Author:Yunzo/Alicemagic Update: 2018-07-31 [Prev] [Next] [Top]
Eliza left the town with her teacher on top of her palm, heading west so that she could use her magic without worry of the effects spreading too far. After walking for almost five miles, she reached a slightly open area in a forest where she could sit down with her legs raised and place her teacher on top of her knees.
"So, what spell did you want to see?"
She wasn't sure what he had in mind, since she had already shown him her healing spell. Spirit Conjuration, perhaps? Eliza had several ideas in mind, but what her teacher suggested came entirely out of left field.
"Let's see... can you show me your 800 feet tall size?"
Eliza blurted out a squeak at the unexpected proposition.
"Are you sure? I think it'd be very scary..."
Eliza confirmed while looking at him from an equal eye level. Usually when she concentrated her gaze on people from this up close, they would pull back, but this old man took her powerful gigantic stare head on as if it was totally natural.
"That's the best part."
If anything, Roenheim's voice was amused.
"When you're as old as me, it's the thrills that get you pumped up the most!"
Age didn't seem to slow down this old man's curiosity one bit, and his response to her enticed Eliza into a bitter smile as well. He might be overwhelmed once she'll actually grow to 150 times her normal size in front of his eyes, but Eliza felt that would be an amusing sight in itself.
"Okay, then I'll put you down now. Don't move an inch from that spot, okay?"
Eliza spoke while bringing the open palm of her hand to the side of her legs, but Roenheim protested to her suggestion while shaking his arms in the air.
"W-wait just a second!! Don't be ridiculous!"
Eliza briefly froze in amazement at his sudden outburst. She didn't understand why she was being yelled at, and all she could do was stare blankly at the old man on her knees, and even after seeing his pupil's confused state, the teacher pressed on.
"Why would you put me back to the ground? You have to grow while I'm on top of your hand, otherwise there's no point!"
Eliza now understood the reason for his anger, but she didn't know what to say in response to his extreme recklessness. It took the span of two or three blinks of her eyes before she opened her mouth to speak again.
"A-are you... are you being serious?"
Eliza began retorting him as her voice became exponentially higher.
"You're saying "800 feet tall" like it's nothing, but do you actually understand just how big that is? Look, even the tip of my finger..."
As she was speaking, Eliza raised her index finger, its width alone almost 15 inches, in front of Roenheim's eyes. She then raised her other hand's thumb above it to make a gap that was from her perspective only 3 inches tall, but from the old man's point of view it was higher up than the roof of a house.
"...would become this thick."
If she were to grow to that size, even the most trivial of her movements would have a huge impact on her surroundings, and she couldn't guarantee that tiny people around her would remain unscathed. Eliza insisted on this point, but Roenheim did not relent.
He claimed that he was fine with just riding on the palm of her hand, and that even if he were to fall off, he could cast a wind protection spell to save his life. Furthermore, he explained that since they were planning to make it public that she can grow that large, at some point in the future she would no doubt be asked to carry out tasks with that size, and so it was important to practice ahead of time how to not hurt other people while being that big.
Eliza could no longer find it in her to object.
"Alright. Then please lie down in the middle of my left palm."
Her voice was low, possibly because she was still not entirely convinced.
Once she confirmed that Roenheim was lying down on his back on the surface of her palm as she had instructed, Eliza rose on one leg and started slowly standing up. She then placed her right hand below her left and lifted both slightly above her line of sight, inhaling and exhaling deeply as she did. The slightest mistake on her part could mean the difference between life and death for her mentor, so she couldn't afford to mess up. Her hands shook a bit from the stress when she thought about that, and she couldn't help but look worriedly at Roenheim. The old man, however, was casually lying down in a relaxed posture and when he noticed his pupil's concerned stare, he simply silently waved his hand as if to tell her to not worry.
(Good grief... shouldn't you be the one who's scared the most?)
Although a bit exasperated, Eliza smiled at the old man who didn't let anything ruin his excitement. Doing that made her body relax and she was no longer shivering, so she brought her arms close to the sides of her body without budging her palms, then moved her hands in front of her chest. It was slightly embarrassing and made it difficult to look at her hands without straining her neck and chin, but that was a necessary compromise to see this through safely to the end.
"Okay, here I go."
Eliza closed her eyes and began to imagine her body growing. The first mental image she painted in her mind was the events of yesterday when she accidentally grew in size. She was big enough to fit a two-story hut in the palms of her hands, and the two people who were in front of her at the time resembled cooked grains of rice. That was about 150 times her human size, meaning she was about big enough to easily pick up houses off the ground. Besides yesterday's events, she also pictured her training session where she attempted to reach a size large enough to scatter clouds around with her hands. If she could actually become that gigantic, she could probably see her hometown across the mountains from here.
After letting her imagination run free for a while, Eliza reopened her eyes and found that lush green carpet-like forest surrounded her in all four directions. It was the same scenery she saw while training before, including the blue skies and mountains in the far-off horizon. The city was about 40 inches long from her perspective, and while certainly smaller than usual, she could still easily make out the individuals buildings inside. She turned around her body to get a closer look, and could see that there were several people standing on top of the city walls. They were probably the same people from the discussion a short while ago.
(I bet they're so amazed right now...)
Not just the people on the walls, but everyone in the town were probably stunned, if not downright scared. Eliza smiled in the town's direction and gently waved her hand. After a few seconds' delay, the three people on the walls waved back.
Based on that, Eliza could surmise that everyone in the town were probably doing fine, but she did not forget that this entire situation was the result of one childlike elder's unreasonable request. Eliza looked down in front of her chest and could make out a tiny shadow on top of her left palm. It took her a few moments to register that shadow as her teacher, but when she looked closer, she could tell that his mouth was wide open.
(Oh, so he is surprised.)
Even her master could not hide his astonishment. Seeing him safe and sound and with a rare expression on his face made Eliza's lips curled into a slightly devilish smile.
"What's the matter?"
Eliza spoke without lowering down her voice too much on purpose. Roenheim, who was standing close to its source, all but jolted at the sudden booming voice. He managed to return to his senses after shaking his head a bit, then started shouting above with a raised fist.
"I-idiot! Your voice is too loud!"
The old man was screaming, but Eliza had to strain her ears just to hear his tiny voice. Even as he seemed to have been speaking in a near-whisper, though, Eliza could somehow clearly understand what he was trying to say.
"Sorry, I'm not used to this yet."
Looking just slightly apologetic, Eliza responded with the quietest voice she could muster. Even then, it still came off as a very intense sound due to the close range, and Roenheim had to cover his ears and close his eyes with a winced expression while she was speaking.
"Look, just don't talk at all! We'll speak through telepathy."
Stopping herself just short of responding with "okay" instinctually, Eliza silently nodded and closed her eyes. She focused her awareness solely on the old man on top of her hand and soon enough could sense his body warmth. Now that she confirmed his presence, she was able to talk to him through her mind.
(Um... is this okay? Can you hear me?)
(Loud and clear.)
A mental voice indistinguishable from the real thing responded to her. Her eyes instinctively opened back up since this sudden voice was a lot louder than the physical one from a short while ago.
"Could you hear me?"
Eliza wordlessly nodded again as she stared at her teacher. She talked to him once more, this time using telepathy.
(I can hear you much better now, yes.)
Despite his tiny voice- or rather, despite how big she was- the master and his pupil managed to quickly reach mutual understanding. Eliza found this a bit peculiar, but her feelings of joy over the affirmation that she and the person she was speaking to were both the same human beings trumped her discomfort.
(Hm? What's the matter?)
Roenheim was confused at Eliza's sudden smile.
(Huh? Oh, um...)
Eliza responded to the unexpected question without breaking her smile.
(I'm just happy that even with the difference in size, we can still communicate perfectly with each other as fellow human beings.)
"Ah... that's right."
The old man accidentally spoke with his somewhat emotional physical voice as he was looking up at her. When his eyes met with hers, he was faced with the girl's massive size upfront. Her kind eyes which were looking his way from high above and her beaming smile which spread across his entire field of vision were like the smile of a guardian deity protecting the world. He shifted his attention to the ground by his feet, and found that the white surface he was sitting on was furnished with half-inch tall ridges at two-inch intervals from each other, coming together to form a space as vast as a small city square. At that moment, he felt that there were many things that could not be fully comprehended simply from the number "150 times human size" alone. His mind was half-hallucinating that he was not talking to a single human being, but an entire scenery. It was unlikely that this girl- an ordinary young woman who simply aspired to become a healing magician- would readily accept the honor of being such an awe-inspiring presence.
(U-um... It's kind of embarrassing when you stare like that...)
Roenheim returned to his senses at Eliza's shy complaint. Once his vision refocused, he realized that what he had been blankly staring at until now was a tapestry-like article of clothing with the crest of healing magicians depicted on the front. The swelling that pushed the cloth forward and drew a fine curve was also an impressive size in its own way.
(Oh... uh, sorry.)
He was apparently staring straight ahead while he was deep in thought. His mental response to Eliza was accompanied by his cheeks turning uncharacteristically red.
(I have to say, though, I'm surprised the telepathy is working so smoothly.)
Roenheim tried changing the subject, almost stumbling on his words as he was speaking quickly in discomfort.
(Huh? Oh, yes, I guess.)
Eliza only noticed when he pointed it out, but when she thought about it, that was a bit peculiar. However, she did sometimes feel as if her senses were a lot sharper in many ways while she was in giant size, so it wouldn't be a stretch to think telepathy would also be much easier to perform.
(It must be something spiritual. I bet you can easily perform spirit arts now too.)
Roenheim agreed with Eliza's speculation that this was related to her heightened senses in this size. He realized how fortunate it was that he had her perform a certain ritual in the past; this pupil of his was originally meant to be taught spirit arts up to the basics before she began her duties as a healer, but since the current residing healer suddenly collapsed, Eliza's training was hastened by half a year's worth of progress. She was nonetheless made to perform the most basic spirit arts ritual- the Contract of Souls- on their way to Lideald, but Roenheim had taught her almost none of the Arias necessary to communicate with the dead.
(So, did you use any Arias since then?)
Eliza was momentarily at a loss for words at the sudden question. The only type of spirit arts she could perform was "Spirit Expansion"- the ability to convert life energy into magical power and obtain great strength- but even then she was forbidden to use it unless she was accompanied by an expert. Of course, over this past year, Eliza had broke many rules placed on her in attempts to save dying patients, but rarely did it do any good, and time and time again she had to bear witness to lives coming to an end in her arms. The sudden memories of those times brought up a sense of unspeakable emptiness and guilt in her heart that tightened around her chest like cold chains...
(Well, no matter.)
Her master's kind voice suddenly reached her ears, and Eliza opened her closed eyes to look at him. She only now noticed that her line of sight from this point of view was a bit cloudy.
(This must've been a very hard year on you. It's a path all healer go through, but you did well to make it this far.)
His warm words seeped deep into her heart, and as if in return her eyes welled up with tears. Noticing that she was about to cry, Eliza hastily wiped her eyes with her right hand and sniffed her nose. After taking a few deep breaths to calm down her ragged breathing, she looked back towards her teacher and offered him words of gratitude.
(Thank you... and, u-um, sorry.)
Likely due to her thunderously loud sniffling, Roenheim was covering his ears with his head between his legs. He still managed to tough it out enough to nod in response.
(So, let me confirm just in case... have you used any spells besides Spirit Expansion?)
The moment he uttered the question, Eliza immediately recalled the time she tried to resurrect the dead. She was taught by her master that the 'Spirit Calling' spell was a type of "forbidden miracle", and that it cannot and must not be used under any circumstances. It was a very dangerous ritual for her to attempt, partly due to her having very little knowledge of the spell and partly due to the priest's ominous warnings about "being called over in his stead" and "having a sin engraved upon her soul".
(Did you try something? You can tell me.)
Roenheim could sense his student's perplexity, but tried his best to hide it even as he was getting slightly upset. The tense Eliza calmed down a little and returned her attention to him, and after hesitating for a few moments finally told him the truth.
(I tried to resurrect the dead.)
As she squeezed out her confession, Eliza could sense her teacher's body tense up. One could assume that this wasn't mentioned in the report he received, as the old man silently hung his head down with a mixture of emotions that could interpreted as either anger or shock. After a long uncomfortable silence, he finally spoke up and calmly began interrogating Eliza.
(Was that after you became this size?)
(Oh, yes. I tried it one time, and...)
Eliza was speaking quickly while making gestures with her right hand as she explained what happened that day, as if she was waiting for him to ask that question. She told him about how she attempted the ritual with no prior knowledge, about how she was almost possessed by the priest's spirit, and how that made her end the ritual prematurely to shake him off. She was speaking through telepathy so the volume of her voice was normal, but the tremors caused by her constant gestures and passion with which she was speaking left Roenheim almost entirely unable to chime in during her explanation.
(...and that's the gist of it. And so...)
Since it seemed like Eliza was about to follow up her lengthy explanation with another one, Roenheim cut her off by waving his hands.
"Alright, alright, I get it, just calm down!"
(Ah... um, okay.)
Finally regaining her composure, Eliza responded shortly and meekly. She relented her intense stare at her mentor, took a few deep breaths, and placed her right hand back below her left to prop it up. Roenheim seemed to have simmered down as well, as he sat back down and lowered his head with a long sigh.
(You could've made me sick from how much you were talking...)
His voice was strangely casual even as he was physically staggering.
Eliza gave her trademark timid apology, but Roenheim didn't seem particularly upset as he simply responded with a short "no matter". That was probably due to the mild sense of satisfaction he got from being able to control a mountain-sized person with just his words.
After getting his bearings straight, Roenheim looked up at his student staring at him from above and began admonishing her.
(I should tell you the reason this spell is more accurately known as 'Soul Calling' rather than 'resurrection'.)
Eliza paused for a few moments before swallowing her saliva, and her teacher began his explanation.
Bringing a body back to life while its soul is still intact is simply an advanced healing technique, but the act of bringing the soul back as well- 'Soul Calling'- is seen by many as a "forbidden miracle". There are three main reasons for that. First, it requires an enormous amount of magical power and skill to perform, and failing to do it correctly can result in the caster's soul being brought over to the Other Side instead. It's a technical flaw with the spell itself where a slight error can lead to "being called over". Second, retrieving a soul that had already passed on makes the strict boundary between life and death blurrier than it is intended to be. This is more of an ethical flaw that can lead to "engraving sin upon one's soul".
Lastly, human beings' desires are always one step ahead of reality, and a reality where Soul Calling is possible beckons even more avarice. The discovery of the ancient tomes that described the spell caused an uproar among sovereigns, and even now there exist many bookkeepers and librarians who replace written mentions of Soul Calling with regular resurrection in order to bury the truth.
Roenheim tilted his neck and looked upwards. Eliza's eyes were more attentive than ever before, to the point where she only now remembered to blink a few times due to being too focused on the lecture to do it earlier.
(So that was the reason... I had no idea.)
Eliza spoke with profound emotion to her voice. She never would've thought that the spell she attempted to perform caused so many turmoils across the land.
(Indeed. It's a frightening thing, for a miracle to lose its status as a miracle. The boundary between life and death is one that must remain strict and firm.)
Roenheim resumed talking with a slow pace.
(As an ordinary healing magician, you must never attempt to cross that line again. Do you understand?)
He also warned her to keep her attempt a secret and to understand the difference between regular resurrection and Soul Calling should she attempt the former in the future. He hammered in that point so thoroughly that Eliza could do nothing but nod.
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