Chapter 269, The Final Battle = The Time to Say Goodbye
I called out to the boy, and he dropped everything and hopped down over to me.
Seeing me say nothing as I stared at him, Bright immediately realized what was going on.
“…Will you be heading away from this position”
Even Lylia was surprised by how quickly Bright had caught on.
And he’s exactly right.
Seeing that excluding Chappie, Bright is the youngest person here on this battlefield, I feel like I know why Giorno has singled him out specifically.
“I understand, Instructor.
You have… things that only you can do, don’t you”
“Yes, I’ll be leaving.
Giorno has decided that it’s best for you to hold the line here, issuing orders from the sky.
I don’t intend to object to that.”
Once I told him that, Bright briefly cast his eyes down, and looked a little sad.
“We’ll meet again… won’t we”
He asked it like he thought we’d never ever meet again.
I’d like to reaffirm that we WILL… but that very well might not happen.
That’s what stopping me from answering.
The voice that came from behind Bright was that of another apprentice of mine.
She’s dressed in raggedy clothes, and has the disposition of a true warrior — all the qualities I never would’ve expected from the young aristocratic lady.
Happy to see her stand so proud, I said nothing and only approached her.
“…What Hey, hands off! You pervert!”
Her hands were worn out from swinging a metal rod longer than she is tall — not just today, but for almost a year.
She’s got a lot of blood on her palms, and they’re far more scarred than any normal girls’ hands would be.
“High Cure Adjust.”
“Oh, how nice of you!”
“Mm-hm, now you’re giving an honest opinion! That’s good!”
I proceeded to pat Ferris on her head — and didn’t stop even though she tried to swat my hand away.
Before long, she simply cast her eyes down… Yup, even after her journey, she’s still got her bashful side as any normal girl would.
Then I turned around and walked over to Bright, and at the same time, removed the Key Pendant I’d received from Lina way back when.
I held it toward Bright and induced it with my arcane force, just like I had done to Lina’s…
I must have gotten better at fine-tuning my magic since then… So I SHOULD be able to put in more power now, too.
“……This inducting force feels… amazing.”
Bright looked on as I released my arcane energy, his mouth wide open in awe the whole time, only closing when I’m done.
“I only have one of these, but… let it be the proof of your graduation from apprenticeship.
The artifact will be with Ferris, but may the force be with you, Bright.”
Just as I’d done for Ferris, I patted Bright’s head with one hand, and held up his hand with another.
A drop of water fell on the back of my hand… even though it’s not raining.
Finally, I managed to get the words out of my throat…
“I’ll see you later.”
It’s most likely a lie, but it’s the best I can do.
“Yes…… Yes, of course we will…!”
Bright’s voice trembled, and Ferris held back her sob.
It pains me as well, especially now when I’m walking away.
Giorno and Lylia ran on ahead.
The only one left in front of me now is the one who best understands my current emotions… Pochi.
“Let’s go, Shiro!”
“…Are you sure, sir”
“Yeah! If we stay around here… it’s gonna rain…!”
I bit my lower lip and forced myself to smile… perhaps due to the influence of Pochi’s kindness.
“Well then, everyone! Please be well! And let us meet again!”
She’s lying, too — like Master, like Familiar.
And of course, I never forgot about my beloved son, not even before Pochi started running.
But Chappie had… disappeared.
He’d already known for a long time that this was coming.
That’s probably why.
…No, that’s not it.
He’d been waiting for us, on a clifftop up ahead.
Just like Shi’shichou had done a while ago.
That’s all he did — shouting and striking a pose.
Come to think of it, those sunglasses are probably the only thing I can really leave with him.
So for a second, Pochi came to a stop, and–
“Hmph! MOST MUSCULARRRRRR!!”
“Hoh! POCCHIEEEEEE MASK!!”
We struck one last pose for him.
“Very good! Very good, father, mother! I hereby declare! I will become the best hero of justice the world has ever seen!!”
A whole lot of water dripped from the eyes of us three — so much that we couldn’t say it was the rain.
“Here we go!”
“Be well, Chappie!”
“Be well, both of you!”
And so, with our voices all trembling, we said our last goodbyes.
Yes, now is the time for us to part ways.
By the time Pochi and I caught up to the two others, our tears had already stopped.
It feels as if… in the place we’re stepping into, we can’t afford to let our emotions distract us.
“Is it the place, Poer Where you said you’d felt a fluctuation of arcane energy”
And it seems that there’s another curtain of energy put up, to keep away intruders, like beasts and such.
Rise, Cross Wind!”
The thin, almost invisible barrier broke apart again.
It really is some subtle, delicate trick — goes to show just how superior the Devil King’s techniques are.
This must be the first time Giorno and Lylia have felt this arcane energy — it’s enough to distort their visions like heat haze.
Pochi and I had already felt it once, but this time, we’re doubting whether or not the Devil King’s resurrection is still incomplete.
“Boy, oh boy… I’m starting to think I’m not rewarded enough for this Hero thing…”
“Giorno, you’ll save countless lives with your power.
Be happy with that.”
“Right… For the beautiful girls all over the world…”
Oh yeah, I’d long forgotten that this Hero is quite a womanizer in his free time.
I sure would like to learn more about the Holy Warriors’ lives, but I suppose I’ll have to settle for the adventurers’ way — knowing one another in battle.
“Ngh, I’m detecting something…”
Lylia subtly twitched up one brow.
And the look in her eyes is gradually changing… and they’re turning red.
I’m quite tempted to ask how she does that.
“And how long are you going to stare at me, Poer Heads up — there are three Apostles of Despair up ahead.
And beyond them, an even more sinister arcane energy…”
That’s awesome — as expected of an Elf with the Mind’s Eye.
She’s still seeing clearly, even in this pressuring situation.
I unleashed the Ultimate Limit, surprising the two to my side.
“Master, you’re giving away our position… That was quite a foolish move, don’t you think”
“Hahahaha, come on, Poer.
Don’t spoil the fun like that~~”
Good God, they sure are having fun.
“Rise, A-rise, A-rise! Pochi Pad Breath!”
Sensing that I had put in as much arcane energy as I could into the spell, Pochi tensed up, and then instantly hid behind me.
“G-Giorno! I think my Master’s gone way past foolish now!”
“Hahahaha, apparently so!”
“Shut up! Lylia, Giorno, take cover behind me!”
“Rise, A-rise, A-rise! Unyielding Bulwark: Count 10 & Remote Control!”
Calling up as many of the ultimate defense magecraft as I could, I laid them out in front of me.
“Rise! Magic Shield: Count 10 & Remote Control!”
Then I coated them with magic-resisting layers, and at the same time, the Devils that had been hiding their presences finally appeared.
Well, they don’t know about the spell’s special properties, so…
“Lemme tell y’all something… See that steaming water It’s gonna EXPLODE! Rise! Power Shield: Count 10 & Remote Control!”
The Devils’ eyes were promptly tinged with surprise and fear.
And for good measure, I invoked another spell for protection against physical attacks.
“I ALREADY AM, SIR!”
“DESTROY THEM! WOO-HOO!”
“Come on, Lylia! Hold on to my Master!”
“WHAT! Uh… L-like this…”
Everyone clung to my waist, and at the same time, the water from Pochi Pad Breath exploded.
I held my ground so as to not be blown away by the explosion, sparing no arcane energy to maintain my Ultimate Limit form.
Gah–despite being so brief, this is some damn big impact!
“I WANNA GO HOME!!”
“ME TOO, SIR!!”
“PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER! IS MY GRIP TOO STRONG! ANSWER ME, POER!!”
“SHUT UP, GIORNO!!”
The three Apostles of Despair in front of us were obliterated.
The whole area was engulfed in the light of the explosion, and I felt my legs cramping up.
“GAH…! I-I’m exhausted!”
“Here, have a Pochibitan D, sir!”
“What the–! Where’ve you been hiding this at!”
“IT’S A WOMAN’S SECRET!”
Of all the secrets to keep… this is going inside my mouth, dammit…
I chugged down the Pochibitan D and proceeded to cast Giving Magic under my feet, then Remote Control onto it to maintain the arcane energy restoration as I moved.
“Good job, Poer, my man!”
“Really, that was some incredible power.
The arcane energy distortion is now gone, too…”
“Now we just need to take out the Devil King, sir!”
…They talk so much that there’s no place for me to chime in.