Our heroes are enjoying a well-earned rest in their nicely-appointed home. The front window has just been restored from when Captine Jaquline last leapt through it, Itsuki is brewing up a fresh pot of tea, and Hernandez hasn’t threatened to remove his loincloth in hours, at least.
There’s a knock at the door, and Sing Dog, always hopeful for more drinking partners, goes to answer.
He finds himself confronting a white-robed, motionless figure with a cowl draped over its face.
Sing Dog doesn’t actually say KABOOM—but the noise of the white-robed figure
EXPLODING IN HIS FACE
is sufficient to put an end to whatever he was going to say. Instead, Sing Dog sails backward across the living room and lies in a smouldering heap. He groans.
Itsuki is by the newly-restored window, admiring the glaze and the beautifully-fitted panes, when Captain Jaquline leaps into action. And
THROUGH THE WINDOW.
And then, standing outside in the blasted street, gets plastered by a barrage of tiny crossbow bolts.
Itsuki shrugs off the loss of the window and zips out the back door. Seeing a host of ninja-like figures on all sides, he immediately dematerializes (he can do that), and drifts backward into the house. Our heroes appear to be surrounded.
Uncle leaps out to help the Captain, and the two spy a gaggle of ninjas atop yonder roof. They leap into action. Captain Jaquline tumbles a foe to the pavement, while Uncle wrestles to little effect. Meanwhile, at the back door, a trio of ninjas fire a
GIANT GRAPPLING HOOK
at Hernandez, catching him around the face and dragging him out into the alley. Sing Dog and Itsuki set out in pursuit, hurling pans and insults in the wake of the ninjas and their
GIANT GRAPPLING HOOK.
Captain Jaquline sees curious arm-attached mechanisms and, having no reason to be nice, cuts off a ninja arm to inspect the device for herself. Uncle’s wrestling partner breaks free and runs for it, so there’s a brief chase interspersed with a quick fondue-related sidebar. All the ninjas die.
Itsuki, Hernandez and Sing Dog also inflict ninja death, and our heroes troop back to the house with their assorted prizes in hand. Investigation reveals little other than nobody knows how to use these contraptions, but Itsuki declares these are the work of the White Phoenix Clan and that clearly the clan is out to get them all. Mysterious.
Somebody says, “Hey, where’s Dāwéi?”
Looks like the White Phoenix got one of them.
Hernandez is getting his
GIANT GRAPPLING HOOK
turned into a big club for hitting ninjas with, and has a terrifying vision:
Six babies, withered and dead, their skulls strung up in the hand of a dark evil man. A strange warehouse full of clattering animated racks. Drums pounding. Dāwéi strung up, ready for some terrible sacrifice. The evil man standing before a headstone and rising up out of the raw earth, a figure tall and dark and with only empty eye sockets.
Itsuki asks around for guidance on this curious vision and is directed towards a woman named Aunt Hemlock. Promising.
Captain Jaquline’s eager young followers help out by advising her to watch out for ninjas.
And then Itsuki prepares the house. It’s possible he’s taking the second loss of the window rather to heart: he leaves an identifying item of each member of the gang in the house and then
BLOWS IT UP.
Or at least, sets it on fire in a spectacular kind of way.
Ninja Arsonist, we can only suppose.
Then it’s off to Aunt Hemlock, a kindly little old lady in a slightly creepy shop with dried lizards and stuff out front. She seems to know something of what they’re up to. She tells them their friend is being held out at Logan House, a plantation on the outskirts of Chang Lao. The dream of the six babies refers to a sorcerer known as Six Lost Souls, who is every bit as bad as his name suggests.
Hernandez asks: “What’ll we see when we go in the front door?”
Auntie replies: “Don’t go in the front door.”
“What about the back door?”
“Don’t go in the back door.”
Hernandez is basically out of conversation at that point.
Sing Dog has a drink of Auntie’s moonshine and finds it… invigorating.
So it’s off to Logan House to rescue Dāwéi!
The plantation has perhaps seen better days. The cotton fields are overrun with towering stands of elephant grass, and the buildings are run-down and dilapidated. But two guards stand at the entrance to the fields.
Very large guards, apparently blind. Though one blocks Sing Dog as he attempts to enter and makes it clear he should leave.
Our heroes decide this might count as a “front door” and sneak part-way around and then begin making their way through the tall grass.
Which is, of course, full of zombis. And holes covered with grass and full of sharp pointy sticks.
Predictably, the zombis end up on the pointy sticks and our heroes make their way through the grass and up to the buildings. Beyond which they can hear frantic drumming, low chanting, and the peculiarly distinctive sound of Dāwéi swearing.
This should be a piece of case.