:Lovely sunshine, my tail. You’re just patting yourself on the back because Kaoru paid attention in counter-surveillance,: Sayvel said dryly.
With Himura on her hands, she’s going to need it. “I’d say we’re clear,” Kerowyn stated.
Kaoru’s shoulders relaxed. “Good.” She tensed again. “This is going to sound really, really stupid….”
“I lived with mercenaries for decades,” Kerowyn pointed out. “People who put their lives on the line every day get strange. Sometimes even stupid. And your samurai were supposed to be ready to do that, yes?”
“I’m not sure where to start.” Kaoru bit her lip. “I didn’t just take Kenshin in out of warrior’s compassion. I had a plan. Well, sort of a plan.”
“Does this have to do with honor-debts?” Eldan put in. “It seems to be the key way Yamato handle social obligations,” he added at Kero’s glance. “Everyone owes someone a favor. And if you can’t pay it back, your family owes it until it is returned. Chief Tostig told me he recently had to adjudicate a case in which a family’s debt ledger was… borrowed.”
Before someone decided to take it back the hard way, Kero thought, picking up Eldan’s images of the blood and bruises. “And why haven’t I heard about this before?”
“You’re not in the system, Kero-love,” Eldan said plainly. “You don’t owe anyone, and no one owes you. No Yamato’s going to give a gaijin, who doesn’t have any idea what’s proper, the opportunity to put them in their debt-” He stopped. Thought. Grinned. “Oh, that is clever.”
“A master of a sword-school is expected to find ways to improve,” Kaoru said simply. “Any sensei can take in a ronin or rurouni. It’s a trade; a place to stay, for the chance to train with someone as good as you are. It’s customary. It’s tradition.” She crossed her arms. “And it gets people talking to a shihandai who just won’t talk to a Herald.”