Chapter 1-After the War

Finally they reached a village. Kotaru was sitting on their new steed with Nanashi on foot ahead and Tobimaru behind him. "Phew, I can finally eat something decent!" Kotarou said relieved.

"Yeah..." Nanashi smiled at the thought, also relieved. "But my cooking isn't bad you know?"

"No, not really..." he grinned mischievously, turning his head away. "Oh, come on! Next time you can have smaller rations than. Huh?" , "Whatever" said Kotarou. Tobimaru barked.

The village was one of the nicer places they've seen from their journey, even from the start. Although it was not huge like any other, it was blooming with sakuras and people were happily going about their business. 'It must be because it's hidden in the mountains' Nanashi thought. Just as he had his head about him, he saw some girls walk by, and briefly watched them cross the road. Kotarou was watching him and wore a devious look. "Oh! You think they're cute don't you?". "Wha-what? No! They were passing by, I had to notice them so I would not walk into them, you see?".

Kotarou didn't look impressed. "They are like 10 feet away from you...I hope you don't walk into them, Mr. Samurai with ninja senses, or I will have to hire someone else"

"Hire? I'm not under that anymore, lil boy. Actually...I can make you my apprentice, if you want want to use a sword don't ya?". Kotarou puffed up his face. "Offer expires without a"

"Okay! I do, do!" he struggled, like trying to catch a butterfly.

"Ha, I thought so! um...little apprentice...-oh, and by the way: no swords till I think your ready!"

"You better not hold me back on that till I'm old" Kotarou grumbled. Nanashi grumbled back quietly "I don't think I will live long enough to see you old, too bad though"

"Ha!...oh hey, that girl you were staring at in that three-group is walking around again, you better go talk to her" Kotarou jumped in slyly."She's preeeetty!"

"Sh-shut up!" Nanashi's right eye twitched. Thanks to Kotarou he was forced to notice her and got lost in it for a few seconds. He felt a small ping on his head from something, a pebble probably. Looking up with a face "Huh?"

"Hahaha!" Now now, Nanashi...don't stare too long, you might burn her into your eyeballs and that's all you'll see from now on" "Grrr...very funny" Nanashi got up and gave Kotarou a noogie. "Ow ow!, that hurts you know?", "Good!" Nanashi walked off dusting off his hands like he accomplished something.

"Where you going?", "To get something to eat...of course" "Well...than wait for me! And Tobimaru!"

"Hurry up than, you deserve your share" "Really? I hope so" "...I was talking to the dog" ".......well, I deserve mine too...I got your horse, don't make me chase you till you have legs left". Nanashi sighed.

They filled their stomachs up right full, Nanashi appeared to love noodles. "Are those good?" Kotarou asked curiously, looking at the bowl that was still half full." Nanashi was resting against his seat, his replaced sun hat over his face"Are you still hungry or something? You shouldn't think of food on a full stomach you know" "I'm just asking..." "Well...for one, Mister, if they were not good, I would not have ordered them". "But you could have been trying something new?" "Nope. I'm not that experimental type...but you, I can see you mixing all sorts of crazy things in your noodles"

"Maybe..." Kotarou replied, not sure. "Maybe? Most defiantly". Tobimaru was happily lapping up the leftovers as Nanashi put the bowl on the ground beside him. He barked in thanks.