Date: October 14, 2013
Mushi and Aburei go to an afflicted village for what should be a straightforward treatment task, and run into an unexpected complication.
"Squirrelly Crisis - Purloined Pills"
Water Ferry Docks [Land of Water]
Welcome to the docks of the land of Water. The welcome really isn't much exsistant as a light mist and cold breeze seems to move through here at all times. At the ferry an old man is tying off a boat and sitting in wait for one to want passage back towards Fire Country.
Many small houses seem to populate the docks here and a strong smell of fish permiates from the south. Up a flight of stairs and proceeding eastward is a path that is slightly obscured by a thick mist.
Mushi has always found the Land of Water rather engaging, geography-wise. There's always the plant-life to explore including that amazing natural underground oasis. You can find things in that cavern that aren't in any other part in the world. And when she has to compare climates, she much prefers Kirigakure's water drenched days to the wind blasting, sand searing weather of the Land of Wind. That's why Mushi actually steps off of the ship with something of a smile.
Within the next few minutes she has an entire bucket full of seafood. Fried tempura. Sushi rolls. Baked clams. Takoyaki. Yup, there's plenty of things to do and for that short time Mushi allows herself to think of the fun things she'll do in Kirigakure…after she takes care of this epidemic. Her smile fades and she quickly goes to learn whether it was a rumor or, in fact, a fact. Sadly it is so she gobbles down a little food, and now her vacation has turned into what it was originally planned as, a medical call.
Oh, of course it's not just a rumor. Things can't just be rumors, they'd be cut out as narratively unnecessary if they were…UNLESS THEY WERE A SMOKESCREEN FOR SOMETHING BIGGER. O.O But yeah, the town really is suffering from a minor epidemic. Something called Ekirei's Whooping Lung. c.c A rather unpleasant illness with late-stage symptoms including coughs so horrible they can potentially rupture lungs and lead to death. The good news is, it's perfectly treatable, and it takes quite a while to reach that stage of the illness. So everything should turn out fine, just as soon as the shipment of special medicine that was ordered arrives in town and is administered by skilled hands.
In the meantime, though, folks who are feeling poorly with the early stages of the disease don't mind getting a little comfort for their symptoms. Cough syrup, pain relievers, that sort of thing. So it isn't long before Mushi hears of a little place that's been set up as a temporary infirmary, where the sick people are visiting to get relief. And who should be there grinding up herbs into medicines and the like but Aburei? ;) "Here, sprinkle this into a cup of water and drink it down, it should make it easier to eat." :)
On her way to the epidemic center, Mushi keeps an eye out for several things. First, she doesn't want to see any Kiri medics getting angry she's "invading" their territory. Fortunately, the site she's heard of seems separate and apart from the Center itself. That and…huh? Aburei-chan? When she gets there, all her thoughts go blank when she finds her young companion already there lending a hand. She watches him from a distance for a minute, to see how he's faring. Good, but there's never too many helping hands onboard during an epidemic. But she smirks and instead of approaching from the front Mushi flits from view and then appears behind Aburei. Quietly, stealthily, she approaches and then says behind him, "Aburei-kun, you seem to be doing well."
Aburei shrugs. "Well, I try my best, but I still have a lot to l — " Aburei blinks and whips his head around. "Mushi-neesan! You're here!" :D Aburei stands up to give Mushi a hug. "Did you come here 'cause of the epidemic? It's almost a treat dealing with something so easy for once. So far it's just sore throats and lung tickles. There's supposed to be a shipment of medicine coming in today, that's when things will get busy, but it'll be done after that."
Mushi laughs when Aburei cuts off his reply to her. She returns his hug warmly and says, "Hey Aburei-kun. It's been awhile, hasn't it? It's good to see you can beat me to the scene in these times. I guess I'm getting slow in my old age." She gives a light, good natured laugh and then turns to start looking at the medicine that Aburei has given out. It's a good mixture. Not all shinobi medics are capable of taking care of illnesses, and can only deal with wounds, after all. "I hope I can be of some help here," Mushi says, inquiringly. Although she's already scrubbing up and unfurling scrolls that burst in steam, producing more ingredients, mixtures, and remedies for use. "Just point me in the right direction."
Aburei looks around. "Well, we can always use more cough syrup, and I was thinking maybe we should try some inhalant remedies to help with — " "IT'S HEEEEEEERE!!!" There is a commotion outside as the arrival of the medicine wagon is announced. :D "Oh good, the treatment's here!" Aburei says, heading outside. "We can get straight to healing the source of the illness."
The wagon rolls up to the infirmary with a small crowd following around it. The driver halts the wagon and steps back into the flat bed where a padlocked chest lies. "All right, settle down all of you," he calls out, waving back the arms that are reaching into the wagon. "You'll all get your medicine soon enough." The man puts the key into the padlock, twists it free, and lifts the lid of the box.
The chest contains not bottles of pills, but broken eggshells filled with tiny pebbles! O.O As the driver stares stunned into the box, a few of the more impatient patients climb up into the wagon with him and spot the same thing. "Hey, what is this?! Whadja do with the medicine?!" >.< "You tryin' to pull a fast one on us!?" >O "YOU HORRIBLE MONSTER, MY BABY WILL DIE WITHOUT THAT MEDICINE!!!" DX Uh-oh, looks like things are getting out of hand awfully fast! C.C
Mushi turns quickly at the sound of the shouts, when she sees it's some dependable medicine finally arriving. That's good. She may actually have what is needed, but not enough for a widespread epidemic. Mushi is almost about to wipe her forehead with relief when things start turning ugly. What about the medicine? She goes over, to get a closer look, and frowns when she sees the inside of the crate. That can't be good. She looks up to the crowd and says, "This man is not at fault, this is a setback. The medicine will come. Until then, staying calm is the best way to help here." Then she'd look to the transporter and draw him aside. "What's your story?"
The driver can only give a bewildered shrug. "I'm just a deliveryman, I transport goods like this all the time! I've got no idea how this happened, the medicine was definitely in there when I locked the chest, and it hasn't been unlocked since I started out! I've got the only key, and I keep it tucked deep in my pockets even when I'm asleep!" "Aha! That proves YOU'RE the culprit!" shouts an amateur detective from the crowd. "Yeah, nobody else could've taken the medicine out without breaking something!" "You better tell us where the medicine is if you wanna live!" Yeah, people in this world aren't too familiar with the concept of 'innocent until proven guilty'. Especially when their well-being is on the line.
Mushi is still looking into the box. And then she'd take the lock to examine it. "If he were the thief," she calls out to the crowd, "he would not have said he was the only one with the key. He's trying to help us find the medicine, and can only do so if…" Her voice raises authoritatively, "We have calm and quiet!" Then, she turns back to the box and would usher Aburei over. "What can you make of this?" she asks. And to the driver she asks, "Think. Where was the medicine? Was it in this select crate all along, or during transportation? How public was the knowledge of this medicine delivery? Someone stole it, the pills didn't just turn to eggs by themselves."
Aburei was standing off to the side during all this, mildly dismayed that somebody would steal the medicine and that the townsfolk wouldn't be relieved of their illness right away. And that they were reacting so vehemently. c.c He wasn't especially worried, though. After all, Mushi-neesan is here! n.n She can take care of anything, right? So when she calls him over, he simply ducks through the crowd and goes to her side as if she had asked him to assist her in administering a treatment. He blinks at the chest and starts scrutinizing it like some strange growth. o.o
"Yes, it was in that chest the entire time it was in my care, right from the manufacturing plant," the driver responds. "There were plenty of people who knew about it, but I can't imagine any of them would be interested in stealing it. It's not something that you can get just anywhere, and the ingredients are a little rare, but it's not worth that much on the black market." "You seem to know an awful lot about black market values!" the amateur detective remarks in his best cunning sleuth voice. B/ Fortunately not too many people are interested in his attempts to sound cool at this point. e.e
"Um…Mushi-neesan?" Aburei puts his fingers on a lower corner of the chest's side. "I think I found something…" With a little pressure from Aburei's fingertips, a jagged piece of the wood panel comes loose and falls inside. The driver's eyes widen. "So somebody did break into it! They just stuck the piece back in place afterward!" Aburei sticks four fingers into the hole, only managing to push them in to the second knuckle. "Yeah, but…it's an awfully small hole. Big enough to get the bottles out and the eggs in, but I don't see how a human could've pushed all those egg shells in here without smashing them." c.c
What could be the deal here? Mushi is searching inside the box carefully as if looking for the tiniest clues. She's also listening carefully to what the delivery man has to say. Poor guy. She made a promise to get that medicine, but she's pretty sure of who will be the brunt of the target if this mob gets ugly. And she really just wants to go over and tell the master detective in the crowd to be QUIET. Such is life. When Aburei comes over and finds that small hole Mushi say to sigh, and roll her eyes at her expense. Yes…she was just about to see that!
Mushi nods at Aburei's summation. "Yes, it's strange that the eggshells could be placed through that small hole without smashing them," she says. "And more than that, why would eggshells be in here in the first place? Why go to that trouble?"
The driver narrows his eyes. He picks up one of the eggshells and shakes it lightly, rattling the pebbles inside. "Noise," he concludes. "They did it to mimic the noise of the pills in the bottles, so it would take me longer to notice something was wrong. I thought they sounded different this morning, but I figured it was just my imagination." >.<; Aburei scratches his head. "If that's when you noticed a difference, the switch probably happened last night while you were asleep." "OR DID IT?!?!" *thwap* "Can it, you!" >.< Aburei looks to Mushi. "I guess we'd better go with him to where he spent the night?" 'Cause, y'know, obviously it's up to the medics to investigate. Since it involves medicine. And they're the PCs.
Mushi is looking at the eggshells and says, "They didn't just put pebbles in the pill bottles. There's a good chance they may still be in those same bottles, so we can recognize it when we find them." She gives a smile and then turns to the crowd. "We at the Neutral Medical Center are going to go and get the medicine," she says. It seems she's not beyond a bit of good advertising at this time. "In the meantime if you or a loved one are ill, the best thing to do is rest, eat, and drink lots of water." Then she would turn and say to the delivery man, "Hmm well, lead the way. You have no need to worry, we're both highly trained shinobi as well as medics and we'll ensure you and your delivery's safe return." But she has to hold back a sigh. So much for their "light" work, heh.