15-23. The Forbidden Science
"--Emperor, I have a slightly complicated thing to talk about. Could we talk in private if possible?"
"Very well, come several steps forward."
The emperor said some flag-raising thing, but since my Trap Detection and Crisis Perception skills aren't reacting, it should be fine.
After walking several steps ahead as instructed, the ground around the throne began to descend.
Looks like the throne and its surrounding is an elevator.
"Don't you think you're too careless?"
"There is nothing to fear. My good luck knows no adversary."
I see, it looks like the weasel emperor is absolutely confident in his Unique Skill.
This elevator seems to continue outside the map.
It probably connects to the City Core.
The descent speed is slow, so I decide to talk about the taboo while we're descending.
"--Do you know that science, particularly communication technology and railroads, violate the God's taboo?"
The weasel emperor nodded at me.
The weasel emperor raise his hand to stop me from pressing on.
"We started precisely because we've done the preparation."
"Preparation? Are you talking about your experiment with a small country? Or maybe it's about the nuclear weapons in Brains?"
The weasel emperor bursts into laughter after hearing me.
"Do you know about Kakyo?" <TLN: oversea Chinese merchants.>
The weasel emperor suddenly asked that question once he was done laughing.
He ignores my bewilderment and continues on.
"Spreading around the world, permeating their own culture on every part of the world to preserve it."
"What about it?"
I still don't understand what he means.
"That is precisely the role model. My kins have spread throughout the world, thus our culture and blood would not come to an end even if Weasel Empire were ruined by the Gods."
The weasel merchants whom I saw not only in Shiga Kingdom but the whole world flashed in my mind.
Regardless of which country they were, they did business with their own culture.
"--You're already sure of your destruction?"
"A wise ruler has to prepare many hands."
Several images floated across my mind.
"Like the parishes and Dejima Island?"
"That's right. The parishes of where only the pious believers and priests are gathered have none of the science, and Dejima Island which is estranged from our empire most likely won't be subjected to the god's wrath."
Yet he's sending a subjugation army on Dejima Island--no, that's why he assigned an incompetent general huh.
But that means he won't save even 10% of the empire.
"Are you going to sacrifice the majority of your subjects?"
"What kind of statesmen abandon their people. Those are simply insurances in case we lose to the Gods."
The weasel emperor laughed down at my critic.
"Do you think you can win?"
The emperor had a vicious smile that looks like it's cursed when he heard my question.
It appears he really intends to win against Gods.
"Chances are high that you won't win against Gods even if you use nuclear weapon y'know? Or maybe you're going to use it to threaten the Gods?"
"An anecdote from an ancient king huh. Have you read the slates in the 『Room of Truth』?"
Oh, some enigmatic words came out.
"Room of Truth?"
"It's a storage housing the records of The Sage who continues to carve the truth since an age older than the ancient times."
I see, I don't know who this [Sage] is, but that [Room of Truth] looks to be the weasel emperor's source of information.
"Everything, from the God's taboo to how the civilizations that violated the taboo were destroyed, are recorded in it."
"And yet, you're still going to fight the Gods?"
"That's right. Time is nigh for the people to be liberated from the control of God's 『Blessing』."
Somehow, the word [Liberation] is littered in bad images ever since I came to another world.
It's probably due to the strong impact of the demon lord's believer groups, [Wings of Liberty] and [Light of Liberty].
"I'd like to ask for a shameless request. Could you let me read the slates in that 『Room of Truth』."
The things about God's taboo that I know mostly come from Corpse in Selbira Labyrinth's lower layer and the story I heard in my fight with [Dog-head Demon Lord].
Demi god-mode Aze-san said that she didn't know about when I asked her.
"Hou? You wish to know the source of our empire's power."
Hearing my request, the weasel emperor grinned gleefully.
--Looks like he's going to ask for something extravagant in exchange.
"I ask you five things as the compensations."
The weasel emperor spread his thick short fingers and said that.
That reminds me, the elevator has stopped descending in the middle of the way.
"Two of them are a sacred stone--『Philosoper's Stone』 the size of a person's head, and a Darkness Crystal big enough to free a huge rocket from the shackles of gravity."
The weasel emperor said that while folding his fingers.
"Once our fight with the gods begin, you and--Hero Nanashi and his followers--"
Fumu, he's probably going to ask for my assistance.
"--Are to stay neutral."
"Neutral? You don't wish for us to take your side?"
"That's right. People who carry God's Fragments in them cannot go against Gods."
--What the heck is that?
"First time I heard of it."
"There were cases of it happening in the past. A hero of God Parion cannot brush off the request of God Parion."
I shouldn't swallow the weasel emperor's words whole, but if the [God's Fragment] is something similar to backdoor, it should be easy to hack it.
For example, if they can arbitrarily manipulate the information shown on my Menu, like say, adding [Possession: Demon Lord] state on someone, I will be cautious against that someone.
The [Girl in Painting] that I saw in my fight with the Dog Head passes by my mind.
--That seemingly indifferent girl doesn't seem to be the type who will go to the trouble of manipulating someone from outside.
Of course, I don't know if that girl is really God Parion since the one who said that was the Dog Head.
"I promise you our neutrality."
If the fight with Gods really starts, it seems I will need to withdraw to the solitary island palace with Arisa and Hikaru.
"What's the remaining two?"
"Once we begin our fight against the Gods, that will probably become the source of persecution. I don't care if it's only within your reach. Please protect my fellow countrymen."
He's quite the countryman.
I can just order all Echigoya Firm's branch offices in the whole country to shelter them.
The weasel emperor's last demand was slightly troubling.
"--How about it?"
"Understood. I promise you that I won't do destructive acts on anything I see beyond this."
I don't know what's in the area ahead of us since it's of another map, but the tactician is probably there.
They might be hiding the third demon lord after the rat and weasel demon lords, but the only demon lord that's dangerous enough to equal the dog-head and the golden wild bear king should only be the [Goblin Demon Lord].
I'd be surprised if they had sealed God Zaikuon who is in the middle of revival, but since it's not like I have a particular attachment to the God, I think I can easily ignore it if that's the case.
"Just in case, it's not a site for human experimentation and torture is it?"
I asked just to be sure since I'm not a superman who can carefreely hold a conversation while witnessing the weak going through such thing.
Even if I won't do anything destructive, I could rescue them after all.
"I have not such an irrational hobby."
Once I nodded at the emperor, the elevator started to descend once again.
For some reason, the weasel emperor doesn't use his [Geass] skill on me.
It's strange when he can make things easier just by using his [Geass].
Maybe he's restraining himself from easily relying on his skill.
We continue descending while I'm thinking that.
The wall on one side of the elevator became transparent at the same time my Radar notified me that I had entered a new area, a huge underground cave came into my view.
It's probably about as big as the large cave under Shiga Capital.
There's a glass cylinder that extends to the ceiling in the center of the large cave with bare bedrock.
The cylinder is filled with green liquid, a giant creature with purple white ash skin that looks like a formalin-soaked specimen is floating inside.
Looks like it's not a dead specimen, it's just sleeping.
"A giant's embryo--no, that's not it."
--It's a troll.
Its body is abnormally big, it has ox-like dark purple horns.
The tusks protruding on its menacing face looks sharp enough to penetrate even the Black Dragon's scales.
--A troll demon lord.
If I'm not mistaken, his name was mentioned during my fight with the Dog-head demon lord.
Dog head said that he snatched a useful Unique Skill from the troll demon lord or something.
"That's right. That demon lord is the one called The Sage, the record keeper of the 『Room of Truth』."
The weasel emperor jerked his chin, urging me to see the demon lord's status.
AR readings show [Demon Lord] as his main title and [The Sage] and [Recorder of Truth] as his hidden titles.
His level is 109, his skills are full of magic skills.
And his Unique Skills are [Dragon Vein Connection] and [Infinite Record].
He probably records the information he gets from [Dragon Vein Connection] on something using [Infinite Record].
"Look, the next slate arises."
I shifted my sight per the weasel emperor's word and saw a light purple slate growing on the glass cylinder where the demon lord was sleeping.
That transparent cylinder seems to be made of something different than glass.
Once the slate finishes growing, it freely falls down.
I imagined that it would break on the hard ground, but its velocity decreased in the middle of the way, ending the fall with only a hard sound.
Masked men in white robes gathered there, they collected the slate, put it on a workbench-like thing and then started doing something.
"That's your source of information?"
"As you can see."
The emperor affirmed.
The source of the weasel emperor's information really seems to be that troll demon lord.
No wonder he made me promise not to [Do anything destructive no matter what I see beyond this.]
"Maybe the troll demon lord just tricking you by manipulating the information?"
When I asked that, he scornfully laughed, "Hmph."
"Do you think someone who's been entrusted with a country didn't do that much evidence gathering?"
Guess he's right, the ones at stake are not just his life after all.
"We've confirmed that the information from at least 700 years ago are recorded with no mistake."
The weasel emperor said confidently that with a triumphant look.
The elevator finally stops, a bridge made from an artificial material that looks like it's made from Force magic, is hanging between the elevator and the floor.
"--Let me take over from here."
A man wearing deep purple overcoat appeared from the opposite side of the bridge.
The [Old Man] noh mask he's wearing on his face peeks through his hood.
Indescribable discomfort and disgust arose in me the moment I saw that figure.
However that discomfort and disgust immediately abated.
Intrigued by the unnaturalness of it, I checked the log and see--
>[Anathema Mask]'s effect resisted.
It seems to be a mask to make him disliked.
Of course, that's not all, with normal appraisal, the only information that can be seen are that his name is [Touya], titles are [Tactician], [The Hated], and [The Isolated], and his level is 55.
The degree of concealment is even higher than the [Hide Skill] reincarnated people have.
The performance is quite high, though not as good as my [Thief God Harness].
"Tactician Touya huh."
"Right on the mark. Kuro the emissary of Shiga Kingdom--"
I could hear a boy-like voice overlapped by an old man voice.
The mask seems to camouflage his voice too.
And then, his true information is displayed besides the fake information on the AR reading as a double exposure, as if it knows that I've seen through the camouflaged voice.
His skills are [Unknown] concealed by [Hide Skill], but everything else are bare.
Surprisingly his name sounds familiar to me.
"--And your true identity is."
Tactician Touya stopped his words to put on airs.
"Hero Nanashi of Shiga Kingdom."
I can imagine the face of an elf with a triumphant look behind the noh mask.
He's probably smirking with half-open eyes.
"You've done your homework, tactician Touya."
Yes, his race is elf.
And his name is--.
"Or perhaps, I should call you Trazayuya the elf sage?"