Chapter 12 – A new party member
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Dark skin, red hair, black horns, and adorable pink-ish purple eyes. Those were the ingredients to build the perfect ancient demon… who was currently munching on a mana fruit, huddled into herself.

“Umm, do you feel better yet?” Willow ventured.

The demon nodded. “These are really tasty.”

Yeah, no wonder her black fog self had gone after them voraciously. She just had been really hungry after being sealed for… however long it had been.

“Sooo… Let’s do this again. Hello! I’m Fei and this is Willow! What’s your name?” I smiled at the demon.

“I’m… Kelly,” she answered without looking up from her lunch.

What a normal name… It even reminded me of something I knew back on Earth. I had half-expected her to be called Lilith or something similarly demonic. Maybe another world just had different naming conventions. Or perhaps… It had something to do with the fact that she spoke English as well.

“Nice to meet you Kelly! And I hate to put you on the spot already but… Where do you know English from?”

Willow’s eyes widened as she realized it too. Funny. We both had gotten used to English as our default language and hadn’t questioned it at first when Kelly could speak it too.

“Where do I…” The demon’s eyes shot open as she stood up, letting the fruit fall to the floor. She whipped her gaze from me to Willow and back, clearly startled. “Are you two…?” she trailed off, her question apparent.

“Yep! Welcome to the club! Or I guess we are joining your club since you’ve probably been around for longer?” I glanced at the crystal, wondering just how long she had been sealed inside.

“Alright, this is getting a little weird. Seriously, what are the chances of us three meeting?” Willow added whilst crossing her arms.

Kelly looked down, seemingly contemplating something, before whispering, “Maybe the prophecy…”

That caught our attention.

“Prophecy?”

“W-well… I don’t remember exactly, but it was something about invaders from another world coming together and destroying this one.”

Willow groaned in annoyance whilst grabbing her head. My sentiments exactly. What was up with world destruction prophecies constantly sneaking their way into my life?

“Well! I say we flip that prophecy off and instead save the world from whatever wants to destroy it!” I said with confidence whilst pumping my fist.

“That… uh, sure?” Kelly said, for some reason confused by something.

“Who made that prophecy anyway? Is it accurate? Should we be concerned? Willow inquired.

“I’m… not sure, actually? I think that same prophecy came from multiple different sages though. So… yeah.”

Another groan came from our goblin friend.

“Well, I say conspiracy! We shouldn’t blindly trust whatever the prophecies tell us! Fake news is a thing, ya know?”

The two exchanged a look.

“You kind of remind me of someone I knew back on Earth…” Kelly then whispered.

“Oh…?”

“We had this guy in class who was a lot like you… Conspiracy theories, ignoring authority, doing whatever he wanted…” She shook her head. “Never mind. He’s… probably gone forever now.” She had adopted a faraway look in her expression.

Something odd clicked in my head. The coincidences were adding up too much and I couldn't shake the feeling off. It compelled me to ask, “Did he happen to… die in a bus crash?”

The demon’s eyes shot wide open. As did Willow’s.

“When… going on a school trip,” Kelly said.

“Camping in the woods… near the local waterfall,” Willow continued.

“From Hempir high… Class 3-B,” I finished.

Now everyone’s eyes and mouths were wide open.

Oh boy.

Definitely hadn’t expected that. It was getting into a territory where it simply couldn’t be a coincidence. Someone or something must have set this up.

The silent wide-eyed stare-off went on for what seemed like an eternity. I could practically see the jammed gears in their heads refusing to unjam.

Someone had to break the silence. And that someone might as well have been me.

I glanced at Willow, looked her up and down with a hand on my chin, my mind running around, trying to figure out which one of them she had been, and then said, “You know… For a silent nerdy glasses guy, you sure have become a cute and cool girl now.”

That seemed to have unstuck her as she blushed from neck to ears, “Y-y-you, what, how…?!”

“Wait, so --” Kelly started. “You are…” She pointed at Willow. “And then you must be…” She glanced back at me. “But… Why are you both girls now?!”

“Hey! What do you mean? You don’t get to hog being a girl! Leave some of it for others! Sheesh!”

“W-what?!” the demon said, completely exasperated.

“Well… Honestly, I pretty much became a girl by accident. But… I wouldn’t turn back. This… uh, feels better?”

“Oh…” Kelly seemed to have realized something. “That actually makes so much sense now… When I think back… yeah.” She nodded to herself before turning to me. “Yeah, you too. I’m surprised I haven’t realized it all that time.”

Wait, realized what?

“This is great!” she suddenly beamed. “I’m so glad you two found yourselves! I’m glad we found each other again!”

Found ourselves? The heck did she mean?

“Well… I’m still kinda getting used to the concept, but yeah.” Willow smiled.

What were they talking about?!

“Uh, yeah, me too,” I said to mask my confusion.

I decided to quickly change the topic since the current one was starting to make me uncomfortable for some reason. “So, do you think the two others are here as well? You think we’re gonna randomly bump into them too?”

“I bet we will,” Willow said. “If that prophecy is to be trusted, I bet we will meet them no matter what we’ll do.” She grimaced.

“Riiight, the fake news conspiracy prophecy.” I rolled my eyes, refusing to acknowledge it. “Aaaanyway.” I turned to Kelly. ”How long have you been in there?” I pointed at the crystal. “Because I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in this world for only a little over sixteen years.”

“Huh… Even before being sealed, I’ve been here way longer,” Kelly said.

“Wait, sixteen? It’s just eight years for me!” Willow interrupted.

We both looked at her as if she was crazy. “Eight?!” Kelly shouted in disbelief.

“Well, yeah… Goblins grow quicker?” Willow ventured.

“Great! So even time travel is involved! See? I told you we were being set up! This is all just an elaborate conspiracy!”

“Um, conspiracy or not, I don’t think we should joke about this,” the goblin said, concern visible in her expression.

“Whatever.” I rolled my eyes. “How about we worry about this later? Now’s the time to chat and catch up on what’s been happening in our lives like proper former classmates!” I raised my arms, playing up the excitement.

The two seemed to have been stumped by my actions.

“Let’s start with…” I looked at Kelly. “You said something about them being gone. Who are they? Probably not us, I’m guessing?”

“Oh… Uh…” She slumped again. “My… headmates…” she whispered.

Huh…

We exchanged a glance with Willow.

Somehow, this was going to get even weirder.

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