19, Month Fall-Amberine, Year Elizabeth 402
16:30, Elizabeth Magic Academy
"It had no face.... but it was looking straight at me!"
"Eek!" Mary shriek and hugged Alice—who was, unfortunately, the one closest to her—tight. Her high-pitched scream immediately alerted everyone in the room. And they all stared at her questioningly.
The time was a bit after ending the last class, so there were still many people in the room. Some were chatting, and some were smiling. But at least there are enjoying their youth. The group of these three girls, though, was different. They sat in the corner of the room whispering some ghost story.
At first, every boy stole an occasional gaze at these three beautiful girls. Some even wanted to join in. But after they heard what the girls talked about, their face went pale. They all went back to their group in silence.
But that scream was too much for them to ignore.
"I... I'm sorry." sensing everyone's gaze, Mary stood up and bowed her head. "Please forgive my improper manner." After that she sat down again, her face flushed red. She only looked straight, not daring to meet at anyone's eyes.
"So... what happened after that?" Alice asked to keep the conversation going. "Did that thing do anything to you?"
"No." Tilea shook her head. Her long brown hair swayed slightly. "After that, I found myself, strangely, in my room. The time was slightly later though.... Around an hour, I think. But, I haven't ever found out about what happened during that one hour."
"Nee... Let's go back," said Mary, but Alice ignored her.
"Hmm." Alice jotted down all the information. She looked cool, unlike Mary who still looked fairly shaken. "So, this means that it means you no harm, right?"
"That's... Hmm..." Tilea went into deep thought for some time. "I doubt that is the case. It did try to trap me in that corridor, after all." she said in the end.
Alice nodded and continued asking. "Have you gone back to the library again after that?"
“No. While I used to go there every day, I haven't gone back since that night.” Tilea said while hugging her own chest. “I am still scared from that.”
"Thank you. That is all I want to ask." Alice noted that down in her note and said. "Thank you for sharing all of this with us today. It will help with our investigation for sure." she said.
"You're welcome. I also want to know what exactly transpired on that day. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask me anytime." Tilea said. She still looked pale, but she smiled lightly.
"We will," Alice said and stood up.
"Thank you. We will go now." Mary followed while bowing her head. She then rushed after her friend who walked toward the room entrance. “Wait for me, Alice.”
"..." Alice waited for a bit for Mary to catch up. She then asked her when both of them was out of the classroom. “What do you think?”
"What do I think... I think it is very terrifying." Mary thought back and shivered slightly. “Now I am scared to even go to sleep alone now… Oh... what do I do tonight...”
"Hmm... I guess it is somewhat scary." Alice said, her voice flat. If she was really afraid, then she was really good at keeping a poker face.
"Somewhat? You aren’t scared?"
“Well…” It seemed strange that Alice wasn't that scared despite being only a ten-year-old girl. But as a person who had survived a life-and-death situation, she was braver than a normal girl.
The tale was somewhat scary, but was it scarier than an actual death?
"I am more interested in what happened, I think. That was why I didn't have time to be scared." Alice said flatly.
“…” Mary looked at Alice with her eyes opened wide. Of course, she didn’t believe that at all.
"But… Are these the work of a demon again? The timing is too close to call it a coincidence." Alice also didn’t continue to elaborate more. She stated her reasoning from the interview.
Listened that, Mary couldn't help but nodded. "It is only a month, right? And not only that, the demon before still hasn't been caught, hasn't she?"
"..." Alice's face flashed a hint of coldness. "Anyway, we will gather some more information first. And if it is indeed the work of her, I will make her regret coming back." said the girl. She then retrieved her notebook out of her chest pocket.
"According to Tilea, there are four more people who witnessed the same thing. We will go interviewing them too."
"Okay.…" Mary said. Her voice clearly lacked enthusiasm, but Alice pretended not to notice it. She dragged the reluctant girl to the next destination—the library.
But before they could continue their investigation, a boy came out from the room and called out to them.
"Hey! I heard you guy talking in the classroom. You are investigating the incident, right?"
“…” Alice didn't respond immediately. She just observed the boy coldly.
The boy looked like the weak type of guy with his short and toneless body. His pale white skin didn't help much with the impression either. It was as if he could just fall down with the lightest touch possible.
"Hi, what’s your name?" Mary, after sensing the weird atmosphere from her friend, asked the boy. She was slightly worried that the boy would die from the pressure of Alice's gaze.
"Oh. I am sorry. It seems like I was rude there." the boy apologized. "My name is Thomas Murey. I am in the same class as Tilea. That is why I know a bit about what happened. I was also in the classroom earlier, so I heard some of your talking."
"Pleased to meet you. I am Mary Rose." Mary curtsied and said. "And this is..."
"Alice." Alice introduced herself curtly.
"No. It is okay. I already know you two. More like there is no one in this school hasn't known of you anymore." sensing the gaze from the girls, Thomas tried to ease the mood. "I know it is quite rude to suddenly intrude in your conversation. But I have some information that you might concern what you are investigating."
"I am also one of the victims in that incident." he said. "That is why when I heard you are investigating, I want to provide my information as well."
"Oh! So that is why." Mary smiled. “You should tell us that first.”
"..." while Alice still hadn't said much, she was a bit more relaxed now. "I am sorry that I was impolite to you before," she said.
"No. It was my fault there." Thomas said smilingly as if he was indeed didn't consider Alice's behavior as rude.
"So... you also had an encounter of the never-ending walk, Thomas?" Mary asked.
"Yes..." Thomas nodded his head. "Mine was around a week ago. It was when I was walking back to my dorm... It was in the courtyard, I think. The one behind the library."
He then rubbed his chin. He looked out the window as if trying to remember that day.
"It was freezing that day. I remembered hugging myself under a thick coat. But no matter what I did, the cold didn't go away at all. I even cast a fireball just to warm me up, but it failed to provide any warmth."
"What time was it?" Alice asked.
"I would say it was probably around 10 PM. I am not too sure."
"Was there anyone with you there?" Alice continued asking.
"No. Only myself."
"Thank you. Please continue."
"After that, I just ran. I didn’t know how much I ran, but it was at least a few minutes." Thomas nodded and continued his story. “That shouldn’t be that long… is what I think still today. I wanted to turn back, but something stopped me. A sound of a footstep. A hurried footstep. Someone was running behind me, but they had said nothing. That terrified me then. That was why I didn’t even look back. I just continued to run, and before I knew it… I was back at the dorm.”
“Did you see anything strange?”
Alice wrote all of that down quietly. Nobody knew what she was thinking as her face was expressionless. Mary seized this time to ask more question, to keep the conversation going.
“How is the relationship between you and Tilea?”
“Why do you ask that?” Thomas didn’t reply but asked back. He looked at the girl weirdly as if thinking ‘That aren’t your concern, girl.’
“Sorry. That was rude of me.” Mary apologized as her question came out weirdly. “I just want to know if there is any connection between victims. You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.”
“Oh. We are classmates.” Thomas answered. “We chat occasionally… That is about it, I guess.”
“Do you know if there is anyone that would prank on you or Tilea?”
“Not me but for Tilea there would be some, I guess.” Thomas said after he went deep in thought for a long time. “She is pretty popular and kind of cute, so there might be someone jealous of her.”
“That is about it, I guess. I have to go now. Drop by if you have any more questions.” Thomas said. And before the girls could ask anymore question, he dashed away.
“Ah. Thank you.” Mary said and bowed to the disappearing figures. While he looked weak, his running was quite fast. “So there is one more… What do you think, Alice?” she asked her friend who finished noting all the details down.
“... Let’s find more information from other witnesses first.”
But the other four who had witnessed similar events didn’t have the same detail as the previous. The event had already been too long for them, so most forgot all the events already. They still remembered the scary part, but not the more important details the girls wanted.
Alice and Mary could only get some general description, but they noted that down, anyway. Alice shook her head slightly while looking at all the detail she had gathered.
[Louie Burke, 2nd-year student]
[Time: Late of month Summer-Endre. Around midnight.]
[Place: Second floor, 2nd year building]
[Detail: Alone. Quite a cold temperature. Longer walk.]
[Jack Wood, 2nd-year student]
[Time: Late of month Summer-Endre. Late night (no exact time).]
[Place: Third floor, 2nd year building]
[Detail: Alone. Freezing temperature. Longer walk.]
[Harper Padilla, 2nd-year student]
[Time: Early of month Fall-Quatre. Around 9PM]
[Place: First floor, 2nd year building]
[Detail: Alone. Freezing temperature. Longer walk. Spotted the smiling faceless.]
[Bethany Green, the librarian]
[Time: Late of month Fall-Quatre. After midnight.]
[Place: First floor, 2nd year building]
[Detail: Alone. Freezing temperature. Never-ending walk until morning. Spotted the smiling faceless.]
[Thomas Murey, 2nd-year student]
[Time: Early of month Fall-Amberine. Around 10PM.]
[Place: Second floor, 2nd year building, Courtyard behind the library.]
[Detail: Alone. Freezing temperature. Longer walk. Walking sound from behind.]
[Tilea Sasha, 2nd-year student]
[Time: 15, Fall-Amberine. Around midnight.]
[Place: First floor, 2nd year building, Library to dormitory pathway.]
[Detail: Alone. Freezing temperature. Longer walk. Walking sound from behind. Spotted the smiling faceless (unconscious after that).]
“What do you think, Alice?” Mary asked. She looked at the Alice’s notebook and shook her head. She didn’t know how any of these would help at all.
“…” Alice was silent for a few minutes before she opened her mouth. “There are two things I could see from here. First, the event seems to concentrate on the 2nd year building in the night. And second, it has started around late of month Summer-Endre.”
“Summer-Endre…? Did something happen then?” Mary asked puzzlingly. She thought back and hadn’t really thought of anything noteworthy.
“…” Alice couldn’t think of anything either and shook her head. “For now, let go back. We will continue our investigation tonight.”
Mary nodded. She wanted to agree but when something flashed inside her head. Her face instantly went pale. “Oka — W… Wait! You want to come back here at night!?”
“Didn’t you say you are too scared to sleep alone? With this, we will be together for the entire night, isn’t that great?”