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The Empire’s Invasion Arc
137. A year of Progress (Part 1)
After Yuuki escaped, we were unable to immediately pursue.
As they say: haste makes waste.
One could say that Leon’s impatience led to Yuuki escaping, but the real reason is the fact that we couldn’t trust each other.
As such, I noticed that we need to establish order amongst ourselves first.
I mean, there’s no question that all of us desperately want to save Chloe.
But no good will come from acting rashly, and who could have excepted Yuuki to slip into the Empire.
Fighting the Empire along with him puts as at a disadvantage. We need to prepare.
I was tasked with handling Milim, while Leon would handle information-gathering. But that entailed basically waiting for his spy to report in.
With regards to the resurrected red knight, the blue knight was delighted and Leon thanked Ruminas. Thus we decided on our future actions.
Leon will collect information while refraining from impatient actions.
Though Leon’s anger was easy to understand, the fact remains that he let Yuuki escape.
Well, maybe he can just create a barrier around the battlefield—though whether a bearer of an ultimate skill would be affected is a different story—but I still believe that we should not act independently.
Sure, we won’t come to trust each other with our lives; but we do share a common goal.
This common goal is the only thing that binds our group together. Should that common goal disappear there’s no way I’ll be able to control the other two.
While Leon is gathering information, there are places which we must visit.
For now, we need to return and prepare our countries for an eventual confrontation with the Empire.
But first, I have to deal with Milim.
Life got a bit complicated for me once I separated from Leon and Ruminas.
Soothing the raging Milim.
Telling her that her pet was resurrected, and getting thanked by a delighted Milim.
And have her “guardian” come right after Milim anger was soothed.
In short, I had to prevent Milim from rampaging.
I guess you could even say that I needed to manipulate her.
Her “guardian” (Frey) should have come sooner. She seems to have come the moment Milim regained her composure, but I don’t want to think that Frey was just waiting for the right moment to return.
In short: my life sucked, and I couldn’t help but wonder why I had to suffer through this.
Right… Leon forced me into this.
Well, since Milim’s mood improved quickly, I guess it wasn’t that bad.
From within the orb I carried the Chaos Dragon’s soul formed into a small monster.
A dragon hatchling… a DATCHLING!!..
He basically appeared from within the egg the moment Milim came.
「… Gaia, is that you?」
The dragon and the girl embraced each other.
A touching reunion.
After that, we “partied”… by going to the labyrinth and power-leveling Gaia.
What? No! We weren’t just playing around. I mean, we only got into our avatars—Ramiris, Milim, Veldora, and I—and delved into the labyrinth.
Since Gaia could fly, he followed close behind me.
And as you would expect from a Chaos Dragon,
The dragon got used to fighting after only a few battles, and quickly started using miasma breath against multiple opponents—miasma breath would drive our enemies mad.
The dragon also had a skill etched into his soul—gravity manipulation—which he used to create shield around us, thus becoming one of the most valuable members of our party.
The barrier is rather strong, and now, even if the enemy is a mage, my magic barrier and Gaia’s gravity barrier creates an impenetrable wall.
As a result, though we had previously struggled against the boss of the 30th floor, we have now cleared him with ease.
「Kua-ha-ha-ha! He’s no match for us now!」
「Yep! It’s only Gozule, after all!」
「Wahahaha! This made my day!」
That was fun.
Hmm? No! We weren’t just playing around!
Stop saying such foolish things. We’re trying hard for Gaia’s sake!
As long as it’s for Gaia, what’s the problem with us having a bit fun?
But soon we… no, I couldn’t help but be overcome with worry over Chloe.
No matter how much you enjoy the present such thoughts just creep up unexpectedly.
But, no, I must not worry. ‘Tis not an emergency yet, and undue worry harms one’s heart.
I wonder if Milim and the rest suggested we come here because my worry was showing on my face?
If so, I would be very grateful.
As soon as we tried advancing to the next floor, Frey appeared.
And though Milim protested, it was useless.
Even though Milim was crying and wailing like a child not wanting to leave he arcade, Frey’s iron smile and words of “persuasion” won in the end.
Figuring that Milim came over to play, Frey made sure that Milim understand that she’ll be working without a break for a while.
「I’ll be back!」
Milim said, leaving.
In and out like a storm.
As for Gaia, he continued wandering the Labyrinth in his current form.
It was too soon, he said, to have Milim train him, so he planned to return to her side after becoming slightly stronger. The labyrinth has an magical energy level, and Gaia has Ramiris’ bracelet, so he should be fine.
And thus another companion joined us in our labyrinth adventures.
By the way, we didn’t know of this at the time, but our five member team came to be known as the unique bosses of the labyrinth. Inhabiting the floor above the first, a bosses of unbelievable strength, they say.
In other words, when we controlled our avatars, we were so strong that adventurers would just roll over and die.
I found out about this later when these rumors reached me.
This, though, is how we appeased Milim’s anger.
None of us would dare to have fun while Milim was away.
So we decided to actually do some work. Well… I’m not sure what I can do actually.
There was that thing, about doing a joint research venture?
I was supposed to supervise it and make any requests I could think of to them, I think.
Thanks to Gerudo’s efforts in building a road and setting up barriers along it, the preparations for our various joint ventures are going well.
We’ll soon have a road running directly from Sarion to Tempest.
We also have a plan to build a railway heading towards the dwarfs, so as to facilitate faster exchange of goods and materials.
But I worry—should the Empire invade, would these railroads not harm us in the end? That’s why we prioritized building a road to Sarion first.
By the way, the researchers have arrived: the Dwarf Artisans, Sarion’s Sorcerers, and Holy Empire’s Engineers.
Though the roads have not been fully paved yet, they could easily travel here already.
That’s why they arrived even before we completed the roads.
137. A year of progress (part 2)
I digress, but must again reiterate that we completed these transportation routes in but a year.
We even set up night lamps and anti-monster barriers for night travelers.
Towards the Dwarf Kingdom we set up a railroad, and half-way along it we built a few inns–those later developed into a town.
That town benefited greatly from the various engineering projects and became rather prosperous.
And because it’s close to a river, it’s a good place for people to come and rest.
That town, by the way, will later develop to be a central station district.
And yeah, we were wary of the empire’s invasion, so it’s not like I regret any of the choices then made.
The fact that we so quickly built the roads and railroads actually helped me solidify dominance over Jura Forest entire.
Each tribe pledged their loyalty, and their young joined Gerudo’s corps. Thanks to the roads we established a solid trade network of food and goods.
In fact, we may have created as efficient a system as the one back in my previous world.
I thought for a second on whether I should build forts and castles, but decided against it. It would just be a waste of time, I figured.
If the Empire really does invade us, then I’ll just completely destroy it. What’s the point of being anxious against someone you’ll know for a brief second?
We’ll just use our entire force and stop them before they even start. So there’s no point in building castles.
Though if the Empire does advance we might have to destroy some of the rails; but even if we have to do so, we can just rebuild them later.
And since we don’t know when and if they come, there’s no point in stalling our development even for a moment.
The matter of the angels is the same.
When they invade I’ll annihilate them. What’s broken we can simply repair.
After all, things are not as important as people.
Protect not the art but the artisan, so I say.
Having arranged our affairs around this notion, even I was surprised at how fast we developed.
The spirit research was primarily handled by the Dwarfs’ and Elves’ joint venture.
Bester was originally involved in the “Magic Armor Research,” and this type of research is the most common in this world.
In contrast, Sorcery Studies are veiled in secrecy and taboos.
The genius researcher, Epress Elmeshia basically founded this field by mixing Elemental Studies with Alchemy.
With many brilliant minds from the Sorcerer’s Dynasty here, we’re going to have a splendid Sorcery facility here. Of course, no state secrets will be divulged, though.
Then there are the Vampire’s researchers, which are unlike anything in this world.
They study not magic, but physics and the laws of the world. Science of our world.
They depend not on magic but on using laws and the building blocks of reality to achiever desired results.
For a world full of magic, this kind of study is the true heresy.
And the amount of information they have is so vast, that it will greatly affect our future research.
The whole point of this was to fill Tempest with research of every kind—to exchange ideas of every kind, and, as a result, to create fields of research and facilities the likes of which this world has never seen.
It is thus paramount that the research is carried out in utmost secrecy.
So we need a location that can be easily protected and difficult to infiltrate.
What better place could you chose than the 95th floor of the labyrinth? The treants have set up a city there, you see.
And this city is also inhabited by elves, some of whom may want to help in the research.
It’s easy to defend, easily accessible, so it really is the ideal location.
Even if the angels attack, they will probably not be able to reach the 95th floor. Even if they do, Ramiris says we can just swap 99th for the 95th floor at a moment’s notice.
So this will give me a peace of mind.
So with this, we proceeded to set up sleeping quarters.
And when the research began in the earnest, we immediately ran into disagreement. Every single group wanted to focus on their field and was worried about the confidentiality of their studies.
That, however, would defeat the whole purpose.
So, I decided to divulge all their secrets quickly.
What secret is safe from Raphael? I compiled their research in easy to understand terms and handed such a portfolio to each one of them.
Oh, and I wrote it on valuable paper, not parchment. The paper is low quality—made from wood fibers.
But it is a step in the right direction.
Like this we got them to cooperate.
Of course alcohol played a role. There’s a beautiful paradise of alcohol and elves right outside of the research facility. Any dispute could easily be… dissolved in a bar.
The Vampires, too, though they did not need to suck life out of people, certainly enjoyed sucking the alcohol out of cups.
By the way, I too joined them on many occasions but was never paid for overtime work. Unfair, right?
Seems like exchanging cups is a way for people to transcend national boundaries. Thus we all became good friends and brought forth various results.
Ramiris, of course, was also interested in this research.
At some point she became the research facility’s mascot and idol.
Oh, and I did not forget that I broke her golem so long ago, so we focused on that first.
Being familiar with both “Magic Armor Plan” and “Spirit Armor,” we quickly completed the research. For some reason, most of the researchers laughed an empty laugh when we did.
How long did they work without a single break through? I guess you would get discouraged if that were to happen.
And admittingly, the gem I invited came in handy.
We also were able to push for the release of the “Barrier-kun”—Kurobee’s and Bester’s Simplified Magic Circle Equipment.
Using their invention and other data, we were able to start absorbing magical energy from the atmosphere and thus complete the Spirit Amor.
The spirits would convert magical energy into spiritual energy, which would then be stored in batteries.
In other words, so long as some magical energy is present, perpetual motion is possible.
I have finally attained unlimited energy!
The first project we built was the Spirit Armor for Ramiris.
7 feet tall, weighing 1.5 tons. Charged with a number of batteries, allowing for individual and high-speed motion via gravity control.
Arming it was also kind of fun. It’s one of those things that would excite any military otaku, though its performance is far below Beretta.
So I personally think it’s more of a toy than anything.
But this research did come in handy for the Magical Energy Train.
I was considering at first to use golems or demons to power it, but that’s no longer necessary.
We took time to design the wheels to fit the tracks, as well as to create pa.s.senger and cargo cars.
We emphasized horse-power, efficiency, and load capacity.
And after a few test runs, the train started running. Reaching an average speed of 50 km per hour.
This invention, which redefined commerce, naturally altered history. With trains, you could transport even produce before it spoiled.
We will never stop laying rails.
Not only between us and the Dwarf Kingdom, but also towards the seas, the four corners of this Earth! Too many requests are coming from other countries.
Brumund Kingdom wants a stop, so does Ingrasia, and Sorcerer’s Dynasty Sario wants a direct line.
Nonetheless, the rail towards Dwarf Kingdom took a year to develop, so new rails will have to wait for a bit.
We still need to master inertia and gravity control, as well as consider armed trains.
While Fortresses are not needed to counter the empire, armed trains might come in handy.
How about equipping a spirit cannon on it, maybe some rail guns, and also ferry troups on it.
Well… this really was just a hobby, and I’m not really serious about this. So long as no one takes my words seriously.
As in any world, how fast you can deploy your soldiers decides the war. So it’s not like arming the train will make that big of a difference.
It’s fine to use the normal train cars.
And thus in a year, we created twenty trains. Each consists of about six-cars.
With these trains, we created a four-thousand-man strong train corps. We could increase that number, and would likely do so soon, but not now.
Right now we’re just ironing out the problems of using trains.
Once we’re done, a trip between the Dwarf Kingdom and Tempest should take at most three days.
So a roundtrip would take a week. Though hopefully with time we could increase the speed.
And when did announce to the world this invention, countries were in total uproar over it.
So we accomplished lots in this one year.
According to what Leon’s spies gathered, Yuuki has been climbing the ranks of the Empire.
But they are still unable to invade us. There’s no doubt they are preparing for war, but war will not start just yet.
There may be a chance they’ll send a.s.sa.s.sins, but it’s actually rather unlikely. As Ruminas said: it’s a waste of men to try to kill us that way.
In fact, that’s just how it turned out. Any attempts were basically suicide, and they gave up after the first attempt.
And it’s not like we could permit them to see what we’re up to.
In any case, it’s clear that the Empire is getting ready.
And thus, our research continues.
There’s no question that, inasmuch as us, the Empire achieved grand things this year.
And we were not the only ones to prepare.
I actually found out about this just about when we started testing our trains.
The countries neighboring Jura forest, the Council, sent us an invitation.
Asking us to partic.i.p.ate in their next meeting.
Of course, at this point, this invitation was essentially fated to arrive.