Magi Craft Meister 530
16 The Demons’ Mastermind Arc
“You mean someone could be eavesdropping on us?”
Jin was surprised to hear Ann’s remark. However, he himself had the means to do that if he wanted to, so he couldn’t deny the possibility.
Jin (‘s Substitute Doll) wanted to probe around for the strange concentration of magical power Reiko had found, but he couldn’t make heads nor tails out of it.
“If only Elsa was here… But I can’t have her come to these dangerous lands…Ah, I know!”
He suddenly realized he could use the Mini Smiths he had brought along. They should be able to do the minute-precise work needed after a few calculations.
“Mini Smith, activate.”
Jin activated one of the 10-cm-tall Mini Smiths. Upon seeing it, Istalis and Shion stared at it in wonder.
“Huh? W-What’s that?”
“There’s no time to explain now. …Mini Smith, go take a look.”
The Mini Smith hopped onto Alectus’ shoulders and went behind his ears. Then , after laying him down horizontally, it examined his chest. It took the Mini Smith 2 minutes to complete its work.
“There is a Magic Tool embedded behind his ears, right under the skin. The one in his chest reaches close to his heart. Both have magical power running through them, and seem to be connected to somewhere. I have yet to determine where ‘somewhere’ is.”
Since Jin had deployed a Magic Barrier, its connection to the outside by magical power was probably severed already. But it also turned out that the Magic Tool still seemed to have some effect on Alectus.
“Can you remove them?”
“Yes, I can remove the one in the ear right away. The one in the chest will take some more time.”
The Magic Tool that had reached Alectus’ heart seemed to be much more difficult to remove. It seemed to be a work better left to Elsa.
“Okay, take out the one behind his ear then.”
Jin decided to start by having that one removed and see what kind of Magic Tool it actually was. Depending on the results, he would later see if he wanted to have Elsa come here, or to send Alectus to Hourai Island to have the other Magic Tool removed.
“Master, I’ve finished.”
About a minute later, the Mini Smith had successfully removed the Magic Tool in question. It resembled a needle, and was 2 cm long and about 1mm thick.
After pulling it out, blood started flowing from the hole it had been embedded into, but the basic Healing Magic spell “Cure” was enough to close the wound.
“Okay, let’s see what kind of Magic Tool this probe is…”
Jin had the Mini Smith analyze it. This also took it about 2 minutes to complete.
“Understood. This conveys the master’s instructions to the wearer, while sending whatever the wearer hears back to the master.”
This shocked even the real Jin, back in Hourai Island.
And there was further information to be gathered through the use of “Decompile”.
The investigation had revealed an ancient Magi Formula, which seemed to precede the time of Jin’s predecessor.
However, its purpose and effect were clear. It was a portion of a Magic Tool used to control its wearer.
“Now that we know this, we ought to remove the one in his heart as soon as possible as well…”
After the initial shock had faded, the members of the Family who had gathered around the real Jin in Hourai Island finally settled down, and everyone went back to their routines.
Since Elsa had gone off somewhere, Jin had Laojun call her back to the control room.
“What is it, Brother Jin? Have you made any progress?”
Elsa had returned in less than 2 minutes.
As Jin explained what had happened, the look on Elsa’s face turned more and more serious.
“…So he’s being controlled by a Magic Tool embedded in his heart?”
“Yeah. That’s what it looks like.”
“I think the same.”
Elsa offered to get rid of that Magic Tool by any means necessary, so Jin asked Reiko to use Capricorn 1’s Warp Gate to send Alectus to the relay station “Shinkai”.
The real Jin then began preparing to assist Elsa in her procedure. Though it merely consisted in going over simple recovery spells and Magic Tools.
Five minutes later, Jin and Elsa had reunited with Reiko and Alectus in “Shinkai”. The Mini Smith that had removed the ear probe had tagged along as well.
Incidentally, using the Warp Gate to go to “Shinkai” required an external link, so the Magic Barrier had to be lifted for a brief moment.
Then, Jin had the Magic Barrier set up again right after entering “Shinkai”. That’s how careful he was about it.
“Elsa, we don’t have much time, so try to work as quickly as you can.”
Back in Capricorn 1, Jin hadn’t told Istalis and the others about the Warp Gate, so they were under the impression that Reiko had taken Alectus to a small room in order to remove the device herself.
“Yeah, I know.”
Elsa then began working on removing the probe embedded in Alectus’ chest, with Jin and Reiko as assistants.
“…’Diagnose’ …I see. The probe is stuck near the heart’s coronary artery. If we try to force it out, we could end up rupturing the artery, causing major bleeding.”
After a bit of thinking, Elsa finally came up with a way to solve this problem.
“Since he’s still under the effects of ‘Paralyze’, there’s no need for anesthesia. We’ll have to pull the probe out in one swift move while using ‘Völlig Genesung’ to avoid damaging the surrounding tissue.”
This was a job that called for the help of the Mini Smith.
“Okay? …3, 2, 1, 0. ‘Völlig Genesung’.”
Matching Elsa’s countdown, the Mini Smith successfully pulled the probe out at the right time.
Thanks to Elsa’s healing magic being applied at the same time, the resulting bleeding was negligible, and the procedure was completed without any issues.
“Okay, Reiko, time to take him back to Capricorn 1.”
Then, as she headed for the Warp Gate carrying Alectus in her arms, Jin said something else to her before she left.
“I’m counting on you, Reiko.”
Upon hearing those words, a big smile appeared on Reiko’s face as she walked through the Warp Gate.
＊ ＊ ＊
“I wonder what they’re doing.”
Meanwhile, in Capricorn 1, Shion was growing restless.
“Performing surgery in an environment that is not completely sterilized would be too risky.”
Shion didn’t seem too convinced with Ann’s explanation.
“Don’t worry, it looks like they’ll be done soon”
“Didn’t you say that 10 minutes ago?”
“They really won’t be long now, okay?”
While they were exchanging such words, the door of the small room where the Warp Gate was installed opened.
“We’re finished. The Magic Tool… that is, the ‘probe’, has been safely removed.”
The Mini Smith, who was standing on Reiko’s shoulder, lifted the probe over its head for all to see.
In order to not arouse suspicion from Istalis and the others, Jin quickly analyzed the probe before leaving it in Reiko’s care once again.
“This probe appears to be the type that helps the wearer’s master by allowing him to cause pain in the wearer’s heart.”
“What did you say!?”
Shion was outraged. Jin could easily sympathize with her feelings.
“Please calm down. We’ve already extracted it. Alectus should be now completely free from his chains…”
However, just to be sure, they tied him up to his seat –though loosely this time– once again before waking him up with Jin’s “Healing”.
“How are you feeling? We’ve taken care of those Magic Tools controlling you.”
After opening his eyes and hearing Jin’s words, Alectus blinked and shook his head a few times.
“…Thank you, Master Jin… No, Magi Craft Meister… My head feels lighter now.”
“So you were under that Magic Tool’s control after all?”
“Yes. Those guys called it a ‘needle’. The moment they put those things on me, a voice started to echo in my head, like a whisper, and whenever I tried to do anything other than what it tells me to, I’d feel an intense pain in my chest, have trouble breathing, and feel like I could faint at any moment.”
Just as they had all imagined, it was an atrocious Magic Tool.
“Everyone in our clan, even our children, had those probes implanted on them, and there was nothing we could do to go against it.”
Alectus looked terribly apologetic. Jin asked Reiko to untie him.
“Thank you for trusting me.”
After his bindings were undone, Alectus bowed respectfully once again.
“I hadn’t heard much of those whispers this morning, so I thought we would be able to welcome you all with open arms and convey our plights to you, Master Jin. But it seems it was too naive of me to think that way.”
It didn’t seem that the one pulling their strings was monitoring all of them all the time. The same could be said for Jin, as he wasn’t at the reins of his Substitute Doll around the clock, though.
“By the way, Master Jin, are you feeling well?”
“Huh? Ah, yes.”
There was no change in the physical condition of the Substitute Doll.
“That’s great to hear. The truth is that I had poisoned your food, Master Jin, but you seem to have neutralized it somehow. I’m glad nothing happened after all.”
“I’d like to offer my sincerest apologies for that. I have used a drug that would have lured you to join our side on you alone, Master Jin.”
“Well, nothing happened in the end, so don’t worry about it.”
No poison could have worked in Jin’s Substitute Doll. The real Jin in Hourai Island exhaled a sigh of relief.