Itsuki is not welcomed by the elders of his clan, the Emerald Spirit Clan. Hitoki, the local elder, strips the young ninja of his clan membership. Itsuki is outcast.
The reason? That darn box, it turns out, was empty. And it wasn’t supposed to be. So until Itsuki can return what was in the box, he is without clan.
Of course, nobody was very clear on what WAS in the box, so this could be challenging. It was smaller than a puzzle box, at least.
It occurs to someone that one cultist might draw others, and this turns out to be the case. Itsuki takes up the guise of a hardworking labourer long enough to clout a lurking cultist with a hammer, which presumably makes the cranky ex-ninja feel a little better.
Hernandez experiments with assorted means of attracting pterodactyls, with little success. The legend of his loincloth only grows, however.
Sing Dog and Captain Jacquline, on the other hand, bend their efforts towards their captive, and push him from more-or-less to actually terrified, and he provides them with a map of his cult’s secret headquarters.
It’s like a plan.
The secret headquarters helpfully includes a back entrance, and with the help of Uncle’s secret antidote to the cultist’s blowgun poison, the guards there are overwhelmed, and Sing Dog leads the charge into the complex. And right smack into the main force of some twenty or thirty cultists.
Captain Jacquline, Hernandez and Uncle are a good distance into the woods when they realise that Itsuki and Sing Dog are nowhere to be found. Or rather, they’re to be found back in the cultists’ headquarters, where they’ve been captured and are about to be subjected to fiendish tortures at the hands of Captain Stenfahl and Brigid, who are clearly in cahoots with this ragged band of cultists!
Oh no! Surely they’re doomed!
Well, no. Stenfahl is knocked cold and Brigid, summouning up ropes of fire and shrieking curses all the way, is dispatched in gory fashion. The remaining cultists scarper and it looks like our heroes have won the day!