264 – Two-faced
Editor: Thor’s Stone
“So, what did you actually want to accomplish by staging that event in the first place?”
I addressed Miriam, who was feasting on an elegant-looking crepe for dessert which she had to desperately beg her son to be able to eat. She looked so wretched earlier that I was almost tempted to ask her if she still had some dignity as a clan leader. She placed her knife and fork to the side, dabbed the sides of her lips with a napkin, and opened her mouth to reply.
“There is a legend about the chosen warrior of the Sacred Tree occasionally manifesting tremendous magic power, you see.”
“So, in other words, you wanted to corner me in order to induce that magic power phenomenon or something? You know, if you really want to back me to a corner, you’d have to at least send an entire imperial military fleet after me instead of just pitting me against warriors in a tournament.”
Well, if I really faced such a predicament, I’ll just make my escape straight away though.
“Hm. Maybe an entire platoon of fully armed military combat bots would also work?”
“I think it’s a bit unfair to aim at the person directly though.”
“But you have to at least do that much if you want to deal with Hiro-sama after all.”
“Right…… It’s really hard to run Boss down usin’ fair methods.”
“Big Brother always says he’s no good when it comes to fighting, but he can already win against imperial nobles with ease though.”
Whisker declared so as she smiled bitterly. Basically, nobles are seen as the best of the best when it comes to individual combat ability in the Graccan empire. They are strengthened by advanced cybernetics and biotechnology supported by their ample financial resources, and as a result, they have physical capabilities utterly unattainable by ordinary people. This enhancement in the physical ability not only involves a simple boost to their muscular strength and instantaneous power exertion. It also included improving brain processing abilities such as enhanced reflexes and parallel thinking for extremely efficient multitasking.
The result is a super soldier that has muscular strength and instantaneous power exertion ability that’s well above and beyond what ordinary unenhanced people are capable of. They also have extreme reflexes, dynamic visual acuity, and snap judgment abilities that have already exceeded the limits of the human body. They were like cyborg J*dis who could reflect laser shots with their swords, capable of speeds that can’t be perceived by the naked eye, and could cut down a power armor along with its rider clean in two with one swing.
Originally, the physical enhancements were meant to help them cope with the increasing rigors of governing their territories, but nowadays, they have already become a status symbol for imperial aristocrats.
Eh? Why was it necessary to enhance your physical body to govern a territory? Well y’see, if you’re an imperial noble, that means you at least govern one entire star system. In most cases, nobles govern several. In my home dimension, Earth isn’t actually being governed by a single leader or centralized government body. If you’re an imperial noble, you’d at least need to govern a territory the size of the Solar system. Just imagine how tedious that would be. The number of tasks you’d need to accomplish on a daily basis would be astronomical and can’t be handled by ordinary human processing abilities. So the Graccan empire sought a solution through physical enhancements.
It seems that things started with enhancing the nervous system such as expanding and strengthening the area of the brain used for computation. And as technology progressed, physical enhancements were added to the menu, and it eventually became one of the standard duties of imperial nobles to undergo enhancement. Then, it turned into a custom, and now, it’s become a status symbol used to flaunt a noble’s power.
“What is it?”
“No, it’s nothing. In any case, I’ll be fine as long you’re with me, Mei.”
“Thank you for your trust, Master.”
Mei slightly bowed toward me after hearing my words.
A long time ago – before the Graccan empire/AI war – autonomous AIs were active in quite a number of various fields, and in that period, they formed the backbone that supported the Graccan empire’s prosperity. Then a lot of stuff happened, and those led to the current status quo where the AIs have taken a backseat. Well, at least on the surface, that is. I suppose this is enough about that topic for now.
“So, magic huh. Can I really use stuff like that? I probably don’t have any talent in occult stuff like that y’know.”
You hear of those types sometimes, right? Those people who claim they can see spirits and stuff. I really don’t think I have any talent regarding that stuff y’know. Since I was thrown into this dimension, the most occult thing I ever encountered was my unnaturally bad luck.
“Occult stuff huh…… Magic isn’t really considered as something related to occultism you know. It’s a well-organized and well-researched craft.”
“Can you really say that magic isn’t part of the occult though? Err, I suppose I better drop the topic huh.”
I shrugged my shoulders in reaction to Elma’s statement. I don’t care if it’s called magic or psionic ability, but how else can I describe the phenomenon of people being able to create fire and water from thin air or blow away others with some sort of invisible force except for being part of occultism?
“There are devices that can accurately measure psionic energy, so it’s pretty legitimate. But don’t they also say that psionic aptitude levels are basically innate for each person?”
Miriam nodded in response to Whisker’s question.
“It’s true that magical talent is inborn. It seems that in the Holy Vuelzarus empire, they have a technique that can accurately measure the magical talents of each individual. However, it’s a fact that Hiro-sama definitely has an inherently high level of magical aptitude.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“You cannot explain the amount of power overflowing from your body otherwise. If you train properly, there’s no doubt you’d become a fearsome magic-user. So that’s why you have to train in the magic arts under me–”
I waved my hands and shook my head frantically in refusal. I have no time for that. No way, no how.
“–If you train in the magic arts, your combat strength will undergo a dramatic improvement you know. With your magical output potential, you can easily blow away an entire mountain if you train enough!”
“No, it’s not like I really need to personally blow away a mountain y’know. Or rather, if it really is necessary to blow a mountain away, I can just use reactive torpedoes or Black Lotus’s EML. Those would be easier and faster methods. So those are more than good enough for me.”
I then formed a cross sign with my arms and categorically refused.
Multiple anti-ship reactive torpedoes that have enough power to penetrate military starship shields and blow them to pieces can be stored inside Krishna. And with Black Lotus, it’s possible to blow away mountains from a very long distance. So much so that no trace of the ship can be spotted from the ground. So there’s absolutely no reason for me to learn magic.
Or rather, I don’t wanna get turned into a human bomb that can blow away mountains. If something like that got found out by the authorities, it’s possible that I wouldn’t even be allowed to enter starports.
“It’s no use even if you puff out your cheeks like that y’know. There’s a saying that you can’t have too much of a good thing where I’m from. I don’t wanna obtain anything else that might potentially invite more trouble.”
“……No, no, no! I wanna see the Sacred Tree hero’s magic! I wanna seee!”
T-This fellow……! She really threw away all shame and started throwing a tantrum!? A grown lady like you shouldn’t be hitting the table while throwing a fit!
Nect came in to check out what’s going on and brought away the crying Miriam. Maybe he used some magic to pacify her. She was crying loudly earlier, but she quieted down fairly quickly. Fumu. After witnessing a thing like that, I kinda think that magic might not really be so bad. I still don’t wanna blow up a mountain with it though.
“Don’t say anything. The fuss earlier didn’t happen. Alright?”
“I’m starting to get a headache.”
“Yeah, me too.”
Can you believe that? That was a person who was the leader of one of the major elven clans that divided the planet into three factions you know. Theta should be quite a peaceful place if even a weirdo like that can serve as a major faction’s leader.
“Yes, what is it, Master?”
“When you investigated the situation on this planet, you said we should be wary of the struggles and conspiracies between the three major factions, right?”
“You see, I think we’re actually overthinking things after all, and the pirate attack wasn’t some sort of sinister plot by any of the factions, but just your regular pirate raid. I’m starting to think that the latest attack by the Red Flag pirates is just for revenge instead of something more shady.”
“That is also possible, of course.”
Mei nodded easily in reply. Is that so? I see.
“In other words, what are you trying to say?”
“Un…… I suppose Big Brother is saying his luck is just that bad, right?”
“Can you not summarize everything like that? I’m gonna cry y’know.”
In any case, our business on this planet is almost done. Unexpectedly, I was able to experience more of Mother Nature than I ever bargained for. And in the end, I didn’t manage to find cola again. But… Well, I guess we should just pay another visit after a couple more years. After all, I was unexpectedly able to discuss carbonated drinks with a major beverage company, and it looks like they were gearing up to attempt its development. All the carbonated drinks I had in the Sierra system were misses, so I hope the cola I seek will be born on this planet someday soon.
We’d just have to sit back and relax while enjoying elven hospitality from here on out until the week is up. I suppose it’s time to talk with everyone regarding our next destination as well.