One is lost again...
"Dammit! Here we go again! You'd think she be as big as a fucking house as much as she eats!" Mugen grumbled to himself as they walked along.
"You BAKA!" she shouted at him. He couldn't just talk about her like that!
They had started walking soon after breakfast this morning, and it was now evening.
"I'm not sure Fuu. If we don't find one shortly though, we'll have to camp in the forest again tonight."
I sure am hungry, she was thinking, as her stomach let out a loud growl.
"Ugh!" She couldn't wait to eat!
"Maybe we should play a game or something to take our minds of off our hunger," she said.
"What's with this our shit?! I haven't heard anyone else hear complaining, baka," Mugen said, just loud enough for her to hear.
"Calm down you two."
You really would have thought that those two would have at least matured a little bit by now. But no, already name-calling like two year olds. It was comforting though, that so much time could pass and things could stay normal. It really was very reassuring. Jin appreciated that fact, he'd had more than enough surprises and changes to last a lifetime. He remembered back at the dojo, killing his master, that had definitely been a surprise. He really wished things could have turned out differently. That had been one very defining moment in his life. Because of those few seconds, he was now hunted. He had to watch over his shoulder at every turn. He couldn't even remember how many of his fellow students had died by his hand now. Because of those few seconds, he was now a ronin, he had no lord and master to serve. Because of those few seconds, he could never settle down in one place for very long. If he stayed too long in any one place his past would always catch up with him. Because of those few seconds, he would probably never have a family of his own. What kind of man would he be if he brought a wife or children into this feud? It seemed as if the number of people coming after him was limitless. He had already killed more students than he ever remembered studying with at the dojo. Ah well, one cannot change the past just by wishing it. Jin pulled himself out of his memories and realized that Fuu was beaming her shoe straight at the back of Mugens' head.
Mugen grabbed his head and started yelling.
"Stupid Bitch! What the hell is your problem now?!"
"I'm ready to stop if you two are. I really want to find a spring and take a nice bath."
He could hear Mugen still grumbling about the shoe.
"That's fine with me Fuu. I'll find firewood while you bathe and you can cook while I take a turn."
"That sounds great Jin."
Fuu was very agreeable at the moment.
"Mugen why don't you be finding something for her to cook."
Mugen walked off into the forest by the side of the road.
"I'll be back soon Jin, and thank you."
Fuu walked into the forest on the other side of the road.
Giving a sigh of relief, Jin followed after Fuu until he found a nice camping spot and began to set up camp. It was so nice to be alone, so quiet and peaceful. How odd though, a few days ago when he'd been alone he'd been lonely, now, just knowing that they were nearby, he wasn't lonely at all.
Fuu walked a little ways through the forest until she heard bubbling water. Following the sound, she jumped in delight when she found a nice hot spring. Pulling off her kimono, she folded it and stacked it on a rock. Sticking her toe in she sighed as she found it to be perfect.
"This is the life," Fuu said to herself.
Walking forward, she realized that the spring was only about knee deep. She sat down and leaned her back against a big rock that sat near the middle of the spring. Closing her eyes, she felt herself drift off.
Fuu jerked awake as she felt something touch her mouth. Someone had stuffed a scarf in her mouth!
"Shut up stupid bitch! You're going with us now, we have big plans for you!"
She saw that the man was huge and hairy. He kind of reminded her of a troll. His companion was a small wiry guy, with a face that looked sort of like a rodent.
She tried to scream when she felt them pick her up and tie her hands. They tied her ankles, then the troll threw her over his shoulder and started off through the forest.
She tried to scream again as she realized that they were heading away from the road.
She tried to knee the troll man in the back, when that didn't work she tried to head butt him with her head.
"Stupid Bitch! You're gonna be sorry if you don't hold still," the troll man snarled in her ear.
"Stupid! They never want to listen do they?!"
She heard the smaller man come up behind her and felt a pain shoot through the back of her head. Her last thought before everything went black was that she hoped she would see Jin and Mugen again...
"What the hell is she doing? She must have fallen asleep in her bath! She needs to get her ass back here and cook our dinner, the stupid baka!"
Mugen grumbled some more as he watched Jin tending the fire. He looked over to where the two fat rabbits he had caught and skinned were hanging from the tree limbs. His stomach growling loudly, he started cussing again.
"She needs to get her fat ass back here now!"
"Maybe we should go and get her. I'm sure she didn't mean to fall asleep."
As always Jin was the quiet voice of reason. Out of the two of them he was usually the one who excused her behavior whenever the baka screwed up.
"Why don't you go look. I'm tired of dealing with that stupid girl."
He didn't know why he acted this way. He really didn't. Fuu was the only female he had ever cared about as far as he could remember. But he knew what happened if you let a girl get too close, they started getting ideas in the stupid little heads. He had forgotten that while he was sick, but he forced himself to remember it now.
"You watch the fire and I'll go and fetch her."
He watched as Jin stood up to leave. Always graceful, always calm, cool and collected. The only time he'd ever seen Jin lose his cool was over that Shino woman. What had ever happened to her anyways?
"Hey Jin. Whatever happened to that whore you took to that island? I thought you were going back for her after her three years."
"That is none of your concern Mugen, and please don't refer to her as a whore. She was very kind to me, and I don't know about you, but in my world that is a rarity."
He knew what Jin was talking about. People were never just nice to you for no reason. They always wanted something from you. It had taken him a long time to trust his two companions, they were the only ones that seemed to accept him for what he was. They were still the only two people he could say that he trusted.
"I'll be back soon," Jin said as he walked out of the campsite.
Sitting down, Mugen closed his eyes and wished for a nice glass of sake to round out the day. If he drank enough he could always kill all the feelings roiling through his body. He could numb himself and not worry about anything. It was great when you could sit and have no regrets, no worries. Too bad the only thing to drink around here was water. Ah well, Mugen closed his eyes and leaned back against a tree trunk, easily falling into sleep.
Jin walked a little ways into the forest and stopped to listen. All was quiet and still and he could hear water gurgling in the distance, off to his left. That must be were she went, he thought to himself.
Walking towards the water, Jin became aware of how unnaturally still this part of the forest was. as if something had frightened all of the animals into their hiding places. That couldn't be a good sign.
When he came upon the stream the first thing he noticed was Fuus' kimono, neatly folded on a rock beside the hot spring. The second thing he noticed was that there was no Fuu anywhere in sight.
"Fuu! Fuu! Are you here?"
No answering call came back. Where could she have gone naked? He couldn't think of anywhere their modest little companion would go without her clothes on.
"FUU! Where are you?"
Still no answer.
Looking to the side of the stream he saw an area were all the grass was flattened. There were two sets of footprints in the soft soil there. One of the sets was very large. They went off into the forest in the opposite direction of the campsite. Following them quickly, he saw that they were headed through the forest to the town that was on the opposite side. It was a good half day hike to the other side. He was still close to the campsite, should he go back and get Mugen? He frowned as the tracks disappeared when the terrain became rockier. Hmm. Two sets of eyes would definitely be better than one. He raced with all his samurai speed back to the campsite and found Mugen sleeping. Figures!
"Mugen, wake up. Something's happened to Fuu."
He watched as the pirate slowly chased the sleep away.
"Fuus' been taken."
"Aww man, what the hell. She's always getting herself kidnapped!"
Jin saw past the complaints and caught the worry in the other mans' eyes.
"They're heading for the town on the other side of the forest. Let's go."
Mugen jumped up and they both moved swiftly back to where Jin had lost the trail.
"This is where the trail ends. There's only one town on the other side of the forest. If we head there we should be able to find her."
"Then what are we standing here for, let's go!"
Mugen took off and Jin followed close behind.
Moving fastly they trimmed the time to the other town down to a few hours. The town, they realized, was rather large and crowded compared to the rest of the villages they had seen lately.
"What the fuck do we do now?" Mugen asked aloud.
"Kidnapped females are usually taken to the red light district, let's head there."
Fuu awoke slowly, a terrible pain throbbing in her head. Where...where was she? She looked around and saw that she was in a small room with no windows. She was laying on a bed in the corner. Something was in her mouth and when she looked down she saw that her hands and feet were tied. What had happened? Thinking hard she remembered the hot springs, the troll, being naked and tied. She struggled to sit up and walked over to the door. Banging her hands against it she tried to yell. All that came out through the scarf was a low moan. Banging harder, she prayed that someone would hear her and come. She banged and banged, and no one ever came. Her hands were bloody and raw. Leaning her head against the door, she felt despair wash over her. She wondered how long Mugen and Jin had waited before going to look for her. She hadn't even had a chance to scream. Please, she prayed silently, please let my companions find me.
Walking back over to the bed, she realized how nasty it was. She didn't even want to think about what those stains were. Going to the corner, she curled up in the floor, awaiting whatever fate had in store for her.
What felt like hours later, she heard the door open and looked up. There was an older woman there. She had a very hard face and no compassion showed in her eyes.
"Well, well. What do we have here?"
She looked Fuu over as if measuring her worth.
"A little small in the chest but you could be worth a pretty penny."
"So sorry dear, I can't understand what you're saying."
She turned to the two men standing behind her in the doorway. It was the troll and the smaller man.
"She'll do. Good job men. Send in one of the older girls to help her get cleaned up and ready. We'll put her to work tonight and see what we can get for her."