Kei and Alexandria run along their ten-mile jog until something catches Kei's eyes. Another young girl, not much older than Alexandria, running the opposite direction. She had red hair, black jean shorts, and a shirt that had long sleeves but left her stomach exposed. Black gloves without fingers adorned her hands. At her hips, was her weapon, tonfa. She runs along wearing sandals.
Kei: (What is...?)
Behind her, two men, a good amount older, were chasing after her.
Kei: Alexandria, come on, we're going after them.
Alexandria nods and follows. However, before they could get closer, he sees her stop and turn around. She draws her weapons and proceeds to knock the stuffing out of the two men chasing her. Kei is stunned by her masterful use of the weapon.
Kei: (One so young, using a weapon like that...)
She digs her weapon into the ground and manipulates the earth around it and creates a pillar of earth using her tonfa to thrust right into the man's chest. The man is knocked out, while the other scurries off. Alexandria and Kei are wowed. She notices the two standing there and turns to them.
???: What? Never seen a girl kick butt?
Alexandria: So cool...
Kei: Who are you, little one?
Terra: I'm Terra Shimizu.
Alexandria: You were awesome! I haven't even had a chance to do weapons training yet!
Terra: Huh? Training?
Kei: Have you never trained before?
She shakes her head.
Alexandria: You have to come back with us!
She puts her weapon back on her hip, as Alexandria grabs her arms and begins to drag her off to Kei's place. Kei meanwhile looks at the spot where the pillar of earth had been created from her tonfa.
Kei: (A nox? That's not surprising, but...one so young...)
Kei then begins to watch as the pillar falls apart with cracks showing in separate parts of it falling back to the ground.
Meanwhile, Alexandria had dragged Terra into Kei's home. Shigure seemed pleased.
Shigure: Oh look, you have a friend!
Alexandria: This is Terra! Isn't she cool!
Shigure: Hello, Terra, my name is Shigure, its a pleasure to meet you.
Terra: Are all the people you know...
Alexandria: They're my guardians, and beastkin too! Isn't that cool?
Terra: Yeah, cool.
Alexandria: Come on! Let me show you my room!
Terra: Uh, okay...
Alexandria drags her off towards her room and Kei comes into the room and see Shigure's happy expression.
Shigure: Welcome back Kei! Did you see Alexandria's new friend?
Kei: Yeah, I did.
Shigure notes that Kei didn't seem all that excited about it.
Shigure: What's wrong?
Kei: We don't know who she is or where she came from.
Shigure: But isn't it a good thing that Alexandria has a friend her own age?
Kei: It is, but...
Shigure: Don't be such a downer Kei, Alexandria needs friends her own age, it'll be good for her.
Shigure exits the room, but Kei can't shake the feeling of something odd. Why were two men chasing her in the first place? How did she get her weapon? Why was she alone? Kei ponders this as he exits into the backyard.
Kei: (The girl is a distraction.)
Meanwhile, in Alexandria's room, Terra takes in the scenery. Terra tries to find something to say about it, but there wasn't. There was nothing to look at.
Terra: Its, uh, cozy?
Alexandria has a huge smile on her face.
Alexandria: So tell me everything about yourself!
Terra: About myself?
Alexandria: Where do you live?
Alexandria seems surprised at her hesitation.
Alexandria: Where is your home?
Terra: ...I don't have a home.
Alexandria: Don't have one...?
Terra looks uncomfortable. Alexandria's smile was replaced with a frown.
Alexandria: You live on the streets?
Terra: More or less.
Alexandria: That's sad!
Terra: Its really no big deal. I found a nice cave that I find comfortable.
Alexandria: You should sleep on a bed, not a pile of dirt.
Terra: ...but dirt can be comfortable.
Alexandria: You can stay here!
Terra: Excuse me?
Alexandria: We can give you a home! I'm sure Kei and Shigure won't mind!
Alexandria: You are against the idea?
Terra: No, its not that...you're just the first one who's ever offered.
Alexandria: Please stay the night with us!
Terra: Well, if your guardians say its okay.
Alexandria drags Terra back out of her room and the two venture into the backyard to see Kei and Shigure standing there.
Shigure: Oh look, its Alexandria and her friend.
Alexandria: Hey, is it okay if Terra stays here?
Kei: Stay here?
Shigure: I don't see why not...
Kei: There's enough people staying at my place.
Shigure: Kei, I can't believe you're rejecting her.
Kei: We've got Aria to take care of, you and Alexandria...
Shigure: Terra and her can share a room.
Kei: That's true, but...
Shigure: Then its settled. Terra can stay with Alexandria.
Alexandria drags Terra back inside while Shigure and Kei remain in the backyard.
Shigure: Kei, why are you so against this?
Kei: Something about her...
Shigure: Huh? What about her?
Kei: How did she get her weapon, her tonfa?
Shigure had no response.
Kei: Not to mention the circumstances surrounding her appearance. Why were those men chasing after her?
Shigure: We still don't know all the details surrounding Alexandria's appearance.
Kei: (That's true too...)
Shigure: Is it such a problem for her to have a friend her own age?
Kei: That's not the problem.
Shigure: Seeing as this girl hasn't given us a reason to distrust her, let's give her the benefit of the doubt, just for now, Kei.
Kei: ...fine, for now, but I don't trust her.
Shigure: Just let her grow on you, and you'll be fine.
Kei: If you say so. As long as she doesn't interfere with training...
Shigure: As for other matters...Aria seems to be healing alright.
Kei: But she hasn't woken up yet.
Shigure: As we expected, it'll be some time before she regains her strength.
Kei: Yeah, the beating she took, I assume from one of the 'branch', it put her very close to knocking on death's door.
Shigure: But she wound up on your doorstep for a reason, Kei. Someone believed that we could do something to help.
Kei: But then why did that person trust us with her?
Shigure: Now that I don't know.
Kei: There's too much about Aria that I don't know to figure out who would trust us with her well being. I mean, they could've taken her to a regular hospital, why us?
Shigure: Uh, I'm not sure, Kei...
Kei: Everything has just become a whirlwind lately.
Shigure: Yeah, your life has really gotten crazy.
Kei: A little too crazy if you ask me.
The night eventually comes and Kei quietly retreats to his own bed. His body collapses on to the bed. A long day for him had finally come to an end. He wondered on Terra, Aria, and the branch. There was too much being left to chance at the moment. Too much so, for Kei's taste.
Kei: (I have to focus on preparing Alexandria for what's to come. Everything else, I hope, will work itself out.)
He drifts off to sleep with that last thought. Meanwhile, inside a dark room, three voices converse. Rin stayed in the light, while Michel and another person stayed in the shadows.
???: You've been awfully lazy, Michel.
Michel and Rin remain quiet.
???: You haven't done a single thing or made an attempt to take care of that beastkin.
Michel: Shut it.
???: Or maybe you didn't have a plan in the first place?
Michel: I said shut it Karin.
Michel: I have a damn plan. Its already in progress.
Karin: Oh? And what's that?
Michel: Like I'm going to tell you.
Karin: Aw, your plan going to backfire?
Michel: Like hell it will.
Karin: Huh, seem confident at least.
Michel: Believe me Karin, I'm already in his head, now its just capitalizing on it.
Michel quietly leaves, leaving Karin and Rin there.
Karin: And you, Rin, do you still harbor feelings toward the traitor?
Rin keeps silent.
Karin: Its okay if you do, I won't report you.
Rin: I'll deal with it when I must.
Karin: Rin, you must be careful. Everyone here is...
Rin: Yes, I know.
Karin: Then, why do we follow? We should...
Rin: Don't finish that sentence.
Karin: But, Rin, I...
Rin: If Michel is still lurking around, he'd exploit it for everything it was worth.
Rin: Karin, I know our situation is less than ideal, but there is nothing more we can do but follow.
Karin: But if we were free...
Rin: Freedom...is nothing more then a dream at this point.
Rin: Karin, you're not one of the ranked here. You are simply my sister.
Rin: And I will protect you.
Karin: ...Very well, I'll try to keep my spirits up.
Rin walks past her.
Rin: (Indeed. Our very situation. Forced to work under a group of people that don't reveal themselves. And because of the NOL's downfall and the MOR's rise, we were forced into service. I don't know who the leader of this group is. But I will promise this much. The moment I find out which one of them kidnapped my mother...I will kill them with my own bare hands.)
Karin: (Rin...I know you mean well. Even claiming to have killed that beastkin who ran the bar. But I know you didn't. You lied. You felt claiming that you had killed that beastkin would put you in somebody's good graces. Get closer to whoever has our mother...but at what cost are you willing to go to find her?)