Thunder resounded over the city of Yurusa, quieting the normally bustling city with its sonorous clamour. Under the shadow of the pregnant clouds, its residents hurried to home or shelter as heavy rain beat relentlessly upon the face of the world. Yuu Kondo quickened her pace to try to escape the downpour. She’d been down these streets many times before, but it seemed like a foreign city now. There was something about this storm that suggested a grim portent. This part of the country was not a place known for storms such as these. The weather forecast didn’t predict anything at all like this. It was supposed to be clear and sunny skies all week, but then this freak storm appeared from nowhere. At least there was no flooding yet. “Huh?” She paused as she saw a man out of the corner of her eye, sitting quietly beneath an awning across the road. Her mother always told her to trust her intuition, and right now it screamed at her in alarm. She picked up the pace even more. Before rounding a corner, she turned to gaze at where the man sat and found that he was gone. Her eyes swept the street and found that he had crossed to her side and was following close behind her. She tried to lose him, but he seemed a peerless predator and kept pace. She didn’t know how long the chase went on, but she couldn’t carry on anymore and collapsed. How could an entire city be so empty? She mustered what strength she had to crawl forward in useless bravado, but she was quickly picked up and thrown unceremoniously into a back alley by strong arms. She closed her eyes expecting the worst. But she was surprised when she felt wind buffet her, a great illumination pierce the lid of her eyes and a constant crackling deafen her ears. She gazed in the direction of all the oddities and there was a tunnel of light, with its inside like a churning rapid. From within stepped out a woman, just a little shorter than her modest height. The tunnel sealed behind the woman, and Yuu felt the man release his grip and walk towards the woman. With the light gone, Yuu was able to see the woman better. Dark haired and pale skinned, she was covered by a large mantle that looked ancient and regal, beneath which she only had a yem and a short skirt. Her exposed skin was covered in wounds and her steps were unsteady, forcing her to grab a nearby wall for balance. The woman looked up at the two, then stared at the man and started hissing. The man hesitated at first, but then he laughed and seized her by the throat and pushed her back against the wall. The woman’s expression didn’t change at all as her gaze was riveted to the man’s eyes. Nor did it change when he tightened his grip. But the man’s smug expression soon did change into one of frozen fear as her eyes morphed into a radiant gold and power seeped from her very being. The man became like a statue, and with a soft push from her slender hand, he fell backwards, landing with a thud still in the same rigid pose. Were he not made of flesh, he might have shattered. The woman turned to Yuu and spoke with great presence, “Go home.” Yuu did not think twice about following that order. She fled the alleyway and through the streets. The rain had stopped, but she hadn’t even realized when. Exhausted, the woman lay down on the ground and wrapped herself in her cloak.