At First Sight

The young women of the castle sneak a look at the new warriors. Drama with Pre-Romance, I-2

“Oh, oh, over here! Come here, Sakuno, you can see the new warriors from here!”

Sakuno squeaked as her friend grabbed her hand and pulled her toward an open screen. “Tomoka! But… if they see us…”

Tomoka paused to give her an exasperated look. “One of them might be someone we’re married to. You know Sumire-gozen is thinking about that for you these days. You want to look, don’t you?”

“Well…” Sakuno nibbled her lip.

“Good. So come on!”

Sakuno didn’t resist being dragged this time, though she did entertain a very brief and uncharitable thought that Tomoka’s kimono were plainer than hers and less likely to be seen through the screening leaves. That was unkind, though, she scolded herself. Tomoka was her friend and would never leave her in trouble.

Even if she did get them both into trouble with her boldness.

They did have a good view of some of the new, young samurai gathered under the trees. They must have just finished some training. They all looked tired and dusty and one was all wet from the well-bucket he’d just turned up over his head.

“I’ll be given rank soon,” one of them was saying. “Thanks to my two years of battle experience, I have advantages.”

Tomoka snorted, inelegantly, beside Sakuno. “I bet his father was a foot soldier.”

“Tomoka!” Sakuno hissed, making hushing motions.

And then she was distracted.

One of the samurai who had been standing quietly on the edge of the group took the well bucket and dipped up some water to drink. The calm of his expression and the economy of his gestures fixed her eyes on him. “Oh…”

“Hm?” Tomoka nudged against her shoulder. “What?”

“The dark one,” Sakuno murmured. “With the deep eyes.”

“The one at the water?” Tomoka made approving sounds. “He looks just about our age! He must be really good to be here at the castle so young.”

“Yes…” Sakuno sighed as the one they were watching pushed his hair back. He was so graceful.

“Sakuno-hime! Are you in here?”

Sakuno jumped and squeaked at the voice of one of her kinswoman’s ladies in waiting. “They’ll find us!”

“Hurry up, then,” Tomoka hissed back, jumping to her feet and pulling Sakuno toward an inner room.

Sakuno went along as fast as possible, but she also threw a last look over her shoulder, though the small spring leaves, at the young samurai.