During the characters’ investigation of Kobayashi and the Eaters of the Dead, they have a little downtime. Saeko arranges to give a performance at the Onodera Theater in the Dancing Fan district. Kumiko and Miyo come to see her performance, and Kumiko uses the opportunity to check out the crowd. By watching who is paid deference, Kumiko can tell who is worth talking to.
They talk to a few other nobles, and then manage to arrange an introduction to Nemoto Kakuzo, one of the daimyo’s senior advisors. Kumiko explains the threat of Kobayashi, and attempts to convince Nemoto to arrange an audience with the daimyo. He rebuffs her, however, explaining that the daimyo is very busy, and he doesn’t really understand things of an esoteric nature. Perhaps she could stop by the palace in a few days.
Kumiko ignores the rebuff and is encouraged by the invitation. She quickly writes a letter to the daimyo and gives it to Nemoto to deliver to her. He smiles politely and then excuses himself to find his seat.
Miyo draws upon her vast knowledge of history, and provides Saeko with some advice about the theater - anything involving civilized races overcoming kobolds plays really well. Armed with this knowledge, Saeko absolutely crushes her performance and gets a standing ovation.
Asami, a well-respected genin in the Jade Fist clan, is summoned by her chūnin, Nobu. The clan has taken an interest in the three girls from Tokugawa, due to their success in retrieving the tainted statuette from the Mist Tigers and the positive feedback from Odo. The Jade Fist wants to protect what it sees as a burgeoning strategic partnership, and Asami is assigned to assist the group. She is given a letter of introduction written by Reiko, and is then sent to find the characters.
Asami stakes out the Fragrant Fern and waits for the group to show up. She drinks sake for a while, and then watches the three young women wander in late and sit down at a private table. After they’ve had enough sake to be pliable, she walks over and introduces herself to the group, handing them with the letter of introduction from Reiko. The group welcomes her, though warily.
After a few more glasses of sake, Miyo starts fidgeting with her kimono because it feels lopsided, and then realizes that there’s something in her pocket. She looks to find a note with an address and a time, along with a small iron key. Nobody knows how it got there, but Kumiko recalls someone hanging around them after the performance at the theater - perhaps it was placed there by that mysterious individual?
Unfortunately for the group, the time indicated only gives them half an hour to find the address. Asami volunteers to help, and the group follows her into the Dancing Fan district - Mist Tiger territory. They arrive right on time, and find that they key fits a lock on a set of rickety wooden doors that lead to a dark alley between two buildings.