Chapter 8:

08 Crows Come to Roost 5

The Four Wheel Saga

There was more applause from the audience and whistles and hurrahs from the children. The trio stood and bowed to the crowd. They were popular as THE BULWARK TRIO for their exploits as a team.

Senju: "I am very confident that they will bring laurels to our kin. I will select the remaining nominations from aspirants in due time. I must repeat, however, that kin-subjects fifteen and above of age may take part in the Legacy Trials."

"We have given radically short notice. It would be natural for those under seventeen to be uncertain about their abilities. Hence, two gifted preceptors from the Daigaku have been deputed to every kin to train the fifteen- and sixteen-year-olds. They will help hone the youngsters' abilities before the trials begin. The preceptors will also overlook the registration and training of all aspirants, including those seventeen and above. Therefore, without further ado, I invite to our midst-"

"Keiji Sensei. And- Yuuki Sensei."

The crowd awarded a gentle ovation as two men descended from the pavilion. Keiji was twenty-six years old, five feet ten, slender and incredibly good looking, with long flowing chestnut hair. Yuuki was six feet tall, twenty-three, sporting long silver hair and a robust build.

It was common knowledge that they did not belong to any kin. Hence, no kin epithet was appended to their names.

The Daigaku hired foreigners consistently to train those who passed the Legacy Trials and fill its research wings. Kin-members who entered the Daigaku as preceptors had to give up kinship during their tenure. They had to don the liturgical white and wear the Daigaku crest. The purpose of the sacrifice was to prevent favoritism among kin members during and after trials.

The Daigaku Dean hired the preceptors on the advisory of the Hyougi, the elder members of the Village High Council. However, it had become a tradition that foreigner preceptors eventually married into kin families after their tenure. They settled in Karasuma as one of the villagers.

Keiji and Yuuki were still bachelors; the gasps and sniffles of the girls and unmarried women in the crowd bore testimony to that. Both preceptors had dressed in white robes with the Daigaku crest, an elaborate golden snowflake embroidered on the front.

Keiji: "I offer gratitude to the Overlord for his kind and encouraging words. As preceptors of Daigaku, we train the warriors who qualify in the Legacy Trials. However, we have made a special exception this time. The priority of the Daigaku is to ascertain the quality of entrants in the trials."

"The Hyougi will be the judges in the contest, and we will host distinguished guests from across the continent. Failure in the Legacy Trials does not bring shame. In fact, foreign employers often pick failure participants to monetize their specific abilities. Therefore, it is integral that we tailor the aspirants from every kin to meet the Daigaku standards. We must protect the legacy of Karasuma."

One of the teenagers in the pavilion spoke up out of turn.

Akako: "Forgive me, Keiji Sensei. We might be young, but we have trained rigorously every day since we were six. Perhaps other kin feel vulnerable enough to seek outside help and guidance. However, the Mikashita are ready for all odds."

An awkward silence fell on the pavilion.

Keiji grinned boyishly, much to the fancy of the ladies. He exchanged a glance with Yuuki, and they nodded at each other. Together, they turned towards the Overlord and his wife. Senju and Mitsu understood their intention and beckoned their assent. Following this, Yuuki took the baton.

Yuuki: "I am sure the little lady is a fine warrior. And I would be glad to stand corrected. Let us try something fun—a chance to prove your abilities as warriors. All those who are eligible for the trials and wish to participate kindly step forward. We will have a demonstration."