A lone road in the middle of a barren wasteland lay, the brown dirt and sand and cactus lay on each side. A motorcycle roared forward from just beyond the hill of the road. A young female beastkin, wearing her goggles to prevent bugs or dust hitting her eyes. This young beastkin was Mai. After leaving Kei and gang behind, she had gone on an adventurous road trip. Only to find herself, just a slight bit lost. As her motorcycle rolled into the next town, she skidded to a stop at a local tavern. Letting her bike finishing purring before shutting it down, she got off and placed her goggles on the bike’s seat. Walking through the swinging tavern doors, she hears the piano player playing. She garnered obvious confused stares from patrons. She looked like a girl from the future among a bunch of western people. She sat at the bar.
Mai: Give me a root beer.
The barkeeper moved, seemingly begrudgingly, to fulfill her order. Easily on tap, the barkeep gives her a chilled mug full of root beer. Another patron enters and sits at the bar next to Mai.
???: Plain water will be fine for me.
The barkeeper moves to get her water. It doesn’t take long for him to bring a tall glass of water. He sets it in front of the girl. Mai, seemingly bored or for no reason at all, decided to make conversation with the girl.
Mai: Hey stranger, the name’s Mai. Who are you?
???: Ah, my apologies my name is Yuka, I don’t speak to people all that often.
Mai: Neither do I. It can’t hurt to talk to a random stranger every now and again though. Though I guess the both of us really stand out. So what brings you here?
Yuka: Just traveling and passing through.
Mai: Same here. Though I must admit to not knowing where I am exactly.
Yuka: (deadpans) You are traveling yet you have no idea where you are?
Mai: I was never the one who had a good sense of direction, but I’m not really going anywhere in particular.
Yuka: Well we have that in common. (sighs) I’ve been traveling for so long I tend to forget where I’ve been.
Mai comes to a decision, though rather quickly.
Mai: Listen, Yuka, I’m looking for someone who could have my back.
Maybe it was her run-in with Kei, but she felt like she needed someone she could count on.
Yuka: Now what brought this out? (looks away) Not many people try to trust me that much due to my age.
Mai: Age isn’t a factor. You seem like someone who…
Before Mai can finish her sentence, a burly man approaches the two of them from behind.
Man: You two, get out of my spot.
Without hesitating, Mai pulls out a revolver from underneath her jeans and aims it at his head. A small glyph quickly flashes and a small shotgun like weapon is pointed at the man’s chest
Yuka: I’d advise you to rethink what you are trying.
The man thinks twice about his life and leaves quietly. Mai places the weapon away, and the glares that had been staring holes into them evaporate quickly.
Mai: I’m impressed. A gun wielder.
Yuka: I can’t stand people who underestimate me. (smirks) And that was only a fraction of what I can do.
Mai gulps down the rest of her root beer and stands up.
Mai: Listen, Yuka, how about a friendly challenge, if you’re up to it.
Yuka: (shrugs) I’ve got nothing better to do at the moment so why not.
The girl finishes her water, and the two head out to her motorcycle. She places her goggles on her head and over her eyes. She then sits on her bike.
Mai: (Motioning behind her) Hop on.
Yuka: O-ok. (gets on behind Mai)
Mai: Hold on!
The bike roars alive, and Mai can feel Yuka hold on to her. The bike pulls out of the front and begins tearing down the road.
Mai: (Yelling at Yuka, over the motor) Never been on a motorcycle?
Yuka: (Yelling at Mai, over the motor) Not like this.
The bike roars down the road before it comes down to a stop near a couple of cacti. Mai notices that Yuka still has her hands on Mai’s hips.
Mai: You...can let go now…
Yuka: O-oh sorry.
Yuka removes her hands and Mai can’t help but chuckle. Mai let her goggles fall to her neck.
Mai: Don’t worry about it. For the first time being on a motorcycle, you did just fine.
Yuka: (looks down embarrassed) Let’s just pretend that never happened…
Yuka quietly gets off the bike, and Mai felt the overwhelming urge to just pat her on the head. She doesn’t, respecting her privacy.
Mai: I’ll tell you this much. My brother screamed the first time he was on my bike. You did fine, trust me.
Yuka: (re-adjusts her hat) Well what was that challenge you were mentioning?
Mai: (pointing) See all those cacti?
Yuka: (nods) Yes of course.
Mai: Winner hits the most cacti. You up for it?
Yuka: (pulls out a regular looking pistol) Then I will use this. It would be considered cheating if I used my actual weapon.
Mai: (confused) If you say so.
Mai aims her weapon carefully. A steady hand was going to help her here. The gun suddenly turns blue as she focused.
A bullet fires from the chamber, and cuts through the air, pieces of ice left behind as it leaves parts of itself on the prickly parts of the cacti. It sticks and melts on the last cacti. All in all, her bullet had made contact with about six of the some thirty cacti in the field. The gun returns to its normal color.
Mai: Hit six. Not bad. Its hard to hit a lot of them without using some of my special bullets. It is a special gun, only used ice so I could see where it’d hit. I may have hurt myself using ice in the middle of such a hot place.
Yuka: Hm impressive. I haven’t seen a weapon like that before (tosses her pistol into her bag) Well I guess I don’t need to use something limiting me then.
Mai: (smiling) That’s what I’m hoping for.
Yuka: Mark and kill Gungnir. (a large glyph appears in front of her and a large scoped rifle appears in her hands) Hmm (pulls back a bolt on the gun) This should work.
Yuka takes aim as a glyph forms in front of the barrel on Gungnir before launching an array of spread shot like beams burning clean holes in six cacti. Mai looked impressed.
Mai: (Smiling) Well well, we tied. I’m very impressed. Can you explain your gun?
Yuka: (shoulders Gungnir) Well its kinda hard to explain but it has different forms. That shotgun I pulled on that guy was a part of Gungnir, basically its the ultimate ranged weapon for me.,
Mai: It seems that we are alike in a way. We both use guns and we don’t like idiots.
Yuka: (chuckles) People like you are quite hard to come by that’s for sure.
Mai: (smiling) Same to you.
Mai becomes serious.
Mai: So listen, I have a proposition for you.
Yuka: Well let’s hear it then.
Mai: Despite my failing with directions, I am headed this way for a reason. Down the road, about fifty miles from here, there’s some people tormenting a small populus. While I’d prefer going alone, four against one isn’t exactly good odds. So what do you say, want to help me liberate a town?
Yuka: Well what are we waiting for then. (sends away Gungnir) I accept, so we’re partners then?
Mai: (Smiles) We are, put it there partner. (Puts out her right hand)
Yuka smiles as she accepts Mai’s hand.
Mai: You okay to get back on the motorcycle? Because we’re about to go into this place hot. They could be there, they could not be.
Yuka: I’ll be fine lets go.
The two travel to the bike, and Mai looks around her bike and grabs a pair of blue-tinted goggles. She holds them out to her. Mai: Here, you might want these. I like to go fast.
Yuka: (takes the goggles and puts them on) Thanks, lets see what we can do.
Mai nods and the two of them get on to the bike just like before. Mai again feels Yuka’s hands on her hips, and though its awkward to her, she still enjoys it.
Mai: (thinking) I’m so used to riding alone, its nice having someone riding behind me.
The bike roars alive, kicking dirt into the air all around them as she spins to return to the road. They yell over the motor as they talk.
Mai: Hope you like the goggles, they’re my only spares.
Yuka: Yea they are perfectly fine for what they are designed for.
Mai: Figured you’d like them since they’re blue.
Yuka: Y-yea blue is my favorite color.
Mai: Guess we almost match. You’re blue and white and I’m black and blue.
Yuka: Huh I guess that is true. Strange how things are similar like that.
A few hours pass in all as the two ride down the empty road. They pull into what they feel is almost a ghost town, much like the one the two had met prior. Mai parks her bike right outside of the entrance to the small town. The town was way too quiet for the lunchtime hour.
Mai: This isn’t right.
Yuka: Obviously something happened or is going to happen soon. I don’t like this.
Mai: Be careful Yuka, if they know we’re coming, they could kill us before we get a chance.
Yuka: Well I can’t draw Gungnir without making that glyph you saw earlier. So I’d have to use that basic pistol you saw earlier if we want to stay incognito.
Mai: No, don’t worry. That test earlier was to see how good of a shot you were. I’ve got your back.
Suddenly, from the other end of the town. Four rugged men come riding in on black horses. Each wore bandanas around their face, settled just underneath their noses. Each looked like a typical cowboy out of a western.
Mai: (Thinking) So they show.
They climb off their houses and stand next to each other in front of their horses.
Man #1: About time you showed.
Mai seemed confused at that.
Yuka: (sarcastically as she rolls her eyes) Oh look~ the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
Mai: What do you mean ‘about time’?
Man #2: We’ve been hired to capture you.
Man #3: Its why we took this town hostage. We know you and your brother are a lot a like.
Mai: Tch, you people have something to do with my brother?
Man #4: The only thing we weren’t expecting was the man travelling with you.
Yuka: (puts a hand to her ear) I’m sorry I didn’t quite catch that.
Mai: Don’t know if you guys are blind or what, but I’m pretty sure what you just said was an insult to my partner.
The men go quiet. The horses sensing danger, all ride off trying to escape the incoming firefight.
Mai: (whispering) Hey Yuka, know these fools are stupid, but leave one alive. I gotta find out who they work for if they know my brother.
Yuka: (whispering) How alive are we talking?
Mai: (whispering and smiling) Just barely if you can manage it.
Yuka: (smile turns evil looking) So you lucky “men” get a special prize for your comment care to guess what it is?
Everyone has their hands ready to draw. Mai was no stranger to these sorts of things, and from what Mai could tell, neither was Yuka.
Man #1: DRAW.
Mai pulls her weapon and with her first shot strikes one of the men killing them on impact.
Using a glyph from Gungnir, Yuka pulls a pistol seemingly from thin air and fires 4 shots into the man who insulted her, two in the legs and two in the arms. The man dies instantly from blood loss.
One of the remaining two men’s bullets grazes by Mai’s cheek. It leaves a cut which immediately begins to bleed, but she continues with her second shot. Shooting the second man’s pistol out of his hand and with her third shot, shooting him in the leg to immobilize him.
Yuka advances on the remaining man taking a grazing hit to the shoulder before firing the remaining bullet in her magazine to disarm him before delivering a roundhouse kick directly to the side of the man’s skull dropping him to the ground.
Mai follows right behind her, as Yuka finished that person off. She can feel her face sting from the bullet, but she ignores it the best she can. One man remains alive.
Mai: One guy...just like we planned.
Yuka: (annoyed) How did they mistake me for a guy...I may be wearing a coat now but it doesn’t hide the fact that I’m a girl THAT much.
Mai: Yeah, well, I think you’re sexy, can we proceed?
Yuka: Yea I’m still-- (face turns beet red) wait..WHAT!?
Mai, ignoring Yuka’s outburst, goes over to the man and stares at him.
Mai: How did you people know Kei?
Man #3: We were hired to...either kill you or wound you...to force Kei to come to us.
Mai: Who hired you?
Man #3: Kon.
Mai scowls at the name. She walks over to the gun and kicks it far away.
Mai: Go ahead and bleed to death scum.
Mai turns and walks away. Yuka walks past the man, face still beet red, following Mai.
The two get to the bike and Mai leans on her motorcycle, thinking. Yuka’s face returns to normal.
Yuka: Uh...so who’s Kon?
Mai looks at her, and decides to tell her.
Mai: He’s a bad memory. When I first went out on my own, left home to be free, he tried to catch me. He’s a criminal. All he cares about is getting what he wants. I fought off his goons once before, but now he’s going after Kei.
Yuka: So we just stop him then...if you still want to be partners that is…
Mai: (Confused, looking at Yuka) Where did you get it in your head I didn’t want to be partners? (Smiles)
Yuka: Well I’m too used to being a “hired gun” of sorts so thats why I asked.
Mai: I can always use someone who’s got my back. And for a ‘hired gun’ I still have yet to pay for your services, so, I think you’re stuck with me. (Smiles, laughs)
Yuka: (shakes her head) I gave up being a hired gun. The clients started getting more and more insane. Plus I’d rather work with someone who I know can hold their own and have my back as much as I would have theirs.
Mai stands up straight in front of her.
Mai: (Extending her hand) Let’s make a deal. From now until we nullify this contract, you officially hire me to be your partner. And I officially hire you as my partner. Deal?
Yuka: (Takes Mai’s hand) Deal.
The two shake on it. And let go. But Yuka still has one last thing she had on her mind to ask Mai.
Yuka: One thing...Why did you call me...sexy...back there.
Mai: Because you are? Do you not think you are?
Yuka: (tilts her cap down covering her face) I..really don’t put much thought into things like that.
Mai: Well you are.
Mai, slightly teasing her, put her face near hers.
Mai: You should think so too.
Yuka: (takes a step back) Well...t-thanks.
Mai: Now then, put your goggles on. Because we’re heading off to our next location.
Mai places the goggles around her neck back on to her face, and sits on the motorcycle, and waits for Yuka to join her.
Yuka: R-right (puts her goggles on and gets on the motorcycle behind Mai)
This time, Yuka places her hands around her stomach. Mai smiles.
Mai: Off we go!
Mai kicks on the motorcycle, and they sped away from the now, liberated, town.