Book 2: Chapter 68: Wine And Ronin
Kimura plopped down on the withered gra.s.s at the edge of the graveyard and stared into s.p.a.ce. “Kanzaki wasn’t willing to stay here so he left. I stayed here to look after Lord Matsuda’s grave and thus became the acting officerwiki, it’s deputy or local official”>1 of this village. I’m planning to stay here for good. I’m not that strong but I can at least fight a bandit, so I’ll continue protecting the villagers here. Maybe next year, I may propose to Hanako in the village, hehehe.”
“I’ll have to congratulate you then, Lord Kimura,” said Lily. Kimura sighed, “It’s too bad that Hanako’s father hasn’t approved of this yet.” “Huh? But Brother Kimura is a samurai. Aren’t girls in this era head over heels for them?”
“Hanako’s father is a rich man who looks down on an insignificant acting samurai officer like me who has neither money nor t.i.tle,” Kimura shook his head. “Though I once took a solemn oath when I pa.s.sed the samurai exam, I am disheartened now. I’ve lost everything, even marriage has become a problem. I guess I’m the most pathetic samurai in Kamakura City.”
“Brother Kimura, I am indebted to you for your care. As a younger sister, I didn’t even prepare a gift for you even though you are getting married soon. If you don’t mind, please take this as a gift.”
Lily fished out two ingots of gold from her bosom and handed them to Kimura.
“Oh! T-These… are gold! They’re huge! Each of them is probably worth a h-hundred kan?! My G.o.d!” “Brother Kimura, is this enough for your wedding?” Lily chuckled. “Yes, more than enough! It’s even enough to buy the entire village!” Kimura was elated as he accepted the gold that Lily handed to him with grat.i.tude. The gold felt solid and heavy in his hands. “Thank you, Miss Kagami! Thank you! I can finally meet my father-in-law with pride!”2
Lily felt better seeing that Kimura had cheered up. However, it was no longer possible for her to ever repay Uncle Matsuda.
It was at this moment, a tall, robust ronin came swaying toward them from an overgrown hill in the twilight.
The ronin’s hair was disheveled. He was clad in tattered training robes, carried a blade on his back and had a wine gourd in hand. He was taking swigs from his gourd while drunkenly swaying his way toward Matsuda’s grave.
“Lord Matsuda, I’m… here to visit you… huh?” The ronin was dumbfounded when he saw Lily and Kimura too.
Both of them stood up and respectfully gave the ronin a slight bow.
“Y-you’re…” the ronin drunkenly walked up to Lily. He stood more than 1.85 meters tall, had a dark complexion and an unkempt beard. Even so, he had a rather handsome and tough-looking face.
“Miss Kagami? Is that you, Miss Kagami…?” The ronin slurred while staring at Lily. His breath smelled of alcohol.
Lily felt that he looked familiar too, but only managed to recognize him after staring at him for a good while. “You are… Lord Hojo Ujizane?”
She didn’t expect that the once handsome and distinguished young lord of the Hojo clan would decline into such a state. He looked no different than those ronins.
“Hohoho, who are you calling lord? I’m… just a n.o.body now.” Hojo Ujizane stumbled, fell on his b.u.t.tocks, then continued swigging his wine. “Burp! Kagami Lily… Do you know that this is all thanks to you?”
Hojo lifted his head and stared at Lily.
Although his gaze made Lily feel uncomfortable, she was. .h.i.t by a wave of sadness.
Hojo Ujizane was the one who saved her during the Night Parade of One Hundred Demons in Kamakura City and sent her to the Matsuda clan. It could be said that he was her first savior. If it wasn’t for him, she couldn’t imagine what would happen to her if she were to run into someone with ill intentions.
But now, the Hojo clan was exterminated. Although it was unfair to s.h.i.+ft the blame onto Lily, she was undeniably a factor to some extent.
“Kagami Lily. You killed my younger brother, robbed my elder brother, Dijon, of his treasure. You forced him to lose his mind and kill my father, uncle and our relatives… I was only lucky enough to escape. All this is thanks to you, isn’t it?! Hahahaha!”
“Brother Hojo, Lily… can’t change what has happened and doesn’t want to defend herself. Lily can only deeply apologize to you!” Lily bowed deeply to him. In any case, she felt deep remorse for Hojo Ujizane.
Hojo Ujizane stood up, his gaze was unsteady and he sighed, “Forget it. It’s all in the past. I was only joking with you. Hohoho. My younger brother was despicable by nature and cruel in his method. Of course I knew that my elder brother is bloodthirsty and cruel by nature. Miss Kagami only fought back as self-defense because he was forcing himself on you. Both of them only have themselves to blame! I won’t blame you for anything. I only sigh for your destiny, Miss Kagami. Although you are beautiful and kind, you always bring misfortune to the people around you. I think that you are probably in more agony than me, hahaha!”3
“Lord Hojo, you shouldn’t beat yourself up like that. Odawara is still waiting for you to rebuild it,” Lily tried her best to encourage him.
“Nonsense!” Hojo’s unkempt appearance made him look at least ten years older than what he actually is. He looked at the hill and shouted, “Minamoto no Yoritomo that old fox! He only used my name to send an army to fight against Odawara, claiming to seek justice and take revenge for the Hojo clan! Yet, after he occupied Odawara, he never mentioned a single word about returning or handing over the territories back! All the Hojo’s territories have been occupied by the As.h.i.+kaga and Genji’s armies. I was going to meet Lord Kamakura but he avoided me ever since then! Just like that, he skillfully took all the territories of the Hojo clan! Hmph, reviving the Hojo clan… It’s impossible! No way it would work! I’d rather continue drinking my wine and go where I want as a heroic Swordmaster! Hahahahahahaha! Ahahahahaha!”
Hojo Ujizane tilted his back and laughed at the sky, looking like a bold hero who had seen his fair share of the hypocritical world.
Sadness welled up in Lily’s heart, but she was only an insignificant female samurai who had no say in any military affairs that involved Kamakura and the As.h.i.+kaga clan. She clearly knew that she wasn’t in the position to interfere in those matters, so she could only silently bow to Hojo Ujizane to express her apology.
Ujizane turned around and looked at Lily, with warmth and melancholy in his eyes. “Hehehe, Miss Kagami, I’m not worried about making a fool out of myself at this point. I know it is impossible, but this may be the last time we meet. Miss Kagami, I plan to travel the world and I wonder if you… will be willing to go with me?”
Although Ujizane didn’t clearly convey his intention, Lily understood it. In the sunset, she gave him her most gentle and beautiful golden smile.
Then followed by a serious bow.
“I’m sorry, Brother Ujizane. You’re a good person. I’m sure there will be a woman who can truly appreciate, love and comfort you down the road, but that person is not Lily.”
Hojo Ujizane’s gaze slightly wavered. After a moment of awkwardness, he took another swig of his wine. Dejected yet carefreely, he said, “I knew it! I knew it would be like this! Hahahahaha! Hahahaha! I lost my home, my land, my family, and now I’m finally outright rejected by my sweetheart! With that, I guess I can really embark on my journey without any worries!”
Hojo took a mouthful of wine, turned around and bowed to Matsuda’s grave.
“Cheers, Lord Matsuda! This is a rather fine wine! You may be dead, but you’ll continue to stay in Miss Kagami’s heart. I’m alive, but I’m destined to be forgotten by her. We both truly have a tragic fate, hahaha!”
Hojo Ujizane spilled some of the wine in his gourd onto Matsuda’s grave.
He then turned around to look at Lily. “I’m leaving. Before that, let me warn you that my brother, Dijon, has abandoned his humanity. His current strength greatly differs from the time when he fought at Suruga Province. Miss Kagami, you must be careful.”
“Thank you for the warning, Brother Hojo.”
“If… No matter what, he is still my elder brother. I truly hope that someone can free him from his own whirlpool of demons… He mustn’t continue his mistakes, otherwise he will be consigned to eternal d.a.m.nation sooner or later…”
“Miss Kagami, Brother Kimura, I bid you farewell.”
The red sun had sunk halfway down the mountains. The silhouette of the tall ronin could be seen walking on the backlit hillside carefreely with a huge wine gourd in hand. Taking a sip after every three steps, he heartily sang a song.
“Under the unchanging skies, nothing is eternal. I yearn to wield my sword until the day I die, as I traverse the desolated mountains accompanied by wine through the nights…”
Hojo Ujizane’s loud singing voice gradually faded away. Lily could only pray silently for this ronin to embark on his legendary journey.
“It’s getting late. I should get going, Brother Kimura.” “Uhm… Miss Kagami.” “Yes?”
“Sometimes you give me the feeling that you are not a being from this secular world, but a G.o.ddess who has descended into this mortal world…” The simple-minded Kimura never had much eloquence or sophistication, but that was a statement from his heart when he saw Lily’s beauty at this very moment.
“You are flattering me, Brother Kimura. Well then… Lily shall take her leave now. Take care, Brother Kimura.”
Lily bid her farewell to Kimura. Although this trip was filled with sadness, at least she had satisfied her wish.
A samurai who died to prove his own way could also be considered a form of honorable determination.
Lily didn’t tarry any longer in this land of sorrow but planned to leave for Musas.h.i.+ Province, the hometown of Yagyuu s.h.i.+u. She heard that the Yagyuu clan was the master of the sword so Lily also wanted to pay them a visit and also fetch s.h.i.+u back while she was at it.
It was a cold night today.
s.h.i.+mizu sat alone in front of the window as she waited under the moonlight for Lily’s return. But Lily never came back.
s.h.i.+mizu looked pale. Her eyes were filled with worries and her mind was restless.
“The duel with Uesugi Rei will take place in another three days, but I can’t even focus on my sword training right now. Lil’ Sister Lily, where are you? When are you coming back? I really wish I can see you again before my duel…”
s.h.i.+mizu’s eyes were filled with real emotions for the very first time, as she shed tears of loneliness.4
- according to wiki, it’s deputy or local official
- Robinxen: Oof his att.i.tude is pretty great. I mean you imagine losing everything and everyone you ever knew, struggling to even marry the girl you love. Only for the cause of it all to casually hand over a small fortune like it’s nothing?
- Silva: He’s a nice guy…
- Robinxen: Alright, the past has been cut away so I guess we need to untangle this mess of a present now?