Unfortunately it looked like Dogen had read the importance of Kibito’s threat out of the air just as well as Daniel had. “What paperwork, Niece?”
“Only an internal matter for Aragane, Uncle.” Ayame’s gaze was clear, cheerful, and unyielding, as she began to walk. “It will not affect our negotiations, and it will certainly not affect those of Kongokaku in your charge.”
Dogen’s eyes narrowed, but he sighed, following gracefully. “Forgive an old uncle for worrying when he sees your bodyguard… upset.”
“There are some details which have yet to be finalized,” Ayame said mildly, even as Kurusu’s face went from frozen to carefully neutral again. “And we have faced so much upheaval in the past month… even small uncertainties can be troublesome. But we should be able to settle matters once we have a few nights in safe territory to breathe. I’m certain everyone will be calmer then.”
“True enough,” the Elder allowed, the finest edge of tension easing out of his stance as they headed uphill.
Jack slowed his pace a little, just enough that the pair of them lagged at the back of the group. “So… paperwork?”
“Don’t know,” Daniel muttered back, matching Jack’s low tone. Dogen was out of earshot, but Naokata was a little closer, and better safe than sorry. “But Ikoma’s gotten in trouble with the local bushi before. And given… the situation….” Possibly contagious, definitely not normal, not to mention one of the few people who seemed to have a good handle on everything Kabane. “The Koutetsujou probably doesn’t want him locked up in the station jail, even for a day.” Or having to beat even more bushi over the head. Training lets you handle one guy, not twenty.
“Stratified social status,” Jack grumped. “How do you get anything done when the guys at the sharp end won’t listen just because you’re an engineer?