Chapter Nineteen: Alone in the Thorns:

Anna shielded her eyes. There had to be so many thorns surrounding her. Crossing was her only choice. Anna took a breath. Even without Airi in touch with her, she could tell this was a spell. Not a strong one, but still.

“Walk through and find the source,” Anna said to herself. Right. She began her walk through the thorny trap. Some started to cut her face. Anna tried not to flinch. She had to end this. At all costs.

“You will not get me,” Anna said aloud. She quickened her steps. The real thorns cut into her skin. Some tangled in her hair. They even cut her clothes.

Soon, Anna wasn’t alone.

She turned when she heard the giggling. No one in sight. But she heard the footsteps. Anna would not fall for this. She closed her eyes and focused. The footsteps circled her ears. Left… Right… Left… Right… Back… Right… Front… Right… Left… Left… Left…

Anna ripped open her eyes. “There!” She reached out and grabbed a shoulder. The thorns cut through her skin. Blood covered the brown. Anna’s mind fought through the pain. A little girl stared at her, frowning.

“Well, well, well,” Anna said. “Hello there.” The little girl stuck out her tongue.

“Whoa. Rude, aren’t you?” the woman asked. “Tell we where Asato is.”

“No!” the little girl said.

“Figures,” Anna said. “Where is Haruka?”

“Not telling!” she shouted. The woman frowned.

“Fine,” she said. “Have it your way.” Anna reached into her jeans pocket and pulled out a small black stone.

“Wait… What are… You can’t be…” she said. Anna shoved the stone into the girl’s mouth.

-Hours Earlier-

“Take these,” Tsuzuki said. Eight little stones sat in his palm.

“What are these?” Anna asked.

“Magic stones,” he said. His wife gave him an odd look.

“Seriously?” she asked.

“It couldn’t hurt, right?” Tsuzuki asked. “We’re going to need everything we get to end this.” Anna shrugged.

“Fine,” she said. “I’ll take it.”

“Thank you,” Tsuzuki said. He kissed her on the forehead.


The little girl’s body writhed in pain. She could not scream. Her body turned into stone and broke into dust. The thorns broke into dust as well. Anna breathed out. All of her cuts were healed.

Suddenly, her phone rang.

“Hello?” Anna asked, eyes shifting back and forth.

Usagi?” she heard on the other line. Anna froze with wide eyes.

Asato… -kun?” she asked. “Asato-kun is that you?”

“You can hear me?” he asked.

“Yes! Yes! I can hear you!” she shouted. “Where are you?” The voice came through in static. The words skipped around and came out choppy.

Asato-kun? Hello? Hello?” she asked. The line went dead. Anna stared at her phone. What was that? Was that really Tsuzuki? Or another trap by Haruka? Anna looked at her phone. No service.

“Hm…” she said. What was going on?