After the vision ended, our two heroes were met by Shiva and Siren, welcoming them back to the waking world. With them was Odine, whom Gehenna immediately confronted about the Espers of Truth and Reconciliation. He had been told these two Espers returned to the Higher Realms, but Odine informed him that some said they had indeed been slain and reduced to lesser forms, for betraying their nature. The legend said that Venia – Reconciliation – had failed to forgive humanity, and Veritas -Truth – had lied to protect him from the other Espers.
That the Espers had changed had destroyed them – something that interested Gwendolen. She had herself already changed an Espers’ power, by adapting Alexanders’ powers to become her own. In doing so, she had done what none of the Esper could do – she had changed her own inner Magi.
Presently, Titan knocked on the house. He requested some of Gwendolen’s time, for she had drawn his interest. She accepted, and accompanied Titan to his collection of very large rocks, where he gave her training in the art of mental focus, and using Magi to enhance her already impressive strength. Furthermore, she received training from Leesa in how to channel the Magi of an Esper.
Meanwhile, Gehenna was training with Zochaan, in the art of combining their powers. The training consisted mostly of blowing things up.
Now, when Gwendolen was done training, she had a theory to test. She appeared before Gehenna, and told him to strike her with his powers. Her training could not be completed unless she was placed in a genuinely dangerous situation, and Gehenna was by far the most dangerous person she knew and trusted. She promised him that she would use the shield of Alexander to protect herself, but in this, she lied. Gehenna struck at her with the full power of himself and Zochaan combined.
Gwendolen dropped her guard. An ordinary human would have been instantly turned to ashes, but she did not – instead she became a creature of living flame, adapting her Esper Magi to become like Ifrit and his children. Thanks to her infusion of Esper Magi, she had become capable of adapting to even Esper-like powers. Though the fire hurt her, she was able to survive it.
It was resolved, that she should take advantage of this ability to adapt. By encountering other forms of Esper Magi, she might gain a degree of protection against these as well; thus she resolved to face Sarasvati in battle, that she might absorb some of her ice-powers. She entered Sarasvati’s cell.
The battle was short, and ended in a draw. Gwendolen never hurt Sarasvati, but when the battle drew to a close, Gwendolen had become so truly impervious to ice that even the most powerful attack could not harm her.
The Espers decided, that Sarasvati’s fate would be left in Gwendolen’s hands. She agreed to let the half-Esper go, if she agreed to take a bath and have a friendly conversation with her, Leesa, and Jessica. She agreed. In this conversation, Gwendolen learned a great deal about Sarasvati, but most of all, she learned something about herself.
Gwen said it was obvious that Gehenna and Sarasvati were in love. This was not true. In saying so, however, some things about her own feelings may finally have come into the light.