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A Time Traveller's Guide To Feudal Japan Chapter 151 - The Temple (2)

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"That is not a punishment."

Soroko stated pointedly. He did not wish to condemn Momochi too heavily, but no matter how he looked at it, the two men in front of him were not being punished. They were being offered an opportunity that normal people could only dream of having, and for what? For committing murder on their holy steps.

"For these men it is, they have a mission, you see."

Momochi explained.

Kuraka looked back and forth from him to Soroko venomously, unable to believe that the other monk was genuinely considering Momochi's decision.

"Step forward."

Soroko spoke, ordering Gengyo and Kitajo forward.

Reluctantly, Gengyo did as he said. He held no trust for their cryptic reasonings - talk of light and dark and other such religious dealings, they were not something he wished to involve himself in.

Kitajo followed his lead, and moved forward alongside him. Soroko's gaze went to Kitajo first, as he truly looked him up and down, before staring deep into his eyes. It was with pride that Gengyo saw Kitajo face the gaze unflinchingly. He had truly grown into a strong lad.

Gengyo used the opportunity he was given to look around the temple grounds with a degree of further scrutinany than he had before. At a single glance, he could tell the monks were strong. Perhaps just as strong - if not stronger - than the guard who had attacked him earlier. Their prospects were truly looking grim.

And then Soroko's gaze travelled to him.

"The fuc-"

He physically flinched when the old man's pure gaze aligned with his own. It was a suffocating feeling, as if he was being oppressed. He briefly wondered how Kitajo had managed to bare it, but then he saw that Soroko had flinched too, and his calm expression had been replaced by one that looked agonizing.

Soroko looked quickly toward Momochi, seeking explanation. But he was merely met with a nod.

Gengyo watched the exchange with great confusion, not at all understanding what had just occurred.

"I see… your reasoning extends beyond your words, Momochi."

Soroko spoke solemnly, sucking in a deep breath of air, as he sought to compose himself.

"That it does."

He affirmed.

Kuraka looked towards the two in confusion, it seemed he too did not understand what was had just happened. His gaze landed on Gengyo, as he sought to find what Soroko had just experienced, but it was with minimal effort that Gengyo was able to hold it.

To Soroko and Momochi, such a thing was not of great surprise. There were many sorts of monks, and some found their calling in the martial arts, and sought to become the strongest, whilst others enjoyed exploring their minds, and their humanity. Kuraka was of the prior sort. His meditive efforts had never yielded significant results, but his martial skill was unparralled.

The old monk Soroko, turned away from them, to look back towards the gathering of their pupils, as he stood with his hands behind his back, in thought.

He left them in silence for a few moments, before with a calm voice, he announced his verdict.

"I have come to a decision."

The entire square listened with antic.i.p.ation.

"These two men here."

He turned around to point at them.

"They are different from us - that much is true."

It was engrained in his bones to try and teach the pupils at every moment that he could, and so now when he was here, announcing his decision, he fell to lecturing them once more.

"They are tainted by impurity, and have had lead lives that we might look down upon. But, I agree with Momochi-sensei's decision. For the growth of you disciples, we will introduce these two into our temple."

"Take this opportunity to learn from them, but do not be influenced by them. Observe, but maintain your purity. They will be happy to answer any questions that you have. Will you not, young men?"

He turned to speak to Gengyo and Kitajo, asking that last question. They shared a glance with each other. It was quite the troublesome situation they had become involved in, but seemingly, they had no choice, and through gritted teeth they could merely give a nod of ascent.

'Worry not Kitajo, we will get out of here soon enough.'

Gengyo promised under his breath. Whatever these monks were up to, he wanted no part in it. Their strange words and ideologies, speaking of light and dark - that meant nothing to him. He was only grateful that such people had sworn not to get involved in the affairs of the common folk, for their strength was far too mighty, and they could influence the outcome of any war far too heavily.

Kuraka's eyes widened in surprise, as his face became a mask of disgust. He had thousands of protests he wished to voice, but he could not undermine Soroko's authority, not in front of the pupils - it would only come back to haunt him later.

For now, he merely settled with staring down the smiling Momochi, before directing that gaze towards both Gengyo and Kitajo, as though swearing that he would kill them on the first chance that he got.

"Come with me then, inpure ones. We shall set about integrating you."

Soroko spoke, before he began to walk towards the tallest building, not looking back, for he expected them to follow. And follow they did, leaving Momochi and Kuraka to argue it out amongst themselves.

The young monks looked at them as though they were some rare exhibit as they pa.s.sed. They seemed to find their long hair amusing, but they never fully comitted to the laughter, for the blood on their clothes was more than enough to remind them of what sort of animals they were.

The two men did their best to remain dignified, despite the dishonour that they were being subjected to.

'It is merely temporary.'

Gengyo consoled himself. At that moment he was grateful that he had not brought more guards along, as their fight with the monks would have been inevitable, and they would have been slaughtered like cattle.

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