Author:Yunzo/Alicemagic Update: 2017-08-30 [Prev] [Next] [Top]
Even the journey to the city walls, which were five miles away, amounted to a stroll of just over 100 feet from Eliza's perspective. She was walking as slowly and carefully as possible due to carrying a passenger who was not yet accustomed to the height and tremors, but she still arrived in front of the walls in no time at all.
The city walls reached up to her thighs, making them around 40 feet tall. When she ran her eyes across the city from her highly elevated point of view, she found that in comparison to her hometown of Lideald, the buildings weren't at all congested and she could even peek into the deepest parts of town, discovering in the process that the streets were completely devoid of people. The former was likely due to the city being expanded during development of its western parts, while the latter was the natural reaction to the arrival of a giant of unknown origin.
"Hmm... what should we do?"
Eliza turned towards the two men on top of her palm in question.
"What IS there to do?"
Gransel responded immediately and Eliza went into thought.
"Umm... it'd be a bit awkward to just enter like that, so I think it might be a good idea to give some greetings."
"Do what you want."
Gransel answered with a wry smile. He didn't think the citizens' attitude would change from a mere greeting, but if that's what Eliza wanted to do, he decided it'd be best to let her have her way.
Eliza straightened her posture and turned to face directly towards the city's main street. She thought that she had to alleviate the concerns of the people who were almost certainly questioning her intentions from within their louvered windows at least somewhat.
"Hello, everyone. My name is Eliza Toeland, and I am a healer from western Lideald. I deeply apologize for all the trouble I have caused you the other day."
As she lowered down her head, the palms of her hands also moved around to match the body's change in posture, and the two men on top of her palm hastily clung to her fingers. Eliza bent her fingers a bit upon noticing, and after confirming that both of them safely settled in place, focused back on the town. Being the center of so many people's attention was as unnerving as she had imagined. She took a deep breath, and continued her greeting with her head still hung slightly down.
"And so... um, as an apology of sorts, I would like to take care of everyone's medical treatment..."
No response from the town. Anxious, Eliza looked towards the two men on her palm.
"Would it be okay to enter the town like this?"
"Should be fine. The roads are wide enough, too."
Bradeau responded, then added "how do you usually go about things in the west?".
"After straddling over the city walls once, I'd turn as small as possible and simply walk through the town. Lideald's streets are narrow, though, so there aren't a lot of paths I can take."
"What? You can turn smaller?!"
Bradeau snapped with a loud near-roar in response to Eliza's nonchalant explanation.
"Why didn't you do so earlier?!"
Eliza's shoulders trembled, then supported the two men with her finger after noticing that they were about to fall over again due to that sudden movement.
"My body gets very hot when I'm small, so I can't stay in that state for too long."
As she responded with a sheepish voice, Eliza checked for any changes in Bradeau's expression. The way she contracted after being yelled at resembled the gestures of a child, but the yelling party was literally standing on top of her hand and the frightened eyes staring at him were over 6 inches in diameter. Faced with that gap between her timid behavior and overwhelming sense of presence, Bradeau couldn't help but offer a bitter grin and let out a sigh.
"Sorry for yelling."
Bradeau said softly, then continued speaking after taking a breathe.
"The clinic in the center of town should have some people in need of particular attention, so that's where you should probably go first."
Eliza's expression loosened as well, and she replied alongside a nod.
"Could you tell me where it is exactly?"
"Hmm... it's to the center plaza's right side, right along the southern plaza. Do you see that white building?"
As he explained, Bradeau pointed directly forwards then shifted his finger to the right.
"Yes, got it."
Eliza nodded, then gently crouched down and placed the two men on her palm on top of the city walls. After asking them to back away a bit, she tugged on the hem of her skirt and strided over the wall, then stood wearily and closed her eyes.
Just then, her massive body which was thrice the size of city walls, as if it was a natural, everyday craft, began to soundlessly shrink down. As she was being blankly stared at by not just the two men on top of the city walls but by everyone in the city, Eliza nonchalantly shrunk down to half her previous size, and once she was done, she twirled backwards and crouched down a bit with her hands placed on her lap. With that arrangement, she was now on direct eye-level with the two men.
"Okay, I'll be going now."
Eliza smiled as she left these parting words and began turning around, but her glance suddenly stopped on a house in front of her to the right. It was because her eyes met with a person surveying her from within, peeking outside from the louvered window that upon a closer look was now slightly open.
However, upon realizing that they were being looked at, the person quickly shut the window once more with a small sound. A trembling voice and quick footsteps could then be heard. Eliza wanted to say something to the frightened citizen, but she couldn't come up with the right words on the spot. After mulling over it for a while, she began speaking with the softest voice she could muster.
"Please don't be scared. I won't be mad just because you were peeking at me."
As he saw this unfold from the top of the city walls, Bradeau thought of how this time she resembled a sister comforting her younger brother.
Eliza walked through the main street towards the central plaza, then turned to the right towards the southern plaza, just as she was told. The surroundings and the plazas were all completely devoid of people, but she could sense presences like fearful hearts coming from the small houses to her sides. She thought about how she had to put them at ease somehow, but it was clear that she would just evoke reactions like the last one just by giving the citizens individual attention, to say nothing of outright talking to them. Despite her chagrin, Eliza continued walking while pretending to not notice the stares.
There was one white building in the southern plaza that had its doors opened, and Eliza could quickly tell that it was the clinic. A well-built healing healing magician well into her forties waited by the door, and looked closely at Eliza with her hand on the window frame. Eliza lowered her head, and the woman responded in kind before starting to speak.
"I heard your greeting. Should I call you 'Eliza'?"
"My name's Freya. I gotta say, you really are big."
Once the quick introduction was out of the way, she spoke with an earnest voice. It was a phrase that Eliza had heard time and time again, but she was surprised at- as well as relieved by- the lack of coercion or fear in her voice. Eliza gently bent over and replied "well, yes" with a bashful smile.
"Whatever, though. More importantly, the patients!"
Just when Eliza thought that Freya was about to keep referencing her height, she completely changed subject. According to her explanation, the patients have been lined up in order of most critical to least, so Eliza was to heal them in that order.
(Did they arrange them in an order of urgency because how scary I am...?)
She had her suspicions, but ultimately that only gave her all the more reason to obey, so she complied with the proposal.
After agreeing, the first patient that was brought over on a stretcher was a child whose body was wrapped almost entirely in bandages. The bandages concealed most of his face, but his tightly shut eyelids painfully conveyed to Eliza what he was going through.
"He was crushed in a human stampede. Severe physical blows, fractured bones, and possible slight damage to the heart as well."
Freya explained plainly. When Eliza looked over to her, she saw a worried-looking woman standing by her side. She could immediately guess who that woman was.
Eliza gave the woman a nod, then slowly inserted her left hand below the stretcher and gently lifted it up to chest height. The tiny body that fit snugly on top of her hand was stiff, shivering feebly with a high body temperature and with wooden braces barely holding several parts of it up. That pitiful sight was a result of the body's inability to express anything more, with the shiverings being silent protests. Thinking about it like that, Eliza was once more plagued with emotions of regret.
"I'm sorry. Itfs going to be okay now..."
Eliza whispered and softly embraced the shivering tiny body against her left breast. Recently, she became able to sense the light of people's lives by focusing her senses. This particular light was so frail that it could easily be extinguished if not tenderly grasped, but it seemed that the child was being slowly relieved of his fears, possibly as a result of listening to Eliza's massive heartbeats. Eliza waited like this for a while, then once she felt that the timing was right began carrying out the healing spell. Since she understood her target's condition, she did not need to nervously administer the treatment while constantly asking her patients about their well-being like before. The fire of life that started out as small began little by little regaining its original brilliance and warmth.
Once the treatment ended without a hitch, Eliza released the child from her chest and inquired.
"Does it hurt anywhere?"
She smiled when she saw the child nod with vigor, and began gently lowering her left hand to the ground. Halfway through, her eyes met with the child's mother as she rushed over to Eliza's side. She looked as if she could burst into tears at any moment, and she stood on tiptoe as she extended her arms to the air towards the giantess. Once Eliza lowered her left hand in front of the mother, she immediately leaped in to hug her son with all her might. At that point, Eliza placed the right palm of her hand on the mother's back.
The mother raised her voice in a short shriek in response to the sudden gesture, and sprung to the side while protecting her child with her own body. Eliza, who was likewise surprised by this reaction, pulled her hand back.
The word reflexively left her mouth. Only once she offered her apology did Eliza realize that her action only bestowed fear upon the woman. She placed the right hand that she pulled back on the ground and began to explain what she tried to do.
"I figured you must be exhausted as well, so I tried healing you..."
The explanation may have come through to the woman, as she nodded a few times and took a step forward. Eliza positioned her right index finger face-up in front of the woman and waited until she placed her hand on top of it before starting the spell.
When the treatment of both the mother and her child was over and they gave her thanks once more, Eliza responded with a slightly perplexed smile. For her, this was the bare minimum she could do as atonement; not an action worthy of gratitude.
Eliza looked back towards Freya, and saw that the next patient was already readied at her side. The man on the stretcher had splints on his back and both his legs.
"Apparently he fell off the city walls while trying to escape town. His legs and lower back are broken."
Eliza closed in to scoop him up after hearing Freya's explanation, but the man stretcher-bound man suddenly opened his mouth.
"Oh, could you do that thing you did earlier to me t- oooh?"
Before he could finish speaking, Freya pinched up the man's cheeks.
"Maybe we should heal this blabbering mouth first instead!"
The woman retorted mischievously, sounding as if she was genuinely having fun, then gave her assistant a few orders. The stretcher-bound man was then escorted back into the building.
Eliza, who did not understand what he meant by "what she did earlier", could not keep up.
"Will that person be alright?
"Perfectly fine. We'll put him off 'till later."
Freya gave a lightning-quick response to Eliza's timid concerns.
Next up was a soldier who broke his rib cage being pressed between a group of people and a window. Following that, there was a married man who slipped and fell while carrying some heavy luggage and broke his kneecap... after the fourth patient, there were no longer any stretchers. When Freya explained that there were only a few people left with bone fractures, and the rest only received some outer physical damage or scratches and grazes, Eliza finally felt relieved.
The moment her tension wore off, she could immediately feel her body heating up. Quite a bit of time must have passed already. Deciding that she couldn't properly heal all the remaining patients in this size, Eliza modestly asked.
"Excuse me. I would like to return to my previous size... would that bother you?"
Faced with that sudden request, Freya seemed flustered as she exchanged glances with her assistant. As if suddenly remembering her own comment while greeting Eliza earlier, she nodded to herself a few times then looked back at the giantess and spoke.
"Doesn't matter if it bothers me if you can't continue the treatment otherwise, right? Do what you want."
Eliza lifted her hips and crawled toward the centermost part of the plaza while chafing her knees on the ground, then sat back down after flinging the cloth of her skirt forward. She then spread her aside her knees and faced the street extending from the plaza; finally, she looked back to confirm that the tips of her boots were both facing the road.
"Alright, um... I think this will startle you a bit, but please don't worry."
This was addressed not only to Freya and her assistant in front of her, but to her surroundings which she was looking over in general. Eliza then began working on her imagination while paying careful attention to her tiptoes and both knees. She originally intended to grow until her knees and tiptoes could reach the surrounding roads, but after noticing Freya's group clearly being scared of the hem of Eliza's skirt drawing nearer, she decided to stop just slightly before reaching the ideal size. She took a breath and raised her voice towards Freya, who was now closer than a few moments ago and around 2 inches tall.
"I'm done. This is more or less what it's like..."
Freya, who had retreated into the doorway, simply looked up for a while with her mouth wide open, but snapped back into her senses as if belatedly noticing Eliza's words. Looking over the various parts of Eliza's body once more, she could tell that the mountain ridges formed by the giant healer's interweaving knees were as tall as 2nd-floor windows, complete with the illusion of a white mountain stream forming between them. It took until looking all the way up to her face, hanging even higher up than her waist, for the illusion to be dispelled.
"Looking at you from up close, you really are big."
There was a fairly long pause before Freya could mouth these words of honest astonishment. Eliza, who was watching over her worriedly the whole time, could finally relax upon hearing her speak.
"Does this mean you can get even bigger?"
"Please stop joking. I wouldn't be able to leave the town!"
Eliza responded to Freya's question with bashful laughter. Just talking about it made the mental image of her standing awkwardly in the plaza with both her feet filling up its entire length pop into her mind, so she tried her best to shake it off.
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