Yeah, I didn’t think so either but it kind of does… well at least in my case.
Want to know more??
Are you sure???
Well I’m not telling…
Okay, okay… I AM telling.
So let me think back when did this all happen? Oh yeah it was in the year 2014 on Earth. You know that Blue Planet with the melting ice caps and the glasshouse effect? Yep, there it began. At that point in time I was sixteen and right in the middle of puberty… yeah not fun.
For all intents and purposes you are old enough to understand that doing something stupid can get you hurt or even killed but your body is in this funny growing phase in which it signals you that it is a BRILLIANT idea to do something daring, something forbidden… something that everybody that already went through puberty will dearly advise you to not EVEN think about! Oh well, let’s just say I wasn’t the brightest blub in the chandelier at that time.
So what happened?
Well my group of friends and I were on our way home from the cinema, we had just watched Frozen and yes a lot of you are going to shake your heads now and ask me why I was watching a Disney movie for kids? …
Well because I liked the trailer, simple as that.
Additionally to that I have always been a bit of a nerd, I loved Naruto and Dragonball Z, oh and of course Harry Potter.
God, I wanted to be a witch SO BADLY!!!
To understand what happened next you have to know that I lived in one of these small town villages in Europe. Yeah I’m not an American cheerleader princess or an ultra Naruto Otaku. Yes, these things also happen to normal European chicks, well as normal as a dorky and slightly pudgy girl with too much imagination is.
Anyway, I’m not going to tell you my nationality because that’s not really important anymore. Important is that it was December and it had snowed quite strongly in the last two weeks and that for the first time in YEARS, seriously it had been nearly a decade since it had snowed in December.
This was also the reason why we had decided to walk home instead of taking the bus. So here we were, enjoying the freshly fallen snow and ice and overall acting like the insecure teenagers we were… which meant with too much bravado and too little brain. We had just started a snowball fight when we decided to take the short cut over the unlit dirt track that went parallel to a small stream.
Hhm… I’m sure the smart cookies in the reader group are now thinking uh oh. Just you wait, it gets better!
Well, we pelted each other with snow balls and one of them hit me right in the face with such a force that I lost balance, took a step back, slipped and tumbled right into the ice cold water…
The stream was no deeper than ten centimeters but it was fucking cold and these assholes that called themselves my friends stood there and laughed at me, and it really was not funny! After the first few moments of shock had passed by I climbed out of the stream and made my way as fast as possible in direction of my home because believe me cold weather and wet clothing? Not cool!!!... Well yes, it was cool but not in THAT sense.
Right back to the story… so here I was power walking with my snickering friends right on my tail, trying to get to my home as fast as possible. We were only a few streets away and I could practically smell the hot cocoa already.
What happened next is still kind of blurry.
So, what do you get when you add a small frozen rural road, a freezing girl and a car?
I was too impatient to wait for the traffic light to turn green and told myself that there was NO way that a car would come by at this time of the evening. Did I say that the small town was kind of isolated, like in bumfuck nowhere? Anyway, I made my way over the street and right in that moment a car came around the corner. And of course my little teenage sized brain told me that I would make it.
Well, I didn’t.
It was instant death… at least I hope so.
And if I didn’t die right at that moment I probably suppressed it somehow like most of the bad things that happened to me because my mind was kind of working that way. If I didn’t like something I used my favorite coping mechanism, denial, denial, denial… come to think of I was a lot like the British Ministry of Magic concerning that!
Well back to my story, I won’t bore you with the details how it felt to grow up in a new body; FULLY AWARE of what is going on around you! Believe me you DON’T want to know. The changing of the diapers alone, ugh.
So let’s just say it went by slowly, very slowly.
And then I was suddenly a small child that was beginning school. And it was refreshing to be able to learn new things. I mean what I was being taught by my private tutor wasn’t especially interesting but it was something new and my mind just sucked up everything that was said like a sponge. The learning capabilities of a child are kind of awesome by the way. So I learned; hell I even took to that fucking etiquette training like a fish to water and dear god was that a lot.
You see I had the dubious luck of being born into a noble family. You think that’s where the mind fuck stops? Oh no it gets better, a LOT better. You see I was a bastard. An acknowledged bastard, yes but it didn’t change the fact that I still was a bastard.
I was the daughter of Lord Nobunaga Takahiro and one of his many concubines… and I was his only daughter. Takahiro had seven sons, four of them by his wife while the other three were from different concubines. Additionally my mother Kaliko died in child birth so I was practically alone right from the start. This probably should have given me a huge disadvantage right from the beginning of my life and one would think that something like an abridged Cinderella story would be the logical conclusion to it instead of what really happened.
You see Lady Nobunaga Michiko wanted desperately, DESPERATELY a daughter. And here I was now, the suddenly half orphaned daughter of her husband. I must have looked like a god send to her.
And so I grew up beside my legitimate brothers instead of my bastard ones.
It wasn’t always easy I can tell you that, they either ignored me, tried to spoil me to get the approval of their mother or tried to make my life as difficult as possible while constantly reminding me that I was just a bastard. I probably could have lived with this behavior more or less if it had been constant but NO, of course my brothers had to be as whimsical as their father and change from one day to the other. Let’s just say that it kept me on my toes.
Another thing I had to deal with was gender discrimination. Oh yes, if you think the situation with my brothers was frustrating THIS was what really drove me up the wall! I had to always, ALWAYS watch what I was saying or doing. As a princess of the house of Nobunaga I could not go around spouting nonsense, I was to be seen not heard. So yeah it was not everything a noble life was advertised to be.
The only saving grace from really flipping out and doing something that I would regret was the fact that I had my own wing in the palace far away from the normal palace life. My brothers were in their own wing getting a different kind of education than me. So if I wanted some time away from them and the constricting palace etiquette I simply called my private tutor that was day and night ready to teach me things I didn’t know yet. Very convenient.
You are probably now curious about my somewhat frivolous approach to this new life. I was still in denial, even ten years after entering this world. The education I received didn’t particular help with that. My whole life in the castle was more like an elaborate play to me than anything else, a very frustrating one, but still a play. You move your arm like this, nod your head at that person and received tons of presents as the Lady’s favorite and sit with other young girls your age and learn how to do needle work and ikebana.
I didn’t have to DO anything and so I just lived into my new life until I got a harsh reality check when I was eleven.
You see, that was the first time I was deemed presentable to a wider part of the court and it was here that I learned about the existence of ninja. Don’t get me wrong, I had found out soon after my first year that I had been stuck into a Japanese Feudal like era. Come on, that’s not so hard to deduct when the people around you speak in an Asian language and use all those antique tools instead of modern conveniences. What I really, really didn’t expect was that this world was the Naruto world because let’s face it, as nice as it is to dream about the Naruto universe and the hundred others containing our favorite books and movies, they don’t exist. Right? Right?
Well apparently they did, or at least the Naruto world did because those people in front of me, talking to my father were clearly ninja and what was even worse was that they were Mist ninja. Yup I had been born into the Bloody Mist. Just Great!!!
My only comfort after this revelation was that as the third youngest child of Lord Nobunaga I was not a particular interesting target. Yes you have understood me correctly, I received another two brothers during the eleven years of my life, both bastards and I hadn’t seen them more than a handful times since then.
And then I accidently turned the bowl filled with too hot water into ice one day.
Oh yeah. I was born in the Bloody Mist and apparently had the ability to turn water into ice. Just Great.
It was like a particular harsh dose of freezing cold water, pun intended. From that day I was VERY careful about what I did and what I touched in the vicinity of witnesses. In private though I got curious. I mean come on, I could somehow manipulate ice how cool was that?! And so I played a bit around with the concept and experimented. Most of the time nothing happened but sometimes I would get some results like a flower with frozen dew or a window incrusted with the faintest ice crystals. The older I got, the easier it was for me to manipulate this ability. I didn’t become a ninja, hell I didn’t even WANT to think about what reaction that kind of idea would have provoked in my traditional father and overprotective stepmother. Not that I really wanted to do all that hard training, and fighting… and killing, good god no! Though that didn’t prevent me from playing around with my abilities. Like I said, I got curious.
Until the day my stepmother caught me playing around with ice crystals.
Damn was I scared. Michiko or hahaue as I had been instructed to call her had entered through one of the side entrances and had stared at me for quite some time until I realized that she was there. You can say what you want about the normally so stuck up woman that was the true master of the Nobunaga castle but Michiko really did love me. It was a neurotic and obsessive love but she DID love me because after she had regained some of her bearing she had pulled me into a hug after I had gotten rid off the ice and whispered to me that she would help me. I was fourteen at that time and slowly starting to attract attention at the court because let me tell you something, not only the ice Kekkei Genkai was passed through the Yuki line, the good looks were too.
Even at the risk of sounding like a Disney cliché I had lips red as a rose, hair black as ebony, and skin white as snow. Yeah talk about marriage incentive beside the noble Lord as father. And I would like to remember all of the kind readers about the fact that girls in the Feudal era were normally married off around the age of fifteen and sixteen. Yes, even in the Naruto world.
So anyway back to Michiko, my adoptive mother had somehow I have really no idea how, procured scrolls and texts about the Yuki-bloodline and clan. It was an interesting read, especially the one about the ice mirrors and made a few things a lot easier to understand but I still preferred the experimental approach to my ability. Did I tell you how I remembered one day about the movie I had watched directly before my death? Because that had made me kind of paranoid about the idea that you could influence your own Reincarnation in some way and that I had unconsciously landed myself into this mess. In the end I dismissed it as unimportant after all what could I do now about it? What WAS important was how Disney Elsa manipulated the snow and ice around her and man did I want to do that too!
So I practiced whenever possible to give small snow animals some life. Let’s just say it took me months, MONTHS to get one baby ice rabbit to move in a somewhat natural way. After that it got surprisingly easier, the snow animals didn’t have their own minds but I could give them some simple commands and they would do what I wanted from them and they weren’t that hard to sustain for a time, the longest I did was six hours but I suspected that I could do this even longer.
Well and then I turned fifteen and my father signed a marriage contract with a Lord that lived on one of the islands close to the continent. I will be honest, after I learned about that I had become pretty resigned to my fate, I WAS a princess after all and I would be married off. It was just as simple fact of this new life and as sad as it sounds if you get told to obey your father and clan head no matter what for more than a decade you really have a strong inclination to DO it. And so after a good crying session I put on my best mask before I said goodbye to my parents and siblings and then climbed into the carriage my fiancé had provided for me. I tried to tell myself that it wasn’t that much of a disaster after all Takashi was only five years older than me and not twenty or even fifty years.
And then everything turned out different than I expected.
What I hadn’t put into my equation was my nutty adoptive mum’s need to protect her baby and help her to find her own way; aka me. That overprotective and quite frankly bat shit insane woman had orchestrated my bid for freedom down to the minutest detail.
Through various contacts she had arranged an Iwa Team to kidnap me and take me along with most of my dowry to a place of my choosing, the rest belonged to them. I will be frank, when the gruff shinobi in front of me had told me that I had gaped at him in a most unladylike manner for much longer than appropriate before hesitantly reading through the letter my mother had sent to me through the ninja team. While I was occupied the ninja team made short work of destroying the evidence of the attack and sealing away the dowry, apparently Michiko had given them strict orders.
The team leader then asked about the place I wanted to go to. In the first moment I had been completely helpless until I had hesitantly asked after snow and mountains. The shinobi had wordlessly pointed out a few locations on a map to me. Snow country being the most famous one of them but I hadn’t really liked the thought of living in the same land as a dictator so I had asked after the most rural and cut off area with my specifications. The ninja had looked kind of confused before pointing at a small area in the Land of Hot Springs and the Land of Frost. I knew that this was a strategically bad place to settle down with all the fighting during the Fourth Great Shinobi War so I wanted to know the area with the most water which led me to the Land of Rivers. Or more exactly to a small zone of mountains between Fire and River, neither of the Daimyo’s had claimed it because it was so inaccessible for civilians and only a handful of villages existed in the valleys between the mountains. When I asked about the current political climate and ninja situation in the Land of River, I was grinned at and told that because of its strategically bad position between Fire and Wind the ninja population was as good as nonexistent.
With the new destination decided the Iwa team quickly finished cleaning up before the biggest of the lot threw me over his shoulder and they made haste in direction of the nearest port from which we took a boat to Noodle country. Well that particular way to travel was more than a bit uncomfortable, after two hours my back was hurting and my feet were cramping from all the time they were tensed awkwardly. My body had never known excessive exercise or even injury in this world and I was now dearly feeling this. We found a solution very quickly after the first night I had woken up in pain and complained the whole next day. And so I put on some trousers to ride piggy back instead of being carried like a sack of potatoes. Like this I only had to close my eyes for hours on end to escape the feeling of vertigo when I looked down on the forest floor.
When I arrived in River country only four days later, the same time it would have taken me to arrive at my fiancé’s castle, I was exhausted.
Don’t get me wrong I was very happy over the fact that I had FINALLY arrived at my destination but it was high time to get rid of those pesky ninja. I had been itching to use my ice release since the day before but didn’t dare to try anything because who knows what the Iwa team would have done if they had known that I carried such a famous and nearly extinct bloodline. And so I instructed the hired team to put my dowry in the back of a giant cave in the highest mountain of the region and unseal it. The mountain luckily already had some snow on it and so I would only have to expand it. I was determined to build my own snow castle like Elsa did. The Iwa nins left me there without looking back and suddenly I was alone.
Thankfully had enough travel food for two or so weeks, it wasn’t very varied but it would be enough, at least I thought so. I will be honest, the silence and paltry scenery was getting to me and had I be a normal fifteen year old spoiled and conservatively raised princess this probably wouldn’t have worked but I still remembered my upbringing of the life before this one and had smelled freedom. It woke the independent part in me that had been buried for so long, like hell I would give up on that again.
So the moment I was sure I was alone I began to work on my ice castle, for that I created about half way up the mountain the foundation for it. For that you have to understand that ice doesn’t equal ice in the long run, there are hundreds of different ice types and I needed the robust kind that wouldn’t melt even in direct sunshine, I needed what on Earth had been called glacier ice. Which was a chore and a half to produce; I created snow that I then had to melt partially before using the pressure of more snow to get what I wanted. After the first day I was exhausted and really hungry. I returned to my cave thinking about the food I would be able to eat when I discovered no fire burning and no food cooking.
I, the genius that I was, had forgotten that I had no idea how to start up a fire without any wood nor how to cook the food that the ninja had left me. Yes I know that wasn’t my brightest moment. So to get rid of the worst hunger I ate some of the dried fruit and went, still hungry to bed on my sleeping bag in the middle of the cold cave.
You would think that a phenomenal stupid idea. And in your case I could only agree. DON’T do it, you will just get sick! In my case, well let’s just say the cold never bothered me anyway.
On the next morning I awoke tired and once again hungry. By that time I knew that I would have to find a way to either learn how to cook or find someone who would do it for me… So where do you find a cook in the middle of the lonely mountains? Right, nowhere.
So I pretty much resigned myself to learn by trial and error and hope that I wouldn’t starve till then when Destiny, Lady Luck, however you want to call it gave me some reprieve. You see the Land of Rivers had besides a lot of Rivers and small villages also a lot of bandit groups. Hhm and most of their leaders were raw brutes with not a lot going on upstairs. And so this particular genius of a leader had decided to take a path through the mountains in late October during a rainy night to mug the village on the other side. Not his brightest moment.
I was on my way back from collecting fire wood on the foot of the mountain when I found that particular group, most of them had already been frozen stiff. There were only two people still alive, huddled under a blanket. A man in his forties and a boy no older then fifteen, probably father and son by the way they had curled up together. I can’t tell you why but I felt somewhat sorry for the two, even if they were bandits and so I created a makeshift sleigh as well as half a dozen snow bunnies and let them pull us up the mountain.
You must now think that I’m colossally stupid and ask why the heck I used rabbits of all things. Well let me give you a Naruto-Reality-check, this was actually very possible. Snow rabbits weren’t like their living counterparts, they were as strong as I made them and they also happened to be the snow animal I had the most experience with.
And I just loved the idea of playing nutty Radagast.
The older bandit had awoken some time during the journey and had started to beg for his and his son’s life, now that was fucking annoying so I told him to shut up. Yeah not the kindest way to respond but I was hungry and the man was rubbing me wrong way with his begging and groveling additionally I had to somewhat concentrate on building the ice ramp so that the sleigh could reach the plateau.
Anyways we arrived at the cave I had stayed in for the last two days and there I told the conscious one of the two to make fire and to start to cook. Either he was still absolutely terrified of me or he recognized the snobby tone of someone that was used to be waited on hand and foot and complied to not risk offending me. Either way he did what he was told after I waved carelessly in the direction of the supplies and sometime during the food preparation his son woke up.
The food was pretty good if simple and while I allowed them to eat too I started to ask questions about them. As it turned out the older one was called Daichi while his son’s name was Akio and they were former farmers that had lost everything because of a mud slide and were now trying to survive by stealing from others.
So here were two desperate men that needed to find some kind of work to survive. Hhm, well if I was building a snow castle I would sooner or later need some retainers anyway. So I told them that they would work for me from now on. By the way they quickly agreed they were either really desperate to find work or very scared of me, probably a bit of both.
To make sure that my new retainers wouldn’t die off in the cold I sent the older one down into one of the bigger villages to get winter gear for him and his son as well as whatever else he thought necessary. For that I handed him a wad of money and waved him along in direction of my rabbit sleigh that still hadn’t dissipated. I gave the rabbits some simple commands to bring Daichi save down to the edge of the village and wait there until he had returned. His son in the mean time would take care of feeding me. At that time it didn’t even occur to me that the two would have probably tried to run away but like this I had unconsciously stopped any attempts on the father’s side.
While Daichi was gone the whole day I started to reinforce the foundation of the snow castle. I had enough energy again to accelerate the growing of the glacier ice and built the plateau nearly fifteen meters thick, while the ice had a length of about 20 meters from the mountain to the edge of the plateau on all sides. One last hand movement ensured that the sleigh could reach the new plateau height through another ramp.
Shortly after it had become dark Daichi returned with the purchased goods.
The advantage of using snow creatures as draft animals was that they had no problem finding their way even in the darkness, they didn’t get tired and didn’t eat other than a small boost I gave them before sending Daichi off. The older man joined his son in the preparation of the meal while I walked into the back of the cave to choose a book to read for the evening before rejoining the two males at the fire.
After I had sat down I couldn’t stop my curiosity and asked, “What did you buy Daichi?”
“Winter gear for Akio and me, more vegetables and rice and also some hunting gear, my Lady.” The anxious man said.
I nodded thoughtfully, “Call me Yuuna. You can hunt?”
“Yes my Lady… I mean Yuuna-sama.”
“Good! You turn out to be very resourceful, you can take your son tomorrow on a hunt, I will be starting to raise the castle I have in mind.”
Daichi could only nod.
Akio by his side carefully turned to me and then asked frightened, “Are you going to eat us?”
I looked incredulous at the young man that was around my age and answered flabbergasted, “Why would I do this? I don’t have a taste for human flesh, furthermore who is going to take care of the cooking and hunting? I need retainers for my castle, killing you would be more than stupid.”
The other teenager shrunk somewhat back into the background but my words seemed to have eased their fears somewhat.
In the night it began to snow and this time it wasn’t my doing… well at least not directly. I think the cold air that developed because of the ice I created froze the rain.
The scenery on the next day was a lot better in my opinion, gone were the dreary grey stone that had been washed of any kind of vegetation because of the vast amounts of rain and instead there was now a crisp white snow blanket that covered nearly everything. Delighted about this occurrence I ate breakfast out in the fresh air; both Daichi and Akio preferred the cave because it was too cold for them. It had become brighter outside because the snow was reflecting the meager sunlight behind the still heavy clouds. The moment I had finished eating I started to check and reinforce the plateau once more, this was the foundation of my home, under no circumstances was it allowed to have any weaknesses.
After finishing with reinforcing the plateau I started to grow long ice pillars all around the plateau that I had created.
‘Just like in the movie’ I had thought more than a bit amused while they slowly grew in height.
Only what Elsa did in mere minutes took me days. I could create about two pillars a day. They went from the plateau to the tip of the mountain were they all joined together and built the ceiling. Between creating the pillars I reinforced again and again the ice plateau until it was about fifty meters thick and encased the rock in a solid ring. The castle as a whole was a lot more solid than the one in Frozen. The thickness of the ice also negated any sight through the building with the exception of the ice panels in the ceiling and windows. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to put at the top but I was sure that it would come to me one day.
Daichi and Akio were still frightened of me but at least in the younger one it was slowly turning into awe. The two did a good job at hunting and buying supplies from the villages around us. The only problem was that they stank. They stank somewhat awful after weeks of not bathing. But they couldn’t just clean themselves up in this cold weather and get away unscathed like me and so I needed to find a solution. During my time building the ice castle I had discovered that some parts of the mountain were warmer than the others, it thankfully didn’t damage the ice I had created or my whole construction could have come down on me. Whatever my abilities did to the ice, it made it a lot more durable and even somewhat impervious to the sunlight and fire. I had tested this with an ice figurine that I had placed close to the fire and then leaving it alone. Only after six days it slowly started to let off some water and that was in the direct heat of the fire. The moment I touched it, it froze again and returned to the beginning form to hold another six or so days. Normal snow that was not created from me wasn’t as durable after I molded it into a form, yes it too held longer than normal grown icicles but not as long as the ice and snow I had created with my powers.
So anyway with each level I built in my castle I could reach new caves in the mountain until I literally stumbled over the solution for my retainers’ bath problem. The mountain contained a hot spring, the hot water was pressed up from the middle of the earth and flowed through the mountain. That probably was also the reason why the mountain had never naturally completely frozen before even with all the water and snow coming down on it.
The discovery was worth its weight in gold. I followed quite a few of the caves to discover that they led all over in the mountain. It was easy to assign a cave system with adjacent hot spring to my retainers. The hot water would let them be able to bath even during the coldest winter and at the same time heat their sleeping quarters without having to use the precious fire wood.
After gaining permission they even built a rudimental kitchen partially in the mountain partially in the snow castle. Like this the supplies could be kept cold and wouldn’t spoil too soon while the two of them could work in the warmth.
While my retainers worked in the mountain I took the time to finally create a room for myself along with a treasury for my money and jewels. I didn’t think that Daichi and Akio would try to rob me for that they had too much respect of my powers but I liked the thought of having a treasury with ice sculptures to defend it. It was built right beside my own chambers and had shelves upon shelves that contained different chests with my dowry. It was also there that I stored the silk panels that had been another part of it. Around the room I positioned eight ice warriors with swords or lances and gave them the order to protect the content inside against intruders with the exception of myself.
My next project after that had been my own rooms. For that I seized one half of a whole floor and got to work. My bedroom had a balcony on which I could overlook the whole snow filled valley. Beside the ice bed it contained an ice couch as well as ice shelves and display cabinets and some chairs.
During the time I created my rooms I came to an interesting conclusion, since I had started my ice castle project I had been steadily creating more and more ice each day, my powers grew with each slab of ice. The problem with that was that I lost a lot of my accuracy and elaborateness, even my snow rabbits had become bigger and bigger in the last few months until they had the size of middle sized dogs.
So when I started with my rooms it really was no hardship to raise the ice walls that would section each living area but the details became tricky and a lot of hard work. Well in the end it was really only fine tuning again, it became easier once more with practice and I practiced a lot. My furniture was a curious mix of simple and elaborate baroque design that I could remember from my first life. In the end I also worked the pieces over that I had started out with because they were to raw and simple now to fit in with the rest.
Another thing that I found out accidently was that my powers were at least half automatic now. I only had to have a clear picture of what I wanted and give a small nudge to my powers and they did it for me. It was quite handy.
The room adjourning to my bedroom contained all of my clothes and shoes as well as a floor length ice mirror that was also a convenient way to move from one place to another. All over the castle I had placed ice mirrors to increase my speed of reaching rooms. Yes I was simply that lazy.
The dress room also had an entrance into the mountain in which my bathroom was contained… oh and yes I had a toilet. It took quite a bit of work and finally concentrating on my water based abilities to map out the water system in the mountain and let me tell you it felt bloody weird and very confusing to have my senses follow the water paths through the mountain. But I really had to do that after all I wanted to prevent that somebody accidently used toilet water for a bath or cooking. For that purpose I created an exact 3D model of the mountain and my castle as in not to confuse any water way before deciding on a building a whole slew of toilets and bathrooms out of ice, though they all had wooden seats to prevent any accidents. The color coded 3D model was then placed close to the retainer quarters.
But back to my rooms, I used the next room as a living room with adjacent library. The furniture was mostly out of ice, but I also had two snow monsters carry the massive chests upstairs to protect the books from the direct cold until I had figured out how to incorporate wood with my ice.
Oh yeah snow monsters… funny story that.
I probably have to explain that. So let’s just say that in the months I made my home on the mountain I didn’t really stop feeding my ice powers to my snow rabbits and sleigh and they somehow developed some quirks. I hesitate to call them sentient because they really weren’t, they just had a lot more instructions about how to react to situations programmed into them, so they were able to make decisions based on the current situation. They also seemed to be able to recognize Daichi and Akio as partial command givers, at one time for example Daichi had forgotten to get something from the village and so ordered the rabbits to turn around to get it which they obeyed. They also seemed to be able to recognize a dangerous situation. Akio told me one day that they had been hunted by a pack of wolves. In response the rabbits had moved faster and the sleigh had built an ice dome around them. I vaguely remember playing with the thought of a retractable ice top like on a cabriolet, the problem is I couldn’t remember if gave the sleigh that command unconsciously or if my ice power picked it out of my thoughts and incorporated it without my knowledge.
After that realization I started to pay closer attention to how my powers reacted to me and the environment around me and experimented again. For this I created the snow monsters, you know the ones with the retractable ice barbs and claws? Oh yeah that really tickled my fancy at that time. The first time I created one Akio nearly fainted; Daichi was thankfully inside the mountain because he would have reacted even worse. My snow monsters also weren’t sentient in the sense that they made their own decisions without help from me. I gave them commands, standing commands such as patrolling the mountain or lifting heavy things for my retainers. In the following weeks I gave them more and more commands and ice magic until one day I gave them two conflicting verbal orders. They did them both but prioritized one over the other and it wasn’t the first command that they fulfilled at first.
Apparently they were learning, or the ice power in them was.
It was a really spooky experience to know that while I hadn’t created life in the usual sense I still had created something sentient like that was still continuing to develop. After making this startling discovery I returned to my ice castle.
Remember when I said I had no idea what to do with the winter garden on top of the mountain? Well I found a solution pretty quickly. One of the thinner underground water streams climbed up very close to the top of the mountain before it flowed down once more. It wasn’t hard to have one of her ice monsters carve a stone basin into the mountain that emitted enough heat that the highest room achieved normal room temperature. The light was perfect because the top of the mountain was above the cloud cover and so I decided to turn three quarters of my winter garden into a real garden. I had my snow monsters bring earth from the still snow free parts of the valley up. They moved buckets full of earth with the help of the rabbit sleigh until there was enough to cover the patches I had created with my ice. There was a little bit more earth than normally necessary but I didn’t want the roots to freeze should they accidently touch the ice ground. Like this it was easy to cultivate herbs and vegetables all around the year and caring for the garden and harvesting it became another task for my retainers.
The last quarter of my winter garden was turned into a kind of pleasure garden. Most of the heat was funneled into this part because it was here the stone basin stood and I had Daichi purchase exotic and especially tropic plants from the big village two days away. It normally took a civilian a week to reach it because they had to walk around the mountains but with the rabbit sleigh it really was no problem for my retainers. The father and son duo also used that time to spend their day off in the bigger city. After the first month of living together I had also made sure that they had a day off every ten days, which was a lot more than normal servants received but hey I could afford it so why not.
The plants started to grow after some coaxing and soon I had green all around me with a comfortable recliner in the middle of the room to take an alpine sun bath or read a book.
In the following months I concentrated on lacing the slowly changing landscape with my ice and snow on strategic places because if I concentrated on one of those pieces of ice I could vaguely feel what was going on, which meant I had my own security system that I could expand on in any way I wanted.
At that time it had been nearly a year since I had come to the mountain range and I was turning 16 soon. We were mostly self sufficient now, at least concerning the vegetables and meat. Daichi and Akio still had to buy rice, spices, clothing and cookware and other things that tickled my fancy. I hadn’t even made a real dent into my dowry yet even with paying both Daichi and Akio some wage. Though there is to say that human labor in the Elemental Countries was cheap, ridiculous cheap even. I could have lived like this for the rest of my life if the following event hadn’t happened.
Since taking the mountain and appending valleys in my possession less and less humans had taken the path through that particular mountain range. Even the farmers that lived close by started to avoid getting close, which suited me just fine. So I was really surprised when my snow senses warned me that a human had entered my territories. Curious about this I kept an eye on the man that was obvious a farmer going by his clothes. He was coming from the direction of one of the bigger villages in Fire country but wore local clothing instead of the Fire one. He probably had sold some of his goods and was now returning to his home. It was a good idea to keep an eye on him because about half through the valley the genius slipped sideways into the snow. I waited a minute but the man didn’t get up again, now worried I put my book aside and walked through the nearest mirror to my sleigh and made my way to the fallen man.
So why did I do that? Firstly he was a farmer not a bandit, secondly he was in my territories, the snow was my creation and I would be indirectly responsible for his death even if he should have known better than to travel through a snow covered valley and thirdly, well to be honest I was a bit bored from reading and doing nothing.
When I arrived at the scene the man in question was dizzily sitting up before he turned to the chiming of the bells that I had fixed on each of my rabbit, I had been in a playful mood and thought why not. He took one look at me and fainted again. I wasn’t that frightening was I? Well okay maybe it had to do with the fact that I had been playing around with Elsa’s wardrobe. I couldn’t do the dress yet but a thicker version of the cape and gloves as well as the crown were possible. And damn did I look good!
So with the farmer unconscious again I quickly grew an ice arm out of the surrounding snow and heaved him into the sledge. After making sure that he wouldn’t fall out I gave my rabbits the order to takes as in the direction of the closest village. The scaredy cat beside me stayed asleep most of the journey while we crossed my territories and I’m pretty sure that the other time he played dead until we arrived about half a mile away from the village. Yes my sledge could move on different terrain though I had to reinforce the rabbit paws and the skid with additional ice magic for that. The moment the sledge came to a standstill I had two ice arms heave the man out of the sledge before I turned around and left him behind. In the mirrored surface of the sledge I could see the man standing up and looking after me for a stunned moment before he hobbled in direction of the village.
Even days later I was pretty amused by his scared behavior; country bumpkins were really funny sometimes and it had been a distraction from my day to day life.
What happened next, well let’s say I really should have seen that coming.
About ten days later I felt human activity right on the edge to where my snow began. Curious about what was happening I used one of the newly installed ice mirrors close to the location to show me what was happening. A group of five men were building something like a small hut. Now really interested I slipped through the mirror and quickly hid behind a snowed in fir tree. On closer inspection one of the five was the farmer that I had rescued from freezing to death a few days ago and right now he was telling his peers what had happened and how the Yuki Onna had saved his life. This was on one hand flattering and on the other very disturbing, after all Yuki Onnas were described as immensely beautiful women but also as bringers of an icy death and sometimes they are even described as the embodiment of evil. Apparently they were building a shrine for… me…
Okay I probably should have stopped them and cleared that misconception but I was bored and come on who DOESN’T want to be worshipped? So I returned to my castle and waited until I was sure they had finished and were gone before returning and investigating. The shrine had a simple design and inside were some dried fruits, a cup of sake as well as some pretty dark blue flowers. Now I probably shouldn’t have done what I did but, well those things were for me weren’t they? Feeling mischievous I drank the sake, ate the fruits and took the flowers before I left a small ice rabbit statue, one without movement as a watcher. I also increased the snow until it came down to the beginning of the shrine and enclosed the small wooden building in ice. I would be aware whenever somebody came to the shrine. Shortly before I left I returned once more to put a small ice mirror inside of the shrine to be able to see what was going on.
Okay I’m sure that a lot of you now want to know where I got the chakra to keep up with various ice mirrors all over a vast area additionally to all my other creations and daily use? Okay so the truth is it’s very simple. The creation of them may have cost me some chakra but because they were created in an area where already snow and ice existed no chakra was wasted to keep them whole, instead there were more or less on standby until I activated them. Furthermore I now made nearly daily trips all over what I perceived as my property and laced the snow and ice with my power that too helped with the creation of the mirrors. You see because there was already a small chakra percentage inside of it the cost was even lower. But back to situation with the farmers, well they kind of took it well if you tilt your head a bit.
The inhabitants of the mountain range started to cross the valley again, though at first cautiously my valley saw more and more traffic with each week. Though now they offered a small token before doing that. I like to think that they were paying me road charge and as a good road operator I made sure that the paths were visible and barrier free even if they now were out of compact snow instead of dirt. Additionally I also took care that none of the people walking by would get themselves killed.
From what Daichi and Akio told me the myths and stories about the Yuki Onna with the chimes and snow rabbits were running rampant all over the mountain range and soon the villages built shrines close to the beginning of the paths and offered me tribute as a community three times a year. They left small sacks full of rice or flour, vegetables, spices, sake bottles and small containers with homemade products. As a consequence Daichi and Akio didn’t buy groceries as often anymore, they now even sold them in villages on the Fire country side if we had too much.
I started to feel bad for taking advantage of their superstitions like that until I had the idea of protecting the villages from attacks. They paid me tribute so the least that I could do was protect them from bandits and rouge ninja. And so I created ice warrior statues around the village shrines and gave them the command to come alive should the village ever be in danger, be it from bandits, a fire or rouge ninja. In the beginning the villagers weren’t sure what to think about the statues but they soon accepted them as a part of the shrines. This precaution paid off when on a summer day a bandit group attacked on one of the villages that regularly offered to me. One of the children had run to the shrine and had thrown herself down and begged for assistance. I hadn’t been paying attention at that time but the snow bunny that I left for the purpose jumped of his normal place and scuttled outside to the six ice statues that I created to protect the village. They came alive and made their way into the village and started to attack all those that weren’t part of the village. Within minutes the bandits dropped everything they had taken and ran for their lives. Having done their duties the ice statues returned to their normal place to freeze once more. I only knew about this occurrence because I felt the six protectors come alive and leech on my ice magic, chakra, whatever. I knew that the danger was over when the protectors froze once more so I didn’t check on the village until dusk.
The villagers must have heard the chimes because no one was in sight when I came to a stop to inspect the damage done. The villagers had clearly been cleaning up but I could still see the damage done to the various buildings and made note to not take their next offerings to not make the situation worse. I was close to leave when a small girl of about 9 or 10 years ran out of one of the huts to me. I was stunned at that moment, normally the humans that I helped never talked to me other than mutter prayers and they also didn’t hold eye contact.
“Thank you for helping us and watching over us Yuki Onna-sama!” the brown haired girl said happily while she offered me one of the wild blue flowers that I loved so much.
I couldn’t help but smile before going onto a knee to be on eye height with the girl and softly pat her on the head she had small blue bruises on the side of her head and arm, “Your village offers me tribute child, of course I watch over you… and my name is Yuuna though I’m no Yuki Onna.”
“You are not?” the curious girl asked confused.
“No.” I said laughingly before I created an ice flower for her, “Here you go. Tell your village elders that I won’t take their offering the next time.”
“Why? Did we do something wrong?” the little girl now asked anxiously.
“No but your village is damaged and the reparations will cost money. I don’t want you to go hungry.” I explained to the farmer girl.
“Oh… but we will still bring you flowers.”
“That I can accept, now go home, you need your sleep.”
After clearing the misconception up I thought they would stop to worship me. Well I was at least partially wrong. While they didn’t pray to me anymore they started to call me Yuuna-sama, the protector in the snow and removed all the signs of a Shinto shrine from the buildings dedicated to me but they still kept coming to them to tell me about their worries and hopes and of course to pay their tribute to me.
Oh well I wasn’t going to forbid them to use this new name or stop them to speak to me if it helped them. Additionally the villagers lost a lot of their reverence, don’t get me wrong they were still more than respectful and a bit fearful but they now visited my valley more often even when they didn’t cross for a certain purpose. From then on they liked to just wander around in the snowy landscape and explore. Especially the children had fun with that, now and then I created some snow rabbits or other animals and led them in their direction so that they could play with them. I even let myself be seen driving in the sledge or standing somewhere on the mountain from time to time but still no one had dared to come close to my snow castle.
Daichi and Akio kept their ears out for any rumors or new myths about me, we had lived in the snow castle for three years by then. The villagers kept offering me tribute, though now they also dared to just leave flowers if a harvest had been bad. Normally when that happened I distributed the offerings from the other villages to that particular one to stop a famine. Apparently they had slowly begun to see themselves as my subjects and it didn’t seem to matter to them what I was. I controlled the snow and kept them alive and healthy even during a bad year and that made them nearly fanatically loyal to me. I was directly responsible that their villages had been able to grow and expand and that they were now healthier and richer than before my appearance. They also told the outsiders that came by the villages that it was polite to leave a small token of their appreciation for their continued protection to the Mistress of these lands before crossing the mountain range on the now save and well taken care of streets. But since becoming safer those streets also attracted the attention of unsavory people.
Since the first time I had stopped a bandit attack I had taken it a step further. Before my arrival the bandit groups had liked to attack villages on both sides of the mountain range and then make a quick escape through the mountains. Because River and Fire were two competing ninja countries there was no cooperation between them to stop the bandits that had been plaguing the region for decades now. The mountain range that had been no man’s land until I had taken possession of it three years ago had 14 mountains, some bigger some smaller and a lot of caves and pockets were they not only could hide from the authorities but also hide their loot.
At first I was a bit uneasy about killing them but they had been plaguing the villages under my protecting for quite some time and were getting steadily worse and so I really did want to do more than to just shoo them away. The first few times I called snowstorms down on them and had them buried under masses of snow. It wasn’t particularly hard to create such a storm but it was too imprecise because it also meant that everything around them was covered in snow and the farmers really didn’t need me to destroy their harvest. So instead I increased the number of my ice warriors around the villages and had them kill the bandits instead of chasing them off. As additional security I built ice warriors alongside the roads to help travelers who were attacked. This made the roads suddenly very popular with travelling merchants that wanted to cross into River or Fire. Those travelling merchants were also the reason why I finally decided to make my reign official.
So I visited one village after the other to discuss with the village elders if they were amendable to create a new country with me as the Daimyo.
Let’s just skip all the boring talks and thanks and say that they were.
As an offering of trust to my new people I gave them a standing invitation to visit my snow castle. It would become the capital of Hisangaku (ice mountains) and the seat of the Daimyo. At that time we decided that we would keep the tribute situation as before only that now I also charged the merchants with road charge for using my roads. For that purpose I had the second sons that were on the verge of leaving their homes to seek work somewhere else create huts alongside the beginning of the snow streets. The snow street system now spanned the whole mountain range. I created a group of snow warriors that would help the human employee against those that either didn’t want to pay or attack him. For an additional fee I also had some sledges and snow rabbits on standby to move the merchant and his wares as fast as possible through the mountain range.
The constant drain on my reserves was very taking in the beginning and I slept and ate a whole lot more than I usually did. But then I slowly started to get used to it and the constant tiredness became less and less.
The road toll was surprisingly effective. Within a few months I had more money than I knew what to do with. And so I just took half of it and blew it on a school system. I made education for my people free. During the winter months the children were sent to learn how to read, write and count first by hired monks in their own villages and then later on in a large building close to the Snow Castle. For that I hired builders of my people from all of the villages and had them raise said school during the summer months. During winter I sent down large sledges that doubled as school buses so that the children would reach the school safely and were returned the same way.
The rest of the money I used to buy pretty dresses and furniture to make my snow castle into a real castle.
I also had more people working for me now than just Daichi and Akio. It was surprising how many young second and third children came to me looking for jobs after I had introduced the toll jobs. Not that this wasn’t flattering but… well I wasn’t an employment center.
So I delegated and actually opened one. With satellite offices in every third or fourth village which could communicate via trained birds or letters.
And then the whole thing snowballed out of control and suddenly I had accountants and paper pushers and people who actually knew things about economy and leading a state. Good god I had staff, not only two retainers that were taking care of my snow castle. I had actually cooks that made food for all those that now lived in the Snow castle. Scribes that wrote down our history and kept track of tolls and taxes. A librarian and a school director, an old healer that was now making plans to open the first hospital in Hisangaku and many, many more.
And then a letter of the Fire Daimyo made the whole thing official.
To the Daimyo of Hisangaku,
It said once I had broken the seal. Well it looked like the other countries had finally taken notice. Damn.
It was just a general greeting and congratulations letter but I had the feeling that it would only be a matter of time until the demands came flying from all the countries around them. With a deep sigh I put it aside and then dictated a formal answer for my Fire Country counterpart.
I really hadn’t signed up for all of that!