A hidden Bundle
This is an older story and one of my favorites.
There were two places she didn’t often go in the castle. One was the dungeons; she didn’t want to know what was going on in them at any given time, so she ignored its existence. The other was the training hall. She would hear her friends drilling their soldiers over and over; the sound didn’t bother her or even the activity as she was part of a massive military family. She just didn’t want to go near until one night she was walking alone through the grounds, and she heard a yelp, and a tiny cry come from the hall. She turned and went to investigate.
She entered the hall and saw she was alone. She knew the cry had come from this direction, but she couldn’t see anything. It was dark in the hall, and she could see shadows of things, but nothing seemed out of place. She turned to leave, but a very slight movement caught her eye as she moved. She walked slowly toward the far corner from the door. She knew she should probably turn back and get someone as she wasn’t even supposed to be here. However, the movement wasn’t big, and she could see a bundle on the floor. She crept up on it and what it was would change her life forever.
She scooped up the bundle and looked at it carefully. She stood there with it in her arms for what seemed like hours and might have been since four of the warlords came looking for her. She now sat with the bundle in her lap gazing upon it with envy. The four men entered the training hall as their last destination before raising a cry for her disappearance. She had missed counsel which she never had before. Hideyoshi was the first through the door followed by the two Mitsu’s and Masamune. All four men stopped dead in their tracks as they saw her and the bundle in her lap. They couldn’t quite see what exactly she was holding, but they could see her face. It was a combination of her natural radiance and love that none had ever seen before. She looked up to where they were,“I found this over there.” She smiled as she said it and pointed to the corner.
Hideyoshi was the first to recover from the site of her. “What is it?”
The other three men started to move closer as Hideyoshi stood in one place, all had their hands ready to draw their swords. She chuckled at the site; however she knew their swords were not necessary in this case. Mitsuhide was now the closest to her, and he reached out to remove the bundle from her in case it was something drastically dangerous, and she just didn’t know. Masamune not far behind him watched closely. Mitsuhide’s arms were close to both her and the bundle when she picked it up and placed it in his reaching arms.
“Thank you. I needed help getting up.”, she said as she began to stand up.
Mitsuhide had straightened with the bundle now in his massive, muscular arms. He looked at it as if it was something he had never seen before. Masamune swept up next to him and gazed down. His shock also showed in his face. He reached one finger down to touch it but when it moved he jumped back. Hideyoshi and Mitsunari at this point were even peering down at the bundle which was now looking back at them. They began to creep closer but it let out a sound, and they also moved back with Masamune. Mitsuhide looked down at the bundle and back to her as the bundle began to move he didn’t know what to do, and he definitely did not want to drop it. She laughed at the scene before her. Four men who would bravely do anything necessary to win a battle, the fiercest of warriors and this tiny bundle scared them. She moved closer to Mitsuhide and placed her hands under his and removed the bundle and held it close. She began to leave, “what do you plan on doing with that?” Hideyoshi called after her. She didn’t know so she didn’t answer.
She walked right into Nobunaga’s room and looked at him as he stared at her and the bundle. He walked over and smiled, “What exactly are you doing with that?”
“I found it.”, she replied. “What happens to things like this?”
“I do not know. I have never had the issue before.”
“It was found in the training hall in your castle. It is your issue now.”
“What should we do with it? Find someone that can care for it.”
“What? No, you can’t!”
“Because…….. it’s not yours.”
“You claimed me as your sister once before, and you know I am not.”
“Shall I go and ask every person here if it is theirs?”
“No. It probably belongs to one of the men. A mistake and unwanted.”
“I want it.”
“I want it!”
“What do you know of taking care of such a thing?”
“I will figure that out as needed. Nobunaga I saved your life that day in the fire,” she started,“I have never asked for anything in return. I work hard for the castle and its people. I am asking now; I want this.”
He looked her over and realized she really did want this. He gazed at her and noticed his five most trusted men had now entered his room sometime during the heated exchange. They all looked at him and then at her then bundle she held close to her.
“Princess if that is truly what you want.”, he sighed, and she beamed. “It will not disturb the castle, is that understood?”
She looked up at him and smiled nodding. The five men in back of her stood with looks of slight horror at the scene.
“If you claim it as your own Princess it should have a name. Don’t you think?”, Nobunaga said as he peered closer at the bundle using his finger to touch it. The five men inched closer as they all started to relax around the bundle.
“I have to think of that.”
“Ieyasu check it over and see if it is okay.”, Nobunaga said.
Ieyasu grumbled and came over and took the bundle from her and placed it on the table. He did a check over it. As he did, she stood off to the side as Nobunaga had called in pages and others to run and fetch things for the Princess’s use. This brought many questioning looks, but no one voiced a concern. The other men looked at it as Ieyasu was still working.
She looked at all six, and each had a different expression ranging from confusion to complete perplexing. She found it heartening. They looked at her as well. Their gazes all softened as they did. When Ieyasu had finished his examination and said it was okay, she laughed as he could not hand it back fast enough. Masamune had grown closer and began to play with it as he looked down with a look she hadn’t seen before. He was extremely close to both her and it. She had to take a step back and smiled. She told them she needed to go to her room and have it readied. She took her leave of them as all six men watched her go. Five turned to Nobunaga and asked an unspoken question to which he laughed,“You try to argue with her when she looks that beautiful.”
All nodded as they would not have stood a chance either.
Hideyoshi was the first to stop by that night. He had some cloth he thought she would be able to use for it. He gazed upon it as it slept and his expression softened. He left shortly after. Masamune was next with a few wooden blocks he thought it could play with. She laughed and thanked him. Mitsunari came by to drop off a few books on the subject. He bent down and just stared with open curiosity as it moved slightly as it slept. Ieyasu came by with supplies that it might need, and he then told her of all the things he would make in time for it. Last was Mitsuhide who she didn’t expect at all. She figured the others would come, Hideyoshi would be practical, Masamune would see a playmate, Mitsunari would have books, Ieyasu would bring supplies as each was in their personalities. Mitsuhide never entered her mind as someone who would care. He called out softly before he entered as it was now deep night and he slid the door open. He gazed upon her as she dealt with the noise the bundle was making. He reached out and took the bundle from her which surprised her, but it left her hands more ready to do the task she needed to. The bundle stopped making noise. The man and bundle just stared at each other. He sat down now with it on his knee and gazed upon it as it looked back. She had fixed what she needed and took the bundle and began to feed it. He watched with a soft expression that she hadn’t seen before that resembled longing.
The bundle again drifted into sleep. She placed it back to sleep more soundly, and she waited for him to say something. “Mitsuhide, can I ask why you are here?”, she asked finally breaking the silence.
“You have done a good thing, Princess. However you have made a slight mistake.”, she waited for him to call her foolish or something of the like.
“What is that?”
“It normally takes two people.”
It was a simple truth he spoke. She knew that.
“No one here will deny you even the smallest request but did you think this through?”
“I have some things to think through still, but I can do it.”
“I have thought your decision through.”, He said. Which since he was the one who plotted it didn’t surprise her. “I am guessing that pile is from the others?”
“Yes everyone brought gifts.”
“I, too, am offering a gift.” He said hesitantly. She looked up at him. “You will need help. I am here to offer my help.”
She looked at him as if he had grown three heads. He was a solitary creature and one who loved to bring the ire of the entire forces onto himself. However, as he looked into her eyes, she knew he would be there to help her.
“Did you think of what to call it?”, he asked.
“Mitsumasa Nobunari Oshiyasu”, she said.
“You included us?”
“All of you. Yes. You are my family here. It is only right to name it after all of you.”
“It lacks one name, however.”, he said, and she looked at him puzzled,“ It needs a last name.”
He looked again at the sleeping bundle and then back at her,“I will claim it as well to give it that.”
“Oh, Mitsu you don’t have to do that. I chose to save it; it is my responsibility.”, she started, and he lifted his finger and placed it on her lips.
“No princess you saved all of us. I am also making a choice and taking responsibility for it. You will not be alone in its care.”
He looked deep into her eyes his soul snatching look, and she got lost. He smiled a soft and pure smile. He glanced again at the sleeping bundle and said,“Your name will be Mitsumasa Nobunari Oshiyasu Akechi.”
As he spoke the bundle again opened its eyes and stared at Mitsuhide as he finished the statement,“ My son.”
The baby cooed up at him, and he took it out of the cradle and held the infant out to gaze at him as he moved closer to the princess he looked into her eyes again and smiled as he changed his last statement,“our son.”
She placed her head on his shoulder as he held the child and murmured to it.
The days went by, but you could find the princess of Azuchi’s castle often around the castle running around chasing after her adopted son who had learned to walk or better run. He had become a toddler quickly and could often be found playing with Masamune in the garden or with Ieyasu playing with swords. Sometimes he would be on The shoulders of Hideyoshi as he did his rounds of the castle. Mitsunari would often read to the boy as he smiled softly at him; however he was never left alone with that Mitsu for very long. The most exciting place the boy had been found was nestled up asleep on Nobunaga during a war council. Little Mitsumasa had no fear of his “uncles” as any normal person would. They all would often play and hold the child. He was again with his uncles and father as they had maps out as they were planning another invasion he kept moving a piece to one spot as they moved it back. He continued to do so, and Mitsuhide had called for the princess to come and take her son back. When she arrived, he handed the boy off to her as he dipped down to kiss her cheek. When Nobunaga looked at the piece, the child kept moving and the placement of where he had placed it. He walked over and removed the boy from his mother’s arms to which he put the boy back on the table. All were curious now and watched the boy. He again picked up the one piece and placed it back. Six men stood and saw it and all of them looked at the boy who was smiling. “That is my nephew, the brilliant strategist!”, Nobunaga said proudly.
“Excuse me that is my son.”, Mitsuhide replied.
All the men chuckled and watched the boy some more however he was done playing with the pieces and wanted the Princess,“mama!”
He said lifting his pudgy arms. She picked him up off the table and held him on her hip. All the men realized the boy had somehow made her even more beautiful as Mitsuhide saw the looks of his friends he turned her towards the door. She laughed at his open jealousy.
“How did you of all people win her over?”, Masamune questioned after she left.
“You offered her blocks. You offered her cloth. You offered her medicine. You offered her books. I offered her acceptance and help.”, He said going through the list. He smiled at the memories of that first night. “She was up for grabs that night, along with the child. I stayed as you all left, that won her.”
They all glared at him; he didn’t care though as he got so much more than just a son that night he got the love of his life and a family.