Meitei had the means but was ever the Coincidental Child, unlikely to proffer any real assistance. That left our poor man of letters, who spoke in public on hanging and its mechanics, alone and in the lurch. It was up to me, then, to infiltrate the enemy camp, surveil their movements, and level the crooked field. I may be a cat, but I reside with a scholar, a scholar no less who reads Epictetus and slams it shut on his desk. I'm not your run-of-the-mill know-nothing cat, but stand, rather, in a class of my own. There's chivalry enough in me, even just in the tip of my tail, that I can't but answer this venture's call. In no way am I beholden to Kangetsu. My passion in this moment, in fact, transcends the plight of any single man. If I may be so bold, my mission is noble and divine - the restoration of heaven's justice and reverence for the Middle Path. The Azumabashi incident was usurped and misused. Hounds were loosed to steal near and eavesdrop, their ill-gotten gains paraded in triumph. Cartmen, stable hands, scallywags, rogue lodging students, hired hags, midwives, hoary witches, foolish dolts, all manner of folk had been corrupted into shameless service against a worthy son of our land -- A cat can only stand so much. Fortunately, the weather was fair. The thawing frost put me off a bit, but principle trumped bodily concern. Muddy paws, and the plum blossom prints they might track across the veranda, would annoy Osan but were nothing to me. Invested thus with a valorous heart, filled with devotion and roused to grand resolve, there was no waiting till the morrow. I hurried to the kitchen, prepared to depart at once, then caught myself. "Wait a moment," I thought. I'm the evolutionary pinnacle of my species, the intellectual equal of any human middle schooler. Unfortunately, though, my throat is the throat of a cat, and I can't form human words. Even if I pull this off, sneaking into the Kaneda residence and thoroughly reconnoitering the rival camp, the all-important Kangetsu will remain in the dark. Nor can I talk to the master or Meitei. Without speech, I'm a diamond in the dirt, emitting no sparkle for want of the sun. The intelligence I've garnered will all be for naught. What folly, then. Why even go? I lingered thus in the starting block.