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 Turn to page 203 if you have an open mind and actually wish to learn about other ideologies that aren't pure elementalism.
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Cutting the liveliest part of her to me, the sickly girl asked, "Yes?"
"Is this book, like... y'know..." I felt a little crazy asking the question, but in for a penny and all that. "Well, talking to me?"
She nodded her head. "Yes, it is."
...Y'know what? I'm just gonna ignore that bit. I have a more important question after that revelation. "Okay, quick question: how the hell does this book know I'm a virgin?"
Before Patches could begin to answer, I felt uncomfortably feminine hands grasp my shoulders from behind. Normally that'd not be an issue, but considering the fact that we're at the bottom of what looks like an ocean of blood, if it isn't Ko, I'd have way bigger problems.
Of course, it is Ko, which I'm more than a little irritated at being thankful for, even if only due to the alternative being less than appealing in its mystery.
Voice smooth as silk and teasing as can be, she pointed out, "Why, of course it's obvious!" I could practically smell the shit-eating grin. "You positively stink of cherries..."
I took that moment to peek over my shoulder, keeping a scowl on my face. Normally I'd toss it her way, but no way, no how am I giving it to her. "The hell's that supposed to mean?"
Patchouli chucked an irritated look at Ko's head like a scornful rock, before her eyes refocused their efforts on better places, which is to say myself. "Her kind have a way of telling things such as that."
I traded my scowl for an odd look. "Her kind?"
Ko answered, as if it were obvious, "Why, I'm a succubus, plain and simple." Then why did the book know?
...Ehh. More important to jab back. "So... you're a slut."
"As much as you are." With that said, Ko punctuated her retort with a huff.
Those words gave me pause. Had to roll them around on my tongue a bit to get at all the intricacies and flavors. When I finally swallowed them down my gullet, I responded, "Man, you really must suc as a cubus..."
The two of them stared at me, Ko looking like she was trying (and failing) to get upset, where as Patches was purely amused, which turned into a full-blown chuckle not long after. Of course, Ko's scowl starting to crumble when she started to snicker, before that emotional cork finally popped free when she began giggling. I'd never say it out loud, but it was a pretty cute giggle, too. Not cute like Nitori's giggle-snorting, but like watching the hottest girl in school pick her nose or some such while she thinks she's alone.
...Back on topic, I still didn't like the giggler even with that mental image in mind.
Deciding to cut my purely internal losses while I was ahead, I turned to page 203, Patches starting to cough as I read. Ko gets points for patting Patches on the back, though, even if it's hard to say if she was made to do it or not.
Chapter 4: Unreasonably More Advanced Lesson
Well, aren't you a bundle of surprises. Then again, you could also just be a curious one. Either way, good on you for seeking knowledge, whatever your intentions may be in doing so. That said, this will be by no means a complete lesson, but we can continue the lesson another time, if you have more specific requests. Very little of this will be truly useful to you after all, as your teacher is a true elementalist, pure in her... sub-optimal ways. You see, the problem of being a jack of all trades is that you have little room for mastery. If we were to give magic a letter grade system (which isn't a terrible idea, honestly) you would call her a straight B student.
Your grade, however, would be pure F's, but with a single D in swimming class.
Yes, I know, you are but a girl born of man. However, excuses are excuses, and though yours is excusable, that is not something you would be wise to tell another by choice. Furthermore, we are here to fix that, yes? And so, as you proclaim yourself a witch, let me cover more witchly focuses, two of which you may well be able to work with even at your power level.
Chapter 4.1: Witching Hour
Witches have a longer history than salem and trials. Not that a single witch was victim to such trials, at least not in salem, and rarer still with expectation of them actually being one. As was said, a witch worth her salt would surely have survived all such tortures, if she was expecting them. Key word: if. But proper witches are never not wise, and wisdom dictates to not stay among a populous executing so-called witches, no matter how unlikely witches being victimized in such a way would actually be. You see, magic requires a degree of intellectual pursuit for those less monster than man. More likely than hooked noses and warts, you would instead see those who time forgets, ever beautiful and vibrant. Witches are more often akin to overbearing grandmother dispensing cookies than the expected old crone that would rather a taste of Hansel and Gretel.
Which isn't to say that hooked noses and warts aren't a thing that witches can suffer from. Warts are, however, easily treated, what with witches being skilled alchemists. Likewise, a hooked nose is easily bent into a more preferable shape less akin to a lumpy, bumpy banana, as many witches seek transformative magics so as to never worry of death.
Now, brooms are simple enough to make; even you could, with a proper teacher capable in the subject. There are many ways to get a broom in the air, but that is no ideology. Instead, those are aforementioned methodologies, though not quite as you saw them used. For instance, one way you could attempt to use for such a feat would be runic magic, though such things are often derived from other sorts, such as inscribing blood into them. Which, I will say, would be a... largely safe practice. A saguinomancer, however, may break into a lengthy monologue berating you for your foolishness, all while cackling madly and claiming you a fool.
But that's getting off topic, not to mention into rant territory. That said, next on the list is alchemy. Modern alchemy is watered down and used by ordinary humans. Chemistry may lack the vital magics that make alchemy what it is, but if you become a chemist, an alchemist is but a chemist with a liberal application of magic and the correct materials for the job.
Last on the list of traditional witches, you have hexes and curses. These things are certainly similar in ways, but going over that difference would be a lesson unto itself. However, to put it simply, curses are fueled by emotion, and hexes are more methodical. Spite, rage and vitriol are the things to popularize curses, and hexes are more clear and deliberate in their focus. One can be cursed to death, but hexes will not do so quite so easily. Curses typically have their fair share of permanency, though are usually poorly thought out. After all, who would ever kiss a frog?
Hexes have none of that stupidity to them. One could say that the difference is that there is no emotion in the pot to spoil the spell, even. Curses being twisted by the emotional baggage of the caster, whereas hexes are spun by the wicked intents.
Patches cleared her throat, and I found that she was tapping her wrist when I looked to her. "It is time we go." One. "Do not bother saving your place; it will not matter."
Gave her a nod, letting the book close with that clappy-slapping of paper only a hardback can pull off. "Sure thing, Patches." That said, I kicked my feet up off of the wastefully made table, and took to standing. "Although, how're we gonna get back up?"
Gave her an odd look, as she'd earned her paycheck with that one. "I don't know how to fly."
"I wasn't intending personal flight." Two. "Just be patient." With that, she stood and took out some chalk. She drew a circle around the edges of the bubble, then weird geometric squiggles that probably had meaning beyond looking pretty. Giving her handiwork a once over, she put away the chalk, and began chanting like before. Her words were, well... words. Loud, echoing words, as if she were commanding a cave to do her bidding. And, as the lengthy gibberish spewed from her mouth, the ground below us shook, the weird art carving into the ground as if the chalk was suddenly turned into acid.
Or, at least, I thought it was carving into the ground. It took me all of two seconds to notice that the ground outside of the inner circle of runes(?) was rapidly growing distant. It wasn't until we left the water that I realized we were going goddamn fast to boot, as we were already at the edge of the cliff when it dawned on me.
Shrugging, I said, "Guess this is my stop, huh?"
Letting out a ghost of a chuckle, Patches confirmed, "Quite." Taking a three in preparation, she continued, "I will see you on Friday morning. Otherwise, if you have need, you may find me at... room 307 of... of the dorms." Four, five, six.
"Y'know, as I keep tellin' you, ya really don't gotta be all wordy. If ya gotta breathe, just take the damned breath."
Shaking her head, before taking another seven and eight, she stated, "Koa needs them far more than I."
It took a few moments of her looking at me with a face that looked almost at home above Ko's schnoz, but when I finally got the joke, I couldn't not laugh at that. "Good one, Patches."
While Ko just rolled her eyes, Patches smiled, motioning me to go. Returning it with the interest that is a nod, I headed on, though took the time to peek at the side of our stony steed. Turned out it was a column that looked to be sticking out of the water, maybe even connected to that circle at the bottom still. That bout of curiosity sated, I considered my options, or the lack thereof. I could head straight to class, but I had a sneaking suspicion that I'd see turtle butt back at the dorm, and knew she was gonna be wringing her hands and fretting. 'Cause, seriously, why wouldn't she? The squishy human just went off with a bitch and a witch, which tends to be a good reason to worry, no matter if you're a butt sucker or what.
Heading for the dorms, I glanced to the clocktower, finding a thankful amount of early. Had plenty of time to work with, so I could take a shower and all that. Sure, I'm not what I'd call a germaphobe, but when it comes to smelling edible or not, I'd rather smell like shampoo. 'Cause, seriously, I just know someone other than my friend wants to take a chunk out of my ass.
Passing by a familiar face, I said, "Yo, Suika."
"Yo, whatever your name was~" ...Never seen someone so cheerfully say something like that.
"Marisa. Name's Marisa."
"Ohh, right!" She rubbed the back of her head, clearly a little embarrassed. "Yo, Marisa~" She gave a lazy wave, obviously wanting to keep to a waving budget.
Couldn't help but chuckle after that short bout of interaction, but kept heading for our room regardless. We were kinda in one of the first rooms, so it was hardly difficult to find, and only took so long because of all the distractions.
Testing the knob, and finding it unlocked, I peeked in.
And then the door was flung open, and I was tackled into the hall to a chorus of cries from the other girls. "You're okay!" Had a faceful of turtle butt. ...Well, the face-end, not that butt straight out of legend.
"And not dead!"
"...Well, yeah?" Seriously, why the distinction?
Gave a yelp when she dragged me back into the room, as her being strong was more than a little surprising, given past experience. "Okay, now that you're done with that, you're explaining to me whatever the heck you're up to."
Gave a shrug, as she deserved that and more. "Well, I was kinda looked at all pretty-like by a succubus, had to kick sense into her via the ass, and was saved by some sorta elementalist mage type? After that, she was all like 'be there or be square,' and as I ain't no square, I was there. She was gonna gimme magic lessons, but it turned out that was too much effort for her weary bones, so she gave me this here sarcastic spell book." Helpfully waved the thing, before continuing, "And then I sat at the bottom of the ocean for a while reading up on witches and how sexy demons apparently are, not that this is news to me, even if it 'is' Ko."
She nodded along all the while, though grew increasingly blatant in her confusion along the way. "Wait, wait. Back up. What was that about the ocean?"
"Y'know that red water all around the island?" At least, I think it's an island. Not exactly checked, after all.
"...Yeah." She had that 'I'm not gonna like where this is going' look on her face.
"Well, Patches dropped me off the cliff."
"'Course, I had to think fast to avoid the rocks below."
"So I made like a swan and dove."
"...Into jagged rocks?!"
"Nah. Turned out Patches' bitch had better aim than that."
"Still, doing the only reasonable thing, I swam down."
"Well, 'cause I saw someone down there."
"And what gave you the idea that it seemed like a good idea to say hi? What if it was a kappa or a mermaid or something?"
"Yeah, they suck life out of people, aging them in an instant."
Shuddered a bit at the thought of my roguish good looks going to someone only good at sucking. "Well, wasn't either. Turned out to be Patches again."
"Wait, wasn't she at the top?"
"Pretty sure, yeah."
"And she beat you there?"
She let out a long sigh, before asking, "And you just... swam to her and, what? She put a bubble on your head and hoped for the best?"
Shook my head. "Nah, I could breathe just fine before she mentioned I could breathe."
She blinked a few times, before asking, "You breathed water?"
"Think so, yeah."
"...Good job, Marisa." She went from playing 20Q to a happy smile in an instant. And then she hugged me again, though far less painfully, if only by comparison to tackling the shit out of me.
Got me a little red in the ears, too. "Hey, now... Didn't I already say I'm a witch?"
"A shit witch."
"Nah, that's a crappy sandwich."
Rolling her eyes, she just said, "Stop ruining the moment."
Got me laughing. "Yes'm." Had to pile on the sarcasm as best I could just to be sure she didn't think that serious.
"Still, good job, Marisa." That big smile returned to her face. "Most humans don't have the balls to try."
Gave a shrug, retorting, "Most humans ain't as cool as your truly, now are they?"
She started giggling. "I guess they aren't, are they? Still, glad you can at least do that much. You're going to get me all misty eyed if you do much more."
Was now my turn to roll my eyes. "Ohh, shut up. You know book learning ain't my style."
Was her turn again. "Yeah, well, you can't just punch all your problems away."
"I mean, it's worked surprisingly well so far."
"It won't work forever. Even less if you give the wrong guy a nut shot."
"Like Unzan." Damn NYUDOU.
Chuckling, I said, "Anyways, you gonna keep busting my ribs, or you gonna let me go and shower? 'Cause I'd say I have all day for some turtle huggin', but I kinda don't?"
Sighing, she let me go. "Sorry. Was just glad you were okay is all."
"It's fine, it's fine. Just don't forget that I like my ribs in one piece and we're cool."
Got me a roll of the eyes. "I wonder why?"
Gave her a shrug, answering, "One of the great mysteries, ain't it? Anywho, I'mma go take a shower while I have the time.
"Yeah, yeah... just don't go getting distracted by dunking your head in the tub."
"Honestly, that sounds more like a you thing."
"Sh-shut up." Got a huff for my troubles. "Just get going, you." Heh. Still adorable when she gets all red in the face.
Headed off in good spirits, chuckling the whole way, no matter how short it was. 'Course, I guess I should probably change out what bandages I've got, huh? Had to rummage around a bit, but eventually found what I was looking for, and set about the gruesome task of looking at myself in the mirror.
Yup. Still flat as a pancake.
Ohh, and I had some scabs and bruises spread out here and there. Still, plenty of them looked like they'd be just fine not being bound like some sorta mummy, so I only redressed the ones that needed it, and only after bathing. Kiiinda would defeat the point, doing it now.
Although, it did make me realize that covering scabs might be a good idea, what with the whole vampire friend and all.
...Ehh. Flan seems harmless enough. Won't say anything even if she did find out, right? 'Sides, not like she'd bite me, and even if she would, what are the odds that just one bite would be all it'd take? Obviously there's gotta be more to it than that, after all.
Then again, she's my friend now. Could just, y'know, ask for the deets and hope she doesn't go all birds and bees on me.
That in mind, I got dressed again and grabbed up my stuff. No homework yet, thankfully, but I was left with a couple options, and my belly was rumbling for a particular one.
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[ ] Go grab some breakfast. Gonna have to chow down, so probably won't be late if I don't go pussyfooting around more witchy things.
[ ] Head to homeroom. Extra time with Flan's never a bad thing, right?
[ ] Write-in.