Monday, January 12, 2015

The Cursed White Rose Chapter 4 – First Interactions

Here's Chapter 4. Chapter 5 will be out sometime tomorrow, if not later this week depending on how busy the funeral is. Another heavily rewritten chapter from the original draft that I ended up splicing because of the length. Anyways, enjoy!

Edit: Changed the ranks around to avoid calling anything star rank. The ranks mentioned in this chapter have been changed to either A or S rank now.

Sara, Yuki and Tsubaki head cautiously downstairs. As they arrive on the basement floor, they look the gloomy basement and quickly notice the open door with white light spilling out. The three of them descend down the flight of stairs and see a large room at the bottom. They look around to see the room covered in white squared tiles lined with black edges. The room is easily twice the size of the house, each side of the room reaching 40 meters and the ceiling itself reaching 20 meters in height.

They look forward and see standing Rose nearby. Further from her are a number of people and other non-human beings running around inside the room. Some of the beings in the room sit in chairs laid against the walls of the room. However, many others are pulling everyone from the chairs forcibly escorting them to the large double doors on the other side of the room. Rose moves her hand yelling out some things, but only a muffled voice reaches their ears.

Sara: “Rose!”

Rose looks at them and becomes a bit downcast as she sighs. They approach her.

Rose: “So you followed me huh? Well I guess that’s to be expected.”

Sara: “Um… Ro…”

Rose: “There’s probably a lot of things you want to ask, but I’ll fill you in later. I want to deal with this horde quickly.”  Her hands move as a quick pace typing on her floating keyboard. “…But first. Master.” Rose’s voice becomes stern as she looks directly at Sara.

Sara: “Ah! Yes!” Sara cries out at being called. Yuki and Tsubaki look at them in confusion, but Sara and Rose ignore the stares.

Rose: “If any incidents happen, I’m only obligated to protect you since you are my master.”

Sara: “Meaning?”

Rose: “Meaning, if something happens, I will only protect you and won’t do anything to help Yuki or Tsubaki.” Yuki and Tsubaki stare in blank astonishment at Rose.

Sara: “You can’t protect all three of us?”

Rose: “I can, but only if you directly order me to do so.”

Sara: “Then…Please make sure to protect all three of us if something happens.”

Rose smiles. “Understood.” Rose turns around and yells something to the people behind her, but again only a muffled noise reaches their ears. Rose turns back around. “Oh yes.” She holds out her hand in front of them. “Enchantment.” A light is released from Rose’s hand as it covers Sara, Yuki and Tsubaki. The light glows before quickly fading. “That should do it. Follow me.” The girls look at each other and quickly follow Rose.

Tsubaki: “She’s quite different now.”

Yuki: “Yeah. I think so too. She’s more domineering than before.”

Rose: “Ah! …Something annoying came.” The four of them immediately stop walking. The ground quakes as a large dragon appears in front of them. Its large body reaches almost five meters in height. The dragon’s long neck extends further into the air making its entire body almost nine meters in height. The dragon’s body spans almost fifteen meters from its head to its non-extended tail. Its scales shine a bright ruby red. Its overall size shows that it is a powerful beast.

Dragon: “Where is the human named Rose?! Come out here now!!”

It roars loudly as it breathes fire in multiple directions causing many of the people nearby to scatter in various directions. Several of them cast barriers as they block the flames attacking them.

Sara, Yuki, & Tsubaki: “D-Dr-Dragon!!!”

Rose in one swift movement gives the three of them a chop to the head. “Be quiet. Just let me handle it.” Some of the calmer people generate ropes made from magic restrain the dragon, but the dragon struggles with all its might crying out and shooting out more streams of flames.

Dragon: “Out of my way!! I need to see the human named Rose!!!” The dragon continues to release streams of fire towards the captors. One stream of fire heads towards Rose and the others.

Girls: “Wah!!” The girls scream and dive down to the ground, while Rose stands calmly in front of them.

Rose: “Absorb.” Rose puts her arm forward as it begins to glow red. The flames divert their course slightly heading solely for Rose’s outstretched hand. As if they were drawn into a vacuum, the flames are drawn into Rose’s palm before disappearing from existence. “Just short of an S rank huh?” Rose mutters as she lowers her hand. The girls look at her in astonishment. The people holding down the dragon are able to calm it somewhat and talk to it. A woman with black hair and angel wings dressed in a white flowing dress quickly flies to Rose landing in front of her. She whispers in Rose’s ear, her face shows some clear agitation. Rose’s face shows some annoyance after hearing what the girl has to say. The angel girl backs away a few steps as Rose turns around to face Sara.

Rose: “Master.”

Sara: “Ah. Yes!” Sara stands up quickly looking at Rose’s serious expression. Yuki and Tsubaki look at them, but don’t say anything.

Rose: “I’ll keep it brief since it’s an Emergency request from that one.” Rose motions to the dragon.

Sara: “Ah. Ok.”

Rose: “Her child has been seriously injured in an accident. One of the arms was severed and the head cracked open. She’s desperately asking for treatment. What would you like to do? Treat her or kick her out?”

Sara: “…Can’t you just heal her?”

Rose: “You’re the one that has to provide the energy for the treatment. I can’t use my magic that freely. With this level of treatment, it will definitely cause a burden for you.” Sara frowns at Rose’s reluctance to help.

Yuki: “Would it be okay to help though? Isn’t a dragon dangerous?” Yuki interjects looking between Rose and the dragon. Sara and Tsubaki nod at the question.

Rose: “If it really wanted to kill people, then I would have dealt with it already. That mother dragon is just in distress.”

Sara: “Then please help it. I’ll bear with the problems later.”

Rose: “Understood.” Rose turns around to the angel girl. The girl quickly nods and flies over to the dragon in a rush. “Stay close, so I can protect you if anything happens.” Rose starts walking towards the dragon.

Girls: “Ah. Yes!” The three of them quickly tail Rose. They clump together hiding behind her as they approach the dragon. Some of the people able to fly carefully move the young dragon off the mother dragon and place it on the ground.

Rose: “I’ll deal with it. So just patiently wait, okay?”

Rose looks at the mother dragon and consoles her slightly. The dragon snorts and takes a step back. Rose holds a hand above the young dragon.

Rose: “Platform.”

Rose’s hand glows lightly as the floor beneath the young dragon rises up about a meter. The girls gasp as they see the severe damage on the young dragon. There is profuse bleeding from the severed forearm and damaged skull.

Yuki: “Oh no...”

Sara: “Will you be able to fix this?”

Rose: “Mmm. It will take time for something of this level.”

Rose holds her left hand over the young dragon’s head. Her hand glows white as she starts to heal it. Rose’s right hand touches the pool of blood collecting under the dragon. The blood floats upwards as Rose’s hand glows blue. The blood collects into a large ball and becomes encased in a thin blue bubble. Rose directs her right hand downward making the blood press against the edge of the bubble. The blood filters through the bubble leaving the dirt and debris in the bubble. Rose moves the bubble to the side as she manipulates the blood back into the young dragon’s body through its severed arm. Rose’s right hand relaxes as her left finishes up healing the wound on the skull.

Rose: “That’s it for the emergency treatment.” Rose makes her book appear floating in front of Sara. “Master, you will have to help with the next part.”

Sara: “EHHH?! MEEE?! But I don’t know anything about magic?!”

Rose: “That’s what I’m here for.” Rose snaps her fingers making her book open and flip to a certain page. “Just recite what comes to mind and I’ll handle the rest.”

Sara: “Uuu…” Sara whimpers, her hand shaking heavily. Rose sighs and flicks Sara on the forehead.

Rose: “Focus. You wanted me to help it right. I can’t do it unless you help me.” Rose stares into Sara’s eyes. Sara regains some of her resolve as she takes a deep breath and grips Rose’s book tightly.

Sara: “Right!”

Rose: “Good. Let’s get started.”

Sara stands behind Rose with the book. A magic circle forms underneath the two of them as they begin to glow with a bright white light. Tsubaki and Yuki take a step back staying out of the circle.

Sara: "…Gather and become a healing light…[Restoration]!!"

Sara moves her mouth inaudibly trying to find the right words. After finally saying some of the incantation, she struggles again before somehow finishing the spell. Rose glows even brighter as she directs the magic towards the young dragon. Her brows tightly knitted as she recreates the missing arm of the dragon. The missing arm is magically restored as the spell ends and the remaining injuries disappear without a trace. Rose cuts the power to the spell as the light gradually fades from the two of them. Rose turns around to see Sara fallen to her knees. She pants heavily as sweat drips down from her face.

Rose: “As expected. That was quite hard on you.”

Sara: “I-I’m o-okay…”

Sara tries to reassure Rose, but her unsteady voice only brings up concern. Rose sighs as she reaches into her dress pocket. She opens a metal container and removes a single pill popping it into Sara’s mouth.

Rose: “Swallow it. It’s medicine.” Sara swallows the pill and her breathing relaxes immediately. Sara thanks Rose for the medicine. Rose turns around and looks at the young dragon. “Good. He’s all fixed up.” Rose takes out a bottle of smelling salts from her dress and opens it. The mother dragon averts her gaze immediately brushing her snout to get rid of the smell. Rose holds the bottle against the young dragon’s nose. It wakes up disgruntled from the smell because of its sensitive nose. The young dragon growls at them after waking up, but before it can attack the mother grabs the young dragon lifting him up. The two have a heartwarming moment nuzzling their faces against one another. The mother dragon puts her child down looking at Rose and Sara.

Dragon: “Thank you Human for healing my child. How can I repay you?”

Rose: “We don’t…” Rose starts to respond, but closes her mouth glancing back at Sara. Rose sighs before speaking again. “…Things are a bit hectic right now. Can we discuss rewards another day?” Rose motions at all the other people stubbornly trying to stay in the room. The dragon nods.

Dragon: “Another day then.”

The two dragons give a small nod before leaving. Rose nods to the angel girl that’s been watching the entire exchange.

Rose: “I’ll leave it to you then.”

The angel girl nods and proceeds to deal with escorting the remaining people out. Rose helps Sara stands up and holds her chin staring deeply into her eyes.

Rose: “Master.”

Sara: “Yes.” Sara blushes fiercely expecting Rose to kiss her.

Rose: “Do you still remember how you chanted that healing spell?”

Sara: “Yes?” Sara’s blush fades upon realizing Rose’s serious tone. “It was ‘Gather…’” Rose immediately covers her mouth.

Rose: “Don’t say it again. Your body wouldn’t be able to take it.”

Sara: “Ah…okay. Yes I do remember it. Why?”

Rose: “It’s just interesting you cast the spell like that. That spell is fairly high ranked so it had five verses. You only said one.”

Sara: “……Is that bad that I only did one?” Sara pales at Rose’s response. “I-I was waiting for words to come like you said. But nothing came up right away. When it did, it was short and nothing else came up until the end.”

Rose smiles. “It’s not bad, just interesting because it shows you have some potential with magic.”

Sara: “R-really?!”

Rose: “Yes. But we’ll talk about that later when it’s not so busy. I’m exhausted myself from that task.”

???: “Then this is the best chance. So DIE!!!!”

A man with a wild look appears. He’s dressed in a purple robe and wields a short sword with a purple tinged blade. He stabs his sword directly at Sara’s face. The attack is so sudden that Sara, Tsubaki, and Yuki are unable to react. Rose’s expression doesn’t change as she uses her right hand to reach into her hair. Rose pulls out a katana hidden in her hair. With the blade still sheathed, she swings upward deflecting the man’s hand up into the air. The man’s eyes widen as his entire body is left defenseless from the unexpected counterattack.

Rose: “You die.” Rose mutters with no emotion. With the katana still raised in the air, she pulls it out quickly with her left hand. Rose slices the man directly down the center vertically splitting him in half. After finishing her attack, she follows up with ten horizontal slashes dicing the man into pieces. Rose promptly sheathes the sword before kicking the man’s flank shooting him towards the open double doors. The man’s body breaks into pieces as he shoots through the open door completely disappearing from view. Rose puts the katana away before picking up the man’s dropped weapon. “Poisoned, huh?” She flicks the blade causing it to crack at the base. It falls to the ground, which Rose immediately stomps to pieces. “Master, are you okay?”

Sara: “Y-Yes…thank you.” Sara stutters incredibly shaken up. Upon closer inspection, the three of them are all incredibly pale from the attack. Rose glances at the double door and the last remaining people are pushed out of the room. She brings out her keyboard and quickly types making two sofas and a coffee table appear.

Rose: “Let’s sit down. The annoyances are mostly gone now.” The girls weakly nod as they sit down. Rose makes a tea set appear and begins pouring tea for the three of them. After quietly drinking for some time, Rose nods seeing the girls have calmed down somewhat. “Good. Then let’s start talking. What do you want me to talk about first?”

The girls look at one another.

Yuki: “Who was that guy that tried to kill Sara?”

Rose: “I don’t know. Some greedy idiot. That’s about all I know about them right now.”

Tsubaki: “But why would someone want to kill her?”

Rose: “Well… Sara already knows the answer to that actually.” Rose glances at Sara who returns the gaze with a bitter smile. “Either way, pretty much everything about it is my fault.”

Sara: “…Rose… I’ve been thinking about it but I don’t get it. Why would they try and kill me?”

Rose tilts her head. “Hmm? You don’t?”

Sara: “No. Because you told me that if the owner is changed, then you would disappear right away. If it was because of the people you killed before, then they would aim at you?”

Rose: “Looks like you remember the details. That’s good.” Rose giggles with a large smile on her face. She ignores the surprised looks on Yuki and Tsubaki and focuses on Sara. “Both points are true. But this attempt in particular falls into the other category. Some people are greedy to get ahold of me because I have a unique power. That’s why…they aim to kill you. I do disappear if you were to be killed, but most aiming for me either doesn’t believe that it’s true or can capture me before I disappear.”

Sara cringes at the explanation. She stares at her tea cup unsure of what to say. Rose glances at Yuki and Tsubaki who are patiently waiting and completely confused. With Sara’s permission, Rose gives the two of them a basic summary of the situation and who she is without going into extensive detail. Their eyes widen significantly as Rose’s explanation goes on.

Tsubaki: “…Wow.”

Yuki: “Are you serious…?”

Sara: “Yes, she is. Speaking of which, Rose, is it okay you told them about yourself? I thought you were keeping it secret?”

Rose: “From what I know about them, they’re trustworthy. So I have no problem telling them. If they weren’t I would have wiped out their memories already. Plus, it would be good for you to have friends you can talk with.”

Yuki: “I-I see. That’s good…” Yuki shivers at Rose’s unexpected response. Rose’s tone only sends shivers down Yuki’s spine.

Tsubaki: “How do you know you can trust us though? We’ve known each other less than a day.”

Rose: “I did extensive background checks on everyone in the school?” Rose tilts her head explaining her actions like it was completely normal. “Especially you two since you had lunch with Sara.”

Yuki & Tsubaki: “I see…”

Sara: “I told you right? She’s just like that.” Yuki and Tsubaki can only bitterly laugh at Sara’s supplement.

Rose: “Let’s move onto the next topic.” Rose pulls the coffee table away from the girls and sits in a seiza[1] position in front of Sara. She sits waiting with a stern expression, but her eyes show she waits expectantly for Sara.

Sara: “Um…you want me to refill your energy? Right here…? Right now…?”

Rose tilts her head in confusion. “No, of course not. I’m waiting for my punishment.”

Sara: “Hee? Punishment? For what?” Sara starts to become flustered at the unexpected response.

Rose: “Obviously for letting that assassin get that close.”

Sara: “But that was a surprise attack. You couldn’t have known.”

Rose: “That’s no excuse for putting Master in danger. I should have properly dealt with him like the other one.”

Sara: “No, you did do your job by keeping me safe. W-wait, other one? What other one?” Sara becomes increasingly panicked as the conversation goes on.

Rose: “Oh no… I forgot to turn off the stove.” Rose responds in monotone. The girls’ eyes widen at the unexpected revelation. “I’m supposed to be keeping such problems away from you. So I would like a punishment since I screwed up.”

Sara: “…” Sara struggles to find something to say. Her face is beet red. “L-later. I’ll think of a punishment later.”

Rose: “Later when? I won’t let you forget about it you know. Be specific.”

Sara: “Tonight. Later tonight.” Sara blushes fiercely at her forced response.

Yuki: “…Wow.” Sara glances and sees Yuki and Tsubaki smile warmly looking at the two of them. She blushes even more fiercely as a result.

Woman: “Are you done? Then…”

The girls turn to see a young woman with long blonde hair and bright blue eyes. She wears simple white flowing dress. Her appearance makes her appear to be beautifully sculpted like a great work of art. The woman smiles brightly making the girls flinch at her beauty. She looks at Rose who averts her eyes with a bitter look. The woman runs up to Rose and hugs Rose with all her might. Rose simply stands there bitterly without making any moves.

Sara frowns at the unexpected show of affection. She feels a light prickle that quickly fades.

Woman: “…It’s been so long!! I’ve missed seeing you!”  The woman rubs her face against Rose’s cheek thoroughly enjoying the contact. Rose remains ambivalent at the contact.

Rose: “…*sigh*… Hello Mary.”

Mary: “You don’t have to sound so displeased. We haven’t seen each other in over five hundred years. Be a bit more happy!” Mary pouts at Rose’s indifference making Rose sigh even more.

Rose: “Think about your position a bit more. I’m a imprisoned criminal. You shouldn’t be so friendly to me.”

Mary: “We’re friends. I’m not going to avoid you for such a thing after you helped me so much.”

Rose: “Then at least have a bit more decorum in front of my master.”

Mary: “Fine...” Mary stops hugging Rose and bows to the girls. “It is nice to you girls.”

Yuki: “Nice to meet you. My name is Yuki.”

Tsubaki: “It’s a pleasure. Tsubaki.”

Sara: “…Nice to meet you. I’m Sara.”

Rose: “You probably don’t know this, but Mary here is a powerful and influential individual. She’s the head of the upper realm for this region. Well calling her Kami-sama[2] is probably the most appropriate title.

Girls: “Eh?” The girls’ eyes widen at Rose’s word.

Rose: “She runs a portion of Heaven. So essentially, she’s what people would normally call a Kami-sama.” Rose immediately clamps her hands over her ears. Mary follows suit.

Girls: “EHHHHHHH?!?!?!?!!!!”

Rose: “Geez. It is that much of a surprise. I also know various Maou[3] too.” The girls jaws drop before their attention returns to Mary. The girls kneel on the ground apologizing for their rudeness.

Mary: “Please get up. You don’t need to be so formal. I didn’t come here for that.”

Yuki: “But…”

Mary: “Please. I would like to be friends rather than someone you revere.”

Rose: “Please respect her wishes. She gets enough reverence from people around her.”

Tsubaki: “Okay…”

The three of them get up and sit back on the sofa.

Sara: “So why did you come here, Mary?”

Mary: “Well part of it was to see Rose. The other is for official business.” Mary pulls out a paper scroll and hands it to Sara. “This is for you.”

Sara takes the scroll and unties it. She unravels the paper and starts reading. Yuki and Tsubaki lean over to read the paper too. Mary turns to Rose with a sad look. She whispers to Rose quietly and hands her three large envelopes, two white colored and one manila colored. Sara frowns at the scroll and looks up to see Rose and Mary wordlessly exchanging a serious look. Some displeasure spreads through her body. Their gaze ends as they look at Sara.

Mary: “Then my part is done. I will take my leave here.” Mary gives a slight bow. She wordlessly mouths ‘Sorry’ to Rose before leaving through the basement double doors. The doors shut tightly after she leaves.

Rose: “Well then…”

Sara: “Rose...” She starts to ask about their exchange, but closes her mouth. She opens her mouth again. “I don’t understand what this scroll is saying. I can read it, but there are a lot of details I don’t really understand.”

Yuki: “You can read it? I can read a few words, but most of it is in another language and the rest is blurred out.”

Tsubaki: “The same for me. Most of it is unreadable.”

Rose smiles slightly. “That scroll uses a magic text. Reading it requires concentrating your magic power. Sara can do it unconsciously it seems which is quite surprising. Anyways, better you don’t try to do more or you’ll pass out. Give it here and I’ll read it to you.”

Sara hands the scroll to Rose who promptly takes it. As Sara pulls her hand back, she notices the faint light surrounding her dimming completely.

Rose: “Sorry, I just ended the magic enchantment from earlier since my magic is low.”

Sara: “Ah…okay. What does the message say?”

Rose open and quickly glances through it.

Rose: "According to magical law, Sara. *ahem* Master, as a non registered magic user. You are in the illegal possession of the A ranked item, the Cursed Tome of the White Rose, namely me. You must either a) abandon ownership of the Cursed Tome of the White Rose within one week or b) register as a magic user and obtain an A rank within the period of one year. Failure to do either of these actions will result in punishment in the form of being sent to one of the deepest levels in Hell to suffer for the duration of your soul's lifespan."

[1] Seiza- Japanese formal sitting position involving kneeling on the ground and sitting the butt on your heels
[2] Kami-sama- Kami=God. –sama being a formal, polite suffix.
[3] Maou- Demon lord/Devil

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