[Industrial Breathing] Chapter Four

Industrial Breathing
"Enduring my last breath, I will never back down."

In this world, humans are rare specimens. Only a few are said to be alive. However, in this town, the town known as 'Dream', there's a master that creates robots as a living. Now, there are machines to fill in the gaps of humanity that was once there. But a war broke out between the world, and it was then divided in twos. Two worlds, different from each other fight till the death, and only one master shall rule both kingdoms. There shall only be one master, and two kingdoms. Who will survive? And who will die in pure solitary?

Chapter Four
Trust Advancement

“Skylar, I’m done,” I belled out in a tune.

“You seem awfully chirpy today; I wonder why,” he walked closer towards the black leather couch where I was about to fall asleep on for the night.

“Don’t flatter yourself,” there was a remorse tone in my voice where I was beginning to feel bad for myself having to deal with everything going on so far, even if it only was a day. I wasn’t sure what part of me was feeling guilty, but I shrugged off the feeling of being a naïve child at my own sorrow for whatever the cause it was.

“Whatever you say,” Skylar chuckled, shaking his head at the way I’d reacted recently. “Catch,” he says, throwing a can of juice towards my direction. I caught it with my own two hands, clamping the can as quickly as I could. “Swift,” he replies with a smirk to the face. It was no surprise to him at all, but I assumed he only did it to test how awake I really was. “Drink up; it’s been a long night.”

I pulled the small lift from the can. I stared at him in a queer manner after he continuously stared back at my direction. “What?”

“You’re good with haste,” he compliments as he strolls down to my direction and plops himself onto the black leather couch with me. “But you lack at multi-tasking.”

“As you can see, I’m a female. I’m supposedly am good a multi-tasking, thank you very much.”

“Yeah, well, I guess not this one, huh?” Skylark dejectedly replied in a sly manner.

“You compliment me, and yet, you criticize me. You might as well not talk to me at all…” I rolled my eyes at him, but he just laughed it off himself. It was much like Skylar to do that sort of thing till the point where I wasn’t surprised of his natural speech patterns at all.

“I didn’t mean it that way.”

“That’s what they all say,” I cut in, “but they end up meaning it anyway.”

I took a first sip of my juice and made a small sexual noise as if I’d just had my first taste of chocolate. “This is good!” I turned my can around until I saw the name of the juice. It had an image of a sliced green apple, orange, passion fruit and pineapple, all with cheeky faces draw on each of them. “Puru Puru,” I said to myself. “Cute.”

Admittedly, any Asian drinks with cute emoticon faces drawn on anything is, and will always be regarded as cute. How could anyone go wrong with advertising a drink like that, especially from a capitalist’s point? They can’t; the packaging is too cute, that’s why.

Beside me, Skylar was sitting there, eyes locked onto my movements. A side of me thought how strange it was for someone I’ve hardly known was staring at me, analysing my full movements, then commenting like a sly fox he was. I gestured my head forward, glaring at him from top to bottom, imitating what he was doing to me. “Two can play it at that game,” I mimicked.

Raising my eyes from top to bottom, I realized something: His hair was short, thin, yet spikey at the tips. A natural look for him, I agreed. Skylar had wood brown hair, fringe that was raised up like antennas exposing his clear forehead. Had his face always been so broad along the jawline, I questioned myself. The luminous lighting showered below him, bringing out his wine bottle green eyes out. They were almost neon, if I hadn’t paid enough attention to his close and sharp facial features at all. In fact, this was probably the closest I was to him aside from the tackling event over his favourite piece of apparel.

“You’ve got a small mole under your left eye,” Skylar tapped his index finger on it where my eye blinked out of reflex. “Since when?”

“I don’t know,” my arm brushed his hand away from my appearance. “Maybe it’s been there forever?” There was sarcasm in the pitch of my tone, and I knew he’d chuckle to himself despite the fact that I was being serious. “Since we’re talking, I’d like to dedicate this time to make comments to get to know each other,” I requested. Sure, one half of me trusted him, and he ‘rescued me’ from hungry monsters and disfigured robotic machineries, but chances were, he could be one of them out there to get me too,  if I wasn’t careful. My intuition didn’t recognize any dangers off of this man—but even so; I wasn’t going to take any chances.

“I agree; in fact, it’s your turn since I went,” Skylar sipped on his sweet can of juice.

“Alright, I will,” I took another slurp of my juice, gulping down a sweet, tangy taste of fruits down my throat. It was cool, refreshing, yet it had the right amount of sweetness to it to keep me up wide awake. “That scar on your neck,” my index finger pointed while my other fingers wrapped itself on the lid of the can. “What happened there?”

“I thought we were commenting—“

“We are,” I quickly cut in, “but it doesn’t hurt to throw questions every now and then, right?”  My lips pursed together, forming a small pout

“Can I pass?”

Pausing myself for a moment, I noticed that if I refused on a ‘pass’, then it’ll probably come back and bite me in the ass, like Karma. Alternatively, I came up with a situation that was willing to resolve the issue of passing on a session of, ‘get-to-know-your-buddy’.

“You can pass, but only if I get to flick you in the forehead,” I snickered to myself. It was a fair result, and his forehead seemed shiny enough to flick, I admitted to myself.

“Fine,” he pulled a long face, then cringed at a sudden thought. “Another rule: no passing after refusing a question.”

“Fair enough; but let’s be honest on something—are you really going to pass on a question about your scar?” It was a serious question and it wasn’t intended towards anything but curiosity. “I could’ve done worse, you know?”

“I wasn’t intending to pass on it if it allows me to boast about my sexy features,” Skylar widened his grin, “and I know you’d ask. I mean, I’m naturally beautiful,” he flipped his hair, shifting his hair to one side of his head. “As for the scar,” the palm of his hands covered the scar from the nape of his neck to his collar bone. “I got it from saving people like you.”

“Be serious here,” my eyebrows crossed between, “otherwise I could lie about anything I answer when you ask.” Another solution occurred to me whilst I turned my head towards the tinted window slowly turning brighter by the hour. “I’ve got a cross scar on the left of my chest.”

“That’s where your heart is—“

“—I know,” I nodded.

“Show me?”

“Of course not; are you mad?” my fingers flicked his forehead. “You deserve that,” my lips cocked into a grin. “Your turn; two facts—GO!

“This scar,” the hand where he covered his neck was no longer in hiding. The long scarring lead down from his left nape of his neck and curled down to his collar bone. “Was attacked by flesh-eating robots trying to save this kid from being eaten alive,” his eyes narrowed elsewhere.  His hand rummaged on the leather belting on his arm and pulled the strap away, revealing a warrior tribal tattoo wrapping around his bicep. “Self-explanatory,” he gestured his arm around the room, “just clan recognition.” He finished as I scanned around the area once more.

“There’s a cross tattoo on my spine,” I revealed a small secret, even though it wasn’t necessarily relevant towards anything.

“Bullshit,” Skylar blurted out in surprise, denying the truth I’d exposed. “Strip for me, and I’ll believe you.” It was a male’s instinct to instantly ask for a strip tease or an act of something sexual. It was normal for dominant alpha males to ask for that sort of thing, but I shrugged it off.

“Why would I need to show you?”

“So I can trust you?”

“You already did when you picked me up and brought me to this bungalow.”

“True,” Skylar was already feeling bummed out by a female who’d just dropped by not so long ago. I was beginning to wonder if it was already affecting his soul of being a male that wasn’t great at coming up with small comebacks and retorts to counter obvious points. “I prefer to use guns more than daggers,” he viewed over the table where his knives were aligned alongside one another.

“Good for you,” I gave a small applaud for finally taking me seriously. “Unlike you, I don’t have a particular preference on weaponry. But when I do, I’d usually go for daggers,” my hand slid down my right thigh where a belt was wrapped around with a small satchel attached to it. Beside the satchel was my dagger in a black sheath. Carefully, I pulled out one of my daggers, exposing its delicate point towards him. “It’s better in battle,” I watched as he reached to inspect my dagger closer.

“Nice,” Skylar was pleased, “Hachiwara,” he nodded his head as he ran his fingers along the tip of the blade to the very end of the handle. “Its name comes from the ‘helmet breaker’, or ‘skull breaker’, which was used as a side-arm by the Japanese Samurai class.” The blade was sharp in a dirk-like point and long blade that was half the size of the actual dagger, which forged near the handle. The blade that reached halfway had a hook on its back edge which curved out, while the leather handle fit perfectly on the palm of his hands.

“See, unlike yours, my dagger has a certain edge to it,” the corners of my mouth turned into a smile.

“How’d you get it?” Skylar gently passed the weapon where I sheathed it back into its original place.

“I forged it back when I was a kid,” I dropped the can of Puru Puru onto the glass coffee table in front of me. “Dad used to teach me all kinds of stuff, so I learnt from him. He was a blacksmith, and mum was just an ordinary housewife,” I pulled my legs close, hugging it as the temperature dropped a few degrees. He wasn’t kidding; the night was really falling cold after all.

“Ah,” Skylar exhaled as if giving me his sympathetic heart. “Tragic past,” he stammered his can onto the clear coffee table. “I can relate to that,” Skylar said as he got up and threw out his hand as an offering. I raised my head, questioning his next motives. He closed his eyes before sighing, as if he was reading my mind. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to do anything dodgy,” he reassured. “I’m only showing you a room to stay in. You’re tired,” Skylar opened his eyes.

Unconsciously, I reached my hand out where his fingers were curled beneath mine. There was a tiny thump in my chest where butterflies felt like fluttering around in the midst of my stomach.

“You’ll be sleeping in my room tonight.”

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