Magi Craft Meister 528
16 The Demons’ Mastermind Arc
It was the morning of August 17th.
“Master Jin, are you awake?”
The summer nights at higher latitudes are short. At 7 AM local time, Alectus arrived to inform Jin and the others that breakfast was ready.
During this time, Jin (‘s Substitute Doll) was being operated by Laojun.
“Ah, good morning.”
Just as Jin, Reiko, and Ann were coming out of their room, Istalis and the others had also come out to the hallway in response to Milonia’s call.
They were then guided to the same room as the night before. Breakfast was already served on the table. The menu didn’t seem to be very different from the previous night either, with grilled fish being served instead of venison.
“This is embarrassing, but we’re also being affected by a food shortage. Please understand…”
Milonia’s face was filled with regret.
Of course, Jin and the others were well aware of that, so they thought nothing of it.
“…This juice is amazing. I shared some of it with everyone and they all agreed that only the Magi Craft Meister could have produced such wonderful juice.”
It seemed that Hourai Island’s special Pelshika Juice was making quite a name for itself.
“I truly hope we continue to be on friendly terms, Magi Craft Meister.”
After their breakfast filled with small talk was over, they finally started talking about the real issue at hand.
“I’m really sorry, but today’s tea will be served in our council room. Would you be so kind as to go there?”
At Alectus’ request, the party headed for the council room. Laojun summoned Jin, who had been working on his workshop in Hourai Island, as there was a chance the mystery could finally be solved.
Jin then made his way to the control room so that he could operate the Substitute Doll.
“I’m sorry to interrupt your breakfast, but it seems I too want to settle this topic as soon as possible after all.”
The clan chief Fabius, Alectus, and Milonia were there in representation of the Gospel clan. Fabius was the one to break the ice.
“First of all, I’d like to talk about your question about whether we have been instigating other clans into wanting to wage war against humans.”
Jin was watching through the Magic Screen from Hourai Island while holding his breath in anxiety.
“First of all, let me speak about our background, as it will help you understand our situation better.”
Jin (‘s Substitute Doll) stared fixedly at Fabius, who began to speak slowly.
“According to what has been passed down through generations, our clan used to live south of the Great Isthmus of Pazdext.”
“And before that war, the one you humans call ‘The Great Magic War’… There were no differences between us demons and humans.”
Jin thought that this story matched with the one Vivian had once told him.
“That’s… A very valuable story.”
Hearing someone else’s voice had caught Jin off guard. As he turned around, he found that Vivian, Stearleana, and Elsa were there, staring at the Magic Screen. Saki and Toa came in through the door a little after that.
“Did we surprise you? Sorry! I went to the workshop looking for you and you weren’t there, so I asked Laojun and he told me you were here.”
“Ah, that’s right. Maybe it’s better if you’re all here to listen to this.”
Thus Jin and the other members of the “Family” resumed their watch through the Magic Screen.
“What’s the reason behind the discord between humans and demons in the first place? We live in different regions, so it can’t just be a territorial dispute…”
Fabius interrupted himself and stared straight at Jin.
“It’s a matter of products.”
“That’s right. We want the land that humans have, and humans want our land.”
“…So it’s a matter of food versus Magi Crystals?”
Istalis summarized Fabius’ words. Jin was thinking exactly the same thing.
“That’s right. And what’s more, us demons had access to a level of magical technology that far surpassed that of humans.”
Fabius said that with pride, but his face had a hint of loneliness.
“…It would be more accurate to say that we ‘used to have’ that, though…”
As everyone else thought that Fabius might have been too obsessed with speaking with the correct tense, Fabius resumed his speech with a bitter expression on his face.
“We can still use some of it, but we can no longer create new technology, or regain the ones we’ve lost…”
“Is that… Because of the Great Magic War?”
“No, that’s not it. Our magic technology in itself has existed for well over a thousand years. We estimate that it first appeared more than two thousand years ago.”
“Two thousand years ago!?”
“That’s right, two thousand years ago, we used to have access to an excellent level of magical technology. But after many, many years, while we were still able to make use of it, we became unable to repair our broken tools. This started happening about a thousand years ago.”
A thousand years ago was the era of Jin’s predecessor, the Magi Craft Meister Adrianna Balbora Ceci.
“Around that time, a woman called Adriana Balbora Ceci arrived in these lands, probably guided by her good intuition.”
It was the first time Jin heard such a story.
“She was a beautiful woman. She had antique gold hair growing long all the way down to her waist and lustrous brown eyes that were sparkling with life. She was also accompanied by a servant with jet-black hair.”
Jin turned to Reiko, who shook her head. She didn’t seem to have any recollection of that.
“She stayed with us for about half a year, and during that time, she repaired every single one of our broken and damaged Magic Tools. When offered compensation for her work, she simply said she was happy to have gotten the chance to work with such interesting equipment, and that that had been enough for her.”
Jin felt that he could understand his predecessor’s feelings.
“That is why we treat the Magi Craft Meister with the utmost respect.”
Jin imagined that his predecessor had probably learned about the demons’ technology while working to repair their Magic Tools.
Jin wondered what kind of person his predecessor had been, to have been able to analyze and work with a magical technology that even the demons, who had created it, had lost, and even managed to make it her own. And Reiko was deeply moved after hearing Fabius speak about her “mother”, who she technically never knew.
“At that time, it was our clan who welcomed her. Other clans would come to see her from time to time, but we are probably the ones who had known her best.”
With this, it was clear why the demons would welcome Jin, no, the Magi Craft Meister, with open arms.
The Magi Craft Meister was regarded as a benefactor by all demons.
“So, where did that magical technology come from? This was a question we all had, and it was Adriana Balbora Ceci who unraveled the mystery for us.”
Not only Jin, but everyone else with him in Hourai Island pricked up their ears to listen.
“One of the Magic Tools she repaired for us had a memory of sorts. This is something she learned of after leaving these lands, though.”
Jin thought that it might have been some kind of memory storage tool used to keep historical records.
“Surprisingly, it would appear that our ancestors came from the sky.”
Shion’s surprised voice escaped her mouth. Istalis, however, remained with her jaw dropped, unable to say a word.
“…You don’t seem very surprised to hear that, Master Jin? Perhaps you already knew this?”
“No, but there was something similar in our legends as well. I was merely thinking that I had already heard something similar before.”
“Is that so? …So it would appear that both our ancestors, who came from the sky, and the ancestors of humans, are one and the same.”
It was quite a shocking matter. Certainly, Jin already knew that humans and demons had the same physical composition, but he never imagined that they had the same ancestors.
That made Jin think that there could be some individuals of mixed race somewhere in this world.
“I can’t say I know what made us demons and humans so different. I can only think it had something to do with us living separately over thousands of years..”
Jin, Istalis, and Shion were all at a loss for words. Fabius resumed his story.
“So we figured, if we have the same ancestors, we should be able to form a friendly relationship. It was only natural to think that way. And for a while, us demons and humans have been interacting with each other and getting along well… Until 300 years ago.”
At that moment, Fabius’ facial expression took a sudden turn.
His eyes were opened wide, and his complexion was pale. Thick sweat appeared on his forehead, and his entire body was assailed by slight twitches. Alectus and Milonia, who were standing to his left and right, were in a similar state.
“We’ve been detected… By the… Land… of Beginnings…”
Fabius squeezed his mouth shut as if trying not to speak any further.
Suddenly, the door of the council room was kicked open.
“What’s going on?”
On the other side of the door, there were six golems that glowed with a dark and gray light.
After recognizing Jin and the others, the golems quickly rushed into the room.