“No,” you answer. “I need to find Aiko. Do you know where she went?”
Sasha closes her eyes in disappointment. When she reopens them, you see the same bone weary tiredness echoed you feel in her eyes. “Aiko said she was headed towards east entrance of the temple.”
“Thanks.” You take a step away, but halt. You need to spend more time with your sister. Time outside of missions and work. You turn back and grab Sasha in an embrace.
Sasha rests her head on your shoulder. “Be safe, little brother.” She whispers.
Yi and the other Dragonblooded watch, uncomfortable with the unexpected display of emotion. You break away and leave without another word.
You find Aiko and Shamira arguing just out of sight of the temple.
“We can’t just barge in there. We will be arrested before we get through the door.” Aiko argues. Shamira scrowls and crosses her arms.
“Here’s what we do,” you interrupt. “I’ll go inside and hide. When the opportune moment comes, I’ll send a messager for you and Shamira to enter.”
“How the fuck are you going to get past the guards, little boy?” Shamira questions.
“Don’t worry about that. I have my ways.” You assure the Earth Aspect. Shamira narrows her eyes and glances back at the guards.
“A dramatic entrance. I like it.” Aiko approves. “Wait!” Aiko reaches out to grab Shamira, but she is too fast for the younger Earth Aspect.
“What the fuck is she doing?” you curse as Shamira knocks out two of the guards. The other guards at the door hesitate as Shamira whirls her chain.
“I guess the opportune time is now.” Aiko brushes her braid back and follows Shamira into the temple.
“Shit.” You step out of Fate and slip into the temple behind the two Earth Aspects before the door closes.
The Immaculate Temple of Mount Meru is a marvel of Shogunate Architecture. Built on the remains of a destroyed manse, the pentagon shaped building is made of fine-grained jade. Stained glass windows are enchanted to shine the light of the five elements, giving the appearance of walking in anima.
Elder Kejak sits with a group of glum mortals waiting for an audience with the future Shogun. The secretary sits slouched like a man whose whole life has been upturned. You dare not approach the Elder Sidereal. Their Dragonblooded guards keep their hands close to their swords as they watch them. You find Akachi among the mortal notables in the rafters. He leans forward and whispers to one of the other mortals, who stifles a laugh.
You step though the swirling sands of the Earth and trace Aiko and Shamira’s progress down the aisle of the temple. All eyes are drawn to the two Earth Aspects. Aiko is smug. Shamira radiates with rage. Her dishevel appearance contrasts with Dragonblooded nobles on the main floor. You walk past Masaru, who is standing with his mother and brother. Chiyoko and her father, with identical expressions of worry, sit with the rest of the Lung family. Guanyu whispers a question to Chiyoko who shrugs in response.
Masaru’s grandmother stands by the cloth covered corpse, with Ling Ling in her arms. Hayate kneels before his mother’s corpse, head bent in prayer. The monk conducting the funeral frowns and attracts Hayate’s attention. The monk nods at the approaching Shamira.
You do not see Tears the Grass in any of his forms, nor remaining members of Lung Duri’s circle.
Shamira stands before Hayate. The guards approach, but with a raised hand, Hayate stops them. Bam! Shamira throws a punch at Hayate. The Future Shogun’s head snaps to the right. He rubs his jaw. “What that really necessary, Shamira?”
Shamira ignores his question. “I declare Lung Hayate a traitor to the Shogunate. He is concluding with our Anathema enemies. He had one conduct unspeakable acts to steal my form. He ordered my circle to kidnap…”
Hayate is calm as Shamira lists off his crimes. “Shamira, my daughter’s death has made you distraught.” He motions the guards forward. “Take her back to her room, so we can continue my mother’s funeral.”
“I rather die than go back to that pit you locked me up in.” Shamira drags her chain along the jade floor.
Chiyoko’s father steps forward. “These are dire accusations, brother. My people will take this Earth Aspect into custody…”
“That will not be necessary, little brother. She is a member of my daughter’s circle and I feel responsible for her.” Hayate frowns “Unless of course, you don’t trust me, Guanyu. You do trust me to do what is right.”
A rainbow of eyes watch Lung Guanyu for his response. You watch Chiyoko, her lips whispering a prayer.
“No,” Lung Guanyu declares. “I do not trust you with the fate of any Dragonblooded, brother.” Chiyoko’s father draws his sword. “I challenge you for the right to rule the Shogunate. For I do not believe you will rule it justly.”
Hayate smiles, revealing bucked teeth. “It is for justice that I plan on ruling the Shogunate.”
What do you do?
- Sneak around at stab Tears the Grass in the back.
- Cry out that Lung Hayate is a Lunar imposter
- Stay close to Chiyoko