Accounts of Strange Incidents

Thirty-Sixth Panel

Loopholes

The fifth scroll


Yugiri looks over his books and scrolls that he brought with him and notes that a fifth scroll—which he does not quite remember bringing with him—contains omens and prophecies that eerily seem to apply to the situation that the clan seems to be facing. Yugiri looks around, deliberately avoiding eye contact with Koushi and sees Murasaki standing at a discreet distance with her twin swords. For some reason, the Kaishaku seems to be avoiding his gaze, but that could just be his imagination.

The Onmyouji turns back to the fifth scroll and takes notes on the prophecies he can deal with, and which omens he can turn to the advantage of the Tensai. The Onmyouji says aloud to no one in particular that it is fortunate that the clan has a Hatamoto who can defy fate. Koushi laughs quietly at that and says that there is someone who is interested in preserving the interests of the clan but the ghost neglects to say exactly who this benefactor is. The former Karo does mention that Saki was instrumental in setting up this situation. The ghosts adds cryptically that Takeshi is the loophole but does not elaborate further.

Back in the geisha house, the Hatamoto suddenly sneezes and Setsuna immediately offers Takeshi a dose of Iwao’s medicine. Takeshi gags at the smell and declines.

“Takeshi is the loophole.”


Meanwhile, Akiteru handles the logistics of Soichiro’s care and Misako’s security. As the roles of the officers are reassigned, it is suggested that Keiko remain with the office of the Takumi and help Misako. Keiko acquiesces but is obviously unhappy at this an looks longingly at Kaisei. The latter panics at the thought of having juggle all the paperwork as Karo and he begs her to stay by his side. Keiko joyfully accepts.

Kaisei introduces Kasumi to Goro since they will be traveling together. Keiko shyly asks Kaisei if he had though of looking for a wife but Kaisei misunderstands and reiterates that he is glad to have her by his side. He does not notice his secretary blush furiously. But the Takumi does notice that Setsuna seems stressed by Soichiro’s illness and decides to have tea with her to allow her to breathe and calm down.

Seeing that the preparations for the journey to the Winter Court are quickly taking shape, Takeshi decides to go off to a quiet corner of the clan house and call upon the mysterious kami that his childhood friend seems to be harboring. The Hatamoto waits silently for a while and is about to give up with Lady Kumo appears before him.

Takeshi talks to Lady Kumo


After a bit of small talk (as small talk goes with kami) the Lady of Spiders reveals that Takeshi has been performing admirably as a herald, and as such, has become her favorite plaything. When Takeshi bridles at this, Kumo hastens to add that she and he have the same objectives and thus are on the same side. The kami also adds that she would finally be able to discharge all her debts thanks to the Hatamoto, saying that Akari would know the relief that comes with finally being thusly unburdened.

The clan has until the spring to decide how to deal with the contract its officers had made with the other side. Meanwhile, blackness has come to the land: black sails fill the bay, black robes walk among the people, and black powder fills the air with its stench. All these are ushering in a black world.

Takeshi, however, remains on his guard and, as he ends the audience with the Lady of Spiders, he tells her that he will watch his back. Later, he has a heart to heart talk with his childhood friend about Lady Kumo. The conversation lasts long into the night.

When Akari goes to bed, she dreams of her grandmother, Saki.

“You have until spring to decide how to deal with the other side.”


End of the Thirty-Sixth Panel
to the Thirty-Fifth Panel
to the Thirty-Seventh Panel

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