Kô no Moronao - lord of Musashi, governor of Kamakura
Sagisaka Bannai - retainer of Moronao
Momonoi Wakasanosuke Yasuchika - younger brother of the lord of Harima
Kakogawa Honz? Yukikuni - chief retainer of Wakasanosuke
Enya Hangan Takasada - lord of the castle of H?ki, husband to Kaoyo
Hayano Kanpei - retainer of Enya
Okaru - lady in waiting to Kaoyo, lover to Kanpei
Moronao arrives at Tadayoshi's palace accompanied by a puffed-up, swaggering Bannai, who tries to reassure his lord that just because he has not yet heard from Kaoyo does not mean that his suit will prove unsuccessful. Moronao agrees that while he has thus far been rejected, the fact that she has not yet reported his actions to her husband does prove hopeful.
A samurai enters to inform Moronao that a Honz? has arrived and seeks an audience. Assuming that this visit could be nothing but an attempt at revenge for the previous night, lord and retainer steel themselves for a battle. They are absolutely dumbfounded when, instead of attacking, Honz? sinks to his knees and humbly thanks Moronao for his fastidious treatment of his master and, to show his gratitude, offers a princely sum in gold and silk. Moronao is clearly flattered by this unexpected behavior and to Honz? it seems that his plan to assuage Moronao's anger towards Wakasanosuke has worked.
Soon afterwards, Enya and Kanpei arrive at the palace. Concerned about his lateness, Enya rushes inside leaving Kanpei in the courtyard where he is pleasantly surprised by the arrival of his lover, Okaru. On an errand for Kaoyo, Okaru bears a letter box containing the reply to Moronao's suite and has instructions to see to it that Enya places it in Moronao's hands. Although Kaoyo had initially decided that this errand was best suited for a different, less politically volatile situation, Okaru explains to Kanpei that she had been anxious to see him and therefore had persuaded her ladyship to allow her to make the delivery tonight. After a brief interruption by Bannai, who makes a lewd, but vain, attempt to have his way with Okaru, the two lovers, at Okaru's suggestion, make their way to a more intimate location.
Meanwhile in the palace, Wakasanosuke waits for the first opportunity to take his revenge. He is cut short, however, when Moronao throws down his swords and humbly apologizes for his rude behavior at the shrine, praising Wakasanosuke for his admirable conduct as compared to that of Enya. Unaware of his retainer's "gift" to Moronao, Wakasanosuke is nonplussed at this sudden change in attitude and finds himself quite unable to go through with his plan.
Shortly afterward, Moronao sees Enya and immediately begins to berate him for being late. Enya apologizes and, completely unaware of its contents, gives Moronao the letter box sent by Kaoyo. Moronao reads the response and realizes that Kaoyo has utterly rejected his suit. In a flash, his despondency turns to anger and Moronao begins to taunt Enya mercilessly. Although Enya is at first confused by this sudden outburst, wondering if drink might not be responsible, he finally can bear no more and, drawing his sword, attempts to cut Moronao down. His blow, however, is shallow and Moronao is able to take flight. Honz?, having watched the exchange, holds Enya back and prevents him from pursuing his prey.
A commotion ensues and the gates to the mansion are barred. Outside and unable to get in, Kanpei hears news of what took place and feels great shame at being absent from his master's side when he was needed most. Having completely failed in his duties as a samurai, a crime made all the worse since he was distracted by earthly pleasures, Kanpei readies himself to commit seppuku. Okaru successfully stays his hand by pointing out that she, not he, should be the one to die for this transgression; after all, Kanpei had abandoned his lord at her suggestion. She then persuades him to flee to her parent's house in the country where they can wait for the arrival of ?boshi Yuranosuke, Enya's chief retainer, from their home province.
As they are taking their leave, Bannai and some of his men arrive with much
bravado and try to exact revenge for slight wound Moronao had received. Kenpei
easily bests the lot of them, but spares their lives, not wishing to compound
disloyalty with disloyalty.