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Twisted-Wonderland: Our Precious Treasure

Chapter Text

He had this strange sensation of floating. As if something suspended him above the ground. Was there even any ground here? Did he even open his eyes? It was dark. It was cold. And he was… Scared. But he didn’t get it. What was he supposed to be scared of?

Ah...

My dear beloved…

Who said that?

All of a sudden, he felt his back pressed against a cold smooth surface. When did that appear? When did he stop floating? He turned his head to the side, but he couldn’t see anything past the dark. He tried to get up, his movements were sluggish as if he was underwater. But eventually, he managed to get up.

A lovely and noble flower of evil…

Truly, you are the most beautiful of them all…

He took a clumsy step forward, trying to find the owner of the voice, and as he did so, a blinding light came up from below him. He had to shield his eyes from the dark fragments - wait, no, they looked like... stars? - that were flying away, revealing a purple brick floor and he was standing on top of a lime-green circular platform.

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

Who is the cruelest of them all?

He spun around but didn’t dare to step off the platform. Where did that voice come from? Behind him, he could hear a burst of flame. When he turned around again, he saw a green flame dancing in the dark. Slowly, something started to appear around the flame. A golden circular border. He squinted his eyes. Wait. The flame looked like it glowing behind something. A glass? A window? Maybe a mirror?

Those who are guided by the dark mirror…

As long as your heart desires…

It felt as if he was standing right in front of the mirror. Through the green flame, which was slowly dissolving, a black-gloved hand appeared. He couldn’t see who the owner of the hand is but he was sure that this is the voice’s hand. How was that possible? He had no idea.

Take the hand that appears in the mirror…

It was a tempting offer. He could feel his heart beating faster. What should he do? His eyes flickered around, trying to find any corner in this pitch-black abyss. But he couldn’t. It was as if the darkness is endless. He could get lost in it. He… He didn’t want that. He didn’t want to feel lost. He didn’t want to feel lonely.

The voice made that feeling of loneliness disappeared. The voice cut through the darkness, giving him something to hold on. And the voice sounded so alluring, comforting. It made him feel safe. It’s going to be okay afterward. All he needed to do is to take the hand…

Come, now… Show me your power…

We only have a little bit of time left…

Slowly, he lifted his hand, reaching toward the gloved hand. He never realized the surface of the mirror rippled like water when the gloved hand went through it, finally meeting with his smaller one. He never realized that the purple brick floor slowly dissolving into darkness, along with his lime-green platform. All his focus went to the hand as the voice echoed again.

No matter what, don’t let go of my hand…

He wasn’t planning to. He gripped the hand tighter as, once again, he felt as if he was floating. Darkness had swallowed his platform, leaving his feet dangling. But he didn’t feel lost or scared like before. Instead, he felt sleepy. He tried to grip the hand even tighter as if it could make him stay awake. But no matter how hard he tried, darkness slowly clouded his vision as sleep welcomed him.

The last thing he could hear was the sound of a galloping horse.

Chapter Text

*rattle* *rattle*

A sound similar to the rattling of someone trying to open a locked box finally awoken him. When he opened his eyes again, everything was still dark, but he could feel something soft underneath him. He was lying on his back on a comfy surface. When he tried to raise his hand, he couldn’t get far because he felt a carpet-like ceiling above him. He tried again, stretching his hand to the side, only to find a similar cushion-carpet-like wall beside him. Where is he now? Is he trapped? In a box maybe?

“Darn it! People are coming soon! I have to get this uniform on fast!”

Who was that this time? It didn’t sound like the deep calm voice in the void. This sounded more high-pitch. The rattling continued and he tried his best to hit and kick the walls around him. He wanted to scream but it felt like the walls are closing toward him, making him couldn’t breathe.

“Grrr! This lid is so heavy!”

He tried to bang the lid – wait, now that his consciousness had fully returned he realized that he wasn’t laying down, but he was standing up, and the lid was a door. With this new info, he tried to push the door in front of him. His voice only finally returns but only came out as grunting.

“If it comes to this… I have to use my secret move!”

Did the voice not hear all his banging? He pressed his hand on the door once again. But this time it felt weird. It was… warmer than before?

No. Not only the door, but everything surrounding him felt warmer and stuffier. His banging and pushing continued. He didn’t want to be in here. Let him out! Let him out!

The door slowly creaked open. It was falling-

And he fell with it.

“Hieeeee!” He screamed when he fell with a loud *bang!*

“Ow…” he grunted, trying to lift himself despite the soreness.

“Whaaaa!” He looked up the owner of the high-pitched voice. It was some sort of strange creature. A cat? Maybe a raccoon? It had grey fur with some white patches on his chest and pink jellybean paws. Blue flame spurted out from his ears. Its tail ended with a pointy fork, also it was wearing a white with black stripes bow.

“Why are you awake?!” it shouted. He groaned at the yelling. He finally managed to stand up, staring straight at the creature’s wide blue eyes

“What are you?” he asked out loud, dusting himself.

The creature let out an offended grunt. “Who are you calling a ‘what’?! I am the Great Grim!” The boy raised his eyebrow at the proclamation. Was it even possible for a raccoon to be this arrogant?

“Cih, whatever,” the raccoon clicked its tongue. Its mouth raised to form a smirk. “You human! Give me those uniforms!”

“What uni…” He stopped and looked at his outfit. He was wearing a really elegant black robe with a purple edge and golden trim. It was slightly too big for him, so the sleeves went past his wrist nearly covering his fingers while the bottom part completely covered his brown shoes. The hood of the robe was pulled over his head.

The only thing that came into his mind was: why would the raccoon want the uniform? It would be way too big for it.

“If not…” It raised its paws and all of a sudden blue flame ignited around them. “I’ll roast you!”

He pulled himself away from the flame with a scream, not wanting to get burn. “Are you trying to kill me?!”

The raccoon let out an evil chuckle. “If you don’t want to die, give me your robe!” The raccoon ran toward him at a fast speed. But, maybe in panic, he immediately ducked to the ground, letting the raccoon jumped into his box – actually, more like a coffin – face planted on the cushion-like surface.

“Oww…” The raccoon whined. Not really wanting to have more quarrels, he ran out the door, picking up his robe so he didn’t trip.

The raccoon managed to get its face no longer sticking to the coffin. “Oi!” it screamed, turning around, ready to fight the boy. But Grim was alone in the room filled with floating coffins. “Where are you?!” it shouted again, looking around the room. Grim didn’t want to open another coffin. Besides, the boy looks so puny. It would be easy to take his uniform by force.

Its eyes caught onto the opened door. With an evil laugh, it ran toward the door, following the scent of the puny human.

Not long after, a man walked into the coffin-filled room. “Oya?” His eyebrow raised when he saw one of the coffins was opened already with no person in it. Looks like they have a runaway in their hand. 

He was already out of breath when he reached another room. When he looked up, trying to figure out where he was, he realized he had entered a dark room filled with books, some were stuffed on the shelves, some were floating in the air.

“Where the heck am I?” he panted out. He was about to step forward when all of a sudden a circle of blue flame lit up around him. “Gah!”

“Heh heh heh…” He looked up and saw the raccoon slowly descended from the ceiling. How did he manage to find him so fast?!

“You think you could get away from me, you dumb human?” it mocked him and he could felt his blood boiling up. This was getting ridiculous.

The raccoon floated toward him, paws bending-and-straightening as if trying to recreate grabby hand movements. He tried to step back but stopped when his robe nearly caught onto the blue flame.  “Now, if you don’t want to turn into barbeque, hand me over the-”

*Whoop-eesh!*

“Fugya!” The raccoon suddenly fell to his feet. His body was tied up by a thick string. But where did it came from?

“Ow!” The raccoon floated up again, still tied with the string. “What the- What’s with this cord?” It tried to pull its paws out, but it seemed the string was way too strong.

“It is not a mere cord…” That was when he noticed that the string was connected to something. His eye followed the string until it ended in the hand of a man. “It’s the Whip of Love!”

The man himself was taller than him. His outfit somehow was way more elegant than his robe. The man had pale, nearly white, skin, and was wearing a bird-like mask over his golden eyes. His outfit consisted of a white long-sleeved shirt under a black vest with dark blue glitter, grey-black pants, and blue-black shoes. His coat hung over his shoulder, decorated with black feathers and the end was styled to mimic a bird wing. Also, he wore a top hat, decorated with a mirror and a black feather. He also had several mirrors on his belt. His black-gloved hands were holding a cane, but with was extended to be the whip.

“Ah, I’ve finally found you,” the man said when he finally reached up to him, standing in front of him. He had to crane his neck up so he could see him straight in the eyes. “You’re one of the new students, correct?”

He opened his mouth, but then closed it, trying to process when the man just said. The man sighed. “You shouldn’t do such things like that. It’s prohibited for a student to leave the Door on their own.”

He winched. “I’m sorry, Sir,” he said, rubbing the back of his neck, in embarrassment.

“Not only that.” The man picked up the raccoon by its neck. “You brought an untamed familiar with you, which has broken several school rules.”

He wanted to protest but the raccoon beat him first. “I’m not his familiar! Let me go!”

The whip moved again, this time covering the raccoon’s mouth. “Yes, yes,” the man sighed. “That’s what all they say.” The man turned back to him and he could felt consciously straightened up his posture a bit.

“Honestly, it’s unheard of for a new student to go through the school by themselves,” the man said, the disappointed tone was heard. “How impatient are you?”

He ducked his head. “I’m sorry.”

The man shook his head. “Well, well, come along then.” He ushered the new student out of the book-filled room. He pulled the whip again, making the tied up raccoon to follow them like a dog on a leash. “The opening ceremony has started a long time ago. Let’s head back to the Mirror Chamber.” 


Crowley watched the new student looking around as they walk toward the courtyard as if trying to see everything his eye could take. It was kind of adorable. But that didn’t change the fact that he had broken so many rules.

The boy himself had a small posture, maybe even smaller than Prefect Rosehearts. His Ceremonial Robe was too big for him, causing him to nearly trip occasionally during their walk. The boy had wavy reddish-brown hair that passed his shoulder a bit, tied into a ponytail with a small ahoge on top, dark skin, and one black left eye, for the right one, was covered by a medical eye-patch.

“Mister,” the boy suddenly said after a long silence. “Where are we exactly?”

A curious young boy. No. 'Clueless' suits him more. But, for he is gracious, he shall provide answers to the confused boy.

Crowley cleared his throat before starting his explanation. “This is Night Raven College, a place where magicians with various unique talents come together from all over the world of Twisted Wonderland.” He tipped his top hat slightly and gave the boy a nod of greeting. “I am the principal of this academy, Dire Crowley.”

The boy blinked. He seemed in a kind of distress like he was trying to find something in his brain. After a few seconds of face scrunching, his black eye lit up. He then gave him a small nod. “My name is Jonah Argentum.”

Ah, yes. A name for a name. Though Crowley wondered why it took him a long time to respond.

“So…” the boy, Argentum, spoke again. “Are you saying that I’m a magician?”

Crowley nodded, though slightly confused about the question. “Only those with exceptional talent in magic and who is chosen by the Dark Mirror can enroll in this school. And those chosen are called to the academy through the Door from all over the world!”

The face scrunching was back again. “I remember a sound of horses before I woke up in that coffin…” he muttered.

Crowley nodded. “Yes. The Ebony Carriage goes to welcome the new student chosen by the Dark Mirror, carrying the Doors to the academy. I believe it came to pick you up as well.”

Behind them, the familiar was still trying to get out from his Whip of Love, its scream of protests muffled. The boy frowned at the familiar. “I guess the raccoon’s fire burst opened the coffin’s door. I wasn’t able to open it before.”

“Ah, so, in the end, the culprit was the familiar.” Crowley let out a sigh. “Normally, students wake up after the door is opened with a special key…” He shook his head. “If you are the one who brought him here, then you have to take responsibility for him.”

The boy blinked in confusion again. “But, it’s- he’s not-”

They finally reached the door to the Mirror Chamber. “Now then,” Crowley said, with a hand on the new student’s back. “Let’s go to the Entrance Ceremony.”

With that, the doors were opened for them.

Chapter Text

“Now then, are the entrance ceremony and dorm sorting finished?” The Prefect of Heartsabyul, Riddle Rosehearts, said as he walked in front of his group of freshmen. There was quite a lot that was sorted into the dorm this year, including an annoying looking kid named Ace Trappola. "Listen up, new students,” he said with a hand on his hip, looking at the new student sternly. “In Heartslabyul, I am the rules. Break them and it’s off with your head; keep that in mind.”

Leona Kingscholar yawned loudly. “Finally, this stuffy ceremony is finally done.” He looked over his bunch. “Let’s get back to the dorm already. Savanaclaw, follow me.”

“All new students! I would like to congratulate you on your enrollment here!” Azul Ashengrotto was smiling too much for Riddle’s liking. Though, he managed to break the tension in his group. “I hope every one of you can live a fulfilling school life. As the Prefect of Octavinelle, I will support you to the best of my ability.”

“Nevermind that, where did the headmaster go?” asked the ever-so-beautiful Vil Schoenheit. “He hadn’t returned since the orientation before the ceremony…”

“He’s abandoning duties…” Idia Shroud’s voice rang through the floating blue tablet. Riddle sometimes wonder whether he was serious or not with his duty as a prefect.

“Did he get a stomachache or something?” Kalim Al-Asim asked out loud.

*BANG!*

“Not at all!”

Every head, including Riddle's, turned toward the headmaster who walked into the room gracefully. That was when he noticed someone else with him. A small boy, maybe slightly shorter than him, who was trying his best not to stumble from his robe. One of Crowley’s hands was on the boy’s back, guiding him to the platform in front of the Dark Mirror, meanwhile, the other one is holding his whip. And… was that a cat tied in the end on the whip?

“Honestly. We were one student short, so I left to go find them,” the headmaster explained. He then turned to the boy who was pulling his hood over his head, probably because feeling the pressure of everyone else still wearing their hood.

Maybe it was just Riddle's imagination, but he thought that Crowley's voice became softer when he was talking to the new student as if he was guiding a young child. “Now, you are the only one left who has yet to be sorted. I shall watch over the raccoon. All you need to do is to step onto the platform and let the Dark Mirror find where your suitable place.”

The cat/raccoon was fuming between the bindings, but Riddle was more focused on the new student. He saw him clenching and unclenching his hand under the sleeve of the robe, body slightly rocking back and forth as if he was hesitating. Riddle frowned. What is he doing? He’s wasting their time.

Finally, after taking a deep breath, the boy stepped onto the platform. Once again, the Dark Mirror burst into green flame, revealing the Slave in the Magic Mirror, a floating green face with black decoration around its eyes, appeared once more from the green flame.

“Reveal thy name,” its voice echoed, silencing the Mirror Chamber once again. He saw the boy’s head jerked up in surprise. It took him another full minute before he finally answers with a voice soft and filled with confusion.

“Jonah. Jonah Argentum… Sir.”

“Jonah Argentum…” the Slave repeated. “The shape of thy soul…”

“I do not know.”

“What did you say?” The headmaster sounded surprised, and to be honest, so was Riddle. How is this possible?

“I sense a magic power lay in dormant in thee. However, I could not see the spark of color, or form. Therefore, thou art ineligible for any dormitory.”

The crowd erupted into murmurs. Riddle watched the new student, Jonah, looked around in confusion. He turned to the headmaster. “What does that mean?”

Ace whispered loudly to another newbie next to him. “Does that mean he’s nearly a non-magician?”

Riddle frowned. This can't be right. There is absolutely no way the Ebony Carriage would bring someone who doesn't have magic. This just broke the code of the school. But the Slave did say that Jonah has power laying in there somewhere. But why in dormant, so deep that even the Dark Mirror couldn’t pick up on that?

Even Crowley looked troubled. “There has never been a mistake selecting a student in the past 100 years. How in the world…?”

“Mmmghh…” With the headmaster distracted, the cat managed to wiggle himself out for the whip. “Pwah!” It gasped, probably relieved he was no longer being gagged. “In that case, hand over that seat over to me!” He immediately ran to Jonah, pushing him off the platform.

“Hey-” The boy wasn’t prepared for the sudden pushed. He missed his steps and his feet got tangled. He nearly falling down the platform, hood falling off his head. “H-Hiee!”

“Whoops!” Kalim was quick. He immediately ran toward Jonah, catching him before he could completely fell to the ground. “You’re good?”

Jonah nodded as he managed to stand up on his own again. “I’m fine.” His black eye glared at the cat. “Why would you do that?”

The cat looked so smug, crossing its paws in front of his chest, looking down at the new student as if he was a lowly peasant. “Unlike that human, I can use magic! I’ll show you right now just how exceptional I am!”

Riddle was the first one to notice the magic circle underneath the cat, giving out gases and lighting blue sparks. “Everyone, get down!” Everyone immediately responded, ducking to take cover. He could see Kalim pushing down Jonah, shielding him from the upcoming attack.

The cat inhaled, puffing up its chest and cheek with air. “Hnnngh, AHH!” It blew a blue flame from its mouth. It was uncontrollable, nearly hitting everyone.

Kalim was one of the unfortunate ones. “Aghh!!” He screamed as he tumbled down, rolling back and forth on the ground. “Hot, hot, hot! My ass is on fire!”

The cat looked even more prideful than before. “See? I am better than this puny human. So, let me into this school in his place!”

Jonah glared at the cat. “Hey, you could’ve killed somebody!” he shouted. “Why are you so desperate to enter the school?!”

But the cat just laughed at him, which sent Jonah fuming. “That’s it!” He ran toward the creature, but Grim was swift, floating out of the way, making Jonah stumbled in his track. But the boy didn’t give up, he began to chase the cat who kept dodging all his attempts to catch him.

“Get back here!” Jonah shouted.

The cat blew a raspberry at him. “Come on then! Try to catch me!”

The boy let out a frustrated scream as he chased the cat outside the Mirror Chamber, leaving the room in chaos. The first-years were panicking, the teachers were trying to put down the flame, and the other prefects were arguing. Riddle could’ve sworn someone from his dorm was laughing (probably that Ace kid). He saw Azul cast a water spell to help Kalim with the flame. The Scarabia Prefect breathed out a relieved sigh. “Thanks a bunch, Azul.” Azul only answered him with a smile.

“If this doesn’t stop, the school will be engulfed in flames!” shouted the principal. “Someone, please help Mister Argentum and catch that raccoon!

Leona let out a groan of annoyance. “How troublesome…”

Vil raised an eyebrow at the half-lion. “Oh, but isn’t hunting your specialty? Doesn’t it look like a perfect, round, and fat snack for you?”

Leona glared at the pretty boy. “Why me? You do it.”

“Professor Crowley, please leave this to me,” Azul volunteered. “I’m sure the others couldn’t stomach harassing the poor creature, so I will take it upon myself.”

“Typical Azul.” Riddle could've sworn he heard Idia rolled his eyes. “Always try to earn himself a point.”

To which Azul responded with a giggle. He then turned to him. “Care to help me, Riddle?”

Riddle let out a sigh. He hates rule-breakers. “Let’s finish this quickly.” 

“Get back here, you filthy raccoon!” Jonah screamed as he tried to jumped and catch the flying raccoon. But again, and again, the creature avoided him.

“Are you deaf?! I am not a raccoon!” he shouted between his constant laughing at the boy's pathetic job. “I, the Great Grim, will become the greatest magician in the world unlike you, useless human!”

*whoosh-splash!*

“Aghgh!?” A sudden water cannon shot toward Grim from behind Jonah, making both him and the raccoon, who avoided the sudden attack, stopped and turned around.

“Who shot that water?!” screamed Grim.

Two students, in a similar robe as him, ran toward them. One was small, but slightly taller than Jonah, with red, mid-length hair that curves inward, V-shaped bangs covering his forehead, side bangs, and two strands of hair forming a heart on top of his head. He had a stern look and silver eyes. “You’ve got some nerve breaking rules in front of me.”

The other one, the tallest between the three of them, had silvery blue, wavy hair that was styled longer on the left. His eyes were also the same silvery-blue color as his hair and he wore a pair of silver glasses. He had a beauty mark below his lip on the left side of his face. “Now, let’s capture him as quickly as we can. It’ll soon be morning if we idle around.”

Jonah glanced at Grim, whose face had become pale. It was three against one. There is no way they can't catch that annoying raccoon now!

“Gyaaah!!” Grim screamed as he took off again.

The three of them only exchange glanced before nodding at each other. They ran, chasing Grim down the hallway of the academy, with the other two students blasting their plant and water magic. It took them a while in this goose chase until they finally reached a dead end.

Grim stopped floating, patting the brick wall with its paws in panic. “Huh!? How?!”

The three students stopped just a few feet from the raccoon. “You didn’t notice we were having you swim around?” asked the silvernette with fake concern. “You poor, unfortunate little animal.”

The redhead took a step forward. “Give it up! Or else…”

“No!” Grim shouted, a shining blue circle, just like the one before he sent the Mirror Chamber in flame, appeared to bellow his feet. “I’m enrolling in this academy!"

The redhead gritted his teeth. “Azul, get back!” he shouted, running in front of the other two students as he held a pen with a red crystal at the top from his robe. The silvernette, Azul, nodded and pushed Jonah backward, hand holding a similar pen with violet crystal raised in front him, protecting the younger boy.

“Hnngh…..!” Grim took a deep breath, sucking as much as air as he could. The redhead stepped forward, a red glowing circle appeared beneath his feet. He pointed his pen forward, aiming at Grim and shouted boldly, “[OFF WITH YOUR HEAD]!”

Chapter Text

Riddle stepped forward, a magic circle appeared beneath his shoes and the tip of his magical pen. His brows frowned, there was a dangerous glint in his grey eyes. He waved his magical pen, a red pixie-dust-like light appeared and followed the movement of the pen's crystal. He aimed his pen to the demon-raccoon, shouting his spell with a commanding aura “[OFF WITH YOUR HEAD]!”

The magic circle from his pen shot out toward the cat who was screaming in panic. The magic circle circled the cat’s neck, until with a spark of white light, a red-and-white collar appeared.

“Fuggyaaahh!” The cat yelled as it fell to his butt. The flame on its ears stopped lightening. It looked at its neck, tapping the collar. “What is this!?”

“Laws of the Queen of Hearts Number #23: One shall never bring a cat into a festival,” Riddle said as he walked toward the cat whose blue eyes widened and pressed its back to the wall behind it. He stood towering over the trembling little guy. “As you are a cat, trespassing here is a serious rule violation.” He picked up cat by the collar, glaring at him and Azul could see its fur stood up. “We will have you leave immediately.”

“I- I’m not a cat!” The cat stuttered. It was swinging its paws, trying to hit Riddle on the face, but the redhead held it far enough to avoid the attacks.

The cat hissed at Riddle. “I’ll have this collar-” It raised its paws, expecting for the Heartslabyul Prefect to be burnt to crisp. But not a single spark appeared.

“Wh-what? My fire won’t work!” the cat cried, staring at its paws in disbelieve.

“What just happened?” the first year asked, looking up at Azul.

Azul offered him a smile. “It’s Riddle’s unique magic,” he said. When the first year tilted his head slightly to the side (which Azul found rather endearing), he continued, “His power can seal any other kind of magic away.”

The first year’s mouth formed an “Oh…” he nodded his head. Looking back at Riddle, who was having a banter with the cat, he let out a sigh. It was always a spectacular show, watching how other skilled magician unleashing their unique magic. Riddle's magic is one of the kind and very useful. Dear... If only he can have it... And by that, he didn’t mean to be used on him.

Riddle turned around, walking toward him with the cat still in his hand. Azul stepped aside for a bit so Riddle could stand face-to-face with the first year. “Isn’t this your familiar?” he asked, raising the cat. “Aren’t you going to do something about it?”

The first year raised an eyebrow at him then shook his head. “It’s not mine,” he said. “I’ve never seen him in my life. That raccoon was the one who opened my coffin before time and wanted to steal my robe.”

“Oh, did he now?” Riddle commented, staring sternly at the cat who stopped itself from protesting further. “Well then, we must throw you out of this school now.”

Azul walked up to him, offering his hands. “Let me hold on to that, Riddle.”

Riddle gladly dropped the cat into his arms and Azul cradled it just like how Mr. Mozus Trein holds his cat, Lucius. “Gyahhh! Let me go!” the cat screamed.

But Azul just smiled, patting and stroking at the top of its head. “What a spirited little animal~”

The first year let out a sigh as he rubbed his temple. “He’s unbelievable,” he muttered to which the cat hissed at him, but he ignored him completely, focusing on the two prefects. “Thank you for helping me,” he said, rather sheepishly while rubbing the back of his neck.

Azul nodded at him. “No problem, Mister... Oh, it appears I’ve forgotten your name.”

He chuckled. “My name is Jonah.”

Azul smiled and nodded again. “Ah yes, Jonah Argentum, correct?” he held the hissing cat in his left hand and stretched out his right one toward the first year. “A pleasure to meet an adorable underclassman like you.”

Jonah took the hand, accepting the handshake. “The pleasure is mine... I guess?”

“Oh, my! Where are my manner?” he chuckled as he dropped his hand after the handshake. “I am Azul Ashengrotto, Prefect of Octavinelle. And…”

That was when Azul realized that Riddle had stayed quiet for quite a while. His was frowning, mouth slightly opened, confusion shone in his eyes. Azul himself frowned. He had never seen Riddle with that. He seemed… Lost.

When he cleared his throat, Riddle snapped back from his trance. He looked at Jonah who was glancing at Riddle and Azul back and forth, probably wondering what he did wrong. It was Riddle’s turn to clear his throat, answering with a steadier voice than Azul expected after that expression. “Riddle Rosehearts, Prefect of Heartslabyul.”

Jonah smiled again, this time it was he who offered his hand. “Nice to meet you.”

The weird expression on Riddle was back. Ah... Now Azul sort of understood. Riddle Rosehearts, the Crimson Tyrant, someone who is feared in his dorm, and maybe in the whole academy, meeting up with Jonah Argentum, a new first year, so pure and innocent, without any knowledge of his reputation, who is smiling at him. He was sure the first years during the ceremony didn't give him a smile as genuine as Jonah's.

Azul cleared his throat again, snapping Riddle back from his deep thought. The redhead look at Jonah’s hand, then at his face filled with confusion. Slowly, he raised his hand accepting the handshake, while saying in a voice softer than before, “Yes. You too.”

How interesting…


The door to the empty Mirror Chamber was finally opened, revealing the two prefects, the new student, and no raccoon in sight. “Welcome back!” Crowley greeted, being the only one in the room, as he walked toward them. “And thank you for all of your help."

The three students nodded, though Rosehearts wasn’t smiling, which was quite understandable with his personality. “You’re welcome, principal~” said Ashengrotto with a hand on his chest and bow slightly.

“I have already asked Mister Clover and the Leech twins to help in guiding your new underclassmen to your dorm in your place. Mister Rosehearts, Mister Ashengrotto, you may leave now,” Crowley said once again. “Once again, thank you.” Both Rosehearts and Ashengrotto nodded before turning around to leave the room. He saw the Octavinelle Prefect gave Argentum a pat on the shoulder and a reassuring smile, which made the boy smile in return.

Once they were alone again, the principal let out a sigh. “Now then, Mister Argentum,” he said, putting a hand on the boy’s shoulder. “I’m sorry about this, but... We must have you leave this academy.”

Argentum blinked in confusion. “What?”

Crowley sighed again. “I cannot allow someone who has no magic ability to enroll in this school.”

Argentum looked at him with a down expression. Disappointment maybe, but also understanding. “Oh. Yeah. That’s understandable.” He then bowed. “Sorry for all the trouble. I didn’t mean to make those commotions.”

Crowley smiled softly at him. “There is no need to worry. The Dark Mirror will promptly send you back home.” He placed his hand on the boy’s back and guided him to the platform in front of the Dark Mirror again. Once the boy stood there, Crowley stood behind him, hands on each of his shoulders for measurement. “Now, visualize your home very clearly…”

Argentum nodded and close his eye. The Slave in the Magic Mirror appeared once again from the green smokes. “Now, Dark Mirror! Guide this child back to the place they belong to!”

Crowley cleared his throat in embarrassment. “One more time. Dark Mirror! Guide this-”

The Slave cut him off. “It is nowhere.”

Crowley dropped his hand from the boy’s shoulder. “What?”

“Nowhere in this world does this one belong. There is nothing.”

“What did you say?” Crowley snapped, causing Argentum to open his eye in surprise. “That is unbelievable! Ah, there’s just been one impossible thing after the next today...”

The headmaster started to pace around, muttering under his breath. “This is the first time anything like this has happened since I became headmaster. I’m not sure what to do...” He stopped in front of Argentum. “Which country are you even from?”

The boy blinked before answering, “I’m from...” He blinked again, mouth slightly agape, his head slowly lowered, eye darting from the side to the floor. “From...”

Crowley frowned. “Mister Argentum?”

Jonah raised his head again. Confusion and panic were written all over his face. His voice sounded smaller than usual. “I... I can’t remember...”

Chapter Text

Jonah looked down at the half-filled mug in his hand. The headmaster said it was chocolate. It was warm and sweet, slightly bitter, but Jonah liked it. After the reveal in the Mirror Chamber, the headmaster decided to take him somewhere else. The original plan was the library again, but after seeing his probably panic face, the headmaster ended up taking him to the cafeteria, asking the cafeteria ghost chef to make them some warm drink.

“Nothing?” The headmaster asked, causing Jonah to clutch his mug tighter. “Nothing at all?”

He shook his head. “I'm sorry,” he whispered.

It was true. He tried his best to rake his brain, looking for clues. He remembered the sound of galloping horses, he remembered taking the hand through the mirror. But before that? Everything was blurry. He couldn’t see any landmarks or interesting features. There were sounds, voices, but those were muffled. He couldn’t recognize any of them. He was sure it wasn’t Senior Ashengrotto, Senior Rosehearts, the headmaster, that raccoon, or any voices he had heard this day. He couldn’t pick up and accent or distinguish whether those were females or males.

None of this makes any sense…

“Did you have anything on you when you first came here?” The headmaster asked again. “Any kind of identification—a magic drivers’ license, or a slipper… You appear to be empty-handed, though.”

Jonah shook his head again. “I don't think so. I'm the only one in the coffin.”

What is he going to do? He didn’t know where he came from. He didn’t know why he is here. Why can’t he remember anything?!

“Are you...” Jonah spoke with a small voice. “Are you going to throw me out?”

Crowley let out a hum, thinking hard. “This is quite a dilemma. I can’t keep someone unable to use magic at this school.”

Jonah sighed and nodded. He was already expecting the worst. Though of what was he supposed to do after this still became the question.

“However!” Crowley suddenly declared, standing up, and Jonah flinched at the loud voice. “As an educator, throwing out a penniless youth who has no contact with their guardians would just break my heart. Since I am so very kind!”

Jonah looked up to him and mouthed, “What?”

Crowley looked down. He probably noticed how surprised the boy was because he cleared his throat in embarrassment before sitting down again. He put a hand on Jonah's shoulder, talking to him with a calmer and softer voice than before. “I will allow you to stay there for the time being,” he said, his lips pulled up a reassuring smile. “In the meantime, I will search for anything related to your name. There couldn't be more than one or two children named 'Jonah Argentum' in this world.”

Jonah's eye widened. “R-Really? I… I can stay here?”

Crowley’s smile widened. “Of course!” he said, voice rising but it didn’t frightened or bother Jonah. “Ahh, how kind I am~! Aren’t I such an exemplary educator~?”

Jonah took the hand on his shoulder and shook them hard with his two hands. He looked brighter than before. His eye twinkling with gratefulness and a big smile formed on his face. “Thank you! Thank you so much for your help!”

Crowley laughed. “Of course! Of course.” He patted Jonah’s head. “Now, finish your chocolate. I know a place where you can stay. It’s a little old, but a tasteful building.”

Jonah nodded. His smile never left his face. Maybe... Things can go well for a bit...

Chapter Text

It was old, sure, but it was certainly not tasteful.

“Is this the place?” Jonah asked, looking at the principal with a raised eyebrow.

The building, resting on a tiny hill, was on the verge of falling apart, with cracks on the wall and stoned-path between it and the rusty gate. All of the windows were shut, not a single light shone from inside. There weren't any single green plants around the yard. Well, there were some bushes, but they seemed to be dry and dying, sticking out there like a graveyard tombstone in the night. Not to mention the leafless tree just added the horror aspects.

“Yes, it is,” Crowley nodded. “In the past, it was used as a dormitory, so with a little cleaning it should be livable.” Crowley opened the gate. It made a creaking sound that hurt Jonah’s ears. “Well then, come inside.” Crowley guided the boy inside. A cold wind blew against them, making Jonah shivered and pulled his robe closer.

The building looked even miserable closed up. Crowley took out up a key from his pocket and opened the front door, spider web appeared between the cracks. Jonah covered his mouth when he coughed. Near the door, there was a light switch, so Crowley pressed it down, and the room was lit up. The room was dusty, spider webs in nearly every corner, ripped wallpapers, and some furniture were broken or being covered by white sheets. Overall, it was disgusting.

Crowley patted his shoulder. “Apologize. It's not much, but at least it can shield you from the rain and wind,” he said in a sincere voice. “I’m going to grab some things, so pass time as you like.”

Jonah took a step further inside, spun his body around so he could look at everything he could. It was not much, but a place to sleep nonetheless. “Alright,” he said when he stopped spinning and stood up straight at the headmaster. “Thank you again.”

Crowley laughed proudly. “It's not a problem~ And remember. Don’t loiter around the academy!”

He tipped his head again and Jonah answered him with a nod of his own before he left, closing the door behind him. Jonah sighed. He turned around to look at the dusty lounge. Maybe he could do some cleaning? Yeah. That sounded like a great idea.

“Alright then,” he muttered under his breath. He walked up toward one of the long furniture covered sheet and pulled it away, sneezing when the dust flew to his nose. He was right. It was a sofa. He could sleep here. Mostly he didn’t dare to go upstairs yet since the stairs looked dangerous with those hole on the steps.

Taking off his robe and put it on the arm of the sofa, revealing his simple white shirt and black trousers (which again, how did he get this clothes?), Jonah started to walk around. He didn’t go far in the hallway, the light from the lounge didn’t reach there. Stopping in front of a door and opening it, he was relieved that it was a closet. It was filled with various dusty cleaning equipment, but he didn’t want to protest too much. He picked a broom and was about to close the door when he spotted a small chest at the corner of the closet.

“Wonder what’s inside?” he muttered. Kneeling, he pulled the chest to the hallway. It wasn’t heavy as he thought it would. It felt empty. Trying the lid, surprised that it was unlocked, Jonah pulled the lid off.

There was only one thing inside the chest. A ball-shaped object, covered with a rag. He picked the object up, feeling solid in the hand. Jonah frowned, unwrapping it completely, only to find a strange, bronze, orb with futuristic lines and circle engraved on it. He turned the object around, inspecting it, only to have himself not finding any name or signature on it. It looked like an ordinary heavy ball.

What exactly is this?

A booming noise sounded, making Jonah duck down the ground. It was soon followed by a rapid sound of *pitter-patter*. Jonah lifted himself again. Oh, it was just the rain? He sighed. That was a relief. He closed the chest again and pushed it back into the closet. He was still holding the orb, thinking whether he should keep this interesting strange thing or not. He closed the door and picked up the broom next to the door and was about to turn around when he heard the creaking sound of the front door. Was it the headmaster again? That was a quick trip.

“Gah--! Why’d it have to rain so hard all of a sudden?”

Wait.

Jonah ran toward the lounge, eye widened and broom in hand just in case he had to smack something. He could felt his eye twitched. That pesky raccoon had returned, fur all wet, water dripping, and puddle under his feet. Despite his soggy appearance, the raccoon let out a laugh when he saw Jonah. “Gyahahaha! You’re such a twink without that robe!”

Jonah didn’t know what that means, but he felt insulted. He held his broom tighter. “What are you doing here?!”

The raccoon - Grim, Jonah reminded himself - put his paws on his hips and puffed up his chest. "For the great me, to sneak back into the academy is a piece of cake!” he exclaimed. “If they think I will give up just because they threw me out, you have another thing coming!”

“Ugh...” Jonah rolled his head. “Seriously... Why do you want to get into the academy so bad?”

“It's simple, really!” he said in a proud tone. “I am a genius born to become a great magician! I've always been waiting for when the Ebony Carriage would pick me up. Even so... even so...” For a moment his expression was down, brows frowned, and a look of sadness on his face. Jonah raised his eyebrow at him. What is up with him?

But the expression changed quickly. He was now pouting, paws crossed in front of his chest. “Hmph! The Dark Mirror has no eyes anyway.” He looked back at Jonah as he floated from the ground so they were in equal sight. “That’s why I came here myself! Those humans don’t know what they will miss from me.”

Jonah rolled his eye again. “Yeah,” he muttered raising the corner of his lips into a smirk. “I'm sure they are waiting for that stuck-up attitude of yours.”

Grim was fuming, sparks came out from his flaming ears. “Why you-”

*drip*

“Nyah! Cold!” Grim yelled, patting the wet spot on his head. He looked up and saw a wet patch on the ceiling. “The roof’s leaking!”

*drip* *psszz…*

“Fugya!” he screamed again. “It keeps on coming! My flaming ears are going to disappear!”

Jonah looked up to the wet patch under Grim. “Well, this is a rundown building,” he stated. Sighing, he turned around, heading toward the closet again. “I'm gonna get a bucket.”

“You know we can just use magic to fix this, right?” Grim huffed before a playful smile formed in his face. “Wait. Oh yeah~ You don't have one!”

Jonah was fuming. Grim was laughing at him and he did not like it. “Then you do that!” he shouted, nearly throwing his orb that he unconsciously kept holding on until now.

Grim huffed. “Like I want to do that. I'm just a tiny monster taking shelter from the rain.” He floated to an armchair, still covered with a white cloth and folded his paws behind the back of his head, leaning against the chair. “If you give me a canned tuna, maybe I'll lend you a sprinkle,” he smugly said, tail wagging arrogantly.

Jonah rolled his eye. “Yeah, no. Buy it on your own.”

Grim just looked him smugly, clearly had no intention to move from his position. Jonah huffed again as he turned around.

Stupid raccoon.  

“There.” Jonah let out a sigh when he placed a metal bucket under a leak in the ceiling, furthest down the hallway. “That's the last leak. So far.” He turned around, looking at the bucket he had placed along the way. It was quite a lot. He had to use some unused bottles and cups too. And he hadn’t even started with the second floor.

He sighed and rubbed his eye. How long he had been up? Maybe he could take a break for a while.

“Hihihihi...”

Jonah stopped his tracks. “What is that?”

“It’s been a while since we’ve gotten a guest, isn't it Soo?” A childish voice echoed through the empty hallway. Jonah gripped his broom tighter. Was it another demon-raccoon? His eye darted from corner to corner, but he couldn’t find the source of the voice.

“I’m itching to work out, Lou!” Another voice echoed, a bit higher than the first one. “What do you think, Barret?”

“Ihihihihi!” One more voice echoed, lower than the other two. “This is going to be fun!”

“Show yourself!” shouted Jonah, swinging his broom. The three voices giggled and all of a sudden Jonah could sense a new presence behind him. He turned around, raising his broom.

There were children. Middle school age, maybe? Or maybe freshmen? Three transparent boys were floating in the dark hallway. The one named Lou was dressed in a devil costume. The one named Soo, tallest of the bunch, was wearing a wizard costume, complete with the pointy hat. And the last one, Barrett, chubbiest and shortest, was in a skeleton costume.

It didn’t change the fact that they are ghosts! This building is HAUNTED!

“Aaaaahhhh!” Jonah fell to his butt, scuttled backward in fear, broom dropped to the floor, forgotten. Why did this happen to him?!

“What are you being so loud for...?” Grim floated lazily toward him, rubbing his sleepy eye with his paw. When he raised his head from looking down at him, his fur immediately stood up. “Gyaaaaaa!!!” he screamed from the top of his lung. “G-g-g-g-gho... ghoooooooooooooost!”

Soo giggled as he and his friends started to fly toward them, in which Jonah and Grim respond by moving backward. “Everyone who lives here all got scared of us and leave,” he sighed.

Barret was floating upside down behind Grim. “We’re always looking for new ghost pals. How about you joining us?”

Jonah paled.  “Y-You're going to kill us?!” he shouted, scrambling to stand up again.

“Uuu, uuuuh--!” Grim tried to put on a brave face, raising his paws. But Jonah could see he was trembling. “The great magician Grim isn’t scared of some ghosts!”

It was when he saw a familiar glowing blue circle underneath the raccoon feet Jonah realized that he wasn’t wearing the magic-collar Senior Rosehearts had put on him. “Wha- No fire!”

He was too late to warn him. “Funna~!” He blew a ball of blue flame from his mouth, hitting the wall and burnt the already ruined wallpaper. Lou appeared next to the burnt spot, snickering. “Where are you aiming at?” he taunted, only making Grim angrier. He blew another fireball near the floor that Jonah was lucky to avoid burning his shoes.

“We’re here, here! Hihihihihi!” Barret laughed, appearing above Jonah’s head. Jonah looked up, just when Barret reached out to his face, pulling the medical eye-patch until it snapped.

“Ow!” Jonah yelled, covering his right eye immediately. He didn’t know - didn’t remember - what had happened to him, but if it was pretty bad, he didn’t want anyone, ghosts or Grim, to laugh at him.

“Damn it!” Grim hissed. “Stop disappearing like that!” He shot Barret, but the ghost disappeared again and Jonah had to duck to the floor unless he wanted to get burn.

“Stop it, you stupid raccoon!” he shouted, standing up again. “You'll burn the whole dorm down!”

“How many times I have to tell you I'm not a raccoon?!” Grim screamed back, glaring at him.

“Don't just throw fires randomly like that! We have to get rid of them, yes! But we need a plan!”

“Who do you think you are, puny human?! You have no right to order me around!”

“Ihihihihi!” The ghosts were laughing at their screaming contest. They appeared again, flying in circles around them. Jonah and Grim pressed their back onto each other, watching how they were surrounded.

“There’s so many of you, cowards!” Grim yelled, ready to shoot them again.

Jonah knew they couldn’t let this keep ongoing. They need to finish this now so he could get his well-deserved sleep. “Listen to me!” he said, glancing at the raccoon behind him. “I'll give you a can of tuna if you going to follow me!”

Grim paused. “What...!?” He looked up at him for a second, before huffing. ”Gununu, I-I’m a genius, you know. I can finish these guys by myself...”

Jonah just wanted to pull his hair in frustration. “Ugh! Why are you-” he groaned “Fine. Fine! Two cans! Deal?!”

Grim looked troubled, grumbling under his breath before finally letting out a scream. “Oi, you! Tell me where the ghosts are!”

Jonah quickly looked around, not letting this chance slip away. From corner to corner, there was silence. But then, he saw his eye-patch floating. “There!” he screamed, pointing at his eye-patch. “Fire just above it!”

Grim immediately turned around, jumping onto Jonah’s head. His magic circle appeared underneath him and he blew a stream of fire, hitting the chubby ghost straight in the face!

“Hot, hot, hot!” Barret screamed, dropping Jonah’s eye-patch as he slowly appeared. Lou and Soo also appeared, clearly trying to calm their friend down.

“Ah, I hit 'em!” Grim yelled in excitement, pumping his paws to the air. Jonah couldn’t help but let out a laugh, happy that it worked. Grim went all-four, paws planted on Jonah’s head, a magic circle appeared underneath him. “We’re gonna drive them away just like this!” he said, sparks came out from his mouth.

Jonah nodded, slowly lowering his hand from covering his right eye. He saw how the ghost freeze. Wow, is his eye that bad? No. This wasn’t the time to think about his appearance. Now, it’s time for some ghost busting!

“Let's do this!”

Chapter Text

Crowley opened the rusty gate of the Ramshackle Dorm and closed it behind him. In his hand, he was carrying a small lunch box and a pair of pajamas in plastic, along with some simple bathing supplies which he bought from Sam's store. Ahh... Helping a poor child who has nowhere else to go…How gracious he is~ When he was about to open the door when he heard a loud *boom!*, followed a blue spark from the first-floor window. "Oya?! What was that?" he muttered, immediately opening the door not bothering to knock, worried something happened to the boy.

What he saw was something he wasn't expecting.

The boy, already out of his Ceremonial Robe, stood in the middle of the lounge, his back facing him. The raccoon that caused havoc at the Entrance Ceremony was back, standing all-four on top of the boy's head, smoke coming out of his nostril and magic circle underneath his paws.

They were standing glancing at every corner. Crowley could make out a silhouette of three figures, surrounding them. Oh, come to think of it… There were some mischievous ghosts settled down and students stopped approaching the place, making it an abandoned dorm. It must've slipped his mind.

One of the ghosts suddenly appeared, a freshman dressed in a wizard outfit appeared on their left, laughing and flying straight toward them. Crowley was about to warn them, shouting for them to get out of the way, when suddenly Argentum shouted, "Grim, shot at 2 o'clock!"

Grim took a deep breath until his cheeks puffed, and shot fireball from his mouth with a "Funaa!" The ghost let out a scream and disappeared.

Argentum twisted his body a little but didn't saw the headmaster standing behind him. "Coming up at 7 o'clock!"

Grim, however, did. He jumped, turning around from his position to shoot a ghost in a devil costume hear Crowley's feet. The headmaster stepped away from the blast and screaming ghost. Grim shut his mouth noticing the new person in the room. His face became pale and his fur stood up. "Eek! You-"

"12 o'clock, double attack!" Argentum shouted, pointing straight to the hallway where two ghosts, the devil and skeleton flying toward them. Grim immediately turned around, ignoring the headmaster once again, shooting two fireballs at the approaching ghost repeatedly, and earning their screams.

The ghost didn't give up though. They began to fly in circles around them. Grim hissed in annoyance. He was already huffing and puffing. "They're still surrounding us!"

He could see Argentum moving his head slightly, looking at their situation. "They're coming at once," he muttered, before glancing up at Grim. "You still have some energy left for one more big attack?"

Grim huffed. "Don't underestimate me, puny human! The great me still have the strength to blow them away!"

Crowley heard Argentum chuckled. He then raised his hand, as if he was going to unleash the biggest spell he will conjure. "Grim, unleash your fire field!" he shouted.

"Fununununu..." A blue magic circle appeared beneath Grim's and Argentum's feet, expanding until it reached the ghost position. "Eat this!" The raccoon shouted as a pillar of blue flame burst out from the floor, hitting all the ghosts and one but not hurting the boy or himself.

Crowley saw how the ghosts were flickering the pillar of flame stopped. All of them were exhausted. "Hi, hii~! We’re gonna get erased! Run~!" shouted one of the ghosts, but Crowley didn't care who. When the ghosts disappeared, all of his focus went to the boy and the raccoon on top of his head. For a human, a non-magical being, to be able to make monsters to obey them... It was a rare talent, even among the most high-rank magicians. For someone who didn't even have proper training yet... For someone as curious and strange as Argentum...

Grim panted, laying on his stomach on top of Argentum's head. "I... won?"

Crowley could imagine Argentum was grinning from ear-to-ear. "You did it! You got rid of them!"

Grim let out a big sigh. "Huff... hii... tha-that was scar-" He huffed and stood on his two legs, paws on his hips and chest puffed out. "No, it wasn’t scary at all! For the Great Grim, it was a piece of cake!"

Hearing Argentum chuckled, Crowley thought this would be a good time to reveal himself. He cleared his throat. "Ahem."

The two youngsters immediately froze. "He's here..." he heard Grim whispered with a stuttering voice. Argentum gulped loudly and slowly turned around to face him, jumping backward slightly when he saw him fully with time.

"H-Headmaster!" he squeaked. Crowley looked at the boy from top to bottom. He didn't show any sign of injuries or even burn marks, which was good, or else he would whip the raccoon again for injuring a child. He already prepared a lecture of 'don't play with fire inside a building even if it was for self-defense', but he held his tongue when he finally noticed that Argentum wasn't wearing his eye-patch. His right eye was revealed.

This kid... Will he ever stop surprising him?

It wasn't like his eyes has a scar or anything. But it was... interesting. His eyelid was dark, similar to a purple bruise color as if he was punched earlier. If those ghosts or the raccoon did that, he would surely give them hell. The bruise-like-skin aside, he was more surprised with the color of the boy's eyes. It was yellow, not the iris, but the whole sclera. As if someone shoved a Topaz stone into his eye. He didn't have a pupil on his right eyes, or maybe it combined itself with that only blood-red iris.

What happened to this boy?

“Headmaster?”

Crowley blinked, snapping out from his deep thoughts. Grim had already climbed down from the boy’s head, now floating beside him. Argentum himself was staring at him, head tilted to the side in confusion. This boy... His teacher instinct flared up. He knew there was something about this boy... His cluelessness, his curiosity, his hidden talent... He had the makings of a trainer or a beast-master... However...

“He likes staring at you, doesn’t he?” the raccoon whispered to him.

“Shut up,” the boy hissed at him.

Crowley cleared his throat, gaining the boy and his monster’s attention. “I have seen your battle. Quite a teamwork.”

Grim crossed his paws proudly. “Well, I won’t call that ‘teamwork’. That guy practically only watched. And I did it only because I want tuna cans.” He then realized something. The annoyed look was back in his face and he faced Argentum. “I haven’t gotten my tuna cans yet!”

Argentum groaned. “Really? This is not the time!”

Crowley cleared his throat again, the growling and hissing between them suddenly stopped. “I have decided!” he clapped his hand. Both Grim and Argentum turned toward him. “We, the academy, are responsible for the summoning of your soul, as the one owning the Dark Mirror. In any case, for the time being, both of you will be permitted to in this dormitories for free.”

Both Argentum and Grim’s eyes widened. “However, we’ll have you pay for your living necessities by yourself. As for what someone empty-handed like you can give... Hmm...”

Grim and Argentum exchanged a glance. Did it really only take one team battle for them to communicate without words? “I’m only going to make you do odd jobs like maintenance within the school,” he continues, earning questioning looks from the two of them. “For starters, what about you two teaming up as the 'handymen'? Judging from your appearance, Mister Argentum, you seem to be quite good at cleaning.”

Argentum looked down at himself, as if to make sure of it himself, which Crowley found rather endearing. “If you do that, I will give you special permission to stay inside the school,” he continued, Argentum’s focus went back to him. “I will also permit you to use the library to find something that will jog your memories, as well as to study after you finish your work. I am kind, after all~”

“Eeh~!?” Grim whined and pouted like a child. “I don’t wanna! I also want to wear that cool uniform and become a student!”

“If you’re unsatisfied, then it’s alright. We only have to throw you out again,” he added.

Grim gulped while Argentum tried to hold back his laughter. The raccoon crossed his paws in front of his chest again. “Fine... I only have to do that, right!”

Argentum rolled his eyes while smiling. He looked straight at Crowley, two different kinds of eyes staring at him. “Thank you for your kindness, Headmaster,” he said with a sincere voice, bowing slightly.

Crowley let out a smile. Such a curious boy... “Very well. Then, you two. Starting tomorrow, work hard as Night Raven College’s handymen!”

Chapter Text

Jonah stared at the bathroom mirror in front of him, staring at his reflection, more specifically his right eye. When he poked his eyelid, he didn’t feel any pain. It felt normal. So, what happened?

“I look like a half-demon,” he muttered. He finished tying up his hair and walked out of the bathroom, wearing his yesterday clothes and carrying his used pajamas. Last night, after making some deals with the headmaster, Crowley helped him set up his room. More like he used magic to make the bedroom looked brand new, which he was grateful for, knowing he didn’t need to sleep on the couch.

Though sharing the bed with Grim was another story. The demon-raccoon kept on tossing and turning, hitting him on the face and kicking his side. Not to mention his snores. Let’s just say that the pesky raccoon was the reason he didn’t get enough sleep.

When he walked out to the bathroom, a towel over his wet hair, he found a peculiar sight. Grim was still sleeping, snoring loudly. Though he had company. The three ghosts were back, one of them poking the chubby raccoon’s cheek.

“Hihihi...” Lou giggled. “Don’t you have to clean up the academy now?"

Grim grumbled in his sleep before turning to the side, mumbling, “Munya... Five more minutes...”

“If you keep rolling around lazily like that, one day you won’t be able to wake up for eternity, you know?” teased Soo.

“Just like us!” Barret ended with a laugh.

“Why are you guys back?” Jonah knew his voice didn’t sound angry or annoyed. Mostly just flat. He had no desire to deal with this in the early morning.

All three ghosts turned to him. He could see how they paused for a second. Weird. Were they still wondering about his eye? One of them, maybe Lou, broke into a laugh before soon followed by Soo and Barret. They started flying toward him, circling them and Jonah was trying his best not to smack them off.

“So, you both are going to live here from now on?” Lou laughed. “You guys are so prank-worthy, kekeke!”

Jonah rolled his eyes. Grim yawned widely before snuggling back into the bed. An idea sparked in Jonah’s mind. “I don’t want some pranks, but…” he paused, for dramatic effect. It gained the ghosts' attention, all of them pausing in front of his face. He pulled up the corner of his lips. “If you can be that raccoon’s personal alarm clock, I’ll let you stay.”

The ghost looked at each other, probably having a mental discussion before grinning widely. They all disappeared. Jonah thought they decline his deal, but when he saw Grim suddenly floated, with Soo lifting him by the neck and Lou floating in front of him, standing by. Jonah covered his mouth stop himself from laughing too loud.

“Uu~mm...” The cat blinked lazily. He looked straight ahead, not fully awake. Lou took this as a cue. He covered his face with his hand before pulling the corner of his mouth, teeth sharp, tongue wiggling out and eyes darted in every direction.

“OOGA BOOGA BOOGA!”

“FUGYAAAAAAA!!!”

All three ghost laughed, Jonah himself joined in the laugh. Soo dropped Grim on the bed before he and Lou disappeared. Barret, who floated next to Jonah, offered him a high-five, which Jonah gladly accepted it, smacking his hand with the ghost’s (he was surprised he could do that).

“See you tomorrow~” Barret howled, disappearing. Grim was still shaking, heavily breathing with a paw on his chest. Jonah walked toward him.

“You’re awake?” Jonah asked, trying to keep his voice steady after laughing.

“The ghosts!” he screamed waving his paws. “The ghosts are back!” He jumped to all-four. “Where are they?! I’m gonna drive them out again!”

Jonah looked around. “I think they are gone.” He smiled. Grim was still shaking, eyes glaring to every corner. Jonah frowned. Did he go too far?

After thinking about it, remembering what Grim did to deserve that, he shrugged.

Nah. He deserved it. 


When Crowley opened the door to the Ramshackle Dorm building while carrying a brown paper bag and a first-aid kit, he saw Argentum and Grim were already sitting on the lounge sofa.  “Good morning, both of you!” he greeted. “Did you sleep well?”

“No!” Grim shouted, floating from his heat. “This guy took all the space! We were woken up by the ghosts this morning! It was the worst!”

Argentum, who was being pointed at by Grim accusingly, looked like he tried to hide his laugh. But he was smiling as he stood up from his seat. “It was a nice sleep, Headmaster,” he said with a nod.

“Wonderful!” Crowley exclaimed. He lifted the brown paper bag. “I brought you breakfast. Aren’t I gracious~?”

Grim grinned widely. “Give me!” he immediately snatched the bag, opening it. “Ooo~” He pulled out a can of tuna from inside. “Yes!” He then turned to Argentum and threw the bag toward him.

“Whoa-” Argentum managed to catch it without spilling the inside. He looked at Crowley again. “Headmaster, you don’t have to.”

“Nonsense!” Crowley said again. “You cannot work without an empty stomach. I’m very thoughtful~” He walked toward the boy and guided him to the sofa. “Come now. Let me see that eye.”

“But it’s fine-”

“Just in case,” Crowley cut him off, pushing him lightly to the sofa. ”We still don’t know what happened. It is better to be prepared.”

Argentum seemed like he was thinking about it, but decided not to argue anymore. He closed his right eye and Crowley cringed inside. It still looked terrible even though it didn’t hurt at all. As he cleaned it, he started to talk, “Today’s work is to clean the inside of the academy. Though it will be impossible to finish cleaning the whole place without magic since the academy is very vast.”

He picked up a bottle of cream and applied it to the ‘bruising’ eyelid as he continued, “That’s why, for today, please clean the Main-Street starting from the main gate to the library. Do you understand, Mister Argentum?”

The boy nodded once Crowley wasn’t touching his eye again. The headmaster then gave him a brand new medical eye-patch. “Please look after Grim properly so he doesn’t cause an uproar like he did yesterday,” he added. Argentum nodded again as a reply after he finished wearing the eye-patch.

At the arm of the sofa behind Argentum, Grim licked his paw after finishing his can of tuna. “Tch... I can’t stand doing things like cleaning up!” he whined. “I also want to attend the magic classes and do lots of cool magic~ Like boom! Bo-bo-bo-boom!” He raised his paws to add the effect.

Argentum rolled his eye. “Oh.” He opened his paper bag and took out a sandwich, still wrapped in paper, Crowley brought for him. “Thank you for the breakfast, Headmaster.”

Crowley smiled and nodded at him. “I’m relying on you,” he said. “I will give you permission to eat lunch at the school cafeteria.”

“Will they have that soup you brought last night?”

“Hm? You mean the ‘Bonzabeast Stew’?” Argentum nodded. “Of course, they have!”

He stood up, followed by the other two. “Alright, finish your breakfast and work hard!” Argentum nodded while Grim was still grumbling. He tipped his head as a farewell and left them to prepare themselves. 


“Whoa~ So cool! So this is the Main-Street.”

Jonah had to agree. He and Grim stood at the white-brick street with statues along the sides. The street was filled with students, walking, running, and chatting along the way toward the main building, which was the school probably. Compare to the other students, Jonah looked like a hobo. He didn’t wear any blazer, vest, or tie. He looked so out of place. Not to mention, he was holding a garden-broom, which added to his lowly appearance. And also the raccoon was flying ahead from him.

“I didn’t get a good look yesterday, but what’s with these statues?” the raccoon said, gaining attention from the passing students, which was something Jonah didn’t want. “All seven of them look pretty scary.”

He floated closer to one of the statues. It was a lady with a massive physique. Her hair was tied in the back with a headband, dressed in a gown with a small crown on top of her head and a heart-shaped fan in her hand. “This granny looks especially snobby, see?”

“You don’t know the Queen of Hearts?”

Both Jonah and Grim turned to the source of the voice. It was a boy with messy, dark orange hair and red eyes. Over his right eye, he had a red patch shaped like a heart. His vest color was red. Does that mean he was from Senior Rosehearts’ dorm?

“Queen of Hearts?” Grim repeated. “Is she an important person?

“In the olden days, she was the queen who lived inside the rose maze,” the boy explained as he walked up toward the statue, looking at it with admiration. “She’s a strict person who respects discipline, and she won’t forgive any disorder among the Trump Soldiers’ advance, or in the roses’ color. Even though it’s a country full of insane guys, they’re all in complete obedience to her. Why do you ask? It’s because disobedience to the law will get you instantly beheaded!”

Jonah looked at him in shock. “Beheaded? As in, they’ll lose their head?!”

“T-That’s scary!” shouted Grim.

But the boy just grinned. “Isn’t it cool!? I like it. ‘Cause, like, nobody will obey a queen that’s only kindhearted, right?”

Grim put a paw on his cheek, thinking deep. “Hmm… That’s true. It’s better to have a strong leader.” He nodded. Jonah stared at him with a questioning brow because did he ignore the part where they CHOP PEOPLE’S HEADS OFF?!

“By the way, who are you?” Grim asked again.

“I’m Ace.” The boy grinned again, pointing his thumb at himself. “A fresh first-year student. Nice to meetcha.”

“I am the great Grim!” Grim puffed up his chest proudly. “I’m a genius who’ll become a great magician!” He landed on Jonah’s head. “And this dull one is Jonah. My henchman.”

Jonah rolled his eye. “Just ignore him.” He stretched out his hand to Ace. “Jonah Argentum.”

Ace took it and gave a firm shake. “Jonah, eh? That’s a cool name.”

Jonah blinked. “Really?”

Grim floated toward Ace, pulling his sleeve. “Hey, hey, Ace. Then, is that lion with the scar on his eye also a famous guy?” Grim pointed to the statue of a lion standing on top of a rock. He looked elegant and poised, but also unkempt and wild-looking, with lithe and melanistic in appearance with a sleek mane and almond-shaped eyes. He had large paws with long, curving claws. He also sported a goatee beard and a small, thin, scar over his left eye.

“Of course!” Ace exclaimed. “He’s the King of Beasts who ruled over the savanna. However, he’s not a born-king. He’s a hard worker who took over the throne with a scrupulous plan he made by himself. After he became king, he proposed to live together with the hyenas, who were hated by everyone, too, without discriminating them.”

Grim looked at the statue in awe. “Ooh, people who don’t get swayed by social status? Rocks!"

Jonah stared at the raccoon. Did he try to make a pun?

Grim floated to another statue. "Who’s the auntie with the octopus legs before him?”

He pointed a statue of a half-human half-octopus holding an opened scroll. She was plump light has six octopus-like tentacles with suckers from the waist down. She wore coral shell earrings and a nautilus shell necklace. “She’s the Witch of the Sea who lives in a cave in the depths of the sea. Her raison d'etre was to help unhappy mermaids. If you pay the price, she’d help you find a solution to any of your worries, starting from desires to change oneself to love troubles! It seems that there aren’t any wish she can’t grant. Well, I heard the cost was a bit expensive, though."

“If it’s to grant any wish, then it’s natural, don’t you think?” Jonah commented with earned a thumbs-up from Ace.

“Precisely!”

“Nyaha~! In other words, if I become a great magician, I’d get rich!?” Grim beamed. “Then, then, what about this uncle in the big hat?”

The statue was a statue of a tall, bony man dressed in extravagant clothing, robe, sash, and tall headdress, carrying a cobra headed staff, with a goatee and a faint mustache. “He’s the Great Sage of the Desert Kingdom. He’s the cabinet minister who works under the kingdom’s useless king, and he’s a clever person who managed to see through a swindler who tried deceive the princess by faking his status as a prince! And after that, he managed to get the magic lamp and rose to become the world’s number one great sage! Furthermore, it’s said that he also took the king’s throne by using that power!”

Grim laughed. “So as I thought, it’s also important for a magician to have a discerning eye!” He turned to another statue. “Ooh, this person’s beautiful!”

Jonah had to agree to that. The statue was a statue of an icily beautiful woman holding an apple with a serene, unfeeling face and a slender figure. She wore a gown with long sleeves and a rope belt tied around her waist. She wore a balaclava that covers her ears, neck, and hair, leaving her face exposed. She wore a long cloak lined with fur. She had a high collar attached to her cloak. She also wore a pendant that seems to connect with the collar and a crown. “This person’s said to be the world’s number one most beautiful queen! Every day, she checks the world’s beautiful person ranking in the mirror! And then, it’s said that if she’s about to fall from the number one spot, she won’t spare any efforts! Her, you know, high awareness to keep being the number one beauty in the world? It is impressive, right? And, it seems that she was an expert at making poisons.”

“So beautiful and scary…” Jonah looked up the statue. “Isn't that a bad thing? Deceiving others with your looks?”

Ace shrugged. “But it’s cool to know that she has something she would never give up.”

Jonah turned to Ace, tilting his head to the side. Something she would never give up…

Does he have something that he’ll never give up?

“Oi! This dude’s head is burning!” Grim pointed to the next statue.  The statue of a man with flaming hair, wearing a robe, and a smoky base.

“He’s the King of the Land of the Dead! They said he ruled over a land squirming with evil spirits by himself, so he must be a super-powerful person. He has a scary face, but he’s a sincere person who does even unpleasant work pushed onto him without rest, and Cerberus, Hydra, and the Titan family all follow his orders and fight for him.”

Grim chuckled. “To not become haughty even though you have strength is an important thing. Lastly, what about this person with the horns?”

For some reason, the last statue gave Jonah chill down his spine. It was a statue of a tall, slender, woman with a narrow face and a prominent chin and horns. She was clad in a robe with bat wing-like edges and carrying a staff. “The Witch of Thorn who lives in the mountain of demons. Noble and elegant, and even compared to all the other seven here, her magic and curse skills are number one! She does things like manipulating thunderclouds to bring about a storm, fully covering a whole kingdom with thorns... Anyways, her magic’s on a super huge scale. They said she could also transform into an enormous dragon.”

Grim was excited, floating up and down in front of the statue. “Ooh~ a dragon! The admiration of every monster!”

“They’re so cool, right... Unlike a certain raccoon.”

Wait…

Jonah turned to Ace with a surprised look. “What?”

Grim was also surprised, pausing in mid-air. “Funa!?”

Ace started laughing so hard. “Ahahahaha! I can’t hold it in anymore! Ahahahaha!” He was hugging his stomach as he laughed. “Hey, you guys are the ones who caused a riot during the opening ceremony, right? A guy who got called in front of the mirror but actually couldn’t use magic, and the monster barging in even though he didn’t get invited!”

Jonah took a step back. What… What happened to the boy? He was friendly before, now he’s mocking them? He glanced toward Grim. The raccoon was fuming.

“Man~ it was so hard to stop laughing during the opening ceremony.” Ace wiped a tear from his eye. “And, in the end, you both couldn’t get into the school so you became handymen? Haha, lame.”

Grim was trembling in anger. This is bad… “Grim, stop,” Jonah tried to warn.

But Ace didn’t realize this or rather ignored it. He continued, “Plus, to not know who the ‘Great Seven’ are... How ignorant are you?” He grinned at them. “I recommend you to start over from kindergarten before coming to Night Raven College.” He ended with a chuckle.

Jonah glared at the boy. "Hey, there is no need to be rude!" He was angry also. So what if he doesn't know anything about the school or the great history? He doesn't even remember anything from HIS past, how is he supposed to remember THIS WORLD'S past?!

“I thought I’d just mess you a bit, but you guys blew my expectation away,” he grinned, clearly ignoring what Jonah just said. “Well, I have classes, unlike you guys, so, bye! Work hard cleaning, you both!”

“This guy...” Grim growled. Jonah's eyes widened when he saw Grim activated his magic circle. “Let him talk and he crosses the line! I’m angry now!”

“Grim, no-”

“Funa~!” Grim shot a blue fireball from his mouth, aiming straight at Ace.

The boy just took a small glanced behind him and avoided it easily. “Oi!” he shouted. “What the hell are you doing!?”

“It’s because you make fun of me!” Grim shouted back. “I’ll make you spikier, you chicken butt!”

“Chicken butt…” His hand reached his head as if trying to feel his hair. He smirked as his eyes twitched in annoyance. “Heh. You got guts to pick a fight with me.” He took out a pen with a red crystal on top of it. “You too, I’ll turn you into a frizzy toy poodle!”

“What’s up? A fight?”

“Nice! Get'em!”

Jonah looked around in panic. A crowd had gathered around them, enjoying the free show, some with red vest cheering for Ace. This is bad… This is bad… Grim was strong, but he was uncoordinated without Jonah. He didn’t know how strong Ace is so he couldn’t predict how bad this will end. What to do… What to do…

“Funa~!” Grim shot another fireball.

“Oops, that’s dangerous. Take this!” A red magic circle appeared below Ace. He waved his wand, changing the direction of the fire with his wind.

Grim growled. “This guy, he used magic to make the wind blow! My flame’s bending!”

Ace laughed. “You think that kinda flimsy flame would hit me?”

“What did you say!? Prepare yourself!” Grim shouted again, steams coming out from his ears.

"Stop it! Both of you!" Jonah shouted. But neither of them listened to him. They kept exchanging attacks. Grim kept shooting fire while Ace kept defending with his wind. All of the cheers around them only made Ace cockier, and in turn, made Grim angrier.

“Eat this!” Grim shouted, and for the umpteenth time, blew his blue flame toward Ace.

Ace smirked. “That kinda flame, I’ll just change its direction with the wind... Like this!”

He waved his wand again, sending wind to the fire. But unlike the few time before, the fire finally hit something…

The statue of the Queen of Hearts got hit. It was burnt, tiny blue flames still appeared at some part.

“Now you’ve done it!” Jonah finally shouted in a very angry tone to Grim, grabbing the cat’s neck and shaking him. “This is what happens when you don’t listen to me!”

“It’s his fault for changing the wind!” Grim shouted in the middle of the shaking, pointing at Ace.

Ace glared at them. “My fault? Whose flame is that?!”

Grim bit Jonah's hand, earning an "ow!" from the boy, forcing him to release him. The cat flew at Ace's face, screaming. "Well, who started this whole thing first?!"

"You're the one who shot first!"

"Only because you mocked me first!"

"Then maybe don't be so stupid!"

"Don't be such an asshat!"

Grim and Ace practically head to head, forehead touching, teeth-gritting, and growling like dogs. Just when magic circles were about to spark again, a voice sounded, making everything freeze.

“ENOUGH! Just what’s all this racket!?”

Ace paled. "I-It's the headmaster!"

Grim also paled. "That guy, he'll bind you with his 'whip of love'! Run!"

Ace and Grim about to run but a familiar sound of *wwhoop-eesh!* sounded in the air. Suddenly, a black whip flew toward the two running figures, quickly tying them up together, sending them falling to the ground.

"That hurts!" Ace yelped.

Grim groaned in pain. "That's two days in a row, it hurts... I can't avoid it..."

The headmaster's voice broke the crowd. Some students made way for Crowley who was walking toward the tied up Ace and Grim. "It's the Whip of Love! It's 100 years too fast for you to run from me!" He let out a sigh. "I thought earlier I've told you to 'not cause an uproar'? Furthermore, you burnt the Great Seven statue to black!"

His voice became high, making Jonah, who hid between the crowds, dipped his head in shame. Damn it. He should’ve done something before…

He heard the footstep of Crowley turning toward him and the students stepped back to make room for them. "Mister Argentum, too, you can't call this supervising Grim!"

Jonah bit his lip. He didn't dare to raise his head. "I'm sorry- ouch." He accidentally clenched his bloody fist. Oh, he forgot about that.

“You’re bleeding.” He heard Crowley, with a voice softer than before.

Jonah shook his head and quickly hid it behind his back. “It’s fine, Headmaster. It doesn’t hurt that much.”

Crowley didn’t say anything about that. He turned back to the tied up student and monster. “You. What’s your year and name?”

Ace looked down. “Ace Trappola... I’m a first-year.”

Crowley hummed. “Well then, Mister Trappola. Grim. And Mister Argentum. As a punishment, I order you to clean one hundred windows!”

All three head shot up to look at the headmaster in shock. Before they could protest, or more like not allowed to protest, Crowley continued, “After school, gather in the school cafeteria! Understood?”

This earned a collective sigh from the three of them as they answered begrudgingly, “Yes, Headmaster…”

“Good.” The headmaster nodded. He spun his heel, looking at the still gathering students. “Now, everyone, go to class!”

The crowd slowly dismissed. Ace got up, bowing to the headmaster before joining the other to class. Crowley sigh, massaging his temple. He turned around and walk toward Jonah whose gaze was still on his shoes. He knelt in front of the boy and gently pulled the boy’s bloody hand.

“Did Grim bit you?” The headmaster asked. Behind the headmaster, Grim visibly flinched.

Jonah didn’t want to add more punishment to Grim, so he said, “It was his self-defense.”

Crowley sighed again. “We need to treat this first, then go back to work. Okay?”

Jonah nodded. “Yes, Headmaster.”

Why did nothing go well since yesterday?

Chapter Text

That afternoon was a surprise for Azul. He had heard from his classmate, also from Jade and Floyd themselves, about the fight that early morning. A first-year student from Heartslabyul and a demon-cat were trying to burn each other but ended up burning the statue of the Queen of Heart. Riddle probably had the first year’s head chop off by now. He was still fuming, face red in anger, and in a very bad mood when Azul passed by him.

What interested him wasn’t the first year, or the fact that the cat that he, along with Riddle and Jonah Agrentum, got rid of last night was back (that persistence little fellow~), but what others had said about someone else who got caught in the fight. Someone with an eye-patch was trying to stop the fight but failed. Could it be…?

“Hey, Azul.” Azul turned to Jade who was walking beside him. “That’s the kid. The one from the fight.”

“Heh~” Floyd peeked from over Azul’s shoulder. “He’s so tiny… Like a shrimp! Or a baby seal!”

Well, well… It looked like his guess was right.

He walked toward the boy who was busy sweeping the courtyard, a pile of leaves not far from him. Jade and Floyd sounded confused behind him, but he didn’t care whether they follow him or not. The point was, the peculiar kid has returned. Or maybe hadn’t left at all.

"Mister Argentum,” he called him. The smaller boy looked up from the ground.

"Senior Ashengrotto," he said with a smile and nodded. "Good day."

Azul nodded back. "Are you visiting us again? Didn't the Dark Mirror send you back home last night?"

Argentum cringed, earning a raised eyebrow from Azul. "My situation is... Kinda complicated,” he said, tone rising and falling which reminded Azul of a kid who tried to hide something from their parents. “I'll be staying here for a while until we find a way to go back home."

Azul had already guessed that the boy stayed last night here, but to stay? He did not expect that. "Oh? What happened actually?"

Argentum shrugged sadly. "I… Don’t understand it myself. I can’t seem to remember where I came from. It’s like something blocking my memories."

Amnesia? Well, Azul certainly didn’t expect this. How interesting… "Is there anything I can help you with your situation?" he asked.

Argentum shook his head, offering him a small smile. "Probably not right now."

“Then how about a room to stay?” Azul offered. “We have a spare dorm room at Octavinelle.”

Once again, Argentum shook his head. “Oh, there’s no need. I’m currently staying in the old abandoned dorm?"

Azul blinked in surprise. “The Ramshackle Dorm? Isn’t there unlivable?”

“Maybe after I do a few cleaning. Probably tomorrow though…” He let out a heavy sigh. He didn’t seem to like his situation and Azul kind of understand it. The Ramshackle Dorm was on the edge of collapsing. One broken wood and the entire building could fall. He didn’t know what the headmaster was thinking when he put this tiny child in a dangerous area.

“Can’t believe I have to clean a thousand windows too…” He heard Argentum muttered under his breath.

“Oh?”

He rolled his eyes. “It was Grim’s fault.”

“Ah, was it about the burnt Queen of Hearts statue?” Azul guessed. And he was correct because Argentum's face suddenly became pale.

“You knew?” he asked with a small voice.

Azul held back a laugh. “Everyone is talking about it. Quite a fight you caught into.”

Argentum groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose as he shook his head. “Sweet Nebula…” He let out a sigh again. “I hope Grim finishes the scrubbing the statue already…”

Azul watched him finishing his job, sweeping the leaves into a trash bag, before tying it and throwing it into the trashcan. “I need to check on that raccoon. I hope he hasn’t run away yet.”

Azul chuckled. “A troublesome little cat, isn’t he?”

Argentum rolled his eyes, but he managed to pull up a small smile. “More like a demon-raccoon.” He turned to Azul. “It’s nice to meet you again, Senior Ashengrotto.”

Azul nodded again. “Call me Azul, Mister Argentum.”

The boy chuckled. “Then you can call me Jonah. Argentum sounds too long.”

Azul slightly shook his head in amusement. “Alright then, Mister Jonah.”

Jonah nodded as a farewell greeting before walking away from him. Azul watched him walk, slowly disappearing between the passing student. He heard a couple of footsteps walking toward him, stopping next to him on each side.

“Heh… You seem close to him, Azul…” He felt Floyd rested his elbow on his shoulder.

“Is he the same kid you told us about yesterday?” Jade asked. "The one from the Entrance Ceremony?"

“Yes…” Azul smiled, pushing his glasses up his nose. “Jade, Floyd. We’ll be closing Monstro Lounge early today.” He heard Jade and Floyd let out some confused noises, obviously questioning Azul’s decision. The first day of school should be a great time to open the lounge until late at night.

But Azul just smiled at them as he turned his heal and headed toward his next class. “We have a dorm to clean and repair.” 


“I’m already beat from cleaning all day...” Grim groaned, flopping to an empty cafeteria table. “Now we have to clean one hundred windows, too...”

Jonah sat in front of him, massaging his bandaged hand as he rolled his eyes. After that chaos that was the burning of the Great Seven statue, Crowley took him to the infirmary, saying that if a small wound could heal naturally, they didn’t need to use magic. Jonah agreed on that, already feeling guilty because the headmaster wasted his time for him. After that, he told them to continue with their job, Jonah with the sweeping and Grim cleaning the statue. They finally managed to finish the job right before the last bell rang. Now, they were waiting in the cafeteria for the headmaster and Ace to come.

"It’s not like we can do anything about it,” he muttered. “This is all you guys' fault after all.”

Grim heard it. Jonah wasn’t trying to hide it. The raccoon turned toward him, face pissed and tail up. “Hey! He started first!”

Jonah turned to glare at him. “But you attacked first because of your short-temper. Both sides are at fault here.”

Grim crossed his paws in front of his chest, sitting on the table as he pouted. “Hmmph! Where is that Ace guy? How dare he make me wait like this!”

Jonah looked around the cafeteria. Students were walking in and out of the cafeteria, bringing books or snacks they just bought. “We don’t know how long his class. Give him time. He’ll show up soon,” he said, absentmindedly playing with his bandage.

And thus they waited…


The cafeteria was already empty…

But there wasn’t any sign of Ace.

“That’s it!” Grim shouted, standing up, paws curled into tiny fists, the flames in his ears were burning hot. “I swear if he bailed on us-”

Jonah sighed. He slammed his hands to the table as he stood up, cutting whatever Grim was trying to way. “Look. This is why we get into so much trouble.” He grabbed the raccoon by his neck, bringing their face together as he glared at him, saying with a low, threatening voice. “Control yourself or else I’m going to strangle you! Understand?”

Grim was silent for a moment, probably didn’t know the correct way to react. Jonah surprised himself too. He didn’t what got into him, but with was probably because of tiredness and just plain annoyed with this devil-raccoon.

Grim finally found his voice again, huffing in defeat. “Fine.”

“Good.” Jonah dropped Grim onto the table. “Come on, let’s go find him.”

Chapter Text

“Yeah, right. There is no way I’m cleaning a hundred windows,” Ace grumbled. “I’m going back.”

After class, Ace made sure to take the long way trip back to the Hall of Mirror, purposely avoiding the cafeteria and missing the headmaster and the other two. Like, really? A hundred window for burning an old statue. Well, the Queen of Heart the symbol of his dorm, but still! A hundred window for a burnt statue? That’s too much and unfair! It was the cat’s fault after all, for attacking him first and took his joke seriously. He was defending himself in his part, so he was supposed to be innocent!

“HEYYYYY!”

Ace jumped in his step. When he glanced back, he saw the cat flying toward him, followed by the twerp with an eye-patch. “Shit, they had found me!” Ace muttered as he took off in running down the hall. There is no way he would let himself get caught! It wasn’t his fault! 


Deuce was walking down the pathway to the Hall of Mirrors, his bag slung over his shoulder. So far, the first day went well. Most of the class were introductions and he could keep up with his notes. And he didn’t have the urge to punch anybody in the face, so that was a really good sign.

“Jerk! Hold up! I won’t let you be the only one getting out of this!”

“Leave me alone! I have no time for this!”

“Running off by yourself isn’t fair! I wanna skip too!”

“Hmm?” Deuce looked behind him and saw someone running straight down the hall with no intention of stopping. The kid, a fellow Heartslabyul was shouting at him.

“Get out of the way!”

“Huh!? Uh, uhhh!?” Deuce nearly tripped his foot when he pressed his back to the wall, giving the kid a path and avoided being trampled.

“Someone stop that boy!” A demon-cat flew past him. Hey, wait a minute! That was the cat from the entrance ceremony! It’s still here?!

“What’s going on?” He tried to shout to the cat. He didn’t answer, but a boy with an eye-patch managed to skid to a stop and turned toward him.

“That kid tried to escape his punishment!” he shouted, pointing to the kid being chased by the demon-cat.

Escape from punishment?! Is he a delinquent too?! No! He won’t let him get away like that. Maybe he could use magic to stop him- That’s it!

“Let me help!” he said to the eye-patch kid, grabbing his upper arm before he could take off again. “I know magic.”

“Well, hurry up then!” the kid snapped at him.

That was the only boost that he needs. He took out his magical pen, pointing straight to the running kid. Underneath him and the kid, a red magic circle appeared. He pulled his pen up, moving the magic circle to above the kid’s head and he shouted. “[COME OUT]! [SOMETHING HEAVY]!”

Something heavy did come out. A giant cauldron suddenly slid out from the magic circle above the kid, and fell on top of him, the sound of *bang!* echoed down the hallway. Deuce and the eye-patch kid visibly winched. He didn’t think he would summon a cauldron. Was that the heaviest thing he could think of?

“The hell is this!?” shouted the kid, trying to get out from underneath the cauldron, like a cockroach under a spoon. “A pot!?”

The demon-cat was laughing out loud. “Gyahahaha! Look at that, Jonah!” he said as he landed on the boy’s butt. “Ace got squashed under a giant pot! How lame!”

“Ow, ow, ow...” The Ace kid groaned. He turned behind him, glaring at the demon-cat. The eye-patch boy, Jonah, walked toward the cauldron. Deuce was hesitant to make it disappeared. He couldn’t let a runaway go before knowing the situation before.

“Can’t you just quickly clean those hundred windows yourselves?” Ace, grumbled as Jonah stepped in front of him.

“It’s your fault too you know,” Jonah said, crouching in front of Ace's face. “And it’s the headmaster’s order, so no escaping this.”

“What did you guys do?” Deuce asked, standing next to Jonah.

Ace pouted. “When I was messing around with that furball over there this morning, the statue of the Queen of Hearts got a tiny bit burnt.”

Jonah raised an eyebrow at him. “Tiny? More like burnt to the crisp!”

“So you’re the one everyone is talking about!” Deuce shouted, taking a step back, pointing at Ace and Jonah accusingly. “That punishment is fitting for you.” He sighed as he massaged his temple. “You just got enrolled in this prestigious school... What are you going around doing on the first day...?”

Ace didn’t respond right away, still pouting, probably rethink his action. Good. Troublemakers like him should get what he deserves. He clicked his tongue. “Yeah, whatever. Anyway, who’re you?”

Deuce crossed his arms in front of his chest. “I’m Deuce. Deuce Spade,” he said with a raised eyebrow. Why don’t you try to remember the faces of your classmates, Mister…”

He started to tap his finger on his arms, brow furrowed, thinking hard. “Um...”

The two other kids were watching him, exchanging questioning glances at each other, waiting for his response.

What was his last name again?

“You don’t remember mine either!” Ace shouted, pointing at him accusingly. Dammit, he didn’t have state the obvious!

Deuce cleared his throat. “A-anyway! Since this is an order from the headmaster, you’re going to have to do it seriously.”

Ace rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah, I know...”

Deuce nodded, satisfied. He waved his magical pen and the cauldron disappeared in a puff of white smoke. "Alright, let’s get on with it then." Jonah sighed in relief. He pulled his hand out, offering Ace a help to get up, but the kid just slapped it away. Rude.

Ace finally got up, a bit wobbly, but stood his ground. “Let’s just get this over it.”

Jonah sighed. “Finally. The headmaster is probably waiting for us at the cafeteria. So, let’s go, Grim- Eh?”

Jonah stopped his tracks, looking around the hallway. Deuce and Ace looked around too. They were alone there.

Deuce watched Jonah’s hands curled up into a fist. “That raccoon ditched us!” he shouted, making Ace and Deuce jumped back slightly. Without really explaining anything, the kid took off, running down the hallway away from the Hall of Mirrors.

Ace was the first one to catch up to Jonah, looking around with widened eyes. “Damn it! He took my place!” He turned to Deuce. “Oi! Er, what’s-your-face, Juice?”

“Wha—it’s not Juice. It’s Deuce! Deuce!”

“It’s your fault for distracting us and let that furball getaway!”

“Why do I have to do it!?”

“Because that Jonah kid can’t use magic! Now c’mon!”

Ace suddenly grabbed Deuce's arm and pulled him into the chase. Damn it! Why does trouble seem to always find a way to enter his life?!

Chapter Text

"Grim! You better get down this instance before I smack you!”

Ace and Deuce finally caught up with Jonah in the empty cafeteria. Ace was secretly relieved that the headmaster wasn’t here yet. Grim was sitting on the chandelier, blowing a raspberry at the shouting boy bellow him.

“Hehehe! Catch me if ya can!”

The two Heartslabyul students ran beside Jonah. “Hah! Climbing up there just makes you a loser!” yelled Ace. That only made Grim riled up again.

“I’ll show you who the real loser is!” A magic circle appeared under his feet and then blew a fireball toward him.

“Look out!” Deuce acted quickly, pushing Ace down to the ground. While Jonah jumped away, never stop glaring at the cat.

“Are you trying to burn down the school?!” he screamed. “You are not doing yourself a good favor!”

“I’m trying to burn that chicken butt!” Grim screamed back.

Ace growled underneath him. “Why you…” He tried to get up, but Deuce had no intention to get up just yet. He was mumbling to himself in a low voice, lost in his thought. Ace could imagine streams of scribbles came out from his mouth.

“I still haven’t learned flying magic without broom yet… Maybe something to sandwich him between, or to catch him... erm, maybe, hmm...”

Finally, Ace had enough. “Dude! Get off of me!” he yelled, snapping Deuce from his thinking process. His eyes widened as if a light bulb just lit up in his head.

“That’s it!” Deuce quickly got up and took up his magical pen. Ugh, great. He would probably summon his stupid pot. Ace got up, dusting himself. When he looked up, he saw Deuce was pointing his magical pen AT HIM?!

“O-Oi! What are you doing?!” Ace was panicking as a red magic circle appeared underneath their shoes.

“I’m going to shoot you there!” he said, focusing his magic energy into this one spell.

Behind him, Jonah looked toward him, eyes widened and face paling. “Excuse me?! Please don’t-”

“Too late!” Deuce cut him off. “[SHOOT OUT]! [CAULDRON]!"

“Cauldron?!” It was too late for Ace to realize it. A cauldron suddenly shot out from beneath him, the boy clutching the handle like his life depends on it. His screams filled the room as he and the cauldron flew toward Grim, whose eyes widened so wide.

There was one problem though…

Deuce shot the cauldron too hard. With Ace as its extra weight, even though they managed to catch Grim in there, they couldn’t avoid the chandelier…

*crash!*

The cauldron smashed through the chandelier, bits came flying in the air that Ace needed to cover his face with his arm. The handle of the chandelier broke from the sudden attack and it went falling to the ground. Deuce, in his state of panic, pulled Jonah, who was in shock, away from the falling chandelier. Too hard that both of them fell to the ground, Deuce shielding Jonah from the bits.

The cauldron meanwhile smashed to the wall, disappeared in a cloud of white smoke. Grim’s face smashed to the wall and squeezed between it and Ace's stomach. Without anything to support them both of them fell to the ground with a loud *thud!*

“Unbelievable…” Ace groaned out as he lifted himself in a sitting position. Beside him, Grim’s eyes made a swirl, mumbling nonsense.

Deuce slowly took himself up from Jonah. Both of them stared at the broken chandelier on top of the cracked tables. Deuce and Ace slowly got up, while both Jonah and Grim stayed on the ground, both malfunctioning, unable to respond.

“C-Crap! I wasn't thinking about where you'd land...” Deuce mumbled.

Ace was fuming. He was sore all over but couldn’t contain his anger anymore. “You...” He took a quick stride toward Deuce, grabbing his collar, brought his face closer, and screamed into his face. “You IDIOT! If the headmaster finds out you busted the chandelier-”

“You did what?”

Ace and Deuce froze. A curse word came out from Ace's mouth and he slowly lessens his grip from Deuce collar, turning around at the shocked headmaster.

“What... in... the... world... ARE YOU CHILDREN DOING!?” he shouted, making Ace and Deuce winched. Crowley looked around, noticing Grim and Jonah on the floor. He turned to Ace and Deuce who stood side-by-side. “Another one? Really? As if damaging one of the stone statues wasn't enough, now you've gone and destroyed the chandelier!?”

“Grim started it, Headmaster!” Ace tried to the reason, but the headmaster raised his hand, silencing him.

He massaged his temple. “I am no longer going to tolerate this. All of you are expelled!”

Ace and Deuce's eyes widened. No. This can't be happening... He just... He can't get expelled... Only after his first day, he might add!

“No! Please, could you forgive us just this once?” Deuce plead, taking a step forward. “I have something I need to do at this school!”

“You can blame yourself for behaving like a fool,” he said. “Why did you even join their idiocy in the first place?”

“I'll do anything to make it up if it would just get you to forgive me!”

Crowley shook his head. “This chandelier was no ordinary chandelier.” He turned toward the damages. “This was an enchanted chandelier! It was powered by magic, and its candles were never supposed to burn out for all of eternity!”

He noticed Jonah still on the floor and now that Ace thought about it, the boy hadn’t moved an inch. Did he get hurt? Damn it. He couldn’t live he accidentally hurt someone. The headmaster sighed and walked toward the boy. “Get up, Mister Argentum,” he said, gently grasping the boy’s arm, lifting him. Jonah just followed him as he being guided to stand next to Ace and Deuce.

“You can’t pay the damage,” Crowley continued, gaining Ace and Deuce’s attention. “That chandelier was a masterpiece crafted by a magical artifact master of old. It had been carefully passed down ever since this academy was founded... Considering its historical value, it would be worth no less than one billion madols.”

O-One billion...!? It was that valuable?! Even his pocket money from kindergarten to college wouldn’t make it up for that!

“No way…” Deuce whispered in shock.

“B-But, can't you just fix it up quick with your magic, Headmaster...?” asked Ace.

“Magic is not all-powerful.” Crowley shook his head again. “What's more, the magic stone, which could otherwise be called the heart of the magical artifact, has broken. No two magic stones are the same. This chandelier might not be able to light up again.”

“No...” Ace gasped out.

“Damn it...” Deuce looked down to his shoes, fists clenched and trembling. “What was I doing...? How am I going to tell Mom...?”

Crowley looked at the three frustrated, miserable, silent children. He didn’t want to do this. A kind headmaster wouldn’t just throw his student out! But he couldn’t take it. It was only the first day, the second day if you count the Entrance Ceremony, and these children, especially the mysterious one, created even more chaos than one could imagine in their early school years.

“If magic couldn’t fix it, we’re going to need a miracle,” Ace muttered, running his hand through his hair.

Miracle… Oh.

“There is one thing.”

“What!?” Both students looked up to him with disbelieve. There was a way for them to fix everything? There was a way for them to stay in school!

“The magic stone that was used in this chandelier can be mined at the Dwarfs' Mine,” Crowley said, tapping his chin. “If you were to obtain a stone that had the same properties, it might be possible to repair it. However, I'm not certain there are any magic stones left in the mines. It's been quite some time since it closed, so there's a high chance all the magic stones have already been dug up.”

Ace and Deuce exchanged looks. There was a solution! Even if it was a small chance, it was the only option they had!

“I'll go get the magic stone!” Deuce exclaimed, eyes burning with determination. “Please let me go! I'll do anything if it means I won't have to be expelled!”

Crowley nodded. He already guessed that they would accept the challenge, even if it was impossible. “...Very well. Then I will wait only one night. If you do not bring me a magic stone by tomorrow morning, you all will be expelled. You can get to the Dwarfs' Mine in an instant if you use the gate in the Mirror Chamber.”

“Right...!” Deuce bowed to the headmaster. “Thank you!”

“Ah, geez...” Ace rubbed behind his neck. “Guess I got no choice. Alright, let's go get that magic stone.”

And after all that, Jonah didn’t say a thing. 


“Ah, man...” Grim grumbled, rubbing the back of his neck and the four of them stood in the Mirror Chamber, Jonah carrying him under his arm. ”Why do I ended up like this?”

“We don't have time to stand here and complain! Let's go!” said Deuce. He took out his magical pen and pointed it at the mirror. “[Magic mirror on the wall]! [To the Dwarfs' Mine, take us all]!”

Green smoke slowly came out from the mirror, surrounding the children as they huddled closer. The smoke covered them from the head to toes. When a gentle breeze flew in, blowing the green smoke away, the children were nowhere to be seen.

Chapter Text

The wood was silent at that time. Not even the sound of an owl could be heard. The entrance Dwarfs’ Mine was dark and cold. The ratty wooden bridge that connected the mine to the Silent Wood was on the verge of collapsing. There was only a little water in the river and even the waterfall didn’t sound that loud.

Green gas suddenly came out on the ground in front of the Dwarfs’ Mine’s entrance. As more and more smoke came out, it swirled into a small tornado. When a wind blew, the smoke disappeared, revealing three children and a cat.

“This is the Dwarfs’ Mine,” Deuce said, announcing their presence to the wood. The other three followed Deuce’s gaze, looking at the dark cave in front of them. “Long ago, this place seemed to be a bustling place to mine for magic stones.”

Grim shivered. He got himself out from Jonah’s hand and hid behind the boy’s back. “Y-You wanna go into that pitch-black cave!?”

“What, ya scared?” Ace taunted, grinning at the cat.

“What!? I-I’m not scared!” Grim snapped, flying in front of the gang. “Since I’m so great, I’ll be the leader! All of you, follow me!”

Ace snickered, Deuce rolled his eyes, while Jonah didn’t really say anything. In the end, the three of them followed Grim inside the mine. It was dirty, not surprisingly. There were spider webs on the ceilings and between the woods and wall. They could hear water dripping, echoing in the quiet tunnel.

Grim was flying slow, clearly afraid. But they didn’t have time to slow down and Deuce couldn’t take this snail-speed search. “Let’s keep going,” he said, shoving Grim behind him, making him in the lead. “We don’t have much time.”

Ace huffed, folding his hand behind his head. “I’d rather you not be actin’ all tough and ordering me around,” he said, rolling his eyes. “This never would’ve happened in the first place if you weren’t acting like an idiot.”

Deuce stopped his track, making Grim bumped into him. “If we’re going down that route.” He spun around, stepping closer to Ace and glaring at him. “You’re the one who started this for skipping out on cleaning!”

Ace glared back. “Okay, well, this furball over here is the one who burned the statue of the Queen of Hearts first!” He pointed accusingly at Grim.

Grim, of course, took the bait, flying toward them, smoke coming out from his ears, forehead-to-forehead with Ace. “You were making fun of me first, so that was your fault!”

“Guys! Do you know the situation we’re in right now?” Deuce yelled, pushing the two away from each other. “We’re going to get expelled if we don’t bring back a magic stone by morning!”

Ace pushed down Deuce's hand from his chest. “So, stop patronizing me! It’s really ticking me off!”

Deuce was about to say another comeback when a voice stopped him and all the others’ arguments.

“NoT... gIvE... Nn... nOt...”

All of them froze in place. Ace was the first one to respond, voice softer than before. “W-Who… said that?”

“StOnE… uUuUuUu… MiNe…”

The children took steps back, their backs pressed against each other. More like Ace and Deuce squeezing Jonah and Grim between their backs.

“It kinda… sounds like it’s getting closer…” Ace whispered again, his eyes darting from one corner to another.

“StOnE… iS MiIiInE!”

Something unimaginable appeared. From the shadow, emerged a figure. It had a head made out of glass, shaped like a bottle, black ink spilling from its teeth like cracks. It had a plump body, gooey arms with long tentacle-like fingers. Its right hand as holding a purple lantern while the right one had a giant pickaxe. Its bottom part was just slime as its feet. It wore a red coat with golden buttons and a small elf-like hat on top of its glass head.

“A MONSTEEEER!” Ace, Deuce, and Grim shouted. Ace quickly grabbed Jonah’s hand and pulled him, running away from the monster.

“What was that!?” Deuce shouted.

“WAHHHH!” Grim cried, flying in front of the three boys. “No one said anything about that being here! Let’s get out of here!”

Ace kept pulling Jonah with him. He then realized something. “Wait! Didn’t it say something about the stone!?”

“What!?” Grim and Deuce yelled and all of them stopped their tracks, looking at the approaching monster behind them.

“StOnE… sToNe… NoT GiVe…!”

All of them gasped. “So there’s still a magic stone here!” exclaimed Deuce.

“N-N-N-N-No way!” Grim shook his head rapidly. “I may be a genius, but there’s no way we’ll win against that!”

“But if we don’t bring back the magic stone, we’ll be expelled…” Deuce looked at the three of them with a determined face before standing between them and the monster. “I’m going!”

“Are you serious!?” Ace yelled at him.

“There is no way I’m going to let myself get expelled!” Deuce screamed, running toward the monster and he held out his magical pen, magic circles appeared in every step he took. However, before he could release any spell, the monster roared at him. It raised its lantern and smacked Deuce in the face, sending him smashing into a wall with a “Guuuuuehh!”

“LeAvE! lEaVe! LeEeEeAaAvE!”

Ace growled. “Stand back if you have no control, Mr. Serious! I’ll stop it!” He pushed Jonah behind him as he took out his magical pen, swinging it and sending a gush of wind toward the monster. “Haaa!”

It didn’t affect the monster at all. It raised its pickaxe and smashed it to the ground, sending earthquake and debris toward the boy. Ace eyes widened. He pushed Jonah out of the way to the ground before he waved his wand again, sending the debris back. The monster smacked back at the counterattack. It raised its right fist and punched Ace in the face. The boy was flying to the air until his back smacked a wooden pole, a cry of “Guuhaah!” escaped his mouth.

Grim looked at the three fallen students in fear. “Ffgnaaa! Stay away!” he screamed in terror, a wide magic circle appeared underneath him and the monster. He raised his fist, calling a pillar of blue flame. But even after the flame died, it didn’t even leave a burn mark on the monster.

“It’s not working at all!” Grim screamed. “Let’s get out of here! We’re done for at this rate!”

Deuce and Ace slowly got up from their fallen position. Both of them were sore from the attacks. The demon-cat was right. There was no way they could defeat that thing now. They needed to retreat.

Grim was the first one to run away, flying to the exit. Ace followed him. Deuce was the last, pulling Jonah up to his feet as both of them run while still holding each other's hand.

“GgGuUuUuUhHhHh! WoN’T GiVe!”  


The three children plus one cat ran as fast and far as they could, running through the rickety old bridge and passing the stream until they finally stopped in front of an old abandoned cottage. But they didn’t pay any attention to it for they were too busy panting from the adrenaline rush.

“Is this far enough?” Grim panted out, his feet on the ground because he didn’t even have the energy left to fly.

Ace looked back, sighing loudly when he couldn’t even see the mine from where they are standing. “Ow… What in the world was that?” he asked, rubbing the back of his sore neck. “No one said anything about that!”

“It didn’t seem like an ordinary ghost,” Deuce said, hands on his still aching stomach.

Ace let out a frustrated growl. “Let’s just give up and go home. I’d rather get expelled that fight that thing.”

Deuce eyes widened at him. “Wha-?! Don’t screw with me! I’d rather die than face expulsion! There’s a magic crystal right in front of us and you want to go home?!”

Ace sneered at him. “Ha! You talk big for someone worse at magic than me,” he taunted, lips pulled into a smirk. “Fine then, go on your own. I’m out.”

“Ooh, is that so?” Deuce took a quick stride toward Ace, grabbing Ace collar and slightly lifting him up the ground, which surprised Ace that Deuce can do that despite their almost equal height. He had this strange look on his face, almost feral. “Then you can stay right here like a coward you are!”

“Uhh… Deuce?” Grim called, flying behind the blunette. “Did you just change personality?”

Deuce seemed to snap back. He lowered Ace so the other boy could stand on the ground again. “Sorry,” he said, letting go of Ace’s collar. “I lost my composure a bit.” He stepped back a little before clearing this throat. “Anyway, I’m going back in there,” he said, crossing his arms in front of his chest. “I’ll figure out something to beat that thing and come back with a magic crystal.”

Ace snorted, clearly wasn’t afraid anymore of the other boy’s sudden change in personality. “Yeah… But an idiot like you would probably fail. Just like the chandelier incident.” He put both hands on his hips, leaning his face toward Deuce, smirking. “You can’t even land a blow and you will ‘figure it out’? It’ll end the same.”

Deuce growled at him, fists trembling. “Come again?! You think of-”

“EVERYBODY, SHUT UP!”

Everyone jumped at the sudden scream. Jonah stood there, hands curled up into trembling fists and chest rising and falling as if trying to control his breathing. He was glaring at the two of them and all of them could see his right eye, his strange eye, for his eye-patch had fallen probably from the monster attack. They were surprised at the strange appearance and sudden shouting because the other two boys didn’t dare to respond. But Grim was clearly not. “Why are you shouting-”

His glared turned to the demon-cat, making his fur stood up. “No. No!” the boy snapped, raising his finger at Grim. ”All of you will let me speak. For one minute, just listen to me!”

He gestured to all of them. “See this? All of this happened because of all of us! Everyone is at fault here!” He pointed at Ace. “Ace here can’t keep his mouth shut, trash-talking all he wants without thinking about others.” Ace himself was about to retort, but Jonah’s glare silencing him.

“Deuce!” The blunette flinched when his name was called. “You want to help, yes, but you are too spontaneous, without planning or thinking about the aftereffect.” Deuce looked down at his shoes.

Jonah turned his head to Grim. The cat loudly gulped. “Grim here is too prideful for his own good.” He grabbed Grim by the neck, threatening to squeeze it. “Acting high-almighty but in the end just burn everything when you don’t get your way!” Jonah let go of Grim, the cat coughing from the sudden attack.

“Even me!” He looked down, fists still trembling along with his voice. "It’s my fault too! I could’ve stopped this! I could’ve tried harder to stop Grim and Ace’s fight! I could’ve stopped Deuce from launching that cauldron! Heck, I could’ve said something when the headmaster threatens to expel you! But no! I kept my mouth shut like an idiot!”

His hand reached his mouth, squeezing it hard as if trying so hard not to cry. Ace and Deuce exchanged a glance. They never realized how much pressure they had caused on the boy, or maybe on each other. It was true that they were only thinking for themselves, acting the way they thought it was right, but ended up causing more harm than good.

Jonah took a deep breath and let it all out. “Sorry.” His voice sounded smaller than his previous shouting as if all of his energy left him. “I just… I’m tired, okay?” He rubbed his good, frustrated why he snapped like that.

Deuce took a deep breath and approached Jonah. “It's…” He hesitantly put a hand on the smaller boy’s shoulder, earning a flinch from Jonah. “It’s alright…” He sighed. “You’re right. I’m sorry. We’ve dragged you into this too.”

Jonah shook his head. “Well, I shouldn’t have lost my temper there.”

Deuce nodded. “Then… What are we supposed to do?”

Jonah looked up to Deuce. “Will you listen to me?”

Deuce didn’t hesitate to nod. He glanced at Ace and Grim. Both of them exchanged a glance, probably still stunned from the sudden outburst from Jonah. But in the end, they nodded, Jonah looked between the three of them, looking for a sign that they were just joking. He didn’t find it, so he nodded. “Alright.” He took a deep breath and let it out. “I’m suggesting a compromise. Before anyone protests, just think about it. Do you really want to get expelled on your first day of school?”

Ace closed his mouth again. He finally sighed. “Ugh, that’s… Fine,” he muttered, scratching the back of his head. “We just have to get it done, right?”

Jonah nodded. This time Ace pulled out a small grin. “Alright. What’s the plan?”

Jonah himself managed to grin. “I do have one idea…”

Chapter Text

“Hey, beasty!”

Grim’s voice echoed through the tunnel, tail wagging in the air in both fear and determination. The cat could hear another growl from the deeper part which made him shivered. But he couldn’t stop, the others are counting at him.

“O-o-o-over here!” he called out again. “Have a delicious cat as a snack~!”

“GrRrRrR… LeAaAaAaAaAaAvVeE!”

The monster appeared from the shadow, groaning and growling as it started to fly toward him. All of Grim’s fur shot up. “Gah! It's coming!” he shouted, quickly turning around and flew to the entrance. The monster kept advancing toward him, smacking everything in its way, right claw tried to grab Grim who kept avoiding it.

“gRrR!? ThErE.. ThIeF... tOo. WoN'T GiVe ... mInE... mInE! gO AwAy! Go aWaY!”

Grim shot out through the tunnel. “We're out!” he shouted.

Jonah who stood in front of the entrance nodded quickly at him. “On your position.” Grim quickly flew to the right, across him Ace prepared his magical pen, magic circle already appeared under him. Grim also raised his paws, summoning his magic circle.

Jonah raised his hand slowly, glaring at the entrance, counting down in his head. When the monster came out, screaming in his face, he jumped back. “Ace, Grim, combo attack!”

“Ok, I got this!” He pointed his magical pen toward the monster. “Let's go, [EXTRA LARGE TEMPEST]!” A cycle of cyclone shot out from his magical pen, trapping the monster in his tornado. The monsters screamed, but unable to escape from the trapping wind.

“And the Great Grim's [FIRE SPECIAL]! Ffgnnnaaaaa!” Grim spit out his fire, burning the monster, changing the ordinary tornado into a cyclone of an inferno.

“gUaAaAhH!?”

Jonah landed not far, kneeling to the ground. He looked up to Deuce who was standing on top of the cave. “Deuce, launch the cannon!”

Deuce nodded at him. He held his magical pen in both hands, the magic circle appeared in front of him and bellow his feet. His eyes slipped close. “Calm down... Aim...” he whispered to himself. “The biggest, heaviest... thing I know...” He snapped his eyes opened and screamed, “[COME FORTH]! [CAULDRON]!”

A cauldron shot out from the magic circle, hitting the monster square on the back, sending it flying away, crashing to the bridge, destroying it, and fell to the river.

“gUaAa!?”

“Hah!” Grim laughed as the gang gathered again. “I bet it's flat as a pancake just like Ace!”

Ace groaned. “You don't need to bring that up again! Jeez, today just isn't my day.”

“Guys, let's get the crystal while it's stunned!” Jonah yelled. The others nodded and immediately ran into the mine again.

In the river, the monster got up, floating, its sight set on the running children.

“WaAaAaAiItTt!”  


The gang ran deep into the mine, eyes darting in every corner, looking for anything sparkling. Deuce was the first one to notice. “There! A magic crystal!” he shouted, pointing at one sparkle on the wall. All of them made a mad dash toward him. Jonah, picked up the closest thing he could grab, a chisel, and started to pick the stone from the wall.

“HaNdS OoOoOoOoOfFfF!”

Ace, Deuce, and Grim looked at the entrance, the monster had already stepped in the mine again.

“Shit!” Ace snapped. “That thing is back!”

Jonah let out a grunt and finally the magic crystal, glowing in a colorful light, dropped into his hand. “Yes!” He stood up, but let out a gasp when he saw the enemy is back. “Oh, shoot.”

“How are we supposed to get out now?” Grim yelled.

Jonah looked around, looking for a way to escape. There was only one way: the entrance. But the monster blocked the way. However, his eyes caught onto the woods supporting the mine. He glanced at Deuce. “Deuce, prepare your biggest cauldron to launch us!”

“R-Right!” Deuce held his magical pen tight, pointing to the ground below them.

“Grim, Ace, prepare the flame!” Jonah ordered him. Ace nodded preparing his magical pen again and Grim sucking up as much air as he could.

“Everybody, huddle closer!” Jonah pulled Grim and Ace closed, his back pressing onto Deuce’s chest.

[COME OUT]! [CAULDRON]!” the blunette shouted, A gigantic cauldron, so big that all of them could fit inside it, appeared bellow him. Jonah glared at the monster, counting its floating.

Wait…

Wait…

“ThAt... Is... MiIiIiNnNeE!”

NOW!

“Launch the cannon!”

[FLY AWAY]!” Deuce pointed his magical pen forward, launching the cauldron forward like a rocket. All of them, except Jonah, screamed at the sudden speed. The monster kept flying toward them and the cauldron was shooting toward it!

When the monster barely passed a supporting wood-

“Fire, now!”

Ace managed to gain his focus again. “Roger!” he yelled as he shot out another tornado.

Grim followed him, spitting fire, mixing it with the wind. “Funa~!”

It was a humongous blaze, burning everything in its path, including the monster and the woods. Jonah pulled Ace and Grim down and Deuce held onto his shoulders, ducking into the cauldron and it hit the monster straight in the face, making it fell. The wood above it started to get burnt, and soon woods and rocks falling on top of the monster, not letting it escape from the unstoppable inferno.

“UuUh… uUuGhHh!”

When the fire finally dies, it left nothing but ashes. 


“AAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

The cauldron came flying passed the destroyed bridge, aiming straight to the forest. “Everyone braces yourself!” Jonah shouted as the cauldron hit the ground. They didn’t stop screaming, either was the tumbling cauldron. It kept rolling down the hill, banging along the way, the children inside it kept hitting each other. The cauldron finally rolled down the hill and crashed to a tree not far from the Dwarfs’ Cottage with a loud *bang!* and *crash!*, dust and smoke floating surrounded them.

Jonah coughed as he got out first. “Is... Is everyone alright?”

Ace groaned, crawling out of the cauldron with Grim on top of his head. “That's the second time I had a rough landing...” He laid on the ground. “I'm sore all over...”

The cauldron puffed out in a cloud of white smoke, leaving Deuce who was sitting on the ground, coughing from the mess. “But...” he said between his panting. “We... Did it... Right?

All of them paused, sinking in the realization. They… They survived that. Jonah looked at his hand, still gripping on the rainbow-colored magic crystal. Grim flew next to him, eyes widened in amazement. “W-we won…” he breathed out, before breaking into a huge grin. “We won!”

Ace jumped up, fist-pumped into the air. “We did it!”

Deuce followed him, smiling too wide that his cheeks hurt. “Hooray!”

“Victory high-five!” Grim raised his paw and Ace and Deuce didn’t waste the opportunity to hi-five while jumping for joy. “Yay!”

Jonah chuckled, getting up from his position and dusted himself. “Aw~ You guys are adorable,” he cooed.

The other boys and cat’s eyes widened, immediately distanced each other, all of them are blushing in embarrassment. “Ah. N-no,” Deuce denied, rubbing the back of his neck. “This is nothing like that!”

Ace crossed his arms in front of his chest, pouting. “Y-yeah, yeah! Could you stop saying weird things?”

Grim put his paws on his hips, looking proud and embarrassed at the same time. “W-we won, thanks to my genius! It's not because we pooled our strength!”

Jonah just chuckled and shook his head. “Well, thank you for listening to me,” he said as he smiled. “You guys make a pretty good crew.”

Ace lowered his arm, a shade of pink still on his face. “I guess making excuses is pretty lame.” He grinned at Jonah, walking toward him and patting him on the shoulder. “I hate to admit it but we won thanks to your plan.”

Deuce nodded, agreeing to his dormmate. “True. We got the magic crystal because you gave us level headed instructions. We can prevent our expulsion this way.” He let out a grateful smile. “I'm so relieved.”

Jonah grinned at them. “See? Working together is not that bad, is it?”

Ace chuckled as he rolled his eyes, the grin didn’t leave his face. “Yeah, yeah. We're all relieved. And seriously worn-out and battered. Let's go home.”

Grim nodded and let out a yawn. “I'm starving from using so much magic...” He turned around and looked down, noticing something weird down there. “Hmm? What's this?” He picked up something from the ground, bringing up for the three boys to see. It looked like a black-rock, maybe a lump of coal, but didn’t leave any black dust on Grim’s paws.

“Remnants from that monster?” Deuce suggested, in which Ace shrugged.

“A magic crystal..? But I've never seen one pitch-black like coal before,” the ginger-head responded.

Grim pressed the crystal to his nose, sniffing it. “This thing smells really good...” he muttered, closing his eyes, inhaling the sweet smell. “This has to be candy the monster was hiding! Don’t waste any food!”

“Grim, wait-”

Grim didn’t hear Jonah's warning at all. He opened his mouth with an “aaahhh~” and plucked the crystal into his mouth. The cat’s eyes widened, paws pressed on his mouth. “Gunnh!”

“Hey, you alright!?” Deuce asked in a panic, kneeling in front of the cat.

“Aah,” Ace sighed, rubbing the back of his head. “That's why you don't eat things off the ground!”

Jonah was ready to scold Grim, ready to squeeze him until he spits out that dirty rock and maybe beg for the headmaster to take him to a doctor, but then-

Grim eyes seemed to sparkle. “D...D-d-d-d-d... DELICIOUS!!” he yelled, jumping into the air.

“EH?!” the other three boys exclaimed in unison.

The background around Grim seemed to brighten up with sparkles. “It was full-bodied, but also rice, with an aromatic sweetness that blooms in my mouth...” Paws on his blushing chubby cheeks as he blushed. “Like a whole field of flowers in my mouth!”

Jonah sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “You're... You're ridiculous...” he muttered shaking his head. “Don't come for help if you get a stomachache.”

Ace stuck out his tongue. “Blegh! Monsters do have different tastes than us.”

“Gahahaha!” Grim laughed, patting his stomach. “Tasty, tasty! Don't worry, my stomach isn't weak like yours.”

Jonah and Ace made a face like they’re going to puke. Deuce was the first one to snap back, clearing his throat and trying not to gag. “Switching gears, let's get this magic crystal to the headmaster!”

“Right!” The other three gave him a nod. Deuce took out a small pocket mirror from his jacket. “[Magic Mirror, heed my call]," he said, raising the mirror above his head as the other three huddled around him. “[To the Mirror Chamber, take us all]!”

Green smoke started to come out of the mirror and surrounded the children and cat-like a small tornado, taking the gang away from that place.

Chapter Text

Crowley couldn’t believe it. He didn’t think that these children would do it. He thought when he said that the mine was closed and there weren’t any magic stone left, he thought the children would just give up and accept their fate. He had already completed the paperwork for their expulsion, all the documents were kept save in his drawer. But when the three children and the cat came barging into his office with smiles and grins decorated their face, Crowley knew that they did it.

“Hoh hoohh… A mysterious monster living in the coal mine,” the headmaster stated, his gloved finger playing with the magic crystal that Argentum gave him earlier. “The four of you worked together to defeat it and bring back a magic crystal?”

“We…” Trappola rubbed the back of his neck, cheeks slightly pink. “We didn't work together…”

“It was more like our goals were aligned...” added Spade, folding his arms in front of his chest, cheeks also pink.

Argentum glanced up to Grim who sat on his head. Both of them shrugged, not knowing what to add since they had already told him everything, from how they were bickering with each other to working together as comrades in the face of danger, setting aside all their protests and finally reaching their goal. All under the leadership of Argentum.

This is…

It is…

BEAUTIFUL!

“Ooh... Ooooh... OOOOOOOOHHH! OOOOOOHHH!” Crowley burst into tears, shocking the children. All of them looked at each other, wondering which one of them who made the headmaster cry like a baby. “In all these years that I've been headmaster...” he said between his sobs. “For the day to come that students from Night Raven College, to go hand-in-hand to face and defeat their enemy!”

Spade's cheek became even pinker. “What!? I did not hold this guy's hand!”

“I would never do that, gross!” Trappola stuck out his tongue, cheeks just as pink as Spade. Meanwhile, Argentum looked between the two of them and tried his best to sniffle his laugh. Grim on top of his head just laughed out loud.

“I am overwhelmed with emotion.” Crowley wiped a tear from below his mask. “This incident confirms it! Young Jonah Argentum!” Argentum automatically straightened up, Crowley stood up from his seat and walked toward the small group so that he could stand face to face with the boy with different eyes. He put his hands on the smallest child in the room’s shoulder. “Without a doubt, you have talent as a beast-tamer!”

Both Trappola and Spade let out an “Eh?!” while Argentum blinking in confusion. “A what? Didn’t you say something like this yesterday?”

Crowley nodded. “Students of Night Raven College are budding magicians called here by the Dark Mirror. However, they are of a superior class that makes them prideful and egotistical people that have not even the slightest inkling to work with others. Making many of them selfish and self-centered.”

Grim, Trappola, and Spade looked at the headmaster with a deadpan stare. “You're not saying anything good,” the cat muttered.

Crowley ignored the comment, only focusing on the boy under his hands. “You cannot use magic. But, maybe, precisely because you cannot use magic means that you could give instructions to magicians and get them to cooperate. Perhaps that mediocrity is exactly what this school needs right now!”

“He's not saying anything nice, isn't he?!” commented Trappola, his voice sounded offended.

“I do not doubt that your existence is essential to the future of this academy. So says my educator senses,” Crowley said proudly. He took off his hand from Argentum shoulders and stepped back, now looking at the whole gang one again. “Trappola, Spade. Along with rescinding your expulsion, I shall give you the qualifications to attend Night Raven College as a student!”

“Eeeh!?” All of the gasped. Surprised, weren’t they?

“Yes. For I am exceedingly gracious~” Crowley put a hand on his chest. “But, there is one condition.”

He looked straight at Argentum again. “Because you cannot use magic, becoming a magician is out of the question. You probably will not be able to complete all your lessons.” His gaze slowly lifted to Grim. “That is why: Grim, you have proven to me that you possess enough talent to become a wizard. Therefore, I shall allow the two of you to enroll together, as one student.”

Grim jumped of Argentum head, flying closer to Crowley’s face. “Ffgna!? I... I can go to this academy too...? Not as a handyman, but as a student?”

Crowley gave him a big nod. “Yes. As long as you don't cause trouble like yesterday ever again! Do we have an agreement?”

Grim nodded, tears started to come out from his eyes and his mouth cracked a grin. “Ffgnaa... Fffnnaa... W-we can.”

Crowley nodded. “Well then, I shall give the symbol of your status as a student of Night Raven College, a magic crystal, to Grim.” He waved his hand, the ‘mirrors’ on his belt and hat seems to glow, pixie-dust appeared from his hand movement and twinkled around Grim’s chest before a small pendant with gray colored crystal appeared around the cat’s neck.

“Whoa! A magic crystal?” Grim picked up the pendant with his paws, looking at it with awe.

“It is the norm for students to have their magic crystals in the form of a magical pen but, you wouldn't be able to grip it in your paws, right?” Crowley explains. “It's a special custom. Aaah… I pay attention to even the smallest details~! Aren't I too gracious~?”

Grim didn’t comment at all, too busy dancing with joy in the air. "I did it! I'm so cool! I got my special magic crystal collar~”

Argentum laughed at how the cat didn’t listen at all, as if it was a usual sight for him. “Do you understand?” Crowley said again, gaining Argentum’s attention again. “As you can see, Grim is not accustomed to human society. It's up to you to take the rein and supervise him to prevent from causing any more trouble!”

“Aha! Look at you!” Trappola laughed, putting his arm around Argentum’s shoulder, pulling him into a one-sided hug. “School's just started, but you're already a supervisor?”

“I see,” Spade slowly nodded, finger on his chin in that thinking pose. “There's only the two of you in your dorm... So if you've been entrusted with supervising Grim, which makes you a prefect too.”

Trappola laughed again, but not in an insulting way. “Isn't that unheard of? For there a student who is unable to use magic to be a prefect. Nice! It's cool! A supervisor-prefect who is unable to use magic! Good luck, Captain!”

Argentum looked up at the taller boy. “Captain?”

“Yeah.” Trappola grinned at him. “You led us like a captain of the shipmates! With your eye-patch, you’ll make a great pirate captain!”

“Captain…” Argentum seemed to be thinking about the nickname. Crowley could see how his eyes twinkled when he mouthed that word again. He looked up, looking at Crowley with a bright face filled with determination. “I'll do my best!”

Crowley nodded. He knew he will. Maybe it would be a bumpy ride, but he would do his best. Crowley just knew it. He’s a good boy…

Just then a knock came from the door. Crowley looked up from the excited children. “Come in.”

The door opened and revealed a familiar red-haired prefect. “Headmaster.”

At the sound of his voice, Trappola and Spade froze. Both Heartslabyul students slowly turned toward their prefect in fear.

“Ah, Prefect Roehearts,” Crowley greeted. “Are you here to pick up your underclassmen?” This made Argentum looked behind him as well. A small gasp escaped his lips and… Did his right eye just glow? He could’ve sworn he saw a faint green glow from his eye...

Rosehearts nodded, stepping into the office. “I was wondering where they went,” he said looking between Trappola and Spade who straighten up their posture. “It’s already past Heartslabyul’s curfew.” He saw Grim flew down, hiding behind Argentum’s back. When Rosehearts’ grey eyes looked up to Argentum, he heard he let out a small gasp. Ah… The eye, was it?

Trappola leaned to the side a little. “We have a curfew?” he whispered to Spade.

Spade raised an eyebrow at his dormmate. “He told us in the Welcoming Tea Party, remember?” In which Trappola just shrugged.

“Oh, my. Is it that late?” Both Rosehearts and Argentum blinked as if they just came out from a hypnotize festival. They didn’t respond at all when their eyes locked onto each other, keeping them in a silent trance, so Crowley decided to break that trance. “Well then, let's save the detailed conversation for tomorrow. Return to your dormitories, everyone,” he said clapping his hand. “Argentum. We shall send your school supplies and uniform to your dorm tomorrow.”

The three students turned around and gave the headmaster a bow, in which Crowley responded by tipping his hat. Rosehearts walked out first, followed by Trappola and Spade who was having a hushed friendly banter about their almost expulsion incident. Grim soon left and Jonah followed him, but before completely leaving, he turned to the headmaster nodding to him one last time. “Thank you for everything, Headmaster.”

Crowley returned his nod. “You are very welcome, Mister Argentum.”

Jonah walked out, closing the door behind him, leaning Crowley in his office. He turned around and picked up the magic crystal the children brought for him.

For a young non-magician child to lead magicians with higher power above him… A captain indeed…

Chapter Text

“You know, I kind of like that Ace and Deuce guy,” Jonah said as he walked through the cobblestone path of the school. After that conversation with the headmaster, Jonah and Grim agreed to just go straight to the dorm. After all those cleanings and sudden adventure, sleeping became next in their priorities list, ignoring the fact their dorm’s miserable state. But they didn’t care, mostly because they were too tired from all of these.

“I think they could make a good combo. They’re the ‘fight because they're so close’ type,” Jonah continued, looking up at Grim who sat on his head. “So, are you happy now?”

Grim’s grin hadn’t disappeared. “Of course!” he yelled in excitement. “Tomorrow, we aren't the handyman! Finally… Finally!” He sniffed, fat tears started to come out from his eyes again. “Our bright and shiny academy life at Night Raven College begins!”

Jonah chuckled. “You know, I don’t know much about school life.”

Grim smiled smugly. “Then you are lucky you have the great me with you!” he said proudly. “Just follow my lead and you’ll pass the classes with flying colors!”

Jonah laughed. “Alright, alright. Glad to have you here.”

They finally reached their dorm and Jonah stopped. He looked up. The street light was shining above them, giving them more light for their dark path. The problem was that that particular street light near the Ramshackle Dorm didn’t lit up yesterday when he was walking with the headmaster. Weird… Maybe the headmaster fixed it?

Jonah shook his head. It didn’t matter. They finally reached the Ramshackle Dorm and he frowned. Grim looked down when Jonah stopped. “What’s up?” he asked.

“Did we turn on the light before we leave?” Jonah looked up. Grim looked at the dorm. Unlike yesterday, the dorm looked so bright now, lights shining from each window, which were no longer blocked by wood.

“I don’t even know if the light still works or not,” said Grim.

Jonah frowned. He put his hand on the gate. It didn’t felt rusty at all. When he pushed it, it didn’t let out that horrible squeaking noise. Jonah looked around as he closed the gate behind him. The yard looks cleaner, no weeds, no fallen leaves, no cracks on the path, there were even some pots of flower at the entrance stairs.

What happened here?

When he opened the front door, another surprise had awaited them.

“What the…”

The lounge looks like brand new. No dust, no cobwebs, all of the furniture had been taken off from their sheet, the floor had been mopped, the lamps were lit up brightly, heck, even the wallpaper was brand new without any tears!

“It’s all… clean.” Grim entered the lounge first, spinning around to examine the room in awe. “Who did this?”

 Jonah entered the room, closing the door behind him and locking it. He felt dirty just stepping into the sparkly clean lounge. He finally noticed the brand new coffee table (which was missing a leg previously). There was an envelope on top of it, with a seashell seal. He opened the envelope and took out the paper from it.

 

“Let’s talk about the cleaning service payment one day over a cup of coffee at the Mostro Lounge.”

- Azul Ashengrotto

 

“Sweet Nebula…”

“What?” Grim looked over Jonah’s shoulder, reading the letter. “Who is ‘Azul Ashengrotto’?”

Jonah shook his head as he put back the letter. “He’s the guy that threw you out the first time.”

“The purple guy?”

“Yep.” He couldn’t believe it. Why did Senior Ashengrotto do this? They’ve only met each other for like, what, two days? But Senior Ashengrotto was willing to go that far to clean the whole dorm? Why would he go through all the trouble? It must’ve taken hours to clean all of these! And how much he has to pay for this ‘service’?!

“And he did a pretty decent job,” Grim commented, snapping Jonah back from his thought.

 “We need to do something for him,” he said, holding the letter a bit too hard. “Just saying thank you isn’t enough.”

“Yeah, you think about that,” Grim muttered, followed by a yawn. He flew to the second floor. “I’m going to sleep in a fresh new bed.”

Jonah looked up, walking to the stairs (it didn’t creak under his feet) “I claimed last night room as mine!”

Grim flew back in shock. “EH?! Why?”

“All of my stuff is in there and I don’t want to move,” Jonah said, climbing up the stairs. “There is plenty of empty room up there, choose whichever you like. I don’t want to share a bed with you.”

Grim rolled his eyes. “Ugh… Fine.”

Jonah took this as a small victory.


Jonah let out a sigh as he stepped out of the bathroom after brushing his teeth. The room was lit up in soft orange light from his nightlight on the nightstand next to his bed. It was a cozy little room, a bit empty but he could think about it tomorrow. He walked to his window and closed the curtain, ready for bed. It had been a long day, and sleep sounded so nice right now. He guessed that Grim was probably snoring by now and he wouldn't blame him for that.

...ting the ro... red... 're pain... the... es red...

“Huh?” He looked around his room. There was nobody else in there. So, who-

...we dare... waste a... let the paint...

His ears finally caught on the sound again. His eyes finally landed on the strange orb next to his nightlight. He walked up to his nightstand and picked up the bronze orb, fiddling around with it as he sat on his bed. Noticing that there was some indention when he pressed on some particular spots. Jonah blinked when they receded even further into the orb once he clicked on all of them. His lips pulled up, wondering if it was some kind of toy, or better, some magical artifact or puzzle. He took notice of the pattern, and turned the orb, matching the lines accordingly.

The orb suddenly released a strange green light. He blinked, in awe. The green light spread across the room, before some of his room suddenly melted away. He couldn’t stand up, glued on the bed as he watched everything around him change from a simple orange lit bedroom into a green… garden?

“Hurry and paint the roses red!”

Jonah turned around as saw… Were those… Giant cards? With head, hands, and feet?! The cards were bolding a bucket of red paint in one hand and a wall paintbrush on the other, painting the white rose on the heart-shaped bush with red color. Is that… Is that even possible?

”If we don’t hurry, the flowers will wilt!”

“Hurry, hurry! There are still some that aren’t painted!”

Why would they paint the roses red? It was pretty before.

A blur of yellow and blue walked passed him. It was a girl with blond hair and a blue dress. She was watching the cards curiously.

”Why are you painting the white roses red?”

The cards looked down at her.

“Huh?”

The Two of Clubs answered her first, followed by the Ace of Clubs

“Why, you ask? Well, to tell you the truth, we made a mistake and accidentally planted white roses.”

“The Queen loves red, so if she sees white, then it’s off with our heads!”

“Is that so?”

The girl walked to another bush where another card, the Three of Clubs, was on a ladder, also painting the roses.

“Yes, it is. That’s exactly why we’re painting them red.”

The scenes suddenly blurred out into green light. Jonah reached out as if maybe he could see even more if he touches the girl, or the cards, or even the bushes of red-colored roses. But he was just grasping for the thin air. The green light flowed back into the orb, locking it back in place. Jonah didn’t even realize that his bedroom came back, too busy poking the orb again, trying to make it show that strange scene again. But the orb didn’t do anything again.

Jonah let out a frustrated huff. What even is this orb in his hand?

He never realized that during all that with the red roses painting scenes/vision/whatever, his right eye, unprotected by anything, was glowing the same green color as the light from the orb.

What is the meaning of all of these?

Chapter Text

What a tiring day… Ace yawned as he walked to the dorm’s kitchen in his pajamas. After meeting with the headmaster and gratefully accepting that his expulsion was rescinded, Ace thought he could get some rest when they reached Heartslabyul. But no! The prefect just had to give them a lecture about causing trouble on the first day of the semester. It went for hours! If it wasn’t because the green-haired senior who told him to continue this in the morning, the prefect probably would do this all night. Ace could guarantee it!

His stomach grumbled again. Ah, right. He missed dinner too. Wonder if there was something to eat in the fridge…

When he opened the door, the light from the fridge shone in front of his face. He saw three, wide tarts with golden crusts and glazed, slices of strawberries on top of them. “Looks delish~!” he said in awe. He looked around. Nobody was in the kitchen except him. “Ah… I’m sure they don’t mind if I take one.” He picked up one of the tarts and put it on the counter. He picked up a knife and cut a big slice for himself.

“Thanks for the food~” he said before biting onto the sliced tart. His eyes widened. “Whoa, what the heck?!” The sliced strawberry was a bit sour, but a good compliment for the homemade cream cheese and the crunchy graham crackers crust. “It’s so good!” he said as he bit onto it again.

“Of course, it would be delicious. After all, anything that Trey makes is bound to be exquisite.”

Ace hummed, licking the cream cheese from his lips. “Nah, man, this is something else! It’s better than the ones at the shops-”

Wait a minute…

Ace immediately turned around. “Wha– Prefect?!” He dropped his sliced tart, which made Riddle Rosehearts’ frown deepened.

“Quite the boldness you have there for touching something that belongs to me, Ace Trappola,” he said, putting his foot forward, forcing Ace to step back until he was pressed against the counter.

Riddle didn’t stop. “And after I decided not to punish you for staying out past the curfew and burning the Queen of Hearts' statue.” He took out his magical pen. A magic circle appeared around the pen and wit a flash of light, it turned into a golden staff with a heart and crown at top of it. “Laws of the Queen of Hearts Number #89: One shall not eat tarts prepared for the Queen ahead of her.”

The heart of the staff started to glow as a magic circle appeared bellow Riddle’s feet and around the heart. “Larceny of the Queen’s tarts is a capital crime!” He raised his staff.

“Wait, wait, waitwaitwaitwaitwait-” Ace never realized the magic circle around his neck.

[OFF WITH YOUR HEAD]!”

Before Ace could react further, Riddle slammed his staff to the ground, and with a spark of white light, a red-and-white heart-shaped collar snapped around his neck.

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”


“And that’s what happened.”

Jonah and Grim stared at him with a pair of deadpan stares. They were all sitting in the lounge of the new-and-improved Ramshackle Dorm, which took Ace by surprise. He thought this dorm was supposed to be unlivable. How did Jonah and Grim (though he doubt that Grim helped) manage to clean all of these in one day? Without magic, nonetheless?

“So let me get this straight,” Jonah groaned, rubbing his tired face, his bangs were covering his strange eye. “Senior Rosehearts put his magic sealing collar on you and you ran away from your dorm because you ate a tart?”

Ace huffed, crossing his arms in front of his chest and leaned back against his chair. “Exactly! Only that!” he grumbled. “That's why I've decided that I’m never returning to Heartslabyul. I’m gonna be a member of this dorm from here on!”

“No.”

“No?!”

“You've ruined my well-deserved sleep,” Jonah said, yawning and running his hand through his untied hair. “I'm not supposed to accept guests' past curfew.”

“This dorm doesn't have any curfew rule!"

“It has now. You’ve only got yourself to blame.” What the heck? Jonah is supposed to be on his side!

“But that red gremlin was overreacting!” Ace yelled, trying to reason that it wasn’t his fault. “Sealing my magic just ’cause I ate his tart?! It’s practically the same as tying my hands and my feet! Plus, there were three of them! He can’t possibly finish all of those! There’s a limit to how heartless he can be!”

Grim crossed his paws in front of his chest. “Ah! If there were three whole tarts, they might’ve been prepared for the party?” he suggested. “Like for someone’s birthday?”

“Birthday?” Ace repeated.

Jonah let out a hum before shrugging. “For once Grim had a point,” he said, which made Grim lit up. “If that’s the case, then it’s no wonder he’s mad.”

“Ah ha ha!” the demon-cat laughed, puffing his chest up. “I’m such a great detective!”

Ace groaned. “Uh… I came here thinking that you’d agree with me about the prefect being a little tyrant, Jonah…”

Jonah raised an eyebrow at him as if saying ‘are you kidding me’?

“You’re also at fault for eatin’ his food,” Grim said, in which Jonah smirked. That kid was agreeing with the cat! “Grudges over food are scary.”

Jonah sighed. “Look. Can we just continue this in the morning when our mind is clear?” he said, standing up. “But, just to make sure. You're going to apologize to him tomorrow, okay?” He gave him another deadpan stare. “Say yes or you'll be sleeping by the front door.”

Ace leaned further back against the armchair. This kid can be annoying when he wants to huh? He finally groaned. “Fine. Fine. But you're coming with me, Jonah.”

Jonah raised an eyebrow at him. “Why?”

“You suggested it, so you better come with me, Captain.”

The other boy sighed. “Fine,” he said, he began to walk to the stairs. “There is some empty room around here. Pick on your own.”

“Wait. He's seriously gonna stay here for the night?” asked Grim, following Jonah, flying behind him.

“I'm not that heartless, Grim.”

“You just threatened him to sleep outside!”

Ace laughed, relieved that he didn’t heed to sleep on the courtyard bench tonight. “Thank you, Captain! Good night!”

He saw Jonah rolled his eyes but noticed the way his lips pulled a tiny smile before he disappeared upstairs along with Grim. He looked around, still amazed at how clean the supposed-abandoned dorm is. He walked to the hallway on the first floor, opening the first door he found. Oh, it was just a closet for cleaning supplies.

When he reached for another one, he grinned when he saw it was an empty bedroom. Again, it was all clean. No dust, no cobwebs, even the sheet is new. Ace let himself fell to the bed. Wow, it was soft… Maybe he could stay here a bit longer…

He fell asleep just a few minutes later. 


Ace came out from his room just when the front door was knocked. The sound of Jonah yelling “Coming!” can be heard from upstairs followed by him running down. Jonah was wearing his Ceremonial Robe, because… Why?

When Jonah opened the door, the headmaster was standing there. “Good morning, Mister Argentum,” he greeted by tipping his head, in which Jonah answered with a slight bow.

“I have some things for you.” The headmaster bent down and carried a box inside. “I’ve asked Divus to prepare a uniform with your size, this includes your lab coat and P.E. outfits. We are lucky we still have some spares, but Divus wouldn’t mind sewing a brand new one.”

Jonah looked down at himself, slightly embarrassed that he wasn’t wearing the correct uniform. Crowley stepped out for a moment and carried in another box, placing it on top of the uniform one. “And here is some basic school supplies: books, pencils, erasers, and this semester’s textbook. If there are any books not included here, you can borrow it at the library. We have the largest collection after all. For flying lessons, you are obligated to make your own broom. Don't worry, we will teach you during class.”

Jonah started at Crowley. “Headmaster, this is too much-”

“Nonsense!” Crowley said with a booming voice. “I promised that I will help you until we can find a way home. I am being generous here~” He then took out a card. “This is your student card, it also acts as your credit card. You use the money in there to buy anything you like, but be careful not to spend too much Unfortunately, I couldn’t support you at that. You have to find your way to get money. Like a part-time job.”

Jonah started at the card in his hand. “I… I don’t know what to say…” He looked up at the headmaster again. “Thank you, Sir. I promise I’ll do my best!”

Crowley laughed. “I know you will!” He patted Jonah on his shoulder. “I must be off. Enjoy your first day of school.”

Jonah gave his a bow, in which Crowley tipped his head again. And then, the headmaster left, Jonah closing the door with a sigh. Ace took this chance to finally walk into the lounge. “That was something…” he said, whistling at the boxes next to Jonah’s feet. “That was gracious of him.”

Jonah chuckled. “He is.” He looked up at Ace. “Come on, help me carry this to my room.”


Another knocking was heard. This time Ace was the one who opened the door, revealing a familiar boy with dark blue hair, brushed mostly to the side while a portion hangs down on his right side, and teal eyes with a large black patch shaped like a spade over his left one. “D-Deuce…”

“I knew I’d find you here,” he said, crossing his arms in front of his chest with a judging looks. “I heard about the situation from our dormmates. You ate the prefect’s tart, so now you’ve got that collar on, haven’t you?” He eyed the collar for a little bit before sighing. “You’re an outright idiot.”

“Shut it! I don’t wanna hear that from you!” Ace huffed. “So… Is the prefect still mad at me…?”

Deuce shrugged. “Not completely,” he said. “He’s in an irritated mood and about three people who didn’t follow the waking up routine suffered the same fate as you.”

“‘Not completely,’ my ass! He’s totally mad!”

Deuce sighed again. “Lucky that I brought this.” Ace just now noticed that the blunette was carrying a plastic bag. “Here.” Ace caught the bag that was tossed to him. Peeking inside, he saw a familiar black jacket.

“My uniform?” Ace looked up Deuce again, eyebrow raised. “Were you snooping through my things?”

“What? Would you rather go to school with your pajamas instead?” Deuce asked back. “Just hurry up and take a bath. We will be late.”

Ace rolled his eyes, but he knew Deuce was right. “Yes, mom.”


Jonah walked through the Main Street along with Ace and Deuce on each side. He was wearing the same uniform as them; a white long-sleeved shirt, black trousers, and a black jacket with golden buttons and a collar. His black-and-white tie was tied in a bowtie instead and his vest is grey colored, just like the ribbon on his left arm with the Night Raven Collage emblem, no magical pen tucked in his jacket pocket and a pair of brown shoes.

Grim was also wearing a ribbon with the same color as their tie. He flew proudly in front of them. “Hey! Make way, make way! I, a full-fledged Night Raven College Student is passing through!”

He turned around so he could fly backward, facing him as he puffed his chest. “Look at my collar! My collar is awesome compared to yours!” He gave Ace a grin. “And you can’t use your magic now, can you? Guess I can have you cleaning the schools as part of your chores or something? Nyaha, this feels so good!”

Ace clenched his fist, veins popping on his temple. “I swear I’ll get you when my magic return…”

Jonah sighed at Grim. “Grim, this is still morning. You don’t want to bring troubles on your first day of school.”

“Speaking of, what’s your class?” Deuce asked. “You’re a first-year like us, right?”

Jonah shrugged. "I think so. But that's where the headmaster put me into." He took out something from his bag. It was his timetable that Crowley had given him along with his books. “We're in class 1-A.”

“Oh, then we’re in the same class.” Deuce smiled at him. “The first period is alchemy.”

“Yahoo!” Grim pumped his fist into the air. “That sounds fun!”

Ace groaned, running his hand through his hair. “I can’t use magic, remember? Am I gonna be okay...?”

Jonah patted his back. “Hey. After school, we'll go to your dorm and apologize to Senior Roseheart so he can take that off?”

He groaned again, not wanting to see the red gremlin so soon. “Ugh, this suck…”

Chapter Text

The laboratory was filled with various bottles of potions, cauldrons on each table, and students wearing a lab coat and goggles. Jonah decided he didn’t like the goggles so put it on his forehead. He sat between Ace and Grim. Since this wasn't their classroom, they didn’t have to sit on their assigned seat.

At the center of the classroom, in front of a giant cauldron, stood a man. His hair was parted at the side, with the longer section colored white and the shorter section black. He had narrow grey eyes and wore silver studs in his ears. Beneath a thick, black-and-white furry coat with several tail-like appendages hanging from the bottom of it, he wore a tuxedo - consisting of a black dress shirt, red tie, and black-and-white vest. He also wore red gloves, red socks, and a pair of black-and-white shoes.

“I see you’re the fresh new faces who will be joining my class today,” he said, walking toward a boy with light green hair. Hm~ There are some rare hair colors. Not bad at all, I say.” He chuckled. “Be careful not to take too long to finish, understood?”

The boy gave the teacher a sharp nod. The man, satisfied with the answer, walked back to the center of the classroom. “My name is Divus Crewel. You shall refer to me as Master Crewel if you please.”

“First off, the basic.” He tapped the cigarette holder with a red collar attached to the end of it he was holding to his other palm of his hand. “I shall have your tiny brains remember hundreds of names of medicinal herbs and poisonous plants. And fungi are a whole different topic. I’ll have you remember them so that you don’t accidentally poison yourself if you eat some when you go for a walk. Dogs love to eat anything they see, after all. I don’t want to see anyone getting a failing mark during the exam, so I shall be as strict as I can.”

“I see…” Deuce, who sat on Ace’s other side, looked up from his opened textbook that has a table filled with foreign names. “By the way, what are ‘fungi’?” he muttered as he flipped more pages.

“Blegh…” Ace rested his chin on his palm and his elbow on the table. “I’m pretty bad with memorization.”

“At least you know the basic,” Jonah groaned, running his hand through his face. “I don’t even know that we can eat random leaves.”

“If it’s grass, we just have to figure out if it’s delicious or not, yanno?” said Grim, which earned some disgusted looks from the other three boys. Grim looked at them with a confused look. “What?” 


“I am Mozun Trein, the professor in charge of history of magic," said the tall elderly man with small grey eyes and greying, neatly combed-back hair. He wore a standard black suit beneath long maroon robes and a pair of black shoes. Attached to his collar was a white jabot, which was tied off with a turquoise-colored pendant.

“And this is my familiar, Lucius.” The cat in the professor’s hand was a chubby, black long-hair with a white muzzle and golden eyes. He had white patches of fur at his chest and the tip of his tail.

It meowed when its name was called. “Meeeoooowwww~”

The word ‘familiar’ caught Jonah’s attention and he glanced at Grim who sat beside him. Everybody thought that Grim was his familiar. What is exactly a familiar? And what connection do they have with their magician owner?

“I shall have you learn the history behind the magic that you are using now,” Professor Trein continued. “I do not only grade by your reports, but also by how you behave in my classroom. I will not tolerate sleeping in class. Now then, please turn to page 15 of your textbooks.”

Jonah took out his textbook that the headmaster had collected for him this morning. He slid it in front of Grim because they had to share.

“We will start with the discovery of magic crystal in the Dwarfs’ Mines,” Trein started his explanations.

“Meeeoooowwww~”

“The discovery of this crystal led to magical energy being able to spread worldwide. It could also be considered as the ‘Beginning of Magic’.”

“Meeeoooowwww~”

Across the room, Jonah could see Ace was yawning, already bored of the lesson, while Deuce who sat beside him was busy taking notes, even meowing cat parts.

Grim pouted. “Ugh… I want a more explosive and flashier magic class!”

Jonah rolled his eyes. “This is still the early periods,” he said, taking out an empty notebook, following Deuce example. “You’ll get that class later.”


For some reason, Jonah had already guessed that their physical education teacher would be a buff man. Strong and burly, the coach was very broad-shouldered with a thick neck and thick chest. He had dark brown hair styled in a pompadour and small blue eyes. He also had a thin beard framing his face. He wore athletic black pants, a red jacket with gold stripes with a golden stag-head is pictured on the right side of his chest, and red sneakers. He wore a golden curled arrow-shaped bracelet on his left wrist, which is a blood-like red at the point.

“I’m Ashton Vargas, and I'm in charge of watching over you bean sprouts’ physical education,” he said with a booming voice. “Excellent magic starts with excellent bodies! Behold…!”

He flexed his muscle. “These muscles are from heavy training and eating raw eggs every day! A magician with no stamina is unspeakable! First, do 20 laps around the field! And then, 100 sit-ups!” He pulled his whistle from around his neck and blew it. All the students started running around the field.

“Eh… I don’t hate exercise,” Ace said when Jonah finally caught up to him. “But I can’t handle teachers like him.”

Deuce was grinning when he ran past them. “I have confidence in my stamina.”

“What’s so fun about running around? I’m not a hamster, yanno?” Grim was running behind them with his tiny feet. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to cheat here, so flying is not an option. This would be ten times harder for him…


“You know, for a magic school, it doesn’t feel that much different from a normal school, huh…” Ace commented, arms folded behind his head as the three of them walked through the hallways during recess. “It’s a lot more… Ordinary than I thought… Guess I don’t have to worry much even without magic.”

“I think it was pretty interesting,” said Jonah, and he meant it. There were so many things that he couldn’t understand. Maybe actually attending classes would make him understand more about his surroundings and, if it was possible, jogged his memories. “Though I have so much to catch on...”

“Yeah, your faces during the classes were hilarious.” Ace grinned, putting his arm around Jonah’s shoulders. “You don't know anything, huh?”

Jonah rolled his eyes but didn’t feel offended. “Well, forgive me for being stupid.”

Ace laughed. “Well, you're gonna have a lot of works there. Dontcha think so, too, Grim?”

Jonah had a bad feeling about this. “Grim?” he patted his head. It was empty above him. He quickly turned around but not a sign of that black-furred creature. “GRIM?!” Damn it! If he causes trouble already, Crowley will be super pissed again!

A familiar laugh could be heard from downstairs. Jonah looked toward the window. Immediately he pressed his face to the glass window, catching the sight of Grim flying away to the courtyard, complaining about how he doesn’t need to take boring classes.

“Grim you better go back here! The headmaster is going to kill us! But mostly ME!” Jonah shouted, banging on the window. It was clear that Grim couldn’t hear them, but he didn’t care. The poor window became the object to release his frustration.

Deuce and Ace walked up to the window, watching the cat flew further away. “Running away on the first day…” he muttered while shaking his head. “That guy just doesn’t learn, huh.”

Ace chuckled, resting his elbow onto Jonah’s head. “Being negligent on the first day, are we, Captain~?”

Jonah let out a groan of frustration as he turned around to see his two other classmates. “Dammit, guys. This is no time to laugh!”

“Aw~ You need us to catch him?” Ace asked.

Jonah could felt his vein threatening to pop. “Yes please!”

Ace grinned widely at him. “I want some chocolate croissant from the cafeteria!”

Jonah’s jaw dropped. This guy is really… He turned to Deuce, but the blunette also had that cheeky smile on his face. “Then, I shall have some café latte.”

“You know that I'm poor!”

Ace leaned against the window again. “Ahh~ I can't see him~ Where could he be?”

“Argh! Fine. Fine!” Jonah screamed, nearly tearing his hair off. “You guys are just like Grim...” he grumbled.

“And that’s a deal!” Ace laughed, taking out his magical pen. “Alright, shall we go help out our helpless captain, Deuce~?”

“Sure thing, Ace~” Deuce followed his grin, taking out his pen as well. “I’m most looking forward to lunchtime.”

With the two ran off to cat that demon-cat, Jonah just really wanted to smack his head to something hard. Damn it, Grim… Why did you always make everything complicated?


Epel was walking around the courtyard, a half-bitten apple in his hand. He was in a good mood today. Earlier in PE was their first trial in flying a broom and he managed to fly the highest compare to the other Pomefiore who were mostly complaining about how their make-up was ruined from the sweats. Epel didn’t mind the sweats, in fact, he welcomed it. It was part of the routine that he enjoys. He prefers sports rather than etiquette. The mirror made a mistake for putting him in Pomefiore…

“Grim, taking those lessons is for your sake, y’know?!”

“Wha–!? Why’re you the one taking me back?!”

“We are doing this for the sake of our lunch!”

“I don’t get it! I’m never going back to a boring class like that!”

“Hmm?” Epel turned toward the voices. He saw a pair of Heartslabyul students were chasing a flying cat. Wait a minute. He shared the same PE class with them. He knew that cat because he remembers the boy with him who managed to work together to get their broom flying. Where is he anyway?

“Oi, watch out!”

“Eh?!”

He couldn’t avoid the colliding cat into his chest.

“Grab him!”

He heard one of the Heartslabyul yelled at him. In instinct, he grabbed the cat in his hand before it can fly away, pulling it off his chest. He wasn’t squeezing it but still held it pretty hard. “O-Oi, let me go!” The cat was struggling in his hands, trying to claw his face but couldn’t even reach him. “Why do you hold so hard for a girl?!”

Epel raised an eyebrow at the cat. This is an all-boys school…?

“Alright~!” Epel looked up. The two Heartslabyul boys had finally caught up to him. The one with the red hair and heart make-up was the one who cheered earlier. “Our lunch is secured now~!”

“Thank you so much for catching him,” the blunette with shape make-up.

Epel nodded to him, while not understanding the situations. “No problem.”

He handed the cat to the blunette who immediately hugged it close to his chest, not letting it leave again. “Now, Grim. Behave and go back to class.”

“I said, I don’t wanna~!” The cat kept whining in his arms. The redhead gave Epel a two-finger salute before turning around and following the blunette. Epel stared at the pair, blinking in confusion.  He looked to the ground. Oh, his apple had fallen off.

What a strange bunch…

Chapter Text

“Alright, let’s get into business!” Grim cheered, rubbing his paws together as he stared at the rice omelet in front of him. After catching Grim, the gang continued their class until lunchtime. The cafeteria was full of students a line already formed in front of the counter when he arrived. Jonah tried to strangle Grim when he tried to cut in line, but he did keep his promise to buy a chocolate croissant for Ace and café latte for Deuce. Grim tried to buy everything on the menu but Jonah ended up only buying a rice omelet for Grim and bonzabeast stew for himself.

“I’m digging in~!” Grim scooped up a spoonful of the rice and omelet and up it into his mouth, humming in delight. “Oh! This is so good! The omelet is so fluffy, and the cheese is so melty~!”

“Thank you for the food, Captain!” Ace laughed, taking a bite at his croissant. They could hear the crunch and the chocolate syrup dripped down his hand.

Deuce sipped on his café latte. It was slightly bitter and there was a touch a sweet. A perfect balance. He glanced at Jonah. He wasn’t eating his food. He was looking around the cafeteria, brows frowned. “Are you looking for someone?” he asked, making Jonah turn his head to him.

He shook his head slightly. “Not really.” He paused for a moment before speaking again. “Hey, do you guys know where is 'Monstro Lounge'?”

“That's a cafe at Octavinelle.”

All four of them turned toward the voice. Standing near their lunch table, stood two students with red vests, carrying their lunch tray. One of them had short green hair and gold eyes. He had a black clover motif located under his right eye and wears glasses. While the other had orange hair, the top portion tied back into a ponytail while the rest hangs straight. His eyes were green and under his left eye, he had a small red patch shaped like a diamond.

“It's run by Azul Ashengrotto, the prefect of the dorm,” the green-haired boy said. “Do you want to go there?”

Jonah shrugged. “Sort of.”

“Wait a minute…” The orange-haired boy's eyes lit up when he saw him. “You’re the new prefect for Ramshackle Dorm!” he said excitedly, walking toward him. “I’m surprised you can live in a place like that~! It’s so dark, and I feel like something’s gonna pop out~ I feel for ya, man~”

Jonah winced, remembering the state of the dorm on the first night. Well, he's not wrong...

“This guy’s being pretty rude,” Grim muttered. But that went unnoticed by the orange-haired boy.

“Oh. Now that I look at you closely, you guys are the freshies who wrecked the one-billion-worth chandelier and caused a ruckus yesterday!” he said, watching the other three at the table.

Ace groaned. “I feel like they won’t let that chandelier thing go until we graduate…”

“And you’re the super sinful kid who stole the prefect’s tart! I’m so lucky to meet the rumored freshies so early in the morning~ Hey, hey~! Let’s take a pic together!” The orange-haired kid, ignoring the grumbling from Ace, took out his phone and turned around. He raised his phone to the air, putting it on selfie-mode until the whole kids on the table were in the frame. He put up a peace sign before clicking the button.

“Yay~!” The senior pulled back his phone. “Hey, can I upload this? I wanna put hashtags so tell me your name.”

Deuce was a bit overwhelmed by his senior, but he answered nonetheless. “I’m Deuce Spade.”

“Ace,” Ace grumbled, still not over that he was known as the ‘tart thief’.

Grim puffed up his chest seemed happy being “I’m Grim and that’s my follower, Jonah.”

“Alright, upload done~” There was a ping on the senior phone. With a shining smile, he slid himself next to Jonah, who immediately grabbed his bowl before the stew spilled anywhere. “Oh, I’m Cater Diamond, a 3rd year. That makes me your senior~ Call me Cater, okay? Cay’s fine, too~ Heya, heya~” He gave the boys a wave.

“And my name’s Trey, Trey Clover. I’m a Heartslabyul 3rd year alongside Cater,” the green-haired senior said. Deuce, being a gentleman he is, scooted next to Ace, giving space for the senior to sit next to him. The senior gave them a smile before sitting down. He focused his attentions on the Ramshackle Prefect. “I've heard all about yesterday from Cater. Sorry for the trouble our dormmates caused you.”

Ace was pouting next to Deuce. “We’re right here, you know…”

Jonah shook his head with a genuine smile on his face. “It's alright. Yesterday was...” He let out a small chuckle. “An interesting adventure…”

Deuce couldn’t help but smile too. Yesterday was the most eventful thing that could ever happen in this life. Maybe just below that time when the acceptance letter from Night Raven College arrived in his mailbox.

“Ooh~  We’re in the same school so we should get along~” Diamond leaned in. “Give me your number~!”

Jonah gave him a sheepish chuckle. “But, I kinda... Don't have a phone.”

Diamond’s eyes widened and let out a loud gasp. “What?! That’s crazy! You’re like an endangered species!” His smile returned, though this time it seemed a little bit more… flirty? “I know a place to get the newest models for a cheap price~ How about we go on a date to choose one?”

Deuce probably imagined it, but did he just hear a small growl from-

“Cater, the newbie’s backing away,” Clover finally spoke up when he noticed Jonah was just staring at Diamond confusedly at the orange-haired. “Keep it to a minimum.”

“Ahaha! Sorry, sorry~!” Diamond let out a laugh. “So, you guys were asking about the Monstro Lounge?”

Jonah nodded. “Yes. You see, Senior Azul sort of helped us with the Ramshackle Dorm cleaning.” Deuce looked at Clover and Diamond's expression. They seemed surprised. “It's livable now thanks to him. And he kinda invites me to Monstro Lounge for coffee.”

Diamond whistled. “Heh~ That was unusual for Azul.”

Jonah tilted his head to the side. “Really?” He then shrugged. “Oh, and you said earlier about 'Octavinelle'. What is that?”

“That's one of the dorms in this school,” said Diamond.

“Remember at the Entrance Ceremony, when the Dark Mirror decided what dorm you’ll belong?” Both Ace and Duce nodded, though Deuce caught a slight frown from Jonah. “Well, there are seven dorms dedicated to the Great Seven.

“The first one is us.” Clover gestured to them. “The Heartslabyul Dorm, founded on the strict spirit of the Queen of heart. Next is… Ah, look over there.”

The first-years turned to the direction Clover was pointing. They saw a tall male with white hair and… are those wolf ears?

“Hybrid?” Jonah suggested.

“Judging by appearance, he looks like he’s from Savanaclaw, the dorm founded on the fortitude of the King of Beast.”

“They look like a dorm that’s got a lot of athletes and guys that's good at scuffles~!” Diamond added. “They’re all pretty buff, am I right?”

Then two tall kids walked past their table. It looked like they are twins, with two different eye colors and a black streak on their green hair, and… Wait a minute. Did the one with the goofy smile just wink at Jonah? Did the eye-patch boy notice that?

“Those kids are room Octavinelle, the dorm founded on the benevolence of the Sea Witch,” Trey continued as the watch the twins was on a table, not far from a couple that looks like they’re from the desert. One of them was laughing out loud while the other just sighed at his partner’s antics.

“Octavinelle…” Jonah repeated. “You think they know about Senior Azul?”

“Of course,” Diamond said. “They are Azul’s closest friends.”

“And not far from them are from Scarabia Dorm founded on the deliberation of the Sorcerer of the Sand,” Clover continued.

“It’s been said that both are dorms full of smart people,” Diamond added. “When it comes to written tests, nothing can beat those two. Ah, but Scarabia Prefect’s only so-so when it comes to studying~”

“Alright, I sense a red flag there,” Ace muttered.

“Good boy~ You’re adapting~” Diamond laughed and Ace looked like he wants to crush the croissant in his hand.

“Ah!” Grim suddenly shouted out, pointing at a group of students that had just arrived in the cafeteria, bringing sparkles as they walked. “That’s the girlish-boy that caught me!”

Diamond laughed. “Aw~ Are you disappointed? If you want a girl, I can introduce you to Miss Rosalia’s portrait in the West Building. She’s pretty awesome,” Diamond smiled at them. “I can introduce you if you’re interested~ Want me to set it up?”

“No need!” Ace shook his head, sticking out his tongue a little. “Even if she’s cute, she’s not really uh… Three-dimensional.”

“It doesn’t matter, does it~?” Diamond laughed. “Anyway, those guys are from Pomefiore, the dorm founded on the strenuous efforts of the Beautiful Queen. Pomefiore’s full of pretty faces who take their beauty routines very seriously. Their prefect’s a pretty famous influencer who’s got over five million followers~ They also got a lot of students who excel at alchemy and charms."

"Then there’s the Ignihyde Dorm, founded on the diligence of the King of the Underworld. But…” Diamond looked around. “I don’t see them around anywhere. The students from that dorm are all sorta private, so I don’t have friends there either. I guess you could call them the complete opposite of Heartslabyul?”

“So, they are some sort of hermit?” Grim asked.

Jonah pulled the cat’s ear. “Don’t be rude.”

Clover chuckled. “Though, it’s true that they all seem pretty behaved and quiet. They’ve got a lot of members who have great magical energy and they’re pretty techy, too.”

“Those are six dorms. What about the last one?” Deuce asked. “I remember there were some kids got sorted there, but I didn’t see the prefect at the Entrance Ceremony.”

Diamond and Clover looked at each other as if they were having a telepathic conversation. Then, Clover answered him. “The last one is the Diasomnia Dorm, founded on the elegance of the Witch of Thorns.”

"Those from Diasomnia are... Kind of the more exclusive group. It's pretty hard for us commoners to approach them. They have a special table and all." Diamond pointed at a long table at the corner of the cafeteria, separated from the rest of the world. Those who sat there had that mysterious aura.

“Hey, there’s a kid there.” Ace pointed at a member of Diasomnia, a young boy with pale skin and short dark hair with pink streaks that sticks out at the sides. He had large dark red eyes and pointed ears.

“Grade-skipping is allowed here, so that’s possible,” Clover shook his head, making all of them turned their head to him. “But, he’s not a child, he’s a third-year like us. His name is-”

“Lilia. Lilia Vanrouge.”

“AHH!” All of them looked up and saw the young boy, now floating upside down above them.

“Th-this guy teleported here!” Grim shouted, nearly falling off from his seat.

“Are thou curious about mine age? Kufufu.” Vanrouge turned around and slowly floated down, feet landed on their table. “I hast this baby-faced visage, yet as the sirrah with spectacles quoth, I be not at an age where one would speak to me a child.”

“Baby-faced…” Clover muttered.

Vanrouge just smiled and looked at them one by one. When his sight landed on Jonah, Deuce could’ve sworn his smile widened. Why though…

“There's no want to look from afar, just join up and speak with us.” Vanrouge continued, tearing his gaze away from the eye-patch boy. “Art we not all students of the like academy? We at Diasomnia shall aye welcome thou with ope arms.”

Standing near their table were two teenage boys, one has light green hair, who Deuce recognized from their alchemy class, while the other has silvery-white hair. None of them talk actually, which made things a bit uncomfortable.

Ace leaned toward Deuce. “Yeah, probably not,” he whispered.

Vanrouge chuckled. “Fufu. Apologizes for dropping 'i thy meal. Till we meet again.”

He jumped off the table. The two other students stepped aside when the shorter boy landed. Giving one final glance and a mysterious smile, Vanrouge walked away, and the two others followed him.

When they finally left, Ace let out a huge sigh. “Our seat is practically 20 meters away from theirs, but you’re telling me he heard us at that distance?!” he exclaimed. “Scary…”

“W-well…” Clover cleared his throat, trying to regain his composure. “That’s how it is. Diasomnia has many peculiar students. The students of the dorm are pretty gifted at magic in general. Their prefect, Malleus Draconia, is said to be one of the five greatest sorcerers of our world.”

“Malleus… Draconia…” Jonah looked down as his stew. He looked confused, brow frowned as if he was thinking hard.

“To be honest, Malleus is sorta like, the most awesome of the awesome,” Diamond added. “Well, our prefect’s pretty dangerous, too~”

 “You’re telling me!” Ace yelled, crushing the croissant in his hand. “He puts a collar on someone just for eating his tart? He’s the worst, no doubt!”

“Hmm? I’m the worst, am I?”

Ace huffed and nodded his head. “Yeah! Only a tyrant will keep up with those kinda rules. Gimme a break.”

Deuce froze, pulling Ace’s sleeve. “Ace!”

Ace turned his head toward him “What?” But then he looked up at the end of their table, where a familiar redhead stood there, crossing his arms in front of his chest and glaring at him, Ace immediately turned pale.

“GEH! Prefect?!”

Chapter Text

“GEH! Prefect?!”

Rosehearts was tapping his feet, looking like an angry mother who caught her children stealing from the cookie jar. Though that gaze didn’t frighten Diamond. “Hey there, Riddle! You look super cute today, too~”

Rosehearts didn’t even flinch. He kept on frowning at them. “Keep talking like that, Cater, and it will be off with your head, too.”

Diamond chuckled, rubbing the back of his neck. “Come on now~ Please go easy on me~”

Roseharts then turned to Jonah, the angry tone in his glare was lessen a bit, but still, it made Jonah feel guilty for some reason. “So, the headmaster let you and the cat enroll here after all those troubles, Jonah Argentum,” the prefect said as he let out a sigh. “He’s too soft. The whole system will soon collapse if you keep forgiving the rule-breakers. They better off without their head.”

He heard Grim growled next to him, probably didn’t take well being called 'cat' once again. Jonah kept his gaze on Rosehearts’, his brow frowned a little but didn’t dare to speak. Riddle's eyes wandered from Jonah and Grim to Ace and Deuce. “The headmaster might have forgiven all four of you, but I won’t.”

“Um...” Ace raised his hand a bit, making Rosehearts to focus toward him. “By the way, Prefect... Is it possible for you to remove this collar?”

Riddle put a hand on his hip. “Hmmph. I was thinking of removing it once you’ve repented, but judging from what you said a while ago, it seems like you’ve yet to do so. I’ll have you walk around like that for a while longer.”

Jonah could see Ace was trying his best not to frown or pout as Rosehearts continued, “You don’t have to worry. The first year lessons are focused more on classroom learning rather than magic training. If you can’t use magic, then something like yesterday’s ruckus should be impossible. It’s perfect, isn’t it?"

“Now, if you’re done eating, hurry and go to your next class. Laws of the Queen of Hearts Number #271:  One shall eat lunch and leave their seat within 15 minutes .” His brow’s frown deepened. “You know what happens when you break the rules, don’t you?”

Ace quietly sighed. “Another weird rule...”

Unfortunately for him, Riddle heard it. He slammed one hand on the table and said in a commanding tone. “Answer me with ‘Yes, Prefect’!”

Ace and Deuce immediately straightened up their posture. “Yes, Prefect!” they said in unison. Diamond and Clover gave them an apologetic smile.

Rosehearts nodded in satisfaction. “Very good.”

Clover raised his hand. “Now, now. I will look after them for you.”

Rosehearts crossed his arms in front of his chest again. “You’re the vice prefect, so you better do your job properly.” He then turned toward the door of the cafeteria. “I’ll be taking my leave now. As stated by the Laws of the Queen of Hearts Number #339:  After-meal lemon tea should have nothing more or less than 2 sugar cubes in it . To protect that rule, I shall need to buy more sugar cubes at the school store.” He then clicked his tongue as he walked away, mumbling, “Good grief, the sugar pot running out of sugar cubes is a capital crime...”

The gang watched Rosehearts until they saw him leaving the cafeteria, and immediately it was easier to breathe again. Diamond let out a huge sigh. “Man… That was scary...”

“He’s lookin’ like a bad guy now, yanno?” Grim grumbled, crossing his paws in front of his chest.

Deuce tensed up, looking at the door again, worrying that Rosehearts suddenly come back again. When he didn’t see the sign of his prefect returning, he let out a sigh. “Don’t say that! That’s rude.”

Well, Grim needed to learn to be careful with his mouth, but Jonah had to agree with him. He could hear whispered from a few Heartslabyul members near their table. And their whispering didn’t sound good at all.

“Did the prefect leave...?”

“I completely forgot to follow Laws of the Queen of Hearts Number #186:  One must never eat hamburger steak on Tuesdays !”

“Why would you do that?! What if he found out…?”

“Uugh… At least let us eat whatever we want…”

“Giving us a bit of freedom won’t hurt him, you know?”

Diamond and Clover glanced at each other worriedly. “The prefect managed to become the head in the first week after getting into the school,” Clover tried to explain, but the hotheaded first years in their table were just too pissed off. “He’s a little bit sharp-tongued, but he’s only got the dorm’s best intentions in mind, so he’s not a bad guy.”

“Hmmph. People who think like that don’t just put collars on others,” stated Grim, followed by a nod from Ace. Diamond and Clover just let out a nervous laugh. 

Nobody spoke after that. Everyone was a bit too overwhelmed by Rosehearts' sudden appearance. Jonah could understand that Senior Rosehearts was scary for someone nearly as short as him. But this atmosphere was just choking him. They needed a distraction. What if… Okay, he could try that.

Jonah cleared his throat, gaining everyone’s on the table attention. “Umm… Anyway. Can we do something about Ace's situation?” he asked. “I rather not have a freeloader in my dorm.”

Ace looked offended. “Aren't you a freeloader too?!”

Diamond chuckled.  Great, everything is bright again . “Well, according to Laws of the Queen of Hearts Number #53:  One shall have to replace things that one stole . Mister Trapolla here can’t go back in the dorm unless he brings some tarts to make up for what he took.”

Ace turned to the orange-haired senior. “Huh?! What the heck?!”

“Riddle was looking forward to getting the first slice of that whole cake,” he explained. “He probably won’t forgive you if you don’t bring the same thing~”

“But, isn’t a whole tart a little bit expensive?” asked Deuce.

“Ugh...” Ace rested his forehead on the table, Deuce patting his back as his condolence. “I don’t have that much money though...”

Diamond smiled at them. “Then why not make some~?” Ace and Deuce perked up at this. “Those tarts were all made by Trey here, y’know~?”

“You made all that Senior Trey?!” Ace looked toward the green-haired senior in disbelieve. “Amazing! It’s better than what they sell here!”

Clover chuckled. “Haha, thanks,” he said. “I think I have most of the tools and ingredients here...” He then pushed his glasses up his nose. “But I won’t simply offer you my services.”

Ace eyes widened. “Eh?! You’re gonna ask us to pay you!?”

Clover laughed at him. “There’s no way I can extort money from a junior, you know?” he said. “If we’re going to make the tart Riddle wants to eat next, we need a lot of chestnuts. Could you gather some for me?”

Ace sighed heavily. “Either way is a pain… So, how much do you need?”

“To make it for the Unbirthday Party, we’ll need it… Around two to three hundred, I think.”

Deuce and Grim slammed their paws/hands on to the table. “That much!?” Jonah choked out on his lukewarm soup.  That much fruit for one tart? How big was the tart that Ace ate?! No wonder he got into trouble.

Clover laughed at their shocked face. “I’ll have you help me with roasting them and peeling them.”

Grim stood up from his seat. “Can I go home?” asked Grim with a flat tone, making Ace glared at him.

“Yeah, I'm feeling kinda tired...” Jonah added, pushing his bowl away. Now, Ace just looked shocked.

Deuce nodded in agreement, placing his empty glass onto the table again, in which Ace is practically opening and closing his mouth like a fish. “Me, too.”

The redhead slammed his hand to the table, glaring at his fellow first year. “You traitors!”

Diamond laughed. “There, there~ Making them together and then eating them together will make it more delicious~! It’s that making memories thing~ It might help you start a cooking blog for all we know~”

Jonah hummed, stirring his soup as he thought about it.  Making memories huh? Well, maybe he could fill his empty slot in his brain with a few new memories…

“Keep this a secret from Riddle, but freshly made mount blanc is the best,” Clover added. “If you help me, you’ll get to try first…”

Grim’s cat ears immediately perked up at the mention of eating food. “Boys! Get your rear in gear!” He grabbed Jonah’s front jacket, shaking him in excitement. “We’re gonna go pick some chestnuts ‘til we drop!”

Jonah rolled his eyes. “Wow, you change your mind fast,” he muttered, pushing Grim’s paws away from his jacket, before turning to Clover. “Where can we find the chestnuts?”

“There are a lot of chestnut trees right by the forest behind the school’s botanical garden,” Clover explained. “We’re also going to need to buy more ingredients, so you guys can split the job.”

As the group talked some more, mostly Ace and Grim arguing who will do the picking or shopping, Deuce being the middle ground, Diamond playing his phone, while Clover went to buy some lemon tea, but nobody noticed a small movement from Jonah. He lifted his eye-patch a little, rubbing the eye underneath it. 

Strange… It was kind of itchy since Senior Rosehearts left…

Chapter Text

Jonah was still wondering how he never realized this place. It was a forest behind the campus, how could he not see that? But then again, he had been only attended this place for two days.

After some arguing, they finally managed to share the job. Jonah and Grim were in chestnut picking duty while Deuce and Ace on the shopping duty. Cater followed Jonah and Grim to show the way while Trey went back to Heartslabyul to prepare the tools they need.

“Whoa! There are a lotta chestnuts here!” Grim said excitedly, flying to the center of the open area of the wood. “If we have this much, then it’s all-you-can-eat mont blanc for us!” He flew closer to one of the hanging chestnut. “Let’s hurry and-”

When his paws touched the chestnut, he immediately pulled them back. “Gah! The thorns pricked my paws!”

Diamond laughed at him. “You should find a bucket first unless you want to carry those things all the way back to the kitchen.” He then pointed at a building made out of glass. “There’s a botanical garden over there. You can find a bucket or something.”

Jonah nodded. “I’ll get it.” He then paused his steps and turned to Diamond. “Aren't you going to help?”

The senior gave him a cheeky smile. “I’ve done my job bringing you here. It’s your turn now.”

Jonah let out a sigh. He should’ve expected that answer.


The botanical garden was bigger than he expected. The air in that sunshine-filled room was sweet because of the various fruits and flowers. Jonah walked through the brick pathway, looking around. It was pretty in here. Maybe he could return to explore his place when everything is over. Wonder if anybody was here though? Maybe he could ask for help.

“Ah…”

Jonah looked up. Where did that voice come from?

He looked around as saw a student in their lab coat uniform, crouching in front of the box at the corner of the room under the shadow of a small tarp-tent. Jonah walked up to him, stopping just a few steps behind the student. “They’re looking good,” the student said.

Jonah cleared his throat, trying to gain his attention. “Excuse me?”

It worked because the other boy perked up and turned around, standing. That was when Jonah realized that this boy was so tall that he had to tilt his head up. Why was every boy in this school so damn tall? He had teal hair, with a longer, darker grey strand framing his left side. His eyes have heterochromia iridium; his left eye was yellow, while his right eye was olive.

Wait a second. He had seen this boy before. He was passing their table at the cafeteria with his look-alike. Didn’t Diamond say that he’s close to Azul?

The boy was surprised a little, but he soon regained his composure. “Hello there,” he said, putting a hand on his chest as he bowed slightly. “Can I help you?”

Jonah blinked, still amazed by his height, and cleared his throat. “Well, I’m just looking for a bucket,” he said. “What about you?”

The boy smiled. “Oh, just tending my mushroom garden here,” he said, crouching back down. Jonah tilted his head and walked closer to him. True, he could see there were some small mushrooms with various wide of cap, mostly brown color.

The boy turned his head toward Jonah, gesturing him to come closer. Jonah raised his eyebrow but then shrugged. Eh, why not? He crouched down next to the boy. “Why are you planting mushroom?” he asked.

The boy looked at him as if Jonah just grew a second head. “Why not?” He turned back to the small patch. “This is just an experiment. And it’s working quite well.” He chuckled again. “You can eat them actually.”

“Really?” Jonah perked up. “I thought they are poisonous.”

“Some are, but there are plenty of edible ones,” the boy said with a chuckle. He then started to point the mushroom that he grew. “These are Portobello… And those ones are Oyster… And here are the Shiitake…”

“Wow, that’s a lot,” Jonah said, chuckling. “I thought they’re just the same mushroom.”

The boy chuckled. “There a more actually. I may try to grow some Button or Enoki.” He turned to Jonah with a soft smile. “You’re way more interested in mushroom than my brother.”

Jonah shrugged. “I’m learning a lot from you today.” He then remembered. “We haven’t introduced ourselves right?”

The boy shook his head. “No, we haven’t.” He then offered his hand. “Jade Leech, second year, Octavinelle.”

Jonah took the hand, giving it a firm shake. “Jonah Argentum, first year… Ramshackle?” He ended with a small laugh. “I have a complicated situation.”

Leech smiled. “Yes. Azul mentioned it.”

“Speaking of Senior Azul…” Jonah let go of their hand. “Did you know he basically renovates the whole dorm?”

He nodded. “Yes. I was there.”

Jonah raised an eyebrow at him. “Do you know why?” Afraid that he had offended him, he quickly added, “Not that I’m complaining! I’m grateful for that! But still, it was strange… Not in a bad way!”

Leech let out a laughed. “Oh, aren’t you adorable…”

Jonah stopped talking. Was it bad for a boy to be called ‘adorable’?

Leech continued. “I can see why Azul took an interest in you,” he said. “Didn’t he give you an invitation? Why don’t you come to Mostro Lounge after this?”

Jonah unfortunately had to shake his head. “Sorry, I can’t,” he said, feeling guilty. “My friend got into trouble and I'm basically helping him out.”

Leech slowly nodded. “I see. I’ll let Azul know. And by the way...” He reached out something next to him and put several buckets, stacked upon each other, in front of Jonah. “You said you need a bucket. What for?”

Jonah looked at the bucket. Oh yeah. This was the reason he came here right? “I’m picking chestnut for my friend. We have to make a replacement tart because he accidentally ate the real one.”

“Do you need any help?” Leech asked.

Once again, Jonah shook his head. “There’s no need, we can handle it.” He stood up, buckets in his hand. “I’ll return these soon.” He smiled. “Thanks for the talk, Senior Leech.”

Leech stood up, and Jonah inwardly winced at the height differences. “Just call me Jade. You’ll get confused with my brother.”

Jonah nodded again. “Alright. Thank you again, Senior Jade.” He gave him a small nod, in which Jade return with a nod from himself. Jonah then turned around and walked toward the door.

Jade kept watching the boy until he was out of the botanical garden. Well, Azul would be a little bit disappointed, but he’ll understand. He let out a chuckle. Interesting boy indeed…


“What took you so long?” Grim flew toward his face, paws on his hips, and looking so annoyed. “We won’t be able to eat some tarts if we don’t bring some back!”

Jonah rolled his eyes. “I was distracted.”

Diamond looked up from his phone. “By what?”

“A senior,” Jonah answered, walking toward a tree and put the buckets underneath him. He pulled the buckets off one by one and gave one to Grim. “Here.”

Grim wasn’t so pissed like before. He immediately took the basket and immediately flew toward one of the trees, humming about chestnut picking. While Jonah, with his small height, had to climb the tree and tossed the chestnut bellow. It hadn’t occurred to him how he knew how to climb a tree. It felt so natural for him…

Chapter Text

"Pardon us!" As Deuce pushed the door open he was greeted by a room filled with various knick-knacks which were aesthetically reminded him of a voodoo store. Crystal skulls, jars with questionable liquids, and grimoires between shelves. Puppets and masks hung down from the ceiling. Some animal figures on the counter. Even a purple piano near the entrance.

"Geez, this looks like my house storage room," Ace muttered as he followed Deuce in. "Ya sure we can find actual ingredients here?"

Deuce glanced at Ace before glancing at the shopping list in his hand. Fresh cream, two packs of milk, two cartons of eggs, silicon cups, five canned fruits...  Quite a lot actually. He was glad Ace joined him. Even if he was used to carrying lots of heavy groceries when going shopping with his mother on sales hours, it was always good when you have a helping hand.

"Hey! Little lost lambs!" Both Ace and Deuce jumped when a man suddenly popped from behind the counter. "Welcome to Mr. S’s Mystery Shop!"

The lithe young man had magenta eyes, black-and-purple dreads flipped over the right side of his head, and an undercut. He had white skeletal markings painted beneath his eyes, on his neck, on his chest, and his forearms. There were also white rib markings on the bright purple vest that he wore beneath his maroon blazer; this skeletal motif was complete with a small skull affixed to his hat.

"What is it that you wish for today?" the man, who Deuce guessed was Mr. S, said as he rubbing his hand. "A charm against cheating? An ancient king’s mirror? Or maybe, some cursed tarot cards?"

Deuce walked up to the counter. "We would like to buy the things written on this note," he said, sliding the note in front of Mr. S. The man took it and re-read it out loud, whistling when he reached the last thing on the list.

"What a pretty sweet line-up~" He pointed finger guns at him. "OK! I shall bring them out now.”

When Mr. S walked deeper into the shop, Ace managed to stand beside Deuce. "You think he has those stuff here?" In which Deuce only shrugged.

To their surprise, Mr. S managed to come back with all the ingredients they needed. "Thank you for the wait~" he said as he put the last carton filled egg into a plastic bag. "It is rather heavy, so are you sure you can carry them all? If you act now, I can throw in a special bag to carry all of those things for 30% off of its original price~!" He ended with a wink.

Ace and Deuce exchanged glances, knowing that they had the same idea. "We can carry these on our own," said Deuce as he grabbed the one filled with canned fruit while giving the others to Ace.

Mr. S gave them a thumbs up. "OK, OK! Then, I shall be waiting for your return, lost little lambs! Bye~!"


"Geez... This is heavy," Ace groaned as both he and Deuce walked down the Main Street. The ginger-head glanced at Deuce. He carried twice the weight he was carrying! And how was this dude not sweating yet?! "How did you do it?"

Deuce glanced at him confusedly. "Do what?"

"This!" Ace lifted his grocery bags before lowering them again. "How can you carry all that without breaking a sweat?"

Deuce looked at Ace's groceries then to his own. "Oh, I help my mother carrying her groceries frequently," he said and Ace swore he saw the corner of Deuce's lips pulled up. "I’m the only man in the family, so I’m used to helping a lot with hard labor."

Ace frowned. "So, you're a momma boy?"

Deuce's cheeks turned red as he stopped his tracks, face blushing in embarrassment. "I'm not!"

Ace grinned. "Admit it! You're a momma boy!"

Ace walked ahead, laughing. He turned his head to look at the still red-faced Deuce which was amusing Ace thought. He grinned at the blunette again before looking straight ahead again-

*thud*

... Only to crash onto someone, making Ace lose his grip on the plastic bag filled with the eggs and let it feel to the street.

"AH! SHIT!" Ace immediately knelt in panic. When he untied the plastic to check on the eggs, it was already filled with yellow and white goo. "All of the eggs cracked!"

"Where the hell are ya lookin’ at?"

Ace looked up. Two Hearslabyul students stood in front of him, way buffier than him. But Ace wasn't afraid. The ginger-head stood and glared at them. "And what about you? Standing in the middle of the road like a doofus."

The senior that he bumped into glared gack. "Huh? That how a freshie should talk to his senior?" His hand reached Ace jacket and he was pulled closer to his face. "HOW RUDE!"

Ace heard footsteps running toward him and immediately followed by another hand grabbing the senior's hand. "Senior." Ace froze. He glanced at Deuce. Did he just sound... deeper than usual? "Our carton of eggs is ruined."

The senior turned to Deuce. "The hell? You sayin’ it’s my fault, then?"

Deuce didn't look afraid of the bigger senior. He just kept glaring and speaking in that deep voice. "Yes. Please pay us back for the eggs. And also, please apologize to the chickens."

"Hah~? Why are ya makin’ a ruckus over eggs?" The other senior decided to join in, sneering at them. "It didn’t hit the ground so you can still eat it. Stop makin’ a fuss over little things."

The senior who was holding Ace smirked at them. "Yeah~ I saved you the trouble of breaking them!"

Ace growled at him. "Why you-"

Before anyone could anticipate it, before even the senior could finish their laugh, a fist flew and hit the senior on the cheek. The attack was so hard that the senior dropped Ace like a ragdoll. Ace winched, rubbing his butt, but then he heard footsteps again. He looked up and saw Deuce, cracking his knuckles, glaring at the stunned seniors. Ace heard him whispered, "...to laugh about."

The senior whose face was punched turned his head toward Deuce. "The fuck you said to me?!"

"This ain't something to laugh about!" Deuce yelled with feral eyes. "You don't get to make decisions for us! These eggs will be used to make a delicious tart in place of turning into chicks, bastard! Do you understand me, huh!?"

What the heck is he saying?! Deuce! You want to be cool, but you just sound stupid!

Wait a minute. Ace has seen this before. It was only a second, but Ace remember he had seen that wild eyes Deuce had. That’s right! It was back during their argument in the Dwarfs' Mine before Grim cut them off.

The other senior took a step backward in fear. Ace couldn't blame him. Deuce was really scary right now. "Wh-what’s with him all of a sudden…?!"

"If you’re not gonna pay me back for the six eggs..." Deuce stepped forward. "I got no choice but to beat the hell out of you six times."

"Huh!?"

"Grit your teeth, assholes!"

"Why you-!" The senior ran toward him. Ace immediately stood up.

"Idiot! Get out of the way!" he yelled. But Deuce just raised his fists, taking the challenge. The senior raised his fist, ready to hit him. But Deuce was also prepared. Just when the senior closed to him, Deuce punched him on the cheek, throwing the senior to the ground.

"Oi!" The other senior shouted, clearly not happy that his friend was being attacked. He ran toward him, but Deuce also started running. When they got, Deuce punched him from under his chin, sending him flying back to the ground.

The first senior got up again. “I’m getting you-” But before he could do anything Deuce turned around, giving him a couple of punches with his fists before gave him a spin-attack with his leg on the head.

The second senior got up and helped the kicked senior, Deuce was still standing, cracking his knuckles and growling a wild animal. “Th-this guy’s a total madman!” they screamed. “Let’s run! I’m so sorry, Mr. Chicken!”

“Apologize to the eggs a hundred times before you stuff your faces next time, dumbass!” shouted Deuce one last time before unclenching his fists, head down, shoulder going up-down, and breathing hard. Ace was still standing behind him, shocked at what he just saw. Deuce… Deuce just beat up two guys without breaking a sweat!

“Wh-” Ace immediately ran in front of Deuce, grabbing his shoulders, and Deuce lifted his head with a gasp. “Whoa, dude!” Ace shook his shoulder. “What was that?”

Deuce was still breathing heavily, but he didn’t look feral. In fact, he looked… terrified? “I-I screwed up again…” the blunette whispered, not with an angry tone, but in a sad, almost guilt-filled, tone. “I promised myself that I’d be a model student for sure this time, and yet-!”

Ace blinked, not understanding the situation. Deuce lowered his head again, hugging his trembling arms. “I’m not supposed to do that…” he whispered again. “I can’t make mom cry again…”

Mom? “You had a rough time at home?” Ace tried to ask.

Deuce shrugged a little. “More like I was a bad boy.” Ace raised an eyebrow at him. Deuce? A bad boy? That doesn’t sound right. But then again, he didn’t know him so well. And from that fight, Ace knew he had experienced. “My mom didn’t take my delinquent lifestyle well. So…”

“So, you want to change,” Ace finished his sentence, in which Deuce nodded.

“Yeah.” He gritted his teeth. “And yet… Damn it!”

“Hey!” Ace shook his shoulder again. “Listen to me.”

Deuce was silent for the next few seconds, so Ace took it as the sign that he was listening. “Think about this: Isn't enduring all of that is also a part of being a model student?”

Deuce’s breath hitched. He looked up, blue eyes staring at Ace in confusion. “Eh…?”

Ace dropped his hands from Deuce’s shoulders. “Too bad I didn’t get to join in the fight,” he grumbled, rubbing the back of his neck. “You took care of them too fast.”

“Ace…”

Ace glanced at Deuce again. “Even model students have the right to be angry sometimes.”

Deuce gasped. The wind blew softly as the two boys stared at each other. Slowly Deuce smiled. It was just a small smile, but Ace took this as a victory on his side, smiling back at him. He didn’t know how Deuce’s family situation was, but he wanted to know. After all of the trouble they’ve spent together in two days, maybe they are ready to get to know each other better.

Deuce looked at the yolk filled plastic behind them. He let out a sigh. “May those baby chicks rest in peace…”

Huh?

"Wait. What are you talking about?"

Deuce turned to him confusedly again and Ace raised an eyebrow at him. "Those eggs don’t turn to chicks," Ace said. "They weren’t fertilized, so they won’t hatch into chicks in the first place."

...

...

...

"WH-WHAT?! YOU’VE GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!"

Geez... This boy is a dumbass...

Chapter Text

"Yosh! Everyone!” Cater waved to his phone scene. It was on selfie mode, recording-live for his magicam. “We’re here, live at the Night Raven College Kitchen!” He walked backward toward Trey and put his arm around his shoulder. “Tell me, Masterchef Trey, what are we doing today?”

Trey chuckled as he tied his apron behind his back. “Special mont blanc with some tutty-fruity topping!”

“Oh~ Sound delicious!” Cater then moved the camera to the group of first-years who are preparing the chestnut on an oven tray. “And these are our mini helpers! Say hi, boys!”

Grim was excited, waving his paws to the camera, while Ace threw up a peace sign and he threw his arm around Jonah himself looked confused. Glancing at his friends, he decided to give an awkward wave. Meanwhile, Deuce was sulking in the background. You can imagine the gloomy rain cloud hovering above him.

"Hey, what's happened to him?" Cater asked, turning the camera to Ace.

Ace visibly winched. "Chick shock..."

"I've been lied to for sixteen years..." muttered Deuce. Lucky for him, it didn’t get caught by the camera. Cater focused the camera on himself again.

“We’ll be recording bits by bits through the process. So stay tune~!” 


“We have two teams here!” Cater said, as he shot the two occupied counter with normal camera mode. He walked toward Trey and Ace. “What’s going on here, boys?”

Ace was busy drawing a large size circle on a piece of parchment paper. This was the first time they had ever seen Ace in complete focus.

“We’ll be making the meringues.” Cater moved the camera on to Trey who just spoke. “The oven is pre-heated and now for the ingredients.” Trey took out a large bowl and cracked the eggs before adding the salt and started beating it.

“Ace, help me put the tartar cream for a second,” Trey said, still focusing on beating.

“Gotcha!” Ace said as he put down the pencil for a moment and put in the cream of tartar in the bowl. Trey said his thanks and Ace went back to his drawing. Taking out another parchment paper, he started to draw some smaller circles of the same size.

“We’ll be moving the other side~” Cater walked toward the other counter where Deuce, Jonah and Grim were on the chestnut peeling duty. “How is it going so far~?”

“Look, look!” Grim suddenly flew so close to the camera that Cater needed to step back. “See how clean they are? I’m the best at these. Compare to those two!”

Deuce stopped, looking so offended. “I peeled them cleanly, too!” He raised the peeled chestnut in his hand. “Take a look for yourself!”

Cater zoomed in to the chestnut. “Oo~ Those are good!” He then turned to Jonah who was very focused. “Whoa! Jonah! Look at that!” Cater picked up the nearly full bowl of peeled chestnut and Jonah was still going. “You’re good at this! So quick.”

Jonah raised his head. “What?” He glanced at his chestnut. “It was easy.” Awkwardly, he gave the camera another wave, making Cater laughed. 


“Look at these guys!” Cater raised the whisk from the bowl of stiff meringue. “Perfectly whisked!” He then moved to Trey who just finished putting the meringue into a pastry bag. “Now, pay attention! You’re about to see a masterpiece!”

Trey piped the meringue slowly onto one of the small circles that Ace just drew. It fit perfectly into the circle and Cater cheered. “Like a master!” Trey pushed his glasses up to his nose. Cater then moved to Ace. The ginger-haired boy piped the cream, nearly as perfect as Trey. “Whoa! You’re good at this!”

Ace grinned. “Thanks! I’m pretty dexterous, you know.” 


“Oh! Oh! Oh!” Cater filmed Jonah toasting the chestnut, tossing them up, and catching them in the pan without spilling anything. Deuce and Grim watched him in awe. “We have a natural talent here!” Earlier, they found out that the ovenproof dish didn’t have enough space to roast the chestnuts, so they did manually too.

“Where did you learn this?” Cater asked. Jonah tossed it a few times more before looking up.

“What? It’s pretty easy,” the eye-patch boy answer, which caused Deuce and Grim’s jaws to drop.

“That’s just no way!” Cater immediately zoomed to Ace who just said that. “There’s just no way that’s a natural talent.”

Cater moved to Jonah again, who kept tossing the chestnut, completely ignoring Ace.

Cater inhaled loudly and deeply. “You guys can’t smell this, but the smell of toasted chestnut is just so good…” 


“Okay, the chestnuts are toasted, peeled again, and just finished boiling for 30 minutes,” Cater said, aiming the camera at Trey. "What should we do next, chef?"

Trey turned out the stove. "We're going to pure the chestnut with some thin sugar syrup with some oyster sauce."

They could hear the pan cluttered in the background. "Oyster sauce?!" shouted Ace and Deuce in the background.

"Exactly," Trey smiled at them. "The savory flavor of the chestnuts gives the cream a rich flavor." Turning his head to the camera, he lifted a bottle. "And then, to make it better, I use this 'Walrus-Brand Young Oyster Sauce'. There’s no famous pâtissière who doesn’t use this for their tarts, you know?"

"Really...?" Deuce peaked from behind one of Trey's shoulder. "It’s a pretty salty sauce, isn’t it?"

"You know how they put chocolate in curry, too?" Ace peaked from Trey's other shoulder. "It kinda makes sense..."

Trey snorted, before laughing out loud, looking at the freshmen. "I was just joking! There’s no way I’d put oyster sauce in a dessert, you know?"

"What the heck!?" Ace screamed. "Are you making fun of us!?"

"Haha! It’s obviously impossible if you think about it a little~" Trey looked at the camera again. "The moral lesson here is that you shouldn’t believe anything you’re told. Learn to doubt a bit, okay~?"

Trey picked up the (luckily) white syrup and pour it into the food processor that was filled with chestnut. Grim ended it by closing the food processor.

“Now a small warning for headphone users, because this is about to get loud,” Cater said.

“Ready!” said Grim and Jonah nodded in response, turning on the food processor. Grim, who kept his paws on the lid, was shaking along with the pureeing process.


“Why won’t it come out…?” Deuce muttered as he tried to squeeze the chestnut puree around the prepared meringue in a silicon cup. Deuce turned the piping back around, nothing seemed wrong with it. He pressed the puree from the top, trying to make it slide down to the plastic-

Only for the bag to tear from the side, puree spilling down. “NO!”

In the background, Ace was laughing out loud along with the shaking camera.


“Let’s try little by little…” This time Deuce prepared less puree into the plastic. He tried to press it again. “So hard…”

Unfortunately, there was a little hole just right next to the tip. “It came from the side!”

The camera shook again, followed by Cater’s laughed.

“Dude, you wasting our chestnuts!” Ace yelled between his laugh. 


“Third time the charm…” This time, Deuce had even lesser puree in the piping back. The gang gathered behind him, watching him squeezed the bag. “Please…”

The puree came out normally. “Yes!”

The camera shook again as the gang clapped and cheered for the blunette. “Hip hip hurray!” Cater cheered, ruffling Deuce’s hair.  “Character skill achieved right there, guys!” 


“Guys, look at this…” Cater, on selfie mode, lifted the finished mont blanc. It was decorated with whipped cream and canned fruit on top and sprinkled with powder sugar. “Look at this delicious delicacy… And check this out!”

Lowering the smaller moth blanc from the camera, he revealed a bigger mont blanc on the counter, with Ace and Grim singing ‘TA-RA-RA-RAAA!’

“That has to be the biggest mont blanc I’ve ever seen!” Cater cheered with the others cheering in the background. “Great work, guys!”


The camera was on normal mode as Cater recorded the juniors eating the dessert. “How does it taste like, boys?”

Grim literally went flying when he took a bite of the tart. “It’s not overly sweet but still has a richness to it! My mouth feels like it’s in a field of chestnuts, yanno~!”

Trey chuckled. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“Oh, damn…!” Ace said with a mouth filled with cream.

“Was it worth it for the whole piping struggle, Deuce?” Cater moved to Deuce. He didn’t say anything, just giving the camera a thumbs up.

Cater moved to Jonah. “Dude, you have whipped cream on your nose!” Jonah immediately wiped it with the back of his hand.

Cater turned back to Trey. “Hey, Trey. You should show them the thing.”

Trey raised an eyebrow. “‘The thing’?”

“You know…” Not shown in the camera, Cater was making some wand-waving movement. Slowly Trey nodded in understanding. “Oh…” He turned to the juniors. “You boys, what are your favorite foods?

Ace took another bite of the tart. “Mine is… Cherry pie and hamburger,” he said with a full mouth.

Grim licked his lips. “Mine is canned tuna. Oh, and cheesy omelet, grilled meat, pudding, and-”

Deuce quickly cut him off before he could list every food in the land, “If I were to choose, I’d probably pick rice omelet.”

Cater quickly turned the camera around so his face was shown. “Mine is grilled rum meat with diablo sauce.”

He turned the camera again toward Jonah “I guess… Bonzabeast stew?”

Trey nodded. “Alright.” He put his tart on the counter before taking out his magical pen. “Here we go. [Doodle Suit]!” A tiny magic circle appeared underneath each mont blanc the kids were holding and suddenly burst into white sprinkles, coating the dessert. “Take another bite of the mont blanc, if you’d please.”

The kids exchanged glanced before doing what Trey said. The camera zoomed in to Jonah's widened eye. “This is-?!”

Ace licked the whipped cream a little. “EH?!” He eyed his tart in amazement. “This is… It’s a mont blanc, but I can taste cherry pie!”

Grim eyes widened as he bites into the tart. “It’s canned tuna flavor!” He took another bite. “Now it’s cheesy omelet!” And another. “Grilled chicken and then…” He licked the whipped cream. “Pudding!”

“It’s amazing!” Deuce exclaimed as he wiped his mouth. “Is changing something’s flavor your unique magic, Senior Clover?”

“Yeah, Trey,” Cater turned the camera to himself and gave Trey a one-sided hug. “Explain to us about your unique magic.”

Trey chuckled as he pushed his glasses. “It’s the ability to overwrite things with what you imagine, not only taste but colors and smells,” he explained. “It’s not a permanent effect so it’s sort of like a sketch only. That’s why I call this magic ‘doodle’. It’s merely sketching.”

“It’s interesting, right?!” Cater said. “Don’tcha think that'll fly well if you do this at a tea party with girls~?” He then turned the camera to Ace. “You think this will satisfied Riddle?”

“Oh, definitely!” Ace grinned. “I’ll definitely make him remove this damn collar! Just you wait, Prefect!” 


The camera was in selfie mode again, with Cater on the front and the other showing up on the back, posing and waving. “That’s all for today, guys! Thank you for tuning in~”

A few seconds later, Cater posted a picture to end the great moment. He stood in the very front, holding the camera in one hand and his mont blanc in the other. Everyone else also had their mont blanc in their hand. Grim looked like he tried to be front and center, but Ace pushed him down and Deuce looking so stiff in the picture. Trey and Jonah were at the back with Trey tipping his head and Jonah giving an awkward wave. They were all smiling, raising their pastry, looking all happy.


*knock knock*

In a dim lilted room, Riddle put his book down as he said, “Enter.”

A group of Heartslabyul students walked into his room with terrified looks on their faces. They should be. They had broken the Laws of the Queen of Hearts Number #256: One should not drink lemonade with honey when it’s past 8 in the evening.

Rule breakers should be punished. They mustn't get away with it.

Riddle stood up from his seat as he slowly walked toward the students. “I hope you understand what you have done…”

Even their pleading and kneeling didn’t faze the prefect. Riddle clenched onto his magical pen again, changing it into his staff as he looked at the miserable students, summoning a magic circle around their necks.

[OFF WITH YOUR HEAD]!”

Chapter Text

"Alright." Trey closed the box where he had placed their mont blanc. "You can give the tart to the prefect tomorrow." He picked up the box and gave it to Ace. "Don't be late for the Unbirthday Party tomorrow, 'kay?"

"And..." Cater added. "Unfortunately I can't let you go back to the dorm yet. So, you need to sleep somewhere else."

Ace's jaw dropped. "What?! Are you telling me to sleep outside?!"

Trey chuckled as he picked up a tissue to wipe his hands. "Well, why don't you guys have a sleepover at Ramschackle Dorm?"

"Eh?" Came from the first-years.

"Deuce can join in too to help keep an eye on Ace," Trey added again. "As vice prefect, I give you permission."

Cater raised an eyebrow at him. "Trey, you're spoiling them!" He turned to Jonah with a lopsided smile. "Jonah..." He gave the smaller boy a one-sided hug. "Can I join you too?"

Trey laughed at him and rolled his eyes. "You’re not allowed."

"Yeah!" Grim suddenly appeared between Jonah and Cater, pushing the senior's face away from the freshman. He stood on Jonah's head, paws crossed in front of his puffed-up chest. "You have to pay to stay! 10 cans of tuna!"

Cater pouted. "Tch. Bringn' me down like that..."

Trey turned to Jonah. "Then, I’m sorry for leaving our two boys in your care again, Jonah."

Jonah shrugged with a smile on his face. "No worries. Maybe this is my job to babysit them from now on." He offered his hand and Trey took it, shaking their hand in agreement.

"I'll go back to the dorm first to get some clean clothes for tomorrow," Deuce said. "I'll see you at the dorm."

Jonah nodded. "Alright." He turned to the seniors and gave them a nod. "Well, see you tomorrow."


"Captain! Why you don't have any snacks here?"

Jonah glanced into the hallway toward the Ramshackle Dorm’s kitchen. He pulled down his eye-patch after rubbing his itch away and got off from the couch. He walked toward the kitchen to meet up with Ace. Just like the rest of the dorm, the kitchen looks brand new. The counter is squeaky white without any stain on them. The new electric stove hadn't been used yet. Various pan and knives lined up on the wall. Heck, even the fridge was filled with cooking ingredients.

He really needs to meet Senior Azul as soon as possible…

"I've been only living here for one night Ace," Jonah said as he walked toward Ace who was kneeling in front of the fridge. "You think I would care anything about food?"

Ace looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "What do you mean? Your fridge is already stocked up, but you have to cook all of these."

"Then why don't you cook them if you're so hungry?" Jonah asked back.

Before Ace could answer, Grim flew toward them, holding a Styrofoam cup of instant noodle. "Jonah! That Azul kid didn't buy any tuna can!"

Jonah lowered the cup noodle from his face. "We don't need tuna cans!"

"Not fair!" Grim yelled, shaking the cup noodle in his hand. "How come you have your cup noodles but The Great Me don't get my tuna cat?"

"Can I have one of those?" Ace perked up from behind Grimm.

Jonah put his hands on his hips. “Are you two really that hungry?” Ace and Grimm nodded their head, making Jonah sighed. “Ugh, fine. I’ll make you something.”

“Thank you, Captain~” Ace and Grim cheered, and Jonah tried his best not to smile. He still likes being called the ‘captain’. When Ace and Grim left the kitchen, Jonah took out four cups of noodles from the cupboard. Deuce should be arriving soon and he would probably be hungry too.

A few minutes later, as he was cutting up some scallions, he looked up when someone called his name. Deuce stood at the doorway to the kitchen with a bag slung over his shoulder. “Sorry for the intrusion.”

Jonah smiled at him. “It’s alright. Ace can show you your room.”

"Hey, this is a sleepover." Ace suddenly popped up from behind Deuce. "Can't we just sleep on the lounge instead of our room?"

Jonah looked up again. "The floor is hard."

"Then we'll take the mattress here too,” said Ace, slinging his arm over Deuce’s shoulder. "Come on, it'll be fun!"

"What kind of fun?" Jonah asked again as he turned to turn off the stove with boiling water.

"I have some UNO," Deuce said. When Jonah looked at him confusedly, he continued, "It's a card game."

Ace grinned. "Perfect!"

Jonah glanced at the, “I don’t know how to play-”

“We’ll teach you!” Ace cut him from his sentences. “Come on, I don’t want to die by boredom! This will be a fun game!”

Jonah sighed again. “Fine.” He turned to the stove again, flipping strips of bacon on the pan. “You guys prepared the bed. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”


“I brought this too.” Deuce put a bag of marshmallows in the middle of the group. There were four beds in the lounge now, all occupied by the three boys and a cat, each with their own cup noodle with bacon and scallions.

“Finally, a snack!” Ace reached out and popped a marshmallow into his mouth.

Jonah looked at him in disgust. “Pick one food and finish it before eating another one.” He stuck out his tongue. "Yuck!"

Ace grinned at him. “Mind your own food, Captain.”

Grim was slurping the broth loudly, finishing it with an ‘ah~’. “Another one, please!” he said, raising his cup.

“No,” Jonah answered briefly.

Grim pouted. “Boo~ You’re no fun~” He threw the empty cup to the side and reached out for two marshmallows, stuffing them into his mouth.

Ace put down his cup and picked up the card between his and Deuce's bed. “Alright, Captain. Listen up!” When Jonah looked up from slurping his noodle, Ace continued, “Here’s how the game work: All you have to do is match the color or the number. If you put out a ‘7’ you have to trade cards with one of the players. If you put out a ‘0’, all players must swap cards with the person next to them according to the order of play. Understand?”

Jonah shook his head.

Ace sighed but still smiling as he started to shuffle the deck of cards. “You’ll learn quickly. This will be fun!”


“This is not fun at all…” Jonah looked up from his card to the grumbling Ace who was glaring at his hand. “I can’t believe we nearly lost to Grim…”

“Nyehehe.” Grim was fanning the last card in his hand. All of them had changed into their pajamas, or in Grim’s case, he was no longer wearing his bow. The cat was sitting on his pillow so that he had equal height as the other three. Both Jonah and Deuce were sitting cross-legged on their mattress, Jonah had a blanket slung over his shoulders, while Ace was laying on his stomach, arms and chin propped up on his pillow.

“You guys better prepare to buy me a lot of tuna can as my winning prize,” said Grim smugly. “And I choose, blue!”

Deuce took out his own wild-card. “Now, I choose red!”

Ace took out a 3-red while Jonah took out 5-red. All of them stared at Grim, wondering what the cat had planned.

And he took out a 2-red.

“NO!” Ace screamed throwing his cards in the air as Grim was laughing in his face.


Ace took out a 6-yellow, followed by Jonah’s 6-green.

“I’m going to have to stop you there, Deuce!” Grim took out a stop-green.

“Aw come on!” Deuce yelled at the smug-looking cat. “Let me play!” He had the most cards between them after all.

Ace took out a wild-card. “What color do you want, Captain?”

Jonah looked at his cards. “Hmm… I’ll take blue.”

Ace looked up to the ceiling. “Nah. I’ll choose red.”

Jonah gave him a sideways glance. “Okay then.” He took out a 7-red. “Give me your cards.”

Ace was screaming while Deuce and Grim laughed at him. It was Grim’s turn again and he took out a +4.

“Why?!” Deuce yelled again, knowing that he couldn’t fight it.

Grim just grinned. “This game is based on skill~ And I choose blue!”

Ace was grinning after Deuce took out a 8-blue. “You know what?” He took out a 7-blue. “Give me back my cards!” He and Jonah switched cards again. But then, Ace jumped in, taking out another 7-blue. “You know what? I don’t like these. You can have them.”

“That is not sanitary at all,” Grim muttered.

Jonah looked at him weirdly. “You have no right to say what’s sanitary or not.” He took out a 1-blue, followed by Grim with his +2-blue.

“What do you have against me?!” Poor Deuce already had 13 cards in his hand, and now, he still needed to add two more.


Ace took out a 1-green. Unfortunately for Jonah, he didn’t have any green card, only red and yellow. He picked up a card from the stacks until he had six cards in his hand. He drew again and finally found a reverse-green, he immediately took it out and making the turn go counter-clockwise.

“Lucky that I don’t have to get drunk from cards,” Jonah said.


Grim took out a reverse-blue, changing the order to clockwise again.

Back to Jonah who didn’t have any blue.

He started picking up a card from the stack. No blue… Another one… No blue… And another… Still no blue!

“Geez, Captain~” Ace laughed when Jonah already 10 cards in the hand from previously 4. “Are you sure you’re not drunk?"

“Shut up…” Jonah growled. He kept on drawing cards until finally drew a 2-blue. Ending up with him having 20 cards in his hand.

Ace took out 7-blue, switching with Deuce. Deuce took out a stop-blue, skipping Grim. And Jonah still didn’t have any blue cards.

“DAMMIT YOU GUYS!” The others were laughing at him as he started drawing again. Just three more cards until he got a 1-blue. Ace took out a 6-blue, then Deuce with a 0-blue, which meant-

“No way!” Ace screamed. Jonah was laughing hard as he received Grim’s four cards. He waved his stacks of 22 cards in front of Ace’s face.

“Come on~” Jonah was grinning from ear to ear. “Take the cards like a good boy~”


“Hey, Deuce.” Ace took out stop-red.

Deuce groaned. But Ace didn’t stop grinning. After a 5-red from Grim and 9-red from Jonah, Ace pulled out his card. “Hey, Deuce.” He threw another stop-red.

Deuce slammed his mattress. “I hate you guys!” 

Deuce threw a 3-blue. Leaving him with only one card in his hand!

Jonah quickly raised his hand. “UNO!”

“DAMMIT!” Deuce screamed. The other three laughed as Deuce drew two more cards.


Ace threw out a 3-blue.

It was Jonah’s turn and he quickly put out a reverse-blue as he said, “Uno!” The game flowed counter-clockwise, back to Ace again. Deuce looked at his cards. He had a 7-blue and stop-yellow. He looked up at his opponents. Grim was frowning and Ace looked frustrated. Both of them had four cards in their hand, compare to Jonah’s one and Deuce’s two. This had been a long journey with a lot of screaming and betrayal, but he had a very good time. Their marshmallow was gone, mostly eaten by Grim. If this went well, he could trade his card with Jonah and-

Johan threw his last card: another reverse-blue.

“Are you kidding me?!” Ace threw his cards to the pile, not carrying whether they were scattered or not. “Are you serious?!”

“Jonah! You’re trolling us!” Grim immediately tackled Jonah who was still laughing. Deuce couldn’t help but smile even though he lost. He had never had fun like this. Being the only son of his family and with all his delinquent youth, Deuce never really had any real friends. But seeing these guys, with Ace giving Jonah a nuggie and Grim laughing with him, Deuce didn’t mind that he lost this round, compared to him in the past who will never accept defeat.

He likes this…

He gathered the card, stacking them again, and shuffling them. “Anyone up for another round?”

The three of them looked at him, each with their bright smile.

“I’m calling it!” Ace yelled letting go of Jonah. “I’m going to win this time!”

Jonah fixed his pajamas “Oh? You dare to challenge the captain?”

“Yes! And The Great Me will win this game!” Grim declared pointing at Jonah.

Deuce laughed and he put the stacked and shuffled cards in the center of their small circle. “Alright. Let’s get our game on.”


It was already past midnight when Jonah decided to turn off the light of the lounge. Jonah turned to look at the beds in the middle of the room, smiling softly at his sleeping friends. He had lost count of how many turns they had played before one by one they had fallen asleep. First, Ace, then Grim. Deuce managed to stay awake long enough to help him clean the card and empty noodle cups.

He had fun. This was the most fun he had since arriving in this strange school. After those stressful first days, who knew that baking and card games can help him relax a bit?

Jonah yawned. Okay, maybe it’s time to go to sleep too-

...een! The Qu...!

"Huh?" Jonah looked around. Who said that? He looked at his friends. It couldn't be them. Sure, Grim was snoring loudly and Ace was drooling, they didn't mumble in their sleep.

Cards, halt!

There was it again! Jonah looked up. It came from upstairs. Looking back at his friends, making sure they weren't awake, Jonah quietly tip-toed upstairs.

Count off!

Jonah turned to the door of his room. Could it be...? When he opened it, nobody was there. But he wasn't really looking for anyone. His eyes stare straight at the bronze orb that he put on his nightstand. As he walked in and grabbed in, he could still hear voices coming out from the orb.

...imperial highness... grace... excellency... royal majesty... Hearts!

Everything glowed in a green light when Jonah turned the orb and once again his surroundings melted away, transporting him back to the rose garden. However this time he saw someone familiar...

"How dare you defile my roses! You better prepare yourselves!"

It was the lady similar to the statue that Ace and Grim had burnt a few days ago. She looked really angry, holding up a rose bush like a baseball bat. She glared toward the individuals at the ground: the same three cards and the little girl in a blue dress.

The Three of Clubs lifted his body, kneeling before the queen.

"Oh no! Your Majesty Please, it's all his fault!"

The Three of Clubs swung his paintbrush to the Two of Clubs' face. The Two of Clubs then pointed at the Ace of Clubs who was wearing the bucket of red paint on his head.

"Not me your grace! The Ace! The Ace!"

"No! It was Two!"

"That's enough!"

All of the cards stopped their arguing, staring at the queen with fear and she yelled in a booming voice.

"OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!"

Instead of pleading or waves of anger, all of the rest of the card soldiers were cheering as the three clubs card were being dragged away. The little girl was still on the ground watching the scene with fear.

“They're going to lose their heads, for painting the roses red~”

“It serves them right, they planted white, and roses should be red~”

“Oh, they're going to lose their heads~”

“SILENCE!”

As the card tumbled over because of the queen's booming voice, so was the scenery. Like a glass cracked into pieces, Jonah needed to protect his face with his arms as the green light burst out. When the light disappeared, he finally lowered his arms. He stared at the orb that had fallen next to his feet, his mind was still thinking about the strange vision he just head saw.

'Off with their head'? He could've sworn he had heard that before…

Chapter Text

“AAAAAAA!”

Jonah tiredly opened his eyes. He glanced at the source of the sound. It was Grim, already out from his bed and growling to the air.

“Urgh…” Ace groaned, pulling his blanket over his head. “It’s too early for screaming…”

Deuce lifted himself with his elbow, rubbing the sleep away from his eyes. “What’s wrong, Grim?” he asked between his yawn.

“The ghost!” Grim yelled, still looking at every corner of the room. “The ghost is back!”

“Ghost?!” Ace immediately stood up, holding his pillow like a baseball bat. “Where are they?! I’ll kick them in them tities!”

Deuce immediately went red in the face. “Ace, language!”

Jonah let out a chuckle as he laid down on his back again. He could see Lou, Soo, and Barret up there, floating upside down as half of their body went through the ceiling. He gave them a wave, in which they replied with snickers before going through the ceiling.

He sighed. He rolled his eyes upward, looking at the other in upside-down vision. “Does anyone know when is your dorm party is?”

The two Heartslabyul students went silent. They looked at each other before turning back to Jonah, shaking their head. Jonah groaned, running his hand at his face. “Guys… Seriously…”


There was a cheerful knock on the door.

“Hold up!” Jonah yelled as he ran down the stairs while trying to wear his blazer with Grim sitting on top of his head. When he opened, the familiar orange-haired senior was already standing there.

“Good morning~!” Diamond waved his hand. Jonah could hear footsteps behind him. Ace and Deuce probably just finished putting back their mattress. “Did you enjoy yesterday’s sleepover~? Was it a night of pillow fights and card games~?"

Ace yawned. “Well, we did play some UNO…” Jonah turned his head toward him, smirking, which made Ace pouted, probably still sour from his losses. Beside him, Deuce rolled his eyes while smiling. Grim on top of his head was also pouting, knowing he lost more than Ace.

“Then, shall we hurry and bring the tarts we made to apologize to Riddle? Oh!” Cater clapped his hand. “I almost forgot!” He took out his magical pen and waved it as he chanted “[Multicorfors]!” A magic circle appeared underneath the boys' shoes, slowly ascending to their upper body and disappeared when it passed their heads. When they looked down, they gasped at their new outfit.

They were now wearing a white shirt, with a diamond-patterned vest covering it. Over the vest, they wore the classic Heartslabyul blazer. They wore a black and yellow ribbon around their waist, high-tops shoes, and white trousers. The differences between the three were the colors of the vest and shoes: Ace had a red vest and red-and-white shoes, Deuce had a black vest and black-and-white shoes, while Jonah had a light blue vest and all-black shoes. Other differences were for Ace and Deuce, they had a card clipped on their blazer; Ace of Heart for Ace, and Two of Spade for Deuce, while Jonah had none. Even Grim got a Heartslabyul theme bow.

“Whoa…!” Deuce looked down, tapping his toes to make sure that what he was wearing was real.

Ace laughed, spinning around to look all over his body. “Dude, this is totally stylish!”

Grim puffed his bow. “Nyaha! I look so cool!”

“I know right.” Cater made a peace sign. “It’s totally fashionable and very ‘grammable~!”

Jonah looked at Ace. “Got the tart?” Ace lifted the white box he was holding, grinning at Jonah.

Cater gave them a thumbs up. “Alright, off to the party!” 


This was the first time Jonah ever stepped into a dorm other than the Ramshackle Dorm. The Heartslabyul Dorm was filled with rose bushes trimmed into a heart-shape. The dorm itself looks like a small red castle. He had to admit, compared to this, Ramshackle Dorm was nothing.

“Alright,” Ace said to himself, looking at the box filled with mont blanc. “I’ll head-on and bring the tart to the prefect so I can apologize…”

“Hey, you’re finally here~!” The first-years looked toward the dorm when they saw… Diamond? In his PE uniform? Waving at them?! “What took you so long, me?”

The Diamond that was with them, the one in the regular school uniform, waved back. “I’m home~! Sorry for the wait, me~”

Deuce looked at the two seniors back-to-back. “Th-there are two Senior Diamond…!?”

“Twin?!” Ace yelled in confusion.

The Diamond that was with them laugh. “Oh, no. I’m the only son. This is my unique magic, Split Card. I can make clones of myself using magic~!”

Right at that moment, another Diamond, this time in his lab coat, appeared. “Welcome back~”

Behind him, another Diamond appeared in his ceremonial robe. “Welcome, everyone~”

Ace screamed, nearly dropping the box. “There are more of him!”

Diamond in the PE outfit laughed. “By the way, the real Cater is me~” He rubbed behind his neck. “Cloning myself is pretty tiring. Just finished the last minute's preparation.” He took out his magical pen. “But it’s almost time. Me army, we’re done for the day~!”

The other Diamonds saluted him. “Aye, aye, me~!” Then they disappeared with a puff of smoke. When the smoke disappeared, only one Diamond stood there, in a similar outfit like Ace, but with a Four of Diamond on his blazer.

Diamond motioning them to follow them. “Let’s get going, guys~” 


Riddle stood in front of the door toward the Tea Garden, fixing his cape one last time, waiting for his cue. He took a deep breath. The first Unbirthday Party of the semester. It had to be perfect. If not… Someone will lose their head.

“Everything okay, Riddle?” Riddle looked up to his vice prefect who stood behind him, making sure there wasn’t any wrinkle on his cape.

Riddle nodded. “Of course.” Trey nodded back without saying anything. Riddle once again looked down at himself for some final checks. He was wearing the prefect version of Heartslabyul’s dorm uniform; a small crown leaning on the right side of his head, a white and red coat dress with the bottom being lined with a gold-colored fabric. The inside of the coat dress was entirely red and has a pattern consisting of tiny hearts, spades, diamonds, clovers, and crowns, also white trousers. Perfect.

Just then, from the outside, the double door was opened along with the sound of the trumpet and the announcer’s voice. “Make way for our leader, the Crimson Ruler: Prefect Riddle!”

Riddle took a deep breath and let it out from his mouth before stepping into the garden, toward the long table at the most front. “Three cheers for Prefect Riddle!”

Riddle stopped when he finally reached his chair. His grey eyes darted everywhere. The roses were red and the tablecloths were white. He turned to Trey who positioning himself on the chair to his right. “The Dormouse is sleeping inside the teapot just as planned, correct?”

Trey nodded at him. “Of course. The jam to put on one’s nose is ready, should the need arise, too.”

Riddle nodded, satisfied. A truly perfect Unbirthday Party. He sat down on his chair followed by the rest of the students. Taking his teacup, he said to the students. “Does anyone have their teacups already?” He saw everyone was holding their cup. He nodded. “A toast to the Unbirthday Party. Cheers.”

“Cheers!”

The party went on smoothly. Everyone was talking in order and no chaos. Riddle took a bite from Trey’s strawberry tart, sighing happily when he tasted the sweetness on his tongue. It was perfect as usual. Though he can’t eat this too much. It’s not good for his health and body as his mother would say.

“Um, Prefect.”

Riddle put down his fork and looked to his left. Oh, it was the ginger-haired kid who ate his tart.

“Um…” His fingers were drumming the side of the box he was holding. “I was thinking of apologizing for what I did, so I uh…” He shrugged, giving him a small smile. “I made a new tart for you.”

Riddle blinked in confusion. He didn’t realize behind him Trey was giving Cater, who sat on the nearest table with Deuce, Jonah, and the cat, a nod, while Cater smiled back. Riddle stood up from his seat, facing toward Ace.

“Why, thank you,” Riddle accepted the box. Maybe this kid had learned his lesson. He should reward him. Yes. Good boys always get their reward. “Can I ask what kind of tart you made?” he asked as he opened the box-

Wait.

This is…

“Thank you for asking!” Ace said in that disgusting cheerful voice. “This is a special-made mont blanc, stuffed to the brim with fresh chestnuts!”

*splat*

Everything went silent. Riddle stared at the fallen box on the floor, bangs covering his eyes. How dare he… How dare he brought mont blanc to the Unbirthday Party…

How dare he broke another rule!

“Laws of the Queen of Hearts Number #562,” he said with a low voice. “‘One shall refrain from bringing mont blanc for the Unbirthday Party’.” He slammed his hand to the table, screaming at Ace's face. “How could you do something like that?! You ruined this party!”

From Ace's table, the cat shot up. “Eek?! How many rules are there?!”

Riddle stepped forward, crushing the tart underneath his boot. “There are a total of 810 rules and I’ve memorized all of them. And I expect you to do that too!”

“Wait a sec!” Ace screamed back. “As if I’ll follow a ridiculous rule like that!”

Riddle glared at him, growling under his breath. Another troublemaker…

“Prefect!” He heard a screech behind him when Trey stood up from his seat. “My deepest apologies. I was the one who suggested making the mont blanc.”

“Exactly!” Cater spoke up too, running toward the main table with Deuce and Jonah behind him. “We didn’t think that there’d be a rule against it.”

“The fact that you made them isn’t a problem! My issue is the fact that you brought them here!” Riddle spat, not even bother looking at his seniors. Ace continued to glare at him, now with Deuce and Jonah standing just a few feet behind him. “As Heartslabyul’s prefect, I cannot simply turn a blind eye towards this appalling rule-breaking.”

“Damn it!” Ace screamed. “I’ve had enough of hearing all those ridiculous rules. Aren’t you being kinda an idiot?”

He thought he heard someone gasped as everything suddenly froze and the atmosphere went down.

Idiot…

He just called him an idiot…

“Hey, stop! That’s an absolute taboo word…!” Cater hissed at the troublemakers, before turning to him with a softer voice. “Also, Riddle, these guys are just some freshies who got accepted to the school.”

“Nah, I’m gonna say it.” Ace crossed his arms in front of his chest. “Only an idiot would listen to a rule about tarts. Don’t mess with me.”

“I agree with Ace,” Deuce added, waling in so he stood next to Ace. Also, the cat that once on Jonah's head flew next to Ace too, looking pissed as well. “Of course, I admit that breaking the rules is not a good thing, but… This is too much already.”

“All the other guys, too!” shouted Ace, pointing at the rest of the student still in the garden. “They’re just scared that they’re gonna get collars so they’re not saying anything, but I’m sure they’re thinking the same thing!”

The students immediately froze, some were fidgeting. “No, we’re…”

Riddle gave them a terrifying sideways glance. “Heh, is that so?”

Immediately, they straighten up. “N-no, it’s not true, Prefect! We do all we can to follow what you say, Prefect!”

The cat stared at them in disbelieved. “No way…!”

Ace clicked his tongue. “Tsk. Wishy-washy jerks. Lame.”

These children…

How dare they fight his order…

“Listen here, Ace Trappola.” Riddle took another step making them only a few inches apart. He wasn’t afraid that he was shorter than him. He was the one holding the reign here. “Ever since I became the prefect last year, not one student from Heartslabyul has ever repeated a year nor was anyone expelled. And that’s counting all the dorms in this school. That means that I am the most exceptional and the strongest! That is why I am the only one who’s always right! There is nothing wrong with following what I say!”

“That’s just…!” He heard Deuce said, but he didn’t care as he continued.

“It’s not like I’m doing this because I enjoy it. Aren’t you the ones at fault for breaking the rules? If you’re not going to obey me, then it’s off with your heads!”

Deuce managed to find his composure again. This time, spoken like a true stupid-boy, “I will not.”

Ace nodded. “I’ve had enough playing along with this selfish tyrant!”

“Say that again!” Riddle spat. “I dare you!”

“He said that you’re an irritable and selfish little tyrant who’s unreasonable with trivial things like food!” the cat said so smugly, think as if he just won this conversation.

But he didn’t.

He just made Riddle, even more, fueled up.

“H-hey! He didn’t go that far…!”

Deuce didn’t get to finish his sentences. Riddle didn’t bother changing his magical pen into his staff. In his blind anger, he pointed at the three rule-breakers in front of him. “[OFF WITH YOUR HEAD]!” Summoning his magic circle around Deuce and the cat’s neck, his collars snapping in place.

“AHHHHH!” Both Deuce and the cat screamed as they tried to pull the collar off them.

Riddle turned toward his seniors. “Trey! Cater! Throw them out of here!”

Trey and Cater looked at each other worriedly. Before finally gave him a nod. “… Yes, Prefect.”

Deuce looked at his seniors in disbelieved. “G-Guys…?!”

“I’m sorry~” Cater took out his magical pen, did a spin in his hand before holding it in a firm grip. “We can’t go against the Prefect~”

Trey made his way in front of Riddle, shielding him and ready to attack. “I’m sorry…”

“Oh, is that so?!” Ace cracked his knuckle. “I’ll take you on!”

“There is no need.”

All of them, including Riddle, turned toward the owner of the voice. Ace and Deuce moved a bit to make way for Jonah. When he stood face to face, Riddle noticed that he was slightly shorter than him, but the calm look on his face told him as if he could take control of the situation.

“My apologize if we messed with your tea party, Mister Rosehearts,” Jonah said in a low voice. “We didn't mean for any of this to happen.”

“It had happened,” Riddle replied, glaring at him. “And I suggest you and your troublemaking-friends step out of my tea party at once.”

Riddle started into the boy’s black eye, trying to fight some sort of spark. But he didn’t. Jonah just sighed and gave him a small bow. “We will, Prefect.” He then turned around started to walk away. “Let’s go, guys.”

“But Captain-!”

There was a dangerous glint on Jonah's eye when he glared at Ace, succeeding in shutting him up. “I said: we’re leaving.” Ace, Deuce, and the cat looked at each other before begrudgingly followed Jonah.

Before the door to the garden finally locked them out, Jonah turned his head, giving Riddle a sideways glance, and spoke something that will echo in Riddle’s mind for the longest time.

“Down with the bloody red queen.”

Chapter Text

“Captain!” Jonah just kept walking out of the Heartslabyul building, ignoring Ace’s screams. “I don’t get it! Why won’t you let us fight that little red-haired menace?!”

When he finally reached the edge of the pathway, he couldn’t take it anymore. He turned around and looked up to Ace. “Okay, I’m going to stop you right there,” he said, raising his index finger, successfully stopping Ace. Deuce and Grim managed to stop their tracks before crashing into Ace.

“Think about this: Are you really going to fight two seniors without magic?” Jonah started to pace around. “And even if we do have magic, Senior Clover can probably change it so it backfired on us. Not only that, but Senior Diamond also has this clone magic, making us outnumbered.” He stopped in front of them again, hands on his hips. “We’re all already on Senior Rosehearts’ ‘most hated’ list. We can’t make this worse.”

Deuce groaned and ran his hand through his hair. “Getting thrown out for disobeying the prefect…” he mumbled. “I’m slowly drifting away from becoming a model student…”

Ace clenched his fist. Deep down, there was a small feeling of guilt after knowing what Deuce was aiming for from yesterday's egg incident. But for real. He just couldn't stay silent! That gremlin is really pissing him off! Why didn’t anyone stop him?!

Grim flew lower than before, resting on Deuce’s shoulder. “Ugh, this collar is so suffocating and heavy, yanno?”

“Ny’all look so stylish with your meowtching collars~”

Wait. Who said that?

Looking around, Jonah noticed the way Ace, Deuce, and Grim’s eyes widened. “What?” he asked. And why does his shoulder suddenly feel heavy?

“Wha-?!” Ace raised his trembling finger pointing next to Jonah. Still, with a raised eyebrow, Jonah turned his head–

–Only to meet with a pair of golden eyes.

“Nyaho~”

“FFGYAAA! A FLOATING HEAD!” Grim was the first one to shout, but pretty much represent the shock they had at the moment.

The head grinned but Jonah couldn’t do anything. His body was frozen, felt like someone tied a rope around him. “Oh, oopsies~ I furgot to bring out my body,” said the head as a body connecting it suddenly appeared, forming a boy who rested his chin on Jonah’s shoulder while hugging him.

The boy was taller than Jonah, with short, choppy purple hair with his bangs cut in a curve, as well as three bobby pins pinned to the bang on the left side of his face. He had a pair of purple cat ears with a piercing of a speech bubble containing the word ‘up’ in his left ear as well as three arrow piercings in his right ear. He had yellow eyes with silted cat pupils. He wore a baggy white shirt over a striped purple t-shirt, and blue pants filled with sign stickers with a purple belt that has the sentence ‘Do you stand on your head?’ printed on it, and a pair of purple boot. He had purple painted nails and wears a ring-shaped like the Cheshire Cat's smile on his right hand. Behind him, his purple striped tail was wagging lazily in interest.

Jonah tried to wiggle himself out of the hug, but the cat-boy held him hard. “And you are?”

The cat-boy pouted. “Myah~ You don’t know me?” He then went back to grinning. “I’m a great enigma with magic that’s both like a purrson and like a cat. Alchemi Alchemivich Pinka, nya~ But call me Che’nya!”

Ace frowned at him. “Alche… Come again? And let go of the captain!”

“Oh, it's ‘captain’ meow, eh~?” He nuzzled at Jonah's cheek. “Always knew you had some fetish with nicknames!”

“Excuse me?!” yelled Jonah.

“Jonah, you know him?” asked Deuce. And why did his cheeks turn red?!

Jonah turned to him. “Of course not!” He tried to wiggle himself off again. “Get off!”

“Nyah~ So sad~” Che’nya tightened his hug as he looked at the others. “So, what’s up with all of nya~?”

“We’re not in the mood right now!” Ace yelled. “Just let go of the captain and leave us alone.” He massaged his temple. “Geez, as if that little tyrant was being unreasonable, now we have this weirdo.”

Che’nya perked up at thin. “Riddle, a tyrant…” He let out a small giggle. “Well, mew’re not incorrect.”

Jonah stopped wiggling. “Wait a second.” He gave him a sideways glance. “You know Senior Rosehearts?”

“He’s been a little stickler for the rules since he was little… Fufufu~” Che’nya grinned wider. “What? Does that info interest mew, Pirate Boy~?”

“Can you tell us more?” Jonah tried to ask again.

Che’nya hummed for a bit before answering, “Why don’t you ask your glasses fur-end all about it?”

“Glasses guy…” Deuce muttered, thinking deep, before raising his head in realization. “You mean, Senior Clover?”

Che’nya nodded. “He’s known Riddle since he was a wee little thing. He’s the one who always visits his house.” He gave Jonah a small sideways glance before turning to the rest of the crew. “If mew wanna know about Riddle, he’s the one to talk to~”

Grim patted his cheek. “They didn’t seem like childhood friends at all…”

“If mew think so then it must be so~” Che’nya grinned. “So, there’s nothing for mew to talk to me about meow is there? See mew~” His lower body started to disappear and he let out one last laugh. “Fufufu~ Down with the bloody red queen~”

Jonah froze, unable to move yet because of the shock. How… Didn’t he say that before?

Ace was the first one to move: running toward Jonah and started checking him from top to bottom. “He didn’t do anything further right?”

“Wha-” Jonah looked at himself, moving his arms, legs, and rubbing behind his neck. “Nope. I’m fine.”

Ace let out a sigh. “That guy is really weird,” he muttered, shaking his head, before turning to Jonah. “What’s the plan now, Captain?”

Jonah bit lip. Right. They had to do something about this. “We need to get the bottom of this,” Jonah said, brows frowned, eyes filled with determination. He was met with a grin from Ace, a nod from Deuce, and Grim cracking his paws.

He gripped his eye-patch, feeling itch underneath it. But he could deal with it later. “I think it’s finally the time to dethrone the Queen of Hearts.” 


Trey watched the croquet match from afar. No one of them was having fun really. Even Riddle was grouchier than before. He was complaining earlier that they were so far behind schedule so they need to speed things up quickly.

“Hey.” Trey looked up to Cater who now stood next to him. The orange-haired boy let out a sigh. “You think this is okay?”

“About what?”

“About the freshies and the prefect.” Cater sighed again. “You know, they had a point.” He gave Trey a sideways glance. “Are you really alright with this?”

Trey pulled his hat down so it covered his eyes. “There’s nothing I can do…”

He couldn’t do anything. He couldn’t help the first-years in winning Riddle’s favor. He couldn’t make Riddle reconsider a little. He couldn’t even stop the fight from nearly happening. He’d bet that Riddle was disappointed in him now.

Some friend he turned out to be…

Chapter Text

“Laws of the Queen of Hearts Number #249: One must wear pink clothes when feeding the flamingos.” Riddle stared down at the poor Heartslabyul student with his staff in his hand. “You were supposed to be in charge of feeding them today. Why are you not wearing any pink clothes?”

“I’m so sorry, my clothes were in the laundry…” He tried to reason with him, but Trey knew all those pleadings went deaf in Riddle’s ear. “Prefect! Please, I’m begging you… Don’t cut off my head!”

“This makes the second time you’ve broken the rules. I can’t overlook any more than that.” The gem on the staff glowed as a magic circle appeared around the boy’s neck. “[Off With Your Head]!”

As the poor boy screamed as Riddle slammed his staff to the ground, locking the collar like he had done many times before. The child was trembling but Trey couldn’t make a move to comfort him. He didn’t dare to make the situation worse and trigger Riddle even more.

Riddle turned around, his side cape flying behind him. “Write me a 5000-word reflection essay, and do weeding in the garden for a week. After that, I’ll remove the collar.” He gave him a cold glance. “I’m not doing this because I enjoy it. It’s your fault for breaking the rules. Nothing will become of you if you don’t learn to follow the rules, you understand?” He sighed turning back to the window of his room. “Trey, Cater, please take him outside.”

And like always, Trey just answered. “Yes, Prefect…”

Some friend he turned out to be…


“Senior Clover.”

Trey turned his head to the side. The first-years from yesterday stood at the small hallway between the library bookshelves. Deuce and Ace were the closest to him, while Johan and Grim on his shoulder stood behind them, leaning against the shelf.

“How did you know I’m here?” Trey asked.

“A lucky guess, actually,” Jonah said. “We hope that you haven’t returned the cookbook after yesterday's party, so we just took that small chance.”

Trey sighed, pushing the book onto the shelf. “Alright, you got me cornered,” he said, turning toward him, arms crossed in front of his chest. “What do you want?”

“We still can’t be convinced with the way the Prefect does things,” Ace said. “What do you think?  Have you always been enabling him like this since you were kids?”

Trey frowned. “Who did you hear that from?”

“From someone called Che’nya,” Deuce answered. Trey noticed how Jonah hugged himself tighter. Of course, it had to be Che’nya. What was he doing here? Being a nosy cat like he always be.

“Hey, you’re older than Riddle, ain'tcha?” Grim asked, flying to land on Deuce’s shoulder. “Why don’t you get mad at him?”

Trey held his arm tighter. “I’ll do that if there’s a need to, but…” he sighed. “I can’t bring myself to scold him.”

Ace frowned at him. “Why?”

“Everything that Riddle is right now is because he was raised with very harsh rules,” he answered. At that moment, he could see the first-years was surprised.

Trey pushed his glasses up his nose and he continued, “The Rosehearts family is a family of doctors who is very close to the Rose Kingdom Court, even if they aren’t noble themselves. Riddle’s parents, especially his mother, Lady Mira, is the Rose Kingdom’s Queen’s private doctor and one of the strongest magicians in the kingdom. It’s especially well-known that she wished for Riddle to be the same, maybe even surpassing her one day. That’s why everything from what time he wakes up to what time he goes to sleep, and even what academic programs he’ll do is decided for him.”

Trey always remembered that innocent look. The way those grey-eyes widened in awe when he put his very first (successful) strawberry tart on his bakery window. Though Trey could notice other things from the boy, like the bags under his eyes and some red marks on his hand. Which was weird. From his clothes, he looked like he came from the upper-class district like Che’nya, unlike Trey’s simpler middle-class outfit. A noble perhaps? A member of the court?

Before he could even wave his hand. The boy looked to the side with surprise and… A bit of fear? He glanced at the tart one last time before running away. And Trey just stood there, more confused and curious than ever.

Grim paled. “Geh… Everything…?”

Trey nodded. “What he can eat, what he should wear, and what sort of friends he can make were all decided for him. To answer his parents’ expectations, especially his mother, Riddle kept quiet and did his best. And by the time he was 10 years old, he had perfected that unique magic of his.”

“Is this the house?”

“Nyeah~ Look! There he is!”

Che’nya pointed to the second-floor window where a little boy was sitting next to it. There he was! The boy who stopped at the window bakery yesterday. The boy was writing something in his book, looking so serious.

“Che’nya!” Trey hissed when the cat-boy decided climbed the rose bush surrounded the house. Like it or not, Trey had to follow him, worried that Che’nya might ruin their chance. Damn it. Why did he like to go through bushes instead of around him?

Trey managed to crawl out just when Che’nya started shouting. “Nyaho~!”

The red-haired kid shot his head out, nearly dropping his book as he looked down. “E-Eh?” He was confused, Trey understood him. After all, what were some random kids suddenly appeared in your yard and shouting at you?

“Hey, want to play with us~” Che’nya shouted without any preamble or something. “It’s a beautifur day~!”

The kid blinked in confusion. He looked into the room before looking at them again, hugging his book close to his chest. “I can’t. I’m supposed to be studying now.”

“Myah…” Che’nya pouted. “Don’t worry just for a bit~”

“I can’t mama will be angry-” Suddenly he turned his head and Trey could see his eyes widened and the same fear that he saw that day was back. “I-I was just about to close the window.” He turned around, giving them a small shake of his head before closing the window.

“Mew~ He’s no fun~” Che’nya sulked. “Though I heard his mowmew is scary.”

Trey looked back to the window. He could see the boy again from here. He wondered… Maybe he could visit him again when he wasn’t studying.

Jonah looked down at his shoes. “That’s kinda… Harsh…”

Trey sighed again. “Riddle thinks that being harsh will benefit everyone in the long run. He believes that being bound to harsh rules and obeying them out of fear will make people grow because that’s how he was raised. And he thinks that breaking the rules is a bad thing because…”

“Because if he overlooks the rule-breakers, it’s as if… As if he’s denying everything that he was made to be…” Ace finished. “Right…?”

Trey nodded. “I understand why you’d think of him as a tyrant, and I understand that the way he does things is a little wrong, too. But, I… I still can’t find it in myself to go against him at all.”

“Ah…” Grim’s ears went down.

Deuce just looked uncomfortable. “So the prefect endured all that…”

Ace and Jonah was silent, didn’t dare to look Trey straight in the eyes. Ace then sighed. “I think I get it now… The reason why Prefect Riddle is like that… It’s all your fault.”

Deuce and Grim looked up at Ace in shock. “Eh?”

Jonah glared at Ace. “Ace, watch your mouth…”

But Ace ignored him, stepping forward until his and Trey's chest were nearly touching. “Riddle can’t do anything about his parents because he didn’t choose to have them as parents. But at the very least, you’ve always thought that the way his parents treated him was unfair, right?”

Trey paled. “That’s…”

“Why can’t you just come down for a while?” Che’nya looked up again. He lifted a box filled with Trey’s homemade sweet bean buns. “This taste really good, nyah~ Try it~ Come down~”

Like many times, Riddle shook his head. “I can’t.” Though he was biting his lips. “Mother says that too much sugar is not good for my body. I can get fat.”

For some reason, Trey felt insulted. He could make bread that can be healthy and delicious at the same time. Heck, he could make a vegan crepe if he wanted. Riddle’s mom just being mean. What kind of mother doesn’t let her son eat cakes?

“If you think that the Prefect’s making the same mistakes as his parents, then tell him directly. Put him on the right track.” Ace poked Trey’s chest. “What’s gonna happen to him if you just feel sorry and spoil him? So you’re just gonna watch everyone hate him and alienate him from a distance?”

“Why do you guys always visit?” Riddle asked, looking down at Trey. He was alone this time, Che’nya was grounded because he pulled some pranks in school.

“Because I want to be your friend,” Trey answer. He remembered the way Riddle’s eyes widened and cheek flushed. It was adorable.

“I… Never have a friend before…” he said, and honestly, that just broke Trey’s heart.

“Ace, I’m warning you! Stop-” Jonah grabbed Ace arm, but Ace pulled it back, still staring straight into Trey’s eyes, his voice became louder and louder.

“Or what? You’re keeping quiet because you’re scared of that collar? You’re super lame! You call yourself his childhood friend, but the way things are, you’re not even his friend at all!”

Trey clenched his fist. What was he supposed to respond to? Said that Ace was right? Denied it? He knew he was wrong for letting Riddle on his way, but what could he do? It was always like this. Trey maybe looks smart, but when it comes to Riddle, he always gets confused. His family was not as strict as Riddle, so how could he put himself on Riddle shoe? Why couldn’t Ace see this?!

“EXCUSE ME, ALL OF YOU!”

A bird mask suddenly appeared in the gap of book between Ace and Trey, making the kids in the corridor scream.

“AAAAAHHHH!”

And of course, Crowley screamed louder.

“BE QUIET IN THE LIBRARY!”

“Headmaster, please,” said Johan, clutching his chest. “Don’t scare us like that!”

“You’re the one shouting here, yanno,” Grim mumbled, hanging on Deuce back, who was nearly fainted.

“Oh.” Crowley cleared his throat, embarrassed. “Pardon me.” He pulled himself back. The kids could hear some footsteps before finally, Crowley entered their hall.

“Good grief, the library is meant to be a quiet place where people can study and enjoy reading,” he said in a much softer voice.

“Forgive us,” Jonah said, rubbing the back of his neck. “But what are you doing here, Headmaster?”

“I was researching ways on how to get you back to your home. I didn’t forget it at all, see?” Crowley fixed his vest, looking proud of himself. “Oh, how kind of me~ Research starts at the library, after all.”

The first years looked at each other, for some reason weren't convinced with the answer. They stared at Crowley as if asking ‘are you sure about that?’ Crowley cleared his throat again. “So, what is everyone doing here with such troubled faces?”

All of them looked at each other again before Deuce spoke, “Well…” 


“I see, so that’s what happened…” Crowley nodded as he tapped his chin. They all decided to sit down at the corner of the library, near the restricted area, far from anyone, to recount everything that had happened, from the part where Ace ate the tart until the ruined Unbirthday Party. Trey noticed that the first-years skipped the part where Che’nya showed up for some reason.

“You don’t want to apologize to have the collar taken off, but you know that convincing the Prefect will not go smoothly…” said the headmaster again.

Deuce nodded, his hands folded on top of the table. “That’s about it, yeah.”

“I see. If you dislike the way your prefect does things, you do have the option to switch dormitories,” explained Crowley. “However, the Dark Mirror is the one that judges based on what it sees in your soul, so it is quite a herculean task to transfer dormitories.”

“Transferring, huh…” Ace leaned back to his chair with arms folded in front of him. “I feel like I’d lose to him if I did that, so I don’t really wanna go for it.”

Crowley nodded. “Very well. Then how about challenging Rosehearts to a duel and then take the title of prefect for yourself?”

“EEEEEEHHHHHHHH!?”

Crowley shushed them again. “I said, please keep it down!”

“It’s because you said something weird, Headmaster!” Ace whispered back.

“Nothing strange in it at all, My Boy,” Crowley said again. “Young Rosehearts himself got the position by doing the same thing, after all.”

“How is the prefect position decided here in Night Raven College?” asked Deuce.

“They can either be appointed by the previous prefect or they can win a duel against them. However, there are also other ways,” Crowley explained. “A duel is one of the simpler ways, I’d say.”

Jonah frowned. “But didn’t you say that using magic for one’s benefit was forbidden?”

Crowley nodded again. “For personal gain, yes. However, a duel appointed and approved by the Headmaster himself due to official and valid reasons is another story.”

“If I remember correctly,” Trey added. “It’s forbidden to enforce a handicap on your opponent before a duel starts, so you can have the collar taken off without apologizing to Riddle. Ah, but…”

“New students are given the right to challenge their prefect should they want to.” Crowley turned to Ace, staring straight at him with his glowing yellow eyes. “What will you do, Mister Trappola? Will you challenge him?”

Without hesitation, Ace stood from his seat, hands slamming the table. “Alright, then. I’ll show him who is boss.”

Deuce also stood up, which surprised Trey. “I’ll do, too.”

Grim flew to the air, pumping his paws up. “Me, too!”

“Unfortunately, you’re from a different dorm so you can’t participate, Grim,” Crowley said.

Grim dropped back to the table, disappointed. “Then who’s gonna take my collar off?!”

Ace grinned at him, patting him on the head. “If I become prefect, I’ll order that Riddle to take it off for ya!”

Grim folded his paws in front of his chest. “Damn it… This is a chance for me to show off my skills, too…” he grumbled.

Ace laughed, his eyes burned with determination. “When I become the prefect, I’ll have him say ‘It’s all my fault, I’m sorry’ to me! And I’ll make him stop enforcing all those dumb rules!” He turned to the boy who was sitting next to Trey. “Well, Captain?”

All eyes focused on Jonah, including Trey’s. After a long silence, Jonah finally sighed. “I can’t stop you, can I?”

“I’m sorry, Captain,” Deuce spoke. “But as a man, wouldn’t it be great to aim for the top at least once?” He gave them a nod. “I’ll do my best for the team if we’re gonna go ahead and challenge him.”

“Your bad-boy side is showing again~” Ace snickered, which caused Deuce’s cheeks turned red.

“Eh? It’s okay… right?”

Jonah let out another sigh as he stood up. “Fine,” he said, earning brighter smiles from the rest of the first years. He looked up to him, eyes shone as a warning. “But the second things get worse, I’m pulling everyone out. Understand?”

All of them gave him a salute. “Aye aye, Captain!”

Crowley nodded, somewhat satisfied with the decision. “Then, I shall inform you of the proceedings of the duel…” 


Nobody was feeling like another card game night. That was understandable. Jonah sighed as he stared up his ceiling, playing toss-and-catch with the bronze orb. His mind still wandered to the incident earlier. So, Senior Rosehearts, Senior Clover, and that Che’nya-cat know each other. Not only that…

Down with the bloody red queen...

Why did he say that? He was sure he heard that before. But from where... 

And how did that Che'nya-cat know that he said that? Who is he anyway...?

This thought was interrupted when he heard the sound of the trumpet. He caught the orb and sat upon his bed, looking around the room. Who blew that in the middle of the night? The trumpet kept going until Jonah finally looked down at the orb. Oh, is it time again?

After some clicking and turning several, the orb opened and release the strange light, at the same time his right eye glow in a similar glow under his bangs. However this time, it didn’t take him to the rose garden, but toward a room and he was sitting in some sort of box. There were two stands in front of him, facing each other. On the lower stand, stood the blond girl in her blue dress.

“I’ll give you a piece of my mind. What kind of a queen are you?! You’re just a selfish and evil tyrant who does what she wants.”

On the opposite stand, taller than the girl’s, was the Queen of heart herself.

“What did you just say, girl?”

All of a sudden, a chubby pink and purple cat suddenly appeared, sitting on top of the queen’s head, but strangely enough, she didn’t even realize it.

“She called you a selfish tyrant~”

The Queen immediately turned red because of anger.

“OFF WITH HER HEAD!”

Out of the shadows and from the black floor, cards suddenly jumped out, raining down the girl and Jonah. They were blocking his vision from the girl, but he could get a glimpse of her running away before the waterfall of cards blocked his vision entirely.

When the last card soldier fell, Jonah finally realized that he was back in his room. He stared at the ord. What is this thing anyway? Why is it showing stuff that isn’t related to him?

Jonah fell back to his bed, lifting the orb in front of his face. He couldn’t think about the vision/dream/hallucination right now. Tomorrow was the big day, and he needed to make sure his crew wouldn’t go too far.

Chapter Text

“In the end, they refuse to follow the rule,” Riddle sighed, setting his teacup and its saucer on the table. Trey stood in front of his table, nodding at the prefect.  The red-haired boy huffed. “Alright then.”

Trey stared at the prefect, eyes slightly widened. “What?”

The corner of Riddle's lips curled up. “You sound surprised, Trey,” he said, standing up. “This is the perfect opportunity to show them what happens to children who break the rule. They will regret everything they had done.”

Cater's breath hitched. He pressed his back against the wall near the prefect's bedroom. His trembling hands were clutching the end of his jacket. This is not real, right? There's just no way Ace and Deuce would dare to challenge Riddle to a decisive match for the seat of the dorm leader, right? They can't be that reckless. Riddle was already powerful back when he challenged him and took his crown, who knows how strong he is now. They wouldn't survive five seconds against the prefect.

The sound of a door opening and closing brought Cater back from his thought. Trey stared at him in concern. “You've heard it?” he asked.

Cater looked down at his shoes. “Are they for real?”

He heard Trey sighed. “I tried to stop them, but there's no changing their mind.” The greenette stepped forward, putting a reassuring hand onto Cater’s shoulder, somehow managed to ground him.  “Let’s just hope it doesn’t end up causing more trouble.”

Cater nodded. “Yeah...”


The news of the duel had spread quickly throughout the whole dorm. The next morning, a crowd had gathered in the Rose Maze, watching the group who was standing in the middle of the area. The headmaster stood between Ace and Deuce on one side and Riddle on the other side.

“The decisive match for the title of the Heartslabyul Prefect will begin shortly,” Crowley announced. “The challengers are Ace Trappola and Deuce Spade. Defending his title is the current prefect, Riddle Rosehearts.” Crowley turned to Riddle. “In accordance with the rules of this decisive match, please remove the collars to start the duel with no handicaps for both sides.”

Riddle huffed, but he still snapped his finger, releasing Ace and Deuce from their collar.

“The damn thing’s finally off!” Ace sighed in relief.

“Don’t worry, you’ll have it back soon enough, so I’d say you best enjoy it while you can,” Riddle said with a smirk. “Do you really think that you can solve your problem with this duel?”

Ace frowned at him. “Most definitely.”

“We will never challenge you as a joke,” Deuce added, cracking his knuckles.

“Unbelievable,” Riddle sighed. “Let’s get started quickly.”

“Riddle~” Cater waved his hand. “What should we do about afternoon tea?”

“That won’t problem,” he said as he gave him a sideways glance. “The rule state that my afternoon tea always has to be at exactly 4 PM.”

“But it’s already past 3:30…”

“Do you think I’ll be late for anything in my life? I’m pretty sure this will be over quickly.” Riddle looked back at his opponents, not realizing the winch from Cater. “As you can see, I don’t have enough time. Taking you on one at a time will be troublesome, so come at me, both of you.”

“You can do it, Prefect! Put them in their place!” The rest of the Heartslabyul cheered, but Trey just pulled his hat down, somewhat disappointed and embarrassed.

“Ugh, that’s so creepy!” Grim groaned from Jonah’s shoulder and the boy just had to nod.

“They sure know how to run their mouths…” Deuce whispered to Ace.

“No matter,” Ace said, taking out his magical pen. “We can take him down.”

Deuce looked more confident and took out his pen as well. “Yes. Let’s do it.”

Riddle took out his magical pen and quickly summoned his staff with a single wave. “Headmaster, if you will.”

Crowley nodded. He took out a small mirror from his pocket. “The match begins after the hand mirror falls to the ground.” He raised the mirror high above his head. “Ready…”

He let the mirror slipped from his hand…

*crash*

“FIGHT!”

Riddle slammed his staff onto the ground. All of a sudden, rose bushes started to grow around them, forming a small arena. “We can’t let you accidentally ruin the garden or harming people with your wild magic,” Riddle said as if that was the fact.

“I’ll show you whose wild!” Ace summoned his magic circle. “[Rictusempra]!” He summoned a heavy wave of black-magic straight toward Riddle. The prefect lifted his staff toward Ace, chanting “[Everte Statum]!” and summoning his own black-magic wave, clashing with Ace’s. Ace grunted. Riddle’s magic was definitely stronger than Ace. He could feel himself being pushed back.

“Ace!” Deuce summoned his magic circle shouting “[Expelliarmus]!” adding more black-magic into Ace’s.

But Riddle didn’t seem to be bothered by this. “It’s not too late to stop, boys.”

“The hell we will stop!” Ace screamed. Riddle smirked and added more power to his attack. It proofed to be too much as Riddle only took a step forward and his black-light flowed even stronger, successfully throwing back Ace and Deuce, spinning them in the air. Rose petals flew into the air from the failed magic as Ace was thrown to the ground and Deuce’s back hit the thorny arena.

“Ace! Deuce!” Jonah tried to run toward, but Trey held him by the shoulders, stopping him.

“Outsiders aren’t allowed to interfere with the duel,” he said and Jonah gritted his teeth, only able to watch from the outside.

Ace slowly lifted his trembling body. Dammit... So this is the power of the prefect... That was just a simple magic attack and he already has that much power?

“This is what you get from fight those who are in charge.” Riddle stepped forward, walking toward the boys. “Should you give up now, I will lessen your punishment.”

“To hell with your punishment!” Ace suddenly shot up and starting to attack Riddle with his wind magic. It was so sudden that even Riddle was surprised and started to block the attacks. Ace started to push Riddle backward, stepping into the center of the arena.

Deuce held his pen high. “[Come forth], [cauldron]!” A magic circle appeared above Riddle and a cauldron suddenly came falling. Riddle pushed back Ace, just in time when he looked up and saw the descending cauldron he jumped out of the way-

“Take this!” Ace used his wind to blow the cauldron toward Riddle. In a tight place, Riddle slammed his staff to the ground, summoning a rose bush to catch the cauldron before it hit him. He then pointed his staff forward, summoning thorny vines, and caught Ace’s body. The ginger-head let out a scream when Riddle waved his staff, throwing Ace aside and crashing into Deuce.

“A-Ace...” Deuce groaned, shaking Ace’s shoulders. “A-Are you okay?”

Ace slowly picked himself up. “Shit...”

“This will teach you a lesson.” Riddle once again summoned his dark magic, “[Alarte Ascendare]!”

Ace’s eyes widened, but he was suddenly being pushed back to the ground by Deuce. The blunette stood up, pen held with his two hands, and blasted his own dark magic with a scream of “[EXPELLIARMUS]!” clashing with Riddle.

“Don’t...” Deuce growled. Riddle’s eyes widened. “DON’T YOU DARE HURT HIM AGAIN!” Deuce pushed back, with even more magic than before, steering the power away from them, destroying the wall. Deuce summoned a magic circle in front of him. “[BLAST OFF]! [CAULDRON]!” A cauldron suddenly shot out from it, aiming straight at Riddle. But the vines around Riddle managed to smack it away. Deuce was stubborn though. He started to run away from Ace and shooting cauldrons at Riddle, but the prefect kept defending himself, never once launch a counterattack.

Ace finally stood from the ground. His eyes widened. Riddle was open from behind. Ace held out this wand and chanting, “[Everte Statum]!” A ball of dark-light came out from his pen and shot straight toward Riddle, but a rose bush suddenly materialized behind him. Ace let out a curse.

“So...” Riddle stood up straight again, slowly turned around to face Ace. “You dare to attack me from the back...” With a scream, Riddle slammed his staff to the ground and vines shot up from bellow Ace and Deuce. The two boys were screaming being held up three feet above the ground. Deuce was hanging upside down while Ace was being choked.

“Gck...”

Riddle’s smile started to turn mad. “Not so brave now, are you, Ace Trappola?”

“Senior Rosehearts!” Jonah yelled looked back and forth from Riddle to Ace and Deuce. “This has gone too far!” He pushed Trey out of the way, ignoring the others shouting his name, and ran straight to the hole that Deuce and Riddle had made.

“Stay out of the way!” Riddle pointed at Jonah, making the boy who just entered the arena stopped. “No outsider allowed in the battle!” He glared at the boy. “You dare to break the rule too?!”

“You still want to follow the rule even when your subjects are in danger?!” Jonah yelled back.

Riddle scoffed at him. “Anyone who breaks the rule will always amount to nothing, just like what mother said.” He stepped forward. “They have to receive equal punishment for every rule they had broken... Those who break the rules have no right to complain to me for I am this dorm’s absolute rule!”

From behind Riddle, Deuce aimed his pen toward Ace. “[Lacarnum Inflamari]…” Fire blasted from his wand, burning the vine that was choking Ace before working on his own. The ginger-head fell to the ground, coughing. He lifted his head, watching Riddle slowly advancing toward Jonah.

Jonah stepped back. “You can’t keep using the rules as an excuse to do whatever you want!”

“What do you know?” Riddle screamed back. “No one will follow lenient rules! What sort of lessons were you taught that you can’t even understand something as simple as this?”

“That’s-”

Riddle slammed his staff to the ground, silencing him. A cruel smile grazed his face. “I bet you were born from parents who can’t even use magic. I’m sure that you didn’t receive any proper education before you stepped foot in this school. How pathetic, truly.”

Jonah’s breath hitched. How could... How could he say that... He opened his mouth, but someone beat him first.

“SHUT UP!”

*PUNCH!*

“RIDDLE!”

“M-Mister Rosehearts!”

“He… He punched the prefect?!”

Riddle clutched his nose with widened eyes. Blood dripped between his fingers. Who did that?! It came so fast he didn’t even say who did it.

“You can be cruel to me!”

Oh. Now he knows.

“You can put that collar around me for the rest of my life! But don’t you dare trash talk the captain! He’s a hundred times better than you’ll ever be!”

Ace stood in front of Jonah, red fist raised. His face looked wild, at the edge of exploding. Deuce quickly ran to Ace’s side. He was still shocked at what Ace just did, but he was also mad at Riddle. How dare he said something like that? That was a whole new level of bad.

Grim flew and landed on Jonah’s shoulder. “Hmmph! You deserve that punch!”

Jonah stared at the boys in front of them. “Guys...”

“Kids aren’t their parents’ trophies. Your parents aren’t the ones who get to decide what you’re worth. I finally understand that you being a trashy person, it wasn’t your mom or dad’s fault at all!” Ace screamed, pointing his magical pen at the shocked Riddle. “You’ve been at this school for a year and the one to blame is that bastard you call a friend doesn’t do anything and ignored everything!

You didn’t make a single friend to tell you off for being a tyrant in the past year, this is your damn fault!”

Riddle slowly lowered his hand from his face. “What… Are you saying…?”

“Growing up under your obsessive mother was probably some kind of hell, but is ‘mama this, mama that’ all you can say?! You’re not capable of thinking for yourself!? To hell with that ‘Crimson Tyrant’ bullshit! You’re just a baby who happens to be gifted with magic!”

“Baby, you say… Me?!” Riddle’s hands curled up into a fist. “You know nothing …”

Ace doesn’t know all those things he had to endure... All those times he was locked up because he fell asleep while studying... All those times his hands were smacked when he ate too much... All those disappointed looks his mother gave him because he couldn’t live up to the expectation he wanted…

Riddle wiped the blood off his nose with his sleeve. “You don’t know anything about me!”

Ace rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I don’t. I don’t know a damn thing! Do you think I’d know anything with that attitude of yours? I’m not letting you off the hook!”

“Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP! SILENCE!” Riddle screamed with flushed cheeks. “Mother taught me everything! She’s right in everything! I did everything she said, therefore I am also right!”

“Riddle, calm down.” Trey finally decided to enter the arena, stopping just a few feet behind Riddle. “The duel is already over!”

“Mister Clover is right.” Jonah felt a hand on his shoulder. When he looked up, Crowley wasn’t looking at him, but toward the angry Riddle. “The challenger is disqualified for his outburst. Continuing to escalate goes against school regulations!”

“I agree with the newbie!” Cater looked at the audience. One of the Heartslabyul students was sitting on the ground, clutching his head, his body trembling. “I’ve had enough of this, too!”

*splat*

Everyone froze. Slowly Riddle lifted his hand to grab something that his the back of his head. It was a yellow goo and it had a disgusting smell.

Riddle squeezed the goo in his hand. “Who did this…?” He turned to the other student. “Who dares to throw this rotten egg at me?!”

“Oh.” Riddle lowered his head. “So this is what you choose… You think you’re the only one suffering here…” He raised his head, staring at everybody. “YOU THINK I’M NOT TIRED FROM DEALING WITH TROUBLEMAKERS LIKE YOU! NO MATTER HOW MUCH I WARNED YOU, NO MATTER HOW STRICT I’VE GOTTEN, YOU ALL KEPT BREAKING THE RULES!”

Jonah, to be honest, was terrified. He had never seen someone so angry to this degree before. “Gck…” He grabbed his eye-patch. His eye underneath was throbbing as Riddle continued to speak. Why did he have a bad feeling about this?

“Every single one of you…” Riddle raised his staff. A magic circle started to glow underneath him. “You’re all just idiots who think about yourselves!” His smile widened. “Very well. If no one will admit, then I’ll have you all take responsibility! Off with all your heads! [OFF WITH YOUR HEAD]!”

He slammed his staff to the ground and the magic circle underneath him expanded. Every spectator who got hit by the circle suddenly found themselves being collared by Riddle’s magic collar. The rose garden suddenly became darker. Debris and petals that came from the previous battle suddenly started floating into the air.

“AHHHH! RUN AWAY!”

“Urk! The collar is-!”

Riddle laughed wildly, looking at the chaos unfolded. “AHAHAHA! How’s that! Now, none of you can raise a hand against me! I’m the only one who’s right because I protect the rules!”

“Please stop, Mister Rosehearts!” ordered Crowley. “Violating the rules is unlike you at all!”

“Oh, now you’re just throwing a tantrum!” Ace shouted again. “This why you are a baby!”

“SHUT UP!” Riddle screamed at him, pointing his staff toward Ace. “TAKE THAT BACK BEFORE I CHOP YOUR HEAD OFF!”

“Come and get me, you twerp!”

“Riddle, enough!” Trey suddenly grabbed Riddle’s arm. Riddle was surprised at this. He turned his head toward Trey who looked mad and worried at the same time. “You’re only hurting yourself. Look at everyone’s faces!”

Everyone around them was terrified, to be honest. Whispers filled the air, all coming from the poor spectators.

“He was serious about skewering him…”

“That’s going too far…”

“He… He’s a monster…”

“Riddle.” Trey tried to talk to him softer. “Calm down and listen to what they’re saying-”

“Are you betraying me, Trey?”

“What?”

Riddle stared at him with eyes filled with anger, but at the same time, Trey could see a trace of sadness in them. “Are you saying that I’m wrong, too?” Riddle pulled his arm back and stepped away from his childhood friend. “Even after I did my best to enforce all those strict rules?! Even after I’ve endured so, so, so many things!”

Riddle gripped his staff tighter. There were some black spots on his red gem, but slowly the blackness expanded, nearly covering the whole gem.

“I won’t… I will never… I WILL NEVER BELIEVE IT!”

“You mustn’t, Mister Rosehearts!” Crowley pushed Jonah back as Ace and Deuce took out their magical pen, ready to fight back. “If you use your magic further, your magic jewel will become tainted with blot!”

But Riddle wasn’t listening. His face was already as red as his hair. He was shouting, not listening to anyone. None of the headmaster’s words reached his ears.

“I am…! I ALONE AM–! I’M THE ONLY ONE WHO IS RIGHT!”

“RIDDLE!”

As Trey’s scream echoed through the garden, the small red gem on Riddle’s staff broke like glass. Black ink-like liquid came out from his staff, trapping him in a black cocoon before bursting out a huge energy wave that sent everyone flying back with a scream. Cater screamed to others to get down Ace and Deuce immediately threw themselves to the ground. Crowley immediately hugged Jonah, protecting him and Grim who tucked himself between them. Trey was too stubborn to back down, he stayed standing up with trembling knees.

When the liquid slowly uncovered, what they saw was no longer Riddle Rosehearts…

Chapter Text

The monster in front of them is not Riddle Rosehearts. There is just no way this is the same Riddle.

His hair and eyes were as red as blood, a small veil cover his right glowing eyes, connected to his black crown on his head. He was wearing a torn-up black-and-red dress which was open on the front part, showing his tight pants and knee-high boots, with two black belts on his corset. The dress had white collar and black spikes, and he also had a heart-shaped choker around his neck. The hips part is decorated with white roses, tainted by black ink. His arms have splotches of inks, forming a pair of sticky black gloves around his hand. His legs and knee-high boots and covered by black inks, along with additional spider-like legs.

"Se... Senior Rosehearts..."

Jonah’s voice sounded small but was not unheard of by 'Rosehearts'. He turned his head toward him, lips curled up into a sickening grin.

"HaHaHaHaHaHa! I do nOt nEeD AnYoNe wHo dEfIeS Me iN My wOrLd. I am mY WoRlD’S AbSoLuTe rUlEr. My wOrLd iTsElF SuBmItS To mE! I wIlL NoT ToLeRaTe aNy aNsWeR AsIdE FrOm, yEs, LoRd RiDdLe’! iT’S OfF WiTh tHe hEaDs oF EvErYoNe wHo dEfIeS Me! AhAhAhAhAhAhA!"

"Ah, how could this happen?!" Crowley wooed, still shielding Jonah. "How could I let a student go into Overblot while I am here?!"

"What’s Overblot?" Grim asked in a panic. None of them realized that the sealing collar around their neck had disappeared. "That guy’s turned completely evil now!"

"Overblot is the one situation that all magicians should avoid," Crowley explained. "Right now, he has been enveloped by so much negative energy that he’s lost control over his emotions and magic."

"I don’t get it, though?!" Grim yelled.

"Me, too!" Deuce added.

Cater groaned. "Ah, geez! In other words, it’s like an evil villain berserker mode!"

"If this goes on, Riddle’s life will be in danger!" Trey said, looking at Riddle in fear.

His life?

Senior Rosehearts could... Die?

"We... We have to..." Jonah clenched his fist. He lowered his head, bangs covering his eyes.

"The other students’ lives take more priority," Crowley said, slowly letting go of Jonah's shoulders. "I’ll go help with the evacuation! Riddle must come to his senses before his magic consumes him. Losing his life is an absolute bad scenario, but even worse is..." He shook his head. He didn't dare to continue what he was saying. "In any case, you boys go get the rest of the staff and dorm heads to help control the situation–"

"No."

"Argentum?" Crowley watched Jonah as he was being pushed away by the boy.

Slowly he lifted his head. His voice was filled with confidence and authority. "Ace, Deuce, Grim, gather around me!"

The three students who were called by him turned toward him. "Jonah?!" Ace asked.

Jonah ripped his eye-patch off his head, revealing his yellow-and-red eyes once again. They always seemed to listen to him when he revealed his eye. It made him feel like the one in charge above them. And he needed them to listen to him right now. "This is your captain's order! All hands on deck!"

The three of them looked at each other. It was clear that Jonah won't back down this time. He stood up tall without an ounce of fear. There was a dangerous glint in his eyes, ready for battle, ready to lead them. It was like at the Dwarfs' Mine again...

The three of them exchange grins. If their captain wants a battle, then the whole crew will follow him. “Aye, aye, Captain!"

"Wait a minute, you boys!" Crowley yelled at them. "That is dangerous!"

"Senior Rosehearts is going to lose his life, headmaster," Jonah said in a surprisingly calm voice. "We can't let that happen."

"I still haven’t heard him say ‘It’s all my fault, I’m sorry’ to me!" Ace grinned from ear to ear, preparing his wand again.

"Besides!" Grim stood on all four to top of Jonah's head, smoke coming out from his nostrils. "It’s not cool at all to lose to people we challenge!"

"This is probably the only to make him come back to his senses," Deuce added in all serious tone.

Trey looked at the three underclassmen. Two of the group don't really like Riddle. But, to see them willingly face against probably the hardest being in their life...

He couldn't take it anymore... He couldn't stay silent again... Not when his childhood friend is in danger!

"What is your plan, Jonah?" Trey said.

Cater turned his head toward his friend in shock. "What are you saying, Trey? There’s no way you can win against Riddle!"

"Maybe... But I can’t lose him yet. I..." He clenched his Magical Pen hard. "There’s something I still have to tell him!"

"Senior Diamond. Help the headmaster evacuate!" Jonah commanded. "We need to get everyone out here!"

Cater looked at the boy as if he just offended him. He looked at Trey again, begging him not to fight. But, Trey just nodded, a sign just too follows. "Ah, damn it!" he said in frustration. "I get it already. There’s no other way, huh?" He turned to Crowley. "Headmaster!"

Crowley watched as Trey moved closer to Jonah, who already had Ace, Deuce, and Grim on his side. The boy glanced briefly at him, telling him to hurry and make his decision. With a sigh, Crowley finally nodded. "Alright. I’ll return as soon as I escort the others to safety, so please stay safe until then, all of you!"

Cater raised his Magical Pen, summoning magic circles around him. "[Split Card]!" One copy of himself emerged from each circle. "Let's go!" With that he and the headmaster ran from the battlefield, leaving the small group of magicians under the angry eye of the corrupted prefect.

"This guy, ThAt gUy, TrEy... YoU AlL HaVe sOmE NeRvE... I'll TaKe aLl oF YoUr hEaD!"

He thrust his hand out, black ink came out from his fingers, aiming straight at the group.

"Senior Clover!" shouted Jonah. Trey already knew what to do. He ran in front of the gang and pointed his Magical Pen toward the attack, a magic circle appeared to bellow his feet.

"[Doodle Suit]!" he shouted as white light appeared from the crystal of the wand, clashing with Riddle's ink, turning them into playing cards.

"DOn't gEt iN my wAy, TrEy!"

The growl sent a shiver down Trey's spine, but he didn't dare to back down. Around them, the rose bushes started to move, roots climbing up from the ground, and branches lowered. Like zombies, the bushes started to walk toward the gang.

"Ace, Grim, Senior Clover! Cover us!" shouted Jonah.

Ace grinned wider, summoning his magic circle. "Take this!" He waved his Magical Pen, blowing the nearby rose-bush-zombie away.

Grim jumped off Jonah's head. "Fugya~!" He spat fireball of every rose bush that caught by his eyes, burning them to ashes.

"Ha!" Trey waved his wand, changing the rose bush that nearing Deuce and Jonah into harmless rose petals. He could hear Riddle let out a booming laugh, mocking them.

"hahahahahaha! I Am aBsOlUt... No one sHaLl sTaNd aGaInSt mE!"

"We'll see about that," Jonah said, lips pulled up. "Deuce, cauldron!"

Deuce summoned his magic circle in front of him. "Haaaa..." He snapped his eyes open. "[Fire away]! [Cauldron]!" A large-sized cauldron shot out from the magic circle, hitting Riddle straight in the face. The prefect let out a scream of pain, his head was thrown backward from the attack.

"Ace, trap him!" shouted Jonah. Ace blew the nearest rose bush before turning to Riddle.

"I'm gonna catch you, you little gremlin!" he growled, summoning the wind around Riddle, forming into a ball of wind, trapping the prefect in it. Riddle trashed around the ball, screaming in anger and unleashing his ink attacks. But none of his struggles managed to make a loose in the ball.

Ace grinned at him. "Hah! Can't do anything now."

Riddle kept growling, fist clenched hand, and Jonah noticed his glowing eyes became brighter.

"EvErY SiNgLe oNe oF YoU ArE GeTtInG AhEaD Of yOuRsElVeS... oFf wItH YoUr hEaDs!"

"Watch out!" warned Jonah, but Riddle already made his move. With a roar, Riddle unleashed dark light round him, cutting himself free from Ace's wind prison. Behind him, a silhouette was formed, a figure in a red dress and a heart-shaped head filled with ink and a golden crown on top of it.

"What the heck is that?!" yelled Ace, partially still in shock that his trap was broken.

"I’M ThE OnLy oNe wHo’s always RiGhT! If nOt, ThEn aLl tHaT I’Ve wOrKeD FoR WaS...!"

Riddle let out a high-pitched whine, raising his right hand and the silhouette, like a shadow, followed Riddle, raising its left rose-bush arm. Riddle thrust his arm forward and the shadow followed him, swinging the rose-bush arm toward the group.

"Look out!" Trey pushed Jonah out of the way, letting himself get hit by the rose bush hand. He let out a pained scream, feeling the thorns cutting his skin.

Jonah pulled himself up from the ground. How did he miss that? He looked up to Trey who was on the ground. "Senior Clover!"

"TrEy... YoU TrAiToR..."

Trey looked up to his childhood friend. "Riddle-" He didn't get to finish his sentence for Riddle ink tentacle shot out and wrapped itself around Trey's neck. The young man let out a strangled breath. He couldn't breathe. Riddle was chocking him too hard. And the boy didn't even realize it. He stared at the red eyes. They looked... hurt...

"HoW CoUlD YoU..."

"Get away from him!" A magic circle appeared in front of Deuce again, pointing his hand straight at Riddle's chest. "[Blast off]! [Cauldron]!" He shot a cauldron straight at Riddle. The prefect didn't get to defend himself. He screamed, pulled back his ink tentacle, letting Trey fell to the ground.

"Trey!" Someone suddenly appeared and caught Trey before he touched the ground. It was Cater. When they finally escorted the last remaining students out of Heartslabyul, Cater immediately excused himself to help his friends. He arrived just in time when Deuce released his cauldron.

"TrAiToR... aLl oF YoU ArE!"

"Is there a limit to this guy’s magic?" Ace screamed.

"We need to finish this as soon as possible," Jonah muttered, standing up again. "He has to have a weakness..." His eyes darted around Riddle, trying to find something that could be his weak spot. Maybe the heart corset? The choker? The crown? The-

Wait.

There.

Riddle's eye. The one covered by the vile. The one that was glowing with red light, was now flickering, from red to gray to red...

"His eyes..." Jonah's eyes widened. A plan forming in his head. "Senior Diamond! Can you do a flying spell?"

Cater looked up from Trey, who was barely conscious, to Jonah. "To make you fly? Yes."

"Good. We're gonna need it!" He ran toward the other three. "Deuce, prepare as many cauldrons as you can around Senior Rosehearts!" Deuce nodded, gathering his power, summoning as many magic circles as he could.

Jonah turned to Grim and Ace. "Grim, prepare you fireballs! Ace, you think you can make them explode like a bomb?"

"I can try!" said Ace.

Jonah nodded. Good enough. He glanced at the other seniors, focusing at Trey. "Senior Clover. Can you still fight?"

"Dude-"

"Yes..." Trey groaned, cutting Cater off, slowly sitting up. He looked up at Jonah and nodded. "Yes. I can!"

Jonah nodded. "I'll need you to protect us."

Trey nodded again. Slowly with the help from Cater, he stood up, Magical Pen gripped tightly in his hand. He looked up to Riddle who was screaming angrily at them.

"YoU aLl wIlL ReGrEt aNgErInG ThE QuEeN!"

“Well, down with the bloody red queen!” Jonah screamed in response.

Triggered, Riddle raised his arms, summoning his army of rose bush again. Jonah had prepared this. "Ace, Grim, Deuce, prepare the canons! Senior Clover! Defend!"

Trey moved to action, running to Jonah and back pressed again the smaller boy protecting him from behind. "[Doodle Suit]!" Using his magic, he changed the approaching rose bushes in card again.

"[Split Card]!" Cater shouted, summoning his copies once again to protect the underclassman who was already working on their part.

"[Come forth]! [Cauldrons]!" Deuce raised his Magical Pen as cauldron emerged from each of the magic circle.

Grim flew above them, avoiding Riddle's ink tentacles attack. "Fugyaa~!" He shot multiple fireballs, aiming for each cauldron.

"Haah...!" Ace waved his Magical Pen like a baton, summoning the wind around the fireball, holding them in a small wind sphere, forming a 'bomb' inside each cauldrons-'cannons'.

"StoP GeTtInG In mY WaY! i'lL CuT YoUr hEaDs oFf!"

"All cauldron loaded, Captain!" shouted Ace.

Jonah took the signal. "Senior Diamond! Float them everywhere!"

Cater waved his Magical Pen, summoning magic circles underneath him and each cauldron. "[Wingardium Leviosa]!" The cauldron began to float and Cater positioned them in the air around Riddle, all aiming toward the prefect.

"NnNnNoOoOoOoO!"

"Fire the cannon!" shouted Jonah, pointing forward. Ace then screamed, clapping his hands together, shooting the fire from inside the cauldron at an intense speed like a cannonball. The blast hit Riddle everywhere, his body, his face, his shadow. He was unable to avoid them, unable to stop screaming.

One of the blasts managed to hit Riddle right on his flickering eyes.

"AaAaAaRrRrGgGhHh!"

Jonah could hear a glass break. He didn't know where it came from, but he knew they had done something.

"I WaS... wRoNg...? tHaT’S NoT TrUe... Is iT...? MoThEr..."

He let out another scream as something black came out from his eyes. Black, slimy, tart-like ink flowed out, along with all the ink from Riddle's body, revealing the prefect in his torn-up dorm uniform. The body fell down the ground, but Trey, who was screaming for Riddle’s name, managed to caught the smaller boy in his arms and fell onto his knees.

While both seniors were busy with the prefect, the first years focused on the ink, slithering in the air like a snake. Without anyone expecting, the ink suddenly shot itself toward Jonah. Nobody was anticipating this, not even Jonah, they all froze in their place when the ink suddenly hit Jonah in his right eye.

Jonah could felt his mouth moved, forming a gasp, and his body fell backward. He didn't feel any pain, which was a surprise for him. He could barely make out whoever screaming for his name.

And then, suddenly, everything faded away...

Chapter Text

When Jonah opened his eyes, he realized that everything is dark. He still could feel the dirt underneath him, but he couldn't see the sky above him. Was he still in the rose maze? Why he couldn't hear anyone? Slowly he got up, looking around.

Wait a minute...

This is not the rose maze.

He wasn't even sure he was still at Night Raven College. In front of him, there was a single tree. There was a door-shaped hole on the tree, and beyond it, was a grayscale maze similar to what he saw in his strange vision.

Where is everyone?

There was no other way except, so Jonah took the risk and stepped into the tree. The rose maze was narrow, unlike the one in Heartslabyul, making him felt as if the bushes were closing into him. After a long walk, he soon found a rose arc bush. The roses were the only thing colorful in this greyscale world, so of course, it would take Jonah’s attention.

Though, he wasn’t expecting THIS when he looked past the arc…

The found a fancy study behind it. In the study, there were two people, one was a lady wearing a beautiful dress. She was standing next to the table while holding a small cake with eight lit up candles on top of it. And sitting on a chair in front of the table was…

“Senior… Rosehearts…?”

He recognized that ahoge anywhere. He looked so tiny, still a child. His hair and shining grey eyes were the only things colorful in this study.

“Happy eighth birthday, Riddle!” the woman cheered as she put the cake in front of the tiny Rosehearts. “For this year, your birthday cake is a sugar-free one filled with nuts. It’s made from soy flour with lots of lecithin since its good for the brain.”

“Thank you, Mama.” Riddle tried to smile. His hands were playing with the front of this blazer. “But, um, I…” He looked up to the lady with eyes filled with hope. “Just once is okay, but… I want to eat a tart filled with lots of red strawberries…”

The woman gasped. “My, how can you say that?! Desserts filled with sugar like that are basically like poison for the body.” She walked around Roseheart’s chair. The boy looked down at his shoes when he felt the woman held his shoulder from behind the chair. “Just one slice of that thing will exceed your ideal intake of carbohydrates!”

The woman looked down at the boy, giving his shoulders a light squeeze. It wasn’t supposed to hurt, but she managed to make Rosehearts flinched. “And for today’s dinner, we’ll be having sautéd tuna with plenty of docosahexaenoic acid and icosapentaenoic acid. It’s much healthier than a strawberry tart! Ah, but the recommended calorie intake for an 8-year old is… less than 600kcal for one meal, so don’t eat more than 100 grams.” She looked down at the boy again. “Am I understood?”

He gave her a weak nod. “Yes, Mama…”

“Good boy!” she cheered, definitely satisfied with his answer. “Now, blow your candle~”

Riddle let out a weak chuckle and pulled himself closer to the cake. With one blow, the candle went off, along with everything in the room, leaving Jonah standing there, bewildered.

Was that… Was that Senior Rosehearts’ memory? Is he inside Senior Rosehearts' mind right now? How did this happen? The last thing he remembered was the cannons went off and they saved the prefect, and then-

Jonah gasped. He reached his right eye. Sweet Nebula… That gooey-thing went straight in there! He rubbed his eye rapidly, hoping that he could take it out. But the thing was… It didn’t hurt. His eye felt normal. Or was it not normal at all if he didn't feel any pain?

He looked up again, hoping to see the scene again, only to find a straight path again. With nowhere to go, he walked through the path. As he walked, he thought back at the scene he had seen earlier.

That was Senior Rosehearts’ mother? Senior Clover did say that his mother decides everything Senior Rosehearts’ eats, wears, and does. Does that mean she’s a good mother? But everyone seemed bothered because of this. Jonah knew nobody wanted to follow so many rules, but still, rules were made to protect them… right?

He wonders what his mother looks like though… Was she like Senior Rosehearts’ mother? Or the opposite?

He soon found another rose arc bush. He immediately ran toward it and looked through it. It was another scene in the study. Little Senior Rosehearts was writing something on his book, while his mother explained things on the blackboard. “That is all for your lessons on classical magic,” she said, closing the book in her hand. In turn, Senior Rosehearts stopped writing and looked up to her. “You have until tomorrow to review the magical ethics that you learned today and get through the next 50 pages of your language philosophy text.”

Riddle nodded. “Yes, mother.”

She smiled at him. She looked proud. “I’ll give you an hour to study for your next potion lesson. I’ll be back soon. I have an errand I need to do.”

With that, she walked out of the room, closing the door behind her. Jonah watched Senior Rosehearts walked up to his giant bookshelf and traded the previous book with a new one before returning to his seat. He started reading, but Jonah also noticed that he was tapping his index finger onto the table at a perfect pace as if he was counting each second that had passed.

*tick*

*tick*

Senior Rosehearts looked up to the window. Someone was throwing some pebble onto it. Instead of looking angry like Jonah thought he would do, Senior Roseheart smiled and his eyes lit up. He ran to the window and opened it. “You came!”

Jonah looked over Senior Rosehearts and saw two kids: it was the tiny version of Senior Clover and Che’nya. Tiny Che’nya was holding a croquet mallet and a plastic ball, while Tiny Senior Clover was holding two mallets.

“Of course, we came, nya~” Che’nya said while throwing-and-catching the ball in his hand. “So, your mom-mew is gone?”

Riddle nodded, his smile slowly become wider. “I’ll have an hour before my next lesson.”

Che’nya grinned. “Then, come down here and play~”

Riddle laughed. “Okay!”

Jonah had never seen Senior Rosehearts so happy like his. He watched the little boy ran to the door, not bothering to close it behind him. Looking out the window again, Jonah could see Senior Rosehearts tried his best to hit the plastic ball. Senior Trey helped him while Che’nya was being the competitive one.

Senior Rosehearts finally managed to hit the ball, earning him a score. With one last smile, the scene disappeared. Jonah couldn’t help but smile, seeing such a precious scene in front of him. Senior Trey did say that they were childhood friends, so Jonah could guess that they played more after that. Senior Rosehearts must’ve found a loophole in his strict study hours to play and relax his mind.

Wait…

Does that mean that Senior Rosehearts went against his mother's rule?

A new path had opened, so Jonah walked through it, walking faster to find another rose arc bush. Jonah couldn’t get rid of the worries that had settled in his chest. Why does he have this feeling that this won’t end well? If this was Senior Rosehearts’ past, would whatever happen after this changed him into the tyrant he was famous of?

As soon as he found the next rose arc bush, he walked through it. This time, he found himself on a small homey bakery. At the table at the corner, he saw the children with a slice of strawberry tart in front of each of them.

“I can’t believe Riddle has never eaten a strawberry tart!” exclaimed Che’nya.

Riddle pouted nervously. “Mama says it’s poison for the body, so I’m not allowed to eat them.”

Senior Clover pouted. “Well, of course, it’s bad if you eat too much.” He pushed Senior Rosehearts’ plate closer to the boy. “Just try it.”

Senior Rosehearts nodded and pick up his fork. He sliced the tip with a strawberry on it and put it into his mouth. “Ah~ Hap!” Riddle's eyes widened. It was like an explosion in his mouth. The shiny strawberry was sweet, though a bit sour, but the cream cheese and crunchy crust made up for it.

“How is it?” Senior Clover asked. There was a hint of worry in his tone of voice.

Senior Rosehearts closed his eyes in delight. "Hmm~ it’s so good!”

Senior Trey let out a sigh of relief while Che’nya laughed. “See, Trey? Everyone loves your baking!”

Senior Rosehearts took another bite savoring the flavors in his mouth. This was his first experience eating something as sweet as this. They were too busy in their world of sweet and childish conversations that they never realized the bell of the bakery rang when the door was opened.

But Jonah realized that, so he turned around, and his blood ran cold, for he saw Senior Rosehearts’ mother standing there, an angry look on her face. She took one step and the scene disappeared, revealing a new path.

No no no no no. This couldn’t be good Jonah started running. He needed to find the next rose arc bush. He needed to know what happens next. He needed to know what drove Senior Rosehearts to be a tyrant. He needs to know!

He ran straight through the next rose arc bush when he found one and found himself in a different room. It was a bedroom, with shelves filled with books but he could spot a single fluffy stuffed rabbit on the bed. This could be a kid's room. Maybe this was Senior Rosehearts' room?

*BANG!*

Jonah looked toward the opened door. He saw Senior Rosehearts’ mother dragging his son inside the bedroom by his arm.  “How could you!” she snapped. “Not only did you skip out on studying to play, but you also ate something so sugary!?”

Senior Rosehearts was crying and looked terrified. He tried to pull his arm away, but his mother's grip was too hard. He flinched when she continued.

“Those two tempted you into doing it, didn’t they? I shall never allow you to play with both of them again!”

“I’m sorry, Mother!” he cried. “I’ll never do it again, so please forgive me-”

“Quiet!” she snapped as she threw her son. Senior Rosehearts tripped his footing and fell to the carpet floor of the room. “You’re the one at fault because you broke the rules! So, you’ll stay here until you have learned your lesson.” She sighed massaging her temple. She was mumbling when she climbed back up. “Ah, I knew I shouldn’t have given him time for himself. He must be trained more to become more perfect…”

Senior Rosehearts tried to follow his mother, but the bedroom door was slammed in his face, the sound of a lock could be heard. “Mama!” he cried, banging the door. “Mama, please! I’m sorry! I’ll be good! I’ll follow the rule! I’ll be a good boy! Please, open the door!”

He never got his answer. In his despair, he sunk to his knees, forehead pressed against the door, his tiny fist curled up on his lap. “Please… Please…”

The painful scene soon disappeared. Now Jonah understands why. Senior Rosehearts… He never had a choice but to follow the rules. If he goes against them, he would be punished. That was cruel. Even if Jonah couldn’t remember his parent, he knew that this isn’t how parents should treat their children, to demand the young ones to fulfill their high expectations. All those stress build up all those years brought Senior Rosehearts to his overblot state. And they saved him.

But… Did they though?

He finally reached the end of the path and found another rose arc bush at the end. This time he could hear some sound. Like…a crowd? Walking past the arc, he was prepared for another painful memory, but what he found was something entirely different.

It reminded him of the last Queen of Heart vision. He arrived in a rose garden, styled like a courtroom. But this time, he wasn’t standing on the jury box, he was in the tall judge’s stand as if he was the Queen of Heart herself. Looking down, he felt a gasp escaped his mouth. On the smaller stand in front of him, stood an older version of Senior Rosehearts, taking place as the previous girl. The jury box was filled with various bird and card soldiers surrounded them.

“Your Honor!” Jonah looked down as a white rabbit jumped toward the front of the stand. “We are waiting for your decision.”

Jonah looked around the room again. Is this real? Or another hallucination? “Wait… Me?”

“Yes. Your Honor!” said the white rabbit. “You’ve seen all the rules had been broken by this criminal, and now you decided the punishment fit for him.”

At word ‘criminal’ he could he Senior Rosehearts gritted his teeth along with the muttering of the crowd. From the jury’s stand, a flamingo stood up, pointing its wing at Riddle in anger. “Cut his head off!” Some people in the crowd shouting in agreement, along with chants of ‘Off with his head!’ But Senior Rosehearts didn’t move an inch. He didn’t yell back or use his magic. He’s just… Accepting all of this.

He couldn’t take this any longer.

“Everyone shut up!” Jonah tried to yell, but nobody listened to him. “Shut up!” He looked on his stand and saw a hammer. He picked it up and slammed it to his stand rapidly with it. “Order! Order!”

The shouting stopped, but the whispers were still ongoing. Jonah took a deep breath and looked below him again. Really? Was this really Senior Rosehearts' fault? Wasn’t he the victim here? His mother probably had her reason to treat her son that way but no one, except Senior Rosehearts himself, knows the answer. This child was a product of his parent's teaching. Without anyone calling out of his action, he thought that everything he does is right. He was a tyrant. But he was following the rule because his parent taught him that. So, does he deserve punishment?

“The court has decided…” Everyone went silent and Senior Rosehearts looked up with a miserable face. “I find the defendant… NOT GUILTY!”

The crowd burst into a protest, spouting accusation after accusation of every Senior Rosehearts’ acts. But Jonah just calmly say, “He was just following what he believes what’s right. Is that against the rule?”

Everyone paused.

“Yes, his methods are cruel, but he’s just doing his duty.” He looked down at Senior Rosehearts, who was staring at him with wide grey eyes. Jonah gave him a small smile. “He never breaks the rule. And according to the law, he’s innocent.”

The crowd murmured in agreement. Senior Rosehearts was still staring at him in confusion.

“Why?”

Jonah smiled warmly at him. “You’re a good guy, Senior Rosehearts. You just need the perfect guidance.” Jonah lifted his hammer again. “Therefore, Riddle Rosehearts… You are free from any punishment.”

He slammed the hammer onto his stand again twice, and then everything went black again.

Chapter Text

When Jonah opened his eyes, he could see the brick ceiling above him. The light was dimed, but it wasn't blurry. He heard movement on his side and suddenly a face popped up.

"Jonah!" Grim was staring at him with a worried expression, something that Jonah never thought would see from him.

"Grim..." he whispered back. Slowly he raised his hand and pat the demon-raccoon on the head. Grim just leaned in and purred. Huh. Well, it's never too late to learn new things. Soon, two more heads popped up. Ace was smiling at him while Deuce just looked so relieved.

"Good to see you awake, Captain," Ace said, his voice calmer than before.

Jonah looked between the two Heartslabyul students. He let out a small smile. "We're not in Heartslabyul anymore, are we?" he asked.

"No." Deuce shook his head. "We took you to the school infirmary."

He heard a sound of footsteps and soon the headmaster's face popped up as well. There was a small smile on his face, but Jonah couldn't read his eyes behind that bird mask. "How are you feeling, Mister Argentum?" he asked.

Jonah blinked slowly. "Sore... Tired..."

Crowley nodded. "Can you sit up for a bit?"

Jonah tried to get up, but again, his whole body felt like he just fell off his broom and smashed under Deuce's cauldron. Grim jumped off his stomach and sat beside him, while Ace and Deuce helped him sit up. Crowley took Jonah's chin on one hand and use his others to check on his right eye. "Hmm..."

"Is there something wrong?" asked Jonah.

Crowley exanimated it for another few seconds before shaking his head. "No." Crowley let go Jonah's chin and eye. "There's nothing wrong."

"But that ink thing just hit him in the eye!" shouted Ace. "Are you sure nothing wrong with him?"

Crowley smiled, reassuring him. "His eye is fine," he said. "But, if you guys are really worried, we can make some potions for his eye-drop."

Jonah nodded. "How's... How's Senior Rosehearts?"

The three of the crew looked at each other worriedly. "He hasn't wake up since the overblot," Deuce said, as he stepped aside a bit. In the bed next to Jonah, lied Senior Rosehearts, eyes closed and breathing normally. He looks like he was just sleeping, but if he was, then Clover, who was sitting on the chair next to Rosehearts' head, and Diamond, who stood at the feet of the bed, wouldn't look so worried and desperate.

"Riddle..." Clover ran his hand through Rosehearts' hair. Jonah noticed there were some bandages around his neck, probably from where Rosehearts had strangled him. He looked at Ace and Deuce. They also had some bandages in some places. Grim, Diamond, and himself probably had the least between the groups. Even Rosehearts had bandages in various parts of his body.

Diamond frowned, crossing his arms in front of his chest. "What are we going to do if he doesn't wake up?"

"He has to," Clover quickly answered. He kept staring at the sleeping prefect. "He just has to."

Ace sat beside Jonah. "Can't believe he nearly killed us just because he throws tantrums when he gets scolded!" he said, crossing his arms in front of his chest.

"Yeah... Just went wild 'cause he needs to release stress, yanno..." Grim nodded as he climbed back to Jonah's stomach, purring when the boy started to pet him. Huh. He does care.

Deuce sighed. "That was certainly dangerous."

Jonah massaged his temple. They have a point... Rosehearts nearly killed all of them, even before he overblotted. But none of them actually knew what happened behind the scene. He let out a groaned as he laid back down again.

"Why don't we let them rest for the night?" Crowley suggested.

Clover looked up. "But, headmaster-"

Crowley walked toward Clover and put his hand on his shoulder. "They are not going anywhere," he said with a reassuring smile. "We'll come back tomorrow."

Clover looked back to Rosehearts, clearly not wanting to leave his side. He then sighed and stood up from his seat. Diamond went over him and guided him outside.

Jonah turned to Grim. "Grim. You can stay with Ace and Deuce."

"Why?" Grim asked.

Jonah smiled at him. "I don't want those ghosts to scare you if you're alone there."

Grim pouted, but then he nodded. "Alright..." He then flew to Deuce's shoulder. Ace gave him a goodbye wave and followed Deuce and Grim outside.

Crowley was the last one to walk out. "Have some rest, Mister Argentum," he said, in which Jonah answer with a nod. Crowley pulled the door, but not closing it entirely, there was still a small open gap.

Jonah let out another sigh. He pulled himself up again, winching in the process, but eventually, he managed to get out of the bed. His knees were shaking, but he kept walking toward Rosehearts' bed, gripping the bed to balance himself.

"I know you're awake, Senior Rosehearts."

Slowly, Rosehearts opened his eyes, blinking and turning his head toward him. "How did you know?" he whispered, voice cracked.

Jonah shrugged. "A lucky guess." He then sat on the bed next to Rosehearts' legs. "How are you feeling? And please be honest."

Rosehearts groaned. He tried to get up but he had trouble, so Jonah helped him pull himself. "Terrible," he mumbled.

Jonah chuckled. "I can understand that." There was a brief silence between them. Jonah noticed how Rosehearts kept clenching and unclenching his fists. Did he want to say something? Jonah himself wanted to say something. About those visions, about the trial. Was the Senior Rosehearts in that trial and this person right now is the same?

Jonah figured that Rosehearts probably didn't want to start this probably awkward conversation, so might as well be the one who starts. "Can I ask something?"

The prefect looked up, a bit surprised but then he nodded. Jonah continued, "Is there something you want?"

Rosehearts tilted his head to the side. "Huh?"

Of course. That was a weird question... Jonah cleared his throat, staring over again. "If you have the chance, is there something you really want to do?"

Rosehearts shook his head. "I'm not-"

Jonah gave him a warm smile. "It's okay." He reached out to hold Rosehearts's right hand, frowning when he flinched. "I won't judge you."

Rosehearts bit his lips and looked down, his left hand kept playing with his blanket. After a while, which Jonah thought he wouldn't answer, Rosehearts finally whispered. "I... I really wanted to eat that mont blanc, too..."

Jonah smiled. "You should try that. Maybe we can try making those."

"Was it fun?" There was a small blush on Rosehearts' cheek. "That time cooking with Trey and Cater?"

"It was." Jonah chuckled. "Deuce had trouble with the piping and you should've seen Ace's face when he nearly drops the hot pan." Rosehearts looked confused, but that was okay. Jonah was just happy he managed to make him react to something. "Anything else?"

"I... I like white roses, too."

"Do roses have different colors other than red and white?"

"They have pink, and yellow too. Also, green and orange. Sometimes lavender, novelty, salmon, peach, and cream. I heard that someone is trying to cultivate blue roses."

Jonah whistled. "Wow, that's a lot."

Rosehearts nodded. This time he looked up to him. "I once saw the lined them up to make a rainbow rose arc."

"Must've been pretty."

Rosehearts smiled a little, feeling nostalgic. "It was."

"Speaking of colors, what color do you think is good on a flamingo?"

"Well, the Laws of the Queen of Heart-"

"No." Jonah held Rosehearts' hand tighter, but not too hard to hurt him. "What is your favorite color?"

Rosehearts blinked again in confusion. But then, he looked down again. "Pink. I like the pink flamingos. It's natural for them."

Jonah nodded. "One day, you should teach me how to play that croquet game."

"Trey taught me when we were kids. I had fun playing with him. I want..." Rosehearts gripped his blanket tighter. His voice began to crack. "I always want to play with them more... But, Mama..." He sniffled. "Mama always says not to play too much... If I play too much, I wouldn't have time to study... And if I don't study... Then I can't make my family proud..."

"Why is that?"

Rosehearts whipped his wet eyes with his sleeve, but the tears just kept on flowing. "The... In the Rose Kingdom, women are superior to men... That's why... Mama always says that I have to be better... I have to be better and better... If not... I'll be left behind from the other... And I can't..."

Sobs began to fill the room. Jonah pulled Rosehearts down, letting his head rested on his lap. He didn't mind if his pants became wet, Senior Rosehearts needs this. He probably never experienced this. Never had the chance to actually cry.

"You must be tired, huh?" Jonah whispered as he ran his hand through Rosehearts' red hair.

"I'm tired..." he whispered back between his sob and sniffle. "I'm so tired... I want to sleep... I want to play with the other... I just want to talk with more people... I just..." Rosehearts turned his head and looked up to Jonah. "Is there any rule... Is there any rule for me to get rid of this pain...?"

Jonah couldn't answer that. Nobody can, not even the Law of the Queen of Heart. So, he just sighed and kept brushing Rosehearts' hair. "To be honest," he sighed. "I don't know."

Rosehearts bit his lips, disappointed that he would not be able to enjoy all the things he had said. Forever he would follow his mother's rules and teaching without being able to take a break. He wouldn't be able to have a moment like this again. Just to speak everything he wants, being comforted by someone who would listen. By the time they were able to leave the infirmary, both of the probably wouldn't be able to see each other again. After all who would've wanted to befriend the Crimson Tyrant?

"I would."

Rosehearts looked up again, blinking in surprise. Did... Did he say all that out loud?

Jonah smiled down at him. "You are not the Crimson Tyrant." His hand stopped brushing Rosehearts' hair, but slowly help him sit up again. They faced each other, with Jonah's hand on his cheek. "You're a good guy, Senior Rosehearts. You just need the perfect guidance."

"Therefore, Riddle Rosehearts... You are free from any punishment."

It is him.

Tears came out from Rosehearts' eyes again, this time wasn't because of sadness, but relief. Maybe he could... Maybe he could find a way to make up the time he had lost... Maybe he could finally get rid of this aching feeling in his heart... Jonah pulled him into a hug, and he just let him. He wanted to feel the warmth of someone's hug. He wanted to have a shoulder he could lean on. He wanted to have a comforting hand, running down his hair, erasing all those anxiety away...

He wants to have a dear friend like him...

 

Chapter Text

“So, you want some days off?”

Argentum nodded at the headmaster, taking a glance at the redhead who stood beside him. “It’s more for Senior Rosehearts actually. I think it’s better for him to be alone for a while. At least until he’s ready to go back to Heartslabyul,” he said. He glanced to the side where the other Heartslabyul students from the fight were standing. Grim was also there, hanging on Spade’s shoulder. “I… I hope you don’t mind.”

Crowley glanced at the other boys. The first-years were looking at each other, visibly confused but worried at the same time. Clover was frowning, looking down at his shoes and hands clenched into fists. Diamond was the first one to speak.

“I think it will be fine.” The other students in the room turned toward him. “Give Riddle some space.”

Rosehearts blinked at him. When Diamond smiled at him, he immediately looked down again. Crowley looked between the two boys in front of his desk. It was very unusual to see Rosehearts so small like this.

Crowley sighed and leaned back against his chair. “Alright,” he said. “I will inform the teachers about this.”

Argentum smiled with gratitude. “Thank you, headmaster.”

Trappola pouted at him, folding his hands behind his head. “Hey. How come you’re the one gets a vacation, while we have to go back to school?”

When Trappola’s voice was heard, Rosehearts was seen turning his head to the side. Argentum gave him a small glance. He reached for the prefect’s sleeve and pulled a bit, just to reassure him. He then turned to Trappola again, this time with a childish smile. “I’m the captain, aren’t I?” he grinned at him. “Shipmates don’t get to rest.”

The ginger-head stuck out his tongue at him. “Oi, no fair!”

Spade covered his mouth, giggling behind his hand. Argentum then focused on Clover. He still looked worried. How could he not? The one who he cares about was standing there and he couldn’t do anything yet. “Look, it won’t be long. Once Senior Rosehearts is back, we’ll go back to class again,” the younger boy said. “Aren’t you all worry about him?”

Clover’s sight was focused on Rosehearts, but the small child wouldn’t look up to him. Finally, he sighed. “Is there anything we can do?”

Rosehearts’ breath hitched and his eyes slightly widened, as if he wasn’t expecting Clover to say that. Argentum pulled his sleeve again to calm him down. “Maybe you can borrow some notes from his classmates?” he continued. “The Ramshackle Dorm is pretty boring, he’ll need something to take his mind off.” He then turned to the first years. “And I’ll be needing your notes too." When Grim and Trappola looked at him confusedly, Argentum frowned. "Wait, do even have notes?”

Both Trappola and Grim avoided Argentum’s gaze. The one-eyed boy gave them a disappointed look. “Really?”

Spade raised his hand. “I have!”

“Thank you!” Argentum smiled at Spade, who was scratching his blushing cheek. Argentum then turned back to Trappola and Grim. “See? Why can’t you be like Deuce?”

“That’s just too much work!” Grim exclaimed.

Trappola nodded in agreement. “And not everyone is aiming to be a good boy!”

Spade turned to him. “Wh-What is that supposed to mean?!”

“Anything else?” asked Clover again.

“Maybe Senior Rosehearts’ clothes and books?” Argentum suggested. “Just necessary things for a sleepover.”

Clover pushed his glasses up his nose. “Alright. We’ll drop by after class along with the notes.”

Rosehearts clenched and unclenched his fist, to which Argentum tugged his sleeve again. The eye-patch boy smiled at Clover and the other. “Thank you so much.”

The corner of Crowley’s lips tugged up. This boy… The surprises just won't stop…

 


 

Jonah was walking through the aisle of books, his fingers tracing the hard spine while his other hand held his other books close to his chest. Who knew looking for a cookbook was harder than he though? He didn’t ask anyone’s help, not because he was too prideful, but he just feels it would be easier to retrace his steps if he ever wants to come back again. “Where is it?” he muttered. “It has to be here somewhere…”

He stopped so he could grip his books tighter. But before he could continue, his vision turned black. “Ah!”

“Guess who~” A childish voice came out from behind him. “Ten seconds!”

“Eh?!” Jonah gripped the thing covering his eyes. It felt like hands, bigger than his. “Wha- Who is this?”

“Tick-tock, tick-tock~” the voiced cheered again. “Beeeeppp! Time’s up!” Jonah felt his head being pulled back, neck craned backward as far until it hurts. The hands soon uncovered his eyes, now moved to hold the side of his face.

“Senior… Jade?”

“Wrong~” he grinned. “Think harder, baby seal!” The Jade-look-alike had bluish-green hair, with a longer, darker strand on his right. His eyes had heterochromia iridium; his right eye is yellow, while his left eye is olive. He wore a blue, diamond-like earring on his right ear.

Wait. Didn’t Senior Jade say that he had a twin…?

“You’re his twin, aren’t you?” he asked, just to make sure.

The boy’s eyes lit up. “Ah! You do know! You’re smart, baby seal!”

Jonah frowned. “I’m not a seal…”

“But you’re so adorable and small~” The boy pinched his cheek. “Like a seal!”

“Don’t-”

“Ah!” The senior suddenly squished his cheeks with his palms. “We should talk some more interesting stuff!” Suddenly, Jonah was being turned around so both of them could stand face-to-face, the boy’s hand gripping his upper arms. “It’s boring around here…”

Jonah pulled back when the boy’s face was slowly getting too close to his. “I’m just here to find some book recipe book, really,” he mumbled.

The boy tilted his head to the side. “Eh~ You can cook?”

Jonah turned his head to the side. “Sort of.”

“Ah~ You should cook for me one day!”

“Y-Yeah… I guess.”

The boy grinned once again before letting go of his arm. He was still leaning down so their face just a few inches apart, it also didn’t help that Jonah’s back was pressing against the shelf. “The cookbooks are just on the upper row.” The boy pointed upward.

Jonah turned around to look above. He tried to reach for the book there. “Ugh…” He tried to stand on his tippy-toes but still could reach it. “I can’t…”

“Hehe. You’re stretching and trembling all over.” The boy laughed. “Can’t do it? Do you want me to get it for you? Do you? Do you?”

Jonah tried to jump. “I can just find a stepladder-”

All of a sudden, the boy came closer and reached up, pulling a book from there. "Here ya go~"

Jonah pouted when the boy stepped back, holding the exact cookbook Jonah was looking for. “Thanks, I guess.” When he tried to take it, the boy avoided it. “Umm…” He tried again, but the boy just pulled it away again. “Senior Leech?”

“Ah-ah-ah~” The boy grinned and he raised the book above his head, away from Jonah’s reach. “Try guessing my name first then I’ll give this back!”

“I don’t-” Jonah jumped but couldn’t reach it. “Argh, come on!” He tried again, but the taller boy stepped back. “Senior Jade never mentioned your name!”

“Then guess, baby seal~”

The game kept continuing and Jonah could feel himself getting even more frustrated. “Is it Jaden?”

“Nope.”

“Jerome.”

“Nu-uh!”

“Lil’ Ol’ Joe!”

The boy pouted as he stopped. “What’s with all the ‘J’?”

“Aren’t you twins? Isn’t it a thing for twins to share the first letter name?” Jonah jumped one last time but still couldn’t reach for it. Damn, his short body.

“Boo~ You’re no fun~” The boy finally lowered the book and placed it on Jonah's head. “Here.”

“Eh?” Jonah quickly grabbed the book before it fell from his head.

“When we meet again, make sure to get my name right, baby seal~”

“I’m not-”

The boy was already walking away, waving his hand toward him before disappearing to the next aisle. Jonah looked at the cookbook in his hand and to the direction, the boy just walked out.

What a weirdo…

 


 

“Thank you so much, you guys.”

Riddle looked down from the second floor, hands holding the railing. He could see Argentum talking to someone behind the door. On his shoulder, he had a small backpack and some books in the hands. He knew that backpack. It was his. That meant…

“Not a problem, we’re all happy to help.”

That was Cater’s voice.

“Is Riddle here?”

That one was Trey’s.

“He’s resting in his room right now,” Argentum answered. “He hadn’t come out yet.”

“Should we see him?” He heard Trey asked again.

“Give him more times,” Argentum said again, softer this time “Again. Thanks for all of this.”

“Right. Let’s go, guys,” Cater said last time before the sound footsteps walked away. Jonah pulled the door with his foot before pushing it close with his hip. He walked inside and he looked up. His eyes widened a bit, surprise that Riddle finally came out.

“Were those Trey and the others?” Riddle finally asked, snapping Argentum from his confusion.

“Yeah,” Argentum said as he walked up the stairs toward Riddle. “They brought you some clothes and books.”

“Why would they…”

Riddle clenched his fist on his railing. He still could get a grasp on this. Why would they still want to help him after everything he had done?

“They wouldn’t have helped you if they care don’t care about you, Senior Rosehearts. They’re willing to give you another chance.” Riddle looked up again when Argentum stood in front of him. The boy was smiling at him as he gave the book and the backpack. “I’ll be finishing up dinner, you can take a shower first.”

As Argentum walked down, Riddle kept staring at the books. He could felt his eyes started to tear up again. Damn it. Even though he said to himself that he wouldn’t cry again. Does Trey really still care about him? Are the other really giving him another chance? Or maybe they just want to help because Argentum asked them?

He… He doesn’t understand this…

 


 

“Smells so good.” Jonah looked up from putting some sour cream and olives on top of the soup he just made. He smiled when Rosehearts walked into the kitchen. They don’t have exactly a dining room in here, s Jonah figure they could eat at the counter.

“Yeah.” Jonah smiled as he put the bowl in front of Rosehearts when he sat down. “Here.”

Rosehearts looked down the bowl before looking up to Jonah again confusedly. Jonah just shrugged. Rosehearts stirred the soup before scooping a spoonful into his mouth. Rosehearts suck his spoon before pulling it out.

“Delightfully tangy, yet robust,” Rosehearts commented and Jonah just smiled so widely. Perfect.

“The recipe works then!” he said sitting down on his chair. “Oyster sauce does help.”

“Oyster sauce?” Rosehearts looked at him weirdly.

Jonah scooped out some shrimp and potatoes from the bottom of his bowl and ate it. “Oh, I added a few drops of oyster sauce in there,” he said with a mouthful. “I guess Senior Clover was right in one point.”

“Trey?”

Jonah gulped before putting his spoon down. “It was when we were cooking the mont blanc…”

It was a calm dinner. Jonah did the most of the talking while Rosehearts just listen, smiling and laughing here and there. It was a simple night. It was nice. After all those chaos, they welcomed moments like this.

Chapter Text

“Strawberries?”

“Yeah.” Jonah nodded at him. “I was thinking about making some snacks for tea time. Something with strawberry since Senior Rosehearts like it so much.”

That afternoon after class, Trey was about to go to the Ramshackle Dorm to drop some notes (and hoping to meet Riddle), when he was Jonah exited Mr. S’s Mystery Shop, carrying a plastic bag filled with chocolate chips, whipping cream, and crackers. He looked a bit disappointed, so Trey decided to talk to him.

“Then you’re in luck.” Trey smiled at him. “I’ve been cultivating strawberries as my Science Club project since last year. I can give you some.”

Jonah perked up at this, eye twinkling. “Really?”

“Yes. My strawberries right now are very sour, perfect for strawberry tarts and sweet chocolate.”

"Those are for Senior Rosehearts, aren't they?" Jonah chuckled. “You’re very loyal with him, huh, Senior Clover?”

Trey’s lips pulled up a bit. “Riddle is my childhood friend, it’s only understandable.”

“He’s lucky to have a friend like you.”

Is he lucky though?

“He’s luckier to have a friend like you.”

“Eh?”

Trey stopped and Jonah stopped just a few feet behind him. He let out a sigh as he pushed his glasses up his nose. “I have to say thank you for comforting him after him overblotting.”

“You knew?”

None of them left when Crowley suggested for them to leave the two injured boys in the infirmary. The headmaster left the door open just a bit, gave them a ‘shh~’ with an index finger pressed on his lips before leaving them alone. Ace was the first one to take a peek inside, followed by Grim and Deuce. Cater pulled Trey along.

To be honest, Trey was a bit hurt that Jonah was the one who woke up Riddle rather than him. He was supposed to be the one who takes care of Riddle, not this boy who in their first meeting only caused trouble. But the worst part was watching Riddle actually confessing to Jonah, not him. None of them expect Riddle to cry or to just let out everything he wanted but never get it. Watching Riddle just wailing in Jonah's arms stirred something inside him… Something protective…

“Senior Rosehearts is going to need all the help and friends he can get.” Jonah suddenly said, making Trey turn around. Jonah stared at him with a warm smile. “You know him more than I do, so I’m going to need your hand on deck.”

An invitation…

“I’ll do anything.”

Without hesitation.

“Thank you.” Jonah thrust out his hand. “Welcome aboard, Mister Clover.”

Trey stepped forward and reached for the hand. He would definitely help Riddle. He wasn’t the little boy who couldn’t do anything when Riddle was taken away by his mother that day at the bakery. He wasn’t the little boy who didn’t dare to speak up when he found Riddle’s mother opening the door instead of Riddle himself. He wasn’t the little boy who would just walk away when he was called a bad influence.

He’s now Riddle’s right-hand man and he will do better this time.

 


 

Jonah walked happily down the path of the botanical greenhouse. Trey’s strawberries looked so good. It was juicy, a bit sour, but would be a good compliment for the chocolate fondue he was planning to make He hoped Senior Rosehearts like it though. He never complained during his stay there, so Jonah sometimes had a hard time guessing. They’re gonna need to work on that communications…

*squish*

“Ow–!”

“Eh?”

Wait, who said that-

Before he could figure it out, he found himself being pulled down. He let out a startled gasp when his back hit the ground. His wrists were being pinned down beside his head by a pair of gloved hands. Slowly opening his eye because who dare-

“Hey. You’ve got guts stepping on someone’s tail without apologizing.”

Wait a minute.

He had heard that voice before.

The one above him was a muscular young-man with brown skin. He had thick, messy brown hair with two braids on either side. He also had green eyes, with a thin scar going his left eyebrow to his cheek. He also had light-brown lion ears. A hybrid?

“E-Excuse me?!” Jonah managed to speak again.

“I went here thinking I can have a peaceful nap, but then my tail gets stepped on,” the boy said, there was a hint of growls at the end. “Do you really think that I’m, Leona, just gonna let you off scot-free like that?”

“Look, I didn’t mean too-!”

“Wait a minute…” The boy, Leona, leaned toward his face, and Jonah tilted his head to the side to avoid his nose. “Ah, you’re the little herbivore that the Mirror said can’t use magic.”

Leona leaned closer and Jonah felt his cheek heat up when he felt the tip of the older boy’s nose touched his neck, sniffing his scent. “Wh-What the heck are you thinking?!”

“Strange…” Leona muttered. “I smell a speck of magic on you.” He released one of the smaller boy’s hand, quickly pinned it, along with the other hand above his head. He brushed some of the bangs from his eye, finding his right eye covered by a medical eye-patch. “Heh. Now, what do we have here?”

“Wait-” Ignoring the boy, Leona snapped the eye-patch off, finding the strange yellow-and-red eye.

It was as if the world came to a halt. The eye-patch slipped off from Leona’s hand. His face went slack, jaw slightly drop and his eyes widened. It was no different for Jonah. It kind of reminded him of Senior Rosehearts after his Dwarfs’ Mine adventure. There was a strange green tint in the young man's pupils. The green reminded him of that green light from the orb…

“Leona!”

The trance was broken. Both boys blinked back to reality. The young man, Leona, turned his head while Jonah tried to lift his head. A boy was walking toward him, wearing the NRC uniform but with a yellow vest. He had messy dirty-blond hair with a pair of hyena’s ears on top of his head. His eyes were light blue and his hyena tail lazily wagging behind him.

“I knew you’d be here. You’ve got remedi- Ah?”

He went silent, clearly surprised at the position of the two. Jonah blushed again. Realizing that this was probably his only chance, he lifted his leg, kneeing Leona in the groin. Earning a “Tch!” from Leona, the older boy accidentally released Jonah’s hand. The smaller boy quickly slipped away from him, grabbing his grocery plastic bags (hoping that none of them were ruined) and eye-patch, and ran as fast and as far as he could.

The hyena boy didn’t make a move to stop him. He only watched them in amusement. “Heh~ Leona, did you find a new prey?” he asked turning back to Leona who sat on the ground.

Leona groaned. “Shut it, Ruggie.”

The hyena-boy, Ruggie, snickered. “Come on, Leona. You’ve got remedial lessons today. You don’t want to repeat another year, right? We’ll end up being classmates next year if this keeps up, y'know?”

“Just stop nagging already,” Leona muttered, rolling his eyes.

“I don’t wanna nag you either!” Ruggie put his hands on his hips, looking like a mom scolding her son. “Geez, you can do anything you put your mind to, but you don’t put effort at all. Come on, let’s go!”

Leona sighed. “Tch." He glanced toward the way that strange-eyed boy ran off to. "You better be on guard the next time you see me, you herbivore.”

 


 

Riddle looked up when the Ramshackle Dorm was opened and quickly closed. Jonah was leaning against the door, breathing heavily and cheeks red. He looked like he just ran a marathon. Riddle quickly stood up, putting his crossword book on the table and he walked toward him. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, sorry.” Jonah wiped his brow, still breathing heavily. “I ran into some problem.”

Riddle looked up and down of the boy, noticing the plastic bag he was holding, some red color could be seen in there. “Are those… strawberries?”

“Yeah.” Jonah nodded. “You like them, don’t you?”

Riddle opened his mouth before closing it. Jonah looked at him with that look that said ‘it’s okay, you can tell me’, a look that Riddle always saw when he talks at him. In the end, Riddle nodded. “Yeah. Strawberry tart is my favorite.”

Jonah smiled at him. “I’m going to make a snack for us. Be right back in a bit.”

Jonah walked to the kitchen and Riddle followed him from behind, only stopping at the entrance, leaning against the frame. He watched Jonah turned on the stove and poured out some heavy cream, chocolate chip, and a bit dash of cinnamon before whisking them up. He actually enjoyed watching him cook for two days. There was always that smile on his face as if he was born to do this. When it was done, Jonah poured it into a bowl and prepared the strawberry and graham crackers.

Riddle found himself in the Ramshackle Dorm’s lounge, eating the strawberry covered chocolate fondue. It was sour and sweet at the same time, which he liked. He glanced at Jonah. He was nibbling at his crackers, frowning at the paper in front of him.

“Any trouble?” Riddle asked.

Jonah looked up, a bit surprised, but soon he smiled. “Just some alchemy,” he said, scratching his head with his pencil. “I forgot the ingredient of Cure for Boils potion.”

“Six crushed snake fangs, four horned-slugs, and two porcupine quills,” Riddle quickly answered. “Put it in the cauldron in that order. Brew the crushed snake fangs first, before putting in the others.”

“Oh, right.” Jonah quickly wrote that down. “And to brew the snake fangs we need… A minute, right?”

Riddle nodded. “If you using a copper cauldron, yes, but if you’re using a pewter cauldron, you’ll need a minute and thirty seconds, while for brass is a minute and twenty seconds.”

Jonah wrote that down too. “Geez, all of those just for one potion.”

“Alchemy is tricky,” Riddle said, biting to his strawberry. “One failed step and you’ll fail.”

Jonah chuckled. “I see.” He looked up at Riddle again and gave him a wide smile. “Thanks, Senior Rosehearts.”

Riddle blinked. There was it again: thanking him so sincerely. Just like back then after they had caught that demon-cat.

“Jonah.” When Jonah, who went back to his homework, answered him with a “Hmm?” Riddle continued, “Why are you doing this?”

Jonah stopped writing. He turned his head toward him. “What do you mean?”

Riddle gripped his fork tighter. Head down, not daring to see him straight in the eye. “Helping me… Taking care of me… After all this time I’ve been rude to you…”

He heard Jonah sighed and scooted closer, their knee practically touching each other. “I’ve told you before. We’re willing to give you a second chance.”

Riddle shook his head. “I don’t deserve it.”

He felt Jonah pulled him into a one-sided hug, Riddle resting his head on his shoulder. Funny how he just spent two nights together and Riddle already loving these physical affections. Maybe that was what he had been missing in his whole life. His mother never did this, and Trey probably wouldn’t dare.

“Everyone deserves a second chance,” Jonah answered, running his finger through his red hair.

“You think so?”

“I know so.”

“How…”

He felt Jonah shrugged. “Just a feeling in my guts.”

Riddle sighed. “You think the other will give me a second chance?”

“I know they will.”

That was the reassuring he had been waiting. “Then… I want to go back tomorrow.”

“Are you sure?”

Riddle lifted his head and stare at Jonah straight into the eye. He knew he couldn’t run away from his dorm forever, and he couldn’t be a burden for Jonah. He had to return. He had to clean up his mess. “Yes. I need… I need to do this.”

Jonah smiled softly at him. A smile that for some reason made Riddle’s heart leap. “And I’ll be right behind you.”

Chapter Text

He was standing on top of a rock. He could hear animals chattering bellow him. All of them gathered bellow the part of this huge rock pointy end as if they were waiting for something. He noticed a blue bird with orange beak flew toward the rock. He just noticed by now that he wasn't alone on the rock.

The bird landed on the rock, bowing to a lion with golden fur and red mane. The lion looked majestic, a king Jonah dare to say. The lion gave the bird a warm smile before nodding. He looked behind him, and for a moment Jonah thought he was looking at him. But then he heard footsteps coming from the cave. He saw a lioness with light brown fur, along with a baboon who was carrying a baby cub with golden fur, walked out from the cave. The lion and the lioness watched with pride as the monkey raised the cub to the air. The cloud parted and the light shone above the cub. Jonah watched as the animal of various kinds bowed their head. Jonah could help but to also knelt and bowed his head. He knew this was just a vision from the orb he was holding, but he couldn’t help it.

It was such a majestic sight…

When he opened his eyes, he found himself kneeling on top of his bed. Well, that was embarrassing. He was lucky that Rosehearts didn't come in there to wake him up.


 

“Okay, we’re here.”

Riddle sucked a deep breath. This is it.

When he and Jonah entered the Heartslabyul dorm, they noticed that it was empty even though it was not school hour anymore. So, they guessed that the students were in the garden. And they were right. Riddle could hear some chattering from behind the door. It felt like a long time ago he walked past the door, only to have the worst experience named overblot.

He… He can do this… Right…?

“Senior Rosehearts?”

Riddle turned toward Jonah. He was frowning worriedly. Damn it. He just ruined this again. He took a deep breath again. “Y-Your tie is a little off,” he mumbled as he reached to fix the other boy's bowtie. He was making excuses. He needed a distraction. He just needed to make this trembling hands stop.

“Ah, thank you.” Jonah grabbed his hands when he finished. He was smiling at him, which gave Riddle the reassurance he needed. “Ready?”

Glancing at the closed door then back at Jonah, he nodded. “Yes.”

Here we go.

Jonah opened the double door and immediately the chattering stopped. Jonah turned to him, slightly bowing as if he was a butler welcoming him home. Unclenching his fists, Riddle stepped into the garden. Riddle looked around, examining the damage. Rose bushes were pulled out from their roots, leaves scattered at the grass, bush fences ruined, and overall it was a mess.

“Cap-” Riddle looked forward where Ace was standing. Jonah pressed his index finger on his lips, silencing him. Right. It was Riddle’s time to talk.

“Everyone,” he started. “I just want to say… I’m sorry.”

There were muttering in the crowds and Riddle instantly forgot what he was supposed to be saying. Come on, Riddle. You can do speeches. This is supposed to be easy. He was stumbling through his words, “I know that I’ve been… to put it simply, a tyrant, but… I…” Riddle bit his lip as he looked down. Dammit. Why is this so hard?

“Oi, Prefect.” Riddle looked up to Ace again. “Don’t you think that only because you say sorry I will forgive you.”

Cater, who stood beside Trey, gasped. “Ace, what the heck?!”

“I experienced a lotta trauma!” Ace shouted. “And that mont blanc I worked hard to make was thrown like garbage!”

Grim groaned. He was sitting on Deuce's shoulder. “Geez, you’re a lot pettier than I am,” he mumbled. Deuce himself face-palmed at his friend’s attitude.

“I know. And I’m sorry,” Riddle said, forcing himself to look forward. “I’m not really expecting you to forgive me that fast.” He clenched his fist. “But… Is there anything I can to make it up for all of you?”

Ace watched him with his judging look. Riddle won’t complain. He deserved it. Ace then sighed. “My birthday’s not for a long while yet.”

Deuce blinked in confusion. “Huh? What are you-”

“So, I demand we have a Revenge Unbirthday Party.” Ace crossed his arm in front of his chest. “We didn’t even get to stay until the end of the party last time. Also, you have to make the tart. No getting help from Senior Trey either! Make it yourself from scratch!” He glanced away, speaking in a softer voice and pink tint on his cheeks. “If you do that, then I may or may not forgive you…”

He heard Jonah giggled behind him. “Mister Trappola, can you be more honest, please?”

Ace glared at him. “Shut up, Captain!” He then turned back to Riddle. “So, you got all that?”

That was it? He was expecting Ace to take his position right here right now, but… Does he just want a party? Riddle glanced behind him. Jonah was smiling, nodding at him. Riddle turned back to Ace. Can this be the second chance Jonah was talking about?

If yes, then he can't mess this up.

Riddle nodded. “Yeah, I got it…”

Immediately, the tension in the garden disappeared. He could hear a collective sigh of relief. The chattering was back, but this time it was a happy chatter. Ace himself was smiling a little at him. He thrust out his hand and Riddle immediately took it, giving it a firm shake, sealing his deal. He could hear some students clapped at them.  Riddle himself couldn’t help but smile. He turned back to Jonah again. He was grinning at him, obviously happy with the result.

“Alright! That settles it!” Cater cheered, walking toward them. He clapped his hands. “Everyone, let get back to cleaning up the garden! The garden I worked so hard in is in shambles…”

“I can help,” Riddle said, which made Cater turned around in disbelieve.

“You sure, Riddle?” He asked.

Riddle nodded. “Yes. I… I can help with painting the rose.”

Cater was smiling widely. “Of course!” He waved his wand and two pairs of red paint bucket and paintbrush appeared in front of him.

“Just go with Ace and Deuce there,” Cater said. Riddle nodded and took one pair. Cater glanced at Jonah. “Jonah, we still have one paintbrush left.”

“Of course.” Jonah smiled and took the other pair. He turned to Riddle. “Shall we?”

Riddle couldn’t help but smile back. “Yes.”

 


 

“It has been a long time since I painted the roses, actually,” Rosehearts said in the middle of painting the rose.

Jonah looked down, being the one on the ladder to paint the higher rose. “Really? When was the last time?”

Rosehearts shrugged. “I don’t remember. Ever since I became Prefect, I always left it to the other students.”

Jonah chuckled. “I think it can be a fun activity. Though with those three over there…” He glanced at the bush next to them where Ace, Deuce, and Grim was working at.

Ace looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “Captain… Are you mocking us?” he pouted, to which Jonah just shrugged. “We can definitely do better that you handmade one.”

Meanwhile, Deuce was pointing his Magical Pen at a rose. “Red, red… There!” A magic circle appeared on top of the rose, changing its color, but not the color that he wanted. “AH! It turned blue!”

Grim was glaring at one of the rose. “You will change colors~! Go!” A magic circle appeared and fire lit from it. “AHHHH! I set them on fire!”

“Dammit, you guys! Stop embarrassing me in front of them!” Ace screamed at his teammates, earning a pair of chuckles from Jonah and Rosehearts.

Jonah climbed from the ladder and whispered to Rosehearts, “You know, if you need help with the tart, I can do it.”

Rosehearts glanced at him confusedly. “Eh? But Ace said-”

“You can’t get help from Senior Clover, right?” He pressed his index finger to his lips. “He didn’t say you can get help from me~”

Rosehearts glanced at Ace, who was still screaming at Grim and Deuce, then back to Jonah. “Y-Yeah…?”

“We’ll keep this between us two, okay?” Jonah whispered again, giving Rosehearts a wink, which made him blush.

“O-Okay…” he whispered back.

And then all of the sudden-

*splat*

“Eh?”

Rosehearts reached behind his head, feeling something wet from it. When he looked at his hand, it was covered with… red paint?

“Crud… I hit Riddle…” Jonah heard Ace whispered. The ginger-head was holding his Magical Pen closed to his chest and he slowly stepped back, at the same time Rosehearts turned his head with a cold stare on his face.

“Now, you’ve done it, you chicken-butt!” Grim hissed at Ace.

Deuce stepped forward, though his face was as pale as Ace and Grim. “Please, Prefect! Overlook it!”

“Overlook…?” Rosehearts said in a low tone. Slowly, he reached to his pocket and took out his Magical Pen. A magic circle instantly appeared beneath his feet. He brought his pen up, pointing it toward Ace.

“He’ll cut my head off!” Ace screamed. He pulled Deuce in front of him, hiding behind the blunette’s back. “Cover me!”

Deuce was panicking, looking back and forth from Rosehearts and Ace. “Wha- Wait!”

Too late. Magic unleashed from Rosehearts’ pen-

*splat*

Everything went silent. Deuce reached up to wiped something from his eyes. Slowly he opened his eyes, looking at the red liquid on his hand. “P… Paint…?

Ace gasped. “Oh, sweet Queen of Heart!” He started to laugh out loud. Jonah and Grim soon followed the laugh, while Rosehearts looked proud of this.

Deuce clenched his fist. He turned toward Ace. “You…” Quickly, he aimed his Magical Pen at Ace, splatting blue paint at his face.

Ace immediately stopped laughing. In turn, Rosehearts was giggling, along with louder laughers from Jonah and Grim. Ace didn’t look angry at all. He was grinning from ear to ear. “Oh… We’re doing this, eh?” He pointed his Magical Pen at Rosehearts, shooting pink paint from it.

However, the prefect was quick in reflex. “Whoa-” He immediately ducked. In turn, Jonah got pink paint all over his face.

“Ah!” Jonah turned to Ace. “How dare you attack your captain!” He grabbed his paintbrush and bucket. “Come here!”

Ace blew a raspberry at him and started running. “Catch me if you can!”

Jonah was laughing as he chased Ace. “Mister Trappola, get back here!”

That was how Trey and Cater found them. Covered in paint, ruining the white roses even more. But all of them were smiling. Riddle was laughing, with no trace of mockery or anger. And that was all that matters to them.

Nobody realized that Cater took a picture of them and uploaded it to his MagiCam. It quickly became one of Cater’s most liked pictures.

Chapter Text

"So, what are you planning to make?" Jonah asked as he turned off the tap and dried his hands. Currently, he and Senior Rosehearts were at the Heartslabyul Dorm Kitchen. Rosehearts was wearing a pink frilly apron, which he said he was borrowed from Senior Clover. And honestly, Jonah didn’t know which one was funnier: the fact that Senior Clover had a frilly pink apron, or the fact Senior Rosehearts, the former Crimson Tyrant, was wearing that said apron and still have that poker face.

Rosehearts looked up. "Um..." He looked down at the cookbook he was holding, flipping the pages before stopping. "Strawberry tart? There's a recipe here." He walked up to Jonah and showed the recipe to Jonah.

Jonah skimmed through the recipe before nodded. "Yeah. We can make those,” he said as he tied his white apron behind his back (because Senior Rosehearts said so). "Alright, let’s look for the ingredients."

It turned into a fetch quest, looking for the ingredients around the kitchen: flour, butter, lemon, strawberries, and various other stuff. Jonah finally found the granulated sugar on the cupboard, but when he turned around he saw that Rosehearts was holding a small glass bottle in his hand. When he walked up to him, he saw that it was a bottle of Walrus-Brand Young Oyster Sauce. "Senior Rosehearts," Jonah said, raising an eyebrow. "We don't need oyster sauce."

"We don't?" Rosehearts turned his head toward him with a confused look. "But Trey said that a delicious tart always has oyster sauce as a secret ingredient..."

Oh.

OH…

Jonah quickly covered his mouth to cover his giggle. "Sweet Nebula, you nearly fell for that."

Rosehearts blinked nervously. "Eh? But it helps with your soup…?"

"It does, but not with dessert,” Jonah said between his laugh.

"Oh." Rosehearts looked down to the oyster sauce. “Yeah…” He was smiling, followed by a laugh. “I’m so stupid.”

Jonah stopped laughing, but his smile never left his face. "Okay, let's start.” Rosehearts nodded and Jonah took the oyster sauce from his hand as he continued, “You can make the crust while I make the cream."

“Alright.”

The two boys went to their stations. Jonah prepared a bowl to mix the custard. "How many tarts do you want to make?"

"Maybe, three," Rosehearts answered as the poured flour into the food processor. "It's only fair since we also have three tarts at the last party."

Jonah nodded. "That's understandable."

They did their job. Senior Rosehearts finished earlier and put the dough into the fridge. Jonah was whisking the cream as he poured the milk, while Riddle was cutting the strawberries.

"Here." Jonah walked up to Rosehearts with a spoon of the cream mixture. "Taste it."

Rosehearts took the spoon and put it the tip into his mouth. The cream was sweet, a bit lemony, but it had a perfect consistency. "Hmm..." He licked his lips. "Taste great."

"Is it?" There was still a bit cream on the spoon. Jonah then just put the whole spoon into his mouth.

Rosehearts’ face immediately went red. "Wh-What are you doing?"

Jonah pulled the spoon out from his mouth. He started at his senior confusedly. "Huh?"

"I just licked that!” he yelled, gesturing to the boy and spoon. “You can't just put that in your mouth! That's unsanitary!"

"It's just a spoon..." Jonah said as he tossed the spoon to the sink. "It's fine."

It’s not fine! Rosehearts wanted to scream, but Jonah already went back to his job, putting the cream into a plastic bag. Rosehearts just ran his hand down his face. Trying to stop blushing, he took out the dough from the fridge after thirty minutes. Jonah, in turn, put his creams into the fridge for quick chilling. Rosehearts floured his workspace and started to roll. It was quite heavy actually.

"Need any help?" Rosehearts heard Jonah said from behind. "Here."

"Eh-" All of a sudden, he felt Jonah was pressing his body against his back, his hand reached out to hold on the rolling pin (and Rosehearts’ hand).

"You need to press and roll." Jonah helped him pressed the dough and rolled it until Rosehearts, whose face was as red as the strawberries, could get the hang of it. "See? Don't make it too thin."

Rosehearts gulped. "R-Right."

Jonah smiled and let go of his hand. Rosehearts let out a quiet sigh, unheard by the other boy. After preheating the oven, Jonah walked back to Rosehearts’ counter to prepare the pan, letting the prefect form the crust.

“Hmm…” Jonah hummed as he stared at the strawberries that Rosehearts had cut. The prefect looked up from the oven after finished putting the dough in. "What's wrong?"

"I think we don’t have enough strawberry,” Jonah said.

Rosehearts frowned. "What should we do?"

"No need to worry."

Both boys turned to the kitchen door. The green-haired vice prefect was standing there with a basket filled with ripened strawberries. Rosehearts blinked. "Trey?"

Jonah waved at his senior. "Hello, Senior Clover."

Senior Clover smiled at him as he walked in, putting the basket on Rosehearts’ counter. "I just picked some fresh strawberry from the botanical garden."

Rosehearts stared at the strawberries. This was more than enough, maybe even spare some. Rosehearts smiled at Clover. "Thank you." He then picked up the basket and walked to the sink, about to wash the fruit.

Jonah looked at Clover who was in distress, hands clenching-and-unclenching into fists. Jonah sighed. He turned his head to the prefect. "Senior Rosehearts? Where's the bathroom?"

"It's just around the corner," Rosehearts said without looking up. Jonah gave him a small “‘Kay~” Jonah glanced at Clover. He gave him a small smile.

“Don’t worry,” he whispered. “Just talk to him.”

Clover looked at him gratefully. "Thanks."

Jonah nodded as he walked out of the kitchen. He didn’t leave immediately after he closed the door, instead, he pressed his back to the door, listening to the conversation between the two childhood friends.

 


 

Riddle looked so serious while he was washing the strawberries. There was silence between them. He didn’t know how Riddle felt about this, but Trey just couldn’t stand it. Not when he needed to get something off his chest.

He cleared his throat, more likely to calm himself down. "So, how are the tarts?" he asked, walking toward the oven and looked in it.

"We're doing pretty great actually," Riddle answered, as he turned off the tap.

"You made the crust?" Trey asked again.

Riddle brought the bowl of strawberries to the counter again. "How do you know?"

"I've seen Jonah's handiworks. These shapes look a little bit out of sorts." Trey smiled, and quickly added, "It looks pretty good considering it’s your first time."

Riddle chuckled, shrugging his shoulders. "I guess so."

There was another silence between them. Trey watched Riddle cuts the strawberries, keeping his hand in his pocket to stop himself from helping him. It was some sloppy cuts, but again, it was the prefect’s first time. He didn’t look stressed at all. He looked so relaxed, enjoying himself.

Trey took a deep breath and let it out from his mouth. "Riddle?"

"Yes?"

"I want to say... I'm sorry."

Riddle stopped. Slowly he looked up at Trey. "What for?"

Trey sighed and walked closer to him, with only the counter being the one thing that separated them. "For everything. I always knew you were suffering but I kept quiet..."

Riddle shook his head. "No. I'm the one at fault here. What I've done was wrong."

"But I knew you were wrong, and I didn't do anything to stop you or to correct you."

"To be honest, I don't know if I would listen to you or not back then." Riddle walked around the counter so he could stand face-to-face with Trey. "Again, it wasn't your fault." He sighed. "I guess... I should say thank you."

This time, it was Trey’s turn to blinks in confusion. "For what?"

There was a small smile on Riddle’s face. "For staying with me. For not turning you back on me." He stretched out his hand. “Can we still be friends after this? Just like old times?”

Trey stared at Riddle. Slowly, his lips pulled out a soft, gratitude-filled, smile. And, without wasting any second on this wonderful opportunity, he took it. "Of course. And you're welcome."

None of them realized that Jonah was still behind the door, sighing in relief and smiling with joy, happy for the two of them. It looks like things are going to be better from now on.

 


 

"And... There!" Jonah clapped his hand as he put the final strawberry on top of the last tart. "We did it!"

On the counter, there were three whole tarts with golden crust and strawberries on top of them. They looked so delicious. Rosehearts sighed in relief. "Thank you so much for helping."

"No problem, Senior Rosehearts." Jonah smiled at him. "That's what friends for, right?"

Friends… That word still brought warmth to Rosehearts’ heart. "You..." he cleared his throat. "You don't have to call me 'Senior Rosehearts' all the time."

"Then what should I call you then?" Jonah asked. He then snapped his fingers. "How about ‘Riro’?"

Rosehearts stared at him with confusion. "Riro?"

Jonah held up his right index finger. "Take the 'Ri' from 'Riddle'…” He also held up his left index finger. “And 'Ro' from 'Rosehearts'…” He then brought the two together with a giant grin on his face. “Riro!"

"That sounds weird!" Rosehearts screamed, cheeks blushing. "Just 'Riddle' is fine."

Jonah laughed. "Okay then, Senior Riddle." Jonah nodded back, holding out his hand. "Glad we have an agreement, Mister Riddle."

Senior Rosehearts – Senior Riddle took the hand, giving it a firm shake. "The pleasure is mine, Mister Jonah."

Chapter Text

Jonah stared at himself in front of the mirror as he tied his hair into his usual low-ponytail. Sitting on his bed was Senior Diamond who decided to pick him. Last night, Riddle didn’t sleep in the Ramshackle Dorm, instead, he went back to Heartslabyul so he could prepare for the Unbirthday Party earlier, which was understandable.

"I'm surprised these clothes haven't turned back yet," Jonah said as he buttoned up his white vest.

"Keep it!" Diamond cheered.  "You're an honorary member of Heartslabyul!"

Jonah turned his head toward him. "Wait. Really?"

"Anyone who can make Riddle smile gains our instant respect~," Diamond said again. "I'm sure he'll invite you to more party."

Jonah chuckled. "It sounds like you’re only making that up, Senior Diamond."

"Aw, Jonah you don’t trust me? And call me Cater!" The orange-haired stood up from his bed and walked toward him, giving Jonah a friendly pat on the shoulder. "Honorary member has the privilege to call everyone with their first name!"

Jonah rolled his eyes. “Whatever you say… Senior Cater.”

Cater laughed. He steered Jonah around and pushed him toward the door. “Now let’s get Grim and have this party started!”

 


 

"About time you came, Captain!" Ace waved from their table. Grim immediately jumped off his shoulder and sat on his chair between Deuce and Ace. It was great to see them without that collar, unlike last time.

“I blame Grim really,” Jonah said smiling as he sat next to Deuce followed by Cater who sat next to him. “It took us nearly ten minutes to wake him up.”

“Those ghosts woke me up at four in the morning!” Grim screamed, throwing his paws to the air. “It was too early, so of course I’m going to go back to sleep!”

Ace laughed. “Well, at least I don’t have to hear you snoring.”

Grim glared at the ginger-head. “You’re blaming me?! You took half of the bed!”

Ace turned his head toward the demon-cat, glaring back. “You’re supposed to sleep at the box! Cats love boxes!”

Grim flew up a bit to stared Ace eyes-to-eyes. “I’m not a cat! And there was no way I’m sleeping under Deuce’s stinky feet.”

Deuce, who was talking to Cater earlier, turned his head toward them, clearly taken back. “Wha- Don’t bring me up in your fight!”

Ace rolled his eyes. “Oh, so you’re not going to complain about this cat's sleep-talking?”

Grim looked pretty offended but Deuce just groaned. “If I want to complain, I can complain about how you keep tossing-and-turning! The bed is creaking because of you!”

Grim nodded in agreement. “You’re too heavy for the top bunk!”

“I am not!” Ace screamed.

Jonah watched them in amusement. Just before they could continue, a student walked up to the front, standing in front of the main long table. He was wearing a rabbit ear and carrying a bronze trumpet.

“Guys, shhh!” Jonah hushed, stopping Grim from tearing Ace’s hair off. The three freshmen turned to him. He glanced at the trumpet boy before turning back to his crew. “It’s time.”

The guy played a fanfare, silencing everyone. When he was done, he announced, "Make way for our leader, the Crimson Ruler: Prefect Riddle!"

Just like last time, two students who were standing next to the double door grabbed the handle and pulled it. From behind, they could see Riddle stood there, wearing his version of the Heartslabyul’s dorm uniform: a small crown leaning on the left side of his head, a white and red coat dress with the bottom being lined with a gold-colored fabric. The inside of the coat dress is entirely red and has a pattern consisting of tiny hearts, spades, diamonds, clovers, and crowns, also white trousers.

"Three cheers for Prefect Riddle!" the students cheered, including everyone on Jonah’s table. He saw Trey walked behind Riddle, carrying a pizza box-sized decorated with ribbon. Riddle walked toward his seat, looking around. Jonah smiled when Riddle glanced at him, giving him a small wave, which made Riddle slightly blush.

"The roses are red and the tablecloths are white,” Riddle started mumbling. He reached for the yellow teapot on his table. "And the Dormouse is inside the teapot like planned...”

When he opened the lid of the teapot, there was nothing it. Riddle bit his lip before sighing. “Well, I guess it doesn’t matter now."

Trey placed the box at the end of the table before walking toward his seat beside Riddle. "You don’t have to change so suddenly, you know?” the vice prefect said. “And we can just use the jam on the scones if you’d like. We don’t have to stop altogether at once. We can take things slowly."

Riddle sighed, lips curled up into a smile. "Yes, you’re right." Riddle put down the teacup on the table again and he sat down. He picked up his teacup, looking at the crowd. "Does anyone have their teacups already?" The students immediately grabbed their cup. Smiling, Riddle raised his cup. "A toast to the Revenge Unbirthday Party. Cheers."

"Cheers!"

Riddle put down his cup and gestured for Trey to grab the boxes. After saying his thanks to Trey, Riddle walked toward Jonah's table.

"So what happened to the tart you made, Prefect?" Ace asked, standing up from his seat.

Riddle and Jonah exchanged a glance and the pirate gave him a wink, which made Riddle blushed again. Riddle turned back to Ace. "I-I made them according to the recipe. Here.” Riddle put the boxes on the table. “I made these strawberry tarts."

“Ooo~” Grim rubbed his paws. "I wanna hurry up and eat~!" Grim picked up the top-most box, the one with the blue ribbon, different from the other boxes with black ribbon. Grim pulled the blue ribbon off and opened the box, revealing the shining strawberry tart. “This looks so good!”

"Ah, I’ll take a pic first so don’t slice it yet!" Cater took out his camera and put it on selfie mode. Ace immediately put the box onto the confused Riddle’s hand as Cater pulled him into a one-sided hug. The whole gang stood behind them, struck a pose as the camera took the picture. "Okay, done~!"

“Alright, time to dig in!" Ace cheered. Trey held up a knife and cut the tart, one for each people on the table except Riddle, who wanted to see their reaction, and Jonah, who for some reason was smiling too much since Grim pulled the ribbon.

When Deuce took a bite, his eyes widened. “Hngh?!”

Trey and Cater looked at their bitten tart. “This tart…”

"IT’S SALTY!" screamed Grim and Ace.

Riddle’s eyes widened. "EH!?"

"What the heck?!” Ace stuck out his tongue, hoping that the taste would disappear. “It’s so salty! What’d you put in these?!"

Riddle looked between them. "I... We bought all the ingredients and followed the recipe book to the last letter. There’s no way it could’ ve—Ah!" He slammed his fist into his palm, eyes widened. "The oyster sauce!"

Deuce’s face became pale. "That was from an oyster sauce?"

"Oh, my stars!" Everybody turned to Jonah who was laughing out loud while hugging his stomach. "This is hilarious!"

Riddle was quick to connect the dots. "You still put it there?"

"Captain!" Ace screamed. "You're not supposed to help him!"

"Nu-uh." Jonah waved his index finger, tutting him. "You said that Trey couldn't help him. You didn't specify that I couldn't."

Grim laughed. "HA! He found a loophole!"

"Don't worry, it's just one of the tart, you hit the jackpot," Jonah said, opening the other boxes with black ribbon. "The others are normal tarts if you want.” He cut the tarts and shared the box with everyone. “Everyone, dig in!"

Everyone at the party got one piece of the tart. Most of them compliment the delicious tarts, and since they didn’t know that Jonah was helping, they gave all the credits to Riddle, which made the prefect more flustered.

"To be fair, Senior Riddle nearly put it there too," Jonah said when he walked back to his table.

Riddle’s cheeks became red from embarrassment. "I mean, Trey told me before that even though it’s not written in the recipe, a delicious tart always has oyster sauce as a secret ingredient..."

"Ugh... As if...!” Ace groaned, licking his fingers from his finished tart, the normal one this time. “You should’ve figured out he was lying if you think about it for a bit."

Trey laughed as he messed with Riddle’s hair. "I didn’t think that you’d take that joke seriously! Hahahaha!"

Riddle pouted, but he joined the laugh. "You’re right. It was foolish of me. Ahaha."

Deuce smiled. "Haha, it’s so bad it’s making us laugh now, huh."

Ace sighed, but he was grinning. "Guess we have no choice but to laugh at it, y’ know? Hahaha!"

"But, yanno, it’s kinda delicious in its own right, too," said Grim as he took another piece of the salty tart.

Cater nodded in agreement. "Oh, I can kinda understand~! It’s not completely inedible~!"

Deuce’s eyes widened as he turned to Cater. "Are you turning into Grim now, too, Senior Diamond?!"

Cater chuckled. "No, not at all~"

Trey had a smirk on his face. "The tart is delicious because it’s not sweet, right?"

Cater paused. "Eh?"

Trey continued, "You hate sweet things, after all."

Jonah turned to Cater. "Is that so, Senior Cater?"

Cater laughed and scratched behind his head. "Eh, eh...? Trey, how did you know that...? I’ve never told anyone that I didn’t like sweet things though..."

Trey shrugged. "You always ask me to change the cake’s taste with my magic, right? It doesn’t show on your face at all, but I figured that you didn’t like sweet things too much."

"So you figured me out... I’m so embarrassed...!” The orange-haired senior pouted. “You know, this might work for Riddle, but I don’t think that saying what you think of all the time is good at all~"

Trey chuckled. "I’ll make you some quiche for the next Unbirthday Party, don’t worry~"

"Well, thank you.” Cater smiled at him. “Make them look ‘grammable like a cake, got it?"

Trey turned to Jonah. "And since you're the only one here who can cook, I could use some help."

Jonah smiled as he took another slice of the tart. "A pleasure."

"Fufufu~ If Trey and Jonah bake together, it will be a purr-fect heaven on the plate~"

Everyone paused.

“Who said that?” Ace asked looking around.

Deuce frowned. “‘Purr-fect’? Was that a cat pun?”

Ace, Deuce, and Grim eyes widened as they turned to Jonah. He was about to bite it when suddenly as if his hand was guided to the side of his head. They heard a soft “Nom~” before the tart was bitten by an invisible force.

“What the…”

A head suddenly popped up beside Jonah’s head, followed by a body of a familiar cat-boy, one hand holding Jonah’s hand while the other holding his shoulder. Che’nya licked his lips. “Hmm~ Good as always~”

Riddle stood up from his seat, his chair screeching behind him. "Che’nya!? What are you doing here?"

Che’nya gave the prefect a sideways glance, smiling at him. "Hm~? I came to celebrate your Unbirthday Party~! Congratulations, Riddle~!"

Riddle frowned at him. He glanced at Ace, Deuce, and Grim. They didn’t look happy how Che’nya was so touchy with Jonah. And to be honest, so did him. "The Unbirthday Party is a tradition exclusive to the Heartslabyul Dorm,” he said, standing tall, crossing his arms in front of his chest. “It doesn’t concern you, does it?"

"Nyah~ But the captain is invited?” Che’nya started nuzzling against Jonah’s cheek and the poor captain couldn't do anything. That's just not fair!"

"Oi!” Ace stood up from his seat followed by Deuce and a hissing Grim. “Keep your furry hands of the captain!"

"Ehe~ Are they officially your minions, Jonah~?" Che’nya laughed. "You think you can let me back in the circle?"

Jonah pulled back his hand, but once again Che’nya put his arms around him, giving an uncomfortable hug. "What are you talking about?"

Che’nya smile turned into a smirk. "Royal Sword Academy is not as cat-tastrophic without you there."

...

Wait…

What…

"Wait a minute..." Deuce said slowly, trying to process everything. "Are you saying that you're from another school!?"

Ace eyes widened. He pointed accusingly at the grinning Che’nya as he screamed, "And from Royal Sword Academy to boot!?"

That gained everyone’s attention.

"Did he just say Royal Sword Academy?"

"One of those stuck up assholes is here?!"

"What’d you say!? Where is he!? We’ll chase him out!"

Che’nya let go of Jonah and stepped back. "Whoopsies~ I already had my tart, so it's time for meow to go home~ 'Till we meet again, Captain Argentum~"

Jonah stood from his seat, turning around to Che’nya with a pale face. "Wait-"

But the cat-boy just gave a bow and disappeared, laughing, "Fufufufun~"

"He got away!"

"After him!"

Most of the students ran in various directions, trying to find the cat-boy. Riddle sighed and massaged his temple. Why didn't these last two Unbirthday Party go well? But more importantly…

"They got murderous all of a sudden," Grim commented.

Cater sighed. "Night Raven College students basically treat Royal Sword Academy students like enemies."

Trey shook his head. "It’s a rivalry that’s been going on for 100 years, after all..." But then, he glanced at the captain. "But, Jonah... You studied there?"

Jonah flinched, quickly turning around toward them. "No! I... I don't... I think..." He looked down at his shoes. Riddle noticed that his fists were trembling.  His voice even became softer. "I... I don't remember."

The prefect frowned at him. Even Ace, Deuce, and Grim exchanged glances. "What do you mean?" they asked.

Jonah sighed and sat down at his chair. He wasn’t looking up at him, fists clenched on top of his thighs. "I haven't told you guys." His voice sounded sad. "But I can't remember anything from my past. So, I can't be certain whether I'm from that cat's school or not."

"Why you never tell us?" Ace whispered, sounded hurt.

Jonah shook his head. "Because I'm not sure of it myself. I'm just as lost as you are. Sorry."

There was silence between them. None of them understand this. Now that they think about it, they never really knew anything about the pirate boy in front of them. All they knew was that he attracted trouble and one of the infamous troublesome teens, but at the same time, was able to lead said troublesome teens even became close friends with the Crimson Tyrant. But nobody bothered to ask him who he was…

Ace was the first one to break the silence. He walked toward the eye-patch boy. "You know," he said, making Jonah flinched a bit. "Even if you are a former student there, we can still be friends."

The boy blinked confusedly as he looked up at him. "Eh?"

Ace gave him a small smile as he patted his shoulder. "You're probably the only cool kid there anyway."

Deuce also walked toward him. "We'll follow you anywhere, Captain."

Grim added by jumping to Jonah’s lap and Riddle could’ve sworn the demon-cat purred. “Besides, the great me still need my henchman!

“Guys…” Jonah’s mouth pulled into a smile filled with gratitude. His eyes felt hot for some reason, but he quickly wiped the tear away. "Thank you."

Cater and Trey exchanged glances at the scene, while Riddle was still watching the small group of students. This reminded him of his childhood, back when he, Trey, and Che’nya was still playing together. It was heartwarming.

Cater clapped his hand. "Well, well~ Let’s not talk about something gloomy on such a happy day~! Let’s just enjoy our own Unbirthday Party~!"

"Nyaha!” Grim laughed. “I’ll eat my fill until I drop!” He flew back to the table and grabbed the box of tarts. He raised it above his head as he cheered, “Hooray for Unbirthday Parties!"

The rest of the small gang smiled at each one. They raised their fist to the air, following Grim's cheer, “Hooray!”

A very merry unbirthday to you!

Chapter Text

"I’m so hungry after that boring history lesson..." Grim muttered one morning after Mr. Trein's history class. He, along with Ace and Deuce, was standing outside the class, waiting for Jonah who was talking about his supplementary lesson. Even after two weeks, the boy still had trouble keeping up with the lesson since he knew nothing, except basic reading, counting, and speaking.

But then the demon-cat grinned. "Luckily, I have this!" Out of nowhere, he took out a black rock.

"Wait," Ace turned toward Grim. "Isn't that similar to the rock we found at the Dwarfs' Mine?"

Deuce squinted his eyes. "You’re right... Where did it come from?"

"Found it after we defeated Riddle." Grim sniffed the rock, sighing in delight. "It’s a taste I can never forget, so I’ll dig in!" He immediately popped the stone into his mouth. "Hm~! It’s got a rather sweet taste, but there’s also a good kind of bitterness mixed in~! It’s a different taste from the last one I had!"

Ace groaned. "Dude. I know that you're a glutton but don't just go around picking stuff from the ground."

Deuce sighed. "I don’t think that doing this constantly would do you good."

Ace just shrugged. "Ah, he’s a monster so he’s probably made differently from us."

Grim licked, his lips humming in delight. "Hm, it’s got a refreshing and soft kind of taste, yanno?"

The classroom door finally opened, and Jonah came out with an exhausted look on his face. He let out a sigh as he put some stacks of papers into his bag.

Ace looked the redhead worriedly. "Dude, you're okay?"

"No..." Jonah groaned. "I can't believe I have the lowest score in that quiz... It was the most basic of all basic and I got 27 out of 100!"

Ace winched. "Captain, you can't be that stupid..."

Deuce nodded in agreement. "Yeah. And don't worry. I got a low score too. Only 69."

Ace snorted. "Heh. 69."

Deuce was slow in processing the meaning. You could see his head was buffering before suddenly his face turned red. "Ace, please!"

Meanwhile, Grim smirked at Jonah, his paws on his hips. "I got 60! This proves that I am way smarter than you!"

Jonah huffed. "You barely pass that!"

The smirk on Grim's face didn't leave. "I still have a higher score than you~"

Jonah groaned and ran his hand on his face. "I can't believe I'm stupider than a raccoon." Ignoring the fuming exclaim of 'I'm not a raccoon!' from Grim, he continued, "And now the headmaster wants to see me after school. He probably knows about my grade already..."

Deuce turned to the captain. "Wait. The headmaster is also looking for me."

Ace nodded. "Me too. I wonder what he’s gonna talk to us about."

"If I were to guess, it probably concerns the incident with Prefect Rosehearts the other day," the blunette suggested, to which Ace shrugged.

"Probably. That evil villain berserker mode, huh?" Grim flew to Jonah's head and sat on it. "Hah! He might give me canned tuna as a reward for being a big help that day!"

Jonah rolled his eye. "I doubt it."

 


 

The knock on the door made Crowley looked up from the document he was working on. "Come in."

Spade's head popped in first when he opened the door. "Pardon the intrusion, Headmaster."

Trappola followed him. "We’re coming in."

Argentum and Grim walked in the last, closing the door behind him as he stood between Trappola and Spade in front of his table. "Before you say anything," the eye-patch boy said, raising his hands. "I am sorry. I think I missed my primary education. I swear I'm not stupid!"

Crowley raised an eyebrow at him. "I..." he cleared his throat, "We'll be talking about your grades later." Argentum sighed, but soon pouted when Trappola snickered at him. Crowley continued, "This will concern the incident that happened in Heartslabyul Dorm the other day, but I figured that I should thoroughly explain it to you. I figured that as fellow magicians." He glanced at the three students, earning their complete focus. "There is a need for you to be fully aware of the consequences that could happen."

"You mean, the Overblot, sir?" Spade asked.

Crowley nodded. "Indeed, that’s right."

Trappola hummed, pinching his chin with his thumb and index finger. "I’ve heard about it from my big bro before, but... I didn’t expect that that’d happen during Overblot." He frowned. "It was an evil villain berserker mode, huh."

Argentum raised his hand. "Excuse me. But what 'Blot' mean in the first place?"

Grim also nodded. "I don't get it either."

Crowley perked up at this. "Oh, that’s right. I have to explain starting with that for both of you." He smiled as he stood up. "Then, let me tell you. Oh, how kind of me~"

Walking toward the end of the room, Crowley waved his hand. The mirror on his belt and tophat suddenly glow as purple light came out from it, forming a silhouette of Prefect Rosehearts, earning a gasp from the three boys and cat.

Thus, Crowley started to explain. "Blot is akin to 'wasted material' that accompanies each magic use. When magical energy is used, blot occurs at the same time.” The silhouette of Rosehearts took out his staff as a white magic circle appeared in front of it. However, they also realized some black smoke appeared from bellow the silhouette’s feet. “There have been present and older historical records of research being done about it, however, it’s still largely a mystery. There is only one thing we are certain of. It is highly toxic and once it is used too much, it can greatly harm one’s mind and body.”

Trappola snapped his finger. “Oh, yeah. I remember my granny telling me: Don’t use your magic so willy-nilly if you don’t want to Blot! or somethin’ like that?”

Crowley nodded. “Such great powers go hand-in-hand with incomparable risks. Not even the greatest magicians have an unlimited supply of magical energy."

Grim gasped, paws on his cheeks. “In other words, the more you use magic, the more it becomes bad for the body?!”

“No, not completely,” Crowley immediately said before the students started panicking. “If you take proper rest, and given enough time off, the Blot will disappear on its own.” The students sighed in relief, and he continued, “A magical jewel does not exist simply to be an outlet for one’s magic. One other purpose it has is to accumulate Blot that could directly affect the caster. To an extent, it is a wonderful item that can carry such a huge burden.”

“I see...” Spade hummed. “In other words, once our magical jewels have become hazy, it’s a sign for us to rest our bodies, correct?”

“That is correct. Blot disappears if you eat, sleep, and rest properly,” Crowley said, nodding. “Magical energy comes in all sorts of varieties. Except for a select few, the maximum permissible amount of magical energy is not that large.”

Argentum frowned. “What do you mean?”

“In other words, the more magical energy a person has,” he waved his hand again and the silhouette of Rosehearts stabbed its staff to the ground, the magic circle became bigger, “the more careful he has to be about the accumulation of Blot.” The dark smoke under its feet became thicker, waving like tentacles.

“So, if we keep using magic stupidly without even thinking of the consequences, it’s easier for us to accumulate Blot, you mean?” Trappola asked.

“To an extent, yes. Though, considering your skills with magic, for now, I don’t think you have to worry too much about Blot yet.” Crowley smiled widely, giving them a thumbs up. “Good for you, huh~?”

The students exchanged glances before giving him an ‘are-you-kidding-me’ looks. Crowley cleared his throat again. “The magician’s overall state and well-being play a huge influence on their magical limit before experiencing Blot.” He waved his hand again. The silhouette fell to its knees, clutching its chest, its clothes slowly turned into the overblot form. Crowley noticed Argentum curled up his fists, glaring at him. Did he push too far? But he chose to ignore it and continued, “Anger, sorrow, terror, confusion... Experiencing constant negative energies like that makes it easier for Blot to accumulate. It becomes easier for one to go into Overblot.” The silhouette let out a silent scream as the black smoke formed into the Queen-of-Heart-like monster, earning a gasp from them. “A gigantic shadow similar to the one Rosehearts had when he went berserk. I guess you could call it the manifestation of all the negative energies and all the Blot that Rosehearts has accumulated.”

Crowley sighed and waved his hand again, making the silhouette disappeared as he walked back to his seat. “Though to be honest, I know not much more than this. From what we know, there are multiple ways a magician can experience Overblot. However, there aren’t that many examples out there.”

Trappola groaned. “Not having enough examples is good. I don’t wanna experience that ever again.”

Crowley sighed as he sat back to his chair. “It was fortunate that you were able to make Rosehearts come back to his senses as soon as it happened, but if he were left alone then...” He buried his face into his hands. “AHHHH! I DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT IT! HOW FRIGHTENING!”

Grim jumped, nearly falling of Jonah’s head. “Wha–! Don’t just shout like that!”

Crowley raised his head again, clearing his throat. ”Ahem, I’m sorry. I suddenly lost my cool,” he said. “It was quite the long explanation, but magic use comes with equal dangers, is what I’m trying to point out. Everyone, please do not forget my warnings.” He earned a collective of “Yes, Sir” from them.

Crowley clapped his hands. “And that is all for your ever so kind Headmaster’s special lessons! Now, Argentum.” The said boy straighten up a bit. “Let’s talk for a bit. Everyone, you are dismissed.”

Spade and Trappola gave Argentum a pity looks while Argentum just shrugged at him. Grim jumped off his head and landed on Spade’s shoulder. They gave him a small wave before exiting the office with Trappola closing the door behind him.

“So…” Argentum took a deep breath. “Are you going to ground me?”

“Ground-“ Crowley shook his head. “No no no! This is not about your grade.”

“Huh?” Crowley stood up from his seat again and walked toward him. He bent down a bit so they could see each other face-to-face.

“Can I see your eye for a moment?” he asked.

Argentum frowned. “Why?”

“I need to check that you’re okay,” Crowley answered. “I know you don’t feel any pain, but I just need to make sure.”

Argentum blinked a couple of times before saying, “Okay.” He reached out behind his ears and pulled the strings, pulling down the eye-patch and revealing his strange eye. Crowley used one hand to raise the boy’s chin and the other, with his thumb and index finger to widen the eye. It looked like no potion can heal the bruise-like skin, along the yellow sclera and red iris. They looked the same as when he check previously. Though he was a bit concern about the black splotch there that hadn’t disappear since the Overblot incident…

Crowley hummed. “Okay.” He pulled back his hands, letting Argentum blinked a few times before putting back his eye patch. “There doesn’t seem to be a problem.”

“Headmaster.” The boy looked up at him. “What happened back then? How… Why…?” He pointed to his eye-patch and Crowley already knew what he was asking. The headmaster sighed.

“To be honest, I don’t know, Mister Argentum,” he said, leaning against his table. “This is the first time I saw something like that. It was hard to learn about blotting, let alone finding something that can absorb the Blot.”

Argentum reached for his eye-patch, palm pressed against it. “What am I supposed to do?”

Crowley sighed again and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Right now, just like the others, you need to make sure you have enough sleep, rest, and eat properly. If you suddenly feel something off with yourself or feeling sick, just quickly contact me.”

Argentum nodded at him. “Alright.”

“Good.” Crowley let his hand slid off him. “Now, run along then. You have enough adventure at this moment.”

Argentum chuckled. “Actually, headmaster. I have the feeling that…” He raised his head toward him, eye twinkling in excitement and lips pulled into a huge, bright, smile.

“My adventure has just begun.”

Chapter Text

Jonah was sitting alone at the corner of the library. Various opened books scattered around his table and his assignment paper have only the word 'The' on it. He sighed as he started to write, mumbling every word he had written. "The Gargoyle Strike of 1911 was a wildcat strike of gargoyles that occurred in 1911. A 'wildcat strike' refers to stopping of work by unionized workers without authorization from the union. As it mentions 'the wildcats were winning,' likely things were moving in favor of the Gargoyles when something noteworthy happened..." He paused as he reread the sentences. "Argh..." He ripped that paper from his book and scrunched it in his hands. "Nope. Nope. Too vague..." He groaned and pressed his forehead onto the table. "Who cares about gargoyle anyway..."

"Jonah?"

Jonah turned his face toward the voice and saw Deuce, bringing a stack of papers, walking toward him. "What's up, Deuce?" he greeted, waving his hand lazily.

"Lucky that I find you here. The Prefect was just wondering whether or not you have submitted a club registration," the blunette said. "Since Ace only just submit it yesterday, he's worried that you haven't done that too."

Jonah frowned and stared at Deuce for the longest time. "We... We have clubs here?"

Deuce blinked. "You don't know?"

Jonah slowly shook his head. "Did I miss something?"

"Yeah. We had an open house last week- Oh..." Something clicked inside Deuce's head. "That's right. You were on a break with the Prefect."

"Oh..." Jonah muttered. "Grim probably didn't give me the registration form."

"Oh!" Deuce looked through the stack he was carrying and pulled out a paper. "Here."

Jonah smiled at Deuce and read the form. There are several options there: Basketball, Hockey, Light Music, Science, Horse-Riding...

Wait a minute...

"There aren't any Cooking Club?" Jonah frowned. "That's just not fair."

"I know how that feels," Deuce sighed. "Sadly, there’s no magical wheel club..."

Jonah didn't dare to ask what the heck a 'magical wheel' is. He looked down at the registration paper again, thinking about his options. Definitely not the Science Club (he had enough of Mister Crewel threatening to spank him every time his cauldron burst). And definitely no sports or music. His only options now we're Studying Movie, Gargoyle Appreciation, and Board Game.

"Heh~ what’s wrong, baby seal~?"

Both Deuce and Jonah turned toward the sound as saw two teal haired teen, leaning against the bookshelves. Jonah was about to greet the Leech twins, but then he noticed that he couldn't really tell the difference between them yet. So, he just awkwardly waved his hand. "Hi?"

Deuce leaned closer to him. "Do you know them?" he whispered.

Jonah shrugged. "Sort of."

The twins exchanged a glance, smiling at each other as if they had a telepathic conversation. They walked up toward the two first-years. "It seems to me like you are deeply troubled by something..." said the boy with the left dark strand as he smiled at Jonah.

Meanwhile, the boy with the right dark strand snatched the registration paper from Jonah's hand. "Eh~ Are you signing up for a club?"

"Ah!" Jonah stood up from his seat, trying to take back his paper. But the other boy had the advantage of being taller than him. "Give it back!"

"Hey." Deuce tried to step forward. "Leave him alone."

The right-strand boy just gave him a dark glance at him, making Deuce stopped his track. The boy glanced back at Jonah, his sunny personality returned. "What club are you going to join, baby seal?"

"I'm not a seal!" Jonah sighed. "And I don't know yet."

"Any consideration yet?" the left-strand boy asked.

Jonah shrugged, turning his head toward the other twin. "Probably between Studying Movie, Gargoyle Appreciation, and Board Game."

"Oo~" the right-strand boy cooed. "The same club as Azul!"

Jonah perked up at that. "Senior Azul? Which club is he in?"

"The Board Game club," the left-strand boy said. "Actually, I think they have a meeting today."

Jonah's eyes widened at this. "You know where this club is?"

"We know~" the right-strand boy cheered. He looked at the table and immediately grabbed Jonah's pencil. He immediately checked the 'Board Game Club' before putting it on top of Deuce's stacked papers. "Please, write down everything you need."

Before Jonah or Deuce could protest, the boy grabbed Jonah's back and pushed him out of the library. "Come on~ we need to see Azul before they end their meeting~!"

"Ah! Wait-"

The other twin laughed and turned to Deuce. "Don't worry. We'll take care of your friend," he said. "Please, could you tidy up his things?"

Before Deuce could answer him, he had already walked out of the library, following his twin and the pirate boy.

 


 

"Azul~!"

The classroom door opened, causing Azul, Idia, and Ortho to look up toward the newcomers. It was not uncommon for Floyd to suddenly enter the classroom unannounced in the middle of his club meeting. But what unusual was that he brought someone familiar with him.

"We have a new member for you~!" Floyd cheered again as he pushed Jonah in, nearly stumbling his own feet. The small boy looked up and his eye brightened when he was Azul.

"Bye~" Before any of them could react Floyd closed the door again. He saw the boy sighed, tucking a strand of hair behind his ear. Azul himself sighed, before he stood up, earning a questioning look from Idia. He just walked passed him and walked toward the first-year.

"Well, it looks like we've met again, Mister Jonah," he greeted, offering a hand.

Jonah let out a chuckled as he turned to face Azul. "I seemed so, Senior Azul," he said, taking the hand and gave him a firm shake. "I'm sorry I didn't see you sooner. I was..." He paused, eye-rolled upward, trying to find a perfect word. "Occupied."

Azul nodded. He already heard the news about the incident at Heartslabyul. Everyone had heard about it. It was the talk of the month. "I've heard about Riddle's Overblotting," he said. "You were there, weren't you?"

Jonah winched. "It was kinda inevitable."

Azul chuckled. For some reason, he had already expected that to come out from Jonah's mouth. "You should tell me more someday."

Jonah just smiled. When they let go of their hand, the eye-patch boy perked up again. "Oh, and Senior Azul, about my dorm-"

"Ah, ah, ah~" Azul put a hand on the smaller boy's, stopping him. "We don't talk about business during the club sessions. We're on the neutral ground here." He started to guide Jonah the table where Idia and Ortho were waiting. "And Floyd mentioned... a new member?"

"Yeah." Jonah sighed, scratching the back of his head. "There isn't any club suited for me, and the registration deadline is today, so... I'm kinda in a tight spot."

Azul let out another chuckle. "Well, I think I can convince you that the Board Game Club is not as boring as it sounded." When they reached the table, Azul gestured to the two other people. "We're actually going to play a game."

"Hello there." Jonah gave them a small wave. Ortho waved back excitedly, meanwhile, Idia was trying to make himself as small as possible. Kinda reminded Azul of how the first time they met.

"You're..." The Ignihyde Prefect spoke in a small voice. "You're the kid at the Entrance Exam."

Jonah laughed, remembering the chaotic moment. "I am." He smiled at Idia, thrusting his hand forward. "I haven't met you before. My name is Jonah Argentum."

Idia scooted away a little, only giving him a nod. "I remember. I was there."

Jonah blinked in surprise. "Oh? Are you a first-year too?"

"Big brother is the Prefect of Ignihyde!" Ortho cheered, to which Idia's eyes widened. "He doesn't like to go out so he used his tablet."

"Ortho!" He tried to reach for his brother, trying to stop him from spouting any more info, but Ortho managed to avoid Idia's hands, taking Jonah's offered hand with his two smaller ones.

"I'm Ortho, his little brother!" he said, to which Jonah chuckled.

"It's nice to meet you," Jonah answered.

Azul cleared his throat as Ortho went back to sit next to Idia again. "Well, Idia here just got us some boring luck-based game."

Idia suddenly reverted back to his normal, tired-gamer tone. "You just don’t have faith that you can win in games where you cannot strategize."

Jonah looked down at the board game. "Let's Make Golds?" He read the name of the game was written on the board out loud, turning to both Idia and Azul with questioning looks.

Idia nodded. "It's a board game which you play by rolling a certain number on the six-sided die." His voice sounded more confident as he explained. "You can move around the game board, buying and trading properties, and developing them with cottages and mansions. Players collect rent from their opponents, with the goal being to drive them into bankruptcy. Money can also be gained or lost through Chance and Community Chest cards, and tax squares; players can end up in jail, which they cannot move from until they have met one of several conditions."

Jonah smiled at Idia. "That's sounds interesting."

Idia started at the eye-patch boy with surprise. People rarely agree with him. Mostly because he didn't talk that much and social-interaction was just too hard for him. He couldn't help but smile a little. "I know, right? Unpredictable games are fun as well."

Azul huffed. "Well, I just happen to like games where you can work with strategies."

Idia rolled his eyes at him. "Do you not tire of games were you always have to use your head?"

"Not at all."

"I don't mind playing this game," Jonah said, earning the focuses of the other three. "How about this: whoever wins this can decide which game we get to play next week."

Azul hummed, considering his options. "Interesting."

"I don't know..." Idia shrugged. "Even the omnipotent Master Azul cannot compete against luck. He does not have the intellect to overthrow the side of a die."

Azul glared at him. "...Who do you think you’re talking to? Do you think I would lose to you in a simple game of dice throwing?"

Idia let out a small snicker. "Did I say anything about losing? I just told you to not overexert yourself, I’m fine with it."

Jonah just smiled at the interaction. He had seen this between Ace and Deuce too many times. He knew Azul was going to take the challenge. "You are trying to stir me up... but fine. For today I shall go along with your plan."

"Can I join?" Ortho asked, raising his hand.

Idia glanced at his brother and smiled. "That's why you're here right?"

Ortho nodded excitedly, to which Jonah added, with a nod and a smile. "The more the merrier."

"Yay!" Ortho threw his hands to the air. Three other older boys couldn't help but smile at the child's excitement. "I choose the giant lizard!"

Ortho immediately reached for his chosen token. Idia was trying not to pout too much and reached for the cat. Meanwhile, Azul reached for the wizard hat while Jonah took the ship.

"Alright." Jonah smiled, challenging everyone in the room. "Let's play."

 


 

"Haah... Where is he..." Grim groaned as he laid on his stomach on top of Deuce's head. "It's almost dinner time and I need my chef back."

Deuce glanced upward to the cat. "He hadn't appeared in the library again since that twins meet us."

"Are you sure he's not being kidnapped?" Ace asked, looking around to find a sign of the captain.

Deuce raised an eyebrow at Ace, but still, he was worried too. "You can't get kidnapped here."

Ace rolled his eyes. Before he could retort him a scream suddenly sound through the hall. "I HATE YOU!"

Grim nearly fell of Deuce head if he didn't grip on his hair. "Ow! Don't pull it!" Deuce yelped.

"Sorry," Grim said. His ears perked up again. "Did you guys hear that?"

Ace looked around, trying to find the source of the sound. "I think it's from here."

The first-years walked up to the door of a classroom and took a peek inside. All of a sudden, they could just feel the dark aura surrounded the students inside there.

"Oh, is that so?" said one with a glasses, pushing it up to his nose with a dangerous glint as he smirked. "Then maybe you should think twice before ruining my golden plan."

The one with fiery blue eyes groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Ortho, give Azul your 200 galleons, you've landed on his property."

"NO!" The little kid, who looks like he was a part robot, whined. "He's in jail! I'm not giving my money to a criminal!"

The glasses-dude glared at the small kid. "Young man, are you trying to CHANGE THE RULE OF THE GAME?!"

Sitting quietly, was Jonah, looking worriedly between the two screaming people. "Senior Idia, why are we screaming?"

"You have the right to remind silent, Jonah!" Idia, the fiery-haired teen, suddenly snapped, turning his head to Jonah, who looked offended. "You the one who started this by stealing my last polar express railway."

Ortho slammed his palms to the table. "I WISH I WAS NEVER BORN!"

Idia turned his head toward the little kid. "ME TOO!" he screamed, standing up from his seat. "YOU THINK I WANTED THIS?!"

The shouting festival continued and the first-years had to witness a near bloodbath over a board game. "Let's just..." Ace whispered to his two friends. "Leave him be... Let's eat at the cafeteria..." Deuce and Grim nodded as they closed the door, just when the glasses boy threw the board game off the table and the screaming continued.

By the end of the day, Jonah was officially in the Board Game Club.

Chapter Text

P.E. class was probably Epel's most favorite class. Not only that the school’s athletic wear is durable and easy to move in, way simpler than Pomefiore uniform, but because he's good at it. As a child from a family of farmers, he was so used to heavy lifting, and unsurprisingly, he's quite strong underneath that petite body. Then again, maybe the Dark Mirror put him in Pomefiore because of said petit body instead of the muscle. But, wait. He didn't want to think about that. He just wanted to enjoy and pass this class.

"Alright, class!" Vargas's voice was loud, gaining all attention from all the students. "I want Class A on the right, Class B on the right, face-to-face."

Epel immediately took a random spot among class B. In front of him was a boy from class A with a demon-cat on his shoulder. The student gave him a small wave and Epel answered him with a nod.

"Alright, fellow!" Vargas said once again. "Laid your broom on your right side and try to call your broom. Just stick out your right hand and say: 'up'."

The word 'up' was barely out of his mouth before Epel's broom was in his hand. Epel watched as the other brooms jumped into their owner's hands. He watched the student in front of him, talking to the cat. The student stuck out his hand.

"Okay, Grim, I'm ready," said the boy.

The demon-cat, Grim, nodded, and stuck out his paws. "UP!" he shouted. And the broom went up in fast speed-

*whack*

-and smacked the boy on the nose.

"OW!"

"I thought you were ready!" Grim laughed.

The boy rubbed his nose and glared at the cat. "You put too much magic into it!"

Epel shook his head. Was it really that difficult? He noticed a ginger-haired Heartslabyul student whose broom nearly flew past him if it wasn't for the boy holding it with both hands, while the blunette's broom beside him was somersaulting the ground.

Everyone put up their brooms, with the teacher correcting the posture and grip of each student. As soon as he was sure no one would fall, Vargas said, "When I blow the whistle - kick the ground hard. Keep the broom steady, drift for a while, lean forward, and touch down. Ready? In three, two..."

The whistle blew hard and Epel's broom took off, the wind blew against his hair, he lifted his feet off the ground. Even though he was only a few feet, it was the most fun Epel had ever had.

They shouldn't be too high from the ground. They should practice starting and stopping, playing with speed only when they feel comfortable with sitting on a broom without falling.

Epel's broom hovers an inch above the other students. He noticed that the student in front of him, along with the demon-cat who sat in front of him on a broom, inched up their broom so they were the tallest. He saw the cat was grinning arrogantly, while the boy was warning him not to go too high. Oh, are you challenging me? Never backing out, Epel quickly regained his lead. He discovered that it was the cat who flew it, not the boy. He grinned at him as they rose five inches higher. Epel leaned back, pulling above them an inch. The cat clenched its teeth and zoomed up almost 10 feet. Epel pulled back his broom which intended to surpass them.

The sound of a whistle was heard again and the two students looked down at their P.E. teacher. "Mister Felmier, Mister Argentum! Get down here this instant or you're both out of this class!" Epel stopped in the air and turned to go back down. When his feet touched the ground, he stared back at the boy and his cat. Their broom was still up.

"Mr. Argentum!" Vargas called out to the floating student again. Epel could see the boy talking to his cat, having a quite heated conversation actually, maybe arguing whether they should go down or not.

Focusing his eyes, Epel realized that their broom did not move in a smooth, controlled pattern as they float closer to the ground. They were jerking, bucking wildly. As he watched, strong winds came and ruffled his hair. But the gentle breeze on the ground was only a strong typhoon for them. Epel watched in horror as they lost their grip on the broom when it tipped over. The broom zoomed off when the boy and his cat fell to the earth below. The boy's instincts worked quickly, reaching for his cat and hugging him tightly to his chest, protecting him from upcoming doom.

He could vaguely hear someone shouting 'Captain!' Instinct took over. Epel ignored the screams of other students as he zoomed in at a speed he never knew was possible. While holding one hand on a broom, he reached out and caught the boy on his waist before he even fell three feet.

For a moment he was very happy with himself. But the sudden addition of seventy pounds made the broom unbalanced, causing it to fall and blow in the wind. Still, Epel managed to hold on, maintaining his grip on the boy as the strong wind blew a broom above the school. Amid falling chaos, Epel managed to tilt the broom, but he had lost all sense of directions. Not long after the three students crashed into the chestnut forest behind the school.

Epel slowed down the broom before landing, but it didn't seem enough. When they fell through the trees, the broom was split in two. As soon as it was cut off all the flying forces stopped, letting the children fall the rest of the way, crashing into almost every chestnut branch where they landed.

Epel slowly stood up, testing each limb. He will have several bruises and cuts from falling, but nothing will be damaged. Convinced that he's fine, Epel laughed softly. Man, he loves flying!

Glancing around, Epel found the boy was still lying a few feet in the woods, his cat was still on his chest, shaking his chest. He ran to them. Relief flooded him when he saw the boy's chest moving up and down slowly. He was still breathing.

"Jonah, come on!" the cat said worriedly. "Wake up!"

The boy, Jonah, soon stirred, opening his eye slowly. He looked between Epel and the cat before mumbling, "I'm... Blaming you, Grim."

The cat let out a sigh of relief. "Oh! You're alive! Great! I thought I have to find another chef to feed me."

The boy glared at the cat. "What? Not even a 'sorry'?"

The cat huffed. "What for? You're the one supposed to be sorry for flying that broom terribly."

"It was your magic that sent us away!"

"But you're the one steering it!"

"With your magic!"

Epel cleared his throat, stopping any potential glaring contest between the boy and his cat. "Oh!" the boy exclaimed. He was about to move when suddenly he let out a scream, his hand reached for his shoulder.

"Hey! What's wrong?" the cat asked again, this time in panic.

Jonah winched. "I think I broke my shoulder."

"Oh gosh. We need to get you to the infirmary," Epel said. He helped him up to his feet, slinging the unbroken arm around his shoulder. The cat flying behind them as they walked out of the forest.

"I can show us the way," the boy said. "I've been here before."

Epel gave him a sideways glance. "You did?"

Jonah nodded. "Picking chestnut for some tarts." He chuckled. "Man, it felt like a long time ago."

"You do baking?"

"Jonah is the best cook here!" the cat exclaimed. "He can cook anything! Last night, he made chebishie!"

Epel frowned at him, but Jonah chuckled. "He means ceviche."

"Oh..." Epel nodded. "Sounds delicious."

"I bet you eat many tasty foods in your dorm," said Jonah. When Epel glanced at him confusedly, he added. "You're Pomefiore, right? You probably do all those fancy stuff."

"Oh. Yeah." It was true. It was rare for Pomefiore students to go to dinner at the cafeteria because their dorm always has that big dinner together. While the foods are delicious, table manners are something that Epel will never get used to no matter how hard he tries.

"I'm surprised to see a Pomefiore picking P.E. elective like this," Jonah added.

"Me too actually," Epel said, rolling his eyes. "They probably worry that their make-up will be ruined."

"And you're not worried?"

Epel shook his head. "I can put it on again after the shower. Besides, I don't use that much make-up."

"I don't use makeup at all," Jonah added. "I don't think I can understand that beauty-stuff."

"Trust me, there are more than what I know," Epel groaned. "It's more than just powder and cologne. My Prefect sometimes holds on a mandatory beauty class for first years."

"That sounds hard."

"It's so annoying..." Epel sighed to which Jonah laughed.

"You know, you're kinda stood out now," he suddenly said.

Epel glanced at him confusedly. "Huh?"

Jonah tilted his head. "Being a Pomefiore who joins P.E. elective and doesn't like makeup. Kinda make you not like other boys."

Epel frowned. "Isn't that... Bad?"

"This coming from a non-magician boy who was summoned to a prestigious magic school." Jonah grinned. "And from what I experienced, it's not that bad."

Epel never thought about that. He always saw that putting him in Pomefiore was a mistake. He still wanted to join Savanaclaw because he thought it suits him. But maybe... Just like how the Dark Mirror brought a non-magician to NRC, maybe there was a reason why he was placed in Pomefiore?

"My name is Jonah Argentum, by the way," Jonah suddenly said again. "And that cat is Grim."

Epel blinked and gave him a nod. "Epel Felmier."

Jonah smiled at him. "A pleasure to meet you. And thanks for helping me."

This time, Epel smiled a little. "You're welcome."

Sure, Jonah ended up with a dislocated shoulder and some cuts and bruises, but they were easy to fix with a wave of the wand. It looks like he has a new member on his crew.

Chapter Text

"A prefect meeting?”

Riddle nodded before sipping on his cup of tea. “Yes. It will be held tomorrow at 4 pm after everyone’s class is over,” he said, putting down his cup to its saucer. “And since you’re technically the Prefect of the Ramshackle Dorm, you’re invited.”

“Are you sure though?” Jonah frowned. “Can’t I just don’t go?”

Riddle shook his head. “No. You can’t skip this. It’s your responsibility.”

Jonah pouted, playing with his strawberry on top of his shortcake. “I thought you’ve become more lenient, Senior Riddle.”

Riddle’s breath hitched. “I-I am!” His grip on his cup tightened. “It’s just-”

“Hey.” Jonah immediately grabbed Riddle’s trembling hand, making their eyes met. Jonah gave him a gentle smile. “Don’t worry. I’m not scared.” He saw Riddle took a deep breath before letting it out from his mouth. Riddle gave him a small nod but Jonah kept caressing his knuckles.

It was one Monday afternoon when all class finally over and Riddle and Jonah decided to have some tea together in the Heartslabyul Garden. Today, it was strawberry tea which Jonah made by himself. Along with some strawberry shortcakes made by Trey. This was probably the first time Jonah meeting Riddle again in private since their 'day off'. Sure, they passed each other between classes and lunch hour, but never just the two of them.  Jonah was glad that Riddle was doing okay these two weeks. He didn’t want to ruin their progress.

“You’re right.” Jonah pulled his hand back, smiling at Riddle, making him blush a bit. “It’s my responsibility, right? What kind of captain am I if I don’t show a good example to my crew.” He rested his chin on his palm with his elbow on top of the table, frowning a bit. “But… What should I report?”

Riddle cleared his throat. “Well, usually you report your underclassmen progress and some changes that happen around the dorm.” Trying to distract himself by stirring his tea. “For tomorrow’s meeting, we have an additional agenda to discuss the upcoming Magishift Tournament.”

Jonah paused from putting a forkful of strawberry shortcake into his mouth, lowering it back to the plate. “What is that?”

Riddle looked up at him. “You haven’t heard about it?”

Jonah shook his head. “Amnesia, remember?” he said, tapping his temple.

“Oh. Right.” Riddle looked down again. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Jonah said, smiling when Riddle raised his head again. “Maybe if you tell me about it, something will come up.”

Riddle sighed. “Alright.” He cleared his throat before started his explanation. “Magical Shift, or Magishift, is a world-famous magic sport played by two teams made up of seven players. To put it simply, you try to take a disc from each other and try to shoot it at the goal positioned in the opponent’s territory. The team who scores the most points is the winner.”

“Oh well, I don’t think I can join in though,” Jonah said, chuckling at the end.

Riddle smiled. “Maybe next year when your dorm has more students.” He cleared his throat again. “Anyways, Night Raven College is a world-renowned powerhouse when it comes to Magical Shift. A lot of our school’s alumni play in professional leagues. Even more, Magical Shift is a sport that tests not only physical skills but also one’s magical skills. Professional teams will be observing our school’s intra-dorm Magishift Tournament. A lot of renowned magicians around the world will come to watch. There will be a lot of shops lined up during the tournament as well, and they will be exhibiting products from all over the world.”

Jonah whistled. “This sounds like a very important event, huh?”

“You can call that,” Riddle said nodding. “Players who do exceptional and win in the tournament are invited to join professional teams, so it is a given that it comes with popularity, too.”

“Heh…” Jonah popped a strawberry into his mouth. “Do you want to join?”

Riddle shook his head. “No. This is one thing that my mother didn’t force me to do.”

Jonah watched Riddle kept stirring his tea, even though his glass was only half full now. “Have you talk to your mom?” he asked with a soft voice.

Riddle kept stirring. “No.”

“You know you can’t avoid it.”

“I know. I just…” He stopped stirring. I’m not ready yet.”

Jonah sighed. “Okay. Just remember that if you need a talk, you can just come to Trey or me.”

Riddle let out a small sigh. “I know.” He ended with a small smile.

 


 

“I just realized that I don’t have any Dorm Uniform,” Jonah said, playing the end on his jacket, as he and Riddle walked through the hallway toward the Mirror Chamber where they held their prefect meeting.

Riddle turned his head toward him. “You don’t?”

“I never thought about it. Maybe I should buy one before the tournament.”

“You can always use the Heartslabyul Uniform.”

“Then I'll be mistaken me as a Heartslabyul student.” Jonah shrugged. “Besides, I’ll try to make some variety.”

“Hmm. Make sense,” Riddle said, nodding. “You remember your report?”

“Sort of.” The eye-patch boy opened his bag and took out some papers with his chicken-scratch writing. “I just wrote Grim’s progress in class since he’s my only dorm and our current budget.”

Riddle tried not to cringe at the messy report. He gave him a small smile. “Good enough. This is your first time after all.”

Jonah chuckled. “Yeah-”

*bump*

Jonah stepped back immediately. “Oof. Sorry.”

“You seem to have a habit of disturbing my silence.”

Wait…

Jonah looked up and saw the same annoying, grouchy, lion-boy face who was glaring at him and Jonah just wanted to rip those twitching ear of that stupid mane-

“Kingscholar.” Riddle’s voice snapped him out of his mind.

The lion-boy gave the Heartslabyul Prefect. “Rosehearts.” He glanced back at the Ramshackle Prefect. “Herbivore.”

Nope. Nope. Nopenopenopenopenope!

“Jonah. Where are you going?”

Jonah felt his jacket being pulled by Riddle when he turned around and about to walked toward the hallways he just walked through. “Away. Far away.”

Riddle raised an eyebrow at him, surprise for the sudden attitude. “You can’t do that. The meeting is in five minutes.”

“Heh. Can’t handle being together in one room?” Kingscholar spoke up, which made Jonah stopped.

He turned his head toward him. “No. I’m just scared that I’ll break your tail this time.”

Kingscholar raised an eyebrow at him. The corner of his lips pulled up. “Oh. Acting tough, are we?”

Jonah rolled his eye. “Oh, please…” He said in a sarcastic tone. However, before he could say anymore remark, a familiar cheerful voice called out.

“Ahh~ Mister Argentum.” The headmaster appeared as if he just popped out of nowhere, and pat Jonah on the shoulder. “So happy for you to join us.”

Jonah gave him a confused smile. “The pleasure is mine… I guess.”

“Wonderful.” Crowley clapped his hand. He gestured for the boys (and noticed how Jonah and Kingscholar were throwing each other annoying glares) to enter the Mirror Chamber. “Come, come now.”

In the Mirror Chamber, Jonah noticed there were some students already there. He noticed Senior Azul and Idia’s tab. The other two were unfamiliar though.

One was a tall, handsome man with shoulder-length blonde hair and violet eyes. He had that beauty-queen aura around him. Oh, maybe he’s the Pomefiore Prefect that Epel was talking about. The one who tutored him privately on how to wear mascara.

The other one was a dark-skinned boy with a white turban tied around short and choppy white hair, and red eyes. Oh, Jonah knew he remembers him somewhere. He was the one whose butt got burn during Grim’s rampage at the Entrance Ceremony. He wondered whether it left a mark or not…

“Alright, alright, everyone, take a seat,” Crowley said and Jonah immediately took a seat next to Azul, who gave him a charming smile. Riddle sat next to him while Kingscholar sat across him.

Azul suddenly leaned toward him. “Mister Argentum,” he whispered. “I’m hoping we can talk about your payment next Sunday. Can you do that?”

Jonah frowned. He was to asked back when suddenly it clicked in his mind. That’s right. He hadn’t say thank you to Azul for cleaning his dorm. Damn, he almost forgets about that.

“Of course, Mister Ashengrotto,” he whispered back. Azul gave him a small smile before both of them focusing on Crowley.

“Alright, everyone is here,” Crowley started. “Welcome to the prefect meeting. First of all, I would like to say welcome to Mister Argentum, our non-official Ramshackle Dorm Prefect. Thank you for joining us.”

Jonah gave everyone around the room a small wave before Crowley continues. “Alright. Without further ado, we shall start our meeting. First agenda…”

 


 

The meeting went surprisingly well with everyone gave their dorm reports and discussion. Jonah gave himself a pat on the back for holding himself back from punching that lion-boy in the face when he laughed at his messy report. 

"Now. Our next agenda will be about choosing the next manager of the Magishift Tournament." Crowley said. He then looked at Jonah. "Ah. Mister Argentum. You do know what a magishift is, right?"

"Yes, headmaster." Jonah nodded at him. "Senior Riddle told me about it."

Crowley smiled at him. "Wonderful. Now, since this is your first time, you can sit this one out." Jonah let out a sigh of relief, happy to be excluded. "Alright. Everyone. Say your managing plan. From Mister Kingscholar."

One by one, everyone gave their idea. Well, Senior Kingscholar and Idia were a bit reluctant with their plan, and Senior Kasim (from Scarabia) suggested a parade. Senior Schoenheit (from Pomefiore) was quite good, he also suggested to sell sunscreen and umbrella rent. Azul and Riddle probably had the most detailed plan between all of them, complete with timetable, but Azul gained an additional point to include a very realistic budget and club involvement.

"Alright. I've heard from everyone," Crowley said, clapping his hand. "Anybody here wants to give their opinion?"

Nobody wanted to answer that, all of them sticking to their plan or just too lazy to comment. Crowley cleared his throat again. "Alright then. How about you, Mister Argentum?"

"Eh?" All eyes aimed toward Jonah. "Well, I..." He took a deep breath and let it out from his mouth. "From what I've heard, I think Senior Azul has the best idea." He could see Azul's glasses gleamed in the corner of his vision. "His plan is tidy and the budget is reasonable."

"I agree too!" Asim raised his hand. "With all the club participating, it can be so much fun before and after the tournament."

"Indeed." Schoenheit nodded his head. "May I suggest that the dorm can have a stand too? I can probably sell some beauty products there."

Azul smiled like a businessman he is. "Of course."

Riddle nodded in agreement. "A quite good compromise." He raised his hand. "I agree with them."

Crowley smiled at all of them. "Alright. It seemed like the majority of you agree that Mister Ashengrotto will be out manager this year. Any objection?" Nobody raised their hand, some of them shook their head. Crowley clapped his hand, satisfied. "Then, it has been decided. Azul Ashengrotto, you are out Magishift Tournament manager."

Azul raised from his seat and bowed to the clapping prefects. "Thank you very much. I guarantee that I won't disappoint you."

As soon as the clapping dimmed down, Crowley spoke up again. "Thank you for all of seven of you-"

Something clicked in Jonah's head. Seven?

That should be right... right?

He started to look around, noting each prefect in the room. Heartslabyul, Scarabia, Pomefiore, Savanaclaw, Ignihyde, Octavinelle...

Wait a second...

Jonah raised his hand again, gaining everyone's attention. "Um, excuse me."

"Yes. Mister Argentum?" Crowley asked.

"Umm... I'm just wondering... Why isn't the Diasomnia Prefect here?"

...

...

"DID WE FORGOT TO INVITE HIM AGAIN?!" Asim was the first one to react, shouting at the top of his lung.

Schoenheit sighed, rubbing his temple. "Finally someone noticed..."

Chapter Text

*knock* *knock*

"Grim, can you open that up?"

Grim raised his head to look at the door. The knocking was still ongoing. But he didn’t make a move to get up, only to lay back down on the couch. "No... I'm too busy…" he groaned.

"You better open that up or no extra fish for you."

Oh. That can’t happen.

With a groan, Grim got up from the couch and flew toward the door lazily. The knocking suddenly sounded more obnoxious than before. When Grim opened the door, he saw a pair of teens with teal hair with black strands and different color eyes standing there. Both of them wore a black fedora with a grey bow around it and a purple seashell on the bow. Their outfit consisted of a purple dress shirt with a white bow, a black double-breasted suit, a cool-toned grey scarf with the Octavinelle logo on it, and white gloves. They also wore purple socks and a pair of black slacks accompanied by a pair of black and white dress shoes. "Uh..."

One of them, the one with the strand on the right side, waved at the cat with a goofy smile on his face. "Hello, little piranha~"

Grim blinked. Who are they again? "What?" And then he registered the last part. "Who are you calling piranha?!"

"You are! You're small and have sharp teeth. Like a piranha." the boy laughed, pinching Grim’s cheeks. He quickly pulled back his hand when Grim was about to bite him. “Oo~ Fiesty too~”

"Forgive us if we're intruding,” said the other one with the left strand. “But is Mister Argentum here?"

Before Grim could shoo them away, Jonah's voice called out again. “Grim! Who is it?”

The boy with the right strand, poked his head passed the door and sniffed the air. "Hmm~ Smells so good~" He walked pass Grim, following the smell like a dog. "Wha- Hey!"

"Excuse us," the boy with left strand said as he also walked pass Grim into the dorm.

"You- You can't just go in like this!" Grim shouted following the two boys until they reached the kitchen Jonah was there, frying something on the stove. He wasn’t wearing his usual ponytail and eye-patch, but his eye was covered by his bangs. He was still wearing his pajamas. There was some flour on his cheek, probably from the mess of a counter.

"Baby seal~" greeted the right-strand boy, walking toward Jonah and gave him a one-sided hug. "What's cooking?"

"Senior Leech!" The boy should be lucky that Jonah didn’t smack him with his hot spatula. He looked behind him and saw the other twin who smiled at him. "What are you two doing here?"

"Oh, we're here to pick you up,” he said. “Didn't you have a promise with Azul?"

Jonah blinked several times before his eyes widened in realization. "Oh! Sorry! I wasn't expecting him to be able this early in the morning."

The boy just smiled at him, accepting the apology. Meanwhile, the other boy who was hugging Jonah sniffed the air once again. "Ooo~ Let me guess! Fish and chips?"

Jonah let out a chuckled. "Yes."

"Yay!" the boy cheered. "Can we try it?"

Grim of course was not having this. "Oi!” he yelled, landing on the counter, hissing at the boy. “This is our breakfast! Get your own."

"Grim, it's fine,” Jonah said as he turned off the stove. He used his spatula to take out the golden coated fish and strain the extra oil. “We have plenty."

The boy smiled again as he sat on the barstool, followed by the twin. Grim huffed and sat on the closest with Jonah. The redhead place the plate filled with fish and another one with homemade french fries. "Help yourself."

The right-strand boy cheered as he picked up an empty plate and quickly stacked his plate, fighting against Grim who just doesn’t want to share. The left-strand boy and Jonah waited until the fighting stopped before taking their portion.

"Thanks for the food~" the right-strand sheered before stabbing his fish, taking a big bite from it. His eyes widened as a smile grew on his face. "Hmm~” he hummed with a mouthful of fish. “So crunchy and moist in the inside~"

The left-strand boy nodded. "Yes. And the chips are perfectly cooked." He picked some french fries with his fork and ate it. He hummed and nodded again before turning his head toward Jonah. "You are quite talented."

Jonah smiled. "Thank you."

"Where did you learn this?" the left-strand boy asked.

Jonah just shrugged, popping his french fries into his mouth. "Muscle memories, I guess," he said. "Oh yeah. We can go after breakfast."

Grim stopped licking his plate, eyeing at Jonah suspiciously. "Where are you going? It's Sunday."

"I'm just going to meet Azul,” Jonah answered. "You know, about cleaning the dorm."

"What about lunch?"

"We have leftover. You can just grill it with your fire or something.”

“And dinner?”

“Just buy something at the cafeteria or something."

Jonah perked up at this, smiling widely and ears up. "Alright!” He picked up more fish and chips for himself.

"Quite sneaky, don't you think?" the left-strand boy whispered to Jonah. "Bribing him like that?"

"It's the only way he will let me out," Jonah whispered back, rolling his eyes and smiling a bit. "And technically speaking, that's the headmaster's money."

The right-strand boy snickered. "Naughty boy~"

 


 

"Well, here we are,” Jade announced as the three students stood in front of a mirror with octopus tentacles on it. It was different from the card-decorated mirror of Heartslabyul. Maybe it was different for every dorm.

Jade's twin, Floyd, immediately grabbed both of Jonah’s hands as he walked backward toward the mirror. "Hold on tight now."

Jonah frowned. "Why?"

Floyd smiled widely. "Here we go!" He jumped backward through the mirror, pulling Jonah with him.

"Whoa-"

Passing the mirror felt like jumping into the pool. When Jonah opened his eye, he let out a gasp. He was… Is this underwater? He could see the beautiful corals and seaweeds at the bottom of this pool of water. Jonah immediately held his breath puffing his cheek, but he probably already inhaled so much water into his lung. Is he going to die?

"Don't worry." He felt Jade put his hands on his shoulders. "This is breathable water."

Jonah blinked and blew air from his mouth, bubble floating from his mouth. Jonah took a deep breath again. Oh. It is breathable. Floyd grinned, still holding on Jonah’s hand as they slowly floated down toward the dorm that has a seashell theme. "Welcome to Octavinelle~"

Jonah still felt weird when they landed on the purple platform as the wide porch. They walked (it felt normal as if they were just walking on land) on toward the dorm. When they passed the door, Jonah felt his clothes had dried up. Was that also magic? He couldn’t stop looking around as they walked through the glass tunnel. This is so cool…

"This way,” Jade said as he guided him around the corner though the arc. They arrived at a room filled with tables and chatting students from various dorms. The smell around him was delicious and the jazzy music just lifted the mood.

"Is this a cafe?" Jonah asked.

"You can say that," Jade answered. "Welcome to Mostro Lounge." He put a hand on Jonah's shoulder again and guided him again. "Come now. Azul is waiting."

It wasn’t long before they arrived in front of a door. Jade opened and Jonah walked into the small office, the Leech boy closing the door behind. Bookshelves filled with various books lined up on the wall. There was a desk there along with the office chair in front of a big safe-like door. There was a coffee table in the middle of the room, between two couches that were facing each other. And on one of the couches sat Azul Ashengrotto.

He was wearing a black fedora with a grey bow around it and a purple seashell on the bow. His outfit consisted of a white dress shirt, a grey coat over an unbuttoned black double-breasted suit, a cool-toned grey scarf, and white gloves. He also wore purple socks and a pair of black slacks accompanied by black dress shoes. His scarf had the Octavinelle logo on it and there was a black cane he was holding has a silver handle resembling an octopus leaning next to his legs.

"Ah~ Mister Argentum,” he greeted with a smile on his face as he put down his cane. “It's good to be finally meeting you again."

Jonah took a deep breath before letting it out through his mouth. He gave Azul a small smile "It has only been a week, Senior Azul," he said, walking toward him. "But, I'm glad we can finally discuss this."

Azul nodded, gesturing the other boy to sit down across him. "So am I. How about we just go straight into business, shall we?"

Jonah nodded. “Of course.”

Azul picked up the documents on his lap and rereading it as he spoke, "As you see, the Ramshackle Dorm was... horrendous. And I have to admit, it was a tough job to fix everything. And, to be put it bluntly, Mister Argentum, it wasn't cheap."

Jonah winched. "I understand, but... How much did you spend?"

Azul frowned at the paper. "Well... The precise number is... 10.766 madols."

Jonah's eye widened. He knew it wasn’t cheap. But he didn’t expect to be that expensive. Azul gave the documents to Jonah and the eye-patch boy just want to cry at the various number on it. He literary fixed everything. From the damaged walls, windows, ceilings, even the toilets. "Sweet Nebula..."

"You can't pay for that, can you?" Azul asked and Jonah responded by shaking his head. There was no way he could pay for everything. And he was sure the principal doesn’t want to give him money even if he begs from it (well, there’s no way Jonah will beg for anything). He barely survived with the last reaming food in the fridge and sooner or later he needs to restock. And how was he supposed to do that…?

"Which is why I came up with a compromise."

Jonah looked up at him. “Huh?”

Azul just smiled as he picked up his cane. The tapped the table with the handle of the cane and suddenly a violet magic circle appeared. With a flash of light, a golden paper appeared on the table. "A contract?" asked Jonah.

Azul nodded, watching the boy across him who picked up the contract and read it. "You'll be working in Mostro Lounge until you can pay all of the debt, or until you graduate. If both of us graduate before you can pay all your debt, I will still be collecting them. I will still give you your salary, but I'll only pay you half of my regular employee."

Jonah lowered the contract from his face, looking at Azul worriedly. "This will take a lifetime."

The prefect just shrugged. "It could, but if you do a fantastic job, I'll consider giving you a raise. Also, when you're working for me, you cannot defy any of my orders or protest. I want your complete loyalty. You may be a captain, but I'm the boss here and you're my employee. If you broke the contract, I will fire you and take the Ramshackle Dorm as my payment. Sounds fair?"

Jonah frowned at this. "Why did you do this is the first place?"

To that, Azul smiled. He pushed his glasses up his nose as it glint under the light. "Curiosity, Captain Argentum."

“What?”

"Nothing more than to see you react. Will you take everything for granted? Will you want to pay back? Or just pay it forward to another person." The tapped the staff to the ground and suddenly it changed into a white feather. Azul was still smiling as he offered the feather to Jonah. "What shall it be, Captain?"

Jonah looked back at the contract. The deal does sound fair. Well, he’s basically paying his debt by working for him. Not only that the extra money he can use it to feed his and Grim always hungry stomach. Maybe even buy new school supplies and other necessities.  He could survive with this.

"Alright."

Jonah took the feather from Azul's hand and wrote his name on the signature line. At the last stroke, a magic circle appeared once again behind his name. With one last bright light, the contract was sealed. The scroll rolled itself up and flew toward Azul’s hand.

"[It's A Deal], Mister Argentum," Azul said with a smile. "Your first job starts today."

Jonah blinked at this. "A-Already?"

"Yes. Today is the first Sunday of the month after all. It's a special day and your job...” Azul stood up from his seat and walked toward the door, opening it. “…is to be our head chef."

"Wait-” Jonah stood up from his seat and followed Azul out of the office. “How do you know that I can cook?"

"You made those funnel cakes for the last Board Game Club meeting, did you not?"

“Yeah, but-”

"Anyone who can make Idia inhaled their snack is a great cook." They arrived at a door with a circular window on it. "Jade will help you as you sous chef. Good luck!"

“Wha-“

Without waiting for any answer, Jonah was pushed into through the door, nearly tripping his own feet. When he looked up, all the workers there turned toward him. “Um… Hi…?” Jonah greeted with a sheepish smile and an awkward wave of his hand. “I…I’ll be working with you today.”

Some confused looks were aimed toward him but Jade was smiling at him. "Welcome to the kitchen, Chef Argentum," he greeted, carrying an apron and a chef hat with him. "What do you think we should start first?"

Jonah frowned. Oh wow, Azul was serious when he said he was the head chef of the day. He raked his brain, trying to find a quick solution. "Wait. Tell me more about this special day."

Jade nodded. "Of course. The event is called 'Sunday Supreme', which happens every first Sunday of the month. After sunset, Mostro Lounge will close for the public, except for the 100 invited people to see a special performance from one of our staff."

"Tonight it's my turn~!" Everyone turned toward the door that was opened by Floyd. "And I don't want any shiitake mushroom on my plate."

Jonah frowned. "Why? They made the food taste better."

Jade was smiling at this. "You hear that Floyd?" he said, his tone sounded like he was mocking Floyd. "He agrees."

Floyd pouted at this. "It's my night and I demand no shiitake mushroom!" he shouted, before changing to his cheerful mood again. "Oh! And I also want octopus-theme food."

"B-But, I never cook an octopus before-" Jonah tried to reason but Floyd already walked away while cheering, "Then, this is your lucky day~!"

Jonah groaned, massaging his temple. "Sweet Nebula..."

Jade just chuckled at this. "So what is your first plan?"

Jonah returned to his thinking process. "Hmm... Any of you have some paper?"

One of the workers there immediately took a book and a pen from the top cabinet and gave it to Jonah. “Thank you,” he said. He opened to an empty page and clicked on the pen. "Alright. I think we should decide what we should make. I'm thinking of appetizer, main course, and dessert. And don't forget the drink." He wrote down the four things on the page. “Any suggestion?”

"We can't put an octopus in a dessert.”

Jonah nodded at that. "You're right. Maybe we can the octopus can be a form of decorations."

One of the workers perked up. "Oh! We have that sea creatures jelly, right?"

"Yeah. Oh! How about some octopus-shaped fruit?" suggested another one.

Jonah nodded and started to write it down. "Yes. Yes."

"If we follow the sea theme," Jade added. "How about a sea salt ice cream?"

Jonah turned to his senior. "You can make those?"

Jade nodded. "Yes. It's quite popular too."

"Okay. Perfect." Jonah wrote that down too. "Sea salt ice cream for dessert. And make sure it's super moist."

The chattering between the workers increased and Jonah was happy they were able to work together despite being the first time working with him.

"Um..."

Jonah turned toward the shortest between them "Yes?"

"Can... Can we make... I don't know..."

Jonah smiled softly at him. "Don't worry. I'm listening." The boy nodded and continued.

"Well... I once found a recipe online on how to make squid ink spaghetti. Maybe... We can change the squid ink into octopus ink?"

Jonah blinked. Slowly smile widely. "That's... That's actually a good idea."

"It is?"

The eye-patch boy was grinning. "Yeah. Can you make them?"

"I've made pasta from scratch once."

"Perfect." Jonah clapped his hand and wrote that down. "I'll be counting on you, okay?"

The short boy was smiling so wide. "Yes! I'll do my best!"

One of the workers gave him a one-sided hug as he chimed in. "We can add a grilled octopus on top!"

"Yeah! And some tomato sauce!" another one added.

"Okay!" Jonah pointed at the group that was talking earlier. "You guys will be making the main course." They all nodded, smiling, and grinning confidently. He looked down at the book again. "All that left is the appetizer. I'm thinking of a light snack."

"How about some turnovers?"

Jonah looked up at the speaking worker. "Isn't that a dessert?"

"Not if we fill it with octopus. Oh! And I know how to make this great spicy creole mayonnaise!"

"Sounds delicious." Jonah smiled and wrote that down too. "Okay! We'll be making those too."

"And how about some lemonade for the drink?" Another one suggested. "We can use blackberry and mint to get a close black color."

"Alright." Jonah wrote that down and closed the book. "Great! We have our menu!" All of them cheered. Jade tapped Jonah's shoulder and gave him the apron and chef head. Jonah smiled at him and put on the apron, tying it behind his back. "We have a big night tonight! This is your captain-” He paused. Wait. That can’t be right. He cleared his throat. “I mean... This is your head chef order!” He put on his chef hat and quietly taking off his eye-patch. None of them could see it for it was covered by his bangs, but it still gave Jonah the confidence he needed. He clapped his hand, signaling to start their jobs.

“Let's get cooking!"

 


 

Azul watched through the window at the lively kitchen. This was the usual scene. They were always busy. But never had he seen so much energy in there.

"Don't let that pasta become too soggy, boys!"

"Make sure that pastry is not undercooked!"

"Pay attention to those cutting skills!"

"A bit more sugar in that lemonade!"

"Where is the tomato sauce?!"

Azul chuckled as he pushed the door. He saw so many plates with the food already placed and decorated wonderfully. Everything looked so mouthwatering: crispy pastry, sparkling lemonade, ice cream with exotic green color, and perfectly cooked pasta.

"Chef," Azul called, making Jonah stopped his track, quickly turning around toward him.

"Senior Azul!" he squeaked and Azul noticed he immediately covered his eye. Oh? Did he take off his eye-patch? Azul decided not to ask that but instead said, "We'll be closing in five minutes."

Jonah's eyes widened. "Already?!" he nearly screamed, quickly turning around toward the workers on the platting team. "Is the plating done yet?"

"N-Not yet! We're still preparing the spaghetti!"

"Focus on the appetizer first! The platting team, do it!” He turned his head toward the other team. “Serving team, you better fix those ties of yours!"

"Y-Yes, Sir!"

Azul just chuckled again. “We’ll be waiting, chef.”

 


 

It was a miracle that Jonah was able to put out the food on time. From the drinks, appetizers until desserts, all was served on time without missing a single person in great coordination.

Azul walked up to one of the tables, smiling at his guests. "How was the food, gentlemen?"

"It was so good. Compliments to the chef."

"I like the octopus theme. You should make another themed-dinner like this."

Azul chuckled. "Will be noted." He then walked toward the kitchen again. From the window, he could see that it wasn’t as busy as the first time he visited. He pushed the door and called out, "Chef."

Johan looked, having finished putting on is eye-patch again. "Senior Azul?"

Azul gestured the boy to come out. "Come here for a moment."

Jonah blinked. He turned toward Jade who gave him a reassuring smile as if saying that they got this. Jonah nodded before turning back to Azul and walked with him out of the kitchen. He led him toward an empty table at the front of the stage where they usually perform, reserved only of Azul himself. Gently, he pushed Jonah to sit in the armchair. “Wait here.”

Azul then walked up toward the stage, standing behind the mic. He tapped twice, gaining everyone's attention there. "Gentlemen," he said, tipping his fedora as a greeting. "Welcome to our annual Sunday Supreme.” Everyone clapped at this and Azul continued. “I hope all of you are enjoying the food." There were collective murmurs of agreement and Azul noticed Jonah looked around, smiling a little when he heard compliments. Azul continued, "Now, without further ado... Our main event. Presenting... Floyd Leech."

The cheered was louder again as Azul stepped down the stage, sitting on the other armchair of the table.

Jonah looked at him confusedly. "What should I-"

Azul just smiled at him. "Don't worry. Just wait here."

Cheerful music suddenly sounded from the band on stage as Floyd, in a bright red version of Octavinelle Dorm Uniform and an ear-mic ran up the stage. "Good night, little fishes~" he shouted, waving his hand excitedly, which the crowd responded with a round of applause. "So good to see little fishes swimming by down here. Well, as you know, playing under the sea is way better than anything up there~"

The seaweed is always greener

In somebody else's lake

You dream about going up there

But that is a big mistake

Just look at the world around you

Right here on the ocean floor

Such wonderful things surround you

What more is you lookin' for?

Some of the workers suddenly came up around the stage as Floyd jumped down, dancing with them.

Under the sea

Under the sea

Darling it's better

Down where it's wetter

Take it from me

Up on the shore they work all day

Out in the sun they slave away

While we devotin'

Full time to floatin'

Under the sea

The dancer scattered toward various spots in the room. Floyd continued to dance in front of the stage and kept on singing.

Down here all the fish is happy

As off through the waves they roll

The fish on the land ain't happy

They sad 'cause they in their bowl

Azul noticed that Floyd was walking closer toward Jonah, in which made the younger boy looked uncomfortable, and Azul chuckled at this.

But fish in the bowl is lucky

They in for a worser fate

One day when the boss get hungry

Guess who's gon' be on the plate?

Floyd stepped back and spun around before continuing his musical number.

Under the sea

Under the sea

Nobody beat us

Fry us and eat us

In fricassee

And suddenly, Floyd quickly walked toward Jonah again and pulled the boy up, bringing him with him on toward the stage. He quickly took the mic that Azul was using earlier and shoved it to Jonah’s hand. Jonah stared at him confusedly but Floyd just kept on singing.

We what the land folks loves to cook

Under the sea we off the hook

We got no troubles

Life is the bubbles

Under the sea

Jonah looked at the mic, then to the crowd. Azul had to stop himself from laughing at the awkward boy. Not wanting to embarrass himself, Jonah sang to the mic. His singing voice was not that good, especially compared to Floyd’s. “Under the sea?

Floyd grinned. “Under the sea~

Under the sea?” Jonah sang again. Then, Floyd continued.

Since life is sweet here

We got the beat here

Naturally

Naturally-ly-ly!”Jonah sang again, this time sounded more confident. And Floyd continued, taking Jonah’s hand for a dance.

Even the sturgeon an' the ray

They get the urge 'n' start to play

We got the spirit

You got to hear it

Under the sea

Floyd let go of Jonah hands and started to dance. Because there wasn’t any gesture for him to sit down, Jonah just followed Floyd dance awkwardly. Floyd just laughed and continued his musical number.

The newt play the flute

The carp play the harp

The plaice play the bass

And they soundin' sharp

The bass play the brass

The chub play the tub

The fluke is the duke of soul

Floyd pumped his fist and Jonah followed while cheering, “Yeah!” The song continued with Floyd singing.

The ray he can play

The lings on the strings

The trout rockin' out

The blackfish she sings

The smelt and the sprat

They know where it's at

An' oh that blowfish blow

“Take it away, baby seal!” Floyd cheered. Too much in the mood, Jonah just kept on dancing, making his own moves. “Let’s go!” Floyd cheered as he followed Jonah’s dancing. “Yahoo~” He pulled Jonah down the stage, holding his hand and kept on dancing together. They kept singing back-to-back.

Yeah, under the sea~

Under the sea!

Under the sea~

Under the sea!

When the sardine~ Begin the beguine~ It's music to me~

It's music to me-me-me!

They began to sing together, dancing side by side. “What do they got? A lot of sand! We got a hot crustacean band!” Floyd continued as the solo singer.

Each little clam here

Know how to jam here

Under the sea

Each little slug here

Cuttin' a rug here

Under the sea

Each little snail here

Know how to wail here

That's why it's hotter

Under the water

Ya we in luck here

Down in the muck here

Under the sea

At the last music, Jonah and Floyd dancing again, ending their musical number with Floyd dipped Jonah. The crowd, even Azul, gave them a standing ovation. Cheers erupted the whole room. Floyd helped Jonah to stand up straight again. Together, they gave a bow to their audience. 

It was another successful night.

 


 

It was already passed to midnight as the last worker decided to leaf, leaving Azul alone at the bar. A glass of the blackberry mint lemonade suddenly was placed in front of him. He looked up and saw Jonah was smiling at him. "We still have some leftover lemonade, Senior Azul,” he said, before sitting on the barstool next to him.

Azul smiled back to him. "Yes. Thank you." He took a sip before asking him, "How was your first day of work?"

"It was tiring actually," the boy answered with a tired sigh, but he was smiling. "But an interesting experience."

Azul chuckled, raising his glass. "I'll be expecting more from you, Mister Argentum."

"Of course," Jonah said, raising his own glass. "I won't disappoint you, Mister Ashengrotto."

They clicked their glass. A toast for a successful night and their future as partners.

Chapter Text

It was already closing time for Mostro Lounge. Nearly everyone has gone back to their room, including Jade and Floyd. The lounge was practically empty by now, which was great for Azul because he could have all this space for himself.

He sat in one of the sofas, paper spread across the table, and a word document on the screen of his laptop in front of him. Azul occasionally would find a document before typing it, adding another paragraph for the report. He didn't even realize that he wasn't actually alone until he heard a cup was placed on his table. The smell of coffee hit him immediately.

"Working hard again, Boss?" Azul looked up, slightly surprised to see Jonah, in his Octavinelle uniform (which was given from him the day after Floyd's performance because it was lounge rules), still carrying a tray and smiling at him.

Azul smiled and picked up the cup. "Yes. Just finishing the last report for tomorrow's prefect meeting."

Jonah perked up at this. "Oh, the royal families accept their invitations?" he asked, picking one of the documents, reading the response letter from the Coral Sea Royal Family.

"Yes, their letter just came a few days ago. Now, all I have to do is arrange their seat." Azul took a sip of the coffee. His eyebrow raised. "A new recipe?"

Jonah chuckled. "Just some flat white coffee. I tried to make it instead of the instant one."

Azul took another sip. "It's delicious. I'm keeping it on the menu."

Jonah laughed. "Whatever you say, Boss." He put back the document n the table and continued, "Well. I'm heading back now."

"Don't forget the leftover," Azul said.

Jonah nodded. "I've packed it. Grim will be really happy we're having salmon for breakfast."

Azul chuckled at this. "Well, then." He tipped his hat to Jonah. "Good job today, Mister Argentum."

Jonah tipped his hat back. "Thank you, Mister Ashengrotto. And don't stay up too late."

With that, Jonah left for the kitchen. He probably went through the other door since Azul didn't see him return to the main lounge. Sipping the white coffee again, Azul continued his report until dawn.

 


 

All the prefects of each dorm once again gathered in the Mirror Chamber. Azul was sitting next to Idia (in his floating tablet) who is chatting with Jonah about some new cheat code he had discovered. Taking a glance, Azul was pretty sure Jonah didn't understand anything. The poor boy didn't even have a smartphone, let alone a laptop. He remembered that time he saw Jonah stayed overnight at Mostro Lounge just to write his ten pages on report for Mister Crewel's class by hand. That was a torture to see.

Riddle sat next to Jonah, also listening for Idia. He also clearly didn't understand, but he could see the way his lips curled up and how his cheeks turned into a light pink color whenever Jonah turned to talk to him. It was interesting watching them. Riddle, Jonah, and Idia. An interesting combination indeed.

They heard the headmaster stepped forward, clearing his throat to gain their attention. "Now then, I would like to begin the Prefects’ Meeting concerning the Magical Shift Tournament that will take place in only two weeks from now. Firstly, Prefect Ashengrotto of Octavinelle has an announcement as the President of the Magical Shift Management Committee."

"Yes," Azul said as he stood up, notes prepared in his hands. He walked up toward the front and began his part. "I am Azul Ashengrotto of the Management Committee. A pleasure to be here with you all today." He could see Jonah rolling his eye and a quiet snicker from Idia. They had seen Azul dramatic side many times during Board Game Club that this had become a usual sight for them. Azul lips curled up, but that didn't stop him from continuing his report. "Now then, I would like to talk about the pop-up stalls that will be positioned around the Coliseum. All slots for outside business and club businesses have been filled."

"Oh, that’s nice! Looks like it’s gonna be bustling!" Kalim commented, looking excited already.

"All the invitations for each nation’s royal families have also been sent. The ticket-selling for the masses is proceeding smoothly as well," Azul continued. "And just like every year, the television crews that will be helping with the broadcast have all been arranged as well."

"The whole world will be watching, after all~" Kalim once again added. "Before I became a student here, I was always excited about receiving the invitation to the tournament~ Ah!" He looked across him toward the lion who was about to fall asleep in a few seconds. "You’re a royal too so you got invitations, right, Leona? We’ve passed by each other in the stadium a lot when we were kids, remember?"

Leona rolled his eyes and yawned. "Dunno... And don’t much care." Kalim pouted at the response.

"I have to perfect the ultra-vision supported base make-up for this year’s tournament," Vil commented, brushing some hair to behind his ear. "It is a very physical sport, so I need to fix my make-up a lot."

Riddle only sighed, not amused. "Only Pomefiore will go as far as to ask for a time-out just to fix their make-up."

"Why’s everyone so gung-ho about showing their faces for a competition?" Idia commented. "Just thinking about it’s enough to make me puke..."

"You're pretty competitive during last week Norio Wheel, Senior Idia," Jonah said, hiding his smile behind his hand.

"... That's different."

Azul cleared his throat, obviously not impressed that the other wasn't paying attention anymore. "Ahem! Everyone, please keep quiet."

Everyone slowly closed their mouth. Well, nearly everyone. Kalim just had to make one last comment with a joking tone. "Ah, sorry ‘bout that~"

Azul sighed, though he was glad he could take control again. "Each dorm should submit a file of all their registered players for the tournament. If you happen to be even one day late with the registration..."

"You are, of course, disqualified, correct?" Riddle said, but Azul pushed his glasses up his nose, smirking.

"Oh, no. They will be subject to a separate charging fee. I guess you could call it a special fare for being late?"

Riddle was taken back, nearly choking back his own spit. "What–?" He cleared his throat, trying to calm himself down. "Personally, I think that creating rules to exempt someone is not a good idea."

Kalim laughed. "I’d be grateful for it though!"

Crowley sighed and stood up from his seat, walking up to Azul. "You may sit down, Prefect Ashengrotto." Azul nodded and went back to his seat. Jonah gave him a light kick on his shoes. Azul glanced at him and the eye-patch boy gave him a small smile. Azul just chuckled at that.

"Now then, let’s talk about the competition details..." Crowley started. "I have a proposal." There were some confused noises from several prefects. "For this tournament... I was thinking of having Diasomnia’s Prefect, Malleus Draconia, become a member of the Hall of Fame so as he should only make a special appearance."

The temperature in the room suddenly dropped.

"What do you mean?" Leona was the first one to respond. Jonah could've sworn he was growling.

Crowley acted like the tension never happened. "Ever since Draconia entered the school, all the dorms that have competed against Diasomnia have faced utter defeat without even so much as scoring a point," he explained. "They’ve always scored more than 100 points in any tournament. And 90% of those are scored by him alone."

"True," Kalim sighed, scratching his head. "The last time we competed against them, we couldn’t even lift a finger!"

"His talents totally disrupt the game’s balance," Idia muttered because, of course, he was going to have a game-related comment. "It’s kinda unfair."

"This tournament is not merely made for," Crowley continued. "The whole world will be paying attention in search of a talented new magician. Even more so, Diasomnia has managed to win every single competition without even displaying magic. I guess you could call it a desperate measure."

"This tournament is really important to all of you, huh?" Jonah asked.

Idia sighed. "Pretty much. I just get tired when I fight strong enemies, too."

"So, I would like to ask the opinion of the dorm with many members aiming to join the Magical Shift Pro League, Savanaclaw." Leona didn't change his lazy posture, but he was staring at the headmaster intensely. "Your dorm has never fallen behind third place in any of the tournaments ever since the school was founded. And yet for the past two years, you have only managed to play in the first game against Diasomnia. Not to mention, you never even won." Under his mask, Crowley frowned at the prefect. "You will not be able to make an impression on the professional board this way. Your team’s future is at stake, too."

All prefects turned toward Leona, waiting for his response. They could see his tail swishing, ears down, glaring at the headmaster. Realizing the attention, Leona sat up, straightening his back. "Are you saying that we’ll be losing without even putting up a fight this year, too?" he asked with a growl in the end.

"I’m not saying this because I want to either," Crowley responded. "In any case, I already have Draconia’s unspoken consent regarding the matter. All I need is to hear everyone’s opinion."

Leona laughed, throwing his head back. "You’re underestimating us." He was smirking, radiating a confident aura. "Listen here, Teach. I hate being told 'You’ll never become number one!' the most, got it?"

"That’s not what I’m saying-"

Leona cut him off. "Then, what’re you trying to say? In any case, Magishift doesn’t rely on just the body. It’s important to think, too, right?"

"I don’t think I can win against Malleus in that department either." Kalim let out a nervous laugh, but his effort to lightening up the mood didn't work.

Leona gave him a sideways glance as if he was mocking him. "Yeah, probably. But I’m different from you. No one can win against that guy when it comes to power, but there are other methods available."

Jonah let out a sigh. "Please," he spoke up, resting his chin on his palm of his hand and elbow on his knee. "Elaborate for us."

Leona smirked at the boy. "With pleasure." He stood up, shoving his hands to his pants pocket, acting so cockily. "The King of Beasts managed to become king because of efforts and wisdom. Use your heads and think of a way to win against that monster, too! If you manage to win, the whole world might just praise you, too." He turned toward the other prefect, ending his sight on Jonah. "Are you really going to let this chance get away?"

Jonah was glaring at him but he didn't say anything. He couldn't really comment on that, mostly because he wasn't going to play in this. So, technically he had nothing to do in this. In the end, he only huffed, averting his gaze from Leona's intense stare.

Vil was the first one to respond after the short silence. "So you do make great points from time to time. I was about to say that the Headmaster’s suggestion was nonsense, too." He turned toward the headmaster. "Excluding people with talent is considered an unconscious bias. Don’t you think it’s similar to being unconsciously prejudiced? And I disagree with that notion."

Riddle raised his hand. "I agree with Senior Vil's opinion," he said, slowly lowering his hand. "And as a fellow magician, I find it unsightly to run away before even trying."

"That hotshot’s disappointed face will be broadcast internationally," Leona added. "Just imagining it’s enough to make you sing your praises already, right?"

Azul chuckled. "That sounds like a good way to amass ratings."

Kalim nodded. "Yup, yup. We don’t wanna be left out, too~"

"Eh? What’s going on? I’m the only one who thinks he should be in the Hall of Fame?" Idia suggested, but, of course, everyone decided to ignore that.

Leona turned back to Crowley with a smile on his face. "You heard us, Teach. We’re not hearing any more of that Hall of Fame crap."

Crowley looked around the room, seeing how the majority of them disagree. "Goodness me..." he sighed. "I understand. However, he shall be inducted next year as my condition for letting him compete this year."

Leona sat back to his seat, leaning back with his arms folded behind his head. "Do what you want."

Crowley turned his head toward Azul and nodded, signaling that they were done here. Azul nodded back and stood up again. "Now then, that is all for today’s meeting. Everyone, please do not forget to turn in your registrations," he said. "Though personally, I wouldn’t mind if you were late..." He giggled at the end, earning an eye-roll from Jonah and a sigh from Idia.

"By the way," Vil suddenly said. "Did you all forget to invite Malleus to today’s prefect meeting again?"

...

...

...

Ah... So that's why they didn't hear him respond though all of the disagreements...

Chapter Text

“It’s finally lunch!” Ace said, stretching his arms when he finally walked out of the class. Deuce and Jonah, with Grim on his head, followed behind him. “Wonder what should I eat today?”

Grim groaned as he laid down on Jonah’s head. “Ugh… I can eat anything right now! It was a struggle to stay up during Professor Trein’s lecture!”

Deuce stared at the cat. “I saw you across the room. You fell asleep after only five minutes. You don’t struggle at all.”

Jonah looked up. “Seriously, if I get detention because of you, I swear I’m going to smack you.”

Grim just snickered at him. “You never actually smack me, Jonah. You love me~”

Jonah just rolled his eye. “You only love me because I feed you.” Grim was grinning at this.

“By the way, Jonah.” Deuce looked own at Jonah’s hand. He was holding two small lunchboxes, stack together and covered in a white cloth. “You bring lunch?”

“Yep,” the captain nodded, lifting the lunchboxes. “I figure this is way cheaper than buying at the cafeteria.”

Ace looked up to Grim. “You’re okay with this?”

Grim just shrugged. “He’s cooking it, so why complain?”

They finally reached the cafeteria and they found an unusual sight. Well, a cafeteria filled with students was normal, but they never had this much. Especially around the counter. It was more crowded than it usually was. They could’ve sworn that some students who started growling like hungry predators.

“I’ll have 3 chocolate croissants!”

“Score! I managed to buy some! This shop’s egg sandwich is seriously good!”

“What’s going on today?” Ace asked out loud, voicing the small group’s confusion.

“Ah, Jonah.” The eye-patch boy turned around and saw a familiar Pomefiore student walking toward him, eating the yakisoba bun in his hand.

“Epel.” Jonah smiled at him. “What’s with all the commotion?”

“Oh, you know Daisy Dragon Bakery? The one at the foot of the mountain?” Epel asked. Ace and Deuce nodded while Jonah and Grim shook their head. Epel bit his bread again before continuing. “Well, it’s a famous bakery and it seems that they always have this special sale once a month.” He bit his bread again, humming at the delicious flavor. “They’re pretty good.”

“Heh~” Ace looked at the crowd. “It would be a miracle to be able to go through there.”

Deuce chuckled. “Though, it seems to be worth it. What do you think, Jonah?”

Jonah just shrugged. “I have mine and Grim’s lunch, you know,” he said, lifting his lunchboxes again. “So, I’ll be finding a seat for us or something.”

“Where is your cat anyway?” Epel asked.

Jonah turned at him confusedly. “Huh? He’s right-” He patted his head. Instead of feeling the soft fur, his hand immediately dropped to his head. “He’s gone.” Jonah looked around the room frantically.  Where is that stupid raccoon?!

“Get out, get out! That deluxe minced cutlet sandwich is mine!”

Don’t tell him…

“Don’t cut in line!”

Jonah tried his best not to smack his forehead to the nearest table. “Why are you like this?!” he muttered, running his hand down his face.

Deuce sighed. “That guy forgets we exist when food is involved. Right, Ace?” When he didn’t get an immediate response, Deuce looked around too in panic. “Ace!”

“Ah, I’d like some grilled roast beef sandwich with lotsa lettuce!”

Damn it!

“A freshie cutting in front of his seniors won’t fly here! Get out!”

Deuce eyes widened when he found the familiar ginger hair among the crowd. “Ace! Grim!” he shouted. But neither two of them respond. Deuce turned to Jonah who just looked so tired. “Don’t worry, Jonah. I’ll get him.” Without waiting for any response from the captain, Deuce immediately jumped into the crowd.

“Guys please…” Jonah groaned.Why? Just why?

“Are they always like this?” asked Epel, watching how Deuce was basically swimming and jumping through the crowds like a majestic dolphin.

Jonah sighed and then shook his head in an affection manner. “This is normal. There are no stopping us.” He let out a light chuckle. “Well, I better find a table for us.” He turned to Epel again. “Want to join?”

Epel stared at him confusedly. “Me?” he repeated, pointing at himself.

Jonah nodded. “Yeah. Unless you already have a plan…”

Epel didn’t have plans. But this was the first time somebody offered him to sit together. With him still having trouble fitting into Pomefiore, also with Vil and Rook constantly insisting to sit together with him just to make sure he used the correct spoon, he never really had a lunchtime friend. Maybe, he could join Jonah and his friends.

“That… That would be great,” Epel said, giving Jonah a small smile, in which Jonah smiled back.

Meanwhile, a senior suddenly walked up beside the two kids, whistling at the big crowd. “Aw, man~ I’m completely late for the cafeteria food wars, huh…” he whined. “The deluxe minced cutlet sandwich Leona asked me for is completely sold out now…” Now, what is he supposed to feed that prefect of his with?

“Nyahaha! I’ll indulge myself in the taste of victory!” Jonah, Epel, and the senior suddenly turned their head toward the voice. Grim flew toward him, bringing a handful of sandwiches. He flew around Jonah’s head, laughing victoriously. “How’d ya like that!? The last deluxe minced cutlet sandwich is mine! And these yakisoba bread and cream bread are also mine!”

Jonah let out a groan. “Those are too much Grim! How much are they? You know we’re on a tight budget.”

“Actually, they are free,” Epel perked up and Jonah’s eyes widened.

“They are?”

“Yep!” Grim cheered. “Look! We even have enough to spare for afternoon tea!”

“We don’t have an afternoon tea schedule!” Jonah shouted.

“We have now!” Grim laughed. “It’s all thanks to the great me!”

The senior’s lips curled up into a smile.  Oh, this is gonna be fun…  He started to walk toward them, announcing his presence as he said, “Ah… Hey, you’re pretty amazing~! I’m surprised you managed to buy a deluxe minced cutlet sandwich~!”

The three of them turned toward him. Jonah in particular suddenly froze. He had seen that guy before. He was there when that lion-jerk attacked him in the Botanical Garden. He could felt his cheek heated up when he thought back at the moment. Was the senior going to mention that just to embarrass him? Hopefully not.

“Huh? Who the heck are you?” Grim asked, frowning at him.

The senior laughed at him in amusement. “Hey, I really have to buy that bread today, but they’re all sold out. So, I came here with a proposal.” He took out the bread that he got earlier from his pocket. “Would you trade me your deluxe minced meat sandwich for the mini red bean bun I have?”

Grim immediately started hissing. “Hah!? No way!”

“Aw, come on, don’t say that~” Unknowing by the first-year, the senior pulled his other hand behind his back, slowly twirling his Magical Pen. A magic circle appeared above Grim and slowly descend as if it was scanning him. And suddenly, to everyone surprise, Grim’s paw picked up his deluxe minced cutlet sandwich and slowly offered it to the senior.

“Grim?” Jonah frowned. “What are you doing?”

“Huh–!?” Grim tried to pull back, dropping his other sandwich in the process, but his hand just won’t stop, offering the sandwich. “What’s this, my arms and legs are moving on their own–!?”

The senior snickered. “Here you go~” He stopped twirling his pen as he snatched the deluxe minced cutlet sandwich and swapped it with his mini bean bun. “Alright, trade complete~ Shishishishi~”

The first-years stared at him in shock. What just happened? There was no way the glutton Grim would just offer his prized food.  There must be something going on…  “I’m so glad I found someone nice to trade with!” he said as he turned around to walk out the cafeteria. “Thank you, bye-bye~!”

Grim stared at the mini red bean in his hand. Steams came out from his ears.  Oh, he's pissed.  He threw the bun to the ground and turned toward the senior and Jonah could’ve sworn he saw a magic circle appeared beneath him. “Hey, give me give back deluxe minced cutlet sandwich!”

The senior only glanced at him with a playful smile on his face. “Nope! It was a fair trade,” he said. “Hey, that mini red bean bun is delicious, I swear! The smallness might hurt you though.”

The magic circle underneath Grim became brighter as the cat started hissing. “I’m taking back what’s mine!”

“Grim wait-”

Before Jonah could stop him any longer. Grim shot his paws forward, shouting, “ [ACCIO, last deluxe minced cutlet sandwich] !”

A magic circle appeared around the sandwich and, without anyone anticipating, the sandwich flew away from the senior’s hand at a quick speed. “Hey!” he yelped. However, the speed was too fast and suddenly -

*splat!*

- Jonah’s face was suddenly covered with meats and sauce. The impact was too hard that they could see a red mark on his face from the ripped plastic.

“Jonah!” Epel shouted in surprise. Jonah slowly brought his hand up to his face and without hesitation, wiped the food off from himself.

“My sandwich!” Grim wailed when the bread fell to the ground.

“Your sandwich?” Jonah growled. He reached out to Grim’s neck and started shaking him. “What about my face?!”

“You’re supposed to catch it!”

“You’re supposed to warn me!

Meanwhile the senior was still in shock, staring at his empty hand before looking at the shouting fest between the boy and the cat. Well… That was unexpected…

How would Leona react to this?

 


 

Dear, Uncle Leona,

Today, daddy took me around the city. It was so fun! The people are so nice and an old lady gave me a candy apple. It tasted so good!

Daddy says one day I will become king and rule everything! It’s going to be awesome! But then, what will Uncle Leona be?

Oh, and we got the invitation a few days ago. Will you be playing this year too? I really like to see you play! I can’t wait to see Uncle Leona again!

- Love, Cheka

“Leona!” The half-lion who was laying on the ground at the Botanical Garden quickly crumpled the letter in his hand. It wasn’t like he’s going to keep it, just like any other letters from his nephew. He threw the paper aside before sitting up and glancing at the approaching hyena-boy. “I brought you some food.”

Ruggie threw the bread inside of a plastic to Leona who caught it with one hand. He looked at the food, frowning. “What is this?”

Ruggie shrugged. “Red bean bread.”

Leona glanced back at him. “You know I don’t like this.”

Ruggie sighed. “Your prey’s cat stole it back.”

Leona paused. His prey?

... Wait.

“The boy with an eye-patch?” Leona asked.

“Yep,” Ruggie answered. Though his ears perked up at Leona’s sudden interest. “What are you going to do about it?”

Leona crushed the red bean bread in his hand. That boy… “Not yet,” he said in a low voice. “As long as he doesn’t get involved.”

He doesn’t need some nosy herbivore sniffing around his agenda…

Chapter Text

“Flying lesson?”

“Yeah.” Jonah nodded. It was during recess when Jonah and Riddle coincidentally met in the library, looking for their books for research. It was then when their conversation led up to Riddle talking about how General Magic is his favorite subject and asking on what is Jonah’s favorite subject.

“If I have to choose a lesson I can be good at, it’s probably Flying,” the eye-patch boy added.

“Why?” Riddle asked. Physical Education wasn’t really Riddle’s favorite subject, so he couldn’t really see the appeal.

Jonah chuckled as he shrugged, “I don’t know. I just…”

He stopped right next to an open window. Jonah turned to the window, looking at the blue sky. “It feels great to be up there. Sometimes I wonder if I can touch the clouds or stars…”

Riddle didn’t understand why he felt his cheek heathen up. The curtains of the window fluttered, spilling light over the boy. The soft wind ruffled Jonah’s reddish-brown hair, his ahoge dancing on top of his head. The sunlight highlighted the dust that swirled through the air from the musty bookshelves for some reason gave Jonah’s already soft smile even more beautiful.

“I-” Riddle tried to spoke up before closing his mouth again.  Wait. Why did he stop? Come on, Riddle. What is wrong with you?  He cleared throat, gaining Jonah’s attention. “I can teach you.”

Jonah blinked in confusion. “Eh?”

"I-I'm free tomorrow." Riddle averted his gaze. “How about we meet tomorrow after class?”

At this Jonah perked up. “Really?”

Riddle nodded, glancing at Jonah again. “Yes. You helped me, so I’ll help you.”

For some reason, Jonah's smile widened and his eye twinkled. “Thank you, Senior Riddle!”

He was grinning so bright and so sincere and Riddle once again felt his cheek heathen up and his heart was bumping in a faster rhythm.

 


 

“Why are we having an additional lesson on Saturday?” Grim muttered, hanging onto Jonah’s shoulder.

Riddle folded his arms across his chest. “You really think I would just forget about your massive crash last month?” He knew he was making up excuses because there was no way Riddle would say that he helped them because Jonah asked him. Well, Grim appeared to take the bait because he immediately froze up. “There’s no way I’m letting you fall from the sky again.”

Jonah chuckled at this. “Alright then. What should I do first?”

“Maybe actually summoning your broom?” Riddle suggested with a raised eyebrow. “You can’t actually ride mine because it only listens to me.”

“Hmm…” A light bulb appeared on top of Jonah's head. He glanced at Grim. “Grim. Do Accio!”

Grim grinned at this. “Alright.” He flew to Jonah’s head and stood with his two legs. A magic circle appeared in front of him as he chanted. “ [ACCIO, Roy Mustang 2003]!”

Riddle blinked at this. “W-Why?”

“Oh, Grim named our broom so it won’t get swapped with the others,” Jonah said.

“Yes, but why…” The red-haired prefect frowned. “‘Roy Mustang’?”

Jonah and Grim exchanged a glance before looking back at Riddle. They shrugged. “It just sounds cool,” Jonah said like it was a fact.

Only a few seconds later, a broom suddenly came flying from the direction of the Ramshackle Dorm. “Here it comes!” Grim yelled excitedly. Jonah nodded and extended his hand, ready to catch the broom -

*whack*

- only for it to smack him on the face and causing him to fall but Grim managed to avoid it.

“OW!”

“Jonah!” Without hesitation, Riddle grabbed Jonah’s hand and helped him up. Jonah gratefully took the hand, while the other was rubbing his face.

“Why…” he muttered. “Just... why?”

Grim was patting his cheek, humming as he thinks “Maybe I should stand in front of you instead?”

Jonah nodded. “Yeah. Maybe,” he muttered. “We need more practices.”

Riddle sighed. “You have to be careful when using spells, especially when you two are working together.”

Jonah nodded. “Understood.” He then mounted his broom, Grim sitting on the very front and Jonah kicked the broom off the ground, hovering a bit. He then turned to Riddle. “Well?”

Riddle raised an eyebrow at him. “Well, what?”

“Aren't you going to climb on too?” Jonah asked.

At that Riddle blushed. “R-Ride with you?” He shook his head. “I-I’m supposed to fly next to you.”

Jonah scratched behind his head sheepishly. “Well… I’ll probably understand this more if you give me direct tutoring. You know, straight up pointing at my mistakes and all.”

Riddle let out a “Gck!” Well, it was true what Jonah was saying. It would be easier if they just fly on one broom and Riddle gave him direct instruction. But the idea of riding together with Jonah?!

Grim snickering was the one that brought Riddle back to reality. Jonah was staring at him with a confused look while the demon-cat was grinning like a Cheshire Cat. Riddle cleared his throat. “A-Alright then.” Riddle climbed onto the broom, trying his best to sit too close to Jonah. “Right. Are you ready to fly?”

Jonah nodded. “Grim?” The cat gave him a thumbs-up.

Riddle nodded. “Okay. Slowly, put some magic to the broom. Not too much unless you want to blast into space.”

“That would be fun though.”

“Jonah!”

The eye-patch boy laughed. “I’m just joking.” He turned to Grim. “Remember, Grim. Gently.”

“Fine…” A magic circle appeared below the broom before it disappeared. The broom started to float higher from the ground at a steady pace.

Riddle looked down. “So far so good.” He looked forward again. “Alright. Move forward.”

Jonah and Grim gave him a nod and the broom move forward. “Good job, Grim,” Jonah cheered, patting Grim on the head. The cat let out a purr.

“Alright. Try to take a turn. Keep it steady,” Riddle instructed. Jonah slowly tiled the broom to the left as Grim kept the magic flowing steadily. Glancing down, they could see the tiny people below.

“Try to dive,” Riddle said again and Jonah gladly did it. Grim let out a laughed as if he was riding a roller coaster as the dive down to the academy, zooming past the towers.

"Yes, it worked." Jonah grinned as they flew upward and ended up hitting a tower. "Ah, sorry." He apologized then he hit into another tower.

"Be careful, Jonah!" Riddle yelped, unconsciously honding onto Jonah’s PE jacket.

"That was my fault," Jonah chuckled in embarrassment.

Grim rolled his eyes. “Let’s just fly away from here,” Grim added the power as they started flying upwards into the sky. “Woohoo!”

“Yea, boy!” Jonah cheered and Riddle couldn’t help but join the laugh. It was actually fun to fly together.  Maybe they can do this again-  Riddle shook his head, blushing.  What is he thinking?

“This is amazing!” Jonah cheered. “The wind on my-”

And all of a sudden, it was as if they flew into a storm. Suddenly it was hard to breathe as dust filled the air, making the three of them cough and closed their eyes. What just happened? A sandstorm? Whatever it was, it made Jonah lost control of his broom and Grim stopped his magic. With no magic to support them, all three of them started to fall straight down screaming.

“SWEET, MERCIFUL, MILKY WAY!” Jonah yelled, quickly hugging Grim, as they fell.

Riddle looked around in panic. His eyes caught onto Jonah’s broom. Doing his best, Riddle floated toward the broom and managed to grab it. But he knew he couldn’t ride it. So, he yelled to the duo. “Jonah! Grim!”

Jonah and Grim turned toward Riddle. Jonah then tried his best to reach out to Riddle. Riddle stretched out his hand. Between the dust-filled storm that nearly making them blind, they managed to hold hands. They maneuvered themselves onto the broom. But they were still falling pretty fast, just a straight drop to the courtyard. But at the last second, Grim managed to control his power, despite his panic scream along with the other two boys, to make them fall slower.

"Jonah, hurry up!" Riddle said, hugging Jonah as close as possible, as the ground was just merely a few feet away.

Jonah looked down in panic. In a last-second decision, he ripped off his eye-patch, yellow-and-red eye glowing. “All hands on deck, everyone!”

He didn’t know how that happened, but as soon as he said it he immediately took control of the broom. As they avoided crashing to the ground, Jonah managed to maneuver the broom and was swiftly able to guide all of them from hitting any students or buildings. With one final pull, they were finally in the sky again, away from any obstacle.

Riddle managed to open his eyes and saw they were out of danger. "You did it!" he said amazed.

Jonah was laughing out loud, doing a loop-de-loop in the sky as Grim cried in happiness, grateful that they avoided death.

None of them realized a pair of eyes were watching them from a window in one of the towers…

Chapter Text

“Order up!” Jonah slid the plate of seafood fried rice across the counter which Jade caught it expertly and put it on his tray. Floyd’s head soon appeared through the window as he waved a piece of paper.

“Baby seal~ We need some of those smoked salmon with hollandaise sauce to go~”

“Coming right up!” Jonah twirled his spatula before going to the refrigerator and picked up an already-cut salmon. Grim was sitting on one of the baskets at the corner of the kitchen, watching Jonah cooked that salmon. The smell was so good…

“Jonah…” Grim whined, his paws moved like he was doing a grabby-hands. “Let me taste some…”

Jonah just rolled his eyes and chuckled. “No, Grim. Our part is the leftovers.” To which Grim pouted but didn’t do anything else for Jonah promised that he would cook twice as much if he behaved today. Of course, Grim being a glutton as he was wouldn’t miss that chance.

It was an ordinary day of work and Grim was in one of his moods to follow Jonah to work. Grim wasn’t really against Jonah to find work. They have to eat somehow. Besides, the leftover from Mostro Lounge were top qualities so Grim couldn’t protest much. To get free food and to pay their debt? Wasn’t this the best deal ever?

“Captain.”

Both Jonah and Grim turned toward the window when they could see Azul’s head poking in there.

“Hey, Boss,” the chef smiled before turning back to his dish, pouring some hollandaise to a plate. “What can I do for you?”

“Can you make me some of your flat white coffee?”

This time Jonah did look up again, frowning at the glasses-wearing boy. “But you just had those earlier.”

Azul sighed. “I know. The paperwork isn’t done yet. It was amazing that there are so many player formation changes in just a week before the game.”

“Tough luck, Boss,” Jonah chuckled. “I’ll make you Earl Grey Tea instead.”

“Anything will do, Captain,” he sighed before he walked away.

“Order up!” Once again, Jonah slid the plate of food across the counted which Floyd caught this time. He then moved to the drink section to brew up some Earl Grey Tea with the right amount of milk that Azul liked.

“Grim, can you take this to Azul?” Jonah asked as he placed the cup of tea on a saucer.

Grim looked up from his laying position on the blanket. “No way,” he scoffed. “You’re the employee here, so it’s your job-”

“Oh, my~” Jonah opened the refrigerator again. “I don’t think I will be taking back this tuna.” He sighed dramatically. “I guess no spicy tuna roll for dinner. Too bad.”

Grim immediately took the tea order and flew through the kitchen window. He grumbled when he heard Jonah laughing behind him. How dare he threatened him with food? Damn that cheeky pirate. As he was about to turn around the corner, Grim’s ears perked up when he saw a familiar blue-haired boy.

“Deuce!” Grim called as he flew toward the boy who turned his head to him. “What are you doing here?”

“Submitting the new player list for Heartslabyul Magishift Team,” Deuce said, lifting the brown folder he was carrying.

Grim let out a sigh. “Aw, man… I wish I can play in the Magishift… Jonah said that we can’t because we don’t have enough people in our dorm!”

Deuce just chuckled at this. “Well, maybe next time you can join.”

Grim pouted. “Anyway. You said ‘new player list’. What happened to the old one?”

Deuce blinked in confusion. “You don’t know?”

“Know what?”

Deuce frown. He looked concerned. “Senior Clover got in an accident. He fell down the stair.”

Grim nearly dropped the glass. “Wha- That lanky glasses?! He can’t be that careless.”

Deuce nodded solemnly. “I know. He just doesn’t give off that vibe.”

“Well, we better see him!” The cat exclaimed, bopping in the air.

“Wait. What are you doing here in the first place?”

“It’s Jonah’s shift today, and I decided to tag along because he might get lonely.” The cat grinned. “Heh~ I’m so kind, right?”

“Then, shouldn’t we wait for him?” Deuce asked again.

“It’s fine. His job ends at night anyway. I’ll tell him everything about this.”

 


 

There was a knock on the door before it was opened revealing A-Deuce and Grim. “Pardon the intrusion,” the ginger-head was the first one to said, followed by the blunette and the cat.

“Senior Clover, are you okay?”

“Hey, Glasses! We came here to check on you!”

Cater waved at them from his position; sitting on a chair next to Trey who had a cast around his right foot. “Oh, it’s the A-Deuce combi~” he greeted with a cheerful smile on his face. “You even brought Grim with you~”

Ace and Grim walked ahead while Deuce closed the door behind him. “What’s with the “A-Deuce” thing, Senior Cater?”

“Eh? You both have “-ce” at the end of your names, so I just combined them~”

Both Ace and Deuce’s cheek turned red. “P-Please call us by our complete names!” the blunette whined but Cater just laughed at him.

“A-Anyway,” Ace said, trying to steer back the conversation. “More importantly, what exactly happened to Senior Trey?”

“Ah, I missed a step on the stairs,” the greenette chuckled. “I tried to be cautious during the fall, but my right leg ended up getting the worse of it. I’ll have to be in crutches for a while.”

Deuce eyes widened. “Eh–!? Isn’t that kind of bad?”

Trey nodded and sighed. “It looks like I won’t be able to participate in this year’s Magift Tournament.”

Grim was fidgeting with something behind his back as if he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to take it out or not. “I thought of letting it slide if it was just a small injury, but…” he muttered, with a tint of pink on his furry grey cheek. Slowly he took out a canned tune (which he stole from Mostro Lounge’s kitchen). He flew toward Trey and presented it to him. “Here. Get better soon, ‘kay, Glasses?”

This was an actual surprise for most of them since they knew that Grim wasn’t a sharing type. Maybe he slowly changes for the better? Trey smiled at him and took the canned tuna, already formulating a recipe for it. “Thank you.”

Another knock was soon heard and everyone turned their head toward the door as their prefect opened it. Riddle frowned at the newcomers. “What are you all doing gathered in an injured person’s room?”

“Ah–!! It’s the irritable Riddle!” Grim squeaked, hiding on the other side of Trey’s bad. Trey just chuckled and pat grim on the head.

Riddle huffed. “Irritable, you say? I won’t get mad if you don’t break the rules.” He looked around the room, eyebrow raised. He looked back at Grim. “And where is Jonah?”

“Part-time work.” The scared looks on the cat’s face suddenly morphed into a teasing smile. “What? Are you disappointed?”

Trey could’ve sworn there was a blush on Riddle's cheek. It was actually quite endearing knowing that their strict prefect had a soft spot for the captain, which didn’t come as a surprise for them. Riddle cleared his throat before looking at Trey again. “Trey, how’s your condition? Is there something you want to drink or eat?”

Trey sighed, but he was still smiling. “You don’t have to be so worried. I told you, I’m feeling okay.”

Riddle frowned looking rather guilty. “But… You got injured because of me and…” he said with a small voice.

Ace caught this. “What do you mean?”

Riddle clicked his tongue, probably didn’t expect anyone to pick up on that. He sighed, then crossed his arms in front of his chest. “I had to go to the 3rd years’ classroom because I had business with them. But then…”

Ah yes, Trey remembered what happened clearly.

“I’ll be a little late,” Riddle said, adjusting the books in his hands as he and Trey walked to the stairs down to the fourth floor. “I’ll catch up with you at the Magical Shift Tournament.”

Trey nodded. “Got it.”

“I’ll leave it to you, then-”

It happened so fast. Riddle moved like he suddenly lost consciousness despite his eyes widened and face paled. His books fell from his hands, dropping to the ground loudly. Riddle didn’t even look like he tried to stop himself from crashing down the stairs.

“RIDDLE!”

Trey wasn’t strong enough to pull both of them up. His instinct immediately took over, hugging Riddle and protecting his childhood friend as they tumbled down the floor. He was pretty sure he had lost consciousness because when he opened his eyes he found himself in the infirmary, Riddle looking over him with teary eyes.

“He covered for me when I fell down the stairs and he got injured himself…”

Trey watched Riddle rubbed his upper arm. The guilty look was still on his face. “I think you’ll have been able to break your fall, you know?” he said, trying to lift Riddle’s mood. “I covered for you on my own, so don’t worry about it.”

“Still…”

“Come on, Riddle!” Cater stood up, holding Riddle’s shoulder from behind, making the perfect flinched a bit. “No need to be so gloomy!” Cater slowly started massaging him. “I feel bad about Trey’s injury, but we just have to do his best in his place~”

Riddle let out a relaxed sigh. “Y-yeah, you’re right.”

Cater smiled. “Come on, let’s give the injured person a chance to rest. Disperse, disperse~” He started to push Riddle out of the room. Trey recognized the wink that Cater gave to the first-years. He knew something. Riddle knew something.

Something didn't match up...

 


 

“So, Cater.” Riddle pushed Cater’s hands off his shoulder, once again crossing his arms in front of his chest. “There’s something you couldn’t say in front of Trey, isn’t there?”

“As expected. You’re quick on the uptake, Riddle.” Cater’s smiled disappeared and replaced with a frown. “But you're hiding something about how Trey got injured, don’t you?”

Riddle bit his lips. The first-years were also staring at him with confused looks on their face. “Just a strange feeling. It is true that I hadn’t slipped nor had someone pushed me from behind that day. However…” His forehead furrowed. He could recall the faint feeling at that moment. A feeling like someone pulled his body and forcing him to fall. He wasn’t in the right mind. He was pretty he wasn’t thinking to fall, but his body certainly thought otherwise.

“I don’t know how to explain it, but it felt like my body just moved around on its own,” he ended up saying.

Grim folded his paws in front of his chest. “Huh? Maybe this is related to what Jonah's boss said.”

Riddle turned to the demon-cat. “What?”

“That mafia dude said something about a lot of players changes reports that came up.”

Putting aside that weird (but somewhat fitting) description of Azul, Ace asked, “Does that mean this has happened a lot recently?”

Deuce frowned at this. “That... sounds suspicious.”

“Indeed.” Riddle tapped his chin as if he was a detective. “Wonder if the headmaster knows about this? I will ask him about this.” He looked up toward the Grim. “Make sure you and Jonah come too, tomorrow.”

The cat nodded at him. “Okay.”

Chapter Text

"Yes. I've heard about this."

Riddle, Jonah, and Grim exchanged glances in surprise before turning back to Crowley. "You have?" Jonah asked.

Crowley solemnly nodded. "Prefect Ashengrotto had been reporting that there has been an increasingly concerning amount of people being injured in accidents around the school."

"So, it wasn't only an attack on Heartslabyul?" Riddle asked again.

"Indeed. Falling from stairs, getting scalded by boiling water, et cetera." Crowley slid a brown folder across the table. Riddle picked up the folder and opened it. Jonah and Grim looked over Riddle's shoulder. The three of them scanned through the reports of multiple incidents from various dorms as Crowley continued.  "The reasons vary, but the fact that more people keep visiting the infirmary due to accidents still stands. Mister Clover's was actually the 11th victim."

Riddle looked up at this. "That many already?"

Crowley sighed and nodded again. "Unfortunately, there were very few witnesses…"

"Are you sure they were just being clumsy?" Grim asked.

Crowley hummed. "The Magical Shift Tournament is nearing and the students are indeed getting restless. Even so, the number of accidents compared to last year’s is too much. Even more, all the people that were injured were students who were the top candidates for the Magical Shift Tournament."

Riddle closed his folder as he and Jonah exchanged a glance. They had the same expression on their face and shared the same idea. "You're saying that these were done on purpose," Jonah said, turning back to the headmaster.

"It had to be that," Riddle said. "I felt it myself." He then frowned. "However, if the accusation only comes from me, we don't have enough proof."

"You're right," Crowley said. "Though, all the accidents happened with at least one witness. And all the victims say the same thing. None of the ones injured were acting differently before."

"Wait..." Grim flew off Jonah's shoulder and landed on Crowley's desk. "I can see where are we going here."

All of them stared at the annoyed-look cat. "Oh?" Crowley perked up.

"You want us to investigate don't you?" Grim pointed his paw at the headmaster "Hah! Like I care!"

Riddle's hand curled up into a trembling fist. "What are you trying to say, cat?"

Grim clearly couldn't read the mood. He crossed his paws in front of his chest and turned away from Crowley, tail flicking in annoyance. "I mean, this doesn’t concern me!  I won’t even be able to participate in the competition either way. I don’t care what happens to the tournament now."

Jonah grabbed Riddle's shoulder, pressing it a bit too hard. Riddle's face was nearly red in anger. How dare this cat acted so selfish like that? Jonah looked at the cat. "Grim. Please consider this first-"

"Is that so...?" The headmaster cut Jonah off, staring at Grim with a playful glint in his eyes. "And here I went all the way to prepare a special reward for you..."

Grim smirked at him. "Hah! I’m not falling for that again! I won’t cooperate if you don’t give me at least a hundred canned tunas."

"Then what about... Allowing you to participate in the Magical Shift Tournament?"

Grim's tail stopped swishing.  He turned his head slightly toward the headmaster. "What..."

Both Jonah and Riddle could see how Crowley's lips curled up into a smile. "Should you manage to solve the case, I will allow your dorm special rights to participate in this year’s tournament." He laughed. "How about that? Oh, how very kind of me, is it not~?"

Grim turned toward him, staring at him with wide eyes and perked up ears. "A-Are you serious?!"

Crowley leaned back in his chair, clearly enjoying how he had caught the cat in his offer. "The winner of the tournament will be shown on TV internationally. It’s a chance to be showered with praise and applause~ You might even get the chance to announce what a great newcomer you will be~!"

Grim clutched his head. "Th-this is bad... I’m getting lured in by the image alone...!"

Crowley then sighed dramatically. "However, you said you won’t be cooperating, did you not? How unfortunate. Let’s pretend I didn’t say anything about the matter."

Grim gasped immediately flew toward Crowley's face in panic. "Wait for a second! I’ll do it! I’ll help out!"

Crowley faked a surprised expression. "Oh, my? You will?"

Grim puffed out his chest. "If you’re gonna let me in the tournament, then it’s obviously a yes!" He flew back to Jonah's shoulder. The boy himself looked like he just wanted to slam his head to a wall for Grim's always-changing wants. "Right, Jonah?"

Riddle sighed at this. "You have no shame, don't you?" He turned to the headmaster. "We will be needing these to investigate this if you don't mind."

Crowley nodded again. "Please, take it." He started at the small group of students, pulling up a gratitude-filled smile. "I will be counting on you."

Chapter Text

The next morning, since they didn’t have class on Saturday, the Heartsabyul along with Jonah gathered at the courtyard. Riddle had already explained the situations to Ace, Deuce, and Cater and all of them decided to join in the investigation.

“These are the reports of the victims. I’ve divided it into two groups evenly so we can cover much faster.” Riddle gave Cater a brown folder. The orange-haired boy opened it up, with Ace and Deuce looking from over his shoulder. “Now, Ace, Deuce. Both of you go with Cater. Grim and Jonah will go with me.”

Ace looked up to him. “Hey, how come Jonah get to go with you?” he asked, staring at Riddle suspiciously. “Shouldn’t it be better if we go as one team?”

“Since most of the victims are Magishift Player, Cater and I know them,” Riddle answered. “It’ll be easier and quicker to find them if Cater and I aren’t in the same group. So, we have to separate you.” He glanced briefly at Jonah and Grim, who was sitting on Jonah’s head, before going back to Ace. “Besides, I can’t separate Grim and Jonah.”

Jonah and Grim exchanged a glance then shrugged. Well, he had a point. Ace squinted his eyes. “Then, you can always be one group with us, right?” His lips pulled up a Cheshire-like grin. “Jeez, Prefect… You can just admit it that you want the captain all for yourself~”

“Wha-” The blush on Riddle’s face became more visible. “H-How dare you to accuse me of something like that?” Ace was laughing out loud, Deuce snickered, and Cater just gave him a playful smile. He could hear Grim also laughing behind his back. Meanwhile, Jonah just tilted his head and asked, “What’s wrong with that?” Which only made the others laughed harder and Riddle’s face even redder.

“Haha! Okay okay!” Cater wiped the tear from the corner of his eye. “How about we start our investigation? We have a lot to do.”

Riddle cleared his throat, finally regaining his composure. “Right,” he said. “We’ll meet again in Heartslabyul.” All of them exchanged a nod and the two groups walked toward their direction.

“You really want to hang out with me?” Jonah asked once they were far enough. Riddle turned his head to the side, trying his best so Jonah wouldn’t see the light blush on his cheek.

“Friends hang out together right?” he tried to reason.

Jonah rolled his eyes up, thinking for a while before smiling. “Yeah. That makes sense.” He grinned at Riddle. “I’m glad you like to hang out with me.”

Riddle still couldn’t understand why his heart beat faster every time this boy smiles…

 


 

“Excuse us!” Ace announced when the three of them walked into the infirmary. About three people were laying on some of the beds. Two of them had bandaged wrapped around a part of their body. Cater looked around and spotted a boy younger, second-year, with bandages around his head. He walked toward him, Ace and Deuce following from behind.

“Yo! Tarrant, Thackery!” The senior greeted as he waved his hand. Two of the students looked up and immediately smile.

“Cater!” Thackery, the one sitting on the chair stood up and exchanged a handshake with Cater. “What’s up?”

“Oh, we’re here to ask Tarrant a question,” Cater said, looking at Thackery while taking out his phone. “It’s about your fall.”

Tarrant, who was laying on the bed, whined, throwing his head back to the pillow. “That was an embarrassing day…” he muttered. “In front of my boyfriend nonetheless.”

Taking a small glance to see Thackery's cute blushing face, Cater opened his recording apps. “So, what happened that day?”

Tarrant groaned, massaging his temple. “I don’t really get what happened either. I was walking while talking with this guy… And before I noticed it, I fell down the stairs.”

Thackery nodded. “Yeah… It’s kinda different from him just tripping or slipping…”

“It’s like my body just floated and moved on its own… I can’t really explain it well…” Tarrant sighed.

“It just likes what Prefect Rosehearts told us,” Deuce whispered to Ace who nodded in agreement.

Cater pressed his phone to stop recording. “Alright. Thanks, guys.”

Thackery and Tarrant gave him a nodded before Cater turned around, looking at Ace and Deuce. “Okay. Who’s next?”

 


 

“Excuse me.”

The two Pomefiore students, who were returning their books to the library shelf turned toward the shorter boy. “Which one of you is William Hammond?”

The two students exchanged a glance then turned back to them, looking at Jonah and Grim like they were just some lowly peasant. “Who in the world are you guys?” asked the one with bandages around his right hand.

“I’m Jonah, and this is Grim,” Jonah said, pointing at himself and Grim who flew next to him.

“You got injured the other day, right?” said Grim, pointing at William’s bandage. “Tell us what happened.”

The two students gasped at them as if Jonah and Grim just did something so vulgar. “How dare you!” the other student yelled. “His feelings are hurt right now because he trained so hard for the tournament but now he can’t even participate!”

“How insensitive of you two!” William took out his Magical Pen. “You come here asking without even a shred of sympathy! I challenge you! Pick up that glove and fight!”

Grim squeaked and immediately flew to the top of Jonah, summoning his magic circle underneath him. “Oh! You wanna go? You wanna go?! Bring it on, buddy!”

“En garde!” William’s friends also took out his Magical Pen, pointing it at Jonah, who just stared at the two seniors with a look that said ‘Really? Are we really doing this?’

“Hurt him and it’ll off with your heads.”

Both of the seniors turned around and gasped dramatically. Riddle stood at the end on the hall, arms crossing in front of his chest, already holding his Magical Pen which glowed dimly.

“R-Riddle Rosehearts!” William’s took a step back, his back pressed against the bookshelf.

Riddle walked toward them still with a stern look on his face. It was a bit funny. Riddle was way shorter that the two seniors, and yet they cowered before his presence. “We’re here to find out about your injury,” he spoke one again, stopping when he was close enough. “And I hope you cooperate.”

William sighed. “A-Alright. You leave me no choice. I’ll tell you what happened.”

“Please do.”

Willam was about to say something but his spoke up instead with the most dramatic voice Jonah had heard. “It happened in the laboratory. The cauldron he was using to prepare some potions suddenly slipped from his hands and it caused an uproar in the classroom! To top it off, the potion spilled all over that even the desk was so soaked! I was so surprised, goodness…!”

“Christopher! Are you going to narrate everything!?” William yelled at his friend, but Jonah and Riddle ignored them, glancing at each other.

Riddle looked up at them again. “Keep talking.”

 


 

“Most of the victims said the same thing,” Riddle said, putting the report on top of the Heartslabyul lounge's coffee table. “They claimed that as if their body moved on their own.” He frowned. “I had a feeling that these were someone’s doing.”

“Should we investigate more?” asked Deuce from his seat on the sofa next to Ace.

Riddle nodded. “Yes. In the meantime, I think it will be better if we can watch out for other possible victim candidates.” He turned to Cater. “You think you can find some of the top players?”

Cater winked. “On it.”

“Alright.” He turned to the first years. “We’ll continue this after we have more info.” The small group of pirates nodded. There were so many things missing. Hopefully, they would figure this out soon.

Chapter Text

"Alright. I've summed up the list of potential targets and shared it with our group chat." Cater said when they gathered once again in front of the Heartslabyul Dorm. Jonah looked over Riddle's shoulder as the prefect turned on his phone (maybe after he pay all his debt he can buy one of those). There were four people on the list: Rook Hunt, Jade Leech, Floyd Leech, and Jack Howl.

"Okay then." Riddle turned off his phone. "We'll split up again. Cater, you and your team go and find Rook Hunt. Jonah and I will find Jade and Floyd."

"Aren't they the twins you're working for?" Grim asked, looking down at Jonah from the top of his head.

"Yeah," the captain answered. "They're usually together. So, if we find one of them, we'll find the other one as well."

Riddle nodded. "Exactly. Alright, we'll meet up again in the Hall of Mirrors.” With some collective nods, the two groups went to their separate ways.

 


 

“Rook Hunt is from Pomefiore and a third-year student like me,” Cater said, walking in between Deuce and Ace through the hallways of the school. “He’s a very capable player who was vital to the competition in last year’s tournament.”

“Then, shouldn’t we be visiting his dorm first?” Ace asked. “It seems like it’s a good place to start.”

Before Cater could answer, just as they turned a small boy appeared, crashing onto Cater’s chest. “Whoa!” Cater immediately grabbed the boy’s shoulder. The boy looked up and Cater to heard Ace and Deuce gasped.

“You’re that Pomefiore kid from Flying Class!” Ace exclaimed. “What’s your name…” He snapped his fingers repeatedly. “Apple…”

“Epel.” The purple-haired boy spoke up. “Epel Felmier.” He stepped back. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to crash on to you.”

“Aw, it’s okay~” Cater smiled. “Oh, by the way, since you’re from Pomefiore, you know Rook Hunt, right?”

He could felt the boy shivered under his hands and from the way his face just paled, he didn’t need further explanation. “W-What do you need from him?”

“Well, you see. Have you heard about the accident of some Magishift Player.”

Felmier stopped shaking. He frowned at him. “Yes. They are some players from our dorm who got injured as well.”

Cater nodded. “Yes. We’re investigating this now, and we’re wanna check on Rook. He’s not hurt, right?”

Felmier frowned. “He’s fine, actually. He’s very-”

“Oh, Monsieur Little Apple~”

From the way Felmier suddenly tensed up and how his eyes widened, Cater could guess that he was screaming in the inside. The three Heartslabyul looked up and saw another student jogging toward them. He blonde hair which he wears in a bob-cut and green-eyes. Along with his formal uniform with indigo vest, he also wore black gloves, light brown boots, and a light brown hat which has dark brown trim and a large white feather.

Felmier suddenly grabbed onto Cater’s jacket. “Please, take me with you! I’ll help with anything. Just take me away from-”

“Oh, there you are~!” The student finally caught up to them and Cater could’ve sworn he head Epel let out a whine. He looked at the Heartslabyul students. “Oh, Bonjour~”

“Hello, Rook!” Cater waved his hand. “Are you doing fine these days?”

“Of course~” Between them, Felmier was trying to squeeze himself out, but Rook managed to catch him by the collar. “Oh, you don’t mind if I take Little Apple from you? He’s late for his afternoon tea lesson.”

Cater glanced back to the Ace and Deuce. “Well, guys?” The first-yeares looked at Rook from his hair to his toes, then glanced back to each other. Both of them shrugged at Cater. The orange-haired boy turned to Rook. “We don’t mind. We’re fine here.”

“Oh, splendid, mon’ami!” Before anyone could respond anything, Rook suddenly picked Epel up, throwing him over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. “Well, we have to bid you farewell~” He tipped his hat, in which Cater just smiled and nodded, and walked away. Felmier actually looked miserable being carried like that.

“So…” Ace started. “That was Rook Hunt?”

Cater nodded. “Yep.”

“He’s kinda… Strange, isn’t he?” Deuce suggested.

Ace nodded. “If I were the culprit, I won’t target that dude.”

 


 

"Jade and Floyd as a twin have a strong coordinated playing style which became their strongest point. I’ve heard that anyone who plays against them are always at a loss," Riddle explained as he and Jonah walked through the Main Street.

“I’ve seen them,” said Grim. “They’re pretty scary. It's like they can read each other minds."

"Well, they are twins," Riddle said again as he turned off his phone and put it in his blazer’s pocket. "Though I wonder if anyone would dare to attack them though."

"Why would you think like that?" asked Jonah.

"Sibling instinct." Riddle shrugged. "No matter how much you hate them. No matter how hard they hurt you. You just couldn't help but protect him."

Jonah had this feeling that Riddle said this from experience. "Do you... Have a sibling?"

Riddle steps became slower, and Jonah followed the new pace. The red-haired prefect sighed and looked up to the sky, the wind bowling his ahoge ever so softly. "No. But I sometimes play with Trey's younger siblings." He sighed again, this time looking down at his feet. "Once, one of his sister pissed me off so much and Trey just laughed. He said that even though she was annoying, she was still a child... And no matter how annoying she was... He couldn't just straight-up hate her."

Jonah blinked at this new information. So, there were more things that he didn’t know other than those visions during his overblot rampage? Jonah, slowly put a hand on Riddle’s shoulder, smiling when the redhead lifted his head toward him. "You should introduce me to her."

Riddle smiled back. "Maybe one day if you decide to visit the Rose Kingdom."

"Heeh~ Can we meet her too?"

"Wha-" Grim question was cut short when all of a sudden, Jonah felt himself being swept off his feet and brought close to someone’s chest. The culprit jumped back a little, giving them a distance away from Riddle and Grim. Of course, neither of them took this lightly.

“You!

"Floyd!"

The taller teen in questions just grinned at them. "It's just not fair if Baby Seal gets all the fun~"

“Hey! Put Jonah down now!” Grim was fuming at this point, steams coming out from his ears.

"I don't wanna~" Floyd playfully shook his head. "I carry him all the time!"

"Wha-" Riddle squeaked.

"No, you don't!" Jonah retorted. "Hugging is one thing, but not carrying!"

Riddle's face immediately turned red. "H-H-H-H-H-HUGGING?!" His scream nearly made Grim fell to the ground in surprise. The redhead grabbed his Magical Pen, clutching it tightly. "Y-Y-You can't just h-h-hug another student without their permission!"

"There, there, Floyd." A voice suddenly came up from behind Riddle and Grim. They jumped away slightly when they saw the other twin standing there, smiling, but didn’t sit well for the other two. "You should put him down. We don't want to anger Prefect Rosehearts here."

“But, Jade~” Floyd pouted. "I wanna take him back to the dorm!"

"But it's not my shift today," Jonah tried to reason.

"Don't care~" Floyd nuzzled Jonah’s cheek, which set off Riddle and Grim, but they didn’t dare to attack because they might hit the boy instead.  "I need my daily dose of Jonah’s cooking ~"

"I have to be honest, he's quite skilled in the kitchen," Jade chuckled. "Best chef we have for a very long time." Jonah blushed a bit at this, sort of glad that many people enjoy his cooking.

"W-Well, we don't have time for cooking!" Riddle spoke up, trying to look calm despite his trembling fist and red face. "Put him down, right now, or I'll cut your head off!"

"Aw, don't be mad, Goldfish~ Sharing is caring remember?"

"And don't call me that!"

"I mean, you’re small and red, so obviously you’re a goldfish~"

"S-Sorry,” Jonah spoke up again, not wanting a fight to break out. “But can you put me down, really please?"

Floyd looked down toward him, eyes shining like a puppy. "But..." he whined.

"I'll do anything," Jonah decided to say, which got a squeaked from Riddle and Grim. "Just... We have some things to do today."

"Anything?" Floyd repeated, to which Jonah nodded.

Jade hummed. "That's quite bold of you, Jonah." He lifted his gaze to Floyd, eyes shining with secrets. "What do you think, Floyd?"

Floyd puffed out his cheeks, like a child trying so hard to think. "Hmm~ Okay!"

Slowly, he helped Jonah stand on his feet again, taking his sweet time to let go of their hand. Once they did though, Riddle and Grim immediately moved. The redhead grabbed Jonah’s hands, pulling him behind him to protect him away from the twins, while the demon-cat, set himself on Jonah’s shoulder, hissing at them.

"If you ask anything that involves touching him without consents, I swear I'll cut your head off."

"Don't think so lowly at me, goldfish!" Floyd whined, pouting. "I would never do that."

"It's true," Jade said, his smile this time looked reassuring. "We're not that desperate."

Riddle huffed. "Come on, Jonah." He pulled the eye-patch boy down the Main-Street toward the school. Jonah tried to keep up the pace, only slightly turning around to give the twin a wave, to which Floyd waved back while Jade just raised his hand.

Chapter Text

"Yo, Prefects!" Ace raised his hand as a greeting when Riddle's team finally arrived at the Mall of Mirror. He didn't receive any response but the sight of Riddle's red face manage to shut him up.

"What happened?" asked Deuce with a slight concern.

Riddle huffed. "We've found The Leech twins. Those two have always been so difficult to grasp that I can’t really understand them."

"Those two seem like they’ll target you for revenge if you hurt them," Grim said as he flew from Jonah's shoulder. "I probably won’t go after them."

Jonah just nodded. He then looked down, that was when Ace realized that they were actually holding hands. Whoa. Did their prefect already go that far?

"Senior Riddle," Jonah called, squeezing their hand a bit. "My hand?"

The squeezed managed to bring Riddle back from this silent thought during his small pouting. Looking down, he immediately pulled his hand back, whispering. "Sorry."

Jonah shook his head, smiling reassuringly. "It's alright."

Riddle's cheek was still red. To distract himself, he took out his phone, hissing when he turned it on. "I have to head back," he said. "Laws of the Queen of Hearts Number #346: One must not stay and play croquet in the gardens past 5 PM." He pocketed his phone back as he continued, "I’ll return to the dorm for now. If I take my eyes off them, there will surely be people breaking the rules."

Grim raised an eyebrow at him. "I thought you’d gone soft, but you’re still the same as always, yanno?"

Riddle turned his head toward the demon-cat. He opened his mouth, only to closed it again. He crossed his arms in front of his chest. "I-I think I’m being a little bit lenient on the rules lately, though..."

Cater chuckled. "Yup, yup~ He’s been nicer lately~ But his seriousness is one of his charm points, too~" He patted Riddle on the top of his head, earning a pout from the boy.

Jonah chuckled. "Don't worry about this, Senior Riddle," he said. "We'll take care of this."

Riddle glanced at him before giving him a nod. He almost seemed upset but didn't say anything more. With a nod and a small "hmm", he jumped through the Heartslabyul mirror.

Ace walked toward Jonah, whispering. "What happened earlier?"

Jonah gave him a sheepish laugh, scratching the back of his head. "We had a bit of a problem with the Leech twins."

Grim huffed, crossing his paws in front of his chest. "'A bit of a problem', my ass," he grumbled. "That eel boy gave me the creep. He's too touchy..."

Ace blinked at this. "Touchy..." His eyes immediately widened. He grabbed Jonah by the shoulder. "You're alright, right? He didn't touch you anywhere lewd right?"

Jonah just stared at him confusedly. "Wha-No! He just carried me, that's all."

"Carried you?"

"Uh-huh. Bridal style."

"BRIDAL STYLE?!"

Deuce punched the wall beside him. It didn't surprise Ace but Jonah did. "How dare he..." Deuce growled, but his anger immediately disappeared as fast as it came. He rested his forehead on his clenched fist on the wall, a rain cloud hovering above him. "We failed to protect our captain..."

Jonah just looked at them back-to-back confusedly. "Guys, it's alright. I'm fine."

"Nothing is fine..." Ace grumbled. "It'll never be fine..."

"C-Can we just focus on finding the next possible victim, please?" Jonah glanced at Cater, pleading through his eyes. "We can talk about this again later, 'kay?"

Ace brought his face closer to Jonah that he was sure that the shorter boy was so uncomfortable from this. "I swear I'll make you a flower bath to wash those sinful touches away."

Jonah just let out a weak chuckle. "Whatever you say... Geez..."

Ace let go of Jonah's shoulder, stepping back to give him space. He turned to Cater. "So... Who's next on the list?"

Cater was smiling so wide that it was scary. It looked like he was amused by the sudden scene earlier. Well, Ace couldn't blame him. It did come out of nowhere. The senior took out his phone and read the list. "It’s Savanaclaw’s Jack Howl. He’s a first-year, just like you guys. He’s pretty athletic and there’s a rumor that he got a flurry of invitations from various athletic clubs. He might be back in the dorm around this time, huh. So, let’s head to Savanaclaw’s Dorm."

"Wait a minute..." All of them turned to Deuce who had regained his composure. "I know him! He's in the Track and Field Club just like me!"

Ace walked toward Deuce. "Then you know what he looks like, right?"

Deuce nodded. "I can introduce him to you. Come on!"

The others gave him a nod before all of them headed toward the mirror that looked like a stone archway, decorated with animal bones and torch on each side.

 


 

The Savanaclaw Dorm was just like how Jonah had imagined. Well, it looked like a savana. The dorm was styled like a rocky cave with fake animal bones everywhere. It was dry, but not too hot and there were some trees. Though, the main attraction was the large field with a circular goal post at each end. Could it be that this is where the Magishift will be held?

"The atmosphere’s completely different from ours," Ace muttered, making Jonah to turned his head toward him.

"Ain’t it~?" said Cater. "It feels completely rough, doesn’t it? I guess it’s got a wild image in general~"

Ace turned to Deuce. "So... This Jack guy. What kinda guy is he?"

Deuce started to look around. "Well, he’s tanned and got silver hair. Oh, and he has wolf ears and a tufty tail."

Grim flew from Jonah's shoulder, flying high to get a better look. "A tufty tail...?" He muttered, looking around. "Ah, I think I found him, guys!"

Jonah looked up. "Where is he?"

"He's on the field." Grim pointed to the area. "The one jogging by himself over there."

All of them turned to the field and they did catch someone running around there. Deuce eyes widened. "Yes. That's him!"

All of them followed Deuce toward the field. "Hey, Howl!" the blunette called and the wolf-hybrid turned toward him. Jonah inwardly cursed at the height difference. Was this boy really a first-year student? Why was he so tall? He had an incredibly big and tall body and is bulky. He had tan skin and silvery-white hair with golden-brown eyes. He possessed both wolf-like ears and a tail, the same color as his hair.

The boy, Howl, stopped running. "Uh... Spade, right?" he said unsure. "From Track and Field."

Deuce nodded. "Yes. It's nice to see you," he said, offering a hand.

Jack took the hand in a handshake. "Nice to see you too." He looked behind Deuce toward the small group of Heartslabyul students. "What are you all doing here?"

Grim flew in front of the group facing the wolf-boy. "We think you might get targeted by some bad guys, so we’re here to protect ya, spiky head!" He puffed out his chest, looking proud. "That makes you happy, doesn’t it?"

"What?"

"Grim!" Deuce pulled Grim back. "Sorry, Howl. That came out wrong." Grim was staring at him, looking offended, but Deuce just continued, "Actually, there’s been a lot of accidents at school involving the Magical Shift players and we’re searching for the culprit behind it."

Jack frowned at them. "And what’s that got to do with me?"

"To put it simply," Cater stepped in. "We’re looking at potential targets in hopes of finding the culprit."How 'bout it? Will you cooperate with us for a bit~?"

Howl was staring at them, his tail stopped wagging and ears perked up high. "I refuse," he finally said. "I can do something about it on my own. I don’t need your protection."

Jonah frowned worriedly. "Are you sure?" he asked. "It's better if you have someone to watch your back."

Howl just kept on frowning. "I said I don’t need it. Plus..." He averted his gaze which didn't go unnoticed by Jonah. He continued in a softer voice, almost whispering. "I probably... won’t even be targeted." He turned around and raised his hand. "See you." With that, he ran back to the dorm.

Grim huffed as he flew back to Jonah's shoulder. "He seems blunt and gives me bad vibes, yanno?"

Ace rolled his eyes. "Anyone will get annoyed with how you talk to them."

"Ugh! Humans are so nitpicky about so many things!"

Jonah sighed. "Well, we can't do anything more here. Let's just head back-"

Just when he turned around, his face came crashing into someone's chest with an "oof!"

"Hey, what’re you guys doing over there?"

Ace immediately pulled Jonah back just as more Savanaclaw students surrounded them.

The boy Jonah crashed into, with the floppy-dog-ears, leaned down to looked at them. "Wait a minute... They’re from Heartslabyul."

One with fox-ears snickered. "They’re followers of that Spoiled Red Brat."

A boy with bear-ears cracked his knuckles. "Don’t think you’ll get home in one piece after stepping in our territory."

Jonah clenched his fist, obviously not taking any of these. But at the same time, they already crossed the line by intruding their territory. Knowing the majority animalistic traits, he should've guessed that they would be rather territorial.

"We didn't mean to cause any trouble," Jonah spoke up. "Well be leaving now." Just as he turned around, he once again found himself crashing into someone's chest with another "oof!" Deuce immediately pulled him back and Cater held both of his shoulders.

A boy with cat-ears laughed. "Aw, come on. Play with us a bit!"

Another one with jackal-ears joined the fun. "Hehehe! Let’s play a hunting game! ‘Course, ya guys will be the prey!"

The Heartslabyul gang gathered closer. Jonah hugged a hissing Grim close to his chest. This is bad... This is bad... This could be messy, he just knew it. What should he do?

"Stop it." A very familiar voice suddenly called out as the other Savanaclaw students turned toward the dorm and made way for the one walking toward them.

Well... Damn.

Chapter Text

"Prefect Leona!" Leona just groaned at the shouting. The shouting continued as he walked closer. He could already feel the growing migraine.

"These guys were trespassing on our turf."

"Let’s make them pay for it!"

Ugh, all these herbivores were making too many noises. Leona walked toward the group, making his way through the group of noisy students. In the middle of the circle, he could saw that Heartslabyul student, Diamond, some two other brats, that cat from Entrance Ceremony, and-

"Well,” Leona smirked, looking at the small boy at the center of the group. "What do we have here? It's the little prefect who stepped on my tail."

The eye-patch boy sighed. "That was ages ago and you just decided just now to mention that again?"

"Oh?” Ruggie popped his head behind him. “What is your prey doing here, Leona?"

"Ah, you!” The cat pointed at Ruggie. “Deluxe minced cutlet sandwich!"

"Hey, don’t just make my name sound delicious." Ruggie pouted. “The name’s Ruggie Bucchi.”

"Wait, what?! He stepped on your tail, Prefect?!"

"Unforgivable!"

"Shishishishishi," Ruggie snickered. "Man, that was a sight to see~" Leona shot Ruggie a threatening glare, but the hyena just laughed.

"Leona, Ruggie, let’s knock ‘em out!"

"Stop yapping, you idiots,” he hissed. "We’ll be disqualified from playing in the tournament if you get in a fight. Do you want that to happen?"

"Are you saying we should let such tasty prey go, sir?!"

Leona smirked. "No one said anything like that. Let’s treat them to some Magical Shift then."

"With Magift?" One the Savanaclaw boy said.

"Using magic all we want during a practice match isn’t against the rules," Leona stared of the Heartslabyul student, challenging them.

"Shishishishishi~ You’re such a bully, Leona~” Ruggie snickered. “These wimps won’t last one game, y’know?"

“Heh! We can take you on!” The cat raised his paws into fists. But the eye-patch boy pushed its head down, stepping in front of the group.

"That doesn't seem fair, does it?" he spoke up, crossing his arms in front of his chest. "A senior bullying their freshmen."

Leona snorted. "Well, you little herbivores trespassed our territory. Not to mention you never actually say sorry from stepping my tail."

The boy’s brow frowned. "Then, you have a problem with me. I'm the one who gave them the idea to go here."

"Cap-"

Argentum cut the red-haired Heartslabyul’s words. "So, if you want to settle the score, you have to fight me. Leave them alone."

Leona and Argentum stared at each other. The boy had that spark in his eye, which made Leona grin, showing his fangs. "Good to know you’re spunky. Won’t be fun if you can’t put up a fight. ” He said in great amusement. “Alright, let's do it your way. Let's see which prefect wins."

 


 

"What are you thinking?!" Ace shouted in his face. The hands on his shoulders were squeezing a bit too tight. "You can't play Magishift!"

"Neither do you," Jonah tried to reason, swatting the hands away from his shoulder and stepping back.

"We know the basic at least!" Ace shouted again. "And you don't have any magic! How are you supposed to play?"

"I can fly." Jonah glanced at the demon-cat. "Grim."

"Huh?"

"Do accio."

"But-"

Jonah shot him a glare. "Just do it."

Taken back, Grim nodded. He raised his paws, a magic circle appeared below his feet. "[ACCIO, Roy Mustang 2003]!"

In only a few seconds, their broom came flying fast. Jonah stretched out his arm, aiming to catch it -

*whack!*

Only for it to smacked in his face, again. "Ouch..." he hissed rubbing the sore mark on his face.

"Jonah!" Deuce immediately grabbed Jonah’s face inspecting the mark. It wasn’t too bad, just the usual red mark.

"You stupid cat!" Ace screamed, chocking Grim. "What's wrong with you?!"

"I'm fine, I'm fine." Jonah pushed Ace and Deuce away. Grim sat down on the bleacher seat and Jonah knelt in front of him. "Grim. I need you to control your magic so I can fly, okay?"

Grim nodded. While he was happy that he could help  he was also worried about all these. "Alright."

"Jonah." Cater walked up toward him and put a hand on his shoulder. "We can figure this out. We'll fight-"

Jonah smiled at him reassuringly as he took off his jacket (revealing his white long-sleeved top and gray vest) and tied it around his hips. "Don't worry. If this becomes too messy, I'll be the one get it."

"But-"

"I can't let you get hurt if I can prevent it." He didn’t wait for any response as he turned around and walked toward the other side of the field where Senior Bucchi was waiting for him with a disc in his hands.

"The rule is simple,” he said as he gave the disc to Jonah. “All you need to do is to score one point while Leona becomes the goalkeeper.” Bucchi pointed at Kingscholar who was already ready with his Magical Pen. “If you managed to throw the disc past the goal, you win. But if I managed to knock you down your broom, I win." Bucchi turned toward him again. "Are we clear?"

Jonah nodded. "Crystal."

Ruggie snickered and gave Kingscholar a wave, signaling that his opponent was ready. Jonah mounted his broom. From the bleacher, he could see Grim was concentrating on his magic as he saw a flash of a magic circle from below his broom before it started floating.

Kingscholar smirked as Jonah clutched the disc close to his chest. "Alright.” He threw his Magical Pen into the air. Under the sun, it suddenly turned into a wooden staff with a yellow crystal. “Let's play."

Kingscholar was the first one to make the move, no surprise there. A magic circle appeared underneath his shoes as he stomped forward, creating a shockwave that changed the dust around them into sands, hiding the two fighters.

“What’s going on?” Ace yelled from his seat. “I can’t see a thing!”

“Shishishi~” Bucchi giggled. “This is so cool! This is the first time I see Leona uses his unique magic!”

Inside the cloud of sand, Jonah was coughing. He held his broom and disc closer to his chest and using one arm to cover his mouth and nose. “How did you…”

“This is my unique magic, King’s Roar.” He could hear Kingscholar’s voice, but he couldn’t see him. “And that’s all you need to know.” All of a sudden, he could see a glowing light far on his other side and a boulder suddenly appeared through the sandy cloud. Jonah's eyes widened, winching when the sand caught in his eyes, and steered his broom to the right, avoiding the rock that came crashing to the ground.

Jonah looked around, trying to find the light again. That had to be from Kingscholar. He didn’t realize that Kingscholar could see him perfectly with a smug look on his face. His staff’s gem glowed again and he saw the way the boy’s head turned toward him. Just when Jonah about to take off, Kingscholar took a step and hit the ground with the end of his staff, summoning a column of Earth, hitting Jonah square on his chest. Jonah let out a gasp, but Kingscholar wasn’t done. He stabbed the Earth some more, hitting Jonah repeatedly, earning a small scream from the boy when he couldn’t hold back anymore. But the brat was still on his broom.

Being way too close to the ground apparently wasn’t the best idea. Jonah steered his broom upward, aiming to fly above the sandy cloud. However, Kingscholar had already predicted it. Raising his hand, he summoned giant rocks to float around him, glowing in yellow light. He held his staff with both hands, before swinging it one like a baseball bat. Jonah didn’t get to fly through the sandy dust before he had to duck from the flying rock. Kingscholar swung his staff again, sending more rock toward Jonah.

There were too many attacks he needed to avoid and Jonah could felt his broom was losing its power. He couldn't see it, but at the bleacher, Grim was breathing heavily, even with Deuce kept telling him to hang in there, while Ace and Cater was still trying to see through the thick sandstorm.

Kingscholar noticed the boy was distracted. Smirking, he raised his staff above his head and slammed it to the ground. The earth cracked and a column raised from the ground at a fast speed. And Jonah couldn’t avoid it. The column hit him, sending him off his broom. He tried to grab his broom again, but it was out of his reach -

“AAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

- thus, he fell to the ground without any protection.

It was actually a miracle that he was still twitching without any broken bone.

Kingscholar watched the fallen boy, chuckling as he clenched his fist, making the sandstorm disappear, revealing the two fighters who barely moved from their spot in the beginning, but only one of them standing.

Jonah could barely hear the cheers from the Savanaclaw student as a shadow fell over him. Letting out a pained groaned, Jonah turned his head, toward a smirking Kingscholar. "Hey, what’s wrong? Already giving up?"

Bucchi laughed from his seat. "Shishishishi! Your prefect is not so tough, is he?"

"Hey, Herbivore.” Kingscholar kicked Jonah’s leg. “Stand up. Let’s play one more game."

"Dammit…" Jonah groaned, trying to pick himself up, but only to fall again.

"Captain!" Ace screamed, jumping from his seat, followed by the others. Ace and Cater knelt, helping Jonah up from the ground and up onto Cater’s back.

"Stop this!" Deuce snapped, standing between the Heartslabyul and Savanaclaw students. "This has gone too far!"

"What are you all doing?"

Jonah lifted his head a little from Cater’s shoulder. Howl, in his uniform, walked toward them, looking angry. Kingscholar turned toward him. "Hah? We were just playing around with people who trespassed on our turf.”

"What’s so fun about bullying helpless people?” Howl said.

"What~? Look at you playing the cool hero of justice, Jack~ Shishishishi!” Bucchi laughed from his seat.

Howl growled at Savanaclaw student, making the upperclassmen to raise both hands, but still looking playful. "I was just saying that I can’t stand looking at this any longer. Is this something an upperclassman would do?”

Kingscholar stared at him before smirking. "Hah, you sure have guts, you first-year brat." He shoved his hands into his pants pocket and started to walk away. "Forget it. I’m bored already. Let’s go, Ruggie."

Bucchi jumped from his seat, giving Kingscholar a small salute. "Yes, Sir~"

The crowd slowly went away as Howl turned toward the Heartslabyul students. The eye-patch boy was on the verge of going unconscious if it weren’t for Ace shaking his shoulder. “Captain, wake up!”

Jonah weakly opened his eyes. “I’m… I’m fine… Just some scratches…”

Cater shook his head. "We're taking you to the infirmary."

"No. No...” Jonah groaned. “Just... Take me back to my dorm."

Cater and Ace glanced at each other but silently decided just do what the captain asked for. As they started to walk away, with Deuce being the farthest behind, Howl suddenly spoke up. "Will he be alright?"

Deuce turned around. He sighed. "Jonah is a strong guy," he said. He looked directly at Howl. "But, please, be careful not to get hurt, okay?"

Howl looked down to the ground, hands clenched into fists. "I said I don’t need your concern. Hurry up and go." Deuce didn’t say anything after that. He walked away, leaving Howl alone in the field.

Chapter Text

Jonah was pretty sure he was unconscious throughout the panic of running back to the Ramshackle Dorm because when he opened his tired eyes (oh, someone took off his eye-patch) he found himself staring at the ceiling of his room. A white light appeared from the corner of his vision and when he glanced at it he saw the headmaster standing there along with the tall, white-haired, grandpa that he met back after Grim had bitten him.

“This shall do it,” the grandpa said as the gem on his necklace stopped glowing along with the disappearance of the white light. “He’ll be better after a night of resting.”

Crowley nodded. “Thank you so much, Shalom.”

The grandpa, Shalom Spencer, turned around and nodded back. “I will be leaving now.” Crowley gave him another nod and the grandpa walked out. Jonah could’ve sworn he heard him grumbled, “Boys these days… Never understand their limit.” 

Shalom closed the door behind him, leaving Crowley and Jonah alone in the room. Jonah slowly sat up, slightly surprised when he didn’t feel pain anywhere. The headmaster was still standing beside his bed. The silence was suffocating him and being under Crowley’s watchful yellow eyes just made him want to turn into goo.

“Aren’t you going to say something?” he mumbled.

Crowley sighed. His voice was uncharacteristically soft. “I expect better from you, Mister Argentum.”

Yeah. He's expecting that. “I’m not breaking the rule. It was a one-on-one Magishift. We’re allowed to use magic as much as we can.”

“Yes. But putting yourself in a situation where you’re clearly on a disadvantage something that I expect the least from you.”

Jonah’s hands clenched into fists. “You didn’t say anything when we’re going to the Dwarfs’ Mine,” he said, voice firmer as he dared to take a glance at the headmaster. “You let us go there when we’re clearly on a disadvantage!”

“I did not expect there will be a blot monster, and I expect you to run away.”

“Oh, you really expect us to do that?” This time, Jonah was staring straight at Crowley. “You’re about to expel Ace and Deuce! You really think they’re just going to let you do that when they have this small chance?”

“And what if you die that day?”

“We didn’t!”

“But you could've been!” Crowley’s voice became louder now. “You were entering a battle you never fully understand. It was a miracle that you managed to get out from there!”

Jonah rolled his eyes. “Why do you suddenly care?”

“Don’t you dare roll your eyes on me, Young Man,” Crowley hissed, pointing at Jonah, making him backed up a bit. “You are living here under my responsibility, of course, I’m going to care.” He breathed out through his nose as he dropped his arm. "The teachers are currently looking for the culprit as well. So far, we only have as little information as what you have.” He pinched his nose under his mask. “I’m going to talk with Prefect Kingscholar.”

“Wha-?!” Jonah tried to stand up from his bed, but the glare from Crowley made him stop. “He didn’t do anything wrong!”

“So, you’re just going to let him beat you up, knowing that you don’t have magic, and get away from it?”

“I-” Jonah ran his hand through his face, sighing loudly. He was tired he didn’t want to talk about his (admittedly) stupid action. “Please. Just… It was my fault. I’m the one who challenged him.”

There was an uncomfortable paused between them before Crowley spoke up again. “I thought you are a captain.”

“I am.” This time, Crowley didn’t stop Jonah when he stood up, fists clenched on the sides, eyes gleaming with authority and determination. “And I’m not going to let my crew get hurt knowing that they don’t have to fight.”

Crowley stared at him for another few seconds before he sighed again. “You are a smart lad, Mister Argentum.” He turned around, his back facing Jonah. “But I think you need to look up what does it take to be a pirate.”

Crowley left the room, closing the door behind him. Jonah set back to his bed, confused. Was he wrong though…?

 


 

It was late at night when Jonah heard the echoing sound of marching footsteps. Opening his eyes, he saw the bronze orb on his nightstand. He frowned as he sat up, taking the orb to his laps. It felt heavy in his hand. It was glowing, sounds of marching footsteps echoed from inside it. He wanted to open it, but will it help him though? He remembered the majestic vision he got way during his time off with Riddle, but he couldn't find anything wrong in it, unlike the visions during Riddle's reign where the vision basically spoonfed him about what was wrong.

Jonah sighed. Well, he had nothing to lose now.

After some pressing and twisting, the orb once again let out the familiar green light. However, unlike the smooth motion that formed the sky and majestic rock, the vision started with bright flashing lights, changing back-to-back between the green and yellow as the sound of marching became louder, forcing Jonah to cover his eyes with his arm. When the flashing light finally stopped, Jonah lowered his eyes, trying to see what happen this time.

Beneath him, he could see more animals. Dogs? Wolfs? Wait... Hyenas. All of them are marching like the army, heads turning to the rock Jonah was standing on. That was when he realized that, once again, he wasn't alone. A lion was standing in front of him, with brown fur, black mane, and a scar on his eye.

"We will kill Simba together with his father. And then I will be the King! Stick with me, and you shall never be hungry again!"

Cheers and laughter soon followed from the hyenas.

"Long live the king!"

"Yes, our teeth and ambitions are bared. Be prepare!"

A bright light flashed once again as the laughter echoed through the night. When Jonah uncovered his eyes again, he found himself back in his room, standing on his bed.

"What is going on..." he found himself muttering. He climbed down his bed, putting the orb back to his nightstand. He sighed again. "I need some fresh air."

Walking to his cupboard and took out his Ceremonial Robe (probably the warmest clothes he had), and walked out his room. Climbing down the stair, he headed toward the front door, not bothering to lock it again Looking up to the sky, he could see the stars above. It was beautiful as usual. Sometimes during his late-night studies, he would just look at the night sky when he felt too dizzy. With his room being on the second floor of the dorm, he felt like he was close to the sky than standing in the yard like this moment. But he didn't mind. He raised his hand to the sky as if trying to see if he could catch the small light. He never could obviously but maybe one day he could...

A small green light flew past his hand. Was that a firefly? He heard footsteps, stopping not far behind him, followed by a deep voice. "Oya?"

Jonah almost automatically turned around, curious at the trespasser with that voice. It sounds so familiar though... He found himself staring at a very tall young man with pale skin, glowing green eyes, and long dark hair. He has a pair of black horns and wore their school formal uniform with a green vest. Which means that he's from Diasomnia... right?

"Do you live here?" the boy said and Jonah just felt a shiver down his spine. Jonah clutched his chest. He could feel his heart beating faster and he didn't know why. Was he afraid? Was he excited? "This place is supposed to have been abandoned long ago. I quite like to wander around here during my nightly walks for it is a quiet place."

"I..." Jonah opened his mouth. What is wrong with him? Why is he back to being a stupid quite kid like back then? He cleared his throat, trying to regain his confidence. "I'm the prefect of this dorm, actually. I... We... We renovated it so it's livable again."

The boy crossed his arms in front of his chest, looking at Jonah from his hair to his shoeless feet and Jonah found himself reaching for his strange eye underneath his bangs. It was usual for him not to want other people to see his eye. But for this boy, it was for a different reason. He just couldn’t explain it. A feeling deep inside him kept telling him not to show it to this boy.

Of course, the boy noticed this. "How strange..." he muttered, "Tell me. What name do you go by?"

There was a warning bell ringing in his head. He felt like this was very important, something he had to remember. Jonah gulped, pulling his robe closer to himself. "You tell me yours first, then I'll tell mine."

The boy raised an eyebrow at him. "You do not know of me? Really? Hm, I see. Oh my, this is quite unusual, indeed," he chuckled. "It would be better if you don't know my name for now. If you knew who I was, it would certainly leave a chilling impression. Feel free to call me whatever you want."

Jonah wanted to retort. He felt like he was supposed to know this boy's name. That feeling kept nagging inside his guts. "I'm not afraid," he whispered.

The boy chuckled again. "I know you're not," he said. But why did he say that? "I just don't want you to regret your decision this early, Little Star."

Jonah frowned. Why is this boy so weird and cryptic? Before he could say more, the boy turned to the Ramshackle Dorm. "Now that people are living here, this ruin isn’t completely abandoned anymore. How unfortunate. I must find another abandoned place on my next walk, then." He turned to Jonah again. He smiled softly and Jonah felt something strange inside his heart. "I shall excuse myself now."

"Wait-"

The boy disappeared in a flash of tight, leaving green firefly-like light fluttering around. Jonah dropped his stretched-out hand, still staring at the spot where the boy once stood. He clenched his trembling fist as he slowly sank to the ground. Why does his heart keep on beating fast? It hurts. He didn't want to feel this. This unfamiliar feeling only left him even more confused. He didn't want to be confused, he wanted to understand, he just wanted to know.

Have they ever met before?

Chapter Text

"Thanks for the hard work today, Leona~" Leona opened his eyes Ruggie pushed the door open with one hand because he was carrying a tray on his other. "I brought you your dinner. Oh, and that other job is going really well."

The corner of Leona's mouth curled up. "You’re really sensible, huh, Ruggie."

Ruggie grinned. "Of course, I am~ Anything’s doable if it’s for you, Leona!"

“Hah, listen to yourself. You’re doing this for your own good, aren’t you?”

Ruggie put the tray on Leona’s nightstand. The prefect didn’t make any move to eat, which was a usual sight. “Aw, don’t be like that, Leona~! This is for our sakes.” Ruggie walked toward the balcony, looking at the light bellow. “We agree about overturning this world. Even the hyenas served the King of Beasts to overturn the situation they were in. I’m just doing the same thing.”

“Hmph, then do your 'hunting' properly. Don’t leave any evidence.”

Ruggie snickered. “Of course~ Not leaving any trace of their prey is a hyena’s specialty, after all, ~” He turned around, leaning against the stone railing. “By the way, Leona. Which player from what dorm should we target next?”

“Let’s see…” Leona closed his eyes for a moment, humming as he thinks. “How about a wolf who stands and eavesdrops on people’s conversations?”

“Eh!?” Ruggie frowned. What is he talking about?

Leona glared at his room door. “You’re there, aren’t ya, first-year brat? It’s kinda rude of you to listen in on people’s conversations like that.”

There were a few seconds of silence before Ruggie could pick up the sounds of footsteps from behind the door.

A familiar wolf-boy walking in, looking rather angry.

Leona smirked at him. “What are you doing here late at night? Are you so homesick that you need someone to sing you a lullaby?”

Ruggie snickered, deciding to join in the fun. “Should I sing for you~?”

Jack didn’t look amused. He had the same pissed-off expression he had that afternoon. “I want to know the reason why you’re doing this.”

Leona huffed. “I see now. You want to hear a bedtime story, huh. Fine, I’ll tell you.” He sat upon his bed, one knee up and an arm resting on it. “For two years in a row now, we’ve always lost at the first match against Diasomnia and Malleus. Eliminated in the first round, constantly.”

Leona’s voice sounded lower and lower that you could hear the growl behind it. “They’re consecutive winners. Ever since we went against them, our dorm, which was known for making opponents tremble, looks like weak kittens now. And our pathetic plays were broadcast to the entire world. What do you think happened afterward?” He clenched his fist. “The Prefect was deemed incompetent and all the professional league offers for Savanaclaw dwindled to zero.”

Jack frowned. “That’s… It’s because you simply needed to do more…”

“It’s as you say.” Leona scoffed. “Until last year, we weren’t living up to our true potentials at all. Only an idiot would think he’d stand a chance against those monsters. We knew we’d lose already, but it’s not like we have no plans. I doubt that the foundation of our dorm, the King of Beasts, would stand for us being pathetic.”

“Even so! Doing something as low as cheating is wrong!”

“Wrong?”

Leona slowly stood up from the bed and moved so he and Jack were standing face-to-face. Despite seeing both of the prefect hands in his pants pocket, Ruggie could feel the anger and annoyance slowly emitting from Leona.

“Jack…” Leona sighed. “I’m doing this because I’m concerned about the students’ futures, you know?”

Jack blinked in surprise, but Leona just continued with a smug smile on his face. “If the whole world sees us defeat Malleus, all those offers will come back to Savanaclaw together with our dignity. Malleus will be inducted to the Hall of Fame next year, so we have to win this year. And you’re saying that you’ll ruin this chance because of your blind justice? Are you planning on ruining your seniors’ futures?”

Jack pulled back a step. “Th-that’s…!”

Leona took this opportunity to step forward. “Using any means necessary to win in life is a given. It doesn’t matter if it’s cheating or not.”

“This school is a dogs-eat-dogs world,” Ruggie said as he walked back from the balcony. He stood next to Leona, pulling up his signature grin. “Being a goody-two-shoes will just kill you.”

Jack’s fist clenched tighter. “I’m sure you can take Malleus on if you play with your full potential, Prefect!” He looked down at his shoes. “I still remember the way you played three years ago. I…!”

“Don’t speak as if you know anything about me!” Leona snapped, making Jack look up at him again. “Play with all I’ve got? How stupid. No matter how much effort I put in, nothing will change.”

Ruggie saw Leona reached for his pocket where his Magical Pen was resting. He didn’t take it out, just giving it a light tap, a warning for jack. “Get out now if you still want to see the light of day,” the prefect growled.

Jack was silent for a moment and Ruggie could see the looks of disappointment painting his face. With an angry sigh, Jack turned around and walked out of the room, closing the door behind him.

Ruggie pulled his arm back, folding it behind his head. “That guy’s gonna be a problem.” He glanced at Leona. “Should I do him next?”

“No, don’t.” Leona pulled his arm back. "Even if he tells Crowley about it, he doesn’t have any proof.” He crossed his arms in front of his chest. “It would be difficult for us without his skills. Just watch what he’ll do closely for now.”

Ruggie gave him a salute. “Yes, Sir.”

With nothing to do there, Ruggie walked out of the room, ready to head and flopped into his own bed. Before he closed the door though, he could hear the faint sigh from Leona, followed up by a whisper.

“Tch… That first-year brat talks like Farena…”

Chapter Text

He didn’t mean to wake up late. Well, technically school wasn't in another hour and a half. But he hadn’t made any breakfast for him and Grim. That cat was probably complaining by now. When he finally reached the last stairs, he could hear the cluttering sounds of plates and spoons from the kitchen. Had Grim wake up early?

Walking to the kitchen slowly, he was surprised for what he had seen. “Guys?”

He didn’t anticipate a familiar orange-haired senior standing behind the counter while passing a carton of milk to Grim and a redhead senior who was previously sitting on the barstool while munching his cereal. All of them suddenly looked up toward him. It seemed that he wasn't fresh enough, because he didn't anticipate the sudden grips on his upper arms from redhead who leaped up and ran toward him.

“Jonah!” Riddle shouted in front of his face. “Why are you out from bed? You should be resting!”

“I-I’m fine, Senior Riddle.” Jonah reached for one of his hands. “No broken bones and all.”

Riddle squeezed his upper arms again, before moving to his cheeks and patting down Jonah’s body, making sure the boy wasn’t hurt anywhere. Happy that he didn’t receive any grunt or a winch, Riddle let out a sigh. “Good…” he whispered. But then he reached for Jonah’s shoulder again, screaming in his face. “What were you thinking? You fell from your broom, you could’ve died!”

“But I didn’t!” Jonah sighed. He rolled his eyes. “Not you too!”

Riddle sighed. “Please, just…” He dropped his head, nearly touching Jonah’s forehead. “Don’t do that again.”

Jonah bit his lip, reaching behind Riddle’s head and his finger softly through his hair. “I’ll try.”

Riddle nodded a little, then he pulled back, slowly letting his hand drop to his side. “What are you doing here anyway?” Jonah asked.

There was a small blush on Riddle's cheeks as he rubbed behind his neck sheepishly. “Well… I-We…” Seeing that Riddle couldn’t answer without stuttering, Cater was the one who answered.

“We’re here to have breakfast with you.”

“Jonah, Jonah!” Grim flew toward him, pulling him to the counter where, he just realized, an untouched bowl was set. “I’ve prepared some cereal for you!”

Jonah chuckled. “Thanks, guys,” he said, sitting on the barstool next to Riddle.

“You should be lucky that we arrived just in time,” Cater laughed. “Grim was about to pour buttermilk instead of milk.”

Grim nearly chocked in his mouth. “They have the same bottle!”

“And you were about to pour ‘milk’ first before cereal.”

“Cereal is cereal no matter the order of pouring!”

Jonah laughed. He turned to Riddle. “So, any other reason you came here?”

Riddle set his spoon on the counter again. “There has been another incident,” he said, not looking at Jonah. “Jamil Viper, a second-year student from Scarabia Dorm. We’re thinking to ask him after this.” This time, Riddle looked up to him, eyes shining his concern. “Just to make sure, are you sure you can join us? If you’re still hurt, I’ll make a permission slip for you.”

Jonah let out a small grin. “It’s alright. I can still run around.”

Riddle frowned. “Don’t.”

Jonah giggled. “But seriously, I’m fine. I’ll join in your search.”


“Yo! The dude that got injured in the kitchen last night!”

Kalim turned his head toward the voice, eyes widened when he saw a floating cat with burning ears. “GAH!” he screamed, standing from his seat and pointing accusingly at the demon-cat. “This raccoon’s the one that set my butt on fire during the Entrance Ceremony!”

“Grim, please.” The cat-demon was pulled back by a one-eyed boy who he always saw in the Prefect Meeting. “Don’t just go around and talk like that. You’ll bring more trouble.” The boy turned to Kalim and Jamil, smiling apologetically. “Sorry for disturbing your meal, Senior Asim.”

Kalim grinned at him. “Oh, Jonah. How many times do I have to tell you? Kalim is fine.” They heard other pairs of footsteps came closer, which turned out to be Riddle and Cater. “Oh! Riddle is here too!” He waved his hand at him as he sat back down again. “Hi there.”

“So, what can I do with you?” Jamil asked.

“We’re here to ask Viper about his injuries,” Riddle spoke up. “Also, are there any Scarabia Dorm students who are injured?”

Kalim tapped his cheek, humming as he thought. “Now that I think about it, a lot of our Magishift Player dropped out.” He turned to his vice prefect. “Right, Jamil?

Jamil nodded, turning back to Riddle. “Right. It wasn’t just me.”

Riddle nodded. “I see. What happened to you?”

“Well, last night, I went to the kitchen to prepare some of the fried buns with lamb meat that Kalim asked me to make.”

“The fried buns that he makes are really good!” Kalim grinned. “Come have some with us next time~!”

Jamil frowned at him. “Kalim, we’re getting off-topic.”

Kalim rubbed behind his head, laughing sheepishly. “Ah, sorry ‘bout that.”

Jamil just sighed, then he continued. “Anyways. While I was chopping the ingredients finely, my hands suddenly felt as if they were out of my control and I got injured in the process…”

"Ouch!"

Kalim, who was sitting on his counter turned toward his friend. "Jamil?" Jamil was standing there, staring at the big cut on his right palm. Kalim's eyes widened and immediately ran toward him. "Jamil!" Without thinking he pulled the hand closer for him to inspect, earning a winch from Jamil. "You're bleeding!"

“I’m fine, Kalim. No need to worry.”

“This is not good.” Kalim pulled out his magical pen from his jacket pocket. “Here. Let me help!"

"Kalim-"

Kalim didn’t stop. Chanting a soft incantation, white pixie-dust-like light came out from his orange gem. The wound glowed softly before it slowly disappeared. "There! Good as new!"

Jamil pulled his hand back rubbing his fingers on his formerly injured palm. "You shouldn't have wasted your magic for something trivial.”

“But I want to do that.” Kalim grinned as he stepped back, hands behind his back as he smiled brightly. “You help me, so I help you.” His smile softened, staring at Jamil like he was the most precious thing in the world. “You must be tried after all those Magishift practices, right? This is at least what I can do.”

“I keep thinking about that,” Jamil muttered, frowning as he thought about it deeply. “There was no way I would make blunders simply because of tiredness. But, while I was cooking, it felt as if I lost my awareness for a moment.”

Riddle frowned. “Like dizziness? Did you suddenly feel sleepy?”

He shook his head. “I faintly remember feeling the same sensation before. It’s probably due to someone’s unique magic.”

Kalim's eyes brightened, clapping his hand. “Oh! Is it similar to your unique magic, Jamil?”

Jamil was glaring at him like a scolding mother. “Not a word about me, Kalim,” he warned. Kalim pouted but nodded. Jamil pulled back and sat down again. “In any case, the culprit probably used some kind of magic that makes one mimic the caster’s movements.”

“I see now~” Cater hummed. “That’s why the accidents totally didn’t look out of place except for the victim.”

“And it the feeling is only momentary, even the victim himself might not be able to distinguish between his own carelessness and being controlled by someone else,” Riddle added, crossing his arms in front of his chest. “When I fell down the stairs, it didn’t feel as if someone was controlling me either.”

“Wait, if that’s the case…” Cater eyes widened. “It’d be completely impossible to find the culprit, then!”

“Fugyaa!” The cat-demon squeaked. “What do we do now?”

Jonah was humming, tapping his chin, thinking like a detective. “Magic that can control people…? “

Riddle and Kalim turned to him, hearing his muttering. “Jonah?”

Jonah’s eye slowly widened. “Deluxe minced cutlet sandwich,” he whispered.

The cat-demon’s ears perked up at this. “Eh?”

Jonah turned to the cat. “Grim. Remember that day in the cafeteria.”

“Huh?” Grim folded his paws in front of his chest. “Well, the deluxe minced cutlet sandwi-” His eyes widened and screamed, making all of them except Jonah jumped up. “AH-!”

“What happened?!” Cater asked. “You all look surprised!”

Gim looked at them one by one, eyes shining with excitement. “I-I know the guy who has that kind of unique magic!”

Riddle’s eyes widened. “What did you say?”

Grim nodded confidently. “The culprit’s Ruggie! The guy from Savanaclaw with the brown ears!”

“Let’s catch him and ask him directly,” Riddle suggested.

Cater immediately opened his smartphone, quickly looking at the list of magishift player until he found the name of Savanaclaw students. “Um… Ruggie Bucchi is in Class 2-B.”

All of them nodded. Jonah turned to the Scarabia students, giving them a brief nod. “Thank you very much for your cooperation.”

Kamil laughed, “No prob! I don’t get what’s happening, but good luck!”

Kalim gave them a wave as the gang ran out of the cafeteria. Kalim turned to Jamil. “I wonder what was that all about?” Jamil just shrugged, equally confused.

Chapter Text

*BANG!*

“Ruggie Bucchi! We have come for you!”

Riddle just wanted to smack himself on the forehead at Grim’s sudden shouting. Even Jonah let out a tired sigh, along with a nervous chuckle from Cater. This cat really doesn't understand any manner, does he? But this was no time to address about Grim’s lack of subtlety. Scanning through the sea of confused students, he managed to found a boy with hyena ears who was running his hand down his face. He pushed Grim back and walked toward the boy until he stopped next to his table.

“Ruggie Bucchi,” Riddle stated, hearing the rest of the gang following behind him. “There’s something we would like to ask you. It's about the consecutive incidents regarding the injury of selected players.”

Ruggie tilted his head to the side playfully. “Oh…? That doesn’t sound like a friendly accusation.”

“Won’t you come with us for a bit~?” Cater said. Meanwhile, Jonah was glaring at Ruggie. The hyena-boy noticed this, in which he snickered.

“Alright, Alright. So please, don’t hurt me or anything…”

Riddle nodded. “Shall we?” Ruggie grinned and stood up from his seat, purposely bumping to Riddle and Cater just for fun and games. Riddle frowned as he walked ahead, following Ruggie out and he started to think. He knew Ruggie wouldn’t confess so easily and his unique magic could be a disadvantage for them. But if he could seal it with Off With Your Head first-

Riddle patted his pocket, but he felt nothing there. “Eh?” He looked at it in shock. “H-huh…? My magical pen’s not here…!”

“Oh~?” Ruggie looked like he was about to burst because of the excitement. He turned around, revealing the two magical pens with red-colored gems in his hands. "Looking for these?"

“No way?” Cater exclaimed. He patted his pocket on his blazer and pants, finding nothing. “Really!?”

Ruggie snickered, tossing-catching the pens in his hand.  “You guys are spoiled rich kids through and through, huh~? You’re both so wide open! So vulnerable~”

“You sly pickpocket,” Jonah muttered.

“I'll take that as a compliment,” Bucchi smiled. He pocketed the Magical Pen in his blazer pocket and stepped back. “Welp. I’m gonna dash~!” Bucchi gave them a small wave while saying “Bye-bye~!” And then he took off.

“Senior Bucchi! Stop!” Before Riddle could stop him, Jonah had taken off along with Grim, chasing Bucchi down the hall. Dammit! That kid shouldn’t be running by now. This isn't going according to the plan! Riddle could felt his usual anger rising again.

“Prefect!” Riddle and Cater turned toward the voice. Ace and Deuce suddenly appeared, running toward him. They had finished their job of feeding the flamingo apparently.

“We heard screaming,” Ace said once he and Deuce stopped in front of their seniors. “What’s going on?”

Riddle, with his face already fully red, turned toward the two first-years and shouted in front of their face in a commanding tone. “The culprit behind the consecutive accidents and the guy who stole our magical pens ran away! Jonah is chasing him right now! Go and capture Ruggie Bucchi right now!”

“Eh!?” Deuce eyes widened.

“The captain too?! Well, let’s go, Deuce!” Without any further thought, Ace grabbed Deuce’s hand and they started running down the hall. They were way faster than Riddle and Cater, so the red-haired prefect hoped they catch that thief or else!


"Hey, you! Stop!"

Ruggie skidded to a stop at the topmost stairs, looking back at the first-years that were chasing him.

"Eh," Ruggie pretended to consider it, "Maybe next time."

Then he leaped to sit on the railing of the stairs as he slid down. He was sure his ass skin is red by now, but he managed to land on the lower floor with ease, so that was a win for him.

The first-years didn't dare to slide down the railing, but the blunette raised his Magical Pen, aiming at him. "[Come forth], [cauldron]!"

"Whoa!" Ruggie rolled out of the way, just in time when a cauldron suddenly dropped in the spot he previously stood.

"Damn it, Deuce! How could you miss that?!"

"Sorry! He was quick!"

“Don’t just stand there! After him!”

Ruggie grinned. "You got that one right!" Ruggie took off again, leaving the first-years who decided to ran down the stairs, took off down the hallway. He ducked and weaved, narrowly avoiding crowds. The first-years clearly having trouble catching him. He had done this many times back in his hometown, ducking the alleyways, jumping from roof to roof, and finding secret passageways. A chase in the academy was way too easy.

Ruggie jumped to the railing without fear of falling off. Looking behind him, the first-years eyes widened. Ruggie gave them one last grin, before jumping down the railing, landing on the ground without any injury. He looked up, giving his two chasers a two-fingers salute. "Let's play again next time~" he giggled before walking away calmly, dropping the magical pens in the bush.


“Ah! There they are!” Jonah picked up the two abandoned magical pens from the bushes. He stood up again and looked at his two friends. All of them were out of breath, the rush of adrenaline had finally disappeared.

“Damn… It…” Ace heaved, hands on his hips and fingers pressing his aching stomach. “What’s with this guy?! He’s so hard to catch!”

Deuce was also panting with his hands on his knees. “He’s not only a fast runner, but his ability to jump from high places is no joke either…!”

Grim was already laying on the ground. “Ugh… Even I can’t catch up to him…”

Deuce turned his head to Jonah. “How… How can we be sure that he caused all of those accidents?”

Jonah sighed, pocketing the magical pens. “We don’t have strong evidence just yet. This is purely based on assumption.”

Ace groaned, messing up his hair. “ARGH! What are we going to do?! The prefect will have our head!”

“If you're stuck, why are you still playing detectives?”

The boys turned toward the voice and approaching footsteps. “Wha—You should’ve helped instead of just watching!” Ace shouted, pointing at the half-wolf accusingly. “Your dorm upperclassman's a total bad guy, y’know?”

“Why are you so desperate to try and help others?” Howl asked again. “I understand that you’d want to avenge your hurt friends, but…”

“Who said this is our idea?”

“Eh?”

Even Ace and Deuce turned toward him. Jonah walked up to Howl. “This is all Senior Riddle’s idea, so of course we will do it.”

Howl frowned. “So, you’re just following orders?”

Jonah sighed, smiling softly. “It’s more complicated, actually,” he muttered, before continuing in a clearer voice. “At least from what I’ve seen for the last two months, this is a great leap for him. Can you believe that he was once called the ‘Crimson Tyrant’? Not only had he tone down his anger and punishment, but he now he’s more caring and willing to help his friends!” He raised his arms, grinning so wide. “He has friends now! Isn’t that great?” He dropped his arms again, still smiling. “That’s why I want to help him. I will be with him for every little step he takes.” He paused for a moment, feeling the winds blowing his hair softly. He sighed. “I must’ve sounded so childish, huh?”

Howl was silent, staring him instantly. Jonah didn’t know what he was thinking, but he looked so serious. In the end, he sighed. “You. Duel with me.”

“EH?”

“Hah?! Why that all of a sudden?” Ace stepped up, slightly in front of Jonah.

“I know what’s going on,” Howl said, slowly getting in a punching stance. “If you beat me, I will tell you what you need.”

“Ugh…” Ace pulled Jonah back, not wanting the captain to get involved consider his heavy crash yesterday. “I don’t really like sweating and all that, dude.”

But Deuce was smiling, cracking his knuckles. “I don’t really mind. It’s an easy negotiation!”

Ace groaned again. “Great. He’s in his delinquent mode.”

Jonah and Grim turned to Ace. “What do you mean?” Grim asked.

Ace just sighed. “Just watch.”

Jonah turned to the two students ready to fight. He sighed. Welp. There's no stopping them.

Chapter Text

The fight had been going for minutes now and none of the boys were backing down just yet. Ace, Jonah, and Grim, unlike Deuce, were tired from standing, so they decided to watch them from under the shades of a tree. They were on the verge of sleeping from all the chase, and Ace was worried about his two friends. He didn’t know how well Jonah was right now. There was no way you could heal that fast after falling from the sky, even with magic. And Deuce, well…

“OOOORRAAAAAAAA!” Deuce ran toward Jack, fist raised, and was aiming for the head. But Jack managed to duck in the last few seconds.

“Take this!” Jack elbowed Deuce straight in the nose, sending him back a few steps. The hit was too hard, whether it was intentional or not, which caused Deuce's nose to bleed. But the blunette didn’t give up. He ran toward Jack with a scream. He threw his fist again, but Jack blocked it with both his fists in an ‘x’. Not wasting any second, Jack raised his knee, slamming it to Deuce's face.

But Deuce quickly regained his balance to Jack’s surprise. Deuce grabbed Jack's arms, holding him still and he headbutted the wolf-boy straight to the nose, causing Jack’s nose to bleed as well. Jack's eyes widened, and taking the few second advantages, Deuce threw punches to Jack’s face repeatedly, not giving Jack a chance to strike back.

“EAT THIS!” Deuce screamed, throwing the last uppercut punch, sending Jack backward and to the ground.

“ALRIGHT!” Ace stood up, fist raised in excitement. “You did it, Mama Boy!”

Deuce's feral face quickly turned normal, and now, he was blushing in embarrassment. “Don’t call me that!” he shouted, turning toward Ace.

Jack groaned as he slowly stood up. “You…” he panted, hands on his knees. “You put up a pretty decent fight…”

Deuce grinned. “You, too…” He grinned, wiping the blood from his nose with his sleeves. “Not bad at all…”

Jonah just sighed. But he was smiling, happy that they had somewhat calmed down. He got up, dusting his pants, letting Grim climbed to his shoulder, and walked toward the boys along with Ace. He looked at Jack. “So, what’s your decision now?”

Jack sighed. “Yes… Now that we’ve settled this, I’ll tell you everything that I know.”

Ace looked at him strangely “What exactly did we settle, man…?”

Jack looked down. “The conflict that’s been raging in my heart. Since I’m practically betraying my own dorm. But I can’t bear it anymore!” His fists trembled as he lifted his head, looking straight at them. “The real essence of a fight is winning by pure effort no matter how tough it gets! I tried to test how far I could go in our fight, too. Choosing to win by lowly methods makes me want to puke! That defeats the purpose of a competition! I wanted to reach the top by winning using my own power!”

“Ah, this guy’s the totally annoying type,” Ace groaned.

Deuce eyes were twinkling and he raised his fists. “I get it! I totally understand that feeling!”

Grim patted Jonah in the head, making the eye-patch boy turned to him. “He looks like a completely different person. Like you.”

“What do you mean like me?” Jonah whispered back with an eyebrow raised at him.

“You changed when you’re in your ‘captain mode’. Less pathetic.”

“You called me pathetic…” Jonah sighed. “But, still. Can’t imagine that Deuce is a violent type of guy. Though…” He tapped his chin. “I think I’ve seen the sign way back at the Dwarfs’ Mine.”

“Uh-huh. He was pretty scary when he shouted at Ace.” Grim nodded in agreement and Jonah was surprised the cat actually remember that. The can then sighed. “Now we have two totally annoying guys…” To which Jonah just chuckled.

He walked toward Jack, smiling at him and he offered his hand. “I hope you can cooperate with us.”

Jack blinked at him before frowning. “Wait. But I have no plans on joining you.”

Grim squeaked. “Fugyaa! How can you say that after that long speech?”

Jack crossed his arms in front of his chest. “I’ll handle my own dorm’s problems by myself.”

“On the contrary, Jack Howl,” Jonah said without dropping his hand. “You haven’t fulfilled the end of our bargain.”

“Huh?”

The corner of his lips curled up as his eye shone a foreign twinkle. “Technically, you haven’t told us anything. Only I and Prefect Riddle Rosehearts who can decide whether your pieces of information are useful or not. So, I suggest you don’t walk away just yet. Things might come in our favor if you join us. The lone wolf will only be hunted by the crowd, after all.”

All of them were silent, staring at the captain in disbelieve. For Ace, Deuce, and Grim, they had seen this side of Jonah before, but only for a glimpse, just like Deuce’s bad-boy side, back when he led them out from Riddle’s Unbirthday Party. But given the different circumstances, it still came out as a surprise.

“Okay. Now you’re a completely different person,” Grim mumbled, but it didn’t bother Jonah who kept staring at Jack with that twinkle in his eye.

Deuce folded his arm in front of his chest. “Your chances of winning against a whole dorm are indeed very slim,” he added and Ace nodded in agreements.

Jonah’s smile became wider. “So, what do you say?”

In the end, after a brief silence, Jack sighed. “…Very well,” he said, stepping forward toward Jonah. “I’ll tell you what you need and listen to what you have to say. But, if I don’t like it, I’ll do something about it on my own.”

Age groaned once again. “This guy’s really annoying…”

Jonah let out a chuckle. “Fair enough.”

Jack nodded and grasped Jonah’s stretched-out hand, giving it a firm shake. “Glad to have you onboard, Mister Howl,” the captain said.

“I'm really pleased to hear that, but unfortunately we have to cut this short.”

Jonah and Jack dropped their hands as all of them turned toward the voice and the approaching footsteps. “Prefect Rosehearts. Senior Diamond,” Deuce greeted them.

Riddle nodded at him as a greeting and turned to look at each of his juniors one by one. “The first-period bell is about to ring and I hope none of you have any plans to skip class.”

“Man…” Ace sighed. “Do we have to do that? I’m tired already…”

Riddle didn’t even bother to glare at him. He focused on the blunette and wolf-boy. “Deuce, Jack. Go to the infirmary first. The teacher wouldn’t appreciate teaching students with a bloody nose.” Deuce and Jack nodded, then Riddle turned to the eye-patch boy. “Jonah, do you need a check-up?”

Jonah patted himself in various spots on his body, just to make sure. In the end, he shook his head. “I don’t think so. I think I’m fine.”

“Good.” He said, sighing in relief. “Oh, and another thing. I will overlook your petty fight even though it goes against the school’s ‘personal agenda’ rule because it gave us valuable information, but…” His bangs formed a shadow over his eyes as a dangerous glint twinkled in those grey orbs. “The next time you do it, it’s off with your heads. Am I understood?”

The Heartslabyul and Ramshackle's first years shivered. “Yes, we’re so sorry…” they said in unison.

Jack rubbed behind his neck in embarrassment “…Yes, Sir…”

Riddle nodded in satisfaction once again. “Very good. Then, go to class. Don’t be late.”

Riddle turned around and walked back toward the building. Cater grinned at them. “Let’s meet again later, okay?” He then turned to follow Riddle.

Jack glanced toward the Heartslabyul first years. “I thought he was a weakling, but your dorm’s Prefect is pretty scary…”

Ace groaned. “He is! He looks like a helpless little hedgehog, but he’s a super-strong porcupine…! It’s better to listen to what he says.”

Chapter Text

The gang gathered once again during lunch hour, this time in the cafeteria, all with their food and drink of the day. Though none of them focused on their food. Instead, all of their focus went straight to Jack Howl who was ready to expose everything.

“Senior Ruggie's unique magic is something that makes people mimic whatever he’s doing,” the wolf-boy stated. “He controlled the person he wanted to control and made it look like the accident was only because they were being careless.”

Jonah hummed as he nodded. “So that’s how he managed to trade Grim’s bread for his without looking suspicious back at the cafeteria.”

Grim was pouting as he took a big bite from his sandwich. “How dare he did that to me?! I get pissed off when I hear that incident! Grudges over food are to be feared, yanno!”

“But, wait…” Deuce perked up. “Wouldn’t it be suspicious if he started pretending as he fell down the stairs near the target?”

“It’s not like Senior Ruggie was acting alone during all those incidents,” Howl answered. “The other guys from Savanaclaw are probably in on it, too.”

“Wha–!?” Grim eyes widened, along with the rest. “The others too?!”

Howl solemnly nodded. “If they’re around, he won’t stand out too much even if he did his unique magic. That’s why the other students acted as Senior Ruggie’s wall so he wouldn’t be seen.”

“I see.” Riddle was clutching his cup of milk tea a bit too hard. “So this is a conspiracy cause by the whole Savanaclaw.”

“I guess I can see why they did that,” Cater sighed. “Knowing that the Magical Shift Tournament’s really beneficial to your future if you win.”

Howl growled at that. Cater immediately raised hin hands. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry~ Just kidding!”

Howl huffed, looking at the empty can of cola. “Hmph! The present matters more than the future! If you can’t show what you can do now, your future doesn’t matter! The one I really can’t stand is our prefect, Leona Kingscholar!”

Jonah nearly dropped his spoon. He should’ve seen this. There was no way Senior Bucchi is planning all of these. Just like that the hyena in his vision. All of them praised and followed the rules and orders of the lion. It was so obvious. But then…

… Does that mean those visions somehow gave the cryptic version of the future?

No. That couldn’t be it. After all, during Riddle’s vision, those were way off from the actual what happened. So, what the heck with those animal visions?

“Jonah?”

“Huh?” Jonah looked up. Riddle was looking at him worriedly. “Yes?”

He frowned. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Jonah gave him a small smile. “I’m okay. Just snoozed out a bit.” He then sighed and glanced toward Howl. “Though, why would Senior Kingscholar go through all of this? He’s quite strong in magic.”

Howl crushed the soda can in his hand. “Right?! He’s so powerful, but why doesn’t he use it!? I hate those kinds of people the most!” He slowed down his breathing, still looking at the table, though there was that expression on his face. Not the regret expression he had seen on Senior Trey’s face. But something else…

“The plays that Senior Leona did in the tournament three years ago were really amazing. That’s why I entered this school… I got into Savanaclaw and I thought that I would be able to draw out his full potential in a game, but…”

“Hey, Deuce.” Ace leaned toward Deuce, whispering to him. “I only keep hearing complaints about their Prefect, but…”

Deuce nodded. “He still respects him…”

“The incidents so far are like child’s play to them,” Howl continued. “I know that they’re still after something bigger.”

“Something bigger?” asked Deuce.

Howl nodded. “It’s Diasomnia’s Prefect, Malleus Draconia.”

Riddle and Jonah’s eyes widened. Malleus Draconia? That lion-boy was targeting him all along? Was it because of the headmaster's proposal back then? Had he not get over with it?

“He’s got monstrous power and brought two consecutive victories for Diasomnia,” Howl continued. “Thanks to him, Savanaclaw keeps getting eliminated in the first round. I bet that my seniors all have a grudge against him.”

“Losing at the first round without scoring points…” Deuce muttered. “As previous top-placers, that must have been frustrating…”

“Yeah,” the wolf-boy nodded. “They stopped being the center of attention ever since then. They’re trying to gain that back…” He gritted his teeth. “But they’re using such cowardly means…!”

“So you’re thinking that they might do something to Diasomnia on the day of the tournament, huh?” Ace suggested.

Howl looked up toward them again, eyes shining with determination. “Yeah, that’s why I want to break their plan!”

Cater turned to Riddle. “What do you think, Riddle?”

Riddle rested his elbow on the table and intertwined his fingers. “To think that they would trample on such a traditional event. How unforgivable,” he said. “We can’t apprehend Ruggie right now because we're lacking in proofs.”

Jonah nodded. “We’re dealing with the sharp-witted Senior Kingscholar. I doubt that we’ll get them to confess smoothly.”

Ace frowned as he looked between the two of them. “In other words, we have no choice but to catch them in the act?”

Riddle and Jonah exchanged a glance. It appeared that they had the same idea. “We’re going to need a plan,” said Riddle.

Jonah nodded. “Right. But, first thing first.” Jonah turned to Howl again. “I don’t know how Savanaclaw will react to this betrayal, Howl, so it wouldn’t be safe for you to go back there.”

Howl frowned. “I can take care of myself.”

Jonah chuckled. “I know that. But none of us can guarantee that you can still walk tomorrow.” He sipped his orange juice. “If you want to stay safe, at least for tonight.” The corner of his lips curled up. “I purpose a sleepover.”

Howl blinked. “… A… sleepover?”

“I collect wayward children, you see?” Ignoring the noises coming from the offended Ace and Deuce, Jonah continued. “In fact, we can have a meeting to discuss this plan there too.” He glanced at Riddle. “What do you say, Senior Riddle?”

Riddle nodded. “I agree with Jonah. Just to be safe.”

Howl sighed. “Alright. I’ll follow your plan.”

“Excellent, Mister Howl.” Jonah giggled. “Oh, and I hope you know how to play UNO.”

Chapter Text

“What in the Magic Mirror's sake are those?!”

Jonah and Cater turned toward the sound in shock. They were in Mr. S’s Mystery Shop, looking for some clothes for Jonah’s Ramshackle Dorm Uniform, which he brought up the matter when talking about Cater’s plan to sneak into Savanaclaw with Jack’s outfit and fake animal ear and tail to grab some of Jack’s clothes for tomorrow. While Grim, Ace, Deuce, and Jack prepared for their sleepover and Riddle went back to do something with Trey, Cater and Jonah went to find some clothes that suit his theme.

“Oh, Vil!”

“Senior Schoenheit?”

The Pomefiore Prefect walked toward them, stepping behind Jonah to take off the bandana around his head, ignoring the protesting noise from the smaller boy. “You’re not thinking on buying that, you potato?!” he asked, picking up the tip of the purple cape is disgust. “That bright purple cloak and yellow scarf don’t match. Plus it doesn’t suit your skin tone.”

Jonah stared at him weirdly. Is this normal for him? He glanced at Cater who only shrugged his shoulder. Just listen to him. It might be useful later. “Okay…” he muttered. He then reached for a purple hat with a white feather on it. “Then what about this?” he asked, putting the hat on his head. But it slid down and covered his eye.

He heard Schoenheit clicked his tongue. “That hat is too big for you,” he said, picking up the hat from his head. “What are you buying anyway?”

“Some-sort-of Dorm Uniform,” Jonah sighed, taking off the bright purple cape that, he admitted, sort of hurt his eyes. “I kinda want one for Grim and me since Ramshackle doesn’t have one.”

“Hmm…” Schoenheit leaned down, rubbing his chin as he looked Jonah from top to down. Jonah could see the gear started to turn inside Schoenheit’s head. The senior leaned back, looking at the shelves and hung-up clothes. “Let’s see…”

“Uh… Senior Schoenheit?”

Cater chuckled, making Jonah turn toward him. “Don’t worry about him. He’s an expert in this. Just trust him.” Jonah glanced at Schoenheit for a while, still unsure, but Cater gave him a reassuring pat on his shoulder. “Well, I better go and pick up the goods now. Meet you at the Hall of Mirror.”

In the end, Jonah sighed. “Okay then…” Cater gave him a wink and walked out, paying for his fake animal ears and tail. Jonah walked toward the Pomefiore Prefect who had already piles of clothes in his hand. “Senior Schoenheit?”

Schoenheit turned toward him. “Here,” he said, shoving the clothes into Jonah’s hands. “Try these on.”

Jonah frowned. “Do I have to?”

Schoenheit pushed (a bit forceful) him into the dressing room. “Just do it. You’ll thank me later.”

Jonah sighed. Well… It looked like he didn’t have a way to escape this. Might as well do as he said.

A few minutes later, because of those damn ribbons, Jonah pushed the curtain of the dressing room and walked out. Schoenheit’s violet eyes twinkled. The outfit consisted of a long-sleeved brown tunic-top that shows his chest, black shorts, white sock, and brown boots. He also has some reddish-brown ribbon around his wrists, neck, and right thigh.

“Just as I thought,” he said, giving him an impressed nod. “It’s perfect for you.” He hummed again. “Though, something is missing.” Glancing around, he quickly caught on something. “Ah!” He walked toward the shelf of hats and picked up a black pirate captain hat.  “Here it is.” He put the hat on Jonah’s head, earning a small squeak from the boy, and making sure he didn’t ruin the ponytail.

“And one more thing.” He took out his Magical Pen and pointed toward the bucket filled with swords. “[Accio], [silver cutclass]!” A sword, with its matching black-and-red belt, suddenly came flying toward him. Jonah ducked his head, but Schoenheit managed to catch it with ease. “Here. Let me-” He knelt and wore it around Jonah’s hips. Giving a satisfying nod and pat, Schoenheit stood up and turned Jonah around to face the mirror. “There. Now, you look more like a pirate captain than you’ve ever been.”

Jonah looked at himself in the mirror. Like… Wow. He looked like a completely different person. Reaching for the hilt of the cutlass and a hand on his pirate hat. Jonah still couldn’t believe that the boy in front of him was him. Gone was the ordinary Night Raven College student. In his place, stood a confident pirate captain who is ready to sail the seven seas.

“I…” Jonah couldn’t help but smile. “Thank you, Senior Schoenheit.”

“You are very welcome,” Schoenheit said proudly. “And the best part. Those are very cheap for a commoner’s standard.”

Jonah chuckled. “Should I feel insulted?” He turned his head toward him. “Though why are you helping me?”

“After watching your horrible taste of clothing? Potato, you should know that I won’t let that happen on my watch. You’re going to wear that tomorrow’s magishift, right? It's mandatory for non-playing students to wear their door uniform, after all.”

Jonah nodded. “Yeah.”

Schoenheit reached for his blazer’s pocket and took out a white bottle. He reached for Jonah’s hand and gave him the bottle. “Don’t forget to wear sunscreen too.”

Jonah stared at the bottle in his hand. “Thanks… I guess.” He looked up again. “But, again, why?”

Schoenheit sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. “Uncle Dire mentioned that I should look out for you if I can.” He lowered his hand, trying his best to smile. “We haven’t talked to each other yet, even during Prefect Meeting, so might as well make the first move.”

Jonah tilted his head. “That’s great… I think.”

Schoenheit let out a small chuckled. “I’ll see you tomorrow, potato.” With that he walked away, paying for the extra sunscreen and walked out the door.

“Me too… I guess,” Jonah muttered. Once again he looked at himself in the mirror. He should find something similar for Grim too. Looking through the shelf, he perked up when he remembered something Schoenheit just said.

Wait. Does he know this ‘Uncle Dire’ is?


“So, let me repeat your request.” Azul rested his elbows on the arms of his chair and intertwined his fingers as he leaned back, watching the Savanaclaw Prefect who was sitting in front of him. “You need a magic amplifier to strengthen your magic for a small amount of time? In exchange, you’ll give me anything I desire for Mostro Lounge?”

The corner of Leona’s lips curled up. “Pretty much. I have enough madols to pay for the whole bill.”

Azul nodded, glancing at Jade and Floyd on each of his sides. Both of them have those stoic expressions on their face, unlike the creepy smile they used to wear all the time. “Here’s a thing.” He leaned forward. “I don’t need anything.” He rolled his eyes upward as if he just thought about something before returning to Leona. “Well, one thing.”

“What?”

“Some extra hands.” He sighed as he closed his eyes. “You see, I heard that one of my employees was injured. So, being a kind boss I am, I can’t let him work until I’m one hundred percent sure that he’s fit once again.” Slowly he opened his eyes, a mischievous glint shining from those silver-blue orbs. “So, how about you take his place as the chef until he’s feeling?”

Leona frowned. His tail was swishing from side-to-side. “And who is this employee you are talking about?”

Azul’s lips curled up. “I’m sure you know him very well.”

Leona kept on frowning as he thought. Then his eyes widened slightly. Oh, he figured it out. “Argentum, isn’t it?” he asked with a growl when he spat out the name.

“Correct.” Azul reached for his cane. “I’ve heard about his nasty fall. Surely you feel some guilt in there?” Tapping the hilt of the cane to the table, a golden paper appeared with their deal written on it. Azul spun his cane once and it turned into a white feather. He offered the feather to Leona who was growling at him, which made Azul smile wickedly. “Take this as an atonement.”

Leona stood up from his seat, his chair created a loud screech from the friction with the floor. “Forget it.” Leona shoved his hands to his pants pocket and turned around.

“Oh, dear. Leaving so soon?” Azul commented. “That potion needs more than a day to make. I have one that is done. Are you sure you want to step away?”

Leona didn’t answer him, he opened the door and slammed it close one he walked out. “Oh dear” Azul sighed. “An unsatisfied customer.”

“Can I squeeze him, Azul?” Floyd leaned forward. “He hurt Baby Seal~”

Azul shook his head. “As much as I want to, we don’t know what he’s planning. But keep him in mind.” He picked up the golden dear and ripped it into pieces before throwing it into the trashcan next to his desk. He picked up the other documents on the table. “So, about Kalim’s parade idea…”


Leone stepped out of the Octavinelle Mirror as magic dried up his clothes and hair. He was pissed, to be honest. That captain was meddling again, even after he had beat him down. Had he known that that brat has too many connections already, he could’ve to get rid of him since that flight accident.

Speak the devil…

The brat smiled as someone stepped out of the Savanaclaw mirror. Wait a minute. Wasn’t that one of the Heartlabyul minions? What was he doing there with that duffle bag? They had a small conversation before the Heartlabyul stepped in the Heartslabyul Mirror.

Argentum sighed and glanced toward him. So, he noticed. “Senior Kingscholar.”

“Ramshackle Brat.”

“What were you doing at Octavinelle?”

“I can ask you the same thing.” Leona squinted his eyes. “Are you stealing from my dorm?”

Argentum shrugged. “Nope. Just picking up stuff for a sleepover.”

The corner of Leona’s lips curled up. “Heh. I’m guessing the first-year pup is hiding behind your back?”

That made Argentum frowned. “Jack Howl is staying with me. He’s under my protection for this night until tomorrow’s magishift. In conclusion, you can’t touch him or me.”

“You think you can put on a fight after losing to me like that?”

Argentum raised an eyebrow. “You don’t feel guilty, do you?”

“It’s not my fault you’re bad at flying.”

“Perhaps. Though, it just occurred to me.” Argentum tapped his chin as his left hand propped his right elbow. “That power of yours, it was nearly similar to that sudden sandstorm during that flying lesson.” He squinted his eye. “Strange, isn’t it?”

Leona huffed. “What sandstorm are you talking about?”

Argentum frowned. “Don’t play dumb, Senior Kingscholar. That doesn’t suit you.”

Leona snickered. “Heh. I’m surprised that the brain of yours is still working.”

“Were you aiming at Senior Riddle? Or was it me that you were targeting?” Argentum lowered his hands.

“That was a strong accusation,” Leona said. “But didn’t Ruggie also try to make him get into that accident?”

“Senior Trey saved him.”

Leona clicked his tongue. “Cih, I knew. That Red Queen has his cards tied around his pinky. I wonder if you also have control over your so-called crewmates.”

There was a dangerous glint on Argentum’s eye. “You touch any of them, I’ll personally kill you.”

“Does ‘them’ also include that first-year pup?”

“We’re not afraid of you.”

“I have an army.”

“We have Senior Riddle.”

Such a bold declaration. Did he really think Leona would cower in fear of hearing that redhaired brat name? Looking at the boy from the top of his head to the end of his shoes, he scoffed. “Only because you have a silver sword that doesn’t make you a hero, herbivore. We are magicians. We don’t do sword dancing.”

“I’m not trying to be a hero.” Leona saw Argentum reached up to grip the hilt of the sword on his belt. “I’m just doing what I think is right.” This time, Argentum smirked. “Surely you know that, right?”

“Yeah. That heart of yours will be your downfall.” Leona rolled his eyes. “There’s no way someone with that mental survives in this world.”

“I’ll take my gamble. Makes it interesting, don’t you think?”

Leona chuckled. “You have guts, brat.” He stepped forward so that their distance between their faces was only a few centimeters away. Both of them had those challenging smirk on their face. “I’ll make sure I’ll personally destroy you.”

“Try your best, Your Majesty. We’ll meet again on the battlefield.”

Argentum stepped back before turning around, walking toward the exit. But then he stopped. “And one more thing.” He turned around one last time. Putting a hand to his chest and the other one stretched out to the side, he gave him a mocking bow and spoke a sentence that made Leona’s blood boil.

“Long live the king…”

Heh. That brat…

If it's a fight he wants, it's a fight he'll get.


“Yes!” Ace pumped up his fist to the air. “That’s the last card! I win!”

Deuce, who was laying on his bed, slammed his face to his pillow. “I give up! I give up!”

Grim threw his cards into the air, disqualifying himself from the game. “How?! How can you keep getting those +2 and wild-cards?! I swear you hog them all!”

Ace grinned. “Ah well, turmoil is associated with such a lucky win, you know. As for me, I beat you all!” He was laughing out loud and Grim looked like he was about to tear him to shred.

Jack was sighed. They had been playing UNO for a long time while waiting for Jonah, along with Senior Riddle and Cater, to come back. Once that cat-demon had opened the door, all of them immediately ran toward different directions, leaving Jack at the entrance. They went back and forth until they had prepared beds, pillows, and blankets. They had also changed to their pajamas. It was as if they had done this more than once. And then they just straight-up play UNO. And Ace was winning almost every round.

“Now then,” Ace said proudly. “Since I win again, I demand that tonight’s dinner is-!”

“Wait a minute!” Jack grabbed Ace’s arm. “Just now, your arm moved kinda weirdly.”

Ace clicked his tongue. “Huh? It’s all in your head…” He tried to pull his arm back, but Jack was holding it tight. “H-hey, you’re going to break my arm if- A, AAH!”

Between the struggles, something just fell of Ace baggy pajama’s sleeve. In fact, not just one, but many things made out of paper. Deuce picked on of the paper and his eyes widened. “This is a +4 card!”

“And why did they fall out of the sleeves of your pajamas?” Jack frowned at him.

The ginger-head gave them a weak chuckle. “Ah, yeah, how could that have happened-?”

Grim was fuming. “You cheated, chicken butt! How can you cheat in UNO?!”

Deuce stood up from his bed, pointing his finger at Ace. “GET HIM!”

“YOU’LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE!” Ace took off running, with Grim and Deuce chasing him.

Jack just sighed at the chase. They were like children. But he could see how they weren’t angry at all, only playful expression on their faces.

Maybe hanging out with them wasn’t such a bad idea after all…

They didn’t stop when the other three came. It took only Senior Riddle threatening to cut off their head (which was still scary) and Jonah mentioning something about ‘no dinner’ that finally stopped the chase.


“Oi! Leona! You’re back!” Ruggie was waving his hand above his head with his signature grin on his face when Leona entered the Savanaclaw lounge. “How was the deal with Azul?”

“I cut it off.”

“Eh?”

Leona growled. “That damn eye-patch brat has somehow made his way to that Octo Punk’s circle.” He sighed. “We need to changes the plan if we still want to destroy Diasomnia.”

Ruggie snickered. “Ah~ I can’t wait for the tournament already~” He spun around to the middle of the lounge where everyone was showing off their fangs. “Malleus Draconia all beat up and kneeling in front of Leona~! Ah, the world will surely admire us now~ Someone might even scout a hyena like me~”

“The pro-leagues might even fight over us!” One of the Savanaclaw members yelled, followed by the agreeing noises from his mates.

Leona huffed. “You’re all very optimistic considering nothing’s happened yet.”

“Leona’s popularity will skyrocket, too!”

“The people from Afterglow Savannah will definitely think you should be king now.”

Leona watched the cheering herbivores. They will never understand it. Effort and family lineage are two completely different things. They should’ve known by now that not everything would be solved even if they reach the top.

But let them cheer for now. Before reality sinks in…

Chapter Text

The sun just raised, but some children were still asleep. Ace and Grim were still snoring, while Deuce tossed his bed. Jack’s bed was empty but Jonah guessed that he was going to the bedroom. Jonah himself was awake. He covered himself with his blanket over his head. He was staring at the golden orb in his lap. It was glowing just like usual. Jonah pressed his finger on the orb, twisting and turning until it opened and green light filled under his little tent.

The green light surrounded him, changing everywhere into a some-sort of cave. In the corner, he saw the familiar lion with a black mane. Not far from him, a bird with a red bill, looking so miserable, was trapped under the ribs of an animal.

“Hey, Boss!”

The lion growled as he turned toward the mouth of the cave.

“Oh… What is it this time?”

Three hyenas entered the cave, looking grumpy and tired.

“We got a bone to pick with you.”

“Scar, there's no food, no water.”

“Yeah, it's dinner time, and we ain't got no stinkin’ entrees.”

The lion rolled his eyes. He rolled his paws and pointed at the bird.

“Oh… eat Zazu.”

The bird gasped and pressed his back against the wall, trying his best to disappear from hyenas’ hungry eyes.

“Oh, you wouldn't want me. I'd be so tough and- eewwgh!”

One of the hyenas whined.

“I thought things were bad under Mufasa...”

The lion turned back to the hyena, anger flared in his eyes.

“Is that so? GET OUT!”

The hyena ran away, snickering. The light from outside was shining a bit too much that Jonah needed to cover his eyes. When the light dimmed, he found himself back in his small tent. Jonah stared at the orb. What does this mean? The lion just… Not taking his job seriously… What happened to the big speech about becoming king and feeding all those hyenas?

The front door opened and the boy quickly hid the orb under the pillow. “Are you awake?”

Jonah pulled his blanket off this head. He was Jack standing there in his gym uniform. “Where did you go?”

“Morning jog,” Jack answered. He looked at the lounge. Cards were still scattered around the beds, along with empty plates. The wolf-boy sighed when he watched the others who were still asleep. “Should we wake them up?”

Jonah chuckled and stood up. “You do that. I’ll make some breakfast for us.”


The day of the Night Raven College Interdorm Magishift Tournament had finally arrived. The street was filled with many vendors and various clubs showing their specialties. The laughter of children and excited chatter from the young adult filled the air. In between the festivities, a teen ran in between them, before turning around and waved his hand above his head shouting, “Move your tiny legs, slowpokes!”

The teen had curly red hair, fair skin, and blue eyes. He wore a dark teal tunic with golden lining, brown belt with light blue buttons, and a red checkered sarong tied on the side, black pants with lacing at the ankle and brown boots. He also wore a golden crown on her head and a black cape that was clipped around his neck.

“Coming, coming!”

Not far from him, three teens walked toward him. One of them ran toward him first. He had tanned skin with reddish-brown eyes and brown wavy hair. He was wearing a white turban with what appears to resemble neck shade coming down on opposite sides complete with a ruby gem and purple feather, gold ring earing, white and gold undergarments, and a matching top, with a cape flowing down just below his calves, and golden brown shoes with swirled tips.

“Geez. You’re going to fast!” said the turban-wearing boy.

The boy in the tunic frowned, crossing his arms in front of his chest. “We need to find a good spot, Ali. If not, what’s the point?”

“Moray, they've already prepared a seat for us. No need to hurry.”

The other two boys finally caught up to them. The one who said that had fair skin, short and slightly puffy red hair, and blue eyes. He wore a white, long-sleeved collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up, teal blue trousers with a red sash, white gloves, and black boots. His shirt collar is open to the point that it reveals his clavicles, along with a red scarf around his neck and navy blue jacket with golden buttons hung over his shoulder. He also wore a golden crown on his head.

The other one, with an annoyed look on his face, was a bit shorter. He had dual-color hair, with spiky violet bangs and messy dark blue on the back, along with a dark blue ahoge. His skin was dark and his eyes were bright blue. He wore an unzipped short-sleeved white hooded jacket with gray buttons and a gray checkered pattern at the hem. Underneath, he wore a black shirt with a V-neck. He also wore dark brown cropped trousers that were hemmed with the same checkered pattern as the jacket, and black high-top boots.

“It’s not about the seat, Rielle!” shouted the boy in the tunic, or Moray. His blue eyes twinkled in excitement. “It’s the experience! Watching the parade as close as possible feels way different than sitting in your box!”

The smaller boy sighed. “Guys, this is embarrassing.”

“Aw~ Don’t be like that, Jake.” Rielle patted Jake’s head and ruffled his hair, making the boy pout. “We’re here to have fun, after all.”

Jake gave Rielle a sideways glance. “I thought you say we’re here to observe the NRC Magishift players?”

Rielle hummed before forming a playful smile. “Hmm… That too.”

Jake sighed again. He really wished that Hector was here. Too bad that boy had detention from once again making the whole chemistry room a flying obstacle ground.  He and Rielle followed Moray and Ali from behind, watching them arguing about who is the best Magishift player between them. Jake was never interested in Magishift. Playing in a team just wasn’t his style. At least, not anymore…

“Heh~ You look good, baby seal~”

“Senior Floyd, please. We’re in public.”

Wait.

Jake stopped his track. That voice. He turned to the side, catching a group of teens. Three of them wearing some sort-of silver-and-purple suit with committee pins, while the last one wearing some sort of pirate costume, his back facing him. One of the suit-wearing boys was hugging the smaller boy, nuzzling at his cheek. The smaller boy managed to get himself out from the hug, laughing when the taller boy pouted. The smaller boy turned around a big, exposing his face for Jake, making his blue eyes widened.

It’s… It’s him…

Jake never realized the rest of the gang walked back toward them, also watching the playful scene with shock and disbelieve.

“Is that who I think it is, guys?” Moray asked.

Ali nodded. “Yeah. Che’nya wasn’t joking after all.”

“But why here?” Rielle asked. The watched the boy waved his hand to the gang before walking away. Before any of them could do anything, Jake had already started running. “Jake. Wait.”

No. He couldn’t wait. The boy was here. How could he be here, after disappearing for months, nearly a year now? He was just a few feet away from him. What if he suddenly disappeared again? What if he couldn’t see him again?

“Hey!”

Jake didn’t realize he had shouted that, but that managed to stop the boy. The captain turned around, that same black eye was staring at him. “Can I help you with something?”

Wait.

“I…” Jake lowered his stretched out hand. “Uh… You…”

What did you mean by ‘can I help you with something’? Why did you ask that? You know me, right? Did you really forget about me too, just like what Che’nya had said?

 “Sorry.” Jake lowered his head, his bangs covering his eyes. “I thought you were someone else.”

“O...kay?” The boy sounded confused. He took a step back. “Sorry, I have to go now.”

With that he turned around and took off running, leaving Jake in the crowd. The boy couldn’t understand this. Why he couldn’t remember? Why did he just run away like that? What happened to him? Does this mean he forget all of those moments?

“Jake!” Jake forced himself to turn around, watching Rielle finally caught up to him. The red-haired prince looked around, before turning back to Jack. “Where is he?”

Jake sighed and shook his head. “He doesn’t recognize me,” he muttered as he shoved his hands to his jacket pocket.

Rielle was silent for a moment before patting him on the head again, this time giving him a soft ruffle. “Once we get back, we’ll tell the headmaster,” he said, giving Jake a soft smile when he looked. “Come on. Let’s join in with Moray and Ali.”

Jake nodded. The two of them managed to maneuver their ways through the crowd standing on the side of the street where the parade will walk thought. “Moray! Ali!” Rielle called the two other boys as they ran toward them. “Great spot guys!”

“About time you get here!” Moray exclaimed. “You’re lucky it’s not starting yet.”

Ali leaned closer to Rielle. “How did it go with him?” In which Rielle only answer by shaking his head.

Ahem… To everyone who has been waiting for the Tournament to begin… You’ve waited long enough and now, it’s time for the march of the players!

The voice came from the speaker. Ali and Moray were cheering loudly along with the crowd they were way more excited than Rielle had anticipated.

First up are last year’s champions! Will they take the victory again this year?! Our Reigning Champions, DIASOMNIA~!

The cheering continued as the fanfare was sounded. The sound of marching boots could be heard as a group of black-and-green with horned hat marched toward the stadium along with smoke special effect. They really went all-out this year, huh?

“Hey! I think I can see Malleus Draconia!” Ali pointed at the front of the group where they could see the leader of Diasomnia clearly, though he seemed to be… shorter?

“Aw, man!” Moray whined. “Too bad Fraser can’t be here.”

Each time the Diasomnia stepped forward, smoke came out from underneath him. It was a bit overwhelming actually. Jake could hear some people started coughing. Even Rielle started coughing. Jake winched when something caught his eyes. Dust? Wait. No… Sand?

A sandstorm effect?

“Hey what’s going on?” Moray shouted as the smoke/sandstorm became thicker. Suddenly he felt some pressure from behind him. “Ow! Ali! Don’t push me!”

Ali was panicking. “Sorry! I can’t- Whoa!” The boy felt his body moved on its own, pushing himself and Moray in the way of the parade. It wasn’t just Ali, a lot of people started shouting in panic, making their way toward the street and toward the Diasomnia students.

“Wh-what’s that!? The guys watching the parade are heading over here!?”

“AHHHHH! My body’s moving on its own…! Out of the way, get out!”

“Don’t push me!”

“Runaway! You’re gonna get crushed!”

“Jake! Grab my hand!” Without thinking much, Jake grabbed Rielle's hand and the two of them tried their best to fight against the stampede of people. What is going on?

“This is bad…! We’ll be trampled by the crowd at this rate. Protect Lord Malleus at all costs!”

“Lord Malleus, over here! Lord Malleus! AHHHH! We won’t make it!”

“We’re going to get crushed…!”

“AHHHH! Lord Malleus~~!”

Among the panic of the crowds and students, they missed the quiet laugh of a hyena and a lion.


Leona and Ruggie jumped through the Savanaclaw Mirror, joining the rest of their dormmates who were talking and laughing as the watched the broadcast on the big screen TV of their Magishift stadium. When they heard that Leona had returned, they focused their attention on their prefect.

“We saw the broadcast, Leona! It was amazing!”

“The plan worked!”

“Diasomnia is now flat as a pancake!”

Leona chuckled. “Good riddance, Malleus. I’ll be taking the throne this year.”

Ruggie snickered. “Long live the King!” he shouted, pumping his fist to the air.

The other member laughed and followed Ruggie cheered. Leona smirked. This plan was flawless, even with the few bumps on the way. It was so easy to convince Kalim to put his parade idea in the event, just to ‘make it more entertaining’. Azul may have not given him his homemade magic amplifier, but that was okay. Improvising must be done at one point. With his King’s Roar as a distraction and Ruggie’s Laugh With Me to control the people into confusion, they managed to follow their original plan.

The enemies are gone now. There was no way Savanaclaw would lose this year. There was no way he wouldn’t be king this year.

But, of course, all good things must come to an end…

“I feel like we’ve heard enough.”

Chapter Text

“I feel like we’ve heard enough.”

The cheering was replaced by gasps as most of the Savanaclaw turned around to see the Heartslabyul Prefect, his troublemaking first-years, and the traitorous wolf-boy entered the stadium. “Your actions have sullied one of our traditions.” Riddle took out his magical pen. “As the Heartslabyul Prefect that values ‘austerity’, I cannot let this act slide.”

Deuce took out his magical pen, red gem already glowing. Ace brow furrowed as he spat. “He means it’s time to stop, kitty.”

Leona scoffed. “You little brats… Go play your 'heroes of justice' game somewhere else.” His eyes glanced at Jack. “And what is that puppy doing with you? Did you transfer to Heartslabyul, huh?"

“Right now.” Jack clenched his fists, glaring at Leona. “I just can’t stand being on your side.”

Leona growled. “You damn traitor!”

“Are you all drunk or something?” Ruggie asked mockingly, standing in front of Leona. “Coming all the way here with your friends just to spy on the enemy?”

“Should we teach them a lesson, Leona?” A question came from one of his dorm members. It was like hunger had taken over them and their prey just walked straight into their den. The prefect smirked.

“Go play with them.” The order was simple and Savanaclaw didn’t waste any more time. Riddle took a step forward, spinning his magical pen as a magic circle shone around his hand, changing the pen into his heart-staff. Immediately, he slammed the staff to the ground, summoning tree roots from beneath the ground and threw students away. Ruggie acted quickly, taking out his magical pen and summoned a water bubble to protect himself and Leona from the rain of students.

Once it was clear, Ruggie waved his pen, throwing waterballs from the bubble toward them. To counter that, Ace summoned his wind, popping the bubble. More students came in their way. Ace quickly stepped aside as Deuce pointed his magical pen toward them, summoning his cauldron and hit them all like bowling pins. Ruggie clicked his tongue and summoned his waterjet which was blocked by Riddle and his staff. The waterjet was strong though that Riddle nearly slipped but Jack stepped in, summoning columns that hit Ruggie on the chest, throwing him far away from Leona. But Ruggie was stubborn. He kept on throwing his water attack toward Jack who kept defending with his earth magic.

Leona sighed. He stepped forward, taking out his magical pen which immediately turned into his staff. With just a small glow of the gem, he summoned his floating spiky rocks and threw them toward the redhead. Riddle’s eyes widened, raising his staff to protect himself. He managed to hit some, but it didn’t stop Leona to create tears on his uniform. He didn’t realize Leona summoned a bigger stone and threw it toward him. The rock was flying to fast toward Riddle. He couldn’t-

*CLANG!* *POOF!*

A blur of red, brown, and grey suddenly appeared in front of him. “Sorry, we’re late, Senior Riddle. The changing room was a bit cramped up.”

Riddle and Leona’s eyes widened as Jonah stood up from his crouching position. In his hand was the silver cutlass that Schoenheit had picked for him. The blade was shining under the sun. Leona growled. “You brat…”

He summoned more rock toward them. Jonah acted fast. “Whoa!” He swung his sword, cutting the rocks into sands. Leona grunted in frustration. He slammed his staff, sending earth columns toward them, but Riddle pushed Jonah aside and summoned his rose bush as protection.

Riddle turned toward Jonah. “How did you…” His eyes went to the blade. “Is that a silver sword?”

“Cutlass, actually.” Jonah was grinning when he lifted the weapon. “I didn’t know I can do that! That was so cool!”

“So, this is all your idea, you brat?” Leona stated finally lowering his staff. Looking around, he saw all the battle had stopped and the small party managed to hold themselves against his army, even managed to make them tired. Whether they would be able to play in the Magishift or not after this Leona didn’t care. What matters was this annoying pirate in front of him. “Always sniffing around other people’s business.”

Jonah smirked, challenging him. “Well, knowing what you’re going to do, there’s no way we’ll let that happen.”

Ruggie chuckled. “Your ambush here is a waste of time. It’s already too late to help Diasomnia!”

“Pray tell, I am quite interested in that story.”

Once again, gasps filled the arena along with Leona’s widened eyes as a familiar petite young man in black-and-green entered, along with the usual two taller students with green and silver hair.

“Who said they were too late?” asked the green-haired tall student with his hands on his hips.

“As you can see, there is not a single injury among the Diasomnia players,” said the silver-haired boy with a sleepy look. “And it’s all thanks to them.”

Ruggie gasped loudly. “How?! We saw you got swallowed by the stampede!”

“Too bad~!” An orange-haired boy popped from behind them, along with a grey cat on his shoulder. “Those were all my clones that I dressed up to look like them~!”

“What the hell is going on?” Leona growled.

The petite boy smiled. “I’ve heard of your plan from Riddle, and we decided to put on a little act.”

Ruggie's eyes widened when he finally connected the dot. “Th-then, Malleus is…”

“He is safe, of course!” yelled the greenette. “And all the spectators were safely released using magic by him. You better be grateful!”

“H-How is that possible?!”

Looking around, Leona could feel the coming headache. With most of his army defeated and his enemies were still standing, Leona could only sigh. “Ah, whatever.”

Everything went silent. Ruggie turned his head toward Leona. “Eh?”

Leona shoved his hands to his pants pocket. “It’s over. Over.”

He… He was joking, right? There was no way Leona just gives up. He must’ve had some back-up plan. “Wai-Leona… What do you mean…?”

“Idiot,” Leona spat at the hyena. “If Malleus is gonna play in perfect condition, we have no chance of winning.” He sighed again. “There’s no point in playing now. I’m gonna sit this one out.”

“N-no way…!” Ruggie took a step back in shock. “Malleus aside, we took out all the other star players from the other dorms. And yet…” He looked down at his shoes. He still couldn’t believe this. How could Leona say all of those after everything they’ve done? “You said you won’t play. I doubt we’d even place at all now… What’s going to happen to our dreams now…?”

Leona scoffed at him. “No matter how much of the world watches, in the end, it’s just a students’ game. You guys just got delusional about that dream and I just played along.”

“Why…?” Ruggie clenched his fists. “Weren’t we going to overturn the world…?”

Leona groaned as he massaged his temple. “Ah, stop nagging…” He was still glaring at the hyena as he slowly walked toward him. “Then, let me tell you the truth.”

“Gck!” That small noise came out from Jonah’s mouth. The first-year was griping his covered eye tightly that made Riddle worry. “Jonah? What’s wrong?”

“M-My eye…” Jonah hissed. “It had been throbbing like crazy since that stampede.” He lifted his head despite the pain, watching Leona finally stood in front of Ruggie, towering the smaller boy.

“Listen here.” Leona grabbed Ruggie’s chin harshly, making them stare at each other’s eyes. “You are a hyena raised in the trashy slums and I’m the loathed second prince who will never be king!” Leona grip was too hard, but Ruggie didn’t wince, for he was too shock at the words that came out from Leona’s mouth. “No matter what we do, the world won’t be overturned!”

“Wh-what the hell!?” Ruggie gritted his teeth. His eyes burning with anger. Without thinking, to everyone’s surprise, he raised his fist and punch Leona in the face, forcing the lion to let go of his chin. But Ruggie was too angry to say sorry. “Don’t mess with me!” He grabbed Leona’s collar screaming in his face as tears started to pool in the corner of his eyes. “We did all this and now you’re giving up!?”

“That’s going too far, Leona!”

“We’re gonna have you play even if we have to drag you there!”

The protests from the crowds only made Leona's blood boil. His fist was trembling and Jonah had to hold back his scream when the throbbing became stronger. “Ah, you’re so irritating…” There was a dim magic circle around Leona’s hand. Something clicked in Jonah's head and he acted fast. He didn’t know what is about to happen but he had a feeling deep inside him that he needed to stop this. He ignored Riddle’s scream of his name as he took off running toward Ruggie and Leona weaponless. His body moved was too fast for his thought to catch up and he was pretty sure he had never run this fast before.

“SHUT UP, YOU IMBECILES!”

Just as Leona screamed, he shot out his hand, aiming straight to Ruggie’s neck. However, Jonah was, somehow, faster. He pulled Ruggie away from Leona’s reach, in turn, placing himself between the hyena and the lion. He raised his right arm to protect himself as the magic circle around Leona’s hand glowed brighter.

And then, it was as if the earth just cracked and dust scattered everywhere.

Chapter Text

Dust covered the air, causing everyone to cough and scattered away. Riddle covered his mouth and nose with his cape, but the dust still managed to get caught in his throat. He couldn’t see past the dust, but could still hear the voices.

“Dammit” He could hear Grim coughing. “Not the sandstorm again!”

Wait…

Again?

Something clicked in Riddle's mind.

Of course.

This had happened before…

“How ironic, isn’t it?”

Riddle’s eyes widened. That day during their flying lesson… That was made by Leona too?

The dust finally slowly disappear and Riddle finally could see the damage. There were cracks on the wall of the stadium and the goal post slowly decaying into sands. The ground underneath Leona began to crack, forming a small puddle of sand around him. Ruggie was on the ground staring at Leona with wide eyes and-

“JONAH!”

Riddle knew his voice cracked when he saw the smaller boy. Jonah was being held up by his wrist, feet dangled above the ground. His fist was clenched as he gritted his teeth, but no sound escaped from his mouth. They could saw the dim magic circle around Leona’s hand that was holding Jonah.

“The magic that the loathed Prince of the Savannah was born with…” Leona growled, looking at the boy in his grasp. “It turns everything I touch back into sands!”

He clenched his hand and the magic circle around him brightened. Jonah let out a small gasp as the other watched his skin cracked, blood started to trickle down along with sandy skin. His wrist was probably becoming smaller too-

“GET YOUR FILTHY HAND OFF HIM!” Ace took out his magical pen sending a gush of wind toward the Lion, however, Leona just blocked it with his staff.

Leona turned his head toward Jonah as he thrust his staff to the ground. “Or what?” His hand hovered over Jonah’s throat as he gave Ace a sideways glance. “What can you do in a situation like this?” He turned back to Jonah. “This was all this pesky herbivore’s little plan, wasn’t it?” There was a malicious grin on the lion’s face. “All because of you… All of our plans are ruined!”

All of a sudden, his hand gripped Jonah’s stomach, and this time the boy did scream. The pain was coming straight from his guts, too central for him to ignore. His new uniform now dissolved into sands and skin cracking. Blood came out from the cracks, spreading itself and blending into the rest of the surrounding uniform. Leona was bigger and stronger than him and Jonah knew he couldn’t get away from him or stop the pain from increasing.

“Leona, that’s enough!” Riddle pointed his staff toward Leona, a magic circle glowing underneath his feet. “[OFF WITH YOUR HEAD]!”

Leona only smirked. Once again picking up his staff and swung it the ground, destroying the red magic circle.

“He destroyed Riddle’s magic!?” Grim shouted in shock.

“I don’t care if you’re a genius or whatever, but don’t underestimate your seniors.” Leona smirked. “Unfortunately for you, I score high with defensive magic.” He pulled Jonah closer, pulling his arm further back that Riddle was worried that the lion might break it. Leona covered Jonah’s mouth with his hand and the boy stopped himself from biting it. “And you don’t want to accidentally hurt your little captain, do you?”

Riddle growled. “You’re so powerful, so why resort to something like this!?”

Leona huffed. “Why…? Does the reason even matter to you? Or what, are you saying you’re going to comfort me?” He clenched his hand, a dimmed magic circle appeared, making Jonah trembled and eye widened. “There are a lot of things in this world that we can never have no matter what effort we put into it.” He laughed. “Look at this stupid boy. Not so brave anymore, are you, Argentum? How pitiful…” The magic circle lit up and Jonah’s black eye widen, brimming with tears as he began screaming into Leona’s hand. The skin around the man's fingers began to crack, as blood and sands started to trickle down his jaws.

“STOP ALREADY!” Riddle forced himself to turn to the side toward Jack. He was kneeling, hands on the ground, as if he was on a starting line of a race. A magic circle appeared underneath him, glowing bright yellow. He was growling, the wind blowing from the magic circle, hair and vest fluttering like a cape. “[UNLEASHED BEAST]!”

The magic circle shot out a bright light. They could hear a howl from it. When the light dimmed, it took everyone with surprise, even Leona who took off his hand from Jonah’s mouth. In place of Jack, a big wolf appeared. It was about 10 feet in length, has white fur and dark eyes. Before anyone could react, the wolf suddenly pounced toward Leona. The lion, who didn’t have time to grab his staff, was brought down to the ground, letting go of the boy.

“Sebek.” Lilia’s order was clear and the light green-haired boy immediately ran, catching the nearly unconscious boy before he hit the ground.

Once Sebek was running back toward them, Riddle took the small opportunity he had left. Once again pointing his staff toward the tackled Leona, he yelled, “[OFF WITH YOUR HEAD]!”

His collar locked itself around Leona’s neck. He ignored Cater cheer of nice work and immediately turned around toward the rest. Sebek was kneeling on the ground, Jonah still cradled in his arms. The boy looked terrible with all those cracks on his skin. Skins shouldn’t look like that. The silver-haired boy also knelt, bringing out his magical pen and immediately cast some healing spell. 

“Hang in there, Jonah!” Deuce screamed. “We’ll take you to the infirmary!”

“N-No…” There was a small trickled of blood that came out from the corner of Jonah's mouth. Riddle loves the color red, but he didn’t like the way it pooled on the ground beneath Jonah.

“Don’t say anything,” the silver boy said. “Safe your strength.”

Jonah grabbed his magical pen and lowered it. “This… This isn’t o-over…”

“This is for you, Jonah Argentum.” Riddle rarely calls him that now. He was serious about this. “You’re leaving.”

But there was a stubborn glint in Jonah’s eyes. “I-I’m not…” He reached for his eye-patch and ripped it off. Riddle could only gasp at the yellow-and-red eye. He swore he had seen it before. Jonah was staring straight at him, eyes glowing at him. “I will not abandon my ship and crew.”

He heard Lilia chuckled behind him, followed by him turning around. “Are you watching this?”

Riddle forced himself to turn back to Leona. He saw Jack already climbed off him but still on his pouncing stance. Leona is standing with Riddle’s collar around his neck. Lilia stepped in front of the group as if blocking them, especially Jonah from the lion’s view. “Compare to the child, you should just give up your crown.”

“What did you say?” Leona growled.

Lilia sighed closing his eyes. “Given your talents, I had always lamented the fact that you could never become king, however…” He opened his eyes again, smiling so widely and mockingly. “You now live a life full of sloth and every time you betray your expectations, it is the other party that you find fault in.” He let out a laughed. “And you think you can become king with that attitude? Compared to our dignified king, Malleus, that is truly laughable. Even if you have defeated Lord Malleus, if you do not rid yourself of your rotten heart… You can never become a true king!”

Riddle could felt the shift in the magical aura. He clutched his staff harder, ready to protect his juniors. He let out a grunt, feeling Leona’s magic energy spiking up. Leona’s hand covered his own eyes, laughing as he tilted up to the sky. “Hahaha… Yeah, you’re right. It’s exactly as you say… Hahahaha! I will never be king no matter how hard I work…!”

Ace looked up at Riddle. “Prefect. What’s going on?”

“Leona’s magical energy is skyrocketing…” Riddle grunted. “I—I can’t keep casting my magic on him like this…!”

Lilia frowned. “No, this is not magical energy. This ominous negative energy is…” his eyes widened. “No, it can’t be…!”

“Get back, all of you!” Riddle shouted and everybody immediately grabbed their magical pen. The earth cracked beneath Leona’s feet, sending dust to the air once again. Leona grabbed his staff and with one swift swing, Riddle’s collar broke into lights like shattered glass.

“He sent Riddle’s collar flying…?!” Riddle heard Cater said, voicing his shock.

“I’ve always been loathed ever since I was born. I had no place to call home nor did I have a future,” Leona said in a low voice. Something black dripped to the ground from his gem and Riddle could hear collective gasps behind him. “No matter how hard I worked, I will never be acknowledged. This pain, this despair… THERE’S NO WAY YOU’LL UNDERSTAND!”

The gem finally cracked and the storm came. Black ink and dust flew around Leona, covering him into a sphere, before bursting energy wave toward them. Riddle used his staff to help him stand again, while Cater nearly fell to his knees. Lilia didn’t even flinch, only protecting his eyes with his arms. Jack stood in front of Ruggie, who Riddle realized hadn’t moved from his spot. Ace, Deuce, and Grim stood their ground, throwing themselves in front of Jonah and the other Diasomnia students.

The ink-shadow finally pulled back to Leona. Wait… No. That’s not Leona Kingscholar.

Chapter Text

“RrRrRoOoOaAaRrR!”

The lion in front of them was wilder than before. His hair became a darker shade of brown and an ink-like veil with a drop of tears covering his left eyes which were glowing with yellow flame. Even his outfit changed into something more tribal, with black fur around his neck similar to a lion mane and golden fangs necklace. He also wore black corset-like underneath the orange and yellow sarong, all of those were held up by a golden belt with chains and black fur. The gray ripped-sarong acted like a tail and he was also wearing black pants with a similar pattern as his corset-like, with golden leg-bracelet and no shoes. Around his wrists, he also wore a golden bracelet and his hands were covered with ink, acting like his gloves.

“Wh-what is that!?” Jack exclaimed, stepping back closer to Ruggie. “What happened to him?!”

Deuce, Ace, and Grim, stepped back closer to Jonah. “That’s… The blot’s manifestation!” the blunette gasped.

Grim shivered. “Did he go into evil villain berserker mode as Riddle did!?”

He felt something pulled his tail. Glancing behind him, he saw it was Jonah. “M-My cutlass…”

Grim looked around until he spotted a silver sword next to Riddle’s feet. Without hesitation, Grim flew toward it and picked it up, flying back quickly to Jonah. “You’re not going to fight, right?” the cat asked worriedly.

Jonah coughed again, wiping the blood from his lips with the back of his hand. “I’ll be on the steering wheel.” Using his sword like a cane, the captain slowly stood up, even with wobbly knees and a really pale face. “We need to… Finish this quickly… Don’t want to miss… The Magishift, right?”

Ace groaned as he turned around, grabbing Jonah’s shoulder. “Who cares about Magishift?!” he screamed. “You really think we’re just going to watch that stupid game while you’re in the medic wings?”

Deuce nodded. “We’re not leaving you there. We’ll wait until you get help.”

Riddle turned around toward him. “There’s no stopping you, huh?”

Jonah gave him a weak smile. “No… I’ve told you I won’t abandon ship.”

Riddle sighed. He turned back toward Leona. Did he change like that back then? This is horrible. Looking around, there were still injured students from the previous battle, nearly all of them either staring at Leona in fear or unconscious. “Anyone who can stand, go, and find shelter!” he shouted. “Cater, take the injured someplace safe! Senior Lilia, please call the teachers for help!”

Cater nodded. “Right!” Taking out his Magical Pen, he summoned a magic circle beneath him and around him. “[SPLIT CARD]!” One copy of them emerged from each circle. “Let’s go, guys!”

“Yes, Sir!”

“Understood. I shall pray for your safety.” Lilia turned toward the two Diasomnia boys accompanied him. “Go forth and aid in the evacuation!” Both of the students nodded and Lilia disappeared into sparks of light.

The silver-haired boy glanced at his comrade. “Sebek, let’s go bring the others to safety.”

“Don’t order me around, Silver!” the greenette yelled but did what they were told, running away from the main battlefield to tend the injured. They were going to need most of Silver’s light healing magic power for this.

Leona roared again, and Riddle unconsciously brought himself closer to Jonah. The boy was winching in every breath he took, but Riddle knew stubbornness when he saw one. “What should we do?”

Jonah took a deep breath and yelled as loud as he can. “Everyone! This is your captain’s order! All hands on deck!”

“Aye, aye, captain!” answered Ace, Deuce, and Grim. Riddle just nodded, holding his staff with two hands. On the other side of the arena, Jack went all four. He didn’t quite understand but when hearing Jonah’s commanding voice, he knew the boy knows what he was doing.

[UNLEASH BEAST]!” he screamed. Once again, a magic circle appeared below him and it shot out a bright light. When it dimmed it, he was in his giant white wolf form.

“hAhAhAhA… tHaT’S NoT A FuNnY JoKe! AlL Of yOu wIlL NeVeR SeE ThE LiGhT Of dAy aGaIn!”

“Deuce, attack!” Jonah shouted and Deuce nodded pointing his magical pen above his head.

[FALL DOWN], [CAULDRON]!” he screamed as a magic circle appeared above Leona. The lion looked up just when a giant cauldron fell from the sky. Leona roared and let out his claw, cutting cauldron into pieces.

Deuce gasped. “So strong!”

“Don’t go back yet!” Jonah yelled. Leona turned toward them and shot out his hand, sending waved of ink toward the gang. Jonah’s eyes widened. “Scatter!” The captain quickly grabbed Grim close to his chest and drop to the ground as Deuce, Ace, and Riddle jumped away.

Jonah looked up. “Grim, Jack, attack!”

“Right!” Grim wiggled himself out of Jonah’s hug and flew toward Leona at full speed. A magic circle appeared in front of him and with a yell, he shot out his blue flame right in his face. Leona roared, but before he could attack back, Jack ran toward him pouncing at him, bringing him down flat to the ground. Riddle moved, summoning his plant's roots to tied Leona down.

“I WiLl nOt bE HeLd dOwN By aNyOnE!”

The lion roared again. Black ink spurted out from his back, cutting Riddle’s roots and throwing Jack off. The ink slowly formed itself as Leona stood up again, creating a silhouette of a brown-furred lion with black mane and ink-bottle face.

“Wha…” Ruggie gasped. “What is that?”

Jonah clicked his tongue from his kneeling position on the ground with his sword as his only support. “Riddle, Deuce, Jack! Attack!”

“Right!” Riddle ran toward Leona. He was still as surprised as Ruggie. Did he also create that? Unbelievable. He slammed his staff to the ground, summoning vines around it, and swung it like a whip. But Leona kept on cutting the whip with his claw. Riddle yelled as he swung his whip, but this time, Leona managed to grab it. Riddle’s eyes widened as Leona pulled the whip, and him, throwing them to the wall.

Leona didn’t have time to rest though. Jack pounced at him, scratching his back as ink flowed out from the wound. Leona growled and went all four. He ran toward Jack, landing his claw on the wolf’s face. Jack howled in pain but didn’t back down. The two wild anime kept exchanging scratches and bites, but Jack was holding himself back. He couldn’t hurt Leona. While the prefect was not the best in attitude, he still had some respect in him. Meanwhile, Leona was all-in for the kill. He knew the lack of Jack’s killing instinct.

“fOoLiSh pReY ShAlL Be eAtEn bY ThE GrEaT LiOn!”

Taking the opportunity, Leona pouched at the wolf, bringing him down and went straight to bite his neck. Jack let out a pain-filled howl. His body started to glow and he transformed back to his human form, still screaming in pain as Leona’s fang sunk in his neck.

On the other side, Deuce ran toward them, magic circle already in front of his face. “[SHOOT OUT], [CAULDRON]!” A cauldron shot out from the circle, hitting Leona on the side and forcing him to let go of Jack. Leona roared and took off running all four toward Deuce.

Getting up from his fall, Riddle quickly summoned a rose bush underneath Deuce so the blunette could jump from Leona. Once again, Deuce summoned his cauldron, and with a scream, threw the cauldron straight at Leona, hitting him on the back. He landed on the ground and did a roll. Leona threw the cauldron of his back, eyes aimed at Deuce, which made the prey gulped.

“Ace, Grim! Fireball combo!” yelled Jonah and Ace and Grim immediately took off. “Riddle, use your rose bush again!”

“You better not miss, chicken butt!” Grim yelled as he landed on Ace's head.

“Your tire better be flaming hot!” Ace retorted. The cat and the boy jumped. The cat popped out a fireball from his mouth which Ace, with a twirled of his magical pen, formed a windball around it. “Bombs away!” Ace threw the bomb at Leona’s face, but the lion raised his clawed, slicing it. Just like the plan, the bomb exploded in front of him, still hitting him.

Ace was about to land, but Riddle summoned his rose bush again. Using it as a spring, Ace jumped back at Leona, with Grim’s combo, throwing more bombs at him.

“Take this!” The bomb exploded and hit Leona’s back head. Riddle summoned his rose bush again for Ace and the ginger-head sprung back. “More of this!” The bomb hit Leona on the chest. Another rose bush was used for spring. “And thi-”

But Leona managed to grab Ace on the neck, throwing Grim off his shoulder and brought Ace to the ground with a scream.

“InSeCt!”

Ace eyes widened as he was thrown to the side, crashing into Riddle. Jonah gasped. Why is this lion so strong?! He saw Leona’s gaze at him. The lion was licking his lips, hungry for small animals. Without waiting any longer, Leona ran all-four toward him. He roared, sending his inkjet toward Jonah. The captain weakly raised his cutlass, cutting the inkjet into two. But he couldn’t stop Leona from pouncing at him. Jonah let out a gasped as Leona picked him up by the neck. He dropped his sword and tried to claw at the hand.

“ThIs iS WhAt hApPeN WhEn tO An hErBiVoRe wHo tRiEs tO FiGhT ThE KiNg oF BeAsT…”

Leona tightened his grip and a dim magic circle appeared around his hand. Jonah’s struggle became more desperate. No, not again! He couldn’t turn into sand. He couldn’t lose now. No. Not yet. Not yet!

Suddenly a waterjet shot out from the side, throwing Leona off, letting Jonah go. Jonah screamed when he landed on his broken hand. He was pretty sure he broke a bone there. Or maybe his bone had already disintegrated.

“A HyEnA LiKe yOu iS DiSoBeYiNg mE?”

Boots came in Jonah's vision and he saw Ruggie stepped forward, raising his Magical Pen straight at Leona, bubbles appeared around him as his bangs created a shadow over his eyes. “You really think I will let you go after what you’ve said?”

“iF I CaN’T OvErTuRn tHiS WoRlD, i’lL JuSt tUrN It iNtO SaNd…! aLl oF ThE ThInGs i dId… ThEy wErE MeAnInGlEsS!”

“Is that really what you’ve been thinking…? All this time… Always…?” Ruggie gritted his teeth, holding his magical pen harder. His eyes burned with anger. “I won’t accept this! This is not the Leona I want to follow!”

“bIg tAlK CoMiNg fRoM A PiTiFuL HyEnA.”

“Well, this hyena will be your downfall!” Ruggie spun around, summoning a pool around him. He thrust his hand forward, sending more waterjet at Leona, who counter more with his ink. Ruggie kept attacking, but Leona countered it. In turn, Leona summoned his ink toward Ruggie, but the hyena raised his hands, creating a water wall to protect himself.

“S-Senior Bucchi…” Jonah coughed. Ruggie glanced at him, but Leona took his small opportunity to attack again. Ruggie’s eyes widened, once again creating a wall of water. But he was a second too lale. The ink hit him square in the chest, sending him back to his knees.

“T-The eye…” the captain coughed again. “The eye… Is the weakness.”

Ruggie clutched his chest. "Is that so?"

“sHuT Up, BrAt! I’Ll tUrN YoU InTo sAnD!”

Leona thrust his hand, summoning even more ink toward Jonah. The captain held his sword, but Ruggie already moved, summoning his water around them. Leona clutched both of his hands, and the ink surrounding the two boys form a sphere. Ruggie raised his hands in a circular motion, creating a bubble for him. He burst the bubble and the ink splattered everywhere.

“YoU LiTtLe…”

Ruggie smirked. “What? Ran out of words, Your Majesty?” Ruggie stretched out his hand, summoning two waterjet toward Leona. The lion managed to protect himself, but Ruggie summoned more bubbles around him. The bubbles popped into smaller droplets, and with a thrust of his hands, he attacked with bulletrain-like water.

“nO! nOoO! nNnNnOoOo!”

The water-bulletrain didn’t stop. It pushed Leona back and Ruggie was able to step forward, attacking him even more. In Leona’s distracted state, his face was wide open. Ruggie waved his wand again, summoning his waterjet again and shot it straight to Leona’s face, hitting the bullseye!

Leona let out a roar that could break the glass. He fell to his knee, clutching his eye which didn’t stop flowing with ink.

“I… wIlL… bE… kInG…”

More ink came out from his eyes as the silhouette of the lion melted into that black goo. It rose to the sky, leaving Leona’s unconscious body on the ground which already came back to normal but dirtier than before. The ink danced in the air before it shot itself toward Jonah whose eyes widened once again. Ruggie gasped, summoning a bubble around Jonah, but the ink broke through it, hitting the captain straight in his right eye.

Jonah didn’t even fight back when he was thrown back. He had already lost too much blood. All of them were. It was a miracle all of them were still standing. But now… Sleep sounded so good…

Chapter Text

The first thing Jonah noticed when he finally gained consciousness was the smell. It was like something was burning. The second thing he noticed was the roughness underneath him. When he finally opened his eyes, he could see not only the black sky, but also the white smoke.

“GAH!”

Jonah jumped up, finding his surrounding in white flame. Dead trees and animal bones everywhere. What… What had happened here?! Looking around he found something. Far ahead, he saw a familiar majestic rock he had seen in his vision. Oh. Was this like what happened with Riddle? Was he supposed to go there? He could try…

Carefully crossing the dead, fiery, savanna, Jonah noticed that the fire didn’t hurt him at all even if the air was warm. Jonah noticed some smoke didn’t fly up, which was strange. The smoke, in fact, flew toward him and around him in a small cyclone before blowing away. It was then he noticed that the smoke started to form something in front of him. The flame slowly disappeared and, in exchange, a room appeared. The room, a bedroom to be exact, was way bigger than the Ramshackle Dorm’s lounge. It looked like it belongs to some rich kid.

“… haa… haa…”

Jonah turned toward the queen-sized bed. He could make out a pair of small ears that poked out from under the thick blanket. The door to the room was opened and Jonah saw the ear twitched. “Mom…” Came a high-pitched whine. It didn’t sound annoying at all, instead, it sounded sad.

A young woman with rabbit ears came closer to the bed. She pulled down the cover and it revealed to be a younger version of Senior Kingscholar. His brown messy mane and green eyes were the only sources of color there. He looked terrible with his flushed cheeks.

“No, Your Majesty,” the young woman said, going down on her two knees next to his bed. “Your parents are attending your brother’s school performance.”

Tiny Kingscholar was gasping for air. “… It’s hot… So hot…”

He lifted his hand as is trying to reach something invisible. The woman gently grasped his tiny hand, frowning. “You really are burning up…”

Kingscholar sighed when the woman started to rub his hand in hers. “Your hands are cold… It feels nice…”

The young woman smiled. “I’ll be with you until the doctor come, Your Majesty.” She pressed the tiny hand onto her cheek just to reassure him.

Kingscholar eyes slightly widened and he closed his fist. “… Don’t… everyone says I’m… dangerous…”

“You are not dangerous. Your hands are beautiful, Prince Leona”

Kingscholar let out a sigh as he opened his palm again, wanting more of that coolness compare to the hotness around him. “…Nanny Vanni… Your cheek is nice and cold…”

“Poor cub… You’re burning up… So badly…”

*crack…*

Jonah's eyes widened. Neither young Kingscholar nor the nanny realized it, but there was a dim magic circle around the child's hands. Maybe because of the sickness that Kingscholar couldn’t control himself, but the nanny’s skin under his palm began to crack. The wind blew and the image suddenly disappeared, retuning as a smoke.

Both of his parents weren’t there? Well, Jonah knew Riddle’s mother wasn’t the best or how Crowley was absent almost the entire time, but at least they were there. They care in their own way. Didn’t Kingscholar’s parents also love his son?

Jonah kept on walking through the white flame. Now that he thought about it, what exactly happened here? He knew it didn’t happen in one of his visions. Maybe after it? What happened to the black-manned lion?

Jonah felt a crack underneath him. Looking down, he saw some animal bone underneath him. But, he also realized that he no longer was standing on the cracked ground. Instead, it was a fine stoned path. When Jonah raised his head, his eyes widened. In front of him was young Kingscholar, looking way better than before. But the young prince wasn’t looking at him. His back was pressed against a wall. His right hand was holding his upper left arm, while his left palm was also pressed on the wall. His eyes however were glancing at something behind the wall.

Kingscholar’s ears perked up and Jonah’s ears picked up the sound of clashing metal. Leaning to the side, Jonah finally found the source. A young man, half-lion with a red mane, was having a sword fight with an older man with panther ears and tail.

“Just you wait!” the lion-boy laughed, holding up his sword. “I’m going to beat you today!”

The older man laughed. “Whenever you are ready, Your Majesty.”

The lion ran toward him and jumped. “Haa!” He raised his sword above his head and brought it down, clashing with the panther-man’s sword.

They were some servant standing on the other side, but they didn’t realize that Kingscholar was listening to them. “Ah! The First Prince Farena is so skilled with the sword.”

“Not to mention he’s so handsome~”

“Not like the Second Prince, Leona. Haa… I can’t understand that boy.”

“And his power… How frightening!”

“You know, Vanni, right?”

“The maid that retired a few weeks ago?”

“You know her scar? I heard that it was the prince undoing.”

Young Kingscholar gritted his teeth and clenched his left fist. Jonah could see a magic circle around it, slowly melting the wall behind him with sand.

“Leona!”

Kingscholar immediately released his fist, hiding his hand behind his back as an older lion-man in majestic garments walked toward him, looking rather pissed. The man stopped in front of the young boy and Kingscholar raised his head, his green eyes staring at the man. “Hello, father,” he greeted without any warmth in his tone.

“I’ve heard that you skipped your tutoring again?”

“I finished early with a perfect score.” Kingscholar rolled his eyes. “And it’s my break time.”

“Your break time is over five minutes ago. You need to learn how to be discipline.” The man sighed, rubbing his temple. “Please, Leona. This is very important for your future.”

Kingscholar clicked his tongue. “Yeah. What future?”

*SMACK!*

Kingscholar hissed. He didn’t dare to touch the red mark on his cheek. He glared intensely at the man in front of him, who was as angry as he was, maybe even more. “Don’t talk like that, young man!” the man roared, grabbing Kingscholar’s collar. “Why can’t you be more like your brother?”

The man ignored the way Kingscholar’s eyes teared up or the hateful look he was giving. The vision disappeared as the wind blew, leaving Jonah standing there, staring where young Kingscholar once stood. No wonder he was bitter. Kingscholar was a smart kid, but the way people treated him, it was no surprise that Kingscholar never gave it his all, knowing that no one will appreciate him. Jonah clenched his fists, took his new understanding, and walked forward.

He didn’t know how long he had walked but finally, he reached the Pride Rock. The heat suddenly became hotter. Maybe this was where the flame came from. There was a flaming inferno underneath the point of the rock and… someone was dangling by it...?

Wait a minute…

“Senior Kingscholar!”

Jonah climbed as fast as he could to the rock, nearly slipping but he managed to hold on. Once he reached solid rock in front of the cave, he was about to dash forward when suddenly he was pushed down to the ground.

“Leona!”

Jonah turned his head toward the voice. It was the same bedroom as the first vision, but it had a more mature feel in it. A teen Kingscholar opened one of his eyes, sighing when he saw an older version of the lion-boy with a red mane, wearing the majestic garments and a crown on his head.

“Why!” Kingscholar lazily sat on his bed. “If it isn't my big brother descending from on high to mingle with the humble abode.”

Brother? So that was the first prince? Farena? Or was it ‘King Farena’ by now?

“Why didn’t I or Marani see you at the ceremony?”

“Ceremony?” Kingscholar flicked his tail in annoyance. “Oh, the doting parent party you hosted so you could show your son off?” He let out a fake gasped. “Oh, how rude of me. I ended up going back to sleep.”

“Today’s an important day for our people to see their future king,” the king growled.

Kingscholar growled back and jumped off his bed, shoving his hands in his pants pocket. “It’s a day to celebrate indeed. It’s the day that their loathed second prince lost his right to the throne.”

He walked past Farena, but the older lion grabbed Kingscholar's upper arm. “Don’t turn you back on me, Leona!”

“Oh no, Farena!” Kingscholar forcefully let go of Farena’s hand. “Perhaps you shouldn’t turn your back on me.” The prince walked out of the room, slamming the door behind him, ending the vision.

The smoke was getting thicker as a flash of lightning suddenly appeared. Jonah found himself inside the cave, but he quickly stood up and ran at the end of the rock. He immediately knelt and stretched out his hand, noticing the flame became wilder.

“Senior Kingscholar! Grab my hand!”

Kingscholar looked up weakly. He looked tired and his green eyes weren’t shining anymore. “Why bother…” He even sounded like he just gave up on life. “Nobody will listen.”

“Do you really mean that?” Jonah screamed. “Are you really just going to throw all your effort away?”

“Why do you care? Are you here to laugh at my failure too?”

“No! Why would I?”

“I am the boy who everyone will look down upon. No matter how hard I try, they will always look at me as the troublesome second prince.”

Kingscholar grips were slipping. Jonah immediately grabbed his hand. “I don’t care about that!” he screamed. “Nobody care that you are the second prince. Everybody knows you are Leona Kingscholar, the prefect of Savanaclaw with a cunning mind. Isn’t that enough?”

Kingscholar looked up at him, looking confused as if this was the first time hearing that. Jonah was struggling with Kingscholar’s weight. “Please, Senior Kingscholar…” he whispered. He felt his grip was slipping. “Please… Just listen!”

Jonah couldn't hold their hand much longer. He could feel his body swaying forward, threatening to fall. But before their hands completely disconnected, Kingscholar roared and suddenly he pouched up, saving himself and Jonah. Both of them came tumbling until they stop in front of the cave once again. Jonah was breathing heavily, and so was Kingscholar. The smaller boy was the first one stood up, even if his knees were rather wobbly.

*drip*

Jonah touched the top of his head, feeling rather wet. More drop started to follow and soon soft rain showered the earth, extinguishing the flames little by little.

“Why…”

Jonah looked down. Kingscholar was kneeling with his head down. Jonah let out a soft smile and reached for Kingscholar hands, helping him to stand up. “You have people who care about you and look up to you. Are you really want to disappoint them?” he said softly. “If you can’t still see it, then just remember that you will have a place in my crew." Kingscholar stared at him in disbelief. In turn, Jonah gave him a grin. "Show me the best version of Leona Kingscholar.”

Jonah glanced up and Kingscholar followed his gaze toward the end of the rock. He grasped Kingscholar's hand again, making him look at him. Jonah step back and gave Kingscholar a bow with a gentle smile. “Your Majesty. It’s time.”

Kingscholar clenched his trembling fist before taking a deep breath and let it out as he unclenched them. He turned around and stepped forward. As he walked, the rain became harder, extinguishing the flames completely and washing away the bones of the dead animals and trees. Kingscholar reached the end of the rock. Looking up to the sky, they could hear the echo of thunder as the clouds parted, revealing a small patch of a starry sky. Jonah saw Kingsholar's eyes widened slightly. Maybe he heard the thunder differently because the corner of his lips curled up in a gentle smile.

The lion clenched his fist again and took a deep breath, before letting out a mighty roar that could make the earth tremble. And then everything went black.

Chapter Text

It was nearing sundown when someone knocked on Crowley’s door. He put back the document he was reading in his drawer before looking up again. “Come in.” The door opened, revealing a red-haired prefect and his green-haired vice-prefect who was wearing crutches for his broken leg. “Prefect Rosehearts. And Mister Clover. What can I help you today?”

“It’s about the accidents,” Rosehearts spoke once they stood in front of Crowley’s desk. “We found who the culprit was.”

“Oh?”

“But, we have a request first.”

Crowley hummed. “Go on.”

“Whichever dorm who did this, we want you to not disqualify them from the tournament.”

“Come again?” Crowley stopped taping his bird-like claw-nail on his table. “Are you saying that you forgive them?”

“Not yet,” spoke Clover. “We just want our revenge.”

“I have talked with all the victims,” added Rosehearts. “All of them agree to let the culprit and the dorm to participate in the tournament. Magic can’t be used on others for personal reasons inside the school. But with Magical Shift being a competitive sport, they can go all out with magic against your opponents on the field.” He crossed his arm in front of his chest, a slight blush on his cheeks. “I would usually be against using such a traditional event to settle disputes, but Trey wanted to do it no matter what, so I’ll turn a blind eye to it this time.”

Clover chuckled and ruffled Rosehearts hair which the redhead smacked it away, muttering “Not in front of the headmaster.”

Crowley laughed. “If this is a majority vote, then I have no choice but to accept your request.”

However, after looking around the destroyed arena, Crowley had a feeling none of them want to play in Magishift anymore. On the side, Howl was holding his bleeding neck, with Rosehearts on his side, trying his best to stop the bleeding. The prefect himself was covered with dirt and bruises, his Dorm Uniform’s cape was thorn away. Kingscholar was unconscious on the ground with Bucchi kneeling in front of him, trying to shake him awake. Even the hyena’s movements were sluggish. There was a crowd of first years gathered around one small spot. Trappola, Spade, and Grim were shouting at a very pale Argentum, who looked like he was dead from afar.

“Everyone!” All the remaining, weak, conscious students looked up toward the headmaster. “Bring all the injured to the infirmary. We’ll talk further there.”

The Diasomnia students and Mister Diamond immediately ran toward the injured. The green-haired boy helped Howl, slinging the wolf’s hand over his shoulder, while the silver-haired boy ran to Bucchi to help them carry Kingscholar. Mister Diamond ran toward Argentum, carrying him in his arm like a bride. Crowley turned around, along with Mister Vanrouge on his side as he led them out the ruins.

With the Magishift Tournament starting a few minutes, Crowley needed to clean this up quickly.


Leona groaned, slowly opening his eyes. Where is he now? The last thing he remembered was fighting in the arena and-

A familiar bird-mask suddenly appeared in his vision. “This is quite a surprise, Mister Kingscholar,” stated Crowley. “It took Mister Rosehearts nearly the whole night to wake up.”

Leona groaned as he tried to get up, but Crowley pushed him down. “Take a rest,” he said, uncharacteristically, softly, and Leona just let him pushed him.

“Where am I?”

“The infirmary. You are the first one to wake up.”

Leona frowned. “Who’s the other one?”

Crowley looked to the side. In the corner of the room, under the window, laid Argentum, covered with bandages, and was unconscious. Leona just noticed that he was also covered by bandages. He sighed. “I went overblot, didn’t I?”

Crowley solemnly nodded. “Unfortunately, yes.”

Leona pressed his palm to his forehead. “You’ve gotta be kidding me… I must’ve missed the Magishift, huh?”

“It’s still on-going. Mister Bucchi is Savanaclaw temporary leader.”

Leona blinked in confusion. “What?”

“It was an agreement between the victims behind your consecutive accidents,” Crowley said. Leona could he how the headmaster’s eyebrows ceased. “Savanaclaw is still able to play in the Magishift. However because you haven’t wake up, Mister Bucchi volunteered to take your place as the leader.”

Leona clenched his fists. “Why would he do that?”

Crowley sighed. “When I talked to the Savanaclaw students…”

“I’ll do it.”

Ruggie Bucchi stood from his seat. Despite covered in bruises, he walked forward to stood in front of all the other members. “I’ll lead my team.”

The other members were muttering in confusion. “I’m not doing this for Leona,” Bucchi spoke again. “But I’m doing this for myself.” He glanced behind him. “For each and one of us.” He looked toward Crowley again. “I don’t know whether we can win or not without Leona on our side, but we need to show them that Savanaclaw can still put on a fight.” He grinned. “If all those other victims want us to apologize, they better give them all to earn them.”

“Ruggie…”

“Savanaclaw is fighting with Diasomnia right now.” Crowley stood up as Leona’s eyes widened. He picked one of the mirrors from his belt, brought it near his lips, and blew on it. Smoke appeared as Crowley’s reflection turned to the scene in the arena. “I figure you might want some entertainment. This is from Mister Bucchi’s point of view.”

Leona snatched the mirror from the headmaster's hand, just when Ruggie threw the disc toward Jack. He could hear the hyena was snickering, cheering for Jack who flew past the defense of Diasomnia. The wolf threw disc hard. It flew past the goalkeeper and passed the goal. “YES!” Ruggie cheered as he ran toward Jack, patting him on the back as Jack’s tail wagged. The crowd went wild. Leona brought his hand to his mouth. He didn’t know why he felt so emotional. This wasn’t like him, but watching Savanaclaw managed to score against Diasomnia brought him joy. Even after those harsh words he had said earlier, Ruggie, Jack, and his Savanaclaw still gave his best.

What did he do to get such an amazing pack like this?


Savanaclaw still lost in the end and Diasomnia once again was crowned as the winner. Leona tried his best not to scowl when Crowley handed the trophy to Malleus. Leona sighed, putting the mirror beside his pillow. He glanced to the side, toward the still unconscious boy. He did bad, didn’t he? Using his power on a human. He remembered he accidentally hurt his nanny, the only person who seemed to care about him, but she quit the next day because of her critical condition. It only made his situation worse; everybody was afraid of him even more and his parents forced him in his studies just make up for his name. He didn’t want to remember those times.

But he remembered someone was reaching for his hand, pulling him out from his dark thoughts. Their voice was suspiciously similar to that brat. But how-

*BANG!*

“Uncle Leona!”

Leona shot up on his bed, winching when he did it a bit too fast. His brother and his wife, along with that annoying nephew of his, barged in the infirmary and immediately ran toward him. A young child with lion ears and tail, who had some striking resemblance to his brother, was the first one to reach his bed. He was trying to climb up, but he was shorter than his bed.

“Uncle Leona! That Magishift was awesome!” the young cub laughed, exposing his tooth gap. “Savanaclaw is awesome! Why didn’t you play?”

“Cheka dear.” The lioness with brown hair tied in a bun, dark skin, and orange eyes, picked Cheka up and brought him close. “Don’t just shout like that. People are sleeping here.”

“Why?” Cheka asked, eyes wide filled with curiosity. “They should have a party after Magishift.”

The lioness chuckled. “Some people are too tired for that.”

“Is it their bedtime?”

“Yes. They go to bed early.” She turned to Leona. “How are you feeling, Leona?”

Leona stared at the group in confusion. “I’m…” He cleared his throat. “Never been better.”

She shook her head. “Try to say that with all those bandages.” She glanced at Farena who was still looking at Leona from top to down, brows creased in worry. “I’ll leave you boys alone for a while.”

“No! I want to be with Uncle Leona!” Cheka whined. But his mother pulled him closer.

“Later dear. Your dad needs to talk to his brother for a while.” Giving both Leona and Farena a reassuring smile. He saw Farena mouthed, “Thank you, Marani.” The woman nodded and she, with Cheka, walked out the infirmary, closing the door behind her.

Leona usually liked the silence, but this type of silence was not the one he preferred. He would rather listen to the brat snoring or Cheka talking about his letters rather than spending thirty seconds of nothing with this man.

“Leona.” The lion in question shifted his gaze somewhere else. “Just… Say something.”

“There’s nothing that needs to be said,” he huffed. “If you don’t have anything else, just get out.”

“Leona, I need to know that you’re okay.”

“Use your eyes, brother. Can’t you tell?”

He heard Farena let out an annoyed sigh. “Why are you being so difficult? You’re doing this on purpose.”

“Am I now?” Leona finally gave Farena a sideways glare. “Am I really doing this on purpose?”

“Yes!” Farena yelled. “Can’t you see that I’m worried about you?!”

Leona laughed. “HAH! Worried. You must be joking. After all these years, you just now feel worried about me?” Before Farena could retort, Leona cut him off. “You really think I believe that you are worried about me? You never even talk to me. You only come to me because you think I need some scolding. Do you think you can just take father’s job? What are you going to do? Spank me with a ruler like what he did?”

“Leona, you know dad do that because that’s a parents’ job,” Farena said, stepping closer to Leona. “You should know that.”

Leona smirked. “I also know that parents should never play favoritism.”

“Mom and dad don’t do that!”

“Really?” Leona sighed, laying back down in his bed, his arm covering his eyes. “Are you ignorant or just plain out blind?”

“Leona!”

“When I was sick, none of them stayed for me. They chose to go to your stupid school performance,” Leona said, his voice sounded more tired than before. “I managed to master my Unique Magic first, but they scolded me because I destroyed father’s unused hat when I tried to show it. Meanwhile, you destroyed an entire flower patch with your roar, but they just let the damage slide. I’m way smarter than you in potion making, but they prefer your swordsmanship. So, tell me, Farena?” He lifted his arm, looking at Farena with tired eyes instead of his angry glare. “Are you sure they’re not playing favoritism?”

Farena didn’t say anything. The King of Afterglow Savannah was staring at him with an emotion that Leona couldn’t describe. The younger lion sighed again. “No matter how hard I tried, mother and father never acknowledge me. They always saw me as an insufferable brat. And people being afraid of me because of my power just gives more salt to the wound.”

Leona covered his eyes again. They started to tear up and he didn’t want Farena to see it. “I don’t need your shadow to cover me here too. Get out or I’ll call the nurse.”

Farena didn’t say anything. He didn’t even sigh. He just whispered a small sentence with a very soft voice. “I’m sorry.”

Leona didn’t reply to that which didn’t come as a surprise. He heard Farena’s heavy boots made their way toward the door. He heard the creaking door, a small pause before it was closed softly from the outside. Leona sighed as he lifted his arm. A single tear fell from his scared eye. Whyis he crying? He didn’t do anything wrong. It was Farena’s fault for taking all his spotlight.

So why does he feel so hurt right now?

Chapter Text

The first thing Jonah noticed when he woke up was the feeling of being burned alive. His skin was tingling, his head felt lighter than ever, bile burned the back of his throat, and he couldn’t move without feeling he was going to throw up - or pass out.

Something is wrong. Something is really, really wrong, and he knows it. He just can't place what is wrong.

He tried to lift his right hand, but he couldn’t even feel it. It was as if it disappeared completely. In turn, he lifted his left hand to his face, pressing his palm to his pulsating, aching head. His fingers grazed thick gauze, and after the throbbing in his head finally diminished enough, he cracked his eyes open. He knew that ceiling.

The infirmary again?

What... What happened... To him...?

As soon as the thought entered his mind, he remembered everything. The Magishift Tournament; ambushing Savanaclaw; Senior Kingsholar's power; that bloody overblot battle; everyone getting hurt-

Jonah leaped out of the infirmary bed. When his feet touch the ground, he swayed, and black spots invaded his line of sight, but he didn’t care.

His head was absolutely pounding, and he swallowed thickly, trying to take deep breaths to ward off sudden nausea. He stumbled more than walked, trying to make it to the door on the other side of the room.

He has... To make sure...

He hissed through his teeth in pain, clutching his head again.

... Ace... Deuce... Everyone...

He needs... To know... They’re okay...

The tiled floor seemed to swirl beneath his feet. Bile burned the back of his throat.

He needs...

... To know...

Just as he reached out to turn the knob, the door swung open.

"Argentum!"

Jonah couldn't take it anymore. His knees gave up, but a pair of gloved hands caught him before he could meet the floor.

"Why are you out of your bed?"

He knew that voice. "H-Headmaster," he stuttered.  Another bolt of pain shot through his head, and he gritted his teeth again.

"Come on, young man, back to bed."

Jonah didn't protest when Crowley picked him up in his arm. He leaned his head on the headmaster's shoulder as they crossed the room again.

"S-Senior K-Kingsholar," Jonah coughed. "T-The other... T-They're-" He broke off into a fit of coughing, each time sent pain to his stomach.

"Everyone is fine," Crowley whispered, quickened his pace. "You took the most between them. You have to stay down for a while, alright?"

Jonah sighed in relief. When Crowley placed him on his bed, the change of position from sitting to laying down made him want to puke. His head felt like it was full of cotton.

Jonah felt a hand was placed on his forehead. It felt so cool. A light shone at the corner of his vision, coming out from Crowley's mirror on his hips as ice magic came out from his gloveless hand.

"Don’t beat yourself up over it," Crowley said. "You need to rest. You fought a tough battle."

Jonah reached weakly for his hand. "I... I couldn't..." His clutch was trembling. "I... I couldn't do anything..."

He could feel Crowley's eyes bearing into him, but Jonah didn't want to meet his gaze. He shut his eyes. "I just... Stood there... Every... Everyone is fighting and I... I'm useless"

Crowley's other hand reached for his head, caressing his head softly. Jonah couldn't understand why he felt like he wanted to cry. "No, no, young Argentum," he cooed. "You are not useless."

"But I..." Jonah sobbed. "I just stood there..."

"But you gave them orders, didn't you?" Crowley asked and Jonah cracked his eyes open again. "Everyone has a role in this battle. You are the leader. The captain. You are the most important person on the battlefield."

"But I just stood there..."

"Not every leader comes with a sword. They fight with their wits and strategy. And you, Jonah Argentum, is the greatest leader any crew could ever have."

Jonah blinked, confused. "But... They got hurt."

"Leaving a battle with some battle wound is inevitable."

"If I can stop it... I will..." He wanted to continue but a sudden, a sudden, cooling sensation rushed through him and his eyes slid shut against his will. If his mind had been foggy before, it was a total white-out now.

"I know you will try, young Argentum." He heard Crowley whispered. "Don't think about that too much. Rest now."

And Jonah finally lost his consciousness.


“How is this even possible?”

The school nurse, an old man named Shalom lowered his hand as the gem on his necklace stopped shining with white light. “Even with magic, the body still needs to heal over time. I can’t use potions, he’ll just throw up again.”

Crowley clenched his hand into a fist behind his back as he tried his best not to look at Argentum’s body under the blanket and focuses only on the boy’s face. Under the light, Argentum looked worse. His cheeks were flushed dark, an unhealthy shade of red, and beads of sweat rolled down his face. His teeth clenched and his eyes squeezed shut, looking way more restless compare to earlier.

“His body is denying every potions and medication I tried to give him,” Shalom continued. “The only thing working is healing magic.”

“But you can’t just keep using it without the risk of overblotting,” Crowley guessed as he reached his hand toward Argentum’s face, the back of his fingers gently caressing the boy’s sweaty and flushed cheek.

Shalom nodded. “I’ve used too much when healing the other boys. We’re just going to have to wait it out and see what happens.”

Crowley sighed through his nose as he watched the sick student. Something in his chest clenched. What is it? He wonders…


“Captain!”

“Jonah!”

“Quiet down!” Mister Spencer whispered harshly, effortlessly shutting Ace, Deuce, and Grim. When they had quieted, Spencer’s tone softened considerably. “The boy was tossing and turning all night and only just managed to sleep peacefully. Keep your voices low.”

Ace and Deuce nodded, though their attention glued to their friends. Grim was the first one to move closer, flying of Deuce’s shoulder and landed beside Jonah’s head. “Jonah…” he whined desperately. His paw grazed the boy’s shoulder and he immediately pulled it back, hissing. “He’s so hot!”

“A fever?” Ace turned to Spencer. “Can you do something about it? Like, potions or spells?”

“I’m doing the best I can with my light magic,” ShaloSpencerm said. “But Argentum’s body rejected every potion we’ve tried to make him drink.”

“Rejected?” Deuce mumbled. “You mean, he threw everything out?”

Spencer nodded. “Everything must be done by magic.” He sighed as he sat on the chair next to the bed across Grim. “I’m doing all I can. Even a teacher like me can reach their limit.”

Deuce looked down, deep in thought. “There must be some way to help. But none of us has light magic for healing…”

As soon as the words we out of the blunette’s mouth, Ace suddenly perked up, snapping his finger. “That’s it!”

Everyone turned to Ace, glaring and shushing him. Ace piped down, but he continued. “That Diasomnia kid during the battle? The one with silver hair? He can do light magic.”

Deuce’s eyes widened. “That’s right! We saw that!” He turned to Spencer. “We can take him here if you want.”

“That’s an idea.” Though his voice sounded neutral, there was a glimmer of gratitude on the old man’s face. “Please, call him.”

Ace and Deuce nodded and immediately took off out of the infirmary. Grim didn’t move from his position. His small paw kept patting Jonah’s head despite the warmth. Grim let out a sigh and spun on his spot, before curling next to Jonah’s head. He didn’t close his eyes. He focused on the door, waiting for the other two to return and help his henchman.

No. Not henchman. His friend.


It was unusual for someone to approach the Diasomnia cafeteria table, so Lilia was certainly surprised when two Heartslabyul suddenly stopped by. Nearly all of the cafeteria’s attention aimed toward them, but they didn’t seem to care. The ginger-head with the heart on his face slammed his hands onto the table. His red eyes scanned over the student before he stopped at Silver who was nearly fallen asleep on his seat.

“YOU!” the ginger-head shouted, pointing at Silver. The boy jumped in his seat, no longer looked sleepy. The ginger-head maneuvered around the table and reached for Silver. “Please come with us! We need your help!”

Silver, of course, was confused. He looked from the boy to Lilia and back to the boy again. “What?”

“Oh dear, what’s with the ruckus?” Lilia decided to spoke up. The ginger-head turned toward him. Panic shone in his eyes, along with desperation.

“We need to borrow him for a second.” Even his voice cracked. “This is an emergency.”

“I desire to wot moe about this emergency.”

The ginger-head looked like he was about to explode, but the blue-haired boy who was with him put a hand on his shoulder, stopping him from shouting to the roof.  “A friend of ours is really sick,” he spoke, even if his voice is calmer, there was still the same desperation tone in it. “We need a light-magic user and he’s the only one we know.”

Lilia watched both of the children back and forth. It suddenly clicked him. Oh, his corky brain. No wonder they look familiar. They were there during the battle with the lion. He quickly connected the dots and figured that the friend they were talking about must’ve been the young boy that got hurt from the unique magic.

Lilia pushed away his breakfast bowl and stood up. “Silver.”

“Yes.” Silver also stood up from his seat.

Lilia turned toward the two Heartslabyul students. “Take us to him.” The boys exchanged glanced before nodding at each other.

“Please, follow us,” said the blunette. Lilia and Silver nodded. Without waiting any longer, the four of them ran out of the cafeteria and down the corridor. At times like this Lilia would joke how these old bones are no longer suited for this test of endurance anymore, but he didn’t have the heart to say it between the panic.

The ginger-head slammed the door open. “We’re here!”

The nurse looked up. He was holding on a cold wet rag on top of the unconscious boy. The same boy that Lilia has guessed. At the end of the bed, the cat suddenly turned toward them, standing with all four legs, fur up, and hissing at them to shut up.

“Mister Vanrouge?” The nurse sounded confused. It was understandable. Lilia had met him when he was younger, back when Shalom was still a wee lad.

“Greetings, Mister Spencer.” Lilia nodded. He put a hand on Silver’s back. “Mine sirrah hither can use light-magic.”

He and Silver crossed the room and Shalom mover forward, meeting them halfway to explain the situation. “His fever is already reaching a dangerous high, and I can’t do anything else to bring it down, so-”

Silver nodded in understanding. When they reached the young lad’s bed, Silver already took out his sword-shaped Magical Pen. “What must I do?” he asked as he glanced at Lilia.

The older man moved so he stood behind Silver’s, both of his hands on the boy's shoulder. “Concentrate on thy light-magic,” Lilia whispered. “Imagine you’re putting a block of ice on a fireplace.”

Silver nodded and closed his eyes. White light started to came out from his green gem as he pressed the tip of the sword-pen once on the lad’s forehead. Lilia guided Silver hand so it hovered above the skin instead of pressing down. The magic formed a cool air looked like mist over the lad’s heated skin.

“Thank you for agreeing to help us,” said Shalom. “We really appreciated it.”

Behind him, the two Heartslabyul boys nodded. Lilia also noticed the cat moved closer. He was still glaring at them, but no longer hissing. He set himself next to the lad’s chest and snuggled up then with his ears down worriedly.

“It’s alright,” Silver said, but his eyes were still glued on his job. “You don’t have to thank me.”

“He’s a hardy lad,” Lilia commented, turning his head toward Shalom. “I hast confidence that he’ll pull through it.” But he also noticed something amiss from the boy. “Though, I’ve seen his hand during the broil. 'Twere nearly surprised.”

Shalom nodded solemnly. “Yes. Right now we only have one solution.”

Lilia frowned at him, not liking the tone. “Doth say to.”

“It’s right here.”

All of them, except Silver, turned toward the door. Dire Crowley walked into the infirmary, followed by Idia Shroud who brought a black and dark-blue suitcase with him. Behind the door, Lilia could see some students were waiting. He recognized the children of Heartslabyul and Octavinelle, along with the younger Shroud and the wolf child from Savanaclaw.

“I…” the older Shroud cleared his throat. “I think I can help with Jonah’s hand situation.”

“Are you sure you can do this?” Shalom asked.

Idia gave him a firm nodded, setting the suitcase to the table next to the bed, the blue-flame haired child opened it. It was filled with various equipment that Lilia’s old brain couldn’t grasp, but one particular piece of equipment caught his attention. Lilia turned back to the sick lad, his gaze focusing on the vacant spot where a particular part of the body should’ve been.

Oh, poor child…

Chapter Text

He had a strange sensation of floating. As if someone suspended him above the ground. The air felt stuffier around here and it was a bit cold. Where is here right now? He clenched his hand, happy that he still could control his body. But was he conscious though? Was this real or a dream? Slowly he opened his eyes and immediately widened.

Stars.

They are everywhere.

He’s in space. The dark blue horizon with a tint of purple clouds covered with sparkling dots covering every inch of the vast space. He could felt the soft breeze blowing his air. Wait? Breeze? There’s no air in space, how can there be a wind here?

The wind suddenly became harder and suddenly something zoomed past him, hitting his back and making him lost his balance. He fell with a loud *thud*, landing on a hard wooden floor. He winched, rubbing the sore spot on his back. He looked up and his eyes widened.

He’s on a ship. He could see the red sails flapping with the wind and the ship sailed through the sky. How is this possible? Standing up, he held on to the edge. Not far, floating in space, was another ship. It was golden with white sails, but it was burning and he could hear the screams of panic from the people inside it.

A laugher caught his ears, followed a sound of coins falling to the wooden deck. He turned around and immediately pressed his back to the edge of the deck. A creature with fangs, multiple eyes, and a skull-like face, wearing pirate garments reached out for the fallen gold coins and shining colorful jewels, clutching them in his skeleton-like hand with long, broken, nails while laughing at a madman.

“We got it, boys!”

The creatures shouted and the crew, also weird-looking cheered.

“Hoist the sail! We’re off to another galaxy!”

The crew immediately started ran around, pulling the sail and running below the deck. The skeleton creature – the captain – dropped the gold, letting the rest of the crew cleaned up. The captain gripped the steering wheel as the rockets behind the ship lit up again. The ship blasted off, throwing him off the ship. He screamed. It felt like gravity pulled him back, the space itself started to blur. He tried to reach up, but the ship already flew at an incredible speed before vanishing without a trace.

“The loot of a thousand worlds?!”

“It means that all those treasure is only a boat-ride away!”

His vision started to blur. But before his consciousness faded completely, he could hear the sound of footsteps stepping up and a figure, a teenager like him, appeared, looking at the familiar green light beyond the darkness and holding a very familiar glowing object…

“This is my chance to make it up for you, mom… I’m going to set things right.”


The second time Johan woke up, he didn’t fill like someone stuff a ton of cotton inside his head. He felt way better than before. No headache, no stomach flipping, he felt fine. He felt soft fur nudged his cheek. Who… Is it time to wake up now?

Slowly, he opened his eyes, blinking several times to gain focus. He could make out the familiar infirmary ceiling, but what filled his vision was the wide blue eyes, widening ever so excitedly.

“JONAH!” The blue-eyes’ owner immediately hugged him around his neck, nuzzling his soft, furry head on his skin.

“G-Grim…”

There were the sound of chairs scraping the floor and immediately two familiar head popped into his sight. Ace was grinning down at him while Deuce let out a sigh of relief.

“Good to see you awake, captain!” shouted Ace. “You seriously freaked us out! Don’t do that again!”

“We were really worried,” said Deuce, unable to hold back his smile. “We’ve all been trying to visit you since the operation has ended, but Mister Spencer kept us away.”

Grim pulled back. Tears flowing down his eyes in an almost cartoonish way. “Are you still hurt? Should I call the grandpa? Are you hungry? I still have that delish rock-”

Jonah blinked several times, slightly overwhelmed, really, but not in a bad way. He pulled up the corner of his lips, giving them a weak smile. “Guys, I’m alright.” He wanted to raise his hand, but then he stopped. His smile dropped from his face.

“Jonah?” Grim ears dropped worriedly. Jonah sat up with difficulty, Ace and Deuce immediately helped so Jonah didn’t have to use his hands. His right hand in particular. It feels weird, heavier than usual.

He didn’t wait any longer. He pulled his blanket off his body in an almost dramatic way, revealing what was hiding underneath to everyone.

His right hand is gone, starting from his wrist to his full hand and fingers. It was replaced instead with an artificial metal shaped like his hand. The metal was silver and smooth. It was well-made with no mechanical joints visible though if you look, you could see the metalwork. It was as if he was wearing a white glove with some futuristic aesthetic.

But still…

Jonah reached out to caress the scar of cracked skin just above the mechanical hand. He could felt Ace’s hand on his shoulder but his focus only aimed at his… Hand?

He had lost his right hand.

He had lost his right hand…

“Jonah?” He heard Grim called. It wasn’t until now did Jonah realize that he’d started crying. Tears dripped down his cheek and onto his bedsheet.

“S-Sorry,” Jonah murmured, wiping his eyes with the back of his left hand. “I-I’m o-okay…”

Ace and Deuce exchanged glanced. “There’s no need to cover it, Jonah,” Deuce whispered, gently rubbing Jonah’s back which made the tears flowed even harder. “We understand.”

Jonah shook his head, trying his best to wipe out all the tears. “R-Really,” he hiccupped, voice cracking and barely a whisper. “I-It could be w-worse.”

Ace sighed. He sat on the bed and pulled the shorter boy closed to his chest. “It’s okay, Captain,” he said, running his hand on Jonah's shoulder-length hair. “Just let it all out.”

Jonah bit his lips and gripped onto Ace’s shirt, burring his face onto his chest. He let it all out, wailing unapologetically. Deuce also as on the other side, bringing them close while still rubbing Jonah’s back. Grim hugged Jonah around his chest, nuzzling his face onto Jonah’s hospital gown.

The small group never realized someone is hiding behind the door.

Ruggie stood beside the entrance, back leaning against the wall and ears down. In his hand was a wrapped deluxe minced cutlet sandwich that he bought out of habit. He crushed the sandwich in his hand and gritted his teeth. The hyena boy turned around and walked away from the infirmary. He was glaring at each step he took, scaring nearly everyone who passed him. He didn’t stop even when he reached the Hall of Mirror and quickly jumping through the Savanaclaw Mirror. Passing the lounge and hallways, Ruggie stopped when he reached the very back building. He raised his head, looking up at the empty balcony of the Prefect Room.

“I know you’re in there, Leona!” he barked.

No answer.

Well, that didn’t come as a surprise.

Ruggie didn’t talk to Leona since the Magishift, only taking a glimpse at him once when he had returned from the infirmary. He hadn’t come out from his room since then. It was as if there was mutual agreement in the dorm that Leona needed to be left alone for a while. Though none of them specify until when. In fact, this was probably the first time he had ever tried to reach Leona.

“You are really cruel, you know that?” Ruggie tried again. Still no answer. “How long are you going to stay in there knowing that you’ve permanently harmed someone?”

What is that lion up to? Can he really do anything without Ruggie’s help? Is he eating well without him carrying his meal? Does he clean his room or is the floor filled with dirty clothes? The headmaster had notified him that Leona was excused from any class until he recovers fully. Ruggie clenched his fist. Why does he care? He’s not his babysitter. He’s…

Ruggie paused, a shadow cast over his eyes. What is his role really? Does Leona look at him like he’s his servant? His right-hand man? His friend? What is he to Leona…

“Senior Ruggie?”

Ruggie looked up toward the sound. Jack walked toward him, looking rather worried. “Are you okay?”

Ruggie breath hitched. Is he okay? These questions are making his head hurts. He ran his hand down his face and took a deep breath. “I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?” Jack asked again. To this, Ruggie nodded.

“You don’t have to worry about me.” He glanced to the side, avoiding Jack’s eyes. “It’s your friend you should be talking about?”

Jack wanted to ask who but then he quickly connected it. “Jonah?”

Ruggie nodded again.

“What… What happened to him? The last time I saw him was during his fever.”

Ruggle clenched his fist. His deluxe minced cutlet sandwich was probably ruined by now. “He lost his hand.”

Jack’s eyes widened in shock. “What?”

Ruggie glanced up again. There was still no sign of Leona coming out. He sighed. “I guess Leona’s power completely disintegrated his bone until it’s unrepairable. He had a prosthetic hand now.”

Jack took a step back. It was that bad? He thought they could’ve fixed it with magic. But he should’ve noticed it.

When he was about to visit the infirmary again, the headmaster walked past him, along with a blue-haired senior. Senior Riddle, along with some other seniors, were following them. All of them were looking worried.

“Senior Riddle.” The red-haired prefect stopped, along with the other Heartslabyul seniors. “What’s going on?”

Riddle shook his head. “I don’t know,” he said. “But Cater mentioned something about an operation.”

The orange-haired senior nodded. “Idia was muttering about it. And he looked rather panicky.”

“I guess that he’s about to perform a medical operation,” the green-haired senior said and Jack noticed how Senior Riddle clenched his fist.

“A medical operation? On who?”

Riddle bit his lips, unable to answer. The green-haired senior put a hand on his shoulder, running his thumb in a circle to comfort his prefect. The senior looked up, staring straight at Jack’s eyes.

“On Jonah.”

“You should visit him soon.” Ruggie’s words brought Jack back to reality. “He’ll need every support he can get.”

Jack nodded. “Thank you, Senior Ruggie. I will.” He was about to turn around, but then stopped. “What about you?”

“What?”

“What are you going to do now?”

Ruggie stared at the crushed sandwich. “I…” He stopped himself from clenching his first again. If it’s too broken, it won’t look good to eat. He sighed. “I’ll be around the dorm. Someone needs to round up the pack.”

“Why?”

Why?

Ruggie sighed again. He took a few steps back from below the balcony, and suddenly, he threw the sandwich, passing the window, and flew inside the room. Still no response, huh? He turned around, walking toward the lounge. “Because when the king returns, we’ll be ready.”

Unnoticed by them, inside the dark room, Leona’s ears twitched.

He was sitting on the floor, his back leaning against the wall. He still looked weak. He wasn’t supposed to leave the infirmary yet, but he just couldn’t stand the room. Not after Farena. Being in the same room as his brother and the victim of his own unthinkable action prove to be too much for him. Right after Farena left and a few minutes to calm himself, he limped out of the room, not even bothering the bruises. He was pretty sure it had gotten worse, but he knows healing magic. He could survive.

Will he though? After everything he had done?

He didn’t dare to pick up the crushed sandwich near his hand. He didn’t deserve that. He pulled his knees closer, his forehead pressing onto them. He was aware he was in a very vulnerable position and anyone who entered his room would see his pathetic self.

But right now, he was too tired to think about that.

He just…

What’s he supposed to do now?

Chapter Text

Idia was not used to working with people staring at him. His workshop/dorm room is quite lonely with only him and Ortho. But this time, almost four pairs of eyes were staring at him. He looked up again. Jonah wasn’t exactly looking at him, he was more likely staring to a space. Two Heartslabyul students were there too. The ginger-head was sitting on the bed across Idia, running his hand through Jonah’s hair, while the blunette was watching intensely. The cat curled up on Jonah’s chest.

“There,” Idia sighed once his screen lit up again, signing that programming had completed. He pulled out the cable connector that connected Jonah’s prosthetic hand with his laptop and shut the lid of the arm. After twisting some screws, he tapped the back of the hand. A blue screen suddenly lit up.

“Whoa…” The ginger-head gasped. The blunette also walked closer, standing behind the other with eyes widened in awe. Even the cat perked up and Idia was holding back the temptation to pet him.

He cleared his throat and, for the first time that day, Jonah glanced at him. And suddenly Idia felt like he just wanted to crawl inside his blanket again. “Because y-yesterday w-was s-such an e-emergency, I h-haven’t b-been a-able to u-upgrade t-this h-hand m-more.”

“You’ve done this before?” asked the blunette.

“M-My brother,” Idia answered, twisting the cable around his finger. “Anyway. T-This h-hand is my o-own c-creation. It can be a phone, a widescreen TV, a laptop for one hand, or a mobile hotspot as long as there’s a phone signal. This is also waterproof, flameproof, childproof, anddetachable.Ialsoaddedmorefeatureslikeacanopener,lockopener,systemhacker,andlasercannon.Itcanalsoglowinthedark.Also-”

“Wait!” The ginger-head raised his hand. Idia immediately clamped his mouth shut. “You’re talking too fast.”

Jonah shook his head a little. “It’s alright.” His lips pulled into a small smile, but Idia knew that smile was just for politeness. It felt different than the smile he often saw during their regular Board Game Club meeting. “Thank you.”

Idia gave him a small nod. He started to pack his things but often glanced at Jonah. He was holding his right arm by the beginning part of the hand. He was frowning as his prosthetic hand clenched. He did that repeatedly. It was curious. Ortho didn’t do that when he “woke up” for the first time. Maybe because Ortho was a child and didn’t think that much. Or maybe…

Idia brought his thumb to his lips and started nibbling onto it. No no no. This is not the time to have a flashback sequence. Or maybe he made a mistake? Maybe the hand is uncomfortable? Is the palm too small? Or maybe too big? Did he screw it right? Or maybe he should change the material to-

“Senior Idia?”

Idia pulled back his thumb and turned toward Jonah. Despite the tired-looking eyes, there was concern shining through it. “Are you okay?”

Idia quickly nodded. He locked his suitcase and stood up. “If y-you n-need an upgrade o-or any maintenance, I h-have m-my n-number in t-t-the p-phonebook. B-but only for an emergency,” he said, to which Jonah nodded and hummed. “And…” Idia gulped. A faint pink blush appeared on his pale cheeks. “G-Get well soon.” Without waiting for any response, Idia ran out the door.


“Baby Seal~”

“YOU! STAY AWAY!”

Grim immediately jumped from Jonah’s chest and flew toward Floyd ready to headbutt him. But the older boy just grinned and ducked. Grim eyes widened. He hit the wall with a *splat*. Floyd threw himself into Jonah's chest, tackling him on the bed. Azul and Jade, who was carrying a lunchbox, walked into the infirmary, stepping over the unconscious cat.

“You’re awake~!”

“S-Senior Floyd!” Jonah coughed. He reached for Floyd’s back with his left arm, giving him a weak hug. “W-What are you doing here?”

“What? Are we not allowed to visit our sick co-worker?” Azul said, smiling at him. “Glad to see you are okay, Mister Argentum. I would be really sad if I have to lose my top chef.”

Jonah chuckled when Floyd pulled back. “You just want me to pay up all my dept.”

Azul chuckled. “That too,” he said as he pushed his glasses up. “But in all seriousness, we’re glad that you are at least okay.”

Jonah looked up at them in seriousness. “Do you know what happened?”

Azul pulled his hat down, concealing his eyes. So instead, Jade was the one who answered it. “The news had spread that another overblot battle had happened, but the rumors didn’t go in detail on how it happened. Just like when Riddle overbloted.”

Jonah frowned. “How is that possible? There’s just no way that kind of news stays hidden.”

“The headmaster has his way to contain it only in the campus.” Jade put down the lunchbox on the table next to the bed. “We don’t know how, but even the people from the Magishift didn’t mention anything about overblotting. The biggest news is that sudden stampede and Diasomnia winning again.”

“Then how did you know about-”

“Idia wasn’t the best in containing his panic,” Azul answered. “He started mumbling and Cater knew, so Riddle knew, then Jade knew, and all of us are here.”

Jonah sighed. “Can I… Ask a favor?” Azul nodded, so Jonah continued. “If you know who did… This.” He lifted his prosthetic hand from under the blanket. Jonah saw the way Floyd let out a small gasp, Jade’s eyes widened, and Azul glared at the said hand. “Just… Don’t attack or kill anyone?”

“May I ask why?” Azul asked, his voice lowered.

Jonah shook his head. “This is personal. I’m the one who is allowed to decide what I will do about this. Nobody can get involved. It’s just me and him.”

Azul raised his chin, glaring at Jonah as if he was challenging him. The window was opened so the wind blew in, blowing everyone’s hair with its light breeze. It blew Jonah’s bangs from his face and Azul was presented with a glowing yellow eye with a red dot in the center and a few tints of black splatter on it. Azul’s silvery-blue eyes widened slightly. This was probably the first time that he saw what’s under that eye-patch. It was reasonable for Jonah not to wear his usual eye-patch during recovery, but he wasn’t expecting this.

Jonah himself creased his brow, trying to figure out why the snarky Azul suddenly became quite. He thought he would get a lecture or even a fun back-to-back exchanged, not this silence. There was a small swirl in Azul’s eyes. Something resemblance to a thin, green smoke…

“Azul?” Jade shook Azul’s shoulder, cutting him out from his trance. Azul blinked a few times. What just happened? Looking up back to Jonah, the smaller boy was blinking confusedly too, his bangs once again covered his eye. Strange… How peculiar…

“Jonah!” Grim finally woke up and flew back to Jonah, pushing Floyd away from him. “What did you do to him?”

“Mou~ Don’t be like that, piranha~” Floyd moaned which Grim responded with a hiss. “We’re just here to bring Baby Seal’s lunch.” Leave it to Floyd to change the mood. He reached for the lunch box and opened it. Inside was a simple bent, with rice, fried shrimp with mayonnaise and chili sauce, octopus-shaped wiener, and a small cup of salad. “I made it myself.”

Jonah chuckled. “Looks delicious.”

Floyd smiled widely. “You better eat it all~ I made it with all of my love~”

Jade chuckled behind him. “He woke me up early in the morning just to make it.”

“Jade, shush!” Floyd hissed at him. “You make me look like I can’t cook!”

“But you really can’t”

“Mou~ Jade!”

“Wait!” Grim raised his paws. “I need to make sure this is not yucky or poisonous!”

Floyd's eyes suddenly went dark. Even his voice became lower. “Are you accusing me as a murderer?”

Grim shivered but he stood his ground. “I-I-I just want to make sure! I can’t let Jonah become sicker!”

“Grim…” Jonah softened his gaze toward Grim. “Aww~ You do care.”

Grim cheeks became pink. He crossed his paws in front of his chest. “Hmmph! If you’re sick, who will feed me?”

Jonah laughed. “Alright. Alright, you raccoon.”

“I’m not a raccoon!”

Jonah just smiled. He then reached for one of the fried shrimp and gave it to Grim, ignoring the pout from Floyd. “Eat up, food inspector.”

Grim took the fried shrimp and sniffed it. The Octavinelle Trio made a face as if saying they were disgusted. Grim then nibble at the shrimp, smacking his lips. “It’s not poisonous…” He popped the whole shrimp into his mouth. His eyes widened and he pressed his cheeks. “It’s so crunchy on the outside but tender on the inside~”

Jonah chuckled. He turned to Floyd. “I guess that's a yes from him.”

“Yeah~!” Floyd raised his hands. He then reached from the spoon and scooped some of the rice, along with small bits of wiener. He raised the filled spoon in front of Jonah’s face. “Say, ‘ahh’~”

Jonah leaned back. “I can eat on my own, Senior Floyd.”

The said senior pouted again. “But you said that you’ll do anything for me. So, I want you to let me feed you.”

Jade chuckled. “You did promise that Jonah. No backing down from this. Floyd will keep asking until you do what he says.”

Jonah sighed, but he was smiling. “If you say it that way.” He closed his eyes and opened his mouth. “Ahh~”

Floyd pushed the spoon inside the younger boy’s mouth and Azul must cover his blushing cheeks because why in the world is this so cute? This, of course, didn’t go unnoticed by Jade who was laughing at him. Floyd pulled back the spoon, letting Jonah chewed the food. “Hmm… This is good,” he said with his mouth full.

Floyd beamed at this. Immediately, even before Jonah could swallow anything he had scooped more rice and wiener. “Another one, coming up~”

Azul smiled, crossing his arms in front of his chest. “You’ve gotten yourself in trouble, Jonah. Floyd will definitely repeat this.” Jonah could only huff at this. It’s not like he has any other choice.


"That's one cool hand."

Jonah looked up toward the door. A familiar hyena-boy was leaning against the door, wearing his PE Uniform. Is it his PE period? Did he ditch class for a surprising visit? "Senior Bucchi."

The hyena-boy grinned as he walked closer. "Hey, there's no need for formalities. Just call me Ruggie." He took a seat on the chair next to Jonah’s bed. He was staring at his prosthetic hand, a hint of regret reflected from his eyes. "Does it hurt?"

Jonah shook his head, giving him a weak smile. "Surprisingly, no. Senior Idia did a good job."

Ruggie hummed. His ears perked up and he dug his pocket. "Are you hungry?" He took out a wrapped up sandwich. "Here."

Jonah was about to decline but Ruggie had already put it on his lap. Jonah gave him a smile as thank you. Picking up the sandwich, he opened the wrapper slightly. The familiar combination made him looked up to the senior. "Deluxe minced cutlet sandwich?"

Ruggie shrugged. "To make up for the last time."

Jonah chuckled at that. How long was it since that cafeteria chaos? It felt nostalgic remembering that. "Thank you." Jonah opened the wrapper further. He brought the sandwich close to his mouth and took a big bite. His eyebrows raised and eyes slightly widened. “Wow. This is good.”

“I know, right?” Ruggie grinned at him. “That’s also Leona’s favorite sandwich.”

Jonah swallowed. Senior Kingscholar… "How is Savanaclaw?"

"We're doing fine. Most of us made up with the other victim."

"And Senior Kingscholar?" Jonah noticed the way Ruggie tensed up. "Is he alright?"

The senior purposely ducked his head, not wanting to see him straight in the eye. "He'll be fine," he said in a soft voice. "He's a tough lion."

"Even lion can have a breakdown sometimes," Jonah said. He clenched his hands. "Are you worried about him?"

There was silence between them for a certain amount of time. Then Ruggie sighed. He leaned back against his chair, tilting his head up to stare at the ceiling "He hadn't come out room since Magishift," he finally answered. "Usually when he needs something he would call me. But now..." He released his clenched fists, once again sighing. "I guess I'm used to be ordered around."

"Why?"

Ruggie let out a chuckle. "Gratitude, I guess." The corner of his lips pulled up, remembering something is a distant past. "I live in the slums of Afterglow Savannah, so you can imagine how many crimes we commit every day. Anyway, when I was a kid, I messed with the wrong group of thieves and Leona... He just suddenly appeared and beat them up."

"Hey."

Little Ruggie peaked up from his cowering corner. He lowered his arms from around his head. The lion cub was standing in front of him, tossing and catching the food that he snatched from the gang groceries. Said gang was now unconscious in that alleyway.

The lion eyed at the food. "All this for a loaf of bread?" he asked, raising an eyebrow at Ruggie. Little Ruggie shook his head quickly which made the lion cub tilted his head to the side. Looking around the alleyway, he saw a small bottle. Ruggie was panicking when the lion cub picked up the bottle and began to shake it, examining the pills inside of it. He glanced at Ruggie and the hyena found himself gulping.

The lion cub finally sighed. He walked toward Ruggie who pressed his closer to the wall. "Here." He tossed the bread and pills bottle which Ruggie immediately caught it. The little hyena was confused, why didn't the lion beat him up too?

But when he looked up again, the lion cub was gone.

"I was really surprised when I found out that Leona is also attending NRC. I just know a simple thank you just doesn't make up for it." He lowered his head and closed his eyes. "He saved my life and my grandma to an extend. So, yeah." He shrugged. "Even if he's w bit messed up right now and we haven't talked at all." Opening his eyes, he gave Jonah a sheepish but sad smile. "I just can't straight-up hate him, you know?"

Jonah's eyes widened. He smiled softly at him. "Leona is lucky to have a friend like you."

Ruggie bit his lips, his ears slightly down. "Does Leona consider me as a friend?"

Jonah let out a chuckled. "He's probably too embarrassed to admit it. But I have a feeling he does."

A small laugh came out from Ruggie’s mouth. “I hope you’re right.” He looked back up at Jonah, brow furrowing. “And I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“You saved me. It cost you your hand.” Ruggie glanced at Jonah’s prosthetic hand again and Jonah uncurled his fist. Ruggie looked back up at him. “Did you regret it?”

Jonah bit his lips, looking down at his hand. “I haven’t decided it.” He sighed and looked back up again. “But, I want to thank you too.”

Ruggie blinked in confusion. “For what?”

“You saved my life back then.” Jonah tilted his head to the side, smiling softly at him and offering his prosthetic hand. “So, we’re even.”

Ruggie's eyes widened. But then he grinned. “How about we start over?” He took the hand and gave it a firm shake. “I’m Ruggie Bucchi. But Ruggie is fine.”

“Jonah Argentum. Captain Jonah Argentum.” Jonah smiled. “A pleasure to meet you, Mister Ruggie.”


Riddle stomped down the hallway, looking like he was about to murder someone. Everyone made way from the tiny redhead. To be honest, Riddle didn't know what he was feeling. Angry? Frustration? Worry? He still needed to learn many things about emotions. When he reached the infirmary the pushed the door open with a loud *bang*, startling the occupant there. Grim jumped off from Jonah's chest as the boy's eyes widened in shock. Both of them turned toward Riddle who was scowling.

There was a beat.

“Senior Riddle?” Jonah asked. His left hand reached for Grim who hid behind the bed.

Riddle clenched his teeth. “You are an idiot.”

“Eh?”

Riddle frown deepened. He crossed the room quickly and immediately threw himself in Jonah’s arm. He was aware that this was such out of character of him, but he didn’t care. Jonah is alive. He’s safe for now. He’s hurt, yes, but he survived.

“You’re such an idiot.” Riddle hugged the still shocked Jonah harder. “Who gave you the right to go reckless like that? Stupid captain!”

“Senior Riddle…”

"You don't get to die!" Riddle pulled back. He was staring at Jonah with teary eyes. Why is he acting like a crybaby? He shook Jonah's shoulder slightly harder as he screamed in front of his face. "You hear me, you idiot?! Don't do that again! If you almost die like that again, I'll cut your head off!"

Jonah swallowed, blinked, and then finally relaxed. A happy expression replacing the former shock. And after that, he finally spoke. "I'll try."

Riddle exhaled sharply through his nose. Jonah reached for Riddle's back and pulled him closer. Riddle was pretty sure he was trembling as Jonah hugged him. This is weird. He's supposed to be the one who does the comforting job, not the other way around. Riddle buried his head on Jonah's shoulder, his hands gripping Jonah's hospital gown. Riddle didn't have the energy to be mad at him. It was scary back then when Jonah was captured. It really scared him when he listened to his screams. No matter how many times he said that he was pissed about that, he knew he couldn't stay like that for too long. One fact remained valid.

He cares for Jonah. He doesn't want to lose any of his friends.

Chapter Text

"Mister Argentum."

Jonah looked up with a smile. Crowley appeared by the door just when Mister Spencer finished using a last touch of healing with his light-magic. He was sitting on his bed in his fresh clothes, feet dangling above the floor and Grim was sitting on his lap while he was patting his head.

"Are you ready to return to the dorm?" the headmaster asked as he walked in.

Jonah nodded. He looked down at Grim. "I think this calls for a celebration, don't you think? What should I cook?"

Grim's ears perked up. "Well..." he tapped his chin. "I want something with fish in it..."

Jonah chuckled. "Of course you do."

Grim puffed up his cheeks, pouting. "I'm just saying..."

"Wouldn't it be better if he rests a little bit more?" Crowley asked, turning to Mister Spencer.

"While I don't recommend doing heavy lifting and sports," Spencer said as he lowered his hand, along with the dimming light of his necklace. "Young Argentum here needs some practice to get used to his new hand. Little things like cooking would be fine for him."

Jonah rubbed his scar again. It didn't hurt. The nurse did a wonderful job at him. "Thank you for everything, Mister Spencer," he said, smiling and nodding at the grandpa.

"You are very welcome, young man," the old man smiled back. "Adventurous youngster like you better be more careful."

Jonah chuckled. "I'll try." Jonah took a deep breath and let it out through his nose. His feet touched the ground and slowly he straightened up. Grim and Crowley were watching worriedly at him, but he gave him a reassuring smile. And then he took a step. The room swayed a bit and his knees trembled. "Whoa-"

"Careful." Crowley caught him before he could collapse. "This is normal."

Jonah nodded. "Thank you, headmaster." Jonah tried to stand up straight again, shaking his head to get rid of the dizziness. He blinked a few times. "No. I'm fine now."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes." Jonah took another step. He didn't feel dizzy anymore. He gave Crowley a nod, which the headmaster responded with a nod of his own. He turned toward Spencer.

"We'll be leaving now."

Spencer nodded at him. He turned to Jonah again. "Stay save, child," Jonah answered him with a smile and nod. Grim flew toward him, perching on his left shoulder like usual. With that, both student and headmaster walked out from the infirmary.

As they walked, Jonah was glancing around. Sure some students were whispering and looking at his prosthetic hand which he tucked in his jacket’s pocket. But other than that, just like Senior Azul said, nobody was talking about the rumor of Senior Kingscholar’s overblot. Heck, now that he realized that, it had been a long time since he heard people talking about Riddle’s overblot. How is this possible? Isn’t overblot, like, a huge thing? If the chandelier accident is still being remembered, how come the overblot news suddenly vanished in the wind?

"You have something in your mind?"

Jonah turned to Crowley. The headmaster was still looking forward though he noticed that he started to walk slower to start this conversation. Taking a glance around one last time, he turned to Crowley again. "How come nobody talks about Senior Kingscholar or Riddle's overblot?"

Crowley’s steps didn’t flatter, but Jonah noticed how the tapping of his cane became louder for some reason. "We have our own ways to stop the news from spreading."

"How?"

It took Crowley a few seconds to answer. "It's a school secret."

Jonah frowned. "But surely you're gracious enough to tell a questioning student."

This time, Crowley did turn his head toward him slightly and Jonah gulped. It was as if the headmaster was glaring at him behind that mask (and he probably was). "I would if it's a different question. This time I have to be stingy."

Jonah was still frowning confusedly at Crowley. Is the headmaster hiding something? But he decided to let it slide for this moment. “Yes, headmaster,” he sighed.

When they finally reached the Ramshackle Dorm, Jonah looked up at the building on top of the hill. He couldn’t help but let out a smile. "Good to be back," he muttered. Crowley smiled and put a hand on Jonah’s back as he guided him to walk toward the said building.

Grim then flew off his shoulder and knocked on the door in a somewhat cheery rhythm. “Is there someone in there?” Jonah asked the cat.

Grim shrugged, but he was smiling a bit too much. “Probably the ghosts.”

Jonah raised an eyebrow at him, deciding to ask later. When he opened the door-

*POOP!* *POOP!*

Streamers and confetti fell onto his hair as the light suddenly lit up. Jonah blinked in confusion at the occupant of the dorm. “Wha-”

"WELCOME HOME!"

The Ramshackle Dorm’s Lounge looked different. Gone was the couch, coffee table, and armchair. In exchange, several picnic blanket was laid on the floor with various delicious-looking food on top of it. Balloons and streamers decorated the entire room, making it more festive. And the people inside…

Ace and Deuce was grinning at him, holding up an empty cone-shaped confetti popper. Cater was recording everything live on his magicam, while Trey and Riddle were there clapping their hand. Even Jack and Epel was there, smiling at him. Far behind, he could see Azul standing next to the kitchen and the twins head popping out from there. Ortho was there too, along with Idia’s tab floating beside him.

“Jonah Argentum!” the robot kid was the first one to move, hugging Jonah around his hips. “We miss you!”

“Guys, it has only been one week,” said Jonah.

“Yeah, but class isn’t the same without you, captain.” Ace gave him a one-sided arm hug. “Your confused faces are always entertaining to watch.”

“And I miss my flight partner,” Epel perked up. “It’s not fun when everyone is slower than you.”

Jack rubbed behind his neck, slightly blushing. “I’m only here to check on you. Glad to know you’re okay.”

“He’s a tsundere…” Idia whispered through his tab.

“We’re celebrating many things!” Cater said, zooming in at Jonah. “Jonah is finally out from the infirmary and Trey is off from crutches.” Trey laughed when Cater turned the camera toward him.

“All in all.” Riddle stepped forward and stood in front of Jonah. He was smiling at him as he stretched out his hand. “Welcome back, Mister Argentum.”

Jonah looked around him, to the faces one by one. They… Really care, huh? He let out a soft laugh and reached for Riddle’s hand, giving it a small shake. “Good to be back, Mister Rosehearts.”

“Alright!” Grim cheered, shooting off from Jonah’s head. “It’s time to celebrate.”

“That is quite correct,” Azul said as he clapped his hand, making everyone turned toward him. Floyd and Jade came out from the kitchen, carrying even more food. “Gentlemen. The feast is served.”

Jonah was pulled by both Ace and Deuce toward the picnic blanket and the boy couldn’t help but laugh at all of this. They went through all of this, just to celebrate him coming home? Jonah still couldn’t believe they did this. Why would they? But as a spoon was held in front of his mouth by Senior Floyd, who sat beside him, Jonah decided not to think too much about it. He felt pretty hungry actually…

Crowley watched through the door, having no intentions to join in the group of children. Floyd was trying to feed Jonah again with a red-faced Riddle who kept glaring at him as steams came out from his ears. Trey was trying to calm him down while Jade was just laughing.  Azul kept on watching the interesting scene. Deuce was looking at Ace and Cater with concern when they mentioned they like pineapples on pizza. Grim was devouring everything in sight. Ortho can’t really eat, but he was the one who recorded everything with Idia giving him instruction.

The corner of his mouth raised before he closed the door. The children deserve this.


The night finally came. Jonah closed the curtain as he turned toward his bed. Grim was sleeping next to his pillow. Perhaps he wasn’t ready to leave Jonah sleeping alone again. After all, he had been sleeping next to him during his nights in the infirmary. And honestly, he didn’t mind. Grim would probably be lonely in this dorm. He sat on his bed and gave Grim a rub on top of his head, making him purr in his sleep. Jonah chuckled before trying to reach for his night lamp. However, once again, it happened.

He was surprised the orb hadn’t been move since the last time he slept here. It was glowing as the sound of thunder echoing from inside of it. Glancing to Grim, he saw the cat didn’t stir at all. Perhaps he’s the only one who can hear it? Another mystery to be added on the list.

Tapping and twisting the orb, once again it let out the familiar green light, but this time it flooded the room and came crashing into his face like a wave, forcing Jonah to close his eyes. When he opened them again, he found himself swimming in the sea in the middle of a storm. Far ahead he could see a burning ship, threatening to sink. The wave crashed onto him again, forcing him to dive. Jonah held his breath but soon released a gasped when he found something.

A young lady swam passed him. Not just any lady. She had a tail. A hybrid? No. What’s it called? Oh! A mermaid… She swam through barrels and pieces of woods until Jonah noticed a young man was sinking, so the mermaid grabbed him around the waist and pulled him back to the surface. Jonah followed her, breaking the surface with a gasp.

The storm had died down. Far on the beach, he could see the young man was slowly waking up. A dog ran up to him, licking his face as an old man also ran up to him, helping him to get up.

"Eric! You really take delight in these statistic strains on my blood pressure don't you?"

But the young man kept staring toward the sea, a smile on his face.

"A girl rescued me. She was singing. She had the most beautiful voice."

The young man fell backward but the older man caught him.

"Eric, I think you swallowed a little too much seawater. Off we go."

He was definitely talking about the mermaid from earlier. Where was she anyway? Looking around, he caught on someone sitting on the rock. It was the mermaid, looking dreamingly at the shore.

“I don't know when, I don't know how… But I know something's starting right now… Watch and you'll see, someday I'll be… Part of your world!”

She sang as the waves of the sea hit off of the rock she was sitting on. Jonah had to admit, the young man was right, she had the most beautiful voice he had ever heard.

However, he heard a faint laugh. Turning around he saw two eels head emerged from the water, their heterochromia eyes were shining as they watched the mermaid. Who are they? Before Jonah could find out, a wave hit him on the back of his head and he found himself back in his room. The orb in his hand closed up on its own.

“Jonah?” The boy turned toward Grim who looked at him with sleepy eyes. “Are you okay?”

Hiding the orb behind his back, Jonah patted Grim on the head again. “I’m fine. Just go back to sleep.”

Grim purred and curled up again. Jonah sighed. He put his orb on the nightstand and turned up the lamp. As he pulled the blanket, happy with the familiar softness, he closed his eyes. Though a thought interrupted him for a second before he drifted to sleep.

Those eels... Their eyes were suspiciously similar to Senior Jade and Floyd's...

Chapter Text

*thud* *thud* *thud* *thud* *thud*

"Jonah, stop it. You'll get brain damage."

Jonah smacked his forehead onto his table once again. In front of him were stacks of notes and unfinished homework. Even though he had permission not to attend class because he was sick, the homework just wouldn't stop. "Maybe if I smack my brain even harder I'll be smarter," he grumbled.

"Please don't," Grim mumbled. Yep, he's losing it. The cat's ears then perked up. "Maybe some food will help!" Like magic, he created a movement like he was taking out something from his pocket. "Ta-da!"

Black rock was being held up in front of Jonah's face, making the boy backed up for a bit. He frowned as he reached for the rock. "Isn't like the one in the Dwarfs' Mine?"

"Yeah," Grim nodded. He was looking at the stone a bit too intensely as if he didn't what to give it up just yet. "Riddle dropped that rock too." The cat licked his lips. "It's crazy that each rock has a different flavor."

Jonah sighed. It was obvious that Grim was holding back himself. "You can have it."

"Eh?"

"I can't eat rock, you know. Here.” Jonah tossed the rock into the air. “Fetch."

Grim eyes widened and immediately shot up. He opened his mouth widely and caught the rock in his mouth with a "Hap!" The cat hummed, rubbing his cheeks as a light blush formed on them. "Mm~ It’s got a little bit of a bitter and spicy taste! It’s like grown-up food!"

Jonah blinked. "Was it different from Senior Riddle's rock back then?"

“Umm…” Grim tapped his chin before snapping his fingers. “Oh! It got a rather sweet taste, but there’s also a good kind of bitterness mixed in~!”

In turn, Jonah tapped his chin. "Different taste, huh?"

Grim landed back on the table, looking at Jonah and tilting his head. "What are you thinking?"

Jonah sighed and shook his head. "I don't know really. Those rocks always appear after an overblot battle. What does that mean? Not to mention-"

“Captain!” Both Jonah and Grim turned toward the voice. Ace and Duce came running toward them. The ginger-haired boy was carrying a big, stuffed, paper bag.

Jonah shushed them when they reached the table. “Guys, this is a library.”

“Sorry,” Ace whispered as Deuce covered his mouth. “But, captain! You have to tell Deuce that he has to wear a dress!”

Jonah and Grim exchanged a glance, clearly confused. The eye-patch boy raised an eyebrow at him. What is he talking about? But before he could ask for clarification, Deuce punched Ace on the shoulder. “No! Why can’t you wear it?”

Ace turned toward him, grinning. “I am manly as fuck! There’s no way I’m wearing it! It fits you, mama boy!”

Deuce’s face became red, either from embarrassment or anger. “I’m not a mama boy! Why can’t both of us wear the dress-suit?”

“It’s too small for you!” Ace retorted.

Once again, Jonah shushed them, making both Heartslabyul boys turned toward him. “Excuse me. Why are you talking about dresses and suits?”

This time, Ace and Deuce exchanged a glance, before staring at Jonah in confusion. “Have you heard of the All Hallow’s Eve Party?” asked Ace.

“No…” Jonah shook his head. “Was I unconscious during that?”

The other three winched. They still remembered the sight of their unconscious captain and vaguely remember that Professor Divus mentioning about the All Hallow’s Eve Party. But neither one of them was excited, perhaps a bit disappointed on Ace and Deuce’s side since they were speculating that they won’t be able to attend it in favor of being there for the captain. But once the captain woke up and slowly recovering, plus the exciting discussions of costume among the student, the two of them were once again in the mood, especially now that Jonah and Grim were able to attend the party with them.

“Well, it’s basically a costume party tomorrow,” Ace said as he put the bag on the table. Jonah pulled the bag down slightly to take a peak and he could see some well-made fabric in that bag. Ace continued as he sat on the table, “Back home, children usually dress in costume and go house-to-house saying ‘treat-or-treat’ and the owner of the house will give them candy! That’s like the best holiday ever! Free candy that will last a week…”

“Free candies!” Grim shot up from the table, floating in excitement and twinkling eyes. He turned to Jonah, grabbing his collar and shaking it lightly. “Jonah, we have to do that! I need a costume!”

“My brother just sent some costume to me for the three of us! I even ask him for a dress since the theme this year is ‘Heroes & Princesses’!” Ace grinned as he patted the bag. “But Deuce here doesn’t want to wear the dress.”

Deuce groaned as he ran his hand down his face. “Again, why should I be the one in the dress?”

Ace blew a raspberry toward him. “You’ll look pretty in those!”

“I-” Deuce blushed again. “I’m not supposed to be pretty!”

“Oho, what’s with all of this excitement?”

A boy suddenly appeared between them in an upside-down position, making the boys screamed in surprise. “GAH! The kid!” Ace scattered back, nearly knocking down Jonah’s homework, and pointed accursedly at the boy.

Senior Vanrouge turned toward him, a smile on his face. “Kufu, young man, that’s not the way to speak to thy elders.” He glanced toward Jonah, giving him a nod. “I’m delighted to until are doing well, Little Star.”

Jonah opened his mouth but nothing came out. Little Star? Wait. Isn’t that what the horned dude called him? He’s from the same dorm as Vanrouge, right? Maybe he can ask him about that boy…

Vanrouge sighed, cupping his cheek with his right palm and his left held his right elbow. “Ah, yes~ it’s just wonderful knowing that we don’t want to try some sacrifice 'i this age. It had been terrible would we  hast to relive those times.”

Jonah blinked at this. “Sacrifice?”

Vanrouge perked up at this. “Oya? you’ve ne'r known of the ‘tale of the unfortunate sacrificial flower’?” When he saw that the children were staring at him with a clueless look, his smile widened. “Well, we can’t hast that.”

He jumped and turned his body around, landing his feet on the ground gracefully. He clapped his hands. “Gather around, children.” He ushered Deuce to sit beside Jonah as if this were a kindergarten’s storytime period. “Papa Lilia is about to say to a spooky tale.”

Ace raised an eyebrow at the senior. He leaned to Grim who sat beside him and whispered. “Papa Lilia?” The cat just shrugged at this.

Lilia cleared his throat and clapped his hand again. Jonah acutely aware that the room around him suddenly became dark, with the only light source came from under Senior’s Vanrouge chin, as if he was holding up a flashlight under his face, giving him a spooky feel. “Once, from a time long hence, back at the time when magic was feared and witches ruled the welken, there was an corky provincial town which had a terrible tradition. Thou see, children, once 'i every blue moon, a powerful evil witch befell the town and sucked the souls of the children for children’s souls are witches’ favorite meal. To prevent this, the town aye prepared a sacrifice: a soul of a virgin at the age of 17.

“One generation, a young flower wench named Maryanne was chosen as the sacrificial maiden. Despite her crying and begging, the village only turned a seel eye upon'r. Except one; a young lord named Ludwig, whom was 'i love with the wench. Towards the night of the blue moon, when the evil witch came and sucked the soul right of Maryanne, Ludwig appeared and threw a blue flame toward the witch, killing her under the moonlight. Wherein the witch’s soul left the corporal agent. Maryanne ate the soul, for only those whom hast a revengeful soul is able to try that. Base Maryanne’s soul couldn’t return to her corporal agent. Hence, generations after that, Maryanne kept wandering around the village.

“Yet don’t let this bittersweet ending fool thou, children. O no. The story is not over yet. Generations later, magic became moe acceptable 'i society’s eyes, and a new generation of magicians was born. Yet , for base, dear Maryanne, whom still hated magic and magicians, this was a beshrew, watching young children making magic 'i the street so carefree while she was hiding from it. Envy and jealously consumed her, and she became the one thing she was most afeard of: an eater of magical children's soul.

"Once again, the town was filled with fear and, once again, some one needed to forbear it.  This time, a young woman named Selene, the issue of Ludwig, took the route to seal the vengeful soul inside an ancient golden chest.  And yet , Maryanne swore that one the night of the blue moon, on All Hallow’s Eve, a virgin of age 17 would ope the chest and released her.  And would they doth, she shall feast of the soul of young magician around the little town!”

Lilia screamed at the end of his sentences, in turn, making younger students screamed too. The cat immediately clawed to Jonah’s back.

“T-T-That’s just some story!” Ace retorted, but clearly, from his trembling voice, he was also terrified. “There is no way it is true.”

“Oh, haply thou hast a skeptic mind, young man,” Lilia giggled as he squinted his ruby eyes. “Yet some say that the land where the corky provincial town once stood is the same land that the current Night Raven College is standing.”

“Eek!” Grim squeaked, holding hard onto Jonah’s head. “That means this ground is cursed! I knew it!”

“So, there might be a chance that Maryanne’s chest is inside the school?” Jonah asked.

The other three turned at him in shock while Lilia just raised an eyebrow and smirked at him. “Captain, what are you saying?” demanded the ginger-head.

To their surprise, Jonah turned his head toward them with twinkling eyes filled with excitement. He was smiling too widely for them. Even when he jumped from his seat to turn toward them was like a kid who just received their All Hallow’s Eve candy. “Oh, come on, guys. Aren’t you curious or something?” he asked in a slightly loud voice as if he couldn’t contain his excitement. “It’s like a treasure hunt!”

“A spooky treasure hunt…” Deuce whispered. It was as if he was having a flashback from the Dwarfs’ mine.

“Kufu, whom knows, young man?” Jonah turned toward Vanrouge who was smirking at him. “Haply thou might find it.”

That only made Jonah even more excited for tomorrow.

Chapter Text

For a so-called ‘spooky costume’, Jonah felt that this was more suited for a formal party. The dress-robe was black but has a white formal shirt part on the chest with a white bowtie. It didn't come with a pair of shoes, but he also got a round-glasses.

“You wear an eye-patch and glasses?” Grim asked from his position on top of Jonah’s bed. His costume only consisted of one long rag (which Grim commented made him look like a hobo) that barely covered his shoulder and no sleeves. “Isn’t that a bit redundant?”

Jonah just shrugged. “Who knows?” His answer was muffled because he was currently biting on his hairband. “The glasses came with the costume so of course, I need to wear it.” He wore the glasses, surprised that he didn’t feel dizzy. Perhaps the glasses had a neutral lens. Grabbing his hair, he decided to tie it into a low bun instead of his usual ponytail, just for a small change.

“There.” Jonah looked at his reflection again. Not bad actually. Nodding to himself with satisfaction, he turned toward Grim. “Ready to go?”

Grim grinned and jumped to Jonah's shoulder. “Yeah! Free candies for us!”


Nearly every corner of the school ground was decorated with crafted pumpkin, ghost and spider theme decoration, and beautiful orange tint light. Boys in costumes, some even wear dresses and high heels, filled the main street since the party was held in the gym. Jonah was standing near the statue of Queen of Hearts, noticing there was one small burn mark that couldn’t be scrubbed off. He was playing with his new hand, trying to understand the system inside it. Ortho had given him the manual written by Senior Idia, but the gibberish inside of it was even more complicated than his potion textbook.

“Oh, Jonah!” A deep voice called him.

Looking up, he was Jack and Epel walking together, which was understandable since they are in the same class, they probably spent more time together. Looking up and down at them, Jonah concluded that they were probably the ‘lucky’ half from their respective dorm who was chosen to wear a dress.

Epel’s dress was blue with white laces at the end and a pink ribbon around his waist. He had a white cloth on his shoulder which was tied with a pink ribbon around his neck. He also wore dark brown boots and a red bandana.  Meanwhile, Jack’s costume was wilder. He wore no shoes or gloves but wore a black ribbon on both of his upper arm. He also wore a plain sleeveless white shirt, a dark blue skirt that reached his knees, and a red wolf mask connected to a white fur like a cape.

“Nice skirt, guys,” Jonah chucked, which resulted in a blush coming from the two.

Jack rubbed behind his neck. “It was an agreement in Savanaclaw that all first-years must wear a dress.”

Epel, meanwhile, just looked pissed with cheek puffed up like a chipmunk. “All Pomefiore just ganged up at me and forced me into this.”

“You’re not the only one.”

Everyone turned to the newcomers. Deuce was looking miserable while Ace not that much. Deuce, with bits of his hair tied in a ponytail, was wearing a pink dress that reached the ground, and from the way that he had trouble walking, probably from wearing heels. Ace meanwhile wore a brown fur coat with pink laces on the sleeves and shoulder areas over a checkered brown shirt with white-lacey collar and black bowtie, also a pair of black boots.

“I don’t know how Prefect Roseharts walks on this,” Deuce whined as he lifted his dress slight and, just as they had thought, he was wearing white high-heels. “And his heels are higher.” He glared at Ace. “I’m blaming you if I twist my ankle tonight.”

“Gck! Aw, come on! You can’t do that!” Ace retorted. “Didn’t you practice with Cater yesterday? You’ll be fine.”

Grim whistled. “Now, this is what I call a ‘princess’.”

“I’M NOT A PRINCESS!” Deuce screamed.

“Please, I don’t want to cut someone’s head on a celebration.”

Riddle walked up toward him, followed by Cater and Trey.  Riddle was wearing a red dress with heart motives and a crown on his head. For the trio, it kinda reminded him of his overblot’s form. Trey was wearing a white uniform and a red cape with white fur on his right shoulder, along with a white hat. Cater meanwhile have twin braids, wearing a long coat, red above and white below, with a big white bow on his chest, white gloves, and white boots.

Cater squealed at the first years. “All of you look adorable. Let me take a selfie!” Cater took out his phone and raised it above his head, catching everyone. Motioning for everyone to gather around (Ace pulled a very embarrassed Deuce), Cater raised a peace sign, followed by the others striking their pose. “Cheese~”

*click!*

“Great picture, guys!” Cater immediately posted it, tagging everyone on the group. “Come on now, we will be late for the dance.”

“Dance?” Jonah repeated.

Cater nodded. “After the mandatory for a dance, prefect first then everyone must join the dance before the real party started.”

“But the headmaster excluded both you and Leona,” Riddle added. “So, you don’t have to worry.” Jonah nodded.

“Who knows?” Trey pushed his glasses up. “Maybe both of you can dance in the next turn.”

Ace and Cater cooed at this. “How romantic~”

Riddle's face became as red as his dress. “D-Don’t tease me!”

Jonah just shrugged and smile. “Actually, that sounds like fun.” Riddle’s face just became redder, followed by laughter from the others.


The door to the gym opened and Prefect Rosehearts, along with the other prefects, walked in hand-in-hand with their respective partner. Prefect Rosehearts, of course, went with Vice Prefect Clover. Same as the Pomefiore and Scarabia Prefect. The Octavinelle Prefect went with the other eel twin (which Deuce was rather curious because that boy dressed in a perfect replica of Prefect Rosehearts’ Dorm Uniform), while the Ignihyde Prefect went with his little brother. Though, even if you exclude Savanaclaw and Ramshackle, it seemed like they were missing someone…

Cater walked up to Deuce and stood next to him. “Well?”

Deuce turned toward him. “Well, what?”

Cater glanced at the dance floor before looking back at Deuce. “Aren’t you going to dance?”

“I don’t think I can in this dress.” Deuce sighed, his hand scrunched his dress.

Cater giggled. “Nah, you’re just not confident enough.” He put an arm around Deuce and pointed at Riddle and Trey. “See those two?” As part of the dance, Trey lifted Riddle by the waist. Deuce blinked in amazement. “They’re perfectly fine.”

“They’ve practiced.”

“Those two don’t.” Pointing at another couple was the Diasomnia Vice-Prefect in a gothic Lolita dress along with the silver-haired boy in a black coat. Deuce clearly remembered them. Though the silvernette seemed like he wanted to bury himself alive while the vice-prefect looked like he was having a good time.

“Come on.” Cater suddenly pulled his hand. “Let’s do it.”

“Senior Diamond-Whoa!” Deuce nearly trip on his dress if Cater didn’t catch him. Cater just chuckled and took his position in the dance. Deuce was tripping in almost every step and bumping into other dancers, which was hilarious.


“Are you glaring?”

Ace looked up at Jonah who walked toward him. Ace rolled his eyes. “No, I’m not.”

Jonah chuckled and leaned to the wall next to the ginger-head, watching their bluenette friend trying his best to match the pace. “You want to dance?”

Ace clicked his tongue. “Cih, like heck I’m gonna do that.”

“Oh, come on, you’re already dressed for the occasion.”

“This thing?” Ace gestured his dress-robe in disgust. “I look like my grandma’s dress.” He smelt the sleeve, gagging. “I was pretty sure it smells like one.”

Jonah just rolled his eyes and chuckled. Looking back at the dance floor, some had started joining in with their partner, while some stopped. He was pretty sure Senior Idia left the dance floor along with Ortho and he had guesses on where he was going.

Glancing at Ace he could see how he was staring straight at Cater and Deuce. It was just so obvious that he wanted to join in. Jonah once again rolled his eyes. “Come on.” He walked behind Ace. “Don’t be shy!”

“Whoa-” Ace felt himself being pushed to the middle of the dance. Tripping, Cater noticed this and immediately grabbed him.

“Oops! Switch partner!” Without missing a beat, Cater let go of Deuce’s hand and immediately replaced them with Ace, making them holding each other. Ace and Deuce just stopped. Ace tilted his neck upward a bit, just now realizing that Deuce was slightly taller with those heels. Their chests were pressing against each other and both of them could feel their fast heartbeat, whether from exhaustion or embarrassment, and saw the blush on their cheek.

“Ow!” Someone bumped behind Ace, who glared back. Snapping back their situation, he could see on the side that the captain and Cater exchanged grins before he waved and exited the gym.

“The captain ditched us,” he grumbled.

Deuce was panicking. “What are we supposed to do-Whoa!”

Ace pulled Deuce aside from bumping into someone else. Ace looked around. The music was still playing and he could feel someone (probably Riddle) glaring at him from behind.

“You remember the steps?” Ace asked looking at Deuce as he started to move.

Deuce shook his head. “No…”

“Ugh…” The ginger-head sighed. Looking around, there was no way out. “Then, we’ll go freestyle.”

Ace lifted Deuce and spun him, the blunette immediately grabbed onto his shoulders in surprise. Following his observation, Ace took Deuce’s hand and stepped forward and backward. An awkward dance between them, compared to the older and more expert students.

As they dance, Ace could felt himself grinning. He may have never attended a royal ball or even a plaza dance, so he never realized how fun this was. Deuce saw his grin, slowly smiled back. No longer has he complained about the heels and skirt. His steps became more confident as he led Ace took the lead.

Nonetheless, it was a fun, dare they say, enchanted night.


“I knew I would find you here, Senior Idia.”

Idia jumped in his seat as Jonah walked in. Idia was wearing some sort of white coat that reached his knees over a black shirt, dark blue trousers, and high-knee boots, along with a long blue scarf around his neck. Meanwhile, Ortho was on his white robot body, but he was also wearing a white-and-pink shirt with disconnected white sleeves with a black-and-white bowtie and short white skirt, along with white-and-pink high socks and a digital pink bowtie on his head.

“J-Jonah,” Idia squeaked, hiding his game console behind his back.

Jonah gave him a reassuring smile and walked toward him.  “Are you bored at the party?”

Idia shook his head. Ortho was patting his shoulder for reassurance. “Just… It was overwhelming.”

Jonah hummed. To be honest, he hadn’t seen Idia outside of Board Game Club, so he never really get the actual grasp of what kind of person Idia is. He was fidgeting a lot right now. Looking around, Jonah spotted the closet they use to keep their board game.

“Hey.” Jonah put a hand on Idia’s shoulder, slight frowning when the senior flinched. “How about we play a game?”

Ortho perked up. “Yes. A game! We can do that! We have our own little party!”

Jonah chuckled. “Let me see what game we haven’t played.”

Idia nodded. His shoulders weren’t tense again, so Jonah took it as a good sign. Walking toward the closet, he opened it and knelt. Most of the unused board games were usually on the bottom row. As he searched, the door to the classroom was opened and closed again.

“So, the Board Game Club is having a meeting without me?”

Turning around slightly, he saw Azul walked in along with Grim. Azul was wearing a dark blue coat, checkered trousers, brown shoes, and a hat. It kinda made him look like a detective or police.

“When I noticed the captain isn’t in the gym, along with the Ignihyde Prefect and his little brother, it was an easy conclusion,” Azul said walking up to his fellow prefect. "You better have a good explanation for making me walk all the way to an empty school in the middle of the night."

"Nobody is forcing you," Idia pouted. “Why are you here anyway?”

Azul pushed his glasses. “I was a bit disappointed not being invited to the party. Perhaps this is how Malleus feels all this time.”

“We’re going to play a game!” Ortho cheered. He turned to Jonah, shouting, “Can we get a spooky one?”

Jonah chuckled. “Let me find something first.”

Grim landed inside the closet, deciding to help with the search. “Geez, so packed up here,” he mumbled. Sniffing around, and sneezing occasionally because of the dust, Grim was trying to look for the oldest box inside. The older it is, the scarier it becomes, right?

His sniffing stopped when he found something at the back. It was an old golden box with ancient writing on it. Picking it up, Grim shivered. This box is bad news. Perfect!

“I found something!” Grim cheered as he flew out of the closet, followed by Jonah standing up. He put the box in the middle of the circle.

“Cool…” Ortho picked up the box, turning around the box, inspecting it. “What game is this?”

Azul hummed. “I’ve never seen this before.”

Jonah was grinning. So exciting! “We shall see…” Taking the box from Ortho, Jonah slowly opened the box, ready for a surprise.

And, oh, what a surprise he got!

A bright white light came out from the box, making Jonah fell back screaming and covered his eye, dropping the box. All the electrical lights in the room blinked several times before exploded.

“Jonah!” Azul quickly knelt, hugging Jonah to protect from anything. Grim hid close to Jonah’s chest. Idia did the same, got down as he hugged Ortho.

“What’s happening, Big Brother?” cried Ortho. But Idia couldn’t answer.

White and light green smoke came out from the chest and flew to the air. It started to form itself into the shape of a young woman. With a ghostly shrieked, the smoke exploded, revealing a transparent young woman with a wicked grin on her face.

“Ah! What a wonderful time to return!”

Chapter Text

The ghost/spirit/unidentified-being took the form of a beautiful young woman. She had long green hair with yellow on the tips and light blue eyes. Her ‘dress’ looked like a very thin bathrobe with laces. They could see her undergarment: white bra-top and white panties, both were fancy enough for a wedding. In addition, she wore a veil with white roses on her head, a yellow-and-pink pearl bracelet on her right wrist, a beautiful pearl necklace with a blue pendant, and a red collar with a cut-off chain attached to it.

Jonah's eyes widened, finally realizing something. Could this be that ‘Unfortunate Sacrificial Flower’ that Senior Vanrouge told them about?

The soul-spirit – Maryanne, Jonah remembered – looked around the room. “Golly gosh~ Everything looks so different now,” she said. “Haah~ I remember this was an open place for flowers to grow. Oh, how much times had changed.”

She then looked at the ground. “Well, well,” she cooed, looking at the trembling children one by one. “What do we have here? Had you, young magicians, come do give your soul to me? Ah~ I remember those delicious screaming souls. Such despair~” The corner of her lips pulled up. “But, before I feast, I need to guess first.”

She flew lower. “Which one of you is the 17 years old virgin who released me?” She tapped her chin and hummed. She glanced at Idia, who pulled Ortho closer.

She scrunched up her nose. “Blegh. You look too old.”

Looking Ortho, she clicked her tongue. “Ugh. No pedophilia, please.”

She turned around toward the next group and Jonah felt Azul’s hand gripped him harder. Raising an eyebrow at Azul, the soul-spirit huffed, “Definitely not a virgin.”

Azul let lout a noise, obviously offended, but she ignored him. She noticed Grim being hugged by Jonah. The cat was hissing at him. She visibly gagged. “Not interested in bestiality.”

And finally, her eyes landed on Jonah. She hummed in satisfaction. “Yes… Yes. You must’ve been the one.”

Jonah kinda wanted to smack his head. He didn’t think this through. You think, after the whole overblot and losing his arm might make him more careful? Or maybe he just lost many brain cells in there.

She raised her hand and Jonah’s body started to glow. All of a sudden, he felt himself floating as if someone pulled him. For a spirit, Maryanne's hand felt pretty solid when she held his chin. “Hmm… Such a cute face. A bright-eyed young man.” Her thumb moved, caressing his lips. Her smile widened when he frowned and tried to pull back. “Oh, don’t tell me you’ve never been kissed before, mister~”

Jonah didn’t need to answer. Just from his scrunching brow, Maryanne had already known. “Ah~ I’m so lucky! Such a pure boy!” She tilted his chin upward and she brought her face closer. “It’s unfortunate your first kiss would me you last, young man.” She giggled. “Let’s see how sweet your soul is going to be…”

She’s going to eat his soul! Of all the things that could get him killed, why this? This is a stupid way to die! He really didn’t think this through! Jonah tried to trash his head, avoiding the approaching pink lips. It was coming closer and he could feel his heart beating faster. He was pretty sure his vision slowly became blurry. Is he really losing his soul? Don’t come closer. Don’t come closer. Don’t touch-

“FUGYAA!”

A ball of blue fire suddenly shot between their head, breaking the connection. The glow around Jonah's body suddenly stopped and, like before, he felt himself falling.

“AAAAAAAAAA!”

Azul moved quickly. He had no time to take out his magical pen. He ran toward the falling captain, catching him in his hand and toppled to the ground, both boys groaning in pain.

“Guys, run!” Idia shouted, carrying Ortho over his shoulder. Azul and Jonah stood up, immediately ran out of the room. Grim managed to fly out first, followed by Jonah. Azul ran out last, closing the door. Ortho set up his flamethrower system, burning the door with a blue flame.

“We need to warn everyone!” Idia cried. “There are hundreds of virgins in that gym!”

“Yeah! Let’s make everyone panic by saying that someone released a soul-sucking ghost!” Grim shouted and Idia looked hurt when the cat shouted at him.

“We need to lure her away from the crowds!” Jonah yelled back. “That flame won’t top her for that long!”

“We were taught how to summon spirits, not exorcising them!” Idia snapped back.

There was a sound of circuits turning on from Ortho. His pupil and yellow iris went wild before stopping, blinking in focus. “I know a spell!” he shouted. “It’s a really hard spell, and we’re going to need to brew a potion!”

Azul nodded. “To the magical pharmacy, it is then! And hurry!”

However before they could even run away, Maryanne had passed the wall, clacking at them. “You really think you can banish me just like that?” She sniffed the air. “Mmm~ The air smell like a feast.” Her smile widened into a sickening smile. “Tell me… Where can I find naughty magicians like you?”

Jonah growled at her. “You stay away from them!”

Maryanne giggled. “Oh, boy. I’ll feast on you last. Ta-taa~”

“Wait-” But Maryanne had already disappeared. Jonah screamed in frustration. “Dammit!”

Azul huffed. “Jonah, you need to hold on-” He walked toward him, raising his hand, but Jonah smacked it away.

“No!” Jonah looked really frustrated right now. “We don’t have much time left! That ghost is going to suck everyone’s soul and it will be my fault! If we don’t do something-”

Suddenly, Azul caught his cheeks with both of his hands. Their face was only a few inches away from each other. “Look at me, captain.” The senior’s voice was stern. “Just take a deep breath and focus on me.”

Jonah’s breathing became slower and calmer. He was still clenching and unclenching his fists, it was wrecking him. Azul sighed softly. “We can take her down. All we need if a plan.”

A plan? Yes. He’s good at that. He can make plans. Slowly Jonah took off his round-glasses, throwing it aside before reaching once again for his eye-patch. “You’re right.” His lips pulled up a small smile. “Thank you I need that.”

Azul smiled back, patting Jonah’s cheek once. “Anything for you, dear captain.” He stepped back. “So, what’s the plan?”

Jonah took a deep breath before ripping off his eye-patch. He could hear Idia let out a gasp from seeing his eye for the first time. But he didn't have time to give him a vague explanation. They need to save the others. “This is your captain’s order.” He turned toward Ortho. “Ortho. You know what the recipe required, right?”

Ortho nodded. “Yes! I know the exact amount and ingredient.”

Jonah nodded, satisfied. He looked up Azul. “Azul. I need you and Ortho make that potion.”

Azul pushed his glasses back. “On it.”

He turned to Idia who squeaked. “Idia. You and I will lure the ghost from the gym to the magical pharmacy.”

Idia pointed at himself confusedly. “You need me?”

Jonah nodded. “Both you, Ortho, and Grim has that rare blue flame. In Senior Lilia’s story, the witch was killed with a blue flame and Maryanne herself looked terrified when Grim shot his fireball.”

Grim’s ears perked up. “That’s right!”

“But how are we going to lure here?” asked Idia again.

“Just like how she moves. If she flies, then we must fly as well.” He grinned at Grim. Grim grinned back. He raised his paw, a magic circle appeared beneath him.

[Accio], [Roy Mustang 2003]!” The familiar broom suddenly came flying fast toward him. But Jonah smirked and successfully caught it without smacking his face again.

“Nailed it,” he muttered, genuinely proud of himself. He turned to Idia. The senior took a deep breath and let it out through his mouth. He took out his Magical Pen and pressed a button on it. Like a digital effect, it suddenly turned into a floating skull. Idia closed his eyes and the skull flew in a circle around him.

Idia snapped his eyes open. “[Accio], [Arwing]!” In just a second another broom appeared and Idia caught it with ease.

Jonah and Idia mounted their broom and Grim perched on Jonah's shoulder. “All hands on deck, fellas!” Jonah yelled. “Time to exorcise that ghost!”

With that Jonah, with Grim, and Idia blasted off, while Ortho and Azul took off toward the opposite direction. The mission starts now!

Chapter Text

Amidst the loud music performance by the Light Music Club and the sea of dancing students who were jumping to the beat, nobody realized that Leona had slipped into the gym. Look, he had told himself that he would join in this stupid All Hallow’s Eve party, he had the headmaster's permission. But there was something about the silence in the Savanaclaw Dorm that made him came. Which was weird. He likes quiet places, they are always good places for napping, but why can’t he sleep that night? How annoying. He even wore his stupid costume: black knight-like uniform with a blue cape and silver boots.

“Leona…?” Leona turned toward the familiar sound. Ruggie stood not far from him, wearing the same costume as last year: red suit with a red cape and black-spotted-white fur among the edge, knee-high socks, brown shoes, and a big crown on his head. Leona remembered last year Farena gave him that disgusting costume so he gave it to Ruggie. Which… Why is Ruggie still wearing it? Doesn’t he have another costume? Why this? Only to fit the theme or something else?

Leona gave him a nod of acknowledgment. “Hmm.”

“You’re here.” Even Ruggie sounded shocked at Leona’s appearance.

“Yeah.” Leona huffed, running his hand behind his head.

Ruggie blinked. “I thought you wouldn’t come.”

Leona shrugged. “Me either.”

“Oh.”

Well, this was awkward. They hadn’t been speaking since Magishift and for the first time, so Leona didn’t know what to say. Both of them leaned against the wall, watching the rave of students. The Light Music Club switched song again, this time more heavy metal. The Diasomnia guitarist slammed his guitar to the stage and the Scarabia drummer crashed the cymbal.

“Having fun?” Leona asked. Ruggie turned toward him in surprise.

He shrugged. “Sort of. The food is nice.”

Leona glanced at Ruggie. “You’re wearing the same costume as last year?”

“Hmm?” Ruggie looked down at himself. “Oh. Yeah.”

“Don’t you have any other costume?”

Ruggie bit his lip, his hand playing with his cape. “I like this costume. I’m pretty small so I can fit this for a long time.”

“Why that though?”

Ruggie was silent for a while, but Leona could see his lips pulled up into a soft smile. “You sort of gave it to me. So…” He turned his head slightly toward him with that small smile, a light blush on his cheek. “There’s no way I won’t wear this.”

Leona blinked at him. How… Why does he act like that? There was no way… Even after that whole shouting match and them basically tried to kill each other, why does Ruggie still act like this? Why is he still willing to accept him as if he didn’t do any of those bad things?

“You-”

The air suddenly smelt different.

Leona's ears perked up when he caught the sound of a candle went off next to him. Ruggie ears also twitched, but unlike Leona, he couldn’t smell the strange magical smell. Looking around cautiously, Leona's eyes wandered from every corner in the room to the ceiling.

That was when he saw it.

Light green smoke came in through the opened window just above the stage. None of the students noticed it or they noticed but didn’t know how to respond just like Leona. The smoke risen, forming itself into a shape of a human figure.

“What’s is that?” Ruggie now realized it too, along with the majority of the students. The light flickered until it exploded, earning gasps and the music stopped. All eyes were on the smoke as it suddenly burst, revealing a cackling woman ghost.

“Aaah~” she moaned, inhaling a deep breath. “Oh, my~ So many young magicians here~ Such a banquet!” He looked down at the students and Leona suddenly found himself moving to stood in front of Ruggie. “I don’t know where to start~”

Murmurs of confusion and fear filled the room, which made the ghost grin even wider. “Ah~ I want to gobble all you up!” She hugged herself, mouth wide as if she was drooling. “Can I~? Can I~?”

She wiggled her fingers and thin lines of smoke came out from the tips. The sweet smell of magic burnt Leona’s nose. He covered his mouth and nose with his hand. Who is this lady? What is she talking about? Glancing behind him, Leona’s eyes widened. Ruggie stood still like a statue, head tilted up toward the ghost, mouth slightly opened and eyes glazed. The smoke from the tips of the lady’s fingers flowed into Ruggie's mouth, slowly changing color from green to blue.

“Ruggie! Ruggie!” Leona shook the hyena’s shoulders but he didn’t respond as if he was cut off from the world. Panic started to fill the room. He caught the Heartslabyul seniors were trying to snap their prefect out from the hypnotic state as well, Malleus’ younger guard was shouting to the older one, and Vil was practically slapping his hunter to wake up.

The ghost lady laughed. “Ah~ So many young souls ~ You magicians have the most delicious soul of them all~”

Leona growled at the ghost lady. Slowly he took out his magical pen, gripping it hard to turn it into his staff. The yellow gem glowed and he aimed at the ghost. He knew this was risky, especially after his overblot. But he had to do it. Nobody touches the King’s-

*CRASH!*

The window of the gym suddenly broke. Two broom riders crashed into the room and one of the riders of the broom immediately shouted, “ALL VIRGIN HIT THE DECK!”

Without hesitation, Leona pushed Ruggie down, knocking the crown from his head, as the other broom rider shot blue fire from the floating skull he had. The ghost eyes widened and clenched her knuckles, ducking to avoid the coming flame. Sparks rained down from the ceiling.

“You donkey!” she screamed. “You ruined my dinner!”

Jonah glared back at the ghost. “If you want to eat, then eat mine!” He gave her a lopsided grin, wiggling his broom. “Come on~ 100% virgin~”

“Food shouldn’t fight back to its consumer!” She let out a shriek, so loud that all the windows and lamp broke. Leona kept covering Ruggie underneath him, shielding him from the raining glass pieces.

Ruggie suddenly took a sharp intake of breath, followed by him coughing, as if he just emerged from the water or just risen from death. Once the coughing stopped, Ruggie looked up, still in a daze, at the lion above him. “Leona…?”

Explosions happened in the background. The ghost, Idia, Jonah, and his cat flew around the room, knocking the decorations and nearly crashing into other students. Jonah clicked his tongue, looking at the damage. He turned to Idia who flew past him. “We have to get her out of here!” Idia nodded, countering another attack from the ghost.

Jonah flew to the window he got in from. “Hey, Maryanne!” He blew a raspberry toward her. “Come and get me!”

“I’ll get you, you virgin brat!” the ghost screamed, flying in rage toward Argentum, but he and Idia had already left. Students were still in peril or just woke up from their stance, including most of Jonah's little crew.

Leona growled. That brat sure loves to cause trouble no matter where he goes. Someone needs to keep him in line. Without a word, Leona stood up, walking toward the door.

“Leona!” He felt Ruggie’s smaller hand around his wrist. Looking back, he saw Ruggie looked unfocused, his body was swaying dangerously as if he had a really bad migraine.

“You stay here!” Leona pulled his hand away, but Ruggie quickly grabbed his blue cape.

“No!” Ruggie shouted in panic. “I won’t leave you alone! You’re still hurt-”

Leona spun around and grabbed Ruggie’s hand, pulling them closer until Leona could felt Ruggie’s breath on his face. “Ruggie, I’m the king,” he growled, but there wasn’t any hint of malice in there. “You listen to me!”

Ruggie gasped. He bit his lips before sighing. He lowered his hand and Leona let go of him. He released his clenched fist, whispering with his head down, “Yes, Your Majesty.”

Leona paused for a moment, fingers twitching to touch the hyena. But he clenched his fist once again, holding his back. He ran out of the gym, blue cape fluttering behind him as he followed the trail of smoke in the sky, not looking back at Ruggie who stayed at the entrance with his ears down.


The magical pharmacy was just as chaotic as the gym. With only two students brewing the potion, along with the ridiculous list of ingredients, Ortho and Azul were exhausted. The cauldron was burning hot, green water boiling to the brim and Azul didn’t stop string the content carefully so his sweat didn’t drop in and ruin it.

Ortho flew in with ingredients in his hands. “These are the last ones.” He put the first two ingredients in. “Neck of bottle. Tail of goat.”

Ortho and Azul chimed together as Ortho held up the last ingredient. “Whisker from a Billy Goat!” Azul took the whisker as Ortho stepped back. Holding up to the cauldron, Azul let it go and immediately stepped back with Ortho. The whisker touched the potion and an explosion of yellow, green, and purple smokes burst from the cauldron.

Once the smoke dimmed down, a light came out of Ortho eyes, scanning the cauldron for a few seconds before letting out a *ping*. “Yes!” he cheered. “The potion is perfect!” He raised his hand, and even when they were in a sticky situation, Azul couldn’t help but gave Ortho a hi-five.

Taking out his magical pen, Azul tapped the cauldron. The smoke from the cauldron swirled around his magical pen before turning the gem into yellowish-green color.

“Remember the spell?” Ortho asked.

Azul nodded. “Yes.” All the need now was-

*BANG!*

“INCOMING!”

Jonah and Grim came flying into the magical pharmacy, with a really angry Maryanne behind him. Idia came in and immediately skidded to a stop, landing next to Ortho. “Quick, exorcise her!” he yelled.

Azul nodded. A magic circle appeared beneath his feet. He aimed his magical pen at the flying ghost carefully so Jonah isn’t in his line of fire. Taking a deep breath, Azul began his chants. “[O Errantes Spiritu Supra Inferna... Exilium Perpe-]

However, Maryanne caught up with this. Stopping in midair, she shot out her hand toward Azul’s magical pen, sending an invisible force toward them. Azul's magical pen suddenly flew out from his hand. “My wand!”

She shot out her other hand toward the cauldron. It suddenly turned upside down, spilling all the content.

“The cauldron!” Ortho cried. Idia held out his hand similar to a gun toward Maryanne, his magical skull shot blue fire follow his aim. But Maryanne kept avoiding it.

“Stop ruining my time, you leftovers!” she shrieked. She shot out her hand toward the group and none of them could escape her sudden smoke-cloud attack.  Azul, Ortho, and Idia started coughing, but the smirking Maryanne once again wiggled her fingers. The smoke became thinner, swirling around the three boys. Their hands became slack and their eyes glazed over. The smoke entered their opened mouth, slowly sucking the souls out of the body.

“Stay away from them!” Jonah and Grim came in fast. But Maryanne shot her hand toward them, sending a smoke-cloud at them. Jonah and Grim coughed, never realizing that their broom had dropped to the floor and they were separated from each other. Grim dropped to the floor in a similar stance as the other boy while Jonah was held up in the air, trying his best to escape by kicking and screaming.

“Ah, ah, ah~” Maryanne gripped his chin harshly. Jonah was glaring at her while she just kept on smirking. “If you keep struggling, I’ll speed up the process!”

She turned her head toward their captures and wiggled her unused hand’s fingers and the blue light from the rest of the Board Game Club came out from the body. “Once their soul touch my fingertips, there’s no going back to their body. And if I don’t eat them, they’ll be a soul ghost like me. Such a waste of food, isn’t it?”

She turned back to Jonah, realizing he had stopped kicking. “You care about them, don’t you?” She caressed his cheek and Jonah tilted his head to get away from the hand. Maryanne pulled his ear, earning a yelp from him. “Be a good supper and serve yourself on a silver platter, then I’ll let them go.”

Jonah clenched his trembling fist. What is he supposed to do? They’re all trapped in this ghost’s game. He glanced at his friends. Their souls had slowed down, but they were still floating toward Maryanne’s finger. They’ll die if he doesn’t do something.

Jonah let out a defeated sigh, lowering his head. “Fine,” he whispered. “Release them first.”

Maryanne smiled and flicked her hand. The soul returned to their respective body, but the smoke never leaves their mouth. Before Jonah could protest, Maryanne grabbed him by the hair on the back of his neck, forcing him to tilt his head up, looking straight and Maryanne’s hovering face.

“You know, nobody will get hurt if you just give yourself up in the beginning. Is the mess really worth it, you stupid virgin boy?” She licked her lips. Jonah tried to shook his head, but he didn’t even realize that Maryanne's smoke had entered his lips. His vision became blurry and his movement became sluggish, slowly became limp.

*BOOM!*

A column of earth suddenly appeared between the ghost and the boy. The boy’s body fell to the ground but someone immediately caught him in their arms. All of Maryanne’s smoke-string had been cut off, releasing all the boys from their paralyzed state.

“Ugh! Why can’t I have one quite dinner?!” Maryanne glared at the column, then at the newcomer. She pinched her nose, looking at him in disgust. “Geez, you smell like an old cat!”

Jonah took a sharp intake of breath and slowly blinked. He survives? Looking up tiredly, he saw a familiar lion cradling him in his arms. “Senior… Kingscholar… Why-”

“I’m not doing this for you.” Leona gently (something very out of character from him) laid Jonah on the floor, before walking up Maryanne, gripping his staff. He slammed his staff to the ground and suddenly pillars of earth appeared surrounding Maryanne, trapping her in a tight space. But Leona knew this wasn’t enough. “Idia! Burn it!”

Idia, from the ground, shot out his hand toward the pillars. His magical skull beeped many times before it shot out blue flames.

“AAARRGH!” Maryanne cried. Her dress and hair started to catch on the fire. “You insolent pussycat!”

Azul ran toward Jonah, cradling the smaller boy. “We need a cauldron full to do the banishing spell,” he said, his hand on Jonah while he looked up at Leona. “We don’t have enough time to make another one!”

Leona just smirked. “That’s where you’re wrong, Octo Punk.” Azul flinched at this but Leona ignored him. He recognized the smell of the brew, so he knew what spell he needed to use. He had learned this spell when he was little after all. “A magician should know how to make use of their unfortunate circumstance in their favor.” 

The stepped into the puddle of the potions. He tapped his gem to the liquid and summoned a wide magical circle, underneath him and Maryanne. The liquid started to rise in the form of bubbles, surrounding Leona who held his staff with both of his hands. Waving his staff in a circular motion, the lion closed his eyes, chanting the spell with a voice filled with confidence. “[O Errantes Spiritu Supra Inferna...]” He snapped his eyes open. “[EXILIUM PERPETUUM!]

All the liquid was sucked into his gem and a beam of yellow light shot out from his staff, hitting Maryanne straight on the chest. “AAAAARARRGGHHH!” The ghost slowly disintegrated, leaving only sparkles of light on the spot where she once floated.

The soul ghost was no more.

Jonah looked up to Leona who rested his staff on his shoulder. He let out a sigh of relief. “You did it… Oh, my stars…”

“Right on time too,” Leona said, glancing at the window. The formerly dark blue has turned purplish-blue with a hint of orange and yellow. Dawn had arrived. This was a brand new day.

Leona sighed. He turned around and walked out from the ruined magical infirmary when he heard footsteps behind him.

“Senior Kingscholar!”

Tilting his head to look behind him, he saw Jonah stood there slightly trembling. Leona looked at the boy from top to bottom, his green eyes caught a glimpse of something metal on his hand.

He looked forward again, huffing. “Go to bed, herbivore.” He stepped away from the building. Guilt setting in his stomach.

He did that. He really did that.

“How long are you going to stay in there knowing that you’ve permanently harmed someone?”

He doesn’t know, Ruggie. He doesn’t know.

Chapter Text

“I can walk, Senior Azul.”

“Your soul was nearly taken twice tonight,” Azul answered, not even glancing back to Jonah who he was giving a piggyback ride back to the Ramshackle Dorm. “The possibilities of you collapsing are quite high.”

Jonah rolled his eyes. After the whole chaos that was Maryanne, Jonah really just want to go to bed. Both Ortho and Grim were sleeping. Idia took Ortho back to Ignihyde while Azul offered Jonah to take him and Grim back to Ramshackle Dorm, and no, he didn’t take no for an answer. In conclusion, all five of them were tired and didn’t want to argue this early in the morning.

Watching the sky slowly turning brighter, Jonah let out a yawn and rested his head on Azul's shoulder, carefully not tilting too much unless he wanted Grim, who was sleeping on top of his head to fall. The Octavinelle Prefect let out a chuckle. “Do you still feel sleepy?”

Jonah hummed. “We woke up all night long. I don’t want to go to school.”

“Don’t worry. Usually, we have a day off after All Hallow’s Eve.”

“Good…” The captain let out a sigh. “Riddle is going to be pissed. Scratch that the whole crew is going to be pissed.”

Azul hummed. “The Heartslabyul sure cares a lot about you. Riddle especially.”

The corner of Jonah’s lips pulled up. “He needs all the friends he can get. He has been through a lot.”

“So you see him as a friend?”

“Aren’t you all?”

Azul turned his head slightly so his eyes could catch a glimpse of Jonah. “Yes. But what I mean is, do you ever have any special feelings toward him? Or someone else?”

Johan’s brow scrunched. “Uh…” He blinked confusedly. “I…”

Azul bit his inside cheek before looking forward again. “How about we change that question: What Maryanne said. Was that going to be your first kiss?”

“I… Think so.” Jonah scrunched up his brow again. “I mean. I’ve read fairytales so, at least from what I remember, I haven’t had someone smooching my face like that.” He scratched his cheek with his index finger, a light blush dusted his cheeks. “I mean… Isn’t than kinda intimate?”

Azul let out a chuckle and shook his head. “So, she’s serious that you’re a virgin. I’m surprised, Captain.”

“I guess so…”

“You don’t sound sure.”

“I don’t… Really understand about those sexual kinds of stuff. First kiss. True love kiss. Deflowering. Being a virgin.” He sighed. “I…  I guess because I don’t know what to expect, I can’t really imagine it.” He puffed out his cheek. “I’m kinda scared now to have my first kiss if it’ll be just the same as what Maryanne would do.” He let out a light chuckled. “I’m weird, aren’t I?”

Azul let out a sigh. “No. Not at all.”

Jonah hummed and rested his head on Azul’s shoulder again. The trip to Ramshackle Dorm was quiet after that. Azul was kind of surprised that they hadn’t seen any student passing by, or at least Jade and Floyd or any of the Heartslabyul students. He heard soft snoring behind him. Looking back he saw Jonah already closed his eyes. Poor guy. This All Hallow Eve’s was a complete mess anyway.

Reaching toward Ramshackle Dorm, Azul opened the gate. The sound woke Jonah up. He blinked his eyes and looked up. “Oh. We’re here.”

“We sure are,” Azul said. He walked up to the building on top of the hill, only stopping when they reached the stairs. Jonah wiggled behind him so Azul took that his signal to put Jonah down. He let the captain slid down his back and he walked to the front door, Grim cradled in his arms.

“Thank you, Senior Azul.” Jonah smiled. “I’ll see you at work.”

Azul tipped his hat. “No problem, Jonah.” With that, he walked away back to his dorm.

Jonah sighed and took out his key to the dorm. However before he could put it into the keyhole, the door was opened from the inside. Looking up, he saw the bird-mask man, in a sleeping gown, complete with the pointy sleeping hat and a pair of bedroom slippers.

“Headmaster?”

Crowley stepped aside to give Jonah a way to enter. “Come in, Mister Argentum.”

Jonah gulped and walked in. Looking around… Was it just him or the lounge room looked… brighter? He could’ve sworn the room had glittered with pixie-dust. The lounge table was filled with various cakes, stacked on