Since they were all traveling from Toshi no Omoidoso to Nikesake, Yasuki Genji,Kakita Hojatsu,Daidoji Mizue,Shinjo Lily,Hiruma Nokatsu, and Shiba Tetsujin-no Sodona decided to travel together for strength in numbers, and company. They were further accompanied by Genji’s enormous son, Yasuki Gorobei, and his equally massive nephew, Kaiu Hachi. During the journey, Hachi presented an endless stream of witticisms he was writing after the pattern of the ‘Tales of the Scorpion’, which he insisted would make him famous some day. His cousin, Gorobei agreed that he would be famous – as the laughing stock of every court that heard his ‘witticisms’. Hachi agreed this is exactly what he wanted since they were supposed to be funny.
Yasuki Genji was likewise very talkative, and told numerous stories of often off-color adventures involving an escape from the upstairs window of a geisha house and unlikely encounters with Snow Maidens that supposedly resulted in a missing child wandering in the woods somewhere.
The group made less than exemplary time, with the ox-drawn wagon, but the journey was pleasant enough, and there was no real hurry.
When the group stopped for lunch, things took on a slightly more serious turn, as Kakita Hojatsu chose this time to confront Shiba Tetsujin regarding the slight to his honor the night of Yoritomo Ogura’s death. The two engaged in an iaijutsu duel with makeshift bokken, and the result was a kharmic strike with no clear victor.
Not to be left out of the opportunity to test themselves, Shinjo Lily asked to test her skills against the Kakita duelist in a kenjutsu match, and lasted over a minute before conceding defeat to a decisive abdomen strike. Hiruma Nokatsu engaged Kaiu Hachi in a sumai match that ended in him tumbling head over heals out of the ring in two straight matches.
With lunch and festivities ended, the group pressed on the rest of the way to the nearest way station, where they joined a traveling shugenja and his yojimbo, and another merchant and his four guards. About an hour later, a group of seven ronin arrived and took a corner of the covered waystation, seemingly making special note of the Crab Trader and his retinue. At Tetsujin’s recommendation, he and Yasuki Gorobei ‘reviewed’ the contents of thier wagon to show there was nothing likely to yeild a profit from stealing. In the morning, the wave men left while it was still dark, before the group had risen for the morning. Hachi told a comical story of one of the ronin trying to sneak up to the wagon during his watch, but the enormous man caught him, and ensured that no further attempts were likely to come from that individual.
With the threat of un-wanted attention from seven armed travelers, Shiba Tetsujin got the local Waystation guard to sign off on their papers with permission to travel in armor for the remainder of the journey.
The group watched warily for signs of the Ronin as they continued on their journey. Their fears were confirmed as well founded, when finally they approached a bend in the road, with a large rock escarpment to the south. The group sprang into action, with Hachi, whom Tetsujin thought of as ‘The Maw’ leading the charge up the hill. But it seemed that the ambush was intended only to hinder their mobility, as the two archers fired upon the ox that was pulling the cart, bringing the beast of burden down with two lethal flesh cutting arrows and withdrawing. The ronin were not without cost of their own however, as Shinjo Lily shot one of their archers from the back of her magnificent Utaku steed.