Chapter 4: Exchange student

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"Summerville, huh?"
He stroked his beard as he paced across the room. His trusted 'right hand', a fairy with a blond bob cut, was standing close to him. Despite her 'light' attributes, there was something sinister and off-putting about her; the cold look in her eyes definitely did not help.
"Yes boss, we are one-hundred percent certain," she replied to him. "We've been unleashing creatures at her to stop her in her tracks, unfortunately with very little success until now."
"Drat!" He had gotten visibly angry at hearing this — as a result, he shoved a glass off the table, loudly crashing on the floor.
"My dear Tamara," he continued as he slowly circled around her, "I was about to compliment you and the others for your findings, but you haven't even been able to stop her once?! That is unacceptable!" He yelled so loudly in Tamara's ear that she trembled for a second.
He was a very frightening man — a vampire who, unlike most others of his kind, had no care for ethics and morality. Instead, he was not afraid to use his blood-drinking skills to wound or even kill those who were on his path; moreover, the concept of 'mutual consent' with regards to vampirism was something he considered "complete rubbish" and a "blockade from the true potential of vampires".
"I-I'm sorry boss..." Tamara stammered softly. Under most circumstances she was able to radiate a sense of confidence, but even she felt held back when she was around him.
"Now get to work, you absolute worm!" He grabbed Tamara by the throat, roughly pushing her away shortly after. "Dead or alive, I don't even care! Actually..." He quickly stopped himself for a bit. "Perhaps... bringing her alive will suffice for now". A menacing smile had appeared on his face.
"O-okay boss, we'll get to work again as soon as possible." Tamara quickly flew out of the room.
He sat down in his large chair, his red eyes suddenly glowing up.
"Depending on... certain factors, I might have some... plans for the poor girl." A sinister grin appeared on his face, shortly followed by a maniacal laugh into the darkness.

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CONTEST POOL DESTROYED, THEN UNEXPLICABLY REBUILT SAME DAY — SWIMMING COMPETITION INTERRUPTED

That was the headline of the day. Once again, everyone in class was talking about what had happened the day before.
This time, however, Karin felt a lot less alone, since she now had her own best friend to confide supernatural matters with.
Said best friend was currently in the middle of condolence wishes from her classmates regarding the competition.
"I'm so sorry about what happened, Rashida! Hopefully they'll move it to a different date!"
"Thankfully you're okay, Rashida! Lord knows what could've happened to you!"
"Are you really not hurt anywhere? I'm so glad!"
"No no, don't worry, I'm fine..." While Rashida was used to a degree of attention due to her status as the 'star swimmer', right now she just wanted to talk to Karin, since she was the only one who'd truly understand her at this moment.
She waded herself through the masses of classmates towards her table.
"Finally I'm here," Rashida panted.
Karin smiled faintly. "At least they were worried about you, that's at least something."
"True, but man, they don't get it," Rashida exclaimed while looking at her friend. "The only one who does is you, Freckles... We'd be treated like freaks if they knew our secret."
Karin nodded in agreement. "You're absolutely right... Say, have you studied the book Papiyon gave us already?" she quickly added.
"A little bit, but I was extremely tired yesterday. I slept like a rock!" As she said that, Rashida stretched out her arms. "Thankfully I feel all fine and dandy again today, so I'll probably study further after school."
"Oh trust me, I was tired too," Karin responded. "At the very least I was able to decipher what the word on the front was. Alo... something. Unfortunately I couldn't actually look up yet what it meant, though."
A dreamy look had appeared on Karin's face. She couldn't wait to get home and study the book some more — she wanted to know everything there was to know.
"Interesting," Rashida said attentively. "I didn't have time to study that strange alphabet yet, but I did learn one or two new water spells for use during battle. I can't wait to blow some power-bubbles." Now she too had gotten twinkly eyes, just like her friend.
"Alright class, can I have your attention please?"
Mister Browne had walked into the classroom. He was the Homeroom teacher and taught History as well. Karin was glad to have him for Homeroom in her final year at school — just like Biology, History was one of her favorite subjects, and she could always get along well with mister Browne.
Due to this, Karin decided to pay close attention, and gestured Rashida to do the same.
"For our final year, we have a new student in class." Mister Browne pointed at one of the front seats. "Feel free to come and introduce yourself."
Only now had Karin noticed that there was a girl in class that she had never seen before. Due to all the chattering around her, as well as her conversation with Rashida, she hadn't been paying attention.
The girl walked towards the front of the classroom and stood next to mister Browne. She had black pigtails, and her clothes were also mostly black. She had a barbell through her eyebrow.
"Pleased to meet you all. My name is Nikki."
She spoke with a peculiar accent that Karin hadn't heard before, or at least not that she remembered.
"Sorry if my English is bad, I come from a country far from here," Nikki continued. "I unfortunately do not know its name in English, how embarrassing." She giggled at that last sentence. "I hope to be able to make friends with you all."
"Thank you Nikki for introducing yourself," mister Browne said. "Now class, please open up your History textbook on page 87. Nikki, please feel free to ask for any help if necessary."
"Thank you sir, I will." Nikki walked back to her table and grabbed her textbook out of her bag.
Rashida had been following her closely with her eyes.
"I don't know about you, but I don't trust that girl," she said suspiciously. "Something is off about her."
Karin's eyes got big. "Are you saying that just because she's a foreigner? Or because of her clothes?" She was a little disappointed at her best friend.
"No, no!" Rashida quickly defended herself. "Oh gosh no, it's... hard to explain. I don't really know, perhaps my judgement is incorrect. I'm sorry, Karin." Embarrassed, Rashida opened her textbook as well.
"I don't know, she seems cool to me," Karin said. "Maybe I should try to be friends with her."
"Whatever you wanna," Rashida mumbled as she read through the assignments.
"Come on Rashida, relax a little bit," Karin said, still slightly annoyed. "Everything will be fine. Or do you think she's an enemy or something?"
"Dunno, perhaps," Rashida responded, not looking up from her book.
"You're being paranoid. We'll find out in due time whether that's true or not." Finally Karin opened up her book as well, reading the assignments.
"The Rosetta Stone, discovered in 1799, contains inscriptions in which three ancient scripts?"
Karin's frown turned into a smile. Ancient history was one of her favorite things to read about. She was so concentrated that she didn't speak another word for most of the class.

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