120 The diamond princess
Ellie was taking a rest on top of Sphinx while the adults continued their conversation.
Evlin was still filled with anger but was managing to keep it contained while showing Detra a group of pictures from her phone of different locations around the world to try and deduce where the six demon leaders were sealed.
The world had changed a lot in the last couple of years and Detra was having a hard time figuring it out where the location was nowadays. When she revealed to Mia where she had imprisoned the demons in the past, the ponytail girl said she had figured it out by herself with the small pieces of information Detra gave her and simply left with miss Stephanie.
So now the group needed to repeat that process and find out where the location was just like Mia did. Ellie wanted to join in as that sounded like it could be fun but she was terrible when it came to geography and the different locations of the world, so she decided to wait this one out.\u003cbr data-mce-bogus="1"\u003e
The girl was also feeling really tired for some reason. Her whole body felt completely drained and felt like it was tied up to an anvil. She tried to move her arms and legs to no success. The best she could do was to blow her long black hair that kept falling on her eyes with her mouth so she could see.
Marcus observed the girl in distress and decided to keep her company while carrying the little baby Lance with him. "Are you ok...?"
"... I don't know..." She answered with a depressed look.
"..." Marcus looked at her wondering how he could help ditract her from her troubles.
Ellie was filled with worry at the moment. Her mother was still not picking up her phone, her aunt was almost killed by a giant crystal spider, the house was completely destroyed, and as soon as she woke up she was told that her grandmother was missing. Overall, Ellie was having quite the day.
Not helped by the fact she still had other things to worry about such as her aunt turning into a monster with dual-colored eyes that wanted to destroy the whole city.
And as if that wasn't enough, apparently she slept thought the entire story of how magic was born on the world her aunt was transported into.
Ellie was only nine years old. She would turn ten in a couple of months, but at the end of the day, she was still just a kid. She had no idea how she was supposed to process all this.
In the past, the idea of living a fantasy-like adventure while fighting monsters and saving the world would be like a dream-come-true to her. But she wasn't having any fun at all. She was tired, scared, worried, and really pissed that all these things happened in the span of two days. If she had to go through all that she wished she would at least have some time to breathe a little.
Even though she got to ride a griffin with her aunt across the city, got to fight a giant monster, and even somehow managed to perform magic, she didn't feel like enjoying any of that.
She used to imagine how cool it would be to live the adventures of the crossbow girl her aunt would always tell her about, bot now? She felt like she barely survived two days of that nonsense, how in the world did her aunt survived four years?
Marcus observed her expression and tried to think of something that could cheer her up. "You were really impressive back there..."
"The way you protected your aunt against that possessed crystal... You were very brave..."
Ellie began to think about that for a bit. At the time she didn't feel brave at all. She was terrified. Terrified that her aunt was going to die just like that right in front of her. She not only had to worry about her becoming Myriad, but she now also had to worry about her being killed by some kind of servant from that girl with ponytails.
"No... I wasn't... I just panicked..." she answered in an attempt to fix his delusion.
"You still saved her life... Any other kid... Heck... Any other adult would just have run away in fear... But you loved your aunt more than you feared that monster..."
"You're a hero..."
"Me...?" She asked, as if that was something she never truly believe could be used to describe her.
"Is a hero not someone that saves the lives of those who need them? Is a hero not those who risk their own lives to fight for what matters? If you're not a hero, I don't know who is."
"... Thanks... That's the first time someone ever told me something like that..." Ellie released a tiny smile. Marcus was glad that his words had some effect on her. She then continued to talk with the silver-haired lad a bit more.
"I used to want to be just like her... She always seemed so strong, so invincible... Like she could do anything..."
Marcus seemed to share the sentiment. "Yeah... She's amazing..."
"But... She almost died so many times... People keep saying she was some really strong mage and that the whole world tried to get their hands on her power... But..."
"But she keeps almost dying all the time..."
"..." Ellie was surprised by Marcus's bluntness.
"That's the price of being the hero... You take the battles that no one else can take... So that no one else has to..."
"Every risk she takes is a risk that someone else is spared from..."
"But... Why her?? Why does my aunt need to run so many risks?? Why not someone else??"
Marcus looked at Evlin who was still talking with East, Lilith, and Daren for a second and returned his gaze at Ellie. "Because anyone else would have failed..."
"A hero is not measured by the ability to defeat his enemies..." He answered while placing a fist in front of his chest. "It's measured by having the strength to not give up... Evlin could have given up many times... She had many reasons, all the reasons in the world to give up... But she never did..."
"I don't know how she does it or what her secret is... But I know that even if she has no magic, weapons, or even a clear idea of what's going on... I know she will find a way to do it... Because that's just the kind of person she is!"
Ellie took another look at her aunt and started to realize she really had no idea of what an amazing person she is. She began to wonder what she would have done in her place. Lost in a strange world with no idea of how things worked, who she could trust, or how to get back. When she thought about it, her aunt coming back home was quite the miracle.
A miracle that Mia was trying to ruin with her stupid game.
Ellie began to think back to Lilith's words, how she wished Evlin would just stop and enjoy her life without trying to risk herself anymore. Just accept that her fight was over. She knew that Evlin had gone through a lot and that she had earned her peace.
But Mia had other plans in mind, and Ellie needed to stop her.
The girl then looked at her own hands, still not having enough strength to lift them. "How did I do that...?"
"Huh!?" Marcus was taken by surprise from her sudden question.
"Those blue diamonds... They were the same from my aunt's story right?"
"Kinda... Hers were actually green..."
"Still... How did I do that?"
Ellie desperately wanted to find out how to perform that magic act again. If she could, she would have a better fighting chance against Mia. Her aunt might be weakened right now, but it seemed that Ellie herself had some kind of secret weapon on her side. If only she could figure out how to use it...
Marcus looked at her determined eyes. "I don't know... Evlin is the only mage I've ever meet... Well... Her and Xadi... But we were never really close..."
"Xadi...?" Ellie heard that name and began to recall her memories of Evlin's story. "That guy that became a frog?"
"Yeah, but he changed back to normal after a while... Mia helped him..."
"What?? She did? How??"
"Mia has a blessing that allows her to eat energy. She absorbed the recreation energy that Evlin used to turn Xadi into a frog and changed him back to normal."
"She can do that??"
"Yeah... She also apparently has a curse but she never told me what it does or where she got it from..."
Marcus looked up and started to ponder for a while. "Now that I think about it... There are a lot of things I don't know about her... I wonder if maybe... If maybe I had tried to help her... Things wouldn't have ended up like this..."
"..." Ellie observed the change in the young man's expression.
Marcus was starting to fill himself with a sense of guilt. His whole life he was always so focused on his own problems that he never tried to really look at those around him. Even when he traveled with Mia during his years serving under the goddess of the East, the girl just creeped him out so much that he always tried to keep a safe distance from her.
Maybe if he had tried to get closer and be her friend, an actual friend, she would have perhaps turned out a little better. In fact, thinking about it, after Marcus joined with Evlin's side, Mia must have felt more alone than ever.
It wasn't until Evlin showed up and smacked some sense into him that he started to realize other people had problems as well and that he wasn't the center of the universe.
"Wait..." A sudden realization surged inside Ellie's mind.
"...?" Marcus was suddenly interrupted from diving into his memories by Ellie's confused expression.
"You were friends with Mia?"
"Huh!? Oh, yeah... A long time ago. She was my partner."
"Bu- But... That was a long time ago... And I was just a kid back then!!"
"Wait a minute..."
Ellie then started to recall her aunt's stories once again, and finally remembered more about who Marcus was. The boy who was the son of the living weapon that barged into the crossbow mage's birthday party and stabbed her heart with a metal arrow.
"You!!!! You tried to kill my aunt!!" She said while pointing her finger at him.
Marcus suddenly became stiff and started to drop cold sweat. "Huh... Yeah... A little bit..."
"A little??" Ellie began to glare at him. "You put an arrow on her!!! She told me that the only reason she survived was because she was fused with her pet at the time. And also, you tried to kill her many more times after that!! You even raised an army to go after her!"
"I thought you were a nice guy but you are really just a jerk!"
"No, wait, I changed! That was a long time ago! I'm... I'm friends with Evlin now!" Said Marcus as started to desperately try to explain himself.
"Huh...!?" Ellie then noticed something strange on the young man's face when he said the word "friend". His cheeks were slightly red and his eyes were wavering a bit. "You... Are you... ?"
"Everything ok over there guys?" Evlin suddenly talked to them from the other room while the two were still discussing and Marcus looked at her with even more red spreading throughout his face while answering.
"We're fine... It's all fine... Nothing to worry..."
Ellie then looked at her aunt who simply returned to her investigation and looked at Marcus again. She had no doubt of what was going over his head right now.
"I won't accept it..."
"Eh...?" Marcus was confused by the girl's sudden declaration and realized that she was glaring at him even more intensely.
"You and my aunt... I won't accept it... Ever!!"
"Wa- Wait... I think there is a misunderstanding..." Marcus started to shake his hands to try and calm Ellie down, but the girl appeared to have no intention of changing her feeling towards him.
It was true that Marcus had changed a lot in the last couple of years after being saved by Evlin, but in Ellie's eyes, he was still the boy who declared that he would slice her head off multiple times from her aunt's tales. That was actually one of Ellie's least favorite parts of her aunt's story, the night where she and her friends were all almost killed by one angry boy with mommy issues. Probably not helped by the fact that she just saw his abilities not too long ago against the crystal monster and how easily he managed to slash it into pieces, proving just how dangerous he really was.
Right now, Ellie only had her aunt's safety in mind, and she felt being closer to Marcus would spell nothing but danger for her.
"You stay away from my aunt, you hear me?"
Marcus wasn't sure of what to say. While trying to think of a way to show Ellie that he wasn't the same as before, he suddenly had his attention grabbed by something shiny. "... Huh... You are going to break the floor at this rate..."
"Eh...?" Ellie looked down and realized that there was a small blue diamond slowly raising towards Marcus as if trying to stab him. "Ah!! I did it again!!"
"C- Congratulations... Could you please put it away now?"
"... Put it away...?" Ellie tried to focus and before she noticed, the small diamond started to sink into the floor until it disappeared. "I can control it... I can control it!!!"
"Ellie? What's going on? Why are you screaming so much?" Evlin heard their commotion once again and approached the two to see what this was all about.
"Aunt Evie, look!!"
She began to focus one more time, and just like before, a small piece of diamond appeared on the floor. Evlin made a shocked expression. "Ellie... You can control it??"
"A little bit, yeah!"
"This is amazing!!" Evlin hugged her niece out of happiness and patted her head with pride. This was the first bit of good news she had heard in a long time. Ellie was glad she managed to make her aunt release a smile again, those were starting to become rare.
The girl then thought of a way to knock two birds with one stone. How to keep her aunt happy and at the same time, find a way to stop Mia.
"I don't know how I'm doing it... But I think I can get the hang of it... Maybe if I have... Someone to teach me..." She then looked at Evlin with the biggest puppy dog eyes she could make. "Could you teach me how to use magic aunt Evie!! Pleeeeeease??"
Evlin wanted to cry. She could be a teacher, and she could spoil her niece. This was literally a match made in heaven for her. "For you baby girl? Anything!!"
Marcus watched as Evlin grabbed Ellie one more time and placed her in a deep hug. He then also noticed that Ellie's diamond was slowly moving towards his direction. He turned his head once again and saw that Ellie was smiling while glaring at him.
"I can't wait to learn magic just like you, aunt Evie..."
"..." Marcus found himself very worried at that moment.
Ellie then realized that she was going to knock three birds in the end, while Marcus realized that he needed to find a way to get on Ellie's good side and fast.