2 – First battle
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While the rest of the day went by relatively normal (Ichika was quite lucky the original didn’t talk much, her lackeys were pretty much used to trying to interpret every wave of her hand), Tuesday was approaching. When Ichika passed through the school gates to make her way home, she couldn’t help but sigh. She still wasn’t quite sure on how the magic worked either.

This was looking to be another sleepless night…

At the same time, Sakura was walking home with her friends. Hinata was laughing and talking while Airu was listening. The three of them were all in different grades, so they didn’t interact that much in school, but they were great friends in their free time.

Sakura couldn’t focus on their conversation, however. She kept thinking back to what had happened in Ichika’s classroom.

The sleeping Ichika had been so defenceless. Some kind of inexplicable emotion had welled up inside her, and she was left wondering what it meant.

Maybe, for her to know, she had to get closer to Ichika?

Well, that was easier said than done. Ichika was not only almost always surrounded by her lackeys, she also seemed to hold some kind of grudge against Sakura.

Though, she had seemed different back then. Maybe it was just an act?

Hinata waved to get her attention, and Sakura quickly diverted her thoughts.

Ichika, who had no idea about this change in Sakura’s perception of her, was worrying about different, but related things.

Tomorrow, she’d have to use her magic to curse a young boy’s soul flower. From what she knew, his name was Kenta, he was a classmate of Sakura, and his parents were currently going through a divorce.

She would have to take advantage of his home situation and turn him into a monster to attack Sakura…

There was no way she could do that!!

But if she didn’t, Tsukiyo would think she was a traitor.

Life really was easier back home… all she had to do was watch anime and make sure her grades were alright…

As she lamented her fate, she decided to figure it out tomorrow. It could wait, one mishap wouldn’t ruin everything, right? And so, she went to sleep.

The next day, she avoided the protagonist as much as possible once again. She remembered the battle happened during lunch break. This meant that instead of going to the cafeteria to eat, she had to transform into her villain form, and figure out how to curse Kenta.

Ichika usually stayed in the classroom to eat anyway, so it wouldn’t be too suspicious for her to not be present.

It was relatively easy to transform, as she had seen the main characters summon the soul flower before. Something was a bit strange, though.

Her soul flower seemed to have wilted a little… was this the result of her neglecting it for 3 days? But, she never saw the main characters taking care of theirs. The most likely explanation was that since her soul didn’t belong to this world, the flower didn’t fully recognise her.

All she could do was sigh and hope it would grow used to her.

Now that that was out of the way, she had to find Kenta.

She had to be careful not to be seen before cursing him, otherwise it could disrupt the plot too much.

Sneaking along the hallways, it didn’t take long before she saw him. He was crying in a corner, having told his friends to go ahead as he didn’t want them to see him like this.

It was the perfect opportunity to curse him.

Now, the problem that she’d predicted the day before arose: she had no idea how to use her powers!

Since this was a children’s series, it had to be easy, right!?

Maybe she just had to point her flower at him?

She tried, but it didn’t work. Instead, she got a strange look from the boy, before she hurriedly hid behind a corner again.

Oh! Maybe she had to fill her head with the intent to curse him?

Okay, she tried her best to think about him turning into a monster and rampaging…

And then she pointed the flower at him again!

This time, it seemed to work.

Kenta looked confused, and slowly started to turn into something completely different.

After a few minutes, he was completely unrecognisable. He looked like some sort of large, rotting flower with arms and legs.

God, the monsters were quite disgusting to see in real life. Ichika hoped he’d go away soon, so the protagonist could defeat him and return his soul flower to normal.

He didn’t go away like he was meant to.

Instead, he went in her direction. The monster looked gross and scary.

In the end, Ichika screamed.

This was heard by Sakura. Luckily, she didn’t recognise Ichika’s voice, but she did realise someone was in danger.

Dragging her friends along, she quickly left the cafeteria and transformed.

Quickly, the magical warrior Cherry Blossom and her friends Sunflower and Hydrangea went in the direction of the scream.

What they saw there was surprising to say the least.

Their adversary, Anemone, was laying on the ground, shivering in fear. In front of her was a monster, the kind she would create.

Sunflower turned to Cherry Blossom.

“Hey, Cherry, what should we do? I mean, it looks like her own creation turned against her… Maybe we should stay out of this.”

Hydrangea nodded in agreement. She wasn’t the type to speak much, but she was intelligent and could quickly assess the situation.

Cherry Blossom, however, was busy staring at Anemone, as the villain tried to hide from the monster. She didn’t seem to have noticed the heroes.

For some reason, this sight caused that same feeling as before. The villain who fought against her at every turn, was now defenceless as her monster turned against her.

But Cherry Blossom didn’t want this monster to torment her. Somehow, she felt that only she should be the one to see her like this.

“Let’s help her.” Her voice was determined. The others nodded when they saw she’d made up her mind.

Meanwhile, Anemone still hadn’t noticed them. Instead, she was busy trying to find a place to hide.

Why did the monster suddenly attack her!? This never happened in the series… instead the monsters would always prey on the weak, wouldn’t they?

Was this because of her soul flower? How annoying, she’d have to find a way to fix it.

But first, she should really get rid of this monster. Ah, in these times, shouldn’t the main character be there to help??

Well, she was a villain-

A shiny pink ray of magic suddenly hit the monster.

The protagonist had arrived. Speaking words of justice, she attacked the monster, as her friends assisted.

Ichika took this opportunity to run away. How shameful, being seen by the protagonist in this state, she didn’t want to face her!

Cherry Blossom didn’t have much trouble defeating this monster. In the original episode, Anemone was there to give it some power-ups, but in this situation she was clearly not able to do so.

When she had turned Kenta back to normal and comforted him, Anemone was long gone.

That was a shame. Cherry Blossom was kind of looking forward to having her enemy indebted to her. Well, there was always a next time. She knew this girl wouldn’t just give up.

The trio quickly turned back, and went back to the cafeteria. No one had really noticed their absence.

Ichika was honestly still shaking. She couldn’t concentrate at all in class, luckily she already knew most of the things taught.

Being saved by the protagonist, what a failure as a villain!

Though, it was kind of an honour. If Sakura already considered her worth saving, she might actually have a chance at redemption! What a good, kind protagonist!

Sakura felt this whole situation was a bit suspicious.

She hadn’t put much thought in the identity of Anemone, but both she and Ichika had been acting strange lately. The latter seemed to be avoiding her, and every time she saw Sakura, she blushed a bit.

Was it arrogant to think that girl had developed a crush on her? But if she was Anemone, she should probably change her ways before making a move.

The next time she saw Ichika was during the last break. As she thought, Ichika did seem kind of pale, and not very energetic.

When she saw Sakura, she looked away, pretending not to have seen her. This was completely different from the usual harsh words. If she really was Anemone, she must know about Sakura as well.

This could be used to an advantage.

She carefully approached Ichika, who pretended to be solving a maths problem the teacher had assigned as homework.

Sakura knew this one. Even though Ichika was a year above her, through spending time with Airu, who was in the same class, and a huge nerd on top of it, she’d picked up some knowledge of next year’s subjects.

“It’s zero,” she said.

“Huh? What is?” Ichika replied, without looking up.

“The answer. It’s a trick question.”

“Ah, yeah, I knew that.”

Ichika looked up, and met Sakura’s gaze, but she quickly turned away again. Where had her lackeys gone at a time like this!? She regretted asking them to give her more personal space.

And why was the protagonist helping her solve her homework??

But, her pink eyes looked really kind. Sakura, she really was even cuter in person! She mustn’t look for too long, she had to be careful!

Sakura quite liked this expression.

To be honest, she hadn’t known that Ichika was able to look at her with something other than disgust. Something had changed, and she was quite happy about it.

Actually, this expression… it made one want to tease her a bit.

“Really? But you were staring at it for so long, are you sure you’ll be okay?” Sakura knew from Airu that Ichika was her class’ second best in maths, and that she was just trying to look occupied, yet she couldn’t help but say that.

“I- I don’t need any help! I’m perfectly fine on my own,” Ichika replied. It was dangerous to get close to the protagonist. Tsukiyo likely knew of her identity, she really couldn’t afford to betray the villains just like that.

“Actually, aren’t you the one who needs help!? You’re an idiot, I bet you can’t even solve a problem like this!” She pointed at a random problem on the page.

Sakura didn’t know that one. Airu didn’t tell her everything, and she wasn’t that interested in maths, just polite enough to listen when a friend was talking.

“Ah, I can’t. You should help me.”

“What? W-who would help you!? You should just figure it out yourself, idiot!” Ichika stammered. She internally apologised to the protagonist, but she couldn’t afford to get close like this. It was too dangerous, she wanted to change her character slowly.

Sakura smiled. This was kind of fun. Suddenly, she felt she kind of understood wanting to bully someone a bit.

“Well then, I’ll try it.” She moved closer to Ichika in order to see the problem more clearly, as it was on the page furthest from her.

Ichika was panicking.

Sakura was really, really cute. While in her former life she’d dated both guys and girls (before giving up on romance and turning to anime), she’d always preferred the cuter kind. Ah, she even smelled nice.

All she could do was try and stay as still as possible, she should not show her embarrassment!

It was quite visible however.

Sakura started feeling a bit bad for her. She got up, made the excuse of having to return to her own class, and left.

Their interaction didn’t exactly go unnoticed, though.

A few classmates had seen the blush on Ichika’s face, and soon, rumours would start spreading.

Ichika tried not to think too much about the whole happening. Instead, she went home and went directly to sleep after eating and doing her homework. Today had been really exhausting.

As for Sakura, she was the one having trouble to fall asleep this time.

Thinking like this, maybe she liked girls. She really wanted to further tease Ichika, but she also hoped Ichika would start being more honest.

To be honest, if her (former?) bully asked her out, she wouldn’t turn her down.

She shouldn’t tell her friends about this. They wouldn’t understand, and she kind of wanted to keep Ichika to herself.

Thinking about this, she fell asleep, satisfied.

My art isn't the greatest, but I often sketch the character ideas, so I thought it may be fun to share those at the end of a chapter:

Also, I'll probably focus on this series, I've had the idea for quite a long time now. I'm not sure whether I'm letting their relationship progress a bit fast, but I'm an impatient person, so I'll see.