Hello, and welcome to my new story! You see, it all started when I was at my Grammy's house and was watching my favorite show 'Spartacus'. I got to thinking, "Hmm, I might make a good story based off Ancient Rome and gladiators..." And then the plot bunnies plopped this into my lap! So enjoy the first chapter!

Warrior by Boogermeister

Chapter 1- Gaul Enslaved

Belgae Gaul

Year- 43 A.D.

In the cool air, a dark brown deer gingerly treaded through the woods, dampened by last night's rainstorm. Quietly walking, its ears flicked around for any warning noises before leaning down to nibble at the grass and moss near a base of one tree. However, it didn't realize that it was being watched from afar. Six men, all cloaked with animal pelts from the weather, observed the animal whose guard was momentarily down, unnoticed by the fact that they hid behind thick trees. One of the men, whose cloak was made with wolf fur, slowly stepped forward but the deer didn't notice the movements.

His dark cyan-blue eyes stared intently through the shaggy bangs of his long light blue hair that was tied in a loose ponytail. He grinned, exposing his pristine white and sharp teeth, before looking over his shoulders. "... Hurry up, take the shot," he rumbled out an order, nodding at the tall thin one with the black plaited ponytail.

"Tch, typical of the leader to ask nicely," the burly one with a half-shaved head muttered with a short chuckle.

"Well, you can't do it, you had already ruined the last three hunts," muttered the tall one, already positioning his bow and arrow to aim at the pre-occupied creature. The other man scoffed but was glared down by the leader.

"Quiet...!" he hissed lowly.

"Tch..." the big man grumbled just as the sharp whistle of an arrow slicing through the dead air. A second later, they heard a painful groan before they saw the deer collapsing onto the ground. The blue-haired man smirked and chuckled, with a silent gesture his men followed after him the moment he walked ahead.

"Great job, Shaw... and right through the neck, too," he remarked as he looked over the now dead animal. "This is the best kill so far since we went on this hunting trip."

"I could have done the same thing myself, you know," smirked one man almost as tall as Shaw, as he pushed back his fair blond hair. The blunet chuckled again and knelt in front of the fresh kill, pulling out a short dagger from his leather belt.

"May the gods forgive us for taking your life..." he briefly prayed before stabbing into the chest cavity and trusting the blade down to the stomach.

"Ah, can I help you gut out the deer, boss?" A youth, barely sixteen of age with a wide grin and shaggy white-blond hair, asked eagerly as he knelt beside him. The older man just grinned and handed him his dagger.

"You need to learn anyway, Diroy," he sighed. "Edorad, Nakeem... scan the area for any predators. No doubt they love the smell of dinner."

"Whatever," scoffed Edorad, as he and another large man wandered off. The blunet stood up, wiping the dirt and deer blood off his hands onto the wool navy tunic underneath his wolf cloak. The woods had been decently quietly since the crack of dawn when they went on this hunting trip. He wondered if it had to do with the constant rain in this northern Gaul region, considering that winter was nearly over. He looked around, the sun was concealed by thick blankets of clouds and mist hovered around him and his men.

"Yylfordt, you think that we should have delayed this hunting trip?" he asked the blonde, who simply shrugged.

"You think that it might rain again in the coming days, right?" he assumed.

"Yeah, it's still possible," he frowned a little. "It's fucking hard to hunt with rain hitting at your face. We're simply lucky because it stopped in the morning. But who knows...?"

"Well, if it does rain, you think we can get a kill or two more before heading back to the village?" suggested Yylfordt.

"I'll think about it..."

"Hey, is this good enough?" Diroy asked, by now the organs had been gutted out clean with blood soaking into the wet soil.

"Well done, Diroy," the blue-haired man smirked when he glanced down. "A good skill is needed for hunting." Diroy grinned happily, before he and the man tied its legs together. "I got this one, go and find Edorad and Nakeem, all right?"

"Right," the young teen nodded as he walked off. The blunet huffed out a breath he swung the the carcass over his shoulder, a doe was lighter than a buck but he could still feel the heaviness of the body. But he could take it, he had enough strength to actually take on a buck if he wanted to.

"No expectation from the army's captain," remarked Shaw, and the blunet snorted a short chuckle.

"You're acting as if the gods has blessed me from the start," he smirked.

"Yes... I remembered when you were as scrawny as a newborn calf when we were children," joked Yylfordt. "I suppose the gods were messing with you then, huh?"

"Shut it," he huffed before stepping forward, but froze when he heard a sudden snap of a branch nearby. "Wait..." he suddenly hushed, and his men froze as well. The blue-haired man slowly turned his head to the left, where the noise came from. It couldn't be from the other men, who went to the north and west of the area, unless it was an animal.

But animals were usually more careful about letting themselves be noticed by predators. "... You think that someone else besides us could be here?" he questioned quietly, narrowing his eyes. At that, both Shaw and Yylfordt instinctively braced for the swords tied on their belts. "Wait, not yet..." he muttered.

"But-" muttered Yylfordt.

"Shh...!" They heard a soft rustling of movement not far away, possibly several meters away. The man's cyan eyes glared at the source of the sound, his vision were sharp but with mist rolling around it was useless for the moment.

Instinct immediately took over when they noticed a silohuette moving closer; the blunet dropped the kill and instantly jogged ahead, pulling out his sword from his belt. "Who's out there?" he yelled out at the shadowy person but didn't wait for an answer as he ran towards it.

"Wait!"

The man halted into a stop, his hand tightened around the hilt when his eyes widened in realization. It was Diroy, who appeared just as startled when he stumbled back a little. "Diroy...? You clumsy kid, you fucking nearly had your head cut off!" he sighed in relief. "You didn't try to call out that it was you?"

"Ah, I'm sorry!" Diroy stammered. "I didn't mean to scare you like that!"

"Shit! I honestly thought that someone else was here...!" he frowned. "Well, did you at least find Edorad and Nakeem?"

"No, I followed after their trail but..." he answered with a light frown. "I wasn't sure which direction they went to."

"Shit..." he sighed, putting away his sword. "I guess we gotta find them now. Come on, they must've wandered off too far..." After hauling the deer over his shoulders, the blunet and his men headed for the initial direction where Edorad and Nakeem went to. They had been gone a little too long, he noticed, as they walked deeper into the forest. Moments went by slowly, but no signs of them.

"Where could they have gone? They should have been finished circling the area," muttered Shaw.

"... Unless they decided to hunt on their own, that happened before," Yylfordt sighed deeply. The blue-haired leader just frowned as they moved down a slope, before stopping in front of a slow-moving stream. He observed the area, and noticed something nearby.

"Look, over there," he nodded at the edge of the stream, clustered with rocks. Diroy moved to pick it up and showed it to him. A piece of pale red wool fabric. "Tch, this belongs to Edorad," he concluded. "Either they went across or down the stream."

"I think across, because I see something over there now," Diroy pointed out, where the ground seemed to be disturbed.

"Shit, if they try to wrestle a large animal by hand, I'm gonna chop off their heads," the blunet scoffed. "Come on." The season was still cool, but the water was ice-cold as they quickly treaded through it. Up close, Diroy was right about the ground being moved around.

But... it was more than that, as his eyes moved to what looked like a dragging trail to the right. His heart jolted in realization and fear, as he glared up ahead. "Fuck no...!" he angrily gasped, dropping the carcass before grabbing for his sword.

"What's wrong?" questioned Yylfordt.

"We might have trouble, that's what's wrong!" he growled. "Take out your weapons, now!" he ordered, and his men done so. "Come on, let's go...!" He went ahead and followed the trail, his body crouching low as he swiftly glanced around for any warning signs. It didn't make sense, no one could easily go through these woods and find anyone here. The nearest village from their own was a two-day journey on foot. Nobody could even survive in this region without knowing where they are going, unless they were asking for a death sentence.

He slowed to a stop when the trail gradually ceased, into a small clearing. He frowned in confusion, the trail had gone suddenly cold. But when he looked around, he noticed something alarming and his eyes widened. "... Stay back," he calmly ordered the moment the men stepped forward.

"Uh, but-"

"Do what I fucking say now...!" he hissed lowly, and Diroy shut up immediately. The man took a second look and gritted his teeth. It was obvious but he couldn't believe it.

On the wet ground... there were many footprints from every directions.

"Shit...!" he gritted lowly. "I think we got invaders...!"

"... Invaders...?" gasped Yylfordt with a shocked look on his face.

"Who could it be?" questioned Diroy, but the man was taking a step back.

"Whoever they are, we're outnumbered and we need to warn the village now," he warned.

"But about Nakeem and Edorad-"

"Don't worry about them, they'd understand that we have to gather everybody in case these invaders are that willing to go after us," he nodded as he turned to them. "We must go now, all right?"

"Right, sir," nodded Shaw. The blunet walked up to them, gritting his teeth in regret about abandoning the two but he didn't have a choice in a matter right now.

"Let's hurry-" he muttered just before he heard sudden movements behind him. He quickly whirled around to see that they truly wasn't alone. Slowly, one by one, he saw men in what looked like army uniform. But from where, he doesn't know but he didn't care as he stiffened into a defensive stance. "Stay close..." he muttered under his breath, and his men huddled tightly in a circle.

These other men muttered as they cautiously stepped closer. The blunet stared at them through narrowed eyes and noted their ensembles. They were wearing blood-red tunic, and over that were body armors made of multiple metal plates held together by straps and hooks. They were cloaked with a wool cape, their heads adorned with a solid metal helmets, and many of them were carrying long rectangular shields with the same red color. He glanced and noticed that some had their swords in their hands. They were only a few meters from them, as he mentally contemplated the situation.

It was too risky, anyway. Even if they were to run away, they could still be overwhelmed by these invaders.

"Shit...!" he gritted.

"Stand down, men!" a voice shouted among the red-colored army before the soldiers stepped aside for the person who spoke. The blue-haired man stared at the newcomer, his uniform was slightly different than the others as his armor were made of decorative chain mails and his helmet had a red semi-circle crest on top. He stared at him again, the man was fairly tall but not so broad, with narrowed sepia eyes and slick jet-black hair waved around his seemingly regal face. "So..." he said with a smug smirk on his face, "seems like more strays had wandered out here, huh?"

The blunet blinked in shock and surprise at the man's statements. What did he mean by more strays. Were they the ones who took two of his men? "... State your name. Right now," he demanded. But he was only answered with a wave of mock laughter and jeering. He gritted his teeth in agitation, before the 'leader' raised his hand up to silence the men immediately. "... I'll ask again-"

"No, I'll ask you, you Gaul," the leader sneered, and the blunet stiffened in surprise and confusion. "What're you doing here in this area? Do you realize that this is a property of the Roman Empire?"

"What? Roman Empire?" he questioned, narrowing his eyes once more.

"What's the Roman Empire?" frowned Diroy in a hushed tone.

"Listen... I don't know who the hell you are, but this is our hunting ground," gritted the blue-haired man. "Whatever this empire is, they got to go because this is our territory." Again, he was confused yet agitated when then men laughed again.

"Your territory...?" scoffed the leader, his hand reaching casually for the handle of his sword. "Stupid barbarian... this region belonged to the Roman Empire for decades now, probably since before you were even born. Therefore, you are required to follow our orders and laws even though you're beneath us."

"Tch, we don't have to follow your so-called laws," scoffed Yylfordt before he could stop himself.

"Shut it...!" hissed the blunet but the leader merely chuckled.

"Typical for a mongrel to bark," he smirked. "But I suppose my men and I could teach you a thing or two." As he said that, he slowly take out his sword out of the sheath. "Let's see if your bite is any better..."

"Shit..." he gritted, his eyes darted at the other soldiers but only the leader moved forward with an offensive stance. "You guys stand back, I'll deal with this one..." he ordered as he stepped forward. Diroy, being the youngest, wanted to protest but held his tongue when the other two moved back and he followed suit. The leader seemed so full of himself, practically twirling his sword around when he and the blue-haired Gaul paced around the center of the clearing.

The blunet couldn't wait any longer, as he suddenly charged forward at the leader. The other man merely smirked as he dodged the first sharp strike and retaliated with a strike of his own. But the Gaul immediately parried the blow and pushed back with a growl. He felt so much strength from him but he wouldn't back down as he quickly shifted his wrist for the next attack.

The tip of the blade barely nicked the armor of the shoulder the moment the army leader stepped back, before he swung back at him. "Guh...!" the blunet hissed in intense pain when he suddenly felt the much sharper blade sliced at the right side of his abdomen. "Shit...!" he gritted, stumbling back as warm blood stained deeply on his tunic.

"I knew it, this animal can't fight as much as I expected," the leader snorted in amusement. The other man growled and glared at him, his grip on his weapon tightened as he stepped forward.

"You like to talk so much shit for a guy who leads men around," he growled with a shaky smirk. The army leader frowned momentarily before smirking back, just before he blocked the potential strike almost immediately. "What's wrong?" he sneered the moment he forced his strength against him and the black-haired leader was being pushed back. "Thought you might have something to say about us animals...?"

"Such arrogance from inferior barbarians...!" he gritted as he suddenly pushed back and went for a strike. Again, the blue-haired man parried it with a harder strike and the leader was stumbled back with a surprised force that he fell back to the wet ground. The blunet didn't waste any time to stomp down on his chest and aimed his sword straight at his shocked face.

"I demand an answer...!" he gritted through his teeth, swallowing back the searing pain on his side. "Where are two of my men right now?" But the leader wasn't scared by his threat, rather he bravely sneered back as his soldiers scoffed and laughed.

"Your men...?" he scoffed. "Those dogs nosed their business into our territory where it didn't belong. And... I guess you can say that they paid the price when they didn't follow one simple request to leave."

"What? What was that-"

The sudden sound of scratching metallic rang in the empty air before he realized that the men in red had drawn their weapons. The leader used the distraction as the opportunity to grab his ankle and twisted away from his body. The blue-haired Gaul could barely react when he fell hard to the ground, and nearly yelled out in pain when he landed on his side.

"Ah! Gri-" Yylfordt yelled out in surprise.

"Get them! Kill them if they proved useless for the trade!" ordered the leader, quickly getting back on his feet.

"Yes, sir!" the soldiers shouted in unison as they charged at the men. The blunet's men seemed to froze in panic before Shaw snapped out of it and defended himself against the first few enemies.

"Shaw!" the blunet called out.

"Don't worry about us, we'll fight until we die!" he said before fighting off some more soldiers. It was only when there was a moment of opening that a blade was suddenly thrusted into the flesh of his stomach. "Gah...! G-guhh...!" he choked out with blood before another sword stabbed into him.

"No! Shaw!" yelled the blunet out of anger and shock when he tried to get up. But he was kicked back down by the soldiers' leader, who laughed at his expense.

"Animals need to be put down, if they're not useful," he sneered.

"Damn it...!" he gritted, watching his friend crumble to the ground with blood soaking the tunic and cloak. "Yylfordt! Diroy! Run, it's useless to fight!" he commanded. But it was too late; as Yylfordt deflected against one attack, he was struck in the back before a blade was thrusted into his chest. "No!"

"Shit... I-I'm sorry about this, I tr-tried..." Yylfordt gritted with a shaky smile before falling forward.

"No, Yylfordt!" Diroy yelled out before before being cornered by the soldiers, his only weapon was the dagger he was given moments earlier. "Damn...!"

"Damn it!" the blunet gritted before a sharp painful tugged on his long hair and he glared up at the leader. "You bastard! You didn't have to kill them...!"

"Tch, as if they deserved to live," he smirked.

"Sir, what to do with this one?" asked one of the soldiers. By now, they had already subdued Diroy since a simple dagger was useless against several swords.

"Hmm... guess he, along with this one, could be slaves," he replied with a shrug. "Who knows, maybe these animal could be expendable in the end."

"Fuck you," gritted the blunet before he was kicked down again.

"Not sure about you but let's hope that you spend the rest of your life in the mines," he chuckled. "Though you might not live for long there, anyway..." He took his foot off the man's back and made his way to the subdued teen. The blunet glanced up and his mindset instantly went into a rage mode as he forced himself to stand. The leader's back was turned and he was distracted, as he tightly gripped his sword. "Huh, he looks young enough, he might be a useful slave..." the man mused, unaware that the Gaul was on his feet and slowly made his way to him. "However, it looks like he needs to be disciplined for a while before being sold..."

"HYAAA-AHHH!" the blue-haired Gaul yelled out a battle cry as he charged at him, aiming for the perfect strike...

But he didn't expect the leader of the army to swiftly react with a sharp swing at him. It was a only a second or two, but it felt like far more longer than that when he felt the burning pain of the skin of his abdomen being sliced apart before he finally emitted a blood-curdling yell. He staggered back, his weapon slipped from his hands as he fell, blood vomiting out of his mouth as the crimson liquid drenched over his body.

"No! You can't die, Grimm- ugh...!" Diroy yelled but was silenced when he was struck hard in the abdomen by a soldier.

"Tch, I didn't think I would hit him that hard," the leader scoffed softly, glancing at his blood-stained sword as if it had gotten tainted. He looked at the blue-haired man, who was hanging to consciousness, before smirking a little. "Someone should patch him. If he lives, I'll make sure that he suffers as the lowly animal he is..."

"Yes, sir..." some of the soldiers muttered, as they made their way to the injured man. The blunet's body shook from the shock, as his vision became bleary when he noticed that he was being dragged by the ankles. He couldn't talk, and he couldn't even fight back as the blood loss had rendered him weak now.

He regretted not being able to fight as well as he wanted to, that he couldn't protect his friends. Now he was being dragged to hell, and he believed he cannot escape from it.

(Blood and Sand)

Four months later...

"... You sure that you're becoming a man? Because I see not a single hair on your face." A voluptuous female slave giggled when a boy no older than sixteen today scowled at her, only to make her giggle louder, the sounds echoing out in the luscious garden. Even if it was her master's son, she couldn't help making fun of him. "Oh, my apologies! It's just you're as smooth as a infant's bottom...!" she smiled through the laughters.

"It's not my fault that I don't have donkey whiskers like my father!" he scowled. "I can't become an official citizen without doing this part, you know!"

"I know... but I guess the gods have a sense of humor on you," she smiled. The boy- or rather a man now- just huffed as he stressfully scratched through his bright orange hair. The hair color contrasted greatly with his pure white linen tunic he wore on the day of his sixteenth birthday. Today was the coming-of-age ceremony for him, in which he needed to transgress into a man and become an official citizen of the Roman Empire. His chocolate brown eyes glanced over at the slave, who giggled lightly still, and just frowned.

"Nel, stop laughing," he frowned. "We need proof that the hair came from my face, and I can't just sprout out a mustache like a crazy weed." The slave nodded, her wavy sea-green swayed as she pulled up the hem of her lavender-colored stola to walk to a nearby table.

"I think I got it, come over here," she said. The teen walked up to the table and sat down on the chair next to it. "Okay, lean back and close your eyes."

"But-"

"Trust me on this," she smiled, one of her hazel eyes winking as she picked up a razor. He frowned at her but leaned his head back and closed his eyes anyway. "Okay, it'll only be a second..."

"What do you mean-" He didn't have a chance to ask when he felt a soft scraping on his left eyebrow. "Ah! Nel, what did you do?" he gasped as he sat up to touch the half-shaved brow.

"What? They said to shave from the face but they didn't mean it should be a mustache," she said innocently, holding up the the small flask with the hair follicles in it.

"But I have to be out in public! The other nobles will look at me funny if they noticed my eyebrow is half-missing!" he frowned.

"But it's nothing but sunlight out there, I doubt they would notice it."

"Of course they would-"

"Ichigo! Ichigo! Where are you, my boy...?" Ichigo stiffened at the call from his father before frowning in anticipation. He knew that it would be a family celebration, but he somewhat despised at being around his father. It was not that he hated him... just his eccentric personality. "Ichigo! My darling boy, finally becoming a man!" He turned just in time to feel a bear hug from a jovial black-haired, middle-aged man in a toga, and he huffed from the pressure.

"Father! Get off me, you imbecile...!" he scowled. His father only laughed as he let go of him, patting him firmly on the shoulder.

"What's wrong with you? I thought you'd be excited about the celebration!" he grinned.

"I am but Nel thought it was a great idea to shave half my eyebrow since I can't grow out a beard!" he frowned.

"Why? It's sunny out, nobody would notice," shrugged his father.

"That's what I said!" smiled Nel, and Ichigo scoffed in annoyance.

"You know, I'm starting to think that I was adopted instead of being born into this family," he frowned, touching at the fuzz of his half-eyebrow. "I often wonder why I'm so different from everybody here."

"Oh, you say that every week, Ichigo!" grinned his father as he pulled him into another hug. Ichigo grimaced by the feeling the scratchy whiskers of the older man's stubby beard against his forehead. "I just can't believe it! My one and only son's becoming a man! If only your mother would have been able to see you so grown up...!"

Ichigo frowned a little in sadness, as he glanced up at the crystal blue sky. He felt an assuring pat on his head before his father stepped away, this time he put up a sincere smile. "Come on, I'll be waiting outside. You know what to do," he said before walking away. "Nel, get the twins, please..."

"Of course, sir," nodded Nel before going in the opposite direction, leaving Ichigo alone for a while. He sighed deeply before reaching inside the neck of his tunic before taking out a pendant. It was small and round and it was made of gold. But he wouldn't need anymore, as he walked inside. The pendant was a good luck charm during childhood, but because he was becoming an adult he cannot keep it anymore and the pendant must be placed at the family shrine.

He moved it from around his neck and stared at it as he walked through the empty hallways. For some reason, he didn't want to give the simple piece of jewelry up, mainly because his late mother gave it to him soon after his birth. In the back of his mind, to give this up meant to give up a piece of his mother. He stepped into a small room, great amount of light seeping in from an opened window. At the other side of the room, was a small stone shrine built to protect the family and the house. He quietly walked up to it, and he clenched the pendant tightly.

"May the gods protect me," he muttered a quick prayer, placing it at the base of the shrine before staring at the mosaic picture. It depicted the twin siblings of the sun god Apollo and the moon goddess Diana, each holding up an orb depicting a sun with a moon crescent encircling it. He stepped back and sighed before turning and leaving out of the room, just as Nel bumped into him with a large folded white cloth.

"There you are, Ichigo," she smiled lightly. "Here you go... for the start of your new life as an adult," she said as she carefully unfurled it.

"Uh... Geez, it feels so heavy," he frowned a little when he put on the light wool toga with some help. He threw the last of the fabric over his left shoulder before glancing at his servant/friend. "So how do I look, Nel...?"

"... Like a man who I couldn't believe it's the same one I used to look after all those years ago," she answered with a sincere smile. Ichigo glanced at her and smiled lightly, moving forward to hug her and she hugged back.

"I'll still be the same person as before, you know," he smirked.

"Yes, the same scowling child as before," she agreed.

"Shut it..."

(Blood and Sand)

He breathed heavily in the hot humid air, as if he had been forced to run for hours at a time. Clanking of chains and shackles were the only sounds to his ears for several weeks... ever since he had been captured by the Roman army. He wasn't sure what happened in the lapse of time between then and when he woke up into slavery, when he had tried to take out the leader of that army. The only thing he could remember was waking up in an ox-drawn carriage, with bandages wrapped around his torso stained with what looked like old blood.

It turned out that he now has a permanent scar, just underneath his collarbone down to his right hip. He noticed it, when some men who were possibly slave traders removed the old bandages as he fell in and out of consciousness. When he finally became fully awake, realization instantly crashed down on him. He was enslaved by these people. These so-called Romans...

He wanted to react and retaliate, wanted to get back at them for killing his friends. But with time passed for so long without food and water as well as his injuries aching him, he was just as weak as the rest of the other slaves he was chained to.

The man glanced up with tired cyan eyes when the carriage slowed to a stop. He heard muffled sounds before the wooden door open and he was blinded momentarily by the glaring sunlight. But he didn't have a choice to protest at a moment, when he was pulled out to the outside world. Now the sound of jingling chains were replaced by a buzzing of random conversations of people nearby. It took a moment to realize that they were standing outside an extrememly large gate made of wood and brass.

The Gaul looked down at himself; the dark-colored scar had greatly marred his body that was already smudged with dirt. Even his long light blue hair became matted and covered with filth. The cuffs on his wrist were rubbing the skin raw, and coarse gravels on the ground was digging into sole of his bare feet. On his face was a regrettable frown that seemed to be permanent.

He couldn't believe that he had let himself get captured, that he couldn't prevented from happening. Did his gods fail on him, or was it just ill fate that it just simply happened? He was snapped out of his depressed musing when the gate finally opened and he, along with the other slaves, was pulled in. Internally, he froze at the sudden sight of what looked like a city, with whitewashed houses and buildings a few stories tall lining the street. Many people were busy walking or conversing with one another or purchasing items from the marketplace. In fact, nobody seemed to notice that the shackled slaves were being led through the crowds.

The man frowned as his eyes darted around the new surrounding. Few people looked at him and muttered to themselves, and he noticed. Was he that different to them? A 'barbarian', like what that Roman army leader said? Annoyed by it, he growled at a couple of women who were staring at him in slight disgust. "Hey, you! Get back in line!" one of the traders shouted as he kicked him in the back. But the Gaul growled back and turned to glare at him, only to get suddenly punched across the face.

"Tch, such a filthy thing...!" huffed one of the women who was glared at.

"They should throw him to the lions like the beast he is," muttered the other before walking away. Meanwhile, the blunet was brutally hauled through one part of the city, and he looked to see that the area was full of chained people in rags. He huffed under his breath, the punch barely hurt but it startled him to say the least. He looked around again, and saw other people in seemingly far better clothes. Some with even rich gold jewelry draped around their necks and wrists. And from what it looked like, they were buying the slaves as if they were materials or goods.

It wasn't long until he and the other slaves were hauled to a raised wooden platform on the side of a street. The traders ordered them to sit, and they did so, but the blue-haired Gaul just glared down at the ground. He wasn't sure what will happen to him. All he could think of was what if he would be sold to the mines like what that other man said, and die within a year or two.

His mind wandered back to his young friend Diroy. He doesn't know if he was even alive, whether he survived and sent into slavery as he was or that he was proven useless and was killed anyway.

"Shit..." he muttered under his breath, voice coming out raspy and dry from not talking for so long.

"Oh... look at him, I think he's perfect."

"Oh no, sir, you don't want this one, he's too hostile," the slave trader immediately said, and the blunet tuned out the pointless conversation for a while. But he blinked in slight surprise when a shadow suddenly loomed over him. His eyes slowly moved up to see who it was, but saw only a pair of purely innocent brown eyes.

"This man... I think I'll buy him from you."

(Blood and Sand)

Ichigo was immediately greeted by his father's cohorts, and luckily nobody seemed to notice his half-shaved eyebrow. He only knew a few, when he and his family left the Temple of Jupiter, and dismissively greeted back with a wave and few word. But he was soon greeted by a familiar family friend, who hugged him lightly. "Ichigo... welcome to adulthood. Soon, you will follow your father's footsteps and it won't be long until you have a family," he smiled, and Ichigo gave out a sheepish laugh.

"I don't think I have to worry about that anytime soon, Aizen," he smiled lightly. The chestnut-haired man in his early forties smiled back, his toga differed slightly from the teen's since it had a broad red border, symbolizing him as a senator. "For now, I'll just let it settle for a few days. I don't want to jump into the career right now," shrugged Ichigo.

"Well that is true," nodded Aizen, as the both of them ignored the loud busy commotion of the city. "So tell me, Ichigo... I recall the time when you were younger, and you told me about the one thing you wish to have. Do you remember it?"

"Oh... oh, yes, I remember that," Ichigo smiled. "That's the one thing I want to do, when I reach adulthood. Sure, we already got slaves but I want one for myself, but for one reason. And luckily, my father actually agreed on it years back."

"Well, let's hope that you find a good candidate for it," the senator smirked. "I'll see to it later tonight for your evening celebration..."

"Ichigo...! Your father's calling for you!" Nel called out from a short distance, holding a hand of a eleven-year-old with short light brown hair.

"Well, I'll see you tonight, Ichigo," Aizen nodded, patting him on the shoulder before leaving.

"All right..." Ichigo sighed before turning to his father, who grinned despite being kicked in the bum by a black-haired girl that was annoyed. "Father, do you want me for something?" he asked.

"Ah! Yes, Nel's going to take the twins home!" grinned his father. "They don't need to see where we're going, but Karin is a bit upset about it."

"It's just a slave market, I just wanna go with you," pouted the black-haired girl.

"It's not a place for a child like you," their father said, a hint of seriousness was evident in his voice when he glanced down at her. "You know that. Plus, your sister would be uncomfortable and upset about it. You understand that, right?"

"Fine..." Karin sighed in defeat.

"Good, now go with Nel," he smiled. "We'll be home soon enough." The other twin nodded and went to the older woman and they left. "... So are you going along with it, Ichigo?" he asked when he turned to his son, who nodded.

"Yes, father, I want to do this," Ichigo smiled lightly. "It's my dream, after all."

"Well, first things first, you know that to get one, they have to be well fit and tough," he advised, as they walked through the crowds. "They should have endurance and stamina, also. And it doesn't hurt if they have sword-fighting skills pior to now. The only question is whether or not they are up to it. Usually, these type of slaves are often prisioners of war or ex-soldiers from foreign countries, and they may be hostile towards us."

"I get it," nodded Ichigo. He looked up to see that they had already reached the slave market area. He frowned lightly at the environment, he felt a bit bad about human beings being resorted to pieces of property. He would admit that his family have slaves and servants, but everyone there were always treated with respect as if they were family. He looked around, many of the slaves were emaciated and sickly yet traders kept assuring that they were in good condition to rich buyers.

Ichigo sighed quietly, he couldn't see any person that could fit the qualities he wanted. The ones here were good enough for houseworks and running errands, but it wasn't what he wanted. He was just about to look to the side, when he saw some traders hauling new slaves by the chain on a slightly raised platform nearby. He paused in his walk momentarily, and his father noticed it and stopped as well.

"You see something, Ichigo?" he asked. Ichigo didn't answer at first, but stared at one particular person standing out from the rest. Mainly because of the light blue hair that was long yet tangled and dirty. The man seemed to be worned out from the slave trade, but he was still muscular and chiseled despite of it. But he couldn't see his face, since the slave's head was hung down as he was sitting. Ichigo stared at him some more, it was something that he couldn't get it out of his head. That this man could be something for him.

"... Oh..." he smiled in conclusion, before walking up to the platform. "Look at him, I think he's perfect," he said as he glanced at him, catching one of the traders' attention.

"Oh no, sir, you don't want him, he's too hostile," the trader immediately said, but Ichigo shook his head.

"Who wouldn't be hostile, especially since they're slaves?" he frowned lightly. "Where is he from, exactly?"

"Ah, from what the army had told me, he came from Gaul, in one of the northern regions," replied the trader. "But I'm telling you, he's not right for you-"

"I already have a servant from Gaul so why not another one?" he said. "Anyway, I believe I have every right to get any slave I want, right? As long as I have the money." The trader just frowned nervously but nodded as he stepped aside. Ichigo stared at the blunet before stepping in front of him. The man stiffened for a moment from his presence and stared up, and Ichigo was slightly startled by the hard cyan eyes that was glaring at him.

Yet he wasn't afraid by the wild glare. Rather, he was sort of intringued by the look before nodding at the trader. "This man... I think I'll buy him from you," he made up his mind.

"Please sir, you don't really want this savage one," he tried to assure. "He won't take orders so easily... unless you have a very, and I mean very, firm hand with slaves."

"Well, I won't have to discipline him like that, but he will obey me," said Ichigo. "Can he stand up...?"

"Uh, yes, of course," the trader nodded before reaching down to yank at the blunet's chain. "You! Get up right now...!" he ordered. The blue-haired slave growled at him, but wasn't in any position to argue with him as he was pulled to stand up. Ichigo had a feeling that the slave would be tall, but he didn't expect him to tower over him by several inches.

He took a step back to take a better look at him and nodded lightly. The slave still had muscles, with bulging biceps and hard six-packed abs, but he noticed a dark brown scar down his torso. It didn't look like he got it recently, but it wasn't that old either. But if he could survive that kind of attack...

"How much for him?" he asked.

"But, sir-"

"I ask, how much?" he pressed further, and the trader huffed.

"700 denarii," he replied, and Ichigo frowned.

"Too steep, I'll only give you 400," he bargained.

"But you wanted him, so it should be 700."

"Would you be happy if I can give you... 500?" questioned Ichigo. The trader frowned tiredly and shook his head. "That's only as high as I can go. Or... I can find an inside source about you, whether or not you deal illegal trading aside from slave trafficking." The trader seemed flustered and nervous about that, even if it was just a bluff. "As a matter of fact, I'm dropping it down to 450. Take it or leave it."

"... All right, sir, I'll take 450," relented the trader. And with that, Ichigo paid him silver coins before turning to the blue-haired Gaul, whose piercing gaze was full of confusion yet hostility. "... What's his name?" he asked.

"Oh, who knows this babarian's name? Nobody cares, it can be whatever you want-"

"No," Ichigo shook his head, before staring back at the agitated blunet. "You..." he said to him, and the man stiffened at being adressed. "What is your name?"

"... Gri... Grimmjow..." muttered the man, his voice finally uttered out in a gruff yet raspy voice.

"Grimmjow..." nodded Ichigo before putting up a small smile. "Well, Grimmjow... from now on, you're my slave."

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I did research for this story, and by research, I just used two books talking about the Roman Empire. One of them had pictures, so that was helpful!LOL Plus, with watching 'Spartacus', I have some ideas about gladiators now. But I need to get the DVD for the first season, though . . . .

Read and Review.

I'll update ASAP!