Chapter 229, Gentle Battle Preparations
After dealing with Empress Idïa’s visit, Asley used a continuous effect-type Giving Magic spell to accelerate Pochi’s arcane energy restoration, so as to get her fully charged for the coming fight.
At the same time, Asley tried feeding Pochi a vial of Pochi Bitande’d, but the latter refused it.
Asley tilted his head, confused.
“I’d prefer to fight my opponent on equal terms, sir.”
“Oh, so that’s where you’re coming from I’ll assume that Lylia can cast Giving Magic as well, so that’s all good, but… yeah, drinking this wouldn’t make it fair, I guess.”
Although it was not against the tournament rules, both Asley and Pochi considered this to be cheating, in a way.
This Pochi Bitande’d was a drink that did not exist in this era.
It could even be considered a precious Artifact.
At this time, the only ones aside from Asley and Pochi who had gotten to consume it were Guile and Kaoru.
And although the original creators were fine with taking it, they avoided excessive use if possible.
“All right, it’s almost time.
“I wanted to gain ten or so more levels…”
In response to Pochi’s sullen expression, Asley smiled cheerfully.
“Hahahahaha… nope, not happening.
You have a special power boost of the Heavenly Beasts, you know – that’s plenty good!”
Asley patted Poichi’s head, ruffling her fur.
Seeing Pochi like that, Asley gave her a little grumpy look, and then said something, as if he had just realized it,
“You know, I’ve been wondering about this for a while, Pochi… but it’s not like you’re required to win this thing, right”
“What, you never thought about that I mean, look at you – you’re so nervous because you THINK you have to win.
But the thing is, that’s not the case at all – nothing’s going to happen if you lose, you know”
“N-no way, sir!”
Seeing Pochi’s attitude, which could be described as both ‘firm’ and ‘trying to tough it out,’ Asley patted Pochi’s head again.
…So gently that, in fact, Pochi felt relaxed for a brief moment.
“There’s no need to get worked up, you know.
You’re not gonna be fighting the Devil King or something like that.
Just do what you need to and call it a day.”
“Now listen here, ASLEY… If I can’t win this, then what about the Devil King, or even the Apostles of Despair-“
The next part of Pochi’s sentence failed to come out of her mouth.
And as if to let her vent it out, Asley proceeded to pat Pochi on the back.
“Just don’t worry about it.
We’ve managed to get through everything so far, haven’t we And besides, even if we don’t know what’s up ahead, we’ll have people like Giorno and Lylia with us.
You’re not gonna be fighting alone – and I won’t be, either.”
Asley could sense Pochi’s feelings by the vibrations on the palm of his hand.
But even if not for that, he would still have been able to tell – it was that obvious.
This moment was when Asley found out…
The black candy he had given Pochi did not do anything – aside from fooling Pochi that it did.
Just as Asley knew Pochi’s character well enough to think he could fool her, Pochi was quite familiar with Asley’s personality as well.
Accepting Asley’s goodwill, Pochi had decided to believe in him and herself, and in turn had displayed her power during the match against Bull.
However, it was not something that she could do for long.
[Man, this two-hour rest period isn’t helping at all… and it’s making her worse, even.]
Asley, seeing Pochi’s eyes slowly cast down, immediately took action… in a weird way.
He lifted both ends of Pochi’s mouth diagonally upward, forcing her to smile.
“Whah hah huu huing!”
“You can’t tell I’m messing around, doggo.
Wait… there’s something stuck between your molars! You sure you wanna keep it there”
“Wha-! Whah hih huu hay!”
Pochi, eyes widened in surprise, stared at the mirror Asley handed her.
She bared her shining fangs, and once she saw that a piece of paper was stuck between them, proceeded to slowly pull it out.
“It’s a… piece of paper”
So you’ve finally started eating something inedible…”
“I-I didn’t! I’m not a goat, sir! …Huh There’s something written on this… Pass me the magnifying glass, Master!”
Asley immediately handed a magnifying glass to her, having taken it out of the Storeroom beforehand.
Pochi, failing to notice that anomaly, and the fact that the paper was not damp despite having been in between her teeth, simply spread it out on the floor and looked hard at it.
“Ngh, it’s so tiny… so hard to read, sir!”
“Oh, for the love of God… Look, I’ll be waiting outside, so hurry and get it done!”
“Ah-! Yes, sir!”
Asley walked out the door, after which Pochi looked into the magnifying glass again.
“Hmm… what’s this The text is pretty short.
The first letter is ‘S’ and the last one is ‘i,’ I think Hmm… and the middle is ‘d’”
Ten or so seconds after Asley had walked outside, the door to the waiting room opened with a rumbling sound.
It was by Pochi, who now glared at Asley as the latter leaned against the wall.
“What’s wrong, Shiro”
Asley, changing his calling of Pochi’s true name back to her alias, smiled cheerfully as he asked.
“What’s NOT wrong, sir! What is the meaning of this!”
Pochi held up the piece of paper in front of Asley.
“It just says ‘StupidPochi’! What do you think you are, a twelve-year-old!”
“Hahahahaha, took you long enough to figure it out, idiot!”
“Y-you dare call me an IDIOT! I don’t want to hear that from you, Master! Not you! NOT! YOU! ESPECIALLY NOT YOU!”
“You really had to freaking drive home the freaking point, huh, furball!”
“And I’ll say it however many times I need to! Do you remember that time four-hundred years ago when you ate those weird mushrooms and they made you laugh so hard that you wet yourself! Who do you think washed your pants for you! ME! You better appreciate that!”
“WHAT! You little **- you just had to remind me when I’ve finally forgotten that! Fine, what about seven hundred years ago, when you swam in the river for a whole day and then caught a cold right after! Who do you think took care of you! ME!”
“AAAAAHHHHH! Why do you have to remember that part, you pervert!”
“Pervert my ass! What about you, bringing up me wetting myself for no reason at all! Who’s the pervert here, huh!”
“I did that because you were too embarrassed to do anything, and now you’re writing me off as just some random pervert!”
“Well, you have my thanks, I guess, you little **!”
“I should be the one saying that! Thank you, damned fool!”
“I’m a bird, so these are feathers!”
“Always saying things that are convenient for you, huh!”
“So what if I do! You know what, after I’m done here, I’ll paint you black and white, just like my color, sir!”
“Hah! Your fur’s been all black since you were born, so stop pretending it’s not!”
“Gah! I won’t forget this anytime soon, Master!”
“Well, I’ll probably forget it soon, though! I’m a fool, you know!”
Shouting and cursing filled the Colosseum corridor.
But once Asley had the last word in, he turned around and headed toward the arena gate.
Pochi stayed in place and watched him go, but without any anger.
He was her Master – and her friend – walking farther and farther.
Then she looked down at the piece of paper, and saw that the written letters were much cuter than she had imagined Asley to be capable of writing.
Pochi’s voice echoed in the empty corridor.
“Ah, I forgot to thank him…”
Then she placed the small piece of paper on the ground and carefully folded it twice.
“That was easy to fold… Oh, it’s because it was already folded once… huh Wait, did he always have this ready! Ngh… how annoying!”
Despite saying that, Pochi’s voice had not a single hint of anger.
She held the paper up to the candlestick in the corridor, and then chuckled at the written letters that showed through the translucent sheet.
Her mouth was opened wide – wider than Asley’s stretching a while ago – and perhaps because of the light, she seemed more cheerful as well.
“There really is no helping him, that Master…”
Pochi muttered to herself and tucked the piece of paper into the knot of her scarf.
She then tapped her cheeks with her prided paws, and then stepped forward, slowly but firmly.
“I’ll paint him black and white after I’m done here!”