Imanotsurugi and Usumidori had no one to rely on since they were born. However, everything changed when they met a one-legged assassin, who turned them into killing specialists.
During a mission, the assassin fell into his enemy’s trap, leaving him with no choice but to sacrifice one leg to escape. Since then, he could no longer take on any assassination jobs, but he only knew of the life of an assassin. Therefore, he decided to train Imanotsurugi and Usumidori to perform assassinations for him. This day, while the assassin was conducting a test on their combat training, he saw the two trying their best to hide a little bush behind them.
Assassin Master: What are you trying to hide? Show it to me!
The two children knew how terrifying their master could be if he got angry. They dared not disobey him. Imanotsurugi carefully picked up a little rabbit whose leg was still dripping with blood.
Little Imanotsurugi: Master, this rabbit is injured... Can we keep—
Little Usumidori: No, Imanotsurugi! Sorry master, we didn’t intend to lie to you! We are going to release it back into the woods.
Little Imanotsurugi: No, Usumidori! The rabbit will die!
Little Usumidori : Sh... Shut up! Can’t you see that master is angry?
Assassin Master: Do whatever you want with the rabbit! As long as you concentrate on your training!
The master did not blame the two children. He even allowed them to keep the rabbit. Surprised, the two kids could not stop thanking their master. Since that day, Usumidori and Imanotsurugi became more attentive during their training in return for their master’s mercy.
Being looked after carefully by the two children, the rabbit completely recovered from its injuries. It stayed with Imanotsurugi and Usumidori as their friend for a long time.^ ^ As days went by, the two’s training became more demanding, but they handled it smoothly every time. Realizing that it was the right time, the master gave the two their first assassination order —
Assassin Master: Kill the rabbit!
Little Imanotsurugi and Usumidori: What?
Assassin Master: Don’t make me say it twice!
Little Imanotsurugi: But, Master, didn’t you allow us to keep it?
Assassin Master: This is just a test. To be an assassin, you have to be merciless!
Assassin Master: If you two aren’t even able to finish this little task, I will kill the both of you. I don’t need useless assassins!
Imanotsurugi and Usumidori were shocked by their master’s words, but like a natural reflex, their bodies already began to execute their master’s order. The master never lied. He would kill them if he said so! The children’s hands were trembling. The master watched next to them. If they didn’t kill the rabbit, the ones to be killed would be themselves...
Assassin Master: The cut is not precise enough. From tomorrow, you will have more training in blades.
The master only spoke these words after witnessing the two children finish their task. Then, he turned and left.
The two children were still shocked by what had happened. Looking at the blood-dripping corpse of the rabbit, they felt a sudden chill running down their spine and through their whole body as if their body temperature was decreasing like the corpse did. The master’s words echoed in their minds:^ ‘I will kill the both of you…’^ They could not help but think that they would end up with the same fate as the rabbit — being killed by their master...
Under their master’s teaching, Imanotsurugi and Usumidori gradually mastered all the essential skills of an assassin. However, that was still not enough to challenge their master. Every day, they had to practice battling their master one-on-one with blades. They wished to defeat their master and become independent assassins as soon as possible, but the results were not as satisfactory as their master had expected...
Assassin: Humph, if you aren’t even able to defeat a one-legged man like me, how can you finish given tasks?
Compared with other rookie assassins, Imanotsurugi and Usumidori were far more skilled. However, the master would never praise them. Even if the two finished a training perfectly, they would only be rewarded with another tougher training. All the master wanted was to raise the best killers to perform all kinds of assassinations in his stead.
Growing up with their master’s mercilessness, Imanotsurugi and Usumidori both feared and hated their master. They always thought of a day when they would kill their master upon finishing their apprenticeship.^ ^ An opportunity came all of a sudden as if answering their wish.
Usumidori: Imanotsurugi! You take care of that side. I will deal with those in front of us!
The village they were currently living in were invaded by a group of werelizards who also destroyed their home. Using the techniques they learned from their master, the two wanted to drive out the invaders 一
The werelizards outnumbered them, leaving their master with no choice but to join the battle. Usumidori gave Imanotsurugi a look from behind their master which Imanotsurugi immediately understood.^ ^ Isn’t this the best opportunity to get rid of our master?
Covered by Usumidori, Imanotsurugi thrusted his katana into his master’s weak spot on the right. The master was surprised, but he still reacted immediately to grasp Imanosturugi’s sword hand with one of his hands to stop Imanosturugi from escaping, while his other hand was about to chop off Imanotsurugi’s hand.
However, Usumidori was faster. He pierced his sword through the master’s chest. Imanotsurugi broke free from his master’s grip, and pushed his short blade into his master’s heart.
The master could only gaze at the two, shocked. He wanted to shout at them, but he could never say a word again. Imanotsurugi and Usumidori were gasping for air. They were trying to confirm what had just happened.
Usumidori: ...We are free!
The two felt a great sense of relief, their hands still feeling the sensation of ending their master’s life. It was the first time Imanotsurugi and Usumidori tasted killing.
Having broken free from their master’s manipulation, Imanotsurugi and Usumidori began wandering around the realm, savoring their hard-earned freedom.
The two believed that ‘tit for tat is fair play’. Therefore, even if they saw bandits and brigands robbing other people, they would not do anything in response. However, seeing Imanotsurugi and Usumidori’s belongings, how would those outlaws just let them be?
Bandits: Hey, lads. Leave all your stuff here and we’ll let you go.
Imanotsurugi: We have nothing.
Bandits: Then taste our steel!
Although their opponents were a group of bandits who killed and robbed as often as breathing, Imanotsurugi and Usumidori did not show even a bit of fear, because the fighting techniques they had learned from their master were much more powerful than any of their current opponents. Compared to the master’s strict training that they used to face every day, the bandits were just a little warm-up exercise.
Imanotsurugi: Wanna compete for the most kills?
Usumidori: No, thanks. Because the winner’s gonna be me.
After murdering their own master, it was the first time Imanotsurugi and Usumidori killed people. The two’s blades were swift and precise. One, two, three... It was too fast for them to count. They thrust their blades into a bandit, pulled the blades out, and slashed the other enemies coming from the sides. Following their blades were warm droplets of blood which danced all over the place.
Slaughtering the bandits, the two recalled how they felt when they killed their master. It was a pleasure beyond description. The two were immediately drunk with this feeling. Soon, no one was charging at them anymore. The two discovered that they had annihilated the whole bandit gang.
This incident provoked their desire to kill. Since then, they traveled to various battlefields simply to kill, taking people’s lives recklessly for their own satisfaction.^ ^ The pair’s malicious deeds were soon known to heaven, enraging the Courts of Zodiacs and the keepers. Eventually, they were sealed in two swords and brought to Enochian Tower, where they awaited a master of whom they approved.
At first, Humans built Enochian Tower to obtain the power of Gods. They believed that Enochian Tower was the path to heaven. However, the tower also allowed Demons to invade heaven. Enraged, Zeus snapped the tower into two halves. However, Enochian Tower remained the only way to heaven; Humans still constantly climbed the broken tower in order to seek help from the Gods.
From the Era of Magic to the Heroic Age, day by day, year by year, Imanotsurugi and Usumidori waited for someone to come to Enochian Tower. The two swords could not speak, nor did they have any names to call out to, but their souls were shouting every day:
Imanotsurugi and Usumidori: ‘The one who can master us! Come and free us!’
Their voices never stopped. They believed that one day, their voice could reach the one who could wield them...
Imanotsurugi and Usumidori: ‘Are you the one who will master us?’
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: Who is it? Who is talking to me?
Finally, the one they had been waiting for arrived—
In order to obtain power from heaven that could defeat Lü Bu, Minamoto no Yoshitsune climbed the tower alone. As soon as he arrived at the base of the tower, he could already sense the aura of Imanotsurugi and Usumidori. Although the swords’ aura was weak compared to the other powers resided in the Tower, to Yoshitsune, it was like the sound of a wind chime in a storm — weak, but clear.
Imanotsurugi and Usumidori: ‘We are above you in the tower. Come!’
Yoshitsune tracked the aura and arrived at the sword’s location. There, he saw a suit of black armor and a suit of white armor waiting for him in silence. Behind the white suit situated two swords, the origin of the weak aura...
Lucifer: The two swords were particularly agitated today. Could it be that someone is here to take them home?
Yoshitsune combatted the black suit of armor in order to obtain the two swords. During the battle, he diverted some of his attention to the white suit of armor, fearing that the white suit was waiting for an opportunity to defeat him while he was distracted by the black suit!^ ^ The weapons clanged incessantly, but Yoshitsune still managed to clearly hear the voice of the two swords—
Imanotsurugi and Usumidori: ‘Take us with you! We can make you stronger!’
Knowing that the battle would result in a stalemate, Yoshitsune seized the chance to leave Enochian Tower with the two swords. He still did not understand why the suit of white armor did not move at all, and why the black suit did not follow him. However, he soon forgot about these questions as the two swords were more appealing than the answers. He returned to Wonderland with the swords, tempting to draw them out and test their power...
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: Why can’t I draw them out?
Imanotsurugi and Usumidori: ‘Minamoto no Yoshitsune, you cannot draw the swords because you are yet to be strong enough to master us!’
This perplexed Yoshitsune for a long time. Every time he wanted to draw out the two swords, he would hear the same words. Until one day, the swords said something different. That was the time when Yoshitsune drew out the swords and gained his new power...