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Translator: Kurehas.h.i.+ Aiko
Volume 4 Chapter 27: What Dragon-san and Company Were Up To
After deciding to come clean to Mikado-sama, we told him everything about the reason why we came here, including Aru and Mikoto's abduction and the threat that the 'Eclipse' was imposing on the world. Hearing us out, he could only smile in a sad manner.
It feels as though with that confession, everything had been forgiven.
「It seems that my people caused quite a bit of trouble to you. However, although the kidnapped children may be held at the Taisha, you never know. It would certainly be plausible with the report that said that an unknown Shrine Maiden was recently seen there.」
It goes without saying that we were relieved to hear that.
Makoto was said to have returned to the Taisha about a week ago.
I thought it was strange that there was no time lag here, even though we crossed the ocean, but now it seems that there was about a seven days' worth of difference in our perceptions.
「I highly doubt that the Taisha will agree to give them back to you if you just go to them directly.」
「Ending this matter peacefully is most likely impossible. They say that even though that new Shrine Maiden is very peculiar, the others have accepted her like one of their own. If that is indeed so, the whole of the Taisha is bound to be involved in this.」
Nectar says something like that, and my shoulders drop in despair.
I know that they will probably keep Aru unharmed, but I dread to think what about the things could be done to him out there.
Even so, our initial goal of infiltrating the Taisha did not change. But then Mikado-san told us something unexpected.
「The intel you gave us is truly a useful thing. I thought there was something strange going on with the Taisha, and I wanted to find out what it was, but I had no means to actually do that.」
Okay, so he was also interested in the Taisha but couldn't get what he wanted, right?
I don't really get what he was talking about and looked back at him, to which Mikado-san looks rather surprised.
「Fumu, Senjiro never told you? The Taisha is the kind of organization that can have access to pretty much anywhere in the land, but no one other than its members can visit its headquarters or branch offices.」
Hearing that was quite surprising.
They also explained to us that no one knows the exact location of the Taisha's headquarters, except for its Shrine Maidens.
The only way to get in was to use the teleportation circles inside of the branch offices, and only those recognized by the guardian spirits of said offices could do that.
「From what we understand, the guardian deity of the main shrine of the Taisha is said to be a dragon. But aside from that, we don't know why the G.o.ds would create such an inst.i.tution where only a selected few could freely enter in the first place.」
「You'd better be grateful for us telling you all this. Initially, my contract stated that I was not to disclose any of this information no matter what.」
Mikado-san looked content, while Karursan let out a deep sigh.
It seems that hundreds of years ago, a large group of demons formed a raiding party and were going to infiltrate the Taisha's headquarters by means of sneaking in through the leylines.
However, they were quickly discovered by the guardian deity of the Taisha, Ten-san, and disposed of. Many of them were destroyed, and the ones who managed to survive were changed into mere mindless beasts.
In addition, other high ranking demons were stripped of their names and most of their power by the Towa G.o.ds, never to be able to reveal them to people.
It seems that Karursan - who was a high ranking demon at the time - was also somehow affected by that and it severely crippled her ability to establish contracts with people.
In any event, for now we knew that the enemy's stronghold was virtually impregnable, with only real way inside to be invited there by someone from the Taisha itself.
「I see, so that is why we are unable to pinpoint Aru and Mikoto's exact location.」
「They are being held at the Taisha but you're still able to sense them!?」
Even though we explained it quite thoroughly, Karursan still opened her eyes in surprise.
「We were also trying to contact them, but so far there has been no response. Please let me know the details! At the very least, I want to do something that will make that dragon mad!」
Ah… Yeah. Karursan, you may be trying to mask it, but your true colors as a demon are clearly showing right now.
「So I guess it's decided, then.」
Before we could actually answer Karursan's request, Mikado-san spoke up.
「I was having doubts about the Taisha and their influence on Towa for some time now. Please, let me join you so I can see the truth with my own eyes.」
「Doubts, you say?」
Asked Senjiro, to which Mikado-san's face became stiff.
「I'll tell you more when the time comes. Your job will be to find a way to infiltrate the Taisha. I'll lend you as much man power and resources as you need. And in case you'll need more, you can just let Karura know.」
「Senjiro will also need a new spear. I shall introduce you to a good blacksmith, he specializes in making weapons that are good against youmas. It never hurts to have more people who know how to fight. That is why I will also try to contact Kaneko, see if I can get him involved as well.」
「Also, foreign dragon. No, Lavdono. I can call you that, right? I just thought of a job that is going to be perfect for you. You can get to it right away.」
「We shall provide lodging for you, as well as food, information and man power. So you can do a little something for us in return. After all, you won't get a better chance at succeeding in what you intend to do.」
Mikado-san laughs while making a somewhat strange face, resulting in all of us focusing our gazes on him.
Behind his back, I could see Karursan placing her hand on her forehead, her expression seemingly saying: "Ahh, here comes another one of his bad habits……"
With the circ.u.mstances being as they are, we were forced to cooperate together with Mikado-san in formulating what would be known as 'The Taisha Infiltration Strategy'. With that, we were heavily indebted to him.
Together with people delegated by Mikado-san, Nectar began to work towards pinpointing the actual location of the Taisha headquarters.
I was actually pretty worried, but I was allowed to study some of the materials in the libraries, getting to know the magic of Towa better, their demons and various kinds of rituals and contracts they were practicing here.
Everyone was rather busy throughout the day.
As promised, Senjiro was introduced to a certain blacksmith and got his spear remade for the upcoming battle, and then for the time being he was delegated to aid the Guardians in their duties.
It seems that present day Towa was also being overridden with monsters, so every Guardian and Shrine Maiden was delegated to hunting them down and restoring the peace.
So the reason for Mikado-san to be in the restricted zone was so that he could see the scale of the problem with his own eyes.
But now that Senjiro was here to help, there was nothing for him left to do.
I was wondering if it was alright to leave him unsupervised like that. After all, he might have ended up doing something stupid simply out of boredom. However, Senjiro said that we had nothing to worry about.
And since he was saying not to worry, we had no choice but to actually trust him and leave that matter be for now.
I was even considering asking Mikado-san for help in my research, but ultimately decided that he would be of little help and gave the idea a rest.
「I would like you to aid our magicians in their study. It is something only you can do, and besides, if you were to simply walk around outside, you might get in trouble if one of the Taisha's lackeys were to notice you.」
So just like that, I was asked to help the Towa magicians in studying the demon and monster corpses that some of the Guardians were bringing here from time to time.
The man I was working under was, umm…… Chief Magician of the Capital City? Something like that, I believe.
But I quickly learned that the Samurai - the equivalent of n.o.bles in this country - were more or less the same as the n.o.bles back in Ballow, and so I decided to avoid them as much as possible. Dealing with them would be too much of a ha.s.sle.
When I was thinking about how Mikoto and the other Shrine Maidens had to deal with those people…… Wow, talk about scary and bothersome at the same time.
However, since from time to time there also happened to be some bad people who were connected to the monsters or demons, they were also being handed to us for the purpose of interrogation.
Every time I go to make a report to the Emperor, he would study the papers and comment on the more interesting fragments. Overall, I was thinking that he was a good ruler for this country.
I was even getting used to him calling me Lavdono after some time.
…… However, aside from that, nothing especially noteworthy was happening.
And just like that, one week has pa.s.sed while we were doing the jobs that Mikado-san a.s.signed to us.
「So then, I told my buddy the most effective way of dealing with those creepy shadow human-like monsters and how to bind them……」
「Don't you think that's a little bit of an irresponsible thing to do……!?」
I say that while slamming my hand against the desk. I then let out a tired sigh and I see that to that, Karursan had no comeback.
For some reason, I am starting to feel rather unfortunate here……
Thinking something like that, I pull out something from my interdimensional storage.
「Huh, who would have thought that the dumplings from that store would be so delicious that I would buy a whole lot of them? Would you like some as well?」
I spread some cloth on the desk, and seeing a literal mountain-load of pastries unveil right before her eyes, Karursan can't contain her enthusiasm.
「Wah, amazing! Thank you so much! I'll go and prepare some tea!」
Karursan stood up from her seat and went somewhere to make the tea.
Every time I would be delegated here for work, Karursan would come for a visit, hoping to have some sweets to eat. As a result, she would always leave here quite pleased. Sweets are great.
We ate some of them and sipped on the tea, when suddenly we heard knocking onto the sliding door.
Generally, this castle here was a mixture of both j.a.panese and Chinese decors and customs. You also needed to take off your shoes before entering inside and rather than chairs they were using cus.h.i.+ons to sit on the floor. So their lifestyle was similar to what I knew from my original world.
This office here was no exception, but additionally, it was almost completely soundproofed, and it seems that outsiders couldn't get inside of it without being properly invited first.
Also, in some places of the castle there were some pretty advanced pieces of technology. Even Mikado-san himself said that he has no idea where they came from.
And they also had an elevator. Honestly, this castle has way too many themes going for it.
「Please pardon the intrusion.」
While thinking of Towa's technological disproportion, the one to enter the room was Nectar, wearing traditional Towa clothing.
He was holding a bunch of papers in his hand, and when he saw me, his blue eyes lit with happiness.
「Thanks for all of your hard work, Lava!」
「Welcome back, Nectar. Did you manage to achieve something?」
「Yes, more or less. The magic system here is so much different from the one we have in the West. It's so deep that you keep on discovering new things about it and always want more.」
Yes, seeing just how bright his smile was, it was obvious that it piqued his interest to the fullest.
Well, not that it surprises me, since we were living near the castle in Ballow and I was listening to him talking about magic almost every single day.
「That's good to hear. Say, would you like some snacks? I bought some at the store earlier, so if you happen to have some free time, feel free to join us.」
「I would love to!」
「Well, in that case……」
Hearing that voice, I saw Mikado-san's face peeking from outside of the door.
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot.
「I hope you didn't forget that I'm the owner of this place. Be that as it may, this office is still part of the castle.」
「Ahaha, sorry about that.」
「No big deal. It's rather refres.h.i.+ng, I must say.」
Seemingly entertained, Mikado-san turned towards Nectar.
「So, what's this? I thought that the report would be arriving soon. What happened to Kiris.h.i.+ma?」
「This here is the report. Kiris.h.i.+msama wrote it, and then fell asleep right away due to exhaustion.」
「…… Say what?」
Seemingly not used to hearing such news, they both sit down on the cus.h.i.+ons with their knees bent. Then, Nectar hands him the materials.
If I recall correctly, this Kiris.h.i.+ma guy must have been the leader of the group of magicians that were delegated to work with Nectar by Mikado-san.
We've met each other on several occasions, and I was always getting an impression that he was a serious yet honest man, although a slight workaholic. To think that someone like him was now bedridden……
「Umm, he said something like "I've had enough. It's been only a week, but I feel like we've been doing this research for decades now!" Was there something hard to understand in what we were doing? Others were also scolding me that I was probably the only one who was able to understand it all. And since I thought that I could meet with Lava, I proposed to deliver the report myself.」
「…… I see. It seems that Western magicians are something else entirely.」
We completely ignored Mikado-san's greed-ridden remark, and so the Emperor put his hands on his temple while Nectar looked somewhat troubled.
「I'm grateful for you disclosing the contents of your country's research to me, despite the fact that I am but an outsider. It was bringing tears to everyone's eyes. Maybe they are feeling sad or lonely?」
No, don't you think that it was something else entirely that made them like that?
In general, it seems that Nectar came to them and completely turned their methods of work inside out. And he did all that without realizing it.
And they were tolerating his antics mostly because thanks to him they could learn the ways of magecraft from the West.
But unfortunately for them, Nectar's interest in researching magic was something bordering on the brink of obsession.
If there was something he didn't quite understand he would find someone willing to explain it to him, and he would take in that explanation just like a sponge was absorbing water.
I imagine that most of the other magicians quickly got really tired of that att.i.tude of his.
And seeing as Nectar was used to working in laboratories where the personnel was showing their hostility towards him quite openly, this experience here must have seemed quite cute in his eyes. Needless to say, it wouldn't stop his thirst for knowledge.
「So, how's the research going? I would like to hear the details.」
「That is why it was so much fun for me…… Ah, yes, of course. Please, have a look at it.」
Mikado-san said that as to bring back Nectar to the topic at hand, to which he seemed sad and that happy spark was now lost from his eyes.
See? Look what you've done! Make him happy again, right this instant!
「No matter how many times I look at you, you really do look like a genuine married couple.」
I thought like that, but I didn't think that Mikado-san would be this amazed by our relations.h.i.+p.
「I keep telling him that, and yet he still acts like a child when it comes to magic.」
「Lucky for you. That makes the possibility of him having an affair on the side that much less probable.」
He said something that I didn't quite understand, but I could only guess that it probably wasn't anything good.
Unwilling to explain his words, Mikado-san took the papers from Nectar and began to read through their contents.
Then, after Karursan returned with some tea, we began our short briefing.