The two of them, Kasumi and Haruka, reach the new town. The two move towards a small cafe on a corner, and the two quietly enter.
Kasumi: (looks around with a bored look on her face) Quaint…
Haruka: (keeping her wits about her) Go to the corner booth and sit.
Kasumi walks over to the corner booth and sits down. Haruka follows right behind her, intent on watching over her. She stands next to the booth.
Kasumi: Ok hovering over me is pretty weird…
Haruka: Like everything else hasn’t?
Kasumi: Point taken.
Haruka’s tail moves back and forth behind her. She unknowingly waves it in Kasumi’s face as she was lost in thought.
Haruka: (thinking) This is too easy. A bounty this high on a girl like this? Can’t be this easy…
Kasumi: (yawns) Well this is soo interesting…
Three men enter into the establishment and come walking towards them. The man in front looked to be positively sleazy.
Man: Ah, good, you found her.
Haruka: Yeah. I did. Do you have my money?
Man: I do, but I ain’t giving it to you.
Haruka: (Thinking) Damn, a double-cross!
Haruka pulls Kasumi in front of her and presses a dagger to her neck.
Kasumi: Oh for the love of…
Haruka: (Whispering in her ear, seriously) Do exactly as I say, and we’ll both get out of this alive. Understand?
Kasumi: (hisses softly) Fine.
The two men behind him pull out guns and aim them at them.
Man: Was never going to pay you in the first place. You see, I know all about the bounty on you Haruka.
Man: The bounty placed on you was by the librarium, and its because you have a particular thing they want.
Kasumi: And what per se did they mention about me?
Man: Well, the same reason I’m betraying your captor there is the same reason I’m claiming your bounty as well. You both know a thing or two about ‘azure’ don’t you?
Haruka quietly moves them around. They do it together, slowly. Haruka’s intent was to give them space to maneuver. The man either didn’t notice or didn’t care.
Kasumi: A thing or two about azure. (laughs) Really...Really!? Have you even done any research about azure or not?
Man: I don’t really care about Azure. Only purpose it serves is to make me money. Which is where the two of you come in.
Haruka whispers something as she removes the dagger.
Haruka: Flash Freeze.
The room freezes over except for Kasumi and Haruka.
Haruka: We have to move now. The temperature in this room will melt the ice quickly.
Kasumi: Woah woah! Ice?
Haruka: (Annoyed) Will you come on?!
Haruka grabs Kasumi by the wrist and drags her out of the cafe. She leads her back into the forest to give them some cover before Kasumi yanks her arm out from Haruka’s grasp.
Haruka: (Stopping, turning to her) Will you come on?! We have to get deeper into the forest!
Kasumi: Oh and just gloss over the fact that you can create ice like its nothing?
Haruka: My powers have nothing to do with you!
Kasumi: Oh it doesn’t now!? (tears off her right sleeve revealing her charred arm) Because those goons weren’t wrong about me having one too!
Haruka: (Thinking) So it was true…
Haruka calmly move her hand to her right boot and takes it off. When she does, it reveals that the ice on her foot had gotten bigger.
Haruka: Damn, its gotten bigger. Used too much of it.
Kasumi: Wait yours has negative effects too?
Haruka: If we are similar, then yes. If I use too much azure, this ice grows bigger and takes over parts of my body. If I rely too heavily upon it, well, I hope you like ice sculptures.
Kasumi: Well mine just makes me look disfigured.
Haruka: You know mine is ice. I’ll guess that yours happens to be fire.
Kasumi: (holds out her right hand, a large ball of concentrated fire building in it) I don’t know you tell me.
Haruka: Put it out, unless you intend to burn down the forest with us.
Kasumi: I wasn’t going to burn anything with it. (crushes the ball of fire dissipating it)
Haruka: (Sighs) With bounties on both our heads, it would be unwise if we moved separately. We’re going to have to work together.
Kasumi: Whatever. Not like I have anything else to do.
Haruka: It seems as though we’ve both been blessed and cursed by azure.
Kasumi: In more ways than one…
Haruka: So tell me then, how much control do you have over your power?
Kasumi: Enough control over it...Demonstrating it right now would break our cover in this forest.
Haruka: Understood. How much fighting practice do you have?
Kasumi: Well...I’m not exactly the best at close combat..but I can manipulate fire incredibly well.
Haruka: So then I’ll need to protect you when it comes to close combat. Give you enough time to use your fire while I provide cover.
Kasumi: (shrugs) Works for me.
Haruka: When we stop through at the next town, we’ll get you some supplies. Your own sleeping bag, tent, etcetera
Kasumi: Ok sounds like a plan.
Haruka: So let’s go.
Haruka turns and begins to walk toward the next town.
Kasumi: (thinking) Now this is more interesting than what I’m used to.
Haruka: So if you have any questions about me, better get them out of the way now. Because I’m not one that’s much for talking about myself.
Kasumi: Other than how you can manipulate ice, no not really.
Haruka: (sighing) If you’re willing to listen, then I’ll tell you. It’s kind of long.
Kasumi: Well nothing else is happening right now so sure.
As the two walk, Haruka begins her tale.
Haruka: It was while I was exploring. I won’t name the city. I was sent by my ‘family’, I guess you could call them. A group of bounty hunters that help me as needed. We help each other out. But I was sent by my ‘family’ to check out what people were too scared to find out what it was. When I got close above ground, the ground beneath me gave way, and I landed underneath the surface. As I passed through the candle-lit hallways, I stumbled upon a room that glowed an eerie light. What I found, that was sitting atop a pedestal within the room, was an icicle. Despite the warmth of the area, the icicle never seemed to melt. As I approached it and observed it, the room dropped to subzero temperatures. As I looked around, the room seemingly froze over. As I looked back at the pedestal, the icicle was gone. I felt a sharp pain in my foot. As I took off my boot, I saw that the top of my foot had merged with the icicle itself.
Kasumi: Well that's...disturbing….
Haruka: When I returned home, I became bedridden. The force of the azure overpowered me, and my body temperature had dropped significantly. Once I finally stabilized, I learned that I could no longer take hot or warm rooms. Thus why I now dress like I do. I have to keep myself as cool as possible. Certain things I can’t control. And I’ve managed to be okay in most temperatures. But during a hot summer day, it's difficult for me to move around, because my body will actually feel like it’s melting.
Kasumi: Now it makes sense why you were so surprised about my attire.
Haruka: My ‘family’ helped me control what I could. They would train me in warmer and warmer rooms so I could at least be able to manage myself when outside. I had to go through rigorous training in order just to be standing here today, and not feel like a puddle of water underneath the sun.
Kasumi: Well even so...I’d recommend NOT touching me if I get angry.
Haruka: Probably wouldn’t be the best idea for either of us to touch each other if we can avoid it. So since I told you my story, why don’t you tell me how you came into contact with such an azure?
Kasumi: Well lets just say I got too curious about the whole “sacrificing” people that my village does. After a person is sacrificed, they are tossed into a cavern system that surprisingly is underneath the village itself. So me being stupid, went to explore them and found a strange flame that took my right arm and replaced it with...this.
Haruka: And I’m guessing you still had feeling in your arm?
Kasumi: When it got destroyed? Yes...I’m guessing it felt like dipping my arm into lava…
Haruka: So what did you do?
Kasumi: Well after passing out I just left the cavern and hid my arm ever since.
Haruka: So no one in your village knew?
Kasumi: Not that I knew of. I hid it pretty well.
Haruka: (Confused) Then how did that man know you had azure?
Kasumi: Well...Some people did research about azure changes….and well this isn't my natural eye color...that and I couldn’t hide it all the time.
Haruka: Then he must have witnessed it at some point.
Kasumi: Yea and you saw the state of my village...its hard to hide everything in a place where anyone could basically go anywhere.
Haruka: Makes sense.
Kasumi: So that’s my story.
Haruka: So your eye color was a result of the azure.
Haruka: So I see. Then I suppose fate has drawn us together for a reason.
Kasumi: I guess…
The two come to a stop underneath some trees providing them shade and cover.
Haruka: This should be good enough. We’ll have enough maneuverability here.
Kasumi: Maneuverability...for what?
Haruka: In case those two come back after us.
Haruka goes over to the tree and leans, before plopping herself on to the ground. Letting her body come to a rest.
Kasumi: Like they would want to come after us again after being frozen.
Haruka: Better safe then sorry.
Kasumi: I guess.
Haruka simply sits there. There wasn’t much for either of them to do at the moment. They wouldn’t make it to town until tomorrow, so it was as if Haruka had decided to make this their camp site.
Kasumi: So we setting up camp then? Because its getting pretty late now.
Haruka gets up and takes her bag out. She begins to prep the tent. She looks over to Kasumi.
Haruka: Find some firewood, would you?
Kasumi: Yea yea I’ll be back.
She stands up and walks away searching for firewood. It isn’t long before Haruka has the camp set up. The tent was pitched. The sleeping bag was open. The fire pit was made. All that she was waiting for was the firewood.
Kasumi: (walks back carrying enough firewood for the night) Hopefully this should do it for the night.
Haruka: Just set it next to the pit.
Kasumi nods before placing the firewood next to the fire pit and organizing it. Haruka grabs a couple of branches and places it in the middle. She grabs a lighter from her pack and lights a branch. She blows on it, and the fire begins to grow in the middle of it. Haruka sits near it, as the fire slowly becomes a source of light.
Kasumi: You know I could have lit the fire if we really needed to.
Haruka: I can do this much.
Kasumi: (shrugs) Do what you want.
The two seemingly sit around the fire. Though they had shared stories about why they had azure, they weren’t exactly the best of friends. Kasumi, deciding to at least try and bridge the gap between herself and Haruka, decided to strike up conversations. Even if they were random, it would at least help her know her better.
Kasumi: So...How long have you been a bounty hunter?
Haruka: Since I was ten.
Kasumi: That's an early age to start hunting people down.
Haruka: I wasn’t sent on many missions at that age. At fourteen, I started doing bounty hunter stuff.
Kasumi: I bet you were one scary little kid.
Haruka: Maybe, sometimes, I guess…
Kasumi: Gah I’m bad at this…
Haruka: What about you? What were you like as a kid?
Kasumi: Well I was just really curious about well...everything.
Haruka: So you just wanted to know how things work then
Kasumi: Well my village wasn’t exactly...interesting so I had to find something to do.
Haruka: Why didn’t you take self-defense or something then?
Kasumi: Because I didn’t really have a need to back then.
Haruka: I guess you have a point, you weren’t expecting to be in a position like this.
Kasumi: No not really...But once I got my azure I started to try and figure out what I could do with it.
Haruka: Makes sense, you were curious about your newfound power. Not to mention why you could still use your arm even though you had lost it.
Haruka: I cursed myself for even going after that azure.
Kasumi: Well I got mine from sheer stupidity.
Haruka: Stupidity or not, it was fate that you got it.
Kasumi: Maybe...maybe not.
Haruka: Either way, you have it.
Kasumi: I know I know…
Haruka: The tent is set up so that we can both sleep inside of it. We’ll have to get used to sleeping together until we get you your own tent and sleeping bag.
Kasumi: (sighs) I’ll manage…
Haruka: Its either that or sleep on the dirt.
Kasumi: I get it I get it.
Haruka: Assuming nothing bad happens tomorrow, we should make it to the next town.
Kasumi: Hopefully nothing will…
Haruka: Won’t know the weather until it happens.
Kasumi: The weather isn’t really too much to worry about.
Haruka: If it rains, it will. We won’t be able to travel.
Kasumi: It would make things worse sure...but not impossible.
Haruka: I imagine rain would be your worst enemy. Or water of any kind for that matter.
Kasumi: Not really...Its just annoying. But I do get sick quite often thanks to damp conditions.
Haruka: So I imagine your toughest moment of the day would be taking a shower.
Kasumi: Yea...which is why I try to take really hot showers because it takes my mind off of the water.
Haruka: (Nods) Same with me and cold water. Its kind of easy for me, since a lot of streams and rivers are cold.
Kasumi: Yea which is why I had to use my powers to heat up water so I wouldn’t pass out from the temperature.
Haruka yawns. She looks up at the sky and clouds had begun to cover up the pieces of moonlight that had shone down upon them.
Haruka: I’m going to bed. I’m tired. I’ll sleep on the right. You sleep on the left. Don’t forget to put out the campfire when you go to bed. Night.
With that, Haruka crawls into the tent.
Kasumi waits for Haruka to crawl into the tent before she puts out the fire and simply looks up at the sky.
Kasumi: Well I guess this is better than being in that rundown village…
After watching the sky for a few minutes Kasumi crawls into the tent and lies down to sleep.