Date: October 6, 2012
Many of the hummingbird chicks seem damaged beyond repair. Mushi must use her most straining medical jutsu to heal them. The mission seems over, but will there be unexpected and unfortunate results from their adventure?
Poster's note: Foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Hummingbirds of Museigan - Bye Bye Birdie"
Museigan Forest – Haha Islands
In a better world they'd be in time to stop the explosions. The birds would be safe, or at least most of them would and one would be slightly injured. But as the smoke clears a scene of horror unveils. Two of the birds are badly damaged, with horrible near-fatal wounds. The other two are dead, completely still and one is burnt beyond recognition.
Mushi stares in horror for a second at the birds. This is…no, she'll give herself three seconds to despair. Three, two, one, then she turns to the man who is already drawing weapons and throwing shuriken at the both of them.
And Mushi shouts, "Take him down! Kill him!" She would make hand seals and a seal would form under him, locking him in place if he didn't move fast enough. She doesn't look furious. She looks cold as ice, emotionless and doesn't spare a glance for the birds. Not yet.
As the explosions ring out, Shintaro's eyes widen slightly. He hadn't expected an actual shinobi to be in the ring with the bandits. "Chick," the Jounin growls out as he moves through hand seals, his shadow beginning to take over the entire room and tendrils moving up around the man to impale him from all sides and bind him down. "Poaching and killing animals intelligent enough to be work alongside shinobi all for the sake of fortune? This is not how a shinobi should behave. Learn that lesson for your next life." With that, one of the tendrils actually rises up to attempt to impale the man directly through his throat to kill him.
You can condition certain parts of your body to withstand blows but apparently the man didn't do enough eye and neck exercises, as Shintaro's shadow would slice right through him in a spray of blood. With Mushi's paralysis and Shintaro's half decapitation, he's deprived of any last words, either pleading or defiant. "In my clinical opinion he's going to die from that wound," Mushi says, and then doesn't spare the captain a second glance; she'd just needed him out of the way, and now she goes over to the birds. They're all horribly wounded, dead or dying from being hit.
"I need to use this technique as soon as possible," she says. "If I wait…" Then she'd be gathering her chakra in gargantuan amounts, as Shintaro would see her bijuu cloak for the first time…not red, but blue and green with flaring wings. "Too big," she says, "and it's anatomy is different…" Well, duh. But within a minute the bird's gaping wounds would suddenly seal shut completely, and it'd quite literally come to live. She goes to the next one and does the same.
The birds are weak but look fine — it's Mushi with sweat rolling down her face who looks as exhausted as if she'd just run for days. But the next two birds are alive and Mushi says, "This'll take less, I'll just use /that/ technique." This one is instantaneous — the bird heals in seconds. But for some reason her chakra cloak snaps, shattering into shards that fall away. Did she run out of chakra? It doesn't seem so as she uses the same technique on the next bird. By the end she's pale, but she says, "How do we get these guys out?"
"I believe that diagnosis," Shintaro replies with a smirk as he drops his hands and allows the now-deceased captain to fall to the floor. He then turns to watch Mushi get to work. When she actually brings out her cloak, he tilts his head slightly and looks her over with a smile. This is the first time he's gotten to see this. Seems he's getting to see all kind of new sides of Mushi today, and so far he's been receptive of them all. So much for all her worrying about him the real her!
When the cloak shatters, he blinks and watches her carefully. That technique actually interfered with her chakra somehow, though the second round doesn't seem to actually wear on her like the first did… He's prepared to jump over and catch her, though she doesn't seem quite ready to fall out just yet. At the question, he looks at the cages and ponders a moment before shrugging his shoulders and reaching into his pouch for a lockpick. "Quite simply," he answers as he walks over to the cages and starts to pick locks to let the birds out of their cages.
Mushi looks at her hands. Now she's trembling, and more drained than she's ever felt in her life. But she turns to Shintaro with a grim look. When he frees the birds they flap with more or less energy around the room. She moves to close to him and speaks quietly. "That first technique…I don't use it," she admits. "The dead shouldn't be brought back to life. Never mention it to anyone, ever. If there's risk to their souls.." She sighs and shakes her head, and then shrugs. "But if I didn't, it'd mean war between Haha Island and the hummingbirds." Then she turns to the birds and says, "I'm so sorry I…"
"MUSHI!" one blue-green hummingbird cries, flapping to her and nuzzling her. Or at least nearly knocking her down. "I never thought you'd come back. I saw what you did with your healing! Can /all/ humans do that?"
Mushi smiles. "I'm glad to see you Kirameki-chan," she says. Seems the birdie was named after her mother. "Umm…let's go up."
Fortunately, all the baddies have been disabled. At one point they come across two ordinary sailors who stare at the two shinobi and four giant monsters before running screaming. Smart reaction. They make it to the top where a crowd has gathered. News spreads quickly.
Looking over to Mushi as she speaks, Shintaro gives a nod. "That's understandable," he says, looking her over to be sure she is okay. Just as he is about to offer to carry her, the oversized bird comes over and tackles Mushi to the ground. Shintaro chuckles a bit then walks with them up to the deck. The sailors that run away rather instantly only gain a smirk as they walk.
As they reach the top, he lifts an eyebrow as he sees the people gathered. Well, not quite the people they care to see… He reaches into his pocket and pulls out the feather given to him by the large bird before they retrieved the first poacher then rips it. Not flashy, but it is enough to send the signal that the mission is completed.
The birds are glaring at the humans. For all they know, the entire island was in on this. Mushi says quickly, "I know you're angry, guys. But there were only a few people who did bad things to you. We got them all." That might not be entirely true — some may have escaped. Yet it's best to present the crowd in the best possible light, as Mushi continues, "If you attack them, your parents will get involved and be in danger. Let's just go back to the forest. Don't even talk to them."
One of the birds takes a step towards the humans, but Kirameki says, "Do what Mu-chan says." Then she'd let Mushi mount her. Mushi looks exhausted, as if she can barely hold on. Shintaro would be allowed to get on another bird and feel that same lightness as they're borne back to the trees. The hummingbirds are all gathered. Dozens of them, some a little bigger than normal hummingbirds and others the sizes of hills. Perched around a circle of trees. They stare down at the humans and birds as Mushi dismounts. Are they about to be attacked? Nope. More than getting at the humans, the birds break into a joyous, beautiful chorus and they'd fly down to nuzzle their kids. Mushi smiles. "That's nice," she says, and then would lean on Shintaro heavily.
Shintaro mounts one of the birds as well rides to where the others are waiting. Once there, he dismounts and walks over to Mushi. When she leans on him, he moves to wrap his arms around her and hold her up. "Quite," he says with a smile as he turns his head to kiss her cheek. "You did well, my love. I think it's time we called it a night and went to sleep at the hotel. I'm sure Kirameki will be happy to conclude your business tomorrow." With that, he moves his arms to pick Mushi up and hold across his arms. "Allow me."
The older Kirameki comes to land beside Mushi and say, "The hummingbirds of Museigan owe you a debt, Nikumari Mushi. Though we consider most humans evil, we have long since admitted that there are good ones as well. You must rest now. I can see what your techniques did to your body. Tomorrow morning we can begin your trials. My daughter will lead you to some suitable quarters."
Mushi is too tired to respond. She just nods. Then she'd snuggle up against Shintaro when he kisses her, and pass out then and there. Seems even Jinchuuriki have their limits. Nor would she wake up for anything until the next morning.
In the morning Mushi wakes up, stretching and wincing a little. She sits up in bed and takes a deep breath, closing her eyes in concentration. Physically she looks fine, her skin back to its normal color, all her exhaustion gone. Well, not all of it but most of it. She's frowning as she gets up and eats the food. It's berries and nuts, what the hummingbirds gleaned from the forest. She has some meat stored in scrolls, but considering the recent events she doesn't think it'd be too wise to be eating animal flesh in the forest, even the normal varieties.
She dresses in a clean set of the exact same clothes she always wears, and brushes her hair back into a ponytail. Then she'd go to Shintaro and say, "I think I may have a few difficulties. Those medical jutsus are a bit of a two edged blade. I shouldn't use them." A little bit later hummingbirds would come to fly them to a different part of the forest, and it's one of the most beautiful sights in the world: a vast circle of flowers, like a million bouquets pressed together. But growing naturally in a a perfect ring. If the forest is magical, this is the most magical place within it. Mushi gets down on her hands and knees to smell them. In the grove Kirameki and an older hummingbird waits — one who, despite being a hummingbird, seems to have a few wrinkles as well as long feathers drooping down to its wings that look like huge eyebrows. "Greetings Nikumari Mushi and Nara Shintaro," the hummingbird says. "I thank you for our children."
Shintaro smiles down at Mushi as she snuggles into him, glancing up to the birds and simply waiting for Kirameki to finish speaking then follows to carry Mushi to the quarters where she can sleep.
The morning after, he dresses in clothes that look exactly the same as the ones he wore the day before as well. "That makes sense. I suppose you developed those as an 'in-case of emergency' thing only?" he asks as he looks over to her. He rides through the forest with her to the grove, though he doesn't get on his hands and knees and smell things like her. Perhaps he's not quite as interested in the flowers as she is. "Greetings," he says, bowing his head lightly with to the elder bird in respect. "It was our pleasure."