“You’re in for it, now!!” The beastkin lunged at the boy with claws drawn and fangs bared. The boy didn’t seem to notice, eyes still fixed on the half-oni’s motionless body.
“Hey, look out!” Daytona yelled to warn the boy, but just as the beastkin reached him, he was quickly intercepted by the bubblegum-haired girl, her arms outstretched.
“Don’t you dare touch my friend!!” She glared up at him, her blue eyes were like daggers. Despite her small stature, the girl’s words came out like the ferocious bellow of a mother tiger protecting her cub.
“Tch, outta the way, brat!” The beastkin swung, his claws aimed at her face. With a backward roll, she easily avoided his furious swipes. She lunged forward with a punch, but the beastkin ducked her right hook and swayed backward to avoid her left haymaker.
“A swing and a miss!” As he taunted her, Collin reared his head back and laughed. “Ya gotta be quicker than that, short stuff!”
As he stopped to gloat, the girl rushed him. Before he even knew it, she was upon him with near-blinding suddenness.
As the girl's punch made full contact with the beastkin's right cheekbone, it reverberated throughout the alley. The impact caused a faint crunch, which made Daytona wince.
“Aggh!! Why you…!” The beastkin retaliated with another swipe from his claws. The girl jerked back, narrowly avoiding the attack, a strand of her hair floating to the ground between them.
She gasped, reaching up to feel the now uneven portion of her bang. Her eyes then bore into the beastkin with ferocity.
“You, son of a...!” She then bent her knees and quickly performed a regular somersault before launching herself forward like a dart, striking the beastkin with a nose-shattering headbutt.
He doubled back. The bubblegum-haired girl spun around and grabbed the beastkin from behind, her arms wrapped around his waist.
“Wha…?!” Having been caught completely unawares, Collin cried out in frustration as he tried to pull forward, but the little girl wouldn’t budge. He reached back and swiped at her face, she threw her head back as his claws missed her by a hairbreadth.
Then, in one swift motion, she lifted the beastkin and fell backward while bridging her back and legs, slamming the enemy down to the ground shoulder and upper back first.
A Bridging Gläcian Suplex?! This girl was impressing Daytona more and more by the second. Superhuman strength coupled with two of the most lethal techniques in martial arts? She hardly knew any human mages their age on the entire continent who could stack up.
Daytona eyed the beastkin she had just taken down. Sure enough, he was out cold.
“Ow! Yeesh, that smarts!” The bubblegum-haired girl stood up, holding her head.
“Hotaru! Are you okay?” The witch girl looked her friend over like a doting parent would a child.
“Mm, I'm fine, Chi-Chi. I just hit my head a little as I went down. No biggie.”
“You brats are gonna pay!!” The musclehead growled ferociously as he bounded for the boy, clenching his large hand into a fist and drawing his arm back.
“Nighty, night!!” The musclehead lunged his left arm forward, throwing his gigantic fist at the defenseless boy. Just then, as his fist was about to connect with his target’s face, he suddenly stopped.
“Huh?” Daytona initially thought the boy had used his gravity to deflect the attack, but it only took her an extra second to realize that the little bubblegum-haired girl was standing between the two.
She had one arm outstretched. Her tiny right hand gripped the big lad's massive fist as if it were the most natural thing in the world. The girl had confidently blocked the musclehead's punch like a boxing trainer working out a newcomer.
No way! I didn’t even see her move. And her aura… It just shot up like crazy!
“Psssh. What a bummer…” The girl pouted. She didn’t appear to be breaking a sweat. “I thought you’d be stronger. So much for getting my hopes up.” She sighed before tightening her grip. “Oh, well…”
“I-Impossible!! This little munchkin...?!” was all the musclehead could say before the girl spun on her heel, this time with both hands wrapped around his forearm.
“HAAAAAAAAH!!!” Letting out a loud grunt of effort, the girl heaved the musclehead over her shoulder, sending him flying back through the alleyway.
The big lad's screams echoed throughout the alley and grew increasingly distant as sixteen pairs of eyes watched his massive frame soar further away, crashing through fences, discarded boxes, and dumpsters before tumbling into the busy streets ahead.
Throughout the city block, shattering glass and the blaring of vehicle alarms and horns could be heard. While it was too far away to tell, Daytona deduced that the musclehead may have collided with one or two cars.
Following what they had just witnessed, Daytona’s eyes flicked upon the remaining Monarchs. To no one's surprise, they all had the same expression of disbelief.
Her focus returned to the short young girl. If she could even call her that anymore. Did she really just…? As big as he is? A human with superhuman strength was as uncommon as a gyromancer. Daytona expected to see students from all walks of life when she arrived, but the possibility of meeting these rarities felt too surreal to be a coincidence.
Just… Who the hell are these guys?
“Heh, who’s the munchkin now?” The bubblegum-haired girl sneered as she arrogantly dusted her hands.
“Still you,” the tall boy quipped.
“Gah!” The girl clutched her chest as if the boy's remark caused her physical pain. She then turned to him with the look of someone who’d just been betrayed. “Hey! Is that how you repay the gal who just saved your ass? Twice?”
“Oh, no, I appreciate that. Doesn’t make you being a munchkin any less true, though.”
“When did you get so mean?”
“This coming from the person who teases me on a daily basis?”
At a loss for words, the bubblegum-haired girl puffed her cheeks. The matter-of-factness in the boy’s sharp response clearly annoyed her. After mulling it over, she took her next course of action:
“Pbbbt!!” The girl playfully blew a raspberry at him in response. Daytona couldn’t help but chuckle at the randomness of this gesture.
“Ho-ta-ruuuu…” The witch girl scowled as she walked over to her much shorter friend and popped her in the forehead with a flick of her finger.
“Ow! W-What was that for?!”
“That was incredibly reckless!”
“What do you mean? He just landed on some parked cars, Chi-Chi,” the shorter girl protested. “Doesn’t look like any bystanders were hurt, either, so we’re good.”
The young witch shook her head. “No. We’re not. Those parked cars were somebody’s property!”
“Well, can’t you just use a chrono-spell to revert them back to their original state?”
The young witch sighed. “No. Not on something as massive as an automobile. Let alone two of them! At my current level, that would take days!”
The bubblegum-haired girl blinked for a few seconds as if processing her friend’s words. After what seemed to be a moment’s thought, she met the witch girl’s gaze once again.
“Oops?” she finally said with a shrug.
“Ugh..” The witch girl groaned, her face resting in her palm.“We’re so busted!”
The Jellyroll Man removed his sunglasses, a look of both terror and awe on his face. “Mother of Terra…Jarrod’s our strongest guy… and she just threw him like it was nothing...?”
“H-Hey, Phil,” The weasel, who was still in the arms of the Jellyroll Man, weakly beckoned to the automaton standing beside them. “Do something. Shoot ‘em with your m-mana beam or something!”
“Mana…beam?” Confused, the automaton tilted his head to the side.
“Y-Yeah, you know, transform your arm into a cannon and just go friggin’ mental!”
“Unfortunately, I was not built to do such things,” Phil stated. “I can, however, subdue the children with my m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-mmmmmmmm…”
“...martial art skills.”
Daytona frowned. Aw, man… Her life being in danger these past few minutes aside, she was kind of looking forward to seeing the automaton do something cool.
The Jellyroll Man sighed. He then set the weasel down on the ground and scooted over the trio, hanging his head low. “L-Look…” He was nearly hyperventilating. “W-We clearly did not think this through. My guys and I were short on funds and we were surrounded by all of these powerful mages, y’know? So we picked out who we thought was the weakest lookin’ one and decided to work from there…”
“Oi, standin’ right here!” Daytona scowled. That last statement cut deep, serving as an incredible blow to her self-esteem.
“We thought it’d be a quick and simple process,” he continued, ignoring her. “Thought no one would’ve even noticed, y’know? We didn’t count on this happenin’, nor did we think we’d run into…” He paused to stare at the boy for a moment. His gaze was met with an icy glare. “On behalf of my men, I would like to offer our sincerest apologies for our transgressions. We’ll leave the girl alone, so long as you let us leave in peace.”
“You mean as long as we don’t call the MPF?” corrected the boy in navy blue. “Why should we? You clowns aren’t even supposed to be here.”
The boy’s words were said with conviction and the girls beside him wore firm expressions, indicating they felt the same way. Something tugged at Daytona's heartstrings. Here was this boy and his friends whom she’s never even met going above and beyond to protect a fellow student.
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