The world continues to turn…
Having emerged victorious from the first round of the tournament, the heroes move to rest, preparing for their duels the next day. The next day, they begin duels against new opponents, far more potent than the previous day. Xing Yu Ming fought Fen Long of the Falling Leaves Society. Though her spear was swift and the strength of her Heaven’s Thunder style was great, Xing Yu Ming managed to strike back, her puppet weapon keeping her one step ahead. Koryo dueled with the notorious Black Hurricane. Hurricane’s fury was no match for Koryo’s calm, centered strength. Dong Zhou fought with Tranquil River, a peaceful monk of the Dragon Well sect. Though fast and calm, Zhou’s cold fury overwhelmed his opponent. Liu Ru dueled with Uguei from the Yun Clan. Though Uguei was a far more versed in his clan’s Ice Sutra, Liu Ru managed to strike dozens of strikes to pierce his armor. Though defeated, these noble fighters viewed their opponents with respect, friendship, or rivalry.
The heroes went to a feast held by the Emperor. Enjoying the feast, they met Ling and Qin, a young courtier and her bodyguard. Qin was in a short duel when Ling was insulted. Without warning, there was an attack as dozens of assassins poured into the courtyard. With valorous strikes and triumphant tactics, the assassins were defeated handily. However, they notice one man fleeing the scene. Chasing him through the streets, the man flung a firebomb into an occupied building, tried to trick guards into attacking his pursuers, and flung a woman from a building. All but Liu Ru were forced to break off the pursuit. Thinking he finally struck the assassin, he was shocked to see a straw dummy. He was struck by an assassin: Li, the man they had met the prior night. Exchanging blows, Li left a condition upon Liu Ru, warning him not to pursue. As he fled, Liu Ru tried to follow, and his ribs collapsed from an unknown technique.
Gathering back together, our heroes try to piece together exactly what happened. Who would dare assassinate the Emperor? Why did Li not finish Liu Ru? And what do these events mean for the future of Shen Zhou?