It’s… it’s over…
Looks like the invention of a spell to restore physical fatigue is still far off. So what should I do? I could increase the intensity of the Clockback spell’s time-reverse formula… no, that would turn back the physical progress gained through training, too. Then maybe I could convert my physical strength into numerical statistics with a spell and then apply a restoration and-or energy supplement spell?
I pondered that stuff over as I walked, and before I realized it, I found that I already reached where Melchi and Tūs were.
-Right when they were finishing up, too.
Tūs folded his arms and stood in an imposing stance, and Melchi was flat on the floor – the usual scene.
Really, how powerful is that sapient creature?
He boasted of his own strength like a self-styled Holy Warrior, but does anyone even know how powerful the Holy Warriors were?
And it took all three Holy Warriors working together to manage to beat the Devil King?
It’d be impossible to search the world for two more of this muscle-head. Well, thinking about it, it’s probably for the better good that there’s only one of him.
“Gahahahaha! You won’t be able to stop Gaspard at this rate, Mel! C’mon, stand!”
“Guh… I still got this!”
Melchi’s eyes and fists were souped-up with an endless stream of arcane energy, and she threw blow after blow.
And the one in opposition, swatting away the attacks with at least an equal level of arcane energy, was none other than our mentor, Tūs the High-Order Muscle.
And with no last-minute turnabout today, as with any other days, Melchi drove her arcane energy stock to the point of exhaustion once again.
“Hey, nice work. Here, Giving Magic.”
“T-thanks… Man, it’s like the more I train, the bigger the gap between our levels become… Maybe my mentor trained at some secret place I don’t know about or something? What do you think, Ash?”
“Sometimes he’d just up and disappear, so I think that might be it? That, and he’s got different ways at doing some things…”
“Mm, now that’s perfect for a Philosopher’s secret formula!”
“Ain’t no foolish talk ’round these parts! Instead of wastin’ around like a fool, learn to be efficient with time, and ya might actually get swole like us! C’mon, shift stance! Giving Magic!”
Tūs suddenly reappeared, and as if to overwrite my Giving Magic magecraft, he activated one of his own.
“Hey, you figured out the formula-less Giving Magic already!?”
“Oh, shaddup – just tinkered with it a bit. Makes the effect time a bit longer.”
“Damn it, always finding ways to one-up me…”
“Forget it – Besides, sure ya wanna hang ’round here, Asley? Didn’t ya say you’ll be back to Beilanea in a month? ‘Bout time to wrap things up now, don’t ya think?”
“Ah – I’m thinking maybe tomorrow or the day after-“
“Then that’s good timing. I was thinking about going to the Royal Capital, too. Maybe I’ll leave the same time as you, Ash.”
“Well, ought’ta do somethin’ ’bout your clothes first, Asley.”
Or rather, the lack thereof – what with me being naked above the waist.
This old man is in the same getup though… then again, he’s a monster, so it would be rude to associate myself with his norms. Rude to humanity, that is.
At first, Melchi had derived quite a bit of excitement looking at me, at times so much that she neglected training, but her antics on that front seemed to have settled down as of late.
“Hmmm~~ You do look good goin’ ’round like this, y’know… but I think it’d be even better to take off some more, yeah~~?”
What, am I supposed to let myself loose now? I swear, even if she’s not on Dinéya’s level, Melchi’s still a pretty messed up girl. Well, comparing her with Dinéya doesn’t sound quite right, though…
Apparently, they call these kinds of girls “rotten girls’ at the Royal Capital – perhaps Melchi’s already gone too far to turn back now?
“Aaannnddd discussion over, Melchi – go make Asley’s clothes. Get it done by tomorrow.”
“Aye aye, sir!”
Melchi snapped into a salute pose, but I didn’t pay much attention to that, as I was preoccupied with taking some animal fur out of the Storeroom.
“No no, Ash, wear that stuff, and they won’t let you into Regalia, you know~~ Just leave everything to me!”
“…You’re making something normal, right?”
“By the way, where’s Pochi? Gone to sleep already?”
“She helped me out a lot today, you see. I’m sure she’s gonna sleep well!”
Right – she did look quite tired back when she’d come to deliver the message to me.
I suppose this is one of those few aspects where Tūs and Melchi are alike.
The next day, I put on the clothes that Melchi claimed to have spent all night making.
“…I’ve never seen this style before, but it feels like a uniform of sorts?”
“It’s called a ‘suit,’ plain and simple – pretty common stuff in the western regions.”
“Well… it doesn’t hinder movement or anything, but… shouldn’t I be tucking in the white shirt? My stomach’s feeling a bit chilly-“
“No, no, no, no! That’s what’s important, Ash! There, unbutton the bottom most button of your shirt! And now, jump!”
“Goooodddd! Very good, Ash! Bare your midriff! The world’s gonna need something refreshing after all that cleavage!”
This particular shirt is also exposing quite a bit of my chest, though?
“No, this feels humiliating to wear. Do you have anything else?”
“Aww, shame you didn’t like it! But I thought you might say that, so I’ve prepared other stuff, too!”
After that, she had me try on all sorts of outfits, including and not limited to the ‘kimono’ dress, an almost half-naked soldier-styled outfit, and even a bulky armored warrior mechanical doll.
How in the world did she make all this stuff?
“Oh c’mon, all that good stuff, and you choose this?”
“Oh c’mon, if you’ve made an identical set of my original clothes as well, you should’ve told me right off the bat.”
“The one before the last had the most character, though…”
“What, the soldier style…? Yeah, no way in hell.”
Me saying that seemed to have greatly displeased Melchi, as apparent from her mouth tapering to a sharp point.
“…So, isn’t it about time we went on our way?”
“Isn’t it too early? Shouldn’t we wait until noon?”
“Nuhuhuhu, I know you’re a nice guy, Ash, so do me a favor and lemme stay in the Storeroom ’till we’re almost at Regalia, yeah~~?”
This girl can come up with the most ridiculous things at times… Aha, so that’s one thing she has common with most other girls.
“You realize that it’s dangerous in there, right? That if I die, you’ll be forever stuck inside?”
“Same goes for outside – if monsters or bandits get you, then it’s all over. Sickness and accidents, too. No matter where we are, death will always be hanging around us. Besides, I’m sleepy as all hell, so bring it out already, yeah?”
Melchi winked and made a cutesy smile, but regrettably, it was ruined by the bear bags under her eyes. So regrettable indeed.
“You better not hold me liable for anything – And there, Storeroom!”
…And so Melchi jumped in, without a sliver of fear or hesitation. Yeah, I’d be better off leaving her to her whims for now.
“Master, let’s hurry! I want snacks- I mean, want to meet everyone as soon as possible!”
“Right, let’s hurry and meet up with those snacks!”
…And this one, I’d be better off leaving her to her jokes for now.
After paying my courteous regards to Tūs and saving a message from him to deliver to Melchi later, I first headed west toward the Royal Capital of Regalia. We could contact each other at any time we wished, so there had been goodbyes to be said.
From the Far East Wasteland, it would take around two days on Pochi’s back to reach our destination.
This would have taken much longer back when she had been a Familiar, but ever since the Familiar Contract between me and her had been voided, she’d gained quite a lot of speed.
The reason for voiding the Contract was none other than to erase the ‘Fool’s Familiar’ title. By Tūs’ suggestion, I had come up with the Contract Modification magecraft, basing it on my previous experiences of tampering with the Familiar Contract’s formula.
With that, Pochi had been bound to a contract that only showed its effects in her special traits. Still, maybe it was too much of a hassle to change our 800-year relationship now, since Pochi stayed the same as ever.
As for the Familiar Chalice, it only needed her to technically be a Familiar, so she’d be able to participate just fine. At the end of the day, the contract that bound Pochi and I together was not limited to the Familiar Contract’s formula alone.
The next day, on Pochi’s back, I caught sight of the gigantic royal castle. The central structure was particularly tall, with its countless spires extending up to pierce the heavens. It was as if the building was stretching to overlook everything down below.
What a terrible design.
“Rise, Storeroom! …Come on out, Melchi! Magic, do your thing!”
“Hoh! Hah! Toh! Ba-bam! Woosh!”
“Looks like you’re having fun…”
Melchi pulled her stuck leg out and leapt off the Storeroom, doing a few backflips in the air before landing and striking a stylish pose.
Standing on one leg and obscuring one eye with a V-sign… is that pose supposed to mean something?
“Nuhuhuhu, just when I thought you’d call… Say, Ash, are you sure you’re not gonna visit Regalia?”
“Yes, I’d like to hurry to be on our way-“
“To the snacks!”
She could just stop to get some at Regalia, but even if I told her that, I don’t think she’s going to listen to me now.