Miya-sama has honored me and declared me his assistant during the Topaz Championship. This noble task does me good as I can now focus on my duty instead of Yoshi. I am of one mind while I fulfill my obligations. Daidoji-san will compete this year, and he is like the falcon that strains against its bindings during the hunt. While I greeted guests and informed them about their quarters, Daidoji-san scrutinized the other competitors. Of course, the others responded in kind, lending the Inn the air of a summer evening just before the storm. It was exhilarating.
We have a most unusual competitor, Togashi-san. He is a kindly monk who reminds me of an older Todashi-san. His actions are like the time I went with Todashi-san to have a picnic by the mountain. We tried to find a proper view of the mountain to help us build wa (roughly “peace of mind”), and we explored several spots before Todashi-san declared we had discovered the best view. I told him that a nearby rock was far too large for us to get a view of the mountain, and he replied, “We now have the best view of the rock.” Like a true monk, he proceeded to take seiza (a kneeling position) and eat his rice balls.
During the tournament, we discovered treachery. Tsurutchi-san, Isawa-san, and Togashi-san discovered Akodo-san had been bitten by a snake and disregarded the competition to help the samurai get the care he needed. Their courage, sincerity, and honor did not go unnoticed, and so I have recruited them to help Daidoji-san and myself solve the mystery. Akodo-san will no longer be able to compete, and, most unfortunately, Kitsu-san perished to the fangs of the serpents—serpents that were not native to this area. We discovered the snakes were brought to the tournament, and the basket they were brought in bears the marks of Otosan Uchi, the capital. I have had the basket brought to the meeting house I have been leant.
Though I was unable to see the horsemanship competition, I have heard that my new allies showed great prowess and have brought some measure of honor to their families. Their abilities give me confidence in my earlier choices. Now, we must part the fog surrounding events at the race and bring the light to dark places.