The beginning of a new mini arc. Time to find out the conspiracy behind the missing angel.
TL: clover, eristol
Well, once again it is time for the evening meeting in the reference room of the 〈Association of Mysterious Story Collectors〉.
We will continue from where we left off.
To start with, Klaus provided an update of the situation.
He mentioned bringing Holle, who was under investigation in Hafan, back to the academy.
Apparently, due to the strict control, the approval procedure took some time.
“It will probably be here within a week.”
Although rather long, a week is still quite fast.
Next, Eduard-oniisama decided to play the facilitator and asked for everyone’s opinion.
“Tonight I’d like to encourage the people who have been too shy to speak up so far, if that is alright with you. You never know what might lead to a new development.”
As my brother said, it is important to have different perspectives.
Even experts who have been dealing with the same problem for years may have blind spots.
As my brother looked around at everyone, Harold raised his hand vigorously.
“Me, me, me! Can I also ask you something?”
“Yes, of course. Go ahead, Harold-kun.”
“Well, what happens if you stick a snowsilver ore to a vampire? Will that kill them?”
A very Harold–like question.
It may seem like a trivial question, but it is quite important.
“We will have to ask Sir Harlan and Chloe about that.”
After exchanging glances with Chloe, Harlan nodded.
“I will answer. I have more experience with vampires than you do. Will that suffice, Sir Eduard?”
“Yes, please, Sir Harlan.”
“As it turns out, snowsilver ore is also effective against vampires.”
Vampires are monsters formed from magic, or to be more precise, sorcery.
So snowsilver ore should be able to nullify that power.
“However, this is only possible if the vampire has revealed its true nature. While the body and soul of the preyed human are being reconstructed externally, they cannot be affected at all.”
Yeah, I knew it.
If it was possible to tell the difference just through a touch of the snowsilver ore, it would have been much easier to determine the hiding vampires.
That being said, it is safe to say that they can be destroyed as long as they reveal themselves.
But Chloe couldn’t kill the One Who Devours Death, who was disguised as Lièvre, even though she slashed at it with a snowsilver sword.
I wonder why.
Harold raised his hand again and asked another question.
“Oh, so if you stab it with a snowsilver weapon, you can kill it?”
“No, it depends on the total amount of souls that individual has accumulated.”
“What? What do you mean by ‘total amount of souls’ … ?”
Harold tilted his head exaggeratedly.
“First of all, wasn’t it mentioned in the Aaru Hypothesis that bloodsuckers take in the souls of other creatures through blood?”
“The number of souls a vampire has taken in is what we call the total amount of souls.”
Harlan went on to explain.
“Each human soul they captured by predation is restrained through sorcery and its power is exploited. This power is then used to maintain the vampire’s body, to create familiars, to use special powers, to regenerate and all kinds of activities.”
“So, the more souls a vampire takes in, the stronger they become?”
“Correct. The more people they eat, the harder they are to kill and the tougher it becomes.”
It was an informative story, but Harold looked pale, perhaps because of the bloody topic.
Harlan answered with a smile.
The One Who Devours Death was an ancient vampire who had preyed on countless people.
That is why it wasn’t easy to kill.
“Normally, to kill a bloodsucker who has eaten a thousand people, it would take as much effort as killing a thousand humans. Such vampires, which normally cannot be killed easily, can still be destroyed a little easier than usual by attacking them with snowsilver ore.”
Snowsilver ore can dispel curses that bind the soul.
Thanks to that, vampires can be weakened or destroyed relatively easily.
Come to think of it, the Hound familiars were easily defeated by Chloe’s snowsilver sword.
That must be because those Hounds consisted of fewer curses and bound souls.
“To be more precise, it is a blood curse, so it is even more effective if you can cut off parts with large blood vessels, such as the neck or the heart. However, it is more difficult to kill individuals that have altered their physical structure or have special powers in their bodies.”
“Uh, wow. It isn’t as easy as I thought it would be.”
The One who Devours Death was a vampire with special powers that possessed an infinitely expanding space inside its body.
I destroyed it along with the whole space by feeding it my space-expanded bag, but I guess I would have had a lot of trouble if I relied on snowsilver ore alone.
Theoretically speaking, the extended space should have been able to be nullified by the snowsilver ore, but it was carefully spitting out the chewed fragments of the ore, so it wouldn’t have been easy to get it to take in the snowsilver ore.
In other words, snowsilver ore is effective.
But it requires a lot of effort.
“Well, even so, it will be much easier if you manage to embed the snowsilver ore in the opponent’s body.”
“Aaahhh! Is that why there are things like this?”
Harold rummaged through his pocket and pulled out a small pouch, from which he took out a small piece of metal.
What is it?
“Oh, where did you get that?”
“It was embedded in the flying golem. The area around it was heavily distorted, so I thought it was probably a piece of snowsilver ore.”
A bullet made from snowsilver ore that hit the flying golem during the suicide attack on the cave castle.
As expected of Harold.
He retrieved them properly.
“The northern swordsmen use all kinds of weapons, not just swords. Especially when the opponent’s behavior resembles that of a monster.”
Harlan received the bullet from Harold.
Were Chloe and I treated like monsters by the people in the cave castle …?
It’s a bit of a shock.
But then again, if a mysterious object suddenly comes flying out of the sky at high speed, you can’t complain for being shot.
“By the way, speaking about that time. How did you manage to cut off the bullet, Chloe-kun?”
Eduard-oniisama asked Chloe.
“At night, while moving at a high speed mid-air … I don’t think it is even possible to detect the bullet.”
“Hmm, if it had been an ordinary bullet, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it being shot. I think it was possible only because they were snowsilver bullets.”
“Eh, what do you mean?”
“If a space devoid of magic approaches you suddenly, you would know it’s an attack using snowsilver ore, right?”
Chloe said something incredibly ridiculous.
My brother had an unusually troubled look on his face.
“A space devoid of magic, you say?”
“The world is full of small particles of magic, isn’t it? There is no magic around the snowsilver ore, so detecting it should be easy, right?”
Chloe replied with a puzzled expression and my brother laughed with a troubled look on his face.
My brother’s eyes wandered to Klaus and Beatrice.
I wonder if a mage with connection to Hafan’s royal family would know what Chloe is talking about.
“Indeed, that woman is right, the world is full of tiny particles of magic. However, that is only in theory; it has not been analyzed. The magic in the world is well below the observable threshold.”
“Ah, yes. I understand it as theory, but I can’t do it either.”
Beatrice, too, shook her head.
“What, even you can’t do it, Beatrice!? Even though you a mage?”
Chloe looked kind of shocked. She looked at the people around her and everyone but Harlan shook their heads.
“Yes, it can be detected. But only highly trained swordsmen of Lucanrant can do it.”
“Right, right. I’m glad I’m not the only one.”
Chloe was relieved when Harlan said so.
Can the northerners detect it with a certain amount of training?
Before that, are the northern swordsmen really capable of doing something like this? Aren’t they too scary?
“… The northern swordsmen are just too amazing.”
My brother seemed convinced.
“That being said, if you are up against a bloodsucker, it’s hard to hit them unless it’s a surprise attack. I don’t know if they can also sense magic-free space, but they can easily avoid regular bullets to begin with.”
Harlan shrugged his shoulders and said.
“However, snowsilver bullet is very effective against humans. Especially against mages.”
“If it hits, it prevents us from using magic, right?”
“Yes, not just bullets, even fragments of the ore will do the trick.”
Harlan replied to Klaus.
“Then how will it work against dragons? What will happen?”
Goldberry, who was sleeping on his head, glanced at Harlan.
“Snowsilver ore nullifies magic, but a dragon’s body is so sturdy that it cannot be penetrated by a bullet.”
“Hmm, how about this small dragon?”
“Neither swords nor bullets can damage dragon scales in the first place. But against small dragons, magic should still work.”
“So, how much does snowsilver ore affect the giants?”
This time Professor Actorius raised his hand and asked the question.
“In fact, it is weak against giants as well. Only the armor-like epithelium on the part where the ore hits will be removed.”
Golems and giants are similar.
Since their magical/sorcerous activation point is the golem’s core and Cursed Nails/Holy Nails respectively, hitting anywhere else might have little effect.
“So it can only be partially nullified? But what if you attack the Nail itself?”
“Attacking the Nail can cause the giant to go out of control, which will only worsen the situation, so you should avoid attacking the area where the Nail has been driven.”
“I see… Very interesting.”
Professor Actorius stroked the back of his neck with a complicated expression.
Perhaps that’s where his Nail is embedded.
Surprisingly, the snowsilver ore is a difficult material to use.
It can give the upper hand against mages and alchemists, but it’s not so useful when fighting each other in the north.
It is no match for dragon knights, and against giants, it is more likely to be a bad move rather than a decisive one.
“Can I ask a few more questions too? I was just wondering about the manufacturing and distribution of snowsilver ores…!”
Harold asked again.
“Snowsilver ore is manufactured exclusively in Lucanrant. We are not authorized to sell them anywhere else.”
“Oh, so it is only for domestic use only?”
“Yes, all swords, guns and accessories made of snowsilver ore are strictly managed. You need to register for them first. We wouldn’t want the enemy to use them.”
That does make sense.
It would be dangerous for such a thing to fall under the vampires’ possession.
It’s too scary to think that they could intentionally make a giant run wild or use it to assassinate a mage.
“Sir Harlan, do you happen to know about the strange disease that broke out in the north of Hafan about forty-eight years ago?”
“Haha… you are well-informed, Sir Brad.”
Harlan’ cheeks twitched slightly at Brad’s question.
What is it?
“I have heard of it too. It is the case where a number of mages in a certain city suffered from poor magic output. It was said to be a strange disease with no known cause, but it can’t be—”
Klaus glared at Harlan with chilly eyes.
“Are you saying it was actually a human experiment by the north?”
So that’s what he meant by the strange disease that came up in the course of his explanation of the snowsilver ore!
It was an experiment to see what kind of effect the snowsilver ore has on the human body.
“ … Yes, the truth is some anti-Hafan extremists at that time mixed fine snowsilver powder into the water supply.”
“Anti-Hafan extremists, huh?”
“Yes. The general people of Lucanrant are still in favor of cooperation, but it appears the dissidents could not be completely suppressed.”
“Hmph. I see. The situation in the north also seems very complicated.”
Klaus spat out.
It’s a painful reminder that the bad relationship between Lucanrant and Hafan is serious.
It’s scary to think that such a horrifying incident occurred behind the scenes!
“The results of these large-scale human experimentations showed that the residual effects of snowsilver lasts for around a month to a year, and it is safe with no aftereffects.”
Harlan replied indifferently, completely suppressing his emotions, but an awkward feeling spread through the room.
It’s a good thing that they were cured, but what would have happened if they hadn’t been able to use magic for the rest of their lives?
“Thank you for your explanation of the snowsilver ore, Sir Harlan! Well, that was very interesting!”
In an attempt to change the atmosphere of the place, Eduard-oniisama shouted in a very cheerful voice.
Yeah, there’s no choice but to gloss over it.
“Speaking of which, what is the status of the icesilver sword now?”
Chloe was the next one to raise her hand.
It might be just right to talk about the icesilver ore after the stories of the snowsilver ore.
“Yes, I am currently investigating it!”
This time, Harold was the one to answer.
“What we know so far is that the effects of the icesilver ore are more powerful and far-reaching than those of snowsilver ore. I made a sheath for it in reference to the small pouch that nullifies the effects of snowsilver ore, but it had no effect at all!”
Harold rummaged through his bag and pulled out a scabbard and held it up.
I couldn’t believe Harold wasn’t able to make it work.
“Then there is the effect range; magic completely fails within a radius of two meters. The result was the same for wand filling, although there is a small margin of error. Here is a graph measuring the failure rate in increments of five meters from the sword.”
Harold took a graph out of his bag and stuck it on the blackboard.
The slope of the curve, which showed the failure rate, became gentler as the distance increased, and leveled off after a radius of fifty meters.
For the time being, it seems he has checked up to a hundred-meters radius.
I am sure Haearn helped him with the magic testing.
I feel sorry for working them too hard.
“It seems the effect is greatly attenuated by distance. At a distance of twenty or thirty meters, the effect appears almost negligible… No, wait. This does not go down to zero even at a distance of a hundred meters?”
“That is correct, Klaus-sama. That is as far as I got with the graph, but I continued with the measurement itself. It seems to invalidate magic by two to five percent at eight hundred meters. I will need permission to go out to investigate further.”
“What!? You are telling me a single sword can cover this entire academy!?”
Klaus looked surprised.
The effect may be subtle, but the range of influence is overwhelming.
“Yes. A single sword. If the metal used had been a larger piece, I suspect it would have had a more widespread effect.”
As long as there is enough of it, it is possible to disable magic in a very wide area.
This metal would be a blessing for the people of Lucanrant who have an aversion to magic.
“I noticed that the magic of the students have been unstable lately … ”
“Failures in alchemy have slightly increased as well, so it was because of that sword!”
Brad’s brows curved into a deep wrinkle, while my brother’s eyes twinkled.
“By the way, did that ever happen to you, Klaus-sama?”
“No, I didn’t notice it at all. Because I never made a single mistake.”
As expected of Klaus.
Is it due to his strict training or because he has an absurd amount of magical energy?
“Harold, do you mean to say that any magic fired at the owner of that sword will be completely nullified?”
“Yes, that’s right, Klaus-sama.”
“ … So it’s similar to Antimagic Field, huh.”
Harold then moved on to measuring the sword’s hardness and durability.
On Mohs scale of hardness, so far it has managed to reach the level of regular steel.
Experiments to determine how hard it is are proving difficult since golems can’t approach it.
It’s fascinating how difficult it is to handle an icesilver ore.
I can only thank Harold for such a careful analysis of such a difficult metal.
“Wow, that’s so convenient!”
“It’s going to be extremely inconvenient, Chloe-chan.”
Chloe was very happy, but Beatrice was not enthusiastic at all.
In fact, when the sword was kept in the dormitory, Beatrice was the first one to fall victim to it.
“Now, are there any other concerns? It doesn’t matter what it is.”
My brother looked around at everyone and encouraged them to ask questions.
From there, each person discussed what was bothering them.
The present state of the Military Order of Útför, and the political position of Harlan.
The existence of Hafanese patrons who support Professor Actorius, etc.
“If I have a question regarding the angel, should I ask you, Erica-sama?”
Harlan raised his hand and asked.
“Yes, I can give you an immediate answer if I already know about it, if not, I can check with the angel later.”
“With the cooperation of the angel, is it possible to form a contract one by one to determine the authenticity of a suspected vampire?”
Certainly, it is indeed possible to buy a miracle if you are a human being.
“That would be impossible now, because the angel has already been released from its role of fulfilling miracles. Besides, the system is designed to erase the memories about the angel after each contract, so it is almost impossible.”
Moreover, it takes a lot of magical energy to make a single miracle happen.
It is too expensive to use to determine the authenticity of a suspected vampire.
“That is true … Hmmm, it’s a pity, but I suppose it can’t be helped.”
Harlan seemed convinced.
It would have been less distressing for him if he had been able to tell them apart more easily.
“It’s true that judging authenticity is a pain. I am pretty much always wrong.”
“Yes, indeed. It was hellishly painful, for instance, to suspect that the son of a benefactor might be a bloodsucker.”
Harlan muttered with a sigh when my brother nodded deeply in understanding.
If not only Claude, but also Eduard had fallen into the hands of the enemy, Harlan’s sanity would have been at stake.
“In case you were the bloodsucker who took over the son of the Evil Eye Bort, I wouldn’t have let you get away with it.”
“I do apologize for acting so suspiciously on that occasion.”
While my brother and Harlan were having a disturbing but thoughtful conversation, Chloe whispered to me.
“Oh, by the way, Erica-san, about that vampire who was pretending to be Curator Lièvre.”
“What is it?”
“Something about it was a little unnatural.”
I recalled the One Who Devours Death, who was masquerading as Lièvre.
Speaking of unnatural, it certainly does seem unnatural.
For an ancient vampire, it seemed unusually humane.
After revealing itself, it seemed impatient like a murderer in a mystery story.
“Wasn’t that monster trying to make more offerings at the corrupted altar in the basement?”
“ … Yes, I completely forgot about that, but you are right.”
Right, on that note.
Since I was focused on defeating it, it became impossible to investigate what it was trying to do with that altar.
“If the contamination had been completed, they wouldn’t have been found out if they had just stayed quiet. Sneaking into the enemy’s territory, kidnapping people, creating monsters on the corrupted altar, stealing angel remains …”
“That certainly sounds suspicious.”
As a curator, it sneaked into the academy to visit the Headless Prince’s Morgue and the Corpse City.
It kidnapped people to offer them as sacrifices at the altar.
But I can’t tell why it was making monsters and why it stole the angel specimen.
“Actually, they are all connected to a single purpose.”
“The worm mutations were done with regular monster specimens, weren’t they? If the reason for stealing the angel specimen was to do the same thing …”
“Was the angel specimen among the possessions of the One Who Devours Death?”
The academy must have confiscated the luggage that was left in the private room of the curator Lièvre in the academy.
I am sure they have already investigated that.
The problem is the base of operations which it was using to kidnap people.
“It is possible that the angel specimen has already been sent somewhere.”
“Since both of us and my brother interfered with the exchange process, it is possible that the vampire couldn’t receive the package and ship it.”
The vampire, who was so busy, must have lost its temper because of this, it is possible.
My brother must have taken a quick look around, but he wasn’t looking for specimens, he was looking for abducted girls.
If the angel specimen was a very small specimen, it could have been easily overlooked.
“Isn’t it about time the two of you included us in your discussion too?”
I concluded my whispered discussion with Chloe and raised my face when my brother called us out.
Before we knew it, everyone’s attention seemed to be on us.