Chapter 223, Round One
Apparently, this Familiar Chalice event will take place over the span of three days.
Not many spectators currently waiting in the Colosseum, as far as I can see.
First, there’s going to be a preliminary tournament, in which countless Familiars fight for a spot in the main event.
The ones that win would then get to be on the stage on the second day, and then the third day’s final rounds.
“Ladies and gentlemen! Thank you for your support!”
The venue is dead silent.
Pochi stood up and waved in the direction of the audience’s seats, seeming as if she was seeing an illusion of a packed audience.
“Mother! Do your best out there!”
Correction: there’s a grand total of one individual cheering her on.
Per rules, only Familiars and their Masters are allowed to enter the arena.
As such, Chappie, not being a Familiar, had to wait among the audience instead.
“Heh heh… I’m sorry, Chappie! I already have too many fans to keep answering to your cheers alone!”
No, she doesn’t…
The guests’ seats are still almost empty.
The aristocrats are probably bust, and the general audience is probably interested in just the semi-finals and the final round.
“Familiar Shiro! Forward!”
Pochi walked forward… bipedally, with her front and hind legs swinging out of sync.
She’s probably nervous.
…I mean, is she going to be all right
Well, let’s see what her opponent for round one is…
“Familiar Lionel! Forward!”
Now this Familiar is quite arrogant-looking.
It’s a Seadra-Horse, a B-ranked seahorse-like monster.
It stands on the strength of its tail and uses the wings on its back to fly.
It can’t keep itself airborne for long, and usually makes use of its unique physiology to move by bouncing with its tail.
The monster’s most lethal asset is its long, tube-like mouth, with which it can suck all the blood out of its prey in an instant.
It’s strong, sure, but it’s also infamous among adventurers for not being worth the trouble of taming.
How did its Master manage that
Well, no matter – I’ve decided to leave all of the preliminary rounds to Pochi, so I’ll just sit back and see how it goes.
I’m looking forward to seeing how this event’s days will help Pochi to mature as a fighter.
And its name is Lionel, huh…
From a glance, its level should be a hundred and thirty, give or take a few.
Which means… it’s way weaker than Pochi, whose level is almost a hundred and ninety as of now.
Yup, we have a clear winner here.
In an instant, Pochi had rushed forward, pinned Lionel down, and sunk her fangs into its neck.
Despite Lionel being a bigger creature, Pochi didn’t even need to gigantify in order to overpower it.
And Lionel realized the sheer difference in their strengths the moment it was pushed down.
It’s quite apparent from its expression – eyes agape in surprise, knowing that it actually was the prey here.
“The is Winner: Familiar Shiro!”
Pochi let go of Lionel’s neck, and then… uh, why is she dragging her feet
“Ha… hah… hah…! M-Master… I… I won…”
She fell over.
Like, ‘plop,’ with what’s probably the worst acted fall I’ve ever seen.
She’s got her eyes closed, but her eyelids are twitching.
Hmm And the wrinkles on her forehead are changing unnaturally Ohhh… I get it.
It’s like she asking herself ‘Does this look off’ …I mean, DUH! Her acting is way off!
Ahh, there she goes again.
That expression is her realizing that she’s failed.
Oh, she opened her eyes.
“Master! You’re supposed to worry about me and rush to my rescue! BEFORE I FELL! Don’t you get it! You, helping me up after a desperate struggle! That’s how it’s supposed to go!”
“Well, it WAS desperate… for that seahorse dragon you just destroyed, that is…”
“Tch… you have no sense for drama, sir!”
Ugh, looks like Pochi REALLY wanted it to be an emotional scene just now.
Still… me, having no sense for drama That’s as outrageous of a claim as it gets.
“Mother! What a stunning victory!”
“Hmph, of course I’d win! Still, thank you! And thank you!”
Andddddd she immediately abandoned the schtick.
She does look like she’s crying… but is that a vial of fake tears I see in your paw there, eh, Pochi
Oh, so that’s how she switched her acting direction so quickly.
Very admirable hiding skills, Pochi.
“Anyway, that’s one round down… so I have one more to go today, and two more tomorrow.
Is that right, sir”
“If you don’t win today, you won’t get to fight tomorrow at all, you know.”
Now we’re in the contestants’ waiting room, and I’m rubbing Pochi’s back… wait.
Why am I even doing this
Ah, right, I’m just doing as I’m told while we talk to pass the time… wait.
Am I not supposed to be the Master here
Well, she’s the one in the spotlight for now, I guess.
I AM willing to go along with a little bit of her selfish demands – just got to warn her when she starts becoming too much to tolerate.
…Okay, I might be spoiling her a tad too much.
Shouldn’t I be more worried about her character Is this because we’ve known each other for so long
“And then there are two more rounds on the final day… which means a total of sixty-four Familiars were entered into this tournament, right, sir!”
Ooh, her calculation skills are shining through.
The defending champion immediately has the privilege to bypass the first round, so there are only sixty-three new challengers.”
And the tournament does have different progression patterns to accommodate for that, but I won’t go into it.
Pochi might get confused for real, after all.
Pochi put her paw on her forehead… and then shivered, for some reason.
Noticing what was wrong with Pochi, I turned to where she was looking at – there, I saw Lylia, standing with her arms folded, looking quite grumpy.
“How did you become so strong so quickly”
My greeting got cleanly ignored as Lylia cut to the chase and asked me her question.
And from the looks of it, the Crimson King Ox doesn’t seem to be with her.
Probably because it’s too big to be walking around everywhere, for one.
I’d assume it’s standing by in the other waiting room, reserved for large-sized Familiars.
“I’d like to ask something, too.”
Lylia tilted her head, seeming not offended by the fact that I had not answered her question.
“That Familiar is a Crimson King Ox, isn’t it How did you get it to become your Familiar”
“Why do you ask Don’t you already know the answer, Poer”
Lylia answered, her expression unchanged.
…I knew it.
“Well, that’s the same answer I’ll give to your question, then…”
Lylia muttered, turned around, and walked away.
Pochi narrowed her eyes and proceeded to whisper to me,
“Isn’t she being a bit too cold, sir Considering we were in the same party at one point and all…”
“She’s probably putting her guard up for the competition, and then there’s me asking her about THAT…”
“The Crimson King Ox, you mean What about it, sir”
“As far as I could see, that Crimson King Ox is fully mature.
You realized that as well, didn’t you”
Pochi nodded and waited for me to elaborate on my point.
“And Heavenly Beasts are… well, beasts.
If you want to use a monster as a Familiar, you need to imprint on it.
Not for Heavenly Beasts, though – they can form emotional attachments on their own.
But that Crimson King Ox and Lylia don’t seem to get along particularly well – not with that kind of connection, so to speak.”
“So you’re saying that their Familiar Contract was rather forceful, sir”
I nodded in agreement, Pochi was exactly on point.
“I think that’s the case, yeah.”
“Oh, I see… It’s possible that the Ox joined up with her because it acknowledges her strength, but from the tournament chart, it doesn’t seem like they trust each other very much, sir.”
The tournament chart, huh…
Perhaps by good luck, the names of Lylia and her Familiar, ‘Seki’teigyu’, is on a different block from ours.
She didn’t even give it a unique name.
Now THAT shows how clearly forceful their contract was.
Not that it’s not possible to do properly, but mess it up, and there’s a good chance of inducing a curse as a side effect.
Those two seemed to have done it without issue, but then there’s also Tarawo’s case, which didn’t go well at all.
I suppose it’s not something a relatively normal mage would pull off.
A Holy Warrior – Warrior Lylia, on the other hand, could very well have done it with her sheer power.
“Well, you should keep that in mind, Shiro – maybe you can consider it to be one of the Crimson King Ox’s weaknesses.”
Still, it makes me wonder… Why would Lylia bring along the Seki’teigyu to participate in the Familiar Chalice, despite their relationship not being on the best of terms
Especially when there are plenty of other choices to avoid this much trouble, considering her personality
Afterwards, Pochi effortlessly won the second round of the first day, securing herself a spot on the second day.
“Now then, Chappie Mask and Pochhie Mask are going to have their face reveals tonight!”
“Ohh! That sounds like a seemingly impossible-to-win battle is coming up, mother!”
…And she seems to have plenty of energy to spare.