Chapter 31: Additional Member
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[INFINITE DESPAIR]

 

A moment of silence passed by as the technique took effect on the poor girl. Finally, her eyes opened and her facial expression changed tremendously. “I-...I….” She could not get the words out after what she had just experienced. 

 

“So you didn’t make it after-all.” She got up, and began to leave the child to her own demise. There was nothing she could do for her now. Nor was there anything she would want to do with her. 

 

“Lusha…” she spoke in a very hushed tone. Barely audible in the slightest. “I’m so… s-sorry. I didn’t know this was what you were dealing with.”

She stopped for a second, curious. The child seemed to be talking a bit too well for someone who should have fallen victim to the technique. Compared to the incompetent ramblings of the Valkyrie, this was very different.

She began sobbing. “I shouldn’t have gotten in your way.” The tears continued to flow down endlessly as she attempted to wipe them away. “I- I...I didn’t mean to..- I didn’-didn’t know” 

This stumped her for sure. When she casted the technique, she had a hunch that the child may survive it. However, it was wholly uncertain. This… was an unprecedented scenario. In all her years, countless generations, enemies, allies… this was the only one to have survived the technique. 

This was no doubt  due to the nature of her ability. Since birth she had constantly perceived the pain of others, and most probably had taken on the pain of thousands- no tens of thousands. It was just speculation, but since she could take on just the emotion alone from Lusha, there was a possibility she could have endured the infinite despair.

This was the final test she had devised, and her penance for spoiling her opportunity at death. Truthfully, if she hadn’t survived it, Lusha would not have wanted anything to do with her. But, given the circumstances, the child had shown that she was indeed special.- An exception that may very well prove to be her only saving grace. Aside from that, she was weak, lacked determination, and much too kind.

Lusha knelt down besides the crying girl, running her fingers through her hair. “You...survived it…” The girl only kept repeating words of apology. She realized she was living Lusha's life and countless experiences over and over. “I’m glad.” She brought her in for an embrace. 

“But… I.. I ruined it. I got-”

“You did.”

“Then why -”

“So fix it.”

She stopped for a second now to take a look at the Witch. There was a deceptively warm smile on her face, opposite of her nature. Though if there’s any truth in it, it probably has to do with her being in a good mood. The effects of her ability. “It will eventually wear off. At least, I can promise that…”

“I suspected as much, but that is relieving to hear. That move… you must never use it on me again. Even if it was a permanent solution. Let’s say I live for a thousand more years, long after you're dead, and these emotions begin to form anew. In each century, I may very well miss my chance at death.”

“I see…” She cast her gaze down. Then realized what she was saying. “Wait-” To ask her never to use the move on her again… it must be because-

“That’s correct. You will be traveling with me now.” Lusha coughed, then corrected herself. The most important part in cultivating this child’s ability and independence, is making sure she is given a choice. “Allow me to correct myself. Rinn, would you like to join me in Team Infinite?”

Her golden eyes widened. “Y-yes!” The answer was precise and quickly chosen. “You realize that means you will be put into many dangerous situations. Witness horrid atrocities, countless deaths and despair?”

She nodded. 

“Then why would you agree to something like that? Someone as kind as you, can not possibly live that kind of life.” Of course, it was not like she had a choice. The alternative was to be roped back into her old world and forced to live a life outside of her own control. But in this case, she was not choosing because she had no other option.

“I want…. To help you.”

“Hmh” she let out a small chuckle. “You really are too kind for your own good, you know that? That may someday be your downfall.”

“But at the least… it's one I choose.”

Lusha slapped the girl in the back… clearly much harder than intended, for it left a tremendous mark and sunk her clothes in with her hand print. “Good answer!” She winced at the pain but ultimately smiled through it.

“Very well. I have my payment. So for now, let us get back to the city. It has been quite a while since I’ve slept in a proper bed.” The girl nodded and stood up, wiping away the last of her tears. 

As they walked, Lusha took a look back at her. “Oh yeah… one more thing.”

Rinn stared inquisitively. “Starting tomorrow, I will be teaching you magic. I cannot have members of Team Infinite be so weak. Perhaps with proper training, you can even learn to turn your ability on and off.”

Rinn nodded. She knew nothing of the arcane at all. But if she’s learning from someone as skilled as her, she could probably get the hang of it very fast. Though, she couldn’t imagine getting anywhere near the tremendous strength she saw within her. 

“It’s clear that you’re not supposed to be in this world… but still…. Who were those other three”

 

Her head pounded as she recalled various details from the Infinite Despair technique. Images of dragons flashed through her head, as well as three other beings. Then there was a man that looked oddly enough like the depictions of Merlin. There was too much information for her to recall anything. But she may as well have been in the presence of a god.

That night they got to the Inn back in the city of Allon. Rinn had fallen unconscious, due to lack of energy. She tried to move until the very end, but eventually, Lusha decided it best to just carry her on her back. 

The city was completely silent. Though, it seemed as if several preparations were being made. Something big was going to be happening here. Lusha shrugged. Whatever it was, it did not concern her. She finally got to the inn.

A young woman greeted her. “Hello hello! Welcome to the Sleeping Tree Inn, are you here for the festival?”

Lusha’s eyebrow raised. “Festival?”

She smiled, yes! It usually gets really busy around this time since people from all over visit this city for its huge Festival of Shooting Stars.”

“Ah, I understand. So that’s why everything seems to be so busy then I take it?” 

She nodded. “The Festivals attracted attention from all around the country, even other countries visit to see the festival. Though you’re lucky you came in as early as you’ve done, the rates are rather expensive on the day of and it's usually hard to find a room.”

“Heh” She nodded “When is this festival then?”

“In two days it’ll be happening. Earl Regalia himself will be overseeing the festival as well.”

“Regalia…. Regalia… why does that name sound familiar?”

She took a glance at Rinn who was fast asleep on her back. “Very well, I’d like a room for two… two days please.”

“Absolutely. Right this way mam.” 

 

She paid using the cash from the small group of bandits that aided her mission. Speaking of which… There was one more thing she had to take care of. When they got to their room, she placed Rinn on one of the two king sized beds the inn offered. “Let’s see… I should be quick about this. But if I leave her here alone… then there’s a good chance her abductors will still be after her.” She sighed. “I’ll just leave it for later.”

With that, she rested her head on the fluffy pillows that decorated her bed. The Inn was not bad at all for the price. At the very least, this era had improved their bed making techniques. She quickly dozed off into the abyss that was her mind.

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