Chapter 6 released right before I go back to work! Chances are chapter 7 will take longer since I'm not on a break from work anymore. This chapter has a bit of world building in it, I'm not great at it so bear with me. Enjoy!
During lunch the next day, Sara, Yuki, and Tsubaki decide to eat on the school rooftop to have a private discussion.
Sara: “Hahhh. Yesterday was so tiring!”
Tsubaki: “Well if that much happens in one day, it’s only expected that it becomes really hectic. Though, it sounds like Rose plans to work us hard since we’re studying under her. You probably should get used to it.”
Sara: “Mmmm…” Sara mumbles her response as she eats her lunch. She glances at Yuki who continues to remain silent. “Yuki, you still can’t decide?” Yuki doesn’t respond, quietly eating her food. Sara brushes her blonde hair back to see dark bags under her muddled blue eyes. “Yuki!!!” Sara waves her hand in front of Yuki finally getting her attention.
Yuki: “Huh? What? Sorry I wasn’t listening.” Yuki acts flustered as she glances at Sara and Tsubaki. They both give her a wry smile.
Tsubaki: “Sara was asking if you decided to take lessons from Rose or not? Looks like you spent all night thinking about it.”
Yuki becomes increasingly despondent. “Yes… I didn’t get any sleep. I really want to learn it, but Rose made it sound like I shouldn’t just jump on because it sounds fun.”
Sara: “I think it’s more. If you decide to do it, you have to commit to it.”
Tsubaki: “That’s how I understood it too.”
Yuki mumbles to herself still feeling conflicted.
Sara: “If you’re still having issues, why not talk to Rose? Rose!”
Rose appears immediately after hearing Sara’s call. Yuki and Tsubaki jump back in surprise. They barely stop themselves from crying out in surprise.
Rose: “Yes Master? You called.”
Sara: “Yep. Can you give Yuki some advice?”
Rose: “Okay. That’s easy.”
Yuki: “I-Is it okay you just popped out like that?”
Yuki and Tsubaki look around and notice that none of the other people on the rooftop are paying attention. They continue to eat their lunch and talk to one another oblivious to Rose’s sudden appearance.
Rose: “They can’t see me. I made sure to prepare myself before I came, so don’t worry.”
Yuki: “O-okay. Um… I’m still having trouble deciding about studying magic. I’m interested to learn it, but I don’t have a reason other than being interested.”
Rose: “If you’re truly unsure, then sit in on the lessons. I don’t want you practicing much if you won’t commit to it, but sitting in and learning a bit before deciding is fine.”
Yuki: “I see. Thank you.”
Rose: “Honestly speaking, I think it’s good you’re taking your time before making a major decision. It shows you’re really thinking things though.”
Yuki: “But…” Yuki glances at Sara and Tsubaki who in turn stare at Rose.
Rose: “They have truly awkward reasons that allow them to rashly decide things.”
Rose: “Helping me through such an incredibly dangerous process worries me a lot. So I can’t help it if I don’t like your reason Master. Purely for the sake of strength isn’t a great reason either. If you have a follow up reason, I would like to hear it Tsubaki.”
The both of them frown at Rose’s loaded response. They both keep silent though since they’re unable to argue back. Yuki becomes noticeably relaxed after talking to Rose.
Rose: “Is that all then?” The girls all nod. “Then I’ll take my leave now.” Rose bows and disappears in the blink of an eye. The girls finish their lunch quickly leaving further discussion for later.
After school, the girls promptly gather their things and prepare to leave. Some classes invite Sara to go out with them, but Sara rejects under the premise of ‘learning the family business from Rose’. The three of them arrive at Sara’s home. Rose greets them with an afternoon snack already prepared. She forces them to finish their homework before starting any lessons.
After finishing their homework, they relocate to the white basement room. Rose hands each of them some clothes.
Rose: “First off, change into these clothes for the first part.”
Sara: “Gym clothes?”
Sara looks and the clothes and notice they are a simple white shirt and navy blue running pants.
Rose: “That’s right. The first part of the session is physical training. You’re going to train your bodies first.”
Yuki: “Why are we running though? I thought you were teaching magic?”
Rose: “Because training your bodies to move is just as important. Magical training comes after.”
Rose hands the last set of clothes to Tsubaki. Tsubaki takes it and notices the extra weight on the clothes. She stretches the clothes and notices how it’s filled with a clay-like substance in between the layers. Tsubaki glances at Rose who smiles back mischievously and signals to keep it a secret. Tsubaki resigns herself to putting the clothes on.
Rose: “You’re going to run three times around the perimeter of the room. Tsubaki will run four times total for extra training. But there’s a condition, you can’t spend more than three and a half minutes on each lap. Going over the time means punishment. So make sure you pace yourselves.”
Yuki: “The room is quite big. Can we even run that much with so little time?”
Rose: “It shouldn’t be a problem. At a jogging pace, you can make it in the time limit easily. So long as you don’t relax too much it should be fine.”
Sara: “What’s this punishment?”
Rose: “…Poisonous snakes chase you until you complete the lap.”
Rose: “I’m here on standby so I can fix you up if something happens.”
The girls cry out in disgust, but Rose just smiles darkly. A chill goes down their spine seeing Rose smile so calmly.
Rose: “I did tell you this won’t be a game. I plan to work you very hard, which you did pleasantly agree to.”
Rose’s response stifles any protests from them. The girls promptly get dressed. Yuki shows some reluctance, but decides to follow Sara and Tsubaki. The three of them start running around the room. Rose stands in the center of the room watching them. A timer in each direction of the room floats above Rose’s head. The three of them finish the first lap without any problems. By the second lap, each of them visibly starts to slow down. Yuki begins to trail the most of the three followed by Sara and Tsubaki. The second lap finishes without event. By the third lap though, Sara and Yuki fall behind significantly. Tsubaki finishes the third lap breathing heavily with one second left on the clock.
Sara and Yuki still have a third of the lap left to go. One of the panels of the wall opens up behind them. They glance behind them and pale as they see twenty snakes slither out from the wall.
The two of them run with all their might as the snakes chase them without remorse. They finish the lap and continue sprinting catching up with Tsubaki. They glance behind them to see the snakes slither into another open panel in the room disappearing from sight. Sara and Yuki promptly collapse on the spot, all the tension leaving their bodies. Tsubaki continues running with a cold sweat down her back at the scene she witnessed. She picks up her pace slightly not allowing herself to slow down.
Rose gives them some medicine and rubs some ointment on Sara and Yuki’s legs. Tsubaki finishes her running and falls to the ground breathing heavily. Rose proceeds to give the same treatment to Tsubaki.
Rose: “Good. You finished with semi-decent times. Since it’s the first day, we can take it easy and leave it at that.” The girls bitterly laugh at Rose’s comment. The difficulty of the run was incredibly hard on them and she shrugs it off as easy. How much would they suffer on a regular day’s training? “Here’s some normal clothing to change into. We can continue to the next part when you’re done.”
Yuki: “Rose, can I take a shower? I’m all sweaty.”
Rose glances at them with a strange glint making Sara and Yuki go pale. Rose clicks her fingers making their clothes disappear as a waterfall full of hot water pour over the three of them. After another click, the water fall ends as warm air blasts down drying them in a flash.
Rose: “Done. Get dressed.” The three of them get dressed without saying anything. “Ah. Almost forgot. Tsubaki, how was the weight?”
Tsubaki: “Heavy. It was quite tough on the last two laps.”
Rose: “It looks like it was just right though for your strength if you can barely maintain it. There should be no problem when we do a regular day’s training.” Rose makes some notes using her floating computer.
Yuki: “What are you talking about?” She looks at Tsubaki and Rose completely confused.
Tsubaki: “My clothes were filled with weights.”
Rose: “I filled it with a clay and sand mixture. The more Tsubaki sweated, the heavier her clothes got.”
Yuki: “…quite hard. I thought it was weird Tsubaki-chan was getting tired so fast. She’s been exercising regularly even after quitting Kendo.”
Rose: “Yep. But don’t worry. With this hell training, you two will get the same treatment soon enough.” Yuki and Sara gulp at the thought of the heavy training they’ll be doing. “Well let’s end physical training here for today. Next is magical studies. I’ll cover the basics on the magical world. But first we have to prepare.”
Rose makes desks and chairs appear for the three of them. A whiteboard appears in front of the desks. The girls sit down at the desks. A computer appears in front of Yuki, but none appears in front of Sara or Tsubaki. Rose gives the two of them an indigo colored metallic card with an indentation in the bottom right corner and a needle.
Rose: “Similar to yesterday, prick your finger and mark the indentation with your blood.”
After they mark the cards with their blood, the indigo card disintegrates. A pale blue screen and keyboard appear in front of the two of them. The screen shows a computer’s desktop with a few icons for writing and recording notes.
Rose: “You two decided to commit to this. So I prepared my own specialized computers for you to use since it will be an important asset in the future. Say ‘Computer close’.”
Sara/Tsubaki: “Computer close.” The computer screen and keyboard disappear on command.
Rose: “Computer open.”
Sara/Tsubaki: “Computer open.” The computer screen and keyboard reappear immediately.
Rose: “Later on, I can show you all the details on using the computer and changing settings like the keywords. Also, because you’re not capable of using magic yet, you can only use the computers in this room. This basement feeds the missing magic that lets you work with your computers to make them visible and solid. It's a temporary restriction until you can reach the next rank."
Sara: "That's amazing!"
Tsubaki: "This is really nice." The two of them look at their computers moving around like Rose. The keyboard and screen follow them around as they move about.
Yuki: "And me?"
Rose: "You haven't decided yet right? Until you decide, you have to accept using this laptop temporarily."
Yuki: "Mmm. I see." Yuki becomes a bit downcast as she looks enviously at Sara and Tsubaki.
Rose: "Anyways, sit down so I can start the lesson."
Sara and Tsubaki return to their seats as Rose begins the lecture. The magical world is called Celestria. It exists in a separate plane of space, but with the level of differences between Celestria and Earth, it could be considered an entirely different world. The majority of the residents have at least a minimum amount of magic that they can use. In contrast, the Earth has minute amounts of magic in the world, but no one consciously utilizes it. Some people discover it, but don't realize it's magic or do not pursue the details as deeply as they could.
In Celestria, many kingdoms and smaller towns and villages exist. Science is developed to some level, but not as much as people here on Earth. Many different varieties of beings exist both sentient and non-sentinent. Humans, elves, beastmen, and mermaids are just a small portion of the beings living in Celestria. Many of them are peaceful and live in civilized towns.
Yuki: “What’s a beastman?”
Rose: “Beastmen typically animals with human forms. One example I’m sure you know is the werewolf.”
Yuki: “Ah! I see!”
Rose: “Animals with similar forms can also be found like a tigerman. However, there are also beastmen that look almost identical to human except that they have animal ears and tails on their body. It’s a different extreme, but they’re still classified as beastmen.”
Sara: “Just like humans, there are a lot of different types.”
Non-civilized and bloodthirsty specials are typically called magical beasts. Goblins, wolves, golems, slimes, and sentient plants are a few species commonly known magical beasts. Dragons and demons are more advanced creatures, while they can live peacefully with people, many either do not wish to or are incredibly bloodthirsty. That's why they are treated with extreme caution when met.
Celestria has a ranking system that grades every living being on their power, magical prowess, and danger. There are 10 ranks, F is the lowest, and SSSS is the highest. Rose brings out a chart to show them the ranks.
F represents having 0 to incredibly low magical power which is commonly seen on Earth and infrequently on Celestria. The majority of residents start as E rank because they are able to use the weakest spells right from the start. SSS is a rank that everyone desires to reach, but is near impossible to reach.
Tsubaki: "Rose, why is SSS the desired rank and not SSSS?"
Rose: "Good question, originally there 3 people that reached SSS in the last hundred thousand years. Many people vied for this rank. However, one of them ended up being promoted because they were simply in another tier and they created SSSS. This rank is considered an honorary rank rather than a real rank, especially since this person has disappeared now. So much time has passed since someone has taken the SSSS rank that it's now considered a myth."
Ranks D through F are considered low tier individuals. Ranks B and C are considered middle tier. A and S ranks are high tier individuals and generally respected by many people. SS is the general tier that many gods reside in. SSS is special because the remaining two people recorded are still the only ones that have obtained this rank.
Yuki: "Even now those two SSS rank people haven't reached the next rank?"
Rose: "Nope. They have no motivation to so and are generally apathetic to the ranking system. According to rumors, even if they reached SSSS, they would reject it because they want to leave it for the sole SSSS person."
For the human race, B rank is the highest than any of them have ever gone. To bypass the bottleneck in their abilities, they normally abandon their human bodies to assume a form that's more compatible with magic. The methods tend to vary, but they all tend to be irreversible. The difference between A and S rank is typically referred to as the dividing rank. Only the most talented people are able to break through and reach an S rank in the living realm.
Sara: "Rose, to break your curse, what rank would I have to reach?"
Rose: "......Honestly, I do not know because I cannot analyze my seal. The ones that had me seal were SS rank gods, so that would be the bare minimum. I do not know if they added an intricate trick that would require reaching SSS rank. Anyways…”
Rose moves back to the board to continue her lecture, but stops when she hears a growling sound. She glances at Sara, who is bright red, holding her stomach.
Rose: “Right. It’s been a while. Let’s have dinner first.” Rose has a dinner table appear with several chairs and piping hot food already prepared. The girls start drooling after seeing the food. “Go ahead.”
The girls dash to the table and immediately start eating. After they eat their fill, Rose brings out some caramelized ice cream which the girls happily eat. Rose returns to explaining about the magical world once they finished. There are several types of magic, specifically attack, protection, support, and miscellaneous.
Rose: “Attack magic is quite easy to understand.”
Rose demonstrates an attack magic by forming ten white orbs that float around her body. A target appears some distance away which Rose points at. The orbs fly towards the target and explode with a bright flash upon impact. After the blast dies down, Rose covers herself in a black light and forms a black wall next to her.
Rose: “The next one would be defensive magic. The types can vary depending on what you want. They can cover the body like this light on me now. Or they can be separated from the body like this wall here.”
Sara: “Are they very strong like that?”
Rose: “It depends on how you make it, your control, and the amount of magic you use. The barriers I normally make can survive bullets and car crashes without any problems.”
Yuki: “So strong…” Rose dispels the two spells allowing the black light to dissipate.
Rose: “By the way, the barrier was only black to make it easy to see. The color had nothing to do with the spell. Anyways, for support spells, the category is quite broad. Healing magic, body enhancement to move faster or attack with more power, and reconnaissance are some of the spells in this category. You saw the healing magic yesterday.”
Tsubaki: “Is healing magic that powerful to recover an arm like that and heal the brain too?”
Rose: “It depends on your level though even then there is a high chance of failure. Naturally to prevent that, I mixed in other magic types to make sure the healing process went well. The miscellaneous category is a general term for all the other types of magic that can be found. An example would be time magic to speed up time for you or to slow down a certain target. Curses also fall in this category because the number of different curses can fall in every category so it’s simple bunched as misc.” The girls ardently record all the information Rose gives them. “That’s probably enough for today. We covered a lot anyways. Do you want to take a break before practicing magic?”
Sara: “Finally! Let’s start!”
Tsubaki: “We don’t need a break!”
Rose has them move away from the desks. The three of them stand lined up waiting for Rose’s direction.
Rose: “First off, Yuki has to watch since she hasn’t officially decided to commit to learning.”
Yuki: “Awww. I can’t?”
Rose: “Nope. Because I can’t freely teach magic to people since I would get in trouble otherwise.”
Rose: “Then let’s get…”
Yuki: “I’ll do it.”