Separating his lips from the teacup he just sipped from, he caught sight of a small violet sphere breaking on top of the table once he casually raised his sight.
“Is something wrong, nee~?”
The one who asked, is sitting on a chair on the opposite side across the table. The bundle of bandages is quite difficult to describe.
It has a pretty humanlike shape, but its thickness isn’t common. Will one turn into that form, similar to a poorly made bear plush toy, if they twine who-knows-how many bandages around themselves? Although slightly, it has piqued his interest.
“Well, it looks like the core which flew through the Forest Labyrinth was destroyed.”
It’s a fact the human race doesn’t know; the Forest Labyrinth has already been taken into our, the demon races’, possession.
A transfer gate has been established by our hands with one entrance on the demon races’ continents’ side and the other one on the human races’ continents’ side.
But then again, although the gate has been installed on the side over there, around a single person can be sent through the gate because we weren’t able to bring many materials over.
Moreover, it’s flaw is that its usage fee is ridiculously expensive, however if it’s for the sake of research, there’s no choice but to come to the decision that slight expenses can’t be helped.
“What the heck are you doing over there?”
“A practical test of the new monsters. It’s a superb monster that eats humans, multiplies in their abdomens and fuses with their bodies.”
I embedded a core into a control unit and tried to send it over, but with the master core on our side getting destroyed, it seems that the core over there was destroyed by someone.
I feel slightly irritated as I wasn’t able to get much data.
Nevertheless, the goal is to obtain the required data from a great number of failures and a few successes by repeating the experiment many times over.
For example, with it being an operation similar to getting one winner from drawing a large number of lots, I will likely be disqualified as researcher if I raise my eyebrows each and every single time I pulled a miss.
“It was a genuine experiment regarding their fighting strength and breeding speed, but…”
“It’s a failure, nee~? My condolences.”
Who will blame me just because I felt a tinge of bloodthirst towards the bundle of bandages, which laid on top of the sofa with its legs outstretched while flapping its limbs.
Even so, it’s a mysterious cloth bundle.
Although it completely fails to expose a single thing, be it eyes, mouth or anything that qualifies as an organ, on its surface, it appears to be looking this way. Even its voice is easy to understand and clear without any mumbling.
I think it can’t be helped that I want to unwrap it once.
Or rather, let me unwrap it with a *snap* once, by all means.
I have no doubt that I will definitely be able to see something that will satisfy my curiosity.
Once I looked at the bundle of bandages while pondering such things, the bundle of bandages, which noticed it was being watched, shook its body with a start.
“Just now, something cold… the wind, nee~?”
“Demons can catch colds?”
“Can they? Well, since there are many hot-blooded idiots, it looks like there are also fellows who don’t notice catching a cold, nee~”
The bundle of bandages raises its voice in a giggle.
Tentatively, there are more superior demons than me. Even if I’m a researcher, I’m the equivalent of a leader, but since I quite prefer light speech and conduct like this, I have been branded as eccentric. I also don’t overly much… no, there was a single person, I don’t want to get involved with as much as possible.
“Is it a laughing matter, I wonder? In the first place, if you speak of failing the experiment, you ran an experiment in the same area as well. Didn’t it merely fail because it was obstructed by people?”
Once I bluntly said so in a tone that was mixed with a small amount of sarcasm, the bundle of bandages abruptly stopped laughing.
Did I offend it? I wonder for a moment, however it’s impossible to read its expression with a glance at its face, as it’s no more than a bundle of bandages after all.
To begin with, given that I don’t understand where its eyes are, it’s uncertain whether it’s even looking this way or not.
“That doesn’t particularly mean that it failed though nee~”
The voice, which was emitted by the cloth bundle a short while later, didn’t have anything like discomfort mixed in it for now.
“Did you collect the necessary items? I was just stopped for a little bit on the way nee~”
“I’ve heard you even lost the experimental magic gems. It’s a failure if it goes into the red cost-wise, I think.”
“This is harsh nee~”
The badly-done bear topples over on top of the sofa, spreads out both its hands and looks up to the ceiling.
Every single one of its movements is exaggerated and comical.
It’s strangely rubbing me the wrong way.
Although I will immediately get rid of them if they are of equal or lower rank, I will be killed if I handle a superior in a higher rank impudently, though I believe it to be disgusting.
“Either way, the experiments will be suspended for a while.”
The lump of bandages raises a curious voice.
Why doesn’t this fellow even understand such a thing, I want to question.
There are many researchers who absolutely don’t show any curiosity in things other than what interests them, however shouldn’t you at least look over the reported facts which were transmitted from above?
It’s not unlikely for your own body to perish if you make a single mistake.
Or does that oddball in front of my eyes plan to discard even that as inconsequential?
“You probably got a notification from the military authorities. As it looks like they will convert the established scale of the Forest Labyrinth transfer gate so that it can move a certain amount, we will lose the usage of the transfer gate until that operations is completed.”
“There was such a notification?”
Having a doubtful voice, the bandaged plush toy’s head is slanting slightly and trembling.
It appears that it inclined its head to the side, but because of its very short and stout build and the thickness of the bandages coiling around it, that doesn’t seem to go smoothly.
Involuntarily I leak a sigh.
I want to finish the conversation with this strange object as soon as possible and quickly return to my research.
“There was. If you think that it’s a lie, try inquiring to your own home about it as well.”
“I haven’t particularly said that it’s a lie though nee~”
Throwing a disgusted look at the bundle of bandages, which began to flap its limbs again, I open my mouth to interrupt the chat any time now.
“If that’s your only business, can I please have you go home soon?”
“Ah, yea. I will go home once I finish my business.”
Once a small impact hit my chest, I, who wanted to ask whether there is still some kind of business beyond this, had my words blocked by something hot, which gradually rose from my throat.
While feeling a highly viscous liquid leaking and dripping after my mouth became partly open, I looked down at my own chest.
An unfamiliar unrefined metal pole is piercing into the chest of my body, I was familiar with.
What gradually rose from my throat was a clot of my own blood. As I realized that, I was assailed by the pain at last.
“Gofuu… the heck… what are you- planning…”
“It’s troublesome nee~ Just when I have done something this flashy to that spot. Shall I cut you so that you won’t even be able to talk anymore by the time I’m finished with the next spots?”
What stabbed my body was apparently an iron pole, which had a sharp pointed end shaped like a screw.
Its source is sticking out from a gap in the bundle of bandages.
I don’t know the principle behind it, but that pole is pushed deeper into my body by piercing the screw part of the pole further in and rotating it.
If it’s one of those, that’s still far from a fatal wound.
As I formulate a way to escape while enduring the pain and discomfort of a foreign object piercing my body, several more poles are casually stabbed and then thoroughly screwed into my body.
In front of me, who screamed while unable to bear it, stood that bundle of bandages.
“For the time being I will have you die. The plan is for it to be as meaningless and gruesome death as possible so that it also serves as a warning to other people. Aah, since I will gouge out the parts that seem usable, best regards to those places nee~”
Once I try to scream “Please, help!”, a pole was thrust into my throat.
It closes in on me, who struggles while vomiting blood and drool from my mouth which has lost the ability to speak, in order to slowly cover me.
“Well then, let’s start with this eyeball first nee~?”
Fritz was at his wits’ end in his room in the guild building.
A mountain of documents is piling up on the desk in front of him.
Most of them were reports.
The number of adventurers who passed away is 100, spread over 23 parties.
Almost all of the adventurers who accepted the request of the guild have died.
Merely one party of 3 people returned alive.
It was only the party, which had Renya Kunugi as its leader.
For Fritz those results are relatively trivial.
The participation of Renya’s party was unexpected. He panicked at the time when he’d learned that, but since the result was them returning alive, it won’t turn into a problem.
The annihilation of 23 parties didn’t matter either.
There are countless adventurer candidates.
From noble greenhorns who can’t succeed their family, at the top, to the sons of farmers who went broke, from below; there won’t be any of inconvenience to replace them in any way since there’s a diversity to such a degree.
In the first place, the veteran adventurers who are difficult to replace won’t bite onto a request like this times.
“We have an ulterior motive for posting a request of that degree.” – is what that request is screaming.
There was also the possibility of them making the error of joining in if that Shion was the leader, but although I thought they will easily avoid it if it’s Renya, I wonder whether I have slightly misjudged him, Fritz ponders.
However, even this is no concern that will trouble Fritz greatly.
The problem, which is bringing him to his wits’ end, were the three things currently in front of him.
One is the examination report sent by the investigative team.
The new species of monsters discovered in the forest this time apparently had a great variety of beast-like beings, had imitations of the arms of people or imitated dragons; in other words, they had no definite shape.
Either way, they apparently had a truly evil-natured ecology of eating, capturing and breeding with the bodies of people.
If one talks about why he knew about those, one reason was the autopsy report of the corpse of a monster the investigative team brought back, and the other reason were the several specimens they discovered in the middle of doing those things.
If you ask why there were specimens discovered in that state, it connects to the second problem.
The second problem is that the forest in question was almost completely destroyed.
According to the only one who saw the actual scene, Renya, immediately after something similar to a white thread quickly descended from the sky, it stabbed into the forest. He had a bad premonition, so he deployed a defense barrier as his field of vision was painted over in bright white light and he was surrounded by a snowscape.
He tried to ascertain the the authenticity of his words with magic, but since he was told “Pay the money to Renya”, Fritz gave up on that.
In reality, no matter whether Renya’s words are a lie or the truth, it’s a fact that an extensive area of the forest has been frozen over.
Going by the results of the investigation, around 70-80% of the entire forest has been locked in ice. He was told that it likely won’t return to its former state as many trees have been mowed down.
According to the story of the magicians who accompanied the investigative team, it’s a spell with the intention to destroy and would require several hundred magicians to try to perform the same deed, and even then it’s uncertain whether they will be able to produce an effect which is barely similar, or not. Apparently that’s the level of damage it has.
Of course, the report had a jurisdiction of 「Because of those reasons, it’s deemed to be a sudden natural disaster」 attached to it.
If it’s really a natural disaster, I will pray to god or something like that, Fritz judges.
Putting aside the damages to the adventurers, the sharp decline in resources, which could be taken from the forest and trees which ended up broken, will become a terribly hard blow for the residents of the city.
Since the country has to plan the countermeasures in regards to that, it’s not like harm will directly approach Fritz, but it has been decided that his work will increase as the country should naturally request his cooperation with the formulated countermeasures.
The third problem was just now in front of Fritz’ eyes.
“What’s this about? You can explain it, right, Fritz?” (Rona)
The one, who asked that with a calm tone while having a smile tinged with a coldness at absolute zero and a black flame in the background, was Rona.
As usual her body, which has liveliness and impulsiveness, was covered in a priestess’ garb, however she is putting strength into her right hand and grasping the one-handed mace tightly.
That hand is trembling slightly as she is putting too much power into it. A silent coercion, which can only be called stifling, was directed at Fritz.
“Certainly, this time’s matter was due to the guild’s own judgement. However, I believed you would evade it, if it was that man…” (Fritz)
“Is it fine to take that as your testament, Fritz?” (Rona)
“Eh? No, ummm… Eeeeh?” (Fritz)
“Then get ready over there. At least I will send you off with one blow so that you don’t have to suffer.” (Rona)
“Eh, that’s a bit? … Eeeeeeehh!?” (Fritz)
The staff members looked at each other’s faces due to the male scream which resounded within the guild. They returned to their respective tasks as if they didn’t hear anything.