Healer of All

Chapter III [Reunion] - PART 4

Update: 2018-07-31

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It's been a year since she last saw her master, but likely due to his already considerable age, he didn't seem to have changed at all with the exception of his clothes. That was what went through Eliza's mind as she sat down staring at the old man in front of her knees after returning to the southern plaza.

The rest of the envoys simply observed from within the safety of an office building, but this old man alone carefully examined every inch of her body, slowly moving his neck up and down. After repeating this motion several times, he began speaking with a genuinely surprised tone to his voice.
"Hmm. You sure did grow since the last time I saw you."
Eliza burst into laughter.
"W-well, I mean..."
She attempted to reply to him while chuckling. It wasn't just that his reaction to her size was amusing, but she was also glad that his attitude towards her hadn't changed a bit.

He was already informed of the gist of things, but the elderly Roenheim still wanted to see her powers with his own eyes. Eliza placed him on her lap and began healing various injured and ill patients which were brought over the plaza. The old man, still unsatisfied, was asking her all sorts of questions while she was administering treatments.
"Isn't it hard to control the magic output?"
"Not really, I got used to it."
"But how do you know when to stop? How can you tell when their wounds are healed?"
"Umm, I can just sort of tell by touching them."
"Does that only work when you're big?"
"I think so, yes."
He then suddenly stopped his rapid fire line of questions. Eliza wondered why while continuing the treatments when Roenheim lit up as if suddenly remembering something.
"By the way, I heard you can grow to 800 feet tall..."
"H-hey, please stop... not when everyone's listening!"
Eliza, who calmly answered her master's questions until now, became flustered at the sudden inquiry and raised her voice a little. The patient who was lying on the palm of her hand was likely even more startled, though. His eyes and mouth were open wide, in response to which Eliza smiled towards him and gently stroked his back with her index finger.
"Um, it's okay, don't worry. I'm not going to grow to that size here..."
Apparently relieved, the patient responded by nodding his head.
"O-oh. But... 800 feet... that's about-"
"Four, maybe five times bigger than her current size, I'd say."
Roenheim responded to the patient. Hearing that sort of estimation, Eliza realized for the first time how gigantic that really is. It would probably be impossible to fit both of her feet in the southern plaza in that state. She'd have to stand on leg and on the tips of her toes...

Eliza shook her head to get that image out of her mind. She looked around and saw that the surroundings thankfully did not change, and looking down at her knees confirmed that her size was indeed the same as before. After breathing a sigh of relief, Eliza stared down at the old man on her lap.
"Could you please not talk about my size?"
It was intended as a soft warning, but it came out with a harsher tone of voice than she had intended. Coupled with her sharp glance and her size, Roenheim was left with no room for retort, merely responding with a meek "sorry" at her fierce visage.

That reaction came as a bit of a surprise to Eliza. It was as if he had become a completely different person than the scatterbrained master she knew. She felt bad for the tiny old man, so she added an explanation in the most soothing voice she could muster.
"When strange thoughts about my size get stuck in my head, my actual size can accidentally change. Were you not aware of that?"
Roenheim shook his head while staring up at his apprentice. Eliza added "I see" under her breath, and gently caressed her master's back with her finger.
"I'm sorry if I came off too strong."
She quietly apologized to him and resumed her treatment of the patients. However, he didn't try speaking to her for the rest of the procedure. Eliza felt awkward as the old man sat quietly on her lap without moving, but she decided to focus on her duties and continue healing the patients for now.

It didn't take longer than half an hour to treat the remaining 30 or so patients. Even after the treatment was over, however, her master showed no signs of moving. He didn't respond when she tried speaking to him, but when she gently poked his shoulder, he suddenly lifted his face upwards in confusion. His expression at that point made it clear why he was silent all this time.
"You were sleeping, weren't you?"
Eliza asked him with a mischievous smile while pointing an index fighter larger than his head close by his face.
"Well, it was warm here, so..."
Roenheim responded with an awkward smile as he rubbed the back of his head.

As per Roenheim's order, Eliza set off towards the central plaza with him and Freya on top of her hands. She reunited with Gransel and the envoys who came out of the office building, as well as with the Balam vigilante corps, and as per her suggestion, it was decided that the discussion will take place on top of the western gate. The reason was that that way, neither party will have to strain their necks to look at each other.

Since the royal capital and the city halls already talked about this in advance and narrowed down the potential courses of actions between themselves, it was less of a discussion and more of a briefing to Eliza and asking for her opinions on the matter.

The two options were to either hide Eliza's existence, or make it public alongside an explanation that she bears no ill will or malice. Both opinions were brought up in the conference at the capital and they couldn't come to an agreement at the time, but now that Eliza herself crossed over the mountains and came to Balam in person, the first option was already mostly out of the question. However, considering Balam's initial reaction to her, there was still a need to be careful in regards to maintaining healthy public relations. It was decided that the most appropriate course of action would be to send out letters explaining and detailing her existence to various major cities and dukedoms.

This was a textbook case of making the best out of the worst situation. Eliza listened attentively to the envoys' explanations with conflicted feelings when Roenheim, who decided to stay silent and leave the briefing to them, suddenly spoke up.
"I thought we agreed to send her to the dukedoms herself, or call the dukes here to see her in person."
"Th... that's, um... a bit too sudden for me..."
Eliza, whose cheeks were becoming steadily redder, could only muster this stammer in response. She imagined herself in her flashy healer attire meeting with various monarchs while being taller than their castles and could not see it as anything other than ridiculous.

The discussion shifted to potential duties and jobs Eliza would be made to do by the capital. It was impossible to come to a conclusion then and there since it wasn't even fully decided yet whether to make her existence public or not, but nevertheless various ideas for potential duties for her were brought up. Those ranged from construction work such as irrigation and fixing bridges, to mining ores by chiseling away at entire mountains, or even recruiting her for war, seeing as she could easily unify all the nations with no regards for continental borders.
"I'd rather not participate in wars... maybe if it was self-defense in order to prevent wars, but even then..."
Eliza vacantly mumbled to herself.
"Can I take that as approval for participating in the "prevention of wars", then?"
"I'm sorry?"
Eliza opened her eyes wide in response to Roenheim's sudden question. She could tell by his expression that he was not joking. She repeated his question in her mind a few times, but could not understand why he of all people why would ask such a thing. Perhaps he was the one who suggested the idea of uniting all the nations to begin with?
"I, um... I just can't bear to see people hurting each other, and I can't just sit by and do nothing, so... yes...?"
Eliza answered with her honest feelings even though it was difficult to collect her thoughts among all the doubts she had. Roenheim then smiled warmly and shook his head to the side.
"Then there's no problem. But be careful; warmongers might use those exact words to send you to battle."
"Huh? You mean... they'll trick me?"
Eliza didn't fully understand what her master meant, so her reply was uncertain and weak. Sensing this, Roenheim responded slowly and carefully.
"Some may trick you. Others, though, may genuinely believe it."
The only way to prevent bloodshed in combat is to completely and utterly present to the opponent one's dominance. In a situation where both sides believe that, though, there may be many who will be unwilling to give up at all costs.
"What a scary idea..."
Eliza responded with deep emotion before raising a question.
"Does that mean I shouldn't just blurt out 'I can join battles' without thinking?"
"Exactly. For now it'd be best for us stress that you have no intention of going into war at all."
Roenheim responded while scratching his chin. Eliza felt a sense of unease that he was forcing his conclusion on her without waiting for her opinion, but she soon decided that she didn't mind even if that were the case. He was probably just worried that somewhere down the line she would be taken advantage of, and either way she agreed with his opinion on the matter. There was also no reason her master would suggest something that would cause her harm. The giant healer nodded her head with some slight uncertainty.
"R-right. I'll leave it to you."
Hearing that, Roenheim nodded back with a brazen smile on his face. For Eliza, this old man was small enough to fit in her palm, but his confident attitude made him come off as incredibly reliable.
"Leave it to me. Oh, incidentally..."
After saying that, Roenheim's confident smile turned to a somewhat sly one. It was this expression of her master that Eliza was the most used to seeing. However, she also knew that whenever he bore this smile, it would always be followed by an inappropriate request.
"D'you suppose you could show me some more of your magic in a different place?"

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