Yokohama, Japan, 2019
Haunted by her Bleeding Effect experience, Lisa Huang returns to Doctor Kaori Kagami to continue her treatments. Lisa explains how the hallucination has deeply affected her, and wants to know more about what it was. Kagami immediately brushes it off as a temporary condition of using the machine, and nothing to be concerned about, as the Animus simulation is not real at all. After being promised the effect will settle down, Lisa's curiosity to explore Shao Jun's life wins out, and she returns to the Animus session.
Rural China, 1529
A three years have passed since the events of Macau. Within the crop fields of the countryside, Shao Jun is donned in worker clothes, and working to process the yield. She is surprised to see Wang Yangming approach, who in turn is shocked to still find her in the same place three years after he originally left her there to recuperate from the trauma of the fires of Macau. They go inside a barn to continue their conversation in private. Jun expresses how the deaths three years later still weigh heavy on her mind.
Wang tries to reason with her, and she is reminded of the words of Ezio Auditore, who told her that the Assassins do not just fight the Templars in order to get revenge, but instead to fight for freedom – people's freedom. She questions if her actions in Macau really reflected that goal. Wang takes it upon himself to remind her of the day that he originally freed Jun from the Imperial Palace when she was younger, and that at the time she had sworn to return one day to release a friend. Given the actions of the Jiajing Emperor, a Templar puppet, Wang surmises that Jun's friend may very well still need her help more than ever. Jun replies that her friend, Qijie, is now in fact the Empress and that reaching her now would be very difficult as a result.
Yokohama, Japan, 2019
Whilst Lisa remains in the Animus, Kagami and an assistant monitor the simulation from monitors. When the name of Qijie is mentioned, Kagami recognises her to in fact be Empress Zhang. She also mentions that this was pretty much the point in the memories of Shao Jun that she had reached up to in her research with a previous descendant subject, before the Madrid Abstergo facility was taken over by the subjects in 2016. Again expressing her frustration over the events back then, she requests that her assistant records everything but ensures that there are no leaks of this information. He informs her that the simulation has seemingly shifted, as Shao Jun is now recalling her own memories from the year 1517.
Imperial Palace, Beijing, China, 1517
A 12 year old Shao Jun is outside the palace late at night, leading her friend Zhang Qijie along, who is protesting that they will get in trouble for being out in the middle of night. They come across a guard carrying a lantern, but Jun distracts him by throwing a rock into a nearby bush, and the two girls sneak by undetected. Once safe, Qijie expresses her admiration at Jun's stealth skills, and questions what else that the Zhengde Emperor expects of her. Jun mentions that she has learned to run without making a noise, to climb pillars, and to act as a spy for the Emperor. She further explains that she is not considered to be a woman by the Emperor. She has not been asked to bind her feet and chest, as was the common practice for women to be desirable for the Emperor, indeed both practices of which Qijie had partaken in.
Qijie says that she always loves to hear about Jun's exciting stories, to which Jun replies that they should go on an adventure together. She mentions that she has found many ways in and out of the Imperial Palace, including one tunnel that has sharp edged gleaming walls that almost looks not of this world. With the promise of this amazing sight, the two girls journey to a small hole in a wall, that Jun insists leads down to the wonder. As Jun starts to climb, Qijie mentions that she simply cannot climb up towards the tunnel as Jun can, due to the painful feet bindings that she has to wear. She remarks sadly, that the binding serves a double purpose beyond that of displaying beauty and status, as it also prevents her from ever escaping the palace.
They return to Qijie's quarters, with Jun upset over this revelation and apologising to Qijie. Qijie simply states that they are both different animals, one a butterfly and one a rabbit, and the both of them are unique and amazing in their own way. The two get into bed, with Qijie wanting to hear yet another adventure story, which Jun is more than eager to share. Eventually, Qijie falls asleep, and Jun slips away into the night. She swears to herself that she will return to protect her one true friend and that one day they will go through that tunnel together, but in truth she knows that she must leave to perform spy duties upon the invading Mongolians on behalf of the Emperor.
Yokohama, Japan, 2019
Lisa awakens from the simulation, overcome with emotion and tears in her eyes. Kagami asks her what is wrong, but Lisa says she is relieved to find out that even the great Shao Jun had someone that she cared about, and wanted to protect. She realizes that it had been similar to the way that she looked after her own cousin Mari as well, even recalling a memory of being almost thrown off a balcony by Mari's abusive father. Kagami is a little troubled by this, and recalls a previous conversation that she once had with her elder Abstergo superior. She was warned about the Bleeding Effect, that not only does it cause the user to experience hallucinations, but that also the ancestor's physical capabilities and combat skills would tend to be imprinted upon them. Kagami now begins to wonder if Lisa is set to become an enemy of her own personal creation.
Characters in order of appearance
- Kiyoshi Takakura (flasback(s))
- Kaori Kagami
- Lisa Huang
- Wang Yangming
- Shao Jun
- Empress Zhang (flashback(s))
- Galina Voronina (flashback(s))
- Desmond Miles (flashback(s))
- Ellen Kaye (flasback(s))