Chapter 31:

With a Love Sorceress, I’ll Say Goodbye

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

In the quietness of the void, Madam Claire took in an uneasy breath.

Footsteps echoed against the carpet, growing closer. From the depths of Madam Claire’s hut, an unknown person approached.

The stranger stepped into the light, and revealed herself to be the young girl in white robes, with dark black hair: her pigtails tied up in so many red ribbons.

The young girl turned to Claire and asked, “Are you sure that’s how you want to let him go?”

Claire stood from her armchair, and gracefully drifted towards the table in the center of the room.

She snapped her fingers and an envelope appeared in her hands. Claire sealed the letter with a kiss, and left it on the wooden tabletop.

“It’s alright,” Claire whispered to the wind. “With this, he’ll be fine.”

Madam Claire clenched her fists, steeling her resolve. She then spun around to face the unknown girl.

“I’m ready now,” Claire smiled sadly, “I’m ready to pay for my crimes.”


I hit the ground, wincing. It wasn’t the first time Madam Claire had flung me out the door of her dimension, but it certainly felt more forceful than usual.

I rubbed my head, noticing that my hands were elven again.

The transition between my two selves — between the elf ‘Roki’ here on Farelle, and the human ‘Hiroyuki’ in Claire’s hut — I’d gotten used to it. Both were me. Both were ‘Jun.’

And yet…

I held my hand against the reddening sky, blocking out the setting sun. The sunlight’s rays shaped around my palm, highlighting the edges. The wind picked up, the scent of summer in its wake, but there was a bit of chill at the end — a sign of the autumn to come.

I looked out to the lake. Claire had dropped me at the edge of the Faralind’s front yard. I recognized this place.

“Roki?” Mia called from the porch. She approached, concerned.

A scenic painting: a glistening lake, a warm breeze, and the rustling of trees in a quaint village. In the foreground of this portrait stood two people — myself, and then the young woman staring at me. We stood in the yard of her household, surrounded by daisies and marigolds.

The last time we were here, I’d gotten down on one knee and asked her to marry me.

“Roki,” Mia smiled. “Did you just wake up? The sun’s almost setting!” She brought a hand to her cheek and laughed. “The festival was so busy yesterday! I don’t even remember how I got home. Still, I can’t believe how I stood up to Duke Elvett! I’m so excited to start receiving sale offers and…”

Her sentence drifted, as she noticed my gentle expression. She tucked a strand of her brown hair behind her ear.

“Sometimes,” Mia began, “you have this look, Roki, like you’re watching me from so far away.”

Anxiously, I reached out and took Mia’s hands into mine.

“Mia, I know this is a bit strange, but,” I hesitated, “would you call me by my first name?”

Mia’s blue eyes looked into mine. Her summer clothes swayed in the wind. That yellow bow in her hair stood out so brightly in the light of the sun.

“Jun,” she said softly.

With that one word, I felt emptiness: no butterflies, no sparks.

I wasn’t able to return her kindness.

“You’ve changed,” Mia whispered. “When you first came here, Roki, you looked at me with such excitement in your eyes. You shone so brightly, I almost didn’t know what to do!” She laughed. Her smile then faded. “But after everything that happened with the orchards, it feels you’re farther away. And maybe it’s not just you. Maybe I’ve changed too.”

Mia slipped from my grasp. She walked towards the lake, clasping her hands behind her back.

Seeing her silhouetted in the sunset, I was reminded of our first date: where after swimming with the kelpies we sat by the lakeside, and I promised to tell her the truth one day.

“I’m not really an elf!” I suddenly blurted. “I’m human!”

Mia chuckled. “I guessed that much,” she teased. “I don’t know how you manage to look like an elf, but you’ve never acted like one.”

I winced. My acting had been pretty bad.

I sighed and rubbed the back of my neck nervously. “And if you want the whole truth, Mia, I was hopelessly in love with another version of you, in another world. That’s why I proposed to you when we first met.”

That finally made Mia’s eyes go wide. “Another world?” she mumbled, shocked.

I nodded. My breath wavered, but I kept going. “Mia, I’m not from Farelle at all. I’m from an entirely different universe. I chased after you because I...I didn’t want to let my love go.” My shoulders stiffened, as I glared at the ground. “But in getting to know you, I realized you weren’t the person I once knew. You are yourself, Mia. And I should have known that from the beginning.”

“Another world,” Mia repeated again, stunned. “I thought you might be a mage of illusions, but never a traveler from another world.”

I put on a weak smile. “It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Still, I promise you it’s the truth.” I pushed my palms against my face, trying to sort out my thoughts. “But, Mia, I was never supposed to be here. I can’t tell if it’s right for me to stay anymore. I want to help you, but can I rightfully marry you? Aren’t I just disrupting your fate?”

Should I stay here in Farelle? Should I return to Earth? Would Mia hate me if I left?

Would I ever see Claire again, either way?

I glanced towards Mia, lost and distraught. “Tell me, Mia: what kind of person would you want to marry?”

The young woman was still spinning in the revelation about my otherworldly status, but she listened to the question with a brief nod and considered her answer.

“I want someone who makes me laugh,” Mia decided.

For some reason, my mind thought of Claire. Her laughter. Her smile.

“And I want someone who would stay by my side, and support me when times are hard. Even when I’m not sure of myself, I know we could depend on each other.”

Again, I thought of Claire. All the times she helped me, asking nothing in return.

Mia held a quiet smile. “And I suppose...I want to marry someone who loves me for who I really am.”

Claire had always known me as a human, as Jun Hiroyuki.

She accepted me as I was: mistakes, idiocy, and all.

A silence fell between us. Mia stared out onto the lake. I bit down on my lip.

The sun drifted behind a pink cloud, as I sighed and realized:

I was in love with Madam Claire.

Mia softly murmured, breaking the silence. “Perhaps, I’d want my husband to tell me stories from his adventures, with a stupid grin on his face, while I mended his clothes…”

“Eh?” I blinked, pulled from my stupor. That description sounded a lot like—

Mia cleared her throat loudly.

She spun around and faced me, sunset glowing behind her.

“Thank you, Jun Roki, for loving me,” Mia declared. “Thank you for traveling across worlds, to make me feel like I could believe in luck again.”

Tears rose to her eyes, as she held out a hand.

“You have to go back to your world, right?” she guessed. “You came here to say goodbye, didn’t you?

I clapped her hand, trying to meet her courage with my own.

“Perhaps not goodbye, but,” my expression wavered. “I’m not sure when or if I’ll ever see you again. So I wanted to make sure we...said everything that needed to be said.”

Mia wiped at her eyes, laughing. “I’ll never understand, Roki, how you managed to find me in another world! You have all these fairytales and secrets about you! Maybe this is simply beyond my understanding,” she grinned, “but I’m happy to have been a part of it, all the same.”

I searched Mia’s face, trying to find the words to say.

I wanted her to have a good life. I wanted her to be happy.

But I knew that happiness wasn’t meant to be shared with me.

“Go,” Mia whispered. “There’s somewhere you need to be, isn’t there?”

I glanced at her, surprised. “How did—?”

“This whole time, you’ve been looking somewhere far away. You keep looking for someone other than me.” Mia put on a grin and stood up straight. “I’ll be alright, I’m stronger than I look. I have my father and Toren by my side. So don’t worry about me anymore. Go — go where you need to be.”

From my pocket, I brought out the braid of golden elf hair. I’d held onto it this whole time, always intending to give it to her.

Mia started to refuse, but I pressed it into her hands.

“If the world ever isn’t on your side,” I assured, “let this help you.”

With that, I gave her hand one last encouraging squeeze. Then, I ran: I ran to where I needed to be.

“Good luck,” Mia said to my backside, smiling through her tears.

I raced towards my cottage, my breaths short.

If only I had noticed my feelings sooner.

If only I had held tighter to Claire’s hand, and begged her not to go.

Maybe this time, things would end differently.

Maybe this time, I could save her.