On their way, some peasant women are found near a trailhead, awaiting the return of their woodcutter husbands, who are working for the gaijin “somewhere to the west”. Walking on many miles, the group crosses a narrow bridge and encounters an old man who warns them of the stone forest ahead. Indeed, the karst formations (an array of dense stone pillars scattered amongst mountain laurel, box elder and birch trees) are very odd and eerie. The birds here lie erratically and low to the ground, fearing the sky, almost. Eventually the samurai come across a woman resting near their path, adorned with robes and leaves. They are deep inside the stone forest, on unknown ground. She is an Oni.
Chizaro Noh Oni has the great shaggy body of a pale spider hidden beneath her, she attacks the group, shedding small chittering podlings who also attack them. after a sharp, fierce fight she lies broken from the hammer blows of the Crab, and the deft slashes of the samurai. However, at the outset of the fight, she wounds the Kitsuki, who then discovers that he cannot stand and fight a demon after all, and he runs away, shamed and worse, Tainted by the Oni’s chelae. The defeated Oni is carefully burned, and now some other gaijin bodies are found in the area.
The party exits the wood and bluffs their way past a posted sentry, one Shijo, who goes south into the wood to investigate their claims. They proceed down a vertiginous trail into Mito, a mining village of maybe a hundred souls. They proceed quietly and are mistaken by the surly and drunken lookout Jotuku, for bandits.