Catalog of Relics
The librarian led Hikaru to a private room where one could handle precious, old books. It was spacious, yet bleak, its walls bare, and furnished only by a bookrest, a table and a chair at the center.
「Eating and drinking is not allowed inside. You can’t use quill pens as there is a chance you might spill ink. Use of pencil to take notes is allowed if you have approval.」the librarian said, casting a glance at the principal who stood beside Hikaru.
「Do you need to take notes?」the principal asked.
「There you have it.」
The librarian bowed his head respectfully then left. An armed guard stood at the only entrance to the room, perhaps to prevent people from taking books out or damaging them.
A book with a gorgeous binding sat on the bookrest, its size midway between an A3 and B4 paper. “Zubura Relics Catalogue Presented to Forestia” was written on it.
Hikaru opened the book to a preface. Apparently the book contained a list of all the relics that Zubura surrendered to the government when the Allied Nations was founded. There was no table of contents.
A detailed drawing of the item took up most of a page’s space, and written below it were the item names, descriptions, and owners.
Hikaru almost burst out into laughter as soon as he saw the first page. A mask with glaring eyes and long nose. The drawing wasn’t colored but it was most likely red.
It’s a tengu mask!
He knew right away that the one who made the relics was Japanese.
Why make this, though?
Demon Mask was its name. The description read “A mask made of metal. Most of the paint had worn off, leaving behind a dull brown color. Application unknown. No monsters or races with long noses existed in the past.” The formal description made him want to laugh even more.
「Hikaru? Do you know what this is?」
「Uh, no. I just thought it looked funny.」
He had to be careful since the principal was watching beside him.
「Why is this mask the first item on the catalog?」
「It’s the item they excavated the most.」
「They’ve found about a hundred of these Demon Masks so far.」
What are you doing, man?! Do you love tengus that much?!
「Um, are you sure you should be here? You must be busy.」Hikaru asked.
「I am. But I have to provide hospitality to the one who saved my relative and an important person from my hometown.」
「What do you mean?」
「Lord Silvester and League told me about what you did.」
「Oh, is that so?」
He didn’t expect that at all. Those two stood almost at the top of their respective nations. Hikaru didn’t think they’d openly admit that an outsider helped them out.
「Hikaru. Lord Silvester and League are both great men. Even though they’re still young, they’re righteous and hold proper views..」
「I don’t think their type will survive in Forestia.」
He knew how Queen Marquedo and Zofira were having a hard time dealing with politics. The center of the government was a place of lies and deceit.
「Are you worried about them?」
「You’ve changed. I wonder what happened. When you were applying for enrollment, you were like a thorn that pricked anyone who’d dare touch you.」
「Am I a sea urchin or something?」
There might not be sea urchins in this world. Hikaru had a vague idea of his sudden change. It was because he told Lavia everything. But does it really look like I’ve changed that much?
「Please go ahead.」
She didn’t pry deeper. Hikaru went on reading. Items he thought were clearly from Japan included a statue of the Buddha, bell, and a tea cup. One item – its use unknown – piqued his interest.
It’s a radio.
It had an antenna and a knob used to turn to change frequency. Clearly not brought from Japan since it was made of wood and metal, not plastic. Its name was “Metal Box”. Well-made, it even had speakers.
Why’d they make this?
With the use of radio and radio waves, an information revolution would definitely occur. But a radio tower was necessary for them to work. In the first place, this world didn’t have “electricity”. Long-distance communication – almost like a telegram – was done through sorcery with the use of an expensive catalyst.
「Are you interested in that?」the principal asked Hikaru who’d been staring at the picture.
「Um… it says here usage unknown. What do you think?」
「This is a very strange relic. The weapons in the next pages are not as complex as this item. A magic item researcher in the academy had been studying this Metal Box, but they haven’t had any noteworthy results.」
「Where did they find this?」
「In the back regions of Zubura. Inside a tower where they found a lot of other relics.」
A tower… It must be a radio tower, then. But that doesn’t make any sense.
「How old are these relics?」Hikaru asked.
「Eight hundred to a thousand years. Before Zubura was even founded.」
Let’s say these things were 800 years old and the person who made them back then knew about radios. In Japan, eight hundred years ago would be the Kamakura period.
The time periods didn’t match.
Does that mean time flows differently here than on Earth? Or perhaps time periods are connected randomly? But that only raises more questions. If someone from Japan got sent here after me and ended up in the past, that would result in a parallel universe. The flow of time here is just different and irreversible. I think that makes the most sense.
「Hikaru? You’re not reading the rest? I thought for sure you wanted information on weapons and such.」
「How is that?」
「Well, you came from Ponsonia. I don’t think you’re related to the army, but I heard you’re quite strong. It’s only natural for those who seek power to seek artifact-class weapons.」
「I see. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in them.」
Hikaru flipped the page. Weapons and more weapons. Rifles, shuriken, pistols, and cannons.
「What makes these weapons superior is that they’re all magic items.」
「The blade of this sword extends when you pour mana into it. And this star-shaped throwing weapon disappears for a moment if you load it with mana.」
The sword’s design was unfamiliar to him. It looked similar to the wakizashi he bought.
Maybe the one I bought is actually the real deal. I’ll check later.
「Are these magic effects really that rare?」
「They haven’t been replicated until now.」
Hikaru was genuinely impressed. Whoever made them must’ve worked really hard.
「What about this one? It says you need to load it with mana beforehand.」
The weapons Hikaru wanted to see. Pistols and rifles.
「We believe this is a magic item that allows one to load magic in it and then shoot it out afterwards. We have plenty of things like this everywhere.」
「Yes. We have items which you can use to “store magic in and use it afterwards”. It doesn’t have to be shaped like these. They could be rings or staffs.」
「Ah, yes. I see what you mean.」
「But that’s not what makes this weapon incredible.」
「What makes it incredible then?」
「Normally, the magical power from magic items is weaker than when a magic user casts the spell directly. But these weapons… the power they emit is on par with an actual magic user casting spells, or even stronger.」
Hikaru groaned. So basically the energy conversion is at a hundred percent or higher.
「Is that even possible?」
A hundred percent or lower made sense. But over that was just physically impossible.
「Yes. I thought it was strange too, but the researchers said this thing called “holy mana” makes it possible.」
A familiar word came out of her mouth.