When eternity comes to visit
A Hōjō commander is delighted when two pretty young shrine maidens enter his camp on the evening before a battle. Perhaps he shouldn’t have been.
A Risuko prequel story showing Mieko and Kuniko on a mission — at their sweetest and at their most deadly.
Sugi wasn’t given to fancies. He was a good Buddhist; the old gods and spirits had never interested him much.
But […] these two girls, in their miko garb, standing on the edge of what would be a battlefield the next day, popping up like wild mushrooms — they gave him exactly the same feeling. The feeling that he was face to face with the eternal.
It was not an easy feeling.
He smiled to cover his discomfort. “Young ladies, how may I help you? This is not a place for such lovely girls.”
Biting her lip, the delicate one glanced over to the tall one, who gave an impassive nod. Apparently reassured, the smaller girl turned back to Sugi, her eyes decorously downcast. “My lord general, sir. We didn’t mean to be here. We’re on our way from Estuary to the shrine at Picnic Lake. We were told by the priest to follow the road up that valley, there.” She tipped her head past the Takeda garrison. “Those soldiers over there, they were… not very nice.”
The tall, square-faced girl gave a grunt and scowled. “Took our food.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” said Sugi, solemnly. He lifted his chin. “Would you lovely ladies care to join me and my soldiers for our evening meal?”
The smaller, prettier girl held a hand in front of her mouth. “Oh. My lord. We could not —”
“I insist. And you shall sleep in my tent. I will… guard the door.” He gave a slight bow. Since, after all, they were spirits.
The pretty girl started to object, but the bigger one put her hand on the other’s shoulder. “We’re hungry.”
“Of course, my dears. I am sure my soldiers would be delighted to have you join them this evening.” In his mind, Sugi could see it: these two young beauties (well, one beauty, the other… handsome), laughing and singing with his soldiers on this, the night before their legendary victory. It would become part of his fame. And perhaps…
He smiled at his own runaway imagination. “Come. It smells as if the supper will soon be ready.”