I wake up feeling pretty refreshed. Now that Nicole was on my side, it was just one less Mage I had to worry about.

Still I can't help but think who Mage number sixteen was.

As I walked into the room, I noticed Nicole was eating breakfast. She must've gotten up early.

Nicole looks up from her bowl of cereal, "Morning Yuuji."

"Uh, good morning Nicole."

I still can't believe she managed to convince my Grandpa to let her stay with us. Maybe he's getting softer now? If that's the case then I can finally practice my magic! Either that or he's just trying to mess with me.

Nicole sighs, "Stop saying uh all the time."

"Um, I'm sorry."

"And stop appologizing too."

"Uh...oops! Sorry."

Nicole shakes head and gets up from the table, "Nevermind. Just forget it, you're a lost cause. Now hurry and eat, I need you to show me where the school is at."

Huh? You mean my school?" I ask pointing to myself.

"Duh, who else's school could I be talking about?"

"But why do you want me to show where my school's at."

Nicole places her bowl on the counter, "Isn't it obvious. I'm going to go to your school while I'm here. I'm serious about my education."

I nod, "Oh, I see."

Nicole and I are standing front of the fairly large school building. "So here it is. Oh by the way, what grade are you in, Nicole?"I ask her curiously.

"Eleventh, why?"

"Just wondering."

"So then, she is a year older than me."

n "Okay, I'll meet up with you when school's over. Be careful, for all you know there could someone else at your school who's also in the Mage Wars."

I nod acknowledging her advice. Nicole and I walk off into our separate classrooms.

A couple of hours pass and school is let out. I don't know why but I've had an uneasy feeling all day.

It felt like someone was watching me. I slowly notched my head back, scanning the area for anyone suspicious.

But no one was to be found. I turn my head back and notice Nicole was now here.

"Hey, what's wrong? Something bothering you?" Nicole asks with a near careless look on her face.

"Yeah, I thought someone was following me around. But I think I was just being paranoid."

Nicol'es eyes suddenly dart to the right, "I wouldn't be so sure about that if I were you."

I blink, "Huh, why not?"

Nicole groans, "Good grief. Isn't it obvious. Right now, any one in the Mage Wars other than Reika and I are your enemies."

Just then Izaki comes running up to us, "Hey bro! What's up." Izaki looks over and notices Nicole, "Hey, who's this Yuuji? She your girlfriend or something?"

Nicole huffs and swings her head to the left, I'm not his girlfriend. I can barely tolerate a wimp like him as my friend."

Izaki chuckles a little, "Okey dokey then. So Yuuji can you do that one cool magic trick again? I'm in a really magicky mood today."

"Uh, sure." I take out a pack of cards from my backpack and shuffle them around. "Pick a card."

Izaki studies them way too carefully for just a simple card trick that he's already seen a thousand times before, "Okay. I pick this one!"

"Is your card the Jack of Spades?" I ask him already knowing the answer.

Izaki nods his head rapidly,"Yep! Now do it!"

I blush a little. I never understood why he always loved this crappy trick so much, "Or is it the Ace of Diamonds?

I cast my Illusion Magic turning the Jack of Spades into an Ace of Diamonds. Izaka marvels at the card, "Whoa man! You gotta tell me how you did that. It's so freakin' awesome!"

"A true magician never reveals his secrets." It's a good thing Izaki was the other person I could talk to easily. Because if he wasn't it would make doing this trick so often extremely uncomfortable.

Nicole seemed really angry about something. She ran over to me and tugged my arm, "Come on. We're leaving now.

"Ow! Hey, what's wrong.

Once were far enough away form the school, Nicole released me from her grip, "You can't just use your magic out in public like that!"

"But it was just Izaki." I say rubbing my arm. "And besides it's Illusion Magic.

Nicole glares at me, "None of that matters. You used magic in public and know who knows what kind of Mages will come after you. You revealed yourself as a Mage. And now if there was someone following you, they know your identity."

I shift my feet, "I-I'm sorry."

"Oh, don't worry." An unfamiliar voice spoke through the air. "I already knew that from this morning. You gave me that information, Nicole."

Nicole and I quickly turned around in a heartbeat. "Who's there? Show yourself!" Nicole yells swinging her arms to the side.

"I'm Marianna Nelli." A blue haired girl jumps down from one of the surrounding trees. "It was very easy to obtain information on you both. Neither of you are very alert."

I can't help but stare at the strange blue cat ears on the gril's forehead. I wonder if they're real or fake?

"Shut up and die!" Nicole shoots an array of mana blasts form her index finger. Marianna leaps into the air and pounces down on Nicole like a cat.

A dark blue bubble forms around Nicole.

"Nicole!" I yell as loud as possible for me.

The cat-girl known as Marainna gives off a slasher smile as she turns towards me. I stumble backwards slightly.

Marianna bares her fangs, "I'll get rid of the weak one first. Then I'll handle you Nicole."

Nicole places her hands on the bubble's interior,"Yuuji, be careful!"

Marianna swings her unusually sharp claws at me. I sway to the left and right desperately. Some of her attacks managed to draw some blood.

Marianna chuckles, "Is that really all you can do?"

"Marianna grins before thrusting her right clawed hand through my stomach. My eyes widen as my pupils dilate."

"The pain's too much for me to handle. I feel like I can die any second.

I attack the Marianna by casting Illusion Magic on my fist. I make it appear as though it's made of iron.

I swing my fist at her as it connects with her midsection, Marianna grins, "I already know about your Illusion Magic, Yuuji."

"I use my Illusion Magic on myself to suppress the pain. Within moments although my mid-section is bleeding intensely, the pain fades away."

"I take a deep breath and begin to walk towards Marianna."

Marianna takes a couple steps back, "What?! He shouldn't be able to move."

I decided if I want to ise my Illusion Magic on her, I'll have to be sneakier about it.I swing my fist at Marianna casting a pain inducement Illusion spell on doubles over, "Damn it. What is this?"

Her eyes lock into mine as if she's reading my mind. No. She is reading my mind. I can feel her lurking around in my brain. I try to stray away from any thoughts about my magic. But she's too good."

Marianna grins pointing her finger up, "Aha! It's Illusion Magic."

Darn it. She figured it out."=

"Now that I know your magic, you're as good as dead."

"Get away from Yuuji!" Out of nowhere, a blast of fire is launched at Marianna and Nicole is released from her bubble. Reika jumps down from a tree.

"Reika!"I shout gleefully.

Reika holds her spell book ready, "What's going on?"

Nicole pointed over to Marianna., "She's in the Mage Wars."

Before Reika can respond flames begin to consume the entire area. "Come on! We have to leave now!" Reika yells shutting her spell book.

"I look back at the girl who had been my enemy just moments ago being consumed in the rapid fire."

I look in the direction of Marianna, "But what about her?" If we left her there the fire would surely consume her."

Nicole arched her eyebrows, "What about her?"

"She's in that fire. We can't just let her die."

"Nicole scowled at me, "That's the entire point of these wars Yuuji. We're suppossd to kill eachother. Anyway, you might not even be able to save her. Do you really wanna risk your own life for a stranger?"

I hesitate. I really did wanna help that girl. But at the same time, I don't wanna die. I'm torn."

"Reika noticed the look of confusion and my eyes and suddenly jumped into the fire."

I extend my arm, "Reika!" But it's no use. I still don't have the courage to go in help. I can only watch as Reika searched as fast as she could for Marianna. My heart raced faster and faster. I am deeply afraid now that Reika is going to die as well. I slowly take one step forward. I really want to help. But I just can't bring myself to rush in there.

I was filled with overjoy as I saw Reika walk out of the fire carrying Marianna. "Reika. Your'e okay!" I began crying tears of joy as I ran up to hug her.

Reika didn't say anything. She just smiled and hugged me back.

"After that, we brought Marianna to my house. Once she woke up, I was sitting beside her on the couch."

"Hey. Are you feeling any better?" I ask her with a small smile.

Marinna looks around the room savagely, "Where am I? It's you!" She unleashed she claws from her fingers.

I hide behind my forearms, "Hey, I don't wanna fight you."

Her clwas retreat back into her hands, You don't wanna fight, huh? Intresting."

It was kind of strange. Marianna had this kind of mysterious vibe that sent chills down your spine with the way she said things. It had no malevolent intent, just curiosity.

Marianna grins, "Okay then." Marianna begins swinging her hand at my hair like a kitten would."

"Hey, Marianna. Please stop."

Nicole passed us by and glared at Marianna and me, "Stop playing with the cat, Yuuji."

"Uh, sorry. Hey I was wondering Reika and I were going to head over to the museum today. Do you maybe wanna come."

Nicole shrugs, "Sure, why not. I have nothing better to do anyway."

Marinna dusts off her shorts as she gets up from the couch. "I'll be coming as well."

Nicole scowls at Marinna, "No one invited you!"

"I invited myself."

"That's not how it works!"

"It's okay. Marianna can come too." I say in my usual soft spoken manner.

Marianna runs over to me, hugging my neck., "Oh yeah, here let me heal you." Marianna's hands begin glowing white as they rub over my injuries healing them.

Marianna beams, "Thanks Yuuji. You're the best."

"Hey, get your hands off him!" Nicole shouts abruptly.

Marianna squints her eyes at Nicole, still hugging my neck, "Why do you care?"

A slight blush crosses over Nicole's face, "I-uh. Don't be ridiculous. I don't care. I just think that if you hold onto his neck like that, it'll take longer to get to the museum is all."

We eventually make it to the museum and meet up with Reika. Reika turns to me, "So what should we do Yuuji."

I shrug, "I don't know. How about we let Marianna decide."

Marianna claps her hands, "Okay, how about we go see the Mythical Dragon."

"Oh you mean the ancestor of all Mages?" Reika asks.

Marianna nods, "Yeah, that's the one."

Nicole sighs, "Would you two keep it down? You're gonna blow our cover."

I just smile awkwardly at this. I wasn't very used to having this may people around me at once, "Okay, let's go see the Dragon."

We walked over to where a statue of the Mythical Dragon was on display. I stared up at the large figure and fixated my gaze on it's menacing eyes.

Suddenly I was feeling sick to my stomach like back when I was in that forest.

Reika rolled my shoulder back and forth, "Hey Yuuji. Are you okay?"

I snap out of my daze, "Huh? Oh yeah, I'm fine."