_________ POV Narration _________
Ken was sitting in the common room, his katana resting on his legs as he sat cross-legged.
The rags he wore were ripped in many places, now that his body was somewhat bigger, he was also given pieces of red samurai armour, which he put on underneath his tattered rags.
Ken slowly got up, deciding on his activities for the day and also starting to look around their camp for a bit.
After walking around the forest, he drew a large map on the ground near the front door of the main building of their hideout, using his senses to draw the tracks and openings that he could feel around him.
Daisuke noticed him doing so rather quickly. "Ken! What's all of this about?" The older samurai was rather confused by Ken's decision to randomly start drawing on the ground.
"I've mapped our surroundings, I'm just drawing it into the dirt for now..." Ken said as he continued dragging the hilt of his katana on the ground while humming in a low voice.
Daisuke stopped a bit, blinking a few times as he tried to question himself why the only blind person in the group was suddenly interested in drawing maps...
"Is there really a need for this? I mean, we are likely just going to move at some point anyway..." Daisuke rolled his eyes a bit, still looking at the drawings on the ground with a bit of interest.
"... Are we really going to find a better place than this? I don't think so. I think it's time we settled in one place permanently. Patrols don't come this far into the mountains anyway..." Ken spoke without holding much back.
They were currently using an abandoned shrine as a base, its walls needed repairing, and it could use some roofing, but Daisuke had made it their temporal base.
Many were rather excited about not sleeping in leaf tents and small cabins for once. So Ken decided to start planning out a way to turn the Shrine into a permanent home for their wandering group.
"... I get your point, but Ken, we really can't afford to get caught by them. Even if they don't travel this far out, they might spot our hunter's tracks, which will lead them to us eventually."
Daisuke's concerns weren't exactly baseless, as that had happened a few times in the past, each time they were forced to flee.
"There are ways to avoid detection. With a map, we can start planning out routes for our hunters to take... We need to establish proper boundaries, and with some luck, we won't have any invaders anytime soon."
Ken continued to scribble on the ground until it became a clear image, one that he couldn't quite see but could feel.
Daisuke was rather surprised at the detail in Ken's map, it seemed to take into account every crevice of the mountain range, it was as if Ken had been living there his whole life...
But Daisuke knew that such a thing wasn't possible, they had only found the shrine a few weeks back, so all that exploring was done in a rather short timeframe.
Daisuke looked a bit at the child in front of him. Who had now turned his gazeless face towards him in an odd manner. Ken waited a bit for Daisuke's reaction... Until finally...
"Fine! Don't give me those eyes..." Ken smiled a bit at that joke, grinning as his sharp teeth glinted in the sunlight.
Joking about Ken's situation was something that only Daisuke did, and Ken only found it amusing, as he knew it wasn't in poor taste or ill-intentioned.
"We'll give this a shot, but we must also have escape routes prepared... Just in case." Daisuke relented in the end, giving Ken's idea a chance.
The first thing the two of them decided to do was to draw out some paths for the hunters to take back to camp. The designated hunters were Jurou, Isamu, Fumio and Arata.
All of them were trained rather extensively and knew their way around a forest.
Still, sometimes it was simply difficult to hide their tracks due to different circumstances, like being caught up in storms or patrols attacking them.
Ken and Daisuke were quick to draw up different territories for hunting, with each hunting territory having at least two different retreat paths in case of emergency.
Where the hunter group split up and led the pursuers through a planned array of traps and pitfalls that they would need to set up beforehand.
The hunting group would eventually meet up again, after which they were to circle around the place for a bit, before heading directly to a preplanned decoy base, which they also needed to build.
After that, they were to come to the shrine, the actual home.
Ken already had planned to build a few different decoy bases throughout the mountain.
This plan was bound to make hunting a bit more laborious, but they were a group of former samurai, they knew how to deal with complicated tasks.
All of them needed exact coordinates at all times, so Daisuke planned to give each of them a copy of that map to keep with them.
The plan itself would take a lot of construction work and trap laying, but they were thankfully not a lazy bunch. Ken had also already started planning to repair the old shrine into a more 'livable' place.
By the time the hunters got back to base that night, Daisuke had already managed to draw the maps for their new hunting routes.
But their jobs were far from done, the hunters seemed rather excited at the prospect of having a permanent home, so they quickly got to work designing different traps and sharpening sticks.
Ken also went off to build a decoy camp. At this point, he was big/strong enough that the samurai mostly let him do whatever he wanted.
And so, their group now had plenty of work to do for the following months...
But this time they were building something different. Not a temporary shelter from wind and rain. No, they were finally planning to build an actual home.
Something that all of them, even Ken had been longing for a long time.
Their sweat was spilt as the seasons changed.
Slowly but surely, the paths they were taking days were filled with traps, all leading to dozens of decoy bases all around the mountain range and even beyond.
It was an intricate web that spanned as long as possible.
And the shrine became the heart of it all. All of them gathered there at night after a hard day at work and shared more and more stories.
Ken told them of his trips in the forests, of how the birds sometimes landed on his head as he was meditating on tree branches.
Daisuke told them of how he once had to cut up a wolf pack while carrying wood for one of the decoy strongholds.
Jurou, the physically strongest of the group told them of how he was once forced to wrestle a bear in order to protect the meat he had hunted.
Isamu and Fumio were mostly together at all times, most of their stories consisted of dunking on patrols and laughing their asses off while running their pursuers in mazes of traps.
Arata had a few stories of getting caught in the nets they had set up. He had always been the less dexterous one among them...
Koji, the doctor, unfortunately, didn't have many interesting stories, he mostly kept to himself actually. But he did smile a lot when hearing everyone else speak so openly.
It was seemingly enough for him to just listen. He was one of the people that didn't leave the shrine much, only gathering herbs nearby from time to time.
He handled making medicine and had rebuilt most of the shrine by himself. He also handled most of the cooking.
Everyone cleaned their own shit though, all of them were men and no one had any fun cleaning another man's garments.
Even Ken cleaned his own clothes, as the samurai wanted him to grow up to be responsible.
Just like that, with their blood, sweat and tears, they had finally built a home. A place where they could return and rest.
Ken was satisfied, finally having a place he could call his own, with people that cared about him and that he could call family...
But the world he was in wasn't a peaceful one... How long would his happiness last, I wonder?
Hope you liked the chapter! Felt the need to write a chapter for this book too :))
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