~~Six O’clock in the Morning, Nineteenth Day of the Second Month, Ninety-First Year of the War Demon Calendar~~
Passing various towns and village after we had departed from Iverialtown, we were now walking through the northern mountain range, the Giants’ Passage.
At the halfway point of our descent, a large-scaled city, which appeared to be Beilanea, finally came into view.
The distant view seems to have awakened some nostalgic memories within me.
“Wow… so that’s Beilanea… At this distance, it should take us only one more day.”
“We’ve hit quite a few snags this past month… It’s finally worth something… Well, most of them were my Master’s fault, though!”
“Hey, I don’t remember doing anything!”
Good gracious, now Pochi is fabricating faults to discredit me…
“Well, you should! Three weeks ago when came across a dungeon, you went in because you thought it would be interesting and got us locked in a Monster House crawling with B-ranks! Don’t say you forgot that!”
“Two weeks ago, you grilled some weird mushroom for us to eat, and they turned out to be Wailing Tops! It took forever for the crying to stop!”
“Last week in Romanetown, you took so many slaying quests from the Guild but ended up being one monster short for all of them, so we had to go all the way back to hunt more!”
“And just now when we were trying to make a campfire, instead of just casting Little Fire, you shot a Fire Lance right at my face!”
“Wait, I remember all of them now!? Pochi, when’d you cast a Memory Erasure spell on me!?”
“I did it when you were sleeping!”
“Wha — For real!?”
“Of course not! You really are a handful, you know that!?”
Yes, yes, I am a handful indeed.
“What’s up with that sense of acceptance of your face!? And now you’re doing that ‘how did she know!?’ face!? Oy, what’s up with that ‘is she reading my mind!?’ look!? Ahh, wipe that smug grin off! You’re just messing with me, aren’t you!?”
“Sorry, it was getting pretty hilarious.”
“Oh, for the love of… Look, we need to hurry on our way, sir!”
Pochi turned away with a pout and stood up. For a few minutes, she kept herself faced away, wagging her tail as she walked.
We’ve known each other for so many years, yet I’m still not quite sure whether I have a grasp on her personality. She was prone to anger, but also quick to forgive. I’d tried my best to not get on Pochi’s bad side, of course, but I couldn’t always keep up with her, what with her watching out for such a wide range of things.
“Oh, give me a second here… Hmm, ‘humans tend to easily forget past acts they want forgotten’… There.”
“Sir Asley, I see you write down something from time to time… What are you writing about?
“You’ve done well to ask! Behold, the Autobiography of Asley! The Principle of a Philosopher!
“Ah, Pochi, wait for me!”
“Lina, sometimes you can be quite…”
“Eh — What was that, again?”
“Oh, no, it was nothing. Master, hurry up!”
I… won’t give up!
~~Four O’clock in the Morning of the Next Day~~
The city, illuminated even this early in the morning, truly stood out in the landscape. Amid all the gorgeous buildings of various sizes, two ridiculously big ones stood right in the center of the city… they were the Magic and Warrior Universities.
“W-we’re finally here!”
“It was the right choice to make that final push, Master!”
“Hah hah… I’m exhausted…”
“All right, first things first, let’s go find an inn and rest up. Then, after we’re done with the entrance exam, we have the afternoon to look around!”
We went into the inn closest to the illuminated city’s entrance.
The rent was expensive, going for 300 Gold per person, but I mustered all the energy in my exhausted body to approve the spending.
After sending Lina and Pochi off to their room, I went to mine and crashed right onto the bed.
Appropriate of the asking price, the bed’s cushioning was especially relaxing, as if it was soaking in my fatigue. Then, in a state of half-sleep, my consciousness descended into a dream.
[Asley… Asley, boy…]
[Asley… Asley, boy… You can keep on sleeping. Just listen to what I have to say.]
[……Excuse me, Asley?]
[Ah– I assume you are aware that my Master would never willingly wake up a dream, sir?]
[Ngh… You are Asley’s Familiar?]
[Heh heh heh heh…]
[What– What are you laughing at?]
[I finally have another chance to do this, you see.]
[What could you be referring to?]
[You — Who are you~~♪]
…Good gracious, what a rowdy bunch.
[Oh, I see you are finally awake.]
[Who are you, Gramps? It’s not nice to waltz in and interrupt someone in the middle of healing his fatigue, don’t you think?]
In a dream… A world wrapped in pure white light.
[Apologies, but I come with urgent business… I assume this may not be that surprising of a deal for you, though?]
[I’m plenty surprised, thank you very much. Ah, don’t just stand there. Here, have a seat. Pochi, go get some cushions for us.]
[Again, let me offer my apologies… I suppose.]
The Gramps in white robe sat down cross-legged on a cushion that Pochi had brought from God knows where. His face was covered by a big hood; as I peered inside, I saw that there was nothing but darkness.
[Ah, the young ones, so brimming with curiosity. No matter how much you look, you will never see my face, however.]
- NAME: ？？？
- TITLES: Gramps
- LV: ？？
- HP: ？？
- MP: ？？
- EXP: ？？？
- SPECIAL SKILLS:
[Ho ho ho, you will not see anything from me, boy. Still, you have studied well to be aware that magic persists its effects in dreams.]
[I’ve done some research on dreams about 2,000 years ago. I discovered that if I knew a spell, I would be able to invoke it in here as well. Well, the research was actually for countermeasures against Nightmare Apparitions, though. I also found out that I could materialize visualizations to some extent… Like so.]
As a demonstration, I materialized a low table in the midst of the three of us, complete with filled cups of tea on top.
[So, Gramps, are you some Nightmare Apparition? Not that you look to be that way, though.]
[A Divine Messenger would be an apt description, I suppose?]
[Master, this man is even weirder than you!]
What a rude Familiar you are.
Well, I do think I’m a weird person myself, though.
[A Divine Messenger, I see… Ah, please, have a drink.]
[Why, thank you.]
The tree of us took a sip, then a deep breath.
It may be worth mentioning that Pochi’s cup was the same as the two others. Through a great deal of effort on her part, she could hold the cup and drink from it just fine.
[Now then, let us get down to your business.]
[…The Devil King’s resurrection is upon us…]
[…I do remember hearing that the last time he’d been defeated was a few decades before I was born… which means his cycle of resurrection must be around 5,000 years long. So the Holy Warriors should be making their appearance soon…]
[Truth be told, there are no Holy Warriors.]
[Please tell me you’re kidding… If we’re without those who have received the Divine Blessing, there’d no way to defeat the Devil King, right?]
Essentially, together with the Devil King’s appearance, three individuals blessed by Heaven were supposed to be born to become Holy Warriors.
Of the three, one would be a warrior, another one a mage, and the last but not least, the Hero. The Divine Blessing came bundled with the Holy Warriors’ titles, and with high-level abilities and training, they would attain power far greater than anyone could imagine.
[There is a reason for that.]
[W-wait a second.]
[What is it?]
[Why’re you telling this to me? Shouldn’t you be talking to the Nation’s representatives or the University Headmasters?]
[…None of them believed me, so I had to erase our encounters from their memories. You will likely understand the reason for that as I elaborate on my point.]
Damn it… This doesn’t sound good at all…
From how Pochi looked, she’s not liking the sound of this, either. I’m not one to say this, but she sure is defiant in the face of a Divine Messenger.
[The number of believers offering prayers to My Lord has greatly decreased… It has been the case for a few decades now. Instead, the prayers went to other humans.]
[…I see, so God does derive strength from people’s prayers and wishes. If they decrease in quantity, then…]
[That is right — God’s powers has deteriorated so much that He is unable to bestow Divine Blessings.]
[Wait… Wouldn’t that mean… Even the Nation’s representatives are wagging their tails for other humans now!?]
[That is so — That is why they had disregarded my explanations.]
Bah, I swear this Nation’s integrity is going down the drain real fast…
[Still, why would you talk to me about all this?]
[I thought it would do Us good to discuss with the one closest to the Divine, you see.]
[AH-HAHAHAHAHAHA!! My Master’s… wait, for real… Hehhehheh…]
[Hey, that was unnecessary! Still, by the Divine, you mean… Just because I lived a long life… Is that it?]
[Take a better look at yourself with those glasses — You should have what makes you qualified so within you.]
Hol’ up a minute… I had something like that? Or is it something I gained recently?
- NAME: Asley
- TITLES: The Fool, The Polarizing, Hermit Candidate, Mage, Alchemist, Staff Wielder, Six Archmages (Tentative), Teacher, Rank D
- LV: 52
- HP: 864
- MP: 14,781
- EXP: 241,169
- SPECIAL SKILLS:
- Attack Magic (Skilled)
- Support Magic (Advanced)
- Recovery Magic (Intermediate)
- Purification (Advanced)
There shouldn’t be that much of a difference from achieving Rank D, though?
[Look more closely — It is the third of your titles.]
[…Right, ‘candidate’. Wait, a hermit is nowhere near God!]
[I said ‘close to the Divine,’ didn’t I? I never said ‘God’.]
[Ugh… So, what do you propose I do?]
[Now, it is nothing complicated. Devote yourself to your studies, apply yourself to improving your abilities, all in preparation for the coming of the Devil King… That will surely… be of use to you…
Gramps’ body started glowing white, and gradually turned transparent.
[Hey hey, you can’t just end the conversation like that!]
[…Listen well, Asley — You must devote yourself to your studies…]
Having said all that, Gramps disappeared from my dream.
[…So he just waltzes in, says what he wants, and goes, eh…]
[I’d like some more tea.]
……Who do you think you are, doggo?