The flurry of letters arriving for Ieyasu was starting to become really noticeable to even her as she saw the stack he had piled on his desk. He didn’t open them just continued to pile them up. This was going on for weeks, and he wouldn’t discuss it with her at all. It was getting to the point of frustration with her because each of the letters seemed to written from the same hand, a female hand. She wanted to know what was going on and he refused to talk to her about it.
She was nearly in tears at this point as another letter showed up. What was going on as he wouldn’t say she didn’t want even to ask anymore as it seemed to cause a divide between them. Whatever was going to happen was going to happen. It was that feeling as she rounded the corner into the hallway for the great hall as she overheard the guys talking.
“so, did you tell her yet?”, Masamune asked.
“no, why would I?”, Ieyasu replied.
“ahh, I don’t know because she should know.”, Masamune replied huffily.
“why? it doesn’t pertain to her.”
“it doesn’t pertain to her?”, Hideyoshi said perplexed. “how could it not?”
“it just doesn’t. okay?”, Ieyasu countered.
“I do not understand the problem Lord Ieyasu; I do think that the princess has the right to know of your impending marriage.”, Mitsunari said back.
“it doesn’t matter to her.”, He grumpily replied. She on the corner of both hallways gasped at the mention that Ieyasu was getting married. That was what all those letters were. They were from her. How did he think it didn’t matter to her? It mattered, it mattered greatly. She turned to find Nobunaga and Mitsuhide walking toward her both engrossed in a conversation that didn’t matter. They both looked up and saw her expression and face. They instantly knew something was wrong, but before she could be asked a question, she ran right through them the opposite way. She wanted to be well away before the tears threatened to spill.
“what has gotten into the Princess?”, Nobunaga asked as he saw the group of men in the hallway.
“what do you mean we haven’t seen her.”, Mitsunari asked.
“well, she saw all of you. What were you talking about?”, Mitsuhide asked slightly concerned now.
“nothing. I will handle it, after war counsel.”, Ieyasu said.
“we were talking if Ieyasu had told her about his arraigned marriage or not. He hadn’t.”, Masamune said.
“Oh No, you moron.”, Nobunaga said turning on Ieyasu.
“I don’t see what the problem is.”, Ieyasu hastily replied.
“the problem is simple; she doesn’t come from this time. She understands marriage between only two people. There are no real concepts of arraigned marriages in her time or how they are handled. She
chose you however you never told her of this simple thing you may have lost her because of it.”, Mitsuhide explained.
“She will be fine with it.”, he replied.
“I don’t think so.”, Hideyoshi said pointing to the road far off from the castle. They could see a horse taking off away from the castle as fast as it could go, with a lone rider, a female.
Nobunaga started toward the stable himself as he told Ieyasu to stay behind as he would probably make things worse for them and himself. Hideyoshi was near wringing his hands as his horse was being readied. The two Mitsu’s and Masamune also were waiting by their already saddled horses. They would have to branch off at some point so having all of them would be a boon to finding her quickly but everyone knew where she would go. She only had one other friend who didn’t live at the castle, and that was the enemy ninja. She would head there however they all knew she didn’t know the way and was bound to get lost or run into bandits. They all would gladly rip Ieyasu to spreads slowly if something happened to her.
Ieyasu watched the departing men while still trying to deal with the fact he was the one who hurt her. He hoped that they would bring her back safely and they could talk. His marriage meant nothing to him, but he had never questioned that it would mean something different to her. She did have a right to know, but he had overlooked that right for his own feelings. He had to marry this person, it was written years ago, well before the time she had entered his life and had shown him what it was to love. He had to honor that contract that his father and her father had written. It wasn’t that he wanted to, he had too.
She was well from the castle when she had a choice of which way to go. She assumed no one would be following her just yet so she took the path on the right. She really didn’t know where she was going, but she knew the direction she would go. Somewhere she would ask someone had to know where the other castle was. She really didn’t care if she put distance between them and her. She rode faster and hard but soon she realized she was in a forest is probably not the smartest to do that. Right, when she slowed down her horse pitched forward and fell. She was thrown a reasonable distance but landed in a pile of leaves that did help cushion the blow.
When the warlords came to the fork in the road, the leading party continued on the main path. Mitsunari went down the path to the right and Masamune went left. Mitsunari was met with the sight of her horse laying on the ground soon after, he hopped off his horse and tied it up. He bent to look at the horses’ wounds and found the trip wire she must have run right into. It was an easy way to stop someone on the path for a bandit; however, this wire looked old and rusted as if no one had been here for quite some time. He heard a rustling in the leaves as he saw her kimono trying to wrestle with a stick it looked like to him. He walked over watching her have a fit trying to stand. “Princess? Are you okay?”, he politely asked.
“does it look like I am okay?”, she asked back.
“it looks like you are caught.”, he said. “hold on, and I will free you.”
“I won’t be going anywhere.”, she said hastily. “I am stuck.”
After a few minutes, he unwound the bundle of fabric that had been around a rather large tree. She was happy to stand up and started to walk over to the horse. She could see that she could not be ridden again as she looked up to Mitsunari. “are we going to have to go back now?”, she asked.
“well, I don’t see any way around that Princess. The others are still looking for you.”
“I don’t want to go back Mitsunari. I don’t! Please don’t make me!”, she cried out.
“but princess we have to go back.”
“I understand that, but I don’t want to. Not now at least.”
“you know why. He didn’t tell me that he was getting married Mitsunari. That’s a big deal. I mean who doesn’t tell their girlfriend they are getting married……. To someone else.” As she spoke they both could feel the air changing around them, it was getting heavy, and a few spatters of rain were breaking through the trees. “wonderful. Now it’s raining.”
“we can take shelter there, "he said as he pointed in the distance to a small hut. She hadn’t even seen that before.
"fine,” she said as he led her and the horses to the small building and he hurried to gather some wood for a fire before the impending downpour. She sat on the wood floor alone in her thoughts. She knew marriage in this time was different than that of hers; she had seen that. She couldn’t get over the fact that he thought she would be okay with it. She had said more than once that she wouldn’t be, couldn’t be the other woman. How dare he not tell her! She wanted nothing to do with him. Nothing like every time she pictured him in her mind she would feel like exploding. It was eating at her both her anger and her sadness. She stayed because of him, she gave up her life in the future because of him, and he was getting married to someone else. Someone he didn’t know but would have to have heirs with. He expected her to share him? How was that even a remote fair thing to ask?
“Princess it looks like it will be coming down for a while, you can sleep if you wish.”, he softly said.
“I am too everything to sleep. Mitsu.”, She said laughing.
“He really does love you.”, He softly said.
“it doesn’t matter anymore if he did or did not. He didn’t tell me something very important, and now I am stuck here. It isn’t right you know. I gave up everything to stay here because of him. He expects me to do what? Wait for him every other week? I am not a concubine nor could I be.”, She said. “ He knew that. Or I thought he did. In my time Mitsu people choose their own spouses. It is only one couple instead of a man with ten women attached. They share everything but with themselves. Oh, what am I explaining this for?”
“Maybe so I can understand your anger. Which is correctly pointed. If you told him this than I do understand. He should have told you before you had to leave. I won’t ever say that you should have, but you should have been given a choice. I am glad you stayed. I would miss you terribly if you left.”, He smiled at her.
“Oh, Mitsu. What would I do without you.”, she said as she moved nearer to him as the wood was already too wet and she was cold.
“Princess sleep. Here,” he said as he opened his arms and she could find herself wrapped in an angel’s embrace. His warmth found her, and she started to doze. He watched her as she calmed down from her flight, fall, and being trapped and he for once understood why she was upset. He didn’t understand how Ieyasu could put her through this knowing her as he did. He knew he would do anything for this small female wrapped in his arms asleep and if that meant he had to help her over Ieyasu he would.
After they all returned to the castle the next day and she ignored Ieyasu’s request to see her and talk. He began to notice he already lost her by his not telling her. She would go out of her way not to speak with him in the next coming weeks, and he was out of time. His intended bride was on her way to the ceremony. The castle was humming with excitement for him except her of course. She had asked Nobunaga if she could be left out of the celebrations and he agreed wishing there was some other way to bring her smile back. Nobunaga also had noticed his tactician had moved closer to her and he hoped he could maybe break through to her.
She wanted nothing to do with the wedding nor the party afterward to welcome this woman into the Oda forces family as they liked to call it. She wished she could be anywhere but at the castle. The day before Hideyoshi had come in to check on her; he had been hovering more and more since the day was getting closer. He had suggested that maybe she go somewhere, anywhere but here now. She wished she could, but Nobunaga said that would be seen as a slight on the Oda name as she was an Oda princess. She wondered if the fact she wouldn’t go to either the ceremony or party would still be seen as a slight just not as big. It didn’t matter to her anymore. She had thrown herself into her work, and she was spending more and more time with Mitsunari who would just show up at the most random times. She found a nice bit of friendship in him as he helped her think of anything but what was going on.
She ran into the warlords as the left for the ceremony all dressed up in the traditional clothes. She smiled at them even though it was strained; it was an improvement from glaring at everyone. She noticed Mitsu wasn’t with them. He was probably asleep or his head in a book. She decided to go to Hideyoshi’s manor to check. He wasn’t there; then she headed to the library he wasn’t there either. Finally, she knew she had tried and went back to her own room. As she slid open the door, she saw him sitting by the window for the maximum light, and he didn’t even look up. “Mitsu! I have been looking for you! You need to get to the temple, now or you will miss it.”, she said as he looked up at her.
“Okay then.”, he said as he made no motion to move.
“get up!”, she said.
“why? I have no plans of going if you are not there.”, he calmly said.
“what?”, she asked.
“I will be staying with you today. This is more important, being with you, today.”, he said as he stood up and stood before her. “You are more important and deserve better.”
“Mitsu.”, She softly said. As his arms closed around her. He brushed a feather light kiss on her hair.
As Ieyasu married his arraigned bride, she found hope in the most unthought-of place, with a friend. As the wedding party started hers and his arrival shocked some as they walked in hand in hand. She walked up to Ieyasu’s bride and told her she was a lucky woman and welcomed her to the Oda Force family. She had noticed of course that everyone except her Mitsu had moved slightly closer and was ready to pounce if need be. She turned and stood back against the wall without saying anything to him though. Nobunaga beamed his approval to her, and Hideyoshi nodded as well. Mitsuhide and Masamune were discussing the bet they had made that she would kill them both she didn’t know which side picked either. She looked at the man who was by her side the entire time and smiled again for him. She didn’t feel alone or helpless with him by her side.