15-4. An Ordinary Town
Satou's here. I like train in itself, but I only have bad memories of commuter trains. Having yourself jam-packed in it everyday, it feels like it even wears my mind. Surely, were crowded trains ceased to exist, wouldn't office workers' stress level decrease to 30%?
Arisa is scrambling her purple hair while Pochi sharply points at her in front of her.
"This is the cicada sound huge harvest nanodesu!" <TLN: She said ミンミンの五穀豊穣 read "Mimmin no Gokokuhoujou".>
Pochi who's holding cards in one hand takes the shupin pose, but I don't know where to even begin to retort her mistakes.
Looks like Arisa is not good at playing Daifugou card game.
"That should be 『Social upheaval of the poors』 so I correct." <TLN: This is the correct term, 貧民の下克上 read "Hinmin no Gekokujou".>
"As expected of Nana nanodesu! Pochi was also going to say that--it's true nanodesuyo?"
Pochi commends on Nana's correction.
The last of her words had some hesitation in it so it must not be the truth.
"Satou, are you going already?"
"Yeah, it looks like there's some movement at the emperor statue, I'll be going for a bit."
Hikaru who noticed me carrying a weasel costume on my arm called out.
Apparently, Hikaru and the others are playing Concentration card game.
"Her Highness is really strong."
"Since this game is just about memorizing things, it's simple."
"Oh Tina you cleaned the house."
"Yes, I might be stronger in card games, but I cannot win against Her Highness in Concentration."
Hikaru is calling the princess using nickname. Zena-san is muttering alone, looks like she's trying to memorize the card positions.
Even Sera who's unparalleled in poker is weak in memorizing game like Concentration.
"Tama, take care okay."
"Works hard for Pochi's share too nodesu."
"Aye aye sir~?"
Once the beastkin girls finished their talk, I teleported to near the village from yesterday using Unit Arrangement, taking Tama along.
"Fumwu, so the letter was telling the truth.... Gathering impurity this fast, aren't there too many hot-blooded people in this village?"
A weaselkin wearing official-like clothing who's watching over the exchange of the emperor statue mutters with his hand on his chin.
The ones who are doing the actual work are a man and a woman wearing magician-like clothes using force magic.
"Hokku-sama, we've finished the fixture."
"The miasma rate of the emperor statue is normal for the period of its installation. It seems only the magic power that has been accumulated."
It's probably because of the magic power leaked from our magic tools.
Those male and female magicians seem to be quite an analyst.
"Fumu, Maiazuma paper is blue, and the Mana paper is purple, the maximum huh.... It's just as you guys' analysis. However, we've already come out of our way here. Let's take this back."
"You're right. I'd hate to end this in vain, and the military bunch would call the researchers salary thieves if they don't get to work once in a while."
The magicians gave a tanzaku-sized litmus paper-like thing to the official.
Apparently, that's a tool to measure magic power and miasma levels.
Putting the magic power aside, I'd like to know the way to measure miasma.
I'll look for some researchers they mentioned and see if any of them is selling the thing in the back channel.
It looks like an expendable after all, I think I can buy it normally from a merchant if that's being produced outside the research institute.
"Ticket for Magyuba is 30 swen for one, 20 swen for a child."
"Tickets for two please."
I purchase the smoke car tickets from the conductor of a temporary station.
Swen is the currency used in Weasel Empire, one blue copper coin is one swen.
Come to think of it, this might be the first country that has a name for its currency.
It might be translated to like '●● copper coins' by language skill because it's called the same.
I don't mind this since memorizing them would be a pain, but it does make the sense of exoticness decrease.
"Yes, thank you. If you're going from Magyuba city to your next destination, please buy the ticket from the ticket box or the conductor of the next train there."
The weaselkin conductor told me so while giving the tickets.
It seems to be a fairly placid system.
I thank the conductor and then go toward the smoke car with Tama.
"Second class citizens can only ride on the general car, so don't make a mistake and enter the noble car that's immediately behind the smoke car."
Assenting the conductor's warning, we board the general car.
Looks like this one is of unreserved seats. Villagers from the nearby villages heading to Magyuba town to peddle things are carrying huge luggages on their backs.
The officials carrying the emperor statue had finally arrived, we got here first since we used teleport magic.
The whistle signaling departure echoed the moment they got on board, apparently it was waiting for them.
It might be more efficient to just track them, wait for them to arrive at Magyuba City and then teleport there afterward, but for the sake of later on, I confirmed whether the forged citizenship ID could be used to buy tickets here.
There was not even a simple ID check at this station, so I'm planning to confirm it once we arrive at Magyuba city.
"Gatan goton~, gatan goton~"
Children really are fascinated by the unique rhythm of a train and the flowing scenery on the window.
Tama is rooted on the window since awhile ago.
"We will be entering a tunnel soon. Everyone, please close your window."
The conductor showed himself from the window in car ahead and shouted.
The other passengers begin to close their windows.
Window?--Is it because the vibrating sound is noisy?
"You folks, it's tunnel soon, close yer' windows."
When I was racking my brain to think of the reason, the ratkin aunty who was sitting next to us bent her body and closed our window.
All the windows here are fitted with glass.
"Yer faces would become pitch black from the soot if you don't close the window in a tunnel."
"Is that so, thank you very much."
"It's alriight, if one's open, everyone's face will become pitch black y'see."
The aunty's anger dissipated once she knew that I was a beginner of smoke car.
Apparently, everyone does the same at first.
"Mountain~? There's a hole on it~"
"That's called a tunnel."
Tama who's sticking her cheeks on the closed window says so while desperately looking at the front.
Don't put too much strength into it since the glass will break okay?
I secretly put force magic [Enchant Physical Protection] on the window.
Looks like there's no illumination inside the tunnel.
The car in the front probably has headlights.
The wall of the tunnel isn't made of stone from earth magic's petrification, but from concrete-like thing.
"Did ya know? This tunnel is--"
According to the knowledgeable aunty, the tunnel itself was made by 100 earth magicians of the empire in one go.
Looks like they don't overemphasize the use of science, they do use magic when it's convenient, kind of hybrid.
To capitalize on the unexpected source of information, I offered some baked sweets made by Lulu to stimulate the aunty, thus I got to hear various things about the remote regions of the Weasel Empire.
"We will be arriving~ at Magyuba City Station~ We will be arriving at~ Magyuba City Station. We will be arriving at Platform 3 of Magyuba City Station. As Platform 2 is for train arriving from Gajuma City, please be careful not to mistake the platform."
The conductor who appeared from the car ahead informed the train arrival at the city with a peculiar tone.
After passing through two unmanned stations along the way, we arrived at the city after an hour.
Distribution of goods should be considerably quick with this.
"It's in sight huh."
After passing through a forest, we could see Magyuba City surrounded by a tall white wall.
The smoke car sounds its steam whistle twice to announce its arrival to the city.
Tama and the surrounding children imitated the sound of the steam whistle.
Due to the noisy sound of the smoke car, there doesn't seem to be any adult who's annoyed by the children.
The smoke car heads toward Magyuba City while slowly turning to the left.
Thanks to that, I can see the state of the city.
Looks like there's an exclusive gate for smoke cars.
The metal lattice rolls up, and then the massive door inside it opens to the side.
There's a lot of beastkin children watching the smoke car from atop the gate even while getting their fur black.
The smoke car is advancing slowly in the city and then it enters a traditional station.
The station looks like a downscaled version of the old tokyo station, it's more magnificent than I thought.
"It's somewhat crowded isn't it."
We were met with crowds after getting through the ticket gate.
The crowds reminds me of the nostalgic rush hour.
We walk in the crowd while hearing voice of boys and girls selling their goods.
Among them is--.
"Newspaper~ This week's newspaper~"
--Someone selling newspapers.
I think 5 swen for a thin four page newspaper is a bit too expensive, but it doesn't seem like he's overcharging.
"....It really uses printing."
You're challenging them too much, Weasel Emperor.
Good grief, just how is all this not violating the God's taboo.
The content of the newspaper is mostly about the troop deployment at Makiwa Kingdom.
There's even an article of an interview with the special inspector Usan of Scientific Vehicle unit.
According to the articles, Makiwa Kingdom invaded Weasel Empire's remote region without warning, so this was a retribution war against Makiwa Kingdom that had done all kinds of atrocities.
These are fabricated news without a doubt.
Makiwa Kingdom has no national nor military power to cross through the monster dominion overflowed with many high level monsters.
It's impossible even for the four lords with the special elemental wands unless they resort to terrorism.
We have reduced the monsters in that dominion quite a bit, but we didn't completely wipe them out as there are those that act as deterrent on the circumference.
In one or two years, they should increase enough to stop military campaigns from happening.
Preparing for war should take time, and since they're aware that their army have been defeated by the dragon knights in one-sided battles, they will probably hesitate to march.
Tama pulled my sleeve, I raise my face from the newspaper.
The officials came out of the station on a state car. The state car is a convertible type with thin wheels like the one you see in a film about the dawn of car.
Pursuing them by running would attract attention, so we went ahead of them by teleporting to their destination that I guessed, the government office at the center of the city.
I can just move to the right place if I got it wrong.
The center of this city is on a slightly elevated ground, so you can see the city well from here.
Searching the map for a bit, there are seven temples in the back street, and there are only priests who can't use holy magic in the temples.
There's no priest who can use holy magic in the territory, not even one.
Of course, there's also no ordinary people with holy magic gift and skill. They were probably forcefully deported to the parishes.
Instead, there are several hospitals in the main street, they're packed with magicians who can use healing magic from earth magic, water magic and such.
Unlike in other places where orphanages are often found besides temples, there are only public orphanages here.
It seems that the emperor intends to make the citizens perceive that temples are unnecessary over time.
Tama curiously moves her sight at a street while her ears are twitching.
There are children wearing school uniform-like uniforms roaming that street.
According to AR reading, it appears they're students of empire state childhood schools.
Looking at the map, this city has more school buildings than Shiga Kingdom's Capital.
Since the number is still too few compared to the population, it doesn't seem to be a compulsory education, but it feels like they're increasing the foundation little by little in order to support science and technology.
Tama pulls my sleeve.
Looks like the car the officials ride on has arrived at the government building.
"Now then, let's go."
Tama transforms into her pink ninja costume with a white smoke.
Un, she looks like quite a ninja.