After washing himself in the temple's bathhouse, Callum wrapped a towel around his waist and walked over to where he sat his clean clothes. He put on the tunic first before looking around and making sure no one was in the room before quickly dropping the towel and putting on his loincloth and pants. As Callum was folding the towel neatly, Tito stepped into the room, wearing only white, dirty pants.
"Hey, Callum." Tito said as he made his way over to one of the tubs.
"Hey." Callum replied, putting his towel up on a rack for it to dry out.
"Have you made any progress with figuring out a plan for rescuing your friend?" Tito asked. Callum immediately thought about how he sent Dzin to look for Jerall and kill Phoenix, and knew if he were to say anything about releasing the Shadowcloak, he would be in major trouble.
"I've given up on that matter now, it's too late now to really do anything about it. It's been a few months now, so I doubt Jerall's still alive at this point." Callum lied. The young samurai had no idea if his old friend was still alive or dead.
"You don't want to give up, Cal. That's the last thing you ever want to do, especially if it deals with a friend. I'm sure Jerall is still out there somewhere. You want to be able to have hope for him and yourself. Do you understand?" Tito explain as he undressed into his loincloth.
"Hei." Callum replied with a nod.
"Remember this. Never give up, no matter what it is you are trying to do. As a samurai, you will find yourself in various situations that you don't want to be in, and you will feel tempted to quit, and escape from whatever it is. But the only way to deal with a problem, is to finish it. Because letting it linger on, will allow it to come right back around to bite you in the butt. I promise." Tito spoke. Callum nodded his hand, taking in what Tito just said.
"I'm gonna head out. I'll see you later, Tito. Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it." Callum said as he bowed towards Tito. Tito bowed back and watched Callum leave the room.
Emperor Daiyes watched from his throne as one of his samurai led Shogun Kaz and his generals towards him from the far end of the room. Jakar, who stood next to Daiyes, met the group halfway across the room.
"They want to speak with the Emperor." said the samurai who led Kaz and the generals.
"About what?" Jakar asked as he looked straight at Kaz, who was looking at the Emperor. Jakar also noticed one of the shogun's generals wore a unique set of armor that had a phoenix insignia on the chest plate and helmet.
"They haven't really said anything besides having a rivalry with another territory."
"Okay, you may go. I'll take it from here." said Jakar, bowing towards the samurai, who bowed back and walked away and out of the throne room. Jakar looked at the phoenix general again.
"Follow me." Jakar ordered. Shogun Kaz and the generals followed Jakar until they reached the Emperor, where they each got down on their knees before him, with Kaz in front.
"Emperor, I come to ask for your permission with something." Kaz started. Daiyes studied the group.
"Go on." Daiyes spoke. He scratched the back of his bald head as he waited for the shogun to continue.
"I want to eliminate Shogun Lekkyu and claim his territory for several reasons." Kaz continued as he looked up at the short and old yet muscular and athletic looking emperor. Jakar looked at Daiyes as he heard the shogun.
"List them, but I will go ahead and promise you that you may not have my permission." Daiyes responded. Kaz screamed in his head. You better let me do this, or I will kill you myself, even with all of your guards in here.
"Lekkyu has been stealing resources from my temple and the village of Knip. Alongside that, he has had several of his samurai burn down some of my territories villages and kill many innocent people." The shogun explained.
"Shogun Kaz, I would have had my scouts tell me about stuff like that happening early on, and none of them have spoken to me about any of that." said the emperor, sensing that Kaz was lying.
"I promise you, my generals have witnessed it themselves. And speaking of my generals, Phoenix, was an original samurai for Lekkyu, and saw a lot of terrible things go on in the temple." Kaz sputtered quickly, trying to hide the fact that he is lying about everything. Daiyes and Jakar looked at the general with the phoenix armor.
"Lekkyu would beat his samurai whenever they failed a task for him, and he would torture them for twenty-four hours as punishment. Lekkyu banished me from his territory because I was unable to stop thieves at the village of Feldshire. My sister is a samurai for Lekkyu, and I don't want him to hurt her as well. Please, Emperor. Let us stop Lekkyu and claim his land." Phoenix explained. Daiyes sat back in his throne to process what has been said. Jakar stepped closer to the emperor.
"I don't know about you, but the shogun's face is turning a little red, and the general's story isn't really adding up." Jakar whispered, loud enough for Daiyes to hear, but also quiet to wear Kaz and his men wouldn't hear.
"How so?" Daiyes replied, looking up at Jakar.
"I'm sure you remember, but I hand picked the five samurai I wanted to have control over the five territories, and of course, Lekkyu was one of them. Lekkyu has always been loyal, honest, and trustworthy. He never uses his techniques against anyone unless it is absolutely necessary. Lekkyu also isn't one to torture, hurt, or banish anyone just for no reason." Jakar explained. Daiyes nodded his head in understanding.
"I see where you are going with this, Jakar, it has been years since you've picked them out after the discovery of the fifth territory." Daiyes mentioned.
"What are you saying, Emperor?" Jakar questioned.
"I'm saying his personality may have changed a bit since the last time you have spoken with him. After all, having control over something can change one's personality. Either for the good, or the bad." Daiyes said. The Emperor looked ahead and saw that Kaz and all five generals had their eyes on him and Jakar.
"Trust me, Emperor. I have a strong feeling Lekkyu isn't at all what the shogun and general says he is, and I don't believe anything they are saying. If anything, Kaz's personality has changed. He used to be just like Lekkyu. I could put my full trust into him, but now I'm just getting the feeling that he is lying to us so he could claim Lekkyu's land for himself." Jakar explained.
"You're right, step back over and let me speak to them." Daiyes ordered.
"Hei." Jakar said softly with a bow before taking a step aside. Kaz and his generals looked at Daiyes. The Emperor noticed that Kaz was still blushing a bit.
"I have decided that I will not give you permission to claim Lekkyu's territory or kill him and his army, Shogun." the Emperor stated. Kaz's jaw dropped.
"Why, Emperor?" Kaz asked in disbelief.
"None of which you or your general has said is true. Now, I want all of you to take your katana and wakizashi off your belts and put them on the ground next to you along with any other weapon on you." Daiyes ordered. Jet and Phoenix both looked at each other in shock and then back at the Emperor, who was now standing up staring down at them.
"But--" Kaz started, but the Emperor waved his hand.
"Shut it!" Daiyes shouted. Kaz looked back at Jet and Phoenix and then back at the emperor before sighing and giving in to the orders. He unequipped his swords and placed them down on the ground next to his knees. The generals followed suit. Phoenix looked over at one of the other generals and winked. Jerall had disguised himself as one of the generals too. The samurai mage winked back at Phoenix. The general Jerall disguised himself as was killed by the mage after the former disagreed with the idea and tried to kill Jerall himself.
Hopefully this back up plan works, Phoenix thought as he saw the guards walking up to them, preparing to cuff them and take them to the Emperor's prison.