⊱————- Ofris' PoV ————-⊰
She had returned. With just a few weak words that had slipped Rika's quivering lips, she had been summed back to her side. After all I had said to her, after all she said, she still dared to return. And I couldn't be more glad about it.
The goddess had been summoned in the form of a large fox, one that was about the size of the Porraka that had attacked Rika only moments ago. She hadn't said a single word yet, but I knew it was her, it couldn't be anybody else.
Sure, she was far larger this time compared to the pet-sized fox form she had used the last time, and there was a weird, white glowing mist coming from her whole body, but the way she used magic was just too familiar for it to be a mere coincidence. Who else but Rika and she would lick wounds as a method of healing?!
After spending about a minute on the grievous wound the Porraka had left on Rika's leg, the goddess started doing something even weirder. She pressed her mouth on her lips, again and again, as if trying to kiss her, though it didn't really look that way thanks to her current appearance.
It took me a few moments to realize what it was exactly what she did. Shiro was busy using one of the weirdest but most powerful magic spells she had given to Rika.
I didn't know its name, but I still remembered the effects Rika had described: she could, given her mana didn't run out, multiply someone's strength and resistences many times over. It was most likely the latter of the two that made her do this.
While the goddess was doing all of this, Sahria, too, did her utmost to save the girl. She whispered a sheer endless stream of magical formulas as she used her whole arsenal of healing and detoxification spells. And I? I was doomed to watch, unable to help the girl in any way.
A Porraka's poison wasn't exactly strong compared to that of some snakes or insects, but each of its brutal bites injected large amounts of it into the wounds of its victims. Even the largest animals would faint within minutes or maybe hours after being at the receiving end of one of these attacks. And after that, they were doomed to be eaten alive by those lizards.
The worst part was the fact that while these animals were usually hunting alone, dozens of them could be lured in by the smell the poison gave off once it had circulated through the body of its victim. This alone made Porrakas the worst nightmare of any inexperienced group of adventurers.
We were on an open plain, making it unlikely that there was a second one of them nearby and impossible for there to be a third. That said, it was still better for us to escape from here as soon as possible.
Luckily, it didn't take Sahria long to finish her treatment. And just as her lips stopped moving and the endless stream of words died off, the goddess, too, separated from her alleged daughter. She turned back into her human form with the help of three barks, petted Rika's head and whispered a single word: 『Transform』
Rika's body changed just like that. It became that little fox again, small enough for Shiro to pick up and place on her lap, which is exactly what she did.
"Why did you-"
I couldn't even ask my question, as Shiro slapped me with all of her little strength. She stared at me with anger, grief and hatred, all of these feelings filling her ruby-colored eyes.
"You said you would protect her!"
"I was sleeping!"
"SO WHAT?! You couldn't even protect her for two days! And you dare to forbid me to even talk to her?! You almost let her die!"
She was right, I knew she was. But I couldn't accept that she was blaming me. Anyone but her.
"You wouldn't even care about her if she wasn't your vessel!"
"I would give my life for her!"
"Then do it! Set her free! She is better off without you!"
"It was you who treated her like a slave..."
"You made her look like one!"
Something changed in the face of the goddess. She averted her gaze, forcing it onto the little fox on her lap instead, before beginning to slowly stroke over its tiny body. Rika didn't even react to the gentle touches, she took her shallow breaths while fighting against the aftermaths of the poison.
It was better this way. I didn't want Rika to find out anything about this, anything about my first real conversation with the self-declared mother of hers. Who knew how she would react to any of this.
Maybe she would feel bad for Shiro, maybe she would be angry instead, I wouldn't know. And I didn't want to. It was better if she didn't find out...
The goddess gave up on quarreling with me just like that. She gently placed Rika into my hands, changed back into her fox form and took a long glance at the girl.
"I will set her free," she slowly said, her ghostly voice reaching directly into my head. "From me, from you and from anybody else who tries to confine her. So protect her. This time for real..."
She didn't even wait for my answer. The goddess just turned around and began running into the dark. Her white fur slowly got darker as left us behind, until she could no longer to be seen.
⊱————- Extra ————-⊰
Shiro: Hou sad hou wout prodect her!
Ofris: What did you say?
Shiro: Hou coudn ewen prodect her for too dais!
Ofris: Too dais...?
Shiro: Whai didend hou prodect her?! Shi neerly died!
Ofris: This is hardly the time for jokes!
Shiro: ... idiat!
Ofris: Did you just call me an idiot?!
Shiro: Bicose hou ar! Hou ar de dummest idiat of all!
Ofris: STOP TALKING LIKE THAT!
Shiro: Ai cand!
Shiro: De poisan...
Ofris: What is poisan?!
Shiro: Mai tong! Ids de lissards fauld!
Ofris: You are not making any sense!!
Anthon: Shouldn't you cure her poisoning, lady?
Sahria: It probably won't hurt to wait a little longer~