Most all remnants of the Black Flowers gang have left Pasar but from their hideout in the surround hills the wicked men continue to make good people’s lives miserable, by attacking the merchant caravans that are the lifeblood of the town. Gwinch, Beast, Saisho, and a group of sohei lay in wait at the place where the bandits are known to attack. When a large caravan comes into view and the bandits do attack, Gwinch & co. put them to flight. The Black Flowers have fast horses but Gwinch is an expert tracker.Gwinch follows the trail and discovers the remnants of an ancient road into he mountains, following the meanderings of a deep ravine.
Gwnch and his men are ambushed on a crumbling stone bridge by the Black Flowers firing a ballista from the cliff above.Gwinch scales the cliff with astonishing courage and skill and throws the bandits into the ravine. He helps his companion find the trail up and together they reach what they believe to be the Black Flowers’ hideout, a mysterious cave, where monumental statues of jackal-headed women stand guard.
After surveying the entrance chamber, Gwinch decides not to pass through the round archway and instead opens a humble wooden door. The heroic explorers follow a passage into a large bright high-ceilinged room, its light coming from a glowing staff that hangs from the ceiling on a thick chain.Saisho climbs up the wall, across the ceiling, and down the chain. When he touches the staff, all the metal in the room is pulled to the sides. Saisho’s dagger flies out of his hand. Those wearing armor are held pinned to the wall.
The monks who could not afford metal armor help their brothers (and Gwnch) escape from their prisons.Giant bugs enter the room. Their touch turns metal to rust, which the monsters eat greedily. Wooden axe handles turn one of the monsters to a bloody pulp. The other runs away.
To Gwinch’s surprise, the remaining metal remains stuck to the wall.Also, that chain remains attached to the glowing staff.
A dead giant rust bug has no effect on the chain.Gwinch tracks the giant rust bug that ran away. He finds it cowering in a small room that might have been a tomb or a treasury or both; it is strewn with emeralds. Also three levers, always intriguing. But Gwinch isn’t distracted. Eying the giant rust bug, he gets out a strong rope.
But there is no need for rope. The giant rust bug seems to understand what Gwnch has in mind. It follows him happily.Ok there is need for a rope. The giant rust bug is hoisted by its tail into the air so that it can touch the chain. Gwinch catches the staff. Beast catches the rust bug. Saisho always lands on his feet.
Now it’s time to experiment with the levers. They control the magnets in the magnet room!The monks retrieve their armor. At last, it’s time for everyone to return to Pasar.