Why Kill? When Witches Can Be Tentacled!
The next morning, Snazzy looked a bit deflated, but strangely happy. After a somewhat brutal beating, the jellyfish laid facedown in the bed.
Maribell felt a bit guilty for the trouncing, induced by a moment of annoyance. Normally, she didn’t let things like that bother her, and Snazzy had, in fact, brought in a surprising amount of money, enough for their travel supplies. She sighed as his lingering thoughts of wanting to help her leaked out before he caved into unconsciousness.
Pulling Snazzy’s body close to her, she hugged the jellyfish to her chest, letting a small stream of mana flow to the injured sea creature. Maribell knew some low-level healing spells, essential for any traveler facing the unknown. However, it was slow acting, so it would take a while.
Too tired to stay up for much longer, she let the spell run its course as she climbed into bed with Snazzy pressed against her busom.
A light smile was hidden by her mounds as Snazzy dreamt of fluffy marshmallows and dakimakura. Waking up in this heavenly valley lifted his spirits, making him radiate with glee all morning.
As Maribell went around the town shops to pick up various supplies – preserved foods that wouldn’t spoil, new linens for sewing and mending, a dagger and tools for gathering – she placed them all in a giant satchel, which she slung onto her shoulder.
Just then, she realized that her surroundings were strangely absent of a particular jolly voice that had been zooming all around to check out the sights. From the little bits of conversation they had before, most of this was rather foreign to Snazzy. But given that he apparently came from a highly-advanced world that somehow managed without magic, it was like a historian’s curiosity piqued by studying artifacts.
Just where has he gone off to now?
After scanning the area, he found the creature happily chatting away with some housewife tending to a grocery stand. The two looked like they were hitting it off, as Snazzy picked up random veggies and swirled them around with a bright smile.
Apparently, blessed beings in various forms would sometimes show up in this world, bringing with them unique knowledge. That was why the townspeople looked on in curiosity when Snazzy brought out otherworldly ideas. For a familiar to be able to speak so well, it had to be a messenger from the beyond. They were somewhat revered in a sense. But that depended on who they sided with.
“Ah, Onee-san. Are you done with the shopping? I was just sharing some recipes with the nice and lovely lady here. Believe it or not, I did my fair share of cooking in my previous life. You learn a lot from your streamer friends who make videos of their travels. Especially, when you don’t have the chance to visit your homeland.”
Of course, Snazzy was referring to the While in Japan videos that one of his friends did, ranging from visiting local delicacies to specialty shops only in Japan. A sudden desire to visit a cat café brought a tear to his beady eye.
But watching those videos always made him want to imitate dishes that not even his parents recalled how to make. And those recipes were the current topic of conversation with the lady. Often, the right ingredients weren’t readily available where he lived, so he got decent at adapting things to what he had on hand. That made perfect conversation with a farmer’s wife that managed this stand.
“Thanks a bunch. I’ll be sure to give you a visit the next time we pass by! Until then, I hope your harvests stay as lovely as you are!”
Maribell stared at the woman in question, who looked positively bubbly as she waved goodbye. She looked to be in her late 30s, which seemed out of Snazzy’s age range… a rather silly thought to begin with between a jellyfish and a married woman!
Still, there was a glow to the woman’s face like she had just met a charming kid that made her feel young again. Maribell frowned as she teased him. “Laying on the praises a little thick there. What do you hope to accomplish?”
Maribell noted that he was not carrying anything in his feelers, so it was not like charming her led to some freebies. But Snazzy simply wagged a tentacle at her.
“What I’ve gained is not material. It’s the connection of people who see eye to eye with each other. It crosses the boundaries of man and woman, young and old. A moment where humans truly understand one another.” He puffed himself up in pride.
“But you’re a jellyfish.”
“Technicalities. I am a human in spirit!” Snazzy did a little jig to celebrate his distinctly human thoughts and actions.
As they were prepared to leave the marketplace, a sudden group of soldiers marched through the town square. Maribell’s eyes caught sight of their armor, the same ones that represented the Kingdom of Rhylimer.
Quickly, she grabbed Snazzy and hid her grimoire earring, turning away from the group to make an escape. But as she took several rushed steps forward, another group of soldiers filed in from the other side.
A trap? Did someone tip them off? Maribell tried to look casual, hoping that they would just pass her by.
“Hold it there! You with the strong mana signature! There are reports of a criminal that escaped from the City of Gosling. We are trying to bring her to justice, as she has slain our men in the escape...”
Ah. There was that…
Maribell had forgotten that the kingdom’s guards could simply spread the word that a murderer was on the loose. They didn’t even have to mention anything about Witches or the devastation that she had caused to the city. All they needed was a valid reason to act.
“A young lady with purple hair and fire magic… much like the reports say. Now tell me, are you the one in question? I can smell the remnants of burnt mana on you.” The soldier brandished his sword. In his other hand, a lightning spell crackled from a palm that he raised in caution.
Maribell cursed internally. Magenta hair was hardly a common thing. Not to mention, she was acting rather suspicious by covering the grimoire on her earlobe. Most likely, they made it seem like she had something to hide. She bit her lip as she struggled to keep herself from answering, as she was unable to tell anything but the truth. Instead, she tried to charge up a fire spell, but then, a blue blob with tentacles came between their locked gazes.
“Hold it right there! Objection!” Snazzy shouted, forming a gavel with his feeler.
The soldier eyed him with wide eyes. “A blessed beast! But of what nature?!” He took a step back to analyze the situation.
“Put that sword and magic away! I’m not a bad jellyfish, you know! Slurp!”
At that point, a few of the townspeople joined in from the marketplace.
“Yeah, he’s not a bad blessed beast!”
“He’s a cutie!”
“He’s a true man upon men!”
Shopkeepers, children, and even the guys that were gambling the previous night, came forward. Maribell looked around wondering when Snazzy had gathered such a crowd behind him. And then she realized, these were the people that he had been with whenever she caught him creating a scene.
“How dare you treat my Onee-san with such rudeness and disdain? She’s a nice girl and a promising magician!” Snazzy pointed a feeler at the soldier, accusing him of such.
“Yeah, any friend of Snazzy-chan is a friend of ours!”
“If he says Onee-san is a nice girl, then we believe him!”
“We can tell Onee-san and him are close!”
“How could you accuse Onee-san of such a thing?!”
As all the soldiers in Gosling that knew about Snazzy had been blown to bits, there were no reports of a jellyfish accompanying the criminal. There was no reason to think that some random blessed beast would be covering for her. Maribell scanned the thoughts of the townspeople, amazed that they truly believed in Snazzy.
If they love me, then by extension, they’ll come to love you too. Be glad! I’m giving you shoutouts and free positive publicity!
That had been what Snazzy said the day before. By charming the townspeople, he had basically made allies of them. Without any hard evidence, the townspeople sided with them over the soldiers.
“Just look at how precious and demure Onee-san is! She’s too scared to talk if you challenge her like that!” Snazzy floated confidently in front of the soldier.
By now, the other group of soldiers had heard the ruckus and joined into the deadlock. The townspeople gave them death glares, daring them to try something.
“Regardless if that is the case, we have reports of a criminal matching her description, a fire magic user burning down a large section of the city, killing many of our men! We have no choice but to determine the truth!” The soldier didn’t back down, his duty remaining firm. Likely, he had some friends among the casualties.
“Truth, huh? And you’re so certain of what you’ve heard so far that you’d discard all else for that truth? I’ll tell you now, that Onee-san was there that day!”
What the hell are you saying, Snazzy?! Maribell started to panic as not only would she have to fight now, but the townspeople would likely be dragged into it.
The soldiers around them started to draw their weapons.
“HOWEVER! Is it also not the truth that they attacked and tried to slaughter a possibly innocent girl, who’s a bit socially awkward? Were they not possibly trying to appease their bloodlust and secret desires by cornering a young girl on the grounds of they heard she was a Witch without making sure? Are you confident that she meant to harm people?”
The sword in the soldier’s hand wavered. “Accusing you as a Witch? Well, I-, those are heavy accusations. We have our duty to slay every Witch… so of course we would attack on sight…”
Snazzy saw that he had broken through. I can see the ending! his mind blared.
“Then, perhaps they were being overzealous? Chasing after a lady with false pretenses! Onee-san, did the scary men attacking you cause you to fend for your life?”
Maribell’s eyes widened. Finally, she saw where he was going with this. He had created a way for her to answer without the curse interfering. Looking at the soldiers with eyes full of fear, Maribell pretended that she was traumatized by the soldiers whose armor was the same as the men who had died. The same men who possibly tried to have their way with her. Tears fell from her eyes as she acted as the wronged victim of this witch hunt. That she had no other choice but to defend herself in fear.
“Yes, I had no choice.” She spoke softly, barely above a whisper. But her voice carried a weight to it. She could pull it off as the sorrows of the past months were laced into that one statement. To her, the very burden that she had wrongfully been placed in was no lie.
As the townspeople gathered around Maribell, shouting “Onee-san!” in encouragement and defending her from the soldiers, Snazzy turned toward her.
“As a blessed beast, I shall provide my aid to a girl who has been wronged, who does not deserve this kind of treatment! So stand up, Onee-san! Stand up and break through your fear! Show them that you are an amazing magician who won’t be trampled by the unjust people in society! By those that accuse you of things you aren’t!”
A strong glow emerged from Snazzy’s body, pumped up from his speech. As he bumped into Maribell, the same glow enveloped her as well. Once again, she could feel magic coursing throughout her body. From her huddled position, the air around her heated up and created a stifling haze, caused by flames licking against her body.
Her eyes glowed with a red hue as she brought up her hand. The townspeople backed away, knowing that they would only get in her way. The soldiers looked on in terror as the fireball grew larger and larger, until it looked like the entire town would be wiped out because of it.
“AHAHAHA! Behold the power of Onee-san! The great magician you tried to silence because of your misdeeds! Let everyone here know that a great power cannot be stifled. That those who try have found the wrong opponent!” Snazzy cackled as he danced before the shivering people. By now, everyone was trembling in awe of the fire spell.
The soldiers knew that even if they attacked and killed this Onee-san, that it wouldn’t stop the spell. There was a much higher chance that it would explode and kill everyone where they stood. Instead, they started to back away, as making distance would increase their chances of survival.
“Okay, I think that’s good enough. I’ll take over from here.”
All of a sudden, Snazzy leapt straight into the fireball, surprising everyone, even Maribell herself. But then, the fireball started shrinking and with a loud Pop!, the entire spell disappeared.
Everyone blinked as the slightly charred jellyfish floated back to the ground, burping up flames as he tried to contain the massive amount of fire that was just absorbed. Immediately, he fired a barrage of small fireballs that slammed into the ground before the soldiers, a warning shot to them.
“Ack! Even though I’m getting used to this, that one was spicy! What I wouldn’t do for some Pepto now!”
Everyone was in shock at the scene. But one thing was for certain. There was no doubt that Snazzy was quite the blessed beast. And he had saved everyone by absorbing the fire spell.
“Now, are you going to give us any more trouble?” Snazzy turned to the soldiers, spitting a few fireballs at the ground again for good measure.
“N-No, I think I understand the circumstances… Sorry for causing you such trauma, Lady Magician Onee-san. The Kingdom regrets targeting such a promising individual such as yourself.”
The soldiers saw before their eyes what the fury of a magician could lead to. Now, they had doubts about the integrity of those who had assaulted her in Gosling, leading to that outcome. A magician of that caliber was worth tens of the men that had been killed.
With a salute, the soldiers turned to leave. They would report their new findings, which would free Maribell from being treated as a criminal.
The townspeople swarmed Snazzy and Maribell after that.
“That was amazing, Onee-san!”
“You too, Snazzy-chan! To just take that spell and gulp it down like that!”
In the middle of the cheers for the two travelers, Maribell suddenly raised her hand, prompting them to pause what they were doing.
“Um… what is this, Onee-san? You all have been calling me that all this time.”
There was a collective silence among the group.
“That’s your name, isn’t it? Onee-san, that is,” one person asked.
“No, it’s Maribell. Maribell Schuzen.”
Everyone looked over at Snazzy, hoping for some answers.
“Ah… it’s a nickname… of sorts?”
Maribell squinted as she heard the true form of his statement.
Well, I didn’t exactly want to call her a thicc, hot older sister, so Onee-san just kind of rolled off the tongue. But come to think of it, is she older? Could she be a stacked imouto? That wouldn’t be bad eith- Ouchie!
Maribell whacked Snazzy at that point. Why did she bother to analyze his thoughts? They were just pointlessly dumb. However, she smiled anyway. He had done quite a bit to help her, even solving her big slip-up. His seemingly ludicrous goals suddenly didn’t seem so silly now.
As they waved farewell to the townspeople, Snazzy and Maribell headed off in a good mood. After they were a good distance away, Maribell turned to her jellyfish companion.
“You’re quite the smooth talker. Getting such a crowd to like you.”
Snazzy bounced happily from the compliments.
“Haha, that’s all part of being an internet personality. Knowing how to draw people to you, to work the crowd, and bring them to your side. I’ve had my fair share of debates and controversy, so it was just another day for the Amazing Snazzy-chan!”
“Thank you, really. I thought you were hopelessly troublesome, but there is some magic to your ways, isn’t there?”
“Yep, you better believe it! It’s my task to make sure you Witches have a better future!”
Maribell reached over and petted Snazzy on the head. “I bet you want a reward.” Immediately, the jellyfish bounced in anticipation. Picking him up, she placed him on her shoulder. Her hair brushed against his body, which felt velvety across his feelers.
Just like that, the two became real travel companions, ready to face what else was out there while searching for other Witches. It looked like the two had a similar goal in mind.
“Hey! Watch where that’s hanging over!” Maribell chided.“Oopsie, the feel of your hair is so nice that I kind of let them droop. My intentions are totally pure! I am a gentlemanly jellyfish!”