With the complete success of the Accord Cannon’s firing test, the researchers and engineers in the facility began analyzing the obtained data; at the same time, the main members were in the development room with some documents spread before them, discussing with each other ways to make use of the weapon and how to mass-produce it in the future.
As for Mira, she was also in the same room, but quickly moved away from the tedious government-related talk and decided to look for something in a shelf, a great variety of things lined up there.
“Well then, Thoma. Looks like we managed to activate it with success in the first phase. But still, is everything alright?”
“Yes, we have perfectly suppressed the recoil. I believe it can already achieve something small for us.”
Thoma, the person in charge of the experiment, answered full of confidence the king’s question. Solomon then nodded in response, visibly satisfied.
“By the way, how are you going to mass-produce the cannon? With all that firepower, our Wellesley House is obviously willing to invest in the weapon.”
When one of the nobles eagerly leaned forward, the other ones also indicated their intention of helping.
“Err, regarding that, there’s a certain problem…”
Saying that with a clouded expression, Thoma retrieved one document and displayed it on the table. Written there was information relating to the Accord Cannon’s projectiles and the supply of materials it used as fuel.
“As you can see, a single firing requires one refining and two sealing gems.”
The engineer then explained the theory behind the cannon. In short, they would first take a refining gem as the projectile. Afterwards, they would extract the energy from the sealing gems and charge the bullet with it.
Especially developed to store power with extreme ease, refining gems could be produced with the use of refining technology. Basically, the Accord Cannon acted as a device that could draw out the power contained within sealing gems, amplify it and then fire that energy. The refining gem, used as a projectile, served to provide a direction for the wild torrent of energy that was amplified to its limits. With the gem’s tendency of easily storing energy, that raging power would be drawn to the bullet and destroy it, being launched from the cannon at the same time. The bigger the refining gem was, the more they would need to wait for it to get destroyed; in return, the range of the cannon would also increase.
Finally, there was the last item. They required a lightning sealing gem to operate the Accord Cannon.
“Because of that, if everyone here collaborates it will be fine to mass-produce it, but the main problem we have here is related to those gems, the sealing and refining ones.”
After finishing, Thoma breathed a deep sigh. The problem he talked about was the methods used to obtain the required lighting and refining gems. Currently, several individuals in the Kingdom of Arkite held the necessary skills to create the latter; for the former, however, the most they could produce were medium quality gems, only enough to ensure the minimum level of operation for the cannon. The silver lining was that, even with such limitations, the Accord Cannon was a very powerful weapon, as demonstrated by the experiment from earlier.
Mass production was possible. With some effort, they could also work out a way to supply enough projectiles. But then the weapons produced would only be able to display their minimum amount of power. Seeing how his beloved creation, developed over the course of many years of hard work, was being forced to use only a fraction of its original power, the engineer glared at the documents in front of him, frustrated.
“I believe I have the solution for that problem right here.”
As Thoma stood there, looking sad, Solomon revealed a joyful expression on his face and placed several gemstones on the table—some of which emitted a faint light.
“This is… a turquoise and a moonstone. And here we have… a sealing gem? But Solomon-sama, the quality of this one doesn’t seem to be that good, how would it solve our problem?”
Turquoise and moonstone. A great number of naturally occurring gems had the property of storing power, exactly like the ones presented by the king; as a result, instead of just serving as ornamentation, they were also used for a variety of different purposes. Lastly, the ones emitting a pale light were gemstones that had already received energy within them. In other words, sealing gems.
What Solomon revealed on the table wasn’t something particularly unusual: all of those items were simply run-of-the-mill gemstones. Consequently, everyone there had doubts about what the king had just said, but they also remembered how they heard similar words from the boy, with the same provocative tone, on many occasions in the past, so everyone chose to quietly wait for his follow-up.
“Okay, come with me~”
“Wha-! What is it now!?”
Coming from a corner of the room, the sudden voice of a hysterical girl made itself heard, instantly attracting towards her the attention and sight of everyone else there. When the happy-go-lucky Solomon saw that, he couldn’t help but break into a small laughter. Luminaria was carrying Mira in her arms while the girl, looking exactly like a child, struggled as she was pressed against her friend’s bosom. After being placed right in front of the table, Mira scowled at the pouting figure of Luminaria; a moment later, though, when the girl noticed that every single person in the room had their gazes on her, she quickly shrunk away.
“So, what do you need?”
Asking in a certain manner to keep up the appearances, this time she pierced the boy with her glare.
“Sorry. I have a favor to ask.”
With a smile that said he wasn’t sorry at all, Solomon picked up some of the gems from the table.
“Mira. Could you turn these into a refining gem?”
Towards Mira, he held two turquoises and three moonstones. The surrounding people then focused their attention on those items.
“Hmm, wait, so I just need to do that?”
Even though she stretched her arms to receive the gems, Mira couldn’t take them because her hands were holding something already: two crudely crafted robot models she had found in the shelf, earlier. In her right hand was a red robot while her left hand held a blue one. Since the models had a tag indicating they could combine, the girl had been tinkering with them, trying to find a way to complete a bigger robot, but was stopped in the middle of the process when Luminaria grabber her.
“Err… should I hold them for you?”
Amidst that awkward silence, when Suleiman, in a reserved manner, presented a helping hand by the girl’s side, she replied with a few words and quietly handed over the strange robots, each of them making clanking sounds as they were placed on the aide’s hands.
Now unimpeded, when Mira finally took the gemstones, Luminaria appeared again, carrying a large board towards her. A few robed Experts then helped the woman by holding the edges of that huge object and placed it on the table.
“Is this a refining stand?”
The moment Thoma saw what was deposited there, a board with countless shapes and symbols drawn on it, he spelled out its name. A refining stand was a special tool used in the process of refining items. Forming a complex pattern on its surface were various figures intertwined together, each representing a different meaning: decomposition, combination, transmutation, conversion and condensation
“By some chance are we going to start a refining process here? Doesn’t it take some time?”
Such was the question Edward asked. It was a completely natural reaction, considering that currently, in the Kingdom of Arkite, even the most skilful person in the use of refining techniques required thirty minutes to craft a single refining gem. In response, both the Experts and nobles who had knowledge about refining nodded to the man’s words.
“Well, you will understand it soon enough after seeing this. Come on, Mira, I’m counting on you.”
“Good grief, and I was just this close to figuring it out…”
Muttering complaints, Mira stood before the refining stand. In the corner of her eyes, she could still see the two robots being held by Suleiman; the girl was nearly sure that with a little more time she would be able to find a way to combine them. For that reason, Mira decided to quickly finish what she was tasked to do, arranging the gems on the board and also placing her hands on the correct positions to start the procedure.
A few moments later, the engraved pattern began emitting a faint light. While minutely controlling the degree of power applied and the activation of each of the figures on the stand, she decomposed the gemstones, extracted only their properties of storing power, condensed and finally combined them. In the middle of the flickering and sparkling light, the gems started transmuting into a different material. Then, just a short while after Mira began the process, she removed her hands from the refining stand.
“Ah! You can’t take your hands off the board while you’re still refin…!”
Although Thoma said that in panic, he came to a halt when he saw with his own eyes the swirling light particles that surged from the board, the engineer’s breath taken away as he intently observed from above what was happening there.
As the light lessened, instead of the many gemstones that were previously arranged, what could be seen on the refining stand was a single large, transparent gem. With an expression showing his utter lack of belief as to what his eyes were seeing, Thoma brought his face near the limpid object and stared at it, getting so close he was almost touching that gemstone.
“This is a refining gem… no way… how is it possible to create this kind of thing in such a short period of time…”
He had a good reason to look astonished. Mira had just finished creating a refining gem in less than a single minute.
“I told you, she’s the pupil of Dunbalf. Mira has inherited all of his techniques.”
Solomon brazenly threw out his chest, as if he were the one who managed to do such an amazing feat. And rather than being someone who inherited skills, Mira and Dunbalf were the same person, so it was obvious she could do it. However, since that fact was a secret, the king’s explanation was good enough; without objecting to it, the girl nodded in affirmation.
The maximum amount of energy that could be stored in each gem was something already fixed by nature, but by using the same process as Mira just did, combining multiple gemstones together, it was possible to craft a refining gem. Because they could hold way more power than the other stones, refining gems were considered valuable and useful items.
“I knew that Dunbalf-sama was the one who created the refining technology, but I never expected that even his disciple would be so skillful with it.”
Removing his gaze from the gem, Thoma directed it towards Mira. That girl could possibly be the person who would allow his weapon, the Accord Cannon, to display its full potential. The moment he thought that, his whole body shook, the feeling of excitement arising from the bottom of his heart.
“Okay then, Mira. Could you also combine this here with the refining gem?”
When the boy placed three sealing gems on top of the refining stand, Mira simply replied with “Okay,” moved the new stones to the correct position and, once again, started the refining process. Similarly to what happened before, it took less than a minute for the light to disperse, but this time there was only a shining, brand new sealing gem remaining on the board; the energy stored in the three gemstones had been extracted and injected inside the refining gem. With the process of refining, it was possible to combine together the power from stones and infuse a refining gem with it, producing an even stronger sealing gem in the end.
“There. Is this enough for you?”
“Yes, it’s perfect.”
Solomon picked up the newly created gemstone and nodded, completely satisfied. Instead of the faint glow emitted by the other stones used as crafting materials, the refined sealing gem was brimming with light, its considerable stored power being clearly evident.
“With this, I believe we’ll be able to solve the problem we have with the refining and sealing gems.”
As he said that, the king handed the sealing gem to Thoma.
“Yes! Of course it’s enough for us!”
After carefully placing the gemstone on the palm of his hand, the chief engineer replied while giving a smile.
The moment everyone in the room began talking about matters related to the Accord Cannon, Mira, with the two robots in her hands, walked to a corner of the room and sat there, the models letting out clanking noises as she started to fumble with them again. Soon after, a man clad in a robe approached the place where she was.
“Mira-chan. Could I take just a little bit of your time to talk with you?”
“I am busy now so leave that for later.”
While going crazy over the robots, the girl replied without even taking her eyes from their movable parts. Then, looking a bit frustrated, the man leaned over and implored, saying “Please, it’s just for a short while.” Mira sighed and turned her face towards him.
That man, wearing a blue and black robe, had a brilliant silver hair that reached his shoulders and, with his great facial features, looked quite handsome. When she saw his face, the girl recognized that person.
“Hey, is that you, Cleos?”
“Oh my, did you already know who I am?”
Obviously, to “Mira”, it was the first time they have met. However, that wasn’t the case for Dunbalf. A half-elf, half-light-spirit, Cleos was one of the servants affiliated with the Tower of Summoning. With the special abilities of a spirit of light, if someone were to take an individual of that race to the darkness of a dungeon, it was possible to completely ignore the need to bring a lamp or any other form of illumination. Because of that advantage, Dunbalf frequently brought that useful attendant with him when going inside dungeons.
“Ah… yes, I heard about you from my master.”
When she saw the man’s face, Mira instantly recognized him and blurted out some words without a second thought; then, in order to correct that mistake, she replied with a safe excuse. Saying, “So that’s how it was,” Cleos smiled, looking slightly happy.
“Then, let me introduce myself once again. I am Cleos, working as a substitute for the Elder of the Tower of Summoning.”
“I am Mira.”
The two exchanged a simple greeting. Immediately after, the girl recalled something about a certain term that was just used by the Expert, “substitute.”
“Now that you mention it, I remember Graia saying that there were people within the towers working in the Elders’ stead. So you were one of them, huh?”
As substitutes for those who were missing from the Nine Sages, they were essentially the top individuals of their respective towers.
“More or less, you could say that I was forced into this situation. They recommended me because I was the one who spent the most time going on journeys with Dunbalf-sama. Well, it was mostly the same for the others, though.”
“Oh, I see…”
It was a pretty simple reason, but not bad for a selection criteria. Purely speaking of strength, Cleos was indeed one of the best choices among Dunbalf’s servants, considering the Elder always went out with him to extremely dangerous places. And just like Cleos had said, the other Elder substitutes were selected through similar criteria. Everyone had experience in being taken along to extremely high level fields, so whether they agreed or not, it was a fact that those individuals were strong.
“By the way, should you really be here instead of joining their conversation there? That is a really important weapon, no?”
Asking that, Mira threw a glance towards the table where Solomon and the others were discussing the cannon.
“It’s fine, don’t worry. We, the substitutes, simply came here to observe the performance of the Accord Cannon.”
“Hmm, ‘we’? So those there were in the same position as you?”
Mira moved her eyes to look at the several robed Experts that were lined up alongside the wall, each one of them doing whatever they pleased, just like Cleos.
“After finishing with the important issues, they seem to be going over the mass production details. This is the area of expertise of Solomon-sama and the nobles.”
“And that is why you came here, huh…”
As the girl concluded, she returned her eyes to the robots in her hands, once again beginning to turn and bend their parts, exploring the places where they could possibly combine. Then, although the two continued with some silly talk, eventually it turned into a one-sided grumble by the Expert, who complained about the extent of the dangerous places that Dunbalf would take the people under him to; smiling bitterly, Mira simply continued the conversation by acting like a yes-man.
トーマ – Thoma
精錬石 – Refining Gem
クレオス – Cleos