The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known sheâ€™d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.
So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Marikoâ€™s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits whoâ€™ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.
The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once sheâ€™s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time sheâ€™s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in loveâ€”a love that will force her to question everything sheâ€™s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.