Lachersia was very well aware that Jennifer had boldly walked into her heart and firmly rooted herself there, forever to stay in her conquered territory.
She knew that this seemingly fragile little girl had more sway over her than even the noblest of monarchs or the most divine of gods. For Jennifer, she would burn in fire and drown in water. As long as Jennifer continued to be hers… she would have no regrets.
She would have no regrets… but her heart would still hurt from time to time. Humans are creatures that expect to be given back whatever good they gave away. Living with Jennifer for so long taught Lachersia very little about the true feelings of the little girl.
She could pride herself as the person who knew Jennifer the best, and their mutual understanding was very deep indeed, but it was still limited. She understood that she possessed a special place in Jennifer’s heart also, but to what extent she didn’t know. Was it simple gratitude? Did she think of her as a close ally? A friend? Something more?
Lachersia couldn’t help but desire to be loved by Jennifer. This desire gave way to other, much darker, desires.
In the first place, people who were able to proudly bear the title of a Grand Mage, in any world and in any Universe, could not be considered ordinary from the psychological point of view. Learning the secrets of the Arcane and the Magical required one to have a persistent mind, a mind that would follow its convictions and desires to the bitter end. The level of obsessiveness and self-righteousness these people had could not be imagined by ordinary people.
Lachersia, most naturally, was the same too. Since she became aware of her feelings, and maybe even before that, she knew that Jennifer could only be hers and hers alone. All of Jennifer’s desires and joys, and the rest of Jennifer’s life were fated to be tightly interwoven with Lachersia.
And this conviction tortured Lachersia. She couldn’t bring herself to force Jennifer’s feelings and she was afraid that if she tried, it would make Jennifer averse to her. And yet, she desired to possess Jennifer, have her to only herself.
She wasn’t sure about Jennifer’s feelings towards herself. Leaving the questions about Jennifer’s current feelings aside, was Jennifer even capable of falling in love in the first place? She didn’t have any memories of her life before being summoned and she was still unfamiliar with many emotions she should’ve known. Was she emotionally mature enough to understand something like love?
Lachersia felt that this situation was both troublesome and convenient. Why it was troublesome was obvious. And it was also convenient because it gave her the chance to thoroughly conquer Jennifer’s heart before the latter even understood what was going on. It was not fair to Jennifer, yes, and it was despicable too but why would Lachersia care about something as minor as the morality of her feelings and means?
Things were going well at first. Jennifer had rather heavy negative feelings towards the nobles and the king and the church for forcibly summoning her and trying to make her do their bidding. She held no favorable feelings towards the ordinary people she was supposed to protect either. She felt like the whole world was out to get her.
And then Lachersia was there for her, to shield her from all harm and treasure her dearly. The contrast between Jennifer’s feelings towards Lachersia and everybody else must’ve been blinding.
Jennifer wasn’t a strong hero from fairy tales that could shoulder the skies and face impossible odds with a smile. She was but a weak, frail little girl that was lost and confused.
It was only natural for her to have a sense of gratitude and maybe even a sense of yearning for her valiant savior. If things continued like this, Lachersia’s plans would come to fruition inevitably.
Unfortunately, humans are their greatest enemies. Many times it’s our own mistakes that hurt us, in the end, the most. In human hands, even the most trivial problems could magically become great and hard to deal with.
In order to continue to be a good shield for her beloved, Lachersia took Jennifer to the Northern Lands. There, according to the plan they both designed, they had to go find a small village.
Lachersia didn’t expect that after seeing the way of life of the villagers, Jennifer was able to understand that not all humans were bad creatures, that there was something more to them than she imagined before. Them having to destroy the village made Jennifer uncomfortable with her decisions for the first time. It was alarming for Lachersia. She didn’t hate the idea of her beloved growing as a person, but at the same time, it made Lachersia feel helpless as if her Jennifer was slipping out of her fingers.
Lachersia realized that there was something wrong with her feelings of love and possessiveness towards Jennifer. Her desires and feelings were ugly and disgusting. They would probably hurt Jennifer eventually.
But Lachersia was selfish. She didn’t wish to give her all to the one she loved, instead, she wished to have her loved one completely, to engulf Jennifer’s world and permeate every little part of it.
She didn’t want to face these feelings but Jennifer growing out of her control still made her feel conflicted.
The good thing was that Jennifer didn’t pursue her line of thought. They could continue living as before without any uncomfortable or awkward feelings. The bad thing was that Jennifer became slightly curious about humans. And the fact that they had to take in a pair of twins didn’t help in this situation.
Jennifer didn’t show it too much, but she became incredibly curious about the lifeforms known as humans. She had a surface-level understanding of their behavior and their emotions. She more or less understood that she was a human or at least a part of “humanity”, but she still felt a kind of alienation between herself and “humanity” because of her identity as somebody from a different world, her lack of memories and her other circumstances.
Because of curiosity, her attention was stolen and wasted on the twins they took in, which Lachersia found very hard to accept and bear.
Most naturally, Jennifer’s curiosity was similar to the curiosity of a child to the animals in the zoo but Lachersia couldn’t help but feel slightly jealous and left alone.
Her feelings would continue to make things difficult. Something needed to be done.
Lachersia understood that as long as they lived, similar situations would have a chance of occurring in the future.
Jennifer’s identity as the heroine made it impossible to avoid her slowly floating away from Lachersia.
Lachersia needed assurance that Jennifer would stay hers. She needed assurance that her feelings would be answered.
The next day after they left the Laras’ Duchy’s Capital, Lachersia started a conversation:
“I need to tell you something, Jennifer”
Lachersia had a very serious atmosphere around her as she said it. It took her time to prepare herself for this conversation.
“I… I have realized that I… found it hard to treat you the same way as I did before… No… How should I put it… mm… my feelings for you have changed in…”
Lachersia prepared for a long time to say it but when it came to the decisive moment she couldn’t say it. She mumbled incoherently and her voice grew more and more quiet by the second…
“I don’t know what you want to say, but if it’s hard for you then-”
“I’m in love with you! I know it may be sudden and you don’t have to answer my feelings but I needed to tell you! It’s been growing harder and harder for me to… Well, I just… I just…”
Finally, Lachersia forced herself to say, no, to shout it. After she shouted her confession, she immediately felt like a fool and tried to smooth the atmosphere out and began quickly mumbling other things. A venerable Grand Mage acting like a shy child was certainly a picture that would shock many people. Thankfully, only Jennifer and Lachersia were around. The twins slept in a sound and light-proof tent and there were no other people in the vicinity.
Being the only audience to such a rare event, Jennifer smiled warmly.
She hugged Lachersia and hid her burning face behind Lachersia’s shoulder. With closed eyes she enjoyed the warmth of Lachersia’s body and spoke with deep breaths:
“I don’t really understand… love or my other feelings but I… think that ever since I was summoned here… you were the only person I have wanted to spend my life with… I before didn’t value anything in this new world… In this new life… But now… I don’t want to imagine a life or a world without you. I think… I love you too…”
She embraced Lachersia as tightly as she could. Her face was very red after she stopped speaking. Lachersia didn’t seem to notice anything as she accepted the hug without moving or speaking at all.
The silence was loud. Jennifer grew more and more embarrassed as the seconds crawled by until eventually she started to hammer Lachersia’s back with her tiny fists
“Fool! For… making me say… such things! Hmph!”
It seemed to finally bring Lachersia out of her stupor. Feeling the small impacts on her back and hearing the familiar voice, Lachersia began to process what she just heard. She carefully touched Jennifer’s shoulders, afraid that if she was to show even the smallest sign of carelessness, this reality would fall apart.
“She loves me?”
“She said that she loves me…”
Lachersia with her trembling hands still on the shoulders of Jennifer pulled herself off from the embrace reluctantly. She wanted to look at Jennifer.
She hoped that Jennifer would answer her feelings but she still couldn’t believe that it actually happened. Seeing Jennifer still swinging her small arms with her eyes closed in embarrassment made her accept that all of it was true after all.
“Here! For! For embarrassing me so! You!”
Jennifer looked very cute at this moment. Lachersia looked at her red delicate face and couldn’t resist touching it, making Jennifer stop her small rampage.
The atmosphere immediately turned very strange at this moment.
Jennifer’s watery eyes looked in Lachersia’s. Her eyes were a very dark shade of brown, almost black. They looked just like two black vortexes under the silver light from above, Lachersia was completely taken in by them.
This time silence reigned again, but neither of the two noticed.
Before Lachersia finished the sentence, Jennifer slowly moved her face closer to Lachersia’s. Soon, Lachersia felt something very soft pressing against her lips. Her mind went blank.
Time, space, nothing mattered. The touch of her beloved, the proof that their love, was all that Lachersia could think about at the moment.