With deliberate, confident strides, Dream makes his way through the dark, ominous underground dungeon.
As his emerald-green eyes quickly and effectively scan each and every holding cell, he adjusts his sleek, jet-black gloves, ensuring that no one can see his hands.
Not that anyone is paying much attention to him. Dream, among five other potential buyers, continues 'browsing the merchandise' as the seller had put it with a boisterous, cruel chuckle when they entered.
At their own paces, Dream and the others examine the hybrids with critical gazes and, while they all have a cruel glint in their eyes as they leer at the beings trapped in the cells, Dream has to try his best to stamp down his pity.
He wants to help them all.
He wants to drop the act of being an average buyer to instead whip out his axe, slice off the heads of these wicked people, and free each and every poor soul trapped inside.
But that isn't his job.
He infiltrates, takes note of how many hybrids and staff there are, then sends Sapnap the cords so he and the other men can storm in and slaughter the bad guys while saving all the hybrids.
It's a much more heroic, action-packed job than Dream's subtle, undercover missions.
But, at the very least, Dream being here right now helps Sapnap rescue so many people.
And, even though Dream's primary purpose is gathering information to send back to Sapnap and King George, he does more than just that.
At each of these dreaded places, there's always some hybrid in dire need of help, someone who doesn't have much time left or will be absolutely petrified when Sapnap comes to save them.
Whenever Dream finds that poor hybrid, he demands to buy them, uncaring of their price--perks of being best friends with the king--and personally ensures that they will have a better life.
It's dangerous and grueling work, but Dream wouldn't want to change a thing.
Well, other than slaughtering whoever hurt the man before him, he wouldn't change a thing.
When Dream comes across an Elytrian, one of the rarest and most beautiful creatures to ever exist, he feels his heart absolutely shatter.
Rather than flying up in the great blue sky, this Elytrian is trapped in a dark, cramped cell, the enclosed space so small that his arms wouldn't even be able to spread out inside the cell, let alone the man's massive wings.
And, oh, his wings.
They're absolutely filthy. What was once beautiful, shimmering black and silver wings are now encrusted in a thick layer of dirt and grime, red, angry skin poking out from beneath clumps where feathers have clearly been torn out from the harsh chains encircling them, something that must be so painful.
Eventually, while trying his best not to cry, Dream tears his gaze away from the sorry state of the man's wings, instead inspecting the rest of him.
Gangly, atrophied arms dangle from the ceiling, attached high above him by chains that dig harshly into his fragile limbs, leaving raw, bloodied skin in their wake. His small stature is slumped forward, his entire body weight seemingly held up by the chains keeping him suspended, that horrible strain on his shoulder joints causing Dream to hold back a wince, hoping that those limbs haven't been dislocated yet. Upon lowering his gaze, Dream notices that the man is positively filthy, his skin looking more grey from dirt than the color it should be, his tattered, pathetic excuse for clothes riddled with tears and bloodstains, some a murky brown and others a vibrant shade of red, making it seem as though he was hurt just moments ago.
"Look at me," Dream sharply commands as he steps closer to the bars, pouring all the power he can muster into his voice, even though he would love nothing more than to wrap the man in his arms and whisper sweet promises that he's safe and will never be hurt again.
With a sharp, fearful inhale, the man quickly raises his gaze, their eyes meeting for just a moment before his head falls forward again, his neck too exhausted to carry the weight of his head any longer.
But, in that brief moment, Dream saw everything he needed to in order to make his decision.
Because, unlike every other hybrid he saw, this man's eyes were not filled with apathy and indifference, the kind that can only come from being entirely unable to control even the simplest aspects of your own life for much too long.
No, this man's eyes weren't like that.
They're so alive.
Those vibrant blue eyes, much like the way the ocean glistens in the sunlight, looked at him with so many emotions shining through.
Sure, most of those were just intense panic and fear and pain, but, underneath all that, Dream saw a spark of defiance.
During his time spent helping captured hybrids, Dream learned that they're taught to not look into anyone's eyes.
He knows that, and he's sure that this man knows it too, meaning that he just deliberately disobeyed an order.
And, if this man is willing to disobey orders, willing to look him directly in the eyes, Dream knows that he has to fight for him.
So many hybrids have been beaten and broken down to the point that they lose that spark, that desire to still be themselves despite all the pain and hardship thrown their way.
Once that spark is gone, it's so hard to get it back.
And Dream would be damned if he allowed this man to be hurt more, to let this spark be snuffed out when he could nurture it, could give this man a space where he could be safe and free to be who he really is before someone else steals that away from him.
Dream knows what he has to do now.
When he finally manages to tear his gaze away from the man, he locks eyes with the seller and states in his firmest tone that leaves no room for debate, "This is the one I’m buying."