Ganzorig managed to cut through the thing, which hissed and wailed with a horrible, crackling, wheeze. It seems he actually managed to kill it, though, as the thing proceeded to ooze off of Akaiji, Hui quickly rushing ot his side, healing potions ready, while the abomination proceeded to pool on the floor, bubbling wildly, before evaporating into a thick black smoke which, after a few moments, similarly dissipated.
"Wh-wh-what... what... what was that?" Hui breathed. "I-is everyone-everyone okay?" Her hands were clearly still shaking even as she tried to help Akaiji and figure out where his mouth was.
"Thank the God's it's gone." Myfanwy looked around inside the cavern--"Hopefully that was the end of it. Have the spirits left, as well?" She stepped out to survey the forest around them, to make sure nothing else attacked while they Hui set to healing people.
Meg let out a sigh as she collapsed to her knees. "We need to end this as soon as possible," she whispered half to herself, weariness in her speech. "I do not know how much else I can take."
Ganzorig kept trying to smack the black goo monster even after it stopped moving. He didn't stop attacking until all the smoke disappeared, and he was left punching at plain air. "Fucker! ASS!" Soon he stopped, and took a deep breath. "Whatever that piece of crap was, I think we should refer to it as the... 'Blobadoo' from now on. And those tentacle faced ladies we saw earlier... lets call them 'Squiglers'. This way we can talk about them both without getting confused."
Akaiji was a mess. For a while, he barely had a face. He didn't make much noise, either before or after Hui had healed him.
As always, his expression was a fortress. But as soon as his wits returned, the creature left the chamber as fast as his lumbering body could carry him.
It wasn't panic. Akaiji did not panic. He simply stopped outside, and faced away. No thanks given, no weird overlong speeches, not even to Hui.
There just had to be a feeling of horror in there.
Meg, nearly overcome with fear only moments ago, trudged forth past Akaiji. "We need to get out of here before more... Squiglers appear."
The trip back to Xiao Bu was quiet, but fortunately uneventful. Notably so, in fact. The wailing of the ghosts seemed to be gone, and, in fact, there was no sign of the spectral things, neither of more 'Blobadoos' or any 'Squiglers.'
"That was... um... fun, I guess?" Hui said with a half-awkward, half-genuine, laugh. "Do adventures normally involve... uh... whatever it was that we ran into back there? No, no don't answer. I don't thinK I want to know."
The alchemist proceeded to hand a large jug of candy to Akaiji while approximating a hug as best she could, given that the samurai was about as wide as she was tall.
"You watch over the others, okay?"
She gave everyone a rather too-friendly hug, especially Meg and Ganzorig, and waved them off as the group headed back towards Magistrate Zhang and, by extension, Yao.
Yu was already waiting with the magistrate by the time the group got there, evidently she'd already filled him in on the details involving the 'Squiglers.' Apparently the Golden Way Society woman that Shun had slept with back at the tea house had already left town, although Zhang said that there were no missing people in the town that were not missing prior to her arrival and no other evidence linking her to any sort of wrongdoing. As far as the evidence went, there was no reason to believe that whatever the hell those 'Squiglers' were, that they weren't acting on their own, independent from the Golden Way Society as a whole. I mean, after all, Shun alone knew plenty of people who'd done the deed with Golden Way lasses, and while they were all a bit weird and off, the most harm any of them had ever done, prior to all this, that he was aware of was breaking a few hearts or wrecking a few marriages.
As for the 'Blobadoo', the magistrate was as helpless and mystified as Hui was.
Zhang arranged for Xun's return, the Shen Lung returning this time in its true Draconic form, rather than its Human one. The honored Shen Lung shushed the group any time they tried to give it their report. They were to report to Yao, not to him.
The group met with Yao in the same audience chamber as the first time around, complete with Lionfolk guards and everything.
The group knew the etiquette and, while they had no gifts this time around, still knew to kowtow and chose to remain prostrate until Yao bid them rise.
"I have been informed that you not only dealt with the pirates, but also the problem of the ghosts plagueing Senlin. This is good." The great Celestial Dragon purred with a sort of wag of his tail that suggested, and which Akaiji knew to be from experience, happiness. "I hope that it was not too much trouble. I know that ghosts can be upsetting, but you di them a favor. Their existance was no true life, but a nightmarish and wretched living death. Releasing them from their pained un-lives was the kindest and greatest mercy you or anyone else could have done." Yao seemed quite pleased.
Pausing briefly to scoop up a handful (clawful?) of pearls from an ornate brazier and then to devour them, the Dragon then continued, adressing Akaiji. "Honorable Akaijishinkaminarikajioyaji, I trust the people of Xiao Bu showed you the appropriate respect? The Humans can sometimes be confused, or frightened, by things they do not understand. I do not believe many Humans are accustomed to Crabfolk outside the retinues and entourages of the noble Chiang Lung. You may speak honestly, there shall be no punishments forthcoming if you were mistreated - ignorance, more often than malice, is the cause for such slights. People are basically good."
"My great, unmatchably honourable, wise and vast draconic Master." The hulking crustacean made a low, booming voice that his fellow apes could feel rattling their organs just in sheer bass. His stature, pincers held wide, suggested it was projecting some kind of majesty... but the monotone still made it sound like pure hammy sarcasm. "Your servant was fed beyond normal nutritional means four times, arrested with bribery of relics and idols in thine image nine times, incorrectly flattered with uncouth awe seventeen times, and at least three- plus one unconfirmed- honoured primates of varying ages attempted only to fertilise your holy grasslands upon questioning, refusing otherwise to cooperate verbally."
"Never the less, their ignorance of the proper demeanour is perhaps understandable, and somewhat excusable. If every child of his land did seek an audience, the crops and foundries would not function. Therefore, they foolishly deployed their foolish primate contentment onto your servant. Your servant will endeavour to redistribute the equivalent amount of given niceties upon your rightful shoulders, given adequate time."
"Terrible abominations designated unholy Blobadoo and repugnant Squiglers were terminated in his righteousness, however, so I would humbly ask that you do not cast them off completely. The process of their honourable combat potential is even more remarkable considering the reckless lawlessness of their honoured minds. Their image is thus not sullied within the mind of this humble servant."
"Several of them even drenched themselves and drank in flammable spirits on a daily basis, presumably ever-ready for a suicide attack. Thus, their dedication cannot be questioned by this humble one. Most not sullied."
The sight and presence of the great dragon king was a welcome sight after dealing with the "Squiglers" and "Blobadoo," as the party decided to call their appalling enemies. Yet being still in shock, and being an eloquent barbarian, Myfanwy didn't have much to say in the court of Yao. She was eager to see what loot they would get after such a horrendous encounter, but other than that she just wanted a short rest to recollect herself.
After Akaii broke the ice a little bit, in his unsettling, near comical crustacean way, she was feeling a little more comfortable. Without thinking, she decided to comment-"You're country's very nice, and you've got some great people here. Hui was [I]very[I] nice." Then a name stirred in her memory, "Are you wanting us to hunt down that Hong guy? He seems safer than anymore Blobadoos or Squiglers..." She wasn't sure if anyone remembered him. She wasn't sure if she remembered who he was. But she remembered the name. Then she remembered she was speaking to a pearl eating dragon and hastily fumbled a bow and "your all powerful majesty."
The Dragon listened patiently while Akaiji rambled and Myfanwy continued.
"Thank you, Myfanwy. I am sure the lands you hail from are no less wonderful, even if they do undoubtedly suffer for want of my kind." Yao was nice, but he was still, you know, a Dragon. "Blobadoos? Squiglers? I am unfamiliar with such creatures. Additionally who is this Hong you speak of? I was led to believe that you had handled the pirates and their leaders. Was there a vile necromancer responsible for the troubled ancestors? IS this the Hong of which you speak?"