The Moonlit Path

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

Chapter 3 (v.1) - Moon

Submitted: September 12, 2019

Reads: 69

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Submitted: September 12, 2019

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The early morning breeze against his face and the memories it brought to mind caused him to smile as he gazed at the vast expanse of sea.  It was a clear, sunny day and as far as he could see toward the horizon the blue water, fading in the haze of distance, appeared to merge seamlessly with the equally blue sky.  As majestic a view as it was from where he stood on the shipyard dock of this small coastal town, he was certain it paled in significance to the view he might have from a sea-going vessel in mid ocean with no land in sight.

“Yoshida san…”

Hearing his name spoken, Tadashi Yoshida turned his eyes from the sea to the protection forces officer who had just walked up behind him.

“Hai,” he replied, “You must be Captain Hideo…”

“I am,” he said as he lowered his eyes to gaze for a moment at the twin swords the young man had secured by his obi(belt). "I was told you are searching for the Left Hand of God.”

“Hai,” said Tadashi. “I am his apprentice. We were separated when the empire no longer required the service of the samurai. I’ve managed to follow his exploits as far as this place.”

“Ah so,” Captain Hideo spoke slowly while turning his gaze to the sea. “He is quite a hero. The first time he was here he rescued a young girl held hostage by a ruthless undesirable. Afterward he left on a ship bound for the continent. When he returned a few months later he paid me a short visit before leaving for Tsukimi. It was some time ago. That was when I last saw him.”

“Tsukimi…” Tadashi Yoshida repeated thoughtfully, “Moon-view… Ariegatou gozaimasu (Thank you). Could you perhaps tell me, Captain, how would one get to Tsukimi from here?"

 

That night, and miles away from Captain Hideo’s village, Yukari Yoshida strained her eyes to read as the flame of the large candle on her left began to flicker. ‘Almost gone…’ she thought to herself when she inspected the stone lamp. It was no wonder that she was tired, she reasoned, as she closed her eyes and gently rubbed the lids with her index fingers. When she opened them her attention was diverted to the shadows on the wall. They quivered and seemed to dance in the flickering light save for one, a large one that remained still. She stared at the dark black shape a few seconds and momentarily felt a chill at the back of her neck. It moved then, but unlike the other shadows it eased over to one side.

Yukari placed both hands on the table and slowly sat up straight, all the while gazing at the ebony mass. It seemed as if time had stopped until, startled by a sudden knock on the door, she gasped loudly and at that moment the shadow came alive and sped across the room, knocking a metal bowl off a small table in the process. As it landed with a clang and bounced over the wood floor the door swung violently open and a black clad girl, one hand on the hilt of her wakizashi (short sword), rushed into the room directly in the path of the retreating mass. In a blur of motion she drew her blade and sliced through the shapeless black blob, splitting it in two. Each half circumvented the girl, raced toward a large, ornately framed mirror and disappeared into the face of the glass. It happened so quickly that neither she nor Yukari was certain it happened at all.

“Yoshida sama!” she exclaimed. “Are you okay?”

“I’m unharmed, Moon (Usagi),” she responded, “but shaken.”

“What was that noise?” Usagi scanned the room as she spoke.

“A bowl hit the floor,” Yukari replied as if in a daze. “Something knocked it off the table…”

“Something?” Usagi repeated. “That thing..."

“Hai…” she replied pensively. “Then it did happen.”

“It did…” said Usagi.

Following a brief pause Yukari asked Usagi to help lay the mirror face down on the floor. She did so without question. When it was done they left the room, and Yukari locked it from the outside.

“That should do for now,” she decided. “Tomorrow I’ll have workers paint over the glass. I would like you to carry a message to my cousin Kaji at the Shrine of Autumn Mists.”

“Hai,” Usagi replied.

“I will explain as we walk the corridor,” said Yukari. “By the way, what prompted you to come to the library at this late hour?”

“Something,” Usagi replied. “A ‘feeling’…I can’t explain it, but was compelled to check on you...” she said slowly without completing the sentence.

Yukari stared at her a moment before asking… “What is it? What are you thinking?”

“Something odd,” she replied. “It just occurred to me. When I entered your room my hand automatically went for my short sword. The handle was vibrating…as if in anticipation.”

“Are you certain of that?” Yukari asked.

“Hai,” she replied. “It was as if it was somehow aware of something amiss and anxious for use. That’s never happened before.”

“It seems,” Yukari surmised, “that we are dealing with something extremely unusual.”

“Hai,” Usagi agreed. “Something not of this world…”

 


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