The crew heads to a remote village to question an apothecary about the maker of the simulacrum.
Hamid, Azu and Zolf talk to Wilde in the Japanese inn. Wilde tells them that he has a hunch that everything that has happened is a direct result of the work that he and the L.O.L.O.M.G. were doing before they disappeared. Although Wilde's operation is a self-contained unit, they are working with the Harlequins to a degree. Apparently the Harlequins are now the de facto institution after the meritocrats disappeared and their supporters compromised. Although they are still nominally in control, they are not making any real decisions anymore. Wilde wants to stay self-contained, because he doesn't want the enemy to know that they are still pursuing the same leads as before.
Wilde has created a Dead Man's policy for when he dies or is taken/compromised, which will cause all his information to be send to Curie. The main reason Wilde is in Japan is because the Temple of Hephaestus denies all existence of the information that Grizzop gave them, and that the original cleric that he spoke to managed to disappear. He still has the ciphered paperwork that they collected from the Cairo bank vault.
The reason why Wilde got Zolf involved is because of the consistent weather issues. Wilde has info that it all is coming from a single point: a tiny island/rock, a place called the Shoin Institute, a little ways from Okinoshima Island - where they currently are. He believes that the weather phenomena are created by constructs/creatures created by the person running the Shoin Institute, who has declared themselves a feudal lord. Although Wilde has a team put together, he says that Shoin is hard to capture and that the island is pretty much a fortress. Hamid asks whether Wilde wants them to go to the island and break in. Zolf says that they think Shoin is making simulacra, and that Wilde and him are planning a heist of sorts.
Hamid asks why Howard Carter is involved, and why he isn't behind the bars. He asks Wilde whether he is sleeping with Carter, but Wilde denies this. Wilde says that Carter is a good 'Sasha', while Barnes is useful because he is still nominally working within the meritocracy and is therefore a useful contact. There is another person Wilde would like to invite to the team, one Zolf does not yet know about. Wilde says that Shoin has been expanding and his people have gone beyond their usual range to get supplies, however, apparently there is a village he has been avoiding. There is an apothecarist there who might be worth talking to. Wilde has done his research on them and they seem to check out, and because Shoin is an alchemist, it is worth getting them involved.
Zolf asks whether this apothecarist speaks English, and Wilde chuckles and gives Zolf, Azu and Hamid each a potion of Tongues, which would allow them all to speak Japanese. The potions last for an hour. He requests that they do not bring the apothecarist back to the inn immediately, but that they should follow 'standard procedures' and wait a week. If it seems that this person is worth their time, they should take them back to the inn for a little chat. Wilde gives them a map of Okinoshima Island to help them navigate. The inn is located in the middle of the island, and the Shoin Institute is off the west coast. The village they are planning on going to is further to the east, almost coastal, closer to the mainland. It is a couple of hours away.
Before the party heads out, Wilde asks to speak alone to Zolf. He tells him that although he trusts Azu and Hamid, that if Zolf has to choose between the mission and them, he should choose the mission. Zolf agrees, saying that their mission is bigger than single people. The party leaves in the still pouring rain, and Zolf takes the opportunity to tell them about his conversation with Wilde. He presumes that Azu and Hamid feel the same way about the importance of the mission over helping each other, but Hamid disagrees, and Azu says she can't promise that.
Zolf then tells them the reason he can walk is because he's using simulacrum-tech prostheses. They are magical, so they would stop working in an anti-magic field. He also says he can still cast magic even though he's not following Poseidon anymore. He says that he is similar to Hamid, because he now can also cast magic for inexplicable reasons. Hamid says that he actually knows why he can cast magic, because he is descended from Apophis.
The party approach the outskirts of the village. They see signs of some kind of fight and they can hear shouting from further into the village.The group runs towards the village, and Hamid casts Detect Magic as Zolf and Azu try to talk to several people lying around unconscious. Hamid heads towards a shop where he figures the fight started.
Inside the shop, Hamid sees a tall, 6 foot person with vertical, blonde streaked with silver hair wearing a long coat and a massive, mechanical crossbow. They are wearing glowing goggles on their head. Hamid notices that the goggles, crossbow, and belt they are wearing are magic, as well as a lot of other things. The person yells something in Japanese, but Hamid doesn't understand. They try in several other languages, including English. Hamid asks if they are the one who has been assaulting all the people they have found, and then tells them they are looking for someone, and wonders if they are that person. The person is defensive and aims their crossbow at Hamid, stepping closer. They asks why Hamid is here just as Azu and Zolf run up.
Hamid tells the person they are not there to take anything, and Zolf says they just want to talk. Azu asks if they are the apothecarist, and Zolf asks them to put down their weapon and to have a talk. Hamid asks whether they hurt all the people around them, and the person admits that it was them. Zolf tells them that he thinks they might have a common enemy, but doesn't want to have that conversation in front of the blokes and/or lads.
Hamid is still worried, because they don't know whether the person is nice or not, seeing as they have beaten up everyone around them. The apothecarist becomes agitated, and they chug a potion and start to grow. Hamid casts Hold Person on them, and Zolf tries to intervene by casting Dispel Magic, but fails. Azu casts Detect Evil, and can see that the person is good, while the blokes on the floor are somewhat bad. When she tells Hamid this, Hamid releases Hold Person and apologizes to the apothecarist.
Zolf apologizes for Hamid's actions and requests to talk. Although Hamid apologizes for his actions, he explains his reasoning and still think he did the right thing with the limited information they had about the situation. The apothecarist is still very agitated and requests that the party leave. Zolf tells them they are enemies of Shoin, too. The person then agrees to talk inside the shop, but first runs up to one of the unconscious people on the floor (a gnome called Jasper), and wakes him up using a Cure Light Wounds vial. This is apparently their assistant.
Jasper wakes up and immediately apologizes in Japanese. The apothecarist reassures him and then requests he walks around to check if anyone is hurt and needs help. Jasper runs off. Zolf berates Hamid about his trigger-happiness, and Hamid defends himself. Hamid starts dragging all the unconscious thugs onto a pile and ties them up, Jasper, Azu and Zolf help him.
The apothecarist thugs another potion, and they grow teeth and claws. They walk up to the blokes and thugs and starts intimidating them in Japanese, telling them if they ever dare to come back, there's a spell cast on them that will cause them to explode, and if they dare to go back to the Shoin Institute, their blood will start leaking out of their eyes. They tell the thugs to go back to the mainland and to stop causing trouble.
While they are doing this, Hamid casts Comprehend Languages and Detect Thoughts, and can read that all the thugs are very scared and buy the bluff. The apothecarist then releases them, and tells them that a ferry is waiting for them to take them to the mainland. The thugs immediately run away. Hamid and Azu compliment the person on their tactics, and they invite the party inside their shop for tea.
- Wilde, talking about Howard Carter: "Turns out that... Sashas are hard to find. Let's put it that way. [...] He's the... the best that was on offer. I wasn't going to take him, but the third time he escaped and was recaptured, it seemed worth giving it a go. For what it's worth, he started behaving himself a bit better and there's only so much trouble he can get i---"
- Hamid: "Are you sleeping with him?"
- Azu, sternly: "...Hamid."
- Zolf, surprised: "...Hamid?!"
- Hamid: "The way the two of you interacted? I don't believe your libido is the best way of deciding who should be on a team like this, Oscar."
- Wilde: "You've been nothing but... efficient, and dedicated, since you came back. Don't get me wrong, I trust them, but we still have a job to do. Don't get carried away with them."
- Zolf: "I knew you were going to say that. No, of course not. I wasn't going to -- No, hang on - what do you mean by 'carried away'?"
- Wilde: "The mission is the most important thing. If you have to choose between the mission and them, you're going to have to choose the mission."
- Zolf, sighing: "Yeah, eh.. they-- I would imagine they would get that as well, but... Yes. Of course. This is bigger than single people."
- Zolf: "I should probably tell you some things. You know, I used to spent a lot of time not talking, and I'm not doing that anymore, so... not interested in being all sulky and secretive."
- Zolf: "That conversation with Wilde was a pretty classic, you know: "For the sake of the mission, don't get too close to them". You know, the whole: "If it's the mission or them, go with the mission". Obviously."
- Azu: "Naturally."
- Zolf: "Yes, exactly... Not naturally, but given the situation and how important it is, that's - you know - an occupational hazard. It's what we do. But I would expect the same from you two, so..."
- Hamid: "No."
- Azu: "I can't promise that either."
- Zolf: "Obviously I'm not doing the whole 'Poseidon' thing anymore, so... how am I walking?"
- Hamid: "I mean... I did wonder, but I didn't want to ask."
- Zolf: "It's not hope, exactly. I don't think everything's going to work out OK. I'm not like - I'm not stupid."
- Hamid: "It's not stupid to think things could work out, Zolf..."
- Zolf: "Ah, could, yes. But not expect..."
- Zolf, on why he can still cast magic: "I guess, right now, file me under.... you."
- Hamid: "WHAT?"
- Zolf: "Can cast magic for inexplicable reasons?"
- Hamid: "Oh no, I know why."
- Zolf: "Oh, really?"
- Hamid: "Yeah. I'm descended from Apophis."
- Azu: "....He's sort of a dragon."
- Hamid: "...I mean, that's not exactly how I would phrase it. But ...-ish?"
- Zolf: "I mean that-- Well, I mean that sounds basically... I mean that -- that does sound-- That's what it is -- How far- What?"
- Alex: "I'm going to accelerate time and Hamid catches Zolf up on the birds and the dragons, I guess. Well, when a mummy dragon--"
- Ben: "Apophis can turn into a humanoid, and that humanoid is DTF."
- Bryn: "That humanoid loves a bit of halfling."
- Ben: "I was trying to be classy."
- Alex: "The bloke..."
- Bryn: "Oh no, it's a BLOKE! NOT AGAIN!"
- Ben: "The lads are just around the corner, ready to strike..."
- Hamid: "Can we just establish why all these people are lying around hurt, and whether it was you?"
- Cel: "Oh yeah, of course it was me!"
- Zolf: "Are these thugs?"
- Cel: "Oh yeah, yeah. I call them 'Blokes' or 'Lads'."
- Zolf: "I don't get it."
Dice rolls and Mechanics
- Azu, Hamid and Zolf Perception check near the village: 17 (Azu), 12 (Zolf), 16 (Hamid)
- Hamid Perception check inside the shop: 32
- Cel Intimidation check on the thugs: 21
- Cel Bluff check to intimidate the thugs: 22
- Initiative: 14 (Azu), 11 (Zolf), ? (Hamid)
- Azu approaches an unconscious bloke who is facedown in the dirt. Azu Lays on Hands on the man for 10 HP. The man wakes up and swings with a club, he only speaks Japanese.
- Hamid runs up to the well and tries to assess the situation. He sees a man with a sort of arrow stuck in their back.
- Zolf drinks his potion of Tongues and runs up to the people on the ground, yelling that they are here to help. He instructs Azu to drink her potion, and asks what happened.
- The bloke takes a swing at Azu with his club, but misses her. He then runs away.
- Azu walks up to the person with the arrow in their back, and she pulls it out. She notices the arrow is modified weirdly. She runs towards the commotion further into the village.
- Hamid runs towards the noise and makes it to a shop. He looks around and can see that the fight started here. There are two people lying in the entrance. Someone is thrown from the shop just as he runs up.
- Hamid turns the corner and can see inside the shop, and sees the apothecarist (Cel). Cel tries speaking to him in Japanese, but when he doesn't respond, switches to several other languages before settling on English.
- Initiative ends.
- New initiative: 2 (Azu),13 (Cel), 19 (Zolf), 21 (Hamid)
- Hamid casts Hold Person on Cel. (Cel's Will Save: 13). Cel is paralyzed.
- Zolf casts Dispel Magic on Hamid's Hold Person. He fails. He then walks in between Hamid and Cel, and asks them to stop fighting.
- Cel is still held, and tries to break free (Will Save: 14). They fail.
- Azu casts Detect Evil. She notices the blokes are neutral to mundane evil, and that Cel, Hamid and Zolf detect as Good. She tells Hamid this.
- Hamid apologizes and then breaks his spell.
- Zolf apologizes for Hamid's actions and requests to talk.
- Cel doesn't attack Hamid, but starts shouting at the party about why they are attacking.
- Initiative ends.