Through use of cunning, blades, and the blessings of the kami the party escapes from the bathhouse and finds the side door of the estate. A well placed “distraction” by the Lion sends the estate on high alarm as guards organize to put out the fire beginning to rage in the kitchens. A duelist spots the party and crosses blades Hikaru— both men cutting in the true fashion of their school. Hikaru’s blade bites deeper and his opponent falls. The party uses a passageway from the cellar to the main house to ascend to the top of the manor where they expect to find the witch. Yoshihiro takes the fallen Crane’s blade returns to the dungeon in order begin destroying the arcane circle he had described to the shugenja.
The samurai battle their way to the top floor of the massive complex, crossing through a potent ward that lights a fire in the minds of the shugenja, burning through their thoughts. They press on and discover the maho witch, covered in blood, with her guards at either side. The battle begins, blades and spells clash. As the battle edges in the party’s favor it becomes obvious that the witch herself seems simple compared to the woman that seemed to threaten the women in that party at Kyuden Kakita. They try to convince her to stand down, but not before she plunges her dagger into her belly— “I will not be denied revenge…” she gasps as she kills the baby inside her to unleash an unseen spell. The samurai move in and cut her down.
Meanwhile, fire rages quickly through the estate and the party quickly egresses— perhaps none more quickly than Takkeji who calls upon the wings of his clan to sail to safety on the ground below. The party moves to join him through the burning building, seeing that Lord Tsuzo lies dead, bleeding greatly from his hakama pants. “Let the fire take them all,” a voice is heard saying and the group returns to exiting.
Outside, the tortured eldest son of Tsuzo Kakita Tsuzumo watch his ancestral home burn— the firelight dancing off of the horrible scares on his face. Several guards and servants exit the building and upon seeing him, either fall to their knees, offering their swords or simply turn and walk back into the fires— their souls too tarnished to even beg for the mercy of seppuku from their lord.
At dawn, winter break and with it the slightest hint of a promise of spring. Kuni Kai arrives on the fourth day and bring with him several young acolytes and they begin to make prayers to cleans the lands of Green Spring Village. With each passing day, the snow melts away and the early blooming flowers begin to appear.In the distance, many groups of peasants can be seen on the horizon, returning to their plots of land and beginning the cycle of the season.
Tsuzumo may be considered an ally of the party.