My first one shot! I finished this anime just today so i was inspired! I know i should be working on my other story of Yu Yu Hakusho, but i had to get this out of my system first.
It's not that I don't like him, it's actually far from that. Maybe admiration? I'm not really sure but he caught my eye almost immediately when I first laid my eyes on him. Blond spiky hair, a red vest and a double hilted sword on his back. Being a servant in for the merchants isn't always easy, but seeing him made those days bearable. As a servant I must know all the things the merchants want, what they want to eat, how to prepare it, how to act, smile and be courteous. There were days when I just wanted to smash the sake bottle over their heads and tell them how despicable they are.
At night I look out to the moon and sigh and think to myself 'why am I here?' My village being plundered by bandits and I had to survive that's why. I should be grateful that my mother was able to find us jobs, even if they didn't treat us fairly. My mother would usher me back into my futon and the days continued.
I didn't see him every day, but I always locked eyes with him when I did. At first I was scared at him, but I didn't allow myself to falter, I was tired to being lowered to what I really was. He stared at me, blankly while I glared back. He made my heart skip when he smirked at me, that's when I noticed I overfilled the envoy's sake cup and got a beating from the headmistress. I remember how embarrassed I was to bow my head to the ground while he was there, so much for my pride.
I was forced to not eat dinner that night, my belly grumbled for a few hours. I cried fiercely, not from the beating but from my cowardice. Unlike men, us women have to bow our heads, we cannot take up swords, who in their right mind will train women to become Samurai? How I dreamed of being able to whisk my mother and me to where no one will tells us what to do, how to dress and when to serve guests. A place where we could be free and safe from those rotten bandits.
My mother would tell me that what I dreamed was nonsense and tell me to cook the fish as the envoy and the merchants would talk business. I'd agree with her and keep on smiling but it was fake. As I took the food I bumped into him and again he stared at me blankly. My face grew with heat and my eyes sneered at him. I told him with a powerful voice to get out of my way, I was annoyed and didn't want none of it from him. He took a step towards me and stared more at my face, he then took the fish I worked so hard to cook and ate it in front of me. It took every last of my willpower to not hit him over the head with the plate.
So it was like that, a relationship without words and only our eyes said everything. He'd steal food, I'd cook some more, he got in my way and I had to smile as he pushed me aside, all the way our eyes locked on every second, never faltering. The girls my age gossiped about him, how he was amazingly strong and looked good. Many of them talked about how they would marry Samurai and be taken away to a place where it rained sake and grew endless rice. I just thought about how I'd get my hands on a sword and fight my way out.
It wasn't until the third time we saw each other when he introduced himself to me. I was busy washing dishes and he came into the kitchen. The girls my age started whispering and giggling while I snorted and kept on washing. I had my hands on a plate when he stood next to me. I asked him, with a smile, if he wanted anything. Again he stared blankly but I swore to have seen some warmth in them when he said "Kyuzo." My eyes grew open and the plate in my hands dropped to the floor surprising the girls and sending the mistress in. She shooed Kyuzo away and began giving me another verbal warning, but I wasn't listening, my eyes were focused on the back of Kyuzo as he walked away.
I went hungry that night as I replayed his name over and over in my head: Kyuzo. Warmth spread to my cheeks as I remembered his voice and the way his lips moved. I couldn't sleep for three days straight and I ended up passing out on duty. I noticed as I did my duties and Kyuzo was there he would keep his eyes on me, but my work kept me from looking at him. Sometimes, although short, I felt my eyes watching him as he would walk from one end of the hallways to the other.
There was two other guys sometimes with him. One was kinda fat with eye makeup and a pipe coming from his mouth. He always accompanied the son of the head merchant. Then there was Kyuzo's partner with a skinny face and black hair that was up and glasses. I never liked him, he reminded me of an ugly fox. I bumped into him one day and he threatened to kill me. I had my head down when I heard Kyuzo come up behind him. I saw his hand on his partner's shoulder and the eyes he had. They were so cold it sent shivers down my spine. His partner shook it away and left. It was only then that I realized I dropped to the floor. I wasn't that scared since bandits overran my village. Kyuzo helped me up and left.
I cried and again questioned as to why I was born a women. It was then that I broke, I screamed as loud as I can and hit the tatami mat until both of my hands bled. I didn't stop until my mother slapped me across the face. She had tears in her eyes and then she hugged me, she wouldn't stop saying sorry and I bawled as hard as I could. I was given a sick day and I lied in bed the whole day, I didn't want to get up. The next day I felt relieved but I couldn't really do much when my hands were damaged, so I changed stations and worked underneath the seamstress for a bit. I saw Kyuzo once when his clothes were damaged. The seamstress started to work on it and I felt a bit sad. Later in the day when Kyuzo was there receiving his jacket he tore the piece the seamstress worked on. He scared most of the girls there when he did that. He walked over to me and threw me his jacket.
"I want it done by tomorrow's sunrise."
He left and everyone gave me a weird stare and one girl even laughed, saying that my face was as red as his jacket. I told her to be quiet as I started to work on it. That night I developed a fever and as Kyuzo came by to get his jacket he put his cold hand on my head. He went over to the seamstress and gave her a packet of medicine. It came from his jacket. I still have the envelope.
Somehow, someway I got a merchant drunk enough that he decided to sell me a katana for the meal I provided and through sheer luck I have kept it hidden. I was surprised at the weight but with the lifting of the food and ingredients, it was light for me. In the dead of night I found a place that was well hidden and I practiced with the katana. There were a couple of times when I did almost get caught. I wouldn't train for a couple of nights after that.
With the gossiping girls I learned that there was a girl that Ukyo was obsessed with, a farm girl no less who was trying to hire samurai to protect her village against the bandits. The price? Rice. From this there was confusion and I took my chance to escape. I told my mother about the hidden place I was using to train and that maybe with the talk of samurai we could escape. She didn't listen to me and said that this was the life we lived now and we should just stay. I didn't listen to her and told her if she wanted to stay then that was her choice, but my choice was to escape. It broke my heart to leave, but the emperor's envoy was killed last night, it was a perfect chance. It was easy getting past and I found myself outside and I took in my first real breath of freedom, it smelled of rotten garbage but I found it the sweetest thing I've ever smelled.
I began doing miscellaneous jobs here and there, trying to scrap up what I can do for my next meal. I kept at my training at night and wondered whatever became of Kyuzo, but my various works would keep my mind of him for the most part. I started to travel and went out into the countryside and found myself in the Shikimoribito. A place where you can calm yourself and leave your worries behind. I worked there for a time when I heard of the news where seven samurai protecting a village. I felt oddly proud hearing this and I started to wear my katana outside where people would see.
As I traveled I encountered Kyuzo and we camped together for a few days. I asked about why he was out here in the countryside and not protecting the merchants. He told me of a samurai that he wanted to battle and he decided to follow him to complete their battle. He looked into t he fire and I thought to myself, 'this is a real samurai.' I felt shallow in my sword and threw it in the fire. Kyuzo quickly grabbed it and looked at me questionably. I felt hot tears streaming down my cheeks as I felt I wasn't worthy enough to even carry a katana in the face of a true samurai such as him. He unsheathed it and looked at it.
"You have given this second rate katana a master's care…" He put it back into the hilt and gave it to me. As I grabbed it, he grabbed my wrist and I glared at him. He smirked again and I scowled. "Remember the meaning of being a Samurai." He let go and sat back down towards the fire and I stared at my blade as he asked if he can eat the other fished I caught. I told him to go ahead and fell asleep hugging my weapon. When I woke up he wasn't there but he left a letter asking if he can challenge me once I become stronger. I felt a tear come down as I wondered if we would ever meet again.
Going through the villages I learned that Ukyo became the next emperor and sent samurai to protect the others as the seven samurai completed the job of protecting the first village. I saw the remnants of many of the bandits and felt happy that they are finally looking at the farmers as equals. As I neared Kanna village, I saw a vicious battle between the capital and various samurai. I saw everything from a distance and I grabbed the enveloped that Kyuzo had with medicine and it ripped. At that time I started to cry as I felt Kyuzo was gone from this world. After I saw the capital fell I decided to pay a visit.
The villagers were surprised about a woman wielding a katana but they let me in with smiles. I encountered some of the samurai who protected the village. Kanbei, Katsushiro, and Shichiroji. I listened to the villager's stories and Kanbei mentioned a Kyuzo dying. As I explained how he looked like he gave me a solumn expression and indeed it was him. He led me to his resting place with his double swords. I prayed and cried a little.
"Were you close to Kyuzo?" Kanbei asked.
"He promised that we'd battle after I got stronger."
The villagers said that I could stay but I decided not to as I walked across the bridge, I looked back and promised Kyuzo I'd be back. I traveled some more and the bandits were not a huge enemy anymore. I came by Katsushiro one day and we camped for a night. I explained to him my feelings and my experiences with Kyuzo as he told me he was the one to accidentally kill him. I bore him no ill will since Kyuzo didn't either. He asked me if I was in love with Kyuzo. I don't really know, I'll know better if I see him again, but that will have to wait. I became stronger and we dueled. After the sun came up we came up at a fork on the road and I went a separate way from him but he asked me what my name was. I smiled and with the wind in my hair I replied.