Two Strangers And A Truce (Pt. 2)

The girl named Raegan and the boy called Samuel travel the city streets at night faster than the speed of sound, narrowly avoiding the confused gazes of patrolling students. As she runs, Samuel eyes the pendant on his neck and orders the girl to stop and let him down.

Raegan listens and skids to a stop to set the furry mage on the ground and watches him with a bored expression.

Samuel paws over into the dark behind a shed, and the light from the pendant fades and dies.

Raegan sighs, ”Keep holding onto that necklace; itll get you killed. ”

Feline eyes shrink into slits, ”Throwing it out isn necessary; we can notify the professional protection squad. ”

”Okay, where are they? ”

”Most likely asleep right now… ”

”Wow, securitys shit in this place. No wonder the break-in was so easy… ”

The furry mage stands up on all fours again to scan the area, mentally counting the multitude of cameras placed in the area.

The girl is shamelessly confessing to a crime and still stands before him as if hes no threat to her, and this manages to make his hairs stand on end along his back.

No one in the academy dared to show no fear in his presence, cursing him as he left the room under their breath and being reminded of his renowned teaching from his parents. This girl, quite literally, looks down at him as if he weren so exceptional at all.

He ponders if shes ignorant or acting but decides against another interrogation without Runas assistance. He then focuses on the more pressing issue: why aren the surveillance crew doing their jobs?

”Security could be sounder, ” He says with feigned nonchalance.

She shrugs, poking her head out into the street. Sam paws into the moonlight ahead of Raegan, not waiting for her to catch up.

”…Although, this is only the first since the school opened, ” He boasts.

Jogging to catch up with him, she says, ”Really? How long ago was that? ”

”Five years as of now. ”

”Is that the truth? ”

”Why would I lie? ”

”Something ain working if a demon like Dylos is stomping around with no issues. ”

The mage pushes a frustrated growl back down his throat, ”The new guys are more incompetent than I thought. ”

”…What? ”

”I said, this school is more incompetent than I thought…. ”

After a few seconds of silence between them, the girl says, ”Well have to kill this thing ourselves, then. No one else here seems to have a proper defense against an Aari. ”

He stops, unperturbed that she nearly trips over him again.

”Why not detain the demon and acquire more information? ”

”Killing it will solve both our problems, ” She steps in his path.

”I need to know more about this pendant. ” The cat bobs his head down at the golden artifact, ”The demon was keen on taking it for himself, so it clearly sees its value. ”

”Its shiny, golden, and ancient-looking, ” Rae drones, ”Anyone with a brain would assume that. ”

”Why are you trying so hard to change my mind? ”

”That asshole nearly took your necklace away, and you
e defending it. ”

He laughs dryly, ”Don be ridiculous- ”

e the ridiculous one, ” the girl interjects, ”your plan will get you killed. ”

”Not that I asked for your concern, but I can handle myself. ”

”Really? ” Rae crouches to face him, wearing an evil smirk from ear to ear. ”How many demons have you killed, little mage? Thirty? Fifteen? You should at least name five of them, right? ”

The mage hisses in anger from her disrespect, claws at the ready to give her a matching scar on her other cheek for the disrespect she shows him. This girl speaks without class, yet he feels inferior to her fighting skills.

The way Raegans body moved during her assault against the demon was that of an expert who could kill in their sleep. He wouldn have to guess that the body count was higher than he could imagine for a girl whos too lean for any perceivable muscle strength in her arms.

”I… ” He starts, ears drooping down.

”You…? ”

”I, um… ”

”You, um, what? You forgot how to count? ”

His ears perk up at her teasing, unable to help himself as he gives an angry hiss for her to stop.

Finding his humiliation amusing, she puts her hands up in surrender without any sign of remorse on her face. Hed be pink in the face if it weren for his insistence on keeping his identity hidden from the intruder.

”…Im only a second-year student, and most academies don allow any of us to go near a demon until our third year- ”

”Idiot! ” Raegan flicks the cat on the ear, ”I knew it; you
e a novice! ”

”Don do that! ”

”What? I couldve done it against your skull, but I can promise it wouldn have cracked it with my amazing strength- ”

”I wouldve preferred that over what you just did! ” The small mage curls up on the ground, holding his ear.

e such a drama queen, cat. As weak and inexperienced as you are, you should leave this up to the professionals. ”

”Professionals? ” Samuel says, recovering from the pain, ”Are you including yourself when you say that? ”

”Maybe not according to your high society Glorias but yes, I do. ”

”If you are as professional as you claim, why enroll yourself in this school? ”

”For the degree. ”

The mage licks his paw and cleans his ears. ”If you
e here for the degree, then why are you here before your other classmates? ”

”I just told you, Im here for the degree. ”

Samuel pauses, ”I know what you said, but…. ”

Raegan gives a knowing nod and a small smile.

”…wait, are you telling me you were going to steal a physical diploma? ” He says in disbelief. ”It wouldn have your name on it. ”

”So? Ive got people who can forge a signature. ” She gets up and spots a stream of water nearby, ”School is a waste of time. ”

Raegan skips over to stare into the water, and her wobbly reflection looks back. The cat wonders if itd be worth his time to continue this pointless argument.

Instead, he sniffs the ground for signs of the patrol idiots nearby.

Bringing in an intruder while in this form is less than ideal, but it would ensure no one else like her gets in again.

Of course, this girl isn a student here; he thinks while gazing from the dark. She could never get into any particular school with terrible grammar and idiotic statements about school. Samuel only hates that hes the one who has to escort her to the authorities; hed be resting in bed if Runa didn have another malfunction.

He jumps onto the bridge railing and sits, ”Since you
e the one who brought a demon into this city, you should take care of this. ”

”I thought mister know-it-all could handle himself, ” the girl replies in a soft voice, too busy taking in the view.

”We need to work together, so we both get what we want. ”

”You don know what I want, dude…. ”

She turns her attention to the sky and the constellations above.

”Taking the risk of breaking in, you don want to draw attention to yourself. ”

”So? That doesn mean Im obligated to help you. ”

He hits her arm with a paw, ”Hey, look at me. Don you want to keep this liability from stopping whatever you came here to do? ”

Raegan pushes him away gently, which still felt like a shove for him.

”Thats why I said we should kill it! ” She hardens.

”I won let you kill it. ” He warns.

”This could be over in a curb stomp to the brain, and you want to choose the complicated route. ” She thrusts her hands at him angrily, ”I thought school was supposed to make you smart. ”

”Youd have to clean up after, assuming you want to stay uninvolved. ”

”Do I look like I care about making a mess? I never intended to stay here this long until I ran into you. ”

”Someone mustve seen you were running around by now, so you should care. Whatever you came here to do, you could be compromised- ”

”Psh! Im a freshman; they can assume Im as scared and helpless as the rest of you babies. ”

She leans against the railing, squinting at something in the distance.

He sighs in frustration, ”You know thats not going to work. ”

She sucks her teeth, glaring behind her, ”Chill the ** out, man, you
e not my boss! ”

”Calm down and listen to me- ”

”No! Who do you think you are? ”

”Your upperclassman, ” he answers. ”Im trying to help you. ”

”Earlier, you said you were turning me in; thats not helping. Thats getting in the way! ”

He jerks his head toward a direction for her to look at, and she follows to see five cameras all facing the bridge. She straightens against the railing and gives a gesture for him to explain the point hes trying to make.

”The cameras have linked you to that demon and the vandalized building, ” Sam whispers, ”As a favor for capturing it alive, Ill wipe you from all the CCTV footage. ”

Raegan turns to face him head-on, studying him a little too closely. Samuel fights the urge to turn away or shrink at the intense molten red of Raegans eyes, which matched the exact hue of red on the outer layer of her coat. Her soft breath sends chills up his spine as hes still left wondering why he cannot read her thoughts.

Samuel puts a paw up, finally having enough of his personal space invaded, ”Hey, I don know what game you
e trying to play with me, but Im not like that- ”

Her hand snakes its way around his neck before he realizes, gasping once she presses her thumb against his throat.

”Whats to stop me from killing you and Dylos, doing what I came here to do, and leaving this place to ruin? ”

He raises his claw, puncturing her flesh with a fearful scratch.

Unlike the performance she gave before, Raegan stands as still as stone against the pain.

The girl tightens her hold, her eyes cold and indifferent to his distressed meowing, ”Answer me or die, cat. ”

His nails press hard enough to draw blood.

”With the surveillance you stupidly ignored on the way here; its enough for anyone to detain and report you. ”

An angelic laugh escapes her lips despite committing a heinous act of violence against him, ”Id like to see you try…. ”

”No, not me. ”

”Youve got backup? It seems the patrol guys don care that you
e missing. ”

”Ever since I was little…I had a tracking device put near my heart so that… if I ever stopped breathing, theyd come and find me. ”

Raegan dangles the mages feline body over the water, smiling like a madwoman as he struggles to breathe.

”Id break your neck long before youd stop breathing, kid. ”

In the corner of his eye, red light shines past the rows of buildings to where he left Runa. Sam struggles to turn his head and squint at the powered-up Runa, aiming her gun in their direction while still far enough from the window that shes still in the circle.

”Thanks, Runa… ” He says weakly.

Relief momentarily calms the intense beating of his heart until Raegans thumb presses his epiglottis tube hard enough to leave a bruise.

”No ones there to save you, mage. Im standing right here, so look at me. ”

”Go ahead and finish the job, ” Samuel says defiantly, ”then my friend will need two body bags instead of one. ”

Raegan scans the area thoroughly, down both sides of the bridge, to find not even a single sign of life in or outside any of the buildings.

”I don see anyone; you
e bluffing. ”

The mage weakly lifts his tail to point her in the right direction.

”The good thing about this bridge is that its in full view from my dorm room, meaning my friend has a full view of their target. ”

A red dot appears on the girls forehead between the eyes. Her eyes narrow in a bemused grin, ”Amazing how that sniper knows where and what you are, even as an animal. ”

”Thats technology for you. ”

”Promise you won turn me in, and Ill spare your life. ”

”How do you know they won shoot before then? ”

”An Aries can regenerate from any injury; Id worry more about what happens when I get back up again. ”

The cat visibly bristles when she stops smiling.

”Call your friend off, or Ill have your hide as a scarf and sell that necklace to the highest bidder. ”

With reluctance, Samuel gestures for Runa to back down.

The red dot disappears from her face, and both are left in a staring match with each other until one breaks the silence.

”I did what you asked; now put me down. ”

She loosens her grip.

”Over the bridge, you maniac! ”

”Good boy. ” She smiles and rubs his head.

Raegan holds him up by the paws, keeping his claws at bay, then plops him down onto the solid ground.

”Don good boy me; Im not your pet! ”

”You don like being called a good boy? ” She teases, laughing down at him.

”You threatened my life; you
e lucky Im not at full strength right now, or you wouldn be laughing! ”

”Has that thing ever shot beams into the sky before? ” She gestures to the pendant swaying around his neck.

”What does that have to do with any- ”

”Didn you say you wanted to know more about it? Some mystery you wanna solve or whatever? ”

”So? ” He snaps. ”What about it? ”

”How can you find out more if the only one who can make it do stuff is me, ” Rae says in an innocent voice.

He growls, more upset with himself than with her.

”You need me. ”

e shameless! ” He slams a paw against the ground. ”Not two seconds after almost killing me, and now you want to work together?! ”

”That means we have no reason to kill each other. ” She clasps her hands together happily.

”There wasn a reason until you gave me one! ”

”Teamwork for survival sinks in a lot faster when there are high stakes on the table, eh? ”

”Your voice vexes me, ” he snaps.

”So whats your plan, nerd? ”

He backs away from her touch with a hiss. Rae giggles and puts her hands behind her back instead.

”One of us will have to make the bold decision to become bait, ” he says, looking disdainfully up at her.

”What? You
e small enough to be the prey to most animals his size, so you should do it. ”

”You two know each other; hes after you. ”

”Well, lately, hes shown more interest in your necklace. ”

”Pendant. ” He corrects.

”Looks like a damn necklace to me. ”

He scoffs, ”You caused trouble for all of us, so youll be bait. ”

Raegan crosses her arms and turns her back on Samuel, pouting like a child. ”Before I become anything, I need to see your face. ”

He passes her without looking back, not impressed with her stubbornness.

”Where are you going? ” She jogs to keep up with him.

”After what you did? Youve got to be joking. ”

She stomps a foot on the ground behind him and starts walking away, ”Then good luck getting me to be bait. ”

He stares over his shoulder and watches her head back to the bridge, knowing shes manipulating him. If it weren for the sad fact that shes the only one related to accomplishing his goal, hed let her walk away and never cross paths with such a psycho again.

He shouts after her, ”Fine! For such a pretty girl, you have an ugly personality. ”

She gains ground on him with a skip in her step, following close behind. ”Well? We don have all night. ”

”I don have my clothes, so Ill have to run to my dorm- ”

”Thatll take too long. ”

”Im not going to stand out here in the buff with a girl I just met! ”

Raegan crouches down and pulls Sam by the tail into another dark alley.

She covers his mouth as footsteps fall nearby and flashlights wander along the ground by her feet.

Rae backs farther into the dark until she finds a dumpster to hide in, to the dismay of her squirming companion.

The girl peeks out into the alley from the dumpsters lid and sees two people pass by without noticing her.

As soon as the footsteps travel far away from where they are, Samuel jumps out onto the ground and starts aggressively licking himself clean.

Raegan hops out and grabs him by the strap of his pendant toward the stream, and dunks him in the water.

”There you go, all nice and clean. ”

”I…already had it covered…. ” He shivers.

Throwing off her dress, she washes it in the stream with only a swimsuit keeping Raegan from fully exposing herself.

”Why are you wearing a swimsuit? ”

She flicks her dress dry and takes a moment to find somewhere quiet and secluded to rest for a while; her eyes lock onto a suitable building for them to escape to.

”Hey, Im talking to you! ” Samuel paws at her ankles.

”I found a place where we can sit for a while. ”

”How? Youve been here less than a day- ”

Taking him up in her arms, she wraps him up in her dress and wipes him dry, leaving his fur coat very fuzzy and full of static.

Without explaining anything, she carries him toward the tower in a sprint.

”Sit tight, nerd. ”

Raegan fingers the neckline of her swimsuit, raising him to her chest.

”No! ” He jerks from her grip. ”This is highly inappropriate, even for you! ”

”Its just a swimsuit. ”

”Whats wrong with you? Why would you wear that under a dress?! ”

”Where else would I put all my things? ”

”A purse! ”

”Purses get stolen. Youll be fine. ”

He sinks his claws into her arm, ”Stop; Im claustrophobic! ”

”Itll only be for a second; I need both hands to climb. ”

”Climb? ” He pants. ”Where are you taking me? ”

Yanking his paws off of her, Raegan stuffs Samuel into her swimsuit and jumps up to the nearest window to climb up. He pokes his head out from inside to scream at how high they are.

”Be quiet, or Ill flick your ear again. ”

Too scared to leave now, he stays put.

Something sharp pokes at his backside, and he looks down around himself to see a ridiculous amount of junk inside her swimsuit.

”Do you ever wash this thing? ”

”Of course I do! What do you take me for? ”

He turns away from her toward the wall, ”…You don want to know…. ”

”Well, none of that matters because we
e too high for you to complain. ”

”Coming with me to the dorm wouldve been easier. ”

”Aari don wait for their prey to get ready. Im disappointed you wasted so many years on useless advice that does nothing for you after graduation. ”

”You keep talking about the curriculum like you know any better. ”

”Thats because I do know better. ” She grunts, leaping to the next window. Raegan nearly slips when Sam hides against her chest.

”What do you do when you aren trying to steal from school buildings? ”

”Why? ”

”As you said, Ill need you to find the mystery of this pendant, so well be spending some time together. ” He struggles to stay near the top with every jump she makes, making an awkward situation even worse. ”Is it weird to want to know if theres more to you than just a pretty face? ”

”No, but- ”

”Theres a chance well both die falling from this tower before that demon finds us. If thats going to happen, Id at least want to know who Im dying with. ”

Raes about to take another leap when she pauses, facing the window.

”Did we make it? ” He says, looking up. ”Whats got you looking so scared? ”

She gulps, ”…You don have fleas or ticks anywhere in your fur, do you? ”

”Are you asking if I have poor hygiene? ” Samuel responds, slightly offended.

e touching my naked body. ”

”Whos fault is that?! ”

She frowns at him, ”You don have to be so catty about it; I don want anything of yours left behind. ”

”No, I don have fleas… ”

”Okay, good. What about ticks? ”

”No. ” He says sternly.

”…Parasites? ”

”If you think Im so unclean, then I don need to be here anymore. ”

He crawls out of her swimsuit.

”Hey, we
e only halfway there; you
e gonna fall if you do that. ”

He stares, recognizing the building, before Rae roughly shoves him back inside.

”You idiot, this is the clock tower! Everyone knows where this is! ”

”Yeah, well, no ones in it right now, so theres a space where no one will see you. ”

”See me do what, exactly? ”

”Strip naked. ” She makes the following two leaps.

”Im not stripping naked; I said Id show you my face. ”

Rae digs her nails into the brick with the top of the tower only a few feet above, ”I need to check for weapons. ”

”Im a cat! Where would I hide them?! ”

”Youd be surprised how many hiding places the body has. ”

”Absolutely not! ” He says sternly.

Rae looks around the tower for anyone with a flashlight getting too close to the building, staying in the shadows.

”Ill get naked first if that makes you stop whining. ”

”No, this is sexual harassment! ”

”But we aren having sex. ”

”That doesn matter! ”

”Are you sure you don have any weapons? ”

”If I did, I wouldve done more than scratch you back there for choking me. And are we going to talk about what happened there? ”

Rae focuses on the task at hand, ignoring the annoying cat below.

”The moments passed; get over it. ”

”Get over it? ”

”I decided not to kill you, so yeah, get over it. ”

She climbs the last few bricks to the railing at the top of the tower and heaves herself over into a room with spinning cogs and loud ticking filling their ears.

”I change my mind, ” the cat hisses, ”Id rather not know anything else about you. ”

”Fine by me. We
e here now. ”

Samuel leaps from Raes chest onto the floor and faces her expectantly, only for her to mirror his expression.

”What are you staring at me for? Im not shifting in front of you. ”

”Then how will you show me your face? ”

”Give me your coat. ”

Raegan wraps the fabric around her body possessively, ”No, its mine. ”

”I need it. ”

”Its dark here, so I won see that much. ”

”Im not doing anything until you give it to me. ”

”Fine, stay right there. ”

Samuel paces in the dark, hearing something soft hitting the floorboards beside him.

He shifts out of his feline form, withstanding the burden of the unbearable heat searing his bones during the transformation. Once Sam finishes, keeping an eye on Rae and making sure she keeps her eyes to herself, he reaches for the coat to cover himself.

He throws it over himself to realize, ”This isn a coat; its a dress! You lied to me. ”

”You don want me touching your necklace, so I don want you touching my coat. ” She says against the wall.

”Im not wearing a dress! ”

”Its the only clothing youve got. All I need is my swimsuit. ”

He holds it up in his hands, face heated with embarrassment, ”Don you dare laugh at me! ”

”Just come out already. ”

His head pops out from inside the dress, stiffening when the seams rip at his sides.

Sam looks down behind him and feels a cold draft between his legs.

”My ass is almost fully exposed in this…. ”

”Oh my gods, is it? ” Rae walks over.

”I didn say you could turn around yet! ” He waves her away.

Rae ducks under his arm to circle him, admiring the view. ”It looks good on you. ”

”Shut up. ” He says through his teeth.

”Im serious! ” She laughs.

He pulls the hem of his dress over his crotch, ”Take that coat off so I can see you. ”

”Ill pass; Ive gotten enough entertainment out of you. ” Raegan opens the trapdoor to the staircase, ”Now that you
e dressed, lets get a move on. ”

She looks up to find him still standing where she left him.

”You have a point, ” He shrugs, ”but heres another one for you; this pendant can force you to do what I ask. ”

”Why didn you use it on me earlier when I strangled you? ”

He decides not to tell her that he tried doing as she said but that her holding onto it nullified its powers.

”You dare me to prove it to you? ”

”Force me to do anything with that necklace, and Ill kick you where the sun don shine. ”

”I don want to use this on you, but theres only a matter of time until that demon finds us. Show me your face. ”

Raegan slams the trapdoor shut and stomps at Samuel, ”You want to see so badly? Stand near the window. ”

He stares at her warily, watching her coat hit the floor. She walks over again, standing to face him as she lifts the curtain of hair from her face.

Sams eyes grew large at the deep white scar that dragged across her skin from her mouth to the beginning of her breasts.

Rae lets the curtain fall back over her eyes and strides away to pick up her coat.

”…It was my uncles way of using me as his weapon before he died and came back for me. ” She says, dejected from herself.

He rubs at the nape of his neck anxiously, ”Im sorry…. ”

”Don be. If it weren for that dickhead, I would never have found a partner better than him. ”

”Wheres your partner? ”

e gone too. ” She shrugs the fabric back over her shoulders, ”This coat is all I have left of them; it belonged to the only family I had left in this world. ”

”Same with my pendant. I couldn give this up even to save my life because Id be throwing my parents legacy away. ”

”So, your parents are…? ”

”Dead for three and a half years now. ”

”I feel like an asshole for trying to bargain it away like that. ”

”Its fine; you didn know. ”

Both stand next to the trapdoor as she opens it, hopping onto a metal staircase.

”He couldve taken it and escaped the academy, ” Rae says remorsefully.

They start down the stairs as he says, ”Not likely. ”

”What do you mean? ”

”Some thug tried that once, and he didn get very far. ”

”Your friend sniped him down? ”

”When the pendant is beyond ten miles from where I am, it sends a lethal amount of electricity into the body of whoever possesses it. That man learned the hard way. ”

Rae stops in front of him, ”Okay then, why didn you let him take it? You couldve spared us this cat-and-mouse chase. ”

”Because a lethal shock on a body that big might only stun him, ” He continues down the next flight of stairs, ”I need him to be fully unconscious if Im going to capture it. ”

”Im telling you now, waste of time to question that lamebrain. ”

”Ill also need you to translate for me since you speak Vitian. ”

”Ah, man…. ” She sighs.

Samuel waves her over to a window to see something, and both gaze through the glass to see the dorms, the strip market, and a large chapel across a stone bridge. Rae notices that this time, however, there is no water under that bridge but an endless abyss.

Stan told her this was no ordinary city, but Raegan wasn prepared for something like that.

Rae decides to keep quiet about it.

”The dorms aren that far away from the chapel over there. Lure it inside, and Ill step just out of range for the pendant to shock the demon. ”

”How will you know when Ive gotten it to the chapel? ”

”Ring the bell, ” He resumes down the stairs once more for her to follow.

”I might have to vandalize more city property. Are you okay with that? ”

”Do what you must. The pendant will light up before it delivers the shock. ” He sees a displeased Rae glaring at him from behind, ”Does that make you feel better? ”

”It doesn . You could kill me with this thing. ”

His lips part into a smile, ”Maybe youll know how it feels to have your life in someone elses hands. ”

”Hey, I said I was sorry. ”

”No, you didn . ” He chides playfully, forgetting where he was before finding his senses.

”Well, Im sorry now. Okay? I don wanna turn into fried bacon. ”

His face hardens, frustrated with himself for letting his guard down for a stranger, but saddens because he hasn laughed with anyone else in Starlight other than Runa and the headmasters daughter.

Samuel hasn been able to trust anyone since he and Runa had to leave home, and the person he decides to open up to is a dangerous and untrustworthy girl with more baggage than him.

He lifts his hand to his temples, massaging away the incoming headache until they arrive at the last step.

Raegan is told to turn around for him as he fastens the pendant around her neck.

”Youll have three seconds to take this off and throw it onto him, and make sure hes holding it. ”

Rae nods, ”Sounds risky, but Ill do it. ”

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