After a ten-odd minute ride on Pochi, we were back in the Royal Capital Regalia. First things first, we headed straight to the Adventurers’ Guild and reported the completion of the quest.
Again, I’d expected them to doubt my results and get me arrested – but it went like Warren said it would. It went through without any difficulty.
Furthermore, I was rewarded with the completion fee of 20,000 Gold, and lavish praise from the receptionist lady.
I doubted for a second that everything was proceeding so well, but then I remembered my experience working with Warren back at the Magic University. Almost everything helmed by him had gone smoothly.
Once things at the Guild were all set, we rushed to the Cathedral once again. There, we were welcomed by one of the Six Braves, Jacob, who had been waiting with quite a sour look on his face.
It was because of the proof of quest completion in my right hand. The Guild did not issue such papers to adventurers in most cases, but they had to for mine since I’d received the job from a third-party source.
“Well I’ll be damned… Never thought you’d be back this soon…”
“And what should we do with this gold-“
“Keep it. You did do the job, after all.”
Jacob now spoke in quite a harsh tone, in contrast to before. I could practically feel the stress he exerted, which made me wonder if this was what it would be like if unpleasant emotions were converted to arcane energy.
Man, from what I’ve seen so far today, some of the Six Braves might not be that big of a deal after all.
With how I am now, it seems highly likely that I’d win against them in a match where both sides were perfectly prepared… Oh – huh?
“What about Miss Catherine and Sir Barun?”
“…They already left.”
He started making a sour expression again, but this time cancelled it halfway. Goes to show how emotionally mature he is… I suppose?
Anyways… the Rank-up Evaluation. How many more trials do I have to go through? It’s supposed to be over within a day, isn’t it?
“Now, bring on the next evaluation, sir! I’m starting to get hungry, so let’s get it over with!”
Damn it, just now you were… gah, I suppose it’s become a regular comic routine for her now.
But now… is Jacob not going to ask anything about the subjugation quest? At all? What of the integrity of your work, Six Braves!?
“So, when you struck them down…”
“What look did they have on their faces when they died?”
He sure asked some ridiculous stuff out of the blue, this guy.
Still, this might be a part of my evaluation… how should I go about my explanation?
“My Master struck the enemy with a spell so large that it might as well have blown the forest off the ground! And at the same time-“
Anddd… the doggo proceeded to start her own story off.
“I ripped and tore the enemies apart, blew them away, and ripped some more!”
Pochi continued on with her string of transcendent lies, to which Jacob listened, to my surprise, with undivided attention.
Her story made me come off as the evilest villain ever, having eradicated the Resistance’s forces without leaving even their ashes behind.
That’s… awesome, the me in the story, that is.
Jacob’s face gradually transitioned to a gleeful expression as he started reacting enthusiastically to Pochi’s ramblings.
Uh, you all right there, man?
“-And so! My Master sent the enemies to the depths of hell with his original super-duper awesome spell!”
I was actually impressed by how long that made-up story went on for. Had she made all that up beforehand or something?
Once Pochi ended her story-telling session – seeming quite proud of herself, I might add – Jacob turned to look at me.
Jacob himself seemed satisfied too, presumably since he wasn’t scrutinizing the process all that much… but then again, it felt like he wanted to say something.
“All right, now let’s get to your last evaluation-“
“Huh, we’re at the last one already?”
“Hello? We may look like this, but you do realize that the Six Braves are quite busy, right? There’s no way in hell we can hold a single evaluation over the span on multiple days.”
“Ah… yes, sir.”
Well, containing it within three trials seems like a nice balance.
Not too long, not too short. Perhaps that was what they were going for.
“So what will I have to do…?”
“That super-duper awesome original spell of yours… can you show it to me?”
“What? You know, that spell you used to send the Resistance’s forces to the depths of hell? You did use it, right?”
“Yes, of course!”
…Damn you, you stupid dog!
“It’ll be fine, Master☆“
Stop giving me that look, damn it! I swear, I’m going to go past my boiling point if I hear it again!
And Jacob… I couldn’t tell whether he’d seen through the lie or was just playing things straight, but his smile sure wasn’t fitting for what he’d asked me just now.
Also, seriously, original spells? I do have some up my sleeve, sure, but I sure as hell don’t have any that actually sends my enemies to the depths of hell!
I swear, Pochi’s in for punishment once we get back. Let’s see… I’ll have her eat exclusively vegetarian meals for three days straight. Oh, I’m sure THAT’s gonna make her SO happy. I can already see her crying tears of joy.
“W-well, it’s dangerous to use it here, so we ought to do it away from the city.”
“I sure can’t wait to see it!”
THINK, ME! THINK! I must create an original spell in these few minutes I have left!
A super-duper awesome spell! – Well, I sure as hell can’t blow up the forest, nor do I have access to any large-scale terrain-altering spells.
A spell that sends my enemies to the depths of hell… how about Gravity Stamp?
No, it’s still a prototype based on what I’d seen from the enemy – too risky to reveal. For the awesomeness factor, it’s got to be something that doesn’t leave behind any ash, too…
So what should I do? Oh, yeah! Something that exerts intense force to knock the enemy down or blow them away – wouldn’t that work?
Yeah, no, I can’t even see how ‘awesome’ a fortified Whirlwind can come off as.
A spell that doesn’t reveal the enemy’s prototype, doesn’t change the terrain, but does enough to impress Jacob…?
Nothing at all!
“Asley? Shouldn’t we be leaving through the north gate instead? It’s a long way to the south gate down the road you’re headed.”
Jacob grinned, and I smiled back at him – while failing to hide my bewilderment.
“Ha ha ha ha, sorry, sir. I’ve quite a bad sense of direction, you see.”
“Ahahaha! You sure are a scatterbrain, Master!”
Damn you… how about I incorporate you into the stew recipe, huh?
Actually, no… I can totally see her having fun swimming in the hot pot.
“Oh, don’t make me laugh so much, Master! It’s going to make me even hungrier!”
Bah, she sure has a bottomless pit for a stomach.
Ahh, now that I think about it, I might be able to pull something off with ‘that’ formula.
First I’ve got to do some mental arithmetic… let’s see… there’s no need to incorporate magecraft, so there isn’t going to be any excess information. Yeah, this will work.
This thing fulfills all of my criteria, so the only problem left is whether or not Jacob would be impressed… now, what to do?
We were now at Regalia’s north gate. From here, one could get a clear view of the back side of the Royal Castle, albeit from quite far away. Because of that, the gate here had a stronger build to it than the one down south.
Several minutes after leaving through the gate, Jacob stopped in his track, and Pochi proceeded to sit down beside him. From what I could see, the man didn’t seem to be the type that Pochi would dislike or fear.
If it was with Gaston or Warren, she would have kept at least a few steps’ distance, after all.
Oh, that reminds me… didn’t she badmouth him as ‘that cheeky guy’ back when we’d headed out for the bandit subjugation?
“All right, Asley, see if you can impress me! Hehehe… perfect. There – use it on the Al-mi’raj over there.”
“Give it your best shot, Master!”
Oh, for the love of… my Familiar sure sounded so unconcerned by her Master’s woes.
Now, since Jacob had said he wasn’t going to take a normal large scale spell as an answer, I had to come up with an original spell, period. Though I had a number of pre-existing spells to try, I felt obligated to show him the biggest, most impressive shot I could make.
“Rise, A-rise, A-rise!”
The spell I cast was the one I’d usually used only in the privacy of my room or during emergencies.
Without this spell, we likely wouldn’t have been able to emerge victorious against the Ogre King back when we had fought it.
Well, the spell itself technically had no destructive power – it didn’t need any. After all, the primary use I had for it was to be a makeshift storage unit.
The spell was none other than the Storeroom.
If I were to use this spell – one more bottomless than even Pochi’s stomach – as an attack, it would surely be fit for being called ‘super-duper awesome’.
However, the Storeroom I usually called out was filled with my belongings and research materials.
So this time, I had it open a link to a different space, and also applied speed and direction formulas onto its casting.
Carrying out only those steps would cause it to suck in absolutely everything in its path, however, so I didn’t forget to apply a range limiter formula as well.
…It’s done. Surely this would be enough to impress him, would it not? Keep your eyes peeled, Sir Jacob!
“Behold! Gate Eater!”
The spell, invoked via an airborne Circle tracing, went ‘flying’ at the Al-mi’raj as it drew near.
The next instant, without so much as an indication, the Al-mi’raj blinked out of existence.
“Ooh, that’s amazing!”
Huh? That’s… strange?
I’d designed it as a darkened, distorted air-space to be ‘shot’ at the Al-mi’raj, sucking it in – the spell should’ve looked THAT elaborate, but… huhhh…?
~~Royal Capital Regalia Adventurer’s Guild~~
“The evaluation process was a lot simpler than I expected it to be, sir! And you should’ve looked at how far Sir Jacob’s jaw dropped down! Now THAT was priceless!”
“It’s strange, though… how did the spell end up looking like that? It eats way too much MP, too, so it’s gonna be too dangerous to use in actual combat, you know?”
“How much MP did it cost, sir?”
“Should’ve been about 5,000.”
“Oh, no! That’s an extremely inefficient spell if ever I’ve seen one, sir! …Anyhow! You did pass the Rank S Evaluation, so let’s go all out tonight, sir!”
I’ve got to go buy tons of veggies. Just. For. Her.