Chapter 57: "Poisonous Teachings."
Long Summary Edit
The chapter beings with Hisame on the boat catching a fish. She suggests to Fushi that they eat it, but he refuses and Hisame is disappointed because it took so long to catch. Hisame is later seen offering her help to Fushi - to make coffee, wash his back, sew his pants, and help cut his hair- but he refuses and tells her that she doesn't have to try so hard to be of use to him. She tells him that the mission of the Defense Corps is to protect him and that she wants to help him as much as she can.
The group arrives in the city that was attack by a Knocker one month ago. Fushi wants to check it out, but he is afraid his presence may draw out another Knocker. Hisame offers to check out the damage for him and informs him that it will probably be nighttime by the time they come back.
Nighttime arrives and Fushi wonders if the situation in the city is so bad that Hisame is late returning. As he thinks this, someone from behind says he looks pretty down and asks why he's sitting there. Fushi turns around to see a man and a woman. The woman tells Fushi that, since they've arrived things have calmed down in the village. The man informs him of reports of corpses crawling out of their graves in a nearby cemetery, but says that almost everyone has been evacuated and that only a few remain in the village. Fushi asks how many people died and the woman tells him that 6 people died and 33 were wounded. Fushi is pained to hear that people have died and the woman asks how long he's been in the village. He tells her that he just arrived that morning. The woman says it's weird that the Knockers attacked the village because she heard that the Knockers always move towards "Fushi." Fushi is surprised to hear they know who he is and they tell him that they hear rumors about him wherever they go. However, Fushi says that's weird because he's been alone for the past 40 years and the woman tells him that a little girl often babbles about him to people in order to get more followers. The woman tells Fushi to be careful because Hisame only wants to take possession of him.
Hisame and her group arrive just in time to hear the woman tell Fushi that and says that she will not forgive anyone who bad-mouths the Defense Corps. Hisame asks who the woman is and the man tells her that they are doctors who have been treating the villagers. Hisame tells Fushi that she has made arrangements for them to spend the night in the village but Fushi says he wants to talk to the doctors a bit more. The woman quickly jumps in and says, coincidentally, they are staying in the village tonight and suggests they talk over dinner.
The woman apologizes for eating on Hisame's tab, but Hisame says they can eat as much as they like if food will persuade them to join her cause. The woman asks Hisame if she already has plenty of followers and Hisame reveals that, for the past forty years, they have gathered many people including heads of government, but that they are always looking for more allies. The woman says it just seems that Hisame's group wants to control Fushi and asks what the point is of gaining more followers. Hisame explains that that is a misunderstanding and that it is the people's job to create a space for him and to free him of the idea that he must be alone to prevent others from being hurt. The woman says that, in reality, Hisame's group have captured him twice and lost him twice and asks her if it's just an annoyance. Hisame tells her that the Defense Corps' has protected him and that their two duties are: "Protect Fushi from the unknown and to protect the people from the unknown that he is." The woman then says that it seems there have never been any adults around to protect Hisame and Hisame quickly tells her not to bring up unrelated topics.
Fushi cuts in and asks the man if he can remove a tumor (the Knocker) from Hisame's arm. Suddenly, Hisame informs the group that she is thirsty and asks the Yanome woman to bring tea for everyone. At this, the female doctor looks on with suspicion. While the tea is being served, the female doctor asks Fushi if he has ever heard of "fragmented bats." She explains that many people would eat them without knowing they were poisonous. When she was young, she decided to experiment and started out eating just a grain. The first day she ate one, she vomited and had cramps so bad she thought she was going to die but, on the next day, she ate another one and nothing happened. Next, she ate a spoonful and, again thought she was going to die. She continued eating spoonfuls of the poison for a month. Eventually, she ate a whole fragmented bat and, again, she thought she would die but continued eating for a month.
Suddenly, Fushi and and the male doctor pass out while the woman remains unaffected. Hisame looks at her with shock and the woman says "Morning glory of the west? A familiar taste..." The woman asks for another cup and continues the story, saying she became interested in other poisons as well; such as seeded frogs, pus snakes, malice turnips, and says she has ingested many of those poisons for the past forty years. Hisame asks what the point of the story is and the woman says that the reason she ingested all those poisons was because she was drugged several times in the past and would always wake up immediately. The woman gulps down another drink and identifies the poison as "ugly lotus" and explains that those who consume that poison will become incoherent after thirty seconds, with death following minutes later. The woman reveals that, when she was younger, she often had an owl with three talons that sat on her shoulder. The third talon released poison and, everyday, she would consume a little bit of it. Later, she learned that the poison of the three-talon owl is very similar to morning glory, which is why Hayase's poison never worked on her. The woman asks if thirty seconds have passed yet and Hisame angrily tells the Yanome soldiers to capture her but, when Hisame turns around, she sees the soldiers are knocked out. The woman says, "those violated by poison are strong against poison." An owl lands on her shoulder and the woman is revealed to be Tonari.