Juurei was unbelievable warm. The weather had become noticeably more temperate as they had passed through Ryuu, Kyou and Han. Upon reaching the south of Ryuu they finally removed their wool-lined down coats—which were absolutely necessary during the Tai winters—for good.
Entering the inn and changing into court dress for the first time since leaving Hakkei Palace was enough to put in Seirai in a dour mood.
"It's hot, isn't it?" Taiki called out to Seirai when he came out of his room.
Seirai agreed glumly. "I'd heard that Ren was hot, but I didn't imagine it was like this. And this is typical of their spring and fall."
"That's for sure."
"At any rate, this is typical court dress for this time of year. I'm going to pay a quick visit to the Foreign Ministry and announce our arrival."
"Do I have to come with?"
"Just checking in for the time being. When the time comes, you'll be going in full ceremonial dress too. So stay cool and comfortable while you can. I should return by nightfall."
"But who knows what kind of trouble I'll get myself into before you get back."
Seirai laughed. "You've got a point there. Tansui will have his hands full."
He glanced at the bodyguard lurking like a shadow in the corner of the room. As always, Tansui maintained a stoic front and didn't respond. Nevertheless, there was a flicker in his eyes that could be taken for a clever smile.
"Tansui doesn't know this, but I've always wanted to make Tansui lose his cool just once."
Taiki said, "I'll try my best to make it happen."
"You do that. And as soon as I get back, I'm sure I'll see you swinging like a monkey from one of the trees out there in the garden."