Nope, I gotta change it!
I mean, whats up with that destructive force! And the arcane energy consumption – it cost me three times the normal large-scale spell! This one mustve used about 500, while the usual ones would eat up just 150 to 200 at most.
I repeat: Three.
And more importantly, it was absurdly strong.
Wait… was that it! Was it because I put in all those powerful magic formulas!
If that was the case, then Id have to dial all of them down a level and make the effects more basic.
But what was the cause of that explosion at the end I was certain that I hadnt included any formula that could cause it.
Could it be that the fire and ice spells were running in counter to each other Well, to be more accurate, perhaps I should say water spell, but it was derived from an ice spell, so… Anyway, the end result might not seem so bad since its an attack spell and all, but at least Id need the explosions timing to be better.
I wouldnt be able to test it much, too, considering how dangerous it is and the damage it might cause.
I could tweak it, but until theres a good place for carrying out extensive tests, itd probably be better to keep this spell under wraps.
Eventually, just around the time Tifa and Lala were expected to show up, she finally calmed down, as apparent from how she heaved quite a heavy sigh – as if she had been holding her breath in for so long.
Ill have to change the subject.
Id never been much of an expert on the destruction of nature, after all.
“A-anyway, that silver key accessory…”
“Ah, um… you mean this Key Pendant”
So thats what its called.
Never knew that.
Hahaha… S-so, youve always had it on”
Lina nodded; she looked as if she was thinking of our past as she gripped the Key Pendant tightly in her hands.
Since she had gifted it to me, Id made sure to bring it back with me when Id escaped jail time.
I felt a… completely different sense of value and attachment to it from the Star Rods Id bought, so to speak.
“Yes… This might sound arbitrary, but I consider this to be a sort of connection between us, you see…”
“A connection, huh”
I definitely was happy that shed bought one for me to form a matching pair, but I never knew that shed thought about it that way.
“Always together, you say…”
“B-but, Im not forcing that idea on you or anything! Its just… me thinking out loud! Yes! I know its just in my head, but I do feel that it helps me to keep going, so…”
Wanting to feel what *I* feel… huh.
I do remember talking about that with Pochi in one of our late night banters, but this… doesnt feel as mundane as that time.
Her words resounded in my heart – a magical resonance of emotions.
Heartfelt words, so humanly warm, the likes of which Id never felt from Lina before.
She was like a mother… or very similar, yet so different.
I couldnt quite put my finger on what that actually meant to me.
Well, no – I COULD come out with an answer.
However, I really dont have the confidence to respond with feelings of my own.
I dont know how I should express these insurmountable emotions.
But at least I know – doesnt matter for whatever reason – that I would like to do something for her.
As things are now, I cant bring myself to answer her emotions with my emotion – but I sure can resort to showing through action.
“…Would you mind letting me borrow your Key Pendant for a second”
Lina, seeing my outstretched hand, reached back to the nape of her neck.
Looks like shes trying to detach the chain, but is having difficulties doing so.
“Ngh… huh Hmm…”
Yup, not coming off.
I circled around to her back while cracking a wry smile, then held her hands down.
Lina seemed quite embarrassed, as apparent from how shed turned red all the way to the base of her neck.
F-for the record… I AM feeling embarrassed as well.
“A-all right, its off.
I slowly sent the separated ends of the chain in front of Lina for her to cup it up in her hands.
Then I circled back around while also unlocking my pendants leather strap lock.
While Lina wondered what I would be doing, I held my free hand out to her, prompting her to put her Key Pendant on it.
All right, here goes-
The pendants in both my hands glowed faintly as they absorbed arcane energy from my body.
The silver had anti-arcane properties, so I couldnt fit all that much energy into them.
But considering how much I have now… Ill probably manage with half.
By the time my palms were starting to heat up – which alerted Lina enough for her to take a closer look – the spell was done doing its thing.
“Um… Sir Asley, this is…”
“Ive managed to put in a lot of arcane energy, so it should work even when were far apart.”
Lina looked confused.
Without saying a word, I passed the Key Pendant back to Lina, making sure that she was holding it firmly before continuing,
“Ive fit it into the Key Pendant.
Theres no telling what manner of dangers youll be facing from now on, so when youre in trouble, just apply a little bit of your arcane energy here and squeeze.
“Now, its like a lucky charm.
Not that Im telling you not to use it, but save it only for when you really need it, all right”
In my vain attempt at sounding cheerful, Lina cast her eyes down again.
Both hands shaking, she tightly gripped her staff in one, and her Key Pendant in another.
I could tell from a single glance that she was about to cry.
She had always been so unused to receiving things from other people.
Every time Id given her something, she would cry out of sheer happiness.
Happened with the Star Rod, happened with the Blazing Dragon Staff.
The latter technically was from Gaston, of course.
But this time, it felt a bit different.
She wasnt crying purely tears of joy, but also-
“-I… Ive been getting all these things from you…”
“But you havent even gotten anything from me…”
“Maybe youre right.”
“Nothing… at all…”
“Maybe youre right.
The statement was simple, yet I had to brace myself in saying each and every word.
As vague and non-committal as they may come off as, I certainly put in all the resolve I had into them.
As Lina kept trembling, I smiled and reached to pat her head.
She wrung out an answer while gritting her teeth – that was what her voice sounded like.
Yes, that was supposed to be the case, but I felt instead that she was smiling.
Thats all for now.
But one day, shell surely be-
“AAAAAAAHHHHHH! Masters making Lina cry!!”
Well then, it looks like Pochi is asking for punishment.
Still, from an outside perspective, it definitely would seem exactly as shed said.
Well, thats actually whats happening, too, so she technically wasnt wrong… wait, why is she here NOW! I swear, shes always got the worst timing ever!
N-not good! I need to prepare for battle! And by battle… I mean making excuses.
Im up against one opponent: Pochi-
“Hey, Asley! Youve got some nerve, doing that to her!”
Why is Betty here!
“Hey, Asley! If my sister gets a single wrinkle on her face, youre dead meat! Yeah, even you!”
Reid, man… Youve already got your sword out…
“Thats right, hell take your left, and Ill pull from your right!”
Whoa whoa whoa, Manas here, too! Youve got to be kidding me!!
“Hehehe, Ill get his neck, then!”
“Bruce, man! Not funny!”
“Your neck is whats not funny, Master!”
“I dont even get what joke youre trying to make! Ahh… so heres the thing – oh, uh, you should say something, Lina! At this rate, your brother and sister might actually kill me here!”
In response, Lina looked up at me – shed already wiped off her tears.
Her face looked innocent as ever, and… somewhat mischievous, not unlike the face Pochi would occasionally put on.
“Maybe youre right”
Oh, just look at my former student… shes got such a wonderful smile…
“E-er… Lina Hello”
“Maybe youre right”
“Uh, thats not what I-“
“Maybe youre right”
The statement was simple, yet I had to brace myself in hearing each and every word.
And so my former student ran off, raising her arms in an exaggerated manner and shouting,
“Big Sis! Sir Asleys bullying me~~”
In an instant, four – no, FIVE – pairs of eyes turned to lock on to me with extreme hostility.
Seeing how Lina was running now, it was hard to believe that shed been crying just moments ago.
Those five glued their eyes on me.
Well, their loss.
Because the only thing Im seeing now was Linas smile – the absolute definitive hundred-twenty percent smile of an angel.
And in her hands, she held the silver Key Pendant tightly, keeping it safe.
At any rate…
Whatever can I do on my lonesome to save myself from… these five on Linas side