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6. Bayushi Kyo

A gift with meaning

Played on November 18th, 2018

Topaz Championship, Day 3 in Tsuma, Year 1123

The tests about law, Go and archery pass quickly and without anything interesting happening. I seem to be learning far too little and focus on all the wrong things. I need to do more to see if I can find out anything. As the hunting test splits us up and allows for extra surveillance, I have decided to follow Mei Lin and see what she does. I go through all the trouble to make sure she does not see I am looking into her, but she is far too concentrated on the actual task at hand. She is both as useless at noticing me as she is at hunting. She has a chance encounter with Kakita Rika, but I decide to wait and keep my eye on Mei Lin. I should have switched, it could hardly prove less insightful. But I will never know now. I try to take some of my time left and actually catch an animal, but that proves as useful as me trailing Mei Lin.

The tests complete and the day nearing it's end there is one more event to be apart of. The feast at the estate of the Kakita Town Magistrate. But more importantly a moment for the contestants to give personal gifts to Kakita Toshimoko. Gifts of wonder or of deeper meaning. Some are accepted with great honor others are simply accepted. As with most Scorpion gifts, a gift is never simple. I had learned Bayushi Sugai lost the championship last year due to trickery and this was my chance to learn if this was known by Kakita Toshimoko. My gift was simple by itself. A dagger, not plain, but not extravagant either. I joined the gift with words that the best should win this year. With a focus on this year and the meaning of a dagger as a weapon for backstabbing as well. I thought my play pretty strong. But flawed against someone obviously as strong as Kakita Toshimoko. He didn't flinch a muscle, accepted it with grace and put it on the honored gifts pile. Once more I learned nothing from someone I thought I could learn something from. And showing by the face of Kakita Yukini, I might have made a new enemy.

After all real clans finished their gifts a sudden uncomfortable silence enters the room. We all know there is still Hitoshi. There is no place for a Mantis clan at this table, but Hitoshi apparently does not agree. He stands and shouts that it's enough and the Mantis should not be ignored. And then he is dumb enough to challenge Kakita Toshimoko to a duel as well. Pressure rises and things can only get worse from here, but luckily Togashi Yoshi steps in. I did not expect this from him, but he does an incredible job at dismantling the situation. And once more Kakita Toshimoko excels as he accepts both Hitashi's gift and apology.