Chapter 8: Shocking dinner
“Give me the girl!” The enemy ninja shouted, pointing his sword at Kazu.
“SEE! That’s a man! He claims what he wants!” Tama shouted, “YOU STILL HAVE A LOT TO LEARN MISTER!”
“Take this!” Bekkou enlarged his body and tried belly-flopping him but the ninja jumped away right in time, only to be kicked by Yoroi, which was too fast for him to dodge. The ninja flew a few meters from the blow but managed to balance himself and dug his sword in the damp earth to slow down his sliding until he came to a halt.
He scowled and bared his teeth before he flung at Kazu again. He only wanted the girl, there was no need to fight the rest. He lifted his sword to make sure to hit with all his strength, but Kazu blocked his attack with his Kunai and after glaring each other down, Kazu pushed him off.
The ninja landed on his feet and looked around frustrated when he saw he was surrounded. The Sakurai ninja had arrived.
Not sure whom to attack anymore, the ninja tried jumping up a tree but got kicked out by Nobunaga again. The ninja fell on the ground but didn’t stand up anymore, it was over. He sat seiza-style in front of Nobunaga, his head low on defeat.
“Who sent you?” Nobunaga inquired.
The ninja closed his eyes, it was time to prove his loyalty to his master, “Kill me.”
He was only a Tiger’s eye, the third rank you could achieve as a ninja…what a shame. Nobunaga did the deed, making Hisa squirm in fright and cover her eyes. This ninja stuff was really nothing for her. She tried to control her reflexes to throw up. She hadn’t seen him getting killed but the blood from his body that flowed towards the water made her feel sick.
“I understand.” Mineo bowed and stepped out of Tetsuo’s office. It seemed like Tetsuo himself wasn’t having any doubt about Katsuro. After all, Mineo and Katsuro had the same rank and position within the clan.
Walking to the training grounds he met up with his students that had passed the exams and were Emerald stars now. He congratulated them and expressed how proud he was before he instructed them to start practicing. Being an Emerald star meant training harder.
He himself sat down, leaning against a tree and took the opportunity to think things over. If his leader had instructed him not to worry about things, then maybe he shouldn’t. Tetsuo’s judgment was better than his anyway.
“Mineo-san,” Katsuro flopped down next to Mineo, “What’s occupying your mind?”
“Ah, Katsuro-san,” Mineo sat up straight and smiled, “It’s nothing. I was just thinking over the recent happenings, everything happened so fast.”
“Indeed, but at least things are going according to plan now,” Katsuro exhaled and took a short pause before he continued, “Hisa-sama is doing fine?”
“Yeah, Yoroi and Bekkou are with her now, I’m pretty sure they’re taking good care of her.”
“What about the hunter? Imai-sama said they’ve had some disagreements.”
“I think it was about taking a break or continuing their trip.” Mineo stood up and dusted off his clothes. “The usual arguments teams have.”
Katsuro chuckled and stood up as well, “That one never gets old.”
“Tell me about it,” Mineo laughed, “I guess in the end they decided to take a break after all.”
“Seems like it.”
“I’m guessing they should be back tonight or maybe tomorrow? Depends on which road they take I suppose.”
“We’ll hear it from Yoroi and Bekkou?”
“Oh yeah,” Mineo said as got ready to walk back to the training grounds, “They’ll let us know as soon as they get there.”
“Is that so…”
“Anyway, I should get back to work,” Mineo waved nonchalantly, walking off towards his students. “These guys are all pumped with energy.”
“Of course, don’t let me hold you up.” Katsuro said in a friendly tone before he squinted his eyes at Mineo’s back, “The usual arguments, huh?”
At Zenith she had been received with a warm welcome and as expected she hadn’t seen Kazu anymore. She had tried looking around for him –unnoticeably of course –when she went out with her new handmaids, but she’d never seen him. He probably had important missions to carry out and had forgotten all about her.
Sighing, Hisa sat down on her bed, waiting to be picked up. Today she was going to meet Yutaka who would return from a mission and she wasn’t sure if she was ready for that. She was all dressed up and prettified, which made her even more nervous because it gave her the feeling she was going to a formal gathering.
“Hisa-sama,” She heard one of her handmaids say. “Dinner is served.”
Hisa took a deep breath and followed her maid, it was the first time she was going to dine with Eiji’s whole family. It made her more nervous than she had thought.
The handmaid only escorted her to the door, bowed to Hisa and motioned for her to enter. Hisa took another deep breath and entered. She was greeted by Eiji right away and guided towards her seat where she found a young man. His face lit up when he saw her, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth before it became a toothy grin.
“My son,” Eiji said, gently pushing her forward. As she neared the table the guy jumped up, took her hand and kissed it. She blinked at his straightforwardness but thought it probably wasn’t as strange as she thought. They were engaged after all. She couldn’t say he wasn’t good looking, in fact, he was more than that.
She was made to sit next to him before Eiji started a conversation, explaining why her grandfather wasn’t here yet. “He will arrive tomorrow morning. They had trouble with the trip because of the rain.”
It was true. It was time for the rainy season, Tsuyu or rather Plum rain, because plums ripened in this season as well. It always started somewhere in May and lasted until July.
“Ah,” Eiji suddenly gestured behind Hisa, “My other son.”
Hisa didn’t need to turn around all the way because as soon as she looked up he was standing beside her.
“Kazuhiko.” Eiji added.
Hisa’s eyes widened at Kazu’s face, who in return simply nodded a greeting and sat down next to his father.