Ten to chi to Hime to Volume 1 Chapter 1

1st Chapter – Bishamonten of Echigo (One)

The Sengoku era. The authority of Ashikaga Shogunate was lost after the Onin war, an era where various warlords compete with each other over lordship of whole japan.

The place is Echigo.

It was a great and wide country stretched from the north to the south, blessed with abundant marine product and rich wealth due to the trade from its harbor. For all intent and purposes, it was divided into Jouetsu, Chuuetsu and Kaetsu. Therefore, since every inhabitants of Echigo had strong independency, unification couldnt persist long.

North Echigo, known as “Kaetsu” was adjacent to Tohoku region and stretched to Dewa of Oshu.

At the center was “Chuuetsu” bordered with the entrance of Ueno and Kanto region through Mikuni pass.

At finally, at the South Echigo “Jouetsu” would face Shinano if one went south over the mountains of Myoko and beyond Ito river, it would reach Etchu at the west. Went further west from Etchu, come Kaga and Echizen and ahead from there was Kyo (Imperial Capital) at Kinai.

Although Echigo was not part of Kanto, it was under the jurisdiction by the Kanto Kanryo (Shogun’s Deputy) of Uesugi family by the Ashikaga Shogunate.

Therefore, the Kanto Kanryo of Uesugi family had been appointed as the guardian of Echigo for generations.

In the eastern country (Togoku) of Sengoku era there existed the ruler of Kanto the “Kanto Kanryo of Uesugi family” and the ruler of Echigo “Shugo (Governor) of Uesugi family”, they were relatives.

The clan who served as the ShuGodai (Governor Deputy) under the Echigo Shugo of Uesugi family was the Nagao family.

The hierarchy of this relationship from the highest to the lowest were Kanto Kanryo of Uesugi family—Echigo Shugo of Uesugi family—Echigo ShuGodai of Nagao family.

During the time Yamamoto Kanesuke wandered the land, the Echigo ShuGodai at that time was the head of Kasugayama Nagao family (also called Fuchu Nagao family), Nagao Tamekage with Kasugayama castle at Fuchu in Jouetsu as their main castle.

Although the Nagao family was divided into several clans, the Kasugayama Nagao family had the pedigree of being the ShuGodai while other Nagao family was considered as a family branch.

Although Nagao Tamekage was an old general reaching 60 years old, he was a fierce warrior who grew old along with Takeda Nobutora of Kai of the same age at the eastern country and had spent days of continuous battles aiming for Echigo’s conqueror. Although he was ambitious like Takeda Nobutora, unlike Takeda Nobutora, Nagao Tamekage wasn’t born from a noble bloodline such as the direct descendant of Genji Kai family. He was simply from the prime minister family who served the Uesugi clan.

Therefore, Nagao Tamekage used it as a pretext for an ”Usurpation”.

Nagao Tamekage fought against his master, Echigo Shugo – Uesugi Fusanori and killed him. Fusanori was the younger brother of the Kanto Kanryo of that time, Uesugi Akisada. Tamekage also turned the table against the Kanto Kanryo, Uesugi Akisada who attacked Echigo in rage of his brother’s murder after the fierce battle and kill him. Because the Kanto Kanryo died during the Echigo campaign, an internal confict occurred between the Kantou Kanryo Uesugi and Kanto Kubou (Shogunate) Ashikaga and the whole Kanto region also fell into great chaos.

This disturbance that was started from Nagao Tamekage’s usurpation was called “Chaos of Nagao” as during his lifetime, Tamekage had killed two of his master. Tamekage who had defeated his two master continued to treat himself as the ruler of Echigo after putting Uesugo Sadazane who descended from Uesugi family as Echigo Shugo in name only.

Although the Shugo figurehead, Uesugi Sadazane tried to fight Tamekage by asking his loyal retainer, Usami clan to take away the real power from Tamekage, that plan was also forcefully suppressed by Tamekage through overwhelming military force.

Ever since then, Uesugi Sadazane seemed unable to revolt anymore and continued to being confined inside the castle town Kasugayama at Fuchu.

Takeda Nobutora who was born from a distinguished family who respect blood and lineage, if anything he was a complete opposite from Nagao Tamekage as he was a master who would kill his subordinates such as vassals and civilians. Even if there was a person with much superior lineage than himself, he would never allow himself to be ordered.

Originally in Kanto, the Kanto Kubou and Kanto Kanryo was split and weakened into disorder. At such situation, because the Echigo Shugo and Kanto Kanryo was lost in the war against Nagao Tamekage and died one after another, at the peak of the “Usurpation”, the eastern countries finally fell into chaos like the dark age.

However, Tamekage who personally rode to the battlefield was always being arrogant on horseback.

“Power is everything in the Sengoku world. Any person who goes against me, be it the Kanryo or the Shugo, I will crush them all! War is a battle where we have to put our life in it, there is only death if you lose!”

For the sake of winning severe daily battles, Tamekage himself became cruel.

There was no such thing as a samurai’s mercy in the Genpei war during the late Kamakura era.

Trampling downed the routed enemies, plundering everything and murdering were “Victory” for Tamekage. Even if the enemy general was once his lord, he would disregard and killed them and displayed their head in front of his main castle, the Kasugayama castle.

Tamekage’s father, Nagao Yoshikage who tried to send his troops to suppress the rebellion by the people and followers the new religion of the neighboring country Etchu, the Nyankosou temple but he fell to the rebel’s trap and died. Furthermore, it was a trap from Echigo Shugo, Uesugi Fusanori. That Shugo dared to plunge into death to reject the Shu Godai, Nagao Yoshikage who held the real power of Echigo and killed Yoshikage who fell into trouble at Etchu. At his father’s death “A master isn’t needed. I will live like a samurai and die like a samurai” it could be said as the reason why the young Tamekage decided to usurp his master.

Assassination and scheme would give a malicious impression, even though Tamekage was brutal, because he always had a pride as a samurai who says “Awar is decided through battle”, he always fought bravely, sometimes he was defeated and retreat to Sado a lot, even if he was defeated he never gave up and stood up again, a style of supreme ruler who had gruesome resolution to unhesitatingly behead his master as soon as there was a chance for a counterattack, surprisingly there were few people who abhorred that “Alluring Tyranny”__.

There was something like an appeal of evil for this strange old general.

However, precisely because this old general keep killing his master that the people of Echigo couldn’t be united and if one attacked them, it would turn a flag of rebellion and the war of Echigo would not end.

From the start, people of Echigo had strong independency, there were few people who thought something as “Uniting Echigo”. Especially the great natives of “Agakita folk” who hold an authority in Kaetsu ever since the Kamakura era was a strongly independent people, it was almost impossible even for Uesugi and Nagao family to take them as retainers.

Was it because the unique environment where they could be reached next to the castle when spring came yet it would be closed immediately by snow in winter that elevated the spirit of independency of Echigo people?

It was a rare thing for a role of a general to be reserved for a man at japan of those time.

At that time, in order to put an end to kinsmen’s disputes over family inheritances repeated by siblings, parents and children, a custom of “Hime-Busho” was widely adopted by samurai clan of each country. The custom said that the first child shall inherit the family even if the samurai’s child was a girl.

This Hime-Busho custom didn’t exist in Echigo.

Each people’s sense of independence that shouldered the resolution to live like a lone wolf and the ghastly sentiment that “War is for the world of men, women are useless” were said to be the character of Echigo’s people.

The man who was born embodying this nature of Echigo’s people was Nagao Tamekage, the veteran general who murdered his master and repeatedly gained huge victory by crushing the north.

Nagao Tamekage who planned complete domination of Echigo, although he appoint Uesugi Sadazane, a substitution for a symbol who descended from the Uesugi family bloodline for the seat of Echigo Shugo which had become vacant because of his murder, including Uesugi Sadazane himself, the people of Echigo who keep being disobedient toward the master and advocates the revival of Uesugi family and constantly revolt against Tamekage were always beaten.

The stronger Tamekage become, the stronger the people who wanted to fight against Tamekage somewhere in the vast Echigo. In addition, in order to fulfill his revenge to the uprising force of Etchu which defeat his father, Tamekage obstinately invade Etchu and continued to fight resistance force like a swamp.

It was limitless.

Above all, the most troublesome one was the person with a strange surname, Usami Sadamitsu.

Tall. Always knotting his hair on the back. Eccentric appearance. He was a young playboy who always fishing to wait upon beauties on top of floating boat on Biwa lake, among simple warriors of Echigo who believed in power, Usami Sadamitsu was particular about the idea of “Justice”.

There was a deep fate between Tamekage and Usami Sadamitsu, Tamekage believe that “Usami Sadamitsu was against himself because of personal grudge” yet Usami Sadamitsu’s conduct wasn’t simply personal grudge.

“Although Nagao Tamekage is strong, he is also a beast. There is no justice in his head. He keeps fighting without thinking, killing the Shugo and Kanto Kanryo and made a mess of Togoku. Nevertheless, it would be nice to rebuild and control the disordered world but his goal is to keep make war with people who is confident with their power and doesn’t have a mind to get them under control. The most annoying thing is every time he fights, he collects provisions from the farmers and lays waste to their field. Since I don’t like troublesome war, I cannot ignore it”

It offended his sense of justice.

Usami Sadamitsu wasn’t simply an ordinary cultured man with elegant taste but also excelled in military study. However, Usami family didn’t have a social standing to become a ShuGodai. If Usami Sadamitsu killed Tamekage then Echigo would be disarrayed even more.

Even if Tamekage was being dragged down from the seat of ShuGodai, if the next ShuGodai was also a tyrant then it would be the same thing.

Rather, it was because a mighty power such as Tamekage existed, Echigo could barely existed before collapsing.

By all right, since Usami Sadamitsu enjoyed courting women, drinking sake and fishing in Biwa lake, he was a good man. The fact that Usami Sadamitsu couldn’t throw away the samurai family was originally because of fate that could not be wiped away easily between Tamekage and Usami.

However, his purpose was not for his gradual prosperity and ambition, it was said that he wanted to save the people of Echigo from the misfortune of war after being moved by a strange “Concept”.

He was seriously wished to revive the lost “Justice” of the people.

He was such a strange man.

“The war is stopping. Tamekage is already old. I will produce a suitable person from Nagao family for the next ShuGodai. Adult who is already old is useless. We will give special education to young clever children”

At one point, Usami Sadamitsu held such deep design and forethought and proposed for a reconciliation from Tamekage whom he hostile with for a long time.

Although Tamekage wondered (I don’t know about Usami’s true intention) but it was difficult to kill Usami in battle. He was good at giving up and ran away fast. Also, Usami had a strange popularity, even if he was being kicked out, he could gather support immediately and defended himself. Furthermore, he couldn’t be moved by greed. He fought for an incomprehensible word such as “Justice”. Even so, there was no trace of being like a nobleman from him yet he dressed up showily like samurai of Kyoto.

Immediately after suddenly saying things like “I am already tired of war”, sometimes he immersed himself by fishing at Biwa island that floated on the misty Nojiri lake.

He brought up the topic like Hime-Busho which shouldn’t be taken in Echigo.

When he is being criticized by the vassals, Usami laugh frivolously because Usami family has a shortage of skilled people.

He was creepy and incomprehensible.

A man whom Tamekage hated the most.

Therefore, Tamekage accepted the reconciliation.

Meanwhile, among the branch family of Kasugayama Nagao family, the lord of Sakato castle who dominated Uonoma region of Chuuetsu and the heir of Ueda Nagao family – the young commander, Nagao Masakage who while rapidly built heaps of meritorious war service in battle, began to aim for the seat of ShuGodai after the old Tamekage.

“Despite coming from a branch family, I have the blood of Nagao flowing inside me. No matter who is Usami Sadamitsu is, he comes from a servant bloodline. He is not qualified to be a ShuGodai but I can!”

A human’s life in Sengoku era was short.

Although Nagao Tamekage who continued to send soldiers to the east and west as an active warrior even though he was reaching 60 years old was a strange exception, it was still impossible even for a veteran general like Tamekage to fight against age.

Aside from that, Nagao Masakage who inherited the family headship from his father was still too young.

Except for the differences in age, Tamekage and Masakage had similar nature as a person.

Boasting matchless recklessness on the battlefield, he had a strong luck of never dying no matter how much he fought in close combat, he was a brutal warlord who kept cutting escaping soldiers again and again and again while laughing loudly and being assured of his victory.

In a sense, it was as if Masakage was like Tamekage’s grandson.

Their appearance was very similar.

A muscular body, as if a burning flame of ambition was coming out from his whole body.

A thick eyebrow, reminiscent of a carnivorous beast.

Sharp eyes that would kill the enemies, a facial expression that looked like a warrior in contract of being an aristocrat.

As if he was an incarnation of a man-eating fiend.

The only thing different was that the young Masakage was a little bit smaller and his age.

Ironically, the heir of Tamekage, Nagao Harukage was a weak noble child who didn’t look like Tamekage at all, he was lazing around by singing and womanizing at Kasugayama castle without pushing his father who was reaching 60’s to retire.

Of course, the young ambitious boy who was proud of his valor was angry.

Although he was always brought on the frontline and kept giving victory to Tamekage, Harukage – Tamekage’s son were confined inside the castle.

The gloomy ambition that Masakage possessed was never born at first but deeply ingrained in him.

Originally the head family of Nagao family – Kasugayama Nagao family, while based on Jouetsu which was adjacent to Etchu where the people desired to go the capital intensifies, it was Ueda Nagao family who dominated Chuuetsu that controlled Mikuni pass which was the entrance toward Kanto.

Whereas Tamekage’s Kasugayama Nagao family emphasized their relationship with the Shogunate of Kinai along with justifying the concept of “Usurpation”, the Ueda Nagao family was deeply involved with Kanto Kanryo.

At that time, Shogun held the real power of Kinai and Kanto Kubou held the real power of Kanto, it could be said that those two were completely different countries.

Nagao Tamekage decided to carry out his usurpation, killing the Echigo Shugo who ws the younger brother of the Kanto Kanryo, when the enraged Kanto Kanryo bring out an army and attacked Echigo, the Ueda Nagao family who controlled Mikuni pass which was the passage of Kanto army betrayed their Nagao kin, Tamekage and came over to Kanto Kanryo side.

There was a sentiment that “Our family is the vassals of Kanto Kanryo” among the Ueda Nagao family, if they rebeled against the Kanto army, Ueda Nagao family who was blocking the entrance to Echigo would be blocked first, it could be said that they didn’t have any choice to begin with.

The Ueda Nagao family calmly let the Kanto army invaded Echigo__.

However, the demonic and warlike Nagao Tamekage who had once usurp and kill his master didn’t succumb even to the Kanto Kanryo army. Though he was routed and retreated to Sado, he regained his footing by enlisted the old Nagao family who had been gathered by the Kanto Kanryo army to his side again, Echigo’s strongly self-independent natives also didn’t follow the authority of Kanto Kanryo. Furthermore, in Kanto region, the family of Ise region with their rising influence, the so called “Hojou family” begun to rampage by aiming for the absence of Kanto Kanryo.

Because of this, the Kanto Kanryo army who had trouble in staying at Echigo, tried to retreat to Kanto in panic, at this time, the ruler of Ueda Nagao family, Nagao Fusanaga who was the father of Masakage betrayed Kanto Kanryo and sided with Tamekage. The Kanto Kanryo whose path of retreat was cut off by Ueda Nagao army was killed by Tamekage army who purse him to Uonuma.

Thus, the “Man of Usurpation” Nagao Tamekage begin to reign as the de facto ruler of Echigo, he came to looked coldly at Ueda Nagao family at Echigo and said “They betrayed the kin of Nagao family and sided with Kanto Kanryo, even then, when it turned disadvantageous to them, they even betrayed that Kanto Kanryo and killed him, they are family of traitors and infidels”.

After winning the war against Kanto Kanryo, the samurai of Ueda Nagao family who came visited Kasugayama castle for “Victory celebration” noticed that they were disdained by many of Echigo samurai including the clans of Nagao family who gathered at Kasugayama castle themselves, they had lost their honor.

Furthermore, Tamekage who had won a series of battle of “Usurpation” against the Kanto Kanryo,

“Hmph. We cannot rely on the loyalty of Ueda Nagao family who keep betraying other. They sit on the fence entirely at the last moment…… Whether their partner was Kanto Kanryo or me, they should’ve fought the decisive battle by bravely putting the fate of their clan!”

He violently disparaged Ueda Nagao, the head of Ueda Nagao family, Nagao Fusanaga who was trembling with bitterness,

“I cannot use words alone if I want to be his vassals. I have to kneel.”

He and all of the family prostated themselves in front of everyone.

This incident__left a scar in the heart of the prideful boy Nagao Masakage who was present there.

Masakage insulted his father “It is cowardly to flatter the victorious Tamekage while betting on the Kanto Kanryo” and swore to his heart “Echigo has become a country filled with usurpation, if so, someone with skills can become the new king of Echigo! I will defeat Tamekage and take Echigo!”.

For the young Masakage, Tamekage had become a huge “Wall” that he had to overcome.

Furthermore, Masakage wasn’t convinced about the words of various Echigo samurai about the Ueda Nagao being a traitor or unfaithful. Wasn’t Nagao Tamekage the most disloyal person of Echigo because he killed its Shugo and Kanto Kanryo?

In other words, at a glance, loyalty might be a beautiful words but the winner is the justice, thus the sensitive boy Masakage came to believe that.

That’s right. Father wasn’t strong enough. Tamekage is better, not in personality but only in bravery.

There is no justice or loyalty in Echigo.

What you need are just bravery and power__.

“I will become the strongest man of Echigo. I will definitely remove the slanderous words that Ueda Nagao family is a traitor. If power is justice then I will prove it! I will kill those who didn’t retract those insults!”

While Masakage let these oaths out from his mouth, he trained his power to the limit and finally he forcibly took the family headship from his father. It was the birth of the 2nd Tamekage.

This ambitious man Masakage wouldn’t follow Tamekage forever.

In Echigo, only the strong can be king. In that case, it was not the frail Harukage but because he had a pride that the seat of ShuGodai would came to around for him that he fought in battle together with Tamekage whom he hated and continued to show his bravery.

However, no matter how much Masakage showed his military prowess, Tamekage didn’t even pretend that he tried to give the seat of ShuGodai to Masakage. For Tamekage, from that moment when the head of Ueda Nagao family prostrated himself at Kasugayama castle, he treated Ueda Nagao family as no more than a servant even though they were his kin.

The quarrel between them was inevitable. Or it could be said that it was fate.

Ironically enough, even though on the battlefield, Masakage and Tamekage’s shared belief of “Power is justice” were profoundly compatible with each other, they had repeatedly clashed with each other over the matter of Ueda Nagao family’s treatment as the “Betrayer’s house” and about the matter of successor, on a certain battle, they finally quarreled during a war council.

“Old man! You want to make someone like Harukage as Echigo ShuGodai?! Even though we both belong to Nagao family, I cannot stand it if Harukage will succeed as the next ShuGodai. There is me who excelled in power next to you! I should be Echigo ShuGodai!”

And while the young Masakage used this as a pretext for his ambition, Tamekage,

“Boy! I am the one who expanded Nagao family! In order to take the whole Echigo, I have killed the Shugo and Kanto Kanryo too! Does a boy like yourself have the courage to kill your master? Echigo is my country! I will make my son succeed the seat of ShuGodai!”

Didn’t concede.

“It doesn’t matter! However, time will not support you. I will live longer than you! you will grow old sooner or later. The strongest man in Echigo is this Nagao Masakage!”

“Impudent brat. Then, I will live to a hundred as well”

“Don’t regret it! I will definitely remove the humiliation that I got! Even if it takes years!”

“How’s this, Masakage? Can you kill me in battle? If you kill me, do you think that the people of Echigo would obey a boy from the traitorous Ueda Nagao family? They will not obey you.”

“Everyone wouldn’t understand until you are killed. If that’s what you want, let’s settle this in the war!”

Both great men, sorted out.

Masakage and Tamekage who belonged to the same Nagao family, decided to clash on the battlefield.

For the sake of elevating Echigo Shugo, Uesugi Sadazane’s younger brother, Kamijou Sadanori who was under house arrest by Tamekage, “This is the true Echigo Shugo”, Nagao Masakage challenged Tamekage by enticing Agakita folk of Kaetsu who were extremely dissatisfied with the fact that Tamekage persistently tried to hold them as his vassals.

“Kamijou’s rebellion” broke out.

There were several battles between the two forces.

“This is for the sake of reconciling myself with Tamekage” Usami Sadamitsu who tried to mediate them while complaining was struggling to calm their hearts which were furiously blazed with fire. While Usami would help Masakage and Tamekage at times, he was running around to prevent the worst disaster “If both men of Nagao family quarreled then Echigo would fall apart” and finally abled to bring peace to both of them.

However, it was unstable that no one knew when that peace would break away.

Tamekage and Masakage. If they were truly parent and son or if Masakage who excelled in martial prowess like Tamekage planned to adopt the policy to replace Echigo’s ShuGodai then Echigo could’ve be united in a way that Tamekage would’ve approved for.

However, although Tamekage who had tasted blood ever since he was young was indifferent to family and children, he started to feel an obsession with children starting the age of 50.

Tamekage had a young daughter named Aya, she was a lot better child than Harukage. However, whether Aya was more superior or Harukage was weak, it was impossible for Aya to inherit the family because there were no custom for Hime-Busho in Echigo.

Then, one accident happened in Echigo where all Shuras would commit all of themselves to brutal war between friends and foes without discrimination.

It happened at Kasugayama castle, the main castle of Tamekage which was a natural fortress with its territory had made full use of Kasugayama terrain.

Tamekage’s wife, Toragozen whose age was no different than being his own granddaughter got pregnant.

Toragozen was a girl from Nagao family who was named “Tiger” because of her strong will, there was no Hime-Busho in Echigo because there was no such tradition about it in there and she was married to Tamekage who had lost his former wife due to sickness.

“It was regrettable that she is a woman even though she is brave”, Tamekage who liked his new wife who was as young as his grandchild, didn’t even expect that he would have a child.

One day.

Tamekage who was climbing the rugged road of a steep ridge of Kasugayama toward Toragozen’s mansion to visit his wife, noticed a strange thing.

Rabbits, bears, birds, dogs, cats__numerous animals gathered around Toragozen’s mansion which was covered in green scenery.

It was strange that bears were being meek as if they were trying to protect the mansion with other animals.

Although Tamekage appeared like a portent of an earthquake, he was left alone to enter the mansion as if the animals seemed to think that he had no sign of harming the building.

“Welcome home, Oyakata-sama”

Toragozen who was pregnant welcomed Tamekage.

Because Echigo had no custom of Hime-Busho, although men presided over everything concerning the matter of war and states, he left the private matter to his wife.

Tamekage’s family was like that.

Inside the savage Kasugayama, it was only Toragozen’s mansion that seemed like a paradise filled with silence.

Tamekage kept asking “Is it truly my child?”.

“It’s true” Toragozen answered while smiling and stroking her belly which had become swollen.

She seemed unbearably happy to be a mother and cannot stop smiling.

“I will be 60 years old soon. Although I am still virile, because I keep busy with repeated battles, the time that I spend with you day and night can be counted in one hand. It’s hard to believe”

“I am surprised too but it’s true”

Tamekage didn’t understand the subtlety between men and women very well.

Embracing a good woman, letting the homely woman to do chores around their home, it was a fresh sense for someone who lived with a rough life.

However, Toragozen who greeted him this year as a new wife was different.

She was like Tamekage’s granddaughter and his desire for female body had already been dried up. So as to not to treat Toragozen as a lively “woman” as much as possible, he intended to treat her with unusual politeness.

It was……

Surely, she must have secretly met with a young man, Tamekage was suspicious.

As much as he remembered his love toward Toragozen, Tamekage who had spent all of his time in battle could not shake off such feeling from himself.

“I had a dream when I am pregnant with this child”

“A dream?”

“Yes. The God of war, Bishamonten (Vaisravana) descended from the heaven and came to my belly. It was a strange dream”

Toragozen’s eyes were shining brilliantly.

Tamekage saw a sacred brightness that should’ve not been seen.

Tamekage who had no trace in something like religious piety, unintentionally hesitated before such brightness.

(Though I still thought her as my daughter, does it mean that Toragozen had become a mother? To give a new life and gave birth to a child. This is an insurmountable wall only for a man. A man’s work is to fight, kill and plunder__)

Although what does it mean that Bishamonten entered her belly?

“In Sutra, when Shakyamuni (Gautama Buddha) was born in India, his mother also dreamed that the God entered her belly. Do you have that much belief in faith?”

“No. I am not very interested in Butsudo (Buddhism). But I truly had such dream”

“Then, why are you so sure that it was Bishamonten?”

“Because it appeared so. I understand it. This child is a special existence blessed with great power from Bishamonten. I don’t know why it came to me but……this child will certainly be a great person that will be told from generation to generations”

“A child from me who is barbarous and brutal?”

Tamekage knew that he was evil

As such, he was anything but a fool.

In the Sengoku era, one must prepare that oneself cannot survive as a powerless person when being destroyed even if they were close to the head man, ‘survival of the fittest’ said to be the law of chaotic times.

If there is such thing as hell, then I will definitely fall to hell after death.

Would my child be born as a great human like Shakyamuni?

“Hmph. Such beautiful story is just a joke……a woman’s prank”

“No, it’s the truth. All living things gather around from all over Kasugayama and protected this mansion”

“Certainly, the animals are surrounding the mansion”

“All the living being that lives in the mountain are blessing the birth of this child”

“What are you saying? Can animals understand the greatness of Buddha?!”

“That’s not it. Humans and animals are the same being. The creatures from the mountain who is this girl”

“A parent’s favor is not possible, no matter what”

Bishamonten was a war God who protected the northern part of the capital.

He was a raging deity who wore armor and helmet and took a spear to fight the evil Buddha.

There was also a Bishamonten shrine in Kasugayama, the statue of Bishamonten who trampled upon the demon were enshrined there.

As one could see from his fearsome image, Bishamonten was originally a demon but after become a guardian in subordinate to Buddha, he became God of justice who was accompanied by powerful fierce God such as Yasha and Rakshasa and fought for righteousness.

He seemed to be a God native from India before the birth of Buddhism.

Because of his character as the “War God”, he was respected by the samurai of japan. Ashikaga Takauji who opened the Muromachi shogunate and Kusunoki Masashige who fought against Ashikaga Takauji were also believed in Bishamonten.

But Toragozen was a realistic girl who preferred archery and horsemanship rather than praying for God, she never talked enthusiastically about superstition belief such as God until now.

(Did her mind change because she is about to become a mother?)

In case that it’s a boy, then it wouldn’t be a beautiful dream if he would be burdened with fate to dye the battlefield with blood along with me who is his father, but if it’s a girl then……Tamekage wanted to say that.

But, I should change my mind once the child is born.

In any case, is it really my child? Assuming that it’s my child, would it born healthy?__I am close to being 60 years old, Tamekage returned to reality.

“It’s rumored that it would have an effect to the child if the father is too old. It would be nice if that it’s not happening when the child is born”

“Because it’s a child who are given power from Bishamonten, its appearance and personality might be different from other children. Even Shakyamuni has different aspect”

Legally speaking, according to Echigo’s tradition, a child born from Toragozen would be pulled apart to be taken care of by a wet nurse, though a child-loving person like Toragozen wouldn’t easily let it taken away.

Even now, his daughter, Aya who was born from Tamekage’s former wife was raised by Toragozen like she was her own daughter despite not being related by blood.

(My wife is young yet is deeply intelligent, she is also brave. If it’s a man then he would become a fine military commander. Women aren’t allowed to stand on the battlefield since it was done to protect the house according to Echigo’s tradition,  furthermore, if her real child would be taken away, I don’t know what would happen)

It was troublesome for Tamekage who would soon to be 60 years old who was still fighting enemies in all direction to be concerned with family problem.

(I should leave the family matter to my wife. I have to advance to Etchu. There is my father’s enemy in Etchu, Honbyo temple with useless people who worshiped the cat-eared maiden as living God is starting out a rebellion and didn’t want to listen to us, the samurai at all. Those natives. They should just kept silent and paid their tribute. I have no time to be worried with a child who born at time during this year)

For Tamekage, he didn’t have any intention to bring a strange custom to Echigo like “Hime-Busho” where women who were supposed to give birth and raise children were to take up spear and fight on the battlefield.

 

At Kasugayama where the snow lied thick and become the silvery world, the destined child was born.

At 21st January of that day. It was 18th February of the current calendar.

Toragozen held her child while shedding tears.

“Otachi-sama, look. It’s a healthy girl”

“……nggh, nggh……”

“Don’t be afraid. It’s your father”

However, Nagao Tamekage was surprised by the unusual appearance of the baby that Toragozen held and kept silent for a while.

(Wh, what? This is)

Is this a human’s child?

White.

Skin as clear as white snow.

It was so white that the blood vessels under it could be seen through.

Big eyes even for a baby.

The color of a fiery crimson eyes.

Even the hair that grow slightly on top of the head, shine in platinum color.

It cannot be seen as a Japanese child. However, it was different to a foreigner__.

“Is she alive?”

“Yes. Of course. She is fine and alive”

“But. How ominous. Her body doesn’t have color. An albino!”

The baby was what was called an albino__it was a child who didn’t have body color.

During those era, albino being were being respected as the messenger of God, on the other hand they were feared for bringing ill omen, first of all, they had never been seen in human babies.

And she was born as the daughter of the “Shugo Killer” of Echigo, Nagao Tamekage.

“Isn’t it looked like a mutated person? Doesn’t it mean like it signaled the end of Nagao family? Because I killed my lord one after another, the God finally gave punishment to Nagao family……”

“No. Torachiyo is your child. And, she is blessed”

It seemed that Toragozen already gave this child the name “Torachiyo”.

It’s the first child that I labored and give birth upon, Toragozen was pleased.

“Tora (tiger)? Can’t you see it? Her eyes and skin color looks like a rabbit’s! The founder of Honbyo temple said to be a Youkai with cat ears while being a human. This thing as well, isn’t she a Youkai with a blood of a rabbit? In other words, she is not my child”

“It’s your child. I told you. This child is blessed with great power from the war God, Bishamonten. She is different from normal person. That’s why she is born with unusual appearance”

“Who would believe it?! My child shouldn’t be like this! Isn’t she Usami Sadamitsu’s child? Usami adorned himself with rabbit’s ear and played like a fool!”

“……I believe in Torachiyo. For this child who is born with peculiar appearance different from anyone, she will need love more than anyone else”

Au, au, the child whose looked was peculiar as if a rabbit had turned to a baby, extended her small hands to Tamekage while laughing innocently.

It’s a problem if it’s a boy. Though it’s possible to kill her, if it’s a girl then it wouldn’t be a problem to throw her away. However, her peculiar appearance cannot be used as a piece for political marriage, she is useless, Tamekage wanted to curse Torachiyo who was just born.

(Damn it! Is it because I am already old? Or is it because the child has grown old……?)

How deplorable, Tamekage couldn’t say that.

The reason for that was because he was seeing Torachiyo with his son Harukage and his daughter Aya, furthermore while also being accompanied with Nagao Masakage and Usami Sadamitsu who had served him as a “vassal” through a reconciliation after a fierce battle, they couldn’t help but to feel alarmed.

“……This is……Father”

The eldest son, Harukage are not interested with his new younger sister with a distant age gap who was born from a different mother but he was quite surprised with her fragile characteristic which looked like a snow spirit.

It could be seen on how Harukage was hesitating about how he should act before Tamekage and the retainers.

“Torachiyo should be entrusted to her elder sister, Aya, father”

“Yes. Please leave it to me!”

The clever Aya, “I must protect this child”, seemed to have awoken to an affection of an elder sister, taking the small Torachiyo from Toragozen’s hand “I am your Onee-chan” and start to tenderly hold her.

“Kyaa, kyaa”

“Tora-chan is cute. You look like a rabbit’s baby”

“Aya really likes Torachiyo, right? Thank you”

“Yes, mother. She has a really cute smile. Tora-chan. Onee-chan and mother will carefully raise Tora-chan, kay?”

“Kyaa fu, kyaa fu”

A sight of a happy family was something that Tamekage couldn’t handle.

(What a beautiful sight……! Guess it’s fine to hold that child once in a while)

Tamekage smiled, “Ooh” like a good grandfather, he who had killed so many people and bathed in so much blood.

“Eeh. It’s Torachiyo huh? What an unusual look you have, uhihi”

Usami Sadamitsu who was amused with the pure atmosphere inside the mansion inside the savage Kasugayama, started saying “Can I carry Torachiyo-chan as well?” while watching Torachiyo’s cheerful smile who was embraced by Aya.

“I refuse” Tamekage rejected.

“How could I left my daughter to a playboy?!”

“Hey hey. Even if it’s your daughter, she was just born, right?”

How many times they tried to kill each other. Perhaps, they would be hostile with each other again. No matter how Torachiyo was an albino, Tamekage wouldn’t allow her to be raised by Usami.

“Usami. If you really want to serve me then raise a warrior! What do you thinking,  allowing women and girl to study strategy book. It’s stupid”

“Master Tamekage. This child has a unique appearance. The reason why that founder of religious sect of Etchu has trouble in showing their gratitude to you is because those religious sect founder consider the unique cat ear that has been passed down for generation through their family to be a ‘symbol from the God’. In any case, Hokuriku region has strong faith in Honbyo temple. Kaga regions and other has rejected the Shugo and have monks to maintain their country. The natives of Echigo are also deeply religious even though they are violent. No matter how you win battles at Hokuriku countries, you cannot rule the people and their hearts. But if you make this child to be the ‘child of God’ then Echigo might accept it and revere it”

“Foolish. Those idiot natives who worshipped a single girl are nothing but a fool! If they are against us then kill them! As long as they kept quiet and pay their taxes to samurais then it’s alright! Usami. Because of your cowardice, our territory didn’t increase!”

“…… Oh dear. You don’t have any morality”

Meanwhile, the young leader, Nagao Masakage who kept aiming for the seat of Echigo ShuGodai was just staring at Torachiyo silently.

“……Hmph……Nagao Torachiyo, is she?”

Did he harbor a deep feeling against Torachiyo who was born like a snow spirit? Or did he found some value to achieve his own ambition?

At this point, nobody knew what to make of Torachiyo, not even Tamekage himself. If it was a daughter, he already had Aya, to begin with, she couldn’t be used for politic if she couldn’t be a bride.’

However, the young Masakage intently stared at Torachiyo.

Aya who thought something eerie about Masakage, tightly hugged Torachiyo who was in her arm.

Kyaa kyaa, Torachiyo waved her hands and laughed.

At that time, “Don’t talk to anyone about this ominous thing. If anyone revealed Torachiyo’s unique appearance, I will kill them” Tamekage dismissed them while threatening them.

One by one, a suspicious looking group appeared and entered the mansion.

They were a large number of aged monks.

Follower of Shugendo with a reddish face like a tengu.

There were also mountain animals that surround the mansion to protect it mixed among them.

“Who, are you?”

“We came from Eizan”

“We came from Koyasan”

“We came from Dewasanzan”

“We came from Togakushiyama of Shinshuu and Iitsunayama”

“All of us saw a glow at Kasugayama. A great king was born at Kasugayama and we came to bless it”

If it’s a great king of Echgio, he is here, that’s me, Tamekage’s face stiffened.

“Ooh, ooh. Torachiyo-sama. This pure white appearance is exactly the proof that she is chosen by the Buddha”

“Our eyes are not deluded. This girl is a human yet she is also not”

“She is born to rescue all living beings at the end of the world”

“She is chosen by Bishamonten. No, rather she is Bishamonten himself. She is the avatar of Bishamonten”

“In the chaotic world where human nature has fallen below the animals, she is one who shines the light of righteousness”

Tamekage remembered that long time ago his wife, Toragozen kept saying that this child was chosen by Bishamonten and blessed with great power.

As that rumor came around, the words “Incarnation of Bishamonten” finally came out from the mouth of Buddhist monks.

How annoying.

These people come to beggar as they hear the rumor.

This weird white looking baby cannot be something like a savior.

The underworld aside, there is no Gods and Buddha in this world.

If they do, then I who had killed my master twice must have fell to hell long time ago.

Despite how much Tamekage wanted to spit on them, putting aside being a strange Shugendo practitioner, he cannot disregard the high priest who came from Eizan or Koyasan.

Pushing aside Tamekage, a large young Sohei (Warrior Monk) began shouting in front of Torachiyo.

“This one name is Shokakuin Gosei. I am a priest in training and Sohei striving for martial art at Eizan! Whoa! What a beautiful appearance. This unique appearance is unmistakably a proof of an enlightened person. If she became a priest, she will become a savior like Shakyamuni or Mirokubosatsu (Maitreya) who will save all living beings from the suffering of war. However……how regrettable!”

Why does it has to be a girl?!, Shokakuin Gosei lamented “Everything is over”.

“What a waste! Eizan is a mountain that prohibits women, it’s not possible for a women to become a head priest! A woman are bound with Go-Sho (Five Obstacles of Woman’s Enlightenment) where they cannot become a Bonten’O (Brahma), Taishakuten (Sakra/Indra), Maou (Devil King), Tenrinjo’O (Chakravartin/Wheel-turning King) or a Buddha. She may reached the top of being Bhikkuni (Buddhist Nun) but it’s impossible to stand at the top of Japan’s Buddhism……!”

Koyasan aren’t as strict with women as Eizan but its similar, every prestigious old sect are like that too, how regrettable, the high priest who came from Koyasan muttered.

“Her path of entering priesthood is harsh simply because she is a girl?” Toragozen’s eyes were filled with dissatisfaction but all monks merely nodded.

“Indeed. In order for a woman to achieve enlightenment, she must become a man first. It’s because a woman’s body is dirty. In Buddha’s teaching, it’s called “Henjo Nanshi” (Man Transformation). It’s impossible for this kind of girl to become a man”

“On the contrary, there are this emerging Honbyo temple that worship a girl as a living god and has a doctrine of saving girls and women. They have a woman as a founder”

“No, no, the reason for their rising is because of heritage. By denying the abstinence that is the root of Buddhism, the founder had a family and made a child and seceded the founder’s seat to her child. ‘cat’s ears’ is that power”

“Although it’s a religion, their practice of making a child to preserve their ‘blood’ is like the way of nobles or samurais. In that case, there is no room for Torachiyo-sama to join. But, with the rabbits and cats……”

“Honbyo temple will soon call Torachiyo-sama as the incarnation of the devil”

“In any case, Torachiyo-sama’s grandfather was killed by an uprising during a battle at Etchu. Tamekage-sama are still fighting against Etchu for revenge. That’s why, there was such a bad fate”

However, the follower of Shugendo who came from Dewa said,

“Aah, that’s right. There is no strict distinction between man and woman as a samurai. This child is the daughter of the Shugodai of Echigo, the Nagao clan. If she became a Hime-Busho which has become a trend recently, she would become the great Tenrinjo’O who reign over the world, she could become a great person who surely will show ‘righteousness’ to the history of Japan with her own body”

That’s not bad, Usami Sadamitsu muttered, but Hime-Busho aren’t allowed in Echigo, Tamekage cut away the Shugendo follower’s words.

“No, no, Tamekage-sama. When Shakyamuni was born in the imperial castle at Tenjiku (India), a certain saint said that he would become a Buddha who will save all the living beings or  he would become the great Tenrinjo’O who reign over the world if he succeed as a warrior. Would Torachiyo-sama become a Buddha who saved all living beings, or……”

“……If she became a Hime-Busho, she will become a Tenrinjo’O who show her military power in the chaotic world?”

“Possibly, she would take a different path from Shakyamuni. Perhaps she was born as a girl for this reason……”

“But, it’s regrettable. Why is she a girl? This is truly a waste!”

“No, Gosei. In this current chaotic world, merely words and teaching wouldn’t end it. The world is at the end of Mappo (Age of Degeneration). The people might ask for a War God who took his weapon and fight for righteousness by himself”

“Eii, begone all of you” Tamekage shouted and dispersed them.

“There is no point in this, stop continuing this worthless conversation in front of me! There is no God or Buddha in this world! The king of Echigo are neither Shakyamuni nor Tenrinjo’O nor Bishamonten, its me! If this white brat are so unusual then find as many mountain as you can!”

Ignoring me and praising Torachiyo or their regretful attitude saying “Why is she a woman?”, because Tamekage’s pride are too strong, he cannot stand it.

Especially, he didn’t like that prediction that “She would become a great king if she became a Hime-Busho”.

In Echigo, war was decided by men’s action.

As such, I don’t even know if this girl is truly my newborn child, why could she become a ruler better than me? This is why priests are useless, he want to spit out those words.

The eldest son, (Ignoring me who is legitimate heir, why is it only Torachiyo who attracted these famous priests? Is it because she is white?) Harukage is bored.

Because Aya tried to move Torachiyo away from Masakage’s stare “Tora-chan. Let’s get away and take a bath with me” she run to the backyard while holding Torachiyo.

“Whether Torachiyo decided to become a nun or a Hime-Busho will be decided by herself. Otachi-sama. Please don’t force her” the intelligent Toragozen quickly gave a warning to Tamekage.

Toragozen know that Torachiyo’s life will be incredibly difficult.

At any rate, she was born in this world with white appearance.

Furthermore, Torachiyo’s father, Nagao Tamekage is a warrior who had commited all kinds of atrocity.

I will protect Torachiyo even if we have to kill each other, Toragozen is prepared for death.

Seeing the blazing eyes of his young wife, Tamekage remember the followers at Etchu who send their hateful eyes to him (This is why believers are troublesome) he clicked his tongue in annoyance.

“Nuu, Toragozen. People would surely be afraid or surprised if a child was born like that. Calm yourself, she won’t be killed. She will be raised by Aya”

“However, she absolutely cannot be a Hime-Busho, a weak Hime-Busho is unnecessary for Echigo where strength is everything” Tamekage added.

 

On the way down from Kasugayama.

Usami Sadamitsu laughed while kicking Shokakuin Gosei’s butt who kept lamenting “Why is she a woman?”.

“Oi, kid. Eizan is already outdated. Ikkyu Soujun said ‘A woman is actually the keeper of law who quickly give birth to Shakyamuni and Daruma (Bodhidharma)’ didn’t he?”

“Nggh, how rude. This kabuki person”

“Hoo. What do you mean rude? Weren’t you digging up Chigo’s (Acolyte) ass every night? You are looking for a person’s body, right? That’s why you need Chigo since women are abstained. Don’t push yourself”

“Sh, shut up! I don’t have that kind of perverted hobby with a Chigo!”

“Then, how do you expel the heat from your body? There should be a lot of unbearable power coming out from that big body every night, right?”

“With martial arts! Kieeeeeeee!”

“No, that’s what a Shugyo (Practitioner) would do. You are a monk, aren’t you?

“I would be wide awake if I didn’t move my body! Dengyo Daishi, Saicho-sama said that we the monks of Tendai would stay at Eizan and keep our virginity for hundreds of year! Eizan is keeping the lust for women from invading the path of martial arts! Its Japan’s strongest Sohei army corps!”

“This guy keep making things complicated, isn’t he?” Usami Sadamitsu laughed.

An old fashioned religion with celibacy as its virtue is troublesome, thinking it normally, it’s impossible for most human to understand celibacy right away, that’s why, people of modern Buddhism ever since the era of Shinran could have woman or sake or being married or anything at all, well its make it easier to be related by the mundane world since it would be troublesome if they took up weapons and rebel, now then__.

(Things about rabbit and cat won’t fit together with Honbyo temple is something that I cannot understand, that’s being the case, I reckon that Torachiyo would have more trouble than I imagined. People from the snowy Hokuriku region have strong faith. It’s filled with followers of Honbyo temples since ancient times, they won’t obey easily to samurai. How would Tamekage who single-mindedly focused on military power try to rule it)

In addition, if woman cannot stand on top of Eizan, then it’s better to not let Torachiyo be strongly influenced by these religious people. Just like what that follower from Dewa had said, to raise that child into a dazzling “Hime-Busho” with her God’s characteristic as a weapon, Usami decided.

(That’s right. To begin with, if Shakyamuni didn’t entered priesthood and simply become a Tenrinjo’O, there won’t be any chaotic era like now)

It’s troublesome that human could only fight, get hungry and died but how could people know righteousness if selfless people don’t fight? Who must kill who in this chaotic world? Sadamitsu made a bitter smile.

Human being cannot understand through words, they can only be through actions, the realist Sadamitsu believed it so.

However, the ambitious person, Nagao Masakage who didn’t talk while staring at Torachiyo was ominous even for Usami Sadamitsu.

(Although Masakage has outstanding military prowess, he is still a kid. Since he is obsessed with war, he wouldn’t care about woman. I hope that it won’t be a strange thing, but……)

 

The snow thawing season has come several times at Kasugayama.

The pure white girl, Torachiyo grown up until kindergarten age at modern times.

She had her childhood loved by her mother, Toragozen and Aya who is as close as being her elder sister.

However, her father, Nagao Tamekage devoted himself to the battlefield as usual and hardly come to the mansion. He seemed to avoid being carelessly involved with Torachiyo. It would have been troublesome to be dragged along by Toragozen and Aya.

As such, Torachiyo aren’t close with Tamekage.

And she is estranged from the heir and her elder brother, Harukage.

Although Harukage accompanied his scary father, Tamekage to a battle, in the season when the soldier returned to the field, he is busy with his elegant hobbies and had no time to be concerned with his white younger sister.

Torachiyo was born with a small body and she didn’t grow big and her body is weak__rather, she is weak to sunlight.

Its probably because her skin and eyes had no color.

She feared the bright sunlight and scared of walking through the mountain piled with snow.

Torachiyo’s eyesight aren’t good especially with light.

“Nggh~? Its bright, I can’t see, nggh~”

“Tora-chan? Tora-chan, are you okay?”

When Aya take her out to walk to the silvery mountain, Torachiyo always crouched and cover her eyes with her small hands. The snow that piled up at surface and reflected the bright light felled down.

While walking through the snow, her white skin sometimes swelled red.

“……It hurts……It sting”

“I’m sorry, Tora-chan. Onee-chan made you to walk outside too much”

Since the doctor said “Daylight is harmful for Torachiyo-sama’s skin and eyes”, Toragozen and Aya had to be careful not to expose Torachiyo to sunlight for a long time.

As such, walking through Ksugayama mountain road with Aya while watching the moon at night has become Torachiyo’s daily routine.

Kasugayama are dominated by silence and darkness at night.

All people fell asleep.

She can’t see the sunshine.

If she did, her skin and eyes will burn out.

Only the freezing moonlight that is tolerated by Torachiyo.

During the day, she cannot go outside and play and cannot make friends of her age.

Naturally, Torachiyo become a child who tend to absorbed with herself.

Compared with the children of her age, her body is as twice as smaller.

Vassals and families who occasionally visited the mansion remembered complex emotions of love and weirdness toward Torachiyo who look like a rabbit’s child.

Everyone doesn’t know how should they interact with this mysterious child, Torachiyo who looked like a snow spirit.

Especially her father, Nagao Tamekage who is struggling with treating her Torachiyo.

On top of that, Torachiyo’s mind are abnormally delicate.

She react strangely sharp toward the “emotion” of goodwill and malice of other people.

Perhaps her senses are sharp since her vision is bad.

Torachiyo often has her eyes clouded when taking a night walk.

“Tora-chan……Do you hate this? Since you cannot go outside unless its night……”

Her elder sister Aya, while holding Torachiyo’s small hands,

“Sorry, Tora-chan. but if you eat a lot and grow big, I am sure you will be able to go outside during the day”

Kept encouraging her little sister.

Torachiyo has weak stomach by nature and she eat lightly.

Especially when chicken and wild boar’s meat are being served on the table, “Its pitiful to eat animal’s meat” she began crying and am not good at eating meat.

After seeing the place where the chef cook the chicken, Torachiyo who has strong sensitivity became unable to eat animal.

Furthermore, she had the thing called allergy in modern times, for example when she eat soybean “Its itchy, ueee. Ueee”, she would vomit it. It’s a severe soybean allergy. Because the doctor of that time doesn’t know the cause, “Don’t be selfish and picky”, they keep feeding her the problematic food, but because Torachiyo trembled and vomited it everytime, “Apparently it wasn’t stubborn selfishness but its probably some kind of diseases.  I don’t know how to cure it. She should avoid eating it” they have no choice but to settle it with that.

Although Torachiyo is a difficult child, Toragozen and Aya smiled at Torachiyo who was born with various body problems but lives at cheerful manner and sometimes responds to their familial loves and they haven’t stopped looking at her certain divine nature that exceeded their familial love.

However, “I am different than other” most of the time Torachiyo was sad.

While watching the moon at night, Torachiyo muttered,

“Onee-chan. Since Tora-chan is a white child, I wouldn’t be able to be a bride?”

“Who said such thing? Tora-chan can become a bride. If you eat and grow big. Its alright”

“……But……Torachiyo isn’t good with man……Man is scary. They are bloody, almost like a beast”

Torachiyo wasn’t good with her father, Tamekage who tempered his large body on battlefield and has bloodthirsty expression.

Its painful since Tamekage himself doesn’t have any good sentiment.

“If Tora-chan keep tyring her best, someday you would bear a cute child”

Though Aya cheered Torachiyo by stroking her back,

“That’s……scary”

I want a baby but I’m scared of a “father”, girls cannot bear baby if there is no “father” but a “father” is scary……

For Torachiyo who is treated roughly by Tamekage, an adult man is a scary thing.

Although she never went to the battlefield, there was many times where she was trembling by the scent of fresh “blood” that is emitted by male warriors who came returned from the battlefield to the castle.

A chicken which was prepared by the chef at kitchen also bleeding.

On the battlefield, men do the same thing to human.

“……Its scary. Onee-chan. I don’t want to be separated”

“Its alright. I will always be with you”

“Onee-chan, isn’t it painful to have a scary ‘father’?”

“Onee-chan is still here. Until Tora-chan became an adult, I will not get married. You don’t have to worry anything, Tora-chan!”

Aya vowed to Torachiyo.

She promised.

But it also mean that as soon as Torachiyo become an adult, Aya will be married to someone as per Tamekage’s will.

For Tamekage, her daughter is a tool for politic.

Eventually, she would be married to an influential person of Echigo for the sake of uniting Echigo, Aya is prepared for that.

“But, for Onee-chan, Tora-chan is much more important. Onee-chan will protect Tora-chan!”

“……Onee-chan is so kind”

Torachiyo trembled while clinging to Aya.

Someday, will I be separated from Onee-chan?

If a bloody beast like Otou-chan came someday, would Onee-chan be taken away by a scary “father”?

If its not a person that Onee-chan likes, but a partner that is decided by Otou-chan. I wonder if that man’s baby would be someone that I don’t like?

I don’t want that!

Perhaps, if I don’t grow up, I would always be with Onee-chan? the young Torachiyo is racking her brain and thought.

But, that means Tora-chan will betray Onee-chan who has raised her, she scolded herself.

(I have to become an adult as soon as possible. Since Onee-chan wlll be stolen by a “father” once I grow up, Tora-chan will protect Onee-chan)

(That’s right. Onee-chan are more important that myself. The reason why Tora-chan can be happy is because Okaa-chan and Onee-chan take a good care of me. tora-chan will not be a selfish child) Torachiyo murmured it in her heart.

Nagao Torachiyo__later known as the girl who is destined to become “Dragon of Echigo”, Uesugi Kenshin was raised under the moonlight of the night while being frightened by the shadow of violent man.

 

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