Karma – 01

Chapter 1 – Prologue

Author: My name is Aoeh
This will be the first time I’ve written a story this long.
Please leave comments on your impression.
The story may involve a bit of yuri, violence, and cruelty.
You have been warned.

“… Mutou Jinnai-dono is it?”

In broad daylight on a road in the outskirts of town, a woman wearing ordinary ninja clothes asked the ronin-looking man.1

“A shinobi maybe2 perhaps someone from the Eichigo3family,” he muttered. “I am indeed Mutou Jinnai.“

“Admirable. It seems you understand why I’m here… Please hand over your life.”

The woman bent forward and, pulling a dagger from her waist, rushed at the ronin.

“As if I would hand it over so easily!”

Drawing out his katana, he intercepted the woman’s dagger.

As the blades clashed, there should have been a high pitch screech of grinding metal, but-


What echoed was a faint sound instead.

“And that concludes the afternoon section’s sword battle.”

While I rested within the ninja mansion’s female staff room, the announcement reached my ears.

“So that’s the last of today’s work.”

After checking the work hours, I took my hood and headband off and hung them on the hook inside my locker.

Thinking about it realistically, wearing the pitch black ninja clothes from sunrise till sunset in broad daylight would normally be unthinkable. To directly approach a samurai and challenge them upfront to a duel, surely one would be ashamed to name themselves a shinobi.

However, this was all for an event to attract tourists.

Located in Niigata Prefecture, our small village, the size of something between Joetsu and Itoigawa, was indeed holding a tourist event.

Whittled away by depopulation, our town, now practically a ghost town, was marketing itself as a ninja village to lure in youth in an attempt to revitalize itself.

Though one could see ninjas, I was sure that wasn’t the only reason.

This area fell under the daimyo Uesugi Kenshin’s domain. It was said that the rumoured group named Nokigiru, that served under the daimyo Kenshin as a secret intelligence agency, resided here.

After having graduated from a high school in Niigata city, I, Kagura Shino, had begun looking for a job when I heard that my hometown had began to reinvent itself as a ninja village. I rejected my unofficial job offer and hurried home.

‘Behind the mask of this young maiden, is a ninja!?’ one normally might exclaim in shock. But in a village with nothing to do, the one thing I could remember enjoying was watching the rebroadcasts of the historical dramas like Mitou Koumon4 and Hissatsu Shigotonin5 with my grandfather.

Staying true to my childish heart, I had continued down the path of a historical drama otaku, so this news was a godsend.

“Kagura-san, I’ll be heading back first~”

“Take care~”

I responded to Kai-san, with whom I had just been acting out a sword fight scene, through the door.

Coming all the way just to a place where women may or may not be changing just to bid me farewell left me with some doubts, but this village was suffering from an extreme drought of young women, so perhaps it couldn’t be helped.

It seemed that even someone with my appearance was quite popular, so I guess I could cut him some slack.

“Putting that aside…”

I took out my smartphone and started up an app.

Sengoku’s Ambition Online

An online game modelled after the Sengoku era, the Warring States period, and set in fictional Japan.

Although the phone version was only recently released, I had since linked my account and characters from the PC version that I had since been playing, so my level was quite high.

Level 85 ninja, level 76 exorcist, level 60 blacksmith, and level 77 healer.

In my one account, I have four characters, all of which are past the ‘master level’ milestone of 50.

As a result of having my own blacksmith, let’s just say I had no troubles when it came to equipment.

In a one-on-one fight, as long as it was a Nobunaga or Ieyasu difficulty boss, then I’d likely win.

But realistically, attempting such duels would leave me open to getting surrounded, and that would be quite annoying.

“Well then, who should I play as today~”

Regardless of which character I pick, they all used my real name, Kagura Shino. Since it was fairly old fashioned, I thought it was quite fitting.

“Kunoichi-chan it is!”6

I then tapped the picture of my kunoichi on my phone when…

Just like that, the phone began to suck in my finger.

1 Ronin, a type of samurai. In this case it is not modern use to refer to a salaryman in transitional unemployment or student that failed exams for the next tier of education, but is reference to master-less travelling samurai vagrants.

2 In the feudal era assassins were generally referred to as ninjas, whereas Shinobi were specifically those that practiced Ninjutsu, the way of the ninja.

3 Eichigo is also the old name of Niigata Prefecture, where the real world portion of this story is set.

4 Mito Koumon is a period drama that first aired in 1969–1975 for 1227 episodes and named after the titular protagonist. It is an alternate name for Tokugawa Mitsukuni andis also the name of several other films and series.

5 Hissatsu Shigotonin, which translates to roughly the ‘Perfect Assassin,’ is a period drama that aired from 1979–1981.

6 Kunoichi is a more modern term for female ninjas; ‘ninja’ itself is not gender specific. It is said to derive from breaking up the character for woman 女 into the three recognizable constituent strokes くノ一 (in the correct stroke order) which is read as ku-no-ichi.

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