Darkness… Darkness and… The smell of toast? Is someone burning toast? Am I having a stroke? Wait… I also taste barbecue… I don't remember eating barbecue…. Urg… Why does my head hurt so much?
I forced my eyes to open and winced from the direct sunlight. I tried to sit up, but my body refused to listen. It almost seemed as if it was paralyzed for some reason. It felt like thousands of needles were stabbing me. As my senses slowly came back, I could hear disorientating voices overlapping all around me.
"Did you see that explosion?!" "Hurry! Call the Knights!" "What is happening?!" "She had a magic backlash!" "That little girl?!" "Is anyone else injured?!" "We were lucky she didn't blow up the entire neighborhood!"
Wait… Magic? Little girl?! What are they talking about? Come on body! Move already! I need to see what is going on!!! I felt my finger twitch. Aha! See? Not so hard. I managed to get more control of my body and forced myself onto my hands with a pained moan. My head rolled to the side as I blinked still feeling dazed.
I could still hear the voices all around me. They were panicked and rushed for some reason. I put up my hand and strained to speak, "Ladies and gentlemen… Please don't crowd around the painting… You will all be able to see it…."
I rubbed my head in confusion as I forced myself to flip over. My eyesight rested on a charred corpse almost looking as if it was screaming in pain.
WHAT THE F*CK?!
I let out a shriek and scrambled away from the charred corpse with eyes full of fear. I gasped in shock as I stared at the body. Is that a real dead body!? No! No way. Impossible. This has to be a prank.
"I-Is that a body?!" "It is! Did she harm someone?!" "No! Can't you recognize that stench?!" "T-That smell! Is it from a long-deceased body?!" "That girl was using necromancy!"
Wait. Now necromancy?! Could someone tell me what is happening? Am I in a strangely realistic VR world or something?
"I know that girl! That body must be her dead mother!"
Huh? Dead mother? No, my mother isn't dead. I mean… She might be dead mentally, but she's still breathing and using that mouth of hers to criticize my life choices.
I forced myself to look at the crowd of onlookers. I spoke in a hoarse voice, "Excuse me… But can someone please tell me what is happening? I have another tour in an hour so…"
They all glanced at each other in uncertainty with a twinge of fear. Their overlapping conversations caused my head to throb. Suddenly, men dressed head to toe in armor appeared on the scene and started pushing away the bystanders. Their frightening appearances loomed over me prepared to squash me like an ant. I felt myself flinch at their authoritative figure. Although they were dressed oddly, they were clearly what this world considered police.
The one leading spoke, "Just what happened here?!"
I blinked in confusion and pointed to myself, "Uhh. Are you talking to me?"
He frowned and turned to his men, "Carry her to the bureau for investigation! You two! Take care of the corpse! The rest of you contain the scene! The magic is still fluctuating!"
I opened my mouth to speak, "Wait-" I stopped abruptly as the two men towered over me and picked me up by my arms.
EEK! Why are they so tall?! No… Why am I so short?! AAH! I don't like this!!!
The leader led the way as they dragged me through the crowd, "Make way!"
I forced on a smile as I glanced up at them, "Excuse me… Could you let me go, please? This hurts a bit… My body is very sensitive and-"
"Silence sinner!" The leader shouted as he walked in front.
I frowned at his tone, "Sinner? Who are you calling a sinner?!"
I'm not sure what exactly happened, but I feel like I am being marched to the gallows. Shouldn't it be innocent until proven guilty?! Why do I feel like I am guilty instead!?
As I was dragged through the town, my mouth dropped. The sights around me were horrendous. Everything had an awful stench and there was trash everywhere. The people on the streets were in tattered clothes, filthy, and looked extremely malnourished. A child ran in front of the knights shouting to the others watching, "Necromancer! She's a necromancer!"
Why do they keep saying that?! I'm not into dead bodies!!! I can't even stand the sight of my own blood!! How could I even be near dead bodies?!
The bystanders gasped as the Knights holding me walked with serious expressions. The onlookers began to talk, "She was the one who caused that backlash we all felt?" "I told you necromancy was a transgression against nature! The Gods will punish us for her sins!" "Shut up old man! We all know how terrible it is!" "Quick! Don't get too close to her!" "Mommy! I'm scared! I don't want to explode!" "It's okay darling! The Knights won't let her hurt us!"
I felt uncomfortable under their stares. Really? Why are they staring at me like that?? Am I wearing a giant A on my shirt or something? This is extremely unpleasant. It isn't just that their looks make me feel like I am some sort of pariah; it is also because I can't stand being in the spotlight. I never liked being around people. I always avoided large shopping centers and would always avoid people while I was on the street. If anyone ever bumped into me, I would curse under my breath and hurry away. I was always "the glass is half empty" kind of person. People are selfish and annoying. Why would I want to be around them?
After walking down a few streets, I was marched into a better more upscale part of the city. The streets were cleaner and the buildings were more extravagant. Even the people were better dressed and looked extremely pompous. As I was dragged down the road, everyone ran out to watch me as if I was some kind of sideshow act. They shouted insults at me and it was made very obvious that I was unwelcomed.
Suddenly, something hard smashed into my face. I wrinkled my nose as a single tomato fell to the ground leaving behind a sticky residue. I spit out the piece that had gotten caught in my mouth, "What a waste of a good tomato."
Those who had tomatoes pelted me with them. Those who didn't, threw stones. A heavy stone hit me directly above my eye and I felt something drip down.
Oh no… Please tell me it's not my own blood… Nope. No. It's just tomato sauce. It's not blood. It's tomatoes…. Urg… I think I'm going to be sick…
From the sight of my own blood dripping to the ground, I fainted.
I was suddenly awakened by someone shaking me crazily. I blinked rapidly as my eyes were forced open, "Eh?"
In front of my face was an uninviting scowl from the leader who had dragged me away. He shouted, "Finally! Wake up already! We are here."
I looked forward and saw a large stone building in front of me. In large letters, there were the words: Magical Investigation Bureau. I frowned, "M.I.B? What? Are there aliens here too?"
He pushed me inside violently, "Stop talking and walk!"
I mocked him under my breath as I allowed him to push me inside. As soon as I entered, everyone went silent. They all stared at me like I was a mutant that would start biting ankles at any moment. My skin itched under those stares. I desperately wanted to ignore their attention, so I forced myself to look away from them. My mind froze as I saw all the animals in the room.
Aww! So cute! But why do they not look like regular animals? There is something off with them… They look like normal creatures, but… Wait. Why are these animals also staring at me like that? They almost have the same look as the people in the room… Do I smell or something? *sniff sniff* Well… I do smell… But that can't be why I'm getting these kinds of looks. Wait… What is that smell? *sniff sniff*
I followed the scent and didn't realize it led to the large leader beside me. My eyes snapped open as I watched a large vibrant red light start pulsating from his body. I didn't even have time to wonder why I could see this color surrounding him before my body reacted violently. My mouth went dry as my body trembled. My instincts told me to escape, but I didn't have the chance to. He had sensed my fear and his hand clamped down on my shoulder painfully. I winced but didn't make a noise.
He whispered threateningly into my ear, "If you even think about escaping, I will kill you on the spot."
What the f*ck?! Isn't that a bit too extreme!? Just what happened for me to receive this kind of treatment?!
He shoved me into a room and locked the door behind us. The leader forced me to sit at the table and stood by the door with his arms crossed. I looked away from that red light almost afraid to make eye contact with it. I rubbed my shoulder as I looked around the room. There was only a steel table bolted to the ground and the walls had a reflective glass on it. I can only imagine there were people behind that mirror watching me.