The daughter of the Tetsubi family, the central of the Six Noble Families that had served the Yanari family from the Sengoku Era, was so well known that there was none in Owari who did not know her name. Her reputation had even spread to neighboring countries, and in some places she was arguably more famous than the shogun himself—yet unfortunately, she was not just famous but infamous. It was for her foul personality that she was well known. Her personality was so vile that others could not help but wonder what events could have shaped her into such a person. She was, in a manner of speaking, fundamentally bankrupt as a human being. In terms of scenery, she could only be compared to an endless desert. While she may had been spoiled as a child, or had perhaps been shaped by pressures of nobility, at some point her personality grew beyond any simple explanation.
“She used to be such a cute kid, how could she turn out like that? If only that never happened, and instead I did this,” was something that those acquainted with the Tetsubi, those who knew her as a child, and even her parents would never have said. Naturally, she had at one point been an guileless child, but her present personality was so notorious that no one could recall such a time.
One exemplary example of her repugnant personality would be that she had a hobby of watching people commit seppuku. Her greatest pleasure in life was hearing that someone would commit seppuku, rushing over immediately, shamelessly badgering her way into a front row seat, and looking on in delight. At one point, her passion was so great that she aspired to be an assistant for seppuku in order to have the closest possible view 1. The nickname she had acquired, ‘that seppuku girl who’ll cut you quicker than a sword’, was not simply baseless slander.
“I mean, they slice open their own bellies! It’s so funny. Why would they even do that? Everybody knows there’s no point, but they still do it! They just go hack and slash! I don’t get it all, ahahaha. It’s absolutely hilarious.”
Naturally, those close to her tried to reach out, but she was so thoroughly twisted that they eventually left her to her own devices. She had her regrets, but by that point the responsibility rested solely with herself.
Although her repulsive personality and cruel hobbies so widely known that there was little attention left for her stunning looks, they were still known to a select few. It would be no exaggeration to say she was the most beautiful in the continent, and while her beauty was not enough to overshadow the fact that she had the most awful personality in the world, there were eccentric men who preferred women with disagreeable personalities, and she was not without suitors.
But she would say to those men, “Sure. If you love me, then cut open your belly. I’d like to see your guts.”
Naturally, they had all immediately fled. No one could continue their advances after being faced with that line. And so even after Migiri grew past an age considered fit for marriage as a noblewoman, she remained unmarried, and indulged herself in seppuku viewings and other interests that were incomprehensible to ordinary people.
Her parents were troubled. They were members of a storied noble lineage, and even supposing the line itself could be continued by adopting a son, they could not bear to lose face by indefinitely retaining a spinster daughter. While their concern was somewhat absurd, considering that their daughter had already acquired a formidable reputation for her repugnant personality, it was somewhat understandable when viewed as an aspect of simple parental love. In the end, her parents, or rather, the consensus of the Tetsubi family, married her off through sheer trickery.
“Say, would you like to wield a sword?”
It went without saying that she agreed to the request. After all, she had once aspired to be an assistant for seppuku. And so the sixth head of Kyotouryuu and retainer of the Tetsubi House, Yasuri Mutsue, and Tetsubi Migiri became husband and wife. Incidentally, this highly political marriage was not due to Mutsue’s courtship. As usual, when Migiri first met him, she declared, “I’d like to see your guts. Bye now.”
Without a moment of hesitation, Mutsue cut his belly open with his own hands. It was not a surprising act for a sword as opposed to a person, but Tetsubi Migiri, who would later become Yasuri Migiri, was dazzled. It would bear to add that it was not strictly true that their two children were born to a false and loveless marriage of convenience. On another note, the fact she gave birth to both of her children with Mutsue through Cesearean section was the pinnacle of irony for a woman who had once been called seppuku girl.
“Who’re you?” asked Yasuri Migiri, annoyed, as she laid in bed in the middle of night, addressing the man who had infiltrated into her room.
The man had a strange figure. Or rather, he looked almost like a bizarre monster. Besides the fact that he was a ninja draped in chains, he had no right arm and instead a sword jutted straight out of his right shoulder. The joint between the two was exceedingly natural, as if the the sword was not attached to his shoulder but sprouted from it. He looked especially menacing in the dark room, but Migiri was only annoyed, sleepy, and apathetic. She had apparently only asked the question out of obligation.
“Hmph,” snorted the man. He was unsure of whether to be impressed or irritated by Migiri’s impudent attitude towards an intruder. “I am Right Arm, a retainer of Hida Takahito the lord of Oushuu, and a member of the Takahito Elite Four.”
Her utter lack of reaction suggested that she had predicted he would sneak in at the dead of night, but that would be inconceivable. However, neither was Migiri completely unsurprised. It was only that her surprise was overcome by her drowsiness.
In the end, Right Arm was impressed that she was as impudent as the rumors claimed. It was the first time that Right Arm, a former member of the eccentric Maniwa Corps, had been treated so rudely. Despite Migiri’s nearly contemptuous attitude, he saw no use in becoming enraged. Only an amateur would become enraged.
To better serve my lord, I must put those feelings aside. I must discard these feelings. Due to his temperamental nature, Right Arm restrained himself to a degree that most would find unbearable.
“I think I’ve heard of this Takahito guy before… who’s he? Oh right, I remember, it’s the guy behind the rebellion, who Mucchan went off to fight. Oh yeah, I know Takahito, we’re buddies.”
“I…don’t think he’s your buddy,” he said. “You don’t sound worried that you’re at the center of a war sweeping across Japan.”
He laughed. He had meant to mock Migiri’s thoughtlessness, but instead Migiri looked at him as if he were the fool.
“Like I even care!” she said childishly.
“My job isn’t to protect the country, it’s to protect my household. So from the looks of it, Takahito hasn’t offed Mucchan yet and Mu-chan actually has the upper hand. Which is why you’re hear to kidnap me, right? Hmph,” she grumbled.
What was it that she found disagreeable? Displeasure at the prospect of being kidnapped was to be expected, but that did not seem to be the case. The remaining option would be that she was displeased that her husband was at an advantage. Even considering her warped personality, was it even possible for a living person be this abhorrent? As these thoughts ran through Right Arm’s head, he recalled his lord’s words.
“Alright, Right Arm, you’d better not think of Migiri as a human.”
When Takahito gave Right Arm his mission, he stressed this point above all.
“She’ll cut you quicker than any sword. She’s more inhuman than that Kyotouryuu guy, Mutsue. Supposing Mutsue’s the embodiment of a sword, then Migiri’s the embodiment of malice.”
Although Takahito had been as hyperbolic as ever, Right Arm had not made light of his words. But even then, when he looked at Migiri lying in bed, he only saw an ordinary woman.
“Do you know why I’ve made such an important mission a solo mission? It’s because if I sent two or more people, Migiri’s malevolence would guarantee a falling out.
She only looked like a woman to him, but he trusted Takahito’s judgment over his own, and did not let his guard down in the least. He had no doubts. He treated Migiri as the embodiment of malice.
“That’s right. I’m here to take you hostage,” he said menacingly. “There’s no point in resisting. Think about what my presence here means.”
“What it means?” Migiri said sleepily as she rubbed her eyes. His bluster had no effect.
“Ah, even with Mu-chan gone, there’s still a bunch of people guarding the house. Are you bragging about being skilled enough to sneak in by yourself?”
“Sneak in? I wouldn’t go through the trouble,” Right Arm responded to her conjecture. “I went straight through your defenses. I didn’t sneak in, I broke in. You should know the hallway to this room is filled with dead bodies.
But it had no effect. She was not at all upset upon being told that her retainers had been slaughtered. But neither was she completely unfazed. Her reaction was along the lines of ‘I guess that’s life’. She was no more surprised than she would have been being caught out in the rain.
Then, she said “Oh,” as if she had just realized something. “You said the hallway’s filled with dead bodies, so does that mean you killed me and Mu-chan’s kids, Nanami and Shichika?”
“Hm?” Right Arm let out a sigh of relief; even Migiri considered herself a parent and worried about her children. However, Migiri seemed to have noticed his relief.
“Aw, that’s too bad. So you didn’t kill them. What a shame, especially for Nanami.”
It was indeed true that Right Arm had only killed those who were obstructing his path down the hallway, and he had not laid his hands on any children sleeping in their rooms, but how could she possibly be disappointed about that?
“Well, it’s not like you’d stand a chance against Nanami anyways. Now then… oh yeah, I’m not going to resist or anything. I’ll gladly let you kidnap me. I mean, it’s not every day I get such a big chance to trip up Mu-chan. It feels nice knowing that that big dumb sword will be having a tough time. This is great.” said Migiri. “But I’m sleepy, so can we leave tomorrow? You can just wait here.”
Her request went beyond impudent, and was simply insolent. It went without saying that Right Arm could not acquiesce.
“Don’t be ridiculous. If you don’t want to be treated roughly, then get ready to leave.”
“Okaaay.” Migiri relented surprisingly quickly, and got out of bed. She was in the nude. Despite possessing what should have been a refined upbringing, her actions were not at all dignified, and resembled those of a young girl.
“You’ll let me put my clothes on, won’t you?”
“Yeah. Go ahead.”
“I can’t put my clothes on by myself, help me out.”
“I told you, don’t be ridiculous. I’ll give you three seconds, so make it quick.”
“You’re no fun,” said Migiri as she began changing into her clothes. Or rather, as she was originally naked, she was not changing, but getting dressed. As Right Arm thought to himself that while Migiri was an incomprehensibly abhorrent woman, his mission to kidnap Yasuri Mutsue’s wife was proceeding smoothly—
—at that very instant he made that snap judgement, Migiri, still in the nude, took advantage of his moment of relaxation and chomped the base of his neck. She bit him viciously, like an animal. Though her teeth were not the sharp fangs of a wild beast, they sunk in deep enough to kill an ordinary human. Being that Right Arm, a former ninja, was no ordinary human, he managed to shake her off.
What’s with this woman? Right Arm was bewildered.
“Feh,” Migiri spat out Right Arm’s flesh, and said “Aw.”
“Aw, you didn’t die.”
“So you are trying to resist?”
“Nah, that’s it for me. I was only getting payback for having to get up. I feel all better now.”
Apparently, Migiri had not acted on any plans or calculations, and had only attacked Right Arm, an overwhelmingly superior force, out of annoyance. She was inconceivably reckless. Or rather, she was inconceivably malevolent. The question that came to his mind was not what upbringing had led to such a woman, but…
“Hmph. I can’t believe no one’s killed you yet with that kind of personality.” As he pressed down on his bleeding neck wound, Right Arm dumbfoundedly gave his honest opinion.
Migiri boasted, “Well, yeah. I’ve got the strongest sword in the world.”
And so Yasuri Migiri was abducted quite easily. But the sixth head of Kyotouryuu, Yasuri Mutsue had yet to learn of that fact. At the time, he was being beset by the formidable combined attacks of the remaining members of the Takahito Elite Four: Left Arm, Left Leg, and Right Leg.
1The kaishakunin stands behind people who commit seppuku and beheads them for a quicker and less painful death.
Tetsubi(徹尾)- 徹 means thorough or complete, and 尾 means tail.
Migiri(みぎり)- occasion, time
Yanari(家鳴)- the creaking of a house