Runa scurried around her lab, placing pieces of rocks all over the room. After that, she placed a shining metallic sphere right in the center of the room, inside that same cage of glass where those unfortunate bunnies used to be kept.
Emi seemed to be glad to be back and see the weird experiments once again, but Beatrice was very much in distress about being made to meet Runa again. Her girlfriend had no clue what haunting memories she had about her time as the girl’s babysitter… Seriously, I really think you should read your history books if you don’t know who Runa Arakawa is. I can’t believe you don’t know her. You’re really laughing about how silly she is? Gods, what has the world come to?
“I am not fooling around here with this deadly science,” Runa said. “There should be no way for this to occur. The sphere, which would normally act as the magnetic core of the golem, is completely separate from its other pieces. And I have drained the magical energy residue from each one, of course.” She pointed up to the large crystal hanging in the air, which made Beatrice wonder for a brief moment if the bunny test was going to be extended to the three humans in here this time. “But once I depolarize the energy and reactivate the sphere, it shall reassemble immediately!”
Runa pulled a lever, and the crystal in the air dropped. It crashed on the ground, shattering into a million pieces and sending magical energy swirling around the laboratory, zig-zagging and bouncing off the walls and curving around Runa’s equipment. Beatrice jumped out of the way of one of the magical beams, and as a result she tripped and fell onto the dirt floor. Emi let the beams pass through her and laughed.
“Runa, what are you doing?” Beatrice shouted, picking herself back up and dusting off her skirt.
“Worry not. This should be perfectly safe for humans, if I have done my calculations correctly.” The look of horror on Beatrice’s face told all, but Runa simply smiled as if nothing was wrong. Emi seemed just as pleased, clapping at the show before her.
The swirling aura of magic did seem a bit uninterested in the humans; it bounced around the laboratory for a while and passed through Emi’s body a couple times, then eventually entered each of the individual rocks spread out across the room. The pieces levitated up and circled together in a humanoid outline, filling in until only the chest area was missing.
“Now, the pieces will look for their core– their soul,” Runa said.
“Which is that sphere, right?” Emi asked.
“Yes. But because I have drained it of magical energy and hidden it behind a physical barrier, the rocks should normally be unable to find it. But if my hypothesis is correct, we will see a miracle happen right about…”
The rocks floated around the laboratory for another minute…
…And then all at once, they collapsed onto the ground.
“Noooooooooo!” Runa ran over to the rocks and cried out in dismay, ranting about magical theorems and whatnot, speaking too quickly for Beatrice to decipher.
Emi looked over to Beatrice, who was still deeply mortified by everything that had just happened. “Runa’s so cute,” she said.
“Have you seen the way she looks at you, Emi?” Beatrice asked. “You may think she has feelings for you, but she wants to use you as a test subject.”
Emi seemed to regard this for a moment, as she put a finger on her lips. It didn’t phase her, though. “Why do you keep visiting her, anyway?”
“She would probably send her creations out to hunt me down if I didn’t show up,” Beatrice answered.
Even Beatrice had to admit that that wasn’t an honest answer. “She’s not the worst kid in the world, okay? And her experiments aren’t too far from plausible. Even if they may be creepy.”
“Well, I don’t think they’re creepy,” Emi said. “I think they’re pretty cool. When they work, at least.”
“Thanks for being a supportive girlfriend,” Beatrice said.
She still wasn’t used to using that term. They had become an undeniable, undoubtedly legitimate couple, and yet she still felt a pitter-patter every time she said the word. Beatrice wondered if that feeling would ever really go away. She sort of hoped it wouldn’t.
Runa was still raving about in the mad scientist mode she was currently in, and had seemed to have forgotten she had guests in the laboratory with her. Beatrice took advantage of the opportunity, and stepped right in front of Emi. She put her hands on her shoulders. Then she leaned in and kissed Emi on the lips.
Emi locked up like a statue, acting like an electrical surge had passed through her body for a few seconds. This happened every time they kissed. Beatrice giggled. Endlessly cute, this L’Hime girl.
Runa suddenly snapped back towards Beatrice and Emi, and gave a toothy grin. “I’ve figured out my error,” she said. “I know how to fix this!”
Emi tried to shake herself out of the sudden kiss she had just received. “Wh… What was it?”
“I shattered the wrong soul crystal,” she said. “The one I used must have been for a melted ice golem, not the stone golem I had desired. Therefore its metallic core would not react to the rocks. An easy fix…. but my supply of golem cores has run thin and must be replenished. So my quest to create life has been… postponed!”
“We’ll see you next time,” Beatrice said.
“You shall. And bring this lovely lady with you,” she said, staring at Emi without a semblance of politeness about her. “She is a fine specimen of human life.”
“I’m always glad to come,” Emi said.
“Me too,” said Beatrice. If it meant spending more time with Emi, she was glad to do anything.
They went upstairs and met Mrs. Arakawa, who was wrapping up a wooden box full of rice cakes for the girls. “Thank you so much for visiting my dear Runa,” she told them.
“You’re very welcome,” they said in unison.
Beatrice gave a quick kiss to Emi’s cheek and took the box.
“Tris…” Emi was shaking.
“I love you,” she whispered.
“I love you too,” Emi whispered back. “Let’s go home.”
And they did start to head home, travelling south from the Arakawa house towards downtown Balarand. But as they approached their normal departing point near the library, Emi stopped. Beatrice only noticed after a few steps that she was no longer there, and turned around to see her girlfriend standing, fists balled up as she tugged on her own skirt.
The setting sun hit her back, igniting a glow behind her that made her appear a spectral figure. The flurries of snow whistled in the wind, making the air sparkle around them. And those eyes, just as deep and earthy as ancient buried treasure…
Was this it?
“Will you…” Emi began.
“Will I what?”
It was clear she had something important to say, but it wasn’t coming out like she wanted. She tried again. “I’ve been meaning to tell you about this, and you might get really mad because I didn’t tell you about it, but if you listen to me I think you’ll understand, and maybe it’s a good thing, or maybe a bad thing, I’m not sure. But it’s important, so… I… will you…”
“Emi? What is it?”
Beatrice had no idea what she was trying to say. It was cute at first, but now Beatrice was starting to get worried.
Finally, Emi asked, ”Will you eat supper with me?”
“…Yeah? Of course?”
“I mean…” Emi sighed and grabbed Beatrice by the wrist. “Come with me, please. Let’s go eat.”
Where they were going, Beatrice didn’t know. But as long as it was with Emi, she was fine with everything. So with a smile on her face, she let Emi lead the way to whatever place she wanted to go. It didn’t matter, except that they were going together.
Though it would have been nice to know she was going to her own apartment.