Once upon a time, siblings Okoi and Seijirou were on their way to deliver a sacred tea cup to the Shogun. The prize of their family's house, the gift will secure their clan's place.
Seijirou has noticed that the renowned swordsman, Shigematsu - the chief retainer of Wakamiya, a minor lord under his father's rule - is following them, and advises caution. Bold Okoi will have none of it, and urges her brother to press on towards Edo.
In Muramasa, such snippets of story will end with a sequence in which the player guides the player-character through the scene, speaking to each character in turn before the plot will advance itself - and Genroku Legends: The Fishy Tale of the Nekomata is no different.
Control doesn't switch to Okoi. It switches to a little cat, trailing behind the siblings and the men who hunt them. The cat strolls forward, overhearing the plot of the villainous Shigematsu and the two sellswords he's hired to kill the children for the sacred tea cup, thus shaming their father and enhancing his own lord's stature.
The cat strolls past them, listens to Seijirou's counsel, and then presents itself to Okoi.
The cat is Miike, Okoi's pet - and she's followed them all the way from home.
That night, the sellswords strike. The children, unwise in the ways of the world, are no match for their experience and savagery.
Seijirou lays dead and Okoi lays dying.
From the shadows, a pair of oval eyes observe her dying oath. She would beg the aid of demons and devils. She would give anything to absolve her family of this shame, and to mete out vengeance on those who had betrayed them.
As the cat watches, Okoi's strengths fails her. She collapses, and dies.
Not long after, the sellswords are shocked to discover Okoi - alive, standing before them. They don't notice that she looks a little different. She says nothing.
She's come for the tea cup.
It takes time for the player to understand what's happened, but Okoi did not kill those men.
The cat, possessed by love and loyalty for the girl, heard Okoi's dying oath and took the burden and hatred upon herself, her tail splits at the tip, and she allows to become a demon. She takes her mistress's form to ensure in some way, shape or form, the teacup would be presented by a girl matching Okoi's description to the Shogun. The cat, now in possession of the sacred cup, vows to see it safely to Edo.
She burns with a seething bloodlust for those who betrayed her mistress, and will see Okoi's vengeance done.
Though it may cost Miike her very soul.
And that is how Genroku Legends : The Fishy Tale of the Nekomata begins.
Wonderful. And beautiful.