Definition 07: Cheshire Cat

Shito entered the Z-Loan office, walking naturally and minding his own business. Then, without a warning, he was tackled by Bekko against a wall. "What are you doing?" Shito demanded.

Bekko's reply was only a growl. He noticed an envelope on Shito's hand. He had gotten the money for the offering not too long ago, but got tired of waiting for Chika and Michiru so he went to see what was keeping them. He should have known not to let Akatsuki unsupervised for too long; Miss Kita wasn't always able to stop him from his mischief.

Bekko snatched the enveloped from Shito's hand and ran towards Chika with the envelope in his mouth. "No, no!" Chika scolded him, "you're supposed to find lost money so I can pick it up, you're not supposed to steal it!"

Bekko ignored Chika and threw the envelope at his feet, then he proceeded to bark at the strangely colored pink and purple zombie cat Chika was holding. The cat's eyes became hypnotic swirls of pink and purple and soon Bekko's barking was replaced by frightened squeaks.

"Bad Cheshire!" Chika was apparently scolding the cat, though it lots its effect if he did it while petting it. "I told you I needed a hound not a mouse!"

That's when the fact sunk in for Shito, the strange zombie cat Chika picked up somewhere and hid, had hypnotic powers that made people and zombies think as animals. Shito took note of Yuuta sitting on his usual place, blissfully ignorant about what was happening white twisting his nose like a bunny rabbit.

"Akatsuki!" If only Shito had his own right hand, he would have called out his gun in a split second.

"What? I heard the Ferryman can smell money so I thought he could help us, but he refused, so I got a little help from my new friend, Cheshire." In Chika's mind, it was a genius plan.

Shito was not pleased and the fact that Koyomi kept clapping like a seal creating background noise was not helping. Not surprisingly Michiru was a gopher, he should have guessed. Sometimes Shito felt as if he was trapped in a zoo when he went to work and today he saw it come true.

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"Meow!" The chairperson was not pleased. "Meow!" To hear a werewolf meow at the top of his lungs was not quite normal, then again, neither were werewolves, or zombies, or key keepers.

"This might be a problem," Kuze mused in a quiet and calm voice.

"That is a problem," Shito emphasized. There was no room for a maybe. When he spoke those words, Shito was not pointing at the strange pink and purple zombie cat, nor the peculiar meowing werewolf, but rather at a zombie with golden eyes.

Chika pouted, "he usually listens to me!" His defense fell when the cat, whom he named Cheshire, ignored his calls, making Chika have to pull him out from under the desk.

"Give me my hand," Shito ordered with a glare deadlier than his gun.

Chika clutched the right hand he had, which was actually Shito's. "No!"

"Calm down!" Firm but collected, the chairperson silenced them. "If you are thinking of guiding this zombie cat, it is best not to do so until everyone is back to normal." That might take some time, Bekko was still a frightened mouse, Yuuta was hopping around like a rabbit, Michiru was a shy gopher and Koyomi was a clapping seal that wouldn't stop clapping, much to Shito's aggravation.

"I'm sure he's just tired," Chika spoke referring to the zombie cat. "If we let him rest he'll listen to me again."

Shito gave his partner a look that clearly indicated that he would hold him to his word. He liked the faster way of simply shooting the cat, if preferably while Chika was holding him.

Noting Shito's dangerous irritation, caused partially by the trouble Chika and his cat brought, and partially by the lack of silence thanks to Koyomi, which was the cat's fault anyway; Kuze decided it was best to suspend all business activities for the day. "Take the rest of the day off, go home and rest, Shito-san. Chika-san and I will take care of making sure everyone else goes home."

Shito did not have to be told twice. He was very close to forcing his hand off Chika and shooting him for this one. He was glad to leave the Z-Loan office and the noisy clapping Koyomi behind.

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After Shito had left, each person was taken home. The students were safely delivered to their dorm rooms, with nothing more than a few strange stares from random people. This task was left up to Chika since he brought the cat. "Greed is never good," Kuze had said.

One after another, everyone was placed in the safety of their homes, with Chika pledging innocent and disclaiming all responsibility about any items they might break in their animal state.

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At the Z-loan office, Pochi and Cheshire were quite content playing with balls of yarn, other than them, Chika and Kuze, Bekko was the only one left in the office. "Does he live here?" When ever Chika saw the ferryman he was at the office. Early in the morning, in the middle of the afternoon or late at night, he was always there whenever he visited Z-Loan.

"Of course not, Bekko should be taken home as well but that is..." Kuze did not finish, she got up from her seat and glanced at Pochi and Cheshire. "Keep an eye on them." She then proceeded to pull Bekko, the mouse, out of his hiding place in a storage closet.

"You're taking him home?" Chika was curious, it was a curiosity easily to satisfy but difficult to disregard. "I want to go too! To help out I mean." His feigned guilt didn't work, but the sad kitten look knew no rival.

"Very well..." There was a certain undertone to Kuze's voice, as if she was about to teach the mischievous zombie a lesson, but Chika was too distracted thinking about what Bekko's house could look like to even consider the consequences of visiting it.

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"For how long have I been going in circles?" Time and space were two things that either did not exist or existed too much in Bekko's house. From the outside, it was it was an elegant mansion, just outside the city, but it was a normal building none the less, save for the size and luxury. Inside it looked normal at first, then it warped and tuned into an endless maze of darkness and light.

"Squeak!" Bekko was currently trying to obtain the cheese Chika had gotten when he passed the oversized kitchen, hoping to gain the upper hand when it came to babysitting the mouse ferryman.

"Bad mouse!" it was hard for Chika to control a mouse that was bigger than him, especially if kicking was not an option for several reasons. One of those reasons was upsetting Kuze, who knows what kind of secret powers a key keeper could have, and the other most likely one, was having his debt doubles, tripled or multiplied several times, more so than what was already expected when Bekko went back to normal.

It was that cat's fault, if Chika hasn't found the poor creature meowing sadly and doubted himself when he was about to guide the cat, he wouldn't be in this mess. Perhaps to say he doubted would be stretching it, it was more like the cat temporarily hypnotized him into thinking he was a fish. If he wasn't already dead he would have died of fright or lack of water, but then the strangely colored feline released him and Chika took it as an offering of friendship.

When Chika remembered Bekko's unique ability, he decided to turn him into a dog, just for a little while. A hound that could smell cash better than any other; a crazy idea he knew it; but it was those occasional crazy antics that made Chika feel alive, even if he was still a zombie buried in debt.

He wasn't making any progress and giving up on taking Bekko to his room to rest as Kuze instructed, Chika decided to throw the cheese.

Bekko scrambled after the cheese and ate it happily, looking quite strange from Chika's point of view. The zombie tried to retrace his steps but instead stumbled upon a door that hid glass stairs, much taller than the size of the structure seen from out side.

"We must go," spoke a quiet voice from the entrance to the room, where Chika stood gazing at the space beyond the door while Bekko ate his cheese.

"What is that place?" Chika thought about crossing the doorframe to that place, that mysterious unknown place.

"Stop!" That was much louder and firmer than usual and this time not even the look of the sad kitten could convince the chairperson to let Chika venture past that door. Before Chika could even try to get away, the door was shut and locked before him; Kuze was the keeper of the key after all. "I changed my mind." Chika didn't know what in the world Kuze was talking about.

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By the next day, Cheshire was in Kuze's care and the hypnotism problem was resolved. It was obvious that the home of Bekko the ferryman was not a common place, but Chika suspected that his true home was beyond that door with the spiraling glass stairs.

'I changed my mind...' Did that meant that Kuze initially was going to let Chika go past that door into that place? Chika didn't know what to think of it.

Things melted back into normalcy little by little and Cheshire remained in the care of Kuze; either that or he was already guided, Chika didn't know.

End of Definition 07

Disclaimer, I do not own Zombie Loan. Story inspired by Snow, who told me about Bekko's ability to smell money.