Crossover Fan Fiction ❯ Stares ❯ Return ( Chapter 9 )
“Rudeus. You got a letter,” said the receptionist of the northern adventurers guild of Rozenberg, in the principality of Basherant. I have been taking small quests with a team of adventurers. We’d killed a number of Luster Grizzly bears together, bought drinks for the patrons, and cemented our welcome. More recently, there had been a fight against an Ent that went evil, and barely managed to save Sara, the archer. She’s insisted on repaying her debt to me with her body, but ever since Eris abandoned me after sex for the first time together, my despair has grown beyond measure. I can’t get it up. I failed, as a man, leaving Sara disappointed. Killing the bears is what I should remember, not failing to ravish a willing woman. I am now motivated to find my missing mother.
“Ah, thank you Ernestine,” I said, giving her a coin. I took the carved mailing tube and examined the seals. From my brother? Interesting. I opened the tube and slid out the letter.
It seems that father and Tanya have found the general location of mother and are going to rescue her. She’s in a labyrinth on Begaritt continent, which is best described as a wasteland polluted with mana which produces giant beasts. So like the Demon continent without any people and with the joy of spell pollution and probably dimensional damage like the kind that produced the Teleportation incident.
Wait. If Tanya and Father find mother, what do I do? Tanya is smart, and unlike me she’s not a gamer. She’s a veteran of magical wars. With all I’ve taught her, she’s better than artillery, and might be a match for me on the ground. With her ability to fly, she’s a gunship, like one of those anti-tank helicopters from my last life. If anyone could save mother, it is her. Sorry Father, but I hope you don’t get in the way.
“Hey, we’ve got a quest, you want to come?” offered one of the adventuring groups.
“Yeah, sure. What is our prey today?” I asked them, standing up. I put away the letter into my bag and readied myself for travel.
“Something huge and tusked is tearing up the forest near one of the duke’s farms. We’re to end it before it gets into the barns and kills the animals wintering there,” explained Simonal, a human ranger. His glaive was probably once used for trimming trees in an orchard, but he’d turned it into a fighting style useful against giant beasts which bumble into human settled areas. It was exactly the sort of thing he was suited for.
“Fine. I can help with this,” I agreed. We set out.
Two days later I returned, finding another letter. This one had a much more recent date and came from Tanya.
“Mother has been recovered. She is alive, though somewhat addled. I recovered her from inside a mana crystal over a kilometer down in a labyrinth. I opted to skip the front entrance so the journey was easier both all of us, as well as shorter. Father is attending to her needs and Lillia is assisting in Zenith’s care. She seems to be having problems perceiving current reality, though at times she seems more present than others. The mana crystal was quite large and saturated with magic, so it is possible she only survived due to prayer to Millis. I personally find this frustrating as you know how I feel about gods,” I read. This is certainly true. Tanya had once explained her prior life was miserable because a being claiming to be a god had persecuted her across battlefields of World War One, only with magic added to spice up the gas attacks and machine guns and human wave attacks. Tanya did not like gods. My interactions with the white god that called itself the Man God, and the hatred by Orsted… it is all very complicated.
But mother is found. I can go home and see her. I can see if there’s anything I can do. And then, if all is well, I can finally go off to Ranoa University in Millision and see if I can take my magic to the next level. Prove myself worthy of Master.
It was a three month journey, first via wagon through the now-muddy springtime of the Northern continent down to the port city, bargaining with a captain for passage, weeks of vomiting before arriving in Shirone, then overland to the capital of that kingdom, then further across the Red Dragon Mountains, alone this time and with no contact with Orsted. Down to Asura kingdom and finally home, where the lands Tanya had rebuilt flourished stronger each successive year. A world where few got sick, where the water was clean, the animals plentiful, and the bandits thinned through the efforts of both employment as farmers and carpenters and from culling by the local adventurers. That is not to say that Fittoa was free from trouble. If anything, the wealth of our family was going to become a conflict with the Asuran prince and his degenerate servants.
“Mother? Its Rudy! I’m home!” I called out, entering our new house. Tanya had made it from magically formed stone. It became successively more ornate, though she did it by magic rather than imposing ridiculous labor or wasting lots of materials. It is the same wall, just with friezes on it she made with magic and painted in later. At least it wasn’t a self portrait of Tanya raising the houses out of the ground or tilling the soil, staff swirling. Even though that’s precisely what she did, so she explained to me.
“Rudy?” called a soft voice. It was Lillia. I went to her and hugged my nursemaid. I am slightly taller, now. She hugged back and I could see from her red-rimmed eyes she’d been crying. She lead me to mother, sitting up in a chair in the kitchen, staring out the window. Rather than puddled glass, Tanya had made clear glass windows, which are an impossible luxury in this world without finely controlled magic. The academy probably has them, but only the very rich can afford a wizard to make glass for you. The clear glass, like what I’d grown up with, offered a fine view of the distant mountains, including that one I’d notched with one of my overpowered spells… ten years ago? It appears Tanya had added her own to that mountain. I moved forward slowly, removing my pack, my outer coat, and setting aside my staff. I hugged her, my mother.
“It’s Rudy mum. I am home.”
“Rudy? So big. My boy,” Zenith said in a faint voice, barely above breathing. She barely moved, just staring out the window, motes of dust dancing in the sunlight.
“She’s been like this since we freed her from the labyrinth,” Paul said, stepping forward down the stairs. “How are you Rudy?” We clasped arms, then hugged.
“Father. I am glad you are here. I thought… well, it doesn’t matter. Tanya kept you safe. Both of you. Where is Tanya?” I asked. I looked around, spotting a figure resting on a balcony that looked over the kitchen. She rolled off the edge, floating down rather than falling. She was still short as she came to a rest on her feet before me, ahoge a good foot tall. It twitched.
“Hey big brother,” she offered. I hugged my little sister.
“Missed you too,” she finally said.
We caught up with each other, and I examined mother. There isn’t anything I can do. She isn’t unwell, in her body. It is more than her spirit is tied to Millis, god of justice, and she’s turned into something mystical.
“What are you saying?” Paul interrupted.
“Sorry. A secret language we use sometimes,” Tanya insisted, changing the subject. “It seems, from my research, that Mother gave up some of her humanity to gain divine protection. But the cost has been heavy, and will probably continue, unless we can find some way to shake her out of it.”
“Or perhaps perform some good deed that Millis approves of to restore her mind,” offered Tobias, appearing from a shadow without warning. He’s suppressed his presence so well even I didn’t sense him. I noted with some annoyance that he is taller than I was at his age, and was nearly as tall as I am now.
“Rudy, it would be helpful if you went to Ranoa Magic Academy as you’d planned. You can research mind magic there and also be closer to the center of the Millis faith, maybe speak to the Pope to gain assistance of the healers. And possibly meet grandmother,” Tanya said.
“What are you going to do?” I asked my sister.
“I’m staying here to look after our lands, and fend off the inevitable attacks by the Asuran royalty, who are already refusing to pay the gold for restoring the lands, like they promised. And they want taxes while the peasants are struggling to survive. If I wasn’t here some thug without hair would move in to steal it all,” Tanya explained.
“And then I’d have to kill him,” Tobias said quietly. “He’s the one behind the attack that hurt Mother.” Lillia nodded. So that was true. And if I understood the situation, he’s also behind the attempt to kidnap Eris, and responsible for executing Sauros. The Asurans really were the worst. Some house-cleaning is due. Darius Ganius is a depraved monster, deserving a special death. Something slow.
“If you need my help, send word,” I offered.
“I have toppled kingdoms and destroyed Empires, brother. No army has withstood my might,” reminded Tanya in Japanese. Tobias winced at this statement. He reached forward and hugged Tanya, rubbing her head. He towered over her, but she let him.
Our parents seemed at a loss, though Zenith made an uncomfortable noise. They don’t understand our words, but they can tell our mood.