I’ve definitely been writing a lot lately, thanks to the winter ’15 anime season coming to an end. Even with all the reviews, I still have plenty of time to continue writing this tale of the magical girl variety.
Before that, I’m going to talk about a couple of announcements recently made by Nintendo. First is the NX – a… no, wait, they haven’t said much about except that it is going to be a dedicated games platform. We’ll learn more next year.
However, this hasn’t stopped people from saying that Nintendo is giving up on the Wii U, even though there is zero evidence that the NX is their next home console. Xenoblade Chronicles X, Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush, Splatoon, Yoshi’s Woolly World, Mario Maker and Devil’s Third are all upcoming Wii U games – and that doesn’t even cover the stuff that will be arriving on the eShop.
Also, the fact that Nintendo will be focusing on 2015 titles for E3 – good. I want to see games that I can get hold of in the near future. Besides, they also have Nintendo Directs to inform us of what’s coming up.
The other announcement is the delay of the Wii U Zelda game. That’s pretty much par for the course – it is a Zelda game, after all. If anything, that only serves to increase my expectations of the game – though I’m certain I will enjoy it, regardless of what everyone else has to say. As the aforementioned list of games shows, there is a variety of experiences to enjoy.
Whew, rant over. Maybe I should introduce a separate section on my blog for these rants, but for now… it’s here.
Anyway, chapter eight of this tale is set in a courtroom. I probably didn’t get all the details right, but this is a fictional court. Besides, there’s something more important than a trial going on in this chapter. Now, without further ado…
Chapter Eight: Trial
At the front of the courtroom was a raised platform with a large bench. The judge was sat upon it, dressed in a gown. Sat in front of and below the judge’s desk was the clerk of the court. A computer and telephone sat on his desk. Next to him was a man who was furiously scribbling notes in a messy shorthand.
Facing the judge were the prosecution and defence. Both wore white wigs and black gowns, and had their own personal laptops on their desks. Behind those two were a few other people, though Seren wasn’t entirely sure what role they served.
Symphony was in the dock, which was located at the back of the courtroom. A custody officer was sat with her. Adjacent to the dock was the public gallery, where several members of ITF staff had come to watch the trial play out.
Next to the defence was the jury; a collection of twelve people. Opposite that was the witness box, where witnesses would stand and face the jury when giving evidence.
Kalla guided Seren over to the witness stand. Once she was in position, the judge requested that she state her name and occupation.
‘Er… m-my name… is… Seren Lux,’ she stammered. ‘O-occupation is l-librarian…’
‘Very well, Miss Lux. Could you please inform the court of the events that occurred when you received the abilities of a magical girl?’ the judge requested.
‘I-it w-was when-‘
‘Sorry to interrupt, Miss Lux, but could you please speak up?’
‘Oh! Sorry… what was… oh, p-powers…’
‘I can see you are nervous, Miss Lux. Would you like someone to speak on your behalf?’
Seren nodded enthusiastically. ‘K-Kalla!’
‘Very well. Miss Aura, do you mind taking on this role?’
‘Not at all, your honour,’ Kalla agreed, much to Seren’s relief.
Seren quietly informed Kalla of the details of the day that she received her magical girl powers. Kalla would repeat it word-for-word to the court. Seren was concise when recounting the details, perhaps because she wanted to stop being in front of so many as soon as possible.
‘That’s her testimony, your honour,’ Kalla said once Seren had concluded her recollection of events.
‘It seems to me that Miss Carbo’s testimony accurately matches that of Miss Lux’s,’ the judge said. ‘Is there anything that anyone has any concerns over?’
When nobody responded, the judge thanked Seren and Kalla for their cooperation and allowed them to leave. Kalla took Seren to the public gallery, where she decided it would be best for both of them to watch the rest of the trial play out.
The next witness to take the stand was a tall, thin man with long, black greasy hair and glasses with lenses that shone. He was wearing a lab coat over a shirt and trousers. Something about his presence put Seren really on edge, though she couldn’t quite identify what it was.
‘Witness, please state your name and occupation for the court,’ the judge requested.
‘I am Doctor Dunstan Tenebra,’ the man in the lab coat said. ‘That covers name and occupation, right?’
‘Err… I suppose. Now, you claim that-‘
‘I witnessed those tragic events of fifteen years ago, when Miss Carbo brought the life of her dear sister Sonata to an untimely end.’
‘Very well. Please begin your testimony.’
‘Well, Sonata came to me some time before she was due to set off for the Earth,’ Dr. Tenebra stated. ‘She had come to me in order to learn about the Earth and seek advice about informing her younger sister about her assignment. You see, Symphony was the jealous type. After hearing that news, I decided I would keep a close eye on the pair of them, just in case.’
‘Are you saying that you could have prevented this tragedy?’ the judge inquired.
‘No, not at all. I could have never predicted that anything of that scale would happen. However, I am aware of how said events may have come to pass.’
‘In the weeks leading up to the tragedy, I discovered that a few volumes of my impressive collection of tomes were vanishing. This included tomes containing dark magic, which even I had not dared to open. Symphony initially had no talent for magic, but clearly those tomes changed her for the worse.
‘Before I could even warn her about the consequences of her actions, Symphony decided to show off her new powers to her sister. Unfortunately, she hadn’t developed any form of control over the magic she had gained. By the time I was able to find her, it was too late.’
‘What happened when you found her?’
‘By the time I found Symphony, she had already cast the spell. However, Sonata was still alive at that point, so I tried to step in to save her. Unfortunately, the power Symphony wielded was foreign to me, and I was overcome. I managed to hold onto my consciousness long enough to see…’
‘Your honour, it was a graphic scene. Just recalling it now makes me queasy.’
‘I must urge you to share every detail.’
Dr. Tenebra sighed. ‘Very well. Sonata tried to approach Symphony, despite the overwhelmingly powerful magic surrounding her. Somehow, Sonata was able to take it into her own body. Unfortunately, it quickly tore her apart – from the inside-out. Everything was covered in blood, and I’m sure you can work out the rest on your own.’
‘Something seems off,’ Seren muttered.
‘What?’ Kalla was clearly queasy from the doctor’s revelation, but she was working hard to try and cover it up.
‘Who is Dr. Tenebra, exactly?’
‘Only the most influential member of the ITF! His research into the abilities of magical girls has revolutionised the way we operate. If not for him, we wouldn’t be able to shift our weapons into alternate forms. In addition, the man is a living spellbook. His knowledge of spells is second-to-none, and he is constantly developing new ones for us to use in combat.’
When the cross-examination began, the defence was keen to raise several objections regarding Dr. Tenebra’s testimony. However, every single one was overruled with very little reason. Most of the points that the defence objected to seemed sound to Seren, so it greatly irked her when the objections were dismissed so readily.
‘This trial doesn’t seem right,’ Seren said.
‘No, it’s fine,’ Kalla insisted.
‘Yeah, the ITF has several fail-safes in place to always ensure that the trials are fair.’
‘Surely you can figure it out. Spells are in place on the courtroom that aid everyone present.’
‘Are these spells the ones that were developed by Dr. Tenebra, by any chance?’
Kalla responded with silence.
‘So that’s a yes, then.’
‘During the next break, I’ll talk with the judge.’
True to her word, Kalla did have a word with the judge during the next break. She came back and informed Seren that a third party had cast the necessary spells due to the unique situation they were in. Seren had doubts, though they were mostly ignored by a greater need.
‘Kalla, where is the little girls’ room?’ Seren asked.
‘I’ll take you there. I haven’t put those handcuffs back on you, because I trust you. Don’t betray that trust, all right?’
True to her word, Kalla escorted Seren to the toilets. Just before they could go in, Kalla’s phone rang. She took a look at the number and knew that it would be urgent business, so she left Seren to get on with it on her own.
Once Seren had taken care of business, she stepped outside only to realise that the corridors of the ITF HQ all looked the same. With no signs to indicate where she was going to or coming from, Seren quickly found herself lost.
After wandering around for a long while, Seren came across a few doors. She was convinced that she had managed to find her way back to the courtroom, only for the scene behind the first door she opened to be an odd one.
Dr. Tenebra was talking to another Dr. Tenebra – Seren came up with two conclusions based on this sight – Dr. Tenebra had an identical twin brother, or something suspicious was happening. Going by her first impression of him from earlier, Seren felt the latter was more likely.
‘Things are going well so far. This plan of yours is brilliant,’ one of the Dr. Tenebras said.
‘Well, it isn’t exactly the most ideal way to go about it, but we just cope with what he have,’ the second replied.
‘How are things on your end?’
‘I’ve got things set up to take care of Earth.’
‘Shame we couldn’t find a more humane way to do this, though…’
‘Well, the humans are slowly killing the planet anyway. Think of it as preserving the place.’
‘Imagine if someone from Earth could hear this conversation. It’s a shame that only planets that support life ever have this problem… uninhabited planets would make ideal test subjects.’
‘Well, eight billion people might sound like a lot, but the actual number of lives in this universe far eclipses that. This sacrifice is for a noble cause.’
Seren realised that the conversation between the two Dr. Tenebras was coming to a close, so she decided it would be wise to keep going down the corridor. She didn’t get too far before one of the Dr. Tenebras stepped out from the room and spotted her.
‘Oh, you’re Miss Lux, right? What are you doing here?’ he asked.
‘I-I was just using the b-bathroom,’ Seren replied. She couldn’t bring herself to make eye contact with him.
‘Getting lost is a common thing for newbies here. I’ll escort you back to the courtroom.’
When Seren returned to the public gallery, Kalla was nowhere to be seen. An official was on hand to keep an eye on Seren, but nobody else was paying any attention to her. As the trial resumed, Seren was far more occupied with processing the conversation she had just overheard. She practised what she was going to say to Kalla over and over in her head.
Kalla returned a while later. Seren got her attention, but the words she had been going over in her head refused to come out of her mouth. She spent several moments saying nothing else other than ‘umm’ and ‘err…’.
‘What is it?!’ Kalla snapped. ‘Come on, spit it out!’
‘The doctor is a fake!’ Seren cried suddenly. Several of the people around her in the public gallery were taken aback, Kalla included.
‘Seren, what are you saying? You can’t just make baseless accusations like that!’
‘But I saw-‘
‘I’ve already told you, several spells are in place to ensure that there is no foul play.’
‘Seren, I’m going to have to have you return to your cell. Sorry, but it only seems right in this case.’
‘Argh!’ Seren yelled. She transformed into her magical girl form and rushed into the courtroom. She approached Dr. Tenebra and pointed her staff at his throat. ‘What is the real Dr. Tenebra planning?!’
Naturally, a commotion had broken out due to Seren’s actions. Kalla had followed closely behind, also transforming. ‘I shall take care of the situation, please remain calm everyone,’ Kalla declared. She placed her hand on Seren’s shoulder.
‘Get off!’ Seren exclaimed.
‘Seren, please come with me peacefully. We can talk about this together.’
‘No!’ Seren unleashed a wave of power that sent Kalla flying across the courtroom. She crashed into the jury, who had decided it would be best to flee.
Several security guards arrived in the courtroom, weapons all aimed at Seren.
‘At ease!’ Kalla called. ‘Seren is my responsibility, I shall be the one to take care of this situation. This is my fight.’