A/N: This fanfic is inspired by Remnant Warriors, a SW/RWBY crossover fic written by Magnus9284. Go check his profile for good stories to read, though note he's currently on a hiatus for the time being. Granted, I haven't watched RWBY yet, but from the fics I have read about it, there seems to be a good reason why there are fics to alter the story line.
That aside, let us begin!
30/10/2020: Completely rewrote this chapter to differentiate it and because I found myself displeased with it.
June 1582, Honnou-ji
Oda Nobunaga, Demon King of the 6th Heaven, the Fool of Owari, one of the three great Conquerors of Japan and the one responsible for laying the foundations of a new world that saw the end of over a hundred years of constant wars and strife. At nearly fifty years in age, he was an old man, perhaps primed to unify all of Japan under his rule now that he destroyed all the powerful clans that would have challenged his rule.
The Takeda, the Azai and Asakura, and even the last Shogun of the Moromachi Shogunate, Ashikaga Yoshiaki, all were eventually swept away by his fiery ambitions and his vision of the future. Alas, at the cusp of true unification, fate seemed to have other plans.
As he and his retainers rested at the temple of Honnou-ji, his other commanders conquering the rest of Japan, his trusted retainer Akechi Mitsuhide had chosen that moment to betray him, surrounding Nobunaga and his men and setting it ablaze.
Yet, as always, the Demon King would never surrender without a fight; accompanied by his page Mori Ranmaru, he and his men cut down Mitsuhide's soldiers where they stood in all manner of defiance befitting of the Fool's conquering armies.
But Mitsuhide - possessing the advantage of surprise and numbers and knowledge of the Oda army's capabilities, their defeat was inevitable, and soon Nobunaga was left facing Mitsuhide alone, bereft of all allies that should have been standing at his side.
"So tell me, Mitsuhide, why do you decide to betray me at this moment?" Asked Nobunaga, sounding unperturbed, his blade slick with blood.
Mitsuhide merely sighed, eyeing Nobunaga's movements carefully as he wiped his own.
"I do not know what it is that I desire, Nobunaga," Said Mitsuhide, "What I do know, however, is that so long as you live, what I truly desire cannot be mine."
Nobunaga laughed at this, saying, "So you finally act according to your heart's wishes, I see. Very well. And that is why you have directed your men to slaughtering mine?"
"Yes," Said Mitsuhide, "Because I have also come to realise that I despise your cruelty; why did you have to eliminate the clans that resisted you to the last? No, rather, why do you always say that those who sacrifice their lives for causes they deem worthy worthless? As if it means nothing at all?"
"Because death is worthless, Mitsuhide," Said Nobunaga, "When a man dies, everything he does becomes worthless in the end, for there is no guarantee that his successor or his friends would ever carry on his tasks and duties, his dreams for the world. I thought you of all people should know this, by now."
"I do know," Said Mitsuhide, assuming a stance, "But in the end, I could not accept it; I could not accept you and all you have done, so this is why I turn my blade against you."
Nobunaga merely readied his own blade, prepared to cut down the traitor.
"Then let us fight, one last time," Said Nobunaga.
And as they clashed blades, Nobunaga felt that he met his match in swordsmanship; he was no slouch himself, but perhaps Mitsuhide - having honed his swordsmanship to a razor-fine edge, was one he can closely match in combat.
Many times their blades were exchanged, a flurry of blows parried and deflected as swords of differing personalities and views of the world clashed to prove their own point superior. The Demon King against the Arch-Traitor; if it were up to the Demon King, he would have preferred that all of Japan be united under his rule, in his lifetime. With his constant use of force and a lack of goodwill from the people, however, his rule was to be cut short the moment the crisis had passed.
Such was the fate of Kings who ruled by force alone, even if it allowed them to quickly unite a fractured land.
And with all the heated passion their hearts could muster, their blades clashed one last time.
And it was Nobunaga who fell, much to Mitsuhide's surprise.
"Hahaha... so this is the end of my days..."
Nobunaga grunted in pain from his wound, no longer able to wield his sword.
"Truth be told, My Lord," Said Mitsuhide, "Now that I see you bleeding, I realise that what I desired was for you to unite this land, more than anyone else. Yet, as I said, I could not stand your cruelty."
"At least you are being true to your heart, Mitsuhide," Said Nobunaga, "Come closer."
Mitsuhide went and knelt down beside him, even as the temple burned down around them.
"Listen well, Mitsuhide," Said Nobunaga, "For betraying me, you will be hunted down for the rest of your life - by the retainers of the Oda Clan who yet hold loyalties to me. Are you willing to live with that, knowing that your own life will be cut short? Are you still willing to live according to your heart's desire, in the face of that?"
Inhaling deeply, Mitsuhide said, "Yes, My Lord. I am ready."
Smiling to him, Nobunaga felt a sense of relief unlike any other, as if a great burden were lifted from his shoulders.
"Then... live as you see fit, Mitsuhide."
And as Nobunaga uttered his last words, the temple's ceiling collapsed, weakened by the raging fires. Mitsuhide stumbled back, and the last he saw of Nobunaga was his corpse engulfed in flames as the timbers buried his body. A fitting end for the Demon King who brought the flames of war to an end.
Like a tumbling soul the Demon King wandered around, stuck in perpetual limbo and unable to move a single limb, much less his eyes. All that stretched before him was perpetual darkness, not a single soul or object in sight.
"What is this...?" He muttered, "This is most certainly not how I imagined the afterlife to be."
Then, like a falling rock, he plummets to the ground like a dead weight, rolling like a ragdoll before stopping, pain an absent sensation where one would expect feeling it from such a tumble.
And then, looking around him, he called out, "Hello? Anyone? Is there anyone in this slice of afterlife?"
As if in response to his call, out from the darkness stepped three most familiar figures: his page Mori Ranmaru, the bloodthirsty warrior yet to reach adolescence; Takeda Shingen, the Tiger of Kai and creator of Japan's most powerful cavalry before its destruction at Nagashino; Uesugi Kenshin, the Dragon of Echigo, often regarded (by himself) as the mortal incarnation of the God of War, Bishamonten himself.
"Well, well, what kind of day is it that we, my page and the three most powerful warlords of Japan meet in this unknown location?" Said Nobunaga, "Whether this is truly an important meeting called by the Gods or some attempt of prank played on us, I cannot say for sure."
"The Heavens rarely give us things clearly or directly - nothing like offering answers on a silver platter," Said Kenshin, "But if they have called us all here from beyond the grave, I can only surmise it to be of utmost importance."
"Indeed," Said Shingen, "Why, I was busy having a good chat with my dearest son Katsuyori and other retainers that have long passed from the mortal world."
"Still, who would summon us here?" Said Ranmaru, "If this were a mere prank, I'd gut the felons responsible."
That would be me, who has summoned you all.
The voice boomed with power and authority, and all who heard it froze in their actions.
And before their eyes, they saw a form emerge from the mist: a human-sized figure dressed in the traditional armour of a samurai - crimson red and shining gold. Where his face would be, it is obscured by the mask of a fearsome Oni, eyes glowing a pale yellow. The aura of power he radiated - however muted it was - still shone strong and powerfully, and any who miscalculate his strength would commit an act of foolhardy folly.
"Who are you?" Asked Shingen, "Why have you summoned us here?"
The form stepped forward, his formless face saying in a definitive male voice, I am Magnar - not my true name, merely a façade. And I come here to ask something of you all.
"Not everyday we are taken from death and asked by a stranger for a favour," Said Kenshin, "What do you ask of us, Mighty One?"
Seemingly pleased, Magnar then said, There is a world plagued by constant strife and war, its people constantly manipulated by players that lurk in the shadow and dividing them on racial grounds. Where the governments of nations are expected to act, they instead are content to rot in sloth, corrupted further by the corrupt powerful elites who care little for the people's welfare and more for their own enjoyment. Worse, the Gods - creators of this world - have abandoned it and left it to rot. This, I will not stand for.
"Am I to believe there is something else you want of us?" Asked Nobunaga.
You are not wrong, Said Magnar, In fact, precisely because you are competent and talented warlords, I have picked you to lift this world out of its despair and steer it in the right direction. However, I cannot tell you for certain how events will play out, only that failure will mean the end of civilisation itself.
"Something none of us will stand for, most especially My Lord," Said Ranmaru.
I know you won't, Said Magnar, But I will also say this: nothing is set in stone. Whatever your actions are, your thoughts and desires are purely your own. Gather what allies you can, solidify your power, wage a war of complete annihilation against the dark shadows lurking within, and save this world. This is what I ask of you.
"Since you ask so nicely, what reason have we to disagree?" Said Shingen, "And it's not like it will be boring."
"Indeed, nemesis. There is glorious war to be had," Said Kenshin smilingly.
"And I, as Demon King and Conqueror, cannot miss out on this opportunity," Said Nobunaga, "Isn't that right, Ranmaru."
"Why yes, My Lord," Said Ranmaru, "Oh, how I cannot wait to slaughter the culprits who dare toss the world into chaos."
Then go with my blessing, warlords of Japan, and know that I will be watching you always.
And in a flash of light, the four Japanese Samurai were spirited away to unknown lands, possessing only their skills honed from years of experience.
Be careful, all of you, Said Magnar, There are forces that would see the world remain in anarchy, and those who would not see the reality.
A/N (30/10/20): So this is part of my effort to rewrite the earlier parts of this story, as I promised. Do expect the updates to be sporadic and irregular, due to a busy schedule. Anyway, enjoy yourselves, and take care.