“NOOOOOO!! I DON’T WANNAAAAAA!! WHY!? WHY ME!? THAT’S DEEP IN ENEMY TERRITORY! I DON’T WANNA GO THERE!!”
“Damn it! And you were boasting about delivering the final blow to the Devil King just moments ago! Where’d all that confidence go, huh!? You were a Holy Warrior’s Familiar, right!? Come on, get a grip, Pochi!”
“Well! You were the only one who was mentally prepared, Master! I haven’t said anything to Warren yet!”
“You’re already taking advantage of my answer — that’s pretty much the same as you having the same answer already!”
“What kind of logic is that, you fool!?”
“Look, Lina and Fuyu were right there! You wanna let them see you embarrass yourself!? You’re my Familiar — try to think about what’s the right thing to do for once, you damned furball!”
And so, in this room we’d been assigned to within the Resistance headquarters, an argument broke out between me and Pochi, both of us with tears in our eyes… No, actually, we’re straight up crying.
“Ugh…! I swear, no Familiar is willing to follow such a foolish Master! Except me!”
“Ugh…! I swear, no Master is willing to keep such an obnoxious Familiar around! Except me!”
And that long argument came to an abrupt end with us hugging each other.
With Pochi suddenly becoming sleepy, I left her on the bed. I proceeded to wipe the tears off my face and set up a Teleportation Spell Circle.
Once I was done, the Spell Circle instantly activated on its own.
At first, I thought I had made some sort of mistake, but upon seeing someone appear from it, I understood that this was meant to happen.
“……Took you long enough.”
She’s staring daggers at me… in a way different from how Irene does.
“A-ahahaha… Sorry, I was caught up in… stuff.”
“I’ve set up my Teleportation Spell Circle four days ago. And I’ve been waiting since then.”
Four days ago… so she must’ve done that as soon as she got back to her dorm.
“Fwahaha! Listen well, Asley! Tifa was not simply waiting — she was sitting on the floor right in front of the Spell Circle, keeping an eye on it whenever she can– GYOHOH!?”
Hmm, intentional or not, it does look like she’s not bonking Tarawo as hard as she used to.
It’s like… she trusts him a fair bit more than before? When did this even start happening?
“…Is this your room, Sir Asley?”
I’m feeling conflicted as to whether or not I should tell her about this place. Well, should be fine, considering it’s Tifa–
“–Oh, so this is the Resistance’s hideout.”
“Huh!? You knew, Tifa?”
“Why wouldn’t I? Lina already told me about it.”
Oh, I see. That’s… understandable.
Tifa was bound to ask questions at some point, and Lina was bound to answer her. Looks like a lot of things have happened over the past three days.
Hornel seems to have headed out on a mission on his own, and Viola has already been assigned to train the soldiers here. Jeanne also joined in on receiving the training, if I remember correctly… Man, I can’t help but feel like I’ve gotten off a late start here.
“There’s nowhere to sit.”
“A-ah, right. Here, you can sit here.”
I pushed Pochi to one end of the bed, making some space for Tifa.
This cave being called THE headquarters of the Resistance might sound impressive, but it’s not as spacious as one would think. It’s a luxury in itself to get a whole room to myself in the first place.
“Well well, making space for me to sit, Asley? You sure know how to please your guests — Now then, I grant you the privilege to touch and pull on my ears. Make sure you do it right, hmm? First, nudge them with your fingertips and–“
Tifa grabbed Tarawo by his ears, pulling him up and throwing him down on the floor.
“–Ahh, now this is THE floor! It’s so nice and cold!”
Tarawo, flat on the floor, proceeded to rub his cheek on it as he slid under the bed.
Tifa looked at me, then the free spot on the bed beside her, then at me again, then the spot beside her again.
…So she’s telling me to sit as well, right?
Giving in to Tifa’s silent pressure as she looked at me and the spot next to her, I sat down.
“…Now tell me all about your adventure.”
Right, of course she’d want to know.
I was about to ask if she had already been told about it from Lina, but from the look in her eyes, she’d probably say that she’d like to hear about it directly from me.
And so I told her the same story that I had told Irene and the others three days ago.
Tifa seems surprised, but the look in her eyes suggests that she’s able to keep relatively calm.
And then, when I reached the end of the latest complete arc in the Principles of a Philosopher — the part where we parted ways with Sagan, I heard shouting from under the bed…
…Quite a few times, too, in fact.
I haven’t had the chance to talk about it with Tarawo in detail yet, but my current assumption is that his memories aren’t quite intact.
I — and also Tifa who’s heard the story just now — believe that Tarawo is the Garm I met back then.
Tifa proceeded to chuckle… probably because right now, that same wolf is hiding under the bed like a pitiful dog.
Never ever showing Tarawo her sweet side — that’s probably something that Tifa had decided to do to maintain the status quo.
“…Um, Sir Asley…”
Tifa, a little fidgety, said to me after the story was over.
Whatever she intends to say next, I can’t really tell — but guessing from her face turning reddish, it’s probably something she’s embarrassed about.
Well, that still isn’t helping me figure out what she’s gonna say, though…
<“Is this the room, Lina!?”>
<“Sir Bruce, you are obstructing the corridor!”>
<“That’s right, Brother! And we wouldn’t want him to see YOU before us! Go on, Haruhana, Mana!”>
<“What the– Betty!? I wasn’t gonna–“>
<“Wah– no shoving, please, Miss Mana!”>
Hit with a rush of nostalgia from those familiar voices, I stood up, and at almost the same time, heavy knocks sounded on the door.
Haruhana and Mana came crashing in as the door suddenly swung open.
And then other Silver members behind them, on the verge of falling over, are held up by Bruce — he’s gotten more muscular and looks a fair bit healthier.
As soon as they saw me and Tifa, their eyes went round as dinner plates.
Since my room couldn’t possibly house the whole group, I left Pochi sleeping in there and went out with everyone else to the mess hall.
“Hahaha! That’s awesome, Asley! You’d beat us easily even if we all ganged up on you!”
Bruce, his face a perpetual grin, took a chug from his mug of ale.
“No way — really, that’s not true at all. In fact, I just got beaten by Warren the other day.”
“Oh yeah, I did hear about that — And then there’s the new magecraft, right? What kinda craft is it?”
Bruce asked, leaning in closer.
Man, he never changes. Surely, this guy is the most ambitious one among all of Team Silver… in terms of enjoying life.
“It’s a… variant of the Boundary craft, I guess? Incorporates the Core Elements of magic into a magecraft formula — something that I’d thought of trying since centuries ago, actually, but I realized it was tougher than it seemed after seeing one of them in action.”
“Huhuhu, and you got to do STUFF with the Black Emperor for three days straight?”
The look in Betty’s eyes is… quite filled with a certain kind of assumption.
Man, she never changes — Though I have absolutely no idea how she got to that kind of talk.
“Excuse me, Sir Asley!”
Haruhana suddenly stood up, knocking back her chair.
……Okay, I’ve had this feeling this whole time — she’s grown into a young lady so fine that one could say she’d evolved.
Attractively small face, fair skin with contrasting black hair, relatively big eyes giving her a strong aura, glossy lips…
She had always had a pretty face, yes, but I never expected her to become this beautiful while being an active adventurer.
“Ohh? Staring at Haruhana really got you forgetting about answering her, eh, Asley?”
“Ah– huh? W-what are you saying, Betty? I was thinking it’s amazing what happens when people grow up, that’s all!”
“So the right word here is… staring, right?”
“N-not you too, Bruce!”
Man, this pair of siblings never change.
Anyway… what does Haruhana want to say?
“Look, Brother, she’s red down to her neck…”
Mana said to Reid, pointing at Haruhana’s neck from behind.
“Is she sick?”
“Of course not! How’d you even get to that conclusion, anyway!?”
But she totally looks like she’s sick!
“But… Well, I guess it MIGHT be a sickness, in a certain meaning of the word.”
“You are not making any sense, Mana.”
I mean, what, so is it a sickness or is it not? What kind of sickness even causes one to turn that red, anyway? A bad case of a common cold, maybe? Anything else?
“Don’t mind her, Sir Asley. Anyway… Look! I have been promoted to Rank S!”
Haruhana opened a roll of parchment and showed it to me.
“Whoa! That’s awesome! I mean, you were just Rank C when I left, right?”
“I have given it my best of efforts!”
Haruhana happily clenched her fists.
Yes, he has done her best — there’s no doubt in my mind.
She might have worked harder than me, even.
“Now, if I may interrupt this conversation…”
Before I knew it, Ryan was standing behind me.
He’s gotten stronger, too. Might be a close competition with Dallas, I think?
–As I thought that to myself, Ryan stood in front of me and grabbed both my shoulders.
“Sir Asley, what were you doing with Tifa in that room?”
The smile of Faltown’s charismatic leader looks so… scary.