ticed it.
The fact that the boy in the back hadn’t been introduced at all.

“Umm… while we are at it, who is that boy in the back?”

“Hmm? Ahh, that boy is my son.”

Slightly afraid of the boy who was glaring at her, Shizuko had asked Mori Yoshinari.
Feeling as though he might snap at her any moment, Shizuko wondered whether this was the oldest son, Mori Musashinokami Nagayoshi.

“His name is Katsuzou.”

Shizuko’s inner heart went into turmoil as her bad premonition turned out to be true, but she managed to not let it show on her face.

“Oh…I see.
N-Nice to meet you?”

She reached out to him, but Nagayoshi ignored it.
At that instant, Mori Yoshinari’s fist slammed down onto his head.
A satisfying bonk resounded in the room.
It must have hurt quite a lot, as Nagayoshi held down his head with tears in his eyes.

“Unmannered boy! Shizuko-dono is an esteemed daughter of the Ayanokouji clan and an important dignitary to the lord.”

“B-But, father.
No matter how important she is to the lord, isn’t she just a girl?! What are you saying I could possibly learn from her!”

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(Huh, isn’t this conversation progressing in a strange direction?)

Getting the feeling that things were progressing outside her view without any input from her, Shizuko tried to put her questioning thoughts into words.
However, before that could happen, Nagayoshi, face flushed red with anger, pointed at her while shouting.

“Even though it is the lord’s order, serving a girl is out of the question for me!”

“Umm, I have been hearing some concerning words flying around… could you please tell me what is going on?”

Shizuko asked Mori Yoshinari after slightly raising her hand.
In response, he answered:

“The Lord has decreed that “a fresh wind should blow through the army as well.””

“I see.”

“Therefore, he has ordered Katsuzou to be trained under you, Shizuko-dono.”


‘What the hell is this guy saying’ almost slipped out of her mouth, but she managed to slap her mouth shut in time.

“The first and second half of that statement seems totally unrelated… more than that though, train him in what exactly?”

“He said that was up to you.”

“(So he just dumped it completely on me…) Umm, declining… is not an option, is it?”

Mori Yoshinari only let his lips form a wry smile.
That by itself was enough of an answer.
Letting out a slight sigh, Shizuko decided to think positively and start to convince Nagayoshi, who was still glaring at her.

Keji and Saizou didn’t seem to have any problems with her as neither had tried to find fault with her yet.
Keiji in particular had a bright smile on his face as though he was excited to see what Shizuko was going to do.

“(It’s a bit reckless and dangerous… but I’ll try this method) So, Katsuzou-kun… I can call you that, right? You don’t want to serve me or train under me, right?”


Not bothering to answer Shizuko’s question, Nagayoshi turned his face away.

“I can’t know if you don’t tell me.
I’m not a mind reader… but as it stands, we won’t see eye to eye, so I say, how about we solve this with a match?”

“A match?”

He looked at her suspiciously, but Nagayoshi’s expression soon changed to a mocking smile.
It seems that inside his mind a match was automatically a martial arts confrontation.
Shizuko only faintly smiled at this.

“If I win, you’ll obediently listen to me.
If I lose, I’ll appeal to the lord to rescind this order.
How about that?”

“Hmph, as if you could persuade our lord.”

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“If you don’t like it, feel free to decline.
But in that case, a reputation of “He ran away when a girl challenged him” might stick to you, you know?”

Apparently, Shizuko had touched a nerve as Nagayoshi opened his eyes and glared at her.
Despite being inwardly frightened by this, Shizuko added to her previous words.

“But if you don’t want to, there’s nothing we can do.”

“Wait, who said I refuse.
I will take you up on that match.”

About the content of the match… since I brought it up in the first place, do you mind if I decide that as well?”

“I don’t mind.
I won’t lose to a girl, no matter what!”

Having understood that Nagayoshi had firmly walked into her trap, Shizuko laughed internally while continuing her words.

“Mori-sama, would you be willing to serve as the witness to this match?”

After watching Mori Yoshinari nod in acceptance, Shizuko turned back to Nagayoshi again.

“So, let me explain the rules of the match again.
First, I will be the one to decide on the content of the match.
Second, if I win, you will have to obey the lord’s order.
If I lose, I will persuade the lord to make it as if this order never happened.
Is that okay with you?”

“That’s fine.
So, just what will we be competing in? Riding? Archery? Or —”

“Ahh, yes.
Exactly what I expected you to say.
But that’s not it, my match will be a lot easier.”

After saying that, Shizuko took a brush and started writing out characters.
Ignoring the suspicious looks of Nagayoshi, Shizuko finished her writing and then held up the paper while saying:

“Translate this into the language of Hinomoto.
If you can properly translate it, it’s your win.
If not, it’s your loss.

Everyone looked at the paper.
The following words were written on it:

『SHIZUKO「Why don’t you listen to me?」

KATSUZOU「No problem.
Everything’s fine.」』




For twenty seconds, silence reigned supreme.
It was broken by a scream from Nagayoshi.

“Wha, What is this————–!?”

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“Nothing much, just one of the Namban languages.
So, translate it for me.”

Ignoring Nagayoshi’s agitation and irritation, Shizuko pushed the paper towards him in a very calm manner.

“D-Don’t screw with me! What part of this is a match! Why should I know something like the Namban languages!?”

“I’m not screwing with you.
I’m quite serious in fact.
That’s why I asked multiple times if you would be fine with me picking the content of the match.
To which you said that you would be fine with it.
As such I decided to fight you in my area of expertise.”


Still wanting to argue with her, but failing to form the words, Katsuzou opened and closed his mouth like a goldfish.

When talking about Namban during the Sengoku period, it meant either the Portuguese or the Spanish.
The famous Luis Frois for example was a Catholic priest from Portugal.
Therefore, people using English were practically nonexistent.
Of course, there is the possibility that Namban came to Japan which could speak English but simply didn’t get recorded in the history books.
But as there were no records of them, Shizuko thought that “no people existed in the Sengoku period who could speak English”.
It was for this reason that she picked English in particular.

“Also, I never said that we would compete in martial arts.
If you think we would do so, then it is just you.
You need to listen to people speaking or it will harm you, you know?”

“You, you cowa—”

“That’s enough.”

Nagayoshi started to shout while trembling in fury, but it was drowned out by a word from Mori Yoshinari.
It felt like the room’s temperature had suddenly dropped.
And Shizuko wasn’t the only one who felt like that.
Saizo and Keiji also straightened their backs as cold sweat dripped down their cheeks.

“That attitude of yours is too unsightly to see, cowardly shouting when something didn’t go your way.”

Mori Yoshinari said those words in his usual tone.
But there was no smile on his mouth, and there was a deep wrinkle on his brow.

“Didn’t you answer Shizuko-dono’s question with “I won’t, no matter what!”? I won’t let you claim you didn’t.”


“No buts.
Your opponent won’t always move as you like them to.
If this had been a battle, it would have cost you your neck.
Understand this well and be ashamed of yourself.”


“This match is Shizuko-dono’s victory..”

After pausing for a small breath, Mori Yoshinari declared Shizuko’s victory.


TL: A tannin dye made from persimmons TN: A chambered climbing kiln. TN: Flue is all kinds of smoke outlets, while chimney is a type of one

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