Chapter 15:

A true monster

Yu-Gi-Oh! :Another story

As Hanoa pulled her gray boots back on, she was still conflicted as to weather or not she should go out with the others tonight. It was her job, and she was responsible for the well-being and training of the others but still…. She glanced out the window over her bed, which was cracked open and letting the cold night air drift in over her.
‘I don’t think I should have let Yugi-Chan and the others go home alone,’ she worried to herself. ‘After coming into our house, eating our food, and spending time in close quarters with so many of us… I’m worried. They are probably carrying our scent and anyone or anything that’s good at tracking…creatures…like us…will be able to tell that they are connected to me. Not just that, they’ll be able to tell that there is a whole family of us in Domino City!’ She stared up at the full moon. ‘I’m scared for them. What if something tries to get them? They are out so late at night, and it’s so dark, too! There probably won’t be anyone to help them if anything happens. I wish I could go follow them but…’ It was almost ten o’clock at night. Her friends had left a little after nine, so they were probably just re-entering the city right now and, depending on what order they walked each other home in, it would be an hour and a half at the least until everyone was home.
“Hanoa-San? Are you ready to go?” A young girl in a long, fancy blue winter coat, white scarf, and black gloves entered the room cradling a blond-haired doll in her arms. Hanoa sighed and smiled as she got up from her bed. “Yes, Yuki-Chan. I’m sorry, I'm just tired. I just needed to lay down for a few minutes.” Hanoa apologized. “It’s alright.” Yuki answered. “Everyone else is taking forever to get ready, anyway.” “Do you need help?” “Yes, please, Nee-San.” Hanoa knelt to help her sister. She wrapped the long scarf around Yuki’s mouth and nose, making sure that one loose end was draped over the front of her left shoulder and that the other end trailed behind her back, just the way the second-grader liked it. She tenderly pulled the young girl’s hood over her face as far as it would go. The only thing visible was Yuki’s pale, emotionless blue eyes.
“Okay, is that good?” Hanoa asked as she straitened the large bow that decorated the front of her sister’s coat. “Yes, big sister. Thank you. Are you okay? You look upset about something.” Yuki inquired. “Oh, I’m just thinking about my friends, that’s all, Yuki-Chan.” Hanoa answered. “Don’t worry. If they run into any trouble, it’s not like we won’t know about it. Well, I guess that most of us will be looking into that thing that’s been sighted in the low-income sector of the city but, otherwise, we’ll be spread out everywhere, so someone will probably be pretty close to them if intervention is needed.” Yuki observed.
Hanoa stood up and patted Yuki on the head. “I guess you’re right, Yuki-Chan. Worrying about it isn’t going to do anything, is it? Besides, I have a job to do that’s more important, so I can’t be getting held back by anything else right now.” Kobi-Chan, dressed in a cropped sailor uniform in shades of pink and white, Stuck her head in the door. “Not to be a jerk, but are you ready to go yet, Hanoa-Chan? Rukia is getting all impatient and bent out of shape.” Hanoa rolled her eyes as she pulled her own hood up over her face as far as it could go. “Yeah. Let’s head out, girls!”
* * *
“Wow that was really fun!” Yugi commented as the group of five walked along. “Yes! I like Hanoa’s family. Her little sisters are fun to be around, and they’re really cute, too!” Bakura added. “Well, you only think that because you had the two of the youngest ones fawning over you when they came home! That stupid bastard Umi is insane! She bashed me over the head with a spoon!” Jonouchi sulked, pointing at a Band-Aid on his forehead. “Will you quit whining already? Snapped Anzu. “It’s your own fault, you know! You could have shut up, you know, but nooooo! You had to keep running your mouth like an idiot! You and Umi are exactly alike; you both need to be right about everything, and think screeching in each other’s faces is a good way to get people to listen to you!”
When they were helping Hanoa and her siblings make dinner, Jonouchi had accidentally set the lettuce right next to the stove and it had caught on fire. Umi had promptly started mocking him, which led to a screaming match, which resulted in Umi violently bashing Jonouchi over the head with a metal spoon. Anzu and Hanoa had had to intervene, and Kiro had almost started another fight when he started laughing and taunting Jonouchi about getting beat up by a girl.
“Yeah, I’m going to have to side with Anzu on this one.” Honda admitted.
“You two getting together in the same room is like pouring accelerant on a fire. Let’s hope that we don’t see much more of Umi if we go over there again, or Hanoa might want to kick us out.” “Hey! I thought we were pals! Whose side are you on?” “Hey, guys? I don’t want to kill your fun, but it’s past ten. Keep it down!” Yugi cut in. “Yeah. We’re on the not-so-good side of town, so I don’t really think we should draw too much attention to ourselves.” Bakura agreed.
“Ummm….What way are we supposed to go?” asked Honda, confused. This side of Domino City was basically nothing but a maze of walled alleys with crude homes and shady looking businesses, and the group had just come to a crossroads. “Uhh…!” Everyone sweated nervously. “Let’s keep going forward?” Suggested Honda. Lacking a better idea, the group set off again, only to end up circling right back to the same place.
“Gah!” Moaned Jonouchi. “Why didn’t we leave Hanoa’s house earlier? We’re going to be up all night going around in circles!" A few feet away, something began rustling and Yugi felt his hair stand up. He had a feeling that someone or something was watching them from back in the shadows.
“Okay, what do we do now?” “Enni-minni-miny-moe?” “Oh, great! That’s SURE to help us make a smart decision!” “Why don’t we go right? I read somewhere that you should always go right when you’re lost.” The rustling grew louder and closer, and a feeling of urgent panic rose in Yugi’s chest. “Hey, guys! Guys!” Everyone froze, listening to the sound. Slowly, they all turned toward the noises.
“H-h-hey, wha-what is that?” Jonouchi whimpered. “I-I don’t know.” Honda replied, devoid of his usual sarcasm. As the noises got closer, the group could hear low growls and the things footsteps. Whatever it was, it sounded big and heavy, and it was stalking right towards them! “I think we need to get out of here.” Anzu whispered. A pair of angry, red eyes appeared behind them “Now!”
They all shot off running; Jonouchi, Honda, and Bakura ran to the left, and Anzu and Yugi ran to the right. “Turn! Confuse it!” They slid around a corner. They could hear snarling and thumping right behind them; the thing had picked up their trail! “Are you guys okay?” Jonouchi yelled from the other side of the wall. “It’s after us!” “Oh, shit!” Jonouchi cursed. Separated by the giant, barbed wire topped wall, there was nothing he could do for his friends. They didn’t even have a clue what was after them! “Just keep moving, you two, okay?” He screamed as he ran even faster. “As soon as there’s a turn, I’ll head over your way!” Before long, though, Yugi and Anzu hit a dead end.
Other than discarded trash, all there was surrounding them was solid, brick walls. There were no fire escapes or buildings to climb. “Up here!” Anzu jumped atop a large dumpster and pulled Yugi up beside her. Then, without warning the THING was there! Yugi jumped protectively in front of Anzu, but he know it wouldn’t do any good. In the dark, he couldn’t see well, but he knew they were dead meat.
The creature reminded them of a werewolf, but it was so skinny that the shapes of its bones were visible. It had giant, razor sharp teach and claws, and its mouth was as big as a car tire! Its head just barely reached the top of the dumpster but, with its big, bowed legs, it was likely that it could jump very high. As they slowly got a better look at it, they were even more scared and horrified. It was… well, it didn’t quite look entirely alive. There were patches of dark fur across its body but, eerily enough, the thing’s skin looked monochrome and metallic. Actually, its growls sounded a bit uniform, as well. Was this some sort of machine?
The thing reared up on its legs and let out a ferocious snarl. It towered nearly three feet above them. Anzu and Yugi grabbed onto each other and screamed in fear as the creature lunged down at them.
Out of nowhere, a pink and white blur appeared, kicking the monster in the face and sending it flying away from them. “What?!” The blur was most likely a person, but they moved too fast for the two to make out any features. There was a metallic flash as the person jumped around dodging the creature’s caws and landing blows on it. Out of nowhere, a red blur, holding what looked to be a stick, joined in. The monster howled in pain and anger. Suddenly, without warning, it turned and hurtled away down the alley. The two blurs jumped upwards onto the wall and were soon out of sight. The two friends sat still for a moment.
“You okay, Anzu?” “Y-yeah. I think so. What about you?” “I’m good.” Suddenly, they were aware of the fact that they were still holding each other. “H-h-hey!” Anzu sputtered, jumping back as if she had touched fire. “Get your hands off of me!” Yugi blushed a fierce red. “What? You’re the one who grabbed me!” “Whatever! What do you think that was?” Anzu asked. “I…don’t know.” “Me either.” Anzu paused, cocking her head to one side as she listened. “You hear that? It sounds like it’s fighting farther off.” Yugi listened. “I do. Please do not tell me that you are thinking what I think that you are thinking!” Anzu sat down and slid off the dumpster. “Come on! I just want to get a better look so I can figure out what that thing is. I’ll go by myself if you’re too scared!” She took off. “Anzu! Wait for me! Don’t leave me behind!” Yugi chased after her.
Creeping up on the noises, the two hid behind a wall. A large shadow fell over them. They looked at each other. It was here! Suddenly, the thing let out a down right awful shriek of pure pain that made their skin crawl. It sounded like death! “Hey! There they are!” Jonouchi yelled as the other three boys ran up behind them. “Yugi! Anzu! Are you okay?” “Thank god you’re alright!” “You two scared the-what the HELL is that!” Jonouchi froze. He had unintentionally caught a glimpse of the monster’s horrible demise.
The creature thrashed about wildly as it screamed. The surface of its skin bubbled in a grotesque way, and oozed a disgusting looking, noxious liquid. Suddenly, it burst, throwing metallic dust and goo everywhere.
“Eww!” Anzu shrieked in disgust. “What happened?” Jonouchi asked Yugi. “We were cornered by that thing.” He explained. “It cornered us and nearly attacked us, but then something attacked it! I think it was two people. They chased it off, and then we chased them. We followed it and found this.” “Hey, look!” Honda yelled.
Two figures, one wearing a white cape and another draped in a black cloak that touched the ground, were hunched over the remains of their attacker. “Hey! You!” The figures shot off at an unnatural speed. “Hey! Stop!” Honda took off running. “You check out that mess!” He called back over his shoulder. “I’ll try to catch them!” “Be careful, Honda! We have no clue who they are or what they did to this thing!” Anzu yelled back in warning. “Come on, let’s go take a look. There’s nothing over there now.” Jonouchi lead the way.
They hesitantly approached the puddle of goo. There was no sign of what it had once been, except for a few small tuffs of fur. “Hey, guys, be careful.” Bakura said in a low voice. “There could be more of those things around here, if it was actually an animal.” Anzu shivered. “Do not ever mention that again. I do not want to think about it!” Jonouchi poked at the silver ooze with a stick.” “Hey, careful!” Yugi warned. “That could be poisonous!” Anzu touched the powered substance. “I have no clue what this is. It looks like chalk powder or something, but it’s…I don’t know how to describe it. It’s powdered, but it’s also… kind of oily, I guess?” Jonouchi threw his stick down in disgust.
“I don’t get this!” He said angrily. I have never seen anything like this before! It doesn’t look like any metal I know. I don’t think that it’s a chemical, because I’ve never seen something similar to this in science class.” “So, Mr. Don’t-know-what-a-bacteria-cell-is is now a science expert?” Anzu joked dryly. “Damit, Anzu!” Jonouchi punched his fist into the asphalt. “Sorry. It’s just…does this make any sense at all? Forget reincarnation, evil spirits, and mind-control! We were just attacked, for no reason, in the middle of OUR city, by something that looked like it could have come straight out of an urban legend! Not only that, I have no way to rationalize it or explain it!” Everyone fell silent.
Yugi could understand his friend’s frustration. They’d been through worse, including trips through alternate histories and possession by evil beings, but this was different. Even though they hadn’t really understood back then, they had sort-of known why stuff would happen to them. His other self was actually a real person, who needed to find his memories and finally defeat the darkness that wanted to devour the whole world. Even if they had only had a minimal understanding of what was happening, they sort of just expected unnatural things to happen. It had just become a part of their daily life. But this…thing…that had attacked them was very much unexplained. Yugi supposed that fighting evil with an ancient spirit had blinded them to the fact that what they experienced wasn’t supposed to happen, This was a grim reminder of how dangerous the unknown really was.
“I have an idea of where it could have come from.” Bakura spoke up suddenly. “Maybe it was some sort of mutant animal experiment. Remember that company, what was it called…? Maru-Tech? They built a big laboratory facility in the warehouse district over the summer? Something could have gotten loose from a research project.” Yugi shook his head. “I don’t think so. We got a look at that thing, and it didn’t really look like an animal. Well…it did, but it looked more like a machine or a robot shaped like an animal.” Honda jogged up beside them. “Honda! Did you catch them?”
“No. I lost them. It’s strange, though. It’s almost like they were teasing me by making me chase them. From what I could tell, I think they may have been girls, but I’m not sure. I didn’t see their faces.” Silence. “Hey,” Bakura broke the calm.
“Maybe I’m wrong, but didn’t one of them look sort of familiar? I mean…I didn’t really see them, but I think I saw pink hair, and it reminded me of someone.” “Rukia-Chan?” Anzu asked in shock. “Hanoa’s sister? Why the heck would she be out here, and what’s she got to do with any of this?”
They all sat around staring at the puddle. For some reason, a chill went up all their spins. “Hey, I don’t know about you all, but I think we should go home,” Yugi finally said. “Now.”

* * *
Three figures with long hair streaming in the night air stood atop an abandoned apartment building, looking down at the group of five. “Well that sure could have gone better!” scoffed the one in the black cloak as it sat on the edge of the building with it's feet dangling over the side. “I know.” Replied the white-clad one, as it crouched next to the black-clad figure and wrapped its arms around itself. "I didn’t think that THEY of all people would wander right into the battlefield just as we were about to kill it!” “Yes,” said the third as it stood with crossed arms. “They are very unlucky. And the fools should not have been there in the first place!” The third figure’s purple long coat snapped in the wind. “We spent half a week planning how to catch and terminate that thing before it mauled anyone else, and they nearly ruined it! We would have killed it without any struggle or injuries if it had not caught their scent and broke away!”
“By the way,” The black figure asked the white one “How are your injuries? Not that it matters, because you’re still alive, but it did get your arm pretty good. ““Eh.” The white one replied casually. “It could be better, but I’m still kickin’.”
“Not to be a bother,” Informed the third, “but we should get going. We have to finish patrolling, and they might catch us if we do not leave before them.” “Yeah, you’re right.” Said the white one, standing up along with the other two. “Let’s go.” In a flash, they were gone.

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