Episode 25

Time is strange. Malleable, fluid, and constantly moving. But worlds experience time differently, relatively. From one world to another, one may not sense any difference in the flow, but if one observes the two places at a distance the difference becomes evident. “That’s why I’m saying we need to be very careful about how we raise her from now on.”

“Suddenly you’re the expert on child-rearing, Fieth?” “Well, do you remember what Kaguya was like before she reincarnated?” “Calm, I guess? She was very composed and dealt with everything in prudence.” “Exactly. And what about now?” “She’ she’s become kind of a showoff. Careless too. Every time she goes out to play she comes back with a bunch of bruises and scrapes.”

“How could the same princess turn out like this?” “You’re one to talk!” “You can’t possibly think this is my fault. I played with her all day, every day, does that not count as proper childcare? ” “It sounds more like child neglect to me.” Though secluded in a large bamboo thicket, the small building known as the ‘Home of the Sages’ had become famous among local

travelers for the nearly endless bickering that could be heard when walking by. 

Zero and Fiethsing had taken it upon themselves to raise the reincarnated Kaguya, who had sacrificed her life to transfigure the Cthulhus into people, and seal away the ones she couldn’t alter. It was thanks to this sacrifice that this world was able to enjoy over a decade of peace. “This is just as much your fault as it is mine, Zero.”

“I suppose I haven’t been around to help much recently. But what can I do? King Grimm asked me to teach swordsmanship.” “Grimm did? Does he really have the time to be learning about swords?” “No, not King Grimm. The Light Palace has been getting a lot of recruits from all over recently. The king wants to make sure they're worthy of defending the capital. And..." 

Zero paused for a moment, meeting Fiethsing's eyes with hers. "Grimm and Pandora are expecting a child soon. When the child is old enough Grimm wishes it to learn swordsmanship from me, personally."

Fiethsing blinked a few times with a joyous, but surprised expression. It was if she couldn't imagine the young reckless man who had stopped Dracula as a responsible father. She cleared her throat before answering. “So that’s why you’ve been going back and forth from the Light Palace so much recently. Well I guess you really can’t be blamed for that.”

“Exactly.” “So it’s settled. No one is to blame for Kaguya’s behavior.” “Tch. Fine, whatever. Have you been making sure she keeps up with her magic?” “Melfee’s been teaching her. It’s true my magic is unparallelled, but I’m better with offensive spells. Melfee is great with defensive magic, and it’s better to learn that first, so she’s been teaching for me.”

“You just didn’t want to teach.” “Aha, you figured it out that quickly?”

“I’ve known you for a thousand years, it’s pretty obvious when you’re lying.” Zero turned to look out the window for a moment, only to see the young Kaguya, happily running around. Despite her personality, under the tutelage of the two sages, Kaguya had grown to be a powerful magician. 

In truth, Zero was less concerned about the girl’s attitude, and more worried that several weeks ago, Kaguya had told her that she was having dreams about another world that was in great danger. “Fieth, has Kaguya been acting strangely recently?” Fiethsing paused for a moment and then responded. “She’s been staring up at the sky a lot recently, I guess.”

“I was thinking she might be starting to sense other dimensions.” “I just thought it was hormones, but maybe you’re right.” “So you’ve noticed it too then?” “It’s just my intuition but, I think Kaguya might have the same kind of power that Alice and Scheherazade do. I can’t be certain, but my intuition has never been wrong before.”

“You think she’s a wanderer?” “I think so. I still don’t really understand what kind of power it is that allows them to hop through dimensions like that, but I think it might have something to do with understanding the existence of other worlds, in a way you and I can’t.”

“You think so? It’s hard to really conceptualize.” “It’s difficult for me to understand too. It might even be impossible for people like us, who have never seen another dimension. It’s like the difference between thinking the breeze comes from the rustling forest and knowing the forest actually rustles because of the breeze. ” “The same event without context can look like different things.”

“Exactly.” “So basically something happened to these wanderers that awakened them to the knowledge of this power, and without this irregular event, we can’t understand.” “Yeah. But Zero...what kind of thing could trigger that sort of awakening in someone?” “Well...going by what Alice told sounds like a pretty serious sacrifice.” “So then what about Kaguya?”

“I was thinking she might b-” Zero’s thought was interrupted by the sound of the door being opened with a reckless abandon. Kaguya had returned from playing outside. “I’m back! Hey, what’s with you two? Why are you making such serious faces? You must be hungry! Let’s eat!” “It is pretty late, isn’t it? What should we eat today?” “Eggs!”

“Alright, alright. Fieth can you go get some eg-Tch, that lazy woman took off already?! Fiethsing had indeed quickly made herself scarce, but it was not due to her desire to dodge work. It was because of the moon magic stone that the previous Kaguya had given to Alice, years ago. The stone was created from a fragment of the red moon that once hung in the skies of this world. 

At the time, the original Kaguya had made two of these stones, and gave only one to Alice. The stones, forged from the same magic and memories, resonated with each other. Fiethsing had kept this stone when she found it in the bamboo forest with the reincarnated Kaguya. 

Fiethsing had never understood its purpose, but now suspected the previous Kaguya had made it to create a tangible link between worlds, and that this was how the current Kaguya inherited the knowledge of other dimensions. Fiethsing returned the the bamboo forests where she found the stone, those years ago. 

“And she’s grown up so fast too...Her spellwork has advanced so quickly, could it be related to the recent influx of will I’ve been feeling? This can’t just be coincidence...” “Aha! So THIS is where you were hiding, Auntie Fiethsing!” “Oh, you found me, huh? You’ve gotten pretty good at finding me, Kaguya.” “That’s because you always make me ‘it’ when we play hide and seek!”

“Haha, yeah. You mind keeping that a secret from Zero?” “Huh? Why?”

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Attoractia, the World of the Seven Kings