I make it to the palace of Kiyamo, and his chief adviser politely informs me that while I was messing around with the Hannya, they managed to win the battle without me!
I am brought before Kiyamo, and there is a massive amount of exposition, which I’ll summarise as follows :
- The followers of Vile, Nemesis and Vasch-Ro are ‘howling for my blood’ while the followers of the other gods are ‘laughing up their sleeves’. That latter metaphor is one of those that conveys its message beautifully while making absolutely no practical sense. Laughing ‘up your sleeve’? Has anyone actually ever done that?
- Given their victory in the recent battle, the road is open for me to return home.
- Gorobei (remember him) has been sent to assist me on my way to the Island of Tranquil Dreams.
- Gorobei’s eyes are ‘glistening with unshed tears’. The jury is still out as to whether these are tears of frustration from, yet again, being denied the opportunity to rise to the rank of Grandmaster by climbing over my dead body.
- I am an honoured guest in the palace tonight, with seven samurai acting as my honour guard.
- Nothing could possibly go wrong, huh?
I retire to the guest house, and am walked through the guard schedule for the night. The whole gamebook structure has a problem here, because you just know there wouldn’t be all this build-up unless something was about to happen.
I eat and retire for the night (unfortunately, no word on regaining any Endurance, leaving me at the stellar level of, you know, 3).
I have a disturbing dream of a white tiger roaring, followed by a vision of a Ninja, whose black eyes gleam malevolently. Waking with a start, I ponder the nightmare for a moment, before returning to sleep….
Are you kidding??
The book couldn’t signpost ‘trouble tonight!’ more clearly if it was written on the broad side of a barn. I get up and move to check with the guards.
I move outside, where there is nothing obvious out of the ordinary. One of the guards (politely) questions why I am out in the dead of night, and I (with some effort) stop myself from saying “Because, you silly fool, the book has made it clear that there’s going to be some kind of trouble tonight, and I’ve only got 3 Endurance left!”
I return inside and try the door to the interior courtyard, which is (now) jammed. I also hear a suspicious noise. I can go outside to investigate, hide behind a chest in the corner of my present room or use my skill of Lock-Picking to open the jammed door.
I haven’t used Lock-Picking so far in this adventure, so here is your time to shine!
I manage to work the door open, and find that it was jammed shut, clearly deliberately, with a piece of metal. Absolute proof (as if it was needed) that there is something going on.
I climb onto the roof (special skill of Climbing not needed) and make my way to the front of the building, where one of my Samurai ‘guards’ is lying dead with a Shuriken wound.
I drop down to the ground and come face to face with a ninja, dressed as I am, save that he has a sword strapped to his back. I’ve managed to take him by surprise, and as he leaps behind the nearest door, I shatter the door open with a flying kick and throw one of my Shuriken AT. HIS. FACE.
And…he manages to parry it with his sword.
We circle each other, and my opponent informs that he is a follower of the Way of the Scorpion (Nemesis) and intends to kill me. Well, duh.
In an incredible anti-climax, his first blow penetrates my defences and does 6 damage.
Remember how I had only 3 left?
Maybe we need to rewrite the rules to have swords designated as an ‘illegal foreign object’.