The Last Light
Jonathan peered out of his bedroom window, overlooking his housemate below. Olivia as usual indulged in her training, while Ciara was lost in her gardening. It was an early morning, he had been up all night going through all the files the academy had on the victim. It became frustrating to go through it again after six times.
Everything they had on him was fabricated from thin air, his family record to his early education, nothing about them was true. Except for his current identity, Anthony Gonzalez, single, lived in a small room above his workplace. He worked as a baker for a bakery named Moondrop Bun. Even then, all of it was a cover for his true occupation.
At least he has a small social circle, it must have been for his cover, but nevertheless, an opportunity to accumulate information. However, interviewing them without any actual edge or a lead might burn his bridge too soon before he could use them to confirm any information he had.
The only choices Jonathan had before him is either he visits the victim’s home, the crime scene, or to the morgue for a better look at the victim’s body. He was interested in the wounds inflicted upon the victim.
Still, he can’t do it all in a single day, he got classes, an appearance to maintain, and a cute bodyguard that followed him around. Since his new job required secrecy, it will make the investigation ten times harder than it was supposed to be. However, Jonathan did get the new uniform from Dr. Victoria. It is supposed to help him keep his identity hidden while on the investigation. A black formal garb with a streak of red. The outfit consisted of a trench coat and a blackened, sleek helmet.
Jonathan sighed. He appreciated the new uniform, but at least, they could have provided him with a proper weapon. He could always use his old ones. It will be done for now.
There’s another problem, the report they gave him was filled with things beyond his human education. For example, in his home, they found a plant: Hypnos’s Poppies, which is a flower of some sort. He had no idea what it was or even existed until today. They didn’t even bother putting some notes under it.
Well, at least Jonathan got time on his side to get a lead. The chase yesterday should spook the man into hiding.
“I wonder if that girl knows something about it?” A grin appeared, Jonathan slid the window open. “Hey, Ciara, right?”
His housemates turned their attention to the waving man with raised eyebrows. Jonathan accidentally leaned out of the window and dropped from the second floor. He broke the patio railing before landing in the bushes. “Ouch…”
Ciara stood up in worry but stayed where she was when Jonathan stood up again with a grin. Olivia crossed her arms while she watched the man stumbled toward Ciara. After shaking her head, Olivia continued her training with the sword.
Jonathan walked up to the green-skinned girl, she recoiled back when he was way too close for her comfort. “Y-Yes?” asked the girl.
“What are you doing?”
“Cool, so what are you growing here?”
“Lilies, daffodils, and a few plants for Sigil Studies class.”
Jonathan squatted down near the weird plants. “What’s this?”
“Dragonbreath? I never heard of it.”
“It’s for summoning creatures with a fire alignment, like salamanders or firebirds. If you want to know more about it, Sigil Studies class starts after lunch.” Ciara fidgeted with her trowel. “W-Why are you here?”
“I was just interested to get to know you.”
Ciara's cheek flushed an even brighter green. “Me, but why?”
“Aren’t we housemates or something? It’s not wrong trying to know you guys. Even you too, Olivia.” Jonathan beamed a smile at the other woman.
Olivia rolled her eyes and ignored Jonathan entirely. An ice-cold attitude, but it reminded him of Eri. Jonathan was sure he was going to grow on her. It’s only a matter of time.
Ciara kneeled near one of her plants and tended to it. Jonathan scooted closer, which caused the woman to scoot away, and the more he did, the further she got. Jonathan couldn't help but laugh, it’s becoming a game. “So, why gardening? Is it like a hobby?”
“Because it’s calm. They don't have malice, they don’t judge, and I feel like I’m back at home when I’m near them.” Ciara stared longingly as she gently ran her finger down the leaf.
“If you don’t mind me asking, where are you from?”
“I believe it was a large island called Ireland.”
“Ireland. It has been on my list of places I wanted to visit. I know it seems rude to ask you this, but I’m new to all of this. I mean the Nephilim, magic, and stuff. Can I ask you what kind of species you are?”
Ciara was a bit taken back, but she understood what he meant. “I’m what people call a changeling.”
“A perfect replica of a human. Fairies down there tend to steal human babies and replace them with changelings. No one would notice at first, but until they do.” Olivia let out a short mocking laugh. “They drove them out of their home. One thing that humans don't realize is, changelings have no idea they are fake ones. Imagine your family cast you out from your home because you’re different, despite being the best child they ever had.”
Jonathan noticed the subtle pain in Ciara’s gaze. He scratched the back of his head. “You know I’m great at playing the guitar, what about you?”
Ciara was a bit surprised to see Jonathan was still there. She let out a small laugh and pulled a lock of hair behind her ear. “I… I know how to play the drums.”
“You do?” Jonathan looked at her with wide eyes, she shyly nodded her head. “Awesome.”
Jonathan turned to Olivia. “What about you?”
Olivia stopped swinging her sword and glanced at Jonathan. She turned away and left without saying a word. The displeasure on her face was clear as day. Olivia passed Eri on the way up the stairs, they both shared a glare. After Olivia disappeared into her room, Eri entered the backyard with crossed arms. She raised her eyebrow at Jonathan.
With a smile, Jonathan raised his arms. “I’m not doing anything dangerous, Eri.”
“You better not, because I’m sick and tired of saving you.” She proceeded to take a seat on a chair on the patio and kept her gaze on me.
“Hey Ciara, don't tell her I fell out of the window,” Jonathan whispered with a grin.
Ciara’s cheeks flushed bright green again when Jonathan’s warm breath grazed her skin. He was too close, again. She doesn’t understand this man at all. He helped her without a reason, he has no sense of personal boundary or shame, and he stayed despite knowing what she was.
“Yes, that’s me. One and only, as far as I know. What’s up?”
“I heard a classmate of ours is planning a small party tonight. I wonder if you are planning on going?”
“A party?!” Jonathan’s eyes glimmered with excitement. “Oh my god, of course, yes. I can't wait.”
“No, you don’t. There will be too many people there. Since you have a habit of getting into trouble despite my effort to keep you safe, I forbid you from going to this party,” She said with a glare.
“Oh, come on. It’s not like I’m going to get stabbed there. It’s a party. My first one here. Come on…” Jonathan begged with puppy eyes and pouty lips.
Eri groaned as she rubbed her temple. “Alright, but you will stay by my side. At all times.” She made the last part clear as glass. Though she was mad at him for running off to chase a dangerous person, there was something else that bothered her, and she refused to let him know what it was.***
The afternoon came nonetheless, despite the rain pouring heavily outside, Jonathan and Eri were ready for the Sigil Studies class. Eri found the class boring since it had no practical use for her, Jonathan, however, was excited as usual because he had no clue what this class was about.
A mature succubus walked into the class and immediately, Jonathan had fallen for her. Eri had got used to it, she could even tell that Jonathan was hiding a dumb grin underneath his calm exterior.
The professor flipped her purple hair and sent a strong scent of lavender that swooned half the class. “Well, well, look at all these handsome and beautiful individuals in my class. My name is Ms. Nicollette Solovyov, but y'all can call me Ms. Nicol. First thing first, they are F-cups, in case you are all wondering.” She grinned as she placed her arms under her breast.
“F-cup?” Half the class can be seen taking a visible gulp.
Ms. Nicol giggled at the expression her students had but started her lesson anyway. “Sigil is the hardest form of spell casting available. It is not fuelled or controlled by emotions or thoughts but by diligence, patience, and precise drawing. One Sigil can mean anything from a simple as creating a veil to a more complex as creating a living illusion. So, what we are going to do today is to learn how to create a Sigil of the four basic elements that we use for spell-slinging.”
“Please take out a piece of parchment.” As instructed by Ms. Nicol, everyone took out a piece of parchment. “Let’s start with a circle, but not too small, just enough for you to draw in it.” She took out chalk and drew four Sigils on the blackboard.
“As you can see here, Fire Sigil is the shape of a triangle. It’s sharp and pointed; destructive and rising. Earth, on the other hand, is shapely, rigid, and strong. Air is three-line traversing each other, flexible and unrestricted. Water is the opposite of Fire, downward but pointed when necessary; destructive but falling.” Ms. Nicol was in a state of passion as she explained.
“Try drawing the fire Sigil.”
Jonathan bit her tongue as he drew the fire Sigil as precise as the figure on the board. While Eri beside him, lazily drew her the Sigil. One thing that no matter what she does, she could never make Sigil work, for some reason.
“Finish? Then a little drop of your spiritual energy should start as a catalyst and activate the Sigil. Only a little, too much of it might cause一”
An explosion threw Jonathan to the back of the classroom and broke the table in half upon impact. Eri and all the students turned their attention to him with widened eyes. Jonathan raised his arm and sat up with a big smile on his face. “I can do magic? Take that! Gahahaha.”
Eri left her seat and leaped from table to table toward Jonathan.
“Do you need to go to the infirmary, Mr. Jonathan?” Ms. Nicol asked while trying to hide her amusement.
“Jonathan, don’t move.” Eri checked Jonathan’s body vigorously for any sign of wounds.
“No need, Ms. Nicol. I want to learn it all.” Jonathan pushed Eri gently and sauntered back to his seat. His face blackened from the explosive while his hair stood up like the Eiffel Tower, but he was fine. Excited even. “One question, can I activate it from afar?”
A grin appeared on Ms. Nicol, apparently, she had found herself a prodigy of her own. “Yes, by adding the Latin word: Imperium. Which translated to Empire, for this Sigil you have created becomes your empire and under your absolute control.”
“I see.” Jonathan wrote down in his half-burnt notebook.
The class goes on as she taught the meaning of each symbol and what it symbolizes and also slowly showed them how to make it work. Apparently, Ms. Nicol wasn’t lying when she said it is the hardest form of spell casting. Almost half of the class couldn’t activate the Sigil when they did, it wasn't as impressive as Jonathan's first attempt. Even the undine still couldn’t do it.
When the class ended, it was mostly frustration and groaning. Before Jonathan left the room, Ms. Nicol stopped him with a wave. She donned a mischievous smile and pulled Jonathan into her bosom. Jonathan almost fainted, before Eri pulled him away. He stumbled a bit before propping against the table.
“Excuse me, Ms. Nicol. I advise you to not do that.”
“Aww, I’m sorry. I was just excited to finally meet a potential prodigy in my class. It has been a while since the last one.”
“Prodigy?” asked Jonathan while he slowed down his heart.
“Yes!” said Ms. Nicol with giddy. “You have a bright future in Sigil studies, Johnny. Please come to my office any time you want, if you want to expand your knowledge… or your body.”
“My... My Body?” Jonathan once again fainted from imagining something he wasn’t supposed to.
“Again?” Eri groaned as she took his arm and lifted him.***
Eri brought the fainted man to the infirmary as usual. She never thought that this would be a daily occurrence for her. Not that she minds, to her, Jonathan’s weight wasn’t bothering her, she had lifted heavier things than him. Such as that pickup truck she threw from a long time ago, even then, she lifted it with ease.
Arriving at the infirmary, she found Bor already waiting for her with a packed sandwich. They both went inside without even greeting each other, Bor was about to say something, but decided to hold it in.
A nurse spotted them and sighed when she saw Jonathan in Eri’s arms. She raised her eyebrow at the male undine, she recognized him from when she used to be one of the students here. “Aren’t you that undine who can’t even do a simple spell? You even lost that tournament in the first round.” She couldn’t help but stifle a laugh. “Sorry, I shouldn’t laugh, but it was hilarious. I should leave, it's time for my break anyway.”
After the nurse left, Bor noticed Eri had balled her hands into fists.
“Why didn't you say something back? Why do you let her mock you? Does our pride as an undine means nothing to you?”
“She was having a laugh.” Bor averted his gaze from Eri.
“A laugh at the expense of your pride, is that a laughable matter to you?” Eri was at the brink of anger, but she calmed herself before placing Jonathan gently on the bed.
“There are much more important things than pride.”
“What, tell me what?”
Bor was about to answer but held his tongue for reasons unknown to Eri.
“There you go again. When the tough questions start flying, you keep your mouth shut. That’s why father threw you out of the house.” Eri’s grip tightened. “You’re a weakling and have always been one, I was a fool to think otherwise. I see that now.”
“But, how dare you make an oath to protect him when you couldn’t even protect yourself?”
“I will protect him when the time comes.”
“I doubt you would be useful. Tell me, why do you even take the oath?”
“Because I sense something in him, I sense darkness, but also light. Warmth and bright. He’s more than what you think he is. He wasn’t just a saint or a fool. I don’t know it yet, but I wish to be by his side and be his tool if he needed me to.”
“This human? He’s rude, obnoxious, perverted, and has no sense of awareness for his safety. He does what he wants and thinks nothing of other-”
Bor interrupted her rant. “But I know you notice something different about him, but you haven’t figured it out yet.”
“And you know more than me? You’ve only been with him for a short while.”
“Your pride is blocking your true sight,” Bor advised.
“And your naivety will cost us our family name,” Eri scoffed.
Their conversation halted there, it was better to keep their tongue at bay before it escalates into another fight. Eri took out a book to take her mind off, while Bor enjoyed staying by Jonathan's side.***
Once again, Jonathan woke up in the infirmary, but this time, Bor was on the other side of the bed away from Eri. Bor’s sister doesn’t seem to pay attention to her brother; instead, she found herself engrossed in a book.
“Hey, buddy, I thought you were working today?”
“I’m on my break. Only a minute left before I get to my post. I thought we could have lunch together, but never mind. I brought you a pack of sandwiches from the diner.” Bor placed the sandwich on Jonathan’s chest.
“Oh, thank you.”
Bor sneaked a giggle. “Jonathan, you can't keep fainting when you meet a succubus.”
“I can’t help it, okay? Ugh. They are hot.” Jonathan let out an exasperated sigh.
“Jonathan, I’ve been thinking.” His smile was gone, and he donned a serious gaze. “Yesterday's incident caused me to rethink myself. I need to get strong, so I can protect you. I don’t want you to end up like that man yesterday, so I’m going to take my time off to train. We won’t see each other much, but I promise I’ll be there when you need me.”
His sister let out a mocking chuckle. “I doubt you will get strong.”
“Eri!” Jonathan scolded.
“Am I wrong?” Eri threw her arms aside. “Haven’t you tried this before, and do I need to remind you how you failed last time?”
“Not this time.” Bor suddenly stood up and stared into his sister’s eyes. “I may have met my limit in strength and magic, but I can still improve my skill and knowledge. And one day, I prove that by defeating you in battle.”
“W-What?” She never saw Bor fiercely determined before, it intimidated her a bit. Enough to cause her to take a step back. “Oh yeah?! I’ll make sure to pound how weak you are the next time you challenge me.”
“See you later, my friend.” Bor left the infirmary.
“Wait…” It was too late for Jonathan to stop him.
Huffing and puffing with annoyance, Eri sat back down and continued her reading. Jonathan let out a sigh, at least, he has this sandwich with him. He unwrapped it and enjoyed it as much as he could before leaving the infirmary. Jonathan also made sure his appearance was presentable before stepping outside.