124 Chapter 2 - Three Houses
Looking at the scenery change before his eyes, Nick started to compare Japan to the United States. Japan was more densely packed than the United States, so all the buildings were closer together.
Public transportation was a big thing here from what he's seen so far.
From what he's seen from the people walking the streets, no one seemed to communicate with each other if they need not. It was strange and would definitely take some time getting used to.
His aunt, Lauren was driving them in a sleek silver colored four door car. It was a brand which he's never heard of before, but the car was comfortable to sit in.
As she drove the car through the streets, she glanced at Nick from time to time. Analyzing his facial expressions, trying to figure out what he's thinking.
"Things here are more mellow than the US. The citizens try to follow the law closely, so there isn't that much crime that goes on here. While i'd admit that the US has a better military than a large majority of the world, this place is one of the leading nations in technology. You can't see it from where you're sitting, but give it some time and you'll see what I mean."
Lauren casually told Nick.
Tokyo held the tallest buildings, the most companies and had the highest population in all of Japan. As Lauren drove past one building, she looked out the window.
"See that building there? That's where the Saito house is stationed. Just like the ten families in the US, there is a similar system here in Japan. Except, it's the three houses, each house has their own jurisdiction and manage it to the best of their ability. Underneath them are branch families who do their bidding and control subsections of Japan.
Besides the Saito family, there is also the Asaka and Hattori families. Those are the three most powerful families here in Japan currently, and then you also have the Guardian family."
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Nick turned his head to look at Lauren who met his gaze. As he was about to open his mouth, Lauren shook her head.
"No, we are not the Guardian family here. A long time ago, we were the family that protected the United States from threats, just like the Foster family does today. Except we were challenged by the Foster's to see which family truly deserved to be the protectors of the United States. Both our families were about even in power, but they had a prodigy child at the time, Klyde. He tipped the scale into their favor and they took control, causing us to lose our position.
A dethroned Guardian family cannot take up the reins again, it's like an unspoken rule. We never thought of taking up the position again, nor did it seem like my family wanted to. Instead, my grandfather, your great-grandfather was offered a special place here in Japan.
Anyways… there's a lot more to the story but it's all for another time. Our family has been around for hundreds of years, but the strange thing is, it feels like Japan has been our true home all along."
With that, Lauren laughed.
Nick couldn't tell if she was laughing because she felt that way, or if she was covering up some pain in her heart.
The four of them continued their journey in silence, but it didn't take long for them to reach their destination.
It was on the outskirts of Kyoto.
On the outside was a large stone wall which seemed to stretch for miles, while two men dressed in black suits guarded the only entrance that could be seen.
From outside the wall, Nick could see multiple large buildings. None were modern, each one seemed to come from an era long ago, which gave it a unique feel.
Lauren parked the car on the side of the road before she got out.
She stretched her arms high into the sky and yawned slightly.
Nick as well as Katherine both stepped out of the car and looked towards the entrance.
"Living quite the life here it seems."
Lauren grabbed the unconscious Olivia from the backseat and carried her like a princess.
"This isn't that impressive, considering what we were in before."
Lauren replied to Nick.
Compared to what Nick was used to, this place was many times better than his own house. If Lauren considered this to be worse than before, he could only imagine what they were living in beforehand.
"Well, let's go."
When the two men who stood at the entrance saw Lauren, they bowed their heads as they opened the gate.
Lauren passed Olivia to one of the men.
"This is Olivia… take her to one of the guests rooms. Make sure Bishop looks at her."
After giving the man orders, she turned her head towards Katherine.
"You can do whatever you want, but i'm taking him to see the elders. I don't think it'll be a good idea for you to meet them right now."
Hearing Lauren's words, Katherine glanced over at Nick for a moment, before she walked off. She was heading in the same direction as Olivia was headed.
"Just you and me now little man."
Guiding Nick to the main hall, Lauren passed by the other guards, not to mention family members.
From the gazes they were giving them, Nick could tell something was off. Maybe it wasn't really 'them' they were giving those looks to, it could just be him.
Along the way, he could also make out people whispering to each other, but he couldn't make out what they were saying at all.
"Remember, just shrug it off. In their eyes you're an outsider."
Lauren said softly so only Nick could hear her.
The two of them stepped in a large traditional building, the wooden floor shined enough to cause Nick to have a reflection.
Lauren took off her shoes so Nick followed suit.
She then led him down the hall into a large room where twenty people were seated. Ten on each side, creating an aisle. Some of them were men, some women but they all had one thing in common. Age. Each one of them looked older than forty, some could even push their seventies.
At the front of the aisle was a chair with an older man, at least in his mid fifties. His hair wasn't grey, but you could see that it was beginning to turn that color.
The man sitting in the chair had his head in the palm of his hand, his hazel eyes scanned Nick's body.
"I have to say, I find this situation strange. Although as a father, I should be happy to hear of the return of one of my daughters, i'm not really happy at all. Considering the fact she didn't return of her own accord, and that she can't even greet me."
The man had a deep but powerful voice.
Lauren coughed twice causing the man to look at her.
"Yet, I guess you could call this a fated meeting. Lauren informed me that you would take the trial your mother was supposed to take. Do you agree?"
All eyes in the room focused on Nick.
He didn't feel any pressure as he already resolved himself to agree no matter what.
"Yes, i'll take whatever trial you've prepared."
The man laughed lightly.
"I see you've prepared yourself, but i'm not the one giving you the trial. You are being judged by the ancestors."
Nick asked in confusion.
"It's easier for you to see for yourself. Just know, there is only one way in and one way out. You can take him away Lauren."
Seeing the backs of Nick and Lauren leave, the man looked at the twenty elders.
"What do you all think?"
He asked them.
"Weak! He's as skinny as a twig, I doubt he'll make it back anytime soon."
"His face is decent, if he wasn't here for a trial i'd consider proposing a marriage to my daughter."
Various discussions came up from the short exchange they had with Nick.
For them, who each had the same ability, they did not need to test his strength to know how strong he was. They could already tell, just from the look in his eyes.
His control over his ability was at the weakest stage, he definitely did not know the proper use of his power.
"I just have one question. Why did you give him that hint? You should know better than anyone the meaning of going through a trail, whether he passes or not is not up to us. It's up to him."
Hearing that, the man rubbed his beard as he cracked a smile.
"I'm not that heartless, you expect me not to help my grandson?"
"Besides, I think with one more person in the younger generation here, things will become a bit more interesting."
The man added.