Chapter 56 – Intermission (Female Ninja)
I sincerely respected and admired the ninja who fought to protect the country, the world, and humanity from the shadow without revealing themselves to the world.
Born into a lineage of prestigious ninjas, I chose this path of my own volition, not just as a fate.
To leave nothing of your name to the world as a result. I felt that the spirit of humility was not to seek fame or honor, but a manifestation of a pure desire to ‘protect something’ more than anyone else.
And, above all, I thought that it was very cool.
To be a ninja is to have a variety of extensive disciplines. Ninjutsu. Weaponry. Taijutsu. Strategy. Covert art. Assassination. In addition, the general knowledge necessary for infiltration, and specialized fields unique to ‘female ninja’.
Yes, I understood from an early age that ‘Ninja excel at everything’.
In other words, it was my path to become ‘an existence capable of anything’.
Therefore, I invested myself in the training from an early age to go all the way.
I also skipped a grade to graduate from the Ninja Academy, and became the youngest ninja warrior in history, then to Genin, Chunin, and finally the youngest Jounin. 1
However, the shinobi path that I arrived at was far from what I had idealized.
“Then, the next mission is to escort Viscount Ouge Letz, who is on the way to the red light district incognito. Once that is done, Yatou, the anti-government sympathizer, falls. Achieve the task in the midst of their demonstration.”
“Yes, the prince said, ‘I want to make a pilgrimage to the sacred site that became the stage of a book that I love’. In addition to serving as bodyguards, Jounin will also entertain people by wearing costumes and disguising themselves as characters.“
“I want you to lend me a few free genin. I’d like to ask them to dig potatoes in the field.”
The world is at peace. That’s wonderful.
Ironically, however, the duty assigned to us Shinobi by those with influence was not so much.
Although I was born after the war and had not experienced war, I was able to accept it as ‘this is the reality’, but dear elder brothers, who knew the war and the ninja’s secret epic, felt unsatisfied with the present situation.
“Don’t screw around. Damn, this treatment of shinobi! A common general store…… our duty does not include chores!”
The more peaceful it was, the more discontent my brothers and companions were.
“The other day, too. The bandit and ferocious monster extermination are left to the samurai, and we Shinobi have a stand-by order named Logistic Support……”
“Naturally, we know that forest better than anyone else because we use it every day for training.”
“We should have rushed faster than anyone else and solved it faster than anyone else. And yet, just to keep us waiting, they caused unnecessary damage!”
Ninja is an existence in the shadows. Therefore, we were treated as lesser than Samurai Warriors of the Kingdom on the front lines.
And, being fueled by the continuous peace and accompanying the reduction of armaments, and the Kingdom Samurai who wanted to prove the significance of their existence by taking the initiative to solve the occasional big incidents, took up the credit and the treatment of us Shinobi declined quickly.
“Hey, ninjas. I brought you a mission. The budget has finally been approved, and it’s been decided that a new Kingdom Samurai Dormitory will be built this time. You will get cleaning and moving done promptly. If you’re a ninja, you’re good at that, right?”
And even the samurai, who were once on friendly terms like comrades and sworn allies, use them as booths, and the ninja changed.
“Eh……? Changing jobs? What do you mean, Macura? You finally graduated to genin only to say…”
“I’m sorry, Shinobu-chan. My parents aren’t feeling well…. It’s a little tight with my current shinobi salary….”
“Even so… yet, how? There are many who change jobs these days, but those people, are they proven? You’ve only just graduated from the Ninja Academy, you never had a track record, and yet you’re just moving to another carrier…ah, you, no way!”
“The Daimyo, Osanaski, is also friendly with the Kingdom’s Samurai Generals… I asked for a favor. The way I asked… I’ll leave it to your imagination, and I despise it.”
“Shinobu-chan… Don’t be like me…. Stay pure as you are forever.”
There were a lot of friends who wanted to change jobs, too.
However, the employment rate of the kingdom samurai is currently severe, and even if they wish to change jobs, they are competing for seats.
There were many who used whatever means to win their seats.
And, I had to admit the fact that me, my companions, and elder brothers did not want to admit.
The age of the Shinobi is over.
“It is the Shinobi way to dedicate this body in service to the lord and the country… but the world no longer needs Shinobi …”
One day, no one could object to the words Nii-san had sadly muttered.
“But even so, this power that I earned still… can certainly be of use somewhere in the world. I don’t hate peace. However, I want to use this acquired power to the fullest and use it for something.”
A dozen ninja, including me, who agreed with my brother’s complaints and wishes, received the words….
“Let us go out into the world. Instead of changing jobs, I’ll retire, then seek re-employment… why don’t we become free hunters, and go across the world?”
And we went out to the world.
In search of something that can fully use the power that I have acquired as a shinobi.
Currently, I am….
“Ah, I’m not going to let you go, Shinobu!”
“Ah, not good, this range…”
“Where are you going?”
I remembered a time long ago. In that instant, he stepped in fast and was in front of me.
Unlike us, who train to kill our emotions and always keep calm in battle, this boy bares his fighting spirit and emotions.
Surrounded by beautiful, lively green light, he hunts me down.
“Japone Fluid Art… Mawashi Uke!” 2
“Hmm, can you handle my flicker?”
Fast! Not to mention that I am not confident in martial arts.
But this wild, yet speedy, relentless fist strike far exceeds my reaction rate.
Up to now, I am undefeated against opponents of my age, even among the samurai.
But I can’t beat him in this distance.
I didn’t think he could use such a powerful technique to blow away even the fog.
“Oraaaaa!! Quickly, get beat!”
When we played Go in town, he was stronger than anyone in my hometown, his plays took to far-reaching heights that existed in a different dimension, and left a ‘yearning’ in me rather than a sense of ‘wonder’.
I want to play with him more. I even desire to become a disciple.
However, his impression in a real battle is completely different from what he showed while playing Go.
Strong, soulful, and fiery.
I don’t know why he can play such a game of Go, but I’m sure this is the real him.
‘Ugh! uh!—urgh! It’s, too fast…Ah!”
I can’t keep my distance. Before I step forcefully into it and try to back-step, his high speed left flies to stop me.
I try to keep parrying a fist that moves like a whip with both hands, but gradually my arms become numb and I can’t keep up with the fists that accelerate even more.
One left hand overwhelmed me, and after I was in a state unable to defend or evade, he threw his right fist straight into my face…. indeed…. if I take this right, I’m……
“… My win! Right!”
I was prepared for defeat, but the shock that should have come did not.
His fist stopped right before my eyes.
And at the same time the light that was covering his body subsides.
“…… What do you mean?”
“…… Oh, I think it’s enough for a match now!”
I was prepared to lose my face, but what do you mean?
Mercy? No, that’s not it.
This is…… Oh…… That’s right.
“You… are strong, but…… well, you’ve never hit a woman.”
“…… assuredly…… you’re a very well-bred boy… but…… for a woman who’s determined and resolved herself, it’s not kindness! It’s insulting.”
The battlefield is next to death. Death on duty is also a Shinobi’s pride.
Can you not hit me because I’m a woman? A sweet spirituality to that degree with such strength.
With such bloodlust, I thought I might have to deal with losing my virginity to him, but I was disappointed. 3
“This is the outcome, just admit your loss, and beat it!”
He seized me by the wrist, as I took a chance to thrust a Kunai into his throat.
After all, at this distance……
“You get it? If I can see it, it’s mine! I won’t miss your line of sight, breathing, and muscle movements. No matter what you do, I’ll stop it and hit the counter before you can do anything!”
“Come on, accept your defeat!”
His wild eyes amaze me.
“…But…you didn’t actually hit me, did you? No, you never hit me?”
“Don’t play around. Are you mocking me with this?”
I was more upset with his treatment of girls in this situation rather than my defeat.
He’s saying it was unseemly to be so unwilling to admit defeat, even I thought it was shameful.
As if to challenge the authority of the winner, to whom my life or death is entrusted, if he gives me defeat, I demanded that I be beaten down.
“Shut up! Well, if you want me to hit you, you should come at me with an uglier face! Yours is hard to hit! Roughly, women like you say whatever they want to judge a man, that he’s no good for his own convenience, that they should stop dating him, that he’s a pervert for reading one erotic book, some say he’s the worst if he hurts a woman, yet you say it’s an insult, so annoying. Even though you openly claimed I was your type a little while ago, now of your own accord I’m a disappointment, every one of you, so shallow!”
Right then, this boy of my age got emotional. His complaint feels like it’s about a quarrel with a female classmate as he rattled on.
“A man doesn’t live on the basis of a woman’s evaluation. This is my way, I’ve only just met you, let alone as an enemy who won’t listen to other people’s arguments yet finds faults, get lost already!”
I was dumbfounded, but quickly got angry.
I twist my wrist and he lets go on reflex. Just a little. A little distance, and a chance of victory still stands.
“Wh-What do you mean come at you with an uglier face… how rude! Women and men… it’s what’s inside, isn’t it?”
And finally, a chance. His response was delayed because he kept rattling in anger.
I back-stepped to gain some distance from him. If it’s this range, I can cope with it.
“Now, you’ll receive my strongest ninjutsu! Water Art! Wind Art! Composite Ninjutsu, 【FengShui Calamity】―――” 4
In battle, it is essential to be calm.
To not understand that, he still has a long way to go.
“What’s inside… so, even you declare that it’s the state of what’s inside that’s important! At least…”
It was then.
Having been separated from me again, he did not hastily give chase, but cried out with an emotional outburst.
“At least the friend I just met… is a scary faced Ogre and yet…. what’s inside… is a kinder person than anybody else.”
It seems he’s shouting not just in anger, in some respects it’s as if to appeal to reason……
“And the master I met… the worst, most cursed, infamous being in history …. but what’s inside… he hates to lose, he’s a little childish, but he’s my guide and he’s the one who acknowledges me more than anyone else!”
What? What is he talking about? Who’s the kind Ogre? Master?
I don’t understand.
But the eyes say…
“Someone who can only see Mr. Aka as one of the ogre race, shouldn’t talk about what’s inside of a person!!”
It seemed like he was screaming to me, no, into the world, ‘Why don’t you understand me?’.
And, his entire body is once again wrapped in green light, and the spiral of a compact size than before appears in the right arm.
The spiral strikes head-on toward the strongest ninjutsu that I have unleashed, and makes a hole.
“【Earth Impact!! 】”
The shock wave from the spiral shattered my art and blew me away.
I felt a strong, hot, intense impulse.
Fallen, I lie on my back on the ground, so there isn’t much trauma.
However, my heart had already admitted.
It’s my total loss.
“I admit… my defeat…?”
But it’s much more refreshing than I felt a while ago, and above all……
“This, I… got hit like I wanted, by the man who says he only gets violent with ugly women…. and… huh? Me? I mean…… he said he couldn’t hit me, I’m not an ugly woman.”
My heart couldn’t stop racing.
I, of all people, should listen to others more often.
So maybe I should listen to him better.
No, I thought I had to listen.
In the first place, I…..
“Hey…. before you listen to me… tell me. First…… what’s your name?”
Even though we’ve clashed like this, I still don’t know his name.
[S1]Different terms were used for the first 2 but couldn’t find single English words for them, so I fell back on Naruto.
[S3]Say what now?
[S4]Feng shui (pronounced fung shway) is an ancient Chinese system of balancing our physical environment to promote harmony and a sense of well-being. The Chinese words “feng” and “shui” translate to mean “wind” and “water,” respectively.