Hitomi the Witch: Part Two
PART TWO: WAIT, I DID WHAT EXACTLY?
"Are you wacko or something?" scoffed Erika, pointing her sandwich towards Kirara.
"Not at all," Kirara insisted. "I’m telling the truth: your friend, Hitomi Hoshizora, is a witch."
"Sorry, but I’m having some trouble believing in what you’re saying," Hitomi insisted. "I mean, I kind of get what you're saying…but at the same time, I’m very, VERY confused."
Kirara released her grasp and gently placed a hand on Hitomi’s shoulder. "Just tell me how you’re feeling, and I’ll try my hardest to assist you." She smiled. "You know, Neopia’s witches were never born with their magical abilities: many of them had to train and learn how to hone and control their powers before they could call themselves full-fledged witches."
Hitomi eyed Kirara’s glowing Spell Charm. It was very beautiful, and—if Kirara was telling the truth—being a witch could be an exciting endeavour for her. Still, there was something she wanted to ask Kirara to clarify this ‘recent discovery’. "What exactly is a ‘magical aura’?" asked Hitomi.
"It’s an invisible energy that all up-and-coming witches possess," Kirara explained. She held out her Spell Charm to Hitomi. "When you gain enough experience, you will be able to channel your entire magical aura into your very own Spell Charm. Then you can—"
"Blah-blah, hocus-pocus." Erika stood up, grabbed Hitomi’s arm, and pulled her towards the roof door. She craned her neck back and added, "You can quit your attempts of corrupting my poor Hitomi! She has other things to do than believe some lunatic!"
"But...Erika…" Hitomi grunted, trying to pull free from her friend.
Erika waved her other hand. "Ignore her," she insisted. "She’s just trying to make a fool out of ya." She laughed. "Like my Hitomi Hoshizora is an actual witch! What a clod!’
But what if she was actually telling the truth? Hitomi wondered as they descended down a flight of stairs. Could I really be a witch?
For the next four days, Hitomi found herself questioning Kirara’s words. Although Erika was persistent about her assumptions towards the Usul, Hitomi admitted to herself that Kirara was somewhat knowledgeable about witches—at least with her info about magical auras. Despite her growing curiously and interest in witchcraft, Hitomi found very little time in between schoolwork and play rehearsals to do any research to back up Kirara’s claims. By Friday, the school festival was in full swing, and there was even less time to do any investigating.
"Geez, look at the crowd," Erika murmured, peering behind a velvet curtain. She and the rest of her classmates were backstage, everyone waiting eagerly for their production of The Bamboo Princess to begin. Erika turned and saw Hitomi dressed in a white kimono, red jacket and a long, black wig fit with a pink flower-shaped hairclip. "Wow, you look just like a Shenkuuan princess!"
"Thanks," said Hitomi sheepishly. "Though I wish this kimono Ms. Sakurada picked out for me wasn’t so long."
"You’ll be A-Okay out there!" Erika slapped Hitomi’s back and quickly caught her just as she fell to the ground. "Whoa, careful," she gasped, steadying her friend. "Uh...make sure that doesn’t happen when you get on stage."
"I’m getting a swarm of Petpetpets whirling in my stomach," Hitomi murmured.
Before Erika could reply, a yellow Kau directed Hitomi to the opposite side of the backstage area. "Remember to act serene," she instructed before walking away.
Still feeling a fluttering sensation inside of her, Hitomi peered over the velvet curtain and gazed at the audience. She immediately found her mother in the front row, talking to a yellow Wocky behind her. Not seeing her father anywhere made Hitomi’s heart sink a bit. The Mystery Island trip was over, but then Mr. Hoshizora's ferry was delayed and now he had to wait an additional four days before he could come home. It was disheartening—and incredibly agonizing—but Hitomi also knew that she couldn’t let him down by performing poorly at the school festival. All she needed to do was stay calm, speak with perfect articulation and remember that her father lov—
"Break a leg!" Somebody pushed Hitomi, who almost tripped over her kimono as she stepped on stage. The audience roared with eager applause. Hitomi took a quick glance behind her and saw Kirara giving her a thumbs-up. What is she doing here?
"Go Hitomi!" Mr. Hoshizora cheered.
Taking a few breaths, Hitomi turned to address the crowd. Her heart was beating rapidly as she began reciting her lines. "I-I am t-the Ba-Bamboo Princess of Sh-Shen-k-kuu!"
The audience cheered. Hitomi’s legs were shaking fiercely, and she could feel the inside of her mouth drying out as she attempted to sputtering her words. "Th-this is…uh, t-this is a p-pen!" Why am I so nervous? Hitomi moaned as the audience roared with laughter. I thought I’d do a lot better than this!
Mr. Hoshizora stood up and clapped loudly. "You can do it, Hitomi!" he bellowed.
Dad! Why?? Hitomi’s entire body was frozen, and her eyes were as wide as saucers. Now I’m even MORE nervous than I was a few seconds ago!
Before Hitomi could continue, the ground shook violently underneath her, and she collapsed to her knees. She pushed her tilted wig away from her eyes and looked up, her mouth gaping at the sight of a tall, translucent creature emerging right in the middle of the auditorium. The creature was dark grey—like a type of shadow—and it resembled a long, slithering Kazeriu. Hiotmi gulped when the creature turned to face her, its black eyes sparkling. "Wh-what is that?" she wondered aloud, slowly inching herself away from the stage.
Erika was running towards her, her legs quivering as she helped Hitomi up. By now the entire auditorium was deserted: every one of its occupants had fled in a crowd of frantic screaming. "Come on, let’s get out of here!" Erika urged, slinging her arm around Hitomi’s shoulder.
The creature hissed loudly and swung its tail at the girls. Hitomi and Erika ducked just in time, and they collapsed to the ground with a hard thud. "We have to get—" Hitomi was almost standing when she tripped over her kimono, and she fell back down. She turned to stare at the massive creature. "What is that? Where’d it come from?"
"How am I supposed to know!?!?" Erika shrieked. Her eyes widened. "Now…what?"
"I don’t know," Hitomi gulped. She looked around frantically, looking for anybody to help them. Besides her and Erika, nobody else remained on the stage.
"Don’t worry! I’m here!" Hitomi and Erika gasped at the sight of Kirara running atop the velvet chairs. Her gaze was laser-focused on the creature, who swung its tail at the Usul. Kirara was able to dodge it with a quick jump only a Cybunny could master. She then turned to Hitomi and yelled, "Do it now! Use your power!"
"What power?" Hitomi breathed, standing up slowly. "I don’t have any power!"
Kirara jumped from row to row, narrowing avoiding the giant Kazeriu’s attack. "You have…to fight that…creature!" She landed on the auditorium’s black carpet and looked up at Hitomi with a determined look. "Do you see that black diamond on the creature’s forehead?" she asked.
Her heart pounding even wildly now, Hitomi looked up at the creature looming over her and noticed a black diamond-shaped stone perched above its slanted eyes. "Yeah, I see it!" she breathed.
"Good!" Kirara leapt onto the top of a nearby chair. "Now, use all your strength and aim for its forehead!"
Erika shook her head. "This can’t be happening! This HAS to be some sort of freaky dream!"
"How am...how am I...?" Hitomi gulped.
Before Kirara could speak, the creature swung its tail at her, whipping her to the far side of the auditorium. Hitomi gasped. Without thinking, she held out her palms towards the creature and, her eyes shut tight, felt a powerful force escaping her hands. When she blinked, Hitomi saw the creature squirm in pain as it slowly dissolved into thin air. "What just…happened?" she asked in a coarse whisper.
"That was AMAZING!!" Erika grabbed Hitomi’s hands and jumped up and down. "You totally nailed your shot, girl!" she cheered, embracing her friend. "That sucker never saw it coming! And now’s it gone!"
"Wait, I did what exactly?" asked Hitomi.
"You didn’t see what you did?" Erika gasped.
Hitomi shook her head. "What happened?"
"There was this purple laser that beamed out of your hands and aimed precisely at the monster’s forehead," Erika explained. "It was a puny leaser beam, I admit, but it was still strong enough to defeat that thing!"
Kirara leapt onto the stage and clapped. "Well done, Hitomi!" she beamed. "For your first Shadow Creature, you were not only able to defeat it—you remained composed and confident, too!"
"I wasn’t that confident," Hitomi admitted. "By the way, what’s a Shadow Creature?"
"Yeah, Kirara," said Erika, eyeing the Usul suspiciously.
"Shadow Creatures are monsters—made of shadows, of course—that the Witches Council sends out to test the strength and agility of up-and-coming witches," Kirara explained.
"Who are the Witches Council?" asked Hitomi.
Kirara shrugged. "No one knows who they are. All we really know is that they spend their days keeping an eye on us Neopian witches." She winked. "They also keep an eye out for those with magical auras, so they’re probably watching you right now!"
"Okay, now you’re even scaring ME!" gasped Erika, looking around frantically.
"What else can you tell me?" asked Hitomi. "There are so many questions I want to ask you!"
"Then meet me at the park this Sunday and I’ll tell you everything you wish to know," said Kirara. She poofed up a white card and glided it over to Hitomi. "See you at noon!"
"Uh, thanks," said Hitomi, looking down at the card. "And I’ll be there for sure. I promise."
"Me too!" Erika cheered. "If there’s one Neopian who needs to be informed in all this magic-stuff, it’s Hitomi’s very best friend in the world."
Kirara clapped again. "Splendid! I’ll be looking forward to it." She gave Hitomi another wink before poofing away.
To be continued…