|An Honest Ant|
|Released:||May 2000 ()|
|Story Year:||c. Third/Fourth centuries|
An Honest Ant
Shosuro Furuyari wrote three of the most important plays in Rokugani history: The Death of Hantei, the tale of the death of the first Emperor; The Mask, a history of the only Scorpion daimyo who never wore a mask; and Father and Daughter, a three-part epic about Bayushi and Shosuro. He was a cunning man, one who knew that loyalty to one's lord must be paid for with the blood of all those who would work against the lord.
Once there was an old man named Seppun Murayasu, a veteran warrior who lived in the golden city of the Emperor. He was a poor man who had sold the services of his sword for money in the past. Though he was far distant from any noble line, he was a samurai. He served a small post in the Emperor's city, far from the palace gates. He was poor, and he was but a simple soldier, but he stood at his post as though he had been given the greatest honor in the world. Even without gold or bright armor, he would walk the streets of Otosan Uchi as if he were the greatest noble in the city, and all who knew him spoke well of his loyalty.
"There is Murayasu," the heimin would whisper, "the man who owns the world."
Furuyari thought to ruin Murayasu for his pride, and brought Murayasu to speak with the Bayushi daimyo. He tricked Murayasu into visiting his palace within the glorious capital. Behind a screen, the Emperor of Rokugan rested, listening while the Bayushi spoke to the simple guard.
The Scorpion said, "Kneel before me, Murayasu, and call me master. If you do, I will give you a hundred pieces of golden Koku."
"No, thank you, gracious daimyo," Murayasu bowed. "I already have a master."
"Sit before me, Murayasu," Furuyari tried once more, "and tell me your secrets. If you do, I will give you a thousand men and women to call your own and a place of honor in my noble guard."
"I am sorry, noble Bayushi," Murayasu refused again, "I cannot betray my master."
"Who do you serve, Murayasu?" asked the Scorpion, angered.
"I serve the Emperor," said the poor guardsman.
Shosuro Furuyari laughed. "The Emperor does not even know your name, pitiful old man. How can you serve the Shining Prince?"
Murayasu smiled. "The queen of ants cannot count her servants, but she knows that they are loyal. Though the Emperor does not know of me, still, I know of him. And it is the Emperor, and Hantei alone, that I follow. With every word and deed, I do his bidding. Even the ants in the field can say as much, though they do not know their queen."
Hantei, Lord of Rokugan, heard the poor guardsman's words and brought him to the palace to live his last days in loyal service to the imperial line.
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