Not longer after she woke up, Jennifer was freed from confinement, led to a room specially prepared for her in the Royal castle where a dozen of women in maid uniforms changed her clothes, made her hair, washed her, fed her breakfast and generally acted as if she was either a toddler incapable of taking care of herself or a person of high importance, as if the previous day’s incident was a lie.
Putting on an astonished face, she bore with the excessive care with unexpected for her ease, as if being treated like this was a normal occurrence in her daily life. Just what kind of identity did she have before? Her previous life must’ve been rather comfortable, or so she concluded.
At around 12 O’clock, Lachersia came and explained the change in her treatment: apparently the king of the country she was summoned to has decided to forgive her offences against the crown on the account of her special circumstances and the uniqueness of her identity as the champion of the Goddess of Fate and because of it, he was willing to allow Jennifer to have a private audience with him in order to explain her situation and discuss their future relationship thereafter. The audience was scheduled for tomorrow’s morning.
After Lachersia had relayed the message, she swiftly left as she had a lot of duties of her own… not. She comfortably sat down on the chair that was offered to her by one of the maids and with a smile, began looking around the new room, as if checking if it was good enough.
The maids by that time had prepared lunch that consisted of many dishes with things like a vegetable soup, dishes of meat that looked very appetizing, pies of various shapes and colors, salads, fish and a lot of desserts. The quantity of food was overwhelming, so Jennifer naturally put on a confused expression. Seeing Jennifer acting like this, Lachersia explained that it was a buffet-styled lunch, so she could pick whatever she wanted and the rest would be taken away once they were done.
Hearing this, Jennifer’s face lit up and she almost eagerly jumped towards the table, but seeing how Lachersia didn’t move, she stopped and acted with more restraint, causing Lachersia and the maids to smile.
Lachersia then asked Jennifer if she wanted anything and with a bit of hesitation, Jennifer began choosing dishes one by one in moderate amounts. Both she and Lachersia dined, Lachersia acting very elegant and refined and Jennifer watching Lachersia very attentively and with no small amount of admiration while trying to imitate her. Naturally, such behavior caused the former to feel a little pride and happiness and she didn’t even once remember that the adorable little kid sitting next to her caused Cardinal Manroove to require several rounds of counselling on their first meeting and found nothing strange with how such a person would act all restrained and shy now.
Jennifer quickly found herself incapable of eating more, though she did look at the remaining dishes with a hint of longing in her eyes. Naturally, such cute behavior only caused Lachersia to find Jennifer more and more adorable, which, at that time, neither party found a problem with.
After the lunch was over, all the maids went out of the room, so the two were left alone. As if it was the most natural, Lachersia scooped Jennifer into her arms as if she was a doll and tightly embraced her, even though Jennifer struggled against it.
After she tired herself out and decided to lie down on her new bed that was bigger than her own body by several times, Jennifer, now considerably calmer than she was the day before decided to ask Lachersia several questions that were on her mind:
“Big sister Lache, how did I get to this place?”
“Hm”, Lachersia’s grey eyes turned serious as she didn’t know how to explain humanity’s circumstances to the little girl “Humanity has always been oppressed by monsters and demons”
“Yes, demons. They are scary evil humanoid monsters. They love to torture humans”, Lachersia was talking very quietly as the weight of her own words began to pressure her. Even describing such things to a child like Jennifer was a little too much, not to mention placing such a heavy burden on a little girl’s shoulders. And she knew that nothing could be done about it, as it has been the way that the kingdom, no the Humanity as a whole has functioned for centuries. She gritted her teeth and clenched her fists out of frustration, but what could she do? Indeed what COULD she do? “You don’t have to worry about it. I’ll make sure that everything will be made right”
From then on, they both silently agreed to ignore the topic of demons and Jennifer’s circumstances. Lachersia tried to play with Jennifer but seeing the happy face of the little girl made her feel very guilty and upset at herself, the country and humanity as a whole.
I will make everything right for you, Jennifer. She silently swore in her heart while wearing a strained smile on her face. She didn’t notice that Jennifer’s gaze that momentarily turned cold while she was thinking of her future.
Claudia was very tired. She had spent a whole week trying to meet the esteemed personage among the mages of Earth that could help her with her problem. She had to use all of the connections available to her and her treasury of magical items and spirit seals has decreased significantly just for this meeting.
It was a very inconspicuous café like many others. There were many ordinary people inside and it was very noisy. The street outside the window was packed full of people too. Who would’ve guessed that the legendary archmage rumoured to love solitude would appear in such a place? But then again, those on the level of an archmage wouldn’t consider ordinary people to be people, so just like no sane person would care if a few ants were crawling on the ground while they were having a picnic outside, an archmage wouldn’t care for a few lesser beings crowding their surroundings.
Claudia made her way to the corner of the establishment. She used a few telekinesis spells to get some people out of her way but nobody seemed to notice, thanks to concealment magic being applied.
She saw a young man who was dressed in a navy-blue robe and whose skin and hair had a metallic lustre to them. He also noticed her and patiently waited until Claudia reached him.
“Lord Overseer of the Cycle, it is a great honour for this one to have-”
“Now, now, let’s drop the formalities, Claudia. You must’ve had something very important to ask me since you were able to reach me. Don’t bother with silly things and just tell me what you need my help for”
The archmage’s voice sounded very inhuman as if it was a machine speaking instead of him. Listening to it and just being in his presence was very tiring for the nerves of Claudia, so she was thankful to the archmage for cutting to the chase.
“Yes, Lord. Please take a look at these photos”
She carefully handed the same photos she showed Eliza to the person in front of her.
He looked through them and looked at Claudia as if saying “So, what is it that you need?”
“I believe a certain person was kidnapped through the use of the magic circle on the photos. I’ve been investigating where and who has kidnapped that person but I’m afraid that this information is outside of my and my associates’ ability”
The archmage took out a flat stone, pinched it between his fingers and said a few words that seemed to have merged with the world itself, causing them to be impossible to hear or understand. The stone lit up with blue energy and sparks slowly fell out of it until its outer layer melted, leaving a circular disk three centimetres in diameter that had many mysterious engravings on it.
“I see. You will be able to find them if you put this stone in the place of the central glyph. Do you have that person’s blood?”
“Yes! Blood, hair, pieces of skin, various personal belongings, whatever may be needed”
The archmage looked at Claudia as if looking at something strange and continued speaking
“Use a drop of that person’s blood and it will find the physical location of their body. Then to activate the circle you just have to sacrifice a hundred lesser spirits and you’ll be able to find travel through space to their exact location”
Claudia bowed deeply, thanked the archmage and left.
He looked at her disappearing figure and muttered
“It seems somewhat interesting how this story will turn out. She should be searching for that Hillstone fella, right? Hillstone, Jeremy Hillstone, what an interesting name. Very fitting too. Still, that Lachesis is rather devious. Tsk, tsk, very devious indeed”