Chapter 8 - Third Time's The Charm
I continued to poke at my brother until he finally woke up.
My brother groggily opened his eyes. "What?"
"Purple bananas," I screamed again. "You said to tell you purple bananas next time so that you'll know what I'm talking about."
His eyes widened. "Holy shit, you really are a time traveler."
"Do you believe me now?" I spat out and sat on his bed while crossing my arms. "It just took me almost dying to convince you, so it better have been worth it."
"Wait, what the heck happened?" He quickly got up from his bed. "And which loop are you in right now?"
"This is my third loop," I told him. "The first lasted two weeks while the second didn't even last a day."
"Yeah, I heard you the first time when you said you almost died. I'm guessing that something went wrong."
"Oh, no. At least I have some of my questions answered. Like the fact that magical girls apparently exists."
He gave me a wide-eyed look. "Magical girls are real?!"
"Yup, only with chants and fireballs and none of that transformation stuff. She's the reason why I looped this time."
"Cause she killed you?"
"Almost. I looped right before the fireball actually hit me."
And wasn't that a frightening thought? The memory of the fireball pausing right before it was about to hit my chest still scared me even now. I dreaded to think what would've happened if time didn't stop at that moment.
I brought him up to speed with what happened in the first timeline, then told him what I learned in the second. His eyes were still wide open after hearing about all the things I learned.
"Holy shit," he muttered. "Magic is real."
"I mean, unless she actually has a super flamethrower and eighth-grade syndrome, then yeah. Magic's real."
"And you were almost killed by a magical girl."
I gave him my most unimpressed look. "Gee, I haven't noticed."
He winced. "Okay, that's still a sore topic for you. Got it."
A sudden thought came to me, and I turned to him. "Hey, what color are my eyes?"
"Huh?" My brother took a close look. "They're brown, same as always. Why, are they supposed to be something else?"
Right after I vomited into the toilet again after I found myself back in the past, I took a glance at myself in the mirror and confirmed that I did have silver eyes.
But my brother couldn't see them. Why was that?
"Are silver eyes supposed to mean something important?"
"Err..." my brother took a moment to think. "I mean, a lot of stories involving magic mention silver in some way. But I can't recall anything about silver eyes in particular."
I stood up and collapsed onto my own bed, groaning into my pillow.
"I really don't want to go to school today," my voice was muffled by the pillow. "Especially if it means I'll run into Anna again. Apparently, she has something against my eyes."
"Well, why not just never make eye contact with her."
"For the rest of the year? That's going to be difficult when we sit right next to each other."
"Then I got nothing."
Really, there were no good options at all here. If Anna sees my eyes, she may try and kill me again, and I wouldn't even know why. And even if she doesn't try and kill me, I still have to worry about looping after two weeks pass.
"Ugh, to think I was just a normal college student only recently. When did my life become this?"
"Oh yeah, I kinda forgot that you're actually older than you look by a few years."
"From my perspective, you're younger."
"Hey, why do you think she tried to kill me anyway?"
"You want me to profile the psyche of a teenage magical girl?"
He sighed. "Can you repeat exactly what she said to you before she tried to shoot fire at you?"
"Um..." I racked my brain for a moment. "Something about finding an apostle and how she thought that I was contracted to a being."
"Do you mean she thought she found an apostle, whatever that is? And she believed that it was you?"
My memory of the situation was clouded by adrenaline and fear, but Clovis was probably correct. I nodded.
"So what's an apostle supposed to be if her first reaction is to kill it?"
I looked up the definition of 'apostle' on my phone. "An emissary or messenger. Plus, the fact that she mentioned something about contracts."
He nodded. "Assuming that you're an apostle, then doesn't that mean this 'Text' is your contracted being. Making you his apostle?"
I stared at him in shock.
"But I don't even know who he is," I threw my hands in the air. "Text is literally just a random pseudonym I gave him since he's never introduced himself. How can I be an apostle to somebody I don't know?"
"Let's look at it from a magical point of view." Clovis counted off his fingers for each point he listed off. "An apostle probably means something different from the conventional definition. Let's assume that it means a person contracted to an otherworldly being for now."
I nodded. That sounds like a good enough description for Text.
"Second, she seems to have something against apostles. But what is her goal in regards to them? Does she want to kill them? Is that a duty or obligation or just because of a personal grudge?"
I remembered what she said. "I don't think she was after me. She specifically said that she wanted to deal with the being that was contracted to me."
"So maybe she's against whatever Text is," he concluded. "And since you're just a victim to Text, doesn't that mean she's on your side?"
"I'm on the same side as the girl who tried to kill me?"
"Allegedly," he stressed. I was beginning to get annoyed by that word. "After all, it's not like she actually killed you. You looped before you actually got hit, right?"
"I was supposed to let myself get hit by a giant fireball?"
"It's magic. Who knows if it would've even hurt you."
"Don't worry, this won't kill you."
That was what she said, and at first, I thought she meant that I wouldn't die right away from only getting attacked by a ball of flames. But what if Clovis was right? What if that ball of fire wasn't supposed to kill him?
What if she was trying to help?
"I must be crazy if I'm actually considering that she's a good guy." I gave out a frustrated sigh. "Guess I have to talk to her again."
"On the plus side," my brother began. "If you mess up, you might loop again. Hey, infinite tries. That's something to celebrate over, right?"
I groaned into my pillow once more.
I got onto the bus and collapsed onto the seat, too tired to do anything but moan.
I barely took a glance as I mumbled from my seat. "Hey, Maria."
Am I going to have to act surprised every time I see her? Honestly, I'm too tired to keep up the act.
I probably missed the look of confusion on her face at how I knew it was her. "Are you okay? You look terrible."
"Nothing, it's just..." I paused to take a quick yawn. "Yesterday was a lot more tiring than I thought."
Even though yesterday was over two weeks ago.
"Yeah, I'm still surprised that we're high schoolers now. Do you think— aaannnd you're falling asleep."
I was unconscious the entire bus ride.
Getting off the bus, I found myself walking with a nervous step towards where Anna was.
If I see her pull out her candle lighter, something I'm half convinced is her magic wand, then I'm running as far away from here as I can, loops be damned.
She looked up at me, and this time I was able to catch the suspicion in her eyes.
"I need you to promise that you won't kill me until you listen to what I have to say?"
She gave me a confused look. "Why would I kill you—?"
"I'm a time traveler from the future sent here by a guy who texted me if I wanted to redo my life, to which I responded no," I said in my loudest voice. "Two days ago from my perspective, you asked me what color your eyes were. I answered brown the first time, but the next day I realized that they were blue."
Her eyes widened comically.
"One day ago from my perspective, you tried to kill me because you thought I was something called an apostle. I have no idea what that means or why you tried to kill me, so I'm here to ask questions. Hopefully without fearing for my life while doing so."
She looked completely shocked, but I quickly continued to speak before she could react. "You have a magic wand that looks like a candle lighter, and you can create giant fireballs with it. I know this because—"
"Stop talking," she finally gritted out. "Alright, I believe you. Now shut up!"
"Do you promise not to kill me?" I said, still speaking in a loud manner.
"Is this really the time?!" She looked around to see if anyone was nearby. "Can we talk about this later?!"
"Do you promise not to kill me?" I repeated.
She clenched her teeth. "I promise I won't kill you, despite whatever urge I'm feeling at this particular moment."
Well, that was good enough for me.
I may have acted like the idiot who couldn't keep his mouth shut, but I was also blackmailing her while trying not to look like it. For some reason, she seemed to be hiding her identity as a magical girl, and I planned to make full use of that fact. Now she knew that I knew her secret, she'll at least be careful in dealing with me without me risking her identity.
Or at least that's my plan. Really, I'm risking it a lot on half-baked theories I've cooked up.
"Alright, we'll talk once break starts."
I never told her what my second period was, but I found Anna standing outside my classroom once break started.
Ignoring the whispers between Dylan and Kyle, I walked up to her with a bright smile on my face, secretly hoping that she couldn't sense my nervousness.
Please, tell me she can't sense my nervousness.
"Ready to talk?"
She glared at me, then jerked her thumb behind her. "Follow me."
"Err, sorry. But I'm not comfortable with following possible murderers into dark alleyways."
"I already promised that I'm not going to kill you." She scowled. "And I can't believe I even have to say this, but I'm not a murderer."
Guess I shouldn't push her too far. "Alright, lead the way."
The two of us walked to the same place that we did last time, which really didn't do anything for my confidence. Still, I was taking the risk that she would honor her promise for now, and hoping that this wouldn't fail spectacularly.
Turning around, she crossed her arms. "Well, explain."
"One night, I received a text message from an unknown person, asking me if I wanted to redo my life. I answered no and fell asleep, but found myself waking up five years into the past. Nothing particularly noteworthy happened until two weeks later, and I found myself back in time again. You approached me that day mentioning something about silver eyes and apostles and tried to shoot a fireball at me."
A fairly condensed explanation, but I really didn't need to give her all the details.
She stared straight into my eyes. "And let me clarify something. Until I supposedly 'tried to kill you', you didn't know of the existence of magic?"
"Actually, you just confirmed it. I still wasn't completely sure if it was actually superpowers or advanced technology."
She palmed her face. "Oh my god, I'm dealing with a mundane who reads too many comic books."
"I'm more of a manga kind of guy."
"Don't care." She gave out a heavy sigh. "Okay, I think I know what's going on now. And I can see where you might have misunderstood my intentions."
"Your intentions on shooting fireballs at me?"
"Yes," she gritted her teeth again. "And can you please stop bringing that up in every other sentence?"
"I dunno, it kind of left an impression on me."
She ignored what I said. "Okay, let me give you the simplest explanation I can without taking too long and forcing us to ditch class."
She reached into my pocket, and I started to freak out.
"Wait wait wait, don't pull out the magic wand!"
"I'm not!" She pulled out her phone. "And I don't have a magic wand! It's just a normal BIC lighter. I'm only sending you the informational brochure."
She tapped several things on her screen. "What's your email?"
I told her with a confused look on my face and heard the *swoop* sound effect come from her phone. She pocketed and turned to me.
"Read it and I'll answer your questions at lunch later. I'll be here waiting."
She moved to leave until I stopped her.
"Wait, just tell me this. How come our eyes look different, but only we can see them?"
She paused at that and finally looked at me. Her blue eyes glowed with an intensity to them that completely revealed the supernatural aspects of it.
"It's because you've opened your eyes to the truth," she answered. "Rejoice, for you have finally awakened."
With those last words, she left me alone.