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Anyhoo, without further adoo, your chapter is served.
Installment 15: Tattoo Master
The day came that we had all been waiting for-Shylar was finally getting his tattoo.
"Will it hurt?" He asked. I rolled my eyes, looking up from my book. We were in a carriage, all five of us, heading downtown to see the Tattoo Master.
"Yes, it will hurt. You'll be wishing they'd just amputate your arm." I replied, totally dead-pan. Shylar went white until Ezekiel cleared his throat.
"Shylar, you may want to record this historic moment. Kier just made a joke."
I gave a tiny smirk at the bespectacled man. "I never said I didn't have a sense of humor."
Shylar looked a little embarrassed at not being able to tell as I turned back to him. "Really, it feels more...intense than anything. Like you have liquid energy being poured under your skin."
"Huh." We sat in silence for awhile until Ash and Ezekiel broke the silence by talking about business. Monica slipped an arm around Shylar and smiled comfortingly, and for some reason, that irked me a little. I was the one doing most of his training, not her.
...where the hell did that come from? We were all training him equally. I shook that from my head, thinking that I was being irrational and going back to my book.
"Ok, I'm just gonna warn you Shylar, don't be afraid of Dr. Mellaus."
"...why are you saying that?"
"Well, the doctor can be a little...eccentric."
"What does that even mean?"
Silence. I finally looked up and sighed. "You'll see for yourself, because we're there." I flicked my head at the sign as we pulled up to the end of a narrow street. I was right. We were at the right station.
We all got off and tromped down the streets. This part of town was...weird. All the buildings looked as though they had been built by a drunk contractor, because they leaned in odd directions and were painted clashing colors. We finally came to a building with each floor tilted in a different direction, and painted a dusty old brown color. Ash knocked on the door, and it creaked open. We stepped in, Shylar clearly nervous. I listened hard, knowing what to expect. After all, I came here more than the others.
A burst of high-pitched laughing came from behind us, making us jump as the door closed, revealing a tall, abnormally skinny man behind it, a blindfold over his eyes. His skin was pasty white, his hair was white, yet he seemed to be about middle-age if anything. He was grinning, another strange, high pitched laugh issuing forth. Ash sighed, sticking out his hand. "How do you do, Dr. Mellaus."
"Ah, Ash Woods, how good it is to hear you. Your tattoo seems quite agitated, though."
Ash laughed nervously, rubbing his collar where his tattoo lay. "Only when I'm scared out of my wits."
The doctor's head swung around to look in the direction of Monica and Ezekiel. "Ah, hello you two. You both seem to be well, yes?"
They both nodded slowly, despite the fact that he could not see them. Mellaus turned towards me, a small smile playing on his thin lips. "Ah, Kier. It's certainly been awhile."
I nodded slowly as Shylar looked more and more weirded out. Mellaus reached out and touched his shoulder lightly, apparently surprising the guy. I didn't blame him-it took me awhile to understand Mellaus as well. "And you...you must be the new one." His face brightened up. "I can hear the blood in your vile. It sounds quite fierce." The smile grew wider. "I look forward to giving you your tattoo."
Shylar smiled shakily as the doctor released him, spinning and walking down a hallway. Shylar slipped next to me as we walked. "Kier...is he the Tattoo Master?"
I snorted. "That's why we brought you here, right?"
Shylar looked forward, then back at me. "But...he's blind."
"Why, that's a requirement!" We both jumped (yes, so did I) as Mellaus called back at us. "All Tattoo Masters must be blind. We give up our sight so that we can best channel the blood the way it must be tamed-unless you prefer someone with eyes who will botch the job." He added slyly.
Shylar kept his mouth shut until we arrived in the tattoo room. It was exceedingly clean, with several tables set up, tools at each one. Two people sat at another table, a boy and a girl. Twins, it looked like, and nearly identical.
The doctor gestured towards them. "Mata, Rekaus, please prepare Shylar for his tattoo."
They nodded, bobbing their heads as they pulled him over to a chair gently. As they began explaining the procedure to him in their strange dual-monotone (yeah, one guess why Mellaus picked them as his apprentices), I felt a light tap on my shoulder. "Ah, Kier, if you could help me please?"
I knew Mellaus was just trying to get me alone, but I nodded. I exchanged a glance with Ash, who nodded as I followed the doctor out of the room. I knew why the doctor was really pulling me aside, and Ash knew enough to understand.
Walking down the hall, we arrived in a small, surprisingly cozy room. As we entered, a change came over the doctor. He pulled off his blindfold, revealing milky eyes. He hadn't been lying when he had told Shylar that all the Masters were blind-they had to be to handle the Monster Blood the way they did.
He gestured for me to sit down as he took a sip from a small flask. I smelled jasmine and mango-really, who drinks tea out of a hip flask? I waited patiently as he finished with a sigh. "I must say, Kier, your Tattoo is much louder than usual. It almost drowned out the others."
I scowled, looking away. "Did you find anything?"
The doctor shook his head, gesturing to the books on his desk. "I've gone back to even older records, up to five hundred years ago, but I'm still not aware of any situations quite like yours. I did find a couple of new remedies for a Wild Tattoo, but, uh, I don't think you want to try them."
I rolled my eyes. "Let me guess, burning or cutting again?"
"Actually, it was a recipe to liquefy the Tattoo." His mouth twisted in a grimace. "Unfortunately, it also liquefies the skin that the Tattoo is anchored on."
I closed my eyes, trying not to let my irritation show. I had been so hoping this time...
"May I inspect it?" Mellaus asked calmly. I shrugged, turning around and unzipping my layers until a good chunk of my back was exposed. Mellaus was blind-even if he could hear my Tattoo, he could never see it and understand just how horrible it was, and in any case, he was the only person alive who might have any inkling of what to do about it.
I could sense his hand hovering just over the outlines of the thing, drifting up and down as he got a clearer picture. "It certainly is agitated. Has anything changed ever since I last saw you?"
I shrugged a little. "Shylar saw it. Does that count?"
I turned to see Mellaus' surprised face. "I'm surprised he was able to with your vigilance."
My jaw set a little as I yanked my shirt back on. "Trust me, it was an accident. It's not happening again."
Mellaus crossed his arms. "I was able to calm it, but I don't know how much longer that will continue to pacify it."
I looked down at the patterned floor. "I know." I replied softly.
Before we could say anything else, there was a soft knock on the door. Mellaus opened it to reveal Mata, his female apprentice. "Yes?"
"Erm...we're having trouble prepping a site for a Tattoo base. It looks like there's already one set up."
The doctor frowned. "But no Wild Tattoo?"
"No, there isn't one."
He walked out, apparently curious about Shylar. I followed a moment later, shoving all of my darker thoughts to the back of my mind.
Installment 16: Becoming a Hunter
The male apprentice was passing his hand over me, and suddenly grabbed my arm, frowning. He pushed my left sleeve up, revealing the oddly colored scar that had replaced my werewolf bite. The flesh was sunken in there, and the skin that had grown over it was strange colors-not the pale brown that usually covered old wounds, only slightly lighter than my dusty skin, but deep brown, reddish, black.
"What is this?" He asked, and I was surprised at the almost anger on his face, although his voice was still mono-tone.
"I-it's where the werewolf bit me." I said, and he nodded, frowning.
"A partial tattoo. Half wild, half tame. Interesting." He said, and the others exchanged glances. I wondered if I should be worried about this.
"Ah...is it a problem?" I asked, and he shook his head.
"No. Your real tattoo will likely stamp out any remaining wildness of it." he said, going back to arranging things for me. I felt a bit nervous, but as per instructed, I set my shirt on a chair, perching on the edge of a smooth wooden table.
"He is ready, Master." The apprentice said, and the blind man re-entered the room, blindfold absent to reveal milky green eyes. The apprentice pushed me down onto my back suddenly, and I felt my heartbeat spike sharply as I tensed and resisted the motion automatically.
"Good gracious, child, don't be so jumpy!" The master said with a tipsy chuckle, and I smiled weakly. Monica gave me a comforting smile, and Ash nodded at me. I took a deep breath and relaxed as the Master did something with the vial of reddish-brown liquid that was werewolf blood.
"Are you prepared, boy?" He asked, and I stilled my nerves, nodding softly. I was oddly calm, now, and I felt the thing on my left arm itch as if in anticipation of receiving fulfillment.
I felt a cold metal tip on my wrist, and closed my eyes and took another breath. Suddenly a feeling unlike anything I had ever experienced flared from my wrist, and spread up my arm into my shoulder. It was...pure energy, painful and tingling, and it sent shivers down my spine. It reached my heart and shot through my entire body suddenly, making me gasp in elation. I was shivering, trembling and almost convulsing from the amount of power coursing through my veins, and I felt my voice call out in shock. Something inside of me grinned as it felt the bestial creature stirring inside of me, and I shivered with something other than the unbelievable feeling. I felt it explore every corner of my body before finding the partial tattoo in my arm and pooling there for a moment. Then the most intense tingling spread up my arm, winding around it until it made itself comfortable and settled, the extreme sensation fading to a dull throb and tingle throughout my entire body. I was panting and even sweating from the exertion, and the Master stood up, his job complete.
"Wow." I gasped, and the others laughed, clapped or cheered in support as I went to sit up. But my limbs felt like jelly, and I would have probably fallen off of the table if a pair of gloved hands hadn't stopped me, helping me regain my balance.
"Oi, no fair! Your tattoo is so cool!" Monica's voice said, and I finally looked down at my left arm.
On my shoulder was a beautiful stylized sun, pulsating with its own light. One of the swirling rays stretched down and wound around my arm, growing lighter in color gradually, and by about my elbow it had faded into a thin silver ribbon, curling into little swirls before it connected to an equally beautiful stylized crescent moon perfectly encircling my scar, which had faded to light mocha.
"It looks very good." Ezekiel said, and Ash nodded in agreement. I smiled at them, the feeling of something almost alive connected to my skin a little disconcerting.
"It fits you." Another voice said, and I looked up to see Kier with...well, not a full-out smile, but I suppose it was Kier's version of a little grin.
"Oh my gosh, I have the best idea ever for your new uniform!" Monica squealed, and Ash shushed her as the Master stood in front of me.
"Well done, young Hunter." He said with a grin, and he extended his hand to shake. I took it, surprised at how weak my grip was. Monica and Ash were getting a bit of cabin fever-apparently it had taken longer for my tattoo to settle than I had realized-and left the room on Ezekiel's orders, going outside so they wouldn't break anything, and the Master inspected my tattoo with a gentle hand passed over it.
"Hm. A very unique mark. It has two distinctly different personalities-as do you, I think." He said with a smile, and I smiled slightly, hesitantly. That was a secret I would rather keep to myself. A soft voice murmured a sleepy protest in my mind, which I shushed.
"A very...energetic tattoo as well. This one will serve you well." He said, and I nodded, noticing that the displeasure I had originally felt from the tattoo was fading to be replaced by a kind of contentment.
"Good day then." He said, patting my hand and turning abruptly out of the room. I slid to the edge of the table and stood up, but my knees gave out with a tremor. I toppled forward and was suddenly surrounded by someone's arms. I had closed my eyes to brace for impact, and I opened them in surprise to see a pair of dusky blue-grey ones only inches from mine. I yelped and backpedalled as I realized I had fallen directly onto the silent shadow who had been standing in the corner-Kier.
"Sorry, sorry!" I amended, and he straightened his coat, shivering slightly.
"It...it was an accident. I won't kill you on your first day as an official Hunter." He said quietly, and I smiled in relief.
"Alright then, um...thanks. We should probably go home now-I want to sleep for a month."
He handed me my shirt, and we went out to where the others were already waiting.
And that was the day I became a Hunter.
Yay tattoos! Shylar's is fantastic…I want one…
Anyhow, please review and tell me what you think once in a while, I love you!