Date: October 6, 2012
Mushi and Shintaro listen to the story of the forest’s origins and the hummingbird’s part in it. They learn a few new things, but Mushi’s journey comes to an unexpected ending.
"Hummingbirds of Museigan - A Very Small Summon"
Museigan Forest – Haha Islands
"I wish for you to listen to our history," the hummingbird says and pauses. If one looked closer it wouldn't just be feathery eyebrows. He has a pencil thin mustache and long goatee. It gives him a wise look rather than a silly one somehow. That is, until he starts speaking or, more specifically, doesn't. The pause drags on and on. And on and on. At last, Kirameki clears her throat significantly.
"Ah yes," the elder continues. "My name is Rishi, and I am the oldest of my kind. We lived much longer then, and my father was five times as old as I am now, yet now I approach the end of my days…" He drifts into a somber, reflective silence.
Kirameki sighs says, "Elder Rishi, you still have many years ahead of you. Stop always saying you're near your end."
"Hmm," Rishi says. "My time runs short. Long ago, when humans invaded our forest we learned that our fate is linked to these trees and earth. As it burned down the animals life spans shrank and they became stupid. The Hummingbird Clan managed to recover but…oh a bee." He looks down at a yellow and black bug buzzing around.
"I'm sorry," Rishi says. "It's a hornet."
Mushi stands perfectly still, saying nothing. But her lips twitch.
Shintaro stands by Mushi in silence. He listens to the elder bird's speech and the exchange between him and the other, his face expressionless. This part of the situation may not exactly call for his help, but he is here for moral support like Mushi said. Every so often, he casts a glance toward her, pondering what might be going through her head.
Zzz…No, that's not Mushi. Rishi has fallen asleep sitting on a branch, his head bowed. So Kirameki takes up the story. "The hummingbirds recovered from the fire, but many animals did not. Even we were smaller, and our life spans shorter. To Rishi who can see in the past, perhaps our long lives do seem fleeting by comparison. And to us, you seem even more short lived, so brief it's both comical and tragic. Many believe humans are to blame for our weakened state, but perhaps the fault is partly ours. We have never tried to get to know humans, never tried to befriend them. Before, we were deities. Afterwards, we were enemies. This is the point Rishi wanted to make. Perhaps by opening a summoning contract with humans we can build our friendship and co-exist with humans. And when you summon us, you must use our power in that spirit. If you summon us it must be for a cause you believe is good. Moreover, we wish to see some of the world outside this island. We can see into your heart. If you abuse our relationship we may cut off all ties from you. Do you understand, human?"
She asks the last part sharply, but Mushi only nods. "Yeah," she says. "I'll cherish our comradery and friendship. In return, please take good care of me." Then she'd bow low.
Shintaro remains silent throughout Kirameki's speech, his face yet remaining expressionless. The tale is quite interesting, though not something he is curious enough about to ask for any information further than what has been offered. When the final question is presented, he looks over to Mushi and smiles slightly as things seem to be coming to a close. It seems Mushi will be getting her contract. Seems his mission here might be successful.
"You are a strange species," Rishi says. "Your time is so short, passing in a blink. But perhaps that is why you are so passionate and in a rush to influence your world. A longer life can lead to…oh, a squirrel."
He looks at a squirrel the size of a dog as it stares at them and then runs up a tree. He watches until it's in the highest branches and then continues. "Where was I? Ah yes, among humans you are worthy to summon us. I heard that you used a revival technique not once but twice. I have seen only two other beings capable of such healing feats, and I have lived many centuries."
Mushi flushes red. That is a pretty big compliment to take. She just shrugs.
"Where was I?" Rishi says. "Ah yes, among humans you are worthy to summon us. I heard—"
"Elder Rishi you just said that," Kirameki says. "Take this Summoning Contract. Spread your blood across; it needn't be much. Then put your fingerprint on."
Mushi takes the scroll that's been set to the side, and cuts her finger with a kunai. Then she takes out a wound sealing bandage and ties it around her thumb, but doesn't use chakra to heal it. Hmm. A fingerprint is placed, and then Rishi says, "It is done. Among humans you are worthy to summon—"
"Elder Rishi, you said that."
Mushi grins to Shintaro. "Thanks Shintaro-kun," she says. "I really couldn't do this without you."
"Ah yes, your mate is very devoted to you," Kirameki says with a glint in her eye.
The absent-mindedness of the elder bird is a touch amusing, though not enough for Shintaro to make any comment or physical gesture about it. When the scroll is at least presented, he lets out a breath of relief. "My pleasure," he says as he looks to Mushi, smiling at her. Of course, that turns into a smirk at Kirameki's words. "Mate, huh?" he asks, tilting his head slightly. "I'm going to have to start using that one."
Mushi glares at Shintaro. "You do, you die," she says.
For the first time, Rishi chuckles. "At this point human, I do not think you could kill a bug," he says. "But behold. This grove is a place of great memories. Watch the first human the Hummingbirds of Museigan ever opened a summoning contract with."
And then it's a cinematic wonder. Around them trees grow, climbing twice as tall, so many times as tall to the sky. Trunks that were as big as houses are now cliffs. Leaves that could wrap several times around a human waves in the wind. The bugs the size of rocks are now as big as them. And from the trees walks a man in robes, with untidy hair and a worn face. He walks straight through Mushi as if she were an apparition, never noticing her. A bird that makes the current hummingbirds look as big as normal hummingbirds towers over him as he makes the contract. Mushi carefully watches the seals he makes, committing them to memory. Then she says, "That man…he's ill. Very ill."
Rishi says, "Yes. He died shortly after he opened this Summoning Contract."
At the threat, Shintaro chuckles a bit and just winks at Mushi. Yeah, that's definitely something to pick on her with. Of course, it's probably somewhat about the whole commitment/marriage thing that she freaks out so much about it.
When the grove starts to change, he turns his head and watches the displayed change. The image of what this place was before is quite impressive. He watches the man that Mushi points out as being quite ill curiously, glancing between the real and false images. So, the guy accomplishes something like this then dies soon after. That kind of sucks, but at least he made something of himself before he died.
"You can't see it on his body," Mushi says to Shintaro. "But it's in his eyes. I've seen the eyes of a person I told is going to die, and there's no cure for it." She sounds quiet but so sad at that.
Then the past image fades, the forest shrinking to what now seem small proportions though they're really still quite large. Mushi cracks her knuckles and says, "Alrighty then, I've got it!" She makes the proper seals and then slaps her hand on the ground. "Kuchiyose no Jutsu!"
There's a puff of steam and when it fades a seal is stamped on the ground. And from nowhere a voice says, "You have summoned the great Tokio! Tremble in fear!" Looking around the source of the voice, though quite loud, comes from a hummingbird who is the size of a normal hummingbird. Tiny as someone's finger. Pinky finger.
Mushi groans, and Kirameki says, "I thought so. You can't use your chakra, can you?" Mushi shakes her head and elaborates, "I used a straining technique. It has thrown my normal chakra /and/ bijuu chakra into chaos, they won't even go through the chakra gates properly."
There's a silence and then both birds start laughing a trilling laugh. "Came all this way…can't use chakra a few hours before…haha…" Mushi grimaces. She doesn't think it's funny at all.
Shintaro gives a nod to the explanation then turns to face Mushi as she prepares to use the summoning jutsu. When the smoke fades, he tilts his head and laughs a little. Stepping over, he places a hand on Mushi's shoulder and says, "Love, I think it's best if you refrain from using your chakra until you've rested properly for a day… or five."
Mushi blinks when Shintaro says she should lay off. She says, "More like a mo…Monday. That's in a week. I should be right as rain by then. Of course. Okay." She stands up and bows to the hummingbirds. "I'm very sorry," she says apologetically. "I guess this won't work out for awhile."
"What do you mean?" Kirameki says. "The summoning contract is established. Leave this forest now. Recover and summon us as you will. Many of the hummingbirds are grateful to you. However, more are angry at the humans for what was done to our young, and they see you just the same as they saw the poacher."
Mushi blinks. "Well…yeah, okay. I'll wait for ya guys to simmer down," she says. "In the meantime, I'll stay at the Islands for awhile and make sure the humans aren't up to anything crafty anymore. Make sure the peace stays in place for now." She'd bow again.
Then Rishi says, "I will carry you." He'd bend to let Mushi climb atop him and as they fly out, he says, "It was foolish of you to decrease your own personal life span. Do not use those techniques again."
Mushi mumbles, "Yeah…okay." They'd reach the edge of the top of the mountain, where Rishi would depart in a blink.
Catching that Mushi is lying about only needing a week, Shintaro smirks and snickers a bit. "We'll leave it at a month. I'm sure I can extend my mission to guard you for a while longer." Just as he is about to exit that cave himself, he hears what the bird says and looks up, his eyes widening. "Her… life span?" he asks to the air once she is gone, quite shocked now. He closes his eyes and clenches his fist then lets out a sigh and shakes his head. "I'll make my way back on my own," he says before leaping into the trees to begin leaping through them to make his way back toward the shore.
Ugh, he heard that. Shintaro heard that about her life span, and now he's going to trap her on this island for a month. That's how long it takes or even up to two. She had important things to do. And she could very much do them without chakra. So she's just about to ask a hummingbird for a life to the mainland and avoid him. But something stops her. And she realizes it's because she wants to spend a while on a tropical beach with her boyfriend. She can sneak out later…yeah… she's rubbing her hands and snickering as she descends the far side of the mountain only to be attacked. By one of those giant cats! So she summons up a…no chakra! And that's how her trip to the forest ends, as she runs with impressive speed back to the village chased all the way to the water by a giant mountain lion.