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Ifrit and Shiva walk together, but only because I stand between them. I'm like an Eidolon intermediary. Though I feel like my body is stretching thin—on the outside, my muscles; and on the inside, my brain—Shiva tells me, "The Summoners of Mist are kind, calming souls; your presence soothes us."

So I'm a complete wreck that comforts others. 

What a fantastic anomaly I'm becoming.

"I do not want to destroy everything when you're here!" Ifrit shouts.

When he speaks, I always feel like dodging something that's about to fall from the sky, like a Meteor spell is about to descend upon us; but nothing's ever there. He is truly a cosmic force, no doubt the King of Fire. Just a couple days ago, this might have excited me, but now every time he speaks, I'm annoyed as hell, because he's so. Damn. LOUD.

We walk by monsters wrapped in bright violet robes, with beady white eyes staring from the deep dark of their hoods. We also walk by monsters with fairy wings; with fleshy wings. We walk by sylphs that aren't Trancy. We walk by everything except another human, and it's only then I realize, I am alone here.

This is world entirely of Eidolon. Of Esper. Of otherworldly beings.

In the center of the town of rounded huts, a granite keep stretches up to the stalactite ceiling; and it simultaneously relies on stalagmites to hold it taut to the heavens, suspending between what's above and what's below. 

I hold up hands with longer, thinner fingers. 

When I glance down at my feet, they seem unusually far away from my head.

Does our body define who we are?—surely it must to a certain extent, right? Like, if I don't look like a kid, does that mean I'm not a kid anymore? But I feel like a kid. I also feel embarrassed for feeling like a kid. I'm not sure how happy I can feel when I lay my head down at night, if all my other emotions remain this inconsistent. My body is a shell containing—

My face lights up. 

"Shell!" I cry out, and a bright blue sphere wraps around me, a swathe of protection that finally deadens the unbearable heat and chill from Ifrit and Shiva. 

Thank goodness; if they flanked me much longer without any support, I'd pass out from chill and dehydration, all at once.

Ifrit pokes curiously at the sphere of light, the Shell spell hugging around me.

Shiva frowns. "Isn't that white magic?"

I nod enthusiastically. Mom used to praise me for my ability to use white magic, black magic, and summons alike. 

"Our green princess of many talents," Ifrit announces, waving an arm over me. Growing pains aside, I'll never be nearly as tall as him.

"But wouldn't it be better if you focused on talents you truly excelled in?" Shiva asks, responding more to him than me. "Your Fire spell is nearly ready for a Fira. Someday, I am certain you can use Firaga. So why worry about white magic?"

"She is scared of Fire!" Ifrit exclaims.

Okay, now they're talking like I'm not there. Irritating.

Just as I lose myself in a brooding pool of layers upon layers of hormones, Ifrit leans right up to the wall of my Shell spell to whisper, "Your Blizzard was pretty good, too."

"You mean the one you snuffed out?" I mutter.

He guffaws. "Yes, that one!"

Inside the fragile yet powerful fortress, two plush blue thrones are framed elegantly by paintings of the most ancient Eidolons: Odin; Bahamut; and Carbuncle. Carbuncle looks like a tortoise had a baby with a peacock, but Odin is handsome and gallant on his white steed, and Bahamut is a violet-skinned man with great, starlight wings rising from his shoulders—a super-sexy dude.

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