Chapter 260, Reconnaissance
All right, now that I got to test it, this Drynium Rod is certainly quite a powerful weapon.
According to Garm, its hardness is on the same level as Drynium Steel despite its modifications, so it packs more blunt force than Ferris’ metal rod.
And he was right that conventional weapons — the bladed ones, anyway — don’t mesh well with mages.
Blunt weapons wouldn’t interfere with mages’ arcane energy flow, however, so they’re pretty much fine… well, pretty much the best conventional close combat option they have.
That’s not counting front-liner mages like Midors… because those guys have their own fighting styles for themselves.
“…Hmm, no problems in the Circle drawing process, either.”
“But wouldn’t it still be faster for you to draw with your ten fingers, Master”
“For an all-out attack, sure, but having a staff gives me a good balance of offense and defense.
Besides, I have plenty of other ways to draw Circles just as fast.”
“Ah, yes, like how you drew them by twitching your eyes around! So gross!”
“Better than when you drew them with your tongue, at least!”
“Your ideas are so childish, Master! If you think more like an adult, you’ll be able to come up with some great invocation techniques, I’m sure!”
SHE was the one who came up with the tongue drawing, though… wouldn’t that make her idea childish as well I guess one could call it a beast’s idea instead of a child’s — well, a normal beast back at the time, and a Heavenly Beast now — but at the end of the day, none of that makes any difference at all!
“So do you have any of your so-called great techniques, huh!”
“Draw them with your hair, I guess!”
“They can’t even be controlled normally, damn it!”
“Then try drawing one by wiggling your ears like I do! Watch this! Like this!”
“Human ears don’t work that way! And I don’t see your ears moving, either!”
“Do you have any other parts that you can control freely, sir!”
“I don’t! That’s why I used my eyes!”
“Ugh… Aha! Your tail, sir!”
“I don’t even have one!”
“When’d you lose all your convenient appendages, Master!”
“I don’t remember ever being a superhuman mutant, you stupid dog!”
“Yeah, that’s exactly why you earned that insult just now!”
Man, I do wonder how Pochi and I can keep our schtick up… while we’re so high up on the sky like this.
“Mother, father… sometimes I wish you two would pay more attention to me, too!”
…Man, Chappie, always so dramatic…
Well, I guess that’s understandable — he’s just a few years old, after all.
And despite his general personality being what I would expect from a ‘natural’ Violet Phoenix, he’s sure to crave attention and affection just like any child would… and he hasn’t had much of either because of how chaotic his life has been.
“Sorry about that, Chappie.
So… did you find something”
“I did not, which is quite… suspicious.”
“He’s right, sir.
I’m not seeing even a single monster, either.”
That’s right — we’re on a scouting mission, riding on Chappie’s back as he flies high up in the sky.
Our general objective is to head south from Sodom and observe the Devil King army’s course of action, but all we’ve seen so far are beast bones lying all over the place.
Giorno has said that ‘the only way forward was to put Chappie’s ability of flight to use,’ and I had agreed with him.
And having considered that Chappie could defend himself to some extent, it had been decided that Pochi and I — whose compatibilities were the best for working with Chappie — would ride on his back.
Due to having limited space, we do have to be a bit more careful, what with Pochi sitting on my neck and occasionally shouting into my ears.
It’s quite amusing, having a Violet Phoenix carry his parents on his back… But it could be semi-justified by considering that the year of his birth was before ours, I suppose.
Anyways, other than a reconnaissance, I do have another objective for myself.
Giorno seemed to have figured that, too…
“What’s wrong, Pochi”
“Over there! I saw a monster just now, sir!!”
I gave Pochi a suspicious look as she clung to my shoulder and pointed to the side.
“There, where It’s nothing but flatlands around here… if there was a monster, then I would’ve also seen it already, you know”
“What I meant was, I thought I saw it, then it disappeared, sir! Like, poof!”
I grimaced as Pochi shouted into my ears again.
Just to get her to shut up, I had Chappie head to where she pointed at.
Now that we’re on the ground again, we might as well look around… Hmm, the terrain is turning into a grassland right around here, but there’s nothing out of the ordinary.
“That’s strange, sir… I’m VERY sure that I saw it…”
“Do you remember what it looked like, at least”
“It seemed to be the A-ranked Imperial Ogre, sir.
It was running, like it’s in a hurry.”
Chappie suddenly shouted, his wings spread wide.
“I sensed a fluctuation of arcane energy! Over here!”
Chappie pointed at… nothing in particular, confusing me yet again.
“Really I’m not sensing anything…”
“Ngh… it seems to have disappeared, yes.
But I’m sure that I felt it just now, though…”
Now wait a second…
Since Chappie could sense something, there must be some sort of trick to it, right
I induced the tip of my staff with some arcane energy, then slowly swept it around the area.
“So it was a thin curtain of arcane energy! Good thinking, sir!”
“I knew you’d have it figured out, father!”
It seems to be some sort of concealment technique… This must be another one of the Devil King’s tricks!
“I wouldn’t have noticed this if not for you two, so thanks for that… Now stay back — this might get dangerous.”
Once Pochi and Chappie were behind me, I started drawing a Spell Circle.
This supposedly empty space is definitely meant to hide something.
It’s probably better to try tearing away at it with a moderately strong spell, rather than a super powerful one.
As I unleashed the intermediate-level wind spell, the curtain of arcane energy broke apart with a high-pitched noise and faded away.
Then, immediately after, all of us saw a… space… filled with high-density arcane energy.
“My vision’s turned all… mushy!”
“This is… so weird!”
“The energy itself is simple, but it’s distorting the space around it really badly… And since the curtain’s gone now, it’s starting to affect the surroundings over here.
Whoever is on the other side, they must know that we’re here now.”
And it’s quite likely that the ‘whoever’ in question is the Devil King himself…!
“M-Master! Is it just me, or am I hearing some heavy footsteps!”
“Well, duh! Like I said, the one on the other side probably knows that we’re here now! Chappie, we’re getting out of here!”
“Ngh…! Rise, A-rise, A-rise, A-rise! Pochi Pad Breath!”
“Wait, you can use that without Swift Magic now, sir!”
“When Ultimate Limit is activated, yeah! Look, we gotta run! No way in hell we’re winning against THAT now!”
Dropping behind a bomb like a parting gift, I then hurried to hop of Chappie’s back.
“Get all of us back to town, Chappie! The final battle is near — I can feel it!”
Chappie’s howl echoed through the field.
After a few moments, with us having flown a good distance away, a horde of monsters flooded forth from the distorted space… right as the Pochi Pad Breath’s explosion timer completed its count.
Pochi and I watched on as the bomb went off, the explosion glittering all over the place, and then we were reminded of the extent of danger approaching the town of Sodom this time.
“Was that… the right thing to do, father We were supposed to just scout ahead, weren’t we”
“That’s right, Master! Wouldn’t this make chaos break loose much sooner!”
“Yeah, it’s fine — this is also a part of Giorno’s plan.”
“Is that true, father!”
“Well, if it’s Giorno’s idea, then there’s nothing to worry about, sir!”
Is it just me, or was Pochi being extra snarky just now
Man, why’d she always have to be like this, never sticking to her initial opinions…
“Just think about it — if the fight is delayed any longer, things will play out worse for our side.”
“What do you mean, Master”
“Even with the Devil King resurrected, the army still isn’t ready to act yet — that’s why we haven’t seen them do anything ever since that earthquake happened.
Obviously, it takes time to gather monsters from the whole land, but there’s another possible factor, maybe even the most important one — the readiness of the Devil King himself.”
“That’s right! The Devil King might have not been reborn into a fully-grown body!”
Hearing my stronger, more confident tone, Chappie beat his wings harder and hurried back to Sodom.
If the Devil King was indeed born into an incomplete body, then he must not be able to act for some time.
And now that we know where he might be, the Devil King’s army has no choice but to go on the offensive.
The Sodom region is sure to become the site of a fierce battle very soon.
–Yeah, the real fight is just beginning.