(Xemul: Dear readers, from my personal experience, I would strongly recommend you to shut any self-identification towards Asley out and read this chapter from a perspective of an observer.
Well, I warned you…)
Pressed on by Bettys hits on my b.u.t.t.o.c.k.s, I took one reluctant step forward after another.
At this time, Pochi was putting up a disgustingly blatant bluff of a fearless face as she stared at me.
Whatever could be wrong with her this time
“Good gracious, what a loyal dog you are.
Youre coming with the rest of us, no questions asked!”
“NOOOO!! I DONT WANNAAAAA!!”
Pochi clung to the Magic Guardian HQs signboard… Gah, now shes gigantifying!
Cant… pull… wait, no… dont underestimate my pecs and biceps, doggo!
“Dont worry… no ones gonna… bite you in there…! CMON!!”
“Thats… the least… Im worried about…! NOOOO!!”
I had been slow to realize and slow to remind myself when enough was enough.
Yes, I had failed to realize what I had been doing.
That the nails of Pochis front paws had dug into the signboard.
That if I were to keep pulling, she would carve three, or even four, beautifully straight lines over its letters.
I had strained my pharyngeal constrictors and pulled with all my might – and promptly cursed the power of my pecs and biceps.
Pochis nails had slashed over the first two words of the signboard.
I, through pulling her, had changed the buildings name toCapital Magic Guardians with my avant-garde art technique.
In the end, I – and Pochi also – realized that the wordsRoyal Capital on it were all but gone.
The two of us turned to look at each other, tears of fear streaming down our faces.
I mean… with a name like this, anyone would end up thinking this was a financial services agency or something of the sort.
The Brigadier lady, witnessing all that go down, briefly had a troubled look on her face.
Fuyu, on the other hand, did not seem particularly troubled – but rather, she had frozen over.
Strange… I dont remember using any ice magic spells.
Even Betty was at a loss as to what to say to us.
My Familiar and I couldnt do anything but hug each other-
“AHH! Master! Look at what you did to the signboard! This is the worst! I say this is a new peak of your foolishness, sir!”
W-what! DID SHE JUST SELL ME OFF!
DAMN THIS STUPID DOG!!
Mark my words! I WILL have my revenge! My methods will be even worse than what the Devil Kings resurrection will result in!
B-but this isnt the time to be thinking about that! What should I do NOW!
Maybe Ill call Gaston and… apologize To GASTON
Yeah, no, hell kill me by the time Im done! Then… then Ill have to do THAT!
All right! Ill do it! This fool shall unleash the greatest strategy of his lifetime!
Clear my face of doubt! Straighten my mouth and open it with confidence! Look sharp, but not intimidating!
And for the finishing touch! BE COOOOOL! LETS GOOOOO!!
“Heh, is this all it takes”
THERE, I SAID IT, DAMN IT!
Even Pochi was so put off by my performance that she fell silent on the spot.
…And I myself, on the other hand, had to prepare to burrow into the ground as soon as possible.
“…Oh Whatever did you mean by that”
“Thats… well, you see…”
The ladys warning through her piercing, blazing eyes took away my control over my body.
Okay, seriously… what the hell did I even say!
I mean, regretting it now wouldnt help with anything.
Ill have to be careful that I dont make another mistake on top of that.
But that gaze directed right at me is suggesting that I wont be easily forgiven.
Now… what should I do
Maybe I should just get started on my revenge on Pochi right now.
To my side, Pochi proceeded to clasp her front paws together.
It was as if she thought shed realized what I had been going for.
Yes – most times she did this gesture, her realization had turned out to be off the mark.
“‘This looks good enough – thats what my Master was trying to say!”
Id heard at some point that dog meat was delicious… I wonder if thats true
‘Maybe Ill try some tonight …I suddenly contemplated.
I was so furious to the point of being calm that such mundane thoughts started taking over my mind.
Hmm… lets feature that stream of thought in thePrinciples of a Philosopher as well.
“Uh, you two” Betty called us from the side, sounding slightly fl.u.s.tered and also slightly nervous.
Ahh, even the almost-no-nonsense Betty is acting like that… I sure have pulled off something quite incredible.
Ahh, someone looks like shed busted a vein, just like how I used to make Irene look like so many times…
…Namely, the look of the Brigadiers forehead.
Quite prominently, too.
Even if Im not killed, my reputations gonna dip to the negatives.
This will surely be my last-
A familiar voice called out from behind me.
The image that popped up in my head perfectly matched the one I saw when I turned halfway around.
And that was the very reason why that voice had practically overridden the whole scenes priority.
Violas hoarse yet dignified voice and Fuyus clear voice pierced through me as they addressed Gaston.
I shivered while still in the middle of turning around.
Pochi turned around, albeit looking satisfied as if she had layered a spell of confidence over her face.
Gaston, in a gesture rare of him, expressed confusion as to what that meant… and promptly understood once he caught a glance of the signboard.
Oh, crap… Im so dead.
Gaston stepped forward, approaching me… or so I thought.
Instead, he walked right past me and went to Viola and Fuyu instead.
“Sir Gaston, these people were-“
“Let them be.”
“But sir! They have shown disrespect toward the Royal Capital Magic Guardians-!”
“I said let them be.”
Viola promptly shut her mouth.
Why Whyd he just let that go W-wait a second… he isnt gonna say something likelet them be after Ive killed them, right
I was shaking so hard that the key-shaped pendant I had received from Lina clattered against my mantles clasp.
All the while, I tried working out a way to haul Pochi over my shoulders and run… but just either one of those would take all my strength to pull off.
When I felt my brain burning hot, and came to the conclusion that the only way to survive would be to run off by myself…
Gaston proceeded to say something I never would have expected.
“This looks good enough.”
Gaston repeated the exact same words that Pochi had said – the words that had made given me a craving for dog meat – as he ran his fingers over the signboards letters.
Pochi stood on her hind legs, crossed her front legs, let a proud groan out her nose, and winked at me.
Yup, no dinner tonight.
…Her and I both, that is.
“Young man, come in and have some tea.”
“Ah… yes, sir.”
“We have sweets, little girl.”
By just those brief words of invitation, we promptly followed the man inside, wordlessly passing by Viola and Fuyu.
Wait, what about Betty
When I turned around, I saw her at a barely-visible distance, waving me goodbye.
This will probably be the last time I lip-read today.
Lets see…L-O-O-K-S D-A-N-G-E-R-O-U-S, G-O O-N A-H-E-A-D…… Ah yes, adventurers, so free to choose their battlefields.
Im feeling like going back into my cave right about now.
“Viola… get things ready.”
“…Right away, sir.”
Getting ready Get what ready Another bad thing for me, no doubt.
At this time, Pochi was leading the line with quite a triumphant strut, with Fuyu following her, and me following right behind the latter.
Fuyu occasionally glanced at me, and I gave it my best effort to not make eye contact with her.
I held no doubt in my mind that I had surprised her quite a lot.
Now, dont you worry – its just an interference in my arcane energy… or so I want to think so.
Looking from the perspective of others, I must be panicking to a dangerous degree right now.
I better write this down…A Philosopher, at the end of the day, is still human – there.
Now that I took a good look, the Royal Capital Magic Guardians HQ was quite palace-like in style with a primarily white color motif, and had Spell Circle vividly carved onto its enormous gate.
Hmm This formula seems rather interesting, doesnt it Always active, invoked by injecting additional arcane energy… As for its actual content, it was a Protection System spell.
I see – its for making sure the gate stays shut.
The sheer size of the gate meant that it could be used to let quite a large number of people through at once.
Im willing to bet that this was used as the brigades final line of defense.
“Have you noticed, young man”
“I sure did, sir.”
“…What do you think”
Im sure Fuyu had interpreted Gastons question differently.
But Id heard it as follows: “Will this be useful come the Devil Kings resurrection”
My experience with the Ogre King was still fresh in my mind despite it being over two years old by now.
Can this gate withstand a single blow of that monsters tremendous strength
Nope, no way in hell.
“Itll last a solid minute, I say.”
“Heh heh heh heh heh… thats what I thought.”
“What a coincidence, sir.”
“What a coincidence, indeed.”
Gaston proceeded to go through the procedure of opening the gate, keeping his mouth tightly shut.