15-31. The Golden Knights' Deployment, Preparation (1)
Satou's here. I've seen manga that inform the readers with [This is ●●] as the title on the first page. I wonder if there would be people who mistook it for another work if that wasn't written?
"Master, so intense! At this rate I'll break."
Slender legs are wrapped around my waist, voluptuous hills are pushed on my face.
"Master, Master, Master."
I pat Core Two who seeks me maddeningly.
Arisa and Mia separate Core Two away from me.
"Master, Master, Master."
Core Two is frantically stretching her arms toward me even while being pinned by Hikaru and Lulu.
I stare back at her bewilderingly.
I received Core Two's intense hug the moment I got back to the Solitary Island Palace with Unit Arrangement, thus I don't know why she's like this.
"What's wrong, Core Two?"
"Master, Master, Master."
Since she can't give any meaningful reply, I ask the girls for the situation while grasping her hand.
"Do you know what this is about?"
"Well? We had just gathered here after pausing the sea fishing contest because the brownies told us that Core Two seemed strange, so we don't really know."
"Maybe something's happening at Dejima's Dungeon?"
Following Arisa, Hikaru gave a reasonable opinion.
"Right, I'll go see it for a bit."
I use Unit Arrangement to move to the <<Dungeon Room>> of Dejima's Labyrinth.
The Dungeon Core is flickering intensely, the room is basked in red and blue light.
"Report the current situation!"
『Master, someone, is.』
The Core answered intermittently.
『From outside, i-invading, m-me.』
Apparently, the dungeon is getting hacked.
The hologram window displayed by the Core shows the current information of the labyrinth.
"It's trying to make the monsters go on a Stampede outside the labyrinth huh."
I'm guessing so from the displayed information.
"It's a pinch-pench nanodesu."
When I looked at the direction of the familiar voices, I saw Tama and Pochi looking up at me from my shadow.
When their eyes met mine, they sank down into the shadow until around the eyes with a [We got found out] expression.
Looks like Tama followed me here with Shadow Ferry.
"Private Tama, Private Pochi! This is an emergency mission!"
When I said that, the two jumped out of the shadow and waited with shupin poses.
"Annihilate the monsters overflowing from the labyrinth's entrance!"
"Aye aye Sir~?"
I move the two to a small shrine near the labyrinth's entrance with Unit Arrangement.
The labyrinth and the labyrinth island are under my rule, so moving on them is an easy task.
Alright, now the monsters have been taken care of.
『Mas, ter, su-support, pl-easesese』
I touch the Dungeon Core and directly connects to the Core's consciousness.
『<<<OBEY>>>--contradict with Master's orders.』
The state of someone's will fighting against Core flew to me.
It seems it's [Master] instead of [Goshujin-sama] inside Core's mind.
『<<<OBEY>>><<<PROVIDENCE>>><<<OBEY>>>--I-I won't ob-ey.』
Just as Core's said, the Dungeon Core seems to be under a heavy load.
"Core, turn the one connecting from outside over to me."
After a light headache, the arrogant voices reached my mind directly.
A choice, [Requested by a being of higher-order. Do you want to obey?] and YES/NO, appeared in the edge of my vision.
Of course it'd be no, but I'm not going to choose just yet.
This comes from some manga or anime--
『Only people who are prepared to get hacked hack.』
It might be a bit different, but it mostly sounds like that I think.
I trace back the faint Magic Essence that flows in the Dragon Vein.
It's quite far.
After going through several Magic Clumps, Miasma Caverns, and Sources, it's even further than those.
It's like a cracker that attacks through several network servers.
It seems the other side sensed that they were being traced back, threatening will streamed from the source of the interference.
It feels like the divine messages I heard in Makiwa Kingdom.
If I have to say it insolently, it [stinks of Gods].
The unpleasant noise-like feeling in my mind was wiped out by that single word, and then I continue the trace with my cleared mind.
No, it's still even further.
When I pursue that further--.
"It fled huh."
The line was abruptly disconnected.
The trace I pursued completely disappeared there.
The Dragon Vein or Source it used to connect was probably physically destroyed.
『Master, thank you for your aid.』
"Nah, this much is nothing."
At this rate, there's a high chance that the other labyrinths are going to be forced into doing Stampede.
"Core, with my authority as the Dungeon Master, cut off the connection to the Dragon Vein. You're prohibited from reconnecting until I give you the permission."
『The connection has been cut off. 16 days remaining until Magic Essence is exhausted.』
Fumu, I thought Core would reject me, but it's expectedly obedient.
"What happens when you run out of the Magic Essence?"
『The Dungeon Core will enter Sleep Mode, all activities of the labyrinth will stop. This includes the volcanic restraint.』
That reminds me, the labyrinth here does that eh.
『It is possible to extend the active time to 721 days if the volcanic restraint is suspended. Would you like to suspend the volcanic restraint?』
If the volcanic activities resumed, the labyrinth island will become uninhabitable, and it should have a big effect on the crops and fishing industry of the the nearby Dejima Island.
I ponder a bit--.
"I'll bring Magic Essence from another place with Space Magic. It's a bit thick, and the flow rate is strong, but endure it."
Please, stop mixing shyness in your thought when you have that synthetic voice.
I connect to the Magic Essence convergent in the Elemental Stone Refinery in the Void Sky with space magic and pour it to the Dungeon Core straight.
『Master, amazing, Master, Master, be gentler, Master, I'm breaking, Master.』
When I heard the entreating coquettish voice of Core, I understood that Core and Core Two have the same personality.
The voice stir up my sadistic side, but I'd feel bad bullying it so I suppress the rate of flow to half.
While I'm at it, I also charge the holy swords used for magic storages that I've been neglecting.
The amount of Magic Essence is plentiful in exchange of the slower flow rate, so I charge 100 holy swords at once.
It has become much more easier to do it than when I was charging with my own hands.
Thanks to that I forgot to recharge though.
"Mission Complete nanodesu."
Tama and Pochi came back just when I started the magic charging.
"The monsters here are all kananomo, it's no joy nodesu."
Kananomo? Did she mean Kanamono (metal utensils)?
Certainly, most of them are golems and monsters with no substances, there's only a few that are edible.
"Pochi caught a Dungeon Crocodile nodesu."
Pochi and Tama fill the room with bodies of monsters on the floor and look up at me with a "praise me" face.
"What a big catch. Should I make hamburg steak of Dungeon Crocodile and Salamander for the lunch today?"
"Pochi is very very happy nodesu!"
When I suggested that while patting their heads, the two jumped up in joy.
I've made it so that Core can cut the charging connection through space magic itself, so I can leave it to charge by itself.
"Core, cut the connection once you've charged enough magic power."
『Y-yes, Master, ah, Master, haahaa, Master.』
Core's reply was amorous somehow.
"Don't forget to contact Core Two when your magic power has been depleted to half."
Will it really be alright....
I've set a method for safety just in case.
I suspect that Core would try to charge magic power until it broke somehow.
"Welcome back, Satou."
"Sera has requested her return from Duchy Capital."
When I got back to the solitary island palace, the girls welcomed me with complicated faces.
Arisa reported in a business-like manner while averting her eyes from the object on the floor.
Lulu's and Liza's faces are red.
When I look at Princess Shistina, she averts her eyes with reddened face.
It was probably because they saw the antics of the object on the floor, Core Two who's lightly breathing with an expression like she's just done it.
She must have been connected to the Dungeon Core and directly received the sensation from over there.
It seems a woman with such an appearance is still within the limit for Demon Lord Shizuka, her loose lips are just slightly loosened.
I'd like to believe that she doesn't have any strange thought for the girls here.
I pat the head of Mia who's nursing Core Two while looking like she doesn't really understand and bring everyone besides Core Two to the living room.
I'll leave Core Two to the experienced married brownies.
"How was over there?"
"Wait, before that, I'll call Sera-san and the others back here first."
After confirming with Sera, I called the three dispatched to the Duchy Capital back here with Unit Arrangement.
I wait for the three to sit on the sofa and continue the talk.
"Please report your situation first."
"Yes, allow me to tell you the conclusion first of all. The Gods are 『Giving the divine punishment to Weasel Empire, and for the surrounding nations' sins of being negligent to monitor Weasel Empire--"
Arisa and Hikaru began to boo when Sera got to the [sins of being negligent to monitor].
I agree with them, but we can't continue like this so I silence them.
"Will be given similar punishment』, so it's said. When I asked what kind of punishment it would be, another oracle descended, 『The effect of the Blessing that holds back the monsters in one place will be annulled』."
"What is 『Blessing that holds back the monsters』, so I ask."
Nana who had the same question as me asked.
"It's a Blessing that keeps monsters from coming out of the Monster Dominions and Labyrinths through God's authority."
"Is that a Blessing?"
"Yes, it is not commonly known, but we're taught that in the Temples."
Sera replied Arisa's question with the face of a clergywoman.
"Isn't the Miasma density the reason why monsters don't come out of their dominions and labyrinths?"
"Un, the scholars from my time also postulated such thesis."
Princess Shistina and Hikaru raised an objection at the temple's common sense.
"T-that shouldn't be--"
Denied of her doctrine, Sera immediately reacted and stood up.
"Calm down, Sera-san. I don't think Sera-san is telling a lie."
I calm Sera down and make her sit again.
"I think the fact that monsters prefer places with high miasma concentration is true. However, populated areas, slums and graveyards are also places with high enough miasma concentration."
I learned this after getting Miasma Sight skill, there were stagnated places that resembled the inside of a labyrinth.
"Places with high miasma concentration does not always equal places with monsters, though I can't say that it's certain since undeads sometimes do appear in graveyards."
I wait for everyone to chew the words before continuing.
Excluding Tama, Pochi and Lady Karina who looked sleepy from all the difficult talk, the other girls seemed to understand.
"In other words, I think a power that attract monsters to labyrinths and magic lumps does exist."
Leaving aside as to whether that's a God's Blessings or not--
"And, if the Gods have some kind of mean to erase that power, there's a high chance that Stampedes will happen in various places."
--Stampedes are certain to happen in various places.
However, I can't confirm whether the ones who hack Dungeon Cores to cause the Stampedes are the Gods.
It's very gray.
Tama and Pochi reacted to the word Stampede and stood up on the sofa.
When Liza made a "Zip your mouth" gesture at them, the two quietly sat back on the sofa at the same time.
For some reason, they're taking the [Shellfish pose] by hugging their knees and rounding up.
"Of course Golden Knights will deploy right?"
When I affirmed Arisa's question, she stood up on the sofa like Tama and Pochi earlier and raised her fist to the sky.
Losing to Lulu's sad line of sight, Arisa took the shellfish pose beside Tama and Pochi to reflect on her action.
Lady Karina looks like she wants to join in too somehow, but please hold yourself back because that's not a pose a young lady should take.
"Now then, before the Golden Knights deployment, I want to talk about the Weasel Empire I saw."
After I said that, everyone straightened themselves with a serious face.
Of course, that included the three who had become shellfish.