Date: November 1, 2010
Mushi is stealing herbs. Mune wants those herbs. A simple confrontation over the theft of medicinals turns into a complex conflict with the subject of Akuu Goh at the center of it.
"Meeting Of The Mu"
Unasa Herbs - Kusagakure
Mushi took only days to travel across half the country to reach Kusagakure. Once she heard there were many rare flowers and unusual botanical gardens, she made her way to the village at high speed, and set herself up in a camped area. She couldn't resist the lure of interesting plants. One might think that the heightened security in the Land of Grass would prevent her from filching any number of plants, but people are keeping their eyes out for brawlers and troublemakers more than thieves and gardeners. Perhaps it's the bold way in which Mushi is simply wandering amidst the garden and plucking up herbs that no one thinks to hinder her. Moreover, she's conducting her foraging at nighttime when its colder and less occupied. There's enough moonlight to illuminate the area, but Mushi is still carrying a lantern on a short pole, the bobbing light illuminating the plants around her. As she looks she kneels down to unearth a flower with an unusual red root and place it in a satchel slung over her shoulder. Her hair is tied back, her pants rolled up to her knees, and dirt smudges her hands and shirt.
Mune, meanwhile, is out and about so late because she needs a 'volunteer' for a little 'experiment'. Technically she needs two volunteers, one of each gender, but men are easier to persuade than women. So she is just returning from doing some 'persuading' at a local tavern. She looked around until she found a healthy-looking man. She teased him with playful questions about his medical history while he bought her one exotic type of beer after another, just to make sure he actually WAS healthy. When that wound up being a lot of boasting from the drunken fool, she decided not to take his word for it, and performed a scan of his body through a simple touch.
As far as she could tell, the man had no physiological defects or abnormalities. He really was as good as he claimed. Also, the size of his… 'Equipment' was likewise not merely a boast, but she wasn't looking for that sort of thing. She just wanted someone who wouldn't have a heart attack when she started splicing genes without anesthetic and all that.
So now she has allowed herself to be 'convinced' to leave the tavern with the man for some 'alone time', and is walking down the street towards his home, one arm around him, and his own beefy left arm around her shoulders. Then she spots a lantern bobbing around to her left. She knows for a fact that most light sources in Kusagakure do not rely on flames. They use luminescent fungus or phosphorescent gas and so forth. She can't tell from here if the lantern uses a candle or one of Kusagakure's other light sources, but she knows that harvesting flowers and herbs at night in a garden is unlikely to be something the owner of the shop would be doing. She narrows her eyes and stops walking. None of her business? Well she NEEDS some of those organic materials as components for her own chemistry. She hasn't been to the shop yet because they said they couldn't harvest them until a couple days from now for full potency.
So she has a bit of an interest in stopping any would-be plant thieves. If she is wrong, and this IS the herbalist shop owner, then she can remind the owner of her need for those special herbs. And if not… "Why we stoppin'?" the man next to her asks in confusion. "…Just a second. I'm going to go check on something." The man just goes, "Huh?" "Just wait here, alright?" she asks impatiently. The man shrugs and scratches his head. Physically he is optimal. Mentally… Not so much. And so it is that Mushi may soon either detect someone approaching from behind, or just hear when Mune calls out, "Hey. That you, Unasa-san?"
Mushi doesn't hear Mune's footsteps or feel her approach. Instead, she straightens up so rapidly when Mune approaches that he fumbles and almost drops her lantern. Steadying the warm glass panes with her hands, Mushi turns hastily around with every sign of being caught red handed. Or brown handed in this case. The moonlight and lantern reveal a rather sheepish face, but hardly a villainous one. Mushi looks curiously then at Mune. Yep, the girl is definitely addressing her. Though perhaps 'girl' is the wrong term, since she looks around Mushi's age. For a long moment in the flickering light of the lantern, Mushi appraises Mune. Then she smiles genially and says, "Nope, I'm Mushi. People say I look like others from behind, though. I get mistaken all the time." She looks down at the herb she's holding.
She pushes her bangs back to get a better look at Mune. "It's a nice night, huh?" she says. "A bit chilly, but I don't smell any rain coming along yet. The breezes are warm. The moonlight helps to see the plants on the ground, too." She's speaking as if she has every right to be there. She holds up a herb with round leaves and white flowers. "This is Feverfew," she identifies correctly. "It's good for helping to reduce bad headaches, or so they say. I suppose someone like Unasa-san"--seems she did know whose garden she was poaching in-- "might know. Who are you?" She slips the herb into her satchel.
Mune stands there and endures the attempts at small-talk, the explanation of Feverfew, and the question about whom she is. She then crosses her arms under her prominent chest and says, "Mushi, huh? That's not a very common name. You wouldn't happen to know someone named 'Goh', would you? Because you match the description of someone named 'Mushi' almost exactly. Except for the dirt." She looks down at the dirt staining Mushi.
"…Either way, I'm Mune. And there are some herbs here that I'll need in two days, when they have completed their cycles. Since you apparently don't belong here, I would appreciate it if you stopped STEALING and went back to any thieving boyfriends you may or may not have."
Mushi rubs her neck as Mune simply bypasses all her courtesy and gets right to the point. However, her smile drops as Mune identifies her rather swiftly. She'd hoped that she could find a little more discrection here than in other shinobi villages, but there was always at least one person who knew her. She wasn't even wearing the pack that identified her as a medic, but perhaps this girl was thinking of a different Mushi…
…who knew Goh. Her face changes from wary to surprised to indignant all in the blink of an eye. She doesn't seem to appreciate what Mune had to imply about him. She says coldly, "Feel free to say what you want about me…but Goh is no thief, if that is what you are getting at. What do you know about him?" She drops the satchel on the ground beside her with a thump, and crosses her arms. She feels a little in the wrong, yes, but now she's curious more than anything.
Mune snorts and rolls her eyes at Mushi's defending of Goh. The high collar of her coat conceals her mouth, and the slight smirk there. Inwardly she is glad she made that gamble. If she had stayed silent and tried to be subtle, she might not have had this degree of luck this quickly. "I know he barged into a campsite I was staying at here in the Land of Grass, without invitation, and demanded I and some friends of mine hand over the remains of the ancient dead, along with a valuable cultural relic we had spent YEARS researching, tracking down, and then obtaining. We were taking the remains to be enshrined properly in their home country, and the relic was to be studied to learn more of the past that all human beings share. But he 'needed it' because it was 'dangerous'. WE were the thieves according to him."
She lowers her arms from under her chest, and jerks the thumb of her right hand towards herself as she says, "I happen to know that someone who accosts strangers, makes demands, and then threatens to fight them 'if he has to' just to keep a piece of history that could teach us ALL something valuable out of the hands of those he doesn't deem worthy is. A. Thief. Among other things. He tried to take our relic by force when threats didn't work, and then he tried to KIDNAP one of us. I have no idea why. Maybe to use as a hostage against the others. It was only luck that managed to send him fleeing into the night instead of getting violent. And from how easily he stopped the few measly things my friends and I were capable of, I doubt we would have lived if he decided to kill us and take what he wanted from our cold, dead bodies."
She frowns then, and her eyebrows come down a bit. Now to see how much else Mushi knows. She may not be an actress like Kanami, but she knows how to manipulate people. Wizard's First Rule: People are stupid. They will believe something because they want to believe it, or because they are afraid it is true. "But you were pretty quick to defend Goh. How much do YOU know about him? Anyone who would associate with a person that acted as… Unstable as he did must at least know how erratic he is. Right? Or is this news to you?"
That was a creative retelling of Mune's first encounter with Goh, but when taken literally it is at least sort of accurate.
Mushi looks surprised as Mune mentions that Goh had been in the Land of Grass. Was this recent? Had he not come to see her? Then again, she'd come only recently, and without announcement, so he could hardly know she was nearby. She glances around as if she might see him striding up; she can't help it. She's listening closely to Mune's narrative however. From being angry, Mushi now looks calm and cool. "Interesting," she says impassively. "So you're a wanderer, along with others." It seems she, too, can draw a few things from what Mune is saying. "And Goh tried to…murder? Maim? I can't keep it all straight."
Mushi no longer pretends to be interested in the garden around her. She seems tense, as if she might shout at any momnt. As Mune asks about her connection to Goh, she pushes some hair behind her ear, and seems to ponder the question. "You know, people know of me," she admits thoughtfully, "but not many people know about me and Goh. I've not even told many of my friends. And I can count on these fingers how many people I don't like who know we were any more than traveling together for a time. From the sound of it someone told you about me."
Then she smiles at Mune, so sweetly it could make an Akimichi gag. "I suggest you try some of his pickled vegetables. They'll cheer you up. But more importantly…who told you about me and Goh, Mune-san?"
Mune hmphs and turns her head slightly away, though she continues looking at Mushi. "I don't know what he was trying to do. He said something about some 'stone' or something. We assumed he meant the relic we had recovered. A crystal that could record words spoken to it, or even memories if Chakra was involved. It contains a history stretching back hundreds or maybe thousands of years! I am a scientist, and I seek knowledge and truth. I did meet Goh a second time after that first encounter, though he did not recognize me, and the conversation was short. He seemed much more rational then, though he DID talk about those vegetables of his…" She closes her eyes briefly and furrows her brow as though concentrating hard.
"This… 'Stone'. He claimed it was dangerous. When we showed him the stone we had, he said it didn't look like his. He didn't want it. That was when he got desperate, thinking we were hiding it from him. That was when he tried to kidnap my sensei." She turns her face forward again, and opens her eyes. "From the two different personalities I have been exposed to in connection with Goh… Though both were a bit eccentric… I can offer a hypothesis or three about possible reasons why our memories of his true self are so… Divergent."
Crossing her arms under her chest again--why does she keep doing that? Is it a habit or is she trying to take some strain off her back?--she starts off with, "Hypothesis number one: He has multiple personality disorder. For whatever reason, he acts in one way at one time, and another way at another time, and does not remember his actions between the two. This is a very rare mental condition, regardless of what fiction novels might say, but it DOES occur. Hypothesis number tw--" She is cut off by the man she left out on the road calling out suddenly, "Oiiii! Chesty-chan! Let's go to my place already!" Mune rolls her eyes and turns her head to yell back, "Just wait a little while longer, alright!?"
Then she faces Mushi again. "Where was I? Oh. Hypothesis number two: Someone was impersonating Goh for some reason. Maybe someone trying to ruin his reputation, or to stir up trouble by using the name and appearance of a well-known ally of Konohagakure to do nefarious deeds, and then leave the witnesses alive to report them. This last one is even more far-fetched than the previous two, but it is still possible. Hypothesis number three:" Mune narrows her eyes a bit. "Goh said the 'stone' was dangerous. He also said he already had one. What exactly is dangerous about these stones? Do you know? And might the stone he already had have… Done something? Maybe 'altered' him somehow? This is completely in the realm of conjecture now, and is not necessarily supported by any physical evidence I can point to… But Occam's Razor doesn't apply in EVERY situation. Just most of them." No, she did not answer the question about how she knows of Goh and Mushi. But she needs to know how much Mushi knows before she can craft a suitable reply to that question.
Mushi listens to Mune's theories about Goh's sanity. She supposes for someone who doesn't know Goh, these arguments might carry some merit. But Goh…personality disorder? Goh unstable? She supposes that Goh could be impersonated, but it seems far fetched. Now she thinks about it the words 'super strategies' float before her, and she shakes her head absently at Mune's further observation about impersonation. Nope, he'd gone in and taken the stone alright. But it sounded so different from his end…hmm. And then, quite suddenly, she bursts out laughing. She quickly holds it back in a loud snort, but it's there. "Let me guess…there were two other annoying girls with you?" she asks, her face quickly schooled back into a semblance of seriousness.
She shakes her head. "Be that as it may…huh?" She blinks as someone calls out 'chesty-chan.' She looks over at the man, whose looking to Mune, and frowns faintly. "You seem to keep strange company. The sensei you mentioned fits the bill of a man I know. Maybe I'm wrong, but there are too many similarities. Goh did try to kidnap him after all, and he seemed the very man most knowledgeable about the stones; unless he was lying. If that man was your sensei then you should know those stones corrupt any who hold it for too long." Then, she shrugs. "But my part in it, I think, is done. I am not strong enough to pursue the stones, righteous enough to wield one, or brave enough to defend one. But I will give you a piece of advice…get away from your sensei. Anyone who calls himself the 'savior of the world' has more than an overactive ego. Anyway, it was nice meeting you, Mune-san. Whoever your sensei is, give him my regards."
She glances down at the bag. Then she'd sigh and reach into her pocket before pulling out a few coins and placing it in the satchel before tossing it on the doorstep. It didn't really /feel/ like stealing, but she supposes it is. Then, she'd head for her camp unless Mune stopped her.