Magi Craft Meister 519

15 Showdown With The Demons Arc

15-32 Going North

 

 

The Capricorn 1 was climbing along the Herme River. Since the river itself was narrow, it could afford to step into it.

 

Its 6-meter-tall legs wouldn’t get even halfway submerged, and so it could manage to walk while into the river.

 

There were several small waterfalls along the way, but thanks to its ability to climb slopes up to 50 degrees, it was easy to handle them by climbing around them. Thanks to that, they were able to reach the glacier that was the source of the Herme River on the same day.

 

Of course, the soles of the vehicle’s feet were furnished with spikes so as to not slip off the snowy surface.

 

“We’re about to reach the Klein Kingdom’s border.”

 

Jin muttered as he looked over a topographic map.

 

“Did you make this, Jin? This map is wonderfully precise!”

 

Istalis looked over his shoulder, seemingly surprised.

 

“Ah, that’s right. Here’s where we are right now. And here’s the tip of the glacier. We’ll be climbing for a while longer since there are still a few obstacles ahead.”

 

Since it was the middle of summer, there was little snow in the mountains and the risk of an avalanche was low.

 

According to its “Sonar”, the glacier was more than 20 meters thick and several tens of tons, making it very likely for it to support the weight of the Capricorn 1.

 

In case of emergency, it could climb a rock wall with a slope of 70 degrees or more and float in the air for a short time by using its gravity control magic device.

 

However, floating in the air would consume a lot of Mana, and even the action of floating for only 5 minutes would use up half of the emergency Ethenol.

 

The vehicle could be piloted continuously for 24 hours without any need to rest thanks to Land 1 being in charge of the piloting. And that was very convenient due to the risk of avalanches being further reduced during the night, when the temperature drops.

 

Thanks to that, they were able to do the most dangerous climbing at the best possible time for it.

 

After finishing their evening packed meals, Jin and the others reclined their seats and went to sleep.

 

Besides Land 1, Reiko and Anne didn’t have to sleep either, so they kept watching over the surroundings from the window.

 

In addition to this, Falcons 2 and 3 were monitoring over 5000 meters above ground, and had a system in place to respond to any unforeseen circumstances.

 

“This is Falcon 2. There are no obstacles ahead, proceed as usual.”

 

“This is Capricorn 1, roger. Please continue to be vigilant.”

 

“It’s really quiet here, isn’t it, Reiko?”

 

“Yeah. I hope things remain quiet.”

 

Nothing happened that night, and Capricorn 1 was able to safely pass through the most perilous part of those tall mountains.

 

Although it was traveling at about 20 km/h, being able to move non-stop was huge. Thanks to that, they were able to travel more than 300 kilometers in a single day.

 

 

The route planned by Jin and Laojun was to follow the Herme River upstream until reaching its source, and cross over the saddle between the mountains.

 

It was a bit of a long way, but the northern side of the high mountains had a lot of wasteland where trees don’t grow, so it was easy for Capricorn 1 to walk there.

 

Winding around the south side of the high mountains, blocked by the dense coniferous forest, would have taken a lot of time and effort.

 

This was also thanks to the sky reconnaissance from Falcon 2 and 3. “Slow and steady win the race”, or so they say.

 

However, though it was a hassle to have to cross several rivers –despite none of them being particularly big–, it was nothing Capricorn 1 couldn’t handle.

 

 

The following morning was cloudy.

 

It seemed that this kind of weather was particularly common during summer, since the weather conditions on the northern side of those tall mountains were prone to cloud formation.

 

“It was cloudy every day when we came. It was only sunny when we crossed these high mountains.”

 

Jin thought that these clouds were probably formed due to a sea breeze flowing from the cold sea on the north side and hitting the high mountains.

 

These clouds could also play a part in the cold weather that would damage the crops in demon territory.

 

 

The next day, the party finished with their packed meals for breakfast while Land 1 continued to drive Capricorn 1 through the wasteland. They had just crossed the first river. Since it was an upstream area, the width of the river there was less than 10 meters, and the depth of the water was about 50 cm.

 

“It’s going well so far.”

 

Jin opened a skylight, allowing for a new, chilly mountain air to come flowing in.

 

“Lord Jin, it’s a bit too cold.”

 

Istalis quickly murmured her complaint to Jin.

 

“Ah, sorry.”

 

Jin, that is, his substitute doll, could measure the temperature around it, but was unable to feel cold or hot.

 

Whenever the skylight is closed, the temperature inside the vehicle is about 20 degrees Celsius, enough to remain warm while wearing a single layer of thin clothes.

 

Since the demons live in the north, they seem to be relatively resistant to low temperatures, but it seems that the temperature in the high mountains was too cold for Istalis.

 

“The temperature outside is 5 degrees Celsius.”

 

Jin had built a mercury thermometer, which measured the temperature in degrees Celsius.

 

However, since the atmospheric pressure has not been defined accurately –and things like boiling and freezing points change with the atmospheric pressure–, it is just a simplified version.

 

“Yeah, I can see that here. This thing is quite handy.”

 

Shion was impressed with the thermometer.

 

“Don’t you have something like this in the demon territories?”

 

“We don’t. But we do have a cold and hot indicator.”

 

“A hot and cold indicator?”

 

According to Shion’s explanation, it was a round (sometimes square) board with some kind of monster material attached to it, which turned red when it’s hot and white when it’s cold.

 

Jin figured it would be similar to a liquid crystal thermometer.

 

Eventually, Capricorn 1 crossed the second river. According to the map, there were no more rivers ahead.

 

After a while, the slope became gentle. Land 1 turned his course, which had been winding around the hillside, to the north, and finally headed for the Great Isthmus of Pazdext.

 

 

They continued on for half a day. Since the condition of the terrain improved, they were able to proceed at a speed of about 30 km/h.

 

Near the evening of that long summer day, a huge sea came into view over yonder.

 

“I can see the sea!”

 

“Ah, you’re right! We’ve come all this way back already…”

 

Although it was still more than 50 kilometers away, Shion and Istalis seemed to be relieved to see that the land they knew was close.

 

But that feeling didn’t last long.

 

As they got closer and closer to the sea, the bottom of the clouds became higher and the visibility became better, and eventually, Shion and Istalis began to see strange objects in their improved field of view.

 

“Um, Sister, those are… Don’t tell me…”

 

“Yeah, stone giants.”

 

“No way… The ‘Kanrou’ clan…?”

 

“I thought they were neutral!”

 

 

*   *   *

 

“What’s that?”

 

The real Jin, who was controlling his substitute doll from his control room in Hourai Island, was staring at the objects displayed on the Magic Screen.

 

They looked like huge statues, and appeared to be no different from a giant rock when seen from a bird’s eye view.

 

“A huge golem…?”

 

They resembled the classical giant golems that would appear on video games. Their bodies were completely made of stone, and there were 10 of them in total.

 

They had suddenly begun to move. Their goal was clearly Capricorn 1.

 

“They’re really quick for a stone golem.”

 

There were some stone golems used for ore mining in Hourai Island. They were 2 to 3 meters tall, and their movements were powerful but sluggish.

 

Compared to them, these giant stone golems displayed agile movements that didn’t suit their height of about 10 meters. They were probably made of a light stone.

 

“Well, they’re not as good as a Titan, though.”

 

The Titans made by Jin could move at almost the same tempo as humans. In other words, they could move and throw their fists about 10 times faster than humans.

 

This was a miracle in itself, considering that they were 80 times heavier.

 

But the giant stone golems that were displayed in the Magic Screen moved at about a fifth of that speed.

 

“This might be a good chance to test Capricorn 1’s weaponry…”

 

As if talking to himself, Jin issued a command to Reiko, Land 1, and Anne through the Mana Comm.

 

“Prepare for a long-range assault.”

 

 

*   *   *

 

(We received instructions from Father)

 

“Prepare the Magi Cannon.”

 

“I shall come out as well if need be.”

 

Reiko picked up her “Peach Blossom” from the warehouse.

 

“Do you know anything about those golems?”

 

Jin (‘s substitute doll) asked Shion and Istalis.

 

“Y-Yes… These are called ‘Stone Giants’, and can only be operated by those of the ‘Kanrou’ clan… Though I don’t know why they are here…”

 

“Is that clan against you guys returning to your territory?”

 

“Huh? …N-No, no way…”

 

The question made sense for Jin, but seemed to sound unreal to Istalis.

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