Blue Mist Chronicles: Light and Fire

Original story written by: Robert Paul Alexander page (Chino Raven Star)

Edited/re-written version by co-creator: Mark Russell Downing (RussXavier)

Note: People in this story speak Japanese. Due to the fact that not everyone out there knows and/or understands the Japanese language we, the writers, have invented an extremely 'easy-to-understand' method of using the Japanese language. Basically whenever some one 'speaks' Japanese their words will be in closed in double quotation marks. Thus when a character's words are enclosed ""as such"" they are speaking Japanese, but people speaking English are enclosed "normally".

-Chapter 1-A Fresh Start-

-March 25th, 1642 A.B.M-

The sun was shinning, the birds were chirping, crowds were bustling, and students dressed in different uniform styles headed off to their different schools. This was a normal morning in a new country for two young men. The two walked down the city's sidewalk to their new school, both wearing navy blue gold-buttoned school uniforms; both of their uniforms matched their respective owner's style.

"Woo-hoo!" Shouted the blonde headed teen, "Today is the start of our new lives here in Japan!" He finished throwing a fist dramatically into the air only to get slapped on the back of his head by his slightly taller friend. Even With all of this action the two still managed to turn a corner.

"Yeah Chino, this is great! We're here in Japan because you had to blowup a part of our old school!" said the other teen viciously.

"Hey, first off it was one class room and you're the one who set it on fire!" replied the blonde headed Chino while rubbing the back of his head. "I was the one who tried to put it out!" He finished with a slight mumble. Chino's hair was long and reached a few inches past the level of his chin. He wore the same school uniform his friend did, but he had his jacket unbuttoned all of the way to reveal a dark red shirt. His two inches taller, silver haired friend's was a little sloppier with the knees of his pants cut out.

"Yeah, by throwing petrol on it!" said Chino's silver headed friend; his voice was thick with sarcasm.

"Yeah but...I uhh...but...Oh just shut up Russ!" Chino pouted and crossed his arms as they crossed the road at an intersection to get to their new school. A ten-foot high decorative, pale tan colored brick wall surrounded the school campus. The campus itself held three buildings that were each three stories tall. One was the main building that had a giant clock above the tall entrance doors and many windows. The second building was off to the main building's left and was connected to it by a covered walkway. The third building was the gym that had a football/soccer field surrounded by a running track and bleachers on both sides behind it.

"Yeah, yeah come on. I got my first class in seven minutes." Russ said. Russ' silver bangs were parted in the middle and reached down past his ears while the rest of his silver hair reached down to his shoulders. His uniform's jacket was buttoned up all of the way so that the collar of the jacket was around Russ' neck, but the jacket's long sleeves had been cut off and the sleeves of a black T-shirt emerged from the holes. The two American-bred friends then walked through the school's gates and past a plaque that read: 'Welcome to Hirogashima High School for the Gifted' to begin their school day. A stone path lead forward from the school's gates, circled around a large fountain on both sides, and then continued forward to the main entrance. On both sides of the paths students hung out, walked around the schoolyard, and lingered beneath some of the school's many cherry blossom trees.

-A few minutes later-

Chino walked down one of the school's many halls looking for his first class. He roamed around confused for a couple minutes until he came upon a door with the number 84 on it. He pulled a sheet of paper out of his pants pocket and looked at it. After a short examination of his class schedule he then looked back up at the door. This was his first period classroom. Chino took a deep breath and went to open the door, but the door quickly swung open and smacked Chino in the face.

""Oh my god! I am SO sorry! Here, let me help you up,"" said a worried young woman as she held out her hand to help Chino up.

"No, don't worry I'm..." by this moment Chino had looked up to see the rather cute face of his assailant and realize that he was still speaking English. ""...fine..."" he finished in the native language.

""Oh, good. I'm such a klutz sometimes,"" said the forest green haired girl with a giggle, her hand still extended. It took Chino a few seconds, and a few blinks of his blue eyes until he realized this and took her hand.

""Oh, I'm sorry."" Chino reached up and grabbed her hand, ""Thanks."" he said as she helped him up.

""No problem. My name is Saria Misonay."" Saria released his hand; she wore the girl's school uniform, which was a dark blue skirt with a matching shirt. A red ascot was loosely tied around her neck; her long forest green hair was pulled up into a ponytail her bangs short yet cute. ""And you are?"" she continued, a look of curiosity in her dark emerald eyes.

""Oh, I'm Chino Raven Star,"" Chino bowed slightly, ""It's nice to meet you Misonay-chan."" he said when he stood back up.

""It's nice to meet you too Star-san."" Saria replied giving her head a slight nod.

""This is Chemistry class A, isn't it?"" Chino asked.

""Yes it is, sorry for the rude welcome,"" said Saria smiling embarrassedly. Chino laughed at this.

""No, trust me, I've had worse."" he replied with a slight grin. Saria couldn't tell if he was being serious.

-Twenty minutes after Chino's run in with Saria-

""Mr. XAVIER, GET UP NOW!"" yelled a frustrated ebony haired woman. Russ was jolted from his sleep as his World History teacher pounded on his desk. Russ sat back, looked up at the black dress wearing Ms. Miho, looked around the classroom at all the other students, and then looked back up at his black headed teacher and said in a groggy voice: ""What? Was I snoring?"" The class laughed at his stupid comment and extremely sloppy Japanese.

"No, Mr. Xavier, you were sleep chanting a Buddhist prayer"

""Really?"" replied Russ still tired. Ms. Miho crossed her arms. "Wait, you're speaking English!"

"Of course I am, you're not too bright are you?"

"Only when I'm not using my thinking dome!" Russ said sarcastically.

"How about you just shut up," said Ms. Miho in an agitated voice, "Do you find my class boring Mr. Xavier?"

"Yes Ms. Miho." Ms. Miho smacked Russ across the back of his head with her ruler for his smart-ass comment.

"Maybe it wouldn't be so boring if you'd pay attention!" she warned while straightening her serious styled black framed glasses over her dark blue eyes.

"Yes ma'am." Russ said with a sigh; his head hurt.

""Anyways, as I was saying class."" Ms. Miho continued, switching back to Japanese, as she walked back to her desk. Russ didn't hear what came after due to the fact that he was already on his way back to dream land. He almost completed the trip when someone tapped him on the shoulder, waking him back up.

"Hey, Xavier kid." said the blonde headed girl whom sat behind him.

"What?" Russ asked as he turned in his seat slightly to face the girl, suprised that he once again heard his native language.

"You're from the U.S. right?" she asked. Russ cocked an eyebrow causing his crimson eyes to have that: 'what does it matter to you' look.

"Yeah?" Russ replied. He didn't want to talk he wanted to sleep.

"Cool, me too... well actually I moved here when I was five with mom."

"Really?" he replied. Russ now found interest in this shoulder length blonde hair and blue eyes having girl. Not because she was pretty, no, it was because of the way she used the title: "mom" in her previous sentence.

"My name's Samantha Miho, and you?" she asked with a smile.

"You're the teacher's daughter?" he questioned in a whisper like the two had been doing their entire conversation.

"Uhh yeah. Whats it matter?" Samantha asked raising an eyebrow like Russ had done earlier. "Are you gonna' tell me your name or what?" Russ stared at her blankly for a minute and then replied: "Russ E. Xavier." Samantha leaned on her hand. "What, is your middle name a secret?"

"No, I just don't have one. I add the 'E' in there cause I think it sounds cool." he replied looking out the window that sat next to his desk.

"To be honest it sounds kinda'-" Samantha flashed her eyes to the front of the classroom and quickly sat back in her seat and faced forward.

"What?" Russ looked at her confused until he heard a tapping sound coming from behind him.

""Mr. Xavier, I'll be seeing you after class!"" said Ms. Miho who was tapping her ruler on his desk.

"Dammit', I hope Chino is having as great of a day as I am..." Russ sighed right before Ms. Miho slapped him on the head again. Russ groaned right before the bell rang.

-Lunchtime in the school cafeteria-

""So you are from the states?"" asked Saria as she sat her lunch tray down in front of Chino who had already taken a seat at one of the many round tables that the cafeteria had.

""Yeah, it's great there, but I like it here a lot more,"" Chino said as he grabbed an apple from his tray, ""Better fruit!"" he said kidding after he ate a bite of it.

""Do you know anyone here?"" Saria asked as she opened a bottle of diet soda.

""Only my best friend Russ,"" Said Chino after taking another bite of his apple, ""We both moved here together.""

""So where do you live?"" Saria asked after taking a sip of her soda. Chino didn't reply. ""Star-san?"" She asked wondering if he hadn't heard her. Chino held his head low. Suddenly Saria got it. ""Ya' left in a hurry didn't you?"" Saria said with a smirk on her face.

""Yeah..."" Chino replied somberly.

""And you forgot to fill out a dorm request sheet too, am I right?"" at this Chino dropped his head onto the table, barely missing his lunch tray. ""Well if it's ok with you and your friend, you two can move in with me."" she finished with a yawn and then stretched. Chino looked at her surprised. She acted as if she had just asked him to borrow a dollar.

""What? No, no, no. We couldn't do that."" Chino said as Russ walked up.

"We couldn't do what?" Russ asked as he looked from Chino to Saria while setting his tray down. He barely understood the language and had been lucky enough to learn the basics. "And who is this?"

""This is Misonay-chan."" Chino said.

"What?" Russ asked. He didn't exactly 'catch' what Chino had said.

"I said this is Saria, god, brush up on your Japanese! And she just offered us a place to stay." Chino said coming out of his seat slightly. Russ slapped Chino then grabbed him by his jacket's collar.

"What the hell is wrong with you!?" Russ yelled in his face, "Why'd you say no? I don't want to sleep under a bridge again!" Russ let go of Chino, who fell, and looked at Saria. Saria smiled and Russ returned the gesture. He then looked down and picked Chino up by his collar and held him like that. "And on the plus side she's fucking as cute as hell, man!" Russ said. He then dropped Chino in his seat.

""Star-san, who is this? And why is he assaulting you?" Said Saria, who looked as if she had just watched a bad comedy.

""Meet Russ, Saria."" Chino said with a smile as he rubbed his head. ""So can we still get that offer for shelter?""

""I don't know...What would the neighbors say when they see someone like Russ coming home to my house every day..."" Saria blushed and Chino wondered why she thought the neighbors wouldn't wonder about him. Saria snapped out of it after a few seconds. ""So, yeah, you to can move in."" She then took an overly dramatic swig from her diet soda in a failed attempt to draw attention off of her.

"So what'd you two talk about?" asked a confused Russ who apparently just came back from the drink machine that sat on the other end of the cafeteria.

""She said me and you should move in a.s.a.p."" Chino said opening his orange juice carton.

"And?" Russ prodded, setting his canned drink on the table.

"I think she thinks you're cute."

-Forty minutes into the last class period of the day-

"Man if another teacher tells me to wake up I swear I'm going to-"

"What? Set the class room on fire?" Chino laughed after he cut Russ off.

"Dude, aren't you ever gonna' let that go?" Russ whined, dropping his pencil on the picture he had been sketching. It was an apple, well, a partially shaded in apple.

"Dude you were laughing like a mad man!" said Chino slapping Russ on the back reminiscing about how they had got kicked out of their old school, "Not to mention the fact that your pyro-ass won't never stop catching stuff on fire!"

"...Point made." Russ picked his pencil back up and started to shade his apple in again when the teacher shouted.

"Mr. Xavier and Mr. Star, I'll be talking with the two of you after class." Mr. Uzaki, the art teacher, turned back to the chalkboard after scolding the two. Russ was once again suprised by his home language being used.

"Yes Ma'am." they both replied smart-assidly, making Mr. Uzaki growl.

""Ok class... since this is the first day of school and all of your last class of the day, I'm going to let you all out an hour early."" Mr. Uzaki said without turning from the chalkboard. Everyone let out the predicted cheer and started to shuffle out of the art room. Russ and Chino almost made it. "Mr. Xavier and Mr. Star come here!" shouted Mr. Uzaki catching the two trying to sneak out.

"...Yes Ma'am." Chino said. He then got nailed with a piece of chalk right between the eyes. Russ laughed out loud.

"Ownage!" After his outburst Russ got beamed with an Eraser.

"Will you stop with the smart-ass remarks?" growled Mr. Uzaki. He then sighed and unbuttoned the top button of his white shirt. "You two are new here right?" He asked after he calmed down.

"Yes we are." Russ answered while brushing chalk dust out of his hair. Chino rubbed the area where the piece of chalk had hit, grumbling something in-audible

"Now listen here," said Mr. Uzaki as he walked from behind his desk over to a window running his fingers through his dark brown hair, "You guys are really nice kids, but at the same time your idiots." Russ and Chino sat there, unsure as to whether take this as an insult or compliment. Not noticing the confused and slightly insulted looks on their faces when he turned around he asked: "You two wouldn't need jobs would you?" he finished cocking an eyebrow. Russ and Chino stood there for a second then their mouths dropped open. A place to stay and a way to make money had been offered to them all in the course of one day. The two couldn't believe their dumb-luck.

"Hells yeah we need jobs!" Russ and Chino shouted excitedly in unison.

"Ok then, there's a little 'nick-nack' shop down on Akrilio St. in Shibuya." Mr. Uzaki walked up to the two. "Stop by there around five o'clock, alright?"

"Yes ma'am!" once again agreed the two smart assidly. Mr. Uzaki sighed and waved his hand as if to ignore their repetitive stupid comment. ""Well you to need to be heading out so I can sketch a nude portrait of Ms. Miho.""

"What?" asked Russ.

"I was kidding..." The two friends stared at him in an accusing way. Mr. Uzaki sighed, "Just get out of here."

-Outside of the school, about five minutes after the dismissal bell rang-

Chino and Russ exited the main building laughing and carrying on when Russ saw his newly obtained friend, Samantha, sitting under one of the school's many cherry blossom trees. Russ turned from the direction he had been heading with Chino and headed towards her. That's when he noticed that the tree had a plaque placed at the bottom of it. Soon to be known to him the plaque had a phrase etched into it in the Japanese language. Underneath it was its translation:

"A fit body and a righteous mind are two of the essentials of life."

Samantha looked up and saw Russ walking towards her with his newly acquired book bag slung over his shoulder. "Hey there, Russ. How was the rest of your day?" she asked smiling, "Better than my mom's class did I hope."

Russ sighed, "Naw', not really." Russ dropped his book bag on the ground as Chino walked up. "I seem to keep gettin' yelled at."

Samantha giggled slightly. "Oh well. Shit happens I guess." She then looked up at Chino. "And you are?"

"..." Chino stood there dumbfounded. Partially because he was too tired to think of anything to say and because he normally experienced word loss when he first meets a girl that he thinks is cute.

"Is your friend Chino here a mute?" Samantha asked looking over at Russ. Russ plopped down and laid back in the shade of the cherry blossom tree.

"No, he does this bout' every time he meets a cute girl." Russ answered after closing his eyes.

"Awww, you think I'm pwetty?" Samantha said, teasing Chino with one of those annoying 'oogaly-boogaly' fake baby voices.

"No!...Wait, I mean yes!" Chino stared at her for a second, embarrassment clear on his face. "Can we start over?" Chino stammered nervously, a blush creeping onto his face.

"Sure, no prob'." Samantha stood up, brushed herself off, and held out her hand. "I'm Samantha Miho." Chino went to shake Samantha's hand when it hit him.

"Wait," Chino scratched his head, his faced showed the signs of his brain working, "Your Ms. Miho's daughter?"

"Yeah, is that a problem? Both you and Russ have found it important enough to point it out." Samantha said placing a hand on her hip, the other still extended.

Chino noticed this and quickly grabbed, and shook her hand. Chino continued to scratch his head and smiled. "Nice to meet you. I'm Chino Raven Star." The two released one another.

"That's a weird name." Samantha said while crossing her arms.

"Hey, I'm proud of my name." Chino snapped back. He then quickly calmed down when Samantha gave him the 'evil eye'. "Don't look at me like that," Chino said as he placed his he took off his jacket, "My dad read a lot've fantasy books ok." With that Chino tied the arms of his jacket around his waist, the rest of it hanging down.

Russ brought his legs up into the air and swung them forward, jumping up to a squatting position. He then grabbed his bag and walked up to the school gates, leaning on the plaque that was raised up by a marble podium in the center of the entrance. "C'mon Chino we gotta' get goin'." Russ used is free hand to wave his friend in his direction and then turned a left out of the school gates, and out of site.

"Well looks like I gotta' go," Chino smiled at Samantha, "I can't let him be wondrin' around on his own."

"I understand," Samantha smiled back, "I guess I'll see you tomor-" Suddenly Samantha was cut off by a loud, 'CIKCEWLE'-like sound that came from the other side of the school's walls.

"Dammit, Russ!" Chino growled in worry, quickly running out through the school gates. He then stopped and faced the direction Russ had gone to see Russ standing as if he had just jumped back from something. A char mark was quite apparent on the ground in front of him.

"What the hell man!?" Russ yelled, shaking his fist at a male teen that stood a good distance away from him. The young man held his arm up, his fingers were held thumb and pointer extended like when kids pretended their fingers were guns.

""A minion of mine said that you had been flirting with my sister."" said the afore mentioned teen.

"What the hell're you sayin'?" Russ yelled back at him.

""Dom, leave them alone!"" yelled Samantha when she saw Russ' obvious assaulter.

Russ tried to run at this Dom person, put Chino grabbed him, yanking him back. Russ fell flat on his rear, but was up again in a flash. "Chino why the hell did you do that?" growled Russ.

"Because you don't attack people at random." Chino replied, his eyes were serious and fixed on the black and white baseball cap wearing youth.

"He fuckin' attacked me first ya' ass!" Russ once again tried to run at the blonde banged teen, but Chino held him back.

""I see that you like to keep your beastly friend on a short leash."" said the smirking teen. His blonde bangs were all that could be seen of his hair, but seeing that they were parted in the middle and reached about seven inches past his chin it was smart to assume that the rest of his hair was tucked under the cap.

Chino just continued to stare seriously at this teen. He had to be at least nineteen, four years older than Russ and Chino.

""What is the problem, kid?"" Asked the teen that Samantha called Dom as he rested his hands in his black leather jacket, ""Are you afraid that I will harm your friend?"" Chino's facial expression didn't change.

""You know that you sound like an old dude right?"" Chino's unimaginative insult got no reaction from the leather jacket and white T-shirt wearing punk.

"He always got straight A's in Literature class." said Samantha nonchalantly in English.

"So I'm guessing you know this ass hole?" asked Russ who was obviously still angry.

"Yeah, I know him." she said starring into Dom's yellow-ish green eyes. "He's my older annoying over-protective wannabe gang-leader half-brother, Dom." she finished scowling.

"That's some title." Chino said.

"Chino what's up?" Russ asked angrily as he looked Dom up and down, sizing him up to figure out if he wanted to fry or char-broil him. Although Russ couldn't understand every word that Dom said he could easily tell he wanted a fight. "Can I get his damn ass now?" Dom smiled, pulling his hands out of his jacket's pockets and wiping them on his dark blue jeans.

"You can try." Dom said in English.

"Shut-it Russ! You're not helping." Chino said to his friend.

"Oh come now...what was it? Chino? Let your friend there do as he wishes." Dom said, then smiled a slightly sinister grin, "I will make it quick." That was all it took to push Russ.

Russ ducked under Chino's arm and ran as fast as he could at his target. Russ threw a quick right hook, but Dom ducked it and kicked him in the gut. Russ dropped down and attempted a trip-kick, but Dom jumped over his leg and kicked him across the face. Russ quickly stood up and spat blood from his bleeding lip. Another punch was thrown, but this time by Dom. Russ swayed to the left and brought a left hook around, into Dom's side.

""You ass!"" growled Dom who brought his knee up only to miss and get hit in the side again. Russ moved around behind Dom swiftly and put him in a headlock. Dom flipped Russ over, slamming him down on his back. Russ quickly rolled away as Dom tried to stomp on his face. Russ got up on a knee, but was soon after sent flying over the school wall. Dom held his stance for a few seconds. His fist held in the air and sparking from the electric uppercut he had just given Russ.

"So he controls electricity." Chino said to himself, his arms now crossed. "Russ hasn't fought against that before."

"Oh god!" Samantha started to turn to the school's front gate, but Chino stopped her.

"Trust me, It'll take more than a little lightning to stop Russ." he said with a smirk. Just then the three heard Russ begin to laugh from the other side of the wall.

"What's he laughing about?" Samantha asked, astonished. "Didn't he just get the stuff knocked outta' him?"

Suddenly Russ came running around the gate, anger apparent on his face. His fists had caught aflame, but the fire didn't burn him or his clothes. He shot past Samantha and Chino straight at Dom and attacked. Dom dodged the first two jabs, but got hit in the gut by a third flaming jab; a hole burned in his white shirt. Russ drew back and swung again, but Dom did a back flip, his black and white shoe nailing Russ square on the chin.

Russ stumbled back a few feet, but steadied himself. His chin and lip were bleeding, but he still took a typical fighting stance. Dom looked at him and smiled.

""Impressive."" Dom brought his arm up and put his hand in the same play gun shape as before. ""But you are no where near my caliber."" Russ didn't understand or care. He ran at Dom, but before he got close lightning shot forth from Dom's finger! Russ was able to cuss before the lightning hit him, throwing him back. Russ landed a few feet from Chino.

"Russ!" called Samantha before running over to him. She kneeled down beside him as he sat up. Russ shook his head and held himself up with his no longer on fire hands. "I'm fine." Russ said. "I'm in some serious pain, but I'm fine." Dom lowered his arm, his fingers still in the play gun shape.

""Now what about you, Chino?"" he sneered. Chino and Dom stared at each other for a few seconds then both threw up their right arms, but Chino was faster. A flat golden circle appeared infront of Chino's hand, reflecting Dom's electric attack.

""What type of power is that?"" Dom questioned once he stood up. He had been thrown several feet back by his own attack. ""I have never witnessed it before."" Dom's right leather sleeve had been torn off and his arm hung limply at his side, bleeding.

""I can create and control positivily charged energy."" Chino said letting his arm drop to his side, the golden 'shield' disappearing. ""But I like to call it the power of light.""

""The 'Power of Light'?"" Dom mocked Chino, ""You must be reading too many fantasy stories you idiot."" Dom finished with a laugh. His face then grew stern and serious. ""You know what I call it, Chino?"" Chino stared at him. ""I call it a lucky shot!"" Dom brought up his other arm, palm wide open, but before he could attempt what he was planning Chino ran at Dom so fast that if Dom had blinked he would not even have seen him move.

Chino then punched him in the gut, the side, and trip-kicked him all in one swift combo. Once Dom hit the ground Chino kicked him in the side, sending him rolling away. Dom stopped at the end of the school's wall. Dom rolled over onto his back to suddenly have Chino on top of him pulling back a shining golden fist. ""Why you son of a-"" Dom was cut of by the sharp sound of a whistle. Chino looked back at the school gate before a blast of electricity sent him high into the air.

""What's going on here?"" Mrs. Miho shouted as she ran up, clutching her ruler in hand and with two campus patrol guards close behind her.

Samantha spun around quickly and replied: ""It was Dom Momma'! He attacked Russ and Chino."" Ms. Miho looked down the sidewalk to see Russ help Chino up off of the ground, and Dom nowhere in sight. She walked over to the two, the campus security guards staying with Samantha.

"Are either of you two hurt?" Ms. Miho saw the annoyed looks on the two's faces. "Well, are you hurt...badly?"

"No." answered Russ popping his neck.

"I think we'll live." said Chino dusting off his red shirt.

"Good, good, you two should head home then. I'll take care of my son when he gets home." Ms. Miho said in a reassuring way.

"Yes Ma'am." responded the two before they turned and started to walk away.

"Don't forget Russ, you have a two page paper due tomorrow!" said Ms. Miho after they got a few feet away. Russ hung his head.

"I'll see you two tomorrow, K'?" Samantha called after the two as they crossed the street.

Russ and Chino turned and waved then continued their walk. After they hung a left at the next corner Russ said with a smile: "Man, what a great first day." Chino chuckled.

"Yeah, not only did we make new friends, but a new enemy too." Chino looked at Russ. "You gonna' be alright?" he asked noticing Russ' swollen lip and scrapped chin.

"I'll be aight'." Russ smirked, "How bout' you?"

"I'm sure I'm gonna' be cool." Chino laughed a little, "We've had worse, huh?"

"So true." Russ replied as they waited for the traffic light to change so they could cross. "Hey, you wanna' check out that shop Mr. Uzaki told us about?"

"Sure, why not?" Chino replied. A few seconds later the traffic light changed and the two crossed.

-Two hours later, outside of the store: Entertainment Nirvana-

"This better be the place," said an annoyed and tired Russ. The two stood outside of a store in Japan's Shibuya District. They both looked up at the sign of the store that read: 'Entertainment Nirvana'.

"Yeah, after two hours of looking it better be." Chino said as he opened the entrance. "Even if it ain't we have to head back. I only got enough cash left for our subway tickets." With that they entered.

"Wow, this place is cool!" Chino said, looking in all directions. The building was actually quite large compared to it's outside appearance, stretching back instead of out. The items held inside easily held up the store's name. There were movie racks, books, comics, manga, cd's, instruments, and even a small cafe' lounge in the far back. The two began to roam around, surprised by the lack of customers and staff.

"Hey man, let's find some one." Chino said turning onto the main isle. Russ followed without response. The two look for a cash register or something, but only found one in the cafe' lounge. Russ and Chino stood in front of the cafe's counter and looked around until Russ rang the small service bell that sat on the counter.

""Just a sec!"" called a female voice from the back. A woman in here early thirties with shoulder length auburn hair walked in from the kitchen. ""Hi there, the name's Sakura Natsumi,"" the girl said as she walked into the room, brushing some dirt off of her white shirt. ""How may I help our first customer's?"" Russ stared at her trying to understand.

"No wonder there was no people in here." Chino muttered to himself. The woman, Sakura Natsumi, looked at the two trying to figure out why they were once again looking around. She then cleared her throat.

""Eh-hem!"" Russ and Chino turned and looked at her once again.

""Who are you?"" they asked in unison. Sakura sighed and shook her head.

""Sakura Natsumi, what'da'ya two want?"" She said in a slightly annoyed voice.

"Uuuh..." Russ grumbled trying to remember the reason as to why they had wasted two trying to find this place. Chino noticed his apparent memory loss and stepped forward.

"Mr. Uzaki, the art teacher at Midori-Kin high, sent us here." Chino said with a slight smile.

"Oh really?" asked Sakura as she leaned on the counter. "You two must be the 'help' he said he'd be sending."

"Uuum...Sure?" Russ said, confused.

"Yes we are." Chino said, once again having to 'step up to the plate'.

"Wow, that's perfect, I was wondering when he'd find someone." Sakura smiled. So when do you think that you two could start?"

"Right now!" Russ proclaimed, overly-excited. Chino gave him one of those 'what the hell have you been smoking' looks.

"I'm sorry Ms. Natsumi, but we just moved here, to Japan, today and we still need to have all of our stuff sent to our place." Chino smiled once again, "If you don't mind we'd like to start tomorrow." Sakura laughed and gave the two a smug look.

"Actually I'm kinda' liking your silver-headed friend's offer..." Once Chino heard this he gave a really evil look to Russ who just stood there with a goofy grin on his face. "But I understand where you're comin' from Blondie, so just try and show up here an hour after school ok?"

"Yes ma'am!" said Chino giving a mock salute and turned to his friend only two find him gone. "What the hell?" said Chino confused. Sakura cleared her throat again and pointed off towards a rack of manga. Chino turned in enough time to see Russ poke his head around the corner.

"Chino, dude, they got Tatakai Jibun issue twenty-three!" Russ shouted to his friend.

Chino sighed. "Russ stop goofin' around and c'mon." Chino covered his face with his hand, a headache slowly growing in his head. Russ came running over and slid to a halt next to Chino.

"Hey, Ms. Natsumi, can I have this?" Russ put the book down on the counter and she grabbed, running it under the scanner.

"That's ten thirty-two," she said.

Russ quickly grabbed Chino and yanked his wallet out of his pants pocket. "Dude, give me my wallet!" Russ held the wallet high in the air, just out of Chino's reach. Every time he jumped for it Russ would move. All the while Russ was fishing through Chino's wallet. Sakura just stood their, embarrassed, watching the two fight like children.

Russ tossed the wallet to the other side of the cafe', Chino chasing after it, and slammed down eleven dollars on the counter. Sakura took the money half-heartedly and handed Russ his book. Chino was on him in a flash, grabbing him by his cut-off jacket sleeve holes and yanking him closer. "Dude! What the hell man? That was our subway money!" Chino belted. Right around this time a couple walked in, saw the commotion, and slowly turned and walked out. Sakura watched this annoyed.

"Will you two cut it out!" Sakura screamed. Chino paused, mid slap, with Russ cowering from the blow. "Just get out and be here tomorrow after school, ok?"

Chino let go of Russ and rubbed the back of his head. "I'm sorry for all of the commotion." Chino said, "We'll be leaving now." Chino grabbed Russ, who was now reading his manga, by the back of his collar and literally drug him out of the store.

"What a couple of strange, STRANGE, kids." Sakura said to herself as she watched the two leave.

-A few blocks down the road, past the subway entrance-

"Well this day was pretty good after all!" Russ said as they walked down the city sidewalk. "Not only do we got us some jobs, but I got the newest issue for my collection." Russ said happily, holding his manga up as if he was a character in a videogame.

"Yeah, and spending our subway fare in the process." Chino grumbled, and Russ just smiled.

"Aww, c'mon man!" Russ patted Chino on his back. "How can a dude as fast as you complain about walkin' home? Saria's place is close to here anyways...right?" It was obvious that Russ had no-clue as to where Saria lived because of the confused look on his face.

"Just keep walkin', we'll find it." Chino said causing Russ to halt abruptly. Chino took a few more steps then turned to his friend, noticing that he had his head hung low. Crowds of people past the two as Chino continued to stare at his suddenly upset friend in a confused way.

"What do you mean by 'find'?" Russ growled, his head still hung low. Chino gulped, realizing his mistake.

"C'mon man, we should go." Chino said nervously as he turned only to be stopped by another growl from Russ.

"Do you KNOW where she lives?"

"Uuuuhhhh...Yes?" Chino said, starting to walk away quickly. Russ looked up to see Chino leaving him.

"Chino you bastard!" Russ took off after him, causing to Chino to run as well.

"Dude!" Chino hollered back at Russ, "It's your fault we have to walk! You spent our subway money!"

"I wouldn't have spent it if I had known this!" Russ picked up speed, as did Chino; the two bolting off down the crowded city sidewalk.

-End of Chapter 1: A Fresh Start-