Chapter Six

His actions along the lines of Ramon Salazar had not let him get a nights sleep. Bitores had tossed and tumbled the entire time, guilt eating at the twisted mass he called a stomach. Finally he had risen at dawn, as he did every morning, going to feed and water the animals. It felt good to be working, he enjoyed working… and it stopped his thoughts of the castellan.

The fact that he had simply left Ramon on the doorstep, rang the bell, and run for his life was sick with stupidity in his mind. He had never claimed to be a brave man, but this act of cowardice was bitter on his tongue. But, at least he had gotten Salazar to help. That was enough.

He had not been able to find Sera, after the encounter, and had gone home to sulk in shame.

He wished he'd had a drink.

Bitores was hard at work mucking the barn when a cry suddenly brought his attention back to the present. "Chief Mendez!" It was Jon Perez, panting as he stumbled to a halt in the dust before the towering chief. "Senor Mendez! You must come to the village square, quickly!"

"What is wrong?" Bitores demanded, hoisting the pitchfork onto his shoulder and cocking a brow.

Jon removed his black cap, wiping the sweat from his brow before crossing himself with a trembling hand. "Dos Dios!" He whispered, "Chief, there's been murder!"

Bitores dropped the pitchfork in shock, "Who?!"

Jon shook his head. Growling with worry, Bitores hitched his suspenders back up onto his shoulders and bolted for the village.

He arrived in the village square at a dead run, and began pushing his way toward the center of the gathering crowd. At last he reached his goal, and his heart seemed to freeze in his chest.

The body of Old Man Sera lay sprawled on the stone border of the artesian fountain in the center of town, his head crushed and split open. The Villagers around him covered their mouths and eyes with sickened horror, "Old man…?" Bitores whispered, "No…" Sera made no reply.

How? Why? When? …Who…?

"Who has done this?!" one of the elderly Belladonna sisters cried, grabbing onto his sleeve. Her breath smelled faintly of alcohol, "What evil has been brought upon us?!"

Bitores felt his heart begin to thunder in his chest. The silver, it had awoken the demon… the demon had killed Sera… "I-I…" Bitores started hoarsely, his throat freakishly dry with fear.

"This wasn't any evil," Someone said softly, "It was murder. Someone has done this. Not a damn demon or devil… but a living, breathing person." Bitores looked up to see Luis, kneeling over his grandfathers' body. "A real person is guilty, and a real person will pay."

'Luis," Bitores said softy, 'come, boy… you shouldn't have to see this…'

'Don't touch me, Chief,' Luis warned, not looking up from his grandfather, 'I have every right in the world to be here. And all of you--' he stood, looking out at the crowd, 'I will find who has done this. There is no such things as demons, but know now, and protect yourselves; there is a murderer in your midst.' and he turned away, pushing his way through the crowd toward the road.

Bitores glanced at Sera's body one more time, then shook his head, 'Get him into the church,' he muttered as he hurried to catch up to Luis.

'Luis!' he called, trotting up behind him, 'Luis, where are you going?'

'He was found on the Salazar land, and that is where I will start!' Luis replied, glaring at the road ahead as tears welled in his eyes. 'I'll talk to that bastard Salazar, and find out what he's got to do with this!'

'Lord Salazar has done nothing!' Bitores blurted.

Luis stopped, looking up at him, 'How do you know?' he questioned sharply.

Bitores swallowed, taken aback.

Luis nodded, 'I see. Then you are of no use to me, Chief.' and Luis continued on, in the direction of the castle, leaving Bitores to question his own sanity. There was certainly something amiss, here.

xXx

A tiny, bright red spider scuttled across the dark marble desktop. The effect was, in fact, very slow, as all eight legs were so small they looked hardly useful at all. The spider paused, unheeding of the danger that loomed overhead, in the form of a shoe. With a tremendous cracking noise, the unseen force of evil brought the shoe down, and, after a moment of crushing pain, all eight of the spiders' legs were broken, all eight eyes dimmed, and the spider died.

Ramon Salazar frowned bitterly, slipping his shoe back onto his foot and scraping the remnants of the spider off his heel and onto the carpet. 'I hate bugs,' he grumbled. He pushed his reading glasses up the bridge of his nose and continued to peer into the computer screen.

Amnesia: am·ne·sia (n) ; memory loss: loss of memory as a result of shock, injury, psychological disturbance, or medical disorder.

Shock. Shock could be the thing. But what had happened, to cause such shock? Every time he tried to remember, he was met with a splitting headache. What was he to do, now? He didn't even know where to look, for information on amnesia… if, in fact, that was what he had…

'My Lord Salazar,' someone said, and he turned, frowning. 'someone to see you.'

Ramon set his arm back into its sling, turning his study chair, 'Saddler…?'

'No, Sir. It is--' but the servant was suddenly silenced as a boy, one about Ramon's own age, pushed past him.

'I need no introduction,' the boy spat, 'for one accused of murder!'

Ramon could not help but stare, transfixed. The boy that stood before him was handsome, with the traditional dark hair and skin of the region, along with brilliant green eyes… there couldn't be more than a few years between them… Ramon had never been in contact with anyone his own age…

Ramon found himself growing shy, as the youth stared on at him in the same astonishment. The boy suddenly balked, casting his gaze at the floor. 'Lord Salazar?!' he demanded, a blush tracing his face.

Ramon cleared his throat, pulling off his glasses and stowing them in his pocket, 'I am. Is there a reason for intruding on my lands, peasant?'

'My name is Luis Sera,' the boy replied, 'I've come to enquire about my grandfather.'

Ramon raised an eyebrow, 'Oh? Does he work for me?'

Luis twitched in disgust, 'No. He was murdered…' he looked up at the castellan, his eyes rimmed with the red of past tears, 'on your lands. I demand you answer for this.'

Ramon gaped in shock. Could he have…? No, he was much to small… but… 'Are you a detective?' he questioned sarcastically.

Luis looked at a loss, 'N-no.'

Ramon drew himself up strait in his chair, 'Then I do not have to answer to anything. And, if he was in fact killed on my lands, then he was trespassing, and had no right. Now go, and stop bothering me.' he turned away, paying Luis no more mind. He gasped as he suddenly felt a lurching, and his chair was spun around, Luis' face inches from his own.

'Listen, freak,' he growled lowly, 'I don't give a good god damn about the social hierarchy around here; in fact, I hate it here. Everyone here is an ignorant, superstitious sort. I know you keep them afraid so you can control them. But I don't care. That's their problem. But right now…' he raised a hand, placing it around the castellans' pale throat, 'I am much stronger, and I'll rip your throat out, if you don't tell me everything I need to know.'

Ramon glared up at Luis, 'Beastly Ganado. You know nothing. I could kill you, for this intrusion, and I just may…' he grinned slyly as there was the click of the hammer of his broken butterfly being drawn back, and he pressed the cold muzzle to Luis chest, at his heart, 'Your call, Sera.'

Luis smiled darkly in return, restraining his squeezing, ''you always carry a gun?'

'It comes with the territory of trusting no one,' Ramon replied, 'and with good reason, as you yourself have demonstrated. You squeeze, I fire.'

After a moment of fathoming his defeat, Luis retracted his hand, stepping away from the castellan, 'I won't stop until I've found my grandfathers' killer. And then… I'll see you hang, Salazar.'

Ramon chuckled, 'whoever said it was me?'

xXx

as true to my steriotypical German existance: 'Ze plot thickens.'