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6. Akodo Masako

The Gifts

Played on November 18th, 2018

Day 3, Spring 1123

Test 8 - Law (3 points)

The next test is Law. They will ask us about the land, the language and the Bushido. In the Akodo family Law is an important study. And it seems my studying paid off. I know the exact answers to all 3 questions. Yoshi also had a perfect score, and we both win this test.

Test 9 - Go (2 points)

I'm not that into games, but I do play Go every now and then. I use the approach that is requested and do play good enough to get 2 points. There is 1 game that takes a lot longer than all others, Bayushi Mei Lin versus Yasuki Jun. We see that Yasuki Jun wins the match, and also the Go test.

Test 10 - Archery (0 points)

Then there is archery. I never was a good archer, and never will be. The judges tell us that the arrow knows the way to the target. So I take that approach, but it seems my arrows don't know the way to the target. The first arrows hits the target board. But the next ones miss and I get 0 points.

Hitoshi on the other hand wins this test easily with all 3 arrows hitting an almost perfect center of the target. Very impressive. And this means that he gets his Gempuku! The Kakita judge can't hide his disappointment of this very well.

Test 11 - Hunting (0 points)

Then we have to go into the forest and hunt some game. We can choose between the bow or the spear. I take the spear. The judge tells us to spot the animals first. So I take a perceptive approach. But every time I see a hare or a buck it seems they saw me first and they run away before I can throw my spear. In the end I find a small rabbit. But of course this isn't enough to pass the test and I get 0 points.

During the announcements of the test results I suddenly notice the resemblance between Hitoshi and Kakita Toshimoko. Could he be his father?

The Gifts

Then it's time to dress for the feast tonight, and pick up the gift I have for the tournament host Kakita Toshimoko. The gift ceremony starts, and in tradition, the Lion clan will be the last to present their gift. After all other contestants it's my turn.

I present a real Kakita Blade. I tell about the history of Kakita Blades, and how the Kakita have been the most renowned sword smiths of the Emerald Empire. How this specific Kakita Blade ended up in the Akodo family, and how it was used by Akodo Kenburo. I tell about the wars it was used in and about the victories of the Emerald Empire. I emphasize how the relation between our families is important, and that's it's an honor to return this famous Kakita Blade back to the family that crafted it. While I see some bored faces after my long speech, Kakita Toshimoko is very pleased with the gift and how glad he is to get this blade back into his family.

After I sit down again I can feel some tension. Of course Hitoshi didn't had a chance to present his gift yet, but in the ceremony only the major clans are taking into account. Hitoshi suddenly can't hold his composure, but instead of presenting his gift, he challenged Kakita Toshimoko to a duel! That is no way to treat the host of this tournament! Luckily Togashi Yoshi and Isawa Aki can defuse the situation and tell him to leave the duels for tomorrow and present his gift. Hitoshi apologizes and presents his gift, a boat. Kakita Toshimoko accepts the apologise and the gift. And the feast starts.

The Feast

While I would rather go to bed early or do some meditations to prepare myself for the duels tomorrow I stay at the feast as long as needed. While sitting at a table looking around I again notice similarities between Hitoshi and Kakita Toshimoko. But this time between their behavior. This gets me thinking about this whole situations more...

What would it mean if Kakita Toshimoko is Hitoshi's father... He would have a bastard son, which would bring a lot of dishonor to the Kakita family. But what would happen to Hitoshi. And why would the ghost of Doji Satsume wants us to help Hitoshi. Do Doji Satsume and Hitoshi share some history together? Or did Doji Satsume found out about Hitoshi being Kakita Toshimoko's bastard child? That was maybe what he meant with the letter.. the subtle mentioning of Kakita Toshimoko being cursed with children of his own... Maybe he was murdered because he knew and wanted to expose this? But why did Doji Satsume wanted the Kakita family exposed with this dishonor? They are both Crane clan... But ofcourse the Emerald Champion is the supreme arbiter of the Emperor’s laws throughout the Empire, and needed to handle on this. But what should I do with this information, besides not getting myself killed... This dishonor should get revealed, but how...

Thoughts like this are going through my mind a lot this evening, and i'm glad to go to the inn when it's finally an appropriate time to leave.