This is the end of Book 2 in the LN.
Next chapter in on the 31th, just before the new year’s.
Unedited. Have requested Deskie. Would like to formally invite sancturillore to edit too.
To sancturillore, please email this address if you have the time.
P.S. I currently do not have the time to instantly alter your corrections, I’ll be sure to ask Deskie to moderate and implement your contributions.
Chapter XIX – Five Obstinate People Under the Earth
In a private study – also commonly known as an atelier – set up within the lab, I, who have just finished touring around most parts of the facility, am indulging myself in my thoughts. Save for the lacking manpower and a lot of points that need improvement in terms of sanitation, this new laboratory has been running in an extremely smooth manner. Mining, smelting and refining activities; weapon development; pharmacology research; magic experiments. They’re all going well, but….
“It seems like that there’s a bit of an excess in resources…”
That’s right. Originally, the deposits lie far in the remote recesses of the mountains, and it would be difficult to develop them using ordinary means. In exchange, however, the reserves of ores they held were vast. To the point that Laubert wasn’t at all talking big when he said about it being comparable to the average annual revenue of the country. Though, that means, dig too much of it and the resources will pile up too much too, which will then result in a capacity shortage in the storage facilities.
Anyhow, the material known as ‘gold’ is a heavy one. Like, seriously heavy. Gold is about two to up to five times the weight of iron at the same volume. Though I read it from some sort of a book in the previous life, there seems to be a case of a whole floor giving in, damaging the building in the process, due to an excessive storage of gold. I’m not so sure if that kind of thing won’t happen in this underground facility, even when this place has been reinforce through alchemy here and there.
I have to figure out some sort of ways to make use of them. In the first place, I made this large vein into a lab because I had wanted to make use of the various materials excavated from the place. Experiments and productions that are currently being carried out are an extension of the research that I’ve done up to the present. I’d like to make use of the special quality of this facility and commence some extravagant research using this abundant gold and silver any time now. There’s not one single alchemist who can conduct their research under these favourable conditions, even in the research history that I read back in the academy. Isn’t it such a waste to leave these resources to rot?
Well then, how should I put these gold and silver into practical use?
How about arms and armour for Uni and the Opus Series? There’s a lot of things I want to do in this regard, but in truth, Victor and the officials stopped me from doing so. I understand that even their present equipment rivals, or even exceeds, the equipment of the strongest knights’ order in the kingdom. As it is, it’d be inevitable that the higher-ups will carp at me if things turned out badly and they were to discover these items, and with my current political circumstances it would be dangerous for me to be having any more of these problems. So to say, if I were to reason that the expansion of these armaments were for the sake of national defence, I’ll draw the enmity of other countries instead. If I were to do this, I’ll just bring ruin to myself.
Then, why don’t I use them as materials to be used for the lab’s environment improvement plan? No no no, that won’t do, that won’t do. The place would be all glittery and it would be hard to settle in. A lab coated with gold and silver would drive me crazy, I would die. It won’t be a suitable place to live for humans with properly working nervous systems. And besides, processing stones is much more economical than using gold. It’s not a problem of money, it’s just the problem of labour when producing these building materials with alchemy.
I had thought of making a large magic tool like the portal gate or the cooling device in the mansion, but it would be a waste of time to make these large things without a purpose in hand. The resources dedicated for my main research to probe into the concept of immortality is not to be sneezed at as well. Well, it doesn’t take that much, but I don’t feel like devoting the labour needed for the invention I’d fancy about.
Almost there, is there really nothing I can do with them? A practical and meaningful way to use these silver and gold—–
“—- That’s it. Why don’t I make a golem?”
Inspiration suddenly came up to me. That’s right, golem sounds good. There are, more or less, various ways to utilise them, and above all, I don’t have that much experience when it comes to making golems out of those materials. During my time in the academy, I’ve tried making golems out of diverse materials, but the Alchemy Department there was a destitute one. And as one might expect, I don’t have any experience of making golems using those precious materials. I might as well make the golem so elaborate to the point that it’s ridiculous just for the kick of it.
Hm? Now that I think about it, simply making them out of gold and silver would be boring. Rather, why don’t I make a gold-silver based magic alloy instead? Right, that sounds good. Let’s go with that.
When I decided so, for some reason there’s this indescribable feeling that I used to feel back in my childhood days.
Like I said, I’m an advocate of efficiency. But I’m a romanticist at the same time. If I don’t have a fragment of that romance in me, then I’ll end up just spending my time in vain when I reach immortality. If it’s indeed possible for me to reach immortality, then I’d like to keep this pure feeling at that time, and also all the way up until that point.
“Right, somehow I can feel motivation and creative urge rising and stirring inside of me!”
So this is the so-called ‘inspiration’? Ideal materials and swell ideas, and the explosive desire for action born when both of these factors combined. In my life, this feeling has often yields me great results. It’s a feeling like what I felt back when I performed my marvels on Uni. The ingenious idea of having the potential-laden Uni and utilising alchemy to polish that very aspect has given me my crowning work of all.
Surely, this time, I can make something magnificent. Shivering with the premonition of that masterpiece-to-come, I merrily work on the raw materials that will be the masterpiece’s basis first.
“Master……? Th, this is…..”
Perhaps out of her concern to the fact that I’ve shut myself in the atelier for quite a while, Uni sticks out her face from the entrance door.
Eh…. that’s strange? From what I know, unless I call for her directly, it isn’t often for Uni to enter without knocking.
“………… Ah, eh? Uni? Just now, did you knock?”
The voice that came out from my throat was hoarse, almost like it was ridden with rust. Hmmm? Did I catch a cold or something?
Upon hearing that voice, Uni’s face quickly loses its colour.
“…. Master. My apologies for replying your question with my own question, but when did you last go to sleep?”
And then she curiously stared my way.
“Aaah. Could it be that I’ve been shutting myself here for days?”
“Yes, today would be the fifth day.”
He, hum, is that so…..
What, five days!? Did she say it has been five days!?
I’m astounded in spite of myself. Now that she said that, I remember that I told Uni to make me whatever meals just for me to preserve myself and stay away from this place for awhile. I’ve been in such a rush in this creation of my personal pastime, that the reality that I’ve been here for five days slipped through me.
“…. You should’ve called when I was midway of it….”
I know I’m in the wrong here, but for some reason the words of complaint were rushing through my mouth.
“My apologies. But…….. I did call several times, but, errrr, every time I did so, Master replied, ‘I, I’m busy’”
Wow, now the fault’s completely mine.
And now that she said that, I kind of remember that there were several exchanges with someone from the other side of the door. But, as I thought, I couldn’t remember what I said then…. Eh? Back then, when Uni was recalling my replies, didn’t she hesitate, like there was something she couldn’t say? Could it be that I said something in a terribly harsh way that I can’t seem to recall now? Something like, ‘Keep your trap shut! My hands are bloody tied right now!’?”
Just imagining it depresses me. What am I, like some kind of a shut-in useless son shouting angrily at his mother for worrying about him? Oh wait, that’s exactly the case now is it.
I spontaneously go down on my hands and knees and lower my head. Just what is this remorseful feeling… my head’s all spinning and my mood is crashing down. It feels like I want to plant my head on this very spot of the floor right now.
“I’m sorry for being born. I’m really sorry for being alive…..”
“……. Ma, master? Are you going mad? Did Opus-04 bit you? Get a hold of yourself!”
As she said so, she grabbed me by the nape of my neck and dragged me outside the room. She dragged me as it is through the teleport gate bound for the residence. As I take that feeling in, my consciousness grows hazier——
——— And so, here we are.
“Are you a moron? No, Your Excellency, perchance, might you actually be intellectually challenged?”
“Give it a rest, Victor. The lord has already said that he’s reflecting, and the fact that he’s indeed sorry has already made clear, so let’s stop rebuking him over and over again now.”
And so on, the two among the top brass of my ranks of vassals has been persistently lecturing and continuously rebuking me. These two sure have some fine personalities. Especially Laubert, who smoothly delivered the killing blow while laughing.
TL Note: fine personalities may also be translated as “great guts”
“I already said sorry, alright? I’m reflecting. I won’t do it again.”
“Please say ‘I absolutely won’t ever do it again’ instead……….”
At my words, Victor makes the gesture of placing his hand on his forehead as if he’s enduring a headache.
If your head hurts that much I can fix it with lobotomy, though.
To that he said,
“Rather than a symptomatic therapy; I’d say I need a radical treatment more.”
And so I was cut off.
After that incident, I understand that Uni dragged me out, brought me back to the residence, washed me like how she’d wash the dishes, and left me to sleep for an entire two days. On paper it seems to be quite terrible, but the fact that I got away with just that is all I could’ve asked for. At worst, it’s not impossible for me to drop dead due to overwork after working for five days straight without rest. If I were to die because I got too absorbed in my hobby before I reached immortality, then why bother in the first place?
As I thought so, Victor shifted his gaze from me – who didn’t even grumble – to Uni, who’s refraining by my side.
“Madam Chief Maid, please do not spoil His Excellency too much. Surely there’s at least some will left in you to say something at times like these?”
“…. I am terribly sorry.”
Uni obediently lowers her head. Seeing my number one Opus being talked down like this makes me a bit irritated.
“Hold on there. In this matter, Uni isn’t that much at a fau—–”
“Yes, the primary offender here is His Excellency.”
And at that very moment Laubert pursued me. What a shrewd man. Although I’m glad he didn’t turn into an enemy, even as my ally he still gives me the tingles and I can’t help it.
“No, Master isn’t at fault here. The fault lies in me, who couldn’t fulfil the role of remonstrating my lord————-”
“Yes, ah, right…. That’s right. Please take care of His Excellency properly from this point onwards, Madam Chief Maid.”
As Uni stands up to protect me, Laubert’s face twitches.
Just what’s with this atmosphere… It’s not Uni’s words, but, did being around Charl really infect me with some sort of a strange disease?
“Well, putting that aside…”
“Please don’t try to end the topic, Your Excellency. But, well, certainly, this has been quite the fruitless discussion…..”
Victor agrees, while his face seems wants to say: ‘it can’t be helped’. Then let’s advance the topic right away.
“As I thought, it’s important to avoid losing the sense of time when shutting myself inside a large room where the sun doesn’t shine. No, it’s not only me, how was it for you when you were there, Laubert?”
“Let’s see. It feels like it’s always night-time down there, it does make me forget even things like ‘what day is today again?’. Though for a vampire like that man, it seems that he’s always healthy in a place like that
Certainly, Charl would be stronger in a place in a dark and sealed environment where the sunlight would be nothing but harmful to the inhabitants like that. But vampires are fundamentally like that no matter where.
“That said, I’d like to propose to adopt the sunlight to the environmental improvement plan, how does that sound?”
“Sunlight, in the undergrounds?”
“Yes, among the byproducts of our gold-mining, we also have quartz too, yes? If we use that and make them into glass tubes and stretch them, it’s possible to transmit the sunlight from the ground up to the deep undergrounds through the tube.”
It’s also commonly called as ‘optical fiber’. If this method succeeds, it’ll be possible to cultivate greens which require sunlight as a necessity in the undergrounds as well. It’ll also be possible to secure the necessary amount of sunshine for human body to work properly, and will also contribute to normalise the residents’ biological clock. Apparently, those advantages clicked with the clear-headed home affairs expert pair too.
“So even that is possible…. But if the sunlight reaches the undergrounds, then it’ll be hard on the vampires.”
“Of course, I’ll restrict the light to reach select sections only. Direct sunlight will damage some of the materials, and its effect on paper is not good either. Well, the current, rather humid and dusty, environment is also as bad in these regards, though.”
A little amount of sunlight won’t put Charl in pain, but he still won’t feel good about it. At the end of the day, this lighting plan is merely to refresh humans, and also, agriculture. Since the plan takes time and labour, as expected I have no intention to completely illuminate the undergrounds.
“Hmm, it’s indeed an interesting plan. If this can be realised, it won’t be impossible for that underground space to attain complete self-sufficiency. By any chance, Your Excellency, have you planned this out for quite some time now?”
“I just feel that I have to tackle things starting from this matter as early as I can. In truth, I had wanted to start by expanding the underground space first.”
“Then why don’t we start from there? If we want the environment to be more comfortable, then shouldn’t we by all means do that? Besides, I think that it’s easier to plan early where there’s plenty of room for expansion, rather than later.”
Laubert said. Since he knows the pain of going way under, his remarks was valid.
“There’s just a bit of a problem there…. See, we’re going to bring light from the outside, yes? Which means, the facility to let the sunlight in must be built on top of the lab.”
“Aah, I see….”
Imagine. In the depths of a remote mountain, there lies a mysterious facility of glass tubes, piercing the earth towards the undergrounds. Due to geographical factor, people won’t run into them that quickly, but when people do run into them, that sight will stand out. I mean, really stand out. Then rumours like ‘there must be some sort of a secret hideout below’ will spread like wildfire. In the unlikely event when people actually approach them, we’re out.
TL Note: “out” in the sense of baseball “out”.
And it just so happens that the development of the new mines for business in Marlin has just been tendered out. Depending on how much revenue they make, some prospector will want to look for a new vein throughout the region and they will come one after another. If someone among them made the wrong turn and broke into the mountain where the lab is located, it’s a given that the lab will be discovered too. And then the information will find its way to the capital, where my brother and Victor’s father remains.
“But that’ll only be a matter of time, right? And so, there’s this considerably large vein in Laubert’s report. This vein can also be pinpointed by the gold dust in the river bed. Let’s defiantly expand the facility as much as we wish here. It lies literally in the middle of nowhere, far in the depths of the mountains, it’ll take days for a small band of prospectors to discover it.”
“But since Your Excellency took the trouble to say all these things, I suppose there’s some kind of a good-for-nothing countermeasure in place there too, yes?”
As expected from one of the pair of famous young official who’s running these frontiers. What fine decisiveness and foresight.
“Yeah. There’s still time until the results of the mine revenue are out and prospectors begin to move, add to that the interval between them moving and them discovering the facility. With that, there’s enough cards to play in our hands. Though, as Laubert said, the plan is a good-for-nothing one.”
“Ah, figured so.”
One of the pair shifts his gaze toward heaven, and the other shifts his gaze the other way. As to who did what, well, it doesn’t matter.
As both of them seems to have lost their will to ask further at the same time, Uni came to ask.
“Then, Master, what is your plan?”
“Yes. Needless to say, Marlin is a hinterland in the frontiers. And for that, we do have an abundance of nature and plenty of pristine lands where humans’ hands don’t reach. Our lab is among those lands.
And that’s why I could do something like digging and drilling during the wintertime. I could do something like moving huge golems to excavate the grounds, since the land is so secluded to the point it was impossible to be found out by any single soul.
“However….. In a pristine secluded land like this, you’d think there should be at least one or two undiscovered dungeons, yes?”
Victor stood up, not realising he was making clatters and loud noises as he rose. His face turns so pale it’s almost worrying.
Not minding Victor, Uni nods.
“I see, so on top of the lab that’s substantially similar to a dungeon, Master is planning to make another new dungeon.”
“Another dungeon? I won’t do something so stingy like that. Two. I did say ‘one or two’ back then, didn’t I?”
“…. So the lighting facility will be placed on a dungeon, and the surrounding mountains will also help to achieve the purpose of camouflaging the facility.”
“Madam Chief Maid, why are you being so calm here?! We’re talking about dungeons here! Setting aside the covert place where the underground space where the lab lies, to think the very mountain will be turned into a dungeon itself! If those people in the capital were to catch a whiff of this, it’d be good if it could end with just a summons from the high court! At worst, a whole army of the strongest knights’ order and adventurers could come knocking, you know!?”
Still pale, Victor keeps rattling on about his objections. Well, of course he would. What I’m proposing here is basically picking a fight with the kingdom just so the underground lab’s environment can be improved.
“No, I think it’s quite the good idea, though?”
“Laubert!? Have you gone mad? Did he perform another readjustment on you when you were down under?!”
Well, what he said was a bit rude. However, it seems that Laubert has noticed the merits of the plan.
“I’m in my right mind. Well, I wonder if a someone whose head has been tampered with can be right in their mind, though. Victor, you were saying about if those in the capital were to catch a whiff of this, but…… like His Excellency said, Marlin is one of the most remote regions, even in the southern parts of the kingdom. If someone were to learn that there’s a dungeon here, as long as they don’t know that His Excellency made it himself, it won’t lead to his impeachment.”
“What did you say?”
Indeed, Marlin is a frontier, and the location of my lab is among its most secluded place unprecedented by any human intelligence. If there were to be an undiscovered dungeon in such a place, it wouldn’t explicitly lead people to question my management responsibility as its lord. ‘As more people enter into mine development than ever before, they happen to stumble upon an undiscovered dungeon as well’. I can do with this answer.
“Well…….. that’s certainly….. no…. but, there’s still a problem there, Your Excellency. Even if you manage to tell people that the dungeon you constructed yourself is an unprecedented discovery, what about the materials used to construct the dungeon itself? If you want to fortify the mountain, then it’ll be fine if you deploy tree-type monster there, but the lighting facility will be placed there as well and it’ll be a considerably large artifact. If people were to use ‘Detect’ spell on it and figure out when it was built, then doesn’t that mean that we risk losing everything here?”
“As expected from Victor, you certainly make a good point. However, you do know that alchemists do have an alias, yes?”
“‘Swindler’, isn’t it? No, it’s not like I’m doubting Your Excellency’s skills though…”
“No, I’m not talking about that. It’s just that it’s the prevailing view…. Here, look.”
All of a sudden, a bundle of parchments were thrown at him. From the look of it, they look considerably aged.
“Oh. What is this…? Hmm, these seems to be two hundred years old, I see. It’s curious that nothing is written here, though.”
And, he skillfully appraised the parchments’ age. Actually, Victor has some magic potential with him. If it’s only basic spells, even him can use it. A spell like “Detect” would have great use in assessing fine arts that is indispensable for those of the nobility, so of course he’d know the spell.
For this time only though, his answer was way off.
“Those are parchments for official document use that I bought a while ago.”
“Ah, I see…. So, you’re not trying to pull one on me, yes? I know that Your Excellency is an eccentric person, but just who would buy a useless parchment like this?”
“You still don’t get it?”
“Don’t get what?”
I was just about to tell perplexed Victor the answer when someone interjected.
“No way… did you disguise a brand new parchment as a two-hundred years old by using alchemy?”
It was Laubert. What he said was correct, but I wish he had read a bit more into it. Even though I had wanted to make a joke about it with a posed look…
“He got it. So, your appraisal spell has just given you the wrong answer, how do you feel about it?”
“How!? ……….. The washed-up colour can indeed be forged, but, there’s no way it could fool an appraisal spell…..!”
Somehow Victor’s role is to be the surprised one here. Perhaps it’s because he’s just serious by nature.
“Well, I vamped up the parchment so it gave an impression that it is two hundred years old when it’s appraised by a spell. It’s possible that the alchemists of old used to profit by forging fine arts. If they did that, it’s possible for them to get filthy rich even if they couldn’t turn lead into gold. Hence the ‘swindler’ alias.”
I haven’t heard anything that could substantiate that account though. Well, alchemy is a minor field in this world. Just how many barristers at that time were wise enough to expertly prove that a fraud was taking place? In the first place, how many victims realised that they were scammed in the first place?
Uni gives an additional explanation to the shaking Victor,
“As there are many things that are irreversibly impaired over time, renewing old things prove to be a difficult task, it is however surprisingly easy to make new things seem old. It’s possible for another alchemist as skilled as Master to see through the ruse, but…”
“At the very least, you won’t find anyone like that in this kingdom. And I have the confidence to insist on that. So far, the only alchemist comparable to me that I’m aware of is the professor who used to be my mentor.”
And there’s no people with spare time who’d bother bringing an alchemist to appraise a dungeon’s building material, nor there’s people who’d put their trust in this field in the first place. Besides, Professor Graumann is a foreigner. Even if someone from this country were to request him to do so, he’s not obliged to comply. He’s also currently busy researching immortality as well, just like me.
“What a staggering amount of preparation…. For someone who has yet to reach twenty, it’s impressive that you’ve came so far on this path. Is there some sort of a secret behind it?”
Victor’s words were more of an expression of astonishment rather than a praise. Perhaps he never thought that alchemy—- a field that is, albeit a discipline in the arcane, minor— would have so much impact in this world, starting from the fact that he was brainwashed using knowledge from that field. And come to think of it, the fact that someone who’s not even in their twenties could master that field to this extent might’ve been a menacing one.
“From my point of view, it’s just that, it seems that the other alchemists are doing their research in a terribly roundabout way.”
There’s a lot of unseparated portions between “alchemy” and “natural sciences”. For some reason, the knowledge of medicine-making and chemical composition is included in the field of alchemy. In my previous world, it seems that before the age of Newton, alchemists were once viewed as scientists, it seems that this world has the same confusion as well.
So, as a person who have received a basic education in a world where science has made progress, I could tell the noise in the field and concentrate only on the “alchemy” portion. That is why my rate of progress was different than my fellow student.
If there’s another factor to it, then,
“Also, he performs more human experimentations than any other people, that counts too, I suppose?”
Victor nods at Laubert’s words. Seems like another rude remark was thrown in there, but well, Laubert was correct. The data obtained from human experimentation has been most useful. For you see, as the outcome of the research is aimed for humans, the research should also be actually experimented on human bodies. Once, there was a certain country that turned out victorious in a war, and they took the research data obtained from human experimentation from the defeated country. They didn’t take it to turn it into evidence in the court, they took it so they could make use of it and advance their own country’s medicine and weapon development. That harvested data was just that valuable and helpful. Well, it’s something that happened in my previous world, so my memory about it is all fuzzy.
As I think about those miscellaneous things,
“Master, you should return to the original topic.”
“Whoops, right, there’s still that. So, the point is, even if we were to make a dungeon in the depths of the mountains, the possibility of connecting that to me is minimal. It can instead obstruct people from discovering the lab, and that there is a plus.”
“I see, I understand that it may be good for Your Excellency as an alchemist. However, as the lord who governs this land, just what kind of dungeon – which is technically a monster’s den – will you personally make? If the monsters were to overflow from there, for a territory with inadequate armaments like Marlin, things will be rough.”
As a home affairs official, that opinion was becoming of him. However, I’m not negligent enough to forget about those parts.
“Since it’ll be built in a remote place, I feel that the impact on the people will be minimal, though? We’ll regularly thin them out so they don’t increase too much. Materials that can be harvested from them are valuable, you see. It’s convenient to have a ‘ranch’ nearby for research purposes as well, and it’ll also be a training field for the Opus series. We’ll be hitting two birds with one stone.”
“Then what will you do when the dungeon is finally discovered? Adventurers in search of new hunting grounds will rush in there. When that happens, I think that the risk of the lab being discovered will rise.”
“Have you been listening to me?”
He’s not an incompetent person who is just going to act all surprised at my proposal. I’ve consulted my policies and strategies with him many times. He’s a victim of what I’m doing here as well. Surely, when I say this, there’s no reason for him to still not understand this and ask me something like “then what are you going to do with the people who’s coming to investigate you?” or “how are you going to use these people?”.
Sure enough, he sighs as he answers.
“… The dead don’t talk. And the “material” you were talking about is not limited to the corpse of the monsters. Am I correct?”
“Well put. If I had to add anything to that, catching them alive would’ve been more preferable, right?”
Indeed. If people were to go missing in some kind of remote mountain while there’s nothing there, others may come to suspect the incidents. But, what if people were to go missing in a dungeon, or better yet, the near-deepest parts of a it? ‘Well, maybe the monsters offed them’. I can do whatever I please to those who can’t talk. And strong experiment materials will absolutely come, so I’d say this makes me want to shout screams of joy. Even if they end up dead, I can make them into a fresh golem, or maybe do something on a grander scale with Charl’s help.
“What do you think, Laubert?”
“Yes, I think it’s a good plan. Adventurers will come to the dungeon, so that’ll be a positive impact economics-wise. It’s also a good opportunity to establish new industries. Facilities they will patronise, like lodgings, smitheries, supply shops, entertainment….”
That idea didn’t cross my mind.
Ah, right, the dungeon itself is an industry. Now that I think about it, a dungeon is like a workplace for adventurers. If I make a place where they can work, then of course those seeking for work will come. This’ll be the birth of a new economy.
“And there’s also Marlin’s primary trade product, potions. If the adventurers were to buy and consume them locally, it’ll be considerably more profitable for us, see? There’s no intermediary margins for the wholesale merchants, and there’s no freight cost too. If we can get new customers ourselves, the merchants will be pressured to revise the transaction value of the potions. Ah, that’s right, in addition, how does mobilising the mass-produced slaves to manufacture equipments to be sold for the adventurers sound?”
With flowing eloquence, he keeps on proposing new policies. Perhaps since this man had been unemployed for so long, he becomes energetic as soon as he finds a place where he can make use of his talent. Well, if it’s useful for me, I don’t mind the way he is.
“Laubert, I see that His Excellency have mostly tainted you as well….”
Quietly remarked Victor.
At his colleague’s remark, Laubert leaked out a dry laugh.
“Well, we won’t be able to get away from the lord so long as we live, Victor. Might as well let yourself be tainted quickly.”
“A sensible judgement.”
“Thank you, Chief Maid.”
Indeed, indeed, familiarising yourself with your workplace is a good thing. You can work without being stressed that way. Victor, if you do a bit more of that, that headache of yours will considerably occur less often too.
“And so, in addition with the plan of the lab’s environment improvements, I think that we should also press forward with the plan to develop the dungeons in the outskirts. At the same time, there’s a lot of manpower required here. Pick up some people with magic potential among the new slaves bought for the copper mine development and send them my way. I will handle the construction and the structural alteration of the lab and mobilise the Opus series to collect monsters to be released in the dungeon.”
“Who will be the person in charge? If you’re sending out someone conspicuous, your brother and my father – the centralists’ information network will be involved.”
“It’ll be someone conspicuous though, I’ll be sending Drei out. With her evil eye, it’ll be easy for her to capture her prey, and she can quickly travel long distances by using teleportation magic. Besides, I don’t send her to the front stage, so even if she’s spotted, there’ll be nothing to tie her with me.”
“Right. If it’s a collared dark elf, then those who witness her, they’d think her to be nothing more but an outcast adventurer. Besides, people are starting to know about Madam Chief Maid and Sir Due being Your Excellency’s subordinate, and Sir Vampire is, well, how should I put this…”
“Well Sir Vampire is a Lord class. If people were to witness him, a band of A-ranked adventurers will be sent to suppress him. Even if he wouldn’t be discovered, his character makes sending him out impossible.”
Really, how did his personality become like that? Even I, who readjusted him, am the one most baffled here.
“I don’t have a problem if it’s Drei. She looks young, but she’s among the long-living species. She’s at least one or two hundred years old, and she must’ve already get used to acting alone in secluded lands.”
“I strongly recommend her myself too… I was just thinking of what to do if it was zero-four instead.”
Uni is unexpectedly being harsh. I get where she’s coming from though.
“Well then, this matter is concluded. Let us figure out the details for these plans at a later time.”
“Right. Well then, let’s move along to the original important topic that Your Excellency pushed aside. First, about the progress of the copper mine development—–”
So, after I finished my job above, I came back to the lab.
“Well that idea is just out there now, isn’t it? ‘Making an underground dungeon isn’t gonna cut it, so let’s make another aboveground’, just what to say about this…”
“Still, quite an interesting job you have there, Master. I myself have been recently bored, for there’s no opponent to show my strength to.”
“Tsk, how enviable, Drei-senpai. I wanna go to the outside once in a while too…”
Those were the Opus series’ reaction to the new plan. Due doesn’t seem to be very enthusiastic about it, Drei seems to be brimming with motivation, and Charl is just out of the question. Uni is in favour, so if I’m going with the majority vote, that’ll be two ayes, one nay, and one invalid vote – the motion is adopted. Not that it matters though, since my order takes precedence.
By the way, shouldn’t Charl at least mind the fact that we’re going to bring sunlight into this place a bit more?
“But, Oubeniel-kun? I wonder if you’re biting too much than you can chew here. Just as it is, you’re wearing another hat as the feudal lord here, adding to that, you’re going to expand the lab and create dungeons. You also shut yourself in the atelier sometimes for some reason…. At this rate, our research will be put into a halt yet again.”
“How unusual. For this man to make a reasonable comment…”
“Wa, that’s cruel! Just what do you think I aaam!?”
Charl’s opinion certainly hits the mark.
However, there’s the matter of necessity.
“I get it, however, this is a necessary investment. It’ll be even more dangerous than ever if people were to discover this lab at this time. Also, as the environment of the lab interior is a rough one, wouldn’t it be better for us to improve things now, instead of postponing it for later? And besides, like I’ve explained before, the research profits from this too.”
“A ‘ranch’ for experiment materials, huh…. well at least there’ll be a plenty of people to spar against my sword, so I guess I can be happy about it.”
The one who said that was Due, whose resentment has been building up for having to stay in this place. I suppose he’ll be a bit sunnier if he can let off some steam. It is also my wish to be able to satisfy his peculiar preference of living on the edge as he duels people to death. I will surely get myself a lot of fine experiment materials.
“In addition, I’ll be expanding the number of the mass-produced slaves. In the first place, compared to the originally planned number, we’re pretty much really short of them right now. If possible, I’d like to at least increase them threefold.”
It’s mainly because Due’s purchase of Drei. But since I got myself an excellent piece thanks to that, it’s fine.
Then, at my remarks, Charl’s eyes shines
“So, you’re going to get me slaves too, yes? Virgins. Virgins!”
“Ah, yes. That…”
Of course my mood would be spoiled by that. He’d say something troublesome in an inappropriate time like this, even if he gets beaten up by Uni and the other Opus as a result. Does he want a virgin’s blood that much? Well he probably does. He’s a vampire after all.
“Just leave that perv of a vampire alone….. by the way, Master. Hearing the new plan almost made me forget to ask this, just what exactly did you do in the atelier the other day? You seemed to be so immersed in your work, to the point you didn’t reply when Uni tried to call you.”
And so Drei asked me about the matter that had started all this. Well, of course she’d be wondering about it. Her lord had basically changed class and messed about for five consecutive days.
TL Note: “class change” into a hermit (hikkikomori), it seems.
“Nah, well, about that…. It’s just that I was pondering about a way to use the excess material from the mineral section, and when I began the research that actually was my pastime, I unexpectedly got too immersed in it. Before I knew it, I got recklessly absorbed into it. I’m still reflecting now.”
“…. Then, Master, just what exactly did you try to make back then?”
Attentively, Uni smoothly advances the topic. Even though she was the one who was bothered with the most trouble in this matter, what a do-well slave. Perhaps I can understand why Victor said that she has been spoiling me too much.
I’m grateful for what she has done, therefore shy as I am, let me answer her here.
“It’s new kind of golem. Something different than those disposable golems used for civil engineering and mining works. Plenty of high-grade materials are used, and its design was made from scratch, for it was intended to be deployed permanently……. Upon its completion, this golem will be Opus-05.”
“The opus won’t be something based on a high-grade experimental material like us, it’ll be literally born from nothing….”
There’s flickering heat in Uni’s eyes. The aura of “how wonderful Master is!” that she emits is, how to say this, making me bashful.
As a fellow mage, Drei seems to be immensely curious about the creation of this golem as well.
As for the men….
“Golems huh……. So blood won’t be flowing in its veins….. I know that I’m forbidden from tasting the blood of my companions, but this is………………… hah……”
Oi, Charl. Just why are you assuming that I’ll be making a female-type?
“This bat man is seriously without manners……. Well anyway, quite the hearty story you’ve got the, Milord. Making a golem out of gold and silver….”
“Ha? Who said that I was going to make it from silver and gold?”
I tilt my head at Due’s remarks.
He gave me a blank look in reply.
“Hah? No, didn’t you say it yourself? You said you were trying to figure out a way to make use of the materials mined here.”
“Ah, so that’s it…. Well I don’t plan to use the silver and gold to construct the golem’s body. It’s a new high-tech material that will serve as the basis for the golem. I made an alloy from those materials with alchemy and am planning to use that alloy….”
“In any case, it’s still quite the extravagant talk…. so, what kind of alloy did you make from melting those gold and silver?”
“I’m interested as well. At that time, among the specimens in the atelier, there was a metal I’m not familiar of…..”
Uni said. Well, she’s been my assistant for many years now. She’s sharp-sighted, not only for the matter of the run in the mill magic, but in alchemy-related matters as well.
“Oh, that? I think you’ve seen them before, though.”
“Yes, when I was studying abroad at St. Gallen, We should have seen an ingot like that at the Academy’s museum.”
I pointed that out to her. Even for me, it wasn’t something that’s so easy to make. I’ve only seen its successful synthesis once. Well, actually, I asked Uni to sneak in with me to touch the alloy thoroughly and take a tiny sample of it.
“…. What is he talking about? Do you know anything about it, vampire?”
“Weeell, I was at the academy at that time, but…. a rare ingot that adorned the academy’s museum, you say? If it’s something that can be made from existing material from this place, I guess he made mythril from silver or something?”
“Don’t ask me, it’s something entirely out of my expertise….”
While the other Opus couldn’t reach the correct answer, as expected, Uni, who could get near to the answer in the first place, quickly noticed.
“What is it?”
“That vermillion-coloured metal with that rainbow-coloured luster about it……. that sample, could it be……. an ‘orichalcon’?”
Her remarks made the air froze.
Next thing I know, with a noise that almost seem like a creak, Drei constrainedly faces my way.
“Ori, chal….. con? Could it really be that orichalcon?”
“A, AHAHAHAHA! M, Maid, you’re unexpectedly good with jokes! As if something like that could exist!”
“It’s annoying, but I’ll have to agree. By orichalcon you mean that famous legendary metal, yes? Even someone who’s not an expert knows about that. And then, you’re saying that you made that so you can use it for your golem? A fine jest, I’d say.”
And then these simultaneous attacks. Ah, as I thought, this kind of reaction hurts me.
Well, if it can’t be helped, I’d say it’s indeed can’t be helped. Orichalcon is that kind of metal. Its luster outperforms even gold, its elasticity is superior to silver, and it’s easier to process than copper. It is a legendary material, considered stronger than anything in this world. It’s an ultra-rare legacy material that can only be found in an archaeological excavation of a slightly prehistoric ruins of a civilisation as weapons or small ingots, which can’t be found in this era at all. That is what Orichalcon is.
If I were to hear that a certain alchemist somewhere managed to successfully synthesise it, I’d also not only doubt the information itself, I’d also doubt the sanity of the person who told me the information itself.
“Well you might say that, but it can’t be helped that I successfully synthesised it.”
As I said so sulkingly, the other three stopped dead in their tracks yet another time. The only calm one is Uni, who understand my skills more than anyone else.
“……….. Did you really synthesise it?”
“Didn’t I just say so?”
“That’s impossible….. I can’t believe it…. Huh!? Did you perhaps send the maid to steal it from the academy or rob it from the treasure chest of the royal family?!”
“You want me to mess with your brain, Charl?”
Everyone’s still half-convinced even now that I’ve asserted it again. And in the chaos a certain someone would blurt out something that’s pretty much improper……… Wait, isn’t this just the usual?
I’ve grown tired of this skit, so I’ll continue talking.
“I understand what you feel, but calm down and listen to me. ‘Orichalcon’….. do you understand the meaning of the word in the first place?”
“If I were to remember correctly, it’s ‘mountain copper’ in ancient language………. Eh? Could it be—-”
Drei’s main job is related to magic, so of course she’d know. Because she’s already familiar with these things, she caught on quickly.
“Yes, that’s it. I had a sample of copper drilled for the pilot project, I did several trials and errors. And I finally got to synthesise it.”
“So……. does it mean, you can make orichalcon by mixing copper with gold?”
“If it were that simple, people would’ve been able to make it ages ago. Generally, you can only make a gold-copper alloy out of that. Its appearance and characteristic is different, and there’s only five percent of gold mixed in it.”
Gold is one of the most important substances in alchemy. Of course it’s also used to make the finest alloy that is Orichalcon in large quantity. There’s no way you can make that alloy with less than ten percent gold in it.
“However, the concept is close. Using alkahest, I was able to draw out the characteristics of copper and mixed it together with gold. By doing that, I was able to figure out that the properties similar to copper can be applied to gold. When I combined it further with silver, the silver’s properties were also added to the alloy. Hence the magically melded substance from the three metals. When I examined that material, I see that it was almost identical to the orichalcon I saw in the academy once.”
“Wait a minute, alkahest? Did you just say alkahest like it was nothing?”
“Yes I did. It’s a miraculous solvent to draw out the characteristics of gold…… well, it’s still not the finished product yet, so it’s not yet able to do that with gold.”
By the way, it’s staggeringly corrosive. Its reputation as a universal solvent isn’t just for show, it literally can melt just about anything. When using it, you will have to apply the correct amount on top of the material you want to synthesise. Failure to do so will result on it ruining not only the material, but its container as well.
People sometimes confuse it for aqua regia, but of course they’re two different things. In contrast to the imperfect alkahest I use, while it can melt gold, it can’t melt silver. Alkahest does not corrode a material by oxidizing it, it instead literally just melts and dissolves the material, which itself is a mysterious phenomenon. It’s a substance to draw out the spiritual essence of a material that dwells inside its physical elements. As it completely melts and dissolves anything to nothing provided that it has the same mass, rather than a chemical, alkahest is closer to antimatter. Well, if it were to follow the principle of annihilation between matter and antimatter, then from what I’ve done, the whole Ithuselah continent will be blown to bits without a trace, so of course it is not exactly antimatter.
Drei left her trembling mouth open.
“Doesn’t that count as one of the secrets of alchemy?”
“I guess. So what?”
“No, what do you mean ‘so what’…..”
“Drei-senpai, did you forget who this man is? He’s our master, Oubeniel, alright? He’s someone who could tamper with the head of a dark elf, or artificially make a Vampire Lord like me, alright? “
“It’s very convincing…. But It’s frustrating that I have to hear it from you……!”
And suddenly Charl was on his knees. Was it that much of a shock?
“It’s not something to be surprised about, yes? Alkahest is used to make the ‘Philosopher’s Stone’, which is a necessary element to obtain immortality, but here we’re just using it to melt gold.”
“Philosopher’s Stone” is a tool that has been considered indispensable to attain the most arcane in alchemy since ancient times. I understand that it is used to create gold or the elixir of immortality. Of course, making it is also one of my goals.
However, I do not know how much effect it will exert as I never see the real thing. I would be stumped if I were to manage to make the real thing and it turned to be a fluke compared to its reputation. It is also a legendary existence that the famous alchemy pioneers could not reach. It’s also possible that I still won’t be able to make it when my lifespan runs out.
Therefore, it’s essential to learn about methods to extend my life using other aspects as well. A high-level experiment in regard of vampirisation, such as Charl’s augmentation, is among those efforts.
“Setting whether I can make alkahest that can melt gold aside, if the failure were on this side, I’d think that it’s weird even if I were to manage to successfully perfect it.”
“I don’t think that’s the problem, though… sigh, I got picked up by an utterly ridiculous lord…”
Due said as he scratches his head.
In the other hand, Charl appears to be spellbound.
“Still, Master sure is wonderful! Regardless of the alkahest improvement, you still managed to make orihalcon. The orihalcon! You managed to make something like that! When the orihalcon golem finally can be mass produced, you can even conquer this continent! Hey, hey, Master! When you have finally conquered the continent, can I have at least one country? It’s fine, right?
It seems that for some reason he has just conjured a preposterous diagram of future plans in his head. Though Due and the rest of the Opus series commented something like “again, this guy….” as they stared at him.
If I leave him as he is, his imagination is likely to go to a ridiculous direction, so first, I’ll correct that mistake for now.
“Don’t say something so ridiculous. Didn’t I tell you? It’s difficult to handle alkahest which is needed for a step in production of orihalcon. So I can’t mass produce it.”
“Don’t ‘eeeeeh’ me. What’s impossible is impossible. With the exception of the high-end model that is Opus-05, we’ll be making the mass-produced version from silver-derived mythril.”
“But what about conquering the continent?”
“….. I’ve ran out of riposte already.”
I separated my words. The important thing is after this.
“First, what happened to that ancient civilisation that was able to utilise its orihalcon abundantly? It was completely destroyed and there’s virtually no trace of it. Was it consumed by internal fighting while possessing technology that was too advanced in its age? Or perhaps it was destroyed by the demons in the crisis hundreds of years ago? Theories that explain the end of that civilisation varies, but whatever the true cause was, at the end of the day, the result remains unchanged. Save for some old ruins, they’re all extinct. They all died out and disappeared……… it’s not a joke.”
Yes, it’s really not a joke.
No matter how prosperous you get, it is all pointless if you’re dead.
That literally empty state where you can’t feel the heat nor the cold, where you’t feel joy nor pain.
That kind of fate, I sincerely pass.
“That’s why, it’s not enough.”
“Orihalcon? If it’s only that, then it’s far from enough. Because this is the very proof that the ancients who lived thousands and ten thousands years ago failed to attain immortality. If they managed to attain it, then wouldn’t their splendour remain until this day? So, it’s too early to be festive just because of this. It’s nothing but a single rare metal, we’re still going to die that way…………………. What is it Char? You look pale.”
I had make quite the unusual long speech, but when I realised it, Charl seems to be strange. His face, which is already pale in the first place, has become even paler now, his face is almost ashen in colour.
…. Could it be that he doesn’t have enough blood? The amount of cultured blood that I gave him should be sufficient… Maybe he really needs the blood of a living virgin that he requested over and over again?
“A, A, AHAHAHAHHA! I was, being, ca, careless now, wasn’t I? That’s right. Master’s purpose, is to attain immortality, yes?”
“That’s correct. Don’t forget that. What I’m doing here to the very end is to plan so I don’t die…. After that, well, I figure out a hobby so I can enjoy that life itself. I don’t have the spare time for world conquest. Though whether that can be achieved or not is a different matter entirely.”
I shifted my gaze after I said so. For some reason, Charl is currently stuttering, just like him before his operation. Apparently he’s really in a bad condition. Somehow, I feel bad just by looking at him.
Hmm, have I been caring too much about the probability of him rebelling against me that it gave him excessive stress? Even though I’m troubled by his insubordination, I’m certain that he’s a necessary human resource for my research. As I thought, he’ll need some care.
Can’t be helped. Maybe I’ll splurge a bit and allot some slaves for him. Though if I were to say something here he’s just going to be carried away again, so I’ll be silent until I actually give him what he wants.
As I think about that matter, Uni abruptly gave me a bow.
“It’s good that Master hasn’t forgotten his original purpose.”
“Just what are you saying so suddenly, Uni? Of course there’s no way I’d forget now, is there?”
“Then, please keep good care of yourself so that you’ll be able to avoid being too absorbed in your research, harming your own body in the process.
….. It hurts if she puts it that way.
I already told Charl, but the reason why I kept going for nights until I collapsed was because I was too absorbed in my zeal when I was trying to make orichalcon.
Now that my do-well follower has said that, I’ll make sure that I’ll be careful next time.