At least Paul’s family will get closure.
There was a mini-interlude focusing on Joselyn posted a couple days ago. If you haven’t seen that yet, you might wish to use the previous chapter button above. Thanks!
“I knew this would happen. I knew it, but you told me they’d be safe. You told me she’d be safe!”
The voice of Liam Mason was audible even through the closed door that led into the room that Headmistress Sinclaire had pulled the man into as soon as he’d started up when she’d arrived. That was how Scout knew that her father was completely beside himself and had lost all control. He didn’t even bother to put up a privacy screen to keep her from hearing his ranting. Why Gaia hadn’t either, she wasn’t entirely sure. Maybe the woman was distracted by Avalon’s reaction.
It had been hours since… since… that had happened, since Sands and the others…
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Someone using the system to their advantage for nefarious means… history repeats.
The following is a commissioned mini-interlude focusing on the specific event during Joselyn’s first year as a student at Crossroads that turned her from loyal Heretic to budding rebellion instigator and leader. I hope you enjoy.
Sunday, March 2nd, 1919
“We’re clear on the north end. How’s it look where you are, Jos?”
The voice of Joselyn Atherby’s teammate came through the badge that had been pinned to the front of her school uniform. It was loud and clear to her, yet somehow no one else could possibly hear it, no matter how close they were standing.
Not that anyone else was close to the blonde, short-haired teenager at that point. The girl crouched on the roof of the drugstore, hidden in shadows while she watched people and automobiles alike trundling by. After scanning the alley below her for a moment, she spoke up. “We’re jake over here…
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Don’t show Issac anything useful. He’ll betray you!
Please note, there was a commissioned mini-interlude focusing on Davis posted a couple days ago. If you haven’t seen it yet, you may wish to click the Previous Chapter button above.
“So, let me get this straight,” Isaac spoke about an hour later. “You’re seeing us through your eyes and through that thing’s eyes?” With one hand, he was pointing at me. And with the other, he was pointing at my newly-created fox as she perched on a rock in the corner of the cave.
From where she was standing, Jazz shook her head and muttered, “I can’t believe you know how to cast the theriangelos spell. Do you have any idea how long I’ve wanted to use that? I never really wanted to be a Heretic, but one thing I did want was magic. Especially that spell.”
Sands was nodding (which, considering she was a little bit…
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The following is a commissioned mini-interlude focusing on the character of Davis, the Committee member who is commonly referred to as ‘the lumberjack’ for his habit of wearing flannel shirts and his impressive beard.
July 17th, 1838
“Pa! Hey, Pa!”
Sixteen-year-old Davis Neal, a tall yet scrawny youth with gangly arms and ears that he had yet to grow into hopped the fence at the edge of his family’s property. They lived in the heart of Arkansas, the twenty-sixth and most recent territory to be granted statehood in the United States (Desoto had beaten them by only a few months), several miles outside of the tiny (and just recently incorporated) capital city of Little Rock.
With his fishing rod in one hand, and the day’s catch (three…
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Yeah, it could have gone worse. Surviving now takes priority more than anything though.
For a few long, agonizingly slow seconds, no one said or did anything. Jazz, Isaac, and Gordon were all utterly motionless. They stood there, staring open-mouthed at Roxa while the other girl held the choker in one hand and stared right back at them. It wasn’t quite a threatening expression, but it was one that basically seemed to say, ‘yeah, this is me, you got a problem?’
Clearly, the months that Roxa had spent with her pack had basically erased any and all guilt she felt about what she had become. The other wolves had really done wonders for her confidence.
“Oh… oh my God.” That was Jazz, the black girl was the first to find her voice, strangled as it sounded. “You–you’re… you’re…” Standing there, she lifted a hand to point, shaky as it was. “How… what… you’re–Does that mean that you’re–you’re really a–” She stopped, cringing.
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Wonder what Lies was saving it for? Maybe she was hoping to they would kill off her bosses?
F-Flick? What should I do?
For a second, I froze. I didn’t know. Roxa seemed… under control at least. She hadn’t instantly outed Tabbris. Instead, she’d waited until we had some privacy. She’d noticed the help that the littlest angel had given, yet she still wanted answers. And she was making sure that those answers came from me by ordering my stowaway to get out. I had no doubt that, even though the help that Tabbris had been thus far was stopping Roxa from outright exposing her in front of the others, she wouldn’t hesitate to change her mind if the Seosten didn’t show herself and let me explain things.
Eject, I finally answered, while watching Roxa’s expression harden slightly at my hesitation. It’s okay. She’s seen what you’ve done so far. Or some of it anyway. She kept quiet this long. Go ahead. Just stay out…
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Huh… whelp, that little secret is out.
Please note, there was a mini-interlude focusing on Geta, from the Crossroads Committee, posted a couple days ago. If you have not seen that yet, you might want to click the Previous Chapter button above.
In all those shows and movies about people breaking out of prison, it almost always showed a quick-cut montage of them running. The scene would keep jumping back and forth between alarms blaring, cops loading their guns and waving flashlights around, and the feet of the prisoners as they pounded across the ground, leaping over fallen trees, splashing into puddles, or crashing through small piles of leaves. And breathing. If the sound wasn’t taken over by the sound of alarms and sirens, it would be the escaping prisoners panting breaths as they fled.
We had none of that. No sound of feet pounding, no panting, nothing. Our escape from that portal was relatively…
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December 26th, 211 AD
Enough was enough. Caesar Publius Septimius Geta Augustus strode determinedly down the grand hallway of the imperial palace. An assortment of his closest bodyguards accompanied him, their presence a constant reminder that he was not safe even within his own home.
Not safe. Never safe. He was the leader of the most powerful empire the world had ever known, and he wasn’t safe in his own home.
Co-leader, Geta reminded himself then. His power was shared with his older brother, though ‘shared’ was a poor term as well. A better word would have been ‘split’. Their power and authority was split, just like this palace. For the past year, ever since their father had died, Geta and Caracalla had split their authority, their power, even the palace itself. Caracalla dwelled in one half of the palace, while Geta dwelt in the other half. Any…
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His own fault. He talked instead of knocking them out.
I was under absolutely no delusions. We didn’t stand a chance against Radueriel. If he was one of the Seosten who apparently posed as the original Olympian gods, that made him something like over three thousand years old. We didn’t have a prayer. We’d gotten our asses kicked by Charmeine. She would have basically taken us apart completely and for good if she hadn’t purposefully dragged it out so that she could show off. If it hadn’t been for Columbus nailing her with that hit because she’d completely dismissed him and her dragging things out, she would have easily won. And I sincerely doubted that Radueriel was going to make the same mistake.
No, there was no question. He could put us down in seconds. It might have sounded arrogant or unfair, but the simple fact was that if Avalon and Rudolph weren’t enough to help Roxa and…
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Figures it was too easy…
Two of the soldiers with the blank faceplates stood guard in front of a door. Ahead of them and opposite the door was a blank wall, while the corridor continued on in both directions to the left and right. Both held their weapons at loose readiness, clearly on alert and ready for anything.
Anything, that was, except for a small, shimmering liquid-like spot to appear on that wall directly across from them. For a second, both of the guards simply leaning forward slightly as though squinting at it. Then they turned to look at each other, each about to say something.
Whatever they had been about to say was interrupted as an energy-arrow shot through that small liquid-like spot on the wall that they had been staring at. It hit the floor between the guards before exploding into a burst of concussive force that knocked them both to…
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So that’s where she got the possession power in the future arc.
Jazz’s voice was high-pitched, almost shrill. “I don’t understand. What the hell is going on? Where are we? What happened to Paul?! What was that thing that took his place?! And who the fuck was that woman that popped out of Columbus?!” By the end, she was waving her arms wildly while practically hyperventilating.
“And most importantly,” the dark-skinned girl demanded finally while spinning toward Roxa, “Are you okay?!” Punctuating the question with a lunge that way, Jazz embraced her old roommate.
While Roxa grunted in surprise at the sudden hug and staggered back a step, Sands suddenly spoke up, interrupting as she raised her hand to point. “Uh, guys? I really hate to interrupt the happy reunion and all the really, really good questions, but we’ve kinda got company.”
She was right, I realized. The enormous, brightly lit room that we were standing in suddenly wasn’t nearly…
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Yeah, competent evil is a pain to deal with.
Please note that there was a full bonus chapter focusing on Dare posted yesterday. If you missed it (congratulations, you get to read the actual edited version without a million typos), you may wish to use the Previous Chapter button above.
The room should have been cozy. Small, with a nice leather couch, plush carpeting, and pleasant pictures on the wall along with a wide screen television on the wall (the remote sat on the arm of the couch, waiting to be used), it should have been a perfectly place to sit and wait.
For Shiori Porter, it felt like a prison. The walls felt like they were closing in on her, getting closer with each slowly passing minute. The slightly cool air was somehow stifling, and she could have sworn that there were cameras in the room watching absolutely every move that she made.
She had been…
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Well, that got out of hand. For them planning on using the school to train heretics to kill their enemies, using soul fire seems excessive.
She should have seen it coming. She should’ve been ready for it. Ready for the monster that was puppeting Columbus Porter to make her move.
But she had gotten complacent. In the weeks since they had discovered the truth about the Seosten that was possessing the boy, Virginia Dare had been almost constantly on edge. The thought of letting that creature continue to control any one of her students, let alone one of…
It was almost impossible. She wanted pretty much nothing more than to imprison ‘Columbus’ and use that spell to force that thing out of him.
Over time, however, she had forced herself to settle down somewhat. The fact was, Charmeine had no reason to make any overt moves that…
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…Why did they keep the body?
“Stop her!” a voice shouted from behind me, and I twisted that way in time to see Sands, Scout, Avalon, and Sean put themselves between me and the rest of Roxa’s old team. Doug, one of the few who definitely wasn’t the one working for the Seosten, was the one who had spoken. On one side of him was Paul, with Jasmine on the other side. Isaac was slightly behind Jazz, while Gordon was to Paul’s left. Everyone had their weapons out, on both sides. And I had no idea who on Roxa’s team could actually be trusted, even if they weren’t actually possessed.
It was just them. I had no idea where Deveron and Marina were, or anyone else. Though considering how much planning the Seosten had put into this, I was willing to bet that they had enacted some kind of distraction on that end too…
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Sorry Columbus. Nothing personal.
Even with no power causing it, time seemed to stand still as the realization of just why the Seosten couldn’t possess me struck home. I couldn’t speak. Hell, I couldn’t even think. I just stood there, mouth open as a million thoughts rebounded within my head as if they had all been thrown into a pinball machine at the same time. Why, when, how, who, I didn’t know any of it.
Possessed. All this time, I had been possessed. There had been someone living inside of me, watching through my eyes, hearing through my ears. Everything I did, every moment that I had thought was private, it wasn’t. This girl was there. And while she seemed friendly, it still felt like a massive violation. Logically, I knew that having her there had helped more than I would probably ever really know. Without the girl possessing me, the Seosten…
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Okay then. Didn’t see that coming. That being said, the least the evil Seosten could do was not try and rub it in.
Please note that there was a mini-interlude focused on Elisabet posted yesterday. If you haven’t seen it yet, you may wish to use the Previous Chapter button above.
“It was a very good attempt, I’ll grant you that much,” Charmeine informed me as the driver pulled the cab into a narrow alley that it barely fit within. The Seosten was using Columbus’s face to smile at me. “You almost convinced us it was broken. Hell, if we’d figured it out before you touched your teammate here, we might have been able to string you along a bit more.”
I was struggling, not that that fact was at all obvious from outward appearances. My body was completely paralyzed. No matter what I did, I couldn’t move. I’d even thought about turning into my lion form. But honestly, I had no idea if that would free me from whatever the…
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Good grief. That sacrifice the few to save the many would be more believable if they didn’t admit right after they’d sell out everyone but one another.
Of all the places that one might have expected to find the Crossroads Committee Counselor known as Elisabet spending her very valuable free time, one would have to know her quite well to guess that it would be a simple, quaint children’s play at a junior high school. Most people, even many of her co-counselors, would have run through quite an extensive list of other possibilities before ever getting close to that possibility.
The Spanish woman sat in the rear-most row of seats, despite the fact that the auditorium was barely half full. Half a dozen rows sat between her and the nearest other observers, all of whom were either proud parents or bored siblings, raptly watching or studiously ignoring the events on stage…
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It’s here! It’s finally here!
The first episode of Mahou Tsukai no Yome has arrived!
If you’ve been reading this blog you’ll know that I’ve been covering the 3-episode OVA special known as the Mahou Tsukai No Yome: Hoshi Matsu Hito (The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Those Awaiting A Star) OVA while waiting for this anime. If you haven’t, then you can see the first, second, and third episode reviews here that serve as a sort of prequel to this series. The information there covers some light spoilers, but it’s still worth a read.
Now, onto the episode recap.
We open with Chise signing herself over to be auctioned in a bidding for various supernatural entities as it cuts away to a mysterious figure who enters the auction as well. He immediately offers to buy her for 5 million pounds right off the bat, double the previous offer…
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Well, that escalated quickly.
“Welcome, boys and girls, to the Clocktower.”
Josiah Carfried (not our magic teacher, the other guy) stood in front of both of our assembled teams about half an hour later. We had gone through the portal room in the Pathmaker building, only to come out in the middle of… well, exactly what he said: a clocktower. We were in the top part of the tower, a room where all four walls were actually the reverse sides of clock faces, and we could see through them to the city beyond. The walls there were apparently one-way, allowing us to see out past the partially obstructing clock hands, but the world couldn’t see in.
Except… my mouth opened to say something about what we were looking at, but Gordon beat me to it. “Where the clocks are,” the boy started in his ever-serious and flat (and frankly, a little suspicious)…
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Herbie still isn’t sapient yet, is he?
“You sure keep yourself busy, don’t you, Miss Chambers?”
Turning away from the weight machine that I had been working on (having twelve hundred pounds stacked on it was still enough to make me do a double take whenever I look at the thing), I replied, “I only need an hour of sleep a day, Mr. Atrean. Gotta keep myself entertained through all my extra time. And I told you, it’s just Flick. Especially in the middle of the night.”
Not only was it the middle of the night, about 12:30 in the morning, but it was also Saturday night. Or Sunday morning, depending on how you looked at it. It had been about two weeks since we found out that Columbus was the one who was possessed, and it had been a completely torturous two weeks. I had absolutely no idea how Shiori was lasting this long…
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Please note that there was a commissioned mini-interlude focusing on Percival posted yesterday. If you haven’t read that yet, you may wish to use the Previous Chapter button above.
A little over a month ago.
“I believe–” Those two words, spoken in a simple, quiet voice that was at odds with the sheer size and football linebacker-like build of their speaker, were punctuated by a dull thud as the head of the green-skinned man that he was holding two feet off the ground smacked into the wall. “–that a bit of context is needed here.”
Ulysses Katarin continued, his hand literally covering the face of the smaller, alien man as he held him against that wall, muffling the figure’s protests and threats. “You see, I was born in a place called Desoto. It’s a territory on Earth that no longer exists. My coming-of-age was spent witnessing my home…
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The following is a mini-interlude focused on Percival, from the Crossroads Committee, and his reasoning for not joining the Atherby Clan with several of his fellow Knights of the Round Table.
The knife swept to the left, dipped down, then went back to swipe out twice. For a man who had lived for fifteen hundred years by that point, it was all a mechanical motion. The wars he had experienced, the battles he had fought, the men and women he had killed with that same simple motion, were incalculable. Between each swipe of the blade, there was a brief pause before it repeated. The knife slid to the left, dipped down, then went back with two quick, practiced swipes.
In this case, however, the substance glistening upon the gleaming silvery blade was not blood. It was mayonnaise. And the pause between each swipe of the blade across…
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No, no, it was impossible. Flick was wrong. She had to be wrong. After all the years that–after everything they’d–after.. They couldn’t believe her. She had to be mistaken. Her and Vanessa both. They had to have gotten mixed up somehow, or they were being manipulated, or… or…
Sandoval Mason came to a stop. She had been running as far and as fast as she could, out of the library, across the grounds, and clear to the beach, where she continued running away from the school. She’d started as soon as Flick and Vanessa had finished explaining why they thought… why they thought… that. Now, she doubled over, panting hard as she planted both hands on her knees while catching her breath, her mind still reeling violently.
The sound of jogging footsteps came a moment later as Scout came to a stop beside her. Sands’ twin looked toward…
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Mmm… revelations keep coming.
Please note that there was a commissioned mini-interlude posted a couple days ago, focusing on Roxa and the rest of the werewolf pack in Las Vegas. If you haven’t read that yet, you may wish to use the Previous Chapter button above. Thank you!
“Flick? Flick, th-that is you, right? You’re… you’re…” Poor Koren was still backing away from me slowly with her hands raised placatingly. “Tell me you’re in control, please?”
By that point, I’d come back to my senses enough to realize that I couldn’t speak. Instead, I gave a quick nod up and down. Right, I was me. I was Flick. The werelion that I’d killed. This was because of that. Somehow, I’d just gotten so angry while thinking about what the Seosten had been doing that I’d triggered this little… change.
Before Koren could say anything else, a figure abruptly appeared directly beside Koren…
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