11-16. War of the Underground Empire
Satou's here. One would imagine subterranean people if we're talking about underground empire, but thanks to a certain western movie that depicted Egypt, recently I couldn't shake the odd sense of linking it to undeads.
--We came to a battlefield right after we left a cave.
"Looks like they've just started."
Steel frames advance on two carved trenches as their caterpillar tracks make distinctive sound.
Four big tanks that are lining up together stop moving, and then begin to rotate their gun turrets.
A moment later, black smoke begin to spout out of the muzzle brake at the tip of the turret.
--It's not smokeless gunpowder huh.
The four cannonballs shot from the muzzle flutter on the battlefield, piercing steel golem that has just climbed over the trenches.
The cannonballs penetrated through the golem's thick armor, blowing dust of cloud behind it and gouging the ground.
The body of the golem that has been destroyed by the blow is scattered to the surrounding.
"Oh, Corpse's victory shout is coming."
As if covering my question, a loud voice that sounds like it's amplified by a megaphone echoes in the underground space.
『DROP DEAP! FANTASYYYYYY!』
『That again! Show me your own words for your victory shout sometimes!』
His unseen opponent jeered him with synthetic-like voice.
That was probably the [Iron Stalker].
When I look closer, there's a red-and-white-colored thin steel tower standing on the battlefield with a speaker-like part installed on top of it.
The sound just before probably came from that.
Looking at the map, it seems the defending side is the [King Mummy].
The defending side have deployed the four big tanks from before, four armored vehicles, and 56 skeleton soldiers.
The attacking side seems to have seven steel golems and 56 mud soldiers.
Soldiers from both sides don't use swords and shields as their equipments, but rifles equipped with bayonets.
If we include the golem that has just been destroyed, it seems it's a firm 64 vs 64 battle.
This is more like a war game, rather than a war.
Semeri guided me to the spectator tower to see the battle, and just as my first impression suggested, it was more a war game rather than a real war, or maybe it was better to call it a weapon-testing experiment.
The tank side which were devoted to ambush tactic remained superior until their victory.
Once, the golem got closer and successfully destroyed two tanks, but some ambush troops destroyed the golem's legs with disposable bazookas, and then, losing its mobility, the golem was destroyed by concentrated fire from afar.
The modern weapons win if we only look at this battle, but the golems movement were clearly slow.
They looked like the golems that guarded the gate to the true ancestor's Area, but they move [sluggishly] as if their output was lacking.
They should have been able to win against all the tanks if there were golems like the gatekeeper golems.
There might be some limitation, or rather, regulation about it.
"Alright, let's go to Corpse's place."
Following Semeri who has jumped down the tower energetically, I also go down.
Maybe it's because I've just seen some modern weapons in action, after all this time, I feel odd to jump down 50 meters high without a lifeline.
There is a building with white wall that looks like a research facility on the other side of the battlefield.
Barbed wire are furnished on top of the two-meter high fence which would have prompted Arisa to say, "I'm losing the fantasy-feeling", if she were here.
It seemed Semeri had free pass, we greeted the mummies who were guarding the gate without being stopped and entered the building.
I thought the building was made from marble when I saw it from afar, but I see that it's made from concrete when I look close.
We go forward in the building while being guided by the skeleton who welcomed us.
I decided to act as if I never saw the skeleton who was wearing maid uniform.
We're led to an around-50-tatami wide room that's illuminated by fluorescent lamp-like light.
There's a big table in the center, and miniature tanks and golems have been placed on the diorama that's modeled after the battlefield earlier.
There are a mummy and a full-body armor doing some kind of verbal warfare between that table.
I understand that those two are the [King Mummy] Tetsuo, and the [Iron Stalker] Takeru from AR indicator.
"Muu, Semeri huh. Did you come here to ask for a tank to fight Ban?"
"I'll especially design a reinforced one if ya let me massage those lump of fat that aren't put to use for one hour, how bout it?"
"Y-you perverted gramps! How're you going to take responsibility if I get hated by Ban-sama for bringing such a boorish thing like a tank!"
Corpse and Armor are about to escape from Semeri who's raised her arms with a face reddened from their sexual-harassment remarks.
It's not my imagination, they look to be some fun people. However, their mind seem to be like a primary schooler.
After thoroughly playing around with Semeri, the two who finally noticed me asked my identity.
"By the way, who's the guy over there?"
"Is he Semeri's, this?"
Armor makes an indecent sign with his finger, and then his helmet falls down to the floor after getting hit by Semeri.
The inside really is hollow huh.
"Nice too meet you, my name is Kuro. Coming from the same place as Ban-dono--A 『Japanese』, did that come through?"
"Nuu? A black haired 『Japanese』 despite not being a hero?"
"Did you come looking for immortal body at that age? Go enjoy your life for another 30 years first."
"That's right, don't be like this machine body of mine. With this metal armor body, even rubbing Semeri's breasts won't feel fun ya know?"
"My breasts belong to Ban-sama!"
They're even noisy while greeting people.
However, just like Ban, I don't feel any malice from them even though they look like they can become the last boss.
Particularly Corpse, I would have thought he was a monster and exterminated him if I didn't meet No Life King Zen before.
--But well, they would have long been defeated or became demon lords and killed by the hero if they were quick tempered or people who could easily make enemies.
"So, what's your business? Or do you really wish for immortal body?"
"No, I had asked Semeri to guide me in the lower-layer sightseeing tour, so I was brought here since this was the most interesting one."
"Uhyo hyo hyo, first time I meet someone whimsical enough to come to this hell's pot for such reason."
They greatly laughed when I told them my business.
"Well alright. For the past thousand year here, there were only guys with dazzling wish like wanting an immortal body, or the lost knowledge."
"And the rest were 『Heroes』 who mistook us as demon lords, coming here to subjugate us but got killed themselves instead."
I can't read their expression at all, but I can feel that they're fed up.
For the time being, since they had welcomed me, I presented them powder-type cannons and muskets, that were only good as fertilizers for my storage.
I was worried whether the Item Box could take out the cannons, but the Item Box's entrance changed for an instant when I tried taking it out, and I was able to pull it out.
"Oh, that's rare."
"This one is a cannon I designed when I was at Furu empire. Slimes that could absorb magic were multiplying greatly, so I designed this to exterminate them."
So Armor-shi was an engineer of Furu empire huh.
It was the empire that the Wild Boar King destroyed if I'm not mistaken.
The souvenirs were more popular than I thought they'd be, so they're going to let me tour the museums that are located in the closed space.
Corpse dive to a golden door that's floating in mid-air without any support.
It seems to be a teleport door, Corpse's luminous point in the map and radar has disappeared.
When I search for him in the marker list, his location is displayed as [UNKNOWN].
I try to use [Clairvoyance] magic, but there is no effect like when I tried to peek at True Ancestor's castle.
Following Armor and Semeri, I dive into the golden door.
When I check the map, it displays, [Area without Map].
I've seen this before--right, it was like this too when I was trapped inside Zen's shadow.
The inside is a vast white world that continues on forever.
Numerous cuboid-shaped 50-meter high buildings are standing at fixed intervals.
"Is this place created with space magic?"
"No, this space is created by Yuika's unique skill for me. We don't have to worry about gods peeking at us here you see."
I imagine god have the job of peeking at the lower world from above the cloud.
Oops, I have something else to confirm before that.
"By the way, is this person called Yuika a reincarnated person too?"
"Yea, that's right. However, unlike me, Yuika is not a human, but born as a 『Little Oni-Kin (Goblin)』. Afraid of other people after having through some terrible things, Yuika stayed hidden indoor in the domain they created themselves."
<TLN: Using 'they' for 3rd person here since the raw doesn't specify gender.>
Goblin huh. This is the first Goblin without 'Demi' I've heard.
However, a woman reincarnating as a goblin.... It's too pitiful I feel like crying. This Yuika might be a man though.
"Yuika is docile but a good child you know? Even listening to my love consultation."
Semeri followed-up. Since she's stupid cute, she must have pressed on even after she was refused and then they became good friends.
I'll present her some magic sword for her to fight Ban later.
"Oy, I've gone and brought you here and all, tour properly won't ya!"
"Hyo hyo hyo, how patronizing. Even though you just want to show off."
Ignoring the two who have begun to quarrel peacefully, I tour various articles in the museum.
Pistols and rifles that I've seen somewhere before, submachine guns, mortars, and hand-grenades--they're all weapons, hey.
The successive buildings are decorated with aircrafts of both monoplane and biplane reciprocating engine, and tanks. Unlike the tank I've seen on the ground, as far as I can judge, it has enough power to make Semeri has a hard time in a battle between them.
While listening to Corpse who's happily doing an explanation in front of a 200-meter class battleship, I catch sight of something interesting outside the window.
"Is that perhaps a railroad?"
"Ou, that's right. It was the main cause that made me got pursued by the god."
It seems Corpse was reincarnated as a prince of a small country 3000 years ago. He built one of the great empire in the continent at the time with the unique skills and military knowledge that he had, but--
"For the sake of stable goods' circulation and information network in the empire, I created radio towers and railroad system but....It seems to have infuriated the god, you see."
Rice-producing regions were consumed by swarms of locust, drought happened, natural disasters like earthquake and volcano assailed like they were in bargain sales.
--There's a limit to even absurdness.
The empire endured for 10 years even with such states, but an oracle conveyed that the cause was the technologies that Corpse had made, so the empire was split and he was assassinated.
Although, he had surmised that before the assassin came, so he had prepared the ritual to become [King Mummy] beforehand.
"Even with this body, the apostles of gods kept persistently chased after me. They finally stopped, that was as long as I live a secluded life deep in the labyrinth as the condition."
When Armor heard that, he laughed like he was yawning.
"This guy held all of mankind hostages ya know? He made a mountain heap of nuclear weapons, 『Don't come after me if you don't want mankind destroyed』 he said."
I thought it was a joke, but since Corpse snorted like like he was cranky, without denying it, it's probably a true story.
Threatening the god sounds absurd. As expected of the man who built an empire in one generation.
According to him, the gods used their miracle to transform all radioactive materials that could become the main component into lead, so mining them is impossible in this world.
Since even his unique skill [Metal Creation] can't create Uranium nor Plutonium, there's no nuclear weapon that remains now.
Good, I wouldn't want a fantasy world to have nuclear winter.
I wanted to make nuclear reactor with magic tools, but it seems to be impossible.
Hydrogen exist, so I probably can emulate nuclear fusion by altering it into deuterium, but the god might chase me too if I make it.
I've got the proof of the Dog-head demon lord's story in an unexpected place.
It seems that interferes will come if someone is going to greatly advance the civilization.
That was dangerous since I had planned to make a railroad made of stone in order to improve the circulation of goods.
In exchange of giving Corpse all kinds of magic metal he wanted, I got several blueprints and books from him, and then we left his museums behind.