Drake walked his way back to the stop he missed because of the girl’s strange word. In fact, it was the exact same stop where she had left the bus, so in a way, it was her fault that he had to walk under the rain for even longer than what he actually needed.
Using his backpack as a cover, he ran through the wet sidewalks and dodged the occasional puddles with uncanny expertise, Drake went from cover to cover, using everything he could to avoid getting wet as much as he would. Not that it made much different when he could feel that his clothes were already drenched.
Thankfully, his bag was a good one and didn’t let the water enter with too much ease, so he had no worries about his books and portable console getting wet.
Looking around, he searched for any sign of people on the street, but unsurprisingly, with the rain falling down as hard as it was, there weren’t many people walking the streets at the time, and most simply stood under the cover of some stall to wait until the water-fall died down.
For a moment he wondered if he would find the girl he had talked earlier amongst the little to no crowd of the streets, but as soon as the thought came, he also dismissed it. Even if her stop was the same one as he should have taken, her destination wasn’t necessarily the same, so the chance of her coming to the same place as him was little to none.
As he smiled wryly at the idea…
“YOU ARE PISSING ME OFF, BITCH!” He heard a man shouting, followed by the sound of something falling down on the ground with a loud sound.
Having his attention caught by the situation, Drake briefly stopped to see what was happening, following the origin of the sound until a wall behind the bar near his home. Peeking from behind the cover, Drake caught sight of a group of men, around nineteen to twenty years old, gathered around the figure of a girl in hoodie who was laying on the ground besides a knocked over trash-bin.
“Oi… Seriously?” Drake said with a wry smile while looking at the scene and immediately recognizing the girl.
“If I tell you to come wiff me, yo come wiff me, biatch!” The man said in a drunken slur.
“Yah, yah! You gonna play wiff us, kitty!” Another one said while nodding his head, the third one agreed in silence.
For a moment there was silence as the girl simply looked at the trio, but from afar, Drake couldn’t quite see what kind of expression she had, so he couldn’t say what she was feeling at the moment. Contemplating on what he should do, Drake finally heard as the girl sighed loudly.
“It’s a sad thing you are a Tuum, you poor idiot…” She said with a disappointed tone.
Even Drake didn’t need to see the men’s face to understand that they were pissed off, because the leader quickly took a step forward and grabbed her by the neck, raising her from the ground with a single motion.
Clicking his tongue, Drake thought on what he could do as he looked around, however, the few people that had heard the commotion showed no sign of getting involved. Clicking his tongue once again, he took out the cellphone from his bag and put it over his ear.
“Plan A, Acting…” He said lowly before increasing his voice. “Hello? Is this the police? There is a rape attempt occurring on the Sullivan Ave. Right behind the McMuller’s bar!” He said loud enough so that the drunkards could hear.
The trio widened their eyes in surprise before turning towards him in shock. Drake smiled in his mind seeing as his tactic seemed to work. But one of the drunks reacted a bit faster than what he expected.
The quiet one quickly ran towards the young man and grabbed his cellphone hand with a despaired look in his face. His friends were still shocked from the prospect of police coming, so they didn’t exactly react in time.
Caught by surprise, Drake didn’t have enough time to react before the man had managed to pull his arm down.
“LE-LET GO OF THE CELL, BOY!” He said in a threatening tone. Drake looked at him in shock for a moment before trying t oyank his arm out.
“You let go, old man!” Drake said while trying to yank his arm out, but the drunk’s desperation as he used his two arms to lower his cellphone hand overpowered him, lowering his cellphone to a point where he could see the screen.
Staring at it, the man looked surprised and gave a brief dry laugh while Drake simply clicked his tongue in annoyance.
“What, the cell doesn’t even have battery?” The man said while pushing Drake away and changing his face to an annoyed one. “What de hell were you thinking, brat?” He said while staring at Drake with cold eyes. “Ya want a beating too?”
“Huh… Looks like its time for plan B…” Drake looked at the cellphone with a wry smile before pocketing it. “No? Look, all I wanted was to stop you guys from assaulting the lady over there…” He said while pointing towards the hooded girl, who looked at him with an amused look.
“Haah? And why we shuldn’t do that?” The man holding the girl said.
“Well, one, it would be really mean…” Drake said with a wry smile. “Second, even if I couldn’t contact the police here, I could still report you guys, so it means that you get into trouble anyway. But, if you guys stop here, I promise I will forget everything and…”
“So you would tell on us?” The second one said with a taunting smirk. “Why don’t we simply teach ya a lesson before? I’m sure you wouldn’t do that if we gave you a goo ol’e beating.”
“Huh… Any chance we can do this the pacific way at all?” Drake said while trying to take a step back, but the two free men started to circle him with wicked smiles.
“After ya stopped our fun? Nope.” One of them said, and the man holding the girl nodded.
“I’ll leave ‘im wiff you boys. I’ll take da girl mean*hic*while.”
Looking at the scene as the man raised his hand towards the girl’s hoodie, Drake sighed loudly and shook his head.
“Looks like bargaining also failed, huh? Time for plan C then.” He said wearily.
“Hoo, and what would yer ‘plan C’ be, brat?” The man closest to him asked with a mocking tone. “Runnin?”
“Nope.” Drake said while turning to the man. “Clobbering.”
The man blinked surprised at the words, and before his drunk mind could comprehend what was happening, Drake quickly closed in on him and landed a hook right in his guts, making the drunkard bend over as he tried to hold in whatever it was that he had for lunch that day.
While the remaining duo watched the scene in shock and confusion, Drake took advantage of their shock to quickly turn to the nearby drunk and hit him with a heavy cross punch o, the jaw, which shook the man out of balance. An easy task since his mind was still clouded by the alcohol.
Finally, Drake turned his gaze towards the one that had been acting as a leader. He quickly let go of the girl and tried to hit Drake with a wild swing, but drake nimbly dodged under the attack and hit the man’s stomach with a shoulder charge, carrying him until his back hit on the wall, knocking him out of air.
Drake didn’t waste much time recovering his breath before turning to the girl who had been oddly quiet all this time.
“Quick, while they are stunned!” He said in a hurried tone before grabbing her hand.
She looked at him with an amused face for a moment before nodding and running after him. With a quick glance backwards, Drake could see as the men stood up and started to run after them, so he put on a wry smile seeing that they had recovered much faster than the expected.
“So, what’s your plan, Scribe?” The girl asked, sounding more curious than worried.
“I live in an apartment nearby. We can hide there for the time being.” Drake replied briefly whole not letting go how she had actually called him a ‘Scribe’ once again.
“I see…” She turned to the men running after them, but having trouble keeping their balance while on the slippery floor. “Why didn’t you simply finish them right there and then?” She asked curious.
“Look, just because I’m good in a brawl, it doesn’t mean that I like getting into fights, you know?” Drake said with a weary tone. After getting into so many fights due to his natural mean look, it was no wonder that he had grown used to brawls. “Besides, even if they are drunk, I’m not very keen on fighting three opponents at the same time!”
“Hmm… Fair enough.” The girl said with a nod.
Seeing that the talk died down there at the moment, Drake quickly let go of her hand and ran ahead, dodging in a feel extra streets on the way hoping to lose the men after them. It didn’t take longer for the trio to disappear from their sights, so they quickly made their way to his apartment.
Thanking the gatekeeper whom had quickly opened the door for them once he recognized the boy, the duo took on the elevator to the upper floors.
“I just noticed that I’m taking a girl I just met today to my house…” He said with a wry smile. The girl blinked surprised before turning to him.
“Well, I was only following your directions.” She said matter-of-factly. Drake laughed dryly and hung his head in shame. “You decided to help someone when you had no actual plan in mind?” She asked, and Drake only lowered his head even more. The girl let out a long sigh while shaking her head. “You know, your help there was completely unneeded, and I could easily have dealt with them myself.”
“Huh?” Drake said surprised while turning to the girl, who had a dead serious look in her face. “Then… I did that… For nothing?”
“Not entirely.” The girl denied him outright, leaving him confused. “As needless and unnecessary your intervention was, you still did risk yourself so that you could help me, and for that, I am grateful.” She nodded lightly with those words.
Drake felt a bit awkward after the girl gave him such sincere thanks, so he scratched his cheek embarrassed. As he did that, the elevator made a ding as it reached the selected floor. Drake quickly got out of the elevator and walked towards the door of his house, with the girl following close behind.
“Let’s enter through the kitchen.” He said pointing to a second door. “Less problem wetting the kitchen than the living room.” He took out a key from his pocket and quickly opened one of the doors from the floor.
“You don’t seem all that bothered with me entering your room as before…” The girl commented as she peeked in through the room.
“Well, I already brought you here, so sending you off would be simply bad manners anyway.” Drake said while shrugging. “Besides, it doesn’t look like you have a car or live nearby, so I guess you would have to walk on the rain, right?” He asked while taking out his muddy shoes. “Might as well stay here for the time being.”
As he went in and crossed the kitchen, he took the girl to the service area, where some clothes and towels were left to dry and a washing machine laid quietly on the corner. Taking out two of the driest towels, Drake took one for himself and the other one he gave to the girl, who accepted it wordlessly.
Drake immediately dried his long hair for the moment, and saw as the girl took out her hoodie to do the same.
Blinking surprised, he stared at her for a moment, seeing her light blue hair that shone mysteriously with the humidity, Drake was left speechless for a moment due to the unusual coloration of her hair. Did she die it? As odd as the question may appear, Drake was still confused, since it just looked so natural that he wouldn’t be surprised if it was her natural coloration.
As he felt that the girl just seemed to become more and more mysterious, he finally noticed something that started bothering him.
“I thank you for your kindness.” She said briefly while drying her hair.
“Oh… Nah… It’s nothing…” Drake said while noticing he had been staring too much. “So, what exactly had happened back there?” He asked curious.
“I thought I could get some help from a Recovered… But I didn’t expect it to be a Tuum…” She said with a slightly annoyed tone.
“Tuum…?” Drake said confused, remembering how she mentioned that word earlier. “Was that his name?”
“No. Tuum is not who he is, but what he is.” The girl said while taking out the towel and briefly explained while turning towards him.
“Is that like how you kept calling me ‘Scribe’ then?” Drake asked confused, and she nodded.
“Yes. Tuum’s are pitiful existences in this world.” She said with a hint of disappointment. “For their original form, alcohol works in the place of water as the most needed fluid, but this doesn’t apply to their human shells, so it leads to erratic behaviors like that back there.”
For a moment, Drake only kept hearing her words as she spoke in a disappointed tone. In his mind, he started to doubt whether the girl just wasn’t simply delusional or something like that. It would work well to explain these strange words that she would say from time to time and why she acted the way she did.
However, he also had the feeling that it might not be the case…
Shaking his head, he looked down on himself and saw that his clothes were still drenched. As much as the towel helped a bit, without a true shower he might end up getting a cold. Thinking about it, it might be the same about the girl.
“Ah, I don’t think I got your name yet…” He said while turning back to the kitchen and started looking for the telephone.
“Right… I am Kara, of the Hu-Ara.” She said while frowning slightly and a bothered tone. “I didn’t expect to meet you again so soon, and all that commotion earlier ended up making me forget about it.”
“Kara, huh?” Drake said while recording her words into his memory. “I’m Drake Wellsworth.” He introduced himself briefly. “And as much as I want to hear more about your stories and all, I don’t think that staying in these clothes and staying in empty stomach may help. If you want, you can take a shower on the main bathroom just down the corridor leaving the kitchen then take some clothes from my sister’s room to the right of the bathroom. I’ll take one on the guest’s bathroom, so no need to worry about me spying you.”
“There wasn’t a need for all of this…” She said with a slightly awkward face, looking a bit uncomfortable with the situation but, Drake simply smiled anyway and said.
“No need to worry about that. If you don’t want to, I would understand. Besides that, my sister would kill me if I were to be rude to a girl…” His face suddenly changed to a fearful one when he mentioned those words. “Anyway, you could stay here until the storm dies down if you want.” He said while picking the telephone and dialing a number.
“I will take up on your offer, Scribe Drake.” She said after some time staring at the towel in her hand. “These cloth layers are indeed a bother when they are this humid.” She said while looking down at her wet clothes.
“Okay then… I’ll give a call to my sister so she knows you are here if she arrives too.” He said while waiting for his sister to pick up her cellphone.
“I am sincerely thankful for your assistance, Scribe Drake.” She said with a brief nod.
“You are welcome…” Drake said with a wry smile. “If there’s anything else you need, just give me a call.”
Kara blinked surprise for a moment and stared at him as if pondering on something for some time, but she nodded anyway and left the kitchen. Just as she left, the room, Drake heard the sound of the cellphone being answered.
“Hello, Aliss Wellsworth speaking.” A girl in polite tone answered.
“Drake? How are you? Do you need a lift home?” She asked worriedly, but drake quickly calmed her down.
“No, I’m already home sis… But there’s something else…”
“Oh? What is it?”
“You see… There was this girl…” Thus, Drake started to explain Kara’s situation to his sister before going to take his shower.