TL: clover, eristol
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A large, round table.
It was laden with a multitude of drinks and refreshments each of us had ordered.
“Goodness! This place is sooo goood~”
Palug smacked her lips as she wildly bit into a load of bread filled with roasted beef.
“Aaah, it’s really good, just as I heard.”
This is a diner with a reputation for having delectable cuisine that Beatrice seems to have heard of from classroom gossips.
After the battle with the atomized vampire.
We investigated the four remaining apartments under Lièvre’s name and destroyed the cursed magic circles in each location.
Naturally, we made sure to record the whole process by recording it in a Historio Electrum and documenting it in secured purchase records.
However, we did not come across any suspicious specimen of a phantom beast anywhere.
That’s how we dealt with all five apartments, and by the time we were through with them, I had realized that we were way past lunch time.
It was three in the afternoon when we finally managed to have some meal.
I have noticed it before, but when I am fully focused on something, I tend to lose track of my life.
I really feel sorry for getting everyone into this mess.
While I was reflecting on the matter, I took a bite out of the bread with prosciutto and white cheese filling.
As expected, very delicious.
It tastes refreshing.
It is no good to neglect your life just because you are busy.
“See Tir! Ahh, this is so good!”
I threw a piece of bread into Tirnanog’s mouth, who had it open.
It was a bread with the same filling as the one I was having just now, cut into small, bite-sized pieces.
『Mmmm, delicious! This tastes like a pig raised on acorns from the Hafan forest!』
That means this is of the highest quality.
The freshly brewed tea is also very fragrant and savory.
No wonder this place is the talk of the school.
“Wow! Both Angel-sama and Erica-san’s items look delicious!”
“Yours look quite delectable as well, doesn’t it?”
“Yup, mine is also very tasty. It tastes like something I used to have a long time ago. It makes me nostalgic.”
Saying so, Chloe took a bite out of the bread with pork pâté, which is very popular in the north.
Her expression as she slowly chewed and savored the flavored seemed satisfied.
“But to have rented five of them all at once? Don’t you think she was being very boldly suspicious?”
Palug commented as she gobbled up the rest of her roasted beef sandwich with the grace of a wild animal.
“Professor Clochydd once said that academicians often rent multiple apartments and cram them full with books.”
Beatrice commented and put a small bacon and carrot tart in her mouth.
She cut down on her main meal so that she could order an extra portion of dessert.
“Even so … five apartments … I still think it’s a little strange.”
“I think they overlooked it because this is the Magic Academy City Lindis where all kinds of people gather from every part of the continent, Chloe-chan.”
“Yeah … there definitely are many strange people here.”
I recall Professor Schlammberg of Golem Engineering mentioning that he had rented out an entire building to use as a material storage.
Since the materials were heavy, he chose a place close to the West Dormitory.
But the rent is quite expensive around the vicinity of the academy, so it is quite difficult to maintain.
I looked back on my own actions as I threw a few more pieces of bread in Tirnanog’s mouth.
I rented out an entire section of warehouses in Knot Reed, jamming them full with wand crafting materials.
My reputation went from being an ‘eccentric girl’ to being a ‘villainous noble’, so I am in no position to speak of others.
That vampire took advantage of the academic city, which was out of the league of common sense, to rent out apartments without raising suspicion.
The place being full of oddballs was perfectly used as a cover.
I opened my notebook where I had jotted down the address of the five rented apartments under Lièvre’s name and checked them.
All of them appear to be in quite remote locations from the academy, in other words, the rents must be cheap.
“Come to think of it, how are these locations connected to the leylines … ?”
I spread the map out on an empty section of the table.
Although small in size, the map depicts the entire academy city in detail.
I marked out the pathways of the leylines and then marked the location of the five rented apartments we investigated this time.
『Hoh? None of the apartments are located on the leylines, are they? They haven’t even remotely touched them.』
Tirnanog tilted his head as he peered at the map.
“Yes, I know. That is why I find it surprising that those magic circles were set up … ”
For concocting such evil schemes, it seems like a rather poor location given the connectivity to the leylines.
However, if one were to go a little further, there is a large magical leyline along the banks of the Kullat-Nunu river.
This is that Kullat-Nunu river, where I was supposed to drown and float up as a corpse during the All Souls Day—
“… Could it be?”
I connected all the dots between the locations of the apartments.
What emerged was a star-shaped pattern within a pentagon.
“Perhaps … there is probably a corrupted altar here.”
As everyone peered into the map, I pointed to the center of the star.
What was located there was an old chapel that I had turned into a brown worm hellhole on the Night of the All Souls Day.
The chapel itself is connected to a very thin leyline.
However, if you trace its route, it will lead to a tributary of the large leyline in the Kullat-Nunu river.
“I see! I knew it. This place is quite enough.”
Palug glared at the map with irritation.
“I suppose they had to corrupt the altar all the way from the rented apartments because it was located within a busy city like this. If someone were to frequent a chapel marked for demolition, it would certainly be suspicious.”
This could not have handled in the same fashion as some forgotten church or temple from some remote village or region.
“Erm, this is where you said you buried your pursuers alive during the night of All Souls Day … right, Erica-san?”
“That’s right, Chloe-san.”
That is indeed the chapel where I buried the knights of Útför alive in a rather horrible manner.
Mutant worms were the only solutions I could come up with to stall those swordsmen carrying snowsilver swords without killing them.
“I completely decimated it into a pile of rubble, but I am certain they had sealed it off because they were having troubles getting rid of those worms.”
“Yes, since the All Souls Day in Fall. It seems the church and the Magic Association have been cooperating to progress with the removal operation.”
“That means …”
Chloe’s eyes met mine.
We were probably thinking the same thing.
“Firstly, Erica-san and I defeated that curator. Then the rented apartments were sealed off, so the remote corruption became impossible, right?”
“And then Erica-san destroyed that old chapel, so the vampires can’t directly interfere with the altar corruption anymore either, right!?”
“That sounds very likely.”
Since all the assets of the vampire disguised as Lièvre are now under surveillance, it is impossible to use the remote magic circles to interfere with the altar.
Direct contamination of the altar is also impossible now with all the dragon knights and mages going in and out of the old chapel for the worm removal operation.
In other words, we have unknowingly driven the vampires to a complete stalemate.
You never know when life will take a strange turn huh.
If the evil schemes of the vampires could be thwarted, I suppose the sacrifice of the Útför knights who were buried in a worm-pit was not in vain …
“I see! That must be why there are still vampires lurking around that area who have not retreated yet, Erica-sama!”
“Was the task that important? Or is there some other reason why they could not withdraw … I suppose we will find out if we examine the altar.”
“But if it has been sealed off, won’t we also be unable to get in there if we go now?”
Beatrice looked at me with a worried expression.
I need to properly apply to the church to and the Magic Association to receive permission.
If I were to apply through regular channel, it would probably be rejected or I would have to wait for a long time.
I will have to use my connections to take a shortcut.
“Yes, it seems we will have to start over. Let us come back another time.”
With this, we now have a goal.
“Well then, let us put the serious discussion to rest for today and enjoy the desserts in this shop, shall we?”
With that, we enjoyed a late lunch and plenty of delicious desserts.
After returning to the academy, I immediately went to the student council officer where Klaus and Auguste were.
“As such, I would like to request permission to enter the restricted area. I would really appreciate your cooperation, Klaus-sama, as you can exert pressure on the Magic Association, and you Auguste-sama, since you have a good relationship with the church.”
I flashed a smile as I presented the can of baked sweets I had prepared.
It contained caramel flavored twice baked pastries and a cake with dried figs and walnuts.
“Alright! I will leave the job to Klaus.”
“You … ! Tch, It can’t be helped.”
Auguste accepted the gift with a smile.
The deal went successfully.
Klaus reluctantly nodded as if he had given up on everything seeing the negotiation concluding in a flash.
“Ah right. I have one more request … um, Klaus-sama, could you arrange for a seasoned mage with high magic resistance to investigate the apartments rented by Lièvre?”
“I would select only the best people for the job even without you telling me.”
“Considering that two vampires attacked, the facility must be very important to them.”
Saying so, Auguste threw a piece of sweet into his mouth.
“Wow~ This is delicious! How come all the sweets you bring always taste so good?”
“I am honored by your compliment, Auguste-sama.”
It appears the prince with a discerning palate also liked products of this restaurant, he picked up the second can while still holding the first one.
“Hold it, Auguste! Leave some for me!”
Klaus immediately snatched away the cans of sweets Auguste had in his hands and started eating them.
“How terrible, Klaus! You are being a bully! You can’t just have them all to yourself!”
“Don’t be so sneaky. These are staying here until you are through with the paperwork on this matter.”
Having said that, Klaus tucked away the cans of sweets inside his desk.
“But I must say, Erica, if you really ended up hindering the vampires’ plot just like that, that would be too funny. Just imagining those bloodsuckers fumbling around with their efforts in vain is making me feel elated.”
Klaus laughed out spitefully as if enjoying the situation.
“It is impossible for even vampires to sneak into the chapel now. It is guarded twenty-four hours by the dragon knights in shifts.”
“Isn’t that a little too strict, Auguste-sama?”
I didn’t hear that the situation was so bad that it needed to be managed to that extent.
What could this mean?
“Worms with dangerous abilities are proliferating underground, and the basement is already overflowing with them, you know?”
“In the unlikely event if they overflow from a well or the sewerage … just thinking about it is terrifying.”
“Civilians will never be able to handle them.”
“On the contrary, I heard the mages in charge of the cleanup are risking their lives as well?”
The situation is shockingly bad …
It is fortunate that no civilians were harmed …
Right, let’s refrain from executing dubious strategies with the momentum.
At least as an apology, let’s bring some sweets for the mages and the dragon knights!
Thanks to Klaus’ diligent paperwork, we received permission to enter the chapel three days later.
Naturally, the same group in charge of investigation last time will be going.
Chloe, Beatrice, and I finished our morning classes and rode a carriage to the entrance of the chapel.
The building that used to be the chapel was now a pile of rubble, and the surroundings were blockaded with a double-layered barrier.
The security was so strict that not even an ant, or a caterpillar, would be able to make its way inside.
The fact that this was a dangerous area was as clear as day.
“Thank you for your hard work, everyone.”
I handed over the sweets I brought for the mages responsible for the cleaning operation and the dragon knights on guard duty.
I also gave them three dozens of potions for magic recovery, saying “please use them when you are exhausted”, three dozens of wands of grease, and six pairs of alchemists’ gloves.
“Thank you very much for your generosity. Please wait here a moment. We will open the barriers now.”
The mage in-charge opened outer barrier for us and led us inside between the two barriers.
After closing the outer barrier, he then proceeded to open the inner barrier.
Finally, we stepped into the site of the chapel.
“Perhaps the place we are looking for is in the basement.”
Saying so, I activated the eyes of Overworld to observe the surroundings and found an underground structure under the chapel which had been completely destroyed, just as I expected.
The chapel must have been built on top of an older building.
It was a huge basement with twelve floors.
Eight large clusters of worms and about twenty smaller ones could be seen all the way to the eighth level underground.
It is understandable why the removal process was so difficult.
It is fortunate that they did not proliferate in the four lowest levels.
“Well, here we go.”
I pulled out my wand of Digging and cleared a direct passage to the top level of the underground structure.
Chloe and Palug jumped in ahead of us.
Beatrice, Tirnanog and I descended slowly using the wand of Feather Falling.
As we descended, I used a star crystal lamp to illuminate the surroundings and check the structure.
The design was similar to the main academy building of Lindis.
It was a stone forest.
“This place also looks like a church, doesn’t it, Erica-san?”
“Yes. It must be a religious facility from Hafan’s cultural sphere.”
Now we know for certain that it is not the ruins of a corpse city.
Then we carefully inspected each level.
As we didn’t know where the altar was located, we had little choice but to search every nook and cranny.
We were attacked five times on the way by swarms of huge mutant brown worms but Palug turned them into ash in an instant.
Tirnanog pitifully stared at the ashes as if they were a waste.
『Cat, couldn’t you just adjust the heat so that they would be a little more edible?』
“You know … that kind of careless approach would just make things worse~!”
Yep, these are mutant brown worms.
They are resistant to poison, fire and physical attacks.
If they were roasted over a mild flame, they would definitely multiply rapidly, launching hypnotic attacks.
We carefully scoured each level, moving further and further deeper below.
Eventually, the worms stopped appearing.
After descending four more levels, we ended up reaching the deepest level.
The level appeared to be a large hall-like space with a stone altar in the form of a giant tree, which had been tragically destroyed.
The jewels that had adorned the altar were scattered around, smashed into pieces.
“Horrible … ”
Beatrice whispered softly as she covered her mouth.
As I looked around, I found an altar nearby which precisely resembled the vision I had seen in Lièvre’s apartment.
It also resembled the altar she had used to transform proliferating white worms into mutant monsters.
“Shall we investigate this place then?”
First, I placed several star crystal lamps to illuminate the space.
Then I activated the Historio Electrum to record the entire proceeding.
Chloe threw a snowsilver needle to destroy the magic circle set up on the corrupted altar.
“Alright, we are good to go.”
“Thank you, Chloe-san. I will take it from here.”
I took out five golems from my lightweight bag, each about half the size of a human being.
I will have these golems dig up the place.
This way, even if there is a nefarious curse placed somewhere, the only loss would be the golems.
… I do feel a little sorry for the golems though.
After nearly an hour of digging around, one of the golems brought me a small wooden box.
When I opened the box, I found a piece of small, white bone.
The fragment was about the size of the tip of my small fingernail.
Palug called out a name in a frail voice.
The name of the Angel of Starvation. One of Palug’s kind.
“Erica, please let me see it.”
“Palug … ”
Palug pleaded with me, a look of desperation clearly evident on her face.
I handed the box over to her immediately.
“ … !”
Palug looked down, cradling the box in her arms.
Tears streamed down her face, glowing faintly under the light of the star crystal lamps.
Just at that moment, another golem dug out another box.
An unfamiliar fragment with a silvery shimmer was inside the box.
This, too, must belong to some kind of powerful phantom beast.
The One Who Devours Death, who had disguised itself as Lièvre, curator of the Phantom Beast Museum.
That vampire was transforming white worms into minotaurs and orthros back in the basement of Lindis.
If so, what was she trying to accomplish with the remains of the angel here?
Naturally, it was to recreate angels and phantom beasts as disposable pawns.
“As expected, it was the worst possible scenario. I am glad we were able to stop it at the planning stage.”
I silently nodded to Chloe’s words.
『Hmm. So our enemy was on the verge of acquiring a monster that could change the course of the war?』
Tirnanog was correct.
A shiver ran down my spine.
Was there perhaps, not enough magical energy to create an angel, or were there not enough sacrifices?
Either way, it was a boon for us.
A fallen angel, recreated as the pawn of the Mad King.
It would be a much more dangerous enemy than any ancient vampire.
It was a blessing in disguise that we were able to stop it this way.
When he finished speaking, Palug looked up.
“Sorry. I am sorry. I was feeling distraught. These are definitely her bones … the Angel of Starvation. There is no doubt, I can tell from the residual magical energy.”
The angel muttered, wiping away the tears running down her cheeks with the back of her hand.
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Eristol: That would be the last chapter of this mini arc. Although it is going to proceed a little slowly for a while, the climax will be hitting soon~
One thought on “Chapter 170: The Box of Angel Specimen (part four)”
Ooohh… now I’m going for Sniper Harold. It seems to fit him to attack from the back. If only he could be stealthy as well.
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