I swung the door open before the scratching got any worse.
…And was welcomed by the sight of a scampering Chihuahua.
“Ngh-! Who are you! You are in the presence of Tarawo, the King Wolf Garm! What do you want!”
What a strange dog.
“Hes so cute!”
Such was the first opinion of it from my equally strange Familiar.
“Hey, youre right.”
Even Betty agreed with her.
Is he really all that cute, though
Did that tick him off He does seem to have quite an inflated ego and all, so…
“Of course I am!”
Nope, doesnt seem like it.
I dont even know what is going on anymore… Okay, lets sort things up first.
So the girl sleeping here is probably Tifa.
And this Chihuahua, claiming to be a King Wolf Garm, seems to be namedTarawo.
“Were going downstairs to let everyone know were back, so you stay here and keep things under control, Asley.
Cmon, Pochi, lets go.”
“H-hey-! …Bah, there they go.
So… anyway, whats the deal with you”
“Oh, I see… so you are the so-called Asley”
Huh, did my name offend him or something Whats up with this… Familiar I cant quite get a read on his personality… And he seems to already know me… Did Tifa tell him Or was there a weird rumor making the rounds in town again
“Ngh… I knew it! You!”
“Youve got an impressive c.h.e.s.t!”
What even compelled him to compliment my c.h.e.s.t, of all things, just now
Hmm… Aha, thats it!
“Heh, admirin my pecs really good aintcha!”
“Heh, sounds like gibberish to me, but thats exactly it!”
“Behold! My muscle control!”
“This is no magic, boy! No magic! All I need is pure physical energy! Muscle power!”
“Ooohhh! Muscle power…!”
(Xemul: em…Asley Whats going on here)
“What… are you doing”
“…H-hey there, Itsuki.”
That was embarrassing.
Just… look at her eyes.
It was like shed just found a rare monster.
Like, a tentacle-type monster or something.
“Asley, dont stop now.”
“N-no more time for that anymore!”
That didnt come from Itsukis direction, nor was it Tarawos throaty voice.
Not from me either, of course.
I still havent disengaged my side c.h.e.s.t pose… so I let go of my arm, transitioning to the front relaxed pose, and then the side relaxed pose as I turned around… to see that Tifa was rubbing her eyes, fighting off her remaining drowsiness as she stared at me.
The light in her eyes felt quite sharp and powerful, but overall, my student doesnt seem to have changed mu-
“Whatre you doing in here without my permission, Tarawo Do that again and Ill throw you into my dinner soup…”
Yeah, no, she actually seems to have changed quite a lot.
Our eyes met.
Somehow, its like shes been… petrified by what shed seen, or something like that.
Anyway, Id best to say hi first-
Looks like youre doing fine for yourself.”
Tifa tilted her head slightly to her side, then rubbed her eyes again.
Perhaps she was still tired, or perhaps she was confused.
Oh Now shes standing up.
She pulled her hood down… stayed silent… and walked past me.
She also went past Itsuki, out the door, and proceeded to pick Tarawo up in her arms.
“Whatever is the matter, Tifa Oh… Heh heh heh… I see youve finally fallen for my-“
Around the moment his statement got there, she slammed the door shut.
Then I could hear a brief w.h.i.n.e from Tarawo, followed by footsteps of a furiously-paced run.
Itsuki and I, the only ones left in my room, turned to look at each other.
“What… are you doing”
“This is called the front double biceps pose.”
Seeing Itsukis blank, cold stare, I knew that I had to successfully imitate Irenes Arcane Energy Circulation Optimizer for myself as soon as possible.
“I cant believe you, Master! She was so teary-eyed and all that! Thats got to be a new peak of your foolishness, sir!”
What a cruel thing to say.
Well, only my Familiar was the cruel one in this case.
Could it be that myfoolishness points are meant to never be deducted as long as Im with my Familiar, what with her tallying them up so religiously
Huh, come to think about it, I mightve thought about that once before.
Anyways… once I was down to the first floor of Pochisley Agency, everyone came out to welcome me back.
“Congrats on your promotion, man.
Did ya get to let your explosive powers loose back there Hahaha!”
Looks like youre in a super good mood today.”
“Damn right I am! Hahaha! Cmon, have a seat.”
After me, Pochi and Betty sat down to my sides, and then Blazer, Bruce, Haruhana, Natsu, Lala, and Tzar took their seats around the table.
We proceeded to talk while waiting for dinner to be served.
Lina hasnt come back yet – chances are shes still busy cleaning up after the Universitys entrance ceremony.
Maybe I should go check up on her later
“Asley! Listen, listen! You gotta come check out the fields! Me and Sir Instructor, were gettin good results back there!”
Ill make sure to go round to the courtyard later.”
“”No, Sir Asley, she meant the one at Faltown.””
“T-then thatll have to wait until tomorrow…”
“Its a promise! All right!”
Hearing me say that, Lalas emerald eyes sparkled.
At the same time, Tzar kept his stare on me as if to communicate something else.
Hmm, I see.
It seems that nothing has happened at Faltown since then.
That more or less confirmed that the crystal sealing Holy Warrior Lylias body was exactly what Cleath had been after.
That, or perhaps he actually was trying to destroy the place.
“Asley, Asley! Listen – Haruhanas got promoted to Rank C! And I also just got to Rank E!”
“Ooh, way to go, Natsu! Looks like youre in for a celebration tonight! You too, Haruhana! Congratulations!”
“Huhuhu, thank you very much.
But shouldnt you and Miss Betty be the ones celebrated the most”
“Oh, you always know what to say, Haruhana! But youre in this as well.
Betty, in a gesture of thanks, hugged Haruhana and rubbed her cheek against hers.
Haruhana closed her eyes and tried to shake herself off – now shes looking more fitting for a girl her age.
“Hehe… and thats not all! Weve called in some guests – consider this a surprise announcement!”
Bruce happily gave some sort of signal to Blazer.
“Well, technically not guests anymore, though.”
Blazer gave me some sort of hint, stood up, and went to open the dining rooms door.
Oh, I see.
This calm aura… Its got to behim.
I stood up to welcome them.
In anticipation of what Blazer might be saying to me from now on, I briefly cast my eyes down.
Then I looked back up to look at them once again.
“Long time no see, Sir Asley.”
Leading their way in was Ryan, the Chief – or rather, former Chief of Faltown.
To his side was Reyna, smiling as she bowed to me.
“Sir Ryan, Reyna.
Its been quite a while, indeed.”
“Asley, my man! I see youre still lookin swole!”
“Brother, spare us the embarrassing stuff, please! Jeez… hey there, Asley.”
“Reid and Mana… you two look like youve been doing some good training yourselves.
“Good evening, Sir Asley! Congratulations on your promotion! Hello to you, too, Pochi!”
Adolf bowed down quite stiffly.
He seemed quite nervous to be here.
“Oh, thank you.
Now, everyone, please have a seat.”
Once everyone was sat down, Blazer, who sat opposite to me, started to talk
“So, about what Ive called Ryan and everyone else here for… it concerns The Silver.”
Pochi, hearing him address Ryan without honorifics, had her ears twitch right up.
I also reflexively turned to Ryan, but he signaled me with his eyes to listen to what Blazer has to say.
“From this point on, Ryan – and all of his subordinates here – is officially part of The Silver.”
I see, I see… So hes addressing everyone equally while speaking from his position as the leader The Silver.
“Additionally, with approval from Bruce, Betty, and Haruhana… I appoint Ryan as The Silvers second-in-command.”
Wait… so this whole time, Betty has been keeping this stuff away from me
We just got back moments ago, so there shouldnt have been enough time for them to discuss it with her today.
Betty, noticing my glare, stuck out her tongue and winked.
Okay, Ill admit that she pulled that gesture off nicely, but my mood right now dictates that she doesnt look cute at all.
“Well, thats that.”
…And now both of the siblings are winking at me.
Okay, guys, now youre just being creepy.
“Me, too! Im in, too!”
“Ooh, at long last! Congrats, Natsu!”
Perhaps still mixed on it, Blazer had a wry smile on his face when Natsus inclusion to the team was brought up.
And that would be perfectly reasonable – although its more or less normal for children to fight in this day and age, shes going to be with a team that takes on high-level requests.
Natsus still got so many things to learn before shes up to snuff.
She might end up pushing herself too hard… and thats nothing to be happy about.
Perhaps shed grown too attached to them.
Now, we ARE supposed to support the kids whod chosen to fight of their own accord, but this instance does show that things wont always play out as intended.
“But… what about Bruce and Betty No offense to Sir Ryan, but those two have been with The Silver for the longest time, havent they”
“”Nah, we wouldnt be fit for the job.””
“I did suggest the position to them, of course.
Its perfectly in line with what theyve always wanted.”
“You see, Sir Asley, I thought I would be able to better provide you with assistance by working with them.”
“Wait what about the survivors from Faltown, sir”
“Oh, dont you worry, Asley.”
“Well be able to take care of them better by being in The Silver.
The bigger the team, the more requests we can take – not to mention the works going to be safer.
Blazers agreed to keep our finances separate, too, so well be making more dough than we were before.
Well contribute to strengthening the team, of course.”
“Hahaha, gotta do better than that, Reid.
Haruhana just out-ranked you, remember.”
“S-shut up, Bruce! Ill get stronger than you in no time!”
“Heh, go on and try it, E-man!”
Seeing how they were practically talking over Manas head, Im feeling quite sorry for her.
Bruce and Betty, Reid and Mana… these two pairs of siblings bear quite a bit of resemblance.
Not only in terms of personality, but also their relationship.
Their abilities are still far apart, however.
I look forward to seeing how strong all of them can get.
“Hahahaha… there you have it, Sir Asley.
Inadequately skilled and equipped we may be, but I ask that you trust us to get things done.”
Hes got quite a fascinating smile going on for him, thats for sure.
The Silver sure has added a powerful ally into their ranks.
“Now then, this is the first time anyones hearing about this, but-“
Did he mean that hed been keeping some other new members a secret from everyone Or maybe hed deliberately chosen this timing to bring it up.
Blazer is especially good at timing things, so I wouldnt put this past him.
Considering that this decision was probably made by him alone, the latter sounds like the more likely explanation.
“Idéa and Midors will be joining us next year – when they graduate from the Magic University.”
“Huh, so theyve made up their minds already”
“Those two… I see, I see…”
Huh, those three didnt seem all that surprised… It was like theyd long expected the addition.
Still, Idéa and Midors, huh…… hmm
I mean, those two are still under the Black and White Chain Contract, arent they!