Chapter 12:

12 Crows Come to Roost 9

The Four Wheel Saga

The founders of the village had cut Chojo hill into terraces to build the Karasuma plateau.

The highest terrace housed the citadel. Every lower terrace jutted out more than the prior, and the faces plunged steeply. Winding roads hewn into the hill connected them. A sentry stronghold was stationed at the entrance of the citadel terrace.

Now that the morning fog had started dissipating from the hill slopes, the lower terraces were visible from the Mikashita training ground’s edge. The sub terrace was the toimaru, the Karasuma marketplace. Merchant and craft guilds primarily ran toimaru.

Essential perishable items like grains, vegetables, fruits, flowers, and seeds were available in the northern zone, while the southern area cooped the craft shops of spinners, smiths, tanners, and carvers.

Towards the middle of the terrace were a few sophisticated establishments of the bankers and lenders. The view was of, at least, a thousand little people running around like ants on an ant-hill. From the citadel, the cacophony of metals clanking, spins reeling and vendors calling, easily carried to the plateau. Children raced from one shop to another, making their way through the ridiculous and colorful maze that was toimaru.

The last and lowest terrace had civilian settlements. However, it was too far down from the citadel to see.

Kento: "I see a rowdy, noisy marketplace."

Senju: "Noisy and rowdy it is, son. But what you really see below is a panorama of peace. I had to work very hard with your mother to bring this accord. When the Hyougi appointed me as the Overlord, our village was reeling under a history of conflict between kin. Blood wars between villages also haunted the populace. The picture was so ugly, the hostilities so deep, that nobody ever imagined that we would see peaceful times again.

“But here we are, listening to the commotion born from harmony. If I had demolished our enemies with strength alone, I would stare at a graveyard right now. It’s true I had to fight some in the beginning, but I made peace with others.” “Hopefully, you will continue my vision after I am gone. I shall invite an ambassador from Karasuki village for a trade deal next year. Just before the Shibai Matsuri begins. A new age is dawning on us, son. And we must prepare to make the most of it. So! I ask you again. What makes a good Overlord?"

Kento: "Strength alone does not make a good Overlord. One needs a vision of peace and unity. Not only for the warrior kin but also the civilian people of the village."

Senju: "Very good. Now, let’s speak on the matter at hand. Perhaps I have taken for granted that you will succeed me one day. I had perhaps hoped you would pass the Legacy trials without breaking a sweat. Reality has only recently begun to dawn on me. Son, there is no hurry. However, it would please your mother and me if you meet Keiji sensei tomorrow. He is the strongest preceptor in the Daigaku. And coincidentally, he is kitsu blind."

The news took Kento by surprise. He had learned from Shigeo how Keiji was a victor of a hundred battles, how he had traveled to the farthest corners of Kinheni on dangerous missions.

Were such exploits possible without kitsu? If they were, it was time for him to break out of the mold. He needed to rethink his priorities and for this one time, lower his guard.

Kento: "I will do as you ask of me, father. I will train with the aspirants as well. However, kindly leave the decision of being an entrant in the Legacy Trials with me. I will decide that after meeting Keiji Sensei."

The Overlord's face made the semblance of a smile.

Senju: "It sounds like we are in agreement."

He patted his son on the shoulder. Together they took in the offerings of toimaru, Its vague colors, noises, and smells.

A few minutes later, an air elemental dove soared from the palace premises and headed down towards them. It swooped and perched lightly on Senju's shoulder.

Senju: "This is your mother summoning us for lunch. Let us hurry before she sends us a flaming bird."

Kento giggled. Father and son left the training grounds together. They bonded on their way by sharing mutual fears about the lady of the household, Mitsu Mikashita’s temper.

The day had just begun, but it had been more eventful than most others. And had been more eventful for some than for others.

The Four Wheel Saga