Aside : A genuine and heartfelt thanks to all of my readers, who have just taken this humble blog over the milestone of 10,000 views. I am touched by the ongoing interest from all around the world.
Rin and I renew our alliance and have to choose whether to travel through the open countryside or the forests. Rin does one of those “Its totally up to you, but…” dodges by mentioning that the Bakemono tend to steer away from the forests, although it is also true that if we do encounter any in the open fields, we will at least see them coming.
If I’m going to bother travelling with Rin, I might as well follow his advice. Forest travel it is!
The problem is that, if Rin is indeed wrong, he won’t be able to apologise to me for his mistake because he’ll be, you know, dead.
Aside : I won’t amend the above statement, but it will look a little silly in a couple of paragraphs.
We move through the forest and notice, at a distance, the signs of groups of Bakemono in the grasslands. Rin has justified his existence! He’s my bro!
Just as I’m getting optimistic, we pass a massive stone idol which resembles a Bakemono, and the book asks whether I have the skill of Detecting Traps.
You know this isn’t going to end well.
A net, fresh out of Return of the Jedi, springs from the ground and ensnares me.
I don’t have the skill of Escapology, but I am able to confirm that I have been travelling with an ally!
Rin, in a situation where he certainly could have washed his hands of me and walked away, climbs a nearby tree and uses his katana to free me.
There follows an awkward moment where Rin suggests that we stay out of the forest, due to the traps that are all around us. Aware that he just saved my hide, I bite my tongue and refrain from mentioning that it was his ‘brilliant’ idea to move through the darn forest in the first place.
After some further uneventful travel, where we presumably act like a teenage dating couple and refrain from mentioning what’s really on our minds, we come across a non-descript wooden bridge with Gorobei waiting there (!!), presumably (as a non-player-character) passing the time passively until activated by our proximity.
Gorobei doesn’t mention how he survived the avalanche but, to be fair, he also does not criticise me for, essentially, leaving him for dead.
Well, maybe we were just so manly about the whole deal that we didn’t need to communicate about it save and except through stoic nods.
The three of us carry on to Iga, although prior to reaching same, the three of us confront a band of six (!) Bakemono.
Each of us take on two adversaries, and I am able to use a Poison Needle to take out the first of ‘my’ pair, before they can even reach me.
I use the Forked Lightning Strike!
We both miss.
My kick lands, doing 5 damage, leaving the Bakemono with 2. The Bakemono then falters against my steely defence.
Endurance : Me – 13, Bakemono – 2
Two misses in each of these rounds serve to drag out this combat.
My kick finally connects TO THE FACE and my last opponent is put down.
We now enter the city together, and Rin leaves us, talking about how he intends to return to Takahiri by ship. For all my joking, I admit that he saved me from the forest net, where I have a sneaking suspicion I would have otherwise met a sticky end. Fair thee well Rin, and may your story about the origin of your name meet many other impressed audiences!
Gorobei and I, meanwhile, make our way to the harbour, where presumably the winner of this brutal contest will be announced.
Stats : All modifiers : 0 Endurance : 13, Inner Force 2, Shuriken 4