Chapter 0349 Alchemy
“Sir, in Giusvalla…”
The reporter, chief of staff Rash, stammered.
The one-eyed Head of State Columbano della Russo, urged him on.
“Yes… Our Republican Guard has been wiped out. The United Kingdom forces are marching on cities.”
Rash reported regretfully.
“As expected, we were no match for them without the golems.”
Lord Burley, the Supreme Advisor, shook his head repeatedly.
“What are the mechanics and alchemists saying?”
“Um… that they still don’t know the cause.”
Chief of Staff Rash replied to Head of State Columbano’s question.
“Dammit. We can’t wait any longer. We have no choice but to call upon him!”
“But we have an agreement that if we come to him for assistance even once, he will leave the country…”
“We have no choice! If we don’t do something, this country will truly cease to exist!”
Colombano said with a bitter expression on his face.
“I’ll go meet him personally. Prepare the carriage.”
((A fusion magic brooch! Now that sounds intriguing. Are you sure it’s okay for me to have that as a souvenir?))
((Of course. I got it as a souvenir with you in mind, Kenneth. So you can look forward to my return.))
Ryo and Viscount Kenneth Hayward were having a conversation using Abel’s ‘Soul Resonance’.
During this time, Abel himself had to keep his left hand on the ‘device’ the whole time.
Even as the King, he was being put to work.
((Speaking of which, I heard something about the design of a new ship using alchemy the other day?))
((Oh, yeah. It was very impressive. I thought the Rain Shooter I saw back in Whitnash was amazing, but this one had a lot of innovations in the design alone. It’s shaped like a clipper and is quite fast. I was even more surprised to find out that Mr. Neil Andersen, to whom I delivered the letter, was involved in the design.))
Ryo was talking about the design of the new ship that he saw at the Franzoni Shipping Company.
But then Kenneth’s mood changed.
((Ryo, what did you just say…?))
((Eh? A lot of innovations…))
((No, after that.))
((No, after that.))
((Oh… Mr. Neil Andersen. He’s a magician I delivered a letter to.))
((Neil Andersen… no, it can’t be… probably someone bearing the same name…))
Kenneth was muttering something.
((Oh, sorry. Ryo, what kind of person is this Neil Andersen fellow?))
((When you say what kind of person… he is nearly two meters tall and slender. His gray hair was kept short, hook-nosed, and a monocle over his left eye. He seemed a little skittish.))
((That’s a pretty detailed description. But it sounds just about… well, more or less the same as the one I know…))
((What? Kenneth, you know Mr. Neil Andersen?))
Ryo was surprised.
He never thought that Kenneth would know a magician from the Western Countries.
((Yeah. If he is the same Neil Andersen I know… he is a former alchemist of the Empire.))
At that moment, the uneasiness Ryo had been feeling finally melted away.
When the chairman introduced Ryo as the “Duke of the Kingdom of Knightley” at the Shipping Company, Neil Andersen muttered, “Wow… the Kingdom’s…”.
It was strange.
A native of the Western Countries wouldn’t phrase it like that.
There are a lot of kingdoms in the Western Countries as well. When they hear the word ‘Kingdom’ the first thing that comes to their mind is the kingdoms in the Western Countries.
Now learning about the Kingdom of Knightley and saying, “Wow… the Kingdom’s”, that’s undoubtedly a response someone from the Central Countries would give.
If, as Kenneth says, he is a former alchemist of the Empire, it all made sense.
And Ryo remembered one more thing.
It was a long time ago.
Before he met Kenneth.
The first time he went to the South Library in Rune, when the librarian recommended books on alchemy on this ‘Phi’.
He was recommended three books.
And all three books…
((The author was Neil Andersen…))
((Yeah, Neil Andersen has written many books.))
((Neil Andersen is an alchemist two generations older than Frank… my friend and mentor, Frank de Verde. An outstanding one too.))
((Wow, that’s amazing…?))
((Well, of course. Frankly speaking, alchemy in the Central Countries had stopped progressing for several centuries after King Richard. It was Neil Andersen who revived it again. You could say that he laid the foundation for the Empire as an alchemy powerhouse.))
((That’s incredible… But… two generations older than Mr. Frank… he didn’t look that old to me, though? Mr. Frank is in his mid-seventies, right? In fact, I think he looked a little younger than that…))
((That’s strange. If Neil Andersen is alive, he should be around a hundred and twenty years old…))
One mystery solved, then came another….
Capital of the Republic, Neil Andersen’s mansion.
Two men sat facing each other.
One was Neil Andersen, the owner of the house.
The other was the Head of State, Columbano della Russo.
“…So you’re saying this is a formal request?”
Neil Andersen asked, and Columbano nodded with a pained expression on his face.
“I moved here on the understanding that my support would be limited to the private sector. And as per the agreement, should I render any assistance to the government, I will leave the country, you’re aware of that right?”
Neil Andersen asked again, and Columbano nodded with a more anguished expression.
He was backed into a corner.
A farsighted person might say that he should have asked for help before the Battle of Giusvalla… and they would be right, but relying on Neil Andersen was his last and final trump card.
The absence of Neil Anderson in the private sector of the Republic meant that alchemical development in the Republic would come to a halt for decades to come… that was what it entailed.
But weighing it against the destruction of the country, it was simply unavoidable…
Neil Andersen muttered that much and fell silent.
He could understand both the predicament the Republic was in and the bitterness of Head of State Columbano.
At that moment, Neil Andersen suddenly looked out the window.
A man in a robe entered from the porch…
(I believe that’s…)
“Hello. I am Ryo, the adventurer who visited the other day. I don’t have an appointment, but I’d like to meet Mr. Neil Andersen.”
“My apologies, sir. Master is in the middle of a meeting.”
“Oh, I thought as much… must be that carriage out front.”
A magnificent carriage was parked out front.
While Ryo was thinking about what to do, the back door opened and Neil Andersen came out.
Behind him was a man in elegant clothing.
“If it isn’t Lord Ryo. How may I help you?”
“My apologies, Mr. Neil Andersen. I just wanted to ask you a few questions…”
Ryo then realized that Neil Andersen was on his way out.
He was dressed for it.
“Call me Neil. I can answer a few questions, but I don’t have much time.”
“Yeah, looks like it. It does look like you’re on your way somewhere. Well, it’s nothing urgent, so I can come back some other time…”
Neil looked at Ryo’s left ear and Murasame’s sheath and thought for a moment.
For about three seconds.
“Lord Ryo, I remember you saying you dabble in alchemy.”
“Yeah, although I have only just begun to learn…”
Ryo answered Neil’s question, albeit a little embarrassed.
Neil then said something unexpected.
Not to Ryo, but to the person behind him.
“Sir, may I take Lord Ryo there with me? It might prove useful.”
“No, no, we can’t do that. It’s more or less a state secret…”
The man was puzzled by Neil’s suggestion.
“Lord Ryo, this is the Head of State of this Republic, His Excellency Columbano della Russo. Sir, are you aware of Lord Ryo’s identity?”
“Nope… with all due respect, I am not.”
Ryo was surprised to be suddenly introduced to the bigshot, but he could read Neil’s eyes signaling to him, “Why don’t you introduce yourself?”.
“It’s a great pleasure to meet you. Premier Duke of the Kingdom of Knightley in the Central Countries, Duke of Rondo, Ryo Mihara.”
Ryo bowed politely.
Three years ago, he was thoroughly trained by Abel, so he looked quite presentable.
“Duke Rondo? Ah! I remember hearing about you in the report. Please excuse my discourtesy. I am Columbano della Russo, just as he introduced earlier.”
Columbano wore an eye patch over his left eye and was a man of the sea to behold, but his bow was graceful.
Status breeds character.
“Now, though I just got the news myself, apparently His Excellency the Duke of Rondo here, teamed up with the Secret Services and captured one of the ‘Four Bishops of the Pope’ who was lurking in the Republic. He is an amazingly powerful magician with an aptitude for alchemy. From what I have seen, he also seems to have an exceptional insight into alchemy. I think it would be a good idea to ask him once again to cooperate with us for the good of the Republic, wouldn’t it?”
Neil said to Head of State Columbano.
Columbano hesitated for a moment but eventually nodded.
“Okay. Your Excellency, I would like to ask for your cooperation.”
Ryo was totally lost.
What exactly were they asking him to do?
“Lord Ryo. We are on our way to repair the Golem Corps of the Republic. We want you to accompany us. I mean, you are interested in golems, aren’t you, Lord Ryo?”
“If that’s the case, then please lead the way!”
Neil said with a smile, and Ryo agreed without a second thought.
Inside the carriage.
“Well, we’ve got some time before we arrive. You visited my house to ask me something, didn’t you, Lord Ryo?”
Then, Ryo glanced at Head of State Columbano.
“It’s all right. He knows most things about me. On the contrary… for you to be worried about that, I take it that you know details about me like where I’m from and whatnot?”
Neil asked, smiling.
“So you really are formerly from the Empire…?”
“Yeah, that’s right. I used to be an alchemist in the Debuhi Empire.”
Neil nodded and answered Ryo’s question.
Looking a little nostalgic.
“So that’s how it is… The first book on alchemy I read was written by you, Neil.”
“Oh, really!? Hearing that my book guided someone down the path of alchemy… I couldn’t be happier.”
Neil replied to Ryo’s words with a truly cheery face.
Then Neil turned a little serious and asked.
“Lord Ryo’s left earring is an alchemy tool, isn’t it?”
“What amazing skill… no, that word doesn’t even do it justice. It is no exaggeration to say that it is the work of the greatest alchemist of our time…”
Neil complimented the technology and Head of State Columbano was taken aback.
That there was an alchemist good enough to get such high praise from Neil.
“My master made it.”
Ryo replied with a smile.
He was happy to hear such high praise about Kenneth.
“I see… Wow, seriously, that’s one nicely engineered tool…”
“It’s a long-distance communication system, isn’t it? Perhaps spanning over a thousand kilometers, and it can communicate at any time… I can’t even begin to imagine how the mana-saving technology works… or is it the other way around? I guess what escaped my imagination was Lord Ryo’s mana capacity, huh?”
Neil was muttering to himself.
And then he shifted his gaze to Ryo’s waist.
“The sheath on your waist must be the work of another. It’s not as sophisticated as the earring… is that Lord Ryo’s?”
“Yeah. I still have some ways to go…”
He understood that he was nowhere nearly as good as Kenneth.
And honestly admitted it too.
“No, I am not belittling you. The alchemy contained in that sheath is… incomprehensible to me…”
“Sir Andersen can’t understand it? Such a thing exists…”
Neil’s words startled Head of State Columbano.
“Hmm. It’s a completely different design concept from the earring… It’s truly intriguing… I wonder just what would happen if you activated the alchemy of that sheath.”
Neil laughed happily as he said that.
And Ryo chuckled.
It was only natural that the design philosophy was different.
That piece was based on the alchemy of the Order of Assassins’ ‘Hassan’.
Ryo created it through trial and error from the ‘Black Notebook’ he left behind, and it could be said to be his first major work…
But Ryo was even more surprised.
Aside from the earring, the alchemy contained in the sheath is usually unnoticeable unless activated.
Even Kenneth didn’t notice it.
Yet Neil saw through it!
Perhaps it was the difference in experience rather than in ability…
“If there’s an alchemist in the Kingdom who can make those earrings, it’s probably Frank de Verde?”
“No, he’s Frank’s fellow disciple from the same master. He is still in his early twenties, but it is no exaggeration to say that he is already one of the leading alchemists in the Central Countries.”
Ryo answered Neil’s question with confidence.
Ryo knew very well that Kenneth was a truly great alchemist.
“I see that a new generation of alchemists is emerging in the Kingdom as well.”
Neil said happily.
Then he continued.
“Alchemy is still alive.”
His expression was full of satisfaction.
It was the expression of a man who was convinced that the path to which he had once devoted himself with all his being… would undoubtedly carry on now and in the future.