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The Risen Princess
Kumamoto Daisuke silently set his cup on the cave floor before slowly unsheathing his nodachi. He peered into the darkness looking for any signs of movement, controlling his breathing to stay silent and calm.
“You are slow young one,” Daisuke turned around to find Shikken Moriyaki with a blade pointed at his throat.
“Compared to you is not everyone slow?” Daisuke asked his master, “However, maybe your age slows you just a bit,” he spoke as he tapped the blade of his sword against the inside of Moriyaki’s thigh. If he had still been human, the blade would be against his Femoral artery where one quick slice would be the end.
“You’ve been studying in my absence I see. Very well, you will reach ikkyu in no time.”
Both warriors lowered their blades. “Gather the Daimyo at once. Make yourself present at the meeting as well, you have earned it.”
With a slight bow Daisuke hurried down the cave entrance and out into the dark rainy night. Despite his speed, few would have been able to detect his presence as he moved through the woods. Those who could were the very ones he was sent to gather.
Although none of the Daimyo had seen Moriyaki in his skeletal form, not one of them questioned it out of respect. The mannerisms and general air about him made it clear to all that he was the Shikken. Shikken Moriyaki addressed the four Nanjou Shou-jen who sat at the large rectangular table while his apprentice Daisuke stood silently in the corner.
“I am sure your spies have carried word of the developments with Hoshino Kei to your ears,” he did not wait for any response before continuing on, “I have been working alongside her and have gained her trust and proven our worth. The time has come where The Princess has asked the entire clan to become her direct enforcers and protectors.”
Daimyo Iwate raised his concerns to the group. “We have fights of our own do we not? This would spread us thin.”
“We cannot allow ourselves to be held back by our feud with the Tanada clan. It has gone on for nearly a decade with much blood but no progress. It is time for us to rise up to our rightful place in these lands,” Moriyaki responded without facing the Daimyo.
“This ‘feud’”? Is that all we call it these days? Our fellow clansmen murdered our master and it is simply a feud?” Daimyo Iwate questioned in disgust.
“Master Tochigi was a father to me. He took me in as a small child and raised me as his own. I was there that night he was killed. I held his body as it bled out. I stabbed his blade through the hearts of his killers myself,” Moriyaki put his hands on the table and leaned in close to Daimyo Iwate, “I am sure you meant no disrespect by your insolent questions.”
Daisuke unsheathed his blade and headed toward Daimyo Iwate, raising the blade as he moved in. Iwate lowered his head in his shame, “certainly not, the Tanada bring out the anger in me. I would never question your motives or decisions.”
With the slightest of nods from Moriyaki, Daisuke replaced his nodachi and returned to his position in the corner before any others had noticed.
“I didn’t think you did Daimyo. I am glad we are on the same page, “ Moriyaki stood back up in front of the group, “Besides, Hoshino has assured me that when her mission has been completed, we will have her full resources in destroying the Tanada; removing every last one of them from these lands.” Murmurs filled the room from the exciting piece of news.
As the meeting finished and the Daimyo headed back to their warriors, orders in hand, Moriyaki pulled Kumamoto Daisuke to the side. “You were correct in there, but the timing was wrong. Your instincts are strong.”
“Thank you Master, I’ve learned from the best.”
“I believe your skills will be needed in the coming months. I fear we may need to restore proper order to this clan as the Daimyo have grown lazy and disrespectful in the past year. Lessons may have to be taught.”
“Whatever the tasks, I am ready Master.”
“I know that you are. Your loyalty will be rewarded in time.”