Chapter 5: Saved

Keitaro was holding Hadrian over his shoulder. He tsked.

"Oi Keitaro! How the hell did that gaki ask for help?!" His partner yelled over the rushing of leaves.

He grit his teeth. If things continued like this the Special Ops would learn that the two of them had kidnapped a kid in their territory, and it'd be all over for them. They'd be killed, or worse tortured.

Keitaro glared at him.

"What do you want me to do?!" he snarled. "I didn't expect SOps to appear, or the kid to break the rope and holler."

Both of the men knew that SOps wouldn't attack them without reason, at worst watching over and making sure they don't cause problems but by the way they're chasing them, they know what they did.

The simple fact they were from Kumo should have made them safe, but between this incident and the previous one involving a failed kidnapping of the Byakka heiress that ended with one casualty, three strikes were up. They. Were. Dead!

There had been rumors of a new Bloodline having popped up in the forest where they got the kid. People talked about a strange toddler sleeping or playing in the water, then people would try to approach him, and a blue mist would surround him and the child would disappear, like a ghost.

Naturally, this caused some rumors and Kumo wanted his team to investigate and if possible, take the child back with them. Obviously the rumors were true. No way the kid's ears and tail weren't some outrageous new Bloodline Ability.

Keitaro knew there was something off about this mission, that they didn't tell him all the necessary information, but he was a Shinobi, he didn't dare to ask. It wasn't difficult to know Kumo wants the boy for themselves even if they have to kidnap him from Fire Country.

"Shit!" a familiar voice cursed, making Keitaro stop and turn around.

His teammate was surrounded by SOps, a knife on his neck holding him in place.

"Don't be stupid, run!" his teammate growled at him when he saw Keitaro stopping.

Keitaro looked at his teammate, his eyes darkening before he started running again, faster. He wasn't strong enough to fight even one SOp.

He closed his eyes when he heard his teammate screaming but ignored it and ran faster, his mind twirling with different feelings until finally, one of them won. He stopped and looked around until he saw a tree with a well-hidden hole in the trunk, he bit his lip before deciding to leave the child in it, making sure he can't scream for help.

Keitaro really wants to complete this mission but… he can't abandon his teammate, even if it means he'll die.


Hadrian looked in confusion as Keitaro set him down in a hollow and grabbed a clump of dirt, pressing it between both hands. Separating them, a small mud bird hopped out. He handed the bird a scroll and it flew away. Hadrian was intrigued. Could he do stuff like that in the future? He went to leave, but stopped, remembering something. He took out a strip of cloth, and tied it around Hadrian's head, blindfolding him. Just great.

From the sound alone, he had just gone to help his friend. Hadrian couldn't understand why the man ran back toward his own death, Keitaro was stupid by doing something like that after all, who says that the black-haired man will do the same thing for him, that his teammate will not betray him?

To him, Keitaro was naïve and stupid.

He shook his head, deciding to get back on track and find a way to resolve his own problems. These stupid ropes hardly let him move, this time the ropes were thicker, it would take hours to bite it off, and even his eyes were taken care of! The worst part is Keitaro left Hadrian in the tree trunk without anything to protect himself…

He groaned and wiggled like a worm, starting to gnaw those stupid ropes


Hadrian had been waiting for at least two hours, trying to move and bite off those ropes. It was psychological torture not being able of seeing nor talking. His toddler body was growing tired, and he was starting to drift asleep.

He was half-asleep when he suddenly hears a crunch near him, making him turn alert, forcing himself to calm down and to discern from where the noise came and more importantly, what caused it.

Was it an enemy or an ally?

He wasn't stupid, and he knew that there aren't just humans around here, but animals too, predators. The noise became louder, walking his way, the smell of blood attacked Hadrian's nose and it was followed by a low growl.

Bloody. Hell.

He frantically tried to use his other senses to determine what exactly was approaching him. Many animals could navigate on hearing or smell alone… course, Hadrian is bound, but still. He could decern that the animal was on four legs, and was large, and covered in blood.

The animal continued walking until Hadrian could feel the disgusting breath of the animal on his face. He doesn't know what will happen; the animal could lose interest in Hadrian, or kill him, he may play with him like a cat plays with an insect it caught.

He stilled when he felt the animal's cold nose touching his face, going lower until it stopped on his neck, the animal growled and continued trailing down until the touched his shirt, which he bit into and pulled Hadrian out of the tree. It was a bumpy ride, being pulled over sticks and rocks.

"Hng…"

Hadrian groaned in pain when his head collided with something hard; the animal stopped walking for some seconds, just the time of growling menacingly to him before continuing again. Hadrian was growing annoyed, what the hell did that mutt want!?

"AAAwwUuuuuu!"

Oh!

Oh…

It was a wolf. Wolves traveled in packs. This one was probably taking him back to it's pack to snack on him. To say Hadrian was growing worried would be understandable, he doesn't want to become the dinner of a pack of wolves, after all. He started thrashing around, using all his force to try and get free of the ropes, which didn't help at all, only losing him stamina quickly.

If only I was still a Mage! He thought, annoyed, then stilled. Wait, I am! I just use Mantra instead of Aether!

He can feel it, under his skin, so he tried to force it to move toward the ropes, it was a difficult thing to do, and sometimes the Mantra would slip away from his control, he continued and continued trying until finally, the Mantra decided to move toward the areas he was commanding it to go.

After some seconds he got the Mantra to do something, sadly, not what Hadrian would have liked it to do, the area where he forced the Mantra to work was burning -it hurts, it hurts!- and he could start to smell roasted meat. The roped were burning too though.

Well, the wolf should thank him for cooking himself for them.

Hadrian wanted to scream. In the background, he could hear the wolf whining and something massive falling with a 'thump' but his head was full of pain, and he couldn't pay much attention to it, he has more important things to take care of, like the fact that a fire was eating him alive!

It's while whining and trying to stop that pain that he felt someone's arms around his tiny body, the fire having been patted out, the arms were significant compared to him, but they were not quite an adult's.

"It will all be okay… calm down…" the voice crooned at him. The voice sounded familiar.

Hadrian couldn't understand what the person was saying; he did learn some words but not the entire language!

He sighed in relief when his body started hurting, he didn't want to let his fate to someone he doesn't know but his instinct told him to calm down, he is safe, and his instinct wouldn't lie to him, would it?

He isn't fragile; he doesn't want people to think he is weak, he will be powerful in the future, he will show them he isn't weak so for the moment… can he show some weakness…?

He looked up through half open eyes, the last thing he saw was red before falling asleep, falling into Orpheus' awaiting grasp.


When Hadrian opened his eyes, he wasn't in the forest anymore, and his body didn't hurt. Looking around, he was in a white room, laying on a bed. He spotted a window, so, got off the bed and climbed up onto the windowsill. It was closed, and locked.

Grumbling, he lowered himself back down. He looked down at himself, finding that someone had changed his clothes while he was out, replacing his torn shirt with a green hoodie that fell just above his knees. Based on the feeling, his injuries and burns had been healed as well -it would appear that this world had healing just as good as his previous one.

He shrugged and walked toward the door to find it was closed too; he sighed then looked one last time around the room, it was small, one bed at the right, a window, a door, on the floor a square tapestry and… his ears perked up, a box full of toys!


If there was something Hound didn't expect when he walked into the floor was to see Hadrian playing with a ball, his back to the floor, his legs up in the air and giggling. Hound didn't move, drinking this scene as he felt something in his heart he couldn't name, this child was so innocent after all that happened to him… compared to Hound, who closed his heart even to those who wanted to help him.

It was some seconds after Hound walked into the room that Hadrian caught his smell, he stood up in alarm and looked around the room while growling, his eyes locked onto the masked man, whose silver hair defied gravity.

Hadrian didn't stop growling, looking up at Hound in suspicion, he didn't attack because he knew those person saved him, so he just moved to the corner of the room, crouching down in a defensive stance, monitoring his movements.

"Shiranui-Sama wishes to speak with you." He said in his normal monotone.

Hadrian tilted his head in confusion, he didn't understand what Shiranui means, but he knew that Japanese adds the honorific "-sama" when they talk about important or respectable people, right?

He groaned slowly, letting his body fall into a sitting position, letting his guard down knowing if the man had really wanted to kill him, he would be already dead. Dreymehr should have told him to learn Japanese instead of telling him your destiny is in the Nexus; he should have investigated more about it instead of talking about creatures he couldn't even see!

Because yes, after Luna told him about the destiny thing, they just started talking about invisible creatures and Ice cream, how did they finish talking about Ice cream?

Don't. Ask.

While Hadrian was in his own world with his own thoughts, Hound looked at him, trying to discern if the small Kitsune was a danger to the village or had evil intentions. When Hadrian saw the man walking his way, he puffed his tail and growled again, warning him not to come near him, his mouth open showing his pointy canines. Hound stopped walking toward him and just stood there. After some seconds, Hound decided to turn around and walk out the room, feeling the suspicious eyes of Hadrian on his back.