The party is tasked with escorting Isawa Tanawat, an elderly shugenja who only has one leg, to Pale Oak Castle for one of the annual cuttings from the pale oak and then to Twin Souls Temple where he will be the new sensei in training of shugenja. Before arriving at the castle they run into Shosuro Harudori who has seen a Lion army setting up siege on the castle.
Jiyu and Tanawat decide to get into the castle by magical means, while Takai and Harudori approach by the road. When a Lion guardsman challenges Takai to a duel and dies, Takai is put into a holding tent with several others including Doji Jae Un and her yojimbo Kakita Yeong (who Takai loses a duel to later).
Harudori manages to get in good with a lion guardsman and is invited to dinner. She overhears the Lion plans that they will take the castle by force before the festival. She sneaks into the castle and warns the Phoenix. Jiyu issues a challenge to General Matsu Yeon Ji to single combat. He shames Yeon Ji who commits seppuku.
After delivering Tanawat to Twin Souls Temple, Harudori, Takai, and Jiyu are granted a single spell stored within them to be released at a keyword.