“Huh… so that’s why your clothes are all messed up.”
“Yeah, Fuyu healed my body up really good, but most of my equipment got busted, so… How about you come shopping with me sometime tomorrow?”
“Sure, why not?”
“Fuyu’s coming as well, of course! Could you please let her, Sir Gaston?”
“…Well, if it’s just for one day… then I suppose I can.”
“You mean it, Sir Gaston?!”
Fuyu pushed Pochi’s head down as she sprung up from her seat toward Gaston. Betty chuckled, and Gaston let out what could constitute a sigh through his nose.
Wait a second… do the Magic Guardians not get days off very often or something?
Anyways, back on topic – even though Betty had lost to Gaston, it sounded like she had put up a good fight. Especially the way she had strategized based on the limited nature of that particular situation… Man, I would’ve loved to see that in action.
“But I never expected to get a pass after losing the match, you know. I wouldn’t regret it since I did give it all I had and stuff, but then again…”
“Hmph, I DID tell you that it constitutes a passing grade, didn’t I?”
“Owowow… that hurt, Fuyu…”
Pochi puffed up her face, and Fuyu proceeded to poke those puffs while also apologizing to her.
“So what happened on your side, Asley? What did you have to do for your test?”
“Oh. So first, we-“
“*I* fought with Sir Barun of the Six Braves – and WON! Eh-hem!”
Commotion broke out among the Guild patrons again. It seemed that Gaston was surprised as well, what with him widening one eye.
“Barun… That’s the one who’s been rumored to have recently become one of the Six Braves in Blazer’s stead?”
“Yes. He wanted to measure the abilities of a mage’s Familiar first before proceeding with the tests, so Pochi had to fight him.”
Opinions started spreading among the other adventurers present, such as on how ‘it must have been too much work for him’ and ‘how humiliating it must be to be defeated by a Familiar’.
I did think he was plenty good as far as his abilities were concerned, so these guys were probably biased by their prejudice and jealousy.
“Let me confirm that, little girl… you WON against him?”
“I sure did! Aren’t I amazing?! Perhaps you could congratulate me by ordering me some desserts and moving your seat a bit away, sir!”
“Heh heh heh… very well.”
To everyone’s surprise, Gaston actually ordered some desserts for Pochi… and moved his seat a little closer to her. Gaston then proceeded to pet Pochi’s head as she closed her eyes with her paws. The scene was met with an awed silence of everyone in the vicinity – Fuyu included.
I know I haven’t had many chances to see this side of Gaston, but it was quite a surprise that he was so nice and gentle.
Betty was so surprised that her jaw dropped to the floor, albeit only briefly – she shook her head and asked me about my story once again.
So I proceeded to explain what I could to her, and by the time the other adventurers flooded over our table to try and listen, the story reached the second stage of my evaluation.
“Doing a quest for the Guild, huh… considering it was S-ranked, it must’ve been a lot of trouble, right?”
“Welllll… there’s a lot of stuff I ought not to talk about now, so maybe someday later.”
“Still, that is quite an… unconventional evaluation process.”
Gaston commented, and I expressed my agreement with a wry smile.
It was totally true that my examiners had operated it their own way. But considering that my target had been the Resistance, I reckon examinees who merely qualified for S Rank wouldn’t necessarily succeed.
That was because, despite most of the mages and warriors there averaging on Rank B, they also had to take on Warren the Black Emperor, whose abilities were fit for the S rank himself, and also Jennifer the Bone Fist, a former member of the Six Braves. An average examinee wouldn’t be able to get it done in the five hours that I had been allotted.
Does Gaston not usually concern himself with the details of the Guild’s works? I would have expected him to know about it, what with the other party being the Resistance… Perhaps I should investigate this matter further while I’m still here in the Royal Capital.
“So that’s all you had to do?”
“No, there was one more. Had to show Sir Jacob a magic spell that would surprise him.”
“Hmm, must’ve been quite a challenge, right?”
“Yeah… I figured he’d know most of the spells out there, being one of the Six Braves and all. So I thought and thought and-“
“Eh – you mean you didn’t actually have an original spell beforehand, Master?!”
Ngh… If I let her keep talking, she may very well expose the business with Warren’s lot.
That was why I refrained from disclosing any more information and only clenched my fist. I’ve got to save some strength to pull Pochi’s tail later, after all.
Whoops, my hand slipped.
“Yeowch-?! What are you doing, you foolish Master?!”
“If only you’d kept your mouth shut, my Evaluation would’ve been way easier! You damn stupid dog!”
“If only you were talented, you would have gotten to Rank S ages ago!”
“If only you were a competent Familiar, I would have gotten to Rank S centuries ago!”
“Giehhh-! Sir Gaston! Are you looking to employ a Familiar?! I’m helpful, I swear!”
Of all people she could have asked, she chose to approach Gaston first… Oh, how far she has fallen!
“Oh, that reminds me…”
“Eh – you do have a slot open?! W-wait, I suddenly felt an urge to give back to nature and make space for tomorrow’s food, so… excuse me!”
That was quite a convoluted way to say ‘use the toilet’… guess that’s another girly aspect of her. And now that it’s brought up, I just remembered that Gaston did have a Familiar… I wonder what creature it is?
Since he’s one of the Six Archmages, I reckon it’s a fairly impressive monster.
“I suppose I ought to introduce someone to all of you… House.”
As Gaston invoked the Familiar summoning magic spell, a shadowy figure emerged from the Spell Circle. It was small – as in even smaller than Irene’s sparrow friend.
“This is Konoha, my Familiar.”
It was a mouse – and as the name suggested, it was small and delicate like leaves fluttering in the wind. It hopped on Gaston’s hand and stood up.
“Oh, Konoha… It has been a while.”
“Fuyu. It’s been a while, yes. Master, who are these people?”
“Asley and Betty… and that’s Pochi. They were the ones who took the Rank-up Evaluation to Rank S today.”
I’d always heard that Familiars’ personalities resembled their Masters, but this case seemed to be a particularly close resemblance. Although a critter, its tone of expression was exactly the same as Gaston’s. Aside from it giving an impression of being somewhat young, the creature felt very much like a mini Gaston.
“Hello. I’m the one called Asley.”
“And I’m Betty. Nice to meet you!”
“I am Pochi!”
Don’t you need to go use the potty, my Familiar?
Right – no need for that excuse anymore. Of course.
“It’s quite rare for you to introduce me to someone, let alone a group, Master. Everyone, I am Konoha. The pleasure is all mine.”
Konoha bowed its head down extremely briefly. Well, a bow is a bow, I suppose.
“It seems that the young man will be talking about his original spell. You ought to listen to it as well.”
“Oh-ho… of course, anything you say, Master.”
“Eh – shouldn’t he be keeping something like that to himself, sir?”
“There’s no need to worry. No one in this Adventurer’s Guild has the ability on the young man’s level. I reckon there isn’t a chance of him being copied.”
In response to that statement, Betty opened her eyes wide in shock, Fuyu pinned her mouth shut, Konoha swept its line of sight around the group, and Pochi burst out in laughter with tears welling up in the corners of her eyes.
Without a doubt, Gaston HAS praised me. Me… in the Royal Capital Regalia Adventurers’ Guild… the strongest… huh.
“Fwahahahaha! Look at that, Pochi! Recognize how impressive I am!”
“What are you even boasting about?! I did legitimately defeat one of the Six Braves, you know!”
“That’s right, you’ve surprised my brother and Blazer quite a bit since you’ve come back, Asley!”
“Bruce has praised me too, you know!”
“Yeah yeah, Pochi’s gotten strong, too!”
“Master, these people…”
“…Right, they’re otherwise brilliant, save for the flaw in their mentality.”
“E-excuse me, everyone. We all ought to calm down and…”
Disregarding Fuyu’s attempt at controlling us, we made quite a fuss in the Guild establishment.
Eventually, Betty realized that Konoha’s ‘these people’ might have included her as well, and was quite angry at it as a result.
Gaston, at his wit’s end, stepped aside from all of it as the vicinity got more and more hyped up by the story of our Rank-up Evaluations, including Gaston’s legendary display of power.
Once we were back in our inn, the overstuffed Pochi refused to become the Pochi Pillow for tonight.
When I tried poking her belly, she said some gibberish like how she felt like she was turning into a water fountain.
Now then, tomorrow I’ll be out shopping with Betty and Fuyu. Since it’ll be in a group, I reckon things won’t ever get awkward like when I’d gone with Haruhana.
Fuyu hadn’t gotten to say much of anything today, so it’ll be a good chance to ask her stuff about the Royal Capital Magic Guardians, too.
At any rate, I’m so eagerly looking forward to tomorrow.