༺ Twin Witches (2) ༻
“Something interesting is going on.”
Siwoo felt a chill run down his spine.
Odile’s doll-like face revealed a sinister grin.
From a glance, anyone would assume that the girl standing in front of Siwoo was an innocent naïve girl. But hidden behind that beautiful exterior laid a witch.
Both she and her sister, Odette, often referred to Siwoo as either the ‘Assistant’ or ‘Mr. Assistant’, not once did they drop their honorifics.
That wasn’t to say that they respected Siwoo or even acknowledged him as a member of the human race.
But instead, they only respected him because Amelia had introduced him to them as her assistant, someone who would help out during lessons.
Therefore, Siwoo was only considered as an assistant during class hours and as nothing more than a mere slave outside the academy grounds.
Odile’s tone and demeanor perfectly reflected that principle.
Having unintentionally caught Siwoo in a compromising position, she could potentially pose a threat to Siwoo’s well-being if she caught wind of the reason behind his visit.
“What did you get there, Mr. Assistant?”
The assistant, a slave, purchasing magical items in a magic artifact store, now that was interesting.
No matter how dense she was, Odile would still feel the tiniest sliver of suspicion towards Siwoo.
How would she react if she found out that Siwoo possessed the ability to use magic?
If the magical documents that he had researched were found and confiscated, Siwoo could be in a world of trouble.
If discovered, Siwoo might be released from City’s Hall custody and once the witches around the world find out that a slave, of all people, could use magic. Siwoo would almost certainly be forced to become a witch’s exclusive plaything.
Of course, this was merely speculation on Siwoo’s part.
Siwoo handed over the bundle of papers, desperately hoping that Odile wouldn’t notice his quivering hands. He felt the illusionary executioner’s blade hang above his head.
“Is this magic paper?”
Odile flipped through the bundle of paper as if she was counting through a stack of notes.
At that moment, Siwoo was desperately thinking of ways to get himself out of the situation he had found himself in.
Siwoo wondered if it would be better if he told Odile that he was doing an errand for Amelia just to get her off his back? Or would it be preferable for him to lie and feign ignorance of the magic paper he bought.
“Isn’t that a little too expensive, Mister Owner?”
Odile turned to speak to the store owner, inspecting the magic paper as she talked.
Siwoo also turned his attention to him.
Upon hearing Odile’s words, the store owner, who had been staring at the ground whilst fidgeting with his glasses, quickly looked up.
“Wh-What do you mean?”
“So you choose to feign ignorance huh?”
Fanning the magical papers that she had taken from Siwoo, she turned to look at him and asked.
“How much did you pay for this, Mr. Assistant?”
“Well… The store owner gave me a discount, so I bought 3 of them for a single silver coin. In total, I’ve spent about 2 silvers here.”
Odile looked at Siwoo with a cheeky grin.
Her pearly white teeth were practically shining under the light of the oil lamp.
“Three of these papers? For a silver coin?”
“Oh come on now. I know he’s a slave but you can’t just mug him of his cash like that.”
Siwoo turned towards the store owner in shock.
That was when it hit him.
He would’ve been used to seeing witches around his store as they were his main customers.
So it was weird for him to be acting so nervously just because a witch visited his store.
“You’re way too naive for this world aren’t you, Mr. Assistant? Don’t you know that you should always check the quality of the product as well as the current market price before paying money?”
“Uhh… Miss Witch, I- I- I think you’ve been mistaken…. Here, I even have the warranty I got from ‘Zemernai’…”
“No, I don’t even need to look at it.”
Odile took out one of the magic papers and rubbed it with her thumb and index finger.
It split open to reveal the three different layers that made up the magic paper.
Inside, a thin foil could be seen reflecting the two layers of cracked paper that sandwiched it.
The foil wasn’t made conventionally with aluminum. But instead created using alchemy by melting a piece of silver into a thin sheet.
“Look at that! What kind of craftsmanship is this? The foil’s so messed up that instead of reducing noise, it increases the amount of noise that it creates and the energy that helps create the magic circles gets wasted on creating stabilization lines to prevent the device from rattling around.”
She crumpled the sheet of paper in her hands and muttered.
“I can’t believe that this piece of junk was sold for three pieces of silver! You know, it isn’t good to sell such poor-quality products as a salesman. It just isn’t good for business. What kind of person are you to be hiding behind such a kind face?”
Siwoo looked at the store owner. He couldn’t believe that he had been deceived by him.
He had thought that despite being a slave, there were still people who would be willing to trade fairly with him.
He didn’t expect to have been stabbed in the back.
”Is that quality certificate real? If you’re allowed to sell this garbage, we should really fire the managers at our paper mill.”
“Our paper mill…?”
The store owner’s eyes widened as he gasped in shock.
“Yes, I’m from Gemini.”
The ‘Gemini Corporation’ was a magical artifact company which was owned by the count, and only had 7 employees across Gehenna.
In other words, the witch in front of him would eventually be a part of Gehenna’s top executive body, “The Tree of Sephiroth.”
To be precise, that meant that she was the Count’s apprentice witch.
“Regardless of how stupid your buyer is, you should have taken more precautions to avoid getting caught.”
”I… I’ve committed a sin worthy of death.”
Odile played with her fingernails while ignoring the kneeling man on the floor. Begging for mercy, the shopkeeper tried to explain himself.
“I was blinded by greed and in the spur of the moment, I made a big mistake…!”
“Where did you get the magic papers from?”
“I got it from my friend called Dick. He works at the branch office, I just asked him to take the stuff you guys normally throw out. I won’t ever do it again, I swear!”
The owner, who had tried to shift the blame over to his friend, became a sobbing mess in an instant, causing quite a commotion.
This was all for the sake of self-preservation.
“Please, please spare me…!”
With a grimace at the unsightly sight that beheld her eyes, Odile muttered out a spell.
A ripple could be felt surging through the store as a pleasant voice filled the room.
An apprentice witch was still considered to be a witch even if she had only inherited 10% of her powers.
Odile’s fluffy hair floated in the air as mana erupted from her toes to the top of her head.
It was magic.
“While being aware of the rules, you still decided to sell magic artifacts to a slave without permission. Besides, you stole the defective product and forged the warranty, didn’t you? What you’ve done has greatly damaged the reputation of our company. Do you think that I, ‘Odile Gemini’ will actually forgive you for that?”
“Hav- Kuek… Mercy.”
All of a sudden, the store owner collapsed onto his knees and clutched at his neck.
His jaws were clenched tight, his mouth foaming, and he struggled about the floor with an anguished look on his face.
Reflexively, Siwoo measured the flow of mana and observed the laws of magic within the store.
The spell that Odile had used consisted of a mix of alchemy and barrier techniques that sported traces of the five elements.
The runic-based barriers which controlled space were dispersed in such a way that they were invisible.
The store owner writhed in agony on the wood floor, which had been covered by a barrier created by Odile.
Odile had managed to enchant the interior space, encasing the store in layers of barriers.
Therefore, no matter how hard he tried to breathe, the store owner would gradually suffocate.
Noticing that the situation had gotten out of hand, Siwoo tried to stop Odile.
But the response he received in return was that of an icy, arrogant witch.
Odile’s anger couldn’t be subdued by a slave’s words.
“Do you think we’ll leave a fraudster alone? Someone who sold defective products with OUR brand names attached to them? Whose consumers are about to lose their trust in our products!?”
It was only a matter of time before the store owner would die.
Someone was dying right in front of his eyes.
Siwoo tried to calm down by breathing slowly and closing his eyes.
Well, Siwoo had no reason to intervene.
The store owner had taken advantage of Siwoo’s situation and scammed him of his hard-earned money.
He reaped what he sowed.
But was it really the right thing to do, was it right to kill someone over such a matter?
“…It can’t be.”
“What are you doing?”
Odile noticed that Siwoo had gripped a bottle of magic water on a shelf.
Pouring the magic onto his palm, Siwoo immediately started to circulate the latent mana in the magic water and released a spell towards Odile.
The mana that had erupted explosively from within his body began swirling rapidly.
Siwoo manipulated the mana that surged within his body into numerous thin strokes, each sporting different lengths and thicknesses.
Each had a slightly different length and thickness, and he only had one purpose in mind.
The goal of the spell was to cast an interference that would disrupt the magic spell’s mana, stopping the magical phenomenon in its tracks.
The spell was called ‘Dispel Pin’.
“You don’t really believe that will stop me, do you?”
Odile’s expression remained stoic even after seeing Siwoo cast ‘Dispel Pin’.
It was unusual to see a slave do magic, but it didn’t matter whether he cast it or not.
Nothing about the spell was shocking.
In fact, Dispel was a spell so simple that it belonged in the first chapter of every basic magic book.
It was categorized as simple magic, and did not require any complicated calculations or formulas.
However, it was a different matter altogether when it came to the ‘Pin’ that chanted along with dispel.
In order to truly dispel the spell, one would need to understand and observe all aspects of the magic circle, including all of the strokes, characters and definitions behind the runes that littered its magic circle.
And that was before needing to calculate the potential positions and sequence of the pins he would have to place.
He had never actually tried dispelling another witch’s spell before. Thankfully, Odile’s magic formula wasn’t too difficult for Siwoo to understand.
He inserted the first two pins into the triangle’s right side, which disrupted a part of the mechanism for the magic circle.
Odile’s invisible attribute was the first thing to become undone as the barrier’s outline revealed itself.
Odile’s surprised face didn’t stop Siwoo from dispelling her magic.
The next target Siwoo chose was a triangle inscribed within the magic circle that had a balancer located at each of its corners.
It functioned as a kind of firewall that normalized barriers whenever outside magic interfered.
If he had interfered with the barrier without removing it, the pin would disappear immediately due to the rune’s influence.
Siwoo felt as if his head was on the verge of splitting apart, yet he maintained the Pin in its position, gesturing with his hands like a conductor in front of an orchestra.
The enormous circle surrounding the barrier cracked like glass as the pins were inserted one after the other.
And the pillars, which made up the core of the spell and supported the barrier covering the ceiling, were his final target.
The spell was finally dispelled as soon as the last of the 12 pins were engraved into the pillars that supported the upper surface.
The spell that Odile had cast was successfully lifted before she had the chance to activate her magic again.
“Gasp! Thank… Uff… Thank you… Thank you…”
The store owner, finally free of the spell, crawled towards Odile’s feet and started kissing her shoes as he regained his breath.
Odile ignored him and focused his attention on the person in front of her.
Odile was looking at Siwoo with astonishment.
At that moment, Siwoo was thrilled. Knowing that the effort he had put into his magical studies hadn’t gone to waste.
He was able to hold his own facing Odile, an apprentice of a high-ranking witch.
A sense of accomplishment filled his body as adrenaline surged through his veins. He could feel his heart palpitating wildly almost as if his heart had become a drum that threatened to burst out from his chest.
His excitement deflated the moment he felt Odile’s gaze on him.
Her gaze was so intense, it felt as if it could pierce his heart.
He had no idea what was going to happen next.
Siwoo had a premonition that his interference had caused Odile’s wrath, which had been poured out onto the shopkeeper, to transfer to him instead. Thus, mimicking the shopkeeper, he knelt on his knees and begged for forgiveness.
“I apologize for daring to interfere with the magic of the Great Witch! But I couldn’t stand by and watch as my favorite magic caster got blood on her hands!”
In order to avoid being punished, Siwoo rambled out an excuse he had thought of off the top of his head.
Odile watched him as she spoke.
“Mr. Assistant, I think you’re mistaken about something. I never had the intention of killing him.”
“All I was trying to do was teach him a lesson. A lesson that would teach him not to mess with witches, otherwise he might lose his head.”
If so, did he simply get in her way?
No. That was not the case.
How could Siwoo remain silent when someone was dying in front of him?
Odile was a witch apprentice with a hunger for knowledge and thus tried to figure out what Siwoo had purchased the magic papers for.
“I thought you were just a handsome slave, but you’re more than that.”
Siwoo was startled when Odile glided towards him.
Siwoo looked at Odile with a puzzled expression.
”Interesting… How’d you dismantle the structure of my unique barrier spell just from a glance?”
That was the only logical explanation as to why the spell would be dispelled so quickly.
“I really do apologize for that…”
“No, you don’t have to apologize. I just received a huge favor from you but more importantly I’ve developed a keen interest in Mr. Assistant.”
When Odile tapped her fingertips on the table, a run surfaced from above the table. She had carved something into the wood.
68.29.121, a serial number.
The numbers were serial numbers for a vault that doubled as a bank account in Gehenna.
“Mr. Store owner, I hope you put all the silver coins that you have robbed from Mr. Assistant in his account.”
“Yes… Yes. I understand. I will never try to swindle money from him ever again.”
“I expect there to be a generous amount of consolation money as well as a formal apology. Do so, and I won’t have to report this to city hall. I hope you don’t disappoint me.
“Yes! Thank you! Thank you very much!”
A sense of relief filled the store owner’s face. He had, after all, managed to avoid having the city hall inspect his store and narrowly escaped death.
Siwoo left the building along with Odile, leaving the store owner back in his store. The shopkeeper had managed to bend his back to the point where his head was inches away from the ground.
Odile looked back at Siwoo and asked.
“Are you free, Mr. Assistant?”
Siwoo felt uncomfortable in Odile’s presence.
He disliked her purple eyes, he felt bare under her gaze and a faint trace of viciousness seemed to linger behind those eyes of hers.
“Well, I’m a little busy today.”
“Really? Then I have no choice but to tell Professor Amelia the good news. The news that her Assistant was actually a wizard with tremendous talent.”
“…I have plenty of time.”
Realizing that her threat had been effective, Odile grinned like a cat.
Her threatening demeanor was one of the reasons why Siwoo felt a strong sense of hate towards the apprentice witch.