It was at that moment, my Master summoned me from sleep. Raw butchery ensued and then there was silence as my Master held me in his right hand while I dripped of repulsion…
My Master, a man of sound mind and practitioner of Confucian philosophy, never called upon me unless it was to right a wrong. Typically most wrongs deserved it, especially this one. There, in the puddle of his own contaminated virtue, the perpetrator lay cross-sectioned about. For he had suffocated my Master with an insurmountable degree of depression and misery from the years of detracting from his life.
My Master’s wife had deteriorated in spirit, as sickness by heartache, from all the lonely times without my Master. Their children starved for time with their father too, but more so from the shortcomings in the cabinet. For his wife could not cook the food that was often imagined they’d had. Its telling how a plain bowl of rice could somehow transform into a lavish and bountiful spread when one is famished… Their meager living conditions were sufficient enough to, at the very least, keep the rain off the hay they slept on.
Time after time, hardship in the form of insufficiency broke my Master’s spirit to the point he would fall to his knees seeking Buddha’s palm for embrace. He lost his wife, their two children, and work. A Ronin during peacetime was insubstantial. As a result, my Master turned frigid, still only pursuing vengeance when provoked. I rarely seen the light of day except for my regular Choji replenishment.
The times when I was called upon, they were fierce and done in the blink of an eye. My Master’s Iaido was precise and deliberate like a Shogi play. Although, this last stand by my Master was the cardinal move of all.
The look of liberation that stung my Master’s face after the final swings were complete, upon his soul’s assassin, I will never forget. Subsequently my Master prepared for his honorable crossover to his final resting place. He then placed me on the ground and whispered, “あなたは私によく仕えました (you served me well)”. His smile was the exactness of my mune. Perhaps from the resolve that he would soon be with his family.
As I lay there, I wonder about the struggles of man and their choices… my servitude has only one course, good or evil is no choice of mine.