Instinctively, Pearl pressed herself closer to the building and tried not to be seen. She learned long ago not to get in people's way, not in an alley, not when they were in a hurry. Tightly, she shut her eyes, hoping that if she didn't see the runner, the runner might not see her.
The steps got closer and she felt herself get yanked up from where she sat. Her eyes flew open to see a blur of red bricks, a Desert Eagle handgun, and then seconds elongated as she watched three bullets propelled past garbage cans and filth, and buried into what looked to be an inferno turning the corner from the street and down the alley. Pearl tried to focus on what was chasing them, but in a blur, time caught up again and without missing a step, her and her assailant were careening down the alley and facing the lake again. Each step was surprisingly smooth. Pearl didn't weigh much, but it was as if the runner wasn't carrying anything at all.
They burst out of the alley and onto the cold, paved dock. The runner banked so hard to the right that his hand touched the ground to keep them on balance. Pearl was quickly and neatly placed against a wall by a pair of fingerless gloves. For a moment she looked into piercing blue eyes, framed by black hair. He nodded at her and then ran back toward the lake, turning to hold out his left hand, motioning her to stay where she was, and pulling out a katana with his right. His black trench coat whipped in the wind as he stopped and turned, directly in front of where the alley let out, the moon shone bright off the blade.
Fire spilled out of the alley way, and Pearl could now see the inferno in full. It was, or was in the shape of, a man, only four times taller. Pulling both of its arms back, the monster roared and the man's hair noticeably blew back, but his frame was unshaken. He stood in no particular stance, with his sword arm, hanging next to his right leg, and coat fluttering in the breeze. Both fighters stared each other down, and without warning the inferno barreled toward Pearl's rescuer. He, in turn, ran toward the beast, rolling beneath its hay-maker, slashing at its leg, and then rolling away again. The monster turned and roared in the direction of Pearl, making her cover her ears.
The man stood again, waiting for the fire beast's next move. It tried to grab him, but he leaped back onto a step and cut into its hands. To Pearl, there looked to be no damage done, but the monster roared again, and lunged forward, knocking the swordsman to the ground. The inferno got up with surprising speed and tried to slam the man into the cement, but barely missed as he rolled and got back to his feet. Pearl could see that the man was breathing hard, but if he was afraid, she could not see it in his eyes.
Away from her and the beast he ran, the monster quickly turned and chased after him. The man stopped short and faced the monster as it barreled toward him. Pearl sat confused as the man didn't lift his sword, or brace for impact or anything. He just stood there, as an inferno galloped toward him. Pearl's eyes got big, and her hands clenched just before impact, but then her assailant artfully dodged as the monster went tumbling into the lake. Her relief was burdened by the most horrible scream coming from the beast as its body boiled the water around it. It writhed for what seemed like forever, and then slowly bubbled into the water.
The man sheathed his katana and briskly walked toward Pearl. "Are you alright?"
"Why was that thing chasing you?" Pearl's voice shook uncontrollably.
The man chuckled, "Well, sometime graves are guarded by ghost stories and spiders, other times they're guarded by fire demons. Glad you're okay."