*waves excitedly* After not doing another recap post on Monday because the previous week didn’t hold much writing, I’ve been racking my brain for something else to post.
But my writing blog? Zap. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nope. Nothin’. Unless I want to ramble about my writings all day, but how fun is that for you guys? 😩
And then I had an idea. Why not post an entire chapter of my book? That’s both something I can share easily and is (hopefully) enjoyable for you too.
I CAN HANDLE THIS THREE-BLOG THING JUST WATCH.
So here is the twelfth chapter of my WIP Warfare Book I!
A Few Important Things to Know:
- The Warfare series features ninja, samurai, and bounty hunters, so there are lots of fight scenes and, well, fighting. XD The violence is nothing to the extreme, but I would recommend being 12+ or having an adult’s permission before reading the chapter.
- This chapter is nowhere near to being completed, so do ignore any inconsistencies, typos, poor writing—it’s all in a draft stage and not completely edited yet.
- There are some things you might not understand, because this a chapter later in the book and you haven’t read all the previous chapters. So make assumptions wherever needed.
WARFARE BOOK I: CHAPTER 12
(POV: Hinoki, a 23-year-old samurai. Though he is fully western, you could mistake him for a Japanese man, given his black hair and eyes.
Ari, the main character, is a 22-year-old kunoichi warrior—or moral female ninja. She is Ukranian and has curly light brown hair and dark brown eyes.)
The kunoichi warrior—Ari—slips her arms around me instead of crossing them over her chest. Our steed begins riding, and I guide it out of Subarashi City and to the forest, where I’ll meet up with Master Seishin.
I stay still so as not to encourage her to pulls her arms back, and soon, inevitable exhaustion from the past day and night of no sleep settles in on her. Her grip around me loosens, and she leans forward, resting her face in my shoulder. Her rhythmic breathing can only mean she has fallen asleep.
Chills runs up and down my spine again, and I fight to keep my heartbeat steady. The beautiful kunoichi warrior that has captivated the dreams of many nights is sleeping against my back.
I straighten a little to keep Ari from slipping off me. Then I lay my hand, still wet from the tears of her face, on her wrist to keep her stable.
She was beautiful, looking up at me in our waltz. I almost forgot how much I wanted to kill her in those few moments where it was just me and her.
As I catch myself in the middle of my thoughts, panic rushes through my veins. What the heck am I thinking? Am I this thirsty for romance?! How do I stop feeling this way?!
I tighten my grip on Ari’s wrist in hatred. She killed the man who was like a father to me. I hate her. How could I have forgotten?
All I have to do is persuade Seishin to let me kill her. That’s all it will take. This little fascination-with-romance problem will subside and this assassin will get what she deserves.
At the break of dawn, Ari lifts her head. A small gasp of surprise escapes her lips, and I let go of her wrist. “Shut up.”
Ari pulls her arms back to cross them over her chest again, and she tosses a glance behind her shoulder, more or less accidentally flipping her curls over my shoulder. Pretending to be annoyed, I flick her hair away with my fingers.
Ari straightens and leans forward a little. “I hear horses.”
“Of course you do, idiot. There’s a whole group of them ahead.” I speed up my steed’s stride. “I told you to shut up.”
She falls silent as I ride up to where Master Seishin and ten or eleven or so fellow samurai warriors from Takai-eyo await us. Seishin and I lock eyes, but only for a second. His gaze quickly shifts to Ari.
Anger clogs in my chest. I dismount and almost drag Ari off of my horse by her beautiful curls, but because my master is watching, I hold out my hand to her instead.
She takes it, but not with the same grip of trust as the night before.
I take hold of her arm and walk up to Seishin, who swings himself off of his steed. He does a small bow of respect to her. “Miss Ari Kireina.”
Ari begins breathing heavily and almost bows but is kept straight by my grip on her arm. “Yes, sir.”
Seishin opens his mouth to speak, but I interrupt. “Are you going to kill her?”
Master Seishin flashes me a look of disapproval. “Please let go of her, Hinoki.”
He’s doing it again. Feeling like he has to show everyone under the sun mercy for his ruthless acts as a young master. Swallowing back plenty of things to say to him, I let go of Ari’s arm.
Seishin beckons to Ari, and she steps toward him. Giving her a reassuring smile, he says, “My warrior here tells me you killed a man at our academy.”
Ari bursts into tears and lowers her head as if ashamed. The samurai around the scene fall completely silent. After a few moments, Master Seishin gently places a hand on her shoulder, and she looks up. “I’m so sorry—” she sputters between sobs. “I didn’t mean to kill him!”
Seishin watches her in interest and gently rubs her shoulder. Then he looks up at the sight of another group of mounted warriors who join our group in the forest.
When Ari looks behind her at the group approaching, her eyes widen at the bounty hunters riding up. The burly man leading the group swings himself off of his horse before even coming to a stop and strides up to Seishin.
The man jabs a finger at Ari while jabbing a folded piece of paper at Seishin at the same time. “We have authorization to take this woman under arrest.”
I furrow my eyebrows at the man and his group of hunters in confusion. The government has started hiring bounty hunters? Since when? Aren’t they hired by vengeance-consumed individuals? Or don’t try their luck by trying to track down the faces of those in wanted posters?
Not all of the mounted warriors are hunters, even. A few wear the short-kimono-black-legging garb like that of hired soldiers or mock kantai samurai, but that is all. Are they privately-hired warriors? Mercenaries, even?
Ari shrinks away from the man until her back hits a horse, and she freezes.
Seishin glances down at the paper and takes it from the hunter man. After unfolding it and reading over the words, he glances up.
“Well?” The burly man folds his arms. “Give us Kireina. She must die.”
Satisfaction leaves me fighting to keep the smile off my face. These people are going to kill Ari no matter what Seishin decides to do. All my problems will be solved effortlessly now.
Seishin hands the paper back to the man. “You do have government authorization to take her, so I will not stop you.”
The man nods and takes hold of Ari’s arm. Ari pulls against his grip, but he tightens his hand around it and drags her toward his horse.
“No! Stop!” Tears begin running down Ari’s face again, and she clutches Seishin’s clothing with a desperate grasp. “They’re lying! He’s lying!”
Seishin looks at her with a face full of empathy, but he only pats her hand. “I’m very sorry, Miss Kireina.”
The man pulls a crying Ari away from Seishin and drags her behind him up onto his steed. As he turns his horse around to lead his group of warriors away, Ari tosses a desolate glance back in my direction.
The moment she meets my eyes is brief, but it makes my stomach drop with guilt. It feels more hollow than satisfying to watch her be taken away by these suspicious people.
Soon, the last warrior of the suspicious group rides off into the forest, and my heartbeat picks up a faster pace. Seishin gives a slow sigh and turns to his horse to mount it while I grasp the reins of mine.
On the verge of feeling sorry for Ari and curious as to what these people plan to do with her since they took her away from us, I watch as my samurai comrades mount their horses. Seishin turns his steed in Takai-eyo’s direction while I mount mine and turn him in Ari’s.
I fill my lungs with the air of the humid late summer morning and begin riding after the mysterious group. I’m just going to find out what they’re doing, then quickly return to catch up with Seishin and the group. That’s all.
When I hear voices and stopped horses, I halt my own and slip off of him. I catch sight of the leader of the group dismounting his horse, and I begin making my way through trees to catch a closer glance.
A young hunter looking like a male version of Ari kicks her to her knees. Horses and mounted warriors form a circle around her, and I crouch to the forest floor to peek closer.
As the leader slips out a matchlock pistol from his weapon belt’s holster, Ari cries harder and glances up at him. “You said you were taking me to Maruko.”
Realization leads me to pay attention to every word. Maruko—Daku Maruko? The usurper after the shogunate?
The man crouches beside Ari, suppressing a chuckle. “You should be grateful, woman. If I took you to Maruko, you’d be giving anything to have a clean execution.”
My blood runs cold in shock. Execution? Only hinin or samurai can perform government-authorized executions. Anything else is… murder. Hunters have no such authority.
When the leader touches the end of the pistol to the side of her head, Ari lets out a gasp that shreds my heart.
The leader looks back at his warriors. “I have here a betraying and disloyal warrior of Maruko’s. Let’s make it clear exactly what happens to worthless failures such as her.”
My heart nearly pounds right through my chest. The second law of bushido code, even though we don’t die by it, is compassion. Can I walk away from a murder and call it mercy?
I stand up and push my way through horses, curling my hand into a fist and pointing to the man with the other. “Get away from her.”
The leader is up on his feet in a flash. When he points the pistol at me and pulls the trigger, a rush of adrenaline drives me to duck so the bullet only grazes my leg.
Gritting my teeth, I grasp Ari’s arm and draw her toward me. Mounted warriors swing themselves off their horses and prepare to draw their weapons. As the leader lunges toward me with the pistol, I stand to my feet, Ari in my grasp.
The leader digs the gun into the side of my head, but I clutch his wrist and snap it upward. At the bone-splitting crack and with a cry of pain, the man drops the pistol.
Cursing, the leader clutches his arm and takes a step back, nodding to the young man who was previously holding Ari. “Take care of this, all of you.”
As the circle of warriors around us draw their guns, I turn Ari around so she is facing me. I wrap my arms around her and clutch her to my chest, stabbing a glare of death into the eyes of the young man. “If you lay so much as a hand on her, I swear all of you are going to die.”
The young man takes a step toward Ari—his mistake. I flick my hand toward his neck, chopping his trachea. He cries out, stunned, and that’s when the bullets fire.
I throw Ari away from me and toward the dirt as I duck, inhaling sharply as bullets nearly graze my back. Clapping a hand on top of the hilt of my katana, I lower my head and roll to my horse.
I look up to see swift and nimble Ari mounting the horse as low and as close to his body as she can. She extends a hand toward me, and I take it, wincing as a bullet grazes the skin on my arm. I mount up behind Ari, wrapping my arms around her to protect her from gunfire as I hiss in her ear. “Go.”
Ari digs her knees into the steed’s sides, and he begins to sprint off.
“He’s going to come for you!” The leader shouts after her with a hoarse voice. “You can’t hide from Maruko forever. You can only cower until he does.”
I tighten my arms around Ari. Let them come for her if they dare. But no one is going to kill her on my watch.
After a while of sprinting through trees, I take the reins from Ari and slow our horse down. Ari’s breathing comes in rapid gasps, and her entire body trembles.
The moment I stop our steed, Ari slips off. Her knees hit the dirt in weakness, and I dismount to kneel in front of her.
Quivering, Ari looks up at me with her beautiful, overflowing brown eyes. Her lips move, but she doesn’t say a word. She must be in shock.
I gently put my hands on her shoulders. “It’s okay now. I’m taking you to Takai-eyo, where he can’t hurt you.”
When her lips finally find the words, they tremble, too. “Why—why did you save me?”
My grip on her shoulders loosens. Why did I save her?
I close my eyes and search my intentions. I didn’t save her because it was the law-abiding, bushido-honoring thing to do.
I saved her because I wanted to.
Panic makes my heartbeat quicken. I wanted to save Ari, to protect her. How do I keep myself from taking a liking to her?
I open my eyes and harden them in a glare that makes Ari shrink back from me. I grasp her collar and pull her to her feet, daggering my gaze into hers. “Because I wanted to kill you myself. I am never going to let you forget that killing my father figure was okay.”
What do you think of chapter 12? Should I post another chapter? Would you be interested in reading the book when it’s out? If you want to read it sooner, beta reading signups are coming later this year!
Tell me about your recent writing projects—I’d love to hear about them.
The signups will probably be way later than May though… I’m having to re-outline and rewrite it again ’cause of a few plot problems. *wails*