~~Nine O’clock in the Morning, Nineteenth Day of the Sixth Month, Hundred and Twentieth Year of the Sacred Calendar~~
Since we would be leaving for the north tomorrow, Pochi and I had gone to collect our payment today; now we were walking around town with a gigantic leather bag filled to the brim with Gold coins, our eyes sparkling.
“Two-hundred-thousand! Two-hundred-thousand Gold, Master! Oh, the things we can buy!”
“Hehehehe… well, slow down, Shiro. First things first, we have to get ready for tomorrow.”
To prepare for our departure, today’s magic lessons had been canceled.
And since June herself is taking over my bodyguard duties for the day, we also got the day off.
Still… I had never expected to be paid a whopping two-hundred thousand. Perhaps the amount included my compensation for teaching young Ferris as well.
With that in consideration, I suppose this was a fair amount of reward.
“Hmm, the Spell Circle is a bit special, you see, so I’ll need a variety of materials…”
“Do you have a list, sir?”
“Mainly eyeballs. I’ve got a pair of Chimera eyes from back when I helped Reid take one down, and then a few other kinds over the past few years…”
“Eyes… could they be for another appraisal spell, sir?”
“This time it’s a little bit different. Should be more fitting to call it an analysis spell, I guess?”
“An analysis spell… you’re not thinking about using it to do weird stuff, right, Master?”
Pochi asked me, her eyes narrowed with doubt.
For the love of God… when will this Familiar ever understand that I don’t have ‘that kind’ of hobby?
I look back at her, narrowing my eyes in the same manner. With that, Pochi curbed her jokes and proceeded to ask,
“So, which monsters’ eyes do you want, sir?”
“Doesn’t have to be anything specific. I do want them to be from Rank S monsters, though… I wonder if they’re sold anywhere?”
“For now, we can only check out the shops that might have them, then.”
As we continued talking, we stumbled upon an alchemy-focused shop in the outskirts of town, a rare sight in this era. There, we obtained an eyeball of a Kiryu Dragonling, a monster that would be Rank SS if fully grown. It cost us a hundred-thousand.
It was the only one they had, so I couldn’t haggle, but its actual market value was supposed to be a few ten-thousand Gold cheaper.
Still, though, its quality was equal to that of an S-ranked material, so I could definitely live with that deal.
After that, we had lunch, stopped for Pochi’s afternoon snack, then bought my dinner and Pochi’s late-night snack before returning to the mansion.
Me technically being on break from my job meant that no meals were provided, after all.
It was half-past-four by the time we were back; the sun was about to set.
“Well well, I sure am looking forward to tonight, sir!”
What we were carrying may look like a week’s worth of shopping, but… it’d probably be gone in a day or two. Yeah.
Pochi held two bags in her front paws, walking skillfully only on two legs; her eyes drooped down so much that I thought they might end up sticking to her cheeks.
She’s looking quite happy.
After passing through the garden, just when I was about to part ways with Pochi for a whole five minutes, we heard a commotion coming from the door.
While we were startled, wondering what was going on, a woman rushed at us, with her face pale.
“Lady June…? Is-“
‘Is something the matter?’ – was something I had wanted to say, but before I could, June grabbed me by the shoulders. With her tremendously strong grip. I felt like I might start bleeding…
“Bright is gone, Master Poer! Have you seen him anywhere?!”
Now she’s shaking me – I’m getting dizzy…
Now, I’d like to first ask for her forgiveness for taking too long to process her statement.
Okay, so this was probably related to the unsettling stare I had felt at the door on the day of June’s return.
Were they – whoever they were – taking advantage of the opening caused by the personnel changes during June’s return, or had they seen a different opportunity…?
Pochi made her first move before I could process the whole thing.
“My snack time…”
Pochi dropped to her hind knees and covered her face, looking quite sad – but now’s not the time to deal with her.
I threw all of our stuff into the Storeroom, and then grabbed Pochi’s tail when she tried to jump in after her snack, throwing her out.
You just had lunch, damn it!
“We’ll look for him! Please wait here, milady!”
“No! I will go, too!”
“Lady Ferris must still be here in the mansion – You being absent now might play into the enemy’s plan!”
“You mean to say that someone has taken my brother?”
“The most I know now is that I had felt a strange presence back when you returned yesterday. It would be nice if it was just me being paranoid about it, though…”
“Ugh… all right, I’m counting on you…”
June said, sounding quite frustrated as she bit her lower lip.
“Shiro, no need to gigantify! Follow Master Bright’s scent!”
Although my instruction was already simple, Pochi knew what she had to do before I even said all of it.
The fact that she had started running immediately was the definitive proof of that. She knows me so well, after all.
“Straight north on this road!”
“That’s the north-east gate – let’s hurry!”
I started running at the same time as Pochi did, and on the way casting the All Up spell.
Since we had leveled up by the dozens in one go, we were practically an intense gust of wind to the pedestrians at the speed we were going.
I was quite surprised by my speed, and more so by how well my body adjusted to it. We’ll have to bring the Limit Breakthrough back to our time by any means necessary…
…No, now’s not the time to think about that.
I shook my head, getting that thought out of my mind. At the same time, Pochi slowed down… and then stopped.
“The smell cuts off here, sir.”
I looked around but saw nothing of note.
Just an empty back alley – no one’s here.
Pochi went sniffing the ground around the area, until she came to a stop at one section of the outer wall.
“…We’re going up?”
“They jumped to the other side while holding a child… the kidnapper must be quite strong, sir!”
Pochi gigantified; I hopped on.
Right when I was on her back, Pochi leaped right over the wall, landing softly outside of the town’s perimeter.
“We’re getting close! North-east from here!”
“All right, go!”
Pochi turned in the aforementioned direction, and I navigated her on the way.
Her dash was so intense that each step left prominent footprints on the ground. I was forced to half-close my eyes a few seconds in.
“-Wait, how far are they?!”
“About a kilometer! I can get there in two minutes!”
Looks like they’re going slower than Pochi is – good.
Now that I knew that, I concentrated on my hands and eyes so that I would be able to invoke spells at any moment.
The fact that young Bright had been kidnapped meant that he still hasn’t been killed.
He had more value to him alive than killed off outright… most likely as a hostage. Perhaps they were planning to demand the Fulbright household to do their bidding.
Considering how much June doted on her brother, it would likely yield extremely favorable results, too.
It was so simple, albeit equally as risky, to manipulate an influential noble household.
“There! It’s a carriage!”
Not being drawn by a horse, though, but something far more powerful.
“Go around it!”
Pochi leaped in a semi-circle, landing in front of the carriage. The vehicle came to a stop with a subdued squeaking of its wheels.
“A Kaiser Dyno?!”
The creature, a small Dragon-type monster, classified as Rank S, with a ferocious nature. Its kind was so powerful that they were uncontrollable as Familiars unless the contract was forged the moment they were born.
Their physical characteristics included large heads and short arms. I had heard that they could achieve high speeds once they got into a rush, and upon seeing this particular one’s legs, I was inclined to agree.
The surface of its body was covered in red and green spots. From its appearance, the Dyno should be resistant to fire spells.
Yes, this was the creature that had been drawing the carriage. No coachman, though, so I could only assume that this monster was a Familiar.
One wouldn’t need to ride on a Familiar to control them, after all.
“Step aside, kid.”
A deep human-like voice… Yup, that’s a Familiar.
“I know that you have Bright, our employer! Return him to us!”
“Hmph, I don’t know what you’re talking about, dog.”
Bah, a classic blatant lie…
I’m actually sensing Bright’s arcane energy inside the carriage.
“Could you please bring out the people inside the carriage car, then?”
I sensed three people within the carriage. One was young Bright, one was an individual with powerful arcane energy…
…And the third one’s arcane energy was only slightly more powerful than Bright’s.
It makes me wonder… why would they bring along an accomplice at that level to such a dangerous job?
The carriage doors creaked open. I readied myself for a surprise attack from both sides… but that ended up being unnecessary.
A slender, pale leg emerged from the left door – it was a girl with green hair. Unlike Lala’s emerald green, hers was lush like a forest.
I would assume that she was the one with the weaker arcane energy. She was holding an unconscious Bright in her arms. As for her age… she looked to be thirteen or fourteen, the same as Lina when I had first met her.
Her face was sharp, and so was her mouth, giving off a similar impression to Fuyu.
From the right door, on the other hand, emerged a pair of light tan… fleshly… legs. A woman – light purple hair, red eyes, well-groomed face, plump lips.
She wore a revealing robe, exposing her shoulders and emphasizing her cleavage.
She was no Catherine of the Six Braves, but Pochi probably would still get angry if I stared too much…
In all seriousness… it was three of them against the two of us. We were at a disadvantage here, especially with them holding young Bright hostage.
“Oh, my… the boy is quite a looker, don’t you think?”
The light-tan woman said… with quite a coquettish voice. If Bruce was here, he would probably be all over her.
“I don’t know.”
The girl answered, her voice barely audible from here.
“Master, your orders.”
The Kaiser Dyno asked the girl… meaning it was that girl’s Familiar. Hmm…
“What should we do, Teacher?”
“Hmm… you ought to stay out of this. Dīnō and I will take care of them.”
Dīnō… So that’s the Kaiser Dyno’s name.
The woman approached Dīnō and dexterously removed its harness.
“If they know that we mustn’t kill the boy, we’ll have to chase them away… Hey, you – what’s your name?”
She wasn’t talking about you, doggo.
“Poer. My name is Poer.”
“Hmm~~ nice name. I’m Chiquiata… and the kid is Myans. Let us have some fun, hmm, Poer?”
Well, she’s sounding pretty carefree, greeting me like that.
Although I did just introduce myself, I’ll have to be careful to not say anything unnecessary.
“Hmph… I’ll crush you!”
“Ooh noes, sho scawwy!”
Pochi seemed undaunted by Dīnō’s presence and intimidation.
Okay, I’ll take on Chiquiata, and have her deal with Dīnō… Should be a solid plan, right?
…Hey, don’t give me that disgusted look, doggo.