Book 3: Chapter 26: Yumi and Yukiko
Approximately 12 to 13 years ago1…
Even Yumi didn’t remember how long ago it exactly was2.
Yumi was honing her ninja arts in the freezing cold of a snow-covered field.
It was tough to become a powerful kunoichi and required one to pay special attention to strength, beauty and figure equally.
Unlike samurai women, in addition to combat; infiltration, gathering intelligence and a.s.sa.s.sination were all important duties of kunoichi3.
Thus, pretty looks and a lovely figure were the best natural means to approach the targets who were of n.o.ble origin4.
If employed properly, even a low-ranked ninja could kill a sword saint-ranked powerhouse.
Yumi was still at an age where her body had yet to bloom, so she was just a beauty in the rough right now.
“I must defeat Sis!”
The adorably short-haired little Yumi’s face was flushed from the freezing winds, yet she still practiced throwing the shuriken within the snow.
Even if she fell down repeatedly, she continued to practice the Flying-Swallow Step by running up the wall in front of her.
The Flying-Swallow Step was the qualifying line to become a high-ranked ninja and at least half the ninja population failed to learn it their entire lives. These ninjas were no different from mercenaries and didn’t have the talent necessary to become a ninja.
However, a month ago, the 10-year-old Yumi had learned the Flying-Swallow Step successfully and was currently the youngest Midō clan member to have learned it.
As a ninja, Yumi was pretty talented, but, even so, there was an even brilliant existence within the Midō clan, which resulted in the negligence of Yumi’s brilliance.
It was none other than her elder sister, Midō Yukiko.
Yukiko was five years older than Yumi, so it wasn’t that surprising that her strength far surpa.s.sed Yumi’s. She was also praised as the genius of the Midō clan and was known as the hope of the clan.
“I must outdo Sis! I must!” Yumi trained day and night feverishly, “I’ll outdo Sis and become the Mimori!”
Yumi wasn’t jealous of her sister. On the contrary, she liked and adulated5 her very much.
When they were young, her gentle sister had always accompanied her while training the ninja arts. The sisters lived a mutually dependent life until the Midō clan took them in and confirmed the legitimacy of the Mimori bloodline.
The little Yumi’s sister had once protected her from the bullying of the villainous kids and as she looked at her sister’s back in front of her, Yumi clutched on her sister’s sleeves and stated innocuously, “I’ll definitely protect Sis after growing up!”
Although it was perilous, Yumi’s sister had also once rescued her from the throes of monsters within the mountains. Back then, Yumi could only cry while s.h.i.+vering within her sister’s arms.
The sisters had lost their parents at a young age, so Yumi’s sister was her sole remaining relative and also the center of her life.
However, Yumi began to see her sister as a rival one day.
She competed with her sister for everything and didn’t even hesitate to suggest replacing her sister’s place as the Mimori to the elders.
However, no one took her seriously, and gradually, as someone who was too obsessed with this matter, Yumi had become a girl hated by her peers.
The sole exception was the emerald-haired little girl from the Yagyū clan.
But Yumi didn’t show much regard for that little girl even though her exceptional 10-year-old self might have been that little girl’s idol.
Yumi had only one goal, which was to outdo her sister and become the Mimori!
Yumi stopped her sister and attempted to have a bout with her.
“Yumi! Stop messing around!” The white-robed long-haired ninja girl, Yukiko, chastised, “Do you think this t.i.tle is a joke? Do you even know what it stands for? How could you act so materialistically at such a young age?”
“Yes, I am materialistic! So what?! We have the same bloodline yet why is Sis the Mimori while I’m the neglected and hated child?!”
Yumi’s sister naturally didn’t go all-out in this bout, yet Yumi still lost in the end.
And it was a pretty devastating defeat.
Yumi still didn’t understand what a five-year age gap meant. In denial, she gave her all into training even more intensely!
Yuki slashed at the falling snow within the field in an attempt to hone her swordplay via bisection of the snowflakes.
“You don’t get it, Sis!” “I’m doing this to protect you!” “You’ve saved me so many times, Sis, so let me save you this time!”
In the snowstorm, Yumi reminisced about the events that took place in the Fūma village later on.
Once Yukiko’s status as the next-generation Mimori was confirmed, Yumi felt even prouder of her sister and strived hard to become her sister’s close aid in the future.
However, her sister got injured in an accident one day, or so it seemed.
Furthermore, a few days later, the always neglected Yumi entered the underground tunnels of the Fūma clan accidentally and overheard a horrific conversation.
Because Yukiko’s talent scared them, the Fūma clan wanted to murder her so that they could subdue and annex the Midō clan fully. They believed they wouldn’t have the chance to accomplish this objective if the day when Yukiko matured into a full-fledged kunoichi were to arrive.
So, the role of a Mimori was actually this dangerous.
“I just need to take Sis’s place and take on this danger!” “And protect Sis!”
Yumi was too young right now, and it was already too late by the time she realized this promise as the a.s.sa.s.sinations, premediated accidents and poisonings against Yukiko had already begun.
“I’ll become the Mimori! Those a.s.sa.s.sinations and schemes would be directed at me then and they’ll stay away from Sis!” “I must defeat Sis and become the Mimori so that I can protect her!”
However, even though Yumi trained desperately, she still hadn’t matured to the point where she could defeat Yukiko.
And in the spring season a few years later, Yukiko got acquainted with a wandering tea master who peddled in tea sets and eloped with him after falling in love6.
Although spring was the season of romance, Yumi’s heart was colder than ever.
“Just what does this mean?! Tell me!”
As a result of Yukiko’s elopement, Yumi became the next-generation Mimori. However, without the need to protect her sister from the a.s.sa.s.sinations of those conspiring to murder her, she found no meaning in becoming the Mimori7.
Does the affection between us really fall short of your feelings for that tea master who you just got acquainted with for a few days, Sis? So much that you would abandon me and elope with that man?
“Men are truly abominable!” “Sis… Yukiko is a s̲l̲u̲t̲ who deceived me!” “Just what did I work so hard for?”
Yumi also began to encounter various premediated accidents, and although she wasn’t willing to surrender to the Fūma clan, she found it meaningless to continue putting up a struggle.
At the same time, Yumi also began to feel weary of life.
She wondered if Yukiko would grieve for her if she were really murdered by the Fūma clan one day and that whether she would grieve her heart out in the arms of that tea master endearingly.
“Truly abominable! How could you abandon your hardworking sister and elope with that man?! What about the fates of the Mimori and the Midō clan? Have you forgotten all about it? Why is the truth of this world so senseless? Is this the world of adults?” “In that case, I really don’t want to grow up!” “There’s no meaning in facing such a senseless world after growing up!” “But how do I not grow up? That’s impossible. Will I also abandon everything shamelessly for a man in the future? Or would I get murdered by the Fūma clan before that happens? Perhaps I’ll get married with the chief of the Fūma clan a few years after the Midō clan forms a pact with them?” “I don’t want that!” “I won’t grow up if I die, right?” “I wouldn’t have to confront this filthy world then.”
The stepping stones used by the Midō clan to train movement arts in ancient times were vaguely visible behind the waterfall flowing down into a chasm in this dark cave.
“s.h.i.+u. Come, jump across!” “I obviously won’t ask Lil’ s.h.i.+u to jump across. You need to try hard in your own way, Lil’ s.h.i.+u. Here, let me show you how to do it!Chapter 207 (Vol 2 Chapter 52) Silva: The dialog’s a bit different, but let’s just treat it as vague memories between the two individuals yeah?.”>8”
Okazaki Castle was shrouded in a heavy and bizarre atmosphere under the curtain of the night and always gave off the feeling that a conspiracy discordant to its simplicity and stability lurked within its shadows.
Yumi, now known as Yuki Mayumi, was dressed in a snug violet kunoichi ninja wear which consisted of a miniskirt with splits that swayed along with each of her steps. The smooth skin above the thighs made intermittent appearances from the front and a flimsy fabric concealed the secret garden present in the shadows of the underskirt and prevented its particulars from being known.
Mayumi wore a frigid gaze as she traversed through the dimly lit corridor of the castle tower. When she arrived at the end of the corridor, she pulled the sliding door in front of her open.
A woman donned in a white kimono with dark flower-patterned sleeves and hair darker than Yumi’s combed into a split at the center of the head, Tokugawa Yukiko, no, Midō Yukiko, who had changed her name to Hon’ami Yukiko after marrying the tea master, was seated in a seiza within the room.
For a moment, Mayumi didn’t know what to say when she saw her sister.
Yukiko didn’t react immediately after seeing Mayumi.
However, the affection between sisters was an unbreakable bond, so she recalled it even though it had been tried by the vicissitudes of times.
“Y-Yumi? Is that really you?” Yukiko’s eyes filled with emotion momentarily.
But she a.s.sumed the meek conduct of a hegemon’s wife once again in the next moment.
She lowered her head slightly and looked at the corners of the kimono’s skirt at her knees, “So you were still alive. That’s really great.”
Yukiko’s words were gentle and grateful, but they also seemed a bit distant.
“Why, Sis, why did you leave without saying anything back then and elope with that man, abandoning both me and the clan!” Mayumi closed the sliding door behind her and questioned Yukiko.
Yukiko’s eyes filled with guilt, “Why, huh… you won’t understand even if I explained it to you right now.”
“Hmph! Isn’t it because of a man?! You are a weak woman, Yukiko. How could you remain so calm and serve an ugly, treacherous and sickening old man who killed the man you abandoned everything for back then?! Are you the same as those weak mortal women of the Heian Empire?” Yumi’s eyes glistened with tears and disappointment, “I believed you had some unavoidable reason to take such an action, Sis! That you were the same duty-bound Yukiko that I imagined you to be! You’ve really disappointed me.”
“Yumi… we were weak women from the very beginning, and isn’t it the fate of weak women to serve the powerful hegemons of this chaotic world?” Yukiko stated without the slightest shame9.
The moon was visible in the shadowy skies before the crack of dawn and the rain had already stopped.
Lily and Rei and their companions rode through the mountain range on a black and white warhorse respectively.
The mountains were lush with tall and old trees whose leaves had withered and fallen in this late autumn season, so the towering trees looked like a cl.u.s.ter of spires that pierced into the nightly skies.
The rugged terrain and rock walls of the steep mountains were more evident as a result and at this moment, a faint orange glow was in the process of manifesting at the distant horizon where the mountains and the sky melded into each other.
“This is the Kai Province,” Uesugi Rei urged the Nioh to slow down and it followed the command obediently, hoofing across the mountain trail that was filled with cracks and withered leaves.
Lily, who was sitting behind Rei, folded the parasol and observed the surroundings with an indescribable mood.
- Robinxen: It was a dark and stormy night…
- Robinxen: Approximately 12 to 13 years ago apparently.
- Robinxen: Also they must wear skintight suits and get captured and subjected to bad ends with…hmmm? What do you mean that’s not historically accurate? But…
- Robinxen: See I knew it!
- Robinxen: This is, in fact, a real word.
- Robinxen: Well…that was a turn.
- Robinxen: Wait she just…left you behind?! Like… she knew people were aiming for her life…
- Refer back to s.h.i.+u’s flashback on Chapter 207 (Vol 2 Chapter 52) Silva: The dialog’s a bit different, but let’s just treat it as vague memories between the two individuals yeah?.
- Silva: Hmmm this event took place in present right?