The Class of 1159 was seconded to the magistrate Hida Shara on the neutral ground of Friendly Traveler Village. On one patrol, the samurai were alerted to a dispute of Imperial law by the shugenja Mōshi Hama and the bounty hunters Tsuruchi Ren and Tsuruchi Sara. The problem turned out to be that the Crab were not accepting the Imperial Families’ decree that the Yasuki belonged to the Crane, so the automatic Emerald Magistrates were hunting the patrolmen. The former was killed, the middle captured, and the latter escaped. Ren was taken back to the Crane base at the First Wave Inn, where he committed seppuku in protest for his employers’ truce with the Crab. Hida Kinashita also returned Ri’pi’tituk “Ripper” to the Mantis as a token of goodwill.
Another day, Ohaitsu received an anonymous invitation to a meeting at midnight. However, the spot was swarmed with guards cleaning up after a duel where Kihe’e killed a Kakita swordsman and decided to work for the Crab. The next night, the heroes met with Yoritomo Sen, who claimed that the Yoritomo Élite Guard had also been ordered to defect from the Crane to the Crab. However, ninja ambushed the meeting, claiming that Sen had been leading the yōriki in a trap. Sen fought against them to his own death to prove his innocence, and all the ninja were also killed. Wa’ako suggested that they may have been Daidōji scouts or possibly Scorpion assassins, as Bayushi Hannya had been overstaying her welcome as well. Nothing could be proven. However, while Dōji Kazō and Daidōji Meru were out checking the scene, their Yoritomo mercenaries vanished without a trace.
The next day, the yōriki were given a break from patrol. They heard rumors from Yasuki Jinn-Kuen about that many people had been acting strangely at night lately, including a drunk who claimed to have punched a spirit straight out of his opponent’s body. The team then went out to tour the Friendly Traveler Sake Works while keeping an eye on Hannya. They met Oshuko (the proprietor) and Hiroko (the untouchable handler of the secret ingredient), tried some sake, and parted ways with Hannya without incident. Mako and Kieron were wagering that a monk (Jun’ichi) would defeat a samurai (Tsuruchi Shinnosuke) in a duel over a theological discussion, but no one would bet against them, so Ohaitsu broke up the fight.
In the morning, one of the Crab inn’s maids was found clawed to death. The next night, Jun’ichi attacked a patrol of dōshin and killed two before being subdued. The third night of attacks, Shinnosuke attacked the owner of the First Wave, then came to his senses when the innkeeper’s scream awakened everyone nearby. Wa’ako suggested that the culprit could be a spirit created by the dreams of someone under stress. The magistrates set up a system for the next night by which the inhabitants of the area would watch each other to see whether a spirit would appear from any sleeper.