Just as Mune had before, Mura became the revelation of the smithing world. Hidetoyo paid Mura handsomely for Sutaraito, saying that it complemented Mune’s creation, Hizashi. Mura accepted the payment, though he felt that he was giving his masterpiece to the wrong person.
Hidetoyo ordered the second invasion of Korea, hoping to achieve his desire of conquering Korea and then China. The warriors of Japan were hopelessly outnumbered, once the Korean and Chinese forces combined. The affair had a two-fold negative impact on the Daimyo. He became ill soon after the war began, and was unable to participate. The combination of his not leading from the front and being responsible for the many deaths of Japan’s warriors destroyed his reputation amongst the people of Japan.
During the conflict, in spite of his role as war advisor to the Daimyo, Yasugawa increased in popularity. The Kanto region had blossomed since he was granted it by Hidetoyo, giving the people the impression that he would focus on improving Japan, instead of seeking conquest. His popularity became such that Hideyoshi appointed Yasugawa to the Regent Council that would guide his young son, Tomiyori, through his minor years. The Council was made of Hidetoyo’s five most loyal generals, though the others suspected Yasugawa of greater ambition.
Upon Hidetoyo’s death, the Regent Council quickly divided. Yasugawa sought to cement his position as the true successor to Hidetoyo, while the other councillors backed the young ruler Tomiyori. For the next two years, Yasugawa courted powerful regional rulers in an effort to defeat Tomiyori’s loyal followers. Yasugawa sparked war when he took Osaka Castle, and forcibly took Hizashi and Sutaraito from Tomiyori. At the Battle of Sekigahara, Yasugawa and his followers defeated Tomiyori’s supporters.
For the next two years, Yasugawa reallocated the lands of Japan, rewarding those loyal to him and punishing those who fought against him. He also saw fit to reward Mune and Mura for their weaponry, and paid for their reallocation to the Kanto Region. Mune took residence in Kamakura, while Mura moved to the ‘Eastern Capital’, Edo.
Mune sought to live a peaceful lifestyle in his new city, but had a suspicion that his friend had relocated to Edo for a more sinister reason. One of his regular visits to Edo coincided with Yasugawa entertaining the Emperor of Japan, who had the power to grant the title that Nobuoda and Hideyoshi had fought for, but never achieved: Shogun.
Mune sought out his friend, hoping that he was not planning something against Yasugawa and his advisor, the monk Kaizuiten…
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