The boy did not answer Bastian’s question, he only remained silent but there was a tinge a sadness in his eyes. Bastian could tell that this was a somewhat sensitive subject, so he decided to move straight to the point.
“Point is, if you want to survive, then we have to make this contract now. I’m pretty sure you have no other option.”
Bastian released the boy from his prison as a show of good faith but he was still weary of the boy. His quick movement before had been far too surprising. Bastian was still trying to figure out how he did that.
They are in soul form, so Martial Techniques should not be usable here. The quick movement that the boy had done before, definitely appeared to be a Martial Technique but according to Bastian’s knowledge, that should be impossible.
“Why are you helping me?” said the boy.
Bastian had been stuck in his own train of thought, so this question caught him off guard.
“Hhmm? Oh. You said it yourself, I subconsciously seek balance because of my bloodline. Seeing you in such a state really bothers me, so I need to fix you.” said Bastian nonchalantly.
Fix me? Am I an object to him?
Despite his urge to curse at Bastian, the boy kept his calm. He needed to understand why Bastian was doing this, so he would not allow himself to be diverted from his original line of questioning.
“Even if it is an urge, it should not be so strong as to force you to take such drastic measures should it? A Soul Brethren ritual initiated without the other party’s consent has bad consequences. What if you had been stuck in soul form forever? What if my condition was incurable? In my previous state, I am confident I would be unable to perform any branding. Without completing the ritual, you would be stuck in this Soul Site until the day your real body dies. Why go through such risks for a stranger?”
The boy’s questions did make sense. Bastian was confused for a bit. He did not quite know what to say. He had been going with the flow and just did what he wanted to. As far as death was concerned, he personally felt that he did not have much to live for. But such a feeling was hard to explain to someone who did not understand it.
Suddenly, an idea came to Bastian.
If I can’t explain it, then I can show it!
“What I want to tell you can not really be explained in words but it can only be shown. Let me brand you so you will understand why i did what I did.”
Bastian’s plan was simple. Soul branding during a Soul Brethren ritual was not simply marking the other person with your Soul Force. It would be more accurate to say that it was permanently putting a piece of your soul into the other party.
That piece carries not only your soul but your memories and feelings with it. As for which memories you give, that is up to you. Bastian had decided to give the boy memories from his time on earth, to give the boy a better understanding of how he thinks, or rather how he came to think the way he did.
The boy nodded to Bastian’s proposal. When Bastian was about to begin the process, the boy suddenly remembered something and said, “Wait! Before you start, there is something you must know.” The shout startled Bastian but he quickly regained his wits, “Hhmm, what should I know?”
“The properties of your bloodline. If someone has awakened the bloodline of The Tyrian Double Headed Storm Dragon, there is a side effect if that person were to become Soul Brethren with another person.” Bastian was rather surprised that this was what the boy wanted to mention and waved his hand for the boy to carry on.
“The side effect is balance. Your bloodline seeks balance in everything, and that effect carries on to the bond between Soul Brethren. To put it in another way, if one of the two involved in the contract has a burden, such as my poison, then the other would receive the burden to balance things out. In other words, there is a chance you might get infected by the poison as well.” said the boy with a solemn expression.
“Oh? That is it? That is not so bad! You know for second there you had me scared. I thought it would be something serious.” laughed Bastian.
“This is serious!” shouted the boy. “This poison cannot be cured by the likes of us, perhaps only immortals and gods can cure it. Even if you are immune to most of the poison’s threats there might be some unknown side effects.”
The boy was very close to cursing Bastian for his carelessness. He had never met someone so willful with their own life. “Alright then, the solution is simple.” said Bastian as his face lit up with a smile. This was the kind of face one made when they had a good idea. The boy looked at Bastian with hope, not knowing that he would be better off without hearing the so called ‘solution’.
“The solution is simple. We just have to become immortals! Haha!” said Bastian. The boy was at a loss, he did not know whether to laugh or cry.
Become immortals? Do you think it’s as easy as training for a few years? F*ck your father! F*ck your grandfather and f*ck all your ancestors!
The boy was constantly spewing profanities in his mind, the longer he thought about what Bastian had said, the angrier he became. Becoming an immortal was indeed possible but it required an incredible cultivation level to achieve. Not to mention that talent and environment were huge factors. Countless tools and elixirs would be needed to achieve such a thing, a thing that even his own family, had failed to achieve for thousands of years.
The boy saw that Bastian was pretty pleased with himself for coming up with that answer and so, he decided to show Bastian what he was up against.
“Listen, before we do anything, I need to further explain to you what you might experience. The situation does not only involve my poison. Even fate can be affected.” said the boy in a solemn tone. “You know, you make it sound like my bloodline can transfer all of your problems to me. Even if it is powerful, there are limits.” countered Bastian.
“You fool! You do not even know what your own bloodline is capable of! Don’t you know the repercussions of an awakened descendant of The Tyrian Double Headed Storm Dragon forming a Soul Brethren contract with someone? You think you will only receive my problems? You clearly do not know your own power!” shouted the boy in anger. This sudden outburst caused Bastian to take a step back. The boy noticed his own strange behavior and calmed himself down.
“Listen, in an attempt to balance our bond, your bloodline will also affect our karma. I was tested at birth and was found to have very negative karma. That karma might also affect you. The poison is one thing, but fate is not something either of us can control. Not even immortals can do such a thing! If you form this bond with me, you will most likely perish soon, or suffer just as much as I have.
Unless you have a lot of good karma, which is unlikely since you are in this situation in the first place. It is an endless circle of suffering.”
After hearing the boy’s rather depressing monologue, Bastian shook his head in disappointment. The boy did not quite understand this reaction. He had even told Bastian he could die from this endeavor. What greater worry was there than death?
“You are a boy as well are you not? It is not appropriate for you to refer to me in such a manner.”
“Ehem, well, um technically yes. Ah right I forgot to introduce myself, my name is Bastian. What’s your name?”
“Um okay. You do not want to tell me your name. That’s fine. Since you do not want to tell me then don’t complain when I call you boy again. In fact, I am pretty good at nicknames, how about I come up with one? Like um-”
“Kenshin. You may call me Kenshin.”
“Okay. That’s fine as well. Alright then Kenshin, you want to know why i do not really give a shit about those so called repercussions right? Then accept my brand. An advantage of this ritual is that the brand can carry a copy of some of the originator’s memories. I will give you some of mine, so you can understand, that there are things to fear that are worse than death.”