Disclaimer: The names in this story are all fictional names, created by a random name generator. There is no relationship to any real persons and if so, it is purely by coincidence. Love Hina disclaimer still stands from prologue.
Rise of Samurai
Keitaro awoke to a throbbing headache. The piercing pain caused him to stand upright and he tried to get rid of the pain or at least lessen it to something tolerable by rubbing his temples.
He glanced around, he was in an unknown room, presumable still in the Tokugawa castle or he would not have been left unguarded thus. 'Where the heck am I?' he thought still blurry to world. He stood up to clear his head and wobbled to the door when he saw there was tea left nearby the shoji door.
The drink dissipated his former languid body and he began to feel a little better.
After opening the door, he looked down both corridors having a vague memory of where he was. 'The stairs are that way…'
The guards saw him staggering down the stairs and chuckled inwardly. 'Takara-sama said Urashima-san had drunk too much sake last night.'
Takara had woken up early and spread the lies to everyone in the castle, only the maid knowing the truth. She been forced into silence and who would not believe the words of Lord Tokugawa's daughter? Keitaro had drunk too much; the reason for him staying at the castle overnight was accepted instantly.
Keitaro slowly made way to his house, and when he finally arrived at his destination, he saw everything being made ready to move to his new province. The order had come in early; everything required for the trip was already packed. The carts were ready to be launched at a moments notice.
"Keitaro, where were you!" Motoko noticed the staggering daimyo approaching them.
"Motoko what is going on?" Keitaro had no memory of yesterday; the Draught suppressed all memory.
"Tokugawa sent us a courier; he wants us to move into the land you accepted. Something about staying at the headman of the village until the house is built."
"What? When…" The headache came back a full force. "Just give me a place to sit…" Keitaro groaned.
The order was immediately complied, and Keitaro was ushered into a palanquin along with Motoko, who shook her head at Keitaro's incident. The Tokugawa guard assigned to protect the caravan, the captain gave a shout and the procession began to move. Keitaro was dead to the world as he fell asleep and did not awaken for a whole day.
The trip took three days, it would have been faster if Keitaro had taken a horse and ridden instead of riding in the palanquin but the effects of the Draught persisted almost the whole trip. Motoko tried to question Keitaro couple of times but he couldn't remember a single thing.
They reached the territory in the middle of November and the command to build a house for the new lord had traveled by a courier long before the procession had left Edo. The headman of the village, the man who was responsible to supply the men to complete the monumental task was at the scene. He had ordered a master carpenter to draw up the design and begin construction as soon as possible.
The palanquin carrying Keitaro stopped in front of the construction and the whole site became silent as everyone bowed at the arrival of their lord. Keitaro walked out of the palanquin and then helped Motoko out.
"My lord, welcome to the site of your new home." Headman spoke with his head bowed. To this people, the need to submit before their lord was their core mantra. "Would you like leave for your resting location, until your home is completed my lord?"
"Yes… shōya." Keitaro replied, he couldn't have thought of any other word to call the man, other then Headman.
"Yusuke!" The headman called out still in his bowed position and a young boy inched up toward Keitaro. "Lead the Lord and his Lady to the village."
"Yes father." Not looking at Keitaro or Motoko, Yusuke with his head bowed in submission started to walk toward the direction of the village. "This way my lord."
The samurais, Tokugawa had prearranged to Keitaro's command were already at the village. Men dressed in their armor and weapons: while all had the sheathed daisho, two of the men carried naginatas, and another two were carrying cavalry yaris by their sides. Keitaro saw an eleventh man as he walked closer: a distinguished, plutocratic looking man that even the other samurais seem to revere.
Keitaro guessed him to be the Tokugawa clan's instructor. There couldn't be anyone else that could command such energy.
One of the samurai carrying a naginata saw that Keitaro and Motoko, along with the headman's son were approaching, he gave a cry. Signaling to the rest of them that their daimyo had arrived.
"Lord." They said simply and gave a battlefield-abbreviated bow at the waist. Keitaro acknowledged their greetings and told Motoko to go on ahead.
"We are the samurai assigned to defending the noble house of Urashima. Lord Tokugawa sends his greetings my lord." The venerable sensei said. "He has also sent items that may aid you."
"Four kimonos, two for you my lord, and two for your lady. A cavalry yari, two warhorses, and one set of armor. He also sends salt, one hundred and fifty pounds worth."
"Salt?" Keitaro was bewildered.
Sensei gave him a curious look. "For the preservations of food my lord?"
'There is no refrigeration!' Modern conveniences were lost on Keitaro, like most people, he had taken them for granted. "I will have to thank Lord Tokugawa for his enormous generosity."
"Would you like to send a carrier pigeon my lord?" said one of the samurai, "I know the place where a message could be relayed to Tokugawa-dono's castle."
Keitaro gave a nod. "Yes I would like that. But for right now, let us enter the village and get out of this cold and give proper introductions."
"Hai, Lord." The troop marched their horses along side them and walked toward the village.
Keitaro and others all sat in Seiza style on tatami mats provided by the villagers. Keitaro wanted Motoko near him, but she said it was his duty as diaymo to show strength in front of the men he commanded and a presence of a woman would negate his show of power. She told him that she will meet him later in the bedroom and walked away.
"Let us begin." Said Keitaro.
All of the men looked at Sensei to begin. He set down the tea that he had be drinking and started to speak. "My name is Rokujochigusa Goro. I am the Tokugawa clan's instructor. These men around us my lord, are handpicked by me to serve you. I have also been told to instruct you in the ways of the bow and teach you to how ride a horse. I hope you accept this humble servant." He kowtowed at the end.
Keitaro bowed back as deeply as Rokujochigusa had done. The men were surprised that the daimyo had shown such deep respect for someone lower in rank, and their respect for the man grew a bit.
The man right of Goro spoke next. "I am Michijiri Yuudai. I will serve you to death my lord."
The torch past to the next man, "Kobayashi Hibiki my lord. My sword is yours for the taking."
"Sogawa Yoshimitsu." The last man gave his name.
Keitaro wasn't one for speeches but he felt it was appropriate in such occasion.
"I see before me, men that will serve me with undying loyalty. I am no better then anyone of you. I am also just a man, just like you. Do not treat me any better then you would each other. I will earn your respect, no matter what the price will be. I will start by the giving each of you promises that I will consider obliged between us: Grievances can be spoken without reprimand. We will look after each other and leave none behind. That our swords will sing and we shall will not cower before our enemies and let none say that we failed in our duties to Lord Tokugawa!"
"Men, we are now brothers. We shall know each other better than how blood brothers know each other."
Keitaro took out his wakizashi and the others followed suit. Like telepathy, they seemed to know without speaking. He raised the blade to his face and gave a small cut. Rest followed.
"Let the pain from this wound tell you that we met each other on this day."
The men could ask for no better lord.
When Keitaro walked back to the room he was directed to, he saw Motoko had a horrified look on her face the moment he entered the room.
"Where did you get the gash? Motoko ran up to where he was standing.
"Self-inflicted." Keitaro said.
"What? Why would you do such a thing?"
Keitaro sighed. If the men saw how Motoko was babying him like this, all that effort he went through, making that impromptu speech would be lost.
"Tell me what you see when you look at me, Motoko."
"I see a man, that once I hated, despised to the extent that I would have gladly struck him with my sword at any given moment. That man who has shown me kindness that I never knew the opposite sex was possible of giving. I would have hated men for the rest of my life and while I would be head of my family's dojo, I would have never been happy."
Keitaro had heard enough. He went up and embraced her. "And I am glad I have the same feelings for you."
"Motoko, I can see how you view me as. But look at the position I have been given." Keitaro broke off the hug. "I am no hero, or leader. I am pathetic in everyway except the luck of saving Tokugawa's life. Nothing but being there at the right time, right place."
"Not true!" Motoko incensed at his let downs. "Keitaro, you are not pathetic."
Keitaro couldn't help but chuckle. "Look at me Motoko. I am nothing alike to those men. I have been lucky that you were able to teach me the Rock Splitting Sword or I would be another corpse."
"This mark." Keitaro ran his hand over the painful wound. "I hope it shows them that I will become better then I am now. They know why Rokujochigusa-san is here. I will give it 110 percentand make something of myself."
Motoko smiled at his epiphany. "I will be right here rooting you on. Of course I am still your sword sensei… You will have to answer to me once in a while, Daimyo." She bopped his nose for every letter in the word in Daimyo.
"Was that another challenge?" Keitaro laughed. "Shall we try falling on each other again?"
"Haha, come Motoko. Tokugawa sent some kimonos you would like to wear. And me to see you in them."
"Alright." Holding hands for a brief moment, then they both walked out of the room.
Up on the rooftop, Chiyo frowned. The conversation she just overheard gave her no ease. Who were these two? They did not act like their stations. No samurai would wallow in self-pity lest he be swept away in battle due to his ineptitude. And have his woman having to encourage him like that. Preposterous, unworthy of a samurai.
"Lord Tokugawa would like to hear about this." She said, while flipping the orange disk like how she would handle a Shuriken. The disk that Tokugawa had given to her father and father to daughter. Hopes to understand why Motoko would ask for it.
A/N: Sorry for the delay and a crappy chapter. I am drowning in college work and writer's block is like a kidney stone that loves to be lodged in my mind always.
Peacemaker, yay! Prereader of the month, no… year! No… Decade?