Leowynn’s decision was… not an easy one. In fact, she wasn’t really sure what she wanted when her mother asked her that question. Yes, of course she wanted to spend the rest of her time with her mother and father, but she couldn’t say that was all she wanted. Not without knowing more.
For the next few weeks after they got home, she began asking her mother any questions she could think of, asking both about the underworld and the world in which her father lived. Because her mother had been told to answer any of her questions, Leowynn learned things which she knew nobody else in the world would know. She learned that the gods were people like them, just with vastly superior powers and lifespans.
The wisdom of the gods was not some all-knowing power that permeated the world, but a wisdom built on age. And she even learned that there were far more races present in the world than just the elves. Fantastical races that she had never imagined, beings that seemed almost impossible for her to consider.
This questioning lasted for roughly a month, before she finally stopped asking anymore. One reason was because she could not think of anything else she wanted to ask, and the other was because her mother seemed to have fallen ill. Her lively and energetic mother was bedridden, her face far paler than normal.
The strangest thing about this disease was that the bar of life did not appear above her head as it normally did when someone fell ill. This was, however, a relief to Leowynn instead of cause for concern. If the bar of life failed to appear, it meant her life was not truly in danger.
“What’s wrong, mother?” She asked, sitting beside her mother’s bed and gently stroking her cheek with a wet rag. “With your abilities, surely you can heal yourself?” Now that she knew her mother was a goddess, it was hard to associate her with the same mortal faults that others suffered.
Rinon, however, simply smiled. “My power does not cover healing. And… I am not sure what exactly is wrong with me, either.” Her voice was weak as she spoke, almost tired.
“Can you ask that other Goddess? The one you said knows more than she speaks?” Leowynn asked, her tone starting to grow worried. If even a goddess did not know what was wrong, then she could not entirely trust the bar of life.
Rinon nodded her head, closing her eyes. Leowynn assumed that she was focusing on her divine self, to ask the other goddess why she was feeling this way. From what she had learned, all of the gods had friendly relations with each other, so there was no reason that they wouldn’t help.
“Ah…” Her voice weakly spoke out after a few minutes. “Well… this is embarrassing.”
“Mother?” Leowynn asked as she looked to Rinon.
“This is no illness.” Rinon slowly shook her head. “It seems I was mistaken when I showed myself before. A mortal body cannot hold my full power.” A dry chuckle escaped her lips. Seeing her daughter starting to show a panicked expression, she smiled warmly. “Don’t worry, this won’t kill me. The energies within my body were thrown into disarray. Once I focus on fixing them for a while, I’ll be fine.” After saying that, a mischievous glint appeared in her eyes. “Though, that does mean you’ll have to cook for me. I might end up ill after all.”
“Mother!” Leowynn shouted, feeling her ears turning red. It was true that she didn’t know how to cook, but that wasn’t her fault. In order to help with the issues of her body, her mother had never allowed her to learn the Chef class. However, now, she was at the pinnacle of power, or what her mother called the level limit. Even if she began cooking, she wouldn’t earn the class.
“I was teasing you, dear. I know you won’t poison me.” Though she said that, her mother still smiled playfully. If anything, she had become even more playful with Leowynn after revealing her true self, no longer feeling like she had to pretend to be some poor, aging mother.
“Well, you stay here, and I’ll get you some soup.” Leowynn said with a small sigh, moving down and preparing a breakfast for her mother.
After that incident, Rinon truly did recover to her normal condition after a few days. Yet, Leowynn still didn’t come up with any more questions to ask. Naturally, she asked if there was anything else that she needed to know, but her mother didn’t seem able to come up with anything either. Instead, she planned to wait for the next chance that she could speak with her father instead.
From the Admin Room, I watched as Leowynn went about her life, occasionally checking to see if there were other interesting developments happening throughout the world. I had to appreciate the irony when Elphis Presli, king of Rokindrol, assumed the throne. Aside from that, I saw that the ninjas had finally begun spreading out beyond their first city, creating more ninja villages within the forest.
I still had my conversations with Leowynn, though their subjects had changed somewhat. Instead of only telling me about how her year had been, she began asking me about my own life, and the world I used to live in. At first, I was surprised she even knew about that, but it seemed she really had been asking Rinon anything she could think of.
After the first ten years, she probably knew more about the afterlife than I did myself, so she stopped asking questions about that. Instead, she focused more on getting to know me as a person. She had stopped seeing me just as some almighty entity, which was honestly a relief. Of course, I would still always end our conversations with a story, but now she knew where these stories came from.
As the years passed, gradually Rinon once again found herself weakening. This time, however, it was not due to her divine powers interfering with her body, but rather age itself. As she approached the end of her lifespan, her daughter was constantly with her, taking care of her in any way she could.
To the surprise of both mother and daughter, there was even a messenger sent from the capital of Gandor. Word had spread that the Mad Enchanter was dying, so a scroll of parchment arrived from the queen herself. By the time it arrived, Rinon was having problems reading properly, so she had asked her daughter to read it to her.
“Rinon, my dear friend. I have heard of the hardships you face in these final hours, and offer my sincere apologies. I had not been aware of the schemes of the church regarding your daughter, but they have now been brought to my attention. I have not forgotten the services you have done for us, or the debts that have long been owed.” Leowynn read the scroll, feeling her eyes water as she saw the contents. Even knowing that her mother was not truly dying, this was still an extremely sad event for her.
“You have gone beyond your duty to help my people, as you did for my mother before me. For this, I offer you one final reward. May you meet the Goddess happily, knowing your daughter is safe. I will welcome her into my court, and offer her a position at my side. I shall always strive to do my best to protect her from those who seek to misuse her gifts. And though I cannot say that she will be able to change the way people see her, know that to me, she will always be the daughter of a dear friend.”
When Leowynn had finished reading the scroll, she rolled it back up and placed it beside her. Rinon had a peaceful smile on her face as she heard the contents. “Finally, somewhere else you can be happy when I’m gone. Maybe you’ll even be able to make new friends.” Her voice was truly weak now, weaker than it had ever been.
“Don’t worry, mother.” Leowynn spoke gently to her, clutching her hand as she sat next to her bed. “I’ll take care of myself. Just wait for me, and I’ll see you again someday.” Unlike most when their loved ones were passing, Leowynn did not treat this as a true goodbye. To her, who knew the truth, she knew that she would have another chance to see her again, it would just take time.
Rinon nodded her head slowly. “Then… until we meet again… my daughter.” She spoke, her eyes slowly closing. However, even as the last vestige of strength in her hand faded away, Leowynn heard her mother’s voice within her head once more. Let me do one last thing, to show those ignorant people not to mess with my daughter. Unlike the voice of her dying mother, this one was filled with life and determination.
Suddenly, a golden light descended from above, covering the entire city of Cau Buhnga. Those who saw this light immediately stopped what they were doing, and stared into the sky. This had only ever happened once before, when the city was threatened with destruction. Now, once again, the illusory figure of the goddess descended. This time, it was above a building in the middle of town, where the Mad Enchanter had lived.
Nobody would ever be able to forget this day, when the goddess herself personally guided the soul of a mortal into her arms. From the gentle smile that could be easily seen on her face, they knew that the soul she came to collect was one that she cared for deeply. Though many had seen her angels come to collect the souls of the fallen, the goddess herself had never made such an appearance.
There were those who lined up around the house to pray, treating it more like a temple than the actual temple within the city. Even the local priests could not help themselves but bow in worship when they saw this. Yet, through all of this, only one person had a different reaction.
Within the house, Leowynn had a happy smile on her face, her tears falling freely. “Stupid mom… why’d you have to go and do that?” She asked, a small laughed escaping her throat as she wiped away her tears.
Aww, you didn’t like it? Ryone’s voice appeared in her mind again, causing her smile to widen slightly.
“I loved it… Thanks.” Though, she did know that she would have to leave the city now, and take up that offer to live with the queen.
The next day, Leowynn set out in the middle of the night, carrying only what she needed to make it to the capital. Although monsters sought to obstruct her travel, there were none capable of stopping her. Even among those at the pinnacle, she could be considered one of the strongest. After all, she had not only her levels, but the blessing which doubled her strength.
The journey to the capital was the longest she had ever been outside of the city, as well as the farthest she had ever gone from home. Yet, she did not feel like she was alone. Every night, she spoke with her mother, just as she did with her father on her birthdays.
When she arrived at the capital of Gandor, Cau Callua, she found the queen already waiting for her outside the city gates. On either side of her stood a guard in full leather armor, the queen herself wearing an elegant dress. “She said you were coming.” The queen spoke with a smile as she greeted Leowynn.
Really, mother… You just don’t know when to quit, huh? Leowynn thought internally, though couldn’t bring herself to be upset over this. “Thank you for meeting me, my queen.” She said as she approached. She wasn’t sure what was going to happen from now on, but it she knew that one chapter of her life was coming to a close, and another one soon to begin. Yet for her, she felt like she already knew the ending to her own story.