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A Witch Dress, A Witch Battle
A pair of male and female students who seemed like the senior student representatives got up on the stage. They began a speech intended to welcome the new students.
Chloe and the others thought it would no doubt be a boring speech. But the atmosphere changed at once.
“Well…I’m sure all of you are tired after the ceremony. Let us end the formalities here. To make you well aware of us seniors’ true strength, let us show you a ‘Witch Battle’!”
From the audience seats, the loudest cheer so far resounded. No doubt Chloe too contributed to the shouts. Even Soujirou, who sat beside her, couldn’t conceal his excitement.
A Witch Battle.
From time immemorial, the Witches’ powers had led to wars. At times they would be the trigger for the war, and at others they would cause the war itself.
The witches and their Magic Dresses were symbols of great strength.
At the same time, they also represented abundant riches and resplendent beauty.
From that arose a sport, a show where witches battled for amusement: The Witch Battle.
The spectators reveled at the witches chanting spells in a sing-song voice, movements making it seem as if the witches were dancing, leading to a vivid collision of magic spells.
Such battles occurred at a large scale in the ancient empire. Though its scale was now small, they could now enjoy such battles anywhere in the world.
“What is occurring now at this academy is similar to what happens far and wide in the world. What they wish to show is…a sport or a game; a ‘Witch Battle’ as a form of art.”
Hearing Soujirou mutter, Chloe replied.
“Yes, that is it. The Academy’s rules state that if a witch remains on the ground, unable to get up for a few seconds, or when her dress is damaged to the point where she cannot use magic, it is considered a defeat. It is also a loss if she is off the arena.”
“Although battles for the second years are conducted in dungeons if I’m not mistaken…oh, it’s starting now!”
“Then, let us introduce the two witches who are battling today!”
As the senior student spoke the lines, the female students in dresses on the stage left one by one.
In the end, left on the stage were two female students, no, young witches facing each other.
On the left was a girl dressed in a luxurious pink Robe à la Française. As if that wasn’t enough, a large ribbon and an artificial flower graced her bright crimson hair.
The exterior robe of the dress had a floral pattern, while the insides glistened white like snow. The originally plentiful fair chest was further padded with ribbons and laces making it bulge to the point where it seemed it would spill forth.
The hem that unfurled on both sides seemed more graceful and large with the addition of the vest tightening around her.
Her pale and slender fingers, hidden under her white gloves, folded around a fan. From it extended a thing pale purple cord that twined around her arms in a serpentine manner, leaving just the tassel at its end dangling.
On the right was witch dressed in a subdued purple dress with a light beige lace: A Bustle-style dress1. Her lustrous brown hair was pulled up in an updo. She wore a hat the same shade of purple, slightly crooked, on her head.
From the front, a Bustle dress looked slender with clean lines. However, on the back, it had a voluminous curve on the hips. And the voluminous curve was made by bunching up multiple layers of cloth repeatedly and pleating them. A large ribbon adorned it.
Her dress tightly wrapped around her, right from the base of her neck to her wrists. Tips of her brown leather boots peeked out from under her low skirt hem.
And her hands encased in white gloves held a parasol. While it was closed at the moment, it seemed to be a cute parasol, with an off white color like scattered flowers.
The witches who were introduced gave a bow to the spectating students and once again turned to face one another.
The senior student representative spoke clearly.
It was a proclamation of the battle beginning.
The one who made a move first was the witch in the pink dress.
She unfurled her lace fan with a snap and she chanted a spell as if she were a little bird singing a poem of love.
Black flames arose as if answering her words.
“…Black roses bloom, guarding the pure white grave.
Guides to eternal sleep.”
The flames shone and swayed.
“The sounds of weeping entwine with the funeral bells.
Their duty: the omen of death.”
The black flames became gradually larger. They ‘Grew’.
“And I bestow you a new duty!
With her voice, the black flames burst forth.
“Come out, ‘Church Grim’2!!”
It was a silhouette of a large dog, larger than a pony.
“Beast Summoning Magic…!”
Magic. While it was just a word, many systems existed under the umbrella of that one word.
For instance, wielding the power of the fire or water spirits; the so-called elemental spirits. It worked by interfering with the opponent’s spirit.
On the other hand, with one’s spirit, namely by using mental power, information, and knowledge would gush forth. One could create a tool known as a magical focus, or could temporarily borrow it through summons.
Beast Summoning magic too was a system of magic. It summoned ‘Mythical Beasts’ of the ancient past, or perhaps even the present. Through the magic they would temporarily become your familiars.
“But still, I have never seen a beast like that black dog. Is it something unique to Europe and America?”
Soujirou muttered in amazement.
“Umm, it is called a Church Grim. It is one of the so-called Black Dog beasts. Originally, black dogs were dreadful existences believed to be omens of death. But Church Grims had the duty of protecting the graveyard. They chased off the grave robbers who disturbed the sleep of the dead.”
While the two chatted, the pink witch got up on the black dog, the Church Grim, and rode with her legs on one side.
When the witch in the pink Robe à la Française pointed at something, theChurch Grim let out a growl. Flames spewed out of his mouth and soon reached the witch in purple.
On the other hand, the witch in the purple Bustle dress unfurled her small parasol and used it in front of herself as a shield.
But would just that protect her from the flames?
Not minding the spectators’ unrest, the witch in purple put together an incantation in a calm yet swift voice.
“Decked up, the maidens live in the castle of ice.
Let us begin a ball,
Dancing atop the eternally frozen soil.
A round dance that shall never end.”
With a sharp crack, pillars of ice afore one after another beside the purple witch’s feet. Countless flowers of ice bloomed before her parasol, forming a gigantic wall.
It completely defended against the flames the Church Grim breathed out.
A waltz of fire and ice.
Even while being drowned out by the crowd’s cheers, the young witches made preparations for the next magic, chanting another spell.
Not wishing to miss a second, Chloe looked at the stage with rapt attention.
Hasr: Probably a release or two more, then I’m done. Or maybe more. It depends, really.
This novel has a lot of descriptions of dresses. So if anyone knows a little more than me about fashion history, please feel free to share your knowledge in the comments. I’d really appreciate that.