect him for the rest of his life. Deep in his heart there grew hatred for criminals and those who existed outside of the law, that day the first seeds were planted. The next day his training began. Yoshi Hidori knew his grandson would begin to feel better when he had something constructive to focus on, so Yoshi Hidori taught Kenshiro everything he knew, raising his grandson in the ways of his forefathers. Kenshiro took in their values that familial duty and honor was everything to a Hidori. Kenshiro was inspired by the stories of his samurai ancestors, and by other samurai of the feudal era. Giving his all he practiced, and practiced seeking to push himself to the limit of his abilities. He studied every aspect of the martial arts the samurai employed both armed, and unarmed combat. Though his first love was the sword Kenshiro was determined to master the other weapons and aspects of his studies. When he felt he was ready he challenged the best in each of the weapons he had studied. Most were private matches with the exception of the sword. Kenshiro found that kendo could best demonstrate his skill with the sword in open competition.

Kenshiro blew through the competition easily. None of his competitors were in his league. Kenshiro had trained himself to actually do battle, while they had trained for competition. He practiced against an equal yet imaginary opponent; they practiced against opponents normally weaker than them. When the dust settled he was left with a hollow victory. He had expected to find a true challenger someone to push him even further but there was no one to be had.

Kenshiro was left wondering if he would ever find someone who could challenge him at the peak of his physical abilities. How he longed to be like the samurai of the old days like in his grandfather's stories. He knew the only way he could be truly be tested was in real combat. Combat that would mean the difference between life and death.

After two years of waiting Kenshiro believed his wishes would never come true, especially after his beloved grandfather died. Kenshiro took over their dojo in Japan training students that entered the dojo day to day. Up until a few months ago he had helped teach the students that came there. Now he would teach them alone. One fateful morning in the twenty-first year of his life a stranger entered his life that would change it beyond his imagination. While sweeping the wooden dojo floor with a broom Kenshiro heard the door swing open. Looking up he saw a man dressed in a trench coat and black hat. He was about average height and build for a Japanese man, not someone who would stick out of a crowd.

"Hello how may I help you?" Kenshiro asked. Taking off his hat the stranger said, "Greetings Kenshiro Hidori, it is actually you I have come to help. You may call me Sato. We have much to discuss you and I."

"How is it that you know my name? Are you a fan or something?" Kenshiro asked trying to understand what was going on. He began to wonder if this man had seen him in a match and was here to offer him some sponsorship as others had in the past. Smiling Sato replied, "I have observed your tournaments as well as the rest of your life. From your birth until now I have watched your progress, and have been impressed. You are an exceptional human being Kenshiro Hidori. That is why I have come."

"What are you talking about? Who are you?" Kenshiro asked. "Who I am doesn't really matter. As I said before you may call me Sato for now that is enough. May I ask you something? What would happen if you could have a chance to live the life you always wanted, to fight as your ancestors did? To know the thrill of combat and to know your destiny can be decided by your sword? Would you want a life like that or would you prefer to stay in this life? A life where you will never be able to be the hero you always wished to be. Would you live a life where you will never truly be tested, never to know whether you could actually survive if you were placed in danger upon some distant battlefield?" Sato said reaching out and inspiring Kenshiro's imagination.

"I have seen your dreams Kenshiro I know the visions of battle call to you. You can already imagine your heart thumping loudly in your chest and your breath quicken. You seek the ancient battlefields and their challenges. You yearn for adventure it is in your blood. Your grandfather's stories caused the feeling to bubble to the surface, and now you can no longer hide it. All that can be yours and more if you are willing to risk all." Sato said his voice passionate.

Kenshiro was resistant to the idea at first, but the images Sato displayed spoke to his heart. It was true he could no longer hide it. Soon he feared even training itself would lose its appeal and that would be it. Life would then sink into a great emptiness, a vast wasteland where he would waste away into nothing. He longed for one chance at glory before that moment came, to know he had succeeded where others had failed. Kenshiro wanted to leave a mark that the world would not forget and not be forgotten or ignored totally. Sato continued sensing that he had captured Kenshiro's attention, "You are a unique individual Kenshiro. Others like yourself have been invited to join a kind of competition. A game if you will, where one is transported to different times and places throughout the world. A separate time line will be created and you will be able to affect history as you travel from one time period to another."

Kenshiro had a gut level feeling that the man was not kidding or delusional, but something was missing this was too easy. "What's the catch?" Kenshiro said. Taking a more serious tone Sato said, "Every wound will be real even your death. If you die then your body will be transported back to this time, the apparent victim of a mysterious death. On the other hand anything short of a mortal wound will be healed as you pass from one life to the next. You will retain the knowledge and muscle memory from each life, even if you survive and win the game. You will start each life at the age you physically started at, and if you succeed you will be brought back to this time the same age as you are now."

This was too good to be true so Kenshiro was forced to consider if it really was. "How do I know that this is real, that you are not just a dream, or a joke?" Kenshiro asked. To this Sato answered, "When you wake up tomorrow, you will begin your first life and your journey will begin." In the blink of an eye the man disappeared without a trace. Kenshiro looked all over the dojo but could find no sign of him. Sato had known Kenshiro could not refuse that is why he had not waited for Kenshiro's verbal agreement. This man knew his dreams and wishes and that hope that they would still come true was alive in him.

Finishing his classes for the day Kenshiro went to his room at the back of the dojo, and went to sleep. When he opened his eyes he was laying on a grassy hill. Getting up Kenshiro began to wander trying to find out where he was. Exiting the woods he began to consider where he might have ended up at. All of the plant life looked oddly familiar to him. Ahead he saw a figure traveling up and down on a dirt road. At first Kenshiro could not believe it, but he could not deny what his eyes saw. Before him were peasants of Japan's feudal era. He recognized the clothing from the pictures in the books he read beginning as a child.

Kenshiro's wish had come true; already his senses took in his fresh surroundings. Moving forward he sought to join the bustling traffic on the road. A flash of light in the tree line opposite of him caused him to pause. Instinct told him something wasn't right. Searching the crowd he spotted a merchant with weapons on his cart. If this bad feeling was like others in his past he would feel more comfortable well armed. Moving forward at a normal pace so as to not tip whoever might be watching him. The merchant obviously sensed the danger as well as he kept glancing at the trees, the merchant tried to speed up but his cart was moving too slow to escape any serious pursuit. When the merchant saw Kenshiro he saw the face and build of a samurai. The look in Kenshiro's eyes and the outward calm he showed spoke volumes for the merchant. Perhaps this man could save him from the bandits that were surely eyeing them.

As Kenshiro neared him the merchant could feel the panic rising in his voice, "Save me and you will receive a rich reward and your choice of my weapons!" Itching for a fight and liking the offer Kenshiro said, "I accept, let me see your stock."

Gathering his weapons Kenshiro stuck the arrows from his quiver into the earth before him. Tossing the now empty arrow bag aside he grasped the first arrow and notched it to the bowstring. Drawing back on the bowstring he felt the tension. Sighting along the arrow he waited for the first bandit to emerge from the trees. When the first one did burst forth on horseback an arrow caught him in the chest. Kenshiro watched the first fall as he notched the second arrow as the rest of the bandits appeared at the tree line. Now the bandits charged as a group wanting to overwhelm Kenshiro. Firing a second shot he saw another fall and he was able to quickly be ready to fire again. When the third bandit fell the rest tried to weave and dodge the rest of the distance between them and him. Kenshiro still managed to kill a fourth, always aiming for the biggest part of his targets insuring a better chance at hitting them.

Tossing aside his bow Kenshiro grasped his naginata and did the last thing they expected as they closed with him by charging at them at full speed. The naginata was a staff with a sword-like blade on one end of it. It gave the user more reach while allowing them to still use the cutting edge of a sword. Roaring a battle cry Kenshiro charged aiming his naginata at the nearest rider. The horse startled at the sudden movement and shied away. Kenshiro thrust the point of his weapon at unprotected side of the bandit piercing flesh and drawing blood. The rider toppled from his horse holding his side as he died. Slapping the horse's flank with the shaft of naginata, this caused it to sprint forward sending the last two horses into a panic as they tried to get out of the way. Using the confusion to his advantage Kenshiro made a cut with the weapon for the second man wounding him with a cut to the arm as he twisted away. Fighting back the bandit used his sword to cut the blade off of Kenshiro's weapon, slicing right through the wooden shaft. The problem with this move was the end of the wooden shaft now had a point that Kenshiro used to stab the man in the throat. Coughing up blood the wounded man fell to the ground choking to death. The third bandit made his way clear of his fallen comrade's horse and moved to attack. Kenshiro seeing him threw the pointed wooden shaft at him forcing the last bandit to knock it away and slow his progress buying Kenshiro precious seconds. Reaching out he grasped the bandit's outstretched sword arm and using his body weight as he turned ripped him from the saddle. Upon hitting the ground the bandit tried to roll to his feet, but Kenshiro was not going to let him off so easy. Drawing his killing blade and short sword he attacked. Off balanced from his fall the man was only able to block the killing blade as it came in from overhead, however the short sword made it through his guard. The blade pierced his heart killing him almost instantly. Jerking the blade free Kenshiro let the man fall into a pool of his own blood.

The merchant stood rooted to his spot staring in amazement at Kenshiro. "You... killed them!" The merchant said. Glancing back at them Kenshiro replied, "Yes I suppose I did." It had not been the first time Kenshiro had killed. An unlucky meeting with a mugger caring a knife had done that. Kenshiro had killed the man with his own blade by puncturing the man's lung. He had seen the shock in the criminal's eyes and the realization that he had picked the wrong prey before he died of suffocation and blood loss. He was as calm about it then as he was about death now. In a way he found a short of justice in it. The mugger had been the only surviving criminal from the botched hostage situation, and he had died at the hands of the child of one of his victims. He had been raised to believe dieing in battle was an honorable death there was no guilt in killing an enemy so now he felt no shame in what he had done.

The merchant offered to pay Kenshiro if he would protect him until he reached the next city. Kenshiro accepted his weapons as a bonus to his payment when the job was done and sold the bandits weapons and most of the horses through the merchant. The merchant took his fair share and gave the rest to Kenshiro. Now with plenty of money Kenshiro traveled from place to place occasionally hiring himself out as a bodyguard. Kenshiro soon became rich and bought himself nice battle armor and a white horse that once belonged to a samurai who had died in battle.

After finishing one of his jobs he heard the sounds of battle and rode up to find a group of bandits attacking a group under the banner of Lord Nobunaga Oda. One hand maiden was protecting palanquin probably carrying someone important. The porters who would have carried the palanquin were cowering behind it.

Lady Fujiko Mitsuhide had been surprised by the suddenness of the onslaught like the rest of her party. The ronin appeared to come from nowhere greatly outnumbering them. In the first few moments almost half of the samurai fell to hail after hail of arrow. Now the Oda samurai had rallied after the initial chaos and they were trying to push the attackers back, but as she saw more Oda samurai fall Fujiko knew all was lost. Drawing her dagger she prepared to defend her lady in the palanquin until her last breath. Stabbing a ronin as he swung she had trouble freeing the dagger that was now lodged in him too deep. When she finally did Fujiko saw flash of light to her left and barely dodged the blade meant to take off her head. Falling to the ground she tried to roll to her feet but saw it was too late. Already the ronin was in the process of dealing the blow that would end her life. As he began to strike something halted him in mid-swing. Staring at her oddly for a moment she saw the breathing in his chest slow and his eyes dilate. With one last breath and he sunk to the ground falling on top of her an arrow stuck in his back. As she tried to pry him off Fujiko heard the sounds of panic all around her as attacker appeared from the forest. When Fujiko finally managed to free herself she saw a masked warrior in full battle armor charge into the fray. Using sword and naginata he stabbed and cut his way into the attackers' ranks forcing them to split their forces. Any who did not quickly move out of harm's way were soon missing a head or a limb. Getting the respite they needed the Oda samurai renewed their effort and were able to turn the tide. Caught between the stranger and the defenders the ronin were quickly cut down, those few who managed to flee ran for their lives into the surrounding countryside. For a moment Fujiko could not believe they had won.

One of the younger samurai, who was now the highest ranking after the death of his predecessor, spoke to the stranger asking his name. "I am merely a ronin traveling the land in search of fortune and being able to test my skill. My name makes no difference. You have lost many of your men here, so if you wish I will accompany you to the next city which I know belongs to your clan."

"You know our borders well stranger. I thank you for your assistance and readily accept your company. If we are attacked again it would be good to have you with us. Never have I seen such skill in combat or in practice." The captain said bowing to the stranger who still sat astride his horse. Fujiko remembered the look of the man as she tried to get a closer look at him. He wore a white mask travel stained with dust. His armor was well cared for as were his weapons although they had seen much use as scratches and other marks showed. The stranger was quite large for a Japanese man. He had wide shoulders and was much taller than average. His muscles were well developed and he sat with practiced ease on his horse. What she noticed the most about him were his eyes. A brown color they were now cold and calculating the previous warmth they had held as he spoke to the captain was now gone. They were definitely Japanese and were not too large or too small. He did not appear to really notice her, his eyes now scanning their surroundings for danger. Still they were handsome eyes as was what little of his face you could see through his white hooded mask.

When they reached the city just inside of the Oda clan's borders the stranger parted ways with them. Later that day Fujiko saw the man in the marketplace. Speaking to one of the merchants she asked, "Excuse me but do you know that man?" Looking at the man she pointed at the old grizzled merchant nodded replying, "That is Kenshiro. I don't know his last name. When he was a bodyguard for my son he never told it to him, however my son says he would have not had a safe journey if not for that man. Kenshiro he said took on a group of bandits all by himself killing every last one. He has done so many times I am told. All of us merchants look for him when we are traveling through dangerous parts. He is not too expensive just hard to find. He travels a lot you see that is why he can be hired for so cheap. He usually picks the merchant who is going the same way he is." Marveling at the information she had learned Fujiko left happy to at least have her rescuer's first name for now "Kenshiro"."

Kenshiro continued traveling seeking a place he could come back to from time to time. Eventually he came to a small town where he met a courtesan named Uriko. Graceful and kind she managed to capture his attention. She was Kenshiro's first love and they pillowed many times always enjoying their love making. An older woman by ten years she taught Kenshiro many things. She admired her lover's enthusiasm and stamina as well as his sense of adventure. He would often take her on horseback rides around the surrounding landscape. She enjoyed the rides and the speed and skill that he handled a horse. Kenshiro stayed with her as long as he could between jobs treasuring their time together. Uriko was pretty but did not have overtly beautiful face or body. Some might described her as plain. Kenshiro himself found her lovely. He loved her giddy smile and the sound of her voice. Like his mother Uriko was gifted in playing the flute something that had always made him happy as a child and did so now as well. He would often ask her to play for him late at night or when they sat in the shade in the countryside and he would just lie there and listen.

Uriko admired Kenshiro's sense of right and wrong and found him very attractive. While most of his features at least in the face were Japanese his body was a larger build then was average among those around him. It was more akin to the larger Dutch Barbarian with their wide shoulders. Kenshiro was very muscular and was well fit. He considered food merely to be nourishment for the body and did not gorge himself on food and drink. When not walking in a crowd instead of wearing his hair in some bun or other braided fashion, Kenshiro preferred to let his hair hang free. He had the hair cut so it normally hung just below the shoulders. He was clean shaven and had a smooth face with no blemishes that were evident. A few scars marked his body from tough scrapes but they were hidden by his clothing. Most were quite small because Kenshiro had learned to practice medicine on himself up quite well. Stitching up open wounds he learned to apply herbs that lessened the scarring and allowed the wounds to heal quicker. Generally if he felt something was useful on the battlefield he made a point to learn it.

Making a name for himself Kenshiro hired other bodyguards from ronin he found. In Japan ronin were master less samurai who often wandered the countryside seeking employment from a daimyo preferably. The other two choices were becoming a monk or a bandit like the bandits who attacked Kenshiro. For most part samurai thought the idea of becoming a ronin was shameful. As a ronin you had not only outlived the master you swore to defend but also faced a life of starvation and possibly begging, while trying to make a new life for yourself. Kenshiro himself was a different kind of ronin, a very unusual one. Though born of a samurai family he had never served a daimyo nor wanted to at this point. Kenshiro offered the ronin he chose another life not unlike the one they lost. These ronin were happy to be employed particularly Natsumo. When Kenshiro had found him the man was a drunkard falling down and reeking of sake; an alcoholic beverage made from rice. Kenshiro had offered him a second chance to serve someone again. Natsumo cleaned himself up and soon became Kenshiro's second in command. As he became more well-known Kenshiro rode with a white cloth mask with the eyes cut out. Some Buddhist monks wore a similar design. Generally recognized in it he took it off some times when he went into town. Kenshiro wore the mask so he would not be recognized all the time. Despite this precaution Kenshiro could not escape his name. Success had brought troubles that he had not even imagined or knew about until he met a familiar individual appeared in his wanderings. While camped one night a traveling monk came upon them just off the road. Though not a religious man Kenshiro always respected monks and other men of faith as his mother had taught him. "Come warm yourself by the fire and share in our food. We have plenty good monk. Here sit by me if you like." Kenshiro said with a warm smile. The monk's face was hidden by a large straw hat and he leaned on an old staff. Bowing the monk said, "I thank you for your kindness but I am on an errand. I seek a man named Kenshiro. I have a private message for him."

"I am Kenshiro." Kenshiro said. Motioning for the monk to follow he led him away so they could talk privately. "What is your message sir?" Kenshiro asked. Lifting away the hat and revealing himself Sato said, "The message is a warning my friend. I have come to tell you all this fame you have earned has a price."

"What price?" Kenshiro asked surprised to see Sato here especially dressed like this. "Daimyos across Japan are already talking about you. Two clans in particular will seek you out. A time of great trouble is coming to you. You must decide your path now for it will be the difference between life and death." Sato replied. "What of Uriko? Does this time of trouble include her? Will she be in danger?" Kenshiro asked.

"If you chose the wrong path perhaps she will. I cannot tell you more. I am sorry Kenshiro I am bending the rules by telling you this much." Sato said it was evident from his face that he was truly conflicted. "Why couldn't you tell me?" Kenshiro asked. With a solemn face Sato answered, "I am your guide throughout each of these lives. I am only suppose to warn you about danger if you truly need it or ask for it, but I cannot give specifics. What's more I also am not supposed to speak of the destiny of those around you, for it may affect how you react. The rules are in place so we do not cheat and save you when you could not save yourself. By hinting at danger we remove most of that possibility, because you have to decide what to do with the information." Thanking Sato for the warning Kenshiro's thoughts turned inward. He would not bow down to any daimyo that did not deserve it even if it meant his death. If it came down to it he would make his last moments something to be remembered. They would talk of his fall throughout the ages, but while he could face his own death with courage he had one weakness: Uriko. To him her life meant more than his own. He could not ask her to risk her life as he would. She was a simple woman who would have married him even if they were both peasants, but he was now a warrior in their culture which made him different. It was time he took his place among the other fighting men. He would show these samurai what he was made. His goal set he now turned to the unhappy consequence of his decision.

Returning to the town of his beloved Uriko he headed to her employer and bought her contract. Next he bought her a good house where she could live in. It was a fine house and was large enough for any of her needs. Finishing his preparations he went to be with Uriko one more night. Entering her room she greeted him unaware of what was happening. Kenshiro had noticed she had grown plumper since they last met but he did not care. She was still as attractive in his eyes. They pillowed one last time. Kenshiro gave her his full attention cherishing every moment. The following morning as she slept, he left her a letter detailing much of what had transpired leaving out only details she would not understand. Kissing her lips one last time he left mounting his horse and riding off.

Uriko awoke moments later and read the letter which said, "My love,

I cannot explain all that has happened to me for you would not understand. Instead I will tell you what happened when traveling home to you this last time. I met a familiar seer who has been my guide in this life. He spoke of a time where you could suffer from any mistake I might make in judgment and perhaps even die as a result. You are worth too much to me to allow that to happen, so I must go. I have bought your contract, it is lying folded in this envelope. I have also bought you a house where you can live comfortably. Once there you will find money stashed in cabinets and beneath the bed. It is all I have left. Take it and be happy. Find a man worthy of you love for I am not him farewell.


Kenshiro Hidori.

Including his last name in the letter Kenshiro showed a measure of trust for he had told no one but his men his last name before her. Now she was one of the few who knew the name of his family. Afraid of losing him Uriko rushed into the street wearing her sleeping kimono. Looking this way and that she searched for her Kenshiro, but he was gone forever. Tears filling her eyes she gripped the letter to her chest, the other hand strayed to her belly as if to comfort herself.

Continuing his bodyguard jobs Kenshiro and his retainers made their way toward the territory of the Uesugi clan. Taking notice that the man he had long sought after was now close to his border Lord Kenshin Uesugi sent an emissary to meet him. The emissary brought them to the Daimyo who wanted to meet them in person. "I have heard much of your exploits Kenshiro. Many times I sent men to bring you here but they always missed you as you headed out on another job. It is good to finally meet you in person. May I ask for your family name so that I might keep a proper record?" Lord Uesugi asked indicating a scribe who would take down the notation.

Bowing low as he knelt so his face nearly touched the floor Kenshiro said, "Most honorable lord I must beseech you not to ask my family's name. I have kept it secret so that if I make enemies in my travels or performing my duties they will not suffer." Moved by Kenshiro's words Lord Uesugi said, "Then I will not ask it. Your loyalty to your family is honorable. I have long searched for such a man to serve as one of my vassals. A man of honor and commitment, the fact you have great skill as well is a welcome addition. Rise Kenshiro and take your place as one of my Hatamoto."

In ancient Japan the Hatamoto was one of the Daimyo's bodyguards. It was a highly honorable position for a samurai to be given for they would protect their lord himself giving their lives for him. For someone new to the clan to be given such a position was unheard of. Kneeling Kenshiro bowed low again saying, "As I am now your servant may I humbly ask a favor? My men are good retainers and would serve you well. Natsumo himself would serve you even better as another of your Hatamoto. To ease any concerns you may have you are of course welcome to test him. I am sure you will find Natsumo up to the task."

Taking Kenshiro's advice Lord Uesugi tested him. The first test Kenshiro suggested should be two archers firing without distraction, the second with a distraction, and the third close quarters combat. Lord Uesugi was surprised with the last two tests and the fact that neither combatant should know about them. "They need only know about the first. The last two should be left as a surprise, for a warrior is not always prepared for what happens in combat. They will be provided with their ideal weapons when the time comes for close combat. As for firing at the targets they should use their own bows so that they will be comfortable." Kenshiro said.

When the time came the two archers lined up Natsumo the challenger on the right and the defending champion on the left. At the signal the two men took aim and fired. The difference could be seen in how they fired. The one on the left took his time and fired hitting the bull's eye. Natsumo drew back in the space of a few seconds and fired hitting dead center. All who saw it were impressed and the skill of both archers. Now Kenshiro put them to the test. Telling both men to prepare to fire at his signal Kenshiro waited a moment. With the drop of his hand two samurai burst forth at full speed from behind two trees just outside both targets each one moved against one archer. The attackers closed the distance quickly yelling a battle cry at the top of their lungs. While the archer left had trouble focusing hitting the outside of the target, Natsumo fired just as he had before hitting dead center. The samurai on the left quickly dodged while Natsumo trained by Kenshiro himself in unarmed combat grasped the attacker's sword arm and with a twist of his hips threw him. Lord Uesugi was already impressed with Natsumo and wanted to hire him right there, but Kenshiro said, "Please be patient my lord there is still the last test."

For the final test the two men were handed their weapons. Natsumo received a wooden Naginata, and the other man received a wooden sword. The two squared off circling each other. Using his weapon's full range Natsumo began attacking his opponent with stabbing thrusts trying to put him on edge. Time and time again the other man tried to get inside his guard only to be rebuffed. The last time he tried Natsumo delivered a hammering blow to his gut knocking the wind out of him. Backing away while bent over the man attempted to regain his breath, but Natsumo wouldn't let him. With a cracking blow Natsumo struck the man's left leg using shaft of his weapon. Limping as he was the man was at his mercy as blows rained down on him. Eventually Natsumo stabbed through his guard delivering what would have been a death blow, if the blade had not been blunted.

"Why did you insist on the third test I would have taken him anyway?" Lord Uesugi asked. Kenshiro simply replied, "We agreed on three tests my lord, and three tests we were going to have." Laughing Lord Uesugi clapped him on the back. The relationship between the two men grew as time went on. Lord Uesugi came to think of Kenshiro as a member of his family. Kenshiro was given the name Uesugi for his family name and was accepted as a member of his master's household. Kenshiro protected his master zealously any who failed to take their guard duty seriously were quickly punished. When Lord Takeda died Lord Uesugi believed that he was invincible and destined to rule. Kenshiro knowing that no man was truly safe tried to convince his lord otherwise, however it was no use. Lord Uesugi would reply to Kenshiro's concerns with, "You are the finest samurai in all of Japan Kenshiro with you at my side how can I fail?" To put emphasis to this belief, Lord Uesugi made Kenshiro a general in his army giving him Natsumo as his second in command. Kenshiro did not like this idea one bit for he constantly worried about his master's safety. Quietly he would check on Lord Uesugi's guards as much as he could while still performing his assigned duties. Learning under Lord Uesugi's tutelage Kenshiro's skill as a general increased steadily. Lord Uesugi gave him the best teachers when he himself was unable to instruct his adopted son. Kenshiro studied hard seeking to prove he was worthy of his master's trust.

One night Kenshiro awoke as he sometimes did to check on his master's guards. Approaching Lord Uesugi door he noticed a samurai sleeping. Kenshiro made a note of the guards failing intending to deal with it later. Walking past him Kenshiro opened the door to see if anything was wrong drawing his sword. Being a former Hatamoto Kenshiro was still allowed to carry his killing blade in his Daimyo's presence. As the door cracked light from lanterns in the hall spilled in illuminating his master's still form. Blood barely noticeable in this dim light could be seen pooled next to his master's chest. His instincts now awakened from the dullness and inactivity told him another person was in this room. No sound could be heard and nothing could be seen in the darkness. For Kenshiro this meant only one thing: ninja. Ninja were well known specialists who operated in secret. They could sneak into almost any fortification or camp gathering intelligence, performing assassination, or arson. They were among a samurai's worst enemies because unlike the samurai they did not follow a strict code of honor. A ninja was loyal only to their clan and jonin the leader of their clan. Any ninja that might be captured chose death rather than reveal any information under torture. Masters of the craft of invisibility most of the time you never even knew they were there. Kenshiro's only warning was his proximity sense. He felt someone was there while his other senses told him nothing. He had developed it not only to assist his attacks in combat, but also more specifically for an unseen opponent. Now Kenshiro had to locate the man without venturing too close. A ninja could kill someone without even needing to use a weapon. If Kenshiro walked a little too close to his enemy the ninja would take advantage and attack, so Kenshiro waited. Time was on his side if the assassin waited too long others would find the unconscious guard and the cracked door. Like him they would want to ensure everything was alright and venture in. Then the ninja would have more than one enemy to deal with. After waiting for what seemed like hours the ninja grew impatient and moved for the window. Kenshiro seeing his movement out of the corner of his eyes quickly turned and launched an attack. The ninja put on the defensive backed away fending off the blow. Kenshiro saw him begin to reach for the inside of his uniform and knew what he was trying to do. Inside was likely some kind of projectile weapon meant to make quick work of the ninja's enemies. Kenshiro knew that if he did not force that hand away from its intended goal the ninja would kill him and escape.

Throwing himself into a furious onslaught he forced the ninja to put both hands on his sword to block. In a narrow hallway the ninja's shorter sword would have had a definite advantage, but here in the Daimyo's room Kenshiro had plenty of room to use his own blade. Stabbing and cutting he tired out his opponent watching for a fatal mistake. As the ninja a smaller man grew exhausted he did not draw his sword back quickly after he counter-attacked. When he did this one time to many Kenshiro aimed for the exposed arm and cut into the muscle right underneath the armpit. Backing away the ninja tried to put distance between the two of them as he switched to his other hand. Changing tactics Kenshiro no longer tried to find holes in his enemy's guard, but instead tried to smash through it. Tired as he was and using his non-dominant arm the ninja was soon bruised and battered. Refusing to yield the ninja attempted a desperate attack while trying to escape. Blocking the blow with his killing blade in one hand Kenshiro drew his short sword and stabbed the ninja in the chest. An upward jerk of his wrist caused Kenshiro's enemy to convulse dropping his weapon. Ripping his short sword free he watched blood spray as the ninja fell dead. Wiping the blood on both blades on the ninja's clothes he sheathed his short sword, leaving his killing sword drawn.

Switching it to his other hand he stopped stepping outside he used his free hand to grab the guard's spear. Walking into the room again as if to take a last glance he stabbed upward and twisted. Blood dripped down spilling on his hand as he jerked the blade free. Stepping aside he let the last ninja fall to the floor underneath the doorway. Calling the alarm he awakened the rest of the castle. Men were sent this way and that searching for more ninja. Kenshiro doubted they would have any. The first had been meant for Lord Uesugi the second for him. He knew this already after looking at his room. Kenshiro had left his bed in such a state that it looked like someone was still in it. The ninja not realizing he was gone had stabbed rights into the covers meaning to kill him. Kenshiro might have been dead if he had not been so sexually promiscuous. He had a habit of sleeping with many of the single young women of the castle. Tonight he had found one of the nurses for his lord's children particularly attractive. She was young and lacked experience, but he had still enjoyed the pillowing. He had left her sleeping contently in her room before coming here. Had he been in his own room the second ninja might have found Kenshiro sleeping soundly, and been able to kill him. He must have been surprised to see his target walk right into the room of Lord Uesugi and kill his comrade. Then at that point he probably believed escape was the best option and waited for Kenshiro to leave. That plan had obviously been cut short. When all the guards were assembled the next morning Kenshiro called the guard who had been sleeping forward. Without a word he lopped off the man's head in a blur of movement and let the body fall to the earth. When all eyes looked to him Kenshiro said, "This man failed in his duty and as a result our master was murdered in his sleep. Feed his body to the crows as a warning to all others who would forget their duties as well."

Deciding that without his lord Kenshin Uesugi the Uesugi clan would fall without help, Kenshiro put himself in charge since his master had adopted him and named Kenshiro as his successor. Kenshiro still kept the Uesugi name hoping to prevent any reprisals to his family in this time period. Ordering his generals to mobilize his main army Kenshiro took a smaller force including his former ronin retainers, and set out for the territory of the Takeda clan.

Lord Takeda after the death of his father had experienced defeat at the hands of Nobunaga Oda and his guns. He was now trying to repair the damage to his army after to returning to the safety of home. Guards at the gate watched traffic enter and exit the city. Lord Takeda was welcoming ronin to join and replenish his failing army, so when an average sized group of ronin walked through the castle gate it did not raise an alarm. No ronin would jeopardize the chance to be hired to attack a castle, and why would they? For it would surely mean death. That was why it was such a surprise when this group actually did. The leader drawing his sword went for one of the nearest guards cutting him down before the man knew what was happening. The rest of the group barred the gate preventing any possible reinforcements from entering the castle unhindered.

When the Takeda samurai inside the castle tried to counterattack other ronin who had come supposedly to be hired attacked them. Now the defenders were fighting an enemy that was surrounding them. Without reinforcements to aid them they were quickly overwhelmed by superior numbers. The leader himself made his way into the living quarters of the daimyo killing all who barred his way. Dodging a strike from one last defender as he entered the residence he gutted the man leaving him to die on the steps. The resident lord's hatamoto were trying to cutoff ronin who had managed to breach the residence in another area. Kenshiro now had easy access to Lord Takeda.

Entering the daimyo's personal quarters Kenshiro found him kneeling on the floor in a white kimono. Before him a knife lay on a simple piece of white silk on the polished wooden floor. Lord Takeda facing possible defeat and capture was preparing to commit seppuku. Seppuku was a ritualized form of suicide where a samurai in this case used his own death to deny his enemy a final humiliation should he be captured. As he knelt there after composing his death poem he looked up to see Kenshiro. "Who are you?" Lord Takeda asked calmly. Kenshiro admired the man's courage and control over his emotions. Not only was he facing a painful death by suicide if Kenshiro had not come along, but now Kenshiro could stop it and possibly capture him before he killed himself.

Bowing at the waist Kenshiro replied, "I am Kenshiro Uesugi adopted son of my late Lord Kenshin Uesugi the rival of your honorable father." Nodding to show he understood he bowed in return, and then the man contemplated his situation. "Have you come to capture me?" Lord Takeda asked. Speaking honestly Kenshiro said, "Before this I had hoped to." Looking around he realized there was no one to aid his enemy in this final act. His respect for Lord Takeda rose still further. Seppuku was considered honorable because it was a very painful procedure showing a samurai's commitment and control over himself. Taking a knife or sword if one was unavailable a samurai would wrap it in a cloth. Taking the blade he would then pierce the abdomen and slowly cut a square in his stomach finally removing the blade and stabbing inward again. If at anytime the pain grew too much and the samurai might lose control and shame themselves a second man standing near him would cut off his head with a sword. This was how male samurai committed seppuku. Female samurai took a knife wrapped in a cloth and stabbed themselves in the throat. Like the male samurai they also had a second to assist them.

Lord Takeda was risking great shame in having no second. Kneeling Kenshiro bowed again saying, "I ask humbly that would give me the honor of being your second." Lord Takeda could barely hold back the relief and appreciation he felt towards his enemy. "I thank you for your kindness and would be honored if you would assist me." Lord Takeda said bowing. Returning the bow Kenshiro rose and took a stance with his sword upraised waiting to Takeda's right. Wrapping the knife neatly in the cloth to catch his blood Lord Takeda placed the point of the blade on his stomach. Taking a moment to steady himself he pierced his stomach with one sharp stab. Taking a deep breath he began to cut a square first cutting to his right then downward. When he had finally finished cutting a final square he pierced inward before his strength failed him. Seeing this Kenshiro struck quickly ending his pain. Bowing humbly to the body of his fallen foe Kenshiro honored him. He considered himself blessed to witness such amazing ability. Kenshiro had read that most men failed in the first cut, but Lord Takeda had managed to complete the entire process before his end. Kenshiro could only hope that if his time came he could do so well. When the other's of his group joined him he had the head wrapped, and sent it to the man's family along with the body. To all who had assembled around him Kenshiro said, "For the courage Lord Takeda showed today his family shall be spared, but they will no longer rule these lands. As long they do not raise arms against me or those of my line I will protect insuring their line remains for all time. What a loss it would be for such a family to be destroyed."

Only a few Takeda took their lives the rest lived under the protection of their new ruler and were well taken care of just as Kenshiro had promised. The Takeda army was melded into Kenshiro's bolstering his still further. Learning from the late Lord Takeda's mistakes against Lord Oda Kenshiro decided he needed a more modern army to further aid in his conquests.

Two European powers were willing to provide the arms he needed: the Portuguese and the Dutch. Contacting both Kenshiro had them appear before him on the same day purposely lodging them next to each other. He was determined to use any advantage that might present itself.

Calling in the Portuguese trader in first the captain was accompanied by a Jesuit priest. The Jesuits had been accepted as interpreters between the Japanese and Portuguese. This was not the first time that Father Perez and Kenshiro had met. Over time they had developed a cordial relationship that Lord Uesugi had insisted on. He knew that as long as the Japanese depended on the Europeans for trade making friends with the Jesuits would only help them.

"Kirei na Kyo Pere-san" (It is a beautiful today Perez.), Kenshiro said. Kenshiro could not say Perez's name in Japanese so he called him Pere-san. Father Perez took no insult at this accepting it as a sort of a nickname. The fact that Kenshiro also used the word san was honorable distinction that showed respect. Generally only samurai and those of high standing were referred to in this manner. For anyone else to be given this title was rare indeed. "Hai Kenshiro-sama" (Yes Kenshiro.) Father Perez replied. Sama usually described someone of higher position; san was a word used more for equals or someone of lower rank as a form of respect. "Ogenki dess ka" (How are you?) Kenshiro asked. "Genki dess, arigato anata wa?" (I am fine thank you and how are you?) Father Perez said. "Genki dess." (I am fine.) Kenshiro replied.

The Portuguese captain growing impatient spoke to Father Perez in Spanish telling him to get on with it. He cared nothing for what he considered unnecessary pleasantries. While Kenshiro might not have understood every word he did notice the tone and the outrage in Father Perez's face along with his embarrassment. Bowing to show his sincerity Father Perez apologized saying, " Shitsurei shi mass Kenshiro-sama. Watashi wa nai oshieru Kyaputen-san fusanwashii reigi." (Excuse me, Kenshiro. I did not teach the captain the proper polite behavior.) While annoyed Kenshiro said, "Watashi no tomadachi anata wa de nai kashitsu. Kare wa baka. Kare wa beki aru gakushiki yutaka na fusawashii reigi no ue de kare no mono jishin no." (My friend you are not at fault, he is the stupid person. He should have learned the proper polite behavior on his own) Glancing disdainfully at the captain Kenshiro said, "Kare wa yuiitsu no shomei kare suru nai nizokusuru Naipon. Kare wa soshite subete gaikokujin beki kyoka Naipon." (He only proves that he does not belong in Japan. He and all foreigners should leave Japan.) Trying to settle Kenshiro and his flaring temper Father Perez said, "Anata was aru okii nintai." (You have great patience.)

Motioning for the Dutch trader to be brought in he waited patiently. When the Dutch man entered he was decidedly cleaner having recently taken a bath. This helped him already get on Kenshiro's good side. "Do you speak English?" Kenshiro asked in that language. Surprised but happy to be able to speak to Kenshiro directly the Dutchman said, "Yes I can noble lord."

"Good I grow tired of talking to these arrogant Portuguese traders this one has annoyed me." Kenshiro said again glancing at the man. "I hope I never offend your lordship." The Dutchman said. Smiling Kenshiro said, "I doubt that. It seems you are already accepting our ways. This is good these other Europeans smell. You also know how to speak with the proper manners. I believe that I would like to trade with your country. Your weapons are superior to the Portuguese. When we are finished here you may consider me for an order of your guns. I will see if I can buy a cheaper version from them as well."

Seeing a chance to end the Portuguese gun trade in Japan the Dutchman said, "Forgive me for my impertinence sire. If you would like we could provide you with experts to make the guns yourself. It would take time but until then we could provide you with a ready supply." Showing his pleasure Kenshiro said, "Excellent send as many as you can and I will make it worth your while. Now please wait while I talk to this rude man. " Bowing the Dutchman sitting where Kenshiro indicted in Japanese style, he waited doing as he was told.

"Watashi wa osoraku erabu orandajin ni shogyo to issho ni." (Maybe I should choose the Dutch to trade with.) Kenshiro suggested to Father Perez. Seeing a shadow pass over Father Perez's face Kenshiro watched as he translated. Panic showed on the Portuguese captain's face. The two man argued until Father Perez silenced the captain turning back to Kenshiro Father Perez said, "Onegai shimasu Kenshiro-sama sore ishi nai imasu hisuyo. Watashi wa tashika na kyoputen-san ga hoshi shogyo. Anata wan nan no ga hoshi?" (Please that will not be necessary. I am sure the captain desires to trade. What do you desire?)

"Ga hoshi yasui teppo. Orandijin uru motto ii teppo anata wa moshide motto ii nedan wakaru?" (I desire inexpensive guns. The Dutch sell better guns, you offer me better price understand?) Kenshiro replied. Nodding Father Perez said, "Hai Kenshiro-sama." (Yes, Kenshiro.)

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