Taking care as to not let the sack reach the bonfire, Rin gets up and personally brings the sack to Rikimaru’s side, sitting back down in her spot. Rikimaru puts the note away before looking into the sack. He reaches into it and takes out a small, black round metal object from it; he quickly identifies it from memory of previous missions.
Rin nods and folds her arms, “That’s all that I was able to bring. The entire crate I found was filled with muskets and ammunition. I’m sure that the ship it came from has many more crates stashed away.”
Tesshu cuts in, “Somebody is supplying the Akechi army with munition.”
Although it’s a plausible idea, Rikimaru shakes his head in rejection, “The Akechi wouldn’t make alliances with somebody if the main goal is complete control of the nation. The ships are most likely being used to transport supplies from an off-shore storage area. I’ll inform Lord Gohda and he’ll decide what course of action to take in regards to that town. Before we decide on our own next course of action as assassins, we need to wait for Ayame to returns. She’ll want to know what was acquired.”
* * * * *
Ayame’s eyes quickly dart around the entire piece of paper; she’s looked at every detail and every corner multiple times, almost recreating all of the information in her mind. As she’s looking over the paper, memories of her and Kiku rapidly play.
“We need to find Kiku at all costs,” Ayame announces. Finished examining it, she folds the paper back up and hands it back to Rikimaru, “We need to check all of the locations on this map. One of them is bound to be the main stronghold. There’s no doubt that’s where Kiku is being held.”
Tesshu focuses on Ayame for the moment, “How can you be sure that the Akechi will be holding her there instead of some kind of secret captive area?”
Ayame shakes her head and looks at the burning bonfire in front of her, “I fought Akechi one-on-on. I saw the look in her eyes when she grabbed Kiku by the throat and that rage that built up in me… Akechi wants to see me lose it and she’ll throw Kiku right in the middle to make it happen. She’ll be there.”
With his one eye, Rikimaru sets his gaze to Ayame for a moment before bringing it to the folded paper, “This paper contains the locations of multiple territories that have been taken under Akechi control. Towns, villages, caves, places that could hold small amounts of troops or an entire army ready to be deployed.” Rikimaru looks up from the paper and looks at Rin and Tesshu, “A few of those areas have already been searched by Ayame and I, so we know which ones don’t hold any such possibilities.”
Tesshu begins speaking, “When I was in the last village I was giving treatment to, I didn’t exactly focus on trying to obtain information in regard to the Akechi so much. I could go back and do a more thorough look at the village and find any leads toward where the main stronghold is located.”