Kuro sat in her Mystical Arts class, twirling a pen and blowing a gleaming blue lock of hair from her face. It had been a few days after her visit to the headmistress' office, a few boring, uneventful days. She had been asking for extra-credit assignments to no avail.
“Now, students, we will begin our scrying lessons!”
The class burst into excited chatter at the sound of Esmeralda’s voice, clearly ignorant of the bored expression on Kuro’s face. Scrying. It was a lot more staring and guessing than actual magic. A total waste of time.
Esmeralda lifted a manicured hand, making crystal balls float through the air and perch on the gold stands already on each student’s desk.
“I want you all to focus,” the teacher began, pacing the room slowly and making flamboyant gestures with her arms, “Focus deeply and think of a question. Any question, so long as you can communicate it to the crystal.”
The frustrated groans and excited squeals of students quickly filled the room, accompanied by praise or scold from the professor. Kuro shut her eyes and, sighing, tried to think of a question.
What's for lunch?
What'll be my average this semester?
Will I be Valedictorian?
Nothing was happening, as usual, so Kuro decided to pose a more vague question.
What will happen in my near future?
If the ball couldn't answer that it was defective.
Her eyes flew open suddenly and she pulled her hand back from the frigid crystal ball, watching in bewilderment and shock as the surface clouded with black and a hum reached her ears. It was a scratchy noise, impossible to place, and clearly unnoticed by the others in the room. The crystal ball cleared suddenly, but not before an image flashed on its surface and a voice spoke to her. She had seen herself, kneeling by a body, and sobbing into bloodied hands. The voice had come a split-second later, unnatural, raspy and inhuman.
“You will take the soul of one you love.”
The vision faded instantly after that, leaving her to ponder it with shaky breaths and trembling hands.
“Are you alright, my dear?”
She looked up to see Esmeralda’s somewhat concerned expression and, swallowing a lump in her throat, nodded.
“I’m fine.” She muttered hoarsely, feeling herself fidget with her hair as she always did when lying.
“Well, then,” the teacher said, clapping her hands, “That demonstration was your taste of scrying, children. Our class is drawing to a close, but please take the crystal balls to your dorms with you and resume your practice. Be foolish enough to shatter them and I will have you scrub down all of the Academy.”
The bell rang in its soft tolls, chimes audible even as the class clattered about and prepared to leave. Esmeralda offered a goodbye over the noise, watching the students file out, all hoping to be punctual to their second-period classes.
Kuro droned through her next class, always stealing glances at the crystal ball sitting innocently on her desk. It wasn't just the sight she'd seen, but Esmeralda's words that were haunting her.
“Every prophecy,” she’d said, in the midst of a lesson, “Will become reality. It may be changed or skewed, but it will always become reality.”
If the vision was a true prophecy, she was about to become a murderer.
Kuro looked up, mumbling an apology, and pretended to fiddle with her salad. She felt Tsuki look at her with a thoughtful, evaluating gaze, before the silence was abruptly broken.
“There’s something wrong, isn’t there?”
The fork in Kuro’s hands clattered onto the table, before she picked it up and, leaning on an elbow, sighed.
“What makes you say that?”
"You've been acting weird. And you haven't been listening to any of what I said for the past fifteen minutes. Akiko agrees with me."
At this Tsuki nudged the young girl sitting beside her, but Akiko only smiled guiltily, her green eyes flashing apologetically.
"I guess. Really, Kuro, you seem...disturbed."
Kuro sighed again and smiled a little, trying to look more alert.
"I'm sorry if I've been acting strangely, I guess I just have a lot of homework to do."
Her fingers fidgeted with her hair again, no doubt based on the fact that she'd just finished all of her assignments. She forced her hand to the table, finishing off her salad. The other two girls glanced at each other worriedly when they thought her gaze was averted, but dropped the subject.
The rest of the day whizzed by so, when her last class was over, Kuro walked quickly to the school's library. The librarian greeted her warmly, bringing a brief smile. She headed into the maze of floor-to-ceiling shelves, fingers trailing across the spines of books.
What she needed was information. Lots of it.