The first place Shigure showed her is the garden found on the eastern part of the town. Looking at it, the garden uniquely different compared to the western gardens she had seen.
“Japanese gardens are created for reflection, tranquility and harmony with nature. Is it also said that gardens are an idealized conception of nature.” He explained to her as they entered.
“What is that stone sculpture?”
“We call that stone sculpture Tachi-gata. A stone lantern, that’s not just a decoration, that’s stone could help you increase your sense of spirituality.”
“You sure are quite adept in your knowledge of your culture despite those bravados. With all that modernization and getting influenced by western culture.”
“Everything I learned was taught to me by sensei. He thought me the right way to hold a sword, the right way to relax down to how to emptying minds of thoughts. But how can you expect a three year old to do that? That’s why he always brings me here, to be able to concentrate and learn the way of the sword.”
“Wow, training at that age. You did start early.”
“It’s a part of family tradition. The eldest son has to learn how to use the sword. With the modern worlds advancing, it’s really not quite fitting but tradition is tradition. I resented it at first but I had come terms with it. I have to pass it down to my son in the future.”
“You will teach him? Why can’t you just ask your sensei to do it? Your son will learn a lot.”
“I would have liked that. Kangeru is the best sword master. Will you believe when I tell you he had also taught my grandfather as well as my father? But he died a year ago and he was 101 years old. Thankfully he had nothing to teach me already before he went to his next life.”
“Wow! You are really cool!”
He unexpectedly grabbed her arms. She was solely focused on him she never took notice of the tiny lake that comes along with the garden design. She almost fell!
“Seriously, you are an accident-prone Midnight.” He said angrily. “I cannot be there for you at all the time.”
He shrugged in defeat then he beamed at her.
“We’ll since we are at the pond, let’s go across using the yatsuhari.”
She regarded at the bridge he is pointing. She shape is odd. Zigzag to be exact. It was made of narrowed trees. Shigure started to walk and he followed.
“Why did they designed it like this? If you try walking faster, you could lose your balance and fall.”
“Exactly. The purpose of this is for you’re a slowdown and appreciate your surroundings. The beauty around you.”
Looking at the pond she saw fishes swimming just below the water surface. Reaching for it, it was too late to realize, she lost her balance at went straight to the pond.
It was murky.
Standing there she realized the water is just knee deep. From above the yatsuhari Shigure was laughing his ass off.
“This is not funny!” She shouted angrily while chastising herself deep down.
How disgraceful! Wa poise! And he was planning to seduce him.
Swallow me know earth.
No wonder no guy ever liked her. She is a comic relief while her sister remains the beloved heroine.
Reaching out to her, Shigure offered his hand.
“Come now Midnight. We better go back now.”
She walked towards him but once again she found herself face flat on the water, her feet caught unto something. Pain suddenly racked her.
Her feet just got sprained. Great.
“What’s wrong?” Shigure’s worried voice reached her.
He reached out to her hands and gently lifted her up the yatsuhari. He examined her ankle.
“Sprained, it would worsen if you walk.” Heaving a sigh he looked at her. “I have to carry you back.”
“S-sorry.” She lowered her head. She didn’t want him to see the smile slowly forming in her lips. Despite her blunders one after another, a god sent miracle came out of it. He will carry her.
“Okay, get on my back.”
Shouldn’t he carry her like those process style she’d seen on movies. Not some child carried in a piggyback style!
“Taxi is not a commodity here, and the house is a kilometer away. It’s more convenient for me to carry you this way.”
All right, he has a point. She didn’t like it, but he really does have a point. Silently she went along, thankful she choose to wear the jeans among all those clothes by Mrs. Mirai. She sweated just imagining of she wore that kimono, her feet wrapped around his waist. Talk about awkward.
On their way they met some residents and they greeted Shigure then curiously looking at her. She buries her face on his back, her face so red.
A lot of people from Fukuda knew him. It wasn’t surprising since he had lived there for almost a decade. He had made a lot of friends as much as the troubles he had brought with them. Those teen years. Her first girlfriend was also from here at the age of fifteen and they lasted for three months. She is not here anymore, from what he heard she went to live on her husband’s hometown. It was in Shinjuku. In fact every one of his friends had moved out of town, to the big cities looking for luck.
You could call this town, a town of the young and elderly. Even teenagers do need to move on other towns for their education. There isn’t much of entertainment there. Very rural. The only source of entertainment there are the gossips. The greatest one’s are usually because of the tourists, foreigners that pass by once in a while.
He is sure, for now that latest gossip would them. His arrival with a beautiful American. A woman with a golden hair and eyes with the color of a sapphire. Adding oil to the fire they would think that there is something going on between them. A lot of people had seen him carrying her on his back.
The people of Fukuda are too polite to ask him directly if Midnight is his, as they would politely tell him she is beautiful and they look good together.
If Dawn ever learns about this, she would snap. Definitely. She would never allow him to have any romantic relationship with her younger sister. But if Midnight becomes his ……
He instantly stamped the notion away. No he is not going to be like that. She is innocent and has no idea about what between him and Dawn on that island. He would never use her to take back his lost pride.
He closed his eyes, he should be asleep now, it’s the middle of the night. But before sleep could visit him he heard a weird sound coming from somewhere.
Dug…. Dug….. Dug……
He opened his eyes. The sound persisted. He opened his door he looked around. The whole floor was occupied by him. The sound was coming from below him and that floor occupied by Midnight.
Quickly putting on his yukata he went to see her.
What is it this time?
Quickly walking down the stairs he saw her jumping. “It’s too late for an exercise don’t you think?”
She looked at him giggling. She is really different from Dawn. Dawn is a series and a mysterious woman. But Midnight… she doesn’t care what the world thinks of her, she is very down-to-earth and you can read her emotions crystal clear.
“Silly Japanese boy. I’m not exercising. I’m walking myself towards the bathroom. Jumping actually. I don’t feel clean, there is still some mud left on my hair. I cannot sleep like this.”
He went to her and carried her into his arms. The bathroom is on the ground floor, annex part of the castle. If he leaves her alone, who knows what would happen.
“Crazy American.. I take you there myself before you destroy these wooden floor with all that jumping you’re doing.”
“You are really kind Shigure.”
He laughed. That’s the first time someone said that to him. Usually adjectives like reckless, spoiled, selfish, egocentric, rebellious, demented etc. etc. are used to describe him. Kind is a first for him. It’s not that he is kind just really don’t have a choice but to help Midnight.
He brought her there. The higashi-jo was installed with modern things for convenience. The bathroom is one of them. You can choose whether you would prefer a hot or cold bath but like the old times, bathroom for male and females were separated.
He put her down the tiles.
“You can use the pool to wholly remove the dirt from your hair.” He said while opening the faucet, hot water started filling the bathing pool. Looking at it, ten people could fit in it.
“I didn’t use that, it’s a waste of water.”
“Nonsense, you are a guest here, those are made for your convenience. Call me if you’re done I’ll take you back.”
Leaving her there, he concentrated his attention on the rock garden as he stood by the door. Diverting his attention on the naked woman bathing. It’s not good if their relationship goes further than it should be.
He is done experimenting. His wild college days are over. He had his fair share on women and no matter what their nationality is at the end of the day there are the same. That chapter of his life is already closed. That Shigure Mirai had changed.
He had learned a lot of things in Fantastic TV, he had learned a lot of himself than he had his whole life. Having a lot of women, those things are irrelevant, what matters most is –
A squeal startled his train of thoughts. Quickly, he ran inside.
“Midnight? Midnight!” he could not see her. He went in the pool. “Kuso!” She was under the water. Reaching her, he pulled her in his arms and held her face.
She opened those eyes and smiled and smiled at him, and then she chuckled.
“You! Are you crazy!”
She continued to smile at him. A mischievous glimmer in her eyes.
“I just wanted to thank you, since saying it is not enough….”
She wrapped her arms around his neck, caging him to her. He stood there stunned, that’s when he realized Midnight was also naked.
It was different when he gave her that first aid because of her heatstroke. He didn’t even bother about her being nude that time.
But now, he shouldn’t but he did notice her. She has nothing on her, giving him a clear view of herself. With the clear water reaching on the waist it wasn’t hard to see the whole shebang displayed out before him.
Like an offering.
“M-Midnight-” She cut him off, as her soft lips met his. All those warnings he had been telling himself flew out of the window.
Just like that.