A Witches House.
I slowly pressed my foot on the brakes as we stopped in front the rather imposing house. It was small, nothing to really write home about, however it had a dark color scheme to it. Black and purple paint was scattered in splashes on the front with hints of yellow.
Just being around the house made the whole world seem a bit dimmer despite how sunny it was outside.
"This place is kind of ugly..." I frowned as Shiruba lips curled slightly.
"Said the man with the flames on the side of his car,"
We both jumped out as I walked up to the front door. The steps were rather old and cracked as I knocked on the door, the moment I did I felt something run down my spine. "Huh, there is a guard spell on this door."
I guess it wasn't too big of a surprise, someone that called themselves Madam most likely was a mage.
"Is there a problem?"
"No not really, but I think chances are the person who is living here is probably out and if not they don't want any visitors at the moment," I pointed that out as Shiruba's ears twitched ever so slightly before she pushed me out of the way.
She twisted the doorknob until it broke,
"What are you doing?!" I snapped as Shiruba slowly opened the door, completely ignoring the burns on her hand.
"What? If you are worried I'm quite fine."
"That's not what I'm worried about..." I grumbled before we both took a step inside. We had long gone past the point of no return, "bah we might as well check around.
The moment we did I noticed something strange about the home. It was large, very large, like impossibly large. It was twice as big on the inside than it was on the outside.
"A spatial displacement spell?" I frowned as Shiruba nodded.
"It seems like that, it most likely takes quite a bit of energy to maintain too."
Such a spell could usually only be done by high level casters, or someone who has made a pact with a demon. Most normal humans wouldn't notice the space being expanded due to how their brains work. The brain is an amazing organ that auto corrects inconsistencies in our world. Even if there is something obviously wrong we would trick ourselves into persevering something as normal.
"This makes things a bit more complicated, we should probably start at the top and work our way back to the bottom," Shiruba went up the spiral staircase as I followed.
The building felt like a strange madhouse, colors were splashed around without much consistency, as if each room was trying to be unique and different from the last. Lamps were decorated and hung across the hall as I took a deep breath.
For a moment I felt my skin crawl as I slowly glanced over my shoulder.
"Huh?" I quickly shook my head, for a moment, I had to be seeing things.
"What's with that face, it looks like you've seen a ghost..." Shiruba chuckled as I crossed my arm.
"It's just...I thought I saw those lamps move," I realized how silly I sounded. Lamps can't be alive or anything like that, still. I couldn't help but keep that uneasy feeling with me, it only got worse as Shiruba's eyes narrowed.
She crossed her arms as I felt her exert a certain pressure. I felt like my lungs was about to be crushed by it, she sensed something.
"A demon is in this house..." Shiruba bared her fangs as I flinched slightly before quickly scanning the area.
It must have been smarter than the average monster, I wasn't able to detect it at all after all.
We waited, there was something watching us, neither I or Shiruba spoke a word. We were anticipating something, we just didn't know what 'that' was.
As we stood there a faint sound of clawing was heard. It was like something was digging through the wood and stone of the building.
The sound of pebbles hitting the floor entered our ears as both me and Shiruba stared up at the ceiling. The sound of splintering wood and breaking stone slowly grew as the floor above us collapsed.
"Damn it!" Shiruba cursed as she grabbed me and pulled my out of the way of the falling debris.
I coughed as dust and stone filled my vision. As it cleared there was something standing before us, something that wasn't quite right.
It was a monster that was for certain, however it was made out of stringy like flesh in a large humanoid shape. It was as if it all the bone and muscle had been torn off of a creature and all that was left was the tenants and veins.
It had glowing orbs for eyes as it moved as if it was a puppet being pulled by its strings.
"...!" Shiruba cocked her brow as she lifted her foot.
With a sound like a bullet the fox demon kicked the creature as he broke through the railing and landed on the bottom floor.
Without even a hint of fear in her eyes, Shiruba jumped off what remained of the railing and stomped on the still dazed monster. She was like an animal as she tore off the limbs as I sighed ever so slightly.
I was wondering if I was even needed.
Just as my body was starting to relax I notice something being flung into the nearby wall. It was Shiruba, wincing in pain, her body firmly implanted into the wood. I quickly looked back to the lower floor, the monster was spewing blood from its wounds, but it was still alive.
"Gah," She coughed slightly.
I quickly put any fear I had to the side as I started to chant. It seemed like the monster had no interest in me, this would be my one and only chance to attack it.
I chanted as I closed my eyes, a small glyph appeared below my feet.
The air grew chilly as water slowly formed above the creature, the water slowly morphed into large spears as it impaled the monster's flesh mostly likely sticking it to the floor as well.
"At least now it can't move," I reassured myself as the creature turned its attention towards me.
It dug its arms into the ground as they jet towards me. Somehow its arms had the ability to stretch as I quickly moved my body narrowly avoiding the blow. However the walkway started to crumble as I lost my footing.
"S-shit," I winced as the entire platform fell over and I came crashing to the ground.
I coughed, I was only in mild pain. Nothing felt broken as I tried to shift my body to no avail. I bit my lip, I was trapped under the debris as the creature looked right at me, it's arm slowly moving towards me.
The monster took too much damage, it most likely wasn't going to be alive much longer.
Of course that wouldn't matter if it reached me before it died. I struggled to remove the stone, I felt my chest closing. I already knew I wasn't going to make it in time.
Just then I noticed something fall from above, like a giant weight it slammed into the creature splitting it in two. It was Shiruba as she jumped off the giant creature, landing next to me.
"Hey...are you alright?" She asked as she slowly moved the stone and wood off of my body. I just took a deep breath and dusted myself off. I looked over to the monster, it was slowly crumbling away, the blood that was oozing out of it was slowly turning into some kind of white liquid.
"Hmm, it seems like it was a familiar and not a true demon..." Shiruba said before grumbling, "I also guess that the person living here is probably dead..."
A familiar was a type of creature that existence is tied to another living being. Sometimes they were be sentient other times they would be mindless monsters or even a smaller part of a larger creature.
"Yeah...that didn't seem like the type of familiar a mage would have, but I don't think the person living here is dead. If that were the case then the spatial spell would have been removed. Chances are the person is most likely still hiding somewhere in the building."
"Very well, shall we continue our search then?"
"You act like we didn't just fight a giant monster, aren't you even a little bit winded?"
Shiruba smiled as she brushed her hair to the side, "oh, don't tell me you're tired. You can always go home if you are feeling fatigued."
"As if..." I scoffed before my eyes slowly wandered to the door on the bottom floor. Most likely it lead to the kitchen, "we should check there next. I don't think there is really anything on the top floor anyway."
We both wandered into the next room. The kitchen itself had black floor tiles with a large oven in the corner. Next to it was a Microwave on the counter next to a large sink, in the back near the dining room was a giant table. Though the table itself had things such as paper towels and boxes of cereal among other food.
It seemed that the table was no longer used for eating but rather just another place to store food. I continued to look around, before noticing a closet in the corner. I touched the doorknob before frowning.
"Another sealing spell, this time it's way stronger than the one on the front door..." I said as Shiruba smirked.
"Hmm, I shall knock it down right quick."
"Yeah, don't do that. This one won't just burn your hand, it would probably blow up the entire kitchen if we try to force it," I knew it had to be something important for such a spell to be put on it. Still, that didn't mean that it would be impossible to open.
"I don't really sense any magic behind it, which means that the seal also made sure to cut off any magical flow into the room. It's probably why the familiar didn't try to break it down, I'll just dispel it right quick."
I placed my hand on the door and chanted. At that moment a glyph appeared on it, there were three layers of circles each with symbols that needed to be enter locked. "Huh, despite its strength it seemed like it was hastily made."
I easily dispelled the lock as I opened the door.
"No! Get away!" An ear-piercing scream was heard from inside of the closet as I let the light from the kitchen shine in.
It was a brown haired woman, probably in her early twenties sitting on the closet floor. She was huddled in the corner, her face buried in her hands. She was wearing a heavy sweaty and despite her hands covering her face I could see the frame of her glasses.
"Hey... we're not here to hurt you."
A moment of silence as the woman looked at me for a moment. She had large green eyes as she coughed, "I-I knew that," she pushed me out of the way as I scratched the back of my head.
The woman proceeded to look under the table and checked all the cabinets. "Um, so, did you guys see anything strange when you walked in?"
"If you are worried about the monster we took care of it," Shiruba said as the woman took a deep breath and sighed.
The woman then noticed Shiruba's ears before tapping her lip. "Huh, are you guys with Folk?"
Folk, I heard of that name before. It was an organization of mages and demons that worked with one another to maintain order and research into the realm of magic. Both of my parents belonged to it, but...
"No, sorry we aren't with them, are you Madam Luciana by any chance?"
The woman lips curled slightly as she puffed out her chest and closed her eyes, "Oh my, am I that popular? Why yes I am Madam Luciana!"
I scanned her, to be honest I expected someone with the title of Madam, to be a bit older. Though I kept my thoughts to myself.
"So, are you two here to get your fortunes read?" She adjusted her glasses as Shiruba shook her head.
"No we heard that you were quite the expert tracker, we were wondering if you could track someone."
"Oh," Luciana scratched her cheek for a moment before nodding. "Well, that is possible, though tracking is a far more difficult process. Usually I'd ask for about $600 for the process, but since you two helped me I can do it for free!"
It was a decent deal as Luciana motioned us out of the kitchen as we walked back into the main room. However the moment she did she nearly coughed, I had completely forgotten about the damage we had done in the fight against the monster.
"S-sorry about that," I gave a nervous laugh as Luciana's bottom lip shook ever so slightly as she removed her glasses and wiped her eyes ever so slightly.
"No, no, it's better than the alternative of me being dead. I'll fix it later, now let us hurry," she went to the corner of the main room as she placed her hand against what appeared to be a normal wall. A small light came from her hand as the wall slid open like some sort of door. A faint purple light came from the new opening as we walked inside.
It was a somewhat cramped room with statues and bookshelves scattered about. In the middle is what appeared to be a small crystal over a map of the town. Luciana offered us a seat as she sat across from us and smiled.
"I assume you have an item of the person you want to find right?" Luciana tilted her head as Shiruba nodded.
Her tail that had been firmly wrapped around her waist started to twitch before splitting into 3. The silver haired demon then started to tug on one of her tails as if she was going to rip it off, before what appeared to be an outline of her tail came off.
One of her three tails vanished as the outline turned into a small orb, Shiruba handed to tail to Luciana as the smiled. Luciana took a deep breath, the silver colored orb slowly floated into the air as a light shined down onto the map.
At that moment Luciana took what appeared to be a marker and marked 6 spots on the town map before the orb gently floated back into her hand. She then gave Shiruba back the light as the fox demon got her third tail back.
"You're a nine-tails aren't you...did someone steal yo-" Luciana didn't finish her statement as Shiruba glared at her. Luciana probably knew that if she said any more she had a high probability of having her head slammed through the table they were sitting at.
"U-um, anyway, it seems I think that the tails have been spread across the town. Either they are hidden or 6 different people, or demons have them. Here, let my make a copy of the map for you two," Luciana touched the corner of the map and chanted ever so slightly. She then pulled a ghost like outline of the map off of the table and snapped her fingers.
At that moment the map became a solid piece of paper that she handed to me, "the map will track if there is any sudden location shifts."
"Thanks," I smiled as both me and Shiruba got up from our seats. It felt a bit rude to just leave, but we were in a hurry. "Um, I'll try to come back if I can and help fix up your house."
"Oh do not worry, if I get the proper material it shouldn't take too long. Best wishes on your search," the woman grinned as we walked out of the mysterious room.
I unfolded the map as we walked outside, the town wasn't very large but the points on the map was still decently spread apart. That and we still didn't know exactly how the tails were being held and why.
I continued to look over the map as my eye twitched.
"What's wrong Will?" Shiruba asked me as I placed my hand on my head.
"One of these points is located right on top of my college campus,"
"Oh that's a good thing right? Speaking of which I will probably be hanging around with you for the time being, you know this town better than I do," Shiruba said as I shrugged.
I liked how she just decided that like I had no input in it, but I really didn't mind. If something weird was going on around the town it was best that I made so as few people got hurt. Plus it never hurt to help out a bit.
"Do you want to go to the first point on the map, or wait until night?" I personally preferred the latter, if other monsters or demons did have the tails than they probably wouldn't show up until after dark.
Shiruba smiled before shaking her head, "let us wait until after dark. Now would actually be the perfect time for you to show me around town," she put her hands together as I sighed.
"Sure why not," I shrugged, after all maybe this would allow her to be more comfortable with the landmarks in the area.
As we headed back to the my car there were still quite a few questions buzzing in my head. Though I was positive that they would be answered by the end of the day.