12-14. The King and Nanashi
Satou's here. Looks like there's a genre [Misunderstanding] in manga. The powerless protagonist is mistaken for another powerful famous person, and then he gets rolled up in the maelstrom of trouble, there's a lot of story like that.
I'm having an audience with the king in the evening of the day the monster showed up in the Royal Capital.
They exaggeratedly praised me for subjugating the Dog-head demon lord, and tried to force me a peerage called Duke Mitsukuni or something.
Duke Mitsukuni house seems to be a house that was established after the Ancient King Yamato had handed the throne to the second generation, at that time it was the state councilor who was famous for making social reform.
Looks like Duke Mitsukuni peerage was still conferred until after the fourth generation King had retired, but there was some circumstance, and afterwards, no one was given the peerage anymore.
I ended up hearing some interesting anecdote thanks to this, but since I wasn't interested with peerage and whatnot, I appropriately declined it.
The king seemed to think that I was dissatisfied with just the peerage, this time he suggested me the [Blue Territory] in the southwest region of the kingdom.
Blue Territory seems to be the place where seven cities were sacrificed in order for the Wild-boar King to destroy Furu Empire.
At the west of the Trade City and the South of Labyrinth City, there's the sea of trees where the cities are sleeping, it has become the den of monsters now.
In the past they managed to recapture the cities by sending armies many times over, but they couldn't hold against the overflowing monsters from the sea of tree and had to evacuated as the result.
Nanashi should be able to easily drive off the monsters in the cities, but keeping them off permanently seems quite laborious.
I'm not really interested in territory management and administration.
I often played city-building games, but in real world there are too many troublesome affairs, so I'm going to refrain from it.
Thus, I declined lightly, but the King and the Prime Minister openly looked disappointed.
They probably wanted me, who have the power to defeat demon lords, to recapture the cities with that power.
After a little bit of idle talk, I get to the primary objective.
"Your Majesty, I received some report from Echigoya people about monsters appearing in the Royal Capital see."
I actually encountered one myself, but let's make this a second-hand story.
"As expected of Nanashi-sama. You're quick to know. Prime Minister."
"Yes. Please let me explain from here. We have received reports of gigantic monsters appearances in the metropolis area for the past several days now. Every monster suddenly appeared from underground, and after destroying the buildings and people on the area they appeared, they disappeared into underground."
So it really came from underground.
"There have been seven sighting reports up until now, but there are only two cases where the monsters were able to be killed before they could escape; one was when a Shiga Eight Sword, Lord Ryouna made it in time, and the other was when some Mithril explorers happened to meet one by chance."
Ryouna was that six-packs amazon right. The explorers should be about us.
I tried checking the map, but there was no sign of the monsters underground.
According to the report, all seven monsters had red rope-like pattern. It wasn't only insect-type monsters, there were also rat-type monsters.
"Did you try to pursue the fleeing monsters?"
"Yes, when we dispatched the Royal Capital soldiers to search underground, they found the remains of the aforementioned monsters. There were three monsters that had died from debilitation, one from decomposition, and one from some kind of blade and magic."
"Decomposition and debilitation?"
Leaving aside the killed monster, were the four others died by themselves?
Ga Hou the orc from Duchy Capital did say to me that there were other orcs in the Royal Capital, so they might have exterminated the underground monsters.
"We had the Royal Research Institute to study the monsters, but we didn't get any useful information."
"Then I'll tell you one. I have an acquaintance with appraisal skill in the Royal Capital, and that acquaintance confirmed that the monster had 『Magic Body Bestowal』 state when they saw the monster."
"『Magic Body Bestowal』 is it?--It cannot be."
Prime Minister-san seems to remember about the existence of Fiend Drug too, he's at a loss of words while looking bitter.
He probably recalled the illicit manufacturing incident in the Labyrinth City from before.
Marquis Kelton who was the prime offender at that time avoided punishment by using the influence of his faction if I'm not mistaken.
Afterwards, I found out about a demon lord-worshiping group called [Light of Liberty] that was trying to smuggle the fiend drug outside the kingdom.
"Prime Minister, how was the disposal of Fiend Drug?"
"Yes, the Royal Research Institute was responsible for the disposal."
"Did you hear what kind of method they use to dispose the drug?"
"No, I had instructed them to make it so that it couldn't be used again, but I did not hear about the detail."
Well, that's normal.
The Prime Minister probably doesn't have much free time.
"Perhaps they dissolved the fiend drug with some appropriate drug or acid and then flush it down the drainage?"
Or maybe they did without even processing it.
Prime Minister-san's eyebrows twitched when he heard me.
His face looks slightly pale but he's controlling himself quite good.
"I will summon the institute director and the one in charge immediately."
Prime Minister-san excuses himself to arrange the summoning.
"Hey, Your Majesty. Is there any document detailing fiend drug?"
"There is. The Royal Research Institute borrowed it once, but besides that time, it is stored in the Forbidden Library below royal castle."
Is it alright to lend a book outside from the forbidden library?
Well, it probably has low secret content.
"There's something I want to look up you see, won't you permit me to enter that forbidden library please?"
"What cold things are Nanashi-sama is saying. This castle is Nanashi-sama's castle too. You may go in and out any place you want."
No no, that rule is too sloppy.
The King guides me further through the private area of the royalties, to the forbidden library.
The forbidden library is located besides the treasure room, and a massive gate with powerful anti-intruder magic is installed on the place that leads to both.
The gatekeeper knights are level late 30s imperial guard knights, they seem diligent and steadfast.
Even though I'm with the king, they ask me my purpose and demand me to take off my mask, following the rule.
I show the face mask under the mask and then we pass through the gate.
The corridor splits to the treasure room and the forbidden library halfway through, we continue the corridor that goes to the library.
The King is a good walker since he was a holy knight in his youth, but I feel bad letting an old man walks too far, so I take out a chair from my storage, make him sit on it, and carry it with Magic Hand.
We passed through 13 gates before we got to the forbidden library, but the gatekeepers of the third gate and beyond were not humans, but magic-flaw creatures <<Constructors>> like golems and living armors.
The gates were placed at fixed intervals in the corridor, showing the importance of the forbidden library beyond this.
After passing a double-layered door that seemed to be a barrier, we finally entered the forbidden library.
It smells of papers. The inside is dark, and it seems they've set the temperature and humidity at the level that are best for preserving books.
When the King holds up a medallion that's used as a pass, the light in the building is lit.
We get pass the entrance hall, and come to a room with lines of bookshelves that are as high as the ceiling.
I check the map, there's only one reader, the others aren't librarians, but around twenty work golems and living dolls.
"I was wondering who it was, so it's Your Majesty."
"Umu, are you in good health? You're a bookworm like always, never going to an evening party."
"Yes, luckily, the marriage proposal to Earl Lesseu returned with a blank paper."
The one talking to the King is the Sixth Princess. She's 18 years old, a year younger than Lady Karina.
Her hair is a bit brownish and black up, she's wearing a neat tiara.
Earl Lesseu is probably the young lord-san that came out as a topic about his crushing in the idle talk before.
The Sixth Princess turns her strong-willed blue eyes that are behind the silver-trimmed glasses toward me.
"Who is this person in suspicious clothing? A new guard?"
"Be careful with your tongue. This one is the hero Nanashi-dono."
"Pleased to meet you, Ojou-sama."
The matter about Nanashi being mistaken as the Ancient King Yamato seems to be a secret for only the King and the Prime Minister.
I greeted the Sixth Princess in friendly manner, she greeted back out of courtesy after showing displeased expression, and then she gets back to her own study.
Afterwards, the King guides me to an eight-armed Golem deep inside.
"Nanashi-sama, this is the 『Librarian』 of this forbidden library."
"Your Majesty, Today, What kind of, Book?"
The librarian Golem asks in disconnected synthetic voice.
"O 『Librarian』, with my authority as the King of Shiga Kingdom, I grant Nanashi-sama here the permission until the third layer of the archive. Process it."
"Yes, Performing, Processing."
There are four layers in this forbidden library.
That means the last layer is not allowed huh. Well, I can find out the title of the books with map item search anyway, I can just intrude my own if there's something I want to read.
"Nanashi-sama, I think you might know this already, but the last layer can only be entered by the current king of the kingdom. 『Librarian』 has memorized the list of the books, so I would go fetch it for you if there is any book you need, please pardon me."
No no, no way I can let the king be a gofer.
I couldn't say that I would intrude it on my own, so I lightly replied, "I'm counting on you when that happens."
After sending the King back to the surface, I hurriedly got back to the library, and began the research of fiend drug with the help of the 『Librarian』 and the living doll helpers.
After I've finished researching the matter, I teleport back to the workshop in Kuro disguise.
There's an entrance to the sewer nearby.
Entering the door that's locked with a padlock, I descend into the sewer.
Swarms of bats and rats attacked me, but I haphazardly scattered them away with [Light Stun].
It's been a long time since I used this magic.
I fly through the sewer by relying on the map to collect filthy water with [Magic Hand] from 128 points including the places where the incidents happened.
I saw the remains of two monsters with red rope pattern.
Both are eaten by rats and insects, but there's a magic core in one of the remains. It's a magic core that's whiter than vermilion.
I collect both remains just in case.
I'll deliver them to the Royal Research Institute later.
Since I'm already close to it, I change into Nanashi like when I met Ga Hou, and intrude upon the place where the orcs dwell.
"Heya, nice to meet you. I'm not your enemy, so could you please put away that dangerous spear?"
"You do not have any choice but to die now that you've seen this place. Prepare yourself."
A young male orc wearing a hood over one of his eyes and holding a magic spear informs me so.
I grab the thrust spear that has left red traces behind.
It's a sharp thrust, though not at Liza's and Shiga Eight Sword First Seat's level. The magic edge is quite resolute too, some half-assed magic shield won't be able to block this.
"Impossible! Even Ga Hou could barely able to dodge my spear! Who the heck are you!"
I wish you asked that first.
"I'm Nanashi, a friend of Ga Hou who lives under Duchy Capital."
"S-so you're Nanashi-dono! I've heard about you from Ga Hou. Please forgive my rudeness earlier."
"Yeah, I don't mind."
Ri Fuu is an orc who's 200 years younger than Ga Hou.
He guides me into the village of orcs. There are a bit less than 20 orcs inside. Most are from the same generation as Ri Fuu, but there are three small orcs too.
It's late at night now, but for the orcs who live underground, the time when the surface people sleep is the time for them to be active.
"We only produce the next generation orcs when our members decrease. In truth, they are newborns after 150 years, everyone has been spoiling them, embarrassingly."
"That's not true! Ri Fuu is mean!"
Besides a bit of physical differences, the orc children look the same as human children.
"Thanks for waiting. They're feast brought by Nanashi-san. Everyone, you can eat after giving your thanks."
I gave them ingredients I had bought in the Duchy Capital, though there were also a lot of different kind of meat and seafood from the labyrinth. They were most pleased with the Japanese Radishes from Kuhanou Earldom.
I ask the orc wives who are cooking orc dishes if there's anything strange in the underpass.
"Umu, the rat monster that we fought back then was an unusually tough monster. There were even injured people even among us."
So the underground monsters were really defeated by the orcs.
"Yeah, it'd have been dangerous if Ri Fuu wasn't there."
"This guy even mistook it as a demon."
"I mean, there's no monster that can deploy that kind of defensive wall."
The defensive wall that the young orcs mentioned is probably the thing that stopped Liza's spear for an instant.
It wouldn't have been strange if there were casualties with their levels indeed.
"Strange huh, I guess it's that underground creatures have been increasing for the past month?"
"Even the rats become nice and plump, they're tasty."
Fumu, there must be some kind of nutrient source--hey, I hope it's not the fiend drug.
I tell Ri Fuu and several other village leaders about the possibility of dangerous drug mixed in the drainage, and ask them not to eat creatures living in the underground for a while.
Of course, I give them the share of food needed for that. I have a large amount of uneatable ingredients in the storage, so I give them one month worth of food that can be preserved.
"Nanashi-dono, why do you go this far for our sake?"
Ri Fuu asked such question, I guess I was too meddlesome.
--I wonder for what sake?
"U~n, I guess I'm just meddlesome. And also, I'm Ga Hou's friend."
If I leave my friend's relatives alone, and someone falls victim among them because of it, I'd feel remorse.
In addition, if I'm being meddlesome here, they might be willing to patrol the underpass or something.
"Oh right, since I'm being meddlesome and all, take these too. It's not like the holy sword that I gave to Ga Hou though."
"I-is this a magic sword?"
"There's a magic spear too!"
"Both are just weapons that can be easily filled with magic power, but I think they will be useful against monsters."
Sorry for them being mass products, I present the orcs with a magic sword, and a magic spear made by Echigoya Firm. Their battle power should be increased now.
After receiving words of gratitude from the orcs, I leave their dwelling.
--Now then, it's the Royal Research Institute tomorrow.
I'd hate it if the shops we're going to tour get temporary closed or broken from monster disturbance since I didn't deal with it early.
Now, for the sake of playing happily, let's put an extra effort!
While basking in the sunlight with my whole body, I fired myself up.