ºMagi Craft Meister 604

18 Further Progress Arc

18-24 What’s Underground

 

 

There were two hot air balloons guarding the sky over the capital Loizart.

 

As Jin’s blimp approached, the crew members –who were wearing safety goggles– saluted. Jin thought that they must have noticed the crest in his blimp, and admired the Empress’s quickness in making his new crest official.

 

The knights guided the blimp to the landing point below.

 

Several white circles had been drawn in the front yard of the Imperial Palace, so Jin made the blimp descend towards one of them.

 

The four royal guards greeted Jin and Elsa with a salute. In the meantime, Reiko moored the airship to the bollard.

 

 

“Welcome, Magi Craft Meister Sir Jin Nidou. Her Majesty is waiting for you.”

 

Two of the royal guards escorted Jin and the others.

 

One of them was about the same age as Jin, but had a solid physique, with blond hair and blue eyes, and the other one was a female knight who was around 20 years old, a slender beautiful woman with blond hair and blue eyes.

 

The male knight followed Jin, while the female knight followed Elsa, as they all headed for the Imperial Palace. Reiko and Edgar also followed them closely.

 

Then they reached the palace’s main office. And it seemed that to say that the Empress was waiting for Jin had not been an exaggeration.

 

Waiting in the office on the second floor were, of course, the Empress, but also Chancellor Jung Fowles Von Kebsler, Magi Engineer Maestro Gebart Ackermann, and, to Jin’s surprise, Marcus Grinwald was there as well.

 

“Welcome, Magi Craft Meister Sir Jin Nidou, and Miss Elsa.”

 

When the Empress welcomed Jin and the others, her tone changed to a more friendly one.

 

“First of all, the reward that was promised to you the other day, one million torr. …Here you go.”

 

“Thank you very much.”

 

Jin received the bag handed to him by the Empress respectfully before entrusting it to Reiko. She then stowed the bag containing 100 gold coins, which weighed about 2 kilograms, in her skirt pocket.

 

“…Well, I want to hear everyone’s frank opinion from here on, so please feel free to speak your mind and say whatever you want to say. So first of all, stop being so formal. Okay?”

 

The Empress continued, as no one objected.

 

“Just to make sure we’re all on the same page here, we’ll explain the background for our upcoming discussion. …Chancellor, please.”

 

“Yes. …I’m sure you all know that there is a vast sandy area called the Hari-Hari Desert in the west of our country.”

 

Chancellor Von Kebsler glanced at everyone, and continued ahead after confirming that there were no remarks from anyone.

 

“About 300 years ago, this nation was attacked by the people of a different race. They probably thought that it would be easy to deal with us humans after our forces had been so exhausted from the Great Magic War. However, we managed to repel their assault thanks to the power of the Artifacts.”

 

Even Jin knew everything up to that point.

 

“We have received reports that these people are thinking of invading yet again. Of course, nothing has been confirmed yet, but we still cannot leave that possibility unattended. Therefore…”

 

The Prime Minister lowered the tone of his voice a little.

 

“We’re planning to try to reactivate the Artifacts that are in the in the basement of the palace.”

 

Jin had already been shown what these “Artifacts” were. They were giant Golems, about 20 meters tall.

 

 

“The first stage of the plan is ‘Goliath’, a large, 6-meter tall Golem that Marcus here had on display at the Technology Expo.”

 

Chancellor Von Kebsler started his recap as he turned to Jin.

 

“We have manufactured ten of these ‘Goliaths’ and promptly named them Goliaths 1 to 10. The main idea behind this is to have them do maintenance on these Artifacts.”

 

Because of their gigantic size of 20 meters, there would be simply too many maintenance tasks that human hands would not be able to perform. Therefore, the “Goliaths” were created to perform such tasks.

 

“Of course, we can also count these ‘Goliaths’ themselves as part of our forces. We have also prepàred special shields, swords, and maces for them to use.”

 

At that point, the chancellor took a deep breath.

 

“…This is what we have discussed thus far. Does anyone have any questions?”

 

“Where did the information about this potential attack from the other side of the desert come from?”

 

Jin asked the first question. Jin was convinced that this foreign race would share the same ancestors as what the demons referred to as “the servant race”. That’s why he wanted to avoid any and all conflict if possible.

 

“Hmm, so it seems you haven’t heard, Sir Jin. There are several towns near the Hari-Hari Desert. And, although it’s unofficial, it seems that there are a lot of exchanges with these people from a different race in those towns. The information came to us from one of those towns.”

 

It was a plausible explanation.

 

This also meant that it was possible to communicate with them. Fortunately, in this world, the language barrier was very low. Although there were some dialect-specific words, everyone seemed to speak the same language for the most part.

 

Jin believed that the reason for this was that the ancestors that came to this world from the planet Hale brought a single language with them, which only managed to diverge into a few regional dialects so far.

 

“There’s one more thing. …We’re not going to preemptively invade them, right?”

 

“Of course not.”

 

The Empress immediately answered Jin’s question.

 

“The Shouro Empire will devote itself to its own defense. Our first priority is to prevent these underground Artifacts from turning into a waste of a national treasure.”

 

Jin thought that, at the very least, the Empress’s words were true.

 

Even Jin had some interest in these ancient giant Golems. He wasn’t just interested in their sheer size; he also wanted to know if they had any special functions.

 

“Understood. Thank you.”

 

Seeing how Jin was convinced, the chancellor began to talk once again.

 

“With your cooperation, Sir Jin, our strength will grow immensely. Today we would like you to have a look at these Artifacts, but first I’d like to hear if anyone has any opinions about this.”

 

Those words were directed at the other people in the room.

 

“…Is there anything someone like me can do to help?”

 

The chancellor nodded profusely in response to Elsa’s unconfident words.

 

“Of course. You’re a respected Magi Engineer as well, Miss Elsa.”

 

Then the chancellor looked around at everyone’s face as if asking “Anyone else?”

 

“Looks like that’s that, then.”

 

After making sure that no one else seemed to have anything to add, the chancellor nodded to the Empress and then stood up.

 

“Well, everyone, I’m sorry to trouble you with this, but I’d like you all to follow me to the basement.”

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

As usual, there wasn’t a lot of Ether in the underground.

 

Just like the last time, Jin left the Covert Units on the surface, and just to be safe, Edgar also stayed behind. Reiko, on the other hand, followed Jin.

 

“As I thought, they’re quite deteriorated…”

 

Jin voiced his thoughts once he saw the rusted legs of the Golems found on the palace’s 5th underground floor.

 

“These Golems seem to have a mechanism that resembles human muscles.”

 

The Magi Engineer Maestro Gebart Ackermann, muttered this as he touched the Golem’s giant foot.

 

“We should start by repairing their skeleton first, then the muscles… And then the exterior?”

 

Jin was the one to answer that question.

 

“No, first of all, we need to do something about this abnormal amount of Ether in this environment, or we won’t even be able to get much work done at all.”

 

“What?”

 

“The Ether concentration in this basement is extremely low. Perhaps this was intended so that these Golems wouldn’t get stolen, or activated accidentally.

 

The expression on everyone else’s faces made it clear that none of them had thought about that.

 

“There should be some kind of Magic Tool to regulate the concentration of Ether hidden somewhere around here.”

 

“Hmm…”

 

However, even trying to find such a thing would be impossible without the ability to use magic to begin with.

 

Jin had a rough idea, but he opted not to go out of his way to go that route this time around.

 

“Well, since looking for such a thing would also be a waste of time…”

 

The chancellor concluded that they would be better off bringing those giant Golems to the surface instead.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

The large-scale construction work began immediately.

 

The idea was to bring these giant Golems up from a depth equivalent to a 5th basement floor. Logically, the first thing to do was to make a way to the surface.

 

Fortunately, the courtyard was directly above the place where the giant Golems rested. Once the paving stones were removed, drilling the necessary holes to get to the 5th basement floor would be easy.

 

“…Hmm, just as I thought.”

 

Gebart Ackermann stared at the pavement and nodded as if agreeing with himself.

 

“Take a look over here. These paving stones here are divided into square sections, and they are located just above the Golem hangar. It’s only natural that there should be some kind of remains of the way they used to store them down there in the first place.

 

This was a reasonable logical conclusion.

 

With the help of all of the “Goliaths”, all of these paving stones were removed, revealing a square stone cover underneath.

 

“This was the correct answer after all.”

 

The rest of the work was done rather quickly. Once that stone lid was removed, they could see the giant Golem hangar from directly above.

 

“Okay, let’s lift them up.”

 

After building a scaffolding over the hole, they set up a pulley.

 

Then, they lowered several strong ropes from it and tied them to the giant Golems. There were a total of 10 of these giant Golems, and the “Goliaths” took care of tying each of them up.

 

“Okay, pull!”

 

Following Marcus’ shout, the rope was pulled. However, the giant Golems did not budge. It wasn’t even able to lift the “Goliaths” either.

 

The weight of these giant Golems probably exceeded 200 tons each. And each “Goliath” weighed about 10 tons. Even putting all 10 of them together could only add up to 100 tons.

 

It seemed that these giant Golems weren’t meant to be lifted by a fixed pulley.

 

“I guess this will be impossible unless we shift to a movable pulley and try to lift them in two stages instead of all the way up here in one go.”

 

Jin couldn’t keep quiet and offered advice. Gebart Ackermann, who had been educated by the teacher Automata “Führer”, was convinced by Jin’s words.

 

“That’s right! We should be using a movable pulley at times like these.”

 

With Jin’s help, the team prepared a two-stage movable pulley. It had a 4:1 mechanical advantage, meaning that it would require only one fourth of the strength required to lift things compared to the previous pulley.

 

This new pulley system would make it possible for six of the “Goliaths” to operate it at the same time.

 

“Okay, easy now… Slowly… That’s right.”

 

Marcus gave instructions, and “Goliaths” from No. 1 to No. 6 pulled the ropes.

 

But at the same time, the scaffolding started to squeak, and the ropes broke. It seemed that they weren’t enough to support 200 tons.

 

After using “Toughen” on the next set of ropes, they tried once again, and this time, they managed to lift the giant Golems off the underground floor.

 

Then they tried to move the scaffolding once the giant Golem’s legs were just above the ground in the courtyard… and failed.

 

As a last resort, they decided to put the stone cover back on the hole under the giant Golem as it was being lifted, and gently lowered it onto it.

 

They also used “Toughen” and “Hardening” on this stone cover, and as a result, it didn’t break even under the pressure of the 200-ton giant Golem’s weight.

 

And so, the rusty frame of the first of the giant Golems known as “Artifacts” was exposed to the sunlight for the first time in 300 years.

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