What do you see when you look in the mirror, Lillet Blan?
Do you see your face? Or…do you see someone else's?
Hm…maybe I see both. Maybe I see the girl I was, as well as the woman I have become.
A great magician, right? Wasn't that the dream I was reaching for?
However, I purposely set the bar higher and higher in that regard. Is being great good enough?
No, not anymore. I need to be better, even better than that.
What I need more than anything is to be…
"The greatest, right?"
A young woman with blonde hair and soft brown eyes sat in front of her mirror, going over her thought. It was the same way every morning. She wanted to remind herself of how far she had come…and how far she really wanted to go.
"How many years of knowledge rest in my hands…? And it's only becoming more and more pure by as the days go by. I want to see how far I can take this."
She smiled and nodded at her reflection.
"Let's take another step forward, shall we?"
This woman's name was Lillet Blan, a magician for the Royal Palace, simply known to many as a state magician. She had spent less than a year in the Magical Academy, which was in the tower known as the Silver Star.
That tower once belonged to the feared Archmage Calvaros, who terrorized the world before being sealed away by a few brave and powerful magicians.
Lillet had gone through a period of five days at the Academy, but had also done so in several thousand loops. After seeing and experiencing the tragedies of those five days over and over, she resolved to solve the mysteries of the Silver Star and save her fellow classmates and teachers. She fought her way through many obstacles, which at times included her teachers themselves, and finally managed to rid the world of Calvaros, as well as the powerful devil he made a contract with, Grimlet.
After all of that, she met her other self, stranded outside of the loops of time, and destroyed the cause of the loops in time, the Philosopher's Stone. She was reprimanded and interrogated for having destroyed the stone, but was helped by her professor at the Academy, Sir Gammel Dore, famous magician.
When that was said and done, everyone was safe and time resumed moving forward…
She heard the door to her room open slightly.
"Yes, I'm here."
"Are you okay? Did you get enough rest?"
"I'm fine, Amoretta. Just a little tired, maybe."
"You need to stop wearing yourself out, Lillet. You're only human, after all."
"I'm sorry for worrying you, Amoretta, but I really want to move forward with this. I'm fine, trust me."
"I don't think I'll take your word for it, Lillet. But I won't bother you about it too much."
"I promise I'll be fine."
The woman worrying about Lillet was her close friend, Amoretta Virgine. Despite her human appearance, she was actually a homunculus with an angel's soul inside of her. Her memories only spanned from the day she was 'created' by Doctor Chartruese Grande, but she didn't mind since most of those memories were of happy times with Lillet, who had saved her from being sacrificed to destroy Grimlet.
Ever since her birth, she had wondered what her reason for existing was, and had wondered what had been making her feel like she was missing something inside of her. After meeting Lillet, she wondered no longer. Her reason for existence was to live and be as happy as she could be. And the thing missing from her life was love. On the day they met, Lillet promised her that she would give her as much love as she would ever need, whenever she needed it.
To this day, she had been true to her word.
Amoretta sighed and smiled at Lillet. "If it's like that…okay. But come and have breakfast, at least."
"I'll change and be right out. Oh, and tell Gaff not to-"
A loud crash came from outside of the room.
"…Never mind, Amoretta. I'll be out in a moment."
"Lillet, what a nice surprise! You're up early, and looking as great as ever!"
The one handing out gratuitous compliments was Gaff, an elf caretaker who had travelled with Lillet from the Academy. He had asked to come, and Lillet didn't mind having help with housekeeping...he wasn't bad, in fact he was very good with keeping the house neat and tidy, it was just that…he was prone to breaking things.
A lot of things.
"You're a million years too early to pull one over on me, Gaff. Where'd you put them?"
"What do you mean?"
"My Alchemy journal…my special flask…and my scarf. My very…very…very rare scarf I got at a yard sale."
"Well, you see…it's a long-"
"Oh, I can wait. I have all the time in the world, Gaff. Come on, now."
"F-Fine! Your journal's drying on the kitchen counter, your flask is in the trash, and I'm steam cleaning the scarf! Happy?"
"Not very. It's my fault anyways."
Lillet gave him a sympathetic look before walking off to the kitchen. She really worried for him sometimes. If he wasn't so cute, she probably would have murdered him many times over by now.
"Hey…hey! What's that look for? Lillet? Come on, tell me!"
"So I'll see you two later, okay?"
"You'll come to the performance if you're not busy, right?"
"Of course! I love hearing you sing, Amoretta. I'll try my best to be there."
"Don't push yourself, Lillet. There will be a lot of other chances to come and see me."
"But…I feel like I'm letting you down."
Amoretta placed a hand under Lillet's chin and pushed it up, giving her a warm smile.
"You've never let me down before, Lillet Blan. I believe in you."
"…Okay. But I'm still going to work hard so I can come and see you tonight!"
"I understand. Have a good day, Lillet."
Lillet made her way off to one of a series of appointments that day. Being a state magician was demanding work at times, but she knew that she could handle it all pretty easily. It was just that she also wanted to be able to support Amoretta in what she did, as a singer at the city theatre.
Her voice was amazing, and hearing it in that grand hall was nothing short of heavenly…but this work and her research were getting in the way. She was finding it hard to sleep with everything piling up, and it seemed to be taking its toll on Amoretta, who really preferred sleeping with someone next to her at nights.
"I feel terrible about that…maybe it's time for a vacation soon."
That would certainly be welcome.
"Mage Consul Blan! You're early," one of her assistants said.
"Yes, I need to set up some things, and maybe get some more work done."
"Understood. We'll help you out with the paperwork."
"Okay. I won't be around after a while, so I'm leaving some of it to you."
"Okay! Good luck, ma'am," the young woman said with a smile.
And so, Lillet set herself to work.
"More of these reports…it's all the same thing. Mysterious runes being set, strange accidents…mostly outside of the city, but a few have been around here. The descriptions are really vague, but also very similar as well. Some kind of cult, or religious following?"
"Ma'am, this just came in from the head office."
"Thank you…what's this?"
It was something about the government investigating the Philosopher's Stone. They were going to talk to Professor Gammel about the origins, among other things.
"Right, he was one of the three that created the Stone. But why now? What's with this sudden interest? My heart's telling me…"
This kind of move…it feels really suspicious…
She stood up from her desk. "I'm going out for a while. I might be late for some of my meetings, so relay that, please."
"Yes ma'am. Anything else?"
The windows facing the city streets exploded in a fireball, and the entire building was shaken to its foundation.
"What was that?"
More and more explosions started to sound off as time ticked on.
"I think…I think we're under attack!"
"What the hell? What is this?"
"Those are Golems!"
"So many of them!"
Lillet's ears picked up the sounds of panic. What were Golems doing here en masse? Why attack a government building like this?
"…No time for pondering, I guess. An appropriate grimoire…this one."
Lillet snapped her fingers, and immediately, a book appeared in her hands. She opened it up and stretched a free hand forward.
"Here we go! Grimoire of Sorcery, Hell Gate!"
A spinning red circle appeared in front of her, and with that, she moved straight into the action.
"Come forth, Demons!"
Most magicians could summon about three Demons at most in a single command.
Lillet Blan was not like most magicians.
At her beckoning, twenty Demons appeared in front of her.
"You think you guys can get rid of those Golems for me? I'll give you the strength you need."
"We shall obey your commands, Mistress."
"Thank you. Now, let's get rid of these pests. Hell Gate, Fifth Level! Release!"
The rune in front of Lillet glowed brightly, and as it did, the Demons around her were filled with even greater power.
In a flash, they met the Golems outside, and then proceeded to rip apart the mechanical hulks with little effort. Lillet stepped outside herself to survey the damage caused by the Golems.
"Not too horrible…good work, you guys. I now release you."
"It was an honour, Mistress."
The Demons disappeared in flashes of red light, and the rune that Lillet had cast vanished with a snap of her fingers. The book in her hands vanished in smoke a moment later, only to be replaced by another.
"An amateur…those Golems were very close to the building, meaning the rune wasn't at a high level. Seemed more like a hit and run…"
She stretched her hand forward once more.
"Grimoire of Glamour, Fairy Ring!"
The rune she had cast was now green, and with a simple snap of her fingers, a few dozen Fairies appeared.
"We're here! What do you need?"
"I need you all to find someone for me. They're wearing a hood over their head, and they're riding some kind of summon. Most likely a Golem."
"A Golem? Those are scary!"
"Yeah, like…really creepy, too."
"Do we really have to?"
Lillet sighed. "You guys…here, I'll do this for you. Fairy Ring, Fourth Level! Release!"
The rune started to glow brightly.
"There, now you have the Astral Change ability. Could you please go and find that person I was talking about now?"
"Well…it's okay now."
"Yeah, they can't attack Astrals, can they?"
"But like, what if they have a Homunculus?"
"Huh? I never thought of that! That would be totally bad!"
"All of you just go!"
"She's totally mad!"
"Jeez, calm down!"
Lillet sighed again and shook her head. "Really, Fairies are just…"
Still, it looks like it's going to be a really long day. First the government opening up that Pandora's Box known as the Philosopher's Stone again, and then this attack just now. Amoretta…looks like I'm going to miss another performance of yours.
"Good Lord in Heaven…help me keep myself together."
Little did Lillet know that her long day was going to get a whole lot longer.