Okay, who thinks it’s such a good idea to call me when I’m busy?
Let’s check their arcane energy signature… huh? Polco? Why?
[“There’s been an emergency, young Poer.”]
[“Ah, yes, very nice… Wait. What is this about, sir?”]
Polco knows that I’m in Sodom, so he wouldn’t even think of calling me under normal circumstances.
Just that fact is enough to convey to me the intended meaning of his words.
[“Now listen carefully, and try not to be surprised…”]
Hmm… I have a feeling that this is gonna be something super devastating…
Nah, on second thought, he’s probably gonna say that he won first prize in a 1-in-8192 raffle or something.
[“The thing is… Ferris and-“]
[“-Hold it right there, sir.”]
[“What is it? You do realize that this situation requires utmost urgency, yes?”]
[“Since there’s an ‘and,’ might I be correct to assume that this involves ‘Master Bright and Chappie’ as well?”]
Oh, he’s laughing, so this shouldn’t be that big of a-
[“You are right, young Poer! The three of them have together taken flight – literally – to the open skies of Brunnera!”]
-NOPE, IT’S A BIG FREAKING DEAL!!
Okay, makes sense that he’d call the situation an emergency… while sounding wholly unconcerned. Damn it!
[“Yes, very good insight, as expected of a God-certified Holy Warrior! Very good insight indeed. Hehehehe… Now I am without a worry in my mind.”]
[“Without a worry, my ass! House Adam’s daughter – YOUR daughter – just ran away from home! Please take this at least a little more seriously, sir!”]
[“Have you heard of the old saying ‘let the young birds leave their nest’? I most definitely wish the best for my child, you see? It’s not as if I’ve been spoiling her and expect no results from her endeavors, yes?”]
[“Okay, Master Polco, let’s say you’re fine with this… but what about Lady June?”]
I mean, she loves Bright at least twice as much as everything else in the world! Surely she’s distraught as all hell right now.
[“See, that’s why I wanted you to hear about this…”]
Why? Is he about to say that SHE was calm as well?
Or did something else happen?
[“Naturally, it was Lady June who informed me of the children’s departure from Brunnera. See, she used the Teleportation Spell Circle to head over to Kugg Village… and to my surprise, she was perfectly calm.”]
June was… actually calm? THE June?
[“It may be because she’s going through a difficult time…”]
A difficult time…?
[“Well, it is something that has been long decided, and not meant to be talked about now. Please forget what you just heard.”]
[“The way you said it made me quite curious, though…”]
[“Hahahaha… Just think of it as an occasional ‘trolling’ between friends.”]
Bah, he’s not a convenient friend to have, that’s for sure.
And this is the same guy who cried with pure joy that time he came home with all that Gold from the Empress’ abandoned hidden stash…
[“All right, sir, moving on… What did Lady June tell you?”]
[“Just three words: ‘They have gone…’ Nothing else.”]
…I wonder what she felt when she said that.
Surely a myriad of emotions and thoughts went through her mind at the time.
Up until now, June’s been doing nothing but dote on Bright whenever they were together… well, except that one time she punched him, but that was serious. In this case, I can’t exactly tell if she’s in shock of losing him so completely so suddenly, or if she’s finally come to terms with how pressuring her affection had been on her family.
Really, I don’t know what she’s feeling deep inside. It’s frustrating, but it’s not like I can do anything about that either way – it’s a part of the history of where I came from, after all. I’m not exactly meant to change anything.
I mean, I’m not even in Brunnera right now. Why? Because I’m busting my ass here in Sodom, trying to defeat the Devil King.
All I can do about that is to… detach my feelings and let things play out.
[“…I’ll send them back home if I run into them, sir. Please tell that to Lady June as well. Oh, wait, I can do that myself-“]
[“-No, I’ll pass the message over to her. You just focus on what you’re doing over there – I reckon you’re already quite busy.”]
Polco said, interrupting me.
He’s right, though – I’m busy. Surely he didn’t actually want to call me at this time if he didn’t need to, either.
The fact that he decided to call me suggests that he hasn’t been able to contact the three kids, and that he hasn’t heard from them either.
Man, those kids… they’re in for another lecture once I find them.
They may have physically grown up a bit, but it looks like they haven’t changed much on the inside.
And now I wonder… are Bright and Ferris being a bad influence on Chappie?
It’s been commonly said that children grow up fast, sure, but seeing him causing trouble like this, I do feel at least partially responsible.
[“…Thank you, sir. Now I’ll excuse myself – oh, and please give Lady June my regards.”]
[“Of course. I pray for your success, young Poer.”]
Polco hung up his side of the Telepathic Call.
Immediately, Pochi, who was crawling ahead of me, turned around to glare at me.
[“Master, focus… If we’re detected, we’ll be in big trouble…”]
She proceeded to scold me, while keeping her voice down despite us talking through a Telepathic Call.
Right, I am- well, WE ARE in the middle of an extremely difficult trek.
And there’s a reason why we’re crawling on our way despite the terrain, and despite it ruining my mantle and clothes.
We mustn’t make a sound. We mustn’t let your presence be detected. We especially mustn’t run in the face of this… extreme threat.
So far, we’ve gone west, headed down into the ravine, gone eastward through the mountains, and entered what must have been a naturally-occurring cave… Above us right now is a nest of the threat in question – sleeping ancient monsters, Hydras, in numbers so great that they could cover all over us in an instant.
Yes, we’re already using Invisible Illusion, but there are reasons for us to be THIS careful.
One: The average level of Hydras is over 200.
Two: There are about twenty of them.
Even me and Pochi, possessing the powers of a Holy Warrior and a Heavenly Beast respectively, we can’t just take on that many Hydras all at once, especially because of their regenerative abilities… I mean, we MIGHT win, but it’s going to be difficult as all hell.
Damn it… I’m willing to bet that Garm knew about this before sending us here.
…Which is probably fair. Hydras are weak to fire – I have my magic, and Pochi has her breath attacks.
He could have at least told us about this, though…
If we knew, we could have made some preparations to… bah, who am I kidding? There’s nothing that would have prepared us for THIS!
So all in all, he must’ve thought it’d be best to have us just charge in. Okay, that old man’s got some 4D chess moves going on in his head.
And is it just me, or is Pochi is moving, wriggling and with her butt shaking, in the… wrong direction?
Well, I mean, it IS just me. There are no other people around here.
[“Pochi… Isn’t that the wrong way?”]
[“No, sir, my nose is telling me that this is where we must go! There’s no need to worry, because my senses are absolutely eggcellent!”]
Eggcellent… so with an easily broken exterior, and even more easily broken insides?
Was it a mistake to let her go in front of me in the first place?
[“…Wait a second, Pochi? When’d you even get your sense of smell back?”]
[“My sense of smell when it comes to food never changes, sir! NEVER! Mm-hmhm… hmm?!”]
…She’s talking about food?
So considering that, and how she just made a food pun… it means she’s following the smell of food right now?
Wait a second… I think there’s supposed to be a monster around here that emits delicious smells to lure in prey…
[“Hey, wait up, Pochi! Don’t go too far ahead!”]
[“Ooh! Check this out, Master! The fruits on this plant look soooooo delicious!”]
SHIT, THERE IT IS!
…And it sounds happy, as if it has found some food at last.
This here is the only SS-ranked monster of the Plant archetype – the Doom Fragrance.
It doesn’t pose any threat as long as one doesn’t get too close to it, but there’s a reason it’s been classified with the rank of SS since the ancient times.
Everything in the range of its tendrils – even monsters of the same rank – would become its prey, and wouldn’t be able to do anything but accept their fate…
And now, its tendrils are…
“AHH! Help me, Master!”
“Shaddup! This isn’t the time for that!”
“Since when did you become so heartless, sir?!”
“That’s not it! I NEED HELP OVER HERE, TOO!”
Pochi, held in the air behind me by tendrils, turned to look at where I was starting at.
“Oh, my screaming… woke up the Hydras? Oops♪”
Stop trying to sound cute, dammit.
“We’re both toast.”
“”…OH MY GOD!!””