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2. Shinjo Takuya

Memoirs of a Bushi #2

Played on October 21st, 2018

Year 1123, Isawa Calendar

Making our way through the town of Tsuma, our final destination, the House of the Laughing Carp, came into view. This is where we would spend the night before starting the tournament. When we entered the courtyard, we overheard a discussion between the female owner of the Laughing Carp and a bushi, whose colors reveal him to be a Mantis clan member. The innkeeper was apologising to the Mantis for not having any spare rooms for him to stay at, and the Mantis completely lost his composure over that dishonor. If he is also one of the competitors, I should not have a lot to fear from him. My Crane companion Doji convinces the Mantis, who introduces himself as Hitoshi, to try to get a room at the Poisoned Water Sakehouse. Judging from that name, it suits his character better anyway.

In a corner of the courtyard I noticed the probable owner of the White horse that was parked outside next to Jinso-chan. Her dark skin and dark thick curly hair betray her as a foreigner, so it is of no surprise to me that she is a fellow Unicorn clan member. We shortly introduce eachother; her name is Moto Batbayar; and wish eachother the best of luck in the tournament. The travel was long and I am tired. It is time to find my room and lay down on hopefully a nice clean tatami. While walking inside, we are confronted by a large female whose colors represent the Dragon clan and a small insignificant looking man, whose garb is that of a Crab clan member. Apparently they are also entering the tournament. The lady is called Mirumoto Hinara and her bald companion is named Yasuki Jun. When I close the shōji to my room, I promise myself to find out more about them than their names, which is all they wanted to share for now.

The night does not comfort tonight. My dreams are filled with turmoil, most likely due to the upcoming tournament. When I awaken, I get inexplicitly drawn towards the courtyard. When I open my shōji and walk onto the balcony, in the middle of the courtyard, a spirit is kneeling on the ground, ready to perform a tea ceremony. My heart skips a beat when I recognize the figure. It is the Emerald Champion, Doji Satsume. What does this mean? Why has his spirit returned to our mortal world? Cannot he find any rest on his journey to the next turn of the wheel? Looking to my sides, my travelling companions were also summoned out of their rooms by the spirit. It beckons to us and most of my companions eagerly join him. Bayushi-san starts preparing the tea.
Reluctantly I join them. Doji Ren-san starts a conversation with the spirit, asking him why he has not found rest. The spirit for some reason seems convinced he is not dead and is actually drinking tea with us. This whole situation is highly uncomforting, but I keep my composure. Which is more than I can say of Doji Ren when the spirit mentions the Mantis samurai we saw this afternoon. Apparently, Hitoshi's father knew the spirit well in life. He tells us: 'Fallen blossom can never return to the bough, yet all can see from whence it came.' This is making Doji-Ren very nervous. She almost loses her composure and starts transpirating. I cannot help myself and have to point her weakness out to the rest of the group. 'Hot tonight isn't it?' When asked why the spirit thinks so highly of Hitoshi and his father, he mentions: 'Words, like the cuts of the sword, can never be called back once spoken.' The spirit asks us whether we will make sure Hitoshi will perform well in the tournament. I couldn't care less for the performance of a minor clan member, however, I also do not want to dishonor the spirit of the former Emerald Champion. Therefor I answer: 'I will not be any barrier for Hitoshi to gain the honor his clan deserves in the tournament.'