The Bandit Rodrigo
While the others travel towards Kyuden Kitsune, Hida Buruke, Toritaka Hideaki and Yasuki Kyoshi are charged to find the Bandit Rodrigo who has been attacking caravans in search of the Masks of Iuchiban.
They meet the Emerald Magistrate Shinjo Haruko and perform an Ujik-Hai Tea Ceremony with her. She explains that she circulated rumours that the Yasuki caravan they will be guarding has one of the masks. She hopes this will lure the bandit to them where they will defeat and capture him.
The heroes encounter a ronin village where the population is reluctant to speak with them. An old woman warns them of danger and gives them some poisoned rice balls.
That night the bandits ambush the caravan and after a brief but brutal fight manage to capture most of the guards. This leaves the heroes no choice but to lay down their weapons and surrender. 
On top of that, Kuni Raiden, the Kuni shugenja who accompanies them is a creature of the Lying Darkness.
The heroes are taken captive and get tortured for no apparent reason. At night the Ghost of Yasuki Kyoshi's forefather visits him trough dreams and is quite persistent to have Kyoshi swear fealty. Kyoshi resists but caves in after a couple of days and is granted powers of the darkness which he uses to escape and free the others.
While sitting in the cell, the heroes learn of the bandits plans to steal a shipment of Phoenix gold and use it to assassinate a Crane diplomat, they also learn that there is another traitor in their midsts and that the bandits have summoned two elemental terrors to stop and kill their companions.
They decide to send the remains of the caravan back to Crab lands who can then take care of the bandits while they themselves rush to warn their companions. They arrive too late when they see the Elemental Terrors of fire & air attack their comrades...

Shinjo Haruko
Kuni Raiden

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