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Welcome to Gaia

Novel By: Esper
Fantasy



Gaia:
-The bridge that connects every dimension of every universe together.
-Fierce battles for control of this area are being waged more and more frequently.
-Guarded by a rotating cycle of seven magicians.
-Gender Distribution: Females: 86%, Males 14% (?!?!)
-New occupants starting today: 2

Enjoy your stay, guys.
It doesn't look like you'll be leaving anytime soon. View table of contents...


Chapters:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Submitted:Aug 8, 2014    Reads: 28    Comments: 0    Likes: 1   


Welcome to Gaia

By: TheEsper

Special thanks to everyone who helped inspire the creation of this work, even, or rather especially, those that may never understand how influential they really are.

Chapter 1: Eren and Jorri

Eren was happy. Well, Eren was usually happy. Her high-spirited nature combined with an unshakeable confidence was enough to generally provide happiness for this young girl. Maybe "happy", then, wasn't the right word to describe how she felt. Eren contemplated this feeling for a moment as the wind blasted her face at high speed, blowing her long black hair in every direction. Her hands gripped firmly to the wooden stick she straddled, and she looked down at the view of the farmland below. She was high up enough to see the Varon River to the far West and could just barely discern the outline of the beautiful Sky's Reach Mountains to the Northeast.

No, if she had to describe what she was feeling, she would say something along the lines of, "My heart feels full." or "I feel complete right now." Naturally, she would not be saying such embarrassingly lines to anyone anytime soon. However, those were her true feelings in this moment, flying at high speed over the tallest of trees and the howling wind in her ears.

Up here, it was just her, the broom she straddled, and the sun that rose slowly to meet her by Sky's Reach vast range. The brief chill of the Summer morning would soon be gone, and the heat would be bearing down on the poor people down below. Normally, this realization would diminish that "full" feeling from Eren's heart, but today she had plans to avoid the Summer heat of this world. First, however, she decided she was definitely going to drag along a certain someone to join her, this time for sure!

She felt a sharp poke against her thigh every few moments. It wasn't really painful, but it was becoming annoying rather quickly. The gift Eren was bringing along to show her was a bit of a nuisance, but it was going to be absolutely worth the look that shrine girl had on her face when she saw what it could do.

Wanting to both stop the annoying poking as well as take another look at the object, Eren reached into the pocket of her lengthy black skirt with the decorative frilly white stripe that circled the center and pulled out an oblong metal fragment that she had been given from a recent outing to one of the more intriguing (and fun) worlds she'd visited lately. Unfortunately, her grip wasn't tight enough on the metal piece, and the high speed wind caught it at just the right angle to send it flying from her hand and falling to the ground.

"Ah!" Eren yelled out in a mixture of surprise and annoyance. Eren was a good magician, and not just by her own admittance, but there were still many types of magic in which she was not proficient. Tracing, a type of magic useful in pinpointing the location of things that are hard to find, such as a tiny piece of metal in a large open field, was certainly one of the more troublesome abilities she's ever attempted. Knowing this instinctively, she spun around and dived at an angle that would best allow for her to catch the item.

Flying, or at least in this case controlling an object that had been enchanted with a "flight" ability, was certainly one of her more suited skills. Still, at this angle and speed, she knew she might not quite catch the falling fragment, and her whole plan to charm that girl into coming would fall flat. With this thought in the back of her mind, Eren boosted the speed of the broom she rode and stretched out her hand. She would surely crash into the ground and meet her end at this rate. 'Well, those would be the thoughts of someone less skilled,' she thought with a smirk.

Diving a bit below the fragment, Eren pulled up ever so slightly to straighten herself out and snatched up the fragment from midair as she jerked the broom up with her free hand and began to raise her elevation all within less than three seconds total. This maneuver would most assuredly get her more than just a mild scolding.

'Well,' Eren thought to herself, 'That would only be a problem if anyone saw me, wouldn't it?' Laughing to herself, she rolled playfully through the air a few times after gaining back her altitude, another thing that would probably get her in trouble if she would get caught doing.

As the rural area below slowly formed into a more populated village, Eren saw the structure she was searching for in the distance. It was a huge wooden building that took up nearly a hundred acres of land and was clearly the focal point of the small town. As she flew in closer, the details of the holy shrine became more clear. She could see the intricate woodwork that went into the design of this structure and why it had drawn in such a crowd over the years. Eren wasn't there for worship, though, and she couldn't help but grin as she saw the small red dot below.

Eren swooped down a ways so that she would be heard by her friend. Waving energetically, she called out to her. "JORRI!"

* * *

Cleaning the walls and floors of a large shrine is tough work. People might try and disagree, saying that it's mostly just empty space, so it should go quickly, but those people have never spent an hour on a single room, slightly damp cloth in hand, buffing a floor for the second and third time until you could see your reflection in the wood.

Jorri looked at her fingers, which had been pruned half an hour ago and were just now starting to feel a bit raw. The cleric in training still had another full room to go after she finished off the current one, but she was nearly done now and ahead of schedule. After a bit of debating, Jorri decided she would take a short rest once this room was finished. While she would normally wait until all of her chores were finished, she knew that today would be hectic and that she had better not let her chances slip away.

Thankfully, ceremonies and other services were not generally held in this room, so the amount of people that entered this space only consisted of residents that lived in the shrine, such as herself, and the workers that helped maintain it. This meant there was less mess to clean. Unfortunately for the people in charge of cleaning rooms like these, as the Summer was slowly starting to fade, this room would transform into a place where younger children would take arts and crafts, boys would have their mandatory self-defense courses, and midwife classes would soon be held. It was going to be a long Autumn.

After giving the floor its required third round of polish, Jorri went to buff the main feature that this room had, a huge silver-plated plaque with bold, black lettering which was embedded into the center of the wall to the left side of the entrance. She began cleaning it without reading it. Why should she; she had already read it before during the last five hundred times she went to clean it. She knew it by heart. It read:

To those who have protected us.

To those that are protecting us.

To those that will protect us.

You are not alone. The blessings of Gaia watch over you, as do its people. When in need, embrace those that have put their faith in your powers. You are strong, but not invincible. Depend on us.

You are not alone. Your troubles are not simply your own. Your scars are not only yours, but the scars of all. What haunts you in the night and eats at you during the day is not a demon only you must face. Depend on us.

You are not alone. Power does not mean strength. You can fly, but too high or for too long will result is hardship. Do not bear everything yourself. You only have to come to those of us who are always here to lend our aid. Depend on us.

You are not alone...

...for we are always by your side.

Jorri remembered this first time she saw this plaque roughly eleven years ago. She was just a young girl at the time, around the age of four. It was when she had lost absolutely everything and had nowhere else to go. The shine's head, a kind, older woman, had knelt down next to Jorri to be at eye level and read these words in the most heartfelt manner. It was touching, but Jorri, even as a child, was one that refused to cry. Rather, she had already cried enough.

After giving the plaque a thorough amount of tough love which increased the soreness of her fingertips, the slightly sweaty Jorri walked down several corridors, nearly circling to the other side of the large complex, to the large dining area and kitchen. She wasn't alone in here, as there were three other girls cleaning the area while thirteen or fourteen girls and women along with one boy gathered for a quick break. Everyone was wearing the same white cloth outfit; it was made from soft, well-knitted material with a hood on the back that was only being used right now for those girls that were trying to grab in a couple minutes of extra sleep.

The area looked pretty clean from all the works the girls had been putting in this morning. The chairs that weren't in use were sitting upside down on the extended tables, enough to fit maybe 20 people each in this large room that could hold nearly 300 hungry people at a time.

It was still a bit early, so Jorri, after giving the usual round of pleasantries and greetings to her fellow residents and cleaning crew, grabbed a cup and filled it with a nearby kettle of fresh herbal tea that most of the others in the room were already drinking. As the liquid filled the cup, a gentle aroma seemed to fill her entire body. Certainly, this was the work of Morina; anything touched by that woman was transformed into a culinary masterpiece.

After taking a few moments to delight in this treasure, Jorri noticed the lone male in the room giving her a pleading look.

"Jorri," the boy's frail-sounding voice calls out to her softly. "Help me out."

Jorri smirks at the situation the young man around the same age as herself was in. It was apparent why he was in trouble, as two young women, one on either side of him, were holding onto each of his arms tightly and trying to "persuade" him to cooperate with them.

"Oh, come on," the girl on his left said playfully. "I don't bite."

The blonde girl attached to the young man's right arm shook her head and looked away as she stated in a sing-songy voice, "Not what I heard, Mika..."

"Venora!" the first girl protested.

"It's true, isn't it?"

The girl named Mika debated the accusation for a moment before relenting. "Well, only a little, you know," she said with a toothy grin, making the nervous boy even more panicked. He gave a pleading look to Jorri once more.

Jorri smiled and gave a shrug. "This is why you're supposed to take your self-defense courses seriously, Vahan," she teased.

"Jorri!" the boy named Vahan called out to her, pleading.

Feigning a sigh and shrugging, Jorri walked up to the table and, reluctantly, put the cup of tea down. "Alright, you two," she proclaimed in a firm voice. "That's enough. Leave him be."

"But Jooorriiiii..." Mika whined.

"Just let us have some fun with him," Venora protested.

Jorri had known these two for several years, and it was obvious that the two of them weren't planning on taking this too far, but Vahan just looked too pathetic to leave alone with his captors. She raised both hands to the girls heads and gave them a very solid flick to their foreheads.

Both girls winced and grabbed the sore spots on the center of their foreheads, making further whining noises. "No mean no!" Jorri stated in the firm tone from before.

"We're sorry..." the two said, obediently releasing Vahan's arms and sliding their chairs away a bit to give him room.

"Good. Now don't forget you both have to help clean the festival area. It shouldn't be too rough, though. You'll have plenty of help."

"Okay," they replied in unison, their tone admitting complete defeat.

Jorri gave a small grin as she picked up her tea once more. She gave a small nod to the grateful young man, who thanked her as she left the dining hall. She sighed to herself as she made her way through the long, often twisting corridors of the shrine. She wasn't really annoyed at having to play the "stern big sister" role all the time; she was a role model, and that meant those types of responsibilities. She just never asked to be a role model. These thoughts filled her head as she finally made her way to the garden area, the one place that would mostly guarantee her a place to some solitude for a moment where she could enjoy her tea.

As she stepped out in the garden area, she found a small wooden bench that allowed her to have a decent view of the sunrise. She finally had a chance to take a sip of her warm beverage that had been teasing her nose for the past few minutes. The flavor was rather tangy, maybe with a bit of citrus, she thought. It was somewhat difficult to tell exactly how Morina made something so amazing, but just one sip was enough to begin warming her entire body through.

Jorri took in a deep breath and exhaled, allowing a relaxed feeling to take her. Still, she couldn't help but think aloud. "Responsibilities," she said as she stared out into the distance. "I sometimes wish I was a bit more free to play around."

"JORRI!" A voice called out to her.

She looked up. "Well, speaking of someone who just wants to play around..." She smiled. Eren might not be the best role model, and yes, was even a brat at times, she still brought something with her that was much more important. An infectious type of cheer.

* * *

Eren descended towards Jorri with a big smile on her face, and was greeted by the weary smile and wave of a girl that had been working fairly hard already this morning.

"You look tired," Eren stated bluntly.

"Of course," replied the redhead. "We have to keep the place clean or the patrons won't keep coming."

"Makes sense," Eren said, thinking more of how to best phrase her next question. Well, she had a plan anyway, so she figured the best way to ask would be the straightforward way. "So... want to visit a new realm today?"

Jorri tilted her head to the side and closed her eyes for just a moment, as if thinking. "You've been going to different realms a lot lately."

"I'm boooored," Eren said, somewhat whining. To be dramatic, she dismounted the broom and let her feet hit the ground beside the bench Jorri was sitting on, slumping over it. "Nothing's happening these days."

"Are you unhappy that things are peaceful of a change? Peace is nice, you know."

"Nice, but boring." Eren gave Jorri a sideways glance, but found herself distracted by her very bright red hair, which was tied back neatly with a green ribbon. 'I... I want to play with it,' she thought. Jorri was the only person in the village with red hair. She might have been the only person Eren had ever met with red hair. She seemed to take good care of it too, as if she knew it was a rare find around here. She reached out towards the red locks, almost giving in to her temptations, but stopped. No, that would be dangerous if she were caught.

Jorri, completely oblivious to Eren's sidetracked thoughts, gave a short laugh before stopping and slowly taking on a more serious look. "If we have another realm crasher like the last one, then "boring" will be the least of our worries."

Jorri had successfully pulled Eren's attention back to her. Eren tried to think of something comforting to say, but that really wasn't her forte, so she just got frustrated. "Ah, geez! This is exactly why you need to come with me! It's been five months since then, and you're still stressing over it! Come on and clear your head." Eren slipped down into the bench correctly and bounced energetically a bit, giving Jorri her best "Come oooooon!" grin.

Jorri tried not to laugh as she turned away with a smile. She shook her head. "Nope. I've got a lot of work to do for-"

"Wait, wait!" Interrupting her friend's refusal, Eren reached into her pocket. "Before you say no, let me show you something neat."

Jorri's eyes twitched slightly. She knew already what was about to happen. Eren knew her weaknesses well.

Eren produced the small, oddly-shaped metal fragment from earlier and held it up for Jorri to see. It was very smooth except for a somewhat sharp looking point at the tip, and changed color depending on the angle it was viewed from. She instinctively reached out to grab it from her friend, but the hand holding onto the metal piece pulled away with great speed before Jorri could take hold of it.

"I'll show you what it does if you say you'll come with me." Eren showed off an evil little grin in the redhead's direction.

Jorri's desire to pout was strong, but she fought it. She spoke firmly. "I told you, I have to help clean. The festival is in three days."

"But that's boring!"

"You love festivals, though."

"Yeah, but cleaning up for them is boring," Eren felt her fun plans for the day slipping away from her as Jorri sighed beside her. "Just use magic to clean up really quick so you can come with me."

Jorri crossed her arms with a sour look. "I don't like using magic when it's not an emergency. The more I use it, the more people act differently towards me. I just want to live normally without all the special treatment. It's weird!"

Eren put her chin up, boasting, "I use magic all the time, and no one gives me any special treatment."

"That's because you always do bad things with your magic."

"Like what?!" Eren demanded, shocked at the accusation coming from the cleric girl.

Jorri pointed to the small bit of metal in the other girl's hand. "Oh, stuff like taking things from other realms. That's one of the things they love to hassle you about, isn't it?"

"Th-This was a gift, you know! A gift!" Eren stammered, defensively.

Jorri smirked. "Well, either way, you're not supposed to bring things back. Who knows what all those weird things could do when you bring them to Gaia. They could be dangerous. Like that thing." She pointed again to the metal fragment. "What exactly does it do?"

Eren's evil grin immediately returned. "You're just dying to know what it does, aren't you? Admit it," she teased.

Jorri was caught by surprise as Eren saw through her. She turned away, pretending (unconvincingly) she could care less. "N-Not really. I was just making sure you didn't bring back something that could unintentionally harm everyone. That's all."

Eren could feel her grin becoming even bigger. This was always fun, teasing Jorri. "Come on. I'll show you, even if you won't go with me today. Just say "Please, Eren. Please show me what it does. I really love the new toys you bring me." Come on! Say it!"

Jorri didn't look at Eren and simply replied in a surprisingly calm tone. "Maybe I was wrong."

"Huh?"

Jorri turned and looked at her friend, eyes glowing a crimson shade of red, which indicated she was building up for a massive, possibly destructive magical attack. Her tone was much more threatening at she continued. "Maybe it's okay to use magic for things outside of emergencies."

Eren popped up out of the bench to get away from the clearly upset Jorri. That was the problem with teasing Jorri; you could only push so much before your luck ran out. Eren snapped her fingers, and the broom which had gently floated to the ground immediately flew into her palm, making a loud smacking noise as she caught it. "Well, it's been fun," she said, trying her best not to do anything to further anger the cleric in front of her. She quickly straddled the broom and pushed off from the ground, making a slow descent into the air. A quick look down still showed her friend giving her an angered look.

"Oh, Jorri! Don't be angry. You know I'm going to show you what it does anyway." Eren said, positioning herself just above the girl, whose eye color had started to return to normal at this point. She took the metal fragment and very carefully dropped it down towards Jorri's position, landing it perfectly in her cup of herbal tea.

Jorri's eyes widened in horror. "MY TEA!" she exclaimed. She looked down into the cup with such sadness, you might have thought it was the last cup of tea in the world. Then, after a moment, she felt the cup shake uncontrollably. An instant later, the metal fragment shot upwards out of the tea, soaring nearly fifty feet into the air, right back into the awaiting open palm of Eren.

From up high, the girl in black looked at the wide-eyed cleric below. She called down to her, "If you put it in hot water, it goes crazy! See? I told you it was neat!" She released her hold on the item and let it fall back down to the ground, only this time to be caught by the white-clad young girl.

Jorri stared at the metal piece for a moment, still in disbelief. She felt a surge of excitement run through her, jumping out of the bench and raising the oddity up high. "That was amazing! Amazing!" she yelled out. "I've never seen anything like it!"

Eren tried not to laugh. The well-mannered and very much reserved Jorri, that everyone looked up to at the shrine, was easily excitable when faced with even the simplest of new technologies or anomalies from another realm. Eren couldn't say she didn't have these moments as well, but between the two, the cleric girl that was hopping around now on the ground was certainly more entertaining to watch at times like this.

"So, after the festival, we're definitely going to go check out new realms together, you got it?"

Jorri nodded with a huge smile, and gave a decisive thumps up. "Yeah! Definitely!"

"Alright, then," she called down, making sure her voice was loud enough to be heard over the wind that was picking up, "I'll come back by later after some exploring. I might even bring you another gift, if you're good." With that, she began to take flight back the way she came.

"Alright, Eren, have fu- Wait! You're not supposed to..." Jorri trailed off as her friend was no longer within earshot. She shook her head and said to herself with a small grin, "Well, I guess my break's over now." She looked at the small metal piece in her hand and wondered what she should do with it, or at least where she could get some hot water on short notice.

* * *

Small drops of rain began to pelt Eren in the face and on her exposed arms as she soared forward. A storm was coming in, and judging from the looks of the dark clouds ahead, it was going to be a rough one. While she didn't particularly want to head right into it and get drenched, the best connection point she knew of was going to land her right in the middle of that upcoming mess.

'Just great,' she thought, breathing a small sigh. 'Well, I already told Jorri I'd bring her back something, so I'll just have to be a little soggy when I visit the next realm.' She shrugged. 'I was never good with first impressions anyway.'

The drops of rain turn into a steady stream that soaked into the once comfortable black clothing. Light flashed in the distance, and after only a few moments of silence, the sound of rolling thunder filled the air. Eren's grip tightened around the broom handle. If she kept going, she would become a human lightning rod at this height.

Figuring that she would rather be safe than sorry, Eren decided to cast a defensive barrier around herself. She had been born with magic and raised to use it properly, even if she applied her own meaning to the word "properly". Magicians certainly weren't plentiful in this world, and only seven could exist at any given time, meaning you were over fifteen thousand times more likely to be struck by lightning than to be born with the ability to manipulate mana. With that in consideration, Eren wasn't keen on taking chances with this type of thing.

Simply by learning to manipulate the mana found inside yourself, another person, everyday objects, the very air around you, and the universe as a whole, one could very easily create what would others might view as "magic". There were countless ways to use mana, but for the most part, they fell into eight categories. For a barrier that would hold against lightning, that category was called "casting". Casting referred to the manipulation of mana that was outside of the body in the immediate vicinity. While the host magician could do numerous things with this energy, creating a physical wall of mana was one of the simplest and most effective tools of a magician to stop unwanted harm from befalling them. Barriers were very sturdy, but not unbreakable; they could easily be broken if the magician's concentration was interrupted or another magician's power overwhelmed them.

As for using mana, it was just a matter of practice for someone born with the proper powers to grasp.

Eren held her fist out in front of her body. While she couldn't physically see the mana, she could sense it and visualize it in her mind perfectly. Mana surrounded her. It was all around her, in the air passing by as she flew, in each raindrop that fell around her, coursing through her body and through the outstretched arm in front of her. She could see it all clearly, like a violet mist.

She began to concentrate on the mana flowing around her as she passed and gathered it around her. There was plenty all around, and it gathered into a large cloud surrounding her. Through her will, she began to encircle the gathering mist around her, moving it at high speed and shaping it into a sphere large enough to fit two of her, riding broom-end to broom-end comfortably. After enough mana had been gathered and shaped, she forcefully opened her fist, triggering the end of the spell and releasing the unused mana. All that remained was a very real, very serviceable transparent barrier. This casting spell took place all within less than 2 seconds.

If lightning were to strike this barrier now, it would certainly rattle the magician's concentration, but wouldn't break the barrier. Even if the magician was startled enough to lose all concentration and the shield was broken, it would more than likely be long after the lightning had finished its strike.

'...CRAP!'

It was only now that Eren thought about casting a barrier to stop her clothes from getting wet in the first place.

A little less happy with herself than when she was a few moments ago, Eren found herself at the proper placement for the dimensional gate, the only known way to travel from one realm to another. Each magician was born with a special type of magic they could use, and this was hers. While other magicians could use magic that fell under the "dimensional" category of magical types, this particular ability was hers and hers alone, to be used by her as she saw fit.

As the thunder grew louder and more quickly responded to the flashes of lightning, Eren checked around herself to make sure she was perfectly situated to open the gate. Looking down, it was getting hard to see due to the storm clouds blocking the Sun and the torrent of rain streaking over the barrier walls, but she estimated she was about sixty-five feet above ground, just slightly North of Rameino Forest's center. That would be about right.

Now was the time to place the gate. First, Eren would need to drawn out mana from the bridge that connected dimensions. This wasn't quite as hard as it sounded. You see, Gaia, this world Eren was connected to right now, was the central connection point to all other realms. Anyone wishing to go from one realm to another had to hit the checkpoint known as Gaia. Unfortunately, most all of the travelers that came to Gaia were not friendly. They had their own agenda for traveling to different realms and almost always meant to harm whoever they wished along the way. These people were dubbed "realm crashers". When a realm crasher appeared, it was a magicians duty to fight to save Gaia and every other realm from being overrun and destroyed. This is why Gaia magicians are treasured, and what Jorri meant by "special treatment".

Honestly, Eren could care less about all of that expected responsibility. She was a magician, so she just did what she felt like. If a realm crasher appeared, it was her chance to show off in a fight (not that it always worked out that way). Even if that wasn't the case, Eren would fight anyway. She had friends and loved ones all over Gaia. She fought for them to assure they live a long and happy life in peace. That was just how she saw things.

Back to the main event, Eren gathered enough dimensional mana at this point. For her, it was a simple matter of seeing the small opening in the world where dimensional mana slipped out. Its color was different in Eren's mind. She saw it as a crimson and black mixture, but often had various other colors that would flash in an disappear. Focusing on these random flickers of pink and forest green and gold was the key to setting the coordinates for the next realm gate. First, however, it was always good to set up a waypoint between Gaia and a new realm. Deciding on what color combination to choose from was essential, as that meant-

A flash of light. An immediate and deafening roar that almost shook Eren's mind. No, she was okay. The barrier was up and she was fine. The lightning and thunder were just very close and very startling. Even if it had hit the barrier directly, Eren would have never let it drop. The only peculiarity was that.

In front of Eren, a fully functioning dimensional gate stood ready for her to enter. The swirling mist of a nearly pitch black void encased inside an oval-shaped ring of crimson mana would have looked quite frightening to anyone that had never seen one before. This gate had somehow been established in the moment she had become frigh-... er... startled by the lightning. She hadn't purposefully set it to materialize. It was just something she did out of habit. Dimensional gates are easily enough created, not dissimilar to how a barrier is formed, actually, but with a pathway created between Gaia and the set destination. She didn't set a waypoint, but that wasn't really a necessity. No matter where she went, any realm she entered was attached to Gaia, as it was the checkpoint for every other realm. All she had to do was create another dimensional gate and she was home.

Still, all that said, this was quite a feat. She had merely gathered the mana from the bridge between dimensions when the lightning struck. Without a focused path, any waypoint set, or even a constructed bridge, here it was. She had done it all in an instant through sheer force of habit.

Eren puffed out her chest a bit. "I'm even more amazing than I thought I was. Ha! Ha! Ha!" she boasted loudly to no one but the raging storm. After a moment, her ego deflated, along with her puffed out chest, and she thought to herself, 'Actually, this may just lead into something unpleasant. I better check before I get too excited.'

Eren flew gently through the rain with ease, though sheets upon sheets of rain and a powerful wind tried to blow at the barrier around her with all its might. The entirety of the barrier was able to easily fit through the dimensional gate, as it was always designed to do. You never knew when you'd stick your head through a gate and meet an untimely fate to a creature of unknown origins.

Just leaning her upper body through the gate, Eren head peeked out into a sunny world she had never seen.

"OH MY GODDESS!" she yelled out without thinking. "IT'S AMAZING! HUGE! I'VE NEVER SEEN BUILDINGS SO BIG IN MY LIFE!"

Without an hesitation, Eren left Gaia behind entirely and dimensional gate closed behind her. She spun around in midair. For as far as she could see, there was nothing but concrete, metal, and glass... and people! So many people in one area! This was the one hundred and twenty-seventh dimensional gate Eren had traveled through from Gaia and the eighty-ninth new world, but never had she seen such tall buildings or lack of nature in one area before. Even the biggest cities of Gaia would be humbled by this place.

A commotion below brought Eren back to her senses. Looking down, she could see people pointing at her and yelling in disbelief. The language they were speaking was different from her own, so she couldn't make out the exact words, but the message of "Look! A girl flying on a broom!" was clear.

'Oh,' she thought, 'Yeah, I guess I better go before I cause a panic, huh? Most worlds don't have magicians in them, so flying girls generally tend to stir up commotion. I better find a place to land and stay on the ground for now.'

With those thoughts in mind, Eren flew up high to get a good vantage point, hoping not to attract too much more attention. After looking around for a bit, marveling at the numerous building that seemed to embrace the sky, she ended up descending into a small, secluded, and exceptionally filthy alleyway. Dispelling the barrier, she hopped off her broom, and started to walk as quickly as she could, not wanting to draw attention to herself, and hoping no one saw her enter the alleyway. She was in a bit of a hurry before, and didn't get a good look at the people on the ground before landing, so she wasn't sure if her clothes or anything of that nature would make her stand out in a crowd.

'If need be, I'll just fly off and grab a gate back home,' she thought, 'but I'd really like to see what this world is like first.' Broom in hand, she walked out onto the nearest patch of smooth rock that met the streets of this city, and...

...Eren jaw dropped. Of all the things she could have missed, this was the most obvious. The difference between her world and every other world she travelled to versus the one she found herself in right now was obvious.

'All the men... are alive.'





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