“Ni bu nian qing le,” declared the Ide, mockingly. “You cannot evade us forever, Souhou.”
Unmoved by Sanada’s language, Souhou stared down at his friend of 20 years. Higo had a young child, and didn’t deserve to die like this.
Sanada scoffed, tugging at his reigns to ride in front of Souhou. The young magistrate stared down at the ronin, smirking with dignity and pride. The bodies of his bounty hunters however, made it slightly more comedic.
Souhou’s eyes darted up angrily. “This was a good man.”
“In the land of peasants you may be a hero, Souhou. Get out of the barley farms, and you will find that my words have made you a murderer.” The young magistrate chuckled, “A brilliant swordsman, defeated by carrier pigeons.”
“Most children are warned to ignore wild men on horseback,” Souhou remarked. He knelt to the ground, and removed his comrade’s daisho from his saya.
“Cheh!” Sanada sneered. “In my school, Higo would be considered a dog!”
“In my school, we throw our Nodachi at young men on ponies,” Souhou replied.
The magistrate paled, backing his steed slowly in horror. He tugged at a cord from his belt and tossed a small coin purse to the ground.
“I’ll give you a month to relocate your people across the river Souhou. Only a month.”
Souhou stared at the Ide, attempting to gauge his motive.
“Relocate, and your villagers will live comfortably. Stay…” Sanada glared, “Stay, I shall see that even the Crane will know you as a king of bandits.”
Souhou watched the magistrate quickly turn to ride away. He could tell that Sanada’s task was to clear these lands, and that there was no ill will toward the villagers. The fate of his reputation however, was something he was much less hopeful for.