Defeating the Devil King was not the only legend the Holy Warrior Poer had left behind.
He had a son — a creature of a different race, fostered by him and his Familiar Shiro. The child respected them both as parents, and as individuals.
His name was Chappie. A Violet Phoenix who had lived through the most treacherous era of the Devil King’s birth.
“How what that!? The best ever, I say!”
Chappie shouted some more.
Not to anyone physically present here — Not to Billy in front of him. Not to Lina behind him, staring blankly with tears still in her eyes.
Still, he shouted.
Neither Billy nor Lina knew who he was talking to.
“You’re just a chicken! How about you stop playing hero already!?”
After all, while they heard the voice, the source was nowhere to be seen.
“What? Didn’t you just say that you wanted to give the justice execution speech next time, Ferris?”
“No, Chappie. She probably meant to say that, even if you’re not a hero of justice, you can still destroy evil.”
Then came another voice.
“Bright, to completely destroy evil, you NEED justice. That’s a given. How many times do I have to teach you that lesson?”
Chappie shook his head.
The people he was talking to were nowhere to be seen, but then Lina noticed that something was hanging from his neck.
“He… has one, too…?”
Lina looked at the Key Pendant in her hand — the one she had just used to invoke the Link Magic.
“Wait… maybe not?”
The object hanging from Chappie’s neck was slightly different.
Lina’s Key Pendant was just the pendant by itself. On the other hand, Chappie’s key pendant — which indeed looked like the one Lina had — was encased in a transparent blue crystal.
“Well, I’m not going to say anything anymore…”
“Yeah, not like he ever listens to us, anyway…”
And those two voices came from within the Crystal.
They were the first students of Holy Warrior Poer. They were among the unsung heroes of old who had fought against the Devil King’s army.
“Who in the world are you?”
Billy finally spoke again.
“Did you not hear me just now? I’m Chappie Mask.”
“I did NOT ask for more of your asinine drivel, bird!”
Billy’s voice was trembling.
He was sure that he was up against a Violet Phoenix — a fearsome creature.
But his trembling was due to another cause. This Violet Phoenix was clearly different from the one that had once appeared in the Royal Capital.
Specifically, the difference in arcane energy. This Chappie Mask’s power was so immense that it intimidated even the Devil-transformed Billy.
Lina and the others, however, did not even flinch.
[The arcane energy in the wind feels… so nice…]
So pleasant, in fact, that one might feel at ease to fall under its spell. Such was the energy that Chappie Mask radiated.
“This is bad, Bright.”
“Chappie Mask isn’t famous here.”
“Naturally. Our activities took place entirely in T’oued, after all — none but a handful of this nation’s people have even heard of us. But that high-ranking Devil over there should recognize us, at least…”
Bright’s voice could be heard from the Crystal.
Billy, realizing the meaning of that statement, opened his eyes wide.
“I remember now! You were the one who interfered with Lady Ishtar’s plans! Wait, were you also the one who maintained the Prophecy Monument’s arcane energy!?”
“Right, I might’ve been doing that at some point.”
“Hah… I know you have a brain of a bird, but you SHOULD at least remember that part…”
Ferris’ exasperated voice resounded from the Crystal.
“…I see. So the casters are talking from afar through that crystal…”
Billy made a somewhat confident guess, based on the conversations he had heard thus far.
Bright claimed otherwise, and refrained from elaborating on his point.
“We have nothing to gain from explaining things to you. Besides… you should consider retreating, Billy.”
Billy was, naturally, offended.
“What!? What do you mean…!?”
“I am not obligated to explain myself. I am merely offering you a chance to stay alive. There is no shame in saving yourself, isn’t it?”
Billy’s expression turned grim due to Bright’s taunting words.
“Who do you think you are!? Are you saying that you can win against me!?”
He released his arcane energy and assumed an intimidating stance.
“Oh, we sure will. And what an overwhelming victory it will be!”
Bright’s declaration caused Billy’s eyes to flare up with rage.
–That rage suddenly turned into shock.
…Because Chappie Mask had also released his arcane energy, ready for combat.
Billy’s arcane energy aura was engulfed by Chappie Mask’s — then it was as if Billy himself was being swallowed down.
[…Ngh! Doesn’t look like I can win this!]
In the face of such an overwhelming enemy, Billy made his decision.
He leaped backward and began drawing a Teleportation Spell Circle.
“Hehehe… It doesn’t matter anymore. I’ve achieved what I set out to do. Even if I can’t kill the rest of you now, I will have my chance again. And when that time comes–“
Billy’s monologue suddenly cut off.
Chappie Mask’s pressure grew stronger, repelling Billy’s existence itself.
Billy, unable to say anything more, groaned and disappeared along with his Teleportation Spell Circle.
“Is he gone?”
“Yes — there’s not a trace of his arcane energy here. We should be safe now.”
Bright confirmed that Billy had indeed left the scene.
Chappie proceeded to start walking toward Hornel.
“Y-yes? …Do you need something?”
Hornel Adams — that was his full name.
His family name was shared with one of the two inside the Crystal — Ferris.
Right now, however, Ferris had no business with him.
“Hey, that rodent over there.”
Chappie spoke to Konoha.
Konoha showed some surprise in its eyes, but the grief at the loss of its Master still dominated its state of mind.
“What’s your name?”
Chappie stared at Konoha.
“Konoha… I’m sorry for your loss. If only I’d arrived sooner, things might have turned out differently.”
“…Why are you saying this to me!? Nothing will bring him back……!”
Konoha started sobbing again.
“I cannot do anything about your grief. I’m sorry…”
“It’s… It’s all right. My Master did the best he could. He saved the rest of us… And that makes his death not in vain. And now that he’s gone… I’ll also–“
“–Yeah, you’ll also be gone… any minute now.”
Chappie stated the truth without hesitation.
Creatures that had agreed to a Familiar Contract could live as long as their Masters — assuming that they did not die early due to being killed.
Konoha was a normal mouse, not a monster — and had been Gaston’s Familiar for quite a long time.
Technically speaking, a Familiar would not die upon the termination of their Contract — if their life span still remained. After the contract’s termination, the creature would go on to die naturally when its life span ran out.
On the other hand, this meant that, by becoming a Familiar, it was possible to greatly extend the life span of a short-lived creature. It was said that the rates of such extensions were proportional to the Master’s arcane energy, but the fact still stood that a creature never would live longer than its Master.
When Sagan, the previous War Demon Emperor, realized that he was dying, he terminated the contract between him and his Familiar Tzar. He did not want the Kagachi — a creature much longer-lived than humans — to lose the life span it was supposed to have. By terminating the contract, Tzar could keep on living to this very day.
With Gaston killed in action, however, Konoha’s life span was… technically speaking, already zero.
But what stunned Konoha was not that fact, but what came after,
“So here’s the deal, Konoha… Would you like to become a Familiar again?”
Bright inside the Crystal said, as casually as discussing what to have for dinner…
…But Konoha still did not understand.