Chapter 2

"So did your shift go alright last night?"

It took everything Leah had not to burst out laughing. It'd only been five hours since she'd met Crow but it had felt like five years. Everywhere she went, everything she did, everything she thought, Crow was there but she had agreed to meet up with Lucy at their favourite coffee place and she wasn't about to let the spirit of a long dead burn victim stop her. She heard the distinct sing of Crow's voice pipe up behind her.

"I am not that bad."

Her only answer for him was the crack of her knuckle and twitch in her eye.

"It was fine." Leah answered unconvincingly Lucy obviously not buying a second of it. They'd been best friends for almost two years now, and not once had Leah been able to fool the sharp eyed blonde.

"Come on girl if someone was giving you crap you gotta tell me." Lucy pestered. Normally someone like her would annoy Leah to no end. Beautiful, sporty, parents rich enough to retire at forty, and a ditzy Californian accent but she was one of the kindest and most down to earth woman she'd ever met. Her parents gave her anything she could want but she refused any handouts to the point that they worked the night shifts at the same burger joint.

Leah knew that straight up lying wasn't going to work, Lucy would see through it straight away, and telling the truth was out of the question unless she wanted a free padded cell to move into. She had to get creative.

"It's this guy." She started, Lucy leaning in immediately her face disappearing underneath widening eyes and an ear to ear smile. "I met him this morning and … something happened ..."

"Oh my god you didn't sleep with him did you!" Lucy yelled before remembering where they were. She was already close to the edge of breaking and the shrill laughter from behind her wasn't making her nerves any better.

"Oh god no." She answered trying to sound as composed as possible, but taking more than a little bit of pleasure from Crow's sudden protests. "He's way older than me and I don't think his thing would even work any more."

"Then what happened." Lucy pressed, her overactive imagination thinking of every possible scandal.

"Well when I woke up this morning someone had cooked about a pound of bacon and just left it there on the kitchen table. Thinking someone had broken in I ran upstairs to grab my phone and found this old guy sleeping in my room. Turns out he'd gotten mistaken and had mistaken his place for mine." Leah explained, hoping that there was just enough truth in the story that Lucy wouldn't be able to call her out on it.

"Woah really?"

Yes, she bought it!

"Yeah it's fine just freaked me out a bit with how easy he got in and with my 'rents still away I don't know what I'd have done if he wanted something."

"Yeah I know right. Do you want me to come over and stay at yours tonight?" Lucy offered. It was sweet of her but Leah really wanted a chance to be alone.

"Nah I'm fine, besides I've got a shift tonight so I won't be home till fiveish."

"Alright if you're sure," Lucy started. Pulling out her phone she quickly checked the time. "Speaking of, I've got my shift starting in twenty so I better skedaddle."

"Ok have fun, I'll talk to you tomorrow."

"Ciao."

Lucy stood leaving her cup and waving as she power walked towards work. With the blink of an eye Crow was sitting in the now empty seat sniffing at the empty mug.

"Nice woman. You have a good friend." Crow spoke, nose scrunching at the coffee.

'She's a good friend and I'd have really enjoyed it if you weren't there complaining the whole time.' She thought in response taking a serious effort not to speak out loud.

"I told you. We are one now so wherever you go I go. I have no choice in this."

'I know it's ju …' Crow suddenly raised a finger interrupting her. His ears twitched and eyes closed.

'What is it' Leah asked. Crow responded with a sharp "Shh" silencing her once again. Crossing her arms Leah sank back down into her chair thinking about how rude he was for cutting her off like that.

"I can still hear you." He barked back, sounding angry for the first time. He opened his eyes and stood up. "There is something happening over there." He pointed towards the western side of the city.

'What's happening?' Leah tried asking.

"I don' know but we must get there."

Checking her empty cup for an excuse to stay Leah stood and started following Crow's directions. It only took two minutes before she started hearing something. It was a deep and loud like someone was banging a stick against a tree. Following her own ears now and getting into a jog it only took her another minute to find the source of the sound.

Standing in the middle of the street were four people, two men, a boy about Leah's age and a girl who looked to be no older than twelve. In all this was without a doubt the strangest looking group of people she'd ever seen. Each man was standing next to one of the teenagers and both were dressed as if they were straight out of a fantasy movie.

The man standing next to the girl was about 5'7" and was covered head to toe in armour and animal furs with only a tiny amount of his face showing from under his chest length ginger beard and helmet that shone silver and gold. His chest was protected by a waist length dress made out of iron chains under a side less blue and white shirt, his pants were a blue and black plaid and over all of it was a thick bear skin coat.
The man beside the boy was dressed far less conservatively. He wore no shirt or pants just a thick out tunic made out of wolf skins and a helmet similar to the other man's. His thick, golden, blonde hair cascaded over his well toned shoulders from underneath the helmet and went down to the middle of his back.

The girl was standing closest to Leah and was dressed normally for someone of her age. A bright, pink jacket on over an all black set of woollen winter clothes. Her hair was a silver blonde and even though she couldn't seen them Leah knew could tell that her eyes were shooting daggers at the boy.

The boy was the most underdressed of the group, wearing only a black singlet and green track pants. He didn't seem to be intimidated by the girl at all and simply stood there with a cocky smile.

The sight of these people shocked Leah so much that it took her what felt like a full minute to remember what she was doing. Coming back to sense it didn't even take her a second to figure out where the sound had been coming from. Both the boy and girl were pointing swords at each other and carry a shield in their left hands. Leah wasn't an expert on weapons at all but from what she could tell both of them were carrying the same sword. They looked like something a gladiator would use, about three feet long and with gold and gems covering the hilts.

The big difference between the two was their shields. The boys shield was a simple circle that had been made out of wood and was painted green. The girls was rather intricate and elegant even if it was almost half as tall as she was. It was made out of metal and had a family crest painted onto it. The crest was beautiful and must have taken months for an artist to finish. It had three crowns with the top being the largest on a royal blue background. Each crown had been painted in such detail that they almost looked real.