Fyolnar’s month of wind had started, and the sun barely risen over the horizon during the day. A season of night had come to Kaltcio.
Unease was spreading amongst the people of Sanc Adiet after the announcement of the creation of a special subjugation squad was announced some time ago. A lot of people had gathered in the central plaza of the commoner district to witness an unusual looking vehicle being introduced publicly for the first time.
“Are you ready, Sorzak?”
“I am ready to go any time here.”
The vehicle had several sets of wheels attached to an elongated frame. What Yuusuke and Sorzak was presenting to the citizens was essentially a prototype train. Other members of the Darkness God Corps, along with their subordinates, were employed to help with the test run. Naturally, Princess Violet had come “Incognito” with the Fire God Corps to see the event.
Yuusuke had used a small mining cart to explain the concept of the train to her. While the cart didn’t really grab her attention the intimidating full sized train did.
In particular, she was very interested in the potential of her being able to ride it into the city. Whenever she wanted to go out of the palace, she was only allowed to go as far as the training grounds near it, under a pretense of security.
The prototype was around six meters long and two meters wide. Mounted on ten sets of wheels, it employed a total of eight gimmick engines and was designed to run at a speed of 20 km/h.
Yuusuke created it using a structure of the tram as the base, however it became more akin to a bus when Yuusuke changed the control handle to a wheel during the customization.
Yuusuke created this, hoping to make it easy to travel between all the district gates, farming areas, and street stall market, making it easier for the city inhabitants to reach the city center from the residential areas.
For now, without a train, the transportation was carried out by the stagecoaches that were currently operating in the city center. The trips were quite expensive for commoners, turning it into a luxury service. Richer citizens usually owned their own stagecoaches, and rarely used the public ones to reach their destinations.
Thus, reducing the price of travel would greatly benefit the general population of the city.
“Hey, let’s start the experiment!”
At Yuusuke’s signal, Sorzak flipped the gimmick activation switch. The frame shook and clanked briefly, and slowly started to move. Releasing machinery sounds, similar to an eight cylinder engine, onlookers had to cover their ears from the loud, unfamiliar sound that suddenly assaulted them.
Switching into a higher gear, the train started to gain speed. The shouts of awe that rose from the onlookers, amazed at such a contraption moving without any horses pulling it, had overcome the sound of its engine. After doing two laps around the overlook tower, the train stopped at the place that it had started from. The first trial run went without a hitch.
“It was more stable than I anticipated. How was the steering?”
“It felt quite natural. I believe that it doesn’t pose any risks of toppling over.”
The next test was to test out the safety of the cable car, and it involved taking in additional passengers. Naturally the car became more stable as its weight increased, but that additional weight also increased the inertia of the car, posing an increased risk of it drifting sideways while turning. There were a lot of questions, like the car’s max speed under load, stopping time, wheels’ and axis’ reaction to the load, which couldn’t be answered unless one performed a test with passengers.
“Then, for starters we’ll take ten passengers onboard. Those that want to try it —“
“I want to ride!! Us too!!!”
“We can’t take in anymore, until the tests are done we will only allow ten passengers onboard.”
Violet was itching to try riding it after the trial run had her completely captivated. However, she was instantly refused and could only look at it from the outside, pouting.
This train was probably less dangerous than the go-kart model that she was allowed to drive alone, however the consequence of any accident that a large train could get into were much more serious. Yuusuke was fully aware of the seriousness of such accidents in his old world, and stood firm by his decision.
The test took a while. The vehicle was overweight, with the members of the corps and the knight under them riding it alongside the new passengers. The extra weight didn’t affect the train, and the only improvement that Yuusuke could do for the final model was to further strengthen the wheels.
“Later we can hire a driver and await for the permission to drive around the city.”
“The city is big so it will definitely get approved.”
Sorzak was sure that this invention would prove profitable. For now it could only run on stone pavement, but further development would surely allow it to run on dirt roads and highways.
If Yuusuke’s invention were to revolutionize public transportation, drivers and maintenance staff would be necessary. The transport could not function without management staff and communication type wind arts users – meaning that a lot of new people had to be hired. That would not be a big problem, however, as he had Rashanasha’s connections at his disposal.
“Well then, todays experiment is complete. Thanks for the hard work!”
With the experiment now complete, Yuusuke had told the knights to return to their everyday duties. Onlookers had also dispersed, some going to take a look at the stalls, others returning to their jobs, and only a few that were interested in the machinery, capable of making a carriage move without horses, had remained in the tower square.
“We’re also returning to the palace, will you be joining us, Captain?”
“I’ll be returning this thing to the workshop.”
Vermeer offered Yuusuke a lift in the palace knight’s carriage, but he declined pointing to the prototype train and glancing towards the other side, where the princess was standing amidst the royal escort, her eyes shining, as if saying [“LET ME RIDE LET ME RIDE LET ME …”].
Vermeer consented, smiling lightly, and pulled the reins.
The prototype train was running at a leisurely pace towards the palace. Sorzak was driving it, while Yuusuke, Sun, Violet, and Krielov’s party were enjoying the ride in the passenger seats, leaving the fire god corps to follow the train in their corps carriage.
“Mhm, it’s kind of slow, but riding it is more pleasant than the usual carriage. I like it. “
“Can it also be used to sightsee around the city?”
Violet was gazing at the evening scenery of the city through one of the windows. The darkness was already enveloping the streets and it was already quite dark inside the train. Yuusuke and Krielov were sitting on the row behind her, having emerged into a discussion regarding recent developments.
The most important problem was the damage caused by the evil beasts and the consequent formation of the special subjugation force that was announced the other day.
“They have contacted us this morning and reported their arrival at the harbor town. Their real mission is scheduled to begin in two days.”
“They are quite fast. How are the communications with the other (Trent Rietta’s) force?”
“The force is acting separately from them. It seems to me that they want to get all the merits for the extermination.”
Yuusuke cocked his head, puzzled about the decision.
“They are doing that to compete with you,” replied Krielov, explaining that there are some elements in the palace which were not happy with Yuusuke’s progress, and that they were silently plotting against the Darkness God Corps.
“A lot of veterans do not recognize your achievements. You are still new in the palace, and they don’t want to let you gain status and authority this easily.”
“I think I can understand that.”
They had served the royal family for a long time and gone through many hardships to obtain their current standing. On the other had Yuusuke had not only gained status for himself, but also allowed others to gain positions in the palace by achieving victories in dangerous missions that other officials were never allowed to partake in. They did not believe that Yuusuke had the right to be called a Hero.
“Usually I would not be bothered by them.”
“At least you have Zeshald’s support – that gives you a slightly different treatment.”
Yuusuke was brought to Kaltcio and dropped amidst of a battle between the countries of Fonclanc and Blue Garden. At that time Zeshald had risked his life and acted as a double agent between the countries. A lot of unpleasant things happened during those times.
At any rate, Yuusuke had no interest in any political affairs. This made him wonder whether they were envious of his current invention. His current intention was to develop a commercial version of the train and spend his live leisurely living on the income from the transit system that it would create.
“That reminds me, how did the meeting with the Blue Garden Queen end?”
“Only the King and his close aides should have known about it.”
“Ah, truthfully Reifold had told me about it. He said I should ask you for the details.”
“That guy… The king was looking forward as he always does. Gazzetta was the only troublesome factor for him.”
Would a country of artless be able to coexist with the divine arts users? Would the divine arts users be able to adjust to the huge changes that would have to happen to the caste system that their religion had taught them to be the natural order of the world?
If Gazzetta chose to be aggressive, their primary target would be the differences between the Artless and the divine arts users. In this case, Fonclanc, where the Four Gods faith still existed would take the blunt of the pressure, and if King Esvobus would refuse to abolish this faith along with the caste system, it would also hurt their relationships with Blue Garden.
Trent Rietta bordered Gazzetta and felt threatened the most by the artless nation. They were looking to deepen their relations with Fonclanc and opposed the abolishment of the caste system, thus antagonizing Blue Garden.
Ever since the fall of Nossentes, Gazzetta had become the second strongest nation after Fonclanc. Considering the philosophy of the Queen Rishause, she would support Gazzetta, thus the world was effectively divided into two opposing factions.
“Shinha, are you not content with the territory that you had seized until now?”
“He is an ambitious man, his kind would never be content no matter how much they achieve.”
The prototype train continued moving towards the palace. Inside Sun continued to hold a lively chat with Violet, while Yuusuke had a serious talk with Krielov behind them.
A few days had passed since the demonstration. Yuusuke had finished submitting the paperwork for the new powered passenger transportation vehicle. He decided to improve his creation by adding the headlights and the passenger cabin lights. To do that he needed Rinwaal’s sun moss, so he visited Rashanasha in her laboratory.
“Hey, I need something from you.”
“Ah, Yuusuke sama?”
“I see you’re here today as well.”
Rashanasha was in her underground laboratory. She was having Razshia help her with the work. None of the girls saw Yuusuke too often since he and Sun were spending most of their time in the palace.
“Perfect timing. There is something that I want to talk to you about.”
“Could it be something unpleasant?”
“Ehm, quite unpleasant…”
“Ugh,” Yuusuke shrugged his shoulders and sat at the work table that separated the two girls.
Rashanasha’s news were related to the Darkness God Corps opposition faction inside the palace that Krielov had told Yuusuke about the other day. Krielov, however only knew about the existence of this faction and knew next to nothing about it. Rashanasha, on the other hand…
“Marquis Vordat from the Ivor family is leading the faction.”
“Hey, he’s a pretty distinguished person.”
“Your network is really something, Rasha. You know everything that’s happening in the palace and in the smallest, darkest alleyways of the city.”
Rashanasha’s network included nightsingers, working for both nobles and commoners all over the city. Inside Sanct Adiet she even surpassed Reifold at intelligence gathering.
The Ivor family affiliated themselves with Hivodir’s family and had a distinguished history. They were quite influential in the palace, and although they could not openly object the King’s decisions, they were able to gather sufficient political strength to mount a political opposition against his decisions (against Yuusuke).
“Wow~, he’s a quite skilled person!”
He could not affect the palace knights’ corps, which were comprised of the members of the elite families, loyal to the crown. That aside, however, his name was enough to sway young nobles of the minor families or the knights’ corps (the non-palace knights) to join his cause. These young nobles hoped, that helping an influential man like that would grant them his favor and allow them to rise in status or even land a position in the palace.
“I’ve heard rumors that the servants, sent to your mansion without being informed that Sun-sama was to be their master, were also part of Vordat’s plot.”
“So he’s bent on turning me into his enemy?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“Are you going to fight with the Marquis?” asked Razshia, faking being surprised and smiled suggestively at Yuusuke. Rashanasha looked at her sister and smiled a light, peevish smile as if asking [“Are you envious?”]
They did this to reduce the tension of the heavy topic at hand, and although it was miniscule, the mood slightly softened after their joke. Then the two girls, who were almost able to read other people’s thoughts, spoke Yuusuke of their concerns of him.
“Well~, although it is quite troublesome, I’ll keep an eye on him.”
“You really don’t want to attack him openly. You could smash him with your powers.”
“Nonono, if you destroyed one of the pillars of the palace, the entire country could crumble. And your powers aren’t useful for that.”
“Considering his affiliation and post, isn’t Vordat Hivodir’s subordinate? Is he operating with his approval?”
Yuusuke admired the extent of Rashanasha’s intel, and wracked his brain, trying to think of a way to disband the Marquis’ clique. He had a very unsettling feeling about the special subjugation force, but also believed that right now it was for the best to leave it alone.
“So halfhearted. Well that just like you, Yuusuke.”
“I am a pacifist after all.”
The two girls, shocked, were staring at Yuusuke.
“Rather than be a bully, I was usually the one being bullied.”
“Ahahhaha, Sorry. Don’t pout at us.”
“Hihihi, I am sorry, Yuusuke.”
It was now early afternoon, and the underground laboratory in Yuusuke’s mansion was shaking from laughter. In the meantime the city was tinted red by the setting sun. Soon after, butler Valys interrupted the Darkness God Corps captain, who looked like he was spending his time flirting with the two beauties, and informed him that he was urgently summoned to the palace.
“Please hurry. I have already prepared a carriage for you.”
“Ah thank you. But what’s with the sudden summon?”
“It seems that just a little while ago a report about a complete annihilation of the special subjugation force has reached the palace.”
“Eh…it can’t be!”
Valys closed the door after Yuusuke left the room, whispering something that only he could hear.