“What?! C-can you really do that?!”
Maho comes towards me, her breathing rough and shallow. She almost presses up against me. It’s quite clear now that this matter, given both her strong desire to return to her homeworld and the way she had let her tears flow that memorable night, is something so close to her heart it has the power to drive her frantic.
Visibly discomposed, I answer her question with a nod. I have a feeling that, had I been a little more languid in my response, I would have been grabbed by the shoulders and shaken dizzy. She certainly seems driven enough to do so.
“No… No way… B-but the magicians back at the kingdom, they said they couldn’t do it…!”
“Hmph! For someone on the Master’s level, moving from one world to another is a walk in the park. Don’t you dare compare him to whatever wizards the kingdom has – that’s just absurd!”
“But you were surprised too, weren’t you?”
“H-hey, shut it!”
Laladi sticks out her practically non-existent bust, brimming with confidence that, I have to say, is terribly wasted on the likes of me. Maho’s pointed remark pierces through her, nevertheless.
Oh, of course… Looking back, I don’t think I ever took the time to let Laladi know about the kind of magic that could allow people to travel to distant worlds. Regardless, while I can’t be sure as to why the kingdom’s magicians aren’t capable of this sort of stuff, it’s still noteworthy that transporting people across dimensions isn’t too difficult, at least not as far as magic is concerned.
Maho’s expression spells it out for me – she can’t believe this. She doesn’t think it’s possible. Really though, cross-world translocation isn’t that hard.
In fact, I’m fairly certain that even Maho, given her aptitude for the magic arts, can command that kind of power with a bit of training. Reincarnation, however… well, that’s a different matter altogether.
“Can we… Can we really go back home…?”
This time, it’s Yuuto who speaks up.
What, do you think I’m lying to you? You can say about me what you will, but I’d never resort to lies that malicious.
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Yuuto thrusts both hands skyward, overflowing with joy.
Ohoh. I honestly didn’t think that Yuuto of all people would be so overwhelmed by the idea of being able to go home, seeing how he had so intrepidly fulfilled his role as a hero.
Then again, looking at him, it’s clear that he’s still a boy in his teens. With his position, it’s likely that he’s just never really had it in him to speak up about personal matters, or even to act in a way that was more self-serving than not.
What’s even more surprising, I think, is that Maho doesn’t seem quite as pleased as him. When I think back to all the anxieties and discontentment she had so emotionally admitted to, I would think that she should be as happy as Yuuto is right now – rather, I was sure that she would be even happier than him. I can’t for the life of me wrap my head around why she’s showing none of the delight I expected to see.
Although I suppose that it’s more accurate to say that her expression is a much more complicated thing, a mixture of both joy and disappointment.
“See, magician? Isn’t that nice? You can finally go back to your home world, just like you wanted.”
I also can’t understand why Laladi seems to be in such a good mood all of a sudden. She keeps peering into Maho’s expression, her face split by a perturbing ear-to-ear grin. Yikes… To tell you the truth, that smile’s making even me uncomfortable…
Her voice is a whisper. She looks up at me. She’s looking at me with the same kind of eyes you might see on an abandoned puppy. It’s enough to send a twinge of pain through my chest.
I don’t even think that I’ve done anything to deserve this. But someone like me, a man who tends to find himself surrounded by a whole slew of difficult girls and still thinks of them as his own family, shouldn’t have to hard a time trying to figure out what she’s trying to say.
She must be feeling lonely. All the time she spent in this place – I sincerely doubt that she has nothing but bad memories of her stay.
It must be hard, saying goodbye to a world like that. Never you worry, everything will work out just fine. Besides, it’s not beyond me to offer something that might help after the fact.
I take out a pendant, embedded with a blood-red jewel. I hand it over to Maho.
“What… What is this…?”
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Maho looks confused, completely in the dark as to why I would give her such a thing, but she nevertheless holds the pendant close to her chest in recognition of its importance. Laladi was the one who let out that scream, by the way. Oh, alright… I understand. I’ll be sure to give you something later. Or maybe I’ll just do something for you, we’ll see. Please, just tone it down a bit for now, would you?
Now it’s Laladi’s turn to pump her fists into the air with glee. Plenty of hectic reactions today, eh?
But let’s get back to business. Now that I’ve successfully held Laladi back, I can explain just what that pendant is. This pendant, put simply, allows its wielder to use magic when they find themselves in a world that’s without such a concept.
It also comes with plenty of much more practical features, such as increasing one’s magic pool, optimizing spells, that sort of stuff. With your skills, Maho I’m sure you can get your hands on a spell that lets you travel between worlds. It’ll just take some practice, that’s all.
You just take all the time you need to figure things out and do come back if the mood ever strikes you. I’m a patient man; there’s no rush. I’m sure that the pendant will help you on your way.
Her expression radiant, Maho gives me a lively nod. Personally, I would have preferred it if she just joined our guild.
Our guild only has ten members, and that’s including me as its master. If she has the stuff to become so close with Laladi, then I’m more than sure she would have an easy time getting along with all the other members of our guild. Oh, well. I can hardly force her if she doesn’t want to, can I?
Maho must have family back in her home world, family that, even now, is waiting for her to come home. If her family is a good one, one free of extreme and unfortunate circumstances, then she should be together with them instead of here.
As someone without a real family, that’s an opinion I really, really cling to. I might, in a way, have plenty of ‘daughters,’ but still…
“Ughughughu…! Lala can’t believe the Master would say that much…! Master! Lala wants to go to another world too!”
I have absolutely no clue what that girl’s on about. I give her a smile, though its a bit strained, and ruffle her thick hair.
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Both Yuuto and Maho stand in the area in front of me. I’m just moments away from sending them back to their own world.
Yuuto comes first, facing towards Laladi and me.
“I can’t really say that my whole stay’s been a rosy experience. But I don’t think I’ll ever want to forget it, either.”
He looks at me. His eyes are calm, gentle even, but they still carry a bit of melancholy.
I see. Well, I for one think that you, Yuuto, will pull through no matter what world you find yourself in.
There’s no doubt in my mind that your kindness will attract countless people from many walks of life. I have Laladi and the other girls to see to, so I can’t join you in your world, but keep in mind that I’ll always be cheering you on.
My words trigger a gentle smile that blooms on Yuuto’s face, and Maho steps forward, almost as if trying to take the boy’s place.
“I’ll never forget meeting you. Meeting you, Master, is probably the happiest memory I’ve made since coming here.”
Maho looks my way, her face adorned by a full smile. In her hand, she holds the pendant I gave her like a treasure.
It’s a little hard to feel pleased when she tells me all of this. That kind of talk gives room to embarrassment rather than joy. Maho’s smile, in any case, is gorgeous.
…But there’s something in her eyes, something I’m sure I’ve seen before somewhere. An odd cloudiness to her gaze. W-What could it be? Whatever it is, it’s sending shivers down my spine. This is getting me really anxious.
In an attempt to shake off the uneasy notions, I focus my mind on magic.
Alright then. It’s almost time to send you two back.
They both nod in answer. Maho’s eyes are the same as they’ve always been, determined spark and all.
My mind must have been playing tricks on me… Feeling relieved, though making an effort to not show as much, I prepare to cast my spell on the two.
“Pardon, but do you think you could waaaait…?”
That’s when a voice reaches our ears, airy and dreamy in its quality.