Guiding his companions from the temple to his family home, Bayushi Mamoru informed them that he had been called home suddenly to ensure the safety and security of Bayushi lands. Tatsuya glanced back toward the battlefield and quipped that he was doing, “an excellent job so far.”
They proceeded to the castle, preparing to meet the lord of these lands, Mamoru’s father Bayushi Takahiro. The Scorpion daimyo gave them all a place of honor at his table, in thanks for the rescue of his daughter Miyako, who had yet to leave Tatsuya’s side. With a glance to his son and to his daughter, the aging Scorpion invited the questing samurai band to stay under his hospitality until the Cherry Blossom Festival, which he promised would be a memorable event.
Kiyomi immediately joined in on affairs at the court, joined by Kiyo with Sagura’s permission. Hitomi and Yuzuki departed to practice in the dojo, while Sagura himself spent an enjoyable evening verbally sparring with Bayushi Kasumi.
That evening, Yuzuki decided to introduce her Phoenix companion to the wonders of sake. Still dealing with the loss of his eyes, Sagura agreed and was soon utterly plastered. Songs were sung, sake was never spilled, and the two drowned their sorrows before seeking their beds.
Toward morning, however, two notable events occurred: Tatsuya’s rest was disturbed by the sound of an assassin escaping his room, and Sagura rolled over to Kiyo’s bedroll in his drunken sleep. Of the two, the second was more close to being fatal, as the blind samurai seized a handful of soft and perky in an attempt to figure out what he was up against.
Something about the ‘assassination attempt’ bothered Tatsuya, though: a suspicion preyed on his mind, made him question the truthfulness of his friend and host. Everything seemed… too convenient. His life had been saved too many times, at the last second, for it not to be somehow orchestrated. Gathering together with Miyako and Ujina Suzuka, he shared his misgivings, leading them out the following day to investigate the site of the battle.
Almost immediately, he uncovered disturbing information: the Scorpion force had been waiting for some time, watching his companions approach the temple. The ronin had possessed more koku than they should have seen in a lifetime. The monks at the temple agreed that they were treated well, even somewhat respectfully, despite the ronin occupation lasting a week. Miyako, overcome by anger, suggested that perhaps her father and brother had set this up in an attempt to win Sanjuro’s trust once and for all… and perhaps, to secure him a place in the family with her hand.
Their trip back to the city was interrupted by a final piece of evidence: a meeting with Doji Akae, who revealed himself to be the Kolat’s Master Coin. He explained that the Kolat had never threatened Tatsuya, that he had been lead to believe that by a third party… and that every attempt on his life had been managed by someone close to him.