As Squad Five prepares for an encounter with the Storm ninja, the man coming up the center tunnel speaks up, “Hang on, we don’t need to start a fight now.” As he approaches, the squad can see that he has long brown hair in a ponytail, piercing gray eyes and a blue scarf wrapped around his neck. From the other sides, a man with black hair and green eyes and a woman with short blonde hair stop a few feet away from Squad Five. “We just need one star from each of you and we’ll leave you be,” says the man with the scarf, “Do we have an agreement?” Kai and Yasei look at each other briefly and decide that these are people they do not want to mess with. They accept the agreement and the Storm ninja seem pleased.
The scarfed man smiles as they hand over the star chips and thanks them for their cooperation. He tells them that this has been their squad’s strategy and it has been working quite well (since everybody is terrified of them). Upon the Squad asking, he introduces himself as Zig, the other man as Mu and the woman as Yoko. They reveal exam information that Squad Five has missed:
- The cave is divided into three areas (upper, cold; middle, meh; lower, fire)
- People are getting fucked up in the lower area by fire elementals and shit
- The Frost Nation is camping out in the upper area
- There was a huge fight at the entrance area; Denmark’s team beat all of them
“Well,” Zig straightens his scarf, “That takes care of our start chips. We’ll be heading back to the starting area. Best of luck to you.” And with that, the Storm ninja disappear back into the caves.
“Well, shall we go up or down?” asks Kai. “Well…” Yasei shifts about, “we should probably go down…the Frost Nation people might want to kill me because…I killed their leader or something…” “WHAT?” exclaims Kai, “And you decide to tell me that NOW?” “I thought it wouldn’t come up! It was just something I did with my dad—” blustered Yasei. “Ah nevermind. We’ll go down to the mid-level and look for our allies,” says Kai. As they descend down the tunnels, they come across an unbelievably malevolent presence down a cave. Curious, Kai sends a shadow clone in that direction to check it out, but it almost immediately poofs from the impact of a bone boomerang.
Tezka senses a creature running towards them from the cave where the presence was. The Squad prepares to face the malevolent presence only to instead face a small orange fox-like creature as it shuffles out of the cave. It notices Tezka and the two have a prolonged stare-down. Minutes afterwards, it seems as though the creature submits and sits down in front of Tezka. He notices that the bone boomerang from before is sheathed on the creature’s back; as Tezka stares at it, the creature cocks its head to the side, “Gnar?” Struck with inspiration, Tezka pulls out a large amount of bone from himself and gives it to Gnar.
Gnar takes the bone and begins to run back into the cave. Tezka follows him to see that he stores it in a nest-like area full of shinies (skulls, ninja headbands and kunai), with headbands belonging to the Mountain Nation squad. Interested in seeing whether or not the Mountain Nation had left behind star chips, the squad decides to search for the corpses. As they exit the area, Gnar follows behind them happily. Tezka notices that all of the animals that they get close to bolt away once they smell Gnar. Not very far away, they find a large area full of explosive marks and kunai. Three decimated corpses lie scattered throughout the room, freshly killed, but missing all of their star chips. Gnar prances over the bodies proudly, nudging at Tezka to inspect the corpses. The Orange Death, indeed.
Determined to find another means to get star chips, the squad resolves to try and find whoever took the Mountain’s star chips. When deciding where to start, they notice a stream heading away from the area and decide to follow it, Gnar cheerfully following them.