Magi Craft Meister 552

16 Resolution With The Demons Arc

17-01 The First of the Neutrals

 

 

September 4th.

 

Capricorn 1 left the east side of the continent of Gondoa, where the demons live, and began its journey to the west.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

Jin (‘s Substitute Doll) had been on demon territory for half a month.

 

Starting with the Gospel clan, he had also managed to release the Shinra and Kugutsu clans from the control of Nega-Doll 001’s “Agujas”.

 

After that, he also succeeded in releasing the 40 members of the Shin’en clan, the 35 members of the Kuon clan, the 28 members of the Ganrou clan, the 35 members of the Fueki clan, and the 31 members of the Yoiyami clan, establishing a friendly relationship with the clans that played a central role among the moderates.

 

 

“…It’s been a lot of work.”

 

Jin said that to himself while sitting in the Control Room in Hourai Island.

 

Since the moderate Shin’en, Kuon, Ganrou, and Fueki clans were still being controlled by the “Agujas”, they had to paralyze them all and forcibly remove the “Agujas” from them. The Yoiyami clan, much like the Shinra clan, was already free by the time Jin and the others arrived at their territory.

 

Thanks to the efforts of Nurses 1 and 2, each of the clans had their “Agujas” extracted from all of their members in half a day, and each of them also seemed to adore the figure of the Magi Craft Meister.

 

Jin made 15 farmer Golems of the Agri series for them –he had gotten used to making them by now– and also set up barriers to prevent frost damage.

 

It was good to see that the sphere of influence of the moderates on the eastern side of the Gondoa continent was almost unified into a single strong voice that accounted for a good portion of the near-1000 total of the demon population.

 

Thanks to that, Jin concluded that it was finally time to head west in order to try to persuade the neutrals into joining his cause as well.

 

The moderate clans and the neutral clans were 300 demons strong each, meaning that the radical clans consisted of the remaining 400 demons in total.

 

If Jin could manage to have both the moderates and the neutrals on his side, it would give him a great advantage when the time to negotiate with the radicals comes.

 

 

The lineup was Jin’s double, Reiko, Ann, and Land 1. Also, Belials had joined them as a representative of the moderate demons.

 

His role was mainly to guide them across the demon territory.

 

Even though Jin and the others knew the terrain, they had no way to know where each clan was located. Since Belials was very knowledgeable about the continent’s geography, he gladly offered his help.

 

“To be honest, I’m also worried about Alciel still being missing.”

 

Belials explained his situation with an almost child-like frankness.

 

Alciel could control Giant Earwigs, and had previously attacked Gloria back in the Klein Kingdom. She apparently was Belials’ younger sister.

 

“Us from the Kugutsu clan normally have gray hair and yellow eyes, but Alciel has black hair and red eyes, much like those from the Kyoran clan. She started saying that she didn’t belong with us, and ran away from home.”

 

It was fairly possible that the radicals took advantage of her insecurities to take her in.

 

“Though she can control Giant Earwigs and use Transfer Magic, she’s still a 43-year-old child.”

 

As the average lifespan of demons was about five times that of humans, “43 years old” in human time would be roughly equivalent to 8 years old.

 

Although it cannot be really compared with human growth, it appears that even with the vast knowledge that comes with the passage of time, a demon won’t truly mature mentally until the age of 80.

 

“I want to find her and bring her back home with me.”

 

Jin couldn’t help but understand that feeling as an “older brother” himself.

 

 

Capricorn 1 slowly headed west.

 

The destination was the territory of the Shinshoku clan, the first of the neutrals on their route.

 

“Among the neutrals, the Shinshoku clan has the most in common with us moderates. I think they’re a great place to get started.”

 

With Belials’ guidance, the party left the coastline and began its journey inland.

 

“Can you see a small hill? There, at the foot of that hill.”

 

The hill was so small that it looked more like a bulge on the ground. At its foot was the abode of the Shinshoku clan.

 

“It’s a small clan of about 30 people.”

 

Capricorn 1 stopped at a point about 2 km away from it. The current time was 2:00 PM.

 

“Well, what should we do?”,

 

Jin’s double asked.

 

“Let me go there first.”

 

“That sounds like a good idea. Ann, why don’t you go with him?”

 

“Yes, Master.”

 

The Substitute Doll was being controlled by Jin himself. Therefore, Reiko and Ann each referred to him as “Father” and “Master” respectively, despite it being Jin’s double and not the real Jin himself.

 

“It’s settled then.”

 

Belials and Ann got off Capricorn 1 and started running.

 

They would arrive at the Shinshoku clan’s abode in a few minutes.

 

“I wonder how this is going to go.”

 

Jin recalled the latest report he had received from Laojun.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

 

Using the powered-up Laozi, Laojun investigated the movements of Nega-Doll 001.

 

According to his report, Nega-Doll 001 had two bases in addition to the one discovered by Reiko and the others.

 

Both of these bases were located in the far west side of the continent. It was an area completely covered with ice.

 

“One of those bases is particularly large, so I believe it must serve as his headquarters. The other one is closer to a settlement of a radical clan of demons, so it seems to be some sort of front base.”

 

“I see. That seems to be the case.”

 

Jin checked the map while receiving Laojun’s report, and nodded.

 

“Though he calls himself ‘001’, I have been unable to confirm the existence of other Nega-Dolls.”

 

“Well, it kind of makes sense. After all, No. 700672 said that the ‘failures’ were going to be eliminated. So if some actually managed to escape their fate, it couldn’t have been more than one or two Nega-Dolls.”

 

The small number of enemies was very convenient for Jin, but the fact that there were two bases meant that even if they managed to corner Nega-Doll 001 easily, he would be able to escape to his other base via transfer, or even somewhere else entirely.

 

“We’ll have to find a way to prevent him from using his transfer ability to escape.”

 

One way to do that is to find and eliminate his markers, but this wasn’t very realistic, as the total number of markers was unknown.

 

Even so, the marker at the base where No. 700672 was located had been already removed, so it was unlikely that Nega-Doll 001 could return there.

 

“The famous ‘Soaring Ship’, huh? It’s a precious ancient relic. I’d like to get a good look at it after things have settled down.”

 

After allowing that thought to leak out of his mouth, Jin went back to the point.

 

“A transfer can only be made by sensing the transfer’s destination with magical power. If so, all we need to do is to make it impossible to find that destination. So I wonder if some kind of ‘Jammer’ could do the trick…”

 

Magical power, or more precisely, magical power lines, seemed to have the same properties as electromagnetic waves. That would mean that they have frequencies, wavelengths, and waveforms.

 

The magical power pattern that identifies an individual would also be made up of this combination of frequency, wavelength, and waveform.

 

“…”

 

And after riding his train of thoughts all the way there, Jin found himself lost in the maze of his reasoning.

 

At that time, he was interrupted by a message from the demon territory.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

“We received word from Ann. The “Agujas” implanted to the Shinshoku clan seem to have stopped working as well.”

 

“Is that so? That’s very convenient. Land 1, get us a bit closer.”

 

“Understood.”

 

Following Jin’s double’s instructions, Land 1 had Capricorn 1 proceed slowly at a speed of about 15 km/h. Then they stopped at a distance of 500 meters from the abode.

 

“Okay, let’s do the rest on foot.”

 

Jin had decided that it was not a good idea to bring Capricorn 1 too close.

 

“Should we take, say, 50kg of wheat as a gift? Reiko, can you take care of that?”

 

“Yes, Father.”

 

Jin’s double, Reiko, and Nurses 1 and 2 got off Capricorn 1 and walked towards the Shinshoku clan’s abode.

 

Jin’s double was wearing a brown coat with a hood. It wasn’t very pleasing to the eye, but it was made of Grand Dragon hide, so it counted as a piece of highly magic-resistant armor.

 

It had been made in Hourai Island as a prototype, and Jin and Laojun agreed that the Substitute Doll was the most suitable candidate to wear it.

 

It took less than 10 minutes of slow walking for them to arrive at the abode’s entrance, where Ann and Belials were waiting for them.

 

There were also some members of the Shinshoku clan there to welcome Jin as well.

 

“Welcome, Magi Craft Meister Jin. My name is Domenicos, and I’m the chief of the Shinshoku clan.”

 

Domenicos was an old man of small build. His blond hair was grizzled with strands of white, and his purple eyes had lost some of their light.

 

“The other day, the voice and the pain that controlled us suddenly stopped. Our visitors here tell me this is your doing, Mr. Jin. I can’t thank you enough.”

 

He then took Jin’s hand in a firm handshake before introducing the middle-aged-looking demons behind him.

 

“This is my son, who will soon become this clan’s new chief, and this is his wife.”

 

“My name is Jalardos.”

 

“My name is Yeminiena.”

 

The demons joining the chief gave Jin their names. They were a little small, even for a demon. Many of the members of the Shinshoku clan seemed to be quite small.

 

“Well, why don’t you come in and come to our house for a while?”

 

Domenicos began walking, followed by Jin’s double, Reiko, Ann, Belials, Nurses 1 and 2, and Jalardos and Yeminiena at the end of the line.

 

The residence of Chief Domenicos was located in the center of the Shinshoku clan’s abode.

 

The buildings here were made of stone like the other clans. Most of them are one-story buildings, but the chief’s residence was three stories high.

 

“Please, do come in.”

 

The party was invited inside. The inside of the residence seemed to be more humid and warmer than the outside.

 

“Please, take a seat here and make yourselves at home.”

 

Jin’s party was led to a drawing room. The room itself was rather plain but at the same time very relaxing. Even the real Jin back in Hourai Island thought it would be very nice to sit there and relax for a while.

 

Finally, the first stage of negotiations with the neutrals was about to begin.

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