“I! ASK! AGAIN! Why did you put a weird formula THERE, my Lord!?”
“What!? WEIRD!? You dare to complain about my beautiful magic formulas!? Very well! Go stand in your original position again, Leole Mask!”
“You won’t fare any better by simply trying that again and again, my Lord!”
“What!? Big talk, coming from someone who’s never managed to land a single hit on me!”
“Because I haven’t even attacked you yet!”
“Incorrect! You simply couldn’t react in time to my consecutive attacks!”
“That’s right! I’m stronger! Stronger than my Master, Leole Mask!”
“Why the hell are you butting in now, Pocchie Mask!?”
“That is right, Pocchie Mask! Say that again! And cooperate with me! You will be handsomely rewarded!”
“Huh!? That better we worth at least twenty meals, or I won’t do anything, my Lord!”
“I’ll make that two hundred! It is well within my means!”
“Well then, the fight shall be decided–“
“–In a blink of an eye!”
“AHH, STOP!! STOPPPPPP!!!!”
“Fwahahaha! I win, Leole Mask! Justice prevails!”
“Ahahaha! Did you actually lose that, Master!?”
“Yeah, because you, Pochhie Mask, have forsaken the side of justice! Who would’ve seen that coming!?”
“All according to my negotiations! How was it, sir!?”
Oh, please, she wouldn’t be asking me that if I was actually hurt too much. Good God…
Really, though, what was up with their synergy? Even the Devilkin would be taken off-guard!
I healed my injured body, then sat back down on the boulder that I had been on until now.
And while scratching my disheveled hair, I asked,
“So, my Lord, what was that formula? Your artistic sense was indeed unique — no offense. It radiated so brightly that I forgot what spell that even was!”
“Hmph, that was simply a failed attempt on my part. If you are so curious, then try it out for yourself.”
“W-what is that look for!? You just have to give it a try! Do it! Now!”
Man, how did this selfish guy get to be a War Demon Emperor, anyway?
Despite my uneasiness, though, I proceeded to copy the formula that Sagan had created.
“Hmm, let’s see… Rise? A-rise? A-rise? Fire…”
Why would he dedicate such a long, complicated formula to an elementary-level spell like Fire?
“W-wow, are you seeing this, sir!? Lord Sagan’s face is inside the flame!”
“Hehehe… amazing, isn’t it? This spell is perfect for highlighting my greatness, don’t you think?”
Not wanting to see Sagan’s face like that any longer — as in not even a split-second longer, I snuffed out the flame with a blast of arcane energy.
“AAAHHH!? Why would you do that!?”
Ever since I had made that appointment in front of the cave that day, we had been sparring daily with Sagan, this newly-ascended War Demon Emperor who turned out to somehow be noisier than Irene.
He’s been dangling the promise of reward in front of us, all the while using us as convenient training partners.
Of course I realized that; anyone would after being told ‘tomorrow’ for a few days straight.
And so I’ve taken this opportunity to focus less on tempering his swordplay, and more on showing off my arcane arts.
This War Demon Emperor was, at first, quite grumpy in the face of my magic’s overwhelming power. So childish.
Then the following day, Sagan said to me,
“Teach me magic.”
Yes, that came from him, a man who had been wielding exclusively the sword, the only thing he knew he had talent for.
Perhaps the arrival of me, superior in both martial and arcane arts, had created a wall that Sagan wished to overcome.
Sagan’s genius is quite remarkable, and like Bright before him, he has already learned to cast all elementary-level magic spells under my tutelage.
Before I realized it, more than two weeks had passed since I started teaching him.
Right now, both he and Pochi are learning magecraft.
Yes, Pochi is taking part in this, too.
Somehow, Pochi’s gotten pretty good at magic. She hasn’t touched magecraft much, though, so I’m taking this opportunity to start teaching her. That, and she did want to try it for herself.
Now then, let’s see how she’s doing…
“Hehehe! Piece of cake! All you need to do is put a loophole on this formula’s reverse side! Eh-hem!”
I know she’s a liiittle bit better at magic than Sagan, but isn’t it unwise to act that much like a senior to a genius like him? Besides, she’s dealing with MAGECRAFT right now! She started almost at the same time as him…
“Ngh… Pocchie Mask!”
“What is it, my Lord?”
“This formula is undecipherable! Explain it to me in a way that I can easily understand!”
“Oh? I see, this one…? Hmm… Juuust give me a second here…”
Huh, it’s actually a pretty advanced Boundary magecraft formula.
If Pochi can tell what it is, I’ll have to change my opinion on her–
“Master, you’re up!”
“Hah… Well, listen closely, my Lord. That loophole she just created was packed with too much data. It will interfere with the distribution of arcane energy throughout the Craft Circle, causing the actually important channels to clog up. Instead, putting this additional formula above this location here will help improve the energy flow.”
“But I’m working with the magecraft formula’s reserve side right now. It can’t be that simple, can it?”
…Incredible. This guy might be an even bigger genius than Bright.
I sighed — out of admiration for Sagan, but took care not to let him notice it.
“…Yes, my Lord. As this is the reverse side, the formula is… well, reversed. To properly edit it, you must remember to flip all of the code characters over.”
“I see! Like flipping pancakes!”
“Yes; such is how magecraft demands higher degrees of subtlety compared to magic.”
“Oh-ho… I must say, It’s quite a surprise to even see magecraft at all in this day and age, considering that the Dark Elves are nowhere to be found. And the flipped letters… they’re sure to confuse me for some time…”
Sagan scratched his hair and proceeded to note down the shapes of the flipped code letters on a sheet of parchment.
This is something that needs practice by repetition.
Sagan continued practicing his writing over and over, and at one point, he turned asked me,
“By the way, Leole Mask. I did promise you a reward — have you thought about what you want?”
Ooh, didn’t expect the important question to pop up now.
“I’ve figured it’s about time to ask. That day, you were waiting for me because you wanted something that only I can give. Am I correct?”
“Let’s see… I’d like to see mages be more socially accepted — and Familiars as well, while we’re at it.”
“Oh-ho. Familiars, you say?”
The magic I had showcased during our sparring sessions had swayed War Demon Emperor Sagan to the side of the arcane arts.
And so the reward I originally wanted has already been granted.
So I figured I should make another thing right: make it so that the discrimination Pochi had experienced in the Royal Capital of Regalia is no more.
Eventually, Sagan stopped writing and turned to me.
“Well, Leole Mask, consider this: Hands-on experience has helped me to know and understand the relationship between you and Pocchie Mask. My mindset was influenced, and you are suggesting, in short, that the same is done to the Nation’s people. Am I correct?”
Sagan groaned and scratched his temple with the butt of his calligraphy brush.
“That is an extremely complicated matter, I’m afraid. Due to the rarity of Familiars, the rural regions may very well adapt without difficulty. But Regalia houses too many political powers…”
“And those people cannot be changed?”
“No, not at all what I meant. But it will require a great deal of effort… is what I think.”
After denying my question, Sagan heaved a sigh and pondered over his future plans.
“Are you suggesting that it CAN be done, then?”
“Listen, Leole Mask… It’s never about can or can’t.”
So I’ve been wondering for a while now… Where the hell does Sagan get his seemingly limitless confidence from?
“A man… is all about DO or DON’T!”
Ah, yes. As expected of a rightful Emperor.
“Master, Master! Where are the pancakes!? I heard that you were flipping some just now! Where are they, sir!?”
And man, the doggo sure has her priorities straight.