[identity profile] amylan.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] redpenwriters
Title: Greyscale
Author: [livejournal.com profile] amylan
Beta: N/A
Rating: K+
Genre: Shoujo, Fantasy
Notes/Warnings: None
Summary: There's a reason why Magical Girls are rarely grown up.
Length: 1970



Ami started the battle off by flicking her fingers upward in the same motion that she had used against Aya a few months ago. Once the wall of asphalt had risen up from the ground, Ami then flung her hands in Aya’s direction, sending the wall flying toward her at an unbelievable speed. The blonde blasted the asphalt, quickly melting it down into hot tar, but Ami simply directed the tar to coalesce around Aya’s body. It seared the skin and adhered to everything it touched, but Aya seemed to be impervious to the pain.

Without flinching, Aya lit her body on fire, seemingly unmindful that her clothes had begun to burn off as well.

“What the hell?” Ami muttered to herself. “That didn’t even make her flinch. What’s goin’…”

That was when Ami felt it. That distinct feeling, as though she had been ‘baptized’ in filth over the course of several days. There was a bitter taste in her mouth, and an almost-stench beginning to waft about the lot.

“You idiot…” Ami breathed. “Yer a damn idiot, Arashi. Ya shouldn’t’ve let a demon god get to ya like that. Were ya that desperate to have yer rematch with Waters?”

“I am the only one allowed to kill that girl,” the flaming entity that was Aya replied. “Only me… I am the only one strong enough to silence that demon!”

“Sorry, Arashi, but once ya gave yerself over to a demon god, you became a demon yerself.” Ami shook her head. “It’s a damn shame too, but… Well. That’s enough talkin’ for right now.” Without further ado, Ami slammed her foot into the ground, causing a small, localized earthquake to begin.

Himeko and Aya both lost their balances and fell to the ground, while Selphi braced herself by kneeling down. Hitomi had long been used to Ami’s offensive magic style and had been prepared for an earthquake like this. Taking advantage of her opponent’s distraction, she grabbed a nail and a hammer out of her bag and, moving quickly, held the doll between her knees while she hammered the nail into the doll’s arm as deep as it would go.

Himeko began to scream in pain almost instantly, the sensation of something sharp being imbedded into her arm more than she could take and still maintain her concentration on anything.

Aya looked over at her partner, then at Hitomi. The flaming orbs that had taken place for her eyes seemed to darken slightly and she thrust an arm toward the other girl.

The red-eyed girl let out a small squeak before throwing herself face down on the ground, allowing the flames to roar above her head as loudly as they liked. Quickly crawling over to her bag, she pulled out the wicker doll that she had shown the other witches the day before and, taking a sharpened stick, jabbed it hard into the doll’s stomach.

There was a loud scream as Aya clutched her stomach and fell back to her knees. “And that’s why you shouldn’t forget things like a curse expert having a wicker doll with your blood in it,” Hitomi whispered to herself, smiling at the effectiveness of the attack.

Himeko stood up, clutching her arm. “Aya-chan!” she called out in alarm. Before she could do anything as dramatic as throwing herself at her partner’s side, Ami had pinned her to the wall behind her with a wall of earth. “Tell me,” she said aloud. “Do you actually have any magic? Seriously? You don’t really seem ta do much other than be a drama queen and a target.”

The other girl looked at her resentfully. “I am the most loyal servant of my lord,” she hissed. “And none shall be as richly rewarded than I when he has the strength to descend and shape the earth into his own image.”

Ami snorted. “Right. Well, in case you don’t pay much attention, demon gods really aren’t big on fulfilling promises to their underlings.”

“He’ll do it. He will. I know he will.” Himeko smiled to herself. “It’ll be a beautiful day once he has become flesh…”

The onmyouji stared at Himeko for a moment, then shook her head. “No wonder you and Arashi get along so well. The both of ya are delusional nutcases.”

“Ami-chan, look out!” Selphi yelled in warning. Ami was swallowed up by the earth just in time for a wave of lava to strike the place that she had been standing only moments ago. She popped out of the earth a safe distance away.

“Awww, Aya hurt Himeko,” Hitomi cooed, looking at Himeko’s doll, which was now slightly charred. “Does Aya want to take Himeko away to treat her owies?”

The flame entity seemed to glare at the girls with the fiery orbs that served as its eyes before turning back to Himeko. The fire extinguished itself, leaving Aya naked as she gently took hold of Himeko. With a ripple of air, the two disappeared.

For a long moment, the three girls were silent and still.

“…That turned out well,” Selphi finally said. The other two girls just shot her
glares. “What?”

“Shut up, Waters.”

***

“I am still not strong enough,” Aya snapped, dropping Himeko’s body to the ground unceremoniously. “I could not even beat Aomori; I will not stand a chance against Waters.”

“Don’t worry about it, Aya-chan,” Himeko said, moving slowly and painfully. “It’s going to take some time before the essence of my lord fully settles within you. It won’t be long before you’re the most powerful being on the entire planet.

“And I am to just believe you like that?” Aya asked dryly. “What reason can you give me, what proof that you speak the truth?”

“Because you weren’t actually defeated by Aomori,” Himeko replied. “It was that doll girl that stopped you by stabbing that doll in the stomach. Before that, you were an unstoppable presence.”

“That is true,” Aya allowed. “Next time, I will destroy all of those dolls of hers before I burn her to ashes.”

“That sounds fine, Aya-chan,” Himeko sighed. “But could you bring me to the coffin and then get yourself some clothes before you do anything else? It’s not easy to be afraid of you when you’re just walking around without any clothes on.”

Aya looked down at herself and blushed. “…Yes, that would be a very good idea…”

Himeko laughed. “Don’t worry too much, Aya-chan. It won’t be long before you help my lord to descend to this earth, and then the world will fear you no matter what.”

“I suppose so.” The blonde smiled at Himeko, then moved to help the other girl to the coffin.

***

“You okay, Ami-chan?” Selphi asked as she walked up to the girl.

Ami stopped sweeping for a moment and sighed. “I suppose. That didn’t turn out very well, but at least none of us got hurt, ya know?”

“Yeah. Lucky that no one caught on to the battle, either,” Selphi replied. “Things could have been very tricky to explain if that happened.”

“No kidding. I’m still surprised that the cops are writin’ off the incident on the street as a mass hallucination brought on by too many TV reports about Arashi,” Ami remarked, resuming her sweeping.

Selphi stared at the other girl. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Nope. I was listening to the news earlier – that’s the official report, though there’s definitely a chance that it’s just a cover story.” Ami didn’t look up as she added, “Hitomi already called to tell me that the police came back to question her about bein’ on the street when she was. She said she told the truth, but she made sure that it sounded too weird for it to actually be true.”

“Did they come by to question you yet?” Selphi asked.

Ami shook her head. “No, not yet, but it’s only a matter of time.” She sighed. “This isn’t good. If stuff like this keeps happening, it’s gonna get a lot harder to cover everythin’ up.”

“Yeah,” Selphi replied, “But it’s not like we can do anything else. Yet.”

“’Yet’ bein’ the keyword here,” Ami pointed out. “Waters, you gotta get control of yer teleportin’ sooner. It’s the only way that we’re gonna be able to nip this whole thing in the bud and have control over the situation, too.”

“Yeah, I know, I know,” Selphi responded, annoyed. “It’s not like this sort of thing comes easily to me, though. I mean, I’m still trying to get a hang of the whole telepathy thing! There’s still a bunch of people in my head, and goddamn, but some of your priests are perverts,” she finished, veering wildly off-topic as she turned to glare at some priests that were standing around at the entrance of the temple and staring at the two girls.

Ami turned to see what Selphi was looking at and frowned, then seemed to be listening to something. She flushed a deep pink. “They’re still in trainin’,” she muttered. “Doesn’t give ‘em leave to have such dirty thoughts, though.” A moment later, the priests were clutching their heads.

“Headache?”

“Migraine. May as well put ‘em out for the rest of the day if they’re gonna be thinkin’ of smut,” Ami sniffed.

“Right…”

“Anyway, my dad’s waitin’ for you out back,” Ami added, indicating the direction with a nod of her head. “And try not to whine so much, wouldja? It’s hard enough tryin’ to concentrate on my duties without havin’ to listen to yer bellyachin’ in my head for every minute of ‘em.”

“But it’s haaaaaard,” Selphi whined. When Ami failed to give her a response, she pouted and flounced off to her training.

***

So Selphi trained. And she trained and she trained and she didn’t stop training except for meals, sleep, and school. She even trained in the shower, though she hoped that if she teleported, it would be into the other side of the bathroom and not somewhere like some pervert’s bedroom. Her focus was completely on mastering teleportation, and she allowed everything else to fall to the side as she pushed herself more and more every day.

Finally, though, she managed to teleport herself a few feet. It wasn’t a large distance, but it was still a major accomplishment. After that, she pushed herself harder and harder, trying to move herself to places she had visited that were miles away, as well as places that she had never seen.

“Selphi,” her mother began one day. “I’m worried about you, honey. You hardly eat nowadays, and your teachers have been telling me that you haven’t been completing your assignments lately.”

“I have something more important than homework, Mom,” Selphi replied. “Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.”

“But still…” Her mother chewed her lip. “Well, if you’re sure that you have everything under control…”

“I do, don’t worry about me,” Selphi soothed. “You just focus on your job, okay?”

Kyung-soon nodded reluctantly and left the room, and Selphi sighed. She has a point, she thought to herself. I am beginning to fall behind in classes. I need to master teleporting, though… Looking over at her new school desk and the bag of homework next to it, she shrugged mentally. Oh, well. It’s not like one night of homework is going to keep me from advancing.

Still… It wouldn’t hurt to try one more time, right? Of course not. And with that, Selphi closed her eyes, cleared her mind, and picked a random destination. Only seconds later, her entire body burst into bubbles.

At her destination, the bubbles reformed and Selphi opened her eyes. “Yes!” she cheered, before she recognized where she had ended up. “Oh, crap…”

She was back in the underworld.

***

Himeko opened her eyes, waking from her light sleep. “Something’s wrong…

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