The Moonlit Path

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

Chapter 5 (v.1) - Idleness

Submitted: September 16, 2019

Reads: 61

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Submitted: September 16, 2019

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“Idleness leads a soul to mischief,” declared Chiharu.

“And mischief leads a soul to trouble,” Storm added.

The sound of their voices startled the napping ninja. He stirred, yawned, stretched out his legs and after rubbing his sleep filled eyes he arose. He looked first at Chiharu, then Storm, who slowly clenched her fists as she glared at him.

“Correct me if I’m mistaken, Mifune” she stated with more than a hint of sarcasm, “but were you not given a task to perform? Are you not supposed to be somewhere, doing something?"

Speechless at first, momentarily he declared… “Well…now that I’ve given it some thought, I’m sure that I should be helping my brothers tend the rice field,” after which he did an about face and hurried off.

The moment he disappeared from view, Chiharu chuckled.

“Nani,” questioned Storm. “What is it?"

“It is rather obvious he is lazy,” Chiharu replied with a smile, then indicating Storm’s still clenched fists, she added… “but he’s not entirely stupid.”

The ninja girl considered the nun’s words a moment, then smiled. “I suppose that’s true,” she admitted. “Not entirely stupid, but still lazy, as if his life depended on it.”

Once he had put some distance between himself and Storm, Mifune slowed down to a snail’s pace. He was out of danger and it was after all a beautiful Spring day, just right for a leisurely stroll. Too, if he took his time his brothers in arms would have more of the day’s work done, and therefore less for him to do. Smiling contentedly, he began to hum as he casually strolled toward the rice field. He only managed to cover a short distance before noticing three riders on the path that led to the base of the mountain. Curious, he paused, waiting for them to come closer.

When they were near he noticed Ice in the lead, and he recognized the wizard Mizaki’s daughter Ai behind her. She rode a Mongolian, like Ice, while the young girl beside her was mounted on a pony. Within a few moments they reined the horses to a halt in front of him.

“We have visitors,” Ice proclaimed happily.

“I remember you,” Mifune spoke while looking at Ai. "We met just before the samurai’s burial. And you’re Kasumi chan,” he said as he turned his attention to the young girl. “You’ve grown a bit.”

“It’s good to see you again,” said Ai, while Kasumi just smiled.

“I’m taking them to see Chiharu. Do you know where she is?” Ice asked.

“Hai. I just left her. She’s with Storm in the main building,” Mifune answered, then as an afterthought he added, “please don’t tell them you saw me.”

Ice gazed at him a moment with a disappointed expression.

“Are you in trouble again, Mifune san?” Kasumi inquired, then giggled.

“Well, you see…I wouldn't be if they weren't so demanding...” Mifune began.

“Never mind,” interrupted Ice. “I don’t want to get involved, but whatever it is you are supposed to be doing or wherever it is you are supposed to be I suggest you get there immediately. Otherwise you’ll have me to deal with as well as Storm and Chiharu.”

“Hai,” he quickly replied. “Arie gatou gozaimasu (thank you),” he said as he hurried off, leaving a small cloud of dust behind. “Welcome to the Shrine of Autumn Mists,” he called back to Ai and Kasumi before taking a sudden turn off the path.

A few minutes later the mounted trio arrived at the steps leading to the main building, only to find Chiharu, Storm, Bara and Sky waiting for them on the landing.

“Konichiwa’ (Good afternoon), Chiharu sama,” Ai greeted her, as Sky descended the stairs.

The nun returned the salutation, then mysteriously stated that…”we’ve been expecting you.”

Noting Ai’s puzzled expression, Chiharu said… “Come. Bara will explain.”

Sky meanwhile asked Kasumi to go with her… “Let them talk,” she told the young girl. “You can help me feed the koi in the garden pond."

“Hai,” she happily responded, and as they walked Kasumi asked… “Is Yuki here?"

“Yuki…” Sky wondered. “Ah, you asking about Silence. Yes, she’s here. You’ll see her later. But you do know she doesn’t like to be called Yuki, right?”

“No. I didn’t know that.”

“How did you know her birth name?” Sky asked.

“She told me. The last time I saw her.”

“Ah so…” Sky said thoughtfully, then smiled. “Well, I know Silence likes you, so maybe she won’t mind."

 

Inside the shrine’s main building, Storm served tea after Chiharu, Ice, Bara and Ai were seated at a table… “I thought to surprise you,” said Mizaki’s daughter, “but it seems as if Kasumi and I were expected.”

“Bara foretold it,” said Chiharu.

“Asako told me in a vision while I was sleeping," Bara revealed. "I know that Kenji Tanaka’s health is not good, and that you convinced him to sell his farm. Dame Sanada has given you permission to bring him and Kasumi to her estate to live with you and your father."

"Hai," Ai confirmed."

“Soon,” Bara continued, “a retainer of Yukari Yoshida, Usagi (Moon), will arrive here to enlist our aid in dealing with a fearsome threat, a minion connected with the entity now imprisoned beneath this mountain. Asako told me that since it cannot now hurt her, it seeks to harm those who Sung Ji cared for, especially Asuka, who carries within her an essence of Asako’s spirit.”

“That happened when we freed my sister Fire from the demon that controlled Hawk,” said Ice.

“Hai,” said Bara. “Asako said that a servant of that entity is seeking to enter this world through Yukari's mirror, the only doorway available since Mizaki san’s mirror is already secured away at the Dark Shrine.”

“The Edo Shrine,” Ai said suddenly.

“No longer,” replied Bara. “Since your father’s mirror is there, the shrine has been infected with negative energy.”

“I see,” Ai said slowly, then quickly added that… “we have to warn Asuka. She is like a sister to us all.”

“Ice and Sky will do that,” proclaimed Chiharu.

“My horse is already saddled and ready to go,” said Ice proudly."

 

While they formulated the best strategy to deal with their current difficult situation, in the protection forces headquarters of a seaside village Aika and Aiko Nakama were smiling contentedly as Captain Hideo handed them a bag of coins. “That’s quite a reward,” he said. “Almost enough to retire on.”

“Oh but we can’t retire,” Aika began.

“Not when there are so many wanted outlaws roaming Japan,” Aiko explained.

“But we will take a brief vacation,” said Aika.

“To look for someone who isn’t wanted,” added Aiko.

“Someone who isn’t wanted?”

“Hai. We’re seeking a samurai. The Left Hand of God,” Aiko replied.

“Interesting,” Captain Hideo reasoned. “There was a young ronin here recently. An aonisaibyshi (low ranking samurai). He too was searching for Ahn Sung Ji."

“Was he handsome?” Aiko asked excitedly.

“Did he give you his name?” interrupted Aika.

“Hai. Tadashi Yoshida was his name."

“My husband!” Aiko shrieked.

“Mine!” Aika defiantly declared.

“You’re both married to the same man?”

“No. Sorry Captain,” Aika responded. “Neither of us are married to him…”

“We both like him, and hope that he will choose one of us,” said Aiko.

“He was at one time apprentice to Ahn Sung Ji. We know he was searching for him…” Aika revealed.

“And he has never failed when searching for someone,” Aiko continued.

“So you decided that if you found Sung Ji, you would eventually find Tadashi Yoshida.”

“Hai!” they replied in unison.

“Then you should go immediately to Tsukimi.”

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2019 C Wm Bird. All rights reserved.

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