"Ma? Is... Is that you?" Her breath hitched in her throat as she began speaking, then, the first tear rolled down her cheek, all the others came flooding out like a tsunami. She knew she didn't look pretty right now, but she couldn't care for her appearance in such a moment. She rubbed her nose with her sleeve to try to stop the snot that was beginning to leak and forced herself to smile at her, this might be the last chance to see her, and Eden most certainly didn't want to leave her the image of a sniveling mess with snot running down her face.
The little old lady smiled, in that way Eden remembered. "Yes, it is me. I'm so happy to see you. Please, have a seat." She pointed at a small pillow on the floor, one of four surrounding a short wooden table. She then had a seat on the pillow opposite of the one she motioned toward.
As if reading Eden's thoughts, she smiled and laughed a little. "I don't need to sit, but you should. We have a lot to talk about. And it would be weird if you were then the only one sitting wouldn't it?"
Over the next hour or so, Eden's grandmother explained this precarious situation. She explained, that after her death, she remained at the shrine, protecting it with what magic she had left. Sure, she couldn't keep it clean or tend to the general maintenance of it, but she could still fend off evil spirits and other malicious forces.
This, of course, begged a different line of questioning. Magic... was real!?!? Sure, when Eden was little, she believed all the stories that her grandmother told her, stories of fairies living in the woods, angels in the skies, and a great deal more. But as Eden grew older, she came to realize this stories for what they were, metaphors and wise tales, meant to teach her valuable life lessons. But seeing her grandmother here now, in all her shining glory, Eden couldn't help but rethink her entire understanding of life. Of course, there was always the possibility that this was only a dream.
"I'm sorry if this comes as an unwelcome shock. You see, I wanted you to have a choice. I wanted you to experience the world outside this place. If you would have decided not to return, I would have understood. But now that you are here, I want to ask you..." Her eyes closed, as if considering whether or not she should speak her next words. Then they opened, and she continued. "Do you truly wish to be a shrine maiden? It is more than keeping a tidy place for people to come worship. It's much more than that, much more magical, but if can also be... much more dangerous."