The day after she mediated the trade between D-Powers and Simon, Naruse, who had come back due to a message from the JDA office, was summoned to the meeting room by Section Chief Saiga.
“Section Chief, what might be the matter?”
“Hey, no need to become so formal.”
Naruse sits down on the chair offered to her, while thinking that anyone would wonder what’s going on after being summoned out of nowhere.
“Naruse, do you understand why you have been assigned as an exclusive full-time contact person of D-Powers?”
“I’d like to say that it’s because you want to create an obligation of gratitude with a party that generates an amazing amount of profit, but I guess it’s actually about investigating their unknown technologies, starting with their orb preservation technique.”
“Hmm, there’s that as well.”
“There’s still more?”
Saiga switches the places of his crossed legs.
“Do you know about the dungeon = passage theory?”
“Eh? Yes, more or less. It’s something I read about in some absurd book.”
“The other day, Russia announced evidence for it.”
“It’s not official yet, so don’t talk about it.”
“However, because of certain circumstances, the related organizations across the world can’t verify it. It does have persuasive power. But, we don’t know whether what’s said is really true. That seems to be the current situation.”
“By the way, in spite of D-Powers having offered so many orbs for sale, we don’t know anything about the orbs’ origins.”
“Going by elimination, I think anything other than Yoyogi would be impossible, but there’s no sign of Mr. Yoshimura having gone down to the lower floors, and as for Ms. Miyoshi, it looks like she doesn’t even dive into dungeons. The most likely possibility would be that someone sold or consigned the orbs to them.”
“Indeed. In other words, if we only look at the phenomenon, you can’t think of anything other than them being able to suddenly acquire orbs out of nowhere, and deliver them on time, using some unknown method.”
“It…might be as you say.”
“And that’s where the verification I previously mentioned comes into play.”
Even after hearing that, it’s completely unclear to Naruse what Saiga wants to say.
“A specific skill orb is indispensable for verifying the information coming out of Russia.”
“You don’t say!”
“Right. So the matter at hand is whether we can’t get them to arrange that orb ─ <Different World Language Comprehension> for us.”
<Different World Language Comprehension>
The orb, which recently dropped in Russia’s Kiryas Kul’yegan Dungeon, appears to grant its user the power to understand records written in the language found within dungeons.
The research institute that got its hands on it immediately translated a part of a known epitaph, and publicized it.
“Was it such sensational content?”
“To the extent of throwing countries all across the globe into a frenzy. However, we can’t even confirm those contents through other research institutes in the first place.”
They have also tried to decode it by putting the translated content and the epitaph together, but there might be numerous unknown nouns that won’t have a corresponding word in human language to begin with.
At present, it seems impossible to verify whether the translation by that country was correct or whether some information has been withheld.
“If the published content was to be utter nonsense, they would likely lose any international credibility right after a second orb is found, hence it’s likely not all bogus. However, there’s plenty of possibility that they are trying to gain an advantage by concealing some important information. Above all, the publicized translation appears to only cover a part of the epitaph.”
“Somehow that sounds troublesome.”
As soon as the intentions of a nation are involved, the world becomes more complicated than necessary.
“So, what kind of monsters drop that orb?”
“We don’t know.”
“Yet, don’t you think it’s possible that D-Powers, who have already produced unregistered orbs with ease, could do it?”
“You’re telling me to indirectly induce them in that direction?”
“That’s way too unreasonable…”
D-Powers has some kind of secret. That’s a fact. Naruse thinks to herself. Since I feel that I have been accepted by them, within limitations, they might trust me to some extent.
However, this order all of a sudden. If they were to take on this task, it’d be something like proving that they have a method to obtain specific orbs.
“…Is it fine for me to give them the details if they were to ask for the reason?”
“I suppose that’s inevitable. However, make sure to tell them that they’re forbidden to speak about it.”
“Understood. But please don’t expect too much, okay?”
“No, I fully expect you to succeed.”
Naruse sighs deeply after hearing his reply.
“..So, what are you going to do about the price?”
After all, it’s an orb badly desired by nations all around the world, if the previous story is true.
It’s difficult to estimate just what price would have been paid for it, if it had been put up at the previous auction, but what I can say with certainty is that it would have cost an immense amount of money.
“The price…can’t you bring it down by asking as a friend?”
It’s a very Japanese-like method, but it’s impossible for something like that to work in the business world.
Especially where extraordinary big business is involved.
“Thought so… However, it doesn’t look like the JDA’s annual budget would be enough to cover the costs that might be suitable for achieving this request, don’t you think? To get straight to the point, we won’t be able to pay.”
“I don’t think that’ll be tolerable for them, if we say something like, Sorry we don’t have any money after ordering a house from someone and having them build it.”
“Guess so… Well, I guess I have no other option but to talk it over with the higher ups so that the money will be provided by the country. For the meantime, you can proceed with the idea that we’ll buy it at a moderate price + expenses.”
“Got it. However, if you can’t prepare the moderate price, the JDA’s credibility will hit rock bottom.”
“In that case I’m pretty sure that they’ll be able to at least get the original costs as long as they put it up for auction.”
Admittedly, she wondered whether that might not be a life-threatening undertaking if they did something like that, but she kept those words to herself. After all, it’s much more likely that they won’t find the orb in question.
Saiga stands up, creates a little gap through the blinds with his fingers, and casually says while gazing outside, “Don’t you feel like Area 12’s world rank 1, who we can’t identify at all, is casting his shadow on that place?”
“An unknown third member, you say?”
Letting the blinds return to their original position with a rattling, he turns around in Naruse’s direction, “Come to think of it, a message from the USDA (US Dungeon Association) has arrived.”
“Starting tomorrow, it looks like Team Simon is going to dive into Yoyogi for a while.”
“I have no clue whether it’s some kind of competition or what, but I heard that First Lieutenant Kimitsu’s team is going to dive from Narashino1 as well.”
“Kimitsu, you mean Ms. Iori?”
Kimitsu Iori is ranked 18 in the world. She’s Japan’s ace explorer.
“Correct. Starting tomorrow, Yoyogi will house a high-end lineup of explorers. The Management Department will become busy as well, I think.”
“Should I also help out…?”
“You stick to D-Powers. I’m sure something is going to happen this month. I’m counting on you for the <Different World Language Comprehension> matter.” Saiga says and leaves the meeting room.
Left behind, Naruse unintentionally mutters, “Telling me I’m counting on you…jeez.”