Chapter 5:

05 Crows Come to Roost 2

The Four Wheel Saga

Kin-lords generally summon kin-assemblies to disseminate official news and host events exclusive to the kin. When the summon is circulated, the household members, staff, and servants gather at the venue assigned.

The Daigaku was an elite warriors academy in Karasuma village, undertaking advanced research and training in military subjects. Fellows of the Daigaku- including students and preceptors, formed a select branch called the Legacy Unit, which outranked the general military in status and combat ability.

Kento finished his chores, donned the red robe Gotou had left on his bed, and stood in front of the wall mirror. He was sixteen years old, five foot seven, with eyes as green as emeralds.

The boy had a square jawline like his father and a mop of fuzzy, dark hair like his mother. His hair sprouted so fast that he had to shear them every week.

Kento walked down the corridor to his little brother Nagumo's room, which was on the same level as his.

The Mikashita palace had five unabridged floors apart from the terrace. The fourth floor housed the major branch of Mikashita-kin. Senju, his wife Mitsu, Kento, and Nagumo.

The third and second floors domiciled the secondary and tertiary branches of the kin. All members of a kin were related by blood or marriage.

The first floor had the kitchens, storage rooms, and the dining hall.

Other essential bureaus, like the office of the kin-lord and his subordinates, were on the ground floor.

The weapon shed and barracks were in a separate edifice outside the palace.

The lady of the household, Mitsu Mikashita, was helping her younger son preen and dress up. Kento went into a quick huddle with his family.

A former commander of the legacy unit of Daigaku, Mitsu looked intimidating to the unfamiliar eye. She was lean, sinewy, and looked younger for her age of thirty-two years.

Kento: "Why has father summoned a kin-assembly, mother?"

Mitsu: "I would rather not spoil the surprise, dear. Hmm. It's a couple of years in advance, you know. However, we have had good financial returns from missions. New trade talks with other villages are also in the pipeline. Your father has expedited the events. He will announce his plans today to all kin-subjects."

Kento had no idea what his mother was being secretive about. In fact, he had developed the habit of numbing his faculties when either of his parents or his uncles started talking about meatier topics like citadel events, kin finances, inter-village trade, etcetera.

The blabber would inevitably lead to a lecture on how everyone had great expectations of the Mikashita heir.

Kento figured it would be less of a hassle to learn the news directly at the assembly than squeeze anything out of his mother. He ruffled his little brother's hair locks, and the family headed for the training grounds.

The Mikashita palace entrance, like other kin-lord estates, had its back towards the Shibai Sharin temple. A fenced garden, flush with buttercups, anemones, and honeysuckles, surrounded the palace.

The estate elongated into fruit orchards to the north. On the south end were the training grounds. An egg-shaped field surrounded by a stone pavilion. This day, it was brimming with seventy-seven out of ninety-five members of the Mikashita household.

The absentees were perhaps occupied in essential work with the Overlord's permission. The household staff, including Chief Gotou, totaled fifteen.

The kin-members gathered in an arc of the pavilion while Overlord Senju stood on the grounds facing them. Mitsu separated from the boys and joined her husband's side.

Kento and Nagumo squatted with their thirty-eight attending cousins.

Juno (fourteen), Akako (sixteen), Goro (fourteen), Kotone (thirteen), and Shigeo (fifteen) sat around them.

Nagumo was Kento's only sibling. He had forty-five cousins in total, some of whom were absent.

The seven older cousins were in the village government and did not mingle with the teenagers. That made Kento the eldest in the gang and, hence, the de facto leader.

The uncles and aunts flocked separately on another side of the pavilion arc. Kento, the leader of the teenagers, dictated that it was time for gossip.

Kento: "Shigeo, go ahead."