It had been ten odd years since Gill last paid a visit to Laurite’s hermitage.
Gill’s first memory was of this place. Stranded without a relative, nor recollection of his former family and hometown, he simply awoke here one day. He heard from another that Laurite found him collapsed somewhere and brought him to this hermitage. From then on, Gill had lived here learning sorcery from Laurite. It seems Gill always had a natural talent for magic, but it wasn’t until Laurite began teaching him did his potential truly blossom.
Gill recalled back to the last time he saw Laurite. At that time, Gill had a hunch that Laurite knew of his forgotten past and was going to ask him about it (Gill’s hunches by this time were already pretty spot on), but before he could ask, Laurite told Gill to go on a journey to explore the world.
As a teacher, Laurite was not only competent, but a model example of integrity. If Laurite knew his past, Gill figured, then he would tell him it when the time was right.
Gill shelved his question for the time being and obeyed his teacher. He proceeded to go on a journey to tour the world and came in contact with many different ways of life, gaining vast knowledge and experience from all those he met.
“Anyone home? Hellooo? Pops, you there?” Gill rapped boorishly on the door.
“Who could that be? Pipe down for a moment, I’m coming.”
The Elf Sage opened the door to find Gill, his former student and foster son, before him. Laurite stared intently at Gill for more than just a few moments.
He couldn’t have possibly forgotten about me, could he? Gill thought to himself.
“Oh! Well look who it is!,” Laurite exclaimed, nodding to himself. While it may have been ten odd years since they’ve met, there was no way Laurite could forget the face of his favorite student, “You’ve sure gotten big… ‘Taro’.” Or maybe he could.
“Wrong!” Gill exclaimed.
“Oh? Sorry, was it ‘Daro’?” Laurite scratched his head.
“...You’re doing this on purpose aren’t ya, Pops?” Gill chuckled. He remembered now, the ever shrewd yet charming personality the sage had. Small jokes like these were common with him.
“Just a small jest, Gill. It’s been a while.”
“It has. Who’s this Taro anyway?”
“Ah… well I’ve been holed up in my underground library as of late, you see. Discovered a new set of story books... I wonder where they were hiding until now? Anyway, this character named Taro repeatedly appears in those books. I’ve quite taken to him that the name just came right out.”
The thumping of footsteps could be heard in the distance.
“Wait up!” A small voice belonging to a child called out.
“New disciples I take it?” Gill asked.
“Yes, a innocent and talented bunch at that. So innocent, they’d be easily swayed good or wicked still. It’s a good thing they’re blessed with such a wonderful teacher to guide them.” Laurite said without a hint of shame.
“Indeed”. Gill couldn’t help but agree. While Laurite was indeed boasting, as he usually did, there was no doubt he would lead those children down the right path.
Gill recounted the full particularity of the recent events to Laurite.
“Mhm… I see. I’ve taken notice to some of the more perplexing phenomenon occuring lately… but to think this entire world is a construct. Interesting…,” Laurite spoke deliberately as he stroked his chin, “That said however, there remain a few inconsistencies.”
“Like what?” Gill asked.
“If this world is indeed created by this Time Spinning Witch, for what reason has it kept form for so long? Of course, we denizens of this world wouldn't sense so as we are mere ‘characters’ of this created world’s setting. If, say, this world were created five seconds ago, we’d be none the wiser. But once you factor in Reiya’s existence, then this world had to have been created at least ten years ago. Er, you did meet her ten years ago, correct?” Laurite explained his reasoning.
“Yup, at the Dark Castle. Your point being, this world was created sometime before that meeting.”
“Which begs the question, in that ten year span, what were the Witch and her minions doing? If that magic system you spoke of aims to absorb all the powers of this epoch, where is it now? From Reiya’s story, it didn’t seem the other worlds lasted as long.”
Gill reflected back on Reiya’s story. Had Reiya been lying? No, not her. But maybe she was hiding something.
“Well, whatever. Reiya’s a friend. It’s a waste of time to distrust her. What I really came for, Pops, was a way to deal with Alhama’at’s interference.”
“Gill. You’ve grown, haven’t you.”
“Um, I guess? Pops, do you know something about why I become Alhama’at?”
Laurite showed an unusually melancholy face. It would see he indeed did know something.
“It’d be best you hear from this Alhama’at fellow yourself. In the depths of the forest, there’s a cave housing archaic magic. Enter there and you can transcend the boundary of mind and body. Normally it’s reserved for deep meditation, but desperate times call for desperate measures.”
“Thanks, Pops. I’ll head over now. Oh, and…”
“I know. By the off chance you do lose your body to Alhama’at, I’ll catch you and hand you off to this Reiya girl.”
“Yeah, countin’ on ya.”
Laurite wore a somber expression as he saw Gill off, uncertain if he’d return the same man.