|Author: Jammin’ Rabbit||Original Source: Tamaya Kagiya||Artist: Himexin|
Hitomi has turned into a succubus before my very eyes. No matter how much I don’t want to believe it, the undeniable truth is only a few steps away from me.
“I don’t want to hurt you, Saeko. But you’re in the way.”
She disappears from my sight.
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I put my guard up in time as a massive blow impacts my arms. Hitomi sweeps my legs out from under me but I catch myself in flight before hitting ground. Another blow to my stomach sends me launching me into the air.
She dives for the thugs whom Mio and Hana have already dealt with. But I’m faster. I swoop down and slam my body against her, knocking her out of their way. Mio finally sees what’s happened to Hitomi and rubs her eyes to make sure it’s not a trick.
“Wait, what?” Mio scratches her head.
I land between Mio and Hana. “I don’t get it either—”
“Damn. Prez is hot as 𝓯𝓾𝓬𝓴 as a succubus.”
“That’s what you focus on?!”
Hitomi picks herself off the ground and brushes the dirt from her tattered clothes. “You guys have this power, too? Doesn’t change a thing. Step away if you don’t want to get burned.”
“I’m not letting you do this, Hitomi.” I put my arms out ready to take the attacks.
A dozen fireballs form around her. Mio and I can’t budge or she will incinerate the men behind us— worse, innocent people around us will get hurt.
“Those are murderers, rapists, and thieves you’re protecting. The world would be better off without people like them and my family. I finally have the power to put them down, and I’m not wasting it,” she declares.
“You ran away because you didn’t want to be a part of that anymore. Doing this is only going to put yourself back into the life you escaped.”
It looks like my words are getting through. Some of the fireballs fizzle out, but Hitomi is still dead set on killing the thugs.
Mio puts a hand on my shoulder and chimes in. “Give it up, Prez. She’s a stickler when it comes to platitudes.”
“You can leave these guys to the police, and we can go to Akiba together. You don’t have to become a killer,” I plead, praying, hoping she will listen to reason and abandon this reckless need.
HItomi sighs. She glances at her reflection from a store window and grimaces at her new form. “You’re right. Involving myself with them means jumping back into that 𝓼𝓱𝓲𝓽𝓽𝔂 underworld. But you’re wrong about one thing— I already am a killer.”
The barrage of fireballs shoot towards us. They explode on an invisible wall, inches away from my face. Hana drops the barrier and conjures a gust of wind to blow the smoke away.
“Magical girl Hana is on the scene! Teehee~”
Mio and I turn around to see Hana already changed into the magical girl outfit. The frilly and vibrant dress is a tight fit, and the skirt— if it can be called that— is barely long enough to cover her thighs.
“When did you find time to change?!”
“A magical girl is always ready,” Hana declares proudly. “Watch out for Prez. Even if I can’t sense her aura, the intensity of magic she’s casting is as strong as a greater succubus.”
Is Hitomi the rumoured fourth?
“This is a joke to you… but this is my life!” Hitomi appears right next to us. She kicks Mio to the ground, tosses Hana away, and carries me into the air.
The two of us are locked into a brawl, throwing punch after punch. I’ve never fought before, but Hitomi clearly has, and it shows with each blow that makes it past my guard. I put some distance between us and throw my own fireballs at her, but they come out much larger than the ones Hitomi created.
Magical energy pours into my hands, conjuring no mere ball— but an enormous fireblast that forces Hitomi to dodge and stay on the defensive. My instincts to fight and survive is all that’s keeping me on par with her. If it weren’t for Torii Sensei’s heavy-handed lesson, I would never have been able to cast magic of this level.
“Hitomi, we can talk this out—”
“I’m done talking.”
By whatever magic, Hitomi teleports to me with her fist aimed at my jaw. Mio’s well-timed uppercut saves my face, and Hana joins in with her own barrage of spells. Despite taking multiple blows, Hitomi is still hanging in strong.
“I don’t think Hitomi’s used to being a succubus,” I tell the other two. “If she hasn’t been having sex, then it’s only a matter of time before her energy runs out.”
“Spoken like a true succubus,” Mio teases, patting my head.
“Stop that—” It’s then that I notice Mio has also changed into a magical girl outfit. “You, too?!”
“Kahahaha! This is like the perfect chance. Besides, this dress makes my 𝓽𝓲𝓽𝓼 look mmmf!”
Hana jumps. “Does this mean we’re not going to Akiba? There’s supposed to be a sale on Puri Puri BDs!”
Mio pushes Hana aside and says, “but damn. That magic you unleashed is some hot 𝓼𝓱𝓲𝓽𝓽.”
“Y-You think so?”
“Help!” The sound of Rika’s voice rings clear as day. “Let go!”
“I don’t know what the hell happened, but you’re coming with me.” One of the thugs regained consciousness and is pulling Rika into the van.
A burst of wind pushes us away. Hitomi makes a beeline for Rika. We give chase in time to stop Hitomi from delivering the killing blow to the man in purple, each of us clutching onto her limbs.
Everyone is knocked away except for myself.
I turn to the thugs, all of whom are getting up from the ground and yell, “turn yourself into the police. Run. Now!”
Their eyes glow, and without any resistance, they leave their cars and take off running down the street.
“I thought you wanted to help me?” Hitomi’s quivering voice comes through, pained and annoyed. Her hand glistens with dark energy, reminiscent of Torii Sensei’s magic.
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“Not if it means letting you kill them.”
I keep myself steady, covering the thugs’ escape. They don’t deserve it. Anyone trying to kidnap a bunch of kids and waving weapons in their face are better off gone. But I’m not going to let Hitomi go down that dark path.
Running away, having Mio and the others do the fighting for me, getting bossed around… I refuse to be weak. If I can’t stand for my own convictions, how can I help anyone?
Hitomi growls. Her features grow more distinct. The uniform on her body burns off, replaced with an outfit as red as the flames in her eyes. She raises her hand, and fires the black orb. This is fine, I just have to dodge—
“Hitomi, you can’t—!” Rika takes the blast instead. Black energy wraps around her body, scorching her clothes and skin.
The blood drains from Hitomi’s face, extinguishing the anger that was in her eyes and replacing it with horror. Without a word, she flies off.
Mio and Hana come back, bruised from head to toe. I’m clutching Rika whose breath is quickly becoming shallow.
“Magic… we have magic to help, right? Tell me we can heal her!” I ask desperately.
Other people are gathering around us, drawn in by our battle just now.
“What’s going on?”
“Are they filming a movie?”
“Look, a cosplay event!”
Mio clicks her tongue seeing the growing crowd. “Leave Rika to us. We’ll take care of things while you go after Hitomi.”
“Are you sure…?”
She didn’t answer my question if they could heal her. But anymore time I waste here, Hitomi is getting away. When she’s gone, my questions about Torii Sensei will go unanswered.
I shake away my hesitation and fly after Hitomi. As I fly away, Mio and Hana take off in the opposite direction with Rika.
Hitomi is flying at breakneck speeds, but her movements are becoming sluggish. She’s got to be running low on juice. From the corner of my eyes, something tackles Hitomi midair. I finally catch up to find Selene holding her by the throat.
“Good timing,” Selene says, flicking the cigarette butt away. “Not a succubus I recognize, but if you’re after her, then she must be an agent of our elusive queen.”
“She’s not with the queen!” A blatant lie, but one that isn’t entirely untruthful. I still don’t know the full story with Hitomi. Though I intend to find out.
Selene responds by tightening her grip. Hitomi is squirming, powerless to break free.
“Then she’s with you? Someone you’ve been battling in the city with?”
“Let her go,” I demand.
With her free hand, Selene pulls another cigarette out and lights it with magic. Then she lets go of Hitomi.
I dive after her, but Selene intercepts me. A hand presses against my chest and explodes. My uniform is burned away, but I shed my human illusion to conjure my succubus outfit.
“Selene, you 𝓫𝓲𝓽𝓬𝓱!”
“Haha! That’s more like it.”
Selene fights with a ferocity more vicious than Hitomi. She forgoes magic in favor of physical attacks. Every punch is calculated, and with each hit I take, I get closer to losing consciousness.
There is one thing I learned recently that Selene doesn’t know.
As she nosedives for another attack, I put both hands in front of me and pour as much of my magic out as possible. The result is something much larger than the fireblasts I launched at Hitomi. It’s as though I’ve summoned the sun itself to Japan.
Selene is just as surprised as I am. She can’t stop her momentum fast enough, and tries to veer off too late as the raging inferno slams into her and explodes.
I watch with bated breath as the smoke is blown away. Selene reaches for the cigarette in her mouth, but the entire thing crumbles away into ash. Strips of fabric hang loose on her body, and her already dark-red skin has been charred a darker shade. She cracks a smile.
“Tomorrow night is your deadline. Don’t forget,” Selene remarks.
Seemingly satisfied with our battle and confirming our partnership is unbroken, she bows and takes her leave.
With the battle over and my adrenaline still running high, I can’t help but clench my fist shout into the sky.
“I… I beat up Selene! I can’t wait to tell Mio— wait, now’s not the time.”
I descend into the forest below and find Hitomi sitting against a tree. The eyes of a wounded animal that has enough intelligence to know it’s been defeated stare up at me. She doesn’t attempt to run or hide. It looks as though she waited for me here.
“I thought my world was 𝓯𝓾𝓬𝓴𝓮𝓭 up. What kind of messed up world did I step into,” Hitomi asks, coughing between each breath.
“You’ve only just scratched the surface,” I say, taking a seat next to her.
She occasionally dips in and out of consciousness. Her eyes shutter and snap open, and her head sometimes rolls to the side before coming to settle between her shoulders.
I bite back the urge to tell her the truth. “Mio and Hana are taking care of her. With any luck, she should be fine.”
She sighs, relieved. “I don’t know what I’d do if she died. Rika’s my best friend, she gave me everything when I ran away— a family, a place to live. It’s all I ever wanted, but the shadow I left in Tottori is always following me.”
“So you thought the only way to fight back was to become a succubus? Who turned you? Was it Torii Sensei?”
The struggle inside her is visible through the scowl on her face. Was she threatened? Worse, is someone in her life being threatened?
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“We made a deal,” she begins, gripping her wrist. “In exchange for this power, I’d keep an eye on Mio.”
Why would Torii Sensei…? No. I already know, don’t I? The only person who would want to have Mio on a short leash, to know where she goes and who she’s with…
I’ve been ignoring the truth just because I was told she’s dead and believed that was the end of it.
I continue to press Hitomi, “on the roof of the school building— when you came down after meeting Torii Sensei, was that you I sensed?”
Hitomi shakes her head. “No, it was another succubus. Deedra’s her name.”
Deedra. The same succubus Selene wants me to kill.
My phone pings with a notification. Mio is telling me to come to Yumi’s place, and to bring Prez. It didn’t say anything about Rika, but I guess we’ll have to find out when we get there.
I help Hitomi onto my back. “Come on, let’s get you up. We’re going to see the others—”
“Sensei…” Hitomi clutches my shoulders with trembling hands, nails digging into my skin.
“You won’t have to worry about Deedra anymore.”
A chill runs up my spine as an all too familiar voice calls down from the sky. Two unmistakable purple eyes glow against the backdrop of the setting sun. Her large black wings are like the cover of night itself.
Fear doesn’t even begin to describe what I’m feeling right now.
“It’s one problem after another today, isn’t it? Torii Sensei? Or should I call you Beatrice?”
“Kh… hehe… you really are a treat, Saeko.” She clutches her stomach, unable to hide her laughter any longer. A cackling laughter I’m so used to from the company I keep. “Kahahaha!”