The girls peered down the hole in the ground. This time there weren’t any confused students looking back.
“Hello?” Alba called into the room below.
“Hi?” A male student came over and looked upward.
“Um, could you ... maybe help us down? I don’t know, pull over a chair or a table or something, that we can step on?”
“Uhhhh ... sure ...”
“Thaaaaaaaanks,” Alba answered and then stood around awkwardly, spinning her upper body a bit.
They heard something scraping across the floor and strained panting, as a table slowly got pushed into their view.
“Alright, you can try to come down now.”
Without any hesitation Alba crouched and leapt down. With a thud she landed on the wooden table and turned around to face Via, who was hesitant to jump down like her friend.
Come on Via, it’s not that different from training back in the royal district.
Alba reached out her hand to her friend.
Maybe, just a bit different.
Without hesitating this time, she jumped down as well.
“Soo, this guy was crazy, he had a knife! What’s going on?” the guy who pushed over the table asked.
“Oh, you know, just trying to murder my friend,” Alba explained casually.
“Your friend?” he glanced at Via, who had just gotten up, and jumped down from the table. “Oh, you’re that royal girl. Guess you’re used to stuff like this.”
“No, not really,” Via answered awkwardly, while Alba shot him a glare.
“Sorry, I shouldn’t have said that ...” he apologized.
“Stop making things awkward and help us. You can all do magic of some sorts, right?” Alba asked into the room. Besides the guy, there was also another group of five students present.
“Yeah, of course, but ... we’re all still first years.”
“Doesn’t matter. There is power in strength or something like that. We need to stop this maniac and get out of here ASAP. Do you know if there are still any teachers present?”
“Maybe there’s still someone in the staff room ...”
“Okay. Then we need to find them, before anyone gets hurt.”
Via looked at Alba in awe. Just like that she had commanded this group of students to help them out. She didn’t know she had it in her.
“You coming?” Alba asked. “We’re trying to protect you after all.”
“Oh, of course!” Via quickly collected herself and left the room with the group.
Where Via and Alba left them, there stood Barb and Namina, determined as ever to protect their friends.
“You know, they won’t be able to escape?” Maverick taunted them. “The only way to escape is via the stairs you’re blocking or jumping through the window. Though I suppose,” he said, as he took a few steps backwards, “a new path had opened, that will lead them to the hallway directly behind me.”
Maverick of course was referring to the hole in the floor that the girls before him had made.
Namina cursed under her breath, as she realized she and Barb had accidentally trapped the others. But she wasn’t going to let him off the hook this easily.
“One move, and you are a dead man,” she threatened him.
“Nuh-uh. Your friend is the one who’s dead. And she will be once more. Once I do this!” He thrust his hand in front of him.
“Forget it, idiot!” A voice came from behind Maverick. It was Alba, leading the group of students, as well as Via.
“You made it!” Namina shouted, with Barb sighing in relief.
Alba shot them a thumbs up.
“Too late,” Maverick said casually, as he vanished into thin air. “But thank you for making this easy for me.”
His voice rang out from behind, barely leaving anyone with enough time to turn around. Least of all ...
“Via!” Alba exclaimed, as she witnessed her friend being gripped around her waist by Maverick.
Everyone froze, unsure what to do.
Via however ...
Her magic aptitude was low. There was no beating around the bush. Even if an outsider might think otherwise, especially looking at her hair. Her magic hair, that she inherited from her mother.
That was all she got from her mother though. Via had the power, but she didn’t know how to use it. She was even weaker than her father, who couldn’t wield any magic to begin with.
Okay, Via, just how you practiced...
Wide stance, place one foot behind the enemy. Grab his legs... and push my hips forward!
That was the sound of a man being thrown onto his back.
The group gasped in awe, as Via turned around to face Maverick, who was gasping for air on the floor.
“Don’t underestimate me.”
By the time Maverick managed to recover from the throw, he was surrounded by the group of ten or so students and backed into the corner of the hallway.
“What are we going to do with him now?” Namina asked Barbara.
“I’d say call the teachers if there is still someone on the campus,” she answered.
“I’ll go!” A random girl from the group offered, immediately running off to the opposite direction.
Maverick cursed something not quite PG-13 under his breath, as he tried to stand up.
“I’ll say it just once more: one wrong move and you’re dead,” Namina threatened him once more.
“Try me,” he said, as he clumsily lunged at Via once more in desperation.
“How stupid are you!” Namina shouted, as she and the rest of the group propelled him against the opposite wall. But the force of more than half a dozen juvenile magicians pushing the teen against a wooden wall was too much for the wall to withstand. With a terrific crack Maverick broke through the wooden wall, plummeting to the ground three floors below, wooden splinters raining down all around him.
“Shit!” Alba cursed and ran after him, followed by Via. The two looked through the hole in the wall, as the others followed them to inspect the damage they’d done.
Below lay Maverick, with pieces of wood sticking out his torso, the grass slowly turning red around him.
Via held her hand in front of her mouth in disbelief.
“We’re here, what’s going on?!” The girl from before as well as two teachers came running towards the group.
“Um, it was self-defense,” Namina said. She was probably the only one to still keep a cool head, while the adrenaline rush got to the others.
“This guy, Maverick, he attacked Via, so we pushed him away! We didn’t think this would happen ...” The teachers walked past her towards the hole in the wall.
“Where is he then?”
“What?” Via asked.
As she looked back at the ground, there was merely a bloodstain left on the grass.
I think, there is barely a need to explain what happened.
Maverick did not in fact flee. Considering the injuries, he sustained that would have been almost impossible.
As Via, Alba, Barbara and Namina came to know later on, Maverick had been dead for almost a year. That’s what the teachers found out, after trying to contact him, considering he tried to murder a fellow student.
The whole thing was quickly let go, as there was no threat to go after anymore.
The school’s Mystery Club was shut down after the incident and forming of a similar group was prohibited by the staff. An incident of this kind should not be repeated.
And thus, the nature of the Seven Mysteries should forever remain a mystery ...
“Well, how are y’all holding up?” Namina asked.
“Eh, I’m fine,” answered Alba.
“Hm, I didn’t expect that school, of all places, would be, where I first become the target of an assassination attempt,” was Via’s response.
“Wow, you are handling this scarily well,” said Namina.
“I’m used to people dying around me, I guess...”
“Yeah, my father was a soldier... obviously, he didn’t make it. Must be harder for you though, considering you were in the middle of it all,” Barbara commented.
“Kind of a shame they shut down the club,” Namina said.
“What, you thinking about actually doing an extracurricular activity for once?” Alba teased.
“Oh, stop it. I know, it’s kind of messed up to be saying this after what happened, but this all was really exciting! I wanna know what’s up with these other mysteries!”
“Same here,” Barbara added. “You do know that this is the first time, that a mystery has been...solved, so to speak?”
“That’s true I guess,” Alba agreed.
“So, what if we tried solving the others?” Namina proposed excitedly. “This is our last year of school! Let’s make it exciting!”
“What is the next one, actually?” Via asked.
“I’m not sure,” Namina said.
“They haven’t cleared the old Mystery Club room yet. But it probably won’t be long until then,” Barb explained.
“So, what do you say?” Namina asked.
“Break into the club room and get ahold of all the material the club gathered on the mystery over the years?” Alba summed up their proposal. “Sounds good. What do you say?”
Alba looked at Via expectantly.
Via took a look at the group in surprise.
Without much hesitation however, she said: “Let’s go.”