“Master! Where did the stick-drum go?!”
I believe she was referring to one of the toys I had bought back at T’oued. The pellet drum, I think it was called?
Huh? I’m pretty sure it was right over here just a moment ago… Oh.
“Leole’s got it!”
“All right, Leole! May I borrow that, please?”
“Please! We’re using it to play with Chappie!”
“That’s right, that’s right! That’s the little bird over there!”
Pochi rubbed her paws together… kind of like a worshipping gesture.
Although her humbleness was quite a bit exaggerated, she was dealing with the future Holy Emperor here, so I suppose that was only reasonable.
Yes – Leole, as in Leon; we had decided to call him that to hide his identity.
“Thank you! My Master will repay the favor someday, I promise!”
The success rate of her… negotiations were only about half-half, but it was a baby she was dealing with – one could probably say that Pochi was highly capable in this regard.
She did have quite a lot of training and experience dealing with kids back at the Pochisley Agency, after all.
“Hey, Shiro! Make sure to give that back to him later!”
“And stop imitating Leole! You don’t look anywhere as cute as him when you do that, just saying!”
“Oh, you just have no idea how charming I am, Master!”
“Look, stop messing around! I’m busy here!”
Right, busy. It was about time to change Leon’s diaper… so I proceeded to do just that.
“GYAHHH?! Why didn’t you tell me you were going to do that, sir?! You HAVE to tell me before taking his diapers off!”
Pochi promptly covered her eyes with her front paws.
“What are you so embarrassed about?! He’s just a baby! Besides, you shouldn’t be leaving Chappie alone for too long! You’re his mom, for God’s sake!”
“What?! And you’re his dad! You should be helping me take care of him! Right, Chappie? Here, check out this stick-drum! Clack-clack-clack!”
She’s quite quick to change her tone… probably thanks to the Heavenly Beast aura – well, no, that’s just the same old Pochi.
Never had I expected a peacock to turn out to be a Violet Phoenix, though.
After its hatching, I had tried to figure out why the peacock was a Heavenly Beast, but never arrived at an answer until I had fallen asleep.
Yes, until I had fallen asleep – that was when the reason became clear to me.
Thanks to the only source of information that I could draw from in my sleep.
[Hoh hoh hoh. We see that you are faring well in this era, hmm?]
[There you are, you silly old fool!]
[We’ve been wanting to see you, sir mailman!]
That was quite a rude thing to call him, even with a ‘sir’ attached.
[You two do not like Us very much, do you?]
[Oh, you bet! Why send us to this dangerous time period?! Is this even necessary?!]
[That’s right! No tea for you today, sir!]
[No cushions, either!]
Gramps had probably anticipated that, what with him talking to us from a slightly higher elevation.
This makes it seem like he’s looking down on us, though… Damn it.
Huh? …Or is he floating?
[There We go.]
Impossible… He’s sitting in the AIR?!
Even in a dream, there was a limit to how much one could materialize their imagination.
That action of his far exceeded that, and he made it look so easy, too… Did he use a magic spell?
[I’ll sit, too!]
Pochi shouted; it seemed that she wasn’t aware as to what was wrong here. Wait, could it be…?!
The Divine Messenger – he looked at us… and for a brief moment, smirked.
Yes, I’m pretty sure he did. For a second, I could vaguely see his mouth. This means his face, shrouded in pure darkness… that’s also magic!
Damn it, this Messenger… He’s got quite a twisted personality, throwing around hints this way.
[…Now then, what is it that you would like to discuss? Oh, here is an idea – We will answer three of any questions you might have. How does that sound?]
[What is the most delicious food in this era, sir?!]
[To the far south, the land in which God and the Devilkin once waged war, there exists the Mythic Fruit. It is quite fascinating indeed, and there is no end to the number of people who seek it out. It is even said that those who eat it will be able to meet God in heaven – though that is but a myth. And that makes one question.]
[Thank you, sir!]
Damn this stupid dog!!
[YOU FREAKING IDIOT!!]
[Yeowch?! What are you doing?! Do that again and I won’t share any of the fruit with you, all right?!]
[Who the hell cares about that?! We had three questions – THREE! We never know when we’ll see Gramps again! And you just freaking wasted one on some asinine nonsense! Are you even taking this seriously?!]
[It’s not nonsense! The pursuit of the ultimate taste is number two on my overall priority list, sir!]
[So what’s the most important thing, huh?!]
[Your safety, what else?! Ah-?!]
[DAMN IT! I’M SO HAPPY! YOU LITTLE SHIT!]
[Mmmph-! Hmm! Mmmph!]
Okay, I know she’s embarrassed, but what made her think it’s a good idea to try and talk with her mouth blocked?
I have a good guess on what she’s saying, though – [Oh, you’re very welcome!] – that’s probably it.
At any rate, let’s just leave her alone for a while – that’s the quickest way to stop her. Can’t advance the discussion without her shutting up, after all.
So now that we have two questions left… I must consider how the type of question we ask will change the amount of information we get out of him.
Yeah, I’ll have to think this through carefully.
[…So, have I – no, have we not been doing the right thing?]
[Oh? That is quite a surprise. We were expecting something more… surface-leveled.]
[Answer the question.]
Gramps pondered it over, putting his hand up to his chin – or where it should be in that shrouding void.
[First things first: while this is your past, you two are the ones who will shape the future. What have kept you alive thus far are your will-power and effort, and above all, conviction – belief that you will pull through despite the adversaries of this era and how your path crosses with that of the Holy Warriors. The successful implementation of the Archetype Changer for Pochi, the Experience multiplier, and above all, the extermination of the Lord Dragons – those are all impressive results. However…]
[The case with the Holy Emperor was… beyond Our expectations. Other than that one point, We reckon it is safe to say that things are going as planned.]
What’s happening with Leon is… beyond their expectations?
This Messenger of the omniscient God is missing information… this is quite surprising.
[That makes two. Now then, what is your last question?]
[Oh, I know just what to ask! What’s the deal with that egg?! My Master said it was just a giant peacock egg, but that can’t be right!]
And so Pochi opened her mouth unnecessarily once again, wasting the question.
Well, that’s fine, I guess. I’ve already heard enough of what I wanted, and I’ll admit that I’ve been curious, too.
[Yes, that is an illogical occurrence, no matter how one tries to justify it. It would be perfectly normal if it already was a Violet Phoenix egg… But not so since a mutation had occurred during the creature’s birth.]
Soooo… he was suggesting the possibility that, at least in this past, there was to be no other Shi’shichou in existence.
But then, if the existence of the Shi’shichou was triggered by our coming from the future, then what about the Shi’shichou we’ve met before coming here?
Damn it, I can’t even tell what’s going on anymore!
[Hmm…… The short version of it is that it was caused by Pochi’s arcane energy.]
[So the creature’s accelerated growth and change of archetype were triggered by Pochi – or more specifically the Shi’shichou arcane energy she possesses – staying close to the egg for long enough… is that it?]
The Divine Messenger nodded lightly, agreeing to my statement.
[And that covers all three questions – is what We would like to say, but We do not think that last one should count.]
[I appreciate that.]
[You must be curious about how its existence began, are you not, Asley?]
[I sure am. It seemed that the Shi’shichou we met already knew about us. Could it be that the little bird is-]
As I said up to that much, Gramps lightly raised his hands, cutting me off.
[You will find out the answer soon enough.]
[What the-! I thought you said that the third question didn’t count! You old liar!]
[My Master won’t let you have your dinner if he were to catch you lying, sir!]
[We said you would find out in time – what more could you want?]
Damn this Gramps… always saying the technical truth.
Why did God employ this guy, of all the… entities He could have chosen? Did He have ‘an unpleasant personality’ as one of His hiring criteria?
Still, time will tell, huh… We do have plenty of that to go around.
We’re still five thousand or so years away from the Devil King’s resurrection – the one in our time, not the past.
With that consideration in mind, I calmed myself down. The Divine Messenger ‘smiled’ at me again.
[And that is that; that third answer was satisfactory, was it not?]
[I’ll have my payback someday, old man…]
[But one last thing – regarding the Experience-multiplying Artifacts…]
[…I have a bad feeling about this.]
[Hoh hoh hoh… It seems that your intuition has improved as well. And indeed – those Artifacts of yours are weakening God’s power in this era. As such, We shall make it so that the multiplication stays in a reasonable number.]
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
…Well, it IS an underhanded thing to do, overwriting the amount of information God derives from his power to the mortal realm like that. Guess I can’t complain here.
I heaved a deep sigh. Gramps, seeing that, ‘smiled’ at me one last time before fading away.
[I’ll remember this, damn it…]
[So will I, sir!]
Since then, the effect of the XP-Boosters has been drastically reduced.
Though they did not lose their power completely, its multiplier had been reduced from a hundred to a three; that loss hurt quite a bit, actually.
“No, that’s not it! Woof!”
You can’t force the nature of avians, former wolf-dog.
Seriously, doing that won’t change anything, no matter how many times she repeats it…
“Chirp! I mean – woof!”
Welp, I was wrong.
Seeing Pochi turn away in embarrassment, Leon chuckled.
Looking up through the window at the clear, blinding-bright sky, I heave a sigh, clouding up the flawless glass.
Teaching magic, taking care of children, and managing my own studies… And right after this, I’ve got to…
“It’s time we departed, Sir Instructor. Preparations are complete – we are now ready to combat Goku’ryu the Hell Emperor.”
…Yeah, we’ve got busy days ahead of us.