A Time Traveller's Guide To Feudal Japan Chapter 47 - A Woman's Strife
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Ochi grunted in irritation, setting upon his two a.s.sailants with a renewed vigour. He struck toward the old man's ribs, only to have his blade deflected by the edge of Is.h.i.+yama's wakizas.h.i.+. Jikouji stepped inwards, breaking through his guard, and aiming low, at the mammoth's monster of a calve muscle.
The remaining mounted men licked their lips, admiring the huge feast of civilians that sat right next to them. Their eyes flickered from their prize, back to their aggressors, and their savage grins only grew wider.
A little boy began to cry louder, attracting the attention of a lumbering horseman, with hair so long that it looked like it had never been cut, and scars so savage that he seemed have spent his entire life fighting.
He strolled toward the boy, keeping one eye on the women behind him, enjoying the absolute power he held in that moment.
'Kukukuku, what fools.'
He thought to himself, bringing the heavy blade of his longsword high into the air, and feasting upon the boy's fearful expression.
It would be the perfect buffet, yet his grandmother did not show the slightest hint of emotion. Still, with his sword flying toward the boys head, he reasoned that with enough blood they might be able to awaken something in her yet.
A cry sounded out behind him. He did not pay it the least bit of mind - of course they were going to cry. He hoped they would.
That was, until, he saw the barbed point of a spear sticking through his chest, with pieces of his right lung hanging off it. He frowned slightly, not feeling any different, touching the cold metal - wet with his blood - with shaking fingers.
He turned to look at his attacker.
A young woman. Pretty enough. But crying. He wondered: why are you crying? Have you not won this fight?
And then his body convulsed, sending a torrent of blood bursting from his lips, as his heavy body crashed to the floor, only missing the young boy's feet by the smallest of fractions.
His eyebrows were still set in a look of curiosity, as they would for the rest of eternity.
Armed women began to rise from the crowd, forming a barrier between the savage hors.e.m.e.n, and the civilians that lay behind them.
Akiko lead her twenty women forward, completely surrounding the group.
She shot f.u.ku a look of sympathy, as tears freely flowed down the soft-hearted woman's face, and blood ran down the length of her spear shaft. But yet she had still retrieved her weapon, and was standing now, ready to fight.
She pondered for a second whether to offer them the chance of surrender, but when she took even a single glance at the maddened looks that were still firmly etched upon the beast's faces, she knew that such a thing would be a mistake.
Instead, she gave a single command, for the first time in her life.
"Kill them all."
Rin responded without hesitation, kicking off from the floor, and flying lightly through the air. Her target looked shocked at such agility, and barely had time to deflect the savage thrust that was bearing down on his neck. But the kick that followed was another story, and he fell from his horse.
Under the barrage of half a dozen spears, he was dead before he could even tell that he had hit the floor.
Similar stories were played out elsewhere, with the hors.e.m.e.n being heavily out-numbered. But the trouble occurred when a group of the weaker women congregated together, almost 5 of them. Yet their numbers no longer meant anything to the enemy. They stabbed at the target, leaving shallow wounds, but he shrugged them off with a mere grunt, cutting toward them with his gruesome axe.
Improperly trained, and unsure as how to defend, his target was killed instantly, her young, teenage face, forever of a mask of pain as the sharp axe burst through it, crus.h.i.+ng the skull and destroying the brain.
"Kakaka, more, MORE!"
He laughed insanely, running a tongue down the length of the sharpened axe blade, tasting the strong iron filled taste of blood.
The women froze with fear upon seeing their comrade cut down so easily, and in such a brutal fas.h.i.+on. They instinctively took a step back, allowing him even more room to wreak havoc.
Rin and Akiko were busy with their own trials, and had not yet managed to spare a glance in their direction. Instead, the mighty duo were slaying the rest of the hors.e.m.e.n at a speed that brought hope to their ranks.
With every horseman that fell, there was a cheer.
But still, in certain spots, not even 10 fighters - though of course these were some of the weaker bunch - could manage to bring down one man.
He continued to absorb the jabs toward his torso and legs, virtually ignoring them, as though they were as much bother to him as a small insect's sting.
And whoever stepped in too close, he would open their skulls, or rearrange their spines. On his third kill, he aimed for the head, swinging in low and slicing through the throat with ease. It even made its way through a good amount of the spine, but to his utmost displeasure, it still hung on by the thinnest of strands.
He cursed loudly.
Rin looked up, following the sound, and flicking the blood from her blade after the most recent kill. She felt a chill pa.s.s over her, noting the partially served head. There was something about it that she felt a degree of familiarity with.
'It can't be… Mum?'
She panicked, das.h.i.+ng over. Consumed by worry she ignored the fight that was going on right next to her, and gently turned the head over.
A sigh of relief, but also of pain. It was not f.u.ku, but it was another woman that she had known for a long time, and one that the whole village would feel grief for upon her pa.s.sing.
She looked up, fury present in her eyes as she saw the beastly horseman continue to manhandle his aggressors.
This time she really did see f.u.ku, who managed to land a deeper wound on his side.
'Nice one, mum.'
She praised internally.
The horseman had something to say too, spinning around vengefully, irritated by the more serve pain.
He roared, turning on her.
The spear point that she offered up in her defence was casually brushed aside, as he stepped inwards rapidly, knocking the spear from her grasp.
Rin was running over before she even had time to think. The distance was not favourable however, and here, where she was, by the horseman's backside, she did not have enough time to deflect the blade that sought to claim her mother's life.
Instead, she leap upwards, standing on the back of his horse, before driving her spear deep through his shoulder. His weapon arm lost strength, and stability, sending the bloodied axe off course. Instead of claiming her head, it fell, burying itself into her side.
With no room left to wield her spear, she brought the shaft under the horseman's throat before he had time to react. Utilising the entire weight of her body, she pulled, serving his supply of oxygen completely.
His thick arms grasped behind him, his nails clawing at her face, and his hands pulling her hair. But she did not yield. She gritted her teeth, pulling even harder.
The horse no longer had anyone to control it reared, sending them both cras.h.i.+ng to the ground. She landed on her back, heavily, the wind forcing its way out of her lungs. She desperately struggled to breathe, but all the while the strength in her arms did not ebb, even as the weight of the burly man threatened to crush her.
His curled fingers and crippled arm twitched furiously, climaxing, completely starved of oxygen. He let loose one last maddening fit, before his body grew still.
Though she was hurt - her back throbbed fearsomely - she did not rest for even a second. She wriggled her way out from under the burdensome corpse, ignoring the blood that clung to her face and armour, and she ran toward her mother.
f.u.ku, lay on the ground, her face white, with two other women tending to her.
"Mum… Mum? Are you okay? Mum!"
She tried to get her attention, so worried that her questions almost became aggressive.
The benevolent woman, even in this moment of her greatest pain, still pushed her weakened body to smile for the sake of her weeping child. Even as beads of sweat decorated her forehead from the exertion, she did not stop.
"Rin-chan? She'll be fine, but she needs to rest, okay? We'll take good care of her."
A caring hand found its way to her shoulder, and the young girl stared up at its owner with tear-filled eyes.
She recognised the face of one of f.u.ku's close friends, Auntie Koide, and found comfort in its familiarity. Koide had been around her ever since she could first remember, and if it was her, she was sure her mother would be okay.
A gurgling sound rang out as Akiko dispatched the last horseman, before running over to Rin's side.
"How is she, Rin?"
She smiled, even as the tears still ran.
"Auntie Koide says she'll be okay."
Akiko looked toward the woman who seemed to be Koide, who nodded upon meeting her gaze, and sighed with relief.
"Really? I'm glad… Really glad."
She looked toward the women who were less fortunate than f.u.ku, grief filling her heart. She wondered whether this could be still considered a victory, even when they had lost five of her own.
But when she measured it against the possibility of every single one of them dying, she could not let her heart succ.u.mb to weakness, and in that sense, felt triumphant.
She looked down toward her armoured hands that were filled with blood, clenching them. The villagers that had fled to one side of the square, away from the fighting, started to come towards them tentatively, smiles threatening to break free as the knowledge that they had lived another day started to sink in.
Of course, there were many tears too, as friends and family of the fallen discovered their mangled corpses.
'This is not the end, either.'
Thought Akiko sadly, knowing that the men will have suffered losses far worse than their own. Still, selfishly - as all them would - she could not help but hope that amongst the fallen were not her close ones.
"Where is he?"
"How should I know?"
"Didn't he say at most he would be 10 minutes? What's the hold up?"
"Just shut up, and wait."
The guards were bickering amongst themselves as Gengyo had yet to arrive. Contrary to their behaviour, the peasants said nothing. Whether it was out of respect for the young man, or simply because they were used to having things not go their way, it was hard to tell.
The enemy had all but ignored them as they marched closer, closing the gap so that they were only slightly out of their bow range.
The field was vast, and flat, affording one a good view of the entire area. But with the morning sun beating down on their backs, and the plains remaining unchanged, a dull sense of anxiety was present. The adrenaline of doing battle had worn off long ago, and now, with Toda virtually ignoring them, it did not feel like battle at all.
That was, until, a black horse burst out from the trees a distance away.
A Time Traveller's Guide To Feudal Japan Chapter 47 - A Woman's Strife
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A Time Traveller's Guide To Feudal Japan Chapter 47 - A Woman's Strife summary
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