Time Cat: An American Feline in Edo

Tobias is just an average black cat. Well, almost black - he has a white sock on his left rear foot and a white patch under his nose. One day while exploring the yard of his Human, he comes across a curious glowing orb. He begins to investigate it and inadvertently activates it, creating a rip in the very fabric of reality. Much to his dismay, he is sucked into the rip and carried through time and space to an era much earlier than his own. Now he must track this orb across time and space in order to activate it and bring him back home. Don't forget my author page: tinyurl.com/anrisarynfb

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14. The Madman with a Ball

         "How many?" Iemochi's falsetto of anger was apparent, echoing through the control room. The other attendants seats at some of the screens looked toward the commotion, very glad it wasn't them being yelled at right now. "How many, Sugahara?" the shogun bellowed.
          "T-ten, T-Tokugawa-sama," Sugahara said nervously, looking at the floor. He traced the patterns on the tatami with his eyes, a trick his mother taught him when he was very small. It calmed him, escpecially when he wanted to attack someone for being rude. This was something not many people knew about Sugahara Shinji.
         But this job required complete obidience. His wife had told him not to take it, that it would keep him away from her for such a long time. She was a frail thing, always getting ill. But the wage for this career was much better than what he had before. With this, they would be set for life.
         All he had to do was put up with the moodyness of the shogun, which seemed to rabidly change right after he acquired that strange orb.
          "Ten?" Iemochi screeched, slamming his fist on the golden-colored arm of his ornate chair. He leaned foward, the red plush coushin moving under his rump. "Ten? I thought I told you to double the guards, not reduce them!"
          "I-I have, senpai," Sugahara said, bowing low.
          "It does not seem that way!" the shogun said, his voice cracking in anger. By now, he sounded almost like a screeching flute. Many found it rather amusing, but they would never dare utter a single chuckled or giggle in the presence of Iemochi.
          "W-what would you have me d-do, Tokugawa-sama?" Sugahara said quietly, nearly tripping over every word. His eyes still traced the tatami pattern, and he was grateful there was such flooring here. The only other room in the facility that had such a floor was the ready room, as the shogun called it. That was where he introduced all rebelious prisoners to what they were about to become. But with processing capacity increasing, they had spent less and less time in that room.
          "Ten will not cause that much of a problem for our ultimate goal, correct?"
         This was one of those times Sugahara knew exactly what the shogun wanted to hear, but what he wanted to hear was not the truth. So, instead of risking his own neck by giving a truthful answer, he did what every man would have done in his situation.
         He lied.
          "No, shogun-senpai," the attendant said, bowing continuously.
          "Good," Iemochi smiled and sat back in his chair. He touched his chin lightly as if thinking about something deep and philosophical. Instead, he said something that wasn't so. "Bring me some tea. I would like some oolong and ginger."
          "Right away, Tokugawa-sama," he bowed and walked slowly away. 
          "Some time today, Sugahara," Iemochi said plainly, but the undertone was that of deep command.
         Sugahara took off as if his hakama had been lit on fire.
          "Anything of interest?" Iemochi asked to no one in particular. He meant the screens on sides of the room. He stood up and walked by them, glancing at each one as they filmed the insides of cells, of which some were empty. Most had at least one person in them, and they were all huddling against the walls or laying on their beds looking rather distressed or tired. 
         A few of the cells contains two people, but any cell that was thus, the men were avoiding looking at each other. A small few were actually chatting, but it wasn't anything to cause alarm.
         One of the doors of the cells appeared to move on the screens. Iemochi didn't see it, but one of the attendants watching the screen did, and called him over.
He pointed to the action on the small square of the moving picture. The door jerked a little and the prisoner's glance shot toward the entry way. After a few moments, the door swung inward and another man stepped forward and gestured for the prisoner to exit, which they did swiftly.
         Iemochi's face remained calm, but the anger grew in him.
          "How did he open that door?" the shogun asked, still looking at the screen as if glaring at it would make the prisoner go back into his cell. The scheduled shower of disinfectant went off on the empty cell as if mocking him.
          "Senpai, I am not sure," the attendant stated, looking down. "It appears they have aquired a key."
          "But the keys are built into the samurai's hands!" he said loudly, a slight falsetto returning to his voice. "There's no way they could have gotten one."
          "Tokugawa-sama!" Sugahara called. He ran as if he had news of urgent nature, which in fact, he did.
          "Where is my tea, Sugahara?" the shogun grumbled.
          "I was afraid I would spill it while running," Sugahara said, looking down again.
          "Then why have you come back without it?"
          "To bring you this, senpai," he stuck out his hand and opened it up, revealing a large mottled key made of wire. It looked like it had been shaped more than a dozen times. There were wear marks on the prongs, but it looked as if it could easily be used to open one of the cells.
          "Where did you get this, Sugahara-san?" the shogun demanded. 
         Secretly, Sugahara smiled. He only added the -san suffix if he was pleased with his work. "On the floor, senpai, outside of one of the cells."
          "This is more than perfect," Tokugawa Iemochi smiled. "This could be the key to ridding ourselves of these escaped refugees."
          "How is that, Tokugawa-sensei?" Sugahara asked. He already knew the answer, but he wasn't about the let the shogun knew he had figured it out.
          "Change the locks!" the shogun commanded. "Call all the samurai in and have the new key installed in their hands. We need to change the locks as soon as possible!"
          "As you wish, senpai," Sugahara bowed, and raced out the door to take out his employer's command.

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