Chapter 46: Fight at the Table

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The dinner table was ready. The hosts and the guests took seats on pillows and the feast began. Tamie was elated when she saw so many different sorts of sushi on the table. She hastily began eating, and, to Kokuyo's and Byakuya's surprise, used chopsticks, unlike her friends who used forks instead.

"You can use chopsticks, Tamie-san?" Kokuyo blinked in astonishment - it was rare to see foreigners use Kenshinese chopsticks so adroitly.

"Mhm," Tamie nodded, much in a Kenshinese manner of saying 'yes'. She had already taken on the role of a Kenshinese culture professional. She then put a large piece of sushi in her mouth, expressing complete delight. Seeing her joyful mood, Kokuyo kindly chuckled:

"I should've expected it from a person who knows our culture so well. In your story, Demon Lord's Sorrow, you use so many references to our culture. You not only use our language in there but show the whole beauty of our traditions".

"Oh, I'm so glad you like it so much, Kokuyo-sama!"

"Tamie's writing a new book, Matsumoto-sama, and she said it is about Blade Warriors," Byakuya suddenly smilingly cut in, apparently to impress Kokuyo even more and receive his benevolence (as it mattered a lot in Matsunoki and in Blade Warrior Order, where Kokuyo was an important figure).

"Oh, really?" Kokuyo indeed got impressed, "Can you tell me more about this, Tamie-san?"

"Sure! It is called Byakuya the Blade Warrior. I've had this idea for a long time now, and finally my muse flew back to help me write it," she giggled. "But I'm lacking materials, so I guess, this too motivated my trip here to Kenshin, so I could find out more about Blade Warriors. I'd be truly happy if you lend me your hand, Kokuyo-sama".

Kokuyo brightened at such a request of hers - help his favourite author? Of course, he'd do!

"I'll help you as I can, Tamie-san. You can ask me anything about our lifestyle and of course, our Code".

Byakuya gasped - Matsumoto-sama was willing to share even his Code?!

Damn, this girl has some great charm... he stupefiedly stared at Tamie who instead just casually smiled as if it was nothing.

Silence fell for some minutes. Then Kokuyo broke it and referred to Tamie again:

"So, Tamie-san, mind sharing your mission details with me? And, I'd also like to get to know your friends. I'd be willing to help any way I can with your mission as well".

"Ah, that'd be marvelous - our orders would cooperate!" Tamie brightened and glanced at Shiba as if asking for permission since he was the leader of their group in this mission. When Shiba nodded, she grinned and turned to Kokuyo: "This is our leader for this mission - Shiba Wunderweiss, our Beast of Tamer Class," she proudly winked, "and my dearest friends I call 'sisters' - Riza Wagner, our Siren of Singer Class (she became a Siren after our recent fight against Byakuya's vile cousin), and Tiger Braun, an Animal rank of Tamer Class, very strong girl, with her three pets - Christo, Astra, and Blizzard. Our mission is to strike Shadow Ninja Order who causes a ruckus in Matsunoki town. We need to arrest their leader and hand him to the Prefect".

"Rather, hand her to the Prefect... I see..." Kokuyo's stern gaze fixed on Tiger, "Tiger Braun, huh? Do you perchance know a woman named Kassandra Braun?"

Hearing such a strict tone and seeing such a stern gaze of a-minute-ago-playful Kokuyo Matsumoto, the friends blinked in stupefaction, while Tiger turned all gloomy and furrowed her brow:

"I... don't know her..."

The friends now got surprised about her attitude and looked at her in confusion - why had she turned so upset in all of a sudden?

"Oh, really?" Kokuyo raised an eyebrow and then chuckled, shaking his head slightly. "Fighting against Byakuya's cousin, you said? I bet it was Erik von Drachen, right?"

"Um, yes..." Tamie shrugged, not able to understand why the air had turned all heavy in such a sudden. What was the issue with this Kassandra Braun woman he mentioned, and what did they have to do with it?

"I heard from Byakuya that you fought Erik's clones in the mansion of Silver Venus Celestial Lord, Georg Braun, who happened to be a grandfather of one of your members," he shot a stern gaze at Tiger again, who had cast her eyes down and clutched her fists in anger and uneasiness. "Of Tiger Braun, I assume... Well then, this Georg Braun happens to be the father of Kassandra Braun, the leader of the Shadow Ninja Order you are after. So I ask again, Tiger Braun-san - do you know Kassandra Braun?"

Everyone gasped - so this Kassandra Braun was the leader of the Shadow Ninja Order, and she was the very daughter of Georg Braun?! But then... if Kassandra was the daughter of Georg Braun, what was she for Tiger?

"T... That woman... I've got no ties with that woman!" Tiger yelled at Kokuyo, banged her fists to the table, and then ran out of the room.

Blizzard yelped and Christo and Astra sadly meowed. They all sprang up and rushed after their crying owner. Kokuyo, Byakuya, and the friends remained astonished, as none of them could understand the reason for Tiger's wrathful reaction. Then Kokuyo furrowed his brow and crossed arms:

"That girl is Kassandra Braun's kin. Tell her that if she does not confess who she is to my enemy, I shall consider her my enemy too".

"How can you not understand that it is a painful matter to her? Tiger... she ran away from home long ago! She was raised by her grandparents. Would you please leave her alone?" Riza rushed out of the room, after Tiger, calling for her, apparently to calm her down.

Shiba, Tamie, and Byakuya remained astounded. Kokuyo was instead in such a rage that even Black Zen leaked out of his whole body. Tamie understood the host felt deeply humiliated, so she sprang up, bowed down and apologized:

 Tamie understood the host felt deeply humiliated, so she sprang up, bowed down and apologized:

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"I am deeply sorry for all that happened, Kokuyo-sama! I promise I shall resolve this. Please, do not be raged on my sisters..."

Kokuyo was frowning, but then he took a deep breath and calmed himself down, making the Black Zen vanish.

"I am counting on you, Tamie-san. If this happens again, I shall not let it pass. I guarantee it".

Tamie bowed once again and went out of the room to search for her 'sisters'.

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