Berserk Fan Fiction ❯ Bye Bye Beheliet ❯ How Far Will the Heart Travel ( Chapter 4 )
BBB4: How Far Will the Heart Travel
No light shone through the narrow passage way of that cave. Moisture from the pounding rainfall had dampened the entry up to 6 feet and the heat from the recently deceased fire created a thick atmosphere. It wasn't sun rays playing upon the thin skin of his eyelids, photons teasing his retinas, sending signals of the dawn to the brain that awaked the large figure that was Gutts. His dark eye opened and he groaned only slightly from the discomforting cold that was customary of a natural floor. This was no fairy tale. No bright, shining sun to rouse the hero after a battle, after a storm. The man dismissed the notion of cheerful mornings long ago. He'd not waken happily since that one daybreak where the first thing he saw was Caska lying beside him.
"Cas…" He couldn't finish the word aloud. It hurt knowing it wasn't something she could hear. He snorted, dismissing his emotions as he often did. It was the only thing he felt it acceptable to take the coward's way out. He passed his gaze over to the boy, figuring that keeping focused on his surroundings would shift his thoughts to the real world.
Elliot was still sleeping soundly. He had pulled the cloak back over his head, which likely attributed for his continued slumber. The child's chin touched his chest and he snored slightly, a condition brought on by the chill of the storm. The hand that marked his place, the one bearing the brand, fell open and innocent on the ground, now re-wrapped in the yellowing bandage.
Gutts was again reminded of himself. The past emanated from that boy's body. A wave of poignant sorrow washed over his being from that child, the one that shared his pain. He involuntarily touched his calloused fingers to the smooth metal of his false limb. It was colder than usual. He drew his hand away quickly and turned his mouth into a frown. ~Why the hell am I thinking like this? I need to stay focused…it's all his fault, dammit…~ He didn't feel that, really, but he had to at least say it to himself as to protect his masculine pride. He didn't have much else to hold onto other than that.
The man's lips turned up in a sneer. He hated that boy. He hated the silence that reflected his own and the emptying eyes that mirrored both their agony, but most of all, he hated him for being able to sleep in. He wanted to return to that dormant state where he didn't have to think. A bit of saliva rocketed from Gutts's mouth to the dirt floor. The dust collected and coagulated in the liquid. The swordsman snorted and held his sword tight against his shoulder. ~Damn kid… Damn cold…~ He growled as he thought.
The boy opposite the ashen remains of the fire pit moaned and curled up a little more, bringing his knees in tight and resting his forehead on them.
Gutts gasped slightly at the sudden sound and turned to look at him. He snorted, more embarrassed than irritated that the boy was able to shock him. He suppressed a natural urge to blush. He'd let him see his emotions and he wasn't dead. That was something of a problem. He shook his black head. ~Hmpf…killing him would end both our worries…yet…why can't I…~ He took a deep breath to regain his authority moments before the child's eyelids fluttered open.
The metallic sheen of his iris's scanned the cave suspiciously. His body tensed up at the notion of sleeping too long. It was quite obvious what could happen when he did so. He looked up a little when he spotted Gutts, alert and adamantly watching the opening to their hollow. Had he not had the burning want to impress this man, he would have smiled. In a single night, he'd elevated from adversary to role-model. He wanted to survive like he did, to be able to fight his curse as he did.
"It's still dark out." Elliot said monotonously, hiding his emotion just as well as the other.
"Doesn't mean it isn't late." He grunted.
"I guess you're right. The rain gone?"
Elliot looked to him again. He'd been so kind to him the night before. It was the first attempt somebody's made to comfort him since he lost his mother. Well, it was probably the only time he let himself cry like that too, however. The coldness was almost painful now.
Gutt's looked over without turning his head. "The clouds are still hanging so it'll be a late light if any."
Elliot blinked and sat up a little straighter and nodded. "Yes, of course."
The man nodded in response and went back to his vigilant watch. Then he heard the chirping of the bird that took nest there the night before, after the rain ceased. His blood boiled and he growled a little.
The light brown head of Elliot whipped to the opening. His teeth gritted against the thought of more of the damn demons. "You hear something?" He asked, whispering.
"SHH!" Gutts snapped his head back to glare at him commandingly and his focused gaze turned back to the bit of the outside that shone through.
Elliot looked down at his hand. Funny… it didn't burn and it wasn't bleeding. What was wrong? Was he that skilled to know ah signs of an apostle from far away? Or were the man's ties to the God Hand stronger than his own. Unfortunately for the starry-eyed youth, neither was the case.
The man got up and walked with a swift, long stride right out of the cave.
Nervous, Elliot held back for a moment. Then he heard that trademark cry of his companion and ran out. What he saw appalled him.
Gutts kicked the carcass of a bird who's neck he snapped. "Cursed creature…may you never chirp again…" he growled at remains.
"… What was that…?"
"Why is it… dead?"
"I felt like killing it."
"I told you. I felt like it."
Elliot just stared at him, his copper eyes blank. He couldn't understand the point of that senseless slaughter.
"Besides, we have something to eat now." Gutts's hulking figure went back to the cave.
The boy stood there staring at the site of the killing. "Was there… really a point to that?"
"Are you coming in?!" The deep voice yelled in a way closer resembling a growl than a question.
"Yes." He turned and shuffled back in, still trying to make sense of the entire situation.'
Gutts had managed to foster a tiny flame in the remnants of the last. The child of the elements was born from the death of its predecessor. As Elliot watched, he felt it was a rather romantic situation. Until, that is, Gutts stabbed at it with the edge of his sword out of frustration. The boy blinked. He was rather crude sometimes, but he still felt connected to him. He figured that somewhere under that bulk, there was a man of many deep thoughts. The idea was comforting
"Damn I'm hungry…" he growled at the fire. He had food now, but it seemed it would be a while before he could prepare it. He commenced to feather and gut the poor creature.
Elliot watched, his mouth watering a little. It had been even longer since he'd had a decent dish, his funds running much thinner than his adult counterpart.
In two hours time, they were both gnawing on the ridiculously small amount of meat on the thin bones of the fowl. Guts kept pulling out shattered bits of the calcium-rich substance and discarding it. Elliot watched the other eat, his own progress rather slow. He was so grateful that there was now somebody there that was willing to share meat with him. Satisfied, he ripped off a piece and savored it in his mouth, lolling it about with his tongue before chewing and swallowing. He looked pensively at the now bare breast bone and looked up.
"Gutts?" He asked quietly, but never dismissing his confidant air.
"Hm?" He grumbled as he tried to pick out the remaining meat from the bird.
"What are you going to do now? Where are you going to go?" He said, the proud aura fading away with his childish question. His steady voice had such a tone that made the inquiry a plea.
Gutts looked up. "Wherever they lie. Wherever I can get a hold of…those." He pointed to the beheliet around his neck.
Elliot quietly touched it and said, "I don't have a set destination…"
The man blinked, understanding what the boy was trying to say. "If you're trying to ask if you can come, the answer is no. I have no use for scrawny runts following my around like a stupid dog."
The child's face flushed, but it wasn't obvious in the red glow of the camp fire. He looked down slightly hurt by his words. "No, I was just asking for suggestions." He said calmly, though his body was heating up. He was just disgraced. He couldn't believe he was humbling himself like that, but he was even more surprised by the reluctance of his companion to comply with his beg.
Gutts stared at the face. It was a strong one, proud. His eyes still entranced him. He thought about his comrade, Ricket. The child he'd grown to know, though older still than this one, couldn't even comprehend his pain, and that boy had seen a lot in his short life. ~His mother must have been beautiful,~ he thought, studying the visage in the firelight, ~if she was anything like this boy.~
The pang in Elliot's heart was wrenching. He just assumed that the man cared about him, being as though he took the time to comfort him. "I… I just want to get back at those damned beasts for hurting my village and… my mother." He said, his jaw clenched tightly so that he wouldn't cry.
"We all do."
The boy blinked. "What…?"
"I want to get back at them, too. They killed everyone dear to me… they stole the soul of one dear to me… and they destroyed the spirit of one I love…"
It was now the child's turn to stare. The tawny youth felt warm suddenly. He was letting him know; maybe he would let him join in the fight.
"Don't be. Feeling sorry won't do a thing to bring them back...bring her back…"
"I could help you, you know… You can't beat them on your own. You said it yourself how strong they were!" The boy stood up. "I can do it though! I'm strong enough to be with you! I've proved it!" He spoke loudly and almost as if Gutts had been challenging his abilities.
The man blinked his open eye, but remained silent. He couldn't tell this child to go away, for the sake of his sanity he couldn't, but he couldn't tell him that he could accompany him. His quest was far to dangerous for the likes of a child.
"I can!" He was yelling now. "I promise you! Take me with you! Let me prove myself."
"Hmph." He grunted. It was, however, with the trace of a smile. "You impress me, Elliot."
The boy blinked and froze. His mouth was still open as he was ready to make another argument.
"However there's no way I'm letting you come. However, if you so choose to follow me I can't stop you. So long as you don't get in my way and don't cry if you're gonna get hurt." His smile broadened into a smirk.
Elliot bristled at the comment. "I wouldn't cry if I was in the clutches of an apostle, beign ripping limb from limb, without a hope in the world." He growled.
"Heh. Fine. We're agreed then."
The tawny-haired youth couldn't help but smile. He tried with every bit of manliness in him to restrain it and create a frown, but it only resulted in an awkward half smile. "Fine." He stated, trying to sound indifferent, while, in reality, his heart was palpitating with a vigorous fervor.
The two sat opposite each other, both trying to hide the smiles that they knew would come. They compensated by closing their eyes as to not embarrass the other further. At last, companionship wasn't a farfetched notion. It was now just a question of how much they would sacrifice. How far would these two hearts, these reflective souls, be willing to travel?
Gutts stood as soon as any form of food had been stripped from the winged thing. "We can make it to the next town by nightfall if we hurry." He said coldly. He'd regained his distant disposition and was planning on keeping it for some time.
Elliot got to his feet, now calmed as well. He lifted handles of each crescent blades and spread them, tossing the chain over his head and around his neck. He pulled the hood over his head and stood straight and composed with the ever-dulling blades precariously hanging against his cotton shirt. "Alright. I'm done."
With a grunt and a nod, Gutts took the lead, sheathing his large sword and tugging his own cloak protectively over his synthetic arm. Elliot followed behind him at a distance. It was close enough for the child to feel secure, but far enough for him to feel independent.
They reverted to their silence as they walked. The crunching gravel and snapping twigs spoke enough to the both of them. The sounds assured each that there was another with them, they weren't alone any longer. Some of the dark cloud surrounding their lives was dissipating, returning to white purity just as the rain clouds in the heavens strove to accomplish. It was surreal, especially to the one at the head. His life had been nothing but one event after another that was to break his spirit. Perhaps he survived to build this kid's future to be better than his own. ~Stop getting so sensitive… He's a worthless boy…he's going to help me defeat that damned Godhand… that's all.~
As he became desensitized to the sound of the trail, he became acutely aware of another sound.
His first impulse was that it was the chain connecting the sickles, but he realized something that seemed out of place with that theory. The sound was light, muffled. It was delicate and chiming, not rough as a heavy link would be. He shuddered at the dawning of reality. The beheliet. The more he thought about that egg-shaped pendant about the boy's neck, the louder the sound became.
Gutts grit his teeth. It was tormenting, taunting. That boy had a beheliet and he didn't. His sense of camaraderie was dying under the poison of jealousy. His hand balled into a fist and he sneered at the road ahead. It was a few hours before the tops of village buildings were visible. But by then, the sound was deafening.
He quickened his pace and the long-legged boy complied to the speed. Gutts was almost disappointed he was able to keep up. He wanted that sound to be gone; he wanted it to stop haunting him.
There was no watchman here. It was a tiny town and it was easily accessed. Gutts rummaged through his belongings to search for some money. He was angry and he'd walked all day. He needed to eat something or have a drink in the least. The sound still followed him, ringing in his ears. The resonance was astounding. ~His shirt should be muffling it. ~ He rationalized. But nothing worked.
He growled involuntarily, breaking the company's long avowed silence.
"What is it?"
Gutts flinched at the voice. "Nothing." He hissed.
Elliot fell silent again. He didn't understand why he appeared so angry. He was fine last time they spoke.
Recovering a few tarnished coins and securing them in his large, sweating palm, he turned his head, glancing back sharply at the child. "Let's just eat something." He grunted.
The boy nodded in agreement. He was elated. Two meals in a single day! That wasn't something that often happened to orphaned vagabonds. "Where are we staying for the night?"
"I'll find something."
"… Alright." He looked straight ahead. ~Why is he being like this again? I thought we were friends…~
They entered a dingy tavern, as taverns tend to be. He sat down in a rough chair and put his weapon over his legs. Elliot sat across from him, studying his expression and trying to make a logical assumption about it. Gutts snorted and hit his fist on the table, trying to catch the attention of one of the serving wenches.
It was probably a solid twenty minutes before one of the women gathered enough courage to greet the visitors. "M-may I 'elp ye suh's?" She spoke with a thick lower-class accent.
"I want whatever the hell you're cooking here today." He growled at her. "And I waited a long time so you better be quick about it, woman."
She swallowed hard and nodded and shuffled off in a hurry.
Elliot glanced at him. "What's your problem…you seem angered suddenly."
"I'm not." He spat out the words.
"You just yelled at tha-"
"Look kid." He interrupted, slapping the pinewood table with his hand. "If you're going to be following me, you better stop asking personal questions."
The boy just blinked in surprise. They had a brotherhood, a common bond, why would he be so cruel. "Yes. I understand." He said coolly despite his inner turmoil.
The food came, but its consumption lacked the personal touch that their last meal had. They didn't speak or look to eachother. The meat seemed to taste strange to Gutts, far to bitter for his liking. "Lets go." He got to his feet and slung the sword onto his back again.
Elliot looked up. His plate was still half full, but he obeyed. He didn't want to break this pact. He was thankful that he got to eat that much at least. Gutts started back out the door without paying. The server that had worked their table tried to protest, but she was quieted with a glare from Gutts and his retort.
"I wasn't satisfied. It took too long and it wasn't up to my standards." He sneered.
The woman whimpered slightly and stepped back, holding her empty tray to her half-exposed chest.
Without a sound, he went out the door.
Elliot followed and stared at the floor. He couldn't make eye contact with the poor lady. Her reaction had induced a seldom-felt twinge of guilt. It wasn't an emotion he preferred, to say the least.
Being as though the meal went unpaid for, they were able to arrange for a small room at a local inn. It was in no better condition than the tavern. It was dirty and unkempt and most of the things were stolen from it. There was a single candle stick left with a half-burnt stick of wax in it and, luckily, a full oil lamp. Gutts sat in a wooden chair. It was covered with a stuffed cushion to compensate for the terrible quality. But when buying in bulk, that was all the residents of that poor community could do.
Elliot set his weapon on the ground as Gutts pulled his down to rest between his legs as usual. The child watched as the man's face, contorted with deep thought and frustration, turned steadily away from his own. He sighed inaudibly and laid down, pushing the weapon on one side of the bed and keeping a pillow safely between the blades and his soft body. Exhausted from a full day's walking, the youth swiftly slept into a slumber.
What the boy was unaware of was that Gutts too had fallen asleep. The contortion had begun as soon as his mind entered that dimension of the unconscious. People in this state are venerable not only to the outside world, but the world they cannot touch. Especially in these days with the country riddled with monsters, one was open to attack from within their own mind. A mind like the Dark Swordsman was a most ideal victim for the treachery of the God's Hand.
"You can't defeat us, blasphemer!" Void bellowed. "You belong to us flesh and blood!"
"I'm not yours to own." Gutts growled
Slan laughed. "Oh! But you are! You were sold to us by Griffith, he gave you to us!"
"I didn't belong to him either!" He yelled, uneasy with her touching that sensitive place in his heart. Griffith's betrayal was a wound never hardened with time.
Conrad hooted with the woman, causing the branded man to grit his teeth against his anger.
"Yes. That anger is what keeps you alive, but it is also what brought you to our holding in the first place." Ubik said, his voice ripping with a truth that brought chills to those that heard his words.
"It can also get me out of here!" Gutts lunged at them in this dream plane, which was, alas, fruitless. He fell on the empty ground and stood up glaring.
"Ha!" Femto cackled, appearing amidst the others. "That fury will send you to your demise, Gutts. Then it shall be you truly belong to me. My world will open up to you and you shall spend your eternity with the rest of those damned soldiers in HELL!" He emphasized the word with pride, this was no longer Griffith.
Femto's appearance shook the poor man. His guard dropped slightly. "G-g-griffith…" He hissed.
Slan and Femto howled in amusement. Ubik smirked and floated over to the man.
"Ah! You seem to have forgotten! Griffith is no longer here. He died to make way for him." He motioned with his hand and the turn of his head to Femto, whose painted lips curled into a cruel smile.
Gutts felt ill, it was a sensation that was so real to him he almost forgot he wasn't awake. He wanted to yell Griffith's name, the name of a dear friend. But he was dead. He abandoned him for power. How could he call a man like that a friend?
"You're body is a fleeting thing and you're soul already knows what awaits it." Void's commanding voice rang.
"Let me BE!" He cried out. He reached for his weapon, but it was no longer there.
"Do you think you'd be permitted to bring that nasty sword in here?" Slan taunted.
Gutts spat on the ground.
"The beheliet's choice is absolute as is the choice of its bearer. You have nothing but your destiny and your destiny is this. Why do you fight us so passionately?"
"It only makes it out to be a sweeter victory." Femto leered, his smirk only deepening.
"I'll defeat that damned thing you call destiny." He spat at the non-existent floor.
His comment sent another wave of laughter through the endless expanse of his mind. Slan looked at him, her hand, palm outward, against her mouth. "You honestly think that you can go against the will of god?"
"I can. And I'll beat it too…" He hissed, his fury was creating a dark cover over his eyes; it was beginning to blind him.
"If you get so adamant, you will fail to remember what you're fighting for." Ubik commented.
"My hate is all I have now…" He growled. He yelled out the war cry that Elliot had been so careful as to warn him against, and with that, he awoke.
The man was panting and his eye peeled through every corner of the tiny room. He noted the child's huddled form on the bed.
~I'll defeat them… I'll defeat god… I'll defeat the damn beheliet…~ He got up from his chair and with a practiced silence, he approached the boy with outstretched hand.
~No second thoughts. I can't be burdened by these things like companionship… Casca… I'll do this for you…~
When morning came, Elliot awoke to a song bird outside his window. At first, he thought it pleasant, then he recalled what happened the last time an innocent flying thing was near them. He sat up, his eyes shooting open. He blinked when he saw nothing in the room. "Gutts?" He called out quietly. "… Gutts?" A little louder…
The boy searched through the rent out, it wasn't a difficult thing, it was square and not very large. He put his hand to his chest to grab hold of his prize for comfort, but he found it was gone. His copper eyes widened at the realization. Gutts had wanted that thing the whole time. Did he feign his emotions?
The boys eyes filled with tears. "Y-you said you'd fight with me… But I see now you're heart doesn't travel as far as mine." He said the last part so hatefully, it would have broken anybody's spirit, but it would hurt nobody more than it hurt him. Without a sound, he took up his weapon at ready in his hands, and made for the next town, the next adventure, the next tragedy.
A/N: Wai! Anyways, AHAHAHA!! PUCK BE GONE PUCK IS GONE~lalala, actually expect him next chapter if he HAS any fans ;____; I hate him, anyways, Don't expect the next chapters to be this long I gotta liiiiiiiiiil carried away, never the less its all good. I'm having so much fun writing this, unfortunately its almost coming to the conclusion^^;; Stay tuned for the next exciting chapter of Bye, Bye, Beheliet, Dawn of Odium, Burning Desires