“Come on. It’s time to go. Thank you for your help, Tontidai.” Gemma took Inabikari’s hand and dragged him. They arrived at the Academy in a couple of minutes, where Annie was scouring the grounds. “Hey! This is the first time I’ve seen you outside since the funerals. Yuki, where were you yesterday?”
“I had to take care of Yuki, she had to go back to her Wise Woman to get something sorted out.” Gemma said as Inabikari laughed softly. Gemma sighed, worried and partly upset that the plan didn’t work. “Anyway, say Hello. This is Inabikari, Guardian of Weaponry.”
Annie paused before laughing. “That’s Yuki.” Then she paused again. “Her eyes…they’re different.”
“She noticed. Smart girl.” Inabikari said.
“What happened to Yuki?” Annie asked.
“Yuki’s gone, not permanently. Tontidai, the Wise Woman, said that Inabikari will briefly take over Yuki until…” Gemma broke off. Two boys appeared from the forest edge, one with a stricken, angry face. They recognised the two boys immediately.
“Inabikari! You bastard!” Jio shouted.
“Ooh, look who it is.” Inabikari said, amused.
“Don’t mess around. Give my sister back.”
“Y’know, remember when you said that you’d do anything for your family, then remember when I last came out? All you could do was shudder in a corner and beg me not to kill you, you coward.”
“Stop calling me names and fight me like a man!”
“Ooh. You’d hurt a poor, defence-less girl? You really are a coward.
“You aren’t a girl! Stop pretending!”
Inabikari laughed. “Now your sister’s gone, so that does make me a girl, in a disturbing way.”
Jio narrowed his eyes, angry and is about to jump at Inabikari but Fuuma stopped him, not wanting his friend so upset. Inabikari laughed before blacking out.
Yuki awoke to see the faces of her friends staring at her. “Hey!” She sat up.
“Yuki?” Gemma said, uncertainly.
“That’s my name!”
Gemma smiled in relief.
“What’s wrong? Oh, wait. Inabikari?”
“Give me a moment.” Yuki closed her eyes and lay down. After a second, she sat up again. “Where are Jio and Fuuma?”
“They left.” Annie replied.
The three girls talked for a while on the grass, talking about their lives before they came to the Academy, the friends they had.
“Have you heard the news?” A voice said from above them. The three girls looked up to see Rosa, facing them.
“No. Why?” Annie said.
“Someone in the school has just been murdered.”
“Are you serious?”
“How did you find out?” Gemma asked her.
“They won’t tell any of the students. But I heard it.” Rosa said.
“Go to Ganieda. Tell her.”
Rosa nodded and hurried off.