Last week’s semi-cliffhanger felt like Chise was suddenly transported somewhere dangerous, but this strange foggy place is actually completely detached form normal time and space. It was once home to Elias, and its sole current occupant, a woman named Rahab, was his teacher for decades, as well as Lindel’s.
While there was an uncanny sense of threat—”summoning” being scarcely different from “abducting”; using telekinesis to examine the tie Elias gave her—but it turns out Rahab was simply testing something out, and it happened to work. She has no ill will towards Chise, and is in fact eager to hear how Elias is doing, and who Chise is to him.
Rahab taught young Elias a great many things—as much as she could—including doing her best to explain what a “bride” is: a partner; someone by your side; someone you care about. Those are all true, but they barely scratch the surface of the love required to consider someone your bride.
This meeting with Rahab, who has a serene, grandmotherly-like aura about her, is how Chise learns for certain that what Elias had in mind when he wanted her to be his “bride” may not be that classical idea of one’s wife, which obviously tracks.
As for the simple act of smiling, Rahab laments she wasn’t able to teach Elias that, but Chise reports that nowadays he’s smiling a lot. You can see the sparkle of pride and relief in Rahab’s eyes to know how well Elias is doing, and how much humanity he’s been given thanks to Chise. Chise in turn thanks Rahab for taking Elias in and teaching him, since it led to him rescuing her.
When Chise returns to her home where Stella, Angie, and Elias are waiting, only a moment or two have passed from when she disappeared. Chise now knows a lot more about where (and who) her Elias came from, and surely feels closer to him, even if he’s still fuzzy on the whole “bride” thing.
When it’s time to head back to the College (does Chise just stay at her dorm part time?), she notes it’s getting late, but Elias intends to use a “back passage”, a place or a thing regular humans either rarely if ever interact with or which is hidden from them entirely.
A centaur guide leads them through a red phone booth, and urges everyone to maintain contact through hand-holding, as it would not be pleasant to get lost. We learn why when a pack of monstrous drooling beasts known as “the Guard Dogs” appear. The Centaur offers fresh meat in exchange for safe passage along a narrow route.
The back passage is another instance of how magic and magical things can be extremely useful, even miraculous, but only if properly respected. Break the rules and things will get very ugly very fast. I couldn’t tell you exactly what Philomena was doing in either of her scenes, nor what Lucy was dreaming about that made her awaken with such a start, but I do know that the bags under their eyes indicate it’s taking a toll.
Lucy and Mena still seem quite distant from Chise so far, who is by all accounts a go-with-the-flow social butterfly at the College, unlike the two of them. Confidence emanates from this show’s unrushed, measured presentation that prioritizes atmosphere over alacrity. But whatever’s going on with these two young women, it’s a given that Chise will eventually become involved.