Section 11: Waking From a Dream to Something Sweet
There are two rings on my left hand.
Saluena’s dark violet ring, and Unicorn’s white porcelain one. And these rings take the shape of grimoires whenever I intend them to. In other words, at the end of my arm, on my fingers, is a library. And I am the grimoire master, the ruler of that library.
So if I can pull out a book, then the opposite, must be possible as well!!
The ruby known as the dream gem continued to shine redder and redder. The carbuncle’s body which had already dissolved into a fiery mist is being sucked into my right hand.
The mist folds and condenses together, solidifying into dozens of pieces of paper stacking on top of themselves one after another.
What emerged from those freshly printed pages were the words I needed most. A powerful incantation to lock the carbuncle in my hand.
“On behalf of the Goddess Illya, Iris Calvafon wields the chains to shackle you in place.”
Everything the carbuncle is was derived from the red ruby. The power of a ruby is meant to be life itself. That power was inverted to represent death……so there’s only one thing I need to do. Force. It. Back.
“Wha-…….I’m being…….sucked in? I am, ah……my very soul……is being rewritten……..?”
The carbuncle’s body, which was already nothing more than a pale light, completely disappeared. Every particle of light that made up its existence was transformed into pieces of paper and compiled into a single book.
“Crimson flames hidden within the pure sphere. Light, bring forth cascading blood into a grand ocean.”
I seized the grimoire with my right hand. In that instant, a red stone embedded itself in the center of the grimoire’s cover.
That stone was the dream gem encircled by a silver binding. The characters scrawled across the pages wriggled and distorted themselves, as if the book itself was still trying to decide what should be written.
So I made the choice for it.
“It is the dawn that illuminates a new world. It is love that bestows grace and envelops everything. It is life which flows through and moves the world!!”
It wasn’t as bad as with Saluena, but I could still feel my magic power being sucked in. But, I can’t afford to faint here.
I had one more page, one more sentence that needed to be read aloud.
“By the name and power of Iris Calvafon, bestow upon those who would die in obscurity life and sound health once again!!”
I raised my grimoire which shined like the sun at dawn. And then from that light, a spirit emerged.
“Hiii!? O-Oi……the carbuncle is……you mean it’s just fine!?”
The spirit was very similar to the carbuncle, so I can’t blame Lapris for screaming when she saw it. But this spirit’s form was still murky, and with each second its form continued to morph more and more.
“It’s all right. You don’t need to worry.”
I turned my gaze to the spirit whose gem still rested in the middle of its forehead.
The spirit began to sing. And along with that cry came a ripple of light spreading outwards from its gem, illuminating everything around it.
That light then converged, wrapping itself around Carol. Each time a new wave of light would wash over her body, and as the light faded away to give way to a new wave, slowly, color returned to her face.
“T-This…..what is this? What’s happening?”
Carol’s lips, which were a light purple until now, returned to their original pink color. Watching all of this in shock, Toslin asked me for an explanation.
“Iris captured the carbuncle. Rubies are originally stones with the power over life. The spirit inhabiting it was one of the Primordial World, so the effect was altered to reflect death instead……”
“But now that spirit has been changed back from its inverted position, so the spirit dwelling within can draw out the proper abilities of the stone.”
“Y-You mean……Carol is…….”
“She saved her. Look, isn’t she already mostly restored? Her hair is looking so glossy she might just wake up any second now.”
Fully accepting that things were finally safe for her, Lapris jumped out from Unicorn’s mane and landed on top of Carol’s stomach. Taking a seat there, she was being slightly lifted up and down with each breath Carol took, offering proof that Carol had been completely revived.
“U-Uuu…..Carol……. Iris, thank…….”
Toslin was just about to thank me when *Shaka Shaka Shaka Shaka*……..the ground started trembling at our feet.
“Eh, Eh!? What!? An earthquake!?”
Toslin grabbed Carol since she wasn’t awake yet and stood up together with her.
“No, this is……different.”
Saluena managed to keep her head, calmly looking around us and denying the earthquake hypothesis.
And when I glanced around as well, I understood why. Those tremors were actually caused by the solretta trees that were covering this hall suddenly beginning to grow.
“Don’t you ‘ah’ us!! Hurry up and put that spirit away!! Right now!!”
Branches and leaves of the solretta tree are spread out in a dome-like shape all across the hall’s ceiling. I was wondering at first how foliage could grow so thickly in a cave so deep inside some ruins where the sun never shines, but I figured they most likely grew like this because of the years they were exposed to the light of the dream gem from its altar.
And right now, all of those trees were going through an explosive growth spurt. Needless to say, the cause is the spirit whose power has been adjusted to its correct position.
“Ah, right……it seems that’s still a bit impossible.”
After such a strong tsukkomi, I couldn’t help but smile wryly.
“Because…..it’s not listening to me yet.”
With the sound of Lapris’s scream echoing around us, the spirit continued releasing it’s power as if it were boasting of its reincarnation or trying to show off what it is capable of.
*Tck Tck*…….*Crackle Crackle*……
And during that time, the massive solretta trees continued to grow, the already complex dome of branches and leaves woven together expanding outwards.
“O-O-Oi, Oi oi oi oi oi!? Aren’t we going to end up smashed by these roots at this rate……”
The earth continued to tremble as the noise of the roots breaking apart rock filled our ears. But thanks to the perfect shell-like dome that had grown through here, not a single pebble had fallen on us easing any worries I had of a cave-in.
And then that shell suddenly broke.
Like a dandelion spreading out its petals, the branches that were covering us until now slowly opened outwards. It opening like this means there’s nothing left to hold it in. That is to say…….
“Eh……somehow……the moon has come into view…….”
With the solretta’s roots growing underneath and pushing us upwards, we found ourselves above ground before we even realized it.
“O-Oi! Look over there, the spirit is…..there’s something wrong with it!!”
As I was gazing at the suddenly appearing moon, Lapris started to pester me. From how restless she looked, I thought she was likely to faint at this rate. So without kicking up any fuss, I obediently turned around to find that the spirit had formed its own shell around its body.
“It looked almost exactly like the carbuncle until now, but……”
“Is that, an egg?”
Curious, I took another look at the cover of the grimoire I was still holding in my right hand.
“Ah…..yeah, I guess it is.”
*Pik*…….*Pik* a spiderweb of cracks soon spread across the shell’s surface, and some strange little object managed to push its way through. Nobody knew what it was at first, but after seeing the name scrawled across the grimoire’s cover, I figured it out. It’s a beak.
*Crack* *Crackle* the egg started to break apart. Bits of the shell plummeted to the meadow below us and fully revealed the hatchling inside.
“It’s……a bird? And, it’s whole body, is on fire……”
In response to her name being called, the newborn spirit spread out its wings wide.
Enough bright red light radiated off of her to make the night sky look as if it were the middle of the day.
With her role finished, Phoenix once again broke down into an array of light particles. The grimoire changed shape alongside it, morphing into a ring fitted on my right index finger.
On the ring’s setting, the ruby known as the dream gem shined with a deep glow from the reflected moonlight.
There was no longer a spirit from the Primordial World dwelling within. The spirit known as the Phoenix has taken its place, and instead of death, it will bestow life.
——Like with her.
“……Huah, Toslin…….good morning.”
That familiar, yet somehow nostalgic, slightly dim voice came from the werewolf girl Carol’s mouth.
“Wah……hold on, there’s no reason to shout so suddenly. Why are you so surprised?”
She’s brimming with life, as if her weakened state a few minutes ago was just a lie.
“More importantly, hey hey…….hold me tighter.”
But, what? She’s kind of different from how she usually is. Her voice and eyes certainly look drowsy, so maybe she’s still half asleep.
“W-Why would I, to you, and in a place like this!?”
Toslin’s confusion had completely blown away the overwhelming joy she was feeling. We all saw how she was crying, so we already know how she really feels. I personally don’t think there’s any real reason for her to feel shy right now…….
“Eh? What are you saying? You’re the one who told me you liked me and would pet me whenever……and so, you said you’d hold me tight every morning when I wake up…….”
“Hold on a minute!! You can’t just go around making up stuff like that!! When did I ever say I would…….”
“Eeh, but you did~. It was only a month ago right? You even gave me a ring……so I, immediately told you I…….”
Carol tried explaining things while glancing over at her left hand. But when she looked, she found that there was no ring on her finger.
The bubbly smile Carol had been carrying until now froze. She blinked a couple of times, but no, a ring did not magically appear in the few seconds her eyes were closed.
“Um, Carol-san……the same thing happened to me……. We faced a carbuncle, so you may be thinking of……the dream it showed us…….”
Clearly unsure if she should saying anything at all, Rose-san finally offered Carol an explanation.
“…….eh……..um, a dream, was it……..”
Carol’s head creaked like a rusted iron door as it awkwardly turned towards Toslin who was looking quite uncomfortable herself.
“…….Oh, oh~………well…….um, um…….”
As their gazes met and they looked into each other’s eyes, both of their cheeks burned with a hot blush.
Followed by Carol releasing an ear-splitting scream before suddenly running away.
Even though Phoenix had only just restored her vitality, Carol’s feet were moving so fast you would never guess she just woke up from a four day coma.
“Wai-, where are you going!? Wait, hey come on!! Over there is……”
But Carol had already vanished from sight, her still screaming voice the only clue to where she had gone.
But of course, right now we’re on a huge solretta tree that’s growing out the side of a mountain. Her voice could end up traveling over kilometers with the echoes up here.
“She just came back, and now she’s going to scream herself to death.”
“I-I’m sure she’ll be fine.”
With Lapris’s tremendously amazed voice at my back, I left with Toslin to make sure that Carol was still safe.