C297: The Bitter Cold vs. Darkness
“Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh?! You’re the Witch of Darkness, Mom?! You?! The Witch of Darkness?!”
Platy is the most shocked by the revelation.
She didn’t know it was her mother?
But please don’t shout, you’ll make Junior cry.
“The Witch of Darkness’ identity is the only one in the Six Witches who remains unknown! Various theories such as dugong, light refraction, experimental organism developed by the royal family, plasma, conspiratorial hoaxes, and abnormal weather are battling each other! She’s a mystery wrapped in even more mystery!”
Was her existence that enigmatic?
“But you’re that witch?!”
“What a surprise.”
“Arowana! Dad! Did you know about this?!”
The royal father and son awkwardly look at each other as they are pressed by their daughter/sister, and say…
“Ahem.” “I knew.”
Platy is fuming mad.
“Wait, wait, Platy. I was not hiding it out of spite. It was all for Mother’s sake!”
“Mother terribly hates the fact that she’s the Witch of Darkness. That’s why she doesn’t want anyone to know. I only found out by chance! I was so shocked at the time that I locked myself in my room for two nights!”
The prince is trying to justify himself…
But if being a witch is such an abominable past for the queen, why did she go and reveal herself to us now?
“Is that how much you’re opposed to me marrying Puffer?”
“But why? I wasn’t expecting you to be this disapproving…”
Prince Arowana’s confusion aside, the situation continues to escalate.
“Very well, I understand. If defeating my mother-in-law is the condition of our marriage, I will steel myself and do my best to crush you.”
“Hah. You’ll have to win all the battles before you can prove yourself worthy of being my daughter-in-law.”
Just what is going to happen to this in-law conflict?
Anyway, we decided to move the battle to a different location because it was going to be problematic inside the castle.
They’re going to be fighting outside Zigol’s body.
This way, there would be no collateral damage and preserve the confidentiality of things from outsiders…
We, however, are still allowed to watch the battle as involved people.
Land dwellers like the Demon King and me are once again enclosed in a soap bubble to watch their battle.
On the seafloor, where the sunlight doesn’t reach, two beautiful mermaids eerily glare at each other.
“Hngh… It still doesn’t make sense to me…” says Platy, a fellow spectator and one who watches over our bubble.
She’s been constantly tilting her head for some time now.
What’s up with her?
“I still can’t accept the fact that Mom is the Witch of Darkness. She’s a witch full of mystery, but to think it’s actually her…”
“Well, it is hard to accept the unknown side of your relatives sometimes.”
But Platy is a princess and the Crowned Witch, so I don’t think it’s that hard to believe.
A mother and her daughter being witches seem pretty likely if you ask me.
“That’s not what I meant. I told you, Mom is not good at pharmacy magic.”
“Witch is a title given to an atrociously outstanding potion compounder. But I’ve never seen her handle a potion even once, not even shake a test tube…”
That’s why she never expected her mother to be a witch, not even in her wildest dreams?
Oh well, our analyses aside, the tension in the parties involved keeps on rising.
“If winning is the condition, I will do everything in my power to defeat you!”
“You don’t have to awkwardly force yourself to be polite. Just use language appropriate to your crude upbringing.”
“…?! Fine then, I won’t hold back in any shape or form, auntie!”
The early bird gets the worm.
Puffer throws a potion-filled test tube.
The contents of the tube are probably her specialty, a freezing potion.
As someone whose home is the sea, her battle here is much more fluid and speedier than on land.
The test tube cracks on its own before it reaches the queen, leaking its contents and mixing with the water to form large blocks of ice.
It wasn’t an attack?
Why would she make such a meaningless move?
“That’s Puffer’s way of fighting,” says Prince Arowana, another spectator. “She places several ice blocks as obstacles, blocks her enemy’s path, and uses the cold vapor emitted by the ice to slow them down. To the untrained eye, it looks quite haphazard, but Puffer’s fighting style is actually well-thought-out!”
He knows what Puffer’s exactly thinking after traveling together for so long.
They’re like a mature couple who know each other very well.
“And just like that, Mom’s escape route is sealed. Even if she has a trump card, she’ll still be crushed together. Puffer really is a solid fighter despite her looks,” says Platy.
It seems a checkmate is already in place.
Puffer, who has put her preparations into order, throws another test tube at the queen.
“If it hits her, Puffer will win!”
It’s probably an offensive potion this time.
The queen can’t dodge it with the ice blocks in her way. There’s nothing she can do to get out of this.
It was at that moment that we, the spectators, were interrupted by some intruder.
Someone is wading into the water at incredible speeds towards us!
Whew! That was close! Her impact almost made our bubble pop!!!
Just who was that?!
“Uoooooooooooooooh! Sis Mahi is fightingggggg?! Whyyyyyyy?!”
Oh, I’ve seen that person, or rather mermaid, before.
Isn’t that Zoth Syra, the Six Witches’ Witch of the Abyss?
Why is she, the oldest of the Six Witches, here?!
“Hooooooly! One of my lab’s instruments showed an abnormal reading, so I came here! I knew ittttttttttt! This is bad!”
W-What? What is she panicking about?
If you’ve got something worthwhile to say, say it! Or is this a blatant death flag?!
“Zoth Syra. Do you know my mother’s true identity?” asks Platy. “You’re a generation or two older than the other witches, so you must know a lot, right? What are you flustered about? What’s the secret behind my mother being a witch despite being incapable of magic?”
“I see you’re here too, Crowned Witch. Orkubo’s not with you today?”
“Worry about your sweetheart later!”
Anyway, with the perfect commentator, the plot thickens.
“…It’s not that Sis Mahi can’t use pharmacy magic. She just doesn’t use it.”
“To be more precise, she does not need to resort to such unrefined products as potions.”
Crash! Goes the sound echoing well under the sea.
“Such loud sounds will wake Junior up!!!”
At a closer glance, we can see that the ice blocks surrounding Queen Mahi have all shattered, including the latter potion thrown at her.
Even Puffer cannot grasp the situation.
“Her battle formation was shattered in a matter of seconds?!”
It’s most likely the queen’s doing.
But no one knows what she exactly did…. save for a few people.
“That’s the magic Sis Mahi uses…!” says Zoth Syra, trembling. “It’s a magic that once existed during ancient merfolk times but was buried in history and disappeared… Pharmacy magic is just a degraded version of it. The true merfolk magic, which even the deities feared to the point of sealing it away, is called…”
Like Sirens singing