During the hours Togashi and Shiba (3-7pm), the contestants must travel into the countryside, retrieve three tsu fish eggs(and only three since the Kakita family carefully monitors the harvesting of this rare delicacy) each and return them. Tsu fish become amphibious during their mating season by growing a set of three “legs” that allows them to move on land and climb trees. There, they lay their eggs where they will be better protected from predators. During this time they also become very socially organized: they send out patrols in shifts around the area, others sloth in the trees where they relax and can quickly defend the eggs if need be.
Shosuro, Kakita, Akodo, Shinjo and Hida decide to work together to have a better chance of success even though that have all already gathered enough points to pass their genpukku. Bayushi Sugai notices the group together and decides to stay away from them due to their mutual animosity especially since “accidents” are known to happen during this part of the competition and one against five are not good odds.
They work together to find the trail and just over an hour are rewarded with the smell of the sea and notice the sun glinting off the sapphire scales of the Tsu fish. They decide to have Shosuro quietly make her way over and get eggs for them all as Hida distracts them from afar. The rest of the group stand by if the fish notice Shosuro. The backup is not necessary as Hida roars at the fish and gets their attention, making it quite easy for Shosuro to make her way to the trees, deftly climb up without disturbing the sloth-like fish, grab the eggs and quietly make her way back. The group then moves a distance away from the territorial fish and distribute the eggs among themselves.
Making their way back in high spirits, they are caught completely unawares as a group of 30 ronin suddenly jump out and demand that they surrender or die. The ronin demand that the group leave the eggs they have collected. The group, realizing that that they have no chance of success and that their is no honor in fighting such a losing battle, drop their eggs and hurry off.
When they return and are asked why they did not bring back any eggs they mention that they were ambushed by ronin (the group then realizes that a “sincere” answer of simple failure would have saved more face). Bayushi Sugai is the only one to return with any eggs and has several of his Scorpion friends join him to feast upon the reward.
The contestants who did not gain enough points to pass their genpukku quickly skulk off in shame acroos the river. The ones who did, including Doji Kuwanan, decide to stay and give their taken names to each other:
As everyone makes their formal greeting to each other and wish luck in tomorrow’s final competition, Hida Fujizaka approaches Shosuro and asks if he may escort her back to Tsuma. She agrees ( see GM info for what happened there). The rest of the group decide to go back to the Shosuro Sake house and enjoy a small celebration.
Akodo asks Hida about some of the things they do in the Crab lands for entertainment. Hida gives a couple examples of “colorful Crab past times” and asks Akodo what his family does for fun. At this point, Shosuro returns and Hida decides to interrogate her more then is polite (and loses some honor points for his trouble). Shosuro simply answers that Hida Fujizaka obviously enjoyed being accompanied by such a beautiful women and quietly quips to Kakita that he obviously would not find such beauty among the Hida women.
Shosuro is also interested in what the Akodo do for fun. Akodo answers that his family enjoys telling stories. After some insisting from the rest of the group, he gives a small, but not very good tale. After this Shosuro decides to act out a famous play about the scorpion and the phoenix demonstrating the phoenix’s tendency to sit and over analyze something and never act on it.
During all of this the group decides that no matter what they definitely DO NOT want Bayushi Sugai to win the tournament. At this point, Shosuro’s cup starts to levitate and then slowly float back down. Shosuro sincerely explains that due to her studies of ghost lore it makes her more prone to haunting. Hida explains his Touch of the Void and better demonstrates the appearance of his ancestor while doing a hand-stand pushup. Kakita Hikaru says she also has an ancestor like that and has the same consequence.
The group decides to retire for the night. As they leave, they notice the ancient Phoenix shugenja and his yojimbo sitting at a table. The shugenja smiles and rises a cup to Shosuro who decides (correctly) that a deep bow is the appropriate for the situation as the group departs back to the house. In the morning the final showdown of the Topaz championship will begin.