The Bridge and the Pools
Seeking a better way back outside, the party began to loop back through the goblin caves. Strawhat, scouting ahead, alerted a few inattentive goblins to his presence when he tried to signal his friends to fight, and was left somewhat wounded because of it. While the goblins were defeated (despite giving Huijin a dump in some nearby standing pools of water, one was able to escape and called for his allies.
The party prepared for the goblin charge, and dumped most of them down below by lighting the bridge on fire. After finishing off the remainder, the party took refuge just inside the cave to try to recuperate.
The Goblin Chief
While they rested, Lu Bu and Strawhat exchanged words over the proper way to protect the Princess. The rest was rudely interrupted by firebombs dropped from above, which drove the party into a flood of water that pushed most of them out of the cave entirely.
When Ash went to investigate, he was met by a trio of goblins, among them the goblin chief. After Fini and Huijin took care of the two bodyguards, Ash was able to pull the chief out into the open where the rest of the party could interrogate him.
Three arrowheads out of six
While the goblin pleaded for his life, the party learned that he had been contracted to watch the roads for a group of travelers and try to assassinate one of them in particular, the girl riding a horse. To this end, they were paid, and given three obsidian arrowheads out of a purported six owned by their contractor.
It was clear from the letter found on the goblin chief that a very wealthy noble was responsible for this attempted assassination, and the timing of the attack left little doubt that whoever paid for the princess’s death was aware of the imminent attack on the capital. Seeking a place to safely leave the princess, the party headed into Middle Valley to find Huijin’s circle of druids.