Hitomi the Witch:Part Five
PART FIVE: TRY NOT TO WORRY TOO MUCH, OKAY?
"Go Hiro! Get that goal!" Erika cheered. She and Hitomi were behind the school field’s fence, watching the Yooyuball team playing a mock game before the bell rang. Erika cheered louder as Hiro—the team captain—kicked the rubber Yooyuball across the field. "You can do it, Hiro! Yeah, run faster! And sweat your tail off!"
Hitomi watched the fire Zafara zoom towards the goal net, his shaggy brown hair glistening in the sunlight. "He sure is fast," she breathed.
Erika beamed. "If he can win our next game, then our school will be qualified for the Shenkuu Neoschool Yooyuball championship! Wouldn’t that be awesome?"
"I guess so," said Hitomi, shrugging. "Anyways, I still don’t know what to do about Shingo." She sighed. "We had that quarrel last week, yet it feels like it happened just yesterday, you know? And I’m honestly not sure if–"
"How about you abandon him and find some other relative to bond with?" Erika suggested. "You can befriend someone who [actually] wants to believe that you’re a Neopian witch."
"I wouldn’t want to leave Shingo," Hitomi insisted.
"Pfft, why not?" asked Erika. "The jerk made his ‘I don’t believe in magic and faerie-tales’ stance pretty clear, right?" She turned to watch Hiro score another goal. Then she added, "If I were you, I wouldn’t be caught dead being with a traitor like him. I’m sure there are a lot better Neopians you can be friends with instead."
Hitomi shook her head. "That wouldn’t feel right," she insisted. "Besides, maybe Shingo was just feeling overwhelmed. I’m sure he’s over the initial shock by now…at least, I hope he has."
"I would leave that big baby alone and find more competent friends," Erika scoffed.
"Watch out!" a red Bruce cried as the Yooyuball flew towards the girls.
Her eyes closed, Hitomi held her hands towards the fence and, after a few moments, collapsed to her knees. "Are…are you alright?" she quivered to Erika.
Erika’s eyes were wide as she stared at the ice ball attached on a small section of the fence—which was now coated in ice. "Uh, yeah I am." She poked the ice ball until it collapsed on the other side, the Yooyuball freed from its icy prison. "At least you were able to protect us from a rubber ball…though we did have this fence to protect us already." Rather than being fazed, the red Bruce grabbed the Yooyuball and ran towards his team mates.
"I can’t believe I overreacted," Hitomi moaned. "Was anybody hurt?"
Erika shook her head. "Nope. And it seems like the team—including Hiro—is completely oblivious to what you just did."
"What a relief," Hitomi sighed. Then she heard the sound of clapping behind her. Her heart pounding fiercely, she turned and saw a pastel Xweetok, smiling slightly. "Um…can I help you?" she breathed.
"That was amazing," said the Xweetok. "You have some seriously fast reflexes."
Erika waved her arms widely. "It isn’t what you think! Hitomi’s not a freak! She’s a…a magician! Yeah, she’s a [really] amateur magician!"
The Xweetok laughed. "Come on. I already know Ms. Hoshizora is a witch."
Hitomi’s eyed widened. "You do?"
"Yep. I sensed your magical aura ages ago and I’ve seen you hanging around that Kirara girl lately," the Xweetok explained. "Is she your witch tutor?"
Hitomi nodded and studied the Xweetok. She was wearing the same school uniform as her and Erika, and her long brown hair was fashioned with two pointed buns on the top of her head—almost resembling Wocky ears. Despite her uneasiness towards her, Hitomi could tell by the Xweetok’s kind eyes that she wasn’t somebody to fear. Still, there were so many questions she wad dying to ask. Before she could say anything, however, the bell began to clang loudly to signal the start of classes. "I suppose we can meet again at lunch," Hitomi said. "Would you like to eat with us Miss…?"
The Xweetok nodded. "Call me Rina. I’ll meet you on the school roof, okay?" Hitomi nodded and followed her new friend and Erika as they ran towards the school.
At lunchtime, Hitomi and Erika met up with Rina on the school roof. The girls—each of them bundled in jackets and scarves—sat down beside the air conditioner. "We really need to eat inside for now on," Erika grumbled. "It’s SOOO cold!"
"Here, drink some of my tea," offered Rina, handing over her pink thermos.
Erika took a sip. "It’s a little too bitter for my liking, but whateves."
Rina turned to Hitomi. "How has your magic training been coming along? Have you fought any Shadow Creatures yet?"
"I’ve fought two so far," Hitomi explained. "One was at the school’s auditorium, and the second was at the Market."
Erika stuck out her tongue. "If you’d alerted me about the second attack, I would have rushed right over!" She shook her head. "I would have been a big help, ya know!"
"And how long have you been practicing witchcraft for?" asked Rina.
"Only a month, I think," said Hitomi. "I met Kirara early last month, and then…well, now I’m preparing for my upcoming coronation."
"It’s this Saturday," Erika explained. "We’re going to my family’s Udon shop afterwards to celebrate. You want to come too?"
Rina shook her head. "No thanks." She opened her lunch bag and placed a lacy pink handkerchief onto her lap. "But it’s great that you’re preparing for your coronation, Hitomi! Then you can get a Spell Charm, too!"
"Thanks for the support," said Hitomi cheerily.
"Are you a witch too, Rina?" asked Erika, eyeing the two dainty sandwiches Rina placed on her lap.
Rina smiled and handed a sandwich to Erika. Then she frowned and said, "Well I was a witch…once."
"Once?" Hitomi gulped. "What happened?"
Erika devoured her sandwich and, after swallowing, asked, "Did that mystical Witches Council revoke your magic privileges because you used it to rob shops?"
"Not at all." Rina shook her head. "In fact, I used to be just like Hitomi: an upperclassman told me I was blessed with a magical aura, and then she took me under her wing to teach me all the must-knows of witchcraft. We became really close friends."
"Then what happened?" asked Hitomi, ignoring Erika as she pilfered her fried shrimp.
Rina looked up at the sky. "After my coronation ceremony, my mentor revealed herself to being a Dark Witch and she ordered me to hand over my Spell Charm. I hesitated at first, but then, after considering the safety of my family, I agreed and she poofed herself away. Since then, I haven’t been able to use my magic powers anymore. They were gone."
Hitomi sniffled. "That’s terrible!" She dabbed her eyes with a tissue. "Couldn’t the Witches Council help you get your Spell Charm back?"
"It’s been over a year since the incident happened, so I have my doubts," Rina explained. "Besides, the Dark Witches are hard to track down and—even worse—harder to defeat."
"It still sounds terrible though," sighed Hitomi. She shivered. "My coronation is only three days away now, and now I’m kind of nervous that an evil witch will come and take my Spell Charm. I mean, that could happen, right?"
"Theoretically, yes," said Rina. She placed a comforting hand on Hitomi’s shoulder. "But try not to worry so much, okay? As long as Kirara’s with you, then I’m sure you’ll be perfectly fine."
Still feeling uneasy, Hitomi nodded and forced a small smile. "You’re right. Thanks Rina."
After Neoschool ended, however, Hitomi confided to Erika and Kirara that she was still nervous about her upcoming coronation. "I didn’t want Rina to get upset, so I decided not to tell her." She frowned. "The coronation is coming up quickly, and I honestly can’t help but think about Rina’s incident!"
"You’re just being a paranoid Pteri," Erika insisted. "Yes there are evil witches out there in the world, but so what? There are also non-believers and Dr. Sloth minions to worry about, too."
Kirara shook her head. "What that girl told you isn’t something that occurs regularly, but it does happen and there’s really nothing anybody can do except give in."
"I don’t know," sighed Hitomi.
"Don’t be such a worry wart," Kirara urged. "By witch law, only an up-and-coming witch and her mentor—aka me—are allowed to take part in the coronation ceremony. Yes you can have a few witnesses, but only [one] witch can be present during your coronation."
"Say, I have a question," Erika piped up. "Are all witches girls? And if so, what do you call males who possess magic?"
"They're called 'wizards'," Kirara explained. "In a lot of ways, they’re almost exactly like witches. But there is one big exception: it can take a male many months or even years before they become wizards—and before this happens; they’re unable to possess magical powers." Her gaze fell to the ground. "There’s a reason why many wizards and witches tend to stay apart: according to rumours, a wizard can generate enough magic to overthrow any witch. That’s why many witches—including myself—try to stay as far away from wizards as possible."
"Are all wizards bad, Kirara?" asked Hitomi.
Kirara shrugged. "I don’t know." She gazed up at the clouded sky and added, "There are probably a few good ones in Neopia. But for good measure, I’d suggest you try to stay away from all wizards. You’ll be much safer."
"I hope so," Hitomi mumbled.
Sometime around midnight, Hitomi opened her eyes. Daring not to look at the bedside clock, she grabbed the spare pillow beside her and rolled over to her side, clutching the pillow close for comfort.
[Will my coronation ceremony go along okay?] Hitomi wondered. She rolled around her bed for several minutes before her eyes became too heavy to keep open. As Hitomi gently closed her eyes, she thought about her budding friendship with Kirara, who had helped her tremendously with her magic training. She couldn’t wait to become as great a witch as she was—hopefully being able to become a magic mentor one day, too. Then she could help future witches-in-training the same way Kirara was helping her.
To be continued…