My Proof Of Life - Chapter 3 - Mark of a Dead Man
I sighed as I watched Demetri leave the room from where I was laying on the couch. I frowned, I hadn't expected to see him at this guild. When he applied and took the entrance exam, me and my brother were surprised and he was angry of course. But I had no idea how to react, I actually hadn't expected to see him again at all. Another thing that slightly irritated me was that he was able to recognize me even though I look very different now...
Our two families, the Takaris and the Kurus, have a lot of history together. The families were once friends manygenerations ago. However, when a former head of the Takari family was killed the blame was placed onthe Kuruheir at the time. Ever since then, both families have hated each other and fight whenever members from the opposite families meet. I, however, don't care for all that tension and prefer to give everyonethe benefit of the doubt.
I turned my head to the side to see my brother glaring at me over his book. I rolled my eyes and pretended I didn't see that. Heis always acting as if he still had to take care of me, I don't need him to be that way to me anymore. I am finally able to do my own thing and he won't let go of the past. That's what annoys me about him.
"Do you know him?" He finally snapped and interrupted my thoughts. Just as I'd expected, here comes the interrogation.I met his challenging gaze and pulled myself up into a sitting position as I started to laugh mockingly.
"Please, Shiki. We met at the party for our birthday, that's all. No need to be so hostile to the kid, he's three years younger than us it's not fair to treat him that way." I replied.
"Why are you defending him? He's a Takari and you're a Kuru, we were born to be enemies. Yet you treat him so politely, it ticks me off." He said bitterly with a look in his eyes meaning he wasn't quite convinced by my excuse, "You are far too nice for someone in he elite, Shasta. You need to grow a back-bone." He said and turned his head away, not waiting for my answer.
"So you say, try getting your facts straight..." I replied with an equally bitter lookas I lifted my hand up to lightly stroke my finger over the demonic red mark on my face. I took my hand away when we heard a knocking on the door, Shiki must have believed it would be Demetri again because he threw his book down and snapped his head up so that he could glare at the door. I tried so hard not to laugh at this scene, it was just so pathetic.
"Kuru twins, I have a task for the two of you. It just came in the mail and-" The messenger who came in the room was cut off when he noticed Shiki's glare. He flashes me a scared look and I sighed as I lightly punched my brother's shoulder, my own little way of telling him to chill out. Once Shiki settled himself, I motioned for the messenger to keep it going.
"R-right, here you go." He said as he handed a small piece of paper to me. I had hardly had the chance to read it before Shiki snatched it from me. I turned to glare at him and I mumbled something inaudible under my breath.
"This is a really good one! This lady wants us to exterminate a beast next to her home that has been giving her trouble." He said as he turned to me.
"What? So we're pest control now? I thought you were serious about this..." I replied with a sigh, looking at my brother as if he was a hopeless mess. He just frowned at me as his eyes flashed with irritation.
"She is paying 5,000 gold pieces, that's amazing! Even though it's 'beneath you' almighty elite member, we should take a task that was sent exclusively to us. It's wrong to say no, no matter what it is." He lectured with a sharp lookon his faceas he grabbedhis huge sword, "Come on, we're going right away." He tossed me my sword and stamped his foot impatiently.
While his sword had a huge metal blade with a strong grip on it, my sword was long and thin. It was terrific for matching my own speed in battle, but it was made out of diamond shards that I had spent so many months collecting that it was quite heavy. There is a bright side to it, the material made it hard to scar and nearly impossible to break which was a great asset in battle. I had crafted it with alchemy to make it like that, I was very proud of how great it turned out.
"Come on!" Shiki repeated impatiently as he made a move for the door, meaning that he wasn't going to wait for me any longer.
"Fine, fine! I'm coming, geez..." I snapped back at him as I stood up and attached the sheathe of my sword to my belt. I turned to look for my brother, but it seemed like he'd already left the room so I smiled softly at his childish impatience and started to follow him down the hallway. I stopped right away when I saw Joan and Demetri come out of a room in front of me. To avoid conflict, I waited were I stopped until the two of them walked into the training area further down the hall with cleaning supplies in their hands and sour looks on their faces. I couldn't help but let out a small snort of laughter when they left the hallway, Demetri's look was just priceless. Feeling lucky they were so focused on their cleaning duty they didn't notice me, I casually passed the training area.
I walked out the door to see Shiki waiting for me with the door to the carriage open. He was giving me one of his you-sure-took-your-time scowls he gives me whenever I take something at my own pace. I just shrugged and climbed inside the carriage to the seat across from him.
"Let me see that paper now." I said as I snatched the paper back from him just like the way he had done it to me. Silently laughing at the annoyed look he gave me, I began to read it to myself.
Dear Kuru twins,
I have been hearing odd scratching noises on
my wall when I sit in my home. So, I decided to see
what it was and I saw a demon looking creature on
the outside of my house. When it saw me, it tried to
kill me! I'm told by many that you two are best for the
job, so I'm begging for your help. Please kill the beast
so I can get on with my life. I'm paying 5,000 gold
pieces for a successful kill.
"Well, that is pretty good even though it's demeaning tobe called upon as if we're exterminators. I guess she means well though." I said and handed him back the paper. Soon after,the carriage came to a stopin front of a small pink house with a white roof. I laughed and joked to my brother saying that it looked like cotton candy, he just rolled his eyes and called me stupid after that.
"Oh good! Your here!" Called an elderly woman dressed in a floral print dress and a sun hat, even though it was the middle of September. The two of us got out of the carriage and she gave us a stunned look with wide eyes.
"Oh my! What tall young people you two are!" She said as Shiki walked up to her.
"Show uswhere you saw the creature, miss. We'll make quick work of the beast." Shiki said with the looks of a very uptight personality. I let out a slight sigh and tuned out the rest of the mostly one sided conversation due to the elderly lady's apparent talkative nature and Shiki's lack of interest in her questions. Finally, we were led to the creature's nest that was in the alley way between the lady's house and a neighboring house. I checked the area and saw the beast sleeping inside an old shredded box with some cloth inside for bedding.
I backed away and whispered my plan into my brother's ear, keeping quiet so I didn't wake the beast. He nodded and stalked over to behind the box, pulling out his large metal sword and kicking the back of the box roughly to wake the creature. It came darting out of the box, snarling at Shiki and lashing it's long whip-like black tail. It was a small black hound demon with glowing red eyes, large claws, and a long devil-like tail. It paid no attention to me and just growled at Shiki, my plan was going perfectly.
With a single slash of his sword, Shiki chopped off the poor creature's legs and send it falling to the ground. It let out horrifying screams of pain as blood began to pool beneath it. I walked up to the creature slowly and drew my long sword as the sunlight glinted off the clear blue weapon. I stabbed deep into the creature's skull and my heart stung as I heard the sharp crack of the bone against my sword, it made me feel sick but still I said nothing. Immediately it's screams died with it and I took out a cloth from my pocket to carefully and casually clean the deep red blood from my blade.
"You heartless jerk. I take it back, you are the perfect elite member." Shikisaid as I slid my sword back into it's sheathe. I flashed him a casual smile and turned out of the alley way, just as the dead creature burst into dust.
The elderly lady thanked us heartily and paid us the reward. We split it evenly between us in the carriage and he dropped me off at the guild.
"I'll go home now. You said you wanted to report this one, right?" Heasked and drove away hesitantly when I nodded my head. Once he was out of sight, I walked inside the guild.
"Ewwwww! What is wrong with those B class people? This is so gross! Who leaves such a mess after training?" I heard a voice coming from the training room. I laughed slightly despite my exhaustion and continued down the hallway to the guild master's office. I'd had a long day and I was ready just to go home and go to sleep, but I still had the responsibility to report the successful task to the guild master. I opened the door without knocking and noticed that he wasn't in his desk. I looked around and found a note on his desk, so I picked it up and began to read.
Dear faithful member,
I have left early to welcome my
brand new son into the family. I'll be out
for a few days, Mikael is in charge until I
"Oh! I remember now, his wife was expecting. When he comes back, we should organize a little celebration." I said with a soft smile as I took the note out of the office and tapped it onto the outside of the door, he must have been in a hurry to forget to leave it in a more noticeable place. I turned around and started down the hallway towards the exit, deciding to call it a day and head home. As I was about to pass the training area, Demetri came out of it with ashes all over his face and clothes. I grinned at him as I approached, there was no use trying to pretend I wasn't there when he had already seen me.
"Something explode?" Isaid. He glared sharply at me, hisface full of mixed emotions.
"Shut up, Kuru." He snapped back at me. I raised my hands defensively and smiled softly at him.
"Whoa, chill out. I didn't mean it in a teasing way, it was just a harmless joke." I said, relaxing a little once I noticed his gaze soften a little bit and he looked at me for a long while.
"You've changed so much..." He said softly after that long while, "And becoming an elite!? Has becoming immortal made you completely different than that kind girl I danced with that day?"
"You could say that. I'm only the eight member so I'm not as well known as the rest of them. But, I still carry this mark on mycheek as a symbol of the contract between me and my ancient beast. I guess you could call it the mark of a dead man, that is what all of us elites are after all." I said casually and turned to walk past him and out the door.