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The amber bottle revealed!
I meandered through the garden looking for such a scene. My patience was rewarded, for after a while, to my delight, I found such a spot. I spied an evergreen next to a tall upright rock. A slow stream ran nearby. I began to dig at the tree's trunk. My effort was fruitful! I reached into the hole that I had dug and pulled out a small, smooth amber bottle! I could hardly contain my excitement. Now I could deliver the bottle to the Prince, and his daughter would be saved!
I then heard a growl behind me and as I turned, I realized that four bluish-white kitsune, or foxes, surrounded me. They were not ordinary foxes as they had an eerie incandescence. I had been too focused on my task, and they had crept upon me. I was truly at a disadvantage. The foxes were certainly larger than I was, and I had no doubt that they were more powerful as well. Their piercing red eyes told me that they were not here to congratulate me for finding the bottle.
"We are Shi" they hissed in one voice. "You think you are clever. Do you think we were not watching you. We know what you are after! You will not ruin our plans. Instead we will eat your entrails!" the foxes exclaimed. My suspicions were confirmed. These were the evil obake. I considered explaining that I did not have entrails, but I did not think that it would help my predicament. The fox in front of me suddenly lunged.

Shi surrounds Lucius

A kick sends the obake soaring
I stepped deftly aside and struck at the pressure point behind its jawbone. It tumbled past me and landed in a heap. Two others leapt at me from the sides, one high and one low. I kicked one in the snout and heard a satisfying yelp, while the other clamped down on my arm. I used my free arm to elbow this attacker in the throat. It made a gurgling sound and released its grip. While I was so engaged, the fourth fox, behind me, leapt upon my back. I could feel his cold claws dig into my polyfil as he pulled me to the ground. I managed to twist myself around to face my assailant, but it held the upper hand as I was on my back while it had me pinned from above. Fetid saliva dripped from its ghostly fangs. A hideous smile crept upon its face as it reared back to lunge at my throat. I was helpless. I knew that I was going to die without completing my mission. Time seemed to slow as I recounted my past pleasant experiences in Japan. This trip had certainly been wonderful. And last time I was here, for the festival of Setsubun years ago, I also had quite a nice time. Suddenly, out of the dimness of my memories a plan emerged. "Indeed!" I exclaimed to the fox's puzzlement. With my last iota of strength, I kicked the fox and propelled him away from me.
I rose to my knees and reached into my bag to grab the handful of chocolate covered soybeans that I had packed for a snack. I flung the soybeans at the obake while I exclaimed "Obake wa soto, Fuku wa uchi!"

Imploding evil obake in the form of kitsune

The desperate soybean attack
The foxes' eyes widened in surprise. A moment later, the foxes seemed to implode and disappear in a maelstrom of fog.
It was not long before I was back in Tokyo. I used the return journey to gather my thoughts. I had not been sure that my plan would succeed. Fortunately for me, my gamble had paid off. I returned to the palace and surrendered the amber bottle to Prince Naruhito.
"Lucius-san, I am forever indebted to you. I cannot tell you what this means to me. You will forever be welcome in my household" the Prince told me as he filled the small amber bottle with water and lifted it to his daughter's lips. Almost immediately, she began to stir. Her eyes opened and a smile bloomed upon her face. She reached her small arms out towards her father as he picked her up.
"Prince Naruhito, it was my honor to assist you. I will not abide such ill manners as those exhibited by the obake. The cruelty of those fiends astounds me. What type of creature would injure an infant to control her parent? I cannot tell you how pleased I am that your daughter is awake and safe. Indeed, it was my utmost pleasure to help foil such a plot" I explained to the Prince.
In time, after much hospitality on the part of the Imperial Family, I said goodbye to the Prince and flew home. During the flight, I reflected on my recent experiences. Several years ago, I had been in Japan for the New Year and participated in the festivities during Setsubun, which is the Japanese equivalent of New Year's Eve. During Setsubun, individuals scatter soybeans in the air while exclaiming "Oni wa soto, Fuku wa uchi!", or "Spirits out, Good luck in!" This scares any evil spirits away before the new year. The idea came to me to substitute obake for oni (another type of spirit) and hurl my hearty soybean snack at my attackers. At worst I had hoped it would confuse them long enough for me to gain the upper hand. Fortunately, it in fact banished the obake and allowed me to safely deliver the amber bottle. Quite an exciting cap to an otherwise calm yet most enjoyable stay in Japan. I look forward to the next opportunity I receive to visit the Orient. Perhaps next time, however, I will be able to avoid ghostly kitsune drool, as the smell is quite atrocious.