Chapter 34:

The Past will Repeat

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

“My charm didn’t just make him like me, Jun, it made him obsessed with me,” Claire admitted solemnly.

Professor Akaventus stepped towards the magic circle, kneeling by its edges. Where he touched the lines, it began to glow: and the glow seeped through the room, until the entire magic circle was shining with light. All the other mages placed their hands on the outline, and it surged even brighter.

The young Clarisina stepped towards the magic circle, kneeling next to her professor. Akaventus turned to her and smiled.

“For months, Janus fought against it. He didn’t eat, he barely slept. He tried to turn his obsession away from me, and instead focus it into his studies.” Claire’s eyes welled up with tears. “He hid it all away, masking it under a laugh and a smile. The only person who ever knew...was his lover. The girlfriend I didn’t even know he had.” Claire dropped her head into her hands. “She told him not to go through with this incantation, but by this point...his obsession was too far gone.”

Akaventus’ eyes were bloodshot, as the magic circle started to crackle with lightning.

“The incantation required the utmost of concentration, but all Akaventus could think about was me.”

The lightning of the spell crackled outwards, burning the walls. Clarisina stepped away, sensing something was wrong. With a horrifying crash, the lightning then cracked through the ceiling. Pieces of the tower came tumbling down. The mages panicked, screaming, as the spell grew violent.

Clarisina grabbed Akaventus’ arm, trying to pull him away. She begged with him, pleaded. Akaventus looked into her eyes, and all Clarisina saw was madness.

The magical circle emitted a beam of light that broke through the roof, and shot out of the tower. It pulsed across the heavens and spread outwards across the sky, blinding everyone that saw it.

Desperate, Clarisina tackled Akaventus through a break in the wall. Both of them plummeted out of the tower as it began to crumble. In the midst of falling, Clarisina fumbled for the magical drawings on her belt, but none of them worked. So she shouted a levitation spell instead.

And just before the ground, their descent slowed. They landed safely.

“Despite everything, his incantation worked.” Claire laughed through her tears. “Humans could cast magic by simply saying the spell. But…”

The young Clarisina turned, tears streaking down her cheeks, as the castle tower fell apart behind her. Bursts of explosions echoed across the campus. Mages tried to use their magic to stop the tower from falling, but their spells only backfired.

“...our magical connection spiraled out of control. Human spells became explosively powerful — so powerful, that it only led to ruin. The power could not be tamed. Humans no longer practice magic in Farelle, Jun, because it is so impossibly dangerous.”

Sitting there in the plaza, crying with Akaventus in her arms, Clarisina watched the castle crumble.

“And in that moment, I became a World Breaker.”

The young Clarisina opened her eyes, and saw stars. The scene around us spun with the cosmos. Flashes of parallel worlds rushed through Clarisina’s mind.

“I suddenly knew so much.” Claire gestured to the constellations. “I could see the stars of fate. I could see thousands of possible futures. I looked at Janus and...I saw the future that awaited him.”

The stars suddenly focused onto a cottage by a river, surrounded by a field of wheat. An elderly couple, a man and a woman, sat on the porch, holding hands.

“The tragedy of that day became known as the Chaos, and Professor Akaventus was blamed as its creator. The Kingdoms fell, as their magical supports came undone, and human progress was set back hundreds of years. Unable to clear his name, Janus fled with his lover to a quiet countryside, where they lived out their days peacefully...even as his name was cursed throughout history.”

Claire turned to me, trying her hardest not to cry.

“In that moment, I saw his future, and I wept. Because I heard his last words. Even on his deathbed, Janus deliriously whispered to his wife: tell Clarisina this wasn’t her fault.”

Claire wiped at her tears, as the illusion behind her returned to the campus plaza. Clarisina sat silently, weeping without words, as the tower still fell and Akaventus lay unconscious in her arms.

“I saw that future, and I was lost. All I could think was that it should have been me. It should have been my name that was cursed throughout history. But almost no one remembered Clarisina Sylvai, because...she had derailed the fate of a World Champion, and lost her connections to the stars. She had ceased to exist.”

Behind Clarisina, a barefoot young girl approached: a girl with black hair tied up in an impossible number of red ribbons. She walked through the rubble and destruction, unfazed, and offered a hand to Clarisina.

As if compelled, Clarisina reached out. When their hands met, the view turned dark.

We were in the void: the in-between dimension that existed without space.

Clarisina stood on a dark platform, almost like a cage, while the ribbon-haired girl stood above her. There were two other figures floating to the left and right, but they were obscured in shadow.

“The Champions of the Void then taught me about fate,” Claire gestured to the trio of beings. “They were born outside time, and they oversee the new World Breakers as they’re formed.”

I watched as the three otherworldly beings discussed something between themselves, occasionally glancing towards the terrified Clarisina.

“A World Breaker’s powers are defined by the magnitude of fate that they disrupt,” Claire explained. “And since I had interrupted an entire world’s magical balance, I gained magical power equivalent to an entire world. I was one of the most powerful World Breakers they had seen in some time.” She chuckled dryly.

“So as punishment, I was sent to a planet parallel to my own, in a dimension without magic: Earth.”

I watched as Clarisina fell from her dark cage, swirling through space and time, to awaken on a dusty road. Carriages plodded down a muddy path in a historic-looking village. A horse galloped past and splattered dirt onto Clarisina’s robes.

“Since I broke fate with my desire for love, they said I was to then repair fate the same way,” Claire laughed. “So, with my new ability to see the stars and foretell fate, I was to guide the people of Earth as a matchmaker.”

Clarisina pushed herself from the mud, and hid in an alleyway. She waved her hands, and found she could cast spells without even needing to speak them. She transformed her outfit to look like the dresses and bonnets she’d seen on the street.

“I started looking for people who had, for reason or another, fallen out of alignment with fate. I nudged them back on course by supporting their romance. My goal was to prevent any more World Breakers from being formed. I didn’t want anyone to repeat the tragedy I experienced.”

In a small household, Clarisina smiled as she brought a couple’s hands together.

“I never looked back at Farelle. I had enough power to leap between worlds, but if I did, I’d be defying fate again. And I’d already seen Janus’ future. Though in exile, he lived happily and loved someone else...I couldn’t take that from him.” Claire grasped at her heart. “So I threw myself into my new purpose instead. I traveled across Earth and brought things to order.”

I watched Clarisina leap from country to country, decade to decade. One moment she was a matchmaker in Joseon, bowing her head as she exchanged wedding gifts between a nobles. Another, she graced the halls of a British church, sitting in a back pew as a groom lifted the veil of his bride. The next, she guided a young couple as across the Andes, homemade wedding rings gracing their fingers as they eloped.

“I learned so much over those centuries. I watched love from a thousand eyes; saw romances blossom and fall apart. Even after all this time, I still can’t define what it means to love — because I realized that it is its own language. We each have our own accent, our own particular cadence of speech. True love for one person might feel like a cage for the next. All I could do was try to guide people with similar languages together, and hope for the best.”

The memory settled into modern day Japan, on a busy street. Claire was dressed like a high school girl, checking her phone and chewing a piece of bubble gum. Her phone showed an impressive number of dating apps and messenger accounts.

“Modern technology was a new twist,” Claire giggled, “but I adapted along with it, just as I had in the centuries before. In fact, making a website for the ‘Love Sorceress Claire’ in the early 2000s was one of my best ideas! I didn’t have to chase the people that had fallen out of fate! They’d just stumble upon my website and come to me.

Distracted, Clarisina opened her emails, and proceeded to walk across the road. Just before a car veered past her, someone pulled her back.

“Watch out!” he called.

That voice.

It was me.

I stared, shocked, as I watched Jun Hiroyuki save Clarisina from the crosswalk.

“You okay?” Jun asked, as he checked his watch. “Shoot! I’m going to be late for the movie. Be careful!” he shouted and ran off.

Clarisina was stunned into silence. Her bubblegum bubble burst.

“As a World Breaker,” Claire interjected. “I drift in the background of reality, forgotten. But somehow, you saw me. So I decided to look into your stars, and check your future.”

Claire’s illusion reached towards my hands, passing through them with a sorrowful smile.

“You weren’t a World Champion, Jun. Your stars weren’t all that important. And yet, you felt so familiar. Then, I saw what would happen to you in one year’s time.”

“After your break-up with Amamiya, you and your co-worker Ohta would go drinking to complain about being single. You’d both drink too much, and Ohta would stumble into traffic. You'd push him to safety, but the car would swerve…”

I felt my breath catch in my throat.

“As Ohta frantically called an ambulance for you, your last words, Jun, were: tell Amamiya this wasn’t her fault.

Claire gripped her fist.

“And I wasn’t going to stand by and let that tragedy happen again.”