Suzu’s new life begins…
Weeks later, Suzu again sat in the very tea house she had searched for upon her arrival in the city. She looked like a changed woman. Her once milky skin was covered in elaborate tattoos and her forehead showcased a lotus bindi. The dress she wore was not a traditionally long gown but short and provocative. Not only did she defy the traditions she had grown up with but she didn’t seem to care. The patrons in the tea house didn’t mind her, either, as they were similarly attired and likeminded.
Suzu had a particular reason for being back in the city: she was in need of two attendants and a companion. Back at her compound she had a garden that required attention, animals to care for, and general day to day maintenance that needed to be done. She had done enough on her own and it was time to get some help. She had already met a young woman and was still expecting to meet two men. She hated to admit it but she was a little nervous.
What if someone from her home village had figured out where she had gone? What if the men she was meeting were sent by her family to bring her home? What if they were from her husbands family?! She didn’t know which would be worse…
Her mind finally came back to the man she had escaped from. Did Katsu tell the truth of what had happened? That he had been overpowered by a woman and had actually let her go? Thinking back to that night, Suzu was surprised he didn’t fight her. It was as if he didn’t actually know anything about the swords he collected. If he did, surely he could have blocked her. Why didn’t he?
She tried to remember what he had looked like but she honestly hadn’t paid him any attention after she lost her veil. Maybe she should have.
Maybes. What ifs. She shook her head to clear it from all these thoughts. That was behind her. She was fine for now and would be even better once she had protection.
Finally, an older woman in a long robe approached her table and bowed, gesturing to two men standing just outside the paper wall. Suzu nodded and allowed the men to enter. Both were handsome in their own way. They bowed, vowing to protect her and any others that may join the clan. They said they were her humble servants and would do as she desired for as long as they were under her employment. She raised a hand to halt their words and rose from her seat.
“You may call me Lady Suzu. Welcome to my clan.”