A Time Traveller's Guide To Feudal Japan Chapter 65 - A New Home

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They walked on through the village. As they pa.s.sed the houses, some of the men took their leave, returning home to their families for the evening.

Before long the only ones left were those that dwelled within the Niwa estate, and Togas.h.i.+. Nakatane lead the way, and soon they found themselves outside an unfamiliar home of rather grand proportions.

"This is yours now, Miurkun."

"Eh!?"

Masaatsu and Morohira gasped in surprise, turning to Gengyo for an explanation. He met their surprised stares with a simple shrug. There was not much that required explaining.

"I see. Thank you."

He said not impolitely.

"It has been cleaned and tidied. There is very little that remains left inside, aside from the essentials. Do with the s.p.a.ce as you wish."

The master continued, a little sadly, clearly remembering something in regards to Is.h.i.+yama.

He turned his face away, hiding his expression as he took his leave.

"It is time we went. Enjoy your evening in your new home, Miurkun."

And so he walked away. Jikouji nodded toward them before following him.

"Things keep changing."

Masaatsu noted a little pensively as silence began to reign.

"Don't worry about it too much. It's just a formality. It's like me being in a different room - I'm only a short walk away. You and the rest are free to come by whenever you like. Treat it like a second home."

"I wish I could… but look how grand it is!"

His brother replied, staring up at the large two-storied house in awe.

"It's 'my house' now, so it's a house of the Miura family too. Are you and father not of the Miura family?"

Morohira needed no persuading - he was not the type to restrain himself merely for the sake of politeness.

"Don't worry about it kid, I'll come by every day and use your bathing tub."

The young man grimaced.

"Maybe not that…"

"Haha, joking. Anyway, Masaatsu, we best leave your brother to it, eh? He's a retainer now. Can't be smothering him all the time."

For once he showed a hint of maturity, and lead his oldest son - who still looked rather unsure - away, after they exchanged farewells.

He heaved a sigh, watching them leave. They were his dear family, but it had been an exhausting day, and it felt good to finally be alone. He stepped up onto the porch of his new home, taking in the feel. It was only then that he noticed a figure out of the corner of his eye, and jumped slightly.

"Togas.h.i.+!? Ah… You're still here."

He exclaimed, struggling to calm his racing heart. The man had remained so quiet and so still whilst he had been chatting with Nakatane and the rest, that he had forgotten he was there. It was most uncanny.

"I am, sir."

"You don't have to call me sir, Miura will do."

He responded back, a hand on his chin as he pondered their current situation. He wondered why he had made such an oversight that he had forgotten to find a place for Togas.h.i.+ to stay, but his brain was too tired to contemplate for long, and he made a swift and simple decision.

"May as well stay here, Togas.h.i.+-kun. I'm sure there are plenty of rooms."

The skinny man grew fl.u.s.tered, as though he had not expected such a proposal.

"No! Heavens no! I could never stay in such a grand place. I'm a peasant! I haven't washed in G.o.d knows how long… I would soil the room."

With a hand on his shoulder, and a gentle tone, Gengyo worked to calm him down.

"Togas.h.i.+-kun. Calm down. I'm a peasant too. And if it makes you feel any better, there's a bathhouse over there - you can go and take a dip. But if you're too tired it can wait till morning."

His eyes widened at Gengyo's statement of his social cla.s.s, and he moved his mouth to protest, only then realizing he knew nothing of the young man's origins. He followed the finger that the young man was using to point, and his eyes fell on the bathhouse.

He imagined the warm water against his skin, and he became acutely aware of just how filthy he was. He'd been stained by months of blood, urine, sweat and faeces. It would be a blessing to be clean again.

"…Can I really? But I have no clean clothes - it would be a waste."

"Nonsense. There are clean kimonos laid out upon the shelves inside. Find one that fits, and you'll be a changed man."

He took a glance at Togas.h.i.+'s long rugged hair, and thick manly beard, and wondered whether he should suggest that he had those trimmed as well. But he could not bring himself to. For some reason, it suited the man, even if it did not look entirely clean.

"Are you really certain I'll be okay..?"

He asked hesitantly, looking toward the bathhouse longingly.

Gengyo pushed him lightly on the back.

"Go on. Stop being so shy. Spend as much time in there as you like, and don't worry about knocking when you come back, just head inside and pick a room. I might be asleep, I might not. We'll see what happens."

Then, he turned and began making his way inside. The skinny man bit his lip nervously, wondering whether it really would be fine. But fearing that complaining any more would anger his new boss, he decided to take him up on the offer, and walked slowly toward the bathhouse, his heart pounding.

The young man secretly turned back around to observe his newest subordinate, making sure that he made it to the bathhouse fine.

'He's an odd man.'

He thought to himself. Odd, but extremely likeable. He was glad that the man had decided to come with him, as he had a feeling that they would get on rather well.

He wandered into a large reception room that greeted the entrance of the house. There was nothing in the room, apart from a small solid wood table, atop a fresh tatami floor. The table was not empty, however, and upon it sat a bundle of different scrolls, a bokken, and a wooden pole that would serve as a training subst.i.tute for a yari.

He shook his head lightly with a chuckle. Nakatane's words were never to be taken lightly. He had delivered on his conditions exactly as he had said, and now it was Gengyo's turn to do the same.

He picked up a scroll at random, undoing its seal and allowing it to roll open a little.

"Sharp arrow formation."

He read aloud the first sentence. Underneath was a beautifully drawn diagram consisting of numerous triangles, crosses, circles and squares. He later read a key that defined each. The triangles as archers, the crosses as yari, the circles as hors.e.m.e.n, and the squares as katana units.

It was a rather aggression formation that sat the archers in front, roughly in the shape of an arrow, with a second row of archers behind them, followed by a line of pikemen, and then two columns of hors.e.m.e.n and katana units behind it.

He grinned as he reviewed the numerous formations, antic.i.p.ating their uses. He found their positioning to be rather informative, though there were some that were quite obviously floored, which he quickly identified and ignored.

He read through the scrolls at speed, occasionally pausing to envision such formations, or such positions in his head, and get a feel for how they might be utilised. The time pa.s.sed quickly, and soon his candle had already burned halfway.

TAP TAP

The sudden noise broke his concentration, and he raised his head, looking toward the door.

"Like I said Togas.h.i.+-kun - there's no need to knock."

Silence. Absolutely no reply.

He waited for a few moments before speaking again.

"Togas.h.i.+? Are you there?"

Still, there was no reply, and his curiosity began to be replaced by worry. A scene where the frail man had fainted upon making his way to his door played out in his head, and he rushed to open it with haste.

"Togash-"

He began, sliding the door open, only to swallow his words midsentence as he caught sight of a rather familiar face.

"Akiko…"

Her lips came together in a sweet smile, casting light on the entirety of her beautiful visage. He had not seen that face so close for what felt like a long time, and he stood there for a few moments, dumbstruck.

"Ah, sorry! Do come in - it's pretty nippy outside."

She stepped gracefully inside after him, a smile still blossoming on her face.

"I was afraid you wouldn't be awake, since it is rather late."

She commented lightly, not taking her eyes off him.

"Ah, is it? I've sort of lost track of time… haha."

It was odd. Ever since the battle, he had an urge to see her, but now that she was here, he didn't know quite what to say.

"So I see."

She said, looking toward the scrolls that were scattered across the table and floor.

"You've only been here a few hours, and you've already made quite the mess."

He grinned at that, and announced his condition proudly.

"I have the ability to cause a mess even without wis.h.i.+ng to."

"I don't think that's all that uncommon… Nor do I think it's something you should be proud of."

She retorted laying low his quip.

They held each others gaze for a few seconds, each of them smiling, as a silence began to brew.

"You know, it's really good to see you again."

Gengyo said genuinely as he sat himself down by the table, before clearing a few scrolls and gesturing for her to do the same.

"It is, though I see you've changed once again."

She said cryptically, still maintaining her smile, as she sat down beside him.

"Have I? I don't feel too different."

She shook her head emphatically.

"No, Tadakatkun. You are certainly different. You're the hero of Toyone now. You couldn't have done that without changing."

He quickly brushed that ridiculous t.i.tle aside, highlighting her own achievements instead.

"You are the people's hero, I'd think, Akiko. I heard from Rin how you lead the women and managed to defeat the mercenaries. I'd like to thank you for that. If not for you, then my fight would have been for nothing."

She blushed lightly, interpreting a double meaning to his words.

"Please… Don't say such things. Your mother is in bed injured because o-"

"Stop. My mother is alive because of you. Even if she got injured, she will recover."

He cut her off midsentence, his gaze gaining a serious intensity.

"Ah…"

She opened her mouth to speak, before closing it again. Her smile faded, and she began to look at the ground.

It was more than obvious what was going through her head, and so Gengyo reached his hand out to offer her some comfort. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder, turning her to look at him.

"Akiko. Women died under you, correct?"

"…Yes. My poor leaders.h.i.+p caused their loss of lives."

"Women and children lived because of you too, correct?"

She could not answer. She knew he was right, but she could not help but dwell on the losses. She shook her head fiercely, trying to rid herself of the wave of guilt that attempted to grip her.

It was only then that she realized Gengyo's touch, as she struggled to process it. She turned her face away from his, hiding the redness that now invaded.

"…T-Tadakata. I'm… I'm really lucky to have met you."

She said, stuttering as she attempted to hide her embarra.s.sment.

//Author's Note

Chapter was a little late today, sorry x-x. This week let's aim for 600 powerstones. If we hit it, I'll release 3 chapters on sunday again. Thanks for reading!

A Time Traveller's Guide To Feudal Japan Chapter 65 - A New Home

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