16-52. Sage's Tower
Satou here. One of my friends from university days told me that only geniuses are capable of solving problems left unsolved by ordinary men their whole life.
However, even if it's geniuses who overcome the last step, I think it's the persistent efforts of us ordinary men that tread down the path right before that last step.
"Waa, snow country~"
"The snow is bow-wow all over the places nodesu!"
Arisa and Pochi jumped into the snow like puppies who had just seen snow for the first time.
We arrived at the city state Kariswolk where Karion main temple is located.
I realized that I was overthinking about [God's Backdoors] from previous trials, and so I went with all members who had times on this occasion.
The territory where this city state is located is currently snowing, thus [Sage's Tower], which is also another name for the city, is hidden by the heavily falling snow, we can't see it here from outside the city.
"Geez, Arisa. You're going to catch a cold."
With a 'dear me' expression, Lulu scolded Arisa and Pochi who went on to create snow angels while laughing.
Hearing that, Lady Karina who was late to join in with the two stopped herself from jumping with an awkward look on her face.
Well, Princess Sistina and Sera's scolding time would have waited for her if she did jump.
"Mia, hoping for a snow rabbit."
"Nn, leave it to me."
Nana carefully scooped out snow in her hand and requested Mia to make her a rabbit model out of snow.
Tama who's piggybacking me hugs my head while purring.
"Tama, get down. You're troubling Master."
"I don't really mind."
Scolded by Liza, Tama asked for my permission while looking dejected so I gave her the ok.
"Satou, will ancestor king--Mito-sama come along too?"
"Yes, but she's got some business to attend to this morning, I think she will join us in the afternoon."
I replied to Princess Sistina as she looked around.
Looks like she wasn't present when I invited Hikaru while she was going out.
"Satou-san, as ordered, I've told that side we don't need the carriage coming for us."
"Thanks again, Zena-san."
Zena-san who had gone ahead to the city's gate with Flight magic came back.
"Well then, let's get going once Sera-san is here."
I gaze at the kids playing with snow after saying that.
"I'm sorry to keep you waiting."
"No no, don't worry about it."
After a bit, Sera who had dressed herself came down the airship.
Apparently she dislikes cold, thus she was going to go out in thick clothing, but after I told about the perfect effectiveness of my magical temperature control with, she went and changed to light dresses.
I didn't use the magic during our trip to the eastern snowy Kiwolk Kingdom since I wanted us all to enjoy snow kingdom to the fullest, but I'm using the magic here since wearing thick clothing would hinder our mobility.
"Well then, let's go."
I told the girls and stepped forward toward the city gate beyond the snow field.
"It kinda looks tasty nanodesu."
"Ahaha, wanna try putting strawberry syrup on it and have a taste later?"
"Nn, blue calpis."
The kids are laughing while reaching out to the icicles hanging on the windows and roofs of houses here.
Mia seems to like it blue.
"But really, it's pure white desuwa."
"This is what they call blanket of snow."
Princess Sistina replied to Lady Karina.
"It doesn't look like there's a stall in this season here."
"Instead, there's lots of home stores around."
The doors and windows are small so these houses look like private houses, but there are signboards drawn with pictures signifying dinery and bar hung on the front doors.
I wonder if the fact that there's a lot more rental library than other countries here is due to Sage's Tower?
"Is that perhaps the main temple?"
"The holy mark of God Karion is carved on the front wall, that must be it."
Sera answered Zena-san's question.
Karion Main Temple is a building that looks like ice.
It's not actually made of ice, the building is built with crystal reinforced with earth magic.
"It's transparent nanodesu!"
"A building made of ice desuwa!"
"Well, there are people who cross over galaxies with a spaceship made of ice after all, no surprise here too right?"
Arisa said so while mentioning an episode in a space opera about a great man that founded a democratic nation.
She herself intended that to be a joke, but since Pochi, Tama and Lady Karina seemed like they were about to believe her for real, I told them that this was made of crystal.
I went inside the temple with the girls.
"I thought it'd be full of priests, but there's a surprising number of scholars here."
Just as Arisa said, there's lots of priests and scholars here.
Including the priests, most of the people coming and going out of the temple are wearing gray robes, so it's hard to tell them apart.
"Apparently there's a library deep inside the temple, you see."
"Hee, do you think it's open to the public?"
Looking at the library's Map, only scholars related to [Sage's Tower] and students studying under these scholars' private schools are inside the library.
"If I had to say, isn't it more vermilion?"
Statues made of vermilion rock salt are lined up in the chapel.
Looks like Tama sees those statues as pink colored.
"Welcome to Karion Main Temple, visitors from a foreign country. What do you seek here, recovery, or blessing?"
A gentle-looking male priest came to greet us.
"No, I'm here to take on God Karion's trial."
"T-trial? Do you wish to inspect the library for the 『Pursuit of Truth』? Or do you mean, trial in its 『Truest Sense』?"
"I would love to get the permission to inspect the library, however, I'm here today to take on the trial in its 『Truest Sense』."
"P-please wait for a moment!"
The male priest went back inside in a hurry.
Other temples seemed to have received a messages about me, did this temple not get it, I wonder?
"T-Thank you very much for waiting."
After a while, the priest earlier came back with a strict-looking temple head, several high ranking priests and a young miko.
"Pleased to meet you, 『Challenger of God's Trial』. I'm 『Oracle Miko』 who serves upon God Karion, my name is Maiya."
"I'm Earl Satou Pendragon of Shiga Kingdom. It's an honor to meet Miko Maiya-dono."
Miko Maiya greeted with an earnest look.
This Miko-san and her serious-looking expression would look good in female teacher fashion.
『--O God. O prudent God whom we revere.』
After the same old procedures, I proceeded to contact God Karion with Miko Maiya's lead.
A bright light fell down the heavens to answer miko's call.
It's a pleasant vermilion light.
The ecstatic expression on miko's face turned flat.
She's entered the trance state.
『...What a pain.』
A child voice of unknown gender echoed in my head.
I think that was God Karion's voice, but the line was cut off along with that word.
I caught the falling miko and quickly checked the Log.
>Title [Mark of Karion] Acquired
>Title [One Approved by God Karion] Acquired
I had feared that I failed, but doesn't seem to be any problem.
The sweaty miko-san looks up at me with flushed cheeks.
"You must have found God Karion's revelation to be deeply meaningful, haven't you?"
The miko is looking at me expecting for my affirmation, but it's a bit hard to comply to that.
I don't idolize god Karion enough to feel the deepness of that [What a pain].
"The words earlier had the meaning of 『There is only one trial given to those who seek it. Repeating the same words would only waste time, pursue the temple's records』."
The miko quietly spun her words.
She's quite a lively miko considering she just went through a contact with god.
"And the trial is 『Go to Sage's Tower, inside, pick and solve one among the problems that have been left unsolved for more than 100 years.』"
That sounds kind of fun.
I've gotten the mark already so it's not like I've got to do the trial anyway, but it'd be troublesome if they tried to find fault later on.
God Karion might have given the mark to me just as an advance payment after all.
<TLN: If you're reading this novel at any other site than Sousetsuka .com you might be reading an unedited, uncorrected version of the novel.>
"Your excellency, over there is Sage's Tower."
Miko Maiya pointed at a stone-made large tower as her glasses reflected light.
The miko has taken upon herself to show us around the Sage's Tower, but for some reason she's changed her outfit from [Oracle Miko] to [Female Teacher Fashion]. Complete with triangular glasses.
Apparently, it's a traditional outfit introduced by a hero donned whenever she visits the Sage's Tower.
"No matter how you look at it, the character-making is way too much~"
Arisa and Mia had that conversation behind my back.
Well, I'm actually in agreement here, but the tight skirt looks very much perfect on Miko Maiya, so I have no intention to point out the excessiveness.
Feels like Arisa and the girls would cosplay as one if I carelessly blurted it out.
Inside a building made of stone at the base of the tower, scholars and students are exchanging opinions in the entrance hall and passages here and there.
『According to the documents from Furu Empire's era, the magic circle inside fire wands is--』
『Fundamental differences in mana supply between magic cannons that exist today and magic cannons from Magic Kingdom Lalakie--』
『I proclaim that we could clear up monster dominions without wasting human resources by making use of Soul Art considered forbidden!』
『To produce clean water through water gems in desert areas, the mane of kelpie as a catalyst would be--』
There's a lot of discussions related to military technology for such a place of learning.
It's probably because the close proximity of monster threats here, that military technology dedicated to strengthen city defence feels close to people in a different way than in modern times.
"There's statues over here too nodesu!"
"They look different from the statues we saw at the temple."
Tama and the girls found rock salt statues scattered in the entrance hall with their sharp eyes.
"From here on is where the scholars are doing their research, therefore I would have to ask for a minimum number of people--"
Miko Maiya told us so in front of a spiral staircase at the deepest part of the entrance hall.
Arisa, Mia and Princess Sistina, aka the researchers, are coming with us, while the other members have been tasked by me to trail-blaze stores that sell tasty stuff intended for scholars and students around the tower.
We climb up the stairs to the topmost part of the tower with miko Maiya leading.
Since Arisa and the girls complained that they were tired halfway through, I created [<<Floating Boards>>] with Force magic and put them on board.
And then we came to a room at the top.
"Miko Maiya, if you're here that means that man is?"
"Yes, Sage Kanryu. This gentleman here is Earl Satou Pendragon, he's taken on God Karion's trial."
The kind-looking old man with white beard appears to be a sage.
"Welcome, Satou-kun. I hope to witness you work out an answer to the unsolved problems here."
Sage Kanryu smiled profoundly as he said that.
Now then, what kind of problems are left unsolved for 100 years?
I would prefer if it doesn't take too long to solve.