"One should not be envious of someone who has prospered by unjust deeds. Nor should he disdain someone who has fallen while adhering to the path of righteousness."-Imagawa Sadayo (1325-1420)

Tosa Domain, May 1867

Yamanouchi Toyoshige, Lord of Tosa, eyes focused and pitiless, stood offshore with his guard of elite Shaguma, Red Bear Infantry. The men were decorated veterans, schooled in the new ways of the westerners, as well as sporting the traditional headdress of the Red Bear, denoting their status as elite fighters.

The sea was restless today, stirred up by the high wind. Dozens of waves crashed against the beach, but that did not prevent him from enjoying the spectacle of his new fleet. Refurbished and trained by the British and French observers he had hired for his domain. Unlike the fools in Choshu, he appreciated the power and magnificence of a modern fleet, and with his own domain on an island, he had vowed to have the best one amongst the Daimyo in the empire. He already had two modern corvettes flying his flag, and they were merely the vanguard of what was to come.

He raised his binoculars, a new innovation introduced to him by his foreign advisors, to take a closer look at this ships. Sleek wooden corvettes and frigates, each with more cannon than his armies on land. With these ships, a man could control the Empire's vital shipping lanes. He was going to make sure that he was that man.

"So Shimazu has made his move then?" Lord Yamanouchi said as he looked at his advisor, Takechi Zuizan, the youthful leader of the loyalist sonnoi-joi faction in Tosa. The man was a firebrand, completely devoting his life to the emperor's decree to expel the barbarians and close the country. This display of western style weaponry must be insulting to him, Yamaouchi thought, but all the better.

"Yes, my lord." The young samurai replied, bowing to his daimyo, "Reports are saying that the Kumamoto are broken, scattered to the hills. Lord Shimazu has assumed control of both Hyuga and Higo hans."

It was true that Lord Kumamoto initiated the conflict with Satsuma, giving them the excuse to invade and pillage the Kumamoto realm, but it did not hide the fact that Satsuma had now doubled the size of their domain in the span of a few weeks. There was no question now who controlled Kyushu. Although the Tosa appreciated the fact that Satsuma were not as wild and unpredictable as the radical Choshu, it still put Yamaouchi at a concern. Tosa and Satsuma, while both revering the emperor, were historical rivals. He would have to tread carefully in the future, especially knowing Lord Shimazu's ambitions.

"We will keep a close eye on Satsuma." Lord Yamanouchi said at last. "I want our fleet on standby. For now, we consolidate and keep an eye on developments."

Takechi, taken aback by such caution, fought the urge to shout at his sovereign lord. "Forgive me my Daimyo, but would we not say that the time is now to strike at the heart of the Tokugawa? Our agents report that Edo is in disarray, and rival warlords have already risen with word of the Kumamoto defeat. Perhaps it is time to throw our weight in?"

Yamanouchi shook his head quietly. "We risk everything at the throw of a dice Takechi. Tokugawa Yoshinobu is thrown off guard yes, but I will not so easily underestimate the man who destroyed Choshu domain. There will be a time yes, but for now, we must look to our own affairs. There is still the matter of the new rifles we'll need for our troops."

Takechi, a traditionalist to the core, cringed at those words.

"Sire, once again, I urge you to abandon these dangerous reforms. Nothing good can come out of using gai jin weapons. Especially putting them in the hands of peasants."

Lord Yamanouchi sighed, fighting the urge to strangle the idiot. it was not just his inability to see what was going to benefit Tosa, but also the fact that he suspected that Takechi was responsible for the recent string of 'accidents' that his reform ministers had experienced lately. It had set back the realm by many months, if not years in development. But he could do nothing, there was no proof. But one day, Yamanouchi swore, the youth will get what was coming to him one day, for now, Takechi had the ears of the Tosa loyalists and imperial factions. He would keep this snake, but only until he was certain he had no further use.

"These 'dangerous reforms'" Yamanouchi said with forced patience. "are the only thing standing between us and certain destruction. I thought I told you Takechi? We've seen what the barbarian ships have done to Kagoshima, Shimonoseki, and Edo. I will not have the same happen to Tosa."

"This is our divine land my lord, the Barbarians may be able to stay on their ships, but once they are on land, our samurai will be more than equal." The subordinate pressed.

"If the gai jin ever land forces, then that will mean they have already destroyed our fortresses with their cannon! Use your head Takechi! Or you will soon find yourself without it!" The Tosa lord shouted menacingly, making several of his retainers cringe.

"So sorry, my apologies lord." Takechi replied, bowing low, his face a mask.

"I am going to do what is best for Tosa." Yamanouchi replied. "Never doubt that."

"Of course lord." The youth bowed again. "Please forgive me, I did not mean to imply otherwise."

Yamanouchi smiled, pleased at the show of deference. He nodded to his flag bearers, who signaled to the fleet offshore. Only moments later, the ships offshore fired a salvo to the open sea, an artillery salute and display of power for their Daimyo.

"Takechi, send a messenger to Satsuma. I would like to know what he proposes to do next." Yamanouchi replied.

Takechi's eyes lit up, especially at the thought of his idea, a potential alliance between the two most powerful imperial Hans, coming closer into fruition. "I will personally deliver it sire. You can depend on me."

"Of course Takechi, now off you go. I wish to go falconing later and i require peace."

The youth bowed enthusiastically, calling for a horse from his retainers before galloping off.

When he was sufficiently far away from the Daimyo, another retainer, on a gesture from Yamanouchi, rode towards his lord.

"Take this to Edo." Yamanouchi instructed the soldier, handing him a scroll. "Tell Lord Yoshinobu that I think it is time we have a talk. Especially considering rumors of the Shogunate fleet coming past our shores."

The retainer bowed as he received the message, a great honor for a foot soldier. "Of course Lord."

Yamanouchi smiled as he watched the courier ride off to the east. It was still early in the game, he thought, but when the time came, he would be sure that Tosa would reap the rewards of the coming conflict.

Satsuma Province

Pete Longstreet, trotted along the lines of his newly formed commanded, designated by Lord Shimazu as Okubo's Eastern Army. Although officer he was nothing more than an advisor on British salary, he rode a new warhorse, a splendid gift to him by Seth Patrick and the British military advisors. Captain Takeda had told him the animal's name was Ryu, or Dragon. Despite the formal red coats that they tried to give him, Pete insisted on wearing his old Lieutenant General's uniform from his old days in the Confederacy. The old braid and gray coat had a familiar and nostalgic feel to him, even though wearing it now back home would most likely get him arrested, or worse, shot.

Weeks had already passed, and while the initial organization of his division was a difficult task, with the lack of translators available, Okubo had worked wonders with providing him with a functioning staff, men who were well versed in the English language as well as willing to take orders from a Gai Jin. When word had spread through the Satsuma capital that Longstreet was promoted to command, there was no shortage of British, French or even American officers and military adventurers who offered to volunteer their services to his command. After all, was this not the famous James Longstreet? How many opportunities in a lifetime would an officer have the honor of serving under him, who after all was the right arm of the General Lee?

Pete did his best to ignore the blatant adoration of the officers who joined him, instead focusing on more pressing matters.

He redrew the organization of the men, his four thousand men were organized into two brigades, each brigade in turn divided into three regiments. He intended to have each regiment staffed and trained by experienced officers. The native Japanese officers were willing enough learners, and Pete found several with potential for company and battalion commands, but that was still far off in the future. Right now, he had the men go through the fundamentals, marching and drilling them day and night for the past several weeks. He planned on having them ready in two to three months, but knowing full well how the conflict was going, he anticipated an even earlier entry into action, and thus accelerated the training schedule. The men not only had to be trained however, but also clothed and armed. Crates of new muzzle loaded rifles arrived in Kagoshima, courtesy of Glover. While new crisp and blue uniforms, straight off the textile mills, were delivered to his men in camp. It was an extravagantly expensive affair, financed by both the British and Okubo, but soon Pete's ragtag army was starting to resemble a modernized regular army, and within a few months he hoped, would fight like one as well.

He had decided to have Seth Patrick join his command as one of the brigade commanders. The other was a fellow named Yamashita, a Japanese officer who, like Okubo, had shown a great interest in learning modern warfare. Okubo of course, was the nominal commander but the man had let Longstreet run the division the way he wanted, he appreciated the trust, and the independence that came with it. It was similar to how he was used to working under Lee.

"Sir." Takeda Ori, newly promoted to Major, rode alongide Longstreet as he reviewed the troops, saluting his commanding officer, he too, was dressed in the blue garb of a Satsuma officer. It had been an easy choice for Pete to choose Ori as his chief of staff, the young man already showing a great attention to details as well as being an invaluable translator. "I wish to report that Colonel Patrick-san's guns are here." . The Englishman was already showing an affinity for training the local levies, so now he was put in charge of Pete's new rifled Parrott cannons. Twelve in total. He hoped they would be the core of what would become a mobile artillery corps.

Pete nodded as he took the details in. "Have his men fall in camp, make the usual arrangements."

"Of course sir." Takeda saluted, and noticed that Longstreet's own arm twitch as he raised it. "Are you alright Longstreet-san?"

"Just an old war wound." Longstreet said gruffly. "Got shot in the neck. Foolish thing really, my staff and I went off trail in a forest, ran into our own men. They shot us."

"That's unforgivable sir. I hope your men were properly dealt with." the Major replied with outrage.

"They were. they died fighting the enemy." Pete said softly, remembering all too well the hellish nightmare the battle in the wilderness was. Gunshots, grapeshot in the confines of the trees, sending storms of splinters that would tear a man to pieces. Whole regiments charged, only to be consumed within the blaze. The corpses on the ground were not even spared, twisted and blackened from the fire, becoming grossly disfigured, frozen in death. A horrid sweet smell filled the air, a smell of human flesh, burnt to a crisp.

"Sir?" Major Takeda offered.

"It's nothing Major," Pete said gruffly, taking a cigar out of his pocket. "Now go about your business."

"Of course Longstreet-san. May i also remind you that Patrick-san wishes to speak with you tonight."

Longstreet sighed, the British colonel had talked a long time about getting Pete to enjoy the wonders of Japan. Perhaps he needed the time off, for god knows when the war would start.

"Tell the colonel I will be right with him tonight. I just have to take care of some affairs."

Major Takeda nodded, then quickly went off to see the organization of the artillery as Longstreet had ordered.

With that minor detail out of the way, Pete was finally alone. He headed straight to his tent, where a sheaf of papers lay on his field desk. Mostly reports on a recent naval battle of Kagoshima against a Futue clan, as well as the latest returns and manifests on delivered ammunition and equipment. But most importantly, was the letter he had started, but never quite finished. Taking advantage of this moment, Pete took up the pen...

My dearest Louise,

I received your letter from New Orleans today, dated January 8th, via courier boat. I am glad to know that you are at your journey's end and tolerably comfortably located in our new home in Orleans. This is a strange land Louise, and I find myself at awe at how the natives conduct themselves. As for the land itself, it is a temperate climate, with rains and refreshing winds not unlike a few places we've been to in the south.

I am receiving a handsome salary from Colonel Fremantle's kin as well as Glover's trading co, and will be forwarding them to you with this letter. I am confident that in a months time, I will have these men up to scratch, prepared for their own civil war.

It is not possible to say yet whether I shall be home. I do hope to do so within a few years, when the current administration is out of office, and for that I am grateful for the updates and newspapers you have been sending me. Please send my regards and love to the boys. Tell Lee and Jinn that I hope they will show the Va boys what good boys we have down in New Orleans.

Very affectionately yours,
James Longstreet

It was far too long. How long has it been since he had lost his children in Richmond during that god awful war. How long would it be before he could see his home again? To hold his wife and children in his arms? Pete sighed. At forty seven years, He suddenly felt very weary and alone.

"You will enjoy this place General!" Colonel Seth Patrick, delighted at his recent promotion to Brigade command. "Best place in town, the lads enjoy it all the time!" the English exclaimed as he led a Longstreet down the glowing entertainment district in Kagoshima. Lanterns of vibrant colors and patterns hung over the streets, while around them, Pete saw several ladies, their faces painted white like snow, viewing them from the windows. He was told that they were called 'Geishas'.

"Major Takeda is suppose to meet us here soon, is he not?" Pete said stoically as he lit up a cigar, exchanging polite waves at the geishas that passed in the street, who covered their faces gracefully with their fans.

"Aye, but doesn't mean we can't have a little fun first! I hear the pleasure houses of this quarter are the best." Colonel Patrick smirked.

"I am married you know Colonel." Longstreet reminded his subordinate.

"Of course sir! Doesn't mean you can spoil it for a single man like myself." The britisher gave a conniving grin, before stopping at one of the wooden buildings in the street, it's sign simple and elegant. "This must be the place!"

"I really don't think..." Pete began.

"Nonsense! If buggering the ladies won't do you any good, they can at least give you a proper massage. I insist sir! my treat!"

Before Longstreet could even reply, the Englishman had dragged him inside the building. Unlike the other simple structures he'd seen, this one was splendidly furnished. A sweet, serene smell of fragance filled the air, along with soft, soothing flute music.

"This must be the place eh? Look, there's a mama san now." Patrick pointed to the matron of the pleasure house, an old wrinkly woman who spoke a polite greeting, bowing to the two men.

"Konbawa Madam." Seth bowed. "My friend and I are looking for some companionship..."

The old matron, obviously oblivious to the English Seth was speaking, replied "Gomen nasai, tsuyaku ga imasu ka?"

Seth, equally oblvious to the polite question the lady asked, sweated, but suddenly had a flash of inspriration. Reaching into his pocket for cash, as well as uttering the one word he managed to pick up during his time in Japan that seemed to get results."Onna!"

The old lady's eyes lit up, as though she suddenly understood. She bowed politely and disappeared behind the parlor.

"Money does make the world go around eh?" Seth smiled in anticipation.

It did not take long before two attractive young ladies, their faces painted while and their dresses vibrant and beautiful, appeared from the parlor, gesturing for both men to follow them.

"Finally! It's been a while since i've prigged anything."

"A little too much information colonel." Pete replied.

"Sorry sir, caught in the moment, but trust me, these ladies are reknowned throughout Japan for their skills. Just hoping to get a chance to experience it tonight!"

The two women did indeed lead Longstreet and Patrick to a decorated screen room, with a simple ceremonial tea set and lute stationed in the room. Smiling, the young ladies gestured for both men to sit while they poured the tea for them with exquisite skill. Within moments, a lute player entered the room and began playing, and the two Geisha's took out their fans, and began dancing, swirling and twirling gracefully like water.

Pete smiled as he observed the two ladies dance. There was something exotic, yet serene in the setting, and it was the first fan dance he had seen, the performances of the travelling Confederate soldier theatres notwithstanding. Minutes pass, and one of the Geishas smiled politely at Pete as she poured tea into his cup, he smiled back. Eventually as the evening wore on they moved on to sake, and Seth downed several cups furiously, in the hopes of getting on with the main act. The englishman tensed up in anticipation, which drew a slight chuckle from Longstreet.

"ALRIGHT! Let's get on with the show!" Seth stood up, face flushed with the sake he had downed all evening, started towards one of the Geishas, who gave him a horrified look.

"Seth, I don't think it's a good idea." Pete said, placing a hand on Seth, and trying to pull him away from the lady.

"Nonsense sir," Seth flushed, "Just a little fun that's all!" The englishman slurred as he pulled on the Geisha's sleeve, causing her to scream and fall back, ripping the arm off her Kimono.

At that moment, the matron of the pleasure house barged in, flanked by two bulky men. After seeing the distraught geisha on the floor, she quickly started yelling at Pete and Seth in furious Japanese, pushing Seth out of the room.

"HEY!" Seth pushed the mama san back as she violently confronted him. "I paid good money to get into this establishment, is this how you treat your-"

He didn't get another word out as the bouncer quickly moved. Seth let out a bellow of pain as the bouncer chopped his elbow with the side of his hand, momentarily paralyzing his arm. Before seth could do anything else, the room suddenly spun and he was flat on his face, a paralyzing pain stabbed in his back as the Japanese man hit a nerve center, taking him down hard.

Pete meanwhile, watched the lightning fast takedown with a quiet appreciation, whistled softly.

Just as the other bouncer made a move towards him, Pete bowed politely.

"Okay, it's been established that you can kick our asses, my friend and I will be taking our leave here. Sorry for the trouble." He smiled politely as he quickly knelt down to pick up Seth's motionless and groaning form, taking their leave.

Major Takeda Ori, accompanied by another young woman dressed in a traditional kimono, bowed politely as they met Pete in the street.

"ah, Taisho-Longstreet-san. It is a pleasure. I hope you enjoyed the festivities of the night?" The Japanese officer asked politely, noticing that Pete was propping Colonel Patrick over his shoulder. "May I ask what happened to the Colonel?"

Pete gave a brief explanation of the situation at the pleasure house, to which Captain Takeda and his female companion widened their eyes in shock. Takeda quickly gave a quick explanation to Pete and Seth on what they had just done.

"You mean they weren't whores?" Seth, obviously still dazed, slurred the last word out awkwardly.

Major Takeda raised his eyebrows at that last remark, but responded with the same patience and politeness that Pete was becoming acustomed to.

"From your perspective, no. It would be like hiring...say a skilled ballet dancer to a private function, certainly not whores, their rank deserves more respect than that."

Takeda smiled, and Longstreet could not help but notice the young woman smiling with him as well.

"In any case, Longstreet-san, may I present to you your samurai consort during your stay in Japan?" He introduced the small young woman who had accompanied him down the street. Although petite, she was well proportion and built with fair skin, her fox red hair tied in the kyoto fashion that many ladies had adopted around Japan. She bowed politely.

"Abarame Toshiko," Takeda introduced her to Longstreet. "Lord Okubo thought it best to set you up in a house in Kagoshima while you live here in our realm. Toshiko herself, is a samurai consort and has been ordered to fullfill your every need during your stay here."

Seth took a drunken appreciative look at Toshiko, her fox red hair, her slightly atheltic build, and smiled. "Every need?"

Longstreet raised an eyebrow as he unceremoniously dropped seth in the dusty road, the Englishman coughing up dust as he fell. "Get back to camp Seth, and get ready for some hard marching tomorrow. that's an order." Longstreet said calmly.

"Yesssir." The British colonel, surprised at being dropped, shook his head, as though oblivious that he had just been dropped. Though slightly drunk, still instinctively saluted out of habit, then turned around to walk back down the street "Lucky bugger."

Takeda, slightly amused by the exchange, continued on. "She will oversee all affairs regarding your household sir, when we are back from Campaign. My lord wishes you to focus purely on the war effort."

"Please tell her Takeda-san," Longstreet gave her a friendly nod. "That I am honored to have her, I look forward to working with her the next several months."

Takeda translated this smoothly, and Longstreet smiled, knowing the young man was eyeing her appreciatively.

"domo arigatou gozaimashita" The courtesan bowed back gracefully, a polite smile on her face, revealing nothing. So this was the barbarian from across the seas? Perhaps this will be an intriguing assignment after all. She thought.

Meanwhile, in the shadows of the backalley, another man watched the exchange sternly. He was a youth, no more than twenty years old, trained in the arts of bushido to the extreme, in swordsmanship and learning. To the extent that he took no wives or women, his devotion to the emperor total and complete. He was an Ishin Shishi,and tonight, he watched the curious foreign general with detached calm.

Ichikawa Arinori wondered to himself as he observed the courtesan bow towards the Gai Jin general. He had been instructed by Lord Shimazu to watch over him, for he was an important pawn in the fight against the Shogun. That was the one thing, the one absolute that he believed in. The shogun must go, for he had shamed the country by submitting to the foreign barbarian, but at the same time, they needed this man to show them the ways of modern war.

To kill him? Or to spare him? Shimazu says that he is useful, but a mere Daimyo's words pale in comparison to perserving the wa, the harmony of the emperor. Still, the emperor was powerless, surrounded by enemies on all sides as the Northern Alliance of clans sought to crush is power.

Patience. he thought. Whether it be tonight or a thousand days from now. The Emperor would be restored to his rightful place in the empire, and all Gai Jin would be expelled. On that day, I will gladly take your head Gaijin.

But for now. He thought grudgingly, I will protect you with my life.

Saigo Takamori breathed a sigh of relaxation as he sat in the bath house, the steam cleansing his mood while servant girls served him tea. The girl poored clumsily, but even he did not mind, this was a time of rejuvenation, to prepare himself for the next battle where he might slay the emperor's enemies. He frownd at the frightened girl, pretending to study the cup as she poured, thanking the gods once again that he was born samurai. To rule and not be ruled.

"Saigo-san!" The samurai general looked to see his childhood friend, Okubo Toshimichi enter the room as well, partaking in the bathhouse.

"Woman! Another cup of tea please." Saigo shouted to the servant girl, who bowed deeply.

"It is great to see you again Saigo." Okubo smiled genuinely as he sat next to his friend, remembering deeply the times they had meditated together in the Shimazu family temple. The hours they sat on the meditation stone, learning to control their inner tempermant. Something that Saigo had much trouble with.

"You as well my friend, come! Let us talk of old times neh? We may as well before the coming battle."

"I hear Lord Shimazu has given you the vanguard, I wish to offer my congratulations on the honor." Okubo said warmly, the main army under Shimazu would make for Nagasaki, gateway to the west. Such a conquest would solidify Satsuma hold on Kyushu, and bring an ultimate confrontation with the shogun that much closer.

"I am merely doing my duty." Saigo said politely, but pleased to receive the congratulations from his friend. "As you should be doing yours with your own army. I hear you are giving it to the barbarian?" Saigo said gruffly.

"I am merely using him as an instrument." Okubo replied smoothly. "Who better to get our peasants into shape?"

"The Okubo i know can win with any soldiers, even peasants and common Goshi." Goshi were the lowest ranked samurai, born with status but living in penury.

"I trust this barbarian's skill, despite what many claim. From what i've heard from his contemporaries, he is a remarkable man, always managing to win despite the odds." Okubo replied. "I have heard of a famous battlefield where he swept the enemy clean with his guns, so that not even a chicken could live on it, and losing one man for every ten the enemy suffered. He will be an asset to us, just you wait."

"He is not a warrior." Saigo insisted.

"He was shot through the throat, but survived to see his war to its conclusion. How many can claim that? I think you will find his talents most useful before this is through my friend." Okubo smiled, thanking the servant girl as she reappeared with tea.

"How can we trust him? When he would so openly rebel against his sovereign nation? His liege lord? His is a traitor, with no honor."

Okubo chuckled slightly

"They do things differently back in his homeland. This liege lord, Lincoln, you speak of is elected by the commoners. Everyone, warriors, politicans, peasants, even common eta (filth) get their say in who rules the land. It just so happened his domain did not like their new leader. So he rebelled. How many daimyos have done the same here?" Okubo explained patiently, remembering all that Ernst satow had taught him about America. One day, when Nippon was saved, he swore he would visit these countries to learn all he could from them, but for now, only duty and emperor awaited.

"Peasants controlling their own destiny?" Saigo was horrified by the thought, but eventually laughed at the absurdity of the statement he just made. "They truly are dishonorable scum."

"It is not their honor you need, it is their ability to teach your men to fire three rounds a minute under any weather." Okubo said plainly. "When the enemy comes, it will not be with sword and bow, but with cannon and rifles. To best the Gai Jin, we will have to use their own methods of war. Tokugawa Yoshinobu is hiring legions of them for his own armies for this very purpose, we must make sure we are ready when we meet him in battle."

"Suppose Tokugawa Yoshinobu is seeking the same engagement? To test his own forces against ours? Knowing this much about the gai jin?" Saigo said wistfully, knowing full well the odds against them in the grand picture.

"Then we will have lost."

"Do you believe this is the case?" Saigo turned to his friend with the question, steel glinting in his eyes.

"No my friend." Okubo smiled as he drank his tea. "We are going to win this one."

Several weeks later

Pete Longstreet gave an appreciative whistle as he watched the new steam corvettes pull into Kagoshima harbour. Built by English advisors who worked on the new modern docks of the port, they were the latest in the armored warships that Lord Shimazu had ordered. Copper plated corvettes armed with the very latest in armor piercing shells. They would make short work of anything the Shogun would throw at them, he thought, and rumor had it that a fleet was already approaching Kyushu with the intention of checking Satsuma.

Lord Shimazu stood in front of Pete, watching his new fleet proudly as it passed by. Unlike the battle of Higo months ago, he was dressed in a traditional western style officer's uniform. Dark blue and white to match his own men and battle colors. The retainers were armed like dragoons, carrying their own sabres and carbines.

Shimazu spoke something to Takeda, who bowed as he translated.

"My lord Shimazu says that Satsuma historically was an ancient sea power, it is fitting that we have a navy like the English."

Pete nodded politely, knowing full well that the Daimyo was not expecting him to talk.

Shimazu spoke again, this time with a question.

"How soon will the men be ready Longstreet san?" Takeda asked.

"Soon, my lord." Longstreet added the last part awkwardly. "The men have undergone two months of rigorous training. I would prefer another month, but it looks like you are looking to move?"

Shimazu grunted as he heard the translation, then nodded.

"My lord says you are correct. The main army will make for Nagasaki in the west, you and your men will be tasked with guarding our eastern flank, as well as coordinating with the Choshu to secure the straights. The fortress of Bungo is your target for now. Lord Mori will meet up with you then."

Pete nodded slowly as he took this in, remembering the hours he spent memorizing the western maps of the island that were provided to him by Glover. To Pete, although he would prefer another few weeks, a conflict was inevitable. Eastern Kyushu was Ideal country for a force his size. Steep green hills and twisting little valleys, yes, lots of good ground. Ground for his new parrott guns and riflemen.

"Please tell Lord Shimazu my men will move out as soon as possible, and that I thank him for his confidence."

Takeda nodded as he spoke to Shimazu.

"My lord wishes to inform you that you come with great expectations from your peers, do not let him down."

"I don't intend to." Pete replied with confidence, and sensing the interview over, bowed low and made his way back to camp, where his four thousand men waited.

They would march.

Danno - thanks for the feedback! I know spelling is bit of a weakness for me, so i'll have to reread this more often, and yes, throw away characters will come :) thanks for the input!

Republic Empire - thanks! I'm hoping to avoid the Last Samurai comparison but i guess it's inevitable, i hope this story continues to live up to expectations ;)