FOURTH ARC: ADVANCE
The book released itself from the reader's hands, hovering in the air as its pages fluttered wildly, as if having a life of its own, before it clamped shut and fell to the floor in a thud.
Its previous reader blinked once, twice, before reaching for the book and opening it again.
The pages were blank.
The pages stayed blank.
The little girl started to panic.
She looked to her right, then left, but no one was there. Of course, she sneaked into the secret chamber, and of course that means nobody knew she was there, but now she wanted someone to find her.
What if she broke this book?
What if she broke this grimoire?
This Scarlet Archive.
She would definitely get into trouble.
And she's afraid.
The little girl started to sob quietly.
"So? Did you enjoy the story?"
Startled, the girl turned around, staring eye to eye with the source of the voice, the owner of this very room she sneaked into. She hugged the deep red grimoire tightly, staring at the one-week magician with teary eyes, before tackling her with everything she had, sending both of them to the ground. The magician grunted from the sudden impact.
"Waah, Patchy! The book—the book is broken! W-what should I do?"
"Calm down—w-wait, don't hug me! You'll crush me—Muukyu!"
After a long struggle, the magician finally released herself from the vampiric girl's death grip, letting out a relieved sigh. She always wanted to die in her library, but not now. And definitely NOT this way. The magician sighed again, taking her grimoire and flipping through its pages, before putting the thick red book back to its rightful place, on a single lone table in the middle of the chamber. She turned to the sobbing little girl.
"It's not broken. The fact that you can read its content is the strange one. Aah, then again, maybe it is due to your blood."
The little girl tilted her head, confused. She didn't understand what the magician was talking about, but she at least knew one thing.
"So, it's not broken?"
"Not in the slightest."
Then she wouldn't get into trouble. She smiled and turned around.
"Phew, that's a relief. Bye now—"
A hand clawed onto her shoulder and she gulped, feeling a shiver ran down her spine.
"Where do you think you're going, little lady?"
"Um, uh... To...school..."
That was probably true. Night had come and she should get ready if she didn't want to get a headbutt from a certain hakutaku for being late. Not to mention it's full moon tonight; the headbutt would hurt a lot. Imagining it sent another shiver down her spine.
"L-look, I really have to go now. So, bye!"
Physically, she's definitely stronger than a mere magician, but somehow how hard she tried to run, she couldn't escape the magician's grip. Letting out another long sigh, the magician pulled the frantic girl by her collar and shoved her to the only chair in the room, crossing her arms as she stared at the lavender haired vampire accusingly. The little vampire pouted, sending her gaze to the floor.
"Now. What should I do with you."
"You can just let me go—"
"A punishment for sneaking into my secret study."
"How did you pass the barrier, anyway?"
"Ah, I broke it."
The vampire whined, her wings fluttered behind her in anticipation, its colorful crystals jingling. She tried to change the topic.
"S-say, Patchy. What is this room anyway?"
The magician raised a brow at her, but she decided to play along.
"This place is the Scarlet Archive; something I created in a whim of mine, a complete record of the Scarlet family. But actually the core, the real 'Scarlet Archive', is only one grimoire though."
"Yes. That grimoire you just read is the core. It will look for information in the Akashic Record, the memories of the world, and automatically record everything related to the Scarlets. The information will then be divided into several sections, and recorded into the other books in this room. That being said, normal people can only read the filtered information within the normal books, not the core grimoire. But you..."
"Never mind. What section did you read?"
"Umm, uuh...'The Origin' was it?"
"Aah, that one. How nostalgic."
The magician took a book from the dusty shelves, handing it to the little girl.
"This one, I assume."
The little girl blinked, before opening the book and reading it slowly. Her eyes widened in surprise.
"Whoa, you're right! It's the same!"
"Of course it is."
The magician stood there, observing the girl with her usual apathetic gaze; something about the scene calmed her, and the magician smiled.
"Do you like books, young mistress?"
"Huh? Hmm, not really. Only interesting books."
"Then let this be your 'punishment'."
Void Sign: Akashic Key
In a single chant a key materialized in her hand; a translucent key that seemed exist yet not exist, shining as if made from pure light itself.
"This is the key of the core grimoire, the real Scarlet Archive."
The little girl stared at the key with awe.
"With this key, you can access the akashic record, gaining any information from the past, or seeing to the distant future.
' And, I will give this key to you."
"Whoa, that's so awesome! Gimme!"
The magician dodged another tackle, letting the excited vampire crashing down the floor.
"This key come with a responsibility."
"Responsibility? What kind of responsibility?"
"The responsibility of becoming an archivist and tend to this whole archive. You will be obliged to filter the information from the core grimoire and transfer it to the common books. Of course, that being said, you can select and hide whichever information to your heart content."
"Eeh, how troublesome..."
"That's your punishment."
The little vampire puffed her cheek childishly, but extended her hand nonetheless, taking the key; as her finger brushed the key, it vanished into her skin, as if dissolving into her flesh, and she looked in awe. She inspected her right hand, but there was no trace of the key at all. How to call it, again? Oh yeah.
"Void sign, akashic key."
Heeding her call, the key materialized itself on her palm, floating slightly in the air. Her eyes shined in excitement. After a while, she turned to the magician.
"Say, isn't this key actually very important? Why do you give it to me?"
"Why, to punish you, of course."
"You're a bad liar."
"...true, I'm not good at lying. Let's say, I've always wanted to give that key, this whole archive, to one of the Scarlets. This is the story about them, so it's only natural, isn't it? But..."
"Remi is not someone who like to be caught in the past; I believe she would rather destroy the whole archive than keeping it. And Flan, well, I guess they're just about the same. Not to mention both of them have no interest in books at all; even if there's a possibility of this archive not being destroyed, it would undoubtedly be neglected."
The two figures sighed loudly to themselves.
"Come to think of it, isn't it almost time for school?"
The young vampire jolted to her feet, staring at the clock. She paled.
"Oh no, I'm gonna be late! I'm gonna be late and Keine-sensei will headbutt me! I'm gonna get caved!"
But before the magician could ask anything, the young vampire had gone, scampering out in a flash.
Patchouli Knowledge sighed, sitting on the wooden chair as she saw the little girl ran out of the dark library frantically, the crystals on her wings jingled wildly.
The magician smiled.
"Good luck. And see you again soon, the new Scarlet Archivist, Beatrix Scarlet."