Hummingbirds of Museigan - Can’t Cave In


Mushi, Shintaro

Date: October 3, 2012


A poacher is loose in the woods, and the forest has become a place of death for humans. To clear their name and help protect the animals, Mushi and Shintaro must track down the murderer and stop him before time runs out.

Poster's note: Foul language filtered in obvious places.

"Hummingbirds of Museigan - Can’t Cave In"

Museigan Forest – Haha Islands

Mushi and Shintato are left alone in the cave, eating through some muffins Mushi had brought, filched from their inn's hospitality tray. "Once we're done, I'll think of what to do," she says. But that time seems to take awhile in coming. Mushi makes sure to eat every crumb, pick up every sesame seed to consume. She makes a muffin take as long as a three course meal, and once there's not so much as a grain in sight she sits back with a sigh. Then she turns to Shintaro. "Well, we can take them," she says. "One at a time, easy. But we can't harm them, so my idea is to—"

"We know you're in there!" that same hummingbird calls out. "Come out right now or we knock down the cave!"

Mushi groans. Then she shouts, "We're not the poachers! We came to see Kirameki! Ryota! Enshin! Do you thinka poacher would know all your pals?"

There's a long pause before the hummingbird in a very different tone says, "Ryota-sensei? Why didn't you say that before, human!?"

Mushi nearly snarls with frustration. "We. Tried. Are you going to kill us?"

There's a long pause before the hummingbird says, "No, you can come out." So Mushi does, beckoning for Shintaro to come. Seems she's taking them at their word. Outside it's the same hummingbird that nearly buzz sawed them in half, and still as large as life. Perched on a boulder that's almost smaller than it. It glares at Mushi and says, "Think I heard of you. And how about you," it says suspiciously to Shintaro.

Shintaro eats at a normal pace, which makes it all the more amusing that Mushi is eating so slowly. While she may talk big, he's pretty sure she is just stalling until she figures out an idea of what exactly their next move is. After all, dealing with hummingbirds that are bigger than they are can be quite a challenge, especially if they're all as aggressive as the last one they ran into.

When the birds speak up, Shintaro looks back over to the entrance of the cave and then back to Mushi, staying quiet and simply letting her do all the talking for now. He stands and follows Mushi out, spotting the giant beast they took on the day before. When the creature speaks to him, he smirks slightly and replies, "I'm just here to help. She asked me to come along, and so I did."

"Help…with the poaching?" the hummingbird asks suspiciously.

Mushi runs her hands through her hair, looking as if she's in danger of tearing it around. "No, I wanted to come and see Kirameki," Mushi says. "I wanted to ask her for a favor. My friend is here as…as moral support."

"Kirameki-san shouldn't have told you you can come barging in," the bird says suspiciously.

Mushi gives a half hearted laugh and says, "Yes…well…no need to trouble Kirameki. She didn't. She kind of said I'd be put to death if I ever came back, but not because I did anything wrong!" she adds quickly. "Just because I'm human. And she kind of said it in a friendly, I-hope-to-see-you-again way." Seems that Mushi was the one in the wrong. She shoots a sheepish, guilty look at Shintaro. She forgot to mention that part, and then a please-do-something! look.

As Mushi seems to begin to get in over her head with the birds, Shintaro lifts an eyebrow and glances between them. Did she really drag him into this this far without planning ahead? Next time, he's forming the plans before this kind of thing goes down. The Jounin smirks at Mushi and then looks back to the hummingbirds, saying, "I've a proposal for you." He pauses a moment to be sure he has the bird's attention before saying, "Allow Mushi to meet with Kirameki so they can handle whatever business they have between them, and, meanwhile, I'll track down your poachers and ensure that proper punishment is dealt out swiftly. That way, everyone comes out a winner with friends made and the poachers' heads on a pike."

Not only no plan, but apparently the birds she planned to have a summoning contract with warned her to not come around again on pain of death. Mushi and the hummingbird listen to Shintaro as he gives a rather handy proposal. Then the hummingbird says, "Not that you'd stand a chance of finding him…/we/ can't find the poacher, and it's already been some time. We've searched high and low for the culprit but no luck. He's using some trick to hide from us. By now though we can hardly believe it, we know it's just one person doing this."

Then the hummingbird says, "Fine, I'll hold off on killing you till you deal with your kind. Both of you can look for the poacher. Find him in a few days, or I won't be so nice. And take these. With these on you, none of the animals will attack you." Two long feathers would fall from the hummingbird's bright coat, one for each of them, before the hummingbird flies off with a final, "Tear those in half if you actually succeed. It will notify me." Then he's gone in the rustling leaves, and Mushi would leap to hug Shintaro. "Great idea," she says. "We can do this! I kind of forgot about that whole 'Never come back human or face my wrath' thing until that bird brought it up." Slipped her mind. "So uh, how should we start? This forest is big."

Listening to the giant bird talk about the poacher, Shintaro ponders how best to start. Sure, these things are fast and everything, but anyone can spot a giant bird coming a mile away. A shinobi that can meld his body to the shadows, however, can be significantly more stealthy. "See you soon then," the Jounin says with a nod to the bird before looking over just in time to see Mushi lunging toward him. He chuckles a bit and wraps his arms around her to hug her back, saying, "I swear, if you weren't such a great healer, you'd probably get us killed on day." At the question, he ponders a bit and glances around before looking back in the direction of where the piled up mountain lion corpses were. "My first thought is to check around the corpses for any tracks or clues the poacher may have left behind. Even a shoeprint might give us some kind of clue of what to look for."

Mushi watches the bird go and rolls her eyes when it's in the distance. "Yeah, because we can't hear /that/ bird coming from a mile away," she says, as if she'd read Shintaro's thoughts. "That's the noisiest bird I've ever heard in my life. And not too smart. That's the one I'll be summoning by accident." But she does take the feather, and examine it closely, before she pockets it.

She'd nod to Shintaro's suggestion. "The hummingbirds should have found the intruder by now," she says. "It wasn't a random chance that two could come upon us so quickly. They concentrate chakra to their wings to move so fast one could search every inch of this forest a hundred times in a day, if not more."

She shrugs and then goes to look at the shoe prints. Walking around them with a lighter tread. Then she'd go back to the bodies and start examining them. "Capturing these animals or getting their pelts would be lucrative," she says, "but in this forest, insane. It's dangerous. But why would he kill and leave these ones…hmm."

"Makes sense," Shintaro says with a smirk, following Mushi to the prints of the man who killed the lions. He scans them over and follows them to where they stop at a tall tree and walks over to it. Emitting a low 'hmm', he leaps up into the tree to look around at the branches for any clue, such as dropped items, spots where the poacher may have scuffed the bark with his feet, anything. He has to agree, doing this kind of job in a place like this is insane, so it definitely makes no sense to leave the pelts lying to rot if that is his purpose here.

"Perhaps he's simply doing it for sport," the Jounin suggests as he continues to search for clues, trying to figure out what direction this guy ran in and where exactly he went.

From below Mushi says, "Yeah, he's not being discreet about it. In fact, he knows all the right buttons to push on the hummingbirds. Leaving the bodies piled and in brought daylight like…well, like animals. We see them like animals, but the hummingbirds see the humans like animals. And he's not doing much to ruin that image." She sounds angry. She is checking them for the fourth time, making certain all of them are dead. Why the thorough examination? Then she'd make a few seals, and four columns of soil would blast up, landing in neat piles. Perfectly box-like holes would appear, and Mushi goes to lift the first one and walk over. Seems she's giving them a burial.

"We should catch him," she mutters, as she lowers the first body in the grave and goes for the second. "Not because I want to get on the hummingbird's good side, which I do. But because this is…wrong. These animals are too special and too cherished to be slaughtered like this. Or any animals being killed for sport." Well, the latter is Mushi's more personal opinion.

From below Mushi says, "Yeah, he's not being discreet about it. In fact, he knows all the right buttons to push on the hummingbirds. Leaving the bodies piled and in brought daylight like…well, like animals. We see them like animals, but the hummingbirds see the humans like animals. And he's not doing much to ruin that image." She sounds angry. She is checking them for the fourth time, making certain all of them are dead. Why the thorough examination? Then she'd make a few seals, and four columns of soil would blast up, landing in neat piles. Perfectly box-like holes would appear, and Mushi goes to lift the first one and walk over. Seems she's giving them a burial.

"We should catch him," she mutters, as she lowers the first body in the grave and goes for the second. "Not because I want to get on the hummingbird's good side, which I do. But because this is…wrong. These animals are too special and too cherished to be slaughtered like this. Or any animals being killed for sport." Well, the latter is Mushi's more personal opinion.

"Indeed." Shintaro studies the area a bit more and finally spots a trace of a footprint. However, there are also leaves hiding a mass of explosive tags. "It looks like he planned on having someone trailing him. Even left us an explosive welcome mat." With that, he moves up to that branch, being certain to stay far away from the rather elementary trap. Once there, he begins scanning the area with his eyes again to try to find the poacher's next step. What he would give to have Byakugan right now… "This guy'll get what's coming to him."

The branch would explode! Nah, Shintaro is right it's a fairly basic trap and he'd get there without incident. And once on the branch the evidence remains: a small scrap of yellow cloth, just ordinary, torn off on a snag in the branch. Mushi finishes placing the animals in the grave, and now uses earth manipulation to move the mounds of dirt back over them. Then she'd start grabbing rocks and lining each rectangular mound of earth with them. "Can you tell where those footprints are heading? The most we can do is follow his direction speedily and quietly till we reach this guy. We have about seven hours before it starts darkening."

She finds larger stones to place as head rests at the head of each grave, and then even flowers. And at last she's taking out a bottle of sake. As a libation she pours sake on each of the headstones, leaving half in the bottle. She'd put the bottle of sake and a few more flowers on a stump beside them, leaving it there as an offering. And then she'd place a seal directly under the wood. "Sorry for booby trapping your graves guys," she says, "but you may get a last crack at this guy." She looks to Shintaro and says, "Set off the trap. Make it look like we weren't smart enough to avoid it."

Shintaro studies the prints for a moment, spotting a trail leading northwestward. "Yes. We'd best get on the way before he gets too far." He ponders a strategy out in his mind while Mushi buries the animals. "If we can find his hideout, I can Shadow Meld and get the jump on him. Should make it simple enough." Looking down, he watches her finish the ceremony then gives a nod to her instruction. He reaches up and grabs a stick off of branch above him, breaking it off before leaping up for a higher branch as he tosses the stick down upon the trap to set it off.

The tags would detonate, not only destroying the branch but blowing up a good part of the tree. What it lacked in subtlety it certainly made up for in an insta-kill way. Mushi would nod to Shintaro and say, "Shintaro-kun, stick to the trees. I'll be on the ground. Keep an eye out for any traces of the guy." And so they'd set off, but encounter no further traps for some time. And after awhile they'd come across their second dead animal. Mushi would take a minute to give it the same burial albeit with less time and without the booby trap. They'd be able to cover good ground until they came to a rocky outcropping and Mushi would say, "I'm starving. Let's eat." She'd unseal some pasty buns and fruit and pass them over to Shintaro as she sits on a stump.

Giving a nod, Shintaro begins to dart through the trees, keeping an eye on the trail the guy left as well as being sure to stay at an even pace with Mushi. When they come to a stop, he leaps down beside her and smiles slightly. "Alright." He takes a seat beside her on the ground, taking some of the buns and fruit and starting to eat. "Can't say this isn't an interesting trial run for us traveling together."

As they eat, he looks over and spots a covered cave entrance and gives a nod over at it. "Looks like we may be in some luck." Standing up, he walks over and goes to move inside the cave. However, an explosion causes him to quickly have to flicker back a bit from a trap that managed to slip by his line of sight. "Oops."

With a sigh, he looks over the entrance that is now covered in rubble and begins to toss rocks away from it.

Mushi leaps to her feet in panic when the area blows up, practically flying to Shintaro's side to make sure he's not injured. Once she sees he's unharmed she snorts, and then starts to chuckle. "Hehehe, well this us-missing-the-trap will look much more authentic than the last one," she says, failing to keep from laughing. "Very convincing Shintaro-kun." Then she'd start to toss rocks aside at a swift pace. It'd take them half an hour to clear the tunnel, by which time Mushi isn't breaking a sweat. The tags did their job too well, breaking them down into manageable chunks, none bigger than their heads. Inside, the cave is the size of a normal room and has managed to withstand most of the blast.

And there…are chests. Mushi goes over to one and opens it. It's full of animal pelts. She claps her hands to her mouth in horror, just as there's a noise outside and then bombs start flying in. Collapsing the entrance all over again, entombing them. And then a moment of laughter outside before they detonate.

Mushi would manage to throw a shield up in time. She looks to Shintaro, and then goes back to the rubble, trying to dig through it even more quickly. "Rubble," she says. "He's getting away." Well, they'll be able to give some form of chase at least once they get out.

"Yeah, yeah," Shintaro replies with a chuckle as they dig the entrance out. Once they are inside, he watches her open the chest then lifts an eyebrow at her reaction to what's inside. This guy is a poacher, even if perhaps just for sport. Honestly, what else did she expect to find in there?

The good thing about being in a cave during the day is pretty well unlimited shadows. As the bombs come toward them, Shintaro quickly forms a Hand Seal, layering shadows upon himself along with his own to create a very dense shell that would actually hurt Mushi's eyes if she stared at it for long.

Once the blast is over, he quickly joins her in moving the rubble out of the way in a hurry. "Not for long."

"We won't be able to catch him like this," Shintaro says, letting out a sigh. "Mushi, get on my back." With that direction, he begins moving through hand seals, drawing them out as long as he can so she can do so. Once he locks in, he breathes out a massive jet of fire to blast the entrance of the cave open and leap out of the cave to give chase to the poacher.

Well Mushi could prove she's an independent person and use her own fancy moves to escape the crashing cave. Or she could…yup! She's on Shintaro's back. And she seriously considers giving a cry of anguish just to fake him out. But now is too important. When they get out, the man looks stunned that they'd be that stupid — or perhaps that skilled — to get out so quickly. He's no one they ever met.

He is somewhat tall with brown hair and brown eyes, the kind of face you can remember but not describe specifically with words. And he's wearing the garb of the locals. But most of the attention may be to the crossbow in his hands, which he fires right at Shintaro. And then another at Mushi before turning and rushing with surprising speed away.

Mushi flickers out of the way of the arrow so that it sticks in the wood. She'd make a few quick seals and the soil would rise up, launching forward and knocking the man down. "You won't get away," she snarls, looking positively merciless. Which is quite true since he's stuck. "We're beating you down till you can't move an inch, you crazy man." She glances to Shintaro, giving her very enthusiastic permission in just a glance.

Well, unless he's shot. THEN she might be distracted.

The fired arrow bounces off Shintaro as he brings a shadow up to block his body. Meanwhile, his shadow begins to link with that of the trees around, creating a rather large diameter of area covered in shadow for him to dominate. The permissive glance gains a slight grin, and the Jounin gives a nod to his girlfriend. Giving a guy known as the Shadow Demon permission to wreck a guy is never good for the target. His hands quickly move through a series of hand seals, sending his shadow stretching forward and several tendrils of shadow up to impale the falling main from every side in several spots on his body to bind him down for a rather savage beating that's coming.

Well, that's that. Even taking Shintaro's attacks prepared would be damaging. Being stunned even more so, and he's soon a bleeding, crumpled form on the ground. The medic breaks the feather she was carrying. Mushi goes over and then shoves a pill on his mouth, quite violently forcing him to swallow it down. Then he'd slump unconscious, while Mushi…heals his wounds? Not completely, but enough to stop the bleeding. "We'll need to question him," she says. "I don't want him bleeding out on me." Then, she grins to Shintaro. "You are priceless. Maybe I should stop giving you all that wandering advice, you already seem to have the run of dangerous questing. Hehehe." She'd wait there and then the same hummingbird would come down just as noisily. Plus three others who aren't as noisy, one of which makes Mushi shout in joy. "Kirameki! Look, we caught him. The poacher. With my friend's help, Nara Shintaro." She'd give a shy smile as she gestures to the Nara.

Kirameki is a beautiful blue-green hummingbird with sharp eyes and long, flowing plumage. Plus she towers twice as tall as Mushi. She says, "Well, if it's you I'll believe you. We'll question him. I believe I know why you came. Why did you, human?" Kirameki has a certain warmth in her voice when she speaks to Mushi, all of which turns as cold as ice when she looks to Shintaro.

As Mushi goes over to tend to the fallen target, Shintaro drops his hands and allows the shadows in the area to fall back to their normal places. Her compliment about his prowess at adventuring draws another smirk before he looks up to the incoming hummingbirds. He remains silent until the bird speaks to him rather coldly. "Me? I'm just here for moral support and to take care of worms like this one," he replies simply, his voice having its normal smoothness as he speaks to the bird. Rather than say anything more, he simply waits for Mushi and the birds to speak. This isn't a situation he plans to be more heavily involved in than necessary. It is Mushi who's trying to gain the contract, after all.

Mushi adds, "He's a good man…and my boyfriend." Kirameki listens and says, "I see. Your mate. Very well, you've both done us a great service. We must find out his purpose. Mushi, we have much to talk about. Does your mate care to come?" Mushi smirks in embarrassment. She wouldn't call Shintaro her /mate/ but she does look questioningly to Shintaro. And if he affirmed it a hummingbird would swoop down to let him ride on its back. Mushi would get atop Kirameki's.

Shintaro might wonder how even a giant bird would be able to support his weight, but if he got on an almost magical lightness would spread through him. And rather than trying to stay on a faltering hummingbird it'd almost feel like swimming weightlessly as they fly up. Something within the hummingbird that enables such a large creature to fly also transfers to anything it touches, giving them that same lightness and an innate balance, that'd make staying on its back seem almost like second nature. The poacher is simply grabbed by the foot, dangled like something almost too gross to completely touch. If he woke up he'd be in for a terrifying ride. And up the hummingbirds would ascend to their eyrie.

Shintaro smirks slightly as the name he's given quickly goes from 'boyfriend' to 'mate'. That is definitely something to tease her with later, as the human version of that is basically 'spouse', which implies some permanence, and, of course, mating implies children… Definitely some ammo to tease her with, which she kind of deserves since she almost got him eaten by a giant bird by barging into this place without planning ahead.

"Sure, I'll go," he replies with a nod. When the bird swoops down, he climbs onto its back and tilts his head slightly. This transference through the flight is quite amazing. While he does trust the birds for the fact that Mushi does, he does glance around and keep an eye on things. A light smile tugs at his lips as he looks to Mushi. They may accomplish her goal yet.

Shintaro watches as Mushi actually saves the poacher, tilting his head slightly. He remains silent through the exchange, rather curious as to what Mushi will do. When she actually drops the guy to his death, he raises his eyebrows slightly in surprise. It's the first time he's actually seen her kill someone or even actually purposely harm in combat. That was actually kind of hot…

He rides back toward the shore with her, remaining silent during the exchange between Mushi and the bird. The final exchange, however, brings a light chuckle from him before he turns to start going down the mountain as well. "Animals do tend to have a keen sense about things," he says teasingly.

As they descend the mountain Mushi looks hesitantly to Shintaro. Then she says, "You don't seem to…taken aback. I killed someone. I tell people I'm not an angel, but they always look shocked when my halo flickers out. Nor do I regret what I did." She doesn't say it defensively. In fact, she almost says it defiantly. She looks down at her hands, and notices…they're not trembling. Some part of her wants to feel sick, and in the back of her mind she does feel a little uncomfortable, but not much and nothing compared to the satisfaction of it. He'd deserved to fall, if anyone did.

Then, she shoves it from her mind. She has something more important to do than nurse her feelings. "I lied. They leave tonight, but you probably know that. I just…if we said tonight they may come out earlier than we can succeed, they may come out of the forest. I want a little grace time. I plan to get those kiddos back by tonight. Remember, Shiro Takada. I remember the name of the first mate, Yokoya. And…Roku or something is the second mate." We'll divide and conquer. Sneak into the ship, you're better with stealth. Find them. I'm going in town to make sure there are no loose ends, see if some of them are loitering. 'kay?"

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