A Rose for Your Hair
In which Judgment’s hair gains super powers. Set after v5c6.
Under Sun’s command, Hell, Blaze, and Metal dragged me away. Sun reminded them to lock up the secret pathway inside the confinement chamber, and that if they didn’t know where the secret pathway was, they were supposed to ask Adair.
“Do either of you know where the secret pathway is?” Blaze asked.
Both Hell and Metal shook their heads.
They need not worry. Even if they didn’t block the secret pathway, I would not risk sneaking out again. It was true that I still had unfinished business, but…
Today, I had died.
I shuddered. Metal immediately held onto me with an even firmer grip to support me. I held up a hand to indicate that I was fine.
I was not afraid of the notion of death, but I was afraid of dying in Sun’s presence. I had nearly caused the unthinkable.
Thank the God of Light Sun only lost his hair color.
He could have taken far graver things from Sun.
When I woke up from dying, I had been prepared for Sun to lose another grave part of himself. His voice. His hearing. His sense of touch. Taste. Smell. If not one of his senses, perhaps his memories, his care for us, his personality… I had been terribly afraid of the price Sun would have to pay.
The moment I saw Sun’s hair turn white, I could not help but feel relief surge through me. His golden hair had always been a prominent feature of his, but losing that was a small price to pay in comparison to other possibilities. I only wish that Sun wasn’t so used to losing parts of himself, and that he didn’t have to lose anything in the first place. He barely even gave his lost hair color a second thought when his hair had always been important to him.
“I’ll go get Adair then,” Blaze declared. After speaking, he immediately warned me, “You… You better behave!”
Metal looked like he wanted to berate Blaze for speaking to me in such a way, and it was indeed strange getting warned by Blaze, who although loud spoken, usually didn’t have anything against me. However, I had warranted it. I nodded obediently and promised, “I won’t do anything.”
“You are speaking the truth, right, Captain Judgment?” Metal asked worriedly.
“You know we’re locking you up for your sake, right?” he pleaded.
I sighed. “Yes…”
Hell and Metal brought me into the confinement chamber and made sure I had everything I needed before locking the door and standing guard outside. As soon as they were out of sight, I finally let myself sag to the floor. Metal was actually quite skilled at nagging. I nearly thought he would never finish and leave. I hadn’t wanted to worry him any further.
There was truly no need to block the secret pathway. Even if I wanted to sneak out, I couldn’t. Fatigue seemed to seep through my bones and through my very soul.
Never before had I felt so exhausted, yet how many could say that they only felt tired after dying? Mere moments ago, my heart had been still, dark element corroding my body. Now, I was back to the living.
I squeezed my eyes shut and took several deep breaths to reorient myself.
I was alive.
After that, I forced myself to crawl to bed. The covers were almost too much for me. I must have dozed off immediately after I fumbled with them. In my sleep, I thought I heard Adair’s strangled voice.
“What did Captain lose this time? What did he lose…”
I’m sorry. It’s all my fault.
I could not help repeating my apology over and over and over, a mantra that echoed on endlessly…
When I woke up again, Metal was by my side. A glance around revealed obvious metal planks — the secret pathway had been blocked off and nailed shut. Adair must have come by while I was asleep. I hadn’t imagined his voice.
“Captain Judgment! You’re awake!” Metal nearly sobbed.
“Have I been asleep long?” I asked.
“It’s been three days! I thought you would never wake!”
No wonder he was so worried and had ended up keeping vigil by my bedside instead of standing guard outside.
I moved to sit up, muscles stiff from how long I had slept. Metal immediately moved forward to help me, but I held my hand up. I could do this.
After sitting up, I felt a strange weight fall against my back.
Metal stared, mouth falling open.
Slowly, I reached a hand behind my back, fingers brushing against what had to be hair. I pulled it forward and studied the black strands I had pulled forward, my scalp tingling.
Indeed, what I had grabbed was hair. My hair. The strands slipped through my fingers, pooling on my lap.
“That’s new…” Metal whispered, finally managing to close his mouth.
“You didn’t see this earlier?” I inquired.
“Maybe it was under your head?”
That, however, didn’t explain the sudden length.
Three days was not enough time for my hair to grow this long, and I’d always kept my hair no longer than shoulder length, as it was impractical to have it any longer.
There was only one conclusion I could make. “A side effect…”
Metal’s eyes grew wide. All of a sudden, he sprang forward. “Are you alright, Captain Judg–”
Before he could finish speaking, a wisp of black shot out and struck him in the cheeks, leaving an angry, red lash. Metal gasped and sat back, stunned.
I was equally as stunned. I looked down at the mess of hair that was now floating before me protectively and immediately said, “…Cut it off.”
What use was hair that would strike a friend?
“Got it!” Metal immediately followed my orders, pulling out both of his knives to hack at my hair. Unfortunately, the hair proved unwilling to be cut off and kept evading Metal’s attempts. Several red lashes appeared on Metal’s arms, but he merely grinned, undeterred. I made a grab for the wild strands, holding the hair down for Metal. The ends curled around my wrist and arm.
“Here goes!” Metal hacked at the hair relentlessly. I tried to relax, telling myself that my hair problems were soon to be over.
“Take this, stupid hair! Take this… ” Metal’s eagerness to serve eventually melted into apologies. “I’m sorry, Captain Judgment! I’m really sorry! I can’t cut it!”
It figured that a “gift” from the God of Light could never be taken lightly.