Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
“Joshua, what are you thinking about?”
A curious voice spoke outside the study as the warrior pondered about the future.
With a swift convergence of mana, 03’s silhouette formed by the door. With a cotton shawl draped over her, the Avian girl floated into the study with a curious gaze on Joshua. “You’re not the type to stare blankly.”
Joshua turned at the sound and nodded at the artificial intelligence’s holograph. “What, 03? Is something up?”
After she entered the study, 03 arranged the scattered tomes on the cabinet carefully and smiled lightly at the warrior’s question.
“You looked weird since returning from the Imperial Capital What I mean to say is that you could tell us if there’s anything making you confused.”
“We are companions,” she added softly. “It’s reasonable that we help each other.”
“ Thanks for your concern, there is indeed something.”
Joshua touched his chin in surprise after 03’s words. He never expected that 03 would discover his unusual behavior caused by his recent contemplation of the Mana Tide over the last few days. Taking a mental note of the fact, he hesitated for a while before shaking his head.
“It’s not that I couldn’t tell you But there will be omens in one or two years, or five if things progressed slowly. To talk about it now would merely be piling tensions.”
That was the warrior’s serious thoughts. The first wave of the mana tide had exploded when the Seven Gods combined to banish the Pentashade Dragon God from the Infinite Horizon into the material plane. As mana surged and the Dragon God wailed in pain, every draconic beast of the Pentashade bloodline descended into madness, brewing a real Draconic Plague.
But now the cause of that Draconic Plague no longer exists this time. Although the Pentashade race was not maimed like they were in the pre-existence, mankind had preserved themselves better than the beasts. There was a more significant advantage in terms of ability compared to the preexistence, while the Pentashade Dragon God did not even have the time to challenge the Seven.
As such, the deities just might prevent the first Mana Tide from affecting the Continent since they did not do battle.
Naturally, 03 should not be informed of these matters for now.
The A.I. girl was a little disappointed by Joshua’s refusal and floated off to sit on top of a desk.
“Fine” she said, her tone sullen. “Then you’re unhappy about being grounded?”
She knew the warrior’s personality, and that tying him down would unsettle him. However, the Joshua made a subtle expression at her query.
“Why would I be unhappy? It’s a liege’s duty to avenge their subjects who died incredulous deaths. The ensuing punishment is also entirely reasonable.”
Joshua walked to the desk and joined 03 by sitting on it too. His eyes then turned towards the map on the wall opposite him. As if the Artificial Intelligence had invoked certain thoughts, his tone became ironic. “What unsettles me is attitudefrom start to finish, nobody cared about Alphonso’s death except me.”
However, Joshua’s tone soon became calmer instead. “Those nobles who had made the hit definitely wouldn’t care. As for the Emperor stands high above, His Majesty would not even care about such trifles. That being said, the most unnerving of the bunch was Alphonso’s children and companions, who withheld news of his death for power without a hint of pain.”
“Such attitude is simply too twisted. To them, their father had been killed and a friend had been hurt, and yet I could not even see a hint of rage in every single one of those people.” Joshua said dispassionately. “I wonder what Alphonso’s spirit in heaven would think.”
“But you did avenge him, didn’t you.” 03 shook her head and leaned lightly on Joshua, her tone solemn. “You’ve slain the nobles responsible and fought the Emperor because of that. And you’ve also punished that unworthy son of Alphonso’s, whom you’ve stationed at the Dark Forest Fort as a normal city guard.”
“It’s exactly because of that that there’s an influx of adventurers in Moldavia recently. Some are here only because of your ability, but mostly it’s because they feel safe because of how you watch over your own.”
“Is that so.” Unable to deny, Joshua took a piece of goatskin parchment from a corner of the desk. It was the plan for an expansion on the west side of the city, and the warrior scanned it for a while before putting it down again. He then said calmly, “I’ve merely felt that revenge was the duty of a liege. I really did not feel how much rage there is.”
“A human is already perfect if he could carry out his own responsibility,” 03 said as she arranged the documents on the desk too, before adding with light mirth, “My liege, there’s still much for you to do.”
Joshua shrugged. He simply patted her head, able to feel her magical body physically thanks to the power of Authority. “I know you’re not here to hear me complain, so just tell me what’s the matter.”
“It’s about Unit-01,” she replied softly.
There had been many issues waiting since the warrior returned to Moldavia. Everything required his personal oversight and has to be handled one by one, whether it was administrative work within the domain, dealing with the cultists or the antidote research for the Black Blood Plague. Even without those, there were still matters regarding Winter Fort Academy as well as the runic factory.
Such was the bustling work of the liege of a territory. As such, Joshua was only able to train regularly thanks to 03 and Ling helping with bureaucratic work, although the warrior himself did spare some time to meet Moreila the dwarf and let him take a look at Unit-01.
The old dwarf’s attention was captured the moment he saw Unit-01’s burly body and unusual characteristicsit was a Steel Elemental that had never existed before on the Mycroft Continent after all. Incredibly fascinated, Moreila got the curious lifeform’s own agreement before bringing it to the dwarf’s settlement for experiments.
The decisive factors for Unit-01’s growth were the elements of magic around it and the quality of ores it fuses with. Though there was considerable mana concentration around Moldavia, it was far less thick than the underground magma region where the dwarves lived, a place where ores were much more abundant too. Moreila himself had added that he got an inspiration from Unit-01’s body; he probably would not treat it too shabbily.
“What, did it meet an accident?” Joshua asked, frowning and leveling a serious gaze at 03. “Or did it get into trouble?”
The A.I. shook her head and replied with her toneless voice, “Nothing happened, everything’s normal. Moreila treated Unit-01 very well, even developing a new alloy with its ‘Living Metal Attribute’. That’s why the entire dwarf settlement treated it like a treasure and gave it any ore it wanted.”
“If that’s so, then what else is there? Isn’t that just fine?” Joshua asked, baffled.
“It’s gone too well, my liege.” 03 sighed and floated again, swaying slightly this time. Arriving in front of the warrior, she flashed a light-blue mana radiance in her palm that moved like ripples in water. It then spread, forming a lifelike mystical projection.
It was a photograph of Moreila and Unit-01, their impressions captured by a spell and sent to 03, who then changed it into a three-dimensional holograph.
Although Moreila seemed busy lately, he looked spirited as he stood happily beside Unit-01’s shins. Somehow, Joshua could mysteriously tell that the Steel Elemental was fine despite its lack of a face.
Of course, it was fine.
Joshua leaped down from the desk in shock and watched the holograph carefully opposite 03, unable to stop the rising feeling of outrageousness.
“Even if Moreila isn’t that tall he’s still around 1.5 metersand yet here he is only reaching Unit-01’s shins, doesn’t that mean”
“Yes, my liege.” 03’s rather helpless voice came from behind the projection. “Your steel elemental’s growth is too impressive. Now, its more than seven meters tall and has no way of exiting the underground ramp, which the dwarves are currently working overtime to expand.
“Nevertheless, I believe that you shouldn’t think about bringing it home. Just leave it thereyour residence can no longer accommodate it.”