The Tale of Two Wolves

Chapter 43: The Truth About Jose

"What's the matter, Jose?" Alex said worriedly. She couldn't help but be worried about the man, after all, he was the first person in the camp she considered her friend. Sure, Kidd told her not to trust him, but it was almost like she pitied him, since he was an underdog among Vaas' men.

Jose huffed before straightening and looking at her, "Miss Alex, I don't think you belong here."

She blinked, surprised at the man's actions. "Why do you say that, Jose?"

He seemed to smile uneasily, "I mean… look at you, Miss Alex! You're kind, and gentle… you worry about the men and helped them so much by teaching them. You saved them when the Rakyat attacked. You're… too good and merciful to be with these men."

"I can be ruthless, too, Jose." She answered back, "I tortured Gunther, and I killed several Rakyats. I threatened a hostage to give up his information…"

"But it made you sick." Jose replied, looking at her with pity, "I saw you after the Rakyat attack. It made you sick and you threw up. These men, nona… they don't deserve you. They don't deserve your kindness."

Alex huffed, "That's like saying you don't deserve everything I've taught you, Jose."

The man blinked in surprise, "It's… ugh… I know. I thank you, for everything you did… really. But…" He sighed and looked up at her with serious eyes, "You don't belong here, nona. You don't belong here with these men. Why do you even stay here?"

"Because I'd be dead if it weren't for them." She said, sighing, "Jose… these men bought me from Hoyt. He was going to sell me off when I was done getting the money from the captives. Vaas and the men pooled their money to make sure that doesn't happen. I owe them my life."

"Is that why you've stayed, because you 'owe' them your life?" Jose asked, looking slightly frustrated.

Alex grew silent, watching him, and Jose let out a frustrated breath, "You sound just like Kidd."

She blinked and looked up at him, "What do you mean?"

"He said the same damn thing!" Jose said loudly, throwing up his arms in frustration, " 'I owe them my life! They're good fellas! I like fighting alongside them!'" He said, sounding like Kidd. "As if Vaas is that fucking merciful that he wouldn't kill you. If you weren't so smart, nona, or if Kidd wasn't as great as he is, or if Hoyt didn't give a fuck about the two of you, both of you would've been dead."

Jose was right. If she hadn't been so smart and have the skills of hacking at people's accounts, she would've been dead at that moment Vaas pointed the gun at her when she was caged. She sighed, before rubbing the bridge of her nose, and looking at Jose.

"I know. I know that Vaas would've killed me. But Jose, he didn't kill me, and I know I owe my lives to these men. I am alive, and I am making a small difference to them. Even if it's something as teaching them to read or… or prays for their souls or keeping Vaas calm enough not to kill you all, I am making a difference. And that is good enough for me."

Jose huffed out again, "What do you see in them, Miss Alex? I mean really. I've been with them for years, and you act like you know them, but you don't… they're ruthless killers."

Alex sighed, before crossing her arms and turning her back at Jose, and she bit her lip, "When I was young… my mother told me a story… about two wolves." She took a deep breath and waited for Jose to answer. When the pirate remained quiet, she continued, "She said that one wolf was black as night, and represented all the evils of man. The other wolf was white as snow, and he represents the good in us. The two wolves fight each other every day inside every one… inside you, and inside me… inside Vaas… inside all of the men. And the wolf you feed is the one who wins…"

She heard Jose exhale, "Why are you telling me this, nona?"

"I believe all the men in there… they act like they had their black wolves rule over them." She said, "But I believe they still have their white wolves. And I… I want to make sure that they feed their white wolf from time to time. Why do you think you guys care about each other? Why do you think they cheer on you when you do something good? I know you still care about Antonio and Kidd. And that is a form of love."

She heard Jose sigh again, and she asked him, "Are you married, Jose?"

"Yes." She heard the pirate answer.

"Where is she now?"

"In a town here on the island, the Amanaki."

"Do you love her?"

"That doesn't… yes."

"And is she the reason why you work for Vaas?"

"I… yes."

"You see? Even you have a white wolf inside you." She turned around to see Jose with his hands on his back looking at the ground, "You feed your black wolf when you're with Vaas, but when you go home, your white wolf appears and your black wolf quiets down. The men do it, too. Even… even Vaas."

Jose looked up at her, and scowled, "I doubt that Vaas has a white wolf in him, nona."

"He does… but his black wolf dominates him sometimes. Why do you think he allowed you all to keep me instead of selling me for profit to Hoyt? It's because even though he acts like it, he cares for his men… and he gives them what they want. He was proud of you when you got that Rakyat warrior, wasn't he?"

At the mention of the warrior, Jose's face fell and he looked at her guiltily, "I didn't capture that Rakyat. I just made it look like it."

Alex blinked at him, looking at him in surprise, as Jose lifted up his sleeve, showing an intricate web of tattoos. As she looked at it, Jose smiled proudly at her, "They're Rakyat tattoos. I was… captured by a Rakyat warrior during the raid, and they took me to their leader, Citra… Vaas' sister."

She blinked when she heard Citra's name, and realized that he had taken her away from the camp, where very few of Vaas' men could see her. She looked at Jose in shock, "Jose, what are you doing?"

The pirate lowered his sleeve again, before stepping forward suddenly, hugging her. "I'm feeding my white wolf, Miss Alex."

She was about to push Jose off, but there was a pain in her neck, making her cringe. Her eyelids fluttered closed, and she could see the sky darkening. She forced her eyes to look up at Jose, who seemed to be smiling apologetically at her, before her vision blurred and everything turned black. She could feel her muscles weakening, and she thought of the very last person she needed.

"Vaas…"

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