Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords - Wikipedia
Women also fight in Japan, unlike in England. She has defended and encouraged Jack when Kazuki or some other person was insulting him, telling him that they had no right to call him a gaijin. She also is quite close to her cousin, Yamato, an example of this being when she instantly changed the subject during a conversation at the mention of Tenno , Yamato's older brother, by Saburo.
She is also spying on the ninja forces, revealed in The Way of the Dragon. Masamoto's reason for her to train in The Way of The Ninja —" In order to know the enemy, you must become the enemy. Akiko is first seen by Jack when he was aboard the Alexandria , later, after the wakou , ninja pirates, attacked the ship and everyone apart from him was killed. He was nursed through a fever by her and another maid.
Afterward, she taught Jack the Japanese language and the ways of her people. She was also taking care of Jack's wounds after his spars with Yamato, who was at the time still hostile towards Jack. In the contest itself, she loses to Moriko in the taijutsu segment owing to the latter's illegal moves which were unseen, but she gains revenge in the kenjutsu and kyujutsu segments by beating her soundly. In the post-celebrations, she, Jack and Yamato confront Dragon Eye again when he attempts to poison Daimyo Takatomi, forcing him to retreat.
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In book two Akiko signs up to participate in the Circle of Three , a test designed to push the body, mind and spirit to its limits to see who is worthy of place learning the Two Heavens under Masamoto. She would pass the selection trials successfully, in particular passing the Trial by Fire with her first attempt. When the Circle of Three officially starts, she is one of the canidates to pass the Trial of Body by staying in the waterfall for three hours.
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She witnesses Jack and Yori, both exhausted, making it to the temple. As Yori is taken away for medical treatment, she tries helping Jack to the Buddha Statue, but is stopped. As she watched, Jack would eventually make it to the Buddha by sheer force of will. In the Mind Trial, she managed to survive twice the required duration to pass, having been taught mind control as part of her lessons in the Way of the Ninja. When one of the monks praises Sensei Yamada for his teachings, he remarks that this is not a skill he had taught his class, eyeing her with curiosity.
In the Spirit Trial, Akiko overcomes her inner fears, a host of vampire bats, with her guardian spirit, a pure white falcon, and afterwards is delighted upon learning of Jack's spirit being a lion. They would learn from a merchant that someone called Orochi had bragged about knowing Dragon Eye himself. They decided to track down Orochi to try and redeem themselves. However, Orochi tricks them and flees upon sensing that Dragon Eye's ninja have come for him. The trio would briefly split up, before Akiko, dressed in a black shinobi shozuku, saves Jack from being killed by another ninja, and returns later discreetly.
Afterwards, the trio rest at a tea house and discuss about their further plans, before the propriteor queries them about the tanto in Jack's possession, saying that it was forged by Kunitome, a swordsmith, who's traits of violence and madness are passed onto the very blades he forges. Akiko appears to brush off his comments, saying that they are too old to be superstitious. The propriteor then goes on to tell the trio about Kunitome's past, particularly his rivalry with his master Shizu, and concludes by advising them to lose the tanto in the forest where they found it.
They then visit Shindo, Kunitome's hometown, and would encounter Dragon Eye's mother, who reveals Dragon Eye's true past as a fallen samurai lord, and her own gruesome fate suffered at the hands of her own son. As soon as the final knot was loosened, he flexed the fingers of his right hand, and the Mongol guard fled. The gate banged shut behind him, leaving Lakshaman alone in the arena, surrounded by the thunderous noise of the eager crowd.
Slowly — Zug would have accused him of playing to the crowd slightly — Lakshaman stripped the loose bindings from his wrists and hands, tossing the rope aside. He flexed his hands, bending each of the joints of his fingers. His knives waited for him. Unadorned, hilts wrapped with stained leather, blades marred with age and use, they were not fancy weapons. Lakshaman scooped them up, the hilts slapping comfortably against his palms, and finally turned his attention to his opponent.
The man was by now waiting for him in the center of the sandy arena, swathed in a coating of maille from neck to knees. A white coat covered his midsection, stained with dirt and stitched with a red sword beneath a Christian cross of the same color. He was wearing mismatched leathers, a sleeved jerkin, and pants he had acquired from a dead man a long time ago.
Though his blades were long, each roughly the same length as the span from his elbow to his fingertip, they were made for cutting. Against this man, they would not be very effective. He would not be able to see the Khan very well if at all — the sun was high overhead and most of the pavilion was clothed in shadow—but the Khan could see him.
He would kill this man — he could imagine no other outcome. He was under-armed and underprotected to fight this man.
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Either the Khan was supremely confident of his ability, or Onghwe simply wanted a spectacle, a passing bloody fancy to occupy an otherwise indolent afternoon. Like flies , he thought, and spat in the dirt.
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If he survived, he would speak with the Flower Knight. Tightening his grip on his knives, he approached the knight. As he closed, the knight fell into an easy stance, hatchet held ready in front of him, hammer raised behind his head. The knight shuffled, shifting to keep Lakshaman in front of him. He held himself with an easy confidence, assured in the superiority of his weapons and armor. His reach was longer; he had no reason to attack first.
Lakshaman would have to get in closer to use his knives, and during that time, the knight would have a chance to use the hammer and hatchet.
He continued to drift around the man, maintaining the same distance and letting the tips of his knives dance hypnotically. The sun beat down, and Lakshaman felt sweat bead up on his neck and drip down the inside of his arms within his leather bracers. It had to be getting hot in that armor. How much patience did the knight have? How long? It was a marvelously delivered blow, the weight of his opponent trailing behind the ax head as it whirled toward him. Waiting behind it was the hammer, held high in preparation to swing down and shatter bone.
A less experienced fighter would have expected the hammer to come first, but Lakshaman had never doubted that the first strike would come from the hatchet. The knight reacted quickly, folding his arm back to make his elbow a blunt object. His momentum carried him forward, and his elbow hit Lakshaman hard at the base of his rib cage. With a concussive whuff , the less-armored man felt half his breath abandon his body.
It was only an instinctive tightening of his abdomen that prevented him from being left gasping for breath. He felt the hammer coming. If he stood still and looked for it, his upraised face would be a natural target the knight could not miss. He could not step back quickly enough to avoid the strike either. He had to stay in close. Moving behind the knight would put his own back to the man. As the hammer came hurtling down, Lakshaman darted to his left. The only reason the hatchet missed was because the move was one that Lakshaman himself knew — the whirling arm-over-arm assault that seemed, to an untrained eye, to be an impossible tangle of limbs.
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