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Feirut

Silver Amelia
Chapter 31: Budding

Running up the stairs in the early morning, I immediately went in front of the 2nd door to the right. Excitedly, I opened the door and greeted.

“Welcome back, Lia!” With a wide smile, I continued. “It’s been quite a whi- Eh?”

Contrary to my expectation, the room was empty. The bed sheets were fixed, the pillows were arranged, the windows were closed, and a sack leaned beside the bed, but despite all that, Lia's figure is nowhere in sight.

Walking inside the room, I observed the surroundings. “Lia?” I called a second time. “Are you here?”

 

Noticing a letter atop the drawer, I approached it. “An open letter?” Reading the content of the letter with a single sentence written in it, “’I’ll be back.’” I muttered.

Remembering what I heard from the Dwarfs after Lia and the others returned, my heart increased its pace. Could it be?!

Checking for the authenticity of the letter, there was signature below it. To confirm it, I ran outside the room and leaned on the railings. “Does someone here know Lia’s signature?!” I shouted.

[Is there a problem?] The servant named Erina asked.

 

“Lia’s missing!” Running down the stairs in a hurry, I gave the letter to Erina. “She only left this behind!”

After looking through the letter, Erina confirmed its authenticity. [It is indeed her Highness’s]

Unable to believe the nonchalant reply of her personal maidservant, I snapped at her. “Why are you so calm?! Lia’s missing!”

[I see that,] She replied. [But there’s nothing to worry about,] She assured. [Her Highness would return.]

 

“How can you be so sure?!” Irritated, I shouted in reply. “We’re in Alabaster! Anything can happen!”

[There was never a time that her Highness didn’t return after leaving such letter,] She smiled wryly. [So please calm down.]

Grabbing the attention of the people in the lodge, I continued disappointed. “A-are you not afraid of her safety?”

[What is this about?] A silver-haired man asked, emerging from one of the doors.

 

[Your Highness.] Passing the letter to the prince, Argent, Erina bowed.

[I see.] He muttered. [Please do not worry, my sister would definitely return.]

“A-are you telling me that this is just some sort of trick?” Unable to come to terms with the calm expression they gave, I asked. “Are you not worried even for a bit?”

[No, this is serious.] Expressing in a serious tone, Argent answered. [Amelia would only leave a letter like this if she doesn’t want to be found. Even if we did look for her, it’ll be like looking for a tree in a forest.]

 

“W-what do you mean?”

[My sister is resourceful; she even has a rare combination of affinity that lets her sneak in and out of even well-guarded places.] He added. [Her ability to hide, if she willed it, surpasses that of most assassins.]

“…” Unable to take it any longer, I silently listened.

Three days have passed since Lia went missing, and she hasn’t returned yet. Even Erina and prince Argent finally showed signs of worry.

 

Leaning forward, arms clasped, and tapping his feet continuously, Argent spoke. [She’ll return.]

“You kept saying that,” I replied. “It’s been three days and the weather outside is not good.”

Since Lia and the others went deep into Alabaster, the weather had turned bad. Now and then, it showered or drizzled, but the clouds above did not show any sign of fading.

Increasingly worried, “AAAAH!” I shouted. “I can’t take this anymore! She’s probably out there alone!”

 

Storming outside the lodge, I grabbed the whistle hanging from my neck and blew it despite being in the residence of the Tribe.

“Birby! Come!” I shouted, running towards the largest opening in this place, the square.

Knowing what it meant, Birby hovered above the square, dangling its white tail.

Running up the stage while taking out a rope, I jumped at the back of its tail, slowly scaling.

 

“Go on!” I said halfway up its tail.

In response, Birby replied with a growl and started flapping its wings harder, gradually ascending to the sky.

Whipping up the rope, I aimed for the saddle’s back horn. Successfully tying the rope from the horn, I pulled it taut. Pulling myself, I unfastened my feet hugging Birby’s tail and continued scaling his back, eventually reaching the saddle. Confident of my skills, I tied myself to the saddle in a minimum.

 

Pulling the reins, “Birby, we’re going to look for Lia.” I said darting my eyes, looking for any hint pointing to Lia’s direction.

Could she be affected by that? I thought, recalling the previous event. But the sending would be in three days. She should be there to send give her condolences…

Recently, there was a disaster that occurred in the caves of Alabaster. Although the issue was resolved, the Dwarfs returned with five casualties. I was told that the deaths were due to the beasts running up the caves, afraid of a Devourer.

 

Flying low, I searched above the Forests, while the dark clouds loomed over Alabaster. Soon enough, droplets of rain started to fall.

“Why now…” I muttered.

Braving the rain, I continued my search until eventually; I noticed something calling for me.

[- - -]

“A spirit?” Feeling a sensation that drew my mind, I pulled reins and faced southeast.

 

In spite of the low visibility, I noticed the clouds swirling above the Lake leading to Aves, Elena. Approaching Lake Elena, I could feel the spirit’s call getting stronger. Using my arm to shield my eyes from the rain, I neared the Lake’s surface, revealing a familiar figure standing above its surface.

“Amalthea?” I muttered, recognizing the golden goat. “What is she doing there?”

Curious of the reason, I slowed down Birby and made him hover above the lake.

“Great Amalthea!” I shouted. “I have a favor!”

 

[I know what you’re looking for.] She answered. [And I need your cooperation.]

Wide-eyed, I asked. “Y-you know where Lia is?”

[Scale down that wyvern and I’ll lead you.] Striding, she moved away without turning back.

“I’m sorry Birby,” Tapping his back, I said. “You can go back for now.”

After descending near the edge of the lake, I ran towards her direction while wishing for Lia’s safety.

 

Following a distance behind her, I hesitantly asked. “What happened to Lia?”

No matter how long I waited, Amalthea didn’t reply. Together, we traversed the forest quietly until we reached a crevice.

“In here?”

Amalthea nodded. [See for yourself.]

Trampling over the damp grass, I approached the crevice. Fitting myself sideways, I slowly made my way inside, reaching a small chamber with a small cavity, illuminating a huge crystal and drenching it with rain.

 

“Lia?” Recognizing the figure of the woman inside the crystal, I approached it in disbelief? “Lia is that… you?”

Although I recognized her features, there was a horn, no, an antler on top of her head.

[How is it?] Amalthea asked. [Isn’t it beautiful?]

H-how did she get inside? I thought. No, that’s not important right now.

 

“It is, but it’s sad at the same time...” Looking at her figure, floating in a fetal position with her hair neatly scattered as if she were submerged in water, I muttered. “It would’ve been perfect if she were smiling instead...” Despite the beauty it expressed, I felt sorrow just looking at her, like a thorn scraping my heart.

[True.] Amalthea replied. [Which is why I called you here after noticing you from the sky.]

“Why?” I asked. “Why is she even inside that?”

[She isolated herself to accelerate her own growth.]

 

“Growth? Do you mean aging?”

[No,] She shook her goat head. [She’s accelerating her growth as a divine, leaving her humanity behind.]

Surprised, I asked. “D-divine? No, that doesn’t matter, why is she even leaving her humanity? What happened?”

[In the recent event, she felt weak. She couldn’t stand being protected by Celestia again. Understa-]

[Thank you, Amalthea.] Suddenly, another voice echoed in the small chamber. [It’s fine, I’ll take over from here.]

 

“Lia?”

[Then I’ll take my leave.] With a short spark, Amalthea vanished.

Without a hint of movement inside the crystal, Lia spoke. [It’s been a short while Kanna.]

Ignoring her, I said. “Lia, come out there, let’s go back.”

[I’m sorry Kanna.] She replied. [I won’t return for another five days.]

 

Quickly, I asked. “Why? There are people worried about you.”

[If it’s Erina or Argent, they’ll know I’ll return.]

“They are worried,” I said.

[I wish I could’ve written how long I’ll be gone, but it’s impossible, I don’t know how long I’ll stay like this until I isolated myself.]

“Say, what happened?” I asked, worried. “You could’ve always talked to us if there was a problem. You could’ve approached us and asked for our help. Why do you keep on trying to do things by yourself?”

 

[…]

“It’s been five years since I last saw you, but you’ve changed a lot.” Gripping my fist, I said. “When we met, I thought that there’s something wrong. I knew it has something to do with Randolf, but I don’t care I’ve been trying to cheer you up, and recently you’ve been smiling like you used to when you were small.”

Shaking my head. “Please, Lia, let’s go back. Seeing you like this… it pains me.”

[Kanna,] She spoke in the same monotonous tone. [Could you, tell me how I was like?]

 

“I’ll tell you everything I knew,” Adamantly, I said. “if you tell me the reason behind this.”

[… If you could promise that this will remain between us, then fine.]

Sincerely, I nodded. “Even if I get struck by a lightning bolt.”

[You see…]

 

And thus I told Kanna how my whole life was a lie, no, a staged play that failed to reach its end. From the very day I lost Grandfather and my sanity, until the day I was forced to realize that it was all but a despicable lie, I told my story. I was but a doll dancing to the tune of someone else, a doll who failed to realize the strings attached to my very own body, a doll without her own decisions.

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