If you had all the magic in the world, what would you do with it?
Eight-year-old Aurora was asked that question constantly by her older god sister, Blair. The two witches gained a habit of improving their magic and strength by getting in as much trouble as they possibly could.
Whether it was stealing, starting public brawls, or going after people on the wanted list, the two thrived in magic combat. It was through combat that Aurora was raised, and there was nothing she enjoyed more.
It was a clear evening in the forests of Eden, the stars twinkling brightly in the dark sky. Aurora and Blair sat in front of a blazing fire, where they roasted the meat of a wild boar they had just killed. A light breeze rustled the leafy trees above and sent a light chill down Aurora’s neck. The young witch chose to ignore it. She was far too ecstatic about the successful bank heist Blair and she had just pulled oﬀ, in which they managed to defeat thirty armed guards with ease. That and the savory aroma of the meat she couldn’t wait to tear into. Once the pork was ready to eat, they each tore oﬀ a piece, put it on sticks, and raised those sticks to the sky in cheers. Aurora wasted no time, chomping away at the steaming boar meat with a smile on her face.
“To another successful heist!” Blair cheered.
Aurora swallowed her food, then giggled. “We didn’t get any money, silly.”
“We kicked ass, though!” Blair shredded the meat with her teeth and chomped away. “Especially you, kiddo! Seven guards by yourself, and all with your elemental magic? Someone’s getting stronger.”
“I didn’t even pass out this time!” she said with sparkles in her eyes.
Blair stopped munching and blinked twice at Aurora. “Right, right.” She swallowed and cleared her throat. “You may surpass me one of these days. I was never that strong at your age!” she smiled back.
“Whaaat? Come on, Blair, you’re just being nice. You were in the Third Great War at eleven, right?”
Blair looked away; her smile now gone. “Not by choice, kid, I can tell you that.”
Aurora realized the sensitive topic she had brought up. “Oh... I didn’t mean... I’m sorry.”
“Oh, don’t apologize, kid, it ain’t your fault,” Blair said as she ran her hand through Aurora’s thick, scruﬀy scarlet hair. “The war definitely toughened me up. I wouldn’t be worth eighty million had I not. Don’t worry, one day you’ll get your own wanted poster.”
“Yeah, but... your parents would still be here.”
Blair sighed. “True. But they weren’t strong enough, kid, that’s why Medusa took ‘em out. Then someone stronger than Medusa took her out. See where I’m goin’ with this?”
“I thought you said your parents were strong magic users like you!”
“They were. But they weren’t soldiers, and there will always be someone stronger. The road to the strongest ain’t easy. Even with all the trainin’ and sparrin’ in the world, it’s hard to surpass beings like the Demi-Gods. Even with rare magic like ours.”
Blair opened the palm of her hand and placed it upon the ground. A translucent, purple mist-like fixation known as aura surrounded her hand as the ground beneath caved in. A thick cluster of shiny purple crystals spawned in the palm-sized curvature. Blair picked the small, crystalized structure from the ground and tossed it to Aurora, who marveled at the sparkly object.
“Pretty amethyst! You live up to your name, Blair! Please, please, please teach me how to use crystal magic!” Aurora begged.
Blair chuckled. “I dunno if ya can kiddo. Most elemental users manipulate forces around them using their aura and can only wield a single one. My earth magic is a… kind of mutation since I can refine it to create crystal. Mutations like mine can’t be taught.” She reached over and rustled little Aurora’s hair, who was frowning at her. “We need ya to focus on controllin’ ya own rare abilities.”
Aurora sighed. “Fine.” She took another chomp at her meat. Blair’s face tightened. It was as if she was made of solid stone.
“Unless we have all the power in the world, we’ll always remain bottom feeders or targets. And if war breaks out again between the Allied Nations and the Magic Nations, it will be open season. Anyone could die, and all for nothin’. But with the Divine Sorcerer’s Stones, there’s no question we’d be untouchable. Which is why we’re gonna try to find them all.”
Aurora stopped and stared at her. “Whoa, wait. I thought you already tried to steal one before. Queen Euryale nearly killed you, right?”
“She did. The bitch left me a nasty scar that even nevma shards couldn’t heal,” Blair said as she pointed to the side of her neck, where a dark red scar with stitches spread down into her shoulder. “But I didn’t have you with me. You’re a one-of-a-kind witch.”
“I... I am?”
“Like I said, element users manipulate forces around ‘em. Ya don’t need to though, your elements come from your own aura, as if they come from nothin’! Plus, you can use all of ‘em! In a few years, you should be strong enough to handle your own without passing out. Once you do, we’ll go after them together.”
Aurora beamed at the sound of that. “You really think I can?”
“I know you can, kiddo. With your badass all-element magic and my crystal magic, we’ll steal one of the jewels of infinite magic.”
Aurora jumped and cheered, excited for an adventure like that. “Why wait? I'm plenty strong now. We can take on anyone!”
“No, no, kiddo. Were you listening? You still can’t control your aura that well. Ya use way too much of it at once. I saw you grabbing at your chest again. A big order like that is too dangerous still.”
Aurora fell back down to earth. She bowed her head in disappointment. “But I can do it... you said I could.”
“With trainin’. Don’t worry, just be patient. We’ll get there.”
Blair placed her arm around Aurora and pulled her in. The young witch blushed and leaned into her, never feeling so warm before.
Aurora heard rustling in the bushes nearby and jerked her head around. “What was that?”
“Probably just a rabbit or a dwarf. Hurry and finish your dinner, Aurora. Tomorrow we’re gonna work on your elements again. Speakin’ of which, summon water and put this fire out. Remember what I taught you.”
“Okay!” Aurora closed her eyes and focused her aura, which surrounded her body, appearing like a green mist. She felt a tightness and burning in the middle of her chest, right beneath her scorpion tattoo. Her aura converged on her hand as she felt a surge of energy travel from the center of her chest, through her arms, and to her hands. Keep the aura flow steady, like water. Convert the aura, then release! The green aura circled around her hands, condensing into a sphere of water the size of a marble. Suddenly, water sprinkled out of her hands like a spigot.
Blair raised an eyebrow. “Someone must be spent today. You usually can fire water like a hose. Aura reserves must be pretty low.”
Aurora growled, “It’s been a long day, okay? Lay oﬀ!”
Blair laughed at her. However, the campfire wasn’t dwindling at all. It appeared to be growing warmer. Blair got up and decided to kick some dirt on it. It did nothing. The fire grew larger, taller. Then, it boomed into a bright, blue flame. Blair swiftly pushed Aurora out of the way and shielded her before the flames struck Blair in her back. She shrieked as the flames singed Blair’s jacket.
“Blair!” Aurora yipped.
Aurora sprayed some of her magic water to put out the small flame on her back. Blair sprang to her feet and assumed a fighting stance. Realizing they were under attack, Aurora did the same.
Four beings emerged from the bushes, with dragon wings and horns sprouting out of their heads. Other than those features, they looked like ordinary men. The tallest one lashed his long orange tail around and grinned, sporting his jagged, pointy teeth. His pasty skin had spots with shiny orange scales.
He pulled out a flyer with Blair’s face on it. “Amethyst Witch. Says here you’re worth a small fortune. Thanks for the fire, the smoke made you easy to track.”
“Half-dragons? Don't you reptiles belong in the Magic Nations? What are you doing here in Eden?” Blair asked.
“You could say we’re running errands. The name’s Shoto, and we’re here to oﬀer you a job.”
“A job? What, you want me to be a Pendragon slave like you guys? I’ll pass.”
Shoto whipped his heavy tail into the ground. “We don’t work for that ass-clown of a king, or any of the Magic Nations’ Demi-Gods. We’re more of a... freelance group. Also, you don’t have the luxury of refusing now that you’ve seen our faces.”
Blair folded her arms. “That right?”
“You’ve built quite the name for yourself over the years, Blair Salem. First a respected soldier of the United Military Alliance, now a rampant criminal that can’t be stopped, even by the military you once worked for. Your talents needn't be wasted being on the run and sleeping on the streets. You can work for us and use your magic freely! Maybe even get a little payback on the Gorgon Queen one day.”
Aurora wasn’t entirely sure what this Shoto guy was getting at, but Blair hurled over with laughter.
“That’s really tempting, dragon boy! But that’s not a life I want to bring my sister into. I decline, but you won’t have to worry about finding a replacement.” She cracked her knuckles. “Your bosses, whoever they are, won’t be able to find you once I’m done. You’ll make some nice purses though.”
Shoto sucked on his teeth. “You refuse? Fine. Our organization can at least use the money for your head.”
Full of excitement, Aurora threw up her dukes and jumped in front of Blair. “Blair, I’ve got your back!”
“Stay out of this one, kiddo. You’re too exhausted from earlier. I can handle it,” Blair whispered to her.
“What? But I’m plenty strong, too! It’s four on two, anyways.”
“Don’t worry. We have no need for the kid, and I’m your only opponent. My boys are just here to watch. But, if she gets in the way, I’m hacking her for fun.” Shoto drew his katana.
Blair pushed Aurora out of the way and evaded Shoto’s strike. “Don’t worry, kiddo, I’ll protect you!” Blair dug her fists in the ground and her aura, being as purple as her hair, surrounded her. Soil and pebbles engulfed her fists before hardening to solid rock, liquifying to appear magma like, and cooling again to form crystals. She ripped her hands out and they were surrounded in a spiky amethyst crystal cluster.
Aurora dusted herself oﬀ, then watched in awe as her god sister blitzed the half-dragon.
She especially loved watching Blair use her crystal-fists to brutalize Shoto. She dodged gracefully, moving like the wind but striking him like lighting. Shoto put some distance between them and blasted her with flames from his mouth, but Blair evaded with no issues. She dove to the ground and dug her crystallized hands into the ground again. In mere moments, the ground beneath her caved in again, this time around her entire body. Crystal shards grew up her arms and covered most of her body except her face, appearing like armor. Her aura flared around her as she jumped out of the hole in the ground and put her fists up.
Shoto scoﬀed. “The infamous crystal-armor. They don’t call you the Amethyst Witch for nothing. Fine, show me what it can do!”
Aurora’s grin grew. She knew once Blair surrounded herself in the crystal armor, there was no one who could touch her. As expected, she put the pounding on Shoto, tearing through his clothes and cutting him up with her crystal fists. The armor, despite it being dense and bulky, didn’t compromise her speed. She was still a blur as she rocked the half-dragon.
Shoto couldn’t keep up or land a blow. Yet, something was oﬀ. Shoto’s onlookers were all smiling like she was. She even heard a few of them laugh. There was also the weird, black snake-like tattoo going up Shoto’s chest.
Shoto flew back, catching his breath and readying his sword. He was covered in deep gashes and blood steamed down his face. “You’re as strong as your price implies. That ability of yours, creating crystals from even soil as soft as this, must take a lot of aura, especially making it as hard as diamonds. That armor probably makes you invincible to most, but you’d have been better oﬀ not using it against me.”
Blair caught her breath, smiling and putting up her dukes. “Talk is cheap comin’ from a half-dead fire-breather. Let’s get this ova’ with!” Blair zipped towards him.
Shoto slashed his sword through Blair’s armor. Blood leaked out from the slit in her crystal armor. Aurora felt a chill go down her spine. Shoto’s sword glowed red, as if it had an aura of its own.
Blair stumbled backward, appearing distraught. “How did you do that?”
“Maybe I’ll tell you after I've pealed that annoying crystal oﬀ you.” Now Shoto’s scales covered all of his skin, except for the front of his neck and his abdomen. His face stretched out into a snout. His nails grew sharp and his wings extended. His orange aura flared around him before erupting. Shoto’s speed picked up out of nowhere, and he sliced oﬀ a large chunk of Blair’s armor.
Aurora’s mouth dropped. No sword, blade, or strong magic ever could pierce Blair’s armor, yet Shoto’s sword did it easily. Blair lost ground quickly, unable to attack, and was forced to dodge and try to defend. Even his punches would put cracks in Blair’s armor. Each slash would leave a bigger gash in Blair’s armor, and the witch began to slow down. Soon, all her armor was oﬀ, and he stabbed her shoulder. Shoto slowly revolved the blade in her shoulder. Blair just stood there, staggered, and unable to move. Her blood seeped down her jacket and onto the ground.
“As I said, you’d have been better oﬀ without it. Tsk, to think you lasted this long on your own!” Shoto remarked.
Aurora could see Blair’s aura dissipate and the sword glow even redder. Blair was out of breath and her knees were wobbly. Aurora never saw Blair so exhausted and never expected to see her aura run so low that fast. Blair’s face grew pale, and her breaths shortened. Watching the blood stream from her wound down Shoto’s sword ignited Aurora. Aurora refused to stand and watch her die.
“Blair!” Aurora charged at Shoto.
One of Shoto’s onlookers jumped in her way. Aurora swiftly jumped up and kicked him in the jaw, knocking him out cold. Shoto saw her and his eyes widened.
“Whoa! So strong at that age? She could be a problem...” Shoto mumbled.
“Stop, Aurora! Stay back!” Blair yelled.
Aurora weaved around the other dragons before reaching Shoto. Just as she raised her fist, Shoto yanked the blade out of Blair and stabbed Aurora straight through her stomach. Blood spewed out her mouth, and instantly, her body felt cold. Aurora felt her own aura being zapped from her as she grabbed onto the blade. “Masamune is a hell of a sword, isn't it, kid? Should take some pride in dying at the hands of a celestial weapon. Don't worry, your friend will be next.”
She saw Blair call out to her in a cry, but only heard the ringing of a white noise. Aurora blacked out.
Feeling delirious, Aurora sat up and rubbed her eyes. “Wh... what happened?” she mumbled to herself, feeling groggy “Oh no... did I pass out again?”
That’s when she remembered what happened. She immediately felt her stomach. There was no wound, as if she had never been stabbed at all, but her hands were drenched in blood. Aurora jumped up. She took in her surroundings, and her eyes widened. The surrounding trees and forestry had been torn down as if a tornado came through. The crackles of burning firewood filled her ears. She also saw the half-dragons, lying down in pools of blood. All of them, even Shoto, had deep scratches in their necks and abdomens as if they had been attacked by a beast. While standing over him, she saw. his snake tattoo in full. Seconds later, it vanished.
Aurora shivered. “Blair, you could’ve held back a little...”
She looked around for Blair, and her heart sank when she found her in the same condition. Aurora screamed and ran to her side. Blair’s eyes had lost color and were halfway shut. She was covered in deep claw marks. Aurora cried and tried to shake her awake.
“Blair, wake up! Please, Blair! Don’t go!”
Blair slowly turned her head towards Aurora. She gave a small smile, with blood steadily flowing out of her mouth. “Y–you’re okay. I’m... glad. My... Aurora.”
“Who did this to you? Blair, tell me! Who did all this?”
“You... don’t remember? That... ma–makes me happy.”
“Blair, what are you talking abou—” Aurora took another look at her hands, noticing them for the first time. Her bloody hands had claws that slowly retracted back to normal nails. “What... what the?”
“I couldn’t stop you this time. I... wasn’t strong enough. Aurora... don’t die weak like... like I did. T–take care of Aunt Ria. M–m– make sure everyone remembers the name I gave you. And never stop fighting...”
“But I... did I...?” Aurora’s hands shivered, and her scorpion tattoo glowed. Her head thumped, and her entire body felt as if it were on fire. “No... no. You’re the strongest, you can’t die! Blair!”
As Blair’s head fell to the side, Aurora wailed to the heavens.