Chapter 25:

A Village to Call Their Own

Why Kill? When Witches Can Be Tentacled!

Maribell looked out at the majestic scenery before her. She was standing upon a branch of the giant Yggdrasil tree. Despite being one of the lower ones, she was still nearly a hundred meters above the ground, a daunting height for most people. Gazing up, she wondered if the tree reached all the way to the heavens.

But that wasn’t why she was here. She simply wanted a moment to get away and ponder her next move. Having found the rumored Witch of Orphans, Maribell and Snazzy had come upon an entire village of children that she guarded.

While she received few answers to the questions that plagued her, they were thrust upon an even stranger situation. Now, Seraphina was doing her best to recruit Snazzy as the Demon Lord that would gather all the Witches. The problem was where to start.

Maribell only knew of the one hinted in the beastkin territories, but that was still an impossible endeavor. It wasn’t like they could simply walk up and say, “The Demon Lord is here for you. Join our party!” or something. The whole country would laugh and come after them for it!

And given Seraphina’s role as protector of this village and the children, she likely couldn’t stray far from the area. Therefore, she had already spent over a week here, unable to decide what to do.

She sighed and hopped back down, little by little until she reached the buildings along the roots. A short distance of walking later, she ran into a blue jellyfish that was practicing wind magic, recently learned by absorbing the powers of the Witch standing next to him. Seraphina clapped in amusement as she watched Snazzy spin around with a jagged wind laced on his tendrils.

A few children tossed logs into his flight path, watching in glee as the spinning jellyfish split them with ease. It was still strange how Snazzy could simply absorb and incorporate magic into his body, using those skills for his own. But while he gained those magical properties to use, it was not like he could learn the same spells that Maribell and Seraphina knew. Rather, they became singular tricks that spawned from his own, hidden abilities.

Still, it was quite impressive for a single creature to simultaneously wield fire, lightning, water, and wind magic. Most people could only be proficient in a single type. He tried to absorb magic of other types from the children as well, but nothing seemed to come from it.

While the children could use magic well for their age, maybe their abilities weren’t yet strong enough to have an impact on Snazzy. Otherwise, Maribell couldn’t imagine what other surprises this would lead to.

“Weeeee!!! How did I do?” the jellyfish exclaimed as the rest of the logs had been split, finishing the children’s chores for them.

“Wonderfully. It seems like my magic is quite compatible with you. It must be a sign.” Seraphina smirked at him.

Snazzy slowed his spinning before floating lightly in front of Seraphina, who proceeded to reward his abilities with a gratuitous glomp of him against her chest. Obviously, she was trying to seduce him with her body, and Snazzy being the character he was, simply let her do so.

In fact, Snazzy seemed to get perfectly along with the mysterious Seraphina, who swung wildly between a violent, sadistic seductress outside the village and the caring mother figure at home.

What they do together is no business of mine! But at least, they should be mindful of the children!

Maribell bit her lip at their closeness. At least, Seraphina hadn’t invoked her Witch abilities to charm him into doing her bidding since then. And Snazzy kept his feelers to himself. She held some amount of trust in his gentlemanly ways.

“Oh, I didn’t see you there. Would you like to join us?” Seraphina licked her lips at Maribell, who gave her a look of disgust before she continued. “By that, I mean the normal rounds outside.”

That, I don’t mind,” Maribell replied.

They had started accompanying her on her normal raids for supplies, all the while keeping an eye out for girls with strong mana signatures. It seemed to be the best way to understand their new companion.

As they went around the nearby towns, it was revealed that Seraphina had secret supporters that were willing to bargain with her. Not everyone was brainwashed by the propaganda of the kingdom. A small number of people held an utter disgust for the atrocities committed in the name of the crown, but they could do nothing against the devout followers claiming the majority. All they could do was act as the eyes and ears of a Witch who was simply trying to save children from being captured.

Maribell could tell that most of them were truthful in their intentions to help. However, not all of them had such noble thoughts. And when that happened, Maribell could easily detect the lies.

One merchant screamed in fright as a burst of wind from Seraphina slammed him against the wall. The menacing glare from the Witch of Orphans told him that he had been found out.

“So? Trying to sell out my fellow contacts to the kingdom, huh? I bet you were expecting a nice, fat payout for turning in the traitors!”

Seraphina was flirtatious and teasing to those who were on her side, displaying a strange sense of kindness. However, if one dared to cross her…

“Leave. The two of you. You don’t want to see me mad.” She motioned for Maribell and Snazzy to head out of the store. They could tell from her blunt words that were suddenly devoid of playfulness that she was about to snap.

Not long after they discreetly left the building, the muffled sounds of agony and suffering filtered outside. A wicked laugh drowned out the man’s voice, sending shivers down their backs. It was fortunate that they were meeting in a shady part of town, where few questioned anything going on. After a period of time, Maribell jumped as the sound of something splattering against the walls could be heard.

Moments later, the door opened with Seraphina stepping out, quickly wiping away the crazed eyes and wide grin upon her face. She slammed the door shut, but not before Maribell and Snazzy caught a brief glimpse of red splashed across the surfaces inside. They both shuddered, trying not to think of what murderous act Seraphina could have done. But they now understood why she had asked for them to step out.

Yandere! Sadodere! Bloodly freaking hell -dere! Just what kind of character are you?!

Maribell heard Snazzy’s strange little titles for Seraphina, not knowing what they meant, but she could tell that he never wanted to cross her.

The expression on Seraphina’s face had already shifted back to her normal teasing self, as if the gruesome scene before had nothing to do with her. Silently following her back, even Snazzy was a loss for words, a strange thing for the always jovial creature.

“Onee-san, I’ve been thinking. Maybe it’s best that we stay here.” Snazzy whispered to her at one point.

“Really? Have you fallen for her? I didn’t take you for the type that liked the crazy ones,” Maribell teased him. But inside, she knew that wasn’t the case.

Snazzy had a genuine desire to help those in need. That much she understood. And because of that, she had expected that Snazzy couldn’t abandon the children that lived here, outcasts of the kingdom that were hunting for them.

He especially couldn’t leave the lone girl that appeared completely broken, being held up by the others like little hands desperately trying to hold a shattered vase together. If Seraphina were to lose even a single one of her family, there was no doubt that she would go insane.

Even for Maribell, she couldn’t turn her eyes away and allow for it to crumble. If she could, she would’ve discarded her old companions long ago. Perhaps, she might’ve even gone on a murderous rampage like Seraphina did when angry. But for now, she couldn’t handle that thought.

“Well, as long as you promise to not let yourself go from all her attention,” Maribell finally said.

“And what about you? I’ve caught her hands straying toward your body several times,” Snazzy replied with a laugh. “I half expect that she’ll jump you one night, and the sight of it will make this little body go Pew, Pew, Pew! with magic!”

“That… I’ll deal with that if the time comes. I’m strangely getting used to it….” Maribell trailed off, thinking that Seraphina probably just wanted attention from someone more her own age. But then, she shot an annoyed glare at a smirking Snazzy. “Wipe that grin off your face! It’s not like that! We’re not like that!

Snazzy chuckled as he floated on ahead towards Seraphina singing, “Yuri is a man’s viewing pleasure~. Yaoi gets the ladies hot and bothered~. Who cares what others think~? Love has our hearts conquered~.”


When they arrived back at the village, they were greeted by a swarm of children, but one thing stood out among them. They were all wearing black, floppy hats with pointed tops.

“Look what we all made!” they cried out in welcome.

Maribell heard Snazzy lightly chuckle. “You did that, didn’t you?” To that question, Snazzy only gave her a wide grin.

“I see… so that’s why you had me request for a shipment of black fabric. Still, I think it’s rather adorable. Whatever manner of head covering that is.” Seraphina lightly swooned at the cute sight of them all in matching attire.

Snazzy had felt annoyed that magicians didn’t wear the stereotypical hats in this world that he was used to. Rather than feeling mopey about it, he decided to show off some of his cosplay making skills to the children. Before long, they all started sewing their own personal witch hat.

“Have to look the part, you know?” Snazzy joined them, pulling out a miniature one of his own out of who knows where. The hat that was too small for his head clung off to one side, strangely remaining in place despite his movements. He looked rather ridiculous with the tilted top hat among the others.

But he didn’t care. That was part of the fun. Sharing the ideas from his old world brought a smile to their faces.

Maribell couldn’t help but crack a smile at this scene. If only things would continue like this, even if they weren’t able to find any other Witches, she could live happily here and become another older sister to them.

If only life were so simple…

But it never was. Maribell knew for a fact that nothing would ever stay the same. That was wishful thinking. She would be a fool to believe that for a moment when enemies lay just beyond the forest’s boundary.

Just like Seraphina, Maribell could feel it in the air when something was coming for her. Like a whisper, she heard soft uttering in the distance – murmurs hovering like flies around a meal. She covered her ears and focused on the sounds – low and rumbling, like waves slowly crashing upon the shore.

“Something is coming.” She spoke up, her tone causing Seraphina and Snazzy to immediately halt in their joyous occasion.

“Something is coming,” she said again. “Do you feel them, Seraphina? The feelings of fear, of hatred, of bloodlust – slowly brewing in anticipation.”

Seraphina looked out toward the forest’s boundaries, trying to make sense of what she was feeling. She should have picked up on it at some point, but her senses were in disarray after anger had taken over her. While she had cast a spell from her Grimoire of Lust to detect new mana signatures, that did not mean that she couldn’t feel the ones that already existed. Rather, she simply ignored them, as they were typically male magicians that could move freely.

Since she only cared about the dots that suddenly sprung up, the movement of many mana signatures all at once had been overlooked. But now that she focused on it, it was indeed getting closer and closer, approaching the boundaries of the forest.

But still, that wasn’t a reason to worry.

Good luck getting past the forest’s fog, Seraphina thought, but then, her eyes widened as a huge light broke through the trees.

It shot through the forest, incinerating everything in its path. And soon, it reached the fog and parted it. The beam didn’t stop until it slammed into the roots of the tree, sending a quake up the trunk.

The children screamed as their home shook. And during this time, Seraphina continued to stare, an anger building up inside of her. She bit her lip until a trail of blood ran down her chin.

Finally, the kingdom had created a way to get to them, after all these years.

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