Chapter 316, What A Fool, Asley
Pochi left the room and walked down the long, narrow corridor.
The guard in front of the door glanced at her, but she only snorted arrogantly and kept strutting on.
After a while, she exited into what looked like a lobby, where Lina and Fuyu were sitting at one of the tables.
For some reason, they were sitting beside each other, so the chairs on the opposite side of the table were free.
Pochi leaped and landed with a thump on one of those free chairs.
Lina and Fuyu both had their heads down, and were oblivious to Pochi’s presence.
It took Pochi putting one of her paws up to her mouth and coughing loudly for those two to notice her.
And then, in an attempt to cheer them up, Pochi started… telling a story.
“Once upon a time, a fool named Asley lived in his cave, engrossed in research.
Asley was a very hard worker, but he was a fool who could not see what was happening around him.”
The mood whiplash caused Lina and Fuyu to open their eyes wide.
“One day, the foolish Asley accidentally created an amazing medicine — the elusive Drop of Eternity.
Despite it being an accident, Asley bragged about it to the cute — both then and now — dog friend Pochi.
At the time, Pochi was not yet Asley’s Familiar, but a normal beast.
Yet he bragged his achievements to her every single day.
Why would he do that Well, the answer is simple.
Because he did not have anyone else to brag to! What a fool, Asley, what a fool…”
Asley’s past was being laid bare… to the two people who had run away from the person in question moments before.
But this time, these two people did not turn away.
Asley was not here, after all, and they did want to listen to the stories about him.
“And then Pochi became Asley’s Familiar.
Now that he had someone to talk to, he took every opportunity he got to say to Pochi: Hey Pochi, look what I did! Hey Pochi, check this out! Hey Pochi, isn’t this awesome! Pochi! Pochi! Pochi! –And every single time, Pochi would answer: Wow, that’s amazing! There were times when she started getting annoyed, of course, but she would always hear him out… Because, after all, Pochi was the only friend that Asley had.
If Asley had only gone outside, he surely would easily make himself a friend or two, but he refused to do so.
Why Well, the answer is simple.
That thing did not even cross his mind in the first place.
What a fool, Asley, what a fool…”
Pochi’s kept rambling on and on…
“Thanks to Pochi’s encouragement, Asley eventually decided to leave his cave.
His goal was the Devil King’s Chestpocket, a place that has not even been confirmed to exist yet — not even now.
What a fool Asley was, setting such a ridiculous objective — not to mention heading for such a high-end place while his level was so low — without a second thought.
He must have known that it would not be easy.
What a fool, Asley, what a fool…”
…Then she cracked an awkward smile.
Lina and Fuyu nodded, while tears welled up in their eyes.
“Shortly after leaving his cave… Asley met you, Lina.”
The tears they shed were endless — Lina and Fuyu both.
They did not even know why.
But they knew, without a doubt, that those tears were for Asley.
For the Asley who had walked his life’s path without looking back.
“Did you know When Asley saw that Lina and her siblings were under attack, he actually tried to run away at first! If Pochi had not stopped him, Lina would not be here now, would she”
Pochi talked up her own achievement, throwing in a wink for good measure.
“The two years Asley spent in Faltown were full of hardship, yet he kept on staying there.
If not for Sir Ryan sending him away, he might still be in Faltown today, even.
The next place Asley settled down in was Beilanea.
He entered the Magic University, and at one point, he met… you, Fuyu.
He finally completed his Teleportation spell… but then sold it to Irene for the money he needed at the time.
But it was worth it, since he was able to start saving the children from the Colorful Food District… But then he got himself arrested because we didn’t do the saving part carefully enough.
What a fool, Asley, what a fool…”
Pochi groaned out her nose.
“After that, Asley met Tūs, the Philosopher of the Far East, and trained under his hellish guidance.
Every single day.
For two years.”
“He did THAT…”
“For two whole years…”
Lina and Fuyu knew what it was like — how much suffering it entailed.
After all, their training had been under Tūs’ direction as well.
“And did you know Since then, Asley has been training his body whenever he has free time! Really, he should spare some time to take care of Pochi as well… Don’t you two think so”
“Yeah, that’s right…”
Lina answered, still shivering.
There were still many things she did not know about Asley — and she was being told of them by Pochi, the one who knew him best.
She was happy to hear those stories.
Lina and Fuyu continued to listen.
Shaking, crying, sometimes feeling awkward, sometimes laughing.
“He returned to Beilanea, got promoted to Rank S… and THEN he was sent back to the past.
Things were also chaotic for Asley’s Familiar, Pochi.
But Pochi never was tired of being around Asley.
And of course, that is because–“
Pochi laughed — and so did Lina and Fuyu, their eyes bloodshot by now.
Because they all knew what Pochi would say next.
“–Asley is a fool.”
Lina and Fuyu shed their last tears, then they nodded.
My Master is a fool.
Always rushing straight ahead whenever he pleases.
Pochi cast her eyes down… and continued as if to say to herself,
It’s getting too much for me to handle by myself.
But he’s a fool, so he wouldn’t notice that.
That’s why I’m asking you two… Lina, Fuyu.
Help him out — help my foolish Master out.
He needs all the help he can get.”
Lina and Fuyu knew how much Pochi trusted Asley, her Master… and how much Asley trusted Pochi.
And now, that same Pochi was making her request to them, smiling awkwardly.
Whether they liked it or not, now they knew that the burden Asley bore had become too much, so much so that Pochi was getting tired of it all.
Those two words passed through Lina and Fuyu’s minds.
Fuyu realized that…
…And so did Lina.
[That’s why Sir Gaston, Miss Irene, Sir Barun, everyone else… they never stopped aiming higher…]
They turned to look at each other, their eyes filled with resolve stronger than the strength in their clenched fists.
Then they turned to Pochi.
“”I’ll help however I can!””
Pochi accepted their display of determination with an ear-to-ear smile.
“Thank you so much!”
“Oh, and you two have to hear this! When he woke up, he threw his arms around me and kept screaming my name! Ah, but don’t tell him that I told you that! It’s supposed to be a secret!”
“What secret, huh, you furball”
That very moment, Pochi was petrified… and then, like a mechanical doll, she stiffly turned around to where the voice had come from.
“M-MASTER… D-D-D-DID I NOT TELL YOU TO LEAVE EVERYTHING TO ME”
Brushing off Pochi’s awkward reaction, the look in Asley’s eyes turned even sharper.
“Told me via eye contact, yeah.
But I can’t exactly NOT come here, you know”
Pochi realized why Asley was here right now.
Asley’s mantle, usually open and left to flutter behind him, was now closed… held together by someone in front of him.
That someone was none other than Irene.
“Looks like you two are doing all right out here.”
This time, Lina and Fuyu did not look away when Asley appeared.
From just that, Irene could see that the pair had regained their spirits, thanks to Pochi’s attempt at encouragement.
“Oh Master, have you finally become Miss Irene’s Familiar… I mean, pet, sir”
“Why the hell are you even asking me that!”
Before Asley’s question could lead to a long-winded argument, Irene pulled on his mantle again and started walking… effectively dragging Asley away.
“…Huh, I’ve seen this scene before, haven’t I”
Pochi muttered to herself, and in Asley’s head, only the image of him being dragged by Irene in the past reappeared.
Irene, without turning around, said to Lina and Fuyu,
“Come and look at what we have to show you.
We’ll be putting him to work — and you have my permission to join us.”
And so Asley smiled awkwardly… more so than his Familiar had a moment ago.