CHAPTER 2

Edo Castle 1603

Eager to tell their boss of barbarian civil war, the two spies reached Edo-jo, usually a three-day walk, the next day.

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Kintaro was sitting in his tatami office stamping official documents.

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“More bureaucracy!” he lamented to himself. “I could be out practising sword, or preparing castle defences.”

Kintaro knew every stone in the castle walls, every tree, every pond.

The two spies rushed into the office bowing deeply. “Kintaro, the foreign devils are at war!”

“At last some action!” he thought. The last 3 years had been quiet since the decisive battle of Sekigahara where Shōgun had annihilated his opponents.

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“Where are they attacking?” asked Kintaro.

“A barbarian house in Ito. We saw missiles being fired from a Dutch ship into the garden.”

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“Missiles! What kind?”

“Small white ones, but we didn’t see any smoke or fire. Just some foreign devil swinging a stick.”

After grilling the spies further, Kintaro guessed the foreigners in Ito weren’t actually at war, but testing a new weapon.

Kintaro thought carefully. He needed more information before telling General Matsura.

“Sneak into the Dutch quarter and find out what’s going on,” ordered Kintaro. “Disguise yourselves as sushi chefs. My sister Hiina sells lunch box obento to the foreigners and she will guide you.”

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-> CHAPTER 3