It’s been four days.
The figment is still in the party’s shared room, since it hasn’t eaten as they wait for Kicara to get a day off. The teenage clan members have been watching it for them.
Tersi meets Chao, the head chef of the Cockroach Martial Arts temple/restaurant.
Fa I goes to a blacksmith to ask for armor. He meets Chan Dak, a four-foot tall monk, who is the blacksmith, and tries to negotiate discounts with him. Kicara softens him up by sleeping with him, so the party is able to buy chain armor, shields, and spears for a lower price. They only get to take home one chain armor (for Fa I), though, because the rest will take a month to make.
Fa I continues on with his shopping list and heads to a general merchandise store. This time, the person manning it is actually a dwarf. The shop is full of herbs; Fa I finds paper, Kicara buys salt and orange orchids for sleeping, and Dian buys a sack of flour. They learn that the dwarf, Tordekk, is a worshiper of the Mistress of the Mountain of the Moon. After shopping, the women head back to the clan while Fa I continues on to the fletchers.
There is a crowd gathering in the Ipixangga clan house. Sher is there regaling people with a super embellished story of their adventurers in the Old Town. The Figment is there, and so is Ma Ga Na, Dian’s sister. Kicara is upset at seeing the Figment out of their room and takes the cage.
Ma Ga Na is the fashionable cockroach siren, who is very popular both within the clan and her audience across the Yellow City. She has recently been gone to do her gigs in the Eastside, and is back to perform at Pa Pali’s request. Man Ju La is very taken with her.
Later in the day, Fa I bumps into Man Ju La in the city’s marketplace. Man Ju La seems to be looking for Tersi — Fa I points him out towards the sewers to get rid of him, though later Tersi does indeed come up from the manhole talking about compost, mushrooms, and other things. It seems that he missed Man Ju La down there, though. Tersi, on his side, has been busy making deals all morning, trading between materials of various producers in the market. He mentions a Lamarakhi who is rumoured to be preaching about the endtimes, a worshipper of the black orchid Bhawan. The rest of Bhawan’s followers also seem to have a tendency for violence.
Tersi is also told that there is a shiteater in the sewers, which prompts some concern as he realizes that Fa I told him that Man Ju La is down there. He prepares to go down to fetch Man Ju La from the sewers, but Man Ju La emerges after having fought — and won — a battle against an Otyugh, the tentacled shiteater. Man Ju La seems relieved to have finally found Tersi, before he passes out. Tersi drags him back to the clan house to look for help — the rest of the party apply first aid while Kicara is called, and then Kicara heals him.
Man Ju La finally gets to talk to Tersi! Apparently, Man Ju La used to b e in the gangs, and owe them a lot of money (500sp worth). He wants to help the clan, but feels underpaid by Fa I (even though it wasn’t Fa I who tried to underpay him!). Because of this, he wants Tersi to talk to Fa I on his behalf. In exchange, he tells Tersi about the information on the transmutation teacher that he’s found out — the man is Chan Chai, a priest of Baphomet, and he is actually a teacher in general studies. Unknown to them, Fa I is hidden over their heads and eavesdropping on their conversation.
The night has come for Kicara to feed the Figment her dream! Unfortunately, she begins her dreams with a nice dream of Nawahb, instead of the Black Orchid. The Figment, unappetized by this, rusts his cage and takes a mirror from Fa I. It points the mirror over Kicara’s head and twists it.
In Kicara’s dreams, she is confronted by Bhawan, talking to her about being worthy. Bhawan is Lamarakhi. Insects burst from his mouth. He walks on water.
Kicara jolts awake after the Figment eats her dream, and sends a messenger for the Crone. In the morning, she sends another one. Fa I puts the mirror on Tersi and twists, but of course it has no effect. Dian goes to the baths with Ma Ga Na, who apparently doesn’t want to bathe in public because she’s so popular. Meanwhile, Fa I shows Squatter his new waterproof paper.
Tersi goes about investigating the Lamarakhi. They say that they have been getting attacked by people who think that they will bring about the endtimes, which has been problematic for them. The informal head of the loose group is a member of the Hunters’ Guild, and is named Vendane. Understandably, the Lamarakhi want the priest of Bhawan found and killed, so that the problems will stop. He’d rather kill this priest himself, though.
At night, the Crone finally visits Kicara. The Figment seems hypnotized, and allows itself to be dissected by the Crone. True to her word, the Figment doesn’t dissipate. The Crone says that their opponent is a Baital, a dead spirit taking on the form of Nawabh, and that this will become Kicara’s quest. She explains that Bhawab is not a god, but to enter our world, it needed to be the reflection of something. Somehow, this dead thing took on the reflection of Nawabh, and is its opposite.
Ma Ga Na returns to their room. She says she hasn’t heard of Bhawan, and Kicara proceeds to regale her with her religion.
In the morning, Tersi interviews more people about the Priest of Bhawan. It seems that the priest doesn’t preach, but the religion operates more like a pyramid scheme. Tersi sets forth to follow the rumours.
Fa I and Kicara join Ma Ga Na on her trip to Papa Li so that they can present the evidence of the theft to Papa Li. Dian also joins them. When they get there, Ma Ga Na is whisked away to prepare, and the rest are invited to be part of the audience. Kicara talks to Papa Li before the concert, and joins him with the other slugs in attendance. Kicara presents her evidence to the slug just as Ma Ga Na begins her flashy performance. Papa Li multitasks it, and asks if they retrieved a topaz. Kicara answers no (though she has it).
Nonetheless, Papa Li is happy with their progress. “I was right to rely on you rather than the Ekans Clan.” Meanwhile, Dian notes that Ma Ga Na’s performance seems to have become even better and more daring since the last time she has seen her sister.
Papa Li also talks to Kicara about the Yellow City being a giant library — Alexandria — and that he’s been able to unearth a new section right in his basement. Unfortunately, it has hostile elements, and he would like to retainer the party to find books for him. He is offering 1000sp for every task, and commission.
Kicara then asks Papa Li if he’s let Nawabh in his life. It seems that she wants him to sponsor her efforts to reclaim the Zinzimar temple. Papa Li says he’ll think of it if Kicara takes his request first.
The party eventually converges and converses with Ma Ga Na. While talking, Kicara takes her hand and realizes that they… are inverted. It is the Rakosh, who tells Dian that she has her sister. Dian seethes, unable to do anything as the Rakosh leaves. Her cockroach dogs follow her, which the party catches.
They go back to their room and go through Ma Ga Na’s things. They have a severed little finger in a box, with a note, “See? I‘m keeping her alive.” Tersi is very apologetic and Dian is very upset. Fa I lets one roach go, covered in ink.
Dian talks to Pa Ni Ta and asks for time off. She also gives Kicara her cleaver to bless. Tersi promises to research on Rakosh, and Fa I goes off in search of the dog roach he had marked. Kicara returns to Papa Li to ask him where he got Ma Ga Na’s concert schedule, which Papa Li says was in the Eastside, and that he found it when he was visiting the Malaba Palace Academy.
Fa I tells them about Man Ju La’s knowledge of the academy professor they saved, which Man Ju La says is because he saw him while he himself had been in the East. They tell Man Ju La about Ma Ga Na.
Tersi thinks of going to the east to meet Shan Chai. He hitches a ride with Ru Pi to get to the Eastside — “Rakosh problems, huh?” — and she tells him of the brotherhood of Rakosh. Apparently, when she goes through the Old Town, she sacrifices a kid to it.
Dian decides to follow Ma Ga Na’s performances through the city, which isn’t difficult because the posters show up at her door and her tickets are provided for her. Whenever she goes to a performance, she gets more and more irritated at the small realizations she is getting, about the bath tub, the feather pillow, and the cheating way the Rakosh handles Ma Ga Na’s cockroaches.
Kicara sets about blessing the cleaver everyday, and calls out to the Crone to ask for help. She says that while the Rakosh relishes attention, it still needs to eat at some point, so Ma Ga Na may not be safe for long.
Fa I visits Tordekk and asks if the dwarf has anything for hunting demons. Tordekk replies that sage may keep them at bay, so Fa I buys a bag of sage and some rations. Unfortunately, if he wants cold iron stuff, he’ll have to ask the dwarves up north for it.
Tersi arrives in the Eastside after traveling with Ru Pi, and immediately heads for the Malaba Palace Academy. There, the receptionist tells him that Shan Chai is preaching by the river, where Tersi does find him. Shan Chai seems to be preaching about Faerun. When confronted by Tersi, he becomes very theatrical and insists he cannot help. Tersi tells him about Ma Ga Na, which prompts Shan Chai to offer help in exchange for a favor. While he thinks that the Rakosh are unbeatable, he says they are vulnerable to blessed arrows. He gives Tersi an arrow that he blessed in the course of ten days.
Mu also shows up, needing Shan Chai to sign a fieldtrip form; her group seems to be going to the Topaz Isles. The man seems incapable of remembering her one-syllable name, sadly.
Tersi asks for access to the library in the academy.
Dian asks Fa I to look at the location pattern of the performances, from the posters she has been collecting day by day. It seems to be centered around Papa Li’s mansion. Could it be the haunted basement?
Armed with this clue, Fa I visits Papa Li during a time when he knows Ma Ga Na’s concert should be ongoing, and says he is here to assess the basement the slugman wants explored. Papa Li shows him a passage he discovered behind a bookshelf. It seems to be laden with traps, as evidenced by the dead crabman near the entrance. Papa Li explains that they have been hearing wailing from the chamber, and will be happy to pay Fa I in books for their effort. Fa I pushes the crabman along the passage to trigger more traps. At the end of the corridor, Fa I and Papa Li arrive upon a fork. When he calls out, however, the wailing that comes back to it is very supernatural in nature.
Fa I asks to check Papa Li’s map, and sees that the chamber is marked there but is very old. Papa Li insists that he wants to be with the party when the exploration happens. Fa I asks for two days to decide, and for Papa Li to mark down other sources of strange noise.
Fa I is walking out of the mansion when a backward pair of hands make a grab for him — he dodges the Rakosh, who beckons him into a corridor. Inside is Man Ju La, tied up. Fa I immediately says he is willing to trade Man Ju La for Ma Ga Na.
The Rakosh says that he finds Fa I interesting because he hates Man Ju La so much. So, he wants to return Ma Ga Na, and in exchange Fa I must watch him eat Man Ju La. The Rakosh begins with his finger. Fa I bargains to get Ma Ga Na before all this eating commences, and the Rakosh says he knows the party broke into this mansion before. Ma Ga Na is in the abandoned wing they broke into, actually.
Fa I throws his crushed sage at Man Ju La and flees to the abandoned wing. When he gets there, Ma Ga Na is indeed there and appears to be hypnotized. Fa I pulls urgently pulls her along, and tries to take her to the slugman — they run into a crabman instead, who leads them back to Papa Li. Fa I tries to explain to the slugman that there is a demon in the compound and if he can take care of Ma Ga Na a while — Papa Li refuses, and seems unworried about a Rakosh in his compound. He is an accomplished magician, after all! Papa Li does get a crabman to lead them out, and Fa I manages to retrieve Man Ju La along the way before he returns to the clan grounds.
The whole time, Dian was in the fake Ma Ga Na’s performance. Are there two of them?
The party reconvenes, though the other members are confused that Ma Ga Na has been recovered already, and that Man Ju La seems to be in a state of trauma and missing fingers. Fa I breaks to them the news and says that their new trouble is that the Rakosh will tell Papa Li that they broke into the house. Perhaps they should tell Papa Li first?