KIMIKO CHOU is a girl on a mission. Her mother and brother have been killed by robbers in 14th century Japan while her father, a samurai warrior, is off on an invasion of Korea.
Chou («butterfly» in Japanese) narrowly escapes death by hiding while the robbers ransack her home, then-dressed as a boy in her brother's clothes-she goes in quest of her father. Alone on the road, she takes up with Hyōgo Narutomi, a former samurai who has been dismissed by seven previous masters, and Moto Mori, his page.
The three of them-man, boy, and girl-make their way across Japan along with Piebald, an old horse with a curious spot on his coat that resembles a Fenghuang, the mythical bird that rules over all others in Asian mythology. Together this unlikely trio experience a series of adventures and narrow escapes until Chou and Mori-but not Narutomi-land in Korea. There, as a spy for the Koreans, Chou searches for her father-across enemy lines!