Underground, in the room where I had made Nem and Nubia into my demons, I had drawn a magic circle.
After doing business with the man from the Roland family, I had closed the store early and submerged myself underground.
Right now, there wasn’t anything that I could do to protect my secret.
Even so, now that I could see that Olivia was in danger again, I couldn’t slack off on preparations.
I did not plan to make the town of Abrams a war zone, but I needed more manpower nonetheless.
Not many of the orcs remained.
Nubia and Miyabi were strong allies, but they were secret weapons who I couldn’t afford to put on the front lines.
Right now I needed forces that I could send out into the open.
Worst-case, forces I could use and then dispose of later.
「Master, all the preparations are complete. What do you plan to do with this?」
Dalia asked on behalf of the others.
I had asked Diana and the guild members to investigate the relationship between the Lambert and Roland families, so the only ones I could ask to help me right now were Dalia, Nubia, Nem, and Miyabi.
They had all gathered into this room to help or watch over me as I did my work.
The only one in this process who knew what was going on was me, so I’m sure they were all curious.
Dalia had memorized how to draw magic circles and prepare for rituals, albeit without fully understanding the meaning behind them.
But she did have a vague idea of what this might be, so she was probably asking in place of the others.
「This is a magic circle I arranged for a summoning and transmutation spell… But I guess that still doesn’t explain much」
「Yeah, I don’t follow」
Nem nodded, her expression looked confused. Miyabi and Nubia urged me to continue.
「Elliot, I thought you were going to use all the materials and armor we brought for something…. Are you calling out a demon from somewhere?」
Nubia asked. It was a valid question.
「It’s our master we’re talking about. He’s probably thought long and hard to come up with a solution. I think I’ll just believe in him and wait.」
Miyabi had completely given up on trying to think of an answer. Her and Nem were about the same age, so I guess it couldn’t be helped. Now that I thought about it, her and Nem were fairly close.
「I can see that it’s based on the magic circle you used to summon a skeleton, but you added transmutation magic to that… right, Master?」
Dalia had helped me to prepare the magic circle for summoning a skeleton previously, so she seemed to understand that the changes I had added were part of the different magical spell.
Before, I had transmuted a living being… Sara’s friend who was a member of Red Bird, into an Orc. But this time, things were slightly different.
「I’m not sure if it’ll work… but I thought I could use the skeleton magic as a basis.」
The skeleton that I had created when I captured Miyabi had still been roaming around the underground waterways. So the experiment that I had done using that had turned out about 70% successful…
I positioned all the various catalysts – blood, lime, etc. – into the center of the circle.
I covered that with a combination of gravel, iron, stone, and wooden materials to create something resembling a human figure without joints.
I covered the figure in light armor, long boots, gloves, helmet, and a visor.
It looked like a scarecrow dressed up as a soldier.
Although it was laying on the ground, so it wouldn’t really be able to fulfill its purpose as a scarecrow.
Summoning a Stone Golem required a lot of time and magic, and I wouldn’t be able to summon the necessary numbers.
To start, most summoning magic was meant to be done in a short amount of time, and for a small number of demons. The only place I had heard of magicians who were capable of summoning an army of demons was in human legends.
Ghost summoners were an exception to that… they were often feared for the source of their power which was frighteningly large, and the terrifying appearance of the demons they summoned.
Although, the rest of the world probably perceived the demons from the mining village the same way.
It was most likely thanks to the half of my blood that was demon, but summoning a skeleton was no difficult task.
Even then, skeletons were only one of two types of demons that I was able to summon in large numbers.
And even though they were simple enough to summon, I could not send out a skeleton out where people could see, and since they made sounds when they moved, so they were also not ideal for covert missions.
I pulled out the design for the summoning and transmutation spell that I had been working on for a while…, since I was at the mining village to be exact, and began to recite it.
I used my own magic as fuel to change the flow of the surrounding magic and channeled it towards calling the skeletons out.
It was difficult to explain the process logically, but I would summon the skeletons from the other side… whether that “other side” was actually “Hell”, I was unfortunately completely uncertain.
Other demons tend to resist, and I would end up consuming a lot of magic. But skeletons were comparatively easy to summon forth.
Smoke rose from the center of the magic circle, and the catalysts started to react with the magic forces. The skeleton began to take form.
It was possible to summon it without the catalysts, but if I did that I would consume a lot more magic. So I used whatever I could to supplement the process.
In the middle of the summoning, I changed the direction of the spell.
I would forcibly create something else with the skeleton that was not yet fully formed.
On top of the bone, flesh made of chains and gravel. With the wood and stone, the skin to define the shape of the body.
I fixed the outward appearance by fusing the armor onto the form. The skeleton head was covered in gravel, and with the helmet and visor, it became invisible.
…. When I finished chanting the spell, what was left was a soldier covered head to toe in armor.
「… Yeah, although he does look slightly awkward, people won’t be able to tell right away that he’s a demon… right?」
To which Nubia answered,
「I think what’s important is how he moves… The base is a skeleton, so it can’t talk. So he’ll be judged on his movement.」
Hmm. A valid point.
To experiment, I ordered the skeleton… no, it wasn’t really a skeleton anymore, but a fake bone golem… to walk and position itself in fighting stances.
Although the bone golem moved awkwardly, it was the same speed as a human being.
Because of all the parts I had added to its body, it could no longer use any swift movements, but that couldn’t really be helped.
「What do you think Nubia?」
「…For any short-term tasks, or for standing watch, I think it’ll do. But it’s movements are still too clumsy.」
As Nubia said that, he stood in front of the walking bone golem.
Because of its lack of flexibility, it ran into Nubia and stopped moving. Then it stepped around him and began walking in a straight line again.
…. He was right. It would be difficult to give it the ability to look ahead and avoid other pedestrians.
Normally, skeletons were stationed somewhere to protect an area. Or they were left to wander around aimlessly.
Even with the Orcs, I would let them roam freely in their dungeons and called to them only when I needed them.
Not to mention, unlike orcs who were formerly human and had a certain level of intelligence, it was rare for skeletons or golems to do anything of their own free will.
It would keep moving if I continued to give it orders… but I wouldn’t be able to control several at once.
「Oh what a headache」
「A headache, a headache~♪ But it IS moving, and it looks pretty strong too you know?」
Nem jumped onto Nubia’s shoulders in reaction to my words.
「My lord, what do you plan to do with this doll? A doll is nothing more than a doll, but there should be ways to make use of it. It’s not fair to try to make a doll do the same thing as a person you know.」
Miyabi said as she clung onto me, seeking attention.
It had been a long time since we last saw each other, so it was only understandable. I wondered if the trembling at the end of her tail was similar to Shiro’s.
「So, what are you planning to use this for?」
A valid question.
「Ahh, this is… Oh yeah, Nubia, do you happen to know of any criminals in the surrounding area that have a bounty on their head?」
「Rumors of a wanted criminal? Well, yeah, for the most part, I do…」
Whoever was staying at Galatia’s villa from where the members of the assassins guild were unable to return, they were most likely people Galatia had gathered to kill Olivia.
The reason Galatia was searching for Nubia was most likely to add him to that group. In that case, there was a large possibility that the group was comprised of criminals and wanted individuals.
「There is going to come a time when we will have to fight humans… people who are being assisted by magicians, in the town. And I suspect it will be in the near future too.」
If they were after Olivia, the most convenient time would be at the upcoming parade.
「Hmmm, and so you’re thinking that they will be a group of criminals」
Nubia spoke slowly, after thinking for a little bit.
「All I heard were rumors from the circus troupe, but there was apparently a group of fugitives who escaped from Rodania in the East, and crossed the border into this country. I’m sure there are also soldiers from both from this country and the opposing country, who have escaped to either side. Other than that, there’s a demon from the mines up north, who has apparently poisoned and killed five people…」
「So there’s quite a few… The group of fugitives who came from the other side of the border, what kind of bunch are they?」
Of course, the thought of Olivia getting poisoned was also worrying, but I figured it would be highly unlikely that it would happen during the parade.
Of course, I couldn’t be careless, but I figured Galatia’s tactics would be much more direct.
「From what I know they were a small group of mercenaries… but they were known to do some terrible things, so they were exiled from the military, and forced to escape. Rodania’s military force has a lot of mercenaries and civilian forces, so it’s not like they have very strict rules. I mean all they’ve done really, is make them sign a piece of paper as a contract. It must be difficult to ask mercenaries to follow military rules….」
So former mercenaries and fugitive soldiers huh… I couldn’t rule them out as possible enemies.
We already knew that there were assassins staying in the outskirts of Abrams. There was no room for carelessness at all.
「There’s a possibility that the servant lady is rounding those guys up. I think they’re quite skilled considering they killed two members of the assassins guild. I can’t let Miyabi go out into the city, though Nem, I might ask you to do some reconnaissance from the sky ….」
「Yeah, sure! Since you saved me, I’m willing to help you out♪」
「Me too, since I owe you big… though, if I can hide this head of mine that is…」
I was thankful for their support. Nubia’s appearance already brought a lot of attention to him as is, but now that he had become a minotaur, his head was no longer shaped the same as a human.
We had to do something about that first it seemed.
「…. hmmm, my lord. Does this doll only follow your orders…?」
「Yeah, since I am both his summoner and his master, he doesn’t move unless I…」
I suddenly remembered something.
Astarte had given me an orc that she had created herself.
To her, I was not a demon under her control, but to me, Astarte was the person who had made me into a demon. Perhaps, in the same way, I could give the demons that I created the power to control this bone golem?
…. But was I okay with that?
Was that all I could do right now?
Wasn’t there something else that I should be doing?
As I let my mind wander, uneasiness began to creep up from behind me, like a fog.
Wasn’t there anything else I could do about Jemma or Galatia?
Was this all I could do right now – working to increase our numbers like an idiot?
Dalia looked concerned.
「Oh, sorry I was just thinking…. Let’s try to make as many as we can today.」
There weren’t many things that I could do now.
There was no doubt that replenishing our forces was something that had to be done. I couldn’t afford to hesitate.
Dalia started preparing for the next ritual with the look of concern still on her face.
We prepared three other magic circles identical to this one on the floor.
The maximum number of skeletons that I could summon at the same time was 10.
Taking into account that I would be transmuting them all at the same time, I decided on half of that, in order to have a safe margin.
If I could create 4 bone golems at the same time, I would have a good number of forces by the time of the parade.
「My lord, my lord. If your magic runs out, please take mine!」
「Yes. Miyabi and Dalia, I may ask to sleep with you later as well. Though I apologize for the unromantic location….」
There wasn’t much time left.
It seemed I would be having many sleepless nights for a while.
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