1999’s Guardian of the Darkness (translated by Cathy Hirano) is the second volume of Nahoko Uehashi’s Moribito series of secondary-universe fantasy novels. It’s the most recent of the lengthy series to be translated into English and also a demonstration of how poorly I defer gratification. I just reviewed the first book in the series and I could not wait ….
Twenty-five years ago, Balsa fled Kanbal with her foster father, Jiguro. The malevolent king whom the pair were fleeing, is long dead, as is Jiguro himself. With the adventures of the first volume behind her, Balsa decides that the time has come to return to her homeland.
Balsa retraces the subterranean route she and her foster father used to escape Kanbal. It’s an unnecessarily difficult route that has an unintended benefit: she happens upon fourteen-year-old Kassa and his nine-year-old sister Gina, just in time to save them from a hyohlu. Exploring the caves is a well-established test of courage for Kanbalese youths. The siblings barely survive. But at least they have had a salutary lesson in prudence.
It just so happens that the pair belong to the Musa clan, as did Jiguro1.