Chapter 8:

The morning after the night from hell

The Aftermath of the Magic Apocalypse


“Sis, you awake yet?”

“Uh..just 5 more minutes Mom...zzz”

*whack*

“Ouch, why did you hit me?” as I jolt awake in response after getting clobbered by the wooden staff my brother holds in his hands. “Damn it, this is going to leave a mark for a while.”

“You can just use a little foundation to cover it up. And you are going to be late as is” Mahad looks at me with worried concern on his face.

I check the time. It’s half-past eight.

“Meh, I’ll just let the manager know I’m taking off today. There is a reason we have sick days. Speaking of late, how come you aren’t at your apprenticeship?” You are even dressed for it.

“I went there this morning and told the master I would report in for the afternoon. I told him of your..ordeal, how you screamed in the middle of the night and needed tending to which prevented me from being tip top shape.” He gives me a mischievous grin.

“I don’t know if I should be pissed or impressed. You didn’t tell him what actually happened last night, right?” I ask in a menacing tone.

“Sis, it was you who told me the most convincing lies are those mixed with truth. You did scream and I came in here last night worried about you ready to fight off whatever it was. How was I supposed to know you invited company?” he mischievous grin grows even wider.

“You know damn well I didn’t!” I take a deep breath to get the irritation out of my system. “It’s kinda scary our visitor stalked me home so thanks for coming to my rescue” I say in a more somber tone.

“Of course sis, but the way you handled him last night, I felt like I didn’t do anything. Maybe I even got in the way of what was supposed to happen” as Mahad breaks into a laugh

“Haha, very funny. Let me be serious for a moment, he scared the shit out of me last night. But when you intervened to protect me and he looked ready to fight, I remembered how badly he defeated those raiders, and it scared me of what he could do if he treated you as an enemy--- Before I realized it, my body moved on its own, and I ended up confronting our visitor instead. No matter how much I tease you and you tease me, you are my only family and I don’t want to lose you too.”

“Well Sis, in the spirit of you being serious, I need to commend your effort. I can’t believe when you rushed him, you just covered his mouth and told him to just shut up. I was shocked and I’m sure our new addition was probably more shocked.”

“I think it helped that after he calmed down, his hunger got the better of him. Then when he saw you offering him food, he started drooling so he wasn’t hostile to us anymore. He certainly chowed down and then went to sleep. Is he still asleep?”

“Yeah, but if his appetite from last night is normal, we’ll have to buy twice as much food to accommodate. I’m hoping you have a plan to deal with him. Speaking of which, what is his name?”

“He doesn’t have a name. And I need to talk to Kaiba Corporation about how we handle his transport to bring him over. If we try using force to subdue him, it will be messy, so we need to handle this delicately.”

“Sis, shouldn’t you give him a name? I don’t think its right for anyone to not have an identity.”

“I’m not the one it’s up to determine his name. If I had to guess, more than likely he is property or a runaway of some research group, though I doubt it’s Kaiba Corporation.”

“Sis, I know what I saw last night. He wouldn’t have gone from hostile to relaxed that fast if he didn’t trust you. Whatever happened between you two, I think he will accept whatever name you decide for him...oh ho, don’t tell me you got intimate with him?”

Of course Mahad would notice my flushed face as I recalled the moment I had my first kiss.

I let out a sigh, “He kissed me...but he doesn’t know what the hell a kiss is. It can’t be intimacy if you aren’t aware of it. The worst part is I have to report that embarrassing moment to see if other researchers might know and get to the bottom of it. I’m going to be the subject of gossip for a while and you can bet my colleagues are going to laugh at my expense. Why does this shit have to happen to me?” I groan in resignation

Mahad gives me a look of pity. “Well sis, if it is any consolation, that situation sounds a lot better than if he was intentionally aware of taking advantage of you. I’m sure your colleagues will lose interest once some new gossip comes up-”

I glare at Mahad “Listen well brother, I can’t speak for guys, but for many of us girls, our first kiss is something we consider a special moment. And mine...is forever ruined because it was taken from me by some dumb mutt who doesn’t understand what a kiss means.”

Mahad looks troubled. Maybe I went too far in lashing out on him, but at least he clearly understands my frustration. He holds his staff against the floor, bringing one hand to his chin. “Well Sis, I don’t know what to say. I get you are bothered by it, but it’s already over and done with. Would you really have preferred your first kiss from a stranger who actually knows what a kiss was and potentially lead you on? You sure the kiss was not one of those binding pacts you told me about between a magic user and a beast-warrior?”

I let out a sigh. I guess the benefit of being forced to be rationale is its easier to set aside feelings when necessary. “You are right, I’m just mad and I know I can’t do anything about it. I could erase my memory, but that won’t undue what was done. As far as I know, the binding ritual doesn’t work if the contractor can’t use magic and I don’t feel any different since the kiss. I can’t say I know what he is thinking or even say I understand his capabilities other than what I saw last night. Though I am grateful he saved my life. Anyway, I’m up now. So leave and I can get dressed.” as I shoo him out with my hand.

“I thought you were calling out sick?” as Mahad gives me a perplexed stare.

“I still have to seem somewhat presentable when I talk to my boss and grandpa, plus I need to visit Hans in the medical ward to thank him, he’s the reason I’m A-ok all things considered.”

“I see. In that case, I’ll make something special for him that you can give him to thank him. They say home made stuff is the best to give to someone recovering out of the hospital and your cooking could end up putting him back-”

“Oh shut up!” as I throw a pillow at Mahad’s face.

Mahad leaves with a snicker, closing the door.

“Thank you” I say as if an afterthought. I should be grateful to him. I can’t deny I just don’t have his prowess when it comes to making meals nor the desire to get that good at it. We have technology that can make edible food, so there isn’t really a need to get that good.

I go to the bathroom to take a quick morning shower and freshen up. After applying a bit of light make-up, primarily to cover up the blemish I just got as a wake-up call, I go to my wardrobe and put on my business clothes. It’s a good thing I listened to grandpas’s advice to have a couple of sets of clothes. Imagine wearing a blood-stained suit to the workplace, even if it is a lab, that gossip would probably be more viral than the kiss.

I head downstairs and see our sleeping visitor is laying comfortably on the floor. I guess he wasn’t lying about not having a home if he can sleep so soundly on the hard-tiled floor. Jet Black fur with streaks of blue along the barbs on its back. The fur is spiky to the touch although the area of its torso and arms appears to peach colored skin that look like scales, even though touching it feels like flesh. Looking at it’s sleeping so peacefully, if someone told me this guy could potentially be the most dangerous beast-warrior ever produced, I would look at them if they were insane.

Except I had seen it in action myself and I’m the one who has to report this to others since I’m the only one aside the raiders who actually witnessed its capabilities. I guess I should be grateful I let the cop review my memories since her report will corroborate what I saw.

“Sis, hurry up and eat. If he wakes up before you finish eating, you may not get to have breakfast” Mahad says in a whispering tone.

As I eat the breakfast Mahad made, I think about what to call him. I can’t argue not having an identity is acceptable. Calling him “Beast” would be convenient, but if Kaiba Corporation ends up holding on to him or I even have to work as part of the team studying him, that name will make it easy to see him as nothing more than a test subject.

“Don’t force yourself sis” Mahad says to me.

“Huh?” I blink as I’m trying to figure out what he is referring to.

“You only have the lost in thought look when you are thinking on really important topics. I’m guessing you decided to try and figure out a name. I’m sure when the time is right, you will figure out a name for him.” he says with a beaming smile. “It took me a while to name Milky. Can you believe it was after sipping her milk for the 3rd day that Milky is what came to mind to name her? Kinda embarrassing, but she likes the name at least.” as he gives a light chuckle.

“Thanks Mahad. I guess I won’t worry about it too much. I will go visit Hans to check on him and then report to my boss on what to do with our guest. Can you keep an eye on him?”

“Sure can. But shouldn’t you report in first?”

“I’d like to take a little time to think about what to say to both Grandpa and my boss, so I’ll visit Hans first before reporting in. I’m pretty sure they are both aware of the incident so being a little late to report won’t hurt me...hopefully.”

“Suit yourself. Here, take this with you to Hans. It should help him with energy recovery.” Mahad hands me a container wrapped in cloth.

“Thanks Mahad. Well, I’m off.” as I walk out of our house

“Be safe sis.”Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

Inside the settlement’s medical ward, I give my credentials to the receptionist. I’m led down a corridor, where I pass a few rejuvenation chambers. I’d led to a room where on the other side is Hans.

“Miss, is everything okay?” asks the receptionist. Seeing the worried look on her face, I must be more nervous than I thought.

“Ah, yes, just mentally preparing myself.” as I force myself to smile.

“If you are worried about the patient, he has made a complete recovery. He is actually expected to be discharged after we run some final diagnostics to make sure we didn’t overlook anything. He might still be sleeping, but it is fine to go in.” the receptionist says with a smile, trying to reassure me there is no issue.

I step forward and door slides apart vertically to allow me into the room. Laying in a bed is Hans who appears to be sleeping peacefully. I would not have guessed he was practically at death’s door just last night if I hadn't actually been the one to cause him to be here today. As I approach, Hans opens his eyes and turns to face me. I freeze momentarily but force myself to step forward.

“Hi Hans, how are you feeling?”

“Hi Mana, are you alright? Did you suffer any serious injuries?” Hans asks scanning me up and down.

Seeing him worried about me, I let out a big smile and say “Nope, a certain security agent did a fantastic job keeping me safe from our attackers yesterday. I can’t thank you enough for putting your life on the line, and I’m sorry I put you in such grave danger for my selfish reasons. It’s not much, but to express my appreciation, my brother made this for you” as I hand over the wrapped container with both hands and bow my head in apology.

Hans lets out a boisterous laugh. “Well, I can’t say I would want a repeat of yesterday, but I’m sure you had your reasons for doing what you did, am I right? And hey, we’re both still alive and in one piece. When my colleagues hear of what happened, I’ll be the talk of the agents for a while. It’s pretty rare for a single agent to endure against a full raider assault team and walk away in one piece. In this line of work, the fact is today could very well be our last day.”

"heh, still I wasn't aware of the raider code of non-aggression if we gave them what we wanted-"

Hans gently pats my head and strokes my hair and says, “I’m told you helped save my life since I got shot with a poison bullet, thanks for getting the first aid kit and saving me kiddo. Because of you, I can go back to work tomorrow instead of being confined to bedrest had that bullet remained lodged in me until I got here, or even dead.”

“Well, it was my fault you got shot in the first-”

Hans takes his hand off my head and gives me a stern look “It wasn’t your fault. I have to admit, trying to hire the raiders to work for Kaiba wasn’t a bad strategy. Sure it is naive, and I have no idea if that actually would have worked, but it didn’t hurt to ask. Technically, they violated the code they are supposed to abide by because we didn’t fight back, you just attempted to negotiate. I can’t rule out that they might have killed us even if you did give them what they wanted, which I will be reporting once I’m cleared to leave this place.” Hans softens his stern look after seeing that I look less anxious

“Thanks Hans” as I let out a smile and wipe my eyes for what I feel are tears. “I’m glad you are back to 100 percent”

“You got to hand it to those rejuvenation chambers, put someone bruised and battered in a few hours in whatever that culture bath is made of and they are practically good as new. And thanks for this. This is pretty good. Tell your brother I loved it. I’m sure you have work to do. The big conference is just days away.” Watching Hans practically inhale the pastry puffs my brother made like he hasn’t eaten is kind of amusing.

“Yeah, I need to report in. I’m taking the day off for the most part, but I still need to explain developments.”

I leave the room and as I am lost in thought on explaining the new creature to the company and recommending a plan of taking him in

“Mana?”

I turn towards the source of the voice.

“Ken? What are you doing here?”

Standing at the entrance of the medical ward is Ken, who looks like he ran straight here from the compound headquarters.
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