Blood.

Lots of blood, almost everywhere. Tinting the ground, covering my clothes, a ruby smear on my blade. Most of it not mine, some is still leaking from a few shallow wounds.

Also, lots of bodies. Dead bodies, devoid of the breath that kept them going when their throats weren't sporting open flesh wounds where their very heart blood was pouring out in almost beautiful fountaines – until their hearts stopped beating for good.

Their only mistake? They were in the way. They tried killing me, for I'm a known man. A wanted man. A killer. An assassin to the very core of my being. They weren't my primary target, who's been dead for hours before they stupidly found my trail and hunted me down like game, being the governmental dogs they were. Bad idea for them to chase a storm. The 'wolves of mibu', capable hunters, mighty foes, skilled swordsmen.. but they're nothing, when death comes for them, served by my blade.

The Ishin Shishi are my comrades. We lost a lot of them to the likes of those who fell tonight. I know their leaders will no later than in a month have replaced their footsoldiers, a pity, really. Young men with a future, joining the wrong side of this war. The shogunate will fall, we.. I... will make sure of that. Bad things have been happening for years; politicians have been oppressing the people, bleeding them dry, making them starve, paying ridiculously high taxes to the point of driving them bankrupt, just so these wealthy pigs could get just a bit fatter. They will have to pay, one by one. I don't particularily like killing, make no mistake. I'm slashing them open for the sake of a new era where everyone can live in peace and freedom. Mark by mark, target by target, one life extinguished in order to save a few hundred others from a bad fate.

I leave the scenery behind. In the morning, the bodies will be gone; mysteriously removed from the world as if there'd never been a massacre in the first place, only the red stains remaining in places where they've been overlooked. The scent of death and copper will linger for a while longer, the shadows may never quite disappear. After all, there is a reason for this city's reputation as being demonic. The ghosts of the dead are rumoured to wander the streets at night, which is, of course, complete and utter nonsense. Stories to scare the people, keep them from going outside and get themselves killed.

Such as the story of hitokiri battousai.