Chapter 339, Lloyd of the White
Bruce and Betty were busy shaking off the countless guards attacking them.
“Hah hah hah…! Damn it!”
“It’s already so chaotic.”
All the explosions in the north-east section of Regalia Castle had alerted all the guards inside, and now they were doing all they could to capture Pochi and the Silver trio.
“Hey! Don’t break formation! Keep Pochi in the center!”
“”Yeah, I know!””
Bruce and Betty responded to Blazer’s reminder, and Pochi’s face turned fretful as she kept on dodging the enemies in front of her.
“Do you think… do you think my Master is all right!”
She gradually grew more impatient, so much so that the trio running behind her could feel it.
Rather than expressing their worry to Pochi, however, the trio all cracked a smile, and they told her what they felt they actually had to say.
“Heh, there’s no way he’s gonna be killed now!”
“Well, even if he was, he never would’ve gone down without a hard fight!”
“Of course he’d pull through — isn’t that exactly who our comrade-in-arms is”
Bruce, Betty, and Blazer trusted Asley a great deal — and the showing of that trust did wonders to reassure Pochi.
Still, they were not without their fears of uncertainty.
That was how impactful the Gaspard encounter had been for them, and especially for Pochi.
But now, Pochi could do nothing but continue the team’s search for Vaas.
Just like Asley right now in another location, the dog’s face was painted with regret.
“Are we even going the right way, anyway”
“We’ve already seen most of the big rooms — and down this way is pretty much the only place we haven’t checked yet!”
“What do you think, Pochi”
“–! I think I’m sensing trace amounts of strange arcane energy over there! But wait a…!”
Pochi suddenly stopped.
Fortunately, no one had heard the last interrupted sentence.
[This arcane energy feels… suspiciously familiar…]
In the dead of the night, a man in a fluttering white robe walked in a brightly lit room.
The room looked like the interior of a cathedral, but all around him was nothing but evil.
They surrounded him, their noses twitching as they walked silently on all fours.
This evil — a line of Billy’s experimental creatures known as the Alphas.
There were two dozen of them here right now.
And aside from the grotesque creatures and the man in the white robe, there was someone else here in this room.
A young man — or perhaps a boy, sitting in a wheelchair perfectly motionless, as if staring into the void.
Not a single one among them made any sound.
The man in the white robe simply walked around.
The Alphas all stared at the large door that served as the entrance to this room.
And the wheelchair-bound man was as motionless as an uncontrolled puppet.
Eventually, some noises could be heard coming from the other side of the door.
Noises like footsteps, gradually getting louder and louder.
Pochi had subconsciously detected trace amounts of arcane energy — that was what was leading her and the Silver trio here.
Asley and Lylia were not so far behind them, too.
This time, it was Bruce’s voice that could be heard from behind the door.
The Alphas bared their fangs and lowered themselves into a battle-ready stance.
Their enemies were close.
Bruce proceeded to break right through the door.
The ALphas promptly jumped straight out of the room.
Blazer’s attack accurately decapitated one of the Alphas, and Betty threw some daggers at three others to suppress their advance.
“Leave it to me–“
Pochi shouted and jumped up, but then…
…She landed without getting even one attack out.
“Wh-whwhwhwhat are THOSE! Don’t they… took a bit like me!”
“Huh Nah, I don’t think they do, actually…”
“Yeah, way too muscular — hell, they’re all muscle! They don’t even have fur, or even skin!”
“Now that’s what I call strong…”
Blazer muttered to himself as he tightened his grip on his sword.
He was not looking at the Alphas, however, but beyond them — at the man in the white robe.
Everyone else felt the same way.
Bruce cleaved one of the Alphas in two, and looked at the man through the gap he had just cut open — and before long, the Alpha’s body fell to the floor.
“Gah, check out that dude… Should be on about the same level as Ishtar, yeah”
“Don’t let your guard down.
We don’t know how much power he’s hiding.”
“So… the little guy should be Vaas, yes”
Pochi tilted her head as she looked at the young man in the wheelchair, and Betty nodded.
“Yeah, that’s him — I’ve seen him a few times in the past, during public appearances and ceremonies and stuff.
It’s been a while, though… and he hasn’t grown at all.
“Isn’t he almost twenty years old by now– Wait, he’s as small as Natsu Yeah, what’s doing on here”
Bruce scratched his head.
[–Restriction of physical growth through a brain activity and development limiter.]
Pochi and the Silver trio turned around, and saw that two of the people they could rely on had arrived.
“Master! You’re safe!”
Pochi ran around Asley, wagging her tail.
Meanwhile, Lylia cut down one of the Alphas.
“Ah– hey, Pochi, focus on the fight! We don’t have time to mess around here!”
“Yes, sir! Your orders”
“I SAID… FOCUS.
Just as Asley and Pochi were about to start cursing at each other, two Alphas jumped at them.
Asley’s fist and Pochi’s paw landed on the Alphas, sending them flying into a wall.
“Okay, no arguments for now.
We have to get War Demon Emperor Vaas out of here.
And to achieve that–“
“–We have to take out that guy in the white robe!”
Pochi raised her paws, but then Lylia stood in front of her.
So powerful, in fact, that neither the Silver Trio nor Lylia could simply charge at him.
“Hmph, first the Devilkin, now these creepy things… The times are changing way too damn quickly!”
“Oh c’mon, brother! You’re getting to experience the latest technology here, you know!”
“…And that’s the last of them!”
Blazer beheaded the last of the Alphas as it jumped at him.
“I see them! Over here!”
But then the castle guards gathered in front of the door; the Silver trio had to turn around and hold them off, leaving only Asley, Pochi, and Lylia to face off against the mysterious man.
“That’s probably Lloyd of the White.
Listen, Lylia — Pochi and I will keep him busy.
You wait for a chance to grab Vaas and–“
“–What, are you saying I’m not strong enough to take him on”
“That’s not it.
I mean, you know that Pochi can’t operate a wheelchair, right”
“What! I can sit on one just fine, sir!”
“You’re supposed to PUSH it, damn it!”
“What, are you saying that I can’t push a wheelchair, then”
“Well, yes, you CAN’T! And trying to speak like Lylia won’t help, damn it!”
“Sorry, Asley! I call first dibs!”
Lylia said and promptly rushed straight at Lloyd of the White.
“Sorry, Asley! I call first dibs!”
“It’s not ‘first’ dibs if you’re second in line, damn it!”
“Well, I can’t operate a wheelchair, sir!”
Pochi said as if she had a bone to pick with what she had been told earlier.
And then she followed right behind Lylia, rushing at Lloyd.
Lylia charged at Lloyd, and at the same time, Lloyd held out his hand and shot a blast of arcane energy.
After ducking down to dodge the blast, Lylia was about to raise her sword up overhead, but then…
Lloyd used his right foot to kick and hold down Lylia’s arm, preventing her from lifting her blade.
Lylia rolled backward and threw a roundhouse kick, which Lloyd easily dodged.
Immediately after, Pochi jumped at Lloyd, but he simply grabbed her swinging front leg from above.
Then, with his free left hand, Lloyd grabbed Pochi’s head and took a close look at her face.
He said nothing — and did nothing, either, aside from tilting his head in apparent confusion.
Then he opened his mouth slightly and whispered something to Pochi.
Pochi, hearing his voice and seeing his eyes, tilted her head in the same direction.
Lylia lunged at Lloyd’s abdomen, forcing him to release Pochi and blowing him away.
Lloyd’s head remained tilted as he landed without much of an impact on the floor.
And Pochi, for some reason, froze up.
…As if her Master’s voice was not reaching her…