The talk with Captain Tzifina is suddenly interrupted when two unfamiliar men wearing the colors of Gorinstal’s delegation barge into the room. They demand action from the captain, claiming that “the murderous saboteur” is still at large. Tzifina tells them that she’s already working on the situation, and tells them to wait their turn. The two men glare at the bogatyrs, and then depart.
Tzifina explains that the Donjon’s men have been putting unofficial pressure on her to help them with a hunt. The woman in question reputedly slew a merchant, who was allegedly sending medicine to beleaguered towns. However, alternate sources claimed that the merchant was reputedly financing bandits to prey on the towns in question, sending them alchemical goods and “blood elixirs” as part of the help. And given that Gena recognizes the woman as Lieutenant Norina, it seems very likely that the delegates’ story is a false one. The bogatyrs agree that this would be an ideal situation for the Donjon’s men to arrive and “solve the problem” — a familiar one, at that. They tell the captain that they’ll see about getting Norina to safety and alleviating the bother on her and her guards.
The bogatyrs depart the guardhouse, stepping past the Donjon’s men. Gena turns to them and says “Tell your comrades that Gena is helping with the hunt, and it will be resolved soon.” The two give him quizzical looks before stepping back inside.
Gena leads the others to the Devil’s Market, with the exception of Kazimeer, who excuses himself to answer a summons from Iissa. It takes him a little time to hunt down Norina. At last he nearly trips over her, still in her beggar’s cloak, and tells her she’s in danger. As he whispers that Gorinstal’s men are stepping up their efforts, she looks past him — something is watching the group.
Gena drinks from his flask as a feigned excuse to turn his head in that direction. In one of the upper gutters, a toad the size of a throw pillow is watching them intently — seemingly focused on Anfisa. He warns the other two bogatyrs, and they all notice when it spreads leathery wings and flies off. In addition to its wings and size, the creature has a smooth tail where its hind legs should be. Anfisa recognizes it as a creature of the Overworld, and sometimes a favorite familiar of witches.
The three split up and follow the toad-thing; Mika and Anfisa keep it well in sight, while Gena takes a little longer. They watch it squeeze into the upper window of a warehouse out on a pier. As Gena catches up, the two Gorinstal men who were last seen harassing Captain Tzifina exit the warehouse and walk back down the pier toward the main street.
Gennadiy intercepts the two. As he starts to explain his part in the hunt, they wave his talk off; they’ve already found a tracker, and they expect results soon. Gena congratulates them, and has no trouble talking them into a few drinks. The nearest drinking house is a rough-looking establishment called the Troll’s Hook, but its brutal clientele doesn’t deter any of the three.
Not longer after the drinking begins, the toad-thing squeezes back out of the warehouse. It beats its wings and begins a slow spiral overheard; once it veers off in a definite direction, Anfisa goes after it. She and Kostya manage to get to a shabby section of docks in time to see it land on another battered and abandoned structure, where it settles for a moment and then releases a piercing croak.
As the hunter and her bear pursue the quarry, Mika creeps quietly up to the warehouse, and finds a window to peer through. Inside, a circle of candles illuminates a man in robes sitting cross-legged on the floor, a chalk eye painted on his forehead. She recognizes the trappings from her tutelage under the Spider-Witch of the Swamp, and realizes the warlock is mentally influencing some creature under his control. Judging by the bone and claw paraphernalia in his keeping, she realizes it may be a troll — possibly even two.
Anfisa draws up as she hears a smashing sound from the small building, followed by a shout of panic. She and Kostya run to the shack, and Kostya smashes the door open. Inside, they see a woman dressed in a beggar’s cloak, bleeding and pressed against the wall, drawing a sword — as a massive, scaly arm with long webbed talons gropes around for her. The siblings lunge for the arm, Anfisa scoring it through its tough scales. The woman rallies at their presence and makes an excellent thrust through the bicep, but the creature retaliates with another brutal claw. It pulls apart more of the floor and crawls through, revealing itself as a river troll.
Mika hears the crash somewhere in the distance. She whispers a prayer to Namaluk, and conjures one of the Queen’s bone needles. The bone javelin strikes the unsuspecting warlock full in the forehead, and he totters to one side, dead before he hits the floorboards. A horrible croak echoes over the river as the water leaper spasms.
Gennadiy hears little of it from his place in the tavern. While the others had been stalking their prey, he had done his best to keep on the good side of the two Gorinstal enforcers. Unfortunately, the two were too proud to back down in the face of surly locals, and wound up getting into a brawl before their first refill. Gena sits back and watches the hostilities, interceding only when it looks likely that someone’s going to pull a knife.
Mika is back into the streets the moment she’s convinced of the warlock’s death. She follows the sound of the croak, and races down a few blocks until she can see the toad-thing, slowly dissolving into Otherworld smoke in the sunset light. The door to the building it sits on is smashed in, and she darts for the opening even as she hears an anguished roar.
Inside, two river trolls have shown themselves — lacking the warlocks’ direction, they still seem to have plenty of hunger and rage. But one of them is cut almost to ribbons already, its lanced arm never having regrown right. It slowly collapses, and Anfisa strikes off its head as Mika watches.
The young priestess conjures the spirits of the Volyar fallen, who cloak the ranger and flood her with age-old fury. She then has to recoil as the second troll tears into her. Anfisa cuts into the other troll, Kostya alongside her, distracting it with fresh pain.
Meanwhile, the brawl in the Troll’s Hook has spread to almost the whole room, and is poised on the edge of real danger. Gena steps in and escorts his two “friends” outside, calming them with a few stern words. He hears the crashing and shouts in the distance, and tells the two to go touch base with their tracker — he’ll look into the trouble.
The second troll still seems disoriented from the spells laid on it. Although it has found its fury, it isn’t clever or quick enough to keep Mika and Anfisa from grievously injuring it. Finally, Anfisa’s sabers tear open a final wound that it just can’t heal, and she strikes through its heart.
Gena leaps into the doorway at that point, shield and morningstar drawn, with a courageous shout. He surveys the room, with one troll decapitated and a second gushing out the last of its blood. “Just in time,” he says. “Again.”
The bogatyrs quickly lever the decapitated troll’s body through its entry hole, and throw the head after it. They take Norina’s bloodstained cloak and plant it with the other troll’s corpse, giving her one of theirs. Mika quickly smears some excess dirt on the soldier’s features, making her a more convincing facsimile of a beggar, and tells her to get out of town quickly.
Norina slips out the back as the three emerge from the broken door. A few Zelezkan guards are cautiously approaching the now-quiet shack, a curious but wary crowd behind them. Gena yells at the guard to go fetch their captain. As they do so, the crowd jostles for a good look. Gennadiy moves past them, and Mika vanishes again.
Gena catches back up to the Donjon’s two men to tell them there was a troll attack, apparently on the woman they were hunting. They are clearly rattled by finding the corpse of their “tracker,” but willing to believe that the hunt was successful — and certainly glad that they can report the same. They return to their delegation’s headquarters to do so.
As the only one at the battle scene, the blood-covered Anfisa is quickly hailed as a trollslayer, and there’s talk of taking the corpse’s skull to fashion into a helm for Kostya. She deals with the captain, who is clearly impressed. In the meantime, Gennadiy and Mika slip back into the dead warlock’s base of operations. Gena steals back the parcel of coin that the Gorinstal delegation had given him, and Mika takes his peculiar sticks of river-bone chalk as her trophy.