Editor: Darkdhaos, alkin
Because of the exemplary performance of the Silver Phoenix Knights, the Forest City was relieved from its biggest crisis ever.
After finishing off the shell beasts completely, the giant tree garden was still in a state of chaos. This was because most of the Alvanz had been tasked to clear the carcass scattered around the giant tree gardens, even though the high alert status had been dismissed.
From the scale of the attack, the amount of damage they suffered was light and Althusser Ravine Gate wasn’t affected at all. On the other hand, Alvanz lost quite a lot of men and equipment, and would be troubled by the need to rebuild it.
As for the Silver Phoenix Knights, they were as good as new, just slight damage from the reckless charges of the chariot. They were stationed in Althusser for now and assisted with the rebuilding works. A side note was that the 3rd Company of Tzendrinble was the most prominent in the Fort. Possessing transport capacity and speed far exceeding those of normal wagons, they became a powerful transport team. They were also travelling to and fro busily with carts full of resources today.
Compared to them, the 1st and 2nd Company performing guard duty had an easier time. While they were performing their rounds, someone visited the Silver Phoenix Knights.
“We are in your debt. If not for you, I can’t imagine what would have happened to us, we would probably be wiped out.”
The visitor was a member of the Alvanz, Arnis.
“You are too kind; this is part of our duty too.”
Edgar felt bad when he saw Arnis lowering his head. Edgar bore a lot of respect for Arnis after the experience of losing to him in the simulated battle some time ago.
“No matter what the reason, the fact is that we are saved. We knew each other, so I wanted to say thanks personally.”
“... Yes, if you insist.”
Seeing Edgar being stiff as usual, Arnis fought to suppress his wry smile. He knew such attitude was inappropriate when conversing with your benefactor.
“By the way, your Knight looks great.”
Arnis looked at Aldelecumber by their side as if to shift the focus. It might look as plain as Earlecumber, but it had fantastic fighting capabilities, taking out dozens of shell beast swarms led by drill shell beasts. Edgar reacted honestly with joy when he heard the praise for his machine.
“Thank you, Aldelecumber is a partner I am proud of.”
“I thought so. Seeing how active it was, even we want to get the new models. Your entire Order is outfitted with the new models, right? It has quite the impact.”
Arnis thought back of the scene back then. Even after discounting the Tzendrinbles, the performance of the two Company of Karrdatolle could only be described as astounding. It was not a stretch to say that they did the job of several times of the old model… No, ten times would be more accurate. Since such an incident happened, it was natural for Yanis to import the new models to strengthen the Alvanz.
“I think it is only a matter of time before the new Silhouette Knights are implemented throughout the nation. Since this is an important strategic base, you should have the priority of getting the improved machines.”
“You are right; I’m looking forward to it.
Arnis seemed very happy when he heard Edgar’s reply and smiled a little childishly.
Several days later, a carriage arrived at Althusser Ravine Gate with an unexpected guest— the director of NTR Lab, Olver Blomdahl. NTR Lab might be an important organisation within the nation, but it was hard to imagine how it might be related to this secret city. He came before Ambrosius the moment he alighted.
“Sorry for the wait, Your Excellency… First of all, thank you for saving our ‘home’! Please accept my heartfelt gratitude.”
“Yeah, I had been waiting. Don’t mention it, this place is important to us, too, and we only followed what the ‘law’ dictated.”
Olver nodded and looked at Eru who was with Ambrosius.
“Yes, there is no better chance than this.”
Eru who didn’t know what they were talking about shift his gaze between the two of them. Ambrosius smiled mischievously and told him: “Eh, Ernesti, I made a promise with you some time ago, right?”
Eru nodded. The promise could only be referring to one thing.
“I promised to tell you the secret of the reactor if you made the best Silhouette Knight. The performance of the Silver Phoenix Knight, and the Knight and Chariot that defeated the shell beast queen. I am pleased by the knights you have made. Hence, I decided to fulfill my promise.”
Eru’s expression shone as he listened. According to the promise, Eru will have the chance to learn ‘how to construct an ether reactor’. Ether reactor was akin to the heart of the Silhouette Knight, an organ that converts the endless supply of ether in the air into mana. With it, Silhouette Knights ruled over other creatures as the strongest weapon. That was the last piece Eru didn’t know and was searching for in his pursuit of building Silhouette Knights.
“... Is, is it really okay?”
“Fufu, this is the second heavyweight demon beast you bested, that alone is more than enough merit. Even though I abdicated the throne, I have to reward you for your accomplishments as the former regent. The reigning King agrees, too, so just accepted it.”
Since it reached this point, there was nothing to stop Eru. Changing his attitude, Eru walked towards Tzendorg intending to leave right away. Ambrosius stopped him in a hurry.
“Hey, I will definitely bring you there, so don’t rush. No combat forces are allowed beyond the Ravine Gates, so we can’t ride Tzendorg there. We have to follow the ‘law’ only those permitted by the ‘Watchman’ can enter.”
“Watchman…? So I have to meet him? Who might that be?”
Ambrosius pointed to his side where the ever smiling Olver was standing. He came before Eru and bowed respectfully.
“Please follow me, Sir Silver Phoenix Knight Commander. Allow me to show you to ‘Home’, my hometown.”
The gate deep in the depths of Althusser Ravine Gate opened with a dull sound, revealing a road leading further in, away from the giant tree garden. At the end of this road was the place that manufactured the ether reactors and where its secret lies. For Eru, it was a path towards paradise.
After finishing their preparations, the former regent Ambrosius boarded the carriage alongside Eru and Olver, and set off through the gate. After they left, the gate closed once again, barring entry for anyone else.
Surrounding the Althusser Ravine Gate was scenes of barren mountains.
Eru’s group travelled up between the mountains on a carriage which was covered by a thin fog, obscuring their view. The paved road continued all the way ahead so they didn’t worry about losing their way. Shortly after, the mist dissipated and their surroundings cleared up.
After advancing a little while more, the mountain peaks were getting even closer. After going over that mountain, Eru was speechless after watching the view from the carriage window.
At the foot of the mountain was an open ground on gentle slopes covered by greenery. Some distance away from the forest was an undulating mountain range which extends to Eru’s left and right as well. In simple terms, this was a basin covered by mountains on all sides, a natural haven formed by mount Aubigne. The only road that could access it easily was protected by a fort. As expected of one of the few important bases in the nation, its defence was as sturdy as gold.
There was something other than a basin in the forest. What attracted Eru’s attention was the giant city that was fused with the forest.
In the centre of the basin was a tall tower, and the city seemed to radiate out with it as the centre. The buildings did not displace the trees, but built into them as if they were merging into the forest. What laid before him was a strange and unique architectural styles, completely different from what he saw in Laihiala and Jantunen. The culture here was obviously different from the Fremmevira Kingdom.
“... That is the place we are going, Alfheim, the Forest City.”
The epic scene combining manmade structures with nature mesmerised Eru, he only came to his senses after hearing Ambrosius speak.
“Alfheim… So that is the place Ether Reactors are made, and where its secret lies! I knew the manufacturing place is classified, just like the production method… Hufufu, I have finally reached this stage…”
Eru pressed his entire body onto the glass of the window, watching every single thing on the street closely. He won’t learn anything by staring at them, but he couldn’t help restraining his sense of joy.
“Those who live in the Forest City are descendents of hermits, the race of magic and technology, Elves.”
Olver continued the topic as he undid the cloth covering his head, letting down the blonde hair hidden within and revealing his sharp, narrow ears. His ears that were about the length of a palm were a clear sign he was from a different race.
“Elves… Erm, is Mr Olver an Elf?”
“Correct, I might be a Watchman, living outside of home and is responsible as the liaison person between you ‘humans’ and ‘home’, but I am also an Elf.”
When Eru heard that, he became doubtful and asked with his head tilted:
“By the way, I had never met other Elves before. Could it be that few Elves live on the outside?”
Olver nodded with his usual smile.
“As most of the Elves lived in homes similar to this Alfheim, people like me who travels outside won’t reveal ourselves easily. To us, those who leave home voluntarily are strange.”
“... Is it to hide the Ether Reactor production method?”
That was the part Eru was interested in. To be frank, his curiosity towards the Elves was more like the extension of his interest for the Ether Reactor. Eru who asked suddenly while leaning forward surprised Olver a little, making Ambrosius who couldn’t help smiling say:
“Fufu, don’t be so anxious. Olver’s situation is different; he doesn't like to show off too much due to some reasons. Other than that, we have our own considerations; that’s why the Elves’ existence disappeared from history.”
Eru was sitting seiza style in his seat, ready to listen. His attitude was prompting ‘tell me more about Ether Reactors’.
“Haha, to be frank, I don’t know much about the production process of Ether Reactors, either.”
Olver was taken aback by how passionate Eru was and reminded him in a hurry.
“I would love to explain, but those who are watchmen wouldn’t know about the production of Ether Reactors.”
This much was obvious, they won’t share classified secrets with people who were leaving ‘home’.
“Is that so… but someone will tell me after I get there, right? I am… really looking forward to it.”
“I apologise for saying this despite your anticipation… I cannot guarantee that you can learn the production method of Ether Reactors.”
Olver hesitated and said after making up his mind:
“Think about it, what it means for the Elves who are the only ones capable of producing Ether Reactors. It is not just about keeping it a secret… It is something only an Elf can do.”
Eru replied immediately with sparkling eyes.
“After listening to all of it, researching and understanding everything, I will attempt it. If it doesn’t work, I will look for another way, and it doesn’t work, I will give up. I will start with the stage of listening to everything.”
No matter how intelligent Olver was, he had no choice but to give up on his persuasion.
“Eh, that will do. Oh, right, there is some time before we arrive, so allow me to introduce the Elves to relief your boredom. Ernesti, how old do you think I am?”
“...? About twenty five, less than thirty.”
Eru looked at Olver’s pointy ears and answered bafflingly. Olver smiled deviously in reply.
“You guessed wrong. The correct answer; I am eighty seven.”
When Eru heard that Olver claimed to be older than Ambrosius, Eru showed a complicated expression. On one side was a man with white hair and wrinkles looking his age; on the other was a young man with smooth skin and a head of blonde hair. Looking at them side by side, it was hard to imagine that Olver was older.
However, Olver wasn’t joking. The young appearance that didn’t match his actual age, the Elf race that hides themselves— from these clues, Eru found the answer.
“Could it be… Elves have a longer lifespan than us?”
It was Olver’s turn to widen his narrow eyes, showing a rare expression of surprise.
“That’s how it is… You thought about that so quickly, I thought you will think I am joking. That’s right; we Elves have a far longer lifespan than you humans, and live on average until five hundred years old. Even when we get older, our appearance doesn’t change, I will still look this way a few hundred years later.”
Eru appeared calm on the outside, but felt surprised within. Normal humans live to an average of seventy years. Living until eighty was shocking in this world. It was about the same for Dwarves, they were just humans that had stronger muscular built.
What if a race that lives seven times as long mixed in with them? Their ever young appearance will spark unnecessary friction with the other races, and the Elves might even be the ones losing. The face Eru showed seemed to be expressing that he understood why the City Forest was built in such an inaccessible place.
“That’s why you all live in secrecy…”
Eru frowned a little with his head slightly bowed, but Olver simply shook his head casually.
“Hmm? Oh, it’s not like that. Elves live in secrecy because we don’t want to be bothered.”
When Eru who was in seiza heard Olver said that, he tilted his head and crossed his arms. Hoping he misheard earlier, Eru asked again:
“... Eh, I beg your pardon, what did you say Elves were like again?”
“We don’t want to be bothered.”
The serious atmosphere so far was broken by this sentence.
“That might sound a bit wrong. Elves are actually a meaningful race, but because of our long lifespan, our mentality tends to change. The first hundred years of our lives is about the same as normal humans.”
Olver nodded while pointing at himself. Indeed, he looked no different from normal humans.
“However, things become different after that. Elves that lived to two, three hundred years will lose their vigour and interest in their surroundings, spending their times in meditation and slumber, gradually they don’t want to be bothered. Elves who are at the end of their lifespan are said to be just like trees.”
This was beyond Eru’s imagination. The race that was in control of the secret he craved had a very unique lifestyle.
While they chatted, their carriage was about to arrive at the hidden haven— Alfheim.
From the Athusser Ravine Gate to the Forest City was a road paved along the mountain paths.
Starting from small streams, it congregated and formed rapids, flowing alongside the mountain path to form rivers. Both roads and rivers extend into the centre of the basin area, and then into the city.
Including the road the carriage was traveling on, the streets in the city was paved with stones.
The rivers flowing in splitted along narrow water paths, spreading throughout the city. It was filled with thick vegetation which was just a bit taller than Silhouette Knights, unlike the huge colossal trees. Not only were there a lot of branches on the trees, the trunk was also bent in a weird way. Their erratic appearance gave those watching it a sense of unease.
The layout of buildings that could be seen from in between the forest was very unique, as if the architecture was built to lean on the twisted trees. Or rather, half of the structure was fused with the tree, which was part of the house. Some of it was built really close together; others had the trees growing right through the roof. The material used was unique; some vegetation was grown to serve as the base support structure, and was reinforced with timber, stone and cement.
“This city coexists with the forest.”
The building was built around the trees; this was the reflection of the mentality of the Elves, a representation of their unique culture.
Shortly after, the carriage reached the centre of the city. An exceptionally special building was here, unique even amongst the forest that was one with the city.
“This is the heart of Alfheim, ‘Forest Sanctuary’.”
Forest Sanctuary was a tower of pure white ivory, prominent in the Forest City that was filled with the colours of nature. Its surface was curved gently without any clear patterns, with a spiral shape becoming apparent from the mid section and forming a pointed tip at the top, which was similar to some type of shell. The base was wide, supported by clusters of pillars and beams; it even had strange windows and corridors within.
Is this a part of a giant shell beast, as large as the queen shell beast?
As Eru fell into his happy imaginations about unknown creatures, he saw the door opening for the waiting carriage and remembered this was a building used by people.
A slender figure came out of the building with the sound of clothes fluttering. Olver was dressed just like humans, but the Elves living in the forest followed their original culture. They mainly cover themselves with light green clothes, clasping them with accessories which looked similar to flowers and trees.
The Elf who came before the group bowed in a way unique to the Elves, and led them into the Forest Sanctuary.
“Welcome, former Regent and Sir Olver. This way please… Elder is expecting you.”
Ambrosius nodded after alighting from the carriage and led Eru and Olver in with confident strides.
The inside of the Sanctuary also used timber that was as white as the outside. Perhaps it was the excellent design that made use of natural lightning; it wasn’t dark despite the lack of artificial illumination.
Rainbows form in some places due to the angle of refraction, splashing the wall with faint myriad of colours. Eru turned his head around, watching the place curiously. Such smooth surfaces didn’t seem to be manmade, maybe they did build this out of the shell of some giant demon beast. He continued walking while thinking about such idle matters.
The centre of the Sanctuary wasn’t partitioned by ceilings, and it was possible to see the tip of the tower when he looked up.
When the group reached the hall in the centre, Eru was reminded of the term ‘Altar’ or ‘Throne’. The reason was the person sitting in the chair shaped platform found in the centre.
“It has been a long time, elder Quitterie. When we met previously, it was right after my coronation, it has been thirty years since we last met.”
Ambrosius addressed the person sitting on the marble chair. Behind him, Olver knelt on one knee, overlapping his hands on his head and bowed. After performing this unique greeting, he left.
Elder Quitterie Kirjarinta— at first glance, the one sitting on the throne was a young girl. To describe her in a word… would be ‘white’. Her skin was as pale as the walls of the Sanctuary, even her hair was translucent. When Eru saw the silver pupils when she opened her eyes, he felt that it was out of place. Such colour was not something humans should have.
She was wearing a colourful Elven dress that mimics the colours of nature, and covered it with several layers of white clothes and sashes. It made her look as ethereal as the snow falling on the greenery.
“It hadn’t been long Ambrosius, you are just old.”
Her voice was as pleasing as music, but sound queer to the ones listening. Lacking emotions in her tone, her voice was flat and lacked warmth.
If Olver’s explanation was correct, the elderly Elves wasn’t interested in their surroundings. And losing interest in others meant their feelings were getting blander. Compared to her voice, the rustling of the leaves in the wind had more emotions.
“What kind of greeting is this? Eh, that’s how humans like me are.”
For long lived races like Elves, what was important wasn’t youth, but the accumulated age. It was the same for Elder who was at the top of her people, and it was impossible to tell from her appearance how long she had lived.
“Well then, I will tell you about the situation outside. We had exterminated the shell beast swarm invading the giant tree garden some days ago; they will not harm this Forest City.”
“... That so. I don’t sense any uproar and hostility, thank you for your assistance.”
They went straight onto the topic after a simple greeting. According to the agreement between Elves and humans, the two races were equal, so talk progressed speedily with minimal ceremony.
“Yes, since this was the agreement dictated by ‘law’, you don’t need to worry. There is another personal matter. You might have heard from Olver, but one of my people wants to learn about Ether Reactors.”
Quitterie listened without any reaction and mumbled:
“So you want to ask this, too.”
“Me, too? That’s right; I am probably not the first to ask…”
“The King of the humans had all asked at least once, and had brought different people each time. The best craftsmen, knights and scholars. All of them ended in failure and you all still had not learned your lesson. No, times are always changing, so this was expected.”
Since she took up the position of Elder, she had seen six Kings of the humans. For her, this had become a routine.
“Huh, so it is that hard. However, the one I brought this time is different. An extraordinary talent, a child that will accomplish great things in the future.”
“… You say it is a child?”
Throughout the dialogue, Quitterie’s face remained unmoved. By the aesthetics of humans, her face was very beautiful. However, such a face still made others uncomfortable when she displayed no expressions. Relative to her, Olver’s face was much more expressive.
“No matter how talented one was, humans won’t have enough time. No matter how hard you practice, you can’t reach our realm. Those who came in the past were the cream of the crop amongst the humans, but it was futile in the end. I can’t understand why you let such a young one challenge this.”
“Hey, don’t be so stingy, he might surprise you, alright?”
“Ambrosius, former Regent of the humans. In accordance of the law, we will give great consideration to your view, but we reserve the right to reject nonsensical requests. While we are grateful for your help earlier, these are two different matters. I have no intention of playing along if it will be a waste of effort.”
“I see, it seems that I didn’t explain myself clearly enough. Of course, we don’t want to make a wasted trip, either. This child had extraordinary abilities amongst the humans, since he can operate a Silhouette Knight without a Magius Engine, that’s how proficient his magic is… Do you still think this is a waste of effort?”
Quitterie’s face was still calm, but she only replied after a short while.
“This child… Is this true?”
“Why would I lie to you? He had accomplished amazing feats because of his ability. And the one who took down the boss of the demon beast during the battle of the great tree garden is him.”
Ambrosius call forth Eru who was besides him and pushed him towards Quitterie. Eru felt uneasy as the unfocused eyes of Quitterie stared at him. Finally, after a long silence, she made her decision.
“In pursuant to the ‘law’, I will believe you, Ambrosius. Thank you, child, for protecting the great meditation and this home. Challenge it then. Since you have the ability, you have a better chance than the humans who came before you. Humans are fascinating, to accomplish so much at such a tender age… Attendant.”
An Elf reacted to the soft summons Quitterie made and present himself with haste.
“Bring them inside. One of them wishes to learn about Ether Reactors, teach him until he is satisfied.”
The Elven man lowered his head in a unique way, then led Eru and Ambrosius into the depths of the Forest Sanctuary. Eru who realised that Quitterie had acknowledged him followed behind excitedly. When Ambrosius walked passed Quitterie, he looked at her profile.
“Thank you, Elder. Although it might looked like I am cashing in on a favour.”
Quitterie didn’t look at him when she answered. No matter how beautiful her features were, her unmoving face felt creepy.
“Meditation time is important to us, and there is value in protecting it. We merely paid the appropriate price in return.”
Ambrosius nodded and disappeared into the depths of the building.
After he left, Quitterie who was left alone closed her eyes, returning to her meditation. Her conscious once again slipped into the clear torrents and gradually spread out.
The group walked silently along the corridors that were sparkling.
Leading the way was an Elven man. The passage seemed to be endless. Eru who was feeling bored looked up at Ambrosius and asked:
“By the way, Elder mentioned the term ‘law’, what was that about?”
“Hmm? Simply put, that is the way we humans and Elves communicate. It encompasses the trade agreement between us.”
“It seems very important, but is explained casually.”
“From what I know, the Elves made the goal of seeking a higher existence their sacred duty. Olver also said that young elves accumulate experience through activities, but as they grew older, the time they spent in meditation becomes longer. For elders, it won’t be strange to spend an entire day on meditation. After they reached such an age, their view of time is very different.”
Eru thought back about the conversation with Quitterie. She didn’t look at the person she was speaking to, and don’t move much at all. She lived in a different realm from humans.
“But they are living beings, too, they will die if they don’t eat. Normally, they either hunt or farm to sustain themselves… Which led to the ‘law’.”
As the topic got to the main point, the ominous feeling in Eru’s heart became stronger.
“Ether Reactors. They provide us with parts human are unable to produce, and we provide food and security. That is the content of the agreement.”
“The Elves really have no intention of leaving their hidden home…”
“Not all Elves, Olver and some others are rather active. Well, they will become like that after they become Elders.”
Races that had long lifespan were different from humans in many ways, it would be hard to live together. Right now, their relationship had a very good balance, that’s how Eru felt.
The Elven man led them into a room deep within the Forest Sanctuary. It was the same white scenery everywhere, which made Eru and Ambrosius give up on tracking where they were. This place was illuminated with warm light just like the main hall; the barren room only had a few tables and chairs.
“By the Elder’s orders, I will teach you the knowledge related to Ether Reactors.”
The man said with a stiff attitude. He didn’t have the inhuman atmosphere of Quitterie, and is probably over a century old, retaining enough emotions to converse with humans.
“Eh, I am just here to accompany him, please speak directly with Ernesti here.”
Shifting his gaze, the man looked at the petite boy who was leaning forward with anticipation after sitting down. Seeing Eru leaning the top half of his body onto the table, the Elven man seemed troubled.
“Erm, what would you like to know?”
“Everything, please start from the beginning. Please tell me everything about Ether Reactors.”
Being taken aback after Eru finally got on top of the table, the man decided to simply execute his duties and not think too much about it.
“I understand. Well, then, I will give a brief introduction from the point of invention…”
And so, he explained in detail. What is an Ether Reactor? How did the structure that converts ether to mana came about?
“The truth is, what is known as Ether Reactor, is the heart of living creatures. The creatures in this world possesses mana, there are no exceptions. Even creatures without catalyst and couldn’t use magic possessed the ability to generate mana. Other than this, we know that this conversion happens in the heart. Ether that entered the body together with air will be diverted to the heart. It is converted to mana there. At the core of the conversion is the catalyst crystal in our hearts.”
“... Catalyst crystal? Isn’t catalyst crystal used to convert mana into magic?”
Eru’s question was right on point. Humans could only perform magic with tools embedded with catalyst crystal. When casting spells, the mana will be converted back to ether and released into the air. In other words, the function of the catalyst crystal was opposite of the Ether Reactor.
“You are right, but the conversion isn’t strictly one way. Under certain conditions, it can convert ether into mana. To reverse the function of the catalyst crystal, two things are required.”
First was the maintenance of blood circulation. Something within the blood reacts with the catalyst crystal, turning ether into mana. Second would be the script, brain of the living beings— a unique script will be activated by the brain on an instinctual level. It was said that the ancient Elf sage who discovered this secret made the first Ether Reactor.
“According to the stories, the first Ether Reactor was a large silverware covered in emblem grafts, and was filled with the fresh blood of animals.”
He succeeded in generating mana, but the equipment was a failure.
The reason was simple; blood that was outside the body lost their vitality shortly after. It goes without saying that the need to constantly change the blood made the design impractical. After that, the ancient sage kept researching through trial and error for the liquid that could replace blood.
“In the end, he focused on the field that is known as ‘alchemy’ in modern terms. He tested the reaction of all sorts of potions with the catalyst crystal for a period of time that even Elves consider to be long.”
The Elves was relentless in his research, which yielded result after years of research. Elixir— an artificial blood created through alchemy.
“There are also the necessary scripts engraved onto the container, which are known as ‘song’. And the name of the script is called ‘Life Song’.”
The very first script that is part of the instinct of living beings, ‘Life Song’, is maintained by emblem grafting it onto the container. However, this led to another problem, which was the enormous size of the script.
If ‘Life Song’ was made directly into emblem grafts, it would require a spectacular amount of silver plates, bigger than a Silhouette Knight. To compress it to be smaller than a human as it was right now required a completely different method.
“And so, we used the top quality metal that was created by the influence of ether to graft it. Which is the reason why only we Elves can create Ether Reactors.”
“That is a metal correct? Why is that the reason only Elves can create Ether Reactor?”
“It will be faster to show you. Please wait a moment.”
After saying that, the Elven man exited the room, and returned with a block of metal shortly after. From just one look, Eru could tell this metal was different from any metals he had seen before. It had a silvery glister, and the surprising thing was the faint rainbow colour lights glimmering on it. The colour changes constantly, displaying an array of lights. It was definitely harbouring some sort of mysterious powers.
“Mithril… When I was doing my research, I found out the material needed was Elven ore.”
Eru muttered as he thought back on the Ether Reactor explanation he saw in the past.
“Elven ore? Ahh, that was the alias used for the masses. Mithril is rare, only found in places with dense amount of Ether. Its biggest feature was its incredible hardness and extreme malleability, so hard that the race claiming to be master of craftsmanship will throw away their hammer in surrender.”
Eru was a bit troubled as he studied the metal block before him carefully. He couldn’t tell what this piece of metal that could frustrate the dwarves had to do with the Elves.
The Elven man reached his hand out suddenly and everyone focused on it— there wasn’t anything strange about it; just that it was a little pale for a man. A faint light engulfed his arm out of the blue as he activated some magic. He grabbed the Mithril and it deformed as easily as clay.
“... Didn’t you say it was extremely hard?”
“You can’t shape it by hammering it, but it will react to a certain spell because of its long exposure to Ether.”
“...! Could it be, the reason why you say only Elves could do it…”
Eru looked at his hand covered in a faint light. Looking at the arm as a whole, something strange could be seen— the man wasn’t holding a wand, but was using magic.
The man nodded slowly when he saw the change in Eru’s expression.
“As you have realised now, we Elves have catalyst crystal inside our body, allowing us to perform magic to shape the Mithril. That is the technique we can use that humans and dwarves can’t use. Pardon me for being blunt, but humans don’t have the ability to wield several magics at the same time to handle Mithril. We have great mastery over magic.”
The Elves used special magic when shaping Mithril, developing the skills to engrave the scripts compactly and minimising the equipment needed to graft ‘Life Song’. It was far beyond what could be achieved by engraving on Silver plates.
Ambrosius who was listening quietly couldn’t help moaning when he heard that. In that case, the other races won’t be able to imitate them, and he understood why the Elves refused to make this information public. Their confidence stemmed from the difference in biological structure.
“And that is how we create Ether Reactors. Are you satisfied with this explanation?”
Catalyst crystal, Elixir, Mithril. The components of the Ether Reactor had all been revealed. Eru pondered about how to solve all this problems, and was driven by his interest to ask:
“How is the power of the Ether Reactor determined? What I mean is, what do we need to change in order to increase the power output?”
“It is mainly affected by the size of the catalyst crystal and the Ether conversion efficiency. Actually, we all know that the larger the demon beast, the bigger the crystal in its heart. Another thing is that if the crystal catalyst is obtained from within the demon beast, it will improve efficiency. However, the crystal catalyst within a creature’s body will be slightly mutated and hard to use.”
The answer was simpler than before, which disappointed Eru.
“It’s such a simple way to improve quality, but you all never use it?”
“Well… processing it is difficult after all.”
Most of the Ether Reactors are made from crystal catalyst dug from the mines. It is easy to obtain, stable in quality and easy to process. In contrast, just the heart of one duel level demon beast would be enough to create an Ether Reactor. The power throughput is higher, but the quality wasn’t stable. Just installing it to churn the engine meant complicated adjustment had to be made to utilise the characteristics of each catalyst. Since the highest and lowest output varies widely, there was a need to install a stabilising component.
Simply put, it was a lot of effort to make just one Ether Reactor. For a nation, it was better to have more Ether Reactors. Compared to powerful engines based on an unstable supply of materials, a country would focus more on one with components that could be harvested steadily. This was simple logic.
The unfortunate thing was that for the robot nerd who finally made his way into the hidden city of the Elves, such obvious logic didn’t mean anything. Eru looked back at Ambrosius sharply.
“In summary, if we used the catalyst crystal found in a big enough demon beast, a powerful Ether Reactor can be made! Your Excellency, sorry for being so sudden, but I have the perfect choice for this!!”
“What a coincidence, me too. Eh, you want to know what we did with the heart? Of course we are still keeping it. The best choice you have in mind…”
“Ernesti, it is true that we can create an amazing Ether Reactor with that, but the process of creating it would be filled with difficulties. Do you still want to take up the challenge?”
Ambrosius had never shown such a stern expression to Eru before, but he gave up shortly after and relented. That’s right, it was pointless to ask. Normal people won’t even want to challenge it, and would have given up if the only thing driving them was passion.
If they still sought out more at this stage, they would be an incorrigible maniac.
“Alright, that was something you defeated in the first place, so do what you will with it… take the heart of the behemoth with you.”
And Eru’s answer was obvious.
Night engulfed the Forest City slowly. When Ambrosius and Olver stepped out of the hidden city, the sun had completely set, covering the forest in darkness. The carriage illuminated by lamps drove slowly towards the Ravine Gate.
“Your Excellency, is it really fine to leave Ernesti behind?”
“He already said that he won’t go back before he learns how to make Ether Reactors. I can’t do anything with him lying face down on the table and refusing to leave. I might be a retiree, but I can’t keep staying with him.”
And so, Eru stayed behind to learn the crucial Life Song, but found that it wasn’t easy. It was larger than the script that controls Silhouette Knights, and could be said to be the largest magic script in history. Just the amount of papers needed to copy Life Song was stupendous, no matter how amazing Eru was; he would need time to learn them all. That’s why Ambrosius decided to leave him behind.
“Don’t worry, his accommodation and means of going back had been arranged, he will come back when he is satisfied. Before that, there are some things we need to prepare.”
Ambrosius didn’t doubt that Eru can learn how to make Ether Reactors completely. Since that is the case, he will definitely get started making one when he comes back. Ambrosius had to make preparations for that moment.
“The future seem hazardous and unpredictable, don’t you think it is exciting?”
“... I think that is scary, just what is driving that boy to go so far?”
Ambrosius folded his arms and answered with his chest puffed out:
“I am too afraid to ask as well.”
When they returned to Althusser Ravine Gate, there was an unexpected commotion.
“If Eru is not going back, I will wait here, too!”
“Your Excellency, he is our Knight Commander, please grant us leave to wait for his return.”
Eru didn’t come back with Ambrosius. After hearing the entire story (the part about the Ether Reactor was covered up), the members of the Silver Phoenix Knights expressed their wish to stay behind. As they couldn’t go any further into the Forest City, they had to wait inside the fort.
“Alright, do as you please… Everyone, I will leave that interesting person in your hands.”
The Silver Phoenix Knight was already a group that shared a common destiny. Ambrosius didn’t blame them and granted them permission before heading back to the capital with Emrys and the others to tie up the loose ends.
When Eru finally learned all the knowledge of the Elves and returned after satisfying his curiosity, a month had already passed.