“I heard some rumors that some boys are after the twins.” Michael said after sipping a bit of his coffee and gently putting it on the table.
Blinking confused, Pria looked towards the elder brother and became slightly scared as the look from earlier slowly took over his face. Feeling a bit scared, she quickly let go of her book and went towards Johan so she could hide behind him, but the moment her eyes landed on the younger sibling, she became dumbstruck and petrified.
With his expression blank and his eyes completely lifeless, he looked possessed by something as his eyes pointed straight at his brother. However, instead of being in conflict, it appeared that the siblings were actually reaching an understanding as their gazes crossed the table. With nowhere to run, Pria immediately lowered herself on the table while raising the book, as if trying to hide herself behind it.
But, what happened? Why had Johan suddenly become so evil looking? While her mind swirled in confusion, she sheepishly watched as the two brothers slowly broke into a grin that seeped malice.
“I see…” Johan said slowly, making Pria feel a shiver run down her body. “It seems like we’ll need to properly… Greet them.” He said with a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes,
“Hmm. Good to see that I’ll have your cooperation. In fact, since you seem to be familiar with the occult, I guess we could use some of your knowledge to… Erm… Test them.” Michael replied satisfied.
“Yes, yes.” Johan agreed. “I think I might be able to summon some eldritch horrors to, well… Test them, as you said.”
Feeling that the test he spoke of might be something other than a simple test, Pria started to worry even more as she turned towards Johan with pleading eyes. For a while the brothers simply laughed with each other in a dry tone before the younger sibling finally noticed her gaze.
Clearing his throat as his face became a bit red, Johan quickly calmed himself down once he noticed how he had scared his guest.
“Sorry… You saw something a bit embarrassing.” Johan said while looking away. “I might get a bit overprotective over my younger sisters.”
She nodded weakly and calmed down once she noticed Johan was back to his usual self. Remembering back to what he had said about older brother’s being scary, she quickly decided that she liked the normal Johan over the Big-brother Johan.
Peeking back at Michael who was once again sipping on the coffee his brother made, she calmed down a bit and went back to reading her book. Still, she kept an ear out for what they were talking about, though it seemed to be mostly a talk about how each of them were doing and she soon noticed herself completely lost in their talk as they spoke about things she had no idea what they were about.
At least they weren’t “big brothers” anymore, so she didn’t mind it anymore.
Leaning against Johan as she read, she felt as he flinched slightly, but since he didn’t complain she simply enjoyed herself while reading the story and listening to the two. From the little that she could gather, it seemed like these ‘twins’ were two younger relatives from the brothers and that they went to a place called school.
Michael also showed to be worried about Johan’s safety once he found out about his leg injury. However, one complex and mind boggling explanation on the dangers of magic left him unable to complain anymore. Besides, seeing how the injury wasn’t actually THAT big, he decided to leave it as is, much to Pria’s dismay as she eyed him angrily, leaving the elder brother both flustered and confused.
However, Michael couldn’t really stay for too long, seeing how he still had his job to do, thus, after finishing the coffee he proceeded to stand up and prepare to leave. Following him, Johan and Pria gave their goodbyes to him as he walked out.
“GODDAMMIT THAT WAS SCARY!” Johan said suddenly while falling face-first into the sofa.
Surprised, Pria jumped on the couch while looking back at him in confusion.
“To think he wouldn’t discuss… Good job twins!” Johan said while giving a thumbs-up. Pria quickly looked around searching for who he was talking to, but she couldn’t find anyone.
Maybe… Maybe these ‘twins’ are invisible? While thinking so, she widened her eyes in shock while warily looking around.
“I was sure I was in for a serious scolding when he found out.” Johan said before turning on his back and heaving a long and deep sigh. Pria tilted her head confused at his words. Was he actually talking to her? She wasn’t so sure anymore, so she simply plopped herself besides him and watched curiously for some time. “Looks like changing the subject to the twins really helped me out there.” He said in a wry tone before smiling apologetically towards Pria. “Anyway, I’m happy to see you aren’t shy around everyone. I guess you only have issues with supers, huh?” He said remembering how their first meeting went.
She hesitated for a moment before nodding weakly. She sincerely had no good memories with supers, him excluded. On the other hand, she still had to have a bad experience with the people she met outside of the lab, so she was a lot more at ease with them.
While thinking so, Pria reduced the viscosity of her body, letting herself seep through the seams of the robe she was wearing much to the youngster’s surprise, as he widened his eyes in shock for a moment while watching the scene.After the robe fell to the sofa beneath her, she quickly pulled it out of her body and threw it on the opposing chair.
“…Seriously?” Johan said tiredly once the scene finally sunk in. “Do you have something against clothes or something?” He complained with a sigh.
She smiled back playfully while using a tendril to pick up the book again and letting herself fall between Johan and the sofa’s edge. She turned herself sideways while completely ignoring Johan’s complaining about distance and whatnots as she started to read her story once again. He didn’t let her hug his brother, so she had all intentions of making up for it now.
It didn’t take long for hero to finally give in to her whims and accepted his fate as a heater. He turned on the TV and quietly passed the rest of his morning with the girl.
As much as he had complained, he couldn’t help but feel that it wasn’t all that bad.
Afternoon came, and with surprisingly little effort Johan convinced Pria to let him go so that he could fix himself some lunch. Finishing his meal, he quickly changed on his clothes and got ready to leave for college.
Knowing that Pria wouldn’t cause trouble while he was out, this time Johan left with a much ease of mind than the previous day after recharging the crystal for her. After a brief classical parent lecture on being careful while alone at home, he finally took the bus and made his way to college.
The travel was unsurprisingly calm, and since Frank didn’t take this course, he didn’t meet with him on the way there. However, he didn’t keep his hopes up for a boring class as he sat down the almost deserted classroom while checking for the class shared email to see if there was any news about the teacher.
Time went on, the clock ticked and the bell rung, but no signal of the teacher. Two minutes after the bell rung, he once again checked the email and smiled awkwardly when he saw a brand new message from said teacher, telling he wouldn’t be able to appear at class at this day.
Heaving a sigh, Johan once again stood up and left the classroom while wondering what he could do now to kill a bit of time, feeling a bit sad that he wouldn’t have the classes today.
While it is true that this teacher had a bad record of usually missing classes, it still was true that he was the damned best teacher, capable of giving two classes worth of lesson in a single one and have all the students understand it. He was also an all around nice guy, with the stories of a student calling him one week before the test in despair and him holding an emergency review class for the entire class without even batting an eye.
“HELLOOOO HANDSOME!” He heard a cheerful shout as something slammed hard on his back, making him stumble forward and almost fall face-first into the corridor.
“Goddammit Mirian. Mind not breaking my bones next time?” He complained to the girl as she displayed an innocent looking grin. “Geez, how the hell does Frank survive this gorila every single time?” Turning back to the slightly tanned girl wearing a secretary outfit, Johan grimaced at her for a while before finally sighing and shaking his head. “Look, if I break any bones, you’ll pay the medical fees.” He said bluntly.
“Aw, don’t be like that. I’m sure you can use some of your magic tricks to solve that.” She replied with a shrug.
“Still costs money.‘
“…Yeah, this isn’t going anywhere, is it?”
“I’m never going anywhere where I might lose money for nothing.”
“You know, if people who don’t know you heard you saying that, they might get the wrong idea.” The secretary said with a smirk, to which Johan simply shook his head. “So, why exactly did Frank go see you yesterday?” She asked suddenly. “He spent quite some time lost in his thought for the day, then suddenly left running when he found out something.”
“…Did he miss out on a date or something?”
“Not really. He was searching around the net while I was simply reading. It did leave me fairly curious, though.” She explained absent mindedly, to which he sighed before shaking his head.
“Well, I had him help me with something fairly troublesome, so it’s probably because of that.” Johan explained before shaking his head. “A… Friend of mine is having some legal problems, so I’m having him help me with that.”
“…Why didn’t he go for rights again?” She asked the ever rhetorical question.
“I wonder the same thing.” He replied blankly before sighing and shaking his head. “Anyway, teacher went MIA again and I just had lunch, so I’m free right now. Need help with something?”
“Well, I could use someone to pay for the parking…”
“See ya, I’m out.” Johan said blankly as he started walking away, only to be stopped by a smirking Mirian as she held his arm.
“Jokes aside, I think there might be something you could help me with.” She said while picking up a small agenda in and fiddling around with it. “Ah, here it is. Remember that rumor about a magic department being formed?” She asked.
“Hmm, somewhat.” Johan nodded. “Some talks about the academy to be searching for magicians to give classes, right?” As Mirian nodded, he frowned confused for a moment. “Wait, you mean that’s actually for real?”
“Yes. Well, there is a story behind this and whatnots, but basically, the headmaster already got some teachers who are willing to teach here.” She turned the agenda to him while using her finger to point out to a small list under a recent day. “These are the new guys that came in for the classes.”
“…Seriously?” Johan said surprised.
“Yes. Well, I could tell you a bunch of things, but my time is almost up, so I’ll go straight to the point. This teacher here is right now in the lounge and she just asked for some help with acquiring a few intermediate items for rituals. I was thinking on how I could solve this problem, but then…” She said while showing a specific name.
“I see… if it’s ritual, leave it to ol’ Johan, huh?” He said with a smirk before frowning. “But, by intermediate, you mean? Slightly hard to find, or…”
“Pre-processed material. Went through some basic ritual preparation to be used further.” She explained quickly.
“I see… So, basically, she needs me to produce these items?”
“Well, not YOU, but yeah. I guess you would work.” Mirian explained with a brief nod, however, noticing the slight frown in his expression, she smirked. “She said she’s willing to pay for the service.”
“…Teacher’s lounge, you said?”
Pria’s day was, as usual, a bit slow. Sitting down under the sun enjoying the book, she was almost reaching the final pages. Still, she would usually stop and raise her head while looking around the house in search for Johan, who was at his college.
After she put the bookmark, she gently closed it before standing up and absentmindedly walking towards the kitchen, where the ever present tick-tock of the clock echoed. Staring at it blankly for some time, she sheepishly looked around herself for some time before extending a part of her body over towards the machine.
Picking it up from the wall, she looked at it closely while watching the hands slowly turn around. Remembering the time Johan told her he was getting back, she hesitatingly touched the smaller hand that signified the hours, and gently moved it forward until it reached the mark of five o’clock. Holding the clock close to herself, she turned towards the door of the house and looked at it with a tinge of anxiety in her eyes.
However, after a couple of minutes of waiting, he didn’t appear, so after slightly slumping her shoulders, she set the clock back to the proper time and put it back on the wall.
She knew that doing so wouldn’t bring him home faster, after all, it was just something that measured time but she still couldn’t help but hope a bit. After her recent time having to run away all day long from supers, she started to become a bit afraid of standing in one place alone for too long, so she would get a bit listless when he wasn’t nearby.
Deciding in her mind that next time he left for this college that she would go with him, she once again sat down under the sunlight and went back to reading the book.
Feeling slightly less cheerful than earlier, she finally made a motion that resembled a sigh before going back to reading.
“PRIA! IT’S TIME FOR AN EMERGENCY RITUAL CLASS!” She jumped up when she heard Johan storming in the room suddenly, a large smirk splattered across his face. Surprised, Pria looked back to the sun, trying to see how much time had passed, but it couldn’t have been more than a few minutes since she picked up the book again.
Ignoring the confused girl who was staring at him blankly, she saw as he quickly started going through the shelves of the depot and setting apart some items here and there, leaving them on the kitchen’s table. After a moment of confusion at the clearly hurried Johan, she finally smiled before jumping and hugging him.
He stumbled for a moment and almost fell to the ground with her sudden pounce, but despite being bewildered, he didn’t seem angry at her, so after beaming a smile, she smiled back awkwardly.
“Geez, can’t you wait a bit more before glomping me?” He said in a feeble attempt at a scolding. She simply shook her head before tightening her hug on him even more. “Anyway, a teacher asked for my help with a couple of things, so I’m going to go through a few rituals here.” He frowned. “I’ll need to restock on some materials first, though.”
Pria simply looked at him expectantly, watching as he quickly sat down and made a list about things he’d have to buy. As she watched him, he quickly started giving some explanation on what exactly he had and what he would do.
Noticing that it was a talk abou magic once again, she paid close attention to his teachings while trying to read what he was writing.
After he finished the list, he put on his costume as a hero and had her put on the cloak once again after she insisted on going with him. However, since his leg was still recovering, the two simply walked towards the shop.
Pria wanted to use the chance to cling to him as much as she could, but he quickly forbade her from hugging him on the streets, or else he would be in a bad situation.
She accepted with a clear dissatisfied look. As long as it was something bad for him, she had no intention of going ahead with it, thus all she could do was nod weakly.
The journey… Was surprisingly calm and eventless. While he did carry her through a few rooftops at first, he never ran and simply walked up and down the walls until they reached a random alley. From there the two followed along the streets so that he wouldn’t need to carry her anymore, receiving a few glances from the pedestrians and even the occasional greeting, seeing how the populace of the area were already used to seeing Ace of Spades walking around there.
When the occasional question came, Ace would reply with the fact that Pria was his apprentice and that they were on the way of buying some materials.
But aside from these occasional talks, nothing else happened. Even at the magic materials store, in which once again Pria could only look around in fascination at the myriad of different items set around the store.
While McMoney was clearly surprised by the visit, he didn’t complain much and with his usual smile quickly provided everything Ace needed. At the end of the transaction, he also pulled out a strange weapon from somewhere and passed it to Ace, who quickly sent it away with his magic.
McMoney gave Pria a handsome smile once again, which she replied with a nod since her face was hidden by the cloak. Following that, she left after the hero who was leaving the store.
She felt disappointed once they reached home.
Noticing the sullen expression on the girl’s face, ace turned to her with a raised eyebrow and looked at her while awaiting an answer. She quickly looked around and picked up a notebook he usually left around and used a pen to write down her thoughts as she removed the robe.
Hero. Save day. Nothing happened!
She wrote down those words, to which Ace simply stared blankly for some time before smiling awkwardly as he understood her intentions. Seeing her puff her cheeks angrily, he could only laugh while gently rubbing her head.
“So, you are disappointed that I didn’t save the day or something like that?” She nodded. “Well, to be honest, yesterday was actually the exception. Unless I receive a direct call or find someone during one of my patrols, it’s mostly calm days like these you know?” He put on a troubled smile as she looked at him confused. “It’s not every day that needs saving, you know?”
She looked slightly disappointed, but finally nodded and drooped her shoulders. It seems like she had created some slight misconceptions about heroes, but he couldn’t really blame her. He had a scar to remind him of the time when he was just like her, after all.
“Anyway, I’m going to need to start some rituals right now, Some of them might be a bit too complex for you, but there should at least be a couple you can understand, so if you want to come and watch it, I can even let you try some things.” Saying that as he took off his helmet, Pria quickly cheered up as she and skipped after him as he started on his preaching about rituals.