Magi Craft Meister 531
16 The Demons’ Mastermind Arc
16-10 The Clan of Beginnings
“But I hadn’t noticed he was being controlled that way.”
Istalis words came out mixed with a sigh.
“I’m actually ashamed of myself.”
“But if every other clan has gone through the same thing, there’s no helping it.”
“Still, if this is the case…”
Netros started talking with a sullen expression on his face.
“Does that mean that the Shinra clan has gone through the same thing?”
“Oh, that’s right. Getting one of those ‘needles’ implanted doesn’t take that long. An elongated tube should be enough to get the one on the chest implanted in an instant, and the one on the back of the ear shouldn’t be too different from that.”
“Who could have done something like that?”
“I don’t know…”
“I’m just guessing here, but half a month ago, all of the clan chiefs gathered at the clan meeting. I think that was when our mastermind did it.”
But Istalis didn’t seem to know anything about that meeting.
“…I don’t know about that. It must have happened after we left.”
In that case, then Istalis, Shion, Netros, and Lucas would all have escaped being controlled by those probes.
Shion was the one to cut that conversation short.
“I think we should be talking about what to do from now on.”
“Yes, you’re right.”
“I truly wish for all of our clans to be free from those nefarious ‘needles’…”
Alectus frowned as he said that.
“I think the same. I’d like to at least release the Shinra clan from its shackles…”
Shion gave her realistic opinion to Alectus and Istalis, who both dreamed of liberation.
“But it’s going to be really tough, don’t you think? Not only we don’t know who’s behind this, but those who have been enslaved aren’t going to just sit tight while we remove their probes… How long can this take…?”
“I think our best course of action would be to tackle the source of this problem.”
It looked like a demon-only discussion at first, but Ann quickly shared her ideas.
“You mean, finding the one who put those ‘needles’ on everyone, and doing something about them?”
Shion asked with a profusely raised eyebrow.
“Is that even possible? First, we’d have to find the culprit. And even if we do, they could try to use their ‘needles’ on us…”
Istalis didn’t sound very confident as she spoke.
“I believe it depends on how we go about doing it. We don’t have to tackle it head-on.”
Ann spoke as if it was nothing.
“We find the culprit, infiltrate their base of operation, and then we neutralize them.”
She then added that, roughly speaking, they didn’t have enough information yet.
“How do we find them?”
“Let’s say that there is a way to find them. Simply because my Master is the Magi Craft Meister.”
After a brief silence, Istalis nodded.
“I guess we have no choice but to give it a try. …Can I ask this of you, Lord Jin?”
“I’d like to ask you to do this for us as well, Master Jin. Please, we’re counting on you.”
It was merely a hunch, but Jin believed that this problem wouldn’t end with the demons.
He had a faint premonition that if he didn’t intervene here, this whole thing would eventually harm humankind as well.
“The first thing we have to do is to find where our mastermind is.”
“B-But how are we going to do that?”
Jin started speaking as if it was not a big deal, provoking Alectus’ skepticism.
“Those ‘needles’ we took from you must still be connected to the one who controls them. All we need to do is follow that connection.”
“I still can’t tell you how I can trace it back to its source. But for now, please believe that I can.”
Laojun was the one piloting Jin’s Substitute Doll at the moment. Had it been Jin himself, he could have mentioned the existence of the Magi Detector, but Laojun was more cautious than that.
After determining the magical power’s direction, Jin issued his instructions to Land 1. It was headed further northward.
“Okay, move a little to the east and take another measurement.”
It was a basic technique for surveying.
As a matter of fact, Hourai Island had a Magi Radar that was much more powerful than a Magi Detector, so Laojun had already grasped the general position of that mysterious presence.
However, it was possible to improve its reading’s accuracy by measuring again on-site, so although it was troublesome to do it twice, another measurement was done from within Capricorn 1 itself.
“It’s north-northwest from here.”
The mastermind’s location would then be where those two lines intersected with one another. Jin was able to pinpoint its location with the help of a simple map.
“Here it is. On the other side of this mountain here.”
When Jin pointed at the map, Alectus opened his eyes wide in astonishment.
“…The Land of Beginnings…”
“…That is the ‘Land of Beginnings’. It’s a place created by a clan called the ‘Origin clan’.”
“The Land of Beginnings, huh? The name matches the information we got from Belials.”
It was also consistent with the intel that stated that the Gospel clan was the one that lived closest to it.
“I see, so they’re the ones behind this?”
Jin took his face away from the map and stared at a mountain up north through the window. With this, their goal was set.
“Let’s start by heading towards that ‘Land of Beginnings’. We’ll talk about what we’re going to do along the way.”
“Yeah, no objections here.”
Thus Capricorn 1 started making its way straight towards the northern mountain.
“What do you know about the Origin clan?”
The piloting was left entirely to Land 1, so Jin and the others could continue their discussion.
“Well… I’ve heard they possess some very ancient technology.”
Alectus answered the question.
“Yes. It’s the magical technology that our distant ancestors had.”
This was a valuable piece of information. It meant that they had access to a technology that preceded even that of the Gospel clan, whose technology was more than 2,000 years old.
Laojun tried to supplement this information with the tales passed on by Vivian.
The ancestors of both humans and demons came to this world in a ship that could fly through the sky, in other words, a spaceship.
A servant that closely resembles a human, in other words, an Automata.
All these made Vivian’s story make much more sense.
At present, Jin wasn’t able to build a spaceship. With that in mind, the technology these ancients possessed could be considered to be quite terrifying.
“We’ll have to be very careful once we meet them.”
Laojun decided it would be necessary to devise a plan that contemplated the possibility that the Origin clan was too much for even Jin to handle.
“You’re right. But is this Origin clan really that dangerous?”
Ann seemed truly curious about it.
“Well, I’ve never actually met them.”
Alectus lowered his head apologetically.
“Our Gospel clan only knew that the Origin clan lived nearby, and that they would contact us by voice only. And it didn’t even happen that regularly.”
Since the Gospel clan had access to its own technology, they could receive word from the Origin clan from time to time.
But this posed a single question.
Was the Origin clan able to provide food for itself without interacting with other clans, all while knowing that the other clans were starving?
“Though that could be thanks to the use of some ancient magical technology.”
Istalis answered that question with a troubled expression on her face.
“That’s the kind of enemy we’re facing…?”
“Don’t be so timid, sister. Don’t see them as enemies, we’re only doing whatever we can to save our clan.”
Shion faced her with a positive attitude.
“It’s not like they’ve been hostile from the very beginning or anything.”
Just as they were talking about that…
“There’s a barrier up ahead.”
Land 1 interrupted their conversation with his own report.