Chapter Four: Turning Point

"Mizuki! Wake up, wake up, wake up!" Patty cried, throwing me against my bed by my shoulders.

"P-Patty...what time is it..." I groaned, still being half asleep.

"It's 10! Come on, we have to go! Get dressed!" She leaped off me, slamming my room door shut.

     I wanted to throw the covers back over my face and sleep for eternity. Then I realized, tonight was a double whammy. It was my birthday, and the 'long awaited' celebration party for the founding of the DWMA. I made the longer than usual trek to my closet, sluggishly opening the doors and looking around. I settled on a red and black striped shirt, black skinnies, and white checkered Vans.

     I took another glance at my Lines of Sanzu, the top one noticeably longer than the other two. All thoughts aside, I finished getting dressed and left my snow white hair to lay down today. I rubbed my eyes before heading downstairs, making sure I wouldn't fall this time. I was glomped by Patty, as tiny poppers and people cheered behind her.

"Happy 15th birthday, Mizuki!" Asmund, Liz, my mother and father, plus Asmund yelled in unison.

"We're gonna take you fancy clothes shopping for tonight!" Patty exclaimed wildly, throwing up her arms.

"Also get your hair and nails done. The place chosen by me, of course." Liz added on, chuckling triumphantly.

"We're entrusting you to these two today, so don't cause too much trouble. Your mother and I will be preparing for this extra special evening." My father stated, shoving his hands in his pockets.

     My parents and Asmund left, and before you knew it, Liz, Patty, and I were the only ones left in the manor. I grabbed my bag, tossed in my phone, and shortly after we left for the inner city as well.

*Time Skip*

     We were almost to the shopping plaza when Patty went barreling towards an icecream parlor. Liz and I sighed, and followed suit.

"Come on, Liz! Can't we get some?" Patty squealed, bouncing and pointing at the shoppe sign.

"After we're done shopping for Mizuki, Patty. We don't have the biggest time window ever with this." Liz grabbed Patty by the arm and begin walking, her younger sister sighing in disappointment.

     After about 15 more minutes of walking, we reached the main hub of the city. The shopping plaza was filled with citizens and some students I recognized from the Academy. I felt my body tense up, as being in large crowds never really worked in my favor. I did light up, however, when I caught sight of a familiar family.

"Aunty Maka! Uncle Soul!" I shouted, and they turned around right as I enveloped them in a hug.

"Hey there, champ. Big 15 today, right? You're extra cool." Soul laughed, returning my hug.

"Heh, yeah. I guess I am." I snickered, backing away from the two.

"Oh, come on, Mizuki. You can't possibly be going to the ball tonight like that are you?" Maka gestured towards my rather casual attire. 

"Nooo, I'm here shopping with Liz and Patty. They're buying me clothes for tonight and I'm getting a makeover..." I trailed off when I realized their son wasn't with them.

"Uhh, Maka, Soul? Where's Apsel?" Both their eyes widened in sync, and they ran off in the direction of the nearby arcade.

     Liz, Patty, and I walked along the bustling brick sidewalks to find a suitable place to shop for dresses. They wouldn't let me stop unless the price tag was over three g's. Sighing, I stretched my arms outward and yawned.

"Come on, you two. We've been walking for centuries!" I cried out in despair.

"It's around here somewhere Mizuki...just a few more...Aha! There it is!" Liz yelled, dragging me off with Patty giggling uncontrollably beside us.

     I was greeted with a large building at the end of a row of stores, curving to fit the corner it was placed on. My eyes found their way to the shop sign, which read "Merciless: The One Stop Gown Destination For Any Occasion". I stood up, dusted my clothes off, and walked inside. Patty immediately went to a section with animal print dresses, hoping to find one with giraffe print. I stood awkwardly in the middle of the store as Liz saw my discomfort and came over.

"Come on, birthday girl. You've got a lot to do tonight. Let's get started!" Liz grabbed my arm and lead me towards the back of the store, which featured every type of dress under the sun.

     What seemed like years had passed, and I had tried on at least 18 dresses. I was about to give up hope when a particular one caught my eye. It was a strapless, mermaid fit, black silk dress. The ruffles on the waist gave way to a flow-y but fitted bottom. It had a large white sash hanging beside if with a large death's skull placed in the middle. I shoved Liz out of the dressing room as I got changed.

"Well...how do I look?" I murmured, making my way out. 

"PRETTY GIRL! PRETTY GIRL! You've got a lucky boyfriend!" Patty cackled, waving her finger ecstatically.

"Apsel isn't my boyfriend!" I shouted defensively, blushing a tiny of red.

"I never said who your boyfriend was~!" She responded back in a sing-song tone.

     Liz walked over, and began applauding with a large grin on her face.

"You look great, Mizuki! Now, let's check out and go get your hair and nails done." Liz took the dress once I was changed, and we checked out at the register.

     We exited the dress shop and made our way for Liz's favorite salon. All three of us chatted along the way about various things. Such as how I enjoyed having a meister. Once we made it to the salon, Liz and Patty said they were going to head back to Gallows Manor to hang my dress up in my closet so nothing would happen to it. I sighed in displeasure, knowing I would have to be here alone.

     I got my nails done, solid black with three white stripes per nail. Now, I was sitting in the chair for my hair. I was getting it dyed a platinum blonde, hoping to make my hair less offsetting than it normally is. I put in my ear buds, pulled out my phone and began listening to Motley Crue. About 20 minutes had passed, and I heard my earbuds cutting to static.

"Mmm-iii-zzzzzz-uu-k-ii. I'm hh-eeh-heer-e. I-I'll bbb-e ww-wwaa-waiting f-ffor y-yo-you." The voice then cut out, resuming play on Kickstart My Heart.

     I pulled out my earbuds and stopped the music, trying to wrap my head around what I just heard. Who was where? How did they know my name? Why were they waiting for me? I went to scratch my head, but had my wrist pulled away by a stylist. 

"My lady! Please don't touch your hair, the dye hasn't been washed out yet. Come, we shall wash it out now so that you may return to your lively activities before the ball." He took my hand, leading me over to the wash.

     The entire time I was having my hair washed and dried, my brain was pinned on the static voice that broke through to my headphones. I tried to think of everyone I'd talked to in the last couple days, but was interrupted once more by my stylist reaching for my hand.

"You're all done now, madame. May the ball be enchanting as I hear, and that you have a glorious birthday, Mistress Mizuki Death." Everyone in the salon bowed when I left, which was extremely weird to me.

"Mizuki~! We're here!" Patty bellowed. I walked over to her and Liz, stating that I was ready to go home as soon as possible.

*Time Skip*

     All three of us made our way into the manor, and I headed straight for the refrigerator. Patty sat at the counter, babbling on about a giraffe print suit she had found today and planned to wear tonight. I munched happily on cookies and guzzled down some Dr. Pepper. Liz called me up from hers and Patty's room, saying it was time to start getting ready for tonight.

"Dude, it's only 3!" I yelled, my tone hinting at annoyance.

"Exactly! Now get your butt up here, lady!" She called back, obviously not getting my subliminal message.

     I made my way to her room, and found my dress on a mannequin. I went to grab it, but I was yanked by the sleeve of my shirt into her massive bathroom. I was having my hair tugged, curled, pinned, sprayed, straightened, and every synonym for hurt that you could think of. I left the bathroom when Liz ran downstairs to get us some drinks, and I opened the windows so I could breathe. My coughing wracked my body, and I peered out into the city. I could see the forest from here, since Liz and Patty's room was right next to mine.

     The clouds over the forest had grown a darker grey, and that's when it clicked. The static voice I heard through my headphones...Was Mazoku. I told him to wait at the cabin for me tonight, and by the growing darkness of the clouds...he isn't too pleased with having to wait. 

"Hey, Mizuki, you alright? I brought some tea for you. We're almost done with your hair, just another quick spritz of hairspray. Then, we can do the dress!" Liz laid the tray with 2 cups of tea down on her wardrobe at the end of her bed, and lead me back into the bathroom.

     I brought my phone out of my pocket and read the time. 5:27. The ball starts in half an hour. Also, it buzzed when I just received a text from Apsel.

Apsel Hildbrand: SMS Message at 5:15 pm

Hey! I'll be picking you up at 5:45 tonight for the ball. That cool?

     I replied back with a "Sure :)" and told Liz we had to pick up the pace. We zipped me into my dress, and decided to re-tie the sash into a bow with the death's skull resting at the bottom of my back. I slipped into a pair of sparkly 3-inch heels, and with Liz's help, walked down to the living room. Patty was in her giraffe suit, and Liz was still in her day clothes. We were laughing and taking pictures when the doorbell rang.

"Hey! It's me, Apsel!" My meister called, tapping on the door.

"Be right there, Apsel!" I responded, giving a hug to Liz and Patty.

"We'll be there eventually. Don't have too much fun without us, Mizuki." Liz waved me off, and Apsel and I began our walk to the Academy.

     The section of the Academy that the celebration was being held in, was a large ballroom in one of the spires ascending upwards from the Academy. As Apsel and I walked in, everyone began to cheer. For once in my life, people were appreciating me. I wove my arm inside Apsel's, and we walked down the navy velvet carpet, to the large throne-like chairs in the center of the room. My father, Death The Kid, sat in the largest chair with two smaller ones at either side.

"My gorgeous daughter! Oh, you and your meister are so perfectly symmetrical on this lovely night!" My father enveloped me with a hug, and soon he commenced this evenings festivities.

     A jazz band played on the nearby stage, and I could see Maka and Soul talking with my parents. Apsel and I made our way towards the refreshment counter, and soon I was blessing my lips with the lovely taste of a virgin martini. We walked back out to the dance floor and waltzed to a slow song that was being played.

"And tonight, along with the celebration of the DWMA's founding by my late father, I would be more than proud to honour my daughter, Mizuki, on this lovely night of her 15th birthday! And I greatly thank the lovely parents Maka and Soul Albarn, for giving her the chance to meet her lifelong partner, Apsel Hildbrand. Let's give the lovely couple a round of applause!" My father cried to everyone, shining a spotlight on Apsel and I, who were still in the position of the waltz.

     My mother also made an announcement shortly after that, which made me feel better. I excused myself to go to the restroom, and while I was washing my hands, my eyes were met with a horrendous sight. I swung around from the mirror to face behind me.

"Mazoku?! What on deaths earth are you doing here?!" I whisper-yelled, turning off the water.

"I'm waiting, Mizuki. It's lonely out here in the cabin." His image disappeared, and I darted out of the bathroom.

     I mixed myself with the crowd, purposely avoiding everyone I could at any cost. I slipped out the party, heading off for the cabin in the forest.

*Time Skip*

     My lungs were struggling for oxygen as the tight, silk dress still hugged my body with no sign of wanting to let go. My legs ached something fierce as I finally collapsed into the door of my cabin, gasping for air.

"Here, let me help you." That same husky voice I heard just moments ago in the restroom grazed my ears again.

"M-Mazoku...I'm sorry for making you wait so long...It's my birthday, and tonight was also the party for the founding of the DWMA." I stood, brushing my dress off.

"You must be quite benevolent coming back to me, Mistress Mizuki." Mazoku extended a sleeve from his long red shirt, wrapping it around my shoulders.

     We sat and talked for what seemed like hours, and I learned so much about him. Although, he doesn't remember much before the age of 8. He says there were these people who dressed in black robes with freaky white masks, a man that could be a chainsaw, and a short old dude with a pointy nose. But, he says, the one he talked about the least and actually, seemed to fear, was his mother.

"What's your mother's name, Mazoku?" I questioned, scooting closer to him.

"A-Arach-Arachne..." He stuttered, his thin lips quivering and his eyes welling with tears.

     

The End

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