II. Miguel Pretends to be a Licensed Dance Trafficker

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❝ When I discover who I am, I'll be free

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When I discover who I am, I'll be free. –Ralph Ellison

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"What is going on?!"

Miguel bent over and tried to hand over the fan to her, but Akira simply scooted away as fast as she could with her arms in the air as a weak defense line. His green eyes scanned over her wildly shaking hands and trembling form. "Akira-san," Miguel spoke her name with an honorific to make her feel more comfortable. He hesitantly crouched down so he could get on eye level with her and she flinched at his sudden movement like a prey feeling spotted by its predator.

"No!" She waved her hands in front of his face, refusing his presence. "You cannot call me by my first name any longer until you give me some answers." Her voice quivered as she spoke with fear as thick as ice flowing through her veins. She was afraid of him.

He didn't know what to do. Seeing how paralyzed Akira was must've meant that she's never gone through an experience like this, or rather, had a close encounter with a monster. With most demigods, that would be nearly impossible, but how was she able to live the majority of her life without any accidents? Was she even a demigod or simply a mortal who was able to see through the Mist? Miguel heaved a sigh; this was going to be difficult. Akira was already overwhelmed with her upcoming dance performance, to begin with, and having to lay the truth bomb on her would make things even worse.

Realizing that her hair was completely disheveled after the fight with the hellhound, Akira slowly reached for her hair tie and redid her ponytail over again while keeping a cautious eye on the foreign exchange student. Her fingers fumbled around with the tie for a bit due to her long hair tangling around the band, but managed to free the stands with her other hand. Miguel raised an eyebrow; he suddenly came to the realization that he rarely ever saw her with her hair down. In fact, the only times he did was the brief seconds of when they fell past her shoulder blades or during kabuki performances. Other than that, her hair was always up. He simply assumed that it interfered with her dancing.

However, that wasn't important at the moment. He needed to take her somewhere safe in case more incidents like this would occur, especially when he wasn't around. She wouldn't be capable of defending herself, at least not yet. "I give up, then," Miguel said as he adjusted his crouching position. He slowly held out an outstretched hand towards her. "I'll explain everything once we get inside, alright? We really need to go." Miguel anxiously played with the rubber bands that hung on his braces with his tongue, well knowing that another monster could be heading over any minute due to two demigods being together.

After contemplating it for a minute, she hesitantly placed her hand in his and a wave of relief came over him. Her palm felt warm and sweaty, most likely from Japan's eternal heat wave, but was shivering as if she were freezing to death. He stood up and helped her get back on her feet. Her yukata began to slip off her shoulder again and he calmly reached out and readjusted it for her. With his other hand, Miguel placed the fan into her hand and released his hold on her. "Thank you..." Akira murmured under her breath. She clenched the fan's handle so tightly that her knuckles turned white.

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