- It is the Spring of 1814. The restaurant "Tsuru-ka" is gaining much popularity after its chef, Mio, won the prestigious cooking competition. One day, the owner of "Tsuru-ka", Taneichi, employed young Fuki to be the attendant for customers' shoes. Mio could fully empathize with young Fuki, who was an orphan and yet was courageous enough to survive on her own. Around the same time, the famous novelist Seiemon started coming to "Tsuru-ka". Even though Seiemon criticized Mio's cooking each time, he always returned to the restaurant daily. Remembering the words spoken by the samurais that had last seen Komatsubara, "Tokei no Ma", Mio was very tempted to ask Seiemon the meaning of the words!
Meantime, "Tsuru-ka"'s rival restaurant, "Toryuro" was always serving food that was similar to Mio's latest creation. Even before Mio had a chance to offer them on "Tsuru-ka"'s menu. It happened repeatedly, which left Mio puzzled and troubled by it all. To add to her worries, Mio heard from Mataji that her dear childhood friend, Noe, who is one of the top oiran (prostitutes) in Yoshiwara (red-light district of Edo), was injured while trying to protect another prostitute from being slashed by a patron. Mio's despair at not having been able to help Noe escape her fate at Yoshiwara all those years ago, threatened to overwhelm her completely. Especially since her fellow housemate, O-Ryo's son was strickened by the life-threatening measles at the same time...