Chapter Three

Principal Reinhard was always accused of being too laid back with his job. His office explained a lot about that. Too laid back, Alice thought, while he had her sit in a dark red chair at his office in the Red Gryphon Academy, the school she attended since elementary.

Reinhard seated himself while eating the cupcakes he had bought then studied Alice for a moment before he said, "A week ago, Miss HAwthorne, you brought in a girl. You remember don't you?"

Alice remembered. "Y-yeah. How is she? Did she wake up?"

"Yes, she woke up," said Reinhard. "She's recovered, and well, and healthy, and has gone missing."

"Oh." Then Alice frowned. "Wait, what? Missing?"

"Yep. Ran away. I thought the people who know of her existence might have gotten involved, and that includes you, but since you were at the cafe where your mother works, I suppose that's an alibi that could work. By the way, your mom makes nice muffins. I should drop by once in a while."

Alice sighed. "I haven't seen her since yesterday, but I thought about visiting when I got back to the dormitories before dinner again tonight. Yesterday was filled with a lot of tests, and I didn't get to check on her."

"How was she yesterday?" asked Reinhard.

"Still sleeping, in a coma-like state, as she had been since I brought her back here."

Reinhard nodded, then sipped at his still-steaming coffee from the cafe. "Well, she actually woke up this morning, while all mage students were in their social studies classes, and I interviewed her. I'm worried if anything I said bothered her, but she seems to have some memory problems. She does remember you, though. I suppose you've picked up her aura when you found her?"

"Yeah, I picked up on her aura. She's definitely a mage."

"What did she feel like? A witch? A rare-blood? A shadowlark?"

"A wiccan. And don't put rare-bloods as a mage. That's just a feature of ours."

"You are one, though, and a witch at that." Reinhard casually took a bite out of his fourth cupcake. Perhaps he has a sweet tooth.

Alice frowned hard at the man.

Yes, she was a witch. Witches and wizards exist. Rather, to put all witches, wizards, shadowlarks and wiccans in the same party, which was equal to being lazy to find the right words for the kind that they are, they were simply called mages.

The Red Gryphon Academy, a huge school that taught thousands of students each year through its divisions of elementary, middle-school, and high school, was the only school in the country that recruited mages and trained them in their abilities. In fact, about one third of its entire student population were mages. The rest were normal students who were able to attend the Academy because it was also a special private school for the rich.

Mages were linked to a dimension called the Netherworld, and some say that that world was the region that mages got their powers from.

The world of demons and dark creatures and ghosts. Commonly called the Underworld, but known better as the Netherworld. Stories behind how mages existed was that demons and devils dragged humans into the Netherworld, where those humans gained powers just by being there. Some of those humans with new powers escaped, and were known as mages.

That part, Alice would believe. After all, she'd grown up with half her life in the Netherworld, unlike most mages these days.

To travel through the Netherworld and to the light side of the world, which was also nicknamed the Mirror World, the use of portals were involved. How the portals work was something unknown to anyone, though.

And then there were mages with stranger abilites: they were either called rare-bloods or dark-bloods. There was something that split them from normal mages.

Rare-bloods were mages who could pick up something like aura, off from any living being, and were able to determine what they are, if they could remember what beast or being gave it off the last time they felt it; because of that gist, rare-bloods were considered the divine side of the mages, who were always qualified to be leaders of a group and granted special treatment over the rules of the Academy.

Dark-bloods were the dark side of mages; those who were gifted with the ability to create contracts with demons, control and ally with demons, and get along with them. Human hatred for demons was always strong, so when dark-bloods were somehow tempted to use their powers and contract with a demon, they were always cast out of the Academy, and no one would know of them.

Suddenly, Alice sat up. "Wait, does the whole school know about her now? She was supposed to be kept a secret except against the infirmary, and also in case she's a captured victim of the Netherworld, and that demons are going to track her down for something."

"No one as of yet, except for the Oracle Eye, and I've just gotten the Stone Knights alerted about her disappearance so they could go find her. I'm thinking of a few trustworthy Red Mark students, and you're the first of them all."

Alice frowned more. "Okay . . . so for now, there's the Eye, the Knights, and me."

"Exactly."

That turned Alice's stomach further.

The End

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