“I don’t see why it’s worth detention though,” Akko said, walking down the hall. She had Diana’s journal open in one hand as she wildly gestured with her other. “All I wanted to do was make sure the school faeries got an easier workload, Lotte told me that they were complaining about not being able to have any free time.”
‘That is very noble of you Akko,’ Diana wrote, Akko now used to the art of reading while walking, ‘However I doubt that trying to do all of the school’s laundry at the same time was a productive way to help the school staff.’ The words printed large on the page in order to help Akko see, Diana still worrying about the possibility of the Japanese girl tripping and falling.
One thing that Diana had learned over the past week of being declared Akko’s friend was that Akko was almost supernaturally clumsy, if there was a way for her to trip into trouble she would find it. The past week had been almost an overwhelming adventure. Since Diana had spoken to Akko the energetic witch made it her mission to try to figure out how to fix Diana’s curse, meanwhile dragging her along into every class and scheme. Diana would not admit it out loud, but it was refreshing, to finally be treated as if she were still a witch.
The two witches reached the basement, Akko opening the door and groaning at the sight of a room full of magic mirrors, a bucket and pile of rags left in the middle of the room. “This always takes so long.” She sighed, moving over towards the mirrors and propping Diana’s book up against the closest mirrors and grabbing a rag to start to wipe down the mirrors.
‘Have you done this before?’ Diana asked.
“Yeah,” Akko answered, starting in on the nearest clump of mirrors that were stacked against the wall, “I got detention when I first got here because I missed orientation and then opened a portal right into the auditorium.”
‘You missed the head-teachers first speech? Why?’
Akko smiled and regaled Diana her story of a mad dash through the woods, taking pauses to explain some of the modern terms, trying to keep the conversation from straying too far from the topic at the very beginning, loosing control of the discussion as it turned into a detailed explanation of how cell phones could exist.
“Look I’ll have to show you one someti..” Akko felt herself growing silent as she moved aside one of the bulkier mirrors, revealing a tall skinny mirror that was propped up against the wall. She reached out to touch it, making contact with the cold surface.
“I must confess I am quite eager to discover what was invented in the past decades, the world seems so different from the few things I’ve heard.” The voice rang clear through the room, Akko stunned as she looked at the image shown in the mirror.
There was a girl with her back turned standing in the room with Akko, standing right above Diana’s journal. Akko whipped her head back, starting at an empty room, and then looking back into the the mirror.
“Atsuko?” The voice said, the girl turning around. Akko let out a small gasp as she took in the girl in the mirror. She was taller than Akko, but looked around the same age, with long blond hair and bright blue eyes that seemed to rivet the Japanese witch in place. The mystery girl had on a variation of the school uniform, the normal dress changed out for a high collared dress shirt complete with a blue tie that matched her eyes. Her skirt was much longer than Akko’s, the end reaching down to her mid calf, and she had a belt on that included a few small loops on which a wand hung as well as a few small vials.
“Akko?” the girl said before she froze, her hands moving up to her mouth, shakily starting to walk over towards the mirror until she was right in front of it, staring directly at Akko’s hand that was pressed up against the mirror. “Is..” She started, Akko noticing that her voice was scratchy, but still melodic, “Is that you.”
“Diana?” Akko said, piecing together that this girl seemed to know who she was and was responding to her, her mind in caught in a loop of shock. Diana nodded frantically, Akko noticing that there were tears gathering at the corner of her eyes. “Are you alright,” she asked.
Diana shrugged and gave a half smile, “How?” she said, “What is this mirror.”
Tearing her eyes away from the blond girl Akko squinted at the writing around the edges of the mirror, “I don’t know, but there is letters around the outside I just cant read it, it looks like little moons.”
“Old script, Diana rattled off instantly, tapping her foot on the ground, “I know it but I cant seem to see from my book, only from this mirror, write down what you see maybe I can translate.”
Nodding Akko started to copy down the symbols written around the mirror, glancing back at Diana to notice that she had her head cocked the side as her eyes went milky white as the words Akko wrote disappeared, reappearing as English. She tried to focus on her task but felt herself distracted, wanting to look at Diana more, inwardly chastising herself for the weird feeling. Come on Akko, she thought, focus.
“Okay that is the last of it,” Akko said standing back up and looking down at the book, the last bits of runes she inscribed vanishing to reappear as legible words.
‘Let me reflect what is unseen, no secrets can hide, lay all curses bare before me.’ The words said, written out three times on the paper before her.
“It must be able to reflect spirits,” Diana mumbled, her eyes normal again but lost in thought. “And since I technically am without a body it must count me as a spirit.” She said, tapping her finger on her chin as she paced slightly.
Akko couldn’t contain a giggle, Diana quickly turning and looking at her. “It’s just,” Akko said through giggles, “I was right you really are someone who would be excited when a quest needs a lot of reading.”
A slight flush overtook Diana’s face, Akko shook out of her laughter as she had the sudden realization of how pretty Diana looked while laughing. Okay let’s think about that later, Akko told herself, before she had another realization.
“Wait why can I hear you.”
Diana blinked a few times, stunned again, “Perhaps it was part of the spell put on the mirror.” She said, “Even so, I am glad that you can. It has been a very long time since I have heard my voice, or seen anything at all.”
Dropping down to the floor in front of the mirror Akko sat down, Diana following, as they sat and stared at each other. “I think..” Diana’s voice cut through the silence, Akko giving her a small smile as she slowly started to speak, “I think I can tell you what happened to me now.” Diana said, the girl looking down at the floor.
“You don’t have to,” Akko hurriedly said, “I don’t want you to feel like you have to do something you are uncomfortable with, I know I was asking a lot this week, but It’s okay.”
“No I want to,” Diana said, “I need to tell someone.”
She took a deep breath, looking at Akko and steeling herself as she started talking. “I guess it started when I went away to Luna Nova, or maybe it was even before then, when my mother…” she trailed off, Akko moving forward and putting a hand on the glass of the mirror, Diana’s lips quirking up slightly before she continued.
“The Cavendish house was always a place of healing, when the great war happened we took people in, we helped where we could, but it wore my mother down. When the flu hit a few years later she couldn’t make it, and I tried to step forward to take her place, my aunt didn’t like that. Then I made a mistake, I went to Luna Nova.”
Diana had a sad smile on her face, taking out her wand and slowly turning it over in her hands, “I always loved magic, and wanted to be just like my mother, I wanted to help people. So I decided that I would do exactly like her and go to Luna Nova, I would study to become a great witch and bring magic and life back to the world. But when I left home my aunt took over in my place.”
“It was not too bad at first, I got to study magic, and I loved being here at Luna Nova. Then one night I got a letter from the head maid, telling me to come back to the house quickly. So I left, and when I returned home I found my aunt trying to sell the family relics, and when I confronted her she told me that if I wanted to run the house then I would have to agree to the marriage that she arranged for me.’
“I snapped. I yelled at her, and told her…” Diana stopped, putting a hand over her mouth as her eyes swam with tears, “Well it really has no bearing what I said. I went up to my room and started to prepare to take over the family, like I should have done years prior. When I was half asleep Daryl broke in, she,” a choking sob overtook Diana, as she breathed deeply trying to calm herself.
“It’s okay,” Akko cut in, “You don’t have to continue, I think I know what happened.” She said with a frown on her face.
“No, no.” Diana looked back up, “I need to finish.” She sighed deeply before gathering the strength to continue, “She paralyzed me with her familiar, and then she trapped me in this book. It took me a while before I came back to myself, and even then I could not do much more than hear scraps of conversation from outside. Eventually someone moved me, and I found myself in Luna Nova again,” she grinned ruefully, “They must have moved most of my families books to Luna Nova after Daryl ruined the family. So I sat in the library, once or twice someone found me, and even for a while I got to attend classes, and even once I told someone who I was.”
“That was another mistake, they said they would help, but when it came time to leave Luna Nova she left me behind, just like everyone else. So I waited, and slept, until you found me.” Diana finished, gripping onto her wand like it was a life line, staring into her lap.
“I’m sorry.” Akko said, Diana looking up at her, “No one deserves that, but we can figure it out. I always wanted to be a witch, and even though I have trouble doing magic, I still made it here. If I can do that, and figure out how to awaken the Shiny Rod, then we can definitely break the curse.”
The two witches sat in silence, both of them with small smiles on their faces. “Akko,” Diana said, “Would you mind bringing me back down here some time, it is nice to see again, and hear my own voice.” Diana said with a sad look on her face.
Akko looked at the sad look on the blond witches face, about to respond with a hearty yes, and offer to get into detention more often for her when she had an idea. “What if,” she started, smiling wide as her brain ran with the crazy idea that she had, “What if we took the mirror with us.”
“How,” Diana started before Akko cut her off.
“Okay so we know that the mirror lets you see, and talk, and all that, so what if we take a piece of the mirror with us, and we can recreate the mirror, but smaller.”
Diana tilted her head, thinking it over, “Well we would need to somehow get a frame for it, and make sure that it is inscribed correctly, but it might work.”
“I can get that no problem, there is a craft store in town that I can a frame for.” Akko said bouncing in place.
“Well…” Diana said, looking around with her lips quirking up, “I unfortunately have no inclination for getting in trouble, it is far out of my field.” She said, Akko swearing that there was a teasing lilt to her voice.
“You happen to be in the presence of a master of causing trouble, or so I have been told.” Akko said with a matching grin, “let’s get these mirrors cleaned then I might have to accidentally drop this one.”
A soft laugh seemed to echo throughout Akko’s mind, her mind seeming to grind to a halt at the sound of Diana’s laughter. Wow, she felt herself think for the second time that night, I wanna hear that again.
“Now that we have that solved,” Diana said, seeming to relax as the tension flowed out of her body with her laugh, “I believe that you were going to tell me how this cell phone works.”
Akko jumped back up, grabbing some rags and hurriedly starting to clean, the rest of the time flying by as she tried to explain the Internet to the English witch, smiling as she realized that when she said she could show Diana what something was, that she could actually do it very soon.
Faster than she expected Akko was done with her detention, slowly moving all of the mirrors back into place before facing the narrow mirror still showing Diana.
“You ready,” She said, Diana nodding. “Here we go,” she said, taking the pointed end of the shiny rod into one of the corners of the mirror, muttering a spell, “Murowa.” She said, feeling the shiny rod respond with only a flicker of power, Akko exhausted even from trying to push out that much magical energy, and glad that it had even worked in the first place.
A spiderweb of cracks came from the side of the mirror, small pieces of class falling from the corner where the mirror was fractured, larger pieces starting to slide from the top as Akko hurriedly laid the mirror down on the floor, Diana vanished from the reflection. She looked over the mirror, finding one of the larger pieces at the top, a jagged diamond piece of glass that she slipped inside of the notebook.
She looked around and saw a corner of the room where she gently put the mirror, covering it up by propping up several mirrors in front of it, hoping that it would be hidden long enough that she would not be blamed for this.
A few minutes later she let out a sigh of relief as she slipped back into the red dorm room, grabbing Diana’s book and whispering to it, “Does it work,” she said cracking open the book.
‘Not yet’ Diana wrote out, ‘but I can feel the magic, we just need to make a spell frame for it, then I am sure that it will work.’
“Good plan,” Akko said, “I’ll go tomorrow morning, I’ll let you know when I get back, we can work on it the rest of the day.” She said, propping Diana’s journal up on her desk, set open as Diana changed the texts to resemble Akko’s notes as the Japanese witch let out a large yawn, the two exchanging farewells for the night as Akko fell asleep almost moments after hitting the bed.
The next morning found Akko stumbling back into her dorm room, clutching a travel mug of coffee like it was a lifeline as she returned from her day of classes.
She pulled a small bag of materials out of her bag and put it down on he desk as she slumped into the chair. “Humans aren’t meant to be up before ten.” She mumbled, squinting at the sun blaring through the windows.
The still exhausted witch had bounded out of bed in the morning, a rough night of sleep affected by her excitement and nerves from the night. She had taken off before her roommates had gotten up in order to make it back before classes had started.
Already tired by the time that class had started she had barely gotten through the day with Diana’s help, the witch writing down some of the answers in order to help her classwork.
‘I do appreciate it Akko,’ Diana wrote, ‘Even though getting up earlier is probably better for your academic learning.’
Akko grumbled as she waved her hands, shooing the other girl away. She pulled out the materials that she had bought from the store earlier, a small picture frame and a few small carving tools that she had found. She laid them out in front of her as she gently pulled the large shard of the mirror from a drawer.
The jagged piece of of glass caught the light as it filtered in through the blinds, spots appearing on the ceiling as the light bounced against the rough edges. Akko held the picture frame up to the glass, it was a small oval wood frame, it looked like it would be at home propped up on an antique business desk, the older style grabbing Akko’s eyes when she was shopping.
Gingerly she marked out how she would cut the mirror, glancing around before moving over to Sucy’s desk, reaching behind to grab a large garden shears. If she remembered correctly Sucy had been bragging about how these were supposed to cut through any material, to make harvesting potion parts easier.
The shears lined up with the rough lines that Akko had drawn on the mirror, the witch grimacing as she looked away and closed the tool, relieved to not hear the shattering or crunching of glass. Looking over she saw that the shears had cleanly cut through the mirror.
A sigh of relief broke the fragile silence, words quickly appearing on the page. ‘It worked then?’
“So far,” Akko replied, going back to slowly cutting through the glass, the glass quickly taking shape to fit the frame. “I knew Sucy had the right materials, she always has the crazy stuff.”
‘Your friends certainly sound interesting’ Diana writes.
“Your friends too,” Akko continued to cut, every so often checking to make sure she got it right the first time. “Well soon at least, right now they might just think I’m crazy again.”
Diana found herself speechless, tossing around the idea of opening up to more people. She had already gotten more than she thought she would, with a possible way to see the world again, and someone who seemed to actually want to help. Could friends be another thing that she might get… ‘I’d like that.’ She wrote, relying on a shred of courage before falling silent again.
“Yes!” Akko let out a shout as she finished locking the glass in place, starting to ramble off adventures that she had already been on with her friends, some of them causing Diana to silently worry about what the state of the outside world was like if they had that many dangerous adventures.
Akko paused during a recollection of a journey into her friends mind, turning towards Diana, “Hey Diana could you pull up those symbols, I can get started on carving it in.”
A crude picture of the mirror formed in the notebook, showing the symbols that lined the outside, the symbols twisting around the printed frame.
“Thanks,” Akko said with a smile, going back to her story as she carved away at the wood frame in front of her, eventually falling silent as she poked her tongue out of her mouth as she concentrated, the light from outside dimming into nothing as it turned to night.
Eventually the last symbol was carved into the frame, the glass turning a shimmering black as she picked the carving tool from the frame. Akko let out a small noise of amazement, slowly lifting up the new mirror and placing it on the inside cover of Diana’s book, bracketing it into place and securing it with glue.
As she lifted her hands from the book she held her breath, the glass seeming to ripple for a moment before it cleared, the darkness of the mirror seeming to slide from the mirror as if a silk curtain had been slowly pulled off, revealing the sight of a blinking Diana.
“Whoooo!” Akko yelled, grabbing Diana off the desk ans spinning around the room in excitement.
A laugh caused her to halt in place, looking into the mirror to see Diana laughing , spinning around herself as Akko was struck by how free she looked, her arms outstretched and a wide grin on her face.
“Thank you Atsuko.” Diana said, focusing in on the Japanese witch’s face.
“It’s fine,” Akko said, a small blush on her face, “I wanted to help, and look we did magic!”
“You,” Diana said, her voice firm and a smile on her face, “You did magic.”
The blush grew on her face, Akko feeling her stomach turn and chalking it up to skipping dinner. “Well,” she said, trying to distract from the praise, “Now you can see everything what do you want to do?”
Diana tapped her finger against her chin, lost in thought, “Well,” she said, suddenly looking slightly embarrassed, “I have been unable to read a good work of fiction in a very long time.” She said, mumbling near the end, “Even though I may be a book does not mean I cannot enjoy reading.”
Akko laughed, going over to the desk as she set the book down. “Well I don’t have anything that isn’t in Japanese but I can ask Lotte tomorrow, she likes reading.”
“That would be lovely thank you.”
“It’s fine,” Akko said, her words cut off with a large yawn.
“You should sleep,” Diana said, Akko glad to hear that teasing in her voice again, “After all you suffered being awake before ten in the morning.”
Akko tried to resist before her body betrayed her with another yawn, acquiescing as she absentmindedly closed the book.
Realizing that she whipped back around, an apology already forming on her lips.
“Well it seems one of my questions was answered,” Diana’s voice came from the journal. “It seems that I can still see and hear when the book is closed.”
“Heh,” Akko said, walking over and propping the book back up on her desk, “That’s good, just going to make sure you aren’t staring at my ceiling all night.”
“Any sight is welcome at this point,” Diana said, “Besides I am fairly certain I can also get some form of sleep like this, even as a book.”
Akko walked back towards her bed, all of the stress and excitement of the day hitting her at once as she mumbled, “Good good, don’t wanna…” she hit the bed already asleep.
A soft laughter filled the room, Diana letting a tear escape, she could finally see, she could actually talk in this form, no more being ignored, no more dusty library shelves, she thought. Maybe, if she was lucky, even more.