Chapter 4:

Chapter 2-1: Enter, Yuki Sosuke!

Black Witch Tsu-To-Yu!

“Touyo! Wake up!”Bookmark here

His ears met up with the nostalgic call of his mother’s voice that rang through the house from the kitchen as always.Bookmark here

Soreness corroding his body, he laid on his bed with a mild pain rising from his arms and… well, the rest of his body.Bookmark here

It was possibly the backlash of using so much magic at once, which Tsubaki explained fully yesterday before Touyo went to sleep.Bookmark here

His eyes slowly start to open and close from his long slumber. It was just a mild numbness. His arms ached a bit, but it was similar to how one would do too many pushups the day before without any rest.Bookmark here

It wasn’t very painful—just a slight annoyance.Bookmark here

He removed his light-blue colored blanket off from him, noticing his night clothes—a loose sleeveless black shirt and red short pants.Bookmark here

But it was only for a little while, when he raised his head without caring, that he noticed something rather strange.Bookmark here

Breasts.Bookmark here

They were covered by clothes, but he was sure that they were huge breasts—probably the softest of them all—right in front of him.Bookmark here

His young boyish mind was enjoying every second of the view above him without his permission. If he could, he would nestle between them and not bother going to school.Bookmark here

But it was only after his delusional wanting of these voluptuous breasts gradually disappeared that his eyes popped open wide—blasting the sleepiness right off of them—and gazed above the breasts.Bookmark here

“Yo! Sleepyhead~ Your mom’s calling for you!”Bookmark here

The pleasant, silky voice rang in his ears as she formed a beaming smile.Bookmark here

“W-What are you doing?!”Bookmark here

Touyo’s voice echoed in the room, immediately jumping off from his bed and, ultimately, fell to the floor. Feeling the pain of falling over on his rump, he turned to Tsubaki yawning slightly with her hand covering her mouth.Bookmark here

“What else? I was just waking you up.”Bookmark here

Tsubaki said without any hesitation, her eyes blinking from sleepiness that overwhelmed her.Bookmark here

“D-Did you had to be so close to my face?! Y-Y-Your breasts were…”Bookmark here

Touyo was about to say those words, but his face reddened up. His childish mind wasn’t able to process the words. Tsubaki only chuckled as she floated towards him.Bookmark here

“Never mind that,” Tsubaki warned. “If you don’t hurry, your mom might come up here.”Bookmark here

“R-Right! Tsubaki, you better hide!”Bookmark here

Following Tsubaki’s warning, Touyo hurried over to his closet and brought out his uniform to wear.Bookmark here

Yesterday, after the whole lesson was over and done with, Touyo noticed that it was almost time for his mother to come home from work.Bookmark here

‘What do I do?! How can I explain that I brought a girl here?!”Bookmark here

‘Hehehe, leave it to me!’ Tsubaki proclaimed.Bookmark here

She lifts her hand to the sky and immediately snapped her fingers. And just like that, Touyo lost sight of Tsubaki.Bookmark here

Perception Block—or just an invisibility spell—that disrupts everyone’s perception of her except for the one she chose to let see. In this case, it’s Touyo.Bookmark here

Once his mother came home, Touyo pretended as if nothing ever happened. He only just told her the same answer as usual after she asked how his day was.Bookmark here

It was only then that his mother picked up on his strange behavior—because Touyo has forgotten to make dinner, which got him quite an earful a moment later and had no choice but to order takeout for dinner.Bookmark here

Though it was a nice change for the two of them since it’s been a while that they ordered outside food, so his mother lets him off with just a warning.Bookmark here

Before long, it was time to sleep. But then Touyo asks—Bookmark here

“Hey, how are you gonna sleep?”Bookmark here

“Hehe, glad you asked! I was hoping that you would give me a necklace!”Bookmark here

“A… necklace?” He tilted his neck. What was she planning to do?Bookmark here

He looked around in his drawers, imagining that he placed his older accessories there. There was a time when Touyo wanted to look cool, but after a while, he decided to give it up as it would be too troublesome to bring to school.Bookmark here

He found, within the hidden tin box where he kept his accessories, a necklace with a red pendant shaped like a star. The necklace had the appearance of a ruby gem, but it was a phony which came off cheap for him. Tsubaki howled for joy after Touyo took out the necklace and—Bookmark here

—Jumped right into the necklace.Bookmark here

“H-Hey!”Bookmark here

Touyo was shocked after his master of magic flew right into the pendant, slowly becoming transparent until she completely vanished.Bookmark here

For a moment, the room became shrouded in silence, enough to hear a pin drop.Bookmark here

Before long, Tsubaki quickly came out of the pendant. She came out the same way she came in, rubbing her forehead with her arm and exhaling from the heavy-lifting.Bookmark here

“Whoo~ It sure was troublesome, but I made it into my perfect room!”Bookmark here

“Y-You made a room inside the necklace?”Bookmark here

“Ah, I still need to do preparations. A girl has to have everything just right~” Tsubaki said, giving off a wink. Bookmark here

Touyo only started to doubt her while trying to look inside the pendant, but he couldn’t see anything.Bookmark here

Back to today, Touyo put together his uniform. The same black-colored uniform with golden buttons caused him internal agony for another school day as he headed out of the room.Bookmark here

After walking through the hallway and into the living room, he made a quick turn into the kitchen. There, a woman was already hard at work at the counter.Bookmark here

“Geez, you always wake up late. Don’t you know that you got class at 8:00 am?”Bookmark here

The woman turned back her head, her short crimson hair fluttered about. She wore a white-apron that covered her office work clothes comprised of a black blazer and skirt. Black stockings covered her shapely thighs along with high heels.Bookmark here

For everyone else, this woman looked too good in an office woman’s uniform. Her body proportions easily filled out the uniform which would be a pleasure to the eyes. But to Touyo, she’s like a demon that’s ready to work at any moment.Bookmark here

“Yeah, yeah, I know…”Bookmark here

Touyo said with a tired tone as he always does, but the adrenaline from yesterday did not leave just yet.Bookmark here

Just yesterday, he barely managed to survive against a giant worm’s attack and managed to kill it on his own—with his own magic attack.Bookmark here

It wasn’t something an ordinary 12-year-old boy can do. Most boys would most likely run away, or even faint at the sight of it. Touyo certainly wanted to do each of those things.Bookmark here

As his mother Razaru handed out the plates that had Touyo’s usual breakfast— a bowl of steamed rice, red miso soup, a grilled fish, and two small bowls of steamed vegetables—his mind wandered off about what else he would learn later tonight.Bookmark here

For some reason, Tsubaki said that she will teach him once he’s finished with school. When he asked why, she said that she has some business to take care of.Bookmark here

(Is she trying to fix up her so-called ‘room’ in the necklace? Just thinking about it is weird…)Bookmark here

Touyo, as he munched on his grilled fish early, had no choice but to accept this kind of reality.Bookmark here

“Hey, don’t just go for the fish. Eat your vegetables too.”Bookmark here

Razaru chided Touyo. He flinched after hearing her sharp tone. His mother was beautiful if you asked Touyo, but he would also include that she’s very scary when she looks at him with those fiery eyes.Bookmark here

“Eh, but I don’t like them…”Bookmark here

He said it, but he dropped the fish and munched onto the steamed vegetables obeying his mother said. The bitter taste of pickled seaweed caused him to make a contorted facial expression.Bookmark here

“It sucks now—but when you grow up, you’re going to thank me for having a good, healthy body.”Bookmark here

“But… you’re eating fish early, too.”Bookmark here

“That’s cuz’ I’m already healthy.”Bookmark here

Touyo made a glassy stare as Razaru ate pieces of her own grilled fish with a satisfied smile.Bookmark here

As soon as breakfast was done, Touyo ran out to the living room. He took his bag that was placed there yesterday and headed for the door.Bookmark here

“I’m goin’ out!”Bookmark here

“Have a safe trip.”Bookmark here

They shared their usual goodbyes before Touyo closed the door.Bookmark here

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During the time he spent in his school, Touyo had a pretty boring day. But thanks to yesterday’s lesson, his mind was completely filled with exciting imaginations of what is to come.Bookmark here

As soon as the final bell rang, a sweet melody that was music to every middle schooler’s ears, Touyo quickly got up from his seat in the classroom and headed out the door.Bookmark here

Fast-walking along the brown floors, the yellow-colored walls that were plastered with various banners for warnings, clubs, and other types of school activities, Touyo passed through them all and headed right towards the entrance out of the middle school.Bookmark here

The middle school was shaped in a T-shape building if you look at it from the top-side view. The bottom was where the entrance was, and the left side was for recreational purposes while the right side was for educational classes.Bookmark here

Walking out of the building—various students moving ahead to the recreational side of the building for their clubs—Touyo once again saw the cherry-blossom petals falling over him.Bookmark here

Without even wanting to talk to anybody, Touyo ran to his home.Bookmark here

It was already 3:00 pm, but Touyo didn’t belong to any club. He had a difficult time joining any clubs where mostly everyone in his class would go in groups instead of going individually. During that time, everyone always spent time together in their clubs as Touyo was forced to join the only club available to him—the ‘Going home’ club.Bookmark here

There were very few students who also joined this special club, but he never talks to any of them as they headed off to their own homes. As he walked out of the gates, he made his way to his home with haste.Bookmark here

After a few minutes of light running, Touyo wondered if there were a quicker way to get home from school easily without all this walking. He would usually pass the time by listening to music on his way home, but right now he was too excited to even do that. He imagined that he could be learning how to teleport from school to his home in a flash.Bookmark here

Finally, he reached his home. His breath haggard from the extraneous exercise. He quickly got through the gate, headed for the door and opened it up.Bookmark here

Suddenly—POP!—something popped in front of his face. ‘Aaaaah!’ Touyo let out as he fell over on his rump by the entrance. After a moment of dizziness, Touyo found out that it was just a party popper that opened up really close to his face.Bookmark here

“T-Tsubaki!”Bookmark here

“Hehe, surprised?”Bookmark here

It was Tsubaki that was holding the opened popper with a wide grin on her face. She didn’t even hold back on scaring Touyo thanks to his excitement last night.Bookmark here

“W-What was that for?” Touyo groaned as he got up, feeling the slight aching on his rump.Bookmark here

“To celebrate! How could I not when I finally got myself a new student?”Bookmark here

Tsubaki floated away towards the center of the living room as Touyo followed, closing the door behind him.Bookmark here

“S-So we’re celebrating right now…?” Touyo said with a lowered tone.Bookmark here

“Hehe, don’t worry. We’re still going to learn some magic!”Bookmark here

“R-Right!”Bookmark here

Tsubaki winked to assure Touyo of his lessons. Touyo’s heart raced for the exciting time he will have. He went to the sofa and sat down onto it. Tsubaki continued to float away in the air, her index finger up in the air as well.Bookmark here

“There’s quite a lot of ground to cover, so I’ll make a concise schedule. You now learned fire magic, a basic elemental spell in Black magic, but you’re going to need more elements since just fire ain’t going to cut it. Water, earth, wind—if you can learn at least two of these, then you’re good.”Bookmark here

“T-To fight those ghouls… right?” Touyo answered, making Tsubaki smirk in response.Bookmark here

“That’s right.”Bookmark here

“W-What are these Ghouls anyway? How did one come here to my house?” Touyo made these questions up during school, and he couldn’t wait any longer.Bookmark here

“Ghouls are phantoms that are contrived by residue left in the atmosphere by thaumaturgy.”Bookmark here

“Phantoms… residue…thauma…?”Bookmark here

These complicated words wrecked Touyo’s mind to the point of making his brain fizzle.Bookmark here

“Oh, hold on. I meant to say they’re monsters who eat mages’ magic.”Bookmark here

Her words burning Touyo’s mental structure, she simplified it which got him to understand.Bookmark here

“They eat magic?”Bookmark here

“That’s right,” Tsubaki floated down to the ground, landing with her delicate feet to the floor. “They’re born because the magic that we mages use leaves behind a bit of arcana in the air, so these Ghouls are created from that excess arcana.”Bookmark here

“S-Seriously…? Then it’s our fault that this Ghoul showed up?”Bookmark here

“Not exactly…”Bookmark here

Tsubaki’s answer left Touyo with a question mark above his head. She started pacing around the room, her arms folded and her eyes closed, though they opened every few times to see where she was going.Bookmark here

“These Ghouls were already created a long time ago. There are already as many Ghouls as there are human beings. They just hide away within the arcana in the atmosphere, waiting for more chances to eat more magic. Though when they appear, it’s super easy to sense them coming so we put the Barrier beforehand so that they won’t damage the vicinity.”Bookmark here

“S-So… they’re made by magic, and they eat magic? Why do they want to have more magic?”Bookmark here

“To keep themselves fed. And, imagine that you’re hungry—would you settle for just vegetables and water, or have a full-course meal with meat, fish, steamed rice, and juice?”Bookmark here

“I-I would definitely go for the full-course meal.”Bookmark here

“Then you know why Ghouls want more magic. It’s a delicious cuisine for them. They’re hardly conscious beings that only think about their next meal. That’s why they won’t hold back. They can eat a mage whole to devour all the magic he has.”Bookmark here

“E-Eat the mage?!” Touyo practically threw himself at the couch, his heart raced from hearing that last detail. Bookmark here

“That’s right. If you’re not careful, Touyo, you might end up in a Ghoul’s stomach.”Bookmark here

Tsubaki winked as she said that, but it left Touyo chill running up his spine, his teeth constantly hitting each other.Bookmark here

“T-Then, if I don’t get better, I’ll get killed?!”Bookmark here

“Hehe, makes you wanna practice even more, doesn’t it?”Bookmark here

Tsubaki winked while giving a simple motivative speech, but for Touyo, either he works hard or he ends up dead—it was a simple decision of life and death.Bookmark here

“T-Then, please! Teach me more magic!”Bookmark here

“Hehe, you’re quite eager, aren’t you? Well, I can’t blame you. At first, Ghouls are scary, but once you get used to them, they’re hardly a threat.”Bookmark here

“Y-You say that because you can handle one easily…”Bookmark here

“True, I can pretty much destroy an army of Ghouls with just one spell.”Bookmark here

“A-An army, you say…”Bookmark here

Touyo sweated as he leaned back from the walking disaster known as Tsubaki. One single girl can decimate an entire army of those things he faced yesterday? It was unbelievable, but considering what he has gone through, it’s definitely possible.Bookmark here

“Now, getting back on topic. How about we start by learning wind magic? It’s simple, easy, and you can use it to blow up a girl’s skirt to see her panties~” Tsubaki put up a sleazy sneer on her face with her hand on her mouth.Bookmark here

“L-Like I’m going to use magic for that!”Bookmark here

He snapped back at the teasing remark by Tsubaki, his face scowling and tinged with red.Bookmark here

“Haha, alright, alright. Then, let’s get started. Do you still remember the process of creating magic?”Bookmark here

Getting back on track, Tsubaki asked which made Touyo stand up from his couch and nodded vigorously.Bookmark here

“Yeah. Just create an image in your head, and then channel your arcana in your hands.”Bookmark here

“That’s right. Once you got it the first time, it should be easy to do. Now then, this time, show me some wind magic! Make a small wind gust in the house. Don’t worry—I already got the Barrier in place.”Bookmark here

Assuring his house’s safety, Touyo didn’t even realize that she did such a thing. Perhaps he was so into learning about the Ghouls that he missed the feeling?Bookmark here

Either way, Touyo put aside his thoughts on the matter and focused on the task at hand. He corrected his posture—his back straight and his feet planted on the ground underneath his shoulders.Bookmark here

He closed his eyes and remembered the details of Tsubaki’s words. He needed to make a wind gust, and all his life wind blew on him all the time when he was outside. He should be able to quickly create gust without much issue, unlike the fire spell.Bookmark here

He lifted his hand, his fingers sprawled open as he directed his arcana from within his core. Bookmark here

He correctly made an imagery of the invisible wind blowing on his skin. He tried to recreate the image into his hand as he poured in his arcana, reenacting the feeling from before.Bookmark here

He kept pouring in more strength into his hand, shaking it profusely. His teeth started to grind on each other as he contorted his face into a desperate try.Bookmark here

He kept going and going, trying to feel some sort of wind blowing… but nothing happened.Bookmark here

“Haaah! Hah… hah…”Bookmark here

Touyo gasped as he tried to gain back his breath from overusing his muscles. His body turned weak as he fell onto his knees on the rugged floor.Bookmark here

“W-Why… why can’t I do it again?”Bookmark here

He asked himself, possibly asking the core within his heart for the lack of magic.Bookmark here

“Strange…”Bookmark here

Tsubaki looked down at him, looking into his hand which had not created a single spark of magic. She rubbed her chin with her hand as she tried to ponder on this event.Bookmark here

“You should have been able to do this magic since you got fire magic down. Touyo, do you feel sick or something?”Bookmark here

“N-No, I feel fine… I was really excited about today so I couldn’t wait to come here.”Bookmark here

“Mmh…”Bookmark here

“Tsubaki…”Bookmark here

Touyo got himself to stand up while creasing his brows. He hoped that Tsubaki had an answer for his lack of magic.Bookmark here

“…Touyo, try using fire magic again.”Bookmark here

“Eh?” Touyo widened his eyes from the sudden demand. “W-Why?”Bookmark here

“Just try it. It might answer a few questions.”Bookmark here

Tsubaki shot him with a solemn look, leaving him no choice but to do as she says.Bookmark here

He began to worry if he can even use fire magic at this rate, but he shook his head as he began to think about the process of calling out the magic within his core.Bookmark here

“Mmh… Aarh!”Bookmark here

With a loud shout, the palm of his hand created the crimson magic circle. The top of the circle combusted, forming a small flickering fire.Bookmark here

“Ah! I did it!” A word of disbelief let out, his face widened in surprise.Bookmark here

“Don’t be surprised when you use magic!” Tsubaki retorted as she closed in onto the fire on his palm, her luminescent purple orbs staring right into the flame.Bookmark here

“S-So what’s the problem?” Touyo became more concerned as she glared deeply into the fire.Bookmark here

“…I may be wrong, but it might be possible that your body is not used to making diverse magic.”Bookmark here

“D-Diverse… as in?”Bookmark here

His heart raced as he awaited her answer.Bookmark here

“Hah…” A sigh escaped her lips. “It means that you might not be able to use much magic as I thought.”Bookmark here

“E-Eh?!”Bookmark here

He took a step back—this new information was harder to believe than the events that took over yesterday.Bookmark here

“Y-You’re serious?! Are you saying that I’m…”Bookmark here

“Not compatible.”Bookmark here

Something broke inside of him. Those blunt words became the mallet that broke his inner mirror to pieces.Bookmark here

“N-No way…”Bookmark here

Touyo was looking forward to this so much all day, and now he just heard the news that he’s not cut out for the one thing he was looking forward to. He dropped to his knees, a massive weight on him as he no longer had any energy to stand.Bookmark here

“Hey, come on!” Tsubaki didn’t think that it would hurt him this badly. “I said you’re not compatible with Black Magic—that doesn’t mean that you can’t use any other kinds!”Bookmark here

“…What do you mean?” Touyo looked up, his eyes nearing to tear up.Bookmark here

“Well, at the very least, it’s possible that you can’t use elemental basic spells. Wind, lightning, water, earth… it could be difficult for you to try out all these diverse elemental spells.”Bookmark here

“T-Then…” A small hope nestled in his heart. “That means that I can use other types of magic?”Bookmark here

“You can probably use general magic,” Tsubaki lifted her finger, acting like a pointer. “Touyo, use the same kind of force you do when you’re creating fire, and lift that TV controller from the table.”Bookmark here

She used that finger to point at the rectangular controller on the small table near them. Seeing it, Touyo tilted his head.Bookmark here

“Lift… you mean, like lift it with magic?”Bookmark here

“Exactly,” Tsubaki grinned. “Lift the controller using general magic. Use the arcana and transfer it to the controller, and lift it with your mind.”Bookmark here

“O-Oh…” Touyo nodded. “Got it. Then…”Bookmark here

Touyo turned to the table, his eyes glaring right at the controller. He furrowed his brows, putting on a determined expression as he told himself ‘This time, I will do it!’Bookmark here

He lifted his hand and manipulated the arcana within himself. He used the imagery of lifting the controller in the air like those fake magicians on TV that uses wire to lift their beautiful assistants.Bookmark here

This time, he put more force into his image. He gritted his teeth in the process as he put on a nasty scowl.Bookmark here

“Dude, don’t force too much,” Tsubaki couldn’t help making a wry smile at how hard Touyo was trying. She knew that he wanted to make up for his failure.Bookmark here

Then, it happened—the controller slowly lifting off the coffee table, hanged by a non-existent wire as it dangled left and right.Bookmark here

“I-I’m doing it!” Touyo smirked, his hand shaking as he focused his all on lifting it up.Bookmark here

“Ooh, nice~ Good job, Touyo. It looks like it’s working well for the first time.”Bookmark here

Tsubaki rubbed her chin, impressed at the magical control. The controller continued to dangle until Touyo finally let it go, falling right onto the table as it made a loud thud.Bookmark here

“Hah… it was harder than I thought…” Touyo became fatigued just by lifting a small controller than using his own hands. “Tsubaki, this is general magic, right? It’s just normal magic?”Bookmark here

“Normal magic… that sounds about right,” Tsubaki answered. “It’s also called ‘Life Magic’, or just convenient magic. It doesn’t have much of a name, per say, but it’s used for the general parts such as moving things around and getting around quickly.”Bookmark here

“Getting around quickly…” Touyo widened his eyes. “You mean like teleporting!?”Bookmark here

“Yeah!” Tsubaki grinned. “I can easily teleport, but the way I do it is way too advanced. If you tried using teleportation now, you could end up ripped to shreds.”Bookmark here

“I’ll… take your word for it,” A chill ran up his spine just by thinking about that bad ending.Bookmark here

“Now then, let’s keep going with the flow. We won’t go out and hunt Ghouls earlier than I thought, so we’ll take our time learning the basics of general magic and how to make your fire magic stronger.”Bookmark here

“Oh, got it!” Touyo got pumped. Dopamine exuded off of him just by hearing the word ‘ stronger’.Bookmark here

“Alright…” (Now then, the only thing left is…)Bookmark here

As Touyo was in his head imagining the kinds of magic he can learn, Tsubaki watched him from afar, delving further into her thoughts.Bookmark here

(An armor… but where can I find something like that…)Bookmark here

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Touyo was able to train his general magic to… respectable levels. At the very least, he could lift the controller without expending too much thought. How he managed to do so is that Tsubaki forced Touyo to clean up her precious boots using a small scrub—only using his psychokinesis spell.Bookmark here

It was a chore to do, but it was thanks to the constant precise scrubbing that he had full control of using the spell. As it was getting close to night, Tsubaki called it off getting Touyo surprised.Bookmark here

“Tsubaki, what happened to the Ghoul? Wouldn’t it have shown up by now?” He asked, figuring that one would come up underneath him at any second.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry. They don’t show up as much as you think. The one from yesterday was something that I called forth using my magic while I was training you.”Bookmark here

“Y-You called it over?! Wait, you can do that?!”Bookmark here

Tsubaki chuckled. “So you don’t have to worry about any ghouls attacking your home! See, they only go to places that are condensed with people. The more people there are, the more hidden arcana gather up. When a mage shows up in those places, with his or her stronger arcana, then the Ghouls show up as well. Depending on the arcana level of the mage, it changes the variety of the Ghouls.”Bookmark here

“I-Is that how it works…?” Bookmark here

Touyo’s sweat ran down his temple. He became submerged into a world where magic makes everything more complicated.Bookmark here

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The night passed, and morning came around. After eating his usual breakfast, he said goodbye to his mother before heading off to his school.Bookmark here

Walking on the sidewalk, the pleasant morning breeze blowing on his face, he sensed something like a quake in the air, making his shoulders jump. He turned around.Bookmark here

“Yo!”Bookmark here

Tsubaki showed up, floating right behind him as she waved with her fingers individually like it was an affectionate call.Bookmark here

“T-Tsubaki!” Touyo furrowed his eyes, mostly because of the sudden shock. “Y-You can’t be here! People can see you!”Bookmark here

Tsubaki chuckled, putting her hands on her hips. “I can make myself invisible to everyone but you! You’re the only one who can hear me too, and as an added bonus, I made an illusion so that you appear to be walking to everyone else!”Bookmark here

Touyo widened his eyes. There were instances in anime where the main character looked crazy in front of other people whenever he was talking to some supernatural being in disguise, but it looks like Tsubaki thought of that ahead and planned it out.Bookmark here

“Y-You can do that…? Ah, I might as well stop asking that,” he decided to go with the flow since this would probably be the new norm for him. “So, why are you coming with me to school?”Bookmark here

“Oh, I was just bored,” Tsubaki said as she floated with her front facing the sky, her hands resting behind her head as if she was swinging in a hammock at a beach. “Might as well follow you and have a pleasant conversation.”Bookmark here

Touyo wasn’t so against this, but his face cringed after thinking about his conversations with what practically could be called an invisible ghost.Bookmark here

“B-But then I’ll look crazy to my classmates.”Bookmark here

“Like I said, my illusion will make it so that nobody hears our conversations, including your own voice.”Bookmark here

“Man… magic is really convenient…” Touyo awed at the fascinations of magic.Bookmark here

“Isn’t it?” Tsubaki flashed a grin, her vibrant face reminding Touyo of a fashion model.Bookmark here

Touyo and Tsubaki talked on the way there about what they were teaching Touyo at school, much to his disinterest. When they got there, the school was bustling from the arrival of the students coming in for their education. Some weren’t so keen on receiving their lessons— Touyo could tell by the way they tried to finish their last-minute homework before class starts.Bookmark here

Touyo went to his class when the bell rung and, for the first time, had fun as he had someone to talk to during the classes. On his own, Touyo wouldn’t talk to his classmates for several reasons—none of which Touyo felt inclined to say to Tsubaki when she asked.Bookmark here

After a while the bell rung, signaling the start for lunchtime. The students gladly left behind their work to focus on their first priority—filling their stomachs.Bookmark here

Some left for the cafeteria, while others stayed behind in their classrooms to begin their exciting topics of whatever happened last night.Bookmark here

However, Touyo wasn’t the kind to enjoy such topics with these real-lifers (to Touyo, these are the people who have joyous fulfilling lives as teenagers) and retreated to a more safer location to hide from these predators—the roof.Bookmark here

Opening the door after trekking over the long staircase upwards, the usual large empty space entered into his view. It was filled with bordered bushes and stone benches on the four corners of the middle flooring. An iron railing surrounded the roof so that nobody would fall, and more importantly, nobody was there.Bookmark here

Usually, the roof is a popular location for real-lifers to meet up, but recently the students went over to other places more suited for them. Since nobody wanted to go up the staircase every day to the roof, the roof became unpopular by the year.Bookmark here

It’s very rare for some student to come in and have lunch in the roof—unless they’re people who wish to be alone.Bookmark here

Which is exactly what Touyo is doing.Bookmark here

“Man, you’re really antisocial,” Tsubaki spoke in a half-surprised and half-expected tone.Bookmark here

“Leave me alone,” Touyo snapped back quickly. He sat on one of the stone benches with a grumpy look.Bookmark here

His meal was prepared by his mother beforehand, which was a boxed lunch with rice as the main course with egg rolls, sausages, and cut-up apple slices as side dishes. During so he had to share with Tsubaki when she took the pieces of his egg rolls into her mouth, creating an elated expression.Bookmark here

“Mmh, your Mom’s such a good cook!” Tsubaki complimented with a grin.Bookmark here

“Thanks,” Touyo replied. “Now can you stop picking out my food? I’m hungry here.”Bookmark here

“Hey, the least you could do is feed me some food for your lessons!” Tsubaki swung her fists and whined childishly, putting on a pout on her face which caused Touyo’s eyes to spin around.Bookmark here

“Yeah, yeah…”Bookmark here

Touyo went on to eat his rice now that Tsubaki ate all of his egg rolls. Tsubaki floated towards the railings of the roof to see more of the school’s layout.Bookmark here

“This is a nice place to be, Touyo,” Tsubaki complimented once more, her skin caressed by the rolling breeze. “You got surprisingly good taste.”Bookmark here

“What the hell does that mean?”Bookmark here

Touyo responded negatively, believing that she said it in some offensive way. He walked up to her side by the railing, his lunch box packed away since he was finished. Bookmark here

Still munching on her stolen egg rolls, Tsubaki’s eyes took notice of a being who was coming through the front entrance.Bookmark here

A thin girl, long blue hair fluttered which immediately caught Tsubaki’s eyes. She wore the female version of Touyo’s school uniform, only that it was messy. It was possible that she just put it on in a hurry. The only thing that’s off the norm was the huge picturesque bag she held in secret behind her school bag, constantly looking left and right before she runs off to the school.Bookmark here

“Hey, Touyo, who’s that girl?” Tsubaki pointed at the distressed girl. Touyo managed to spot her, his mind sparked by her unique appearance.Bookmark here

“Ah, that’s Yuki Sosuke,” Touyo recalled. “She’s an odd one…”Bookmark here

“For Touyo to say that, she must be extraordinarily odd,” Tsubaki sneered at her joke which made her receive Touyo’s death glare.Bookmark here

“Well, I’ll admit that we’re both loners,” Touyo calmed down as he made his comment on the girl. “She’s not a bad person, but people say that she’s a total anime nerd.”Bookmark here

“Is that so bad?” Tsubaki tilted her head.Bookmark here

“It’s not bad, I do that too. But apparently she watches a magical girl anime for kids, and she’s obsessed with it enough to cut class and buy its merchandise.”Bookmark here

Touyo points at the bag which Tsubaki followed, noticing the poster poking out of the bag that had an image of a girl with pink twin-tailed hair. Bookmark here

Then, her eyes widened when she noticed something frilly inside.Bookmark here

“Touyo!” Her sudden shout made Touyo flinch, his body jerked in an unnatural fashion.Bookmark here

“W-What?!”Bookmark here

“That girl! Talk to her and ask for her dress!”Bookmark here

“…Huh?!”Bookmark here

Touyo took a step back, unable to process what she just said. Though that would be an appropriate reaction.Bookmark here

“W-Why the hell you want me to ask for her dress?!”Bookmark here

“Because,” Tsubaki’s face closed up to his own, getting him to blush in response from her sweet smell emanating from her. “That dress is essential for your training! Just ask her! She’s in your class, right?”Bookmark here

“W-Well…”Bookmark here

Touyo is only able to recognize her because she was part of his class. Otherwise, she would have been a complete stranger to him.Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah…” He reluctantly agreed. “But she hardly comes to school…”Bookmark here

“Then it’s perfect! Ask her now before she hides away! Now, now, now!”Bookmark here

Tsubaki urged Touyo to move his legs into overdrive as he made his way towards the door that led to the bottom levels.Bookmark here

A bit of a while later, Touyo was standing near the corner of a hallway. He peeked, his head poking out of hiding to notice the same blue-haired student coming out of what appears to be the teacher’s office. The girl bowed to the teacher seemingly having a complicated look on his face.Bookmark here

“It looks like she had an excuse,” Touyo surmised the reason why the student visited the office instead of avoiding it altogether.Bookmark here

“Now’s your chance! Go and talk to her!”Bookmark here

Tsubaki, floating right behind him in her illusionary invisible mode, pushed Touyo on his back which made him nearly fall forward out of hiding.Bookmark here

“H-Hey!” Touyo expressed his deep concerns. “What am I supposed to say?! I never talked to a girl before in school!”Bookmark here

Touyo, being a loner, has no experience talking to girls other than his mother in his entire life. It’s not like he had any bad experiences with them—it’s just that girls these days survive solely on social interactions, and Touyo cannot provide any.Bookmark here

“My god, you’re hopeless!” Tsubaki expressed her exasperation with furrowed eyes. “You talk to me, so you can talk to her! Now, move it!”Bookmark here

She showed a scowl that undermined his manhood. Her pressure caused his sweat to run down his temple. He swallowed air and turned towards the direction the girl went.Bookmark here

Remembering the moment when he faced the worm, he borrowed that courage from that memory and puffed up his chest by inhaling sharply. He walked forward with a gait, which made Tsubaki involuntarily giggle from how serious he was.Bookmark here

Reaching ever closer to her, Touyo’s heart thumped against his chest. He got close enough to touch her. His mind began to glaze over—his throat suddenly dried up. Was it this difficult talking to a girl? Tsubaki had a point that he talked to her just fine. Knowing this, Touyo bit his lip before opening his mouth.Bookmark here

“E-Excuse me!” Bookmark here

Touyo originally planned to speak politely, but the volume of his voice betrayed that.Bookmark here

“Kyaah!” Bookmark here

The girl showed a natural reaction and jumped in retaliation. She held her bag to her chest tightly, guarding it against potential thieves.Bookmark here

“U-Umm, yes?!” She stuttered, making the same high-pitched tone as Touyo to ask for his business. She became completely frightened by the unexpected call.Bookmark here

“Umm… Hi… umm, Yuki—I mean…Sosuke, right?”Bookmark here

It is common courtesy in Japan to call someone by their surnames. You can call someone by their given name, but doing so without at least getting their permission is beyond rude. Touyo, being the loner he is, almost insulted her by saying her first name before correcting himself into her surname.Bookmark here

Still a little frightened, Yuki managed to remember his face after taking a moment to process.Bookmark here

“Y-You’re Shikaya—from my class, right?”Bookmark here

Touyo nodded—he struggled to find the words.Bookmark here

“T-That bag…” Touyo pointed at the bag still being hidden behind her school bag. “The one with the anime stuff…”Bookmark here

The moment he talked about it, Yuki immediately retracted it behind her, showing her cautious side.Bookmark here

“W-What about it?” She answered, her voice tinged in wariness as her shoulders started to shudder.Bookmark here

“Umm… that is to say…” Touyo’s chest kept bursting, his words were too embarrassing to even speak out loud. “Umm… that dress you have… do you mind if I… borrow… it?”Bookmark here

He spoke slowly, and the last words were barely audible, but Yuki was able to understand it to an extent.Bookmark here

“…Borrow my dress?” She raised her right brow, repeating his question. She then lowered it to a doubtful gaze. “…Why?”Bookmark here

Touyo knew that at this moment, the moment Yuki’s tone turned doubtful and suspicious, that even the girl who has no friends like him is starting to consider him to be a creep. His reputation was non-existent to begin with, but he’d rather not let it get any lower than that.Bookmark here

However, since it was his master’s orders, he had no choice.Bookmark here

“Umm… my friend is a… really, really big fan of the… anime where that dress came from!” Touyo whipped out a fresh lie. “S-So… if you can… can I borrow it so that my friend will know what it’s like to… see it?”Bookmark here

Touyo hoped to whatever god is out there that Yuki will be persuaded by his ‘fan friend’. Yuki still had that doubtful gaze on him, but then, they softened as she let out a sigh.Bookmark here

“Well,” Yuki gave in. “I don’t want to deny a fan to see the dress at least. It’s pretty expensive and it’s one-of-a-kind limited edition.”Bookmark here

Yuki put her hand into the bag and pulled out the very dress she proudly exclaimed. It was a frilly one-piece black dress with bulbous shoulders. There was a big bow at the neckline. A white sash at the waist with frills at the end of the hem.Bookmark here

“But… please tell her that she should be extra, extra careful,” Yuki made a stern expression as she folded it carefully and handed the dress to Touyo. “It took me 3 hours standing in a line in the hot sun for me to get it, and it’s one of the kind—a limited edition dress that only 10 of them exists.”Bookmark here

Taking in the pain-staking story from her soul, Touyo widened his eyes and thanked his lucky stars that she bought it.Bookmark here

“T-Thank you very much, Sosuke!” Touyo carefully grabbed the dress. “I promise I’ll take very good care of it!”Bookmark here

Touyo smiled as he thanked Yuki’s understanding and kindness in his mind. Yuki, not being used to social interaction, and especially being thanked for anything, blushed at his gratitude.Bookmark here

“N-No problem…”Bookmark here

She said while hiding her head down. Touyo couldn’t tell whether she didn’t want to see him as she said it, or if she’s too embarrassed to say it to his face.Bookmark here

Touyo said farewell, bowing to her again as he left. He headed back to where Tsubaki was floating.Bookmark here

“I got the dress…” Touyo said as he let out a big sigh of relief. “I’m just glad she’s so nice to me. So, what are we going to do?”Bookmark here

Touyo was careful to hold the dress as he didn’t want to upset Yuki. Tsubaki then made a snide sneer, her creeping smile revealing to be completely vile to Touyo.Bookmark here

“Why… you’re going to wear it as your armor.”Bookmark here

“…What?”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

School time came to an end. Touyo had promised Yuki that he will bring the dress back to her the next day, so he walked home with the safety of the dress in mind. He returned to the confines of his home, where he had his own privacy and nobody else in the world could see him…Bookmark here

Or at least, he wished that nobody would see this.Bookmark here

“Tsubaki…why the hell…”Bookmark here

Touyo’s burning fury was bubbling over the peak.Bookmark here

“Why are you making me wear this?!”Bookmark here

He shouted, his anger no longer capable of holding back. His body was fully adorned with the frilly dress that strangely suited his 12-year-old body.Bookmark here

“Wow, *Phht!* That dress looks so good on you.”Bookmark here

Tsubaki managed to say in between fits of laughter that she tried to stifle, but it was to no avail. Touyo’s face reddened to the point of boiling—he had never experienced such shame before in his short life.Bookmark here

“So what’s the point, already?!”Bookmark here

Touyo had no more patience to give as he started to stomp the floor, but the way his dress fluttered up and down as he did only made it worse for Tsubaki to rein in her laughter.Bookmark here

“Haha! S-Sorry, sorry…” Tsubaki took a pause before responding. “Rather, I’m not sorry. You look so cute in it!”Bookmark here

“That’s the worst thing anyone can call me!”Bookmark here

Touyo rebutted, his face fuming red before Tsubaki finally let her laughter die down.Bookmark here

“Touyo,” Tsubaki stood in front of him with a stern expression. “This is going to be important because every mage should have their magic armor.”Bookmark here

“M-Magic armor… What does that mean? And why do I have to be in a stupid dress for that?”Bookmark here

Touyo’s questions made valid points as Tsubaki folded her arms, putting on her lecturer’s face.Bookmark here

“Touyo, do you see the dress I’m wearing?” Tsubaki asked while showing off her splendid black dress adorned on her curvaceous body which made Touyo nod. “This is made out of the arcana within my body. It uses your very own arcana to keep it charged, so it becomes toughened as if it was armor. Not even a normal blade can pierce the cloth. So, it’s comfortable to fight in, and it’s super tough enough to handle any kind of attacks.”Bookmark here

Tsubaki, to make more of an example, raised the hem of her dress to show an example of its texture. It got Touyo to spot her supple snow-like thigh which reddened his face instantly.Bookmark here

“That’s why you need a magic armor, and the only way to do that is to wear that black dress and chant the words needed to create your own personal armor for you to wear at any time.”Bookmark here

“Is that so…” Touyo put on a skeptical look. “I understand why I need it, but… why a black dress?”Bookmark here

“If you’re planning on becoming a Black Witch, then you gotta go with black,” Tsubaki made her ready-made answer.Bookmark here

“Okay, then why a dress?!” Touyo once again rephrased his question to the fundamental problem.Bookmark here

“Because you need to copy its thin cloth and texture so that you can make your armor the exact kind. See, when you’re wearing it now, you feel nice, comfortable, and loose, right?”Bookmark here

“I don’t want to know about it!”Bookmark here

Touyo plugged his ears with his hands. He didn’t want to admit how nice it feels to wear the loose dress. He was so free of constriction, but he was afraid that he might awaken a desire inside that should never awaken.Bookmark here

“That way,” Tsubaki pulled off his hands away from his ears for him to hear the rest. “When you make your magic armor out of your imagination, you will make it the same kind of texture you’re feeling now so that you won’t feel constricted when you’re fighting.”Bookmark here

“A-Alright, already!” Touyo gave up, insisting on her finishing it. “Just hurry up and teach me the words so I can take this off!”Bookmark here

“Alright,” Tsubaki smirked as she closed in towards his ears for her to whisper the words. Though it made Touyo blushed instantly when she did it—when she told the chant needed to make the armor spell, Touyo’s eyes widened.Bookmark here

“…Y-You’re serious? Why those words?!”Bookmark here

Touyo’s night became even worse as he imagined the kind of image he will create when saying those words.Bookmark here

“It’s something of a personal flavor I like to add. It may not make sense, but it provides a good feeling. Plus, it’s like a transformation call, right? Like on TV.”Bookmark here

“I rather not say that at all!”Bookmark here

“Either that or risk being run through by a Ghoul’s horns! Now, say it!”Bookmark here

Tsubaki pointed at him and ordered him to do it. Touyo figured that he couldn’t escape from this. His face blushing, he grinded his teeth as Tsubaki started to cheer for him to say it.Bookmark here

Jio Kurenai
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