Nope, I gotta change it!
I mean, what’s up with that destructive force?! And the arcane energy consumption – it cost me three times the normal large-scale spell! This one must’ve used about 500, while the usual ones would eat up just 150 to 200 at most. I repeat: Three. Times. 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 I’d 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 hadn’t 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 it’s an attack spell and all, but at least I’d need the explosion’s timing to be better.
I wouldn’t be able to test it much, too, considering how dangerous it is and the damage it might cause.
I could tweak it, but until there’s a good place for carrying out extensive tests, it’d probably be better to keep this spell under wraps.
Lina was dumbfounded all the way through the scene, but I managed to follow through… or not. I was confused as all hell as well.
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.
I’ll have to change the subject. I’d 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?”
“Uh, yeah. So that’s what it’s called. Never knew that. Hahaha… S-so, you’ve 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, I’d made sure to bring it back with me when I’d escaped jail time. I felt a… completely different sense of value and attachment to it from the Star Rods I’d 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 she’d bought one for me to form a matching pair, but I never knew that she’d thought about it that way.
“So that when you fight – well, no… through happy and fun times, and sad and hard times as well, I might feel the emotions you feel, like we’re always together, and…”
“Always together, you say…”
“B-but, I’m not forcing that idea on you or anything! It’s just… me thinking out loud! Yes! I know it’s 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… doesn’t 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 I’d never felt from Lina before. She was like a mother… or very similar, yet so different.
I couldn’t quite put my finger on what that actually meant to me. Well, no – I COULD come out with an answer. However, I really don’t have the confidence to respond with feelings of my own.
That’s it. I don’t know how I should express these insurmountable emotions.
But at least I know – doesn’t matter for whatever reason – that I would like to do something for her.
As things are now, I can’t bring myself to answer her emotions with my emotion – but I sure can resort to showing through action.
Yes, it’s the same as Lina’s having her own ideas to herself. This is for me. But more importantly, it’s also for her.
“…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 she’s 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.
Gah, here I go again. I really should’ve thought this though…
Lina seemed quite embarrassed, as apparent from how she’d turned red all the way to the base of her neck.
F-for the record… I AM feeling embarrassed as well.
“A-all right, it’s off. Careful now.”
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 pendant’s 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-
I closed my eyes and recited the spell.
The pendants in both my hands glowed faintly as they absorbed arcane energy from my body.
The silver had anti-arcane properties, so I couldn’t fit all that much energy into them. But considering how much I have now… I’ll 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…?”
“I’ve managed to put in a lot of arcane energy, so it should work even when we’re 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,
“Listen, Lina. The spell is called ‘Link Magic,’ and it lets you temporarily draw from the arcane energy pool of another person.”
“I’ve fit it into the Key Pendant. There’s no telling what manner of dangers you’ll be facing from now on, so when you’re in trouble, just apply a little bit of your arcane energy here and squeeze. Got it?”
“Now, it’s like a lucky charm. Not that I’m 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 I’d 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 wasn’t crying purely tears of joy, but also-
“-I… I’ve been getting all these things from you…”
“But you haven’t even gotten anything from me…”
“Maybe you’re right.”
“Nothing… at all…”
“Maybe you’re right. Maybe.”
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.
That’s all for now. But one day, she’ll surely be-
“AAAAAAAHHHHHH?! Master’s making Lina cry!!”
Well then, it looks like Pochi is asking for punishment.
Still, from an outside perspective, it definitely would seem exactly as she’d said. Well, that’s actually what’s happening, too, so she technically wasn’t wrong… wait, why is she here NOW?! I swear, she’s always got the worst timing ever!
N-not good! I need to prepare for battle! And by battle… I mean making excuses.
I’m up against one opponent: Pochi-
“Hey, Asley! You’ve got some nerve, doing that to her!”
Why is Betty here?!
“Hey, Asley! If my sister gets a single wrinkle on her face, you’re dead meat! Yeah, even you!”
Reid, man… You’ve already got your sword out…
“That’s right, he’ll take your left, and I’ll pull from your right!”
Whoa whoa whoa, Mana’s here, too?! You’ve got to be kidding me!!
“Hehehe, I’ll get his neck, then!”
“Bruce, man! Not funny!”
“Your neck is what’s not funny, Master!”
“I don’t even get what joke you’re trying to make! Ahh… so here’s 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 – she’d already wiped off her tears.
Her face looked innocent as ever, and… somewhat mischievous, not unlike the face Pochi would occasionally put on.
“Maybe you’re right♪”
Oh, just look at my former student… she’s got such a wonderful smile…
“E-er… Lina? Hello?”
“Maybe you’re right♪”
“Uh, that’s not what I-“
“Maybe you’re 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 Asley’s 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 she’d been crying just moments ago. Those five glued their eyes on me. Well, their loss.
Because the only thing I’m seeing now was Lina’s 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 Lina’s side?