As the characters approach the door to the next room, it is forcefully kicked open. They find themselves face to face with the beast that Hoshin spoke of, a goblin rat! But this beast is not acting alone…
After slaying the goblin rat brothers, the characters make their way into the final room of the underground shrine. They must free Joji from a giant cat monster that has seemingly swallowed him whole.
Upon examining the room, the characters notice a glistening orb placed upon a pedestal in the back of the room. When they try to remove it, they trigger a cave-in and the characters must quickly find a way out of the underground shrine.
On the path to the shrine, the characters are ambushed by bandits. Kenzō points out they are members of the infamous Black Riders, which have been causing much chaos in the area as of late.
The characters find the shrine but it appears to be encased inside a giant bulbous tree! They must overcome this bizarre ward and find a way inside.
After disarming the ward, the characters discover the shrine to be little more than a nondescript circular mound of hardened soil with a humble wooden stand with offerings to the spirit Fushimi. Once they all set foot on the center of the altar, the primal energy released by the ward activates a malfunctioning teleportation circle.
The teleportation circle transports the characters into a chamber several dozen feet below the shrine, where they find themselves under attack by viscous swarms of rats!
After defeating the bakemono, the characters are invited into the home of the village priest Hoshin. He is impressed by their heroics and wishes to gauge their willingness to destroy the beast that has taken control of the village’s abandoned shrine, while still preserving the sanctity of the shrine and not alarming the villagers.
The characters happen across Kenzō, who wishes to join them on their quest. He believes the missing boy Joji may be at the shrine, as well.
The characters try to find their way to the abandoned shrine through the forest wilderness surrounding Yoshino. They successfully navigate their way through and even discover a sacred spring along the way.
The characters meet at the village of Yoshino and converse with one another, as well as the traveling apothecary Kenzō. While chatting with Matsukaze at her ryokan, they learn of the missing boy Joji, the abandoned shrine, and the increased activity of bandits in the area.
A small band of bakemono led by a dai-bakemono attack the village, apparently searching for something and intermittently screaming about the “sacred tome”.