49. The History of Iron Manufacturing
The class representative returns from the bathroom and joins us in our crafting. Everyone makes earthenware and stone tools in silence all the way until the successful end of the 1st day of our Recreation Lodgings event.
That night, we have curry in the dinning hall of the training institute–
“Takigawa-san, your curry!”
“Umu, I’ve no objections.”
—While getting into the large bath—
“Takigawa-san, allow me the the privilege of washing your venerable back!”
“Umu, I’ve no object… Ow, ow, ow, ow! Too hard, too hard!”
—Ishida and I head dedicate ourselves to Takigawa in gratitude as we head to our room.
“We have room 207 on the 2nd floor. So, here?”
The three of us seem to have been grouped together.
“What a wonderfully splendid room, jan!”
“You think so? It looks wonderfully plain…”
Takigawa and Ishida mutter complete opposite impressions.
The room itself is modest. It is the size of 6 tatami mats, and is furnished with a bunk bed, a single bed, and 3 small, fixed, desks.
Mm, I’m not sure what to say about it either.
“Yeah! Beds are getting decided with daifugo, daifugo! There’s also sugoroku!1“
“Takigawa, you’re already set to play?”
“That’s cause I’m always ready to go!”
Takigawa’s casually makes some remarks as he gets excited to play daifugo.
“Alright, I’m ahead.”
“I’m also ahead.”
The results are me in 1st place, Ishida in 2nd, and Takigawa in 3rd.
“And I wanted to sleep on the top bunk-!”
“Eh, the top bunk is inconvenient, so I was planning for the single bed.”
“I was aiming for the lower bunk for the same reason.”
“If that’s the case, it’s okay for me to take the top bunk?”
“”Please do, please do.””
There was no point in betting. I got the single bed, Ishida got the bottom bunk, and Takigawa got the top bunk.
“Alright, one more time! Next… last place has to admit who his crush is!”
“Takigawa, you’ve got an incredible amount of self-confidence for someone who has been losing since we were on the bus.”
Takigawa responds to my comment with a smooth expression.
“Fuu, isn’t it pointless to succumb to defeat before the match even happens?”
“That isn’t a line someone who keeps losing should say!”
The game continues as Ishida explodes with a tsukkomi.
During the middle of all that, I suddenly get the feeling something is off.
Urd, a being who wants interrupt anything that seems fun, is strangely quiet.
I look towards my smartphone, Near, which I had placed on top of the desk. A materialized Urd is sitting on it.
As neither Ishida nor Takigawa can see her, I contact her through a spiritual thread to keep them from overhearing.
“What are you doing?”
“Goshujin-sama, I’m concentrating right now, so don’t talk to me!”
“Ah, my bad.”
The heck is she mad for?
Not good, Takigawa is in perfect form.
For now, I’ll focus on the game and leave it as Near and Urd not being interested.
–Noble Diamonds glitter–
“Gathered… so much… black sand.”
Within the forest of Asahikawa city is a training institute. A lone girl clad in a black robe stands in its parking lot along with a gigantic lump of billowing and squirming iron sand.
“With this, I’ll be able to use… [Iron History]2 to my heart’s content.”
Ferme, as her name implies, is a magician who manipulates iron. She possesses [Golden Chastity], a rank C special ability that only allows her to slightly shift the position of metals. Also, tattooed to her body is [Iron Factory], a magic technique for manipulating iron.
Then, just like Io, by using a fusion technique to make 2 powers that normally don’t intertwine coexist, she became able to use [Iron History], she became able to use magic of a level higher. With it, she can freely manipulate and process all iron within a certain range.
Together with Ferme’s words, the massive lump of iron sand takes the forms of human sized golems. Somehow, 200 automatons with a high level of independence and combat ability are created in total.
[Iron History] can be implemented on iron that has already been processed as long as mana is used to invoke it, but she prefers to utilize iron sand out of ease of processing it.
“Searching for the target… is troublesome. With everyone restrained… the Fairy All Seed, can slowly be looked… for.”
Once Ferme vocalizes her intentions, the iron golems come to life and quietly head for the training institute Kousuke is staying in.
“Hold it, desu!”
However, 2 figures appear from the dark night to block their way.
“Your coming here saved us the trouble, desu.”
“Looks like staying alert to our surrounds was the right thing to do.”
The true identities of those figures are Owl and Uruna. They had hurried there after the enormous detection barrier they had stretched around the training institute with their spirit arts sensed Ferme’s presence.
“The Mizukami Family’s second daughter and Owl-sama… will be a bit troublesome.”
As Ferme becomes vigilant, the iron golems heading towards the training institute wait for an opportunity.
“Like I thought, you’re the one’s who stole the Fairy All Seed, Ferme!”
Owl raises her voice as she glares at Ferme whose body is clad by a black robe.
“An acquaintance of Owl’s?”
“She is a member of [The Order of Twilight and Dawn] like me, desu. That said, her philosophy differs from mine, she is one of the hawkish members, desu.”
“Hawkish, you mean the group entertaining thoughts about killing god-sama.”
“That’s right, desu. They’re a group operating under dangerous ideals.”
Owl gently raises her magical power as she answers Uruna’s question.
“That’s… wrong. To destroy god and… eliminate this… human world that’s overflowing with unfairness. We’ll create… a world free from god’s control!”
Ferme also increases the magic power within her iron golems as she has them prepare for battle.
“Looks like a peaceful resolution isn’t possible.”
“We’ve finally found a lead, desu. We’ll capture her here, desu!”
Uruna and Owl, together, both channel their magic power through their fairies and get ready to utilize their spirit arts.
Ferme takes the first move. Created from the black sand scattered about their surroundings are a countless number of swords which are then fired off at high speed. At the same time, the golems surrounding Uruna and Owl advance on the 2 girls.
“Dine, [Grand Wall]!”
“Sanda, Gran, [Grenade Shot]!”
Uruna defends against the oncoming swords with a wall of torrential water while Owl destroys the approaching iron golems with exploding spheres of electricity and dirt.
“Your turn is next, desu! Sanda, Gran, [Burst Lance], desu!”
“Guh… [Iron History]!”
Ferme protects herself from the numerous incoming lances of 3 different elements by creating an iron wall with her black sand. However, due to there not being enough black sand within the soil, the needed amount is compensated from her iron golems. As such, half of the total number is decreased.
“Owl-sama’s techniques… are troublesome. The volume of magic power released by the Mizukami family’s second daughter is also… troublesome.”
Ferme grumbles about how not only were the attacks she expected to land all blocked, but that the counter attack was also able to reduce her method of attack.
Owl can use spirit arts of two elements at the same time at a high level of skill. Uruna can raise the power of her techniques by infusing them with the vast amount of magic power she can release. Ferme takes pride in being the magician with the greatest fighting strength within England, but the combination of 2 spirit artists are able to match her in ability.
“My situation will deteriorate if this continues… Not good.”
As Ferme muttered, a prolonged battle means her defeat. Furthermore, she had moved to that place while collecting the black sand. She has already exhausted a certain amount of magic power. The spirit artists Owl and Uruna on the other hand can take in magical power from the world itself. A drawn out battle will only become more favorable for the 2.
“A quick battle… will decide this.”
Ferme concentrates magic power into her 100 remaining iron golems. At the same time, black soil mixed in with the iron wraps around them.
“She’s synthesizing dirt with the golems?”
Owl, able to use the same earth element magic, sees through Ferme’s intentions.
“Even if you noticed… it’s too late. Go!”
“Guh, [Grenade Shot], desu!”
Similar to before, Owl intercepts the golems, but the damage is instantly restored.
“Dine, [Great Wall]!”
Uruna blocks the golems with a wall of torrential water, but she is astonished to discover she can clearly feel that their strength is nothing like before.
“What’s going on? Aren’t they clearly sturdier than earlier?”
“Most likely, she bonded carbon from underground and iron at a fixed ratio to create steel, desu. Furthermore, she loaded them with magical power too, desu.”
“What an incredibly bold move. No wonder their movements, durability, and speed are on a whole different level from before.”
Uruna, with a bitter expression, grumbles to herself while guarding against the charging golems with her wall of torrential water.
“While the skill needed for strengthening around 100 golems simultaneously is outrageous, it should still require an appropriate amount of magical energy, desu. I’ve no doubt Ferme too is pushing herself, desu.”
According to Owl’s analysis, Ferme’s act of simultaneously reinforcing 100 golems will have depleted her magic power by more than half. Furthermore, the mental burden she has to endure because of the exceedingly precise manipulation of magic power needed for maintaining the steel golems means it can only be used for a limited time.
Neither Uruna nor Owl notice, but whether or not they are able to endure the assault of the 100 golems is directly tied to whether they will win or lose that battle.
“[Blast Lance], desu!”
Uruna blocks the steel golems that are charging from multiple directions, and Owl counter attacks. The number of golems is reduced by the high powered spirit art that ignores magic power consumption, but their momentum doesn’t weaken.
“It’s going to get bad if this continues. Dine, [Great Wall]! [Lance]!”
“I’d be able to do something if I could use [Greatest Golden Giant Soldier (Greatest Gauguin)], but I don’t have any time to assemble the technique formula, desu. Sanda, [Blast Lance]! Guran, [Grenade Shot]!”
As the number of steel golems continues to drop during that exchange, Ferme watches unperturbed. Then–
“Dance… [Iron History].”
—she quietly invokes a spell.
“A storm of black sand, desu!?”
Ferme’s current level of concentration leaves her unable to create new iron golems or iron swords. Starting up a storm of black sand, on the other hand, isn’t one bit difficult.
“I can’t see, desu!”
“Rinse our surroundings with water… Owl! Look out!”
Ferme was waiting for just that moment, for the slightest opening where she could deliver a fatal blow. At the same time she blinds the 2 with black sand, one steel golem in particular has its speed increased through an even higher influx of magic power. It is then sent on a suicide attack.
Ferme is convinced of her victory. The fist of her steel golem is drawing closer to her target, Owl.
The dull sound from a lump of steel crashing into something else echoes within the parking lot of the training institute.
Yet, once the cover of black sand fades, reflecting off Ferme’s eyes isn’t what she was expecting.
“Why… are my golems, attacking each other…?”
Ferme’s suicide attack steel golem had its strike blocked by another steel golem. Owl and Uruna didn’t expect such a development either. As such, they are staring at the steel golem with the same dumbfounded expression as Ferme.
“A blue sparrow… shikigami?”
During the middle of all that, Ferme notices a blue sparrow type shikigami has come to a stop above her steel golem. Her face twists with astonishment as she realizes what happened.
“Impossible, my control… was stolen!?”
Operation Authority Revocation, a high level technique where a magic thread is forcibly attached onto another’s familiar shikigami or golem and its control is stolen.
A practitioner within the organization Ferme is affiliated with, [The Order of Twilight and Dawn], can also use that technique, but she doesn’t know of any practitioners with the ability to deprive another’s control that quickly.
“A light blue sparrow type shikigami… That, must be a shikigami from the Mizukami Household… It can’t be.”
Ferme deduces the origins of the practitioner upon following the magic threads from her steel golem to the sparrow type shikigami.
At the same time, Uruna finds the shikigami very familiar. She is convinced she knows the identity of the practitioner controlling it.
“That’s, my onee-chan’s shikigami! I’ve never seen her use a technique for usurping someone else’s operation authority before, though… Just what the heck did she do?”
“We might not know what’s going on, desu, but at any rate, it saved me, desu.”
Uruna and Owl take some distance while remaining alert. At the very least, they judge that practitioner controlling the blue sparrow type shikigami isn’t an enemy.
“Even if it’s troublesome… you’ll be my… next opponent.”
Ferme mutters while glaring at her usurped steel golem.
“The true strength of the Mizukami household’s next head… I’ll personally test it.”
A steel golem with its control usurped against 50 unharmed steel golems.
A battle where an overwhelming difference in force exists begins.
–Where oh where could you be, noble diamond??–
“Fuu fuu fu, in that case, the last place Ishida-kun has to reveal who he like~s!”
Somehow, Takigawa defeats Ishida near the end of a close battle and takes 2nd place. By the way, I am in 1st. It might be my imagination, but I get the feeling my resurrection from kami-sama has strengthened my gaming luck.
“A girl you’re developing feelings for works too~”
Takigawa, delighted from victory, urges Ishida on.
“While I’m not developing feelings for anyone, I do have someone I like. Although, even if I told you her name, you probably wouldn’t know who she is.”
“”Ehh, there is someone!?””
I was positive he was solely devoted to studying and didn’t have any interest in love. I’m pretty sure Takigawa thought the same as me, he’s just as shocked.
“Speaking of which, she’s 3 years older than me and is currently a first year university student.”
Not only is she not from our high school, she is a university student!? And she’s older!?
“Not to mention, we’re already together. We might be rushing it, but our relationship is one where we’ve promised to marry each other.”
“To- together… to marry? Marriage!?”
On this day, while the result of the game was forgotten from shock, Takigawa and I contemplate the same thought in our hearts.
Ishida… is an adult.
T/N: this chapter was so long >.>