Chapter 11:

Chapter 7: It's the Dark Sorcerers!

Black Witch Tsu-To-Yu!

A week has passed, and the Black Witches have gathered together to face against the unnatural phenomenon called Ghouls.Bookmark here

So far, Tsubaki has been teaching her students the proper way to pace themselves in their fights. She also taught them how to give themselves breaks and figuring out the ghoul’s weaknesses.Bookmark here

Tsubaki made sure to drill practicality into their heads, making it important to experience their spells than just learning it. She wanted them to use spells as equal as breathing to them.Bookmark here

It’s been a week since Tsubaki forced them to keep fighting ghouls. Each time they would fight against different kinds of ghouls of all shapes and sizes, leaving the students’ minds in a fritz through the days.Bookmark here

Though, after a week, the two were getting used to things. They learned how to properly act during life-threatening battles, though they were still green-horned on this particular activity.Bookmark here

It was in such a night where once again, they were facing a ghoul of considerable difficulty. In the area where they learned that a ley line existed and is practically charged with arcana all day, the Black Witches were on top of the building to fight against a ghoul to raise their experience.Bookmark here

Standing side by side, Touyo and Yuki had already developed their own actual battle stances—very much like the anime characters in their favorite shows. Yuki had her hands raised, with her right hand slightly more forward than her left, and her knees bent while her skirt swayed from the gust of wind that flew by.Bookmark here

Her solemn round face with her long blue hair swaying from the breeze made a sight of a true to honest magical warrior.Bookmark here

On the other hand, Touyo’s stance was rougher than Yuki’s graceful posture. Both his hands were hard-gripped fists, his left fist facing forward while his right fist was kept close to his chest. He learned the hard way that using all his weight on one leg is an invite for disaster as he occasionally gets tripped by clever ghouls throughout the week, so he kept his weight evenly on both legs.Bookmark here

The ghoul they were facing was already on its last limits. It was a furry creature resembling a scarecrow with its long gangly body and weird green fur all over it. It opened its fanged mouth to heavily breathe in and out from the hard-fought battle ensuing between them.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, floating above the roof of the building right in the dark sky filled with glittering stars, their magic teacher patiently gazed at the battle with a keen interest and a smile to boot. Her body lied on the front, the air acting as her bed. Her boot-covered feet raised up and her hands were below her chin. Her slanted eyes studied every moment of the battle, while a cold crisp air flowed in on the battlefield.Bookmark here

RAAAH!Bookmark here

The ghoul screeched. It moved both its furry hands forward. The fur on them grew longer and even launched them towards one of them—specifically Touyo.Bookmark here

Touyo learned now that he is always the main focus of being hit. The reason being is that Yuki’s high magical capacity actually frightens the Ghouls like she was a powerful queen of the realm and they were the scamps that lived within it. So the ghouls often target Touyo in order to take out any other trouble.Bookmark here

In other words, they adopted the famous role-playing game strategy of taking out the weakling before facing the big boss.Bookmark here

When he learned that from Tsubaki, a sense of frustration grew inside of him. Gritting his teeth, Touyo used the personal lessons he learned throughout the fights with the ghouls to dodge the attack by sidestepping in a quick motion. He lunged to the floor by the side where the unnaturally growing fur missed him by a near graze.Bookmark here

Yuki took this chance as the two learned to use this method of taking their attention by having Touyo dodge the incoming attack, all to let Yuki give the final blow.Bookmark here

“Now, Yuki!”Bookmark here

Touyo screamed out as he turned back to see the fur still being launched by the ghoul’s hands. Yuki’s nodded her head and moved her hand which became charged with arcana.Bookmark here

“Freeze!”Bookmark here

Yuki’s hand formed the azure magic circle in front of it. From that circle, a glowing mist of cold air burst forth. The cold air hit the fur, and following in the fast couple of seconds, the strands of fur became encased in white ice. It eventually traveled towards to the source—to the ghoul itself.Bookmark here

The ice quickly covered the fur all the way to the ghoul, causing it to flinch and panic while trying to stay away. However, since the fur was directly coming from it, it had no choice but to become the victim of the rapidly freezing ice. It eventually froze it solid.Bookmark here

Now that their target has become immobile, Touyo pointed at the icey ghoul with two fingers. He used his index and middle, shaping his hand to look like a gun.Bookmark here

He focused on his target as he charged himself with arcana, and a little bit of frustration welling inside of him into it as well.Bookmark here

“Fire Bullet!”Bookmark here

It was Touyo’s newly formed magic attack—though he calls it that, he only just changed his original spell with a new twist.Bookmark here

Since magic is mostly imagery, as explained by Yuki, Touyo can form his magic in any way he pleases. So, if he imagined a powerful flame devouring his victims, then he can use his fire spell to give off a flame-thrower type attack that envelops his enemies into a blazing conflagration. But in this case, he needed to form his fire to accurately target his far-off enemy.Bookmark here

So to help him visualize a powerful shot, he changed the way he poses with his hand. He pretended that his finger turned into a gun which he visualized to be the perfect accurate shot.Bookmark here

This formed Touyo’s new attack—Fire Bullet.Bookmark here

The crimson magic circle appeared, and like a bullet shot out of a gun, the fire short forth from the circle resembled that of a small burning comet that shot straight towards the frozen being.Bookmark here

The fire shot through the chest of the gangly ghoul like a true bullet, and it hit precisely where Touyo expected its jewel to be—which turned out to be rightBookmark here

The frozen being encased in ice began to evaporate within it. The dark particles continued to form in the ice, eventually breaking it apart and the dark particles soon dissipated into the air. It left behind the small jewel used as its life source on the floor along with the broken ice.Bookmark here

“Nice job, my Black Witches!”Bookmark here

The bellowing voice resounded as their magic teacher floated downwards in a slow approach, giving her praise to her students who were heaving heavily to regain their breaths.Bookmark here

“Whoo… it’s still so thrilling and scary…”Bookmark here

Yuki put her hand on top of her chest, her heart still beating at a fast pace. Her veins were pumped with adrenaline, but slowly they were being drained as the situation had already passed.Bookmark here

“You’ve taken out another ghoul for the night! That’s something to be proud of, my darling witches!”Bookmark here

Tsubaki floated towards the jewel on the floor and picked it up with her dainty hands. She marveled at the jewel by holding it up to the shining moon up above and flashed a smile similar to that shine. Tsubaki then made the jewel in her hand dissipate into particles. putting it away somewhere she can reach without question.Bookmark here

“Hah, Tsubaki, we’ve been facing these ghouls for a while now. Shouldn’t you teach us something by now?”Bookmark here

Touyo picked himself up from the floor, dusting off his pants to rid himself of the dirt. Yuki also helped as she patted Touyo’s lower back as he couldn’t reach by the way he struggled to get to it.Bookmark here

“Yeah. I mean, I don’t mind getting experience, but it gets tiring facing these ghouls…”Bookmark here

Yuki added on after dusting Touyo’s back, the two students facing their teacher with a mild displeased look on their faces.Bookmark here

“You kids sure are impatient,” Tsubaki heartily laughed, placing both hands on her hips to put on her usual pose. “Well, not that I don’t blame you. Keep eating the same meal and you’ll get sick of it soon enough. The same concept applies to here. Don’t worry, we’re not going to keep farming for these jewels for long.”Bookmark here

“Huh?” Touyo thought he misheard that, but after paying close attention to it, Tsubaki made it sound like they were playing a role-playing game. “What do you mean ‘farming’ jewels?”Bookmark here

“Ohohohoho, we’ll soon find something to do. But for now, you guys deserve a rest for tonight.”Bookmark here

“Hey, don’t change the subject!”Bookmark here

Touyo snapped after Tsubaki put her hand over her mouth and giving off some strange laughter like a spoiled rich girl. Tsubaki floated towards Touyo, surprising him a little as she flew towards his pendant hanging around his neck, disappearing into it.Bookmark here

“Whoo, I’m getting pretty tired myself~ You guys should head to sleep so that you won’t wake up all teary-eyed and exhausted!”Bookmark here

Only Tsubaki’s voice could be heard within the necklace before becoming silent, leaving both Touyo and Yuki to express worrisome faces towards each other.Bookmark here

“W-Well, I guess I should be heading home. I still got some errands to do before I go to sleep,” Yuki said, slightly scratching her cheek.Bookmark here

“Yeah, and I need to return home before Mom raises a fuss.”Bookmark here

“Hehe, you shouldn’t make your mother worry,” Yuki giggled, her hand near her mouth as she hid a smile.Bookmark here

“Yeah, yeah, I get you,” Touyo also smiled back, though his smile was slightly sarcastic to go along with his tone.Bookmark here

Yuki couldn’t stifle her giggle once more. “Then, I’ll see you tomorrow.”Bookmark here

“Alright, good night. Have a good sleep.”Bookmark here

“You too.”Bookmark here

After making their nightly greetings, Yuki waved at Touyo as she created her azure magic circle and opened up a teleportal. She waved at Touyo before disappearing into it completely.Bookmark here

Touyo waved back as he brought his broom out and flew back to his own home. He wanted to enjoy his nightly flying just a bit more rather than just teleporting there.Bookmark here

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On the way there, he was met with cold air caressing his face and the building's lights from below flowing by like a flashing river. Touyo reminded himself of his greeting with Yuki before, the memory still fresh within his mind.Bookmark here

“Looks like you guys are getting quite close to one another.” Hearing Tsubaki’s voice again, Touyo saw her transparent being flow out of the pendant to face him. She looked back with a smile comparable to the brilliance of the moon far above him.Bookmark here

“W-Well, yeah…”Bookmark here

Touyo figured that this would be it, considering that he and Yuki were slowly getting used to each other.Bookmark here

Since the days passing by, Touyo was getting used to Yuki’s presence—and according to her close greetings, it looks like Yuki is getting used to Touyo as well. Though Tsubaki is classified as an extra being, it was the first time that Touyo and Yuki have gotten close to anyone other than their own parents.Bookmark here

“That’s good, that’s good,” Tsubaki nodded her head, putting on a position of crossing her legs while also crossing her arms in accordance. “You two should be friendly with each other just like that. That’s how Black Witches form their friendships.”Bookmark here

“You still haven’t answered my question from before, Tsubaki…”Bookmark here

Wanting to change the subject as soon as possible, as his face was growing hot from embarrassment, he asked the question that was on his mind before.Bookmark here

“Hehe, don’t worry about it. I’m putting the jewels into good use. Let’s just say that there are lots of good reasons to why we’re hunting ghouls other than raising your magic levels.”Bookmark here

“…Tsubaki, do you usually play role-playing games? Cuz’ you sound like you play them.”Bookmark here

“I dabble a bit here and there from Yuki’s room using the powerful ‘internet’.”Bookmark here

Tsubaki said while raising her nose up, proud of her knowledge. Touyo could only roll his eyes as he focused on getting himself home before getting into trouble with his mother.Bookmark here

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After returning home, eventually sleeping away to the new day, the Black Witches once again reunited in the morning to head to their school as part of their routine.Bookmark here

Walking along the sidewalk as usual, the Black Witches enjoyed their random discussions on the way. Surprising for the introverts who were considered outcasts by their classmates.Bookmark here

“And then, and then! Miyuri shot off another magnificent ‘Miyuri Shot’! The animation went off really well, as expected of the famous artist who made several famous anime across our time!”Bookmark here

“That sounds pretty cool. I might look at it online at Metube.”Bookmark here

“Oh, why not watch the show itself? It’ll be ten times better than watching it on a short video!”Bookmark here

“You know how many episodes there are in that show? It’ll take me years to get to that part!”Bookmark here

The discussion was as usual for Touyo and Yuki, talking about the finest part of the Magical Girl Miyuri show. Meanwhile, Tsubaki listened in on the topic, smiling to herself in her transparent form as she floated between the two.Bookmark here

(Good to see that these two are getting used to each other,) Tsubaki viewed at the two once more, their ecstatic smiles filling her with joy.Bookmark here

But then, a jolt ran through her body, overriding her senses. She perked her ears, sensing a presence within the air around them.Bookmark here

(Someone’s coming?)Bookmark here

Normally, Tsubaki would assume that it was another ghoul. Since the students are too young to sense them yet, she would normally pick it up. But this time, she doesn’t sense hardly any hostile intent, so she wasn’t on guard.Bookmark here

However, there was something similar she sensed from that presence, marring her face with a distasteful frown.Bookmark here

“Mmh? What’s wrong, Tsubaki?” Touyo turned to his transparent master making a face that seemed unlike her, surprising Yuki as well.Bookmark here

Before long, the air around them became heavier, their bodies under pressure. Something intangible was weighing on their heads and shoulders.Bookmark here

The two raised their heads towards the sky, seeing nothing but air. But according to their experiences, it won’t be just empty for long.Bookmark here

The air cracked above them, eventually dissipating to show a vortex-like hole that appeared to be electrified by slithering jolts of electricity coiling around it.Bookmark here

Danger possibly afoot, the two students quickly armed themselves in their magic armor uniforms and put themselves into their combat stance.Bookmark here

“Guys, relax, it’s somebody that I know… unfortunately.”Bookmark here

Tsubaki floated forward in front of her students, eventually becoming solid in form as she placed her hands on her curvy hips while putting on a pouting frown.Bookmark here

The two students looked back in surprise, and eventually lowered their arms. Their guard was still up within their minds, however.Bookmark here

Eventually, something came out of the vortex-like hole, having the resemblance of three beings stepping out of the hole and falling to the ground. Two of them landed with precision, like superheroes that fell from the sky into a standing position. The final one floated with nothing but the air holding her, showing a rather proud position with her arms crossed together and a grin on her face.Bookmark here

“It’s been a while, Tsubaki… I see that you’ve been released of your captivity,” The young woman said with a grin on her face, looking down on Tsubaki who coiled her legs together with a pout.Bookmark here

The young woman floated down equally in the air and in the same position as Tsubaki while in between the two hooded figures that stood idly by. The young woman had a black dress similarly to Tsubaki, but it had a few ribbons on her arms and long black gloves that nearly reached to her elbow. She actually wore sneakers on her feet instead of the boots Tsubaki wore, and her short light-blue hair reached her neck resembling a sea-shell with the corners facing upwards.Bookmark here

“Yeah, no thanks to you, Adrena,” Tsubaki responded with a snappy comment, showing a mixture of a grin and a furrowed look.Bookmark here

“H-Hey, Tsubaki, who’s this?” Touyo closed in towards Tsubaki to whisper to her on the identity of their sudden visitor.Bookmark here

“She’s Adrena… my sister.”Bookmark here

““Sister?!””Bookmark here

Touyo and Yuki both whispered loudly at the sudden information of her relative.Bookmark here

“Unlike me, she’s from the Dark Sorcerers—mages who govern the law and order in the Underworld.”Bookmark here

“L-Law and order… you mean like policemen?” Touyo made this assumption after careful thought. Tsubaki replied with a nod.Bookmark here

“Yeah, but they run a tight ship—meaning that they don’t accept anyone who has a low-grade magic core. They’re the kind that I hate the most.”Bookmark here

Touyo and Yuki sensed the animosity hidden in her tone towards these so-called ‘Dark Sorcerers’. They turned to each other with creased brows as they watched the meeting done between these two sisters.Bookmark here

“Aren’t you supposed to be a talented mage? You couldn’t even get out of a simple book like that. Now, I would have helped you out, but I thought that you had it all well made. After all, you are ‘gifted’…”Bookmark here

Adrena raised her dainty hand to her mouth, her leathery glove squeaking as she does. She gave off a pompous laughter that revealed Tsubaki’s angered expression by furrowing her beautiful brows.Bookmark here

“Hey, Touyo, what does she mean by that?” Yuki whispered to Touyo to learn more about this book that they were talking about.Bookmark here

“Ah,” Touyo realized that Yuki has not learned of Tsubaki’s origin. “I helped release Tsubaki from a suspicious book by giving it my blood. It turns out that she was stuck there as a prank.”Bookmark here

Touyo said as he recalled each scene that occurred vividly in his mind, but he noticed Yuki’s bead of sweat rolling down her cheek. It was clear that she was shocked that Tsubaki could be trapped like that.Bookmark here

“Heh, I just didn’t feel like doing anything. And besides, if anything, that got me to find my students.”Bookmark here

“Oh? So these two really are your students then, by the look of their god-awful uniforms…”Bookmark here

The floating woman, Adrena, looked down at Touyo and Yuki showing a raised brow. The two were taken aback by the sudden insult to their faces, but kept quiet as Adrena exuded the same kind of presence as Tsubaki from her—meaning that she was as powerful as her.Bookmark here

So they withheld their opinions—well, not like they could say it out loud in the first place—and continued listening to this pompous mage.Bookmark here

“I know that you’ve been scraping at the bottom of the barrel lately, but honestly, I think you had a better chance at the bottom instead of picking these two…”Bookmark here

“My, my, already insulting them on the first meeting? Could it be that you’re already afraid?”Bookmark here

“Who said that I’m afraid?!”Bookmark here

The pompous attitude melted away as soon as Tsubaki spoke again, revealing Adrena’s angered-stricken face.Bookmark here

“Hmph!” Adrena scoffed. “Like I’m gonna listen to someone who actually took in students from earth! The people of earth have a severely declined Magic Core. Even if you force them awake, they won’t be able to attain the experience of using magic fluently!”Bookmark here

Adrena looked down on Tsubaki with a mild glare, the two of them butting heads against each other as something like a spark of rivalry began to shoot out from their glaring eyes.Bookmark here

“You don’t know anything about them! Even after just a week, my students have progressed much more than any of yours!”Bookmark here

“Hah! I would really like to see that!”Bookmark here

The two sharing ecstatic smiles, something stirred in the air for the two students as Touyo peered behind Adrena to see the two hooded beings keeping silent.Bookmark here

The two hooded beings seemed to be in the same height as the students, so it was possible that these two were at the same age. However, there was a certain air about them. Similar to soldiers prepped for battle from an army.Bookmark here

Something jolted within Touyo after viewing their darkened faces. Their eyes within the darkness glared at them like hunters glaring at their prey. He could tell that these two are experienced mages, even though they could possibly be the same age.Bookmark here

“What are you even doing here anyways, Adrena? Did you just come to visit so that you’ll give me your bullshit?” Tsubaki asked, the two female masters gripping at each other’s cheeks, their teeth and gums becoming visible the farther they tried to stretch.Bookmark here

“I was ordered by our Empress to come find you. If I wanted, I would have left you in that stupid book so that you’ll be kept out of my hair! But honestly, even she would be disappointed to see that you picked two random kids to be your students!”Bookmark here

Touyo tilted his head after mentioning another person, an empress no less, who apparently knew Tsubaki back wherever she came from.Bookmark here

“These students will beat your own students, no problem!”Bookmark here

Tsubaki suddenly said, though her face was still gripped by Adrena’s fingers. The two students became surprised and flinched in shock.Bookmark here

“H-Hey?!” Touyo shouted, but he got ignored by them.Bookmark here

“Hah! Then let’s see to it that you’ll be put in your place! Tonight, in a place with tons of space, we’ll have a showdown between our students! Whoever wins will obviously receive bragging rights!”Bookmark here

“Deal! I can’t wait to see your students come crying home in tears back to the Underworld!”Bookmark here

Before long, the two childish masters gave off a big ‘hmph!’ by turning their heads away, and each one floated back towards their own students.Bookmark here

Adrena, once she got back with them, used the same magic spell that summoned the vortex-like hole in the sky. The three jumped back through the hole they once went into before the hole disappeared into thin air.Bookmark here

While Tsubaki floated back, cursing at the master who just left under her breath, the two students were left with widened eyes.Bookmark here

“…What the hell you were thinking, Tsubaki?!”Bookmark here

“M-Master Tsubaki! We can’t fight them!”Bookmark here

The two students went up to their master’s face with their own, each one showing an expression of fear and anger mixed together.Bookmark here

“Relax, you two,” Tsubaki gave off a wry smile by holding her hands up. “I know that you two will win! Besides, this will also be a good opportunity to gain more experience besides hunting ghouls. Though it looks like she’s training those two, and sure enough, they look pretty tough.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, and fighting them is too soon! I can’t even fight with different magic spells, Tsubaki! How can I even win?!”Bookmark here

Touyo’s repertoire of magic spells is fairly limited to just one—two if you count the different version of fire. He complained while gripping both his hands into fists, placing his anger onto Tsubaki who in response wagged her finger.Bookmark here

“Oh, Touyo… there are plenty of ways to fight even without learning much magic…”Bookmark here

This caught Touyo’s attention, lowering his fists down and raising his brow along with Yuki. Tsubaki then motioned them to come closer with her wagging finger, closing them in as Tsubaki, for some reason, whispered her battle strategy to them.Bookmark here

Jio Kurenai
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