Chapter 2:

With a Love Sorceress, I'll Probably Still Not Listen

With a Love Sorceress I'll Make My Romance Last!

When I next opened my eyes, I saw a wide field. The sky was bright blue, the grass waving in the breeze. Hundreds of trees spread before me, with a unique fruit on their branches: fuzzy blue in color with a star-like shape. I took in a depth breath. The air smelled like honey and summertime.

Then I remembered it was supposed to be winter, and I was supposed to be in Japan, preferably in my own bed. This was clearly not my apartment, and from the rows of weird trees that spread before me, I highly doubted I was in Japan.

“Ah,” I murmured aloud, coming to a realization. “This must be a dream.”

All those late-night drinking sessions must have finally allowed me to enter some lucid dreaming state. It was the only thing that made sense.

Relaxing, I decided to enjoy the dream. My alarm would probably wake me up soon enough. I wanted to appreciate the summery escape while I could.

Then, I saw someone nearby. A young woman stood on her tip-toes, basket in hand, trying her hardest to reach an up-high tree branch. With her short stature, she was struggling to pick the fruits. I pushed myself up from the grass and drifted closer. Without thinking, I grabbed the fruit she was trying to reach and offered it to her.

“Here you are,” I said with a polite smile.

“Thank you,” she mumbled, taking the fruit and putting it in her basket.

Then, we looked at each other.

She was clearly Amamiya. For some reason she wasn’t wearing her usual business attire, but rather she was dressed in a casual shirt and overalls — almost like a farmer. But she still had her short hair tied up in a bow, and I’d recognize her anywhere.

I just wondered why my subconscious dream-state decided to make her a farm girl, of all things.

“Amamiya!” I shouted with joy.

But Amamiya stepped away. She looked terrified. The basket tumbled from her shaking hands, fruits scattering over the ground.

She screamed.

Before I could even react, she was running through the orchard, desperately trying to get away from me.

“Amamiya?” I called after her, confused. I thought in my own dream, at least, we would still be happy together.

I reached out, and it was then that I noticed that my hands were…slender. My hands had never been so smooth. I was wearing some sort of leather tunic, dressed in colors of brown and green, taller than I’d ever been. Panicked, I felt over my face. None of my features felt right, and worst of all my ears were somehow longer and pointier.

“What kind of weird dream is this?” I asked aloud.

“Now, now,” a familiar voice chastised, “you shouldn’t be so surprised. This is what you asked for, isn’t it?”

I spun around, and behind me was the Love Sorceress: Madam Claire. She stood with her hand on her hip, an amused smile playing on her lips. I scrambled to my feet to address the purple-robed witch.

“What are you talking about?” I asked, rubbing my head. I couldn’t believe even the Love Sorceress was in my dream too.

Madam Claire brought a finger to my forehead, and gave me a small push. The weight of it felt surprisingly...solid.

“I’ve done what you asked,” Claire explained. “You are in Farelle: my homeland and a parallel world to Earth. I’ve brought you to Amamiya’s parallel self.” Claire pointed to the farm girl fleeing in the distance. “That girl has Amamiya’s appearance and personality, but she was raised in this world. She’s never met you. Now is your chance to start over.”

“But…” I hesitated, trying to take in all this information. “Why is she scared of me?” That still didn’t make any sense.

Why would Amamiya be scared of me in my own dream?

Madam Claire flicked her wrist, and a hand-mirror appeared from nothingness. She held this mirror forward and showed me my face.

“That’s because I made you an elf,” Madam Claire explained.

I looked at my reflection and gasped in disbelief. Gone was my black hair and nicely-normal appearance. In its place I had long blonde hair, pointed ears, and sparkling eyes. I was far too tall and far too pretty. Even I would have screamed upon meeting an otherworldly elf like this.

“What? How? Why?” Questions came from me faster than I could think them. Was this Madam Claire some kind of dream witch? Was that how she could do this?

“You wanted to be handsome and rich,” Madam Claire pouted. “Elves are considered the height of beauty in this world, and their hair is thought to be as valuable as gold.” She pointed to my blonde hair. “Should you cut off a lock of that, it would sell for, oh, I don’t know.” Claire counted on her fingers, tallying up the price. “If I convert the currency to your terms, probably ten million yen?”

I stood there in utter silence, quietly muttering “Ten million yen…ten million yen…” under my breath, as I realized my hair now completely overwhelmed my worker’s wages.

Maybe this dream wasn’t so bad after all.

Madam Claire sighed. “That farm girl probably screamed because she was surprised. Elves are known to hide in their forests for centuries, she’s probably never seen one before.”

Excitedly, I latched on to Madam Claire’s words. “So, Amamiya wasn’t scared of me?” I said with a growing smile. “She was just surprised?”

Madam Claire nodded.

“Then I have to talk to her!” I exclaimed.

“Wait, we need to—”

But I didn’t wait. This was some sort of crazy dream, after all — maybe a trance that this Love Sorceress lady put me in. Even if this wasn’t real, I still wanted to pretend for awhile that it might be. I started running through the orchards, determined to catch up with Amamiya. I could do things right this time.

I ran forward faster than expected and nearly fell on my face. I was taller now, and not used to the length of my legs. In an effort to adapt, I flung out my arms to keep my balance. I’m sure I looked incredibly dumb with this pose, but I kept racing forward. The scenery flew by. I felt like I could keep running for days and I’d never tire. It was both amazing and frightening: it felt so much like a dream, and yet it was oddly real.

Past the orchards I went, dashing alongside barnyards and sheep, until I found myself in a village. People milled about their households, turning to stare as I trampled through the dirt roads. I passed by storefronts amid my panicked running, and turned to read some of the signposts. Words like “Tavern” and “Inn” flashed through my mind, despite the signs not being written in Japanese.

That was strange. If this was a dream, why wouldn’t it just be in my own language?

I decided not to think about that question. Right now, I just wanted to catch up to Amamiya and say what I needed to say, before my dream ended.

Just ahead of me, I kept catching glimpses of Amamiya’s hair bow. She always wore patterned headbands to work, saying it was her one defiance against professional attire. Now, in my dream, Amamiya kept this style, but traded the headbands for a bright, yellow bow.

I dashed around one last corner and saw her ahead. I struggled to come to a stop.

Amamiya hurried past a wooden gate and into a household’s yard, a little breathless.

“Dad!” she called.

On the household’s porch, a man glanced up at the sound of Amamiya’s frantic footsteps. He was holding a hammer, in the middle of repairing a sagging window.

“Mia!” the man shouted back. “What’s wrong?”

“T-there’s...there’s!” Amamiya stammered on her words, pointing frantically behind her. “There’s an elf!”

As if answering her call, I stepped through the fence’s gate. I had no idea how I must have looked, but from Amamiya and her father’s stunned stares, I guessed I was an intimidating sight. I swept across the yard and brought myself before Amamiya.

A breeze picked up, flowing from the nearby lake. With that lake shining behind us, under the marvelously blue sky, I knelt down on my knee. I wanted to say the words I never got to say last time. I wanted to let her know exactly how I felt, even if this wasn’t real. I reached out and gently took her hand.

“Amamiya, will you marry me?” I asked.

Amamiya went blank with shock. Her father’s mouth dropped open.

Outside the yard’s fence, just catching up, Madam Claire hurried to witness the scene.

“Oh bother,” Madam Claire grumbled, dropping her head into her hand.