Kuro had been walking towards her Potions class when she heard the sound of raised voices and, glancing around, retraced her steps.
The door to the Headmistress’ office was slightly ajar, and she could just glimpse what looked like a middle-aged couple gesturing angrily.
“A girl was killed!” the woman hissed, “How do I know my daughter isn’t next?”
“I assure you, madam,” Kadae started with a patient expression, “The staff is doing everything in their power-“
“-that’s not enough!” the man cried, “How could something like this happen in the first place?”
“The matter is currently under investigation-“
“Investigation? We all know The Brotherhood did this!” the woman insisted, “You have to shut the school down!”
“I’m afraid that’s not going to happen.” Kadae said firmly, “During a time like this, the Academy is the safest place for a young witch to be.”
“Not for ours!” the woman continued, adamant, “She’s not staying here!”
“The semester has just begun,” the Headmistress pleaded, “Think of your daughter’s education-“
“-We’d rather have her alive!” the man bellowed, slamming his fist into the table, “She’s transferring schools. That’s our final decision.”
Moto sighed exasperatedly, smoothing down her dress.
“Is there no way I can convince you otherwise?”
“Very well.” Moto replied, moving towards a filing cabinet dangerously close to the door.
Kuro jerked away, quickly walking towards her class, her mind whirling. A student was already being taken out of the Academy?
She hoped things didn’t get any more serious. The Academy shutting down…would be like losing a home.
Kuro shifted the strap of her bookbag, anxious. As soon as she reached her class her teacher gave the same lecture on The Brotherhood as Professor Anise. It wasn’t any better the second time around.
But, luckily, the professor had decided to try and lighten the mood.
“We don’t have a lesson today, class,” the short man said, tapping at the cauldron at his desk, “But today we will, as a class, do an activity.”
He waved a hand at the board and chalk writing appeared instantly.
“I would like you each to attempt to make this potion. Don’t worry, this doesn’t count for anything.”
Some of the students that had been looking at each other with panicked expressions calmed down.
Kuro waited for the panel on her desk to move aside and the gas burner to rise up, making a clicking noise once it was in place.
She pulled a walnut-sized cauldron out of her bag and, setting it down, pulled out her wand.
The cauldron, within a few seconds, had grown to its standard size. Kuro turned on the gas, letting the cauldron heat as she got up to peruse the pantry room attached to the class.
The pantry was small, more like a large closet, filled with jar upon jar of spices and standard potion ingredients. Kuro pushed past the dried frogs and fish eyes and started gathering what she needed, letting her robotic state take over.
She was stirring the cauldron and shaking in ground sunstone a few moments later, deaf to the sounds of first years squealing and chattering as they tried to figure out what to do.
Sesame oil. Cinnamon. Stirred clockwise thrice with a quail feather.
Kuro let the mixture simmer, incorporating the last of the ingredients, and cooled it with a spell.
She took one of the standard potion vials from her bag and carefully strained the contents of the cauldron into it, muttering the incantation scrawled on the board.
Once she had finished Kuro pushed a large cork into the top of the vial, preparing to seal it with clear wax.
The professor stopped at her desk, squatting down to look at the liquid in the vial.
“Stellar as usual, Miss Hayashi.” He commented, nodding his head, “Textbook consistency.”
She felt her mood lighten slightly. The professor continued walking around the room, chuckling at a wizard in the process of singing his eyebrows as he moved to the other side of the class.
“Why, Miss Tachibana! A first year? Well done!”
Nike smiled a small smile and Kuro shot her a thumbs-up.
As the class drew to an end the professor cleared his throat, clapping to get the class’ attention.
“I was very pleased with today’s brew.” He beamed, “And while, of course, I don’t promote human experimentation, I would like you all to try and guess what we’ve made. It’s my own recipe, so don’t expect to find it in the textbook!”
Kuro groaned internally, shrinking her pot as the bell rang and slipping the vial in her bag.
She had just stepped out when she noticed the Headmistress waiting at the door, Akiko standing beside her.
"Miss Hayashi. Will you accompany me to my office?"
Kuro swallowed the lump in her throat and forced her feet to move.
Hopefully she hadn't been caught eavesdropping.