~~Nine Oclock in the Morning, Tenth Day of the Ninth Month, Ninety-First Year of the War Demon Calendar~~
Pochi and I were in Archmage Irenes special laboratory.
We were performing an experiment before todays classes started.
“All right, the goal is to transfer you from this Spell Circle to that one.”
Pochi was seated on one of the two Spell Circles.
The distance from one to the other being two meters.
“M-Master… are you sure about this”
“Itll be fine.
We were successful with bugs and other small animals, right”
“You better be successful this time too! Ill curse you if you make me pop up at some weird place!”
“Now, Pochi, believe in me! You cant sayimpossible to Lord Asley! Take that!”
“Rise, A-rise, A-rise! Teleportation!”
In an instant, Pochis whole body was overtaken by the dim flame of the Glamor spell.
Now with the appearance of a disembodied soul, Pochi slowly sunk into the Spell Circle under her feet.
Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that she was being absorbed by it
With my invocation, the other Spell Circle glowed and Pochis altered form emerged from it.
I hovered my Star Rod over the middle of the Circle and timed my invocation of the next spell.
It was the spell that restored status abnormalities, Recover.
The flame of Pochis disembodied soul form dimmed, blurred and then transformed.
It gradually created the distinct form of a wolf.
The light then flashed for a while and when that stopped, Pochi reappeared.
“AyyYy PocHI! ANytHING stRANge hAppENiNg”
“Youre the strange thing happening! I bet my damned fool of a Master has sent me to another world! Now I have to find a way back!”
“Hey, watch who youre calling a fool! Imma tear yo fur off!”
“Oh, Master! Youre here as well!”
“Bah… Anyway, with this done, its finally complete.”
“It sure is! Being the first to successfully use Teleport, is a legendary achievement, sir! Youre another step closer to becoming a Philosopher!”
“BWAHAHAHAHA!! Keep the praises coming, doggo!”
“Pretty impressive showing for a fool, sir!”
Eh, was that supposed to be genuine praise
As we went on, the laboratory door clattered open.
“Ah, so this is where youve been, Sir Asley.
You know that todays classes are starting soon, right”
“Ohh, if it isnt Lina! It feels so long since we last met you!”
“Ahahaha, we didnt hang out much during summer break, after all.”
“So how have you been Did you get promoted”
“Im a C-ranked adventurer now!”
Lina struck a pose by extending her slender arms forward.
Pochi congratulated her and clapped her front paws… She sure is great at acting like a human.
“– That reminds me, the Black Faction is having a four-way match”
I asked while we headed to the classroom.
The large-scaled Friendly Match event as coming up very soon.
This time of the year was the time to study up on potential participants.
That was primarily why I had Lina spend her summer break freely.
I would have chosen to guide her, but it was apparent that Lina would prefer otherwise.
She did want to fight me, after all.
“Yes! There are: Hornel… he finally overcame his combat phobia; Midors… hes improved his magical sensitivity; and Idéa… she also got promoted to Rank C just the other day!”
“Itll be hard to win against those three with how they are now.
Theyre a talented bunch.”
The talent I never had… damn it.
When I was their age… I couldnt even cast Fire, I think…
Since Linas Black Faction had a high number of applicants for the Friendly Match, they had decided to hold a preliminary contest.
It was in the form of a tournament where one would fight only two matches at most, but none could afford to let their guard down during such battles.
And Ill do my best!”
Such a dazzling smile.
Shes growing more adorable and beautiful with each passing day.
Too beautiful, maybe…
“Wait, Lina, did you… put on makeup”
“Ohh, Master! You finally noticed a womans paradigm shift! Good for you, sir!”
“…Yes, well… D-does it look good”
W-why are you being so fidgety!
“W-well, it looks super nice.
I mean, beautiful… yeah”
“Its reassuring to hear, Sir Asley! Idéa taught me how to do all this!”
Oh-ho, when did she become friends with that unpleasant girl
Perhaps this is whatopposing forces attract each other means, with Lina being the positive and Idéa, the negative here.
“Im also learning how to groom my hair, so please do give it a look next time!”
Lina said with a hearty smile as she headed to her seat.
All of the boys in the vicinity turned to look at her.
Midors did a double-take, and Hornel, triple.
“What is it, sir”
“…Girls sure are amazing.”
“Are you referring to me, sir”
Pochi sighed as sat down beside my seat, on the violet cushion that she had received as a gift from Lina.
“…Anyway… Im surprised its still going on…”
“Huh… Aha, this time its a trap spell with speed reduction properties.
Its been a while, so I almost forgot about them, sir.”
“This Spell Circle is quite improved from the last, though, dont you think”
“They sure grow up nicely…”
Just as Pochi finished saying that, three students stood themselves before the podium.
They were none other than the ones we were referring to.
Hornel, Midors and Idéa.
Then they called for me.
“What in the blazes! …I mean, whats up, guys”
“…Thats gonna be my last trap!”
Midors talked in some unfamiliar jargon he expected me to know.
But seriously, what is going on
“Well all be busy from now on.
We wont have the time to mess around with you!”
The unpleasant girl also talked in half-gibberish.
“One amongst us will definitely defeat you!”
And Hornel made that declaration arbitrarily.
But whyd he not say hell do it himself like he used to
“G-give it your best shot, man…”
Then the trio took one last glance at me and walked away.
…You guys know that the lecture will begin in a few minutes, right
That means their harassment is ending, right”
“You truly believe that to be the case, sir”
“Well, they were the only ones who used to do it before the summer break.
It might be a bit lonely without them.”
“That sounds… creepy and wrong, you know that, sir”
“…What about you and the way you interpret my casual statement”
A few minutes later… the three rushed back into class with their faces reddened.
They may have looked cool when they made their declaration and left, but they must have been embarrassed when they realized that they were about to skip school.
Im not one to talk, but its good that theyre enjoying their youth, since thats what they should do now.
Its also been a while since Ive seen Trace, but she didnt change all that much.
So in the end, Linas growth was what startled me the most.
It has often been said that one can change much in the span of three days, but does that apply to boys as well
Well, I suppose girls are faster to grow up at this age.
The boys here still had some visible child-like features and even I was still a little brat back when my age was frozen.
Its not something that changes so suddenly.
Or perhaps Im wrong.
The most important change comes from within… yes, that might be it.
When morning classes were over, I was informed by Trace that Irene had summoned me to her office.
Which made me ask the question, why did that lady not consider the emptiness of my stomach
Im starting to realize just how many of my lunch breaks had been interrupted.
Warren had said that it was “normal for the Student Council”, but does he even realize that most of my summons are for Irenes personal business
“Its been half a month… hasnt it”
“Yes, it has.”
Why is she glaring at me
“So I heard you were promoted to Rank A.”
“Yes, I was.”
She looks annoyed.
Exploding in the count of–
“Damn it! Why cant you just talk nicely for once!”
“WHATTTT! How am I supposed to do that! Im hungry as hell, Ill have you know!”
“You lack training, thats why!”
“Thats not even something you can train for… So, what business do you have with me today”
“Ive found some information about that Faltown place.”
“…Bah, straight to the gold, I see.”
Ever since my case with the Drop of Eternity had been made known to her, I had agreed to assist her in distilling it in exchange for her investigating the case of Faltown.
Or rather, she had started investigating it without me even asking.
It was her sense of pride dictating that she must repay me somehow, which was what I would expect from her.
“As you hypothesized, the Nations higher-ups are involved.
I couldnt investigate it with the access clearance I have as one of the Six Archmages.
Thats all the information I have as of now.”
“I knew it…”
“Bah, its disgusting.
To think the Nation would go to such lengths to abandon a town…”
Irene bit her lower lip.
Im sure shes extremely indignant at all this.
“…Thank you so much.”
“Billy and Gaston have been looking some things up as well, but Im not expecting additional information from them.”
“No, its all right.
I can work out several hypotheses just by knowing that.”
“True, the place has been abandoned by the Nation, but this case has the same meaning of it being discarded.
The thing to investigate now would be the reason why it was discarded… no, the reason why ithad to be discarded.
That would be the most logical thing to do next.”
Thats right, I had also arrived at the same conclusion.
Why did theyhave to do what they did to that town specifically It would have to be a decision made by the elites of the Nation… above even the Six Braves and Archmages… wait, above
“…Excuse me, Miss Irene”
“What is it”
“Who are the people in higher positions of power than the Six Braves and Archmages — in other words, the Duodecad Conference Not just the War Demon Emperor, I assume”
“Right, the Duodecad has the most public recognition, so its not something you were expected to know.
Common citizens would do perfectly fine without the knowledge and its taught in the Universities only from the sophomore year onward.”
Whoa, thats… Wouldnt that be their way of regulating information, in a sense
“Its the Black and White Factions — there are two people at the top of the Black and White Chain.
Lloyd of the White and Ishtar of the Black.
Those two are on a higher position of power than the Duodecad.
And in between them and War Demon Emperor Vaas is a man titledThe Grey.”
“…Whats his name”
“He doesnt have one.
Everyone just calls him by his title, Grey.
Among the Nations runners, his opinions were considered absolute.
Even the War Demon Emperor would put weight on this mans words above all else.”
I see… Im gaining more and more understanding of this matter.
The people had lost faith in God and instead believed in the Black and White Chain.
They needed symbols of humanitys safeguarding and those would be the Duodecad and War Demon Emperor Vaas.
But pulling the strings behind those two parties would be this Grey individual.
That was why Gods powers were weakening.
Gods powers were derived from peoples faith in Him.
And with His power, He could bestow the world with blessings and the Holy Warriors.
With that principle broken and with the Devil Kings birth being upon us… I see, so thats why the Divine Messenger appeared.
“Would it be right to consider Lloyd, Ishtar and Grey as the ones withholding the information”
“Seriously, you… if any of their acquaintances heard you addressing them so casually, you might have been arrested on the spot, you know that”
“That sounds scary…”
Yes, lets stick toscary.
“Thats all I have to say.
Do you need anything”
“Oh, I almost forgot.
Earlier today, I have successfully developed Teleportation, an object-space-transference magic spell.”
Irene was instantly petrified.
So petrified that she looked like she had been put in stasis with magic.
“……Youre messing with me, right”
“No, its true.”
“Ive never received any reports about it!”
“Well, I reported it to you just now!”
“I didnt mean a report of the results, but a research proposal!”
Eh, I needed to do that
“You definitely needed to!”
Did she read my mind!
“Since youve been using my laboratory, theres no way you wouldnt know! Havent you been getting information from my painstaking research, too!”
“That is the case, yes.
Since Ive been permitted to do so, Ive always observed your work.
Oh, is it fine that my spell only works with a fixed-position Spell Circle”
“Thats good enough! How long do you think Ive been spending on its implementation!”
“…Seven years, was it”
“Ive been doing it for 200 years though”
“Ah… uh… GAH, ENOUGH! Enough already! Just tell me about it!”
“I have classes… and lunch–“
“That can wait!!”
Would it have been better if I never told her all that
Well, since Ive been using her laboratory, I suppose its fair enough to report it to her.
Irene grumbled as she walked me all the way to the laboratory.