- It would seem that the tale of your battle with Susano has reached the ears of a certain esteemed party that has need of your consummate skills. However, as is all too often the case, the anonymous petitioner wishes to put your abilities to the proof before they will divulge further details. Nevertheless, nothing ventured, nothing gained, and so Soroban bids you journey to Hells' Lid, where you are to undertake this preliminary endeavor.
- Soroban and Tataru join you in Hells' Lid not long after you arrive, and there you discuss the petitioner's curious request: that you “quell the oni dwelling in the deepest depths” of the island. Apparently, the feat would be not unlike that of the legendary hero Tenzen, who is said to have done so with the aid of the “Four Lords”─though perhaps you will only require the assistance of three. In any event, Soroban has opened the hidden passageway into the depths of Hells' Lid, and there is but one way to learn whether or not there is any truth to the faerie tale.
※Hells' Lid can be accessed via the Duty Finder.
- A host of strange and wondrous beings make every effort to hinder your progress, but ultimately fail to prevent you and your comrades from reaching the mysterious temple at the heart of the island. There you do battle with a wizened sage, who upon his defeat transforms into a rather less intimidating tiny turtle. Lying upon its shell, the creature flails helplessly, unable to right itself...
- Tataru, having followed in your wake with Soroban, decides to aid the tiny turtle, who formally introduces himself as Genbu. The turtle claims to be the leader of a collective of auspices─animals who have attained a measure of divinity after living a thousand years. Noting you and your companions' skepticism, he bids you speak with the other inhabitants of Reisen Temple and judge for yourself.
- Though not as verbose as Genbu, the other animals are more than capable of expressing themselves with the spoken word. You learn that it is a gradual process in which they grow in awareness and supernatural strength through the centuries, culminating in what they have dubbed the “change,” at which point the creature is said to become a full-fledged auspice.
- At the heart of every auspice is a duality: the aramitama, the primal rage; and the nigimitama, the boundless calm. When the balance between the two is disrupted, the auspice may eventually succumb to chaos. Such was the case for Koryu, an immensely powerful being that once threatened to bring calamity to the Ruby Sea, and was in truth the foe that Tenzen and the Four Lords fought at Hells' Lid in another era. But Koryu could not be truly defeated─only sealed away for a time, and Genbu's clairvoyance has led him to believe the wards imprisoning Koryu may soon fail. Therefore the auspice would have you help him prepare for the inevitable conflict by aiding his comrade, Byakko, in quelling the raging aramitama within.
- The snow white tiger is a harsh judge of character, and for a moment it seems you will not meet with his satisfaction. In the end, however, you remind him of his fallen comrade Tenzen, and so he is willing to entrust his soul into your keeping. Reisen Temple is no place for the battle, Byakko declares, for if he is to risk being wholly consumed by the aramitama, he would gaze one final time upon the lands of his birth in Yanxia.
- As he muses on his bitter past and how he overcame it to become a guardian to his people, Byakko confesses a measure of fear for what he may become if you and your comrades fail to subdue his aramitama...but you assure him that you will not. Make ready, for the time has come for you and yours to face the legendary auspice in battle and save his soul!
※The Jade Stoa can be accessed via the Duty Finder.
- The hurly-burly is done─the battle is lost and won. Byakko needs no longer fear for his sanity, for you and yours have subdued his raging aramitama.
- From birth, Byakko was shunned by man and beast alike for his snow white fur, which marked him a harbinger of doom. Bereft of family and home, he sought solitude to die...but with long years only grew stronger and stranger, which only served to drive others further away. So it would always be, he believed, until one day a man appeared before him, fearless. Tenzen could speak the language of beasts, and for this he, like Byakko, was scorned by all. And so the auspice found a kindred spirit─a traveling companion, with whom he embarked upon many adventures. But those are tales for another time, as Genbu would know the outcome of your battle.
- Furi, the gatekeeper of Hells' Lid, recognizes you at once. The auspice ushers you inside, urging you to share your tidings with the others at once.
- In your absence, Genbu has seen fit to train Soroban that he might assist him with the maintenance of the wards holding Koryu in check. Tataru's enthusiasm in overseeing the process calls to mind that of Tenzen, prompting the Scion to inquire what sort of man he was. Genbu confirms that the samurai could speak to beasts, ascribing it to the selfsame power you possess─that of the Echo─and that he was regarded with suspicion by many for it. Nevertheless, he was a kind and generous soul who ultimately gave his life to protect others, using the last of his strength to seal away Koryu while the Four Lords looked on helplessly. Before he died, Tenzen bequeathed to them a sacred crystal, which the auspices speculate may in fact be the source of their powers. In his honor, they built Reisen Temple and resolved to keep watch over Koryu's prison, and have done so to this day. Alas, as Genbu mentioned before, it is only a matter of time before the wards fail and Koryu wreaks untold havoc─unless you can help them to quell the aramitama of their esteemed companions in preparation for the coming fight. For now, however, you have done enough. Soroban, on the other hand, has much work to do...
- Bunchin is already aware of Soroban's circumstances, having been informed via a missive from Genbu delivered by a most unusual cat. The missive also states that you may come and go as you like from Reisen Temple─a privilege Bunchin encourages you to avail yourself of, as he cannot help but wonder how Soroban will hold up under the strain of such intense training.