Chapter 10 – A Class of Her Own
“What are we doing here?” I asked.
“Training,” was all Demetri said. I felt him shift his weight in the bag I had hanging from my shoulder.
“Ok, Fuzzyface, can you give me a few more details?”
Yuki sighed loudly beside me. “Seriously, I should be getting ready for my first day of work. Why did you want to come to the park?
“We’re going to hunt monsters,” Demetri insisted.
“Monsters?” I gulped.
“Don’t worry. Little monsters. Tiny, non-threatening monsters,” he reassured. “But first you need to learn how to see them.”
I took a seat on a park bench. Yuki walked on ahead and made his way to a coffee cart nearby.
“How do I do this?”
Demetri poked his head out of the bag. “Have you ever made your eyes not focus? Where you look at the world around you and everything is super blurry and out of focus?”
“Yeah,” I said with a nod.
“Do that, but this time try looking deeper into the blurriness. It may take a little practice, but you have a gift, so it should come pretty quickly to you.”
I tried what he said. “What exactly am I looking for?” I asked.
“Oh, you’ll know it when you see them. They will be obvious and the only thing in focus,” Demetri explained.
“Maybe this will help?” Yuki said, holding a cup out to me. I accepted it and watched quietly as he took a seat next to me. “So what exactly are we doing?”
“Looking for monsters… little, tiny monsters,” I finished.
“Oh, like the one by the cart, the two in the bushes, and the really tall one by the gate?” he asked, pointing in each direction.
“Very good, Yuki,” Demetri praised. “I’m afraid Jordan is struggling more than I thought she would.”
“It’s not like I am trying to fail,” I grumbled.
Yuki took a sip of his coffee before sitting it down. He rose to his feet and walked behind me. He leaned close, so that his lips were right next to my ear, and used the gentle touch of his fingertips to guide my head where he wanted me to look. “Do you see the gate?” he asked. I nodded, trying not to be distracted by the feeling of his breath on my ear and neck. “Look at the edge of the gate and while looking at it, focus your eyes just past it. The gate will become kind of blurry.” I followed his directions as he described each step. “Do you see that shadow just at the edge of the gate’s blur?” As I started to nod, I began focusing on it, while at the same time trying not to let my face turn any redder.
“Oh wow!” I jumped up, accidentally bumping heads with him. The shadow had come into focus and standing just fifteen feet away was a creature like I had never seen. Its skin appeared slightly oily and was dark with flecks of gold. It had two large eyes the size of chicken eggs that glowed a pale green. It was devoid of any mouth that I could see and reminded me of a six-foot-tall stick bug.
“You see it now?” he whispered as he rubbed his jaw.
My eyes quickly darted around to each of the places Yuki had pointed to earlier and I saw each of the creatures. Then I started noticing more and more of them. They were everywhere. They all had the same glowing eyes, but their colors, sizes, and shapes all varied. “There are so many.”
Demetri spoke up. “Yes, and most are not harmful in the least, but some are. Your job is to stop the ones that are.”
“How do I do that?”
“Practice,” he said simply.
“How do I know which ones are harmful?”
Demetri was quiet for a moment. “When they are Zerta, like these, it is pretty evident which ones are harmful. They sort of have a dark glow around them if they have fed off of some sort of human energy… or possibly off of a human physically,” he finished.
“Zerta? That doesn’t sound overly Japanese to me.” Yuki asked before I could.
“Low-level monsters that don’t pose much of a threat are Zerta class. Amokgun are the deadliest classification and should only be approached by a team of highly trained Guardians. The class system isn’t taken from Japanese. The system for classification is from a very old civilization.”
“Which one?” I asked automatically.
Demetri sighed. “You can learn all about it in the Great Library.”
“Oooh, that sounds like a place of interest.”
Yuki laughed. “Nerd!” However, a bare moment later he piped up, “But I’m with her. It sounds like a place of interest to me, too.”
Demetri glared up at Yuki. “Who says you get to go there and see it? You weren’t invited,” he declared.
“Uh, I just taught your new Guardian how to see the monsters. I think that qualifies me to be in the loop, and a giant library needs to be part of the loop.”
“So are you volunteering to be a Guardian?” Demetri asked.
“What? Don’t you think I would be willing to do my part to keep the human race safe?”
Demetri laughed bitterly. “You might mess up your hair.”
I bit my lips shut and looked at Yuki, who quirked a brow at the cat. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Just that you don’t seem like the hero type,” Demetri argued.
“Why? Because I care about personal grooming?”
“Don’t forget the womanizing,” Demetri snarked.
“Women are human!”
“What womanizing?” I cut in.
“Nothing,” Yuki insisted.
“He’s talking to some girl named Fujiko,” Demetri said with rancor.
I looked at Yuki. He seemed embarrassed. I’d had a knee-jerk reaction when I had heard the argument start, but I remembered who I was talking about. “He’s new in town. It only makes sense he would want to make friends,” I maintained, shaking my head as if that would clear it.
“She works in the office I’ll be in. She has been telling me about the area, the work, and my new co-workers,” he said, pulling out his phone as if to show it to me.
“You don’t have to explain things to me. We’re not a couple. We’re just friends, remember?” I told him, waving the phone away.
He paused. “You’re right. Just so you know, I wouldn’t tell anyone something that could be dangerous for you.”
“I know that,” I said with a smile.
“Touching. I’m glad you kids can get past your romantic shortcomings to understand each other, but I need to know if you can actually be Guardians. Tuesday night we’ll go on our first hunt. I know tomorrow will be a big day for you both, so why don’t we head home? I’m hungry for some tuna,” Demetri snorted.
We started the walk home. Every so often I would catch what I could only describe as a shadow out of the corner of my eye. When I would look closer, nothing was there. I started to think that seeing what I had today was enough to blow my mind.