Arc 27: The Reverse World
Chapter 304: The Maid’s Faith, and the Dwarves
「…What are you doing, Rene?」(Touya)
Meeting her in the corridor by a chance, I involuntarily call out to our little housemaid.
After all, she’s walking while carrying books over her head. Then, she greets me in return.
「Aah, Touya-anicha……Oops, your highness the sovereign king, good mornin-ah!」(Rene)
One by one, several books fall on the red carpet. It’s not surprising, given that she greeted me with a bow.
「Aaah~, I failed again…」(Rene)
Rene starts collecting the books in frustration.
「Like I said, what are you doing, carrying those books like that and all?」(Touya)
「I, uh… I’m doing a special training for the maids guild examination」(Rene)
「It’s only me and Rene in here, so I don’t mind if you use the usual tone. …However, an exam?」(Touya)
When Rene lived in Belfast, she had been a child pickpocket whom I later employed as a maid apprentice to our household. Afterward, we found out that she belonged to a noble bloodline in one the nobility of Regulus, but Rene decided that she would continue working as a maid in Brunhild and not return to the house of her late mother.
Despite being more or less a small country, real maids are required to have considerable skills in etiquette, situation judgment, and other relevant abilities in order to serve in the castle. However, Rene was still an apprentice. Thus, she attends only to our personal needs, aside from assisting the other maids.
However, it seems she’s already resolved to do this. Now, this nine-year-old girl is apparently doing her best every day in order to become a first-class maid by enrolling into the maids guild.
「Cecil-san taught me this. Being able to walk normally while carrying these books will shape my sense of balance and further improve my posture. Elegance is one of the criteria during the guild’s examination, so I have to prepare」(Rene)
「Hee. It’s very serious… However, don’t overdo it, okay? It’s not like we’ll drive you out without the qualification given out by the maids guild」(Touya)
「Well, I’ll still earn the qualification properly. I want to become a first-class maid and work for Brunhild. My goal is the position of the head maid, after all」(Rene)
Oh. This little girl has a big ambition. The head maid of our household is Lapis-san, she rules at the top. Surpassing her is a great deal indeed. Her combat abilities are considerably high too.
「Also, I’ve properly learned bodyguarding techniques from Moroha-neechan」(Rene)
「No, I wonder about that…」(Touya)
It’s the first time I heard about this. Hey! You didn’t learn any strange swordplay now, did you? If I’m not mistaken, didn’t she also learn knife-throwing skills from Cecil-san? Come to think of it, she was also taught magic by Rin… It might be that, while I wasn’t aware, the strongest maid had been born.
「You even properly go to school to study, right? It’s not good if the first-class housemaid isn’t smart」(Touya)
Rene also attends the school where Sakura’s mother, Fiana-san, works as a principal. Though classes are from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Rene still helps other maids once she returns home from school.
As I thought. I wonder if it’s fine to let children work this much. Though when I had said that I’d increase her free time and holidays, Rene stubbornly refused to accept it.
It looks like she’s studying to reach her goals, and that she doesn’t see this routine as being put to work…
「Isn’t it fine to take a rest from time to time?」(Touya)
「Unnn, I sleep properly every day, so I’m fine. It’s Touya-niichan who needs to take a proper rest, ~you know. Everyone’s worried about you!」(Rene)
On the contrary, I was scolded. Umumu. Am I really seen as a workaholic that much? I believe I’ve been leaving quite a bit of work to Kousaka-san and playing hooky in the meantime.
「Then, I will give some present to Rene, who works hard. Is there something you want?」(Touya)
「Eh? Umm… is that okay?」(Rene)
「Of course. It’s a bonus to the maid who’s working hard. Say what you want without restraint」(Touya)
Not good. Did she not understand what I’ve said? Looks like there are words here and there that can’t be translated into the language of this world.
「Then-then…I want that magic tool that Suu-neechan has…but…」(Rene)
Suu? Aah, the mass production smartphone? Come to think of it, I gave them to Lapis-san and Cecil-san, but Rene didn’t get one.
Hmm, giving a smartphone to a child… but isn’t it too late to think about that, now that I’ve given one to Suu? Smartphones have memo applications and other useful functions like dictionaries pertaining to this world and the like, which might also be useful for the examination. I suppose it should be fine to give out at least this much as a reward.
I’m taking out a white mass production smartphone from 【Storage】, and pass it to Rene. I also hand it over a manual booklet which I’ve made just recently. She should be able to fully operate the entire functionality of the device after reading that booklet.
「T-thank you, Touya-niichan!」(Rene)
「Just so you know, it’s prohibited to take that smartphone to the school. If you happen to lose it or if it gets stolen, let me know immediately. I promise I won’t get angry」(Touya)
After she receives the smartphone with a smile, I then pat the head of happy Rene.
If she brings it to school, the problems that would pop up may not end with just the device getting stolen due to someone’s envy because of how rare the device is. Though in Rene case, I believe she won’t be bullied as such. Nevertheless, it‘s better to avoid unnecessary troubles if possible. I guess we’ll still let the other party reflect on their action even if they are just children should the child maid of our household gets bullied…
For now, I register everyone’s numbers aside from the rulers of other countries. With this, she could call me or Suu.
「Well then, do your best at the exam. However, don’t overdo it」(Touya)
「Un! Thanks- for this! I’ll treasure it!」(Rene)
Rene starts running through the corridor with a trot, but she then places the books on top of her head again and starts walking gracefully.
Oops! I believe I have a meeting with someone today, right? I should eat my meal right away. Thus I also start to walk, though in the opposite direction.
「Yaa-yaa. My apologies for keeping you waiting」(Touya)
「No, we wish to express our gratitude for sparing us a few moments of your time in your busy schedule」(Visitor)
Saying so, a seemingly satisfied leader of the group that came to the training ground of the castle bows their head.
His speech is blunt, and his face, covered with beard, is grim. The muscles on his body are like boulders, the special characteristics of his race are just oozing out of him.
Everyone is roughly from 1.20 meter to 1.50 meters tall. All of them are men… I thought so, but they say that women also grow mustaches, so the distinction between their looks is hard to find.
Dwarves. They are a robust race living in mountainous regions. The warriors are the miners, and the craftsmen are the blacksmiths.
This group of dwarves came to this castle, having a letter of introduction from the king of the Lail Kingdom.
The king of the Lail Kingdom, Barsdor Dolga Lail the fourth, seems to hail from the dwarven bloodline, and the kingdom itself apparently consists of many dwarven villages. These people here might also be villagers from there.
「So, what is it that you wanted to show me?」(Touya)
「Umu. It should be quicker to see it first. Hey」(Dwarf)
On top of the big cart standing behind the dwarves is apparently “the thing that they wanted me to see”, an object about 4 meters in height. By the command of the dwarf leader, other dwarves begin to pull down the slightly dirtied cloth covering entire thing, exposing “that” to the sunlight.
An object appeared from underneath the cloth. A short and stout form having big arms and short legs. There’s nothing from the neck upwards, and the cockpit located on its back is bare.
Iron machine soldier. Formerly, those machine soldiers had been built by the secret organization “Gordian” which tried to invade Ferzen after having captured Yuuron. For a moment, I thought “is that thing really an iron machine soldier?”, but I was mistaken. How should I describe it? This thing is built more crudely than the iron machine soldier.
That shape, simply put, is like a car chopped in the middle, with the driver’s front seat put into the torso and huge limbs attached to it… How to say it? It’s a very unrefined machine.
However, this is undeniably a “Robot”. Furthermore, it’s a type that can be piloted.
「We named it the 『Dverg』. As a test, they are currently used for civil engineering and the transportation of ores. We don’t have the intention to circulate them yet though」(Dwarf)
“Dverg”, huh? If I’m not mistaken, they are the dwarves’ ancestors, right? The short, stout and rustic aspects of the machine certainly resemble the dwarves.
However, how were they able to make something like this? The dwarves’ technology is fearful.
「But, why are you showing this to me?」(Touya)
「Don’t you have a giant soldier? We want to compare that with this Dverg that we’ve made」
Huh? Should I let them..compare their robot to mine? It’ll be comforting for me though if they won’t lose their confidence because of the comparison.
It’s too late to mention it at this point in time, but as I look at this robot, I realize that the creator of the iron machine soldier, Dr. Bowman, might’ve really been a genius. He was an egotistical idiot though.
I open 【Gate】 in the sky and summon a Chevalier from the “Hangar” of Babylon.
“Zushiiiin” The chevalier lands on the ground, and all the dwarves who witnessed its descent their mouths wide open. They seem very surprised.
「This is our mass-produced frame gear, the Chevalier. This model is the easiest to handle, but this one is from the latest version though」(Touya)
Whether they’ve heard my words or not, the dwarves still remain silent (Or rather, their mouth are still open), gazing at the Chevalier.
Oh well. I can’t blame them. The Dverg is about four meters tall, and the frame gear — about 15 meters in height. It’s like comparing a child to an adult.
「T-this, did you discover this machine in some ancient ruins?」(Dwarf)
「Only the first few models. The others, including this one, were made from scratch by our household. There are also several other models that have been developed since then」(Touya)
Was I influenced by the dwarves’ words this much? I forgot to speak in a polite manner. Well, I suppose this much should be fine since it looks like this presentation made it easier for me and them to communicate and to arrive at a mutual understanding, right?
「…I have a request. Introduce us to the person who made this newer version. Having been shown this kind of thing, we can’t possibly return without meeting the inventor, even if it’s just for a moment」(Dwarf)
「Eh? Ah~… I guess it’s fine for you to meet that person, but…」(Touya)
It’s fine but, ~umm.
「T-this child is the one who made those things?!」(Dwarf)
「Oh-oh! What a surprisingly nice greeting. Well, it’s said that dwarves often behave like this, so minding it will be pointless, isn’t it?」(Regina)
Seeing Professor Babylon in a baggy white coat, the dwarves once again show bewildered expressions.
Well, that reaction is expected because the inventor of the frame gears looks like a ten-year-old girl.
The dwarves’ leader exhales and starts addressing the professor.
「Are you someone who belongs to a race with long lives?」(Dwarf Leader)
「Oh well. You can say that you’re almost on point. Leaving that aside, my guess is that the object standing behind is the invention that you guys have made, right?」(Regina)
Shoving her hands in the pockets of the loose white robe, the doctor raises her eyes to look at Dverg.
「Hmm-hmm. It’s still unrefined, but I can feel more of the craftsman’s pride in this invention than the degraded product (the iron machine soldier) that copied my frame gear as is from before. The core… Heee. So you guys have used a magic furnace, huh? Inside is not only the magic particles from the atmosphere but there’s also a considerably condensed magic core as a catalyst… I see」(Regina)
「You could understand that much from just seeing it…!?」(Dwarf)
Although the dwarves made a stir, this girl here had just used “Analyze” secretly. Don’t get deceived!
「However, the medium that extracts magic power with a lot of effort isn’t thoroughly spread to every corner of the machine. At its current condition, all joints end up leaking the extracted magic power back into the atmosphere, which probably makes its efficiency very bad」(Regina)
「Damn… However, a considerable output will be necessary to make the magic power reach up until the fingertips. It can’t be helped even if there’s leakage to some extent. Or is there another method to resolve this issue?」(Dwarf)
「It’s rather easy mind you. Simply engrave the conduits for the magic power (Ether Lines) into the body of the frame itself using engraving magic. Also, use adamantite as the base material of the frame」
「I-I see! …So there’s also that method…!」(Dwarf)
At some point, they’ve started a technical conversation, making me the only one left behind.
Having thought up of a little idea, I take out my smartphone from my pocket and call a certain person who’s in Babylon (Above).
「Ah~, Rosetta? If you can hear the interesting conversation happening here on the surface, you’re welcome to join them. Yup, the professor is also here」(Touya)
Our maintenance chief should join this company as well.
Coming here after a short while, another ankle-biter arrives wearing overalls. She then starts talking with the dwarves in a boisterous manner about the improvements for the Dverg.
Finally, they start fiddling with the machine after occupying a corner of the training ground.
While the dwarves and Rosetta are removing the parts and arguing about something, the professor comes up to me.
「No-no, You’ve shown quite interesting thing to me. It’s one of those cases wherein a different creator brings in new ideas」(Professor Regina)
「Is that any different from the case with the iron machine soldiers?」(Touya)
「They’re both the same and different, depending on your point of view. There’s no doubt that both machines make use of the frame gear technology, but the Dverg differs from the iron machine soldiers because the dwarves also used quite a bit of their own technology. Well. It’s not like they’ve just imitated the original, so it’s fine to look at it as something new, I guess?」(Regina)
I see. So they’ve built a new original based solely on the information about frame gears and iron machine soldiers. I didn’t know that the dwarves were excellent in magic engineering as well, but when I think about it, both them and the elves live very long. Is it not strange to assume that they might’ve inherited a portion of the knowledge from the ancient civilizations?
Come to think of it, I’ve heard that some of the engineers working on a magic train that’s being developed currently in Ferzen are dwarves.
「…Is this safe?」(Touya)
「I can understand what you mean by『Safe』to some extent, but now that you’ve said it, both the development of magic studies and the advancement of civilization are impossible at this point. Or do you plan to confiscate their invention and exterminate the dwarves?」(Regina)
Showing a nasty smile, the professor peers into me. Of course, I can’t do something like that! I also don’t even feel like doing that.
「In addition, this machine is something that’s going to be eventually invented no matter what. Or rather, the same thing was made roughly 5000 years ago as well. In a certain sense, they are kinda late already. The iron machine soldiers were also preceded by something else before」(Regina)
「I guess so…」(Touya)
「Well, it can be called the revival of the technology, right? As of now, this machine is still at the level wherein it can’t be used as a vehicle domestically and wherein it can be destroyed with a single magic shot」(Regina)
That’s true. It seems perfect as a domestic tool, but it’s rather unreliable as a weapon.
Well, I guess this might someday become similar to the frame gears in the future.
Compared to the golems from the reverse world, the level of magic technology here is still a lot lower. The technology of the crab bus belonging to Sancho-san is much higher than the technology of transportation here.
Of course, it will be. If the engineers of the surface world and the reverse world could cooperate, they might’ve been able to produce something incredibly useful. Though it might not be as easy as it sounds.
If the two worlds became one… I stop thinking of something foolish and face the dwarves.
「It has been a long while, but I really want to see how this machine moves. Can someone like me operate it?」(Touya)
「Even amateurs can easily make this walk. Do you want to give it a try?」(Dwarf)
I sit down on the cockpit protruding from the back, and the dwarves teach me how to operate the controls. Because the Dverg cannot read the intentions of its pilot like how frame gear does, everything is left completely in the pilot’s hands.
「Alright. Pour magic power into the magic stone next to the control stick. This will start up the magic furnace of the Dverg. After starting it up, make it walk slowly」(Dwarf)
「Roger~. First, pour the magic power────」(Touya)
「Aah, please wait! With master’s magic power…!」(Rosetta)
Rosetta tries to say something, but I still end up pouring my magic power like I “usually” do.
The next moment, the Dverg starts emitting strange rotating sounds, and the armor on its abdomen explodes.
“Gararaaaan!” The blown off armor falls onto the ground, and a dense dark smoke is rising from the abdomen.
I get off from the Dverg in panic and see the dwarves just standing there with dumbfounded expressions, their mouths just open and close in disbelief.
Eh! Is this my fault?
(Black: Touya no baka! Aho!)
「Aaー…With the output of Master Touya’s magic power, no magic furnace can ever hope to handle it without considerably compressing it first. It’s like igniting a candle with a fireball 」(Rosetta)
「The amount of magic power that easily surpasses the capacity of the furnace becomes saturated and explodes if it has nowhere to go」(Regina)
「Please say it beforehand……」(Touya)
(Black: As if you don’t have a prior experience, you idiot!)
I am lost on what to say to the dwarves who are very pale and dumbfounded right now. “It wasn’t intentional!” – I want them to at least believe that.
Looking at the backs of the dwarves who are still staring at the broken Dverg without moving away from the black smoke rising from its body even now, I then feel an indescribable sense of guilt.
Will they forgive me if I give them several barrels of wine ~I wonder…?
TLC: greujink, Mabbo