Spy Briefing (Antidote)

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Master Hsi claims that he did not create the Tincture of Pure Respite that Chou Sen-Gou brought to the Butterfly Court. However, the recipe for the tincture is not widely disseminated, and it contains particular and rare ingredients. Master Hsi claims that none but him can create the tincture, but he is probably overstating the case. Master Hsi has three apprentices who have access to his recipes and gathered ingredients: Goji, Quai, and Reishi, in increasing order of seniority. Reishi has been an apprentice for decades, and will likely be an apprentice and bottle-washer forever, being little suited for the more complex tasks; he is Master Hsi's nephew. Quai is the most ambitious, and burns to be a master alchemist on her own, but Master Hsi is a strict teacher and has not granted permission yet. Goji is young, and has less drive but possibly more talent than Quai.

Interviews with those familiar with Master Hsi suggests that he would have been unlikely to sell the Tincture of Pure Respite to a stranger with no explanation of what it is to be used for. Descriptions of him vary from "nosy" to "careful", but all agree that he would be unwilling to create an alchemical with no knowledge of the condition it was to be used to treat. Whether he would be willing to do so as part of a plan to poison the king of another country is less clear; probably not without pressure applied by the Viridian Queen, as Master Hsi's status is too high for lesser personages to threaten.

Chou Sen-Gou lives in the town of Ebao, a week's journey away from where Master Hsi lives in the village of Qiqing, and neither of them, or any of the three apprentices, travelled to the other's location during the winter or previous fall. The alchemists d- not travel much at all; Merchant Chou travels, but not during the winter, and ------ the fall was elsewhere.

Of the seventy-four non-locals who visited Qiqing for longer than a --------------- fall or the winter, none with the same name and description ap-------------------- Ebao. However, one horse of very similar description, a black --------------------- with a white hind right fetlock, was confirmed to have visi--------------------------o suspicion that the horse's rider was the same man. The hors---------------------i Chen in Qiqing, and was described as a Taiga native perhaps t--------------------- middling height and scant build, with a pleasant voice, short-cro--------------------n moustache. The horse's rider was named Wong Sen in Ebao, descr------------------s native perhaps forty-five summers old, of middling height and stoc------------------leasant voice, and greying hair in a queue. Both men made very fav------------------ on the innkeepers they stayed with.

Li Chen was particularly noted to speak wit--------------------gs during Late Magpie. However, it is Goji who has increased his spe---------------------y have required both of them to create the tincture.

Wong Sen was not observed to spea---------------------ut he spent three days in Ebao during Early Crane, after which, --------------------- for the Butterfly Kingdom. The whereabouts of Wong Sen/Li ---------------------etween the months of Magpie and Crane are not known, nor are -----------------abouts.