LOOG Chapter – 35

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Chapter 35: A Jade Bottle

As soon as Lady Yan saw Yuwen Huo, she began to bark orders. “Bring me a furnace immediately. I need Violet Ginseng Rootlets, Blackberry Lily, rice wine, lotus oil, Underheaven Lichen, Numinous Mushroom….” To the astonishment of everyone present, she listed ten more ingredients. Half of the list included rare ingredients that Sunan had never even heard of.

When she finished, everyone stared at her with wide eyes.

She looked around, frowning. “There’s still a chance to stop the spread of the curse. Hurry!”

It took a full hour to collect all of the ingredients, and another hour for Lady Yan to concoct the medicine. Upon finishing, she forced the thick liquid down Yuwen Huo’s throat. He shuddered, then went still.

It was only after the process was completely that Lady Yan offered further explanation. “The River Demon you described is more common in the south. I’m not sure what such a creature was doing up here. If the spread of the curse had not been stopped, Lieutenant Yuwen would have experienced a violent transformation, and ended up becoming a crab or some other crab-like creature.”

In the silence that followed. Sunan shook his head slowly. “How could I have let this happen?”

Lady Yan reached out and placed her hand atop his. “Blaming yourself for mistakes does little good, Sect Leader Sunan.”

Sun Mai eyed her hand and then cleared his throat. “It’s true. As Kong Zhi said, the only true mistake is the mistake you don’t correct.”

“And how do I correct this one?” Sunan replied.

Lady Yan pulled her hand back, and Sun Mai sniffed. “Well,” he said, “what was it the thing said about the city being infiltrated?”

“Not much, just that the Demon Emperor was coming for us.”

“Probably idle talk,” Sun Mai said.

**

Yuwen Huo woke up the following day. The bright blue discoloration on his skin remained, as did a nasty wound on his cheek which would no doubt turn into a vicious-looking scar. Other than that, he was no worse for the wear, and in fact, felt even stronger than before.

In their next sparring session, Sunan confirmed that. Yuwen Huo was significantly stronger and faster than before the incident with the River Demon.

“See?” Sun Mai said. “Often times good fortune comes in the midst of disaster!”

Time marched by. Lady Yan continued to be of help in odd ways. Although Sun Mai didn’t like to admit it, even he admired the advice she gave. Some of her minor suggestions actually ended up significantly changing the Golden Dragon Sect. Organizational methods, uniforms, recruiting tactics, and other things, were all touched by her hand.

Eventually, Sunan grew fond of walking the city walls with her in the evenings. They would talk about many things, from food to geography to art to history. Occasionally the subject of the Demon Emperor would come up, and although she always maneuvered the conversation deftly, it was clear to him that she truly viewed him as a tragic hero in his own story. Sunan still didn’t quite believe her tales, but as time went on, he found her devotion somewhat endearing.

Something about Lady Yan changed that Sunan never noticed. In fact, neither did Sun Mai or any of the other members of the Golden Dragon Sect. Perhaps if Bao had been present, she might have noticed. Often, women can see things in the eyes of other women that men are blind to. Lady Yan began to look at Sunan differently. Her eyes glittered in a way they hadn’t before, and her smiles grew slightly more bashful.

Eventually, the Golden Dragon Sect reached a milestone. The total membership in the sect had reached fifty. The most powerful fighters in the sect were Sunan and Sun Mai, both of whom were still third level Qi fighters. Yuwen Huo and Tie Gangwen were both in the second level, as were a few other of the soldiers who had been training the longest. Twenty sect disciples were in the first level, and the rest were initiates who had not yet achieved their first breakthrough.

To celebrate, Sunan and Sun Mai took the entire sect to the Heavenly Meat Palace for a feast. Lady Yan, despite not being a member of the Golden Dragon Sect, was also invited along.

The Heavenly Meat Palace was large enough to accommodate them, as well as a handful of other guests who had been present before they arrived.

Fiery prawns and grilled meat piled up high on the tables, and wine flowed freely. After about two hours had passed, everyone was in a wonderful mood. Suddenly, a scream could be heard, and one of the lower ranked disciples ran back into the common room shouting at the top of his lungs.

“Demon! I saw a Demon!” He ran up to Sun Mai and Sunan’s table, panting. “Sect Leader Sunan, there’s a Demon back there!”

“More Demons?” Sun Mai said laughing. “Are you sure you haven’t had a bit too much wine, young man?”

“Chief Minister Sun,” the young man said, “I’m too young to drink wine. Believe me, there’s a Demon back there! I saw it run into one of the back storage rooms after I went to the alley to relieve myself!”

Sunan and Sun Mai exchanged a glance.

“I’ll handle it,” Sun Mai said. “I’m sure it’s nothing.” He turned to Tie Gangwen. “Come with me, Lieutenant.”

Sun Mai was about as familiar with the Heavenly Meat Palace as he was with the back of his hand, so he needed no help from the staff to lead Tie Gangwen to the exact place that the young disciple had just referred to.

Soon they were standing outside one of the inn’s several large storage rooms.

“Sunan and I investigated this whole area before once,” he explained. “I have a really hard time believing that a–”

Before he could finish his sentence, the door crashed open and an enormous rat burst out. It was the size of Sun Mai’s forearm, with black eyes and wide red lips that hung loosely over its curled teeth. It leaped up into the air directly toward Sun Mai, who instantly reacted by using his technique Dance of Kong Zhi to fly backward.

The Rat Demon then let out a powerful squeak which pierced like daggers into the ears of both Tie Gangwen and Sun Mai.

Sun Mai wasn’t affected, but Tie Gangwen suddenly found himself rooted in place, completely incapable of moving.

Having missed its initial target of Sun Mai, the Rat Demon landed on the opposite wall and then launched into the air toward Tie Gangwen.

“Sword of the Scholar!” Sun Mai shouted, waving his finger. An invisible sword slashed through the air, severing the rat’s tail but doing little other damage. The rat landed onto Tie Gangwen’s shoulder, where it promptly bit down onto his neck.

“Dammit!” he shouted, but was still unable to move. He began to shake violently, to the point where he teetered on the verge of falling over. The rat turned again and looked at Sun Mai with black eyes.

“Father Zhen will have his revenge!” the rat said in a squeaky voice. Then it turned and leaped off of Tie Gangwen. When the rat pushed off of Tie Gangwen, he was sent down to the ground with a loud thump.

As the rat bolted down the hallway, Sun Mai crouched down to help Tie Gangwen up. Tie Gangwen struggled to his feet with Sun Mai’s help. Now that he could move again, he reached up to feel the bloody wound on his neck.

“Are you okay?” Sun Mai asked, examining the wound.

“I think so,” Tie Gangwen replied. “I feel very weak though.”

Sun Mai looked at the empty corridor. “That was one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen in a long time. Come on, let’s go get some food in you.”

Tie Gangwen nodded, and they returned to the main hall.

When Sunan saw Tie Gangwen’s neck, his eyes went wide. “What happened?”

Sun Mai sat down. “Apparently there really is a Rat Demon here.”

Sun Mai’s eyes went wide. “Really? Another Demon? What’s going on in this city?”

Suddenly, a familiar voice rang out from the far corner of the room. “Isn’t that the question we would all like to know, Chief Minister Sun!!!”

All eyes in the Heavenly Meat Palace swiveled over to look at the dour-faced man who was currently striding toward Sunan and Sun Mai’s table.

“Smiling Luo!” Sun Mai said, looking a bit puzzled. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m here to do what I should have done a long time ago, Chief Minister Sun!” With that, Smiling Luo turned to Sunan. “Sect Leader Sunan, I tried to tell you before about the Demons, but you wouldn’t listen to me. Now look what’s happened. People have died. Died! Well I’m here to reveal the truth of the matter. You want to know what’s going on in this city? Well I’ll tell you. He is what’s going on!” In accompaniment with his final sentence. Smiling Luo pointed dramatically at Sun Mai.

“Him?” Sunan said.

“Me?” Sun Mai said.

“Yes!” shouted Smiling Luo. “Sect Leader Sunan, this man you have at your side is a fraud! I’ve known him for years, and he’s nothing but a cheater and a liar! He’s in charge of the Demons in this place because he is none other than their leader! He is a Demon! I could never figure out why my Demon hunting business never succeeded. The reason is because Sun Mai’s Sundry Services was always set up near my shop. He did it to spy on me and make sure that he and his fellow Demons were safe. No wonder his shop never made any money. Because he didn’t need to!”

“Hey, my shop made money!” Sun Mai said indignantly. “My poetry–”

“Could be written by drunken Monkey Demons!” barked Smiling Luo. Suddenly he began to laugh, which was a strange sight, because he somehow managed to frown while doing so. “Hahaha! You can hide your treachery no longer Chief Minister Sun. Or should I say… Demon Sun!”

Smiling Luo then produced a small jade bottle which he held high above his head. “It took me months to acquire this through various agents and traders, Chief Minister Sun, and came at great personal cost. This is none other than the fabled Celestial Illusion Dispelling Powder from Zhe Valley. This powder will reveal the true form of any Demon or similar creature. And now, Chief Minister Sun, it will reveal to the whole world how much of a fraud you are!”

“Stay your hand!” cried Lady Yan. “That powder… can react explosively when it contacts fire.”

Instantly, everyone looked around at the numerous oil lamps which filled the Heavenly Meat Palace.

Smiling Luo hesitated for a moment. “Nonsense!”

Then, he reached his hand back as he prepared to throw the jade bottle to the ground.

“NOOO!” Lady Yan screamed, lunging over the table toward Smiling Luo. As she flew through the air, the jade bottle descended. Her right hand stretched out, but her fingers grasped nothing but air. The jade bottle smashed onto the ground, and a banging sound rang out as powder instantly spread out through the room.

Lady Yan landed onto the ground, her red hair spread out around her like a blanket.

Some people coughed, others placed their sleeves over their noses and mouths, others pulled out fans which they began waving through the air.

As for Smiling Luo, he threw his head back and began to laugh at the top of his lungs. “And now we can see your true form, Chief Minister… uh–”

Sun Mai brushed some pink powder off of his nose and then sneezed. He looked exactly as he had moments before.

Glowering at Smiling Luo, Sunan hopped over the table and walked toward Lady Yan.

“Lady Yan, are you hurt?” he said.

She remained on the ground, her hair covering her. Just before Sunan reached her, she spoke. “Sect Leader Sunan, please forgive me.”

When she looked up, a collective gasp filled the room.

If you would like to use details from chapter 34 and 35 in your roleplaying sessions, please check out the Bedrock Blog and The Curse of the Crab. Going forward, we hope to have more direct connections between the story and the game. Even if you don’t play the Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate, you can still get some cool background info about the action in the story. Definitely check it out!

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5 thoughts on “LOOG Chapter – 35” - NO SPOILERS and NO CURSING

  1. ““I think so,” Tie Gangwen replied. “I feel very week though.””

    Weak, rather than week I would think.

    Not sure if the Lady Yan reveal will be climactic or anticlimactic, only one way to know!

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