Jack wakes up in the snowy forest and swings wildly around until he realizes where he is. The last thing he remembers is falling off the branch and the other tress breaking his fall. Jack spots a blood trail leading away to one of the dead Daughters of Aku. He goes over and realizes that she's a human being like the other Daughters, and the surrounding crows caw at him. Jack finally shots at them that they chose the path.
Ashi attacks Jack and he parries her first attack. He entangles her in her chain weapon and she hangs in the air. Jack goes over to her and she screams at him, demanding that he die and promises to kill him. He says that Aku is the evil one, and surprised to discover that humans can also be programmed with evil. Ashi doesn't believe him, and Jack wonders if there's ever away to convince Ashi otherwise.
Suddenly the forest shakes and trees flies everywhere... as do Jack and Ashi. They plummet into a vast crevasse and Ashi slashes at Jack. He dodges her next attack and Ashi knocks herself out against a falling tree. Jack grabs Ashi and manages to break their fall, and finds himself in a vast pink cavern. The protuberance Jack sits down erupts into green gas, and Ashi laughs, saying that Jack is dead. She explains that they've been swallowed by a monolithic creature and he's dead, but Jack tells her that he's been in giant creatures before and he'll find a way out. Ashi attacks him and he easily parries her, and says that once she sees how misguided she is, she will know the truth about Aku.
Giant parasites move in on them and Ashi kicks Jack toward them. One creature severs the leg of the one Jack is beneath, and be grabs the razor-sharp leg and attacks the creatures. Ashi dodges them but one swallows her until Jack cuts her free. She attacks him , blinded by the creature's goo, and Jack fastens her to his back to keep her safe. Ashi head-butts him and then one of the creatures knocks her out. Jack fights his way through the creatures and runs off, the creatures in pursuit. he finally scales a wall so that they can't follow and runs off down a tunnel within the monster.
Ashi wakes up to find herself and Jack in the monster's neural center. She remembers the Priestess telling her to kill Jack. Meanwhile, Jack sits alone and a floating neuron says that he should go. He insists that Ashi is an innocent who has lost her way. He blows it away and Demon Jack appears, wondering why Jack always has to get involved. Meanwhile, a different creature grabs Ashi from behind.
Demon Jack tells Jack that Ashi has to live with the consequences. Jack says that it's his fault she's there, and Demon Jack points out that Ashi is gone. The creature with her slips away, and Jack grabs a mace-like neural extension and goes after the creature. He kills the creature and Ashi tells him that she'd be more grateful if she was the creature's excrement.
Jack continues through the monster and Ashi keeps cursing him and calling to Aku. He finally tells her that every thought she knows is wrong, and Aku is the one who has laid waste to the beauty of the world. Jack explains that Aku has unleashed the monsters on the world and they fade on his carnage, and tells Ashi to open her eyes and let go of her hate to see the truth. Ashi tells him to drain, and spines falls down from the sky. Jack carries Ashi and takes shelter, and starts plucking out the spines. He tries to joke with her but Ashi just glares at him
Once he's done, Jack continues carrying Ashi through the monster. He makes crude armor from the creature's carapace, and Ashi says that he looks hideous. Unimpressed, Jack begins climbing and feels a breeze from above. Ashi kicks them both free and Jack manages to grab a vein. They dangle in space and Jack pulls himself up. He continues climbing, dangling Ashi behind him from the chain.
Jack reaches the next level and Ashi stares at the colorful internal creatures in surprise. Jack admits that even in the bowels of the darkest creatures, there is beautiful light. A sphincter opens revealing the sky above, but a lake of acid lies below it. The sphincter closes and Jack says that they can use the flying creatures to get up. He leaps onto one of the creatures and guides it upward as the sphincter opens. However, a larger skeletal creature flies at them and eats their creature. Jack falls and manages to grab another flyer, and the skeletal creature comes at them. Their flyer throws them forward into a jellyfish, and the skeletal creature passes nearby looking for them.
Jack emerges from the jellyfish, and the skeletal creature comes at them as their jellyfish slows down. it explodes and shoots Jack and Ashi out just in time as the creature submerges below them. The two warriors land in the sea below, but only Jack surfaces. He dives and brings the unconscious Ashi up, and swims to the nearby shore. She wakes up and sees Jack nearby, gasping for breath. Ashi's sickle is nearby, and she picks it up and advances on Jack. A ladybug passes nearby, and she remembers seeing a similar creature when the Priestesses of Aku trained her. The Head Priestess tells her that the distractions are not part of Aku's order and kills it.
The ladybug settles on Jack's hand and after a moment, he releases it back into the sky. Ashi drops her sickle and falls to her knees.
Written by Gadfly on Apr 9, 2017