Freedom

Chapter 3

It took Tsukiko several minutes to even realise what had just happened. It took her even longer to realise that she hadn’t hallucinated, that she really had seen black wings come out of the woman’s back. The woman who was still leaning over her and looking at her lips.

It was that last bit that finally forced Tsukiko to respond to all that had happened to her. She said, “I’m sorry, could you explain what you meant by that, miss?” while moving to the side, desperately trying to get out from between the wall and the woman.

With a smirk on her face that said that she knew what Tsukiko was doing, the woman stepped back and said, “Well, we could start with how I’m Yahan, not miss.”

Blushing, Tsukiko started to stammer again before forcing herself to stop. “I’m sorry, Yahan-san. I should have introduced myself to you. My name is-”

“Tsukiko Mizushima, yeah I know,” Yahan said with a lazy smile.

Uncertain of how to proceed when she couldn’t follow her mother’s guidelines, and also beginning to wonder of the woman before her might be a stalker of some sort, Tsukiko tried to quickly get away from her. “Yes well, this had certainly been an interesting night, but I really do need to be getting home.”

“So that you can still be Okaa-sama’s good little girl.” At Tsukiko’s shocked gasp, Yahan’s smile grew even bigger. But when she noticed the fear that was growing in her Ashikabi’s eyes, she toned it down and said softly, “Look, I get that you need to be home by a very specific time, and I promise you that I’ll make sure that you get home on time. Trust me, I can get you there a lot faster than any train could, so just talk with me for a little bit, okay?” Looking around and seeming to notice that they were in an alley all of a sudden, Yahan reached forward to take Tsukiko’s arm, saying, “Why don’t we go somewhere a bit more pleasant?”

In a surprisingly short amount of time, the two girls wound up in a park. Surprised, Tsukiko mentioned, “I didn’t know a park like this was here.”

“How could you? It’s not like you’re allowed to enjoy the city,” Yahan stated.

Tsukiko looked lost for words for a moment, but, seeming to realise that the tall ebony-haired woman was right, simply kept quiet as she was led to a bench.

Yahan finally broke the silence after she had begun lounging on the bench. “Why don’t you just say what’s on your mind already?”

Tsukiko struggled for a moment, trying to figure out what the strange woman meant, but finally decided that she wouldn’t get anything by staying quiet. Despite that, she couldn’t bring herself to completely abandon her manners, deciding to quietly say, “Yahan-san, I do appreciate your helping me earlier, but I don’t understand what you were saying earlier.”

“Ah, you mean about the whole Sekirei Plan thing, right?” Yahan asked lazily. “Well, technically that person is supposed to explain it to you, but since it seems like he has better things to do tonight, I guess I’ll just have to explain it to you.”

Sitting up slightly, Yahan began to explain. “Basically, I’m a Sekirei. We look basically the same as humans but we are much stronger and have different abilities that humans can’t use. We’re basically in this big last man standing tournament where only the winner will get to stay with their Ashikabi, which is a human that we can take as our partner and master. By the way, if you haven’t figured it out yet, you’re mine.”

Staring at the woman in front of her, Tsukiko finally made her decision about the night’s events: she wasn’t crazy but this woman certainly was. Just as she began to position herself so that she’d be able to run away from this woman quickly once she was standing. Sensing her Ashikabi’s intentions, Yahan sighed and said, “It seems that we’ll have to do a bit of show and tell so that you’ll understand,” and grabbed Tsukiko’s arm. “Remember not to let go of me.

The next thing she knew, Tsukiko was in a world where she couldn’t see anything. Wondering if she was dead or having a nightmare, she began to struggle only to be stopped by a voice that was quickly becoming familiar to her. “Hey, hey, hey. Calm down, Tsukiko-sama, you’re fine. Damn, I guess I should have realised that you’d panic when you couldn’t see. But look, just calm down, I’m right here with you okay. See, you can feel me holding your arm, right?”

“Yes,” Tsukiko finally whispered shakily, though she quickly latched on the Yahan’s arm with her other hand, uncertain of how she’d handle it if she was separated from the only person she knew for certain was with her in this strange world.

Knowing that Tsukiko couldn’t see her, Yahan let her smile spread across her face at her Ashikabi already relying on her, even if it was because she had no other choice. “Okay, so we’re going to start walking now. Don’t let go of me and you’ll be fine, kay?”

Hearing her Ashikabi’s agreement, Yahan began to walk forward, towing her Ashikabi along behind her. Finally reaching the door that led to the shadow she wanted, Yahan allowed herself to be pulled from the shadow world, along with Tsukiko.

Slightly surprised when her Ashikabi didn’t immediately move away from her, she looked down to realise that Tsukiko was probably trying to let her eyes adjust to suddenly being able to see again. Once Tsukiko’s eyes had adjusted though, the girl couldn’t help but cry out and press closer to the woman who just moments ago, she had been certain was insane for seeming to believe that she was some kind of supernatural creature.

But what other explanation was there for the fact that they were suddenly at the top of a twenty story building? And one that Tsukiko could see was a good few miles from the park they had been in at that.

As she realised that there was no way any human could possibly travel so far so quickly, Tsukiko hesitantly turned to the woman standing beside her and shakily asked, “Um, about that stuff you were saying earlier, I don’t suppose you could repeat it?”

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