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  • Аннотация:
    Turns out that monsters really exist! They live in the neighboring world and periodically visit ours to resolve family problems. When Aria Oroi, student of Art Academy, touched the stone of Fall, she falls into a mysterious world where everything run by the monsters. Now Aria must somehow find her way back home, and find out, who are the mysterious Sai, and uncover the secret of the Black Tower.

  
  
   Prolog
  
  
   He stood over her and watched her body trembling. A pale face distorted grimace of fear mixed with rage and helplessness.
   Now her inner world burned, torn apart and die.
   Human nature is up to leave the mind that suddenly realized that he was not born among men.
   Shaman, which met this child, awakened her blood, and now ... now there was no turning back. Among the people, waiting for her only death.
   "Drink..." he rolled up his sleeve and looked into her eyes, brutalized by fear, anger and pain.
   At first, the answer was a hiss - a girl sneerd, huddled in a corner. He shook his head, seeing as girls body sways with the slightest movement.
   "Drink my blood or you will die..." calmly he repeated, still looking into her eyes. "You are no more turning back."
   The girl blinked, took a couple of steps forward and dug her teeth into the hand of Man. He just nodded and whispered.
   "Everything will be fine, Amarna. Everything will be alright."
  
  
   Part 1
  
   Autumn usually comes along with frost. Riot of color fades under the breath of the northern winds, sun hides behind the clouds more often, painting world into downcast grey tones.
   But autumn also brings rains, gold and crimson colors, meetings of old friends.
   Like today, after having a good long talk during break, Aria came up to the roof, enclosed for safety reasons with transparent net. From there she watched the city life, enjoying the last moments of passing summer.
   Soon enough they will not let anyone onto the roof, when Season of Rains will rightfully invade their small, but busy city.
   Aria sighed, clenching thin chains of the net with her fingers.
   In the schoolyard, right under the fence, old oak spread its luxuriant crown. It shed his leaves last, pleasuring students and teachers for couple more months with lush bright fire-red color of its crown. But today melancholy of Aria could only possibly relieve sunshine, sliding over the surface of the sea - sweet memory from the summer time.
   Today she was in the new school uniform, spick and span; new pens and pencils in the pencil case; new bag over the shoulder. But all, what Aria wanted was just to recall once more of the passed, once again, summer. That was the reason why she climbed the fourth floor of this rectangular building: school No129, specialized school of foreign language study. But, this was just a plain title, nothing more. Language lessons were taking just a bit more of the school schedule, than, lets say, mathematics. Everyone, whom Aria wanted to see today, she already met, talked about passed summer holidays, sea vacation and upcoming school year.
   Aria stepped a little bit closer to the safety net. Right before her feet stretched clean schoolyard, roads and lawns, planted with flowers; further until horizon stretched out countless echelons of stereotyped buildings, lashes of grey asphalt. Passers-by appeared here and there, crossing the pedestrian crossing, measuring the pavement with each step.
   Monotonous, anonymous life of alien to her people, colorful cars, rectangular houses, though they all shared one city called very exotic East Garden to each other, these people and she were completely strangers. Society to some extent had no need in Aria, so she calmly got along without its attention.
   Let them live, run to school, work and shopping, wander through the rows of display cases, look into the windows of the first floors, and ride on a beautiful sedans and SUVs.
   Aria allowed herself to smile and raised her eyes to the sky. Sun immediately dazzled her gray-blue eyes.
   The girl fell into the memories of leisure time, light, salty waters of spaciousness, the white beach and colorful lounge chairs.
   Behind her came a rustle. Very light, as if someone picked up a paper bag being spilled. Aria decided to ignore it.
   Who know who else took into head to get out and get some fresh air, besides until break lasts, no one will try to order her into the stuffy rectangle class.
   "You know, carelessness has always been your shortcoming," Said someone and this time girl simply couldn't not to turn around.
   She turned around just to meet gazes with an unknown young man. First thing, what Aria noticed to herself was, what stranger was tall and fully dressed in black. Eye-shine of this slim swarthy stranger's disturbed heart for some reason, but Aria could not understand what it was.
   His smooth, light-skinned face seemed to her unfamiliar, unlike saturated piercing blue eyes.
   Such could only be obtained if one wore special tinted contact lenses. Young man was very cute and surely a lot of Aria's female classmates would like him. His clothes were fresh, ironed, clean, throughout was seen certain charm, but he was clearly not dressed for the weather.
   Aria was without a jacket in a blouse with short sleeves and checkered skirt, and even like this she felt hot. How this strange guest could stay under the midday sun, in dense long coat and a black suit underneath it - remained unclear.
   But he seemed quite happy, very calm and confident.
   "I beg your pardon?" Aria replied, though at first she wanted to remain silent.
   "Greetings, Amarna," in a smooth, clear voice continued dark-haired man.
   Aria's eyes widened, as she heard this name not the first time and not only from his lips.
   She leaned her back against the net, hammered into the floor. For a second all jumbled up inside, as if someone took her mind and stuffed it into a blender, mixing all up heavily.
   Now, Aria was silent, her fingers clutching smooth bars, not taking eyes off the self-confident, impassive stranger.
   He did not come closer, to the delight of Aria, but was not going to leave anywhere also.
   Autumn breeze what has brought along a scent of an early cold and the latest flowers, stirred gently curls of a black hair disbanded behind the back of the girl, and the wings of a long old-fashioned cloak of the stranger.
   "I was waiting for this meeting. For long five centuries." Stranger said evenly, remaining motionless under the breath of the increased wind.
   Aria felt chills - from the sudden breeze and the steady gaze of the man, and from unclear emotions, filling her.
   "Only Amarna has the power to handle the upcoming disaster," continued the Stranger in the same steady voice. Aria remained by the fence. Having no courage to run anyway, she have found the courage to answer.
   "What are you talking about?" Aria decided to pretend. Sometimes a sweet lie can be preferred over a bitter truth.
   "Time for you to come back," he moved finally, stretched out his right hand to the girl, invitingly beckoning her towards him.
   However, Aria had no intention to go anywhere, especially with this particular suspicious person, especially now.
   "I'm not going anywhere" she said, turning her eyes to the picturesque town.
   When she turned back to the mysterious stranger, he has appeared in front of her, so close that the heart of the girl sank in chest. Aria tried to retreat, but there was nowhere to.
   Blue eyes of the stranger, of color of sea ultramarine, were creating a pressure on the girl, as if she was under the muzzle of the gun; there was no way to ignore their stare.
   "Go away!" Aria forced a whisper, feeling alarm rising inside, " Go away, before I didn't call for help! "Whom do you call? Here, only you and me," his undisturbed face lit up with a strange, ominous smile.
   "I will find someone to call!" Boldly replied frightened girl, trying to hide her fear deep in her heart. But he could see it - his eyes looked straight into her soul, distinguishing its slightest vibrations.
   "I would not advise you to rebuke me," he whispered into her face, Aria had no words to respond to him.
   Fortunately, they were not needed. From the direction of the metallic door and stairs leading to the roof came crashing sound.
   Was such a feeling, as if a truck has hit a wall of a building on a full speed and had no intention to stop. The ground shook under the feet.
   Glance of Aria rushed to the exit of the sun-drenched roof.
   Directly in front of dyed in gray and white tones wall collapsed something very big, bulky and uneven.
   It writhed with terrible force, pounding on the wall and bounced on the roof.
   If to some student, senior or junior, took it to climb to the roof now, a wave of terror would certainly have overwhelmed him.
   Monster similar to that now desperately fluttered in the sunshine by deploying layers of his skin, you could only see on television in the night horror film.
   "It has began," whispered Aria, sighing in annoyance. When she turned eyes to her unusual companion, the man had already disappeared.
   On the flat roof there remained only she one-on-one with a monster from a nightmare.
   Normal girl school student probably would have screamed, fainted or fled aimlessly. But Aria remained firmly standing by the fence, watching as the creature reveals, shedding one chrysalis after another.
   In another way, it would not have penetrated to this remote world, at this time.
   Layer upon layer of transparent slime flowed, covering that part of the roof, where it appeared, with a smooth crust.
   "Aria!" The voice came from the door, belonging to a young girl in a school uniform - one of the classmates of Aria.
   Aria's attention shifted from terrible, hungry and disgruntled monster nearly extricating from protective layers to the blond-brown girl with a kind face and blue eyes.
   The girl smiled cheerfully. Her eyes quickly found her friend near the mesh netting, and she waved hand, quickly climbing up the stairs.
   Soon she will be on the roof and then turns out to be dangerously close to the eerie slime-covered creature escaping to the outside world.
   "No, Rina! Stay there!" In despair Aria started screaming and waving her hands, trying to warn her friend.
   But the girl only smiled and skipping rushed toward her death.
   "No!" shouted again Aria, before she realized that Rina can not hear her.
   "What are you talking about? I can not hear!" she pointed to the ears, behind which flashed two tight ponytail.
   Aria swore silently in all colorful words that could know, but not applied in the speech.
   "Rina, freeze, now!" Aria cried when the legs of her friend stepped on the gray surface of the roof. Rina did not even look around, hurrying to her dear friend to chat.
   Suddenly, right under her feet spilled white mess of goo and slime.
   Rina did not understand what happened looking at her brand-new dress puzzled and frustrated, and then looked up and screamed.
   Female heart-rending cry filled all four floors of the school, echoes reflected in the hallways, getting into the noisy audiences through the windows.
   "What's this? " Behind the back of girl's appeared heads of curious schoolchildren, boys in jackets and girls in beautiful blouses.
   Rina could not even breathe from fear, motionless she looked at creature, fluttering at the distance of arm's length from her.
   Huge, covered with slime, smelly and growling - it somewhat resembled tailless fish with a very long neck, and very hungry eyes.
   "What is it?" whispered students of junior classes, watching from behind the backs of their older comrades, who did not dare to come closer and take away frightened peer.
   The creature finally freed itself, opened its thin wet wings, rose on two narrow legs and stretched long neck.
   It looked right, left, focused the sight on the nearest girl and opened an elongated maw full of sharp fangs.
   Rina again yelled in an unnatural voice and staggered backwards, but tripped and fell on her back. "Monster? Beast! " Voices of schoolchildren poured out of the corridor.
   The most daring of them rushed to the helpless Rina, picked up her by the arms and dragged back to the exit.
   "Call someone! Police!" Wailed dyed blonde most beautiful girl of the school, who served as deputy head of the school board.
   "Flee!" Aria addressed all too curious students, but the guys who paid attention to it, only began to stick their fingers, panic and the exchange words.
   A monster of absolutely ungainly forms turned his neck to her, staring with enormous dull eyes directly at Aria. Then it hissed like a snake, but much fiercer and louder.
   Seemed it sensed her presence, because turned back to the school children crowding near staircase and rushed straight to Aria, clinging to the fence.
   It remained a matter of moments before a dull, long snout with sharp fangs would sink into her snow- white blouse.
   Aria closed her eyes, hearing the cries of classmates and other children, their cries and lamentations, the roar of a furious monster racing to her, beating of her own heart.
   "No, Aria!" Rina came to her senses after the shock and began to break out of the hands of the head of the council, who came to rescue before the rest of others on her scream, and reach hands toward her friend.
   "Let go! She must be saved! Aria!" She was crying so loudly that even the creature stopped and turned its gaze towards previous victim.
   The creature was terribly hungry, and, frankly, it didn't care much, with whom to initiate its meal - a strange girl from school number 129 or a group of children of different ages crowding near the doorway. Aria understood - there was no time left to think, she had to act - desperate to save the school children and Rina.
   "Hey! I'm here!" She called, holding out her hand towards a monotonous monster. She ran, but not from him, but towards him. Aria fingers clutched the gray muck of his improvised shoulder, sticking in a single thrust, all ten claws that had grown on her graceful arm in the same moment.
   Monster curved, striking the tail on the ground and roared in pain.
   "What is she doing?" amazed one of newly appeared witnesses, pointing to Aria winding and dodging feet and tail of unusual creature.
   And Aria was actually fighting.
   Elegant, like a whip, tail hung over her shoulders and the girl had to jump aside to avoid its stroke, part of the roof on the strength of which split and formed a crack.
   "Wow!" amazed all the the same eyewitness. Rina turned pale and became like a plaster doll, her hands clasped to white. She could not believe that it was her dear friend there, fighting with the nameless monster, her peer. And that she with every stroke became less and less similar to a human...
   Aria felt suffocated for a moment, when paw of the monster crossed with sharp claws by her shirt, but she managed to get away by diving under the predator and jumping out at his back.
   She ran to the opposite edge of the roof and from there began waving her hands, beckoning to the furious monster.
   "Hey! Overgrown slug! Here I am! Catch me if you can!" in a loud voice cried Aria and the monster in the liquid peel crawled to her. Its motion was too quick, as though of a spineless.
   But Aria was ready - her claws had grown to the desired length, her eyes blazing invisible in bright sunlight, her hair discreetly rearing, acquiring imperceptible volume.
   Amarna - was not human, she was not mortal, and blood streaming in her veins was not red.
   Only up to today no one knew about it.
   No one knew also about the fact that Amarna and Aria Howard are the same person, only in different visual "packaging". It is not necessary to speculate about how much makeup or right choice of clothes can change the appearance.
   About that Amarna was not born in this quiet town, knew only two, and both were her blood relatives.
   And now about that Aria Howard is abnormal will whisper the whole city, the entire school fraternity. "Come on, come to me! " Smoothed folds of the checkered dress were scattered in the wind, playing waves. Hair militantly wavered behind, in a lush black wave.
   If anyone from the school could look into the eyes of their "classmate" then would be horrified at what they would see there.
   Pupil in them becoming narrowed similar to a serpent's, and the eye itself was shadowed by a blood- ginger shroud.
   When the stinking breath of "slug" has poisoned the close air, and its crooked teeth were hanging just above the head of the girl, she jumped at the beast, pressing both hands into its chest, pushing with all her weight on the mucus-covered skin.
   Slender fingers, like claws of a vulture, got to the soft tendon, and cut it.
   The creature reared, desperately trying to shake off a stubborn opponent, but did not manage.
   The next instant second hand of Aria dug into veined flesh to the elbow, and tore up similarity of heart pulsating inside.
   The alien had no time to even make a sound, collapsing on the ground in a pile of dead flesh, dousing fountains of slime onto the gray roof of the school building.
   Aria quickly gathered breath, getting up from knees and at the same time casually flicking away the remnants of mucus.
   About the purity she could forget, and say goodbye to new things. All of it from head to toe was mired in foul transparent slush - that replaced blood of the jelly monster.
   But the skirt she still decided to shake off.
   Schoolchildren, meanwhile whispered earnestly, deciding among themselves how to relate to what they have seen there. Maybe it's a mass hallucination or a consequence of some disease? Others in terror glanced at the girl who defeated the monster, talking with friends. Third limply applauded.
   Rina did not even approach.
   Aria looked at the huddled together in a dense ring crowd and a heavy sigh escaped from her chest. Normal life was finished for her. She could not turn everything around.
   People saw her true appearance, albeit not full, too many witnesses had this unusual school fight. Fear was literally in the air, filling the autumn air with delicate fragrance of tickling and bitter cumin. Of cumin also smelled the stranger from before, who must have brought here this creature. Only his smell was very different from the plume of the terrified crowd.
   His aroma Aria could now never forget, luscious and acute, it smelled of spices and ... cumin.
   From defeated monster was not was nothing left but wide puddles on the gray roof. But in the memory of all those people her triumphant battle will be captured for years to come.
   You can not scroll, like film, their experiences and to cut out the bits you want.
   She was discovered, and that means it's time to go.
   The girl turned her back to the assembled crowd, and glanced down at her feet. On this part of the roof the protective fence has not been installed and before Aria stretched the city from a height of four and a half floors.
   She, without hesitation, stepped into it, hearing behind her back alarmed cries, words and even pleading, seems, she was called by Rina.
   Girl finally came to senses and ran after the desperate girl, but when she ran together with the head of the school board to the edge, she did not found smashed body of Aria on the school track below.
   The girl had disappeared without a trace, as if dissolved in air.
   All around was the only city with its ever vibrant and bustling streets, and in the air was scent of autumn and freshness of the wind. 
  
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