“Each of the clans can have only one warrior who has truly mastered the Way of the Cat,” said Izushi. “Know now that I am Fifth Leopard, and that the Way of the Cat has given me foot power such that I cannot be caught!”

He ran for the safety of the plains and forests beyond, hoping to encounter more of his Clan Matsumora kin. The pursuers were as blurs in his vision, so rapid were Izushi’s movements. In seconds, he had covered the distance to Hōmā Woods, where he rested a moment against the trunk of a tree.

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