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Innocent Monster

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The place I called home had always been cold and dark. It wasn't peaceful, nor was it beautiful in any way. My earliest childhood memories consisted of living within a crumbling house, smelling the lingering scent of blood that slowly diluted in the waters and the sound of sinister laughter, coupled with loud crunching sounds akin to bones breaking. Living in such a place was terrifying, spine chilling, and was a constant source of my nightmares.

I remember being a young mer, trembling in fear as I lay on the floor, trying to sleep so I could escape from the horrors outside. I was thankful that my mother was with me. A strong woman that held me close, kept me warm, and protected me so fiercely with her sharp claws and equally sharp teeth. Her unique blue eyes were a source of comfort, gazing at me with fondness, illuminated by the dim lights along her tail and fins.

However, even if she was strong, I couldn't help but worry and fear the worst whenever she would go out looking for food. Often times, she would come back bloody and filled with wounds, carrying a large piece of raw meat. She would cut it in half before giving the larger piece to me, saying that I needed it more to grow strong. There was a dark part inside of my mind that wondered if one day, she won't come back and I would be left all alone.

Time didn't exist in this sea of abyss. All we cared about was surviving. Kill or be killed. That was the only rule that existed within our minds. I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life there, living in darkness and always with the lingering scent of blood clinging to me. I thought I would always fight to protect my mother and survive with the scars littering my body as proof. 

But then, something amazing happened. Something descended from above, producing a loud rattling noise that disturbed the eerie silence and stopped right in front of our house. I didn’t know what it was nor did I know how to describe the sight in front of me. The strange creatures that came with it stood idly on the ocean floor, gazing at me as if they were waiting my approach. 

Greetings, young magician.

My shoulders tensed and I unconsciously bared my fangs at the voice that came along with a bright red flame. The sight was almost unbelievable. How could a flame be lit underwater? I drew closer, squinting at the peculiar scene. Then, the flame wavered, slowly taking the form of a strange symbol.

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into the prestigious school of Night Raven College. This ebony carriage shall escort you to the school grounds. Whenever you are ready, please step inside the coffin. We shall eagerly await your presence at the entrance ceremony.

Due to you being a merfolk, we have also provided you with a potion that shall give you a pair of human legs in order to attend your classes without any problems. 

A glass bottle filled with purple liquid appeared soon afterwards, dropping onto my waiting hands.

“Well now, looks like my boy is going to school!” I turned around, seeing my mother approaching me with a proud smile. “School…?” I muttered in disbelief.

“Yes, Gwyn. School! I've heard about that Night Raven College a long time ago. It’s a school filled with gifted magicians. Only the best are accepted there. Good job!” I grunted as she slapped me on the back good-naturedly. 

“But…if I go there…won’t I be leaving you alone? I don’t want to.” My mother's proud smile was quickly replaced with a scowl as she wacked me over the head. I yelped in pain, clutching my aching head as I stared at her in shock. “W-What was that for?!”

“What kind of stupid reason is that?! Are you looking down on me?! Who's the one that raised you and taught you how to fight?!”

“You did…but I still get worried though…even if you're a lot stronger than me, mom.”

She sighed before cupping my cheeks. I blinked as her eyes crinkled and a gentle smile appeared on her lips. “Don’t let me hold you back, silly boy. I don’t want you to rot here for the rest of your life. Go and see the world out there! You'll learn a lot.”

Before I can reply, I heard mocking laughter from behind us.

“Yeah, right! As if that dumbass can learn anything! He'd probably get kicked out on the first day!” The laughter grew more intense, causing my mother to growl. 

Shut the fuck up, you crazy bastards! If anyone's a dumbass here, it’s you lot! You got nothing in your brains but eating and fighting!”

“What was that you bitch?!”

“Wanna try me?!”

Alright, the school will have to wait. I quickly trailed after my mother as she approached the other merfolk. Both of us bared our teeth and claws as we got ready to fight. I don’t really care if those guys insult me. I’m used to it. But…no one calls my mother a bitch. No one. Did they really think I would let them get away with that? 

Once we were finally left alone, my mother asked me to wait a bit as she hurriedly went inside our house. I waited outside, casting magic to heal my wounds. I don’t think land dwellers would like it if I show up there with fresh wounds. A few minutes later, she came back, carrying something in her hands. I watched curiously as her fingers opened and revealed a necklace with a dark purple pearl on the palm of her hand. “Wow…”

“It’s beautiful, right?” She said as she put it on me. “I found this years ago, back when I was still a young mer. The day I found this was when I first saw a glimpse of the ocean above this abyss. I never forgot that sight. This necklace is a reminder of that time. Now, I want to give it to you as congratulations. You'll get to see even more amazing sights up on the surface.”

I gazed at the pearl in wonder before I smiled back at her. “Thanks, mom. I'll take good care of it. I promise.” She grinned before eagerly pushing me towards the ebony carriage. “Good. Now go drink that potion and see the world. I better not see you here for the next few months!”

I nodded before drinking the purple liquid and entering into the coffin. The lid slowly closed and the last thing I heard was my mother saying goodbye. I felt sharp pain go through my tail before passing out.

You do not hold a villain's soul.

Nor do you hold a hero's…


A mere faceless individual in this twisted world.

You should not be able to take to the stage…

And yet…here you are.

Who are you? What are you?

“Argh! Come on! Why won't it open?!”

I groaned, eyes slowly fluttering open as I heard constant banging in front of me. My eyes, accustomed to the dark, focused immediately as I completely regained my consciousness. I twisted and turned, analyzing my surroundings before I remembered what happened. Right, the ebony carriage picked me up…am I at the school now?

Bang! Bang!

“The lid's so heavy! Fine, time for my secret move!” My eyes widened as blue flames raged and burned the lid of my coffin. I hurriedly pushed it off, hissing as the hot temperature burned my hands. Although I knew it would have been worse if I let those flames touch me. I tumbled out of the coffin and fell to the floor. My eyes widened in surprise at the unfamiliar sensation that overcame the lower half of my body. Legs…I had human legs now! 

I shakily got up, stumbling as my new limbs screamed and tried to adjust to my weight. “What…the fuck do you think you're doing?! Are you trying to kill me?!” I snarled, seeing a small, black creature cowering in front of me.

“Eep! Not good, I chose a scary guy's coffin!” He backed away, looking around frantically. “People will be coming soon…I don’t have time to open another coffin…h-hey you! Uh…w-whatever you are! Give me those robes or else I’ll melt you with my flames!” The creature's frightened expression morphed into one of false confidence, puffing out his chest despite the obvious trembling. 

I looked down at myself, seeing that I was wearing something unfamiliar. I frowned in confusion, wondering how I got dressed into these in the first place. 

“I’m going to attend this school, so give them to me! I’ll show everyone how much of a great magician I am!” I dodged as blue flames came towards me again. With a growl, I summoned a large ball of water and sent it straight at him, extinguishing the flames in its way.

“Funyaa?! You have water magic?! W-Well, whatever! I’m sure my fire will be enough to evaporate it!” I clicked my tongue as he dodged and kept his attacks coming. Just as I was about to cast another spell, my legs gave out and I fell to the ground. The creature laughed and smirked at me confidently. “I got'cha now! You should have just given me your robes!”

I cursed before rolling out of the way, activating my unique magic. The creature yelped in surprise as he saw me disappear. “Wha?! Hey! Where'd you go?! Darn it! Come back and give me your robes!” 

I hurriedly exited the room and ran away. My legs felt too soft and weak, so I wasn’t able to keep my pace for long. I went into some bushes before collapsing against a tree. I groaned, feeling something dripping down my forehead. I swiped it with my hand, seeing that it was…water? I'm not in the ocean anymore, so how could I be wet like this? And I never knew human legs were so hard to manage...

I sighed tiredly before the back of my head hit the trunk. What kind of first day was this?

“Off with your head!” 

The creature's scream echoed inside the ceremony hall before it was finally subdued. Crowley quickly  approached and ensnared him with his whip. “Excellent work, Mr. Ashengrotto, Mr. Rosehearts.” The former smiled as he pushed up his glasses. “Of course, headmaster.”

“Typical Azul. Always trying to score points.” A voice muttered from a floating tablet. 

“Now then, this monster shall be kicked out at once. Honestly, how did he even get here?” Crowley muttered, irritated as his gold eyes glared at the struggling creature.

“This isn’t how it’s supposed to be! The ebony carriage should have picked me up too! I’m a great magician! Ugh…if only that scary guy didn’t disappear…I could have taken his spot…”

“What did you say? A…scary guy disappeared?” Crowley asked, tightening his whip. “Ow! Ow! It hurts! T-There was that scary guy that came out of the coffin I burnt! I threatened him with my flames but he fought back and just disappeared afterwards!”

“You attacked a student?!” The headmaster's voice bellowed and some of the audience winced at the sheer volume. “This is a disaster…no wonder someone was missing! Now we have lost child on our hands.” The man rubbed his temples tiredly before turning his gaze to the dorm leaders. “Someone, please kick this creature out of here. I’m going to look for the missing student. Make sure that the other students stay in their seats.”

Azul stepped forward and took the struggling creature before Crowley hurriedly left the hall.

“Phew…the surface is pretty tough too huh…for an entirely different reason.” I muttered, walking slowly and carefully so my legs wouldn’t collapse again. “Where am I supposed to go anyway?” I looked around my surroundings, confused and thoroughly lost. “This school's really big…”

“There you are!” I jumped at the voice behind me, seeing a tall man wearing a black mask approaching. “You must be the missing student. Are you alright, young man?” 

“Er…tired…I feel worn out.” I answered, rubbing the back of my neck. “I’m not surprised. Just look at your magic pen! It already accumulated blot.” I followed his gaze, seeing a white jewel strapped to my waist. It looked beautiful, but I can see small black stains forming in it. “You’ll need to go to the infirmary after you get sorted. Come, it’s already late and the others are waiting.” I stumbled as the man grabbed my hand and led me towards the school building. “C-Can you slow down…sir? I’m not used to my legs yet and…who are you anyways?”

That made the man stop and stare at me critically with his gold eyes. He placed a hand on his chin and asked “Are you perhaps a merman?” I nodded. “Ah, I see. Understandable since this is your first time on land. My apologies. As for your second question, my name is Dire Crowley. The headmaster of this school. And you are?”

“I'm Gwyn Simmons, sir.”

“Very well, Mr. Simmons. Regardless of the…experiences you had today, I assure you that you will have an excellent time here. The creature that attacked you had already been taken care of. You don’t need to worry anymore.” His gold eyes curved up as he smiled. 

“Do other merfolk attend this school too?”

“Yes, although they're quite rare. We currently have three of them attending NRC, whom will become your seniors once you're successfully enrolled. Let us be on our way. Time is ticking.”

The man led me through the school corridors before finally stopping in front of two, large oak doors. He opened it with a slam, causing me and most of the other occupants beyond the door to jump in surprise. “Here is our new student! Let us proceed with his sorting immediately. We're way behind schedule.” The headmaster turned to me and gestured towards the mirror. “All you need to do is to stand in front of that mirror. It will take a look at your soul and find out what dorm suits you best. Go on, Mr. Simmons.”

“Okay.” I nodded before ascending the stairs. Just as I stepped on the podium, I felt my legs wobble and collapse once again. “Geh! Ow…” The audience burst into laughter at my predicament as I groaned and pushed myself up. 

“Goodness…are you alright?” The headmaster took my hand and pulled me up.

“I’m fine. I feel like my legs are gonna fail me often…” I sighed in exasperation as I approached the mirror. 

“State thy name.”

“Gwyn Simmons.”

“The shape of thy soul is…Ignihyde!”

My gaze trailed down to the stone strapped to my waist. It started glowing and it’s pure white color turned dark blue. 

Crowley clapped his hands with a smile and I moved to the side as he approached the center of the podium. “Excellent. With that, the entrance ceremony will come to a close. Dorm leader, Idia Shroud, please remain here and escort Mr. Simmons to the infirmary. He needs to get a check up. The vice dorm leader will take over your duties for now.”

“…W-What? Me?” I stared in awe as a floating...rectangular object approached us. The voice sounded like it came from there. What is that? How cool…the surface really is filled with a lot of new things.

“Yes. You are the dorm leader, aren’t you? It is your job to look after your fellow dorm mates, especially the first years.”

“Ugh…what a pain…and here I thought this day was finally over…” The voice grumbled. 

“Um…sorry for the trouble, dorm leader.”

The voice sighed. “…Just follow me.” 

“Hey, dorm leader?” The floating object didn’t answer, though that really didn’t bother me. “Do you uh…look like that? A floating thing?” After a few moments of silence, he finally responded.

“What are you talking about? Of course not. I’m a person. Have you never seen a tablet before?”

“No. We don’t have a tablet in the ocean. This is the first time I've ever seen one.”

“I see, so you're like Azul. What era do you merfolk live in? Why are there no gadgets in the ocean? Waterproof gadgets shouldn’t be that hard to make…”

With that, he started ranting, saying a lot of words I didn’t understand. I didn’t want to interrupt, so I quietly listened as I trailed after him. 

To be Continued