Chapter 258, June’s Circumstances
“Fine, I’ll remember that!”
Shi’shichou shouted at us as we walked away.
We proceeded to head to the top of the mountain where Bright should be waiting on.
Huh, there they are, and somewhat taller than I remember… And Ferris is a little taller than Bright now, isn’t she
“…Are you… mad at us, by any chance”
If you’re worried about that now, then you shouldn’t have been so reckless in the first place, little girl.
Still, it’s apparent that she’s matured emotionally — to the level that I’d never expected out of her, in fact.
All she needs now is a little more self-awareness, and her future is practically secured.
Ferris simply asked, showing not even a shred of bewilderment on her face.
She probably doesn’t know how to react to that.
“Chappie has explained the particulars to me.
As I’ve been told, you have helped out many people along the way, yes I WAS angry about your departure, but after hearing about what you three have done, I now understand that you’ve grown into wonderful, independent adults in your own right.
In fact, I’m not sure if I could’ve done that back when I was your age…”
As I explained to them with a somewhat bitter smile, Bright and Ferris briefly looked at each other, then at me again.
Now, moving on to the things that need to be said…
“And so, I’d like to ask… are you sure about abandoning your household, milady”
“That’s not set in stone yet.”
“Hmm Then why did you leave”
“Things weren’t about to get any better if I just stayed home — and we might go broke for real, that’s why.”
Ferris clenched her fists tightly.
By the way, what the hell is up with that metal rod she’s carrying on her back Does she actually… wield it in a fight
And what she said about going broke… Looks like she’s not able to articulate her point any more clearly than that.
…Huh, she gave Bright a high-five.
So he’s tagging in, huh
“Ahem… Instructor, what Ferris was trying to say was: If the Devil King destroys everything, then there won’t be ** left to rule over.”
“That’s it! Exactly!”
Exactly, she said… so the ‘** to rule over’ part, too
Man, this boy sure is getting back at Ferris in subtle, creative ways.
Or maybe he just wanted to put some of his feelings in there, too.
“In other words, if the Devil King is not defeated first, then you both may eventually lose your homes… Is that right”
Ferris nodded in agreement.
“The matter of our households–“
“–can wait until after the Devil King is destroyed!”
Ferris declared as she wildly swung her metal rod around.
Hmm, looks like she’s fairly skilled at wielding it.
Should be on a skill level good enough to take on A-ranked monsters.
Now I can tell that these kids didn’t try to get to Sodom just on a whim.
If all three of them worked together, they’ll probably have enough combined power to go against SS-ranked monsters.
They’ve always been full of talent, these two apprentices of mine.
And it seems that they’ve wisened up from the energy surge during the Devil King’s resurrection.
But now that the Devil King is back, no one can tell what his army will be up to next — not even Giorno can predict that.
And Sodom is certainly in need of manpower, but… man, decisions, decisions…
“What is it, Shiro”
“Maybe you should contact their guardians first, sir.”
She’s got a point there.
First on the to-call list would be… June, obviously.
I promptly invoked the Telepathic Call magecraft.
[“Hello, Lady June.”]
[“Hmm You don’t sound well, milady.
Is something the matter”]
[“Ah… no, nothing is.
It has been a while, Sir Poer.”]
Polco did tell me that’s she’s going through a difficult time… Probably a good idea to cut to the chase here.
[“Your lost brother has been found, and he is under my protection now.”]
[“…! Judging from your tone, he isn’t hurt too badly, is he”]
[“He is perfectly safe, yes.
I intend to contact Master Polco right after this call as well.
I’m thinking I should send both of them back his way… what do you think, milady”]
[“I know what you’re implying, Sir Poer.
You figured that if Bright was sent my way, he would surely escape to Sodom again, yes”]
So she DOES look at the big picture when it comes to her brother… I was under the impression that she was just stubbornly doting on him.
And she would be right; Bright would surely slip out under her watch.
This makes me wonder… do June’s exaggerated reactions toward her brother’s well-being have something to do with his emotional growth
I can totally see her giving up on trying to keep Bright under control, now that he’s all grown up.
If I’m right, then maybe June had been afraid all along — afraid that Bright would become an adult.
That’s why she had been so overly sensitive, overly protective — and sometimes gone great lengths to protect him, putting herself in danger.
Because if Bright were to grow up, he’s sure to eventually find himself in danger… and considering his position, a great deal of danger — the myriad dangers of directly battling the Devil King’s army.
That’s why June had been trying all she could to have Bright stay a ‘child’.
June herself had always had two conflicting positions: an aristocrat supporting the Nation, and a sister looking out for her brother.
And the conclusion of that conflict was… that job posting for a private instructor of arcane arts, I suppose.
Perhaps this could be applied to the civilization five millennia from now, too.
The Devil King’s influence causing the progress of humanity as a whole to stagnate… Hmm.
All the things the Divine Messenger had told me started swirling around in my head.
[Sir Poer, could you let by Brother… could you let Bright do as he pleases]
[“It may not sound quite right for me to say this, considering everything else, but please take good care of him.”]
Okay, I’m still curious… June sounded quite stressed out, judging by her voice.
I’d thought she would perk right up once she heard the news about Bright, but she didn’t — there must be something else going on.
It’s that ‘difficult time,’ I bet.
At first, I thought I’d keep the call as brief as possible, but now I’m worried about her… right, maybe I should ask her about it, just in case.
[“Again, you don’t sound well, milady.
If I may ask, is there something bothering you Perhaps I could be of help in some way.”]
[“Hahaha… no, this is beyond your capabilities, Sir Poer.
But I do appreciate the thought.
Just that has made me feel so much stronger.”]
[“–Take good care of Bright.
That’s all I ask.”]
[“Seems like you don’t intend to talk… so very well.”]
[“Of course not.
Especially to… you–“]
Her last few words were a little shaky, and then the Telepathic Call abruptly cut out.
I didn’t try to reconnect the call with June, knowing that she’s probably too emotionally unstable to hold the signal right now.
Instead, I initiated a new call to Polco, the second person on the to-call list.
[“–And so Master Bright will stay under my care for the time being.
Would you like me to send Lady Ferris back home, sir”]
[“Ngh… Did Lady June truly say that I wonder what happened… does her situation occupy so much of her thoughts No, that can’t be — she was always strong and level-headed when we interacted… Could it be that she acted differently only toward young Poer–“]
[“–I’m listening to this, you know.”]
[“Nwoh–! N-now, that’s not very nice of you, listening in on an accidental train of thought like that, young Poer…”]
[“Oh, I’m sure you know what you’re doing.
Your true personality isn’t exactly a secret to me, is it, YOUNG Polco”]
[“Ngh, your situation-appropriate impudence is commendable, Holy Warrior Poer… Now, moving on…”]
Man, the way he said ‘Holy Warrior Poer’ made it sound so cheap… Which happens all the time, to be fair — usually from Pochi, who often invokes that title to demand food from me, like ‘is the food ready yet, Mister Holy Warrior Poer!’
That doesn’t mean I like it, though…
[“If I may ask, Master Polco… what is it that is bothering Lady June Considering that she had already told you, I can only assume that it’s something of utmost importance.”]
[“Indeed it is… And in fact, it’s quite a frequent occurrence among us aristocrats, which most likely would not happen to free-living adventurers such as you.
June is going through the procedures of it right now.”]
[“…A politically-arranged marriage to preserve a household’s name.”]
Right… that’s what I thought.
[“The Holy Emperor had taken a certain measure against the recent situations, in particular the disappearance of Empress Idïa and the Devil King’s then-approaching resurrection.
Surely you know what it was, don’t you, young Poer”]
[“…The unification of the Traditionalist and Reformist factions.”]
And fortunately for us, the only ones that had been active in the undermining incidents were Her Majesty and House Douglas.
Many of the other houses’ influential individuals were simply acting reluctantly along due to pressure from the Empress or playing into Bathym’s machinations.
That is why, in order to avoid large-scale chaos in the Nation, Lady June had taken the initiative to deepen the bonds among the influential aristocrats.
I’m working on that as well, of course…”]
[“You too, sir”]
[“Mm-hm… things were decided right after Ferris had left the house.
An influential house not leaving behind a descendant will eventually lead to the Nation’s decline — that’s the bottom line here.”]
So THAT’s why June said it’s beyond my capabilities.
At the end of the day, June was not in full control of her decision.
It was the will of the Nation itself.
To me and Pochi, this is what will become our past; a page in our world’s history.
There’s nothing I can do about that.
Well, I CAN try, but there’s no telling what would happen if I were to change things now.
After all, things need to go this way for the Fulbright and Adams households to continue on — to eventually bring Warren, Jennifer, and Hornel into the world, as far as my era is concerned.
[“Don’t think too much about it, young Poer.
Like I said, it’s common among us aristocrats — of which one of many duties is to pass everything over to the next generation.
We live on the tax money of our citizens, so it is only natural that we dedicate our lives to the land and its people.”]
[“No buts, young Poer.
I don’t mean to be harsh, but do you even know what to say after that ‘but’ of yours Don’t you have your own responsibilities to focus on Can some random ruler of a nearby city replace you in the monumental task of defeating the Devil King No, absolutely not.
You, young Shiro, and the others — you all have the power to look at the bigger picture.
Compared to that, my and Lady June’s responsibilities are not so big of a deal.
Obviously, it was a difficult decision for Lady June as a woman, but it was already made, and nothing can change that.”]
Now that’s some long rhetoric he’s giving me — It’s as if he was telling me to ‘never look back’.
And then, perhaps in response to me giving absolutely no response, he changed the subject.
[“So, what is Ferris up to now”]
[“…She’s looking at the mountains below, standing with her oversized metal rod stuck into the ground.”]
[“Hehehe… an oversized metal rod, like those of Ogres in traditional T’oued artworks How… fitting.
Her physical capabilities must already be greater than mine.
Now, this may come off as me continuing to spoiling her, but… could you please give good guidance to her in my stead”]
[“Young Poer… I very much appreciate the friendship between us.
Polco closed things off with a subtle chuckle, then hung up the Telepathic Call.
I do understand that he’s got difficult things to deal with himself… Unlike us free-living adventurers, aristocrats really don’t have much freedom to make their choices.
While I continued to ponder things power, Pochi looked at me and asked,
“How did it go, sir”
Looks like she could tell that the Telepathic Call had already ended.
Prompted by the sound of Pochi’s voice, everyone else turned to look at me as well.
Chappie is as carefree as ever… while Bright and Ferris look quite resolute.
Well, I suppose that’s another sign of them being adults now.
“Chappie, Bright, Ferris… Let’s go.
Sodom awaits us.”
Bright and Ferris looked on blankly for a moment, turned to look at each other, started smiling…
Then, with their celebration practically waiting to burst out of their mouths, they turned to look at me again…
They shouted, their voices echoing through the sky.
“Now wait a second! Did you seriously just call me by my name and nothing else! Have you forgotten your position!”
“Ferris, remember, we’re adventurers now.
There’s no such thing as hierarchy here.”
“Father! Mother! Wherever you go, Chappie Mask will follow!”
“Master! I didn’t hear any mention of my name just now! What gives! Hey, are you listening to me, sir!”
For now, all we have to do are walk on and keep our sights straight ahead.