"Ugh...Its you..." Dr. Kobayashis tone when he spoke those words along with his facial expression suggested that this new guest was not someone he was fond of. Rather he seemed to say it like someone would when they look at a plate of food they found unappetizing.
Stepping from the doors threshold was a woman of tan complexion. Brilliant amber eyes with slitted pupils scoured the room with quick movements before fixating on Kaito who was now pushing himself off the ground, trying to wipe the blood from his face. It was at the moment when her eyes centered on him that he instinctively froze.
Something was wrong. He didn have to turn and face her to be consumed with sudden fear. Like a foal caught in the gaze of a leopard, it was something instinctual within him that urged him to stay still.
This woman didn seem to be human. While racked in fear, Kaito was the only one who didn notice the beast-like features, a pair of spotted feline ears accompanied by a tail that swayed in anticipation.
Based on her face she was younger than Kaitos mother, perhaps in her early 20s, with vivid blonde hair. Her choice of robes was significantly…less modest than Dr. Kobayashi as it was clear she cared about her appearance. The main difference between her cohort was her emblem, while similar in design, was plated in gold.
"You didn think you were going to hide this and steal all the fun, did you Kobayashi?" she inquired sarcastically.
"Id much prefer if you didn show up at all" Dr. Kobayashis retort was quick and cold though not as cold as the ice that had moments ago just barely skewered him. With the same cloth he had cleaned his glasses earlier, he wiped the blood that was slowly sliding down the wound that Akane had left on his face.
"And who the hell is she?!" Tetsuo blurted out in clear frustration over the inability to obtain control over the spiraling situation, sword still clutched in his hands.
"Oh, of course. Excuse me for not introducing her. This is my colleague Akiko Kioka. She is the one who can most certainly treat your son." Even throughout this ordeal, this man was still trying to convince the parents that this woman, who he knew firsthand to be someone hed rather never have to deal with again, was someone that could be trusted.
"I don want this disgusting woman anywhere near my son." Akanes intuition told her that Kioka was not exactly someone who was of sound mind, especially with how she looked at her child. She would be immediately proven right.
Kioka was visually and audible breathing heavier with each passing moment. She eyed Kaito intently and it was clear she had less than acceptable things in mind.
Dr. Kobayashi cleared his throat audibly to try to draw the attention of the room. "H-ha you see. Mrs. Kioka is an incredibly talented sorceress. I suppose you could say that she is incredibly…fine-tuned…when sensing magic."
The doctor tried his best to de-escalate the situation but the noises that Kioka was making didn help.
This wretched woman was visibly biting her bottom lip all the while making noises that would make a brothel owner blush. Through her eyes and throughout her body it was certain she could see and sense something that even Dr. Kobayashi couldn .
"..Its so wonderful…" Kioka uttered whilst stepping closer to Kaito who instinctively tried to crawl backward only to be stopped by the leg of a table against his back. "I can see the bottom…" she continued before Dr. Kobayashi again interjected.
"REST ASSURED! She is not talking about your son, shes talking about the flow of magic!" The Doctor was desperately trying to make sure there was no sexual connotation to her words but with how Kioka was delivering them there was no way it was a convincing argument.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Tetsuo was the first one to question what Dr. Kobayashi stated, given his stigma against magic.
"Like I said previously your son has The Gift. It was what allows one to use magic in the first place. Kioka has confirmed that he has the potential of becoming an incredible Sorcerer." Dr. Kobayashi tried to explain in laymans terms what it meant to be born with The Gift.
"My son is NOT a Sorcerer". The grip on Tetsuos blade was tight enough to turn his knuckles white. The possibility of his son being part of the types of individuals he had faced before clearly did not sit well with him.
"Why don you ask your Wife? She is a Sorcerer. She surely mustve known from the beginning. All Sorcerers can feel magic unless its purposely trying to be hidden from us." It was Kioka that responded this time, to which her gaze had finally let up on the boy. It allowed him to exhale a heavy breath, she seemed to have a different form of entertainment now.
"...Its true. How wouldn I know, I gave birth to him". Akane admitted to which Tetsuo was in immediate shock.
"Thats not possible! You never said anything!"
"Of course I couldn say anything. You know full well why I couldn tell you!"
"But he is OUR son!"
Seeing his parents argue in this manner was not typical. It only served to further convince him that he was the source of a lot of their stress that they didn vocalize around him.
"While Id love to stay and listen to this lovely family argument, we came here for a reason. We are offering a way to treat your son." Unlike Kioka, Dr. Kobayashi didn want to stay cooped up in the countryside any longer and tried to hurry them along.
"...And how much is this treatment going to cost exactly" Tetsuo seemed to have reverted back to the military bearing that was drilled into him during the service.
"Oh, you don need to pay us, rather-"
"Hurry the hell up Kobayashi and just tell them we are taking their son"
"..You crazy bitch.." Tetsuo was reaching his breaking point. It was at such a degree that his internal energy had already begun to warp and take an initial shape around his blade.
"What Kioka means is that we cannot conduct the treatment here. At any, time the Inquisition can perform a search and discover your son. He will either be indoctrinated by the church or killed."
It was true, Tetsuo could not deny this. He had worked hand in hand with the Inquisition before and knew exactly what they did to Sorcerers. The difference now was that his son is a potential target.
"So you think that means you can just take -"
"Father…I should go." Finally having the courage to speak it was clear in Kaitos voice there was a mixture of sorrow and acceptance.
"Kaito you don -"
"What other choices do I have? If what they say is true then I wouldn be able to stay even if I wanted to."
There was a moment of silence. They knew that they were only biding time at this point. At times like these, his parents wished he would act more like a child.
"He won be without correspondence. But it is imperative we do this as soon as possible". Dr. Kobayashi was already making his way toward the door, helping lift Kaito to his feet.
It seems as though all at once their lives would be irreparably changed.
Koika clapped her hands with a grin "Wonderful! Now that everything is out of the way we shall take your little bundle of joy and begin treatment immediately".
With no other sounds coming from either party, Kaito silently walked away from his parents and out to the carriage that waited for them outside. It was if they knew they were going to succeed in taking him.
Kaito wouldn have known it, but it was only after his village started becoming smaller in the distance that his mother cried into his fathers arms for the first time in years.
Kaito was seated in the back of the carriage while Dr. Kobayashi and Kioka were discussing something amongst themselves. This didn last long however as Kioka decided to join Kaito in the back of the carriage.
The look that Dr. Kobayashi gave Kaito was not reassuring. In fact, Dr. Kobayashi uttered a few words, waving his hand in their direction, similar to the display he did at the childs home. This time, however, Kaito couldn really tell if anything truly happened.
"So little one, lets get started" Kioka lifted her sleeves like one would if they didn want to get their sleeves wet.
"Get what started? I thought we left because we had to do the procedure at a certain place."
Kioka laughed heartily and that same terrifying grin appeared on her face. "No sweetheart. I could do the procedure wherever, its simply that I don think your parents would agree to it" Kioka began to reach in with her right hand, extending her index finger to lay it upon his chest.
The moment her finger made contact, Kaitos body immediately lock up. He fell on his back, mouth open and veins swelled visibly on his body. It was as if all the air left his lungs.
Even when he managed to gasp for breath, the searing pain was relentless, as if he was being cooked over a large bonfire alive. He didn even notice the pain of his fingernails that cracked and lifted up, bloodied and mangled from how he clawed at the ground.
Kaito could both see and feel something crawling underneath his skin, bubbling up from deep within. Something was happening to his body and the overwhelming agony that resulted only pulled the most guttural screams from the childs throat.
However, no one would hear him. Even the birds didn stir. His howls of pain would never penetrate the barrier that Dr. Kobayashi had erected to keep the sound contained.
Despite the sound not coming through the cabin of the carriage, he could feel Kaito spasming and slamming on the ground, desperately trying to escape the pain. Dr. Kobayashi visibly winced. He didn have to imagine the pain he was going through, just looking at his hands was enough of a reminder.
All the while this child scrambled and writhed in pain, Kioka watched in twisted ecstasy. The 2 things that excited her the most were strong magic and watching the effects of her experiments.
Even as the boy began foaming at the mouth and slipping in and out of consciousness due to the sheer amount of pain he was experiencing, she relished every moment.
"Oh silly me. I had almost forgotten to answer you. What I have done is a spell from the Path of Fire called Burning Vigor. It trades ma-" Kioka suddenly cut herself off when she noticed something.
Kaito had started to get quieter and his eyes began to glaze over. She clicked her tongue in annoyance and with a series of hand movements that were accompanied by a trailing lime-hued glow energy engulfed the boy. After a short silence, Kaito was back to screaming his lungs out.
"Don you know its rude dying on someone who is trying to explain something to you? Now, where was I... Ah yes, Burning Vigor."
"A sorcerer who utilizes Burning Vigor burns away their magical energy in order to enhance and supplement their physical body. We magic users typically aren ones for a physical confrontation so this spell helps close the gap between our less fortunate and less gifted opposition."
"It isn even my magic that is hurting you…"
Kioka proceeded to lean in close and whisper into his ears "Its yours. You are doing this to yourself." She ran a hand down the childs face who was sweating profusely and whose voice box was now so torn that what escaped him could barely be called a scream.
"Don worry sweetie. I won let you die…Once we reach our destination in 3 days we can move on to the next step." She smiled at the boy whose thoughts swam of having to endure this torture for the next 72 hours.
Long days and sleepless nights blended together, in a seemingly never-ending cycle of pain and healing. He was at this bitchs mercy.