The Tokaido Road

By Lucia St. Clair Robson

After the execution of her father, the younger and gorgeous woman Asano is in grave probability from the strong Lord Kira. in an effort to shop herself Asano needs to locate Oishi, the chief of the combating males of her extended family. She believes he's 300 miles to the southwest within the imperial urban of Kyoto.
Disguising her loveliness within the humble clothing of a touring priest, and calling herself Cat, woman Asano travels the fabled Tokaido street. Her in simple terms instruments are her fast wits, her samurai education, and her lethal, six foot-long naginata. and she or he will desire all of them, for a ronin has been employed to pursue her, a mysterious guy who will play a task in Cat's drama that neither can have ever imagined. . . .

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Within used to be the silk textile with the crossed-feather crest. He unwrapped it and held it within the palm of 1 hand. along with his arms he stroked the coil of Cat’s hair, black and shiny as a leopard flower seed. Now he may mix the fragrance of the incense in her room and the cool sleekness of her hair together with her face and her shape. He may build her from reminiscence and his personal heart’s craving. just like the photo of the bamboo he had simply painted, Cat seemed in his mind’s eye. He might think this size of hair flowing in a cascade down her narrow again. He pictured it mendacity alongside the curve of her haunch. He observed it swaying as she walked within the “floating step,” the hesitant, hip-swinging gait of the courtesan on prom. Hanshiro felt as if a loop have been tightening round his middle. A rope woven from the locks of a woman’s hair, the outdated poem went, may bind a really elephant. What used to be he to do? girl Asano’s quest used to be insanity. She might absolutely be stuck, or even if she weren’t, she may perhaps accomplish not anything. No vendetta have been registered in her father’s identify. Her uncle was once in exile. The Ak retainers had scattered. Their chief, the Councilor Oishi Kuranosuke, had sunk in a mire of debauchery. girl Asano will be shamed and accomplished for her folly. Hanshiro observed, by surprise, this gorgeous hair crusted with blood. He made up our minds to begin a rumor within the morning to throw Kira’s males off the path. He knew he must locate Cat earlier than she reached the Hakone barrier. yet he additionally knew he may possibly do it. He now knew what she gave the impression of. He might go back her discreetly to the Perfumed Lotus earlier than she was once attached with the assault on the ferry and the murders within the bathhouse. a few wealthy service provider or lord could redeem her. She may well commence one other existence as an out of doors consort or a daimyo’s pampered lady of the province. Hanshiro confident himself that what occurred to Her Ladyship after he lower back her was once a fireplace around the river. It used to be no difficulty of his. then again, a woman’s laughter in one other room set his center to pounding. bankruptcy THIRTY-TWO THE BALL OF DOUBT Northeast of Odawara the Tkaid wound upward into steep hills. on the most sensible of a excessive ridge, Cat sat cross-legged on a moss-covered boulder. She had stopped to relaxation and to attend for the sunrise. Kasane had fallen asleep curled one of the roots of an oak. She and Cat had left the See No Evil hotel in Oiso whereas every person nonetheless slept. that they had traveled by way of the sunshine of a waning moon in a star-strewn sky. Cat appeared out over the darkish valley to the southwest and to the mountains of Hakone at the different part of it. within the darkness the mountains weren’t obvious, yet she felt their presence. Cat used to be fearful. Her belly churned on the prospect of dealing with the Hakone barrier. How silly she were, to imagine she may perhaps idiot the officers there together with her mimicry of a peasant boy. She may nearly believe their tough palms on her as they led her away. Unnerved through her personal worry, Cat thought of the prospect that she wasn’t in a position to the duty she had set for herself. She had had few moments of uncertainty in her existence.

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