༺ Elaine and Pero’s Homecoming – 2 ༻
Not with two hands, but with the whole body.
From the whole body to the world.
The wind that had bound her with bloodshed was released into the entire world.
She believed that the borrowed strength of Pero would soon end its crawling phase and bind the gaze of the two Variants.
So, until Pero became familiar with the wind…… The task of buying time was Elaine’s responsibility.
The Giant Variant’s fist fell like a meteor.
Elaine took a light step. Like a sail fully catching the wind, she accelerated smoothly.
The fist shook the ground. Elaine lightly fired a wind blade. The skin of the Variant was sliced with a Srukkk, but the wound wasn’t deep.
“As expected, the destructive power has decreased significantly.”
However, there was an almost infinite amount of things she could do. Moreover, there was no longer any rush for time. All that was left was to calmly proceed with what needed to be done.
Elaine gathered soil, stones, and sand from the ground with the wind. Like satellites orbiting, several spheres formed around her.
Then she fired.
When the sphere of wind hit the Giant Variant’s head directly, sand spread and obscured its vision. The Variants swung their arms in confusion.
As Elaine gestured once again, a chilly blade of wind grazed past the Achilles tendon of the Variant. And it continued, without interruption, without stop.
Forcing the opponent to exhaust themselves while protecting herself. This was the complete opposite of the combat style she had practiced until now……but it felt as comfortable as wearing a perfectly fitted dress.
And then, Pero soared high into the sky.
Elaine confirmed this and began to gather and condense the wind in a defenseless state. It was to forge a blade that would sever the neck with one fell swoop. All while trusting.
Pero felt the wind wrapping around his body. If he concentrated, he could sense and even move it, as if he had acquired a new sensory organ.
It seemed like the ability to control the wind was lent to him by Elaine.
“You had a fascinating ability, Elaine……”
It’s called Metamorphosis.
“Is it different from my healing? Would I ever be able to use it?”
Only when put under a lot of stress.
“……It’s not a good ability, huh?”
I’ll draw their attention, so try moving it.
Pero nodded to Yuna in his head. Imagining he had wings made of wind, he flapped vigorously. However, the wind merely stirred with nothing significant happening, almost as if it were all a lie.
You need to anchor the wings to your body to fly. And wings aren’t a good model for flight. For a beginner……it would be easier to think of it as launching your body.
“Ah, yes……Launching? Then maybe like th──.”
Before he could even finish his sentence, Pero’s small body shot into the sky.
Higher. Even higher than the Giant Variant’s head, he floated among the clouds and the moon. Looking down from above, he saw the Giant Variants looking up at him and…
Elaine below, gathering a formidable wind in her grasp.
The gaze of the Giant Variants focused on the floating Pero. Two pairs of giant arms stretched towards the sky to seize the boy.
“……What should I do next?!”
If you restrict the movements of the Giant Variant, it’ll be easier for Elaine.
“Should I try……throwing sand in their eyes with the wind?”
The wind, kindly responding to Pero’s thoughts, moved accordingly, but it was hard to control. Even floating in the sky was a result of concentration that was barely maintained.
It was impossible for a virtual persona with very limited information to skillfully handle the power of Metamorphosis given. Pero was neither a Wizard nor a Warrior; he was just a boy with healing abilities.
But in Pero’s mind was the Archwizard of the Purple Magic Tower, who had reached the realm of Sublimation.
Yuna briefly took over his body.
The Archwizard drew strange figures in the air with the boy’s fingers. The wind swirled around and quickly took shape. They were giant chains.
The wrists of the Giant Variants were simultaneously bound by chains made of wind. When she drew her finger downwards, tremendous pressure acted in the same direction of gravity── The bound wrists crashed to the ground.
The Giant Variant, structurally similar to a human, tilted its center of gravity forwards, causing their heads to collide with each other. Pero shouted.
While trusting that Pero would distract the Giant Variant and create an opportunity…In Elaine’s grasp, which had been quietly gathering wind, a giant blade that seemed to be condensed with storm was now held.
From below to above.
From the ground towards somewhere in the night sky, she drew a diagonal line. The compressed blade of wind was released, surging explosively.
The sound of the cut was not loud.
But the neck of the Giant Variant was completely severed.
After the Variant’s neck, plastered with faces, hit the ground, Pero gently landed with wind wrapped around him. Elaine faced him with a far more relieved expression than before.
There was no dramatic change. She would still be suspicious of someone and prioritize realistic judgment in her actions. But maybe, at crucial moments, she could afford to trust someone.
And with that hope in mind, Elaine looked up at the moon and asked Pero.
“I mean, wasn’t there……something else you wanted to say next?”
“Ah, yes…..! That is, uh, I, umm…….”
Pero blushed, fumbled around, and then knelt on one knee, offering out something. It was a ring sincerely made of intricately woven grass.
The boy took a deep breath and conveyed his heart.
“I…….I like you, Elaine! Maybe, since the first time we met……!!”
Elaine’s response to Pero’s confession was as follows.
“It’s a bit premature, isn’t it? Pero?”
=> Do you have emophilia1A person who falls in love quickly?
“We’ve only met 5 days ago and……all we’ve done is walk together a bit. Matters between men and women need a bit more time, after all.”
=> What have we even done together? I dunno.
“So, I appreciate the sentiment, but……”
=> Let’s just be friends.
That day, Pero’s world crumbled.
Distance remaining to Paradise.
Pero went ahead first, jumping around excitedly. It was like the moment of checking if the lottery ticket he bought long ago was a winning number or not.
“It’s here, Elaine! The compass is pointing right ahead.”
“We’ve finally arrived. Just in time too.”
The tattoo on her wrist was rapidly moving towards 0. In order to arrive on time, Elaine had even endured running on all fours twice.
“You’re truly a princess rider in both name and reality now…….D-Don’t say something like that!”
The Archwizard, speaking through Pero’s mouth, blurted out rudely. It was a decision based on three facts: they were not looking at each other face-to-face, everyone thought she was a kind-hearted Variant Larva, and there was no risk of exposing her identity.
Yuna was fully displaying the stereotypical demeanor of an internet tough guy.
During their journey, the two shared many stories. They heard about Pero’s village being destroyed and she talked about coming from another dimension and── what had occurred in the Imperial Court.
There were also sharp calculations of the First Princess hidden here. In the original world, talking about imperial secrets often led to dire consequences, but here, in this otherworld…even if Pero spread rumors, there would be no impact or consequences.
So opportunely, it was time for a rehearsal. After all, she wanted to explain the situation to Irid and Sledo and see if she could persuade them to live together in harmony once again.
Elaine swept away the sand dune in the direction the compass pointed with her wind. As everything above was blown away, a sturdy-looking iron door was revealed.
“……There’s an entrance!”
“Indeed, it does seem so, Pero.”
“It really did exist……Paradise!”
“……Are you perhaps sulking because of what the larva said?”
“It’s the novelty of the situation. Because it just hit me that it really does exist.”
Elaine pushed aside Pero, who was struggling with the handle of the iron door, and applied her strength instead. With a Creaaaak, the door opened.
A ladder leading deep down was visible.
The passage looked clean and there was no blood smeared anywhere. The probability of ‘Paradise’ functioning normally had just increased a bit more.
Elaine looked at Pero while adjusting the hem of skirt.
“……I wanted to check out the interior, but it seems I’m short on time.”
“Are you going back?”
“Yes. I can hear the ticking in my ears. How kind of them to even count down for me……”
“……I like you!”
“This is the twenty-sixth time, right? When people say even a sturdy tree falls after ten strikes, it isn’t meant to be taken this way, Pero.”
Elaine grabbed Pero’s cheeks and stretched them sideways.
“Let’s conclude this by wishing each other good luck on our journeys. After all, whether it is me or Pero, the saying, ‘This is just the beginning’, suits both of us perfectly, doesn’t it? ”
It was indeed just the beginning.
Pero had reached Paradise, but it did not signify the end of labor and adventure. He still needed to check if there really was enough food for the next generation and inspect the facilities.
Elaine had reached ‘Paradise’, but it wasn’t a farewell to all her traumas. It was merely the first step. To erase the scars, a lot more effort would be needed in the future.
“I wish you good luck, Pero.”
“…….I wish you good luck too, Elaine!”
After their laughter crossed paths in the air between them, the visitor from another world disappeared with a purple shimmer. Pero quietly watched the place where Elaine had vanished and…..
“Let’s try our best.”
Began his life.
First Princess Elaine sluggishly rose from the magic circle.
It felt like waking up from a long dream. For some reason, she was dazed and because she was oddly afloat, it felt as if her sense of reality was gone. Two wizards of the Purple Magic Tower rushed to her.
“You’re awake, Your Highness. Did you enjoy yo……Ack.”
The wizard was cut off mid-sentence by the sharp elbow of the Tower Master.
“H-How was it? Was it enjoyable?”
The Tower Master asked with an oddly excited expression ─ the kind seen in salons when ladies bloomed with eagerness about someone’s love story.
Elaine pondered deeply, before spreading her hand and looking at her palm.
Wind swirled around it. The change obtained from the otherworld was connected even to reality. This was a great harvest.
“I’ll just leave my gratitude. There were moments that brought back unpleasant memories, so I didn’t feel that great, but……”
The Tower Master shrank back.
“I gained a lot from it as well. It was nice.”
The Tower Master let out a sigh of relief.
Elaine watched the Archwizard’s changing expressions with amusement, before stretching and turning around.
First, she planned to visit Irid and give him a big, tight hug for the first time in a while.
“The First Princess gained something extremely significant.”
“……Wasn’t it also Metamorphosis? Just because an Eevee2Pokemon! changes from a Vaporeon to a Jolteon doesn’t mean the stage of evolution itself changes.”
“If I were to explain using the martial arts novels you mentioned before…..It’s the difference between the Orthodox Sect’s martial arts and the Demonic Arts. Demonic Arts are apparently difficult to progress to the next realm, right? Similarly, extreme or radical Metamorphoses make Sublimation difficult to achieve.”
“Basically, the First Princess abandoned the Demonic Arts and switched to the Orthodox Sect’s martial arts, so……It’s a favorable condition for her, you see?”
“It is. Ah, I need to get the log.”
“Why? What’s wrong?”
“I’ll get the log this time, so you go rest first. It’s okay to rest.”
“Nah, I feel like there were a lot of sloppy parts this time, so a watchthrough is…….”
“……I-I will! I will get it, so if you don’t want to face my wrath, leave!”
“Wait, why do you need to go that far……?!”
The Tower Master chased the slightly crazy wizard out of the simulation room by slapping his back. It was because she was afraid of the reaction he would show if he recognized a living AI.
‘How dare you ruin my session. Such a wicked AI deserves to go to hell.’
…..In the worst case scenario, he might say something like that and obliterate the character entirely!
Tower Master Yuna swallowed nervously and reconnected to the simulation room. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, but first……she wanted to ensure the safety of the boy who had his first confession neatly rejected.
- 1A person who falls in love quickly