As my mind was wandering back to thoughts of Kiyo, a great stomping sound erupted from the floor above. It must have been thirty or forty pairs of feet stomping in rhythm, and it seemed as though the floor would collapse on top of me. The stomping was followed by a great war cry that equaled it in force. I jumped out of bed thinking something had happened, then immediately realized this was payback from the students for our previous exchange. A transgression is never settled until the guilty party comes clean. They were certainly aware that they were in the wrong. Their proper response should be to sleep with their consciences and apologize in the morning. Even if they were too ashamed to apologize, they should at least be sleeping quietly. So what was this commotion? One surely doesn't build a school dormitory as a place to raise pigs. Time to put a stop to this madness! I ran out of my night room in my pajamas and sprang up to the second floor taking three stairs at a time. Curiously, after the rioting that had just occurred above my head, it was deathly still, with not a single voice or footstep to be heard. This was odd. The lamps had been extinguished, so I couldn't see clearly in the darkness, but I could judge from the atmosphere whether anyone was present. In the long east-west corridor there was not so much as a single mouse in hiding. Moonbeams provided a faint brightness at the far end of the corridor.
It all seemed strange. As a child, I'd often dreamt and then sat up talking nonsense in my sleep. I did this many times and was teased for it. One night when I was sixteen or seventeen I dreamt of finding a diamond, sat up abruptly in bed, and pleaded vigorously with my older brother to tell me where my diamond was. Much to my chagrin, this incident made me the laughingstock of the household for three whole days. Maybe that uproar was just a dream, but I was quite confident it really happened. As I sat in the middle of the corridor pondering, I heard a, "one, two, three," followed by thirty or forty voices raised together. Then came a stomping of the floorboards as before. It had not been a dream! I yelled back at them with equal force, "Quiet! It's nighttime!" and took off running toward their end of the corridor. My path to them lay in darkness. I was guided only by the moonlight at the far end. About four meters into my run, my shin hit a large, hard object in the middle of the corridor. I went hurtling forward in agony and landed with a thump on the floor. I cursed and rose to continue onward but was unable. My mind urged me forward, but my leg would not cooperate. Irritated, I hobbled forward on one leg. By the time I advanced, I was again greeted by a deep silence, with not a footstep or a voice to be heard. Hard to believe any human being could be capable of such cowardice. What genuine pigs! At this point I resolved to drag them from their hiding places and force an apology. I tried the door of a bedroom to check inside, but it wouldn't open. They had either locked it or piled furniture against it, but in any case I couldn't push it open. I tried the opposing room on the north side of the corridor next, with the same result. As I stood there frustrated in my effort to open the doors and seize them, the same war cry and stomping arose again from the east end. I realized that east and west squads were coordinating to make a fool of me, and I didn't know what to do. To speak honestly, I lack in wisdom to match my grit. I had no idea how to deal with this situation. I didn't know what to do, but I had no intention of being defeated. Giving up at this point would reflect on my dignity. I would never let it be said that the instructor from Tōkyō was a spineless pushover. If it became known that I'd been picked on by these driveling brats during night duty, hadn't been able to handle it, and had retreated to cry myself to sleep, then I'd be disgraced for life. I was descended from direct retainers of the Shōgun, and they in turn were descended from noble men. We're superior from birth to these peasants. Only my lack of wisdom is regrettable. I wished I knew what to do. But being stumped doesn't mean defeat. I'm honest in saying I din't know what to do. In this world, if honesty doesn't prevail then what does? If I didn't prevail tonight, then tomorrow. If not tomorrow then the next day. If not the next day, then I'd order for meals and remain here as long as necessary.
Thus resolved, I planted myself in the middle of the corridor to wait for daybreak. Mosquitos buzzed around me, but what of it? I felt my shin where I'd bumped it earlier. It felt slimy, most likely blood. If it wanted to bleed then let it bleed. After a while, fatigue from the night's happenings overcame me and I dozed off. I woke to activity around me and quickly straightened myself with a curse. The door to my right was half open, and two students were standing in front of me. As I woke fully and regained my senses, I immediately grabbed the legs that were in front of my nose and yanked with all my might. The student landed on his back with a great thud. Served him right! The second student was momentarily confused, and in that moment I pounced, grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking him. He was dumbfounded and blinked back at me in bewilderment. I told them to come with me and marched them down to my room. Being a couple of cowards, they followed along without complaint. Night was long over.