Shiki

7.2: Winter Court

Kurena tried to bargain for her safety against the identity of her mentor in the Bloodspeakers. But the investigators were drawn away by a private message from Daigotsu claiming that he had removed his other agent(s) at the shōgun’s court and taken Hogosha Kengetsu, Ohaitsu’s foster father, to the Shadowlands as well. While they were away from the cell, Kurena was killed in a way suggesting suicide and blood magic. There was a report of seeing a woman dressed as a maid entering the headman’s (former magistrate’s deputy’s) house at the time, but no one in town had the same facial features. After trusting Wa’ako to use Speak with Dead to find that Kurena had been killed by haino no oni, the heroes decided again to make a magic circle and put all the townspeople inside it, hoping to find whether any of them were shadow creatures. While the people were being rounded up, one of the other maids from the inns made a run for it, the heroes chased, finding that she was another form of the shapechanger, and that two deputies and the headman were under her sway. The heroes killed her, and the surviving villagers surrendered. They also took possession of the bag allowing them to correspond with Old Man Ebi, hoping to find more about Kengetsu’s whereabouts. When Hida (Moshibaru) Kinashita, their family daimyō, arrived (with Kuni Hiroji), she had a private meeting with Wa’ako, declaring afterward that all her suspicious actions were for the good of the Empire.

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