Asuna repeated the unfamiliar word.
“Yes, the Acadian crystal. It is amongst the rarest crystals in all of the Feya continent. An Acadian crystal uses the world’s natural energy and converts it into another form of the world’s natural energy. For example, the well that is in my village is connected from underground with the nearby river. The river’s water flows into the bottom of our well and our treasured Acadian crystal uses that water’s energy and converts it into earth energy. The inscriptions in my village and the inscriptions in this cave use that energy continuously.”
Shin and Asuna both looked confused before Kazuki said.
“It’s similar to a hydroelectric dam or a windmill. It’s using the force of nature itself and then turning that force into earth energy. That’s the gist of it right Chief?”
Chief Atoh had no clue what he meant when he mentioned a hydro whatchamacallit but the rest made sense and he nodded along.
Shin and Asuna both released a small “Oh” before the old man continued.
“Yes, as Ryuta said, it uses the force of nature and allows us to power our inscriptions. You’re all probably then wondering how can it still power the village and the cave if it’s missing. Well, once again we have my sister Aboh to thank for that. I don’t know what type of inscriptions she used but she connected the power source to both of these spots as well as to our black stone tablet. However, with the power waning, she can not use the black stone tablet effectively and is forced to use her own power in its place damaging the table after every use. Even the cave and the village are having their own troubles because of this.”
“I don’t understand? Why is the power source weakening, what can be done?”
“Young miss, Mei’s father has hidden it somewhere within the forest. Since it’s failing, that means it is not in the river nor the well. Each Arcadian crystal can only use one force of nature and convert energy into one other type of nature. Our’s uses the flow of water to produce power and by this, we can confirm that it is not located in water. The range my sister has put on our Arcadian treasure is vast and will give power to these inscriptions as long as it is within a flowing water source in this great forest. Since these inscriptions are still barely working we can determine that our treasure is still in the forest but is also not receiving input or flow from a water source. So it is weakening because it’s not in a flowing water source and as for what can be done, well finding it would be the first step but to locate it in this vast forest before it loses all of its power…”
Chief Atoh shook his head in disappointment.
“That would be like trying to find a specific grain of sand on the shore, nigh impossible.”
Everyone was letting this all sink in. The power source was failing and once it does, Mei will be able to approach this cave freely and unleash a mind-bending screech. Her powers that have barely been allowed into the cave will flood it with overwhelming ferocity and even with the black stone tablet, Aboh will no longer be able to revert anyone’s transformations and they will all become mindless slaves. With nothing left to stand in her way, Mei will be able to control Chief Atoh and force him to lead them out of the forest.
Asuna was still feeling uncertain about something.
“Atoh, why is it that you can’t just let Mei and her mother go, tell them to fly somewhere far far away and never return?”
“If only it were as simple as that. When I was a youngling just entering my first century age wise, a passing merchant appeared outside our village. The man himself was kind enough and brought no problems but what he showed us at the time was terrifying. A new thing was spreading like wildfire throughout the kingdoms. Tell me, young warriors, have you heard of a creature called a Mind Frey?”
An image of an ugly, gooey, small head monster appeared within their minds, bringing a nasty feeling to their stomachs. They perfectly remember seeing the Mind Frey and its use in the Throne Room, the day Garn was being framed. Within a few seconds, it revealed every single one of Garn’s memories both pleasant and unpleasant and displayed them for all eyes to see. Kazuki thought about how he as well was made to be a victim by Garn’s information officer in the sky prison and how humiliated he felt as well as how dangerous such a small creature truly was.
“So you believe if Mei or her mother is somehow captured on the outside that they’ll automatically use a Mind Frey on them. Sorry to say but they only use those on those they deem important. Were they to see two Magical Beasts, no offense, flying about, the very first instinct humans would have is to kill them. The last thing they would think to do is use a Mind Frey on one of them.”
Chief Atoh would normally agree with Kazuki’s statement but there’s one thing Kazuki didn’t know.
“Sorry, but I have failed to mention something to you all about a Mangshi King. Mangshi Kings are the strongest of all the Mangshi and therefore their strength exceeds all regular Mangshi. I and my sister could have easily become tier 2 Magical Beasts long ago but thought it to be better to keep our strength repressed and not become stronger so the Limiter tattoos would continue to work on us. I can become a tier 2 Magical Beast, an Earth Beast but Mei, on the other hand, is different. She will be a Mangshi King and with it, as she grows her powers will eclipse mine and she will become a tier 3 Magical Beast, a Sky Beast. At that level, the destruction she can cause. If she wanted to, she could turn mountains into rubble. Do you think humans won’t be interested in where she comes from then.”
This news stunned Kazuki and the others but Chief Atoh hadn’t quite placed the cherry on top.
“For me to reach nearly all of my potential before I stopped at the precipice of a tier 2 Magic Beast, it took me about 50 years. Truly I was a child then but I still had guidance from my elder. Mei though, her powers have already been unlocked before she’s even hit puberty. By my estimation, there’s no doubt in my mind that if she isn’t handled now, she will reach tier 3, a Sky Beast, in less than 5 years. Tell me, that much power with no proper control, no guidance, no wisdom, and experience, prone to tantrums and reacts instead of thinking things through, what do you think awaits her in the future? If she is allowed out of here, only destruction and death will be left in her wake. However, if I can get her under control, to where she can’t transform then I can slowly mold her. I and Aboh will be able to guide her and show her right from wrong, turn her into a natural and respected leader, and eventually, she would become the next chief but it has to start and soon.”
“You mean you actually want her to be in charge of your people but didn’t you just say that would be a thing?”
Shin really couldn’t laugh at what Chief Atoh said. Atoh had just finished saying how dangerous she would become one second and then saying he wouldn’t mind her taking over in another.
Atoh didn’t find the situation all that difficult to understand.
“A child’s mind at a certain age is perfect to mold and form into what you require. If I and my sister Aboh can reach her, she could be the greatest Mangshi that ever lived but the opposite is true as well. If she is without the guidance she needs and she continues on the path she’s on now, she will truly become a vicious unyielding monster. I know this all sounds kind of crazy. You’ve been around Mei and I’m sure you know that she can be sweet but with her mother at her side. Her mother, who hates us all and blames us for her husband’s death. Every minute Mei is with her mother, a flame of hate is growing within Mei. Whether she’s aware of it or not, I guarantee you it’s there.”
(So, in the end, it seems what he’s really saying is to kill Tsura. If we kill her then Mei will have no one to rely on, that’s when the Chief and his people step in. From there they can take their time and remove any hate from her heart that she has towards them. They could even take it another step forward and push the blame on us. They could say something like, [ “we don’t know who those people were that killed your mother but they are still out there and could come back, so you’ll only be safe with us.” ] It would be easy to control her then. I don’t really care either way. Since I know the details, there’s only one thing I’m really interested in.)
“Alright, I know what I need to do. Chief Atoh, if we take on this little job for you, the reward I want will be substantial.”
Chief Atoh quickly lowered his head and bowed.
“Young warrior, anything, just ask.”
“Well,if you insist.”
Kazuki pointed behind Atoh and smiled.
“I want it.”
Chief Atoh slightly raised his head in confusion.
“You want it?”
Kazuki’s smile grew wider.
“Yes, the Magnitium, I want it.”
The chief smiled in understanding.
“Of course, of course, how much would you like?”
“All of it.”