Our story begins with a wounded samurai in the act of committing seppuku.
Nearby, Usagi hears an anguished scream, and spies the town from whence
the sound came.
His hunger preenting him from bypassing the place, he enters to find the
large town deserted. Stopping at a house, the light from within is doused as
he knocks at the door. Moving onward to the inn, he opens the door to find
several terrified townspeople breathing sighs of relief.
They are startled again however, when Usagi asks about the scream that
he heard earlier. One of the men, a book store owner, offers to tell him the
story in the morning.
The next morning, over tea, the man tells Usagi of General Tadaoka, a
general with whom Usagi himself served with in the battle of Adachigahara.
The man needs not retell the defeat of Lord Mifune, suffice it to say that
General Tadaoka was pursued to this town with a young leiutenant. The two of
them, pursued by the enemy, tried to rally the townspeople, who fled to
At that moment, a rider sped through the town, announcing the death of
Lord Mifune. At this news, the General began to remove his armour and
prepare for ritual seppuku. With his leiutenant acting as his second,
Tadaoka made the first and then the second cut, bowing his head for the
At that moment, the footsoldiers of Hikiji found them, killing the
leiutenant and mocking the general. Finally one of them sidled forward,
intending on finishing him off. The general let out one final great scream
before the sword removed his head from his body.
To this day, the blood from his body stains the site of his death and
nothing the townspeople do can erase it. They believe the town cursed, as on
nights of the full moon, the General's ghost reappears to re-enact his
Usagi decides to investigate the matter, and as night falls he calls
for a bucket of water. Taking this to the site of the blood, he does not try
to remove it, rather, he performs the purification ritual on his katana.
As the mood rises, the blood steams, then disappears completely and
accompanied by a short but blinding gust of wind, the spirit of the general
arrives. Usagi announces his heritage to the dead general and is deemed
worthy to act as a second. The first cut and then the second is made before
Usagi's blade delivers the closing blow.
The general disappears, as does the blood stain. His spirit had been
anguished by his death at the hands of a mere footsoldier. Usagi's
assistance allowed him his peace.