[color=C9D9FF]"I'm not his girlfriend!"[/color] Miku retorted.
No one heeded her as they filed into the living room, the one called Kento and his friend still snickering to each other things she didn’t care to make out. Sighing—and starting to feel very overwhelmed by everything that had happened today; also very much wishing she could take advantage of getting to sit in quiet spot by all by herself for just one minute—she followed.
Two others came down the stairs as she did, a woman who seemed a few years older than her, and a not as tall as Rowen but very broad shouldered blond who immediately gave her the “stay away from me” vibe.
Well, at least it was…a change, from the taunting and boyish attitudes of Kento and the other who’s name she still hadn’t caught.
She shot another glare at Rowen’s back for good measure. Damn genius lacked so much common sense sometimes, she wondered if he were even the same person.
The newcomers nodded pleasantly at her with murmured greetings, however, as everyone finished shuffling into the living room. A couch and an armchair filled the not inconsiderable space; the blond took up a spot along one wall as the woman settled herself between Kento and the brunet, who held a bag of marshmallows like a security blanket. Ryo almost seemed to guard the door, in a place where he could watch everyone at once.
Unnerved, feeling restless with pent-up energy and not particularly enjoying the sense of being trapped, Miku elected to stand off to one side with Rowen as Kotori took center stage.
[color=FFD4FF]"Guess we'll get right to it then."[/color] Kotori visibly straightened her stance, as if a mask of confidence had been drawn on from head to foot. Miku rather admired that, considering her own state right now.
[color=FFD4FF]"Something's been bothering me since last night,"[/color] she started. [color=FFD4FF]"Strange dreams, a foreboding feeling. Call it a premonition, if you like. The closest I could place the source was in Minami-ku, so I went there this morning to patrol the area. That's where I met Miku."[/color] She smiled briefly toward the redhead. [color=FFD4FF]"I was afraid she'd get drawn in by what...whatever was there, but I'd barely said 'hello' when this..."[/color]
Kotori closed her eyes, her brows furrowed as she struggled to find the right words. [color=FFD4FF]"How do I describe it? Much too large to be a dog, or even a wolf. Not a demon... not malicious, but...much different than anything I've encountered before."[/color]
She opened her eyes and turned toward Mia. Miku subtly tilted her head at the gesture. [color=FFD4FF]"I thought about giving Mia a call, maybe she'd come across something in her research, but... I can't help thinking that maybe..." [/color]
A sound like a record scratch went off in her mind. [color=C9D9FF]"Wait... This is about the puppy I found? Seriously?"[/color] She turned to Rowen, hands on her hips. [color=C9D9FF]"What have you gotten into since I left?"[/color]
Before he could answer, a loud pop distracted her.
And suddenly one very large, very intimidatingly broad and powerfully muscled man was standing not five feet away from her.
Two wolves stood at his side.
Two wolves as large as the tiger that had just lumbered to his feet, head lowered defensively.
Her body reacted before she could hardly process the change. A scream she realized later was hers echoed in the room, and next thing she knew she had her arms wrapped around something warm and solid and protective.
Heart still drumming in her ears, she glanced up and realized Rowen was looking back down at her with naked concern in his eyes. Embarrassed, she almost sprang back and folded her arms over her chest, glaring at anyone and everything in the room.
Including the big-ass wolves now calmly sitting at heel beside this man that reeked of the same energy that puppy had had.
Feeling self-conscious—even though hardly anyone but Rowen was paying attention to her—she snapped, [color=C9D9FF]"Can we stop it with the jump scares already?? Getting kinda old!"[/color]
The dark-haired man cast a disparaging glare her way, but seemed to zero in on Kotori. [color=000000]"You. Your scent smells of my wolves. Where are they?"[/color]
Miku shuddered at the way his voice growled just like one of the wolf creatures. It took everything in her willpower to resist sidling up to Rowen again, old memories threatening to wash over her and rip her out of the conscious world.
It took a moment, but something seemed to click behind Kotori’s eyes. [color=FFD4FF]"YOU!"[/color] she accused, pointing to him with a focused expression. [color=FFD4FF]"So I wasn't wrong... That creature was from the youjakai."[/color]
The five other boys in the room had jumped into varying states of alert at the first words. Blondie looked like he seriously considered leaping the couch before more civilly walking around it to stand toe to toe with this party crasher. They glared daggers at each other even as Ryo came up behind his friend and laid a restraining hand on his shoulder—but his expression hardly differed, previously warm blue eyes now flinty.
Kento must have been the comic relief of them all. He merely sighed and complained, "Aw man, what a bust... Couldn't you at least have popped out of a cake?"
The brunet simply opened the bag on his lap and silently popped a marshmallow into his mouth.
Yanking her mind off the track of trying to translate what she thought was supposed to be “spirit world” but made very little sense to her otherwise, Miku stared at all them. [color=C9D9FF]"You know this madman with the magic wolves?"[/color]
The woman, now standing, raised her voice to an impressive volume that spoke of experience. "EVERYONE settle down!" As Ryo obediently backed off, she replaced his hand on the blond's shoulder; he still hadn’t stood down, continuing to glare daggers at the wolf-man. "Now, since Cale isn't attacking us, I'm assuming he and the other Warlords are still all as we last saw them. I'm sure, once we talk this out, everything will seem much clearer."
[color=C9D9FF]’Cale!’[/color] As little relief as it was, she finally had one more name to use.
Marshmallow Boy swallowed and dug in for another. [color=D0FFFF]"The last time we saw them? Wasn't that something like, 'oh oops, my bad' and then they flew off into the sunset?"[/color]
Kotori hadn’t dropped her pointing. [color=FFD4FF]"Start talking, then. I thought you were guarding the barrier. What happened—what did you let out?"[/color]
[color=000000]"I didn't let anything out,"[/color] Cale growled, folding massive arms over his barrel-like chest. [color=000000]"Someone stole my wolves. I can only conclude it must be you. You've at least seen them. Don't try to deny it--I can smell them on you."[/color]
Barrier? Let something out? Magic wolves and spirit worlds? Warlords?
Miku was so, so utterly lost.
[color=C9D9FF]"Can someone please tell me what's going on, here?? Barrier of what? What's so scary about a puppy? And that puppy's yours? What the hell kind of dogs are you breeding, man?"[/color] she demanded, warily eyeing the wolves again. The larger of the two turned one red eye on her—exactly like the puppy’s—and she squeaked, scooting closer to Rowen against her own will.
"Are you okay? I thought you liked dogs," he murmured, as an aside to her.
She swallowed and licked her lips. How could she possibly explain how much the Grim had hurt her trust in all things canine?
[color=C9D9FF]"I...I...got bit once,"[/color] she finally mumbled back.
[color=22FF66]"A sword wields no strength unless the hand that holds it has courage." ~ Hero's Shade, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess[/color]