Kuro walked furiously towards her Magic in Combat class, Dai trotting along to keep up.
“Um, Kuro? Shouldn’t we be…walking together?”
She turned, stopping abruptly when she realized Nike was a few yards behind her.
“Sorry.” She sighed, “I’m just…distracted.”
“Why were you and Akiko in the office?” Nike asked, before quickly adding, “If you don’t mind, I mean.”
“We…kinda violated some boundary rules.” Kuro admitted, “Kai had somehow crossed the River Mists, so Akiko went after him. And I went after her.”
Nike raised her eyebrows, curious, so Kuro continued.
“It’s pretty dangerous past there. I was worried. I guess I wasn’t thinking straight.”
“I think you did the honorable thing.” Nike shrugged, “You were being a good friend first and a good student second.”
They quickly reached their class and rushed in, taking their seats around the outside of the room. The middle of the room was always cleared for demonstrations.
“Okay, class, settle down.” Madame Azalea ushered, closing the door, “I’ve got a very special lesson planned.”
As the room quieted she continued to speak.
“Keeping in mind the tragedy of recent events,” she noted, adjusting her glasses, “It is more important than ever for the student body, you, to have strong defensive magic at your disposal. To help you we will have a special guest today – international dueling master, renowned scholar, and an alumnus of our own Academy…”
Kuro watched, a bored expression on her face as the teacher paused for dramatic effect.
“…our very own Headmaster Himura!”
There was a shower of sparks and the Headmaster materialized out of thin air, giving a mock bow as the class cheered.
Kuro didn’t bother hiding her incredulous expression.
“Thank you,” Himura grinned as the applause died down, “I must say I was thrilled when Madame Azalea asked me to join you all for a lesson.”
That makes one of us.
“And while there are an infinite number of techniques I could share with you, I’m afraid we’re operating on a rather tight schedule.”
Maybe if he stopped yakking it wouldn’t be a problem.
“So, after much deliberation, I decided on a topic. The parry.”
Kuro resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Unoriginal, as usual.
“With the time I’ve spent in dueling competitions I’ve realized that the parry is horribly unappreciated – it’s a technique with the potential to completely block your opponent’s attack, if executed correctly. There’s no complicated incantations involved. The list goes on.”
He clapped his hands, drawing his wand from the air.
“But you’re not here to listen to me talk, are you? Let’s have a demonstration. I’ll need a volunteer.”
Almost the entire class’ hands shot into the air.
Himura’s eyes settled on Kuro, who was trying to look busy rummaging in her book bag.
“Miss Hayashi. Would you care to assist me?”
Kuro sat up as the class’ attention turned to her, and felt herself stand.
“Of course, sir.” She replied, her voice a mix of obedience and acid.
She walked to the center of the room, torn between remaining the devoted student in front of Madame Azalea and shooting daggers at the Headmaster.
“Madame Azalea?” the Headmaster asked expectantly.
The Magic in Combat teacher moved to sit on an empty desk, waving her wand and raising a clear, shimmering wall to separate them from the rest of the class.
It was a safety precaution. To make sure a stray spell didn’t hit anyone.
“Now,” Himura started, walking the perimeter of the circular wall, “I’m going to ask the lovely Miss Hayashi to try to land a hit on me. She has free reign to use any spell she pleases. I will only parry.”
He strode to the side opposite her position, smirking.
“Whenever you’re ready.”
Kuro pulled her wand from her sleeve, mentally preparing herself.
She hadn’t expected to duel Himura again. Especially not with him as Headmaster.
Kuro raised her wand and lazily threw a disarming spell, looking bored.
She might as well let him win. It would be over faster. Not to mention it would be far less humiliating if she looked like she was uninterested in what was happening.
Akio flicked the spell away with his wand, letting out a laugh.
“Is that all you’ve got?” he asked, amused.
Kuro did her level best to keep a cool head, but she felt it all starting to come back.
The teasing. The taunting. The arguments.
“Miss Hayashi, I must say I expected more of a fight.”
The constant, vicious battle to be on top.
“Have it your way.” She muttered under her breath, raising her wand to throw a slew of spells.
Kuro moved steadily forwards, whispering incantations rapidly as she threw attack after attack.
The Headmaster moved his wand as if it were a sword, deflecting her deadly barrage as it flew towards him. He barely moved, and all the while, plastered onto his face was that blasted smirk.
Eventually Kuro was forced to stop, panting for breath.
“Now it will be Miss Hayashi’s turn to defend. Not to worry, I aim only to disarm.”
She stepped back to her original position, brushing her hair angrily from her face.
Kuro raised her wand, letting out a breath as she deflected a few easy hits.
“Is that all you’ve got?” she mouthed, smirking in an open challenge.
Himura’s eyes narrowed for a split-second and Kuro was overcome with nostalgia as she began to parry his rapid onslaught of spells, maintaining eye contact with an innocent smile on her face.
He seemed to have forgotten how many times she’d gone toe-to-toe with him.
Kuro hadn’t realized she was moving back towards the boundary until her back hit it and she turned her head for a split-second –
Her left wrist was suddenly pinned to the wall, and the wand went flying from her fingers.
The boundaries went down as the class applauded the Headmaster’s victory, and Kuro angrily pulled her hand free from the spell.
“As you have all seen for yourselves, concentration is key.” The Headmaster remarked, “It was a lapse in concentration that allowed me to defeat Miss Hayashi.”
He held out her wand and Kuro walked over and snatched it, trying not to sulk as she walked back towards her seat.
“Thank you for your time, Headmaster.” Madame Azalea beamed.
“It was my pleasure.”
He teleported out of the room, leaving another shower of sparks.
Flamboyant little -
Kuro resisted the urge to plug her ears as some girls behind her giggled and gushed about the ‘new Headmaster’.
“Wasn’t that a treat, class?” Azalea smiled, “Better luck next time, Kuro. Now, turn to page 573 of your textbooks.”
It was going to be a long day.