Ôboshi Yuranosuke - ex-retainer of Enya, leader of the league
of loyal retainers, father to Rikiya and husband to Oishi
Oishi - wife to Yuranosuke and mother to Rikiya
Ôboshi Rikiya - ex-retainer of Enya, son of Yuranosuke and Oishi
Tonase - wife to Honz? and mother to Konami
Konami - daughter of Tonase and betrothed to Rikiya
Kakogawa Honz? Yukikuni - husband to Tonase and father to Konami
It is now winter and a thick blanket of snow lies on the ground. Yuranosuke, having spent the previous night at a teahouse in Gion, returns to his home in Yamashina. Accompanied by jesters and waitresses, he pretends to be deep in his cups; as soon as his escorts take their leave, however, Yuranosuke sheds his drunken manner and takes the opportunity to explain to Rikiya the symbolism behind the snowball he had rolled as part of his act: the fact that a snowball that is kept in the shade will not melt is a sign that they must remain in the shadows and refrain from acting in haste to accomplish their goal.
At this time, Tonase, who wears her husband's sword, and Konami, who is dressed as a bride, arrive at the house, where Oishi greets them with a cool cordiality. Tonase, slightly put off, explains the reason for their visit: Though the ?boshi family had disappeared following the tragic death of Enya, Tonase had not given up on her daughter's marriage to Rikiya and therefore decided to set things in motion now that Konami was of age. Oishi, before retreating further inside the house, refuses this request with brutal honesty: the daughter of a sycophant samurai who used money to curry favor with Moronao would not be a suitable match for her son. Both Tonase and Konami are distraught at this turn of events and, after anguished deliberation, decide that it would be better to kill themselves here in this house than to return home having faced such humiliation. Deeply touched by this display of determination, Oishi stays their hands at the last instant and agrees to let Konami marry Rikiya. The marriage, however, is contingent upon the receipt of one gift: the head of Honz? on a wooden stand. When asked for her reasons, Oishi replies that, if not for Honz? meddling, Enya would have succeeded in slaying his enemy Moronao.
Before either Tonase or Konami can respond, Honz? bursts into the room and, turning the situation around, refuses to allow his daughter to marry the son of a debauchee. Insulted by this slander of her husband, Oishi takes up a spear and attacks Honz?. A scuffle ensues and is quickly ended when Rikiya enters the room unseen and stabs his mother's opponent from behind. Before Rikiya can deliver the finishing blow, however, Yuranosuke commands him to stop and congratulates Honz? for succeeding with his plan to be struck down by his son-in-law, thus absolving his unintentional crime towards the ?boshi family. Amazed by Yuranosuke's astuteness, Honz? explains that his decision to hold Enya back was the worst mistake of his life and that his only remaining desire was to see Konami married to Rikiya. Yuranosuke gives his assent and Honz? then bestows his wedding gift: a map of Moronao's estate, the one essential element that had prevented the loyal league from acting. Yuranosuke is deeply moved and the two families are completely reconciled.
Although Yuranosuke quickly begins to make arrangements to depart Yamashina
that very day, in one final gesture of kindness, he allows the two newlyweds
to spend one night together before they must part forever.