When we finally caught up to our mysterious thief, we witnessed her attempted destruction of Haruki-sama’s Seppun daisho. I still am not certain that whether she knew of its scars and was trying to release them, or simply seeking to dishonor Haruki-sama. In either case, we approached her at last, confirming her Seppun mons, and attempted to politely inquire about her activities. Her disdain for us, her inferiors, was quite obvious, and she refused to give us much information. Before we could begin to break her uncooperative nature, she was suddenly struck by arrows.
We looked to a nearby ridge in time to see two archers retreating from view. Chieh-san seemed dazed by the event, and I called to her to entreat the kami and heal the Seppun’s wounds. As the group took defensive positions, I heard the distinct sounds of a rocky retreat over the back of the hill. I swiftly dismounted and scrambled to ascend the rocky summit in order to see the attackers. Kitsuki Keikaze quickly followed me, beating me to the top by just a few seconds, and relayed signals to the rest of the group. Once I gained my footing and saw into the next valley, six more men were lying reading to ambush any who took the path of the road. I made a quick prayer to the kami, invoking the fury of Osano-Wo on these bandits, crippling them and their efforts to surprise anyone.
Keikaze-san charged down at the retreating archers, but most have had trouble finding his footing, and failed to land a forceful punch upon one of them. I now followed him and charged into the melee, also with some trouble on the rocky surface, I landed a kick, but without much power. The archer pulled a knife and stabbed me with a solid swipe. I entreated the kami to quickly end this battle with a tempest of air, blowing both archers upwards and outwards onto the road, where they fell in an unmoving heap.
As Keikaze-san moved to assure that the archers would not be able to join their comrades in battle, I turned my focus to see Hayabusa, Kakita Seiji, and another Crane I did not recognize dispatching the last of the bandits. Later it proved to be Daidoji Hiro, sent from Crane lands to assist us. I moved back to the top of the hill to see Shosuro Kenzo and Agasha Chieh tending to our Seppun captive, who seemed to still be unconscious.
I returned to my horse and rode forward to the ambush site. As Hayabusa and Keikaze-san placed two captives on horseback, I made sure that the bandits bodies were searched for any useful information, and that the dead were burned to prevent any maho. There was a note found in the possession of the bandits, which was later deciphered to show that bandits knew to expect the Seppun and take the daisho. I also reminded the group we must all be purified before returning to town as we had encountered blood.
And so we have returned to Crab village, and met Lord Hida Samano-sama. Kenzo-san spoke very eloquently on our behalf about our purpose in Crab lands, and Samano-sama has agreed to help us reforge the swords. It will be three days here, which will make us late for the Bon Festival, but we shall be able to present the daisho in all its glory, even if we cannot share our tale of its return. I wrote the letter to Haruki-sama we agreed upon, informing him of our success and unfortunate delay in making it to the Festival. Now what will I do here for three days? I suppose it could be worse, the accommodations are pleasant, and there is plenty of sake.