“Where?” Amelia blinked her eyes. The last time she remembered was her squeezing the last ounces of her mana to help Kanna. The canopy of leaves hanging above her was not among those she recalled.
“And this?” She tried to lift her hand, but it only responded with a tremble. “This is...” It was a familiar sensation, and so she tried to feel and manipulate the mana dwelling in her body. “Celes...”
Amelia sat up and roamed her eyes. “Celes, you’re there, aren’t you? Why bring my consciousness here? And right now?”
“What else?” Celes, in her human form, held Amelia’s shoulder from behind. “To let you rest.”
Amelia took a glance behind and laid back on the grass. “Is that… all?”
“That’s everything.” Celes laid down on the grass with her head beside Amelia’s. “Well, partially.”
“… I wasn’t asleep for days or something, right?” Amelia remembered herself passing out, but she has yet to know what happened afterward or what was happening at the moment.
Celes giggled. “No, it has only been almost an hour after you passed out. And with your current condition, you’ll recover in a few hours. I’m sure that dwarf, Garfin, and Kanna would be surprised.”
Amelia took a deep breath. “So I can’t hide it from Garfin huh. Should I make up a lie after I recovered?” She grasped her hand over her chest and thought, Is lying the only way out?
Celes sniffled a laugh. “Like I told you, you should rest. Don’t bother thinking about something you need not resolve.”
Amelia frowned. “This is urgent. A hint on what I am and who I am is out there! I can’t just rest easy and not bother with it!” She stood up, annoyed at Celes’s unusual calmness. “And won’t it bother you too?! That they might know who you are?!”
Celes closed her eyes with a smile on her face. “Amelia, you don’t have to do anything—not even lift a single finger. Things would be resolved without you intervening. No, in fact, just be silent about it. The people around you, who truly care for you, are not people who would despise you because you had something you can’t speak about. Trust in them a little more.”
“What are you even talking about?! Everything?! Resolved?! Without me doing anything?! That’s ridiculous!”
“Amelia. It’s a bad habit you’ve developed.” Celes sighed. “You don’t want to burden others of your problem.”
“That’s natural.” Amelia gritted her teeth.
“But have you thought about what they felt? What they wanted to do for you out of concern?”
“They need not be involved in such a huge matter.”
“It’s the opposite, Amelia. You need to involve people as much as you can. Or maybe you believe that you can resolve everything by relying on your own strength?”
“I...” Amelia bit her lips and looked to the side. “I’ll try my best.”
“Everyone else is trying their best too.” Celes waved her hand and gathered the surrounding dew into a disc of water. “Look, Amelia, and observe.”
The disc adjusted itself and hovered just before Amelia.
“Kanna, Garfin, and me?” Amelia confirmed the familiar figures showed on the disc.
“Listen carefully, Amelia.” Celes climbed to her feet and stood beside Amelia.
[What do you mean? A blessing from a Divine?] Garfin scratched his head. [And that blessing grew into something that she herself did not imagine?]
“Right.” Kanna nodded while playing with Amelia’s fringes. “It’s not that far-fetched. After all, we all knew Amelia met the Great Amalthea and the beast that guides the Proving Ritual. But what we did not know is what she gained from the two aside from Amalthea’s horn shedding.”
[Hrmm…] Garfin combed his beard. [Then what about that chant-less Sun’s Seer?]
“That…” Kanna grabbed her hair and pulled it. “I’m not really sure...”
Kanna was conflicted if letting Garfin know about chant-less magic would benefit Amelia.
[I know nothing, Kanna. And I won’t know anything unless Amelia tells me of her own accord.] Garfin stood and struck a nearby tree with his fist. [I won’t ask. I won’t mention anything if that would make her feel at ease. But that aside, we need a lie. A believable lie.]
“Really, Garfin, I don’t know how to thank you for this, but I’m really glad you’re on our side on this.” Kanna smiled and held Amelia’s hands. “Hear that, Lia? You’re not alone in this. So you can keep on sleeping peacefully. Rest until you recovered. We’ll take care of everything.”
“This...” Amelia was at a loss for words.
“That’s not everything.” Celes snapped her fingers and then the view changed.
“Isn’t this…” Amelia’s pupils widened. “Mola? And Liscia? And Halbert? There’s Hero Meiko too.”
“Come on, Meiko! Don’t be such a disgrace!” Mola pulled Meiko’s arm.
On the other hand, “No, no, no, no, no!” Meiko responded while clinging to a thin metallic rod. “I’m not returning there! That’s too crazy! That isn’t just a beast! That’s way more than just a beast! It’s a monster! Ah! I can’t believe this!”
“What are you talking about?! And what’s with this abnormal strength?! Are you really a girl?!” Mola repeatedly tugged Meiko away from the rod. “And besides, that’s just a Mimic! A Mimic! What the hell are you afraid of?!”
“Nooooo!” The rod Meiko clung onto bent slightly. “You keep telling me it’s just a Mimic! But that thing’s waaaay too disgusting! Ughhh... I can’t stand the look of it...” Meiko’s knees weakened as she remembered the Mimic’s fleshy appearance. The mucus dripping from its skin made Meiko especially sick.
“Ugh! I can’t believe you’ll get this weak just from its appearance! Are you really a Hero?!” Mola placed more strength on her feet.
“I told you before didn’t I?! I didn’t choose to be one!”
“Scratch that! Just try to think that it’s for your own good! For you to return home!”
“I-i-is there really no other way?! That thin—ugh...”
“Chance!” Mola did not let the second chance pass. She pulled out Meiko from her clutch and dragged her back into the hallway they have previously been into. “Come on. We can’t just let Liscia and Halbert fight on their own.”
“W-w-wait! I’ll stand on my own! So please don’t drag me!”
Mola sighed and released Meiko. “We have to hurry up. So fix those legs of yours.”
“T-that’s easy for you to say...” Meiko stood with her legs trembling in both fear and disgust. “A-ahh… it’s too hard to walk.” Meiko’s balanced herself at each step she took.
“I’ll go a bit further ahead, so try to catch up. But remember, for you to get a chance to return home, you have to steel yourself. You’ll be seeing more of these as we spend more time researching.”
“F-fine...” Step by step, Meiko trailed behind Mola.
Meanwhile, Halbert was provoking the Mimic in the distance while dodging the tentacles it shot. Liscia, on the other hand, was supporting Halbert from behind by shooting stones on the Mimic’s body armored by a steel plate. From what it seemed, the Mimic took after a steel container and made its home.
“Coming from the left!” Liscia shouted.
“Got it!” Halbert side-stepped to the side and slashed at one of the Mimic’s tentacle.
Back to where Amelia and Celes were, “Err… Meiko did her best?” Amelia asked, unsure of who did their best. “Or was it Mola for convincing Meiko?”
Celes giggled. “Perhaps both?”
Again, the image showed on the plate changed. That time, it was Elaine along with Hilda.
“Uhm… Your Highness Elaine, is it this one?” Hilda showed the cover of a thick book to Elaine.
“Ah, that’s it!” Elaine ran towards the library’s door and beckoned Hilda to come over. “Let’s read it somewhere else.”
Elaine and Hilda passed through one corridor after the other and arrived at the garden. Elaine took the book from Hilda and placed it on a table in the gazebo.
“Uhm… Your Highness, should I really be reading this with you?” Hilda was anxious. She did not want to be deeply involved with matters she had no hope coping with.
“Don’t worry, this book is available in public libraries in the cities.” Elaine flipped through the pages and muttered, “unlike a certain book about Heroes.”
“What book about Heroes?”
“N-n-nothing!” Elaine’s face flushed. “Anyway! Help me search this book!”
“Uhm… Your face is re—”
“This!” Elaine pointed to the book. She moved her fingers from one word to another. “Ah, I’m mistaken. Anyway, be my second pair of eyes for now, please?” Elaine crept a smile.
“O-okay.” Hilda was afraid to ask what was going through Elaine’s mind and decided to forget what she saw.
“A certain book? About Heroes? That’s not available in the public library?” Amelia muttered. “Does such a book exis—no… I need to speak with Elaine, and soon.”
Amelia walked back and forth. Her mind went into turmoil. Various dangerous thoughts ran through her mind. Thought’s that were dangerous for Elaine’s innocence.
“C-celes, can I go now? I have recovered, right?” Amelia asked, sweat forming on her forehead.
Celes giggled a laugh. “No need to rush, but I can’t believe that’s what caught your attention.”
“No! This is urgent!” Amelia’s eyes spun. “Elaine is at stake here!”
Again, Celes laughed. “Relax, Amelia. Try to focus on what Elaine was focusing on.”
“I know already! It’s a book regarding the past wars!” Amelia suddenly froze. “Wait, records about the past racial wars? What is Elaine up to? Why is she looking it up?”
“You should ask her, but she is doing what she could to help you in the background.”
Amelia blinked her eyes in disbelief. “I… see… You got a point. I should ask her instead.”
“You should also remember her.” The view suddenly changed into a room stacked with papers.
In response to the change, Amelia looked to the side. “Right, I should apologize to Erina.”
“You definitely should. She has been on your side for the longest. She deserves to see your smile among everyone else.”
“… I don’t know. I don’t know how to thank her anymore.” Amelia held her arms.
“Just be yourself and live. That’s the best gift you can give her.” Celes approached Amelia and embraced her. “You don’t have to think about giving them anything. Just showing them that you’re happy will satisfy them.”
“I’ll try...” Amelia returned Celes’s embrace.
It took a few minutes before Celes released Amelia. “Are you feeling better now?”
“Yeah.” Amelia nodded.
“Then I guess I could show you one more.” Celes smiled.
“There’s another one?” Amelia moved her sight towards the disc of water. “Is that Max? Ah, Clarissa too. But who? Who’s the other person?”
“Listen and you’ll find out.”
“I apologize for the sudden meeting, Your Highness Maxwell.” Hero Charles placed a hand on his stomach and bowed.
Maxwell chuckled. “True, I was surprised to be informed that a Hero wanted to meet me. It was the least I expected after I returned to Spere.”
“Brother,” Clarissa called. “Should I?”
“Yes, Sister, you may go. You have my gratitude for keeping him company.” Maxwell expressed a smile.
With her hands crossed on her front, Clarissa, wearing a pale blue dress, walked towards the door. “Brother, let’s have a talk later. I want to confirm a few things.”
“I’ll head towards your chamber after this.”
Clarissa nodded. “I’ll be waiting.”
When Clarissa closed the door, Maxwell offered Charles to take a seat.
“What about your party members?” Maxwell started.
“I left them in the guest chamber since I hoped to speak with you alone.” Charles smiled.
“I see.” Maxwell nodded. “So, what brought you here today? Did you need me for something?”
Charles exhaled a sigh of relief. “Thank you for going straight to the point. I’m not that good with small talk.”
“Perish the matter.” Maxwell waved his hand in dismissal. “I too am not good with small talk. In any case, what topic do you want us to speak about?”
“This may be presumptuous of me, but I heard His Highness is well acquainted with Laurel’s First Princess?”
“Ah, yes, Her Highness Amelia.” Maxwell kept his smile. This is too sudden.
“Yes. I wanted to confirm a few things from her, so would you help me bridge a communication with her? In return, I’m willing to offer my service as a Hero.”
“I apologize, but I can’t grant your request for a vague reason. Please understand that I cannot endanger Her Highness Amelia for the sake of the two Kingdom’s relationship and our friendship. Such matter cannot be replaced by a Hero’s service.”
“Please wait.” Charles raised his hand. “A communication through letters is enough. At best, a communication with Telepathy.”
“Like I said, a vague reason and a Hero’s service is not enough of a compensation to endanger the two kingdom’s relationship. Most of all, Laurel has a sour relationship with Libet.”
Charles nodded. “Which is why I approached you, Your Highness Maxwell.”
“I figured as much. However, if you’re not willing to share your reason, then I would keep on turning down your offer.” Maxwell stood and walked towards the door.
“A demon,” Charles said just before Maxwell reached for the knob. “Most of the people from Libet said she was a child of a demon. But I don’t believe it. It happened at a suspicious time and place. So I’m sure something happened. With that, I wanted to confirm Her Highness’s side to get a larger view of the actual picture.”
“… Convince me that you’re not a pawn of Libet and I’ll consider your request.” Maxwell turned the knob and left.
Meanwhile, Amelia was blinking her eyes in silence. “What does a Hero want from me? And Max. It seems he’s partially involved with the turmoil with Libet now...”
Celes giggled, which was an unusual response for Amelia. “Really, no matter how much I watched it, still, I could not help but giggle a laugh.”
“Wait, so all of these did not happen at the same time?”
Celes shook her head. “Aside from you sleeping on Kanna’s thighs, no.”
“But why are you laughing?” Amelia knitted her brows. “It’s a huge problem for me.”
“Because that Hero has yet to figure it out.” Celes held her stomach and tried to hold her laughter.
“Figure out what?”
“His situation. His reality. And the fact that he won’t revive after encountering death.”
Amelia tilted her head. “Revive? From the dead?”
“You see.” Celes took a deep breath. “Heroes are given a blessing.”
“I already know that.”
Celes nodded. “But their blessing is not entirely an ability to perform. It can also be a system to aid them and make them think that it’s a reality they are familiar with.”
“Reality?” Again, Amelia knitted her brows. “Is there a huge difference between Meiko’s blessing and the other heroes’?”
“Yes, there is. The Gods would not just randomly pick anyone to transport into Origin, you know? They won’t accomplish their goal if they only relied on luck.”
“… I don’t really get what it’s for, but I’m listening.”
“True, telling you something you won’t understand is a waste of time. But take Meiko for an example. She wanted to return home, didn’t she? She probably had a satisfied life from the world she came from and wished to maintain it. As a result, given the blessing, she would seek a way home.”
“I do understand Meiko’s reason, but what’s the difference with the others?”
“They think of this world as a game.” Celes smiled. “For example, Amelia, back when I showed you a reality that your Grandfather was alive, you believed it was unreal and denied it, right?”
Amelia nodded. “Yes, because I knew Grandfather was gone. But how is that related to a game?”
“What if I showed you a reality similar to your current situation, would you believe it was fake?”
“I… don’t know?”
“The answer would easily be a no. Not unless you encountered an event you would deem impossible in the reality you believed in.”
“I don’t really understand how that is related to a game, but I’ll take note of that.”
Again, Celes giggled. “In short, that Hero, Charles, thought you would be a great source of a large scale event. Perhaps uncover secrets he never thought he would find.”
“… I don’t think I like the idea of treating me as a trigger for an event.” Amelia frowned.
“Why not take advantage of it?”
Amelia shook her head. “I don’t want to deal with another Hero right now. And even if he thinks of me as something like that, I cannot guarantee that he’s an ally or enemy.”
“A lot of things are moving Amelia. So be prepared.” Celes then clapped her hand. “All that aside, why don’t we take a stroll for a while? It will still take time for your body to recover anyway, so let’s spend your time leisurely.”
“I can do that, but I find you spending time with me a bit surprising. Weren’t you busy these past few weeks?”
“I was.” Celes grabbed Amelia’s hand and dragged her along. “And besides, there’s nothing urgent as of the moment. So I can spend my time the way I wanted.”
“But what about the things you showed me? They are things I need to take care of.”
Celes sighed. “Like I said, don’t mind it. The people wanting to aid you are doing their best. So take this chance and ease your mind. You don’t always get time to spend like this.”