With Bathym taking its own life, the battle’s situation immediately shifted greatly in our favor.
Lylia started going on a rampage so hard that I thought she was actually the Devil King, and Pochi and Seki’teigyu got pretty aggressive too.
Giorno looks as chill as usual, fighting at his own leisurely pace.
Some monsters ran for their lives, and others stood their ground and challenged us head-on.
Sure, they’re technically the Devil King’s army, but at the end of the day, it’s just a gathering of monsters. Without a Devil like Bathym to lead them, they’re quite easy to get rid of… while staying sufficiently careful, of course.
Hahahaha, and look at Lylia go! She’s awesome! Isn’t that an Ogre King’s head I see her carrying?
So what’s she gonna… oh? It can do that too? Ah, she’s really squashing that SS-ranked MOTHER real good… and now she’s chopping it up? What’s she gonna do next, grind it up?
While taking occasional glances at our party’s… and by that I mean pretty much just Lylia’s rampage, I went around the battlefield and focused on supporting everyone.
Once the conflict was mostly resolved, I let out a sigh of relief.
By now, Pochi and I are already sitting down, looking at Lylia and Seki’teigyu do their thing.
“Those two sure are getting along well, aren’t they, sir?”
“You think? I guess they do have this natural affinity for each other…”
“Oh, now she’s riding the Ox.”
What the hell, now she looks as chaotic as a Demon.
“…Like an Ogre riding a raging bull.”
“I’d usually say that that was a nice joke, sir, but it’s more like a straight description of them…”
“Anyway, how’d the fight on your side go?”
I asked Pochi what I had been curious about for a while now.
“Hmm… at first I was nervous, but I must’ve gotten used to it along the way. It’s like… I’m full of energy, or something, sir.”
“What’s that mean?”
“I don’t know… maybe I’m getting good at using my Heavenly Beast powers?”
Pochi said as she stared down at her two front paws.
“So you’re saying you’ve mastered a good part of it in this fight?”
“Well, it didn’t happen when I fought against Seki’teigyu during the Familiar Chalice, that’s for sure… but fighting ALONGSIDE another Heavenly Beast, on the other hand, has helped me get a hang of a lot of things.”
“Is it that thing you said about ‘strength not tied to levels and numbers’ way back when we left the cave?”
“Close… It’s things like knowing when it’s safer to stay close to the enemy, to adjust the size of my gigantification, to hold my breath attacks for longer or shorter – I still have much to learn about those, sir.”
Seeing Pochi be serious for once, I couldn’t bring myself to say anything to her.
I’m probably overwhelmed by her determination – the determination to train even more after being my Familiar for more than 800 years.
Did my newly unlocked Holy Warrior powers cause a change within her mind? Or does she feel this way because of something else?
“By the way, Master…”
“What is it, Shiro?”
“Were you actually planning on sparing that Devil, sir? And then it just up and killed itself… Strange…”
Since Pochi noticed how Bathym’s end had played out, the others probably did as well.
“Well… It’s a Devil, so I KNEW that it’s humanity’s enemy, but… when I fought it, I was kinda having fun, you know?”
“Because you could dish out all your Holy Warrior powers, sir?”
Pochi tilted her head.
“No, it’s the opponent itself that was fun to fight… I guess. And probably because it was enjoying itself, too.”
“…I can tell that there’s something else going on here. It’s written all over your face, sir.”
Okay, she really knew just the perfect thing to ask me. Brilliant.
“Maybe it’s how it immediately acknowledged my abilities…”
“Aha~~ does that mean you’re meshing better with the Devilkin nowadays, sir?”
“That’s a bit of a stretch, don’t you think? It’s just a feeling on a broad sense, that’s all.”
“This Devil sounds like an interesting character, sir. Maybe I should have tried to talk to it, too…”
Pochi groaned up her nose.
…Oh, Giorno’s back. And he’s looking as fresh as ever. Nice, nice. A Hero’s gotta be cool like that.
Man, rather than the ‘Mage,’ I wanted to be the ‘Hero’ too.
“Looks like everything is going well.”
“We all did a great job, sir!”
“Sure did. But boy, this fight really took a lot out of me. I haven’t been this tired in a long time!”
Giorno stretched his back, then cracked his neck a few times.
I pulled out a vial of Pochibitan D from my shirt pocket and handed it to him.
“…You’re joking, right? Or are you really telling me to drink it?”
“Why don’t you try it? This ‘drool’ might not be something you think it is!”
“Why don’t you try it? My ‘drool’ might not be something you think it is!”
Damn it, doggo, now you’re just trying to confuse him at his point.
I sat back down and rested my arms on my knees, and looked at Giorno carefully pulling out the vial cork.
He took a little sniff, then swirled the vial around as if to bring out the content’s flavors.
Aha, he catches on pretty quickly.
“Well, it’s actually pretty tasty!”
Have you no shame, doggo?
…Then again, this is Pochi – she WAS happy when her stomach acid contributed to a powerful corrosion bomb. Compared to that, drool is quite a tame thing to use… not that it was actually used in this case.
“Hmm? …Well this is a surprise, Poer. I didn’t know you could make something like this…”
“I just picked it up from the ground.”
“Shiro’s drool, you mean?”
Welp, now he’s playing along.
Well, I guess this helps. Not like there’s a need to hide it, but I wouldn’t want it to be widely known to the public, either.
“…Now, I won’t talk about this to anyone, if you don’t want me to.”
And he’s super considerate, too. The ancient Holy Warriors sure are awesome.
Not that the Holy Warriors of my era are really a thing yet-
“Awesome! My drool! Is! Tasty!”
-but man, the Mage’s Familiar sure is lacking in that front. No tact at all.
Wait, did she just drink Pochibitan D? How’d she get her paws on one, anyway?
…Did she steal some of the vials that I got queued up in my production line?
Really? Casually stealing her Master’s stuff just like that?
…And where’d she take out that vial from? Was she keeping it tucked in her fur or what?
“Still, this turn of events was quite unexpected. It might look like every issue has been solved at once, but this will only bring bigger, scarier troubles down the line. Hahaha…”
Every issue… solved at once?
“What do you mean, Giorno?”
Pochi, seeming curious, immediately asked the exact same question I had in my mind.
“Just think about that Devil – that Apostle of Despair. Where do you think ‘he’ was working at originally?”
What? Was it not supposed to stay by the Devil King’s side?
“So when Lylia arrived at the Holy City – actually, more like when she got close to it – that Devil was already gone. The Mind’s Eye couldn’t find him.”
“Huh? …Gone from where?”
“From Regalia, obviously.”
Pochi and I tilted our heads in the same direction.
What’s up with Giorno now? What is he going on about?
“I thought you’d figure this out by now, Poer… I mean, you were quite involved in all this, right?”
We ended up tilting so far that we both fell over.
“…Looks like you two are having fun.”
Giorno looked at us with some concerning degree of pity.
“Uh, I don’t get what you’re talking about at all, really.”
“Please explain it in a way that I understand!”
For once, I agree with Pochi’s complaint.
Giorno scratched his head in annoyance and heaved a sigh.
“Who tried to kidnap the son of House Fulbright?”
“Who’s her employer?”
“Who tried to kidnap the daughter of House Adams?”
“Who’s his employer?”
“What’s the name of the girl who’s following Chiquiata, the Witch of the North, as her apprentice?”
“Why would a privileged child like her leave her parents and involve herself with plans that could get
herself charged with instigating a civil war?”
“To… help her parents?”
“No. She’s being manipulated.”
“S-so you’re saying that Myans was tricked by Bayes Douglas to do what she’s doing?”
“See, the girl herself is probably none the wiser, too. And Chiquiata… she’ll do just about any job if she’s paid enough.”
Uh, the wink you just did had some seriously disturbing undertones, Hero…
“And here’s the issue, Poer: Assuming that Bayes Douglas has already left this world, then what is the deal with the Bayes Douglas that’s been manipulating Myans?”
“Hint one: This mastermind comes in black…”
Mastermind in black, huh? Is he talking about Bright or what?
“Hint two: Its original body is gigantic, but it can transform into human form…”
“Wait a second…!”
C’mon, there’s no way…!
“Hint three: It has successfully transformed, but because a Mind’s Eye wielder like Lylia was on her way to Regalia, it was forced to leave the area.”
“You’ve got to be kidding…!”
But if THAT is true, then everything is as good as explained…!
“Biggest hint ever: ‘He’ was right here just now… and was fighting you…”
Bathym…! That big guy IS Bayes Douglas!