An Assignment That May Take a While

This morning, I talked to Kento and told him that I have been idle. He found an assignment for me: “You already know our operative in Hikone, Raitsu. He commands one of our advance scouts, a man named Furashi. Go to Hikone and find Raitsu, and take whatever scrolls or orders he has for Furashi to wherever Furashi is.”

These sorts of open-ended tasks can sometimes take quite a while, so I packed up my traveling gear and sped off to Hikone. It’s been a little while since I’ve had to contact Raitsu, so I spent some time on the rooftops, scouting around for him. Not in the Merchants’ Quarter. Not in the town square. Not by the river bank. Finally, I had to use my fallback contact method: At the Inn of the Green Cricket, I ordered three cups of genmaichaGreen tea with toasted rice grains added. In truth, this is one of my favorite types of tea — but in this case, I am simply lucky that it is part of the signal.Green tea with toasted rice grains added. In truth, this *is* one of my favorite types of tea – but in this case, I am simply lucky that it is part of the signal.. When they arrived, I drank one, and mentioned to the innkeeper: “You know, I was born in the Year of the RatThe first year of the Chinese zodiac, also used in Japan. Also, this is not true; I was born in the Year of the Monkey.The first year of the Chinese zodiac, also used in Japan. Also, this is not true; I was born in the Year of the Monkey..” He nodded, but said nothing, as I finished the first cup and walked away, leaving the other two untouched.

Two minutes later, he met me by the woodpile behind the inn, where I whispered to him the address where I’d be waiting for Raitsu. He whispered back, “Three-thirty”, the earliest time Raitsu would possibly be there. I do not know how the message then traveled from the innkeeper to Raitsu — Raitsu has his own network in Hikone, and all I know of it is that the innkeeper is a member of it.

But at three-thirty, I was atop the roof I had specified. Nearly an hour later, Raitsu arrived. “Sorry I took so long,” he said. “There is much I had to say to Furashi, and it took some time to write it all out.”

“These things happen,” I admitted.

“Furashi is currently under deep cover in Nagoya,” Raitsu told me. I let no sign of my inward groan show on my face, for a ninja must cultivate calm — and an indomitable spirit that shrinks from nothing. “Here are the orders for him,” he handed me a sealed envelope. “And here are some instructions for you on how you might find him,” he added, giving me a simple sheet of hastily-scribbled notes.

I nodded and thanked him, and am now on the outskirts of Nagoya. I will find Furashi and deliver his orders. My own orders are to also see if he needs any further messages delivered back to Raitsu or Kento.

Later Addition: Now that I am within the city walls, I see from Raitsu’s instructions on how to find Furashi that it will take at least an hour or two of searching, both in alleyways and on rooftops. This will have to wait for tomorrow. I shall slip back out and go home to Iga now…

…but tomorrow, I shall surely find Furashi and deliver his message.

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