Time for another chapter of Seren’s tale. We’ve had a flashback that has revealed Symphony’s past, so now it’s time to return to the present and carry on with the story.
I actually don’t have much to say in the way of pointless chatter this time around, so let’s just get straight into it for once. Enjoy.
Chapter Eleven: Protecting Home
‘I only recently remembered everything,’ Symphony said. ‘I won’t blame you if you don’t want me to heal you.’
‘Symphony…’ Seren placed her hand upon Symphony’s shoulder. ‘You’ve grown, right? You aren’t the same person you were back then… it’s been fifteen years.’
‘I may have not been overly enthusiastic about becoming a magical girl – heck, I’m still not – but I have faith that you can heal both Kalla and I.’
‘Didn’t you just hear what I told you? I’ll probably end up killing both of you!’
‘Symphony, you can do this. At this point, you’re the only one we can rely on. Besides, Kalla has had fifteen years of experience being a magical girl. I’m sure she’ll be able to lend a hand, too.’
‘Healing magic isn’t exactly my forte…’ Kalla said.
‘You don’t have to cast it. Symphony, I’m begging you. Please use your magic to heal both of us.’
Symphony hesitated. It took a little more encouragement from both Seren and Kalla, but she was eventually able to bring herself to use her healing magic. Kalla was able to monitor the output of Symphony’s magic power and offer instructions on when to increase or decrease it.
It was a long process, but eventually both Seren and Kalla were back to full fighting strength. Symphony herself, however, was completely exhausted. During the whole ordeal, the floating teddy had been watching impatiently. When both Seren and Kalla were back on their feet, he made no bones about having been forced to wait for so long.
Symphony remained where she was whilst the floating teddy led Seren and Kalla to the place where the magical girl that it had referred to as ‘Oak’ was battling Dr. Tenebra.
The magical girl in the pink frilly dress was actually running rings around the doctor by the time they arrived. Seren and Kalla were quite shocked to see the teenage girl land several solid hits on the doctor.
‘This is strange,’ Dr. Tenebra muttered as he recovered from being punched in the face. ‘You’re clearly a magical girl, yet I have no clue as to the type of magic you’re using…’
‘That’s because I’m a Pre-‘ Oak’s sentence was cut off by Dr. Tenebra seizing the opportunity to deliver a punch to her gut. She was sent rolling across the ground.
‘Oak!’ the floating teddy cried.
‘I’m fine!’ Oak insisted. She quickly returned to her feet and charged towards the doctor. She attempted to kick him, only to have him dodge aside easily. As she passed right by him, the doctor knocked her to the ground with his elbow.
‘I may not recognise your magic, but I’m certainly capable of physical combat as well. When it comes down to it in the end, you are a mere child.’
Oak scrambled onto her hands and knees, only to have the doctor kick her across the ground.
‘Hey!’ Seren cried.
‘Don’t worry!’ Oak shouted. She unsteadily returned to her feet.
‘They should worry.’ Dr. Tenebra delivered one final blow. Oak returned to her normal form and fell unconscious.
‘Oak!’ The floating teddy flew towards the prone girl, only to be swatted out of the air by the doctor.
‘I don’t detect any more magic from her… she’s no longer a threat.’ Dr. Tenebra turned towards Seren and Kalla. ‘You two, however…’
‘Hey, Seren, do you know who that girl is?’ Kalla whispered.
‘No idea… never seen her before. For now, though, we need to focus on him.’ Seren nodded towards Dr. Tenebra.
‘I am fully equipped to take on any magical girls from the ITF,’ Dr. Tenebra warned them. ‘There is no possible way for you to win. Your hopes were extinguished when that child fell unconscious.’
‘Let’s see!’ Seren yelled. She rushed forward, with Kalla following closely behind. Before either of them could launch a single attack, they both found themselves staring up at the sky.
‘What?!’ Seren and Kalla cried in unison.
‘If you stop interfering, I’ll let you return to the ITF HQ so you can be spared the disaster that will befall this planet. As a bonus, I’ll let you bring that child and her familiar, too.’
‘I refuse,’ Seren growled. She got back on her feet. ‘This planet is my home… I won’t lose it to you!’
‘You should really learn when to give up.’ Dr. Tenebra blasted Seren with magic, sending her rolling across the ground. A small dust cloud followed in her wake.
‘Dammit!’ Despite having taking the brunt of the blast, Seren got back onto her feet again.
‘Seren, please stop,’ Kalla begged. ‘We don’t stand a chance… let’s just return to the ITF HQ so we can live out the rest of our lives peacefully together…’
‘Billions of people inhabit this planet,’ Seren stated. ‘I can’t just let this maniac wipe out my home, and all those people! Right now, we’re the only ones who have a say in what happens to this planet. No matter what, I refuse to back down.’
‘Why are you girls so against the advance of science?’ Dr. Tenebra asked. ‘Though this planet provides the magical girls with the greatest potential, it also provides the greatest potential threat to reality itself. A sacrifice has to be made to ensure that everyone else who inhabits this reality will live to see their futures.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘You just rushed in without a single thought as to the reason why I’m doing this? You truly are fools.’
‘Time is running short. I won’t just stand around chatting!’ Dr. Tenebra rushed towards Seren, flooring her with a single punch.
‘Seren!’ Kalla shouted.
‘I’m fine!’ Seren rose to her feet once more, visibly shaking as she did so.
‘At this point, I can no longer afford to have you keep getting back up. I don’t know how or what you contributed to the ITF, but I’ll be sure to say a few words at your funeral. Now, farewell!’
Seren held her staff out at arms length. The staff began to glow, and its form changed shape. When the change was complete, Seren was wielding a sword in her right hand.
‘No way…’ Kalla muttered. ‘I’ve been training to do that for years, yet I still can’t master it…’
‘Want a swordfight, huh? Well, I’ll happily comply!’ Dr. Tenebra summoned a sword out of thin air and swung it in an overheard arc directly at Seren.
Seren blocked the attack, both combatants locking blades. As the doctor tried to overwhelm Seren with his strength, several beams of magic impacted against him, throwing him backwards.
‘Don’t interfere!’ Dr. Tenebra yelled, turning his attention towards the prone Kalla.
‘I didn’t!’ Kalla insisted, but the doctor wasn’t listening.
‘It was me!’ Seren cried, getting in between Dr. Tenebra and Kalla. The doctor had launched a magical attack, but Seren was able to produce a shield that deflected the energy.
‘This has been a day of strange occurrences, it seems,’ Dr. Tenebra said. ‘It seems that there are far more types of magic out there than I initially believed… I’ll preserve this knowledge for future generations.’
‘My powers are strange to you?’ Seren asked. ‘Maybe you should watch more magical girl anime… those heroines have shown to me exactly what a magical girl should be like!’
All that Dr. Tenebra had to say in response to that was ‘what?’.
‘That’s kind of impressive,’ Kalla added.
‘That doesn’t matter,’ Dr. Tenebra declared. ‘When a magical girl has gone rogue, I possess just the tool to deal with them. There is no way any of these bizarre powers you have developed will help you to overcome this!’ The doctor’s sword shifted its form, taking on the appearance of an assault rifle.
‘That’s hardly fair,’ Seren complained.
‘Just surrender then. If I can’t carry out my mission successfully, the entire universe will be doomed. If you do not comply, you shall experience the full might of my anti-magical girl bullets.’ The doctor started firing at Seren, but she was able to evade the bullets easily due to her augmented speed. After spending several minutes not hitting Seren, Dr. Tenebra turned his sight to Kalla.
‘Kalla!’ Seren reacted just quick enough to save Kalla from harm. However, she was grazed by a bullet. There was a brief moment of pain, but then Seren couldn’t feel anything. Another couple of seconds passed, and Seren’s magical energy suddenly burst out from her body. It took no visible form, but Seren was clearly in pain with it.
‘It was a good fight, but it has finished now,’ Dr. Tenebra said. ‘Those bullets are designed specifically to make magic go haywire. You have no control any more, and if you resist your magic will tear you apart. Farewell.’
‘…not… over…’ Seren said through gritted teeth. As she fought with the pain she was experiencing, Seren focused on condensing her out-of-control magic. It took some time for her to do so, but Dr. Tenebra was so confident in his victory that he had turned his back to her. When she succeeded in condensing the magic, Seren unleashed an explosion. She returned to her normal form.
Dr. Tenebra took the full brunt of the explosion. When the air cleared, he was still on his feet. The explosion had clearly injured him. ‘That… was impressive…’
‘Just… fall… down!’ Seren panted.
‘I have an offer… become a… test subject…’
‘I’ll feed you… three meals a day… you can keep… your clothes on… outside of… experiments…’
‘I’ve heard enough…’ Seren took a couple of steps towards Dr. Tenebra.
‘So you accept?’
‘This is my answer!’ Seren shouted, swinging her fist directly into Dr. Tenebra’s face. All his defences against magical attacks proved totally ineffective against a physical assault from an ordinary human. The blow from Seren knocked Dr. Tenebra unconscious and flat on his back. Blood flowed freely from his nose.
Shortly before Seren had punched the doctor, Oak had regained consciousness. She walked over to her and vigorously shook her hand. ‘Good job on beating him! He was powerful, but he doesn’t have what I’m looking for…’
‘Err… who are you, exactly?’ Seren asked.
‘Don’t worry about that. You will keep my secret, right?’
‘Thank you. Now, bye!’ Oak retreated with her floating teddy right behind her.
Seren was left with just Kalla and the unconscious Dr. Tenebra. ‘Hey, Kalla?’
‘What is it?’ Kalla responded.
‘That information you mentioned back in the ITF HQ… was it related to Dr. Tenebra?’
‘I believe that to be the case, though I lack any solid evidence for it.’
Before Seren could raise any further questions, the ground began to tremble. It was barely noticeable at first, but the tremors quickly increased in power. As the Earth quaked, intense waves of magical energy began to converge into a single spot.
As it gathered together, the magic took on a physical form. It was humanoid in shape, though it was very vaguely defined. As more magic gathered together, it grew in size. Seren and Kalla watched in awe as a new colossal foe appeared before them.
‘What is that?’ Seren asked.
‘…the end of everything,’ Dr. Tenebra answered, having been awoken by the intense waves of magic.