203 Wrapping up
Ellie was a little confused about her current situation.
One minute she was fighting against Flora in the core ring of Hana's lost garden, and next thing she knows, she is sitting on a bench with a girl by her side while her aunt and Marcus were in a line to buy ice-cream from a food truck in the middle of a park.
"What the hell...??" she whispered.
She looked around and noticed that Daren and Lilith were on the other side sitting on an opposite bench with Lance in the middle.
On her left, Claire and Joseph were fighting and calling each other names while disturbing the people around them.
Detra was standing next to three other adults and chatting with them while looking a little grumpy, but somehow not as grumpy as the usual Detra. On a closer look, she realized that these people were her parents and her grandmother.
"What's going on...???" she whispered again.
"Ellie, which one you want??" Evlin asked making Ellie notice that they had reached the end of the line and it was already their turn.
"Wha...?" Ellie replied, still feeling lost.
"The flavor, Ellie... Which one do you want?"
"Oh..." Ellie didn't know what was happening so she just answered the question, "vanilla... I think..."
"Ok, so it will be one of vanilla just like mine, a strawberry one for Marcus, and what about you shortie?" Evlin commented while picking her credit card.
Ellie wondered if she was dreaming. She was reunited with her whole family for the first time in ages and they were just enjoying a free day outside as if nothing bad ever happened. It felt like heaven.
"I will want one of brigadeiro..." the girl on Ellie's side answered, "and please don't call me shortie, I'm sensitive about my height."
Ellie felt like time had frozen. The girl's voice sounded strangely familiar. She turned her head and finally gave her a proper look. A kid about her height with chestnut skin, black hair tied up by ponytails, and wearing a red jacket over an orange shirt.
Evlin came over to deliver their cones, "there you go, Mia!"
"Thanks!" Mia replied.
Ellie couldn't move. It was like someone just delivered her the best Christmas gift ever just to drop it on the ground, step on it, and burn it with a flamethrower.
"Here you go, Ellie!" her aunt said while she gave her vanilla ice-cream, but Ellie was so shocked she didn't even respond, "Ellie...? Ellie! Ellie!!!"
The girl finally woke up from her dream to the sound of Marcus calling for her.
"ELLIE!!! Ellie are you awake!!??"
"Wha... Wha... What!!??" Ellie replied as she realized Marcus was carrying her on his back while they tried to run away from a crumbling mountain, "what's happening!!?? Where are we??"
"We are in the core ring!! The garden's spirit was killed so now the entire forest is falling apart!! We need to leave!!" Marcus shouted.
"Killed...!!??" Ellie repeated and realized, she had actually done it, she killed Flora and destroyed her core. She actually had won.
While the two descended the mountain she could see the entire place being destroyed. The cursed energy that was feeding it for all these years was gone and now all the magic was vanishing from the place. Trees were falling down, the red smog was vanishing, the summoning spells were getting deactivated and the blue trees were returning to their original color.
"What happened to me??" she yelled.
"I don't know!! I just came to bring you back after I dropped Lilith and my mother outside and you were unconscious on top of the mountain! The second I grabbed you the place just began to shatter!"
Ellie tried to think of the last thing she remembered, before her weird ice-cream dream. She had found a way to access terminal energy and defeated Flora. She also remembers Flora tearing up as she realized she was about to die, which for a second made Ellie feel really guilty about her action.
She never really wanted to kill the forest's spirit, but she kept talking about how she would go on a rampage and start killing people just for the heck of it after she was done with Ellie and her friends.
At the same time, they were the ones that barged in, so in a way, she had the right to be angry at people.
"Ellie...?? Ellie, you ok??" Marcus asked after they finally reached the ground.
"I actually killed her... I killed someone..." Ellie whispered.
"Ellie..." Marcus was about to say something but the crumbling pieces of the mountain began to fall one after another and forced him to start moving again.
He started to look for one of the teleportation circles there were hidden underneath the ground and hoped that they still had enough magic to get them out of there before the entire mountain dropped on them.
"Ellie!! I promise we will talk later, but right now, I need you to help me find an exit of this place!!"
Ellie activated her future sight but for some reason, she could only see it for a few seconds as her eyes began to suddenly hurt.
"Ouch!!!" she cried while forcefully closing her eyelids.
"Over there, on your left!!" she commented as she raised her arm and pointed at a hidden teleportation circle.
Marcus hurried over there while dodging massive boulders that kept coming from the sky, but once he finally arrived his face began to lose color.
"It's not working... It's not working!! It needs the cursed energy of the forest to work!!" he cried. He was about to start dashing at full speed to get out of there hoping that they could escape in time, but Ellie interrupted him before he could.
"Hold on!!" she reached for the circle with her arm and tried to send her own cursed energy to activate it, and moments after that, the circle began to glow with a soft red light.
"Ah!! You got the power from the forest!! You did it!!"
"I did!! Now let's get out of here!!"
Marcus then stepped into the circle and before they could even react, they found themselves all the way in the summoning ring. Marcus continued to rush at full speed to the exit. Ellie tried to turn into a silver gauntlet to increase his running power, but she was too tired to use any more mirror magic.
But that proved to not be necessary as they soon spotted the light of the sun shining upon them as they met with two figures waiting for their return at the gates of the garden. Detra and Lilith.
"You made it!!" Detra yelled.
"We made it!!" Marcus replied.
Lilith followed the sound of their voices and gave the two a big hug to show how relieved she was.
Ellie looked back and continued to gaze at the rising piles of smoke showing up and the forest continued to disintegrate and slowly bury itself under the soil.
"Goodbye Flora... I hope wherever you are, you won't be bothered anymore..." Ellie whispered before getting knocked out by her own exhaustion and falling into a deep sleep.
"Is she ok??" Detra asked while staring at the young girl's state and almost gasping from what she saw once she properly looked at her.
"The fight must have been more intense than we expected... I think she's just tired and probably didn't even noticed yet... Let's get out of here and get to someplace safe!" Marcus recommended as he understood what his mother was concerned with.
Lilith couldn't see so she didn't know what was on their minds, but she would find out soon.
The four of them finally began to leave the garden for good while marching towards their next objective.
Marcus wanted to fuse with Lilith again to help her move but he had barely any stamina left by that point and probably couldn't keep a form up for more than six seconds, which was why he didn't bring Lilith with him when he went after Ellie to avoid the risk of getting back to normal during an emergency.
Luckily, Detra offered to guide Lilith as they kept moving and helping her watch her step.
The sight of Detra helping Lilith was one of the strangest things Marcus never imagined he would ever see, and he had just seen his dead father trying to kill him not too long ago.
They didn't have to run for long though, as the goddess of the west suddenly showed up in front of them and offering a portal to help the group reunite with the rest of their team.
Marcus thanked West for the assist and jumped into the portal while still carrying Ellie on his back and trying very carefully to be gentle while moving her.
Detra was about to enter with Lilith as well but West stopped her before she could and stared at her, "what's the result?? Can the kid do it??" she asked.
Detra just looked at Lilith who despite not being able to show her eyes, still expressed a lot of security through her smiling face. Detra realized that they both were on the same page again, they had no doubts about Ellie.
"She can... She did this all by herself after all!" Detra stated while pointing at the garden turning into ruins.
"Very well..." West declared, "let's hope you're right!"
West finally allowed Detra and Lilith to pass and jump into the portal. They were finally saying their goodbyes to the forgotten forest and were about to make the final preparations for the confrontation with Mia.