Prologue: Kataria, the Endspeaking Witch
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as a prologue, this is just a short introduction to the mood of the story. real chapters will be longer! i promise. no takebacksies.

of course, that assumes i'll actually hold a regular release schedule which you can definitely, totally, absolutely count on not happening

The stories tell a grim tale, Rose.

The Endspeaking Witch. The World's End. The Disaster of Mithre Kingdom. Legends say the Devil itself gifted her its blood to flow through her veins, and the Divine Court bestowed upon her their staff to consign sinners to oblivion. From her tower tall enough to pierce the heavens, she watches down on the land like a giant looking down at mere ants.

Some claim she wasn't truly born of man, instead forged under the watchful, starry eyes of the cosmos, granting her the power to bring down celestial wrath upon our mortal lives. Others believe her to be a natural disaster masquerading itself as a mere human. The day she graces the world with her presence, reality shall grind to a halt forevermore.

Truthfully, nobody really knows who she is, or if she truly lives in that tower. Or if she even exists.

I'm not sure why I started the message like that. It's probably just some homeless magi who thought they could get away with squatting in some unused building.

Anywho, your task is to inform them of the current conditions that they must meet if they wish to keep freeloading continue their residency within my domain.Β 

Duchess Valentine

P.S. If it really is some legendary witch, I'll pay you double.

"Wow. Scaring me for nothing."

Rose stared at the letter in her hand, blinking her silvery eyes lazily, then crumpled it before stuffing it into her pocket.

Then she looked up at the massive door in front of her. It had quite the imposing presence, really. Adorned with these intricate, glowing sigils, and made of some strange, wood-like material she had never seen before.

Five days ago, Lady Valentine sent her on a mission to go and... deal with a potential illegal occupant. Inform them that they have to fulfill their duties as a citizen living in the Valentine Duchy. Not a particularly normal task for a Silver-Tier Adventurer like her, but Rose would take all the money she could get.

Thinking back to the debriefing, she held back a groan.

The premise was nothing short of surreal to her. A bit more than three years ago, the previously unclaimed territory that was the Great Fyrecile Forest was taken over and seized by the Valentine Duchy, and thus any legal adults living within would be subjected to a regular monthly tax.

Common sense says nobody lived in the forest. Who would? It was rife with horrible monsters and fauna that may just be monsters as well. It would take a special breed of insanity to even consider making a living inside of it, so of course, nobody checked inside for any signs of sapient life to inform potential occupants of the news.

...And yet, just two weeks ago, somebody was nearly struck by a falling book, coming from the top of a ruined tower that was assumed to be abandoned. The handwriting in it was chicken scratch, effectively unreadable.

The rest is history. Considering it a waste to order her knights to do the task, Lady Valentine hired Rose, an up and coming prodigious adventurer to deal with it.

Taking a small breath, Rose knocked on the door-


The moment her hand made contact, the door slammed open with a bang as if it had a life of its own, presenting Rose with a scare, as well as the biggest goddamned mess she had ever been given the displeasure to see. The room... wasn't even much of a room, just a huge storage space filled to the brim with miscellaneous junk -- countless books and tomes, stray sheets of notepaper scattered all over the place (even suspended in the air), glass beakers with strange, unspeakable liquids sloshing within...

...And up above the biggest trash pile was a black haired, red eyed girl, clad in messy, dark robes, sporting the biggest witch hat she'd ever seen in her life. Doing nothing but floating in the air, staring at her with a dumb, wide-eyed expression as she held onto a book with one hand and a pen in the other, a visible layer of dust settled on her hat.

"Hello," Rose started. The witch girl responded with a flustered shriek, cutting her off as she fumbled with the book and pen, only to quickly opt to fling them off to the side, out of sight and mind. And the window, which just so happened to be open.

And then she stood up, as best as someone could possibly stand up while airborne, ramrod straight, the dust on her hat billowing off like a miniature cloud as she tried not to tear up from the particulates in the air.

"Greetings, girl," she half-cried, half-proclaimed with as much dignity as a girl wearing an oversized hat could muster, "I am Kataria, the Endspeaking Witch!"

The red eyed girl took a moment to sneeze, only to create an even larger cloud of dust which in turn caused her to sneeze again. Rose watched, too dumbfounded to speak.

"What..." Kataria coughed, "...what brings one like you to my humble abode?"

Rose blinked. "Um, right. Hello miss, my name is Rose. I'm here to inform you that you are currently residing on the property of the Valentine Duchy, and are therefore obligated to pay a monthly tax-"


"-which you would be approximately 38 months behind on."


Fidgeting around, the witch muttered some small 'um's and 'ah's as she blew away the dust with a small gust of wind, unknowingly towards Rose who wrinkled her nose in annoyance.

"Fortunately," she said, taking out the crumpled letter and causing the witch to startle in place, "Lady Valentine acknowledges she had made a mistake, and that you had no way of knowing the circumstances of these last three years."


"Therefore, you will be exempted for those past payments." As she brushed her brownish strands of hair out of her eyes, Rose wished she didn't crumple the letter. It made the script she wrote on the back that much harder to read. "However, you will still be required to pay a monthly tax of two silvers to the Duchy from today onwards."

"I, don't have any money."

Rose bit back a sigh. On the other hand, KatariaΒ thought and came to a conclusion seemingly within the same instant.

"If I don't see my problems, they don't exist," she muttered, waving her hand.

In the blink of an eye, Rose's vision shifted from the disheveled room, and was promptly greeted by the ground-level entrance of the tower. The transition was instant, from one moment to the next.

Teleportation magic shouldn't exist, and was well documented to be impossible.

"Well," she said, "I guess I'm getting paid double."