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Katanagatari Unofficial English Translation: Act 1: Zettou Kanna: Chapter 3: Strategian (上)
daniel0987

If you want to go by the book, like the position and the status regarding a strategian :
The Owari Shogunate and the military is being set up simultaneously -- and the white hair lady Togame introduced herself as the Strategian of the army general director in support of critical tasks, this matter we would talk about it in a later time. One of the reasons is that it is unable to be explained and mentioned, and the other reason is --- It is hoped that she would maintain secrecy and mysterious manner. However, to question the nature of Togame --- Togame is not really loyal to the Shogunate.

Her purpose of collecting Shikizaki Kiki's swords, therefore landing on Fushoujima, it is not for the Shogunate.

Strategian Togame is not like the ninja that works for money, nor like the swordsmen that work for honor, yet she was the most  not loyal to the Shogunate.

Then why on earth did she come here for?

The real reason to this conspiracy, is one of the plot lines of this story.

~~~~~~~~~~
 

Failure.

Togame silently thought to herself.

To what aspect of failure she meant, she herself did not know; It fails because she came to the inhabited island, or it fails because she decided to rely on Kyotouryuu's head. Why did she want to rely on Kyotouryuu?

Kyotouryuu 7th Generation Head, Yasuri Shichika.

From the previous conversations, Togame already guessed that Shichika's mental faculties are not too bright, yet she didn't expect him to be stupid like that, he wholly put his trust in his skills, yet he forgot the founder completely, it is really despairing. Even though Shichika is that laid back, could he evade the shuriken barrage that Maniwa Koumori shot out? He sadly has no choice. Therefore, Shichika had allowed Maniwa Koumori steal Togame away from under his nose, well it is not actually too much for him; Much less Togame or the founder of his style, this battle was like a first test for him --- Kyotouryuu is it's own unique sword style, however in the teachings there are no directives on how to pursue enemies who were fleeing.

The reason is as follows.

The opponent is a ninja, and their trademark is them being despicable and lowly.

Maniwa Koumori said that he wanted to use ninpou, but he did as what he said.

After he released the shuriken barrage, Koumori flew across the beach, in one stride he reached Togame's side; That time Togame and Shichika was in awe by the freakshow, was stunned, couldn't dodge in time ---

No, at that time Togame was calm and collected, she who is without any knowledge and experience in fighting skills couldn't hide or defend herself from one of the 12 leaders of the Maniwa Ninja Corps Maniwa Koumori; That is because she is a strategian who does not use a blade.

"That was close, that was close. That brat is really something, he really has a simple minded attitude, in a flash decided on a method to counter a barrage of shurikens. If it was someone else, they would have turned tail and run. HAHAHA, However, since it is you that is scouring out for someone to help you, naturally he would have some ability! Little Kitty."

Maniwa Koumori sniggered to Togame who was tied up by twine rope to the tree. Of course, the rope was taken from within Koumori's body, coated with the sticky bodily fluids.

Koumori hauled Togame while he fled through the forest, he ran pretty much in every direction, zig-zagged along the way --- Of course, he and Togame are different, to prevent himself from leaving any footprints, he spent most of his time zipping through the forest canopy --- When he felt that he went in deep enough, he then searched for a suitable place to rest. When Koumori goes about his actions, Togame had no strength to resist him; Firstly, he bound her hands to the back of her body and then he continued to tie her to an enormous tree.

"Well, that kid is little bit naive! He only knows how to fight, but he hasn't been to any battles yet. Well he grew up in this barren shithole island, so I think the situation is a little understandable."

"Hmph....... Coward!"

Togame scolded.

Since she is bound from head to toe, she could only move her mouth.

"You don't dare challenge Kyotouryuu head on?"

"Oi oi oi, what nonsense are you spouting?I am not a swordsman nor a martial artist, it wouldn't be a fair fight. If I did, I will be shamed, and my comrades won't even look up to me. Facing a skilled warrior, using brute strength would be dumb, while using intellect would be wise, right? Strategian-san."

"Don't you ever put me in the same level as you!"

Togame gritted her teeth and seethed out:

"All you do is to come out with methods to bully people, while I as a strategian use methods for weak to fight the stronger opponents by whittling away their morale and spirit!"

"Oh my god that is so righteous! However, Strategian-san, with regards to all of your unrighteous deeds, I knew all and every single one of them!"

"Ah......?"

"Ha! That is because I am a ninja, not a swordsman, don't put me together in the same boat with Sabi Hakuhei."

Koumori started to laugh, that blood red mouth of his is ever wider than before.

"That's right, the conversation that you held with the Kyotouryuu Boy, I was overheard everything clearly at one side. I am a ninja, quite righteous of course, right? I never knew after me would be that Sabi Hakuhei --- Oh yeah, without that dude, how would he stand up against Maniwa Ninja Corps? Well even he had betrayed you,  you are really an unlucky lady indeed!"


"So you heard it all...... well I am not that surprised."

"Little Kitty, don't be such a sour puss! I am not even peeping over you committing adulterous acts. Speaking of which, you should be a little more careful. Your mental faculties aren't bad at all, just that it is quite unguarded."

"..........."

Togame was at a loss of words to how to answer back.

She knew of his capability, yet she didn't expect him to impersonate the ferryman. Other than the shuriken barrage that she didn't know, Maniwa Koumori's modus operandi, she was clearly well versed in it.

"Oh, if  you never knew that there was someone else listening, would you say such mushy things? [I have you fall for me]? Gyahaha, that was surprising and really wild! Why didn't you ever say such things to me?"

"......if I had said it. Would you have not betray me? Stop spouting nonsense, are you going to take me as a hostage?"

"Hostage? Now thats not a bad idea."

Koumori pretended to scratch his chin.

"However you and that Kyotouryuu boy just met each other, not much of a use, I presume. Well if switched to the other missus, now that would be an effective one, worth it to be a hostage."

Maniwa Koumori was a little too gleeful.

Togame silently thought that the missus he meant was referring to Nanami. Since he was eavesdropping at the side, of course he would know the existence of Nanami.

"However it would be best to forget it, that missus could be a little dangerous herself. Originally I intend to use my own specialty skill the shuriken barrage, in one fell swoop get rid of the bother you and Kyotouryuu represents, never knew that I was thwarted by that missus."

"............"

Togame recalled to the point of time in the small house who had any reaction to the release of the shuriken barrage, it was Nanami. She moved when the shuriken barrage was launched, before even the shuriken blasted through the wall, she already pushed Shichika and Togame's shoulders.

Yasuri Nanami, no doubt that she is one of Kyotouryuu.

"Anyways there is nowhere to flee in this desolate island, wait till I settle you and Kyotouryuu, then I will deal with that missus!"

".....if you want to kill me or cut me, hurry up and do it already!"

"Don't act so dignified, little Kitty. You may have said it like that, but in reality you are plotting how to outsmart me right? What's inside of you, is even more vile than me!"

Koumori plastered his face against Togame's face, its close enough to feel the breath on her face.

"Relax, I had a lot of things that I am going to enquire you about, I won't kill you, the previous shuriken barrage is also aimed solely on the Kyotouryuu Boy, I never intended to take your life; Saying to settle both of you at the same time, it was a joke. Of course, there is a intent for me to inflict serious injury, HAHAHA!"

"If you would attack with that calculation in mind, I would suggest you know a little bit about moderation. Not withstanding Kyotouryuu, if I were nicked even a little I would die. You don't know how fragile I am."

"What good would it do to tell me this? In my plan, I was hoping that Kyotouryuu Boy would at least be your shield...... Anyways what I came here for, naturally it is about Shikizaki Kiki's blades --- Shikizaki Kiki's Perfect Deviant Blades, other than the Zettou [Kanna] that I held, where are the rest of the 11 at? Who are the sword owners? How do they look like?"

"..........."

"You said that you found 6 of the swords' location, however don't tell me that you have no idea about the remaining 6? Since Kyuu Shogun in his time already found out where all the 12 sword went, and since you had connections with the army, shouldn't you at least have a teeniest bit of information about their whereabouts?"

"Although, I also dirtied my hands a little and did research --- For example the sword Sabi Hakuhei obtained and promptly vanished Hakutou [Hari] ; It was aptly named, the sword was like it's name, it was thin as a needle, if viewed horizontally, you really can't see it at all, only highly skilled warriors can use it. [Kanna] has it's toughness as it's focus, while [Hari] has its lightness as it's focus. However the sword is extremely fragile, so only the most skilled out of the skilled are able to use it. HAHAHA! I understand why you ordered Sabi Hakuhei to obtain this sword; It is because the only one who can properly wield this sword, it's only Sabi Hakuhei."

"......"

"As for the sword that has sheer numbers as it's focus, what's it's name again, Sentou [Tsurugi], is it? A strange sword that consist of 1000 swords ..... This information I was unable to find out, if I had obtained the information out of you, it would be excellent; That is why I followed you to this island. However what you said to the Kyotouryuu Boy, isn't as much as what you had told me!"

"......."

"Are you that bored so not to make any sounds? TCH!"

Koumori spat unhappily, stepped away from Togame.

" --- I sincerely ask you something, do you want to betray the Shogunate, work with me? I will give you a share, I wouldn't take all for myself."

"I refuse."

Togame replied immediately:

"I don't trust people who worked for money."

"Are you still mad at that betrayal? Didn't I just say? Trusting a ninja is a problem in itself. Of course, you should be angry ---"

"You kept repeating this words, what are you trying to ---"

"Forget it."

Koumori abruptly cut the conversation.

"Truthfully, the 12 leader of Maniwa Ninja Corps are competing with each other, trying to see who can get the most blades; We will get a share from selling the swords, but if the more swords you get, the larger the share you would attain. So at this point I was the only one who made the first cut.... The others naturally won't let down their guard, especially that Kawauso (川獺)around, so basically --- If you work with me, it would be efficient!"

"Sadly to say it has been a lost cause!"
"You should say it was a total gain instead, because later on I could take my time to interrogate you..... Is your face turning green in fright? HAHAHA! There is a saying: " With regards to interrogation, the ninjas are the most cruel." --- This saying is a little too exaggerated, truthfully we are not that brutal."

"Hmph......"

"Relax! I won't start my interrogation yet, because lucky for you I don't have my equipment around.  After the second shuriken barrage, other than [Kanna] it depleted my whole arsenal of weapons; That move I shouldn't use it twice. So I decided when I get back to the mainland, I would be happy to do what I want with your body!  But beforehand, I will clean up that Kyotouryuu brat."

Kyotouryuu 7th Generation Head --- Yasuri Shichika.

"This competition to collect the swords is only big enough for my Maniwa Ninja brothers, we would find another way to eliminate Sabi Hakuhei...... HAHAHA! I don't wish that when I interrogate you, will suddenly got stabbed by some arm sword."

"......So that what it is,  why then you did not finish the fight? I didn't expect you to stoop that low to that despicable level."

"Didn't I just say? Fighting the enemy with brute strength is a stupid thing to do, now the times has changed, now there are no one who would use swords to fight against each other! Well it is ironic that I am a Ninja that doesn't use swords while Kyotouryuu don't use blades either, isn't it? So I decided to be more tricky --- only that I use dirty tricks to win! That joke, do you understand?  Since I am talking to a strategian, maybe I am just preaching what you already know --- To survive, one must not challenge someone who is more powerful than yourself; So even if I made a miscalculation, I won't fight with someone even with at least half the strength of what I had. When I heard about your ridiculous words, I rather not say that it is preaching what you already know, rather talking to a rock?"

"This is called a ramblings of a madman. I won't fight with some one not near my level."

"Really? It seems that our viewpoint does not match at all."

"You think that Shichika isn't someone normal at all?"

 All of the Maniwa Ninja Corps Leaders, how could they allow to indict such an inexperienced member into their ranks?

"Regards to fighting him head on, it would be hard to cope; Even if I am a swordsman, I couldn't say I would win, However I am a ninja, I have more tricks up my sleeve."

"So by taking people as hostage, you don't think that the opponent won't go into the forest to find the one that kidnapper, you even dare to say such a thing?"

"No no no, didn't I just say? You are no use as a hostage. That said, to that Kyotouryuu brat, the mountain is like his house, it is totally part of his turf, any plans to fight would be not effective at all; If I would strike now, I would lose. And if Kyotouryuu found us now, it would be like two birds with one stone, I would not have even a stage to perform on."

"Two birds with one stone?"

Is that even possible?

Togame has no worth by being a hostage, and it is very dubious of her being so; And how that stupid man move after that, Togame won't even know.

Smart people won't understand how stupid people think.

Then again ---

It could be that Kyotouryuu..... is going on a rampage killing everything it comes in contact with......!

"So I won't do a sneak attack, instead I go and face him head on."

"......"

"You don't believe, right? However you should be clear about my ability."

One of the twelve leaders of Maniwa Ninja Corps, Maniwa Koumori.

His ninjustu is not having large amounts, exceedingly long or the likes of weapons and various stuff being shoved inside his body.

This paltry tricks are just the tip of the iceberg of what his ninjutsu can do. Just now Maniwa Koumori mentioned one of his comrade, One of the 12 leaders of Maniwa Ninja Corps, Maniwa Kawauso (真庭 川獺) and his supposedly useful skills, however Togame acknowledged that Maniwa Koumori's skills are more useful, therefore she looked to the Maniwa Ninja Corps.

Only crackling sounds are heard, and Maniwa Koumori's limbs changed shape.

Both of his hands tugged on his face as if it was clay, not only his cheeks, but his whole head was being remolded ----

"Oh...... Done! How was it? Does it look alike?"

Not even in 10 counts, his head has been reconstructed to be alike Togame, its almost like they swapped heads.

To him this is extremely easy to do.

Not only the facial structure or the cheeks, even the hair length is identical, the color of the hair is the same snowy white; So it is basically the entire package, he imitated one by one.

"Ngh....!"

Togame already knew he could do that, yet every time she saw it it was quite disturbing. And there exist a ninja who could change his appearance on a whim, even the skin color was changed!

Therefore Maniwa Koumori was the supposedly trustworthy ferryman that Togame specially picked out --- Therefore, when Nanami mentioned the matter about the ferryman, she immediately knew that the one who damaged the small is Maniwa Koumori.

It was really in vain that she was overly careful in doing her stuff, specially made sure that she wasn't follow by him; Yet she never would have dream that, he would came to the island with her together.

Of course, the real ferryman isn't in the realm of the living anymore.

"This is Ninpou: Kotsuniku Zaiku (忍法:骨肉雕塑) --- HAHAHA! Right, the body I have to touch up a little too. HAHAHA! Your body stature is not bad!"

There is a wrenching sound, and Maniwa Koumori's male buff body was transformed into a slender and gentle woman's body. That's right, with Maniwa Koumori's Ninjustu, no matter how big or small, male or female, his body can accommodate to these parameters.

To describe this as a ninja, it was really old fashioned. But Maniwa Koumori is really a [Mountain who had ever changing faces] --- No one knows whether he is originally a male or female, young or old, and his original appearance, it is hard to say whether he craft it out to suit his liking. Couldn't say that he had already forgotten how he originally looked like.

Flexible ninja, Maniwa Koumori.

With the amount of shurikens and the sword that was stuffed into his body and it does not even restrict any blood flow, and it really boost his shocking factor of his flexibility.

The flexibility that he had and within him the incomparable toughness that [Kanna] encompasses, it was like a true antonym, yet it exist with each other.

It's because Togame assigned Maniwa Koumori to obtain [Kanna], and likewise for [Hari] which was entrusted to Sabi Hakuhei.

After twisting and molding the fingers, Maniwa Koumori totally transformed into Togame; Well this time he spent more than 10 counts doing this, it is really a short period of time. Even it is a short period of time, watching him transform into the image of Togame, it sure leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

"Huge success!"

Even the voice is identical to Togame's.

Koumori's laughed maniacally using Togame's voice:

"Don't you think that I sound like you? One's own voice and hearing the other people's voice, it is different; So this is how you sound like in his ears. Hearing how you sound like in another perspective, is it quite weird and disgusting?"

This is not a mimicry, the gleeful emotions aren't that simple to replicate. Koumori's changed voiced, so that means, he even changed his voice box and the rest of his body structure to match one with Togame's.

Therefore, there are not much difference in his voice and Togame's.

Togame felt repulsed, but it is not because she heard her voice from another perspective.

She didn't even think that her internal organs are even being replicated in their entirety.

"To mimic to that degree .... are you trying to get Shichika to let down his guard?"

"Ah, that's right. Well whether this trick is despicable or not, you don't have the right to judge! That is because to obtain [Kanna], it is almost the same to this method."

"......"

That's right.

That time Togame had used the shapeshifter's ability to achieve the result.

"No ---- no matter where or what situation, you have no right to criticize me."

Koumori said ominously, and yet plunged his hand into his mouth again. Togame was heavily against that he did that with her image, and since she was tied to a tree, she had no means to stop it. It could be that Koumori knew that Togame was easily provoked, therefore did it in full view in front of her.

After a while, he pulled out his arm which carries a small bag of sorts, Togame immediately could tell that the bag contains clothing. Oh yeah! When that guy impersonated the ferryman, he didn't wear that gaudy ninja uniform.

"Even if I impersonated you perfectly, wearing these clothes, I would immediately get unmasked. Tearing off your clothes to wear is not such a bad idea, it's such a pity that I wasn't capable of that; So as to cover more options, I prepared an identical set of clothing.

Koumori had put the clothes in the bag, it is to prevent it from getting went from all the saliva; And for the ferryman's disguise he also kept with it, putting the whole bundle into his body. Could it be that his body is a four dimensional storage system? This is really ridiculous, even coming to the conclusion that his body is extremely flexible is baffling; That of course, a ninjutsu is an art that is not explainable by normal means ---

"HAHAHA! When you write that report, make sure to mention that this clothing I specially prepared it, just to avoid the higher ups to let their lewd thoughts go out of control --- Speaking of which, what you will be writing that time won't be a report, but a will instead!"

"......having such a crazy and interesting ninja to appear on scene, it would be quite hard to pen down."

"Ha! Hear ye hear ye. Tch, why do you have to wear such expensive clothes? I kept bargaining and bargaining away, and I don't even know whether I could get a reimbursement for this, and also get me to package it up myself to boot, my heart aches whenever I thought of it. However comparing this to the worth of Shikizaki Kiki's blades, this spending isn't much, its just the like a drop of water in the sea."

"Other than for profit.... Don't you even feel a bit perverted?"

"I didn't felt that way. How many times do I have to say? Now the times has changed! Utilize unconventional methods,and the others would think that you had brains to go with your head. How else would you maintain your status as a strategian then?"

Koumori speedily took off his ninja attire, changed into the glamourous clothes that was in the package, he uses his arms to tie the sash around his waist in the most bone wrenching and unnatural way; He changed so quickly as if it took 3 easy steps, wore the snow shoes that he also specially prepared, and finally packed his ninja attire into the bag, and swallowed it whole.

"And then, tear this skirt at this side.... Ok! Now that is identical. HAHAHA! If I impersonated you and went back to Owari Castle, it should be interesting right? Just go there and make a din, then it will turn you into a traitor, at that point I don't think you would have a choice, just lend me your strength!"

"Bastard..... You cannot maintain your appearance that long, if you would be discovered in an inopportune moment, you farce would be exposed......"

"Don't you treat it as real! I am just joking, why so serious? If this ninjutsu can replicate whatever content your brain stores it would be perfect, it would seems that I did not hone it enough.... Oh? Yes, where was the toy that you carry on your waist? Didn't you originally carry around some generic looking sword? After the sword was confiscated, you just left it in the house?"

"......Ngh."

That's right.

Togame was not well versed in handling swords, and when she chased that 2 guys, she didn't had the habit to bring her sword along with her; And even if she wanted to, Nanami won't give it back to her easily. And she had zero ability in using a sword.

"Then I have no choice then, I have to use [Kanna] to eliminate him. Using this body alone, it is impossible to achieve a victory ..... The shuriken supply is also depleted."

"You think you can win against him?"

"Of course I can win. Since the opponent and you knew my fighting capability very well, victory is uncertain; However that Kyotouryuu brat only know that I can pull swords out of my mouth, well seeing that he was quite disinterested in other stuff, he won't know about the identity stealing stuff. Hm, living on this island, I am not surprised he would turn out this way."

"Didn't you say that you want to face him head on?"

"I said I would face him head on, but I didn't say how to face him head on. If I could impersonate that missus, it would be more effective, it's a pity I didn't get a look at her appearance. If I knew earlier I would have not just eavesdrop, but I should peep. Oh yeah, how was the missus? Is she still at the small house?"

"......"

Of course.

She need not look at the fight, and she let her brother had his way; If you want to see Kyotouryuu's ability, then you may do as you please --- Nanami said that that time.

Nanami apparently put her trust wholly on Shichika; However, when Togame thought about the situation she is in now, she felt that Nanami's trust was put in a wrong place. That said, she did not divulge Nanami's whereabouts to Koumori.

Togame didn't say a word, nor answered back.

Koumori also expected that she won't answer, and said:

"Forget it, it is not important. Even if she ran away it won't be hard to track her down. So sorry, you would have to wait here."

"Wooo --- Wait, wait up!"

Maniwa Ninja Corps and Sabi Hakuhei both betrayed her, and the whole of Kyotouryuu bloodline is about to be slaughtered, Togame really was desperate now, she didn't have another plan to collect up the swords.

No matter if it ends in failure, for now Togame could only rely on Kyotouryuu; She already ran out of strategies.

She would try it again and again!

"What's wrong?"

Maniwa Koumori gazed at Togame's face, squinted his eyes and said:

"Even if I kill or didn't kill, I believe that brat won't help you. [I have you fall for me?] Such moving words! Why didn't you tell it to me the first time? I would reply you: [In this world,there would be none that would fall for you!]"

"......"

"I originally worked for money, and if I knew you were that kind of woman from the start, I would never would have worked with you. Just now the invitation to work with me again, it was so I could betray you again."

Koumori repeated what he had just said:

"In this world, there would be none that would fall for you!" 


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