Ten of Kotsuke no Suke`s retainers, hearing the noise, woke up; and, drawing their swords, rushed into the front room to defend their master. At this moment the Ronins, who had burst open the door of the front hall, entered the same room.
Then arose a furious fight between the two parties, in the midst of which Chikara, leading his men through the garden, broke into the back of the house; and Kot- suk6 no Suke, in terror of his life, took refuge, with his wife and female servants, in a closet in the veranda; while the rest of his retainers, who slept in the barrack outside the house, made ready to go to the rescue.
Joined by Chikara
But the Ronins who had come in by the front door, and were fighting with the ten retainers, ended by overpowering and slaying the latter without losing one of their own number; after which, forcing their way bravely towards the back rooms, they were joined by Chikara and his men, and the two bands were united in one.
By this time the remainder of Kotsuke no Sukl`s men had come in, and the fight became general; and Kuranosuke, sitting on a camp- stool, gave his orders and directed the Ronins.
Soon the inmates of the house perceived that they were no match for their enemy, so they tried to send out intelligence of their plight to UyeSugi Sama, their lord`s father-in-law, begging him to come to the rescue with all the force at his command.
But the messengers were shot down by the archers whom Kuranosuke had posted on the roof. So no help coming, they fought on in despair. Then Kuranosuk6 cried out with a loud voice: “Kotusk£ no Suke alone is our enemy; let someone go inside and bring him forth dead or alive!”
Now in front of Kotsuke no Suk6`s private room stood three brave retainers with drawn swords. The first was Kobayashi Hehachi, the second was Waku Handaiyu, and the third was Shimidzu Ikkaku, all good men and true, and expert swordsmen. So stoutly did these men lay about them that for awhile they kept the whole of the Ronins at bay, and at one moment even forced them back.
When Oishi Kuranosuke saw this, he ground his teeth with rage, and shouted to his men: “What! did not every man of you swear to laydown his life in avenging his lord, and now are you beaten back by three men? Cowards, not fit to be spoken to! To die fighting in a master`s cause should be the noblest apibition of a retainer!” Then turning to his own son Chikara, he said, “Here, boy! engage those men, and if they are too strong for you, die!”
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