Preparations for the Journey

I wrote, before, that being selected to represent Clan Noriaibasha at the warriors’ gathering in Hiroshima is a great honor. And so it is — but it also means that I must spend some time preparing! Akane is busy packing my luggage for the long journey. Since I will be representing the clan, and will probably have to attend various social functions, I must bring at least one formal kimono. I will also need food for the journey, and tabiThe split-toed boots commonly worn by ninjasthe split-toed boots commonly worn by ninjas that slip off easily for occasions when the Emperor’s guards inspect the carriage at checkpoints… It is quite a lot to prepare, and I have not much time.

Aside from that, I must have all our opposition in Ogaribamen cleared away before I go. Otherwise, Makishi and his team will not be able to do their work in my absence.

Since Amon and the people of Clan Hekoayu are still identifying exactly who our opponents are, this makes my life quite difficult. I have been given very little time to find and kill these people. It seems every day, I receive new orders: “The twin rōninA masterless samurai, effectively an independent sword-for-hire. A samurai could become a rōnin if his lord died, or if his lord became displeased with him and effectively fired him. During the Sengoku Jidai, things were very loose, and some samurai voluntarily left their lords and went in search of other opportunities, becoming rōnin temporarily until they could find new lords. Some peasants even declared themselves to be samurai, and then went in search of lords to take them in — for them, being a rōnin was a step in their personal advancement plans.

The word rōnin literally means “wave-man”: the image is of a man who wanders endlessly, without direction, like a wave on the ocean. At the end of Pulp Fiction, when Jules Winnfield says his plan is to “walk the earth… like Caine from Kung Fu”, he’s effectively saying he’s going to become a modern rōnin after leaving Marsellus Wallace’s service.
A masterless samurai; a wandering warrior whose sword was for hire.
s? They are still targets, but now you must kill them separately, not together!” — “Don’t worry about the enemy ninja who wears the signs of Ten and One; he can wait for later.” — “The two merchants, the fat one in the green kimono and his skinny partner in blue. They must both die as soon as possible!” “Will Friday suffice?” “Can you make sure it’s done tomorrow? Preferably in the morning.”

Amid all this chaos, I persevere.

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