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4. Bayushi Kyo

Of horses and Sake

Played on November 4th, 2018

Topaz Championship, Day 2 in Tsuma, Year 1123

The last two tests of the day would continue after lunch. But lunch would hve to wait a little bit longer as shouts suddenly came from the warehouse district. Something big was burning and help was needed. Opportunities for Honor and Glory perchance, but my Duty points me back to the Academy. It would be more quiet there and I could take a look around a bit to see if there are any opportunities to learn things or change things. The next test would be horsebackriding and I made my way towards the horses.
There was only one guard at the other end of the stables and he was not watching as carefully as he should be. Time to make some small changes to the horses' gear and physique. Not to give me a benefit, as I am a competent enough horsemen and I would surely pass, but to see how other people would react to extra challenges during the test. But I got distracted by the way a certain horse was standing. Someone had already been here before me! And not with a small change, but this horse was subtly cripped indeed. It would not show directly, but it would surely fail before it ended it's challenge. Distraction indeed! The guardsman has seen me lurk around the horse and just lost my own chance at doing anything else.
The guard was surely a simpleton, I easily convinced him I was just checking on the horses and made my way back outside and to see if any lunch was left. I needed some food and some time to think what to do about what I found. I guess it all depended on who was going to ride the horse in the test. But I could hazard a guess..

I would have guessed correctly, the limp horse was meant for Hitashi. I could see no benefit in Hitashi failing and it would help my words to Doji Satsume. I always did it wrong though. I went to the judge, but almost ruined it by making it seem my horseman skills were superior. Which even if they were, it was the wrong way of having him check Hitashi's horse. Luckily I amended my words to show the proper respect and he found the flaw as well. Hitashi was very appreciative, but that surely was not important, him being just a Mantis. More importantly I got a chance to look around and see how people reacted to my action. Everyone but one seemed as suprised by the fact as Hitashi was. The one that was not surprised, is Bayushi Sugai. What did he have to do with this?
The rest of the test was very uneventful, though I was a little bit confused to what was going on.

After the last test of the day about conduct test is done we are invited to a feast in the Poisoned Water Sake House. This might give some more insight on everyone. Though either people think they still need to prove themselves tomorrow and have only boring conversations or they go for the sake and drink far too much to be useful. But then something unexpected happens. Kakita Toshimoko and the others have disappeared and only us contestants seem to have been left. Well, almost all of us, Mei Lin seems to have gone as well. The moment I notice this the door slams open and a group of Ronin come stamping in. Seeming to look to embarrass us in both words and fists. I quickly notice this is not a random encounter, but obviously a setup to confront us. Their words are still effective and the other contestants surely are affected. Some going into the fray with far too little thought.