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Gabimaru the Hollow, a former ninja assassin of Iwagakure who is known and feared as a heartless husk of a man, spends his days on death row wondering when an executioner skilled enough to so much as harm him will arrive, as he thinks nothing of seeing an end to his meaningless existence... Or so he thought. After a skilled female executioner belonging to the Yamada clan by the name of Yamada Asaemon Sagiri confronts him, she makes the young ninja open his eyes to the fact that he wants live in order to reunite with his wife and offers him a proposition: if he ever wishes to see his beloved wife again, he is, under the auspices of the shogunate, to embark on a perilous voyage to a mysterious mystic island said to house the Elixir of Life. Should he be the one among many rival death-row fiends and scoundrels to find the elixir and return with it for the shogun, he will earn a full exoneration, and, more importantly, a chance at an ordinary married life with the light of his life--the woman who made the world seem not so ugly. Gabimaru gladly accepts the task but soon finds out that he has recieved more than what he bargained for. Is what awaiting him and the other contenders Hell? Paradise? Or Hell's Paradise?
In a past memory, Yui explains to Gabimaru how to prepare chestnuts. After Gabimaru questions the point behind it, Yui tells him that she wanted to try something normal that wasn't quite offered to her in Iwagakure. The two then sit down together to eat chestnut rice which Yui says that she found to be "very delicious and sweet". Gabimaru wonders if it was since he says that his sense of taste has lowered. Yui then tells him that by saying it out loud it can allow one to imagine the taste. In the present, Gabimaru manages to inflict grievous damage to Shija who now sees that he is fighting at full strength since he is no longer being held back by the flowers within him. Gabimaru says that he has not lost his battle instincts and that the battlefield for him has changed, referring to his memories of how he could not understand his wife's struggle for a sense of normalcy at the time.
Following the arrival of the second landing party, Hōrai turns into a warzone with the Iwagakure shinobi from the second team battling against the Dōshi and the Yamada Asaemon confronting the criminals of the vanguard. On one side, Gantetsusai fights against Shugen but is overwhelmed by the young Asaemon's ability to copy the skills of the other Yamada Asaemons. Fuchi tries to convince Shugen that Gantetsusai is not his enemy but unfortunately has no luck and is ultimately cut down by him. While at the floodgates, Rien's voyage to Japan is thwarted by Shija who manages to steal the Elixir of Life from him. Gabimaru tries to not waste any more of his time fighting against the Iwagakure shinobi, who are on a mission to assassinate him, and quickly makes his way to the Rentan Temple to reunite with Sagiri, who is in a bind with Yamada Asaemon Isuzu. Meanwhile, after being left alive by Shion, Zhu Jin makes their way to the Main Temple and merges with the Banko, resulting in Hōrai being taken over and presents a problem for both the first and second teams.
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