238 Confused feelings
Marcus woke up that morning by himself in his room while feeling the light of the sun kissing his skin.
He raised his upper body and looked around while scratching his hair to notice that Leona was nowhere to be seen.
"... Did I imagined all that...?" he asked himself as he wondered if Leona did in fact visited him or if he was just dreaming about her.
He changed his clothes and exited the room to go get some breakfast. While doing so, he arrived at the main room and found a table filled with every single person he ever fused with by using his blessed ability.
Evlin was helping Ellie eat due to the kid still missing a hand and feeling weak, Dia was by their side eating some cookies looking rather focused, Lilith was sitting on a chair that was close to the window feeling the light breeze of the wind on her face, and Leona was at the end of the table holding her forehead with both hands with her eyes wide open as if she had something weighing on her mind.
He didn't saw Hana, his mother, Daren, or any of the others, so he assumed they were all still sleeping.
Marcus never stopped to think about it but he actually had used his fusion power with a lot of people. He remembers hearing that his father, Marceus, was only able to do it with two individuals, Lilith and Daren.
Since this ability only worked when there was mutual trust with both sides, does that mean that Marceus had a hard time trusting people? Or maybe he had a hard time getting people to trust him? Or maybe Marcus was just too easy to trust and had an easier time trusting others? Possibly a result of him still having a complex over not wanting to be alone? After all, there was a time where he even considered Xadi and Mia his friends.
"Good morning..." he commented while waving his hand at all the ladies there gathered.
"Morning, Marcus!" Evlin and Ellie responded. It seemed like Ellie didn't hold any hostility towards him anymore which he was thankfull for.
"Good morning, Marcus!" Lilith replied with her usual calming tone worthy of an older sister.
"Hi..." Dia also said. She didn't seem to be that interested in him from her tone and responded more out of politeness. She was probably still either thinking about her grandmother or maybe was just worried that Marcus would ask her to share some of her cookies.
"..." Curiously, Leona was the only one who didn't respond. She was actually avoiding looking him in the eye for some reason.
Marcus then also noticed that most of the people he had fused with were all women, which made him realize that he didn't have that many guy friends besides Daren. He began to wonder if he should try to go out more and meet new people.
"How are you guys doing...?" he asked, referring of course, to the Hana situation.
"Miss Evlin is depressed..." Dia blurted out.
Evlin didn't respond and just continued to help her niece with her food.
Ellie raised an eyebrow, "Depressed...?"
Dia just grabbed another cookie but suddenly her hunger vanished, meaning that Evlin was now feeling even worse, "I... Sorry... I shouldn't have said that..."
"I'm not depressed, I'm just thinking about some stuff..." Evlin responded.
"Is that why you're using the spoon upside down...?" Ellie commented.
"Wha...? Oh! Sorry!!"
Marcus took a seat on the table and wondered if he could help, "so what's bugging you? Still thinking about the whole Hana and the dragon thing?"
"That too..." she admitted, "but I'm also thinking about Ashley..."
"We kinda had a fight last night... We never had a fight before..." Evlin commented while still feeding Ellie, not noticing that she was shoving the spoon on her nose by accident.
Marcus gently grabbed the spoon from her and took her place in feeding Ellie.
"Never? Not even once?"
"Never... And I think I said some harsh things to her and don't know how to look her in the eye right now..."
"Wow... That's impressive..."
"I mean... You usually tend to pick fights with anyone very easily, so the fact you never had a discussion or a disagreement with Ashley is honestly surprising..." Marcus noticed.
Evlin looked at him with empty eyes. Usually, she would just glare at the boy and throw an insult, but right now, she just felt tired.
"Is this really who I am...? Some violent girl that just goes around picking fights with people for no reason...?" Evlin wondered while sinking her face on the table.
Dia and Ellie then began to glare at Marcus for making Evlin feel even worse, which made the lad flinch and began to shiver while thinking about how to fix that.
"N- No!! That's not true!! What I meant was that you just have a strong personality so you tend to clash with others more often than most people! B- But that doesn't mean you're a bad person!!" Marcus stated.
"Thanks, Marcus..." Ellie replied, but her tone of voice was not that of someone who was feeling very good right now, "I just still can't believe my own sister and my own friends picked a demon goddess over me..."
"Evlin..." Marcus tried to help again, "We didn't pick Hana over you... We just wanna make sure that there really is no threat out there... You heard Ellie, she could sense that Hana wasn't lying! And she is a goddess! She could have turned all of us into statues when you guys were fighting... But she still tried to use her words and make us listen to her..."
"Why do you all defend her so much?? She was going to force you guys to fight for her..."
Leona flinched at that moment. Hearing about the one she followed acting like such a tyrant still wasn't sitting well with her.
"Maybe..." Marcus admitted, "I'm not saying she is a saint... But... If there really is something out there that could make even a goddess act so desperately... It just might be a cause of concern for us as well... We're not doing this for her... We're doing this for our own safety!"
"I don't know..." Evlin replied.
The poor mage felt like her feelings weren't reaching anyone. These people lived in a world where fighting monsters day and night was a common thing for them, while Evlin comes from a world where school life is the biggest monster she should have to face.
The idea of not going after a monster and kill it was just alien to them. They were not aware of the value of avoiding a fight because their entire lives were nothing but fighting. That was one of the reasons Evlin so desperately wanted to leave this place, she didn't want this kind of danger to turn into something normal for her.
But the fact is, for them, Evlin is the weird one for thinking about avoiding dealing with a beast, even more, when one considers the fact she is one of the strongest things on the planet at the current moment.
Thinking about this made Evlin feel depressed as if she was in a country where nobody could speak her language.
Ellie didn't know what to say so she just gave her aunt a hug. Evlin raised her face and stared at her niece trying to help her.
"I'm here for you, aunt Evie!"
"Oh!! My cute little niece!! You always make my day so much better!!"
Evlin then grabbed her niece and started to squeeze her like a toy, which resulted in the girl gasping for air.
Marcus saw the scene and suddenly began to hear Ellie's voice speaking in his mind.
[THIS! Is how you cheer someone up...]
[I see... ] Marcus replied, feeling like he really needed to learn how to better talk with people.
"So..." Leona interrupted their moment, "Will you really go after this dragon...?"
"I don't really see how I have much of a choice... Even if I leave now, I'm pretty sure my friends would just try to go without me... And I don't wanna think about them risking their lives while I turn my back on them..."
"You sure... ?" Leona asked again, "As you said before... this is not your fight, it's not your duty... I'm the champion of the East, I'm the one who is in charge of serving her command... You could try to talk to them again... Convince them to change their minds..."
Evlin was surprised that Leona of all people would stay by her side. She was glad that her fellow animal-lover friend was at least trying to see things from her point of view.
"Maybe..." Evlin whispered while looking at Ellie's arm, "But if I don't go... Someone who has worse odds than me will have to do it... and that person might not make it back... When it's all said and done, I do have a better chance of making it back than most... Besides... You saved my school from that dragon attack... I kinda owe you one... If helping your boss will make you happy, then it's a small price to pay..."
"Ah! I can finally eat again!!" Mia commented as she noticed she was no longer feeling full.
"Aunt Evie, you feeling better?"
"A bit yeah... I think I just needed a good night of sleep and vent a little..." Evlin replied. She also wanted to say she just wished one person would be on her side but decided to keep it to herself.
"I'm glad to hear it!" Marcus said.
"Thanks! So anyway, where is that goddess anyway?"
"Lady Hana is still talking with the previous East goddess... They've been talking the whole night..." Leona responded.
As Evlin heard that, she started to notice something while looking at Marcus and Leona, "Oh yeah...You two are fellow East champions, aren't you?"
"I'm not a champion anymore..." Marcus responded, "After my mother was replaced, our connection was broken. I'm no longer unable to age. Although I still have my blessing, just like Lilith and Gustav..."
"I see..." Evlin commented, followed by glancing at the girl that was eating some snacks, "Is Dia still North's champion?"
"I'm not sure... Nobody saw North even since the battle ended..." Marcus replied, "But I don't sense a lot of holy energy in her anymore... She probably lost her status as well..."
Evlin began to ponder while crossing her arms, "Does this mean a new champion of the North might appear...? Mia was blessed more than fifty years ago... If North severed his connection with her, he might be on the search for a new champion right now..."
"Who knows..." Marcus added.
"Oh, man... I hope he gets demoted and never bothers us again... I kinda wish that just for once we could get a god that doesn't go around causing trouble for others..." Evlin admitted while picking a cup of coffee.
Just as she was about to take a sip, a pillar of light appeared right in front of her out of nowhere and revealed a black-haired girl on a white dress looking at her desperately.
"EVLIN!!!!!" the goddess screamed.
"W- West!!?? What the hell are you doing?? You almost made me burn myself!! And where the heck have you been?? You just vanished after the battle was over..."
"We don't have time for this!! I need your help!! Now!!" West shouted while grabbing the mage by the collar.
"Seriously!!?? Well, get in line, I'm already offering my services to one crazy goddess... wait your turn..."
"I'm serious you moron!! Someone is attacking my church and my champion!!"
Evlin's eyes began to widen up, "what...?? West! West, what did you just say!!??"
"There is a weird guy fighting Auren, right as we speak!! And he is going to kill him!! I need you!!!"
"Someone is attacking Auren!!??" Lilith yelled while standing up from the window, "who!!??"
West began to shiver, "I... I think it's a dragon!!"
Evlin felt the world freezing at that moment.
"Please!! You have to help him!!" West begged.
Evlin then realized that the problem that Hana was trying to drag her into, just became her problem as well. She grabbed her armor and charged herself with healing magic.
"Lead the way!"