Aside : Before I start, I have to mention that on our retreat, we listened to a speech from Russell Mark, Olympic Gold medallist.
He told the story of the 1992 Olympic Skeet shooting. The competition was mixed, with 56 men and 1 (Chinese) woman. You know where this story is going, don’t you?
The female competitor, Zhang Shan, won with 223/225 targets. The real fun is what happened next. So ashamed of allowing a mere woman to beat them, the relevant committee immediately made sure that the competitors were divided into male and female competitions for the next Olympics. To prevent direct comparison, they even made sure that the men and women had to shoot a different number of targets!
When we left our intrepid ninja, he’d just been caught out in his admirable, but ultimately doomed, attempt to impersonate a courtesan.
All my equipment (including shuriken) is taken from me, with the exception of my Obsidian Bracelet. I get locked in a iron cage (still tied up) and see a monk of the Scarlet Mantis who has also been captured. He decides to mouth off, noting that I ‘must be’ one of the followers of Kwon he was sent here to stop, and identifying himself as Yaris. I guess he not so arrogant that he tries to give himself a bad-ass nickname, like Yaris of the Awesome Cage.
Apparently the Daimyo will now force me into single combat for his entertainment. Yaris mentions that his Obsidian Bracelet (now, unbeknownst to him, but knownst to me, which is in my possession) will enable resistance to the ‘control chain’ which is used to force prisoners to fight each other.
He offers to show me another way out of the castle on the condition that I free him. Interesting proposal, but before I answer, I’m dragged off.
I’m brought to a makeshift arena, guarded by four samurai, where I am apparently to be forced to fight Daon (gulp!), who has also been captured. More importantly, I also note that Aiko is on the viewing platform, disguised as a maidservant.
I’m starting to get reminded of that scene in Return of the Jedi where Luke is about to get thrown into the Sarlacc, but notes that all his friends are around him ready to leap in for the save.
Plus that brings this image to mind –
Straight men, gay women and all bi people – you’re welcome. [edited]
Aiko and I exchange hand signals. I can either ask her to free the Scarlet Mantis ninja, or to retrieve my stolen equipment. I might be tempting fate, but I have no confidence that the Scarlet Mantis ninja will keep his word, and I ask her to fetch my equipment. Hopefully we’ll still be able to work our way out of the castle.
I need to stop Daon killing me until Aiko can return. I restrict myself to throws, and go with the Dragon’s Tail.
We both miss.
I throw Daon, meaning he can’t attack this round.
I miss. Daon connects, but I successfully block the blow.
I note Aiko’s return, whip off the ‘control chain’ and quickly slap the Obsidian Bracelet on Daon’s wrist, freeing him from control.
Unfortunately, the return of my ninja tools does no good whatsoever against the apparently endless stream of samurai which dash into the area.
Daon, Aiko and I put on a brave last stand, but the story ends like most last stands….