The Moonlit Corridor

Reads: 2520  | Likes: 2  | Shelves: 1  | Comments: 30

More Details
Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 36 (v.1) - Yuki

Submitted: August 28, 2019

Reads: 31

Comments: 1

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 28, 2019

A A A

A A A

The morning sun shined brightly over Kenji Tanaka’s small rice farm. While he and Kasumi chan prepared provisions for their guests, Sung Ji and Silence were preparing their horses for the journey ahead. He had decided to accompany her back to Sensei Hawk’s mountain stronghold. The previous night, after everyone had retired, Silence informed him that… “I didn’t want to say in front of the others. Since I didn’t complete my mission, Sensei Hawk will send another, regardless of Sanada’s death. For my master it’s a matter of reputation. He’ll make certain the task for which he was paid is carried out. I must return to end the matter, otherwise Kenji Tanaka and his granddaughter are still in danger.”

“I assumed so,” Sung Ji said. “But you won’t be returning alone.”

“It won’t be easy,” she confided. “Especially if Sensei retreats to his private quarters. They’re built into the mountain and difficult to reach, even for ninja.”

“I welcome a challenge,” he declared.

Silence knew it was pointless to protest. Rather than argue she demurely nodded her head.

 

Today, as they prepared their mounts, Silence felt as if she was being watched. Abruptly looking his direction she discovered the samurai gazing at her.

“Nani (What)?” she asked.

“I was just thinking that a beautiful young woman like you should be planning her wedding, rather than preparing for a journey that will most likely end in bloodshed. You should be thinking of ‘sa-rang’ (love), not swords.”

She was stunned. If it had been any other man she would already have struck him… “I know nothing of love,” she said in a melancholy tone. “Only what little I remember of my family. I thought at one time perhaps Sensei loved me, but he only trained me to kill…to end life. That goes against nature, does it not?”

He didn’t reply, only listened as tears began to form in her eyes.

“Of course it does,” she continued without giving him a chance to respond. “There was a time I had no faith in love. I didn’t trust in love and honestly doubted there was any sincerity in this world.”

“And now…” the samurai wondered.

“I don’t know about love between a man and woman… I’ve heard it often leads to treachery. That kind of mutual love may or may not endure, but I believe love has many facets and without it the world would be a cruel place indeed. As a woman trained to kill, I feel when doing so it’s evil. Women were made to give life: to mother beautiful children like Kasumi chan. That is the direct result of one kind of love.”

Sung Ji nodded in agreement.

“When I was young, being trained as ninja, there was an older girl who was like a big sister. She cared for and protected me. She loved me, I’m certain, and I loved her like a paternal sister. I had other sisters, and the nun Chiharu, who was like a mother to us.”

Sung Ji approached her, sympathy in his eyes. She looked up as he spoke. “I’ve only known war and fighting as a samurai, but I’ve begun to learn something about love these last three years…from someone that has already left this world. I’ve learned love endures, is far-reaching and endless, transcending this temporal world, and is stronger than anything else in Hana-Nim’s (God’s) creation.”

The conversation was interrupted suddenly by someone shouting. It was Kasumi, full of joy and passion, energetically running their direction with a bouquet of colorful flowers. Halting in front of Silence, she stretched out her arms to present the blossoms… “I picked these for you,” she proudly proclaimed, her eyes full of eagerness, “so you’ll not forget me.”

Silence was speechless as her somber expression morphed to one of surprise, then happiness. Accepting the bouquet with both hands she bowed, expressing her gratitude.

“Of course I won’t forget you, Tenshi. And if all goes well I’ll see you when my work is finished.”

Kasumi beamed… “Yaku-so-ku’ (Promise)?”

“Yaku-so-ku!” she replied.

“I’m going to tell Oji-san,” she exclaimed excitedly as she turned and ran toward the house. “We can prepare a room for you to stay and you can tell us your story.”

Silence and Sung ji smiled.

Abruptly stopping in her tracks, Kasumi turned and asked… “What is your birth name? The one given you by your parents.”

Aware of the samurai’s eyes on her as he curiously awaited her reply, she thought… ‘Had it been anyone else asking’… “Yuki,” she said, as if she had not heard the word in ages. “They named me Yuki.”

“Yuki?” said Kasumi. “It means ‘Snow’. I like it!” she proclaimed as she turned and continued toward the house. “Yuki…Yuki chan…Yuki san…Yuki sama….” She sang as she ran.

Hearing a chuckle, Silence turned to face the samurai. His smile instantly faded when he saw her stern expression and piercing eyes. Pretending he didn’t notice, he turned his attention to his Arabian’s saddle. At that precise moment, Ai called them to breakfast.

“Ah,” said Sung Ji, “saved…”

“Saved? I’ll deal with you later,” said Silence.  “We’re a long way from Sensei Hawk’s mountain.”

Thinking quickly, the samurai changed the subject… “We were talking about love when Kasumi brought you that beautiful bouquet. She must love you very much.”

Silence didn’t speak, but as they walked toward the house, though she had her head lowered, he could see a smile on her face. It looked good there, he mused.

Meanwhile, far from Kenji Tanaka’s home, the events of the last few days were being reported to a man known by the outside world as Sensei Hawk. Seated at a large rectangular table, he frowned in dissatisfaction while listening to the dust-covered ninja bowing before him. “Kenji Tanaka still lives,” he said nervously.

“And the child?”

“Reunited with her grandfather.”

Hawk’s expression turned from disappointment to anger… “And the samurai?”

“The Left Hand of God is with them…”

Sensei Hawk disliked hearing that. He knew Sung Ji’s reputation, and wondered if he could best him with the sword. The nun, Chiharu, had warned… “The moment you contend with him, you will have already lost.”

Finally, Hawk asked about his disciple… “And Silence…?”

“I saw her leaving Sanada san’s castle with the wizard, his daughter, and the child,” he replied, his voice shaking. “They joined the samurai and Tanaka. Silence returned to the castle and later emerged with a girl who carried a bow. They had two extra horses which they took to the others on the road.”

“Is that so?” reflected Hawk. “Perhaps she may yet complete her mission.”

“Perhaps…” replied the kneeling man.

“Aided by a girl with a bow…” Hawk said slowly. “Who could that be?”

“I have no idea,” replied the ninja.

“So why report now?” he shouted. “Why interrupt my life when you have work to do?”

“To inform you of Sanada San’s death.”

“What?” he exclaimed. “How? By whose hand?”

“I don’t know,” said the frightened man.

“Then I suppose you don’t know the whereabouts of the samurai, Tanaka and his granddaughter, or Silence!”

“Hai,” he reluctantly replied. “I ceased following them in order to report…”

“That was a stupid decision,” Hawk interrupted, after which he fell silent, momentarily studying his careless subordinate. “I find myself wondering, just what is your damage. Are you trying to personally sabotage my plans?”

“No sir…” he fearfully replied.

“Return. Find them!” Hawk screamed. “Fail me again, and you may as well take your own life. Fail to do that and I’ll send your comrades to do it for you. Don’t appear before me again until you’ve completed your task!”

“Hai,” said the ninja, still on his knees. Bowing deeply, he touched his forehead to the mat, then backed his way to the sliding doors and quietly made his exit, inwardly thanking the gods of war that his master gave him a chance to redeem himself.

 

Long after his inept disciple departed, a brooding Hawk was wondering whether or not he erred by sending Silence on this mission. His thoughts drifted far back into the past, to when her parents died. Miyamoto, Ichiban and three others were fleeing from the authorities. Their flight brought them to Tsukimi during the annual moon viewing festival. It was fate, just happenstance that the outlaws choose to rob her family. He managed to hide the truth from Silence all these years, and an even darker secret. He had begun to fear that she may manage somehow to piece the puzzle together. If she discovered the truth, she would no doubt return to confront him, or worse.

The possibility concerned him. She was the best ‘konoichi shinobi’ (female ninja) he had produced, and perhaps she was even better than him. Too, if she turned against him, her shinobi sisters would also, especially if they knew the truth. There were her elders, Water, Wind and Storm, her same-age ‘sister’ Sky, and the younger girls, Sasami and Sasumi; paternal twins whom he called Fire and Ice. To compound matters, the Left Hand of God may become involved.

He was still sitting in deep thought when twilight came, while destiny slowly unfolded. Alone in the approaching darkness, he began to prepare his mind for what may come…for the unpredictable…for the possibility of justice or retribution finding him at last.

 

 


© Copyright 2019 C Wm Bird. All rights reserved.

Chapters

Add Your Comments:

Comments