49. Golem (2)

「A golem.」

A golem that can only be produced with a difficult to obtain skill, Mud Infant.

A golem that can only be produced by a handful of people suddenly appeared within my sensing range. Doubting myself, I concentrated on it harder, but the scraggy body only became more distinct.

「It’s not yours, right?」

「No. It suddenly appeared near the east side of the village. I’d like to think it’s some kind of mistake, but…」

The werewolves in the surroundings also looked in the same direction.

A huge golem suddenly appears deep in the mountains. I thought that can’t be true, but the sound of trees and rocks being crushed resounded loudly. Someone in the village mumbled.

「It’s a golem…」

A huge white body appeared, mowing down the trees.

「Could it be a wild golem?」

「No. It wouldn’t be unnatural if it was a dungeon, but if something that big was wandering around above ground freely, it would have already been subdued by the knights order.」

Asagi’s face turned sour at the mention of the knight’s order.

「Knight’s Order, huh. Are you saying that, to them, demi-humans and puppets are the same?」

「So that news spread here as well… Well, that’s the kind of group they are.」

The Knight’s Order are a military force under the direct control of the state – a unit that mainly act on their own decisions. Its purpose is to “separate humans from others.” They treat humans, like myself, as the most superior species. And if demi-humans like Shizuku and the others rebel, they will annihilate them without any compassion.

In the past, when conflicts between demi-humans and humans were fierce, a group of strong warriors was established as the “shield” to protect helpless citizens from demi-humans. Now that time has passed and the number of demi-humans has decreased, it is said that they have become radicalized to the point where they treat everything humanoid as heresy.

Although their extreme behavioral principles are often viewed as problematic… It is also troublesome that they have enthusiastic supporters. There are also rumors of people being killed simply because of handing a piece of bread to a defiant demi-human.

「Rumors are rumors, and I don’t know how true they are. Anyway, if this golem hasn’t been destroyed by the Knights Order, it must have been built recently. If we take out the user who should be hiding nearby, it should stop moving.」

「…If they are hidden in the mountains, it will be difficult.」

The most troublesome thing about the golem was not actually that it was strong or that it had a hard body.

But the fact that it could ”walk”.

The golem itself can walk, so the user doesn’t necessarily need to be nearby. Since it has no intelligence, it will probably only be able to carry out simple commands without the instructions of the user, but… the advantage of being able to attack from a safe area more than makes up for it.

「Marge, what should we do?」

Shizuku asked. At that size, even a collapse could cause damage to the village. Even if we found the user, we would have to pull the golem away from the village before we could defeat him.

「Shizuku, cooperate with Asagi and gather everyone in one place so that they don’t get caught up in the battle.」

「Okay.」

「I’ll take care of the rest.」

As I started fighting the golem, a red-haired woman on its shoulder suddenly greeted me, and this brings us to the present. She was so petite that I didn’t notice her at all from a distance.

「Once again, you can call me Angelina. An alchemist.」

Angelina, sitting on the palm of the golem which had been remade smaller – into the size of a house – bowed to me. She doesn’t look like a soldier either, so I wonder if this is her hobby or something.

「I am Marge Siu. Do you know me?」

「Yes, from Mr. Perver– from Altora-san.」

Come to think of it, I remember Altora saying that he was going to replace me with an alchemist. Was he talking about Angelina?

「Then, did you come looking for me on Altora’s orders?」

The werewolves in the surroundings stood on guard, but Angelina leaned forward as if she didn’t notice it at all.

「Not at all. Geli has an interest in Skill Lender-san. A purely academic interest.」

Judging from the way her eyes were sparkling, it didn’t seem like she’s lying.

「…I will believe that you have no malicious intent, for now.」

「Thank you.」

However, our point of view is separate from her interests.

「You can’t go back to the academy anymore. We can’t let anyone else know about this place.」

Hearing my words, Angelina looked around.

「Hmm? Now that you mention it, is this the werewolves hidden dwelling? It’s true that the Knights are scary.」

「Are you just realizing that? Unfortunately, that’s the way it is. No matter what you uncover here, you won’t be able to tell anyone about it.」

Apparently, she focused solely on me. Angelina thought for a second as she finally understood her situation.

「Now that the location has already been known, it doesn’t really matter what other things are unveiled. Based on that, Geli proposes a transaction.」

「Transaction?」

She should have known from the previous collision that I could crush her golem. Undaunted by the situation where she could not escape even by force, she raised a finger.

「This is just a guess, but the biggest problem that you all are facing is “lack of labor,” right? I took a panoramic view of the village from this child’s shoulder just now. There are some nice rice paddies, but the number of houses and people is out of proportion to the required labor force, which can be estimated from the cultivated area.」

「You already grasped that much?」

「Geli will use golems to solve the labor shortage. In exchange, Geli will be guaranteed personal safety, food, clothing, and shelter, land and materials for the workshop, a clean bed, and…」

「What galls does this girl have…?」

Asagi couldn’t help but mutter under his breath. I thought she would be pleading for her life but she was at the point of completely determined to build her own research institute here. “If Geli can’t go home, then obviously the workshop has to be built here,” she said with a straight face.

Nevertheless, it was also true that her presence had its merits.

「Fine. I’ll accept all but the fourteenth one.」

「So it wasn’t possible, after all. It can’t be helped then.」

Her fourteenth request was “Living with Skill Lender-san”.

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