A/N: Hey guys, a new update! Enjoy!
Chapter Two – Refunds
"Why do I have to use this fuckin' wagon?" Hiyori kicked the red plaything rolling across the street and crossed her arms. "There's no way that I'm walkin' 'round town, luggin' 'round this fuckin' sack o' shit!"
"Ya dumbass!" Shinji leaped to his feet and chased after the escaping wagon, praying a car wouldn't hike up the hill and smack directly into the precious goods. He yanked the toy by its rusty brown handle and dragged it back to the safety of the sidewalk, cursing Hiyori under his breath. "Listen, we gotta get a refund from that bastard, Kisuke, 'cause these ain't dried fruits! They're frickin' cans o' pasta sauce, for goodness sake! So all o' us voted that you go!"
"Y'all are frickin' traitors!" Hiyori hissed, stomping her foot resolutely. "An' I'll say it again: I ain't walkin' 'round town wi' that sack o' shit!"
Shinji rubbed his head, exhausted. Despite the fact that the bellicose blonde girl hadn't yet delivered his daily blow to the head yet, he felt his afternoon migraine slowly developing early this morning. He racked his sore brain for a solution, but his search was fruitless. Once again, he was stuck being the one to explain things to Hiyori; everyone'd turned into a wuss and ditched him. Love, Rose, and Kensei had trekked down to river with their poles and bait to go trout fishing for dinner. Mashiro and Hachi decided to take advantage of the fresh weather to do some midseason shopping. And Lisa? Shinji raised an eyebrow. He wasn't sure where Lisa'd gone off to. He shrugged; she'd probably wanted to stockpile on some "reading material." No one was in the mood to tell Hiyori to do an errand today (as if anybody ever was).
Shinji heaved a deep sigh and faced the small girl, bracing himself for any spontaneous onslaughts. "If there's one thing, you haven't visited ol' Kisuke fer a while. Shouldn't ya say 'hi' t'him? Ya know, show some common courtesy?" He almost choked on his last two words and scrunched up his face at the blatant irony.
"Wasn't that bastard here yesterday?" Hiyori snapped, twisting away from the merchandise. "We've already had enough o' him fer a week!"
"You didn't even come out to say anythin' to 'im!" Shinji retorted. "C'mon, Hiyori! Just take the damn wagon to the store, an' get it over with! I'll take over yer week of grocery duty! How 'bout that?" The moment his offer flew out of his mouth, he immediately mentally kicked himself. He'd just deprived himself of watching his favorite crime scene detective drama.
"Fine," Hiyori huffed grabbing the wagon with lackluster effort. She shuffled down the sidewalk, shoulders hunched in melancholy.
"Oh, an' don't fuck anythin' up! Kisuke's strict on how refunds work, ya know!"
The sun had barely worked itself up into the sky, and Hiyori wondered why she woke up so early that morning. Maybe if she'd chosen to sleep in another fifteen minutes, Shinji would've done the stupid errand himself. She fixed the wagon a cold glare and fought the temptation to spit on the two crates inside. As much as she wanted to do so, she was already three-quarters of the way there, and it'd be a total pain to turn around, dragging the entire load up the town.
Hiyori watched a small group of children march out of a brick townhouse up ahead, led by an elderly, petite lady, who leaned on a cane. They wore uniform dark blue backpacks and carried lunch bags—also the uniform dark blue.
"Hurry along, children!" the lady cried, clacking her cane on the pavement. "We're going to be late for school!" She clapped her hands sharply, and her flock of kids followed her like ducklings down the street, buzzing with their cheerful whispers and laughter. Hiyori watched them, unimpressed. Shinji and Kisuke had suggested that she enter a public school downtown to better fit in with the humans, but the utter thought of it nearly made her vomit. She loathed the idea of wearing a tight-fitting uniform—especially the stockings—and sitting behind a desk all day with a burning passion.
"Heck, it's futile," Rose had commented. "She'll just get herself expelled the second she steps into the classroom."
Once the throng of kids paraded past her, Hiyori snatched the handle of the wagon and wrenched the damned thing forward. She took a glance at the brick building that spewed out that little old lady and those kids, and her eyes widened at the sign above the door: East C Street Orphanage. Suddenly, a small girl—smaller than herself—flew out of the entrance, papers and crayons spilling from her backpack. She looked too thin for a kid, lanky arms and legs, but to her credit, her cheeks sported a healthy, pink blush. Her dark hair was messily knotted into a schoolgirl's braid down her back. She scuttled down the steps, onto the sidewalk, turning around in circles, as if she were lost.
"Girl, you alright?" Hiyori demanded, unsure of what to do. She abandoned the ridiculous wagon by a parking meter shielded under the shade of a tree, and approached the small girl. The girl didn't answer, but her eyes, the dark blue of her backpack, widened in fear. Hiyori winced. "Geez, girl. I ain't gonna hurt'cha. Listen, yer group went that way," she pointed towards the direction of the school. "Ya better get goin' 'fore they get too far 'head. Got it?"
The girl nodded and proceeded down the hill, walking very carefully on the sidewalk, meticulous to not step on cracks or pebbles. Hiyori sighed. She never understood human kids; you told them that they're going to be late, yet they still took their time doing the most menial tasks—walking, for one. Hiyori rolled her eyes, forcing out a breath. She hated humans.
She lurched her wagon onto the sidewalk, rolling her eyes. She's wasted enough time already, and that little twerp had jabbed a stake in her schedule, losing her at least five valuable minutes. Hiyori swore. It wasn't fair. Sometimes, she got the feeling that life purposely twisted around the events in her life just for the purpose of making her flat-out miserable. It wasn't that universe revolved around her; she revolved around the universe.
A roar ripped across the street. Like nails digging into the flank of a chalkboard, the sound was painful to Hiyori's ears. "A Hollow?" she wondered aloud, instinctively whipping her Zanpakuto out from its sheath strapped to her back. Her hands jolted, and the agreement she made with the others flooded into her mind. She remembered when she'd agreed to leave the Hollow extermination work to the Shinigami—she was more than happy to because it was their problem, after all—but sometimes, that was just impossible. She did a swift scan of the area for any evidence of a Shinigami, but not even a scrap of reiatsu flickered in the air.
She heard a scream. A high-pitched scream of a child. That girl.
"Shit!" Hiyori barreled down the road. Terrifying images of the small human child, mauled and gory flashed across her mind, and she resisted the urge to puke. That girl was screwed; there was no way she could escape a Hollow. She swung around a corner, almost smacking into a signpost, and skidded to a stop, panting and gripping her sword with a newfound strength.
There it was. The Hollow. It stood about ten-feet tall—relatively small—but its enormous, protuberant mandibles, dripping with an acrid-smelling, violet liquid compensated for its small size. Hiyori's eyes shifted to its target: that small girl cowering at its feet. The child whimpered, wincing as she clutched her shoulder, a stain of red blossoming across her light school uniform like a rose.
"Hey, dickface!" Hiyori hollered. She raised her Zanpakuto and prepared to charge, but the Hollow was one step ahead of her. It reared back its head, clacked its pincers together, and dove for the small girl. Shit, shit, shit! I'm not gonna make it! Hiyori desperately tried to flash-step, pleading to make the sudden move count for its worth, but Hollow already had its dripping mouth enclosed around the child's body.
Hiyori's heart hammered in her chest. She thrust her sword down, managing to separate two of the Hollow's six limbs. The monster screamed, spewing venom in her direction. Hiyori dodged effortlessly. Although her opponent was small fry, an overwhelming feeling of apprehension rose up from within her, making her shudder. A little girl was just devoured before her own eyes—because she couldn't make it in time. Hiyori yearned to curse the Shinigami for being so unresponsive, but deep inside, the truth threw itself against the walls of her head. She gritted her teeth. She would end this herself.
A leg tore itself out of the Hollow's belly. Hiyori blinked. A leg? A human leg? She recognized the penny loafers and stockings. An arm forced itself out of the monster's upper torso, dripping with flesh and entrails. Covered in purple slime and crimson gore, the small girl exploded out of the Hollow's front. Her eyes shone with delirium, and she delivered a kick beneath her attacker's chin. A shattering series of cracks echoed down the street, and both the girl and the monster collapsed to the ground.
"What the hell!" Hiyori sputtered. She rushed to the girl's side. The child was in terrible shape. Dark bruises covered her body, and her arm seemed twisted in a gross, unnatural position. A long, jagged wound ran down the length of her left thigh, and the poison—it was detrimental. The purple liquid ate away at her skin like acid, leaving screaming red patches of raw flesh along the length of her exposed body. "Oh shit," Hiyori murmured, "this ain't go—"
A dark shadow loomed over her. An unmistakable roar. Hiyori's sword was already lodged in its bony masked before it could even move a muscle. She yanked her Zanpakuto out of the disintegrating Hollow matter and hastily scooped the small girl into her arms. Kisuke's shack wasn't too far away. She winced as the purple acid on the child's body rubbed off on her own forearms, burning away at her skin like licks of fire, and took off at a full sprint to the Urahara Shop, making a mental note to retrieve the wagon ditched by that parking meter and tree later.
A/N: How'd you all like it? Feel free to leave some feedback in that review box right there! Thanks!