ON TOP OF A NEARBY BUILDING overlooking the back alley, stood two otherworldly-looking individuals. They were both female, each possessing white skin, red hair, yellow eyes, and dijon-colored horns. One girl was taller with longer hair and was dressed in a black and red Basilisk Academy uniform. The other was much shorter, her hair was styled into curly twin tails. Her horns resembled those of a ram and she wore a gothic lolita dress, sporting the same colors as her companion. Hovering in her hands was a palm-sized red orb, surrounded by a swirling violet aura.
“Those younglings show a lot of promise.” The shorter girl spoke in a Northern Zelsh accent. She and her comrade had watched the entire incident unfold below and the former was left thoroughly impressed. “Academy Showdown is sure to be a captivating event this year.” She peered into the orb. “Don’t you think so, master?”
The taller girl scoffed. “They ain’t so tough! Anyone with a decent mana pool could’ve easily thrashed those thugs. If those freshies squared off against us, they wouldn’t stand a chance!”
“Hm. Perhaps not against the master and I…” The shorter girl smirked. “But you, on the other hand, is another matter entirely. Considering your knack for resorting to brawn over brains, who's to say you wouldn't fall to them in mere seconds?”
“Oi, who in the hell are you calling stupid?!” The taller one growled, sticking out her tongue. “I'd last longer than you, that's for truth!”
“Is that so? Care to make a wager, then?”
“It is! And I ain't gonna bet! You're just offering cuz you plan to screw me over!”
The shorter one tilted her head. “Hmm? Whatever do you mean, dear sister?”
“Ugh! You know what I mean!” The taller one pointed at her angrily. “And just cuz we're both yōma don't mean we're sisters!” She then glanced over to the orb, fire in her eyes. “Just say the word, master and I’ll grind them all into dust!”
The shorter one's smile faded. “You forget yourself, child. The master will issue orders when he sees fit. Not at the request of his vassal.”
“Child?!” The taller one gritted her shark-like teeth. “I've had about enough of you!” She held out her right arm and uttered an incantation in the Old Tongue. Flames danced around her arm as a massive greatsword materialized in her hand. It possessed an obsidian hilt with a demonic motif and a long jagged blade that curved at the point.
“How's about I grind you into dust, instead?!” She then held the weapon at her supposed comrade's neck, who stared back at her, unfazed.
As I've said before, brawn over brains. Always so quick to anger. Why the master chose this brat as a vassal, I'll never know... The shorter girl sighed.
“Enough...” came a voice. And then the aura that surrounded the orb suddenly pushed outward, creating an overwhelming pulse that washed over the two girls, forcing them to their knees.
A long pause followed. After the brief increase in mana circulation served its purpose, the girls ceased their row and focused their attention on the orb, waiting for the voice to continue. Finally, the man on the other end spoke up again.
“Patience, Yulee…There will come a time when I’ll need to rely on your strength. Today, however, isn’t that day. For now, my dear, you are to stay put and observe. Do I make myself clear?”
His voice was deep, direct, yet non-threatening all at the same time. An odd combination of serenity and authority. The average person would normally find this approach intimidating or uncanny, but his closest subordinates had long since been accustomed to this queer demeanor.
“Yes, master…” The taller girl sulked, disappointed by the rejection of her proposal.
“Good. And I agree. Those children certainly have potential,” he continued. “This is a perfect opportunity to enact Operation: Honeyguide. Amy?”
The shorter girl nodded. “Yes, master?”
“The reins of the First Subject shall be entrusted to you. Every facet of its body will contain the yōma gene.”
Her eyes lit up. “The yōma gene? I see. Who will be the intended target?”
“Either of the four would be fine. Although, marking the young witch or even the demigod is a definite bonus.”
Amy grinned. Operation: Honeyguide had been stalled for over a century due to the master’s preoccupation with other affairs. She was pleased to see that his attention—nay, his passion—had returned to their original mission.
“Understood, sir,” she said with a nod. “It shall be done.”
“Grand. Oh, how I have missed this…” The man uttered an incantation. Soon after, a murder of crows descended on the yōma girls, flapping circles around them. The crows then began to converge, morphing into something else entirely, growing in size, and casting a massive shadow that loomed over the girls, who peered up at the phenomenon, delighted in what they were seeing.
The man chuckled. “Well, then… Let us get to work, shall we?"
The yōma girls arose and exchanged a wicked grin, their irises gleaming.
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