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By Lucia St. Clair Robson

After the execution of her father, the younger and gorgeous girl Asano is in grave probability from the strong Lord Kira. so one can shop herself Asano needs to locate Oishi, the chief of the battling males of her extended family. She believes he's 300 miles to the southwest within the imperial urban of Kyoto.
Disguising her loveliness within the humble clothing of a touring priest, and calling herself Cat, girl Asano travels the fabled Tokaido street. Her simply instruments are her speedy wits, her samurai education, and her lethal, six foot-long naginata. and she or he will want all of them, for a ronin has been employed to pursue her, a mysterious guy who will play a task in Cat's drama that neither may have ever imagined. . . .

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Was once it attainable that that global existed and that she had left it just a handful of days in the past? Cat regarded in the course of the prints of courtesans and actors the seller carried placing from a narrow pole. She used to be relieved to determine that her personal photograph wasn’t between them. the remainder of his inventory consisted of books stacked within the wood field. there have been bawdy novels, courses to the excitement districts, and ghost tales luridly illustrated on flimsy sheets of paper folded, then sewn among heavy paper covers. between them Cat observed one she sought after. She held it up. “How a lot is that this one? ” “A good selection! ” The bookseller swiveled to work out which one she used to be retaining up. “Our guidebook is crucial, Your Honor. It lists the attractions and savors of the nice Tkaid. ” “How a lot? ” requested Cat. “One hundred mon. A cut price at two times the associated fee. It additionally tells you the place to discover the main comprehensive ladies and the best-looking boys. ” Cat took the quick, knotted wire of coppers from her sleeve and counted them. there have been forty-five. She changed the booklet and began to maneuver on. She felt a shy tug at her sleeve and whirled round. She had virtually forgotten approximately her hostage. Kasane held out a sq. brocade handbag on an extended wire. It clinked. Cat grabbed it from her, dragged her right into a darkish alleyway, and pulled her down at the back of an enormous two-wheeled cart. “Don’t wave cash round, you rice bale. ” “I’m sorry, grasp. ” “Where did you get this? ” “My final grasp stole it from a gambler in Hiratsuka. ” “And you stole it from him? ” “He’s a black-bellied guy, grasp. He’s evil. ” Cat smiled to herself as she emptied the lumpy silver cash and the strings of 100 mon into the tail of her jacket. The peasant wasn’t as silly as she appeared. Cat counted the cash. She tucked the silver below her sash and the copper into her sleeve. She crammed the handbag into her different sleeve. The cash have been nameless, yet such an ornate handbag embroidered with its owner’s crest will be well-known. whilst the procurer used to be chanced on within the closet, anyone may come trying to find his trollop, if simply to get well the gaudy rented gowns. Cat needed to put off them. “Have you different outfits in that pack? ” “Yes, grasp. ” “Put them on. Be quickly. I’ll retain a lookout. ” “Here? ” “Where do you're thinking that? ” Cat was once so exasperated along with her undesirable captive and her harsh kingdom accessory, choked with additional syllables, she desired to pull the child’s ears. Sniffing again tears, Kasane stooped so the cart concealed her physique from the within sight road. worry and the unusual hardship of the garments made her clumsy. She wasn’t used to intricately tied sashes and sleeves that dangled prior her hips. With trembling arms she tore on the knot within the lengthy, huge decorative sash, then the undersash and the tightly tied twine underneath that. She pulled off the covered kimono and the unfastened undershirt and shivered within the chilly. Bare-chested, the difficult suggestions of her darkish brown nipples taut from the chilly, Kasane struggled with the twine retaining the scarlet crepe fabric wrapped round her as an underskirt. Cat pressured herself to attend patiently.

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