The Branding System
Chapter 9:The Door.
Aksel really didn want to greet the same place that he had bid goodbye to, with a smug face, hoping that he would never return to its depressing conditions again.
The heavy curtains that were covered with dust seemed to have been soaked in the smell of the sewers and pinching his nose he tried his best to not let the dirty material touch his skin. By now walking around with his bruises didn hurt as much as it did before but even then he had been craving to lie on a comfortable bed.
Like the one he had in his memories…
”I am really glad that the two of you are safe and back! ” Daren exclaimed as soon as he saw the people he had been waiting, for ever since that morning. The blonde-haired man had barely been able to eat anything, not that he had much to eat, as he dwelled in the various circumstances that his friends might be in.
The sewers were the only place that had provided them with shelter and nowhere else did he consider it safe for them.
Aksels mood had soured when he had been entering the stale place but such a warm greeting would melt away even the most agonizing tensions and smiling at him Aksel chuckled, ”I will be honest, I am not glad to be back here but its good to see you. ”
Yve who had not indulged in these conversations was busy scavenging a small cupboard looking for something. She looked for a few seconds and when she was unable to find it she turned back to the two men talking together about what had transpired and rushing to Daren she asked, ”Are we out of the medicine? ”
This made Daren frown in confusion but when the realization hit him he took hold of one of the lamps and bringing it closer to Aksel and Yve he shouted, ”You both are hurt! Why didn you tell me before? ”
Without wasting a second he immediately rushed to that same cupboard and looking around for a bit he brought out a small metallic box and gave it to Yve and then instructed them to sit down on the tin boxes and apply it.
”Where did you find it? It wasn there a second ago when I was looking for it, ” Yve grumbled but without a seconds delay scooped a little of the medicine and started applying it to her bruises and wounds.
Following her actions, Aksel scooped up the white cream-like medicine on his finger and first rubbed it on a bruise that he had on his face. He didn know whether the medicine was working or not but the cooling after effect that it left behind on the skin was definitely a relief to the pain conducting sensory nerves.
”You must have been really shocked after the events of today, ” Daren sympathized having undergone something similar a few years back himself.
”At least your fake parents weren coming after you to kill you, right? ” Aksel joked noticing the sad expression on his face. As far as he remembered and if that aspect of his memory hadn been altered then he was never good with handling emotional people anyway.
Daren didn laugh as Aksel had wanted him to and feeling the awkward tension in the room Yve quipped in, ”He took down two Contrivos today, one of which was his own replacement. ”
This garnered a reaction out of Daren pulling him out of his funk as he shouted, ”What? That can be true! ”
”I wouldn have believed it if I hadn seen it with my own eyes. To think that the guy who couldn even aim a flower pot correctly is now defeating two grown Contrivos, ” She smirked at him and yet again Aksel was unable to make out whether she was trying to insult him or praise him.
Daren who had known this particular redhead more than Aksel had felt his eyes widen, it was a subtle change in her expressions but Yve had accepted this new member easily even though she didn seem to like or trust him before.
”Although I am taking him to meet his parents, coming out of there alive depends on him, if he is killed by them then I can hardly do anything but if he reveals any information about the two of us then I will make sure that I kill him myself. ”
These were the words the green-eyed woman had told him before she had left their hideout. If he took her words from then and now then he could say that Aksel had at least started winning her respect.
”So, what do you two do here all day? ” Aksel asked looking at his two new friends. He knew that accepting his new life was the only option but he didn feel quite settled in.
”Well, Yve usually goes out looking for water and food and I stay here keeping guard, cooking, cleaning, managing our little hideout, ” Daren explained recounting what he did on his fingers. When he stopped Aksel waited for him to continue but then he received no answer from him making him prod the blue-eyed dude as he said, ”And? ”
”And nothing. What else do you expect us to say? We don have time for anything else and neither do we have the luxury, we are too busy surviving as it is, ” Yve said realizing the astonishment in Aksel. To her, it felt as if Aksel was making fun of their hardships.
”You can seriously be thinking of continuing to stay here doing nothing for the rest of your life do you? ” Aksel asked looking at the two figures sitting in front of him and staring at him like his words didn make sense to them. To him, the thought of even spending more than a few days here was impossible.
He had accepted his new life but he was going to choose his new home himself.
”What else can we do? We can go up there and live normal lives like the others by getting a job. For people like us it is a boon to even be alive, ” Yve sharply said, disliking how casually Aksel had dismissed their efforts.
Noting the static convulsing in the air Daren quickly intervened as he said, ”Aksel, I understand that it is hard for you to adjust but we three are the only unbranded people here. Instead of fighting, we need to stick together. ”
”Are you sure that we three are the only unbranded people in Aquilo? ” he asked, not believing it. He hadn given it much thought before but if there were only three unbranded people then they were more of a rarity than he had thought.
”Are you trying to question us, who have been living here for far more than you? ” Yve asked pointedly and sighing at her anger Aksel looked away from her and at Daren who simply nodded his head at him.
He took a moment to himself on getting this information. He couldn understand yet what he should do but staying here was out of the option.
Suddenly something struck him and turning to Yve he asked, ”Didn you say that our memories are altered? You said that we are being brought from somewhere else and then being branded to serve some purpose that we are still unaware of, right? ”
Yve, who had been hostile with him was a little taken aback by his sudden perkiness, and nodding her head she replied, ”Yeah, so what? ”
”Then didn you both want to get out of here and find our real home? We aren sure to what extent our memories are changed but it could be that the places outside this city of Aquilo are entirely different from here, maybe we could even live a normal life! ” he exclaimed, his inquisitive mind was running on overdrive as he began thinking of all the possibilities.
”What are you trying to say? ” Yve asked straightforwardly, its not that the woman had never thought of these questions but she had never dared to believe that she would be able to get out of there.
She had never given herself the option of moving out.
Receiving a lightly positive reaction from her Aksel grinned at them and clapping his hands together he announced, ”Let us all run away from the Branding System. ”
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