Chapter 210 Strongest Sage, To be Going on Site
"...So how do you suppose we should deal with these dolls?"
The knight commander asked me while looking at the doll used in the attack on Relaia Barondom.
However, the solution to it isn't quite so simple.
These dolls are capable of autonomous actions, therefore just setting up magic tools to jam transmissions won't be enough to stop them.
However... Instructions still need to be issued to these auto dolls to get them to act.
Thus, in order to wage war with a new set of dolls, there's a need to give them orders.
The attack on Relaia Barondom should abate if we could just crush the doll master that's giving these orders.
...However, even if that is the case, more attacks would probably occur in other locations right afterward.
These dolls and doll masters are disposable pieces after all.
If they really intend to simply give orders to these dolls, they could just use some magic items to do so.
"As we destroy the doll masters... we also have to cut off its supply source of powers, the life force."
"A power that every human posseses within them that is the source of many things such as mana. It's hard to control, so ordinarily life force is not usable... yet these dolls are using this power to move."
"A power humans posses huh... So in order to procure this life force stuff, these demons are murdering humans?"
"It is possible to collect life force by confining and killing them, but such method gives too little return for the effort expended. Rather than doing that... it's more efficient to collect if from a huge number of people little by little."
Life force is fundamentally made to be used inside the body, thus utilizing after taking it outside the body has a poor efficiency rate.
Killing and snatching life force away from 100 or 200 people won't get you that much power, while holding so many people restrained in a confinement is out of question.
"A huge number of people?"
"Collecting life force from hundreds of thousands of people little by little. Though that means, there is a need to spread magic tools that collect the life force in an entire nation."
"Tools to collect life force? Do such things exist?"
"It can be in the form of machines or even medicines if you just need a small amount from a person... But the side effect is severe, and you still need to spread it in a whole country."
I have no idea which kinds these demons are using.
However, regardless of which, taking life force from hundreds of thousands of people is not a simple task.
With the population rate of the current era, the scale might be as big as a whole country even.
Making something like that works with ordinary means would require an unrealistic amount of effort.
They're probably using some specific method to help accomplish the feat, nevertheless, it doesn't change the fact that it's affecting a country-wide level of population, thus requiring a large-scale operation.
"...These dolls are created by demons, right? Does this mean Saihill Empire is conspiring with demons?"
"I can't say for sure how far their involvements are, but there is a low chance they're not connected at all."
I don't know what kind of means these demons are employing.
But judging from the magic circles carved on this doll, our enemy is planning to utilize a large number of these dolls, no doubt.
It must be linked to 『Something』 lurking in the upper echelon of the country.
"...Demons made these dolls right? How about we just smash them?"
After contemplating a bit, the knight commander said it like he just realized it.
That's certainly an option.
"That's one option if the doll masters slip up on their disguise. However, as our opponent is demons, catching them when they're being wary won't be easy. They can freely fly around after all."
All the demons I defeated so far were either stuck in the place or coming for me themselves.
When demons attempt to run away using their speed, normally there is no way to defeat them.
And since they can create these dolls anywhere so long they have the materials, the demons don't have any reason to stay in one place.
"Indeed, defeating fleeing demons won't be an easy task... But how are you planning to cut off the life force supply, concretely speaking?"
"As this affects the entire country, there must humans who work together with the demons involved in this. Unlike demons, organizations made up of people cannot be relocated around as easily, so destroying these organizations should be easier."
Of course the demons are 100% aware that these humans are their weak link.
There's quite a high chance that the demons would get in our way if we make a move on these organizations.
We just need to fight and defeat those demons right there, then.
"...I see. Then, what do you suppose we should do?"
"First of all, put watchmen on the national borders and see if there's any other suspicious movements. Afterward, it depends on the situation after going and seeing it first hand at Relaia Barondom. I think you should limit the number of personnels you sent to prevent the campaign from getting mistaken as a declaration of war."
"Got it. We will arrange the watchmen immediately. As for Relaia Barondom... Would your party participate in the investigation, Mathias? Unfortunately, our kingdom has no one else that's as knowledgeable on the subject of these dolls. Of course we shall prepare fitting rewards, and we will do everything we can on our side too."
Hearing that, I look at the three girls sitting beside me.
The three immediately nodded.
"I understand. We will lend our cooperation."
I can't abandon this matter since it's related to demons.
There would have been no need if it were just for fighting the dolls, but the situation would deteriorate if we left it alone.
"We are in your debt."
After hearing my reply, the knight commander turned his line of sight toward a knight at the prime of his life who was also attending the meeting.
"Regido, arrange a unit to go for Relaia Barondom at once."
<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.>
"What about personnels selection?"
"We need to avoid getting it mistaken as a declaration of war, yet, getting looked down by the local authority would negatively impact the investigation. So how about one trustworthy viscount, and their guards?"
Viscount... is a rank above baron huh.
From the lesson I learned in Second Academy's class, apparently the higher your position in the knight order, the higher your court rank.
Since means of communication in the current world are undeveloped, having commanding officers with influence should make things easier.
Like in this case, they must be sending people with higher rank than the local baron to smooth things out when we get there.
"...I shall go. That should be acceptable right?"
The knight replied.
That knight was a viscount huh. Quite high on the ladder.
"Of course. Regido is one of the most trustworthy viscount knights that I know... However, as you will be taking a limited number of personnels, do not overestimate your force. If the situation turns for the worse, Regido is to abandon the mission and return immediately. Mathias, is that fine with you?"
I don't know how is this Regido knight like, but judging from the knight commander's words, he seems trustworthy enough.
And the fact that he orders Regido to quickly return if it looks dangerous must mean that he's that important.
Since I don't know any other knight I can trust anyway, having someone that credible going with us would be a welcome addition.
We can't probably hope for his participation in battle... but he should be a considerable help in gathering info from the local people.
"There's no problem here."
"I will be counting on you... When are you going to depart?"
"I am ready to go anytime."
Viscount Regido replied to the knight commander.
I can go anytime too, but it depends on the girls.
Thinking that, I activated comm magic.
『Anyone need to make preparations?』
『I personally don't really need to.』
『Me too, I'm ready to go anytime!』
『Same here, I can go.』
Looks like there's no problem.
The viscount is probably prepared to go on a campaign whenever an order comes down, and since we have Storage magic, we basically have no need to prepare for anything.
Though my life force has not fully recovered yet, I've gotten back the majority of it already. It should finish recovering while we're moving and investigating.
"I can go anytime as well."
"Good to hear you can move right away... That means, Mathias, you need a temporary court rank."
"Temporary court rank...?"
"Yeah. When someone is required to lead the army in case of emergency and such, a temporary court rank may be granted to that person. It's quite rare for anyone but a noble to lead a detachment though."
I see. And that's where temporary court rank comes in huh.
Looks like I'm stuck to be the commander of this investigation.
"Army huh, but I'm only going to give instructions to these four you know? Is there really any need for temporary rank?"
"It would not be necessary if the objective of this campaign were to wage war, but it's an investigation. If you don't have a rank, the local nobles may not look on you favorably and unnecessarily give you a hard time... Besides, your current position is one where you can be a noble if you really want to, Mathias. No one would object over you having a temporary court rank."
Come to think of it, the king is still persistently trying to 『grant me a territory』 even now.
Apparently in this kingdom, anyone who's given a territory becomes a noble... or rather, only nobles can have a territory.
In other words, giving me a territory is the same as giving a peerage, turning me into a noble.
...Well, territories are bothersome and I don't need one right now, even if it comes with a peerage rank.
"I believe that receiving a temporary rank takes time."
One of the knights in the meeting voiced his objection to the knight commander.
The knight commander shook his head.
"That is indeed the case in normal times. We have an an emergency now, the rank should be granted without even the conferring ceremony with a written decree by the king. Normally, there would be a hearing to see whether a person is fit to be granted a rank even during emergency, however, for Mathias, there is no--"
The meeting room's door was opened, interrupting the knight commander.
And then a knight came in through the open door.
Holding a piece of paper with ornaments in his hand.