Everybody wants to meet their knight in shining armor of their lives, or their damsel in distress, this time our heroine met hers, in the embodiment of a descendant of a samurai J
It has always been Midnight’s dream to travel to Asia. She had saved just for that purpose and one of the first countries she had planned to visit would be Japan.
She had been fascinated to Japanese culture since the first time she had watched anime in her younger years. Lately, her curiosity has expanded to a unique part of Japanese culture – the legends of samurais. She liked them, like a lot. Especially the term,
‘One man against the world.’
A man fighting against all odds.
She has been watching Japanese movies and been patiently reading the subtitles. She can relate much to their stories. Despite having friends in school, they disappear every time she goes home. She is alone with no one on her side. Her parents had always liked and sided Dawn.
In her wedding in New York, regardless of the fact that she was one of the bridesmaids, once again she was treated like she wasn’t there. And even the guest noticed her it was to compare her to Dawn. And she never could compare to her beautiful and talented sister.
That’s why instead of staying there, she decided to go back home. The house would be hers for whole two weeks. She was planning to house a party, invite all her friends.
But all those plans took a 360 turn when he met Shigure. He reminded her of her childhood dreams to travel to Asia and experience different cultures in there. So instead of using her money to party she would use them to go to Japan. This would be her adventure of a lifetime.
For the first time in her life she could do what she wants, no one to direct her. Dawn and her parents are there so… That summer would be the start of her freedom.
“Japan! Here I come!” Midnight shouted as she boarded her plane.
Whatever guts and sense of adventure Midnight had when she boarded that plane flew away when she landed in Narita Airport. Thinking about it she should have brought a friend with her. She should have dragged her best friend but April didn’t have enough money to gallivanting with her. Another thing she might not be given a visa. Midnight shuddered, the things she had to act and say just for her to have a Japanese visa.
She took a deep breath. She is already here. Her not knowing or understanding a single Japanese word is not going to be a hindrance for her to enjoy her stay in Japan.
Getting the travelogue from her bag, she opened it. According to it the easiest way to travel whole Japan would be through bullet trains. They call it ‘Shinkansen.’
All she has to do is find the trains stations. Midnight wasn’t interested in going around each city. One city is the same as the other – full of lights and pollution. And the people are quite something too.
Nice people and beautiful hot springs are always found in the countryside.
She will go there.
A week had passed when Shigure had returned to his apartment in Tokyo. He had tracked down Dawn in Europe for over a month to no avail. He had also failed to convince the executive producer of Fantastic TV to edit some of his scenes in the TV series. His scenes with Dawn to be precise.
Now, he didn’t know what to do with his parents. For the moment they don’t know he had returned to Japan. They didn’t like his participation in Fantastic TV. According to them what he did is not a fitting for a member of the ‘Mirai’ family.
But he defied his parents. He wanted to prove to them that he could win, he wanted to prove that an Asian could do it. But he failed. Instead of compliments and congratulations he had-
He clenched his teeth in anger. This is entirely that woman’s fault! Dawn! He would never forgive her.
The telephone resounded in the room.
“Moshi-moshi.” He greeted the caller.
“Konnichi wa. Anata wa Mirai Shigure san desuka?” a female voice asked on the other end.
“Hai soo desu.”
The woman introduced herself as Mrs. Emma Sakuya, Australian who married a Japanese and is currently working as a manager at the Matsumoto train station.
“I’m sorry to bother you, Mr. Mirai, but do you know a girl named Midnight Meyers.”
“Yes.” He answered wondering. How did the woman knew Midnight Meyers? As far as he knew she was still in Denver. He declined her request to go to Japan together. He didn’t have enough time to entertain
“She is here with me and she wants to talk to you.”
Dawn’s sister? In Japan?
With Midnight’s voice on the phone, he could not get a word in edgeways.
“Shi? Is that really you? Did you know there are a lot of ‘Shigure Mirai’ in Japan? We’ve been calling these numbers for three hours. I came to Japan two days ago. It was not in my plan to bother you, I can look around alone but I lost my wallet. And the US embassy is too far from Matsumoto. It’s a good thing I met Mrs. Sakuya. She helped me contact you. Please, can you help me again? I mean, lend me some money. ”
“Plane ticket to US?”
“Ah, well, since I’m already here, it is such a waste not to go sight-seeing. All I have seen are the train stations.”
Shigure drew his brows. When she meet Dawn strings of misfortunes had followed him, he had no doubt her sister would bring the same.
Shigure found Midnight at the Matsumoto train station. She was carrying nothing other than a small sized bag pack.
“How long do you plan to see Japan?”
“Two weeks. But I left my other bag in the train when I changed station and I cannot remember the name of the train.”
“You money is in there?”
“What’s inside your bag pack?”
“Passport, ID’s, camera, map and tourist guide book. So please be nice. You’re a benevolent being right? Don’t worry I will pay you.”
“Hmm, you still haven’t paid that hospital bill a-”
“But you said I didn’t have to pay for it!” Midnight reminded him.
“I know, I’m just saying that if I lend you money, you would just lose it again. And besides do you think I would just let you go around alone? You stayed here for two days and look what had happened to you. Your too brave for your own good.”
“This kind of vacations are planned. You should have brought someone with you. A pretty girl like you could-”
Midnight snapped her head to him.
“You said I’m pretty?”
“Yes, blonde girls with blue eyes are sure interesting, especially bad guys.”
“Do you know, you are the first person to say that to me. That I am pretty?”
Shigure was speechless. Is she joking?
“Surely you’ve seen my sister , eh? Me? No one sees me. I’m just a pale girl beside her. A wall flower.” She said it like a matter-of-fact.
Yes, Dawn might be prettier than her but Midnight could hold her own. She has a charisma. Those pale blue eyes that looks so vibrant they could not lie and those freckles scattered on her nose giving her a innocent look.
With the sunset touching her hair, they looks so golden.
Shigure sighed. What is he doing, he should not be focusing his attention to her looks.
“If I give you money. Where will you stay?”
“I’ll find a place to stay for the night. There is this thing called ryokan, last night I slept there. It’s nice and cheap.
He did not want to get involved in the adventures and escapades of Dawn’s sister. He doesn’t like to be her friend at the same time he could not help but worry for her. The woman is accident prone, a hoodoo following her.
“It’s too late to go back to Tokyo.”
“You’re returning me to Tokyo”
“I will give you money, just enough to send you back to Denver. You should not be here Midnight. You’re gung-ho attitude isn’t effective here.”
“Reckless. Or doing something without caring about the consequences of your action. You don’t even understand simple Japanese phrases. How can you survive here? Come back to Japan when you’ve learned the language or when you have someone who understand it. Or the easiest way, join a tour guide. For now, you should go home.”
She slumped her shoulders in defeat.
“And I am not going to take ‘no’ for an answer” he added emphatically.
“I have you. Can’t you just be my tour guide?”
“Are you out of your mind? We do not know each other. We’re not fr-”
“But your friends with Dawn.”
“Dawn and I are not friends. We just knew each other in the Fantastic TV.”
“You’re also a contestant? You one of them? So that means, you also have the heart of an adventurer. That you are willing to have fun, try new things, and-”
“Don’t change the topic. Tomorrow I will get you to the airport and send you off to the earliest flights to America.”
She stayed silent.
“Come on the, I know someone where we can stay for the night in Fukuda. It’s a fifteen minutes bus drive from here.”
It was clear she didn’t like his decision of sending her home. She followed him quietly, she had no other choice.
Midnight gawked, literally, at the sight before her. When Shigure said a place to stay over, she had thought it was a motel or a ryokan found in that small town of Fukuda. After all they were in the countryside. She could swear the plantation and fields were wider than the place where the houses were.
But the building in front of her is not only high it’s humongous. It was situated on top of the hills, surrounded by olden trees and a solid rock foundation.
“It looks like a castle!” She exclaimed. Impressed.
“It is. You call that higashi-jo. That is owned by samurai warlord since the seventeenth century.”
“Seventeenth century? It looks so new to me.”
“They had the whole castle renovated twenty years ago by the descendants of that samurai. The truth is, years ago the foundation was the only thing left standing from the higashi-jo. They owner tried his best to restore the original structure of the castle. Everything about it is reconstructed, the only thing they could not find are the original artifacts and furniture used during the warlords period.”
“Is that why they just made the castle an inn?”
He knocked on the gate then answered her.
“No. a small part of the higashi-jo became a private rest house for the family. The rest of the remaining space was turned into a private museum. The samurai warlord’s descendants are artifacts collectors.”
“Oh, do you know them? Is that why they would let us stay here for a night?”
Shigure smiled cryptically, her queries where put to stop when the large wooden gate opened revealing a middle age man.
“Shigure-sama , Irrassahime.” The old man clearly knew Shigure and respected him.
Shigure bowed in respect. “Konnichiwa Ojisan”
The old man opened the door, letting them in. Even though Midnight could not understand a single word, basing on their tones the two are close to each other.
When the old man glanced at her, she knew they were talking about her. Looks like Shigure introduced her. He used the word Tomodachi.
According to her book guide that means a friend, but looking at the teasing looks the old man was a giving her, she didn’t think he believed in Shi’s word.
She just let them alone. Her attention focusing on the higashi-jo. It surely airs like a seventeenth century castle that she had watched in the movies. It was so full of paintings, sculptures, artifacts, vases among other things. She could not help but look around.
Too bad this collections where privately owned. Only the privileged can see them. She started to look at them one by one. Midnight found herself in a hallway full of armors and samurais in full battle gears. Her hands automatically touching the swords displayed there.
They are real! The real deal! So this sword was really used in battles, surely this has name. She removed it from the stand and unsheathe it from the leader casing.
She held her breath looking at it. They are so sharp, so vibrant like they have a life of their own.
Midnight startled on Shigure’s voice threw the sword away.
“Baka!” He shouted at the same time quickly running towards the sword. Her eyes flickered.
Not only did he catch it, he had swiftly held the handle with his hands. In that instant his image as in matinee idol vaporized. His whole being changed. A warrior, the sword became a part of him waiting to be wielded, to serve.
“Can you really use that?” She asked just to make sure.
“Yes, and you ,who knows nothing about handling Ryujin could get hurt.”
He was going to lecture. Before he could start, she barraged him with questions.
“Ryujin? Is that the swords name? what does it mean? Who is the original owner? How did you learn to use Ryujin?”
That moment she stopped talking. The pieces fitted together. All those clues she noticed the moment they came to Fukuda.
“You’re one of the descendants of that samurai! You own this castle! Oh, god! You are also filthy rich!”
Shigure just stood there silently. He picked the leather sheath she dropped on the floor. He swiftly returned the sword to its sheath then respectfully returned the Ryujin back to the weapon’s rack
“Ryujin means Dragon Lord. It was owned by Lord Tsuyoi Mirai.”
Midnight stared at the man before her. He is a samurai descendant, she could not erase in her mind that moment she got a glimpse of his inner being. There it is again, she is imagining him, but this time he was wearing a kimono in a fighting stance. Ready to defend anyone. A knight in shining armor she had always dreamed.
But Samurai’s are Japanese versions of European knights. She held her chest. Did she? Really? Finally found that person in her dreams? That person who would take her away? In her lone miserable life?
Okay. Scratch that. Drama!
Her life really isn’t that really dramatic. But really, is Shigure the man who would give her adventure? Romance?
“Midnight?” Shigure frowned. He called her again, but her she stayed the same, like a person who whose body on earth but her mind somewhere else. She stood there like a statue with weird expressions. He had already moved away but she was still staring at the exact same place he was standing moments ago.
Curiously, he looked at the place where came from. There is nothing there but the weapon’s rack and a wooden sculpture wearing samurai armor.
Then he heard her moan. A whimsical smile spread of her lips. He knew that look. Those are looks of a teenager seeing an idol or an artist they admire for the first time. He didn’t know what was happening to her, she was day dreaming. A part of him wanted to flip her nose but instead he reached out to tap her shoulders lightly.
“Midnight, what with you?”
She glanced at him.
“Oh, Shi….” Her eyes were glassy.
His frown deepened,brows together. What is happening to her? He placed his hands on her forehead, checking her temperature. Is she having a fever?
Blinking back, she slowly returned to reality.
“Shi! What are you doing?!”
“I am checking if you are having a fever. You just stood there and kept on sighing.”
Her face reddened. She hmph at him then turned her back on him and walked away.
“W-where can I sleep tonight? Is there a bathroom her?”
Shigure scratch his head in bewilderment. Strange girl. Her mind is a mess, a maze so complicated. She was so different with Dawn….
His face darkening at the thought of that woman. Shaking his head.
Did he do something? Why? Why did he have to be Midnight’s baby sitter?
Looking at her he noticed her direction. Midnight is walking directly to a wall! Before he could warm her, she slammed in the wall.
She was thrown down. She sat there, holding her hurting bosoms at the same time her nose, they were starting to redden.
Seeing all that Shigure laughed out loudly at her.
“Silly American girl.” He teased her.
Midnight glanced over her shoulder. She started laughing with him. The sisters are really different form each other. Regardless of her strange antics, Shigure could not bring himself to get angry at her.
I from here on I will be posting chapters once a week 😦 Sadly, but I have to focus on my studies at the uni. Thanks for understanding.