Piercing the Heart with a Blade
Narration: Apparently I seldom cried as a child, though it was my drunken father who told me this.
Narration: It's normal for a baby to cry for its mother...
Narration: But apparently I spent my days looking up at the sky with my mouth agape.
Narration: My father was a teacher. He taught others the basics of the shinobi, its philosophy and logic.
Narration: But that wasn't enough. Not nearly enough.
Narration: As long as one's memory is fresh, passing the teachings through oral instruction is the most accurate method. But as life goes on and one's memory begins to fade, that method becomes less reliable.
Narration: At that point, recording teachings in text is the best method, but its accuracy is then questioned.
Narration: In order to perfect the ninjutsu that Fuuma created, oral instruction and a clear mental acuity so one neither forgets nor is forgotten are best.
Danzo: So you're the fifth leader of the clan.
Narration: I shake my head in denial. As long as the fourth leader still lives, I am not the fifth leader.
Danzo: Incorrect. You will soon be the fifth leader. And the shinobi techniques that I have been entrusted with must be passed along to you in order for you to become what you are destined to be.
Danzo: Everything...I shall teach you and pass down everything. Now please...give me your hand.
Narration: And from then on, until I grew to adulthood, I called her Mother.
Narration: Every time I called her that, she would tilt her head as if confused. But in my mind, anyone who teaches somebody something is to be considered a parent.
Narration: That's why I thought I should call her Mother.
Narration: The age of the shinobi was coming to an end. The Houjou clan perished, and the nation was being unified.
Narration: The Fuuma clan was convinced that their end was near. The Fuuma as ninjas, at the least, would end here.
Danzo: Yes, that's what the times have become.
Narration: It's a shame for the Fuuma clan to perish. But there are still ways to survive.
Narration: Even if it meant taking on the guise of a burglar or a thief in order to keep the Fuuma clan alive...
Narration: But should that happen...what would happen to you?
Danzo: Do not worry yourself over that. I can no longer move anyway.
Danzo: For five generations, I have been watching over the Fuuma.
Danzo: My operational period is long since passed, and I can no longer recall the faces of the previous leaders.
Danzo: The techniques of the shinobi...even throwing a shuriken...all gone from my memory.
Danzo: The only thing that remains within me is...your face.
Danzo: That's why, I ask that you do the role of my kaishaku, to behead me, in one sweep. I am asking you, personally, to do this for me.
Danzo: And by doing so, I can declare you to be my greatest accomplishment and masterpiece of the Fuuma clan.
Danzo: The strongest...the last...the best ninja.
Narration: ...My memory is a bit hazy. There's no way I could remember everything in my past life.
Narration: Ah...but what did I do right after that?
Mash: Master. We have failed to summon Katou Danzo.
Fujimaru 1: ...Okay.
Mash: According to our staff's analysis, it appears there was an error in the summoning path.
Mash: We don't understand the cause of the error.
Holmes: Yes. And that's why [♂ Mister /♀️ Miss} Fujimaru...you will be heading over to the...“other” Japan.
Holmes: Based on what I heard about the dream you had...
Holmes: If an error occurred in summoning Katou Danzo, its source likely lies in this dreamed-of Japan.
Holmes: You will need to settle the matter there.
Holmes: That woman you fought is the worst. I'm sure she has no intention of becoming a Servant here.
Holmes: But that one planted some seeds and left them behind. Think of this as one of them sprouting.
Holmes: And it has, in turn, caused this error.
Fujimaru 1: But I thought...
Fujimaru 2: Wait, I thought we couldn't go back?
Holmes: Precisely. And that's why you should head over there in its proper time.
Holmes: In that timeline, she's there. So go save her.
Holmes: And do you know which Servant should accompany you?
Fujimaru 1: Yes.
Holmes: I've already asked Miss Da Vinci to prepare a Rayshift. Now go and settle this once and for all.
Fujimaru 2: I'll go call him.
Holmes: Yes, do so. It's about time for him to settle matters.
Fuuma Kotarou: ...Going to that...proper age of that time?
Fuuma Kotarou: ...I see. Then yes, it makes sense for me to accompany you.
Fuuma Kotarou: Not just as a Servant, but as Fuuma Kotarou...
Fuuma Kotarou: I will happily accompany you, my Master.
Fuuma Kotarou: But first, I will need to prepare.
Fujimaru 1: Prepare?
Fuuma Kotarou: Yes. With this Spirit Origin form, I'm a little concerned about my defenses.
Fuuma Kotarou: ...Nin!
E：Fuuma Kotarou: Spirit Origin, released. Now I can fight with my full power.
Fujimaru 1: That was ninpou...
Fujimaru 2: That was ninjutsu...
E：Fuuma Kotarou: It's very similar to magecraft.
E：Fuuma Kotarou: Now let's head out. To that time period...to the village of the Fuuma...
Narration: The Fuuma flourished for five generations, and those who learned the Fuuma technique numbered well over one hundred. But in my opinion...
Narration: The one who reached the Fuuma's true ideal was its fifth leader. And only him.
Narration: He, in whose veins runs the blood of an outsider, and the blood of the oni, made manifest through magecraft.
Narration: His blood was mixed, and he himself had incredible latent ability.
Narration: Naturally talented...is perhaps the best way to describe him. That innate talent was what the first Lord Fuuma strove to have; to be a ninja exactly like him.
Narration: But there was one thing that god did not grant him.
Narration: It was the desire for praise. The drive to get to the top, even if it meant sabotaging others, just did not exist within him.
Narration: Had he possessed such characteristic, no doubt he would have been quietly by the bedside of the general who unified the nation.
Narration: As a result, the Fuuma clan was on the verge of extinction. Or rather...
Narration: The Fuuma clan's goal had likely been accomplished the moment the fifth Fuuma Kotarou was born.
Narration: The greatest shinobi, who, though human, brought the power of the oni with him.
Narration: Perhaps that was the first leader's–and Kashin Koji's–aim.
Narration: No... I am only a puppet. Such things are not my concern.
Narration: ...I digress.
Narration: Some memory or record of mine was just wiped.
Narration: I had no purpose in living...no purpose in dying.
Narration: Ah...so then why am I here? Why do I stay here? Why am I bound here?
Narration: Even though there is something I need to do...
Mash: ...Yes. We're detecting a strong magical energy response...
Fujimaru 1: It'll be all right.
Fuuma Kotarou: I'm fine, Lady Mash.
Fuuma Kotarou: No matter who she is, or what she is, our objective is the same.
Fuuma Kotarou: And I must be the one to complete this task.
Fuuma Kotarou: Not as a Servant or as an Assassin, but as Fuuma Kotarou, fifth leader of the Fuuma Clan.
Fuuma Kotarou: This is my burden to bear.
Fuuma Kotarou: Master, I am so sorry for dragging you into this!
Fuuma Kotarou: Underlings are approaching. I will eradicate them. Please stand watch, Master!
Narration: I don't remember... I don't remember whether I beheaded her as she asked or not.
Narration: I believe I would have been able to do it, but I regret that I could not.
Narration: Both sentiments are there, giving me pain.
Danzo: I could never get used to being called Mother.
Danzo: Whenever I was called that, something inside me squeaked, so I...oiled it.
Danzo: I thought that, over time, being addressed that way would become second nature to me.
Danzo: Mother. Did I ever do anything to deserve that title?
Danzo: The only thing I did was continue to teach the techniques of the shinobi to each generation.
Danzo: Faster than yesterday, higher than yesterday, smarter than yesterday, stronger than yesterday.
Danzo: I was merely a being, a puppet, meant to make him that way. Ever since my own operational period ended, that was what I decided.
Danzo: I have no right to be called a mother.
B：???: No, you're wrong.
B：???: It was fine. That was enough.
B：???: We only had one objective. To complete the Fuuma clan.
B：???: So please do not belittle that fact. You did everything in your power.
B：???: And especially...whenever I perfected a technique, you always said to me:
Danzo: Yes, excellent work, Lord Kotarou.
B：???: Those words alone were the greatest reward for me. That was all that I needed.
B：???: They held such strong sentiment. Even if it was as minute as a dew drop, that was enough. No, I didn't need anything more.
B：???: Had I been fulfilled, I wouldn't have become complete. Being hungry for the smallest of sentiment was enough.
Danzo: That's right. So, please...do not try to satisfy my needs.
Danzo: Your very existence is what fulfills me. Such sentiment is usually unnecessary to a shinobi.
Danzo: Oh, but...perhaps I had already...
Danzo: ...served my purpose. And now that I'm not needed anymore, I am merely junk.
Danzo: Perhaps that's why I find something so simple so fulfilling.
Fuuma Kotarou: We're almost at the village of the Fuuma.
Fuuma Kotarou: This era was somewhat peaceful, but it was quite tumultuous for me personally.
Fuuma Kotarou: Our days were not calm, and our fates unclear.
Fuuma Kotarou: We fought, we killed, we pillaged... We fought, we were killed, we were pillaged...
Fuuma Kotarou: Despite our actions, we were all desperate to find our destiny.
Fuuma Kotarou: As we were searching for some shining place without light, we mindlessly practiced our techniques.
Fujimaru 1: Did you ever regret it?
Fuuma Kotarou: No. Absolutely not. I never had a single ounce of regret.
Fuuma Kotarou: Just like you, Master. I have never felt regret.
Fujimaru 2: Nothing came of that?
Fuuma Kotarou: ...Yes. You're absolutely right. Nothing at all came about from our efforts.
Fuuma Kotarou: In extreme terms, the name Fuuma left a mark in history.
Fuuma Kotarou: ...We've taken a bit of a detour it seems.
Fuuma Kotarou: Were she here, she would be somewhere dark, where no light could reach.
Fuuma Kotarou: She did not like the sun, because she always believed that it mocked and ridiculed her.
Fuuma Kotarou: ...But I never thought so. She was a beautiful combat doll, and she was the one person I opened up to.
Mash: Master, Kotarou...I'm getting an intense response.
Mash: I've scanned the topography. There seems to be a cave five hundred meters ahead.
Mash: She's likely there.
Fuuma Kotarou: Thank you. Then let's go, Master.
Narration: I did not like bright places. I hid that by saying it was because I was a shinobi.
Narration: A lie that even children can see through. But I didn't want to be seen.
Narration: I hated myself, more than anyone else. But without that hatred, I would not be a shinobi.
Narration: A shinobi first and foremost works from the heart. Without it, I would just be an inanimate object.
Narration: Voices... I hear voices.
Narration: Oh, human voices. Don't come in here...
Narration: Something dear to me is hidden here. Something special is sealed away.
Narration: I must protect this place, or else I would no longer be Katou Danzo...
Fuuma Kotarou: Please stand back I believe we have arrived.
???: Go away... Go away... Please. I beg of you.
Fuuma Kotarou: Mother.
???: Who...? It doesn't matter... I need to protect this place...
Fuuma Kotarou: No, you do not. You must leave this grave to time now.
Fuuma Kotarou: A shinobi is destined to disappear like dust. But...
Fuuma Kotarou: Her lingering thoughts must have been used and manipulated by an abominable entity...
Fujimaru 1: Can you stop it?
Fujimaru 2: Can you fight her?
Fuuma Kotarou: Of course. This is why I came along.
???: Who...are you...?
Fuuma Kotarou: I will answer once I've destroyed you! Engaging!
Fuuma Kotarou: Yah! Die!
Mash: All enemy signals have disappeared. Good work, Master.
Mash: I will make preparations for your return. Please wait.
Fuuma Kotarou: No. There's one thing that needs to be done. Let's keep going, Master.
Fujimaru 1: ...Okay. Let's go.
Fuuma Kotarou: ...I am the fifth leader, Fuuma Kotarou.
Danzo: ...That name...oh...are you...really...the fifth leader?
Fuuma Kotarou: Do you remember me?
Danzo: But...Fuuma...is here... It's right...here...
Fuuma Kotarou: This must be the grave. Our grave. The Fuuma clan's...
Fuuma Kotarou: Those who were left to die in the elements...those who have gone missing...those who were abandoned...or those who simply died...
Fuuma Kotarou: It's the unknown and unmarked grave of us as ninja. Your task was to protect this place and to raise the next generation.
Danzo: Yes...that's why...I must...raise the next...Fuuma...
Danzo: That is my duty. The purpose of my existence.
Fuuma Kotarou: There's no need for that anymore.
Fuuma Kotarou: Katou Danzo. In the name of the fifth leader, I hereby relieve you of your duty.
Danzo: I...refuse... There is no proof...that you are the fifth leader...
Danzo: His face, his voice, and even his scent...all gone from my...memories... The truth...I no longer have...
Fuuma Kotarou: Then touch me, Katou Danzo.
Fuuma Kotarou: This flesh of mine has been shaped by the Fuuma. Should you touch me, you will understand.
Danzo: Fuuma...Fuuma Kotarou... My...their...coveted completed form...
Danzo: ...Then the final swing of a sword... If you are truly the real Fuuma Kotarou...you know what to do...
Fuuma Kotarou: Of course.
Fuuma Kotarou: Kaishaku...assisting you by beheading.
Fuuma Kotarou: I, Fuuma Kotarou, shall see this task be carried out.
Fuuma Kotarou: I will see to it that the Fuuma line ends here. That this is the end of the shinobi's journey.
Fuuma Kotarou: Because that is our conviction.
Danzo: Yes...precisely... Ah...even though I cannot see...I can tell...
Danzo: The Fuuma...I have...most definitely...reached the end...
Danzo: I'm glad...even with all my memories gone...I'm glad to be able to see this conclusion...
Danzo: Thank you, fifth one...
Fuuma Kotarou: ...No. The Fuuma should be the one thanking you.
Fuuma Kotarou: Mother. Please have a pleasant journey.
Danzo: Mother... Mot...her...
Danzo: Ah, that word...brings back memories...
Fuuma Kotarou: ...
Fuuma Kotarou: Master, I know this may be pointless...
Fuuma Kotarou: But would you mind if I dig a grave?
Fujimaru 1: Want me to help?
Fuuma Kotarou: Thank you, Master. But actually, I want to do this on my own.
Fujimaru 2: Sure.
Fuuma Kotarou: Thank you. Then...if you would give me a moment.
Fuuma Kotarou: No grave marker, no posthumous name. Just numerous unnamed shinobi.
Fuuma Kotarou: But at the same time, that is something to be proud of. That's what it means to be one of us.
Fuuma Kotarou: We do not strive to be celebrated. We take pride in our anonymity.
Fuuma Kotarou: I'm sure my grave is somewhere here too. Marked not as Fuuma Kotarou, but as an unnamed shinobi.
Fuuma Kotarou: And now, Katou Danzo has finally joined us. One of the few who knew the first leader's techniques.
Fuuma Kotarou: She completed educating and raising the fifth leader, and she understood that her duties were fulfilled.
Fuuma Kotarou: I'm satisfied. Yes, what a wonderful ending.
I was able to include her to be one of us...as “just” another ninja.
Fuuma Kotarou: Ah, but...just one last thing...
Narration: At the very end, I unthinkingly called her “Mother.”
Mash: Good work, Master. And I have some news.
Mash: With the correction of the Singularity that you were just in, a new Spirit Origin was added to our list.
Mash: It is:
Fujimaru 1: “Black Kite”?
Fujimaru 2: Katou Danzo?
Fuuma Kotarou: ...!
Danzo: Nice to meet you. You must be the fifth Fuuma Kotarou.
Fuuma Kotarou: That's right. You must be Katou Danzo.
Danzo: Perhaps because my Spirit Origin was damaged, I have no memories of my past, other than my battle data.
Danzo: I do recall that I had something to do with the first Lord Fuuma, but...
Fuuma Kotarou: ...I see. If we return to the village of the Fuuma, we should be able to find your grave.
Fuuma Kotarou: Though, we are in a completely different time period. I am the fifth leader.
Danzo: Yes. It appears that I was most active as a shinobi long before you were born.
Danzo: That is what Da Vinci has told me. So, this is the first time we have spoken.
Danzo: ...Well, I'm relieved. So the Fuuma really did fulfill their dream.
Danzo: After all, you, a perfect shinobi, did indeed come to be.
Fuuma Kotarou: (...That was all thanks to your help.)
Fuuma Kotarou: (Everything that you did... Even the fact that I stand here today...all of it is thanks to you.)
Danzo: Hm? Is something wrong?
Fuuma Kotarou: ...I forgot to properly introduce myself.
Fuuma Kotarou: It's a pleasure to meet you, Katou Danzo. My name is Fuuma Kotarou, the fifth leader of the Fuuma clan.