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Fantasy [Isekai Hell] Another Life, A Familiar Love



Princess of the Stars
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This story is part of the Isekai Hell August 2023 Community Writing Event. If you enjoy it or would like to learn more about the Isekai Hell universe and RP system, please follow the links. I hope you enjoy. <3


As the apartment door shut, Calliope’s eyes opened slowly and she blinked to regain her awareness. Her head was laying on the arm of the sofa, a small pool of drool leaving a damp spot next to her mouth. Her cheek stuck slightly as she pulled herself up groggily and wiped her eyes, letting out a large yawn. Suddenly the realization of what had woken her up hit, and she straightened herself out before turning to peer over the back of the couch toward the entry hallway.

“Hey, I’m back. Sorry, it took longer than I thought. A guy’s car died, so I helped him push it into a parking lot.” Euthalia stepped into the living room carrying several grocery bags and moved to the kitchen with them. “I think that ice cream you asked for might have melted, but it should refreeze okay. How’s the paperwork coming?”

Calliope shrank back a little and let out a sigh. “Good… Mostly… I-I may have fallen asleep.”

Euthalia scoffed from the kitchen as she put away the food. “You’re like a cat, always napping. I told you it was a bad idea to stay up with Keone.”

“I want to get to know her better! I want your friends to like me…” Calliope rested her head on the back of the sofa.

“They love you. I told you, they’re happy to have you here. As am I. You don’t need to worry about it or push yourself, okay?” Euthalia walked into the living room and sat next to Calliope on the sofa, holding a can of cola out to her. “Here. Drink this, maybe the caffeine will help.”

Calliope turned back around and took the can in her hand, looking down at it. “I had a weird dream… It’s starting to fade quickly, I barely remember it. I think it was cause I watched Keone play that game all night. You know, the one she’s always going on about with the fantasy stuff and the dumb name… Ise- something?” She cracked open the can. “It was weird… like you were a plant or something? And I think Keone and Islwyn were in it too…” She lifted the can to her mouth then made a face. “Ugh… I always forget how awful it tastes since they changed it to Republic Cola! It tasted better when it was still Kuridan Cola.”

Euthalia scoffed and smiled at her. “You’re living in the past. Maybe it’s time to find a new drink of choice. Anything else happen in this dream? Wait… Did you say I was a plant?”

Calliope choked on the drink and laughed. “You know… One of those tree people or something… From the fantasy stuff. I don’t know, this isn’t my wheelhouse!”

Euthalia smirked and took a sip of her water, then leaned over the pile of papers on the coffee table. “Alright, let’s see what you’ve got here. Oh, uh… well, first things first, we’ll have to white out all these dates… Your name change hasn’t gone through yet, so you can’t sign as ‘Calliope’. But as soon as you get the finalization in the mail, just go through this stack and date them all again. And on this page, you still have your old address.”

“They said the address had to match my drivers license.” Calliope frowned defeatedly.

“It does, but that just means we need to update your drivers license. Once the name finalization shows up, we’ll get that fixed too, do it all at once. Everything else looks good, justa few more pages to finish filling out. You got this.” Euthalia smiled reassuringly at Calliope, who perked up and returned a warm smile.

“Thanks, Eu. This means a lot to me.” Calliope stared at Euthalia’s hand and her own moved slightly on the couch.

“Yeah, EU~. It’s very kind of you to help Calli out like this.~” Islwyn strode into the living room, half naked, with a wide grin on her face. Calliope turned bright red and Euthalia sighed.

“Islwyn, we talked about this before Calliope moved in. You can’t walk around naked in the common spaces.” Euthalia rested back on the couch and took another drink while giving Islwyn a challenging look.

“No! No, it’s fine! I told you, I don’t want anyone to have to do anything differently just because I’m staying here now.” Calliope did her best to seem alright, but the red in her cheeks remained.

“See? Calli’s fine with it.~” Islwyn smiled and headed to the kitchen, returning a moment later with a beer. She sat next to Calliope on the couch, forcing her closer to Euthalia, who frowned and sighed again.

“It’s 10:30 in the morning, are you seriously drinking right now?” Euthalia shook her head and scooted the paperwork away from Islwyn, setting a coaster down in front of her.

“What? This? It’s like barely any alcohol.” Islwyn turned the bottle so Euthalia could see it. “Coffee beer, too, so it’s practically breakfast.~” She took another drink smiling.

“C-could I try it? I saw them in there the other day and was curious.” Calliope looked at Islwyn expectantly.

“Of course, dear.~ You’re welcome to anything in there.” Islwyn held the bottle out to Calliope, who tipped it back, taking a quick drink.

“Mmm! Oh my word, that is delicious.” Calliope handed the bottle back, a pleased look on her face.

“Not you, too.” Euthalia smirked at Calliope, who smiles and shrugs innocently, then looked back to Islwyn. “Keone still asleep, I assume?”

Islwyn noded, the bottle to her lips, before responding. “Yeah, she didn’t come to bed till real late, she’s completely out of it. I accidently kicked her climbing out of the bed and she didn’t even stir.” Islwyn stifled a laugh, but Calliope looked really confused, though she didn't say anything. “Oh, wait… Did you not know? Sorry, dear, I just assumed you did. Keone sleeps in my bed most nights. I’m not a… big fan of being alone, especially at night, and Keone just enjoys having someone there. Nothing to it, it just seemed to work out for us both.”

“Oh, no! It’s fine, you don’t owe me an explanation! But, I understand. I grew up in a big family with a small house, so I’m used to sharing a bed. Honestly, it can feel lonely sometimes, being on my own now. I kinda miss it.” Calliope smiled reassuringly at Islwyn.

Euthalia looked at Calliope curiously. “I didn’t know that. I mean, you’re always welcome to join me in m-” She stopped talking suddenly, realizing what she was saying as Calliope and Islwyn stared at her, Calliope's wide eyed face turning red again and Islwyn grinning from ear to ear.

Calliope checked her dress in the reflection of the car window, turning from side to side. “You’re sure it’s fine? I don’t usually wear stuff this fancy.” Euthalia walked around the car to stand next to her.

“You look great. It looks really good on you actually, you should wear formal dresses more often. You’ll get plenty of practice trying to find investors.” She held her arm out to Calliope who took it.

They stepped into the restaurant and Euthalia spoke quietly to the waiter who then showed the pair to a table in the back, separated from the main dining hall by a tall half wall. Euthalia thanked the waiter and stepped aside, pulling Calliope’s chair out for her. Calliope blushed and sat, and Euthalia took the seat next to her.

“I’m so nervous. What if they don’t like me?” Calliope fiddled with her silverware and took a breath to calm herself.

“It’s fine. I promise it’s no big deal. They just want to make sure I’m not hanging around with anyone who’s going to cause trouble that gets back to them. They did the same thing with Islwyn and Keone when they moved in and my parents had no problem with either of them. You’re a saint compared to those two. You’ll be fine.” She reached over and squeezed Calliope’s hand reassuringly, not noticing the blush that appeared on the girl’s face, as the waiter arrived with four glasses of water, setting two down at empty seats, and a bottle of wine for the table. Euthalia nodded to him politely while Calliope stared at the wine, wondering how much she could drink while remaining polite.

A moment later a woman walked up to the table and Euthalia stood, Calliope scrambling to follow suit, until the woman took her seat. “Euthalia. Always a pleasure. Why must I wait so long between visits from my daughter?” She smiled at the younger woman.

“Euphrosyne, you as well.” Euthalia returned the gesture, ignoring the loaded question. She nodded her head to the empty chair and gave her mother a challenging look.

Her mother frowned and took a sip of water. “No, they won’t be here. You know how they are, always busy with something new. Would you be so kind as to pour the wine, dear?”

Euthalia stood, uncorking the wine and pouring a glass for her mother, before turning to Calliope. “Would you like some, too? It’s a local Riesling, one of mom’s benefactors.”

Calliope held her glass out and nodded. “Yes, please.” Euphrosyne watched her intently as Euthalia poured her glass.

“So, we haven’t had the pleasure yet. I’m Euphrosyne, Euthalia’s mother.” She stared at Calliope waiting for a response.

“Oh, uh, I’m Calliope. A friend of Euthalia’s. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Calliope extended her hand to Euphrosyne, who stared at it a moment before gently taking it and shaking it curtly.

“Yes, it seems her most recent in a long line of many.” The venom in her words is disguised well by Euphrosyne’s kind expression, but Calliope feels the sting nonetheless. “So, have you two ordered yet? Will you actually be eating with us Euthalia or are you still being obstinate?”

Calliope winces at the backhanded remark, but Euthalia just sighs. “You know solid foods make me nauseous. I had a meal replacement earlier, no I won’t be eating. Just enjoying your pleasant company.”

Euphrosyne continues to smile as she picks up the menu. “So, obstinate. What about you Calliope, what are you thinking of having? Despite my daughter’s protests, feel free to get whatever you like.”

Calliope glanced over the menu for a moment before responding. “I think I‘ll get the fish. My mom didn’t cook fish often, but I rather enjoyed it the few times I’ve had it.”

Euphrosyne smirks and sets the menu down in front of her. “You make it sound like a simple filet is a luxury.”

“Well, to some it is.” Calliope’s smile is as genuine as always, and the corners of Euthalia’s mouth rise slightly at the response.

Euphrosyne stares for a moment, before starting again with a click of her tongue. “So you are staying with my daughter now, is that correct?”

Calliope starts to blush again, but manages to keep it under control. She can’t manage to hide the tinge of guilt she feels however. “Euthalia is allowing me to use the fourth bedroom, yes. I am very grateful to her.” Calliope smiles toward Euthalia.

“I told you, it’s no problem. The room was just sitting there empty anyway. We’re happy to have you, it’s not a big deal” She returns the smile, a gesture not unnoticed by Euphrosyne.

“Oh, but it is a big deal. A place to stay at no expense is quite generous. And as I understand it, Calliope, you’re not working right now either, so you must not be paying for your food or living expenses either, is that correct?” Euthalia scowls at her mother, but says nothing.

Calliope responds still smiling, but it is no longer genuine. “I know how it must seem, but I assure you I am not taking advantage of your daughter’s kindness. At least, that is not my intention. I fully intend to reimburse her kindness and carry my own weight as soon as the opportunity presents itself.”

“No, you don’t have to worry about that. I don’t need you to pay me back. It’s fine.” Euthalia turns on her mother. “She’s taking night classes for business and nutrition, and trying to gain some sense of control over her life. She’s working her ass off, and if I want to use my resources to aid her, and my other friends, it’s my business, not yours.”

Euphrosyne ignores Euthalia’s outburst. “You seem to be confusing charity for kindness. You think you are the first to pass through that room? Why do you think there was a fourth room to begin with? My daughter has a habit of adopting little pet projects like you. You’re all the same, you and those other two, leeching off her for months and then leaving her when you no longer depend on her. You say you intend to pay her back, but how? With this business venture of yours I’ve heard about? Nutrition is a fad and when the next craze comes along you’ll be right back where you are now. But maybe that at least will give you cause to stick aro-”

Euthalia slams her hand on the table as Calliope holds back tears. “Jesus, mom! What is your problem?! You’ve been more than a bitch about Keone and Islwyn, but never like this. Making personal attacks against her, really? At least she has something she gives a shit about. At least she’s trying. You don’t even like this fucking wine. You’re so committed to your appearance you can’t even drink what you enjoy. And you have the gall to criticize her? For daring to dream?”

Euphrosyne frowns at her daughter, a hurt look on her face. “I just don’t want to see you hurt again, honey. Despite how it may seem I care a lot about you. After what happened last time, I couldn’t bear to see you go through that again. You used to have such a promising future, I don’t want to see you throw your life away again.”

Euthalia shakes her head annoyed. “Throw my life away? Is that how you see me? I might not have the life you envisioned- plotted- for me, but it is anything but ‘thrown away’. In fact, I prefer it. I have a decent job that pays well, that I enjoy. I have friends who actually care about me. You think your life is better than mine? What do you have that’s so special?”

“Support and security for starters.” Euphrosyne is no longer hiding the frustration with her daughter in her expression. “Friends and ‘a job’ are fair weather commodities. You could lose either in an instant and then where would you be? Having another crisis? And who do you think is gonna have to pick up those pieces when that happens? You think Islwyn, Keone, and this one will stick around once the ‘kindness’ stops? You need to open your ey-”

This time, it’s Calliope who interrupts. Tears run down her cheeks but an indignant fury rests on her face. “Stop. Saying. That. Do you think so little of your daughter that you can’t see merit beyond her achievements? Euthalia is so many things, and not a single one carries a dollar sign. If something were to happen to her, if she needed for anything, I would be there for her, like she is for me right now. And I believe Islwyn and Keone would do the same. You say she has no support or security, but that’s exactly what she’s built with the kindness you devalue. You’re right, I have little to offer your daughter, compared to what she can offer me, but I’d give it all in a heartbeat to help her out. She’s smart and kind and dedicated and confident and beauti- beautiful and… and pleasure to know. So I won’t sit here any longer and listen to you talk bad about her. I hope you have a good evening.” Calliope stands up and quickly walks out of the restaurant, wiping her eyes and hiding her face from prying eyes. Euthalia pushes her chair out and stands to follow Calliope.

Euphrosyne takes a sip of her wine before speaking. “Euthalia.” Euthalia stops but doesn’t look at her mother. “She can stay.”

Euthalia stands there a moment before turning back to Euphrosyne. “You know, I’m not sure why I even came here tonight. Neither one of us needs your approval.” She turns and leaves.

Calliope leans her forehead against the window as the car travels down the highway, the streets illuminating her reflection against the glass as they pass. Euthalia doesn’t say anything as she drives, but a mildly content smile rests on her face. As the car shifts and changes lanes, Calliope suddenly sits up and actually notices the city passing by..

“This isn’t our exit.” She looks at Euthalia confused, the sentence practically a question.

Euthalia smirks but keeps her eyes on the road. “Well, you missed dinner. I figured you might be hungry.” Calliope turns her head to the window again to see them pulling into the drive thru of Taco Box.

The cool night air and the smell of on coming rain relax Calliope as she takes a bite of her Chicken Supreme Carterita. She looks out over the city from the bench on the overlook, a gust of wind rustles the trees nearby, further evidence that a storm will be along before the night is through. Euthalia stands up off the railing and takes a seat next to Calliope.

“You doing alright? You haven’t hardly said anything since we left the restaurant.” Euthalia turned to look at Calliope and smiled half heartedly.

Calliope nodded slowly, not taking her eyes off the ground. “Yeah. I’m fine. Just… embarrassed I guess.”

Euthalia nodded quietly as well. “Yeah. I’m really sorry about that. She wasn’t like that with Islwyn or Keone, I don’t know what was going on with her. That wasn’t supposed to turn into a scene.”

“N-not just about the argument… She’s right. I have nothing to offer you. You are doing all of this for me, and… and there will never be anything I can do for you to pay you back for it…” Calliope takes another bite to keep her voice from breaking.

Euthalia stares at her for a minute and then smirks. “Did you hit your head on the car window while I was driving or something?”

Calliope looks at her dumbfounded. “What?”

“You won that argument. You shut my mo-, Euphrosyne up. Everything you said was perfect. Why are you doubting yourself now?” Euthalia smiled widely at Calliope.

Calliope thought about it while picking at her food. “I-I don’t know… I just keep thinking about what she said… Even this.” She holds up the Carterita. “You bought this for me.”

Euthalia laughs. “So? I like buying you things. Besides, am I just supposed to let you starve out of principle?”

Calliope huffs. “Even Islwyn and Keone contribute. Islwyn’s got her… online… thing… that seems to be going well for her. And Keone… well, I’m not sure where Keone gets her money. But she has it. Maybe… maybe I should get a job. Or something. Wait till later to do this nutrition smoothie idea once I’ve saved up a bit…”

Euthalia shakes her head. “Absolutely not. Who knows how long that would take, or what might happen during that time. You’re so close right now. Don’t give up.” She does her best job imitating her mother. “You have such a promising future, I don’t want to see you throw your life away.”

Calliope laughs and leans against Euthalia. “Alright. I’ll stick with it and stop moping.”

Euthalia puts her arm around Calliope and looks out at the city lights. “Did you mean it? All that nice stuff you said about me?”

“Every word.”

“Even ‘beautiful’?”


Euthalia nods in contemplation for a moment, then leans down and kisses Calliope. The clouds light up momentarily, shortly followed by the sound of distant thunder.
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