Three days and four nights I roamed around Kyoto. Every time the government's military men pass by, I have to hide myself; afraid they will recognize me and take me as their prisoner. I have nothing with me, I don't have provisions, I don't have money and I am hungry right now, I think I could eat a meat raw, if only I've learned how to hunt for food.
It was the fourth day, and I was at the boundary of Kyoto when the idea of stealing comes to my head. I was hungry and I was getting weak, aside from the water that I got from natural water sources, I haven't taken in any solid food and at this point I was desperate, I'd probably do anything even to sell my body just to have something inside my stomach.
Then my salvation came in the form of a little cat-girl.
I was weak on the knee from lack of food, my feet hurts from non-stop walking, eager to get very far from Kyoto. My eyes were hurting from the constant crying I've been doing. I've lost my home, I've lost my brother… my sensei… my friends. I am now alone in this world and I have no knowledge how to live life on my own. Maybe if I have listened to Midori-sensei, I would at least know how, at least how to get my basic necessities.
I slumped on a rooted ground, just in front of a large tree that makes a large shade against the hot, summer season. Perfect place to rest, sleep… or probably die. I know my number was up. I was panting as I sat and then looked down on my bleeding, cracked feet. With this feet, I don't think I can move anymore, I have never been this awful in my life, even though our father was a crazy, conniving, selfish politician, he at least was a good provider, we never have to worry about our basic needs. I think all my energy was sapped out of me I didn't realize I fell asleep...
Only to be awakened by a vigorous shaking of my shoulders.
"Wha…," my eyes widened when my emerald eyes were met by a pair of golden, cat like eyes. I tried to moved back but I wasn't able to, she was holding on to my shoulders.
"Your feet," she smiled and two sharp canine teeth was shown along with the whitest normal teeth I've ever seen in my 18 years of life. I should be scared but it's either I am too out of it to be or she is such a cute animal girl for me to be… or whatever…
"Bleeding! I put this?" she asked showing me a dirty white cloth I assumed she ripped from her shirt.
"T-thanks," I replied with a weakened smile and tried to stretch my legs, but they wouldn't budge.
"No energy?" I nodded at her query, "Have you eaten?" I shook my head no, "I see," she straightened up and grin, "I know, I'll get food you stay here okay?" she asked and I nodded. As if there's anything I can do.
I waited for quite long time. I've been dozing on and off and when the cat looking girl arrived, she was actually running on all fours, a bread stuck in her mouth and she skidded in front of me. She then took the bread and threw it at me. "I can see that you cannot run, but we cannot stay here any longer so I will carry you!" she said and before I could protest, she lifted me up and carried me on her shoulders, "You can eat while we run!"
"WHAT?!" I asked but got no reply as the cat-girl run fast towards the forest, she was really fast for her stature and that's not to say she was carrying me on her shoulder, "STOP!"
"We can't! The doushins(1) are after me!" the cat girl said without giving out any sign of breathlessness.
"Why the heck would the doushins be after you?!" I asked panicked
She just grinned, "I get you food didn't I?"
[End of Flashback]
And that's how I met Mikoto, the cat-girl. We came to a stop outside of Kyoto. I did end up eating the bread she stole for me, besides back then I was ready to do the same. She just probably has more guts than I am. She messily clean my wounded feet and wrapped the ripped pieces of clothes on them but it didn't make the sting any better.
And the entire time we traveled, she'd been carrying me at her back, piggy style. She would lay me on a hidden and safe place to get us food or sometimes I would volunteer to hop on my injured feet to get to a safe place. It wasn't an honorable way of existence, but nothing is non-honorable to a starving person anymore.
"I'm sick of eating bread," Mikoto said grinning at me.
"We have to be thankful we are still alive after all those time you stole them, so be grateful." I said to the cat-girl. We have just done eating our third slice of bread.
"I am, but we can always dream of something else… like Ramen!"
"We can't have ramen, we don't have money and we can't just steal Ramen off from any inns."
Mikoto nodded, " I know," she said in agreement before she grinned, "That's why I got a nice idea!"
My forehead scrunched, "I don't like that grin of yours Mikoto-han,"
"Mou Natsuki! I am the best thief out there ever! I am the fastest and none of those police could lay a hand on me!"
"Because they were just doushins! What if you come across with Yoriki's? (2) They have horses and those animals could out run you, they won't think twice to slice you up! Or what if you come across with rounins?"
"Rounins? I thought they were all killed when Meiji took over?"
Natsuki frowned, "I don't know, but Mikoto…"
"I really want a Ramen, if I've done it with breads in the open, I can steal those bags of coin with no problem!"
"Come on Mikoto, don't do that…"
"You just wait here…," the cat-girl is very stubborn; she never listens to any reasons.
I hid myself behind a bush made of large leaves from a plant I do not know. I peeked in between the leaves to see Mikoto silently crawling like a big cat towards her prey …
A warrior who I guess was spacing out while walking in the open, his bag of gold dangling unprotected and easy to snatch.
I guess Mikoto could pull this one out… the warrior seemed stupid, perhaps the daito(3) he was wearing was all show… but then again…
My eyes widened when Mikoto did get a grab of the warrior's pouch, I did thought Mikoto was successful but the warrior was fast, he caught Mikoto's wrist and dragged her back to him. In a split of a second, he had withdrawn another sword, not his daito, but instead he withdrew a wakizashi(4) from its saya (5) and was ready to slice off Mikoto's wrist…
I found myself in front of my friend and the wide eyed samurai…
-End Chapter 4-
Doushin – low class samurai that acts as police patrol from the Edo era until the early meiji era up until they were replaced by the European style policing.
Yoriki – low class samurai but higher than Doushin, they also do patrolling and guard duties in the police station but they ride horses and they give orders to Doushins.
Rounin – samurai warriors who defected from their masters.
Daito – another term for Katana(?) Just think Daito is nicer to use.
Wakizashi – short sword (but a little longer than kodachi) and usually used as a second sword of the Samurai's