Immediately following their strike on the Jehovah’s Flame recruitment seminars, the heroes found themselves with a couple of days to relax and stretch their legs a little bit.
The first thing Takashi did was call up his current Yakuza contact, Yuriko, and filled him in on the incident at the temple regarding the amanojaku demons being summoned. Yuriko in return told him about another summoning that would be happening in three day’s time, and managed to get him the time and place; 4 pm on Saturday, three days from then.
The next night, Takashi decided to take Cynthia out to a karaoke bar, while Randal suggested to Felicity that they visit shrines in the Tokyo area to pay homage to the Amatsukami gods. While the pairs went out and about, Thurston decided to fill his time by throwing a random secret magic show at a nearby bar. It was a rousing success; he got free drinks for the rest of the night and returned good and trashed.
The next morning, to the annoyance of all, Thurston’s phone went off…and kept going until he finally managed to struggle his way out of his hangover long enough to answer. It was his manager, Stan. Buoyant for once, Stan happily announced to Thurston that he would be getting a ‘babysitter,’ an assistant named Emily. She would be landing around noon that day. Takashi shoved some Tylenol and water down his throat, and they sent him off to get his new plaything.
Emily turned out to be an over-enthusiastic, terribly eager young lady, obviously fresh from college and ready to be the best damn professional assistant…EVER. Taking her back to the hotel, she was delighted to meet Thurston’s ‘entourage,’ and immediately set about finding them better accommodations, more suiting to The Mighty Thurston’s needs.
Felicity, in the meantime, had a hunch about her prophecy dealing with the location of the Book of Seshat that she wanted to cross-reference somehow. Having narrowed down in her mind possible locations of the Book to the Grand Isi Shrine or the Imperial Palace itself, she called up Gray back in Chicago and asked to speak to Professor Coleman.
Once speaking to Coleman, she asked him permission to pose as one of his students in order to gain access to the Mythology department of Tokyo University. A professor of Coleman’s repute was bound to have notoriety elsewhere if he were to gain the attention of Roth Foster in the first place.
Once that was obtained, she went with Takashi to the Todai campus, locating the proper classrooms with his help. Finding a class just letting out, they introduced themselves to Professor Yoko Ogashiwa, Takashi serving as a go-between for them since Felicity knew no Japanese and the Professor’s English was no better. He indeed did know Professor Coleman’s name, and through their conversation, they got the information that if the Book of Seshat were to be anywhere in Tokyo, it would indeed be in the Imperial Palace itself.
Takashi, wanting to know a bit more about the strange inability for them to go to the Palace, even for sightseeing, asked about mythological protection on the Royal Family. The Professor noted that something in the Emperor’s traditional invocations involved protection for the family during the ceremonial speech in which he named his home.
Takashi asked if transcripts of this invocation existed, and the Professor agreed to find it for them, as a favor for Coleman. With a path starting to be laid out for them to the Book, they thanked Professor Ogashiwa and took their leave.
In the meantime, Thurston had remembered a bit about the Jehovah’s Flame Japan website that had been mentioned at the Recruitment Drive days previous. Ignoring Emily’s cheery chirps about his unread emails, phone messages, ironing, and performance schedule, he settled himself in front of a computer to have a look.
It was a basic thing, flashy images of people doing charity work and happy families standing around, all under the banner reading, “Conquering the Culture.” Realizing he didn’t have the know-how to crack any deeper into the site, he waited for Takashi to have a look.
Takashi was able to get a little deeper in, finding a secret higher-ups message board layered underneath the public message board. In the most recent posting was only a set of decimal numbers and a time, in code. After a quick bit of puzzle work, Felicity deduced that it was actually longitude and latitude, and that the time was 3:30 on Saturday, the exact same day as the Red Emperor’s planned conversion of innocent men into Amanojaku demons.
It looked as if they’d have to pick one evil over another, as the timing and distance would be too narrow for them to save everybody.
Then Takashi glanced at Felicity, and checked online for a calendar of the moon’s movements. As luck would have it, the moon would be visible in the daylight sky on Saturday. Quickly, they drafted a plan. Thurston and Felicity would head to the coin-making ritual murders of the Jehovah’s Flame and put a stop to those quickly, before using Felicity’s abilities to use the moon for far-sight and her shadowstepping in tandem to join Takashi and Randal, who would be staking out the location of the Amanojaku ritual.
The day came, and their plan went into motion. Before the congregants arrived, they overheard the two of Foster’s men speaking about their frustrations at converting the Japanese people as a whole, and briefly mentioned their confusion why some of the Japanese would be upset that the Flame would be tearing down a rickety old Amatsukami shrine for a grand gorgeous cathedral. Once the cattle arrived for the slaughter, Felicity made quick and invisible work of the deaths of Foster’s higher ups, while Thurston took on the guise (again) of a Red Emperor Scion to speak to the confused and terrified Japanese congregants, informing them that their own Amatsukami still listened to them, and to turn from Foster.
Quickly making their way through a Moon Shadowstep to Randal and Takashi’s side, they were still a bit early for the Amanojaku ritual. This one was going to be in the back of a small cafe, it appeared, due to their previous wide open ritual being completely ruined.
Taking seats in the front, they were shunted out pretty quickly again when the Red Emperor Scions came in, followed by the four mortal men for the ritual. They all scented each other, and the Emperors stated that if they were indeed only here by ‘coincidence,’ then they’d better leave without another word. Thurston gave them a gracious nod and they all stood to go. Felicity promptly sneaked in the back way and prepared to give the other three the ‘crash through the doors and start murdering stuff’ signal.
Amanozaku was quickly on hand once Felicity had found a place to hide, making saving the four men impossible. Witnessing the ritual being conducted by the frighteningly powerful Titanspawn herself, Felicity decided not to pick a fight with such a powerful woman and was powerless when Amanozaku transported two of her freshly-made demons away with her when she left. Giving the ‘signal,’ the three men crashed through the doors and the battle began in earnest, the four of them versus two Amanojaku and two Red Emperor corrupted Scions.
It was over fairly quickly, Thurston taking the last decapitating shot at a demon when Felicity held her fire, the creature having turned into a little boy briefly in order to make some other move.
Having managed to minimize the damage from both armies for the time being, the four retired back to their lodgings.
There was another mess between the two factions to mop up, however.
While they were in the church preparing their strike, Thurston and Felicity overheard the priests complaining of the Japanese people taking umbrage to one of the Flame’s new projects.
Apparently, they saw nothing wrong with the idea of tearing down an ancient Japanese shrine to make room for a grand cathedral dedicated to the Jehovah’s Flame, and expressed wonder and confusion at the idea that the people of Japan would oppose it. They helpfully mentioned the time and date of the wrecking ball’s arrival at the scene before they had to be killed.
Upon their arrival at the scene of the shrine and its planned destruction, they didn’t quite see what they thought they’d see.
Instead of masses of Jehovah’s Flame and a lot of things to mess with, the foursome witnessed a Red Emperor agent talking to a couple of young Japanese people. Wary, Takashi spearheaded walking up to the group, Felicity following unseen while Randal and Thurston stood back.
The two young Japanese were Scions of the Amatsukami, and they were being pitched by the Red Emperor. He was using the destruction of the shrine as his baseline for an argument of the West’s incursions on their home soil and the bastardization of their culture. He bid them join the Emperors because the Titan Mikaboshi ‘cared for the purity of Japan.’
Takashi scoffed at this and pointedly ignored the Red Emperor as he engaged the two young people. The girl, Akemi, was more inclined to hear the truth of the Red Emperors, while the young man, Hoshi, far more insular and imperialist, was a tougher sell.
Akemi begged Hoshi to just leave and go look for Katsu, their missing bandmate, while Takashi talked in his other ear about the lies and oblivion of Mikaboshi. Hoshi, defiant and stressed, demanded he be left alone, and fled the scene with the Red Emperor agent. Akemi, in tears, ran away, and Thurston had to go and fetch her before any Emperors decided to go after the now ‘unrecognized’ Scion.
All together now, Akemi told Takashi and the band of their situation.
One of their bandmates (and her lover), Katsu, had gone missing recently, and in their searching, they had been approached by the Emperors. She didn’t want to believe their promises of a glorified Empire of Japan, far overreaching any Western civilization, since she knew it was coming from the mouths of Titans and snakes. But, their promises to help them find her lover were enticing enough on their own.
Turning their attention back to the Shrine for the second, Randal said to them that the wrecking ball would be incredibly useless, and the papers officially sanctioning the destruction would be ‘missing’ now, as the most of the Danny’s Boys jumped off the wrecking ball and another, emerging from a mobile office, set aflame to a stack of papers.
Resolving to help Akemi, Thurston and Takashi’s combined investigative abilities actually were able to dig up some clues Akemi and Hoshi had overlooked. Some phone numbers, the subtle signs of a struggle in Katsu’s apartment…Felicity tracked the abduction to a small house in a quiet part of Tokyo…but they were already far too late.
As you descend the stairs into the basement, your senses reel at the smell of decay. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, a gruesome scene greets you. Two tables, parallel to each other lie in front of a large machine. On the first table lies a withered corpse, tubes running through the elbows and wrists. You can still see the tubes are stained red.
The second table makes the first look wholesome, as the contorted, deformed body that lies on the table can hardly be called human, though it most assuredly was at one time. A bumpy bald head rests with one eye closed, the other is swollen past the limits of the eyelid. You get an eerie sense of it watching you. As your gaze wanders to the machine, you notice a beautiful comb seemingly wired into the machine, however, the comb itself is broken.
Katsu was dead, the body that was siphoned dry on the first table. What was worse, was that the Band knew this type of handiwork.
The Demigod band of Ronald, Issac, and Isabelle were in Tokyo, and carrying on their gruesome work, presumably with Doctor Reinholdt still in tow.
Offering to help put Akemi up, her band now shattered, they took Katsu’s body to be examined by a weary-looking Takashi before a proper cremation.