Chapter 43: Wind

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

Reads: 51

Jangmi, after departing from the twins, was undecided what to do next. Evading capture was paramount, but she needed an agenda, a plan. She did consider joining Fire and Ice in their search for their sister and the samurai, but decided otherwise out of fear she would only bring them trouble. Now, after serious consideration, she wondered whether or not Fate was prompting her to ally with them.

“If once more,” she decided aloud, “if there is one more incident linked to those girls or the Left Hand of God, then I will follow what must be my destiny.”

That decision give her an objective, a plan, which was better than no plan at all. She couldn’t accept being a leaf in the wind; indiscriminately going wherever the winds of change carried her.

Her thoughts were abruptly interrupted as her keen sense of hearing detected the silver dart that materialized suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere. It whistled past her face as she turned her head to evade the airborne weapon. Her quick movement, although subtle, startled the horse. Raising up on its hind legs, it twisted its head and torso erratically, almost dislodging her from its back. As she steadied the animal, a second dart pierced her left shoulder. While she struggled to remain seated and grasp the dart with her right hand, two black-clad men emerged from the trees left side of the road. A numbing of her left arm below where the dart penetrated her shoulder made it difficult to control the horse as she aimed the weapon at one of her assailants.

He managed to avoid it and the pair were almost within arms-length when, in a sudden blur of motion out of the blue, like the dart that wounded her, a woman in white appeared.

Swift as an arrow, her twin blades flashing, she took the men by surprise. In a blink, both fell lifeless, like heavy rice sacks to the ground. The deed done, she stood statue-still as the leaves they stirred up slowly settled back onto surface of the earth at her feet. She nonchalantly flicked the blood from her blades before returning them to their respective sheaths.

Jangmi meanwhile, was overcome by a dizziness that made it impossible to remain erect. Her savior reacted quickly, grasped the horse’s tether with one hand to steady the animal, and with the other prevented Jangmi from falling. As she helped her dismount, she was visibly surprised to hear her say… “You must be Wind.”

“How would you know that?”

“I’ve heard about you from your sister, Silence.”

“I trust what she had to say was good.”

“It was good,” assured Jangmi as her unsteady legs failed to support her weight. “Unlike my other sisters,” she told me, “Wind wears white, which is traditional for mourning and funerals. Her movements are fluid and flowing like a breeze, but instantly can become a gale. When fighting she is like a Reaper.”

“She should be a poet,” ventured Wind, as she aided the wounded girl to a tree beside the road. Sitting her with her back resting against the tree, she removed a dagger from her obi and warned Jangmi… “This may hurt,” after which she loosed her top, bared her shoulder and made an x-shaped incision on the wound. “It has to drain,” she explained. “After this, the toxin won’t kill you if you’re strong.”

Then, giving Jangmi a small twig and telling her to bite down on it, she placed her lips over the wound and began to draw out as much of the poison as possible. “This will make me ill,” she said after spitting out a mouthful of fluid.

“Then why do it?” asked Jangmi through clenched teeth, her face distorted by pain.

“I’m trying to save a life. I prefer to do that as opposed to taking one. Preserving life…that warms my heart.”

She spit out more tainted blood, then declared… “That should do it,” after which she tore fabric from the veil that partially covered her face. As she bandaged the wound, she wondered… “Where did you meet Silence?”

“In a forest near a waterfall. She was traveling with a samurai. A Korean by birth. Ahn Sung Ji.”

“The Left Hand of God…” remarked Wind.

“He must have quite a reputation,” ventured Jangmi.

“Even though we’re sheltered from the outside world on our mountain, we leave on missions often enough to have heard of the wandering samurai. His exploits are legendary.”

“Dea,” said Jangmi. “He is a countryman.”

“I thought so,” said Wind. “You don’t appear to be Japanese.”

“Nor do you,” replied the Korean girl.

“My mother was Chinese,” she confided. “My father was a mariner who often sailed to China to trade for goods. It was there that he met my mother. During his last voyage he was swept overboard in a storm and was lost at sea. My mother pined for him, and soon after her health failed. She succumbed to a fever from which she never recovered. After her death Sensei Hawk took me in and trained me to be one of his hired killers. But those days are past. I’ll never kill for him again.”

A sudden thought occurred to Jangmi; “I’ve met the twins. When we parted they were going to search for Silence and the samurai.”

“We’ve no time to look for them now. I need to bring you to the Shrine of Autumn Mists. My old caretaker, Chiharu, can nurse you back to health. If possible, I will try to find the samurai and my sisters before they reach the mountain. It will be best to combine our strengths against Sensei and his men.”

“Were you looking for your ‘sisters’ when you stopped to help me?”

“Hai,” she replied. “Chiharu overheard Sensei command those two men who attacked you to follow the twins and make certain they completed their mission. If they failed, the men were to do it, and kill my sisters as well. What they didn’t know, is that I was following them.”

“Sensei Hawk, it seems, is not to be trusted.”

“I believe he was responsible for the death of the twin’s parents, and the family of Silence. My sisters, Water, Storm and I have unanimously agreed to no longer follow him, and hope to convince the other four girls to join us. It would be best if we seven defy him as ‘one’. He is a master of deceit, and has some knowledge of the black arts.”

“I would like to meet Sensei Hawk,” Jangmi declared.

“Why so?”

“To repay a favor,” she replied. Noting Wind’s confusion, she explained… “You rescued me. My life is yours now, until I can repay. Joining your rebellion is a good way to do that. Also, I would like to see Silence and Ahn Sung Ji again. I owe them an apology for leaving unannounced.”

“How is the pain?” Wind asked.

“It’s keeping me awake. I was wondering. The two that attacked me…they were your brothers?”

“They are two of Sensei Hawk’s ‘children of the night’. In a way I suppose they were my brothers, but they were sent to eliminate the twins if they failed to find and eradicate Danjo Kuriyama’s killer and the Left Hand of God. They would have killed my sisters, which made them my enemies. Anyway, although we trained together at times, we girls lived separately from the boys as we grew. In all the years we have been at the Shrine of Autumn Mists, there was only one male we thought of as a brother, Wataru. We never called him by name, only as big brother. He was ninja, but was humble and kind. He preferred calligraphy, poetry and painting as opposed to weapons, and often questioned Sensei’s motivations. Sensei resented him because he was admired by us and the nun Chiharu. He was eventually sent on a mission from which he never returned. There was speculation Sensei sent another to eliminate him because he asked too many questions.”

Jangmi nodded her head... “It does seem more than a coincidence.”

“Enough talk,” said Wind. “I need to get you to Chiharu. We can’t waste any more time.”

Submitted: August 29, 2019

© Copyright 2020 C Wm Bird. All rights reserved.


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