“You don’t remember anything at all?” the voice sounded like it was about to cry.
“No, no. I remember some things,” I said quickly in an attempt to comfort her.
“Like what?” she then asked.
“Umm…” I began, trying to think of something.
I was currently being questioned by Renee, the person in Lilian’s body. It felt weird to see Lilian’s face when I was talking to her, especially since Lilian and I weren’t exactly close. I decided to skip classes today and went to a nearby café with Renee and Vodka(Maddie’s occupant).
So far, I had found out that Renee and Vodka knew me very well in Travania and we were leading some kind of revolution together. Unfortunately, I got nipped in the bud before I could grow any stronger, so things were spiraling out of control over there.
Hmm. Sounds about right.
Remembering to answer Renee’s question, I said, “Uh, well…I remember that Mordred is my familiar…”
The disappointment on her face was too obvious. There was nothing I could do. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember much about myself as Agnes. I remembered my name but apart from that, nothing else. Saying that I remembered Mordred as my familiar was a lie. I was only depending on the instinctual sense of familiarity with him. I coughed and turned to Vodka.
Seeing me look at him, Vodka gave an audible sigh, “I expected denying death to cost something, but it looks like it cost everything.”
“Denying death, huh,” I rolled those words over in my mind.
They hadn’t actually told me who or what killed me but again, I could tell that there was some story there. And quite frankly, I still didn’t want to hear of my supposed death. They had made it clear to me that all they truly wanted was me. Not gonna lie, I felt somewhat flattered but at the same time, I also felt a little suspicious. If Mordred did not tell me that they were my friends over there, I would definitely be more suspicious.
Did I believe everything they said? Somewhat. It didn't sound like they were lying, not that I was any expert lie detector. Now, did hearing what they said, make me want to go back ‘home’? No. Not really. But. I could see why they would want me to go back with them. From what I could tell from their stories, I was something of a morale booster.
I looked up at Renee, “Hmm?” Being called 'Lady Agnes', 'M'Lady', or even 'Your Majesty' left and right was really starting to make me feel weird. Was I some kind of noble? Oh boy, did they have nobility and shit over there?
“Do you not want to go back?” Renee's voice shattered my thoughts, her eyes boring into mine.
I blinked to reorient myself, “I do not.”
She groaned audibly.
I couldn't help but laugh. She was cute, okay? “But I will go back. In time, I suppose. Even if I wanted to go back, how will that happen?”
“We can open a portal on the other side,” Vodka replied.
“A portal...” my lips twitched. This was really a fantasy coming to life.
Renee suddenly said, “If...if you really do not want to come back, we will not force you. I can tell you enjoy your life here.”
I leaned back in my seat and folded my arms, “I do enjoy this place but alas, I am nothing but an imposter.”
Vodka shook his head, “I think calling yourself an imposter is not exactly correct. The previous host... Elizabeth, I believe? She was already dead. You gave her family the chance to enjoy some more time with their daughter while you got some more time to live. You both benefitted from this.”
“I am not their daughter.”
“But they think you are their daughter,” he countered.
“That does not change anything,” I retorted.
The conversation came to a lull and an awkward silence filled the air. I took a deep breath and spoke to Mordred in my mind.
[What do you think?]
[About what, M’lady?]
He paused for a moment before saying, [...I think it will benefit you greatly, M’Lady.]
[Your mana for one. The energy here is too weak to properly fuel your soul’s transformation. And your memories. We can restore them in Travania.]
[Restore them? How?]
I turned my attention back to the siblings before me and asked, “How can I restore my memories?” I wasn’t interested in going back before but with this new information, I was much more inclined. I really wanted to know who I was. If there was a chance for that, I certainly wanted to take it.
“Restore…,” Vodka began thoughtfully. He took a sip of his mocha latte, made a weird expression and dropped it back on the table. “I suppose there is someone that can restore, or should I say, trigger your memories.”
“Do you mean Hilda?” came Renee’s grouchy voice.
I turned to her only to see her with a face full of disgust.
“That crazy old bat?” she continued and shuddered in mock fear, “Ugh, can we not?”
“Old? Is she older than me?” I was honestly curious.
Renee looked at me as if asking if I was serious, then she made a face at me while Vodka looked like he was trying not to laugh.
“What??” I looked back and forth between the two of them, “Mordred, did you lie to me?”
[What? No.] he immediately said.
Somehow, I didn’t believe him. I waved my hand in the air as if brushing away that topic then I focused on the key point, “Who is Hilda?”
Vodka replied, “She’s a soul mage. She’s honestly the only soul mage after Renee, that I would allow anywhere near you.”
I nodded as if I understood what a soul mage was and asked, “So she can restore my memories?”
Vodka nodded, “Indeed. It might take a while though.”
“Hmm. And I guess, she is in Travania.”
I didn’t need them to answer that. I already knew the answer. Unlike earlier, I was now tilting closer to going to Travania. Despite my love for this place and the people here, I couldn’t see myself staying here very long. I just couldn’t. Deep down within myself, I could tell there were things I needed to do and people that needed me more over there. I had just been waiting for a push, so to speak.
Mordred rarely ever mentioned going back but I could tell that he wanted me to. Plus...
I looked down at my ever-growing claws for nails and pursed my lips. I was becoming more and more non-human. My long hair covered my elongated ears but anyone who had drawn close enough to me would know that something was off. In addition, my forehead was starting to feel stubby. I wouldn’t be surprised if I slept and wake up with horns. It wasn’t just a matter of whether I wanted to stay here or not; it was a matter of how long I would be able to, before the humans here took action against me.
Humans feared the unknown. They feared what they did not understand. My changes and power were definitely unknown and not understandable. Of course, thought processes differed from person to person and some people were more open-minded. But I did not know how much I would change in the future nor did I want to test my newfound powers against modern technology anytime soon.
As I pondered over this, a thought came to my mind and I voiced it, “You know, I have actually been wondering something.”
I looked up to see the two siblings looking back at me. Vodka looked a little distracted though. “How do you guys know it’s me? How did you guys know I was Agnes? Have I not changed at all?”
Did Elizabeth and I happen to look exactly the same? If so, that was some creepy shit right there.
“Oh no. You have changed,” Renee quickly said, “But your energy is too unique to mistake you for anyone else.”
I smirked, “I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.” Come to think of it, Mordred had no issues identifying me. If I recall, he said something about slaying me where I stood if I was an imposter.
Vodka chuckled, “In this context, good.”
“Right,” I drummed my fingers on the table before speaking again, “The fact that he—” I gestured to Vodka,”—is in my friend’s body really bothers me, if you guys haven’t noticed already. Now I was thinking, if you guys leave, can you come back?”
Renee nodded, “That will not be a problem. I have already tethered us with these souls once. A second time will not be a problem.”
I leaned back in my seat and stopped drumming my fingers. I had no idea what this tethering was or how it worked so I could only believe her for now. Despite my wanting to force them out—in hindsight, that was just stupid—I had no idea how I could do that. I certainly didn't want to start beating Maddie up or something of the sort.
I folded my arms, running what I was about to say through my mind and I glanced at Vodka. He seemed weirdly enamored with his latte. He wasn't drinking it, just staring at the content of the plastic cup. I quirked a brow, suppressing a chuckle and asked to no one in particular, “What do you guys think of waiting two years?”
That caught Vodka’s attention. “Waiting two years…?”
I gave a faint smile, “Yes. You guys wait for two years and I’ll go back with you when that time frame passes.”
Realizing what I was saying, Renee’s face brightened up immensely. I felt the urge to cover my eyes.
“Is there any reason in particular?” Vodka asked.
I tilted my head in confusion, “What?”
“Why two years?” he elaborated.
“Oh. I graduate in two years. I just...want to get that milestone.”
“I see...Alright. Two years it is.” He easily agreed. I didn’t expect him to disagree anyways.
“By two years, I also mean come back in two years.” I made sure to make that clear.
“You mean, you want us to leave?” Renee held her chest and gasped in mock horror then she broke out in laughter, “You’ve always cared for your friends, Agnes. I’m glad that hasn’t changed even here.”
I smiled at her, “Thank you...I think. I guess I’m glad too.”
Vodka suddenly became solemn and he looked at me, “We are really thankful, Agnes. I know what it means to agree to come back with us. This place reeks of peace and quiet yet we can only ask you to come back to our land of war and strife. I am sorry.”
I shook my head, “No need to apologize. I would have gone back sooner or later, you’re not making me do it.”
He pursed his lips before acquiescing. He suddenly chugged down his entire mocha latte, made the same weird expression and closed his eyes. Renee snickered slightly before following suit. Suddenly, my eyes widened as I realized what they were about to do.
“W-w-wait, are you going to leave no—,” before the words could leave my mouth, the bodies of Maddie and Lilian slackened and slammed onto the cafe table.