「Sir, yes Sir! But with all due respect, at this rate w are going to be attacked by the Bull Monster!! What are we going to do if the 『Sun Thousand』 ends up getting destroyed with all of us still on board?!」
Despite his deep respect for their leader, the calico Cat still felt the need to properly voice his worries, even though doing so made him sweat bullets and lit his face on fire. Since Homura came to the frontmost wagon together with him, he also asked him a question while doing his best to calm his ever-growing desire to inspect everything within his reach, like the engine reactor or the Calico Cat that stood on its hind legs and wore leather boots.
「Porol, as much as I don’t like it, then I’m afraid that my opinion is the same as the one of that, uhm… cat conductor, yeah, let’s go with that. It’s great that we managed to get 『The Bull of Heaven』 away from the Underwood, but what good is it going to give us if we’re all going to die when it catches up to us?」
「Hah! I would be extremely grateful if you didn’t lump this particular Spirit Train with the other ones that are vastly inferior to it! I’ll have you know that about 40% of this train’s external armor coating is made from Adamantium, so a mere attack or two are not even going to put a scratch on it, so just put the pedal to the metal and raise the speed as much as possible!」
Porol issued his commands with unrestrained excitement, and Calico Cat followed suit, dumping the coals into the engine reactor like his life depended on it. As soon as he did that, the fire spirits inside clung onto it and raised the power of their little flaming bodies. Seeing that and not being able to ask for every little detail was like a torture to Homura, but for now he had other questions which needed to be asked first.
「Porol, I don’t think this is actually the case here, but I would like to ask you for confirmation anyway. The mechanism powering this Spirit Train up… is not actually a steam engine or some clever reinvention of it, correct?」
「Of course not. If it was, then the power conversion efficiency would be too poor to properly power up a colossus such as this one, so in order to remedy that we divided the main engine reactor into a number of smaller ones, one for each section of the train, each with its own nest for a colony of Fire Spirits. That way, even though that would normally not be enough by a long shot, they can all share the energy they are generating due to the mutual compatibility of each individual Fire Spirit with the rest of the members of their species.」
「Huh? Uhm, I’m not sure I follow, so let’s clarify something. Does that mean that the energy gained from the process of burning coal can be shared between all of the Fire Spirits as long as they are of the same species? As in, every single one can channel and use the energy generated by all of the other ones as if it was their own, meaning that the energy rate is always at 100?」
「I… I think so? I’m not all that sure about the details, you you’ll have better chances asking those responsible for it directly. So, how is it, shrimps?」.
「We’re not shrimps~~!」
「And it’s not at 100% either~~!」
「But it can be~~! It’s very close to it~~!」
「Really?! Are you kidding me?!」
Homura spoke these words without thinking. Looks like calling Little Garden a playground of Gods and Demons wasn’t just a name for show. He was once again reminded that as long as you looked in right places, this strange world might as well prove to be chest filled with precious treasures, just waiting to be claimed.
That being said, dissecting such lovely Fire Spirits just so that he could understand how they worked would be too heartless even for someone as hungry for knowledge as Homura was right now. Putting the issues like moral and ethical consequences of such a deed aside, he simply wasn’t that kind of a mad scientist who could claim that when it comes to research and deepening his understanding of how the world around him worked, ends always justified the means…. But as long as it would be all right with them, he at the very least wanted to get his hands on a tuft of their hair, or perhaps a piece of their skin so that he could analyze it in his spare time.
「*Sigh*… There are many things that I would like to comment on right now, but for the time being let’s say that I understand how it all works here, so let us go back to the topic at hand. I understand that we’re heading towards some kind of safe zone now, but once we get there, what then?」
「Once we get far enough from the Underwood, we will decrease the train’s speed so that we could use Ley Line’s super acceleration power to our advantage, and that should give us more time to think of some proper strategy for later.」
Homura frowned at Porol’s comment and his apparent lack of a proper plan. He knew that the residents of Little Garden could allow themselves to stall for time like that, but for Homura and his friends things were a bit more complicated, since they had to return back to their world as soon as possible, no matter the costs of doing so.
Izayoi has most likely come up with some kind of cover story for both Homura And Suzuka, but Ayato was another problem entirely. Since she was the only daughter of the CEO of Everything Company, getting her back home safely was especially important since things could erupt into a huge scandal if her father or any of the Company’s higher-ups ever learned that she disappeared, and they couldn’t count on Izayoi on that one because he didn’t know their little Lady at all.
Taking his phone out of his pocket, Homura stared at it with his face painted with feelings of regret.
「Instead of hanging up that damn call, I should have asked Big Bro Iza to at least contact Pritt so she could do something about that on her end…. Hey, Porol. Can I do anything about that now?」
「If you want to contact someone it the Outer World, then your best bet would probably be to ask the Queen. If there’s anyone who can lend you a hand with that, it’s definitely going to be her.」
「The Queen, huh? Well, it would certainly be great if she could do that… but how can I do that? Contact her outside of being personally invited to an audience with her, I mean.」
「This Spirit Train comes with a wagon reserved exclusively for special guests, so you should go there.」
That was one more thing which greatly surprised Homura. Never even in his wildest dreams would he dare to expect that this colossal Spirit Train would have a function like that.