Session 38

The characters wait outside the safe house, hoping that one of the Mist Tigers will leave for the night. Late in the evening, a likely candidate emerges and wanders off into the city. Asami trails close behind while everyone else follows at a distance. The ninja first heads to a late-night market and picks up some steamed buns from a street vendor. Then he gobbles them down while he heads to the section of the Dancing Fans district where the Golden Hornets run a brothel.

The characters watch him disappear into one of the buildings, and Asami fills them in on the House of Red Lanterns. She’s well-acquainted with the brothel’s bath house — the building the ninja entered — which surprises Kumiko, Saeko, and Miyo. She informs them that the House of Red Lanterns is run by the Golden Hornets, and that the madame is a hanyo woman named Fujiko. She’s been to the bath house often enough that she would recognize the madame on sight.

Asami decides to follow the Mist Tiger into the bath house. Kumiko stands outside, looking nervous, and trying not to make eye contact with anyone. Saeko and Miyo hang farther back. Asami takes a seat and watches as her mark talks to one of the geisha. They chat for a few minutes, during which time another worker approaches Asami and begins to flirt.

When the Mist Tiger and his companion get up to go somewhere more private, Asami turns to her companion and asks if she knows the man who just left. The geisha gives her a look, as the women of the House of Red Lanterns are known for their discretion, but since Asami is a regular, she offers up a name: Yoshitoshi.

Asami thanks her for the information, and pays her for her time, then exits the bath house. She and the other characters track the ninja and his companion to a small bedroom in one of the other buildings. Asami decides to bluff. She opens the door and tells Yoshitoshi that the boss has a message for him. She delivers the line so convincingly that he sends the worker away and looks at Asami expectantly.

As soon as the worker is out of line of sight, she grapples the surprised ninja and draws her dagger. Miyo steps in right behind her and tries to cast Blindness/Deafness, but he resists. Now that he knows he’s been tricked, Yoshitoshi draws his ninja-to and stabs Asami in an unsuccessful effort to break her hold. To mask the sounds of the struggle, Saeko uses Minor Illusion to create sexy time noises coming from the room.

Asami shoves the ninja back into the room, and tells him to drop his weapon or they’ll kill him. Kumiko emphasizes Asami’s point with the point of her sun blade. She menaces him, threatening his life in a series of very graphic descriptions, which causes him to surrender. 

Kumiko starts barking questions at Yoshitoshi, and asks who he works for. He stammers for a moment before revealing that he works for Yasu — the Mist Tiger that tried to recruit the characters but who they cut down instead. Kumiko laughs, and tells him that he doesn’t work for her any more, that she killed his boss. He looks at her puzzled, and replies that Yasu isn’t dead. He talked to her earlier today.

The characters collectively groan, displeased with the revelation. They continue shouting questions at him, and he reveals that his job is keep people from poking their noses around the safe house. He says that there are a lot of ninja there now, down in the basement where Yasu’s lair is. He things that there is something sinister going on in the basement, but he doesn’t know what — he’s never been allowed down there.

Kumiko once again threatens his life and he finally breaks down under the pressure, sobbing and holding his face in his hands. The characters decide that they’ve gotten as much as they can expect to get from him, and that they need to leave quickly to avoid a confrontation. They extract him from the brothel and take him to the nearest guard box, along with a note to the Captain of the Guard.

It’s now close to midnight, but the characters are eager to act before anyone can tip off Yasu, so they take a short rest and return to the safe house