“What are we doing here?” Takeko wondered out loud.
“Well, as I recall, your visions didn’t exactly give me concrete directions on what to do next. It’s a good thing the shinobi network told me where to find the Portuguese ship.”
“A network of spies the government has planted throughout the country.”
“Oh, is that why at least 5 strange animals came right up to you while we were walking.”
“Hmm? Oh yes, they are trained to deliver messages so that I don’t have to meet the shinobi. They’re very secretive…”
They stood in front of one of the handful of ramshackle driftwood huts built on the shore.
“It’s too quiet… These huts are empty, and you’d think everyone was out fishing except…”
“Except that their boats are still pulled up on the beach.” Teruro finished.
“And something is wrong… with this village and with that boat…”
Teruro looked at Takeko briefly and said, “I think that the villagers were all shot and buried nearby.”
Takeko looked thoughtful for a moment and shrugged. “We should see if they have any food we could take.”
“We’ll see about that after we find out if the Portuguese still have the book, or if they don’t, who they sold it to. So help me get this boat into the water.”
Teruro sculled the single oared fishing boat out to the anchored Portuguese ship that loomed besides them. Its sails were furled and it was completely still and quiet in the water.
“Hmph. For it to be this quiet either that ship is deserted, the crew is dead, or they are waiting in ambush.” Teruro said. He smirked and whispered to himself “Lets go see which one.” He quickly made his way up the rope ladder and disappeared onto the ship.
Takeko strung her bow and shouldered her quiver. “I wonder if the Portuguese eat umeboshi?” She shrugged and followed Teruro up the ladder.
The deck was dark and deserted. And after a few minutes of poking around, they came to the conclusion that no one was on board.
“I’m going to search the captain’s cabin to see if I can’t find something useful. Stay here.” With that Teruro walked down the deck.
“And while you’re doing that I’m going to see what I can find in the ship’s galley” Takeko said to herself, moving in the opposite direction.
Portuguese ship (detail), attributed to Kano Naizen (1570-1616)