“Minister Yamazaki,” Ayame inclined her head. “We were distressed to hear of Lord Hirozuka’s death at the hands of the Hunters. If it is any consolation, Biba Amatori is dead, and the Kokujou was destroyed in the conflagration that swallowed Kongokaku.”
Daniel tried not to hold his breath. Because she’d just said it, flat out; the capital of their entire nation was gone. The Shitori bushi blanched. Minister Yamazaki stiffened, kind face turned thunderous….
“Shogun Amatori is also dead, at Biba’s hands,” Elder Dogen stated; hands at rest, away from his swords. “Biba and his scientists unleashed on many horrors on the station. Not least of which was a Fused Colony.”
That got a mass intake of breath. Daniel kept his face calm with an effort. Shitori had taken in the Koutetsujou’s injured, including some survivors from Yashiro Station. Odds were Yamazaki’s bushi knew all the stories of the Black Smoke, and exactly how close the Koutetsujou had come to not making it out of Yashiro. Given Shitori had been the next live station in range….
The Fused Colony would have come for Shitori next. And killed them. Just like Yashiro.
“My niece’s bushi were able to reclaim the Koutetsujou from the Hunters while they were distracted. She rescued all she could from the city before it was entirely overrun.” Dogen breathed out, slow and deliberate. “My people are shaken, and terrified every moment they are on the hayajiro. I would ask for sanctuary for them… but that must, of course, depend on what is in the best interests of Shitori, and of the surviving stations.”
Mentally Daniel applauded the politeness judo. In less than a minute, Elder Dogen had thrown the ball back in Yamazaki’s court, pointed out that just because the shogun was gone didn’t mean the country was lost, and reminded Shitori’s minister that even if he had a quarrel with the Koutetsujou, some of the refugees on board were completely blameless. Meaning if he tossed the hayajiro out now he’d be possibly condemning the whole train; given the ever-present threat of Kabane, Daniel would bet nobody used terrified lightly.