D is for Dissension
|"You shall know a person by knowing his friends."|| The run begins on the Day of the Late Monkey in the Month of the Descending Bear in the Twelfth Year of the Bear since the Regency Council was formed|
The run takes place in a lot of places
A Procession of Cloaks
The party is relaxing at Tahiti, and Lijuan draws some prophetic art with what may or may not be a rotating spiral of doom.
The butler enters to announce: there is a visitor who wishes to speak to Master Yang with some discretion. Privately, the cloaked figure pulls back her hood - it is Chantou, and she wants to warn them that there is a problem with the Pool of Mysteries. But Shen-Ji should not tell Xian that she is involved.
Xian gets the next visitor, who again wants to speak in private. This turns out to be Ando, who is looking into the vice-mayoral race and the weirdnesses, and wanted to talk to Xian, as someone who ran for vice mayor and presumably knows something about it. Anyway, Ando says he is currently being watched, but there is an agent of his in the Silver District in the Dragon's Throne who has more information he can use. Can Xian make contact with him? Shuyan is also being watched, so don't tell her Ando’s involved.
Master Zhou has an overly dramatic secret visitor in a deeply hooded white robe and holding a white staff. It is Eto Tansho, who says that they must not know, but she seeks one who she hears can teach the Ultimate Kung Fu. It is necessary that the Ultimate Phoenix Kung Fu be taught to one who is worthy, at the Dojo of Elemental Motion.
- "Great things are afoot and we must be ready." -Eto Tansho, waiting for thunder to peal
Master Zhou says that he has not finished his Phoenix researches yet. Oh no! What does he need to finish it? He thinks a boon from Phoenix would be sufficient. She says that she will see that it is done, and she will meet him there. Then, she flips her cloak back up and backs out of the room.
A short figure in a large hooded cloak way too large for it shuffles into the tea room, points at Lijuan, and then leaves again. Lijuan asks the butler to bring pork buns, and goes to chat with Meilin, who says that she needs some help but don't tell Mom. There is a friend of hers - well, sort of a kidnapper friend - who needs some help getting out of the Forest. But Pir Pir has eyes everywhere, he says. They're hiding in an outhouse behind the Mong estate, and the password is "D" (she holds up four fingers)
Shuyan is visited by a figure in a floppy hooded cloak, who reveals herself as Lu Chu - but it's a secret so don't tell Shen-Ji! She came to warn Shuyan that the Bearers of Swift Response have noticed a particular ancient manor house, so if Shuyan doesn't want them to find anything interesting, she should move it in the next day or two.
Next, the butler says that Lady Song has a visitor, but when they return to the sitting room, there is no one there. The butler goes off to locate the visitor, and then when the door shuts, there was a hooded figure standing behind it. The figure dramatically throws back his cloak, and it is Po.
Po says that his nemesis was framed for a crime he didn't - well, a crime he was trying to commit but didn't actually, because Po stopped him. Po thwarted him when he tried to steal a mystical artifact to assume ultimate power. Except that someone else stole it! Min Feng wants to know who suggested that this nemesis steal the artifact. Or did someone hire him? Po admits that he did not think to ask any of these questions - that is why he needs Min Feng to help! But she has to not tell Master Zhou, because he doesn't think Fung is a worthy nemesis.
Finally, Zhuai chants with Yanyu. He isn't wearing a cloak, he just asks Yanyu to not mention this to Lijuan. Apparently, House Mong is kind of cranky now that Su-Yin's engagement to Lucky Chang has been announced. Can Yanyu deal with them before Lijuan finds out that the house has been surrounded by House Mong soldiers?
People tentatively hint at what they might be wanting to be up to, while trying to not give away the bits they were asked to not tell.
- "So, we all have secret missions? Can we tell each other what countries they are in so we can coordinate?" -Xian
Shuyan's plot has a deadline, so going to the Strand first rather than last would be good. Which means taking the water gate to Bear Mountain, which actually means doing Bear Mountain first. Well, that's the beginning of an order.
The White Pagoda monks look very snappy in their new white gis that Master Zhou has sent them. Master Zhou asks Yanzi how things are going, and whether she has heard of any recent robberies. Yanzi did hear of something being stolen, but that they caught the thief. Master Zhou also wonders if Po is around, and Yanzi says he usually is but she hasn't seen him today. How is Po's rivalry going? Yanzi says that she is confident that Master Zhou told Po to stop visiting Fung in jail, and surely he would not have disobeyed. Master Zhou raises an eyebrow. Well, she'll look into it.
Min Feng says that they don't need to wait around for Po - they can just go investigate! Everyone heads down to the Iron Fortress, and Min Feng checks in with Lord Yu.
Lord Yu describes the incident as "an overly complicated heist for a minor trinket" - the only thing taken was an amulet that was on display as part of an old suit of armor. As far as he knows, the amulet is not of any particular historical significance of its own. As far as overly complicated - the thief didn't just pocket it when the guard wasn't looking, but seems to have rappelled down from the ceiling and picked it up with a long pole.
Min Feng reads the report, written by Investigator Shen. Apparently there is a vast amount of evidence incriminating Fung, such as that the pole that was used was one of Fung's roof poles. Fung didn't have the amulet on him, but there was a big pile of money under his bed, which he claimed to not know anything about.
- "Odd that he didn't clean up the evidence." -Min Feng
- "Well, you know criminals. Fung has a long and storied history of barely competent criminal activity." -Inspector Shen
Master Zhou asks Lord Yu if he can visit the Iron Fortress archives to see what he can learn about the Dark and the Light, and he gets to join the puttering thread in progress.
Some other details in the report mention that there was a basket lowered from the servants' quarters - normally this is used by the servants to get rid of trash. But none of the servants mention having found any mystical artifacts in the trash. Master Zhou wonders if perhaps Po was behind the theft - it does sound overly dramatic.
An investigation of the museum and the burglary site turns up nothing immediately that contradicts the report, though if things happened the way the report claims they did, the guard really ought to have spotted the pole. Though he did leave one to use the bathroom, so perhaps that was why.
Exhibit 137 is armor "from the Blue period". The amulet that was part of the set was round, with a small carving of an eye in the center. Master Zhou thinks the amulet is an older style than the armor, and Shen-Ji thinks that the description sounds like the Eye of Living Stone - though surely it would not have been that obscure but impressive artifact that is said to have the power of making statues walk.
The group heads to prison to talk to Fung - the bandit is panicked that Master Zhou has come to execute him personally, and protests his innocence. After some badgering, he changes his story from "I was walking nearby the museum doing nothing at all" to "I was battling my arch nemesis".
- "Did you win?" -Min Feng
- "Of course I... well, the battle was inconclusive." -Fung
- "The sort of inconclusive where you end up unconscious?" -Xian
- ".... yes." -Fung
Min Feng points out that if someone hired him, maybe they are the one who actually did it and set him up to fail. That's confusing to Fung, but he is willing to admit that there was an art collector named Tong Fo who said he would pay a lot of money for it, if it were not in the museum. He didn't see anyone of interest (other than Po) around the museum, though. So, did anyone else know that Fung was going to steal the amulet last night? Fung allows as it was the last night he could have - Tong Fo was going to give all his money to someone else. The conversation happened at a soup bar. Where would the party be able to find Tong Fo? His cover is a beggar. Everyon boggles a little at this.
- "I *plan* on committing a lot of crimes, but I can't get arrested for that." -Fung
- "Yes you can." -Everyone
The group heads out to find Tong Fo - and sure enough, they find a blind beggar on the corner matching his description. Master Zhou puts some zhu in his cup, and Min Feng offers to buy him lunch. He leads them next door to the soup bar.
People ask about the amulet he wanted Fung to steal. Did he have a buyer? He's careful to not say anything incriminating and wonders what they are offering in exchange for the information. Yanyu checks to see who the most important person to him who isn't here is, and that turns out to be Po.
- "Did Po put you up to this?" -Yanyu
- "Po? Put me up to something? Ha ha ha ha. Very funny." -Tong Fo
- "So you haven't sold it yet, then?"
- "I imagine that whoever has it would be waiting to get the best price."
- "Do you know what it is?"
- " I am sure I can speculate that it is some sort of artifact of great power."
- "And you thought Fung would be a convenient patsy?"
- "I hear that Fung was arrested for stealing it! Goodness!"
Master Zhou gives him five li for some information, and Tong Fo says that The auction will occur in the stone circle at midnight.
Shuyan is concerned about her deadline in the Strand, so she doesn't think she can wait until midnight. Yanyu, Lijuan, Shen-Ji and Shuyan head towards the Strand, leaving everyone else to deal with the stolen amulet.
Xian suggests again that maybe they should look for Po. Once people start looking for him, they notice that Po is up on a nearby roof, and he leaps down when waved to. The questions start flying.
- "Fung. I don't really recall anyone of that name. I'm not supposed to talk to him." -Po
- "Tell us about the epic duel!" -Xian
- "Did Ming Feng tell you about the duel?" -Po, glaring at Min Feng
- "I'm sorry, is this something we already knew about?" -Master Zhou
Po sighs, and for a moment, Master Zhou and Min Feng see the sigil that people have been calling the "smiley non-rotating vortex of doom" (from Lijuan's prophetic art) appear on Po's aura and sink in. It looks like he just got whammied by someone.
Master Zhou drags Po off to train, and tells Po to tell him the tale in great detail as they train. Po says that he was there because a note was delivered to him - "Fung will try to rob the museum at midnight! Only you can stop him!". The plan continues to seem needlessly complicated!
However, after training Po, now Master Zhou understands. Whatever the sigil-effect is, it got triggered when Master Zhou found out that Po talked to Min Feng and not him. It seems like it is... some sort of corrupted sorcery? Corrupted but not by either Northern or Southern corruption. Shen-Ji would be the best person to understand this, but he is already gone to the Strand.
Does Po still have the note? No, he ate it. Po explains again how he is trying to convince Fung to become a good guy.
- "Do you have a mechanic, Po?" -Master Zhou
- "There's a Mechanic?" -Po
The party does some more investigation about the auction to take place at midnight. It turns out that the other bidders on the amulet are Lord Du, and Temutai, who is one of Lord Yu's nobles, but one of the ones that tends to be more at odds with Lord Yu.
Master Zhou suggests that the group not tell Lord Yu about the auction - then they don't have to return the stolen amulet, and can keep it for themselves! Min Feng disagrees - this is Lord Yu's business, and if they bring the amulet back, then they can probably arrange to borrow it if they ever need to make statues walk.
The party confers with Lord Yu about the auction, and remarks on the nefarity of Lord Du. Lord Yu notes that it is not really a crime in Bear Mountain to try to take over the throne in the Craneslake Heights - and as he understands it, that throne just got taken over recently anyway, so it does seem to be going around. Killing Warlord Zu's son is more serious, and Zhuai as Lord Siew can request him to be extradited to the Forest of Chin if he is captured.
The group troops out to the stone circle at midnight, with Lord Yu's militia in attendance nearby. Lord Du, seeing the party arrive to presumably thwart him again, throws up his hands in disgust and vanishes in a puff of escape smoke. Ton Fo, standing on a little platform, shrugs and says that there are only two bidders, then.
Lord Temutai starts the bidding at three tael. Master Zhou wants to know what he wants to do with the object, and Temutai says he plans to study it. The bidding rises until Min Feng wins, at seven tael.
Lord Temutai bows to Min Feng and leaves. Ton Fo gives Min Feng the amulet, and says that if she reads the inscription on the back, it should work.
People keep looking at each other, and Xian finally tells Ton Fo that he is under arrest for trafficking in stolen goods. Ton Fo claims to have found the amulet in a trash heap near the museum, but he is handed to Lord Yu's guys anyway.
(Min Feng, thinking back on the crime scene, thinks that Fung would not have fit through that hole, but Ton Fo would.)
Does Ton Fo know anything about a note that Po got? The little man allows as he thought that perhaps Fung might misinterpret their conversation as suggesting a crime. So he informed Po, a "known proprietor of justice".
Lord Yu's soldiers take away Ton Fo, as well as the amulet and the seven tael, as evidence.
Master Zhou, however, takes Po to the Green Pagoda. Can Quan Lo help with the weird whammy-sigil that Po was hit with? Since Master Zhou was the one who triggered it, it is harder for him to address. Po is very excited - he has all the Quan Lo trading cards, but he has rarely had the chance to meet the Master of the Green Pagoda in person.
Quan Lo looks at Po for some time, and then says that the effect seems to be one of corrupted simulated cryptomancy. He cannot cleanse the corruption immediately, but if Master Zhou were to leave his student in Quan Lo's care for a month, something can be arranged.
- "This is so exciting, to stay in the Green Pagoda. Not that the White Pagoda isn't great. They're both Great Pagodas..." -Po
- "*Po*." -Master Zhou
Master Zhou also briefs Quan Lo on the incursions being made by the Light and the Dark, as far as Master Zhou understands them.
- "They make plans and execute schemes, but they are too trapped in their own binary nature to pose us a true threat." -Quan Lo
Quan Lo believes that those of the Light that Master Zhou has encountered so far are the survivors of a more major failed incursion several months ago. Quan Lo is still attempting to pierce that particular veil, but it is difficult to stare directly into the light.
Master Zhou bows in thanks, and turns to go.
- "Po. Acquit yourself well!" -Master Zhou
- "It will be AWESOME!" -Po
People look at Lijuan's art again - are the "little people" at the bottom Po and everyone else's disciples/proteges/DNPCs? It seems likely.
Meanwhile, Team Strand (Shuyan, Shen-Ji, Lijuan, and Yanyu) has reached the border of Bear Mountain and the Strand, and heads towards Shuyan's ancestral estate. Everyone's survival rolls are sufficient to get them to the outer walls without being eaten by a tanglevine tree, and Shen-Ji notes that the curse isn't decaying, it's being drawn into the center of the complex.
Shuyan begins to cough as everyone heads in to see what they can find out. When Shuyan falls over briefly (until she uses her snake immunity) and Yanyu begins to cough, they hurry faster. Shen-Ji thinks it is a magical effect targeted at her, her relatives, and her friends.
- "I don't know her..." -Shen-Ji
- "Deny me three times before the cock crows..." -Shuyan
Shen-Ji casts "dispel magic" on Shuyan, which ameliorates the effect for a round, but then it returns and she collapses again. Lijuan notes that while this is a trap for Shuyan, it has been sprung too soon - perhaps that's why everyone is still alive.
The group continues in towards the center, until Yanyu falls over and Shuyan starts coughing again. There is a brief question - which of Lijuan or Shen-Ji is Shuyan’s closer friend. But the answer to that is obvious, and Lijuan starts coughing.
- "I pick up Yanyu and keep going." -Shen-Ji
They reach the center of the compound, and there is a ritual Circle with the limp body of a snake in the center. It looks like Shuyan's Snake of Secrets, which made it this far and then succumbed to the curse itself. Shuyan goes to help the snake, and then falls over.
- "True or false - Shuyan is your friend." -Mike
- "Okay, fine, true." -Shen-Ji
In the middle of the ritual circle is a green statue of a woman with a snake wrapped around her, fangs in her throat. Around the statue are five crystals, channeling energy into it.
Shen-Ji coughs a lot and then sends Pao into the circle - the phoenix flies in and explodes, temporarily dissipating the energy. Everyone wakes up again, but Shen-Ji notes that the statue is beginning to recharge. He manages to deconstruct the ritual before it gets very far into its recharge cycle, and ends up with a statue that is only 1% dangerous - so it does x3 damage if you hit Shuyan with it. He explains that it was drawing in the power of the bloodline that had been haunting this place, and charging it for malice against Shuyan.
Lijuan manages to fix the secret snake, much to Shuyan's gratitude. Then, at Shuyan's direction, Shen-Ji starts setting the entire place on fire. Shyuyan would rather destroy the complex than leave a possible weapon against her behind. The smoke is fairly unpleasant, and there is another round of coughing, but nobody falls over.
Everyone regroups back at Bear Mountain, and takes stock of the plots that are left to do.
One is in the Precincts, two are in the Forest, one is in the Dragon's Throne, and one is in the Plains of Honor.
The Precincts are the easiest to reach, as there is a water gate at the Sakong island. Shen-Ji suggests that maybe Xian doesn't need to come along . Xian suggests that she visit the library instead, which everyone agrees seems reasonable, and then considers the Strand excursion. Did anyone get whammied? Was anyone even around to get whammied? Shuyan says she has not violated any secrets she was asked to keep, and it is not a problem. Well then.
Xian becomes a Patron of the Exalted Library, and may ask for a research project if she likes. The library is not what it once was (since the Seal was stolen) but it still gives patronage boons.
The Sakongs are at home, and Shen-Ji says he needs to look at the Pool of Mysteries. Lu Chu agrees to take him there.
- "Don't step into the - well, you'll see when you get there."
The group heads to the Pool of Mysteries, a deep pool in a shaded grotto on the north side of the island. (Sometimes people visit and bathe in the pool, and no, it does not have a lifeguard.) As they look at it, a little puff of yellow gas bloops up out of the pool, and starts drifting off away. Then a puff of red gas bloops up and drifts in a different direction. Apparently it started doing this during the Night of Gates.
Another bloop of yellow gas bubbles out, and drifts towards the group - Shen-Ji lets it engulf him, and his character sheet edits a little. He puts on a ring of water breathing, and swims around, until he sees a bloop of gas come out of a crack in the bottom of the pool, where a small copper ritual circle has broken. The circle is deeply mysterious - it looks like a Grand Ritual that used non-Cycle spirits. As such, it was barely holding together, but then the copper circle cracked, and now it is damaged.
Looking closely, Shen-Ji decides that the three spirits invoked appear to be Whale, Kalkin, and the Sun. Well, that's weird. Shen-Ji glares at Lu Chu, and says that her pool is broken. Lu Chu says it was a serious pain to make, but she isn't a ritual expert so she doesn't know the design details. Kiri and Chantou handled those.
Min Feng locates Renyu, not too many islands away, and the group boats over. He and Kiri are having a meeting at a restaurant, and Renyu doesn't look pleased to be interrupted. Kiri is more willing to be concerned about the pool being broken, and thinks that a kind of hack-ish patch could be made to fix it using the opposite number for each spirit - the Moon, Phoenix, and Yama or Kali. Renyu complains that Chantou was supposed to be handling maintenance, and this isn't his job.
Happily, the party has representatives from the three counter-spirits, so Shen-Ji, Kuan-Xi, and Yanyu do the ritual while Master Zhou swims down to make physical patching rolls.
Plains of Honor
The next stop is the Plains of Honor. Master Zhou and Shuyan visit the Dojo of Elemental Motion in Jabon, where Masters Fu, Hwa, and Kangjon teach.
Master Zhou observes the training, while Shuyan observes the students. Master Fu appears to be teaching a student of the Five Elements, and Shuyan notices that the students seem to be divided into two social cliques.
Master Fu introduces her new student, Dhang Kuriko, to Master Zhou. She has recently chosen to follow the path of the Leaping Flame instead of the Path of Five Elements. Master Fu smiles somewhat enigmatically, and there is clearly some sort of disagreement among the masters, but Master Zhou doesn't pry.
Watching Kuriko's training further, Master Zhou realizes that she is the Wu Xing, though she is somewhat unbalanced and is more about Get Em than anything else. When he trains with her himself, he realizes that she became the Wu Xing when Anto died. (Wait, what?) Also, the social cliques seem to be factions between the two guys who both think they are her destined love plot.
Master Zhou tells Master Fu that something has happened to give her student a Destiny, and he would be honored if she could train with Master Zhou for a time. Master Fu is a little hesitant to send her away so early in her training, but Master Zhou burns his reputation and thinks about throwing in a favor. He also notes that the factions are obviously beginning to be a problem. Master Fu thinks about it, and thinks that perhaps both she and her student should come to the White Pagoda for a time.
Then, all the candles in the dojo flare up brightly.
- "Behold! For the blessing of the Phoenix is now upon this place! The asked for boon has arrived!" -Eto Tansho
- "Um. Excuse me?" -Master Fu
- "I am she who was summoned."
- "Did you summon her?" -Master Fu
- "Sigh." -Master Zhou
- "I'll take that as a yes." -Master Fu
Master Zhou admits that the path Kuri is on will require the assistance of Phoenix. Master Fu is dubious - this is Phoenix's emissary?
- "Phoenix's goofiest emissary." -Xian, offstage
- "Perhaps next time we can discuss this sort of thing before disrupting all the classes." -Master Fu
Master Zhou says that in order to accomplish her destiny, she needs the rigor of Bear Mountain!
- "I suppose that's reasonable for a time..."
- "So shall it be done!" -Eto Tansho, flaring more candles
Master Zhou bows to Master Fu, and tells Dhang Kuriko to pack her things. It will take her a little while to put her things in order, so he tells her that she has two days. He will meet her back here then. While everyone is directing everyone else where to go, Tansho tells Master Zhou that he must go to the Hearth of the Phoenix, and there he will receive his boon.
Meanwhile, Shuyan smiles enchantingly at one of the faction-love-plot guys, but she does not throw her full charisma behind it, and does not cause that particular plot to derail completely.
Master Zhou must then break the sad news to Kuan-Xi, that Anto has died. Of course, Kuan-Xi has seen Anto around since when he is supposed to have died, so this is a bit confusing. Maybe he went into the World After for something, and that caused the forces that be to create another Wu Xing?
Forest of Chin
The next stop is the Forest of Chin, but trying to figure out who to leave behind is a bit more tricky. Both Yanyu and Lijuan need to go, and they both need to go to House Mong, and Lijuan needs to keep her contact a secret from Yanyu while Yanyu needs to keep her contact a secret from Lijuan. Well, that's problematic.
However, it proves that Lijuan only has to visit the outside of House Mong, and Yanyu has to visit Lord Mong and his brother. So they can stay apart.
Min Feng skulks around the outside of House Mong, and finds the Blue Dragon also keeping an eye on the place. After a brief chat, she returns to remind the party that if they deliberately thwart Lucky Chang's engagement (as opposed to thwarting him accidentally or in passing), that will break the truce between him and Xiao Fa. Then Yanyu, Shuyan, and Xian go inside to talk to Lord Mong, while Master Zhou, Lijuan, and Shen-Ji head for the outhouse.
Yanyu swings into full on fast-talk mode. The situation with Tsai Su-Yin is a disaster, and they need to strategize. Lord Mong is happy to brainstorm, and suggests killing Lucky Chang, or Grandmother Sakota. Xian watches in astonished fascination as Yanyu convinces the Mongs that
Su-Yin really likes bees. Bees and kung fu make the best presents. Lucky Chang is destined to be Emperor Threatening to kill Su-Yin's family might work, But should probably be kept on the down low. There are probably a lot of better matches than Su-Yin anyway.
- "Maybe there is an heir to one of the other nearby countries who might be a better match." -Yanyu, trying to catch Shuyan's eye
- "I can't think of anyone offhand who is going to be queen of anywhere." -Shuyan
Or maybe Lord Mong should marry a spirit instead. Yanyu can totally arrange that.
- "You have been very accommodating, so I suppose I will withdraw the troops surrounding House Foon. It must have been a misunderstanding." -Lord Mong
Meanwhile, out by the outhouse, Lijuan enters into a confusing negotiation with the guy hiding in the outhouse. She gives the password ("D" - holding up four fingers), and he cautiously peers out. The mystery fellow wears a big black cloak and a white mask with a long nose, and says she can call him Guy Guy.
- "You're here to escape Pir Pir's tyranny?" -Lijuan
- "No, I'm overthrowing Pir Pir's tyranny!" -Guy Guy
- "Um... that's not what my informant said."
- "She's too idealistic to do what needs to be done, but eventually I'll convince her. "
Guy Guy apparently has a plan to gather the masses of the other tengu in the Forest, and march on Pir Pir.
- "And until then you'll hide in the outhouse?" -Lijuan
Well, for the moment he does need to get out of the Forest - to somewhere else where there are tengu (which may only be the Tanzhe) - and in exchange, he can offer a boon of Dissension.
Lijuan says she would like to eat a radish before deciding any of this; she eats her radish, and tells the Forest about the tengu revolution. Maybe her words are heard, and Perhaps she is answered, but there’s nothing clear.
Shen-Ji agrees to provide a distraction; Master Zhou will handle transport, and Guy Guy will destroy the outhouse. Lijuan wants to accompany Shen-Ji as he makes distractions as one likely distraction is contacting Pir-Pir directly and she wants to talk to him for some reason.
- "It's a symbol. Blowing up a small building can change the world. Or at least the nature of the Forest." -Guy Guy
Shen-Ji starts summoning random demons - he offers to teach Beto Beto some dance steps, and they haunt a random small village one over in Zhen lands. He contacts Maelstrom to check if anything has changed about the location of No-Face Ko - it hasn't. He opens his seven-demon box, releasing the demon of Sloth, which doesn't do anything, and then Shen-Ji binds it back into the box.
Meanwhile, Master Zhou and Guy Guy have been riding for the Tanzhe Plain, and they reach it a few hours later.
- "Look for me when you least expect me, and I will be there." -Guy Guy, throwing down Master Zhou's escape smoke
Lijuan and Shen-Ji disguise themselves as wealthy hapless bandit prey, and loiter through the House Xing lands with the intent of finding prey for ripper demons. After a little while, some soldiers come out of the woods.
- "Seriously? Were you looking for the House Mong lands? Shall we escort you?" -House Xing soldiers
Everyone meets back up at House Mong, and then the last stop is the Dragon's Throne.
Xian carefully herds Shuyan off to talk to Precious Jade, saying that they will be going to Copper to talk to Fen-Xi. Does Precious Jade remember anything in particular about the Mayor from three years ago? She wasn't in the city then, so no, not really.
Rather than going to Copper, Xian leads everyone to the address in the Silver District that Ando has given her. Ando's agent has a file that may or may not have useful information. Once the file is gone, the agent can just take off. But the file itself is tagged, so any time it crosses district boundaries, "those who know these things" will know.
Xian looks through the file - it's a deep background report on the final candidates for Vice Mayor, though the new Vice Mayor himself has been redacted. Xian doesn't see anything in her background she doesn't already know, and Hadisen the Disguised is called out as being part of River Ford's crew. Serafina is the most interesting - she made her way across the continent, having started in the Craneslake Heights high up in the Mountains of Heaven, where she was a survivor of a shipwreck. Xian also notes from the file that the Bureaucrat is sending a team to the Heights to investigate said wreck.
- "Ando isn't married, is he?" -Yanyu
- "I'd say he's married to his job." -Xian
- "You can't have kids with your job." -Yanyu
Yanyu thinks that she can get the file to the moon, but that may be fairly incriminating, as the number of people who can go from the Dragon's Throne to the moon is pretty small. Much discussion ensues, and finally a different plan is devised.
Xian's hoop has been focused in "degenerate specific measure," so the group find a bunch of urchins who are passing out flyers. They pay the kids, borrow the flyers, and put them through the hoop along with the file. A little creative thinking about a "specific measure” they want to give a "degenerate answer”, and that causes all of the flyers to be tagged, and the hapless passerby who pick them up and go through a gate into another district are quickly set upon by guards. However the number of flyers that are tagged is large enough that the people carrying them end up being a denial-of-service attack against the Dragon's Throne guards and then the party makes their own break for it.
Xian gets Shen-Ji to redact her information, passes the file back to Ando, and then everyone regroups at Tahiti (except for Shuyan, who has accidentally been left behind in the Dragon's Throne, but can, presumably, find her own way home.)