Chapter 3:

Cougar Killer

Full Moon! Through the Rings of Love

It was midday when we decided to go down to the magic college to see the only sane Egresser mage in the country. And I use the term “sane” very lightly.

We were looking for a man named Charles Terence Prescott III. If his name didn’t give away that he’s a nobleman, believe me when I say his personality would. He’s haughty as he is arrogant. But he’s also very good with magic.

He studied under a mage known as the Portal Master for about seven years. His teacher was a special kind of crazy, but knew how to manipulate portals into other realms.

Realms were places that existed in other dimensions. Those came in all sorts of shapes and sizes, often defying the laws of reality as we knew them. Occasionally a dimension might have something really special in them, like they were made of precious stones. If you could get to one, you’d be rich.

The catch with this magic is that you need to find places where reality is largely distorted. Then you can manipulate that to open a gate to another world.

My guess is Charlie trained under his master for a long time because of some dream of grandeur. It’s not an easy skill to learn, and the country calls upon Egresser mages very often to do some important work.

"Do we really need him?" I grumbled. "Let's ask his mentor."

"You know why we can't do that." She glared at me, motioning her eyes to Luna. "Besides, we only have a week. It would take months to find another Egresser."

"Is this man not trustworthy?" Luna asked.

"No." I replied.

"Walden…" Zumi growled. "Charlie might not be the nicest person ever, but he’s not stupid. Well, he’s stupid…but not to the extent that he’d let magic die off because of a rivalry.”

She underestimated that man's stupidity.

Zumi was convinced that Charlie and I were rivals, even though Charlie was way above my class level. I couldn’t compete with him in magic.

Luna was falling behind while we were walking to the college. It looked like her fancy shoes and dress were making it hard to walk in.

I slowed my pace a little, letting her catch up.

She kept trying to snatch my hand, attempting to keep her stride nonchalant the whole time. She missed my hand and kept grabbing my jacket.

"You wanna hold hands?" I asked her.

"I just…I mean…well you see…" she was flustered beyond repair. I don't know if she was ready for that step in a relationship yet.

Granted, hand holding is probably the most mundane aspect of a relationship possible, I'm sure for someone who probably never had much physical contact it would be weird.

"You don't have to if you're not ready." I reasoned with her.

"But…" she had a desperate gleam in her eye. "If I don't hold onto you now, what if you leave me behind?" Her hands clenched tightly, and she shook her head. "I don't want that."

The desperation was a little much. We just met.

Hold on…I think I know what's wrong here.

Her breathing was heavy, and she was slouched over like she was tired.

She wasn't just trying to hold my hand as a sign of affection…she had a practical reason. When she worries about being left behind, I think she meant that literally. I was walking too fast for her, and she figured holding my hand would keep us at a steady pace.

"Was I walking too fast for you?" I asked.

"..." She was shyly gazing at the ground. "Yes." She blushed.

I got so used to keeping up with Zumi, holding all her heavy books, that I never realized I'd be able to walk so quickly. Especially for someone in heels and a dress.

I had two options: slow down to her pace, or actually hold her hand. Which one did I want? Which one did she want?

"I'm…I'm holding it!" Luna snatched my hand like a thief. Looks like she made the choice for me.

The look of anticipation on her face as she held up my hand was hilarious. It was like she was waiting for fireworks, or some choir to start singing over a beautiful moment.

"Well then, let's get going." I tugged her gracefully along.

"Ye…yes." She smiled.


The inside of our school was something like a castle, but one with a very polished vibe. The walls were glossy white, decorated with blue and gold accents. And all sorts of magical artifacts were displayed around the halls.

Charlie was in his usual spot; the teachers lounge upstairs. A lot of the older teachers really liked him, inviting him there for tea.

I started calling him Cougar Killer because of it.

Just behind this door, I could hear his snooty laughter, accompanied by the laughter of some other teachers. Some men for a change too.

“Alright, let’s get that Cougar Killer out of there.”

“Cougar Killer?” Luna’s head tilted as she parroted my words.

“Wait!” Zumi stopped me from opening the door. “We can’t just explain things with all those teachers around. We’ll need to get him alone.”

This was turning into a lot more work than I was willing to put in for this man. But taking one look at Luna’s sparkly eyes gave me a little motivation.

“So, what’s the plan then?”

We could just lure him out and find a nice spot to explain things. But knowing him, he usually had a small entourage of girls that followed him around.

Plus, he hated me. No way he’d trust a thing I’d have to say. We had to somehow convince him I wasn’t lying either.

“Why don’t we just go in and talk to him?” Luna questioned.

“No…if the negotiations fail, he’ll never listen to us.” Zumi said.

“Maybe we can lure out the teachers, then strap him down to a chair?” I suggested.

“He’d have to listen to us then. But what are we going to do to get the teacher out?”

“We could pretend there’s a fire in the building, and have them evacuate. Then we’ll snatch him as they escape.”

Zumi claimed that would get us expelled. And if we started a real fire here, on purpose, we’d be banished from the country.

“Excuse me, Mr. Cougar Killer…”

That was Luna’s voice…why was that coming from inside the room?!

“You must be impressive to have conquered such a powerful beast as a cougar. May I request an audience alone with you for a moment?”

Oh no! What was she doing?!

Zumi and I both shared a look of complete shock. We sprung into the room and noticed that Luna was indeed in the midst of many teachers and fangirls, talking to Charlie about a joke!

“You…you want to know how I…Er…killed a cougar?” A smile slowly grew on his face. “Well, it’s a wonderful tale of magic, and chaos! I barely made it out alive!”

“Charles, you never told us such a grand story!” A teacher swooned.

“I must confess…I wanted to spare you all from the treachery of it.”

What in the…? He was taking advantage of the joke to look cool!

Maybe it was because Luna was so beautiful. He had to impress her. Talk about an opportunist.

“Brother, do something!”

“I kinda want to see where this goes…” There was a chance he’d look like a fool if his story was stupid. I couldn’t miss that.

“Oh you slime head…” Zumi stomped over to the group and put her hands on her hips, standing proud. “Mr. Prescott, we’d like to speak with you privately. It’s an affair regarding your mage class.”

“Huh? Zumi?” He sat up in his seat. “I wish I could, for you. But as you can see, I’m quite busy today.”

Wait, did he have a soft spot for Zumi?

Charlie noticed I was behind her, then his face cringed.

“Why is he here? That waste of potential doesn't deserve to be in my presence!”

It’s amazing how quickly his tone changed because of me.

“Nice to see you too, Cougar Killer.”

“Stop calling me that!” He stood from his seat. “So this noblewoman was mocking me all along? BAH!”

We really sucked at negotiations if this is how things ended up.

“Charlie, does this mean you didn’t kill a cougar?” One of the fangirls angrily glared at him. “You lied!”

“Sylvia…wait…I…” he was completely at a loss for words. He looked like such an idiot. “Grrrr! Curse the day you were born, weak Pre-mage!” He shouted at me.

And we lost him.

“I have a proposal.” Luna spoke up. “Why not challenge him and assert your dominance? There’s a stadium right outside that would be perfect for a magic battle.” Luna gave me a wink. “I’m sure you’ll manage to take on a level 3 mage with ease, Mr. Cougar Killer.”

She had a plan? So far it didn’t seem to be going well, but maybe there was something to this.

“Yes! Everyone. I will assert my dominance over this pithy level 2 pre-mage and humiliate him!”

Now I was a level 2, eh? He just had to add that in.

I trusted Luna wasn't going to just let me fail. But how was I supposed to defeat someone levels above me? 

Mario Nakano 64
Taylor J
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