Yugiri, Murasaki, and Raijin
With the preparations for the summer festival in full swing, Yugiri visits the barracks in search of Murasaki. The Onmyouji finds her helping the Suzaku try on the fox masks and costumes that they will wear as they ensure that everyone at the festival is safe. He asks her to walk with him and he leads her to the place where he last had a conversation with Raijin. Murasaki accompanies Yugiri as the Kaishaku because of the rumors that ninja are abroad. She watches in dismay as the Onmyouji seems to stumble and blunder his way to their destination but is comforted and assured by Kawa who has tagged along because the little fox has noticed how sad she seems in the garb of her office and bearing the two swords and feels pity for her.
Raijin, on the other hand, is vexed at Yugiri for what the Onmyouji is doing: the deceased Daimyo does not appreciate his old friend and companion dragging outsiders into their conversation. There is so much that the former Daimyo has to let the Onmyouji know, particularly about how the living seem to be calling out to the dead and how the dead cannot help but respond. Yugiri, however, steadfastly refuses to acknowledge the shade of his former master and proceeds to explain the duties of a Miko and the demands that the role places on those that follow such a path.
When the Onmyouji brings up the duties of the Miko towards the dead and how the temple maidens are expected to provide vessels for the deceased to speak through, Raijin barks out a short, sharp laugh of comprehension. The former Daimyo decides to play along with the Onmyouji’s plan when he tells Murasaki that there is a spirit here that he wishes to speak with and that he wishes her to facilitate the conversation.
Murasaki and Raijin
When Murasaki nods her acquiescence Raijin possesses her and addresses Yugiri. The former Daimyo expresses admiration for the girl and is impressed that she has what it takes to excel at what she chooses to do, be it Miko or Kaishaku, but it quickly dawns upon him that taking the mantle of the latter would break her. The Onmyouji wisely keeps silent, allowing his old friend and former master to come to the realization on his own that it is the nature of giri, of duty, to break the one that carries it. Duty is a burden, regardless of how pretty its trappings.
Whether or not it was Yugiri’s intention to lead Raijin to this insight is unclear but the result is undeniable: it breaks the fetters that bind the deceased Daimyo to the spot, freeing him to go where he would. Naturally, he chooses to return to the clan house to see for himself how things are. He does this immediately, leaving Murasaki shaken. She tells the Onmyouji what she had seen while Raijin possessed her: him defiant and laughing at the gates of Hell, having made an enemy of the Akuma, and the demons, in turn, screeching in a terrible voice that they would tear down the clan.
Raijin takes pause at this and, unapologetically states that he had a good reason for everything that he had done, especially since he got Tenka in the process. Murasaki is more confused about what role she should play in the clan, and voices this aloud adding that all she ever wanted was a home. Once again, Yugiri remains silent though there is sympathy in his eyes.
Raijin visits Takeshi
When the three return to the clan house, Raijin takes to talking to the officers one by one starting with Takeshi. The Hatamoto excitedly and proudly informs his former Daimyo that the ashigaru of the clan are undergoing rigorous training and are being taught to read, write, and do sums. Raijin praises Takeshi’s efforts but reminds him that the essential virtue of any soldier is to say “I do”, that is be willing to take on any mission and see it to its completion. This virtue, the deceased Daimyo notes, is in great abundance in Takeshi’s men.
The conversation moves on to other military concerns: the ashigaru of the Su have mostly been integrated into that of the Tensai though the training of the former is still lacking. Raijin expresses confidence that the Hatamoto will rectify this quickly. The former Daimyo ends his visit with a request to Takeshi to start Tenka on the sword.
Raijin visits Akari next and he finds her just coming back from her escape to the geisha house and making her way back to her room through the floorboards of Akiteru’s closet. The two talk a while, and Akari is more candid and direct than usual as she reports on the recent year to her former Daimyo. She then audaciously tries to get him to act as one of her agents while he’s around. This brings a smile to the ghost’s face and he commends her learning well under Saki, Soichiro’s deceased wife and former Oniwaban to the Tensai.
Raijin leaves the current Oniwaban with a promise of aid and hints at troubles upon the horizon which he refuses to elaborate upon, no matter how much Akari badgers him to. As he departs, she asks him to scold the Karo for paying more attention to the ladies than his duties. The puts even a larger grin on the ghost’s face.
Soichiro is fond of the ladies
Kaisei is next but this time the former Daimyo decides to visit his Takumi in a dream. It is set in a pleasant summer day with Kaisei delivering his usual weekly report. This time around, the report is full of concerns about the nobles being too full of themselves and unnecessarily difficult. Kaisei’s worry and concern is written all over the report along with his anxieties regarding the well-being of his recently adopted daughter, Natsumi.
Then there are the duties of the Karo that Soichiro, Raijin’s father-n-law, have been foisting on Kaisei with increasing regularity. This man bears the burden of two duties on his back and yet he does not break, and the deceased Daimyo realizes that this is not the time for criticism, no matter how good natured or dire warnings, no matter how urgent. Raijin goes over the reports as he used to and ends the audience with his usual praise and says that he looks forward to the next report.
The ghost returns to his Onmyouji and feels compelled to explain himself regarding the akuma. The akuma had threatened the clan so he bought the clan time by challenging them, in the process rescuing Tenka who in some way is vital to the safety and future of the clan and must be protected at all costs. Yugiri listens to all of this with half an ear as he prepares a lantern with Raijin’s name on it: the Onmyouji intends to have the young Daimyo send off his father to his rest after the festival. Raijin notes this and sighs. There is no stopping Yugiri once he has set his mind on something. But ghost has one more errand to run…
In the geisha house, Raijin possesses one of the geisha in order to talk to Soichiro, who shrieks in surprise but manages to regain his composure. After making sure that his deceased wife Saki is nowhere near, the Karo gives his former Daimyo a report. Raijin is pleased with what he hears and chides his father-in-law for foisting the duties of the Karo on an already harried Kaisei. When Soichiro offers the excuse that he is personally overseeing the training of Tenka, the former Daimyo sighs and accepts what Soichiro says, admonishing him that Tenka must never be left alone and unattended.
Raijin visits Soichiro at the geisha house
End of the Tenth Panel
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