Volume 13 is the thirteenth volume of Shigurui that includes chapters 66-71.
Tadanaga issues an invite “seeking the most skilled Samurai throughout the realm for a tournament at Sunpu Castle using real steel.” Meanwhile, Fujiki and Mie are transported to the estate of the head instructor in spearmanship for Suraga domain, Sasahara Shuuza-Burou.
"The Great Palace"Edit
At the great palace. Behind the citadel of the great Sunpu Castle is a dungeon designed specifically for Tokugawa Tadanaga’s sadistic enjoyment. He watches a tied up woman tied killed by the toad Katsuke, who had been caught. Word had reached Tadanaga that Sasahara Gonpa Chirou, the man who had identified the murderer of Chika’s husbands before he himself was murdered, was the cousin of Sasahara Shuuza-Burou, the same young man who had killed the giant serpent without shedding a drop of blood. Unfortunately, it also came to Tadanaga’s attention that the fight was for Funaki's only daughter, Chika, the last remaining heir of the Funaki dojo. She had been ordered to attend Tadanaga’s bed chamber, and upon hearing this, her father wept tears of joy. Chika’s fate lay with being brutally beaten and raped by Tadanaga. The curse of her body changing to that of a boy was of no concern to him.
Tadanaga far exceeded his elder brother Takechiyo, and at the time, primogeniture was not the rule, his mother believed he would succeed as the next shogun, and doted on him excessively, and all the daimyo followed suit by paying effusive tribute to him. However, due to the scheming of Takechiyo’s wet nurse, he was given the position of Shogun by the late Ieyasu. The spoilt child, who only ever saw people prostrating to him, hated having the position of Shogun taken from him. In retaliation, he took late Ieyasu’s most beloved Sunpu Castle for himself.
One day in January, Hoshikawa prostrates himself in front of the chamberlain of Izu, who been summoned to the castle. Despite only taking both in the night before, Hoshikawa explains he could not keep Fujiki safe until his appearance at Sunpu Castle. Two days later, Fujiki and Mie are transported to the Sasahara estate. Tadanaga sends an invite of “seeking the most skilled Samurai throughout the realm", Ronin seeking employment gathered in droves to the castle. Those considered especially skilled were allowed to stay at the estate of the head instructor in spearmanship for Suraga domain, Sasahara Shuuza-Burou. Sasahara is very well known amongst anyone involved in martial arts as the one who had split a snake’s tongue with his spear. Sasahara possessed abnormally long, snake like arms. Speaking to Fujiki and Mie, Sasahara requests that due to large number of Ronin at his estate, he requested all get along, only Mie replies as understanding on behalf of herself and Fujiki. One hour later, a young Samurai, Inomata Shingo, a student of Sasahara, requests Fujiki to spar with him. Mie and Fujiki look onwards with disinterest. Carelessly, Inomata mentions Iraku once defeated the master of the Kogan School and comments how far he had risen. Insulted, Fujiki asks Mie to fetch him a wooden sword. As the pair spar, with terrifying force Fujiki cuts off all of Inomata’s fingers from one of his hands. As Inomata stares at his mutilated hand in horror, Sasahara intervenes before Fujiki attempts to “beautify” Inomata. Although Sasahara angrily protests Inomata is just a child, Mie or Fujiki look on with indifference. Sitting with Hoshikawa. Sasahara ponders it would be impossible to employ Fujiki, given his disregard for moving up in the world. Hoshikawa notes Fujiki was only interested in defeating Iraku, while Sasahara wonders whether Iraku would live long enough to see Fujiki.
Iraku stands in a dungeon, and defeats a wild ape captured inside for Tadanaga’s amusement. Iraku uses Mumyou Sakanagare even when it was impossible to drive his sword into the ground by using the cleft in his right foot. Dining in a chamber in the presence of Tadanaga, Sasahara, Saegusa Takamasa of Izu, Naitou Jinbee, and Nogata Kyuuzaemon, Iraku is asked who he thought he was fighting. Although aware it was an ape, Iraku feigns ignorance for their amusement. They then ask if he was stronger than the tiger he had defeated, Iraku responds he defeated a tiger among tigers, not a mere “monkey”. Upon revealing he knew what he was fighting, all in attendance take offence. Tadanaga requests his sword and orders Iraku to draw. Iraku prostrates, for drawing his sword at the castle would be a capital offence. With no other recourse, Iraku refers to Tadanaga as “your highness” to the awe of those in attendance, for such a title was reserved only for the Shogun. Iraku, sweating profusely, explains though he was blind, it was clear where Tadanaga’s destiny lay as did all the Ronin who heeded his invitation to Sunpu Castle. A mere Samurai speaking far beyond his station continues to amaze those around them. Standing accused of treason, Tadanaga strikes his sword down on Iraku, but stops immediately short of piercing through Iraku’s back. It was not treason given the Shogunate was Tadanaga’s birth right. As Tadanaga rests his sword, Iraku’s long black hair turns grey.
"Demon With A Spear"Edit
Iku feels her presence would be a hindrance to Iraku’s success and stays elsewhere. At midnight, Iraku summons Iku to an abandoned shrine. In complete darkness and with roles reversed, Iraku is led Iku to ordinary racoon dogs he was feeding. Iku acknowledges she had been summoned because once again Iraku would fight the tiger amongst tigers. At Sasahara Castle, Fujiki sits in attendance with officials including Sasahara and Inomata’s uncle, who bears no ill will towards Fujiki for cutting off his nephew’s fingers. Impressed that Fujiki defeated Inomata with one hand, he makes a lucrative offer to Fujiki to serve as an instructor to his son, given he had also lost a hand. Fujiki declines, explaining sword fighting was sword fighting, and that there was no such technique as one handed sword fighting. Inomata face turns red, but Sasahara calms the room. As Inomata and his uncle leave, Sasahara asks Fujiki to show him his technique. Sasahara, easily the master of spearmanship in all of Japan, stands opposite Fujiki and his Kogan-ryuu stance. Sasahara, who had witnessed Iraku’s techniques, attacks from below and upwards, easily beating Fujiki, who only manages to scratch Sasahara’s cheek. Disappointed, Sasahara orders Fujiki to leave, dismissing him as no match for Iraku. Meanwhile, Iraku and Iku have sex.
At Sunpu Castle, Sasahara visits the Marshal Sone Masatomo, who was the Karou Asakura Nobumasa’s right hand man, and as part of his duties, was Sasahara’s superior.
Meanwhile, outside at Sasahara’s estate, a Ronin called Urita Niemon and Fujiki sit near firewood. Urita exudes administration for Fujiki as Fujiki splits firewood simply by pressing down against it with a hatchet. Meanwhile, Urita’s pregnant wife, Kaya, helps Mie prepare for the seasonal change of clothes. Urita and Kaya are a happy couple, and the sight and sound of Mie laughing to a joke shared between Urita and Kaya causes Fujuki’s cheeks to slightly tremble.
Later at Marshal Sone Masatomo’s residence in Higahimaru, Sone questions whether Sasahara has remembered to whom his spear belonged. Fearing insurrection, Tadanaga is convinced he was being spied upon by the Shogun in Edo. Sone is convinced if he did not locate the spy, he would be killed for incompetence, and chooses a man amongst the list of Ronin at the Sasahara estate and orders him to be killed. Sasahara protests, but is reminded him to whom his spear belongs. Sasahara ponders who decides to pierce an opponent, the Lord or the spear, for the spear had no mind of its own, for it was just a tool. Reluctantly, Sasahara vows to fulfil his duty to his Lord, Tadanaga.
Urita and Kaya dress up for a visit to thank Sasahara on the pretext that he was being recommended by Sasahara to Tokogawa. Sitting before him, Sasahara, holding his tongue cutting spear, swiftly murders Urita and Kaya, as well as the baby in her womb. Meanwhile and unbeknownst of the truth, Fujiki and Mie speak positively of Urita’s recommendation while having dinner.
Around Spring, Fujiki receives a sword forged by an unknown swordsmith from Kakegawa, it was the tiger killing Nanachou Nenbustu.
Sasahara observes Mie’s cutting firewood with a hatchet simply by pressing down against it. Sasahara asks Mie what kind of student Iraku was. Mie could only think of a kind hearted Iraku with large eyes, but lies that he is a wretch, not suited to the ways of the sword. Fujiki appears and informs Sasahara he had devised a plan. At the dojo, Fujiki defeats Sasahara by throwing away his sword and stopping short of attacking him his own dagger. Fujiki was almost as if in two places at once. It was a technique devised with demonic tenacity which deceived even Sasahara’s eyes. Sasahara asks Fujiki if he was insane, for throwing away ones sword was heresy to a Samurai.
In April, in a call back to the opening of the first chapter, Tadanaga orders a tournament at Sunpu Castle using real steel.