“Hey hey hey, what should we do now! Im sure as hell gonna be disqualified if Im late!”
“In times like this, you ought to remember the usefulness of my nose, sir!”
“Now, pass me that paper that says where we need to be!”
And so Pochi took a sniff before we ran full speed ahead.
It was fortunate for me that, on the way, I realized one point while we still had time…
The place that this sheet of paper had originated from was not the examination grounds, but rather…
“…The Adventurers Guild.”
“…The Adventurers Guild, indeed.”
“How much time left!”
Almost immediately as we entered the Guild Hall, I asked for the exact location in the north-eastern district where my Evaluation would be held.
By then, we had already lost fifteen minutes.
Pochi and I, now outside, shuddered as we hurled insults at each other.
“Good God, that was the worst beginning ever! It shows how much of a fool you are, Master!”
“Shut up! If you were a Familiar worth your salt, you wouldve gone to check up the spot beforehand!”
“Well, technically Im not a Familiar anymore!”
“Yeah, you only say that when its convenient for you! I swear, youre the worst Familiar ever!”
“Ahahaha, says the guy whos trying to defeat the Devil King! Since you think youre hot stuff, how about
we skip this test and go straight to the boss!”
“Well you better do your part too!”
“Rise, A-rise! All Up: Count 2 & Remote Control!”
Right in front of the Adventurers Guild, I had Pochi gigantify herself, and then jumped on her back.
The instant I was in place, Pochi leapt onto the buildings roof, then hopped across to another, and then another.
Most people were not particularly distracted by the scene.
It surprised me at first, but considering this was Regalia, the Royal Capital, I suppose it was not inconceivable.
Perhaps I ought to think of some excuse in case we get arrested for breaking whatever traffic laws here-
“-like I was kidnapped by Pochi or something…”
“Youre thinking out loud, you foolish Master! Thats not a good attitude to have! At all!”
“Hey, I was just kidding!”
Yeah, thatd probably get us both arrested.
Pochi mustve imagined me getting hauled away by the town security… as was apparent from her giggling and grinning.
I poked her head, and in retaliation, she slapped my back with her tail.
Mmm, her tails as fluffy as ever.
Our exchange of blows escalated further and further, culminating in me shouting into her ear, and her tickling my nose to hell with her tail.
By that time, we were in the north-eastern district and facing our presumed destination, an ancient-looking Cathedral.
“-WOOHOO! Whoa! Theres our place, Pochi!”
“WHAT! MY EARS ARE STILL RINGING, SO I DIDNT HEAR THAT! SAY IT AGAIN!”
“THAT CATHEDRAL, DAMMIT! Three minutes left! We made it!”
By the time Pochi jumped down from the last roof and landed in front of the Cathedral, we had two minutes left on the clock.
Man, that really was dangerous.
Aha – thats it.
There arent any followers of God around, so of course it wouldnt be in use.
Without maintenance or repair, the Cathedral had ended up in a state more fitting to be called an ancient ruin.
“Is something the matter, Master”
“…Its as Id feared.
The place is old, but most of the destruction is man-made.
Magic, blunt force… whoa, there are some deep slash marks around here too.
“Sounds like you know your stuff, my man.”
The unfamiliar voice of a young man entered our ears.
I mean, Pochi and I had already realized that there was someone around.
Then again, that someone hadnt been hiding his presence, so it shouldnt come off as a surprise.
Its just that… I realized that his abilities were more than qualified to be the supervisor of my S-ranked Rank-up Evaluation.
He wore a short-sleeved shirt, rolled-up shorts, and a scarf around his neck… again, he looked VERY young… could he be a boy
“A-ahem… I am is Asley, A-ranked adventurer.
I am here for the Rank-up Evaluation to S Rank-“
“Oh, Im already familiar with you, so lets just skip the formalities.
Im Barun, appointed as one of the Six
Braves just a month ago.
Ill be your examiner for today.”
“W-well, nice to meet you, then.”
Barun of the Six Braves – he had been the next candidate in line after Blazer, who had declined his seat in the Six Braves.
Id thought that either Dallas or Bruce would have been called first, but… well, on second thought, Bruces personality wouldnt have been a very good fit.
And Dallas would turn up in Beilanea only once a month or less, so he probably would have been a difficult candidate to select as well.
That reminds me, Duncan told me that Dallas had come to visit me once back when I was off in the wasteland.
To this day, I still hadnt gotten to meet him again, so Ill make sure to ask him what he wanted the next chance I got.
Anyways… what did Barun mean when he said he already knew me I dont think weve ever met before.
Has he been observing me ever since I arrived in Regalia or something
As I pondered, I noticed an unexpected newcomer in the form of a critter jumping up from behind Barun.
Thats… definitely a Familiar.
Its got a human-like feel in how it emoted, and I could feel a certain level of arcane energy fluctuation.
“Youre Asley, one of the former Student Council Clerks… and youre Pochi, right Weve seen you both once at the University.”
Said it – the high-pitched voice was a dead giveaway.
And a male, from what I could see.
But wait… the University Did I hear that right I dont remember ever meeting them though Oh, wait, he only saidseen, so…
Oh, wait, is that it A Familiar Now I just remembered Irene saying that I was thesecond candidate with a Familiar …could that mean Barun here was the first one that year
While Pochi and I searched our memories, Barun chuckled and gave us the answer.
“Hahahaha, of course you wouldnt remember.
I dropped out of the Magic University almost immediately after I got in, you see.
Besides, the time we saw you was during the Friendly Match, so…”
Oh, so thats it, huh.
“But why would you drop out… and how did you get to be one of the Six Braves”
“Hmm, well… I did graduate from the Warrior University, so Im plenty qualified, of course.
Looks like they just didnt care much for appearances when they made the selection.
Barun shrugged and laughed.
Now wait a second…
“…You took the Magic Universitys entrance examination after you graduated from the Warrior University”
I did teach myself some magic beforehand, but the most I could do was the Familiar Contract, you see.”
“Hear that, Master! Now THATs what you call a mass of talent, sir! UNLIKE YOU! HAH!”
Prepare thyself for punishment, doggo.
I swear, I wont hold anything back…
Anyways, back to Barun – again, hes young.
Most likely still in his early twenties.
Assuming that he had enrolled into the Warrior University right when he was fifteen and graduated within the minimum four years, and then immediately enrolled into the Magic University – and immediately dropped out – yeah, this guy, hes dreadfully talented.
He hasnt told me why he had dropped out of the Magic University yet, but I reckon hed weighed the efficiencies of studying magic or continuing his training as a warrior, and had decided in favor of the latter.
If hes got some support and recovery magic, and also access to the Familiar Contract, then it was reasonable that he would have chosen this path.
Even if he didnt, it would still be more efficient for him to form a party instead.
But above all else, hes got crazy talent.
Right, right – perhaps hes got more than enough talent to blast his way into the ranks of the Six Braves.
Lets see here…
――――――――――――――――――――NAME: BARUNTITLES: Warrior University Graduate, Mage, Battle Mage, Rank S, Six Braves, Dragon Slayer, New Generations Brave, The Scale TipperLV: 92HP: 2,850MP: 1,003EXP: 8,192,281
Fortify StrengthFortify ResilienceTempestHigh-frequency BladeAttack Magic (Elementary)Support Magic (Intermediate)Recovery Magic (Intermediate)
Hes… pretty good.
Perhaps hed been chosen based on his potential for future improvement rather than his current level.
That, or the extent of his strength that was not tied to his numbers.
“Boss, these guys look pretty good at their jobs.”
“Mm-hm, of course, Ricky.
Theyre ones who once stirred quite a fuss among the Duodecad Conference, after all.
Now then, weve gone off quite a tangent there, so I say its time we got down to business!”
Ill be in your care… I suppose.”
“First off, Id like to see what youre capable of…”
Right to the chase.
But I suppose this was simply how S-ranked adventurers ought to do things.
Of course one would at least need to be strong to fit in…
At any rate… how did I even stir that big of a fuss among the Duodecad Conference Im only closely acquainted with two Archmages, namely Gaston and Irene… and Dragan wouldnt talk much about me, what with us having met only a few times, I guess Oh yeah – I might have heard from Gaston that Charlie of the Six Braves had taken quite an interest in me.
Maybe it was him, what with him being such a loudmouth.
Oh, how troublesome.
I readied my staff and stood opposite to Barun.
“All right, lets get started, Pochi.”
“… I see, so thats how well do this I understand! Bring it on!”
“Bythat, you mean youre evaluating my Familiars abilities… is that it”
“Its because Ive heard that Pochi here is a combat-focused Familiar, you see.
I figured I wouldnt be able to tally a comprehensive score unless I get a read on her power first.
Oh, I mean, the criteria for reaching Rank S is already set in stone, but examiners are more or less free to set their scoring standard, so…”
Would Pochi be fine without me
Im quite worried – but then again, shed served quite some time as Melchis sparring partner and assistant.
Shell put up a good fight.
Ill be giving you the sign to go.”
Pochi and Barun stood opposite to and kept their eyes on each other.
Pochis gaze was sharp and serious… but Barun, on the other hand, looked as if he was making fun of his opponent.
So much for agreeing with Rickys compliments just minutes ago, man…
“And now, begin.”
Rickys announcement, lacking in enthusiasm and devoid of interest, echoed through the Cathedrals semi-bas.e.m.e.nt.