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She sat on the edge of the porch staring out at nothing. Her hands clasped in her lap. Her eyes were puffy and red. She had been crying, which had become a common site since the death of Lord Nagamasa.

Ranmaru hated running into her. Usually she was full of joy and cheer, but ever since she came back under Nobunaga's protection, she was just depressing. She ruined the mood in every room.

Lady Oichi was heart broken.

Ranmaru had always been indifferent to Oichi, she was his lord's sister and that's all she was, but it was still sad to see her.

Ranmaru had never been one to question Lord Nobunaga's decision. He was Nobunaga.


The attack against the Asakura clan which led to attacking the Azai clan was the first decision Ranmaru hesitated over.

The Azai clan was led by Nagamasa, husband of Oichi, the younger sister of Nobunaga.

Everyone knew of their sickening, lovey-dovy, marriage. The few times Ranmaru had seen them, he always felt like gagging.

What bothered him the most was, despite knowing the link between the Azai clan and the Asakura clan, Nobunaga attacked Asakura anyway.

It was a fifty-fifty chance that Nagamasa would either side with Nobunaga, his brother-in-law, or the Asakura who pulled them up in their dire need. It was a hard decision. Ranmaru would have picked Nobunaga, but he couldn't really blame Nagamasa for siding with Asakura who they owed an honor debit to.


It made Ranmaru sad to think Nobunaga had so easily decided to kill his little sister's husband. Though the two weren't really close, Nobunaga was still kind to her, like an older brother should be. Nicer then Ranmaru's anyway.

Swallowing slightly, Ranmaru walked up beside Oichi. "Evening, my lady."

"Evening, Ranmaru." Oichi hadn't bothered to look at him.

"Would you like some tea? I was about to make some for Lord Nobunaga."

She shook her head slightly.

"Would you like something to eat?"

Again, she shook her head.

Ranmaru studied her. "Well, if you need something, I'd be more then happy to get if for you."

Finally, she turned her sad eyes to him. "Thank you." She stood up. "You're a kind young man, Ranmaru." Oichi placed a hand on his elbow.

"Lady Oichi."

"I just pray that you never have to know the feelings that I felt when the two people you love most in the world turn on each other, having to be stuck in the middle, demands to where your loyalties lie." She smiled sadly giving his elbow a gentle squeeze before walking away.

Ranmaru bit his lower lip. That...that would never happen to him. Sure, Lord Nobunaga and Lord Mitsuhide got into arguments, some more heated then others, but Ranmaru easily settled them by soothing ruffled feathers, loving caresses, and shy kisses. And even though the lords spent time with women, nights with women, they always came back to each other.

Lord Nobunaga would never turn on Lord Mitsuhide, he was a loyal vassal and an amazing samurai. Lord Mitsuhide would never turn on Lord Nobunaga, he believed in Nobunaga's ideals, he walked away from his past life to join Nobunaga's. Ranmaru would never turn on them because he loved both of them more then anyone, anything, to not have both of them would just be devastating. Neither lord would turn on Ranmaru because, as they told him on several occasions, he was their treasure.

What happened to Lady Oichi, the battle between Lord Nagamasa and Lord Nobunaga, would never happen to Ranmaru.


I noticed I write Lady Oichi and Lady Nene, but I write No-hime...I mean, when I talk about her with other people, that's what I call her, kinda like Ina-hime. I suppose I could write Lady Noh, that's how it was originally translated. I don't know. Is it bothering anybody?