The group left the forest border they had just finished the tainted fight in. Hours of walking passed before they saw any signs of a Lion patrol. After Toyan spoke briefly with the commander, preventing any insult by stopping Takashi they were “escorted” to the village the Lions were stationed at.
An old man sat near the center of the village, a well to his left as he painted. After a few quick social jabs at the Matsu escorts, he invited the group to drink with him and walked to his hut, not giving them a chance to decline.
Hours were spent as they spoke with him, introducing themselves and reporting all the happenings that had occured so far. Starting from their troubles with the Bog Hag to the fight they had just hours ago with the Maho-Tsuki and her Kyonshi no Oni. He didn’t say a word as they reported in, instead copying it all down in a scroll.
Eventually they were out of tea and had nothing else to report. At this point, Yae asked the name of their host, as he had spent the last few hours indulging them and not introducing himself. He smiled, in the way only an old man can, and said he was Doji Heiji.
Toyan asked what would happen to their bound friend outside, the one who survived the Maho. Doji Heiji appeared sad for the first time since they met and explained that, “If he is tainted he will receive a quick death. If not, he will be monitored to make sure his mind is still his own and that she did not leave any dark ichor in him. If everything turns well, then he can return to whatever life he had before all of this, hopefully a bit wiser.”
He copied the report down for each member of the group, excluding Yasurai (this did include Oniji). He gave Toyan an additional report, sealed with the mon of the Emerald Champion, invoking his right as magistrate to speak for the Champion, and told him to deliver that to Sumitomo.
After that, he spoke of art with Toyan and Yasurai (mostly on her tea painting on the floor) before excusing himself to sleep. Our heroes were invited to rest the night before they braved their travels back to the City of the Rich Frog, provided comfortable bedding, and slept, hoping that the trouble of the tainted creatures surrounding the City had finally come to an end.