A Perfect Vassal
Not perfect but after a full hour of work, the haiku was the best Tonoji could come out with. He put the ink brush down slowly and looked at his work. The calligraphy was excellent as usual; it’s just too bad about the words.
Tonoji took a deep breath and tried to release his tension. His poetry has been lacking inspiration lately and frustration was getting to him. Even an amateur poet like him knows that the best poems come to the calm mind. However, Tonoji could sense that his best work was done for today.
He turned his head slightly and gave a small nod. Yashinko, who had been kneeling quietly behind him, bowed her head to the ground in acknowledgment. Tonoji stood up and walked away from the mat.
As Fujiko went about keeping the items, Tonoji took another deep breath and tried to enjoy the gentle breeze flowing through the park.
“The wind in my face
Leaves gently on the ground
Joy comes with spring”
Tonoji said the haiku out loud, but it was still as disappointing in speech as it was on paper. If this was his best, Tonoji felt he may need to find another hobby. He was so into his thoughts that he was surprised when a woman stepped in front of him and gave him a polite bow.
Tonoji quickly bowed back. When he looked up, he gave the woman a quick look. She was dressed in an elegant green kimono with prints of various flowers on it. A black hoodveil was covering her head, so Tonoji could only see her eyes but from the fashionable cut and quality of the kimono, Tonoji guessed that the woman was young and rich.
“May I help you with anything, noble lady?” Tonoji asked, wondering why the young woman would approach him.
“My apologies but I was walking in the park when I saw you sitting with brush and paper. I was wondering why you would use a traditional low desk instead of the stone tables provided in the park”
“The stone tables provided are excellent but I find it better for my mind when I use the old ways. I guess for me wood give a peace of mind stone just cannot provide.”
The young lady gave a small bow at this. “I heard your poem and if that is the case, perhaps I too should consider writing on a low desk.”
“I am a poor amateur at best,” Tonoji said humbly. “In poetry, I believe a lady as elegant and noble as yourself would be my superior.”
“That is very kind of you. May I enquire on how you know I have an interest in poetry as well?”
“With you dress and standing, it stands to reason that you are of noble birth. When I see someone attempting poetry, I too will be drawn towards them to see their skill. Add them together; I would guess that my noble lady is a poet herself.”
The lady gave another small bow to Tonoji. “Outside a love for the beauty of words, you have intelligence and sweetness as well sir.”
“I said nothing but the truth my lady. Still you must be a true lover of poetry to approach a strange man like myself just because you had heard my poor poem.”
The lady gave a girly giggle at this. “Your work is hardly poor my lord. I thanked you for your kind words…I think but I am unable to accept such praise.”
“I am only saying what I am hearing with my own ears. Anyone who think that my poor work is beauty must truly have a love for poetry.”
The lady’s giggling increased. “You are too kind sir. I’m unworthy of such praise.”
“Humility is a hallmark of a noble lady. With your every action, you prove the truth in my words.”
“I thank you then for your words. I wish to continue such a delightful conversation but I see that your servant is ready to leave.”
Tonoji looked back and saw that Yashinko was indeed ready to leave. The small wooden table was hooked to her back and she was carrying a basket in each hand. One was his writing materials while the other was the refreshments he needed for the day. The straw mat was rolled up and tucked under her left arm.
Standing there with her head bowed submissively in her faded kimono, Tonoji could see how someone could mistake her for a servant.
“I’m sorry my lady but there is a mistake. Yashinko is not my servant, she is my wife.”
The picture was one of the best he had ever done. As he put the paintbrush down, Tonoji can’t help but admire the influence of having a muse.
“It is a thing of beauty sir.” The lady said kindly.
“I thank you for your kind words. Your presence here today was an inspiration.”
The lady gave a small giggle at this. “Thank you for the flattery sir. If only I can hear such words more often. Why is it that I don’t see you that often in the park?”
“I am afraid I am only free from my studies on Sunday and that is when Yashinko and I come to the park. Do you come here often?”
“If I may be so bold, may I enquire about the name of my noble lady?”
“Only if I may know yours sir.”
“I am Maru Tonoji my lady.” Tonoji turned and introduced his wife, “and this is my wife Maru Yashinko”
“I am called Fujiko, of House Tadan.”
Fujiko was kneeling on the mat enjoying the sight. It was a joy to see a finished painting but that joy was nothing when you compare it to seeing a painter at work. Tonoji may not be much of a poet but he was a very good painter with a marvelous affinity with landscapes.
The painting this time was of a cliff in a desert landscape and as usual it was beautiful. Although not a painter herself, it seems to Fujiko that Tonoji’s skill was getting better and better. In her pride, she hoped that she had something to do with the improvement.
When he finally put his brush down, Fujiko couldn’t help but comment on his improvement. As usual Tonoji humbly rejected the praise and as the conversation went on, Tonoji turned from the art and asked a most personal question.
“If I may be so bold Fujiko-san, it has been some months since we first met and there is a question I have been meaning to ask you.”
“Please ask sir”
“Fujiko-san, you said that you are at this park everyday. Don’t you have school or family to attend to? It would seem that a noble young lady like yourself would at least have school at least.”
Fujiko stayed silent for a moment wondering how best to answer the question. She decided the truth was the best policy. “I’ve already finished high school and my results were not excellent enough to go on to higher education. It was decided by my family that I was better suited for marriage. A marriage was discussed to a son of my father’s business partner, but he died in a car accident before the marriage could take place.”
Tonoji bowed his head in respect. “I am sorry to hear that.”
“Thank you sir”
“No, it is I who must thank you. I hope I wasn’t too forward in my enquiry.”
“Oh no sir, I am glad to satisfy your curiosity.” Fujiko assured Tonoji. “Frankly I am bored with my life and it is good to have someone to talk to.”
“What about your family or your friends?”
“I am not close to my family, as for my friends…most of them are married or going for higher education.” Fujiko explained.
“And you are in neither group”
“That is correct”
“Then I must again express my sorrow at the loss of your future husband.”
“I thank you again but in true sir I hardly know the man I was to marry.”
“Still it is respectful to mourn for a man who could be a potential husband.”
“I am sorry he is dead but sorrow is something I cannot feel for I had only met him twice in my life”
“Even if it is a stranger, all life is precious my lady”
“That’s sounds like something from Qizen”
“Yes, it is why I am in the Stallion Province. I am studying to be a higher student of Qizen.”
“Oh…you are here to study the scriptures?”
“The Stallion Province is the home of the Brotherhood of Qizen and the heart of all Vipponese art and culture. The higher studies of the scriptures can only be done in this province.”
“I understand why you have such an interest in poetry and paintings then.”
“Yes they are ways for a man to strengthen the mind and increase his Qi.”
“Wait sir, you do not look like a monk of Qizen.”
“I am not my lady. A monk is one who stayed in the temple and devotes his life to the scriptures. A monk seeks his enlightenment through the study and meditation. That I fear is beyond me. I am but a mere lay person who seeks to increase his Qi. A student who seeks to spread the teachings of Qizen.”
“You are training to be a missionary?”
“Yes my lady.”
“Sir, if I may ask but I never understood why the Brotherhood never sent their monks overseas as missionaries?”
“It’s because the monks are seeking their enlightenment and it is a hard task. To be tempted by the outside world beyond the temple would make such enlightenment impossible.”
“So the job of a missionary is left to lay people like you”
“The mission to spread the teachings is better suited to ordinary people anyway. Being a monk require dedication that is…uncomfortable to most people who do not believe in the teachings of Qizen. A lay person like myself is better suited to the task of spreading the teachings.”
“It must be exciting to go overseas with such a mission.”
“It is my lady, and I can only hope I will do well in my mission.”
“I know little of Qizen sir. Perhaps you can enlighten me on some of the aspect of the teaching.”
Tonoji looked at Fujiko in surprise. “I can’t my lady. A woman is a vassal for the Qi of the men in her wife. She is the embodiment of the will of her man and her every action reflect the thinking and actions of the men in her life. Qizen can only be taught to a woman by her father when she is young, her husband when she is married, and her son when she is old. I’m surprised your father has not taught you this.”
Fujiko gave a small bow at this. “I thank you for your concern sir. My father is not a devout follower of Qizen but he did teach me his will. I am the embodiment of his will, but I wonder if it is time for me to have a new teacher.”
Tonoji gave a nervous laugh. “That will require you to marry my lady. Only your husband can spread to you his Qi.”
“I understand sir. I guessed this is one reason why I look forward to our weekly talks. I asked that you teach me the scriptures of Qizen.”
“You do understand what you are asking for, do you not?”
“Yes I do sir.” Fujiko bow her head to the ground. “Please enlighten this woman with your Qi my lord.”
A silence loomed in the park till Tonoji spoke. “Qi is what we call a man’s essence. His will, his strength, his influence; all these are his Qi. A woman like you does not have Qi as only men have will, strength, and influence. You are but a vassal that gathers the Qi of the men in your live. Your father when you are young as he is the one who provide and care for you, your husband when you are married as he is the one you will serve, and your son when you are old as he is the one who will take care of you in your old age.”
“What if the man has more than 1 woman in his life?”
“That does not matter. A man can have more than 1 daughter, more than 1 wife, if his father had 2 wives more than 1 mother. A man will influence many woman in his life.”
The lesson started and their lives would forever be changed.
There was a cool breeze in the park today. Just as well considering the situation Fujiko found herself in right now. Tonoji had use the breeze as an excuse to take a walk in the park so Fujiko and Yashinko were now left along.
It was a welcome chance for the two women to clear the air between them; that is if they knew how to approach the sensitive subject. For the past 10 minutes, the two women had been kneeling there without a word spoken by either party.
Fujiko decided that she would have to break the ice. “I am sorry if I surprised you last week with my actions. I meant no disrespect to my lady or your family.”
Yashinko gave a small bow at this and replied, “I will be lying if I said I wasn’t angry but after a week to consider the position, I am now in full approval to your intended marriage to my lord and husband.”
“You agreed?” Fujiko couldn’t help but be surprised at this. She had fully expected that she would have to plead her case to be allowed to be the second wife of Tonoji.
“It is hardly unusual for a man in Vippon to have more than one wife,” Yashinko said. “As you are of noble birth as well, your marriage would be good for my…our lord’s career as well. So if such positives, I am happy to accept you as a fellow sister.”
“I am grateful for your approval my lady but I am but the second daughter to a minor noble. I doubt my birth would be of much use to your lord.”
“Our lord” Yashinko corrected.
“That would be an error as I have not met with the approval of you yet nor have I married with Tonoji.” Fujiko gave a deep bow towards Yashinko.
“You are indeed noble born to have such grace.” Yashinko returned with a bow as deep as Fujiko. “Like I said, I approve of your marriage.”
“I am grateful for your approval my lady.” Fujiko raise her head from the bow. “I have but one small request from you on the marriage.”
“Please ask” Yashinko raise her head looked at Fujiko.
“When I am the second wife of Tonoji,” Fujiko bowed her head to the ground, “I begged that you will treat this servant kindly.”
“It will be done”
It had been a beautiful day. Tonoji had enjoyed the peaceful walk through the park and even nature was now playing its part with a soft breeze flowing through as he made his home. Just as he was enjoying the wind on his face, he heard Yashinko behind him,
“My lord husband”
“Yes. What is it my wife?” Tonoji turned back to face Yashinko.
“My lord, I still believe that it would be wiser if Fujiko-san be the first wife.”
“Yes my lord. As she is of noble birth, it would be better for your career if you take her as the first wife. I would gladly go to the temple and renounce my position of first wife in favor of her.”
“Did I not already tell you of my will on this matter?”
“Yes my lord, but…”
The slap rocked Yashinko back. The surprise and ferocity of the slap staggered Yashinko back a few steps, but once the surprise was over, she immediately got back into her initial position only this time with her face looking submissively at the ground.
“Qizen is the teaching of nature and man’s position in this world of nature. You are my first wife, Fujiko came later than you so she is the second wife. That is the way of things. What kind of missionary of Qizen would I be if I disobey even such an obvious thing?”
“I meant no disrespect my lord. I only…”
“I had spoken to you before on my decision.” Tonoji cut in, “Was I unclear in my instructions?”
“No my lord”
The answer earned Yashinko another slap in the face. This time Yashinko was ready for it and took it stoically. “So you knew of my will on the matter and yet still question my decision.” Tonoji asked, “Are you unhappy with my will?”
A sharp intake of breath answered Tonoji. “Never my lord,” said Yashinko, horrified at the suggestion that she would be ever be displeased with any decision made by her husband. “Please punish me heavily for my disobedience.”
With that Tonoji turned back and continued his walk back home. He mused that although Yashinko was a quiet, hardworking obedient wife, at times she has too much of a mind of her own.
Qizen teach that women were but vassals for their men. Having a mind of her own is not a good thing in a woman as she should be nothing but a blank piece of paper for her men to paint. Tonoji wondered if he had been too soft with her. He might have to increase Yashinko’s punishments from now on.
As it was a marriage between a man and his second wife, Tonoji and Fujiko did not have a 30 table wedding dinner but a solemn wedding ceremony at the Qizen temple. Tonoji vowed to care and protect Fujiko, while Fujiko vowed to obey and serve the Maru household to the best of her abilities.
Once the marriage ceremony was over, Fujiko found to her embarrassment that her household skills were sorely lacking in practice. Although she had been taught the wife arts of cooking, cleaning, washing and serving, she was from a noble household that was rich enough to provide her with servants. It’s one thing to know how to cook, it’s another matter altogether when you actually had to cook.
Luckily Yashinko was a patient teacher who taught her from scratch the needs and wants of their lord husband. However no matter how good of a teacher Yashinko was, there was one thing she can’t help with.
Fujiko had always had a bad memory and was especially bad at remembering names. It was a huge problem as she had to remember the names and titles of 16 generations of the Maru family. The duty of honoring the ancestors of the family is one that only the women of the household could perform, and although she did not believe in ghosts or spirits, Fujiko was adamant that she would perform all the wifely duties well.
The problem of her bad memory remains however, and Yashinko had to punish her for her failure to honor the ancestors properly. Curiously about her training, Tonoji wanted to see the results of her punishments.
It was a sight to behold.
Dropping her kimono on the floor, Fujiko stood with her back to her lord. Naked expect for her hoodveil, Tonoji saw the red lashes on her buttocks. Despite his better judgment, Tonoji found it an arousing sight.
“How many tonight?” he asked.
“8 lashes of the cane my lord. One for every name I got wrong.”
“Same as last night, there was no improvement?”
“No my lord”
“Turn around.” Tonoji waited for his second wife to turn around before continuing. “The actions of the students reflect the ability of the teacher. Your failure to remember the names of our family ancestors is partly the fault of your teacher as well. As such from tomorrow onwards, any lashes you received I will double that on both you and Yashinko.”
“No my lord, the fault is all mine. I have a bad memory and it has nothing to do with my lady Yashinko. She had been an excellent patient teacher and…”
“I have decided.” Tonoji never liked it when woman nagged.
“But my lord…” A slap to the face cut Fujiko off before she could say another word.
“I have decided” Tonoji intoned.
“Your will my lord.”
“Good. Now get on the bed and let us retire for the day.”
“Your will my lord”
As Fujiko got on the bed naked expect for her hoodveil, Tonoji reflect on how well adjusted Fujiko had been since entering the family. It couldn’t been easy to go from a noble daughter to a second wife. She had made many mistakes but she was clearly trying. That was something Tonoji appreciated. She wasn’t perfect but she’s trying and soon she would be just like Yashinko. Nothing but a vassal for his will.
Tonoji look forward to that day but now it was time was something else. Tonoji turned and saw that Fujiko had already prepared herself. Laying on the futon with her legs wide open, she hooked her hands around her knees and lifted them towards her upper body. Tonoji could see that her sex was already wet with desire and could felt his manhood rise at the sight.
Tonoji positioned himself between Fujiko’s legs and released his manhood from his briefs. He entered Fujiko slowly and asked, “What are you?”
“Your wife, a woman who is nothing but a vassal for your will my lord”
“Why are you nothing but a vassal Fujiko?”
“I am a woman and all women are but vassals for their men”
Tonoji slide gently into Fujiko, “Because men are the ones with essence, like the essence that is currently in you.”
“Yes my lord”
“Do woman have minds of their own then?”
“Yes my lord but uh…like our bodies, our minds are nothing but vassals as well.”
“Your minds are for your men to mold. For me to mold.”
“Yes my lord”
“Do you regret being born a woman then?”
“Never my lord. Uh…we all have our place in this world. My place is naturally here…beneath you.”
“Well said wife”
“You are a great teacher my lord. I will remember all your teachings, your rules, your laws and obey them always.”
Tonoji slide harder into Fujiko, “A woman is nothing without a man.”
“Yes my lord”
“A woman’s mind and body is not hers but a canvas for their men to shape and mold.”
“Yes my lord”
“Your body, your mind is nothing but a canvas for me to mold.”
“Ye…YES my lord”
“Are you ready to accept my essence now?”
“Yes my lord.”
Tonoji released his seed within Fujiko and she let out a shriek. “Remember my teachings always”
“Yes my lord.” Fujiko said happily.
“Accept my will in all things”
“Yes my lord”
“Good. Now we must sleep.”
“I love you my lord.”
“I know. Obey me in all things as directed by the teachings of Qizen and I shall treat you well.”
“Yes my lord”
“Now keep quiet and let’s sleep.” As Tonoji switched off the lights, he heard Fujiko’s last words for the night.
“Yes my lord”