Waiting for next Seasons of the Sword book? Author David Kudler just shared this sneak preview from the next exciting installment in Risuko’s adventures:
Bright Eyes Sneak Peek: The Cave
I love to climb.
I suppose that’s a silly thing for me to say, at this point. Of course I love to climb. Still—it’s true. It’s always been true. That earliest memory—of my mother weeping with my sister in her arms: I see it from above. Even though we had just moved into the tiny house, even though I was just four years old, I had already found my way up into the rickety rafters. I had always felt more at home up in the air than on the ground. Safer.
There was a reason that my mother came to call me Squirrel.
Yet as I stared at that sheer rock face from within the confines of the Full Moon, I must admit that I was nervous. Afraid.
Toumi snorted as she and Emi shouldered past me, bows and quivers over their shoulders. “Scared, Mouse-chan?”
I shook my head. But we both knew it wasn’t true.
Emi smiled as they walked out the gate. I think she meant it as reassurance. It felt as if she were consoling me: It’s been nice knowing you, Murasaki.
Lady Chiyome makes everything clear, except when she makes everything confusing (Mochizuki Chiyome)
My shaking arms suddenly went still, as if instantly turned to ice. Looking down, I saw that Fuyudori had disappeared. I was trapped and alone.
“Do hurry, Risuko-chan,” said Lady Chiyome in that quiet voice that still managed to sound quite piercing. “I don’t want to have to call Kee Sun to haul you in. He might slip and drop you, and that would be the most awful mess.” Continue reading Read Risuko—Chapter 19: In the Web
In which Risuko makes a climb and a discovery — and Lady Chiyome delivers a surprise (Teen Historical Adventure)
“If you come with me quietly, Risuko–chan,” Fuyudori said in very hushed tones, waking me from a dreamless sleep, “I can show you something worth watching.” She pulled down my covers, giving me no choice in the matter.
Yawning and shivering, I threw on a winter coat and sandals. Fuyudori placed her finger over my lips, looking down at Emi and Toumi, who were still sleeping.
It always felt as if it were the middle of the night when Fuyudori woke us. But as we made our way out of the relative warmth of our dormitory, there was not even a hint of a winter dawn in the night sky. The snow had stopped and the sky cleared. The stars blazed down on us, big as snowflakes themselves.
I followed Fuyudori out across the undisturbed snow blanketing the courtyard. Dark and moonless as the night was, even the white of the snow seemed dim and grey. Continue reading Read Risuko Chapter 18 – A Fly!
Risuko survives another battle, and Lady Chiyome’s party finally arrives at its destination. But why are Lt. Masugu’s troops so uncomfortable?
The battle, if that’s what it was, didn’t last very long.
Quickly, the sound diminished to almost nothing. There was still some shouting, but it was growing more and more distant.
I snuck carefully out of my hiding place and made my way downhill toward where I knew the road must be.
It was not quite the scene of carnage that had met us that morning when we had first met Masugu-san and his soldiers. There were three dead men I assumed were part of the bandit gang. They’d been piled by the side of the road. There was also one dead horse, and one of the lancers was growling in pain as one of his comrades pulled an arrow through his thigh.
Most of the rest of the Takeda soldiers were missing. Aside from the wounded man and his nurse, only Masugu was there. Lady Chiyome and Mieko were talking with him. Mieko held an arrow in her hand. Continue reading Risuko Sneak Peek: Chapter 11 — Full Moon
Akemashite omedeto gozai masu! (That is, Happy New Year!)
We’ve got an exciting new chapter of Risuko to start the year off with a bang. In 10 — Dark Letter, Risuko and Toumi stray from the trail and discover far more excitement than they’d bargained for.
We spent the night at a small Takeda fort guarding a rocky, barren place called, for some reason, Rice-Paddy Pass, which marked the border between Worth and Dark Letter Provinces. We were so high that there weren’t any trees. I felt naked. The air was dry and cold, we were exhausted, and the soldiers manning the garrison were edgy, as if waiting for an attack, though how — or why — an army would march so far and high I couldn’t imagine. Perhaps they were frightened of ogres.
The next morning, everybody—even Mieko—looked as grumpy as I felt.
Lady Chiyome shouted to rouse us. “Let’s go! I want to be back at the Full Moon by mid-day so that I can take a real bath and eat real food.”
As it turned out, Mochizuki was down in the valley below Rice-Paddy Pass. We began to descend, and for the first time in days I grasped the mane of Inazuna, Masugu’s stallion.
“Easy,” murmured Masugu—I think more for the horse’s sake than mine. To me, he said, “I thought you liked heights?” Continue reading New Year Excitement! Risuko — Chapter 10: Dark Letter
9 — Worth
As Risuko, Masugu, and the rest of Lady Chiyome’s party approach their destination in the mountains, Risuko learns yet another uncomfortable truth — about herself and two other members of the group.
Up and up we rode, around a beautiful lake, and toward the mountain peaks.
A warbler sang from one of the trees and I whistled back. It was a funny time of year for the bird to be here.
“You do bird sounds?” Masugu asked.
“Can you do a loon?” We’d heard one that morning on the lake.
I grinned. That was one of my favorites. I raised my fingers to my hands and gave the loon’s long, sad call.
“Well done!” Masugu laughed. “And how about… a nightingale?”
I turned around to look at him for a moment.
He laughed again. “Fine, fine, I was kidding.” He stared down at me. “How about an owl. Can you hoot three times like an owl?”
“You’re kidding again, right? That one’s easy.” To prove my point, I raised my hands to my mouth again and gave three long hoots: one as a wood owl, one as a snowy owl and one as a Scops owl. Continue reading Sneak Peak! Risuko — Chapter 9: Worth
Ch. 6 — Tea and Cakes.
Risuko discovers that waking up in a war zone can lead to surprises. (Author David Kudler says, “One of my favorite chapters!”)
A rumble woke us all the next morning. It sounded like a peal of distant thunder. But Mieko and Kuniko were already on their feet before I could sit up and wipe the sleep from my eyes.
“What is it?” I asked Emi, who was rubbing her eyes next to me. “It’s awfully cold for thunder and lightening, isn’t it? And it doesn’t feel like an earthquake….”
Emi shook her head and scowled. We both listened carefully as we pulled on our clothes—mine still slightly damp from the night before, smelling faintly of stale soy sauce and burnt rice.
Another low rumble shook the morning silence. From where I had been sleeping near the kitchen, I could see a grey, thin light leaking beneath the outer kitchen door.
We began to fold away our bedding with a sense of uncertain urgency. I was about to ask again what that rumble might have been, when a new sound broke the silence and explained everything. It was a sharp, high crack. Musket fire. And not very far away, from the sound of it.
My legs went cold and I dropped my bedroll.
The battle had come to us. Continue reading Read Risuko — Chapter 6: Tea and Cakes
I’m not afraid of heights, not really.
It’s just that, like Terry Pratchett’s wonderful protagonist Tiffany Aching, I have a well-developed respect for depths.
It’s funny, then, that I’ve written a book on climbing — a book about a young girl who loves nothing more than being as high up in the air as she can be. How did that happen? Continue reading On climbing and Risuko