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The Great Journey: Chronicles of Grunt
The story behind my character, and continuing short stories every few days or so.
Chapter Seven: Corruption in the Mad Grunt
Zero and a good friend of hers, Reikun, are sitting around the front of her house, relaxing. Reikun was a traveler, and had just come back from a journey to Tokyo. Reikun’s motorcycle had just been wrecked along the way, and he needed a place to stay anyway. Zero, being the optimist she is, told Reikun not to worry, because the longer his bike is broken, the longer they would get to stay with each other. Reikun was not an optimist however and simply looked at the downside of things. “I don’t think my bike will make it. Oh woe is me…” he would say. Mochi, who actually originally belonged to Reikun, enjoyed the time that Reikun stayed over, because he would have a chance to persuade him to take him back. “C’mon old friend…we’ll travel everywhere on Earth and leave this trash heap for good!” Mochi was quite attached to Reikun I suppose because of their personality similarities, as they both were (and still are,) grumps.

One particular day when Reikun was there, Grunt had a chance to meet him, and that didn’t go so well. Reikun, being the hothead he was, made a comment that took Grunt by surprise, and the two got in a fight, ending in Grunt getting his rear kicked around, and a large bump on his head.

Later in the day while Reikun was helplessly scrutinizing his motor bike, they had an unexpected visitor. Walking down from a hill that overlooked Zero’s house, was Grunt, rod in hand and terribly sweaty. Grunt had just come back from Clover’s house, and didn’t look good at all. His face bled, his hands were shaking, and they were cut. His back was scarred, and his teeth dripped blood. When Zero saw him, she immediately ran to him and helped him inside. Grunt couldn’t have walked on his own, he was limping. “Grunt! What the heck happened?!” Zero screamed. Lying on the couch, mouth open, and blood in his nose, Grunt was simply unable to answer. He could hardly hear Zero; he was so tired he was in a trance.

A few hours pass and Grunt is still silent. Zero waits awhile, sitting on the couch beside him. He didn’t wake up until 8:00 that evening. When he did, she prepared a remedy that an old friend of hers had given her. It was a certain type of tea, which could heal nearly any wound. Grunt was still unable to speak for a long time, the only thing he could do was look around. When he finally could, he told Zero what had happened.

“Hey…thanks buddy. Ugh, oh man that was horrible. Y-you should have been there.” He said.
“Been there? What on Earth happened to you, mate?!”
“I came to visit you… when I was on my way here; a couple of men blocked my path. I asked them to move, and they didn’t. They told me to not go past this part of the forest, because there’s a savage wolf on the other side. I told them I knew what they were talking about, and that you weren’t a savage wolf. They then started calling you names…then they insulted me for being your friend. I put up with it for no longer than two minutes, because then they had called you a filthy mongrel. I then went out of control…I grew…fangs and, claws and such….I bit one’s head off, then I clawed the other to death…. I ate both their hearts, and then suddenly stopped. I felt normal again, but I also felt as if I had run several laps around the Earth, nonstop. I fell down, when suddenly another man had come and saw the entire thing, and shot me. I could hardly move, so I pretended to die, and waited until he left.
The next day, while Grunt was still recovering, Zero prepared some burnt brownies for the two of them, and invited Mochi and Reikun to join them as well. Reikun had already left by the time Zero had called for this brownie-gathering, because he had fixed his bike the previous night. Of course, he also had forgotten Mochi.
“I swear when I get outta here, I’m going to travel this entire world as we know it!” Mochi said, angrily munching on a burnt brownie.
“Haw, well that’ll be the day, wont it, Mochi?” said Zero, happily chewing on her brownie. Grunt, who was lying on the couch still, decided to get comfortable as a cat, an ability he had recently found out. Grunt was able to turn into a black cat at will. Because of the demon law, each outcast was allowed to choose two organisms to fill the body of, it could be two humans, it could be two animals, or it could be animal, and human. Grunt had forgotten before being sent to Earth, that he had chosen a human, and a cat.
“Hm… Zero, you’ve done it again! These brownies aren’t half bad.” Grunt tries to keep the expression on his face positive, as the brownies weren’t really good at all. “Now, let’s try and think of a game to play guys, how about…charades?” he says.
“I have board games if anyone wants to play!” Zero replied. “Let’s see, I have Yahtzee, Sorry, Scrabble, Mahjong, and….Hm I’m pretty sure we have Parcheesi.”
“PARCHEESI!” Grunt yelled. He wasn’t exactly sure what it was, but he liked the name.
“Parcheesi it is, then!” Grunt returns to his original form, and then picks up the game board. He twirls it around on a single finger, and starts to do little tricks with it. Suddenly, something outside the window catches his eye. His eyes grow wide and he drops the board. “CLOVER!” he screams.
“Clover? I’m not sure we have that game, mate-”
“NO! Clover! It’s her! Look!” Grunt points outside the window and sure enough, there Clover was, on her tippy toes, reaching for a small yellow bird in a tree. “Is that the friend you were telling me about? Well I’ll be darned!” Zero said happily. Her expression changes, when she realizes the bird in the tree is one of her pets. Its name was Chubby Chikki, a small round bird that flutters about, usually asleep on top of Zero’s hat. “C.C! AH!” Zero shouts, as she hops off her couch in an instant and dashes outside. Clover has the little bird in her palm, stroking it gently with her index finger. Grunt runs out with Zero, and skids to a stop where Clover stood. “CLOVER! What are you doing here?!” Grunt asked excitedly.
“And why do you have Chubby Chikki?!” Zero added, looking less excited.
Clover stands there and begins to smile at the two. “I came looking for Grunt. Apparently I came to the right place.” She said. “Here is your bird, I saw him stuck in this tree, which is a bit odd, because I assumed all birds could just fly down.” Clover said, handing Zero Chubby Chikki.
“He flutters,” Zero replied, taking the bird. “It’s hard for him to flutter down from a high distance for so long.”
“Hm, I see. And who might you be?” Clover asked.
“Me? I’m a friend of Grunt’s. My name is Zero, nice to meet cha’.” Zero answered. Clover smiled and remembered the things Grunt had told her quite awhile back about Zero, and how they went on quite a lot of adventures before. “You guys just going to stand there and smile, or are we going to get inside before we freeze our butts off ‘ere?” Grunt remarked, hugging himself from the cold. “Right,” Zero said, still in wonder of finally meeting the famous Clover. “I’ll make some cocoa.”

Inside, the three sat on couches sipping their cocoa. Grunt had officially introduced the two, and they were trading stories to get to know each other. The story of how Clover and Grunt met came up, and they were discussing the friendship. “Grunt had lived in my place for maybe about four or five years. His favorite lunch was always roast beef,” Clover said. “Ha, yeah I remember the good ol’ days trying to fix that darn TV of ours…We could have fixed it together, but sadly Grunt left under some…conditions.” Clover said, lowering her head. “Conditions?” wondered Zero, looking back and forth at the two. “Clover now’s not the time.” Grunt said, with a very serious look on his face. “It’s the truth, is it not?” replied Clover.
“Yes…but…” Grunt was silent for a few moments, and claws were starting to push through his nails. Clover noticed, and quickly placed her hand on Grunt’s shoulder. Grunt’s claws disappear, and he takes a deep breath. “I won’t talk about it any longer.” said Clover, reassuring Grunt. Zero was very confused; she didn’t give Grunt’s powers a second thought, and was completely unaware that Clover had the same abilities. To make that clear, Clover brings Zero into the kitchen, to tell her privately what exactly was going on. “Me and Grunt….we’re demons. We both have powers that simply cannot be controlled at times, and it triggers when we are upset, or worried about something, or someone.” Clover explained. Zero listens with wide eyes. She had been friends with a demon this entire time? She watched Clover, and saw her fists clench. Suddenly, a black substance runs over her arm and covers the left portion of her face, and her left eye turns yellow. “This substance, is what helps us turn into our demon forms… when touched or consumed, it instantly latches to you, and makes you infinitely more strong than before, and leads you into uncontrollable anger. This substance is called Corruption.” Clover said.
“Heard of it,” Zero replied, looking at the Corrupted half of Clover’s face. “I’ve never truly seen it up close before, though.” Clover sighs, and the Corruption on her disappears. “Grunt has some too. I’ve seen him much worse. Please understand our faults, and know also that we are human as well. We both have been cursed to mortality, but never mind the demon side of us. It’s in our hearts, and it’s something we cannot change.”

Zero shuddered at the thought of Grunt looking worse than he had been the previous day, and the thought of how to keep him stable, and Clover as well. She understood what she was saying, and smiled slightly. “Don’t worry mate. I know it’s not something you can control, and I have no intention of changing it, because I know I cannot. Grunt is a nice guy, and I know he’d never rage on me like that out of anger, same for you. Thanks for letting me know.” Replied Zero, walking away to go and continue drinking her cocoa with Grunt.

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