Why Kill? When Witches Can Be Tentacled!
Maribell woke up after a while. Her cheeks immediately flushed as she remembered what had happened to her not long ago. A strange warmth radiated across her body. Not to mention, she felt awfully sticky and disgusting. The sensation of being rubbed all over with healing fluid pricked at her mind. The contrast between the searing pain of Wyvern Pox and the gooey tingling across her skin made her a bit strange. In the end, she passed out from the stimulation.
She sat up from the bed inside of the ruined caravan, wondering where the others had gone. A high-pitched baa-ing echoed in the distance. Peeking over the wall, her face fell slack as she saw tendrils limply scrubbing the rippling body of Bobo, who fidgeted like a little girl as he was being lathered up with heal juice.
Looking over to where the tendrils all led to, a very shriveled jellyfish was being held closely to Wendy’s bare chest. Her tail whipped around and was stroking the top of Snazzy’s head like she was petting him for doing a good job.
Watching this exchange for another minute or so, it seemed like the Wyvern Pox on Bobo had finally cleared up. As their eyes met Maribell’s, a mutual silent agreement formed between them to ignore how disturbing this scene was and continue on for the greater good. After all, Snazzy was key to the town’s recovery, now that the medicine was destroyed.
Maribell couldn’t help but feel pity for Snazzy. Despite it seeming like one of the fantasies that floated inside of his head, the poor jellyfish looked like he had been wrung dry and left out in the sun to become jerky. The soft flesh of a female no longer appeared to invoke any reaction. What he needed most was some rest and food.
What was left of the caravan could still move, as the Wyvern had merely clipped through the top of the vehicle. Only one wheel had a slight bent in it, but it could still roll. Hitching Jangles back to the caravan, they made their way to Turin.
The townspeople of Turin grew excited as the footsteps of a land dragon and the clunking of a caravan were heard in the distance. Those that could still move quickly dashed outside, praying that they had gotten past the group of wyverns stalking the area. Their hearts pounded as the land dragon grew larger in their view, but when they saw the decrepit state of the caravan, they tempered their expectations. Still, they held onto the hope that there was enough medicine to save the most afflicted of victims.
When they arrived in town, of course, their first question was, “The medicine? Did it arrive safely?”
Wendy took charge, giving them a look of assurance. “We have the medicine, but due to a little mishap, we need a bit of time to get it ready. For now, could you please offer us a bit of food and water, and preferably, someplace to bathe also? Fighting off those wyverns was tough business, but someone has already covered the tab. They won’t be causing you any more trouble.”
The townspeople of Turin felt immediately relieved to hear that the source of their troubles had been removed. If a bit of time and nourishment was all that their saviors needed, then they could hold out for a little longer.
However, their gazes stared in wonder as the food and drink they brought over were all fed to the little creature that was in their party, carried by the large sheepkin. They could hardly tell what manner of being it was until it had chugged down some liquid to inflate its shriveled body. Once its little tendrils regained movement, they snatched up the food and shoved it into its mouth.
A good part of the hour passed as the now recognizable jellyfish continued to scarf down food like it had been left to starve. As the ladies from before returned from taking a bath, some of the townspeople wondered how this creature related to the travelers before them. It conversed with them like a normal person, so it was undoubtedly a blessed beast, but it seemed almost like it was the center of attention.
But they were in for the biggest surprise when the travelers told them what the treatment of the Wyvern Pox entailed.
“Y-You’re joking, right? This thing has to put goo on us? That’s the medicine?” one woman cried out with a jittery voice.
The travelers looked to the side with a collective sigh like they knew that reaction was coming.
“Totally serious. We had other medicine brewed, but it was destroyed in the fight. Lucky for you, this blessed beast has divine healing powers.” Wendy didn’t want to believe it herself, but Snazzy’s fluids seemed to be even more potent than the medicine she crafted. But no one needed to know that.
To show the skeptical people of its power, they went up to the most afflicted victim, an elderly man who couldn’t even turn his head as the Wyvern Pox had already turned his entire body gray. He was in critical condition, as the pain left him unable to rest or eat at all. He had been simply surviving on little sips of water for days.
Snazzy charged up and slathered himself with a sheen of water magic. A few people grimaced in disgust as the tentacles slithered across the man’s body, soon becoming a blur as they moved all around. Twitching and groaning were his only forms of resistance as he couldn’t move.
But then, the old man jerked wildly, swinging his body around in bed. Surprised at his sudden freedom of motion, the indescribably strange sensations cause him to fall out of bed. But a look of surprise dotted his brow. The pain he felt for so long that he wondered whether it would last forever had suddenly lifted. Though he still had some patches of dried-out skin, he felt strangely invigorated, like he had just climbed out of a dark pit of despair.
The townspeople were amazed by this outcome as the old man lifted his clothing and pointed to some missed spots for the jellyfish to rub. At that point, their opinions completely reversed; they were truly saved. They could overlook how stupid this seemed and just accept the fact that the jellyfish was some creature gifted to them from the heavens.
“Well, that went… smoothly.” Maribel looked upon the town of Turin, which was beginning to show signs of normalcy again. They had been here for three days already. The entire time, Snazzy devoted himself to healing those with Wyvern Pox. Some people even felt better than before they had contracted the disease. Likely, Snazzy’s healing fluid had rid them of other issues as well.
Her gaze hovered over to his little body working on one of the locals, a young girl that made her cautiously peer into Snazzy’s thoughts. Surprisingly, they were devoid of anything too lecherous. Whether it was because he had become too used to everyone’s naked bodies or whether he was truly being a gentleman, Maribell couldn’t tell. But one thing was for sure. His will to make sure everyone was taken care of was genuine.
Wendy and Bobo had also kept their promise of keeping her Witch identity a secret. Just like Madame Jacoux had inferred, the beastkin people were far more accepting of Witches once they determined that she meant no harm.
The people of Turin turned to her with happy greetings, no hint of caution in their thoughts. For once, Maribell felt at ease around the people. But that had probably been due to Snazzy’s efforts to begin with. Even in his state of exhaustion, he never failed to be a chatterbox.
Needing to keep his mind out of the gutter, Snazzy made small talk with each of his patients. And often, that led to him talking about his favorite subject, his nice Onee-san.
Since the people were grateful to him for the treatments, that gratitude naturally extended to those he spoke about. For the first time in ages, Maribell could walk around some place filled with positive thoughts. It made her heart brim with warmth.
But not long after, Snazzy finally finished treating his last patient. And after a banquet to celebrate the town’s recovery, Maribell and Snazzy had to embark on their original goal – finding the rumored Witch in the next kingdom over.
During the evening party, the two of them went around asking the townspeople if they heard anything in regards to those rumors or the neighboring Kingdom of Roswalia.
“Why would you ever want to go there? Don’t want to put your lady friend in danger, do you?” one person told Snazzy, who cocked his head in wonder.
Turning to Maribell, who seemed to know exactly what the man was talking about, he signaled for her to elaborate. But it was Wendy who jumped in and explained.
“Female magicians don’t go to Roswalia. They are a ruthless bunch of misogynists.”
“Eh? How come?” Snazzy cried out. The sound of that already tripped his protect the lovelies mentality.
The Kingdom of Roswalia was known to be extremely paranoid against Witches, having been nearly destroyed by one before. As a result, the ruling family decreed that any woman who developed magical abilities was to be captured and locked up, so that any possibility of turning into a Witch would be contained.
Normally, only a small population of people naturally inherited magical powers, so that resulted in single digit percentages possessing them. Through widespread fear and propaganda that the crown spread, its people became brainwashed into accepting these orders to minimize the possibility. Unlike the men who could not possess a grimoire, females that possessed magic were seen as distortions of nature and future seeds of corruption that the Kingdom of Roswalia had to weed out and given special treatment.
“So, they just lock you up if you’re female and can use a little magic?! What do they even do with them?!” Snazzy snapped, his urge to zap those rulers into submission rising.
“It didn’t start out so bad. At first, they were kept in solitude, made to work for the kingdom. But over time, perceptions changed. Segregation brewed malice, and that led to people cracking the whip.
Slaves, playthings, expendables – that’s the gist of it. Collars are put on them that end their lives if they try to run from the castle. Once they have one attached, a life of servitude until they no longer have any use awaits them.”
Wendy’s brief history lesson was further reinforced by a town of people who couldn’t stand seeing their saviors in danger.
“That is not a place you two should step foot in! It’s far too dangerous! Please reconsider!”
“We do not wish their evils upon you, lady magician! Especially not when we hold such esteem towards you for the wyverns!”
The entire town, and even Wendy and Bobo, was against them traveling there. Apparently, Madame Jacoux had not told them about Maribell’s true intentions. They were led to believe that guards were merely hired for the medicine delivery.
Now, Snazzy realized why that place had been keep silent from him. Maribell was determined to go, even despite the dangers. She believed that Snazzy would consider it to be far too dangerous. That he wouldn’t let his Onee-san willingly walk towards danger.
But then, a flood of thoughts burst from him. Memories of being bullied and made fun of in his past life trickled into her mind. Up until this point, Snazzy had rarely disclosed anything about himself other than his interests. The images of a young man fighting and struggling to find his way ran contrary to what he had always shown her.
But that lasted only for a moment, enough to tease Maribell about who Snazzy truly was. But that burst of emotion from him blew away her previous doubts.
“Onee-san, we’re going, right? Despite all this. The two of us are gonna show anyone who gets in our way, Who’s Boss, right?” Merely hearing about such evildoers was enough for him to become pepped-up.
Everyone’s gazes fell upon Snazzy as he brimmed brightly with the same mysterious power that he used for healing. Maribell reached forward and brought him to her in a tight embrace. And soon, she became enveloped with a fiery glow as well.
“We won’t let those fears stop us. The Kingdom of Roswalia can chase us all they want. We just have to show them that they can’t catch us,” Maribell proclaimed. She raised her hand and formed a fireball, in a display of power, so large that everyone couldn’t believe their eyes. They looked on in wonder as to what Maribell was about to do.
This wasn’t magic that any foolhardy magicians could do and think they could survive against a kingdom. Magic of that magnitude could wipe out entire towns and level armies. The onlookers realized that the pair was completely serious about stepping into danger.
Escaping from Maribell’s arms, Snazzy floated up, diving into the giant swarm of flames, which caused everyone to panic. But then, the magic disappeared with a pop, leaving a red-hot jellyfish hovering high above. Snazzy trembled intensely before unleashing a large gush of flames from his mouth, lighting up the night sky with streams of orange and red.
The flames soared through the sky and exploded like fireworks, leaving the people’s jaws slack in awe. Before them was a powerful magician and a blessed beast that could create wonders. If anyone could break into Roswalia, it would surely be them.