"He finally showed."
"Now we can relax a little."
"Damn that Noda! The gall to call me a chivalrous young master."
"And I'm the troublemaker. That insolent rat!"
Our next move was to ambush the two of them on their way home. However, we had no way of knowing when that would be. Yama Arashi went below and told the inn folks he might have to depart during the night on business. They agreed to leave the door unbolted. Looking back on it, I'm surprised they acquiesced. In most such circumstances they'd suspect one of criminal intentions.
Lying in wait for Red Shirt had been tough, but waiting for him to emerge from the inn proved even harder. We couldn't sleep, and we had to keep constant watch through the small shōji openings. Our excitement made it unbearable to wait and wait. I suggested we should rush the inn and catch them in the act, but Yama Arashi rejected this outright. If we rushed over at this hour the staff would take us for ruffians and block our access. If we announced ourselves and stated our business we'd be told Red Shirt and company weren't there, or else we'd be diverted to the wrong room. Even if we caught the staff off guard and made it past the desk, there was no way to know which of the many rooms they were in. However tedious, we had no choice but to wait until they emerged. We continued our vigil until five in the morning.
Two figures emerged from Kadoya, and Yama Arashi and I immediately followed after. The first trains of the day were not yet running, so they'd have to walk back to the main town. On the outskirts of the hot springs town the road cut between rice paddies and was lined with cedar trees for the first hundred meters. After that was a straight embankment leading through the fields, with thatch-roofed houses scattered on either side. Anywhere outside of town would do, but our preference was to catch them in the isolated stretch among the cedar trees. We followed discreetly to the edge of town and then accelerated to a sprint, approaching them from behind like a swift breeze. As they turned to see what was upon them, we ordered them to halt and then laid hands on their shoulders. Noda looked ready to flee in a panic, so I circled around front to block his path.