Nekoko was comforting Himeko, who was now crying on Nekoko's shoulders. After hearing her scream for her aunt's mercy in her sleep, she got a good glimpse of what Himeko was going through emotionally.
Then Nekoko said to Himeko "It's just a dream Hime-chan, nobody is going to hurt you."
Himeko finally took her head off of Nekoko's shoulders, looking up to Nekoko's face. She could hardly recognize her since she looked very blurry. Nekoko could see the pain in Himeko's face and tried her best to comfort her when she asked Himeko a question about her dream.
"Hime-chan you must have had a very bad nightmare, could you please tell me about it?"
Himeko knew that she couldn't keep it to herself any longer so she told Nekoko what happened.
"I had a dream that my oba-san was beating me with a hanger after she saw my grades and my drawings." Himeko said and the tears started to pick up again. She was really afraid to tell Nekoko the last part of her sentence but she wasn't aware that Nekoko already knew what it was.
"Oh my! Were the dreams based on what really happened to you?" Nekoko said calmly.
Himeko paused for a while before answering the question. She tried to stop her crying but instead she cried even more. While she was sobering she told Nekoko the truth about the dream.
"Yes, very much so, in fact the dream was the exact thing that happened last month. My oba-san saw my grades so she went inside my closet to get a wire hanger. When she went into the closet she saw my drawings. She went berserk after that and then started to beat me."
Nekoko was hesitant to bring up the next question but she knew she had to. "Were the drawings in the closet pictures of naked woman?"
Himeko was stunned when Nekoko said that, she didn't say anything for a while. Feeling very ashamed of it she stopped looking at Nekoko and lowered her head down.
"How did you know that?" She said while holding her head down feeling ashamed of it.
"You said that while you were talking in your sleep, nya."
She couldn't believe that she would let something like that come out. By then Himeko was in panic mode, expecting the worse from Nekoko.
"Yes they were pictures of naked women but please don't kick me out or hate me because of it!" Himeko said while bursting into tears. Her hands were covering up her face, felling ashamed of what she naturally desired and for letting Nekoko know about it.
"No, no, no Hime-chan, I have no problems with it." Nekoko said trying her best to reassure her, seeing how much it had stigmatized Himeko.
"In fact one of my best friends, Hana-chan, is gay as well. He's a big okama and he's a hoot! I really like his impression of Joan Crawford, they're amazing! I should introduce you to him some time, I mean her. I keep forgetting that he likes to be referred to as she."
Himeko lifted her head up and looked at Nekoko. Tears were still traveling down her cheeks but she was able to put on a small smile and then she let out a soft chuckled. "Really?" Himeko said as the tears stopped rolling down her face.
"Yes absolutely. Definitely tomorrow, I have to see him on some other things as well."
"Thank you very much Neko-chan!" Himeko said excitedly and hugged Nekoko. Nekoko just smiled, thinking in her head how lonely, sad and isolated Himeko was.
"No problem. Just go back to sleep. We have about three more hours before breakfast at the Cathedral."
"OK, well then good night Neko-chan."
"Good night to you as well Hime-chan."
As she was about to go back to sleep she remember one thing, "Oh I forgot to say my prayers!"
"You believe in God and Jesus Christ?" Nekoko said.
"Absolutely, Neko-chan. I always say my prayers. It's required at the place I used to live."
"It sounds like you grew up in a strict place."
"Yes, we are Pentecostals. My oji-san is a pastor and we always went to church. My relatives made me read the Bible everyday. I even went to an orthodox Christian school. Do you believe in God?"
"I do, nya. I do believe there is a god out there. It may not be God or Jesus Christ but I do believe in a higher being."
"My relatives told me that people who don't believe in God are sinners who will burn in hell."
Nekoko just chucked and then shook her head in disbelief. "I've heard that one before, usually those that say such things are the ones who should ‘burn in hell'. Anyways we need to get some sleep, so say your prayers and go to sleep."
"Okay Neko-chan. Good night."
So she said her prayers and then they both went back to their sleep. It was short but at least for Himeko is was peaceful.
When they got to St. Magudarena's Cathedral they got their food quickly since it was a small line. The food was being served on a table by nuns and they were serving Okayu and Natto, traditional Japanese breakfast dishes.
When they finally got to the table, a brown-skinned and purple-haired nun greeted both of them. Nekoko instantly knew who she was so she waved at her.
"Ohayo Neko-san, how are things for you."
"Fine Sister Miyako, and how are you?"
"Well I got to do some heavy gardening at the monastery today in preparation for the fall season. Plus I got to give my brother a call."
"So how is your brother doing?"
"He's fine. He told me about how his department busted a major Yazuka drug ring the other day. They celebrated on it yesterday."
Himeko asked Sister Miyako "is your brother a cop?"
"Yes he is. My little brother Girochi is a cop for the Shinjuku Police Department."
"Well he's anything but little," Nekoko said with a smile on her face. "He's freaking huge!"
"That's true," Miyako chuckled. "But he'll always be my little brother. Anyways may I ask what your friend's name is?"
"Kurusugawa Himeko," she said with her head held down low. Miyako was a very perceptive woman and she already knew that Himeko was shy.
"How are you doing Kuru-sama. How did you meet Neko-san?" She said trying her best to get Himeko out of her shell.
"Well I was chasing one of her kitties and it ran to her tent. She was there and that's how we met."
Miyako chuckled then said "that's rather interesting!"
"Yeah I know," Himeko said with a smile on her face.
"Anyways girls, let me give you your food because I don't wan to hold up the line. I'll see you two later if I have enough time" So Miyako gave them their breakfast and the two headed to a table. While they were eating their food they were chatting.
"So Neko-chan, do you like any other animals besides cats?"
"I love all animals, it's just that since I'm a cat-girl I understand cats better. I love having my own ‘cat circus' but that's not what I really want to do."
"What is it that you really want to do?" Himeko asked curiously.
"I want to own my own animal shelter where I can take care of a lot of koji animals."
"Wow, really?" Himeko said.
"Absolutely!" Nekoko said as she got excited about her dream. "But they're not going to be in some building cooped up in some cage most of the time. That's no different than being in prison, nya. Instead I would like to have my shelter on a private island, so all the animals can run and play outside. One day I would like to end the suffering of all animals!" Nekoko said enthusiastically. Himeko giggled when she heard that.
"What? Do you think I'm crazy?"
"Absolutely not! I really like your dream. I remember my art teacher once told me if you want to do something extraordinary in your life then you need to dream big, play full out, and go outside your comfort zone." Himeko said.
"Cool, most of the people I told about this just laughed at me." Nekoko said with a little bit of sadness.
"Actually it inspires me of my dream." Himeko said.
"What is it?" Nekoko said excitedly.
"I want to be a mangaka, not only that but I want to create a yuri masterpiece." Himeko said with a smile on her face.
"Yuri? Isn't that girl-girl relationship?"
"Yes it is." Himeko affirmed.
"What's wrong with the yuri manga that's out there?"
"Well a lot of it I fell is written for men, thus it's more about fanservice and less about plot."
"Fanservice, what's that?" Nekoko asked with a strange look on her face. She's very unfamiliar with the terms since she's not into anime or manga.
"Sorry I forgot that you don't read manga. Fanservice means adding unnecessary things to the storyline just to excite or arouse the audience with sexually-derived content."
"Don't girls like you like to also see sexually-derived content?"
"Yes but not so much that it takes away the story and it caters to only men."
"Oh I see. Well have you started on something?"
"I was trying to make my own doujin but my oba-san found it one day and burned it up," Himeko said with some pain in her voice.
Nekoko was thinking to herself how terrible of an aunt she was and was thankful that Himeko got out of that house. Unfamiliar with the term she asked, "Doujin, like a clique?"
Himeko just chuckled and Nekoko felt a little bit stupid for not knowing that word. Himeko saw the embarrassment on her face and quickly reassured her.
"Don't feel bad about it. It's not like a clique. Doujin is short for doujinshi, it means unofficial self-published work. It can be applied to anime, manga, video games, novels, etc. I feel like some doujins are better than the official work."
"Oh I see. Well I got some paper and pencil as you already know. Maybe you can start all over?"
"I would love to!" Himeko said with excitement. "Thanks Neko-chan."
"No problem, however I would like to ask one small favor from you."
"Sure what is it?"
"I saw your drawing of one of my cats yesterday and I was impressed. I was wondering if you can draw some background scenes so that I can use that for my circus."
"Sure, I would love to!" Himeko said while her face lit up.
"Great! Maybe we can get started soon," Nekoko said.
"Absolutely, I want to collect some cans so I can get some money first but after that I can get started."
"OK then you can start after my circus because I'm going to be heading to Shinbashi."
So they continued on their eating and then they parted their ways.
Later on during the late afternoon while Himeko was collecting some cans in a back alley she ran into an old camera. It wasn't digital at all but it looked like it was one that professionals used. So she picked it up and examined it closer. She saw that there were a few frames left in the camera, so she decided to take a picture to see if it was functionally working. She took a picture and it looked like it worked, she won't know if it really worked until she takes it to the photo shop. Finding the camera left a smile on her face.
"Well it must be my lucky day. First I got a drawing project now I got myself a camera," she said happily.
Little did she know she spoke too soon. About a few minutes after she found the camera three guys came right behind her. She didn't notice that they were behind her until she turned around.
"Hi there, are you looking for something?" She said rather naively.
"No we already found what we are looking for," one of the man said while gleaning at Himeko and wearing a wicked smile. He was a middle-aged man who was rather short but stocky and had a full beard. The second one behind him to his left was tall and younger but was rather ugly with a few missing teeth like most homeless people. The other one behind him to his right was old and very much bald with white hair, he couldn't be any younger than 60.
Judging by the look on their eyes and by their sinister smile Himeko was starting to get scared.
"I-I don't know w-what you're talking about," she said very nervously.
"You're about to find out right now, you sweet little thing," he said and the two men behind him quickly grabbed her. By then she knew what they wanted to do with her and she was scared for her life. Tears were quickly running down her face and she was trying her best to free herself from the grasp of the two men but their grip was too tight.
"Leave me alone!" She screamed to the middle-aged man but he ignored her plea. As soon as he came close to her she instinctively kicked him to the stomach. The men were surprised of the kick, especially the middle-aged man as he found himself on his knees while holding his stomach in pain. The tall guy turned around to face Himeko, while the older guy was still holding her, and gave a stiff punch to her stomach. It took some wind out of Himeko and she coughed a bit, feeling the pain from the punch.
The man who got kicked to the stomach was really mad at Himeko when he told her "so you're not so soft after all? Well I guess then you won't have any problems when I do this to you." He pulled his hand as far back as he could and slapped her right across her face. He left a red mark on her left cheek and also some blood trickled from her lips. The slap made her cry some more but it didn't really shut her up.
"HELP ME SOMEBODY, HELP!" She screamed desperately as she was hoping that someone could hear her plea and rescue her. The old guy covered her mouth with a firm grip unusual for his age. Now that the bearded man knew that Himeko was completely defenseless he then proceeded to take advantage of Himeko.
"Well then you sweet little girl, your innocence is about to end right now."
As he was about to rip her clothes off a loud crackling sound was heard behind his back. Someone had hit him from behind. He immediately dropped to his knees while bending down and holding his back in pain. Immediately Himeko and the two other men saw a blue-haired woman holding a broken wooded board. Her royal blue eyes were piercing right at the two men.
"Let her go or else you two will be next," she said.
"Well if it ain't the koji girl. You better leave or else we'll make you next. I can't wait to get my hands on those nice tits of yours," the tall said to her in a threatening matter.
"You ain't going to do anything to me or to that girl," the bluenette snorted.
As soon as she said that she charged after the men but the bearded guy quickly grabbed her right leg. She noticed it and she quickly back fisted him right at his face. He immediately went out cold. The old guy got to her first a swung at her but he missed. She gave him a punch to his face followed by a kick to the stomach. While he was holding his stomach she quickly kicked him right at his face, knocking him out for good.
The tall guy was amazed that a young girl was capable of taking out two men, so instead of engaging in a hand-to-hand combat with her he pulled out his knife. She may be a young girl but she had quite a few experiences in street fights so she always came prepared, she also had a knife but it was no ordinary knife. It was the tanto, a double-edge dagger suitable no only for stabbing but for slashing as well.
The man was nervous but he didn't want to show it nor could he chicken out of a fight with a girl, he would seriously lose his street cred. So he tried to swipe at the girl but she dodged the attack then tried to swipe at her again but she also dodged that one. She counterattacked by taking a swiped at his face but he ducked it. Then she lunged at his stomach but he scooted back to dodge it, unfortunately his back was up against the wall and she immediately took advantage of it. She then had the tanto right at his throat, the tip of it was touching his Adam's apple. A trickle of blood was starting to flow down from the cut.
"Now you better leave her alone or else...," she said with a fierce look on her eyes.
The man was shaken with fear when he said ‘OK' and quickly left the scene. The two other men were still lying on the ground unconscious. Himeko was at the corner of the alley, amazed at what she just saw. Not only was she amazed at her fighting skill but she was also amazed at her beauty. She has a beautiful royal blue hair with blue eyes to match. Her lips were thin yet beautiful and her bosom was full. She was taller than Himeko but not much. Even though her clothes were shabby she still had an elegant look to her. Himeko thought that she looked like a beautiful princess wearing clothes fit for a pauper. After the man was a good distance away from the alley, Himeko quickly went up to the blue-haired girl and hugged her.
"Arigatou gozaimasu sensei (ma'am)! You saved my life." Himeko said with tears in her eyes but the woman wasn't flattered one bit. She pushed her off her and scolded her.
"First of all, what were you doing in a back-alley by yourself? Don't you know how dangerous it is especially for someone like you?"
"Yes I know but I had to collect some cans since I needed the money."
"It sure isn't worth your life isn't it?" The girl said sternly.
"Not it wasn't, but please sensai I won't do it again!"
"The name is Himemiya Chikane. You were very lucky that I was around and that I know how to fight. They would have raped you without any remorse."
"I know they would." Himeko mumbled with her head hanging down.
Chikane didn't see any point of pressing the issue any further so she asked Himeko another question, "What's your name?"
"Well don't go to dark back-alleys without someone who can protect you or at least some sort of protection. I won't always protect you" she said as she walked away from Himeko.
For some strange reason Himeko had to know about her. Himeko, being quite a perceptive girl, knew that the girl was from her area, Mahoroba. She thought it would be nice for her to meet somebody who was from her city. So while she walked away Himeko started to follow her.