Vengeful Japanese chick?
Set in 15th century(ish) Japan.
That's all I got, s'up to you :)
Maya tried desperately to slow her frantic breathing, terrified that she might give away her position. The painted silk and sandalwood screen that she was hiding behind would be of no use as a deterrent if somebody spotted her slippered feet. The screen barely hid her tall frame, plus her cumbersome kimono.
The danger in being found was nothing compared to her curiosity and excitement at what she might hear whilst hidden. The men who had come to speak with her father were complete strangers- to her and apparently to her father as well. This could mean one of two things; the Emperor was sending for them to come to court, or there was war brewing.
Maya secretly wished that there would be news of war- Maraki Hideki was a very peaceful man, but this bored Maya. She had four brothers; two elder and two younger. Hideki had reluctantly allowed the boys proper training in the fighting arts, and they had taught her well. She longed to go off and fight battles with them, then come back with them, respected and victorious.
She was, however, neither of these things. Her father would not allow her to train with her brothers and everybody else avoided her as much as possible, finding her quiet and unsociable. That suited Maya perfectly- she didn’t have to feign interest in their pathetic attempts at conversation, or acknowledge all of the fussy formalities that were expected of her in company.
Maya snapped out of her reverie when the screen door of her father’s study slid shut. She heard them exchange formal greetings, and could visualise the three men bowing to each other. There were the customary attempts at conversation which she so hated and a faint sloshing as her father poured hot tea and saki for himself and his guests. Finally, this done, the real point of the visit could be revealed.
One man -Maya thought he was the one furthest from her- spoke. “I am Osaka Hiyoshi, and this is Kiyoshige Sada,” he said. “We are here to ask if you will volunteer some men, including your two eldest sons and some from your estate, to join our cause. That cause being...” the man paused and Maya grinned- it was talk of war, as she had hoped!
Hiyoshi continued after a pause to drink a few sips of his tea. “Hideki, we want you to unite against the Emperor with us. He taxes us unfairly and then calls up our men to fight his pointless wars. We plan to raise an army, assassinate the Emperor and wipe out the royal line. We propose a democracy!”
Maya’s mouth was hanging open in shock. A rebel army! That would be a perfect opportunity for her. Nobody cared about gender in rebel armies- you just had to be able to fight. Maya bit her lip and waited for her father to answer Hiyoshi.
When Hideki spoke, the level of anger in his voice shocked Maya. “No. I will not join your ‘rebel army’,” he spat. “That would be the most extreme disloyalty to the Emperor, and I shall not have two men such as you in my house.”
The other man, Sada, coughed. “If you are worried about your family or status, we are sure that we will be victorious. There are others who are willing to join with us; you needn’t fear defeat...” he said.
Maya heard her father’s breathing quicken. She had not expected this- her father had never seemed particularly patriotic. He had grumbled about wars and taxes as much as most people, yet here he was, defending the Emperor. He spoke again.
“I have decided, as I have informed you. You are dismissed.”
There was a moment of silence, and then Hiyoshi spoke. “Very well. We tried to make you see reason, but you would not listen.” She heard both men stand, but as she thought they were leaving she heard the sound of two swords being drawn simultaneously, and a third a fraction of a second later. There was a loud crash- presumably the saki- and a grunt of pain. Then Hideki exhaled quickly, and there was a dull thud.
Maya peeked around the side of the screen and saw one of the men clutching his arm and the other wiping his bloody sword on the matting on the floor. Her father lay still on the floor between them. Dead.
Maya gasped and the man still holding his sword looked up. He had seen her, she knew, and her heart began to race again. She straightened up and stepped out from behind the screen. The man spoke.
“How much did you hear?” he asked. The man was the one who had spoken first- Hiyoshi.
“Everything,” replied Maya.
“Then you must die too, young lady. I am awfully sorry- it is regrettable, it would have been better if you could have lived. Unfortunately that is impossible,” he said calmly.
Maya looked straight into his black eyes and replied just as calmly. “No, I will not die, at least not today. I will live. I will tell nobody why you were here, but I will always know. And I will have revenge. But you should go now, because very soon half of my household are going to flood into this room.”
Sure enough, there was the sound of distant footsteps. Maya could hear it and was sure that Hiyoshi could too. He and Sada looked at each other, then at Maya, then at the open window. Hiyoshi twitched his head slightly and then he and Sada ran to the window and swiftly exited the room, Sada barely managing with his injured arm.
As soon as the murderers were out of sight, Maya opened the door again and screamed as loudly as she could manage. Shortly after this her eldest brother Li-Asu appeared next to her, clutching his sword.
“What happened- I heard a crash...” asked Li-Asu, plainly out of breath. Maya watched a lizard scurry across the wall. “What?” repeated Li-Asu, shaking her shoulders.
“Father...” Maya looked at Hideki’s lifeless body. Li-Asu’s gaze followed her own, seeing for the first time his dead father on the floor.
“Oh,” he said. “Oh, no...No! Sacred One...Where are those murderers?!” Li-Asu’s knuckles were bright white against his sword.
Maya looked at her brother. “I don’t know,” she replied. “They must have got away. This door was open when I got here, they must have left by the front entrance. You should go and check that way before you do anything else.”
Although Maya loved and respected her brother, she would not let him steal her glory or her revenge. The murderers had to get away. She watched Li-Asu sprint down the corridor, already formulating a plan in her head.