Date: October 8, 2016
Aburei takes a temporary position at a village in desperate need of a doctor…more desperate than it first appears, and Reina has to deal with the sequence which transpires.
A rural village in the Land of Waterfall
Another day, another town. Reina and Aburei continue their trek to…where were they heading again? Aburei forgot, he doesn't particularly care. n.n After all, there are people needing help nearly anywhere. And as it turns out, especially here. "Hey Reina-san, take a look at this," Aburei says, dropping a pouch of coin onto the table of an inn tavern. "I was just asking if anybody around here needs any medical help, and they took me straight to the town headsman. He was so happy to get a medic, he gave me a week's pay in advance. I wasn't even gonna ask for pay." n.n
Reina seems to be searching for something on their travels. She's not going fast, as if she wants to reach something. Rather, each place they stop she takes the time to look around. Observe the area, monitor the people and find…something. She hasn't said. But right now they're in no particular destination, until Aburei mentions he got some money. Then he'd be out of his seat and walking towards the restaurant the moment she knows he has loose change on him. "Let's get some meat," she says. "Wow Aburei-kun you really need to monetize your skills. Who was this?"
Meat? Sure, why not. Reina-san's been paying for things like rooms and such, Aburei can buy a little nice food. "The town headsman," Aburei repeats as they walk into an establishment. "Muro-san, I think his name was. He said the village has been without a proper medic for months, and they're having a tough time finding a permanent replacement, so they're happy to even have a temporary one." As Aburei and Reina sit down at a table, somebody stands up from a nearby one. "Excuse me, I couldn't help overhearing — you say you're the new medic in town?" Aburei blinks. "Oh, yes, do you need some help?" The man shakes his head vehemently. "No, I just want to warn you. Get out of whatever deal you took and leave town, as soon as you can. There's a reason they can't get a new medic to take the job, the last three have disappeared. It's like there's a curse on the position." o.o
Reina listens intently to what the innkeeper has to say. She smiles. "Thank you for warning us," she says. "But we'll be fine. We're here to stay. Even if this position is haunted, we'll be sure to exorcise whatever demon might be plaguing it. She throws a companionable arm around Aburei's shoulder and whispers to him, "Let's find the thug who's doing this and get a reward for solving it." In the meantime, meat! The danger Aburei is in doesn't seem to diminish her appetite. She'd order her meal, for all the patrons and innkeeper to see, as if dumbly unaware of the danger. Actually despite her eating she's glancing around at the customers, and keeping a close eye on the innkeeper. Uncomfortably close.
Aburei tilts his head. "Huh…well, Kami-sama's blessing is stronger than any curse, so I'm not worried, but thanks for telling us." Aburei blinks as Reina whispers in his ear. Oh yeah…a criminal is a lot more likely of an explanation for disappearances than a curse, huh? -.-a Well, either way.
Nobody in the inn makes any suspicious moves, the food isn't poisoned or anything, and Aburei is free to go about his business. He heads about town visiting homes where folks are ailing. They're very grateful for his treatment, although more than one express concern for him.
As the day winds to a close, Aburei looks to Reina. "The town headsman said I could stay in the medical clinic while I'm here if I like. It's built for treating people more than living in, but there are of course a few beds for patients, and it'd be cheaper than staying at the inn. What do you feel like doing, Reina-san?"
"I'd like to point out that there's quite a few people who /aren't/ the culprit," Reina says. "Especially the ones who've warned you. And…most if not all of the villagers here. But the guilty party must be among them, I know it now. And so what I'd like to do is ask you. I say let's get our gear and get out of here. Let the townspeople deal with their local curse. Or we'll go with what /you/ want to do…not abandoning these innocent people, and saving the day." She smiles. "So are we going? Or are you taking first watch for the night? I don't want both of us to be sleeping at the same time, while we're in this heap."
RP: Aburei makes a Sta roll and got 8.
Aburei scratches his head quizzically. "Well, uh, yeah, I wasn't expecting there'd be a whole lot of people involved in the disappearances. I'm not really sure there even is somebody to blame, maybe it's just…accidents? I mean, I know it sounds like an extremely unlikely coincidence that three medics in a row would disappear, but just plain three people disappearing isn't quite as unbelievable, and once that happens, you could probably find some common thread between nearly any/ three people that might've happened to." They //do teach statistics in the Neutral Medical Center, comes in handy for studying how diseases affect populations. ;) Aburei shrugs. "But anyway, yeah, of course I want to stay and help these people. Besides, I've already been paid for a week's worth of work." People not paying Aburei for his services? Not worth worrying about. Aburei not providing services paid for? TOTALLY UNETHICAL. O.O "And sure, I'll take first watch."
They settle in at the medical clinic, and Aburei sits up on his bed to keep an eye out for trouble. He contemplates playing something on his recorder, but that would probably keep Reina-san awake, even if it was lullaby-ish. So he sits silently, praying, pondering, thinking up songs…and it's not long before he's out like a light. X) NOTANINJA. Aburei's not used to taking night watches, and he's had a busy, chakra-exhausting day of treating people.
When Reina wakes up, there's a notable lack of bard-medic in the room…
Reina stares at Aburei in awe. He's so…sweet. Just a few years ago he'd be exactly the kind of guy she'd rob blind and leave in the dust. In fact, he has a rather large sack of money, and no will to beat her up for taking it. That'd be a lot of grilled meat. And why is she hanging out with this namby pamby goody two shoes anyway? For the possible reward. Yeah. That's why! After this she'll leave him forever. She gives a nod. "Okay, we'll make sure to get to the bottom of this." She falls down to take a nap.
When she opens her eyes she stares at where Aburei was in horror. Quickly searches through the medical center. "That idiot…fine. This is over. I'm leaving, maybe returning to Shuuren-kun to make /real/ money." There's no reason to stay here. Except that…ugh. Stupid, stupid conscience! She gives a sneer of frustration and goes back to the room to search for any clues left behind.
«OOC» Aburei says, "Not that I'm about to say 'You fail to find any clues, game over', but how about a +roll/int for fun?"
RP: Reina makes a Int roll and got 18.
«OOC» Aburei says, "Nice."
There's only one door to the room they were sleeping in, so obviously Aburei must have gone out that way — oh wait, I forgot we're in a ninja world where some people can melt through the ground and such. e.ea But as it happens, there is an indicator by the door. A fluid substance has been splashed on the door frame fairly high up, at about a man's head level. It's hard to say exactly what this fluid is, but it reacts to heat, glowing faintly in the dark. Occasional drops of the fluid can be found on the ground, forming a clear trail. It leads out of the clinic, down the street, and into the forest at the edge of town.
Reina searches around for a few minutes before she starts looking up. That's when she spots it. She stares at the fluid for a moment before running her finger through the substance and taking a sniff. When it doesn't yield anything she burns it up indifferently, only to find it literally illuminates a path. She stands there with one hip on her hand, deciding the wisdom of following this. It may as well be bread crumbs. It may be a trap. But what's for certain is that fluids dry up, and she has to follow it now or not ever. So with a sigh, grumbling about useless medics, she starts off along the trail. Providing heat is easy enough. It rolls off her body in warm waves. And she'd follow it till she reached the end.
It gets a little tricky to follow the drops as they head into the woods, thanks to the fact that they're now fallen on twigs and leaves instead of flat stones or dirt. They seem to be growing fewer and further apart, too. But with sufficient application of heat, Reina is able to spot the next glowing dot time and again.
Eventually, the next dot turns out to be HUGE, at least in comparison to what has come before. Once she approaches near enough, Reina can make out that the dot is a splotch on a pouch, and that pouch is…attached to the belt of a peacefully-slumbering bard-medic! n.n Over Aburei stands a lanky man with a composed posture, holding up bottles in the moonlight and peering at their labels. "Wolfsbane, no, too obvious…perhaps an anesthetic overdose, though if any of those townsfolk have half a brain they'll wonder why a trained medic who exhibited no signs of distress earlier in the day overdosed on painkillers…of course, this is all merely precaution for the unlikely event the body is ever found, but still…" The man wipes his brow. "Strange, it feels quite warm suddenly…" Looking down, the man suddenly notices the glowing splotch on Aburei's pouch. Realizing //some/thing must be up, he kneels down and flicks a scalpel from his sleeve, holding it to Aburei's jugular. "Who's there!? Come out now if you value his life!"
When Reina spots Aburei, she covers her mouth to hide a grin. It must've been him who left the trail. So he can be clever when he puts his mind to it. Her smile slips when she sees the man standing over him, and revealing a bit of what he's done. Why do villains always talk out loud? Maybe because they need to vent a bit, and murder does not a pleasant conversation make, with others. She's silent for a long moment, trying to think of what to do when she sees that knife against Aburei's jugular. She actually feels fearful for her traveling companion.
So she steps out into the open. No more heat comes from her. She doesn't threaten him, or even look that brave. She quivers in fear and her legs buckle beneath her. Her eyes are wide, and her face full of fear. She looks like she's on the verge of tears. "P-p-please d-don't hurt m-me," she stammers. "I was j-just walking home. That medic is n-nice. I-If you let us go I'll tell you w-where the money is." She falls to her knees and starts sobbing.
Clever? Maybe, but not in this case. Aburei's been out the whole time. X) This guy must've crushed something in Aburei's medical pouch against the door frame while carrying him out of the room. The man scowls at Reina, then flicks his scalpel at her prone form. "Spare me your theatrics!" he snaps, lunging at her with a glowing green hand and swiping at her arms. "You can't hide your chakra from me so soon after using it that strongly! You're interfering with a crucial experiment, though I don't expect you to understand!" >.<
«OOC» Aburei says, "If you want to roll for it, target 20 for the scalpel and 40 for the medic-chakra attack."
RP: Reina joins the roleplay.
COMBAT: It is now Reina's turn.
RPCOMBAT: Reina defends against with a CLONE-TECHNIQUE…27
RPCOMBAT: Reina defends against with a HEAT-RUSH…63
As soon as the assailant says he's seen through her faade, Reina drops it. As he attacks she scowls at him. She'd meant to make him step away from Aburei, when he didn't see she was a threat. The method didn't work but in the end he's not next to the prone medic who is laying there, severely overestimated by his companion. When he attacks he'll only slash through a clone that turns into a log. And then a blast of heat buffets him back, shielding her. She's already on her feet and gathering chakra as quickly as she can. "One warning. Leave now or die." None of her earlier fear is evident. Instead there's a sinister menace in her voice. Her eyes are devoid of any fear or warmth.
The lanky man skids to a halt and tumbles back when Reina bakes the air around herself. >.<; He circles slowly, staying near the sleeping bard. "Ordinarily I would find your offer acceptably practical, unfortunately I have invested far too much in this scenario," he says. "I spent my entire life in medical practice, treating illnesses, repairing injuries, even saving lives. But after years of watching my patients limp along even after my best treatments, I had an epiphany. By preventing the natural expiration of those vulnerable to illness and incapable of recovering on their own, I, and all other medical practitioners, have been weakening humanity."
The man kneels next to Aburei, going through handseals. "This town is my experimental group. The people here will suffer with no medical expertise, yes, but those that survive will grow stronger for it. Within a few short decades, they will become several times hardier than the world around them, thus proving my premise." Suddenly a phantasm like the lanky man seems to materialize, jabbing a syringe at Reina's neck. "Obviously, I cannot trust you not to spread the fact that I am the cause behind the disappearances of the medics."
"Strength has no meaning without weakness," Reina says. "If there weren't any weak people, I'd be out of a job. If there wasn't so much weakness, there'd be no reason for shinobi to try and grow powerful. I won't say you're wrong about medical practitioners. But the world won't get stronger if you remove the weak…it'll get weaker." She's talking a lot, to distract from the fact she's preparing just as much as he is. And when the syringe jabs at her neck there's a swirl of wind and fire. Then she's gone and reappears standing on a tree branch. The air around Aburei is growing hot, boiling hot to the point it'd be hard to stand anywhere near him. He'd surely get badly scalded if he remains there. In the meantime Reina jumps down into her own boiling area, unaffected by the scorching heat. She'd go to Aburei and sling him over her shoulder. "I'd make you a good deal. We'd leave and you could carry on your deranged experiment. But my companion wouldn't like that." She raises her hand and a wave of heat advances, turning the green leaves into withered brown paper. The mud to dirt. Everything is drying at a horrific rate, and he'd be caught in the blast if he remained, to be sucked of every drop of bodily fluid.
The lanky man grimaces as he's forced away from Aburei by the heat. "Ngh…my thesis…I cannot let you…" But in the end, even in this deranged doctor, survival instinct proves stronger than his desire to win and preserve his work. He blitzes away, skin blistered and steaming but intact. "You've robbed humanity of a vital proof!" he calls out as he flees. >.<
Aburei stirs groggily on Reina's shoulder. "Nnnn…Reina…san? Did…we get kicked outta town, or somethin'?" =.=
Reina prepares to run after the twisted medic, and hunt him down like a dog. She's very good at catching up with fleeing opponents. But before she can make off Aburei is talking to her, and all that's forgotten. She looks down at him and breathes a sigh of relief. "You're alive," she says. "We weren't kicked out, Aburei-kun. You were drugged and dragged out by the villain. I managed to chase him off, and I'll alert the villagers and surrounding areas. He won't be able to carry on in secrecy as he's done before." She starts patting down his body. "Good, you don't seem to be scalded. You know, you're a real pain to have around." Somehow she manages to say that with affection, underneath a thick layer of exasperation.