Disclaimer: Hey there! Thank you for all your comments on my story! I just hope I still manage to captivate you with this story! So sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Oh and…sorry for the year long wait. I just lost some of my mojo for a while.


Summary: Set in the modern times of 09, Lord Asano a big-time drug dealer and ultra-rich head honcho is planning the biggest job ever. Those who dared cross his path meet their doom at the hands of Lord Asano's human dog.

A being with no remorse or any other emotions, Asano's beast reins terror over all those who wish to bring justice to the drug business.

After her escape, the girl Mononoke was found and cared for by the kind-hearted Ashitaka and was renamed as San. Now Ashitaka plans to teach and guide San through a carefree lifestyle, away from killing and bloodshed.

San, feeling in debt to her new friend, now places her loyalty and life in Ashitaka's hands.

Chapter 4: A Walk in the Park

San. It sounded nice, and it definitely wasn't a mouthful like the name Mononoke.

The newly-named San looked up at the brown-haired teen and nodded in approval. "I…l-like San." Ashitaka smiled in relief. "That's good. I'm glad that you like it."

San observed her new friend from head to toe then began running around the living room excitedly, as if she wanted to say something but could only express her excitement by running around in circles.

"San, calm down." Laughed Ashitaka as San jumped over the couch twice. She obeyed and stood still. Ashitaka thought for a moment before saying, "Would you like to come with me today? I'm sure you wouldn't like to stay cooped up in this apartment all day."

San tilted her head at the offer. "He's allowing me to get out without even giving me a job to finish? Does that mean…that he has no one to kill? Everyone does."

"San, it's okay to go out once in a while. I promise you that it's perfectly safe out there. You don't have to worry about anything." Reassured Ashitaka, lifting a hand toward San.

She recognized the gesture immediately; although he had done it just last night, San remembered how he reached his hand out as an invitation. Slowly, and cautiously still, she places her own hand in his as a gesture of acceptance.

Ashitaka smiled at the girl and nodded. "That's good. Don't worry, I promised that I'd teach you everything, didn't I?" San looked at him then nodded slowly. "You did…promise…"

The young man chuckled. "Yes, I know. Don't worry, I'll help you. Just ask me anything, okay San?"

Ashitaka then proceeded with cooking breakfast.

He watched how San observed his every move carefully as he fried the eggs and bacon. Once it was done, he set the food on two plates each and placed them on the dining table.

San had gobbled up her breakfast in a hurry and like last night, licked the plate clean.

Afterward, she gave Ashitaka a look of gratitude then pawed his shoulder while looking toward the door. "Out…?" Ashitaka grinned at his strange companion. "Of course. Let's go San."

The streets were busy when the duo left the apartment that day. Unfortunately for San, she was unable to relax with so many people around her. It made her feel…edgy, unsettled.

Noticing this Ashitaka placed a hand on her shoulder reassuringly but pulled back quickly when San whipped her head around to look at him. "Are you feeling uncomfortable?" He asked her.

San didn't reply and kept her eyes trained at every person who passes by. "Asano should've known that I've escaped. He'll send out one of his thugs to fetch me for sure. Besides…" She glanced at Ashitaka who was looking at her with concern. "…I've got to protect Ashitaka. Someone might harm him with so many people here. I owe him my very life after what he had done for me."

"San." The girl turned to look at Ashitaka. He gestured to a flower shop nearby. "Come with me. There's someone you have to meet." San obeyed and followed behind him quietly.

Sophie smiled in satisfaction as she placed the last bouquet in a vase. She had finally gotten the shop in order for the day after Howl had insisted that she leave it be, so that they could go home early that night.

The sound of the bell ringing made Sophie turn, ready to greet the first customer of the day.

When Ashitaka entered the flower shop, Sophie smiled. "Hello Ashitaka. Wasn't today you're day-off?" The teen nodded. "Yes. I just thought I'd visit today."

San cautiously stepped inside the shop, staring at the new surroundings. She had never seen flowers before, but they looked colorful and…nice.

Noticing the newcomer, Sophie smiled. "Who is this?" "A friend." Ashitaka said. "San, come on. I want you to meet my friend, Sophie Hatter."

San diverted her attention to her new friend and moved closer to the counter. She raised an eyebrow at Sophie, glancing at Ashitaka in question. He nodded and carefully placed a hand on the small of her back, nudging her forward slightly.

Sophie held a hand out to San, intending to shake hands with the new girl. To her surprise, however, San leaned in slowly and sniffed Sophie's hand.

Ashitaka cleared his throat, feeling awkward. How was he going to be able to explain that San was probably an abused, starved, and dog-raised girl?

San sniffed Sophie's hand, trying to observe whether this new person was really a friend of Ashitaka, or an enemy working undercover for an assassination. "You can't be too careful. I've seen, caught, and killed many spies and assassins while living with that no-good Asano." Sophie gave Ashitaka a look when San finished sniffing, seeming satisfied about something. Ashitaka shook his head in embarrassment.

"She was only trying to make sure it was safe. I think." He explained. The silver-haired woman did not seem to understand the exact concept of the explanation. However, the strange girl seemed rather pleased with herself when Ashitaka clearly understood her intentions. "What do you mean safe? Why would she sniff people's hands like a dog? It's highly…strange for a person to be doing that."

Ashitaka glanced at San who kept herself preoccupied by staring at the flowers in the shop and sniffing them. "I actually found her last night. I took her home with me and…"

"You took her to your apartment? That is really something that I did not expect from you, Ashitaka Emishi." Sophie rebuked. The teen shook his head. "No. I did intend to take advantage of San. I ran her over with my motor bike by accident, and when I went over to check on her, she attacked me."

"Is that why your arm has a bandage on it? And your left eye having a scar underneath it?" Sophie asked, gesturing to his right arm then at the spot under his left eye. Ashitaka nodded. "Yes. But she collapsed so I decided that it would be best to take her back with me. She seemed to have a hard time communicating. She had obvious signs of abuse and starvation."

Sophie relaxed. "I see. But why the tattoos?" Ashitaka looked over to where San was staring at a tiny cactus before she pricked her finger on its thorns when she tried to touch it out of curiosity and started snarling at the plant.

"I don't know." Ashitaka said finally. "I haven't had the chance to ask her why she had those markings on her face. But I will."

The bell ringing caught everyone's attention and Howl walked in, a big smile appearing on his face when he saw Sophie.

San narrowed her eyes at the new arrival and quietly followed at his heels.

"Hello Ashitaka. Visiting?" Asked Howl. Ashitaka nodded. "I was just explaining something important to Sophie."

Howl nodded. "All right. So, what brings you here today?" Before Ashitaka could answer him, Howl jumped then stared down at the floor. Sophie did the same and chuckled slightly.

Ashitaka followed their stares and felt his eyes go wide in shock; San was in a bending position and was sniffing Howl's pant leg. "San!"

The girl turned her attention back to Ashitaka who then slowly pried her away from Howl's leg. "You are not supposed to sniff people, San. They find it strange and unusual." He explained gently.

San glanced at Howl before shaking her head. "Dangerous." Ashitaka shook his head. "No San. They are not dangerous. They are my friends, they won't harm you."

San stared at him. "Harm you…" "No San. They won't harm you, I swear." San shook her head again and placed her hand on Ashitaka's face. "Harm you…"

Realization suddenly hit Ashitaka; San wasn't being cautious for herself, she was making sure that Ashitaka's surroundings were safe.

The teen chuckled. "They are completely nice people San. They helped me a lot." "Nice people…" San repeated quietly before turning back to sniff at Howl's jacket until she seemed satisfied that the raven-haired man was harmless and went to stand behind Ashitaka.

Howl made a face that obviously said that he had no idea what was going on. Sophie leaned forward to whisper in his ear. Howl's eyes went wide but relaxed after Sophie finished.

"Oh. So this is why you decided to visit. Your friend thinks that she's…a dog?" Asked Howl. Ashitaka shrugged. "It seems that way. She has a hard time speaking properly but she seems to understand what I'm saying and is learning fast. And she does seem to think she's some sort of guard dog. That's what worries me. She must have been brought up to act like a dog."

San looked at Ashitaka in surprise. "But…aren't I a dog?" She then pawed her new friend's shoulder in question. Ashitaka glanced at her, wondering about what she was trying to say.

"As you can see, she can't communicate that well. She seems to know several words but…otherwise she just acts her thoughts out."

San tilted her head at Ashitaka before running toward the entrance of the flower shop, running in a circle.

Howl raised an eyebrow and Sophie giggled. Ashitaka blushed slightly but understood that San still needs to be taught before he could comment on her actions.

"San, San please calm down. Can you tell me what you're trying to say?" Ashitaka asked slowly. San stopped running and looked up at him. Her eyes were bright with excitement as she yanked on the sleeve of his shirt with her teeth.

Sophie giggled at the sight. "She may be strange, but she certainly is adorable." "You have a strange taste in women, Ashitaka." Commented Howl.

The youth blushed at this and attempted to calm San down. "Please slow down San. What is it you're trying to tell me?" "See…more…go!" She said, struggling with her words.

Ashitaka let out a chuckle. "Right, I did say that I was going to show you around, huh?" San understood clearly and began running in circles once again, obviously excited to see more of the outside world.

"Don't keep your friend waiting for too long! You need to allow her to get out and see the sights!" Said Sophie with a grin. Howl let out a laugh. "That's right, dogs need to go walks so don't keep yours waiting."

Sophie elbowed him harshly before nodding to Ashitaka. "Go on now."

San yanked on Ashitaka's arm excitedly and ran in circles around him, making little yelping sounds.

The brown haired teen sighed before nodding at San who quickly ran out the door, staying nearby waiting for Ashitaka to follow.

"Well, don't keep her waiting." Sophie reminded the teen. Howl chuckled behind her.

Ashitaka nodded at them and headed toward the door. "I'll see you two later."

San stood outside the door patiently as Ashitaka left the flower shop. "Are you ready to go?" San nodded anxiously and yanked on Ashitaka's arm.

With a laugh, Ashitaka led his new companion down the street.

During their walk, Ashitaka has suggested that they take a break and grab a bite to eat. San had been all too excited to fill her stomach again. This made Ashitaka wonder just how long she was forced to go on without food.

Ashitaka led San over to a hotdog stand and asked if she like it with mustard or ketchup, or both. San stared at him curiously. He simply chuckled and made San try a hotdog with both mustard and ketchup. San had enjoyed it immensely.

To the hotdog vendor's shock, the strange girl had asked for and eaten a total amount of five hotdogs. Her male companion simply smiled apologetically and paid for every hotdog his friend consumed.

Now as the two strolled casually in the park, Ashitaka couldn't help but glance at San every now and then, and chuckle whenever she decided to chase down a squirrel, or at least attempted to. The girl was stranger than anything he had ever encountered before; the way she moved was always cautious, posture tense and senses aware of their surroundings.

Curiosity got the better of Ashitaka as he finally got San to stop running after wandering squirrels and sit down beside him on the bench.

"San…" Ashitaka started, "Where did you come from? I mean, don't you have a family you need to return to? Won't they be worried?" San stared at him for a long moment, trying to find a way to explain to him with her limited knowledge of speech.

"I doubt he'll understand what I'm saying. It's too bad I can only communicate efficiently—to myself anyway—in my head.

Ashitaka watched as San seem to go into a debate inside of her head and waited patiently for her answer. Finally, the girl looked at him again and sighed. "Don't have a…home."

"Why not? You must have come from somewhere." Ashitaka said, surprised by the girl's answer. San shook her head. "Came from…cellar. Old home is in cellar."

Ashitaka was taken aback by this. She came from a cellar? What did that even mean?

San sensed his confusion and huffed. "Learned to speak a little, understand little by listening. Henchmen talk too much every day. I hear all kinds of words; learn on my own. Henchmen swear too much."

"Henchmen? San what are you talking about?" Ashitaka asked, now more confused than ever. "If I tell him too much, Asano will try to dispose of him. I can't let that happen, not when I just have found a person who treats me with respect." San thought.

Ashitaka tilted his head slightly. "Were you abused by your family? You don't have to tell me if you don't want to." Ashitaka said when San growled. "Not my family! Don't have one! Henchmen did this to me! Every day, they beat me as punishment."

"San, who beats you? And why do you keep calling them henchmen?" "Too dangerous! Can't tell you everything!" San growled warningly.

Ashitaka shook his head. "San if someone at home beats you, you have to tell someone! You need find some help or they might come after you every single time." San sighed. "It's not home. It's…"

She could hardly find the words to express the place she had been kept in for all her life. "It's a… It's…hell!"

Ashitaka's eyes widened at San's words. She simply shrugged. "I told you… Henchmen swear too much." "But why? Please tell me, San." Ashitaka said, looking at San in the eye.

"He's persistent. But if I give away too much, he might get himself killed by Asano. Maybe…just a little bit might be safe…"

"Old master's dangerous." San stated simply. Ashitaka raised an eyebrow. "Master?" "I am guard dog; I kill whoever they tell me to."

Ashitaka felt his breath quicken. San knew how to kill? She may have given him a scar under his left eye and bit him arm the other night, but San looked nothing like a killer. And she was too young. Then again, San's knowledge of attacking an assailant like she had him the other night seemed to be evidence enough. Still, Ashitaka refused to believe San was a heartless killing machine.

"Your old master, what does he do?" Ashitaka asked suddenly.

San seemed to be expecting that type of question to come out. "Bad medicine and powders… I think… Henchmen call them…" She thought for a moment. "Drugs."

Ashitaka felt his eyes widen at the revelation. San was the human guard dog of a drug lord?

"He probably wants to give me the boot now." San thought with a sigh. To her surprise however, Ashitaka simply placed each of his hands on her shoulders and looked at her directly; his expression serious but in no way angry or resentful.

"What did they do to you when you were with them?" San flinched back in surprise but answered anyway. "Never go out unless needed for hunting enemies, stay in cellar always, only eat three times in a month, get only extra table scraps if killings are perfect, punishment with weapons if dog is misbehaving, try to run away and old master shoots me with dart gun."

"But you managed to escape last night, that's why you had a lot of wounds on your body?" Ashitaka asked. The girl nodded. "You run me down with bike later."

Ashitaka blushed. "Yeah. I'm sorry about that San. I didn't see you, you were moving so fast." San tilted her head in confusion. "He's apologizing to me? This is new. Very new."

Suddenly, the he brown-haired teen asked, "What happened to your family?" "Don't have family, born as guard dog." San answered bluntly. "Then that means you have never seen your family?" Ashitaka asked. The girl thought for a minute, not seeming the least bit sad. A heartbreaking sight; a girl that never knew at least the name or history of her family that she did not even frown about it.

"Only see old master and henchmen. Very ugly sight." She said finally. Ashitaka chuckled; at least she wasn't feeling wrathful.

"And what about these?" He mentioned to San's red tattoos. "Marks of dog. Means I'm guard dog that belongs to old master.

"Maybe I should begin with teaching you how to speak properly. By the way you're talking; you already seem to have made good progress on your own." Ashitaka said, earning a surprisingly satisfied grin from San.

"Well…let's start with some simple words and a simple lesson with grammar and vocabulary. You'll be able to learn a lot in no time." Ashitaka said. San tilted her head slightly and listened.

Ashitaka went on talking about how to speak properly and how to speak straight sentences. San listened carefully as if absorbing every word Ashitaka was saying, as if she was obtaining complete combat lessons.

When the young man finished, San had a thoughtful look on her face.

"Don't worry. You'll get better at it soon, in the mean time just practice." Ashitaka said. San nodded and got up from the bench. Ashitaka followed and gestured. "Let's go home; it's been a long day." San followed close behind as the young man headed back to his apartment.

Well, there's the fourth chapter. Sorry for the SUPER LONG wait. I had been working on my newest Princess Mononoke story, Spirit Heart.

So I hope you like this chapter, and I'll try to improve a few things. I had been busy with college but I'm on vacation now.

So… Until Then…