Twenty Years Before the Start of This Book
General Emeralda Stysh held tight to the rappelling line while arrows whizzed past her head, firebolts, thunderbolts flashed in the sky that was tinted orange with burning flame and the fire of dragons. Gigantic gorillas smashed their way through the city streets, and bats the size of adult humans—much bigger than her—flew in the sky diving down to pick up and tear apart any soldier unwitting enough to step outside.
She was a magical girl. When she was eleven, she had been presented with a choice: become immortal, protecting the world from evil, or stay the way she was and enjoy a normal life. She had chosen the former.
That was over three hundred years ago. Three hundred years filled with war and peace and horrible things alongside the best things that life could offer.
She had pure white hair; it was the mark of her office, the head of the Disciplinary Force of Female Magicians, the office she had created and which now controlled several thousand magical girls throughout the world in every city and around every town protecting the world from the evils of the monsters that roamed the land.
Now she was rappelling into a city during a war with monsters and she had no time left to spare; she had to bring all of her forces to bear. Another magical girl rappelled down next to her—her name was Justle—and more were on board the skyship that carried them, the Eldrich. Rappelling ropes were thick, and strong, and they had been enchanted with protection against rope-burn, and yet Emeralda still felt as if she was dropping straight down through the air with nothing to support her and nothing but war beneath her. A giant gorilla, called a snap-back by the magical girls, smashed its way towards the city wall, where Emeralda and her fighting force were landing.
As she slid down the rope, Emeralda looked out at the burning city.Monsters, she thought, looking at the destruction, the death, the flames. I hate monsters.
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