The Road to Understanding (D)

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The Road to Understanding (D)
Date of Cutscene: 25 September 2014
Location: Great Mountains
Synopsis: D drags himself back to Castlevania after a fight goes badly. The carbuncle mocks him, and asks pointed questions.
Cast of Characters: 232

Two nights ago.

The youth dressed in black struggles his way along a perilous mountain road. The way he's chosen is cramped, and where it isn't squeezing between sheer rock faces like a secret between guarded lips, it's skirting the kind of drop-offs that are nerve-wracking to consider. Another road had been open to him hours ago -- broad, safe, and in good repair -- but he'd taken the more dangerous route for a reason: almost no one would be crazy enough to follow him and share his risk. In his condition, he needs all the help he can get.

Crimson moonlight reveals his pale countenance at the path's next sharp turn. Marred though it is by agony and exhaustion, the youth's beauty is recognizable at once. This lone traveler can only be D.

At least a dozen wounds burn throughout his body. Several are serious, and would have killed any normal man dead already, like the deep and ragged gashes ripping across his torso and abdomen, or the bullet wounds still oozing red rivers without any sign of coagulation or healing. Lesser injuries can be found on a closer search. Flesh has been torn from his left hand between his thumb and index finger, and four gory holes have been punched through his torso. One glance at those holes makes it clear they weren't made by more bullets. Whoever attacked the youth was possessed by true hatred.

As the exceptional offspring of a human and vampire, it's not so surprising to see him move despite his state; however, his reason for doing so is something of a mystery. By now, he should have crawled into the ground to heal himself; instead, he carries on, powered by his will and his desperation. Why fight the urge to take immediate safe shelter? Why continue to walk, whenever it means enduring more pain?

Scathing laughter erupts at D's next step. "Not feeling so hungry anymore, are you? Regret going out for a /snack/, yet? Or is the price worth it? Can't even dig your own grave! Some vampire /you/ turned out to be. What's next, gonna turn to ash once the sun comes up?" The speaker's scoff is mocking and almost cruel for its lack of sympathy. "You'd deserve it, and I'd be done with you."

"You would have nowhere else to go." Perhaps it's his mood, perhaps it's his pain, but for once, D takes the carbuncle's bait. "Be quiet, if you have nothing useful to say."

As if D had never spoken, the carbuncle carries on. "Y'know, I've never seen you look so bad? And this ain't even the first time Zero's kicked your tail." Giving a snicker, it continues, "How's that for your ego? I can see why he fights so hard, too. He /hates/ you!" Outright laughter resumes as a stormy crinkle settles over D's brow. "Can you blame him? You attacked that girl of his. Drank her blood, showed her what you're really like...and that's nothing compared to the way you've betrayed all your /friends/."

Several more shaky strides are taken in frigid silence. The carbuncle is patient, letting D's ire build before it needles him again. "Can't believe you'd lose to a runt like Zero. Paaathetic. Are you /sure/ you're still any /good/ at killing vampires? Are you good at anything anymore? /Besides/ turning your coat."

D opens his left hand, and slams his palm into the nearby rock face with enough force to leave behind an impression of all his fingers. The effort leaves him breathing hard, and the carbuncle choking on its own muffled pain. "That's enough from you. One more peep, and I'll remove you by force. Go back to your hibernation; you're more useful when you aren't speaking."

The carbuncle cringes, but responds to the threats without fear. "You do what you want. You know it's odd, though, don't you? All those people saying the same thing about you, and your own memory not lining up. You've felt things, and had enough people feeling things about you that you've got to know it's odd. You've heard enough to have questions. Nobody /there/ -- " It indicates the castle looming in the distance. " -- is going to answer your questions, either. If you haven't gone stupid in all ways, you'd start asking around. You -- "

The next words die in a wheeze as D coils his left hand into a tight fist.

Ahead of D, a shadowy figure forms in the sky. Robes drift around the man's gaunt frame. His glaring eyes reflect nothing but contempt. Grasping a tall and ornate scythe in his left hand, the figure stretches his right hand toward D, skeletal fingers spread out in cold invitation. "Come," the figure rasps, his voice like dead leaves blown across concrete. "The master requires you alive."

Later, as the soft earth is piled over D's prone form, he wonders at the carbuncle's insistence. What questions are there to be asked that Medusa has not already answered? Why should he care that others think him a traitor? His entire life he'd been treated as an outcast, a pariah, and a threat to society. Except in matters of business, D's presence had never been wanted. Where it /was/ wanted, everyone had been so happy to see him arrive...but happier yet to see him leave. What was so different /now/? Why did the carbuncle care enough to make note of it? The carbuncle had always been a complainer, but rarely so outspoken as it had been tonight.

It's enough to keep his brow furrowed even as he lapses into sleep.