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21st Century Witch
To begin, let me tell you, being a witch in the 21st century is NOT a slice of cake. My name is Izeberu Zoge (I go by Ize) and I AM a 21st century witch. I’m part of a three-witch coven in Kyoto, Japan. Now, as you probably know, witches are not very highly regarded in our century. They’re generally portrayed as green skinned, ugly hags. This, however, is completely false. I’m not green. None of the witches I have ever met are green. Anyway, I digress. I go to your run of the mill high school and lead a pretty much normal life up front. I lead a pretty adventurous life alright, but my real adventure began on October the 18th.
It started off as just your average day. The fall holiday had just ended and now it was back to school. The night before, I had thrown all my belongings into my suitcase and loaded it into my aunt’s car. You see, I live with my Aunt Ophelia, who is also a witch. I have lived with her since I was two because my parents died in a freak explosion when I was a mere baby. On the morning in question, I awoke with a start after a night of strange dreams. I pulled myself out of bed, yawning widely and shuffled over to my wardrobe. I pulled on my school uniform, not bothering to tie my dark purple tie or tuck in my blouse. I would do that later. I ran a hand through my platinum blonde dyed hair and quickly cleaned myself up with a smart little charm Ophelia taught me. I shouldered my book bag and trudged down the stairs. Ophelia had breakfast made in the dining room, which I ate hurriedly.
“Doncha have a ‘good morning’ for your Auntie?” asked Ophelia, sweeping the dishes off of the table.
“Good morning, Auntie. Will you drive me to the train now?” I asked, standing up.
“Sure thing, hon. I’ll just get some shoes on,” said Ophelia, walking off to find her favorite boots.
I hung around by the front door for a few minutes, listening to my aunt searching around for her shoes. I could see the heavy leather boots sitting on the wrack, but was too lazy to tell Ophelia that I knew where they were.
“Where are my &%$@ shoes at!!!???” Ophelia called from the back office.
“They’re right here! By the front door! Where they always are!” I called back.
Ophelia came, muttering swear words, into the entry and put her boots on.
“Why din’t you tell me sooner?” asked Ophelia grumpily.
I simply shrugged and smiled. Within a few minutes, we were in Ophelia’s rickety old car, on our way to the train station where my best friend, and fellow witch, Rizu Aka, was waiting for me. Rizu is taller than I am, with a frill of vibrantly red hair and almost orange eyes. She stood on the platform, waving enthusiastically at me. Ophelia booted me out of the car (quite literally) and handed me my trunk, giving me a terse goodbye. I gave her an equally frosty adieu and then joined the enthusiastic Rizu.
“HI!!!” exclaimed Rizu, giving me a bear hug.
“Oof! Augh! Get offen me!” I said, my blue eyes flaring wide as my insides were just about squeezed out of my body.
I finally managed to pry Rizu off of myself and we boarded the train, finding a nice, comfy pair of seats.
“So, how was your break?” asked Rizu.
Rizu and I had kept in touch over the week long vacation, but even so, I answered her question.
“Oh, passing fair. You?” I replied.
“Not much happened. I patched up those pants you asked me to, by the way” said Rizu, pulling a pair of black slacks out of her handbag.
Rizu has a little red handbag that she carries around everywhere with her. It’s about ten inches long and about five inches deep. However, it holds MUCH more than you’d think, thanks to a spiffy little jinx we hexed it with. I looked studiously over the trousers Rizu had handed to me. She had, indeed, patched them up quite nicely. Whenever my clothes get old or torn, I always just send them to Rizu. She’s rather obsessed with making and repairing clothing. We were about an hour early to the train station, so we just kind of sat around until we heard the conductor shout out that the train was about to depart. I hunkered down deep into my chair, propping my feet up on the empty seat across from mine and pulling an old novel out of my book-bag. Out of Rizu’s endless handbag came a bit of stitching that she proceeded to work on for the remainder of the journey. It’s about a three hour train ride out of Kyoto down to our school. Now, call me nerdy, but I love school. It’s one of my favorite places. I especially love our enormous library. After three hours of listening in on other students’ conversations and reading my book, the train finally grated to a halt outside of Shiroi Bara High School. Rizu and I were off the train in a flash, running up the lawn, through the front garden and into the school.
“Aaah… it’s good to be back” I sighed, stretching lithely in the foyer.
“Tell me about it” said Rizu, “Hey, let’s go find Saki-chan!”
Murasaki Hawado is the third member of Rizu and my coven. She’s the daughter of the school president and is also one of my best friends. As we stood in the foyer, Saki herself came bursting out of the library and leapt on us. Saki is a tall girl, with long brown hair, tan skin and amazing hazel eyes. She threw herself around first Rizu’s neck, then mine.
“AAAH!!! I’M SO GLAD TO SEE YOU!!!” Saki cried.
“Ah! Urk. You too Saki” I managed to choke, being slightly strangled by Saki’s crushing grip.
Saki pulled herself off of me. I looked down at myself, only then realizing that I still looked like a complete mess. I hurriedly tucked in my shirt and tied my tie, smoothing my skirt a bit. I noticed Hawado-sensei, Saki’s dad and the president of the school, watching us from the door of his office. Hawado-sensei looks quite different from his daughter. He’s a short, dapper man with a rather bushy mustache and no hair on top of his head. Hawado-sensei is almost like my dad, always looking out for me.
“It is good to see you back in one piece, Aka-chan and Zoge-chan” he said, bowing politely.
I’m sure he was referring to the fact that Rizu, Saki and I tend to get into lots of weird magical mishaps, in and out of school. I was about to reply when a guy about our age stepped out of Hawado-sensei’s office to see what was going on. He was wearing the school uniform, which puzzled me. I know just about everybody at our school, if only just by their face. You see, I’m a people watcher. I rarely get involved in anything or say much, but I know just about everything that goes on in our school, right from knowing who was going to be on this year’s gymnastics team even before the date of release down to the smallest bits of gossip. That was why I was confused that I didn’t recognize this guy. I inspected him carefully through my long bangs. He was tall and slim, with messy, sort of spiky, jet black hair and deathly pale skin. His eyes were a shocking black with long, dark lashes and a dark lining. A small, mysterious smirk played across his lips.
“Hawado-sensei, is this the daughter you were telling me about?” asked the guy, nodding at Saki.
“Yes. This is my daughter Murasaki and these are her friends Izeberu Zoge-san and Rizu Aka-san. Girls, this is Kurai Bijon-san. He is new to our school. Saki-chan, would you be as kind as to show him around?” asked Hawado-sensei.
“Of course, Dad,” replied Saki.
“Thank you, dearest” said Hawado-sensei before disappearing back into his office, leaving us with Bijon-san in the foyer.
There were a few moments of awkward silence.
“Um… mind showing me around?” asked Bijon-san a little shyly.
“OH! Of course! Where would you like to go first?” asked Rizu, always the enthusiastic one.
Bijon-san just shuffled his feet for a moment, at a loss for words.
“Well, come on, let’s go into the library!” exclaimed Rizu, grabbing Bijon-san’s hand and pulling him through the oaken double doors to the library.
Saki and I glanced at each other, smirking slightly before following Rizu and Bijon-san into the library. Our school library is probably my favorite place in the entire world. It is three stories tall and holds over two million books. But beware; it is very easy to become lost in there if you don’t know your way around. That’s why we have student librarians, like me, who know the library front to back. I wish there was a word for just how immense and amazing our library is. As we traversed the library, heading for the back door out into the main courtyard, I spotted one of my fellow librarians, Recheru-chan, reshelving books in the romance section. I waved at her, trying to catch her attention. Recu-chan looked up from the novel she was perusing, hurriedly shoving it into the shelf and waving back at me.
“You just get here?” asked Recu-chan, walking over to me.
“Yeah. You?” I asked, keeping Rizu, Saki and Bijon-san in the corner of my eye, so as not to lose them in our grand edifice of knowledge.
Sorry about my rather flowery language. I’m known for it. I read far too much.
“I’ve been here all break, maintaining the library” said Recu-chan.
“Fun! I had to go home for Thanksgiving with my family people” I said, shrugging.
“Was it fun?” asked Recu-chan.
“Seeing my cousins is always a bit of a hassle, me being the eldest, but I love my Uncle Claudio” I replied, shrugging eloquently.
This is very true. I have seven smaller cousins, ranging from 6 to 16. I SWEAR that they ALL go out of their way to make trouble for me. Especially Juliet. Anyway, I digress.
“Um, Ize-chan, I think you’ve lost your group…” noted Recu-chan, nodding behind me.
I spun around, finding that Recu-chan was, indeed, correct. I sighed, running a hand through my short hair. I turned back to Recu-chan.
“Who’s that cute guy that Rizu-san is dragging around?” asked Recu-chan.
“Him? He’s the new guy. Kurai Bijon-san” I said, shrugging again.
“Cool. Well, I gotta get back to shelving these books” said Recu-chan.
“Oh. Okay. I’d better go find Rizu and make sure she doesn’t talk poor Bijon-san’s ears off” I said.
I said a quick goodbye to Recu-chan and strode off to find Rizu, Saki and Bijon-san. I found them out in the south garden. Rizu had totally lost interest in anything but the sewing she was working on, Saki had buried her nose in a book, and Bijon-san was standing awkwardly off to one side. I slapped Rizu upside the head and snatched the sewing outside of her hand, shoving it into her purse. I walked up to Bijon-san, brushing my bangs casually out of my eyes.
“Come on. If these morons’ll stop lollygagging, we can move on” I said, glaring daggers at Rizu and Saki, who both looked down at their shoes sheepishly.
“Oh. Okay. Um, I’m sorry, but will you remind me of your name? I seem to have forgotten it” said Bijon-san, a little embarrassed.
“Don’t sweat it. Just call me Ize” I said, smirking a bit.
“Okay” said Bijon-san, that ghost smirk of his gracing his face once more.
I was beginning to like his small smile. All of his little mannerisms, actually. Like the way he pressed his index finger to his lips whenever he smiled. It was exactly that moment that I realized that I was noticing these little things and I’m sure I turned a rather vivid shade of pink. I turned away quickly, looking down at my shoes and walking a few paces away. I regained my composure after a few seconds and turned back to the trio behind me.
“Well, are you idiots coming, or not?” I snapped, feeling a bit irritated at myself for being a hormonal idiot.
“Oh! Yes!” Rizu grabbed Bijon-san’s wrist, dragging him along behind her as she followed me quickly down the terraces to the main school building.
We showed Bijon-san around the classrooms, introduced him to the teachers some of the students and ended up out in the garden outside the dorm buildings. I checked my watch. It was nearly five o’ clock. I knew that Rizu and I had better get up to our dorm and unpack.
“Um, well. Bijon-san, it’s getting late and my girls and I have to go unpack. I’d show you up to your dorm, but, you see, girls aren’t allowed in the boys’ dorms and vice versa…” I trailed off, feeling a tad uncomfortable beneath Bijon-san’s stare.
Bijon-san’s small smile reappeared for a moment.
“I see. I’ll find my way around. Will I see you again?” he asked, sounding eager.
I shrugged eloquently, again, and smiled slightly.
“Probably. I work in the library when I’m not in classes” I said, blushing lightly.
I turned around quickly and walked away into the girls’ dorm building. I ran up three flights of stairs, feeling relieved that the day was finally almost over. I pulled my dorm room key out of my pocket and unlocked Rizu and my room, flopping down on my black canopied bed. Rizu joined me in our room a few minutes later.
“Hey, are you alright?” asked Rizu, sitting down next to me.
“What? I’m fine” I replied, confused.
“You’re flushed and you seemed kind of rushed just there” said Rizu.
“Am I? Did I? Oh. I’m fine” I said, running a hand through my hair.
“You sure?” asked Rizu.
“Yeah. I’m just a little tired. Besides, we need to unpack” I subtly changed the subject.
“You’re RIGHT!!!” exclaimed Rizu, running over to her dark red trunk and flinging it open.
Rizu, again with her obsession with clothes, took almost two hours to unload her entire wardrobe from her trunk into the closet. Unloading my trunk took all of about five minutes. Everything ended up in a jumble underneath my bed, just like in my room at home. I looked again at my watch as Rizu finished unpacking. 7:12. It was still early. Curfew wasn’t until 10:00.
“I’m going down to the library” I said, glancing over at Rizu as I got off of my bed.
“Okay! I’m going to go get dinner!” said Rizu, following me out of the room.
Rizu and I split up just outside of the girls’ dorms, Rizu heading off towards the campus café and me heading back up through the gardens into the library. My pace was leisurely as I sauntered through the rose garden just behind the library. I pushed open the old, heavy doors and stepped into the musty cavern of books. I walked up to the front desk, checking in, while also looking to see who else was there. I was the third librarian there. I grabbed a stack of books off of the return cart and headed off into the poorly lit depths of my library.