Kuro no Maou 426 – Part 3/3

King’s Flash

 

Ai slowly approached Bergunt while carrying a baby Griffon in her arms.

“We’re running out of magical power, so we can’t keep pressing forward–”

“Whaaat!? I’ve already heard this excuse before! Aren’t three of our ancient golems still able to move?”

“We only had just enough magical power to make the ten Samples at the beginning and those three Fulltunes. So far we’ve been charging them up to full with magical power, so if we wanted to make them move like that again, it would take until… um… the day after tomorrow, maybe? Before they’re ready.”

With her blond ponytails and her colorful getup, Ai gives off the appearance of being a bit of an idiot, but still seemed to have a surprisingly good grasp of her own research. Of course, she didn’t have the level of expertise a researcher from ‘White Sacrament’ would normally have, but still had a rough idea of how the ancient golems are used and how they operate. Because of this, she was able to give Bergunt an explanation that had just about the necessary information, and nothing that she had to him could be considered to be mistaken.

The first ten golems they had sent out, which Ai had called ‘Samples’, were simple experimental models whose purpose was only intelligence gathering.

The power loaders they had excavated, AKA ‘Taurus’ were different than them in their preservation state. Those with good frames can be repaired smoothly, but the Samples were much more difficult to bring back to full operational capacity. And when there were no ancient parts available to replace a given damaged part, there was simply nothing we could do about it. The best that could be done in those cases was trying to make do with a substitute.

To make matters worse, there had been many problems with delivery times before the attack on Spada, so most of the repairs could not be completed.

In the end, the ten golems that were left in an incomplete state would be used as samples. Also, there was insufficient data regarding their movement capabilities, so the idea was to finish analyzing them with any data they could collect during their actual use.

During trials, when Dorothy was trying out one of the golems herself, a fellow researcher from ‘White Sacrament’ who was fully dedicated to her work immediately fed the data she had back to the Fulltune Taurus, which made it possible to make finer adjustments to them.

Through their great effort, the Taurus were not only able to move but to fly as well. The research had wonderfully borne fruit, and it was a tremendous success for the project.

For some reason, Ai had somehow been able to understand the gist of this without having it explained by anyone, and just by randomly overhearing a conversation from Dorothy.

Dorothy, who doesn’t really have an eye for people, couldn’t figure out whether this young adventurer had a knack for stuff related to ancient technology or not.

“We’ve managed to make a hole in their walls! We cannot let this chance to attack pass!”

“Even if you say that, those things are not going to move–”

“Y… You… This… This is a chance that happens once in a lifetime–”

While the two of them angrily leer at each other, Dorothy steadily begins her preparations for their retreat. No matter anyone says, they were successfully able to tear a hole in one of Galahad Fortress’ walls, so the expected results from her research had been completely achieved.

Dorothy had no interest in cooperating with the Crusaders, as she was no believer in any holy war that needed to be had in God’s name. Whether the Third Crusade wins or loses has nothing to do with her.

What mattered to her was being able to conduct her research on the Taurus based on actual battles, as commanded by Bishop Judas.

“Phew… I’m so tired… I wanna go analyze this data soon…”

Dorothy muttered those words as she typed the word ‘Pile Bunker’ and seeing the other two Taurus returning safely. Two gigantic magic circles appeared under each Taurus’ feet, and seeing the golems sink back into them as if submerging into a deep lake after such a difficult battle made Dorothy feel as proud as a mother who realizes just how much her own children had grown.

She had lost all of the ten Samples and one of the Taurus, but to Dorothy, it had been worth it. She had gathered a great deal of data, after all.

The Taurus had given it their all during the battle, and the limits of their endurance had become clear. Also, she had gained valuable experience during the ‘Telepathic Hacking’ of one of the golems.

She still doesn’t know what actually happened in that battle. No matter if its a man or a machine, nothing beats the experience that can be obtained by actually being on the battlefield.

Being so immersed in that thought, the only thing that was able to bring Dorothy back to reality was the white stuff that had fallen on the tip of her nose.

“Ah… snow.”

There was no clear blue sky when she looked up. Before she had realized, hazy clouds had covered the sky, and powder snow danced fleetingly in midair.

“Ah– It’s a snowstorm, isn’t it?”

As Ai said that while looking a little bored, the count shouted out something like ‘Hey, we’re not done talking yet’.

“…Do you think so?”

Dorothy had reflexively asked that question. To her, it looked as if the snowfall could be over soon.

“I do! I may look like this, but I grew up in the mountains, so I kind of know somehow. I happened to see a white dragon at a glance on the other side, which means that we’ll be hit by a severe snowstorm for three days and three nights from today!”

While Ai certainly doesn’t look like someone who’s grown up in the city, she seemed somehow full of confidence about her mountain-weather-forecast abilities.

“Did you really see all that?”

“I saw it and I could feel it!”

Such a daunting and sensory reason was far from something the stubborn brain of a natural-born researcher such as Dorothy could give believe. However, even she can understand that there is a certain rationality to the human ‘rule of experience’. It was possible that there was some credit in Ai’s words.

“Because of this, it would be better if we stopped our attack on the castle for today, old man.”

“You’re ten years too young to try and tell me what to do, girl! And I’m not an old man!”

“Well then, let’s ask the Stargazer later, shall we? I’m sure he’ll be able to say as much.”

Unexpectedly, Ai’s honest retort seemed to have touched a nerve. Count Bergunt’s head looked as if it had gotten so hot that one could boil water for a tea over it for a moment, but soon appeared to have gotten down to room temperature.

While he does give off an image of shouting out absurd orders, he’s not just someone who dresses up like a general. He’s a nobleman who is also a veteran in the art of war, who has defended –and even managed to expand– his territory against both monsters and pagans countless times.

Worst case scenario, what would happen if a snowstorm does indeed hit them during the siege? The danger involved does not need to be pointed out by anyone.

After a heavy groan, Count Bergunt finally recovered his composure.

“…So no matter what we do, we won’t be able to send our golems out again, right?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

Dorothy didn’t go as far as mentioning that the golems had already been put away back into the ‘Craft Hangar’ and that taking them back out now would take way too much time.

The ‘Craft Hangar’, which was used to put the Taurus away when not in use, was not a simple space created with Dimension Magic. The Taurus had been originally excavated from Media Ruins, where they had been enshrined in a space created with ancient magic. For this reason, no giant humanoids have been discovered up until then.

They would have never been found by searching for hidden doors and corridors. The way to a space sealed by ancient magic cannot be opened without advanced magical exploration technology or an insanely huge amount of good luck.

In short, the ‘Craft Hangar’ is the very interdimensional space the Taurus had been enshrined away since ancient times. Normally, no one should be able to relocate that space outside of the Media Ruins, but somehow Judas had managed to do just that. Not even Dorothy knows how he was able to do that.

“How long until we can use our golems again?”

“Umm, the Leyline reaction in these Galahad Mountains is far greater than expected, which has increased the rate of magical regeneration by 21.7%, so…”

“If they are able to recover after some time, would we be able to use them?”

“Ah… umm…”

“Good. That will do for now. I’ll ask for further details through this impudent adventurer girl later.”

“Yes, that’ll be all right.”

“Heeeyyy! I’m not just someone you can randomly ask about reports, you know!?”

Soon after thinking about her answer, Dorothy noticed that the fluttering specks of snow that danced in midair were getting bigger.

It would seem that Ai’s weather forecast was correct after all.

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