The Sacred Hotsprings
After being introduced to Gin, the party decided that to ensure that both the Sacred Grove and Akemi were protected, they would have to split up. Lu Bu, Gin, Strawhat, and Huijin would disrupt the leadership of the army by assassinating its leader. Knowing that he would make use of some famed local hotsprings, the party began to lay out a careful plan…
The next we saw, a disrobed Strawhat was fleeing pursuit from a number of soldiers. In the disorganized, inelegant, and steamy fight that followed, the group was able to defeat the immediate threat, and fled into the nearby forests. Drawing a vengeful army behind them, they set to lead the Butcher’s men away from the Sacred Grove.
The P.O.U.S? I don’t think they exist.
Knowing they would need to slow down the army, and seeing a chance to thin their pursuers numbers, the group headed towards the Grove of Carnivorous Plants, where plants of unusual shape resided.
While they were successful in bringing the army into the grove, the delicious heat from their non-photosythesizing bodies attracted a pair of carnivorous plants, which beset the party. Luckily, Strawhat was able to prove that fist beats plant, and with the help of the others the plants were reduced to a spray of pollen.
The party exited into the swamp, a dark and dismal place. Tired, injured, and soaking wet after a few missteps, the sight of a warm, spacious looking hut in the swamp brought the party to risk the hospitality of its inhabitant.
A Daughter of the Dark Lady
While drying off inside the hut, Strawhat discovered a few pages of a journal, written in a foreign script, as well as noticing a number of oddly shaped, strangely attuned gems hanging around the main room. Before they had a chance to investigate further, the owner of the hut returned, a dark-skinned woman.
While Strawhat hid from this threatening presence, the others spoke with her briefly. She extended her hospitality, and gave the name of Anah al-Firii. When asked about her reason for being in Zhongdao, she explained that she was interested in collecting things from across the world, and had come to the Middle Isles to collect priceless items.
Dismissing herself to sleep, the party set themselves up to rest for the night. Their rest was disturbed by a voice calling to Strawhat from outside. Strawhat approached the voice, and found that it was a spiritual form resembling his fellow apprentice, Novice Fieldstone, who had been dispatched on a separate mission the same time he had left his monastery.
With the spirit of Novice Fieldstone, dozens of undead arose from the depths of the swamp, and beset the party. While they first tried to barricade themselves inside the hut, the increasing number of undead soon caused them to flee, and they dispelled the tortured spirit of Fieldstone as they fled the swamp.
Unable to rest, the party began to slowly make their way back towards the rendez-vous with the rest of the party, so they could set out for their next destination, the Clear Stone Monastery.