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Assassin's Creed: Fragments – The Blade of Aizu[2] (French: Assassin's Creed: Fragments – La lame d'Aizu) is a French novel. It was released in France on 15 April 2021 and is part of a new trilogy of Assassin's Creed young adult books by 404 Éditions known as the Fragments series. The English translation published by Titan Books was released on 6 June 2023.[3]

The events of the novel take place in Japan, following Shiba Atsuko and her brother Ibuka from August 1867 shortly the Icarus affair until the Battle of Aizu in October 1868.


Japan, 1868. The opposition between the Tokugawa Shogunate and the Emperor's supporters is growing under the influence of external forces. The Templars have infiltrated the Emperor's court and are pushing him to go to war against Tokugawa, an ally of the Assassin Brotherhood. Could the glorious era of the Samurai be on the verge of collapse?

Atsuko, a 16-year-old Japanese girl, grew up in the wealthy neighborhoods of the city of Aizu. Although she is expected to follow cultural tradition and accept an arranged marriage, she dreams of another life. Since childhood, Atsuko and her brother Ibuka have been trained in martial arts. She wields weapons as well as her brother, who is regarded by many as Aizu's most promising warrior. But the two siblings share a secret: Ibuka is a formidable Samurai but has an insurmountable fear of combat. When war is declared, Ibuka must go and fight alongside their father for the honor of the family. Defying tradition, Atsuko disguises as a male soldier and enlist in the Shogun's army, eager to show the extent of her talents, while watching out for her brother.


Chapter 1[]

In their dojo in Aizu, Shiba Atsuko and her brother Shiba Ibuka spar with each other until Ibuka gained an upper hand and bests his sister. Although irritated, Atsuko calms down after she realizes she is still young and learning at sixteen. She is still elated that her brother still trains her despite going against the usual gender roles. While talking, both siblings were interrupted by their father Shiba Tanomo, who asks who won their match. Impressed by his kids, Tanomo claims that Ibuka will make a great samurai while Atsuko knows that the upper class is gaining more influence over the Emperor than the current samurais.

Atsuko also realizes how she and other girls do not share anything in common. During a spring national festival, Atsuko remembers how one of the other girls, Yasuhime, made fun of her head injury, another girl fell laughing at her, and one girl asked if her brother was still single. Although there were female samurai, their presence is no longer welcome in the current era. Meanwhile, Tanomo tells his children that they are invited to Matsudaira Katamori's home. Their father tells him that the daimyo may expects to have a new hatamoto, a personal guard. Excited, Ibuka is warned not to make a fool of himself as their standing to the officials wavers. Atsuko is told that she is invited as well but to wear her last dress from the festival and not for her skill. However, not wanting to be a wife to some imperial, Atsuko tries to tell her father what she wants but he stops her and suggests that she wanted a new dress. Sullen and near to tears, she accepts the gift.

Chapter 2[]

During the summer of 1868 in Edo, the heatwave affects the residents, who cautiously refresh themselves by the Sumida river. However, during the heatwave in Nagasaki, two British soldiers dock there after months at sea. The following night, they are found dead. This event disturbs the uneven peace between the Japanese and the British while the Templar Order sends William Lloyd as the right hand for the British consul Harry Parkes. However, Lloyd states the investigation will end with no justice and that they should send a message. Parkes reluctantly claims that the Japanese accepted aid already from the French Army and already chose a side and that the Tokugawa shogunate really runs Japan.

Wielding his own katana, Lloyd calmly surmises that the Emperor and Japan signed a deal to protect the British soldiers and that they need compensation. Parkes asks how they do that while Lloyd states that they must instigate a disconnect between the Emperor and the shogun. Although Parkes states that the Emperor is young, Lloyd claims many clans are also against the shogun and ready to support the Emperor, along with Queen Victoria's support. Parkes halts at the thought of war but Lloyd explains they will never start a war but may push the shogun to think twice.

Elsewhere, Tokugawa Yoshinobu welcomes French captain Jules Brunet into his home in Edo as to discuss Parkes' demands of Nagasaki's governor's resignation and his request for five hundred soldiers to guard the foreign sector or it's an act of war otherwise. Brunet states that his brotherhood will protect you and wants the power to stay with the shogun and the people and not an isolated Emperor. Tokugawa remains wary of the Assassins but also states that Parkes spoke already with Mutsuhito with their own version of events. Cornered, Tokugawa has to concede and face a public apology as well as have the city's governor resign.

Brunet asks him not to do so as to make sure Tokugawa is not seen as self-preserving. However, the shogun almost engages Brunet in combat for the comment. However, Brunet notices there are not alone and goes outside to deal with the eavesdropper. However, the man escapes while Brunet tells Tokugawa of being spied on by a "shinobi. Brunet tells him that he is leaving while the shogun asks who sent the spy. Brunet theorizes it may be the British keeping tabs or someone else entirely. Nevertheless, before leaving, Brunet reassures the shogun that the French Army here has his support, which provides little comfort to him.

Chapter 3[]

A glum Atsuko and her brother Ibuka ready themselves for Katamori while their father bought a prized cow from farmer Kokan. Going over the hills, the siblings challenged each other in a race to arrive at Kokan to pay him. Racing with their katanas, Atsuko beats her brother by six seconds while Ibuka catches up and congratulates her. Rising up, they meet with Kokan, who waited patiently for them. While giving Kokan the payment, the siblings are told that it was the first part of a debt Kokan owes to their father. Intrigued, the siblings want to know more but Kokan states it is their father's interest to tell them the story. While walking home with their cow, a skinny bandit appears in front of them.

Wanting to pass, the siblings encounter more bandits, who come out from their hiding places. Unsheathing their katanas, Atsuko and Ibuka stand back-to-back while the bandit leader offers their lives and purses for exchange for the cow. However, his fellow bandits want Atsuko, but the leader tells them a cow is enough. While Atsuko sweats, she sees that her brother has gone silent. She looks over and sees Ibuka trembling and soiling his pants. Disgusted, she states they can take him. However, Ibuka states they should give the cow. Atsuko rebutes the offer, which leads the leader to change his mind in terms of mercy.

Atsuko, done with life being against her own desires, attacks and kills the bandit leader with tsuki to his throat. Changing her stance, she kills the brigand with the naginata swiftly. A bandit with a lance comes after her but she disarms and kills him with a strike to the head. The remaining two bandits flee while she falls on top of the nearly beheaded bandit she killed. After she throws up, she still sees Ibuka in a state of shock. Trying to snap him out of it, she sees him drop his katana before he wakes up. Insulting Ibuka for his cowardice, Atsuko orders him to grab the cow. While journeying home, she shudders at the corpses while too ashamed to look at her brother.

Chapter 4[]

Samurai Matsuo rides with his weathered katana into Edo and is respected for his current status as a ronin, a samurai with no master. Critical of the current Emperor, Matsuo later finds himself in a hovel and meets with Issa as they discuss what the Assassins were going to do after Yoshinubu conceded to Parkes' demands and later resigned. Although Issa is hopeful for the Yoshinubu to stage a coup, Matsuo states his influence has dwindled. Issa heavily suggests to attack the British influence over the Imperial court while Matsuo was reluctantly convinced to attack. However, Issa left after stating his desire to kill Parkes.

Meanwhile, Parkes, struggling with insomnia, goes about his day at his consul office. While in his corridor, he notices two soldiers unresponsive to his orders. With his gun, he inspects them closer and asks if someone was there. Immediately, William Lloyd saves Parkes as they avoid projectiles thrown at them. Lloyd confronts their attacker Issa, who states he does not want to kill Lloyd. However, they fought each other's attacks only for Lloyd to be poisoned by a nerve agent. Unsteady, Lloyd staggers while Issa uses a candlelight to glare his opponents. However, Issa fails to see Lloyd swing his katana and dismember his hand. With a slice to the stomach, Issa falls backward and plays dead. Although Lloyd believes the ninja dead, Parkes does not as he readies his gun. In a last ditch attempt, Issa tries to kill Lloyd but Parkes fires his gun at Issa's head and instantly kills him.

Chapter 5[]

Atsuko and Ibuka are walking back while Atsuko confronts Ibuka for his cowardice from earlier. Ibuka begs and convinces Atsuko not to tell anyone to save their father's reputation. Atsuko agrees. Two months later, she feels animosity while he still receives praise for his skill and his new rank as a samurai. Surprisingly, Atsuko is glad to see less of her brother and keeps her mouth quiet about Ibuka's incident. However, rumors spread of a greater threat of war. One night, their father Tanomo reveals that the Emperor betrayed the shogun and how Mutsuhito broke the authority of the regional daimyos, which is grounds for war. He reveals that he and Ibuka will fight for the shogun and they leave in two days.

Tanomo states the Emperor will be aided by the Satsuma and the Shoshu clans. Ibuka interrupts the conversation and appears pale in white. Ibuka confirms the news of war with his father, who states he will experience greatness and honor at a young age. While Atsuko sees her brother in terror, their father states to Ibuka to oil his armor, pack a few provisions, and halt on any celebrations. Ibuka understands and replies in agreement. Passing by the jeweler Mikinosuke, Atsuko disguises herself as a man named Mori Tasuke and joins the ranks of other soldiers. At the base camp, Atsuko takes in the commotion, the fellow soldiers, and the unfortunate smell. Despite the consequences of being found, Atsuko revels in being part of the shogun's army. However, her anger against her brother has turned into worry due to him still being a child at war. She wants to be there to save her brother from anyone against him.

Chapter 6[]

Matsuo meets with Nakano Takeko, a young female martial arts and fellow Assassin, after Brunet expresses the war and how the Templars infiltrated the Imperial court. Takeko is assigned to safeguard a local daimyo Saigo Kayano and especially his katana, an authentic Musashi Masamune that was held by famous samurai Miyamoto Musashi. The Assassins are tasked to safeguard the sword as its symbolism would be fatal if wielded by the Imperial side. Takeko asks why they cannot take it themselves but the sword must lie with its current master for its symbol. With her new sense of duty, Takeko accepts her mission.

At her base camp, Atsuko keeps her disguise on well while suffering with the cleanliness issue of a lack of toilets. Despite seeing glimpses of her brother and father, Atsuko stays within the soldier encampment. However, the next day, she and Ibuka catch each other and Atsuko tries to walk away. However, Ibuka orders her to aid her and walk besides her with his crates. Alone, Ibuka questions why she came but Atsuko states she will not wait and she feels free being here. Although Ibuka orders her here, Atsuko states she must protect her coward of a brother from the real fight. Ibuka rebutes and orders her home. Atsuko responds that she will reveal herself and what happened on the hills and no matter what, a seed of doubt will be with him. Bested, Ibuka lets her stay and feels a little relieved.

Nearby, Takeko notices both the samurai and soldier talking to one another for fifteen minutes but cannot hear them. Although she heard of Ibuka, the other soldier has something she could not make out. Believing them to be Templars, Takeko keeps a watchful eye on the soldier.

Chapter 7[]

Nine ronins paid by the Templars meet with William Lloyd to strike and kill local daimyo Kayano. Saizu asks how many men they had while Lloyd responds with forty-five. Lloyd states that most of his men are peasants who lack armor and skill. Nobusuke is enticed by the prospect of causing mayhem while Lloyd reminds them they are paid already unless they are uncapable. Masajiro agrees and states he, Yoshisada, and the other seven are in, too. However, he asks Lloyd about the significance of Kayano's sword thus Lloyd reluctantly tells them of it possibly being a Masmune. All the ronin stand upright as greed fills them up with excitment. However, Lloyd states he will accompany them. The samurai, despite being watched, are more than confident to succeed in their mission.

Meanwhile, Takeko asks about Tasuke's family and life but is met by the sergeant's remarks of Tasuke being discreet. To cover her tracks, Takeko fakes that she is interested in him, which surprises the sergeant aloud. Takeko asks him why, which leads the sergeant to leave the conversation. Takeko keeps spying on Tasuke into the night. About to give up, she spots Tasuke leaving and going into the forest alone. In the shadows, Takeko finds Tasuke relieving themselves and sees the truth. However, she trips back and reveals herself to Tasuke, who attacks with her yari. Blocking every attack, Takeko states she does not want to hurt her. Kicking Tasuke in the groin, Takeko puts her naginata to her throat and pleads her to stop.

Sheathing their weapons, Atsuko reveals herself and states she is the sister of Ibuka under Takeko's questioning. Takeko compliments her techinques with various weapons, her knack for disguises and deception, and her temperant in combat. Despite Atsuko being caught, Takeko offers Atsuko a place to work for her.

Chapter 8[]

Kayano is known as a descendant of a once powerful clan, but due to times of his family being bested of warlords and Kayano's current habits, the daimyo's status is quite low. Upon the call of war, Kayano grows impatient and loses fourteen pounds and wants the war won already. However, he readies himself to entice when one of his bodyguards states Lady Takeko is coming. Takeko bows upon her entrance and informs him about an attack coming at him and for his sword. Not giving too much away, Lady Takeko state she will do her best to protect. Laying back in a recline, Kayano's worries begin to dwindle. Takeko states her own men will be here as well while she introduces Tasuke as her lieutenant. In reality, Atsuko, who has been training under Takeko and even bested her while in combat with a bokken.

Takeko tasks Atsuko with being in the field herself and keep her disguise in front of samurai and not regular soldiers. Takeko informs Kayano of Tasuke's abilities and how they are taking necessary precautions. At a camp nearby, Atsuko spots her brother, who has been worried for her. Although angry, Ibuka understand the dilemma of her being placed at Kayano's disposal. He soon sees Lady Takeko watching them and he bows to her. Ibuka soon offers himself to be placed as a bodyguard to Kayano and Takeko agrees if he receives his daimyo's permission. While he leaves, Atsuko, almost blowing her cover, chases after her brother, who tells her it would be good to be together and safe from harm. Meanwhile, the nine samurai are close to their base.

Chapter 9[]

The next day, soldiers began their patrols and continue to build fortifications into the night. However, with the soldiers arguing and tired, the nine samurai led by Lloyd arrive and tell them to find the katana and get out as quickly as they can. Behind them, twenty free soldiers have joined them for money and food. Passing the soldiers in the middle encampment, they make it to the officers' tents and take out two guards. Chaos breaks out as Lloyd and his samurai move forward.

Meanwhile, Takeko tells Atsuko that she does not want more unwanted attention on themselves. While Atsuko was doing chores around the camp, the nine samurai attack while Atsuko luckily dodges a swing from one of their swords. Atsuko readies her yari and heads toward Kayano's tent, where the samurai are easily killing the bodyguards. She meets head-to-head with Yoshisada, who puts himself in jodan, an aggressive defense stance. While fighting, Atsuko falls back while Yoshisade rips her tunic open. He sees that it is a girl he's fighting and Atsuko uses the moment to strike at his shin. Falling back, Yoshisada is struck again in the chest until Atsuko ends his life. Readjusting herself, she covers herself and takes Yoshisada's katana towards the real battle.

In the daimyo's tent, Ibuka joins mealtime with the daimyo's men and grows uncomfortable from their teasing. However, this ends once fighting is heard outside. One of the daimyo's samurai checks and is killed instantly. Breaking through his shock, Ibuka sees the bodyguards fall while he calls out anyone to kill him first to get to the daimyo. Nobusuke enters the tent and challenges the young Ibuka.

Chapter 10[]

Atsuko runs through the chaos among Kayano's camp and makes her way to his tent. There, she sees her mentor Takeko fighting two samurai Saizu and Masajiro. Attempting to attack Masijiro, she is pushed back as he easily blocks her attack. Masijiro easily sees through Atsuko's disguise while he fights her while Saizu versus Takeko. Saizu blocks every one of Takeko's attack but fails to land a hit himself. Atsuko and Masijiro are in a deadlock until she pushes him back. However, breathless from killing Yoshisada and running, Atsuko almost loses concentration as Masijiro almost kills her.

Meanwhile, Nobusuke easily kills Kayano's men and faces Kayano, who offers anything to stay alive. When wanting the Masume, he gives it only to die from Lloyd splitting his head. Looking around, Lloyd sees Ibuka curled up and tells Nobusuke to deal with it as he takes Masume. Disgusted, Nobusuke holds Ibuka up and kicks him back out of the tent. Outside, Masijiro begins to critique her until he falls forward from Ibuka being tossed out of the tent onto him. Losing his sword, Masijiro sees Atsuko about to kill him but she finds an opportunity and lands a fatal blow on Saizu. Alone, Masijiro thanks Atsuko for sparing him while escaping the fight on his horse.

While Takeko and Atsuko face off against Nobusuke, Lloyd tries to escape with the sword, regardless of his losses. Nobusuke loses the fight quickly by the two women. However, Lloyd is stopped by Ibuka and tries to kill him. Ibuka blocks his attacks and Lloyd realizes he is nearly surrounded. Trying to escape, Lloyd is jumped on by Atsuko, but manages to toss her off. Escaping into the woods, he feels elated that his mission was a success. Yet, he feels and sees that the Masume is gone. Ibuka wakes up from the fight and finds his sister all bloody and exhausted. Giving him the Masume, they are soon surrounded by Katamori and his men. Under his questioning, Katamori asks what has happened. Before he could speak, soldiers shout out how he faced Lloyd but mistaken the samurais' death was his actions too.

Ibuka asks for his punishment for failing to protect Kayano. However, Katamori sees the bodies around him and relays that his opponents were far greater and he survived and won back the Masume greatly. While Ibuka is taken for celebration and mourning Kayano, Atsuko and Takeko grow enraged from what transpired in front of them.

Chapter 11[]

The Emperor looks at his map and notices how his masses underweigh the Tokugawa's armies. Parkes tells him that size is not the most important part in their war as they possess modern technology of machine guns and cannons. They all know that the time of the samurai was near its end and that it was no match against their guns. Meanwhile, Lloyd arrives back at his lodgings at Edo Castle and ready to shower. However, a guard tells him that there is a visitor for him. Annoyed, he receives a shadowy figure from the Templars and is reprimanded for losing the Masume. Insulted, Lloyd keeps his emotions stable and asks what to do next. The Templar tells him to win the war and crush Tokugawa's forces.

Atsuko, posing again as Tasuke, is riddled with questions about her whereabouts and if she saw Ibuka fight. When she tells the truth of killing two samurai, the other soldiers laugh. Despite the chaos, the army keeps moving. The Masume is kept in Katamori's possession, where security and protection are not matters of concern. During her free time, she practices with Takeko and starts to practice their flexibility. One moment, Takeko asks Atsuko of what she thought of her brother but Atsuko is silent. Atsuko tries to backtrack but Takeko notices that Ibuka is a coward as well. Atsuko asks why she even asked while Takeko responds she wants to understand what motivates Atsuko and how to use her properly.

Atsuko replies that she feels offended to be used as a tool but Takeko explains they are all tools and know little. However, Takeko states that they all work to better the lives of the people of Japan. She also states that Ibuka is now seen as a demi-god over the actions he took credit for, but it leads to jealousy from his fellow soldiers. Thus, Takeko tasks Atsuko to be near her brother and watch him by any means to disguise herself.

Chapter 12[]

Atsuko ponders how to leave her place in the march and conjures up a lie to tell her sergeant. She tells him that Lady Takeko asked to see her over the death of Kayano. Stuck in a hard place, the sergeant orders to finish her task quickly as possible. Meeting up with Takeko, Atsuko surprises the lady, who asks what she is doing. Atsuko states she passes the mission. Confused, Takeko puts on a smile and congratulates her on not needing a disguise. Looking around, both women find Ibuka in a middle of a group laughing. However, a brute samurai pushes his way through to Ibuka. The samurai Uesegi appears ravaged by war wounds and smallpox as he pushes Ibuka again. Takeko explains that Uesegi was once favored by Katamori, but ever since Ibuka's accomplishments, he is now rendered to the shadows.

Takeko states that although Ibuka has not given in yet, seeds of doubt may be planted due to lack of response. However, she implies if Atsuko would act and get rid of Uesegi, two problems would be solves. Nevertheless, Takeko tasks her with a secret mission for her and her brother. Alone with Atsuko and Ibuka, Takeko blackmails Ibuka with the truth and an attached duel if he does not help with her mission. Motionless, Ibuka asks what to do. Takeko, glad of compliance, tasks Atsuko to take a riddled bottle to a well in Fushimi, where the enemy may be located. Ibuka is to provide an escort, which annoys him. Atsuko asks why they are chosen while Takeko replies that most scouts are loyal to the daimyo while they are loyal to her. Takeko states that she knows one of them is capable of fighting.

Angry with her teasing her brother, Atsuko states that they will do it but asks to stop her bullying and how she knows what low regards she holds of them. Takeko retorts that she holds Atsuko in very high regards and if the mission goes well, she may offer a proposition to her.

Chapter 13[]

Atsuko and Ibuka wear peddler's attire while Takeko explains the disguises is not to attract unwanted attention. Covered in bugs, urine, rain and manure, both siblings move as they discuss their differing opinions on how cowardice affects Ibuka's life. After some time, they arrive in Fushimi and a local villager named Madoka shouts out the siblings are merchants. The people start to buy their wares while the siblings move towards the square, where the village chief offers them soup. The chief offers them to stay for a wedding between Madoka and her attended Keitaro in two days. Although reluctant to stay, they agree while the village chief and the village's blacksmith Haku offers his place for them to stay.

Meeting the villagers in jokes and stories, the siblings stay the night at Haku's, while Atsuko notice the freedom they all hold in their meager lives. The night comes while Haku tends to his visitors. When he goes to sleep, Ibuka tells Atsuko to go to the well. Atsuko replies that she will not go through with it as she is not going to kill innocents with poisoned water in order to kill the enemy. Ibuka rebukes and questions whether it would be better to kill hundreds to save thousands. However, Atsuko states she would not live with herself and states she will deal with the aftermath. Ibuka relents and states he will abide. Together, they sleep besides each other like they did in their childhood.

Chapter 14[]

Atsuko and Ibuka leave Fushimi but not before wishing Madoka well and giving a gift to Haku for welcoming them into their homes. Traveling back to their camp, Ibuka and Atsuko are received by the soldiers and later meet with Takeko in an unmarked tent after three days. They meet with Takeko, who asks if their mission went well. Before Atsuko could say anything, Ibuka states the well is poisoned. Takeko congratulates them and tells them to rest. Atsuko and Ibuka are left alone as she questions why he lied to her. Ibuka finally state he did not as he explains he poisoned the well that night while she slept. Showing his own bottle empty, Ibuka explains that Takeko took him aside earlier and had him there as a backup. Realizing what was done, Atsuko begins to throw up tremendously while Ibuka states the weight is on him.

Atsuko condemns Takeko and Ibuka for killing innocents and blames herself for not saving the villagers. Storming out, she is met by a guard, who asks why "he" was here. Atsuko covers up and lies that Katamori sent her on reconnaisance. However, the guard stops her and tells not to leave. Atsuko is soon told that the enemy's army is in sight.

Chapter 15[]

Brunet looks at the map and how both forces had their advantages and disadvantages. Despite the shogun's numbers being higher, the Imperial forces have Gatling guns and ammunition while Tokugawa's forces are given unloaded guns. To make matters worse, Tokugawa has become ill and away from the front lines. The fate of Japan rests now on a battle outside Tabu and Fushimi. Meanwhile, Atsuko goes back to her own soldier's duty without any contact with Takeko and Ibuka. However, a sergeant reprimands her for being an opportunist with Lady Takeko and the samurai and sentences her to the left flank to deal with any enemy who breeches their defenses. Preparing to march, Atsuko sees Ibuka but does not meet his eye and then lowers her head when she sees her father Tanomo.

She marches with her flank while catching sight of Takeko talking with an official and then hearing Ibuka going into battle first. Atop a hill, she waits in thought until her sergeant tells her to go. Within an instance, she feels a bullet pass by her shoulder while exploding the soldier's head behind her. Making her way past her dead comrades, she reaches the Imperial gunmen and slices them down. Atsuko shouts out "Avenge the dead!" which is repeated by her fellow soldiers. While the ashigaru gain the upper hand, the gunmen start to flee by the hundreds.

While in battle, Atsuko takes in the carnage and then hears the Gatling gun shooting the samurai. Despite her anger, she races and calls for Ibuka. She then realizes to tell the shogun's gunmen to fire at the Imperial's backs but one of the men state their guns are empty. Realizing the battle is lost, she continues to find Ibuka. She breaks rank and luckily finds Ibuka hiding behind a tree. However, she notices Uesegi approaching him too.

Chapter 16[]

Before the fighting, Ibuka remembers how his fellow samurai were boasting but recalls the stupid plan for them to take down the Gatling gun personally. However, this is no escape as they start riding to their enemy. Initially confident in their numbers, Ibuka witnesses his fellow samurai fall to the machine guns. A soldiers shouts for the shogun but Ibuka realizes that despite the code of honor, the shogun shies away from battle due to a convenient illness. However, Ibuka stays and kills any enemy coming his way. However, their numbers begin to dwindle and he decides to save himself rather than die by a gun. While he makes his way behind the trees, he does not register that someone followed him.

Atsuko intercepts Uesegi, who asks Taisuke why he broke formation. While they exchange updates on the battle, Uesegi tasks her to tell the superiors of Ibuka's cowardice. Realizing he is the only one who knows of Ibuka's true nature, Atsuko waits and attacks Uesegi at the side. Injuring him, Atsuko fights an injured Uesegi, who is impressed by Atsuko's skill with a yari. He retaliates by landing heavy blows but she keeps stepping backwards until she falls. Before he could land a killing blow, a mortar shell hits from above. Waking up, Atsuko's eardrums ring while she falls again onto the liquid remains of Uesegi. She sees the battlefield and sees the shogun's forces retreat while the Imperial side has won.

While both sides treat their wounded, Atsuko makes it back to camp and sees her father's body as he fell in battle by a gunman. She was empty of tears while trying to rationalize her reason for trying to save Ibuka. However, she cries over losing her father and exclaims what is she going to do now. Takeko enters and offers her a place within the Brotherhood. Angry, Atsuko accuses her of killing innocents while Takeko states the poison befell two hundred soldiers. Atsuko cannot forget Haku or Madoka's faces and blames Takeko. Takeko soon says the name Saori as she explains she was her innocent kill who was caught in the wrong place and the wrong time. Atsuko states she is sorry but wants to know who is giving the orders.

Takeko takes the time to explain that she is an Assassin and their history to protect the people and how everyone is equal regardless of societal standards on gender, sex, race, and so on. Takeko states that she wants to do her own path but not at the cost of too many civilians. Takeko understands and states that Atsuko is a promising advocate for the cause and that she will not ask Atsuko to do a mission that requires a loss of innocent life. Realizing her choices, Atsuko looks around and then nods to continue her training with Takeko.

Chapter 17[]

Katamori stays in Aizu Castle while news of Osaka, Utsunomiya, and Edo's castle falling to the Emperor ring out. Seeing his castle surrounded, he hopes that he finds a way out from his dilemma. Elsewhere, Atsuko takes a wash after a number of weeks while she has been training with Takeko for six months. Takeko soon tasks her with stealing Imperial battle plans from their camp. Atsuko readies on her jet black disguise and goes across Aizu at night. Sadly, the commotion is gone due to the war. Atsuko makes her way to the Imperial camp and scopes the area. She sees a sentinel on a tree trunk while she notices Aizu Castle. She grabs the sentinel, who begs for his life after Atsuko drags him into a secluded area. He begs and states that his wife Madoka is pregnant.

Suppressing her emotions, Atsuko interrogates him and tells him to undress. Learning where the generals and officers' tent is, Atsuko undresses herself and puts on the Imperial soldier's outfit and then her own dark tunic. Ashamed, the man tells her that he will be the laughingstock. Atsuko tells him to lie while she leaves him tied to a tree naked.

Chapter 18[]

Infiltrating the camp, Atsuko takes out her jet black disguise and disguises herself as a guard. Making her way towards the quartermaster's tent, she is approached by a sergeant and freezes. In the instant he grabs her shoulder, Atsuko lies and states she wants to use the officers' toilet. The sergeant almost has her reprimanded but she manages to bribe him with enough for him to look the other way. However, she runs away until the sergeant was no longer there. At the tent, she slices an opening and finds the quartermaster alone. Holding her tanto to his neck, Atsuko demands the battle plans while he rejects her out of fear. However, Atsuko threatens him with going after his family if he does not comply and remain hushed about giving the plans.

The quartermaster relents and gives her the plans. To get past the barricades, he gives a signed order from him to go by unnoticed. Believing he is going to die, the quartermaster is relieved when Atsuko spares his life. However, she mentions if he betrays him, then she will enact vengeance on his family. He closes his eye in doubtful hope and opens them to see the ninja was gone.

Chapter 19[]

Atsuko makes her way out of the camp until another guard notices her. With the order besides her, Atsuko believes everything is right until her uniform gives way and he sees that she is a woman. Trying to attack him, Atsuko misses and he sounds the alarm. Escaping his grasp, she begins to run and make through the soldiers' tents. A larger man stands in front of her, but she manages to stop him by twisting his nether regions. Making her way to the palisades and using the chaos to her advantage, she confuses three soldiers by saying the shogun's army is escaping. Although one guard does not believe her, Atsuko quickly impales him with her tanto and escapes. However, the running and tension is taking a toll while she realizes the samurais of the Imperial clan are chasing her by horse.

With no weapons, she still runs but hears them riding closer. In a last attempt, she screams at the samurai's horse, which falls over and causes the others to halt their progress. Nearly breathless, Atsuko makes her way to the town's walls while the samurais go on foot. However, she climbs the walls and escapes their view. Nearing the moat, she is emotional as she succeeds in her mission. However, she immediately feels a katana at her neck. The samurai is Masajiro and states that he tracked her from the moat from earlier. Almost done, Atsuko is freed after Masajiro states it is due to her sparing his life. Masajiro states that next time, they will be enemies. Masajiro lets her go while more troops are heard incoming. He states that he chooses the wrong side after complimenting that there are too little women of such skill at the Imperial camp. Escaping, Atsuko gives her name before leaving with a smile from the compliment.

Chapter 20[]

Katamori receives the plans from Takeko as they discuss the potential to win the battle, if not the war. Takeko explains that he needs to call the women to fight as well but Katamori believes women are weepers. However, Takeko introduces Atsuko to him as the one who retrieved the plans. Despite his personal beliefs, Katamori finally agrees for Takeko to enroll any woman who wishes to fight alongside him. Meanwhile, Atsuko thought of her brother Ibuka, whom she has not seen in six months, while learning he lied to her face about being a hero in the last battle.

Ibuka finally finds her on the second floor and tries to talk with Atsuko. Ibuka admits to lying and tells her that he cannot flee anymore. Atsuko admits that she knows he fled and that she was hurt by his lying. Ibuka understands and asks for forgiveness while stating he knows of Takeko's female unit. Ibuka knows that the samurai captured will be killed but their women will be spared and thus asks her to not fight. Despite his many pleads, Atsuko refuses to sit and wait and stands by her desire to fight.

Atsuko looks out and sees the preparations of the shogun's forces, especially with their guns and ammunition. The women, including Takeko's mother and sister, are sadly unskilled but ready to fight for their lives. Although she notices that the time for the samurai is near the end, Atsuko sees her hand grabbed by Takeko, who states history will not forget us.

Chapter 21[]

Katamori readies his men with the best stallions and sees an incoming Takeko, who pleads for her warriors to fight alongside them. However, Katamori instructs and orders her and her women to fight and defend the ramparts. Takeko angrily accepts the order while Katamori insults her while leaving. Meanwhile, Lloyd and Parkes discuss how his Excellency expects to win in sake for their commercial treaties.

The Imperial forces attack in the morning and Katamori unleashes his samurai at their artillery immediately. In a matter of time, the Imperial cannons stop firing while Lloyd sees their soldiers in disarray. Lloyd leads the charge and resurrects confidence into his gunners and soldiers. Then, he notices a shouting Katamori with the Masume. Lloyd goes and fights against Katamori. At the ramparts, Takeko disobeys her orders and leads the women to the battle below them. Jumping into the icy moat, Takeko and her women attack the Imperial forces circling Katamori. Takeko and Atsuko quickly kill their enemies but their numbers begin to dwindle.

Reaching Katamori, Takeko brings her coalition to aid Katamori. However, a stray bullet hits Takeko in the chest while Atsuko runs to her aid. Bleeding profusely, Takeko tells Atsuko to behead her corpse in order to stop those parading her head as a prize. Reluctant, Atsuko takes Takeko's naginata, beheads her dead mentor, and throws it into the moat. In front of her, a soldier with a katana comes and she tries to attack him but realizes it is Ibuka. However, the loss of concentration has Lloyd slice her stomach and knock her out. Believing herself dead, she believes she will see her parents and Takeko soon.

Chapter 22[]

Ibuka had convinced Katamori earlier to have Takeko and her women at the ramparts. When fighting, he finds out Atsuko is with him below and then hears her cries of pain. Ibuka goes to aid his sister but sees Lloyd in front of him. Katamori comes and attacks Lloyd but the Englishman swiftly beheads him. While most watch their defender die, Ibuka grabs the Masume while Lloyd attacks him. Realizing who they are to each other, Ibuka tries to check on Atsuko while deflecting Lloyd's attack. However, Lloyd lands a fatal blow on Ibuka's stomach with the boy holding his hand on his stomach.

However, Ibuka feels relief as death is imminent and fights back for the first time. Lloyd tries to kill him but Ibuka fastily avoids his attack and sprays his blood from his wound onto Lloyd. In a matter of seconds, Ibuka beheads Lloyd with the Masume while he goes to carry Atsuko out of the battlefield. Killing anyone in his way, Ibuka sees the battle is lost but not his sister. Meanwhile, Imperial soldiers are betting on Ibuka's survival until a samurai ends their bet and dissolves their union. Masajiro orders them to leave while he looks Ibuka carrying Atsuko.


Atsuko awakes at a stream with her injuries wrapped. With only a tanto, she hears someone coming but falls due to her injuries. Masajiro comes and asks her to stop as he tells her what has happened. It has been a week and the shogun's side retreats while the Emperor is officially in charge with a new name. He also tells him that Ibuka died that day he saved her. Atsuko did not care for the war but begins to cry over her brother's death. However, Masajiro tells her multiple times that he died a hero, killed Lloyd, and rescued her from the battlefield. Atsuko soon asks why Masajiro saved her. Initially joking that the world needs someone like her, Masajiro tells her to rest.

Atsuko awakes again at night time while Masajiro explains why he saved her. Atsuko begins to believe that he loves her until he offers her a place in the Assassin Brotherhood. Shocked, Masajiro reveals that he has been keeping an eye on her since their initial fight and has been close to Lloyd since the beginning. Masajiro reveals himself to be Matsuo and works for Jules Brunet. Matsuo shows her the Masume and explains how their war is not over. She asks if the Emperor is their enemy and their mission of free will is true. He replies yes and after some pondering, she accepts the offer.

Elsewhere, Brunet and Parkes meet and each has a cup of tea while Parkes exclaims they won the battle. However, while Brunet states the war will be theirs, he continues to wonder about the Emperor's newfound power. Parkes concludes that it will be a peaceful era and that the Emperor has begun his reign under a new name, Emperor Meiji.


The novel features several historical inaccuracies, such as Jules Brunet claiming to serve the Third French Republic while it was founded in 1870, or the beheading of Matsudaira Katamori during the Battle of Aizu while he was known to have died twenty-five years later in 1893.