Date: May 18, 2014
Kanbei is on the run from Kumo. He's trying to make the best use of his time before they figure out he is gone. Luckily for him he happens to run into a medical professional.
"The Crystal Alteration - The Risk"
Village in the Southern Land of Fire
Mushi was headed south, through the Land of Fire and had taken shelter in a small village after a few days of violent rainstorms. When the storm passed and she came across the villages the people there all seemed to have colds, and with little money to head to but their local herbalist. It's then that Mushi had offered to help, and she was paid…strangely. No food or money, but every village memento and spare possession they could give. There were figurines, jewelry, old weapons, and new hand crafted blankets, now stored away in Mushi's scrolls.
It took only two days to heal the colds, but now Mushi was sticking around for some cases of pneumonia. She supposed she could go to a place with more serious illnesses, that had greater need of her, but it was kind of nice to stay here being adored and getting food and drink in the tavern, always on the house. So she'd been here for about five days, and was preparing to be on her way, much to the delight of the outclassed local apothecary.
Kanbei had been on the run for a few days now. He had headed to the Land of Fire in hopes of finding a medical nin to help him out with the chakra crystals that he had found. By now he had done some testing on them and found they react specifically to his chakra, almost as if they require earth chakra to activate them.
Kanbei found himself travelling through a small village. He still wore his shinobi head band although, the affiliation was no more. It was still too soon for anyone to know he had been missing. By now the Kumo nin would just be starting their search. He needed to lay low for a bit yet. At least until he could find someone able to help him out.
Once Kanbei reached the village it'd be easy enough to learn Mushi was there. She hadn't concealed her identity or her reputation. The villagers were somehow more cheerful than those she'd cured of serious battle wounds. A bad head cold was something everyone could relate to, and having it cured instantly made every villager mention her on the streets or in the tavern.
Mushi is currently in a small cottage set aside for her on the far end of town, and currently inside but with her door open in case any of the people might want to come in. Colds, pneumonia, headaches, were all gone and Mushi looked almost too pleased with herself as she packs and cleans up.
"Mushi is here?" Kanbei asks allowed when he hears two elderly ladies talking about the recent healings. Though he did not really know her, he had heard of her. Most everyone had. There were many medical professionals, but only two seemed to stand out anymore. You had Shuuren, who seemed to accept money from anyone for any service. Then you had Mushi who seemed to heal for free. Thoughts swirl through Kanbei's head, coming and going just as quickly as the next arrived. He knew full well that she was a healer. What he wanted was not exactly healing. He wanted to be made into an effective weapon. Her morales might not allow her to do such a thing. The thought of lieing soon entered his head. A lie about his own chakra network might have her interest at first, but she'd find out eventually. She was a doctor.
As the lady pointed down the road towards the hut, Kanbei gave a small bow and hurried towards the place. Once he arrived, he knocked on the door. He did not want to enter without permission. He was still polite. "I seek the lady known as Mushi."
Mushi is washing dishes when Kanbei stands at the entrance. "So formal," she says, "you don't need to…ah." She's turned around and seen that Kanbei isn't from this village. Her eyes move from his forehead protector, then his face, and then his garb. She wipes her hands on a towel. The inside of the room is cozy, with a cheerful fire crackling in the hearth, and the smell of soap everywhere. Very clean, despite the haphazard stack of books, mounds of blankets, and wrapped food.
After a pause she says, "Hello, come in. You're a Kumo nin. Here for my help? Are you out on a mission, or are you seeking someone better than your village's healer?" Her tone is polite and curious.
Kanbei focuses on the ground for a moment. "I guess the truth is the best place to start." the boy states as he enters the hut. "I am not out on a mission, nor am I a Kumo nin anymore. I use to be. I got tired of being looked down upon by others. So after finding something special, I decided not to return there."
He then reaches into his pocket for a bag. He pulls the back out and places it on the table. He reaches inside it and pulls out a black stone, no bigger than a tooth pick. "These stones activate with my chakra. I believe they carry a special power…"
Mushi's face goes very still when Kanbei admits he's a missing nin. Then, she goes over and shuts the door. She locks it too. Nothing a shinobi couldn't bust through in an instant, but the thick door and locks will prevent an ordinary person from entering. "A missing nin," she says, and then she smirks. "The next missing nin I expected to come to me from Kumo was Misaki-chan." Her tone is rueful.
She turns to Kanbei and folds her ars. "Before anything medical, tell me. How far away are your pursuers? Preparing in your village, or an hour from busting down my door? I've encountered both situations, y'know." She seems strange relaxed.
Mushi was wise to ask that question. "They are at least a few days out. By now, the village should be noticing that I am gone. I went on a mission and sent back the rest of the team. So, with them just now returning, the village should be sending out a search party soon. I am not a criminal or a hostile shinobi. So I would say we have some time. Also, they will be heading to the Kyuusen crater to start their search." Kanbei states openly.
"I have a specific gift that others do not. I am a crystal user. It is a long story how I ended up in Kumo." Kanbei remembered Misaki, though he only met her twice. It felt like being a second rate citizen.
Mushi looks relieved. "So you didn't kill anyone on your way out," she says. That always made things harder, and riskier for her. But when he says he's a crystal user, she actually laughs. "That's ironic. I did help a missing nin Seishukuni a few years back. The difference was he was still in the village being hunted, hiding."
She shrugs. "Fine, I'll help. Since you're my patient now, I guarantee complete confidentiality this time. Anything you mention now regardless of legality will have any bearing on this pact. But to enter it, you either pay me ten times the amount your healers charge (and I know the rate) or give me one of those crystals."
Kanbei listens as Mushi speaks. She had run into one of his kind before. That was a lead to pick up on another day. "I had heard rumors that others exist, but I never followed up on them." Then when she states that she'll help him. He smiles. He's not worried about the steep price.
The bag from Kanbei's back slides down his arm and hits the floor. "I will pay you in money. It seemed that was most of what my father left me. As for the crystals, if you want some, I will tell you more about them. These five are mine, but there are more. Something chakra based caused the crater where Fort Kyuusen once stood. These were dug out of that crater. They were formed by a chakra based power, so intense in moments, it created something the earth naturally does in years." He then pulls out a bag filled with money from his pack. "This should be enough?" he asks as he hands the bag to her.
Mushi takes a scroll and bites her thumb to break the skin. She draws a red line across the scroll, puts the money on top and stores it away in a puff of steam. Even as she does, her finger is regenerating. "That's useful to know," she says when Kanbei mentions Kyuusen. She gestures. "Let me see that crystal."
The she says, "You want these to be inserted inside of you, right? Certainly it'd be the most effective and reliable way to use them. But I have to warn you. I've studied genetic modification for years, and done dozens of procedures on genetically modified people more advanced than this. But to undo modification. I've only genetically enhanced someone through modification one time. It went rather well. But if you want an experienced expert, you should find Nagamura Shuuren."
Without hesitation, Kanbei reaches over and grabs a crystal. He then hands it to her. It appears more of a black stone. "Nagamura Shuuren is entrenched in the land of Tea fighting. That makes me more likely to run into Kumo nin sent to aid him. Besides, I think he's probably postponed all of his clients for the time being. You are my best option right now."
Kanbei then forms a crystal shield at his hand. The crystal in Mushi's hand begins to glow green. The bag itself that houses the rest of the crystals also start to glow green. "It seems they call out to me. So I will take the chance. You can insert them so that I do not have to, but have the option of running chakra through them?" he asks.
Mushi studies the crystal and channels chakra through it. "Hmm. My earth based chakra seems to run through it. Doesn't resonate much with it though. I guess it really is for crystal users." Then she goes to wash her hands, and spread a clean white blanket over the table.
"The process I use is surgical," she says. "I'd put you under and when you wake up, it'd be done. You'd probably have to rest a day here. In this cottage, going out as little as possible. And without that headband. The villagers here love to gossip." She pauses then. "I can do the procedure while you're conscious. But I'd suggest against it. Both medically and…personally. It's painful and unpleasant."
The process was as expected. Painful and unpleasant seemed to go with most surgeries. "Ok. I can live with that. I'd like to be knocked out for the procedure anyhow. This way I do not move or anything." Kanbei truly did want the highest chances for success. He then slips off his headband and drops it in the backpack. He was willing to trust her. He was trusting the word of each person who had trusted her before. "So when do we start?"
When he's under Mushi says, "Okay…not much different from using it on myself. Here we go." The one person she'd tried genetic modification on was herself. She's never used any of her medical techniques on anyone before she's tested it on herself.
The procedure goes fairly well. Mushi doesn't get queasy at the sight of blood or any kind of wound, and it's not the most challenging procedure. The longer part isn't transplanting them into the body so much as making sure his chakra circulatory network is connected and augmented with them.
To Kanbei it'd seem short as a nap. It's dark outside but he'd wake up without any pain. And he'd be very euphoric, almost giddy. She had dosed him to give him a morphine-like rush. But even without that there's no pain. What there is would be a feeling of being weak, as if he were drained of energy. Once he's lucid enough Mushi says, "Half a day has passed. It took awhile because I wanted to make sure I got it right. The operation was a success."
Kanbei sits up. He did not feel any pain. In fact he felt almost lke getting up and moving around. Mushi however told him not to. He was to rest for a full day after the surgery. "Thank you. I appreciate your help in this matter." It seemed Kanbei had made the right choice. It was his lucky day after all. He then closes his eyes, enjoying the feeling of euphoria.
"There shouldn't be any pain," Mushi says. "Maybe it'll feel different now that you have the crystals inside you, but it shouldn't hurt. If you feel any pain, don't be macho. Tell me, because that means something has gone wrong" She looks at Kanbei. "Hmm, seems like you have more energy than the last patient. I guess it's easier rather than harder using it on a patient like you. Feel free to move around. In fact, do so. I still need you to stick around though. To see if there are any side effects." Then she goes over to the sink and stove and, of all things, starts cooking. "Why did you leave? What are you looking for?"
Still keeping his eyes closed, Kanbei answers the questions. "Everyone there seems so wrapped around certain things in life. Like sparring is forbidden if you are around Hiroyasu or how similar Nariko is to him in opinion. I'd rather go out and live my own life instead be under their rule and changed cause they refuse to accept how I do things. I just want to be me."
"Kumo does seem rather controlling," Mushi admits, rubbing her chin. "But you're not free. You're hunted. At your age you may believe your freedom is more important than your safety. But this kind of freedom as a missing nin may be something you're willing to die for…but is it something you'd kill for." She looks thoughtful. "Kanbei-kun, I have some advice. Never kill someone, especially from your village. Not because of kindness. But because as soon as you do, your name will go from the bottom to the top of the list. I'd also suggest if you wish to find a village, make it Iwagakure. As a crystal user, Suna's kage may kindly accept you in. Or just as kindly punish you for your crimes. Konoha is allies with your village. And Kiri is in its own way more controlling than Kumo. There are reasons to stay from all of them. You hungry?"
Kanbei nods his head when asked if he was hungry. He was thinking over the details. He was unsure of Iwagakure, but it was one of the five great villages. Sunagakure was another option. He just simply was not sure if he wanted to be either. Then again, she was giving him advice to survive. He was aware that killing would put him towards the top of their list. "Thank you for the advice."
"No problem," Mushi says casually. "I never like to see interesting people get in trouble. Especially ones brave enough to run from their village, when they're not even strong enough to fend off one Kamen." She smiles darkly at him. "You can't be more than Chuunin. You'd best learn quickly how to remain unfound. It's not as hard as you'd think to find out, actually. It's just doing it for the rest of your life that can be the challenge." She'd cook for a few more minutes and then ramen would be ready, set before him. And that's how most of the night would go.
"Genin actually." Kanbei responds. "I have to figure with everything going on right now, that I'll be put on a back burner for a little while. During that time I need to get most of it figured out. I heard Shuuren does alterations to one's appearance. I thought I might try to find him and get that done. Then I could simply walk away as someone else." Kanbei then goes silent as he eats the ramen.
"Shuuren." She sighs. "He's not even secretive about the crazy stuff he does. Speaking of which, mention this to no one. You didn't see me, I didn't help you, but if you or an ally of yours needs help look for me. Not the medical center I once worked at. They'd treat you. But ever since it's been learned we even help criminals, there's mercenaries waiting outside those walls to snatch up criminals. Injured criminals. You'd go for help, and end up being bounty money in a mercenary's pocket." She shovels ramen into her mouth. "I was banished from my…the center. I got too involved with the hidden villages. Killed some people too. But I still help anyone who comes to me, or at least promise not to spread word about them. I guess I stick to my peaceful neutrality, even now. Well, mostly."
"Even the lightest shinobi still has a dark side." Kanbei states with a smile. The ramen was good. He was eager to get out to test the stones, but for now he had to remain resting. "I promise to tell no one of this. I fell alseep and woke up with the procedure done. Not sure how it happened." Kanbei states. "So you killed some people? Must have been for a reason."
Mushi nodded. She looks sad. "You know that parasite epedemic that ended a couple months ago? It wasn't caused by some freak accident. It was caused by shinobi. When there was a mission to stop them and end the epidemic, I went on it. And when the mission leader ordered us to kill the shinobi, I did so. Some of those responsible for it." She looks up at Kanbei with a sad smile. "I knew what I was getting into and that it'd probably lead to my banishment. But some things are worth killing for. Regardless of right or wrong, my center has to remain neutral. It's how people know they can come to us, regardless of their status. And to me, still."
Kanbei continued to eat as Mushi told her story. "Yeah, sometimes things cannot be helped. I am glad you are still around to help people though. It seems the village is pretty happy with you. I've still yet to try out these chakra crystals, but I'm fairly happy with the job so far."
"Those people you don't like," Mushi says. "I met them. The crazy boy riding around on a bull, crashing through the marketplace. And that girl. Neither of them seemed so bad. Was it really worth leaving your village, and living in danger, just to get away from them? As I understand it, even though I heard many people speak of Misaki-chan with ill will, no one mentioned hating you." She smiles. "Not too late to go back. It doesn't sound like you've done anything wrong. Maybe you could say you got lost. Or were tricked or something."
"Hiroyasu was a student of the Raikage. I watched him go on a mission and tell the Chuunin mission leader how things were going to go. I have had him tell me how wrong I am. No, I do not believe he hates me. He's just so high above me that I'd rather leave than deal with him. Now he's in a position of power. Who knows what might happen." Kanbei then pauses. "There are some good people there. I'm not complaining. It's just better this way."
"Actually, I've heard much worse reasons for becoming a missing nin," Mushi has to admit. She slurps up the broth, and goes to the pot to fill up another bowl. Place a boiled egg inside with all the meat and vegetables. She comes back to the table and seats herself, starting in on the second helping. "The grass being greener…well, maybe it is in this case. Going to Shuuren for a face modification is a good plan. Mentioning it to me wasn't. Not because it's me, but because you shouldn't tell anyone from now on. Not enemies, not friends, not allies. Because even friends may have a slip of the tongue." She gestures. "I integrated the crystals enough that your chakra signature is a bit different. Sensors will have a hard time recognizing it's you, even if they've scanned you before."