Sonchiro of the Kensuku was exhausted.
The last thing he needed or wanted was to walk into his new office and come face-to-face with trouble. She had legs for miles that she was not afraid to show off. He could see the hint of an esoteric incantation upon her body. Where she got it, who put it there, was anyone’s guess, but it drew his attention to all the places he told himself not to look at. If he was honest with himself, she was exactly the kind of trouble he liked to get into.
He was not surprised she was standing before him leaning casually against his desk with her hand rested on her hip. Her outfit, left nothing at all to the imagination, but he supposed that was the point. The purse of her lips, was at a slight angle and Sonchiro found himself wondering if she was annoyed. “Sonchiro.” She said his name. Unlike everyone else in the nation, she did not call him Emperor. He released a soft breath of air closing his eyes a moment, he should not be surprised that she would show him no respect.
“Is that how it is, just Sonchiro, not Emperor?”
“You have always been Sonchiro to me, why change things up now?”
His eyes opened and locked on her face. He groaned inwardly, she had the type of body he liked and he had not hidden the fact that he had been interested in her when the two of them were growing up. He even managed to nearly steal a kiss only to receive a busted nose for his effort. Despite the punishment he endured chasing after her, he still to this day thought it was worth it. Unfortunately for him, the Elder Council did not think so and when he was appointed to Emperor he was told to keep a distance from Tationy.
Sonchiro allowed his thoughts to briefly get lost in their moments together before he quickly shook them away. “I am very busy, is there something you need?”
“I will not keep you, Sonchiro.” His name rolled off her tongue in a seductive manner and he knew that she was playing him, but he allowed himself to be sucked in. “I just stopped by to see if you had a moment to look at your father’s files, particularly the one regarding my appointment to the military.”
“I have not. I am very busy at the moment, but I will take a look the first opportunity I get.” He paused, “You still wish to join, even after being denied all of these years?”
“There is nothing else in this world I wish to do.” She had said something similar to him when they were kids when she had talked openly about wishing to be a soldier. He had laughed at first which had gotten him knocked into the ground and more than a little bruised and battered.
His eyes kept fixed on her before bowing his head, “I am meeting with members of the military later today. I will speak with them on this matter.” He knew that the Elder Council was not going to be happy with him, but he had not even gotten a chance to speak with his father Kiyoshi about his appointment. He wanted to tell him that he had nothing at all to do with this that it was as much a surprise to him as it was to everyone else. He was certain his father knew, but that did not lessen the turmoil rolling around inside Sonchiro. As far as the Elder Council was concerned though, Sonchiro had already decided that they were going to be exactly what they were meant to be, a council. Telling them though was not going to be easy.
“You are troubled.” Her voice broke his thoughts. She had always been too perceptive and other then, Oro Ishi whom had been executed earlier that day, there were few in the nation that knew him well enough to tell when something was bothering him.
“Just exhausted, it has been a long day.”
“Then I shall leave you.”
His mouth opened to tell her it was not necessary, but she was already gone from sight. With a sigh he spoke to himself, “You just always have to have the last word.”
Sonchiro moved toward the desk shuffling through scrolls and documents until he found the one he needed. Tationy had applied the past few years and instead of Commander Ritsu Waichia and Commander Oro Ishi handling her request, it was always sent onto his uncle Akizuki Kensuku who refused her. Sonchiro knew that his uncle had been getting a lot of pressure from the Elder Council on the matter which was why he was going to deal with that particular situation without consulting the council, after all they would only get in the way.
He made his way through the streets of Aslann, stopping and greeting people. They were congratulating him, though he could hear the whispers of those that did not approach talking about how young he was and how his father Kiyoshi Kensuku should have been made Emperor. He could not blame them, he felt the same way. His arrival to the headquarters of the military was met with surprise as everyone rushed quickly to assist him. He waved them all off and told them simply that he wanted Commander Hiko Kari and Commander Mikio Ishi to meet him in the office of the recently executed Ritsu Waichia.
By the time he made his way to the office, the two were already standing there waiting for him. “Emperor.” Hiko spoke and bowed slightly which Sonchiro had waved off.
“That is not necessary Commander.”
“Congratulations on your appointment to Emperor.”
“Commander there is no need for pretense, we both understand well the position I have been put into and who is better suited for it. In this room we can all speak freely.”
Sonchiro watched as Hiko and Mikio briefly glanced at one another. These two men taught him everything he knew about war and killing. At sixteen he, like most young men in the nation joined the military. It was a time-honored tradition. He was assigned to unit fifty-two of the Ruthlbahdo. At the time the General was Akira of the Akimoto clan, but a year later when he stepped down from leading the unit his Captain, Hiko Kari replaced him and was promoted. There was a lot of talk about Hiko’s appointment into the position. He was considered reckless, by the standards of generally everyone not to mention he was well known for running off half-cocked and picking unnecessary fights. The truth of the matter was, Hiko was about the only person that could get away with that sort of behavior, being Kari, it was understood that they were capable of doing things that defied in some cases the very laws of nature itself.
Mikio on the other hand was a prodigy or at least that is what people called him. Sonchiro saw him a bit differently, having served under him in the Shisosha assassination unit called Ortola. Perhaps it was because he was so old, his eyes seen the world in a way uniquely different from others. Sonchiro at first had always thought him heartless, but through the years he came to believe that Mikio was simply watching the world as though it were some sort of grand experiment. Each person and situation, was just another ingredient prepared and mixed into the ever-growing list of components.
Both of these men though, were sadistic and intimidating. They were cold-hearted killing machines and both probably to some degree morally bankrupt, though to what degree was anyone’s guess. During his time under each man, he often wondered if they had compassion about anything and he would come to learn that they were far more complex, then they appeared at first glance.
“You say we can speak freely, then you understand that many within the nation are unhappy regarding your appointment. I cannot speak for Commander Ishi, but I simply do not understand what the Elder Council was thinking on this matter. Not that you are not a capable soldier, but with all due respect Emperor, you are still wet behind the ears.”
Sonchiro stared for a moment, “Is that how you feel as well Commander Ishi?”
“Who knows.” Mikio responded with a casual shrug of his shoulders.
Sonchiro walked around the desk depositing something upon it, before turning to look at both men. His lips pursed in a crooked pout reminiscent of the one he had seen earlier on Tationy. Both men had adjusted their positions and Sonchiro wondered a moment if he was giving them pause. “What I am about to say remains in this room. I don’t trust the Elder Council. My appointment was a slight against my father, my clan, and more importantly our nation. I have not been groomed for this position, there are others more suited and yet, I was removed from my military appointment and given the position of Emperor. What abilities do I have to rule a nation? So I wonder to myself, what sort of scheming is going on behind the scenes of our great nation and whose pawn I am.”
His words must have taken both men by surprise because their attention was surly fixed upon Sonchiro. Neither man took the pause as a moment to speak so Sonchiro continued, “The Elder Council is unaware that I am meeting with you early. I did not wish for them to know. I will be the pawn for whatever game is in-play, however, I will do it on my own terms. Later today I will be letting go the majority of the Elder Council, keeping only four. The four that I feel have the most to gain by killing Akizuki Kensuku. The two of you perhaps will not like to hear this, but I have considered it with great thought, and the enemy of our nation is not a single man. Even if the culprit is discovered, another will just rise to take his place.”
Sonchiro watched as the smoke hanging from between the lips of Mikio, moved slightly as he spoke a question, “What do you intend to do?”
There were times under the command of Commander Mikio Ishi, that Sonchiro was certain that the somewhat ancient warrior had seen things and understood things better than any one man could. He had no doubt that Mikio understood the weight of the words he had just spoken. He was willingly sacrificing himself for the nation. Doing so meant that his hands were ultimately tied and any decision he made after leaving that office would most likely be the manipulation from the parties who got him appointed.
“As I said, I will be letting go the majority of the Elder Council and keeping only the four that have the most to gain by my appointment; Chee Hamara, Oji Waichia, Jee Ishi, and Cho Takahashi. While there is a possibility that all of these men could be innocent…”
“No, you are probably right.” Mikio offered.
Sonchiro’s attention was drawn toward Hiko whose expression for a brief moment had changed. “You and Elder Hamara have been friends for a long time. I know this is probably difficult for you to hear Commander, but the Hamara took a heavy hit when the Tylo Clan was executed. I trust that you will put the nation before all others, including him that is why you are here. I have not even had a chance to speak with my father, they have purposely been keeping me away from him. Though, I am not sure he will even hear my words even if I could see him.” The heaviness around Sonchiro lingered longer then, he intended so he quickly brushed it away and looked toward the desk to hide the emotion that was upon his face. “I am appointing the two of you as head of the Ruthlbahdo and Shisosha. You are the only two I can trust to protect the nation. I am giving you full authority over all aspects of the military. The Elder Council will not like this decision, but no longer will the Emperor and the council interfere with our nation’s military leaders. You will still keep me apprised of situations that hinder our nation, but the decisions regarding how to handle it will be left to the two of you.” The silence that followed their appointment did not surprise Sonchiro as he looked toward both men. “I need the two of you to be my hands.”
He had expected them both to say something, but deduced that they were both ill-prepared for his words so he changed the topic. “There is another matter.” His eyes drifted toward the desk and for a brief moment he rested his hand there. “For years now there has been someone who has been ignored entirely by the leaders of the military and refused by Emperor Akizuki Kensuku on behalf of the Elder Council. The decision on what you do with her is up to you.”
“Her,” Hiko spoke, “You are referring to the Tylo girl?”
“Tationy is stubborn and difficult, but trust me she is more than capable. She deserves a chance to prove herself, whether or not you give her that chance is a decision only the two of you can make.”
Sonchiro had made a mental note that both men where relatively quiet the entire discussion. He wished he could stay longer to speak with them, but eventually the Elder Council would realize he was not sitting in his office and they would come and find him. With his hands tied there was nothing he could do. Any movement he made would be closely oversaw by the council. He had moved toward the door, having nothing more to say. His body though stilled when Mikio finally spoke, “We will be your hands and your eyes, Emperor.”
There was no way for Mikio or Hiko to understand the importance of those words to Sonchiro as he opened the door and quickly made his way out.
To Be Continued