Our Hollow Earth Expedition serial “Thrilling Actions Stories” brought our heroes — tomb radier Dr. Hannibal Drake, his dim-witted but heroic friend Jack MacMahon, their half-Chinese mob lieutenant ally Roland “Boss Banana” Kessik, and wee Shanghai Sally (who has been having strange and terrifying dreams of Prince Yinreng since she ate a piece of the man in the last adventure to heal her wounds.) back to the monastery of the White Lotus, looking to recover the coffins with the mellified men in them. (Here’s the original post on this campaign…) They fly to the location in a DC2 piloted by Trapp Sommers — a Clark Gable-esque American Volunteer fighting with the Chinese Air Force — and find the monks are evacuating, taking not just the coffins but the mysterious, ageless woman in a magical golden cage that they saw and promptly forgot about. They are trying to get out on barges, but with the arrival of the airplane, fighting breaks out.

Along the way, Jack hoses down the monks with the cage and it rolls into the river where the barges are and sinks. Moments later, the woman levitate, glowing, out of the water. This is Wang Cong’er — the leader of the White Lotus in 1799…but she’s infused with the spirit of Yinreng. A battle ensues, with Wang absorbing the life essence of several monks. She shorts out the DC2 — they’re stuck fighting the sorceress. Jack is blinded (light comin’ out of her mouth!), Kessik panics, and Sally appears entranced by the woman. Drake shocks Sally out of her spell by throwing a rifle at her and knocking her into the river.

Using some kind of Chinese black magic (telekenesis rules), she’s tearing up the barges with the mellified men’s coffins on them, the DC2, the heroes…then Sally resurfaces. She’s had that little bit of the prince in her activated: she has Magic and Psychic Aptitude now. She is able to drive off the sorceress, as she has a particular insight into the mind of the demon inhabiting her. They are linked. Sally knows Yinreng/Wang is headed to Xi’an in the north to “wake the army there…”

The team grabs a few of the coffins, repairs the plane and flies back to Shanghai, only to have to dodge Japanese fighter interdiction. Once on the ground, they start researching this “army” and find out the first Sovereign Emperor had created a supreme army and he and the army were entombed through sorcery when his quest for immortality drove him to try and imprison a witch with the power to give him everlasting life.

Yinreng aims to wake the army and take over China. They have to stop her!

To make matters worse, they can’t just waltz in: “the Young Marshall” Zhang Xueling just took Chian Kai Shek hostage there in an attempt to force the Kuomintang to join forces with the communists to fight the Japanese…

Gathering Trapp’s Sky Rats (Foreign Volunteer Force), they are headed for Xi’an to save China!

Next issue — Hannibal Drake and the Terracotta Army!

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