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Aloe wanted to attribute her achievements to Jared, but she didn't know how to bring it up.

'This exposure to Aether she's talking about... is it because Jared resurrected me?'

She still had a bunch of questions.

"Alright, Aloe. I've decided to take you in as my apprentice. We're gonna be here a while, you ready for that?"

It was a sudden question, but Aloe was already certain about what to respond with.

"Yes!"

'I'm sorry for my selfishness, everyone. I have to find out more...'

"Haha! I like your zeal! Alright then."

*

*

*

The Mirrors around them turned into walls, and a tiled surface appeared underneath. Before long, it seemed like they were in a glass room—with both the woman and Aloe as the occupants.

"You seem to have a suspicion as to how and where you must have gotten access to Aether. So, spill." The woman in white spoke, her voice echoing lightly in the vast and empty hall.

"I-I think it's when I died and Jared resurrected me. I was killed by some demons during an invasion and—"

"Hoho, I see. He resurrected you through normal means? The world has advanced to that extent already?"

"N-no, not really. Jared is just really exceptional..."

"Seems to me like you have some sort of 'special feelings' for this Jared character. Hehe." The pale woman leaned closer, grinning mischievously.

"I-its not like that. I just respect him a lot. Besides, he's got someone else..." Aloe was blushing hard at this point, yet she denied any prospect of having feelings for the boy in question.

Surely, she wasn't expecting the ancient being in front of her to buy that.

"Haaa, I totally get how you feel, Aloe. It was the same for me, with Merlin."

"Oh... you liked him?"

"W-what? Who said that? Of c-c-c-course not! Why would you think that?!" The pale lady was also blushing all over.

It seemed the two were more alike than they initially thought.

"Oh... okay..."

"What's with that tone? You don't believe me? Come on, if you have something on your mind, spill it!"

"Haha, I'd rather just focus on training on the... Aether?" Aloe swiftly tried to return the focus to the relevant subject that they had decided to undertake.

It wasn't like romance and those kind of things weren't also important to her, but...

'The world is at stake. I have to get back to the others quickly.'

"What's the rush? Come on, let loose a bit. I haven't had someone to talk to in ages." The pale lady said with a pouty expression.

With the snap of her fingers, a sofa made of glass appeared, and she sat on it with an emphatic desire to make herself comfortable.

"B-but, aren't you like... going to disappear or something?"

"Uh?"

"I mean... back when Jared met Merlin, he said something about him being out of time, and he vanished. So, I was wondering about you, and..."

Instantly, the pale woman's eyes popped wide open and she dashed in Aloe's direction in a flash.

"You saw Merlin? What did he say? Did he mention me?" Her eyes sparkled with desire and curiosity.

For someone who claimed not to have any feelings for the man in question, she sure displayed the opposite.

With her face blushing so hard, and what appeared to be steam coming from her her nose, it seemed pretty clear to Aloe... but who was she talk?

"W-wait, I don't know. I'm not sure. I wasn't the one who met with him personally."

"Ah, is that so?"

Disappointment spread across the lady's face as she plopped back to her seat. Aloe heaved a sigh of relief, happy her 'mentor' hadn't egged her on concerning the topic.

'Merlin didn't talk about her at all. According to what Jared said, he only mentioned...' Aloe's eyes bulged as she realized something.

Something utterly important!

'H-how could I have forgotten?'

There was one person that Merlin vehemently warned against. The only person he specifically mentioned.

"U-um... what's your name? I just realized we haven't exchanged names. I'm Aloe Vida." She gulped, looking at the pale woman with a slightly nervous expression.

If she was indeed the 'person' that Merlin spoke about, then...

"Ah, I'm Kazen. Wait... did you think I was Ciel? So you did meet Merlin!" The lady named Kazen once again launched herself at Aloe.

"N-no, Jared was the only one, really. He only told to beware of a 'Ciel'."

It was a tough one, but Aloe once again avoided the hounding of her obviously lovestruck or obsessed mentor. She could deny it all she wanted, but wasn't it plain?

"It's a relief you aren't Ciel, though." She laughed, trying to create conversation upon seeing Kazen pout.

"How can you be so sure? This is my world, you know? Reading your thoughts isn't exactly difficult, if I wanted to. I could just pretend to not be Ciel."

'Ah, that's true. Crap!' Aloe realized that no matter how she sliced it, there was no way to be entirely certain.

"Don't worry, though. I'm not her... and you best be happy I'm not. For one, Ciel isn't an Apostle of Aether... at least not anymore."

Aloe felt there was a lot to the story, considering Kazen, who was usually so expressive, now had a darker expression.

"What exactly happened?"

Kazen gazed into Aloe's eyes, and she sighed while shaking her head.

"Na. I don't want to talk about it. You asked why I'm not worried about disappearing, right? There's no need to worry about that."

Aloe felt a bit saddened about how Kazen brushed off the topic, but it was probably too painful to discuss.

Either way, she simply had to respect her predecessor's privacy.

"I didn't use up my Aether before dying, after all. Besides, I used my Original Magic to ensure I wouldn't vanish... at least, in a sense."

"Huh?"

"[The Moon] Arcana controls reflections. In essence, mirror copies. I copied my soul and placed it as the custodian of this Arcana."

"N-no way..." Aloe found herself in amazement.

"I know. I'm pretty awesome, right?"