“…and here is the money for the taxi on the way back.” Aliss said cheerfully while handling a note to Drake, who gladly accepted without a second thought.
Her job done, Aliss then closed off the car’s windows and drove off from the mall’s parking lot. With a quick jog Drake got out from the driveway and stood at the entrance of the mall where Kara awaited with a slightly uncomfortable expression.
Smiling wryly at the girl’s situation, Drake kept quiet because he knew that whatever he said would be wasted. Meanwhile he didn’t missed noticing how she was gathering a lot of attention from people around them, which wasn’t much of a surprise seeing how the combination of a pretty girl with such exotic hair color was sure to be eye catching.
Forced on his sister’s old clothes once again, the Hu-ara now wore a frilly white blouse with a pair of jeans beneath, the combination not exactly escaping her tomboyish nature, but still managing to make her a bit more girlish. Of course, her tail was nowhere to be seen.
However, her true source of displeasure were two: One was that she found the jeans too difficult to move on. The second was…
“I still don’t see the reason why we have to buy me more garments.” She said in a clearly helpless tone. “The ones I have are more than sufficient for my needs during my stay.”
“I don’t think Sis agrees with you there.” Drake said with a wry smile as he remembered the fit Aliss threw once she saw that all of Kara’s clothes were white shirts, pants and hoodies. Even then nowhere near enough to last a couple of weeks without washing. “And yourself said that you were going on patrol without any place in mind, so this one is as good as any other, right.?”
Leading the way in, Drake said his thoughts, and Kara reluctantly agreed with him using a nod. Looking around and watching with curiosity the place where so many humans gathered with.
“Indeed, you have a point.” She said after some time. For someone who was still learning her way around the town, this place was as good as any other. “Still, the fact that she is using her funds to buy my equipment leaves me worried.”
“Oh, don’t mind that.” Drake said with a shrug. “Aliss doesn’t really spend much of her personal money so she had quite a lot in reserve anyway.” As he said that, he gave a quick look around while taking in account the nearby stores. “Let’s start with your clothes.” He said suddenly. “If we buy my book first, I’ll be anxious to read it right away and will only calm down at home.”
“Is that so?” Kara asked slightly dubious, and Drake simply smiled wryly while fixing his glasses. Letting out a long sigh, Kara decided to not bother asking nor complaining too much as Aliss’ expression when she first refused the ‘offer’ came to her mind. After a brief shudder, she followed Drake as he walked down amongst the crowd. “Your sister is… Surprisingly forceful with her methods. Quite unlike an Angla.”
“Yeah… But I think that’s just her getting excited.” Drake said with a pensive tone. Hearing his words, Kara raised an eyebrow and awaited before he went on. “If I got it right, I think she sees you as the little sister she never had… Or something like that?”
“…That statement is odd…” She said while tilting her head confused. “How can I be her younger sister if I am both stronger and older than her?”
“…” Drake looked away for a moment and gave a wry smile, avoiding Kara’s eyes as he knew that he would make her mad if she looked at him. “Well, being who you are aside, you do kind of give this whole clumsy little sister feeling.”
“Clu…Clumsy?” She said with a shocked tone while looking at him with an extremely shocked face. “Tha-That can’t be! I’m more than capable of taking care of myself!” She said while running to his side and trying to explain herself.
Drake simply looked at her for some time before finally giving up a small smile. That seemed to shock Kara as she stared in shock for a moment before becoming depressed as she hung down her head and walked dejectedly.
Feeling a sudden urge to tease her a bit more, Drake finally took a deep breath and calmed himself down, he turned to the blue haired girl once again.
“Anyway, if you could let Aliss pamper you a bit, it would help me a lot.” he said, surprising Kara, who raised her head to look at him in confusion. “You see, it seems that back when our mother was pregnant with me, it was supposed to be twins, and hearing that she was going to get a little brother and sister, Aliss became really cheerful.”
“Twins…?” Kara asked surprised while looking at him in confusion.
“Well, as you can see, I don’t exactly have other sisters laying around…” It took Kara some seconds to understand his words, but by the time it finally sunk in, she looked at him in shock and confused for a moment before finally widening her eyes and putting on a worried look. Shaking his head with a wry smile, drake made a motion as if telling her that it was fine. “You see, my twin died because of a problematic birth, so for me it doesn’t make much of a difference. I can’t exactly say the same for Aliss, though.” He gave a wry smile to the girl, who nodded lightly.
“I… See….” Kara understood, nodding lightly with a slightly melancholic face. “So you think that she sees me as a replacement for your sister?”
“Probably.” Drake said with a shrug. “But I can for sure tell that she quite likes you.”
“How so?” She asked confused.
“Well, the fact that she’s trolling you all the time proves it.” Drake said with a nod. “She only trolls people whom she likes.”
“Trolling me?” Kara asked confused. “Aren’t trolls fantastical creatures from human literature? How can she be ‘trolling’ me if trolls doesn’t exist in your world?”
“And that’s why we see you as our cute young sister.” Drake said with a brief laugh before tapping Kara’s back, pointing towards a small shop. “Right there. That’s our stop.”
As Kara absentmindedly nodded and followed her “big brother”, she tried to understand how she could be the little sister in such a situation. Still, she didn’t have much thought while entering the shop and giving a quick look inside. As one would expect of a store, many different types of clothings were spread everywhere, neatly hanging on displays or shown on the shelves.
A couple of workers were walking around the small but neat shop while attending to their clients. However, even when one or another workers found themselves free, they didn’t come towards Drake or Kara, and simply gave the boy a brief nod.
“Drake, my boy! It’s been some time!” They heard a grave and mature voice as a man that wasn’t wearing the store’s uniform approached them.
“Adam. Nice to see you too.” He replied with a wide smile while grasping the large hand that was extended to him.
Adam was a large man, standing at almost two meters tall with well built muscles that wouldn’t lose to those seen in actors from action movies. With his silky black hair cut at a medium lenght was only enough to fall around his ears and hazel eyes and a stubbled beard that was the epitome of manliness, there weren’t many women who would see him and not let out a gasp in surprise.
With someone who looked like the apex of good looking masculinity, once they learned of his job, most people would take three seconds to process it and finally let out a “eh?”.
“Seeing you here, I thought you brought your sister with you…” He said while turning towards Kara. “But I seem to be mistaken?”
“Yup.” Drake agreed briefly while pushing Kara forward. “She’s kind of a family’s friend who had an unfortunate accident with her clothes, so sis sent us here to correct that.”
“Accident with her clothes?” Adam asked dubious, but saw that Drake had no intention of answering his questions. After all, how does he explains that his sister threatened to throw the clothes out of the window just to have Kara go buy some cuter ones? “Oh well. let me guess, she told you to have me help you?”
“Yes sir. She promised to give you a piece of the new flavor she’s been experimenting with.” Drake said, and at those words, not only Adam, but all the other shopkeepers in the store flinched for a second and stared at him with hungry eyes.
“YOU HEARD THE BOY! WHOEVER ISN’T WORKING RIGHT NOW, GO FETCH SOME CLOTHES!” The man shouted as the people immediately took action.
Shocked at their sudden roughness, Kara didn’t even have the chance to react before two of the shopkeepers grabbed her hands and dragged her inside and a sewing kit suddenly popped on Adam’s hand.
“I guess, that cakes indeed is power.” Drake said with a wry smile.
“I never knew that humans were so fierce when choosing their garments.” Kara said weakly as she stumbled out of the store.
Drake laughed a bit as he followed her suit while carrying a bunch of bags in his arms, all of them filled with different clothings that had been finely adjusted to fit Kara’s body perfectly by the designer Adam. Even Drake couldn’t help but feel slightly amazed by the store’s special services, offering to make minor adjustments to the clothes on the moment of the purchase.
In fact, Drake was even more amazed at how the small shop wasn’t already extremely famous in the city, seeing that the clothes were all stunning and the service was top-notch. However, thinking about it, they didn’t make much marketing about the store, so that might have been it.
Still, such a thing weren’t of much importance, as he was quite glad since he had a chance to see Kara wearing all kind of different clothes, including some cuter ones like a sundress and a sweater with shorts.
Although she didn’t look embarrassed, there was clear discomfort from having her clothes changed every couple of seconds by those hungry eyed shopkeepers. With the money quota met and many bags of clothes being piled on, Drake finally decided to call it there before ‘that’ happened. Sadly, he didn’t do it in time.
Just as he was about to pull Kara out of the group after changing back to her original clothes, Adam held her hand, a metric tape appearing out of nowhere from his hands.
For some reason, Kara didn’t seem all that confused, and she simply sighed with a weak nod.
“I knew it!” Adam had said with a slightly angry tone.
“Knew what?” Drake asked already knowing the answer anyway.
“None of my clothes here fits her well enough.” Adam said while scratching his stubbly beard.
“Really?” For Drake, it was precisely the opposite. It seemed that whatever the clerks brought would look good when Kara was wearing it.
“Sadly…” The large man said with a sigh. “I don’t think I’ll be able to rest until I make something that really catches on her true beauty.” He said with a grimace.
“So… She’s getting a custom-made clothes from the great Adam Rachid himself…?” Drake said in a fake tone of surprise. “I never saw this one coming!”
The two of them laughed loudly after this as the clerks delivered an exhausted looking Kara.
“Then, where are we going now?” Drake’s mind came back to the present with Kara’s word, and stopping to think for a moment, he decided that they might as well get the book out of the way.
“The bookstore then.” Drake said with a shrug and Kara nodded, quickly following him. “You didn’t seem all that surprised when he took out the measuring tape.” He said, reminding of how she looked.
“Sipas like him are famous for entangling their victims, so it was expected.” Kara replied with a shrug before frowning. “Although… He seemed a lot more docile than what I expected.”
“What do you mean?” Drake asked curious.
“Sipas are also known for having a short temper and being violent, but he didn’t seem to be like that.” As she said those words, she tilted her head in confusion.
“Adam? Violent?” Drake said with a surprised tone while staring back at the store. “…Nah, can’t even imagine something like that.” He immediately dismissed the thought. “Despite the looks, he’s not all that brave.” He said while remembering a situation that occurred once. “I mean, he literally jumped away when he saw a spider once. Almost fainted to boot.”
“Is that so?” Kara asked with a surprised tone, and Drake agreed with a nod. “That’s… Actually very surprising. And troubling. Very troubling.”
“Huh? Why?” Drake asked surprised. Kara made a wry expression as she chose her words, but finally shook her head.
“Nothing. Just a personal thought.” She replied briefly with a clear awkward tone. Drake raised an eyebrow, but didn’t pursue the matter any longer as he noticed that Kara didn’t consider the situation to be serious. “I’ve been meaning to ask, but is that what you call a ‘cinema’?” Kara said, changing the topic as she pointed down to a part of the mall where there weren’t any visible stores.
“Oh, yeah. That’s the entrance.” Drake said while squinting his eyes to make out the writings on the posters. “Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any good movies right now.” He sighed dejectedly and noticed as Kara put on a slightly disheartened expression. “What? You wanted to see the cinema?”
“Kind of.” She said with a shrug. “One of my superiors wished for me to learn a bit more about it. Said something about interesting representations of human fantasies.”
“That’s one way to put it, I guess?” Drake said with a wry smile as they reached the bookstore. Inhaling deeply so he could take in the odor of the books in there, he quickly redirected himself towards the counter, where a girl around his age with long black hair was working. “Yo Bell.”
“Drake.” She acknowledged him briefly before pointing towards a book set besides her on the table. “As always, it’s there. Just take it and sign the paper as usual.” She said in a half-hearted tone before turning back to the computer before her, barely sparing a glance to Kara behind Drake.
“Excellent customer service as always, huh?” Drake said in a hurt tone, but not really meaning it. Still, he went on ahead to sign the paper telling that he had taken the book he had pre-ordered.
“So, you got yourself a girlfriend?” The girl asked indifferently. Drake flinched for a moment and turned towards Kara, who seemed to be amused with the situation.
“Nah. She’s just a family’s friend.” He said briefly before finalizing the signature. “Something like a clumsy little sister, I guess.”
“I’m… I’m not clumsy!” Kara added embarrassed.
“…That sounds like what a clumsy person would say.” The black haired girl said while looking at Kara for a moment, making her embarrassed. “… A cool beauty who’s secretly clumsy.” For a moment her words hang into the air, after finally. “So moe.”
“Moe?” Kara asked confused.
“And she goes full otaku again.” Drake said with a sigh before briefly slapping the girl’s head with his brand new book. “Stop creeping up the girl, will ya?” Drake said with a sigh, and Bell looked at him annoyed for a moment.
“I was only admiring this exemplary example of Moe in front of me.” She said angrily. “And where did you even find someone like her, anyway? Did she even see you without glasses?”
“Well…” Drake said while choosing his words. “You see, I found her on the streets, talked with her a bit then she followed me home. Sis saw her, found her cute and we decided to keep her.”
“Is she a dog now?” Bell asked angrily before blinking and turning towards the girl. “Hmm… Dog ears would fit her well, though…” The black haired girl stared at Kara for some time before sighing. “Sadly, I don’t have any on that particular color… How does she even get a color like that? It’s so natural…”
“Trade secret.” Drake said with a shrug while peeking at the confused Kara.
A grumble escaped from Bell as she understood that they had no intention of disclosing the information, so finally she sighed loudly and leaned back on her seat, taking a small candy box from her pocket and throwing it in her mouth as she usually did when she was annoyed.
Seeing that, Drake blinked then turned towards Kara, curiosity painted his face as he had an idea of what to do next, bending over the counter and whispering.
“Want to see something amusing?” He said to her, and she blinked surprised. “Give one of those candies to Kara.”
“Okayy…” She said a bit suspicious before turning to the blue haired girl. “Want one?” She said while offering one of the strawberries candy she always carried with herself.
“Hmm? What’s that?” Kara asked curious while approaching them.
“Candy.” Drake said with a nod. Blinking surprised, Kara stared at the thing she held in her hand. “You chew on it.”
“‘Candy’, is it…?” She said curious, while looking at Drake with suspicion. After some time she threw the candy into her mouth and started chewing on it. A look of surprise appeared in her face and soon it degenerated into a cheerful smile as she enjoyed the sweet taste. “This ‘candy’ is incredible!”
As she said that, a look of pleasure appeared in her usually cool face, and watching how different her reaction was compared to the usual, Bell simply let out some brief words.
Noticing the girl’s reaction, Kara quickly recovered herself by clearing her throat and looking away, a slight blush appearing in her face as she felt embarrassed for her misconduct.
Laughing at her situation, Drake quickly bade his farewell to the otaku-girl who kept drooling at Kara and took the Hu-ara out of the store before an assault happened. Since they had already taken what they came here for, Drake thought that he could call it a day, and maybe even make their way back by foot, seeing that the rain had stopped.
However, even with his mind set on that, he didn’t miss Kara’s fidgeting uncomfortable besides him.
“Err… Scribe…” She called out in a low voice.
“What’s it?” He asked, although he somehow had an idea of what she was going to ask.
“Where would I be able to find more of those ‘candies’ rations?” She asked meekly, and Drake couldn’t help but snort for a moment. He had his doubts at Kara’s reaction to the cake, but she really had a sweet tooth like he expected.
“Well, sis sells some at her store…” He said but quickly shook his head. “But she closed it for today, so I guess that’s out.” Noticing Kara’s dejected reaction, he smiled wryly before saying. “There is this store in the mall. Kind of expensive, but I guess I could treat you some more sweets…” As soon as he said that, she looked at him with expectancy.
He couldn’t help but feel at that moment that some dog ears really would fit her too well.
Turning around, he started to make his way back to the store, Kara following him right behind while trying to hide her excitement.
But barely had they even taken their first steps, an announcement echoed on the speakers spread through the mall.
“Greetings, feeble humans.” The mysterious distorted voice said, making everyone in the mall stop in confusion for a moment. “You may not know us for now, but fear not because this will be our introductory act. We are the Shadow Of Solomon, and we come here for one thing and one thing only.”
“…Is this usual?” Kara asked suspicious, noticing how everyone else had stopped and looked up in confusion.
“Don’t think so…” Drake replied immediately, a similar frown appearing in his face.
“We came here so we can eradicate this filthy world of this trash that we call humanity, and go back to our true chaotic nature.” The voice said and stopped for a moment. Although his words sounded a lot like some scam, Drake couldn’t help but have a bad feeling about it. “But alas, as you may know, such task is mighty difficult without access to some really powerful weapons.” The voice said in a melancholic tone. “That’s why, we will call upon the help of the beings that we, as humans, fear the most!”
Upon his words, Drake noticed a commotion starting near the central plaza of the mall, turning towards Kara, he made a quick motion for her to follow him.
Reaching the place, they saw as a crowd gathered around the plaza, and right in the middle, three hooded men held upon a woman around thirty years old, the woman had a slightly drowsy look that made Drake think that she might have been drugged. Two of the three men were standing by the sides of the woman, carrying her by the arms, while the third one stood in front of her.
Seeing that there was something dangerous going on, Drake wanted to dart forward to free the woman, but the crowd was too packed for him to make any move, so he couldn’t manage to do anything before the voice said once again.
“So now you will all see as we do what once all of you fools had thought to be an impossible fantasy!” The voice said once again, a maniacal tinge to it. “See now, before your eyes, as we bring about demons from the deepest hells! All with the simple sacrifice of this woman’s soul’s!”
As he said that, Drake and Kara flinched surprised and turned to the woman, just in time to see as the single cloaked man to not hold the woman took out something from his pockets.
It was a small black sphere with what looked like swirly smoke spinning within it. For a moment, Drake looked at it in confusion, but the moment that the sphere turned completely black for a moment, he noticed that he had a similar sensation earlier that day, however much less creepy than this one when he first saw Kara’s eyes.
At the time he didn’t really understand why, but looking at the sphere right now, he could somehow tell what it was.
That thing wasn’t supposed to be here.
As the voice cackled madly on the speakers, Drake could only watch in shock and horror while seeing as the men weighed the small fingernail sized sphere.
Then, he forced it down the woman’s throat.
“Oh no…” Was all that left Kara’s mouth as she understood what happened.