140 Sera part two

V sighs. Everything is set up; since I'm only slowing down the effects, Nyssa won't notice anything. Tsk, when Sera wakes up, she's going to have a lot of scattered thoughts. Tsk tsk tsk. Looks like I won't be relying on her for anything. As long as her mind isn't corrupted, I'll be able to save her.

I proceed to walk out of the room. Nyssa tilts her head in confusion and asks, "Um, did you talk to her?"

"No, I didn't. She was asleep. I called out a bit to see if she woke up, but she didn't respond."

Nyssa then says, "Did you try shaking her awake? I'm sure that would work," offering a smile that's way too full of teeth for my comfort. Damn you, Nyssa, you don't want to let this go, huh?

"No, it's alright, I'd prefer if she slept. If I have time, I'll visit her another day."

Nyssa tries to hide her dissatisfaction but can't quite manage it. Instead, she pushes a smile back onto her face and says, "Sure thing, I'll let Sera know; she'll get better in a day or two."

I nod and pick up Lysandra, slinging her over my shoulder like a sleeping, annoyingly heavy bag of magic lizard meat.

As I walk out of the dormitory, Ilka reappears beside me, her eyes narrowed in suspicion. "So, what did you really do?"

"I slowed down the infection rate by a small percentage," I explain, the familiar hum of my own thoughts drowning out the background noise.

Ilka floats atop my head, shifting her spectral weight. "Will that even do anything?"

Nodding, I reply, "Naturally, it makes a tiny difference. But my main goal wasn't to slow it down but rather this," I say, brandishing the picture of Ash with a smirk.

"This will make it easier to fix her when the time is right."

We walk in silence for a bit, Ilka's presence is always oddly comforting, even though she can be a pain. But before long, we arrive at Lysandra's dorm, and as I push the door open, a sight of absolute chaos greets us.

Oh for fuck's sake.

Clothes, books, broken glass, half-eaten food, how does that even happen? Doesn't she eat everything? And is that... is that a live chicken? How the hell did she even get a chicken in here? The scene looks like a bomb went off, but instead of shrapnel, it spit out every single item Lysandra owned. And some things she probably didn't.

I drop her with an exaggerated sigh onto the couch. Lysandra lets out a soft snort, turning onto her side, blissfully unaware of the war zone she apparently created.

"Goddamit, Lysandra. How does this even happen? How the hell do you have a mess this big?" I exclaim, my voice dripping with disbelief and frustration. How did she create a disaster this grand when I only give her a pitiful allowance?

With a groan, I click my tongue, eying the ceiling, half-expecting it to be covered in glitter or slime. "Time to clean up after my pet, I guess." I mutter, pulling my gloves back on.

From her perch atop my head, Ilka quips, "I always knew you had a knack for picking up after magical beasts. Should have been a janitor in another life."

I scowl, but there's no heat behind it. "I'm genuinely curious as to how she got a chicken in here."

I take a moment, gazing around the room, trying to find a starting point. Well, first things first. I approach the chicken, which is pecking at some crumbs on the floor. "Come here, you little troublemaker."

The chicken, sensing my intent, darts away. And thus begins the great chicken chase of the century. Ilka's laughter echoes in my head, making the ridiculous scene all the more entertaining. 

Gritting my teeth, I lunge for the chicken, which zigzags through the room like it's running a goddamn obstacle course designed by a madman. The little shit is cunning; it kicks a pile of clothes toward me, momentarily obstructing my view. Ilka's laughter has evolved into full-blown cackling now, her voice ringing in my ears.

"I can kill you in a slash, you know. But I don't want to, so let me catch you already!" I yell as the chicken leaps onto a bookshelf, knocking down an array of items directly onto my path. Who knew the little thing could be so resourceful?

As if answering my question, the chicken lets out a cluck that sounds suspiciously like a laugh. I swear to the gods, if chickens could smirk, this one would be grinning like a maniac. 

And then it does something I never thought I'd see a chicken do. It flaps its wings and hurls itself in the air, somehow managing to produce a gust of wind that sends a stack of papers flying directly into my face.

I swat the papers away, annoyed and incredulous. "What the actual fuck? Since when do chickens have wind magic?" What the fuck is this thing? Is it a mutated chicken? Where did Lysandra get it from? 

Finally, the chicken lands near the couch where Lysandra is snoring. I tiptoe toward it, trying not to wake her up. If she wakes up now, she'd either kill the chicken or adopt it, and I'm not sure which one is worse.

"Just a little closer," I whisper, extending my hand to snatch it. But just as my fingers are about to close around the wily bird, Lysandra stirs.

Without even opening her eyes, she flips her hand lazily. A sharp icicle manifests out of thin air and— in less than a second— skewers the chicken. Oh.... fuck, when did she- Fuck! She awakened her second affinity. Tsk, why didn't she tell me? It should be really unstable for her at the moment, she needs to control her mana heart with high energy pressure... So that's why she's been eating 5 times more than usual. 

I stand there, my mouth agape. The chicken is dead. Frozen and dead.

Ilka finally stops laughing to say, "Well, that escalated quickly."

Looking at the chicken's lifeless body, I shake my head. "Well, I guess I'll be cooking some chicken today." I grab the now-frozen fowl, placing it somewhere it won't thaw and make even more of a mess.

I glance at Lysandra, who's returned to her peaceful snoring, completely unaware of her poultry-murder, she better not blame me for its death. With a sigh, I roll up my sleeves and start to tackle the rest of the mess.

As I throw out broken items and stack books, my mind keeps going back to the chicken. That goddamn, magical, parkour-loving chicken. What the hell was it even doing here?

My shoulders slump with relief as I finally finish cleaning up the chaotic mess that Lysandra calls a room. Who knew lizards could be such slobs? Or that they could somehow acquire rogue, magic-wielding chickens? I let out a sigh, dropping the trash bag with a final thud.

Well, that's done. Time for the next headache.

I take out my TSI, I press the button, and the screen comes to life, showing a list of contacts. I scroll down to Eira's name and hit the call button.

"Yo," Eira's voice greets me as her image pops up on the screen, showing her hunched over what looks like a tangled mess of gears and wires. I'm not sure if she's building a bomb or a coffee maker.

"I don't have much time, so I'll make it quick. That girl Seraphina, you remember her, right? If she goes to visit Ash, don't let her. Don't let her talk alone with Des for any reason whatsoever either. Make up some excuse," I can't let any cultist get close to Des. 

Eira raises an eyebrow, pausing in her tinkering. "She can't see her own brother? Hahaha, did you guys break up?"

I rub my forehead, feeling the tension mounting. "I've got to go, I'll explain everything later. Just don't let her near the kids, you hear?" With a quick tap, I end the call, shutting down the TSI.

I step out of Lysandra's disaster zone, locking the door behind me. My senses are tingling, the kind of gut feeling you can't ignore. Something isn't right, and it isn't Lysandra's knack for attracting magic chickens.

Shit, shit, shit. I can feel it. That abhorrent presence, a monster that's always found a way to haunt me, creeps up my spine. There's no way I'm sticking around.

Just as I'm about to take a tactical retreat, I hear it—her voice.

"Where the hell do you think you're going?"

Ah, shit. It's Biana, and she's wearing new pajamas dotted with tiny pillow illustrations. She's slouching forward, the very definition of a sleep-deprived nightmare, gripping her plush pillow like it's a war hammer.

I click my tongue, forcing a smile. "Hey Biana, didn't see you there."

She rolls her eyes, staggering into me as she loses her balance. Her head flops against my chest, and just when I think she's about to fall asleep standing up, she snorts back awake.

"Oh yeah, it's a tragedy, V, all the food you left me... That bastard Isadora ate it!"

-

I groan, doubling over as Biana slams that rune-enhanced pillow into my midsection for the umpteenth time. "Feed me already! This is all your fault! You made me addicted to that food you cook!" she yells.

Her pillow strikes again, right in the solar plexus, and I cough, almost hacking up a lung. "Fuck, this bitch is going to kill me," I think, struggling to catch my breath.

And then, as if summoned by the sheer despair in my thoughts, my savior appears. Isadora—calm, enigmatic, and the one individual who has never raised her voice at me.

Isadora grabs Biana's pillow-wielding arm and yanks her back with such force, Biana nearly takes flight. I'm half-expecting to see her crash through a window, honestly. Biana staggers, landing on her butt and groaning in frustration.

"You fucking bastard! You ate my food! Do you want to die?" she snaps at Isadora.

Ignoring her entirely, Isadora turns to me, her lifeless eyes locking onto mine. And then she does something I didn't expect her to do: she talks. "There's no more coconot- cocunut- coconuts," she stammers, holding her hands out as if demanding an offering. Hahaha, oh my god she can't even say it right. I can't laugh, hold it in Kael or she might kill you. 

"I left nearly fifty coconuts. I was gone for only three days. If this isn't an obsession, I don't know what is."

I nod at her, too winded to speak, and hear her stomach grumble. A soft sound, but it echoes like a war drum in this ridiculous scene.

Then Biana, who apparently thinks she's still the center of the universe, staggers up to hit Isadora with the pillow again. But Isadora, eyes still locked onto mine and one hand still outstretched, effortlessly catches the pillow with her other hand. With a flick of her wrist, she whacks it back into Biana's face, sending her tumbling backward.

Biana lands on her butt again, looking like she's going to cry or explode—or maybe both. She clenches her fists, her eyes shooting daggers. "Isadora, you icy bitch, how dare you—"

I decide to cut this madness short. With a wave of my hand, a bag of coconuts appears. Yeah, I might've hoarded a few extra in my spatial storage, sue me. "Here, Isadora, your coconuts," I say, tossing the bag her way.

She catches it with both hands, her eyes—could it be?—twinkling for a moment. "Thanks," she murmurs, already turning to leave. She seems to give zero fucks about Biana's ongoing tantrum, and I can't help but admire that.

"Biana, why don't you chase after Isadora and ask her to share some coconuts? That should make up for the food she stole," I suggest, doing my best to sound conciliatory.

 

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