Chapter 71: Another Day in Paradise
A brook burbles near
the tea house, covered in snow.
The tea is ready./p>
~ Miyara Miwa
The storm still raged the next morning, although a trifle lighter. Still, Ashe and Baku said trying to hunt out there would be futile. We will have to continue to subsist on the dreadful provisions we must buy from Querla and whatever fish Hosei can conjure up. Ravena disappeared into the village, intending to offer the villagers her medical services. I thought very hard about this cursed rock I now carry. The answer is here, somewhere. I just do not know where.
After breakfast, Hosei and Sun wrecked out to Querla's. For a lack of anything else to do, I went out looking for Pi Po. I eventually found him. He was heading out of the village to check his traps. I offered him my company, as protection, but he declined. He assured me he would be perfectly safe. When I asked him if he was sure, he said, "It will be fine." I hope, no I believe, that he meant all would be well and that we were on track to fix things, despite appearances. I returned to our poor hut, where I discovered everyone, including Ravena, had also returned to. In addition, a newcomer had joined us: Pita Popo. Pita is something of a healer, too, apparently, although in a different than Ravena.
Ravena announced that as far as she could tell, the blizzard was only going to get worse, and it would continue for a long time. Hosei asked when the blizzard started, and Pi Po said about three days ago, when he found himself here. We all exchanged glances. That was when the Crystals joined themselves.
Then we all saw Pita do his thing. Hosei produced a couple of mackerel. As usual, that is enough to tire him out, and he sat back to rest for a while before producing more. Pita took his hand, said a prayer to the goddess he follows, Shalya, and Hosei was suddenly revived. I smiled. Ravena's healing powers are amazing. If Pita can restore her in the same way, my band will not have to pause for hours to heal after battles. Hosei produced some more mackerel while Sun set to cleaning them for lunch. To our disappointment, Pita had no news of the outside world that we did not already know.
Baku remained in his corner, meditating upon something very hard. I hesitated to disturb him, but did not want him to miss a meal. I touched his shoulder gently and asked him to lunch, but he declined.
As we prepared to eat Hosei's and Sun's fish stew, Pi Po appeared, looking for me. He presented us with a rabbit from his traplines. He complimented us on our fish. I ensured he had enough meat for himself before I accepted his gift, and we invited him to lunch with us. Hosei asked him a few questions while we ate, but learned little. Nothing unusual has happened here recently, and Pi Po was always been blind.
I looked towards Baku, and an earth spirit emerged from the ground in our hut! It walked calmly out the door, and we heard screams in the village. I asked Baku what he thought he was doing. Using the power of the Crystal does nothing but spread chaos and makes things worse! He said no, his vision told him that chaos will help us prevail. Suddenly, he looked a little uncomfortable and squirmy, and his clothes rotted and fell off him. He was covered in fur. So that is why he hides himself in furs and leathers. He quickly grabbed one of the rugs from the floor and wrapped it around himself. That is what one gets when one messes with the Crystal.
Baku repeated that it will work out. Pi Po asked what was going on, and I was glad he was blind and hadn't seen the earth spirit. Baku explained that the spirit is supposed to bring silver to the mine. Pi Po did not think the town would like that, but he said he will assure them that we are good people. I felt sad at that. I am not sure we are at all.
I asked him how he knows we are good people, and he said simply that we are. He must be right. And yet...