The strange men waste little time, drawing weapons to defend themselves from the perceived assassins. A brief moment of silence passes as the two groups stare each other down. With a resounding scream from the girl in the cage, both party's charge each other. The battle is hard fought and both sides take heavy damage. One of the strange men pause and raise their hands, bringing combat to a sudden end.
Fushoku Shinjun introduces himself and his brothers Kansen and Kyohaku, inquiring as to why such a diverse group would follow a bloodthirsty assassin, pointing towards the, now masked, Inkha. The party attempt to hide their curiosity, knowing very little of the vagrant girl, who has shown an unusual mastery of combat. Shinjun's revelation that Inkha is Jiéshù rì. None of the party recognize that term except for Jin who remembers them as remorseless assassins who kill indiscriminately. The party demand that the men turn over the girl, but they refuse, stating that she is needed. They point to the Jiéshù rì, insisting that Inkha will eat the girl if she gets a chance. Kyohaku also adds that the child is more a threat to them than they are to it.
The party are at a loss but eventually take Inkha's side and continue their assault on the Vashar brothers. Shinjun attempts one final bargain, but is run through by Jin's blade. Kansen quickly falls under a wave of vicious blows from Hauri's club and Finellen's claws. Finally the guard Kyohaku drops his weapon and begs the party to help them prevent Khangweizhin from opening the 6 Demon Bag. Hauri suggests that they may spare his life if he drops all his equipment. Kyohaku agrees, removing his helmet and armor, insisting that he can not be killed in such a dishonorable way. Such a defeat would bring dishonor to both himself and his murderer. Kyohaku explains that Khangweizhin serves a darker patron than Jilin and cannot obtain the artifact. Kim tosses him a dagger and orders him to kill himself immediately or suffer a dishonorable execution, he does it without hesitation, his final breath, a warning.
With the Vashar slain, the party turn to the girl in the wicker cage. For several minutes they bicker and argue about the fate of the child, uncomfortable with the idea that Shinjun may have been honest and Inkha may eat the child. They eventually decide to allow Inkha, who has revealed herself as Irome and who is part Vashar herself, to attempt a ritual to purify the girl. Finellen callously prods the girl with her quarterstaff until she is unconscious and they decide to rest for a bit before Irome begin's the ritual.
Irome lowers her mask again. She walks to the wicker cage and begins chanting in celestial. As her chant continues, her body begins to glow and yellow-green flames flicker around her. Her body suddenly immolates in a violent torrent of radiant flame, engulfin the small wicker cage. The ritual concludes and as the light fades the party look on, horrified at the charred remains of the girl. Purified does not always mean living, Irome explains. They pack their things and move on.
Jin let's out a small shriek as he notices the two Vashar bodies on the floor. The party jump with a start, not understanding what he is surprised
about until Jin reminds them that there were three Vashar. Kansen's severed arm lies in a pool of dark blood and a trail of it leads through a corridor to the South leading down deeper into these odd ruins.
The trail of dark blood leads the party through the winding catacombs into a large hall. Here the trail peters out. The party cautiously venture through the dank hall, lit only by phosphorescent algae in the sea water that seems to run down the walls. Ominous bronze dragon heads stare down at the party as they pass under a large archway. The ground and walls open up to the roar of falling water. A massive cavern stretches in all directions beyond the edge of their darkvision. Imense walls of falling water flank an iron caged bridge that spans the chasm. Ceramic pots line the edges of the bridge, left as an offering to some unknown lord in ages past.
On the far edge of the bridge, Irome's sharp eyes spot the cowled Kansen as he stumbles into another passageway. The party break into a sprint to catch up to the cancer mage, not stopping when Jin spies torchlight bobbing on a similar bridge on the opposite side of the waterfall. They pick up the pace as the crack of dragonpowder echos through the cavern. Sparks from musket balls ricocheting off the bridge shower the party as they sprint. Ceramic vessels shatter under the feet of Hauri, Finellen, and Kim, scattering gold and a thick vanilla scented syrup. Finellen spots a dark blotch on her heel, but sees no sign of it on a second look only moments later. Finellen stops and goes back for some of the gold and a sample of the intensely sweet syrup.
The party continue their chase, following the sinister Vasharan down a twisting stairwell and into a round room. The party are initaially awed by a three meter tall bronze dragon statue, its features worn and corroded. A massive bronze seal similar to the one at the entrance bars their further passage. Suddenly a hissing voice eminates from the statue. Words unfamiliar to the party echo through the chamber before being replaced by a voice in Kalkanu.
"Yongmunguwan he guards this way, a steward 'til his end of days.
No mortal here shall touch this place, with selfish thought opposing grace.
Leave an offering for Yongmu, something only you can do."
Upon the dragons open claw are three severed fingers, fresh from the hand of Kansen. The party begin to think of something they can leave without mutilating themselves. Irome is quick to leave some of her divine blood behind and slices into her arm while Hauri cooks and the rest of the party part with sentimental items. The bronze dragons eyes glow a bright green as the seal takes shifts into etherial transparency and back to normal once all members are safely beyond.
Continuing the chase, they come to a giant portcullis in a room filled ankle deep in stagnant brine. The wooden portcullis is held up about 60 cm from the brine by a wooden log. Enough for Irome to slip through first. As she does, she notices all too late that there is a chain attached to the log. From down the hall, Kansen appears and jerks the chain, causing the portcullis to lower. He speaks for the first time, asking for her aid, but Irome immediately attacks, savagely slashing at his body with her deer-horn blade and jian.
Even with Hauri's great strength, the portcullis is easily 300 kg. Finellen shapeshifts into a black bear to give him a hand and they manage to get it high enough for Jin to put the log back. By this time however, Kansen's poison has knocked Irome to the ground. He begs to parley with the party, warning them that Kangweizhin isn't what he appears and that he serves a patron much darker than Jilin. His pleas are met with a sword as Jin runs him through. His final words to the party suggest that he can not be killed by such means and that he will be back, but he falls over dead never the less.
The party remove his cloak to reveal that his severed arm and fingers were rapidly regenerating. They burn what is left of his body and wonder about his final words before remembering the severed arm back in his lair. No person can regenerate from only an arm right? and what did he mean about Khangweizhin?