Saeko heals Asami and helps her to her feet the characters are pelted by arrows fired from the shadows. Kumiko charges toward the threat, and her sunblade illuminates a group of wights with longbows led by a gaunt, female kitsune wielding a light crossbow. Kumiko fells one of the wights, and Miyo carefully drops a Fireball into the remaining group of undead, significantly scorching the wights. The kitsune appears to be unaffected by the blast, however, having expertly dodged the flames.
The wights move up, drop their longbows, and engage Saeko. This allows the kitsune to deal sneak attack damage with another necrotic, black bolt from her crossbow, which fells Saeko in one shot. Asami feeds Saeko a healing potion, and the characters all decide that now is the time to use the anti-necrotic o-fuda that Mitsuhide provided to them.
Kumiko uses her sunblade to destroy one of the remaining two wights and knock the other one prone. Miyo finishes off the wight on the ground with Magic Missile, and Saeko tries to end the fight by transfixing the kitsune with Hypnotic Pattern. Unfortunately for the characters, she resists.
The kitsune hits Kumiko with a crossbow bolt, does a little damage, and then withdraws into the shadowy tunnel behind her. Kumiko realizes that the kitsune gains advantage when shooting out of the darkness, so she lights a torch and hurtles it down the tunnel. She manages to catch the kitsune in the torchlight, which causes her to retreat further.
Unfortunately for the characters, they’re still within crossbow range. The kitsune drops Saeko with a crossbow bolt again and falls back. The characters keep giving chase, picking up the torch and flinging it down the tunnel as the kitsune continues to fire at them. The tunnel twists and turns, and the characters continue the dance with their assailant until she stops and stamp out the torch in order to regain a tactical advantage.
Having extinguished the torch, she shoots Asami and steps back into the shadows. Kumiko races to keep her in sight, and the light from her sunblade enables Saeko to successfully target her with a Shatter spell.
The cat and mouse game continues, as the kitsune kites the characters past a necrotic rift. She effortlessly moves past the writing black tentacles while the characters have to contend with them snapping and grabbing at their legs. To complicate matters, a group of gricks, spawned by the necrotic rift, engage the characters, allowing the kitsune to further widen the distance between them. By the time they dispatch the rubbery, tentacled beasts, the characters have lost sight of their assailant.
The characters light another torch and toss it down the tunnel. Toss, grab, toss, grab, toss again as they press forward down the twisting tunnel. As Saeko bends down to pick up the torch in order to toss it again, she gets knocked out once again by another black bolt fired from the shadows. The characters all curse the situation and rush to heal their companion. After reviving her, they determine that they are in a precarious position - they’re nearly out of resources, and, even with Mitsuhide’s amulets, the kitsune is still doing tremendous damage with her necrotic crossbow bolts.
They decide to withdraw and retreat to the room with the blood magic circle. Saeko casts Darkness to obscure the entrance to the room, and Kumiko and Asami stand guard. Miyo and Saeko then get to work - as they drain the circle of its power, the blood hanging in the air dissipates, and the runes on the floor stop glowing.
Satisfied that they’ve done significant damage to the cult, they head back to the surface.
First, they find a local guardsman and ask him to send an alert to the Captain of the Guard. Second, they head to the theater to sleep and recover. The next morning, Miyo and Saeko decipher the letter written by the Cricket. It states that the attacks by outsiders require rethinking their plans, and that the Great Leader believes that accelerating them is the best course of action. It closes with the valediction, “There is no death. Only hunger."
Unfortunately, they fail to decipher the Raven’s notes, and realize that they will need outside assistance to understand them. Before tackling that, though, the group decides to head back to the safe house to try finish things off.
XP: 32,300 (8,050 ea)
Running Total: 15,103 + 8,050 = 23,153 (LEVEL UP!)
The characters find that the Captain of the Guard has sent ashigaru to keep an eye on the safe house. They are standing guard nervously when the characters arrive, and are happy to let them back in to the evil lair of evil so they don’t have to do it themselves. The characters cautiously retrace their steps, waiting for a reinforced and rested set of evil ninja cultists to jump out of the shadows. Fortunately, it appears that they really have done significant damage, as they see nothing until they head past the room with the now-defunct blood magic circle, and explore a previously un-searched tunnel, where they find a gibbering mouther galumphing around a storeroom.
Having tackled several mouthers already, the characters decide to stand out of the range of its babbling and whittle it down before it has the chance to reach them.They quickly dispatch it, and then search the storeroom, finding zombie poison ingredients and a basket of unworked jade worth 2,000 cranes.
The characters then head into the tunnel down which they had chased the kitsune the previous night. There, they get entangled by a roper. Kumiko gets bitten, but the group manages to take it out without suffering significant damage They take a short break from exploring, and Saeko sings a Song of Rest, which is just badly audible over the drone that fills the cave system. The farther they push down this tunnel, the louder the drone gets, and the more their skin crawls.
As they round a corner, they see four wights and the kitsune waiting for them. Miyo opens the encounter with a very effective Fireball. All wights take damage, though the kitsune avoids all damage due to her superior reflexes. To prevent a repeat of the previous night, the characters have come armed with a sack full of pebbles affected by the Light spell. They toss them out in front of and behind the group of undead in an attempt to push back the shadows as far as possible.
Saeko tries to use Hypnotic Pattern again, and only manages to entrance one of the wights. The other undead ninja spread out and try to improve their tactical position. Two of them step on the pebbles, blocking out any light they had provided, and take shots with their bows. The kitsune, now shrouded in darkness, uses her sneak attack ability to target Kumiko with a necrotic black crossbow bolt. Kumiko makes an inspired dodge, though, and the bolt narrowly passes right by her.
Another Fireball from Miyo whittles the bad guys down more, dropping one of the wights and seriously injuring the others. Sakeo follows up the Fireball with a Shatter spell, and takes out the remaining two wights. As they fall to the ground, they expose the glowing pebbles, illuminating the the kitsune once gain, which is fortunate for the characters, as, thus far into the fight, she has remained untouched.