Chapter 22:

With a Love Sorceress, I’ll Hope for a Little Longer

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

Uncomfortable laughter slipped from my mouth.

“World Breaker,” I repeated, “doesn’t that sound...kind of dangerous?”

Madam Claire’s smile in the dark cottage sent shivers through my spine.

Suddenly, I blinked, and she was gone. Where she once stood showed only the night sky, curtains fluttering.

Her voice then whispered into my ear, “It is.”

I yelped and held my ear in surprise, heart beating like mad. She was so close!

Then, Madam Claire clapped her hands, and my cottage filled with light. All the oil lamps burst to life at once, gently burning. My heart eased and felt a little more comfortable, now that things weren’t so dark.

“Did I scare you?” Madam Claire smirked, leaning away from me and twirling amid the center of the room, leaving me speechless. “I’ve lived as a World Breaker for some time now,” Claire continued. “It’s really not so bad once you get used to it.”

I was still trying to wrap my head around all this. I mean, I’d always known Claire was frighteningly powerful. Knowing she was a World Breaker didn’t really change anything, did it?

...Did it?

Claire then turned to me with a wink, and a tut of her finger. “When a Faint Star becomes a World Breaker, the universe takes notice, you know? I’m not the only World Breaker out there.” She puffed up her chest. “With all the possible timelines, there are millions of us. Once a World Breaker comes into existence, we’re usually contacted by the others and...well...” Her smile faltered a little. “We’re taken before a court, if you can call it that, and sentenced to repay the disruption we caused to fate’s order. After that, we live in the dimensionless void, so our impact upon the worlds is lessened. Essentially, we don’t belong in the flow of fate anymore.”

Madam Claire folded her hands behind her back, explaining this like it was the simplest thing in the world. With that smile on her face, I couldn’t tell what she was really thinking.

I felt a bead of sweat run down the back of my neck. “But, Madam Claire, aren’t we disrupting fate right now? Because you’re helping me with Mia? Isn’t that a bad thing?” The pieces clicked in my head. “If there’s a court of World Breakers watching over all this, won’t you get in trouble?”

Madam Claire flipped her hand and let out a little ‘pssh’ of dismissal. “Meddling on this scale isn’t something that will catch their attention! You’re not a World Champion, Jun. Your stars and Mia’s are just one of many. Changing your fates a teeny tiny little bit won’t hurt anything.”

...I’m pretty sure Claire just called me a background character. But all things considered, maybe that was a good thing, rather than being burdened as some fate-destined World Champion.

“Still,” I grumbled back, “didn’t you say you shouldn’t get more involved with me or Mia? What happens if you get caught?”

Madam Claire tipped up her hat and let out a confident ‘fu-fu-fu’ laugh. “That’s why I won’t get more involved! I’ve done my part, Jun, your romance is in your hands now. I’ll just be here as my bird familiar, to offer advice as you need it.”

Why did that...make me sad?

There was this tightness in my chest, like I didn’t want her to go.

“You said someone else was altering fate, right?” I objected, trying to come up with any reason to make her stay. “Back when Toren and I met, you said it was too much of a coincidence!”

Claire shrugged her shoulders, unconcerned. “It was already a coincidence that out of all the possible worlds, my original world of Farelle was where a parallel version of Amamiya existed. Farelle and Earth have always been close but…” She let out a small breath. “Maybe the world of Farelle just doesn’t like me being here. If I stop interfering, we shouldn’t have any more problems.”

I didn’t understand. Claire’s voice almost sounded like she had given up; like she had resigned herself.

“What happened?” I asked. “If I’m understanding correctly: you stopped a World Champion from following their destiny, or something, right? That’s what caused you to become a World Breaker, instead of just a Faint Star.” I shook my head, confused by all these terms. “What happened to you Claire? To this world?”

That, Roki…” Madam Claire stepped closer, looking at me directly, “ a se-cr-et!”

Staring into her eyes, my thoughts went blank. Even without using her spells, Claire could steal my breath away.

She drifted towards the table that had my pile of books and scrolls, her dress swaying. “Though I suppose,” she said with a playful grin, unfurling the scroll about the Painted Moon Festival, “you could say I’m accidentally the reason that humans in Farelle both fear, and revere, magic.” She let out a cute little ‘tee-hee’ as if to play off that heavy statement.

“Fear? Revere?” I repeated, baffled as to how that could happen.

“You don’t have to worry, Roki. As an elf, they won’t be as scared of your spells,” Madam Claire assured. “It’s human mages that everyone’s really afraid of.”

Human mages? Claire?

Claire let out a stretch and a yawn. “Well, that’s probably enough for you to consider for today,” she decided, even though I was still burning with questions. “Get some more rest, Roki. Your elven body might not always tell you when you’re hungry or tired. Take care of yourself, so you can help Mia with the harvest and the festival.”

Help Mia, huh? That was why I was here, but…

“After the festival,” I suddenly said, catching Claire’s wrist before she headed for the door. “I want you to send me home.”

Madam Claire’s eyes went wide, surprised.

“I’m not really supposed to be here,” I admitted, feeling an ache in my chest as I said the words. “So I’ll stay until the festival; just until I’m sure Mia’s alright.” I took in a breath. “Then we can put everything back where it’s supposed to be.”

I had this growing feeling that Madam Claire was putting herself in trouble for my sake. I didn’t know much about World Breakers, or their rules, or how any of this all worked. But I wasn’t about to have Claire fight against mysterious world-destroying people, just so I could have a happy life.

Madam Claire let out a hum, a mischievous smile playing on her lips. “We’ll see Roki,” she murmured. “After the festival, we’ll see if you still want to go home.”

She brushed aside my hand that was holding her wrist.

“Be sure to invite Mia to the dance,” Claire advised. Then, in a rush of magical wind, she was gone.

I stood there, alone again in my quiet cottage, my heart uneasy.


I groaned.

“Don’t tell me there’s a dance to this festival too!”


Shutting the purple door behind her, Madam Claire sealed herself in her hut.

This was her own little corner beyond reality. The room was decorated like a mansion, its over-the-top style a product of her love for ornate furniture — but she could change its appearance at will. Every so often, she would flip through a magazine from Earth and borrow design ideas. Some days her ‘hut’ was a beach resort. Other days, she would make it into a moon base.

But lately, she chose this ethereal Victorian appearance to match the idea of a fortune-teller — that way, she could pretend to be a witch, and sell that story to Jun.

Now, there was no real need to keep up the masquerade. But she didn’t want to change it. Not yet.

Madam Claire stepped towards a window, pulling back its heavy curtains. She stared out into the flickering nothingness. The void greeted her with its empty echo: no sound, no breeze, only a few distant lights — perhaps dimensions of other World Breakers like herself.

“Just a few more days,” Madam Claire pleaded to the void. “Just give me a few more days. I know you’re watching. I know you brought Toren into Mia’s life early as a warning, and I know you’ve been meddling with fate.”

Claire bit down on her trembling lip.

“Amamiya’s parallel self being born here wasn’t a coincidence at all, was it?” Claire asked the nothingness. “You guided me back to Farelle, didn’t you? But I don’t know why you want me here. There’s nothing I can do anymore. The past is in the past.”

Madam Claire took in a sharp breath.

“So just give me a few more days with Jun. Please. That’s all I ask.”