Healer of All

Chapter II [Reception] - PART 1

Update: 2017-05-27

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Eliza held up the hem of the navy-blue skirt that extended down to her shins and tried twirling in front of the mirror. The skirt and the apron floating after her with a slight delay was a fresh sight to her, but she was a bit embarrassed at herself for thinking so. It was a perfectly ordinary attire for a female healer to wear, but as Eliza would often spend her leisure time going horse riding on her own, her wardrobe consisted primarily of just shirts and pants. The last time she even wore a skirt, in fact, was when she had finished her apprenticeship at the royal capital; about an entire year ago.

Next, she tried pacing around for two or three steps while focusing on the ground by her feet. The long skirt, while certainly effective in foiling the attempts of peekers, made it difficult to see her own feet, and it created more air currents as it swayed with her gait than she thought. Anyone unfortunate to find themselves beneath her shoes while she was walking would no doubt be crushed to smithereens, and even if they managed to avoid that fate, they still might be blown away by the wind.

Last but not least, she confirmed in front of the mirror whether or not her cap with a cross displayed on its front was crooked, and then left the dressing room with a laundry basket with strings attached to its sides and a cloth laid out on the bottom hoisted firmly on top of her shoulder.

Gransel, who was waiting in the adjacent room, inadvertently slipped out a 'wow' upon seeing Eliza as she left the dressing room. It seemed as though Eliza wasn't the only one for whom this getup was an unusual sight.
"This feels kinda wrong..."
She added while seemingly trying to hide her embarrassment with a smile, then exchanged glances with Worzen, the elderly retainer who was standing by the corner. Worzen nodded and started the briefing.

The contents of the letter that was sent to Gransel described how upon hearing the news that a healing magician had grown gigantic as a result of the unlikely multiplication of several spells, the country decided to dispatch a party lead by the court sorcerer himself to inspect her. The party was set to depart In May the twelfth- that is, today- and so Eliza was currently preparing for their meeting; indeed, it was due to the arrival of the aristocrats that Eliza had to wear such an unfamiliar attire which made something as simple as seeing her own feet a hassle.

Stepping out of the lord's secondary villa and standing in its shade, Eliza took a deep breath and marched out into the sunlight. Two steps turned into three, each warming up Eliza's body more and more, and upon looking down to the ground, she could readily confirm how big she had already become.

Growing gigantic with exposure to sunlight, and slowly turning back to normal with sunset. To some extent she could also manipulate her own size with her thoughts, but the upper and lower limits depended on the weather. With a few days' worth of experience, that was everything Eliza had learned about her new body thus far.

After walking a sufficient distance away from the villa, Eliza stood in place and looked up. The skies were clear and the sunlight dazzling and hot. She preferred to keep her height on the relatively small side, but with this weather, that was probably out of the question. Eliza recalled the experiment she conducted three days ago; to confirm just how large she can grow, she climbed over a hill a fair distance away from the village, and imagined herself large enough to scatter the clouds above with her hand. Predictably, she couldn't become quite that big, but the sight of the faraway scenery and the sense of vertigo she felt upon looking down from the enormous height that resulted were both etched into her memory ever since. It was such a frighteningly high altitude that she was left unable to move...

As for today, by the time regret sunk in, it was already too late. When she opened back her eyes, a reality that she didn't want to accept filled her line of sight. A scenery so distant that it was hazy and dull in color, combined with an altitude high enough to make one's eyes spin... the difference between today and the experiment a few days ago was how she was now in front of the villa and was walking steadily forwards on a set trail. This path, which was only about three to six meters wide, seemed to Eliza as thin as a line drawn across sand with a stick, and her long boots which couldn't possibly fit inside spilled out to the surrounding grasslands and trampled over the greenery.
"What did she do this time?"
It wasn't difficult for the man to guess why the interior of the house suddenly darkened; as he walked over to open and peek outside the window, Gransel mused about how Eliza probably grew before distancing herself enough from the villa. All he saw outside the window, however, was a beam of bright light being trisected vertically by some sort of monumental body. It was an unexpected sight for Gransel, who simply expected to see Eliza's navy blue suit-clad back towering over the vicinity, so he dashed outside the house. After a few steps of running towards Worzen, who was staring in blank amazement with his head tilted upwards, a sudden brutal gust of vertical wind swept both men cleanly off their feet.

Flustered, Eliza surveyed her surroundings. None of the trees around were any taller than her ankles, and when she looked down to the ground behind her to the right, she saw a house that seemed like a small ornament no more than one square inch in size; next to it were what appeared to be two specks of dirt, each as tiny as grains of wheat, both tumbling around on the ground from the winds being created by her flapping skirt.
Shortly afterwards, as they began to seemingly move on their own accord and rise up from the ground, Eliza could discern for the first time that these specks of dirt were actually human beings.
Gently turning around and lowering her back a tiny bit, Eliza decided to try talking to them. That was all she did, but for the two men by her feet, it felt as if the earth was about to split in twain before their eyes. Short tremors were produced as her boot landed on the ground due to her unworldly body weight; storms were brewed as her wind-bearing outfit twirled around her legs; fierce vibrations of air could be felt accompanying her voice which seemed to descend from high heavens with a slight delay to the movements of her mouth. The two men, having immediately taken cover as soon as they saw Eliza turning around, managed to avoid sustaining any damage, but were nonetheless overwhelmed and at an absolute loss of words when they looked up and beheld the healer's form occupying the zenith of the sky.
"Sorry, it looks like I became a bit too big."
She spoke as she humbly lowered her head, yet that gesture was enough to shake the stratosphere with her delayed voice and for the mighty sound of bending leather to reverberate from the tips of her sinking boots as a result of shifting her balance.
"I'll turn a bit smaller now..."
Standing back upright, Eliza breathed deeply twice or thrice. She then closed her eyes and pictured herself shrinking down to the size of a two-story building.
After a short period of concentration, her body began slowly warming up. Knowing that her body heat was inversely proportional to her size, she deemed everything to be in order.

She reopened her eyes after feeling a certain degree of warmth, and saw that the scenery before her returned to having forests and hills as its main components, with the rooftop of the villa reaching just below her shin and the paved road being slightly wider than the breadth of her boots. Distances of approximately 12 feet now appeared to be just over 3 inches long from her perspective, making her about 40 times her normal human size, or roughly two hundred feet in total. 'Gigantic, but not unbearably so'- that was how Eliza surmised it.

It was due to accumulated experience that she became so quick at making such estimations and calculations regarding her own body, but being forced to contemplate statistics so detached from standard human reality never did get any more pleasant.
"I'll be going now..."
Eliza gave a small bow before turning around and began walking towards the east. She was scheduled to meet up with the platoon dispatched by the country at noon by the borders of the territory.

For a while, the two men who were left alone could do nothing but stand there and blankly see the giant healer off. Judging by the size of the shoe prints left on the hill after the experiment for confirming her maximum size three days ago, she was thought to have grown to about 150 times her original size. Since they weren't present, they could only speculate that she was far beyond even the scale of buildings, but never did they imagine that she was massive enough to cover half the length of the sky.
"...let's go back, sir."
Worzen's voice brought Gransel back down to earth. What awaited the two back at the villa, however, was a mess of toppled desks, overturned chairs and collapsed shelves in rooms that were not unlike physical manifestations of chaos.

Since the path was a mountain trail so steep that it couldn't be traversed on horseback, it would normally take a day's journey to cross, but even as she meticulously advanced forward while paying minute attention to her footsteps, it still took Eliza only about an hour to reach the territory by the mountain district's western bank. As the meeting was scheduled for noon, there was still time to spare.

Eliza sat down to rest and started thinking idly while massaging her legs. She didn't mind waiting for the platoon here, but she was told she wouldn't be reprimanded even if she crossed over the territory, and since there were no other roads to take in this area, it would be unlikely for her to accidentally miss them. With this pace, she could probably reach the nearby city of Balam in about half an hour.
Being a bustling city, the population of Balam should be in the thousands, so perhaps there were some people there whom she could help out. Eliza cheerfully pumped herself up as she rose to her feet and headed eastwards once again.

A lookout guard posted in a watchtower just over the territory's passage caught sight of Eliza's figure as she advanced towards the city. He struck the bell at his back with the iron hammer he was holding and dashed down the tower's spiral staircase. The lower floor of the watchtower- the soldiers' station- was where soldiers who weren't currently out on patrol were relaxing and lazing around, but they all diverted their attention to the lookout guard as he came literally crashing through and rolling from above.

After taking two deep breaths and stopping to relax his thoughts, the guard reported his finding.
"A g-giant healer girl is coming to attack!!"
Stares, and silence.
There was no obvious correlation between any of the words he had just uttered, so they were not understood as a sentence. After a short pause, the man sitting furthest in the back finally opened his mouth.
"Mind repeating that?"
"I'm telling you, chief... a giant, female healing magician is heading this way as we speak!"
The guard answered immediately with exaggerated gestures. Faced with these impatient movements, the commander who had posed the question merely squinted his eyes a bit and snarled with a "hmph".
"Then let's see that "giant healer" of yours, eh?", he said, rising from his seat. He then followed the guard as he lead him up the watchtower's staircase and peeked out of the lookout window facing westwards.

At first glance, there was nothing out of the ordinary about the scenery, but upon closer inspection, a woman whose size clearly did not match her surroundings could unmistakably be seen walking between the mountains while cautiously watching her footsteps. Judging by how she was jutting out of the nearby woods from her waist up, she couldn't have been shorter than a whopping 200 feet tall. Sure enough, the blue cross hanging over the chest portion of her apron and her distinctively shaped hat hinted that she was indeed a healer, and by subtracting a few years in accordance to the features of easterners, her age could be estimated to be just under twenty.

After pausing a few moments to take in the normally inconceivable spectacle, the commander began mumbling with some unintended admiration.
"Well, I'll be. It's exactly as you said."
The vice commander then quickly climbed up into the room as well. The man took one look at the scenery outside the window and spoke to the commander while pointing a finger towards it.
"Is that the reason for the bell?"
"So it would seem."
Glancing outside the window once more, the vice-commander rested his chin on his finger and asked...
"Come to think of it, what was it that the capital told us? Something about an inquiry squad being dispatched and we're to escort them?"
The subject suddenly changed. Not following, the commander responded with a confused "hmm?", prompting the vice commander to quickly add, "I think that's related to this."
"...ah, the girl."
The pieces finally fell in place.
"Well, that's their business. Question is, how are WE going to handle this?"
"Let's see..."
The vice commander contemplated the situation while observing outside the window. He preferred not to imagine something as absurd as an invader wearing a healer's outfit, but seeing as the existence of a giant already far exceeded the realms of his imagination, he couldn't rule the possibility out.
"For now, it'd be fair to assume a skirmish may be an inevitable. Either way, it won't do us much good to stay here, so let's prepare to intercept her at the outskirts of town."
The vice commander took one more glance outside the window and continued.
"By the way, why do you suppose that girl is dressed like a healer?"
"How the hell should I know?"
A blunt answer. The commander was already halfway through mulling over how they were going to defeat her in battle.

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