Novel The HEMA freak in Vhinhym (Chapter 7 is up!)

Discussion in 'Community Fictions' started by yywee, May 16, 2018.

  1. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

    May 7, 2018
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    As the realm of dreams gradually released its grasp on him, his transitioning to the real world threateneted to subdue him in a new crooked form of a grotesque nightmare. Whether it was the disorientation in the first seconds too strong or he was still under the influence of the sleep paralysis hormones, maybe both, was enough to overwhelming him enough to the bring of a panic attack…

    He felt no strength in his body – all his muscles and nerves were itching, when he tried to squeeze his fist, it just trembled in powerlessness, as if the pure air was dense as an iron…

    He felt as if he was driven over by a truck…

    All his instincts and senses were screaming: ALERT.

    He tried to move. But he couldn’t.

    Oh, yes, because something was tightly hugging him.

    He felt the kind warmth, breathe the familiar scent.

    There was hair in his mouth and on his cheek …

    As his body began slowly to restore its normal functioning capacity, he slightly lifted his head.

    -Krul?... – his lips whispered lowly.

    His sister only moaned in her dream, cuddling tighter into him.

    Art gently removed her hair from his face and leaned down.

    What was happening? Where were they?

    It was fo confusing …

    THE BALL!!!

    The sudden thought almost made him jump from…

    His eyes widened.

    From where? Where was he?

    Once more he gently lifted his head, looking around.

    But couldn’t see much. It was so dark, that only vague dimensions of various objects materialized in his mind.

    Aww, shit… He just wanted to lay back and never wake…

    He was feeling so tired, that could sleep a whole day…

    Krul once more moved in his hug.

    Ah, yes…

    Sophie was awaiting for them at the school yard entrance, arms crossed below her impressive bosom, temptingly reinforced by the tight white t-shirt, leaning shoulder on the gate column.

    -Hoh, you’ve finally returned. – she simply said.

    But her voice…

    Strange… Her intonation was so bizarre. So much that, despite all his attempts, he didn’t manage to interpret it at all.

    Art just slightly frowned, more to himself, than to her. Why did he get so irritated by it?

    He looked her. And, honestly, really liked what he saw– most of her coloration have returned and her face was looking sound and healthy again.

    -We got the stuff for tonight. – he slightly lifted his hand with one of the bags. – Let’s go eat, I’ve brought us some lunchboxes, for us and for the girls…

    -Well, very considerate of you, but kinda unnecessary right now. Seems Mel got our backs and prepared us some lunch too. It is in the Student Council room. Hurry, while it is still somewhat warm…

    -Oh, I see. – he felt strangely disappointed, as his hand fell back.

    -C’mon. – she moved to him and grabbed two of the bags from them in her hands. – We still got a couple of hours. I suggest you go eat and then take a short nap, just like I did. President Hio was good enough to let us use the Student Council room for that. The couch is terrible, but I strongly suggest you to do that, since, considering the reactions of the other, this shit will continue for way too long in night…

    Careful not to disrupt Krul’s peaceful nap, he cautiously slip off the couch, over its edge and securely on his feet.

    He leaned a bit on it, while his eyes fully adapt to the darkness and the stiffness in his muscles disappear, trying to remember where did he put his stuff.

    Below him, Krul turned on her belly and adjusted the small pillow on her cheek, slightly moaning in her sleep, seemingly undisturbed.

    Of course it was her. No need to see her in the darkness, only she was using this stupid cranberry shampoo…

    He smiled.

    He stayed for a few minutes over her, just watching her and enjoying her peaceful breathing.

    It was so soothing and calm, it made him remember the old times, when they were just babies and he and Kae were taking care of them, sometimes when mom and dad were missing. How sometimes they just stayed and watched them for hours while sleeping, just enjoying their existence.

    His thoughts made him smile again, although somewhat sad.

    But it didn’t matter much. They were both with him now. And the first big vacation was only a month away. And Kae said she was going to be home from Saorisse… Just to endure it for a few more months and everything was going to return as it was…

    He couldn’t wait…

    With somewhat heavy sigh, Art stepped before the Student Council room and lightly knocked on the door.

    It reminded him of the first time when he got here. Strange, it was just three days ago, but he felt as if an eternity have passed since then…

    The first time, when he met Reina, Raon and Yu…

    He smiled on his thoughts. Hoped everything will continue smoothly for now on…

    No response came from inside.

    His hand raised once more to knock, but by some reason he pressed the door handle instead. Smooth and silent, no creaking or screech, he opened it…

    -(Sorry for the intrusion…) – he lowly whispered to himself in vhynehaimese, as slowly entered the room, looking delicately left and right.

    He saw no one.

    Moving in and carefully closing the door behind him, he still continued to gaze around, until his eyes set on the table. There, on a small dark green cloth, was laying a compact violet bento and a stainless steel thermos, with something seemingly like a note next to it.

    He took it… But it was all kanji, so he couldn’t understand anything at all…

    “Why did they write it all kanji?”

    Ahh, whatever, Sophie said it was for him, so better suit himself…

    He put the note away, sitting on the couch..

    And opened the thermos…

    The incredible smell, that hit him in the nose, right off started washing away his tireness, before he even tried its content. It just invite him to indulge right away with a promise to teleport him to a place, where all his worries were gonna disappear.

    -Aah, this smells even better than Aiv’s soups… Mel is really incredible. - he relaxed, with a face approaching complete nirvana.

    He opened the bento. It wasn’t something flashy or spectacular, but gave him this mood for something quickly put together with much love and care, like sometimes when he was returning home, tired from playing all day and mom or big sis put him something as fast as possible, so he didn’t wait too long, but can still enjoy it to its fullest.

    And the bento had everything, he hoped for – nice meat, soft rice, fresh and yummi vegetables. Combined with the soup, it was all he needed right now…

    And the taste… He just wanted Mel to cook for him for the rest of his life…

    Bite after bite, sip after sip, he just didn’t notice when it all disappeared.

    -Ahh, that was incredible… Just what I needed before a nap. – he was just melting on the couch from pleasure. – Thank you, Mel, it was incredible. – he slightly bowed with folded hands, carefully putting the bento and the thermos aside.

    He felt just like his mom was cooking for him again …

    His thoughts shifted in the realm of sadness… How… was she? What was she doing right now?

    He had this feeling he didn’t speak to her for eternity…

    He remembered.

    By touch in the mild darkness, he found his phone on the table, were he last left it. The display tried to blind him in the first moment, but the auto-brightness saved him by instantly regulating itself down, bringing it to a level, tolerable for his eyes in this twilight.

    There were no calls, only a few notifications in their group chat and a personal message from Char.

    He decided to check it later. His head was still reeling too much for him reading whatever it was.

    They were probably trolling him in the chat again in accordance with today’s game. Nothing important…

    When was the ball starting again? Oh, yes, the others said 7.

    How much time he had?

    He checked it.

    It was 6:48…


    When the two long beeps, indicating that the line was not busy, echoed in the speaker, he almost startled.

    In a moment, his eyes widened, as he looked at his phone, almost confused.

    When did he take it out of his pocked and called her???

    Suddenly, something cracked on the other side, merging with a continuous, monotone buzz…

    -Ah, shit, damn it… Get over here… AAAAAAH, NOOOOOO!!!...


    He instinctively twitched, quickly pulling away the phone, when the sudden slam boomed in the speaker, itching his ear…

    -Shit, you motherfu…

    Then it followed something like small steps and a slide, with a low, cracking sounds again…

    -Ah, damn… Nice, it’s not cracked… Oh, hey, hi honey, how are youuu??? – her exalted voice cheered over the line.

    His heart almost stopped beating.

    He stopped breating for a moment.

    -H-hi, mom. So glad to hear you… - he almost failed to control his voice not to tremble, as the lump in his throat distorted his words.

    -Mee too, honey! So glad!!!...

    -Sorry for the sudden call… I caught you full-handed, it seems…

    -Ah, no worry, no worry, it’s nothing important…

    He sighed lightly, trying to put his breathing under control.

    -Should I call some other time?...

    -Of course not! Hold on, give me a sec...

    The monotonous buzz tuned down, completely disappearing after something that sounded very much like a click of a door.

    -Ah, I’m very sorry honey. It’s so much better now.

    -Are you still at work, mom?

    -Ah, yeah, unfortunately. We kinda got into one kind of situation here. But I’ve managed to put it under control now! Almost finished!

    -That sounds nice. – he went silent.

    His mind wandered away for a moment. She also got quiet for few seconds…

    -Are you alright, honey? Is something troubling you? – he imagined how her face turned frowned.

    -I… I-I just wanted to hear you...

    -Mee too, honey. I’m so glad you called. It was such a shitty day…

    -What happened? Is everything okay?

    -Ah, yes. Well, one of the newbies managed to blow up the Projection Arithmetric Controller on a Type B…

    -W-WHAT?! IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE??? – he was utterly stunned, leaning a bit over the table.

    -W-well, obviously. Quite a talent required for that, nonetheless. Of course, that fried and half of the other circuitry and sensors, and the stupid bot crashed right into the server room, dumpsting a few racks. I was exchanging modules and managing cables all day…

    -I-it seems you really had it rough, mom…

    -Well, at least I wasn’t bored and my thoughts got occupied. Well, we’ve got damage for thirty grand and I’m gonna stay late night writing a report, but otherwise it’s all fine, he-he.

    -I see…

    -And you, honey? How was your day?

    -Well, we had a game with the new Reenactment club. Me and Sophie were on the same team but they still handed our asses back to us! – he giggled, delicately scratching his nape.

    -Oooh, that’s nice! Seems your new classmates are really strong then!

    -Yeah, that’s right. Mio have incredible speed with the yari and Nym… She was doing push ups with Krul on her back! That strong, and she is incredible archer too! She hit me in the armpit just when I accidently lifted my arm, from who knews how much meters away! And Moka… She kicks so hard, that even managed to knock Nym down!

    -Oooh, they sound like a real trouble, honey! You better watch out! – she also giggled delicately.

    -Yeah, I keep it in mind for the future! – he also laughed. – Oh, and Reina, our Vice-Prez of the Student Council, we’ve learnt that she is a magician too! She beat Sophie!

    -Oooh, that’s incredible, honey! It seems you found yourselves a new training partner! I’m so envy, so envy! That I won’t be able to train with you for a while!...

    -I…I’m sorry, mom…

    -Ah, don’t worry, don’t worry, honey. You are getting too good and I’m getting to old for this stuff anyways…

    -W-w-wha, what are you talking about mom, you can still pretty much beat me easily, without even breaking a sweat…

    -He-he, you are flattening me, honey. I’m blushing. Nah, don’t worry for me. Mom said she is coming for a few days. I can always have a match with the old hag!

    -J-just don’t let her hurt you too much, mom. Please…

    -Ah, don’t worry honey, I’m much stronger now! The old hag don’t stand a chance!

    They both laughed. But it was somewhat refrainly. As if the distance was blurring their true emotions.

    -Anyways, they are all really nice people. They are even preparing a welcoming party for us tonight. In the Ballroom.

    -Ilarys Shokudou’s Ballroom?! Oh my god, I’ve seen pictures of it before! Damn, so envious, so envious!

    -Well, I’ll make sure to take a lot of pics and send it to you later, mom. And on all of us, of course.

    -Make sure you do, honey! I’ll wait!...

    She went silent for a moment. Even through the telephone line, Art felt the gloominess that overhang above them…

    -Listen, honey… Your dad started pulling up some of his connections here and there… As I’m aware, Chris also knows a person or two in this community… And Sophie, said she has a plan too, if we didn’t manage it somehow…

    He heard how she exhaled longly.

    -Just bear it for a little longer, honey. We’ll get you out of there…

    He was just about to wake up Krul, when the gentle knock on the door completely distracted his attention from her. He turned and was about to go, when it slightly opened without even waiting for his answer, pouring the yellowish rays of light inside.

    -Oi? You awake? – whispering delicately, he saw how one shadowy silhouette peeked over the edge.

    But because of the darkness inside and the light coming straight in his eyes, it looked so vague and dimensionless.

    He raised his hand against it, narrowing his eyes, as he moved towards the door.

    -Oh, you are up. We almost got worried for you that you’ll gonna miss it. After all our efforts...

    Strange, he couldn’t recognize the voice. Was he that shaken from the sudden worry of his awakening, that the ambient ringing was strong enough to distort clear words?

    He looked, but his eyes didn’t focuse. As if it went straight thought that person face, like his gaze suddenly turned x-ray…

    What was this bizarre feeling stiring inside him?

    After a few seconds, his eyes got used to the new light and he finaly got a full picture of the person in mind.

    Art looked her.

    Who was she? And why was she dressed like this?

    This almost got him asking himself where precisely he was and was he still dreaming? Although he didn’t remember to have dreamt of something earlier…

    -Are you looking for someone? Do you need help? – he asked.

    The sudden kick side in the knee almost got him down. He leaned on the door’s threshold, good it was there to hold him, looking her amazed.

    -Oi, are you trying to get me irritated or what, you bastard… - her eyebrow twitched, as she raised her fist treatingly before her.

    Something suddenly snapped in him, as if lightning stroke him out of the blue.

    This voice!...

    As his eyes google even more, he finally grasped the true essence of the view…


    The girl’s fist went down and her body relaxed, as she looked back at him, a bit frowning.

    He gasped…

    Her silky, pink hair, diligently tidied in a wavy ponytail over her shoulder, with two white roses shining above her ear…

    The rose glossy lipstick on her lips he wanted to taste with a lustful kiss and the slight rouge blush on her cheeks…

    The attractive light makeup, with the glittering light golden eyeshadows and the long, seductive eyelashes…

    The brilliant crystal earrings and the white spiral bracelet, around her gentle, womanly arm.

    The long to the knees white-rose satin skirt and the black halter top with naked back, her black high-heel sandals with rose motives, covering the buckles.

    Even her white manicure and pedicure, all in accordance with her perfect appearance…

    She was just simply utterly stunning.

    His heart thumped loundly in his chest, as if it was going to crush it with pure strength…

    -What? You are so amazed, you didn’t even manage to recognize me? – she crossed her hands below her chest, smiling mysteriously with the ends of her lips.

    Art gulped. He just couldn’t take his eyes off her.

    -I-i-i… I’m sorry, I just… didn’t expect you a-at all… to see you like this right now…

    She laughed. In a girlish way, so gently, totally in sync with her pure womanly radiance.

    She looked so delicate, so fragile and tender… He just wanted to hug her tightly, embrace his arms densily over her fine waist and fell all her warmth…

    -You are not having some perverted thought or such, aren’t you? – her eyes slightly narrowed, looking him suspiciously.

    -Even if I had, I’ll never admit it. You’ll get nothing from me…

    -Ha, such a tough guy you are, Art. – she giggled and crossed once more her arms below her chest. – Well, if you are that impressed now, just wait until you see some of the others! You’ll have your head falling off your shoulders!

    -Heh, I almost cannot wait. Is the dress-code for tonight so special?

    -Of course! After all, you are the first transfer studends ever in our school! And many of us only dreamt that we’ll ever use the Ballroom, so… We want everything the be perfect.

    -I see. That seems fair.

    -Sure. Is Krul there? – she slightly jumped on her toes, looking in the darkness over his shoulder.

    -Yes. I’ll wake her, give me a sec…

    With a deep sigh, he left his phone on the table next to the bento box and leaned back on the couch rest.

    This suddenly got him more worried, than he was…

    Sophie and a plan, as far as he had experience by now, didn’t ever end well…

    Of course that was the case. There was no way she’ll come ever precisely only because she was missing him or such trivial stuff.

    Of course she was planning something…

    Maybe even “they”…

    Shit… Now he had to worry and for this…

    But the lunch and the relative motionless were already starting to overwhelm him, as his eyelids were becoming more and more heavy…

    He wanted to think of nothing anymore…

    Suddenly, the grey blanket on the armchair before him move, so much, that he almost jumped up from the couch…

    -WTF?!!! – he was about to back up…

    When the blanket slipped down, revealing his sister’s face…

    -Krul?... – he whispered lowly.

    She just moaned in her dream and turned to the side. Was she here the whole time?! How he didn’t notice her?!

    Art just smiled, forcing himself not to giggle, as he went up and gently fixed the blanked tightly around her.

    Then, without any more delays and any more further thoughts, he laid back on the couch, facing the backrest to minimize the light, reaching to him and closed his eyes.

    The realm of dreams almost immediately engulfed his mind…

    Krul got up leisurely, rubbing her eye with a fist.

    -Is it time, bro? For the ball? – she mumbled.

    -Yes, my princess. We need to get ready. The others are waiting for us.

    -I see. – she yawned. – I could have slept for an hour or two more…

    She went up, almost in a sleepwalk heading for the door. Then, suddenly stopped, as if frozen. He could imagine her widened eyes…

    -OMG, BIG SIS ANN?!... You are so prettyyy!!! – she gasped, exclaiming amazed.

    Ann smiled gently against her.

    -Thank you, Krul. We’ll make you extremely pretty too. The others got you a really incredible dress.

    -Can’t wait, can’t wait! – she bounced enthusiastically on her shoes.

    -C’mon, let’s go. We’ll be late…

    -Sure, sure! C-can I take a picture of you? – she pulled out her phone, timidly pressing it in her small hands before her.

    -Of course. Feel free… – Ann pinched the end of her skirt with one hand, lifting it slightly, turning a bit to the side.

    Krul took not only one, but at least ten, clicking the touch button as fast as her hand was holding…

    -Thank you, thank you! – once more she jumped on her feet, looking at the girl with pure adoration and admiration.

    Ann just smiled gently.

    -C’mon. – she gently put her hand over her shoulder and led her in.

    Art went after them, walking a meter behind, looking around the corridor.

    -You know, I had this really weird dream just a moment ago! – she turned to Ann, looking a bit up to meet her eyes, bizarrely excited about this. – You know how they say, that if you dream and you realize you are dreaming, that’s no longer a dream and you must wake up! And usually something very nasty happens, meaning you die in some very nasty way!

    -Yeah, I think everyone have some experience with this. – she smiled somewhat nervously, delicately scratching her nape.

    -Yeah, right! So, I was in this school’s yard, my Elementary school yard back in Leichté, and it was all full of little kids, smaller even than me, running and playing around! And the sky all had this one orange nuance and not only, everything had this orange nuance, as if it was another planet! And, as I said, at some point I realized I’m actually dreaming! Then immediately started wondering what will be this nasty thing that will happen to wake me up! I started looking around frantically, filling with incredible anxiety and fear, I can feel my spine and arms shivering even now! But the whole ambience and the monotonous buzzing I was sure something nasty will happen, like a nuke will explode or a meteor will crash! But then I suddenly turned into a monster with big claws and teeth, starting to attack the children indiscriminately, as my vision gradually blackened out! That was when my big bro woke me!

    Art just looked her somewhat… bizarre.

    -Hmm, I see. That’s really intriguing, Krul. It never happened to me, the roles to be switched in such a way. I usually happen to fall from somewhere high.

    -See, right! – she clutched her little fists before her. – It happens to me for a first time! What do you think it means???

    -Well, I don’t really know, to be honest. – Ann touched her chin with an index figer, looking at the ceiling deep in thought. – I’ve read some theories, that people can link up, while dreaming. Meaning, the people you see in your dreams are actually other people dreaming in the same environment, just from a different point of view, like you are connected in something of a network.

    -Oh, I’ve never heard about this before!


    -This actually makes sense in a way. - began Art. - Since our minds cannot make up faces in our dreams – we only dream real faces of real people that we’ve seen at some point in our lives.

    -Hmm, I see. I’ve read about that too.

    -Yeah. Recently I also had this really interesting dream in that regard. The setting was utterly absurd, like there was a battle in Leichté between communists and neo-nazis and while I was walking to the bus stop, I was hearing the explosions in the distance. Then I met these two girls. Both were red-headed, I concluded they were sisters, the bigger one was about the age of big sis Kae, other at Krul’s age. They stopped me to ask me for something. Can’t remember what exactly, but what really captured me was how beautiful the face of the little one was! And since I knew that about the faces and the dreams, when I woke up, I frantically tried to remember where I’ve seem to seen her. And the next several days I was always looking around, at the stranger faces. Too bad I don’t remember it anymore.

    -Hmm, yeah. Dreams can be really bizarre, man...

    He noticed how Krul was watching him with her frowned face.


    She just pouted, turning him her back.

    Art just sighed lowly, starting to look around the corridor again. The colors, the ambience, the absence of sounds… It all looked so different at night. Like from another planet…

    -Oh, I forgot! – Krul pulled out her phone. – I-I can send you the photos, if you w-want! – she looked her somewhat timidly.

    -Of course. Let’s look them after the party and take the best. I’ll made a lots of you too!

    -W-wha, of me? – she timidly rubbed her palms, looking in her feet. – I-I’m not t-that p-pret-t-ty…

    -What are you talking about? You are one of the most beautiful girls I ever know!…

    -W-w-w-whaa… - she blushed, starting to fidget left and right. Then, as if ashamed, grounded her gaze, delicately moving fingers one around another. – T-there is n-no way t-this is t-true…

    -C’mon, c’mon, no need to be so shy. – Ann hugged her a bit tigher around the shoulder, snugging into her. – Imagine you in just 3-4 years. How many boys will have their hea…

    Art just screeched loudly with teeth, clenching his fists so hard, that his knuckles cracked.

    Just they dare…

    He frowned so grimly, looking he was about to spit on the floor…

    Both girls turned at him. Ann looked him a bit surprised, Krul – with somewhat accusatory gaze.

    Then, the big girl, witnessing his grumpy face, smugged unambiguously.

    -Ho-ho… Don’t worry, Krul. I can teach you some stuff about men. Starting from tonight… - she smugged even more.

    -W-w-whaa… - his sister blushed.

    -Stop it. I’ll fucking Volta you. Until you stop fucking moving. – he was frowning more and more.


    After they turned the corner of the long corridor, leading to the gynmanisum, they met some of the others.

    Rio and Iki first poped almost in their faces.

    -Oh, you are finally awake. We started to think you decided to skip it and run away… - Rio crossed her hand below her chest, making herself look serious.

    -Yeah, yeah, I’m happy to see you too… - Art waved somewhat annoyed with hand.

    He took a look at her…

    Well, it seemed that the night was to be full of surprises.

    She was simply… stunning.

    Wearing a strapless golden dress with dark tulle skirt reaching a handspan above her knees and light top with gentle neckline, outlining her fine bosom, it seemed like it was perfectly fit exactly for her figure. Her hair was gelled back, behind her ears and ends gently covering her womanly shoulders. It made it look a tone darker than naturally was, in a perfect combination with her outfit. Like Ann too, with a mild makeup and light, reddish eyeshadows, giving a nice shine and contrast to her deep, green emerald of eyes, as if piercing deep into his soul, reaching the roots of his core existance, all was sophisticatedly matched to level up the fine shapes her beautiful face to unseen degree.

    And her slim, long legs… He never noticed up until now how beautifully perfect they are, making a man to want do really indecent things with them…

    “Damn… Does she really doesn’t have a boyfriend?”

    It was almost difficult for him to believe it… She definetily had. And was hiding it from the others…

    -Ooh, you look amazing big sis Iki and big sis Rio! – Krul’s exalted voice once more exclaimed, as she clenched fists enthusiastically before her.

    -Ho-ho, thank you, thank you, no need. – Rio waved with hand, proudly raising her chin and looking away, as if showing how humble she was. – Praise me more… - then she mumbled, while looking her with her periphery.

    -R-r-really? – Iki trembled a bit before her, timidly rubbing her palms.

    Art honored her with his judgemental glance too.

    And his heart skipped a beat as the unfamiliar warmth embraced his chest.

    She wasn’t wearing any glimmering makeup, nor some fancy high heels and other overly blazing clothes.

    There wasn’t simply a need for that, her strengths were laying else.

    And just a short, beige tulle dress with falbala lace in combination with her long, silky, lightly wavy hair freed down completely, gently caressing her slim shoulders and back, was enough to elevate all her hidden trump cards to their maximum potential.

    A paragon among the other diamonds, paling all their dancing glamor with her irrepressible brilliance.

    Her gentle composure with the slight hints of her trained body, charmingly amplifying even more her gracious womanly radiance to blind everything around. The specific glitter in her dark-silver eyes, overshadowing even her sister’s enough to put her to shame. And the precisely chosen gown for her figure, her body nuance, even her shy manners…

    She was simply perfect.

    And he now fully understood why she was the one with a boyfriend.

    “Damn you, Harm, you lucky montgisardean bastard…” – he envied him nobly.

    He just wanted to take her all for himself… A real shame for Mel to send him that picture of hers…

    -C’mon, we are running late! – Rio suddenly grabbed him for the hand, starting to drag him towards the gymnasium. – We put so much effort in all the preparations and ourselves, that we won’t let you ruin it all! We’ll not forgive you!

    -Right, right, let go of me now… - he paced rapidly after her.

    But she didn’t do it. Instead, she started to pull him even harder and he felt how his arm was gonna rip off…

    “Damn it Rio, just say the word. No need to be so forceful…”

    Chisaki and Yudachi were the next, who noticed them.

    -Oh, you are finally awake. We thou… - the little girl turned towards them.

    -Not now, Saki, we are in a hurry. C’mon, sho-sho… - Rio just whooshed her away with a hand gesture out of her path, as they whizzed beside them.

    -Whaa… You! – she snorted behind them.

    -Sorry, sorry, Saki! – Art turned his head back, making an apologetic face. – HELP ME, SHE IS HELDING ME PRISONER!!! – and his lips moved in a slight whisper.

    Rio just pulled his arm harder, as if she was really trying to rip it off.

    -B-be grateful, you bastard. I’m l-letting you h-hold my hand… - her face twitched, with a fist threatingly waving before him.

    -So generous of you. But we shouldn’t. You are turning me into a two-timer…

    -W-wha… - her eyes widened against him.

    His phiz smugged, as if with pride.

    Rio’s face just frowned and she clutched his hand so hard, that his bones cracked, as she slammed in anger the boy’s locker room, that crashed into the wall.

    -W-WHA-A… - an almost indentical, surprised voice came from inside.

    -OI, MIO, U READY?! – Rio yelled at the doorstep, rushing in like a panzer.

    There, Nishi, Arai and Mio pierced them with their accusatory gazes, startled by the sudden invasion, that interrupted their doings.

    “WAIT, why is Mio in the Boys Locker room?!” – he wondered, while his sister also walked in without a second hesitation.


    -D-did you h-have to be so forceful? – Mio looked her reprimandingly.

    Art almost giggled by this her remark.

    Peeking over Rio’s shoulder, he got a better glance of the view.

    She was up before Arai, who was sitting on one of the benches, with one of her hands into his hair and other holding something that looked like gel jar. Nishi was a bit further away, before the mirror and he quickly lost interest in them (after the initial scare), returning to fixing his tie.

    Arai glanced back at him, as Rio stepped aside, looking him somewhat funny.

    -Oh, you are finally awake! We thought… - he began.

    -Seriously, if I hear this shit once more, ima gonna teleport 200 km from here… - Art’s eyebrow twitched.

    Both Rio and Arai looked him somewhat strange, even Nishi once more looked back, also surprised.

    -C’mon, stop moving too much and let me finish! – reprimanded him Mio, trying to clutch his knees with her legs through her long dress to hold him still, as she moved her hand though his hair a few times.

    -Is this gel really necessary? Can I go wit…

    -YES! And no! – she tried to clench him harder. – This will give a nice gloss to your hair and shape a bit all those untamed edges. Also, it will help to hold everything in place when the things turn a bit… hot tonight.

    -But I really like my edges and strands, they are part of my personally!

    -Yeah, which is also sharp and edgy, and at times even shitty…


    -Just shut up already or I’ll poke you in the eyes.

    -Yes, my mistre, IUAAAAAAAA!!!...

    -I fucking told you.

    Arai just sniffed several times, blinking vigorously to erase the sudden tears in his eyes, not daring to say anything more.

    -C’mon, get up. You are ready. – she finally said.

    He just looked her for a second and then got up, closing to the mirror. Inspecting his new view very carefully…

    Arai suddenly cheered.

    -OMG, this actually looks pretty nice, Mio-san! – he turned to her with a cat smile on his face. – You are a magician!

    -Thank you, thank you, you flatter me… - she smugged slightly, waving delicately with hand.

    And suddenly turned to them.

    Art gulped, as their eyes met. What was with this utter effort of them tonight, to stir up his heart to new levels? Didn’t they have some pity for his manly nature…

    How was he gonna choice?! And he didn’t even see all of them yet!!!

    She was wearing a long, sapphie blue gown with a high neck, leaving her gentle shoulders exposed, which seemed a perfect choice for her figure and her height. Her long hair was now diligently tied in a high ponytail with a nice, black silk ribbon and black hairband, leaving only a pair of strands freely falling on both sizes of her angelic face. And her smile… She was melting everything.

    -Let’s get you ready before the others start loosing patience. – she went to the lockers, from where she took the two storage bags, that were hanging from their handles.

    -Oh, nice, thank you, Mio. – he opened the zipper a bit. – OMG, THIS SUIT!

    Krul next to him timidly rubbed her palms.

    -You happy? Your sister chose it. – Mio smiled gently.

    -Yeah, I know but… Damn, I left it in Falkland, being sure I’ll never again need to put it on, ever.

    -Y-yes, but we decided to take it with us. J-just in case. T-that’s your best suit.

    -Thank you, my little princess. You are really thoughtful!

    She blushed a bit.

    -C’mon. Go and change yourself. Then I’ll take care of your hair. On both of you.

    -W-what, you are going to gel me too?! – he was almost stunned.

    -Of course! We will dance and other stuff, you don’t want it to get in the way.

    Art just secretly glanced at Arai and Nishi who give him back their gazes, full of symphaty. As they delicately sneaked out of the locker room…

    -B-bro, help me with the laces, p-please. – her coarse voice trembled a bit.

    Art quickly finished pulling his hands through the sleeves of his shirt and turned.

    Krul was timidly looking over her shoulder, pressing the dress at her chest with her tiny arms so it didn’t slip down.

    Strange… He never saw this one before. And she adored wearing dresses. Was it new?

    -S-stop starring. I-it’s embarrassing…

    -Why, my little princess. This is such a great dress.

    Well, dress was a strong word, honestly. More like a combination of a high waist skirt, long to above her knees and a cream-white strap top, leaving a bit of her back, neck and shoulders naked, combined with a brown leather belt.

    She blushed, turning her head to avoid his gaze.

    His sister moved her hair over the chest, holding it with hand to not get in the way as Art began to tie the laces of her top.

    He starred at her back. She was so small and delicate. As if a big stronger pull and was going to break her bones.

    He exhaled. He was feeling the warmth, coming from her body. He wanted to hug her. And protect her forever…

    Krul suddenly twitched, and a light moan existed her mouth.

    -I-I’m sorry. Is it too tight?

    -N-no, i-it’s fine, b-bro. J-just… y-your hands are a-a bit c-cold… - she mumbled.

    Art’s hands relaxed a bit, as if suddenly he was afraid to touch her…

    -Sorry. – Krul continued. – Shouldn’t s-said that, don’t let it bother you. Please, a bit tighter. Don’t want it to come off. It will b-be e-embar-rrassing…

    He continued slowly, careful not to touch her exposed back.

    -I’m sorry too. – he said quietly. – Seems my body still isn’t fully recovered.

    She turned her head a bit, looking him over her shoulder with her periphery.

    -You did the right thing, bro. My issues are trivial.

    He just smiled with the ends of his lips, a bit forced, while tightening the last of her ties.

    -You are ready, my princess. You look fantastic in this dress.

    She blushed again, turning her head a bit to the side.

    -T-thanks… – Krul turned to him, pinching the ends for his shirt. – L-let me button your shirt t-too… - and avoided his gaze.

    Art just smiled. This time more sincerely.

    -Of course. Want me to sit somewhere?

    -Y-yes. On this bench. – she mumbled, still holding his shirt.

    Art rotate and sat back, so Krul didn’t have difficulties reaching the top ones. She moved between his legs, getting much more closer, that it was necessary for her to do this job…

    He didn’t mind at all.

    -OI, YOU READY YET?! – suddenly echoed Rio’s voice.

    They turned abruptly at it, just as she suddenly popped from behind the corner.

    And upon seeing them, as if she froze, with her eyes widening a bit.

    -Two more minutes. Will you please? – the sharp tongue of Krul cut her off, as her face frowned. Her eyes were going to burn her alive for this interruption of hers...

    -Yeah, yeah, I’m sorry… - she put her palm on her nose and mouth, quickly turning and going back. – OMG, THESE ABS!!! – they heard her loud whisper.

    -WHAT, ABS?!?! – exclaimed Ann.

    -Stop disturbing them! The others are waiting for us!!! – Mio’s voice echoed annoyed.

    Strange. Her intonation sounded to him almost like Ayuri’s…

    -But I want to see them! – Ann whispered loudly.

    -Then ask him some other time!


    He saw how Krul just pouted and hurriedly buttoned him to the top.

    Art just turned his head aside, smirking a bit.

    -C’mon, get up, bro. – she stepped back and took the vest, firmly decided to help him with it too.

    He glanced at it. He wore this suit last time two years ago, at the graduation of his cousin Jullie. And just by how tight he was feeling the shirt now, he could imagine and how the rest of it will be.

    Well, he didn’t expect to wear it at all anymore, honestly, so what to expect…

    Krul helped him to put the black double breasted vest and top, and they fixed everything to a fine state. No ties or other similar stuff, he was adamant about it this time…

    -So, shall we go? – he looked at his sister.

    She just nodded quickly with her head.

    Then timidly linked her hand around his elbow, with her face blushing a bit.

    They stepped beyond the corner.

    -Oh, final… - began Rio.

    Then suddenly froze. As if was struck by a lighting.

    She and Ann widely gasped, they jaws were gonna hit the ground. Iki’s eyes goggled in amazement, Mio clapped several times excited, smiling charmingly.

    -OOMG, YOU LOOK FUCKING AMAZING! – Rio exclaimed, stepping towards them. – BOTH OF YOU!

    -This skirt is amazing, Krul! I really like those rose motives! And the top… It’s TOP! – jointed and Ann.

    Krul blushed, cuddling tighter to him.

    -T-thank you! – she mumbled. – I s-sew it m-myself.

    -WHAT?! You sew it yourself! Omg, I can’t believe it, you are incredible! Can you sew one for me too?!

    -O-of course…

    Mio smiled again and closed to them.

    -C’mon. Sit on that bench and I’ll gel your hair.

    -Right… - Art somewhat sighed acquiescent and complied.

    -C’mon and you, Krul! – Ann grabbed her for the hand and gently pulled her to sit next to him. – So, what hairstyle do you want me to make you? Some nice curles? Straight twintails? A flashy braid?

    -C-can y-you m-make me a p-pony-t-tail l-like y-yours… - she mumbled lowly, delicately rubbing her palms.

    -Ohh, sure! I’ve got even a better idea! Do you want a Violenn’s ponytail?

    -Violenn’s ponytail? – she looked her slightly over her shoulder.

    -Yeah! It is half-braid, half-ponytail! It will sit great on your silky hair!

    -O-of course… - she mumbled, pointing her gaze ahead again, blushing a bit.

    While Ann started doing Krul’s hair, Mio began the same with his’.

    -Is this really necessary? – he tried to avoid his fate once more.

    -Of course! You’ll see once I make you even more handsome… - she moved her hand through his hair.

    -Me? Handsome?! You flatter me…

    -C’mon, c’mon, don’t play it so modest. It’s true. – said and Ann, while brushing Krul’s hair. – Don’t you agree, Rio? – she looked at her.

    -W-wha?! – Rio jumped startled and a slight blush appeared on her cheeks. – W-w-what are you talking about all of a sudden???

    -Yeah, yeah. – Ann just smiled mystically, sliding the brush in long, rhythmic moves.

    Mio giggled lowly.

    -Well, you can’t d-deny it completely. I guess at least his chin is sexy… - she crossed her arms below her chest, closing one eye.

    -His chin!

    -Whaa, my chin?! – Art almost choked.

    Mio giggled once again. This time more intensely.

    -It’s true, actually. Your chin is one of the sexiest I’ve ever seen. – she confirmed, somewhat with a funny voice.

    Art just raised his hand, with the obvious desire to touch it and measure in some way the trueness of their accusations, when Mio block it between her body and his…

    -Don’t move. I’m still not finished with you…

    She was so warmth and smelled so nice. A delicate masterpiece in a human form…

    -Yes, chief. – he just mumbled, looking at the ground.

    -I happen to agree with them. Only if you didn’t always carry this gloomy look on your face and smile more… - began Ann.

    -What?! Me?! Always gloomy?!... – as if his brain suddenly stopped working for a second, making his gasped with wide open mouth. Then exclaimed: – BUT THAT SOPHIE’S!!!

    The three girls laughed gently. Even Krul giggled, only Iki looked them a bit confused.

    Mio released him from her grasp.

    -C’mon, you are ready. Your sides were fine actually, so I focused mainly on the top. – she closed up the gel jar and went to the sink to wash her hands.

    Art turned and gazed himself in the mirror…


    -Damn, boy. A bit more and you’ll actually make me fall with you… - said Ann.

    -Ha, you’ll have to wait for that, Ann. He’s already busy…

    -Busy? Damn, you are really not wasting any time, Rio, huh…

    -What? Me? No, i mean his girlfriend…

    -HIS WHAT?!

    In that moment, as if the mirror broke with a loud crack and pierced his heart in a mad rhytm with the shattering of his consciousness... He froze in stupor as the sudden shivers exploded in his paralyzed body and he didn’t even have time to fully goggle his eyes, when the real shitshow erupted behind him…

    -A GIRLFRIEND?! – Mio suddenly turned from the sink, piercing him deadly with her madly widened eyes.


    As if the time suddenly stopped, turning the room’s air into a giant, static gelly, that overhang above him. All of the girls had interrupted their doings and their gazes pierced him – some utterly stunned, others – wanting to incenerate him in his boots…

    “Fuck my life”…

    He just really wanted a hole to open in the ground and engulf him straight to the planet’s core…

    Krul’s face suddenly softened, as if she finally accepted the kind of ugly reality, before turning stony-cold, rivaling even that of president Hio.

    -So, you finally succumbed to her, big bro… You are weak and p-pathetic. Don’t ever talk to me… - she turned him a back.

    Her words hurt him even more from the rubber bullet the other day…

    -B-but… - he began.

    -You know her?! Who is she?! – interrupted him Rio, almost jumped at his sister.

    -Damn, so many girls will be disappointed, when they learn. This will crush all their hopes… – muttered Mio, also sighing somewhat deeply, starring with a death gaze at the sink.

    -L-look, i…

    -Hope a lighting struck you sixteen times, stupid big bro… Should really have left you turn into a fucking mindless zombie yesterday... No helping you the next time… - with each word she was sulking more and more, as if loading it with more and more poison.


    -Don’t ev…


    In the first moment Krul just looked him stupefied, as if he slapped her in the face, gasping in the air frozen.

    Then just pouted, slapped his palms away and crossed her hands, turning her head aside.


    The other girls were looking him no less surprised. And as if a big sigh of relief exited Mio and Ann’s mouths…

    -Damn you, little beast, don’t fucking force me to raise my voice on you like this ever again… - as if his face distorted from the emotional pain. – Sorry…

    -Sorry too…

    -Damn, wait, but you said that...! – Rio began, pointing him delicately with finger.

    -I was just kidding, Rio, so you don’t be so pushy. I don’t have a girlfriend, as I said…

    Rio just gasped with an open mouth.

    And as if Mio and Ann sighed reliefed again.

    -You are such a despicable lier, bro. – snorted Krul. – You are asking for a bad karma to struck you head on…

    -Oi, don’t t…

    -You fucked her before coming here, right?... – she looked him almost with disdain.

    Mio and Ann gasped loudly stunned, with Rio’s and Iki’s eyes widening in disbelief.

    -W-w-what a-are you s-saying… - he stuttered.

    -So you admit you are still a virgin, then?

    He also goggled his eyes against her. His mouth opened, but words didn’t proceed…

    -I see. So, that’s where you were that night. With her. Fucki…

    -Listen, watch your tongue, you little brat, or I’ll really slap you... – he leaned down to her, treatiningly pointing a finger right at her face.

    But Krul’s eyes turned ablazed, as she furiously slapped his hand away and lifted hers at his cheek.


    -SHIT, NO!!! – he grabbed it…

    But didn’t do anything more. Just closed his eyes and turned his face to the side, ready to accept his fate.

    Krul didn’t finish. Instead, she just pulled her hand from his grab and slapped it away, sulking grimly.

    -Don’t touch me with these hands of yours. You are disgusting… - and she wiped the droplets of the condensation formed on her arm in his black suit…

    He abruptly jumped on his feet, stepping back.

    -Don’t fucking wipe your hand in my suit, you brat!

    -I bet you also wiped yours afte…

    -Listen, you are seriously starting to tickle my nerves, you littl…

    -Just shut the fuck up already. Or I’ll really fucking shrapnel-bomb you to death… Even your parents won’t be able to recognize you…

    Art just snorted.

    -They are your parents too, little devil. – he mumbled, as pulling his sleeves a bit and went to the sink.

    In the next several minutes, there was, simply put, an awkward silence in the premises. Ann was quietly doing Krul’s hair, who was just sulking and pouting. Iki got her gaze stared in the ground, as if on the verge of starting to blush uncontrollably, as if any eye contact with the others was going to trigger these incontrollable emotions in hers. Rio was delicately leaning on some of the lockers, also starring, but in the ceiling, whistling lowly from time to time and Art was still before the sinks, or more precisely before the mirrors, fixing things on his suit, shirt and look generally that didn’t need fixing at all.

    And Mio suddenly kneeled before her.

    -Want me to put you a little makeup? – she asked quietly.

    -A-a makeup?! – her eyes widened a bit. Then she looked delicately at her brother.

    Art was looking at them over his shoulder with a expressionless face…

    -C’mon, it will suit her fine! And Mio is great at this! She put mine and Rio’s too! – joined them Ann.

    Art sighed.

    -Do whatever you want, no need to ask me. – he turned back at the mirror.

    -T-thanks, big bro. – she mumbled.

    Mio just smiled, turning to his sister.

    -Right, just a light eyeline and a bit of light bluish eyeshadow to elevate this oceans of yours…

    Krul just blushed a bit, starring her gaze at the ground before her.

    -I’ll wait outside. Need to take a bit of fresh air… - Art headed for the exit.

    -Sure. – said Mio.

    Krul pinched his sleeve, as he was passing beside them, holding him in place. And didn’t let it go. Even under his questionable gaze, she didn’t say anything and delicately evade it…

    Art just sighed again and sat next to her.

    And Krul was still holding him…

    Mio smiled. Ann just sighed somewhat belovely.

    -What a love. You really cannot without each other…

    -Shut up. I’ll punch you… - Krul pouted.

    -Ho-ho, I’m scared now…

    -You shouldn’t underestimate her. She have a really nasty punch. So much, you won’t believe it until you start seeing the stars… - said Art.

    Mio giggled restrainly.

    After a few more minutes, she and Ann finished with the makeup and the hair, and the four girls moved in front of her to see the results of their jobs, as Krul timidly got up…

    And judging by their reactions, they were, mildly put, completely satisfied with the results.

    -Incredible. Really incredible. You look incredible. Mio, Ann, you are incredible… - Rio was simply gasping widely at her, as if at any moment now was going to jump at his little sister like some sexual predator…

    As if Krul got the same idea too, as she tightly snuggled onto him…

    Iki just clapped several times, not making any efforts to hide her sincere amazement.

    -You should really look after her tonight, Art. The boys will lose all their minds and reason whey they see her. – said Mio.

    She almost hid behind him, blushing.

    -Well, as you saw, she is perfectly capable of defending herself. Although, she shouldn’t be the only one to give this a thought tonight. – Art winked slightly at them.

    -Oh, you flatten us, thank you, thank you. – said Rio non-chalantly. – Now, let’s go already. The others have probably started to lose their heads…

    The other girls followed her.

    But Krul, still clinging tightly to his hand, didn’t move.

    -Hey, are you alright, my little princess? – he asked, somewhat worried.

    Krul gulped.

    -B-be my gentleman for tonight, b-big bro… - her voice trembled slightly.

    Art looked her. And smiled gently.

    -Of course, my little princess. – and he gently took her hand in his palm.

    Krul linked arms with him, blushing a bit and they followed the others outside.

    There, Arai, Nishi, Yudachi and Chisaki were waiting for them. And they all gasped amazed upon seeing them.

    -OMG, you look amazing, senpai! – Arai’s eyes shone strangely excited, as he stepped to them. – This suit is top! – then he looked at his sister and upon their gazes meeting, Art felt the shivers than run through her body and once more she hid a bit behind him. – And you, Krul! You are so pretty!

    -T-thank y-you… - she looked him from behind Art.

    -Oi, careful, mate. – Ann put her hand on his shoulder. – There are special place in jail for the likes of you…

    -W-whaa… - his eyes goggled. – B-but it was just a compliment!

    -Calm down, calm down, i was just joking. Geez, you are such a quick fuse. – Ann grabbed him for the elbow and headed to the exit. – Be my support for a while, these heels are starting to take their toll…

    -A-as you wish…

    The others swiftly followed them.

    Soon, they were outside, under the starry sky, in the backyard garden on the stony path, curving between the trees and bushed, leading north to the school premises, where the ballroom was.

    She suddenly cuddled into him.

    -Is everything alright, Krul?

    She didn’t say anything at first. Just staring at the back of the others, who where walking a few meters in front of them.

    -You know that the next time I see her, she is dead, right…

    Art gulped.

    -C-c’mon, don’t be ridiculous, now… I told you, there’s nothing between us and nothing ever h-happened…

    Krul just stared ahead, remaining silent for a moment again. Then:

    -I’ll blow her to pieces so hard, that you’ll find nothing of her… - she said with such an ominous voice, that he shivered to his roots.

    Art gulped loudly.

    Because he knew she was really capable of doing it…
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2021
  2. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

    May 7, 2018
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    Reading List:
    I decided to split the volume for the best, because it was going to get out of hand with all the stuff planned. Enjoy!

    Blurred by the near darkness of the oppressing ambience, the huge branches of the cherry blossom tree overhang above them like the claws of scary monster from their grotesque nightmares. The low breeze made tiny shadows dance on their faces like minuscules ripples of sunlight in the bottom of the sea, entangled in a mad rhythm of some crazy symphony, whispering eerie murmurs in their ears.

    The only lights came from the shining moon and stars, with the dim glimmer between the bushes and the trees from the nearby buildings, to guide them on the curvy rocky road.

    The cold envelope gradually started to bite their exposed cheeks and skin, bitterly reminding them the warm rays of the day were ever gone.

    The aromas of fresh, damp grass and fragrant cherry blossom gently tickled their noses, as if alluring them deeper into this soothing niche of the mother nature.

    It resembled them to a place, full of mystic energy and deep spiritualism, only found at ancient temples or a holy ruins…

    It was just making all senses in their bodies go live.

    Just being here was enough to start consuming your mind into darkness and bring cold shivers down your spine.

    Another world… Another time…

    Suddenly, something rustled in the bush on the left and Krul, deep in thought up until now, startled, slamming slightly onto him…

    -Uhh, sorry, bro. – she looked slightly up, making an apologetic face and frowned, staring at the bush again. – Tss, damn hedgehogs… - and snorted bitterly.

    Art followed her gaze.

    -How did you decide it’s a hedgehog, my little princess?

    Krul looked him for a few seconds. Her face was unmoved…

    Art just raised his eyebrows without saying anything, as he moved his sight on the stony road ahead again.

    His sister snuggled into him.

    -This place looks so different at night… As if I’m in another dimension. In a dream… Do you feel it?

    He looked her again. Was she reading his mind? No, he didn’t sense it…

    He was feeling the same.

    As if the veil of the darkness was a powerful magic force, that distorted the whole matter of really into something alien…

    -It’s giving me almost the same vibe as that one night the last summer. Those ruins, south of Leichté, do you remember, bro?... – she asked.

    -Yeah… When we spent the whole night under the stars… How could I forget it… Now that you mention it, I’m also getting it… It’s really a shame, my little princess. I’ve never had a chance to just stroll around, since i came here. Neither around the school, nor the city. Especially at night…

    -Wasn’t yesterday enough for you?

    Art giggled.

    -I think that befalls in entirely different category, little princess…

    Krul looked up. In the darkness, her smile was viciously contrasting against him…

    -How about this then: tomorrow night. Here. Looking around. Finding stuff. Stirring slight troubles, maybe.

    -Sound ideal to me. No objections. – he said.

    Suddenly, a slight turmoil erupted in the front, as the others cleared the last corner.

    -Oh, here they are!

    -Finally!... – the gentle, echoing voices bounced back to them.

    As last, they turned and the building emerged before them, a visage gently caressed by the nightlights at her facade and around in the shroud of dark.

    And some of the others outside, who impatiently focused all their attention at them…

    Arufa. Rumiho. Moka. Naeru. Avys…

    All at their best, impatiently waiting the fun night to begin…

    -Omg, you look impressive, senpai! – Rumiho jumped enthusiastically on her feet. – Such a sexy suit! And this dress is incredible! – she looked and at his sister too.

    -Hehe, sexy suit… – Arufa smugged mysteriously.

    Art looked her somewhat strange and in attempt to judge her smirking face, but before they manage to respond anything, Avys jumped so violently in their hug, that almost knocked them down on the ground.

    -What took you so long! – she looked up with her sparky eyes. – I was going to die from impatience! You should see the rest! And the ballroom!... EVERYTHING IS INCREDIBLE! CAN’T WAIT TO START!!! LET’S GO NOOOW!!!!!! – she began to pull them a little.

    -Yeah, yeah, we are excited too, Pixie Devil. Now let go of me… - Art didn’t hurry to move.

    -He-he. – she leaned a bit right. And her eyes goggled. – OMG, SIS!...

    Krul turned her head the other side, snuggling a bit into him.

    Avys immediately doubled the move, not letting her even for a second to escape her eyes.


    -T-thanks… Big sis Ann and big sis Mio did it… - she mumbled.

    -OH! – Aiv turned, looking them with admiration. – You are incredible, big sis’!

    -Hoho, thank you, thank you, no need. – Ann smuggled a bit, raising her chin proudly and crossing hands below chest.

    Mio just smiled gently.

    Aiv suddenly moved a meter before them, making a slight pirouette and fixing her gaze on them.

    -And what do you think, what do you think? – she fidgeted a bit on her feet.

    Art took a good look of her. And, admit it, it almost made his heart skip a bit.

    As if with each day, she was blooming more and more into a beautiful flower, that was going to overshadow with her glimmerous light all the other flowers in the garden…

    The stylish black high waist skirt, decorated with double laces on her hips and the slim suspenders over her tiny shoulders. The white blouse with short sleeves and flower motive laced neckline… The diligent long Itteryn braid, perfectly fit for her charming face with the slight freckles on her cheeks and nose…

    He just…

    His heart was melting.

    -I-I think you are really b-beautiful, sis… - Krul mumbled before he could find any words.

    In the first moment, as if Aiv froze against her. Then, with the most beautiful, charming smile in the world shining on her face, she jumped on her neck.

    She almost knocked his sister down, if it wasn’t for him to help her keep her balance.

    -Oh, Krul, I love you! – she hugged her as tightly as possible.

    -I-I love y-you t-too…

    -It’s all thanks to this beautiful dress you sew me!

    Ann widened her eyes at them.

    -W-wha, you sew this one too?! – she exclaimed, with some of the other girls also gasping amazed.

    -O-only the s-skirt… - she mumbled lowly.

    -It looks really incredible! And so professionally made! Like some really expensive brand! – Arufa took a step at them, having a better look.

    Krul evade her eyes somewhat timidly, sinking in her boots and blushing slightly…

    -YES! – Aiv jumped enthusiastically on her toes in her stead. – She has such a steady hands! – then looked at Krul again. – And big sis Mel too! She made me this incredible braid and the hairs of some of the other girls too! She is so good at this! She’s magician!

    -Oh! – several of the girls exclaimed.

    “Mel did that? Amazing…”

    Art looked at her, especially focusing on her braid.

    It really looked like as if it came from a professional, who was working for some models magazine… So clean, precise and tight…

    Suddenly, something kicked him slightly in the knee.

    Art startled a bit, stepping back, as he looked her amazed.

    -Oi. What are you staring at?...

    Under her stern gaze, Aiv was sulking slightly against him.

    -If you have something to say, then say it. – she crossed her hands below her chest, turning her head and closing her eyes.

    Art shook his head slightly. Then delicately scratched his nape.

    -I-I guess y-you don’t look half bad at all. – he mumbled.

    She pouted even more.

    -Hmp, you really know how to have your way with the women…

    -Well, I’m…

    She suddenly grabbed him for the hand, starting to pull him not so gently.

    -C’mon! It’s getting cold, let’s go inside! The others are probably really impatient by now! A bit more and they’ll start murdering people around.

    -Don’t pull me so hard, Pixie Devil. This suit is tight enough already…

    Yeah, as if he said it to the wall. The only thing stopping her to rip off his arm was that he was still holding Krul, who was barely managing to follow her tempo.

    The other promptly followed them in their steps, gladly accepting the chance to leave the cold embrace of the night.

    The building outside didn’t look something spectacular at all. True, it was huge – even more than the main school premises and although being only three-storied, the high-ceil floors made their heads spun as they looked up at the shrouded in darkness roof, but it still didn’t give them this special vibe for something glamorous or miraculous hiding inside, as the others didn’t stop reminding them constantly this night…

    The huge, rectangular windows, some of which going up to the second-story, were playfully reflecting the wonders of the night at them, dancing contrastingly against the white-grey colors of the flat, somewhat boring façade, that looked so clean and fresh, as if it was painted yesterday, with the only decorations being the dentil mouldings between the last floor and the roof, and the four huge square columns on the each side of the entrance, reaching the whole way up to the top.

    It didn’t resembled the traditional vhynehaimean architecture at all, with its typical arched roofs and wooden finish – it was more like a classic building from continental Inden, erected at the beginning of the previous century – similar to all the other buildings at the school grounds. Well, maybe expect the shiro

    It looked cold. And threating. And ominous. More like a modern Court building or Ministry of Defense…

    But nothing that tell them grandiose nights were happening inside…

    Was it because of the late hour? Maybe the daylight would made all the difference in the world – he should see it first then, before arising such conclusions in his mind…

    But right as soon as they pushed the heavy double doors and entered the lobby, many of the pleasant surprises began…

    It was about to struck them like sharp daggers in the heart…

    First, the warm welcome of the others, who greeted them with such joyful cheers and exciting calls that at any other circumstances, they were gonna feel exalted and illustrious…

    But it now remained somewhat muted and distant in the background, as the sight of the lobby engulfed all their feelings…

    He and Krul just froze in place, as if a lightning struck them and their eyes widened in indescribable stupor.

    It made their mouths gasp loud. Their hearts thump fast. Their eyes stare long. And their minds dream wild.

    It made them look small and insignificant in a world, full of glitter and brilliance…

    It made them fly among the starts in the sky.

    It made them dance on the dark mirror surface of the polished lake in the palm of night and the glimmering shine of the moon.

    Under the dusky shadows of the mysterious creatures, gazing upon their backs, watching for their smallest misstep.

    And under the huge crystal sakura tree with branches full of rose crystal petals, miraculously dancing on the dimmed lights…

    They felt floating in the ocean in a dream…

    A dream…

    He wanted to drift forever…

    Engulfed by his wild thoughts and the loud beating of his heart in his chest, he heard how his sister’s sigh was muted and far away.

    -Please, pinch me, big bro… - she exclaimed quietly as staring dead ahead.

    Her hand… She was squeezing him harder and harder.

    But he… He was completely speechless.

    Even when the sudden hands landed on their shoulders, it didn’t startle them at all – they were so engulfed by the scenery, that only tiredly turned their heads back, with resigned gazes that were telling whatever else they see from now on in their lives, it was never going to be enough to surpass in their hearts the miracle they saw tonight.

    The charming face of Raon met them. Just a hand-span from theirs, with a smile, capable of breaking the thickest wall of ice.

    -It seems we completely managed to captivate your hearts. – she quietly said, as she starred ahead.

    They felt how as if a quick shiver ran through her, her hands clenched their shoulders a bit firmer…

    And the warmth of her body…

    She looked spectacular in her long, high-neck burgundy velvet dress. Such a perfect combination for her eyes and hair… That was now tidied up in a stylish messy bun, that with the elegant make up elevated the delicacy of her shaped and pure beauty, she possessed to a whole new level. A real pearl on her own, priceless of worth… She…

    Art turned ahead again, his eyes glued on the huge crystal sakura tree.

    Like a neural mesh, her branches were reaching from wall to wall, throwing its glorious glitter over the dusk shroud around. The huge moon shone above it in its full might, as if in a merciless trial to outglow her magnificent brighten, entangled for eternity in a battle of light, like the intertwined destinies of two persons. As silent spectators to their eternal duel, the murky shadows of the gloomy trees were silently watching from the vast walls, with their branches protracting and extending towards them, ready to grasp them at the first shown weakness. And the polished to mirror shine, dark sky marble immersed them to a point to make them feel they were dancing on the surface of a lake…

    He sighed too.

    If the lobby looked like this… and incited such emotions in them…

    They just couldn’t imagine themselves, when they see the actual ballroom.

    -What is this… I’m feeling the sudden urge to cry… As if I’ve witnesses the saddest story in the world. – he whispered lowly.

    -Yeah. I felt the same when I first saw it… - mumbled quietly Avys next to him too.

    -The story it tells… It’s always different for each person, but it always manage to stir up the same feelings in him. It’s amazing, isn’t it? – smiled mysteriously Raon, although somewhat sad.

    -Yeah… As if I experience everything through their eyes, as if I was there in real time… Damn, do you have something to drink? I felt the sudden urge to… - he rubbed his eyes.

    They watered with tears, he wasn’t going to way. It made him remember things, he wanted to forgot… Reminiscing about all times, that was never going to came back… To never have the chance to do the things differently, to affect all the events that have come to place… To keep living full of regret…

    Raon smiled timidly.

    -Of course. Let’s go inside. – with her hands still gently on their shoulders, she slowly start leading them towards the the ballroom.

    He wanted to take out his phone and start making photos. Krul too… But both them just couldn’t move their eyes away from the sakura tree… As if it entangled all their thoughts in her mesh…

    No matter what they wanted to say, it was going to be just too small and puny. Never enough to express their true feelings…

    When they reached the high double door, they gazes were still wandering away. And even when the heavy hinges creaked, with regret in their souls they overstepped beyond, as if biding eternal farewell to all they’ve left behind…

    And sadly turned ahead.

    They looked up…

    And gasped loudly, as their bodies froze, together with their hearts…

    Their minds exploded like a garden of summer flowers.

    As if invisible hands grabbed around the pure existence of their souls and with a powerful dash dragged into a whole new world…

    A new world, that exploded against them in a colorful palette of flamboyant nuances, that made their hearts dance in its rhytm. Like a giant tidal wave, that with its incredible might crushed into their faces and washed away all the bad ill, negativity and corruption, lurking at the deepest pits of their existence… Filling every nook and cranny of their natures with its new, overwritten laws…

    Where only happiness and joy existed, and every other negative emotion was quickly overwhelmed by the blinding brilliance of its pure good. And they could run all their lives on the green fields under the starry sky and never think about any other trivial things until the end of the universe…

    Because only joy… and happiness… and smiles existed anymore.

    That overwhelmed all their sadness with its new story of hope and beauty.

    And filled their hearts with the desire to spread their hands and fly.

    Where the angles were gladly going to accept them…

    And they gasped and just gasped with their widened eyes before this miracle of modern art and magic…

    And regret, they didn’t see it earlier…

    No, there were no more regrets… Just pure happiness their were lucky to witness such thing in their lives…

    -OI! THEY ARE FINALLY HERE! – the loud voice of Nym exploded in the premises, greeting them cheerfully.

    They were easily distracted by it this time. Because this was no more place of sadness and sorrow, that engulfed them in a dark shroud…

    It was a place of brightness. Of vivid emotions, shining stronger than the sun. Of daring adventures, reaching the end of the world. Of unbreakable friendship, indestructible even by the cruelest challenges of life…

    A place of wonder…

    And it gladly accepted them as part of it…

    With its vast spaces, filled with marvelous splendor… With exquisitely decorated columns and ceiling, each describing its own fabulous tale. The high, colorful mosaic windows of wonderful scenes and wall lamps and huge chandeliers of magic light and glow, infusing the air with pure fairy essence…

    Is if there were in such.

    His whole body was shivering from all the magic energy, emanating in the space.

    He saw her. There, in her gorgeous, long white dress, amplifying to the fullest the magic in the air tonight.

    Together with the others…

    Ayuri… With her gracious, long blond wavy hair, completely freed, shining like a star on the earth.

    Hion… In her short kimono of vivid and vibrant red colors and summer flowers, radiating her enchantment to all surroundings…

    Reina… Who didn’t look like at all that she wanted to incinerate him with gaze this time, but shone like a gracious diamond under the sunlight…

    They were all so exquisite… And charming… And beautiful.

    Suddenly, he just wanted to scream with all his lungs. As if a hard, long journey had finally came to its end…

    And jump in their hugs…

    Instead, Vick was the one that suddenly popped from somewhere and leapt on their necks…

    -I cried, when I saw it at first!!! – she exclaimed, as if reading their inner thoughts.

    Well, there was no need for that, he guessed. Their faces were expressive enough.

    -Аbout time. – said Reina in her typical arid voice. But he felt no hostility this time – as if just warmth and care. That, by some reason, made him shrug his shoulders with unease… – We thought you ran away.

    He focused on her.

    Was she… smiling?

    Yes. Definitely. He saw it. Just slightly, with the end of her lips, but it was there.

    There was no mistake.

    That almost he refused to believe it…

    -Are you okay? You are not feeling sick or something? – he asked, somewhat concerned.

    -What?! – she goggled her eyes against him, leaning a bit forwards.

    He almost jumped surprised how much stunned she went…

    But him catching her of guard massaged his chest with a pleasant satisfaction…

    -Sorry. That was a strange thing to as… HEY, don’t try to read my mind!!! – he suddenly strung up, when his hairs shivered from the abrupt magic wave…

    The others just looked them amazed, as their eyes widened a bit. And some moved in unease, delicately averting their eyes…

    But Reina just stared at him for a moment… and backed down.

    -Ts, dodgy bastard… - she snorted, as her body relaxed and she moved her gaze somewhere to the side.

    Art blinked long, as if making sure his eyes were not lying to him.

    Her freed, long rose-ashen hair, gently embracing her soft, naked shoulders…

    The red satin dress with crossed strips on her neckline, ending in a nice, decorated embroidery with black laces around her gracious neck…

    Making her deep, pinkish eyes contrast marvelously on her pale skin and red lips…

    She was so beautiful… With glaring radiance totally opposite of her typical grimly nature…

    Seriously, what was with all of them tonight…

    -You look amazing, by the way… - he mumbled lowly, almost wanting not to be heard and delicately moved his gaze aside, as if their eyes were to met, he couldn’t stop his blush.

    But as once again her eyes goggled against him and her lips began to move, he hurried to add:

    -And all of you, of course...

    Her words didn’t proceed.

    -Oh, thanks! – exclaimed Ayuri instead, slightly jumping on her toes in joy. – You look amazing too!

    -Yeah, this suit is the best, bro! You should wear it more often! – Vick clang more closely onto him.

    -But it’s getting really tighter…

    -C’mon, now that everybody is here, let’s begin! – Raon, still holding them for the shoulders, began to push them gently bit by bit. – Before the others eat all the food!

    As they procced in, deeper and deeper into the ballroom, Art and Krul’s gazes were moving around this marvelous spectacle of art.

    As if this was the continuation of the tale with more merrier, happy end. Like purposely the lobby was created sad and distressful, filling them with only sadness and gloom… and once they enter here, this explosion of contrasting feelings elevate them to a new, unreachable levels. Giving them the appropriate mood and nuance for the event, supposedly being hold in a such place…

    The giant, crystal chandeliers, fueled by the complex magic circles, that filled the ballroom with colorful gentle lights.

    Where they on the bottom of a pool with the sun ripples dancing over them?… Or under the clouds, watching the beam light descending to the ground?... Or in a science glass, were the professor were showing them marvelous effects with mirrors and prism?... Under a rainbow? Lens flares?

    They couldn’t tell…

    But it was so wonderful, it made them feel they are at thousand places at once…

    Then the huge half-round columns, each decorated in wonderful scenes of life, amplified by the magic spells and lustrous motives. It created beautiful, at moments even scary, illusions, as if they were alive and moving, engulfing them even more in its twisted realism.

    Making them feel in the middle of the ocean… No, in the forest… Or was it in mountain? Where they flying?

    And next to one of the columns, illustrating a beautiful scene of lovely cherry blossom, going through all of its stage of existence, amplified by sparkling stars and colorful magic effects, near the middle of the ballroom, they found all the rest of their classmates and clubmates. Suu, Zumi, Masami, Ren…

    And even…!

    -Miss Noel?! – they both exclaimed with widened eyes upon seeing her standing next to the others.

    She sighed deeply, as if with disappointment, crossing her arms under her chest and blinking for a long..

    -I knew I shouldn’t have come…

    -Whaa… - this remark of hers caught them completely by surprise.

    What did they even say?!

    Ren suddenly snugged onto her.

    -Oh, c’mon, c’mon, sensei, don’t be like that right now! After all the care you took of us, how couldn’t we do this, at least! I mean, we all consider you as a part of our club! Right? – and she look at the others, as if searching for support.

    When their gazes met, he trembled. He gulped, as if trying to swallow the sudden lump in his throat next to his loudly thumping heart, as the heat wave made all his body hot…

    She was spectacular in her light blue dress. And that shine in her aquamarine eyes…

    He wanted to drown in this glittering ocean of hers…

    And that smile of hers… She was making all the matter worse…

    -W-we didn’t m-meant t-to be o-offensive, d-doc. I-it’s just… y-you are so p-pretty… - mumbled Krul.

    Art slightly shook his head, chasing all his thoughts away and moved his gaze on her. And, well, this was one of the rare occasions were he didn’t mind at all to have other’s words put into his mouth…

    Noel looked her, as if amazed.

    -Oh, c’mon, no need to flatter me. You’ll make me blush and I’m too old for this already. – she nonchalantly waved with her hand.

    Too old? Yeah, sure. He just wanted to read her mind and directly figure it out. Because, they said, never ask a woman about her age.

    But by some reason, he didn’t even dare to continue thinking about it. Something on a primitive level scared him even more than Reina just by the sheer thought of doing it… Was it because she was really good with various very sharp, pointy objects? What an irony. He was training with swords and stuff as almost as far as he could remember himself, yet a mere scalpel in an adept hands were terrifying him to his bones. What a strange thing was the human perception…

    And yet, despite the age (which he bet, still hadn’t 3 in its first digit, so what was all that fuss about it in the first place…), she looked phenomenal in her long, high-waist red skirt and white shirt. And her long, straight hair, part of which was delicately hiding just half of her left eye, making her face look so deep and mysterious…

    It wasn’t about the complexity of her cloths, neither a fancy hairstyle nor a expensive make up. Just her pure womanly radiance was strong enough to suplex all the other girls as easily as snapping a finger.

    That wasn’t the first time he felt this mood. Sometimes, he got it from his mother… His grandmom Dal. Chris… Even from Niei and his big sister Kaere…

    He understood it completely now…

    This was the difference between a girl and a woman.

    -It’s true, sensei. – he just couldn’t keep quiet about it. – You are amazing.

    She looked him, her eyes widened a bit again.

    And then, half-turned back.

    -I need a drink. Do you have wine? Give me some. – she said.

    -Whaa… - some of the girls stuttered.

    -Ah, I’m sorry, sensei. – Ren gently folded her hands before her, making an apologetic face. – I’m afraid we only got non-alcoholic stuff…

    Noel sighed deeply, as if with regret, but more like as if with regret, that she came to a place, where there was nothing to drink…

    Something suddenly shone behind her.

    Art’s eyes goggled.


    All the rest look in her direction…

    She just hid better behind the doc.

    -Oh, c’mon, c’mon, don’t be shy now, it’s not in your character at all! – Raon suddenly grabbed her and pulled her from behind the sensei. – We won’t let our efforts on you remain unseen!

    She tried to resist, wanting to hide behind Noel again, but by some reason Raon easily managed to overwhelm her and hold her in place. Strange, that should not have been possible… If she really wanted…

    All of these who hadn’t seen her tonight, loudly gasped. Some exclaimed. Other made dreamy eyes.

    But all they were sincerely astonished.

    She was blushing. She was fidgeting, delicately rubbing her palms, like a really bashful kid. And she was looking fucking amazing…

    -Omg, you look stunning, senpai! – first said Arai, clenching fists in excitement.

    “Ahh, shit…”

    Sophie locked him with a gaze, her face suddenly turned stony and grim…

    And he heard how next to him, Aiv just sighed…

    As known by now, he knew her as far as he was remembering himself. He grew with her, he was through joy and suffering with her, he was inseparable part of her life. And he was able to read her face like an open book, knew her reactions better than anyone else and could predict with high accuracy what she was going to do in every given moment. Without even reading her mind…

    That’s why, even before she suddenly pointed her hand straight at Arai, he was already instinctively getting in front of him…

    -Whaaa?!... – the boy was so surprised, that his body couldn’t even proceed to move…

    Art just grinned his teeth.


    The last thing he saw, before the shock hit him, were the still widening eyes of the people in front of him, still trying to fully grasp what the hell just happened…

    But he made it in time.

    And no matter how many times he was to get through this, it was still going to suck to the ground…

    It made his teeth creak. His muscle flexed against his will, crackling the suit seams. The invisible hand clenched his heart and lungs as he felt how his entire nervous system turned into a pathway of thousand needles, piercing in all directions…

    He just wanted to puke with all his soul…

    And bitch slap her really, really hard…

    -You shock like a bitch… Even Vick is better than you… - he mumbled through his heavy panting, as Krul wrapped his hand around her shoulders to support him.

    -Hehe… - his other sister smugged.

    Nasty. Nasty…

    -Ups, sorry. – Sophie, totally unmoved, crossed her hands below her chest, making it take even more tempting forms.

    And Aiv just sighed again.

    -They never learn…

    -W-wha, what did I do?! – Arai looked even more shocked than him.

    Sophie eyes turned in flames, wanting to incinerate him in place.

    The boy sank in his shoes. Noel just also sighed.

    -Please, in the name of all sacred, just, at least just this night don’t try to kill each other. I’m very please.

    -Ah, sorry, sensei. It won’t happen again… – said Art.

    -What?! Why exactly you are apologizing?! – Arufa looked him amazed.


    -Sorry. I’ll also try not miss so badly the next time, I promise. – said and Sophie.

    Arai just delicately hid behind Nishi, not caring about honor, bravery and such trivial stuff before the power of electricity in the hand of mad woman…

    -I really need a drink very badly… - Noel massaged her temples and headed for one of the set tables with food and beverages…

    -Right! Now that we are all here, let’s start the main event! – began Raon, clasping her hands. – I’ll go get Hifumi, meanwhile you start the party and enjoy yourselves to the bottom of your souls!

    Several girls exclaimed enthusiastically and the prez headed for the side entrance, next to the stage. Little by little they began to scatter around the tables, forming compact groups and and filling the premises with low chatter and joyful laughs, as they lighten up the mood in this magic night.

    Vick, Aiv and Krul went to scout for the best deserts (but, of course…), which at some point was going to force Art into restrictive actions. Ayuri, Reina and Hion went next to miss Noel, engaging seemingly in an informal chat with her.

    But Sophie…

    She was just hiding behind him, so close, almost snugging, that was able to feel her warmth and there was no need to look at her to understand what’s on her mind.

    -Why’s all this about? – he began. – You look amazing. Really stunning…

    -Are you picking a fight with me? Wanna eat another Volta? Even Flamlir?

    -Don’t be ridiculous. – he was looking with his periphery over his shoulder, not moving. – I really meant it…

    He clearly imagined how she blushed, as she shoved her face onto his back to hide it…

    -I want to burn them for making me wear this ridiculous dress… - she mumbled.

    -It suits you great. It’s perfect for your body.

    -Sure… And these morons are already oozing over me… Give me a shovel, I want to bury myself…

    -Well, it because you are really beautiful, senpai! – Ren slightly bounced enthusiastically on her toes.

    He just felt how Sophie began lifting her hand, but Art immediately grabbed it and stop her in its roots.

    -Don’t even joke about it. – he said.

    It was her left. As a person usually had a dominant hand, with which he was doing various tasks better, this was also, to some extent, relevant to the magic casting. And Sophie was right-handed…

    -We made her go through enough today, she has a reason to hate us for 1000 years. – continued Art.

    -That was mostly you, though… - mumbled Sophie.

    -Naaah, don’t worry about it. – Ren waved her hands before her. – The electric spell didn’t really hurt, only tickled and the hypnosis… Well, that was really interesting experience. – she smiled a bit forced.

    “Damn it, Ren. You are such an angel.” – he though…

    Sophie kicked him lightly on the achilles with her toes.

    -Anyways, it was just a game and that was an asshole move by my side. I’m really sorry once again. I’m ready to repay you in all the ways possible…

    -No, really…

    -Damn it, girl, be advantageous of his generosity before you lose benefits, that could affect me too! If I was in your shoes, I would have him to make you one of his cherry brownies! You never ate such before, I guarantee it, you are gonna eat your fingers!

    -There she goes with her cherries again... – Art sighed deeply.

    The rest just smiled and giggled. But Sophie finally stepped beside him, obviously cheered enough to stop caring about the other’s gazes.

    Art looked her.

    She was wearing just a simple, short black halter dress and sandals, and with her long hair completely freed down, she was looking just like a fairy princess from an elven tale. An absolutely stunning beauty, there was really no place for doubt that she will be a magnet for the other’s eyes.


    He really wished she dressed like that more often than not. It was stirring all his heart.

    But after all the initial amazements of stupor and flashiness were gone, it was finally time for what really the most important matter was right now and that was he would finally be able to compare her next to president Hio. Although their lose clothes were taking him the chance completely to do it from head to toes, he was still at least grateful that they were both short dresses, so he can at least have a chance to do it by their thighs…

    He sighed internally. That was going to be really difficult task and probably choice. But after the other day, he just couldn't help himself! It was bugging him immensely. He needed to know! And know right now!

    He swore, he only wanted to know the difference between Sophie and Hio, he had no intention to involve and the others…

    While his cousin was having a talk with Ren and the others, he secretly glanced at Hion’s group…

    Just too see how Reina pierced him with such a cold gaze, that made his blood freeze…

    He gulped. And immediately averted his eyes, as if it scared him to the roots of his soul.

    “W-what was t-that…”

    It was becoming more and more obvious to him now. She was just really good at catching the people’s emotions, without even the need to directly focus her magic. And really good not letting the others realize she was capable of doing it…

    Damn, the task just turned incredible difficult on another level. He needed to be extremely careful around her…

    How does he proceed… It was starting to rankle him entirely…

    “I need to approach this from different angle!”

    Well, it was time to show her off some of his abilities too!

    -How about we go get something to drink? – he interrupted them, suggesting. – I’m both really thirsty and starving after such day…

    “And night…”

    The others looked him for a second. But…

    -Sure, let’s go! – Nym smiled first and grabbed him under arm, dragging him to the tables.

    The rest followed them, as they went right next to Hion group.

    The Doc, Ayuri and the others stopped their small talk, greeting them with their curious gazes.

    Reina frowned slightly, almost not noticeable, as she tried to hide it by delicately turning to the other side…

    “Hehe, take this, vice! And I don’t care you can get an idea of my thoughts without even reading them!”

    She didn’t react. Her face remained expressionless.

    “Damn, she is really good at this!”

    But Ayuri immediately jumped in.

    -That with the magic was very nice today! – she looked at Sophie. – Especially after Hifumi showed it to me on one of the slow motion cameras, that managed to capture it! It was really incredible!

    -Oh, really... – his cousin grabbed one of her hair-strands, starting to delicately fidget it between her fingers. – I guess I need to get even faster then…

    -What? Even faster?... But why? – Rio frowned a bit.

    -If a mere camera can catch me, then androids can do it too. Especially with their wide-angle, high lens slow-mo and fast projection arithmetic controllers, that can calculate even in the infrared and magic spectrums…

    -Ooohh! – several of the girls exclaimed lovely.

    But Rio frowned even more.

    -Why would you even need that? – she looked her perplexed.

    -Well, who knows what can happen in future…

    As she said nothing more, several of the girls looked and at him, but Art just shrugged delicately, also remaining silent.

    Rio just sighed quietly.

    -I see now! – began Ayuri with her inborn passive enthusiasm. – So that’s one of the countermeasures you mentioned us earlier! – she looked him with sparkling eyes.

    Sophie instantly pierced him with her burning gaze, so he just dodged them both by pretending to not see anything…

    -Humans can do it too. – Reina suddenly stepped in, delicately taking position between him and Hio. – There are enchantment spells, than can increase your eye perception speed and with the magic drugs and potions available to additionally overclock your nervous system, you can achieve rate of frequency triple or quadruple than what is usually normal. – she crossed her hands below her chest, giving herself serious look.

    “Damn you, Vice!” – he internally waved his fist at her.

    -Ooohhh! – several of the girls exclaimed again.

    -And the human eye periphery is actually able to perceive even higher frequencies. Some studies say flicker artifacts up to 500 hertz. – joined and Noel, while lifting up the glass with grapefruit juice, for which so badly wanted to be a red wine...

    Well, that was something in her specialty, he guessed. And the girls once more exclaimed enthusiastically…

    -Damn, you’ll all know how to beat me now… - snorted Sophie.

    -Don’t say it like it matters, as if all of us can do such things, damn it! – fired up Rio.

    -There are more than enough already. – she delicately glanced at Reina and Art.

    They didn’t react in any way. Ayuri turned to her with stars in her eyes.

    -Soo, can you show it to me? – she bounced gently on her toes with the expectation of a little kid.

    Sophie looked her a bit puzzled. Then sighed lowly.

    -Sure. Why not. Which one do you want to see?

    -Oi, are you sure about that?? You are still not fully recovered from… everything. – said Art a bit concerned.

    -Nah, I’ll survive an one or two. The worst could happen is me start spitting blood. And I hope, since it will give me a fine reason to go change this ridiculous dress…

    -I won’t carry you to the doc, I promise… - he made himself look serious.

    -I’m right heree… - Noel sighed.

    Sophie just looked him annoyed, then turned to the Club Vice-President.

    -So, which one do you want to see? – she asked again.

    -Hmm, I don’t know them by names, but…

    -Hey, do you wanna see her as a fox girl? Choose the Tirailleur! – interrupted her Art.

    The rest of the girls looked him amazed, gasping with their mouths. And Sophie pierced him with her fierce gaze.

    -A-as a fox girl?! – Ann’s eyes widened.

    -Yeah. The tirailleurs were the falklanese colonial troops from Alazar. Especially the Marogonian and Nerbian tribes. – explained to them Reina.


    Ayuri looked her, smiling mysteriously, gently clenching her fists in excitement.

    -So, let be the Tirailleur then! – she exclaimed.

    Sophie just looked him once again, this time with an eyes telling how much she was tired of his bullshit and touched the medallion on the chest through her dress.

    -I really hate you, bro… - she mumbled, taking a step to the side. And whispered: – Corruptus…

    Up in an instant flash, the huge silhouette materialized next to her, making some step back startled and others gasp amazed in wonder. The girls and the boys couldn’t hide their emotions and astonishment, as the room suddenly filled with exclaims of sincere surprise and sighs of awe and veneration.


    -IT’S SO HUGE!


    In mere seconds, all of them gathered around it, exciting and trembling, as their hearts and feels stirred even more.

    It stood a head above the tallest of them, a huge manifestation at least 2 meters tall, that made all their legs soft and jelly. So dreadful and threating, irradiating the whole space with its ominous aura, that they just wanted to turn in terror and run.

    But, of course, not all of them.

    Despite the height difference, it basically had the same proportions of Sophie, as if an upscaled model of her, with only the thighs being a bit slimmer.

    Below its steel plate ballistic vest, it was wearing white linen shirt and black shorts, that, with only the steel kneecaps for protection and the beige hide boots, it left her long, beautiful legs charmingly bare. On the face, there was a steel mask with only two tiny holes as eye visors and a long, colorful silk scarf, wrapped around her fine, gently neck. Although Sophie didn’t call the huge, long-hafted axe, the light musket was threatingly hanging on her back, with the powder and ammo bag tied up on the wide belt, only partitionally showing below its body armor.

    Its long, freed hair was gently caressing its shoulders and lower back, exact copy of hers right now, so silky and smooth, they just wanted to shove their faces in it.

    Not to mention the long, fluffy tail and ears, making impossible to hide the obvious, radiating desire of the others to just touch and snug into it, quickly overcoming their stirring awe…

    And exact copy of her?

    Yeah, sure…

    Maybe in some other life.

    Ayuri clapped energetically with her palms several times, bouncing lightly on her toes.

    -It’s really amazing, Soph! I appreciate it! – she exclaimed.

    -Omg, it feel so real. And it’s so fluffy! – Ann was already sliding her hands over the tail.

    The tirailleur just smacked her with it, that startled the girl, almost knocking her down on her bum.

    -Whaaa… - she hold for her cheek. – YOU CAN DO THAT TOO?!

    -Of course… - Sophie panted a bit. – I have a full control of it…

    Ann’s eyes goggled even more.

    -That’s soo coool, man!!!

    -It looks so real. Are the weapons too? – asked Reina.

    Sophie looked her.

    -Yes… All of them have… calling crystals… They can shoot… Can cut… Pierce… And she can kick… And punch…

    -Omg, that’s really amazing! And scary… - exclaimed Chisaki.

    -Okey, that’s enough. Call it off, before you pass out. – tried to reprimand her Art.

    -NO! I said I won’t do it until I start bleeding! – she stubborned.

    Noel just puffed. She didn’t care how much she was impressed.

    -Oh, c’mon, don’t start playing donkey now!... – he reached for her medallion, but she smacked his hand away… – I’ll OVA you, I swear!!!

    Then Aiv suddenly jumped on the tirailleur’s back, her face popping next to its.

    -Oi, are we missing the party or what?! – she exclaimed.

    Vick and Krul showed on its side, each having a plate in every hand. Mostly full of sweets.

    Art just sighed.

    -Oi, get off my back, brat! Wanna eat a grenade or what?! – Sophie looked her threateningly.

    -I refuse! – she locked her hands around its neck. – This is so much warmth and fluffy than yo…

    The tirailleur suddenly grabbed her and began suplexing her over its shoulder, but as her sister was about to slam so hard on the ground, that was going to break every bone in her body, it put its hands below and grabbed her…

    Then disappeared in a puff, letting her fall from a hand-span height on the floor…

    -Ai, ai, ai! – Aiv thumped, rubbing her back. Then turned to Sophie, looking her a bit concerned. – Oi, are you all right, sis? You not sick or something? – she continued to rub her butt, as getting up.

    Then dusted off her skirt and shirt.

    Sophie just snorted annoyed and turned. A very tiny drizzle of blood was making its way down her nose…

    Noel sighed deeply and grabbed one of the napkins, directly shoving it onto her face, not caring for gentleness at all.

    Sophie in the first moment looked her surprised, but then took the napkin and continued to press it over her lips.

    -Oh, thank you, doc, but there was no need. I can hold them for minutes stationary. If it wasn’t for some people… - she looked Aiv not so friendly.

    -For minutes?! – Ayuri’s eyes widened a bit.

    -Yeah, no problem at all. So, do you want me to show you another one?

    -Please, that’s enough for today. – Noel put her hand on her shoulder, starting to get really concerned. – Don’t make me rope you on a chair and put soporific in your drink…

    -Damn, you are no fun at all, doc. – Sophie pouted a bit. – Are you married?

    -WHAT?! – her eyes goggled against her.

    -Sorry, sorry, I won’t even joke about it again, don’t dissect me… - Sophie bowed.

    Noel just snorted bitterly and turned to the table, getting her glass. Her radiance was clearly giving all this regretful mood why there was nothing alcoholic tonight…

    Something snugged him onto the elbow.

    He turned.

    -Oi, do you want some, bro? – Krul shoved the plate before him, as she continued to munch on some of the sweets with her other hand.

    Just by the sheer look of it, his blood sugar skyrocketed… He felt how the sweetness was absorbing all his moisture from his mouth…

    -10 kilometers tomorrow. Then 100 squats, 100 sit-u…

    -OH, C’MON!!! – Vick suddenly exploded with her mouth full of pastry throwing it like a geyser ahead. – DO YOU REALLY HAVE TO BE LIKE THAT THIS EXACT NIGHT?!

    -Hate me or not, it is for your ow…

    -Fuck you, bro. No more kindness from me… - Krul retracted her plate, turning him her back. – C’mon, Vick. He’ll make us run anyway, so let’s eat all we can tonight…

    Vick just snorted and went to her sister, decided to make the best of it…

    -Do you think I’ll l…

    -C’mon, let them have some fun tonight! – Nym suddenly snugged onto him, locking her arm onto his’. – It’s a special night, one in years!

    -Every night is special for them in that regard…

    -C’mon, don’t be such a hard ass! – joined them and Ann. – They’ll burn everything in no time with their energy…


    -Just don’t mind him and hurry with the eating, Vick. He doesn’t deserve these incredible sweets. Let’s leave him none…

    Art just sighed. What was even the point…

    -You should try them too, bro. – Sophie shoved another plate before him. – Before these two wicked demons really gnaw them all...

    -Yeah, these are the best sweats I’ve eaten in a while! Mel is goddess! – Aiv jumped enthusiastically next to her sister, crunching on some biscuits.

    -Mel? – Art looked her somewhat confused.

    -Yeah. She prepared it. Most of it. – said Sophie.

    -Mel prepared that?! – Art turned and took a look over the tables, with baked sweets, sandwich bites and many, many other diligently prepared snacks, compactly arranged in the plates.

    -Well, with a bit help, of course… But she was the main player.

    -Incredible… Where is she, by the way? I haven’t seen her toda…

    -Oi, someone asking for me? – he suddenly heard her voice behind him.

    Art turned.

    What he saw, exceeded even his wildest imagination.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2021
  3. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

    May 7, 2018
    Likes Received:
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    Holy chicken cow, this took soo long to write...
    But as a rule so much stuff happens around this time of the year and i reedited it so many times, i've lost count...
    Anyways, take this 12 TNR, 1.00 line spacing, 20+ Word pages new chapter!
    And enjoy!

    He refused to believe his eyes.

    It was Mel…


    Yes. Mel.

    In a long, stylish high-waist, calf-length dark blue skirt…

    With white linen, non-sleeves shirt…

    Tied hair with a black silk ribbon…

    And a bunch of drinks in each of her hands.

    He blinked loudly.

    It was Mel. IN A MAID UNIFORM.

    His chin was just about to smash the ground in the clearly biggest hit for him for tonight, as they mercelessly unleashed another unscupulous attack on his gentle heart…

    She frowned a bit against him with her pose tightening a bit.

    -What are ya starring… Here, have some drink… - she took one glass and almost smashed it into his chest, but so precisely that not even a single drop was spilled on his suit. – Cool yourself off, you look tense…

    Art hurriedly grabbed it when Men suddenly let go off the glass, before it smash on the ground…

    -Now, if you excuse me, I need to attend and the other guests too. – she bowed a bit.

    And pushed him slightly of her way, continuing forward, as if nothing happened.

    Art was left gawking at her back in total disarray. His mind just couldn’t proceed it anymore.

    -W-w-what was that… - he barely had the strength left to mumble.

    -Don’t mind her too much. She is always like that. – returned Nym nonchalantly.

    -Yeah, no, I mean, but…

    -Even I cannot understand what’s on her mind sometimes. – her sister sighed deeply.

    -Mel is actually part of the School Support club! – Ren leaned towards him, as if conspirational. – Usually, they help volunteer in the organization of the school and some local events!

    -School Support club?! But I thought...

    -Nah, she has never been in the Reenacment club. – said Nym.

    Art looked her almost amazed.

    -I see. So that is why I didn’t see her today. Nor at the other training sessions. – he almost turned sad.

    They were just secretely glancing between each other for the next some time. Art was very carefully searching for his next words to break this awkward silence between them, when his thoughts were suddenly interrupted from a swift microphone crack from the stage, that attracted all their attention.

    -Omg, it’s finally starting! – said someone.

    -YOU LOOK AMAZING, HIFUUU!!! <3 – shouted and other one.

    He saw how Hifumi smiled blindingly in reponse.

    -Akhm, test-o, test-o… Oh, it’s working!... Akhem… - she cleared her throat, before taking a more show-directed pose, as all the conversations ceased and they gathered before her, around the stage. – WELCOME MY FRIENDS! TO ILARYS SHOKUDOU’S BALLROOM!

    And in an instant, with a loud bang, all the lights went off and thousands of sparks exploded in the darkness, turning the premises into a field of shooting stars. Many of the girls exclaimed lovely, amazed as their hearts thumped loudly in their chests with their imagination wildly incited by the magical spell. The circles around the chandeliers and lamps whirled down and slowly went out with only a beam of light emitted from the huge statue on the ceiling, focusing Hifumi on the stage.

    Who graciously stepped towards them, near the edge.

    Once more, the girls gasped in dream and boys eyes widened in excitment.

    “Wow! She is really beautiful!” – he clearly thought.

    She was wearing a black tuxedo with a black tie and similar to Rio, her golden hair was just gelled back. But despite her male attire, she was irradiating the whole room with elegance and femininity.

    And just now he realized how much she was rivaling Iki. It was spectacularly amazing, how didn’t he notice it up until now? There was something really special in their line. He just couldn’t imagine her in a few years…

    Suddenly, by some reason, he really just wanted to meet their mother… Or was it their father? Both of them? Probably…

    -First I want to sincerely thank all of you for being here on this special night. – she began and all her posture, all her manners and composure looked like she was a born talent for hosting this job with very rich experience behind her back. – Without you, all of this wasn’t going to be possible in the first place… Especially our new dear clubmates, who made this day so much eventul and exiting! C’MON, SHOW THEM THE WARMEST WELCOME YOU ARE CAPABLE OFF!!!

    The room around the exploded in shouts and applauses. He felt that his eardrums were gonna burst in blood, as the goosebumps gently caressed his body in a lover’s cuddle. Ren covered her ears (as always) and Nym grab Krul, lifting her with such an ease over her shoulders, that he almost refused to believe it.

    Well, it wasn’t bad… to be center of attention once in a while.

    “But i won’t refuse and some quieter days for the future.”

    Or, at least he hoped, from now on to be only in positive aspect.

    -Thank you, thank you! I hope our dear friends really felt all your emotions and feelings you all so turbulently expressed with your hearts!

    -YOU ARE ALL REALLY AMAZING!!! – yelled at her Aiv.

    -Ho-ho, I’m sure we are. – Hifumi smugly smiled. – And since you are the main reason for this dynamic day, which led us to use this brilliant ballroom, THANKS TO OUR GREAT PRESIDENT HIO, LET’S HAVE A QUICK RECAP ON ALL THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENTS! BUT THIS TIME EDITED FOR EXCITEMENT, REALISM AND DRAMA!!! – and she turned towards the huge screen, quickly getting out of the way.

    The light beam turned off, making the room near complete darkness for a moment, before the 3D hologramic projector went on.

    It became so quiet, as if all of them were holding their breaths.

    Art too. He had no idea what Hifum have prepared, but he trembled in anticipation.

    Then the image began to move…

    The sound. The perception. The camera angles. Just the first seconds were enough to hook him up.

    It look so professionally and diligently made…

    Does she did it alone?! And in such short time?

    The gearing up. Of all of them, but mostly they in the focus. How Sophie helped him put his armor on. His warming up, his maneuverability, whereupon most of the room exploded amazed. Then this of Sophie. Her brigandine, the shoes, her making up her hair, explicitely focused on her forms and sexiness, causing the boys to lost their minds in exciting shouts and exclamations… He felt the radiating desire how she wanted to burn them too…

    That of his sisters too. How they changed their clothes secretly in the castle (not so, since Hifumi managed to capture and that…), causing again turbulent reactions.

    The formations… The battle plans talking (also the part, when Aiv hit Ann in the head with her stick, erupting the whole room in laughs.

    Grouping up and moving down. All from different angles and various perspectives, not to miss showing even one of them…

    -OMG, HIFU, THAT IS REALLY GREEEEAT!!! – shouted Chisaki.

    -Shh, keep quiet… - jabbed her Ayuri.

    Their movements from bird view, transforming into a dots on the up-down 3d map, just before the first clash…

    It showed all of it. How Art opened the portal, grabbing Rio and jumping in it…

    -Whaaa, he can do such things too?! – exclaimed Raon.

    -HEEEY, THAT’S MERE CHEATING!!! – protested Ann.

    -Why are you even complaining. The game is long over and we’ve won. – countered Reina.

    -You are the ones to call of cheating… - Ayuri crossed her hands below her chest.

    -Hehe… - smugged Vick.

    -Shh, the action is starting. – shutted them Hion.

    On a small, dark forest road, Masami was running out of her breath, as if hundreds of demons were on her feet.

    Then Art suddenly swinging from behind a tree straight at her head…

    There was no time for her to react…

    The girl’s eyes madly expanded in last grasp of her inevitable fate.

    It sliced right through her mouth, splitting her head in too, with blood pouring all over the place and his armor. And the upper part of it falling on the crimson leaves, deadly starring straight at them.

    -LOOOL, THAT WAS BRUTAL, HIFU! – exploded Ann. – I LIKED THAT!!!


    The whole striking team of whites sneaking upon the non-suspecting, casually walking reds…

    With Iki jumping bushes upon bushes, quietly like a doe, but with the ominous manace of a predator closing on her pray.

    And starting to unleashed arrow after arrow in relentless manner at them...

    Among confusion and air manipulation spells of Aiv, Nym sneaked close to their other side, almost at a point blank…

    -OMG, YOU WERE THAT CLOSE?! – exclaimed Suu.

    “No shit…” – grimly thought Sophie.

    Nym just smugged.

    Hiting Danjuro with an arrow straight in the face, breaking bones and cutting flesh.

    And Aiv throwing a magic sphere at Zumi’s neck, blowing it to an unrecognizable pulp of flesh and blood, severing the head in a fountain of a gore blood.

    -WOOOW, IS THAT REALLY WHAT IT WILL DO?!?! THIS MAGIC SPELL?! – yelled Rio with a very strange excitement in her voice.

    -At full power, of course! Wanna try it?! It hurt less than a Volta! And only for 200 yen!

    -Wha… No, I’m not that eager, why did you even bring it in that direction?!…

    On the other side, they met Arai. There, on the cliff-top, capable of holding them whole hours.

    Art suddenly charged at him, taking the boy by complete surprise and while he was falling, Rio cut his head in the midair…

    -OMG, NICE ONE, RIO!!! – Nym lifted her fingers up.

    -THAT ISN’T WHAT HAPPENED!!! – protested Arai.

    -Shh, shut-up… - Reina kicked him slightly behind the knee.

    Sophie lead the breakout charge. The most of the others quickly followed her. Counter-attacking like mad, or running for their lives. The drones didn’t miss anything from their eagle view.

    She met her sister and the duel between the two quickly turned into a bloody violent mess… Slashing, punching, kicking, plucking…

    Exchanging magic spells and saber cuts with the ferocity of feral beasts… Fire, flashes, sparks, explosions… Until finally the little girl was overwhelmed and Sophie’s saber threatingly began touching her sister’s mouth, leaving a blood groove, deeper and deeper…

    But Iki focused her in her gaze, holding a dozen arrows in her hand…

    And lifted her bow.

    It was Ayuri, who slammed over Sophie and stumbled her on the ground, that covered her with her armor while bombardment lasted. Arrow after arrow, they struck around her, ricocheted from her helmet and armor, pierced the bushes and trees around, not getting them a chance to look up.

    And Utena, who charged them while being down, trying to relentlessly end their lives with her yari.

    But instead, Sophie hugged Ayuri and teleported them behind the girl from the enemy team, which face was quickly overwhelmed by a pure shock.

    And using her confusion, Sophie cold-bloodily cut of her head, that fell on the spring leaves.

    -YOU CAN TELEPORT OTHER PEOPLE IN THAT WAY TOO?! – exclaimed again Raon.

    -Oh, c’mon, shut up already… - snorted Hion.

    The other group met the remnants of the white’s striking team, entering in a furious exchange with Avys and Aihara…

    But while they were focusing on the vhynehaimese girl, his little cousin slipped away and blew off Chisaki’s head clean off with her air spell…

    And Aihara violently pushed Rio on the ground, about to stomp her face with the shield…

    When Sophie caught up to them, slicing the enemy girl’s neck clean off…

    They regrouped, while the other part of their team was furiously trying to fight off the defenders advance…

    How Akio, Rumiho and Orimo entered in a desperate fight with the majority of the enemy team, but were quickly overwhelmed when they poured them from all sides…

    But not before taking Touwa down with them…

    Then, how Vick, for which everybody now knew it was actually Krul, paralized Akio with a disbanding spell, allowing them to capture her and drag her back to the Shiro.

    Art lead up the charge of the rest of the attackers through the labyrinth and his pollaxe quickly met Amu’s head, cracking his skull open. Iki tried to slow him down, but his armor absorbed all her arrows, breaking and throwing pieces of metal, while he dashed after her…

    She ran to late and he was at mere seconds from catching her, when Yudachi obstructed his way, depriving him of his kill.

    In a revenge, he smashed his pollaxe in her face, reducing it to a grotesque form from an old horror slasher…

    Some of his teammates didn’t have much luck though…

    Spliting after the crumbling enemies, some of the reds were quickly pinned down in the garden by the returning whites from the bigger striking group and the few left defenders…

    Nishi managed to cut Ginma open in a furious bloody duel, but Krul exploded her ice spell into his face, turning it into a mesh of bloody pulp, with the rock sharpnels and frozen shards raining all over Oiso’s face and body, making all the others around duck for their lives. Then the blizzard mist confused them all, spreading them even further to be hunt one by one.

    On the other entrance, Iki who using the time while his duel with Yudachi lasted, managed to get into a high and more supportive position…

    And in no time Takari ate an arrow in his neck…

    Then Raon, full berserk, smashed her axe onto Sozui’s head, slaming her down on the ground and engaged simultaneously in mad melee with Arufa, Suu, Moka and Emiko…

    On the other entrance, Krul managed sharpel-bomb and Naeru too, wounding seriously and Agano, who was finished by Nym…

    While the rest of her team were busy in the labyrinth, Sophie teleported in the castle premises, laying down for the perfect opportunity to start recking havoc behind the enemy lines…

    And this soon emerged, when Iki took position on the bridge, just meters from her…

    And Sophie charged, quickly overwhelming her, cutting her hands and then head.

    Ann charged furiously at her, screaming for revenge, but quickly ended stabbed in the armpit, bleeding and spitting blood…

    Then the furious duel with Hion, who ended electrocuted to death on the ground…

    Very few people actually saw what really happened then… And Hifumi had the common sense to quickly make sure that it not spread additionally… So, considering the kind of recreation movie this was, they were never going to suspect that something very unusual happened. If all the witnesses kept quiet…

    Art met Ayuri and Rio at the garden’s gate, relentlessly continuing their attack…

    But Aiv managed to isolate them from him…

    Quickly turning it into an area of desperate fight of live and death…

    Leaving Faiye and Okame in blood pools, with Ren and Avys barely standing on their feet, while Art was suddenly forced to get out of cousin range… But in all the confusion, he got the range all wrong and accidently teleported over Raon’s head, depriving her from her kill on Arufa, but not before she cracked open the heads of Suu and Emiko…

    The duel with her was short and bloody, but he went full in and in the end he emerged victorious…

    Just to be charged by Reina and Krul, who finished all the attackers on the other side and then quickly rejoined by Ren and Avys. But Rio managed to find her way back to him, rushing to help him even at the cost of her life…


    -Yeah, that’s a double standart… He is always beating the shit out of us, but never lifting a finger at her. Scumbag. – Avys crossed her hands below her chest, delicately looking at Krul.

    She looked back at her with the edge of her eyes, but didn’t say anything.

    Instead, that was Sophie’s:

    -Because you always deserve it… - she was totally unmoved.

    -You deserve it better! – gnawed back at her Avys.

    -Yeah, but the difference is that he cannot beat the shit out of me. Now, cry me a river more…

    Aiv just snorted and turned back at the screen.

    Then the whole story with the fountain and Ren being hypnotized. Of course, gently tuned down by Hifu, so it didn’t look that much brutal…

    But it was enough to make people even more incited.

    And to enrage Mio to a point, where she beat the crap out of him together with Nym, ending his miserable life…


    Krul kicked her slightly behind the knee.

    -Shut up…

    All alone, Rio was quickly ganged up by all the others, leaving her no chance…

    But Sophie took revenge on them, leaving Mio and Aiv without faces, Ren in flames and Krul in a demolished pile of blood-pulp. With a cool slow-motion, that managed to capture all the action of her clones, that turned her into a mince meat in less than a second. But expanding most of her power and the subsequent duel with Reina was violent, short, and lost…

    With shortly after that being avenger by Ayuri, who furiously cut her face open.

    Then went totally overpowered by the brute force of Nym, leaving her with a cut open throat instead…

    And the last, brutal duel between the three girls, which made all of them hold their breaths for a second time this day.

    With Arufa sacrificing herself and Moka not wasting this opportunity to strangle Nym to death…

    Just to be stabbed in the back by the Princess, for which they all thought it was Krul…

    The end.

    In a sudden, the room exploded in turbulent applause and excited shouts.


    -Yeah. How did she manage to edit all this in short time? – asked Sophie.

    -She is really good and talented at that. But Sozui, Naeru and Takari too. They usually help her around. – said Ayuri.

    -Truly amazing. They really did a great job.

    Ayuri just smiled slightly.

    The light beam focused on Hifumi again, as she took her place on the stage.

    -I hope we didn’t crush some gentle hearts with the brutality of these effects! Is everybody fine? Weak legs? Fainted boys? How did you like the wounds, miss Noel?!

    -I’ve seen worse. – she replied nonchalantly.

    -Oooh!!! – many people exclaimed in return.

    -Ho-ho, I see, I see, you are as professionally unmoved as always, doc. Don’t ever change, we’ll always love you! Well, my friends, how about we proceed with checking the score list now? I bet you are all curious who pick up the top apple, those who couldn’t count, lol… – she turned in a showman pose, as the screen put on the pictures of several people, some in gear, other with regular dresses, but all of them very nicely taken shots, with the numbers below. – At the bottom of our list we have our participants each with 1 kill! But don’t be swayed by the low kill count, my friends, since these were the kills, that decided the output of today’s game! And what kills were some of those, oh my!!! Let’s applause for their memorable contribution today Aru, big sis’ Ayu and Iki, Moka, Nishi, Rio, Rumiho aaaand oour deceiving little princess, Viiick!!!

    -Oh, thank you, thank you, no need. – his sister began to bow and play it humble.

    -BOOO, HIDE YOURSELF YOU CHEATING TR… - yelled Rio, but Ayuri quickly kicked her behind the knees and covered her mouth. – MHMHHHH!!!...

    -Sorry, Hifu. Continue, please. – said the bigger sister.

    -Ah, thank you, thank you, big sis. – she bowed slightly. – Next we have our beloved Ren and our beloved Reina, with one kill and one assist each! But don’t forget the feat of our famous Vice-Prez, who managed to stop the huge rampage a certain enemy was on! Ho-ho, you’ll see, you’ll see in a while and tremble in your feet…

    -Yeeeah, you beat her good, scary Vice-Prez Ina! Can’t wait you to do it again the next time! – yelled Avys.

    Several people giggled, but mostly nervously, as the others looked her amazed and stunned. But Raon and Nym just laughed out loud.

    Sophie passed it between her ears, no reaction at all. She was just waiting…

    -Geez, you are no fun at all, sis… - quietly pouted Aiv.

    -Ho-ho, you heard that, scary Vice-Prez Ina! A real manace for every enemy!... But don’t worry, we all know what a gentle heart you actually have!

    -I’ll curse you to death, bitch… - Reina mumbled through her teeth.

    -Next we have our dear big sis Mio with 2 kills, the best heavy unit dealer in our club! And she proved it again today! C’mon, make her feel your warmth and love!

    The room filled with such turbulent applause and exclaimes, that even he felt it, despite not being directed at him. But as they gradually went down, she just felt how Sophie’s body tensed up… And her lips began to move…

    Art grabbed her for the hand, clenching it slightly.

    -Not now, Soph… Just wave and smile… - he mumbled, so that only she heard him.

    Sophie looked him, as if a bit amazed. But in the end, just sighed deeply and said nothing.

    She didn’t let go of his hand. Art heart thumped. How submissive she was today…

    Hifumi continued:

    -Now prepare yourselves, ladies and gentlemen, as we continue up and up on the list! Next, we have people you certainly don’t wanna get in their way when they are angry! Persons, that despite their gentle looks, can gnaw your throats with bare teeth! PLEASE, YOUR BIGGEST APPLAUSE FOR OUR DEAR REENACTMENT CLUB PRESIDENT, LADY RAON AND THE ONE AND ONLY, THE PETITE AND MISCHIEVOUS PIXIE DEVIL, LADY AIV! BOTH WITH 3 KILLS!!! – she turned spectacularly at the screen.

    Once more, the applauses and the shouts trembled the room in a vibrant symphony of emotions. All he saw around were just happy, smiling faces, enjoying the moment to its fullets. The tiredness from today, the hard stretch from the hard battle… it was all gone, replaced by the pure feelings of young people, living their dreams.



    -Of course, always! – replied Aiv.

    -What an amazing response, thank you my dear friends! But hold your legs even more now, as we get into some serious stuff here! These people up were responsible for killing more than half of the enemy teams! Quite a scary feat, that I don’t think someone else before managed to pull up to such extent! So, just bear it in mind to be very very careful around them and not to anger them too much! Ho-ho, who I’m kidding!... NOW! FOURTH ON OUR LIST! WITH THE TREMENDOUS FOUR KILLS AND ONE ASSIST!... OUR OTHER LITTLE DECEIVING ICE PRINCESS KRUUUUULLLL!!!

    Hifumi clearly knew how to ride the wave to additionally stir up their hearts. The shouts turned from turbulent, to as if maniacal. The exclaimes became even more and more daring. The applauses shook the floor and walls. But as all the eyes focused on her, she just timidly hid behind him, not wanting to be the center of this at all.

    -Oh, c’mon, c’mon! This shyness doesn’t suit you at all, not after all the massacre you caused! You should be really proud of our contribution! – said Raon.

    -If you exclude the deceiving stuff… - Sophie looked her with the edge of her eyes.

    -Hah, don’t listen to her, one should do everything for its team! Have no remorse!

    -W-well, t-thanks… - she shyly showed her face from behind him. – I-I’ll t-try better the n-next time…

    Several people just gasped widely against her. And Nym laughed out loud, cracking up the mood.

    -Oh, c’mon guys, you don’t know what you are wishing for… Don’t ask her to get more serious, she usually takes such stuff to a heart. And she have a very rich repertoire of nasty ice spells in her book… – Vick looked her too with her periphery from the other side.

    -Ho-ho, this really makes me more impatient for the upcoming games! Can’t wait to see what stuff you guys will pull off in the future! I’ll make sure to updade my inventory of drones and cameras too! But i just hope you don’t forbid the magic after you see what happen next… - Hifumi took back the initiative. – SO, IN THIRD PLACE!!! THE TOP SCORER FOR THE DEFENDING TEAM!!!... THAT’S OF COURSE OUR LADY NYM WITH 6 KILLS!!!

    -Hooo, not bad, not bad, Nym. – said Raon. – You are still going on a rampage against every team you face… - she smiled mysteriously.

    “Every team she faced?”

    He clearly knew already that Nym was really bad news. Just didn’t know to what exact extend. And all the passing events were pointing to him that it was maybe worse, than he was imagining it.

    He should be really careful with her…

    Strange, but thinking about this made his mind wander off for Mel. Where was she? What she was doing right now?

    His gaze moved on delicately over the room, as some strange warmth was stiring up his chest.

    His heart thumped, when he found her. Just a several meters from him, she was standing next to Ren and Mio, all in her brilliant elegance and charm. So simple at first glance, yet giving the radiance of world-renown artist’s masterpiece, it captivated everybody hearts not by the luxuriance of her shell, but by the radiant expression of her soul… A sophisticated posture, capable of putting a ballet dancer to shame, subtlety of manners making a princess blush, aura so pure, it was capable to extinguish all the evil of the world.

    A true shining diamond.

    It was just like miss Noel.

    Why were his emotions suddenly becaming so messy and his body starting to feel so light? Why he couldn’t move his eyes away from her?

    He was so engulfed by the trap of her charm, that didn’t even notice when all the applause start…

    And when she turned, and looked him, her smile melt his heart…

    The sudden lump in his throat stopped his breath…

    -C’mon, say something, don’t just stare… - Sophie gently pushed him for the shoulder.

    “Wait, what?!”

    -Ho-ho, it seems our dearest Art is still too hazy from the heat, he managed to build up today, heh. Or is it something else? Would you like to share a comment with us, mister Art?


    -Just forget about him and announce the winner already! THAT IS MUCH MORE EXCITING, THAT THE SILVER!!! – yelled Vick.

    -YEAH, SCREW HIM, FORGET ABOUT HIM!!! – supported her and Aiv.

    -THAT’S RIGHT! C’MON SOPHIE, GET OVER HERE! – Hifumi suddenly jumped off the scene and grabbed her by the hand, starting to drag her up.

    -What?! No, leave me, I don’t wanna… - she began to persist like a little child.

    But in the end, she submited to the Hifumi’s will and followed her.

    He really wanted to see her this soft as she was tonight more often than not…


    The ballroom erupted…




    -YOU ARE THE BEST, SIS! – they fired up and a whole cannonry exploded in the premises, shaking it to its roots, together with the errupturing fireworks and flashing spells in the night above them, announcing the top of the tree.

    -C’mon, Sophie, speech! – yelled Raon.

    -YES! WE WANT SPEECH!!! – joined up and Nym.

    -Of course! As our brightest star of tonight, that her priviledge! – Hifumi handed her the microphone.

    He saw how in the first moment she hesitated…

    But then her body straightened and giving herself a more serious look, she took the microphone.

    And her stern gaze looked right over them.

    -I’m really not a fan of the small talk, so I’ll keep it brief. First, I want to thank you for the warm hospitality and the great game today. I really had fun with all of you… even though I overdid it a bit, I guess… So I hope you are not that much mad at me… and won’t forbid magic use in our future games. Sorry for the trouble and thank you for having me. I’m looking forward at the schooldays with all of you. Thanks. – and she bowed deeply.

    -That was great, Sophie! Thank you too! – Hifumi encouraged her, clapping hands.

    -Was that all? Lamee, get off!... – shouted Rio from below.

    -Stop it! – Ayuri smacked her in the nape. – Don’t worry, Sophie, you were amazing!

    She graciously jumped from the stage, landing lightly like a cat before the two sisters.

    “What’s with the dark purple today?” – wondered Art.

    -Thanks, Ayu. – began Sophie. – People should really appreciate more these, who didn’t waste other’s time.

    -Hohoho, that’s so true, big sis Sophie. And because we hold up to that too, I say we should move next! To our big surprise for tonight. – she nodded with satisfaction. – Ho-ho, just wait, wait and see. You’ll be blown away!

    And jumped from the scene too, next to his cousin. She was wearing pants and suit…

    The room lights went off.

    -What? What surprise? – asked, suddenly starting to fidget around Rio.

    -Shh, quiet. – quickly shuted her her big sister.

    Then, likewise with Hifumi, one single beam fired up, illuminating the centre of the scene.

    And it made all of them gasp in disbelief.


    He looked left.

    No, she was right there, next to Ayuri and Raon.

    Shaken, he moved his gaze ahead. And gulped.

    He mistook her for a second time today…

    The room froze quiet, awaiting with held breaths... They felt how heavy the ambience became, trembling in a sudden anticipation…

    -Oh my, my, what a leaden day… - she sighed and it was so lovely and gentle, that it made all their hearts throbble. – Is this a precognition for a bad omen?

    Art eyes widened even more, he gasped, almost loudly. She was sitting there on her knees, in a brilliant junihitoe of vibrant dark blue colors and motives of spring pink flowers, engulfed by the single beam of light. So radiant and glamorous, a goddess in a human form, that it blew his mind away.

    “Ah, she looks as amazing as you in traditional clothes, Hio. My heart is slipping. Who knows, if I see her in a short kimono next time, I may leave you for her…”

    -My dear Izana has not returned yet. I sincerely hope nothing worse happened to her

    Her angelic voice gently tinkled their eardrums as if it was whisper from an angelic fairy, leading them through a melodies of pure harmony.

    But only if…

    -OMG, IS THIS THE SAGA OF SHIZUKA AND ELLEN?! – suddenly, completely unexcepted by the others, Krul’s voice echoed, that made people around her jump startled, tearing them from their initial euphoria and rapture.

    They looked her astonished and stupefied, with faces wondering what suddenly got onto the little sister, while some just wanted to incinerate her with their gazes from the sudden scare she gave them.

    -Hey, what’s wrong with you?! Keep it quiet! – whispered Sophie, delicately grabbing her for the arm.

    -But that’s the Saga of Shizuka and Ellen!... – whispered back Krul, much louder, still to excited to stay calm in her shoes.

    -The more reason to shut up and watch! – his cousin shook her a bit.

    Akio didn’t react in any way – just with another deep, lovely sigh, making it look completely natural with the flow of the scene, she left the paper fan on the ground next to her and with a gracious move stood up. Then got to the window of the small room, simulated of laser holograms and magical enchantments.

    -A great misfortune bestowed our Country after the Enemy from the Continent invaded our land. – she “leaned” her hand on the holographic threshold of the window and her gaze wandered off at the hills in the distance, that the magic projection and the mist from the fog machine made it look all creepily eerie. – What our people did to deserve this fate?... Will the suffering ever end and world know peace again?...

    Then the scene gradually went black…

    -WHAAA, WAS THAT ALL?!... – raised her voice again Krul, but Sophie nimbly moved behind her, grabbing her with arms around the shoulders.

    -I said keep it quiet, you little beast! – she whispered.

    -Bu-bu-bu!... – his sister eyes teared up.

    -Just watch! – Sophie gently covered her mouth.

    After several seconds of pause, the hologramic projection went on again, gradually filling the stage with wonderful images of dream sequences.

    Akio stood on the shore of the glimmering ocean – a field of countless stars, swaying in a gentle, hypnotizing harmony of waves, which collapsing crests were filling the air with thousands of magical particles, dispersed by the light gust of wind from the fan machine.

    -The night… It whispers in my ears. I feel its gentle touch warmly embracing my soul…

    As if the sea talked back to her. Like every individual particle reflected the surging emotions in her heart with their brightness and glitter.

    She started to slowly move along the edge of the shore (scene) and the light projector delicately followed her.

    -It’s so calm and peaceful... Maybe I should sneak out off the house more often…

    Then she suddenly stopped and clapped her cheeks, that made some people jump startled in their feet.

    -No, I shouldn’t! I don’t want my dear Izana to get mad at me again…

    Did she blushed?

    Yeah, definitely…

    -I-I shouldn’t worry her. – she delicately rubbed her hands, fidgeting her body a bit, as if a cold tremble engulfed her. Then, all of a sudden, she tightened up. – I should get back! And better think an apology!…

    The sea shone against her again. Countless bright stars shone at her, making her sigh and stare in its loveliness in the dark…

    -I think I should bring her with me the next time. She’ll understand. And not get mad at me…

    She turned and was about to go…

    When she suddenly froze.

    Something shone on them too, between the hologramic rocks at shore.

    -Is that…

    Her eyes widened madly.


    And as she ran forwards, the projectors went dark again…

    -WHAAA, IS THAT ALL?! – Krul wept again.

    -No, it’s not, don’t you get it already?! Stop it! – Sophie moved to shut her again.

    His little sister looked her with teared eyes.

    -It must be really fun to go to movies or theaters with her… - whispered Hion, looking them with her stony face.

    -That’s why we don’t… - sighed Vick. – I even missed Ballearophon because of her…

    -That must suck… - said Reina.

    -C’mon, enough… - shutted them all Ayuri.

    As they were having their small discussion, Art’s attention remained focused on the scene. It was pitch black and he couldn’t see anything, but… as if something new got onto it. He sensed it…

    The lights gradually went on again.

    Some of the girls gasped and exclaimed.

    There was another actor in the play…

    -Oh my, what a poor soul. What did you do to deserve this fate… – she was graciously kneeling next to him, overhanging above. Then, her eyes madly widened. – HE IS BREATHING!!! – and she sharply put her ear on his chest. – And his heart is beating!

    Akio, or should he say now Shizuka, grabbed him for the armpits and with great effort pulled him out of the waves.

    Then, panthing and heavily breathing fall on her knees next to him, starting to fidget.

    -What should i do, what should i do… - she trembled in panic. – The others… Just stay strong, you poor soul! I’ll bring help!...

    Krul was about to open her mouth and protess once more, but Sophie swiftly covered her, not letting her disturb the scene again.

    Next, the man Shizuka saved was laying in a room, with her taking care of him. She was sitting on her knees before him, wiping his face with a wet tower.

    She sighed, pausing for a moment.

    -What did they do to you to bring you to this condition… These wounds you have… As if someone beated you with an oar… Who did you anger this much?

    Sighing again, she turned at the bucket with water, draining the towel.

    -You are sleeping for two days now… Won’t you awake already... – her voice gradually went down, as if with a deep pain.

    When she turned, the man was awake, sitting on the kotatsu and was starring at her with widened eyes.

    -YES, THAT IS EXACTLY HOW IT WENT!!! – Krul exploded again.

    -Hey, will you stop it already? – Hion snorted annoyed. – It’s getting annoying.


    Sophie just sighed deeply.



    The sudden electric crack startled everybody around them, looking them stupefied. Krul’s body thrembled in one convulsive twitch, as it taughened like a string, paralyzed and her teeth clanging.

    -Wha…?! – Rio turned amazed, instinctively taking a step back.

    -As much as I appreciate it, was it really nessecary? – Hion looked her with her narrowed eyes.

    -Trust me, this is the only way to deal with her… - she kneeled behind her little cousin and hugged her tightly with both hands. – And I used the restricted mode – it didn’t even hurt – just tingles her nerves a bit.

    -Whaa, you can regulate it’s power?! – exclaimed Arufa.

    -C’mon, all of you, enough already! – Ayuri was really starting to sound bitter.

    All their attention focused on the scene again, where the preparations for the next part were complete.

    The soldier moved lamely, holding for his head, looking around confused.

    -Wh-what is this… Wh…where am i?

    Akio, mean Shizuka, looked him with concern in her eyes.

    -In the village of Hirai. We found you on the beach… Two days ago. I was afraid you’ll never see the light of the day again…

    The man’s eyes widened.

    And he suddenly jumped on his feet, rushing towards the door.

    -W-what are you doing?! – Shizuka swiftly followed behind.

    -I’m returning to my ship!

    -But… You are still healing!... – she grabbed him for the hand. – Nooo, stop!!! – and desperately tried to hold him in place.

    -Get of me, girl, I told you I need to get back! – the man turned, as if ready to slap her in the face.

    -Stop it, already! You’ll hurt yourself!

    -Just let me go!

    -NO! Just stay here!... I’m sick of seeing people suffer anymore…

    As if the man froze. His eyes widened, as he just stared at her teared eyes, which shine melt his heart…

    And his body relaxed…

    In the next scene, they were both sitting on the floor again – she on her knees, he on the kotatsu with the blankets covering his legs.

    -I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to create disturb. Thank you for taking care of me.

    -I-it’s okay. I’m happy you are alive. – she looked aside, blushing a bit.

    The man looked her as if with admiration in his eyes.

    -M-my name is Shizuka. Who are you? – she asked.

    The man tried to bow, but the tight bandages restriced him.

    -My name is Ellen. I serve on board of Her Majesty ship, Maria de Victor.

    Krul was about to erupt again, but Sophie just hugged her tightly and covered her mouth in time.

    -What?! Maria de Victor? – they heard how Arufa whispered very quietly. – That’s the ship from this morning, right?!

    -Yes. Now shut up. – bitterly snorted Ayuri.

    -W-what happened? How did you end up like that? – asked Shizuka, about to fidged from her curiousity, that was gnawing her from inside.

    The man lamely moved in his bed.

    -Together with His Grace’s ship, Moriel, we were moving north to Niigara… To support General Aizawa’s flank against the Falkland Army. We left wounded and took fresh supplies at Kiirara before continuing, but got ambushed by enemy squadron at Rayffen’s bay… Moriel got devasted and we got boarded… I was protecting lady Airi from the enemy, when engaged this officer of theirs… I think it was their captain actually… With this face mask, painted in white stripes, like some utter savage and three-stars on her helmet… But instead, she shot me and started bashing me in the head with her warhammer. It all went blank at some point… Seems she threw me overboard too… - he nervously giggled.

    Shizuka eyes widened.

    -W-well, it seem you really had a rough day. – she got up. – Just bear for a little while, I beg. I’ll get you some really nice rice pourige, you’ll forget all your worries! – and she left in the dark.

    In the next scene, they were walking on a small forest road, with grass, bushes and trees made from bright nuances of green and the freshness of the spring...

    -I participated in the great battle of Cape Kizuna three months ago. We stood against the Hiercon there, the flagship of the Great Admiral Keinreich himself… But we couldn’t turn the tide of the battle, as their crews quickly overwhelmed our ships... Then we made repairs for two weeks at Haruna and resupplied, before enganging in supporting actions around Gunma’s coast after the Invasion came… From there on we were assisting Vhinhym’s army against the landings and movements of the Great Commander Ernst at his advance on the Vhynehaim island. You know the rest... – he nervly giggled, scratching delicately his nape.

    Shizuka stared her gaze in front of her, timidly blushing.

    -I-I guess… You mush have participated in many battles then…

    -Y-yes, several, actually. – he stuttered a bit, as if something clenched his heart. – My first battle was at Virrulenn, back in Inden, when Falkland and Violenn where still officially at war. I remember it like yesterday… We participated in another several skirmishes too, before Violenn was defeated and our captain desided not to obey the Crown and continue fighting… After that we got into some corsair action around the Alfven coast, mainly to disrupt enemy merchant shipping… And after Falkland declared war on Vhinhym, we decaded to join your cause and sailed here… You know the rest.

    -I-I see… I-I guess you are r-really lucky. To survive so many battles…

    Something in her voice…

    He looked her concerned.

    As if… her face suddenly saddened, tortured by something fighting in herself. The ends of her lips trembled in an instand and he instantly recognized this expression – she was mustering all her courge to not start to cry…

    He didn’t know what he said, but he knew some of his words bring this upon her. Made her remember something she wanted to forget…

    That’s why he just mumbled:

    -I’m sorry…

    She didn’t respond. She just continued to walk slowly and her gaze was stared at the road before, with that painful grimace on her beautiful face…

    She delicately bit the end of her lip…

    For the next some time, they continued to walk in quiet, with this heavy presence between them, turning the ambience like leaden slime…


    -I had… have a brother, actually. – she began quietly. – Even younger than you… He served in a regiment of colonel Ayanama in general Hizawa’s Second division…

    Ellen’s eyes widened, as he looked her with a heavy hand clenching his heart…

    -…who was defeated at the battle of Sparrowhawk two monts ago… We got no news from him since then…

    Ellen gulped.

    -I…I’m sorry to hear it…

    -HE ACTUALLY SURVIVES AND...!!! – completely expected, Krul raised her voice again, somehow bypassing Sophie’s defense....

    -SERIOUSLY, WILL YOU SHUT UP ALREADY?! – exploded and Vick too.

    -This is a really nice note not to go at movies with her… - remarked Reina.

    -Listen, you little beast, one more word and… - Sophie treatingly grabbed her for the shoulders and kneeled down to her eye level.

    Art just sighed. It seemed it was time he takes control of the situation.

    Kneeling too and gently pushing Sophie aside, he put his hands on her gentle shoulders and hugged her. Whisppering lovely in her ears…

    Nobody heard what he said to her, but they all saw the tremble, that passed through Krul’s body, her posture tightened up and as if she completely froze. Art, still kneeling, got a bit away from her and just smiled with his closed eyes.

    -Good girl. – he whispered and turned her at the scene, hugging her over the chest. – Now watch.

    Arufa looked them amazed with her widened eyes.

    -You-you are amazi… - she tried to say…

    -JUST SHUT UP AND WATCH! – shutted her with her loud whisper Ayuri, really pissed and ready to start beat people around.

    Shizuka wiped the edges of her eyes, turning him her back slightly.

    -Ah, I’m sorry. With all your trouble, I shouldn’t bother you with mine…

    -Don’t worry about it. The times are hard on all of us… - he replied.

    They all felt how he wanted to hug her. But instead, they continued to walk quietly for a bit.

    Ellen was the first one to break the silence this time:

    -This common in wars… for people going missing, then returning safe and sound after a while… Look at me for example. My people think I’m probably dead. And I can’t wait to surprise them, when I return… - he smiled gently.

    Shizuka’s eyes widened a bit.

    -So don’t lose hope. I’m sure he is somewhere safe, being taken good care off. Like you did with me. – he mumbled in the end.

    She looked him, somewhat sad, but forced herself to smile a bit.

    -Thank you for your kind words. It really warmed my heart.

    He smiled…

    But in the next moment, the pain pierced his ribs, as he hold his wound in arm and leaned on the tree…

    -ELLEN! – Shizuka instantly rushed to support him.

    -I… I’m fine… - he mumbled lifelessly.

    -You should have stayed and rest! I feel really bad for going with your mind!

    -D-don’t worry for me. I…

    -Just sit down here, lean on the tree and take deep breaths! I’ll bring you some fresh water! – she quickly pushed him, not even leaving him a chance to resist.


    All in vain, as she was already running towards the small stream.

    Ellen just sighed. Leaned back. And smiled.

    Suddenly, this made him remember his home. His mother. His sisters. The lively house, the green yard and fields. When it was all filled with happiness and life…

    And it really warmed him from inside and gently caressed his heart.

    But the dark thunderclouds quickly overhang above him, just as fast as the shadow approached in the river underwater.

    His soul trembled…

    -SHIZUKA, GET BACK!!! – Ellen yelled, instantly jumping on his feet…

    -W-whaa… - but the girl startled by his shout instead, and her first instinctive reaction was to start turning towards him…

    The wrongest of the moves…

    The beast erupted from the water in enormous splash – his maw bared straight at her head…

    She managed to turn just when it was inches from her face…

    For their mad eyes to meet…

    The loud bang made all of them in the room jump on their feet. The sudden goosebump gently caressed their shoulders, before sending cold shivers down their spines.

    In a static of powerful reverberating echo, that shook the floor, ceiling and columns around, the beast crashed onto the girl, both stumbling on the shore of the river in a mess of bodies and blood…

    -SHIZUKAAA!!! – Ellen rushed after her.

    His heart clenched when she didn’t move too.

    -Shizuka! Shizuka! – he kneeled next to her, taking her in his hug and shaking her.

    She lamely moved and opened her eyes, looking him with a tiredness in them as if she hadn’t slept for days…


    -W-what happened… Why are my ears ringing… - she mumbled.

    Then she turned her head left…

    The beast lifeless face met her just inches from hers…

    -AIIII!!! – she jumped on her bum, trying to move away, but stumbled into Ellen, who was still supporting her. – WHAT IS THIS?!?!

    -Calm down, Shizuka… Everything is fine now. I’ve dealt with it…

    She looked him with panic in her eyes.

    -Y-you m-mean you k-killed i-it-t? – her voice trembled. Then she looked at smoking revolver in his hand…

    Ellen look aside...

    -Y-yeah… I’m so sorry for putting you in danger! I shouldn’t suggested to come here! Just the thought of something happening to you… I could have never forgave myself…

    -D-don’t worry… I’m actually glad you were here with me… and saved me… As i frequently love to stroll around. Couldn’t imagine if I was alone...

    -L-let’s return to the village now! – he got up and returning his revolver into the holster, he took her for the hand, helping her to get up too. – We don’t know what else must be lurking around…

    They both hurried a step.

    Shizuka timidly looked back over her shoulder.

    -H-how did this creature got here? I’ve never heard about anything like this, nether in the village, nor in the whole region!...

    -War brings death and suffering in many forms, Shizuka. And sometimes the death isn’t even the end. Don’t stop.

    Her eyes widened, staring at his back, as Ellen paced up even more.

    Krul didn’t say anything.

    In the next scene, they were sitting on the rocky hill above the sea, with the moon smiling back at them in an illuminating colors of a crystal night. Each star was twinkling and blinking, ready to capture their story for aeons to come.

    -I-I’ve heard… that you are leaving tomorrow… - she began with great sadness in her voice.

    Ellen looked at her. The midnight light reflected in her eyes. She was so beautiful under the moon…

    -I’m departing with Captain Tsukasa’s company in the morning… - a heavy sigh exited his chest. – I don’t know where the action will take us but… i need to return to my ship. Even though I don’t know if they are still around and sound…

    She looked aside. The sorrow on her face on such beautiful background clenched his heart…

    -But your wounds are still healing… Is it wise to march in such condition?… You barely survived once already, why are you pushing your luck… - she quietly added at the end.

    -D-don’t worry for me. I’ll be just fine. I don’t want to overstay your warmful welcomeness… - he forcedly tried to smile.

    -Not that on me! – she suddenly raised her voice, that made him jump on his toes a bit. – Just don’t…

    Ellen looked her surprised for a moment. Then smiled and gently took her hands in his’.

    -I must to go, Shizuka. I have a duty to my Country and my Captain. I can’t let them fight alone, while I’m safe and sound…

    Her eyes teared up. He clenched her hands a bit firmly.

    -I promise, I’ll protect all of you. I won’t let a single enemy reach you. And I’ll find your brother too…


    -…and send him home back to you. I promise…

    -I SAID DON’T!... – she pushed him furiously away. – MY BROTHER IS DEAD! LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE! AND OTHERS SOON BE TOO!...


    -…So just don’t… - her tears poured down her cheeks, as she tried to wipe them up with her sleeves. – Don’t give me false hope… I should have some news from him already… I just know it… He won’t return… And many more… I just… I just… I just want everything to end and no one to suffer anymore… I don’t anyone else more to die… I don’t want you to die…

    His eyes widened…


    She suddenly jumped into his arms, hugging him so tightly, almost took his breath.

    -Please… Don’t go. – she whispered with such voice, that his heart almost stopped.

    He froze for a second. Then gently hugged her back.

    -I’ll find him… I swear in my life…

    She looked him up in the eyes.


    The moon smiled against them.

    -My dear Shizuka…

    Their faces were getting closer and closer…

    With eyes shining in the moonlight and hearts beating like crazy in their chests…

    …as the scene gradually began to blacken out.

    With souls burning hot and their feeling overtaking their minds…

    …before it all went dark.

    “THE END.”

    For quite some time, there was complete silence in the room. As if everybody held their breaths, for they lived that story up so personaly. It stirred up their emotions, threating to turn them wild and uncontrollable, turbulently whirling their imaginations.

    Someone started to sob quietly…

    -Yoshi, yoshi… - Moka gently caressed Sozui’s back.

    Some other exhaled lovely.

    -Aah, that was really nice. – exhaled Rumiho. – I’ve got dreamy…

    -That was really amazing! I’ve felt their emotions as my own! – said and Masaki.

    -What? No more stormy reactions from you? No more exclaiming shouts? That was the end, you know… – Reina looked at them – Art was still delicately hugging Krul.

    She stood silent.

    -You are really amazing! – Arufa looked them with widened eyes. – What did you tell her?!

    -That’s a secret. – Art winked.

    -If you can tame her so easily, why didn’t you do it earlier, you bastard… - snorted Ayuri.

    Art just smiled innocently with his closed eyes.

    Suddenly, all the lights in the room went on again, attracting all their attention to the scene.

    Up there, Akio and some other girl?! went to the edge, with Hifumi too climbing next to them.

    -I hope you really appreciated our special surprise for tonight, my friends! Many of us gave in so many sleepless nights in our best effort!… – began Ayuri’s little sister.

    -YOU WERE REALLY AMAZING! – shouted enthusiastically Avys from below.

    The girls smiled – Hifumi broad and wide, Akio and the other a bit more restrained.

    -Y-yeah, I r-really l-liked it… - suddenly began Krul and everybody turned its attention to her. – I-i just wished it was a little longer… - she mumbled.

    -Ho-ho-ho, have no concerns, our little princess. Since this was just a short trailer of our whole story…

    -A SHORT TRAILER OF THE WHOLE STORY?! – his little sister‘s eyes widened.

    -Of course, of course! You’ll be able watch us play the whole saga in May during the Niigara festival. AND, OF COURSE, YOU ARE ALL WELCOMED!!!

    Her eyes widened even more as she was about to pass out from disbelief…

    Hifumi just smugly smiled.

    -Now, let’s have some loud applause for our main hero and heroine, which already managed to stir up so many hearts!

    Akio and the other girl bowed deeply, as the applause filled the room. After it went quiet, the three of them went off the scene.

    Art just couldn’t take his eyes off Akio… She was utterly stunning. And the other girl, although being in man cloths… He couldn’t express it with mere words.

    Hifumi half turned at her, delicately gesturing with hands.

    -This, my friends, is Domono Miku from our Reenacment club. The more peaceful branch of it, hehe. – she introduced her to them. – She plays our dear Ellen in the upcoming saga.

    The girl gracefully bowed before them.

    -I hope you liked it. I’m looking forwards to seeing all of you at the festival.

    -Y-you were really amazing, big sis! These expressions, where he wakes up in Shizuka’s house!... That’s exactly how I’ve imagined it! – Krul started once again to jump enthusiastically on her toes.

    -He-he, thank you…

    -And you, big sis Akio, too! That junihitoe was exactly how I was imagining Shizuka! And your emotions at the end… I was so completely engulfed! And the moment when you… And… And!...

    -She really likes this saga, hm… - whispered to him Raon.

    -Don’t even start… It’s like Sophie’s with her Falkland period… - he replied back.

    Raon just silently raised her eyebrows, smiling with the edges of her mouth.

    -Thank you, Krul. We’ll gladly have you to watch all of it in May. – said Akio.

    -Can’t wait, can’t wait!!!

    -Yeah, me too. – said Sophie, crossing arms below her chest and the rest turned to her. – Considering you went through the effort to go to such extent for the details as using autethentic Violenn Navy weapons for Ellen, I can’t imagine the rest of it…

    -He-he, thank you, senpai… - Hifumi delicately scratched her nape. – We are really giving our best.

    -Yeah… Damn, that’s a 1832 model Reichtrisch Violenn Navy patter revolver. I’ve never had the opportunity to see one upclose… - she tilted her head a bit, trying to take a better look.

    -I’ve heard you are a really big buff on the Falkland period, senpai! – Domono smiled and unholstered the gun, handing it to her.

    -Lol, can I really see it? – she was a tad bit surprised.

    -Sure, sure, no problem, senpai. – Domono smiled.

    -Damn, such a fine pistol… - she said while reaching for it. – HOLY SHIT! THAT’S NOT A PROP?! IT’S A REAL MODEL!!! – her eyes suddenly widened, when she took it.

    Domono just smiled.

    -I-it’s an Urberti replica. Maru was kind enough to let us borrow it from him.

    -So fucking nice… - she turned it upside down, looking at the delicately stamped brand name below the barrel in a way it doesn’t disrupted its historical authentic view. – You even put blank rounds in it… You are really amazing…


    -Damn, they even put the green luminescent sights… - she cocked it and delicately aimed over the empty space above the scene. – Guess what revolver I’m buying next, bro…

    -But you’ve already spent all your money on that ridiculous London Drake…

    -I don’t care… - she delicately returned the hammer with her finger, fully knowing it wasn’t good to bang it empty. – I’ll kill the old man and take all his fortune. Damn, I would kill even you for this piece…

    -You are so funny, Soph… - he replied aridly.

    -Damn, I got dreamy again… We should really have a nice Falkland period shootout next time for our club game…

    -Oh god, here she goes again… - sighed Avys, holding her face in a palm…

    -What? A shootout game?! – Rio’s eyes widened.

    -Oooh, count me in for that, senpai! – Arufa exclaimed enthusiastically.

    -That sounds really interesting, Sophie! I can’t wait! – Hifumi was no less exhalted, but for completely other obvious reasons.

    -I can imagine how brutal this will be even without the effects… - replied Nym.

    -You guys don’t know what you are signing up for… - Vick sighed too.

    -It’s not a bad idea, but how are you gonna arm everybody? – asked Hion. – Our club doesn’t have any more firearms than this and only a handful of people here have ever held one, yet alone knowing how to shoot… - she nodded at Domono.

    -Look, that’s not really the biggest problem here, trust me. Especially with finding the rifles… - began Avys, as if a bit annoyed. – After all, Mio and Ann managed to start hitting stuff in less than an hour yesterday…

    -Excuse me? They WHAT?! – Chisaki’s eyes goggled against her.

    -Hitting stuff?... – Hion frowned, looking her very suspiciously.

    Sophie just sighed.

    -Yeah. – said Avys. – We went to the nearby forest yesterday and shoot for a bit. It was very fun.

    “Yeah. Especially the part after THAT…” – Art grimly thought.

    He sensed how Reina’s gaze stared more intensily into him…

    “Shit! Careful, careful…”

    Most of the people looked them stupefied, as if refusing to believe what they’ve just heard. Gasping loudly against them and their eyes widening in amazent, it clearly radiated how their view of them instantly changed to one, filled with awe and veneration.

    All this attention made Mio shrunk down a bit, hidind timidly behind Nym, but Ann just proudly raised her chin and smugged, crossing arms below her puffed chest.

    -YOU WENT TO SHOOT?! – suddenly exploded Arufa and her eyes fired stars in childish enthusiasm.


    -You know how to shoot?! That’s soo cool, senpai! – Arai almost jumped at Mio.

    -You should be more careful with her now, knowing that fact. – Reina looked him with the edge of her eyes.

    Arai gulped, turning at Mio, suddenly getting startled by the realization of this fact.

    -Can you teach me too?! – Arufa grabbed Sophie for the shoulders. – I’LL PAY! TELL HOW MUCH!

    His cousin frowned.

    -Fuck off, girl. – she smacked her hands away with her free one, while with the other was still checking the various parts of the revolver.

    -Whaaa… - Arufa was totally shocked by the total turn off.

    -What happened with “everybody should have rifle and shoot more”? – casually asked Art.

    -Fuck off too…

    Aiv just rolled over her eyes.

    -Look, all of you are missing the main point… If you are really so enthusiastic to have a rifle shooting match with them, just start to think how to make sure these never end up on the same team. If you don’t want the game to have the exact same outcome as today, lol…

    The rest’s eyes widened a bit.

    -But that can’t be too bad, right! After all, we won! And we can always use the two princesses trick! – cheered Masami.

    Several of the girls and boys joyfully giggled.

    -Laugh now, and laugh more, but I’ll see you how funny and enthusiastic you’ll be, when you start dropping death like beaten goblins one after another from sudden hits 300 yards away out of the blue with no option for you to hit anything back at that distance… It will surely be hilarious, but not for you…

    -What, 300 yards away? – Arufa eyes widened in astonishment.

    -That’s why I refuse to play this game mode with them. It’s just not fair… - Vick was unmoved.

    Most of the others looked them in stupor.

    -I don’t want to hear fairness stuff from you… - Sophie said aridly.

    -You cheat more…

    -You mean both of them are really good shooters? – Rio frowned a bit, looking at Art.

    Well, it wasn’t really far from mind, maybe, that if Sophie was a good shooter, Art will be too, or at least know how to shoot, since they were spending so much time together. It was supposed their hobbies to intertwined, at least a bit in some aspect.

    -Both? No. I meant they. The three of them.

    And she pointed at Krul.

    As all the stunned gazes stared at his little sister and the sudden exclaims broke the ambient silence, she timidly hid behind him.

    -WHAT?! SHE CAN SHOOT TO?! – Arufa was utterly amazed.

    -You won’t believe it... – replied Aiv, shaking with head.

    The people around them murmured as their eyes widened even more. Krul looked them delicately from behind him, trying her hardest to maintain her neutral face.

    -Geez, you had to go on and spoil all the potential fun we could have, didn’t you? – Sophie snorted annoyed.

    -Y-yeah. T-thanks, s-sis… - Krul pouted a bit.

    -I knew it! You just wanted to put another massacre on us! You don’t care about a good game, having fun or such stuff! – pointed her Chisaki. – You just want to shred us again like today!... I won’t play ever against you even if you give me money!

    -But it was nice when you were on their team, hm… - sighed Ayuri.

    -Tss, what a snowflake… - snorted and Sophie.

    Rio just looked their faces consequently for a moment. It wasn’t really difficult to catch her thought process…


    -Oh, c’mon, don’t you see they are just joking! – she suddenly fired up and her gaze landed on the still half-hidden behind him Krul. – There is no way that’s true, you saw how big that rifle is! She probably couldn’t even hold it! All they want is to just lay the foundations for their next big hoax and finish us off after today! Didn’t you learn by now they love to take us for a cannon fodder?!

    Several of the girls looked at the sisters, their eyes widened a bit, as if in awe.

    Then Aiv suddenly smiled charmingly, tilting her head a bit.

    -Of course! I was just joking! She and big bro are harmless!

    -See! I knew it! – caught Rio right away.

    -Ah, that’s nice! You really scared me in the first moment! – Sozui sighed in relief.

    Some of the others followed her reaction, filling the ballroom with pleasant moans. But quite a few people weren’t so much convinced…

    -Is she always that stupid? – whispered Vick to Ayuri, so the others didn’t hear her.

    -Lol, trust me, she is not even trying now…

    -Lol, I’m scared to see her at her best…

    -What a despicable liar you’ve become, you little devil. – said and Sophie so quietly, that only her sister and Art understood her. – Agitating them, then giving them false hopes… So evil…

    Aiv smiled, seemingly charmful, but from the periphery her face just took a shape of wicked devil.

    -Ah, what a pity. That would have been a sight. Such a delicate girl, holding that big musket. I guess next week will be very interesting, hm? – joined and Raon and there was that mysterious melodious in her voice, almost mistaking her for Ayuri.

    Krul just looked her in the eyes, her face didn’t even flinch.

    -C’mon, let’s just stop talking about shooting already… When people start doing it in the last few days, things didn’t actually end well… - intervened Vick, somewhat annoyed.

    Most of the others looked her surprised. Of course, they didn’t know about the extra event, that started with a simple “Let’s go shoot outside” (what could go wrong?), so it was trimming the full extent of her words for the others to the point for them being able to see only the one side of the prism.

    -Oh, you mean that Sekba stuff? – began Rio. – BUT THAT WAS GREAT! SHE SHOULD HAVE STABBED HIM AND IN THE HEAD TOO, IF YOU ASK ME!!!

    Ayuri just sighed deeply.

    -Well, as reluctant I’m to say it, I happen to agree with her here… - added Reina. – Those cunts deserve a cold hole deep in the ground…

    -Did you really stabbed him?! You didn’t put some illusion or stuff, do you?... – Chisaki’s eyes narrowed.

    -Yeah. – simply said Sophie so unmoved, that was going to stop even time.

    Art and Krul glanced at her with their neutral gazes…

    -THAT WAS EPIC! – suddenly exclaimed Chisaki.

    -Yeah. Too bad they had a magician with her too… - said Reina and lifted her glass, really giving them the mood there was some alchohol in it.

    -You mean the girl from his group? – asked Art.

    -Yeah! She is Mayami Tenma, but everybody calls her Mei for some reason. She, Reina and Rimu are the only magicians in our school! – jumped on her toes Rumiho.

    -Not anymoree… - Ayuri looked at Sophie, Art and their sisters, who neutraly returned to her gaze.

    -I mean, she is a really nice and good girl, I have no idea why she hangs up with such scum!

    -Well, just hope your head never gets swayed so much you get out of sense and reason like that… - sighed Noel. – C’mon, let’s stop talking about wounds and battles on such night. This was supposed to be my off time…

    -Ah, sorry, sensei! – once again Ren apologeticly folded her hands before her.

    -She is right! – cheered up Raon and turned at Ayuri’s sister. – C’mon Hifu, start the music!!!

    -Right away! – her posture tightened up. – What would you like, sensei?!

    -Just something loud and noisy, please. Can’t stand the ambient silence…

    -I’ve got the right thing for you! – and she ran to the set at the end of the stage.

    Sophie returned the revolver to miss Domono.

    -Thank you for letting me see it. It’s really nice.

    -Ah, no problem, senpai. I can ask Maru to let you shoot it at the range sometime, if you want.

    -I would really appreciate it. And if you ever need help with the play, I’ll be glad to help. We can even use my Тirailleur for Kyuulai… I’m ready to bet you don’t have a real one…

    -WHAT, A REAL TIRAILLEUR?! – miss Domono’s eyes widened a bit.

    -Yeah. I summoned it earlier, but you missed it, since you were busy with other cool stuff. And I’m honestly beaten today, so I’ll probably pass out if I try to call it now. So, let’s say, I can show it this Monday. – she gently caressed her medallion.

    -Oh, I would be really glad to see it, senpai! – jumped on her toes miss Domono.

    Seconds later, the speakers exploded in a turbulent whirl of instruments, that made everything around tremble.

    -OMGG, IS THAT A NETWORK OF WONDER?!... YOU’VE SURELY GOT TASTE, GIRL! I LIKE YOU! – from all the unexpected people, Krul suddenly erupted and grabbing Avys’ hand, she rushed at the empty space before the tables, surprising them even more (well, all expect Sophie, Vick and Art…) when she entangled her in a moves, that would make even a professional dancer sweat in attempt to follow them.

    -Ho-ho, not bad, sis. You are a true daughter of mother, I fully acknowledge you now. – Ayuri nodded with satisfaction.

    -W-what is t-this… - Rio frowned, as if her ears were gonna start to bleed every second now…

    -This is real music, girl. – said Noel and they saw how her posture straightened a bit. – C’mon, Rumi. I know you how much you like them.

    The girl charmingly smiled and grabbing Noel’s hand, she dragged her to the dancing space, where more and more people began filling in.

    -C’mon, let’s go too! – Ren took Ann and Mio under arms.

    -Is that’s your sister’s favorite group? My little sister, Hina also adores them. – asked them Raon.

    -Just don’t ask… - sighed Vick, as if annoyed. – There are times in home when we only listen them, or Leprechaun or Crimson… For whole freaking days, just the same and the same song over and over again, when she finds a new one, that trigger her happy strings…

    -I won’t even be mad. The girl have taste. – said Hion.

    Vick looked her for a second.

    -Well… Even I won’t deny that... C’mon, bro. Should we go too?

    -Why not… Let me just take off my jacket...

    -I can’t believe you agreed so easily… You coming, sis?

    -In a while... After I deal with the starving first… - she sighed. Then suddenly: - HEY, MEL!!! – it made all around her jump in their feet.

    -HAI! – by some reason the girl looked her startled, taughening like a string.

    But instead, Sophie grabbed her gently for the hand and led her at the tables.

    -I need your help. Since you made the most of it, help me choose the best…

    -Wha… B-but you helped a lot too!…

    -Focus, girl. Don’t distract yourself. This is a very daunting task.

    Mel just sighed slightly. Art smiled, as he was putting his jacket on the chair’s backrest and the warmth, that engulfed him from inside, elevate him to a headstart, before Vick dragged him to the others at the scene.

    Sophie and Mel stopped to one of the tables, full with various colorful, diligently arranged and eye-pleasuring plates.


    -Right… - Mel sighed, then leaned delicately over the table. – This is smoked salmon, cucumber, mizuna leaves and lemon zest. – she delicately nodded at it.

    -Nice. Let me take two of these… How about these? They look nice too. Like all of them, lol…

    -These are pesto, artichoke and havarti…

    -Oh, that sounds really fancy. You really went all in at that!

    -But also you helped a lot too… - she sighed again.

    -I only cut stuff. You can’t consider that a real help…

    -You won’t believe how much of the work that actually is…

    -Right… How about these ones? They look cute…

    -These are maple bourbon fried chicken waffl…

    -No fried stuff.

    Mel stared at her for a moment. Then as if made a peace with her inner self.

    -Sure… - she sighed. – How about some egg-mayo then?

    -No. Not mayo too…

    -But it’s home made!

    Sophie looked her, as if judgingly for a moment.

    -Alright. But just one small! Out of respect for you effort!

    -It was you, who whisked it so vigorously…

    -What’s this?

    -Panini with mozzarella, tomato and zucchini…

    -Ah, sorry. I hate zucchini…

    -You are quite a picky eater, aren’t you? – her eyes narrowed a bit against her.

    -Well, I’m a bit of a gluttony, so I need to take care of my figure in some way or another…

    -Damn, and you’ve done hell of a good job at that…

    -Thank you, girl, my first passionate kiss will be for you…

    -You can skip that… But should try the beef with the balsamic shallot…

    -Oooh, nice. I love you more now.

    -Do you really not remember anything you help me prepare?

    -Sorry. I was really half-sleeping then. The night was shit…

    -Yeah, I got quite the idea about that too…

    Both of them laughed. If Art or Nym where around, that was probably going to surprise them to some extent.

    -C’mon. Have some too.

    -Whaa? B-but…

    -C’mon, make me a company. You know how they say the shared food taste better…

    Mel just timidly rubbed her palms. But in the end complied and took a plate.

    Sophie got her first bite with the refinement of a Falklan Princess.

    -You are incredible. – she said. – Where did you learn to cook such way?

    Mel looked slightly away, blushing a bit. Was the bashfulness really contagious tonight?

    -M-mom and grandmom. But they are so much better than me…

    Sophie’s eyes widened a bit.

    -Oh god... I won’t be able to sleep at night now, wanting to try their cooking.

    Mel gulped her bite, her gaze still wandering aside.

    -T-they’ll be glad too, to cook you something…

    What? Did her voice just trembled? What was that? As if a sudden nuance of sorrow passed through her face…


    That suddenly made her really uneasy…

    But by some reason instead, Sophie focused her mind.

    She saw instantly how the talisman on Mel’s neck, under her blouse, trembled…

    “OH SHIT!!!...”

    She back away immediately…

    Mel didn’t react at all, as if making herself she didn’t notice…

    Instead, her face was even more sad now.

    “Damn it… I should really go to sleep before start doing more and more stupid things…” – she thought.

    -By some reason I got the vibe you learned all alone… - Sophie said.

    As if Mel jumped startled, like something took her out of her trance and she sharply looked at her. Her face turned normal all of a sudden.

    -Why’s that?

    -Can’t really tell… You just gave me this mood.

    -I see. – she, with no less sophistication and finess, took another sandwich bite. – Pff, I guess a bit more basil wasn’t going to hurt…

    -More basil? But it’s reall nice, can’t imagine how it’s gonna be any more good…

    -It’s because of the tomato. It’s a bit more acidic and thick, considering the season and it is duling to some extent the sweetness and savoryness of the basil... Damn, and I tried it two times before hand…

    Sophie looked her as if with admiration.

    -Damn. It seems your palate is so much more sophisticated than mine… I guess people being critical to themselves is always a straight path for self-improvement…

    -Yeah, I guess that’s something, people say too…

    -People usually really like to say much stuff, most of which is stupid…

    They both laughed.

    -This artichoke is incredible, by the way. Don’t know how you cooked it, but I’ve aways hated it.

    -It’s freshness and that from the pesto combines really well with the butterness of the havarti. Really, that’s the best cheese for melting, if you ask me…

    -I fully willing to agree with you here… Oh, that’s Stratosphere! – she left the plate. – C’mon, girl. That’s much more finer tempo. I’ll lead.

    -Whaa? B-but I’m here as part of the Support club, not to have fun…

    -Enough bullshit. You deserve to have most fun from all of us. And if you don’t dance with me, I won’t have fun, so that counts as going against your club’s task, right?

    Mel just looked her with the eyes of a person, who admitted utter defeat.

    And took her hand without any more resistance.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
  4. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

    May 7, 2018
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    -Ahhhh, bro, I’m BEAT! – with a loud puff, Vick leaned on the chair’s backrest, making her forms fill the yellow dress to the brim. – I can’t anymore!...

    Art stopped behind her, looking thoroughly her back.

    “For that age, her body can really start making one excited…” – he judgingly thought, somewhat with satisfaction and pride from the fact that he belonged to the same bloodline.

    “I should start upgrading my magic repertoire to be ready, once she starts bringing boyfriends back home…”

    Just the sheer thought of that made him build up steam inside…

    “There must be some quite nice ones out there, that burn people very slowly and painfully…”

    Reina and Hion, who were standing close by at the table turned, gazing them at least with a trickle bit of curiosity.

    -Are you tired already? After all the show you put today, I was expecting more from you, girl. I’m dissappointed… - began the Vice Prez.

    Art look at them. Hion was sitting backwards on the chair, with elbow leaning on the backrest and hand supporting her chin, and a face as if she was bored to death by all this formality and brilliance. With the short edges of her kimono delicately slid away, leaving the beauty of her soft thighs alluringly exposed…


    Reina just pierced him with one of her cold stares, that made him gulp his heart down his boots… At different circumstances he was really going to be more curious… but with not her around.

    He swore, he really just wanted to compare them with those of Sophie’s, and nothing else!… Had no intention to do it with any other girls at all!…

    -That’s what she gets for always eating sweets and skipping the exercise…

    The sudden coarse voice behind made all of them turn. Krul approached them casually, stopping next to her big brother.

    She hadn’t even broken a sweat.

    Aiv was following behind, puffing like a steam engine.

    Vick just glanced over her shoulder, frowning at her sister.

    -Mind your own business, would you. – her bitterness was so dense, they felt it in their own mouths, clearly tasting her desire how she just wanted to spit at her legs. – I’m not some maniacal freak like you…

    -Well, I guess I’ll enjoy the magic school alone better then… - she reached for the chocolate gateau on the table, nailing it in one delicate, courteous bite. – It will be really nice to take a break from you…

    Vick just snorted, looking her under her eyebrows and frowning more, too took a bite of the kuezahashi.

    -I’ll do it with no problem… I’ll even score higher than you… - she mumbled, bitting the ends of her lips, with her grimace distorting into one burning with true desire and determination…

    -So, you are coming to run with us tomorrow morning, then? – they’ve heard Sophie’s voice behind them too.

    Mel was following her, slightly out of breath.

    Vick just screeched with her teeth, clenching her fists to tremble.

    -What, what? You are going to a magic school?! When and where?! – Raon suddenly popped behind them too, bringing Iki along with her.

    -A magic school?! That sooounds sooo coool!!! – Rumiho followed them, still dragging the Doc around.

    -You are pulling too much… - Noel complained.

    Using the reduced tempo of Hifumi’s music she gave them for a short break, many of the others decided also to take a quick breath and started filling their group bit by bit.

    -Probably “Fiorarenza Ryosenwarren or “Leonard von Rischtssé. I don’t intend to travel outside Dakata just for some stupid education. I’ve had enough of this… - Krul crossed her hands below her chest, puffing it up a bit with proudness, peeking at them with one eye closed.

    -I’ve heard a word or two about the Ryosenwarren academy. – began doc Noel, while filling her glass with cherry juice. – They say around forty students fight for one vacant position…


    -That sounds really serious! – several of the girls exclaimed.

    -Of course. It’s the best Junior and High Magic school in Falkland. – replied Sophie non-chalantly. – Most of the best mages in the world are its graduates…

    -Grandma Dal also studied there! She taught mom and big sis Kae all about magic! – Vick enthusiastically jumped on her feet. – And us, of course, too!

    -Your grandmom must be a real badass then… - said Reina, somewhat aridly.

    Sophie looked her with the edge of her eyes.

    -She could take me, mom, big bro, Soph and big sis Kae all at once without even breaking a sweat… - sighed Krul, rolling her eyes. – It always ruins my confidence. So morale crushing…

    Most of the others goggled their amazed eyes at her.

    -Now that sounds really impressive. – said Raon.

    -I can’t even start to imagine how much power that must be… - said Noel.

    -To a degree I’m fully glad I’m 2000 miles away from her and I won’t duel her in the near future… - Sophie too reached for the cherry juice. – Really puts a weight off my chest.

    Rio frowned slightly at his cousin remark, delicately staring at her lavish bosom.

    -How do you get in a magic school in the first place? – she asked and several of the girls turned at her. – By your words, you made it sound like its something close to impossible…

    -Well, it depends on the academy actually, but most of them usually follow the same pattern… – began Sophie, taking a big gulp from her glass. – A score systems, like the other normal schools. But the tests they put you through are much more and takes place for several days…

    First you have 4 exams on objects – Math, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Then, a Physical Fitness Standards – different distance runs, jumps, sit-ups, push-ups and various other tests for agility, dexterity and strength… After that you go through a thorough medical examination – to check if your heart or lungs have some troubles, hormone balance deviations, blood tests and such. And finally, basic magic exams – Ganzfeld experiment, Roschscot, Hellferr probability distribution test and basic magic casting and chanting. And, like in the other schools, the more points you gather, up you are in the lists.

    -Ganzfeld and Hellferr experiments?! I’ve never heard of these before! – exclaimed Rumiho.

    -Ganzfeld is a basic magic susceptibility test. – started Reina. – They put you in a room, chain you on a chair and isolate your vision and hearing. Then, using a transmitter – a real mage or programmed automatic enchanter, irradiate you with a random vision or a scene for 10-15 minutes. Your job is to continuously share your thoughts and describe what you see, as they’ll instruct you. The more correct detail you can get on, the more points for you. – she finished.

    -Excelent explained. – said Sophie.


    -That sounds really scary for me! – exclaimed Sozui.

    -But isn’t it unfair for persons, who’ve never dealth with magic before? – Rio’s eyes narrowed.

    -Just make a parallel as if you are submitting to an ordinary school – the more you are prepared for a given subject, the better your chances for a good score are. – began Sophie. – And since you are fighting for a place in a magical academy, it is common sense, and in your interest, to start preparing on the magic subject before hand too. Since everybody can become magician and the basics on the subject are not that much difficult to grasp, than example from undergoing some good physical preparation course or a building a solid foundations in math.

    -Fair point. – Reina nodded delicately with her head too.

    -Really?! Everybody can become magician?! – exclaimed Sozui and her eyes shone with stars.

    -Of course. The only thing you inherit from your parents are your genetics and usually how early you can randomly manifest magic power. But being born with both parents great magicians, doesn’t automatically makes you incredible at magic too. You’ll need to workout and workout hard at that. It just like with the other sports and many of the other subjects. No work will not beat talent, talent only will not beat hard work, and talent and hard work together usually beat hard work and no talent. It usually works like that, if you don’t have some rare genetic deviations. Pretty straight forward, if you are motivated, decided to work hard and, of course, have the right knowledge or someone with it willing to teach it to you.

    The other girls looked her as if with admiration and veneration.

    -Yeah, that’s usually how our world works. – Noel crossed her hands below her chest. – It’s really only in your benefit that you have grasped this concept from such an early age.

    Nym glanced at the doc, then at Sophie.

    -What about the other ones? – she asked.

    -Roschscot is basically a mind reading experiment… - began Sophie.

    Suddenly, both Iki and Chisaki looked at him with unease. Something that wasn’t missed by the others.

    Sophie’s eyes narrowed against him. Then:

    -Oi, what did you do to them, you bastard?!

    -First, nothing, second, it’s not your business… - he replied unmoved. – Don’t try to read my mind, will ya?!... OVA!!!

    The sudden flash expoded between them and Sophie staggered back, slamming slightly onto Mel, startling all around her. Krul instantly moved to support her, looking him with her furious gaze, while pouting and frowning…

    Art avoided it… Only to fell under Reina’s stony gaze.

    -I did nothing, I said… - he looked aside again, pouting a bit too.

    Sophie just sighed.

    -Whatever… It’s you, who’ll get swarmed by a wave of bad energy…

    -Aaaaii, not that scary stuff again!!! – Vick suddenly crossed her fingers. Then grabbed Sophie for the other hand. – Let’s go dance, sis!!!

    -What… but you said you can’t anymore and the tempo now really isn’t suitable for anything… - she tried to resist somehow…

    -It’s fine, it’s fine! – Vick began to drag her to the podium. – Big sis Hifu got our backs! Right, big sis Hifu?!

    -Of course, on my away! – she confirmed and ran to the set at the end of the scene again.

    The music changed the tone up. But just by a tiny bit, perfectly enough.

    -Oooh, that’s Golden Smile! Let’s go big sis! – Aiv randomly grabbed Mel and before she could react in any way, dragged her to the scene too.

    Suddenly, he felt all the girls’ eyes landing on him. As if in an instant they turned rapturous vultures in excitement for their next prey. He felt so heavy and uneasy, that felt like the ceiling started to crush him.

    But as the girls were secretly glancing between each other, like measuring each other abilites in preparation to jump start him, Krul overtook them all by moving before him.

    -Back off, big sis’! – she firmly said, proudly puffing her delicate chest and threatingly lifting her hand before her.

    Art felt the chill her body suddenly emitted. Then, as her eyes filled with flames and her face turned adamand, she sternly said:

    -The first balade dance with big bro is for me!

    “What?! So that’s was all this about?!”

    He heard the many regretful sighs and exhales, as Krul turned towards him, timidly offering her hand.

    She was blushing.

    He took her without hesitation.

    He danced with her.

    Over the slow, beautiful notes of the classical balades of the Golden Smile, Network of Wonder and Stratospehere that distorted their reality and shrank the world to just the two of them…

    How he confidently led her and she timidly followed his steps, bashing and blushing at his charming face and smile.

    He danced with her…

    And he danced with Rumi. And Sophie…

    With Vick and Aiv.

    And with Moka. With Raon and Mio.

    With Ann. Ren. Nym. Mel. Rio. Ayuri. Arufa. Chisaki. Hifumi. Suu. Sozui. Yudachi. Faiye. Emiko…

    And even with the doc… and Akio… and Iki.

    He danced with Reina…

    It completely consumed his mind, making him forget troubles and distress, as it brought down his focus just to their beautiful eyes. All the negativity, the premises and bad things that happened lately… He forgot all of it.

    The bashful and timid Iki… The confident Nym. The cheerful Rumi. The smiling Sozui… Radiant Raon. The dominating Reina. The brilliant Noel.

    All of them had some unique style. And all of them have left a mark in his heart tonight…

    So much, that at the end, he was left out of breath. The tiredness from the dynamic game today, lack of sleep, slight anemia and the events from yesterday took their toll…

    -Aaah, I’m beat! I guess I’ll take a short break. – he exclaimed. The suit suddenly felt so much tighter, he wanted to rip it off…

    -Right! Thank you for the wonderful dance, senpai! – Masami charmfully smiled, gracefully bowing deeply.

    -I feel the same. Thank you. – he bowed too.

    At the tables, he met Hion and Sophie, who followed his approach. The Prez was still sitting on her chair, although this time normally, hands crossed below her chest and face still looking bored to death.

    -What’s wrong? Not enjoying at all? – he casually asked, while filling a glass with apple juice.

    -Just a rough week. Partially thanks to certain people… - replied Hion non-chalantly.

    Art looked at Sophie and in return she stared back at him, both clearly thinking it was the other’s fault.

    -Forget it, anyways… I just like to enjoy my off time like this… Quietly… Relaxing… No extra movements…

    -I utterly support this method. That’s the only correct way of doing it. – suddenly supported her Sophie.

    Art just looked her bluntly. Then the slight turmoil behind them, attracted their attention…

    -Don’t! That crazy bitch will electrocute you again!

    -I don’t care! Leave me!

    When they turned, Arai confidently stopped before them, tightly followed on his tracks by the nervous Nishi and Sozui.

    But once his eyes met with Sophie’s, as if a massive shiver ran through his body, making his posture tighten and straighten up. Art saw the ultimate effort Arai went through for his face not to distort, as his lips trembled and his eyes filled with a nuance of terror.

    Then, he gulped loudly and bowing deeply, shoot high and clear:

    -Please, senpai! Have a dance with me!

    Art saw how Sophie’s body twitched a bit. As if she really all of a sudden wanted to incenerate him in place and took her an incredible amount of sheer will to control herself. But didn’t move and remained quiet.

    After a few seconds, Arai rose a bit, looking her cautiously in her eyes. Sophie was staring at him with her stony, lifeless, cold glare…

    Then all of a sudden, her face turned into a demonic grimace, as she sharply raised her left hand against him…


    -AAH, PLEASE NO!!! – Arai panically rose his hands before him, turning head aside in defence.

    Nishi and Sozui instantly stepped back, with faces utterly terrified.

    But this time Art didn’t react.

    Because nothing happened.

    For several seconds, the boy stood frozen, with closed eyes and hands before him, as if they were going to protect him. They could hear his hard, loud heartbeat even from here…

    Then, he cautiously opened his eyes, looking her delicately behind his still raised hands, with a gaze stupefied and terrified.

    Sophie just sighed, blinking for a long as her body relaxed.

    And went to him.

    -You are really lucky that I’m in a good mood today, my kouhai. – she took his still raised hand and dragged him to the scene.

    -W-wha? – Arai was still totally astonished and stunned.

    Hion, Nishi and Sozu looked at him in question, with Art just shrugging delicately.

    Sophie stopped a few meters away from them, turning Arai at her.

    -Now, pay attention, I won’t repeat… Don’t dare to clench my leading hand too much… And put your other on my shoulder. Look me directly in the eyes. If your hand move just one inch downwards or your eyes, I’ll electrocute you for real this time. But with the military grade electric spell...

    Arai gulped loudly.

    -Are you a good dancer, kouhai? – she asked, starting to lead him around.

    -Y-yes, senpai!

    -Nice. Because if you step on me, I’ll kick you in the knee. Then break it…

    -R-right… but I’ll appreciate it i-if you don’t do it too, s-senpai…

    -Be a man! Don’t complain!

    -Ri-ight!!! – he tightened up even more.

    Art just smiled and giggled at this scene. There was something clearly wrong with her today. That was warming his heart.

    -What’s so funny? – asked him Hion. – How bad of a dancer she is?

    -Nothing. Just nothing. – he smiled. Then turned at her. – C’mon, president Hio. Give me a dance too. – he offered his hand.

    -No? I said I’m relaxing?

    -Just one song. Looking you sitting here, all alone in the night really saddens my heart.

    -Why so poetic suddenly? Blah, gross… - she frowned a bit.

    -I though girls like poetry? Seems like a family trait in your tree. – he glanced at Akio at the scene.

    -You just won’t give up, won’t you… What if I continue to refuse?

    -I’ll just grab you for the waist and lift you like the other day…

    -L-like the other d-day?! – Sozui stuttered, blushing a bit.

    Hion just sighed deeply. He really didn’t leave her a choice.

    In the end, he danced with her too.

    After the song, he gave Hion and to the others.

    Boys, girls, there was no shortage of volunteers, who wanted an unforgivable dance with their beloved, beautiful Prez under the gentle tones of this magical night.

    He couldn’t resist, but stay for a bit, watching with admiration and veneration her fluid, elegant moves, capable of captivating and enchanting every male heart. It was really warming his chest with nuances, he never experienced before…

    After a while, he returned at the tables to finish his such desired break.

    There was no one around this time, so he found some random cozy place and filled another glass of apple juice.

    Having it all in almost one go.

    -Ah, so refreshing… – the glass clung back on the table. He felt the life coming back to him again, as if a cold wave started to crawl over his body… – I can gulp a gallon of it…

    His mind began to roam somewhere…


    The sudden voice got him shivers. As if an invisible hand grabbed his wandering spirit and put it back in his body with crude efficiency...

    He turned.

    Before him stood Rio in her elegant golden dress, brilliant and glamorous like the sun. Her neutral face strangely reminded him that of the Prez…

    -Yo. Finally got tired? – he casually asked.

    -You can say so. The day was quite dynamic… - she crossed her hands below her chest, glancing at the scene.

    “Well, everybody had it rough in some way or another…” – he thought, clearly weighting it against the yesterday’s events.

    -Yeah. Quite dynamic and though… - he said. – Want something to drink?

    -S-sure. Any orange left?

    -Yes. Right away. – he turned at the table and filled her a good glass almost to the brim. – Here.

    -T-thanks. – she stuttered a bit and took it.

    Then halfed it in one take too.

    After she left her drink on the table, Rio turned at the scene, getting so close to him, that he felt the warmth her body was radiating. The kind a person just wanted to embrace…

    -So, who is she? – she suddenly asked.


    -Your girlfriend.

    Art almost choked.

    Feeling how his body was getting unusually hot, he sharply looked at her.

    Rio continued to stare ahead, as if remaining blind for his reaction. But her slightly blushed cheeks gave it all out.

    He turned ahead again, clearing his throat by coughing delicately.

    -I told you. She is not my girlfriend. – he firmly affirmed.

    -She? So you have a person in mind? – Rio glanced at him with the edge of her eyes.

    Art sighed.

    -Weell, you can say so… Although, it was entirely she who was pushing the things… By some bizarre reason she became really interested in me during the last semester… Despite knowing each other for years… Suddenly starting to chat with me even more. Random texts about random topics until late in the night. Inviting me to hang out with her more often… Well, given her a bit more time and how aggressive she was, she was probably going to succeed, I guess… If I hadn’t came here… So I guess this came as a nice break for me. – he giggled nervously, scratching his nape delicately.

    As if Rio blushed even more.

    -I see… Do you have… a picture of her? – she timidly asked.

    Her bashfulness reminded him so much of Iki’s…

    He put out his phone and quickly went into her Eldenfan profile.

    -Her name is Lieselonne Volmt Levtzmout. She is my senpai from the modern branch of our Reenactment club. Her main interest is military aviation and aviation history, and, believe it or not, she can fly real planes already. Her dream is to become a hypersonic liner pilot one day. She even wanted to take me on a tour over the Restsou sea in a two-seater…

    -Woow, that’s really incredible… And she is so beautiful… Damn, you are such a moron, senpai.

    Art swiftly pulled back his phone.

    -Oi, I didn’t show it to you to criticize my life choices, you know!… - he shot back.

    -Showing her what, to criticize you? Not something indecent, I guess? – they suddenly heard Reina’s voice before them.

    Art sharply looked up.

    Mel was with her…

    “Oh, shit…”

    -N-nothing, just…

    -Art was just showing me his girlfriend…

    With a loud slam in his chest, as if his heart stopped in that moment.

    He saw how Mel’s face griefly froze in just a mere second. Her eyes lost all their lifeness and glitter, and locked on him in such a merciless fashion, that the aura of her true desire to kill him in the most cold-blooded way ever imaginable she emitted, was so potent and thick, it instantly upset his stomach and made him experience cold, piercing shivers like never before…

    Even Reina could not fully hide her sincere, utter surprise – something, that was going to bring him utmost satisfaction, if given the different circumstances.

    Before something really basic occurs in this magic night, he hurried to turn at Rio:

    -I told you, she is not my girlfriend! Stop making stuff up! – Art fired up slightly.

    -Yeah, yeah… - she waved annoyed with hand.

    -Really, she is not?! – Reina exclaimed, faking her surprise.

    Art looked at her not friendly at all.

    He heard how Mel sighed, as if with relief. Her desire to cold-blood murder him disappeared, with eyes and face once more turning vivid and pure.

    So much, that he also sighed in relief, although only internally.

    Reina peeked at his display.

    -So, she is not your girlfriend? Maaan, that’s really bad… And what a beauty she is… Damn, you are such a moron, Art…

    He locked his phone and put it back in his pocket. Then, crossing arms on his chest and proudly puffing his chin up, he turned them back slightly.

    -I’m not discussing this topic with you anymore. – he made himself look a touch offended. – Suit yourselves…

    -Jeez, you are such a joy-breaker, senpai… - Rio pouted slightly, pushing him on the shoulder lightly.

    -Ah, I’m sorry that I don’t like to take me for a cannon fodder. I beg for your forgiveness. – he replied bitterly.

    -Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it. – Reina lifted her glass with the grape juice. – Want it or not…

    Art just snorted, shaking his head a bit.

    Mel look them one after another. Then:

    -T-they are just joking, don’t mind them t-too much. – she began, somewhat timid and shy. – Here all of them are like that…

    His arms relaxed a bit. Well, they were actually non-stop teasing each other in his old club and school, so…

    -It’s fine, don’t worry. I was joking too… Kinda. – he replied.

    Mel looked him a bit perplexed.

    -Ooh, right… Sorry…

    Art gazed back at her. Now when he gave it a thought, he was truly amazed how she went through a two opposite polarities in such negative time…

    Reina moved to his other side.

    -So, who is she anyw… - she began.

    -You know, I never imagined you to be soo curious, Vice. It doesn’t suit your character at all. – he counter immediately.

    -Her name is Lisselotte Voltz Levtmolt and she is his senpai from their Reenactment club! Her passion is aircrafts and military aviation history, and she can even fly real planes already! – Rio jumped enthusiastically on her feet.

    -A pilot! – Reina exclaimed and her eyes slightly widened.

    Art just slightly sighed.

    -Her name is Lieselonne Volmt Levtzmout. And you got the other things right. – he said annoyed.

    -Ho-ho, I see, I see… So, wh… - began Reina again.

    -Aaah, man, I’m soo wasted! And starving! – they suddenly heard Chisaki’s voice ahead.

    “Oh, god bless you, Saki!” – he elatedly thought.

    Art hurried to turn his attention to her.

    She was wearing a very fashionable, long-skirt, navy blue dress with a satin halter top of flower motives, gently emphasizing the slender lines of her delicate frame. The reddish eyeshadows combined with the thin, black eyelines put a lovable contrast to her glittering eyes and the mild, subtle rouge on her cheeks elevated the features of her face to really outstanding levels. Together with the elegant, stylish crown braid in her diligently made hair, she looked like a pearl ashore the brilliance of an azure sea.

    With her was Moka, in her vibrant sea-green skirt, girded with a knitted single belt and a sleeveless high-neck, line-patterned dark brown top, exposing temptingly her lavish forms. A real joy for the eyes of every man… In concord with her freed, long hair, gently caressing her naked shoulders and the subtle, delicate makeup, to highlight her stroing suits and elevate her beauty, she was capable of making every heart beat crazy.

    -Ooh, amazing job on the dances, senpai! I had such a blast! – Chisaki exclaimed, rising a hand for a high five.

    Art responded accordingly.

    -Thanks, Saki. Me too.

    Then she turned at the tables, looking thoroughly over them.

    -Whaaa, the peach juice is over?! – she lifted and shook the empty bottle, glaring at it with sorrowful eyes.

    -What’s the matter, just have something else. – responded Rio.

    -You know I hate oranges and have pineapple allergy, senpai! – Chisaki turned at her sharply.

    -Don’t worry, there are some left in the Home Economics classroom. I see some others are about to be finished too, so I’ll go grab a few bottles. – said Mel.

    -Oooh, thank you, senpai! You are such a life saver! – Chisaki was about to jump on her neck.

    -No problem. It’s my job.

    -Want me to come and help you with the carrying? – proposed Art.

    She looked him for a couple of seconds. Then smiled blindingly:

    -Sure. I won’t refuse.

    Then they both headed for the exit.

    -AND PLEASE HURRY! I’LL REALLY DIE! – shouted after them Chisaki.

    Soon, outside the enourmous building of the Ballroom, the starry sky in the quiet night shone against them, like it was greeting them under its endless astral dome. The chillness of the light, frosty breeze gently bit their skin, as their breaths materialized in a clouds before their mouths.

    Mel delicately embraced her naked shoulders, rubbing them a bit…

    -Here, take this… - Art gave her the top of his suit.

    She looked him as if a bit surprised.

    -Oh, don’t worry. I’ll manage…

    -Please, take it. Let me feel like a gentleman.

    She started at him for another couple of seconds. Then gently smiled again.

    -Alright. T-thanks.

    He helped her don it and they went down the stairs, to the small yard from which they soon found themselves on the curvy, stony path, leading them back to the school building.

    He looked around. In the absend artificial light, the branches of the trees and bushes took many capricious forms and silhouettes, reflecting them like lurking, grotesque monsters in their eyes. The shadows danced and reached their malign, rugged arms, ready to snatch them in the very first moment they gave their imagination too solid bound…

    And the night was so silent... They could hear their hearts beating in their chest…

    -That’s a nice Ulbertian Maid uniform you’ve got. – he said after a while, still nervously looking around. His hand had moved over the medallion under his shirt. – I really like it.

    She suddenly turned at him, her eyes widened in the dark from surprise.

    -Y-you recognized it?!...

    -Yeah, I guess… Krul usually don’t shut up for dresses most of the time. She is something like Sophie is about the Falkland Period on the topic. And I probably know about it more than I need to. – he giggled gently.

    -T-thanks. – she blushed in the dark, turning her head aside. – I really like it too. It’s our official uniform of the Support club, when we are attending some of the high-ranking events our school is organizing.

    -That is nice. It is really stylish and classy. Like an official dress. It elevates one’s traits really well.

    -T-t-thanks… - she fidgeted her fingers one around the other. – I-if you really like it, i-i’ll tell the girls to w-wear it at the N-niigara festival too…

    -Whaa? No, I mean, yes, I would be happy, but I don’t want you to go out of your way just because of me…

    -Don’t worry. – she subtly smiled. – They like it very much too. And they’ll readily embrace it.

    -I… I see… I’ll be glad then. To see you once more as an Ulbertian Maid.

    She suddenly blushed even more and despite there was no way for him to see her in the dark, she sharply turned her head aside.

    After a few more turns, they ended on the other yard with the stairs, leading up to gymnasium.

    -Hmm, it’s locked. – said Art after trying the door.

    -I got this, let me… - she gently moved before him and put her access key into the lock. Then, a head-up display keyboard projected on the door window. – Alright… - she swiftly dialed her code and the lock LED ring switched from red to green, acompanined by low tang of the realise of the electromagnet. – After you. – Mel opened the door, making him a small gesture to enter.

    -Wow. – Art exclaimed. – Amazing.

    -The Support club comes with some really nice privileges, I dare to say. – Mel followed him. – It comes really handy sometimes. – she put the keys back in her pocket.

    -I can imagine. – he turned a bit at her, smiling slightly.

    She responded to him the same way.

    -So, how many of you are in the support club? – he casually asked when they procceded on the corridor.

    Mel looked him with the edge of her eyes.

    -We were 6 until the last month, when Usujima senpai graduated. She went to study abroad Arts, in Falkland. Hirotsugo senpai is in class 12 now, so this will be last year for her too. So, I guess it will be only Miramaya, Euki and me soon. Well… since Eri stopped coming too… after all the stuff, that happened lately…

    -Eri?... – Art looked her a bit puzzled.

    -Yes. She was the girl… that hit you in the head the other day… when you we fighing Suido - she turned her head aside a bit, as if ashamed.

    -Yeah, I mean, I know her already. We’ve met her today at Maison Doreé, while buying the pastry. I mean, I was a bit surprised, that she was part of your club too.

    -Well, she still is, I guess… She was quite pro-active, actually. Always volunteering to take the grunt of the work… Shouldering herself with the hardest tasks… Trying to do the most… Just… I…

    -I-I’m sorry, shouldn’t have asked. I know this is a touchy topic…

    -No, don’t worry. You couldn’t have known she is part of the Support club too. I just… - she suddenly stopped, taking a deep breath. – Maybe I just miss the old times…

    -I see… Well, you can ask my sisters, if you want. They don’t have a club yet and they are not into the historical stuff anyways, so maybe they’ll find it interesting to join. At least for the time we are here…

    She looked him as if a bit sad.

    -Thank you. I’ll have it in mind.

    They’ve reached the Home Economics class after the next corner.

    -It’s unlocked! – Mel exclaimed quite surprised after seeing the green ring. – Strange, I’ve locked it, I’m 100% sure about it… - she mumbled to herself while opening the door.

    Inside, it was a near complete darkness – only the dim rays of light from the corridor illuminated inside, giving the objects the same, grotesquely distorted and shrouded in darkness surreal forms as the outside.

    She put her hand on the wall inside, next to the door.

    Nothing happened.

    -What?! C’mon! – and waved it more vigorously.

    The lights didn’t turn on.

    -Well, no other choice, I guess. – Art pulled out his phone, switching the flashlight. – Let’s go.

    He entered. Doing the same with her phone, Mel followed him.

    -There must be some beverages left in the fridge. Please, get them on the table, while I try to find some bag in this damn dungeon… - she said.


    Despite being in the Home Economics class for a first time, it was easy for him to orient to the refrigerator by the large electric-blue lockscreen panel.

    He went to the far corner of the room.


    03 °C NoFrost -20 °C

    23 dB(A) -0.2508 kWh / 24h

    Silent Mode EcoFresh

    13th March 2052


    Temp: 11 °C Hum: 64 %

    “Hmm, it’s this late already.”

    The door turned transparent, when he moved in front of it. Art took a look.

    -Mel, the peach and raspberry-mint are almost empty, there are only pineapple, white cherrie and caramel-vanilla ice tea left! – he raised his voice from the other side of the room.

    -Right, get them over here! – she yelled back, while continuing to trash into the cabinet.

    Art took them and carried them to the countertop above her.

    He peeked in.

    The sharpness with which she was moving her phone made it impossible for him to made something out of the forms she was flashing…

    After a second, she pulled something out and stood up so suddenly, that almost crushed into his face. He dodged.

    -Damn, somebody did really make a mess inside… - she frowned her beautiful face in the dark. – Once I find out who, I’ll have him have a really nice piece of my mind…

    Art didn’t say anything. Just began to put the drinks in the bag.

    -Argh, anyways. Let’s get it in and let’s go. I’m getting really agitated by some reason… - she helped him, still frowning a bit.

    While he tasked himself with the carrying, she locked the door behind him and hurriedly followed.

    As they both followed their way back through the corridor, Art looked around.

    This place looked so outlandishly different in the night…

    There were only few dimmed lights throughout its whole length, that gave it such a phantasmal glowly shade as if it came from some overly surreal mystery. The fogged windows reflected back their distorted images, making them feel even more oppressed and moody, and the near complete ambient silence brought the slight ringing in their ears at the focus…

    He shivered in awe…

    -Brrr, why does it have to be so chilly… - Mel suddenly rubbed her shoulders.

    Art looked her. His eyes slightly widened.

    Strange. Despite not having his top suit, he was feeling quite warm.

    -I’m sorry. I don’t have anything else on me to offer you. – he said.

    -Ah, don’t worry, don’t worry. – she waved her hands before him, smiling with her closed eyes. – I’ll manage. I guess a dance or two will be of a great help when we get back.

    -I can always volunteer to that. – the edges of his lips turned into a slight smile.

    She replied accordingly.

    As they both continued silently through the corridor, Mel delicately looked to the side, embracing her shoulders tighter.

    -Soo… is she really… not your girlfriend?... – she suddenly asked.

    Art stopped so sharply, that she bumped into his back.

    -Ah, I’m sorry, I’m sorry! – she waved apologetically her hands before him, turning her head to the side.

    Art stared at her face for a few seconds. Then turned and continued forwards.

    -Why? Do you think I was not sincere? – he asked, looking back at her over his shoulder with the periphery of his eyes.

    -Wha?! No! It’s not that! I just… - she fidgeted index fingers one around the other, delicately avoding his gaze by glancing to the side. – I-I guess I was a-a bit too curious too… Sorry…

    Art smirked slightly.

    -These is nothing to apologize for, don’t worry… As I said, Lia is very good friend of mine. And I really hold that friendship in a very special place in my heart. Well… Although, it seems, she is not completely happy with only it in it … - he sighed. – Aah, I guess Reina and Rio were right... I’m just one big moron…

    -W-wha?! B-but…

    -So, what about you? – he suddenly interrupted her. – Do you have a boyfriend?

    -W-W-W-WHA?! W-w-w-why w-w-would y-you a-ask m-me o-o-of s-such t-thing o-out o-o-of a-a s-sudden?! – utterly stupefied, she stuttered hard, as her face turned hotish red.

    Art frowned a bit.

    -Nothing. I guess I was just a bit curious too. – he glanced at her with the edge of his eyes.

    -O-o-of course I don’t have! Why should I have?! – she hurried to shoot back.

    -Well… Because, it’s something normal?... For people at our age, I guess…

    She looked him with an eyes, as if he revealed her some universe-level truth.

    -W-well… I guess. – Mel mumbled, avoiding his gaze. – It seems so… Fair point. I just… You… Excuse me, I’ll go to cool off my face! – and she suddenly turned the other way at the corner, heading for the bathroom.

    Which she entered in a complete darkness.

    -Hey, won’t you light up? – he raised his voice after her.

    There was no response.

    After some time, while waiting, he began to look around again.

    He never strolled inside his old school this late at the night, when nobody was around and the corridors captured only the echo of the silence…

    So empty… So dark… And so quiet…

    He shivered again.

    The sudden sound of the water jet made him jump on his feet. He turned.

    -Mel? – Art looked at the dark entrance of the bathroom.

    Again, no response came from her.

    The water jet stopped.

    -Hey, Mel?! – he persisted.

    -What, what is it?! – she half-showed from the door entrance, while engaging her hands on the wall dryer. – Why are you non-stop calling me?!

    He suddenly found himself in a loss for words. Really… what was bothering him?

    -Did you get paranoic all of a sudden? – continued Mel instead and headed back to him.

    All the redness from her face had disappeared. But that specific glimmer in her eyes… It was something he was seeing for a first time.

    She sighed.

    -Just let’s go… - and simply said.

    Art followed her – this time she was ahead with him a few steps behind.

    This suddenly reminded him so much of the walk with President Hio the other day…

    So much, he just couldn’t resist and moved his gaze…

    Her gait may not be as elegant as the Prez. And her proportions not as perfect as Sophie’s…

    But something really managed to stir up very warm emotions in his chest…

    It wasn’t pompous. Or grandiose. Or exaggerated.

    It was just… simply hers.

    Honest and genuine, a pure reflection of the true essence of her character and self.

    But… not only that.

    As if… by some reason he was able to understand all her feelings just by looking at it.

    The delicate frame of hers carrying an unimaginable burden… The small back he just wanted to hug and whisper in her ear that’s it’s okay to rely on him. That his shoulder will be always here if she just wanted to stop being always so strong and cry it all out.

    He never felt anything like this ever before. It was so real and strange, that it almost gave him a scare. As if he was reading from an open book…

    When Mel suddenly looked back, she caught him completely by surprise.

    -Heey, what are ya looking at? – she asked.

    As if stupefied in the first moment, Art hurried to look aside.

    -N-nothing. – he simply mumbled.

    -Hmp! I guess it’s fine then. – she turned forwards again.

    Damn it…

    He didn’t dare to look at her again. But this just couldn’t leave his mind at all…

    How such a small and gentle back can be still unbroken by the burden of such imposible weight. And not only being unbroken, but despite all the gravity and load crushing down upon her, she still had the strength and sheer will to walk proudly and firm, and the confidence of all her hardships endured irradiating from her with the luminosity of giant star!

    He never saw such a thing in anyone else before. Not in Sophie, not in Hio, not in anyone else.

    She was just… simply amazing.

    And he wanted to be always there for her…

    Mel glanced over her shoulder again, looking him with the edge of her eyes.

    -So, how did you get to know her?... – she asked, still grumping a bit.

    As if her sudden voice pulled him out of his slight, strange trance.


    -Your girlfriend?…

    It took him a few seconds to process her words. Then he frowned a bit against her.

    -I told you, she is not my girlfriend… - he replied annoyed. – And why are we still on this topic?!

    -What is wrong with that?! – Mel fired up a bit. But then just turned ahead and mumbled lowly: - I just want to know more about you…

    Art stared at her back. His posture relaxed a bit.

    He sighed.

    -I was in the last year of my Junior high when I first met her. – he began quietly. – We had a meeting of all branches of the Reenactment club. To organize something about an upcoming big event. Don’t remember the details exactly... Both of us didn’t say anything during the whole meeting, just listening to the others... But after that we started greeting each other on the corridors. We kept meeting on various occasions, talking a bit more… But then during the last semester something just happened! She just glued to myself! I really don’t understand even up to this day what I did to pick up her interest so much…

    -I see… So it is really good then… - she mumbled so lowly, that he only heard fragments of it.


    Mel stopped so suddenly, that he crushed into her back.

    -Hey, Mel??...

    Pant… pant… pant…


    She staggered, leaning with a hand on the wall.

    -Hey, are you okay?! – he instantly moved to support her.

    But before he managed to grab her, she slid down until sitting and he only managed to hold her in the last moment, kneeling down against her.

    -Hey, are you feeling well? Is your head reeling? – just a handspan from her face, he gently put his palm on her forehead. – Your temperature seems normal…

    She suddenly looked him in the eyes with these dreamy diamonds of hers.

    Her hands wrapped on his nape.


    -It is really good thing… that she is not your girlfriend… - she whispered.

    Art gulped the solid ice from his throat. His heart was going to rip his chest.


    Her eyes closed. Her face moved towards his’.

    The heat filled his cheeks. The warmth of her embrace boiled his blood. His legs began to shake…

    -Mel… - he whispered lowly for the last.

    He didn’t resist. Just closed his eyes too.

    Their lips barely touched, when something smashed onto them so hard, separating them violenty from each others and crushing them on the ground.
  5. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

    May 7, 2018
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    His horizon spun so violently, that in the brief consciousness of his messy thoughts, he believed he was catapulted in the air.

    -WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON, YOU BASTAAARDSSS?!#?$!%!@!! – thundered a voice so coarse and powerful, that an intense tremble reverberated through his chest.

    He became so disoriented, that he felt like he was in an underwater dream.

    “W-what’s going on?!...”

    Suddenly realizing he is on the floor, he shook his head in an attempt to get rid of his confusion, lamely starting to rise on his four…

    Just to see how Krul was pressing Mel on the ground with knees on the shoulders.

    And lifted her tiny arm right up…

    When his sister smashed her fist straight into the girl’s face, as if a lighting stroke him.

    “WHAT?!” – his eyes widened in a way he couldn’t believe what he just saw.

    And his sister raised her fist a second time…

    … punching her square in the face again.

    As if something finally switched in him.

    -HEY, KRUL, STOP!!! – he yelled at them, rushing to get up.

    It all fell on deaf ears. Krul lifted her hand a third time and was about to hit her again…

    But Art managed to jump at her just in the last moment, wrapping his arms around his little sister and forcibly separating her from Mel by lifting her in the air.

    -LET GO OF ME! LET GO OF ME!!! I’LL KILL HER!!!!! AND THEN I’LL KILL YOU TOO!# $!%! – she began to wriggle and kick chaotically in all directions.

    -Enough, Krul! STOP IT! – he raised his voice and tried to firm his grip…

    But she kicked him so hard side to the knee, that it sent all his nervous system haywire…

    -YOU LITTLE!# $!%!... – Art painfully hissed through his teeth.

    …and it distracted him just enough for Krul to manage to slip her hand out of his hold. Sharply pointing her at the slowly rising Mel before he reacts in any way…

    -KRUL, N…!!!


    It all happened in blink of an eye.

    Her medallion brightly flashed and in a whirling spiral of ice and frost, the bolt rapidly materialized before her hand. Then instantly, with a powerful swoosh, it accelerated towards Mel with a tremendous speed, leaving a trail of snowy mist behind.

    But then, just a meter from the girl, as if it hit and invisible barrier, and with a thunderous ice-cracking boom, exploded in such a spectacular fashion, that threw countless of biting shards and frigid snow all over the place and them. Their ears painfully rang in a sudden peak, as the ice pieces crystally rattled on the floor. The frost bit their bare cheeks and skin, irritating all eyes and noses it managed to get in, lungs and throats instantly rebeled against the dry, itching air they inhaled after the spell sucked all the humidity from the corridor around.

    The thick, heavy mist of rime slowly began to settle down…

    -W-WHAT?!... – Krul’s eyes wideded, red and watery from the fridig bite, unable to proccess what just happened.

    He saw how Mel leaned on the wall with an elbow, holding her face in palm, as if she just awoke from the most terrible hangover she ever had…

    Her amulet, a thick piece of cobalt-blue, lense-shaped crystal encompassed in a mesh of whitegold-silver neural roots, as big as his palm, was out of her shirt, levitating just a handspan from her chest. It was shaking and trembling violently, as if it was angrily looking at them, trying to point them with a finger and curse them to their demise.

    Its magic core and engraved inscriptions suddenly shone brightly in a sigh of its autosequence activating…

    “OH, SHIT!...”

    He didn’t even manage to react. Neither to let go of Krul to free his hands and defend them, nor to move or anything.

    They first felt how it started on the back of their skins and necks, in the miliseconds before the impact, how the giant invisible static hands embraced them in a merciless grip, tickling their nerves and rising their hairs…

    And then the sudden shock paralyzed them down to their bones.

    The space around instantly filled with crackling arcs and skin-shivering discharges, and although he clenched his teeth until his gums started to bleed, the spell didn’t manage to fully immobilize him. But he was thrown out of balance, when the small body of Krul violently convulsed, as she screamed her lungs out of pain and digged her nails deep into his arms. He couldn’t hold on to anything or grab to something and they both fell heavily on the floor, in the thick, frosty mist.

    -W-what is this… My head… - Mel, still leaning on the wall, looked totally unaware of the happening.

    The amulet turned off, falling on her chest.

    As if this awoke her, because she frantically started to look around.

    It didn’t take her long to notice them. And upon seeing them, her eyes madly widened.

    -W-what… happened!? – she asked quietly with a trembling voice.

    Art, laying on the floor, shaken and cold, with cloths smoking and muscles in pain, was still holding his little sister in a hug. She was clinging tightly onto him, trembling, with her tiny chest moving everytime in struggle, as she was fighting through a heavy pants for every catch of breath…

    -Hey, Krul! Krul!!!

    -W-w-what h-h-happ-pen-ned-d!? – she exclaimed, as starting to panically fidget around.

    -HEY, GUYS, WHAT WAS THAT SCREAM JUST NOW?! – over the sharp sound of approaching steps, Raon suddenly popped from behind the corner. Her eyes immediately focused them in the unusual scene, making her froze in her track. – LOL, WHAT’S GOING ON?!

    Reina and Ren swiftly followed behind, unable to hide their surprise upon seeing them.

    -Krul! Krul! – he shook his sister a bit, lifting her back from the ground and taking her in his arms.

    She just couldn’t stop shaking.

    Her strangled breathing, still heavy and strifed. The disheveled strands of hair, covering part of her cheeks. Her wet eyes, full of agonizing tears.

    And her heart. He felt it. It was beating like crazy.

    Without waiting even a second longer, Art immediately closed his eyes and hovered his palm above her chest. He concentrated and the flow of energy just sent the itches all over his body, when Reina suddenly interrupted him:

    -Wait! I’ll do it! – she kneeled next to him, pulling his hand to the side.

    This made him lose focus and almost puke, irritating him so much to a point enough to give her a genuine, bloodthirsty stare.

    The Vice President pretended to not notice it at all and let go of his hand.

    Then put it above Krul’s chest instead.

    And smoothly exhaled:


    The pale mist was swept away by a sudden gust of wind. Countless of small, green glowing particles materialized all around them and began accelerating towards his little sister’s body, as if they were looking up at the night sky in the middle of shooting stars bombardment.

    Her body instantly relaxed and her breating calmed down. Her hair straightened up and the coloration on her cheeks regained its beautiful reddish shade. Her eyes cleared up and focused.

    Her trembling stopped.

    After timidly moving in his arms, as if awakening from a long sleep, she finally looked him in the eyes.

    She was still not letting go of his hand…

    -Big bro… - her coarse voice tingled his heart.

    -Oh, Krul! – he just couldn’t resist but hug her tightly.

    But after the initial euphoria of his happy relief, his eyes automatically locked onto Mel.

    And his gaze was not friendly at all.

    -W-wh… - the girl shrank down into her boots, as if he was going to jump at her like an wild animal. She still looked so not in full grasp of the events…

    As if the others just only now noticed her. They were up for more surprises…

    -Mel, your cheek! – upon seeing it, Ren immediately ran to her.

    The girl’s face suddenly turned so stressfully concerned. She grabbed her gently for the shoulders and tried to get a closer look, but Mel’s eyes just widened, as if she was as just surprised as Ren…

    -Y-you’ll b-break m-my bones, b-big bro… - Krul said somewhat reprimandingly, trying to move in his arms.

    This finally distracted him from the two girls.

    -I-I’m so sorry, my little princess! – his attention momentarily shifted to her and he let her go of his hug.

    But his hands still remained supportively on her back.

    After giving the little girl one last, assuring she is now fine look, Reina moved her gaze on to Mel too. She heavily got up and went to her, delicately pushing Ren aside.

    And grabbed her for the chin:

    -Stay still.

    The bluish mist propagated from her other hand, that she lifted, engulfing the bruise on the girl’s cheek. Hundreds of glitters started reflecting back, firing up and diminishing simultaneously, as if they were countless nanomachines, working tirelessly around the clock. Art felt how the space around filled with static charges, making the sudden energy-rich environment itch his skin and nerves.

    Aside, he saw how Ren’s eyes widened, as if both in terror and admiration. It was not a sight person was seeing everyday…

    Raon crouched down next to him, gliding her palm over the pale remainders of the icy mist.

    -What happened here??? – she whispered loudly, unable the hide her bewilderment.

    -N-nothing! – suddenly shot Krul, entangling her hands around his brother’s neck.

    Raon looked her, all surprised and confused. The little girl returned to her gaze sternly, snuggning even tighter onto Art.

    The Club Prez just sighed deeply and stood up.

    Art followed her with gaze.

    -What are you doing here? – he asked.

    -We… we came to look for you. – responded Raon, still catiously looking around. – You surely… took you time. – her eyes landed on Mel.

    -W-wha… - the girl began to say.

    -Don’t move! – immediately scolded her Reina with a sharp voice. He saw how her body tensed and he immediately felt the risen static intensity on his skin – her power and concentration went even higher, making even the hairs on his nape to start tingling. Then she added lowly, almost gently: – Just a little bit longer…

    Art looked them one after another. Reina, overstrung and strenuous, concentrated as ever, Ren frowning at the Vice-Prez, charmingly pouting her cheeks and Mel just staying there, stunned and amazed, not daring to move even and inch.

    He turned back at Raon.

    -What do you mean by that? – he heavily stood up, dragging and Krul up, who was still snugging onto him. – We just grabbed some stuff from the Home Economics room and went back.

    Raon tilted her head slightly in an inexplicable confusion.

    -Art, you were missing almost for an hour. – she said.

    In this moment, an invisible hand clenched his heart. Tensing up, his body instinctively reacted even before his mind fully processed the said. All kinds of excitant hormones flooded his bloodstream, distorting all feel and sense, the piercing shivers paralyzed even his speech.

    He just stood against her, frozen and struck, staring with widened eyes.

    The low sudden discharge made him jump on his feet.

    He sharply turned…

    The mist around the Vice-Prez’s hand had disappeared and after an intense glaring at Mel’s cheek for a few seconds, she released her from her pinch.

    -You are done. And keep… this thing away… - she mumbled under her nose and delicately put the girl’s talisman back under her sleeveless shirt.

    Art didn’t miss that at all.

    Reina moved aside.

    -Mel! – Ren instantly stepped to her support. Her eyes goggled in amazement. – Hundreds of demons, there is not even a scratch left!... – she exclaimed. But her concern quickly took over again. – Are you feeling well?? What happened???

    -I… I don’t know… - she put her palm on the face again. – My head was reeling so hard just until now… I feel like I just woke up… But from the kind of sleep you feel more exhausted, that relaxed…

    Art’s eyes suspiciously narrowed. Ren looked her even more confused.

    -Let’s just go. – Reina grabbed him and Krul under arms, and forced them to move on with her. – Saki probably burned the Ballroom by now…

    Delicately looking over her shoulder, the Vice Prez silently urged the others to go too. They quickly followed without hesitation.

    No one even bothered to remember the bag with the beverages, they left laying on the floor behind them for which they came here in the first place.

    During this whole time Krul was tightly hugging his hand.

    She was pulling and swaying, bumping and stepping on his shoe, but this didn’t annoy him at all.

    He gladly embraced her warmth.

    With the temperatures having dropped even lower and Mel still wearing his suit, he didn’t mind her being closer to him. And with her light clothes, and exposed back and shoulders, she was probably feeling cold too, so he was happy if he was able to warm her up a bit.

    -Just… stop being so rash… - he mumbled.

    She looked up, hanging on his arm even more.

    -What, what? Did you said something?

    Her eyes glimmered in the dark.

    Art stared back down at her. He replied:

    -Nothing. You feeling cold?

    -Y-yes… A bit. But you are warm, big bro!

    -I see. C’mon, come here. – he tried to move his arm, but she just clenched it more. – C’mon, let go of me for a second…

    -What?! NOO!! – she was utterly stupified, as if her mind couldn’t process how he could suggest such a preposterous thing.

    -C’mon, don’t be such a baby, damn it… – after a short struggle, in which she successfully bumped onto his injured ribs again, he managed to release his hand. Then, he hugged her tightly over the shoulder with one hand and with the other over the belly and the hip. – Is this better?...

    -Y-yeah… T-thanks, bro. – she tried to hug and snug into him as much as possible too.

    -I’ll make you something warm to drink after we get back. Then we’ll dance until you never feel cold again.

    -R-right… Love you. – she mumbled so quietly, that there was no way for him to hear her.

    Art started ahead.

    Really, there was something absolutely mystical about this night.

    The sky was glowing as if they were in a dream.

    The moon looked like it was going to crumble on their heads.

    The stars twinked upon them, trying to hypnotize.

    There were no chirp of birds. No squeak of insects. No gusts of winds.

    Just one… very… very… quiet… night.

    A night of magic.

    Walking a few steps ahead them, Mel and Ren were hugging each other too, not shy to keep the bite of the chill away. Reina and Raon were somewhere further in the front, with only their murky, shadowy silhouettes reflecting back to their eyes.

    Staring at Mel’s back, his hand squeezed Krul’s shoulder a bit tighter.

    -Are you feeling well? Does something hurt? – he asked lowly.

    Krul remained silent for a few moments. He could tell how she was staring at Mel’s back too.

    She replied:

    -Nope. The Vice President axinia is amazing.

    -I see… I’m glad you were not hurt.

    Suddenly, the invisible hand clenched his heart even more. Even in the chillness of the night, the nauseous worry sent a heatwave all across his body, making cold drops of sweat roll down his back.

    He hugged her even tighter.

    -I just want you to be more careful. I won’t be able to be with you hundred percent of the time. – he barely managed to control his voice not to tremble.

    Krul didn’t respond anything. Just hugged him tighter too.

    The sudden rustle in front of them attracted their attention.

    -Mel, are you okay?! – they’ve heard Ren’s voice exclaiming.

    He and Krul stopped next to the girls. Mel was holding her face in a palm again. And leaning on Ren a bit too much, they judged.

    -Y-yeah… I think so… My head is reeling a bit. It’s so strange... Must be the anemia. Seems my blood still haven’t recovered yet.

    Art looked them sternly for a second.

    -We should get inside, to warm. Cold isn’t good for you. – he said with a bit more hostile firmliness, than intended.

    Mel just smiled at him. She didn’t took it at all…

    A gesture, that just melted a part of the ice wall he had erected.

    -Ah, I’m so sorry. Let’s go… Oh, should I return your suit to you? You are probably cold. – she replied.

    Art looked her amazed. Almost stunned.

    Was she… really alright?

    -HEEEY, GUYS, WE ARE GONNA FREEZE UP TO DEATH! PLEASE HUURRRYYY!!! – echoed Raon’s voice somewhere from the front.

    When they looked back, only her flickering shadow replied from the dark.

    -We’re coming! – yelled Ren back at her. – C’mon, you’ll really freeze. – she grabbed Mel under arm and get her going. – Aaah, man, can’t wait for a nice hot chocolate inside!...

    Art stared at Mel’s back for a moment. Then said:

    -Hey, Krul?

    -I’m listening, big bro. – her intonation clearly showed she knew what he was going to ask her.

    -Can I let go of your arm just for a minute? I won’t be afar, I promise.

    She just stared at him sternly…

    But let go of his arm.

    -Thank you, my little princess. I’ll made it up to you, I promise… - he hurried ahead.

    -I’ll watch you. Closely…

    He just looked over his shoulder, smiling slightly and delicately waved at her with his hand.

    Art moved to the other side of Ren.

    -I’m sorry, Ren. Can I substitute you for a minute? – he said just loud enough for only she to hear him.

    She looked him back – somewhat worried, somewhat puzzled. But it seems she caught the glimpse of it…

    -I’ll watch you very closely!!! – she whispered loud enough to sound like a thread, that she was going to rip him to pieces if something happens. – Ah, Mel, excuse me for a second!! – she smiled and suddenly let go of her hand.

    -W-wha…? – the girl left hanging surprised.

    Ren fall back to Krul, grabbing his little sister under arm, engaging her in a conversation in the most casual way…

    -How are you enjoying the night, Krul?! I’ve heard you are a big Stratosphere fan!... – she began.

    -Y-yeah… I remember the first time I heard them was around big sis Kae, when she…

    They continued to converse randomly while slowing down the pace bit by bit until the darkness almost devoured them and their words were incomprehensible echoe.

    Mel was just following them all surprised.

    Then looked at him.

    -What was that? – she asked quietly.

    Art didn’t respond. Instead, he offered his hand. She looked it, then hesitated for a second and took it.

    Their gazes both stared again in the cold night ahead.

    -How are you feeling, Mel? – he asked.

    He felt how her hand squeezed his’ slightly.

    -I think I’m better now. I was just feeling a bit cold, but… Oh, do you want me to return you your coat?! – she began to take it off.

    He immediately stopped her.

    -Don’t worry. Keep it.

    She snugged into him almost as tightly as Krul did a while ago.

    -What was that, Mel? – he couldn’t resist anymore and asked outright.

    She looked him surprised. The tremble, he felt now, as if passed through her whole body.

    -I-i-i r-really d-don’t under-s-stand….

    -Do you really don’t remember anything? – he looked her clearly skeptical.

    -I-I’m so sorry!... I remember we’ve talked about something. Then I went to the bathroom… To cool off a bit. And when I went out, you and Krul were laying on the floor. And there was that strange mist… Then my head suddenly started reeling… Or was it before that… I’m not sure, really!...

    “THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENED AT ALL!!!” – he wanted to cry it out loud, but only did it in his mind.

    Was she making all this up? Was she just… lying?

    But looking now at her genuinely confused, terrified face, he was somehow able to believe her. And that was starting to terrify him too…

    -This amulet ot yours… What is it? – he asked.

    -Oh, this? – she pulled it out from below her shirt.

    The blue cobalt now looked all cold and dark, just like a mirror of the night around. Even the silvery neurons were stripped of all their shine, bringing only gloom and sorrow into one’s heart.

    Its plain sight just depressed him more…

    -It was a gift from my mother. She said it belonged to her mother before that. And grandmom to hers. And so on and so on. So, it’s something like a family inheritance.

    Art stared at it few instants… It was so beautifully alluring… Was this really that powerful?... He wanted to touch it…

    Mel put it back under her shirt.

    As if this ransacked him violently from his trance. What was he thinking about just a second ago?

    He shook his head a bit.

    -Is that all? – he asked…

    “Shouldn’t it belong to Nym in this case…” – and wanted to add, but…

    - Didn’t they… tell you anything more about it?

    -More what in what way? – her beautiful face frowned. – Did you mean from an historical standpoint? Oh, I’m afraid in that case I won’t be able to add much more, than what I’ve already told you. I mean, it’s just a family jewel, right?

    Art stared at her almost unbelievably. He wanted to say so much…

    But in the end he just looked ahead again and sighed lowly.

    -Yeah… Just a family jewel…

    Behind the last corner of bushes and trees around the small stony road, they exited on the minor plaza before the Ballroom building.

    Art got genuinely surprised by how crowded it was.

    The first ones to notice them were Ayuri, Rio and Rumiho, as their group was standing just a few meters from the edge of the yard. Upon seeing them, they instantly ceased their conversation and turned towards them…

    -Hey, guys, is everything okay?! – began Ayuri, taking a few steps towards them. – We’ve just returned and…

    -Everything is fine, Ayu. Don’t stress it up. – interrupted her Reina, passing by as if she was not there.

    The girl just froze in place, following the Vice Prez with a confused gaze. Art clearly got what’s on her mind without even the need to read it.

    Raon stopped next to their group.

    -How did it went on your side? Was everything… fine? – she asked quietly.

    Ayuri now turned at her even more confused.

    -What do you mean by that? Did something happened to you?! – her voice raised, as she glanced worryingly at Mel and him.

    -It’s fine. I guess… Where are the others?

    Ayuri looked back at her. There was still a tinge of suspicion and anxiety in her eyes.

    -Probably still searching. We came back right after finishing the Sports and the Salon…

    -Right, I’ll call them to get back…

    -HEY, GUYS!!! – the sudden, sharp voice of Reina made all of them jump on their feet.


    Art shivered… Her telepatic outburst was so intense, that he was able to catch her thoughts without even the need to focus.

    The girls just looked her half-surprised, half-terrified, frozen in their places and too scared to even take a breath. No one dared to mumble a word more…

    And this… this got him really even more bewildered. Not Reina’s emotional outcry, but the words it was supposed to hide…

    They were searching? For him? And Mel?

    Where all of them now here… just for them?

    Something tickling around his neck made him gulp. His throat was so dry and hot. Despite the cold, frigid air, scratching his lungs…

    He really wanted to start asking questions.

    But for some reason, the warm, gentle hands of Mel distracted him too much out of this reality… And made him wanting to forget everything…

    Reina’s shout finally made the others at the yard to start noticing them.

    -Oooi, guys, you’ve finally returned!!! – yelled Faye from its other end. – We’ve thought you just got bored and went home!!!

    Art took a look. Around her were Nym and Hion, and Suu and Nishi too. Really, all of them outside?

    Just for us?

    He couldn’t help, but get even more suspicious.

    -Naaah, how could we do that! – replied her back Raon. – We are not that evil!

    -What took you so long?

    “So long?!” – this tickling feeling once again whirled around his heart.

    Instinctively, he searched for Reina with gaze. She was not looking in his direction at all…

    -Ahh, nothing, nothing. They were just having fun. – said Raon.

    -HAVING FUN?! – Faye’s eyes goggled against them.

    Art frowned. He was clearly not in a mood for dirty jokes right now.

    -Hey, keep that bullshit for yourself. – he said aridly. – And use your imagination on someone else…

    -Ho-ho… - Raon smugged satisfactory.

    The slight, nervous fidget on his side made him look at Mel.

    And just by seeing her face, all his irritation was washed away.

    Starring at the ground… All blushing red…

    Her flustered lips… And the silky, glittering eyes…

    The ablush, warm cheeks… Her gracious, timid lines…

    Still staying obediently by his side…

    His heart skipped a beat.

    Something really cozy embraced his hand. Bringing a feeling, exhalting his soul…

    He looked down…

    Oh, it was hers.

    Getting hotter and hotter…

    Art gently let go of her hand. Continuing to hold her wasn’t going to convice the others otherwise…

    Well, although it was too late now, since everybody have noticed it for sure…

    Raon just followed it all in obvious manner, while her smile was getting smugger and smugger.

    “Stop smiling, you smug bitch! I’ll burn you!” – he really wanted to do it.

    -Calm down, calm down, I was just joking! – Raon suddenly waved hands before her, but her face was still twitching in an effort not to laught.

    Art looked her a bit surprised in the first moment. Was she able to catch that?!

    Then stared not particularly friendly again…

    Krul reminded him of his fault too, by shoving between him and Mel. She wrapped her arms around his’s and with half-pouty, half-grumpy face, looked up at him. He clearly felt how she wanted to start kicking persons behind their knees.

    He returned to her gaze, barely holding his lips not to twitch. She, he bet, had not particularly good selection of words prepared for him right now. But her cute face prevented him from somehow take her seriously…

    “Ah, whatever…” – Art just sighed internally and turned to the others:

    -What are you doing here? – he asked.

    Nishi and some of the girls stared at them.

    -We went out to cool off a bit. The party kinda died after you left. – replied Nym.

    -I see…

    -You should get back inside too. It’s getting really cold.

    The sudden voice made all of them turn.

    Reina and Hion were standing a bit aside from their group, glaring at them. At him…

    “Aah, please, not you too!...” – he wanted to cry out internally.

    As if they somehow caught his thoughts, since they both lost interest and turned at one another.

    By some strange reason, this hurt him more than it should have…

    -I’ll go check something. – Reina began so quietly, that he was barely able to hear her. – You should go back inside. Watching you in this short kimono makes me want to embrace you all over…

    Strange… He wanted to do the same…

    Reina just pierced him with the edge of her eyes.

    He froze…

    “Joking, joking! It was you, who said it first…”

    She looked back at Hion.

    -I’ll be fine. Are you sure you don’t need a hand? – the Prez asked back quietly.

    -No, don’t worry. I’ll be quick. – she was about to go…

    When this tickling feeling inside him prevailed…

    -Hey, is everything really alrig… - he began.

    -Yeah, yeah. Just get back inside. – interrupted him Reina right off as she went off.


    Raon suddenly jumped on their backs.

    -C’mon, let’s go! – she gently started to push them. – You’ll catch cold, just look at how thinly dressed you are!

    -B-b… - he tried to persist more.

    -It’s fineee! – Raon pushed even harder.

    In the end, he was just left staring at the Reina’s back, as her silhouette disappeared in the dark night.

    This didn’t ease his thoughts at all. Only left him with more questions, than before.

    Inside the building, in the luscious foyer before the lobby with the Moon and the Crystal Sakura, there were several other groups.

    -Oh, you guys finally returned! We thought… – began Masami when she saw them.

    “Oh god, not this again…” – Art slightly rolled his eyes.

    -Ah, don’t worry, don’t worry!... – began Raon.

    “Just be careful what you’ll say!...” – he internally waved finger at her.

    -…Some of the beverages were over, so they went to grab some from the nearest convenience store!

    “Wow, this is the official version now?!” – he was truly amazed.

    -Oh, I see. Well…

    -We’ll go inside to grab something hot to drink. Excuse us. – decided for them Raon, continuing to push them forwards.

    Next to the entrance of the Sakura tree room, they’ve met Sophie and Mio. His cousin was leaning on the door’s frame and had her arms crossed below her chest as if she was waiting for him.

    -Oh, you’ve finally returned… - she began.

    “Please kill me now…”

    -You should hurry. They almost ate all the food.

    -Ah, thank you for your consideration. I think I’ll accept your offer. C’mon, Krul. I’ll make you some hot chocolate to warm up…

    She didn’t move from her place. Art turned, looking her questionably.

    -What is it?

    -W-well… - she fidgeted, delicately pinching the ends of her skirt.

    -Ah, don’t worry, I’ll show her the way. – Raon grabbed her for the hand and lead her somewhere down in the foyer.

    -I see. I’ll wait you in the Ballroom with the chocolate ready.

    -T-thanks, big bro.

    Inside, he stopped before the Crystal Sakura tree.

    The thick, gargantuan stem was consisted of a cluster of straight, ridged crystal wands, amalgamated in somewhat grotesque structure, that was giving it this distant and unnatural look compared to every other thing around. More like an alien space entity, than an object made by man…

    The uneven, rugged pattern was throwing all weird dispersive reflections of decomposed light, making them hang out in the space like 3D objects of basic colors, playing with one’s eyes.

    The branches, on the other hand, were all elegant in form, rounded and shaped in different sizes, in total contrast with the stem’s rectangular forms. They were wriggling and twisting like an real tree, in a huge, magnificent crown, spreading out from wall to wall. The small, rose petals were blinking against him like a huge field of countless stars, making him feel drifning in endless void.

    Now, after the initial surprise, he couldn’t help, but wonder, what a strange piece of art that was. Why did someone even build it like that?

    He could never tell.

    Upon close staring, he noticed, that all petals were in different shape, size and nuance of rose. As if they were all hand-made one by one…

    “Damn, how much does this even cost?!”

    He wanted to reach out and touch them, but everything looked so delicate, that he was afraid not to broke something.

    -Ahh, big bro!

    The sudden voice startled him.

    He turned, only to see Aiv. Carrying something like an audio amplifier before her chest.

    The thing looked half her size…

    -What are you doing, here, let me help you… - he grabbed it from her hands.

    -Ah, thanks, big bro. Hifu begged me to bring this thing back to the audio-visual room.

    -Why you? Aren’t any boys around?

    -Well, they were busy with some other stuff… I guess…

    -I see… Damn, this thing is heavy… Is this a tube amplifier? It looks nice…

    -Yeah, that’s an Oberlandean Starhenberg. It costs 120k…

    Art almost choked and tripped…

    -BE CAREFUL BRO!!! – Avys instantly reached to grab him. – Damn it, if you are not going to be careful, just give it back to me!

    -Akhem, I’m sorry, my little princess, it won’t happen again. Please, open the door for me…

    They both exited the Sakura tree room from the side and found themselves in another corridor, somewhat badly illuminated in yellowish light. Right after the door, attached on the right wall, there was a stairway case with a nice, red carpet on it, leading to the second floor.

    They went on it.

    -So, what were you doing while we were mis… out? – he asked.

    -Mm, nothing interesting. I’ve danced 1-2 songs with Chisaki. Then the party started dying out a bit and everybody began to scatter. Then Hifu asked me to do that for her.

    Stopped so suddenly, that Aiv crashed into him…

    -Damn it, I asked you to be careful!!! – she exclaimed.

    Art turned and looked her puzzled.

    -Just 1-2 songs? – he asked.

    Now she looked him surprised.

    -Yes? There was time only for that much, before you returned… Why the look?

    In any other circumstances, he would have become incredibly suspicious and nervous. But by some reason, this time he just shrugged it off and didn’t delve into it anymore.

    He started moving up the stairs again.

    -I see. Chisaki must have lost all the patience while waiting.

    -Not really. At least she didn’t give me that vibe.

    On the second floor, the light was too somewhat dimmed and faint.

    -Which way is the musical room? – he looked in the both directions.

    -Hifu said first on the left.

    -Right. – he moved through the corridor.

    -Ahh, wait, I’ll open it. – she ran past him. – Please.

    -Thanks, Aiv.

    He went inside.

    And to say he was really impressed, was going to be understatement.

    At the far end, there was a huge panoramic window with two big speakers at its both sides, hanging from the ceiling, and an impressive audio-mixer controller before it, as big as a bureau, with various modules, consoles and displays. With so many buttons and switches, that even his childish ego wanted to surface and start clicking them until his hands fall off.

    The right wall was just one massive build-in rack with more devices and audio equipment, modern, from the best high-quality digital of the current era, to an archaic analog treasures, popular century ago, which capabilities withstood even the teriffic technological invention-creep.

    On left, there was just a simple table with several monitors on it and a computer tower behind them, giving it this somewhat boring look, compared to the all the other wonder stuff around.

    The finishing touch came from all the other empty spaces, covered with the soundproofed tiles, made in natural wood laminate look, giving it this really cozy mood of a painting.

    -Wow, really incredible! – he was taken aghast.

    -Yeah. Hifu was super excited by some reason.

    -I can understand why. Where do you want me to put it?

    -Please, there on the table at the right. Hifu said she will reconnect it back.

    -Right. – he obeyed and left it on the bureau.

    Art looked through the panoramic window.

    -You can see all the Ballroom from up here! – he almost glued himself to the glass.

    Down there, several of his classmates and clubmates were scaterred around the room, talking casually and having fun.

    -Oh, look! Nishi and Faiye have just left delicately through some door on the side!

    -Maybe they have something important to do.

    -Well, too bad we’ve disclosed them. – he giggled. – You can see eveyrhing from here!

    -Yeah. The view is really nice.


    -And one can hear us…


    The sudden sound of the locking door as if it pulled a rare string in his mind, that made him instinctively recollect all the recent, troublesome occurences.

    This almost struck him out of the blue. How did it come, that he just swept them under the rug so readily? Why didn’t he give it more thought before?!

    A sudden cold wave ran all through his body… And together with it, it brought to the surface this true, prime fear of the dark unknown, buried deeply in the very roots of every living creature’s existance, that was making them deliriously horrified on a whole new, cosmicly-philosophical scale…

    Almost shaking from the sudden realization, Art slowly turned.

    -A-aiv…? – he only whispered quietly, barely controlling his voice not to tremble.

    She was just sitting there… All in silence and gloom. With bangs hiding her eyes. Her face expressionless like stone. That odd posture, both relaxed and tensed…

    And the dark aura irradiating from her like a black sun…

    Its sheer intensity made him sick and light-headed near instantly.

    -You know, it was really not fair for you to go away like that… - she began…

    His eyes widened.

    Her voice… It was so uniform and low… Almost like Krul’s…

    Cold chills creeped all over his body. His fingers’ ends nervously rubbed into one another.

    Aiv was still not moving at all.

    -I was missing you so much…

    Art gulped, trying to get rid the hand, that was squeezing his throat.

    -B-but I’m here now… - he mumbled.

    She suddenly moved towards him. By some reason, he instinctively tried to step back, but hit the table…


    She hugged him so tight, that he felt all the warmth of her body even through the clothes. The hand of heat engulfed him like a comfy cushion, reaching even to the deepest pits of his soul.

    It reminded him so much of his mother’s embrace…

    -You are not getting away this time… - she mumbled on his chest.

    Her heart was beating so loud… As if with every slam was trying to reach and hug his’.

    Art just smiled warmly.

    -Of course I’m not, my little princess. – and he hugged her too, gently patting hand on her head.

    This suddenly felt so relaxing and revitalizing… Like she was a battery, that instantly filled him with positive energy and erased every trouble from the last shitty days…

    It was blissful… and cozy… And he wanted to enjoy this moment forever…

    -It was really not fair on their side… - she mumbled on his chest again.

    Art’s hand moved on her back.

    -C’mon, Aiv, are you still on that… It’s over already…

    She stepped back so suddenly, that left him staring at her almost surprised. She returned to his eye contact with no hesitation…

    There was so beautiful, enchanting glitter in hers…

    Then, she gently wrapped her hands around his neck.


    And rised on her toes…


    She closed her eyes…

    And her face started moving closer to his’…


    Art carefully put his hands between them and forced her back.

    -W-what are y-you doing, Aiv?! – he stuttered utterly bewildered.

    She looked him as if a bit surprised, slightly tilting her head.

    -What does it looks like? I just want to compensate for all the time you were missing… - she whispered gently and closing her eyes and rising on her toes, tried to advance on him once again.

    Art decisively held her back.

    -C’mon, enough joking, Aiv. It’s a bit cold here. Let’s go… – he carefully pushed her to the side and headed for the door.

    He was just reaching for the lock, when the powerful magic-energy burst electrified all the air in the room.


    Her mad howl pierced an ice spear in his heart, the sudden goosebumps made his back stiff…

    A great tremble ran all through his body.

    He turned just in time to see how Aiv’s shadow overhang above…

    All his hairs suddenly rose up.


    His eyes didn’t even manage to goggle from surprise, when he felt how his head almost exploded.

    Like how his every neuron suddenly superheated and excited, trying to expand in all possible directions, as if it wanted to leave his skull. The pressure and the burning sensation made him feel his brain like one huge, hot fried blob of incoherent organic matter, put in the middle of particle accelerator during an intensive collision event. He just wanted to split open his top and throw it off…

    His heart blew up in a few strong, irregular beats, that punched so hard to crush his ribcage from inside, it almost made him puke it through his mouth. Like someone tried to shove a brick down his throat.

    The sharp, sudden pain, that pierced his head, as if all his veins and arteries have burst open, splashed a red, bloody veil over his eyes and together with his muscles violently convulsing, his horizon rampartly spun, throwing him promptly into a black realm of no return.

    Somewhere deep in him, his still working subconsciousness perceived his hard falling on the floor and his blurred, closing eyes followed how Aiv’s moved at him…

    With the dark veil now engulfing his sight and all the sounds becoming increasingly muted, as if he was falling in an endless well, his whole perception of time abnormally stretched, shifting his perspective of existance into this bizarre, surreal realm of cosmic dream. Like he become an outside spectator of his own fate, hovering aimlessly on the side, while watching how his soul was slowly being separated from his body. And no matter how hard he slammed with a fist, there was no weight in it, and there was no matter how loud he has screamed, no words were materializing after this. He was helpless and lost, thrown into and endless ocean in his prison of crystal and ice, able only to watch how the waves were the ones deciding his fate.

    But then, suddenly, just when his soul had reached high enough to finally threaten to break away from his body and frivolously soar in the skies, it just stopped. As if it was a weird-shaped balloon about to get lost in the wind, when the small kid manages to grab it for its cord in the very last second and hold it firm.

    And now this cord was hanging straight from his heart, not letting his soul drift even a milimeter further…

    Wait, NO!

    Upon closer look, it was coming from!…

    Like a poping balloon, all his perspective snapped back into his eyes, as if what he saw just now was a painting on its surface.

    His medallion brightly flashed and from a far, little known corner of his mind, a deep, mysterious voice boomed in his head:


    Somewhere, there, in a dark, starry night, a dying, diminishing ember was hit by a huge wave of pure oxygen, blowing it into a skies-high fire.

    His eyes opened like a madman and filled to the brim with burning adrenaline, he catapulted himself in the air, while automatically focusing his little cousin.


    She only managed to say that much, when Art stomped her like a truck. His sight became clear again like mountain river, relentlessly locking onto her, all the sounds suddenly returned in one sharp spiral of amalgamated tones. His muscles were pumped and hot, making him feel strong like a titan, all the pain and fatigue were erased in a moment, like he could sprint contrysides and swim across lakes.

    Like an old withering tree, suddenly revived by an ancient spirit…

    With his blood now boiling and fury raging in his heart, he knocked her roughly on the ground, rasing his fist to smash it in her face.

    Then, like suddenly struck by a powerful lightning, he froze.

    As if the time stopped and the world around hanged, it became so quiet, that he was able to hear the blood in his ears pulsing.

    “W-what am I d-doing?!” – asked a voice as if not his’, like his mind until now was somewhere else.

    He looked down. Shaking and trembling, terrified in her soul, Aiv was just starring at him with her horrified, watery eyes. As if she experienced something he should never done to her…

    -Aiv… - he whispered lowly. His eyes widened no less than hers.

    What was going on? What where they doing?! HOW DID THEY GET IN THIS SITUATION?!?!?!

    His head… He suddenly found it burning so badly. Why were his instincts screaming at him? Like he was forgetting something so important…

    Like… Like…

    Aiv helped him remember it by kicking him in the stomach so hard, that he almost threw up.

    Like suddenly thrown in an ice-cold lake after a wild party night, his mind cleared like a motion film. He understood everything now…

    And the desire to slap her in the face so hard, that her head fly off, filled him to the brim.

    Art turned at her and was about to pierce her with his incinerating gaze…

    -You little piece of sh…

    The only thing he saw was her feet. She kicked him a second time, this time straight in the face, so hard that when he fell back his head thumped on the ground.


    The hit was strong enough to almost make him black out again and although he remembered everything down to the smallest detail, his dancing horizon didn’t let him focus at all…

    So badly, that the next moment he become aware again, he found Avys on top of him. With her fist high in the air…


    Like snapping a picture, this image of hers imprinted so deep in his mind, he was never going to forget it…

    These madly burning eyes… The grotesquely distorted face… Those surreally elongated canine teeth… The redish coloration of her flesh… These pulsing veins on her neck and temples…

    She was just a pure beast.

    With an unseen ferocity, she swung down her fist so hard, he heard it swoosh.

    It was a pure miracle she didn’t manage to smash it on his face.

    In the very last moment he twisted his head and her fist slammed so hard on the floor right next to his ear, that the meaty, abhorrent crunch of her wrist bones instantly turned his stomach upset.


    Was it the disgusting sound of her smashing her arm, or the loathsome feeling of sickness that stirred inside him, the sudden shock as if just now made him fully start perceiving the situation.

    -Aiv, what are you doing?! – he looked her in total disbelief.

    In response, she just raised her fist with the bloody knuckles once more and stroke.

    His eyes widened from the utter stupor and virtue to his reflexes, honed by the endless hours of arduous training, his head automatically started to move again. Her fist glanced off his cheek and through his ear, making them burn in a feel like she shaved a solid part of his skin off before smashing it on the ground once more – again, without a tremble, without even a tone coming out of her mouth, as if she was just not feeling a pain at all.

    “WHAT IS GOING ON?!...”

    The flames in her eyes feverishly burned and without wasting any time, she swung her other hand too.

    Art just couldn’t bear it to let her hurt herself anymore, so he put his hands over his head and took it all in.


    Hundreds of demons, he swore, her strike was so powerful, that he felt how his bones cracked.

    -AIV, STOP!! WHAT’S GOTTEN INTO YOU?! – he yelled at her face as if trying to awake them both from this nightmare.

    -THEN JUST GIVE UP! – she yelled back at his’.

    She raised her small fist for another strike and with his arms still pulsing from the punch, he wasn’t sure he wanted to take another one full on. Aiv swung and thanks to his senses being extra sharpened from all the rushing hormones, he was able to deftly grab it before gaining full momentum. He pulled it to the side, making her stagger beyond recovery, and in a last, desperate attempt before she fully lose control of her movements, she tried to punch him in the face with her other hand, but missed. Putting his legs into work too, he easily knocked her on the floor, locking her hands behind the back.

    Enough to not let her throw punches left and right again…

    Aiv instantly started to wiggle and twitch violently, growling like a mad animal, caught in a trap. She twisted and tried to bite him, but Art was quick enough to react and dodged, forcing him to press her with his knees too…

    -Avys, you!...

    … but because of her attempt to lodge her teeth onto his forearm and he subsequently evading it, his grip loosened just enough for her to manage to free her hand, instantly putting palm on the floor…



    The magic shield erupted from her, catapulting him straight in the air. He hit the low, soundproof ceiling and fell back over the chairs before the table, knocking them all down like bowling pins and knocking all sense of direction out of him.

    With his head reeling hard and a dull pain sabotaging his every move, he tried by touch to find a stable support for his foothold in this forest of amalgamated objects he suddenly found himself into.

    That was when Avys poped back in his fragmented view, just above him, raising both her hands high in the air.

    But this time they weren’t empty…

    She was holding something…

    Was that… a chair?...

    His eyes madly widened in a sudden realization and he started to move just in time, when she swung it overhead, with the very clear intention to smash it in his’. He was barely quick enough to duck below the table and Aiv tried to correct and follow him, but the chair crashed on the edge, so hard, that his ears rang loudly from the hit.


    As if this triggered some very worrysome realization in him.


    That hit was strong enough to split his head open.


    He gulped.

    That was bad…

    HE NEEDED TO DISABLE HER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE (but what has gotten into her in first place?)!!!

    With his heart now beating like crazy and mind overflowing with important questions (no time to think about that right now…), he reflexively kicked one of the chairs directly at her, knocking her down like a pole. She fell and without waiting her to recover, Art instantly rushed forwards. Seeing this, Aiv tried to grab the closest chair and hit him again, but he blocked it with his shoulder before she manages to fully swing it and with a powerful bash, he knocked it out of her hands. He tried to grab her arms, but Aiv kicked at his face, forcing him to dodge and her foot landed on his shoulder, making him stagger. This brought her just enough time to crawl away from him and when Art recovered, about to attack her again, her body just shone in a bright light.

    Disapearing completely.


    Her shadow swooshed over his right ear and something flashed behind him.


    He sharply started to turn...

    Only to see the flying monitor straight at his face. Not even a chance to dodge.


    He almost fall back, if it wasn’t for the wall, that supported his back. And was lucky enough that the flat part hit him and not some edge. Probably that was the reason why he managed not to lose consciousness…

    Shaking his head to throw off the dizziness, he focused ahead.

    Aiv was nowhere to be seen.

    “WHERE IS SHE?!”

    Left or right?!

    He looked left.

    The first clue by which he understood that he had choosen wrongly, was when she smashed the keyboard in his head. So hard, that he heard something crack (not sure if it was the plastic or his skull) and the buttons flew in all directions like shrapnels.

    Over the raining sounds and his blurry sight, he heard another swoosh and instinctively moved his hand, casting temporary magical shield. The hit cracked in the barrier, right above his ear (this time he was sure it was the keyboard case) and a bare light flashed in his periphery. He heard how Avys snorted, followed by her quick, consecutive steps, as if she lost a balance for a moment, giving him these so precious seconds to take a breath. Fighting through all the pain, and the dizziness in his head, he mobilized his upmost will and strength to clear his focus before she recovers and attacks. He advanced on her, trying to grapple her, but, partly because of him, partly because of her, she managed to dodge and kicked him so hard side in the knee, she almost brought him down.

    Her hands grabbed his throat:


    -NEON! – he instantly interrupted it and the bright flash dazzled them both.

    Aiv snorted again and tried to blindly hit him, but her strike swooshed beside his shoulder, missing completety. Led by the sound, Art reflexively snatched it and kicked her behind the knees, knocking her on her back down on the floor. But somehow miraculously, while falling, she managed to grab him for the shirt and her weight pulled him out of balance too. Staggering, he tried to maintain his foothold and recover, but his calves hit something and he stumbled, going down with her.

    It was when Aiv immediately moved to attack him again, that he finally realized it. She was never going to give up, she never had the intention to do. He really didn’t understand what have gotten into her, but her tenacity and persistence were something even he wasn’t ready to deal with right now. And before some of them gets really hurt, he understood what he had to do.

    She tried to grab him or punch him, Art couldn’t tell what exactly, since her coordination was a bit off, but he easily deflected it to the side.

    It wasn’t difficult for him to do what he did next – after all, despite her “possession”, she was still light and small. But he wasn’t gentle at all.

    Art just grabbed her and threw her out off him.


    -FUCK YOUR MOT…! – Aiv crashed over the disorderly chairs before the bureau.

    He jumped on his feet and rushed for the door.

    Less than a meter before reaching it, he tripped over something again. And smashed his face on the door so hard, he sweared, this time both his bones and the wood cracked. Something, from which he started seeing stars around.

    He really should have been more on high alert. Because, this was the second time tonight, she caught him completely by surprise.

    The electric spell finished the rest.


    His unpreparedness for its suddenness caught him so out off balance, that the shock almost knocked him down. Thousands of needles erupted from his nerves in all directions and brutally pierced his muscles, making his body lose the will of its own. His teeth screeched soundly and his nails cut deeply into his palms as he fought mentally not to lose against the pain.

    He wanted to swear. He wanted to curse. He wanted to punch her in the face…

    Instead, she dropkicked him so hard in the ribs, that he slammed into the door, before fully embracing the floor. The combo he took was so fierce, he wondered if she didn’t send him into another dimension…

    Down there, dizzled and shocked, his body utterly relaxed, as he emptily stared up.


    Did the lights just turned dimmer? The heavy, stagnated air filled his nose. Was he breathing a metal?! The monotonous buzzing scraped his ears. Why was his head so heavy… The pressure was crushing his skull from all sides. Did the ceiling just got down? The thick, dark ambience materialized around. Did everything just turned upside down?! Why was the room was swaying left and right?...

    His dizzled senses heard the clothes rusling, the quick steps sent vibrations on the floor, that echoed in his mind, the sudden air currents suddenly caressed his skin. He felt all that, but was just not able to understand it anymore.

    He looked at Avys, but his eyes were seeing straight through her.

    “Where… where am I-I?...”

    As if the whole time just slowed down, stretching like an endless strand.

    “Was that… full tranquility?”

    He was laying on the ground, but his soul was somewhere wandering off.

    -Are you giving up?... – a distant voice.

    He looked panicky.

    Who was there? Who was talking?!

    Left. Right. No one was there.

    He frowned. They were just bothering him again to annoyance… He was busy right now. What was he thinking about earlier? Ah, ye…

    When Aiv shook him hard and he hit his head few times on the floor, Art came a bit to his senses.

    -Are you giving up?! – she clenched him so hard for the shoulders, that her nails bit into his skin right through the shirt. – Or should I continue…

    His eyes widened against her.

    He almost forgot what was going on.

    Heavily panting, he tried to clear his mind.

    “Running didn’t work, huh…”

    Really, what was gotten into her… What should he do next? Should he try to teleport? No, that was too risky, the room was small and she seemed to always be trying to cling into him. He didn’t wanted to blow her to pieces.


    How to incapacitate her, how…

    Should he try to run away again? No, that was only leading to a fierce response from her side. She was definetily going to follow. Should he continue to fight? But what if he ended hurting her badly? He didn’t want to do that… And her tenacity and resistance. He really couldn’t understand why she suddenly flipped that way…

    A small spark in his mind as if tried to remind him for something, by his dynamic run of thoughts quickly diminished her.

    He needed to somehow immobilize her. But how… Knocking her unconsciouss? NO, for fuck sake…

    Think, think, think…

    She shook him again, throwing him out of focus.

    -ARE Y…?! – she was about to yell in his face.

    “DAMN IT!”

    -YES!... – Art quickly shot, interrupting her.

    He took a deep breath.

    “Delay, delay, delay more…”

    What to do, what to do…

    -…yes, I am! Just stop being violent!

    Aiv smiled. With a broad, victorious smile. Her body relaxed. Her grip on his shoulders loosened…

    And as she closed her eyes, her face started moving closer and closer to his’…

    As if a sudden lamp poped over his head.

    “THAT’S IT!”

    -Aiv… - he carefully moved his hand on her hip, gently caressing her with his fingers.

    -What is it… What do you want now…

    -Nothing, I just… wanted to see your beautiful eyes once more…

    Aiv looked him frowned, tilting her head a bit.

    Her pupils widened…

    And in the next moment she raised such a terrifying howl, that the ice-cold shiver pierced even his heart.

    -YOU FUCKING BASTARD, HOW COULD YOU DO THAT, I’LL KILL YOU, I’LL FUCKING MURDER YOU…!!! – she sharply leaned back, trying to get off, blocking her eyes with forearms.

    Art decisively held her for the shirt.

    -NOOO, LET GO OF ME, LET GO OF MEE, YOU FUCKING FREAK, LET GOO!!!... – she started kicking and fidgeting, but Art promptly forced her on the ground, grabbing both her hands.

    -You didn’t want to stop Aiv, and this is what you get… - he snorted through his teeth of the effort, while stretched her arms to the side.

    -NOOOOO, LET ME GOOO!!!... – with her eyes tightly closed, she turned her face fully to the right, as if trying to embed it into the floor.

    Art blocked one of her hands with his knee and grabbed her for the cheeks, turning her head straight up.

    -It will be less painful for you, Aiv, if you stop resisting… - he put fingers on her eyelid, trying to force it open… - C’mon Aiv, show me these beautiful eyes of yours!

    -NO! FUCK YOU!! POV…!!!

    Art quickly let go and covered her mouth before she can finish the cast and only loud murmurs followed.

    -Open your eyes, you!... – he tried to block with his other knee her other shoulder and free his other hand…

    She bit him so hard, he barely hold his scream. A strong desire to smash his fist in her face stirred in him, but he hesitated, so she was the one to hit him in the head instead, almost knocking him down.


    Their eyes met. And hers shone.


    His thought couldn’t even finish, when he felt how two fingers poked through his eyes, grabbed his brain and shook it as hard as they can. His horizon instantly turned black, with many pale golden shades starting to dance in a chaotic, mad rhythm. His ears buzzed with a swarm of thousand bees, instantly turning him deaf for everything but her voice, and with his legs becoming soft like plasticine, as if the whole room rotated upside down, making his body melt in a formless shape of puddle on the ceiling. He felt how in an instant of time, both his will and composure abandoned him.

    But his reflexes got the better of him, as he instinctively closed his eyes and tilted back, just like her before. The effects instantly milded, but didn’t disappear completely, as he was to remain in his half-trance condition for a while…


    He tried to back off, but something instantly hit him behind his knees again and he tripped. And as he thumped on the floor, he understood the nature of the mysterious stumblings too.


    His murky vision tried to focus, but his head reeled even harder, as he heard her closing steps on the ground as distant stomps.



    He sensed how she tried to jump over him again, but Art blindly kicked, trying to shove her away. He missed, but that forced her to dodge, which gave him just enough time to clear his head for once last effort, while mustering all his remaining will and strength.


    Aiv crashed into the shield wall, and from how light his head instantly turned from the sudden energy drain upon the impact, he understood how hard her onrush was.

    -WHAT, NOO!!! – she started knocking with her hand.

    Art grabbed his medallion and concentrating the last remnants of his energy, his dizzy mind found the shortest, safest way away…



    He just started disappearing in bright light, when the loud sonic explosion above him almost ruptured his ears, instantly making him lose all sense of direction and concentration of will…

    “FUCK, NOOO!”

    It was too late.

    The sequence has already started.

    He teleported almost blindly.