The Empire’s Invasion Arc
137 . A year of Progress (Part 1)
After Yuuki escaped, we were unable to immediately pursue .
As they say: haste makes waste .
One could say that Leon’s impatience led to Yuuki escaping, but the real reason is the fact that we couldn’t trust each other .
As such, I noticed that we need to establish order amongst ourselves first .
I mean, there’s no question that all of us desperately want to save Chloe .
But no good will come from acting rashly, and who could have excepted Yuuki to slip into the Empire .
Fighting the Empire along with him puts as at a disadvantage . We need to prepare .
I was tasked with handling Milim, while Leon would handle information-gathering . But that entailed basically waiting for his spy to report in .
With regards to the resurrected red knight, the blue knight was delighted and Leon thanked Ruminas . Thus we decided on our future actions .
Leon will collect information while refraining from impatient actions .
Though Leon’s anger was easy to understand, the fact remains that he let Yuuki escape .
Well, maybe he can just create a barrier around the battlefield—though whether a bearer of an ultimate skill would be affected is a different story—but I still believe that we should not act independently .
Sure, we won’t come to trust each other with our lives; but we do share a common goal .
This common goal is the only thing that binds our group together . Should that common goal disappear there’s no way I’ll be able to control the other two .
While Leon is gathering information, there are places which we must visit .
For now, we need to return and prepare our countries for an eventual confrontation with the Empire .
But first, I have to deal with Milim .
Life got a bit complicated for me once I separated from Leon and Ruminas .
Soothing the raging Milim .
Telling her that her pet was resurrected, and getting thanked by a delighted Milim .
And have her “guardian” come right after Milim anger was soothed .
In short, I had to prevent Milim from rampaging .
I guess you could even say that I needed to manipulate her .
Her “guardian” (Frey) should have come sooner . She seems to have come the moment Milim regained her composure, but I don’t want to think that Frey was just waiting for the right moment to return .
In short: my life sucked, and I couldn’t help but wonder why I had to suffer through this .
Right… Leon forced me into this .
Well, since Milim’s mood improved quickly, I guess it wasn’t that bad .
From within the orb I carried the Chaos Dragon’s soul formed into a small monster .
A dragon hatchling… a DATCHLING!! . .
He basically appeared from within the egg the moment Milim came .
「… Gaia, is that you?」
The dragon and the girl embraced each other .
A touching reunion .
After that, we “partied”… by going to the labyrinth and power-leveling Gaia .
What? No! We weren’t just playing around . I mean, we only got into our avatars—Ramiris, Milim, Veldora, and I—and delved into the labyrinth .
Since Gaia could fly, he followed close behind me .
And as you would expect from a Chaos Dragon,
The dragon got used to fighting after only a few battles, and quickly started using miasma breath against multiple opponents—miasma breath would drive our enemies mad .
The dragon also had a skill etched into his soul—gravity manipulation—which he used to create shield around us, thus becoming one of the most valuable members of our party .
The barrier is rather strong, and now, even if the enemy is a mage, my magic barrier and Gaia’s gravity barrier creates an impenetrable wall .
As a result, though we had previously struggled against the boss of the 30th floor, we have now cleared him with ease .
「Kua-ha-ha-ha! He’s no match for us now!」
「Yep! It’s only Gozule, after all!」
「Wahahaha! This made my day!」
That was fun .
Hmm? No! We weren’t just playing around!
Stop saying such foolish things . We’re trying hard for Gaia’s sake!
As long as it’s for Gaia, what’s the problem with us having a bit fun?
But soon we… no, I couldn’t help but be overcome with worry over Chloe .
No matter how much you enjoy the present such thoughts just creep up unexpectedly .
But, no, I must not worry . ‘Tis not an emergency yet, and undue worry harms one’s heart .
I wonder if Milim and the rest suggested we come here because my worry was showing on my face?
If so, I would be very grateful .
As soon as we tried advancing to the next floor, Frey appeared .
And though Milim protested, it was useless .
Even though Milim was crying and wailing like a child not wanting to leave he arcade, Frey’s iron smile and words of “persuasion” won in the end .
Figuring that Milim came over to play, Frey made sure that Milim understand that she’ll be working without a break for a while .
「I’ll be back!」
Milim said, leaving .
In and out like a storm .
As for Gaia, he continued wandering the Labyrinth in his current form .
It was too soon, he said, to have Milim train him, so he planned to return to her side after becoming slightly stronger . The labyrinth has an magical energy level, and Gaia has Ramiris’ bracelet, so he should be fine .
And thus another companion joined us in our labyrinth adventures .
By the way, we didn’t know of this at the time, but our five member team came to be known as the unique bosses of the labyrinth . Inhabiting the floor above the first, a bosses of unbelievable strength, they say .
In other words, when we controlled our avatars, we were so strong that adventurers would just roll over and die .
I found out about this later when these rumors reached me .
This, though, is how we appeased Milim’s anger .
None of us would dare to have fun while Milim was away .
So we decided to actually do some work . Well… I’m not sure what I can do actually .
There was that thing, about doing a joint research venture?
I was supposed to supervise it and make any requests I could think of to them, I think .
Thanks to Gerudo’s efforts in building a road and setting up barriers along it, the preparations for our various joint ventures are going well .
We’ll soon have a road running directly from Sarion to Tempest .
We also have a plan to build a railway heading towards the dwarfs, so as to facilitate faster exchange of goods and materials .
But I worry—should the Empire invade, would these railroads not harm us in the end? That’s why we prioritized building a road to Sarion first .
By the way, the researchers have arrived: the Dwarf Artisans, Sarion’s Sorcerers, and Holy Empire’s Engineers .
Though the roads have not been fully paved yet, they could easily travel here already .
That’s why they arrived even before we completed the roads .
137 . A year of progress (part 2)
I digress, but must again reiterate that we completed these transportation routes in but a year .
We even set up night lamps and anti-monster barriers for night travelers .
Towards the Dwarf Kingdom we set up a railroad, and half-way along it we built a few inns–those later developed into a town .
That town benefited greatly from the various engineering projects and became rather prosperous .
And because it’s close to a river, it’s a good place for people to come and rest .
That town, by the way, will later develop to be a central station district .
And yeah, we were wary of the empire’s invasion, so it’s not like I regret any of the choices then made .
The fact that we so quickly built the roads and railroads actually helped me solidify dominance over Jura Forest entire .
Each tribe pledged their loyalty, and their young joined Gerudo’s corps . Thanks to the roads we established a solid trade network of food and goods .
In fact, we may have created as efficient a system as the one back in my previous world .
I thought for a second on whether I should build forts and castles, but decided against it . It would just be a waste of time, I figured .
If the Empire really does invade us, then I’ll just completely destroy it . What’s the point of being anxious against someone you’ll know for a brief second?
We’ll just use our entire force and stop them before they even start . So there’s no point in building castles .
Though if the Empire does advance we might have to destroy some of the rails; but even if we have to do so, we can just rebuild them later .
And since we don’t know when and if they come, there’s no point in stalling our development even for a moment .
The matter of the angels is the same .
When they invade I’ll annihilate them . What’s broken we can simply repair .
After all, things are not as important as people .
Protect not the art but the artisan, so I say .
Having arranged our affairs around this notion, even I was surprised at how fast we developed .
The spirit research was primarily handled by the Dwarfs’ and Elves’ joint venture .
Bester was originally involved in the “Magic Armor Research,” and this type of research is the most common in this world .
In contrast, Sorcery Studies are veiled in secrecy and taboos .
The genius researcher, Epress Elmeshia basically founded this field by mixing Elemental Studies with Alchemy .
With many brilliant minds from the Sorcerer’s Dynasty here, we’re going to have a splendid Sorcery facility here . Of course, no state secrets will be divulged, though .
Then there are the Vampire’s researchers, which are unlike anything in this world .
They study not magic, but physics and the laws of the world . Science of our world .
They depend not on magic but on using laws and the building blocks of reality to achiever desired results .
For a world full of magic, this kind of study is the true heresy .
And the amount of information they have is so vast, that it will greatly affect our future research .
The whole point of this was to fill Tempest with research of every kind—to exchange ideas of every kind, and, as a result, to create fields of research and facilities the likes of which this world has never seen .
It is thus paramount that the research is carried out in utmost secrecy .
So we need a location that can be easily protected and difficult to infiltrate .
What better place could you chose than the 95th floor of the labyrinth? The treants have set up a city there, you see .
And this city is also inhabited by elves, some of whom may want to help in the research .
It’s easy to defend, easily accessible, so it really is the ideal location .
Even if the angels attack, they will probably not be able to reach the 95th floor . Even if they do, Ramiris says we can just swap 99th for the 95th floor at a moment’s notice .
So this will give me a peace of mind .
So with this, we proceeded to set up sleeping quarters .
And when the research began in the earnest, we immediately ran into disagreement . Every single group wanted to focus on their field and was worried about the confidentiality of their studies .
That, however, would defeat the whole purpose .
So, I decided to divulge all their secrets quickly .
What secret is safe from Raphael? I compiled their research in easy to understand terms and handed such a portfolio to each one of them .
Oh, and I wrote it on valuable paper, not parchment . The paper is low quality—made from wood fibers .
But it is a step in the right direction .
Like this we got them to cooperate .
Of course alcohol played a role . There’s a beautiful paradise of alcohol and elves right outside of the research facility . Any dispute could easily be… dissolved in a bar .
The Vampires, too, though they did not need to suck life out of people, certainly enjoyed sucking the alcohol out of cups .
By the way, I too joined them on many occasions but was never paid for overtime work . Unfair, right?
Seems like exchanging cups is a way for people to transcend national boundaries . Thus we all became good friends and brought forth various results .
Ramiris, of course, was also interested in this research .
At some point she became the research facility’s mascot and idol .
Oh, and I did not forget that I broke her golem so long ago, so we focused on that first .
Being familiar with both “Magic Armor Plan” and “Spirit Armor,” we quickly completed the research . For some reason, most of the researchers laughed an empty laugh when we did .
How long did they work without a single break through? I guess you would get discouraged if that were to happen .
And admittingly, the gem I invited came in handy .
We also were able to push for the release of the “Barrier-kun”—Kurobee’s and Bester’s Simplified Magic Circle Equipment .
Using their invention and other data, we were able to start absorbing magical energy from the atmosphere and thus complete the Spirit Amor .
The spirits would convert magical energy into spiritual energy, which would then be stored in batteries .
In other words, so long as some magical energy is present, perpetual motion is possible .
I have finally attained unlimited energy!
The first project we built was the Spirit Armor for Ramiris .
7 feet tall, weighing 1 . 5 tons . Charged with a number of batteries, allowing for individual and high-speed motion via gravity control .
Arming it was also kind of fun . It’s one of those things that would excite any military otaku, though its performance is far below Beretta .
So I personally think it’s more of a toy than anything .
But this research did come in handy for the Magical Energy Train .
I was considering at first to use golems or demons to power it, but that’s no longer necessary .
We took time to design the wheels to fit the tracks, as well as to create passenger and cargo cars .
We emphasized horse-power, efficiency, and load capacity .
And after a few test runs, the train started running . Reaching an average speed of 50 km per hour .
This invention, which redefined commerce, naturally altered history . With trains, you could transport even produce before it spoiled .
We will never stop laying rails .
Not only between us and the Dwarf Kingdom, but also towards the seas, the four corners of this Earth! Too many requests are coming from other countries .
Brumund Kingdom wants a stop, so does Ingrasia, and Sorcerer’s Dynasty Sario wants a direct line .
Nonetheless, the rail towards Dwarf Kingdom took a year to develop, so new rails will have to wait for a bit .
We still need to master inertia and gravity control, as well as consider armed trains .
While Fortresses are not needed to counter the empire, armed trains might come in handy .
How about equipping a spirit cannon on it, maybe some rail guns, and also ferry troups on it .
Well… this really was just a hobby, and I’m not really serious about this . So long as no one takes my words seriously .
As in any world, how fast you can deploy your soldiers decides the war . So it’s not like arming the train will make that big of a difference .
It’s fine to use the normal train cars .
And thus in a year, we created twenty trains . Each consists of about six-cars .
With these trains, we created a four-thousand-man strong train corps . We could increase that number, and would likely do so soon, but not now .
Right now we’re just ironing out the problems of using trains .
Once we’re done, a trip between the Dwarf Kingdom and Tempest should take at most three days .
So a roundtrip would take a week . Though hopefully with time we could increase the speed .
And when did announce to the world this invention, countries were in total uproar over it .
So we accomplished lots in this one year .
According to what Leon’s spies gathered, Yuuki has been climbing the ranks of the Empire .
But they are still unable to invade us . There’s no doubt they are preparing for war, but war will not start just yet .
There may be a chance they’ll send assassins, but it’s actually rather unlikely . As Ruminas said: it’s a waste of men to try to kill us that way .
In fact, that’s just how it turned out . Any attempts were basically suicide, and they gave up after the first attempt .
And it’s not like we could permit them to see what we’re up to .
In any case, it’s clear that the Empire is getting ready .
And thus, our research continues .
There’s no question that, inasmuch as us, the Empire achieved grand things this year .
And we were not the only ones to prepare .
I actually found out about this just about when we started testing our trains .
The countries neighboring Jura forest, the Council, sent us an invitation .
Asking us to participate in their next meeting .
Of course, at this point, this invitation was essentially fated to arrive .