Magi Craft Meister 525

16 The Demons’ Mastermind Arc

16-04 The Mysterious Clan

 

 

A group of villagers started moving towards Capricorn 1 with the intention to destroy it.

 

“Stop, everyone!”

 

But no one paid heed to Istalis’ words.

 

“Netros, hurry back to Capricorn 1 and tell Lord Jin to withdraw!”

 

“But… Lady Istalis…”

 

“I’ll be fine! Go!”

 

At that moment, Reiko deactivated her ‘Invisible’, revealing herself before Netros and Istalis.

 

“I’ll take Miss Istalis to safety. Let’s go back to the vehicle.”

 

“Y-You, where did you…”

 

“We don’t have time to talk about that now.”

 

As soon as she said that, Reiko grabbed Istalis under her arm and started running towards Capricorn 1. Netros followed them.

 

“K-Kyaaaaaaaaaahhh!”

 

Istalis screamed as she felt the bodily sensation of being carried at a speed of 200 km/h.

 

 

“…So that’s what happened.”

 

Back inside the retreating Capricorn 1, Reiko reported what had transpired to Jin (‘s Substitute Doll). The real Jin was in his control room in Hourai Island, listening in real time.

 

“No way…”

 

However, Shion and Lucas were completely shocked to hear that. They were shaking their heads in disbelief.

 

“I’m sorry, but it’s all true. …Ah, why? Why, Grandfather…?”

 

“Leave your grief for later. Things are going to get a bit rough…”

 

“Huh?”

 

In order to shake off the pursuing members of the Shinra clan, Jin had ordered Land 1 to run away at full speed.

 

After reaching the maximum speed of 70 km/h, Jin and the others started to feel some turbulence. However, since their pursuers were on foot, it was more than enough to outspeed them.

 

Thanks to that and with the help of the darkening evening sky, Capricorn 1 managed to lose the pursuers by sprinting inland.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

“…Uhh.”

 

“Chin up, sister! There must be a reason behind this.”

 

Shion tried to comfort Istalis, who was unable to recover from her shock.

 

She had gone through great efforts to get the help her people desperately needed, only to be called a traitor upon her return. Of course she would be greatly affected by it. She couldn’t stop sobbing.

 

“…Well, what should we do now?”

 

Jin (‘s Substitute Doll) muttered those words as he looked upon the darkness ahead of them.

 

Capricorn 1 was now at the foot of a rocky mountain.

 

“U-Um, Jin?”

 

“Hmm?”

 

Shion timidly approached Jin.

 

“Are you… perhaps… thinking about going back home?”

 

“Why would… Ah, I see.”

 

Jin had come all the way here to offer a helping hand and was chased off like a ruffian instead. Shion’s fear made sense.

 

She would have figured that Jin no longer had a reason to remain in demon territory anymore.

 

“…I’ll stay here for a while.”

 

“Really!?”

 

Shion’s face regained its light.

 

“Yeah. There’s too much of a difference between what you guys told me and how things seem to be now. I won’t leave until I find out the reason behind that difference.”

 

He was especially concerned about some hidden plot being at the root of this difference. Jin wanted to be able to confirm the intentions of this moderate faction, at least for the safety of Kaina Village.

 

Since the one in this expedition was a Substitute Doll and not Jin himself, Reiko didn’t say anything in response to Jin’s will to remain here for the time being.

 

“Thank you, Jin.”

 

Shion bowed deeply in gratitude. But Jin patted her on the head as if to tell her that it wasn’t that big of a deal.

 

“Would you say that the clan chief… I mean, your grandfather’s attitude has changed suddenly?”

 

Jin broke the ice, moving straight to the main point they should be focusing on at the moment.

 

“How resistant are demons to mental manipulation?”

 

Ann shared what had been on her mind.

 

“We do have access to an Enslavement Magic spell called ‘Divieni Un Schiavo’. We can use this to brainwash someone into doing our bidding. …I’m sorry for not telling you this back when you asked me what we could do.” 

 

Shion ended her explanation with an apology. She probably figured that they had truly reached a point where there could be no more secrets between them.

 

“But it’s relatively easy to know if someone is being affected by that spell. Their will would be gone, and their very emotions would disappear.”

 

And the members of the Shinra clan had kept their emotions intact. Jin and the others then concluded that they hadn’t been affected by that spell.

 

“So are they controlled by a different Enslavement Magic spell, or maybe through other means…?’

 

Ann was unable to go any further from there.

 

It seemed to be different from the method once used by Marchosias as well. He had used something very similar to what is commonly known as “possession”.

 

Everyone was deep in thought. And soon enough, a bright light appeared.

 

“That’s right, we have that guy.”

 

Belials of Kugutsu. It was possible that he knew something.

 

“Hmph, what now?”

 

The party went to the warehouse where he was being kept captive. Of course, he was still unwilling to cooperate.

 

“There’s something I’d like to check with you. ‘Transinfo’.”

 

“Whoa!?”

 

It was the first time Jin attempted to use the new ‘Transinfo’ on a demon, but it seemed to have worked well enough.

 

The Magi Crystal containing the transferred information was quickly sent to Hourai Island using Capricorn 1’s built in Warp Gate, and Laojun immediately analyzed its contents.

 

He then reported his findings through Reiko.

 

“There’s one new thing we’ve learned. The demons seem to have a place called ‘The Land of Beginnings’.”

 

“What!? Why is that… No, there’s that magic as well…”

 

Netros was the first one to look surprised to hear those words. Shion and Lucas also had a surprised look on their faces. Istalis had finally stopped crying and turned her red, swollen eyes toward Jin.

 

“‘The Land of Beginnings’ is a place of legend where the distant ancestors of us demons first arrived here.”

 

Jin remembered a story Vivian had once told him. According to it, a long time ago, the ancestors of humankind and demons may have first arrived at that place.

 

As Jin was still thinking about that, more information came from Laojun through Reiko.

 

“Is the clan closest to this ‘Land of Beginnings’ the Gospel clan?”

 

“That’s correct. But the Gospel clan has less than 10 people in total, and they hardly interact with other clans.”

 

Shion’s face looked as if she was about to ask “what about it?”.

 

“The Gospel clan seems to be… well, to put it simply, they seem to be sticking their noses in human affairs.”

 

In fact, they seemed to have an emphasis for setting up a guerrilla warfare.

 

“Are you sure about that?”

 

“I don’t think the Gospel clan has such influence, though…”

 

Istalis finally opened her mouth, following Shion’s question.

 

Belials, on the other hand, had regret written all over his face.

 

“Damn it… So you’ve read my memories. You humans are truly despicable.”

 

“Don’t make me laugh. The way you demons do things isn’t worthy of roses either. But I guess that’s how strife works. You focus solely on what you stand to gain, without the slightest regard for your own people…”

 

Ann quickly objected to Belials’ remark.

 

“My master doesn’t want to live in a world like that. He wants to live in peace, but you guys just have to be such a nuisance, don’t you?”

 

“Hmph, you say nothing but nice-sounding words.”

 

“But they are the truth.”

 

“That’s okay, Ann.”

 

Jin figured going any further would be a waste of breath, so he asked Ann to stop.

 

“Where do we find this Gospel clan?”

 

“In the inland areas of the Gondoa Continent.”

 

According to Reiko, their settlement was farther to the north of their current location.

 

“Should we go meet with them?”

 

“Huh?”

 

“I’m interested in this ‘Land of Beginnings’. I also want to talk with the clan who seems to be at the root of everything that’s been happening here.”

 

“I… I see. There might be no other way to deal with this as well.”

 

“But I’m sure it won’t be easy…”

 

Istalis agreed with Jin, while Shion pointed out that there would be trouble ahead if they were to choose that path.

 

“Well, we’ve come all this way. If something gets in our way, we’ll deal with it.”

 

“It’s amazing… I’m really sure you can solve this, Jin.”

 

Shion seemed a bit shocked, but she also knew that this could be the only way for them to make things right once and for all.

 

“…I’m counting on you, Jin.”

 

Shion’s words, which were filled with anxiety, could only be heard in whispers.

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