The Eight-Sided Mirror, Part II


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title The Eight-Sided Mirror, Part II
Synopsis All this has happened before.
Date May 8, 1670


A pulse of electromagnetic energy radiates away from Peter Petrelli in a blooming corona. As the wave spreads out from him, the lights in nearby skyscrapers wink out one-by-one. Streetlights go dark, cars passing by on the street skid to a stop and collide with one-another. But standing unphased by this moment, a looming shadow of broad shoulders and furrowed brows is a nightmare incarnate. Sylar slowly turns to square dark eyes on Peter, watching the white-jacketed man step into the shadow of the Linderman Building.

“Careful,” Sylar says coyly, looking down to Peter’s glowing hands and the radiant bones burning bright beneath his flesh, “you might hurt somebody.” In the same breath, Sylar raises a hand and yanks a dead car off of the street, sending it onto its side and skidding across the street toward Peter. Peter is struck by the tail-end of the vehicle and rolls along the ground, making a soft whimpering sound as he does. Sylar grimaces, the expression shifting to a smile as he starts to walk forward until—

Sylar catches the sight of someone out of the corner of his eyes, a slim man in a brown jacket with a sword in one hand. One brow comes up, his head tilts to the side, and Sylar turns his back on Peter to regard the young Ando Masahashi with marked curiosity. Ando raises the sword in his hands, lets out a shout, and rushes forward toward Sylar. The latter of the two makes a soft sound, lifts one hand up, and hoists Ando off of the ground and snaps his back in half, twists his head around backwards, and then breaks one of his arms.

“Was that the best you could do?” Sylar asks as he drops the broken shape of Ando to the ground. But the scream that comes from behind him is one of both rage and horror. Sylar turns just in time to have a sword driven into his stomach all the way down to the hilt. Face flushed with tears and eyes burning with hate, Hiro Nakamura twists the blade in Sylar’s stomach and wrenches it up toward his ribs. Sylar spits out a spray of blood, drops to his knees, and slides off of Hiro’s sword onto his side in a growing pool of his own blood.

Hiro looks down at Sylar, hands trembling, and then over to Ando and begins to shake. “Hiro?” Peter whispers, slowly pulling himself up from the ground with one arm cradled to his chest. Hiro puts his back to Sylar and looks at Peter with helpless eyes. “Hiro we have to— ”

Hiro is suddenly and violently yanked off of his feet by a telekinetic force and slammed back down on the ground. His glasses nearly fly off his face and he clutches the Kensei sword in both hands. “Hiro!” Peter cries, watching as the disemboweled Sylar slowly rises back up onto his feet. Peter starts forward, then stops as he watches the wound on Sylar’s stomach rapidly regenerating.

Peter’s eyes divert down to Hiro, then up to Sylar. Hiro, struggling to get up at Sylar’s feet spits out the word, “Villain,” through a split lip. Sylar glances down at him, a wide smile spreading across his face, and once more hurls Hiro through the air like a ragdoll, this time straight toward the glass wall of the Linderman Building’s lobby. Hiro lets out a high-pitched scream and wrenches his eyes shut.




Three Hundred and Thirty-Six Years Earlier

May 8th

There is no shattering of glass. Instead, there are the splintering of pine boughs and the sudden impact of one Hiro Nakamira onto a muddy patch of soil in an evergreen forest. Hiro rolls to a stop, the Kensei sword landing several feet away out of its scabbard, sunk halfway up to its hilt in the mud. Hiro lays motionless on the ground, face partly submerged in the watery mud, eyes wrenched shut. A few moments later a ragged and overwrought sob escapes him, then another, and by then the floodgates have opened and there is no end to his crying.

It takes a long while for Hiro to stop. The sun tracks higher in the sky, the sound of cicadas become a background noise to his grief. It is as if they are grieving with him. By the time Hiro pulls himself up out of the mud, his eyes are puffy and his nose red. He sits there in the puddle of mud for a long while, staring down at his hands in silence. Ando’s death plays back behind his eyes, and eventually he looks around the forest to try and gain his bearings and fails. Making a soft sound in the back of his throat, Hiro slowly pushes himself up to stand on shaky legs.

It’s then that a distant cry in the forest catches his attention. A few birds alight from their branches and scatter into the cloudless sky. Hiro takes a step forward, then another, clutching his head with one hand. He reaches the Kensei sword, drawing it from the mud and shakes the grime off of the blade before returning it to its scabbard at his back. There’s more screaming through the treeline, and Hiro looks around again trying to make some connection to where he is and where he needs to be.

“Sorry,” Hiro says in a small voice to the distant screams, “but I am needed somewhere else.” Hiro closes his eyes, concentrates, and


Eyes snapping open, Hiro looks around frantically and then wrenches his eyes shut again.

Teleport, he thinks to himself, envisioning Kirby Plaza.




There is another scream through the treeline and the sound of a horse whinnying and a clash of blades. Hiro’s attention is once more drawn to the sound and seemingly bereft of his ability to move through time and space, steels himself against what is increasingly sounding like a fight. Swallowing down a lump in his throat, Hiro begins to move at a slow pace through the thickets toward the sound of the conflict. He wonders if perhaps he didn’t bring the others with him somehow. That thought hastens his pace.

But when Hiro comes crashing through the treeline, he finds himself confronted by a vision unlike any he expected to see. There is a samurai with a sword driven through his chest, pinned to a tree and yet somehow still alive. A dark-haired woman with a knife in her side lays in the dirt of a forested trail nearby. Other bodies lay scattered around them, face down in the dirt.

The samurai holds one sword helplessly in his hand. A sword with a black silk grip, a sword marked with an iconic symbol.

Nani?” Hiro whispers in confusion. Then, as he suddenly comes to realize the gravity of his mistake all he can find himself saying is. “Oh no.

The samurai in the red armor is none other than Takezo Kensei, but the tableau Hiro sees is not one he was familiar with from the stories. Perhaps these were the ninety angry ronin? But there aren’t ninety of them. Hiro takes a step forward, swallowing back both fear and bile. “H-Hello? K-Kensei-sama?”

Hiro isn’t expecting to see a blue-eyed white man when Kensei turns his head toward him. He nearly yelps at the shock, but more so he’s focused on the fact that Kensei is impaled through the chest but alive. Just like Sylar was.

“Kensei,” Hiro says again, to which the foreign samurai responds with a breathless gasp in the affirmative. He tries to withdraw the sword from himself, but fails to. As Hiro approaches he shifts his attention to the woman laying on the ground, bleeding from the abdomen. He takes a knee, looking down at her and then over to Kensei. “How…”

Kensei was about to answer, to cut Hiro off, but the sound of more footsteps crunching through the treelines steals Kensei’s answer and his focus. Hiro didn’t hear the footsteps, but he sees Kensei’s eyes move away from him and around the periphery of the forest trail. A dozen men and women emerge from the woods, most of whom are armed with bows and have arrows nocked and trained on both Kensei and Hiro. Hesitantly, Hiro raises his hands in surrender and splutters out a, “Wait!” Then, remembering he’s speaking English tries, “«Don’t shoot!»”

The people coming out of the woods don’t fire, though it isn’t because of Hiro’s plea. One of them, a grizzled man with receding hair steps between the archers. They don’t look like samurai to Hiro, most of them don’t even look like soldiers. At least not the ones he’d seen in movies. The longer this goes on, the more certain he is that something dreadful happened when he attempted to teleport away from Sylar. The pit of Hiro’s stomach churns.

“«My name is Hiro Nakamura,»” Hiro says with a nervous smile up to the grizzled fighter as he approaches, “«this is all a huge misund— »”

And then he knocks Hiro out with a single punch.

Some Time Later

“Wake up.”

Hiro finally hears as he’s kicked in the side, eliciting a soft groan and a gradual opening of his eyes. Hiro can’t make out too many details of his surroundings, everything further away than his hands are misshapen blurs. He can feel the bite of rope around his wrists, feels that he’s sitting up and has something firm at his back, probably a post. At least he imagines as much, because Takezo Kensei is apparently tied to the post opposite of him in much the same fashion, one leg outstretched from the kick.

“Why did you kick me?” Hiro groans, half-aware of his surroundings. “Leave me alone,” he adds, slouching forward against the restraints. Kensei narrows his eyes and looks at something off into the blurry distance, then returns his attention to Hiro.

“I kicked you because I figured you’d want to be let out when I escape,” Kensei explains with a roll of his eyes. “You’re as much a prisoner here as I am.” None of that makes a lick of sense to Hiro, who bristles against his restraints.

“You’re Takezo Kensei aren’t you?” Hiro asks, bewildered. Kensei can’t help but smirk and laugh under hi sbreath.

“The one and only, though I’m surprised anyone knows me by name.” Kensei glances to something out of sight, a blot of a fire burning in what is presumably a hearth of some kind. “Your English is quite good,” he adds, as if this were a normal situation and a normal conversation.

Hiro represses the urge to say thank you, and instead focuses on the immediate and confusing problem at hand. “You’re Takezo Kensei, you’re a hero, why have these people taken you captive? Are they White Beard’s men?” Kensei’s eyes narrow, his head tilts to the side and he raises one brow slowly.

“Excuse me?” It’s all that Kensei can muster.

“You are the champion of the battle of 100 swords, trained by the Dragon of Kiso Mountain!” Hiro excitedly explains, eyes alight. It’s easy to forget where he had come from, being in a world like this, being in a place that feels so much like a dream. Hiro questions the very nature of his own reality in this experience. Kensei finds no amusement, or truth, in any of it.

“You might be the first sober person to ever call me a hero, and you did it without winking,” Kensei notes with a click of his tongue. “Look, Carp, I’m not a hero. I wasn’t trained by a dragon, and these people are going to execute — well, you probably — if we don’t get out of here. Aren’t you from the mainland? You know English, you’re — what — a merchant? Son of a merchant? I imagine the reward for rescuing you would be sizable.

Reward?” Hiro asks, affronted. “No, you’re— you are not a mercenary. You are a hero, you save the people of Japan from a terrible warlord!” Now Kensei laughs just full-on belly laughs and waves one hand flippantly in the air.

Hiro’s eyes focus on the hand—

Bones in Kensei’s wrist snap back into place, twisted fingers pop back into joint. He’s— healing. Hiro suddenly remembers the predicament he’d found Kensei in, pinned to a tree by a sword. Soon, Kensei is shrugging off his rope bonds and slipping out from between them to stand up straight. “You’ve got me confused with someone else, Carp. I’m no hero, I’m a sell-sword who stole some power from a witch.” He can’t help but laugh at the absurdity of it. “Now, are you going to come with me back to the mainland, or would you like to take your chances here with the uh,” Kensei looks around and then back to Hiro. “Locals?”

Hiro looks away from Kensei, down to the shadows and blurry shapes at the edges of his vision. He sighs, softly, then slouches in defeat. He can’t imagine what purpose there is now, in his ability, in his life if he failed to defeat Sylar. But Hiro refuses to simply lay down and die, and if these people would see him executed…

“Fine,” Hiro says dejectedly, and Kensei kneels down and unties Hiro with a lopsided smile.

“Alright then, Carp. Tag along now,” Kensei says with a shake of his head, offering a hand out to Hiro. “And… for the love of God stop calling me Kensei, my name is Adam.” Hiro looks at the hand, then up at Adam, then finally takes the offered hand and is hauled up to his feet. Reflexively, Hiro reaches up to adjust his glasses but finds only the bridge of his nose. He curses, inwardly, and looks around.

“I can’t see well without my glasses, where are we?” Hiro asks softly. “And how are we going to escape? I think— I can hear a lot of people talking outside.”

“We only have to get a little bit further, Carp. This whole place is about to become a very large mess in short order.” Adam admits with a roll of his shoulders, angling a look back to Hiro. “I wasn’t alone out there. The Emperor sent an entire company of sell-swords with me, I was just the vanguard.” He cracks a smile. “I’d intended to find the rebel camp and lead the soldiers to it, but it looks like Shakushain’s people did it for me.”

“Rebel?” Hiro says in a small voice. “Camp?” His eyes dart from side to side, pieces of history he wishes he’d paid better attention to as a boy flying past. Instead, he latches on to what he knows. “No, no, you are not Darth Vader. This is the rebel base, you can’t destroy Alderaan!”

Adam steps around Hiro and claps a hand over his mouth, winding his other arm around his neck in a snug chokehold. “Keep your voice down,” he says. “And stop shouting bloody nonsense.” Adam looks toward the fire for a moment, then back to Hiro. “Carp, the Emperor just wants Shakushain. Once the head of the rebellion is captured, this’ll all be over. He doesn’t want the villagers.”

Hiro says nothing, what with the hand over his mouth, but he nods and mumbles in understanding. Even if that understanding is in stark disagreement to what Adam is suggesting. The first cries that come from outside the building they’re in elicit a jerk of Hiro’s head and Adam’s as well. “Party’s started,” he says in a whisper, “come on, let’s get moving.”

Any reluctance Hiro has is stuffed down as he follows close on Adam’s heels, struggling to make out details of the wooden building they’re in as they make their way to an apparently unguarded exit. Shouts of alarm and cries echo in the night and Adam pushes a hand against Hiro’s chest moving him up against the wall beside the door they’d emerged through. “Stick close to me, this should be over soon.”

As Hiro and Adam weave through what increasingly looks like a village to Hiro, the notion that whatever is happening will be ‘over soon’ feels like a lie. The sounds of combat are all around them, swords clashing and screams. Adam is forced into hand-to-hand combat with three different residents who recognize him for who he is, and after the third such quick and brutal confrontation Hiro stops Adam with a firm hand on his shoulder.

“Kensei— Adam,” Hiro says, hearing the hastening of Adam’s breathing beginning to level out. “Is this what you really want? This— this is a massacre. People are dying.” Adam looks back at Hiro with a flinch, then knocks his hand off of his shoulder.

“Do I look like I care?” Adam snaps back, then turns his attention to the sound of approaching footfalls. “Aha, the local cavalry has arrived. Come on, Carp, let’s go.” Grabbing a hold of Hiro’s collar, Adam yanks him forward and Hiro — already off balance — is hauled along at Adam’s heel. “«You there! I’ve found a merchant captive, clear a path for me out of the camp.»” Adam calls out to presumed allies.

All Adam receives in return is the solid shaft of an arrow in the neck. Gurgling out a cry, Adam falls backwards from the force of the blow, his hand coming unwound from Hiro’s collar. A second arrow whips by Hiro close enough that he can feel the breeze on his cheek, this one striking into Adam’s stomach. Hiro freezes, throws his hands up into the air and stares at the dark shapes moving closer through the village streets. As they get closer, he can make out more of their details. Two of them are men in lacquered armor like Kensei’s, but not as heavy. Two are lighter dressed, flanking a third who is wearing an immaculate black and white robe and a tall black hat.

Adam spits blood, tearing the arrow out of his throat. “W-what the fuck?” Hiro backs away, watching the archers keeping a close eye on him. “Asakura,” Adam says to the robed figure, “what are you bloody doing here?”

“«Don’t address me in that filthy dog-tongue of yours»,” Asakura says, fixing a steady look at Hiro. “«Who are you?»” It’s a question Adam hadn’t even cared to ask. To which Hiro looks behind himself, then back to Asakura and points at himself with wide eyes and raised brows.

Me?” Hiro asks, slipping into English. Asakura rolls his eyes and motions to two of his guards who are swift to restrain Hiro, dragging him onto his knees. Asakura then turns to Adam, extending a hand toward him with two fingers pointing like horns toward him.

“«Yours was never a gift, outsider. It was a loan.»” When Asakura finishes that sentence a crackling bolt of crimson light leaps from his hand, striking Adam in the chest and throwing him back down onto the ground. The bolt of energy snaps and arcs between the two, then pulses back toward Asakura’s outstretched hand leaving Adam incapacitated on the ground. “«And now you have outlived your usefulness as an attack dog. The Emperor thanks you for your service.»”

Gasping for breath, Adam clutches the arrow still lodged in his abdomen and exhales a violent, shuddering breath. Pain is something Adam had become numb to — something he was aware of intellectually, but had no effect on him — that now came back with all the force of a brick to the head. Blood covers Adam’s hands and he knows, he can feel bone-deep, that he is not regenerating any longer. Hiro can see that change, has read enough comic books to get the jist of what just happened to Adam’s power. He looks back to Asakura with wide eyes and shouts, “Villain!” At the top of his lungs. “Give Kens— ” is as far as Hiro gets before Asakura’s men strike him in the back of the head and send him slouching forward.

“«You call— call me a dog. But you’re the one— you’re— the one without honor. At least let me— let me die on my— on my f-feet.»” Adam gasps out the words in large, gulping breaths. Asakura regards Adam out of the corner of his eyes, then looks to Hiro groggily shaking his head, and back to the blonde foreigner again. With a roll of his eyes, Asakura laughs and motions to one of his men who throws a wakazashi down onto the muddy ground at Adam’s side.

Hiro catches the movement of the sword in his poor vision, realizes what is happening as his head clears. When Adam takes a knee with one hand clutching the arrow at his stomach, he knows the man he knew as Takezo Kensei would never survive a fight like this as wounded as he is. Yet, Adam still picks up the short sword, spitting blood on the ground and shakily coming to stand. There are fires burning in the outskirts of the village, screams and sounds of combat, but here in this narrow street between buildings it is dark.

One of Asakura’s men releases Hiro and draws a sword, advancing on Adam. With one arm free, Hiro reaches inside of his jacket and grabs something from the inside pocket. He knows he has to think fast, knows he has to do something or history as he knows it could…

What, unravel? Suddenly, Hiro isn’t sure which fictional model of time travel applies here. Worst case scenario is Back to the Future, and he doesn’t want to disappear.

“«C’mon, I’ll take y-you all on…»” Adam says with a slur, flexing his fingers around the now blood-soaked grip of his wakazashi. Asakura’s soldier cracks a smile and takes his sword in two hands, then lunges forward and—


A blinding flash floods the darkness from over Adam’s shoulder. Asakura’s men are momentarily dazed by the light, leaving Adam and opening narrow enough to accomplish his grim task. As he moves forward that short blade finds an exposed throat, cutting it all the way down from chin to spine with a gurgling scream. He shoulders that dying man aside, flourishes up and slashes six inches into the face of the man beside him, cutting out his eye and splitting his jaw open. That soldier crumples to the ground, screaming and writhing in the dirt.

Before the archers can clear their vision, Adam has closed the distance on them. One arrow is loosed over his shoulder and strikes the wall beside Hiro’s head, but the archer is met with a fourteen inch long length of steel through his mouth and out the back of his neck. Adam growls, blood running from his lips, and uses leverage to chop his sword through the side of the archer’s face. He sees the second archer starting to retreat and follows through, throwing the sword with an underhanded toss, embedding the blade in the small of the archer’s back. He too drops to the ground screaming.

Asakura, caught off-guard, delivers a swift kick to Adam’s injured midsection sending him crumpling to his knees. But out of the corner of his eye he can see Hiro with some sort of black rectangle in one hand and a sword from a fallen imperial soldier in the other. Stepping backward, Asakura inhales sharply and then vanishes in a whirl of seething heat mirage distortions.

Teleportation?” Hiro asks with a gasp before remembering what was happening. He looks down to Adam, laying on his side with an arrow in his stomach and drops the sword he’d taken. Hurrying to Adam’s side, Hiro slings one of the foreign swordsman’s arms around his shoulder and struggles to get him to his feet. “Up, up,” Hiro insists, which elicits a bark of laughter from Adam.

“Just let me die here, Carp.” Adam says with a wheezing breath. Hiro’s brows furrow, lips press together in a thin line and he exhales a determined snort and finds hi strength, hauling Adam up onto his feet.

No.” Hiro adamantly insists. “You are Takezo Kensei, you are a hero and— ” Hiro looks around at the distant, blurry shadows and crackling fire, hears the sounds of screams beyond. “You— you are a hero and— and I will save you.”

Adam laughs again, though it breaks into a cough halfway through. “Carp,” he says bitterly, “I’m no hero.” But all the same, Hiro is dragging him away in the direction of the darkness beyond the village, keeping the fire and the screams at his back.

“Maybe not,” Hiro says with a wrinkle of his nose, “but neither was I…” He looks away from Adam, down to the black rectangle he’d retrieved from his jacket.

His cell phone.

“…until I learned how.”

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