Russian From Danger

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Alarice

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One french fry after another--and sometimes three at once--were disappearing from his plate! He took a bite from the burger, soaking with ketchup and mayo and a squirt of mustard, packed with onions, lettuce, tomato and a couple pieces of pickles. He loved burgers, too. It was a good thing his metabolism was so high and he did a lot of strenuous exercises or he might have been worried about packing on some pounds.

He took a sip of the chocolate milkshake and sometimes dipped the french fries in it. He noticed her taking a few of his fries but he could live with that. He didn't speak until the burger was gone and he was satisfied. "If you're taking the courses just to making a living, I don't think so. But if you're trying to help people deal with a side of life most are ignorant of, then yes, you can making a living."
 

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Manami Shinobu

"Both, I want to do both. Make a living and help people. Like with fashion! It's a crime people walk around wearing cowboy boots and prom dresses and they need to be saved from embarrassment. But you know, I need to afford a house and food and all that stuff too." Manami stole a few last fries and arranged them on the other half of her burger before taking another bite.

"Okay, like ... we kinda had those Life Preparation classes last week, and apparently marrying an English Prince and being a Fashion Diva wasn't a realistic option. And the today some stupid guy said I wouldn't even be able to go school and do normal things anymore! Reality isn't even real and blah blah blah, actually I don't even understand half the things he said, so maybe if I studied it I could tell him off." That burger was gone, and now Manami was leaning back in her seat with her milkshake in her hands. She was swishing her straw around and frowning.

"Sorry, I don't mean to talk your ear off. Tell me what you've been doing! What's had you busy and life so interesting that you needed a vacation?"
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Alarice

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Nicholai finished off his french fries while Manami was talking. He finished off his shake to give him sometime to come up with an answer. He didn't want to lie to Manami but on the other hand, possessing the type of knowledge the truth would give would land her in trouble with creatures he'd rather keep ignorant of her. "You know, college and ... life. It's a boring and mundane reason, believe me. Certainly nothing as exciting as you seem to have gone through."
 

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Manami Shinobu

"You don't change much do you." She replied with a big wide grin. Nicholai pretty much did the same things everyday! He liked the same things, he even dressed the same way from the looks of it. She, on the other hand, was obsessed with something new every week. That's just what happened when you rarely lived in the same place long than six months.

"I'm glad I ran in to you today, but I guess I should be trying to get back home before my parents start freaking out. Um... if you could help me find my school, I can get back home from there. It's called Chikushi, kinda a weird name huh? Makes me think of baby chickens! Oh, if you do stay in Japan, even though I think you should make for Bermuda or something, you can come over for dinner at the house to make up for taking me out today!"
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He smiled. Baby chickens. Only Manami would have a wild mind to think of something like that. He scratched his head thoughtfully. "I really don't remember passing by any school but there's no harm in walking around the city a bit more." He waited for Manami to finish up and then they stood. He paid the check and they walked outside. She chose the direction but before they started, he was shrugging off his jacket.

"Here. It's getting pretty cold." He slipped it over her shoulders before she protested. But he was used to much colder climates, and he didn't want Manami to catch an illness walking around like this. It was nice and dark so it was impossible for her to see the gun holsters he wore. One holster held a silver gun with an ivory handle. The other holster held a jet black gun.

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The rest of the walk passed by in comfortable silence and peace, with a few questions back and forth about each other. It reminded Nicholai about how things had been when she'd lived at Moscow for a little while. Walking her home from school pretty much everyday after her first day there. Those were fond memories.

"Oh, here it is!"

They stopped and Nicholai looked up. This was a school, alright. "I see." Yeah, he couldn't recall having passed by here. While Manami looked around to see in what direction to go for her home, he was studying the school grounds. There was something strange about this place. He was getting that same feeling, that tingling at the back of his neck, the sensation of being watched from the darkness, the one that meant his vacation was over.

There was a light on, the top floor of the main building just across the courtyard but no silhouette of someone inside. Suddenly, a bloodcurdling scream ripped through the quiet night! He had to investigate! But ... Manami! "Po krovi tsarya ..." he swore.
"How far away is your home?" Manami's welfare was vitally important! Not to his so-called duties, perhaps, but personal-wise. And yet, if there was an innocent in danger ...

Dlya kazhdoĭ kapli krovi na rukah ...


For each drop of blood on your hands ...

 

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Manami Shinobu

A scream! The startling sound had made her jump. Now she was frowning. That had come from her school for sure. Those monsters might not have left at all. One of her classmates could still be inside and in trouble now. But... she couldn't just tell Nicholai she needed to save someone from a demon! He'd think she was crazy, and she didn't want to get him in trouble!

"Um. It's really close. Only fifteen minutes or so. I'll be okay!" Manami hopped to give him a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. "I'll see you soon!" She was in such a rush to run down the sidewalk and disappear around the corner, she had completely forgotten to return his jacket or even ask him which hotel he was staying at. Manami was just preoccupied with getting out of sight so she could sneak back in to school and make sure everything was safe!

After waiting a few minutes to be sure he had gone, Manami found one of the school's side doors and was surprised to find it unlocked. She snuck her way inside!
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Alarice

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Nicholai watched Manami disappear and then turned back to the school. He didn't have much time to spare but he didn't want to rush into something he couldn't handle. Instead of running, he was sneaking and crossing the courtyard in long strides, using the buildings for cover. After that scream, it had gone silent. Nothing moved or attacked him by the time he reached the front doors.

The doors were locked but Nicholai pulled out a lock pick and went to work. It took a minute and then he was in. He pocketed the pick and slipped inside, closing the door softly behind him. The halls were empty. He kept to one side, in case something cornered him, and headed in the direction the light and the scream had come from. But as he moved, so did something else. When he stopped, so did the shadows following him.

Just as he got to the stairs at the other end, the shadows grew glittering red eyes and small hunched over bodies. Nicholai turned just in time to see deformed little children with sharp teeth and claws jump at him! He pulled out the silver gun with the ivory handle and began to fire. Aim! BANG! Aim! BANG! Aim! BANG! Each shot took down one creature in the head but there were so many of them!
 

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Manami Shinobu

As Manami sneaked along the hallway, staying close to the walls, it was eerily silent. Aside from that one scream, now there wasn't any other sounds. Even the sort of sounds she would expect in a closed school. Every time she stopped, she thought she saw something out of the corner of her eyes. But it looked like the shadows were just playing tricks on her.

Oh man, maybe they really are playing tricks on me! That was kind of freaky! But Manami was determined to make sure no one was trapped here and getting eaten up by demons. If that Daiki could be a super hero and saving damsels, now that she was seeing all this weird stuff, she could do it too.

Which was SOOOO hypocritical of her! She was rolling her eyes at her own thoughts. She didn't want anything to do with all this monster business, but here she was trying to save somebody. It figured!

BANG! BANG! BANG!

Manami clamped her hands over her mouth at the sudden gunshots. What the hell was that?! It must have been some kind of crazy serial killer instead of a monster. Or maybe the girl that screamed had a gun! Whatever it was, the sudden sound even made the shadows jump. Red eyes on the wall were now peering at a surprised looking Manami. They zoomed down the hall along the walls, no heading for the origins of those gunshots.

"Oh no you don't!" Manami yelled. On the wall there was a fire axe behind glass. One that she quickly snatched out of it's casing before she went chasing shadows down the hall!

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Alarice

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Nicholai muttered curses under his breath. He was out of rounds. And he couldn't use the other gun on these things. He reached for his spare bullets but the creatures were taking advantage. They moved so fast! He jumped back to avoid being cleaved in two by those claws! Then he kicked out, caught one by the face and sent it flying against the lockers! SLAM! Its fellows swarmed around and above to come scrambling at him at both sides! Unfortunately his hands were busy putting each bullet inside so it limited what he could do. He ducked, rolled and then he bolted up the steps! He had to get to the civilian above!
 

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Manami Shinobu

Manami was running up the stairs wearing a coat that was far too large for her and holding an axe over her head. It probably looked comical, and it was no wonder those escaping shadows weren't taking her seriously to stop. When Manami made it to the top of the stairs, there was another scream! That girl's scream again!

The shadows were heading right for it, a room on the empty floor. Manami followed, swinging her axe as she elbowed her way in to the room. "I'M HE-...er..?" All the shadows that had gone in there we missing. The room's lights were on and everything looked bright and cheery. Like a class waiting in session. In the room was a girl about Manami's height, not even screaming. She had a cellphone up to her ear and was giggling.

"Um... Did I like.. come in the wrong room? Didn't you hear someone screaming?" Manami asked, really confused!

The girl turned around, a bored expression on her face. Then she started to smile. But with every slight movement of her mouth getting wider, her face started distorting. Her eyes grew huge and shifted hollow and her mouth was nearly as big as her face and filled with rows of sharp teeth!

Manami twitched! It looked like one of those creepy scary videos she watches on the internet! "Neeeevermind. I'm just going to, uh...!" She didn't finish her excuse. The girl opened her mouth wider and let out a much less helpless sounding scream and launched across the room at her! Manami kicked the desk situated in front of her, so the scary girl-beast ended up tripping over it and rolling face first in to the floor. Without missing a beat, Manami swung the axe down and SPLAT! Right in to the girl's back!

"...Eeeeeww! Gods, take that you freak! Ha!" Her victory pose was short live. The black stuff that had gooped out of the body rose up, keeping that strange hollow eyes and wide mouth, but now standing as tall as the ceiling!

"Well crap."
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Alarice

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He must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. He ended up walking into an empty and dark classroom and nothing seemed out of place! He exited and walked back the way he came when he heard another scream! This one sounded different from the first!

The next room he walked into seemed like the right one! A big tall ugly monster. Check. The only thing wrong with this picture--Manami was there! "Manami, duck!" He ordered, pulling the gun with the ivory handle out, the blessed gun. The monster turned its attention to Nicholai and dove for him! But he stood his ground. BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! Each bullet ripped the monster apart and after the fifth bullet, the monster decided to change tactics and made for the window, zigzagging!

Nicholai ran forward, following its movement with his eyes! Then he raised the gun ... and fired!

BANG! The last shot pierced the monster's chest just as it stopped for a split second, ready to crash through the window! It fell through the glass! Nicholai was already reaching to reload his gun, just in case, anticipating another attack from any angle.
 

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Manami Shinobu

"Nicholai! You can't be in here!" She had ducked (like any smart person would when someone yells DUCK!), and then retrieved that fire axe that was now laying all sticky on the floor. Scuttling to him, she was pressing goopy hands and axe against him as she was pushing him backwards out the classroom door!

"back, back, back, we're leaving! Wait, where did you get those guns?!" Now she knew where that gunfire had come from! When did he have those? It didn't matter, last thing she wanted was for Nicholai to get eaten up by monsters. Manami was trying to turn him around and usher him down the hallway before those shadowy things started chasing them down. She could already see them lurking around at the walls.
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Alarice

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He opened his mouth to stammer an excuse about the guns but realized she was right. Those creatures were still here so he let Manami push him out the door and down the steps. It was too close for comfort. And it meant his vacation had probably ended. She didn't ease up on him until they were outside and off the school. He couldn't lie to her but maybe he could lighten the mood and she wouldn't ask questions? "So ... I guess I'm walking you home instead," he said with a sheepish grin.
 

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Manami Shinobu
"That's a good idea. Then we can get you a taxi cab to send you back to your hotel. Walking around at night is sooo dangerous!" Speaking of dangerous she was clutching that fireaxe in her hands just waiting for something else to pop out as they started down the sidewalk to head home. It didn't look like those shadows were following them from the school. Nor that big giant goop-blob.

Manami then cast him a curious side glance. How did she ask questions without Him asking too many questions? Knowiong Nicholai he was probably writing off all that stuff as weird, but not thinking twice.

Then again, he was sporting shiny guns! Where did those come from?

"Um... Did you change your career to cop or something and just didn't want to tell me? Cause it's okay if you're not wanting to be a vet anymore. I'm not like, gonna freak out."
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Alarice

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Another sheepish grin. "No," he said, a bit relieved that she hadn't come up with a whole bunch of questions for him to answer. "I still want to be a vet." But how to explain things without burdening her with it. She had enough to worry about. He glanced at her. "So ... does being a designer also include wielding an axe and attacking ... things?" He really shouldn't be asking such a question when he himself would be better off without them.
 

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Manami Shinobu

"Not... normally?" Okay, she had to admit, a fireaxe was something hard to ignore. She lowered it to hide behind her back, despite the fact he could still see it and knew it was there. Quick! What to tell him! Dangit, maybe she should tell him the truth after all? No, that was just crazy.

"...um, okay, I admit that I kinda read too much manga and I'm prone to reckless acts of totally stupid heroism! I thought I would go in and rescue, but I really didn't want you to get in trouble or anything. Guess I shouldn't have worried, if you're packing guns like that! Were you hiding them in your coat? Did you buy them here in Japan? I can't imagine what it's like trying to explain weapons when you're traveling." Manami went for the 'honestly without telling the whole story' approach. Telling the truth but not the whole truth! It helped that he made it really easy to change the subject. She never would have imagined Nicholai carrying guns, let alone shooting them. He was always so quiet and uneventful.

Not too far up the street she spotted her house, and couldn't helped but have a relieved sort of sigh that seemed to make her whole body go limp. Who knew she'd be so glad to see the new place and talk to her parents. "There's my house. You wanna come inside and say hi to my Dad?"
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Alarice

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He rubbed the back of his head. He couldn't lie to her and she had asked some specific questions. But the matter of the guns was a sensitive spot since their origins were also tied to his ... other duties. "Yeah, about those ... It's pretty ... complicated and I don't want to bother you with the details." He left it at that. If he told anymore, she would be stuck with this knowledge as well. Ignorance truly was bliss.

Fortunately, by then, they had reached her house. He was feeling a bit ... anxious about being around people at the moment. Considering he had just fought evil, that was normal. He looked uncertain. However, it was probably for the best that he at least let her mom and dad know she hadn't been alone all this time. It was pretty late. It'd be a surprise to see him in Japan but he had met them before so he was a trusted face.
 

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Manami Shinobu

"I guess there's like, tons of paperwork and stuff for taking them over a country's borders?" Crap! She forgot that she lost her keys when her clothes were taken by those weird bunnies! When she tried the door, though, it was unlocked. Whew. Thanks for worried parents.

Manami stepped inside, flipping on the lights. "Momma! Daddy! I'm SOOOO sorry I'm back late, but stuff happened at school...! Dad?" No one seemed to be awake. It was only just after dinner though. There was no way they'd leave the house without locking the doors. Mom was a city girl and super paranoid about people breaking in and stuff.

"They must be upstairs doing stuff. Blech. Oh, c'mon I'll show you my new room!" Snatching his hand, Manami was dragging him up the stairs for her room. Trying not to listen too closely to any weird sounds in case her parents were getting all gross and freaky.
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Alarice

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"Uh, wait--Um!" It was too late! Manami had a tight grip on his hand and was pulling him in the door. He barely had enough time to close it behind him before she was leading the way. He didn't think it a good idea for her to be taking him to her room. He wouldn't take advantage of her but he knew if he was her dad, the last thing he'd want is to find a guy in his daughter's room. "Are you sure it's such a good i ... dea?"

Nicholai was standing in her room. And everything ... Well, it was definitely Manami. From the posters and the wallpaper to the bed coverings and the dresser against the wall over there. "It's very uh ... pretty."
 

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Manami Shinobu

Manami's room was so typical of just about any American teenage girl. Posters of hot boys and bands including heart stickers and drawn doodles. Pictures of her and her friends from all over the world. She had stuffed animals sitting on the bed. The most adorable pink and purple polka dot bed spread. She also had clothes thrown all over the room. Some dirty, some clean, and it impossible to tell which was which. Unless you were Manami.

"It's pretty big compared to some of my other rooms. I could actually fit a double-sized bed in here." She looked around herself before turning her attention to Nicholai. Then she smiled wide. "Okay, I guess I girl's room is kinda lame. Lemme go get the phone so you can call a taxi service or something. Walking home is probably a bad idea."

Before he could protest, Manami was already bouncing out of her room to head down the hall and fetch the phone.
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