Kuro worked like a madwoman and quickly copied the notes and assignments she’d missed, unthinking as she completed problem after problem and drafted reports on alchemists.
School came to her naturally. Her hands moved methodically as she sketched and flipped and corrected, with both the efficiency and lack of emotion of a robot. Some of her teachers looked at her questioningly, probably wondering how the girl with the perfect attendance had managed to miss their class.
Kuro was almost too busy to be ashamed. When the bell rang for her Runes class she nearly walked towards the room before realizing her promise.
She was almost reluctant as she walked towards the dormitories instead, keeping her eyes on the ground.
Hopefully Akiko wouldn’t mind if she studied for her Mystical Arts test while they hung out.
She knocked on door 217, adjusting her black scarf as she waited.
The door opened and Akiko stood there, her face downcast.
She walked back into the room and Kuro followed, shutting the door behind her.
“Did you copy the juniors’ homework for me?” Akiko asked, plopping down onto one of two beds in the dorm.
Kuro handed her a sheet of paper.
“Yep. Though you’ll have to talk to someone for your other two classes.”
Because of the small student body many classes were condensed together according to subject – which was why Kuro was in two of the same classes as Akiko and Tsuki. Professors assigned separate work and taught separate lessons, with two different teachers in the same room in some cases. It was confusing sometimes, but with the years and the curtaining spells it had become normal to Kuro.
Another oddity of the system was that it didn’t operate on age – all students started as juniors when they joined the school, capping admittance at eighteen. Kuro had joined the Academy earlier than Akiko and Tsuki, but they were all around sixteen.
“Thanks, Kuro.” Akiko said quietly, “I don’t know how you managed to go to your classes. I feel so…”
Kuro sat down on the couch, putting her bookbag down.
She felt her robotic trance starting to falter.
“Yeah.” Akiko half-whispered, lying down and staring at the ceiling.
Kuro felt her skin crawl.
“Whenever I close my eyes…I see it again.”
Akiko was quiet.
Kuro shut her eyes and quickly opened them again.
It was still there, burned into her vision.
“Listen,” she started, desperate to change the subject, “I wanted…to tell you something.”
“What?” Akiko asked, her voice muffled through what was probably a blanket.
“In Mystical Arts class…the third years were scrying.”
“Yeah? The crystal ball thing?”
“Yeah. And usually nothing happens but this time…I saw something.”
She rolled over to face Kuro, her green eyes curious.
Kuro let out a sigh.
“There was blood…on my hands…and I was crying. There was…some kind of body.”
Akiko’s eyes widened.
“And then I heard a voice. You will take the soul of one you love.”
Akiko gaped before regaining her composure.
"Are you sure that's...what you saw?"
She nodded slowly.
"I've spent days trying to convince myself I didn't see it...but whenever I think about it, it comes back. As clear as the first time I saw it."
"Maybe it doesn't mean what we think?" Akiko offered, "Maybe it's showing you...some kind of Halloween prank?"
"Maybe." Kuro sighed, "I've tried researching it, and everything just says that visions aren't usually what they seem."
"There!" Akiko exclaimed, "I'm sure we're just blowing it out of proportion!"
Kuro felt the weight on her chest lighten.
"Thanks...I just had to get that out of my system."
"No sweat." Akiko replied, a strained smile on her face, "We gotta stick together. It's why we're witches, right?"
A few moments of silence passed.
"You want ice cream?" Kuro asked, standing.