18-12. The Adventure of Pochi (2)
"Pochi has just got the idea nodesuyo!"
Thus Pochi spoke to her fellow travelers at a beach where the Red Smoke Island could be seen.
"B-but Pochi-san. Without a boat, going to that island won't be..."
Bunnykin Usasa said with a bewildered look on her face.
They are trying to get to the Red Smoke Island to root out villains troubling villages in the surrounding areas.
"Usasa, banzai~ nanodesu."
"Banzai nanodesu, yo?"
Even while looking confused, Usasa raised her hands upward as urged by Pochi.
"Litf up nanodesu."
Pochi lifted up Usasa with both her hands.
"Po-Pochi-san, you're not going to throw me at the island, are you?"
"Of course not nanodesu."
Pochi shook her head while looking like she was saying, 'Come on now!'
"Y-yeah, of course you won't."
Usasa sighed in relief but that was a bit premature of her.
"We're gonna run there nodesuyo!"
"Eh? Wai, hold--"
Before Usasa could object, Pochi who shouldered her accelerated like a sports car in a drag race, rushing onto the sea.
Pochi ran on the water surface while leaving a huge amount of sands and ocean water in her track.
Usasa was screaming out her lung, no less louder than the thundering booming sounds.
"Nothing less to expect from Pochi-neesan gau!"
"Nee-san is so awesome kuma!"
Dogkin Gaugaru and Bearkin Kubear praised Pochi with sparkling eyes.
"No uh, I don't think she'd make it to the island..."
The two humans muttered, while Rabibi prayed for her childhood friend's safety.
"Ah, she tripped."
At the end of Hitona's line of sight, Pochi tripped on the waves and tumbled furiously on the water surface.
They rushed to the shore, and just when they were about to jump in the sea to help them, Hitona shouted, "Wait."
"Look at that!"
Pochi who was swimming while carrying the nearly drowned Usasa floated out of the water surface unnaturally.
"A rock floated out of the water kuma!"
"And vegetation gau!"
What looked like rock and vegetation that raised Pochi and Usasa eventually showed itself fully, looking like a small island.
"It is! It's Island Turtle-sama!"
The villagers who were watching the unfolding behind Usasa and the gang shouted out when they saw the small island.
"I-it's really a turtle."
"That it is, the guardian of us fishermen, the 『Island Turtle-sama』."
Hitona murmured when she saw a turtle head poking out of the water.
An elderly resident informed her that it was called Island Turtle.
The Island Turtle came ashore.
Pochi and Usasa who are on top of its head are waving at them.
No, Pochi is waving energetically, but Usasa is fearfully clinging to Pochi.
"Pochi made a little mistake nodesu."
Pochi jumped down the turtle's head as it stretched out in the sand.
"Turtle-san, thank you for saving Pochi nanodesu. This is Pochi's thanks nanodesuyo."
Pochi fetched an especially large beef jerky from her Magic Bag and presented it, the Island Turtle dexterously grabbed it with the tip of its mouth and began slowly chewing on it.
"Aah, already so much trouble even before we get to the island..."
"We really should look for a boat for sure."
Ninin and Hitona racked their brains trying to find a solution.
"That's it nanodesu! Pochi's got just the right idea nodesuyo!"
The scene of her dashing on water came up on everyone's mind when Pochi said that.
"Nee-san, running on the water isn't going to..."
"Not that nodesuyo!"
Pochi pointed at the Island Turtle with a snap.
"Let's ask Turtle-san to get us to the smokey island nodesu."
Pochi looked at the turtle with eyes full of expectations as she declared that.
After staring at Pochi silently for a while, the Island Turtle turned to look elsewhere before slowly nodding.
It's as if the Island Turtle was seeking permission from someone invisible.
The Island Turtle turned its whole body around.
It used its huge fin as a wharf on the sandy beach to lead Pochi and the gang toward its back.
The all smiles Pochi and the gang got on board the turtle back.
"All hands, on board nanodesu!"
Once Pochi made the declaration, the Island Turtle ploddingly swam toward the Red Smoke Island.
As if someone was covering for them, the Island Turtle safely arrived at an uninhabited area in the Red Smoke Island without encountering any monsters or pirates along the way.
With a serious look on her face, Pochi concentrated all her nerves in her hands.
"Got it, nanodesu!"
"Uwaah, you got that one too?"
"As expected of nee-san, she's merciless gau."
"Tell me 'bout it kuma."
Once they landed on the Red Smoke Island, Pochi and the gang are making merry--playing Bo-taoshi using the piled up volcanic ash as sand.
At first they only intended it for a bit, but then it turned into a heated battle before they realized.
"Is this really all right?"
Hitona and Rabibi look down at Pochi and the boys with a troubled look.
"Worry not, you two."
Ninin who was surveying the surroundings on top of a rock spoke to Hitona and Rabibi.
"What do you mean?"
"I'm telling you Pochi-san is only pretending to play around."
Ninin said that smugly.
It looks like Ninin is far too unconditionally trusting of Pochi, thought Hitona.
"Pochi-san, can we really afford to play around here?"
Ignoring the smug-looking Ninin, Hitona spoke to Pochi.
Pochi looked startled once Hitona called out to her.
"Pochi's a huge ditz nodesuyo. She even forgot about that cuz she got too much into playing sand nodesu."
The ditzy Pochi apologized to Hitona.
"Wait so she wasn't waiting to ambush the baddies who noticed our landing..."
Ninin murmured with a shock on his face.
A catkin girl who was playing in the sand with her protector behind a nearby rock looked up at the protector with a startled look on her face.
The catgirl went back to sand playing looking relieved after that protector shook their head to the sides.
On the other hand, Pochi and the gang who recalled their original objective turned their back on the sand pit like they were shaking off the past, departing toward Vice City Cybe.
"This is Vice City Cybe?"
"It kind of looks like a pile of garbage kuma."
"Eh really gau? It's surrounded by high walls and even got watchtowers though gau?"
Usasa, Kubear, Gaugaru each gave their impressions on Vice City Cybe visible from behind a rock.
"Pile of garbage might be too much, but I don't sense a sense of unity like with other towns for sure."
"It's like buildings just keep getting added on top of one another."
Successive expansions turned Cybe into the city scale it is now, but it was originally a small settlement of prospectors who came to pick up dragon scales dropped by the Red Dragon living in the volcano in the center of Red Smoke Island.
No sane person wanted to live in somewhere the Red Dragon could casually destroy on a whim, and neighboring countries didn't dare to interfere in fear of enraging the Red Dragon either.
"Pochi can smell something tasty nodesu."
Pochi sniffed with her nose and ran off saying, "This way nanodesu."
Usasa and the gang chased after Pochi while being careful of the watchtowers.
Pochi arrived at a place where heaps of garbage and junk have been discarded outside the walls.
"What's in this place kuma?"
Pochi found a hidden door behind all the junk.
"But you can't unlock it without the key kuma."
"Pochi's supa powa~ can easily demolish a mere door nodesu!"
"But the watchmen will notice if you're too loud, won't they?"
Rabibi stopped Pochi who had taken a hammer out of her magic bag.
Everyone's lines of sight are gathered at the door that opened with a creaking sound.
"Oh what. It's always been open nodesu!"
"But I'm sure it was locked before kuma..."
Pressing the back of Kubear who looked like he couldn't accept it, Pochi and the gang stepped forward into the open door.
Cat ears twitched in the door's shadow.
"Man, this place is covered in this steam thingy."
"It's kinda suffocating, this isn't fumes, is it?"
Vice City Cybe is just like the name implies, a decadent city.
Men drinking in daylight, half-naked women standing around on the streets flirting with vulgar-looking men.
Those who carelessly tread into alleyways get all their possessions stripped off them before getting dragged away to some kind of processing facilities, it's truly a city where you always have to be on high alert.
"Where's the hostages-san at nodesu?"
Pochi and the gang were at a loss in their first city outing.
They may be good at fighting, but City Adventure is their weakness.
'Swish', a sound of something piercing into the ground below Pochi.
"Meat skewer nanodesu!"
"There's something fastened on it!"
Ninin took the letter from the meat skewer Pochi picked up and looked over it.
Meanwhile, the bored Pochi and the others shared the meat among themselves.
The serious Ninin and Hitona had a headache looking at the gang being all carefree in the enemy territory.
"Pochi-san, we've found where the hostages are held."
The letter has a map drawn depicting their current position as well as the place where the hostages are being made to do manual labor.
Right as Ninin finished reading, the letter turned into a butterfly showing the way for Pochi and the gang.
"Ninin, the one who wrote that letter must be."
"I think that's earl-sama's handwriting."
"I knew it."
Ninin and Hitona looked at each other and sighed together, "He's really way overprotective."
Looks like Earl Pendragon's overprotectiveness is famous far and wide.
"Pochi found the kidnapped people nodesu!"
Pochi declared while striking a shupin pose.
Of course there were gaolers, guard and bad men forcing these captives do manual labor, but the Pendora gang along with Pochi have knocked the living daylights out of them.
"W-who are you guys?"
"We're here to help nodesu!"
Pochi's too frank an explanation sowed distrust growing among the hostages.
"We have come here to accomplish a request from the people at Fishing Villages and Mountain Villages to rescue those who have been captured by the pirates."
Hitona did her best to act like an adult while recalling what she learned at Pendragon Academy's Sunday schools.
"So they didn't abandon us."
"Dammit, those guys musta bust their back."
Apparently they thought their fellow villagers had come together to raise funds and hired skilled adventurers.
"Where's your ship docked at?"
"How did you get here?"
The captives threw questions one after another.
When Pochi shared her snacks to the last starving kid, other captives began to gather round. Seems like everyone's starving.
Next to them, Ninin and the captives' representative is having a discussion.
"You don't have a ship?"
"Yes, we came to this Red Smoke Island riding on Island Turtle's back."
"Island Turtle-sama? Will it let us get on board?"
The Island Turtle that brought them to the island had gone back far deep in the sea.
"But we gotta have a ship to escape here."
Pochi caught the representative's words.
"Pochi will do something about ship nodesuyo!"
"I-it'll work out somehow nodesuyo."
No plan it is.
"Are you going to steal the pirate's ship?"
"That's it! Nanodesu!"
Pochi quickly jumped on the representative's suggestion.
Hook, line and sinker.
"Then let me guide you to where the pirates dock their ships."
Only Pochi and the gang is going to follow the representative otherwise they'd get caught travelling en masse.
Once they've managed to secure a pirate ship, they will escape with the captives on board.
"There it is."
Masts of sailing ships could be seen beyond the deformed shape of the city as a result of extension and rebuilding.
"Which ship is good nodesu?"
"The faster the better kuma!"
"Shouldn't it be a sturdy one?"
"Any ship is fine with Nee-san around kuma."
Once they arrived at the port as led by the representative, Pochi and the gang began choosing the right pirate ship from behind a warehouse block.
"Who goes there!"
A hoarse voice shouted at Pochi and the gang.
Looks like the baddies have found Pochi and the gang.