The man had taken me home with him after my little unfortunate accident. He made sure I was fed and kept warm so as not to get an infection in my arm or come down with pneumonia. He knew what was he doing, even if his treatment was rough and crude. I did not fault him for it, because he did it for me. I, who was unable to help myself.
Days passed, maybe even weeks in his care. Neither of us had spoken a word to each other. Him, content with silence and myself, still in shock, heart-broken and in denial of everything that happened so quickly. It took me awhile to come to terms with it. Maybe he understood and that was why he didn't pressure me or perhaps he was just patient enough to wait.
--The man is cunning. Everything he does has a purpose and a reason. Even taking care of a child who was not his concern. A long-term investment.
Eventually, I came to terms with the fact that my mother was gone. She had left me and was not searching for me. There was no point in wishing for such a thing anymore. It would only serve to destroy my concept of hope as a child if I did, so I locked it away and tried to forget about it. There was someone else who had wanted me by his side and that was enough to spark my will and renew hope of returning to a normal life.
--It would never be normal.
The man was the one who eventually broke the silence between us after what felt like a month of me sitting silently in his shop, only moving to follow whenever he went someplace. He had told me I was special. Explained why it was that parts of my body sometimes transformed into that of a weapon. I was asked if I could do it anytime I wanted. Of course not. I wasn't even sure what was happening to me. Everything, or at least what was necessary for me to know, was told to me. He taught me how to practice and learn to transform at will. Said that since he saved my life, I should help him a bit to repay him because he needed my help.
Of course. Why would I refuse the person I considered my hero? I nodded unconditionally and a heavy hand was placed on my head.
--He is dishonest, but he does not lie. Everything that comes out of his mouth is the truth, but he does not reveal everything. Everything he does is to keep her on his side.
Souls were something that made someone like me stronger just by consuming them. He pulled one out to show me what one looked like. A pure white-blue hue. It radiated with positive energy. He told me to eat it. I did. I felt invigorated, my head was clear and I felt like I could run around all day. Even after just the first one though, I wanted more.
A point was made very clear to me if I was to repay him. I would be given rewards if I completed my task. A soul would be provided for me, as would a place to stay for the night. He was not my guardian and he would not house me if I did not complete my task. He would not feed me nor would I gain a soul. I would be punished harshly for failure.
--Pure souls were fed on purpose. A drug to keep the demon weapon coming back.
Another thing he stressed even more intently. Knowledge was important. Appearance was important. When he did not have anything for me to do as work, I was given things to build my knowledge. Learning my alphabet, math, how to read. New clothes were provided to make me look neat. All of these benefits were provided for me so long as I successfully completed any task he gave me.
I did so, without question. Things were great for me for a couple months. The tasks he gave me were very simple. Move this. Carry that. Find this on a map. Write out my alphabet. Solve this problem. As time went on, they grew more complicated. I eventually was sent off on deliveries and pick ups for packages. Never once did I open them because I was told not to. No one minded the girl running through the crowds dressed in a way that she looked normal.
At dusk of a summer day, the time came when I failed a task for the first time. Two people who were neither the one I was supposed to deliver to approached me asking for the package. Naturally, I declined. This package was not for them. It was clear to me when I was given instructions. The concept of being robbed or mugged had never crossed my mind until that moment when it had happened to me. A little girl of barely 6.
I was dragged into a secluded spot and beaten until I lost consciousness. That's not to say I lasted long. In reality it was only a few hard blows until I passed out. When I awoke, the package was gone and my clothes that were a reward were torn in places. I stumbled my way back to the old man's shop with tears in my eyes and my small frame aching for comfort. When faced with my failure, his expression still did not change and he to, beat me for my failure. I was thrown out onto the street, the door locked behind me with him only leaving me the words that I needed to reflect on my failure.
--This was his plan to keep her chained.