Samurai 7 Fan Fiction ❯ The Sword of the Soul ❯ The Decision ( Chapter 6 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

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AUTHOR'S NOTES: I realized that as this story goes on, my way of portraying the characters and events of S7 may radically differ than what `really happened.' And as someone who prides herself on staying within the boundaries of canon, this is a little galling. But as my husband pointed out, “As long as they like what they read, who cares?” So here's hoping you like what you read…
It had to happen eventually - my other favorite anime's music was going to get used sooner or later. The music for Chapter Six is "Vegeta's Vision" from the American soundtrack for DRAGONBALL Z, Volume Six. (How appropriate!)
Another bit of trivia… Kirara's song is based on the rhythm and melody of the song of the end credits of S7.
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© October 16th, 2005 By Michelle N Travis
Chapter Six: The Decision
“How is she, great samurai?” Kirara asked Gorobei softly as he tended Nasami's wounds. He, Kambei, Katsushiro, Masamune and Kikuchiyo had taken turns staying awake and watching over the wounded samuraiko, and it was during Gorobei's shift that she had begun to thrash and cry out, delirious from shock.
“Not good,” he said grimly, carefully changing the wrappings around Nasami's injured knee. “We can't exactly go strolling around looking for a doctor. All we can do is watch and wait.”
Kirara clenched her small hands into fists as she watched Nasami toss and turn on her pallet on the floor. Used to taking action once she made up her mind, the enforced helplessness was nearly driving her mad. “There has to be something we can do! She saved my life, and Komachi's, and Rikichi's! How can I just sit here and do nothing?”
The street performer glanced down at Kirara's hands, and saw the dowsing crystal she wore on a bracelet around her wrist. “Actually… you may be able to help her.”
“Kambei says you're a Mikumari… a water priestess. Maybe if you can speak to the water spirits within Nasami, you might be able to bring her fever down.” Kirara just stared at Gorobei, who shrugged. “You have a better idea?”
She shook her head, and moved to kneel beside the white-haired woman. Gently, she placed one hand on Nasami's forehead, wincing as she felt the burning heat and cold sweat there, and shook her dowsing crystal free with the other. For a moment, she watched it sparkle and glow in the faint light from Masamune's forge. Then she held it over Nasami and closed her eyes, and slipped into the twilight world where her soul and heart were calm and she could hear the water spirits speak.
Softly, she began to sing.
Dream of gently sighing rivers that wind through the hills
Dream of moonlight in darkness so silvery bright
Dream of cool rain that falls from the clouds in the skies
Dream of swift winds that blow through the night…”
The dowsing crystal in her hand slowly began to swing in time to the rhythm of her song, gently flashing each time it passed over Nasami's heart.
Dream of clear streams that flow down the side of the mountain
Dream of snow as it dances and falls through the air
Dream of lakes as they sparkle in the afternoon sunlight
Let the sound of my song lift and carry you there…”
She didn't notice the others waking up and turning to watch as they listened to her song. All of her attention was focused on Nasami, and on saving the samuraiko.
“Dream of storms as they thunder over meadows and fields
Dream of bright stars that glimmer and fall from the sky
Dream of oceans and seas, and the play of the waves
Dream of twilight so peaceful like the blue of your eyes…”
Kirara sensed the water spirits within Nasami reacting to the song, and she continued to sing, reminding the other woman not only of coolness and peace, but of herself, to strengthen her soul as her body fought to recover.
Dream of wandering the long roads that range far and wide
Dream of slumber so restful easing worries and cares
Dream of dancing as one with the sword by your side
Let the sound of my song lift and carry you there…”
Nasami's body shivered once, and then lay still, her breathing slow and even as the lines of pain faded from her face. The dowsing crystal stopped swinging and went dark, and Kirara's eyes opened, immediately flashing to Nasami's face, and she nearly cried in relief.
“Gorobei-sama!” she whispered joyfully. “You were right! I did it!”
“You did more than you realize,” she heard Kambei say behind her, and she and Gorobei turned to see the other samurai approach and kneel beside Nasami. He gently touched the samuraiko's forehead, then checked her pulse and her injury. With remarkable tenderness, he drew the bandages away from the wound as the others gathered around.
“Lady Kirara,” breathed Katsushiro. “I knew that you were gifted, but this…”
“But it wasn't me!” Kirara protested. “All I did was sing, and speak to the water spirits in Nasami-sama like Gorobei-sama suggested!” But the dowsing crystal in her hand suddenly glowed brightly, just as it had when she had first found Kambei in the middle of the crowded streets of Kougakyo. And in its brilliant light, all of them could see the miracle that Kirara's song had wrought.
The injury had healed, leaving only a long white scar behind.
“Whoa…” whispered Komachi.

“I heard you,” Nasami whispered later, as the others prepared to leave for their daily search for samurai. Her eyes were on Kirara as she stood near the door. “I heard you singing to me, making me well again.”
Kirara nodded. “I had to do something… you stopped those assassins from kidnapping me and Komachi.” But Nasami shook her head.
“Not just me. Katsushiro did, too.” She looked over at the young man who stood just behind Kambei. “You did well, Katsushiro. I saw how you handled those two thugs in the square.”
He said nothing, but turned his head away, and her blue eyes narrowed. Then she sighed, and closed her eyes.
“Katsushiro, Kirara, Rikichi, and I will go looking for samurai today,” Kambei told the samuraiko. “Gorobei-dono will remain here, as will Kikuchiyo.”
“Damn it, why do I always get left behind?” Kikuchiyo ranted, but Kambei silenced him with a look.
“Because Nasami is in no condition to defend herself if that samurai comes looking for her. Which is why you and Gorobei will stay here. Komachi will also stay behind today to help you with Nasami.”
Kikuchiyo promptly shut up.
The others turned to leave, but the samuraiko's soft whisper stopped them.
He turned back to look at her. Nasami had reached down beside the pallet and was resting her hand on her katana, which lay sheathed within arm's reach.
“You know… don't you.”
It was a simple statement, one that he did not pretend to misunderstand as she opened her eyes again and met his gaze. For a long time, the two gazed at one another, neither one saying a word.
Finally Kambei turned and walked out, the others trailing after him.
Gorobei sighed and crouched down beside Nasami, who had closed her eyes again and sighed aloud. “You know, given the stories that were going on about you, I'm surprised he didn't catch on sooner.”
“You didn't recognize me, either,” Nasami reminded him, her eyes still closed.
“A remarkable lapse on my part… so how in the world did the legendary Sasuraitsuru herself end up here in Kougakyo?”
Nasami opened her eyes. “Legendary? What have people been saying about me?”
“The stories of the Wandering Crane are varied and many.”
“Such as?” Kikuchiyo asked in curiosity, settling himself down on the floor near her pallet with Komachi crawling over to sit at the foot of Nasami's bed. The two had been filled in the previous night when they'd worked to heal Nasami on the samuraiko's past, with Gorobei and Kambei both providing details of her life before her arrival in Kougakyo.
Gorobei held up a hand to start counting on his fingers. “Well, as I was telling Kambei-dono, she's received offers of marriage from the sons of three different daimyos…”
“Not to mention a few lesser daimyos themselves…” Nasami added wryly.
“Saved the Emperor's son from a kidnapper…”
“With the help of several other samurai,” the samuraiko admitted.
The street performer smirked. “Knocked a prominent merchant out cold with a single blow…”
Nasami laughed. “I told him to leave me alone, but he just would not listen to me.”
“Led the defense of a city against an opposing army three times its size during the Battle of Lost Retribution…”
“And nearly got myself killed in the process.” She lightly touched the scar on her stomach where an enemy general's katana had slipped past her guard.
“Killed the commander of an army for treason during the Battle of Twilight Honor…”
“He was about to open the gates of the castle to the opposing army.” Nasami shivered as she remembered beheading the man to take his head back to his daimyo as proof of his treachery.
Gorobei pointed at her katana. “And is it true that your sword is magical?”
“That depends on your definition of magical,” she replied, handing the katana to him. The samurai drew it and studied it thoughtfully.
Mamorimasu… I never thought I'd hold this, let alone meet its bearer.”
“So if you're so famous, how come you're here in this big smelly city?” Komachi wanted to know.
“It's a long story.”
“We seem to have plenty of time,” Gorobei said cheerfully.
“Well…” Nasami was saved from answering by a knock at the door of Masamune's workshop, and a young man entered wearing a pilot's cap and a friendly smile.
“You're the metalsmith Masamune-san, right?” he asked, peering at the mechanic as he worked at the forge.
“Yep, that's me. What can I do for you?”
“Well, I was told that you keep some pretty nifty machinery here for sale, and thought I'd take a look. If you don't mind, that is.”
“Not at all, feel free to look around.”
The samurai bowed. “Much obliged.”
Nasami closed her eyes again as the young man picked up a mechanized crank and began talking shop with Masamune. As she slowly slid into sleep, she missed the thoughtful look that crossed Gorobei's face.

That night, when the others returned to discover to their surprise that the woodcutting samurai they'd heard about and had been searching for was actually already there, Nasami was awake again and formally introduced to Heihachi. The young samurai's easygoing manner and cheerful smile soon had her laughing as well, as well as his unbridled passion for rice.
As the evening wore on, the samuraiko finally rebelled against spending any more time in bed, and managed to get to her feet.
“If I stay on that pallet any longer, I'll take root like a tree,” she proclaimed, weakly swaying her way across the workshop to accept a bowl of rice from Komachi.
“Still, it would be wise for you not to over-exert yourself,” Kambei reminded her, and she shot him a glare as she carefully lowered herself to sit beside Kikuchiyo.
“Fine, then I'll continue to lounge around on that bed like that spoiled brat Ukyo and you can wait on me hand and foot while I convalesce.”
“Nasami-dono, you should show Kambei-sensei more respect,” Katsushiro chided her, and Nasami grinned wickedly.
“What would you rather I say?” she asked, her eyebrows raised. She glanced at Kambei through lowered lashes, dropped her voice to a husky whisper, and murmured, “Great samurai, you're beautiful… so beautiful that I'm in love.”
At the look on Katsushiro's and Kambei's faces, Gorobei, Kikuchiyo, Masamune and Heihachi burst into uncontrolled laughter as Rikichi and the other peasants choked on their soup.
Over dinner, Kambei and the others filled Heihachi in on what had happened since their arrival in Kougakyo, and by the end of the meal, the engineer agreed to join their fight against the Nobuseri.
The priestess set down her bowl of firefly soup and looked over at Nasami, drawn by her serious tone. “Yes, great samurai?”
The samuraiko stared down at her knee, her white hair falling forward to hide her face. “It has been three days since you asked me to join your cause. In that time, I have had much to think about, much to consider, and at last I know what I need to do.”
She sighed. “My skills cannot be bought with rice or with pity, or even with the notion of fighting side by side on the battlefield with Kambei-san.”
Kirara's face fell, as did Katsushiro's. Kambei sighed with regret, Heihachi looked thoughtful, Kikuchiyo rumbled under his breath, and Gorobei frowned in disappointment.
But then Nasami's hand clenched tightly around her sword, as it had the night she performed the Kata of Seven Swords, and she lifted her head to stare the water priestess in the eyes.
“For my sword has already been bought… by a song.”
And the others all cheered loudly as the samuraiko made her faltering way across the workshop to lay her katana at Kirara's feet.
To be continued