Dragon Sword and Wind Child

Read Dragon Sword and Wind Child for Free Online

Book: Read Dragon Sword and Wind Child for Free Online
Authors: Noriko Ogiwara
Tags: Ebook, book
back for so long began to fall.
    IT SEEMED that her tears would never run dry. She wept as she walked and walked as she wept, oblivious of her direction. Saya, who rarely cried, did not know how to stop. Finally, exhausted, she sat down on a fallen log to rest when suddenly the tree beside her spoke.
    â€œWhy do you weep?” it asked.
    The voice was pleasant, like a breeze sighing through the treetops, and it sounded so natural that she replied without thinking, “Because I am all alone.”
    â€œYou could find no lover?”
    â€œMore alone than that.”
    At that moment she heard another voice whisper tensely from the far side of the thick grove of trees. She craned her neck in surprise and peered into the darkness.
    â€œIt’s just one of the village maidens crying. There’s no cause for concern,” the first voice answered quietly.
    The shadows beneath the cedars were so thick that it was impossible to tell if anyone was there. Saya sniffed loudly, an action she regretted immediately, and asked suspiciously, “Who are you?”
    At last she saw something move and a figure stepped out from the trees into the moonlight. He was tall and graceful, like a young cypress tree. Beneath the white light of the full moon, it was clear that he was more than just an ordinary man—far more. Saya caught her breath and froze. She had thought that nothing more could surprise her after the events of that evening, but now she doubted her own eyes, sure that she must be dreaming. On his head he wore the same silver helmet that she had so often imagined, shining with the radiance of a hundred moons.
    Before her stood Prince Tsukishiro himself.
    THE PRINCE stood bathed in moonlight—a silver statue in a trough of darkness amid the rustling leaves. Though he appeared phantomlike, his presence was palpable. His feet were just as firmly rooted to the ground as the surrounding mountains. Yet he was far too beautiful to be human. Saya felt the hair rise along the nape of her neck and realized for the first time that this sensation could be caused by something other than fear.
    The Prince was armed for battle, wearing chain mail, helmet, and gauntlets, with a quiver slung across his back and a long sword resting at his hip. The clothes beneath his armor were white, his shirtsleeves bound by cords ornamented with small beads. His face under the shining helmet was fine-featured, with an aquiline nose and exquisitely gentle eyes. He exuded an air of refinement and grace, while at the same time radiating an awe-inspiring strength, an overwhelming power such that, just by standing there, he caused the night to change its shape and the forest its fragrance.
    Saya was so lost in admiration that she completely forgot he could see her face clearly, too. By the time she came to her senses and covered her face with her sleeve, Prince Tsukishiro had already had plenty of time to inspect her.
    â€œWhy do you hide your face?” he chided gently.
    â€œI was crying.” She was so embarrassed. She blushed behind her sleeve to think how awful she must look.
    â€œI know. You cried a long time.” His voice held the hint of a smile. It had a beautiful timbre.
    â€œLift up your face.” Although his tone was gentle, his words commanded. Saya obeyed him automatically, before she had even had time to think.
    As she gazed up at him, he said, “Are you not the Water Maiden?”
    Saya recoiled as if she had been slapped in the face. Her eyes grew to twice their size. “How . . . how do you know that name?”
    His eyes were hidden now in the shadow of his visor. But his voice remained gentle. “I know a maid with a face like yours. No, I knew her . . . a long time ago. It was just a short while, but she lived in my palace at Mahoroba.”
    Who am I? thought Saya in despair. Am I just the shade of Princess Sayura? She clasped her hands together tightly to keep them from trembling and replied in

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