Riea opened her eyes and looked around the room. It definitely wasn't hers. It was Zach's. She could clearly see his random band posters that covered his white walls and the guitars that lined his wall, resting on the ground. His bookshelf was full of mangas and comics and other books. She was lying in his bed, covered by his lime green comforter. Trying hard to remember why she was here, Riea sat up. Then memories from the night before came flooding back. The fire, her parents' death, the walk to Zach's house filled her mind and it was too much. Riea broke down and cried.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door and it opened to reveal Zach standing in the doorway. He was looking worriedly at his best friend. He came over and sat down on the bed, wrapping an arm around the sobbing girl's shoulder. She curled into him and cried for a while. Pulling back, she wiped her eyes.
"The police said that you can come and get your stuff. The upstairs was untouched by the fire. Things just smell like smoke now, but that can be taken care of," Zach said softly. Riea nodded and got up. Going into the bathroom, she fixed her hair and smoothed the skirt she was wearing.
"Will you come with me?" she asked, turning to Zach. Zach nodded.
"Sure," he answered. He got up and escorted Riea down to the kitchen.
"There you are," Mr. Kingston said. "How are you feeling, honey?"
"I would tell you that I'm doing well, but that would be a lie," Riea said. "But I can say that I'm as well as to be expected"
Mr. Kingston nodded. "Do you want me to drive you and Zach down to the station?" he asked. She nodded. "Alright, grab something to eat and we'll be on our way."
The drive to the police station was quiet and uneventful with Riea looking out the window, watching New York pass her by. A few tears escaped, but for the most part, she kept her feelings locked within, not wanting to deal with them. Zach watched his friend with worried eyes. He could still clearly remember the walk home last night.
Mr. Kingston pulled up to the station and parked. "I'll wait here," he said. "You two go in. Zach, come and get me if you need me for anything." Zach nodded and got out of the car along with Riea. Entering the station, they walked up to the desk.
"Can I help you?" the man behind the desk asked.
"Yeah, I'm Astriea Clark and I heard you guys have my stuff from the fire last night on 66th street," Riea said.
"And how do you spell Astriea?" he asked.
"A-s-t-r-i-e-a," Riea answered. The man typed on his computer and then clicked on something.
"Here you are," he said. He handed Riea a clipboard. "Just fill out these forms. I'm afraid that only the things in your upstairs bathroom and bedroom were found. Everything else was too charred to be recovered." Riea gave a nod and quickly filled out the paper work. She handed him the clipboard when she was finished.
"Alright," he said. "I'll have some one bring your stuff up front." After paging for someone, three cops came up. One had two large garbage bags full of stuff in his hands and the others had only one and one of her violins. "Oh, and I must be inclined to tell you that your weapons collection shall be in our custody until we have proof of purchase and your paper work for them," the man behind the desk said.
Zach looked at the four bags. "Is that all?" he asked. "I'm sure she had more things."
"There's one more bag full of her pedals for her electric violin along with her binders and a couple purses," the cop that was carrying her acoustic violin. "We also have all her furniture, which we will gladly turn over to her once she finds a place to live."
"Well one of those purses might have my receipts for my weapons as well as my paper work for them," Riea said. She took the bag and violin away from the cop and set them down as she waited for him to retrieve the bag. After he returned and a while of shifting through her stuff, she gathered all of her paper work. "Here is my driver's license, my weapons license, the receipts for all my weapons, and my paper work on them."
"Wonderful," the man behind the desk said when she gave the stuff to him. He entered all the information and smiled when he handed her things back. "Everything checks out. We can give you the smaller items, like your swords and various daggers and the larger stuff, like your battle ax and spears will be returned to you with your furniture."
"Thank you," she said and waited as the cop once again left to retrieve her things. The cop came back carrying another garbage bag that had the handles of her swords sticking out. There was no doubt that her daggers and projectile were in the bag as well. Picking up her violin and the garbage bag, she led the cops and Zach out to the car. Mr. Kingston saw them coming and opened the trunk. Riea's bags were placed into the trunk as well as into the back seat of the car. Riea and Zach then climbed in and Mr. Kingston started the car. "Mr. Kingston?" Riea asked.
"Yeah?" he answered.
"Can we stop by my old apartment?" Riea asked.
"Are you sure you're ready?" Mr. Kingston asked. Riea nodded.
"I'm sure." Mr. Kingston nodded and back out of his parking spot and went to Riea's old apartment. Riea got out and told everyone to wait in the car for her. "I'll only be a minute," she said.
Getting out of the car, Riea walked through the front door and looked about her old home. The man at the station was right. Everything was burned out. But then something caught her attention amidst the ash. A bright read cloth was sticking out of a pile of ash where Riea remembered a blanket to be sitting. She went over and picked up the cloth and brushed some of the ash off to revile a kanji. Riea looked at the kanji and immediately recognized it. It belonged to her family's rival, Kenji Kuran. Gripping the cloth tightly, Riea's eyes narrowed. Stuffing the cloth into her boot, Riea got up and went out of the house, her face blank and got back into the car.
"You alright?" Zach asked as Riea got back in.
"Peachy," Riea said. When Zach gave her a look she added, "I'm fine, really. I needed that." Zach nodded. Riea was silent once again on the ride home going over everything in her mind. By the time Mr. Kingston turned off the car, there were three things she was sure of. One, the fire that killed her parents was not an accident. Two, Kenji Kuran was the one who ordered the attack. And three, she now had to go to Japan to avenge her parents' death and restore honor to her family by taking the life of Kenji Kuran.