In the morning, the party left Shinokage behind to deal with the squad of Crab Engineers and Pragmatists that had been placed at the party’s disposal.
The rest of the party listed and Fukurokuma told them about an ambush that had apparently been planned specifically for them – the underground warehouse was going to be rigged to collapse, killing the party and their squad of Crab allies, and framing the Engineers in the process.
Fukurokuma didn’t think that the criminals who run the warehouse and those who run the prison know about the secret door. It’s possible that their bosses know, but even that is unclear at this point, so the party snuck back into the sewers to access the warehouse via the prisons.
The prison crew had tried to set an ambush inside the prison – it failed. The party surprised and slaughtered them before slipping through the secret door into the smugglers’ warehouse.
Once in the warehouse, they saw three oafs struggling with a couple of barrels near the door. It looked like flint and steel had been bolted to the door, and a rope or cord (soaked in something strong-smelling) ran from the flint to the barrels. Out-of-character, it was noted that this looked like a Looney Tunes trap.
Tsuna approached them, and it became clear that these were probably expendable muscle. The three were easily convinced that Tsuna was the Boss’ representative and kept asking if she needed them to help load (or unload) a boat.
After the oafs headed back down to the launch, Daredemo pulled the cord, coiled it, and put it on a nearby shipping crate. The party then opened a barrel, and found that it contained powder that smelled slightly of fireworks.
At this point, Chaya communed with the Earth spirits and asked if there were more barrels like this around. The answer was “Not anymore.”
After a brief discussion, the party decided to split up even further – Chaya and Tsuna were to ride ahead to intercept (and delay or stop) the Imperial Heir, while the rest of the party tried to figure out where the rest of the barrels of powder went.
Tsuna and Chaya had no difficulties reaching the advance guard for the Heir’s retinue, which was made up (mostly) of Lion Clan samurai. The lieutenant in charge of the first squad was Yarou. He sneered at Chaya, leered at Tsuna, and was his expected officious self. But he did take information to his captain, who brought Chaya and Tsuna forward and allowed them to report. Once that report had been made, she ordered Yarou to assemble a squad and placed Tsuna in charge of that squad, and informed them that she would attempt to delay their arrival in town.
The Crab army is arriving [i]now[/i]. Somewhere, there is a stockpile of gunpowder and a conspiracy to kill the Imperial Heir.