Chapter 29:

‘Kizuna Mono Tachi’

Why Kill? When Witches Can Be Tentacled!


Maribell and Seraphina retreated after seeing Snazzy disappear in a flash. Hardly believing their eyes, they stood barely any chance against the cannons without him.Bookmark here

“Please, let me take out the cannons! It’s the only way! Even if I have to kill them… our own kind.” Seraphina bit her lip at the idea. Snazzy’s mercy toward them impacted her as well. Entertaining that idea just when she wanted to turn a new leaf filled her with remorse.Bookmark here

“Stop, don’t think that way!” Maribell tugged at her to prevent her old ways from resurfacing. She wanted Seraphina to be every bit the role model that she would become from now on.Bookmark here

A beam of energy came their way. Seraphina moved to cast wind magic to aid in their escape. That was until Maribell pulled out a small ring and brandished it before her.Bookmark here

The beam of energy connected with the gem upon it and fizzled out, like what Snazzy did before. That was the Ring of Nullification. Maribell had pilfered it off Augusto after their fight and kept it, just in case.Bookmark here

Quickly, the two of them raced back, dodging what they could of the blasts, but warding of the others with the ring. Still, they couldn’t keep this up forever. Maribell noted how hot the gem was growing. Likely, there was a limit to how much it could cancel.Bookmark here

All they could do was keep heading back to where the others were. Maybe they could take them away and keep running. As long as they had their lives, they could find a new place to hide. Maybe, Maribell could take them across the border, where the Kingdom of Rhylimer didn’t reject them for possessing magic.Bookmark here

But what of the two of us? Maribell thought.Bookmark here

They had openly declared themselves to be Witches. No matter where they went, the two of them would face constant danger now.Bookmark here

Maribell’s eyes met with Seraphina’s, and they both nodded. That was what they had to do. At least, the children would be safe. Afterward, they could only rely on each other’s backs to get them through every enemy the world was planning to send them. But surely, that was the only way. They were the only true Witches after all. Survive and wait for new options. Endure with pride like Snazzy taught them.Bookmark here

As they approached the roots of the great tree, Yggdrasil, they leapt up to gather the others. Seraphina went ahead while Maribell looked back. Not far below, the cannons slowly rolled forward. The Roswalian army, seeing that the so-called Demon Lord had been vanquished, re-doubled their efforts and came back charging for them. Now, they only had two tired Witches and scared children to deal with.Bookmark here

As Seraphina finally came back with the others, a beam of energy struck the trunk next to where they were at, causing the entire area to shake. A collective scream of fear erupted as they tripped upon the unsteady ground. Seraphina clicked her tongue as she realized that they were even willing to take down an ancient tree brimming with mana to get them to surrender.Bookmark here

Once again, she walked forward, ready to hop down and sacrifice herself for the others, to buy some time for an opening. But knowing that look on her face, Maribell grabbed her by the arm.Bookmark here

“No, not alone. We fight together. All of us. Let’s break a path through and have everyone escape. I won’t take no for an answer this time.” Maribell reached up and stroked Seraphina’s cheek, a sign of affection that she too had accepted her. At least, as a friend and partner.Bookmark here

Seraphina looked around as the children got ready. Even if their magic was immature for this setting, it would have to make do. It was her job as a big sister to lead the way.Bookmark here

“Alright, move… out?” Her tone changed as a bright light shone from the heavens.Bookmark here

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“Finally, we have them trapped! Be sure not to hurt them too badly! Hack off a limb if you need to, but a dead Witch means just that much less power for ourselves!” Bella cried out to the soldiers around her, still perching upon Bernardo’s large shoulders. She felt so secure behind them.Bookmark here

As the Roswalian army surrounded the tree, they were ready for the final assault. They would catch them no matter which way they ran.Bookmark here

But just as they were feeling confident of their rebound, several soldiers pointed up at the sky. A large mass of energy hovered above, unlike anything they had seen before. A swirling chaos lingered in the sky, blocking out the sun and clouds. Rather, wisps of light extended out like wires, raining down across the area.Bookmark here

Everyone – both the inhabitants of Salutis and the Roswalian army – gawked in awe at the sight. They gulped as to what calamity bore its existence towards them.Bookmark here

The wires suddenly came alive and shot at the ground, like arrows coming to claim their lives. Panic ensued as people scrambled to avoid the unknown being’s snare.Bookmark here

But there was no way of escaping as the wires simply followed the intended targets. They pierced through each of them, eliciting shrieks of terror. Bookmark here

But then, they realized. They slowly looked around and at their own bodies. Despite a strand of light pricking into them, there was no pain from it. No feeling of life drained from them. There was only… warmth. And that of growing power. Those upon the roots looked around. A thin wire poking out of them led to the being high above. A sudden sense of familiarity erased their fear.Bookmark here

And with that, a booming voice projected for all to hear.Bookmark here

“What’s up, my fine Witch friends? Demon Lord Extraordinaire, Snazzy at your service. It’s time to bring myself online and get ready to give you all a helping hand once again!”Bookmark here

Maribell and Seraphina stared in shock as they realized that only one creature could ever be so brazen at a time like this. A sense of relief swept over them as they realized that Snazzy had returned somehow.Bookmark here

“And to you, Army of Roswalia… I think it’s high time to flee back to your snooty little kingdom! Don’t say that I didn’t warn you! Cause by the will of Kami-sama, Snazzy time is baaaaaaack!”Bookmark here

Maribell nodded as she motioned for everyone to form a line, readying their magic to drop upon the stunned army. As little, glowing figures dotted the roots above them, the soldiers saw not children wielding pitiful magic, but fully-powered spells that could rival some of their best magicians.Bookmark here

Even with all of the squadrons present, only a thousand could muster passable magic, nowhere near the level of the hundred that were standing on top of the roots. As for the remaining thousands, all they had were magic-imbued arrows, which were easily flicked away by Seraphina’s gusts of wind.Bookmark here

Bella quickly bent down and pleaded for Bernardo to use the cannons. That was the only way they could do any real damage against the Witches above. But Bernardo simply shook his head and pointed at them.Bookmark here

All it took was one look to see why it was futile. Not only had the Witches above been boosted by this mysterious power, long threads that couldn’t be cut by sword or magic traced down to their cannons. Their supply of Witch batteries, all 42 of them, had awoken and been completely restored. A burst of mana fried the collars around their necks, which now laid crumpled at their feet. Now, they were similarly charged up and had eyes glowing for revenge.Bookmark here

In the next moment, the army was sandwiched on both fronts, a great calamity upon them. Protected by the glow, these Witches would not be harmed easily. As even the bravest soldier was trounced by the magic of young schoolchildren, there was nothing left but for the cries of retreat to sound.Bookmark here

“RUN AWAY! WE CAN’T WIN!”Bookmark here

“SAVE YOURSELVES!”Bookmark here

Sheer chaos sounded all about as the men gave up on their attack once again. But who could think soundly when the sight of large boulders rolled upon their allies? Or bolts of lightning cooked them inside and out? Or even, when limbs snapped off from the cold? The sight of allies turning to ash along with it invoked a sense of utter Hell.Bookmark here

The Kingdom of Roswalia’s cruelty toward those accused as Witches came back to haunt them in the form of utter annihilation. Less than half of the army managed to flee from the torrential waves of magic.Bookmark here

And amidst it all, Bernardo stood, stock still. Bella, still attached to him, was nearly foaming at the mouth. Forgetting all about her prior sense of security, she pecked at him to release her immediately. She didn’t want to die here.Bookmark here

After a few deep gashes upon his back inflicted by her, Bernardo finally turned around. Even with all the pain she dealt, he still spoke with the same tone as always.Bookmark here

“Very well. I release you. This is not your sin to face.”Bookmark here

Bernardo then broke the device in his hand, causing the collar around Bella’s neck to undo. Not expecting this outcome, Bella hesitated for a moment.Bookmark here

“You are free, reincarnated. Find your own way.” With that, Bernardo walked forward to the Witches, leaving Bella dumbfounded. She floated higher and higher up, pondering what the words meant, those coming from a man who never said anything unnecessary.Bookmark here

Her danger sense interrupted, reflexively flapping away from a stray magic shot. There would be time to reflect later. She needed to escape. Unlike those stuck by gravity, Bella soared away from the conflict.Bookmark here

Back at ground level, Bernardo’s eyes met directly with Seraphina, the Witch of Discipline. She recognized the man even now, an anger brewing inside of her. A venomous voice called out to him.Bookmark here

“Dear Father… you have finally come to pay for your sins?”Bookmark here

Bernardo nodded, bowing slightly to offer his head to his daughter.Bookmark here

Everything had been because of her. The pain and suffering. The madness. All by confessing to the kingdom that his daughter possessed magic. Though he was guaranteed his own safety, they proceeded to take everything else away from him.Bookmark here

He watched as the rest of his family was tortured and killed, all the while drugged and unable to do anything. He stared blankly as Seraphina witnessed the kingdom’s gruesome acts of depravity and violence. A young girl slowly fell into the depths of madness, all because of him.Bookmark here

And that had broken him as well. He could no longer feel anything, even being numb to pain. Food tasted like dirt, and the sounds of cries made him virtually deaf to it all. He was now a shell of a man, tormented by his poor decision.Bookmark here

Donning the robes of a priest, all he could do was search for some way to drown out his sins by committing even greater atrocities. Surely, he could not do worse to his own flesh and blood, compared to another. Maybe then, his own betrayal wouldn’t seem so bad. His only desire was to be remembered for anything else but that.Bookmark here

As Bernardo felt a blade of wind slice through his neck, the last glimmer of hope in his eyes was reserved for Seraphina. That she wielded her hatred not for personal reasons, but for the true evil that he tried to become. It was all for her. He would take any guilt that she held to Hell with him.Bookmark here

Seraphina stopped the rolling head with one foot. With a sigh, she bid farewell to her only lingering tie, a remnant of her gruesome past.Bookmark here

“Farewell, Father. The only good that came of this was the new family I now have.”Bookmark here

Turning away from the corpse, she went home to celebrate their overwhelming victory with those now residing in her heart.Bookmark here

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