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The front door opened as Momoka stepped in with the others in tow. “Hime! Are you awake?” the Plant Mage called as she took off her shoes. “We brought some food for you since you’re staying here alone for the time being!”
Momoka stopped as she didn’t hear anything. “Is she still asleep?” Shiorin wondered, receiving shrugs.
“Let’s check to make sure she’s okay,” Aarin said,” Ikko.” The six headed upstairs and headed to the door with a sign that read Tomoko’s name on it. Aarin gently knocked. “Hime! It’s time to wake up! It’s best not to oversleep!” She knocked again. “Hime?”
Akarin’s hand quickly went to her nose. “What’s that smell?”
They all looked at each other bore at the door. Aarin took hold of the doorknob and opened it. “Hime…?”
A strange odor came to them as they covered their nose. “Kusa…” They stepped in but heard a small splash. Kanako looked down and found crimson. “Uso…”
“Blood…?” Reni muttered. She looked up and her eyes glowed in panic. “Kyaa!”
They all looked up and gasped, horrified of the image. Over the bed were ropes and hanging from them was Tomoko by the neck and arms as she was covered in scratches and bruises. But what scared them the most was the black sword that went through her chest as blood dripped from it.
Kanako jerked up into a sitting position as she looked around to find herself at home in bed. “Uso… Yume…?” She soon remembered what happened. “HIME!”

The guards ran towards the front gate of the Hamasaki house. They looked at each other in worry, knowing they all received the same dream. “You don’t think…” Aarin trailed off as she hugged her teddy bear in worry.
“They couldn’t have… Not with six barriers up…” Reni said.
“We still have to check!” Momoka cried.
The six quickly ran through the gates and knocked on the door. “Hime! Hime!” Shiorin cried. She reached for the doorknob to find it still locked. “Hime!”
“The spare key!” Aarin shuffled through her pockets before taking out the key. She unlocked the door before they rushed in to find the house empty. They ran up the stairs and headed to the bedroom.
“Hime!” They swung open the doors to find Tomoko in bed. “Hime!” Kanako ran towards the girl and gently shook her. “Hime! Hime!”
Tomoko let out a soft groan and opened her eyes. She blinked a few times to clear her vision. “Kanako…san…?”
“Hime…” A wave of relief came over the guards as they collapsed to their knees.
Kanako hugged the girl. “Yogatta…”
“Hm…? Nani? Did something happen?”
Kanako shook her head. “Daijobu… Every will be fine… We’re just glad you’re safe…” She pulled away. “Ikko. We have school today…”
Tomoko have a weak nod, still tired after being woken up so suddenly.
“Looks like a nightmare is about to happen… But it’s too soon since we just got Akarin back…” Reni muttered during study hall as she met with Kanako and Momoka on the roof.
“But the Dark Syndicate couldn’t have broken the barrier we’ve set up… Even if they did, we could’ve felt once of them being destroyed and rushed over…” Momoka said as she twirled her pen.
“At least Aarin’s keeping a close eye on her…” Kanako sighed as she flipped her phone shut. “Akarin just texted me. She said that she’s going to come as soon as possible since she’s still working. Hopefully Hime doesn’t find out about our nightmare…”
The doors soon burst open as Shiorin came out short of breath. “They’re going to act soon…” she panted.
Shiorin placed a stack of papers on the floor. “This was what Aarin sent to me between classes when Hime was distracted by our classmates. She said it’s a puzzle but she couldn’t figure it out and asked if I could do it…” She started to lay them out. “It took me a while considering I tried to get that nightmare out of my head but…” She laid down the last piece. “…this is what I got…”
The four stood up and backed away as they looked at the finished puzzle. “Uso… A prophecy…?” Reni murmured as different events were taking place in the picture, all of them involving war and pain.
“Sonna… There were never any prophecies in the books…” Momoka said as she got worried. “It can’t be possible…”
“If this nightmare created this prophecy… something’s going to happen to Hime…” Kanako muttered,” De mo… We can’t let anyone know of this…” Fire started to surround her hand.
“But we can’t keep this away from Hime! If we don’t tell her… Hime’s going to die!”
“It doesn’t matter, Momoka! You know that no one knows about this magic business or anything that happened between us and Hime! But if Hime found out about this… this war will grow worse between us surviving Mages and the Dark Syndicate …”
“But what will Hime say if we keep her out of this?! Remember what she told me when I tried to go get that killer?! She’s going to find out sooner or later!”
Reni took hold of her small friend. “Momoka… Momoka, listen to me. We don’t have a choice. No matter what happens… someone’s going to die… If we let Hime stay home or fight with us, it’s still going to be the same… I know we’ll tell her sooner or later but we just have to get rid of this… for the sake of those we protect…”
Momoka collapsed to her knees as tears streamed down her cheeks. Reni comforted her comrade.
Shiorin looked at Kanako. “Are you sure this is okay?”
Kanako gave a small nod. “It’s the only thing left before someone finds it… Go tell Aarin… But make sure Hime doesn’t know about it yet…” Kanako knelt down before stacking up the papers again. She stood up and looked at the drawings. “Looks like more things will have to burn…” Her eyes glowed as the paper erupted in flames. The ashes started to blow away in the wind before the stack burned away.
“She burned it?” Aarin asked as she met with Shiorin in the bathroom.
“We have to keep it away from Hime somehow… Reni said we’re going to tell her but if we keep this away from her for too long… someone’s still going to die… most likely Hime…”
“Doushiyo… if that prophecy or that nightmare comes true…”
“We won’t know what would happen…”
Aarin leaned against the wall. “…At least we all got to live happy lives at one point… But we’ll pull through… right?”
Shiorin gave a small nod. “Yea… we’ll pull through…” She slipped her hand into Aarin’s. “Hopefully it won’t be like last time…”
Aarin nodded until her eyes glowed. “Hime…”
Aarin took hold of Shiorin and pulled her to the ground away from the doors as an explosion came. Small piece of rubble hit the floor as the two lifted their heads. “Looks like they’re here early…” She looked at Shiorin who shared the same look.
“We have to get the others…”
The two got to their feet before fearing screams as messy footsteps were heard.

...Say nothing. I hate myself as well when I was writing this... Worst feeling of my life. I had nightmares when I was writing this chapter and the next 2... It was terrible.
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Submitted on
February 13, 2014