I arrived early the next morning to continue whatever horrific training Shishou had planned, but when I showed up he simply shooed me away.
“Your training is on hold until the second round. You still have a lot to learn, but against this opponent, you need to be rested more than anything. Eat, sleep, and think of a strategy for the next few days.” Was what he said to me before waving me away
I don’t know for sure that I’m ready, but the idea of getting a few days off sounds too good to pass up. I’m not going to make the mistake I made earlier either, this time I’m gathering everybody up and we are going to go somewhere familiar to relax. If the Yuusha or any other bothersome characters show up I’m going to sacrifice one of my party and escape.
“Hey, my schedule suddenly cleared up and I’m wanting to gather everybody. Can you get in touch with the rest for me?” I say over the com-stone to Kera
“Wha?! Everybody… I, uh, don’t know where they are! I mean, why don’t we just hang out alone!” Kera responds excitedly
“Maybe some other time. I’ve not seen the imps or Kiel in a while so I would rather we all got together. I’ll go ahead and summon the imps, they should know where Kiel is.”
“No! That would be bad!” She quickly yells in a panic
“What? Why?” I ask confused at her urgency
“The imps are… shedding! Yes, shedding! If you summon them now it coul-”
“Is that Maou!”
“I want to talk to Maou”
“Let me first!”
She is interrupted by two whimsical voices in the background that grow a little closer with every word.
“Oh, is that the imps? Good. Ask them where Kiel is.” I respond recognizing the voices
“That?! No, um, that’s someone else!” Kera blurts in a similar panic
“Kera… they just called me ‘Maou’. If it’s not them then we have even bigger issues than whatever it is your hiding from me. Spit it out.” I say with mild anger as I realize what is going on
Is this another one of her pranks? Or maybe she screwed up badly and she doesn’t want me to know. Either way, I’m going to be the one dealing with it, aren’t I?
“Well, you see, the thing is, it is them, but it’s not them.” She begins to prattle
“Enough. Summon” I say growing impatient
Before I can even react Mak and Kay come flying at me and tackle me to the ground. Are they heavier?
“Wha?!” I let out as I recover from being knocked down and look at them
The two of them have grown larger, not unlike Bik. Something about them is significantly different though they are no more human looking than before. The horns on their heads have grown slightly longer and small wings have sprouted from their back. Their thighs and forearms have grown bulkier, leaving the rest looking rather scrawny.
“You ranked up?! How? We haven’t been fighting any monsters since the eclipse!” I yell out in surprise and I pick myself off the ground
They say looking confused and concerned between themselves.
“Kera! What’s going on?!” I ask angrily over the stone
“Don’t hang up on me!” I yell in anger nearly shattering the stone against the ground
“Is Maou not happy?”
“We got stronger though…”
They continue with a look of worry, this time looking at me. They look like they are on the verge of tears.
“No! I mean yes? I’m happy! It’s just… it’s going to be harder with you two like that.” I explain as I try to calm them down
Is it already too late to worry about drawing attention? In a few days, half the kingdom will be watching me fight. Maybe at this point, I may need to accept that I just stand out too much to do anything about it.
“I turn back! Maou like me small!”
While my head is still spinning they suddenly turn into puffs of smoke. To my surprise, when the smoke clears they are no longer larger. They have reverted to their previous form. I don’t remember that being possible. Did they not rank up? Is this something different?
“Is Maou happy?”
“Ya ya! Is this better!”
They ask me repeatedly as they stare up at me with continued worry.
“What going on over there?”
“Did that one just call her ‘Maou’?”
A few of the people passing by have started to stop and stare as the two make a loud spectacle.
“I’ve told you before it’s ‘Mano’! You need to work on that!” I scold them somewhat loudly so the eavesdroppers can hear
I’m going to have to sort this out later. For now, I need to get them someplace where we can speak privately.