Chapter 1:

The Cat Is Out of the Bag

The Society for the Study of Otherworldly Visual Culture

Today was the first day of orientation for new students at Skyward Academy for Aspiring Magicians.

Classes wouldn't start for another two weeks, but clubs were already eager to recruit new students.

As for me, Shirona Blanc, I already knew where I was heading.

From letters we exchanged, I knew that Kurono, my first real crush who was one year my senior back in middle school, had joined the Botany Club.

I intended to end my 'go-home club' membership, join them too, and finally work up the courage to confess my feelings to him.

I was stumbling up and down the maze of staircases and corridors of the Academy for what felt like hours, trying to find the Botany Club's Clubroom.

They said the facilities themselves were enchanted with all kinds of spells to ward off threats and guide you to your destination, but all they did was lead me astray.

Just then, an unattended water bottle on the table of an open, empty clubroom caught my eye.

I should have known better and observed my surroundings carefully, but I immediately gave in to my thirst.

The refreshing liquid ran down my throat, and I saw that my tail wagged happily.


My tail?

Since when did I have a tail?

What on earth did I just drink?

My hands let go of the bottle. It fell to the floor, shattering in the process.

The sheer magnitude of the resulting noise startled me, to my own surprise. I jumped back. My head knocked over the contents of a shelf, and I accidentally stepped on some undefinable object, cracking it in the process.

"What in the...?" another very loud and unfamiliar voice startled me, leading me to jump backward against yet another shelf.


"Look, I said I am sorry. But why the hell would you store a transformation tonic in a regular bottle and leave it unattended?" I protested to the upperclassman who had introduced himself as Orenji.

"It's a long story," Orenji mumbled. He was ruffling through his unkempt brown hair while his blue eyes wandered through the room.

"Can you please turn me back now? I have business with another club."

"Not immediately, but it'll be fine. The effect is probably temporary. You'll be back to your normal form in like a week... probably," said Orenji.

"What do you mean probably?"

"Look, potion brewing is not an exact magic. So depending on the quality and quantity of the ingredients and the way they are combined, the effects and duration may vary," said Orenji.

"So I might be stuck like this?"

"Well... not forever... probably." Orenji didn't seem very convincing.

My ears dropped and my tail slumped in disappointment and resignation.

The door slammed open, and I jumped up from my chair, making eye contact with a short woman with black hair and brown eyes entering the clubroom for a few seconds, before her gaze fell upon the tonic, and then upon Orenji.

"Orenji! Explain yourself!?" she commanded.


"So you wanted to pull a prank on me and test the new recipe at the same time?" asked Aoi in a stern voice. "You'll get your punishment in due time, but first, we have to figure out how to reverse this... situation."

She turned to me. "Sorry, this must all have been very confusing for such a fluffy... I mean, cute freshman. So, you want to join our club?"

"Huh? I decided nothing of the sort. What club is this even?" My eyes wandered around the room. It was filled to the brim with strange tomes, boxes, packages, and strange carvings made of unknown material depicting weird creatures.

"We are 'The Society for the Study of Otherworldly Visual Culture'. Are you sure you don't want to join? We could use some new members. We only managed to grab... I mean, recruit one this year," said Aoi.

"Otherworldly?" I asked.

"Yes, as the name implies, we collect, study, and analyze artifacts summoned from other worlds," she said.

"Summoned, you mean like heroes? Is that what all the stuff here is?"

"In a way, yes, but summoning objects is easier, requires less Mana and fewer materials for the circle construction than that required to summon a living being," she said.

"What about the Tonic?"

"Ask that wannabe Nekomancer over there," Aoi said annoyed, looking at Orenji. "It's his fetish. Though I must admit, I can start to feel the appeal. Seeing one in the flesh. May I pet you?"

"What? No!"

"Fine..." she sighed.

"I tried to recreate the essence of one of the most beloved character types of all..." Orenji said in a longing tone, "I thought of adding a uniform to it, but alas, that turned out to make the tonic creation process and ingredient list unnecessarily convoluted. So we'll have to make do with a summoned one. I think a maid uniform would fit your strawberry blonde hair and yellow eyes perfectly."

"Forget it! Turn me back! Now!" My tail and ears stood upright in protest.

Steward McOy
Ataga Corliss
MyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon