Chapter 217, Two and Two
“Familiar Chalice… What’s that, sir!”
It’s a competition to decide the strongest Familiar, for God’s sake! Weren’t YOU the one who wanted to participate in it
…Okay, it’s been years since she’d said that, but still…
“Now hold your horses, Master Polco.
Aren’t we getting a bit too grand too quickly here”
“Hmm Whatever do you mean by that, Sir Poer …And Sir Polco, again, are you sure”
Right… June isn’t all caught up on our shenanigans yet.
Polco and I proceeded to explain to June what we had been talking about.
June’s put on a serious look the whole time, but she doesn’t seem to take the story as a negative one.
“That sounds reasonable – Sir Poer here can easily get in as a participant, representing both House Adams and House Fulbright as an instructor of arcane arts.
I don’t think the other side will be too alarmed, as well.”
“We will be covering all the expenses, of course.
Just think of it as a sponsored infiltration trip to House Douglas, and I reckon you will be just fine.”
What kind of casual attitude is this guy talking with
Good God, the financial negotiation just had to devolve into this weird mess, huh…
Still a big relief to know that my future payouts from the Adams household would be increased dramatically, at least.
“…Will you accept, Sir Poer”
June asked, to which I nodded without saying a word, and to which Pochi patted her paw on her own chest.
“Taking care of my Master is my specialty, milady!”
Lately, it’s been me taking care of her most of the time, though…
“Are you sure you’d like to leave so soon”
Polco said while he was stroking Chappie’s neck.
Anyway, yes, I’m sure.
After having Polco and June write me their introduction letters for the Familiar Chalice, I’ve immediately packed up, we’re set to leave within the day.
Still, waited until past midnight to wake Chappie and Pochi up, telling them that we would be going to Royal Capital Regalia.
“Give it a few days and a certain apprentice of yours will catch on to what we’re up to, sir.
He might even come after you.”
“Hah, looks like the future of the Fulbright household is in good hands.”
The chances are so damn high for Pochi to slip up and leak everything, too.
“Father, where are we going, and why so early in the morning”
…And by close association with her, I’ve yet to tell Chappie anything, either.
“All right, then, I wish you good luck with your ‘job search,’ young man.”
“I’ll take what I can get, sir.”
“Of course you will.
But if things get too dangerous, you’d best retreat immediately.
Not that I think you need to be advised in the first place to do so…”
“I’ll keep that piece of advice in mind, sir.”
Polco chuckled and stroked Pochi’s head.
“I look forward to seeing you at the Familiar Chalice, young Shiro.”
“Leave it to me, sir! Even if the Devil King appears, I’ll blow him away!”
Ah, yes, now there’s no need to worry about the Devil King.
I can just curl up behind Pochi and let her do her thing!
“That is reassuring to hear.
Oh, one last thing, young Poer – take this.”
Polco handed me a rolled-up sheet of paper.
What could it be It’s not that thick – a document detailing my instructions, maybe
“Open it when you find a place to stay in Regalia.”
Polco looked at all of us, Leon included – well, more like taking a peek at him.
I didn’t think I’d have to take the baby with us, considering what we’ll be up against, but he’s grown quite attached to Chappie lately, and I figured Pochi and I would do just fine taking care of him together, so in the end, I’ve agreed to take him along.
I’m still not changing his diapers though.
Actually, I don’t think we had any other choice – leaving him here clearly would result in chaos.
“Seems he’s still asleep.
Well, take good care of Leole, everyone.”
“Of course, sir – frankly, he’s much easier to deal with than your daughter, Master Polco.”
“Hmm, feeling quite perceptive today, are we”
“We are FRIENDS, after all, yes”
I looked back at Polco sarcastically, prompting him to pull a dry chuckle… and then cough a few times.
Seeing that, Pochi and I turned to look at each other and laughed, while Chappie tilted his head in confusion.
“Well, here we go, sir.”
The four of us left Kugg village quietly, so as not to wake up Bright and Ferris.
The strange party of a mage, his Familiar, a Heavenly Beast, and a baby made haste to Regalia, the Capital of the ancient Holy Nation.
“I’m so looking forward to seeing Regalia, Master!”
“You mean the FOOD in Regalia, right”
With me saying that to her so casually, Pochi suddenly came to a stop.
“H-how did you know that, sir!”
“What makes you think I would NOT know that, doggo!”
“What will be doing in Regalia, father”
Seeing how confused Chappie was as he landed, I finally explained to him the details of our mission.
“Aha, so that’s why we didn’t bring Bright and Ferris along”
“That’s right! Do you now see how thoughtful we are!”
Pochi puffed up with pride, despite me being the one making most of the decisions.
Pochi and Chappie closed their eyes, dazzled by my light source spell.
Man, I always forget how spooked these two are by sudden changes in brightness.
Maybe this trick will work on the other Violet Phoenix as well.
I’ll remember to try it out next time, if we get into a fight with it.
“Bah, you really need to be more careful when doing that, Master…”
Anyway, I’ve had you all run just to get far enough from Master Bright – and even if we rush, it’ll cut our travel time only by half at most.
How about we walk for a bit Should be pretty nice, us three – well, four – taking a late night stroll and all that.”
“Oh Leon’s awake.”
I’ve gotten used to it at this point, but a baby who doesn’t cry in his sleep is… something to be feared, I’d say.
I shrugged my shoulders once.
Pochi and Chappie chuckled before we proceeded to walk on our way.
“So, when is the Familiar Chalice going to be held, sir”
“The fifteenth of next month.
It’s just about the end of the fourth month now, so we’ve got about half a month to go.
According to Master Polco, it’s not unusual for contestants to arrive in Regalia just a few days before the event opens.
We still have no idea how or if we can infiltrate the Douglas household, but there’s a lot of stuff we can do around here, don’t you think”
“Huh, and here I thought you’d try to be hired as their servant or something.
You could use your transformation to pull it off, sir.”
Chappie nodded in agreement with Pochi’s statement.
“That’s probably the best option, yeah, but we will be publicly known as having entered Regalia to participate in the Familiar Chalice.
Better assume that we’d be marked from that point, from where we stay and where we go.
And if I do get a job as their servant, our actions will be severely limited, not to mention that they’ll definitely be suspicious.
I think it’d be better to cover more ground and act from the outside while evading the tracking as much as possible, you know”
“Then I think there are a lot of things I can do to help, father.”
“Exactly – I think you’ll be a key factor in this mission, Chappie.”
“Why him! Why is it not me, sir!”
As Pochi threw a tantrum, Chappie tilted his head again.
“You’ll stand out too much if you’re not with me, that’s why – and Chappie can actually fly.
He’ll be super helpful when we need to keep watch on our enemies.”
“Ohh! I’d be honored to, father!”
“O-oh! I see you REALLY want to be with me, Master! Not that I mind, of course!”
Chappie I can understand, but I wonder why Pochi is so… happy.
“You’re not gonna slack off, are you It’s an ancient version of the Familiar Chalice, sure, but it’s still Familiar Chalice.
I don’t know how seriously you’re taking it, but as your Master, I want you to aim as high as you can, yeah”
“Of course, sir! With how strong I am, I bet I can beat any Familiar out there! Even Dīnō can’t win against me now!”
Well, since she’d claimed a few hours ago that she’d blow the Devil King away, I’d seriously doubt her if she were to lose to Dīnō before then… not that I’d believed her in the first place.
Also, I still don’t know how much of an effect our actions in this era will have on the future, but I’m indebted to the Fulbright and Adams households.
If possible, I would like us to win the competition and secure the two households’ positions of power in the Senate.
Assuming that this is a national event, even if it’s during the Devil King’s Fetal Stage, the pool of participants will contain many talented people from all over the Nation.
Will Pochi be able to show her full capabilities here In a sense, this may even be our first step toward defeating the Devil King – better make it count.
“Oh The sun is rising, mother.”
“It sure is! …Hmm Looks, Master! Over there!”
Pochi pointed her front paws forward at a certain familiar thing.
Okay, ‘familiar thing’ might be too vague of a description, not to mention it’s quite a grand view.
The sun’s rays shone dimly.
And the higher it rose above the horizon, the wider the distant outline got – illuminating the Capital of the ancient Holy Nation.
“I can see it now… that’s Regalia!”