Phoenix was walking on a dirt path in the dark, wearing a dirty shirt, and pants with the lower half just below the knee cut off. He was making his way to his cousin, Shogun Kaz's temple. Phoenix wanted to join his cousins army and get back at Shogun Lekkyu, but even more, he wanted to kill Callum. He saw the moon rising off in the distance, and heard the crickets chirping away. It was a little windy, and Phoenix felt some of his hair blow back a bit. He started to hear footsteps in the grass near him, and he stopped in his tracks and looked around. Phoenix scanned the area, looking for anyone hiding behind a tree, bush, or out in the open. A feeling of unease came across him. Phoenix normally doesn't get scared, unless he is in the dark, with something watching him. Phoenix continued walking after hearing nothing for a couple minutes, but almost immediately heard something once more. This time, closer.
"Whoever's there, I can clearly hear you. Show yourself, now!" Phoenix shouted, half in fear, the other in anger. Nothing. Dead silence. Even the crickets have stopped chirping. The wind has stopped, and the sounds of leaves and bushes blowing in the wind have stopped as well.
"Chicken." Phoenix muttered. He clenched his fists as his heart began to race. Phoenix saw something move out of the corner of his eye. He looked in the direction where he saw the movement. That's when he saw it. An armored figure crouched behind a thick bush, but Phoenix was able to make out the figure's foot.
"I see you. Step out and tell me who you are." said Phoenix, raising his fists up. He saw the figure rise from behind the bush and walk out to the dirt path, standing directly across from Phoenix, feet shoulder width apart, and hands in fists. Phoenix could see the silhouette of a sword handle sticking up from behind the figure. Phoenix heard movement behind him, and knew several more figures came out from hiding.
"Give us your coin and any other valuables, or we will kill you right where you are standing." said the figure in front of Phoenix, which was a male. Phoenix smiled.
"I don't have anything you would want. All my coin is back at the territory I came from, specifically, the shogun's temple." Phoenix explained, unclenching his fists and leaving them up in the air.
"Are you a samurai?" asked one of the people behind Phoenix, who was a female.
"Well, he isn't wearing his armor or anything, so it would be easy to kill him if we need to." said the man in front of Phoenix.
"We should check him first. Chet, go check him out." said the female. Phoenix didn't spin around and let the man pat him down. Time to make the move, Phoenix thought. Chet wasn't expecting for the younger man to spin around and grab one of his wrists before getting him into a wrist lock. Chet was folded over and groaned in pain.
"Hey! Let him go, scum!" shouted the man who stood across Phoenix, pulling out his sword in the process. Phoenix noted the sword strapped to Chet's back.
"Make me!" Phoenix shouted. The man with the sword out started to march towards Phoenix, when the ex-samurai threw his knee in Chet's stomach and then swept him off his feet with his right foot. Chet hit the ground, and Phoenix punched his chin, which knocked him out. Phoenix grabbed the sword from Chet's back and held it out in front of him. Phoenix wasn't comfortable with it, as he had been used to carrying katanas, but right now, he needed it. The other man froze after watching what Phoenix did and hesitated to make a move.
"You going to attack me or just stand there gawking at me?" Phoenix said. Phoenix heard the faint sound of an arrow being nocked onto a string. It was the female, at least, that was what Phoenix thought it was. Suddenly, the man dropped his sword and threw up his hands. Phoenix spun around and saw the female figure, who wore armor similar to Chet and the other man, holding up her hands as well. Three black armored samurai were standing directly behind the female. One of them had an arrow nocked.
"You! Behind the young man, get on the ground. Young man, come over to us." said one of the samurai. Phoenix slowly walked over to the samurai, and one of them whistled. A black horse ran up from a short distance away, and the samurai who whistled took out a small arm of wood and lit the top of it, making a torch. Phoenix saw the samurai's face, and recognized them.
"Jet, it's me, Phoenix." said the young man, before stepping back and giving the samurai a bow. The samurai recognized Phoenix before bowing back. The samurai Phoenix recognized was his older cousin.
"Long time no see, mate. What are you doing all the way out here?" asked Jet, raising a fist for Phoenix to bump.
"I was banished from the other territory because I attacked another samurai. I wanted to join Shogun Kaz's army and get them back." Phoenix replied. Jet nodded his head and watched as the other two samurai walked the two armored people over to them. Chet was still laying on the ground knocked out.
"What should we do with them, General?" asked one of the samurai. Jet eyed the two bandits and then pointed to a nearby tree.
"Tie them up on that tree over there with this rope. We'll let Chet or whoever it is that finds them free 'em." Jet explained. The two samurai nodded and Jet handed them a rope from the horse's saddle to use for the bandits.
"That horse is yours by the way." said Jet, pointing at the black horse. Phoenix snickered.
"Really? How did you know I was coming?" Phoenix asked.
"I didn't. We were patrolling the area and happened to see the fight going on. Plus, this horse here was originally going to be given to one of the stables here in the territory since we had nobody else to really give it to, and now that you are here, well, it's yours now." Jet explained. Phoenix bowed towards his older cousin.
"Thank you." said Phoenix after he finished bowing. The other samurai came back after tying the bandits up. Phoenix hopped on his new horse and grabbed the reigns.
"Let's head back to Shogun Kaz. We have ourselves a new recruit." said Jet, looking up at his younger cousin with a smile. Phoenix smiled back.
Jet and Phoenix walked side by side toward Shogun Kaz after entering his throne room. The shogun, a tall, slender mid-aged man with a short goatee and short brown hair, opened his eyes wide when he saw Phoenix. Kaz stood up from his throne and made his way down the stairs to greet the two samurai. Shogun Kaz's throne room was much larger than Shogun Lekkyu's. It was about the size of four football fields side by side. Plus, a large statue of Kaz was situated directly behind his chair. The statue was made of stone and showed Kaz standing straight with his right hand on his katana and a look of seriousness on his face. Once the shogun and the two samurai met, Jet and Phoenix bowed towards Kaz, who bowed back.
"Shogun, we have someone who would like to join your military." said Jet, quickly nodding over at Phoenix. Kaz couldn't keep himself from smiling.
"Phoenix, I've always been open to recruiting you and your sister. Speaking of which, where is Vilija?" asked Kaz. Phoenix's expression went from a look of excitement to a look of sadness.
"She didn't come. I was actually banished from the other territory for fighting another samurai, so she stayed back." Phoenix replied, looking up at his shogun cousin.
"Well, even though I do want to take over their territory soon, I will make this a rule. If each of us ever come across Vilija, leave her alive, even if she tries to attack us." Shogun Kaz ordered. Phoenix and Jet nodded their heads.
"But, Shogun. What if another samurai in our military comes across her and tries to kill her." asked Jet. Kaz rubbed his chin in thought for a moment before replying.
"I don't know. I'll figure something out. For the time being, Jet, lead him to the armory, I had my best armor crafter here make a unique set of armor for Phoenix." ordered the shogun. The three samurai bowed to each other before Jet and Phoenix started to make their way out of the throne room.
"Hei, Phoenix." Shogun Kaz suddenly alerted Phoenix, who spun around quickly.
"Jet, teach him our advanced kicks. I'm sure he will love those." Kaz said as he made his way up to his throne. Phoenix turned back around and followed Jet out.