Author:Yunzo/Alicemagic Update: 2017-04-26 [Prev] [Next] [Top]
It appears that Eliza can change her own size just by thinking about it. At the very least, that's the interpretation she went with for the moment. Whatever the case may be, she could now fit everyone on top of her palm with ease.
"...anyway, let's go home. There's enough room for everyone now, right?"
The young girl spoke with a bashful tone. As if only now returning to their senses, the soldiers began moving.
The top of Eliza's palm towered approximately four feet off the ground- around arm height for the soldiers. Lightly-armored archers aside, the warriors clad in full body plate had a difficult time scaling this vertical slope. The archers who climbed up first tried to pull them up from above, but as the surface of Eliza's palm was soft and slippery, they'd often end up being dragged down instead and unceremoniously plummeting together into the soil.
Watching this spectacle from above, the reality of her current size hit Eliza like a truck. She planted her right little finger halfway on top of the ground, painstakingly propping it up with her left hand, and spoke to the miniscule men.
"Okay, then try from over here."
The handful of soldiers who understood her suggestion turned towards her little finger and carefully crossed over it like a bridge. Squishy and unstable of an overpass as it may have been, it was about twenty-five inches thick, and not one soldier slipped or fell off on the way.
To Eliza, the sensation of the soldiers walking across her finger came off as little more than a light, neglectable tickle. However, when she thought of how these tiny figures wobbling on top of her pinky were all "humans" just like herself, she found it to be oddly precious and couldn't help but slip into a smile. She thought that, if these people are willing to believe in her despite such a difference in size, then she, too, wants nothing more than to walk the same path as them.
Before the remaining soldiers could follow suit, however, Gransel ordered everyone to stop.
"Let's split into two groups."
Eliza responded quietly with a somewhat puzzled expression.
"Right. One group should enter the city first to explain our circumstances. Everyone else can come later."
Gransel nodded as he looked up at Eliza and elaborated. A logical enough reason that dispelled Eliza's doubts- as well as clarifying to her why an 'explanation' to the townsfolk would be necessary.
"...that makes sense. What with my size and all..."
Eliza's voice grew gradually quieter as she cast her gaze down. Gransel couldn't offer any words of comfort; Easem, however, butted in and spoke up with a cheery tone.
"Nah, it's because of your outfit."
Gransel immediately went along with that explanation. It was a minute difference, but looking up at Eliza, he could see that her expression softened up and lit back up with its usual vibrance.
"Anyway, we'll raise a green smoke signal once it's safe to enter town. I'd like you to wait here until then."
"How long will it take?"
Eliza raised a question without a moment's delay. Her enormous stature intensified the already sharp look on her eyes, and the dominating pressure she exuded made Gransel stammer a bit in his response.
"O-oh, uh... I don't know. I imagine it'll take some time, since we'll also have to stop to explain things to the villages on the way..."
Seeing Eliza's face darken once again, Gransel hurriedly continued.
"Oh, you'd still be able to go back by today, mind. It shouldn't take that long if we split our roles."
"Ah, okay. Thank you."
Eliza lowered her head a little in a bow, but quickly straightened her back upon noticing that this gesture was about to make her long, raven hair swing forward.
After discussing it for some time, Gransel and Worzen decided to divide the soldiers into a main squad consisting of six men that will carry with them the captured prisoners of war, and an additional, detached squad consisting of two men. One by one, they assigned each of the soldiers to their respective groups, with the exception of Easem, who didn't have his name called until the end.
"Huh? Which group am I, sir?"
"You wait here with her."
Gransel pointed at him as he explained.
"You're good friends, so it's for the best. We have too many prisoners on hand, so we can't exactly split up everyone."
Sure enough, he was acquainted with Eliza since before she began studying magic, but...
At a loss, Easem tried glancing over at Eliza, and found that she was staring intently in his direction. Judging by her anxious demeanor, it was clear that refusing here would make her feel awfully lonely. Confident, he flashed a smile at her and nodded his head.
"Understood. I'll stay."
The moment after he gave his answer to Gransel, one soldier who seemed to have been waiting for his response cheered, "Don't try anything weird, y'hear~?"
"Like hell I would!"
Easem quipped back; he was about to continue with 'not like I can, anyway', but quickly swallowed his words. He moved only his eyeballs to give the giantess another glance, only to nervously look away when their eyes met.
After standing up to succinctly see the group off, Eliza closed her eyes and focused. She then began gradually shrinking down, eventually returning to a similar size as before. Pausing a few moments before opening her eyes back, she began speaking after a sigh.
"Looks like that's as small as I can get. It would've been nice if I could get even smaller, but..."
She then sat down with one leg tucked by her chest and placed Easem on top of her raised knee.
"...at least this way neither of us will have to strain our necks."
Eliza smiled. Easem responded, "true", and laughed jovially before posing Eliza a sudden question.
"But... what's next?"
Eliza muttered "let's see..." and, after thinking about it for a while, replied with a stern look on her face.
"I think I want to heal everyone after all."
Easem felt that Eliza misunderstood his question a bit, but nonetheless continued the conversation with her interpretation instead.
"Oh. Same as always, then."
"Well, yes, I suppose. But... I think with the power I have now, I'd be able to save a lot more people than before."
"Hmm... I guess so."
She was by no means mistaken, but conversely, that ideal of hers may as well have been the only thing that grounded her to this world. Easem wondered how that made her feel, but he couldn't bring himself to ask while uncertain of whether or not she is even aware of it herself.
Possibly catching onto his concerns, Eliza continued.
"I'd also like to visit the world outside one of these days. If possible, I want to heal every single person on this continent..."
Eliza started smiling bashfully mid-sentence. It was an expression without the faintest trace of gloom, confirming to Easem this girl's pure, unadulterated desire to heal other people. Realistically, he did not think she could pursue this path with as much ease as she seems to believe, but he figured that for now, perhaps that's fine in itself. He smiled and replied with utmost sincerity.
"That'd be nice... what a grandiose plan, though."
Easem extended his arm to stroke Eliza's cheek, but his sense of perspective was likely still in disarray, as the hand that attempted to reach her face succeeded only in caressing thin air. By the time he had realized his blunder, Easem had already lost his balance and was partway through clumsily slipping off her knee.
Eliza reflexively moved her hand to catch him, but pulled it back halfway through; with her index finger alone being thicker than his torso, the slightest error in power adjustment might lead to him getting injured again. She merely watched over the soldier sheepishly as he slid down over her vestment like a waterslide.
When he eventually grinded to a halt right next to her navel, Eliza gingerly confirmed his wellbeing.
"A-are you okay?"
Easem immediately stood up, but his feet were wobbling and he seemed moments away from falling down again. Eliza repeated "are you okay?" once more while supporting his chest that was about to topple forwards with her finger.
"I'm fine. Just that the footing here isn't too stellar is all."
Easem waved his arm in confirmation, but Eliza's brow was still furrowed. He appeared a bit perplexed as he looked up at her, but promptly decided to sit on top of one of the fingers floating by his hip and flash Eliza a mischievous a smile.
"If anything, it was pretty fun."
It was over an hour later, just as the sun was beginning to set behind the mountains, that Eliza noticed the green smoke signal.
Eliza stood up on two feet and pointed towards the vapor to Easem who was resting on top of her other hand.
"Mm? That's... not coming from the royal capital, is it?"
In contrast to the cheery Eliza, Easem spoke almost under his breath.
"There are at least five other villages on the way to the capital, so I guess they're telling us to just hurry up and get there before the sun sets."
The soldier's explanation dampened Eliza's spirit a bit, and she mumbled out a response.
"Are they having a hard time after all...?"
"Either they're having some problems handling the prisoners or one of the older men, like Worzen, got worn out. Probably something along those lines."
Easem decided to hide his unease behind a bright smile and a positive tone.
"Well, whatever. Let's go!."
Eliza cast an Illumination spell on her left hand just in case and began slowly walking with Easem sitting snugly on her other palm.
Another hour passed. As the darkening surroundings made the magical light surrounding Eliza's palm seem brighter than before, she noticed a certain oddity. Easem, who was dozing off in the fetal position on top of her right hand, was unmistakably bigger than he was when they began moving. She stopped to survey some nearby trees, and found that they had all extended over her knee level. To all appearances, she became smaller.
She didn't think about shrinking down, so could there perhaps be another force controlling her size besides her own will? Eliza pondered about it for a while while standing in place, and soon enough, Easem woke up from his catnap.
"Oh, did I wake you~?"
Eliza looked ever so slightly apologetic, but Easem simply turned in her direction and scratched his head in response.
"Sorry, it's warm in here and I got kinda tired..."
Eliza couldn't help but meet his awkward grin with a giggle of her own, but the soldier quickly switched up his tone once he took a closer look at the edges of the palm he was sitting on.
"So did you get smaller or something?"
"Y-yes... hence why I stopped to think."
The still-gigantic healer responded with a bothered expression. Easem thought about it for a while before abruptly standing up; he paid no attention to Eliza's left hand that carefully followed his movements and started rapid-talking.
"They're based around the sun, right?"
Easem impatiently waved his arms around as he answered "The Enlighters, obviously!".
"O-oh. They are, yes."
"So doesn't that mean you'll go back to normal once the sun will set?!"
Easem didn't wait for Eliza to nod as he fired his hypothesis at her; in response to the outlandish theory, Eliza opened her eyes wide and focused her gaze on him.
"You mean... to my normal size?"
In the time that Easem was cheering with vigor, he had already 'grown' to about twice the size of Eliza's middle finger. Eliza's thoughts then started drifting away with her gaze still blankly affixed to him.
(I'll go back... to my normal size...? The same size as everyone else?)
When the meaning these words began truly sinking in, Eliza could feel her eyes welling up with tears.
"H-huh? That's strange... why am I...?"
Voice shivering, Eliza mumbled to herself and sniffled her nose.
"Anyway, good for you!"
Easem exclaimed in elation, and Eliza just wordlessly nodded.
She would lose her powers, but surely, that would be for the best. That was was Easem thought as he looked down, and saw that the surface of Eliza's palm had now shrunk to only about three feet square. Soon enough night will fall, and if his speculations are correct, Eliza should be back to normal human size by then. Which means...
As if suddenly realizing something important, Easem looked up and, after a pause, shouted towards Eliza.
"Sorry, but we gotta get moving again, and fast. The mountain trail is dangerous at night."
Seemingly returning to her senses, Eliza nodded and wiped her tears with her left sleeve.
Before they hit the road again, however, Eliza felt it necessary to briefly speak to Easem her mind.
"Oh, just one thing... could you keep what I told you earlier a secret?"
Echoing her words, Easem folded his arms and reviewed their conversations today in his mind, but he couldn't recall her saying anything that had to be kept private, nor did she badmouth anyone at all.
"Did you say something that's supposed to be a secret?"
"Y-you know... what I answered when you asked me 'what's next'."
Eliza explained, visibly flustered.
"Oh, that thing about wanting to heal everyone?"
Her cheeks were now flushed red and she responded with a small nod.
'Ah, so that's it was about', Easem thought to himself. He smiled and gave Eliza a short "alright", but that smile quickly shifted from one of amiability to a mischievous grin, and he continued.
"You might still return to being big by tomorrow morning, though!"
"Don't call it 'returning'!"
Eliza protested with a pout, but one could easily tell that it was really an expression of joy.
By the time the pair had reached the village where they were to rendezvous with the soldiers, the sun had already completely set, and predictably, Eliza returned to her normal size. The soldiers were positively shocked, to say nothing of the villagers who were informed earlier of the approaching giantess- their surprises, however, were to continue all the way to the morning of next day...
For as soon as Eliza stepped out of her lodge, she had once again grown to an overwhelmingly massive height.
Among everyone's blank upward stares, Easem alone simply smirked devilishly.
"Well, what do you know? You returned to this size after all~!"
"Please stop calling it 'returning'..."
The giant healer weakly protested, but there was no trace of despair in her heart.
She overlooked the green scenery brimming with lush treetops and rows of houses as far as the eye can see and pondered to herself; 'I wonder what I can do in this size?'.
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