InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity Redux: Anhanguera ❯ Crossroads ( Chapter 17 )
Five frowned in confusion as she stared at the books that Master had given her—books that were made for children with bright, bold pictures on every page and words in a line that she couldn’t read. She’d never seen such a thing before. “What are these?” she asked quietly.
Master glanced up from his book, letting it fall closed on his fingers. “They’re books, Five. From now on, you’re going to learn things like reading and writing and math . . .”
She blinked. “I am?”
“Yes, Five, you are.”
She started to smile, but then, she frowned, cocking her head to the side as her brow furrowed, as she gazed at Master. “Who’s going to teach me?” she finally asked.
“I am,” he told her. “Every night, I’ll teach you how to read and write and things like that.”
She blinked. “Like you read your books?”
Rolling his eyes, he thumped her gently with the spine of the book in his hand. “Yes, that’s right. Anhanguera told me that I could train you the way I want, and the way I want is for you to learn skills that might help you one day.”
“But why? Slaves work. We’re not supposed to think.”
A fleeting darkness flickered over his features but was gone faster than she could make sense of it. “Maybe . . . You’re always asking questions, though, so I thought this would be a good way to keep you from driving me nuts.”
She frowned, puckering her lips, shifting her mouth to the side. “That didn’t sound very nice,” she ventured.
He shrugged. “Well, you are very perceptive.”
She wrinkled her nose. “If that wasn’t nice, then you have to say sorry, Master,” she told him rather primly.
That earned her another look. He stared at her for a long moment. Then he smiled just a little. “It’s not mean if it’s true,” he informed her. “Now, look at your books, and we’ll start your lessons tomorrow.”
She did, opening the first one, looking through it as carefully as she’d inspected her coloring book that first night, too. Indulging himself in watching her, he almost smiled—almost. Pale hair, shining in the weak but warm light of the antechamber as she let her chin rest on her balled-up fists, one atop the other, she seemed to be mumbling quietly to herself, even though he couldn’t hear her words.
Checking his watch, he set the book aside, but when he stood up, Five shot him a questioning glance—not surprising, given that he didn’t usually leave the room after retiring for the evening. It was almost time for the transgender’s hormone shot, though, and, as overmaster, it fell upon him to see that it was done.
Sparing a moment to tousle Five’s hair, he then strode out of the room and down the long hallway.
It rather irritated him that nothing had been done with the slave for the entire time that he was locked in that closet. A solid week, and they’d managed to forget that the slave was being kept, secured to a bed and without the necessary drugs to start with that would have helped him. They also hadn’t bothered to start with the hormone therapy, either.
As he made his way through the mansion, the feeling of foreboding grew worse. No one had bothered to tell him that the slave was still here, not until just before he’d retired to his room. One of the trainers had stopped him, had mentioned that the slave was still being kept in hold.
He sighed, scowl darkening as he stepped off the stairs into the great room. The place was fairly quiet—not surprising since it was only Friday night. He rounded the landing on the main floor onto the stairs that led to the basement below.
Most of the slaves were housed down there, secured into their chambers until five a.m., when the locks automatically released. The only ones who weren’t were the head cook and her assistant, who slept in a small room, just behind the kitchen, in case someone demanded food in the middle of the night.
Regular slaves aside, though, there were a few holding rooms, as well. Those were reserved for troubled slaves, and, Caipora supposed, the transsexual fit that bill at the moment.
The thing was, the doctor had warned him before he’d left the other island, that he really didn’t know how the slave would react when he realized the changes that were being forced upon him. There were too many unknowns, given the delicate nature of what was done. The doctor had alluded to the idea that often, from what he’d seen, the chosen slave could easily lose his mind, which was part of the reason that he’d been given the sedative.
Caipora frowned. He’d been locked up for a week, and during that time, nothing at all had been done with the slave. Given the warnings and what he’d suspected himself, he had to wonder just what he’d find when he unlocked the cell door and slipped inside.
A single light burned on the other side of the large and empty space. The only thing in the cell was a bed in the center of the room—a bed with the slave chained to it. Flat on his back, arms out to his sides, legs spread, the grotesque sight of the perfectly rounded breasts, rising and falling with his rhythmic breathing. He seemed to be sleeping, but when Caipora stepped closer, the slave turned his head, his eyes registering his vague recognition.
“You won’t do anything stupid if I unchain you, will you?” Caipora asked, crossing his arms over his chest.
The slave considered the question for a moment before he slowly nodded.
“I won’t kill you,” he went on. “I’ll just chain you back up.”
Again, the slave nodded, but he didn’t try to speak.
Letting out a deep breath, Caipora dug the single key from his pocket, taking his time as he unlocked three of the four restraints—both his ankles and one wrist.
The slave tried not to make a sound as he shifted himself into an upright position, resting on the edge of the soiled cot. Caipora grimaced, lifting a hand to cover his nose at the stench that swelled with the movement. Bedsores covered the slave’s back, his buttocks, likely the backs of his legs. The festering flesh was horrid, lingering in his nose with a cloying thickness, not to mention the stagnant and horrid stench of feces and old urine. Hair matted and tangled, dull and dingy, skin a sallow yellowed kind of color that was only emphasized by the brassy sheen of his dirty hair, the slave looked like he might well be sick, and Caipora slowly shook his head. “Do you think you can walk?”
The slave didn’t look at all certain, but he gave one terse nod. Seeing no way around it, Caipora unfastened the last restraint, let it clatter against the metal frame of the bed. “Come on. You stink.”
It took a few tries before the slave was able to gain and hold his footing. Even then, he swayed slightly, but Caipora held off on grabbing him, very aware that even if he tried to be gentle enough, the pain that the slave would suffer for it would be nearly unbearable.
But he followed along willingly enough, even at an abbreviated pace. It took nearly fifteen minutes to get him up the stairs and into the bathhouse, and by the time they reached it, he was panting and perspiring, eyes dilating with the consuming effort to move.
“Clean him up,” Caipora said, narrowing his eyes on the bathhouse attendant on duty. “Don’t torture him. Just treat his wounds.”
The attendant looked fairly irritated at the idea that Caipora would dare to tell him how to do his job. Even so, he stomped away, jerking a hand to indicate that the slave should follow him. He hadn’t intended to, but Caipora followed, just to make sure that the attendant wasn’t going to try pulling something, just to spite him.
He didn’t, though, which was a relief on some level. It took a while to clean and disinfect his wounds, but the slave didn’t make a sound despite the fact that it had to hurt in the worst way. Staring straight down at the floor as the attendant quickly but carefully did his job, the slave looked like he might be in some kind of state of shock.
The attendant finished cleaning him, told him to get in the healing tub. When the slave didn’t move quite fast enough, he started to yank the whip off of his belt, but Caipora was faster, grabbing the attendant’s wrist, shoving him back a step or two. “He’s moving as fast as he can,” he growled.
The attendant looked irritated enough. Caipora snorted. “Go find him something for him to eat and drink. He hasn’t been fed anything in over a week—and have someone scrub his cell,” he commanded, not rightfully caring if the man liked it or not. But he must have thought better than to try to argue with him, and that was more than enough.
Hunkering down beside the tub, Caipora frowned at the slave. The paperwork gave his number as 452157 . . . “This one time only, you may speak,” he said, but only after the attendant was well out of earshot.
The slave didn’t respond to that, other than the quick shift of his eyes, as though he were trying to decide if Caipora was trying to lure him into some kind of trap.
“If you have questions, this is your one time to ask,” Caipora reiterated. “I will not punish you for it.”
The slave shook his head, as though he couldn’t quite grasp, just what Caipora had so eloquently spelled out. Opening and closing his mouth a few times, eyes glassing over with a film of tears that didn’t fall, he shook his head again, whispered one word—one question. “Why?”
Caipora sighed. “You . . . You were selected for a . . .” He gritted his teeth for a moment since he really wasn’t sure he agreed at all with what he was about to say. “A special . . . honor . . . An owner has requested a slave that is . . . both . . . male and female . . .”
The wretched revulsion on the slave’s face was immediate and intense—and absurdly painful to see. He’d thought that he was just going to be forced to become a woman, didn’t he? That he was going to be left in an existence that lingered somewhere between the two . . . It hadn’t occurred to him at all, had it . . .?
His breathing elevated, his shallow breaths shifting into something dangerously close to hyperventilation. It was a wholly disturbing thing to see, to be forced to bear witness . . . The understanding that came to him was harsh and bitter, grotesque, and even in his anguish, the tortured expression on his face . . . It was exquisite . . .
“N . . . No . . .” he groaned, grasping his breasts, digging in his claws as the scent of blood bloomed in Caipora’s nose, even as he leaned forward, grabbed the slave’s hands to stop him. He meant to rip out the implants, didn’t he? And Caipora . . . He couldn’t really blame him for that, either, even if he couldn’t allow him to do it . . .
“Stop it,” Caipora commanded, yanking him to his feet without letting go of his hands. He forced his arms behind his back, secured them with the only thing he had on hand—his whip.
Suddenly, a choked kind of noise came from the young slave—a pitiful and ghastly sound—one that Caipora recognized. The rattle of a sob broke free before the slave could staunch it, and, for the first time in his official capacity, he opted to forego the requisite punishment for the perceived trespass as a long, loud, slow growl, so full of shame and misery . . . and rage . . . grew louder and longer and so excruciatingly full of sheer desolation . . . “No-o-o-o . . .!”
It was late as he leaned back in the plush chair behind the wide expanse of his desk, leaning to the side, temple propped against his fingertips. Plodding through the hours of video that he’d sent with his missive this time, Eduardo St. George frowned, scowled, tried to comprehend the things he was seeing. Much like the last video that he’d been sent before, many of the things were the same, and yet, this one included more interesting footage—things that might seem even a little mundane, but they painted a better picture overall of the kinds of atrocities that lived and festered there . . .
An empty room—not a dilapidated room, though—just devoid of furnishings, other than a chair where a man sat. Eduardo didn’t recognize him, but that wasn’t the point. Dressed all in black with a nasty looking whip affixed to his belt, he must have been one of the ones that Korin had often referred to as, ‘trainers’ . . .
Four girls, all who looked to be around thirteen or so years of age, involved in what looked to be little more than a glorified orgy, while another three girls sat on their knees, heads down, next to the wall. The ones near the wall all seemed younger—maybe ten or eleven—and were forced to sit there and observe.
One of the girls let her head fall back, appeared to be hovering on the edge of a powerful orgasm, gasping softly, panting sharply in the otherwise quiet room . . . The trainer flicked out his whip, straight across the girl’s bared breasts. She whimpered, and Eduardo flinched on her behalf.
It really shouldn’t have surprised him. After everything he’d learned, both from Korin and those hours and hours of interview tapes, from his one on one talks with her as he tried to find something he could do to save her . . .
And that was the thing, wasn’t it? In the end . . .
Letting out a deep breath, reaching for a glass of cachaça, he leaned forward, a troubled frown, marring his features as he let himself think about it—let himself remember. It wasn’t something that he often allowed. There was no good to be found in dwelling upon the past, and even less when he knew well enough that it really was inevitable . . . But he’d tried . . .
He’d managed to procure the necessary documentation for a life that had been lived for so long, lost in the shadows. Korin Silva, the paperwork all called her, and, according to the late birth certificate, she was twenty-three years old, which, as far as he could tell, was accurate enough. She said that all slaves tended to know their birthdates.
Korin was, according to the official record, born on the island of Mundalos, just off the coast of Venezuela—an island too small to even appear on most maps. She’d spent a childhood of long, sun-drenched days, playing in the ocean breezes, enjoying the picturesque setting sun as it tumbled through the palm trees . . .
At least, that was how it looked on paper. The reality of her existence was so vastly different . . .
Still, he’d talked her into enrolling in a special college course for people who wished to finish their high school educations, and she was doing well in her classes. He’d talked her into seeing a counselor to help her try to work through the years and years of slave training, to deprogram her, as it were.
He hadn’t found out till later that she only went in, sat there in stony silence, refusing to talk, but whether she was afraid or simply trying to be loyal to an organization that didn’t deserve a single thing from her, he didn’t know.
It was a year and six months from the night he’d met her—the day after she missed her graduation—that Eduardo had stopped by her tiny apartment, only to discover her body, swaying from the rafter beam so high overhead . . .
The question that had plagued him since—still plagued him now . . . Was it simply Korin that had existed in a realm that was simply too far to be reached . . .? What about the others—the thousands—that had been through the facility, their morbid sense of training . . .?
And more often of late, after seeing more and more glimpses into the atrocities that were taking place like little more than an afterthought there, he had to wonder if someone could possibly exist in such a place without being forced to sacrifice some of themselves in the process . . .?
“Caipora, he calls himself now . . .”
Draining the glass in one long gulp, Eduardo scowled at his own words, the quiet words that still echoed in his head. In one of the clips, he’d been walking along a corridor, leading a group of virgins toward those rooms where the lessons seemed to take place. Someone had called out to him, and that was the name they’d used . . . “Caipora—the jungle spirits that lived in trees and came out at night to haunt those who had gone astray . . . Is that what he’s become . . .?”
Even from the brief video, Eduardo had taken a measure of comfort in what he’d seen. Leaner, maybe, but most certainly more well-muscled, even under the cover of the simple black, button-down shirt . . . The angles and planes of his face were slightly sharper, though not by much—but his eyes, veiled in shadows, had been harder to discern, especially since the camera was mounted up by the ceiling, casting everything in an oddly skewed angle . . .
No, he looked well enough, which was both a relief as well as a worry, at least, to Eduardo. In his mind, he could still see the easy-going smile, the good-natured sparkle in his eyes . . . Those things were missing now . . .
He’d been hard-pressed, too, when he’d watched the footage. There wasn’t much about it that would be considered as highly classified; not really. His gut instinct was to copy those precious few seconds, to send them to his family—the family who loved and missed him so desperately. In the end, he’d captured a couple stills—ones that showed his face a little better—and he’d sent them off . . .
Anhanguera was the name that Caipora had supplied—the owner and kingpin of the entire operation. If they could catch the elusive dragon-fish-youkai, the could put an end to the whole thing so easily, but the thing was . . . Eduardo had checked and double checked, referenced and cross-referenced that name. The devil? Oh, most assuredly—and there wasn’t any record of anyone who went by that name, anywhere on earth, and a dragon-fish-youkai? Eduardo had never met one, never seen one, and hadn’t realized they even existed, to be honest. If they could find him, though . . . If they could find him . . .
Closing the door with a heavy sigh as he turned the lock and leaned back against it, Caipora let his eyes drift shut for a long moment.
He really didn’t know what to do with that one. Just for now, he’d left him in the care of the bathhouse attendants, who had shackled him and attached him to a longer chain so that he could stand up if he felt like it. It was better for him, given that he really did need a day or two to recover from those bedsores. As it was, Caipora had to order him to eat the small bit of food and water that they’d brought to him. He had poured a few drops of the tranquilizer into the glass of water, just to take the edge off of everything. The slave hadn’t seen it, but when he’d stepped forward with the syringe of hormones, 452157 had been rightfully alarmed. There wasn’t much he could do to fight Caipora, though.
What was being done to that slave haunted him. It was bad enough, what they were made to endure, but to add this on top of it all?
Yet it really shouldn’t bother him, should it? He’d seen enough in his time with the organization that this one last thing really shouldn’t appall him nearly as much as it did.
But it repulsed him. There was no getting around it. To do something like that to another living being, simply to make some more money, no matter how truly depraved it really was . . .
Letting out a deep breath, he pushed away from the door, only to stop short, his expression darkening, when he noticed Five. Hunched over the low table, she was asleep, her arms folded over the book, her face smashed into the crook of her elbow. Staring down at her for a long minute, he almost smiled, wondering absently, just how it was that such a small girl could bring him even a fleeting sense of peace. In a world where it was so hard to find, how could she do that?
Without a second thought, he scooped her up, cuddled her against his chest where she stirred slightly but didn’t wake.
He wasn’t surprised to find that she’d already turned down his blankets, that she’d carefully arranged her little pallet by the foot of the huge bed. She’d turned down all the lamps except for the one on the nightstand, and, without really thinking about it, he laid her down before stripping off his clothes and climbing into bed beside her . . .
No sooner did he stretch out and pull up the blankets over the both of them that she rolled toward him, huddling against his chest, hands tucked sweetly under her face. Leaning up on his elbow, he slowly, gently pushed her hair out of her face, let his knuckles rub against the smoothness of her rounded cheek . . . Such long, dark eyelashes—stark against her pale skin . . . Such deep red lips, forever pursed slightly in that Cupid’s bow . . . The insular beauty of her, so untouched by the hellish surroundings they existed in was somehow poignant, and yet, entirely breathtaking, and he flinched slightly . . . She really was a gorgeous child . . .
And yet, just as quickly as 452157’s fate had changed on a simple whim, hers could be altered, just as fast, and he sighed. Sure, Anhanguera had said that he would allow him to keep her, to do with her as he would, as far as her training went. But what, really, did that truly mean? Caipora knew damn well that a slave like her—like Five—would one day be worth a king’s ransom . . .
Letting out a deep breath, he lay down, trying to figure out, just what he was going to do with her—what he could do with her. The uncertainty that never was very far away seemed to mock him in the half-light. Not for the first time, he had to wonder, was he ultimately causing more harm than good in keeping her with him? Common sense told him that he really had let things get way too out of hand with her. It’d be so much worse, wouldn’t it? When she was made to go back to the reality of her life, of her future . . .?
Her breathing was so soft, dancing over his skin in such a sweet way . . . It occurred to him that maybe she really was doing more for him than he was doing for her. Offering him a strange sense of normalcy, a reason when he sometimes lost his own . . . Yet, that ultimately made him even more of a monster, didn’t it? Because . . .
Because he knew what her future would hold—the terrible, horrible things that waited for her as she grew older. Like it or not, there would come a day when not even Caipora could protect her, not from those things . . .
Or . . . could he . . .?
To find a way to gain her freedom, to get her out of this god-forsaken place . . . Too bad there were no easy answers—no quick or even feasible ways in which to do it. And if he did manage to find a way, they’d realize that he’d let her go, and, whether or not they discovered his real true reason for being here, it wouldn’t matter. They would kill him if he released her . . .
No, he simply couldn’t risk that; not yet. As much as he had come to care about her, he’d made a vow, hadn’t he? That he’d do whatever he had to do to bring this whole thing down, but if the price he was forced to pay was Five . . .?
The little girl with the dimples and the mysterious, shining eyes . . . The little girl who looked at him like he could protect her from everything . . . That little girl who needed him like no one had ever needed him before . . .
She . . . She was a price he simply wasn’t sure was worth the cost of the win . . .
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.AO3. TheWonderfulShoe ——— cutechick18 ——— Lovethedogs ——— Bonnie Anton ——— Amanda Gauger ——— GoodyKags
Final Thought from Caipora:
… Hell …
Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Anhanguera): I do not claim any rights to InuYasha or the characters associated with the anime/manga. Those rights belong to Rumiko Takahashi, et al. I do offer my thanks to her for creating such vivid characters for me to terrorize.