This volume was mostly about Naoe and Minako in Aso... Yes, there is also that rape scene.
The plot so far: As Minako's life is getting in danger, Kagetora sends Naoe to take her with and escape to a secret place in Kyuushuu. Haruie and Irobe are taking care of Nobunaga's son, Kimyoumaru, who had a mysterious stone of Miroku in his hand. Yashashuu is wondering if Kimyoumaru is a kanshousha since he could communicate by using Haruie's mouth. He said that if they collect stones from all Nobunaga's three children, Miroku Bodhisattva will descent and destroy the Demon King. Yashashuu has now one stone, so they have to find the two other children and try to stop Nobunaga using the ancient spells.
Shouwa prequel vol. 9: Nehandzuki Buruusu (Nirvana Moon Blues)
Late autumn 1961. After travelling for two weeks Naoe and Minako are finally getting closer to their final destination. Their journey from Nagoya to Kumamoto has been very tough because they were chased many times by Oda's onryous. Due to this Naoe got many injuries as protecting Minako with all his powers. The journey was also mentally tiring since the tension between them has been very tight. They don't talk to each other, they just stay quiet and hope that the time would pass faster. After arriving to Kumamoto they stay one night at the hotel. While Minako is sleeping, Naoe is planning to strangle her so that this Hell would finally end, but eventually he doesn't do that.
Next day they're heading for Aso that is volcanic area few hours from Kumamoto city. After bus they hike to the mountain and eventually arrive to a house where lives an old man named Yagira. He's Kase's old friend and he will lend them a vacant cottage close to his own house. Naoe and Minako start to clean the house together. Minako spends her time with Yagira, helping him at his atelier (Yagira is an artist). Naoe spends his days outside. He has set up many strong spiritual barriers around the area and he walks the trails for checking that the barrier is fine. He also uses his spare time for repairing the house, making firewood and sometimes going to buy groceries from the nearest town. In the evening Naoe and Minako usually stay in their own rooms, avoiding to see each other. Naoe's mental health his reaching its limits. At nights he keeps seeing nightmares and during daytime Kagatora's mocking voice inside of his head won't leave him alone. Naoe is sure that sending him together with Minako to Kyuushuu was just Kagetora's plan to torture him. Kagetora knew all this time how Naoe hates Minako and how Naoe feels for him. Kagetora just wants to bully Naoe for fun again... This is a trap! Naoe tries to not lose his mind by thinking that he's one of Uesugi's high ranking retainers. He can do this. But Kagetora's voice keeps whispering: 'You will accept everything', 'You will accept my and Minako's happiness together...', 'You're a trustworthy man, you can't kill her'... Naoe shouts (he's in the forest): "Stop it! Don't force me to keep this collar anymore! You don't have any glue how I feel! I hate Minako! I hate her so much that I want to kill her! She stole your heart from me...!" Naoe falls on his knees and desperately whispers: "Please, let me go already..." He just hopes that he wouldn't feel any emotion anymore, it hurts too much. In the evening Naoe is sitting alone in the kitchen and thinking about Kagetora. Since Kagetora trusts him so much, Naoe after all decides to change attitude towards Minako. He will keep hating her, but he will stop being mean to her. Maybe this change will help him to cool down his rage too and eventually become emotionless? Naoe looks out of the window, seeing the moon in a starry sky. He wonders what Kagetora is doing now.
Meanwhile Kagetora is in his own tent and also watching the same moon, thinking about Naoe. Earlier on that day he and Nagahide had a conflict. Nagahide was furious after hearing that Kagetora had sent Naoe to escape together with Minako (Haruie and Irobe also think that it wasn't good idea). In Nagahide's opinion it's more than ridiculous to waste Naoe for protecting a woman like Minako. They need Naoe here! Kagetora explained that Minako is danger since the Odas are targeting her again. Naoe is the best and the most trustworthy man to protect her. Nagahide grabed Kagetora's shirt and asked angrily doesn't Kagetora understand how much Naoe hates Minako. Nagahide has seen the murderous look in Naoe's eyes when Naoe has watched Kagetora and Minako together. He's so jealous that he may do something bad to her. Kagetora tried to calm down Nagahide by saying that Naoe is a man who won't let his feelings to control him. Nagahide warned that Kagetora will regret this later. Some Kagetora thoughts when he's watching the moon alone. Starting from p. 74:
K: ('You don't know anything, Nagahide...')
About us, me and Naoe.
You don't know anything about his feelings for me or why he walked by my side till this very moment.
K: ('What can I do with him?')
Naoe Nobutsuna. No one knows the origin why there is such a tension between him and me.
Our relationship as s lord and s vassal has been dangerous already since the very beginning. I always felt so. Relaying on him as a vassal was the most frightening. Once we tried to cut this bond between us, but after all I was the one who clang on him. It wasn't Naoe who was afraid of being equal, it was me. If our positions are toppled over, our relationship will end.
If I surrender, everything will be over.
K: ('I know very well why Naoe is suffering. It's because I can't give up this winning-losing battle.')
I needed to have my superiority, no matter what.
It's because of those scars that I can't feel safe if I don't crush the others.
Kagetora remembers the horrible night that happened in Odawara when he was 15 years old. After that he was afraid of his retainers. No matter how many times he had new body, every time the memories took over the brains. As long as he can't forget his fears, he will keep crushing and testing Naoe. Kagetora knows it's his own fault that Naoe suffers. He thinks: 'I was afraid of you. I was afraid that you would disappear from my life. That's why I forcefully chained him'. More Kagetora's thoughts from p. 77:
Deep in my soul, there is a bottomless hole. As this endless black hole sucks up even all my honest feelings, it also creates hunger. I don't know how to fill up this hole, but the only one who can do it is you.
You're the only one for me, Naoe.
I can't live without you.
K: ('I didn't lie to you, Naoe')
At the very end, you're the only one I truly trust.
I'm Nobunaga's target, I can't protect Minako.
I have to face him and finish all this.
K: ('If something bad happens to me, I want you to keep living, Naoe.')
If I'm going to exorcise Nobunaga, I can't avoid to not face him in direct confrontation. I can't promise that I'll definitely survive from that battle since Nobunaga has his hakonha. If he manages to shatter my soul, I won't be able to perform kanshou anymore.
If by some change I disappear from this world...
Please, keep living.
And take care of Minako.
K: ('I want you to keep living, Naoe.')
K: ('Because you're my soulmate...')
I know that he wants us to die together, and that's why I can't allow him to stand on the same battle field with me.
He must feel relieved. Finally he is free from Uesugi.
K: ('Please, protect him, Minako.')
I can't find a way how to save him from the anguish. I don't even know how to heal him.
Naoe had crush on her.
Aah... Aah. It's fine. I can't help it.
He surely was wanting from me something that I couldn't give to him. Indeed, it's a proof. The proof that we're soulmates since we both can be healed by Minako's kindness.
K: ('I wonder if 'Minako' was the one we both needed all this time...')
Nobunaga and all his most high ranking officers and cult leaders have gathered together for having a meeting. Nobunaga is a bit mad because they haven't got Kimyoumaru (his son) back yet. Atou Morinobu tells that Naoe has left the front lines and escaped together with Kitazato Minako to Kyuushuu. Morinobu proposes that he can go after Naoe and Minako, since he's modern people and can't be exorcised. Nobunaga lets him to do so. Sakuma Morimasa and his daughter Lady Tora come to see Nobunaga. With a heartbroken voice Tora tells to Nobunaga that Matsuko-sama has passed away. Nobunaga can't believe this news at first. Matsuko is the woman with who Nobunaga had his children (Kimyoumaru and Chasenmaru). She was a cult member with talented spiritual skills, and got many health problems, eventually her heart stopped beating, causing the death. Nobunaga asks if the baby Matsuko was carrying died too. Tora says that pregnancy hasn't last long enough for saving the baby. Nobunaga stays silent for a while and orders then everyone to protect Mt. Gassan where Chasenmaru is. And he wants to get Minako for replacing Matsuko.
Kagetora and Nagahide sneak into Mt. Gassan after various preparations. It's very strange that there aren't any guarding. They find the altar and four women, but the baby isn't there. Suddenly they feel onryous' aura behind them. At the entrance, there are many Oda's retainers, also Tora holding the baby, Chasenmaru, in her arms protectively. Morimasa orders Kagerora and Nagahide to stay still or they will kill those ladies. Takigawa Kazumasu (he appeared in vol. 7) comes out and explains that Kagetora and Nagahide are inside of a new type of barrier, 'a power sealing barrier' (it's the same one Ranmaru used in anime episodes 5 & 6). Originally Oda clan had spiritual barriers that only weakened Yashashuu's powers, but finally they could develop the spell to seal all powers. Even so Kagetora and Nagahide try to get out by using normal guns. Eventually they manage to get a stone from Chasenmaru and escape with the help of a dragon named Yukihebi (sometimes it comes to help Kagetora, but Oda clan's lightning attack kills it here:( ).
By a coincidence, Naoe meets Yagami (he's Hakkai's subordinate) at Aso shrine. He tells the latest information about the situation between Nobunaga and the Yashashuu. Yagami also gives some souvenirs from Haruie to Minako: some make up products and candies. After Yagami leaves, Hakkai appears. Naoe is confused why Hakkai didn't come together with Yagami since they're both Nokizaru ninjas. Hakkai demands to see what Yagami gave to Naoe and explains that Nagahide was the one who sent Yagami here, not Kagetora. Hakkai checks the candies and sighs that he was right, these candies are poisoned. Naoe loses his words. Nagahide was planning to kill Minako? Naoe knows that Nagahide also hates Minako and that he wants to get rid of her no matter what. Nagahide is a person who won't let feelings to control himself, he always acts what is the best for Yashashuu, even if it's a crime. Minako has caused lots of trouble to them, so no wonder Nagahide has got enough and wants to solve the problem. Naoe says that Minako has prepared for getting killed, at least he feels so. Everyday she seems to be aware if the food Naoe has cooked is poisoned or not. Naoe says that he wouldn't use poison, he would strangle if he does so. Hakkai begs Naoe to stay patience. Naoe shouts that staying patience won't help at all. He's in the Hell already. Staying 24/7 with the woman he hates and after the war between them and Nobunaga is over, the Hell continues. He isn't going to just stay silent and watch how Minako steals Kagetora from him. After Naoe cools down a bit, he apologizes for losing his temper. Hakkai says it's fine, but propose if the Nokizarus take the responsibility of protecting Minako from now on so that Naoe can leave this place. Naoe refuses. If Nagahide comes after Minako, Naoe is the only one who can protect her.
When Naoe returns from Aso shrine, Minako is drawing. She has a strict expression on her face when she asks if Naoe met someone since he came back so late. Naoe tells that he met Hakkai and that Kase is doing well. Then, for Naoe's surprise, Minako asks why Naoe doesn't kill her. She knows Naoe wants to do so. Naoe explains that it wouldn't help this situation at all. Some says passes. One night Naoe accidentally sees Minako naked in their bathroom (Naoe thought that he forgot light on and it was already very late night so he didn't know that she was there). After that moment Naoe can't get that beautiful body out of his mind. On his bed he starts to wonder if Kagetora and Minako have had sex. Naoe feels that Minako is strongly 'no sex before marriage' type of woman and Kagetora quite often abstains sexual matters (however, he has had sex with some women during his kanshou history). But this doesn't mean that they haven't had anything... Craving mentally each other makes humans to crave physical body too. It's normal. Next Naoe wonders if they had sex after all, how did Kagetora look like? How did he do it?
Sometimes Minako goes to show her drawings to Yagira. He has recognized that Minako's drawings tell that she is thinking about death quite often (color world). Yagira asks why Minako is thinking so sad things. Minako tells that before getting adopted to Kitazato family, she lost her parents in air strike. She wonders why she needed to survive, it would have been better if she had died together with her parents. Her career as a pianist is over now. She doesn't have any reason to live anymore (she also thinks that she will never see Kase again). Yagira tries to encourage her to keep going on. She will be happy someday if she trusts to these choices she has done. "I'm not sure if I chose a correct path. My choice caused lots of agony and sorrow to several people. I wonder if it was correct to wish for happiness that will make the others to suffer. At the time it felt like the best option, but suddenly everything became like a mirage, I can't see if it was correct or not," Minako says painfully. She also says that sometimes she just hopes to disappear so that she wouldn't cause harm to everyone anymore. She regrets and is lost. Yagira hugs her and says that everything has it purpose. She just has become too sensitive here. Keep drawing, draw what you see, express you heart. Those are Yagira's advises to Minako.
Minako is on better mood since she got motivation from Yagira to express her heart. On one day, a strong storm came. Naoe and Minako needed to work whole day together, because their ceiling started leek and a strong wind broke one window. When they are having dinner together they talk. It's been a long while since they talked like this. Minako's cooking reminded Naoe of the good times when he and Minako almost dated. She used make lunch to Naoki. Minako says that every morning she woke up very early to cook (I think this why Minako's adopted parents thought Minako is in love with Naoki, because they saw her making him lunch). She loved to hear that Naoki liked her cooking. After dinner Naoe lights up the fireplace and they move to sofa for chatting more. They talk about memories, music, their families and eventually also about Regalo. Till this moment they have had very relaxed and good-willing mood, but something changes in Naoe when Minako starts to talk about Kase. Minako says that Naoe surely knows this already, but she was surprised when Kase told that he would like to have his own bar someday. Darkness fills Naoe, since Kagetora has never told about that dream to him, possibly Minako is the only one who knows.
M: "I'm sure it's going to be a nice bar."
N: "Minako-san... You really do love him, don't you?"
*Minako sees Naoe looking at her with icy eyes*
M: "Kasahara-san... What's wrong..?"
*Naoe stands up and comes closer to Minako*
*Minako also stands up from the sofa*
M: "What happened to you...Kasa...!"
Naoe pulls her in a strong embrace. Minako feels confused what Naoe is planning to do and after feeling his hand touching her hip, she tries to pull the man away. She loses her balance and falls on the floor, trying to escape. "W-What are you doing..." she starts, but then Naoe forcefully on the top of her and tears her shirt open. Naoe is targeting her bras next, but Minako tries to fight back with all her physical powers. Eventually Naoe presses her hands tightly on the floor so that she can't fight back.
M: "W-What are you going to do to me..."
N: "Isn't there only one thing what a man and a woman can do together in the same room?"
*Minako starts to tremble in fear*
M: "But... You aren't such a man who would do this....Right?"
N: "What kind of man you thought I'm?"
N: "I love you, Minako."
After this comment Naoe starts to undress her forcefully. Minako cries and yells, but can't do anything since Naoe is stronger. This scene was long and very graphically written... I won't translate this, but here is it in a nutshell: first Naoe plays with her body by doing some pervert things and after the intercourse starts, he keeps yelling to Kagetora in his mind that 'Look, anyone is fine to her. This body of her accepts every man. There is nothing special on her. She isn't worth to you. You were fooled by this woman all this time. She just exploited your lonely heart'. Minako is of course suffering a lot and eventually she just lets Naoe to do whatever he wants as she is paralyzed by the shock. It's possibly that this was her first time too since the text says 'the gate of purity got broken' when Naoe pushed in. Poor Minako. :( In the end of scene Naoe desperately tries to find hints of Kagetora inside of Minako's body... Like the feeling or love that Kagetora had if he had sex with Minako. After all Naoe feels that this body he's raping is Kagetora, not Minako, so he starts to yell repeating "I love you...! I love you! I love you...!" as the burning tears are flowing from his eyes. In the next scene, the act is already over and Minako is lifelessly laying on the floor. Naoe is sitting close to her, burying his face with hands and regretting everything he did to her. He would kill himself if he had a gun. Finally Minako gets sit up and covers her naked body with some clothes. They don't talk anything. After some minutes Minako gets up and says "Your wish will become true... Trust me...". After this Minako locks herself in her room for several days.
Three days has passed. Feeling extremely guilty, Naoe starts to slash his wrists and even goes to look for a good branch to hang himself. Betraying Kagetora's trust is the worst crime and he thinks that he doesn't have right to keep living from now on. After all he doesn't commit suicide, since Yashashuu would be in trouble without him. He can't leave Uesugi yet. He also feels that he needs to apologize Minako, he did the most terrible thing to her. She must be terrified of staying in the same house with Naoe. Later on same day Minako comes to say to him that she won't tell about this to anyone. She hasn't forgiven, she just wants to forget everything. Naoe begs forgiveness. If he could, he would reset everything.
Kagetora wakes up in Shikoku. He has suffered from high fever for several days. Irobe has taken care of him since he arrived there. Kimyoumaru (he's now a toddler, somehow is growing faster than normal children...) comes to his room, being interested in Kagetora. Kagetora takes Kimyoumaru to sit on his lap and starts to play an old nursery game with him. Happy memories of his own son, Doumanmaru, comes on his mind. He also remembers that Naoe has never have his own children. In their original life Naoe got married, but he lost his life before his wife got pregnant. Kagetora smiles on his mind that Naoe would have been a very doting father... Kagetora recognizes that Kimyoumaru is looking up to him a bit worrying.
K: "What's wrong...? Can you read what I'm thinking...?"
*Kagetora pats Kimyoumaru's head gently*
K: "I was thinking a man who has stayed with me for a very long time. His name is Naoe Nobutsuna. He may look very stubborn, but telling the truth he's very honest and the most reliable man I know... Sometimes we get angry to each other, but at the very end he's the one who pulls me back to normal side. And I really love talking with him. Every time we talk, the time flies so fast... I really trust him, but... I don't know how to express it to him... I wonder... If I return back to child, could we start over it again with him?"
Kagetora knows that it's his fault why their relationship won't move forward. It's because the trauma won't let him to trust enough. He hasn't had a day without thinking about Naoe, and Nagahide's words about Naoe and Minako worries him a bit.
K: ('I wonder if Naoe really loves Minako...')
He wants Minako to be happy. He himself can't make her happy, so it's fine if she falls in love with Naoe. Kagetora wonders his own feelings for Minako. He surely loves her, but he doesn't feel passion... Or jealously if she chooses someone else than him (Kagetora). The affection he feels for her isn't weak, but it's much 'softer' than 'crazy love'. Small translation from p.204:
K: ('What is this feeling in my heart?')
It's because of Naoe. Since when did it start?
If it's Naoe who would steal his lord's woman and then boast of his winning with that..
Kagetora's hand that was patting Kimyoumaru's head stopped.
K: ('What is this...?')
K: ('Why I'm feeling so angry?')
Am I angry to Naoe who wins Minako's heart?
Or am I angry to Naoe who chooses Minako instead of me?
Ba-dump, an anxious feeling fills Kagetora's heart.
It's the feeling to what he has closed his eyes. That feeling is like a monster that is lurking in the depths of Kagetora's heart. He feels that he will die if this monster sees him.
Kagetora tries to stop himself to not think more about it. He has to keep that monster locked behind the doors. Irobe comes to nurse Kagetora and they also talk about Kimyoumaru, Nobunaga and upcoming fights against the Odas. Kagetora and Irobe have a following conversation:
I: "Should we ask Naoe to come back?"
K: "Are you also going to scold me about it?"
I: "Don't get me wrong. Don't you think that the one who is needing Naoe is you, not Minako? Isn't it better if he's on your side?"
K: "What are you talking about? I'm not a child."
I: "I think it's better to honest finally."
*Irobe taps Kagetora's shoulder*
I: "You two have quarrels when you're together, but once you two are separated, you're both craving to get back together."
I: "Do you really still think that Naoe loves Minako? Stop ignoring the truth. The only one Naoe loves is-"
K: "Irobe-san, 'those feelings' aren't part of my and Naoe's relationship."
I: "I guess it's not necessary to say aloud what is the real name of 'those feelings', but let me say that they aren't only between a man and a woman. They don't look at age or social status, not skin color and person's history either. People may give various names to 'those feelings' for trying to accept them, but sometimes it's better to be honest and accept them as they are."
I: "Naoe's enemy is Minako, not you. I don't know how you're seeing the situation, but Naoe sees Minako as a hostile because she is loved by you."
K: "No, the one Naoe loves is-"
I: "Why are you closing your eyes from the truth? Can't understand how much Naoe suffering from this? He has to kill his own heart in order to protect the person he hates."
K: "That's why I sent him with her. Those feelings between us are too dangerous. That's why I try to conceal them. I conceal and fix them to fit into ideal form and keep the security. If our relationship is secured, nothing will break. "
I: "What would break? You two?"
*Kagetora's hands are trembling*
K: "If I let my body and soul to surrender for those feelings, I'll break."
Their conversations is disturbed when Tetsuji rushes to the room and says that they have an injured guest at the door. Lady Tora has come to the temple where Kagetora and the others are. She is injured. Tora tells who she is and why she came. She decided to leave Oda clan, since she couldn't accept what will happen to Kimyoumaru. Tora's task was to be a wet nurse to Nobunaga's children, so she has tight bond with Kimyoumaru, he's almost her own child. Tora explains that in her original life she was a mother of seven children, so she knows what's like to be a mother. She couldn't stand when she heard that Nobunaga sent assassins to kill Kimyoumaru (so that Uesugi won't use his powers). That's why she left the clan and even fought against those assassin in order to protect Kimyoumaru. She hopes that she can escape with the baby and raise him up secretly somewhere Nobunaga can't find them. If Ueusugi can secure their safety she will expose very secret information about Nobubaga's plans. Kagetora is a bit suspicious, but promises to do so. They learn that there was a third child, Sanshichi, but he died almost right after his was born. He didn't have Miroku's stone in his hand even if his big brothers Kimyoumaru and Chasenmaru had. So they need one more stone so that Miroku would descant and destroy the Demon King. But how they can get the stone if Matsuko, Nobunaga's 'wife', died? They also learn from Tora that Nobunaga is going to make an altar to Aso too since it's a sacred mountain. This makes Kagetora terrified because Naoe and Minako are there. Kousaka says he wants to help Yashashuu for beating Nobunaga. Kousaka also asks if Kagetora has recognized something weird in Tetsuji. Sometime ago, suddenly, a red bindi appeared onto Tetsuji's forehead. No one knows what is it, but it 'smells' like Nobunaga. Kousaka warns Kagetora that Nobunaga is maybe using Tetsuji as a spy. Kagetora is very worried about the situation since he was planning to perform kanshou on Tetsuji, but can't do that anymore if Tetsuji's body is used by Nobunaga...
So Tetsuji has the seed of Demon King! At least I couldn't expect this! This is their first time to see it, so Kagetora and the others (& possibly even Tetsuji either) don't know yet what is it actually... D: I wonder when did he get it? It seems that he didn't have when he made his debut, but Oda clan definitely got some information from him since they could find Kagetora, Minako and Tetsuji in Yamanashi (vol. 8). Has he been under Oda clan since very beginning? Hmm... It's also interesting to learn about these techniques. Oda clan can use ta least these special techniques: hakonha (Nobunaga), 'lightning' (Nobunaga), power sealing spiritual barrier and the seed of Demon King.
The beginning of year 1962. Haruie travels to Aso for making sure that everything is fine between Naoe and Minako. She got quite worried after hearing what Nagahide did. Minako is surprised of Haruie's sudden visit. For Haruie's relief, everything seems to be normal. Minako is happy, Minako says she doing well with Naoe, their house is quite comfortable... But something in Minako has changed. She is 'more womanish' and looking relatively tired than before, but Haruie can't say why... Suddenly Minako rushes to vomit and when she comes back to kitchen she's keeping her hand on her stomach. This makes Haruie to recognizes something... There are two souls in Minako's body. The volume ends with Haruie saying "Minako-chan.. Could it be... that you're..."
To be continued.
Oh no, Naoe... What did you do to her? :( So much pain in this volume... Naoe's anguish was heartbreaking to read. He was suffering a lot. I was positively surprised that he really tried to change his attitude towards Minako even if he couldn't stand her. But too bad it wasn't enough and this rape happened... >_<
My inner fangirl was very happy about Kagetora's feelings for Naoe, but I also felt sorry for Minako since based on the volumes (Boogie Woogie, vol. 7-8) I have read and this one, I got a feeling that Kagetora's feelings for her are more like 'I love you as a very dear friend' rather than 'I love you as a woman of my life'. D:
Irobe was awesome in this volume!
Next volume is the final one.