The samurai meet with the abbot Dogi, who is indulgent and corrupt, but pleasant. Arhiro meets with an ascetic warrior monk, and the two engage in a Zen parable. Dogi takes the samurai on a tour of the verdant lands around the temple. A messenger from the Akodo arrives, and it appears that some of Daisuke’s troops are marching away from the capital and towards the the temple. Matsu prepares for their arrival; Dogi is insulted by their bringing an army to the temple domains. Isawa meditates, and is warned by a spirit that the lands around Sho no Hotaku will burn.
Matsu goes and greets the commanders who have bivouacked near Sho no Hotaku. She finds that the troops are led by Akodo Hajime, the somewhat dull half-brother of Daisuke. With him is Akodo Zeniwa, actually a red-haired Kitsu who had been ransomed to the Bayushi for many years. He is considered a beautiful and dangerous swordsman.
Matsu convinces them to meet with Dogi. However, after arranging for their meeting, she joins with the others in fleeing to Toshi no Ranbo. Riding through the night, and into the dawn, they notice that behind them the Sho no Hotaku mountain is indeed burning.
The heroes stay at a rest inn on the outskirts of Toshi no Ranbo lands. In the morning, Matsu awakens to find that a Unicorn arrow is stuck to the wall near where she slept.
(18 xp awarded so far)