“You sure you don’t want me to get you some spare clothes from home?” Ranagi asked, concerned even as his daughter shrugged off the hospital gown.

“Dad, I’ve got a tail now,” Kendal reminded her father that yes, it really was there, by swishing the red fur covered appendage thrice. “I don’t have any clothes that’ll fit.” That was the problem with buying fire resistant clothing as she had been doing (Even if her rampant fire magic always overwhelmed it in the end). Alas, all of those skirts with full backs and no tail holes had been a waste of money now that she did, in fact, have a tail.

“Fair point,” Ranagi sighed, but then declared, “but one of the first things we’re going to do is go shopping to get you clothes that fit just fine and…” he paled as the three girls started giggling at him. “Oh Alcor, did I really just suggest going shopping?”

“Why, yes. Yes you did,” Miri answered.

“Hey, if you want, I can go find someone later and go with them instead?” Kendal offered.

“Maybe,” Ranagi sighed. “All right, I’m going to go talk with the doctors and make sure the paperwork is settled.” He locked eyes with his daughter. “Don’t. Leave. Without me.”

“Cross my heart and hope to fly!” Kendal replied innocently. Once her father left, she turned to Lizzy and Miri and asked, “Anyone want to come with me on a quick run? My legs are stiff as a tree root and I want to RUN.”

“I’m going to stay with Tsukia for a little bit,” Miri declined. “I’ll meet you later? Maybe the tree at the beach?”

“Sure,” Kendal nodded. “What about you Liz?”

“Sure,” Lizzy nodded- rather forcefully. Kendal supposed she had something important to talk about.

“Sweet!” Kendal then smiled apologetically at Miri. “Tell my dad I went shopping!”

“Will do,” Miri nodded. “Have a nice run.”

“Great! Later!” And with that, Kendal rushed out, dragging Lizzy along with her.

Miri sighed. “Isn’t it crazy around here, Tsukia?” The coma bound girl had no response.

“Soooo….” Kendal glanced at Lizzy as they slipped out of the Hospital entrance, and began walking down the path between the two Hospitals, heading towards the Way-gate. “I take it you wanted to talk with me about something?”

“About what happened the other night, if you’re not opposed to it,” Lizzy admitted, trying to keep her eyes focused on the ground for some reason.

“Yeah, that’s fine with me,” Kendal nodded. “What about?”

“How much do you… remember? About what Kyiahlnah said about us?” Lizzy asked.

“About our past lives?” Kendal asked.

“Yeah,” Lizzy nodded.

“Pretty much everything,” Kendal admitted, and then a moment later, Lizzy was dragging into the shadows between the pillars along the front of the hospital building. “Wooaah!!”

“You’ve got to help me!” Lizzy pleaded. “I can’t turn it off!”

“T-Turn what off!?” Kendal asked, not quite sure what the Spriggain girl was talking about.

“The Rune Deconstruction thing!” Lizzy started to babble- “After I pushed so hard to clear your fire magic, I’ve started seeing runes everywhere and how to break them and how to improve them and it just wont STOP!” And as she ranted, a small trickle of blood became visible flowing from her nose.

“What the-” Kendal gasped. “Liz, your nose–”

“I think it’s some kind of power from when I was Zuzol, or my soul was?” Lizzy paused her rant to swipe away the trail of blood from her nose before returning her hand to Kendal’s shoulder. “I just… I can’t go anywhere without seeing runes on things! Everything has a rune on it! Even the people!”

Kendal frowned, “What do you mean?”

“On their stomachs, all the students here have runes on their stomachs and they prevent pregnan…cies?” Lizzy stopped rambling as she said the word aloud. “Oh. Right.”

“Yeah. Those runes?” Kendal giggled. “All the students get them. They’re like this three year sterility thing to keep students from knocking each other up, or having the guys getting civilian girls pregnant when they’re out in the field–” She stopped, blinked, and then said, “Wait. Sorry. We’re getting off track here. Did you just say that you can SEE those runes?” Lizzy simply nodded. “How!? They’re designed to turn freaking INVISIBLE after they’re applied! And hell, I only even know that much because Ayako told me that she thought it was awesome that the runes could even turn invisible in the first place!”

“I noticed that too,” Lizzy pouted, even as she felt another headache brewing. “Like I said. It’s getting to be really, REALLY annoying.” She pointed at the wall behind Kendal. “There are dorman-”

“Okay okay, I believe you! You don’t have to explain it to me!” Kendal waved her hands to head that thought off, and then noticed, yes, Lizzy was still holding Kendal in place by the shoulders, and yes, her nose was still bleeding a little. “Can you let me go for a minute so I can think this through?”

“…Okay,” Lizzy nodded, let go, and then took a few steps back.

“Now breathe, girl,” Kendal instructed. “Breaaaaathe.” Lizzy took in a deep breath, then exhaled, and repeated the process a few more times before her skin turned a more healthy shade of green for the effort. “Feel better now?” Kendal asked.

“A bit,” Lizzy nodded.

“Okay, right, so…” Kendal sighed. “I have no idea how to help you. I mean, the demon that tried to kill us said I’m the reincarnation of some awesome mage, or something weird like that, but I don’t have access to those memories even if I was. And honestly I kind of think she was just taunting me like that, but if it IS true…” She looked Lizzy over for a moment. “I’m guessing you don’t really remember anything from being Zuzol either?”

“If I did, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” Lizzy admitted.

“Bluh!” Kendal crossed her arms, and leaned back against the hospital’s exterior wall. “I don’t really know what to say. What have you been doing all this time?”

“Staying in my room and keeping the lights off?” Lizzy’s answer sounded more like a question. Wait, was she asking if that was the right thing to do or not? Kendal had no idea.

“You had to take the Way-gates to get here, right?” Kendal asked. Lizzy nodded. “What was it like?”

“Well,” Lizzy hesitated. “…I actually couldn’t see any runes on them.”

“You couldn’t?” Kendal blinked, surprised.

“Nope,” Lizzy shook her head. “It was… kind of relaxing, in a way.”

“Okay then,” Kendal nodded. “I’ve got an idea. We head back to the other island, and you zone out and meditate in front of the way-gate there for a bit. Just, focus on the gate and it’s lack of runes, and then try to make that how you see things normally.”

Lizzy considered that for a moment, then face palmed. “Me! I’m such an idiot!”

“’Me’?” Kendal raised an eyebrow at the odd interjection.

“Well, I couldn’t very well go cursing anyone else but Zuzol, right?” Lizzy offered, sheepishly. “I mean, it’d be kind of rude, wouldn’t it?”

“Well, yeah, but-” Kendal sighed, and then explained, “You’re going to get a lot of weird stares if you say “Me!” like that in place of… I dunno, Mizar or Alcor.”

“…That’s… true, I guess,” Lizzy nodded.

“So just say Zuzol, and people won’t notice that you’re cursing yourself out all the time,” Kendal suggested.

“Yeah, I guess that’s a better idea,” Lizzy smiled. “Still, though, maybe if it’s just the two of us, I could still do it?”

Kendal thought on that for a moment, then agreed, “Yeah, might as well. I mean, who else gets to say that their previous life was one of the Creators we get to swear by?”

“Mizar, Alcor,” Ranagi sighed upon seeing the mostly-empty hospital room, “why must you torment me so?”

Miri just gave a smile and a wave before returning to her one-sided conversation with Tsukia about how she lucked out of getting a magic ward stamped on her stomach.

Mikari Yuki was in a state of shock as she made her way back to the Way-gate and crossed through to the residential island. Her, potentially being certified to wear Black Arms. Her. A Mage!? She barely used magic as it was! ‘Noooo. No no no no noooo. No Way. Not happening. NO.’

But the truth was, unfortunately for her, “Yes, yes it is happening.” That said, however, she was not quite shocked enough to not notice Lizzy zoning out in front of the Way-gate steps, with Kendal lying on the ground near by, staring up at the clouds as they moved by.

“Hey Kendal,” Mikari gave a small wave. “You got out already?”

“Oh, hey, Mikari!” Kendal sat up in a heart beat. “Yeah, I wanted to get a walk in but…” She glanced at Lizzy for a moment, then said, “Hah, guess I was a bit more tired than I thought!”

“Heh, after the class I’ve had, would you mind if I join you?” Mikari asked.

“Sure, sure!” Kendal nodded, and patted the ground nearby. “Sooo… Ah. How was class?”

“Everything was going pretty well up until the teacher had me force a shock spell through a sword,” Mikari admitted as she sat down next to the other two girls. “Whiiich… was about the start of class, pretty much. After that, things went a bit pear shaped.”

“I take it everyone was a bit Thunder struck?” Kendal joked.

“Oh- you have No idea,” Mikari shook her head. “The teacher had us all doing the same trick with a bunch of different spells after that.”

“Oh?” Kendal’s ears twitched in anticipation of learning more. “What trick was it?”

“The shock spell through the sword thing. When it hit another student I was fighting, it just sort of… stunned him!” Mikari’s hands lifted up and made a popping motion before falling back onto her lap. “I was worried I’d hurt the guy!”

“But you didn’t?” Kendal asked.

“Nope,” Mikari shook her head, “he was back up and walking after a minute.”

“So what happened next?” Kendal asked.

“Well, most of the class was the same trick. Then, he had us doing ‘unique skills’, he called it. Or at least, things we thought were unique to us. There was an Undine girl who-” Mikari stalled. “I don’t even know how to describe it. It was like…” she tried to come up with the words for a moment. “She basically took this staff and had it spew water out of the top, and made it spiral and spiral, and then before any of us realized it she’d just made this giant statue out of water, and it was just…!” She shook her head. “I don’t even know how she did that. I’ve never heard of someone being able to generate control of so much water at once and shape it so quickly!”

“There’s something else too, isn’t there?” Kendal pressed for more information.

“Right, well, after class, we…” Mikari sighed. “A bunch of us basically got invited to some exclusive class run by some teacher who’s Black Arm certified.”

“You’re kidding!” Kendal’s eyes went wide as Mikari shook her head ‘no.’ “Oh! Wow! That’s amazing!” She started grinning. “I’m so jealous! I wish I could be there!”

“You can take my place if you want it!” Mikari offered. “I’m not that great of a mage! I barely know how to use magic! It’s…!”

“Hey,” Kendal put a finger on Mikari’s nose. “Take it from someone who wants to be where you are. If you’ve got that opportunity! Take it!” She looked the Imp in the eyes and drilled the point home with, “Don’t regret what you didn’t do when you’ve got a choice. ‘Cause there are people out there who never even got a chance offered to them in the first place.”

“…I guess you’re right,” Mikari reluctantly nodded. “Maybe if your dad lets you join Mystryal this year?”

“Hah!” Kendal laughed. “After everything that’s happened, he’s probably going to yell at me and tell me he’s shipping me off to live with my grandparents!” She smirked, “Why, I bet he’ll open up with a loud-!”

“KENDAL!” Ranagi’s voice shouted through the active Way-gate portal.

“Aw fudge,” Kendal glanced through the portal and saw, as expected, her father running towards the Way-gate. “Hey, Mikari?”

“Yeah?” Mikari asked.

“Wanna go shopping?” Kendal asked.

“Um…” Mikari glanced through the portal. Yeah, Detective Kaie looked to be slightly tilting towards the angry side of the emotional spectrum. “Sure, why not!”

And with that, the two girls took off with only a “See ya in a little bit, Lizzy!” from Kendal. Ranagi Kaie crossed over the Way-gate’s portal horizon just in time to see the two of them slip down the stairs and disappear into a sudden crowd of students leaving Beetle’s Donuts.

“Aw come on!” Kaie whined as he slowed to a stop. “Kendal! You forgot the…!” By now, however, they were out of hearing distance. “Expense Card…” He sighed. “Damn it, Mizar.”

He wasn’t even mad, really. Not this time, anyways. But the detective couldn’t figure out what hurt more- the fact that his daughter thought that he WOULD be mad at her running away, or the fact that she had run off at the first sign of trouble.


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