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6. Doji Ren

Second Tournament day

Played on November 18th, 2018

Test 8 - Law

We're lead into the academy gallery for the next trial: Law. Three judges will ask us about the land, the language and the Bushido. The first judge states: "I hope you spent some time studying for this".

Kyo once again leaves the gallery all giggling. Does he consider this tournament a joke? Yoshi and Masako are the big winners, I gained another two points and Hitoshi gained one point and is getting closer to reaching his Gempuku.

During lunch I'm missing Yoshi and Aki at the table, they walked of towards the Tsuma temple. Tokuya went out for a ride to clear his head.

Test 9 - Go

Not my favorite pastime, but we're going to play a game of Go. We all enter a large hall in the academy where a lot of tables have been set up with Go playing boards. One judge will be evaluating this event and he states that bold tactics will bare results just like the battlefield.

I'm paired against Mirumoto Hinata who wins the game. Most games have been done apart from Bayushi Mei Lin versus Yasuki Jun. This game takes a bit longer but doesn't lose in excitement. Jun is also the winner of the event in the end. Hitoshi gained another point and with Archery next, he's sure to manage his Gempuku. I can fully focus on my own goal for today, and up at the top of the leaderboard.

Test 10 - Archery

Kakita Namuri takes us to the archery range outside of the academy. Three targets are set up at the end and three lines are drawn in the sand, each a little further away from the targets. We're supposed to hit at least two targets. The judge says to us "True archers understand that the arrow knows the way to the target".

When I learn that Hitoshi has won this event and gained three points, I collapse, and in tears I congratulate him. From the corner of my eye I see the judge frowning due to my mental breakdown. Luckily I still get another two points. Just one test to go for today!

Test 11 - Hunting

The remainder of the afternoon will be spend on the final event test for today: Hunting. The judge tells us to "Keep alert, hares and bucks are quick to flee, so spot them first".

I'm not after easy game like hares or bucks however. I'm here to get the maximum number of points, so exert my skills in search of the best in game this forest has to offer. After a few hours I find a fox den and try to find its inhabitant. Some time later I spot a silver furred fox downwind. I manage to shoot it and bring it back to the academy.

I'm glad to learn this brought me the maximum number of points, winning this event and topping the leaderboard today! This should bring the glory the Crane clan deserves.

The judges retreat into the inner halls of the academy to discuss the outcome of the various events. And we are expected to get all dressed up for the feast tonight at the Tsuma Town Magistrates estate. On our way there Aki and me join Hitoshi in a conversation about his goals in this tournament. I understand that he wants to bring the Mantis clan in line with the great clans. During our walk to the estate, Hitoshi's demeanor turns darker.

A feast with gifts

As we reach the estate we see it's a very nice large house, overlooking Tsuma. A lot of lanterns light the area and give it a festive look. We're led inside and set at the table. Hitoshi sits next to Bayushi Mei Lin and Kitsu Tsubasa and still doesn't look happy. But no time to ponder that as it is time for the gift giving ceremony.

We are expected to present our gifts in turn, starting with the Dragon clan members. Eventually it's time for the Unicorns and Shinjo Takuya whistles for his horse who trots into the garden. It rises, releasing the saddle and blanket which are caught by Takuya. He presents this saddle and embroidered blanket to Kakita Toshimoko and explains about the background, hinting to a failed arranged engagement between him and a stuck up Doji. I think she was fully in her right to act the way she did, but still this story got me pondering.

When it is time to present my gift I try to give a great performance, telling the story of Kakita Toshimokois greatest duel, which I have depicted in a sumi-e painting. But this seems to fall on deaf ears. I think I'm still a bit flustered about Takuya's story. Toshimoko still accepts my gift luckily.

Once all gifts from the greater clan members have been handed to Toshimoko, it is time for the feast. But then all of a sudden Hitoshi jumps up angrily and shouts to Toshimoko: "Enough, our clan shall no longer be ignored! I challenge you to a duel!". Yoski and Aki quickly stand up, trying to calm down Hitoshi, thus defusing the situation. Hitoshi comes to his senses and apoligises, explaining that he also brought a gift, a ship whis is docked in the harbour. I'm glad Toshimoko accepts the apology and the gift.

After the splendid diner, the outburst seems forgotten and everybody joins in for the festivities for tonight. There's a lot of sake, singing and dancing. People are talking about the duels planned for tomorrow. As it's becoming later and later I'm starting to feel the sake and I'm not sure if my vision is thus somewhat blurred but I start to notice a weird similarity between Kakita Toshimoko and Hitoshi. I think it's really time to get to bed and rest for the duels.