1373 words this time. Rufus doesn't show up in this chapter, but the second half is all about him.
After leaving Rufus' room for the evening, Tseng found the other Turks being led through the Lodge on a tour of their own.
'Who knows why you were so bitchy about wanting to move here, Tseng.' Reno shrugged, 'This place is pretty cool.'
'I'm so happy that you approve of the establishment, Reno.' Tseng retorted, monotone. 'Really, your approval means so much to me.'
'Ah, come on sir,' Elena spoke up, 'really, this place has everything in it! It's big, comfy, bright, quiet...everything! I really like it.'
Tseng furrowed his brows in annoyance, 'The same for you Elena; I am absolutely overjoyed that you approve.'
Noticing the chance in his temper, Elena backed away from Tseng and went back to looking around the Lodge.
Glancing towards Rude, he shrugged. Might as well hear how great he finds this place too. 'And you Rude? Do you like this place as much as they do?'
'It is nice, sir.'
Shaking his head, he turned to the doctor. 'Doctor Gregor, when this tour is concluded, I would like to speak to you in private for a few moments.'
'Of course, sir.' The doctor agreed nervously, afraid of what could happen to him alone with the Turk in the mood that he was in. 'I only have to show you all your rooms and then I will be able to speak with you.'
Tseng nodded and followed the rest of the Turks through the remainder of the tour. The doctor walked into the first room and waited for the four Turks to join him.
'The rooms are all the same, the only difference being the view outside. I'll leave you to decide who will occupy which room.'
'I'm taking this one! I want a view of the waterfall.' Elena chirped, setting her bag on the bed. 'It's so pretty; it's the perfect thing to look at when you'd prefer forgetting that the world's been destroyed.'
The four men simply stared at her. 'Women. They make no sense.' Was Reno's simple explanation. Grinning wildly, he turned to Elena, 'You know, going skinny dipping in the lake at the foot of the waterfall is a good way to forget things too.'
'Reno!' Elena shrieked, while reaching out to try to hit him. 'I would so not do that, especially around someone like you!'
Reno laughed at Elena, who was now staring at the floor trying to hide the dark blush on her face.
'Both of you grow up and be quiet.' Tseng snapped. 'The President is resting and it would do no good to your own health if he wakes up because of your incessant bickering.'
Knowing that a comeback would be a sure way to get a bullet in the head, Reno simply nodded and made for the door, while Elena sunk her head lower, finding her shoes very interesting.
'Do not take the room closest to Rufus that is facing the road, Reno.' Tseng warned. 'That one is mine.'
'Alright, boss. Me and Rude will just fight over the last two rooms.'
'Fight quietly or your rooms will be holes in the ground.'
Slinking out of the room, the two remaining Turks decided on their rooms. In the end, Rude ended up opposite Tseng's room, on the other side of Rufus' door, while Reno ended up facing Elena's room.
Once the room selection was complete, Tseng approached the doctor. 'I would like to speak to you outside doctor, as soon as possible.'
The doctor nodded and gestured towards the door, allowing the Turk out first. He followed Tseng outside to the balcony, curious as to what the dark haired man wanted.
'I know we didn't get off on the right foot, sir.' The physician began, 'However we are both here to ensure the same thing. We both want to keep the individual that is ill as healthy and pain free as long as possible.'
'I'm sure we are, doctor. That's why you became a doctor; to help people.' Tseng then turned to address the physician with a serious tone. 'But this is not what I want to speak to you about.'
'Alright.' he swallowed nervously, 'What did you want to discuss?'
'How familiar are you with the symptoms of Geostigma?' Tseng questioned. 'As shameful as it is for me to admit, I do not know as much about the disease as I would like.'
Fearing a question worse then that, the doctor visibly relaxed. 'I've studied Geostigma since the first cases were reported, sir.' He then continued in a solemn tone; 'Both of my children succumbed to the disease and I've since dedicated myself to finding a cure and helping those with the disease cope with it. I've written a report on my findings regarding the disease thus far if you are interested.'
Perhaps he is better suited to helping Rufus then I thought. 'Thank you, I would appreciate it.’ Tseng continued, ‘The reason I wanted to speak with you is in regards to Rufus' behavior as of late.’
‘Behavior?’ The doctor questioned, intrigued. ‘I’m afraid I don’t follow. He appears fine to me. What kind of behavior?’
Tseng tried to find the best words to describe what he’s noticed about Rufus. ‘He seems to forget where he is and doesn’t notice people around him. During the past few days, I’ve noticed that his attention seems to drift off and it’s as if he’s simply staring into space. He usually doesn’t snap out of it until someone shakes him repeatedly, which is something that he does not like nor...’
Tseng cut his sentence short when he saw the doctor nodding at what he was saying. ‘You already know what’s wrong with him, don't you.’ Tseng said.
‘Yes, I do. It’s a symptom of Geostigma.’ He confirmed. ‘I’m afraid there really isn’t anything that can be done about it.’
‘Will it get any worse? I don’t like the thought of Rufus getting much worse.’
The doctor shook his head. ‘When he starts the medication, it should slow down most of the symptoms, including the mental weakness.’ When the doctor noticed the Turks’ dark stare, he quickly explained himself.
‘I don’t mean mental weakness as in becoming less smart sir; I mean it as in losing touch with his environment, which is what you described to me. He’ll still be the same as he is now, but he’ll just have a shorter attention span. If it happens again, let him snap out of it on his own; there’s no harm in letting the symptom pass on their own.’
‘Very well.’ Tseng sighed, not wanting to do what the doctor suggested, but understanding that he had a point.
‘Was there anything else you would like to discuss with me before we all retire for the evening?’ he questioned, ‘I’m sure you’ve all had a rather stressing day.’
‘I’m sure that you had a quick look over when we first came in, correct?’ The Turk questioned.
‘Yes, I did.’
‘Did you find anything of interest?’
‘I only did a quick look over to see how many marks he had on his skin and other visible signs of injury. I saw one on his hand, the one under his shirt and the beginning of one on the side of his neck. That one will have to be closely monitored.’
He has one on the side of his neck? How did we miss that? ‘Why monitor that one more then the others?’
‘Because of where it is. It can creep up the side of his face into his eye or go into his ear. If it does either of those, he’ll have a good chance of either losing sight in the affected eye and full hearing loss in the ear. Once it gets that far, it wouldn’t be long before it would take his life as well.’
‘I understand.’ Tseng then offered his hand to the doctor, who shook it without hesitation. ‘Thank you for the information doctor, you’ve been most helpful this evening.’
‘You are welcome, sir. I will return in the morning for my appointment with the President.’ Bowing to the Turk, the doctor made his way to his personal lodge, leaving Tseng alone to think.