AN: It's so cute how I always say "I'll update more often" to myself, and then several months pass and it turns out I've done diddly squat. Well I'm in a writing mood, so hopefully the next chapter won't take five more months.
Also, I'm looking for a beta reader so I don't have to harass my friends into editing my chapters, and so I don't have to personally edit them since I'm a pretty horrible editor. Send me PMs if you're interested. I know I could go hunting for one, but I rather have one who is already a fan of my writing/Kakuhida and as I can only do a limited search I'm kinda SOL without reaching out to my wonderful readers.
People say that the eyes are the window to the soul.
I wonder what people see when they look into mine, surely not a soul. I sold that long ago. Or at least I think I did. Some things get hard to remember in my old age, one of those being what I may, or may not have done with a soul, if I even ever had one to begin with.
"I'll take him." What prompted those words, I'm still unsure, but even after I thought about it, I stood by my words.
"You will?" A smile broke across the slave merchant's fat face, it was the look of a man who was about to unload shoddy merchandise if I've ever seen it. "Well if you will come this way we can talk about pricing-"
"I don't think you understand." I cut him off. "I said I would take him. I never said I would pay."
The smile dropped almost instantly, and the look that replaced it was far more amusing. Mouth agape, and eyes wide, he almost looked like a blowfish. When I finally grew bored I brought my attention back to the cage. The lock was heavy, and black with dirt, but nothing out of my power. I held my hand flat, fingers pressed together as the skin turned black. In one swift movement the lock was broken off the cage.
I looked at the sickly teen, who was now sitting on the floor. It seemed that the force in which I struck the lock had shook the cage itself, knocking him over. "Are you coming?" I could hear the fat man behind me scrambling away and calling for his guards, paid it no mind. He could call a thousand guards, and it would make little difference to me.
The boy took his time looking up to me, and I could practically see the gears turning in his mind. Magenta eyes flickered from me, to the long hall I had come from, possibly choosing which was the lesser of two evils. It soon became evident that he was not moving any time soon, and trusted me about as much as he trusted the slave merchant. All as well, letting him walk would have slowed me down. In two steps I was standing above him, and with relative ease I tossed his minuscule body over my shoulder.
Making my way outside wasn't exactly difficult. I snapped the last guard's neck before continuing up the stairs, into the natural light of the sun. A hiss from behind me signaled that the boy must have opened his eyes when he ought not to. Judging by his appearance, he must have been in that dank hole for months, if not years, growing accustomed to the semi-darkness. Real sunlight must have been excruciating.
The thought alone made me smirk.
"LEMME GO, YOU FUCKIN' CREEP! PUT ME DOWN! SOMEONE HELP!" For someone whose voice had been so weak when I first collected him, he sure screamed a lot. That, and the thrashing, was quickly grating on my nerves. At one point he even tried to bite me, it was almost like trying to handle a rabid dog.
Eventually the struggling subsided, and eventually stopped, the steady rise and fall of his chest indicated that he had somehow managed to fall asleep. How he managed that, given the situation, was beyond me. All the better for me, I suppose.
I walked in silence for the most part, occasionally I stopped to check if the little bastard was still breathing. I didn't honestly care, but I really hate doing pointless things. Rescuing the brat, and then having him die on me would be irritating to say the least.
Some time later I stopped in a small clearing, throwing the boy off my shoulder and onto the grass, I was almost pleased at the heavy thump he made when he connected with the ground.
Then the swearing started again, like he never stopped. My amusement quickly faded into annoyance, and then into anger. The little ingreat had just been saved and he wouldn't stop screaming bloody murder. About the time he started screaming "RAPE!" was when I grabbed his face, my palm over his mouth. For a moment I contemplated crushing his his skull, but grey matter would require far more cleaning than I was willing to do at the moment.
"Listen, you little rat!" I hissed. "If you you don't want your body parts littering the road from here to the next town then you are going to shut up, do you understand- don't try to talk, just nod." The boy seemed to have the presence of mind to actually nod, and keep quiet once I removed my hand.
Now, without the distraction of shouting, being attacked, or even a destination, I was left with my thoughts. 'Why had I saved him?' The thought ran around my head, over and over, like it was doing laps. However, I could only see those strange eyes looking up at me, the image pricking something in my memory, but for the life of me I couldn't remember what.
The teen seemed to have at least half a brain, as he stayed quiet during my musings, though he might simply have not had the energy to speak any longer.
"You!" I snapped, making the kid nearly fall over himself, as if being shocked into reality. Perhaps that was the case, he looked as if his grasp on it was already dubious. I tossed him a piece of dried meat, already making a mental tab for him. He was a lousy catch, but didn't seem to mind eating food off the ground. Another thing I made a note of. "Listen up." He was mid-bite, but still glanced at me, I guessed that meant he was listenening. If not I could always beat the information into him. "You serve me now. You got that?"
No. It seemed he didn't. "What?" He yelled with a mouth half full of dried meat.
"I did not realize you were too stupid to understand simple concepts, but let me put it simply. If you don't do what I say, then I will murder you in the worst way I can think of. Understand."
He grumbled something under his breath, but after a swift backhand he seemed more complacent.
"There is a stream just past those trees. You will bathe, and come back, if you do not, I will hunt you down, and make you regret your measly existence." I was sure my eyes conveyed the truth in my words, because I believe I saw him pale. "Now you will answer me with a 'yes sir', do you understand?"
"y-yeah whatever..." I glared, raising my hand once more. "I mean y-yes sir!" This made me wonder if he had an inner monologue, or if I would be required to rip out his vocal cords.
He wobbled to his feet, looking back at me, and I could see in his eyes, he was thinking about running.
"I can sense your chakra, if you go too far, I will know." That look of fear he gave me was positively wonderful, I could tell that he thought I could read his mind, or something equally ridiculous. "Stop pondering my possible telepathic abilities, and go bathe." That got him moving, and if I was lucky, made him even more frightened of me. One could only hope.
I must have dozed off at some point between when he went to wash, and when he returned, because when I felt his chakra returning the light had since faded from the sky, and the starts were starting to come out of hiding.
I leaned back on a tree, trying to recall the dream I had been pulled from. It had been pleasant, not like the nightmares that had plagued me for the last month. I grasped for memories of the dream, but each time it would slip though my fingers. I felt like a child in a pond, hopelessly chasing and grabbing at the little fish within, never quite catching them.
The sound of crunching twigs drew me from my thoughts. I listened closely, and nearly smirked. The boy was trying to step lightly, possibly to sneak up on me, but his advancing movement was as clear as day to me.
"If you're trying to ambush me, you are doing a very poor job of it."
There was one last crunching sound, before he stopped all together. I enjoyed the silence, focusing on the late summer heat, and the way the grass tickled my palm. Somewhere in my mind I noted the smell that hung on my clothes from carrying the boy. That would also need to go on his tab.
"U-um…" I could hear as he shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot. The way some underfoot branches cracked in complaint at the extra weight said more to me than his words did. "I'm done…" He was unsure, and frightened, just as he should have been. My temper when it came to children never was what one would call gentle, and has become even less so as the years passed.
My mind wandered somewhere else, to a half buried memory. I remembered the patter of small feet running ahead of me, the laughter of a child, the smell of sulfur in the air.
An image flashed in the back of my eyelids. One I hadn't seen in years. A young boy, tall and awkward for his age, the baby fat still clinging to his cheeks, his white hair hung over those odd magenta eyes.
Those vivid eyes that haunted my dreams after all these years.
Those same eyes that belonged to the boy I just saved.
My eyes snapped open, and I turned from where I was sitting to see the boy cowering just out of reach. He'd gotten taller, his imprisonment made him scrawny, and his too-long legs wobbled like a newborn foal. His hair was longer, and a murkier grey from the remaining dirt. His eyes, however, were the only things that hadn't changed.