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The Shifting Of Sand

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I suppose it really had been getting too quiet for comfort for the last few decades ...

Making light of the situation? Perhaps, perhaps. But gallows humour always did get her through the rougher patches in life -- and, Kendappa mused idly as the blood washed away, these trying times really were starting to get rougher.

Honestly, three of these pitiful would-be agents in as many days? It was getting to be a little much.

Still, dispatching the poor things kept her in practice in a most direct fashion while Souma was absent, and it wouldn't do for any of the wretches to make it back to their masters in any case. Wheels within wheels, secrets within secrets -- Karura-Ou's survival not the least of those secrets but oh, far from the last, oh ho -- and oh, no, Kendappa-Ou was just a musician attendant on the Emperor's wishes. No other motives to be found here.

Which was true enough, as far as it went.

Washed and freshened up, Kendappa paced to the centre of her gardens, harp cradled in her arms, her eyes on the heavens and her attention turned inward. It remained so even as she settled the instrument's deceptive weight in her lap, as she began to pluck the shimmering strings; inward lay the crux of the matter, and her place within it.

She pledged loyalty to Taishakuten because of his strength; even being nothing more than a jumped-up mortal (though how anyone could believe that was still all there was to it, she couldn't fathom; that golden eye came from somewhere and she suspected she knew the answer), he had welded the Empire back into one and held it in an iron grip against gods and demons alike. Harsh, but stable. Taishakuten knew what he wanted and he reached out and took it.

But if Yasha could continue his tipping of fate's scales -- and the swift slaughter of all that the Emperor threw against him -- in the name of what he wanted ...

Well, then, perhaps it might be time for a throw of the dice.