Chapter 37:

We will Break the Rules

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

In the abyss of the void, there floated a room.

The room was simple. Its walls and floors shifted through shadowy hues, without any defined entrances or exits, while the ceiling was endless overhead. An infinity of emptiness sprawled above, broken only occasionally by the flicker of a distant flame.

A few circular desks were scattered around the room, without any organization or consistency. Each desk housed a different resident: sometimes humanoid, sometimes animal-like, sometimes completely unidentifiable. And the desks themselves were just as varied as their owners. Sometimes the desks had a futuristic scheme, displaying data and screens with holograms, while others were entirely powered by floating scrolls and ancient magic.

Standing amid this chaotic mash-up of worlds, was the Love Sorceress Claire. She held up her chained hands and approached a desk.

“Well aren’t you a sight for sore eyes!” a woman called out. “Clarisina, the world-level magician, was it?”

“I go by Claire now,” Claire corrected with a weak smile. “Good to see you again, Galinnade.”

The woman, Galinnade, looked human enough — though fins extended where her ears ought to be, and gills lined the edges of her neck. She had dark green hair and lime-tinged skin, with a large pair of circular glasses that kept falling down her nose.

“Good?” Galinnade grumbled, pushing up her glasses. “Claire, darling, World Breakers aren’t supposed to come here twice. Usually if someone comes here a second time, it’s to ask to be released from their eternal existence.” Galinnade patted a large pile of papers on her desk. “But this much paperwork tells me that you’re not here because you’re tired of eternity.”

The mermaid-like being leaned back in her chair and picked up the papers, soaking the parchment with water from her skin. She read aloud:

“Your crimes include pushing stars away from their intended fates, taking beings across dimensional lines, showing magic in a non-magical world, stealing food, not paying rent, blah, blah, blah, the list goes on.” She flipped the page. “Goodness what’s this one?” Galinnade squinted closer. “Unpaid advertising fees to Foofle Ads?”

Claire groaned and rolled her eyes. “People just wouldn’t believe me that there really were hot singles in their area! Online ads were the worst.”

Galinnade raised a hairless eyebrow. “I wouldn’t know, my home world still hasn’t gotten to the computer era,” she sighed, gesturing to the yellowing papers around her.

Claire chuckled.“You became a World Breaker because of that, right?”

The mermaid-being let out a long groan. “How was I supposed to know my sister was fated to invent the first computer? If I’d known she was a World Champion, I never would’ve sabotaged her school papers.” Galinnade slumped against the desk. “Now I’m stuck record keeping with a computer-like memory for all eternity. You’re so lucky, Claire. You got crazy magical powers when you became a Breaker!”

“Lucky, huh?” Claire murmured, and held up her chained hands with a sad smile.

A puppy barked from under the desk.

Claire glanced down, surprised. “The dog’s new.”

Galinnade brought the puppy to her lap. “I’ve named him Poochy,” she smiled. “Poor thing was born under Faint Stars and kept getting passed from owner to owner. Eventually, he barked at a thief during a break-in. Problem is, that thief was supposed to succeed with the heist, and cause a revolution in royal security. Instead, thanks to Poochy, the World Champion went to jail and that revolution never happened.”

As if he was listening, Poochy let out a small yip, and a dog bone appeared above him. He munched on it happily.

Galinnade pouted. “Now, whenever he barks, he steals treats from some dimension.”

“Too good of a boy,” Claire chuckled, before becoming serious. “But, shouldn’t that have been prevented? Surely, keeping a dog away from a World Champion should have been easy enough. What were you guys doing?”

Galinnade shrugged. “There are an impossible number of realities. We can’t watch over every world to stop Breakers from being born,” she grumbled. “Earth is lucky to have you as its guardian.”

“Lucky, again…” Claire whispered.

Galinnade shuffled through her papers, crossing through a few lines before putting a signature at the bottom. She tapped on the stack twice, and the papers vanished into the void, disappearing into a shadowy mist.

Galinnade’s expression then fell. “A fate like yours, Claire, is uncommon even among Breakers.” The mermaid-being shook her hair, water splashing as she did so. “I just hope they won’t erase you. I liked watching after you, Claire. I even hoped that Jun-boy would show up to plead your case.”

Finally, Claire let out a dry laugh. “How could he?” she whispered. “I’m sure he’s on Earth or in Farelle, going on without me.”

“Oh? You sure?” Galinnade let out a small smirk. The mermaid-being then noticed a blue spark light up on her desk. “Looks like they’re waiting. Be safe in there.”

Claire nodded and drifted away from the desk, walking further into the shadowy room.

It didn’t matter which path she took. All of space would fold her towards her destination: towards a solid, dark wall. Yet, as Claire approached, the wall rippled like water and morphed around her, letting her pass.

She stepped through, and then felt her breath catch in her throat.

An infinite blanket of stars met her gaze: in every direction, the lights of worlds glittered in the distance. Timidly, Claire moved forward, towards the dark podium that awaited. She remembered this sight from all those years ago. The courtroom beyond space and time.

The place where World Breakers were sentenced for their crimes.

Claire turned her face upwards, towards the unfolding and ever-expanding cosmos, to meet a familiar set of eyes.

The young girl, with her swirling black hair and waving red ribbons, floated on a platform above. Her expression was unreadable. Two beings came into view to her left and right. One was an ethereal wolf-like being, with a blindfold made of flames bound tightly around its eyes. The other, a water-like creature, whose form was constantly shifting and moving in the absence of gravity.

“Welcome back,” the young, ribbon-haired girl called. “You have my gratitude for returning willingly.”

Claire put on a mischievous smile: the grin she wore when she wanted to hide her feelings.

“What can I say?” Claire smirked. “There’s beauty to be found in surrender. I just thank you for giving me enough time…” Her voice cracked. “ save someone.”

The ribbon-haired girl stepped down invisible stairs in the darkness, and reached Claire’s height.

“Last time you were here,” the girl spoke, “I told you, Clarisina, that you had an amazing gift. I believed Earth would prove your training grounds, to see if you could guide fate without disturbing it. And for five centuries, you exceeded my expectations. Not a single World Breaker from Earth. An amazing feat.”

Claire pulled her hat down and let it cover her eyes.

“But I broke your rules,” Claire replied weakly.

“Yes, you did,” the girl answered. “You pulled someone from Earth. You prevented him from his intended death. And then, your actions sent ripples across Farelle. You could have derailed so many lives; turned them into Faint Stars when they weren’t born that way — the exact opposite of your mission.”

Claire said nothing. She just pulled her hat down further and bit down on her lip.

The ribbon-haired girl continued. “Such an action would be grounds for erasure, to prevent your abilities from unraveling reality any further.”

The Love Sorceress’ arms trembled, as she shivered and held herself close.

She was scared. She was scared of being erased.

An image flashed through her mind: a picture of a smile from the person she wanted to see most.

She didn’t want him to leave him behind.

But what choice did she have?

Eventually, the ethereal young girl let out sigh. “Clarisina Sylvai, did you ever question why I asked you to become a matchmaker? Why I wanted you to be a Love Sorceress?”

Numbly, Claire shook her head. “I thought it was to repay for my love spell,” she replied, her voice barely over a whisper.

The girl’s eyes saddened. She decided to ask another question. “ you want us to punish you for your crimes?”

Claire was caught-off guard. She blinked in quick succession, unsure what to say. “Y-yes? I mean, how can I not? I’ve defied fate multiple times now. I ought to be erase—”

A loud noise echoed through the stars.

Claire spun around, distraught, to see the source of the screeching echo.

Behind her, the black wall that connected the courtroom to reality started to bend.

It bent and shuddered, until at last, it gave way.

Light shone through the connecting portal, as a person stumbled through.

And that person was me.

Jun Hiroyuki fell forward and shouted to the Champions of the Void:

“I object!”