The Official Response Squad continues to explore the castle, and come across a stables with three horse skeletons that appear to be animated. Shan wants to punch them and gets dissuaded by Amaira, explaining that the horses could be used as mounts. Zorran inspects the sturdiness of one of them, and Amaira mounts another to give it a test drive. It responds readily and moves at a steady pace.
Shan pushes in some double-doors to expose a large hallway about 20’ across, sunlight spilling inside now. Momoko pursues Shan in the belief that the latter needs supervision… and having found a zombie in fancy clothing (“butler café”?) confirms Momoko’s concerns. Skeletons in armour attack! After taking out the four skeletons, two more guard the door. Amaira greets the zombie butler, who bows. Shan asks for cake, and it heads off, and then she charges the guarding skeletons. After Momoko shoots a scorching ray at Shan (by accident), they decide to follow the zombie.
The team is led to a kitchen, crewed (not crude) by five skeletons in chef outfits in the process of preparing food. Momoko deducts that they are going through the process of preparing food, without actually cooking it or otherwise preparing for a final product – and the ingredients are all fresh. They decide to step into the kitchen, and the skeletons keep at work. The team then follows a skeleton carrying raw pork slices into a room lined with tables, containing piles of pork, vegetables, and loaves of bread: it appears to be a pantry as though getting ready to serve to guests. About a third of the food is rotten. Shan picks up the freshest basket of pork and some bread. Another zombie inside takes the oldest pork and takes it to another room in the castle, putting it along with pile of rotted food.
Zorran notices boot prints and char marks on the ground, as well as a headless bird flying about that Amaira saw fly from the tower earlier (and the birds had been spying on them the night before). They decide to follow the footprints, and it goes into the keep (hard to follow) as well as to the front, where they go to and from a well.
Amaira draws up some water from the well, and Momoko detects poison and magic on the water and the well: she only detects some magic somewhere down in the well. After further exploration, handholds in the side of the well are revealed, and Zorran decides to descend into the water. He encounters a magical barrier (likely what Momoko discovered), and before he could pull out of the well, Shan fires chi blast into the water, inadvertently hitting Zorran.
They decide to return to the keep’s grand hall.