Hello Dear Reader!
In celebration of a new year and a new decade, I have written a chapter-length, Dark Irregular-themed New Year’s Special that I hope you enjoy. Have a Happy New Year and a fantastic rest of your winter holiday!
“Kim! Ky!” Kanna called out the twins’ names as she sprinted out of the house and into the snow-covered outdoors. She frantically looked out into the white expanse surrounding the Reinier household, for once not loving the fact that her mentor and his family lived kilometers away from the palace. Yes, she could see miles around with no problem spotting any incoming people, but when night fell, visibility went away. The only light she could use to see far out was coming from the house windows, and there were no streetlamps whatsoever, let alone streets to put the lamps by.
“Why do those children have to excel at evading me when I’m looking for them?” Kanna sighed, exasperated. Lifting up the skirt of her dress, she kicked away the snow with her boots as she walked further out into the dark winter wonderland. Despite her franticness, she was able to notice the soft, golden glow the light from the house gave to the fallen flakes. Looking up, she smiled. The sky was crystal clear and cloudless, and the stars were winking at her. Now, if it was out of greeting or amusement from her panic to find the twins, she didn’t know.
“Kim!” She shouted again. “Ky! Your parents are looking for you!”
“Come find us, Kanna!” Kim giggled
“You won’t get us this time!” Ky snickered.
“Considering I couldn’t find you the first time without mentor’s help, I just might believe you,” Kanna muttered. Sighing again, she walked further out into the snow, following the children’s voices. They took her around the left side of the house, where their mother, Marian, kept her personal flower garden. Currently, it was contained in a warm, translucent golden box to protect the flowers from the chills of winter.
There is no way they were able to hide in there without breaking the spell. Only Marian can touch it without the box breaking. Kanna thought. She perked up when she heard a series of giggles coming from right beside the box. She squinted and furrowed her brows in confusion when she didn’t see anything there. Not even an imprint of the twins’ shoes was there, but that was where the sound was coming from.
Kanna grunted when she heard a louder fit of giggles coming from that same place. She started moving her head, looking at the spot at different angles, looking for a sign that the twins were using a holographic device again, but there wasn’t any unusual shimmer that was characteristic of a hologram.
Then, that means only one thing. Stepping close to the little spot by the box, Kanna held her hand out and focused her energy on the tips of her middle three fingers. She then commanded, “Release.”
She smiled when the twins screamed at the sudden spray of silver, glittering sparkles raining down around them. She laughed along with them when they burst into laughter as well, their cheeks rosy from the cold and their hair sticking up every which way from running around and trying to find a place to hide earlier.
“Alright, you two,” Kanna stooped down in front of them and pretended to be cross with them, “who was the one that casted the spell? I know neither of you have practiced magic as advanced as one of the higher levels of invisibility.”
“Aw, Kanna,” Kim giggled, standing up.
“You should know,” Ky finished, standing along with his sister.
“You really should know.” Kanna frowned and quickly stood at the voice she heard speaking behind her. She turned quickly, braid flying like a whip as she glared lightly at her bespectacled mentor. To her annoyance, he was wearing a rare, teasing smirk, and his onyx eyes were glinting out of subtle amusement.
“Playing a trick on me for simple amusement?” Kanna commented, ushering the twins to the front of the house. “It’s unlike you, mentor.”
“I can’t have a sense of humor?” He asked. Stooping down, he grabbed Kim by her waist and lifted her up into the air. A rare smile graced his stony face as she laughed joyfully. Lowering her down, he rested her on his hip, and his smile grew as his little sister wrapped her arms around his neck and planted a kiss on his cheek. “It is New Year’s Eve, after all.”
“You’re not going to follow that ridiculous mantra, are you?” Kanna questioned. She lifted Ky into her arms when she noticed him pouting at his siblings, figuring that he wanted to be carried, too. When he wrapped his arms around her neck like Kim did, she knew she as correct. “Making a new version of yourself in celebration of a new year?”
“No, of course not,” Kenneth scoffed. He took the lead in carrying the twins inside the house. “I find it to be ridiculous.”
“Good.” Kanna hid a smile in Ky’s black hair as she followed her mentor into his brightly-lit home.
“Why do you ask?”
“Well . . .” Kanna trailed off, hesitant at the answer she instantly thought of. “I like you just the way you are, I suppose.”
“Is that so?” Kenneth hummed. He set Kim on the ground and watched as Kanna did the same with Ky. The twins raced into a nearby hallway, following the chorus of the adults’ voices. He looked at Kanna with inquiring onyx eyes and asked, “Even the cold parts of me?”
“Even the cold parts.” Kanna nodded, showing him a small smile. Her smile widened into a toothy grin when her mentor proceeded to push his glasses up the bridge of his nose and push his black bangs out of his face.
Walking up to him, Kanna leaned in close to his face. She laughed when he took a step back. “Is that a ghost of a blush I see on your cheeks, mentor?”
“Absolutely not,” he answered, immediately assuming his usual stony expression.
“Hmm, I don’t know,” Kanna continued. Her smile brightened at her mentor’s confirmed embarrassment. “It can be hard to miss a pink hue on a paper-pale face.”
“Do you really have to mention my complexion again?” He asked, jutting his lower lip out the tiniest bit in the most discreet pout Kanna had ever seen.
“Well, it makes more sense for me to tease you than the other way around, yes?” Kanna threw a question back at him as she jabbed a finger into his chest playfully. The golden specks in her brown eyes were glittering brilliantly in the candle-lit entranceway. “It’s more me.”
“Yes, but . . .” Her mentor trailed off, taking Kanna’s jabbing hand into his own. He lifted it to his lips and lightly kissed her knuckles. “Two can play at the game of making the other blush, princess.”
Kanna pulled her hand out of her smiling mentor’s grip and turned her face away from him, knowing that her face had exploded into a bright shade of flustered red. “Th-that was really unfair!”
“What part of that was unfair?” He asked teasingly.
“The physical contact was unfair. I never used physical contact with you except for the finger jab, which was after I made you blush.”
“In all honesty, you ever only show signs of embarrassment after small instances of physical contact,” he said coolly. “I was only using that information to my advantage.”
“Tactical even outside of battle,” Kanna grumbled, walking back out of the house. She huffed when her mentor’s footsteps casually followed behind her. “Logical as always.”
“Easy to catch off guard and fluster as always,” he teased, chuckling. His smile dropped when he saw Kanna shiver from a particularly strong breeze. Reaching out a hand, he touched her shoulder and mentally chanted the words to a simple warming spell he knew. Her tense, shaking shoulders relaxed as the artificial warmth spread through her body. She turned around and stared up at him just as a small, content smile blossomed onto her lips. He felt the heat transfer into his cheeks, and for once, he was frantically hoping that the redness caused by the cold was enough to hide his moment of being caught off guard.
Smile is as sweet as always.
“Thank you,” Kanna said. She touched the same place she had jabbed on his chest and whispered the same spell under her breath, giving him artificial warmth. She said, “To return the favor.”
“Much appreciated, princess.” He nodded his head formally, still trying to hide his buildup of emotions. Thankfully, as what usually happened, Kanna didn’t take much notice.
“You are still too dramatic.” She sighed, still smiling nonetheless.
All of a sudden, a high-pitched whine filled their ears. Kanna and her mentor turned in the direction of the palace walls, and just as their eyes landed on the dark silhouette of the castle, a symphony of color exploded above the tallest of its towers, blossoming like flowers in the springtime. They died just as fast as they were given life, only to be replaced by more flowering colors as the show went on. It held both of them captive for a few seconds despite another cold wind trying to take their attention away. It stood no chance, since the show was so breathtaking and the warming spell still had its effect on their bodies.
The pair was completely content standing in the dark, snowy meadow with only the house lights and fireworks as their only lightning.
“Kanna,” Her mentor uncharacteristically broke the silence.
“Yes?” She didn’t think to question it as most of her attention was still focused on the fireworks.
“Do you like lightshows like this?”
“Mm-hmm, I find they are simultaneously calming and exciting.”
“Then, I will be sure to take you to more of these when I come back.”
This particular statement snapped Kanna out of her admiring stupor.
“When you come back?” Kanna turned to look at her mentor, only to find that he wasn’t standing beside her anymore. She looked down at the snow where he was once standing, and not even a hint of a footprint was in sight. The snow looked as if it was completely untouched.
“Mentor?” She called out. Her voice echoed in the empty, white expanse. “Mentor!”
When he comes back? He was just here, though. Kanna took a step forward and cupped her hands around her mouth, feeling her heartbeat quicken out of desperation. Why do I feel so nervous?
“Mentor!” Kanna screamed. Tears were starting to pearl in the corners of her eyes, and she couldn’t figure out why no matter how hard she tried. “Mentor, please!”
~ ~ ~
“Ha!” Kanna shot up in bed, covered in a sheen of sweat. She looked around, taking in her surroundings, identifying items she was familiar with to calm herself down. My bed, my desk, the window curtains, the mirror . . . I’m in my room in the palace.
“Sweetie, are you okay?” Kanna jerked when she saw the white-skinned irregular standing at her bedside staring down at her with his eerily-colored eyes.
“Liridon,” she breathed out slowly, trying to calm her heartbeat even further, “what happened?”
“There was a great disturbance in your presence,” the irregular answered. “Another dream?”
“Yes.” Kanna nodded slowly, closing her eyes. She tried to conjure up her mentor’s image in her mind, but no matter how hard she tried, his face wouldn’t solidify. “He’s escaped me again.”
“Sorry, princess, but I can’t help you with that, even if he was my previous host.” When Kanna opened her eyes and looked up at her irregular, she saw a genuinely apologetic expression on his normally sadistically grinning face.
“I know, Liridon. There is no need to apologize.” Kanna sighed and looked out her window. She grimly smiled at the bright fireworks exploding above the castle’s tallest tower. “Happy New Year, Liridon.”
“Happy New Year, Kanna,” Liridon replied, looking out the window along with her.
Kanna reached out and wrapped her fingers around her irregular’s cold ones, trying to find some inkling of comfort in them. It was slight, but it was there, and it only grew when his grip on them tightened the slightest bit.
“Let it be a good one,” Liridon said.
“I’ll try,” Kanna said quietly. And just maybe . . . Maybe he’ll come back.