The sound of hooves marched across the dirt road. Fall leaves crunched and Hatsumi could hear her noble steed casually kicking small pebbles to the side. "It's a beautiful morning," she commented out of the blue. It'd been quiet the last few hours. Hatsumi was content hearing the wind without listening to her lady maid blabber on about safety. It was true that the woods weren't always secure, but that notion didn't hold Hatsumi back from experiencing the renewal of Kyoto's weather. It wasn't any less sound in Takeshi's household, which made this small trip towards the shrine near her husband's house a pleasant occurrence. She rode astride a copper mare, while her friend, Riko, rode astride a white stallion. They were both in exquisite shape, courtesy of the stable boy. "Yes, it is, but when will we go back? Don't you feel we've traveled enough already?" Riko inquired nervously, her hands tightly gripping the reins. "Stop it. You're making a big fuss out of nothing. Takeshi won't mind if we disappeared for a couple hours. He doesn't think highly of me," Hatsumi stated, rolling her eyes. The leaves rustled and a sudden eerie wave came rushing through. "Stop," Hatsumi demanded, glancing around the area. Off in the distance, shadows played. She squinted, the figures growing larger and larger. "People. Out of the road, Riko!" Her mare instinctively rose up in the air, perceiving the oncoming strangers as a threat. Hatsumi's fingers slipped from the reins as she fell backwards, unprepared. She screamed as her head hit the ground. The sticks from the bushes dug little holes in her kimono. She groaned in pain. "Hatsu- Woah!" Riko turned her horse away from the road as five men in armor blasted through, chasing another that stood out in the midst of the moment. They went away just as quickly, set on catching the man in front, and Riko gasped, getting off her horse and scurrying over to her friend. "You're hurt," she cried, unsure what to do in the shock of the moment. "What do we tell your husband?" Hatsumi smiled, slowly sitting up. Her head felt heavy, dizzy even. She stared off into space for a moment before replying, "Tell him I'm fine. Give me the medicine kit and I'll treat myself. Go back and let Takeshi know what happened." Riko retrieved her own horse and the small medicinal kit filled with herbs. "Are you sure you'll be alright? Let me treat you," she told Hatsumi. "I'll be fine. Who were the men after? Do you know what he looked like?" Riko shook her head, reluctantly handing the medicine kit over. She was unable to recall anything specific. "He looked like he was bleeding though, but he flew by so fast, I can't tell whether that's true or not. The others were wearing armor. Stay here while I go back. You need to rest. Your husband and the doctor will be here quickly." Hatsumi saw her friend off and touched the back of her head. No blood, thank the Gods and Goddesses. Hatsumi signed, trying to recall the man she'd saw astride the horse. Hatsumi couldn't remember except for Riko saying he looked like he was bleeding. Hatsumi stood up with the small box in hand and began to walk down the ravine on the side of the road. There was a waterfall and small lake nearby. She could treat her head injury there. It wasn't good to rest in the open among the woods. There were crude men out there who would do anything once they found a lady on the side of the road, resting or not. Hatsumi lifted her dress and moved among the trees, being careful not to step into any piles of ants or branches splayed across the rocky terrain. The mista of cool water began to cover the air after she'd been traveling for a while. The backend of her dress caught on a branch and she ripped it from nature's hand. Her hair was unkempt and her legs weak. She'd never been subject to walk this far. Hatsumi hoped her horse would return soon to her. She would be unable to move along without proper guidance if she had to walk back to Takeshi's house on her low heels. Hatsumi sighed in relief as the waterfall and lake surrounding it presented themselves. She collapsed in a heap on a huge nearby and breathed, laughing slightly. "I made it," she breathed, sitting up and taking her hair accessories out. She took off the top half of her kimono and began to concoct a small remedy for the itchiness she felt on her right shoulder blade. A few scratches had appeared there when she'd fallen from her horse, but it was nothing major. She mixed the water and the crushed peppermint leaves together and daintly pressed them against her skin. It felt refreshing. She smiled, taking off her heels. Her feet ached and she wondered why she'd bothered to leave so quickly without wearing the right equiment. Sometimes, she was just as reckless as Takeshi's son was. Hatsumi's brown eyes surveyed the quiet area. The birds chirped and the bees buzzed over yellow and pink flowers nearby. She stopped what she was doing for a moment as a new spectacle came into view. Someone was over there on the other side; she could hear the slight scratching on the rock's surface. Was that a cave? Hatsumi felt her heart lodge in her chest. She didn't know who the stranger was, but it was better to face your anxieties rather than turn away. Hatsumi dipped her feet in the cool water and grabbed her things before waddling over to the other side. The current was not as silent as she'd hoped it would be. She was not tact in moving gracefully among the flow of water. "Excuse me, sir?" That came out too quickly. She hoped it was a man. She hadn't thought of any woman sitting around a cave nestled in the woods. Hatsumi chewed the inside of her mouth, slowly approaching the person hidden from the sun. "Are you alright?"