We arrive at Kyuden Miya and spend the winter sorting scrolls and learning about law and bureaucracy. We are then made yoriki and ordered to report to our Emerald Magistrate, Bayushi Mugotai, in Toshi Ranbo, and also receive an invitation to this year’s Topaz Championship. In Toshi Ranbo we are charged with keeping Crane and Lion from killing one another in the streets. Tatianna continues to have contact with the Ratkin.
Hida makes a tour of the bars, finding the one where the most conflicts are. Torako develops a reputation for favoring the Lion, but in practice she tries to work honorably and fairly. Daiken acts like a total libertine, and is especially vigilant that no fights break out among the women. Tatianna visits random, often odd places around the city and develops a reputation for inscrutability. Asako just wanders around. The general feeling is that the Crane are suffering from having to hold Toshi Ranbo, which might be why Mugotai is in charge.
An Ikoma is accused of stealing a scroll by the governor. It’s one that the Crane had to pressure the Ikoma into giving up. We mee the governer and are given a description of the scroll. It could have disappeared any time from a week ago, but was noticed missing yesterday. Tatianna goes to the kitchens to talk to the servants, but is directed to the cleaning staff. None of them know anything. We go to the library. Only about three Lion and five Crane have visited the library in the time period the scroll went missing. The librarian knows all the library cleaning staff by sight, and nothing unusual happened. The library contents have been assembled from other places since the Crane took Toshi Ranbo. The missing scroll came in with a bunch of the others the Ikoma were asking about. They’re all about great Adoko leaders; they may have been all written by a lineage of Ikoma. Asoko finds the suspect’s lineage; the other authors are all on there. Daiken passes the word for the Daidoji who were in the library.
Torako heads off alone to talk to the Ikoma; Hida promises to give her a head start. When she gets shown to the Ikoma’s study, he’s already halfway out the window, and flees on a horse when he sees her. Torako quickly catches him and leads him back to the house, where everyone else has arrived. We start to suspect that the guy claiming to be the Ikoma, isn’t. The scroll is a history of a certain Akodo. He can’t give a satisfactory answer when asked what importance the scroll had. Turns out “the Ikoma” is actually and actor named Crackjaw, who works for “Big Nose”, the “True Lord of Toshi Ranbo”, who is protecting the actual Ikoma. The servants believe the Ikoma is not guilty.
Daiken interviews three of the Daidoji who were in the library; they don’t appear to know anything. Tatianna talks to Big Nose. Tatianna hasn’t seen the Ratkin all week. Asako summons spirits in the library that lead him to believe the Governor stole the scroll. He allows it to be heard in the palace only that he learned that a man came purposefully into the library when no one was there and took the scroll, hoping to prod the Governor into action.
Mugotai’s theory is that the governor is trying to dishonor the Lion in an attempt to prove his dominance in Toshi Ranbo. After the governor learns that we know what we know, we expect him to try to deliberately plant evidence, so we go back to Ikoma’s house to re-search it. An air spirit tells us no one but we, the servants and Crackjaw have been in here for three days. We go to the theater where the Ikoma kept an office and his most important things. We find the missing scroll among the Ikoma’s things and believe it to be planted by the Governor. Asako summons a spirit of water from the inkwell and asks it to describe who brought in the scroll; it shows a bushi in armor. On our way to Daidoji palace, we pass three Crane magistrates headed toward the theater. Daiken sprints to the palace; Torako stops to pick up Bayushi Mugotai but he’s already there.
We meet Mugotai at the palace; he gives Daiken his blessing. He asks to see the Governor but is kept waiting. Finally he is shown in. The governor is very angry. Daiken hands over the scroll and claims he knows the Ikoma did not steal it. He is grilled as to the circumstances, and Asako implies that Governor is at fault and is challenged to a duel. Then he proceeded to further antagonize the governor and almost gets killed by the guards.
Daiken is appointed Asako’s champion and Hida the second. The duel is set for dusk, and to be to the death.
Daiken drops him in one shot.