If there is magic, then there is monsters.
This had been proven time and time again in almost every fictional universe.
My family saw me off on the ship heading for Hawthorne Island two weeks later.
I had expected the trip to Hawthorne Island would be a smooth sailing, but unexpectedly. . .we ran into a storm on our way there.
Even during the day, the dark clouds above offered little comfort. Everyone kept inside, mostly in the dining hall and lounge area. Gazing outside the window at the raging seas, I felt uneasy. Am I forgetting something? I feel like I am. Something important. . .
Suddenly the whole ship shook. Kids were thrown out of their seats and slid down to the floor. Because I was near the window, I saw it.
A thick black tentacle appearing on the deck.
That’s right. . . there was a special event that made Anais Letiffany and the love interests of the protagonist so respectable among their peers!
Running out onto deck, sure enough there was a giant yellow eye peeking out from its shell. A giant nautilus.
From above three boys were already outside fighting it.
When tentacles had managed to wrap themselves and lift the boys into the air, I knew I should do something. However, I left my wand behind in my room! I should be able to manage this without my wand still though right?
Before I could even step forward a flash of red came into view. If I’m correct it’s one of the love interests from the game.
Aaron Pyroneil, he was from the prestigious Pyroneil family, a family of holy knights and priests praised for their exceptional skill at controlling fire.
The tentacles holding the other students had been severed, freeing them.
Recalling the original story from the game. I hurried over to one of the students that had just been released from the tentacle.
“You can use lightning spells now right?”
That boy looked at me a bit disoriented from the fall, he had platinum blonde hair and warm light brown eyes.
He actually wasn’t a stranger to Anais but a childhood friend. Donald Honey, the son of the head priest of the capital’s church. Our Grandfathers were friends so our families often saw each other.
I held out my hand to help him up and he took it.
“Why don’t we work together to break its shell using lightning magic? Otherwise none of our attacks will do any real damage.”
“Isn’t that a bit. . .? Alright.” Donald was hesitant but he quickly made up his mind.
Just like his Father had us practice when we were kids, we held hands (tango style)and our bodies glowed with light. Because of the weather, summoning the lightning took only a couple of seconds.
A fierce white bolt that for a second looked like a dragon shooting down from the sky shattered the nautilus beast’s giant shell.
Shards of the shell went flying. I hadn’t anticipated this and panicked. Still holding my hands, Donald put up a barrier so large it covered the ship. The rest of the shells bounced off. As expected of one of the game’s love interests. He was pretty capable.
“Nice work! But I’ll take it from here!” Aaron, flaming sword in hand, changed it to a flaming bow and arrow.
“Blue flames?” Donald was just as surprised as me.
Standing a few feet away from him was a boy with black hair, his hair was wet from the sea water that had splashed in from the sides so I couldn’t quite see his face.
He also made a magic arrow using black wind. It was another rare sight.
The two fired the arrows at the same time. Both elements combined to form an arrow of lightning, stunning the Nautilus so bad it released the ship.
“I’m not sure we defeated it but. . .it should be gone right?” I asked.
“It’s a creature of the water so lightning should have severely weakened it.” Donald responded.
Glimpsing past him, I noticed some of the crew members were injured. I hurried over to heal them.
The ship’s captain appeared shortly afterwards as did all the other students onboard. And so, I was able to fulfill the event. As thanks for our help in scaring off the sea monster, we were invited to share a meal with the captain. However he ended up having to leave at the start of dinner, the ship had suffered a lot of damage from the attack. They had to check every nook and cranny for cracks so the ship wouldn’t sink.
“That was so scary. I thought these parts of the water was supposed to be safe.” Seeing how quiet everyone was, I decided to say something first.
“The sea is deep and even more mysterious than the surface, we can never be sure what’s lurking down there.” Donald said frowning as he picked at his food. It would appear he still despised eating radishes.
“The ship always takes the same route to Hawthorne right? Why do you think the nautilus would come all the way to the surface?” I asked him. We sorta grew up together so naturally he was the most comfortable talking with me.
“A naughty what?” Aaron raised his brows at me.
“Nautilus, you know it’s the sea creature that appeared. I’ve only read about them in books but I didn’t expect them to be that huge!”
“They’re not supposed to be.” Donald interjected . He looked worried. “Nautilus aren’t even supposed to be predators, they’re scavengers that feed off dead animals on the seafloor.”
“Ooooh.” Seeming not to have known this Aaron looked enlightened. “. . .Maybe there are a lot of dead animals on the sea floor around Hawthorne, so it grew big.”
Hearing this we all stared at him. He was ignorant but still had a good head on his shoulders. In the game I could never understand if he was pretending to be stupid or not but it seems thats just genuinely how he is. Not very knowledgeable but still intelligent. If he just applied himself more to his studies instead of giving his all to training then maybe he’d make a good Captain some day.
“How frightening, if that’s the case then there must be dozens of others like them. . .” Imagining it stressed me out. In addition to worrying about vengeful spirits there were now giant shelled squids trying to eat ships.
“L-let’s not jump to conclusions here. I’m sure the Captain will put in a request for adventurers to check it out so let’s leave it to the adults.” Donald perhaps imagining it himself also grew fearful and quickly spoke up.
“They were pretty useless earlier though.” Aaron stated this matter o’factly as he folded his arms behind his head then eyed the both of us. “Still the both of you surprised me with that high tier magic, are you sure you even need to attend Hawthorne?”
Hearing this compliment Donald coughed. His ears seemed red for some reason. I forgot, he’s talkative with me but in the game he’s the Kuudere type isn’t he? “You can never know too much when it comes to magic.” he said.
“What about the two of you, you seemed to be both adept already to be able to make weapons out of elements. You even managed to combine the two, that was great team work, you guys must’ve trained pretty hard together!” I said clasping my hands together.
Aaron and that boy blinked at me.
“We haven’t.” The two said in unison.
Both glanced at each other. It’s a late introduction but allow me to introduce the other individual. Black hair, and sharp grey eyes. Eurus Stratos. He was the black sheep of the love interests. His Mother was a dark witch so he was considered the outcast of his family, but since he came from a rich noble family, he must’ve had an okay upbringing for his family to allow him to attend Hawthorne. Actually I never finished playing his route, his attitude was too abrasive for my liking.
“I don’t know this guy.” Aaron clarified.
“Then that’s even more amazing.” Donald agreed with me.
“Then what about you two? You know each other?” Aaron glanced at both Donald and I.
We both nodded as we eyed each other.
“It’s been a couple of years since we last saw each other but yeah.” I muttered. Donald was like me, due to the overflowing mana in his body, he had been sickly, however his family was quickly able to find him a magic item that could help his condition stabilize. Although I was a noble, my family had a lower status. As we got older our meetings between the family became less and less, due to his studies and my illness.
“I didn’t even know you were attending Hawthorne. You appeared out of nowhere too. There are too many surprises today.” Donald sighed.
“Hehe. . .” I laughed this off. But I felt bad for not keeping in touch.
Like that I was able to get acquainted with the first three love interests of the protagonist. I wasn’t concerned of possible romance due to the storyline.
In the game. Anais, although seemingly close to everyone, she at the same time wasn’t. Even though she had a refined and angelic appearance even more so than the protagonist. In my opinion there were actually many beautiful girls in the game that made me question why the main love interests fell for the protagonist, not that the protagonist is ugly. She is pretty but nothing compared to all the other girls. Maybe that’s why she wasn’t really targeted in the game. The creatures behind the disappearance of the female Hawthorne students were mostly interested in the extremely beautiful ones. . .If that’s the case, I wonder if Anais really does end up dying in the end. . .
This thought weighed on me. Maybe so. . . still even if I end up dying, if I’m able to help the protagonist find out the secret and save the school. I suppose. . .I suppose I’ll be fine with dying. I thought this while scratching the left side of my chest.
We arrived at Hawthorne island a bit later than scheduled thanks to the attack. Rolling my luggage down the plank to the shore, I suddenly regretted not having Esme or brother around to help me carry my things.
Halfway down the ramp, the descent of my luggage suddenly accelerated. I dug in my heels as I resisted against the force but the luggage turned on its own. I sped down the docks and into the forest, I wouldn’ve crashed into a tree had I not put up a barrier at the last minute, the luggage suddenly stopped on its own propelling me forward. I slammed into my own barrier so hard that for a while I lied there dazed on the ground, my vision white. I didn’t come to until all the hairs on my body rose. It suddenly became cold. . .
I glanced to the side and saw her in my peripheral. She was looking at the giant tree I had nearly crashed into.
I sat up and glanced at the tree too. This tree. . . something felt off about it. If I recall correctly this is the infamous dryad tree that was sealed by a priestess long ago.
The fairy that once lived in this tree, evolved and became a succubi, it would seduce men and suck out their life force until there was nothing left. She’d used their corpses as fertilizer and with their semen gave birth to more offspring. Thus this tree was named The Tree of the First Succubi.
The remaining demons were hunted by holy knights and priests but there was still more dangerous creatures on the island. What had made that innocent fairy turn into such a terrifying creature? It’s possibly linked to the corruption of this whole island.
But was Amelie trying to tell me that it all started here? Or was she just showing me this so I could research up on it?
I glance at her. Only to freeze when I realize that she was also looking at me. Her face was scarred, as if barbed wire had been dragged against it, some seemed to be poking out from underneath her skin. There was a deep void in her eyes that glued me to the spot. Tears welled up in my eyes. For a while I forgot to breathe. Amelie, what happened to you here?
I flinched and quickly came to my senses. Blinking, I turned around. I wasn’t expecting Donald to come running after me with such a panicked look.
“Oh. . . it’s you?”
“Are you alright?” Donald looked seriously spooked as he kneeled down next to me who sat in a bit of a daze on the forest floor.
Of course he’d be scared. I was digging in my heels and trying my very best to stop the descent of my luggage, I’m sure to those who saw it, it would become obvious that something had been pulling me.
Still I hadn’t expected Donald to run after me like this. I’m not the protagonist.
“Oh, I’m fine. But. . . why did you come here?” I asked him.
His face morphed into one of pink then white then finally anger registered.
“Why? I was worried. That’s why! Anyone would be!”
Yet he was the only one to come after me. In the game it was the same. This island had a strange way of isolating individuals from their groups, only those that were close to them would notice their absence. But even then it was as if the person had been swallowed by the island. That’s why it was vital the protagonist seduced guys so that they would notice her, and come looking for her. Chasing off the ghosts in the process.
Using my luggage as a crutch to stand I say.
“Let’s head back now, I don’t want to get lost in this forest.”
Frowning at me, Donald hauled my luggage away from me. His other hand firmly grabbed mine.
If this were the game perhaps this would be a good moment for an illustration.
Hmm, it’s like I’m experiencing the prequel of the game. Donald probably sees Anais as a younger sister character, huh? Which means my affinity with him due to us being childhood friends was defaultly high huh? Come to think of it in the later half of the game Donald could no longer be seduced(the affinity wouldn’t rise any higher) and in his place a new love interest is introduced. I was super disappointed about that, but now, not so much. As we walked I stared at his side profile, gratitude swelled up inside me. I had no idea he cared so much about her. About me…
“This island is known for its troublesome fairies, maybe one of them wanted to play a prank on you.” Donald said as we walked back to the docks. Everyone had already left though, we got directions of which town to head to and was thoroughly surprised to find Aaron and Eurus waiting around at the bus stop.
“Oh, you guys. . .”
“I was going to leave earlier but I felt too unsettled to leave. It’s good you’re safe.” Aaron looked disturbed as he stood around waiting with his arms folded but after seeing me, he looked relieved. “Here’s your luggage Donnie.”
“Donnie?” Donald cringed as he took back his luggage. I had only ever been the one to call him that when we were kids, but not even I still call him that.
“This island is just as strange as I had heard.” Was all Eurus had to say.
Since Donald had his own luggage to carry I wanted to carry mine. But none of them would let me, while we walked towards the school, the three took turns dragging my luggage. This I couldn’t understand.
Perhaps Aaron and Eurus saw me as a respectable colleague? But Eurus hated girls didn’t he?
“The spirits of this island must’ve taken a liking to you. You should be careful.” Eurus told me upon arriving at the gates of Hawthorne, he handed my luggage back to me. “Someone once told me that the ones the spirits like often go missing.”
So Eurus knew something like this? How unexpected. If he knew that much about the island why did he come to attend this school? I had always assumed that students chose to attend out of ignorance.
“Seriously?” But both Aaron and Donald seemed surprised hearing this. I take that back, it must not be common knowledge. Still, my question still stands. How does he know?
“The ones the spirits like? How can I make them not like me?”
Watching me for a while Eurus shook his head.
“…You’re too pure.”
He didn’t seem like he was going to respond but when I finally looked away he answered.
“Pure?” I echo, my brows furrowing.
“The spirits of this island are corrupted, but they like pure things. It reminds them of their origin. And in turn they’ll seek it out with the desire to corrupt it.”
“How do you know all this stuff Eurus?” Aaron asked the question I wanted to.
“That. . . Someone who once lived here told me.”
“And you still came here?”
“I’m not pure so…also this land protects men. So I’m fine.”
So he knew! So he knew all along huh. . .
With the protagonist it would probably take a whole season before he shared this information, no matter how many times she got herself in danger he’d always give her vague warnings so why was he sharing it all with Anais? Words can not described how shocked and confused I am. Was Anais Eurus’ first love or something? Or did he just see her as a friend? Perhaps fighting together against the nautilus made him feel close to her. . .true, technically that was a life or death experience, and though he hated women, she’d seem different as she was the only female mage who stepped up to fight. . .
“Don’t worry, Anais I got your back!” Aaron told me. His white knight instincts seemed triggered by this.
I just shook my head.
Even if I were to go missing, you’d probably all forget me so it’s fine. Of course, I couldn’t say that.
“I’ll look after myself. But thanks for all your help.” I looked at all three of them before doing a deep curtsy.
“The male and female dorms are on opposite sides of the campus right? I’ll be leaving now.”