Rhonda groaned as she dragged her feet to make a minicamp. To her irritation, she noticed the roles between her and Londa had flipped to some measure of degree. It was not wrong of Londa to direct Rhonda when necessary, but the submissive half was doing so in a fashion that grated against the dominant half’s usual nature.
Yeah, this big ol’ rock here will do from what we can feel. It’s big enough for you. Now, if you walk in a straight line into the—
“Go to the woods, yes. Gather the dry wood, yes. Bring the wood, yes. I’m tired, Londa, not incompetent.”
Rhonda felt her other half shrink back into her corner of their shared mental space. She could almost imagine the little one shivering from her better’s disapproval. With a sigh, the giantess envisioned herself reaching out to Londa and picking her up in one hand. Then she started petting Londa’s back.
In the physical world, Rhonda said: “What’s gotten into you?”
I want to do my best for you.
“You’re doing plenty.”
I just… I want to prove I’m not invalid.
In their mental space, Londa’s body curled up within Rhonda’s hands. She was like a little animal held within the palm of the giantess.
I know I’m real. I think, therefore I am, right? That has to be the case because I carry the memories of our past human life.
“And I carry the memories of our giantess character who suffered her own tragedy,” Rhonda said. “What we’ve experienced is no fault of our own, my dear. I do not wish for you to burden yourself so heavily.”
Besides, if there were any part of their bizarre coexistence that was more likely to be invalid, it would be Rhonda. She was the wish-fulfillment made real, but she refused to let that stop her from seizing a handle on this life and its delights.
You’re so strong.
The corners of Rhonda’s lips curled up. “You’re tougher than you let on. Your devotion towards me lights a fire in you during the most climatic of moments. Maybe one day we’ll be more like sisters with different perspectives than dominant master and submissive pet.”
I don’t know. I will rather be your pet. I rather give up the major controls to you and assist you from here. I’m sorry...
Rhonda sighed. “Then let’s finish this camp without the constant fussing, my precious.”
The deepness of the night made it a hassle to secure dry wood. For once, Rhonda found the darkness more cumbersome and undesirable than ever before. It made every step a hazard, and it made the sound of her footfalls louder than they should be. A branch cracking underneath almost sounded louder than a burbling stream that served as a focus for her hearing.
After two trips, Rhonda returned to her stone perch with fallen branches and a bundle of twigs that were more or less dry. She sat down and snapped the branches apart. Then she piled them with twigs and leaves near the edge that overlooked the stream.
Mistress, fire magic time? Londa sounded very eager.
Her excitement was infectious, causing Rhonda to crack a grin. The giantess supposed that the use of magic in any form would be vastly more interesting than what they had innately available. Looking back, Rhonda’s abilities had been passives that were stringently tailored for her survival. The last one she received, [Cornered Beast], was the most extreme example of an ability to survive future fights if she used it correctly.
Rhonda pouted, her cheer dimming. It was… sad for Rhonda to consider that her powers were focused on pure survival and savagery. It was far from something wondrous like the mystic arts. For the first time, she wondered what it would be like to be a giantess wizard or sorceress rather than a huge, clumsy brute.
She could feel Londa hovering over her; the submissive side’s concern was obvious without her having to say it outright. It would do them no good if Rhonda allowed such sentiments to dim the moment, especially when it kept her away from her rightful slumber.
Perking up, the giantess raised her arms to make a show of the event. “Magic time!”
Maaaaagic tiimmme! It’s going to be a wonderful time! Bring all your friends, girls and boys, for Rhonda’s mystic, enchanting wizardry tiiiime!
“That, my dear, is your worse song yet.”
Wait till I make a catchy tune. You’ll start singing even if you hate it. Londa laughed.
“That would be torture.” The giantess sniggered briefly; then, she shook her head and refocused on the task at hand.
After her experience with the knife’s enchantment, she understood her gear's trigger mechanism was a simple process. She needed to only request for the power by evoking it through the will of the mind and spirit. She also felt it would help to touch the item too.
“[Soft Blaze],” she said, her eyes closing for a flicker of a moment. When she reopened her eyes, the night’s nearness was pushed away. Far away. She was suddenly in the middle of the brightest glow to starkly contrast the vast darkness engulfing the forest.
The firelight illuminated the surface of the slow-moving stream her stony perch overlooked. It shone over the tree branches that clawed at the dark sky above her. It was shocking to see so much after bumbling through the dark for what could’ve been hours.
Mistress, what does it look like? Londa asked gingerly.
Rhonda considered her question and looked down. Her eyes widened, absorbed by the sight of gentle orange flames wavering around her waist.
The magic of [Soft Blaze] extended itself with flicks of fire, thin wreaths of smoke, and steam trailing upward. When she focused on it, she realized she could sense a warmth surrounding her. It emanated from the belt just like the flames. It did not burn her or her clothing.
Hey, your clothes are drying. Can you feel that? Londa deduced.
Yes, she could feel it. The magic flames and heat were drying Rhonda’s clothes for her, evaporating the water soaked into the threads. Rhonda found that as incredibly useful as it was mesmerizing.
She was stroking her fingers through the flames, enjoying the magical show, when it abruptly smothered itself out. Its disappearance jolted Rhonda out of her amazement, especially since it left spots in her eyes. The night encroached once again.
“Did I do something wrong?” Rhonda asked, blinking.
It probably has a limited time of use.
“I’ll see if I can… no, it’s not working.”
The giantess slouched, her mood plummeting. They could probably wait to see how long it would take to resummon the flames. Then they could light the campfire properly. But all the enthusiasm that she amounted from the joy of using magic had gone away just as fast as the flames had snuffed out. She doubted she could muster that same enthusiasm again, which meant she was going to suffer the deep spell of sleep now.
“I can’t go on any further, Londa.”
Rhonda winced, knowing there was another request behind that call. She could shut it down now and do what she wanted. Simultaneously, she had pushed for Londa to be more her equal rather than a lesser servant. Truthfully speaking, they shared the same amazing body, they shared the same challenges, they should be equals. It was up to Rhonda to groom her submissive side, and that… required… work and dedication.
“Yes, dear?” Rhonda said with a wooden smile.
Can we try the ice neckless really quick? Really, really, quick?
It was dark as dark could be. Rhonda’s clothing was still a little wet since [Soft Blaze] hadn’t finished drying them. It seemed unwise to use the enchantment on the [Locket of Hard Ice] at this time. Yet, she granted her other half’s request anyway.
Similar to before, she touched the item nestled against her bosom. She mindfully commanded the elemental magic stored inside to give her the power of [Hard Ice]. Another glow appeared, but vastly different compared to the brighter orange light from prior. This glow did not beat back the darkness. It was a small, bluish-white light centered at her chest. It seemed to invite the darkness instead.
A chilling current of energy flowed through the fingers touching the locket. It poured halfway down into her arm and stopped. Then the cold energy felt as if it was swelling in girth until it sweated out as a twinkling mist gathered around Rhonda’s forearm and hand.
Feeling a tad experimental, Rhonda reached out with her palm facing the forest across the stream, fingers splayed. She willed for the frost magic to jettison itself out of her hand, though she had no idea if that would happen. She was merely copying what she had seen her character’s mother pull off; it was possible she would look silly for the gesture.
The frost magic thrummed within her arm. It squeezed down the length of her forearm like a pile of slush being crushed to one end. Her palm became the focal point for its release, causing Rhonda to spread her fingers as far as they could go and—shhhk!
A crystalized javelin shot out of her palm. It trailed sparkly mist behind it as it sailed over the stream and disappeared in the dark woods on the other side. Soon, a sound like glass shattering registered with Rhonda, meaning impact.
Rhonda blinked. She looked down at her hand and saw no trace of [Hard Ice] on it. It was then she was struck by sheer amazement after the moment had come and gone. The wonder of magic had reignited something precious and intangible inside of her.
A corner of Rhonda’s eye carried a tear.
“It’s fitting,” Rhonda said. “Mother… the character’s mother was a spear of a woman. Her actions had a focused and cold intent to them. Her ruthlessness in battle made her one of the mightiest of Giants and the scariest of mothers. It was thanks to her I was disciplined enough not to eat whatever… or whoever… I wanted.”
A round of applause for all the tough mothers with the tough jobs, Londa said.
“My father was the opposite.” Rhonda wiped away her tear. “He was not the greatest of fighters, but he was a warm figure that invited one and all to him. He was the bonfire in the darkness, loved by those he led and was the commander of victorious warrior bands. He spoiled me as much as he could, and his hugs were the greatest.”
Like a flaming hot Santa Clause of a dad.
“I miss them,” Rhonda said.
Your character’s parents?
Well... you carry their legacy not just in your bloodline but in your life.
“They have a legacy that deserves more attention once I secure my rightful class,” Rhonda mused. “My brutish self before the Intellect increase brushed over it. Now I’m regretting it.”
It’s going to be okay. We can accomplish all of that as long as you’re not straining yourself too much. It seems like you have a lot on your plate.
“I wish it weren’t the case, but it is harder to deny reality than to accept what truly is my burden to bear.” Rhonda shrugged, preferring not to ponder on her tragic situation for too long. “Oh well, tis the way of things.”
She still felt the soothing call of sleep. Her weariness was great. But she could not allow herself to sleep just yet, strangely.
She was filled with too much wonder. It was an accursed thing, disrupting the arrangement in Rhonda’s life where she wanted nothing more than to eat, sleep, eat, sleep, and feel pleased. But the magic of wonder was occupying her chest; it gave her strangely sad yet thrillingly enjoyable tingles around her heart.
“One last time.”
R-really? Londa squealed.
Rhonda smirked, having sensed that the enchantments were ready for another go. One hand touched her locket. The other hand touched the belt. She concentrated on pulling the elemental magic into the respective hands connected to the enchanted gear. Then she raised both hands, holding the dim blue of [Hard Ice] and the bright orange of [Soft Blaze] at the same time.
She gasped, feeling her mental capacity strained from evoking two magical enchantments at once. But she did not let go of her concentrated effort. For once, she turned away from the siren’s call for sleep and endured the challenge set by her limits.
She wanted to relish the beauty of her parents’ gifts more than she wanted to relax, as rare as that was. She knew she would never be a grand wizard or stunning sorceress, and these enchantments were limited. But she adored the small accomplishment anyway.
In that very moment, where the giantess thrummed with new potential, the night seemed to shrink away from her. No longer could the dark attract her with its invitation to the nothingness. Now the shadows were forced to dance in awe or fear of the crackling song within her hands.
And the System, despite its spitefulness toward her, had to reward her apparently.
|Through concentrated manipulation of elemental magic within your gear, you've earned the quirks Minor Ice Affinity and Minor Fire Affinity.|
Hi, I'm Epikos!
I've been writing since I was 13, and I've kept at it for 14 years so far. I like to write about unlikely heroes faced against terrible odds. I like to genre-bend and write speculative fiction. I'm new to LitRPG and gamelit, so please forgive me as I write and grow.