Humility and the Sunrise
He raised his fist to heaven. “It is rightfully mine. I will take it for myself.”
But the sound of someone approaching caused the plank floor of the nightingale corridor to sing its eerie tones in Naka’s ears. He quickly stood up from his cross-legged sitting position and turned to face his guest. Naka no O’e was amazingly swift even though he was a stout man. “Who approaches?”
“Your father-in-law, Kurayamada.” Kurayamada stopped near the silk sliding door to Naka’s meditation room.
“Why did my servant not escort you?”
“I came with silent feet, of my own accord, so that no one would see my coming.”
“Why did you come in secret?”
Kurayamada slid the door open, with a smile on his dark-skinned face. “Why do you plot in secret, my son?”
Naka reached for his sword from his left side.
Kurayamada bowed to Naka no O’e from his hips, then put his hand up, still smiling.
“Naka no O’e, our friend Kamatari has already told me everything. I am with you both. I have agreed to help you.”
Naka sighed heavily, his shoulders relaxed. “Sit down then and please do not approach without my servant in the future.” Naka motioned with his hand to a mat on the floor nearby.
“I wanted no one to know of my meeting with you, Naka no O’e.”
“My servant would give his life for me. He knows of my plans, Kurayamada.”
“Our plans; I will assure Soga Iruka of your trustworthiness.” Kurayamada sat down on his legs gladly.
Naka did the same. “And what do you have to gain from this, Soga Kurayamada? The Soga will lose their power if we are successful. But Kamatari assures me that you are not with them in spirit.”
“I am with you, my son-in-law. I expect to gain your favor from it, since you will ascend the throne. That is what matters to me, Naka no O’e.”
Naka looked him in the eye. That moment seemed to last longer than a thought.