I hadn't realized that I had fallen asleep again in Tiir's arms until he nudges me awake. "Kido, we're here," Tiir whispers into my ear.
I raise my head up from where I had been resting it on Tiir's shoulder and take in my surroundings. I see a huge brick building with lots of windows. A few apple trees and peach trees are scattered around, as well as some Raspberry and Blueberry bushes. A couple of other children are picking some of those berries right now. All in all, this place looks wonderful.
Even so, I'm still a bit nervous. "Tiir, are you sure they'll like me?" I ask.
"Of course they'll like you. First thing you'll do is meet our leader. Her name is Ene Lune. She bears the Torch Curse," Tiir responds.
"Huh. That's a nice name. What's the Torch Curse?" I ask.
"Bearers of the Torch Curse can see into the future, though the power eventually kills the bearer," Tiir answers.
"Oh. Is she nice?" I ask.
"Yes, she's very nice," Tiir answers.
The look on Tiir's face leads to my next question. "Do you like her? I mean, like like her?"
Tiir blushes. "Um…well…maybe…"
"Let's go inside. I wanna meet her," I laugh a bit at Tiir's face.
Tiir carries me inside the building. It takes a few minutes to even get to the room that Ene is in. Tiir places me on a chair. "Ene, I've brought another Alpha Stigma bearer. His name is Kido," Tiir introduces me.
"Um…h-hi…" I mumble, suddenly nervous.
"Hello, Kido. Don't worry. I won't bite," Ene jokes good-naturedly. The smile on her face disarms my usually heightened defenses. I find myself smiling along with her. "Now, what happened to you?" Ene asks.
My smile fades. "Dad…he'd always beat me. This time, when mom tried to protect me, he killed her. Then he tried to kill me. I had to kill him," I respond.
"It's not your fault. I know you probably blame yourself, but you need to know you couldn't have stopped it," Ene places a hand on my shoulder.
Tears fill my eyes and I let out a sob. Both Ene and Tiir envelope me in a hug as I cry in their arms. When my sobs subside, I pull out of their embrace. I wipe the tears from my eyes. "Thank you," I whisper.
"You're welcome," Ene smiles to me.
"I was thinking of introducing him to some of the other children," Tiir mentions to Ene.
"That sounds like a great idea. Go get Kenta and Saira. They can show him around," Ene agrees.
"He won't be able to play yet. He was injured pretty badly. He should be able to walk though. Kido, promise you'll take it easy," Tiir says the last bit to me.
"I promise," I reply.
Tiir picks me up and carries me outside. There, we find two children, a boy and girl. "Kenta, Saira, this is Kido. I'd like you to show him around. No playing yet. He's injured," Tiir tells them. He puts me down on the grass and heads back inside.
I turn to the kids. "Um…h-hello…Er…Tiir told you my name already…I'm an Alpha Stigma bearer…"
The boy steps forward. "Hello. My name is Kenta. I also bear the Alpha Stigma."
"My name is Saira. I bear the Iino Doue," The girl speaks next.
"Come with us. We'll show you around," Kenta beckons me to follow.
I follow them as they show me around the hideout. The tour ends at what is meant to be my room. "Kido, I know we can't play yet, but when you heal, I'd like us to get to play together," Kenta suggests.
"Okay," I reply happily. Kenta and Saira leave the room. I yawn, feeling worn out from the most recent events. I crawl in my bed. I'm asleep before my head even hits the pillow.