I type the above words ‘Attempt 4’ with extreme trepidation. After all, I’m still a guy who wakes up in a cold sweat, muttering the words ‘Horned Cyclops’ over and over through chattering teeth.
In any event, I think that only one stupid choice really kept me from progressing last time, so I take the metaphorical bit between my metaphorical teeth and resolve to again travel to Suma.
As a wise one said :
I should mention that my incarnation of a ninja-in-training is selecting the skills of Arrow Cutting, Poison Needles and Opening Locks / Detecting Traps.
Daon, Aiko and I again confront the followers of the Scarlet Mantis, as they lie in wait at a certain disreputable bridge.
I won’t describe the entire combat which follows, because it is just too embarrassing for words. I put down the enemy, but suffer 14 (!!) points of total Endurance loss, after and one stage having him down to 3 while still being on 20.
I retrieve an Obsidian Bracelet, and a subsequent small meal does restore some (2) Endurance, leaving me with a sickly amount of 8.
We hit Suma, and resisting the urge to check out local bars, I again resolve to enter the palace through subterfuge. Given my (gulp) limited earlier success at imitating a courtesan, I decide to dress as a samurai, and decide to wear the armour of the visiting crowd, since wearing the ‘local’ armour would increase the risk of being recognised as not one of the ‘home team’.
I approach the gate and spin a story about how I got lost on the way here. In an eerie parallel to my courtesan approach, the guard laughs about how, in all likelihood, I was sampling the wares of the local pleasure-houses, but nevertheless allows me through.
As I approach the central hall with two guards, I think its likely that if I continue, my disguise will be blown. I therefore attempt to take out my escort. I nail the first one without incident, and attempt an improvised Teeth of the Tiger throw on the remaining samurai.
Unfortunately, my throw is unsuccessful, and reinforcements storm the hallway. I am again taken prisoner and thrown in to the dungeon with Yaris, the talkative Scarlet Mantis monk.
Yes, I know the quote is also from Battlestar Galactica, but I prefer the original.
At least I know that this time I need make the hard choice to kiss my gear goodbye and get Yaris freed.
While Aiko is doing that (the freeing of Yaris, not the kissing), I need to face the (mind-controlled) Daon. A tricky option, given my low Endurance.
Like an idiot, I initially go for the Whirlpool throw, and Daon promptly blocks and retaliates, doing 7 damage.
For the slow ones in the crowd, this leaves me with the just the 1 point of Endurance left.
For my second attack, I switch to the Teeth of the Tiger throw. Its unsuccessful, but at least Daon’s response is similarly off-target. My final Dragon’s Tail succeeds, meaning I can at least go to the next paragraph.
Yaris and Aiko burst into the arena and Yaris, after directing us to an escape tunnel, does the standard ‘honourable enemy’ trope by sacrificing himself to guard our retreat.
Lucky no-one mentioned to him the whole ‘destined in the future to kill Yaemon’ thing.
Daon, Aiko and I reach the city streets, and part ways.
To sum up : I didn’t get the flag, I’ve literally got 1 Endurance point left, and I lost almost all my equipment.
Stats : Endurance : 1, All modifiers : 0, Inner Force 3, Shuriken 5
Web-page recommendation : For all those with customer service stories, check out Acts of Gord. It tells the stories of a man with the courage to be the owner / manager of a video game establishment. The people he deals with make you groan and laugh in equal quantities.