A Meeting with a White Tiger
<Note: This story takes place sometime around season 2, around volume 3-4 ish, so the status quo is a bit different from the more recent volumes.>
This took place while I was having a late lunch at the guild.
After finishing my meal, I was enjoying a cup of coffee when Megumin came up to me.
“Not a Byakko, it’s a white tiger.”
“Isn’t that the same thing?”
<TL note: Byakko(白虎) literally means white tiger.>
The naming schemes for monsters in this world is quite random.
There are creatures like the guardian of snow sprites that was christened with the name of Winter Shogun by some Japanese guy, and there were also creatures that were given pitiful names like the running hawkites.
That “white tiger” or whatever monster also seems to be referred to as a byakko by a portion of the adventurers.
And, as for why this topic was brought up…
“Calling it a byakko makes it seem like a boss monster of some sort, doesn’t it? Using white tiger makes it sound less threatening, so it’d be easier to fight it.”
“It doesn’t matter what you call it, just hearing its name makes me not want to fight it.”
Megumin had a poster for a subjugation quest to take down a particular monster, a byakko, in her hand.
They are offering two hundred million Eris for it. It doesn’t sound like it’s the kind of reward a regular old tiger would pull down.
“It’s that, isn’t it? There are three other creatures other than the tiger, a gigantic tortoise, a phoenix, and a dragon, and all four of them are high bounty targets from each of the four directions.”
“Kazuma, you’re well informed. By gigantic tortoise, you’re referring to the Treasure Island, right? There’s a gigantic tortoise that uses precious gems and ores as its shell sleeping deep underground around here. I’ve heard that it comes up to sun itself once every ten years.”
I’m just pulling from the standard cliches that often pop up in games and movies and the like, but to think that they actually exist!
“That white tiger usually lives deep in the western mountains far from human civilization, but it’s been sighted more and more recently.”
Well, even if you tell me that…
“Well, I don’t really mind going after a byakko… though, there hasn’t been any reports of anyone getting hurt by the byakko. Perhaps it would be best to see it in person before deciding if we should take it out? The fur of a byakko is reputed to be beautiful and highly sought after. And I’ve heard that no one has been able to catch one before due to their impressive mobility and speed.”
Darkness, sipping tea and bearing a very interested smile, said.
“I object. No matter how troubled by money I am, I’m still a respectable adventurer. From what you just said, it’s not being a threat to humans, right? It’d be one thing if it was a dangerous monster, but taking a harmless life is against my creed. Anyway, I’m heading back home to take an afternoon nap.”
“I object too. A byakko isn’t some common monster, but an existence praised as a divine beast. As a goddess, that thing is somewhat related to me, so there’s no reason for me to bring harm to it. So I’m also heading back to drink a few bottles by the fireplace.”
“You were happily hunting snow sprites not too long ago, so what are you saying now!? Aqua too, don’t act like a proper person only in such times! This is two hundred million, you know? Two hundred million! It would wipe away all of your debts in an instant!”
Megumin forcibly pushed the poster towards Aqua and I, pointing at the bounty.
But even so…
“Hey, have you really thought about this? We’re a party that couldn’t even take down a giant frog cleanly. How could we win against a boss level opponent?”
Byakko are usually one of the tough bosses that appears near the end in video games and manga and the like.
No matter how you look at it, it’s not an opponent suited for fledgling adventurers like us.
“I’ve already thought about that. The white tiger is larger than normal tigers, right? A larger target would be an easier target to hit with my spell.”
Hearing that, Darkness put a hand on her chin.
“Hmm… No matter how big it is, it’s still a tiger without any sort of armour. If Megumin can land a solid hit with her Explosion, it probably wouldn’t survive that.”
Well, I’m very well aware of the power of Explosion, but…
If we can have Darkness hold it at bay in order for Megumin to take it down with an explosion, we might actually be able to win.
That guy has a two hundred million bounty on its head. We could clear our debts and still have money left to spare.
“Hmm… but, well… two hundred million…”
“Ah, this is why you’re naive! I’m not going! What are you thinking, going after a divine beast!? Darkness, Megumin, please stop misleading this weak willed man who’s easily lured by money!”
The source of all my debts revealed her true nature and shouted.
“Sob… Sob… I said I didn’t want to come… ”
“That goes for me too. I would rather not be here, but this is important. I’d rather wipe away the debt that someone created for us as soon as possible!”
Dragging Aqua who’s been crying all this time along with us, we arrived at the mountains to the west of Axel.
Looking up at the verdant mountains, Megumin suggested a compromise to Aqua.
“Well, we’ll just give it a shot. We’ll run away the moment it seems like it’s unwinnable. The white tiger usually only lives in the depths of the mountains, but fortunately, it’s been spotted around here recently, so there’s no need to trek deep inside. We can just wait for it out here.”
“True, if we fight around here, it’d be easy to run back to Axel if anything untoward happens. Don’t worry, Aqua. I’ll properly protect you.”
Seemingly barely convinced by the two, Aqua warily gazed around at her surroundings as she followed us.
Still, a Byakko, huh?
Ignoring the recent increase in sightings, it’s supposedly a rarely seen monster, so we’ll just keep watch out here for a while. If it doesn’t show up, we’ll just drop the whole thing and head back home.
Just when I’m entertaining such naive thoughts,
A loud rustling came from the woods in front of me.
“Is it a rookie killer…?”
A large black furred feline with huge fangs, the natural enemy of newbie adventurers, appeared in front of us.
“Why would a rookie killer appear in this place!? I can’t use Explosion when it’s this close!”
“Megumin, Aqua, stay back! Make sure you stay behind me!”
“Aqua, hurry up and give Darkness some buffs! Megumin, you should prepare to cast your Explosion! With a rookie killer here, it wouldn’t be surprising for there to be a few other monsters around us as well.”
“Hey, why is Kazuma moving to the back!? You get up front too! Just Darkness alone wouldn’t be able to fend it off!”
Having been caught completely off guard by the sudden appearance of the rookie killer, we hastily got into a combat formation.
– However, uncharacteristically, it didn’t take this chance to strike.
It simply stared directly at us.
“… Why isn’t it attacking?”
“I-I wonder why… Perhaps it’s afraid of us? After all, we are a party that managed to take down a Demon King’s General. Perhaps its instincts are telling it that it wouldn’t be able to win a fight with us?”
“It’d be nice if that was the case, but that gaze doesn’t look like one of fear. It feels more like it’s judging us…”
As it gazed on us whispering amongst ourselves, the rookie killer suddenly let out a roar into the distance.
We instinctively took up a guard position, and before long, a similar roar could be heard coming from the depths of the mountains.
“Wait, rookie killers are pack hunters!? Just dealing with one is tough enough as it is! There’s no way we’ll be able to win if a whole pack of them attack us!”
“Let’s run! We’ll let them off today!”
“That’s why I said we shouldn’t come here!”
“Hey, Darkness, don’t smile like that all by yourself!”
Without taking my eyes off that rookie killer, I slowly started backing away.
“Right, listen up. Most carnivores like the rookie killer will instinctively chase after you the moment you turn your back on it. But if this situation drags on, it will slowly close the distance and pounce once it gets in range. We need to carefully watch for an opportunity and run away all at once! It wouldn’t work if our timing is off by even a little bit. If we run away together, it shouldn’t chase after us.”
“Right, so we’ll run at the count of five, okay? Remember, it’s the count of five. Don’t run before then.”
“Okay. Trust me, I’ll do that.”
After confirming the responses of the two, Darkness, who was still staring down the rookie killer, started counting.
“Right, so I’ll start. One… Two…”
The moment we reached three, all of us, other than Darkness, immediately bolted for it.
“Four… Ah! W-Wait for me!”
As Darkness chased after us with tears in her eyes, the other two who were trailing behind me started raising a fuss…
“I knew this would happen! Leaving the easily tricked Darkness aside, there’s no way such lies can escape my crimson eyes! It’s definitely not because I wanted to run away on my own!”
“Kazuma, you liar! By the way, that’s the same for me too! It’s not because I wanted to run away on my own. Just like Megumin, there’s no way any lies can escape my divine gaze!”
And pushed all the blame to me.
“W-Wait! … The armour is heavy… ! Still, that guy isn’t chasing after us!”
Darkness shouted between breaths.
We turned back around after hearing that, and true enough, the rookie killer hasn’t moved an inch from where it started.
Once again, the four of us returned back to where the rookie killer was.
“What is it doing? Is it hungry? I’ve got a bit of the dried squid we just ordered in my pocket. Would it leave if I feed it that?”
“If it is hungry, it would’ve attacked us. There was that roar earlier too. Do rookie killers usually behave like thi–”
Before I could finish my sentence.
Something else emerged from the trees.
Seeing that, Darkness, standing at the head of our party, muttered.
What appeared in front of us was a gigantic tiger bearing pure white fur.
The byakko that we originally came here to find.
“M-Megumin! The one you were after is here!”
“T-T-Taste my Explosion magic…!”
“Megumin, hurry up! That gaze is the gaze of a wild beast! Hurry up and take out this beast!”
“You little…! Didn’t you say a byakko was a divine beast or something like that earlier!? He’s of the same kind as you, right? Hurry up and soothe him!”
The sudden appearance of the byakko and its heavy boss-like aura threw us into a panic.
As Megumin hastily started chanting her spell, Darkness, who had sheathed her weapon, let out a smile at the byakko.
“It’s fine. I don’t sense any sort of hostility from this byakko, and there’s a certain intelligence in its eyes. Furthermore, the rookie killer still hasn’t made a move. The byakko must have given it some sort of instructions for it to act this way.”
After hearing such unbelievable words, I took another close look at the byakko.
It’s pure white fur shone in the afternoon sun, giving it a breathtaking beauty and a certain divine aura.
And just as Darkness said, I can sense the gleam of intelligence from its eyes.
Darkness spread her arms and spoke to the byakko in a gentle, soothing voice…
“I’m ashamed for even thinking about harming such a beautiful animal… See, there’s nothing to be afraid o–”
And at that very instant, she was sent flying with a swipe of the byakko’s claws.
“It seems totally ready for a fight! Megumin, is your spell not ready yet!?”
“It’s ready to go off at any time! That’s just a giant cat… a giant… a white tiger!”
“Good! Aqua, hurry up and throw some buffs on Darkness… Hey, don’t you dare run at such a time!”
Sensing the concentration of mana around Megumin, the rookie killer darted back into the bush, but the byakko didn’t make a single move at all.
“With this, the title of Byakko Slayer will be mine! Eat this! My strongest spell! Explosion!”
The shockwave from the explosion threw Aqua to the ground as she tried to escape, and I quick dove to the ground as well to avoid the worst of it.
Once it’s passed, the only thing there was a giant crater. There wasn’t a single trace left of the byakko, nor was there any sign of the rookie killer that just disappeared.
I moved over to Megumin and started scanning the surroundings for the byakko.
“… Did you get it?”
Darkness, scanning her surroundings just like me, said the one thing you should never say in these types of situations.
“Well, at the end of the day, it’s still just a simple beast after all. I can’t believe it’s that easy to get two hundred million eris. Hey, Kazuma, let’s head back! With this, we can wipe out our debts and still have quite a small fortune left over, so we can leisurely spend our time for a few days!”
And of course, Aqua just had to raise a flag.
I shouted towards her.
“No, no, no, the bounty poster said that ‘in order to receive the full reward, the fur of the byakko must be provided.’ But now, there isn’t even a trace left of the byakko…”
I suddenly stiffened up.
My Enemy Detection skill is telling me that something’s behind me.
I cautiously turned around…
“I don’t know if you can understand me, but just in case, I was always against hunting down a byakko. I really like cats, after all. Ah, no, I’m not saying that tigers and cats are the same thing or anything.”
Facing down the byakko who suddenly appeared behind me, I raised both my hands and said.
How the hell did it get behind us so quickly!?
“I also told them that harming a divine beast will bring divine punishment, but these people are blinded by greed and fame and want your fur no matter what, so I came along to stop them…”
It ignored our words, and Megumin who was playing dead besides me, and moved closer to Aqua.
“Hey, why are you coming closer to me!? I didn’t do anything! Do you have some kind of misunderstanding!? Since we are both divine creatures, let’s both get along… huh?”
As Aqua covered her face and started spinning all kinds of excuses, the byakko removed something from its mouth and pushed it over to Aqua.
After Aqua accepted it with a dumbfounded expression, the byakko turned right around and vanished into the woods.
Darkness rushed over to Aqua’s side and looked at what was in her hand.
“… The byakko’s child…?”
–On the path back to Axel.
“Hey, even if you give me this child, I’m not quite sure what I can do with it.”
Aqua has been holding the bundle of fur in her arms and constantly pumping it with recovery magic.
The little byakko was very weak, to the point where it seems like it might expire at any moment.
“Still, isn’t this great for you, Megumin? If this kid really does breathe its last, you’ll be able to gain the title of byakko killer just like you originally wanted.”
“W-Wait a minute, this isn’t my fault, is it? This kid didn’t end up like this because he was caught up in my Explosion magic, did it?”
I regarded Megumin who seemed to be working herself into a panic, but just before I could say something…
“I know you always do unnecessary acts, but the reason why this kid is so weak is because it doesn’t have enough divine essence. A divine beast like a byakko gains divine essence by feeding from its mother, but I couldn’t detect much divine essence from that byakko. It probably used up all of its essence giving birth to it, and is wandering around the area looking for someone with extremely powerful divine power like me to show up.”
Aqua confidently said that.
“In other words, it’s looking for a nanny because it doesn’t have enough divine essence? Considering that you used to fight with the horses in the stables for sleeping space, will it really gain any divine essence from being with you?”
“You’ll get divine punishment if you continue saying such baseless things! Look at how peaceful it’s sleeping after receiving my divine essence.”
“… Isn’t this kid peeing itself?”
Restraining Aqua who was trying to throw away the furball after her hagoromo got stained, Darkness gazed upon the white tiger’s sleeping face and said.
“Well, I get that Aqua can emit divine essence from being a priest, but what should we do about this kid?”
“Let’s keep it.”
Aqua, picking up the byakko that she just tried to throw away a while ago, said.
“Its mother gave up it’s parental rights, that means that those rights are now mine. Though my ideal is to raise a dragon, a divine beast would just fine too. I’ll raise this child to be loyal to me, and turn it into a trump card in the fight against the Demon King.”
“You can’t even take care of yourself properly, and yet you still want to keep a pet?”
–Staring intently at the bundle of fur that Aqua had in her hands, the guild receptionist cautiously asked.
“Err… Well, we can buy it, but… well….”
After returning to Axel, we headed back to the adventurer’s guild.
“Fiend! Kazuma, you fiend! How could you bear to sell such a cute animal to become a fur coat or something!? Did you leave your conscience in your mother’s stomach when you were born!?”
After unexpectedly getting our hands on a baby byakko, I racked my brains thinking of a way in which I could make some money out of the whole deal, and asked if the would accept the fur of an immature byakko.
“You’re an adventurer, so stop saying such naive things! This thing is a monster, you know!? No matter how cute it is, it’s still the child of a monster! I would rather not do this either, but I didn’t have a choice in this! Byakkos not harming humans is just a rumour! If we believe that rumour and let this kid go free, what would you do if it does end up harming someone once it grew up!”
I argued with Aqua who was holding the tiger tightly against her chest.
“This man, you even said that taking a harmless life is against your creed and what not, but you immediately change your tune the moment money is involved.”
“Megumin, take a good look! This is the expression of a man who’s blinded by money!”
The bystanders are really noisy today.
Ignoring the two of them who were whispering to each other behind my back, I snatched the byakko away from Aqua’s grasp.
“Moreover, have you given any thought as to how long it would take before this kitten becomes able to help out in combat!? Divine beasts probably live for over a hundred years, right!? It would take at least a decade or two before this kitten fully grows up, right!?”
Dodging Aqua’s attempts at snatching it back, I placed the byakko on the counter.
“So, please buy it. Incidentally, how much money would it be worth?”
“D-Do you really want to sell it. Err, at a guess, it’d say it’s worth about ten million eris…”
The receptionist hesitantly said as she saw the byakko curled up into a ball on her counter.
As expected of a byakko. Even a child is worth ten million eris.
It might not be able to clear away all of my debts, but this will give me enough money to make it through the winter. Plus…
Seeming quite a bit livelier after receiving Aqua’s divine essence, the byakko looked up at me and repeatedly mewed.
Additionally, I could feel Aqua’s intense gaze on the back of my head.
“Ooh… this feels really soft…”
The receptionist ran her hand through its fur and shivered in response.
“We already have my familiar living with us, so even if there is two of them, it wouldn’t increase the amount of effort needed to take care of them by very much. Why don’t we just take this child in?”
Ignoring Megumin who was saying such things, and Aqua who was still staring at me, I repeatedly told myself.
Harden your heart, Satou Kazuma! Sure, I like cats and all, but this is a tiger!
“W-Well, I can understand where you’re coming from with all of that debt hanging over your head. And as an adventurer, I feel the same way about not letting a monster go free. Raising a monster isn’t something that should be praised. Let’s leave the decision to Kazuma.”
Despite saying that, Darkness was staring intently at the byakko with a gentle expression.
“Nyaa~! Nyaa~! Nyaa~!”
Even Darkness seems to have fallen for its charms, but I am not cut from the same cloth as these three!
No matter how much it attempts to appeal to me, I won’t falter!
“–Do we have enough sand for the litterbox? Oh, and prepare a box for him to sleep in. And a blanket too.”
“We can just use some of the sand that we use for Chomusuke. As for the box, I’ll go ask the owner of the nearby alcohol shop for one.”
On the way back home.
After having fallen for its charms afterall, I’m preparing the stuff we need to keep the byakko.
Well, it’s a baby byakko, after all. It should grow up to be pretty strong in the future.
I might not know how much time and food it would take before it grows up, but looking at it positively…
Aqua immediately ran to her spot by the fireplace the moment the door is opened.
The byakko, held in her arms, stared intently at a point in the ceiling.
Darkness went off to the kitchen to brew some tea, and Megumin, after getting off my back, headed over to the sofa and flopped onto it.
“It’s really staring! Maybe it has a way to see things that one shouldn’t see? It’s a divine beast, after all.”
Megumin said as she turned onto her back and followed the byakko’s gaze.
Hearing that sort of thing will make it really hard to sleep at night, so please cut it out.
“This kid is staring at the stray ghost that stays in this mansion. I’ve mentioned it before, haven’t I? The ghost of a noble young girl is living in this mansion. She’s been hanging there like a jellyfish all this time, so it probably caught it’s interest.”
“You know, I’ve been thinking this for a while now, but if there’s really something like that living here, she should really come and talk to me at least once. It doesn’t feel like this place is haunted at all.”
… Just then, Darkness, who was supposed to be preparing tea in the kitchen, came back bearing a handful of items and an uncertain expression.
“S-Say, what should we name him? He’s really hugging that hot milk bottle. I know he mainly subsists on divine essence, but would it be fine to feed him some milk?”
The one who just said that an adventurer shouldn’t let a monster go free and what not is now the one fawning over the monster the most.
“This kid’s name is Jake Wild. It’s full name is Wolfgang D. Jake Wild, or Jake for short.”
The next morning, Aqua, cradling the byakko in her arms, gave us that introduction the moment we met.
What a uselessly grandiose name.
“I’ve also been thinking of a name for him.”
“No, you definitely can’t name him! You’re going to name him something weird like Megumegu or Minmin or something, right?”
“Hey, can you stop making fun of my name?”
Quite some distance away from the two who were arguing so early in the morning, Darkness was happily changing the sand in the litterbox.
“Still, it does look far more energetic compared to yesterday.”
It looked like it was on the verge of death yesterday, but it’s certainly far more energetic now.
“Yeah, at this rate, it’ll be able to live on it’s own after another week or so.”
According to Aqua, it only needs to be constantly infused with divine energy when it’s a newborn. Once that period is over, it can be raised by anyone.
It’s been about a week since then, and the white tiger cub has become full of energy.
“Right, I’m not raising you as a pet for fun. From today onwards, you’ll be undergoing my spartan-style training regime so that you’ll become my trump card against the Demon King!”
Aqua struck an imposing posture as she said that to Jake, who was sleeping in the middle of the courtyard.
“It’s not nyaa, your answer should be ‘Yes!'”
Jake ignored those stupid words and wandered over to Aqua.
“No, it’s not time for lunch yet… Ah, not, don’t bite my hagoromo! That’s an extremely important divine treasure!… Aaaaah! No, you can’t take that! Please, come back!”
After Jake made away with Aqua’s sash, she dropped any pretense of her imposing persona to chase after it.
It always feels like something is wrong to have her chase after a cat like that.
The two of them played tag all over the courtyard until Jake fell asleep.
“–Jake, no, you can’t get together with that kid. There’s an evil aura surrounding her. I don’t like her at all.”
–The next day.
Aqua said that to Jake as it was playing around with Chomusuke.
“To think that he would be able to go toe to toe with my familiar, this Jake is pretty skilled too. Isn’t he?”
“Ahh, how cute… Say, Aqua, Megumin, can we leave those two alone for a while?”
Under the gazes of the three, Jake and Chomusuke pushed each other down and play fought in front of the fireplace.
“Jake, let her have a taste of the God Blow that I taught you yesterday! Let that evil furball know the difference in power between the two of you and bring her under your heel!”
Aqua cheered, but at that instant, the two of them seemed like they tried themselves out and curled up into a ball to take a nap.
Seeing that, Darkness looked like she wanted to pet them but was afraid of waking them up, so she held her hand.
Aqua on the other hand had no such reservations and hastily picked up Jake.
“Why aren’t you listening to me? I won’t let you slack off today! Come on, wake up! It’s time for your training! Even if you cry and beg, I won’t-Aaaaah!”
“… Seems like he forgot where to the toilet is.”
“Why does he always do this on me!? Uuu… Uuu… Come on, Jake, I’m begging you, please remember where the toilet is!”
Aqua, crying and begging the newborn tiger, rushed over to the toilet.
“Hey, Jake, that hagoromo is a very important item. It’s not your blanket. I have your blanket right here, so can you please return it to me?”
Having snatched away the hagoromo that Aqua’s been calling a divine treasure, Jake is currently taking a nap on top of it.
“He really is carefree. That pet of yours that you’ve raised sure is quite unreasonable.”
“We just haven’t learnt to communicate yet! I’ll be sleeping here tonight! I want to make him think that I am his mother!”
Saying that, she laid down in front of the fireplace and hugged the box that Jake was sleeping in.
Well, if she wants to do that, there’s no harm in letting her do so.
“Ah, you didn’t go to the toilet yet, did you? My hagoromo might be able to purify liquids, but that will still get you divine punishment. I won’t let you get away with it this time! Properly apologize!”
Her voice could be heard throughout the entire mansion.
–After such days continued on for several weeks, on a certain afternoon.
“Jake, it’s a very beautiful day today, so I understand why you might want to take a nap, but it’s about time you should start listening to me! You should be ready to start taking combat lessons now!”
Aqua said that as she carried Jake in her arms in the courtyard.
“Seriously, who cares about combat training and defeating the Demon King and whatnot? As a cat lover, I’d be happy just spending the days like this.”
“Well, I’m not the least bit happy at all! This kid still hasn’t remembered where he should go to the toilet! And it doesn’t listen to me at all! A divine beast should be more sensible, but this kid is still wetting his bed every day!”
Wetting his bed, huh…
“Say, you know, I’ve heard that children will wet their bed when they feel lonely. Is this kid lonely because he can’t see his mother?”
“… This kid has already caused me so much trouble. Will such a selfish and fickle cat really not be able to forget its birth mother? Seriously, what a fickle child.”
“Well, it’s a tiger, so what do you want me to say? Still, he should get used to it eventually. When he stops wetting the bed, that’ll mean that he’s finally recognized you as his mother.”
I relaxedly said that as I lay on the grass, and Aqua responded with,
“Ah, wait, doesn’t that mean that he’ll continue defiling my divine treasure!? Don’t even joke about that! Hey, Jake, just what do you think the divine treasure of a goddess is!? I know that I’ve been spoiling you all this time, but if you continue doing that, I’ll have to seriously punish you!”
–In the mountains to the west of Axel.
“Hey, is this really fine?”
We were currently heading off towards where we first met the byakko with Jake in tow.
“I already said it’s fine. I don’t need such a stupid child that can’t find out where the toilet is. It doesn’t listen to a word that I’ve said. I knew it, raising a dragon would be better. Hey, did you hear that, Jake? We might be going out separate ways today, but I’m as happy as can be.”
Aqua, leading our party, said that while holding Jake tightly against her chest.
“… But still, Aqua, even if we go back to the same spot, his birth mother might not be in the same place. I wouldn’t mind continuing to raise it and turning it into another one of my familiars.”
Having grown attached to him in the short time they spent together, Megumin and Darkness are both trying to talk Aqua out of it.
“It will definitely be waiting there. This is my goddess’s intuition.”
Hearing Aqua say that, the two had no choice but to follow along in silence.
“See, it’s just like I said, right?”
How long has it been waiting there, I wonder? That very same byakko that we met has been laying there motionlessly with its eyes closed.
I have no idea why it would believe so, but it must have known that Aqua would bring its child back.
As Aqua approached it bearing Jake in her arms, the byakko opened its eyes.
Under our gaze, Aqua crouched down and gently placed Jake on the ground.
“Now, now, hurry up and go home.”
Jake looked up at Aqua who harshly said such things, but remained motionless.
“… What’s wrong? Are you concerned about what I said earlier? Just so you know, the dragons are better than tigers bit is a joke. If you have any sort of affection left for me, then go attack the Demon King’s army once you’ve grown up.”
Aqua turned her back on it, and Jake bit on the sash of her hagoromo like he was playing.
Seeing that, Aqua couldn’t hold back anymore and tightly hugged it against her chest.
It seems like this was too much for Megumin and Darkness, for they turned away.
And the mother byakko that was silently observing them from the side slowly approached the two.
“Now, goodbye, Jake… Hey, Jake, it’s about time you let go of my Hagoromo…. No, this isn’t your blanket. Ah, ouch! Jake, don’t extend your claws! It hurts!”
Seeing Jake’s unwillingness to let go of Aqua, the mother byakko came to a stop.
And gently lifted Aqua by her collar with its mouth before darting off.
“Aaah! Kazuma-san! Kazuma-san!”
“That idiot! Don’t get taken away too!”
“Aqua! H-Hold on! Please find a way to escape!”
“Hold it! Where do you intend on taking Aqua to!?”
A byakko is rumoured to be the fastest creature in this world.
Needless to say, it’s not something that we can catch up with.
–Three days later.
Covered in the white fur of the byakko, Aqua came back with a haggard seeming expression and muttered.
“If I ever get a pet in the future, I think I’ll get a dragon…”