Why Kill? When Witches Can Be Tentacled!
Instinctively, Maribell turned around and kicked the nearest guard in the chest. Stumbling back several paces, his lower back struck the railing of the bridge, which stopped him from tipping over. But before he could let out a sigh of relief, a blue blob crashed into his face, sending him tumbling into the murky depths.
Everyone ignored the sound of his wailing before it was cut off by a loud splash. As the other guard charged forward. Maribell had already started chanting a spell under her breath, letting loose a flaming swirl that collided into him. Fortunately for her, the guards on duty were rather inexperienced, so even that was enough to send the man flying off the other end of the bridge.
I have to kill them quickly before they raise the signal!
Knowing that she had to act fast, Maribell quickly charged another spell for the remaining man, the one that had identified her as a Witch. She couldn’t let her short-lived freedom be stripped away already!
However, she froze as the final guard stood right over the bell that would notify the inner castle wall. As soon as he struck it, a good portion of Adelton’s forces would come swarming out of those doors. Maribell knew approximately how many armed guards and magicians inhabited this city. It was far too many for her to tackle, even with Snazzy’s boosts.
The best option was to run far away, to lose the battle and settle for her true identity as a Witch to become public once again. But given that Adelton was home to a rather strong guild, eventually adventurers would also hunt for her. She would have few places to hide as information spread tremendously fast through the guild branches.
In other words, Maribell was done for. Her life was now effectively over.
However, the Gods apparently threw her a stroke of luck.
The man standing over the bell gave off a sinister smirk. His hand retreated from the bell and moved to draw his sword instead, much to her surprise.
“How very tempting. A Witch before my very eyes! Surely, this will look quite favorable to the Priesthood!” A look of greed oozed from his expression. It was obvious at that point to Maribell that he intended to take the credit in capturing a Witch for himself. He stepped forward, sizing up his opponent with bloodshot eyes, as if craving for something he was missing.
Maribell had a sense of what it was. There were few people in this kingdom that had the ability to detect demonic power from a dormant grimoire. The fact that he was able to and his mention of the Priesthood in such a way meant only one thing. He had been part of that organization.
The man in question had received training as a priest for the sacred sect of clergymen that devoted themselves to purifying demonic power. However, the fact that he was a guard stationed here meant that he no longer worked for them.
“Augusto, thrilled to have this tasty opportunity.” The man spoke in devious cackles, hardly the definition of how priests should act. Rather, he sounded like a predator hungering teasingly over a scrumptious prey.
Augusto’s looked quite young still, from what Maribell could see from his uncovered face. That eliminated the possibility that he had retired from service. Priests were typically bound to duty until they could no longer travel.
The other way someone with priest training could be here was if he had been kicked out of the sect, after committing some kind of taboo. That was what Maribell suspected, as Augusto’s selfish decision to tackle her alone was probably to regain his previous standing.
Yet, she couldn’t be more relieved. That one bad decision had given her a chance. She quickly released the spell that she was casting, watching as the spiraling flames raced across the cobblestone before slamming into Augusto.
A loud bang resulted, but it was not audible enough to attract the attention of those inside the city walls. If she could slay these witnesses, a quick retreat to return another day would save them from being pursued. Three corpses burned by fire magic would hardly be any evidence to pin it on her.
Still, something about the situation didn’t sit well with Maribell. He had allowed her to attack too easily. Even as greedy as someone could be to take back their position, executing such a bold task meant a confidence in winning against a Witch alone. That was hardly something one would do half-heartedly, unless they were a blithering idiot.
Maribell bit her lip as the figure standing among the smoke hadn’t moved at all. Augusto’s fist was held out, and a tiny sparkle shimmered from a ring upon his finger.
“Blast, I knew it!” Maribell’s instinct had been correct.
Upon Augusto’s hand was the Ring of Nullification, a special charm that priests carried to combat against Witches and demonic power. It had the ability to nullify nearly anything magical in nature thrown at them. One would simply have to thrust the ring at the spell in question for it to cancel out. It was the very bane of a magician’s existence.
But Maribell hadn’t expected for an excommunicated priest to possess one still. All possessions given by the Priesthood were normally stripped at that point, and the Kingdom of Rhylimer was careful to keep these high-class items from falling in the wrong hands. She had counted on that, but somehow, this man slipped one by.
Unbeknownst to Maribell, Augusto had filched a ring from a deceased priest in the past, before shoving the carcass into a ravine. He had simply kept the spare when he was kicked out.
With a snide grin, Augusto dashed forward with his sword raised, taking a swipe at her. Maribell barely had time to dodge away as the heavy iron blade sliced through the air, making a nerve-racking swoosh near her ear.
With her magic useless, she could only rely on her combat skills. But against a trained priest, who excelled at swordplay, that was a quickly losing battle. Maribell swiped with her hunting knife, but the man easily dodged out of the way. He smacked the back of her hand with his gauntlet, causing her weapon to tear away from her grip. The metal knife clanked on the ground a few meters away.
Just then, Snazzy tried to pounce on Augusto, but a swift slice to his face sent the poor jellyfish bouncing away like a rubber ball. “Wahh!!!” he cried as he skipped across the paved stone. Fortunately for him, Snazzy had guarded with his now-shaven tentacles to blunt the swing.
“Snazzy! Stay back! He’s too strong!” Maribell cried as she leapt away from another strike.
“What a stupid name for your familiar there, Missy. But don’t you think you should pay attention to me a little bit more? Otherwise, one of those pretty legs or arms might get hacked off… though, that might make it easier to have a bit of fun with you before I turn your Witch carcass in and reclaim my role!”
Maribell shot him a glare of disgust as she saw Augusto lick his lips. Certainly, he had the eyes of a craven beast that indulged in such corrupt pleasures. But Maribell had no idea how right she was.
Augusto had lost his priesthood for exploiting his position out of his own desires. Given that priests had the authority to accuse women as Witches and hunt them down, a person in that position with a wicked heart could do as he pleased. Augusto had found the Priesthood suitable for acting on his pent-up whims.
After he swiped a ring from a dead priest, he was no longer afraid of being kicked out. He flaunted his position to threaten women to do his bidding; otherwise, the accusations of being called a Witch and death hung upon their shoulders.
Eventually, he made a mistake, trying the same tactic on a nobleman’s daughter. Caught red-handed and stripped of his role, Augusto escaped with the spare Ring of Nullification before his sentence. Not long ago, he made his way to Adelton. Spending his time outside of the city during the day, hardly anyone would recognize him once he decided to flash his ring once again.
A shiver went down Maribell’s back as the creepy grin grew wider and wider at his growing advantage. But then, she noticed that part of her trembling had also been due to a tendril brushing against the front of her chest.
“What are you doing, Snazzy?! What happened to be gentlemanly?!” she shouted as she realized that the jellyfish had adhered to her butt. Its tendrils dug underneath her blouse and slithered around her stomach, much to her discomfort.
“It’s an emergency, so I’ll say sorry as much as I can later!”
Maribell could feel Snazzy smacking against her butt and rubbing her all over as she dodged out of the way of Augusto’s attacks. But even if Snazzy’s boost could pep the both of them up, that was still pointless with the Ring of Nullification in play.
“What are you even thinking?! You’re making it REALLY hard to dodge!”
Certainly, with Snazzy’s head smacking against her rump, a look of utter bliss seemed to be on the jellyfish’s face. Apparently, not even the frenzy of a battle could keep him from getting in the mood.
“Hasn’t anyone ever told you not to distract a man as he reaches Nirva-NAAAAA!!!” With a cry, Snazzy glowed brightly, which in turn showered Maribell with a renewed strength. Immediately, she noticed that her steps grew lighter as she made a sudden leap away from Augusto.
Oh right, I had completely forgotten about this feeling!
In addition to boosting her magic strength, Maribell’s condition was not only restored, but her body also felt like it could move beyond its normal capabilities. Since only magic was used the previous times, she didn’t notice that her movements would also be swifter.
“Onee-san, grab ahold of my head!” Snazzy shouted to her.
Wondering why he would ask that of her, she reached behind and plucked him off. While he was still glowing from the boosting effect, Snazzy’s tendrils also emitted a zapping noise between them. However, the crackling of lightning seemed much louder and menacing than before.
“Wait! Did you absorb the rabbit horns again?” Maribell asked, seeing that a few of them were rolling away from her on the ground.
“Yup, sure did! I was just going to give you a little buff, but then I noticed that the horns were glowing brighter also. So I sucked up energy from them! Now Onee-san, what happens when lightning and metal meet?” Snazzy said, a wide grin on his face.
Maribell looked back and forth between Snazzy and Augusto, before grinning herself.
In the meantime, Augusto had no idea what had happened. Suddenly, the Witch had sped up and escaped from his range. And now, she was holding onto the strange jellyfish with a grin.
“Tch, biding time! You won’t escape from me!” He charged at the pair with his sword thrust forward. He would slice the both of them to bits. It wouldn’t matter as long as there were still some nice parts to play with afterward.
But as his sword drew close to the Witch, she swung the jellyfish in a horizontal arc. The tendrils of the sea creature whipped around and tapped against the flat of his sword. With the metal forming a connection, a bolt of electricity shot through the length of the blade and zipped through the armor Augusto wore.
Being wrapped in a conducting material, the high-voltage attack continued to surge through his entire body, causing him to shriek in pain as he jerked from the electrocution. After a few long seconds that felt like an eternity to Augusto, he fell to the ground, lightly twitching from the aftereffects.
Floating down on top of Augusto, Snazzy got into a victory pose as he landed on the unconscious man’s head. Just for good measure, he tapped the man on the back, causing him to flop once like a fish out of water.
“Ha ha, take that! You would dare to hurt my precious Onee-san, you scoundrel!” Snazzy did a jig upon his head, throwing up his tentacles in a choreographed sequence. Each time one of the tentacles dropped down, the man’s head jolted with a garble.
“Let’s hurry up and kill him. There needs to be no witnesses here. Not to mention that the other guards will likely make their way back here.” Maribell wanted to ensure that she would not be discovered. While she had knocked the other two off the bridge, they had probably survived the fall and were already sprinting back, albeit somewhat waterlogged. She felt sorry for them, but it was for the sake of her own livelihood.
“Aww, but I wanted some time to teach this guy a lesson first!” Snazzy dropped down to the ground and lifted Augusto’s head up with his tentacles. With his face squished between a tentacle on either side, he proceeded to yell at him.
“Hey idiot! That performance was freaking terrible! It was too bloody raw! What are you?! A jellyfish sandwich, I say!”
Snazzy laughed afterward at his really bad impression of a popular television chef.
“I am… a jellyfish… sandwich…” A garbled voice next to Snazzy caused him to freeze and go, “eh?”
Snazzy looked at Maribell, who pointed at the man sandwiched between his tentacles. He realized that the barely unconscious man had repeated what he called him.
Releasing the grip on his head, Snazzy called him a jellyfish sandwich again, but this time, there was no response. Picking up Augusto’s head again, there was a slight tremble as he was grabbed, like his brain twitched from the shock of Snazzy’s feelers.
“Ah… don’t tell me.…” Realizing that his absorbed powers hadn’t faded completely, he asked for Maribell to jump start him again with another horn.
“Let’s try this again. You are a jellyfish sandwich, hold the peanut butter!” Snazzy cried out with his tentacles smashed against the spasming face.
“I am… a jellyfish sandwich… hold… the peanut… butter…,” Augusto replied in a dreamlike state, robotic state.
By this time, Snazzy got an interesting idea. If it worked, then they wouldn’t have to worry about covering their tracks. Plus, sweet, sweet revenge was always more interesting when it benefited them in the long run.
Snazzy rubbed his tentacles together and grinned.
Sometime later, both guards that fell in the water had returned back to their posts, their memories of the assault on Maribell completely forgotten. Apparently, Snazzy’s mind control technique had worked, making them oblivious to the realization that she was a Witch.
As for Augusto, he now greeted every lady with a profound appreciation for the fairer sex. It seemed appropriate to Snazzy that a devious man who tried to violate his Onee-san would instead turn into a saint that protected the ground that women walked upon. At least, now he was a priest in spirit.
“Snazzy, not that I disagree with your, um… punishment. But what in the hell did you say to him to mess with his mind so badly?” Maribell asked after the two of them watched the three guards greet some people passing by to ensure her identity was still hidden.
Augusto was now serenading a housewife with a creepy amount of energy, spouting flowery praises and his devotion to protect her from any harm. That just caused the poor woman to shuffle quickly away from Augusto, not wanting anything to do with him.
Snazzy thought back to the statements that he whispered into Augusto’s ear, creating subliminal thoughts to impress onto his mind.
“Protec the ladies, no attac the ladies.”
“Thicc thighs save lives.”
“Flat chests are de-, deserving of appreciation too!”
As Snazzy’s recollections filtered into Maribell’s mind, she regretted ever asking. She squished the jellyfish between her fists.
“What part of that is gentlemanly?!” she yelled.
“What part of passing on the beliefs of a man of culture is wrong?!” Snazzy retorted.
It didn’t seem like they would see eye to eye on this matter, but at least, they didn’t have to fear being attacked any time soon.