A Time Traveller's Guide To Feudal Japan Chapter 34 - The Importance Of Family
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'A warrior, huh?'
Gengyo thought to himself as he walked toward the row of servant bungalows.
It was not a path he had ever wanted to pursue, but then he supposed he might have been a little naïve in his thinking. How would one be able to live a peaceful life if they were unable to protect themselves and their family?
How could you do everything necessary to defend your tranquillity - including the act of killing - without adopting the mindset of a warrior?
Of course, he did end up taking his first life yesterday, but he had not had time to properly consolidate such an event. He knew it had altered his psyche slightly - a few bricks were taken out of an otherwise stable structure - but he did not know how to address such problems.
It was rarely a situation a modern man would have to deal with, aside from perhaps soldiers. Though some never seemed to come to terms with that act, and developed psychological issues.
In following the path of a warrior, he hoped he might find the answers that modern people could never provide.
For that, he was grateful for Jikouji's lesson, though he supposed his motive was not simply to help him. He was more inclined toward cultivating something within him that might better serve the master.
His ruminating was interrupted by a servant girl carrying a tray of empty dishes, whose mind seemed to be elsewhere. She failed to see where the porch had ended, and stepped off without antic.i.p.ating the drop.
The result was a little bit of chaos.
She dashed about, incredibly fl.u.s.tered and embarra.s.sed by her clumsiness. Seeing as though it was right in front of him, Gengyo helped out, handing her two of the wooden bowls that had rolled away.
She bowed lightly - her face a deep shade of red - and hurried to leave.
The young man stopped her, feeling a little guilty about doing so.
"Do you by any chance know where the Miura family is staying?"
A hint of recognition pa.s.sed over her face, as she looked him up and down, only seemingly taking note of his appearance just then.
"Ah… uhm, your mother and sister are in the bathhouse, and uhm… your father and brother are behind the third bungalow, sitting in the garden."
"A bath, eh? Well, thank you."
He bowed lightly in return to her, and moved toward the building she had pointed out.
When he rounded the corner of the back of the bungalow, he noticed them instantly. They were sitting on a stone bench in the peaceful garden, observing the salmon swimming in the small pond and sharing idle conversation.
He approached them quietly, before speaking up from right behind them.
"Ah!" Was the all but simultaneous response.
They turned round to identify their a.s.sailant, and smiles soon formed quickly.
"Haha, it's Tadakata, eh? All in one piece, that's good to see."
His father spoke jovially, patting his shoulder roughly.
"All in one piece, but still bruised. Brother, where did you get that wound on your head?"
Gengyo laughed away his concern, simply happy to be reunited with them after the trials of last night and today.
"Haha, well you know how it is sleeping in a cage. But it's all sorted now - master Niwa is a good man."
"Aye, he's certainly got guts. Him declaring war on Toda like that. Gets my blood pumping it does - that's what a samurai has got to be like."
Masaatsu was a little more reserved in his evaluation.
"He is certainly a good man… but I cannot help but worry. It is well known that Toda has mercenaries under his command. Do we really stand a chance?"
He smiled at his brother, respecting his worry, but carefully setting him at ease.
"Do not fret, brother, Niwsan let me sit in on his planning - we'll be fine."
He squinted, as though trying to see through the pretence behind such words, but he seemingly found none, and instead did as his father had, and patted his younger brother on the shoulder.
"If you say so brother, then I'll trust it. But do not forget that we are here too - you do not need to shoulder any burden alone."
Though he had said nothing, Masaatsu had guessed that his younger brother had some sort of role in what was about to transpire. Such was the man his little brother had become, that he could even stand beside samurai and not look out of place.
"I have no doubt brother, and I will definitely need your help. We must find time to polish our bowmans.h.i.+p together before the battle."
"Hah? Did you youngins forget the man that defeated the demon Kyougoku unarmed?"
"Haha, of course, you will be needed too father - the master needs every man he can get, and I do not doubt that he will be glad to have you in his service."
The old man nodded seriously, twice, before bursting out in laughter, and pulling his son into a bear hug, slapping him vigorously on the back.
"Ahahaha, I'm glad nothing happened to you kid, you're a good lad."
"You too, dad."
Through the suffocating lock of the hug, he managed to squeeze out an additional question.
"So mother and Rin are bathing, then?"
He was released at that, as his father took great delight in explaining what had transpired.
"They wouldn't let us in without bathing and changing our clothes haha - we are quite the mess. I'm sure they're enjoying the bathing arrangements of a samurai mansion, eh? I'm quite looking forward to it too."
"We'll be able to go once they return, little brother. We've each been given a clean set of clothes to change into as well."
"Hoh... It seems we have even more to thank the master for."
"My thoughts were the same. Even the servants that dealt with us - despite pointing out that we needed to wash - did not show too much disrespect, and acted as though we are equals. It seems as though they took the master's earlier speech to heart."
"Mm… I'm happy to hear that."
A short while later, after a period of idle conversation, they were interrupted by a lively Rin who spotted Gengyo upon rounding the corner, and ran up with arms spread to give him a hug.
"Nii-san! You're alright!"
The young man quickly dodged her embrace, and held her back with his palm.
"Careful Rin, you'll get your new clothes dirty."
She pouted lightly, pretending to resist.
"It's fine! C'mon Tadakata…"
"Haha, you look pretty, little sister."
Her skin was a light pink from the heat of the water, and her previously bloodied hair was cleaned vigorously, and was s.h.i.+ning once more. She was dressed in a new, dark grey kimono, with a matching obi around her waist. Looking at her now, none could guess that she was of peasant origin.
She shamelessly did a little spin to show off.
"Do you think so?"
"I'm of the same opinion - you look like a samurai's daughter, Rin."
"Hoho, if she's a samurai's daughter, then does make you a samurai's wife, my dear f.u.ku-chan?"
f.u.ku bashfully accepted her husband's compliments, whilst attempting to stay from his grasp as not to soil her freshly washed skin and clothes.
They had to all but drag him toward the bathhouse in the end.
The time pa.s.sed quickly as they enjoyed the heated water of the bathhouse, sharing idle conversation.
The tall and handsome Masaatsu was the perfect image of a young samurai, and a few of the servant girls blushed as he pa.s.sed, adorned into his new kimono.
That was not to say the change in Gengyo's and Morohira's appearance was any poorer, as they were able to walk with their heads held high.
The rooms that they were given were clean, and fairly new as well. Their father had rolled upon the fresh tatami, exclaiming how bouncy it was, and it did not take Rin long to drop her newfound ladylike disposition, and hasten to do the same.
f.u.ku felt awkward seeing the food that was brought to them, as usually she was the one to do the cooking. Too much hospitality could leave one feeling uncomfortable, but after the enthusiastic dining of her fellow family members, she soon joined in.
They spoke long until darkness began to reign, for there was much to speak about.
Their life had been the very epitome of chaos since late last night, but thanks to Niwa's generosity, they had been able to come out of it rather well.
Gengyo carefully took note of their smiling faces, and hardened his resolve. He decided, for definite, that he would do as Jikouji said, even if it was only for the express purpose of paying back the master, it was certainly worth it.
Talk began of the war, and the smiles started to fade. The youngest son did his best to a.s.sure them that every effort was being made to ensure their victory, but it still could not be helped that they held doubts.
When the meal had concluded, he excused himself, and headed toward the gate.
He saw the flickering of a guard's torch coming toward him in the distance, and hurried himself behind a building, thinking that it might be better if he was not seen.
He heard the sound of retreating footsteps, and the glare of the torchlight grew dimmer, he then headed toward the gate, which was slightly ajar as usual.
He briefly wondered whether he was wasting his time, for given all that had transpired, it would be almost impossible for Akiko not to catch wind of it.
He imagined she would be rather joyful now, since the marriage that she had so detested had been called off. And he dared not blame her, after seeing her potential spouse in person. He could quite comfortably say - even after his 40 years - that Toda Naoyori was one of the worst people he had met.
But seeing that was as it was, he wondered whether she would still seek to escape the confines of the mansion's walls, in order to feel the freedom of the forest.
Though he needed not have worried. Right beside the mansions gates, leaning against a pillar, he saw the outline of a woman.
"Even when war is on the horizon, the lady still fears nothing."
She perked up at his words, seemingly surprised.
She thought to himself, as she looked at him up and down. He seemed like a different man now, even the air about him had changed.
His short hair was pushed back, with a small topknot sitting on top, and his jaw was fastened tightly shut, with a playful smile sitting on his lips.
But there was something more fearsome about him now, something sharper. She almost dared not to speak.
Was all she could manage to get out.
"Aye, it's me. Shall we?"
He offered his back for her to climb on, but she shook her head.
"It's feeling a little better today, so I think I might try walking awhile."
He nodded, still smiling.
"That sounds like a good idea. But don't push yourself too much, as you'll only prolong your recovery."
She began walking ahead with a slight limp, proving that she was able, before turning back with a look that told him to hurry up.
"Aren't we in a good mood today? Well, I suppose it's natural after what happened. You're finally free, eh?"
A Time Traveller's Guide To Feudal Japan Chapter 34 - The Importance Of Family
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A Time Traveller's Guide To Feudal Japan Chapter 34 - The Importance Of Family summary
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