Takeshi and Satoru push through the imaginary wall/door and the party finds themselves near the Kaiu Wall. The image of Takeshi’s father appears and, when faced with discipline and disbelief, vanishes again thus breaking the illusion.
Taro appears looking horrendously emaciated. He condones Genma for his actions against the Phoenix and a long fight ensues. Taro borrows power from the Baku-no Oni and upon taking heavy damage, leeches life from the sleeping shugenja until they are just shrivelled husks.
Using fire and tons of void, the heroes emerge victorious. Lucky Ishikawa induces the remaining Phoenix shugenja into a coma so that the drug can wear off without horrendous consequences. Taro’s room is looted and the lab plans and scrolls are pocketed.
No kata are found. Crane, Scorpion or Phoenix libraries, but nobody seems to have any. What are the odds eh?
A few days go by and the party get their travel documents and they leave town for Shirakawa.
The heroes make camp outside the small village of Shirakawa. Genma goes into town alone and offers his services to Shiba Ren. His sincerity wins them over and he sits down to dinner with them.
After a week or so of bonding, the village invite him to stay and offer him a home and widow. Refusal to stay in town permanently results in banishment. Tight bunch.
The villagers are told that whenever foreigners visit, everyone locks themselves indoors and do not leave. They are then rewarded for “good behaviour”.
The party come up with a plan of action. The ambush is set on the road whilst the beach is spied upon using Ryuki’s magic.
Twenty or so riders, with five Utaku turn up. Large sacks of opium are carried between them. A palanquin containing the target along with five footmen and a Gaijin woman also arrive and wait.
Later a large ship arrives.
Completely black and foreign, it slowly enters the bay and smaller boats make their way inwards. After landing, it is clear that three men seem to be in charge. All Gaijin with armoured bits about them. The meeting begins once Seppun Yoai and Utaku Kokuten greet them.
The panzerfaust wielders are identified as Rudigen, Manfred and Klaus. Once in place, the Gaijin female, a porte sorceress named Sophie, rips a portal open in the very fabric of the universe and pulls through Kaw-na, otherwise known as Faceless.
Faceless is perfectly nondescript. So much so in fact, his face is impossible to place or remember. The trade begins and he is given maps of Mantis trade routes and Opium in exchange for the very large, obscene amounts of gold that are being dragged through the portal by Sophie.
The Seppun have crossed a line.
They must be punished.
Green to Alex: “Takeshi. Out of the corner of your eye you see…..”
Ian interrupts: “Do you mean Satoru?”
Green instantly blanks Alex and faces Ian: “Satoru, out of the corner of your eye you see…..”