Chapter 1 . . . The Title Goes Here

"I still remember that day..."
A pen dragged itself across some paper, in a graceful curve, making the outline of a girl's face.
"When that mophead appeared in the desk near the third window, in tenth grade. I was busy drawing a picture of Midori when I first wandered in the room, but instantly that hair drew my attention from my beloved scratchpad. Yes, I still remember how I stalked her all day, trying to draw a picture of that hair... She was different then. Quiet, well-behaved, sane. Then I made the mistake of asking her name. Yep."
A hand suddenly cut through the air and made a 'thwap' when it connected with the back of Ken's head.
"Ow!" He instantly dropped his pen and moved a hand over the sore spot.
"You moron! I'm gonna hit you!"
"You already...!" He spun his chair around, with a bit of a whimper in his voice. "Don't. Please."
"That's NOT how the intro was suppose to start, idiot!" With her hands on her hips, Koreki stared hard. "Didn't you listen to what the writer said AT ALL?"
"Not... really?"
"Those oversized glasses counter your brainwaves, dorkus." Koreki tapped on Ken's frames, "THIS is how it was suppose to go." The background quickly faded, as she pointed, "Now sit still and watch!"
"Mmm. Okay."

Feet gaily hit the sidewalk, as a certain someone was singing her lungs out. The sun beamed from above and the birds flew, panicked, from the trees, as she passed by. People quickly ran out of her way as she flailed a lawn flamingo about excitedly. Her feet barely seemed to touch the ground, and her blue hair bounced with each skip. Coming into audible range, one could hear her scream:
"Rice cakes and candy, too,
Apples and white school glue,
Mini rolls and pizza, so good,
Things like this are called food!

When one is in the hungry mood,
They seek out delicious food,
And if I had the money to spare,
I would buy my tummy a pear.

Haven't eaten in three days, not me
So I'm rather starving don't you see?
Ignore the signs and feed the Ko-re-ki
'Cuz she is very hun-ger-ree!"
"Lalalalalala!" she chimed, smacking someone across the head with her flamingo, probably accidentally. "I'd better get to my job before I get fired again. If I get paid I can finally buy food! And Food means a Full Stomach. Full Stomach = Happy Koreki. AND WHEN KOREKI'S HAPPY, so am I!"
Skidding to a halt, she found herself outside of her part-time job.
"What good luck! I've been skipping around for hours and I couldn't find it!" She did a quick victory dance and ran inside, launching herself onto the front counter and announcing loudly, "I am heeeeeeeeeeere, Koreki at your service, ladies and ma'ams!"
"Great. Get off the counter."
"Hello Akira!" Koreki was upside-down, staring almost literally up the woman's nose.
"Don't call me by my first name. Down."
Melting off the counter lethargically, Koreki paused on the floor for a moment before rising upright. The small store was, in fact, a beauty parlor, mostly run by people who had just graduated from beauty school. Appropriately, it was named the 'Pretty Lady Parlor', but some jerk had spray-painted the words 'Not So' before the title. It almost changed it's meaning entirely.
"Okay, part-time girl, I'll give you another try at this today."
"You will? Yay! Akira is my idol!"
"Don't call me by my first name!" Akira scolded, shaking her finger at Koreki, "It's like me calling you Koreki!"
"Everyone calls me Koreki!" Koreki beamed, almost eminating her own sunlight.
"Fine. It's like me calling you Sukori."
"GASP!" She said the action verbally, "But that is my last name and I don't like it as much as Koreki because it's not as happy and it's actually kind of depressing and brings up sad memories, but ignoring that, that's my last name and I don't like it!"
"Exactly. I don't like being called, by people that aren't close to me, by my first name. Do you understand?"
"I think so."
"Good. Now, after we get customers, you can sweep up the hair. But for now, you're appointed a very special task. If it's not done perfectly, you don't get vending machine access anymore."
"Now this task for you today is..."

"Oh man, this sucks."
The heavy smell of cleaner filled the bathroom, giving Koreki a bit of a fuzzy headache. Her brush scraped against the inside of the toilet, removing any layers of grime to be seen.
"At every job, this is what Koreki does..." She sighed, "Don't they know this kind of job isn't proper for someone of my class and intelligence? It's like they think I'm not capable of doing anything else. I can use cash registers! I can make empowered decisions! I can watch TV all day and pretend I'm helping people, just like everbody else! This is where I must take a stand, and..."
Standing up, and striking a pose, Koreki pointed at the wall, "I must prove to them I can do so much more! Yes! I must, otherwise I will forever hear the melody of my digestive organs, singing the song of near-death hungry-ness! I shall seize the helm and do more than they thought I ever could! Hey-yeah!" Grabbing the bucket of cleaning supplies, she shouted, "And I will start by cleaning these toilets until someone can see their faces on them!"
With renewed determination, she moved to the next stall and cleaned vigorously. Fifteen minutes later, she shut the last stall's door and walked to the entrance, looking back at all of her hard work. The floors gleamed with cleanliness. The walls were shining, even though a few minutes ago they were covered with non-reflective wallpaper. Nearly everything had a trademarked sparkle, as guaranteed by the cleaning product used.
"There! Totally clean and ready to go-go!" Turning, she walked back out, down the hall, right next to Akira. Her co-worker was busy typing things in the computer quietly, with a pair of headphones on. Very discreetly, Koreki pulled the left side up, and suddenly screamed, "IT'S CLEAN!"
In a sudden panic, the arm of Akira swept the air and hit Koreki directly in the nose. Koreki toppled over, hitting her head hard against the bottle of cleaner that had reached the ground before she did. The pressure caused the bottle's nozzle to suddenly shoot off in a random direction, bleach spilling out on the dark red carpet. The nozzle, propelled by the force of Koreki's big head, had connected with the glass of the fish tank, which was now spewing water in various directions. Like some terrible, pre-planned chain reaction, the water connected with various wires running to the computer and such, causing the power to short-circuit. In the end, the computer monitor exploded and all of the power went out.

Koreki remained blissfully unconcious.

"Do de do..."
A pen dragged itself across some paper, in a graceful curve, making the outline of a girl's face.
The stuffy studio was filled with anime collectibles, posters, art supplies, and books of all kinds. The computer desk was cluttered with papers and disks, the trashcan nearby overflowing with crumpled paper. The window let in soft light, being occupied by various stuffed animals. The drafting table had the usual drawing supplies spread out on it's surface, and the office chair was full of Ken Mitsubishi.
"Almost done... do de do... drawing is fun..." He continued to scribble away, working on the last page of his newest manga. Ken was slightly famous for his previous publication, 'Here And Now/June', a series about a catgirl and giant robots. The whole collection could be seen on one of his bookshelves, all in numerical order. At the moment, he was working on 'Navia's Story', a manga centered in a fantasy land filled with evil spirits and princesses. Generally one could find Ken scribbling away at any given time, singing along with his radio or to himself.
"There. Now to hand this in." He slipped the last page into an envolope, then capped his pen. After a moment's pause, he rose, and headed out the studio door into the rest of the apartment. Walking past an empty terracotta pot, he paused.
"She must've brought it to work today. Hm."
Walking to the door, he grabbed a hat and shoved it on his head. Heading out, he locked the door, calling, "Watch the aparment, Heinz."
The sunglass-wearing lawn gnome merely smiled in reply, sitting on the coffee table within.

Heading down the stairs and out, Ken merged with all the other people on the sidewalk. Making a beeline to the nearest post office, he came to a halt when he heard loud snoring from an alleyway. Exiting the crowd, he headed down the alley and found a dumpster with a very familiar leg sticking out of it. Tucking the envolope under his arm, he grabbed the leg with both arms and yanked, causing a few things to fall out along with Koreki.
"Wakey wakey." He said, staring down at her.
Koreki's red eyes suddenly shot open. With a gasp, she spoke, "Ken! Ken, you saved me!"
"I had no idea where I was, so I went to sleep. Now you found me! You're my hero-of-the-day!"
"Ken... my Ken... I am afraid I'll need a new part-time job."
He merely nodded in reply. He would've commented that she didn't have to since he was about to get paid, but it wasn't all that important. Ken knew that Koreki needed something to do, otherwise his studio was often raided. Suddenly, he remembered, "Vet's office."
"What's that? Your poor use of dialog suggests that the Vet's office has an opening for a temp?"
A nod.
"Great! You get ten points for that! Now Ken, to the Vet's office!"
"Closed today."
"Oh." With a frown, Koreki rose. "Oh, did you get your book done?"
Ken nodded. "I was going to the post office..."
"We can both go! Oh yeah!"

After finding the post office and sending off the new material, the two found themselves in a small cafe. Ken had invited Koreki to the offer since he had a bit of money, and of course, she wholeheartedly agreed.
"How-dy." The waitress popped her gum's bubble, "What can I dew ya fer?"
"A southern accent? Hey wait, isn't this Japan?" Koreki blinked.
"Exchange stew-dent. What can I dew ya fer?"
"House special." Ken said, quietly, face buried in the dessert menu.
"Mm-kay, and for the lady?"
"I want the house special, then the soup of the day, then everything in the entree section, all the desserts..." Koreki's mouth continued to fly on about different foods, finally ending with, "And a slice of elk. Oooh, good."
"Ahm sorry, we don't got all that."
"You don't? THAT SUCKS." Koreki's head smacked against the table.
"House special." Ken spoke, face still buried in the menu.
"Awright. Yer order'll be ready soon."
"Hey, wait a minute." Koreki's eye focused on the name tag of the woman, "K...Kumi. Yes. Kumi, what's it say on your badge there?"
"We're hiring."
"YOU ARE?!?" Nearly upsetting the table, Koreki stood up. The thoughts of working in a place that made food seemed like heaven. Her heart became light, as she chimed, "Yes! YES! That is my destiny! To work around and serve food! Good goodness, why didn't I see it before?!? Get me an application!"

After the meal, the two roomies walked back to their apartment.
"Seeing as how much money I spent there, they'd HAVE to hire me, huh?"
"It was my money..."
"Stop whining, Ken." Koreki walked to the door and unlocked it, waltzing in. "Pretty soon we'll have so much money, you won't believe it!"

"Can you believe it?"
"Not at all, sir!" The figure stood to attention before a throne.
"How this man knew of our plans... I cannot believe it, not for a minute." A manga was held between two fingers, against the armrest. The work by one 'Mistubishi Ken' was entitled 'Overlord's Manor'. "He has it down to a 'T', everything is exact. You know what will happen if I find out there's a spy, don't you, Kiki?"
"Yes sir."
"I will send our own spy to that man's house... You will escort him. Do you understand?"
"Yes sir! Hail Peridox!"
"Very good. Now go." The caped figure waved a hand at the door, then went back to reading the manga. "I just don't agree with how he drew my nose."
Kiki quickly headed out the door and bustled to another part of the building. Pausing at the door, she placed her hand on a panel and waited until it scanned her hand. Accepted, the door slid open with a hiss, and two red eyes looked at her from the darkness.
"Come on, we've got a manga artist to smite.

- - - - - - Until Chapter 2 - - - - - -