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Focus! Concentrate!  I repeated the mantra as I continued to dash through the forest. 

As fast as I ran, it always seemed as though my pursuer was half a breath behind me. Or rather my two pursuers .

I gritted my teeth as I made a particularly daring jump across a narrow portion of the river.

“Ha!” I said, reaching the other side, looking back at my two pursuers.

“You- you thief!” The lizard girl cried out. “That sword does not belong to you!” She snarled.
The mantis girl looked up and down the river and started to back up. 

“The sword does not belong to you either! It was taken by your master, from my master!” I retorted. “Accept this loss, and move on!”

The lizard girl snarled and pointed her sword to me. “She won that in fair combat! And I will get it back.” She thundered forward and dove into the river.

I chuckled, it would take her the better part of ten minutes to reach me, and she would have to get up and run again, while I was taking a breather- “Oh shit!” I cried out, just barely missing the blades of the mantis girl who seemed to have jumped, and used her wings to help get her across the river. 

I drew my own sword and parried- countered- strike- block- feint- moved- and ran for dear life. 

I was bewildered, for her tiny body the mantis girl had incredible strength and lighting fast reflexes. 

“Just what is your problem?” I cried out over my shoulder as I continued to run. “I didn’t do anything to you!”

I looked back to the path and skidded to a halt in front of her. 

“Mate.” She said, barely moving her lips, her eyes completely blank and dead of emotion.

“Oh no you don't!” I cried out, sweeping her legs from under her- blocking her blades and whirling legs as she used her hands to spin her feet and legs like whirlwind, tumbling in mid-air with her arm blades and reaching hands just barely grazing my clothes and body.

inner focus! Seek her weaknesses!

I brought both my blades into play, but soon found she had blades in her hand in addition to the blades that were part of her arm. In no time at all I was reacting to four blades with my two. 

Only one chance! 

I positioned my leg, at last finding a pattern in her motions; she was a lunger, she would always press the attack in any moment of hesitation or lull in motion. 

“Oof!” Just as expected, she lunged and tangled her feet against my leg and fell forward. 

I jumped over her and dashed off, only to be confronted with an angry, wet, lizardgirl. 

“Fine! Here!” I tossed her the blade. She dropped hers on reflex, and I landed a solid blow to her abdomen and took my master’s blade back and continued to run, just as the mantis girl plowed into her.

Lord Hiamata! This Sword had better be worth it! I despaired as I saw his castle up ahead. 

The Lizard girl shoved the mantis girl off of her. “Get off me, you insect!” She snarled. “Now look at what you’ve done! He got away!” She glared as the mantis girl got to her feet and looked off into the distance.

“He went to his master’s castle. I will recapture my mate there.” She pointed.

“If it weren’t for you, I’d have the sword! You could’ve waited until I got it back! You could have mated with him then!”

The mantis girl drew her finger across her nose. “You are an unskilled warrior. You would not be able to defeat him.”

Excuse me!” The Lizard girl roared and pulled out her sword.

“You are unfocused. You are willing to fight me instead of reclaiming your master’s sword.”

She seethed. She wanted to lop this bug’s head clean off- but… she was right. 

“Tssccch! Fine!” She growled.

“Lord Hiamata!” I called out, bowing before my Shogun master and held up his family’s sword. “I have returned, as you ordered.”

“Aah, Genji. Very good. Was there any trouble in reclaiming my sword?”

I swallowed and nodded. “Yes, my Lord. The Lizard tribe noticed it was gone, and scattered across the valley. I evaded all but one.”

“And, did you kill this one?”

“No, my Lord. As I fought, I was interrupted by a member of the mantis.”

I held my breath. My mission, even though I returned the sword, was a failure. The only reward I would receive would be death. As a ninja, I was not to leave any witness, and if there were, to kill them myself.

Lord Hiamata stepped forward and took the sword from me. I let go and stayed low to the ground, holding onto what small shred of honor I could, accepting my fate.

“Genji, I want you to know that you shall be forgiven by the steel of my family’s honor.”

“Yes my Lord, thank you!”

I closed my eyes, and felt the wind of the incoming blade, only to hear it clash against another piece of steel. 

“Do not touch my mate!” A cold voice sounded. I looked up, and almost groaned; it was the mantis girl.

“You dare! You dare!” Lord Hiamata boomed out, as the mantis girl held out her blade to his throat.

The court was in an uproar as several samurai rushed in- 

“Ha!” The Lizard girl now barreled in and toppled a few of the samurai over. “Oy! You there! My master won that sword from you, fair and square! You will return it, or risk war with my clan!”

“Your master won nothing from me!” Lord Hiamata said with a cold voice. “She was holding it as ransom, because I refused to marry her!” 

“What?”

My master scoffed and opened his kimono. “Do you see any wound or scar upon me? No! Why do your clan call your master ‘the scared one’?” He brandished his sword. “It was from this blade, and by my hand she met her defeat! But she could not stand to lose, and not claim me as her own.” He sheathed his sword and made a gesture with his hand and strolled back to his chair. “And besides-” He stopped as the mantis girl jumped on his shoulders and now held two blades to him

“You talk too much.” She said, her low voice cutting the air like a vorpal edge. She leaned in and turned her head sideways to look at Lord Hiamata. “Give her the sword. Is your honor so great, that you will die for it? Swords are swords, life is life.”

“I would die, before I would give up my honor!” Hiamata said through clenched teeth.

The mantis girl’s antennae twitched and she looked up at the Samurai who seemed to be on pins and needles. 

“Maybe, but they would be all masterless.” With a blurred motion she cut the sword free from Hiamata and tossed it to the Lizard girl. “Stop her, and he dies.” She said with a cold voice to the samurai.

The Lizard girl gave a joyful noise and made her way out. 

The mantis girl got off my master’s shoulders, but still kept her mantis blade around his neck like a scissor. “Stand, husband.” She said, holding out her hand to me. After a moment she looked over her shoulder. “Or die here, with your honor intact.”

“I will never forget this!’ Lord Hiamata bellowed. “I will hunt you all to the ends of the earth!”

“Here.” The mantis girl said, letting go of Hiamata and tossing him his family’s sword. “Real sword, lizard girl deceived, ninja is mine, honor is satisfied on all points.”

Lord Hiamata looked at the blade, yes… it was indeed his. He looked up to me and turned his back; a sign that I was now among the dishonored dead. 

I turned and left with my mantis girl, my chest burdened down by a sad, heavy heart. 

As soon as we were within the tree line my mantis girl grabbed me and forced me down. “Worthy mate, too concerned with silly notion of honor.” She whispered.

“You know nothing.” I said, barely able to move from under her strength. 

“I know battle, I know strength, I know of giving merciful death to things I hunt. I know breath, light, action and motion. I do not know honor. It is strange to actively seek death when there are other ways.” She looked over her shoulder, “Like deceiving your master, and giving lizard woman real sword, so she would not die when she returns to her master.”

“Good heavens! When don’t you lie?” I said, feeling a strange amazement fall over me. 

“Ninja clan has saying; the art of invisibility. Truth can hide, and be invisible. Ninja must be invisible too.” She traced her finger upon my chest, even though the motion was lovely, it felt strange as there was no tenderness or emotion upon her face. If it weren't for hearing her words, I would have sworn she wasn’t speaking at all for how little her lips moved.

She pulled my pants down, “Enough words, you are my mate.” She reached, grabbing my and holding my shaft right under her opening. I saw the faintest shimmer of glistening moisture as she lowered herself upon me. 

Her eyes went wide, and for the first time I saw an emotion cross her face; surprise. Her mouth opened and her breath went out in a vocalization of pleasure. We lay there for a moment, both of us panting. She felt so hot and tight it was almost overwhelming, her love canal seemed to flex and relax with each breath, making the entire sensation incredible. 

“Haaa- haaa” She exhaled, her body heaved and pitched with her labored breath. She continued to pant as she brought her face down and brought her lips to mine, using her tongue to force my lips apart and buried itself down my throat.

She let go of my arms, but by now I had no inclination of escape. I wrapped my arms around her delicate shoulders and buried my hands in her dark hair as we moved in frantic, needful desire. 

She cried out as we came together, her moans and breathing in time with each burst of seed that was implanted in her. After a while she looked down upon me, a slight smile to her face, and a blush to her cheeks. 

“Lizard girl is coming.”

“Huh?” It was morning, and we were traveling west, looking for a new place to hunt and live. I was carrying my Mantis girl, who called her self Shard, on my shoulders strolling at a leisurely pace when she patted my head and pointed. 

“Right there. Lizard girl.”

I looked. “Oh, hello.” I said. “Look sorry about, uh…say, what’s your name?”

“Me?” She said with a blush to her face, “I am Paula.” She looked up and noticed Shard for the first time. “Hey! That man is mine!” Paula said, pointing. 

“You wanted sword, you got sword. You never said you wanted a mate.” Shard said, stroking my face. 

“Yeah! Well… um…” Paula shuffled her feet. “Well, he kinda defeated me in combat! He is strong! I want him!”

Shard jumped off my shoulders and held out her blade. “I have a mate! I could not have had mate if it weren’t for your actions. I will share mate, but I will not give him to you.”

“Share? What?” I sputtered.

“Share?” Paula parroted, her mouth hung open in surprise.

“I recognize your part in me getting a mate, I will share, but I will not give him.”

Paula opened her mouth to protest, but she exhaled. “Yeah, why not?” She grabbed my arm. “But, I get to have him next! You already had your turn!”

Shard grabbed my other arm, pulling me with Paula in a most arousing moment of tug-o-war. “I want another turn-”

I sighed as we continued on our journey, a large grin on my face.



Indeed… maybe honor was worth trading for a life like this…