44 Chapter Forty-three: Forced to reveal their cards 2 - Within A Grey Twilight
Sasaki made his appearance at the shop. Kazuho smirked at the side, it meant that his plan was working. It had worked, even as some parts of it had been gambles, guesses that he wasn't certain will work. Especially with Enyou, and hinging most of it on the friendship that she had with Yuki. A gamble in certain ways, but it worked out for the best too.
He could not control many things, and this was the best action given his circumstances. To use all that he knew against them, and to exploit what he could find. And that itself had been rather limited, he had not been someone who chose to let anything of that sort become possible threats. But he was constrained by time and the lack of any resources.
It worked out well, but he knew that as long as he made the wrong choice he will have found himself being cornered. But this was somewhat unusual circumstances, thus he found such a use acceptable. Even as the man looked at him with a flat expression, no sign of gloating, no glint in his eyes which suggested glee. Just pure straight neutral.
A good sign, as when one put on such a face they often were on the losing end.
"It's good to see you again." Going as Kazuho, not Kouya. He didn't wish to have used that name until he needed to do so.
"Of course. Good to see you too." Even as it was hinting that he was planning to finish him off but it was never meant to be at the end of the day. He held his fan, tightly too. Kazuho didn't show an expression at it but knew that he had gotten him to think of something. But nothing that will be able to turn the tables.
Perfect. Murasaki viewed from her own shop. But said nothing, mostly because Kazuho bought most of her shop. Effectively paying back for lending him her shop. Using his house will tilt it too much in his favor, and there was a better option. Even if it was just.
"Let's go on inside, it is the best place for such a discussion," Kazuho said. Sasaki gave a nod, one which suggested that he wasn't too willing to do so. Enyou had not said anything, before giving Yuki a small glance. Before Kazuho stepped first, with Sasaki following him.
When he reached the room he was using, as Murasaki lived upstairs and away from this. It was a guest room of sorts even as none of them was fairly certain just what it was. But it had seats laid out for them, a table. And Murasaki boiling tea for them. She offered to do so, suggesting that she didn't expect so much.
He took the front seat, with Sasaki over the other. Enyou was sitting by his side. But none of anyone else were. Junri had stood out the door, giving the chance to look at Masaki who was leaning against the wall in the corner of the room. Shinrou had taken the other too. As Murasaki stepped in with the tea, and put it in front of them.
Before they looked at each other. Silence was the best, as neither wanted to betray anything valuable to the other. Before Kazuho felt that he should began. "Shall we start?"
"Of course. I prefer not to waste time." He didn't want to spend any more than the necessary time here. He did not want to spend the afternoon prying things out of each other instead of something more.
"I wasn't fully responsible for the attack." Sasaki did not look surprised. Something Kazuho guessed had been understandable, it was too ridiculous if he had been the one who did it. He didn't do it on his own, he had much help. And then simply let him become infamous for it. At that time, Kazuho didn't think it through.
He didn't know just what he had done to himself. Only when he left did he know that when he came back he will have to hide, he could not go back to being Kouya. Even Daishin would hunt him, saved only by the fact that he was not around. But Kazuho knew that it was for something far bigger. Something that was his intention from the very beginning.
But he only wanted to find Rin. There was little else to it.
"Of course." He wasn't convinced.
"Do you know about Daishin?"
"The man who instigated them?" He raised an eyebrow. Then his suspicions were there, Daishin had disappeared off the radar of anyone. He had managed to keep himself away from all of this. There was something more, Daishin in his knowledge had never been this cowardly. He was running a rebellion movement after all, and was making strides against the Shogunate during that time. He had been with the imperial court for a decade before that, working for the Shogunate to end. And working to return power to where it belonged.
"It was him. He fueled my need for revenge and offered me the chance." And if he never received it, then Kouya will not have existed. Kazuho took a deep breath, this was revealing some of his biggest weaknesses. "But I have little need for that now."
"After you, Misaki's father and paved the downfall of my own clan?" There was contempt, Kazuho knew that anyone will be. Enyou had not said a word, even as he was talking about how he caused the death of his parents. How he managed to do enough that it will have happened regardless of what he did.
"Yes." He didn't see it anymore. He didn't feel that he needed it any longer; not after what he learned from Shinrou.
"Why?" Sasaki looked at him.
"Your father was innocent of killing my father." He had not said another word. But it was the bushido code, to take revenge. His father had not died to a duel but was murdered. He didn't even manage to see him in death. Sasaki had kept his silence, not even saying anything. Before he opened the fan in an instant.
"Who was your father?" Enyou asked.
"That is for me to know." He gave a flat expression. He was here to negotiate with them, not tell them his life story. She looked to Yuki, where she gave a shrug. "But more importantly, do you know what happened to Daishin?"
"No, I did not bother to track him." Focusing all his hatred on Kouya, but Sasaki then had bee a child. And Daishin probably dropped off the radar not too long later, hence making Sasaki pursuing Kouya the only chance. It certainly helped that he had left the country, thus making finding him elusive. And his infamy allowed Daishin enough time to lie low, and then get himself off.
Even as now he realized that not finding him was important. Rather than assuming that his rebel faction had simply decided to bide its time. Or that it accepted the new ruling with much ease. It was too simple to assume that he only had an issue with one shogun, rather than the shogunate as a whole. And without any information.
"Besides, what proof do you have?"
"You can find him and ask." It was Mamoru, in Fukusei. A name that he knew Sasaki will have managed to know. Or even familiarize himself with. Sasaki took it, without any surprise.
"So, you're implying that he is possibly doing something. And choosing to lie low will help him achieve his objective."
"And it will be something big, no doubt about that." Even as he kept the odd situation of the Saitou clan.
He waited for Sasaki to ask a couple more questions. Where it was met with silence. Perhaps he had not managed to get anymore. Or he wasn't keen to know about Kazuho's past. Which was good too, since he did want some answers. And by giving away information, he was letting Sasaki be assured of his intentions. There was only so much that he could force, and the only way he could get what he was looking for was to do this first. A gamble, but nothing he said will have put him into any danger.
And if it was to do so, he will leave on the next boat. He wasn't left without any options, and Sasaki will have struggled to truly get anything useful out of his background. But he hoped that he will not have resorted to that. That he will be able to find her.
"What do you want?" It worked in his favor too, as it seemed. Sasaki agreed with the whole situation without ever thinking that it was too much. It was fairly reasonable at this point.
"What do you know about the Saitou clan?"
Now it was time for him to get some answers. He had given enough to warrant this.
"The Saitou clan changed suddenly a year after the shogun's assassination. Originally, they had very very little need to try and take over. A powerful, respected clan. But never ventured out of the south." And the fact that it had a lot to do with their situation as being one of the last to ally with the Shogunate. When they were not a shogunate, but merely another warlord.
Thus why they never won the trust certain clans had. Even as they were one of the wealthiest landowners, owning the largest share of the South. "The Shogun changed, he used to be a man that toured his demesnes. Now he no longer does that, often hiding. Many think that it was the death of the shogun which scared him since he was rather close to the then Shogun."
It was almost wrong. To have a man change so suddenly, it could be another person and no one will be any wiser. He couldn't tell until he had a chance to look at the man. Even as the mystery of how Rin is now the daughter of a Daimyo, and one which has existed. He knew that the girl existed, and for Rin to be here something must have happened.
"What are you thinking?"
"Has anyone seen him?"
"No, besides he died out at sea." It was an even more convenient way to get rid of any suspicion. It was a move where it will remove any suspicion, and provide a good cover-up. There were many such deaths if Sasaki had not found anything suspicious about it. He couldn't share anything, this was too much speculation, too much guesswork.
"Which part of the sea. To the west or the north?"
"Closer to the west." He leaned in to look at Kazuho.
Sasaki raised his eyebrow. But he did not question. He knew that whatever it was, it was too far fetched. Even as deep in Kazuho's mind, he could see the ties. But he didn't have any evidence.
"I suppose that I can do a favor for you." Kazuho had given him plenty and although he wanted a more solid confirmation. And Sasaki was never someone who wanted to owe him. And given what happened him, he didn't think that it was wrong to have made such an assumption at the end of the day.
"Don't let Junri hear this." Enyou was understandable but he was not willing to share it with anyone else.
"Help me find Saitou Sachiko and let me meet her." There wasn't anything else to guess it. No mater how unfathomable it had been. Sasaki was bewildered, perhaps having met with her once or twice. But he composed himself quickly.
"Of course, if that is what you want." His lips curled into a smile. With a clear sense of understanding what was going on. And knowing just who was Sachiko now. Even as he could not even begin to fathom just how it happened. Or how no one has said a thing. Even as Kazuho knew better than to share his own opinions about this. But he had nothing to prove it.
And the best thing was to ask Sachiko about it. And she will not say a word to anyone other than Kazuho. Only she trusted Kazuho enough to let him know. In a way, this also saved Rin from becoming a hostage should she have valuable information about the Saitou clan.
"I'll send someone to your house when everything is ready."
Before Shinrou looked at him with a smile, while Masami gave a nod. It seemed that they had reached something at last.