Moromari stood toward the side of the room listening intently to the conversation. The two had gone back and forth. Each time the young Waichia woman laid it out for the Elder of the Waichia, he would quickly counter her. The pout on her lips, the way her eyes glanced toward the window, told Moromari she was not happy with the decision. “You are being unreasonable.” Her words might have stung, had it been any other man, but Moromari knew that Oji, the clan Elder would not be moved by her words.
For a moment, he watched as the elder posed his body behind the desk. It was clearly evident he was considering, the conversation and her words. When he finally spoke, his voice was calm and his eyes briefly looked at the young girl before looking back to the scattered papers upon his desk. “You are a woman of the Waichia. Your behavior as of late is questionable. Other Elder’s might see it as revolutionary allowing their women to seek out combat and training, but I am not one of those elders. We have survived as long as we have and are one of the biggest of all of the clans within the nation because we strictly adhere to the old ways. There are few among us that have modernize.”
“Ryozo is an exception. He is not to be used as an example here.”
“That is not fair, simply because he is your son he gets to do as he pleases.”
“He is a strong and capable fighter, not just among the Waichia. I have allowed him some freedom to explore himself. It has nothing to do with him being my son.”
Moromari could feel the anger radiating off of the girl as she lost control and swore. “Bullshit.”
He had been certain that Oji would not stand for her insubordination and waited for some action or words to be taken, but a voice interrupted the conversation. “I see my unruly child is causing trouble. I apologize, Elder, it will not happen again.”
“There is no need to apologize, Takuya. I understand her passion. If she were a boy, this discussion never would have taken place.”
“Mai understands your reasons, even if she is unwilling to accept them.”
Moromari glanced toward the girl as she spoke under her breath, “I don’t need you speaking for me.”
“Do you have something you wish to say, Mai?”
“No father, I was just leaving. Thank you for your time, Elder Waichia.” Her voice betrayed her as she ‘stormed’ out of the office.
“She will not let this go.”
The Elder, hmm’d softly as he considered his words. “There will be no exceptions in this matter, not even for your daughter, Takuya. I hope you are not encouraging her.”
“Whether I am or am not, is not your concern Elder Waichia. She is my daughter and I will handle the situation, she will not come before you again with this request.”
“Make certain of that.” The elder was silent a moment, then added, “Please inform her to dress in more appropriate attire. I find that she and her Kensuku friend, dress more and more like that girl these days. We cannot have our women, dressing in such a salacious manner.”
Moromari frowned as he looked toward his elder. He was shocked that he had gone so far. It was not as though her clothing was obscene. Certainly it was rather short, but in comparison to what the Tylo girl wore, it was rather modest, keeping her relatively covered. He was afraid the conversation was going to go in a direction that would not be pleasant for anyone involved, so Moromari spoke up. “Did you finish with the last of the interrogations?”
There was no doubt Takuya had wished to say something regarding Oji’s remark, and with the silence that had lingered Moromari was fairly confident that both Takuya and Oji knew what the other was thinking without the words even being spoken. “I have, but unfortunately there is no hint of manipulation within any of them.”
“So you are saying they did this of their own freewill?”
“It would seem so, though I find it difficult to believe that so many would just go along. The assassination of an Emperor is a death sentence, whether it is one person or fifty. I cannot fathom any of them truly believing they would get away with it.”
“What of time alterations?”
“None that I could sense. Admittedly, this has me rather perplexed.”
Moromari had gone to speak, but the movement of his elder halted his words. Oji stood, looking out the window. It had been raining off and on for hours and before Mai had rather abruptly interrupted the day, the Elder had been standing in that same spot and Moromari, silently watched him. The entire nation could feel the heaviness, from the unexpected attack from within. “Knowing why changes nothing.” The elder spoke. “It will simply lead us to more questions. An attack of this scale was orchestrated that is all we need to know. Who and why come with time.”
“You are being rather cavalier about this. I have never known you to be so dismissive. Do you know something, I do not?”
Moromari knew that Takuya’s question was a challenge, though it may not have seemed like it to others. There was a hair’s difference between Oji and Takuya. Both of them could have had the position of Elder without much effort, but in the end it was Oji and not Takuya who took the position. Among the Waichia, there were many that disagreed with Oji’s appointment and felt that Takuya from the ‘lesser’ branch was more suited.
“I know nothing.” Oji’s words brought Moromari little comfort, he had suspected earlier when he stood silently with his elder that there was something troubling him. When he had returned from the Elder Council’s meeting he barely had a word to spare to anyone, so Moromari had taken that as meaning the Elder of Waichia was unhappy with the outcome. When Oji turned to face the two he spoke, “If the two of you will depart, I have some work to attend to.”
Moromari and Takuya had both simply nodded their heads and moved to leave the office of the Elder, though neither managed to make it out the door before Takuya spoke in a hushed voice. “He is troubled, what transpired in the Elder Council meeting?”
“I wish I knew. He did not speak on it when he returned.”
“He is your brother, have you seen him behave like this before?”
Moromari considered the question thoughtfully, “Only once. When he was being appointed to the position of Elder, he had a similar disposition. I did not understand it then, I do not understand it now.”
“Do you think he knows something about this assassination?”
“Are you asking me if I think my brother was involved?” Takuya’s head turned slightly which caused Moromari’s eyes to shift to glance at him. The simple action, put Moromari on edge. Waichia had no need to talk if they did not wish to, they could simply communicate mentally even go so far as to pry into each other’s minds to get the information. Moromari spoke in a calm voice, even though his words were rather cold, “I will make it rather unpleasant for you, if you attempt to read my mind.”
He relaxed considerably when Takuya drew his attention elsewhere, “I made the mistake of reading your mind once, I will not do it again as for your question, I am simply asking if you think he knows something. I would never be so bold to insinuate my elder’s involvement in such a treacherous action.”
“You do think he is involved though.” Moromari responded.
“I am the special investigator appointed by the Elder Council, it is my job to suspect everyone.”
Moromari pursed his lips a moment and then responded, “I believe he is troubled, by what I am not certain. I do not believe he was involved, but I do feel that he is feeling guilty for having not anticipated these events. I admit, I am troubled. This is the first time for both Oji and I that we have not been able to calculate the odds of a particular event happening. This, never came up in all of our strategic talks, never once.”
“I am troubled by this as well. For such a major strike to happen and go unnoticed by the Saitama whom calculate the chances of any given event occurring and the Waichia whom can read the minds of any living being in this world, I have to wonder what sort of enemy is lurking in the shadows of our nation.” His words fell short and Moromari turned his attention fully upon Takuya whom for a moment seemed lost in thought. “If you will excuse me, I will be in the archive.”
Moromari inwardly sighed. He knew that if Takuya was heading to the archive that it meant that he was researching the bloodlines within the nation of Aslann. He could not help, but wonder if there was a power greater than the Saitama and Waichia. Of course the Tylo clan was certainly formidable, but could that girl have acquired the skill necessary to strike against the nation? If she had, how? Simply being able to see all possible outcomes to any given situation or calculating the odds was not enough to manipulate an entire military force against a single individual. Moromari considered what clans would benefit from terminating the life of the Emperor. He even considered which clans were capable and willing to sacrifice their own for what they believed to be the greater good. Unfortunately, those thoughts as he walked through the estate brought him no comfort because he realized that his brother, the Elder of the Waichia, had just as much to gain from such a bold move as any other clan elder within the nation.
To Be Continued