The heroes are commanded by Emperor Wu Zetian to track down and prevent an Eaters of the Lotus plot against the kingdom. Back in Hong Kong, they restore scrappy kid Toto from a poison-induced coma and engage in a breakneck chase to get her to a safehouse. During the chase, triad gangster Ugly Shing is defeated and taken to prison.
In Hong Kong
Gordon Chan holds a press conference announcing the reconstruction of the Norman Road Community Centre, now called the Natalie Chan Memorial Community Centre. He denounces the culture of gangsterism and says he intends to honor his wife’s memory by standing up to the thugs and gangsters who are poisoning Hong Kong.
Ugly Shing’s daughter Shing Meimei was arrested for illegal gambling. In exchange for leniency she has agreed to provide some information about Ugly Shing that the police can use. They still need more evidence to prosecute him, but if Toto recovers she would be able to testify against him as well.
Sergeant Eyebrows Chang is the only one on the force who believes that Toto could provide information about Ugly Shing.
Chang confides in the heroes that he doesn’t have the resources to protect Toto if she should wake up, but if they can get her to a safehouse it would be a boost to Chang’s reputation and his career, as well as being the nail in the coffin for Ugly Shing.
If they can get Toto to a safehouse, the police will have what they need to arrest Ugly Shing.
1. Master Gan’s fox totem is gone, it was stolen by the Traitor Monk and given to the Eaters of the Lotus
2. Evidence at the Abundant Heart Cloister indicated that the ninja clan hired by Ugly Shing made a deal with the Hua Clan for the Thousand-Year Bloom.
Journals and letters at the Two Moons Mountain Fortress indicated that the Eaters of the Lotus had been working to perfect Kao Xiao-ming’s magical technique of growing full-size individuals from babies or children and infusing them with powerful skills and personalities sympathetic to the Lotus’s aims.
The Eaters of the Lotus are experimenting with different ways to gain access to powerful individuals whom they can use as sources to create these infused warriors. Their brief alliance with the Traitor Monk was one of these experiments, but there are others.
Kao was able to get close to perfecting this only once before and create a warrior who was able to go out into the world with an infused personality created by his magic, but the technique was still not quite perfect.
In this case the source subject was drained of will and personality and rendered unusable as a source after only one infused warrior had been created.
Fang Wei’s experiments with Master Gan were going much better, but had not reached the final stages.
In the recovered letters, Fang Wei is given specific instructions to complete his experiments soon. Having acquired Master Gan’s Fox Totem and the Jade Tiger Heart of Virtue, the Eaters of the Lotus are very close to attaining all the artifacts they need for their larger objective, called The Divine Awakening of the Eight Thousand.
When the heroes return to Chang’an to leave the Ancient Juncture, they are stopped in the street by dozens of Imperial soldiers, who take them to the Daming Palace. Here they are given an audience with Emperor Wu Zetian.
She addresses them in her Imperial throne room, in front of an audience of courtiers and soldiers, including a burly Buddhist monk with an aggressive swagger.
She tells the heroes she has heard that they have been defeating sorcerers in the kingdom. Her sources have informed her there are sorcerers plotting against the kingdom and it is imperative that they be stopped.
Soon will be the wedding festival of the Emperor’s daughter, Princess Taiping, and shortly thereafter the palace renovations will be complete in the Eastern Capital of Luoyang and the Emperor will be moving there.
She instructs the heroes to find these sorcerers and stop their plot, and they will be rewarded with titles, silks, and precious gems and metals. If they fail it will be clear they are part of the conspiracy and will be dealt with accordingly.
Emperor Wu introduces Minister Li, an official who is their contact. Any time they have information they can approach the palace and ask to speak with Minister Li.
On the way out, the heroes are taken aside by Princess Taiping. She subtly threatens the palace guard with exile or worse and he allows her to speak with them privately.
She tells the heroes that there are conspiracies everywhere—her late husband Xue Shao was found to be complicit in an anti-government plot two years ago, and he was caned 100 times and starved to death. Since his body was intact, this was a more honorable death than the other conspirators, who were beheaded.
She asks the heroes about the abilities of these sorcerers they are facing, and instructs them to bring information about them to her as well as to the Emperor.
She also flirts with Brick Manly a bit.
She releases the heroes and they leave the palace and return to the Contemporary Juncture.
Back in Hong Kong
Couch Potato gives the heroes the name of an herbalist who extracts the poison antidote from the Thousand-Year Bloom and the heroes take it to the hospital.
Sergeant “Eyebrows” Chang tells the heroes about his predicament—after failing spectacularly at the HK Museum of Art and with Kao Xiao-ming, the magician from the Dragon Boat Festival, Chang is on the verge of being demoted.
If he can bring in Ugly Shing alive, it could mean the difference between promotion and desk duty. He asks for the heroes’ help in getting Toto to a safehouse to protect him from Ugly Shing’s gang until she can testify against Shing.
Julie Li is happy to see Brick again, glad that he is safe. She tells him that as far as she’s concerned, she hopes that they kill Shing.
Fletcher administers the antidote to Toto, who wakes up, confused and scared. She breaks down in tears remembering Natalie Chan and what “that ugly man” did to her. The heroes promise that he won’t be able to hurt Toto again.
To the safe house
As the heroes are taking Toto to their car in the hospital’s garage, a squad of compact cars belonging to Ugly Shing’s gang approaches. Brick and Fletcher get Toto into the car while Mitsu drives his motorcycle.
Julie Li tosses a fire extinguisher into the windshield of the first compact car and Fletcher shoots it with an arrow, exploding a mist of white spray into the car. Brick drives off with the compact cars in pursuit.
As they reach street level, an SUV takes the lead in the chase against the heroes.
It doggedly pursues them through the streets of Hong Kong, with the compact cars behind.
Mitsu slashes several of the drivers of the smaller cars and takes them out, before getting rammed off his motorcycle by the SUV. He notices the SUV is driven by Deacon Yen, one of Ugly Shing’s gangsters who the heroes previously faced the day of the Community Centre massacre.
Mitsu is knocked off into a shop window, but he manages to leap onto the back of one of the compact cars and make his way, Frogger style, leaping his way from compact to compact. After leaping forward by several cars, one of the gangsters swerves at just the right time and Mitsu is thrown from the car.
Meanwhile, Toto is terrified but Brick manages to lose Deacon Yen in the crowded streets, when a new SUV driven by none other than Ugly Shing appears. A henchmen fires a machine gun at the heroes from the passenger seat.
The heroes evade Ugly Shing and swing around to pick up Mitsu, who dives from the street into the open car and leans out the window, ready to slash at Shing with his sword.
Fletcher fires several expertly-targeted arrow shots into Ugly Shing as his SUV closes in on the heroes’ car. Shing is taken out, his vehicle tumbling over a concrete barrier to land on its roof, nearly crushing the occupants.
Ugly Shing, barely alive, tries to crawl from the wreckage. The heroes phone Sergeant Chang and he arrives with an ambulance, squad cars, and an SDU team to take the gangster into custody.
Ugly Shing is going to prison.
Brick buys a Vespa to take Toto to the Dragons HQ, and Couch Potato has arranged a room for her to recover. Soon the police will be able to take her into protective custody.
Sites Attuned: 4
Sites Burned: 0
Failed Advancement Rolls: 0
Advancement Roll Modifier: 0
Advancement Target: 4
Mitsu rolled a successful advancement roll, so the heroes attained their fourth advancement.