Apologies for the late release!
Chapter 0350 The Cause
The carriage entered a building a short distance away from the official residence of the head of state.
Inside the building, the three dismounted from the carriage.
The driver unloaded a large bag that was on top of the carriage.
It seemed to be Neil’s tools.
Saying that, Head of State Columbano began to walk ahead.
Neil, Ryo, and the driver followed behind in that order.
They descended the stairs to the basement and walked for quite a while.
Finally arriving at a door, they opened it and entered… and there was a vast space and dozens of golems lined up in a row.
A soft exclamation slipped out of Ryo’s mouth, unintentionally.
It was a rather spectacular sight.
But from another perspective, it was also a battlefield.
A battlefield where defeat was imminent.
Many people had several golems wired while staring at what looked like tablets.
Shaking their heads repeatedly.
It was obvious to everyone that things were not going well.
Neil approached the nearest golem and looked at the materials on it.
He also took a look at the tablet.
The alchemist of the Corps saw that and tried to call out to him.
However, Head of State Columbano approached the alchemist and whispered the current situation to his ears.
“That’s Neil Andersen…”
A murmur spread throughout the space.
Incidentally, Ryo was peering at the documents and other materials from behind Neil.
And at the golem…
After a while, Neil began to manipulate the tablet at a furious speed.
He also deliberately copied some documents onto paper.
There seemed to be something that looked like a printer too…
It seemed that the idea of a paperless system hadn’t occurred to them yet.
Ryo was also peeking at Neil’s work from behind.
Although not grasping it fully, he could sort of understand.
He had grown able to understand somewhat over the past three years!
Just then, Neil pulled something up…
“Lord Ryo, have you noticed anything?”
It was a test.
He wasn’t asking for an opinion.
He was asking if he had found the answer.
Ryo stated what he honestly thought.
“I think… the numbers on the mana-saving circuit are a bit strange. With numbers like that, I feel that even if it is activated, the magic power is too dispersed to even move the golem itself.”
Ryo’s words caused a slight stir among the alchemists and mechanics of the corps who were watching.
Some of their gazes were filled with hostility.
Ryo, however, had some confidence in his answer.
Because, as for ‘mana saving’, before coming to the Holy Capital, he had disassembled a golem of the QC Duchy and had been able to thoroughly tinker with it.
Among the Western Countries, the golems of the QC Duchy boasted frames that excelled in their mana-saving features, and Ryo had learned a lot from it.
“You really are an interesting fellow, Lord Ryo. You are right. The numerical value of this mana-saving circuit is abnormal. Though I’m not sure why… the alchemist who gave the order to tamper with this is quite a guy. As a matter of fact, even all the alchemists in this corps didn’t notice it. How did you, Lord Ryo?”
“Actually, I had the opportunity to disassemble a golem of the QC Duchy…”
“Ohh. Even I don’t get such an opportunity. The golems of the QC Duchy are said to be machines that excel in mana-saving. I see.”
Neil nodded broadly.
Then, he instructed the alchemists around.
“Now, Your Excellency. I would like to confirm one thing.”
“I really appreciate this, Sir Andersen. What is it that you want to confirm?”
“Are these golems going to be dealing with the golems of the United Kingdom?”
“…No, it will probably be the Golem Corps of the Theocracy.”
Neil’s question was answered with a frown by Head of State Columbano, who then continued.
“The Golem Corps of the Theocracy has broken through the eastern border at an alarming rate and is now heading straight towards this capital city. In contrast to the United Kingdom’s army, this is conquering cities one by one.”
The Golem Corps of the Theocracy was the strongest in the Western Countries… even Ryo had heard of it.
And eighty of them were on their way…
“Wow…. the golems of the Theocracy…Holy Knights was it, confronting eighty of them with these fifty… as they are now, even if they can move, it will be a tough fight.”
“…As they are now?”
Ryo tilted his head and muttered at Neil’s remark.
“What would you like to do, Your Excellency? If it’s just one battle, I can make it so that they can outperform the Holy Knights? However, there is no guarantee that you will be able to use them in the subsequent battle against the United Kingdom because their magic power will be completely emptied…”
Neil’s words were, to put it another way, a gamble.
But Head of State Columbano responded almost immediately.
Should the capital city be conquered by the Theocracy, the Republic will perish at that moment.
In that case, he must first do something about the golems of the Theocracy, the Holy Knights.
As for the United Kingdom army… he will think about it later!
((Even though it can’t be helped… is it okay for the head of a country to be winging something like this…?))
((I understand how you feel, Ryo, but it happens. I guess he came to that decision based on priorities.))
Abel, too, seemed to have heard it through ‘Soul Resonance’.
He immediately answered Ryo’s question.
The words of the head of a country sometimes seem strange to those below them.
However, that strangeness is merely the reflection of the difference in information at hand.
A fellow citizen, in the same position, would probably spout the same words… Perhaps. Maybe… hopefully…
Different positions mean different views… what a complicated world.
“Your Excellency, how long until we come into contact with the Holy Knights?”
“In twenty-five hours, I’m told…”
“Hmm. They need to be taken apart completely… so basically, including disassembly, you’re saying each unit should be rolled out and ready in 30 minutes… This really stimulates my dead passion.”
Neil laughed as he said that.
The same laughter Ryo had seen many, many times before.
Mostly in battle.
Yup, Akuma Leonor’s laughter, for example.
A terrible laugh.
Certainly not one to expect from someone who is called an alchemist.
Nor is it one of someone who wants to perform maintenance or adjustment.
But somehow, it seemed like the perfect laugh for Neil Andersen.
Head of State Columbano returned to the official residence of the head of state.
The capital defense command center was currently located in the large conference room of the official residence of the head of state.
It was chosen because it happened to be the highest conference room in the capital.
Through the windows on all four sides, they could see outside the walls of the capital.
The supreme commander of the capital’s defense was Head of State Columbano.
However, although Columbano was adept at naval battles, he clearly had no command experience in ground battles or siege warfare.
For that reason, the Acting Supreme Commander was his Supreme Advisor, Lord Burley.
Lord Burley had commanded countless ground battles.
Colombano asked Lord Burley in a low voice.
“The Holy Knights are heading straight for the capital, as expected… and at a speed that couldn’t get any worse.”
“Still… twenty-five hours away?”
“Mm-hmm. We’ll meet them on Lente Plain in the capital. Siege warfare is out of the question against the Holy Knights.”
“Since they’ll just ‘break through’ the physical and magic barriers of the city walls, right?”
“Exactly. So a siege battle is meaningless. We have to defeat them on Lente Plain somehow…”
Lord Burley’s face was pale.
He had considered several tactical options, but none that would lead to victory.
“Neil Andersen is currently repairing the golems.”
“I heard. And that they’ll be able to function.”
“Yeah. Not only that. He’s going to upgrade them to fight the Holy Knights, but just for that one battle.”
“…All fifty of them?”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
Lord Burley’s eyes widen in surprise.
“I heard that even normal maintenance would take two hours per unit?”
“So I’ve been told as well.”
Lord Burley confirmed, and Columbano nodded in reply.
That’s right, the maintenance of a golem is very time-consuming.
Even maintenance that doesn’t involve the replacement of parts takes two hours.
While maintenance that requires the replacement of parts, such as joints, takes three hours.
Whereas a complete disassembly and reassembly… takes more than 10 hours.
That is how long it would take a top-notch mechanic.
“He said they needed to be completely disassembled…”
“You mean each would be ready in thirty minutes… instead of the ten hours it would normally take? This Neil Andersen guy… is a monster, to say the least.”
Lord Burley replied to Columbano’s words with a small shake of his head. An honest opinion.
Perhaps he was going to use some kind of magic or alchemy tool of his own creation.
But even if he does… he was still far from ordinary.
It was a good thing that such an abnormal man was not their enemy.
They both thought so from the bottom of their hearts…