Chapter 7:

07 Crows Come to Roost 4

The Four Wheel Saga

The gang erupted into talking so loudly that Gotou had to come over to quiet them. They settled down as all of them feared the Chief's temper. They continued their deliberation through whispers after he left.

Kotone: "Shigeo… Does that mean… Kento, Akako, and you are eligible for the Legacy Trials?"

Shigeo: "Yes. And the trials will be held during spring next year. Awesome, right?"

The gang looked at the three older teenagers, who, coincidentally, were sitting together. Most of Kento's cousins were under fifteen. They expected a speech from him. It was no secret that Kento needed to clear the Legacy Trials if he ever wished to succeed his father, Senju, as Overlord of the village. It was a prerequisite for the position. He thought deeply before sharing his mind.

Kento: "An early chance to appear in the Legacy Trials, huh? I think I will sit this one out."

The Mikashita kids started chattering all over again.

"No way, Kento!"

"Please reconsider!"

"What is wrong with you?"

"If only I were fifteen!"

"Are you out of your damn mind?"

Akako: "Kento, you are the strongest taekkyon fighter among us. Why would you not participate? This is not the Mikashita way!"

Shigeo: "I think I understand what he is worried about. We will be up against older, seasoned fighters who are better gifted in kitsu, seiton, and shuzen. Even young adults from the general military appear in the trials in good numbers. It is always crazy. Kitsu masters with ocular powers and specialized weapons-"

Gotou: "Silence, young masters! The Overlord is about to speak."

The Overlord of Karasuma, and Kin-lord of Mikashita, Senju Mikashita, was a tall, broad-shouldered man in his mid-thirties. He had a pale, square face and was completely bald. His years of service in the Legacy Unit and the military had given him sunken eyes and an older visage than his biological age.

But Senju was extolled as a legendary warrior, the likes of whom Kinheni had never seen before. Perhaps only Lord Heydrian came close to him in prowess and military exploits.

In his flowing Overlord robe and hat, striped with red, the Overlord looked like a mythical figure. The Karasuma sigil, a crow in flight, was pinned to the lapel of his robe.

Overlord Senju: "My beloved brothers, sisters, and young Mikashita. May the goddess be with you all. Peace has endured in our village for years. For this, we owe gratitude to the hard work and cooperation of all the villagers. "

"However, I must apprise you that these are tough times. A recent survey by Chief Strategist and Economist Hakaku Yamazaki brought to light that the village's rapid development has depleted our mine reserves. Moreover, the riverine catch is dwindling every year."

"We know that the principal bread-earners of Karasuma are our warriors. The demand for military services has increased in the continent of Kinheni, with growing numbers of bandits and the proliferation of hostile beasts in forests, farming lands, and waterways. Historically, we have kept a check on the strength of our elite military unit known as the Legacy Unit. However, in light of recent events, we have arrived at some decisions to overhaul the Legacy Trials. The other kin-lords are communicating the same message to their subjects as we speak."

Senju shared the resolutions of the Village High Council elaborately. Shigeo had summarily presented the news to the teenagers. There was generous applause from the pavilion when he concluded.

Frequent trials not only meant more elite warriors but also burgeoning tourism and trade. Many Mikashita members owned businesses in the marketplace, Toimaru.

Senju: "Come spring next year, I will nominate, at most, twelve participants for the Legacy Trials. That is the usual practice. Three have already been selected. And their names are-"

"The twenty-year-old Hajime from the Bursar's office."

"The nineteen-year-old Megumin from the Mikashita-kin barracks."

"The twenty-year-old (Twenty) from the citadel library."