Translator’s note: hey there, long time no see. First, let me apologize for not understanding a “secret code” in the previous chapter, it is now fixed and everything should work fine!
To be honest, the original actually uses only the specific nouns to form that code, but since it was impossible to keep that as it was in English, I tried to recreate it with adjectives.
Now, a bit about myself: I’m very glad the summer is ending. I hate summer with all my heart and this one has been quite hard for me to endure. My productivity dropped abysmally and I thought more than once to drop everything concerning translations and just waste my time doing nothing productive… but I’m slowly recovering.
So far, this year has swung from being one of the most productive of my life to being one of the most wasted of my life: in some months I worked like crazy and literally couldn’t stop, in others I barely did anything and my stress levels skyrocketed… but I’m sure things will be better in the next few months and in the next year.
As always, I’m sorry for being a messed slowpoke. I’ll try my best to feel better, cheer up a bit and return working like I’d love to.
The slave merchant’s prediction – Part 2
The crowd in front of the top layer’s gate scattered and Suzuran’s members returned to their base.
Everyone was feeling blue and the mood in the room was quite heavy.
“Sorry for keeping silent about it…”
Eluria’s voice cut through the silence, speaking from the magic tool.
“I only ask to confirm this, but… is what Elvis said true?”
“Yes… I am not the legitimate daughter of the former Queen. The Gooddess’ blood does not flow in my veins.”
Eluria’s answer sounded very weak.
“Still, the princess’ nativity should’ve been announced long before the former Queen’s assassination.”
“The former Queen was not blessed with children, but our people would panic if they knew, thus she announced she gave birth to a girl anyway.”
“What if she managed to give birth to her real daughter, then?”
“They would have covered the matter by saying that the first princess had died. They said she was very frail, so it was made public that she could not get out of the palace.”
“I see… that’s why I never saw the princess when I visited the palace. But I remember seeing you, Lady Eluria, a bunch of times.”
“Lux, you do not need to call me ‘lady’ anymore, you know?”
“Forgive me, I’m used to see you as our queen.”
Lux replied to Eluria’s self-deprecating statement with a joke.
“Also… I hate to admit it, but I did not expect Elvis to disclose this matter to the public.”
“Same. I knew the truth, but I couldn’t predict his move either. This will surely impact on this country’s future and foundations.”
Eluria wasn’t part of the Goddess bloodline.
The government imposed a gag order on that truth, which was now broken. If the news spread through the whole country, the Holy Kingdom of Richtert would crumble.
That’s why they couldn’t understand why Elvis acted like that.
His actions didn’t make sense.
“I think he probably did it to blow Archbishop Crest’s plan, do you not?”
“And he did it… I failed to save him…”
Lise hugged her knees while sobbing on her chair.
“Nothing matters, I only managed to corner him.”
Takumi decided to confirm his sentence to topple over Lise’s help.
Tears welled up behind her eyelids as that fact slowly sank into her.
Then, Mirta suddenly rose her hand.
“I honestly don’t think there was anything wrong in what you did, Lise.”
“You… do not need to cheer me up…”
“No, Takumi said he was going to be okay.”
“What do you mean…?”
Lise was puzzled and tilted her head. Lux looked as much as confused while raising one of his eyebrows, unlike Jill and Gaitsu who understood what Mirta meant.
“Takumi knew there was the chance the guards could arrest Master Geld too, and yet he called his name. He would never put someone in danger like that, especially by revealing his identity.”
Gaitsu nodded and tried to give a hint.
“He called out each one of the other businessmen around, from the doctors to the carpenters. And he did not call out Geld once, but repeatedly.”
Lise was confused, so Mirta pushed on the matter.
“Why do you think he had to specify all their roles? I mean, remember what he said when he called Geld out.”
Lise didn’t see the point in doing it, but she trusted Mirta.
The ingenious carpenter heads, the merciful doctors, the offbeat gunshop master, the klutzy guys from the chartered ships, the accurate divinator mistresses and the youthful artisans…
“If you put together the first letter of each adjective he used, they form ‘I’m okay’. He couldn’t say it straightly, so he found a roundabout way to say it.”
“So… you still want to save him?”
“Yes, we totally do… but…!”
Suddenly Mirta fell on the ground like a puppet whose strings got cut. Jill and Gaitsu grimaced at her act too.
“I believe what you did was the key to save Takumi, Lise, but in the end none of us understand what’s his plan…”
Lux was silent for a few seconds, then he opened his mouth.
“Why don’t you ask Karin? She might know something about it.”
“She said she doesn’t know anything…”
“What about Kunon?”
“She kept going on about the sauce for meat…”
“Why does she talk about meat so much…?”
Lux pressed on his temple to stop the incoming headache and on his stomach to stop the stomachache. For a moment he looked exactly like Elsa.
“Everything will be alright as long as we figure out a way to help him, but…”
The next moment, someone knocked at the door.
“Uhm… sorry for interrupting. We gathered the papers you asked for…”
Lilia timidly opened the door and peeked in the room. Behind her was Killfer, who had a huge bag on his back.
Mirta was the first to greet them.
“Thank you, great job. Come in, take some rest.”
“C-Can we?! Lord Lux is present, though…!”
“Oh, don’t mind me. I’ll just sit here and fight with my stomach for now.”
Lux weakly waved a hand to them, and the two got in the room.
Killfer placed his bag on the floor with an oof.
“These are all the copies… supposedly disposed of… incinerated ones… oof…”
“I’m sorry you had to go through this after having pulled so many all-nighters…!”
“Don’t be, I get along well with Takumi’s insane requests. I reached out to all the scribes I know and their acknowledged Holy Text decorators and typesetters.”
The bags under his eyes were evident even through his glasses.
“Also, at least I had fun this time, unlike many others. Like using special ink on some Holy Book’s copies I received from my superiors, making holes of a specific dimension for bookbinding… I had a hell of a ride to work on all these fine details while having to deal with a mountain of other work.”
Hearing him, Lise almost jumped from her chair.
“Killfer, can you tell me more about that?”
“You mean about Takumi’s request?”
“Yes! Can you tell me as much details as you remember?”
“Leave it to me, Archbishop Crest! I have confidence in my memory!”
He took paper and pen in hand and started writing Takumi’s request to the finest details in a lively manner. His tired look was almost gone.
“Lilia, why is he so lively all of a sudden?”
“You see, Mirta, Killfer had to study the law formulas while copying the Holy Text, and the most referenced person in that field is Archbishop Crest, so… yeah.”
“Right… thinking about it, you two were quite fired up when we threw Lise’s welcome party, didn’t you?”
Killfer was writing strangely quickly while Mirta and Lilia whispered to each other.
“This is what Takumi requested, it’s all about the Holy Text. This is the type of paper, this one is the ink combination and this one is the bookbinding. If I wrote everything neatly inside them, it’s material for about thirty-six books.”
“No… you’re wrong, it’s for one thousand seventy hundred twenty-eight entries.”
Killfer goggled his eyes in bewilderment and looked at her.
Lise ignored him and read through the rest of the paper’s contents.
“Killfer, had Takumi already asked you jobs like this one in the past?”
“He sure did, about eleven other times.”
“Can you write down all of those too, please? And can you bring me the decorator of this volume along with the written order and the plan you had?”
“About the decorator… maybe if we look into the details, we can trace it back to the one who did this. Lilia, sorry, can you ask Écrire to come here? I’m sure she’ll come here right away if you tell her it’s a request from me and Archbishop Crest.”
“Y-Yes! I’m going right away!”
Lilia left the room in a hurry and Lise faced Suzuran’s leader.
“Mirta, I’m going to write many memos, can you bring me a lot of paper and ink? Sad scary guy, weenie guy, bring here all the things Takumi needed from this list.”
“Geiz… am I that scary?”
“Nah, you’re just daunting… better than being weenie, at least.”
Exchanging a sullen glance, the two of them left the room ready to gather everything up.
“I need to know if Takumi had a copy of the Holy Text.”
“No… not as far as I know, at least. I remember that he said he remembered it inside out, so he threw it away.”
“That heretic sure deserves to be punished…”
Still, she was sure Takumi could recite the Holy Text, which meant that Killfer was telling the truth.
But then, why had Takumi asked Killfer those supposedly disposed copies of the Holy Text…?
“Killfer, when did you make the last copy?”
“Thinking about it… a little before Suzuran ascended to be a major company. Takumi asked me to and I cursed him a lot on the process.”
“That’s the very same period when the clergymen changed their Holy Texts. The clergymen change them every twenty years.”
“Twenty years…? Why specifically twenty?”
Lux asked and Lise answered without raising her gaze from the paper, her hand still writing.
“Twenty is an extremely important number for law formulas. It represents the fall of the ten ancient empires and their reborn; the death and the rebirth, how things can change. It is present in many law formulas.”
That explained the ‘commemoration of twenty’ and the plan Bect handed them, but Killfer failed to keep up and tried to read through what he wrote again, unlike Lise, who was now sure about what to do.
“If you look at Takumi’s request you will count only thirty-six books, but in law formulas they could be thirty six elements that can combine together to create one thousand seven hundred twenty-eight results.”
“And you got all of this only by reading this paper?”
“Of course. I’m a genius, after all.”
Lise puffed her chest out and wore a huge smile on her face, as if she was back in high spirits.
Then, Lux tried to keep up with her.
“Does that mean that you understood what he’s trying to do, Archbishop Crest?”
“I cannot tell for sure yet, but there must be something hidden in the Holy Text’s decorations, since shape and symbols give meaning to law formulas. Understanding what they do will take me some time, though.”
She explained while filling the white papers in front of her.
“I feel like he was doing something about the Holy Text for a reason, and it is directly linked to the reason why he let the Inquisition take him.”
He was accused by the Inquisition and condemned by the twenty clergymen above the Archbishop.
The ceremony would start by opening the Holy Text and pledging to the Goddess…
Then, something would happen. That was probably what Takumi was planning.
“I pledge on my reputation as the genius who came up with law formulas… that I will figure everything out.”
With flames in her eyes, Lise’s pen raced through the white paper for an entire hour… in vain.
Now she was sobbing and groaning in frustration in front of something totally alien to her.
“What on earth are these symbols?!”
“I believe they’re called ‘hiragana’, according to what Takumi told me.”
“Where are them from?! Where the heck people use theeese?! What’s the difference between these ones and the ‘katakanas’ you told me about before?!”
“I know that they’re from his country, but I have no idea about what they can do in a law formula!”
“And you’re studying law formulas, Killfer?! Also, why are this character ‘月’ and this character ‘狼’here?! These will mess with the others!”
“I’m trying to decipher what ‘虎と猿と蛇’ means, okay?! Also, what does this ‘剣’ thing mean?!”
“That means ‘sword’ and ‘no more than half the numbers’!”
Lise and Killfer kept helping each other to decipher the formula.
What Killfer jotted down was promptly deciphered.
Except twelve tomes, all the other contents’ were the same. He also understood why specific types of ink and paper were used.
However, the real problem was what Lilia was holding in her hands: the Holy Text ornament drawing.
Then, Mirta tried to understand how they were doing.
“Uhm… I don’t really get anything about it, but… is it really that hard?”
“It is not just hard… I have no clue why he wrote it like this in the first place. He even put dummies up here and there to mislead people from figuring it out.”
“What if… it’s something completely unrelated to the Holy Text?”
“No, he used some fragments of formulas I know, so there is no doubt it is related. There must be something vital at this point that we have to understand…”
Lise answered her, then grumbled while rubbing her eyes.
“Killfer! We are removing all the dummies from the formula and see what it is about!”
“Wait, what?! You managed to figure out what is what in this mess?!”
“I’m a genius, the number one when it comes to this matter!”
While the two wrote down stuff totally incomprehensible for any commoner, the other people in the room just watched them work.
“Wow… I might be an Overlord, but I feel so powerless right now…”
“Hahaha… all I could do was preparing some food for them, so I know that feeling…”
Mirta had prepared a light meal for Lilia, who was doing errands for them, Jill and Geiz, who had readied all the stuff Killfer and Lise were working on right now, and herself.
However, she couldn’t help but smile wryly in front of something totally out of her reach.
Looking at her, Lux tried to focus on the genius and her current assistant again.
“Jeez… how much ahead did Takumi think…?”
The slave merchant had thought about every little detail: the ink, the paper, the bookbinding, the decoration and even mixing different materials together, like metals and wood, to add contents.
But what Lux was looking at weren’t the details, but the time stamps on the supposedly disposed materials and tools Killfer had brought.
They were all made seven years ago, which meant that Takumi had prepared this in all that time.
It also meant that he could imagine this would happen in seven years: that he would be caught and the inquisition would hold the trial.
Maybe he even knew what would come next too.
“It’s just as Elvis said.”
Using Takumi or having him doing what one wanted was only an illusion.
People only had the impression to catch and control him as they wanted, but it was actually the opposite: they were all dancing in Takumi’s palm, following what he predicted like dolls… or just like slaves.
“Maybe we’re approaching this problem too gently.”
“Mh? What do you mean, Lord Lux?”
“Oh, it’s nothing. Since I’m useless here, I’ll go back to the royal castle and join Lady Eluria’s bodyguards…”
When he stood up, Lise spoke again, her eyes sparkling, and Lux stopped in his tracks.
“I-I did it! I am done with the first volume! I found what will boot this law formula! Now we can reverse the process and figure out what is the relation between all the books!”
“Wow, seriously?! I knew you would do it, Archbishop Crest!”
“Of course I did! Nothing is impossible for a genius!”
Killfer and Lise were so happy they clasped each other’s hand and started jumping in circle, as if they were dancing with enthusiasm.
“So, once this condition is met, go to that page… I see, so ‘月と猿’ are used to null each other! So there must be another meaning in this space…”
“L-Lise? So what did Takumi have in mind?”
Seeing the child suddenly stiffen, Mirta tried to ask for information, but Lise fell on the ground the next moment.
“Lise?! Are you okay?!”
“This is stupid… that guy is the most genuine idiot in the universe…”
The child whispered that from the ground, where she was unmoving, as if she had run out of energy.
“This is blasphemy against our Goddess and the ancient heroes…”
“Archbishop Crest! So what is his plan?!”
Lux asked in a hurry and Lise answered right away.
Once he heard what she said, he slammed his head on the desk.
Mirta was left speechless, her face frozen in a dumbfounded expression with her mouth open.
“I always wanted to overcome Fortesea too someway, but not like this…”
“This is the worst… even worse than thinking I failed…”
Realizing his plan, all the people in the room fell speechless and had a similar reaction.
Then, Lise faced Suzuran’s leader.
“Mirta… please, have the elf know what we found…”
“O-O-O-Okay! I-I’ll use the same magic tool as last time!”
Mirta darted to her office to grab what she needed to, and once she was back, she contacted her comrade.
“I-I d-did it…?! Karin! Karin, is that you?! Can you hear me?! T-T-T-That’s not iiit! It’s about Lise! She got helped by people of the slums, there were some of the middle layer and a few nobles as well, b-b-but…!”
She failed to clearly convey what she needed, so she took a deep breath and tried again.
“Takumi… TAKUMI CONFESSED THAT HE KILLED KIAAAD!”
The next moment, she heard a funny sound from the other side, then smoke came out from her magic tool.
“Wait, what?! Karin? Kaaariiin, can you hear meee?!”
Mirta tried to call out to her again, but there was no answer.
Killfer stood up and checked what happened to the tool.
“It’s broken… and the law formula on it was blown away.”
“D-Dee-Did I do something wrong…?! Can you fix it, Killfer?!”
“No way I can help you with it! I could try with something simple, but Archbishop Crest made this one, how am I supposed to know how to fix it?!”
“W-W-What do we do, now?! Liiiseee…!”
Mirta threw herself to the ground and hugged Lise while trembling.
The child let her do as she pleased and felt her body following the woman’s movements.
This mess of a scene kept going on until Lise found the strength and the will to stand up again.