Date: February 19, 2017
Goh and Mushi go out in search for buried treasure.
"Hunting for buried pickling vegetables"
"Did you know that the tradition of pickling began four thousand years ago?" Goh asks Mushi, leading the duo down the mountain path from Kumogakure and towards the beach. "Over that time, much progress has been made in terms of technique and tooling. Most think that we have reached the peak of the pickling summit. They say we can't get any better." The pickling man holds up an index finger. "BUT! I disagree. There's a legend, you see. This legend speaks of a pirate Captain named Hisayuki. More commonly known as 'The Ginza Tiger'. Centuries ago he sailed the seas, carrying out unspeakable acts of unkindness and piracy." As he continues to regale Mushi with the story, he begins to walk on the sands of the beach and then onto the ocean surface.
"Little known is the fact that he was actually a very good pickler. Some say the best of his time. But it wasn't technique or freshness of ingredients that made him the best. It was because of three things. Three legendary items: a pickling crock, some spiced salt and a vinegar blend. All three said to be enchanted by some otherworldly spirit that made anything he pickled into pure perfection." Surely he cannot be serious. Yet his tone, one speaking very seriously, suggests he is laying down some truth!
"Sadly the items were lost when his ship was eventually sunk. For a long time no-one knew where it had fallen. His legendary pickling equipment fell into folklore. That is, until TODAY!" Now walking upon the surface of the ocean, and further out to sea, Goh holds up a ruffled piece of old looking parchment. "Through great difficulty and some expense, I got us a map from a local who says that the ship fell just off the coast of modern day Kumogakure." Pause.
"I hope you can hold your breath for a long time."
Mushi is usually indifferent to Goh's pickling prospects. She indulges him by listening, but she knows and he knows that pickling isn't a major passion in her life. The only think she respects about it is that Goh likes it. However, this story has her interest. If he can find a way to improve his pickling, perhaps she'll like his vegetables a bit more. And even though she's certain this pot doesn't exist, it may be able to trick him into /thinking/ his pickling is better. Then he'll naturally put greater effort into it, as if it carries some magical properties. So she hears him out with marginal interest. That is until he hints that he paid for the map.
Mushi sighs. "So a person said that there's a supernatural pickling pot map, and he made you pay for it?" she asks. She almost bursts out: "You were ripped off!" But he looks so excited that she can't quash his hopes. So she says, "It seems farfetched, but maybe something will pan out. Let's go searching." She knows that's more or less what he wants to hear. Besides, an outing with him would be enjoyable even if it is on a wild goose chase. So she pushes up her pants till they're above her knees, takes off her sandals, and walks barefoot over the frothy ocean water with him.
"But don't you see, hun? When we get all this legendary stuff, the return we get will be so awesome! He'll be the one who got ripped off. See this?" Goh offers Mushi a good view of the map. To his credit, it /does/ look old. Certainly like some sort of legitimate torn out page of some book. "And this line here is the east coast of Kumogakure… and then we have to travel a few miles out. To here," Goh points to a crudely drawn 'X' that is on the brown piece of old paper.
In the early morning sunlight they continue to wander over the seas. A nearby fishing trawler draws Goh's ire, the man naturally suspicious given the top secret quest he's on. "Do you think those guys are fishing for the pickling items too? Looking for the shipwreck?" The man squints at the wooden craft suspiciously. The people on board look very ordinary. And the huge net filled with caught fish that hangs above the deck suggests it could be just… well, a normal fishing boat. "We'll have to keep an eye out on them. We have to get to the items first!" Oy vey.
Eventually the pair reach a point in the ocean. The surface of the water is mostly flat, shining a deep blue. A speck off in the far distance represents Kumogakure. Not gone from sight, but very nearly. "Okay." Goh explains. "So we won't be able to talk under the water. Do you know all of the signs to use underwater to communicate? Like the thumbs up actually means go up. If everything is okay, you do the 'ok' symbol." The pickler demonstrates. "And if you see a shark, Put your hand on your head. But it's okay. I don't think we'll see any sharks."
Mushi looks at the map, unconvinced. It's old, but old paper could be picked up any number of places. Still, at least it's not the treasure maps she saw a peddler selling yesterday. With the ink still fresh on them. So she nods, and continues going along Goh's path. When Goh and the fisherman eye one another with suspicion, Mushi gives a friendly wave. Maybe they're fellow treasure hunters. More likely, they're ordinary fisherman. She steps lightly, to try and not disturb the fish swimming under the surface. To not disturb his potential catch. Soon, they've left Kumo almost all the way behind.
Goh explains the rudimentary signals for underground communication. It's not much to memorize, so Mushi gives a nod, and repeats everything he just said, to the letter. She's taking off any lose accessories and storing them away. Waterproofing the couple things she forgot to do. "Good luck," she says, her voice brimming with contained sarcasm. Close to spilling over, but not quite.
As Mushi starts to waterproof her belongings, Goh adjusts his own clothing a bit. The man had come prepared, meaning he had carried very few items with him. Even his trademark cloak was left behind, leaving his torso exposed in the sunlight. He wears only his loose pants, seeming content to have them get wet.
"Alrighty hun. Follow me! Let's go get some legendary items." Releasing the chakra from his feet slowly, the pickler sinks into the water and submerges into the ocean. The water is clear with a high visibility at this time of day. Goh had purposefully picked out this time, ensuring that any disadvantages were minimal. As sunlight streams through the surface, Goh swims downwards in a breaststroke form. Down and down he swims, occasionally some bubbles escaping his lips as he adjusts for the differences in water pressure.
All manner of sea life can be seen given the clear visibility. Different breeds of fish carry out the majority of what can be seen. Though some jellyfish can also be seen hovering in the aqua abyss. The anchor of the nearby fishing trip can also be seen, along with its net that hangs in the water.
"Wait Goh-kun," the medic says. "If you want, I can use this around you. Just stay close." She'd show him a sphere. Mushi has no water manipulation to breathe underwater. However, she forms a bubble of solid chakra around her head to contain some air. Thus equipped she'd submerge herself with Goh. It takes constant chakra flow to maintain the bubble, since it's not just finite plastic or glass. However, it serves to give her a little bit of air. A few minutes. Hopefully they find the artifacts much sooner than that. Mushi doesn't doubt that there might be some form of treasure down below, but magical treasure? Not likely. Her doubts follow her, but she doesn't let them stop her. She kicks and swims gracefully through the water. She's quite adept. She'd stay close to Goh. It takes some time before it begins to dim even a little. He'd chosen a good time of day. As they go deeper a school of fish dart near them, and just as quickly away. It's full of life.
Fortunately the depths here aren't so deep that the light doesn't reach. Nor does it require any special technique to survive the enormous pressure. It does weigh on the body though, as both Goh and Mushi will begin to feel. Having all that water upon you is /heavy/.
With the bubble around his face, Goh is all smiles as they swim down and down. True to the word of the map, a very old looking ship can be seen resting upon the edge of a cliff face. It appears that the ocean floor drops off quite dramatically, to a point where it cannot even be seen. It just disappears into the abyss. The ship itself is balanced precariously on the edge of this cliff. Any movement could send it toppling over.
With a stern nerve Goh swims on. As the duo approach, it seems that at least one of Goh's assumptions is incorrect. The ship is absolutely /crawling/ with sharks. And not just a few, either. We're talking at least a couple of dozen. And given their size? They aren't normal sharks. They're special. Intelligent. Perhaps the shark-summons have a clan here and have taken up residence in this old pirate ship, long lost to the seas.
Goh stops in his swim at the sight of them, floating in the ocean for a bit. He watches as they swim out of various holes of the sunken vessel, circle about and duck back in. Performing a few signals to Mushi, he steadies his nerve. The signals were 'lets sneak in'.
She makes the same signal back to Goh, indicating that she saw the swarm of sharks. Mushi swims down to some fronds of seaweed, and submerges herself in the slimy foliage. It offers a bit of protection, but not much. Can't sharks sense electrical currents, or smell a prey? She's not sure. The chakra bubble is getting more difficult to hold under this pressure. Not because it's pressing against the bubble, but because the squeezing water is distracting her. Still she manages to maintain it.
The sharks are an infestation in the ship. And the ship is precarious. One bad motion and it may plummet even deeper, and possibly out of reach. There's no choice but to try and get in. She tries to stay low over the bottom, practically hugging it. Fortunately a school of fish happen to wander across the sharks, possibly a tasty distraction. Mushi takes a chance. She kicks hard and makes her way towards the ship, towards the nearest opening.
Goh swims with Mushi, happy to follow her lead on such a brilliant idea. The seaweed does offer coverage, and the sharks appear to not notice. That or they simply don't care at this point. Kicking hard and following the medic, the pair enter the old wooden ship through a large hole that had formed in the base.
Most of the interior has understandably rotted away. The very foundations of the ship look withered and almost gone. Looking about, Goh scans for any sort of chest. Nothing can be seen immediately, so he opts to keep swimming about inside the belly of the sunken pirate vessel. Hopefully towards the Captains quarters.
Meanwhile, the amount of sharks that are writhing about doesn't dwindle. To describe it as an infestation is correct. Yet somehow, through some patience and risk taking, they manage to slip by undetected… So far, so good.
Goh kicks and manoeuvres about, entering a room lined with gold trimmings in tact. If they cared for jewels or gold, they would be in luck! But alas, that wasn't the treasure they were after today.
Mushi isn't quite sure how to signal that chakra is becoming a problem. She has enough. Yet she might not have enough to last for a long search. She'd maneuver into Goh's line of sight. Then she'd point to the bubble, and hold up ten fingers. Ten more minutes. After that the bubbles may go away. That means the search has a time limit, and Mushi wastes no precious minutes in searching for some form of treasure. As the area becomes less obvioous she'd heard in the less likely places. For a hidden panel, along the ceiling, trying to pry open a door rooted in the floor. The ship gives a groan, as if it's moved a bit. Or maybe that's her imagination borne of fear. She keeps an eye out for the sharks. Perhaps they're not man eaters. Perhaps they're just another fish that preys on lesser fish. That'd be a stroke of luck. Still, she keeps an eye out for those sharks—and the treasure.
Mushi's ten minute warning is met with the 'ok' sign from Goh, who looks about a bit frantically. As he looks about a little bit more, again in some less obvious places. He has no luck.
Mushi on the other hand, does. As she's feeling for a switch or a panel, her fingers run across something that triggers a door to open. It does so not far from where she swims, unveiling a small chest studded with rare rocks and shiny jewels. The sound of the hidden compartment opening is loud though, and draws the attention from not only Goh, but the sharks!
It's a sudden flurry of activity. The once gentle motions of the creatures ramp up a hundred times as they thrash and kick about, launching at the two intruders in an effort to protect their treasure! The sudden movement of them swimming about violently causes the waters inside the ship to stir. The entire thing groans in pain.
Goh protects himself by raising his arms. The sharks bump into him hard, though he manages to avoid any hard bites!
Mushi lets out a shout of triumph, which doesn't help them to be quiet. And it probably takes up a bit of the precious oxygen. She hadn't thought about that. They have only so much air contained within the bubbles. When the sharks converge on her, Mushi yelps again in surprise—and loses her concentration. The chakra begins to break apart rapidly. Mushi manages to take a final gulp of air before the air runs out and they're surrounded in salt water. Her eyes immediately sting from the salt, but she adjusts after a moment. What's hard to adjust is no air and lots of sharks. She is about to flee when she remembers the chest. With bubbles blowing from her mouth she swims to the chest, and lifts it. Too heavy. She takes out a scroll, fortunately a cloth one, sets the chest on it, and stores it. She's rolling it up when the first shark bites her. It's shallow, but her blood billows into the water. She makes sure Goh knows she's trying to get back up. Then she swims for the surface like there's no tomorrow.
The activity is hyper. Bodies of sharks push against each other as they try to protect their chest, thrashing against the water and themselves as they all try to get the invaders. Goh grunts as he is bitten too — his blood combined with Mushi's setting the fish into even more of a frenzy. Their thick tails crash into what little structure the sunken ship has, inevitably causing it to groan in stress. It soon begins to fall and topple, leaning over into the abyss!
The pickler is right with the medic as she kicks up to escape, the ship beginning to collapse and rotate around them. With no more air accessible he is relying on his own lungs. Which he can do, but only for a short time. Gritting his teeth through the pain of another bite, both he and Mushi soon kick free of the school of sharks and the ship, just as it falls completely over the cliff and into the darkness of the ocean below. Taking with it a lot of the beasties which were trying to eat the two humans.
Goh turns and watches the ship fall and fall, until it's gone from view completely. He swallows. That was close.
It's easier to get up as the pressure lightens. It feels like her body is half as heavy. She swims to the top, and bobs to the surface. She sucks in a wonderful breath of air, before bobbing back under. She comes up for a second time, and treads water for a moment. her limbs feel like jelly. Mushi doesn't use water walking. She's depleted of most her chakra. She just floats on her back like a dead person. Staring up at the beautiful sky. But she can't just flounder there. Eventually she does climb onto the water's surface, and immediately heals herself. Making sure Goh is there. And if he is, she'd heal him too. Whatever manic frenzy possessed the sharks below, they seem to chase them less near the surface. "I'm never diving again," she gasps. And then: "I have the scroll."
"That … was … AWWESSOMEEEE!"
Goh's first words upon surfacing are a lot different to Mushi's. Amid gasps of air and pain, he has thrown his arms up into the air to cheer wildly with what remaining stamina he has left. Water splashes about. "Did you see how many sharks there were?! At least a HUNDRED!" He cries in excited delight, pulling himself up so he stands upon the surface of the ocean. "Man, I am SO doing that again if we find another pirate ship." Beaming to his partner who claims to have the scroll, he sucks in big breaths of oxygen as he feels himself getting healed.
"Let's bust it open, hun! I wana see this legendary pot." Wiping his hair back and out of his face, the pickler lets the sunlight bathe over his exposed skin.
Mushi removes the cloth. It's done better than paper. It's more clothes-like than paper-like, so it's withstood the water. Yet it's soggy and limp. Mushi is sodden herself. She insists that they get to the shore before they open it up. And they would. They choose an out of the way area along the shore. There she unfurls the scroll. And in a poof of steam, something would appear. It had best be valuable, because with the ship ruined and plunged even further, it'd be that much harder to search again. Plus she's not too keen to go into the water that is swarming with sharks. Still, she's much happier. She's on dry, solid land. And this is the big payoff. Naybe a valuable artifact? If it's a magic pickling pot, Mushi won't know whether to laugh or cry.
The journey back to the shore is one of pure excitement for someone such as Goh. He is constantly eyeballing the scroll which Mushi carries, silently hoping that she decides to change her mind and open it right there and then! But she holds true to her word, the pair soon stepping on the dry sand.
The pickler rubs his hands in glee as the chest is summoned back into existence. Truly it was a marvel. It glistened with jewels of all sorts. At the very least they could regain the finances they lost by the purchase of the map by selling this. Kneeling down in front of it, Goh unlatches the locks and flicks the chest open.
A piece of paper.
Goh blinks, head tilting like a dog would when learning a trick. Picking up the parchment, the man reads the contents aloud.
"'I predict that tonight is the last night that I will watch the moon bathe my face in night light, as tomorrow I will be entering a battle I do not expect to survive. To whomever finds this note, know that I, the Ginza Tiger, had no choice in making this call that will surely send my crew and myself to the Locker. If you came searching for my treasure, I regret to inform you that it has all been long stashed away on a remote island, a location known to only my next of kin. The only item of value that remains is what you found this note in. My famed pickling pot.'" Goh blinks, looking at the chest.
The chest WAS the pickling pot! Stunned, Goh reads the rest of the note.
"'…I will forever rue not being able to settle and pickle cucumbers for the rest of my days. But duty calls. I am sworn to my brothers to uphold the code, so that is what I shall do.'".
Flipping the note over to see if it had any more, Goh frowns when he discovers there is not. "But where are the salts?" Goh asks, flabbergasted. "And the vinegar? And this… this is just a normal box. How could you pickle things in it?" Perhaps rumour and a classic case of Chinese whispers have embellished this myth over the centuries.
Mushi picks up the jewel encrusted container. Despite the riches she feels a twinge of let down. She would've liked to see something silly as a legendary pickling pot, she now realizes. While she doesn't know enough of pickling, she knows this is no pickling pot. And Goh confirms it. She sighs. "Well, this is a valuable artifact in and of itself," she says. "We can make a pretty penny." She turns the pot over, as if searching for a further hidden clue. Another secret the pickling pot contains.
She reads the note twice over, to decipher what it means. But it seems quite literal. Finally, she gives up. "It's a pot, that's all," she tells Goh commiseratingly. She pats him on the shoulder. She picks up the pot. "Tell you what," she says. "Since this is the legendary pickling pot, let's use every coin to buy pickling supplies and ingredients! That way it can stay true to spirit in a way. Who would spend such a valuable treasure on pickling alone, ehh?"
The unbearable feeling of disappointment hits Goh like a freight train. "I really thought it would be real…" He mumbles, looking at the chest. To most other people it would be something of great prize. But for Goh and Mushi, who cared little for such things, it was certainly ordinary. The container carries with it nothing else. No secret compartments or anything. It was just an ordinary chest.
At the idea from Mushi, Goh smiles. "Thanks, Mushi. You certainly know how to cheer me up, huh?" Standing up tall, the man tilts his head. "Come on, let's go buy some stuff."
As they begin to wander back up the trail and for the Hidden Village, Goh tucks arms behind his head. "I wonder if his actual legendary items are hidden with all of his other treasures?" Jeez, he just won't let this go. "I wonder who his next of kin was." He wonders with a shrug. Stuff to follow up later.