Chapter 20: Into the Lion’s Den
- Morio rejoins the others and they descend into the cave. Surprisingly they end up in an impressive cave arch with statues of famous imperial generals of old along the walls. From a balustrade on the opposite side Corentin welcomes them, saying they’re the first test objects coming voluntarily, and in appreciation of their courage, they’re granted a very special challenge. From each of the five side chambers, a huge beast appears.
- These are five huge and powerful monsters, one for each element, each one able to cast some spells and to inflict serious physical damage, similar to dragons from Rhapsodia (3*3 squares) but each one is an individual creature with individual skills, stats, movement etc.
- After the beasts are slain, Corentin congratulates them on their victory, and thanks them for demonstrating the weaknesses of these breeds. He promises the next offspring will be tougher, and tells them to come back in a couple of weeks. The party tells him this was his last breed and challenges him to fight. Corentin expresses his regret about them not being alive to witness his next breed. He then magically animates the statues, which join him in his fight against Morio and his friends.
- These are eight mighty clones of legendary imperial generals, one for each normal weapon type: Sword, Gr. Sword, Axe, Spear, Hammer, Bow, Darts, and Fists. They’ve got max weapon level, max skills, as well as their respective command and elemental sword runes attached. Stat-wise, they’re like above-average characters, but they’re some levels higher than the average of the 8 highest-leveled characters of Morio’s party. Corentin the sorcerer joins them in battle and casts powerful spells against the party, and always tries to hide behind the frontline of his animated statues. As soon as Corentin falls, the battle will end, and if there are statues alive, they turn back to stone.
- Rays of dazzling light beam out of Corentin’s wounds. Screaming and cursing Morio, his body starts to pulverize until there’s only a light silhouette left. Casting his last spell, the light ceases until it’s gone. His last spell causes a powerful earthquake that makes the place tremble and debris fall from the ceiling. The party hurries out of the mines, their way led by Iris.
- When they reach the outer site, a big part of the mines collapses. Without a force of control, the monsters in the stables have started attacking each other. Some ending scenes follow…
- Morio, Yumiko and Kakuji standing together…
Kakuji: “Yeah, not bad for the first mission, but I hope the next one is more exciting.”
Yumiko (upset, pulling Kakuji’s ears): “We got nearly killed, you idiot!”
Kakuji: “Stop it! I was just kidding!”
Yumiko (lets loose his ears): “Whatever. I’m happy it’s over, even though we actually failed the mission. I mean, we were sent to look for the reason of a threat, and not to defeat it.”
Morio: “Listen guys, I’ve got to tell you something…”
Eldur and Trishna approach Morio and interrupt him. After some words of farewell they leave. Gohu, Griselde and Yalda approach Morio.
Gohu: “Morio, please don’t tell me you’ll leave us now.”
Morio: “I’m sorry, Gohu…”
Gohu: “But there must be a reason why we’ve met.”
Griselde: “Brother, we’ve just destroyed the reason.”
Gohu: “But… but…”
Morio: “I have a request, please take Yalda with you.”
Griselde: “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of both of them.”
Morio: “Yalda, I’ll be back soon, I promise.”
Yalda: “Dario! Nalleo! Let’s get going.”
Mondo jumps into the group.
Mondo: “It’s getting dark soon, let’s set off. Are you ready?”
Morio: “Wait a minute. I want to say goodbye to Odessa.”
- In the meanwhile there is some conversation within Odessa’s group.
Odessa: “Thank you guys, but as for me, this was just a start. Can I still count on you?”
Viktor: “I’m sorry, but… yes of course, no need to ask.”
Flik: “Yes, you wouldn’t get rid of us anyway.”
Mose: “If you need weapons, just tell me.”
Sanchez: “I’ll follow you in case you need other things than weapons, …”
Viktor: “Don’t worry, Flik will handle this.”
Sanchez: “…like quill and paper.”
Odessa: “All of you… thank you. To you as well, uncle… (looking around) gone, but still, thank you.”
Kessler: “Can’t we hurry up a bit, we’ve got a long and epic feast to celebrate.”
Lexy: “But don’t drink too much boss, I won’t support you on the way back to our stronghold the day after.”
Odessa: “Varkas, Sydonia, I’ll give you the money in Sarady as promised.”
Varkas: “Ahh, never mind. We’ve emptied a lot of imperial pockets on this journey, so we’ll return with more money than expected anyway. Am I right, Sydonia?”
- Morio approaches Odessa.
Odessa: “Morio, I owe you so much. You’ve rendered a great service to this land and its people. I can’t find the right words to thank you.”
Morio: “Stop it, Odessa. You know very well we’ve accomplished it together. But listen, it’s you who needs the credits in public. We ninja don’t need it. Seriously, don’t be too modest, you’re a leader after all.”
Odessa: “I’ll try my best. But promise me, if you ever need help, tell us.”
Morio: “Thank you. As long as the empire works as we’ve witnessed, I’m sure ninja and rebels will fight side by side again soon. Well, I’ve got to go now.”
Kessler: “Go?! What do you mean? There is a feast you don’t want to miss.”
Morio: “Haha! We’ll catch up on it someday. All of you, thank you and farewell!”
- Halfway between the mines and Rokkaku, Mondo and the ninja pitch a camp. Early the next morning, Mondo enters the 3 ninjas’ tent. They’re gone. Mondo finds a letter which has been conspicuously placed in the middle of the tent. It is addressed to Hanzo. Mondo hurries to Rokkaku and hands it to Hanzo. Hanzo opens it and the scene fades. There are some animations in the background, quiet music is playing and the letter is read by Yumiko’s voice actress (the letter was written by Yumiko). Therein, Yumiko doesn’t reveal all the details, but she explains that Morio has received hints about the whereabouts of his mother, and that she and Kakuji will stay by his side. After all, without Morio they wouldn’t be complete (Hanzo told them to return complete). In addition she gives an indication that the goal is far away, without telling where it is, so that the ninja can’t catch them and keep Morio from his search, but also for the sake of preventing Hanzo from wasting ninja forces to search for them. Lastly, on behalf of all the three, she thanks Hanzo for everything he has done for them, apologizes for all the inconveniences they brought upon the ninja. She promises to return one day with Kakuji, because at least the two of them have family in Rokkaku.
"Within the four seas, all men are brothers" Shuihu Zhuan