Arc 27: The Reverse World
Chapter 308: Cold Ramen, and the spirit of sand
『The place is at the Parin desert in the central part of the Sandora Kingdom… no, it’s Sandora region now. The numbers appear to be at least over 10,000. I believe it’s the same number that appeared during the great invasion of Fraze in Yuuron before』
「How much time do have before they appear?」
『I believe we have less than a day』
On the phone call from the Guild master Rerisha-san, I click the tongue in my mind. A large Fraze invasion was arriving right after we came back.
I guess them appearing in the middle of the desert is the only relief. It’s several hundred kilometers away from the nearest town, the one called Doraga.
Ever since I liberated the slaves from Sandora, the country was engulfed in chaos. Normal farmers and craftsmen who didn’t have slaves weren’t affected as much, and it’s said that a lot of slaves who decided to remain in Sandora were now properly employed by merchants and paid honest wages.
The problem was in the nobles and big merchants who abused the slaves and forced them into harsh labor.
They feared the revenge of liberated slaves so much that they ran away from Sandora, disappearing with all their assets. Since even the guards who protected them were slaves, the number of people who would help them was far less than the number of those who would try to take their revenge.
As a result, the people who were governing the capital and the towns were gone, and each location became something like a municipality. It seems that amongst those city-states there were even some villages that were being pioneered by former slaves.
Of course, not every noble was harsh on slaves, there were some rural feudal lords who were gentle to slaves from the start. The official version is that due to them being in remote regions with no money they had no way to use slaves often.
Because the Sandora kingdom was, for better or worse, a dictatorial kingdom, it originally was a nearly isolated nation, so their self-sufficiency in terms of food wasn’t bad. It’s not as bad even right now.
The majority of Sandora consists of a desert, but the remaining territory is so abundant in agriculture that it sounds like a contradiction. I wonder if this is accomplished with the blessing of a spirit?
My evaluation of such Sandora is split in half between the service done by the hero that freed the slaves, and the evaluation of the demon who destroyed Sandora.
It’s the usual exaggeration attached to stories such as this one, though this story ended up with me destroying the city Astal where the evil god consumed and then left behind the citizens’ souls. Yeah, I am sure I burnt it though. However, that can be considered a cremation.
Even so, the current situation is still better than what happened in Yuuron. Even now those people suspect that Frazes are the result of my work. Why would I go to such time-consuming lengths over and over again?
Whatever the case, we have an emergency. I should immediately ask for the cooperation of the rulers from the world alliance. Thus I quickly open a phone application on my smartphone.
412 frame gears are lined up in a row in the desert. Breaking them down,
Each nation has three Night Barons, and 27 Chevaliers, making a total of 30 units.
As for our Brunhild dukedom, we have nine special units “Valkyries”, the three commanders “Shining count”, “Night Baron”, “Blue Moon” and seventy Chevaliers.
Assuming that 10,000 Fraze would appear, each one would defeat 24, according to my calculation. Though I won’t know for sure until they appear, it’s likely we would be defeating them without trouble since most of them will be lower-classes. Getting surrounded will nevertheless be dangerous.
「The problem is this heat, ~right. No other frame gear except for personal units has a cooling function installed. It’s okay right now because the hatch is open, but once the battle starts, it won’t be a good thing」
「In that case, I sure hope that they appear at night time…」
「If it comes to this, we will have poor visibility」
The Knight King of Restia and the king of Rynie react to my words. Surely in the past, it was troublesome to fight at night. I say “surely” because the last time I collapsed after the fight with Gira the ruler class, so I don’t remember it well.
Because Frame Gears are coated with the special coating, it wouldn’t get hot to the extent you could make sunny-up eggs on it, it could become a considerable hot nevertheless.
「We’ve prepared plenty of water and salt in advance, so please take care and not get dehydrated. Moreover, the battlefield is in an unfamiliar desert. AS there is a possibility of being tripped, I believe you should try moving a bit before the battle to get better accustomed to it」
There’s the possibility of getting killed if they fall down. When a frame gear receives enough damage, a【Program】 is made to evacuate the pilot with transfer magic. Nonetheless, they would be done for if the cockpit is specifically targeted.
The Frazes are coming to stop kill humans in order to stop their heartbeats. There is enough reason for them to target the pilot.
In the temporary strategy command tent built above the desert, the rulers of each country decide their own arrangements while staring at the expanded map on a large desk.
A 【Program】 was installed so that cooled air is sent inside this tent, but you go outside the tent it gets hellishly hot.
「An advanced type is bound to appear as well, right?」
「Like the one that erased the capital of Yuuron? I don’t want it to appear if possible」
While looking at the images of the desert reflected in a partitioned monitor installed inside the tent, the Statewide Governor Rodomea and the Demon King of Zenoasu talk between themselves.
「It shouldn’t appear this time, which is why I think the majority of the enemies will be of the lower and intermediate classes. There is also a matter of the variants…」
「You’re talking about those golden frazes?」
「Yes. Though they are slightly stronger than normal Frazes, they prey on them and take absorb their power to grow stronger. Should they be discovered, they are to be the primary targets to destroy」
It’s not set in stone that the variants will appear, but it wouldn’t hurt to be careful. I am more worried about another ruler class appearing.
Leaving that aside, while this test is located at the front-line, its backdoor is connected to Brunhild and functions as an escape route.
Now coming through that door, our household maids with Lapis-san as their leader bring everyone’s meal. It is lunchtime.
The countries’ pilots get rice balls, sandwiches which are easy to eat and a flask of cold water, while the rulers get cooled ramen.
This cooled ramen is a local dish of the Yamagata prefecture. By cooling it, you get much like a regular ramen, but without hardened animal fats and oils. Both the soup and the noodles are cold too.
It has no sourness like the chilled Chinese noodles have, the weird part is that you would get strangely addicted to it after you eat it just once, same as Ramen. I ate it when I went to my relatives in Yamagata, and was wonderfully addicted to it since.
The soup tastes like soy sauce. Along with elastic noodles, chicken ham, boiled egg, menma, green onions, and naruto as toppings. And lots of pepper.
「Hohou. It is my first time eating this, but it tastes refreshing and delicious」
「This meat…… is so tender. It is tasty」
The dish was popular with the rulers as well. Good grief, I salute to our household chief Clair-san.
Given how often the rulers took their meals at our household after monthly conferences, they should’ve gotten accustomed to eating with chopsticks. The rulers of Ferzen, Zenoasu, and Paluf — what you could call new joiners — are still using forks though.
「Speaking of which, will the Brunhild sovereign king be sharing the fragments of the defeated Frazes with us this time as well?」
The king of Ferzen asks while sipping the ramen. The multi-purpose crystal fragments have much higher purity than the magic stones, and his kingdom probably cannot afford to pass on such a rare item. Perhaps, he might be planning to use them in development of magic trains from now on.
「More or less, I suppose. We will ask for a percentage as a rental fee for the frame gears, but you are free to split the rest amongst yourselves」
Though of course, should the frame gears get damaged, I will make them pay for the repairs in steel materials used to make said repairs. Thanks to the “Workshop”, we don’t have to pay for labor, but that will be a secret.
Yumina and the girls also take turns coming to the tent to eat ramen. In short, it was popular with everybody. So that it would be possible for the rulers to eat the cool ramen at their places, I passed them the recipe.
The outside heat becomes increasingly severe. Furthermore, magic beasts nesting in this desert tend to appear from time to time. Of course, they are no match for a frame gear (Though only the sand crawlers are an exception due how huge and troublesome they are), so we’ve decided to ignore them as long as they don’t come attacking us.
“That’s how it is, so would you please appear quickly?” such a strange prayer-like feeling sprouted out in me.
I leave the tent and gaze at the other side of the desert. … There wasn’t any change in particular. They appear when I don’t want them to, and they don’t come out when I ask them to.
Once I make a step through the desert towards everybody who’s been on alert, I’ve felt like there was some movement in the corner of my vision.
I felt something just now in about three meters in front of me. It didn’t feel like a killing intent or hostility, only that there was “something”.
Just to be sure, I searched that vicinity with “God Eyes”, and discovered a sand-colored slime moving. This slime had one large eye, and once it noticed me looking at it, the slime suddenly stopped its movements and looked at me in response.
「What the hell is this …? Is it… a magic beast?」
Still, it isn’t hostile. Though I don’t intend to defeat a harmless thing even if it’s a magic beast, but what is that fellow? Is it a magic beast with protective coloration, like a chameleon? However, I was only able to see it with “God Eyes”…
“Jiiiiii” while I kept staring at it with “God Eyes”, that unmoving sand slime started to tremble little by little. Eeh?
『Please forgive me for such a thing』
Suddenly, I heard a woman’s voice and averted my eyes from the slime.
The sand next to the slime bulged up, and the place gave way to a woman with raven-black long hair, and brown skin covered in just plain cloth. I could also see dimly shining light around her. This feeling……
『Yes. I am the sand spirit living in this desert. This fellow is my dependent, and by no means could such an existence bring any harm to you. Please, find a way to forgive it』
「Eh? You said “forgive”, but I didn’t do anything, did I?」
『When you looked at it with so much divine power, it couldn’t move an inch. That’s because the power of a God is absolute for the dependents of spirits』
… Come to think of it, Kami-sama did talk about it when he came to our country’s festival the other day. Something about the spirits abiding to gods, and about this world being created together by the two.
After I weaken the strength of my divinity, the sand slime slowly retreats behind the spirit as if being frightened. Sorry ~okay.
『Mochizuki Touya-sama, right? Your name appeared in a lot of rumors as of late』
「Eh? From whom?」
『From the wind spirit. She likes to gossip, so she came to tell about it even to such place』
Saying “She”, is the wind spirit also a woman? Well, the distinction between men and women might not exist for spirits.
At any rate, the spirit of the wind seem to like gossips. Though she called it “rumors”, it’s fitting the character who listens to the wind.
(TLC: word pun, spirit of the wind is 風の精霊, while rumor is 風聞, which literally means “listening the wind”, probably implying inaccuracy of rumors and such).
『By the way, is there a reason for such a heavy presence here?』
The sand spirit tilts her head while looking at the lined frame gears standing far away.
I should explain to her what’s going to happen here first of all. With her being the spirit of the sand, she is probably something akin to a land god of this desert, and she might find it disagreeable that someone makes lots of noise on her domain.
『You don’t need to mind so much. I was only a little curious about it』
「That saves me the trouble. I am sorry for troubling you」
『No need. This world already belongs to those who live above ground. We spirits just watch over them and help them if they turn to us. Of course, there are spirits that actively interferes with people lives, and those that totally indifferent to them』
If anything, the sand spirit here seems to be the later. She’s the type that has no interest in what mankind’s doing. Conversely speaking, the wind spirit is too much interested in them.
The spirit of the great tree that’s we met before should be the type that watches over them, wouldn’t she?
『Then, let the fortune of war be upon you. I hope we meet again』
The spirit of sand disappears quickly after saying that. The sand slime too silently bowed to me (or at least I felt like it did so) and disappeared into the sand. Somehow, the meeting went fairly simple. Was she dry or, rather, how should I say it… Was she dry in character because she’s the spirit of sand?
Still, apparently I can also catch the figures of spirits if I use “God eyes”. I might be able to see the wind spirit if I use it.
When I slowly look toward the sky, I catch the sight of quite a number slightly transparent fairy-like creatures dancing in the air. Those… aren’t spirits. Are they the dependents of the wind spirit?
Whether or not they noticed us from high in the sky, they just kept dancing. Well, I guess that doesn’t matter.
I cancel “God Eyes”. Ah~ my eyes are twitching… It’s like I got dry eyes. Should I ask Flora to make some eye drops next time…?
「Aah, here are you, Touya-kun」
When I turned around after being called out, I see Moroha-neesan and Karina-neesan standing near. When did they.. Say, they probably came through the door connected to Brunhild? Don’t tell me… no, it’s definitely that.
「… By any chance, you want to join the war?」
「Isn’t that obvious?」
「Is that so?」
It was useless to ask them. Our household’s sword goddess and hunting goddess are brimming with enthusiasm. Things should be okay as long as they don’t use their divine powers, but them being able to defeat Frazes in a single hit by using their bodies alone will make Frame Gears lose their purpose here. Oh well, it’s not something for me to say…
「Say, even if it’s okay for Moroha-neesan to fight, will Karina-neesan attack Frazes with bow and arrows?」
「I am troubled that you underestimate me. I don’t use only the bows. Be it spears or hatchets, daggers or guns, I can use any kind of arms used for hunting to some extent. Well, I am still no match for specialists like the sword goddess here」
Seriously? Come to think of it, she did kill a fish with a harpoon some time ago.
「That’s why, please give me some weapon ~okay」
「Aren’t you quite frank……」
Since it’s useless to go against them, I do as ordered and take some crystal fragments from 【Storage】to then make a huge spear. The blade has the length of a regular sword which is attached to a long pole.
Furthermore, while I’ve reduced its weight by only a little bit, it’s still too much for a single person to handle by themselves. It would be difficult to handle the spear without any weight, but then I came to believe that it didn’t matter to neesan whether the spear was heavy or light as I looked to her waving it and slicing through the air. Well, of course, I guess the heavier it is, the better it should be able to smash things.
「It feels quite refreshing to fight with sealed divinity since we couldn’t really fight unreservedly in the world of gods」
「Though it doesn’t look like you’ve sealed it at all」
「Even the mankind of this world can achieve this much if they set their hearts on it, don’t you think so? The creatures called humans have yet to master the power given to them by nature」
「if they set up their heart on it, you say…」
I’m troubled whether I should admire her or be amazed by her. The mankind would probably resign at being humans the moment they “set up their hearts on it”, as my sisters say it.
When I look at these people, I once come to the delusion on whether I am normal or not. Though the misunderstanding would be troublesome too.
When I’ve been thinking about such self-damaging stuff in my mind, the siren starts resounding from the speaker placed next to the headquarter tent.
「They are here!」
I use 【Long Sense】 and send my sight forward into the desert.
The first crack run in the space, wavering under the heat of the desert, and the sky begins to split. A lot of Fraze start arriving in groups from the broken gap in space and overflow the desert. They were, as expected, lower classes and intermediate classes.
「The Frazes appeared in front of us! All aboard the frame gears! Get ready for battle!」
I inform the whole army through my smartphone, take out two large swords made from crystal materials from 【Storage】 and hand them to Moroha-neesan. Then, so that I could grasp the situation from the sky, I soar into the sky with 【Fly】.
In another direction from where the Fraze appeared, the space breaks again. And from there, the dark gold Frazes crawl out to the desert in succession in a similar way. The variants are here.
Though they are fewer in number than regular Frazes, it’s still a considerable amount. Of course, they had to appear, right?
「This is bad…. It would be troublesome if those guys took out the normal Frazes and grew stronger…」
The mutated species would consume the Frazes to strengthen their bodies. A mere lower-class may evolve into an intermediate-class, or even an advanced-class if they consume even more Frazes. There’s no way I’m going to ignore that and stay silent.
「A mutated species have been confirmed. I want the Valkyries unit to head there. If possible, make sure you don’t let them get close to normal Fraze」
Due to the appearance of the variants, predicting the actions of Frazes gets harder.
We predicted the place where the Fraze would appear and made camp in a straight line towards the nearest town from there. Frazes attack humankind, which is why we’re standing in the direction of the invasion.
However, the mutated species have appeared, and the Frazes all begin moving erratically. We won’t be able to ambush them like this.
It’s a good thing we’ve prepared a strategy for the times like these.
「Change the formation. Please prepare for the transfer」
The frame gears of each country materialize in eight directions around the Frazes, completely surrounding them. In any case, we did that to prevent the Frazes from escaping and to intercept them.
However, even with this setup, there’s a possibility of having spots where the battle will be intense and others with not as much combat, based on how Frazes would move. For that not to happen, I have no choice but to watch over the situation and give out orders.
The combat has already started in one corner of the encirclement formation. Elzie and the girls also started heading toward the mutated species.
『The number of the Fraze is: 10954 lower-classes, 2352 intermediate-classes, 3621 mutated species. A total is — 16927』
I hear the voice of the communication officer Shesca at the headquarters through the smartphone.
Damn it, there are more than I expected. If I am not mistaken, their numbers were around 13000 during that battle in Yuuron. Oh well, it’s still better as there are no advanced-classes…
『Master. A huge space vibration has been confirmed, it’s in two kilometers ahead from the headquarters. It is an advanced-class』
Wasn’t there no reaction towards the appearance of an advanced-class!? In addition to these numbers, having an advanced-classes will be too cruel!
The space cracks again and once it expands enough, a huge Fraze appears with a crash.
Sharp beak, long neck, two powerful legs, and long bizarre feathered tail and wings. Though the whole body is crystallized, this Fraze has an appearance of a bird no matter how I look at it. It’s too huge though.
The advanced-class strongly waved its the long wings and tail and, like opening a folded fan, multiple long feathers stood up on its back. Being Illuminated by the scorching sunlight, they glittered with light.
「Is it a peacock…!」
If it’s a peacock, then it’s not accurate to call them tail feathers, right? Though it doesn’t matter right now.
However, this fellow turned into a trouble… Should we send half of the Valkyries that are heading towards the variants right now…
『Master. Another huge space vibration is confirmed. It is another advanced-class』
After the communication from Shesca, I turn my eyes to the opposite side of the peacock.
Space is broken through the same way, and a second advanced-class is about to appear.
The figure which popped out was grotesque. It looked quite like a Nautilidae, shouldering an ammonite-like shell, and stretching out innumerable feelers. Small spikes grow from its rugged crystal shell.
「A second one…!」
Toward the spectacle that unfolded before my eyes, I became unable to move for a little while.