CHAPTER 2 ][ Found Once More

January 5, 2010
Takeo ][ CHAPTER 2 – Found Once More



Takeo bade the merchant good day as he left with his food, paid for with money from the Tribe. Takeo looked down at it in disgust; he did not think anything would taste good that was funded by their coins. Handing bits and pieces off to people standing on the street sides, Takeo continued on down the road from Hagi to Terayama. Looking back, he denied the real reason why he wasn't eating the food he bought – he couldn't. Every waking moment was spend wondering about Kaede, where she was, what she was doing, who she was talking to, if she was ok. All of his worrying made Takeo unable to eat, sleep, or be taken over by his Tribe instincts. Kikuta saw this very immediately when Takeo returned, so he was put on a break from his duties as a member of the Tribe, and sent off to live the life of a civilian.

“I know that they're watching me to see if I will run after Kaede again,” whispered Takeo to himself. “It's hard to defy them. Kikuta only sent me on this pointless journey because he thinks I'm going to try and run away, but he said that he wanted me to calm myself, and therefore I was to go on a long “walk”, so that I could go back to being the way I was.” Takeo stopped suddenly. He had been hearing the followers' footsteps, whispering, and clanking of weapons for the past few hours or so, but had grown to ignore it all. Just a moment ago, he heard a break in their noise- it was suddenly silenced after a short battle. All of it. Not one spy was left breathing, and the killer wasn't moving at all. They weren't even breathing, or he would have heard them.

Takeo braced himself without halting his stride. He did not want the person to know that he knew of their presence. Carefully, very carefully, Takeo listened closer to them when they began to move again- how heavy they were, their gender, their weapons. It was some time before he was able to do this. Takeo figured the person was trying to put enough distance between them that Takeo would not hear his follower when he started again. Takeo smiled. They were obviously not someone from the Tribe. Takeo's gifts he had from birth were stronger than they knew- his hearing could reach farther than a trained dog's, and distinguish between the tiniest things, like what the person was wearing, how they walked, their gender, all sorts of useful information. He had other traits like this, as well. The certain abilities that he had meant he had descended from the Kikuta Tribe, to whom he belonged because of it.

The person started to move. Takeo paused for a second, making it look like he had spotted something in the street interesting. His follower paused with him, then took and opportunity where Takeo was “occupied” to move closer behind him. Takeo wasn't looking at anything though, and he could almost feel that there were no trees or bushes close to his follower right this moment because they weren't blowing in the wind. Takeo spun around, ran back fifty-something yards to the person trying to follow him, and pinched his neck, all in about two seconds.

“Who are you? Why are you following me? Do you have any idea who i am and the extent of my abilities?” Takeo yelled at the person in all black clothing with no weapons. Beneath their mask, the person smiled.

“You know me. Do you not remember? Becoming angered, Takeo ripped off the black mask covering all of the person's face, other than the eyes. Jumping back in surprise and shock, Takeo stumbled on the ground, staring at the girl whom he knew so well.

“Ka-Kaede?” Takeo stuttered. He could not believe his eyes. His lost love, whom he was never supposed to see again, had found him, and killed his followers. This meant no one knew where they were, or even that they were together! Takeo realized that this was the moment that they could run away together. He looked into her eyes, determined, and she responded with a look of complete understanding. She smiled, and allowed Takeo to help her off the ground.

“So, how did you find me? Did you run away? Does Shizuka know anything?” Takeo fired questions. Kaede, grasping his hand so strongly that nothing could break it, said,

“I simply started walking, figuring that you would head in the direction of Terayama, so I started off on the road, and just now I thought I saw you buying bread and cheese, which you gave to passerby on the street.

“After you started moving again, I noticed you had a tail of about 5 men and women, and I thought that would not do if I were to see you again. I suppose you heard me silence them all?” Takeo acknowledged this with a nod, and a small smile that he kept to himself.

“Now, it's my turn to talk. Or rather, ask more questions,” Takeo started, but was interrupted by Lady Kaede.

“Takeo, you may ask questions if you like, but if we are to live together unnoticed or seen by the Tribe, which claims you with such ferocity, we must move to a place we will not be seen by watchful eyes.” Dragging Takeo along with her, Kaede showed him a valley just beyond a little mountain off the road to Terayama. Letting him take it in slowly, Takeo observed the green grass everywhere, the flowers of every kind and color, the rolling hills to one side and the snowcapped mountains to the other, and the enormity of it all.

“This whole scene, it's beautiful Kaede, but we can't stay here.” Takeo said, turning around to face her. His face was sad, and it seemed he was thinking of sometime in the past.

Kaede argued. “Why not? It's perfect, it's out of the way of the road, no one would expect us to be so close, it's got wonderful surroundings and weather all year round, and it's very hidden. We could live here all our lives and never be found.” Her voice was steady, she made some good points. Takeo was unmoving though.

“We... we just can't.” Kaede dropped the subject. Looking around, she started to survey the terrain of the big meadow. A plan slowly forming in her mind, she spoke again.

“Well, if this is not where we live, it could very well be where we hide all valuable possessions of ours.” Pointing to the mountainside, she said, If we lived in the foothills of those mountains, it would not be a long journey to here.” Turning around to the hillside where there were pockets of grass and soil, Kaede continued, “In there would be some weapons, provisions, maybe some food if we are ever discovered and need to make away with little.” Finally spinning in a circle, her hands in the air, Kaede finished. “And the surroundings hide this little peaceful valley beautifully!”

Done with her speech, she turned to Takeo. He was examining some of the flowers scattered throughout grass. Looking up when he realized Kaede had stopped talking, Takeo showed her a small blue flower. It had 4 bulbs on it, about the size of a baby's palm. They were hanging loosely from a green stem, packed with tons of leaves toward the bottom.

“This,” Takeo started, “this is a Morning Glory flower. The bulbs provide good food, but the juice in the stems and leaves is poisonous. They're worth a lot on the market these days; If we sell all we can collect from this valley, you and I could make a good profit, good enough to start a life where you want to in the mountains.” He smiled at Kaede. She smiled back and embraced him in a hug, and stepping away after a little bit. They were still standing very close.

Takeo and Kaede looked into each other's eyes. The world seemed to stop for those two in the meadow. Takeo couldn't look away, and slowly, ever so slowly, he leaned forward, and met her lips. Sparks flew like the first time they had been together. Kaede's eyes drifted closed out of bliss, and slowly the simple, harmless kiss between them grew to something more intense, and it continued that way until they were both laying on the meadow ground. Takeo was on top of Kaede, and they slowly undressed themselves, never faltering their kiss for more than a few seconds. Finally when they were both bare as the grass itself, Takeo made love to Kaede, and she made love in return.





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