This second excerpt from ‘Castles & Kimono’ is from Japanese SFF author, Tetsuya Sato. Translated by Toshiya Kamei, it’s a traditional-style Japanese piece and I’m proud to include it in the anthology.
There was a short write-up about Tetsuya’s story on the Japanese site Virtual Gorilla Plus recently (in Japanese only): https://virtualgorillaplus.com/nobel/king-anisika-insignia/
by Tetsuya Sato & Toshiya Kamei
Once upon a time in a certain part of the world, there was a small kingdom. It was so small that it had never appeared on the map, nor had it been mentioned in any travel guidebook. However, even had it been known to travelers, it was doubtful anyone would be crazy enough to visit the kingdom. That’s because it was ruled by a despotic monarch.
There lived a king called Anisika. According to the tradition that has come down, the basis of his reign was somewhat vulnerable, so he built a castle on a remote swamp in the backwoods in order to solidify the defense of the kingdom. It was a terribly small castle with only one stone tower, and there was no path leading to it, for it was surrounded by mud, hindering enemies from gaining a foothold. The castle was impregnable.
King Anisika sent his troops from the castle once a year and plundered various villages in order to cover the expenses. Not much better than a band of thieves, the king’s army roamed the kingdom at the time of harvest and robbed the peasants of their grain, livestock, fruits, and chicken eggs by means of intimidation and violence. As most people didn’t know any other king besides Anisika, they endured these hardships thinking that was the way a king was supposed to behave.
One day, however, a traveler who was passing through this kingdom saw what was going on and declared that it was tyranny. On hearing this, many changed their minds. Then they grabbed their weapons, banded together, encircled the castle, and urged King Anisika to cease pillaging.
When the king paid no heed to their appeals, a man confident in his ability hurled a hooked rope up at the castle tower. With the hook on the edge of the tower, a large number of men pulled the rope, causing the castle to tilt slightly.
Use this universal link to find more retailers
Insignia: Castles & Kimono is also included in the new omnibus edition The Insignia Series Omnibus Volumes 5-8. If you haven’t read the previous volumes you might like to buy this set at the discounted price!