Noh will be used in place for Nohime in this story.
It was early spring 1553 at Inoguchi and the weather was on the cool side. At Inabayama Castle, Saito Dosan, Saito Yoshitatsu, Hotta Doku, and various Saito vassals were sitting and chatting about tactics. They knew the Oda house was in turmoil after the passing of Oda Nobuhide and Hirate Masahide. However, Dosan had other ideas and knew something extraordinary was about to come.
"The Oda are weak and now is the time to invade Owari my lord," said Yoshitatsu. "What about Lady Noh? She is now with the Oda. We will have to figure out a way to rescue her. I feel sorry that she has to put with that idiot Nobunaga," answered back Doku. Yoshitatsu continued to pressure his father to attack the Oda at once. "This is our golden opportunity to attack Owari!" Yoshitatsu shouted with vigor.
Dosan was not interested starting another war with the Oda at the moment. He already defeated Nobuhide twice in the 1540s, but somehow knew Nobunaga was a rare bird. Doku spoke with urgent care about the Saito house. "My lord, the Imagawa will surely invade and overtake Owari soon. We must do something. The Saito are no match against the Imagawa."
"Do you think we are weaker than the Imagawa at the moment? I do not think so. I built Mino into a prosperous domain with blood, seat and tears. I am not going to give Mino all away to that fat Imagawa warlord." Dosan said while scratching his bald head. He soon began to rub his mustache as if he already knew the answer to the problem.
"Doku. Yoshitatsu. What do you think of my son-in-law, Nobunaga?" Yoshitatsu answered unkindly. "Nobunaga is a complete fool. He is at all times wearing a simple robe with a rope sash. Always dancing, playing the hand drum, and riding horses." Doku knew Nobunaga was out of the ordinary. "My lord, your son-in-law swims and shoots the rifle well. He rarely loses in battle and showed little or no feelings towards the loss of his father or Hirate Masahide. I am terrified and concerned about Lady Noh."
Dosan clinched his fist with the armrest by his side. After a brief moment of silence, he spoke. "I have decided to meet my son-in-law. I want to know how Nobunaga ticks. All I have heard is rumors and want to know the truth. If he is truly an idiot, then we will kill him and invade Owari, creating a buffer zone against the Imagawa." The chamber was completely quiet. Doku, Yoshitatsu, and the other Saito vassals were stunned by their lord's decision to meet the Fool of Owari.
Meanwhile, Nagoya Castle was lively. Young Nobunaga with his hair tied up chasen mage style and a simple robe was conducting shooting practice. Nobunaga loaded the rifle and shot the target dead on. "Now, make ready and prepare to fire!" Nobunaga yelled. His gunnery squad quickly loaded their weapons. "Fire!" The next unit came. "Fire!" Then the next until Nobunaga was satisfied with the results. While loading their rifles, Nobunaga and Ikeda Tsuneoki were chewing the fat. "You know Tsuneoki, the gunnery unit is getting better by the day. I will unify the Oda house in no time." Tsuneoki nodded with a smile. Then there was a loud cry. A messenger on a horse arrived unexpectedly.
"I have a letter from Inabayama Castle. Let me in at once!" The castle guards let the messenger in and Nobunaga quickly wanted to know what was all the fuss about. "Bring me the letter to me at once!" Nobunaga yelled. He opened and briefly read the dispatch. The letter was from his father-in-law, Saito Dosan. Tsuneoki was curious to find out. "What is it my lord? "Bad news?" There was no emotion from Nobunaga. Then he spoke as if nothing happened. "The Viper of Mino wants to meet me."
There were only a few people in the main room. One of them was Hayashi Hidesada. He had some troubling concerns about the proposal of meeting Saito Dosan. Nobunaga then entered the room and Hayashi and others bowed. Nobunaga was in the center with an armrest by his side. "I do not think it is a good idea my lord to meet Saito Dosan," Hayashi said. Another spoke, "A terrible idea. The viper will surely kill you." Nobunaga knew his vassal's opinions were rubbish. "I want to see my father-in-law as soon as possible. I want to taste his venom. This is the only opportunity I have to see the Viper with my own eyes. Is my father-in-law really a snake or simply human? The meeting goes on as planned!" Nobunaga said with the up most confidence. The wooden floor soon had an evil chill as he told his vassals to leave.
To be continued.
Tenka no tame!