~~Twenty-Four Past Nine in the Morning, Seventh Day of the Fourth Month, Ninety-Fourth Year of the War Demon Calendar~~
The magecraft class commenced with Tifa and Lina, and the newly applied student, Lala.
A few days passed. Although I’d already known how talented Lala was as a mage, she had been exceptionally quick to master basic magecraft, and was now threatening to catch up to Tifa.
By all accounts, she was what I would call a natural genius.
At this time, Lina was eighteen, Tifa was fifteen, and Lala was twelve; all were still young and talented, so while I was their teacher, I couldn’t help but feel my face twitch from time to time. Why, oh why… why must such inequality exist in this world?
Feeling Lala’s momentum, Tifa and Lina pushed themselves to learn up to the Hexa Boundary, determined not to be outdone.
Tifa went to University during the day, then broke the dorm curfew to drop by the Pochisley Agency. I think I’d heard something about Ryan and the others working toward renting themselves a house, too – and that Tifa would graduate from her dorm life as soon as that was settled, but until then, she’ll have to live through the same sneaky-sneak routine I’d once done. Tifa had no problem doing that by herself, but she had been mumbling about how Tarawo might get both of them ratted out, so Lina had considered ways to offer them assistance.
Since Lina helping directly might lead to more arguments, she had recruited Anri and Claris to help with sneaking Tifa and Tarawo out. Thanks to that, Tifa had made herself two friends over the past few days.
Those two have been happy to help out too, so I couldn’t be more satisfied with how things played out.
Lina being Lina, she had been entirely focused on learning magecraft, and for that, had been completing her non-school work routine tasks at an exceptionally increased speed.
I had received the following comment from Irene: “What did you do to her? She’s been acting more and more like a Student Council President now”. Yes, that was the exact quote. I do wish for Lina to not end up with Warren’s personality, though.
Now, one would expect Lala – who didn’t attend University – to have learned the most magecraft so far, but that was not the case. The main reason was that she was so thorough with her farm work that she would never overlook even a single blade of unwanted grass.
Once she was done patrolling the fields and wrapped up her work for each day, she would always arrive at around the same time Tifa did. Naturally, Lina was always the one to arrive last, which was understandable since she had other obligations in addition to school work. Perhaps considerate of that fact, the other two would refuse to get started until Lina arrived.
To quote Lala, she wanted to “wait for Lina”.
To quote Tifa, she thought “it wouldn’t be fair”.
It seemed that Tifa was still the same as she had been, at least in one way or another.
As for me… since I was free during the daytime, at least for the time being, I had spent the past few days gathering and trading for materials, and also practiced the application methods of my arcane energy. All that, of course, had been for alchemy.
And now, as I proceeded to do the thing, strange smoke poured out of my room through the seams, and Itsuki repeatedly knocked on my door from the other side.
<”Sir Asley! Excuse me! There’s a lot of smoke so – ack, ack! Wha-what’s happening?! Sir Asley! I know you’re in there!”>
“…You heard her. So what now, Master?”
“Just be quiet. I’m getting to the good part here.”
“It’s been a while since I’ve last seen you like this, hasn’t it? So what are you mixing up today, sir?”
“I’m getting things ready for the Pochibitan D.”
“Like I said, the Pochibitan D!”
“Er, what’s that mean, sir?”
“Nothing! I thought it’d sound nice and uplifting, that’s all!”
“So you’re implying that my name sounds uplifting, sir?!”
“Ah, uh… shut up! Yeah, that’s right, you’re always noisy, so I thought about how you must be so full of energy! Yeah!”
“Ohh~~ I see, I see~~”
With Pochi cracking a grin to my side, I flipped the collar of my shirt in a vain attempt to feel some cool wind on my burning face.
Now was the precious time I needed to spend carefully in preparation for my journey to the so-called place of my beginning. It seemed that Pochi now understood my goal in one way or another. Not the actual contents of my research, of course, but rather the understanding that I wasn’t experimenting with or mixing up something strange.
“So what sorts of effects are you expecting from this Pochibitan D thing?”
“I’m glad you asked, Pochi! Listen well – this is a power restoration medicine that fully tops up your stamina!”
“Huh? Can’t that already be done with recovery magic, though?”
She didn’t quite get it just yet, so I added,
“No, it’s not a ‘recovery,’ but a literal power restoration. You know how humans, like me, sleep to recover our energy? I’ve made this medicine to get rid of the need for that. Works on you as well, of course.”
Pochi had passive energy recovery courtesy of the Familiar Contract, so that was fine and all, but I’d recently discovered that she could speed it up by sleeping.
Thinking inversely, a portion of her physical exhaustion could very well be derived from her mental exhaustion as well. Should have been obvious, really…
“So if you drink the thing, you’ll be able to keep working day and night without rest?”
“Isn’t that supposed to be impossible, though? It’ll put too much burden on your brain, for one. And the
side effects… well, I’m sure doing that will affect your physical health in some way.”
“Nope, not with this stuff.”
“I mean, look at me. Nothing wrong, right?”
I spread out my arms as if telling her to observe my body. Pochi, initially confused, gradually opened her mouth, transitioning to her usual angry state. I knew what was coming next, of course – so I promptly plugged my ears.
“AHHHHHH!! MASTER!! You tested it with yourself AGAIN?! Why do you always do that?! And here I am, always telling you how dangerous untested medicines are! For the love of God! Also, you’ve been using my belly as a pillow, haven’t you?!”
“Hahahahaha! Life is a series of challenges, Pochi-dawg!”
“Now you’re trying to trick me by saying something clever! Keep that up and I’ll get angry, sir!”
Aren’t you already, though?
Although Pochi was insistent with how livid she was now, in the end she always would sigh it off and let me do whatever. Perhaps knowing that – and getting used to that happening – was what made me more prone to making rash decisions. I’d known that I shouldn’t, but I’d gone and done it anyway.
Hmm, it felt as if I was more likely to do things I was told not to. I see, I see… humans sure are interesting. Better write that down in the Principles of a Philosopher here…
Oh, there it is – Pochi just heaved a sigh.
“I swear, you’re always such a handful… So how did you pull this off, sir?”
“See, a human’s stamina… saying ‘life force’ would probably make it easier to understand this concept, I guess. So… you know how life force and arcane energy are numerically quantified?”
“You mean HP and MP, sir? I think you used to say something about it being a mechanism God built into mortal life when He created them?”
“Well, no way to know that for sure, is there? Anyways, back on topic – those numerical values actually match up with the degree of our fatigue. “
“And how do you know that?”
“See, at first I tried thinking up lots of formulas to see if the restoration could be done with magic, but none of them worked out well. Then I had the idea to change the approach to injecting the power restoration magic into my body first, THEN invoke it. Here, take this bottle – still tightly shut, right?”
Once Pochi received the bottle that I’d passed to her, she nudged it with her paw to make sure.
“Yes, it is. Why?”
“When it’s open, the spell in the liquid will eventually be invoked with a time-based activation formula. If it’s inside you, then it’s going to take effect on your whole body, restoring your energy. If it’s not, then it’s only going to work on external wounds. That’s pretty much it.”
“Huh~~ Looks like you’ve made another impressive thing, sir… And… I can see that you’ve already mass produced it. What about the effect time?”
“Hard to say. It’s not like it gives you unlimited energy for a period of time, you see.”
“You get tired, you drink one. Full power. Get tired again, drink another. Full power… Yeah.”
“Ahh, so the effect is one-off?”
“Exactly! I can make as much as I want as long as I have the ingredients, but without them, it’s back to good old sleeping.”
“Doesn’t make it any less amazing, sir. Okay, last question… what are the ingredients?”
“Mostly fruit extract – it’s important that there’s no pulp. And preferably the kinds that get absorbed into your body easily. The important part of it is the magic inside the liquid, you see.”
“Is that… even considered ‘alchemy,’ sir?”
As I was about to show my uncertainty to that last question, the other side of the door got a lot noisier.
Looks like Tzar and Betty were now here, too.
<””Sir Asley, if this goes on, the crops will be ruined. You must do something about the smoke. Immediately.””>
<”Damn it, Asley! At first I thought you were just playing around, but this might actually hurt the kids downstairs, you know! You better fix this!”>
“…You heard them, Master?”
“Ngh – looks like I’ve still got a lot of things left to do.”
“How’d you even make fruit juice spew out that smoke in the first place, sir?”
“Uh, well, the smoke was just for show. You know, to set the mood.”
Afterward, I caught wind of Pochi going around talking smack about me behind my back.
As for what she’d been saying-
“I swear, he’s such a fool! An Eternal Fool, I say!”
Well, just the usual stuff.