I've been busy with many projects recently but unfortunately one turned out very weak, and the other is a Visual Novel and thus not something to be released in chapter format. However I've been keeping my hand in the game by entering myself in a semi-weekly writing contest, so I've actually got a number of short stories. I've decided to pretty up the better ones and place them here. They're a little less cohesive then my other stories, but I'm fond of a lot of them all the same.
"What!" Reisen found herself staring at her master in shock.
"Sorry, was I not clear? I want you to run the clinic for today." Eirin said with a light smile. "This is the next logical step in your apprenticeship."
"But today's when you go to the human village isn't it? I've never done that with you, much less solo! I was always out selling medicine while you did the doctor's work." Reisen knew her pleading was futile, but she had to try.
"Exactly. You have all the knowledge you need. You just need experience. And that is best gained in real world situations." Eirin continued, "Having me as a security blanket would only cause you to second guess yourself. Only practicing on your own can you perfect the medical arts."
Reisen's face fell. She was stuck.
"Don't worry too much though. I've sent Tewi to help you. She'll be your nurse assistant."
Reisen buried her face in her hands and began to cry.
Reisen had recovered most of her composure by the time she reached the building that housed Eientei's temporary clinic. She unlocked the door and began setting up for the days work.
Tewi was nowhere to be seen. She wasn't sure if that was a good sign or a very, very bad sign.
Still there was much Reisen could do about that. She made sure all the supplies were in their proper places, then grabbed the the doctors coat from the hanger.
After a moments hesitation she grabbed the glasses and put them on as well. Eirin claimed they were to keep her from accidentally driving patients insane. Reisen had a suspicion her master just had a meganekko fetish. Still she knew if she didn't wear them, somehow, Eirin would know.
Reisen was just about ready to open up when someone knocked on the door.
"Just a second!" Reisen quickly flipped the sign in the one window to 'Open' then opened the front door.
However, instead of a patient there was a large doll in a nurses outfit instead.
"Hi!" Medicine exclaimed happily while skipping into the office. "I'm here to fill in for the other rabbit!"
Reisen looked down at the poison doll youkai. "So how'd she'd rope you into this?"
"She promised to pay me ten times her salary!"
Reisen sighed and shook her head. "We don't pay her."
Medicine's smile didn't waver. "Yep! I guessed that. But I figured I could steal what was in the petty cash drawer while I was here!"
Reisen gave the doll youkai a long look. They grow up so fast these days. "All right, fair enough. Just remember you can't poison any of the patients, okay."
"Okay!" There was a pause. "What am I supposed to be doing anyway?"
Reisen considered the matter for a moment. "Do you have any medical training?"
"Nope!" the doll cheerily replied.
Reisen pointed to the front desk. "Then stand there and look pretty."
"I'm good at that! I did that all the time when I was a doll." Medicine nodded and rushed over to her appointed spot. "I didn't realize I had experience at this job. This'll be great!"
The early morning hours weren't that bad. A couple of broken bones and a few colds. Nothing that Reisen hadn't dealt with while selling medicine. Medicine had acted cute, and barring the one recruitment incident, had been generally more helpful then Tewi.
Sadly the simple times were not to last.
"So these aches and pains seem purely random?" Reisen asked, trying to ignore the dark morass floating above the patient's head. Most people couldn't see it, but Reisen's eyes could pick up the strange wavelengths of the grudge.
"Yeah. They just seem to come outta nowhere." The dark cloud snapped at an arm and the woman began rubbing the spot.
Reisen sighed internally. This idiot had managed to get herself cursed. The shrine maiden should deal with this, not her. Still she had to go through the motions. "Let me take your temperature."
As Reisen went through the motions of searching for the 'illness' the curse swirled around more and more. It began to hiss laughter at her and strike just when it would be most inconvenient for the current test.
When it got to forming obscene imagery in the haze Reisen's patience snapped. "Very well. After a careful examination, I've decided you need laser eye surgery."
The woman look at her in confusion. "What? But there's nothing wrong with my eyes."
Reisen took off her glasses. "I meant surgery with laser eyes." A concentrated blast of raw power sent the curse slamming into a wall, where it solidified into a proto youkai like morass. "Medicine, that's not a patient."
Medicine waved her hands towards it. "Gotcha boss! One dose of poison coming up!"
As the curse burbled and dissolved into nothingness Reisen turned towards the stunned patient. "That'll be 24 ryo please."
Reisen put down the stethoscope and finished a few notes. "I'm afraid that we can't do anything for your condition sir."
The farmer started slightly in shock. "What! Why not?"
Riesen sighed. "Because you are dead. You have no pulse, your temperature is negative 6 degrees and you lack a physical body. You are a ghost. No amount of medicine can help you there."
The man's face twisted into an inhuman mask of rage. "How dare you say such things! All I want is some stitches for this cut! "
Reisen took a deep breath before continuing. "That's not a cut. That's a hole. Specifically the one the kama placed in your chest. The one that killed you!"
"I'm not dead!" The man stubbornly insisted.
"You aren't breathing!"
"It's just subtle."
"You have no feet!"
"It's a genetic condition." The ghost swung his fist through the desk. "I'm tired of this runaround. I demand a second opinion!"
Reisen snarled. She was very tempted to just blast him. Fortunately the sight of Medicine giggling in the background at the mans stupidity kept her from giving into her violent impulses.
She closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths. After a bit she opened her eyes. "Fine. I'll refer you to a competitor." Reisen grabbed a sheet of paper and scribbled down an address before handing it to the man.
"Hmph. Serves you right." The man peered at the note. "Where is 'wherever that lazy bum decided to slack off today?'"
"By the Sanzu River I believe."
"Well, we'll see what Dr Onozuka has to say." The man floated off through the door.
"Goodbye forever!" Medicine called after him.
"And good riddance." Reisen muttered.
It had been all quiet for the past few hours. Medicine had taken to drawing flower pictures with the crayons in the lobby. Reisen had considered telling her it was unprofessional, but then decided the patients deserved the warning.
The quiet was disturbed by the sound of voices arguing outside the door. The two youkai had just enough time to stand up and adjust their uniforms before the door opened, revealing a small family. The young man in the middle seemed to be alternating between cringing in pain and telling his relatives he would be fine.
Reisen adjusted her glasses and waved them to the examining table. "Help him here please."
"Thank you doctor," the lady of the family said before turning to rejoin the argument. Reisen guessed from the way the woman kept getting distracted by Reisen's ears that she was originally an outsider. That was probably for the best, since outsiders seemed to put more faith in modern medicine.
The lunar rabbit grabbed a few instruments from the wall and scribbled some quick notes before interrupting the conversation. "So what seems to be the problem."
"I'm fine." The man protested. "I just have some stomach cramps, that's all. It'll go away soon."
The woman frowned and turned to Reisen. "He's been having serious abdominal pain for several days now."
Reisen nodded then poked the man in the side. He crumpled before swearing violently at the pain. "Hm... I'll need to perform another test. Could everyone in the room be silent for a little while?"
It took some doing but eventually the patient and all the various relatives quieted down. Reisen took off her glasses and began to focus. Her ears twitched as the ultrasound waves she was creating did their work.
"You were right to bring him to me. He's suffering from advanced appendicitis. I'll need to operate immediately." Reisen opened up the doors to the operating room. "Medicine, can you create Ether?"
Medicine jumped up and ran into the room. "You betcha! Lemme guess, you want me to prove how good I am by just keeping the human unconscious right?"
"Exactly." Reisen grabbed her gloves and a scalpel. "Alright, begin administering anesthetic."
After a moment Reisen added, "That means poison him now."
Reisen didn't know exactly how many hours passed while she worked. She'd never done this before, but the knowledge seemed to come to her easily. Perhaps her master had been right, perhaps she needed this trial by fire.
Finally she put in the last stitches. "Okay. That's it."
Medicine nodded. "Okay. Should I leave him unconscious for a little longer?"
Reisen nodded. "You've got it." She then walked out to the family. "He should be fine now. He'll need to avoid strenuous work for two weeks, and take one of these each every morning." Reisen placed two pill bottles on the front desk. "The stitches will dissolve when they're no longer needed."
"Thank you so much," the woman who had dragged the patient in said. She looked at the bottles. "So this one is for pain and this one is for antibiotic... Wait this one says it can just heal the appendix without invasive surgery!"
Reisen nodded as she cleaned off her glasses. "Yes, but I've never had the chance to perform surgery on a human before, so I figured I'd give it a shot anyway."
The woman looked at her with shock. "Haven't you heard of the Hippocratic oath!"
Reisen thought about it for a moment. "Oh right. That. Eirin tried to have me take it once, but she couldn't get past 'First do no harm' without bursting into laughter." She shook her head. "Anyway that'll be 35 Ryo please."
The family seemed to still be speechless.
At this point Medicine decided to carry in the patient in her bloodstained nurse outfit. "Here you go. He'll be awake in an hour."
The woman looked at the two youkai, tossed the coins on the counter, and with the help of her family grabbed the patient and left.
Reisen sighed and took off her coat. "Well that's it for today. Come on, let's finish up work."
Medicine tried to wipe the blood of her outfit with little success. "Aren't we done? What more is there to do?"
"The most important part. Drinking after the job."
"Alcohol is the best poison ever!" Medicine said in a slurred voice as she placed her glass down. "Well second best," she amended after a thought.
"Alright, I think you've had enough," Mystia stated, taking away the glass. "And don't try pouting at me. It loses all it's effectiveness when you're covered in blood."
Reisen put her cup in front of the doll youkai. "It's okay. You can help me finish off mine." As Medicine happily finished off the glass she stretched. "You did real good today. If you ever want to help out again just drop by. I'll teach you how you're actually supposed to do things."
Medicine thought about it a bit. "Hm... So what did I do wrong?"
"Well the big one would be not getting a clean uniform after the surgery. You aren't supposed to be splattered with blood."
"Oh. That makes sense." Medicine began unbuttoning the nurse outfit.
Reisen blinked for a moment before moving to catch Medicines hands. "Woah! Hold on. You aren't just a doll anymore, you can't just change clothes in public!"
Then there was a bright flash of light, along with a terrifying click. A sound feared throughout Gensoukyo. The sound of a camera.
Reisen was chasing after the culprit within seconds. She already knew who was responsible. "TEWI!"
Medicine took a little longer to recover before chasing after herself. "Hey, that looks like fun!"
Alone now, Mystia simply sighed and recovered the dishes. And people wondered why she demanded payment in advance.
"Master I'm telling you, that picture of Tewi's is completely out of context!"
"Don't worry. I'm not here to talk about that. I'm here to review your performance." Eirin's smile did little to assuage Reisen's worries.
"Can I take off the glasses for this?"
"No. Anyway, let's see..." Eirin continued, picking up a notepad. "There were no critical mistakes in your medical performance. However you need to work on your personal interactions with the patients. You get frustrated far too easily."
Reisen's ears twitched. "I'll keep that in mind master."
Eirin put down the notepad. "You made a few small mistakes during surgery that we'll go over later, but for now we'll concentrate on the training I forgot to give you."
Reisen looked at her in confusion. "What training is that?"
Eirin stood up slowly. "When seducing your assistant it's best to pick a secluded area and have a solid work related excuse. I personally tend to use 'performance evaluations...'"