Dragon Sword and Wind Child

Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara Read Free Book Online

Book: Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara Read Free Book Online
Authors: Noriko Ogiwara
Tags: Ebook, book
was little joy in it. “The people of Darkness are reborn. The Children of Light are ageless immortals. In neither case is the God or Goddess concerned with kinship or lineage.”
    He drained his cup, revealing his shapely white throat. Saya, sensing some derision in his words, wondered whom he was mocking.
    Setting down his cup, the Prince commanded, “Look at me.”
    She obeyed, but could not read his expression, for his noble features surpassed the splendor of the moon in the sky above.
    â€œThat is what qualifies you as my handmaiden. Don’t you understand?” the Prince said softly. “The people of Toyoashihara never look me in the face. They can’t. It would be unthinkable.”
    He turned his face toward the people of Hashiba, who were enjoying the festival. Couples, friends, everyone was laughing merrily.
    â€œI know.” And this time, she did understand. She also sensed, though vaguely, that some sorrow enveloped him.
    â€œCome to Mahoroba, Saya. Whatever happens, I want you by my side,” he said more forcefully perhaps than he had intended.
    Before she answered, scenes from her nine years in Hashiba flashed through her mind: the peach tree behind her house, her playmates, rice flowers, frogs on the embankment, frosty mornings, midsummer afternoons, her mother and father pounding straw, light through the window. Sorrow and joy were so intermingled that she felt emotionless. She heard her own voice as if from a great distance.
    â€œAs the Prince of Light wishes.”
    For a brief moment the Prince’s face was brightened by a joyful look that suited his youth. “How fortunate that I found you. How fortunate that it was I and not my sister,” he said with a curious intensity.
    As soon as she had agreed to go with him, Saya felt a weight lift from her heart, and she was filled with relief. It was as if, after wandering for so long, she had at last found something to hold on to.
    I will follow him , she thought. I am lost no longer .
    THAT NIGHT would surely be talked about for generations to come. The tale of the Kagai at Hashiba spread far and wide. The extraordinary rumor that Prince Tsukishiro had left the battlefield just to grace the festival and had chosen a mere village girl to become his handmaiden, an unprecedented appointment, was spoken of with hushed astonishment. Hashiba became famous overnight, and Chief Azusahiko, who suddenly found himself a successful and prominent figure, could not stop smiling. The Prince had provided priceless fabrics and gold to outfit Saya as a court handmaiden, so that Hashiba had prospered in fact as well as name. Saya was amazed at the turn of events that found her cosseted and protected by the head chieftain, but otherwise felt numb and empty.
    She stared in disbelief at the fine silks and wondrously dyed woven cloth, which had arrived in numerous wicker boxes and now filled the tiny house with a rainbow of color that seemed totally out of place. “Are these all to be made into clothes for me?” she asked.
    â€œYes! And we’re going to have to ask the village women for help. I can’t possibly sew them all before you leave!” her mother said, half laughing, half crying, as she caressed the shimmering fabrics with her gnarled fingers. “I never thought to cut such valuable cloth in all my life.”
    â€œLet’s leave some of it here, then,” said Saya. “Surely it’s not necessary to make it all into clothes at once.”
    Yatame shook her head. “No, it’s not as simple as that. I won’t have you made miserable among the great princesses.”
    â€œMother!” Saya laughed dryly. “I can’t possibly hope to rival any princess! I’m just a village maid, nothing more or less, and that will have to do.”
    â€œNo. You’re different,” Yatame insisted. She paused for a moment before continuing. “Somehow I always knew that you

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