As Ren was rushed to the hospital for being thoroughly and unmercifully stabbed, the others cleaned up and followed along at a distance. She was admitted with two punctured lungs, a fractured breastbone and a fileted spleen.
The rest of the team rested in beds acquired for them by Bob Chen who happened to own a wing in this hospital. While they rested Ren found herself in surgery.
In the state drifting between life and death, she found herself on the beach of the San Francisco coast, nothing in sight due dense fog but the endless beach, the grey turbulent sea, and the rock fortress of Alcatraz.
It was on this void beach (while she looked at the tide in terror) that she noticed the presence of another. She had skin of mocha and not a scrap of clothing, saving the talismans and trinkets in her hair and the piercing on sensitive parts of her body.
She offered salvation from death by Calypso, the Loa goddess of the Sea. Ren, hesitant but unwilling to die, accepted. It was sealed with a handshake, during which the woman’s hand turned into a black viper and sunk her fangs in the young martial artist. But instead of pumping venom into her, it seemed to be pulling a poison out.
Then the mocha women and her dream state fell into nothing and she woke up feeling significantly better, but bearing a tattoo of a black and white serpent intertwined but facing opposite directions.
Her companions met her as she awoke and stared warily at the tattoo, though Ethan disarmed the nurse’s curiosity. They checked out, saying goodbye to Narcissa, who smiled that knowing smile as they left.
They stopped by a taco stand in the barrio so Ethan could get tacos for breakfast. While the conversation appeared mundane (though it did include ammo and really illegal weaponry) it was actually a more subtle form of Ethan plying a contact of his: the Ajk’ij, a group of meso-american smugglers.
After efforts to get assistance in getting the back-up statues back to San Francisco turned unclear, the group headed off following the delivery truck eating authentic mexican tacos, burritos and ceviche.
The trip out to the napa vineyards was long and uneventful and the truck pulled up a long drive and in front of a large colonial ranch house with tile roofs and rustic stucco on the walls, intricate stonework and rich wooden covered decks.
Standing on the poor, smoking a cigar and having a glass of something presumably harder than iced tea was a fit looking chinese man. He wore light grey slacks, a white suit and jacket, at odds with his bright red cowboy boots and string-tie bolo, which was further set at odds by his designer sunglasses.
He pressed a button on his watch and the garage door opened, revealing the cause of their journey. In the dark, musty garage that stored relics of the past were two man-sized statues; one black with the head of an ox and a giant spear, and one white with the head of a horse and a massive axe. The Hebei Wuchang, Impertinent Guardian of Good and Evil.