As the group nears Kosaten Shiro Shinjo notices a group waiting in ambush. Just as he notices them they hail him in greeting but do not come out of cover. He converses with them as they question him about his business in Kosaten Shiro. He answers that he is in the service of Isawa Masanori. Upon the arrival of Hida and Akodo they hail Akodo in a much colder fashion and asked what business a Lion had in Crane lands. Akodo responds that he is part of the envoy for the Setsuban festival. The ambush unit comes out of cover and the group realizes it is a group of Daidoji. They tell the group to move on and enjoy their stay at Kosaten Shiro.
Upon arrival a group of pre-genpukku samurai run up and offer to take their horses to the stables. One in particular is extremely interested in Shinjo’s steed. The group gladly accepts and the horses, along with the Tortoise and wagons, are taken off to the stables. The group is met at the gates by the garrison commander Daidoji Barashi and a small escort. Each person is escorted separately to their guest waters:
*Kakita is escorted by Hiramori Hotaru; an older women who never seems to stop talking.
*Shosuro for her part was escorted by Daidoji Souta; a scarred Daidoji yojimbo whose last charge he guarded died when a man disguised like a geisha killed him and gave him the scar on his eye.
*Akodo and Kitsu were escroted by 4 guards to adjoining rooms. The guards were civil and polite but cold and watchfull.
*Shinjo was escorted by the young Daidoji Naoki who REALLY wanted the chance to ride Shinjo’s steed.
The group had some time before dinner. As the rest of the group relaxed Shinjo decided to test the young Daidoji Naoki. Taking off his armor and most of his weapons he proceeded to the archery range. At one point while passing a group of Daidoji he caught the distinct odor of gajin pepper. During the walk Daidoji Naoki explains how his grandmother was a Otaku Battle Maiden who was gravely injured while on patrol by an Oni. She was later found and saved by Naoki’s grandfather. Upon arrival Shinjo shot a few practice arrows at the farthest target. As he did so he explained to Daidoji Naoki that any one who wanted to ride his steed must prove his worth with the bow first. Daidoji Naoki said that must of his experience was with the yari not with the bow. Shinjo countered that if the young samurai wanted to ride his steed that was his condition and that Daidoji Naoki only had to hit the closest target. Exclaiming that he would be the future commander of the Doji Fan and taking a bow and arrow Daidoji Naoki arrogantly goes for the middle target and hits it cleanly and then with childlike glee asks if he can ride the horse now. Upon arrival at the stables Shinjo notices a few Otaku horses in Crane colors. Daidoji Naoki jumps onto Shinjo’s steed and rides around the area jumping a few horses before coming galloping back. At this point Shinjo asks for one more favor. In order for his dream to come true he would have to study both at the Shinjo Dojo and the Akodo War College; could he possibly put in a good word for him at the Shinjo Dojo? Shinjo accepts and gains an ally! Afterwards he spent some time with his falcon before proceeding to clean up and head to dinner.
Several things of note happened at dinner (not necessarily in this order):
*Daidoji Barashi (seating on his left is Kakita and on his right Isawa Misanori), young commander in charge of Kosaten Shiro, talks about the possible upcoming Crane-Lion War. During this he tries to get some information and provocation out of Akodo. Akodo manages to evade in a humble and humorous manner which greatly intrigued Barashi.
*Doji Ayumu is the courier service commander and offers to take any messages they might have.
*Daidoji Shun (who is seated to the left of Kakita between her and Shosuro), a young yojimbo/duelist who had participated in the topaz championship (but lost to a Bayushi) 6 years ago, wants to challenge Kakita to a Iaijutsu duel to test himself against the new Topaz Champion. She agrees and he shouts in excitement. Daidoji Barashi, after some consideration agrees and sends for some practice boken. As the two face each other they sense each-others capabilities: Kakita Hikaru (5 Iaijutsu, 3 Agility, 2 Void) vs Daidoji Shun (5 Iaijutsu, 3 Agility, 3 Void). Kakita was forced to lose focus first and Daidoji Shun stuck at her. But as he stuck Kakita was able to just barely move out of the way and deliver a clear strike to Daidoji Shun. As they both bowed Kakita thanked him for " a very enjoyable duel".
After the dinner the guests and other people at the dinner proceed to a common room to converse and socialize. Kakita and Daidoji Shun continue to converse together about his different duels, yojimbo work and time in the Winter Court. Shosuro, who was still being watched by Daidoji Souta decided to just watch carefully everyone from behind her fan. Kitsu was asked by a couple of people about their respected ancestors. Shinjo drank a some sake and relaxed until he noticed the actions of Hida and decided a clear head would be better. Hida made his way over to where Daidoji Barashi and Isawa Masanori were conversing about how to deal with some potential maho users in the area. Hida was unable to join the conversation until Akodo showed up. At this point they converse about the engagement betwen Doji Kuwanan and Matsu Nosuriko. After some different opionions from Hida, who chose to side with the Matsu and using the story of the founding of the Mantis clan as an example the conversation drifted to status of the Carpenter Wall. At this point Hida asked if the commander had recently had any trouble with the Yasuki. Barashi asked why would Hida inquire about such a topic and in response claimed he had a recent run in with a Yasuki. Daidoji Barashi answered that what business was it of a Hida the issues between the Daidoji and the “betrayers of the Crane clan” Yasuki. Hida replied that the Yasuki had tried to bring him into this conflict. Barashi summoned his second in command to take Hida to his office and question him. Hida followed as he was escorted by 4 guards. Akodo interjected about the interesting time it always was talking with the Crab.
Everyone finally finished socializing and were escorted to their respected quarters. They would have to be up early tomorrow and the rest of the days of their journey if they were going to make it to the Setsuban festival in time.