12-26. The Holy Grail under the Royal Capital
Satou's here. Using a polluted holy thing for a heretic ritual seems to be surprisingly major in fiction. Why don't the competent people of the heretics just make an evil container from the start anyway, I suspect that they have some strange obsession.
I leave the sakuramochi demon to everyone, move to above the underground cave with Flash Drive, and make a passage that goes straight to the underground cave with earth magic.
After descending the passage in an instant, I come to the cave.
It's a considerably large cave. It has elliptical shape with enough space that could hold a whole stadium inside.
And, the heartbreaking thing is how the ground is littered with several hundreds mummified corpses.
Judging from the shabby clothes, they're corpses of laborers, prostitutes, beggars, orphans, and beastkin people. I understand that they weren't killed all at once looking at the piled up dust above the corpses.
--I'll bury them properly after this incident is over.
There's a lit bonfire on the opposite side of where I descended in the interior part of this cave, and a golden cup on top of a violet pedestal.
That's probably the Holy Grail.
Several men wearing violet robes around that Holy Grail are chanting something.
Comparing it with the men, it seems the Holy Grail is about five meter wide.
I sometimes feel unpleasant waves of magic power from the Holy Grail.
I'll stop the ritual before stranger things happen.
I jump with Flash Drive to the place where the men are doing their ritual.
"Who are you! Are you obstructing the ritual! Foolish pretend hero!"
The man who shouts while scattering bubbles from his mouth is wearing a violet overcoat that cover his head and has water buffalo's horns on it.
This man seems to be the second son of the noble who was sheltering the Light of Liberty's members.
This noble's second son is the only one who doesn't participate in the ritual.
He probably can't chant like me.
The noble's second son was going to say something, but I didn't wait until the end, prioritizing stopping their ritual.
I quickly strike every Light of Liberty member with 2-3 [Short Stun].
White sparks flew when the magic hit the members' bodies, but they couldn't actually stop it, and it succeeded crushing them.
The members are falling to the ground while vomiting blood.
Of course I'm not killing them.
Some relatively high level people were mixed among them, so I just shot them enough to make them faint.
The noble's second son falls down and can't stand up when he saw the members suddenly getting knocked down.
This man is the only very low leveled one with his level 3, so I didn't shoot him with the [Short Stun].
He'd probably die if I did.
I hit him with my palm while holding back quite a bit, fainting the noble second son.
I can question the detail later.
The Holy Grail is more important right now.
I move next to the Holy Grail using Ground Shrink.
The holy grail is filled with transparent amber-colored liquid inside.
This amber-colored liquid is most probably substance created from magic power.
Just by getting closer to the Holy Grail, I can feel the pressure from the Magic Essence (Mana). It feels similar with the pressure coming from holy sword Excalibur when it's fully filled.
However, unlike with the holy sword, I feel sinister dread, or rather something similar when you listen to discords, such feeling of rejection coming from this Holy Grail.
Well, putting personal impression aside, I'll have to quickly do something to the Holy Grail.
First, I tried putting it into my storage just as is, but it wasn't possible.
It can't be helped, so I'm thinking of neutralizing it by extracting its magic power.
I slowly touch the Holy Grail and extract its magic power.
There's some strange resistance, it's quite difficult. It feels like the extracted magic power would be absorbed back if stop focusing.
I extract the magic power as if forcefully pulling it apart.
I put the extracted magic power into holy sword Durandal of course.
>[Curse Resistance] Acquired
>[Chaos Resistance] Acquired
--Oh, it's been awhile since the last resistance skill I got.
I allot both resistance skills with maximum points.
Now I should be fine even if chaos comes crawling in.
"You foolish hero! Be cursed by the Holy Grail and attain demon lord-hod! Be reborn as an apostle of Evil God and become our brethren!"
The noble's second son who sees me touching the Holy Grail laughs loudly while still groveling on the ground.
--He woke up already huh. It seems I held back too much.
I'm currently concentrating draining magic power from the Holy Grail rather than neutralizing the noble's second son.
The magic power that I had absorbed went back when I was just allocating points earlier.
The magic power inside the Holy Grail is a lot as expected, there's still half of it even though Durandal is at full capacity.
How long did this thing accumulate magic power....
While being astonished, I exchange Durandal with a prototype holy sword made of legendary metal from my storage, and drain the Grail's magic power into it.
"It can't be.... It took several months to drain those magic power from Royal Capital's Source y'know? Just a single person shouldn't have been possibly able to do anything...."
The noble's second son who was laughing loudly up till now changes to half smile, and furthermore he begins to talk in delirium.
I've extracted the Holy Grail's magic power until it's around 10% left.
I can just arrest and bring them to the king after this is over.
Looking at the map, it seems our girls are fighting evenly with the sakuramochi demon, I want to quickly settle this and join them.
"....The plan to hatch His Highness into a new king is. Daamnnn you Herooo"
The noble's second son repeatedly curses me like he's gone mad while glaring at me.
However, it doesn't seem like he's going to actually do anything.
When the remaining magic power of the Holy Grail is at around 5%, the Grail begins to strangely vibrate and making strange sound.
Before I knew it, jet black tar-like liquid is accumulated on the bottom of the Holy Grail. It seems this tar-like liquid is the reason why there are resistances when I'm extracting the Grail's magic power.
The tar-like liquid on the bottom of the Holy Grail is moving like an indeterminate life form.
"....■ Tusk Fly Swarm Summon (Summon Moskoff)"
One of the fallen members has finished chanting unnoticed, and summoned swarms of fist-sized fly.
"....■ Faith Death Soldiers (Animate Undead)"
This time another member used soul magic, changing the mummified corpses into attacking undeads.
Other members have also shot all kinds of elemental magic.
--I might have made light of them as just normal humans.
I'll reflect on it later.
I have to prioritize disposing these guys for now.
I stop trying to neutralize the Holy Grail temporarily, and deal with the current situation.
I destroy the magic coming at me with [Break Magic] in packs.
It seems [Break Magic] works for the undeads created with soul magic, the ones that are hit by my [Break Magic] return to become corpses once again.
I burn down the flying tusk fly swarms with [Fire Shot].
On the other side, the members take out white rod-shaped things, hold them up in the air, and shout suicidal things like they're praying.
"""O Long Horn, feed on our despair in exchange of tyrannical power"""
That [Long Horn] should be an item that can change someone into a mid-class demon. I remember the battle maniac boy who was hanging around the third prince using that in the Duchy Capital.
The members are swinging their arms to push the [Long Horns] into their foreheads.
--Like I'll let you
I use [Magic Hand] to take the [Long Horns] from the members' hands and put them into my Storage.
Taking things from people who are recovering from stun states is trivial.
I neutralize the members by using [Remote Stun] once again, and then bind them with magic-sealing ropes made from Thorn Foot ivies after thoroughly snatching away their equipment.
After I've finished dealing with the members, I get back to the Holy Grail, and the moving jet black liquid has turned into oval-shaped crystal the size of a softball.
The items looks like it'll curse you if you do as much as touching it.
According to AR reading, it's [Evil Thought Crystal (Evil Philosophy)].
Since the Holy Grail's state was 'chaos', I'm glad that it didn't bring forth Nyarlathotep or something. I've got enough evil god with the [Dog-head Demon Lord] from before. I'd like to decline another helping for the time being.
Geometric violet lines of flashes sometimes appear and disappear on the jet black sphere. Its color and shape are different, but it looks similar to the Crimson Treasure of Furu Empire.
I steel myself and put the [Evil Philosophy] into my storage.
I was on guard for a bit, but I didn't get cursed or something.
I'd like to relinquish it if possible, but carelessly throwing it away could create unnecessary incidents, so I can't.
I can just throw it to the sun when I've become able to chant.
The [Evil Philosophy] seemed to act as a weight earlier as the Holy Grail is now movable, so I put it into my Storage.
It seems that it can collect and absorb magic power, so I'm going to make use of it when I'm making a Moving Fortress and a Flying Continent someday.
With this, the sakuramochi demon's reviving power should have weakened.
Next, if that Mito person can just do something about the magic circle on the Royal Capital's sky, I should be able to finish off the sakuramochi demon.
Lastly I'll have to watch out about any strange situation happening behind the scene I guess.
It seems there are perpetrators of the incident, maybe I should check it for a bit.
I make the summoning magician who's the highest leveled among the members to drink some smelling salt, getting him to forcefully recover from stun state.
"I'll be hearing you guys' objective."
"Objective? Our objective is but one. Destroying the Source through demon lord--"
The summoning magician strangely answers my question obediently.
So they're really just ideologists who have been caught on the idea of ruin.
"--And then, we will someday release Demon God-sama from the moon prison, destroy the pantheon of the gods and take the world back to the hands of men."
--What? They're not just merely ruin-seeking ideologists, do they also intend to spread science to the world?
"With Demon God-sama at the top, humans and only humans will build the correct world. At the dawn of that day, we 『Light of Liberty』 will bring prosperity to the world as its leader--"
The idea is similar to a dictator who envisions world conquest with weapons of mass destruction.
Perhaps, the person who created this guys' organization intends to fight against the gods who stagnated civilization like Corpse did.
The organization's name is [Light of Liberty] and all, I think maybe it originally had been furnished with a slightly nobler idea.
However, as a result of long years, the original ideal seems to have become a mere shell of its past.
I interrupt the summoning magician who's still continuing his speech, and change the question.
"I'll listen to you guys' ramble later. Speak the things you're scheming in this Royal Capital."
"Hmph, you watchdog of the foolish god who can't comprehend ideal."
The summoning magician keeps his mouth shut like his talkativeness from earlier was a lie.
I don't want to resort to torturing even though it won't take much time.
With Map Search I pick up the [Light of Liberty] and organizations that are linked to it.
Before I knew it, the members of [Light of Liberty] who are in the Royal Capital are only the ones here, and the high level scout who has infiltrated the royal castle.
I wonder if the other members have gone away from the Royal Capital, they've abruptly vanished.
Or perhaps, they've become demons using [Short Horns] or [Long Horns] like these guys trying to do earlier--come to think of it, there were several demons who were with the sakuramochi demon.
Then, the other members who had become demons were annihilated by my magic huh.
....Well, with demons, there's no other choice but to exterminate them, so worrying about it is futile.
The purpose of the scout who has infiltrated the royal castle doesn't seem to be assassinations of important people.
He's infiltrated the castle's underground, either going to the Forbidden Library or the Treasure Room.
--Alright, I'll use this info.
One second after the summoning magician shut his mouth, I stop thinking and resume the questioning.
"It's fine if you refuse to talk, but 『Mirage』 Polporo who's infiltrating the royal castle has been arrested in the underpass you know?"
"Wh-why do you know Sir Polporo. Did the Earl betray us?"
"The Earl is our piece that we have snuck to you bastards' rank from the start."
It's been awhile since my deception skill going wild.
By the way, Polporo is the name of the scout. His second name seems to be [Mirage].
"Then, Earl Bobi must also instigated for the Orbs to be carried into the royal castle too!"
--Huh? That's the name that appeared?
I was sure that it would be the name of the noble who was sheltering them instead....
If I remember right, it was the previous Earl Bobi who was collaborating with the [Wings of Liberty] that revived the Orc Demon Lord in the Duchy Capital.
Perchance, it's not just the previous earl, but each generation is also behind the [Wings of Liberty]?
This guy might be just misleading me, but I'll take a note of it for the time being.
More importantly, the orbs.
I search in my memory whether there's any orb that these guys need.
The [Gift Orbs] that Jeril and the others got were, [Chant], [Light Magic], and [Poison Resistance].
As for us, we found [Item Appraisal], [Water Magic], and [Paralyze Resistance].
There's no orb that should compel them to create this much confusion.
[Chant] has that much value from my point of view, but I understand that my sense of value is not commonplace.
Let's try to shake him up for a bit.
"So the objective is the orb after all."
"Kuh, if we couldn't get our hands on the orb, we have no choice but to give up on His Highness's hatching..."
--Necessary for hatching?
If I'm not mistaken it's a jargon about demon lord.
There's nothing like that among the six orbs I thought earlier.
Maybe there are other orbs in the Royal Capital?
I search [Gift Orb] on the map.
--There are. The other four are in the Treasure Room in the royal capital's underground.
I found [Diamond Body], [Meditation], [Succession God], and [Demon Summoning].
The [Demon Summoning] is the most likely one. [Succession God] is the second possibility I guess.
I'll have the king destroy the former.
I think the prophecy from Parion temple [The calamity is under the sakura tree] is referring to this orb.
"You watchdog, you can kill us. There is no need to be fixated with this land now that our wish for hatching has fallen apart. Even though this life ends due to our powerlessness against you, we will carry out our revenge on the next life after getting reincarnated as demons!"
The summoning magician shouts while grinding his teeth with uncontrollable rage.
The summoning magician's body is shaking like he's having a spasm, the sound of his grinding teeth echoes in the cave.
It's noisy, I guess I'll make him faint and bring him to the royal castle...
--The teeth's sound seems somewhat rhythmic.
The summoning magician's shoulders swell up with a sound.
The AR displays that the magician's state has changed to [Demonic Possession].
--The teeth rhythm from earlier was a spell huh?
Demon with cicada-like face appears as if it tears out the summoning magician's body.
He used his body as the summoning cost huh...
It was probably a desperate counterattack, but you only died a dog's death you know.
I take holy sword Durandal from Storage, and cut the cicada demon.
The blue afterglow leaves black dust in its place, I carry the members with [Magic Hand], and teleport to the royal castle.
"I've arrested the perperators who summoned the greater demon see~"
"Nanashi-sama! T-then, the ones fighting over there are?"
"Those are our knights you see. I'll leave these guys to you, please take care of them."
I hand over the [Light of Liberty] members and the noble's second son to the prime minister and the imperial knights, and teleport to the next location.
After teleporting in front of the Forbidden Library, I retrace the path with Ground Shrink, heading to the Treasure Room.
Arriving at the treasure room, the door has been left opened, there are around 10 corpses of the knights who were guarding the room.
Strange.... The [Demon Summoning] and [Succession God] orbs are untouched.
Yet, the scout has escaped from the royal castle.
Did it run away after knowing that the plan had failed?
Or did he mistake it with another orb?
--Right on. My [Chant] orb has been stolen.
The other five [Gift Orbs] have disappeared too. They don't appear even after I search the map.
The scout has [Item Box] skill, so he probably hides it inside.
--I won't forgive it.
I close the Treasure Room's door, and tell the prime minister the situation of the treasure room and the scout.
Then I connect with the king with [Telephone], unilaterally tell him that I'll take care of the [Demon Summoning] and [Succession God] orbs, and then I put the two orbs into my Storage.
Whether they're going to be destroyed or returned, putting them inside my Storage is probably safer until the incident is over.
"Arisa, can you hear me."
『Uy, uy, it's clear. How is it there?』
"I've dealt with the Holy Grail underground. Is it alright if I leave you girls to be the sakuramochi demon's opponent for a while?"
『Course of.』 <TLN: She cut 'mochiron' short to become... 'mochi'>
"Then, I'm counting on you to buy some time."
『Fufuhn. You don't really mind if we defeat it right?』
"Yeah, if you can, then do it. But, don't push yourself since it can revive itself."
『Kufuu, having my joke ignored is becoming a habit.』
....Good grief, she's really someone who can't feel tension.
I tell everyone, "Be careful not to get hurt", and then teleport to the garden in the royal castle.
Now then, after catching the thief and retrieving the orbs, I'll give the persistent sakuramochi demon the final word, and go toward a happy new year.
With that determination in my heart, I flutter in the dancing-sakura night sky of the royal capital.