Magical Scribe Eleanor Slam versus Magical Mermaid Miss St. Maur

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Aches and pains ache and pain a lot less in costume. That’s one advantage of being a magical girl, I suppose. Unfortunately, being a magical girl tends to get you injured a lot, so it kind of evens out.

But the hurting’s gone down to a tolerable level now, so there’s nothing to distract me from combat practice - other than the fact that I dread combat practice. Well, I dread just about everything they come up with for training here, and haven’t really fought anything since Fuckerfly, but I haven’t gotten the itinerary for the rest of the day’s activities. The grueling workout near the end doesn’t count.

…Fuckerfly is still okay, right? They keep saying she’s fine, but I haven’t seen her in quite some time. Then again, I haven’t been on the rooftop since I wrecked her stuff, so maybe she’s just staying there.

Anyway, this is still better than paperwork. I actually don’t want to die here, so it counts as an improvement.

Well, here’s the place I’m supposed to fight at. The entrance to the same training hall that Fuckerfly fought me at. Same set of double doors that Kai opened for me last time.

I just realized I’ve been seeing a lot of double doors around the Officio. And they’re big ones, too. Like, big enough to fit an elephant through. The implications make me shiver.

I push open the doors into the well-scarred training hall.

…Shit. It’s that giant, spider-legged fishbowl with the plastic castle inside. I hadn’t been chased around by it in a while, so I was hoping that it was gone. Apparently that’s not the case.

Who even builds shit like that, and –why-?

And then everything goes dark as somebody covers my eyes from behind. The smell of perfume is just barely there, but I recognize it. And it fits her M.O., so…

“Miss Suzi, please let me go,” I drone tiredly. Don’t want to deal with this shit today.

“Heyyy, how’d ya know it was me?” an annoyingly chipper voice calls out behind me. “Was it because our hearts are connected~?” Ew. No.

“Spider sense,” I mumbled. Shit, shouldn't encourage her.

Spider Cunt removes her hands, allowing me to see again. “Ihihihi, not bad, not bad,” she praises. The lady walks into my field of vision, wringing her hands and looking at me through half-lidded eyes.

“So,” I say after a bit, “other than making me uncomfortable-” Don’t give me that look, it can’t be that hard to act normal - “why’re you here?”

Spider Cunt stops pouting and puffs up with pride. “Why, I’m yer proctor for today, Elly,” she informs me, adding, “yer chaperone.”

“Oh.” I guess I can’t get rid of her.

Somebody's climbing out of the weird fishbowl thing. So I’m not fighting the fishbowl. It’s another… Another flesh and blood person. Fuck.

“...It’s not going to be like last time, right?”

“Mm?” Spider Cunt murmurs.

“I don’t want to…” I plead, gesturing towards my opponent, “you know… Don’t wanna have to murder someone like that again.” Or get murdered, I guess. I shouldn’t assume I’m going to win. I'm probably going to get my ass kicked, but still...

The creepy girl’s lips twist into a creepy grin. “Then allow me to deliver the good news for ya,” she explains, putting her arms behind her back and rocking on her heels. “Today’s combat exercise is just best two outta three rounds.”

“…So no overkill necessary, right?” I ask hopefully.

“Not necessary, nope!” Spider Cunt assures me, but her expression’s darkening. “Though I don’t know if yer opponent will abide by that,” she adds.

…Fuck. I’m going to get ripped apart, aren’t I?

Spider Cunt places her hand on my shoulder and… I think she’s trying to look reassuring.

“I’ll make sure she doesn’t overdo it, Elly,” she tells me with confidence. “Promise.”

I don’t know if I can trust her on that, but I nod my head anyway.

Suzi takes a couple steps back and takes out the box with the cushion I saw last time. “Now I’m gonna need ya to put yer soul gem in this box here,” she explains, as if I’d forgotten.

“Please don’t touch it,” I implore her as I set the shining blue gemstone onto the cushion.

Suzi’s giggling does nothing to reassure me. I don’t think I have a choice in the matter, though.

My opponent, dressed in what is unmistakably a white wedding gown, is bent forward like she's ready to spring on me.

I glance towards the exits, but both of them are blocked off with fucking SPIDERS and spiderwebs. I'm stuck here, then. Great.

“Noooo chickenin’ out, Ellyyyy~,” Suzi calls out from a few feet away. Meanwhile, my opponent - let's call her Fish Girl - is stumbling around on her feet like a drunk. She leers at me with slight smile, one eye concealed by her hair. Looks kinda tired. Maybe I lucked out.

Fish girl slowly lifts her arm and waves at me. I awkwardly wave back. It makes her smile a bit wider. Not sure if I should be happy about that or not.

“Alright, are both of ya ready?” Suzi bellows out. Right, I need my weapon. It's like conjuring a normal pen, but you think bigger and meaner.

I open my metal hand wide, then close it around the tall object that just appeared. Can't say I like the whole 'pen spear' thing that much, but it gives me some distance from Fish Girl. I nod my head to Suzi, and my opponent-

Oh fuck me, she's got a spear too. Or is that a harpoon? Fuck.

“Threeeee, twoooo, ooooone…” lilts Suzi, before she yells out “go!” The creepy spider girl then scrambles away from us.

Okay, I can do this. Just have to stick the pointy end in her twice and we'll be done here...

But I'm scared. Holy crap I'm scared. She’s poised like a predatory fish about to go in for the kill, and her bemused, unflinching expression is -not- helping. My blood's frozen cold and my feet won't move any closer to her.

Fish Girl cocks her head before slowly advancing towards me, spear thing held firmly in both hands. Her dizzy movements don't make me feel better about my chances anymore. I end up taking a step back, and then another, and another - my legs shaking the entire time - until I've broken out in a run and reached the nearest wall.

“Elly?" Suzi calls out with concern. "Yer opponent’s back there.”

“Exactly!” I spit, back against the wall.

“Ihihihi, don’t be so nervous," Spider Cunt teases me. "It’s not even yer first time~.”

Easy for you to say. Your innate creepiness probably gives you some immunity to this sort of scare tactic.

Without thinking, I move up and cock my arm back, and then hurl my pen spear straight at her. The weapon remains unnaturally straight in its flight, screaming towards Fish Girl as she makes no attempt to dodge out of the way.

Okay, in retrospect, that wasn't the smartest thing to do. But I still didn't expect her to deflect it out of the air with her own spear. The pen spins away and clatters some distance behind her before rolling to a stop.

Before I can make another one, Fish Girl changes her grip so her right hand is empty. She flicks it over her head, and just as quickly pulls it down and points in my direction. Dozens, maybe even hundreds, of tiny, silvery objects fly out and rocket towards me. I try running, but more of those things flying towards me cut off my escape. I crouch down and put up my arms to shield myself - robotic arm first, hopefully it'll take the brunt of whatever hits me.

The silver objects streak by, a couple of them just grazing me. The attack seems to have stopped, and Fish Girl is doing something else with her free hand. I should probably move again, but curiosity gets the better of me, and I stand to look around and see what became of the projectiles.

Embedded in the walls and floors - the walls and floors made of goddamn sheet metal - are hooks. Lots and lots of metal fishhooks, with a very fine, almost invisible string attached to each hook. A fishing line.

Fish Girl tried to pull me in with fishing line. The fuck.

This seems like a good time to escape and try again, until Fish Girl reels herself in, hurtling towards me so fast she's fucking -flying-. I don't even have time to put my arms up again before her hips slam into me.

I'm knocked into the wall and bang my head before I slump to the ground in pain. Suddenly the aches from this morning don't seem so bad in comparison. Fish Girl towers over me, spear poised to strike. I'm able to bring my arms up, but I'm in prime head-skewering territory right now. I force my eyes shut, not wanting to see it coming.

There's a light tap on my head, and then a shuffling noise. I bring my arms down and look, and Fish Girl is slowly walking away, fish tail sticking out of the bottom of her dress.

She has a fish tail. I should have guessed.

“And that’s one point against ya, Elly," Suzi calls out from nearby. Oh sure, don't bother to help me stand up. I try to do so on my own, but stumble even more than Fish Girl. Moving my legs hurts too much now, though I don't think I'm bleeding. I make the pen from before disappear, then summon another one. I use that one as a cane and stagger back towards Fish Girl, who's still giving me a eerie smile. She's still got one of her hands free.

Oh shit.

“Round twoooo…" Suzi yells, Fish girl raising her arm. "Fight!”

I don't get any chances to dwell on this before there’s a tugging at my clothes, followed by my skin being pierced by a fresh shower of sharp hooks. I manage to avoid screaming in pain by instead emitting a loud, agonized groan. The tugging from before is MUCH stronger, and I'm yanked off my feet as the hooks dig deeper, dropping my spear. Now it's me hurtling through the air, with the hooks ripping at my body. My robot arm's not snagged, but it's still wrapped up tight enough that I can't move it.

...Fuck, this hurts. This hurts worse than Fuckerfly’s attacks did. Much worse.

And now, being deposited in front of Fish Girl, I'm reminded of that screaming witch that tried to bite off my head. The screaming witch that was me. The screaming witch that would have succeeded if Fuckface and Checkers hadn't been there to intervene. I look pleadingly at Suzi, who's just grinning at me and not lifting a finger to help, like it's some kind of game to her. Fuck you too, Spider Cunt. I knew you were just a goddamn sadist from the start.

...Well, I'm not going to die without my soul gem being crushed, but I don't think it's going to tickle when I get cannibalized. And I'm not going to pretend there's any other way this will end for me.

I look back to my captor and loudly plead, “just make it quick!” She nods, her grin widening, and raises her spear up high. Ready to skewer me from head to toe. Again, I squeeze my eyes shut, bracing myself for the worst. For what good it'll do me. I don't know how it feels to be impaled, but it probably hurts enough that no amount of preparation can help you.

...I think I'll just tell the Warmaster that I can't do it. I'll just tell her I can't do this shit. It's too much. I can’t fight witches, I can’t fight magical girls, I can’t do anything...

Something sharp taps my head a few times, as a soft voice slowly drawls, “I caught you… Eleanor.”

...Wait. I know that voice.

“Victory goes to Miss Marina St. Maur!”cheers Suzi, who tells me, “gotta do better than that next time, Elly~.”

“…Huh? Marina?” My eyes snap open and I look at Fish Girl again. There’s no way. The hair is different, and the attitude was different, and… Well, they walk similar, and she’s got a sharktooth necklace like Marina, and same red eyes, but there’s just no way. There’s no fucking way this is possible. Marina was –nice-. Actually –nice-. Not pretend nice like Fuckerfly, but nice in the way that there’s no way she’d skewer me with a whole bunch of hooks.

“Thank you for earlier,” Fish Girl tells me. “Those snacks… They were delightful.” The hooks and fishing line all disappear at once, and I’m free to shiver and bleed out. Fuck, it is her. I got suckered into trusting somebody again.

“Oh? Ya know each other?” Suzi queries.

“I shop where she works,” Fish Girl replies. “Helpful girl. Very friendly.” Her words are starting to sound really condescending now. Or maybe they’ve been like that all along.

Fuck. I can’t trust anybody here, can I? This is ridiculous. This is absolutely ridiculous. I try to stand up again, noticing dozens of little red spots on my costume where I’m bleeding, and glare at Fish Girl. I want to give her a piece of my mind, but I’d just get my ass kicked if I did that.

Fish Girl is rifling around in her inventory for something, and pulls out an unopened box of chocolates that she got from the store. Ripping it open, she daintily holds up a piece and smiles at me. “Say ‘aah’.”


Marina sticks one of the wafers in my mouth, and I instinctively chew it. While the healing power of fudge and coconut washes over me, she hands me the rest of the box. “You forgot these,” she chides. Which was true – I wanted to pick up a box earlier, but didn’t get around to it.

“Fanks,” I murmur through a mouthful of cookie.

Marina shakes her head. “You looked like you needed them,” she replies. And I probably did.

I’m trying not to smile, but it’s hard. It’s really hard not to be happy when you’ve got something tasty like this and not everything is terrible. I swallow, and stifle the urge to immediately grab another, so I can ask an important question. “But why’d you do all the scary, painful stuff, Marina? Those hooks hurt.”

Marina’s smile turns mischievous when she admits, “I like to play around with the new blood.”

“O-oh. I see.” I want to ask about the fishbowl, but I’m more frightened than curious about that. Maybe another time.

“It’s just for fun. Nothing personal,” she assures me, patting me on the head like a kid. “We all went through it.”

I kind of nod along in understanding. It’s one of those ‘tradition’ things that some places have. Like saying all second-graders need to lick the flagpole in winter or something like that, right?

“Alright, ya guys wanna go now?” Suzi asks. The doors are freed up again, so we can leave at any time. I should probably go somewhere quiet to patch myself up like they showed me before.

I nod, and make to leave, but Marina grabs my arm, blood soaking into her white sleeve. I look back at her curiously, and she’s rattling her necklace again. Her expression is stern, though. Disappointed, even.

“You didn’t try to get close at all,” Marina scolds me. “I expected better.”

“…I was scared,” I admit, feeling too ashamed to look her in the eyes. “It’s… You were really scary.”

Marina tugs on my arm, forcing me to turn to look at her. “Things out there,” she says, making a sweeping gesture with her other arm, “they’re a lot scarier than me.” Her face softens into a pout of concern. “You can’t always run away from them.”

I understand that. I get that. But that doesn’t make it any easier to cope. “How do you deal with it?” I ask her.

Marina shrugs, telling me plainly, “they’re just prey.”

That’s not the kind of answer I was hoping for. My shoulders sag while I murmur, “I’m not really much of a ‘predator’, though.” I can scarcely picture myself fighting things without feeling a bit… Uncomfortable about it.

Marina lets go of my arm, then places her hand on my shoulder, “It’s okay,” she reassures me. “Sometimes, when you smell blood in the water,” she says in a far off voice, rattling her necklace again, “you just go for it.”

I stare at her, turning the phrase over and over in my head. ‘When you smell blood in the water, just go for it’? “You mean… Sometimes you have to go crazy?” I venture.

Nod. Well, this confirms my fear that Eversors are all a little mad. Might have to ask Fuckface for insanity lessons or something.

“Even so… I’m not very good at melee,” I admit. My last opponent lost by a bunch of factors acting in my favor. I don’t want to have to rely on dumb luck.

Marina smiles again, quietly asking, “Do you want… help?”

I’m kind of struck dumb. I wasn’t really expecting her to volunteer help. It’s not like we’re the best of friends or anything. “I… I don’t know,” I stammer, “I don’t want to be a bother…”

Marina has both hands on my shoulders now, and stares at me intently. “Then…” she starts, lips curling into a playful grin, “bring snacks.”

…Hee. I nod back.

Somebody grabs me by the scruff of the collar and hauls me away. “Alright, alright, time’s a-wastin’,” Suzi grumbles, handing back my soul gem. Not sure what’s eating her, though I guess I do have to get ready for whatever else Kai has lined up for today. I wave goodbye to Marina, and she waves back, springing back into the fishbowl with a splash. It was kind of cool.

After we’re out of the look at the box of snacks - don’t look at the letters – and then remember something important. “Miss Suzi?” I call to the person dragging me around.

Suzi lets me go and moves back into my field of vision. “Just call me Suzi~,” she says with a giggle, “or big sis~.” And then winks at me.

“Miss Suzi.” I repeat sternly. “Could you pass along a message to… whoever’s supposed to get it?”

Wringing her hands again, Suzi explains, “Wellllll, I can sure try.” Leaning in uncomfortably close, she asks me, “what’s the message?” I want to back away to a more comfortable distance, but I really need to get this out of the way.

Taking a deep breath, I tell Suzi, “I’d like to get… help.” I gesture toward the box and the words on it, saying “I need some kind of help controlling the Vanus trance.”

Suzi’s frowning at me in confusion. “But you’re an Eversor now, hun,” she reminds me. “Why’s this so important all of a sudden?”

I hang my head a bit in shame. “If I don’t... Jael says I’m fired.”

“I’ll pass that along to the Warmaster,” Suzi promises, putting her hands on my shoulders and squeezing a little. “I think she’s been plannin’ for this sorta thing. Just sit tight.”

“Thanks,” I reply with a slight smile.

Letting go – wait, I just let her touch me – Suzi giggles, “ihihihi, no problem. Ya ever need anythin’, remember that I’m alwaaaays watchin’~.”

…Goddammit, Suzi.