Intro

In the summer and along the deep slope of the mountains, humans merrily venture off into the dense forests to collect edible greens and fungi. Some do this without noticing anything strange lingering within the tree beds or resting within the shadows. A selected few take sight to these odd creatures and either run away or become very intrigued by them and meddle with their resting places, allowing those who are called Mushi Masters to never be out of work.

Summer's Heart.

A passing breeze gathered the crisp scent of summer morning, brushing against the luscious trees. A lone traveller who went by the name of Ginko walked calmly beneath these trees, enjoying their shade from the hot sun. While enjoying this and the nature around him, he took noticed to the plentiful greens that overun the forest floor.

"I know it's that time of year, but even the last village's forests didn't have this much supply," he paused for a moment, staring down at the greens, "could it be that...no, I'm getting ahead of myself. Though it is odd."

He tried pushing his convictions aside, knowing that he mustn't blame the mushi for something like that, seeing how it is a rare blessing to have that much supply.

Ginko continued on his way down the mountains path until he stumbled upon a lone cottage that was placed on the edge of a slope. Not being able to find a good pit stop for awhile, he considered it an oppertunity to ask for a meal and a good night's rest. He respectfully approached and knocked on the door several times, hoping to have an answer.

"Yes?" responded a man, "Who's out there?"

A wave of relief rushed over Ginko as he asked, "I justed wanted to know if I could stay the night here, I've been traveling for quite some time now and haven't gotten a good night's rest. May I come in?" There wasn't any type of nervousness or suspicious tone to his voice, so the man kindly opened the door, and peered up at Ginko. "Yes, you may come in." he answered with a smile.

"So, what's your name?" The young man asked, setting down his bowl of noodles. The two sat quietly at the dinner table for a long time before anyone had said anything, be it from eating or just simply not knowing each other enough to start a conversation.

"Ginko, I'm a travelling mushi master." Ginko responded, sipping the broth out of his bowl.

"A mushi master?" The young man repeated, questionable about Ginko's profession.

"Yes, I specialize in helping people with anything involving mushi. May I ask what your name is?" Ginko questioned.

"Oh! how rude of me, my name's Shoru. Me and my sister Ai live here together." Shoru answered, embarrassed he never said anything before hand. Suddenly a rush of sadness draped itself over his shoulders.

"My sister...she's been...not herself lately." he whispered, his eyes portraying hardship and worry.

Ginko sat glancing at Shoru, thoughts running through his mind as to what he could be meaning.

"Is your sister not well?" he asked, removing his usual brand of cig away from his lips.

"In a way, yes. She's suddenly grown very depressed, it's almost like theres nothig left of her but pure sadness. She sleeps most of the time and when she's awake she usually cries or simply doesn't have the energy to do anything. She came back from the mountains one day like that and I have no idea why she's the way she is. It doesn't make any sense." Shoru informed, feeling worse than before. It was one thing that he didn't know why his sister was upset, but to not be sure of what may help her or get her out of this state was something he couldn't bare living with. The room fell silent as both Ginko and Shoru didn't say anything, one would call it an awkward moment.

"Please...you said something about being a mushi master," a quiver rose in his delicate, almost fragile tone of voice as he fought to hold back tears, "...do you think that has anything at all to do with my sister?" he asked, having no other option at hand.

Ginko let out a puff of smoke, gathering all of the symptoms and causes to see if it was related to anything. A moment passed before anything was spoken. Swiftly, Ginko answered with a reasonable answer, "It could most likely be a mushi called, Akanashi. It tends to mess with people's emotions, and in this case the type is a Shinzokuroi. Shinzokuroi take the hosts good emotions like happiness, excitement, the feeling of being active, ambition and comfort leaving nothing but the bad emotions behind. They survive and spawn that way. A lot of humans call it depression and it is rare if a Shinzokuroi is involved but either way, the host suffers. If the Shinzokuroi takes all of her good emotions away, then she'll stay the way she is forever. Tell me, has your sister ever mentioned about seeing odd things?" Ginko explained his accusation quite throughly, not even missing a beat.

Shoru tried his hardest to take it all in, it was all so much all too quick. His sister was being taken over by this thing and he didn't even realize it, he hasn't seen or heard about anything like it so how in the world could he help. Eventually he snapped out of his hazed thoughts and brought his attention back up to Ginko.

"No, she hasn't. I don't even think she knows what it is thats inside of her." he answered, worried as ever burrowing his face within his palms.

"Don't worry, niether of you saw it coming, so don't blame it on yourself. Anyway, it's a good thing that your sister doesn't know about it. Some people get frightened by mushi, especially ones that have taken over someone. We don't want to startle her into doing something rash." Ginko warned, inhaling and exhaling a puff of smoke. Shoru sat over his half eaten food, tears falling down his cheeks, he couldn't help at all. His sister was all he had left of his family, he didn't want her to suffer like this anymore. What could he do!?

"I think I know a way to prevent this from happening, but I may have to stay here longer than expected." Ginko regreted.

"Please...tell me...what can I do?" Shoru pleaded, willingly to do anything to save his sister.

"We need to find a Shinzoshiro...."

To be continued...