That’s right… War Demon Emperor Sagan. Without meeting him, I probably won’t be able to go home.
Irene looks up to that very Sagan, and probably won’t change her mind easily because of the guy’s emphasis on the strength of warriors.
I see, I see. And if one were to wonder how Sagan’s son, future War Demon Emperor Vaas, is able to use magecraft… It’s probably because I’ll be teaching him.
Everything’s all coming together.
That would explain how magecraft still exists in some capacity in this era, despite the Elves — now called Dark Elves — not being anywhere around to teach them.
But why did I meet Irene HERE first?
We just met, but we’re already hunting monsters together. Considering how I taught her a bit of the basics, she should at least remember a bit of this encounter, right?
Or is the sole reason for our meeting… to let me know that War Demon Emperor Sagan exists?
……I can’t figure this out. One reason just calls for another reason to make sense of it — this whole thing is one deep rabbit hole.
It wouldn’t help to think about it while mentally exhausted… Now wait a second. Mentally exhausted…?
“What is it, Master?”
Pochi asked, noticing my reaction.
“After defeating the Devil King, we haven’t gotten even a wink of rest… Isn’t that right, doggo?”
“What!? T-that’s right, sir! According to my calculations… I’ve skipped about twenty meals already!”
I don’t know what calculations she just did, but my wallet definitely appreciated that.
But this is Pochi I’m talking about — skipping meals is only delaying the inevitable, since she’ll eventually eat extra to make it all up anyway.
“Hey, don’t just stand there and chat! We have two more Zombies to kill!”
No matter how far ahead or back I go in time, Irene’s still gonna be Irene, huh?
Maybe I should just spoon-feed all the knowledge she needs.
This is a dangerous era we’re in, after all. It probably won’t hurt to just handhold her through the whole process.
“Irene, do you know what a Zombie’s weak points are?”
“I don’t! Hurry and tell me!”
She’s not doing anything wrong, so to speak, but as a teacher, it kinda hurts that my actual intentions aren’t getting through to her.
“Zombies typically have a sense of sight still… but this particular one’s left eye is visibly damaged.”
“So I should attack from the right!”
She’s got good intuition, as expected from someone who’s Six Archmages material, I suppose.
Or is it the guidance she’s getting now, in her early days, that’s effectively building up her foundations?
She’s sufficiently aggressive and is able to cover for her own shortcomings.
That’s a different set of talents setting her apart from Bright and Ferris.
“Good work. You’ve completed the Zombie hunt.”
“Now we just have to report to the Adventurers’ Guild!”
Irene groaned arrogantly, while also happily pumping up both her fists.
Okay, I think her cuteness factor is greater here than the future version of her. Turning over eighty years old is bound to do that to a girl, I suppose.
And really, it’s unbelievable how little she’ll change after so long. She’ll have the Arcane Energy Circulation Optimizer, sure, but her youthfulness is quite well-retained — is it because of her personality and perspective on the world?
As interesting as it’d be to research further, I’ve got to prioritize what’s happening right now… I guess.
“Why am I not promoted to Rank E!? No, scratch that — since I completed that hunt so quickly, it should’ve gotten me all the way up to Rank B! Isn’t that right!?”
“Uh… sorry, no, that’s not how it works.”
Back at the Guild, the receptionist looked at me, seeming quite troubled.
No, I’m NOT her guardian. Please don’t look at me like that.
Still, Rank B, huh…
I think I have a funny idea worth trying.
“Excuse me. I’d like to accept this quest, please.”
I handed a request form to another Guild staff.
“Understood, sir… Wow, a Rank S adventurer! That’s wonderful! This is the first time I’ve seen one visiting Beilanea.”
“Hahaha, thank you.”
“Good luck, sir!”
“Thank you! Come on, Irene! Let’s go!”
“Ah– huh, what the–!? Wait!”
Grabbing Irene along with one hand, I exited the Adventurers’ Guild.
Her reckless character can be an effective weapon, but also entails a great deal of danger.
It’s better to have her taste some fear early into the game.
“Hey! Didn’t you see that I was busy!? You can’t just cut me off like that!”
Now, time to manipulate the script a bit…
I deliberately dropped by Drynium Rod, and at the same time, the request form.
As I bent down to pick up the Drynium Rod, Irene looked at the ground. The request form must have entered her sights… but did she notice it?
All right, she picked it up.
“Hmm? What’s that quest you just accepted, Irene?”
My totally perfect acting caused Pochi to burst out laughing, and Irene to crack a confident grin.
Okay, I DID think my acting was perfect, but seeing her reaction, did I fail after all?
“Hmm! It’s a Rank B!”
She said and held forward MY request form… which was what I’d intended to make happen.
Now to play the jester and go with the flow.
“From Rank F straight to Rank B! Very impressive, Irene!”
At this point, Pochi seemed to notice what I was trying to do.
She shot me a look implying that she’ll be playing along.
“Wowww! Miss Irene, you’re sooo awesomeee!”
Man, she sucks at acting — so much so that I was about to laugh.
“So, what kind of monster are you hunting next?”
Irene seemed confused for a moment before turning to stare at the request form.
She’s so child-like that I almost feel like letting her get away with her shenanigans. ALMOST. With that said, I DO feel the want to ensure that her future turns out all right, as any decent parent would wish for their children.
Speaking of children… is Chappie doing all right?
I would’ve liked to meet him one last time after taking down the Devil King…
“A Green… DRAGON!?”
She’s surprised as all hell.
I grinned at Irene, and Pochi jogged over to me.
“Wait a second, Master! Now Miss Irene isn’t responding at all!”
Pochi whispered, panicking.
“It’s fine, it’s fine. What’s most important is that she learns by herself the difference between bravery and recklessness — because that can’t exactly be taught by spoon-feeding her.”
“But this is… way too dangerous, don’t you think?”
“With the help of Pochi, the Heavenly Beast who faced off against Devil King Lucifer–“
“–There’s nothing to worry about!”
Always quick to interrupt, this doggo.
Well, she’s not exactly as strong as me, but MAYBE she’s close enough, so there’s some weight to her claim.
Also, we haven’t gotten to eat anything yet… Gotta make sure to get a big payout and have a feast tonight.
“It’s a quadruped monster of the Land Dragon archetype that lives in forests. Easily identifiable traits include green scales and thick moss growing on its back. If you face it head-on, you’ll have to be careful of its fire breath attack.”
“It can BREATHE FIRE!?”
Man, it’s so fun seeing her be surprised by one thing after another.
Now I wonder if the Irene of my era is still like this.
I almost want the two versions of her to switch places… Hell, can I just yeet this version of her to the future?
Nope, not gonna happen — goes to show how merciless the flow of time is.
And speaking of time… it doesn’t seem like Grams is about to pop up anytime soon.
Now I’m suddenly reminded of my old studies… or should I say, research. So many intriguing topics, so much left unexplored and unresolved.
Hmm, maybe I should test things out with Pochi later.
Anyway, back to Irene. She’s… still not moving, just standing there, staring restlessly at the request form.
“All right! Let’s go kill that Green Dragon!”
Irene quickly but gently tapped Pochi’s back… which somehow startled the latter so much that she sprang up as high as her height.
Pochi’s unexpectedly sensitive reaction reminds me of the time when she wasn’t used to being a Familiar yet. Oh, so entertaining.
Irene proceeded to timidly walk on ahead, with me and Pochi following her.
“Looks like things are starting to get fun, yes, Master?”
“You can tell? Like, it’s pretty nostalgic, huh? I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.”
“You know, Master, whenever you make that face… I can’t help but feel that bad things are gonna happen.”
“That’s been the exact oppose lately, though.”
“Hah… well, maybe this will teach Miss Irene a lesson or two…”
Pochi heaved a sigh. I grinned and patted her head.
Man, her fur is fluffy.
“Do you think she’s going to be all right, sir…?”
“I’m counting on you to make her so, Heavenly Beast!”
“Oh, she’ll definitely make it through this just fine, sir!”
Dear my past cave-dwelling self…
I’m still having fun with my life, rest assured.