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Bringing Life to Habits

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The black-haired mage jerked herself awake. How long have I been asleep?! She wondered as she gathered herself. Weeks? Perhaps a month? With the strong warm sunlight pouring from the tavern windows, she realized that it was already well into the summer season.

“Spirit!” She said angrily, banging her fist onto the table. “I thought you said you would guide me!”

<Yes, I’m really sorry...> The voice said apologetically. < Things have been a little difficult lately... >

“Um... what?” The mage blinked in confusion. It was hard to make out the latter half of whatever the Spirit was saying when the words were all garbled and obscure. 

<Hm? Oh! Jeez, the setting filter censored me, didn’t it? Let’s see, how to reword it so that it  sounds godly or whatever... > The Spirit mumbled. <Compared to you, I may be all-powerful, but in truth, I am what other Spirits call, er, weak.>

The mage was slightly taken aback. “Weak?!” She cried indignantly. Nobody would ever want to hear that their patron spirit was weak, after all. Perhaps she should sever her ties with such an irresponsible Spirit and just strike out into the world on her own.

< Lol, you can’t .> She heard the Spirit laugh nervously. <We are two sides of the same soul, there is no way for us to separate. Even if you transfer to a different reality, I would still be with you whether you like it or not.>

The mage sighed exasperatedly. “Okay, so there’s no way for me to get rid of you,” She said with a strained voice. “But I have yet to see any benefits from this arrangement. You promised me guidance and strength!”

<But I did do so! At least the strength part... In my absence, have you not noticed that you have become a bit stronger since you begun your adventure? You are now a Lv. 8 mage, after all. >

She realized the Spirit was right. Though slight, she could feel a little stronger, her magic range a little wider. 

<I apologize for my absence.> The Spirit said. <But from now on, I hope to be more available to be the help that you need. I just quit my job and now I have more free time, you see. >

The mage raised her eyebrows. “Hope?” She echoed. But then again , she thought, maybe I’m being too harsh. Though my Spirit is weak, having a weak Spirit is better than having no Spirit. And didn’t those without Spirits eventually “cease to be” or whatever?

<I do wish to be stronger.> The Spirit admitted quietly. The confession struck a small chord in the mage, for she wanted to be stronger as well. It reminded her of some of her fragmented memories, timelines where she would, say, fight a mini-boss by herself because she had no company to tag along with. She recalled working in solitude and the pangs of loneliness that accompanied with it. No one to chat with or to share her accomplishments with.

Perhaps that was what a Spirit was meant for: not as a powerful guardian, but as an awkward friend. 

<I would be very happy to be considered as a friend.> The spirit said in a quiet voice. 

“Okay, then.” The mage said, giving in. “I guess it would be okay to have a friend tag along. But what should I call you? I can’t just keep on addressing you as “Spirit”.”

<Spirits call me [name redacted], but since it’s forbidden for non-Spirits, how about... "Natasha” ?> 

“Natasha, huh? Well, it’s nice to meet you, Natasha.” The mage said. “Oh, yeah, I never did tell you my name, did I?

“It’s Faeri.>