Chapter 498 – Memories


Fan Li remained bowed toward me, while I tried to sort out the situation.

Finally, I asked, “I can’t ask to ‘go back to my body’, right? Based upon what you’ve said, I have not left it. This me is simply not me.”

That’s a really hard concept to wrap your mind around.

She remained bowed. “That is correct, Your Highness. Although, once your present awareness reconnects with your body, the true you will remember everything you learn here.”

Yes. Very hard. Although Senhion, who had made frequent use of proxies, did become used to it. Deep within me I should find the wisdom concerning how to deal with it. Theoretically.

I sighed and told her, “Raise your head, Senior. It’s not appropriate for you to apologize for a matter you could not help.”

She stood straight once more, but shook her head. “This scholar knew that the action taken would break down the barrier. The apology is for failing to come up with a better solution in time. In retrospect, a number of other choices might have been available.”

“Instead of spending time on an apology that I don’t agree you owe me, please accept my thanks for having aided me and protected my Servant. Shindzha owes her life to your quick thinking, after all. On my own, I would never have saved her.”

Fan Li pursed her lips, then nodded. “It is as you say, but this small one shares your obligation toward your Servants, so taking action was natural. We are, in the end, one person.”

An awkward moment followed, as I still struggled to decide where to go from here.

Finally, Fan Li smiled and noted, “That brings me to the main subject at hand, Your Highness.”

She performed the gesture that she calls a ‘flick of her sleeve’ and the surroundings changed. But that’s not really the right way to describe it.

It’s my perception that changed. Although Fan Li and I now stood in the middle of it, I wasn’t sensing a physical environment, only streams and flows of mana and spiritual force swirling about us in a semi-chaotic maelstrom, like some blend between surrealism and images of dye spreading through water. 

Visually, the images of Fan Li and myself were superimposed on the imagery, but I couldn’t sense her in any other way. My [Fairy Sense] only showed the same swirling madness as my vision.

I couldn’t sense myself either. Then, I panicked as I noticed I couldn’t sense the babies either.

“They are safely protected in the womb of your true self on Huade, Your Highness. There is no mechanism that would bring them here in the first place.”

My moment of anxiety passed. None of what I was seeing or sensing could be related to a realistic landscape, and this wasn’t technically ‘real’ anyhow.

Even though it reminded me of something. I couldn’t think of what, just at the moment.

Fan Li nodded. “It is good that you understand that, Your Highness. This is merely a visual aid that will enable you to learn what you must learn.”

“You’re skipping a step or two, Scholar. What must I learn and why must I learn it should come first.”

She gave a tight smile. “If you are quoting Matthias, you have the sequence backwards. He always teaches those two elements in the opposite order.”

Then she vanished, although only in my vision. She had not been there in my [Fairy Sense] in the first place, so I suppose she simply removed her image. Her voice remained with me. Now, everything around me became unified, whether it was fairy, vampire or physical senses.

“Following his example would take too much time in this case. Dodge the bursts and streamers that come at you, Your Highness. This scholar shall explain as you work.”

I didn’t have time to ask ‘what bursts’ because a blast of ‘dye’ barreled at me with killer intent at just that moment. By reflex, I grew my wings and dodged away, and my sense of a ‘floor’, which I had felt myself standing upon but never saw, vanished. From that point forward, I would be airborne.

“The answer to the question ‘why’ is quite simple. Our principal self– the physical Lady Tiana– is unconscious due to a side-effect of this scholar’s actions. The spiritual and entropic backlash from the connection with our old spiritual vessel became too great and had a disruptive effect on her nervous system. The effect was physiological, not spiritual, and it remains uncertain how extensive it will be.”

I continued dodging left and right, relying more and more on [Fairy Sense] as the ‘attacks’ began coming from all directions. Just keeping my head on a swivel was no longer sufficient.

“You– meaning this instance of your awareness– came to be aware when the connection briefly existed between Lady Tiana’s mind and all of her memories within this vessel. Once she fell unconscious, you remained, and for a time, you continued to witness the events around her body through our access to her Immortal senses.”

A massive fireball blasted upward from beneath. I accelerated to the side, then had to barrel-roll to miss the spear of plasma that was targeted perfectly to intercept me there.

“That was the beginning of your existence as a separate entity. You will continue to exist until we can combine the vessels, but you will unify with her, just as this scholar unifies with the Fan Li in Tiana’s vessel, every time you reconnect.”

I was finally beginning to place where I had seen something like this hellscape before. It was an animation Robert once saw of what the Sun might look like from within its corona. Except for the added shooting fireballs and the much broader color palette.

“And how soon can we combine the vessels?” I wondered, while continuing to flit through this crazy-quilt skyscape of streaming colors. “And is there some actual point to this silly dance I’m doing right now?”

“The real question is, how long can we prevent it from happening?” Fan Li’s disembodied voice replied, sounding amused. “The barrier between our soul and this vessel which the Great Senior set up after my death is on the verge of breaking down. Your true body on Huade does not yet possess the pneuma to sustain the combined vessels. You can only sustain your current vessel at full size for short lengths of time. Right now, this, the original vessel, seems to be supported by the Spirit Realm or the Immortal Realm. At this time, it is not clear what would happen to either your body or the vessel when the two merge. We could only attempt to awaken Senhion at that point, and even if we succeed, she might or might not be able to resolve the issue. It is beyond this scholar’s knowledge, if she cannot.” 

“Then, how long can we keep the barrier from breaking down?” I wondered while taking a hard dive to avoid an exceptionally large eruption. 

“That depends upon you, Your Highness. This scholar is now suppressing the breakdown from this side. You must learn this skill, then pass that knowledge to your principal, the true Lady Tiana in your true body. We will endeavor to teach the rest of our incarnations, as well.”

“By playing Psychedelic Dodgeball?” I demanded.

“This is actually what you must continue to concentrate upon doing while I teach you. If you cannot maintain the barrier no matter what is happening around you, our effort will fail.”

“So this isn’t even the training?” I retorted.

The latest fireball felt like it singed a feather or two.

“You mustn’t let up, Your Highness!” Fan Li warned. “It will hurt if you get hit!”

“I figured that out!”


Describing the training itself would be futile. I don’t know what words to use. I can give you some vague snippets, when the subject turned to matters that can be described in mortal language, but even that wouldn’t explain much.

For example, at one point, she was explaining, “Your fairy nervous system is wired to translate Immortal senses into things relatable to mortal beings. In other words, you perceive them in parallel to the nine mortal senses. Vision, Auscultation, Olfaction, Gustation, Hapticity, Pain, Thermoception, Equilibrioception, and Proprioception become mirrored into the spiritual space by your fairy mind in order to access the senses of the Immortals. Even your sense of time and space is actually an elaboration of Kinesthesia, which is itself a result of Proprioception…”

Yeah. In other words, imagine the most mind-numbing science lecture you ever attended, and then imagine having to follow it while playing a nightmare game of dodgeball.

The practicals were even worse.

She did note at one point that I could spare myself all this trouble in an instant, if I could just get over one simple barrier. 

“You need to stop holding the rest of us at arm’s length.”

I blinked, thought, and came to a conclusion. I had no idea what she was talking about.

“We are one person in the end. We are all the memories of Senhion, who has continued her life from her birth fifteen thousand years ago until now, with each of us as her existence during our lifetimes and you, or more correctly the true you, are her present existence. You have indeed become able at times to access our wisdom, knowledge and skills, but you continue to compartmentalize us within your mind as separate people. You need to recognize that when you call upon one of us to help, it is yourself that you are relying upon.”

Although I couldn’t argue with any of the logic, I could accept the bottom line. “When I call upon one of you, you are clearly working and acting independently of me.”

“As you, yourself are doing, right now, Your Highness. Although the ‘true you’ is asleep for the moment, two Tianas are effectively active at once at this moment. This you is working and acting independently of the other. You could do the same, with both instances in your main body, at any point you wanted. And in the same vein, you already access parts of our skills and memories as needed. This, too, you can learn in the same way.”

Not one bit of that was something I didn’t already know. But knowing it and putting it into action were two different things.

“Can’t you just hand this new skill over to me like you did with the [Sky Lotus] skill?”

“This is far more complex, Your Highness. The only choices are to internalize the skill through your own learning or to retrieve it from my mind. This scholar does not actually care which you do, as long as you can demonstrate the ability.”

And so, Fan Li kept relentlessly drilling me while I bobbed and weaved through the video game from Hades, seemingly without any plan to stop, until…

Well, until she stopped, rather suddenly. I was abruptly alone in a space of white, hovering and blinking in confusion.

“Fan Li?”

After a long pause, she materialized once more and responded with a bow.

“Please accept my apologies, Your Highness. We have something of a problem.”

“What problem?” My anxious mind began filling in all sorts of terrible things that might be happening on Huade, while not forgetting that we also had the crumbling barrier between the spiritual vessels to worry about.

“It would be better to show you through our connection to the main body’s [Fairy Sense].”


Waking in an unfamiliar place is horribly disconcerting to a creature who normally knows exactly where she is. She should, at least, recognize the place where she was when she fell asleep!

However, I didn’t remember exactly where I was when I fell asleep, which at least explained why I could not remembers seeing this particular ceiling before.

Remaining cautious, I scanned around the bedroom with my eyes. Even though this was clearly a well-appointed bedroom, meaning someone was graciously hosting me in the best of luxury, my body was screaming that I was not just miles, but thousands of miles from the last location I remembered being, and that was, for a moment, terrifying.

It became slightly less so, once I heard a familiar voice exclaiming, “My Lady!”

I turned my head to see Miss Genette rushing over to me, with a look of relief that I can’t say I’ve ever seen on her face before. Genette is a wonderfully professional maid, naturally, since Mother would only choose the most exemplary servant for me. She normally hides her emotions well, except when her ears give them away anyhow.

“Genette?” I wondered. This was neither my bedroom in Mother’s estate, nor my bedroom in the Palace. In either case, my lady’s maid should be hundreds of miles away, in Atius, right?

“The doctor said there was nothing wrong with you, but you weren’t waking up! I’m so relieved, My Lady!”

As her tail wagged furiously, I noticed, “You’re not calling me ‘Young Mistress’…”

“Huh?” Her wolfkin ears cocked at odd angles, showing her puzzlement. But I couldn’t say more, because at that moment, another voice called out.


A cat-kin girl dressed in adventurer-like garb rushed forward, but was caught from behind by Miss Melione before reaching me.

I was relieved to see Melione, who at least was someone who had been with me in the last place I remembered being, but if Melione was here, she, too, was far from that place.

“You can’t jump on her, My Lady!” the healer girl scolded the cat girl. “Think about the babies!”

“Babies?” I echoed.

Miss Melione assured me, “Your doctor has confirmed that all is well. Lady Benedetta fetched her as soon as you collapsed again, since Mir wanted a physician to check you. The babies are fine.”

“What babies?” I asked, confused.

The three women stared dumbly at me for a couple seconds. Then they began exchanging concerned glances with each other.

- my thoughts:

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The Tiana on Huade wakes up, but the POV will return to the Tiana training with Fan Li in the next chapter. I'm curious what guesses I will see in the comments as to what is going on with her.

The list that Fan Li gave of human senses is only one version, and has a lot of variations. The only thing all experts agree upon is that the 'five senses' model is not complete. Nor is Fan Li's version, by the way. 'Gustation', the sense of taste, is especially complicated, since it is largely a synthesis of all manner of senses, including olfactory and touch, clustered in the oral and nasal regions. Even agreeing upon what parts of what we plebians call 'taste' actually exist as a unified sense is something of a philosophical question, and we tend to similarly lump several of the senses she does mention, or at least parts of them, into a 'sense of touch'.

Also, she limited her list to the senses which describe the world outside of our body. Scientists often identify hunger, thirst, fatigue, malaise and other internal sensations as 'senses'. Furthermore, there are senses in our body that we aren't even aware of, such as our ability (internally) to sense blood oxygen level or blood sugar level. Fan Li restricted her list to those things that humans can be conscious of, regarding the world around us, but again, you can easily find lists with other than her nine elements for these things.

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