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The two siblings took a rather extended train ride and made their way to a huge shopping center.

It was the biggest shopping center in the area, so they had a lot of shopping ahead of them. Fortunately, there were plenty choices and they could shop around and make plenty of comparisons before zeroing in on that perfect gift.

“Hey Miu, I grabbed some cash.” Rei had just withdrawn some money from an ATM inside the shopping center. They receive an allowence handed out by their aunt and uncle which comes from the savings left behind to them from their deceased parents. Even though their aunt and uncle are in charge of the account, if they ever need money for important things, Rei has a debit card he can use when he needs it. Their aunt and uncle put a lot of trust in them to not misuse or abuse that access to so much money.

Rei stuffed the money into an envelope, put it into his bag, and took his sister’s hand.

“Shall we?”

Rei began to look for some of the good shops to find a suitable a gift…or rather, he thought that’s what he was going to do.

“Geez, Rei. I’m in middle school now…I told you doing that holding my hand is embarrassing, remember?!”

As she said that, Rei noticed just how soft and warm her hands were. He just kind of grabbed her hand without really thinking about it, and figured it would probably be best to handle this situation with a little delicacy.

“Please save that kind of stuff for your future girlfriend.”

As she said that, Miu let go of her brother’s hand.

“Hey, I wasn’t trying to make you look like my girlfriend ya know…”

“I don’t care what you were trying to do,” Miu quipped. “Think of how something like that makes me look. Appearence is everything. Got it?”

“Yeah, I got it…”

Compared to most other big brothers in the world, he tends to care for his sister a lot; sometimes to much to the point where he can be overbearing.

But, considering what happened to them, Rei thought it was only natural to want to protect your own blood relatives; especially a younger sibling.

“Just, please try to stop being so overbearing on me, ok?”

“I’m not overbearing. I’m much less invested than you think…been that way for ages now.”

That was a bold faced lie.

No matter how much times passes, if something ever happened, Rei would always be there to protect Miu, no matter what. Rei made that resolution on that day, and for Rei, that is his driving force; his raison d’etre.

Miu has been shooting Rei a death glare for a little while now, but before long, she gave up and let out a long sigh.

“Alright, that’s enough. Take it easy. You acting so cold like that…that’s just not like you Rei. It makes me feel awful, and it’s just…hard to handle.”

“I told you, I…” Rei was mid-sentence when suddenly Miu snatched the bag that he was carrying on his shoulder.

“C’mon, what are you doing…” Rei groaned.

“I’m gonna carry this now,” Miu said. “Just let me handle this for a bit.”

Her voice had a playful, joking tone to it as she held the bag in both hands, bouncing it around as she walked.

“OK OK, give it back now Mi…”

In that instant, Rei felt a strong electric current run down his spine.

“Get back Miu!!”

“Whaaa?! Kyaaah!!” .

With all of his strength, he shoved Miu out of the way. The bag flew into the air.

That was his pure instinct kicking in. Ever since that incident, Rei has possessed a heightened sense of danger, and much more than your average person, learned how to avoid a potential crisis.

<-Part 9

Part 11->

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