Chapter 22: Luxury
Kai silently watched his grandfather write, just like he had done for the last 10 minutes since he arrived in the office. Voltaire hadn’t once looked up from his desk, it was like he hadn’t even been aware of Boris pushing his grandchild through the door and forcing him into the seat opposite the desk.
The scratching of Voltaire’s fountain pen on paper came to an abrupt halt, leaving Kai’s uneven breathing to fill the room. Without even glancing in Kai’s direction, Voltaire turned to the maid beside him and handed over the sheet of paper. In her arms she already held a small pile of other documents. From his seat, Kai was only able to make out the Hiwatari crest at the bottom of the page.
“Make sure these are sent off tonight Elizabeth, I can’t afford any delays.”
With a quick curtsy the maid scurried from the room, Voltaire watched her as she left. His attention finally turning to his grandchild once the large door shut.
Kai forced himself to keep the eye contact with his Grandfather, trying his hardest to mask his discomfort of empty stare.
“Leave us Boris.” Voltaire spoke softly.
“I wish to speak to my grandson alone, you shall wait outside.”
Slowly Boris turned towards the door and left leaving the two Hiwataris’ alone.
“Boris has informed me of the excellent news that you have accepted our blade.” Voltaire sat back in his chair, watching his grandsons for the small gestures expressing his feelings. Instinctively Kai couldn’t help but roll his eyes and scoff.
“Was I misinformed Kai?”
Holding his Grandfathers gaze for a little longer Kai slowly shook his head once.
“Good. How was your first training session? Have you successfully managed to control the blade?”
Unable to hold the gaze any longer, Kai finally dropped his eyes and again shook his head a single time.
“Are you mute boy? You shall speak when you are spoken to!”
The sudden outburst caught Kai off guard, causing him to visibly jump.
“I ask you again, have you successfully managed to control the blade?”
“No.” Kai glanced at his Grandfather, the glare sent his way made him again drop his gaze and mutter, ” Grandfather...”
The silence was painful. Kai stared down at his hands, ignoring the pain from his back muscles as he forced his body to sit straight. Why wasn’t his Grandfather reacting to him being unable to control the blade? Was he thinking up a suitable punishment? No, Kai was no fool, he knew what waited for him once this meeting was over.
Three sharp knocks ended the silence. Kai was shocked to hear whoever it was enter without instruction. Continuing to stare at his hands, Kai couldn’t help but frown as the expected rage from his Grandfather towards the person for their impertinence never came, instead Voltaire’s voice was calm and almost pleasant.
“Sorry to interrupt your precious time with your grandson sir,” a familiar voice of a man spoke close behind Kai’s chair.
Kai’s frown deepened in anger, he spoke as though he and Voltaire were having a friendly catch up.
“But the results are in and I thought you’d wish to review them as soon as possible.”
Curiosity getting the better of him Kai lifted his head and twisted silently to his left. The unnamed butler who continued to appear and vanish at will smiled down at him. His hair and suit still pristine.
“Wonderful, thank you Tommen.”
Had he heard right? Kai turned to his Grandfather, had he actually thanked the butler? Kai had never heard the man thank anybody in his life.
Voltaire lifted his hand expectantly as Tommen stepped forward handing over the small pile of papers he held. Silence again fell on the room as Voltaire began to flick through them. It was impossible to make out what was written on the pages, the writing too small. But Kai straightened his back in vain trying to get some idea of what Voltaire was planning.
“Master Kai, if possible you look paler compared to before when I saw you.” A hand had appeared on the teens shoulder, it’s grip tight and it pushed against him. His muscles already weak Kai was unable to fight and was forced to sit back in his chair. His hope of making out the words gone.
“You’re in need of a good nights sleep, help you get back your strength. I’m sure then you’ll be able to control that blade. Wouldn’t you agree sir?”
Tommen’s smile turned from Kai to Voltaire who was still reading, seemingly oblivious to the man speaking. The smallest of upward movements of the old man’s right eyebrow was the only indicator that he was indeed listening.
Another awkward silence grew between the three. Tommen’s hand still held Kai in place, much to Kai’s annoyance it was only lifted when his Grandfather placed the papers inside his desk. Obscuring them from view. Voltaire returned to his earlier position, sitting back in his chair. His elbows rested on the arms of the chair his palms together with his fingertips resting on his lips. Kai felt his blood run cold as his Grandfather’s gaze bore into him. Kai’s hands clenched into fists, his nails digging into his palms trying to stop his body from trembling.
Finally Voltaire spoke, “Boris!”
Knots twisted within Kai’s stomach, his laboured breathing quickening. His head suddenly spinning, Kai tried to keep his focus on his Grandfather. All he could do was wait, wait for Voltaire to tell Boris he was done with Kai, disappointed again in his grandson and order Boris to punish him for being unable to control the blade. That would be when Kai’s nightmare would begin. He clenched his fists tighter, preventing him from wrapping his arms around himself, Kai could already feel Boris touching him.
A click of the door and within seconds Boris stood to Kai’s right.
“You called sir?” Boris stood straight, like a solider standing before his commander. With both men beside him Kai was being to feel smothered.
“Kai is not to be punished for his recent failure.”
Kai’s eyes widened in shock.
“Sir?...Not an hour ago you to told me...” Boris glanced down at the boy beside him.
“Are you questioning an order Boris?” Voltaire’s eyes flashed with a promised threat that silenced the man before him.
Seemingly happy with Boris’s muted response Voltaire continued.
“Kai is to be taken to his cell and left for the night...”
“Sir, may I make a suggestion?”
All eyes turned to Tommen, the man appeared to be unaffected by the glare from Boris. He continued to smile at Voltaire who nodded his head giving the man permission to continue.
“I have already made arrangements for a very comfortably sized room to be made up for young Kai. I think it would be very much a waste if the boy was to sleep in one of those awful cells. They’re so cold and damp, he wouldn’t be able to recover half as well there. Surely it makes sense to let him have one of the rooms. Let him wash, have a change of clothes, good nights sleep and be all refreshed ready to train tomorrow?”
“Fair enough.” Voltaire nodded his head at Tommen whose smile grew in response.
“Take Kai to his room, I want guards on his door round the clock.”
“As you wish sir,” Tommen bowed his head before turning to Kai and held out a hand.
Kai couldn’t believe his luck. He’d not be punished by Boris tonight, he could have laughed in relief. Ignoring the man’s hand Kai slowly pushed his aching body out of the chair, his muscles screamed at him. His arms began to shake under the weight of his body, Kai cursed himself for being so weak in front of his Grandfather. Suddenly an arm snaked around his waist, pulling him not only to his feet but into the chest of the butler.
“Sir, I really think it would be best if I were to escort Kai.” Kai could feel Boris’s glare at his back, the man spoke between clenched teeth.
Voltaire scoffed before speaking, “No I need to speak to you. Tommen is more than capable of taking the boy to his room.”
“Thank you Sir.” Tommen again bowed his head before guiding Kai out of the room. His arm still fixed firmly around the boy’s waist.
But before they could exit Kai forced himself around to face the two men. Boris glared straight back at him.
“What about my frie...my team?” Kai tried to ignore Boris, keeping his eyes on his Grandfather.
“Come along Kai,” Tommen wrapped another arm around Kai, and began to pull him back out the room. But Kai began to struggle.
“Get off me!” Kai knew he was using the last of his strength, but he needed to know what was to happen to the Bladebreakers, what was going to happen to the Demolition boys. A sharp prick in his arm paused Kai’s movements. Suddenly his body began to grow numb and he felt his body fall. His vision rapidly grew blurred and darker.
From his desk Voltaire watched Tommen put the needle back into his pocket before lifting the unconscious body of his grandson into his arms.
“I apologise for young Kai’s outburst sir. I’ll get him to bed to rest immediately.”
With a final bow Tommen disappeared down the hall.
Tala hadn’t been surprised when they returned to the cell to find the Bladebreakers grouped together in the shadows. He was impressed to see Max and Ray had gained consciousness already. None of them looked great, their faces covered in cuts and bruises.
Tata couldn’t help but feel sorry for the four boys. They didn’t know how to cope with the pain their bodies were feeling. None were mentally prepared for the world they’d been dragged into.
Tala and Bryan decided to sit themselves the other side of the cell, hoping to give the Bladebreakers as much space as they could. The guards locked the cell door, double checking it was secure before leaving the room and the occupants alone.
“Where’s Kai?” Tyson’s voice was quiet but the stone walls carried it to Tala. From his position on the floor Tala was unable to see the boy’s face, hidden in shadows.
“His Grandfather summoned him,” Bryan muttered in reply.
“What for?” Max’s weak voice squeaked.
“You really expect us to know the answer to that?” snapped Bryan. There was no reply.
No one knew how much time past, but none spoke. The emptiness was only filled when the door to the cell opened and Spencer and Ian were thrown into the cell. Tala held his breath as he watched his lifeless teammates bodies on the stone floor. Waiting for the guard to once again leave them.
As soon as the door click shut Bryan and Tala were on their feet and leaning over their friends.
“It’s okay guys, we’re alive.” Ian laughed causing him to start a coughing fit.
“We just played possum and they grew bored,” Spencer lifted his body onto all fours wincing as he went.
The Bladebreakers watched the team as they helped each other up and sit comfier before checking their injuries.
“Why were only those two beaten?” Tyson felt Ray kick him softly as a warning but he ignored it. “What were you doing after we were brought back here?”
“Training.” was Tala’s short reply.
“So why were they beaten?” Tyson demanded again, he was growing angry with the Demolition Boy’s short answers.
“Because we didn’t match the standard expected. We couldn’t master the new blades” Ian spoke softly.
“New blades? What new blades?” It was Ray’s time to speak now.
“Biovolt has always done it, they genetically enhance our bit beasts and blades every time we loose. Taking the data they gather and trying to make them perfect, stronger. And we’re expected to master the blades, that’s what they trained us for.”
“Failure is not an option.” The Demolition Boys spoke in unison.
“But Tala and Bryan managed to master their blades?” asked Kenny.
“We managed to launch them successfully.” Tala glanced at Bryan, “...and that was hard enough.”
“And Kai?” Ray’s eyes darted over each of the Russians’ faces. His hope dispersing as each of them stared at the floor.
“And Kai!” Ray’s voice grew louder, “What happened with Kai?”
“Kai...didn’t manage...he was unable to...” Tala could still hear Kai’s defeated voice. Glaring at the floor Tala hated himself for not being able to do anything. None of them could.
Suddenly the door to the basement opened, light flooded in, drowning the teens. All turned to watch the figure enter. Boris stopped in front of the cell, his fury evident on his face.
Wrenching open the cell door Boris glared between the two groups of boys.
“Out! Now!” He reached in grabbing Max and Tyson and threw them out of the cell and into the opposite wall. He turned back to the others who quickly jumped to their feet in horror.
Two guards with guns entered the room, daring the boys to challenge them.
“You’ve all been upgraded, now march!” Boris sneered, his glare lingering on Tala who glared back. The group followed the man into the mansion, the guards closely behind. Once again they went through multiple empty corridors, turning left then right then left again. None of the boys bothered to remember what turns they took, knowing it was useless.
Soon they turned a corner and came to stop in front of a door were four guards were already positioned. They bowed at the site of Boris before opening the doors silently. Tala entered the room cautiously – surely Boris wasn’t expecting them to train. They’d passed a window on their way and the world was dark. They needed to rest not be pushed to their limits.
Boris switched on the lights revealing the rooms contents. Inside were eight beds and mattress’ lined up opposite each other. Blankets and pillows lay between them on an old table which was surrounded by wooden chairs.
“Welcome to your new quarters boys. Never say Lord Voltaire is not generous.” Boris watched the boys carefully as they piled into the room, none daring to venture too far in.
“Why are there only eight beds?” Tala recounted the beds to be sure.
“What would you need with another?”
“Where’s Kai?” Tala’s eyes darted back into corridor, what had they done with him. No meeting with Voltaire would last this long.
For the first time that evening a smirk ran on Boris’s face.
“Oh don’t worry he’s all tucked up in bed, enjoying the luxuries fit for an Hiwatari. Sleep well, you all have training tomorrow.”
Kai groaned, not wishing to leave the comfort of unconsciousness, turning onto his side he squeezed his eyes closed. Hoping he’d be able to return to the darkness. However a dull ache ran through his body, alerting his nerves.
Crimson orbs snapped open as memories of the last few days returned to Kai. He rapidly sat up, a bed sheet fell from his naked chest. Kai quickly took in his surroundings, he was in a very large and expensive room. The bed he sat in must have been Queen sized, the sheets some expensive cotton. A large oak wardrobe and desk were the only furniture. Kai noted that there were two decent sized windows either side of the bed, with two doors on opposing walls.
With impressive grace Kai climbed from the sheets, his feet connecting with the soft carpet he searched for his clothes. Whoever had put him into bed had removed all items of clothing except for his boxers. Heat raised to Kai’s face as he remembered collapsing in Tommen’s arms. He absent-mindedly rubbed his arm where the needle had been inserted.
Kai stepped closer to the window, pulling back the heavy curtain he had to squint from the rising sun. Not interested in the scenery Kai’s vision dropped down, he scoffed slightly seeing the two guards situated three floors down. Pulling the curtain back into place Kai returned to look inside the room.
He almost jumped out his skin upon seeing Tommen stood by the door to his right holding a tray of food.
“Good morning young Kai. What a pleasure to see you up.”
How hadn’t Kai heard him enter? A shiver ran through Kai, how he wanted wipe that stupid smile from the mans face.
“Perhaps young Kai would like to return to bed for his breakfast?” Tommen began to move towards Kai.
“No!” Tommen paused, his smile never faltering, “Just...put it over there.” Kai gestured to the desk.
“As you wish.”
Kai watched the butler place the tray down, expecting him to leave. However the man continued towards the wardrobe.
He pulled open the large doors effortlessly revealing the array of expensive clothes. Tommen began shifting the clothes looking at an item before changing his mind.
“What are you doing?” Kai refused to move from the window. Not wishing to expose his back to either the door he knew let to the corridor or Tommen.
“I’m just picking out your clothes for today young Kai.”
“I am perfectly able to dress myself.” Kai felt the colour return to his cheeks.
“Your grandfather has requested a specific outfit for you today.” Finally Tommen pulled out a black top and black jeans. Turning to Kai he began to walk towards the teen. Kai quickly grew worried, was he going to insist on dressing him too?
To his relief Tommen simply lay the clothes down on the bed.
“Your en-suite is in the door over there for you to shower. I hope every thing is to your statisftion. I shall return for you within the hour young Kai.” With a short bow Tommen left the room. When he opened the door Kai was able to make out at least two guards positioned outside of his room.
Kai turned to the tray of food, aware of his stomach growling. He couldn’t remember when he’d last eaten. The tray held a small bowl of fruit and a plate of toast. Reaching for an apple Kai inspected the fruit, wondering what how his grandfather could have had the kitchen staff drug it. Hunger won out and Kai took a bite, his thoughts drifting to his teammates.
Where were they? What hell had they been subjected to for the night when he’d been given this luxury for a cell?
Knowing his only option currently was to shower and dress to await Tommen’s return Kai made his way to the en suite, guilt building up inside him.