RICK JOHNSON

FOXY LADY
version 2


by: Rick Johnson
PO Box 40451
Tucson, Az.
85717
RikJohnson@juno.com

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I am indebted to Issendai at http://academia.issendai.com/fox-index.shtml for her insight into the Kitsune. For those interested, I recommend this site as the best on the subject. Unfortunatly, I was forced to ignore a portion of the truth in the need to fit the story so some of what I write here concerning the Kitsune isnít totally accurate, but then, Europeans didnít visit Japan until 50 years after this story took place either and the less said about time travel, the better. Sorry about that.
Also at the end, I have added a brief vocabulary to help you understand the words I used. If you donít want to scroll back and forth, I tried to make their general meanings obvious.

WARNING:
This story contains graphic sex, nudity, anatomy, violence and a lot of other stuff that shouldnít be read by children and normal people.


I

Somehow I managed to get invited to a costume party. I figured, why own all these medieval clothing and weapons if the only time you wear them is when you go back in time? So a good costume party was a way to get more use from my Adventuring gear and still not worry about someone trying to slip a dirk into your kidney because you were talking to the wrong woman in the wrong country I the wrong century.

Thus, I was wearing one of my kimonoís and my daisho swords and my Ďcostumeí was as a medieval Japanese Samurai. That wasnít far off as being a Noble from Ireland and a defender of Irish freedom, I was automatically a Ďsamuraií of sorts. The difference was that having no fealty to anyone other than the Land Herself, I was more Ronin than Samurai.

An ex-girlfriend was also there with the guy she left me for but really I couldnít blame her for leaving me. My life is far too complicated and I was never able to tell her the truth about my absences, my occupation, and, as she was a pacifist, my history of violence. Still, in her catholic school-girls outfit, I definitely felt a twinge of remorse. Even Pagans like me find the school-girl uniform to be an erotic turn-on. Be it catholic school-girl or Japanese school-girl, every straight man of every religion has that fantasy. But, she was busy getting her current companion far too excited and occasionally flirting with me out of revenge so I drank a lot to avoid the situation.

My youngest daughter who was there also commented, "What a tramp!"

"Not a tramp, a school-girl but then, you went to catholic schools too so should know."

"We never wore uniforms at Saint Maryís. But half the girls there were tramps anyway."

"There is a saying in the Old Country," I added for though I was Irish, my children, these anyway, were American and I never tired of trying to make them true Irish, a loosing battle when confronted by television. "The best religion to be is a bad catholic because you can do whatever you want and god has to forgive you."

"Then whatís the incentive to be good?" she asked. She had gotten herself kicked out of St Maryís a couple years ago for reading the wrong books and asking the wrong questions. I immediatly bought her a t-shirt about censorship and every book on the schoolís banned reading list. She wasnít IRA but she was a trouble-maker and often made me proud of her. That is when we werenít fighting each other.

So I was there, wearing a red Tengu mask because it resembled a Shunga print my ex-gf had given me that showed a woman wearing one like a strap-on having sex with another woman. Being male, I enjoy girl-on-girl porn though I never saw any before visiting America and I had never really gotten over being guilty about sex. It was an inside joke and I was sipping a glass of wine hoping some attractive woman would ask about it so I could respond, "Iím the Japanese Pinocchio. Feel free to sit on my face and Iíll tell you lies all night." Of course, if I did, Iíd get slapped and deserve it. I may be a drunkin-fool but Iím not stupid.

The stereo was playing something so loud I couldnít understand a single lyric and anyway I cannot dance these modern dances so was moving to the rear where I could observe the younger college girls wearing as little as was legally allowed knowing that to them I was just another skanky old guy. I looked mid-to-late-twenties, they believed me a couple decades older but I was closer to two-hundred years old, then I saw her.

She was short, not even five foot tall and definitely Japanese or Japanese ancestry and was wearing a kimono that said that she was from the 15th Century or so. It isnít often you find an American, or even a Japanese, who knows the difference between a modern and any of the earlier versions of Japanese clothing. I only recognized it because she had her waist-length hair tied in a tail and not a knot, a narrow obi instead the modern wide ones, and straw sandals instead of the wooden geta but, for some reason, no hakama pants, nor was her face painted white. Modern Japanese wear a wide sash with padded hips and bound chest to give a flat cylinder look. Older ones did follow the curves to an extent but the Kimono wasnít made to fit a womanís form, rather was a series of rectangular pieces of cloth that were basted together, so any shape was created by the way it was draped.

This woman looked at me, smiled, then blushed and looked down in embarassment.

I decided to take a chance and walked over, noting that her ears were pointed and tipped with hair and she had a fox-tail peeking under her shortened hem. Kitsune! A fox-spirit. Well, I suppose that if you were a woman and wanted to wear Japanese, dress as either a Samurai Lady or a Kami and this was easier, requiring a simple plain kimono, some fake ears and a fake tail tied under it all.

When I approached, I nodded and said hello in Japanese, "Konbanwa," for nothing impresses a woman more than being polite to her in her native language. Of course, this being America, she could well be third or fourth generation American and so speak almost none of her ancestorís language. Or she could be fluent in Japanese and assume that I only knew a few words, in which case sheíd rattle on in Japanese until I was the one to be embarassed.

She smiled, bowed and replied, "Dozo yoroshiku" which isnít exactly correct in todayís language but acceptable a few centuries ago.

At a loss, I introduced myself then asked, "Watashi no namae wa Buraian no Jeison desu. Anata-no namae wa?" I was trying to impress her with my linguistic ability.

"Kitsune Suki." Hmm, ĎBeloved Fox Spirití. Obviously a fake name to match her costume.

"And is that your real name or what you choose to be called?"

"Kudasai, call me thus Buraian-dono"

She even used the archaic form of Ďdonoí over the modern Ďsaní so we talked for a few moments in Japanese, her being totally comfortable with me speaking to her language which was rare in America where so many of the citizens donít even speak English. Eventually, our hostess arrived and asked, "So, Jason, introduce me to your lady friend."

"Of course, Carol, this is Suki Kitsune, recently arrived from Japan. She doesnít speak English." Then in Japanese, "Kitsune Suki, this is Carol, whose house we are in."

Suki bowed and responded, "Yoroshiku onegaishimasu."

"She said she is very pleased to meet you."

"I didnít know you spoke Japanese."

"I lived there when I was younger and still visit often. I also try to learn the local language wherever I go, it makes life easier and more polite."

"Then tell her Ďwelcome to America and I hope she is enjoying the partyí."

I did so and when she left, Suki and I continued our conversation about Japan and where she was from and where I had been, neither of which were the same for she had never been further than a few dozen kilometers from her home village until today. Finally, "And what brings you here to America?"

She flushed again then prostrated herself before me and began what appeared to be a memorized speech, "Buraian-dono, I come from a small village that is being terrorized by Bandits and with no one to save us, we sought a great hero. Your fame is well-known in Japan and other nations and I was sent to beg you to come and save my people. Please, Lord Buraian, we are a poor people with little to offer but if you save us, what little we possess is yours. Please come with me and save our village."

Everyone stopped what they were doing and watched this display so I knelt, "Kitsune Suki, please stand for these Americans donít understand your ways and so are embarassed by your manners."

She continued on her speech then realized that I had spoken and looked up. "Lord Buraian, I apologize for embarrassing you and will atone for my disreputable mannÖ"

"Shhh, I am not embarrassed and neither should you. Americans believe that everyone should conform to their ways and tend to be intolorant of those who choose to keep their own culture, which the Americans deem to be barbaric."

She did stand but stared at the floor as she began her speech again until I interrupted, "I know, your village is having troubles and you think I can help. But the other guests are staring so perhaps we should go somewhere where we can talk in private?"

"I understand, Lord Buraian and wherever you say I will follow."

"Where are you staying? Or are you hungry?"

"No, Lord, I am far from hungry and have only recently arrived and havenít yet found a room."

"Then if you need a place to stay while I prepare, you are welcome to my guest room."

"Domo Arigato gozaimasu." Then she waited for me to lead her away, "You will come?"

"Was there any doubt? Itís what I do. I generally like to get paid for risking my life, for that prevents people from taking advantage of me but sometimes, I let my feelings rule my purse."

I sought my kid and told her, "This is Kitsune Suki, her people need me so I may be visiting Japan for awhile. Will you be ok alone?"

She looked the woman over and asked, "Only if she can pronounce your name right. Itís Jason Obrien, not Buraian Jeison."

"You should talk, you canít even pronounce Gaelic properly." It was obvious that my daughter was being overly-protective again and was spying on me. She did that a lot fearing another bad relationship for I dated so rarely I often got hurt when I did.

"Iíll be ok. I can catch a ride home with a friend. Go enjoy. But be careful!"

"Carol, thank you for allowing me to be here but it appears that I may have to get back to work soon so until then, goodbye." And with Suki following, I left her home and opened the passenger door to my car for my guest.

"Your daughter is very concerned with you, Buraian-dono," Suki commented.

"Sheís seen me through a few bad relationships with .. unworthy women who wanted my title and wealth over me."

I tried to quiz her about the problem but she hung onto the auto and stared at everything, often standing in the seat to catch the wind in her face. I noticed that her profile wasnít as flat as the usual Asian, her nose being a bit longer than normal and her tongue escaped her lips with the wind. She was playing the role of the fox very well.

At my place, the house I owned here in America, for I find owning a number of homes in a number of countries to be useful, I showed her the guest bedroom explaining, "There are linens in the closet and the bathroom down the hall. Iíll make breakfast in the morning, then pack my gear as you explain exactly what I will be facing, then we can leave."

Then I left her and after removing my hakama and laying it carefully on the bed so I could arrainge the pleats before hanging it in the closet, I visited my own bathroom to wash up and brush my teeth. This girl was a mystery. She was definitely Japanese but her size indicated a rural lifestyle out of touch with modern diet. A lot of her speech was also archaic which could mean rural areas where modern language forms are often ignored. And Kitsune, if I recalled my Shinto, werenít Kitsune either all woman or all fox? Well, most of what Americans believe about Vampires comes totally from Hollywood and has no basis in reality so the same could easily be true here. She was, however, like many Japanese, very attractive though she could be sixteen or sixty for many Japanese women age very well and look young until well into middle-age.

Finished, I entered my bedroom to find Suki kneeling on my bed, wearing only her white kosode, her hair loose and her fake fox-tail still peeking from under the cloth. This promised to become very interesting.

"Excuse me, can I help you with anything?"

She smiled, looked down in the Japanese manner and said, "Buraian-dono, thank you for helping us but I think I must tell you the truth before you decide to risk your life for us. The Bandits who torment our village are only a part of the problem. Them we could eventually remove but they have the assistance of both kaizoku and of the Kappa who live in the waters and drown all who cause trouble. You must be very strong to defeat any of these dangers."

"And you think I am?"

"You are well-known in the Spirit-World and your conflicts with vampires, werewolves and others is well known to us. This is why I chose you over the other heroes."

"Us?"

She became embarrassed again and untied her obi then dropped her kimono to the bed, naked underneath. Her foxís tail wasnít tied to her but grew from her spine and was bushy as would be expected. And although human in every other way, she had six breasts. The top two were of normal shape and could be a b-cup but beneath were two smaller and beneath those, below her ribs but above her waist, were the final set, little more then nipples on a slight swelling. "Well, I always was a breast-man," I commented. I tend to make bad jokes to overcome my embarrassment.

"Kitsune, Buraian-dono, isnít my name but my race. Many fear us but I see that you find me otherwise." She was smiling and staring at my kimono that had opened as I poked through it. Hastily, I covered myself and sat next to her to hide my own embarrassment.

"Well, so, these Kappa, they are the turtle-like water-spirits with water in their heads and who like cucumbers?"

"Almost, Lord Buraian. Like we Kitsune, Kappa have a general form but you humans see us as you think we should be. Some see the Kappa as monkeys, some as turtles, and some as frogs. But they have great strength which comes from the water trapped in the depression on their heads. In the waters, they are unbeatable and they can appear from rivers, lakes and even rice paddies. On land they are very strong unless you can spill their water, then they may be defeated."

She made no effort to cover herself and I found myself staring at her breasts until she asked, "You find these interesting?" Japanese, the older ones at least, dislike breasts but find a long neck to be sensual.

"Well," I joked, "I was weaned thirty-five years too early and always enjoyed that part of a woman."

She stroked my thigh, making me more ready and whispered, "My kind have more vixen than dog and our few males prefer to gamble and play so we must often seek our pleasures among the human world."

I decided to take a chance. What could she do? Turn me into a frog? Well, she probably could but since she needed me, that would be unlikely so I leaned over and kissed her. She responded immediately, her tongue darting in and out of my mouth in a manner I found interesting and erotic. As I moved my hand up her skin, I found her nipples, all of them, already erect and after cupping and fondling them in turn, I broke contact and kissed her neck. She allowed this then bit me and offered her own neck so I bit back and this elicited a moan. Some women like that so I changed from kissing to biting my way down her neck which caused her to clutch my hair and force my teeth into her flesh.

Then she pulled my kimono open and straddled me, sliding over my manhood as I played with her multiple breasts and nibbled at her neck and shoulders. She quickly climaxed, but instead of screaming or moaning as some all too few women do, she snapped, "Yip! Yip! Yip!" over and over as if she were barking like a fox.

All too soon she lay back and pulled me onto her belly and as I rode her, she clutched me more, bit my shoulders and soon was barking again, grasping me tighter as she climaxed.

Again, she pushed me off and rolled over onto the knees, her busy tail moving aside and so we continued Ďdoggie-styleí which I found incredibly funny. Me a human and she a fox-girl and foxes were canines like dogs, wolves and such.

This time she bent her back at an unbelievable angle so she could retain entry and yet allow me to play with her breasts and bite her shoulder as I thrust away. Soon she was barking again and this time she didnít stop climaxing until I came myself. As she felt me explode, she grabbed my buttocks and fell forward, pulling me down until I was on top of her, pressing her into the mattress, she shuddering and holding my hips tight to hers. Finally, she sighed and said, "Domo Arigato. You can get off now if you would. I still need to breathe."

I rolled over and she crawled into my arm and held me as I played with her multiple nipples which retained their erection, then I asked, "Suki, in the future, can you not bite so hard? Your sharp teeth hurt."

"Hai! Iíll try," she whispered. Then as I was falling asleep, she asked, "Buraian-dono, in the future, can you bite me harder?"

I laughed and promised, "Iíll try." And she snuggled deeper as I fell asleep.

It was dark when I awoke to find her straddling me. She was moving quickly and was holding my hands to her breasts, rubbing them in turn so all six were receiving equal attention and so, now awake, I joined in as she barked in climax and continued until I filled her a second time. As she fell forward, I wondered if my neighbors would complain that I had bought a noisy dog, then let that thought go.

***

I awoke, alone and tieing my robe around myself, found Suki in the kitchen trying to make breakfast but totally lost with the foods I had. She had found rice and was trying to steam it as she chopped vegetables over the sink. She looked so appealing there, wearing her white kisode that I came behind and hugged her, feeling her breasts near her waist (an unusual and interesting sensation) so as she moved her hips, I bent over and bit the nape of her neck, hard! She gasped, moaned and arched her hips back so I pulled her kimono up, opened mine and with her grasping the sink, had at her until she barked in climax again. I soon followed and as soon as I was done, she moved away, turned and knelt and licked my private area clean just as any dog would, only she was anything other than a bitch, being a vixen herself.

"If you keep that up, weíll never get to Japan."

"If you keep that up, I wonít want to. But, Buraian-dono, it is our nature to be clean and I love the taste of me on you and you in me. Here, please allow me to finish cooking for you as you dress." And then readjusting her kimono to hide her body, she returned to her chopping so I took a quick shower and found my breakfast on the table and her on the carpet, one leg in the air and her tongue cleaning her own private areas.

"Now that I could watch all day." I mentioned as I sat, ready again for more fun.

She smiled, "Iím sorry you saw that. But you find so many of my habits to be erotic while other humans find them to beÖ distasteful."

"Iím not like other humans. Iíve traveled a lot and seen more than most people know exists. Besides, Iíve had more sex in the last twelve hours then I had in the last twelve weeks and better than the last three years."

She laughed, came to me on hands and feet, not knees as would be expected, kissed me and said simply, "Iím glad."

As I ate, she knelt there, totally a submissive Japanese who refilled my bowels and tea as I ate and drank and as she did so, I asked, "Suki, a few questions. First how old are you?" She did look like a high school girl so I was concerned.

"I am 346 years old. My mother came from China fifteen hundred years ago and is still alive."

"Ok, well that eases my concerns about abusing a young girl. Now, tell me about the Bandits as I eat and then weíll pack and leave." The word she used wasnít the Yakuza I expected and who formed around the early 1600s. Kaizoku, however, meant pirate and having been one myself a few times, I understood the terror she felt for those people.

"My village is on a stream near the sea and until recently has been safe and happy. Then the Kaizoku appeared and built their fortress on a nearby island. They also made an alliance with the Bandits and somehow bought the loyalty of the Kappa who live in the nearby lake. The Kappa then moved to our village and between the three have destroyed the serenity we once had. There is a shrine to Amaterasu nearby and the priest received a vision to seek a great warrior to save the village. This village was kind to my mother when she arrived from China and so I was given the task to protect the village and so came to find you."

"How many are they are how are they armed?"

"They have no firearms but use swords and numbers to enforce their will. I have spied on them and know the numbers of Bandits are a dozen and a half, the Kaizoku thrice that number."

A thought struck then, Bandits are gangsters and Kaizoku are pirates with Kappa being water-Kami or spirits as Kitsune were fox-Kami. "What year is this happening?"

"I donít understand, Jeison-dono."

Of course she wouldnít. Those who are Sidhe live outside time and space. Spend a day in their world and twenty years could easily pass in the Mundane world or the reverse. Suki could be from a thousand years in the past to a thousand in the future and not see how they were different to humans. The Kitsune were as unable to perceive linear time as would the Fairy-folk of Ireland. Humans lived in a flat Euclidian-Newtonian universe, I lived in a coil-shaped Relativistic universe because I used the StarGates and had associations on other planets but the Sidhe, be they Kami, Fairy or God lived in a Quae-mensional universe where time and space were more like a tangled ball of string.

"Then Suki, who is Emperor while this is happening?"

"The Emperor? Of Japan? The most noble Go-Tsuchimikado is Emperor."

Go-Tsuchimikado? That means somewhere near the end of the 15th century. I returned the carbine and handgun to their places. The Laws of Temporal Existence would prevent any object from existing before it was invented. Thatís why you donít see people from the far future running around with advanced technology. Their devices break down soon after they arrive in the past. Like that hunter who shot that Triceratops with an elephant gun 68 million years ago. He arrived in the past and his rifle immediately began to fall apart. He had a window of maybe minutes which gave him one shot at that Ceratopsin before his weapon became useless. Then when that modern paleontologist dug the skull up, he saw the bullet hole and had to wonder what made that hole that every hunter recognized immediately. Had he dug into the skull, heíd have found a bit of copper and iron ore in the brain cavity. So I could take swords and bows but nothing more advanced such a medicine kit or explosives or scuba gear. My job just became much more difficult. Good thing magick still worked so I did have some things that would give me an edge.

Once packed, Suki took me by the hand and led me outside, chattering to distract me for I knew this method well. If she could distract my mind from the Mundane to the Spiritual, we could pass through the Veil that separates the world of Man from the World of the Gods similar to what Rip Van Winkle did in America a couple Hundred Years ago in that famous story by Washington Irving.

So I relaxed and allowed her words to flow past my ears and ignored everything as the land changed and a moment later we were walking down a dirt road in medieval Japan.


II

In the near distance I saw a village and as we approached, the sun low in the sky, Suki stopped and sniffed, worried. All I saw was a bridge crossing a stream but I trusted her abilities and asked, "What?"

"Kappa. I donít know where but I smell them. You must be very careful Obrien-dono for so long as they carry water on their heads, they are very strong and dangerous."

Not wishing to stay here all night, I picked up a rock and tossed it into the stream. Nothing. So I repeated with more rocks along the reeds then a couple on the bridge making a lot of noise. By then I could see people peeking from the houses watching us for Suki was a Kami and I a European fifty years before the Portugese would discover this country. It was as if a Martian and an angel had appeared in an American old-west city that was being overrun by outlaws.

But my actions did produce a result for two turtle-like creatures came from under the bridge. They both had the shell and face of a turtle but were some four feet tall and human-like despite their reptilian appearance. One carried a naked katana, the other a yari, a spear, and both came towards me from opposite angles. Great! Well, age and treachery will usually overcome strength and exuberance.

"Noble Kappa, please allow myself and my companion to cross this bridge in safety."

Their speech was croaking but understandable only because I had spent enough years in Japan to be fluent. "Iie, human, you must best us in combat or surrender that we may take your body to our masters."

"And who are your masters?" I asked.

"They who will reward us for bringing your dead body to them."

"Can we not settle this without violence?"

"Iie, ready yourself!"

"As you wish," and I bowed to them both very low as if they were my superiors.

The two looked at each other but Japanese are very polite and Kappa pride themselves on their manners so if I showed them respect, they were bound to do more. As they did, the water spilled from the depressions in their heads and so went their super-human strength. Rising, I said, "Now if you are ready," and I drew and thrust to the throat of the first, seeing that as the only unarmoured part of the creature. It fell to itís knees and his companion thrust at me with itís spear but, expecting that, I dropped to my knees, deflected the point and stood as I cut removing the Kappaís arms.

"Now," I threatened it with my blade, "if you wish to live, you will leave this area and promise to never harm me or Suki or the people of this village ever again."

The armless Kappa looked at me and itís companion bleeding to death and swore all that I requested. So as I cleaned my sword of their blood, it knelt and placing its stumps to the severed limbs, they re-attached and then, again whole, it held itís companionís wound which ceased to bleed.

I took their weapons, "No, these remain with me!" so they both bowed to me, this time in respect and leapt into the water and vanished.

Now with Suki following, we crossed the bridge and Suki ran ahead calling out, "See! I have brought a great hero from across the ocean. This is Buraian no Jeison-dono, Daimyo in the Land of Eire and has already defeated two of the Kappa that torment you. Come forth and give him welcome and praise."

Slowly at first, then quicker they entered the street and bowed to me giving thanks until I called out! "Please, enough! I came here to help, not be fawned upon. First, a place to stay with a comfortable bed and soft pillow. Then some hot tea to drink if you would."

One of the villagers, bowing all the way, led us away, "Of course Buraian-dono Jeison. We shall give you the best we have. This way."

Once inside the house they gave us, I unpacked my bag as Kitsune ran around the room, sniffing everything and examining all that was there. "Noble Lord, that was amazing! You defeated them both without killing them. Certainly you are the perfect hero for this cause. I am certain that within days you will destroy all the evil here."

"Suki, your running around is making me dizzy. Come here please," and I took her arm and pulled her to me, kissing her, grateful that she wore none of that pancake makeup that so many wealthy Japanese wore. She immediately responded then jumped up, wrapping her legs around my hips as I held her up. "Lord Buraian, we are wearing too many clothes for this. Perhaps if you released me for a moment," but before I could, the door opened and we were caught by two farmer women who stared in shock. Oops, Japanese donít kiss in public so I dropped her to the ground and Suki turned away in embarrassment as she adjusted her garments.

"Hai," I queried, hoping that theyíd not notice the bulge in my pants.

"My Lord, your tea is ready and a bath if you wish." They both were giggling so I took up my katana and bag and said, "Lead on please."

Outside, I paused long enough to place my sandals on my feet them followed my hosts to the main building where I knelt with Suki at my side and sipped a cup of hot tea and listened to the villagers complain about their lot.

They would have rattled on forever had I allowed them to and really, no one understands tragedy like the Irish but even I was getting depressed. So I removed my recorder from my bag and began to play a tune to limber my fingers a bit. Iím not a great musician but I learned as a kid in Ireland and Fiona taught me to be better while we traveled across the Middle-East.

The villagers were struck for Japanese music is totally different, mostly the Samisen and drum and the Samisen is a guitar-like instrument best described as sounding like a live cat stretched on a rack and screaming in torment as you slap itís belly with a bamboo whip. Then when you add the nasal singing of the Japanese, well, Japanese music is the only kind worse than the Scottish bagpipes. A couple tried to dance so I switched to a lively jig which totally lost them. You cannot clog in bare feet and the Japanese use paper doors so you cannot even remove these and dance on your doors like at any decent party. But my mood improved until we heard someone yelling from outside.


III

My hosts immediately fell to the floor begging me to save them again. So I stood and looked outside to see three men, well armed and in partial armor. Stupid peasants, they could easily overwhelm these bandits by numbers but theyíd rather pay me to do the job so I decided to earn my pay even though we had not even discussed my fee.

"Suki, what can I expect here?"

"My Lord, these are the bandits but not all of them."

"Then will you please run around and see how many are nearby to hear the fight." Foxes are excellent spies and she fell to her hands and feet and by the time she was out the back, she had become a real fox. I wondered where her clothing had vanished to for usually shape-shifters have to undress before they change. Maybe itís being a goddess of sorts that give her additional powers? Then taking a deep breath, I left the building thrusting my katana through my sash and adjusting my swords for easy draw.

My opponents stopped calling when I exited for although I was not quite six feet, lacking a few inches in height, still I was taller than they and my green-eyes, pale skin colour and light-brown hair told them that I was someone totally different from anything that they had seen. They were nervous for so long as they could see, I might be a Kami or a god myself.

"Might I ask your business that you disturb my tea?"

They looked at me, at each other and I could see them willing the others to do something. But I didnít wish to kill these yet. Not when their comrades could be nearby.

"Youíd better surrender to us for weíre bad men." One stammered, his voice cracking. "Iíve killed a dozen men so far!" his kosode was off his shoulder showing the tattoos that only criminals bore. I hate tattoos. This American custom of covering their bodies in ink makes me think of their women as criminals just as these men are. From my history, only cannibals, savages and criminals bother to lay there while people jab at them with needles. For me, I spend a lot of time keeping people with sharp things away from my skin.

Now all three were bragging to get their courage up so I interrupted, "Idiots! Fools! How stupid are you all! Look at me! Iím older than you and armed with better swords than you can possibly afford. Can your saki-besotted brains handle the concept that I may be older than you because I am better than you? People as incompetent and stupid as you are die early. No! Surrender to me now before I feed you to the fish in pieces."

I could feel eyes in my back as the peasants watched, hoping that I was more than talk but bandits are accustomed to terrorizing unarmed peasants and I was an Irish Warrior, trained since birth to kill.

Suki was behind then, human again and she was smiling. "Lord Buraian, they are alone the rest being in their camp across the fields."

"Good!" then I strode into them and my weapons still sheathed stared at the largest. "Drop your sword and surrender or die!"

His eyes flickered past me as he smiled and laughed. Perfect, like something out of a Kurosawa film. I drew with my left hand and thrust backwards, killing the man behind me who thought he was in a good safe position. Then drawing I grasped the pommel with my right hand and drove the edge into the belly of the men before me and cut. Then I turned, blocked and drove the point upward into the brain of the third. Three dead in as many seconds. So I reversed the handle to a more standard grip and as my last victim fell dead, I took hold of his clothing and wiped their blood from my steel. Then sheathing, called, "Iím a little wired and need some exercise to sleep. So unless youíd like to relax me alone, perhaps I should go hunting?"

The Kitsune was jumping from body to body, bragging to the villagers about my skill and what I would do to the rest of the bandits so I let her run down a bit before asking, "What of the others?"

"Most are across the fields drinking but aware and on watch with bows. But there are six approaching, seeking young girls to ravish. They will be here in minutes."

"Ok, YOU THERE! Hide these bodies and cover the blood. Someone bring me my flute!" Then I moved to a narrow area of the street and knelt with my recorder and played a dirge as I waited.

Suki knelt next to me and called, "Are you mad? Hide and attack without warning! They will hear you! Come, run with me and I will love you in a dozen different positions. I donít want you to die. Iíll even bring you virgins to service you if you leave now."

I stopped playing and said, "Suki, this is what you brought me to do. Please arrange for a bath for me. And for someone to wash my clothing when I am done here. Now run along for I donít wish you hurt."

She ran off as the six arrived, bragging and half-drunk. To me, they were half-drunk, tired from a long day hassling peasants and overconfident. For myself my biological clock said it was noon, I was sober and had been trained to the sword for some two hundred years. I had mowed lawns that were more difficult than killing these would be.

As I returned to my music, the bandits stopped, stared at me and conferred among themselves then continued. Good! A professional would have sent one back to get orders but a bully saw one lone man as just another victim. Also they were bunched together instead of spreading out like an army. So as they came near demanding to know what I was doing, I waited until they were close enough then without warning, I dropped my recorder, drew and stood as I moved through them. A couple dozen steps and I was the only person standing, my bandit victimizers falling like wheat, blood spraying the street. I felt like Toshiro Mifune in _Yojimbo_.

"Suki, are you certain that no others heard? Good! Then let us spy on the remaining dead who have yet to fall over."

She led me to their lair and I saw that I could not easily kill the sentries and get inside for they were alert for some reason. "Why are they so alert? It seems like they are guarding someone important."

"Maybe it is the pirate captain that they are talking to?"

"Pirate captain? You didnít tell me that."

"You didnít ask. Are you going to kill them all now?" She was in awe with my skills now.

"Not yet. See those men on the roof. They have an excellent view of the open land surrounding that house, and under this full moon, they could see me kill the sentries and Iíd be shot before I got inside. How many are inside and which are bandits and which are pirates?"

She looked and counted. "There are three bandits inside with ten pirates. And these dozen on watch plus another dozen down there in that farmhouse. What now?"

I rolled over, looked at the moon and decided, "They are planning something. Can you spy on them without being caught or seen? Good! Iím going to take a bath, get back to me when you learn something BUT, and I mean this, take no chances."

I moved away and left her to her spying as I returned to the village. Suki had told me that the bandits and pirates had become allies so was this a regular meeting or something special? Unfortunately, I was so preoccupied by these thoughts I walked into an ambush.


IV

It wasnít the humans but the Kappa who suprized me, springing from the rice paddies with no sound at all and surrounding me. I didnít think my earlier trick would work this time but who knows, "Greetings noble Kappa. Please allow me to pass by in peace."

"You are the one who harmed our brothers."

"I am also the one who let them live."

"Still, for a human to injure a Kappa is unheard of. We must remove this disgrace from our clan by killing you."

I could see they were determined and noted my opponents. Of the seven, two looked like turtles, three frogs and the rest as monkeys but all had scaly skin and the water-filled depressions on their heads. As they went on guard, I turned and rushed the ones between me and the bandits and these backed away and went to defense so I turned quickly, ducked past the guard of the turtle behind me and cut across itís neck as I passed. Then I slammed into the ape-form behind that one, spilling its water and slash its back to the spine then ran!

So long as I remained on dry land, I had a chance. If these were human, I could hide in the rice paddies but now I had to remain in the open on dry land and hope that there were no others. Fortunately, they couldnít run fast as they were made for an aquatic life and so were clumsy on shore.

I ran down the road trying to work out a plan of action. Behind me was the farmhouse filled with pirates and bandits. Ahead the village and I couldnít lead the Kappa to the people I was hired to protect. To my left rice paddies and the Kappa could easily drown me in two inches of water so that left ahead to the right, the woods and hills. Most of Japan is mountains and forests and so unsuitable for farming and maybe the Kappa couldnít follow me there. And among the trees, Iíd have a chance.

One frog-form Kappa rose from water inches deep. Apparantly they only needed water, not deep water so as it struck, I blocked, ducked and still running, hit him with my shoulder, knocking him off his feet and spilling his water. I wanted to slow and kill it but if I did, those seconds would allow the ones chasing to catch me so I left it and ran on, reaching the rocky hills moments before my pursuers.

Now, hiding among the trees, I heard them blundering about, tripping over roots and rocks, croaking and snapping in their own language. It just may be possible to escape but I had to return to the village and they knew that so I needed an edge.

Observing my enemy, I noticed one turtle-form directing the rest, some of which were weak from water-loss. This may be their king or whatever a Kappa considers a leader. Ok, quietly, I climbed a tree hoping that like humans, they wouldnít look up and as their leader passed beneath, I dropped onto it and spilled its water. Then before it could stand, my katana was at its throat. "Call your people off or die!" I called.

The others surrounded me but kept their distance, their weapons at the ready. If I failed, theyíd cut me to pieces. "Your life for mine," I insisted.

"Kill me if you must but still you will die." It croaked.

This wasnít going well and the rest approached, slowly, seeking to kill me before I could kill their leader. "Why do you serve the pirates? They are cruel and would harm you as easily as they harm the villagers?"

"They have something of value to us. So long as they possess this, we must obey."

"WAIT!" I called. Peace long enough to talk!"

They stopped, "very well, but the end is the same."

"This thing they took. If you had it back, would you cease to serve the pirates?"

"Of course. But they keep it safe on their island where we cannot reach it for it is guarded by Buddhist Wards."

"I am not Buddhist. I can cross their Wards and return it to you."

Weapons lowered. "Why?"

I removed my blade and explained, "I am hired to protect this village from Kappa and pirate and bandit. I may have to kill the evil humans but if I can make you promise to leave them in safety, my job is accomplished without needless bloodshed. If I rescue this item and return it to you, will you ALL promise to not harm me or mine or the villagers?"

"How can we believe you? You are humans and may keep it to rule us yourself."

A very good point! I switched my katana to my left hand, slid my right into my hakama and grasping my genitals called, "I swear that if I can recover your item from the pirates, I will return it to you immediately and not use it against you that peace may exist between you and me."

It was a Celtic oath but they understood and their weapons lowered more. Their leader said, "We can give you three days, no more. If you do this, you and yours and the villagers are safe from us."

I sheathed my sword, now safe and said, "Tell me what you know so I can achieve the deed."

"It is a silver pearl the size of your fist. The keep it in a cave on the island past the river mouth. It is guarded by three or more pirates and Buddhist Wards. This is all we know. Sunrise comes soon and we will give you this time. But on the third sunrise after, we must continue to seek and kill you."

"How long will it take me to reach the shore and how long to the island?"

"On foot, a day. If you are strong, you can swim to the island."

"Then Iíll need a horse and a boat. Can you arrange for a boat to be there for me?"

"Hai."

"What of the pirates in the farmhouse? Can you tell me when the pirates leave them alone and help me get close unseen?"

They spoke together and then, "The pirates stay the night. They are observant but we can do this. Come."

And so an alliance of a sort was made. They would trust me for three days only, then take their revenge so Iíd better not fail. The thought of abandoning the village and returning home never occurred to me until long after the deal was done.

We returned to the farmhouse and met Suki there, she distrusting the Kappa who she saw as Ďfishí and they distrusting her as a Ďthiefí. "How do we get close?"

"There is a small stream that flows nearby. We take you underwater to within a shayaku of the building. After that, you must run alone and in the open."

Thatís about 100 feet. "How long must I be underwater?"

"Maybe a minute."

"Suki, can you make a diversion to attract the guards from looking my way?"

"Hai, Jeison-dono. But I fear for you."

"Life is fear. I simply choose to refuse to submit. Good! Then we wait for them to sleep and then go in. I need these dead to make the Village safe before I chase the Pirates. And, my dear, I want you alive and safe so take no chances." So settling down under a tree and some distance from the farmhouse, I lay my swords aside and began to nap, my bath forgotten.

Unfortunately, Suki crawled into my lap and began to nibble on my ears as she untied my obi. "Hey! What are you doing? Theyíll hear you. The Kappa are watching, stop thatÖ. Ok but if the bandits jump us and I die, I will be very angry."

Her barking attracted attention from the farmhouse but all I heard was laughter. She sat there after I finished, still impailed and moving slowly, and offered, "See, they thought it was foxes mating. So long as you kept quiet, they never suspected."

"And the Kappa?" We did have an audience.

"What of them? We Kami watch you humans mate all the time. I think your Sidhe do the same in Ireland. You are so afraid that you will be seen."

"Iím afraid that Iíll be laughed at. The Gods made sex so They could have a good laugh at our antics. Otherwise Theyíd have invented a less embarrassing position to procreate."

"Perhaps, but this is so much fun. Can you do it again?"

Mink mate for hours, rabbits for seconds, what about foxes? Iíd have to look into that after but for now, I enjoyed the experience and bemoaned my lost sleeping time.

***

Eventually the bandits were mostly asleep, three am or an hour or two before sunrise being the best time to attack an enemy, so Suki ran off and the Kami led me as close to the farmhouse as they could then one grabbed me and dove into a stream I could have stepped across easily. Fortunately, I donít remember much of that journey other than I wanted to vomit from motion-sickness and claustrophobia and stopped only because of the webbed hand over my mouth and nose. Then I was behind a rock, sitting in an inch of water as a hand reached out to hand me my swords. I was soaking wet and freezing cold but endured it. No worse than a winter campaign in Kosovo.

Moments later I heard foxes barking as if there were an orgy in progress. They sounded so close that the guards all turned to see what they believed to be animal porn so I ran the distance, killing one guard on the run and dragging his body under some rice stalks. Then I was under the eaves and moved around, killing any guard I found until the ground was clear and only the roof was guarded.

Next step, I slid the door open and began to kill the sleeping bandits by slitting their throats which I admit was a cowardly act, but honestly, I was outnumbered and if they wanted a fair fight, let them give up crime! Eventually someone woke up, screamed and I ran through the building killing as the bandits struggled to wake up and arm themselves. Within moments, I was alone.

Now for the hard part. The two on the roof who were armed with bows. Iím a good archer but not with the Japanese bow which is taller than me but I made do and strung one, then choosing some arrows, left for the outside eaves and called, "Surrender!"

I heard muttering from the roof and as straw chaff fell from the thatching, I fired and was rewarded with a scream. A body slid to the ground, an arrow in his leg but still alive so I re-nocked and shot him as he lay there and moved to another location.

Barking snapped out nearby and then an arrow flew to some bushes and a scream split the night. Suki stood, impailed by an arrow, staggered and fell behind some rocks. Damn! If I ran to her as I wanted to, Iíd be shot in the back. But more chaff fell and judging the position, fired through the roof to hear a thud then the thatching fell in as the body depressed the roof. Dropping the bow, I drew and stabbed three times, each time bloodying my katana and cutting the thatch free until the body fell. Stopping only long enough to remove his head, I ran to the Kitsune in panic only to see her stand laughing. "You were so funny when you thought I was shot."

Kitsune are pranksters! I had forgotten that and picked her up yelling, "Donít you know how worried I was? I saw you shot and couldnít go to you! You miserable little vixen!"

She nipped my nose and said, "funny funny funny. You humans are so,.. wait! What are you doing, OW!!!" as I sat and tossed her over my knees and gave her a good spanking. Soon she changed, and again a fox, ran off yelping. So much for my excursion into bestiality.

Breathing hard, I didnít know just how bad an idea that was to upset a Kami, so I returned to the farmhouse and found a couple horses that I saddled. By then I saw a large number of foxes watching and called out, "Suki! Iím sorry. I was so angry with myself and worried about you. If you forgive me, Iíll bring you back a present."

Nothing, but if they wanted, the foxes could cause my horse to throw me at full gallop. Well, nothing of it so I mounted and taking the reins of the replacement, called, "Suki, Iím going to stop the pirates now. Please remain here where you are safe. Iíd never forgive myself if you were hurt." Then kicking my steed, rode off down the road leaving the foxes behind.


V

The sun was rising and so I was able to travel faster. It would be a couple hours before I reached the shore and my biological clock was catching up. I had left America shortly after sunrise and arrived in Japan shortly before sunset so this local night was to me, daytime and now I was fast approaching my biological bed-time. Thatís one of the big problems with travel, be it StarGate, Time Machine or Starship, you generally have to suffer jet-lag and between the fighting and Kitsuneís carnal desires, I wasnít able to nap.

A couple hours later I reached the shore and looked around. In the distance was an island so following the formula 1.17x(square root of my height above sea level) = distance to the horizon in nautical miles, I calculated it to be around three and a half miles to the horizon and since the island was just over that and I could see the top of some hill, make it four miles perhaps. I needed a nap for I wouldnít be able to swim that far in the best of shape.

Wandering around, I found some grass and shade in an isolated place and hobbling the horse, lay down to sleep as it grazed.

The sun was high when a weight landed in my lap. "You left me behind. Iím not happy with that. I had to run for hours and am very tired."

"I told you to remain behind where youíd be safe." I yawned for it was exactly who I didnít want here.

"Pooh! You always tell me what to do and I pretend to listen. Now Iím tired and need to sleep." And she curled up in my arm and was snoring so what could I do but join her and was asleep again. Foxes! Sneaky, tricky, sexy. And totally unpredictable.

This time I woke her by removing her kosode and she easily joined in, her orgasmic barking scaring the horse. But when done, and dressed, the sun setting, I approached the shore and looked out. "The Kappa said theyíd have a boat here. Where do you think they left it?"

She ran along the beach on hands and feet, her kosode tucked into her obi and revealing her legs as she sniffed and searched. As for me, I ate some rice-balls I had taken from the bandits for any soldier eats when he can to build up fat against the lean times. I liked the Japanese rice that clumped together so you could eat it like an apple. American rice was so over-boiled it fell apart and had to be sucked up through a straw.

Finally she called, "here! I found it!" and rushing over, saw a small boat that had a single oar laying within. Once inside and tapping the hull to ensure it wouldnít fall apart in mid-ocean, I pushed off just as Suki jumped inside. "I really wish you would remain on shore where you will be safe," but as usual when I said something she didnít want to hear, she ignored me totally.

Once I pushed away from the shore with the oar, I looked for the other and realized that this wasnít an oar or a paddle but a ro. A long single sweep that you hung over the stern and moved while standing. I had seen them in action in Venice and Japan but never bothered to learn how to use them but really, I had paddled canoes and kayaks and outriggers as well as rowed bigger boats than this so gave it a try.

At least Suki was amused by my antics and laughed at my efforts. All I did was move in circles and bang against the shore then push off and get nowhere. Finally Suki barked and tossed the bow painter over the side which was taken by a Kappa which began to tow us to the island. The initial jerk almost sent me into the water but we quickly settled into a decent clip and I relaxed to watch the sea.

Suki ran from side to side like any dog that was going for a ride then called, "What are those lights? Are they kaizoku? Are you going to board and kill them too?"

"No Suki, they are night fishermen. They hang lanterns over the sides of their boats to attract bugs. The bugs attract fish which are caught by the fishermen."

"Oh, Iím bored, Love me!" and she began to untie my hakama. At the speed we were being towed, I guessed an hour at the most and Iíd be done long before that so agreed, me sitting on the bench, she in my lap we spent some pleasant time until she began to bark in climax. Drat! I had forgotten about that and fearing the pirates hearing, I tried to stuff her kosode sleeve into her mouth to quiet her.

She immediately jumped off, too soon for me, and pulling the material from her teeth, yelled, "What are you trying to do, suffocate me?"

"The pirates would hear you. There arenít any foxes on the water so theyíd know we were coming. You wouldnít be quiet so I had to do something."

"I donít like being quiet! Do that again and Iíll bite your hand off."

"Well, we canít have sex unless you are quiet."

She turned away and snapped, "Then suffer!"

"I am! Ö Suki, there are other ways to make me happyÖ. Ow! You bit me!" I pulled my hand back and examined the wound.

"Pooh. Thatís no fun for me and besides, it makes my jaw hurt. Now keep away and stop pointing at me or Iíll bite that too!"

Defeated but smart enough to know better, I adjusted myself into my fundoshi and retied my hakama and watched the moonlight. "You know, Suki, that moonlight dances across the water like you dancing across the land. See how the water shines like your hair?"

"Ok, but this time donít choke me." Unfortunatly, the Kappa swimming next to us croaked, "We are too close to the island, they will hear you even if the Kitsune doesnít bark."

I hoped that this wasnít an omen so sighed and asked, "Can you tow us nearby but far from the kaizoku?"

The boat changed course and we soon beached behind some rocks where I and Suki jumped to shore, me tieing the painter to a tree in case I needed the boat for escape. Then with naked katana, we explored the island, trying to sneak in. At one point the Kitsune whispered in my ear, "Why are you passing them and not killing them?"

"Because, dear, right now I want to retrieve that pearl. If I start killing and the pirates possess that pearl, they can call the Kappa to help them. If I rescue the pearl and return it to the Kappa, then I only have to deal with the pirates. So we sneak in, I find the pearl, sneak out and later return to finish the job. Now where would they be hiding it? The Kappa said a cave so it must be near that hill."

We made our way then Suki pointed, "there! I feel Wards. I canít go further but look there."

I kissed her then moved forward, soon identifying the guards who, like all men with great responsibility and nothing else to do, were gambling at dice. Looking over their shoulders, I asked, "Whoís winning?" then as they looked up, slammed my sheath into their heads, rendering both unconscious. Then after dragging them to cover and appropriating their winnings for myself, I entered the cave and found a box surrounded by paper streamers written in Kanji which I took to be the prayers that prevented the Kami from entering. Reaching out, even I could feel the power and wondered which Buddhist Priest they found who would do this. Well, even the best Buddhists disliked Shinto with which they were almost constantly warring despite the Ďofficialí co-existance policy of Japan.

I almost had the box when the third guard arrived. "What are you doing!" he demanded and turning, saw him fully armored and carrying a naginata. Great, I never was any good at that weapon. Every time I faced one at the kendo tournaments, I got my ass wiped by tiny girls. This didnít look good.

"I thought that Iíd steal the pearl and return it to the Kami so theyíd desert you." I commented.

He froze, stared at me as if I were a total fool so I smiled, tossed all the money I had just stolen into the air and as he watched the coins glitter I took advantage of those few seconds to move in, draw and thrust. He just stared at me as he slowly fell but by then I had the box open, saw the pearl, then grabbing the thing, ran from the cave.

Outside the first two were recovering so I slashed as I ran, injuring but probably not killing either as I sought safety.

Suki ran to me screaming, "Kaizoku saw me, kill them." Saw her? More likely she was causing them trouble and deserved their chase. I shoved the pearl into my Uchikake, hoping that it would remain there, then took her hand and ran, dragging the Kitsune along. Screams and yelling soon awoke every pirate on the island and eventually we were herded to the wharf where I was blocked in. I killed the first three who approached then backed off some more as the pirates yelled to their leader, "Call the Kappa to handle him. Heís too strong for us."

Not knowing if they needed the pearl in their possession to control them, yet unwilling to take the chance, I ran to the end of the wharf calling, "Kami, take back your property," and threw it as far into the water as I could. Now with the Kappa no longer under the pirate control, I turned and went on guard, "Shall we dance?" Then I charged them and killed a number of them before the survivors backed away.

Suki was behind and cried, "Why stop? Advance and kill them all."

"Will you be quiet! I win only because they are used to fighting unarmed peasants and I keep surprise on my side. Once they organize, they will overwhelm me. Suki, jump into the sea and swim for safety. Iíll follow."

"Hai, Jeison-dono," and she changed as she leapt into the darkness. Foxes make small targets and can swim well. I, however, was too large to hide and the archers that were now at the end of the pier were nocking their arrows and would shoot easier were I slowed by water in my kimono. Well, it was a good fight and I readied to charge hoping that I could unnerve them enough to escape or take them with me.

The first volley I almost dodged, one hitting my leg but causing little damage. Then as they re-nocked and I began to rush, a turtle-form Kappa appeared, facing me. Their arrows bounced off its shell then it grabbed me and took me into the water.

I didnít have a chance to take a breath and had to release my sword to pound on the Kami then gave up and focused my thoughts on ĎAIRí hoping that it would read my mind. It must have for we surfaced and I gasped and choked as it held my above the water. I could hear yelling and hoped we were far enough away to be hidden in the night though the Full Moon was rising over the hill.

"Take me to the island," I choked. Then grasping its shell. It towed me to shore where I lay on the beach choking and catching my breath. Finally I knelt, poured water from my empty katana sheath and lay it on the sand for I had dropped my sword into the sea when I was grabbed. Well, as much as I liked that blade, there were others on the island so I removed and poured the water from my wakazashi and tanto sheaths and was about to move inland to finish the job when another Kappa, a frog-form called, "Here!" and handed me the sword it had retrieved from the sea.

"Airgato gozaimasu," I said and bowed very low to the Kami. I was really happy for this.

"Why do you return here?" it asked.

"To finish the job. I promised to stop the kaizoku and bandits and Kappa from harming the village. The bandits are all dead, you Kappa have your pearl so are now safe so that leaves the kaizoku."

The Kappa nodded, understanding the need to keep a promise so as they turned to the sea, I called, "Go in peace and thank you for all your aid." Then I went hunting, following the sounds of shouting.


VI

I didnít get far when Suki, already dry, flung herself into my arms. "You came back for me. I knew you would. Itís so wonderful that you cared enough to return for me. When this is over I am going to make you feel so happy!"

"Shh," I tried to slow her yapping which tended to sound more like barking than human talk when she was excited. "I still have to finish off the pirates."

"Good! Then when they are all dead, we can enjoy each other all the time." The woman had a lot more confidence in my abilities, both in bed and on the field, than I did. "I need to concentrate on staying alive."

For once she shut up and followed behind me, allowing my arms freedom of movement. Then I found a body. Or rather parts of a body. "Suki, did you do this?"

"Iie, Jeison-dono, we Kitsune do not kill."

I suspected that the last part was a lie but chose to not push it. She was excitable, sexy and totally unable to keep a single thought in her head for more than a few minutes and this killing required an attention to detail and a strength she did not possess.

Soon I found more dead. And more. "Kaizoku attacking these kaizoku for territory?" she asked.

"No, look!" I pointed to a print in the mud. "Kappa."

"Why? You only made them promise to leave you and the village alone."

"Perhaps they are taking revenge for their involuntary servitude?"

Near the fortress, I saw their ship listing as if something had stove the side in. If these were like the Chinese Junks, the Kappa would have to punch more than one hole through the hull to overcome the watertight bulkheads the Junk possessed. Then the ship shuddered again and listed more. Bodies were everywhere. Then I heard voices from above.

"Here! Up here!"

Looking up, we saw a half dozen pirates barracaded in the tower which shook as a Kappa was tearing the supports away.

"Save us!" they cried. The Kappa looked at me then waddled away into the sea leaving the island empty save the dead, myself, the Kitsune and the half dozen living pirates.

"Come down," I called. "The Kappa are gone now."

They did so, falling to their knees in gratitude for scaring the Kappa away. I didnít but let them think as they would. Then I sheathed my katana and asked, "Where is all the treasure you took?"

"Treasure?" they laughed at this.

"Yes, treasure. That is the price of your lives. Or would you rather the Kappa returned?"

"This way noble lord," and I followed them while Suki whispered, "Why do you want the treasure?"

"First my dear, I want to get paid. Second, I want to return to the victims at least a part of their possessions."

She nodded and we entered the ruins of the fortress to find one room still sealed. "Here!" they pointed.

"Open it!"

"We have no key. Our captain had it and he is gone or dead."

"Then stand aside," and I focused then side-kicked and broke the frame. The pirates pulled the wreckage aside and fell to the floor as I looked inside, each begging for mercy.

"This is what you stole over all these years?" There was almost nothing. No money, no gold or silver. Nothing of real value.

"My lordÖ. Well, they were poor peasants. We took what they had but they were too poor to have anything of value."

I stood back laughing, thinking of what happened when someone asked John Dillenger why he robbed banks. His reply was, "Thatís where the money was," but during the Depression, there wasnít a lot of money in those banks.

"Ok," I began to choose what I wanted and commanded, "Is there a small sailboat that can be sailed by one person here?"

"Hai."

"Then take this to that boat and ensure that the rigging is sound. Once done, you may take another boat and leave this island. Also you may choose to consider your vocation and perhaps become fishermen or farmers. It may be safer."

"Hai, noble lord. We will do that. Domo, domo!"

We went to the docks and they loaded my new possessions into a small junk, we looked over the sail and rigging, then I told them to leave and they all jumped into a rowboat and sculled into the darkness. Suki asked, "Jeison-dono, why did you let them go?"

"I didnít feel like killing them. Besides the Kappa are still out there, waiting. Come, letís find food and water. When the sun comes up, I want to sail away."

"Hai."

She turned around when she heard the screaming and splashing as the Kappa overturned the last boat, then followed me smiling.

***

We slept in the best bed in the ruins but only after I begged her to let me sleep for she had far more stamina than I did. The last few days of too much sex, too little sleep and too much exertion on top of too little food was taking its toll.

Then as the sun was up, we pushed off and raising sail, suggested, "we need to be certain that the village is safe, that all the pirates and bandits are gone and then, well, my little Kitsune, have you any objection to sailing with me around these islands?

"No Jieson-dono, but I also promised to make you feel very good," as she dropped her kimono to the deck of the boat.

END


VOCABULARY

Japanese have a word for everything. In one basic introductory work I counted 25 different names for what we in the West call a Ďkimonoí, each named differently because of minor or major differences. In reality, there were probably a hundred of these, each with a separate name. In the interests of brevity, I am using only the basic words both here and in the story.

Fundoshi- The g-string like underwear worn by men. Think "underpants".

Gasa- A straw hat, usually conical. Think "hat".

Geta- Woden clogs worn to keep you out of the mud. Think "Shoes".

Hakama- the pleated pants worn by men. Today they are mostly worn by praticioners of Aikido and Kendo. In the medieval eras they were worn outside the uchikake by men and under the uchikake by women. Think "pants".

Kimono- Literally refers to any form of clothing. Today referring to a long robe-like garment. Think "suit".

Kosode- The robe worn under the Uchikake or as the modern kimono. It was usually white. Think "undershirt" or "underrobe".

Obi- The cloth that is used as a belt to hold the clothing together. Modern obi are very wide, medieval ones are very narrow. Think "belt".

Tabi- split toe socks. "Think "socks".

Uchikake- The robe worn on the outside. They often have very long sleeves. Think "Shirt".

Zori or Waraji- Sandals, generally of straw. Think "Sandals".

Daisho- The pair of swords worn by the Samurai. By the mid-1500s, only Samurai could wear them.

Katana- The long curved saber carried by the Samurai. It had a long handle and a blade over 24 inches long.

Naginata- A Japanese halbard with a curved blade.

Tanto- The knife carried by anyone. It had a blade under 12 inches long.

Wakizashi- The short sword carried by anyone. It often as more beautiful than the Katana and had a blade between 12-24 inches long.

Yari- A Japanese spear.

Ronin- A Samurai without a king to serve. Think Ďmercenaryí.

Samurai- A soldier raised to serve a king in a military manner. Think Ďknightí.

Daimyo- A Japanese noble or lord. Think Ďkingí.

Inro- A small purse. Originally a cloth bag hung from the obi, they evolved into plain wood or bone or ivory boxes which eventually were decorated as a sign of wealth. Think "purse".

Kurosawa Akira- A modern Japanese director of cinema. He is very famous and his films are classics and have been remade in America many times.

Saki- rice wine. It was usually drunk warm.

Shunga- Japanese erotica or porn. It is often satirical.

Yakuza- A gangster or bandit. They were often tatooíd and would cut off a finger when they failed their gang-boss. Many Japanese see tattoos as a sign that that person is a criminal.

Kaizoku - Pirates.

RELIGION

Shinto- The Way of the Gods. The original pagan religion of Japan. It is still followed today.

Buddhism- Imported from China, it fought with Shinto but finally accepted the Old Religion.

Ameaterasu- The Sun Goddess. A Kami of great power. All gods are Kami as are all fairy, ghosts etc.

Kami- Literally Ďspirití but also means Ďsacred placeí, Ďgodí, Ďdemoní and any other similar word. A God is a Ďgreat Kamií.

Kitsune- Fox spirit. A Kami who can change from human to fox. They are often pranksters.

Kappa- Water spirit. A Kami who lives in the water. They can resemble a turtle, a monkey or a frog but all have a depression in their head which carries water which is the source of their power. Kappa are very polite and never break a promise.

Oni- one of many kinds of ghosts.

Tengu- Bird spirit. Tengu taught the ninja all they knew.

Tori- The gate that marks a sacred place in Shinto. They look like two upright poles with a top cross-piece.

CUSTOMS-

People bowed to each other as a sign of respect. The more important you were, the lower others would bow to you. Women always bowed low to men.

-Dono- A suffix used in the middle ages to refer to a noble. Modern times use -sama instead of -dono for superiors and -san for equals.

Prior to modern times, commoners only had one name. Only Nobles had two names. The family or Clan name was first, followed by the given name.

Japanese rarely eat animal or bird meat. They do eat fish but rice is the staple.

To the Japanese, the neck is the sexiest part of a womanís body. Breasts are often disliked and ignored as sexual objects.

Modern Kimonas are worn in a tube shape that hides the womanís curves. Thus to wear a kimono properly, a woman must bind her breasts and pad her hips.

Early and medieval women wore their hair long and in a tail. By the 17th Century, they wore their hair up in a bun.

Medieval Japanese men shaved the tops of their heads and wore their hair in a top-knot.

It is said that Japanese men have the smallest penis in the world. Thus the preference for sexual toys by both men and women during and instead of sex.

Japanese place their family name first then their personal name. This is reverse of the European manner.

USEFUL TERMS

Konichiwa- Hello

Konbanwa- Good evening

Sayonara- Good by-

Hai- Yes

Iie- No-

Arigato or domo or airgato gozaimasu (note: women must be more polite than men)- Thank you-



To contact me or to request topics to be covered, send to RikJohnson@juno.com
by: Rick Johnson
PO Box 40451
Tucson, Az.
85717


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