Grendel


4/Grendel

I returned to the back exit after dropping the unconscious Yumiko off at the nurses station. Explaining to the nurse what had happened to the girl was easier than expected, once I started listing a few false facts.

Well, she always had anaemia, so—“

Say no more, I think I get it.

She should be fine,” Arisu assured me when I took her up. “You got her a good distance away before she could be hurt, so at most she’s going to suffer a bit of shock when she wakes up. Just use that charm of yours to explain the situation and it’ll be fine.

“Charm, huh,” I mutter, looking around for the girl. Sure enough, she stands leaned against a tree, that silver cellphone pressed against her head. A conflicted emotion rises in me.

The mysterious girl is having a mysterious conversation with mysterious people.

My sense of personal space simply vanishes. I slowly approach the back of Yaotome Arisu.

I manage to catch a bit of the conversation as I approach—

“—The ETO Ninetails has been eliminated.”

A pause. I stop a few feet behind her, listening.

“…Yes. Yes, I’m aware. I know. There’s an unusually large number in Japan. This has been the tenth one this week.”

Ten?

There are that many monsters like those two running around? How long has she been doing this alone? And how many people have been hurt because of these ETO?

“Understood. I’ll continue the operation, then.”

She snaps the phone shut, and turns around. I lean against a tree as she jumps in surprise.

“Yo. Who was that?”

She bites her lip. “You know, listening in on people’s phone calls is rather rude.”

“I bet,” I reply. “But you have to excuse me. Seeing as you’re the one who knows what’s going on and I don’t, I have to get information somehow,” I point to the phone. “So, who was that?”

“…It was the organization I work for.”

“Oh? So there’s an organization?” I rub my chin. “How shady. How shady indeed…”

“Hmph.”

She makes her way back to the entrance, her uniform replacing the black dress as she approaches. I follow after, but bump into her back midway.

“I keep telling you, let people know when you’re going to stop!”

“Atsuko-San! Yaotome-san! There you two are!”

My body goes stiff as Aiwa-sensei approaches. The girl quickly grabs my arm and hugs it to herself.

“What are you do—“

“We’re going to have to use these rumors to our advantage, aren’t we?”

“Eh!?”

“You two,” he stops with a smile. “So this is where you snuck off to.”

“Ah, excuse us Sensei,” the voice this girl puts on is sickeningly sweet. “You know how it is, right? Sorry we missed class.”

“Heh,” he smiles. “Well, I do understand. Young love and all. I’ll overlook it today, but next time schedule your meetings to a better time, alright?”

Will do~! Come on now, Daisuke~

…”

She drags me along as Aiwa-Sensei sees us off.

You should act,” I whisper. “That was an Oscar-worthy performance.”

Shut up.”

No, really. Golden Globe, even.”

No, really. Shut up,” she says, throwing my arm aside. “God, that was painful. I can’t believe I said that.”

Where’d that cutesy voice come from?” I ask. “Your normal voice is kinda deep, so that was almost scary—“

Shut up!”

She stops in the hallway. I turn to face her.

Heh.”

What? What are you laughing at?”

I’m sorry,” I smile. “But the Yaotome Arisu in front of me is a lot different from the sleepy looking Yaotome Arisu that everyone else knows.”

Oh hah,” she puts her hands on her hips. “Excuse me if you make me act this way!”

Not at all,” I reply. “I like it better, actually. You’re a lot more lively like this.”

Her face flushes hot pink.

Idiot! Why are we talking about this! You realize we’re going to be late at this rate!”

Well, as tired as I feel right now, I don’t think I’d make it to class on time anyway,” I shrug. “Feel free to run by if you’d like.”

…”

She storms past me. I simply watch her go. With a sigh, I follow after.

At some point, I remember putting my head on my desk. The class prior had just ended and my exhaustion had reached its peak. So, I wasn’t surprised to have a pen suddenly jabbed between my ribs.

Agh! Son of a—“

However, the jabber – Satsumi Rei – could have jabbed a little lighter. I turn my head to face her. She simply gives a disappointed sigh in my direction.

Honestly,” she says, balancing the pen on her upper lip. “At least warn me when you’re going to sleep next to me. All that snoring nearly gave me a heart attack.” I snort in her direction, but she just jabs me again. “Don’t go back to sleep! Class is over, its time to go.”

Mmm…”

I roll over anyway. When I turn in response to another jabbing, I find the girl’s face is nearly an inch away from mine.

Holy—“

Time to go. Get up, you!”

She pushes me on the shoulder and I feel myself slide out of my chair.

If its time to go, how come no one woke me during the entire lesson?

Well,” Rei explains when I ask. “You looked so peaceful. So I let you rest. But all that snoring crossed the line,” she snaps her fingers. “It was like…someone was using a power saw on a drum barrel. You’re lucky the rest of the class was loud enough to drown it out.”

Then—“

Don’t worry, you can use my notes,” she says. “Because yes, I am the nicest girl you know, Atsuko Daisuke. Feel free to worship me later.”

Smug as she can be, the girl folds her arms and smiles down at me. I can’t help but flash one back up at her in return.

After climbing back into my seat and grabbing my things, myself and Rei exit the classroom and make our way to the first floor. She stops abruptly, placing her hand on her chin in thought.

Something wrong,” I ask.

Well,” she replies. “I just can’t think of where you and Arisu-chan went.”

…Excuse me?”

She nods in a sage-like manner. “I’ve looked around, but there’s absolutely no place for privacy here. Assuming what you two did was tame to begin with, you might have hid in the library behind books, and stuff, but if you were being raunchy, well—“

She lowers her hand from her chin and snaps her fingers.

Shame. You had to pick a quiet one, eh, Daisuke. You really should have went for someone more rambunctious like moi.”

I’ll have you know,” I say. “There is nothing between me and Arisu.”

Oho,” she leans in. “How interesting, how interesting! Then were did you two go?”

That’s something else entirely,” I reply. “But believe me when I say it was entirely innocent.”

That is, if fighting a horrible alien monster can be considered innocent, anyway.

Hm. I see, I see,” her hand is back on her chin. “Well, thats a relief.”

Relief? What, were you jealous or something?”

Hah! Jealous?! Me?”

A boastful laugh leaves that girl’s mouth. She places both her hands on her hips and gives me a dangerous look.

Arisu-chan may beat me in a few things, but as a whole I’m simply that much more amazing,” she declares. “She’s tall, yes! But I have better legs! Have you seen my butt? Honestly? Its amazing, I’m telling you!”

That’s—“

On top of that, I’m American,” she grins. “I don’t mean to sound conceited, but American women simply have much more advantages over other women. How dare you say I’m jealous, Daisuke? I’m 100% certain that I am the strongest in terms of assets!”

A very coy grin spreads across her face. I can’t help but grin back in response. If nothing else, this girl’s mood is absolutely infectious. It takes every thing in me to hold back my urge to laugh.

You’re gonna have to tell me what this advantage is, then,” I smile. “From what I see, the only advantage you have is not bumping your head on a high door.”

Well, that’s classified information,” she says in a matter of fact tone.

Why’s that?”

Because,” her hand goes back on her chin. She turns her back to me.

That’s because it’s cooler that way.”

And in a single motion, she strikes a pose. Automatically, I start clapping.

Very nice.”

You like that? I’ve been looking for a way to use that forever.”

She laughs loudly. I sigh, hoping no one would hear her.

Unfortunately, someone does.

Is that you, Daisuke? Ah, Rei is there too.”

Yaotome Arisu comes from the opposite staircase. Next to me, Rei has a smug look on her face.

Oho. Nothing going on, yet she looks for you. Hm, suspicious, suspicious!”

The girl stops at the foot of the stairs with a confused look. I only shake my head at her.

Well, since you’re both here,” Arisu shrugs. “Why don’t we all walk home together? It should be fun, no?”

Interesting, interesting. Hm hm…”

Her hand on her chin again, Rei shoots me a sideways look.

I’m actually hungry,” Rei nods. “A bit of food would do me good, yes yes.”

Arisu nods as well.

I’m new in town though,” she says. “So restaurants and the like aren’t something I know too well. Recommend any good ones, Rei?”

Nah, haven’t gone anyway aside from the usual burger joints,” she says with a shrug. “I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but there’s probably someplace else good, right?”

Both of them look at me now. I raise an eyebrow.

Wh…what do you expect me to say?” I ask.

You’ve lived here for a while, I take it.

Yes. We’re both new in town, so you should treat us to something nice.”

Both girls cross their arms. I suck my teeth in irritation.

Fine. But don’t expect me to pay or anything, got it?”

Of course not, of course not!”

Why would we ever do something like that?”

You two…are expensive.”

I’m so sorry,” Rei apologizes quickly as we stand outside the restaurant. I lean against the wall, looking over the rather vacant wallet I hold in my hand. What was once filled with bills is now little more than a square of leather with a few forms of ID in it.

My entire allowance…gone…”

I’m really sorry,” Rei says again. “I was sure I had brought money with me, but it must be in my other jacket.”

Yes, of course…” I grumble. “At least you didn’t ditch me like Arisu did…”

She didn’t ditch you, Daisuke! What an awful thing to say,” Rei says quickly. “She had that phone call from her parents, remember? She had to leave quickly!”

Hmph. Of course she’d say that. She has no clue that Yaotome Arisu isn’t an ordinary person. In fact, I’d risk so much to say that Yaotome Arisu isn’t even human anymore.

In that case, what does that make you?

I shake the thought off. I’m an ordinary guy who was pulled into extraordinary circumstances. I may have been bored and wondering what to do with my life, but using mind control fire certainly was not on the list of things to do.

Yeah,” I finally reply. “ I bet Arisu is probably meeting with her parents. Probably telling them about us and stuff. Wonder if we’ll ever meet them.”

Hm hm, I wonder, I wonder,” Rei says as she strokes her chin. “Perhaps they’re secret agents or something. Maybe even terrorist!”

You…have quite the imagination. Maybe they’re just boring people—“

Or maybe they’re really mad scientist. I bet they had a hand in this Psycho Dust stuff. How else would a girl like Arisu be involved in something like this?

Or maybe they’re mad scientist!” Rei chimes, as if reading my mind. I keep my expression of disbelief while seriously contemplating the possibility.

Perhaps she doesn’t even have parents? Maybe she’s some kind of crazy robot…Nah, thats way too outlandish. Besides, I doubt anyone could make a robot that advanced, nanomachines or no.

Hm…I would even go as far to say that—

Did you hear me, Daisuke?”

Eh? Oh, sorry,” I apologize quickly. “Got lost in a thought.”

Honestly,” The girl puts her hands on her hips and sighs. “You’re a space cadet, Daisuke.”

Space Cadet?”

What…does that mean?

It means that you’re so lost on Earth that you might as well go into space and stay there,” She says. “Anyway, I’m about to head home.”

Ah, well,” I nod. “Need me to see you home or anything?”

She shakes her head. “Not at all. Don’t confuse me for some damsel in distress, Daisuke. If someone decided they were brave enough to come at me, then—“

She punches her fist into her palm. The sound of a heavy impact rings out, causing me to flinch.

“—Then I’ll add them to the heap! Crunch!!”

This girl…does she have some kind if metal skeleton or something? That was too loud to be a normal hit. If she punched another person that hard, the guy attacking would be out like a light.

I’ll…yeah. You can certainly handle yourself.”

Hehe,” she balls a fist. “I’m telling you, I’m stronger than I look. Well, off I go.”

She pulls her bag over her shoulder and waves in my direction, I give a weak wave back and turn in the direction of my house.

I wonder in what kind of house Rei lives in.

Its probably a standard, Japanese style house. The only types of house in that direction are of that type, after all. What a startling contrast to a girl who introduces herself as an American all the time. In fact, I bet everything about her parents speak of Japanese living.

Her father is probably one of those wannabe-Japanese types,” I chuckle to myself. It would make sense, after all. “Or maybe the mother convinced him to move back to Japan with her. I bet he probably doesn’t speak any Japanese at all. Oh, and he’s Irish, so he probably has a cool accent when he talks, like that Sean Connery guy…”

Do you always talk to yourself?”

I jump in surprise as a voice comes from beside me. Matching my pace next to me is Yaotome Arisu, complete with her black dress and parasol over her shoulder. She flashes a smile at me.

You know,” she says lazily as the parasol twirls. “Talking to yourself is bad enough, but answering yourself…I’m sure thats a sign of a sociopath in development.”

And I’m sure,” I snap back quickly. “That sneaking up on people like this is the sign of some kind of crazed stalker! Are you sure you’re not some kind of crazy serial killer?”

Nonsense. A serial killer is a hectic profession,” she laughs. “Don’t you know how stressful it must be for them? All the hiding from the police, all the following a ritualistic routine, etc, etc…”

The smile on her face says she’s joking, but I can’t help but wonder where such an unorthodox answer came from. But instead, I continue to walk along side her, listening to the steady click-clop of her heeled boots on the pavement. Thoughts had of asking her further questions about herself, her powers, her line of work…they all passed through my mind, but I kept silent.

Instead—

So, where exactly did you go?”

Hm? Oh, I went to see an old friend.”

She shrugs. I feel my eyebrows come together.

You…ditched us…and made me pay for the meal because you had to—“

See an old friend, yes,” she says, twirling the parasol. “You act like its something strange or—“

You act like it isn’t!”

She just smirks in my direction. Seconds later, something lands on my face. Plural. I pull them off as she leans against a bike rack.

Gloves…?”

Gloves. A pair of gloves are in my hand. Strange gloves. I’m not sure what they’re made of, exactly. It feels light, like silk almost, but the texture is more like leather. Not only that, but the entire palm section is rough, metallic feeling. I run a finger along the underside to feel its not only the palm, but the underside of the fingers too, right up to the tips.

…What kind of—“

I noticed,” Arisu chimes in casually. “That you only seem to be able to use flames in the environment around you. You’re not able to make your own flames. So, you’re only sorta pyrokinetic.”

Yeah…” I hadn’t noticed myself. When did she pay so much attention to me to note something like that? “So these gloves…”

Try them on,” she offers. I do so, feeling silly. At least they look nice. The knuckle area has holes in it, so my hand won’t sweat while I wear these things. And the entire palm feels kind of insulated, while the rest feels like it breathes easy. Just what are these things made of?

While I ponder that, Arisu makes a snapping motion with her fingers. I follow her lead and—

Spark

Flash

Flame

A flame dances at my fingertips. I stare in amazement as she claps happily.

Fantastic! I had my doubts that they would work myself!” She squeals. “I need to be sure to thank her next time I see her!”

Thank who!?” I shout, unable to take my eyes off the fire. “What in the world—!?”

Those gloves,” Arisu points her parasol. “Are going to assist you in making fire. As long as you can make the fire, then you can control the fire.” Sure enough, as I concentrated on it, the flame doubled in size, then quickly shrank in size. “And once you get good enough to control them, you—“

Her words are drowned out by the sudden shattering of glass. I immediately snap my head in that direction to see people fleeing the scene. Arisu hops to her feet at once, running past. That silver cellphone comes out of her pocket in an instant, confirming my suspicions immediately.

ETO!

There was another one of those monsters in the area. In an area full of people, no less!

Arisu, where is it!”

I’m running along side her now. She snaps the cellphone shut.

Less than three meters up ahead.”

How big?”

Rather large. I’d say about twice my height, roughly a ton in weight.”

Shit. They way she’s describing it, running in there with guns blazing is the worst idea that comes to mind. Not only that, but the people in the area need to be cleared out immediately or else—

Or else someone could end up with a hole through their body. Sort’ve like you did, right?

Damn it, not the time to think about that,” I whisper to myself as the girl to my left stops abruptly. The purple arrows of light form behind her as I skid to a halt as well.

In front of me stands the largest creature I’ve seen in my life.

It’s shaped like a man, at the least. Bipedal, with two arms, two legs. The legs might as well be tree trunks, though, the arms even bigger. It stands hunched over to begin with, with its entire body a wall of muscle. I’m already imagining its size standing upright – 120 inches, maybe 144 inches tall.

Four red slits are its eyes, two on each side. Its face is pulled back in a growl, revealing many, huge, dagger sized teeth.

No matter how I look at it…

This thing…could kill me with a twitch…”

My voice cracks as my thought escapes. My legs are rooted in place. I can’t run. No matter how hard I try, I can’t put power into my legs. My entire body is frozen and this thing in front of me only has to reach out and touch me. I can see it – the minute it touches me, my head will be torn from my shoulders and my body will be pounded into paste.

And I sincerely doubt that the Psycho Dust, nanomachines or no, can revive me if I lose my head.

I stop breathing. My entire body has seized up.

Daisuke!!”

Arisu is calling me. I hear her shout, but I can’t turn to look at her. That thing has fixed its eyes on me. It bares its teeth at me, a low growl in its throat. I can see the muscles slowly twitch and jump. I can see it begin to run at me. I can see everything happening like its in slow motion.

What I didn’t see is Arisu knock me aside. We roll as the creature snaps at where I once stood. The two of us crash into a trashcan in an alleyway, sending it careening as the creature skids to a halt. My breathing returns with a gasp for air.

What were you thinking, freezing up on me like that!?” The girl on top of me shouts. “If you’re trying to get yourself killed, I’ll oblige you later, but for now, focus!”

Ah,” How embarrassing. To have this girl scream something like that at me…it snaps me right out of her trance. She pins me down before I can stand up, clamping her hand over my mouth.

Listen,” She whispers. “It’s stopped moving.”

She’s right. The thunderous sound of its footsteps are silent out there. I sit up, looking over her shoulder. Nothing moves out there for a long moment.

Then, slow footsteps. It passes the alleyway by, those red eyes shining as it looks around. I’m sure I see its nostrils flaring – that is, if it has nostrils – as it searches. The monster hunkers down on all fours, then stands up again, snorting and breathing in the air.

It’s searching for us…” I whisper, but Arisu shakes her head.

No, not just us,” she says. “Its looking for something. Anything. I’d say its just in hunt mode right now.”

Hunt mode?”

Well,” she continues. “I don’t know for certain, and its just a theory among those who study the ETO, but its said they attack humans to feed. Its probably looking for another meal.”

Attacking humans to feed…?

So then,” I conclude. “It’s possible that this thing and all the others like it come into places like this to eat, right?”

That’s the theory.”

Is there…are there ETO nest out there?”

I don’t know,” she says. “But we’ll have to worry about that another day. Right now, we have to figure out how to stop that thing.” Climbing off me, she edges to the end of the alleyway. She judges the distance quickly, calculating. When she speaks again, her voice is serious.

I’m going to lure it,” she says. “Bait it in another direction. I’ll need you to back me up.”

How do you plan to—“ I’m interrupted as a set of the arrows form behind her. She runs out as the monster continues on its path, back turned.

She swings her hand. The arrows catch air. Within seconds, they are embedding themselves into the monster’s spinal column. It howls, wheeling around to see its assailant.

But Arisu is already in the other alleyway, directly across from me. She nods as I creep to the edge. Leaning, I can see several arrows facing our direction, hovering just behind the monster.

They strike. It turns. I kick off.

My legs carry me into the street while the ETO swipes at the air. My left hand scrapes a wall.

Spark

I don’t know how effective the flames will be. Given the success rate of Arisu’s arrows, the fact that they’re having little success today doesn’t bode well for me.

Flash

However…I don’t have many options. If it doesn’t work…

Flame…!!

Then I’ll simply think of something else!

Burn…!!”

The flames shoot up in size in my hand. Cupping it, they swirl, quickly becoming a ball in my palm. I throw it with all the strength I can muster.

The flames simply roll right off its back. A single spot shines red for a moment, but returns to its natural oil-black color. The monster turns around. Its eyes shine brighter, as if to say “found you.” It hunkers down on all fours, teeth bared.

Calm down, I tell myself. Its like facing down a large dog.

A large dog that could pulverize you flat, a nasty voice adds in.

I snap the fingers on my other hand. Another tongue of flame springs to life, engulfing me from fingertip to wrist. Cupping that hand, another ball of flame forms quickly, thrown for the eyes. But it falls apart too easily – the entire thing fizzles off the creature. I see a motion in its body.

Its going to charge me!

My mind screams, but I hold my ground. Two balls of flame in both hands. The ETO pushes off.

Everything slows down.

The ball of flame smolders in my hands—

It’s already in motion, like a large train.

I can stop him if I burn the right place—

Can I honestly stop it? It would be like stopping a bus with a sports car…

Just a flick of the wrist—

Is this what a gazelle feels when it sees the lion pouncing on it.

Burn…burn—!!

Those jaws are about to close around my head…!!

In an instant, the world around me is swallowed by the image of those fangs. All of them. Each one will rip me, tear me, shred me into smaller pieces. This creature will consume me whole. This creature will swallow me and digest me and nothing more will exist but whatever is left in the excrement.

But that world is immediately filled with a bright color.

Hundreds of them.

Hundreds of arrows float around me, like a cage. Coming to my senses, I step back fast enough to avoid the teeth. The entire front of my uniform is snapped. My chest is shredded by the very edge of the teeth. I hold in the urge to cry out. But there is no reason to worry.

The fireworks display in front of me is just too beautiful for me to do such a thing.

They fly inside of its mouth.

Skewering, stabbing, exploding, shredding. Teeth are blow apart, blood sprays, bits of pink flesh hit me. I fall on my backside as the creature falls backwards. The sound of boots echo behind me. By the time my heart has calmed down, Yaotome Arisu stands next to me.

Is it…dead?” I ask stupidly. The girl only offers a hand.

I put in enough shots to knock down a skyscraper,” she says with a smile. “If it isn’t dead, there’s no killing it.”

I see…”

I take another look at the monster. It lies there motionless, dead as far as I can tell. The girl puts her hand on my shoulder. “Come on, lets get out of here before the police show up,” she says. I nod, following her footsteps—

━━━━━━━━!!

A monstrous howl.

Behind us. We both turn immediately. It stands. It howls. It roars, fixing one of its three remaining eyes on us.

My body goes cold. Next to me, Arisu’s breath catches in her breath.

Impossible,” is all she whispers. I would have to agree.

It swings.

I see the arm come up immediately. I push Arisu back.

The collision is immense. I feel my body fly from my position. I can see the world rush past, a whirl of colors.

And then, finally, there’s a sudden stop. My entire body shakes. Something comes up my throat.

In front of me, however, I can see it. It is approaching her.

Arrows float. Arrows are sent flying. They stick right into the body. But the ETO continues to move forward. She turns to run, but the massive hand wraps around her waist. Before I know it, she’s lifted into the air.

Damn…damn damn damn!!”

I hop to my feet painfully. My entire body feels like its been scraped raw. But the flames come. I run.

My fist comes back. The burning fist collides with the body.

I might as well have punched a concrete wall. The monster simply swats me like a noisy fly. My body rolls along the street as it focuses those red eyes on Arisu, tightening the grip. She cries out in pain, arrows forming and flickering out of existence with every second.

My palm comes up.

Bakuretsu!!”

An explosion. The fireball blows up in its face. It howls. Arisu falls. I dive, catching her in my arms and falling on my face. The creature holds its face as the two of us stagger to out feet.

We have to run,” Arisu’s voice is trembling. “This thing is too much for the two of us. We need to fall back until we can get further support.”

How long will that take,” I ask. “Because I don’t see this thing to be the type to sit around drinking tea and waiting for us to come and kick its ass.”

Be as it may, we don’t have many option on our side, now do we?”

Well, there’s always fighting and dying. But I like your idea better.”

She waves her hand. Arrows fill the air as the two of us turn and run. But I can feel the wind behind us. Instinctively, I look over my shoulder.

It barrels behind us on all fours, teeth bared. Arisu never looks back – arrows simply form, but they’re dismissed easily by the monster that follows. Snapping my fingers, a tongue of flame shoots out at it, but it runs right though as if it were something buzzing around its head.

Hey,” I shout. “Just so you know, this isn’t working!”

I noticed!”

She turns, running backwards. More arrows, enough to blanket the area, fire all at once. But, while they stick out the skin and burn, they do nothing to slow down the train behind us. I grab the girl by her hand and pull, dragging her stumbling along as it comes closer and closer and—

Wait a moment!!”

Everything stops.

We freeze in our tracks. The monster comes to an immediate stop, searching out the source of the new voice. I look to Arisu, who looks upward towards one of the buildings.

What,” she says unbelievingly. “In the world is that?”

I follow her gaze.

I…what? That’s…”

Its ridiculous. But—

Is that…” I stop, trying to make sense of what I’m looking at. “That’s a—“

A…” Arisu’s voice is just as bewildered. “…Magical…girl…”

It’s…impossible to believe, but…

In front of us stands that monster, squatting and growling at the newcomer with its ruined form. Standing on top of a car several feet away from us, however, is a girl.

She wears a strange mask, very Zoro-like. Long blonde hair whips around in the wind – where the wind suddenly came from is beyond me, but never mind that. Her entire outfit seems to be a mixture of a school uniform and ribbons. Lots of ribbons. Ribbons of red, to be exact.

So many goddamn ribbons…

Monster!”

She shouts, her voice carrying rather far. Arisu scoffs. I simply watch as she puts her hands on her hips.

You, who terrorize these people…” She folds her arms. “I cannot allow you to continue in such a manner!”

I turn my head in the direction of the monster. Surprisingly, it listens attentively, showing a scary amount of intelligence. As far as I can see, it understands everything she is saying.

The girl jumps, landing on the ground before her. “Shining through darkness and vanquishing evil is the job of the heroic, monster! I’ll crush you like a grape!”

Arisu takes a step forward. “Who are you,” she demands. The monster glares at her now, torn between which side to attack.

But the girl only gives a laugh.

Me? Well, as long as this monster is here, I won’t give out my name.” She looks at me now, an eyebrow raised. “Though, if you want to know, handsome, we could go out for a cup of coffee or something after this.”

And as if it weren’t ridiculous enough just to say something like that, she even has the nerve to blow a kiss in my direction.

I…I’m sorry, but given the situation, I think something like that should wait,” I reply quickly, feeling Arisu’s glare on the side of my face. “But seriously, who are you?”

Heh.

She smirks. A cocky grin.

The Divine Rose of Beauty, Covered in Thorns.” She shakes her head as if it were obvious.

I am what I am: The Scarlet Hammer!”

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