Warrior Wisdom #2: The True Way

Magomura Kanbei: Lord Ogami, you are an assassin. You receive money to kill. I am a hired hand, I receive money for my services. What is the way of the ‘True Warrior’ that you spoke of? And does such a warrior exist? I am prepared to stake my life in search of the answer. Once again, I request a duel.

Ogami Itto: I accept.

Magomura Kanbei: Let us begin.

The short duel begins. Kanbei manages to make a deep cut on Ogami’s back, but takes a sword through his gut himself.

Magomura Kanbei: A moment. There’s one thing I must ask you.

Ogami Itto: Speak.

Magomura Kanbei: This past year my Lord Munetada had been offered the post of Elder and was on his way to Edo. We were attacked by a mob of ronin. It was a plot by those who opposed my Lord’s promotion to Elder. We were greatly outnumbered, so in order to mount a defence our best hope lay in a bold attack. I ran forth to slay them. I fought with all my might and drove the enemy back. But the fact that I had advanced to slay them, leaving my Lord’s side, was judged undutiful and unworthy of a samurai. Before I realised it, I had become a disgrace to my clan. I was expelled. What was the way of the True Warrior? To die defending my Lord, even if it was clear that it was a hopeless cause? The Way of the Warrior, it is not about how one lives, but how one dies, surely? Lord Ogami, will you tell me? What is the True Way of the Warrior?

Ogami Itto: The True Way of the Warrior is… to live to die.

Magomura Kanbei: “To live to die”.

Ogami Itto: If I had been in your position I would certainly have attacked.

Magomura Kanbei: It heartens me to hear those words from you. Lord Ogami, would you allow a lowly being such as myself to request that you, once the Official Executioner, act as my second?

Ogami Itto: For those who know the True Way of the Warrior, rank does not exist. I shall grant your request.

Magomura Kanbei: Finally, I can die as a warrior with no regrets.

After all is done, the head smiles.

From Lone Wolf and Cub: Babycart in Hades

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