Professor Andagi continued to make preparations for experiments with a new Golem. In the lab, the girl who was the newly added assistant and experimental subject was passing the time chatting with the other experimental subject, the composite Golem Kou.
「And then, apparently, that person is like a princess.」
“Eh, there’s a lot of different people, aren’t there -”
Sayaka was now living and working in the lab and when Kou came for experiments, they usually passed the time they spent waiting by talking to each other. According to the professor, if Kou kept having normal conversations with someone from the same world as him, more of his memories of the other world might return, so he encouraged them to talk to each other.
As Sayaka was talking about the people she had met and her experiences since coming to this world the bell rang, announcing the arrival of a visitor. The laboratory had a ridiculously over-the-top exterior, but its entrance was simple, with a bell that rang when the door opened and closed.
The door became noisy if opened and closed too frequently. With a knock, the door was quickly opened and the person who entered was a young man with masculine features that still contained the innocence of a young boy, wearing resplendent clothes with exquisite embroidery.
「To think that you were taken in by the professor… Do you find withered old men to be more suiting to your tastes?」
That was the first thing he said as he saw Sayaka.
「That was decided before I had a say in it, please don’t make it sound like I have a fetish for old men.」(Saya)
「I’m still active and lively!」(Andagi)
Sayaka replied as if this were nothing out of the ordinary while the professor, who was adjusting a measuring instrument, voiced his objections to those words. It was the First Prince, the child of the king of Grandahl Leozeos and the queen Elishuone.
Ignoring the professor’s protests, Layos looked at the composite Golem facing Sayaka as if evaluating it.
「So this is the rumored new Golem, is it true that there’s a human inside?」(Layos)
「I see, it communicates by writing words. How interesting.」(Layos)
「Apparently he’s from the same place as Saya-chan.」(Sarta)
Sarta gives this explanation about Kou inside the composite Golem while preparing tea for the prince. Because Sayaka had agreed to be the test subject for the sexual intercourse experiment, the existence of another world with a different culture had been confirmed in addition to other valuable information.
「Sexual intercourse experiment…?」(Layos)
「Yes, this composite Golem is equipped with genitalia, so yesterday there was an experiment -」(Sarta)
「What, you did it with this thing?!」(Layos)
Layos froze with his lips on the cup of tea that Sarta had given him as he heard her words, then he unconsciously approached Sayaka.
「Not “this thing”, it’s Kou-chan. The experiment was canceled, so I didn’t do it.」
Sayaka’s face was slightly red as she said this and Layos had an expression of relief as if to say,『I see.』
Kou and Sayaka include Prince Layos in their conversation and they continue to discuss the recent topics of conversation in the imperial capital. Layos weighed up the value of Sayaka leaving the House of Butterflies and being taken in by the professor. In the end a place to work was a place to work, but one day she would have had to take other men as customers - When he thought about that, it was not the same.
「Oh yeah, Kou-chan, when you’re not here for experiments, what do you do?」(Saya)
“I’m training with everyone in Gawiik’s group.”
「What was his reply just now?」(Layos)
As Sayaka translated Kou’s foreign writing, Layos had a perceptive expression on his face.
「Hooh, so you’re entering the fighting tournament, too?」(Layos)
Layos seemed interested in the fact that Kou was entering the fighting tournament with Gawiik’s group. If Kou was a usable… Golem, then he definitely wanted to bring him into his own group. He began to think if there was a way to obtain both Sayaka and Kou.
『Rozeth would be able to come up with a good idea.』
Layos thought of his wise younger brother, who was misunderstood by many in the royal palace. Kou, who was normally able to read the intentions hidden in someone’s words and read people’s hearts, could not sense Prince Layos’s ill intent and malice and thought that he seemed like a good person.
He felt that the prince’s feelings for Sayaka were not merely those of『interest』, but『I want to be with her always』and knew that he was serious.
On one hand, Sayaka did not want to be glared at by the noblewomen based on the prince’s whim and did not think that he truly loved her. On the other hand, Layos was aware that Sayaka did not trust her own feelings, or perhaps she had just not realized how serious he is.
Sayaka viewed Layos with wary eyes, while Layos viewed her with affection.
「Kou, we’ll commence the experiment now.」(Andagi)
Today’s experiment was to test Kou’s balance on a thin wooden plank, but that alone would be too simple for the composite Golem. Therefore, he would be carrying out this experiment using only one leg to move. This was to test movements that would be impossible for a normal Golem.
Waving his hand at Sayaka to say “see you later,” Kou lumbered towards the experiment site at the front of the laboratory.
「... Mmm… Hey, Kou-chan is still...」(Saya)
「He doesn’t have eyes on the back of his head.」(Layos)
Looking back with just his spirit form, Kou saw Layos kissing Sayaka’s lips. However, this was something that had started even before she had entered the House of Butterflies. Ignoring Sayaka’s whispered protests, Layos covered her lips with his own.
From this exchange, Kou could see that Sayaka’s feelings were an indifferent『Yeah, yeah, if you want my lips you can have them』while Layos’s heart was screaming,『Please let my feelings reach her!』Their feelings are passing straight by each other, thought Kou.
『Maybe I should tell them… But...』
Kou had learned from the incident with Alice that it was better to not carelessly tell people each other’s feelings and was wary about doing such things. Even Daido’s feelings towards Karen were obvious to everyone in the squad, but everyone was pretending not to notice.
Glancing back at the heated kiss that the two of them were sharing, Kou continued towards his one-legged experiment.
With the composite Golem’s loud footsteps echoing in the plaza, Kou went to participate in the training with Gawiik’s group in the afternoon. On the other side of the city’s outer walls at the foot of the rocky mountains that surrounded the city, they practised battle formations and combined attacks where nobody would see them.
「Eh, so you met Prince Layos.」
「Well, he’s a friendly prince.」
「He kissed the back of my hand once, you know?」
「... Me too.」
Everyone was discussing the fact that the prince was likely also fighting in the group battles. Prince Layos’s group had been performing their training inside the castle, so they were unable to obtain information on them. There was no mistake that he had gathered a group of first-rate fighters, so they were likely to be their most formidable opponent.
Their battle formation was that Captain Gawiik and Vice-Captain Mandel would form the advance guard while Lef and Karen took the rear, and Kou would be positioned in the middle to provide assistance on both sides.
The center of the formation was originally supposed to be taken by Gawiik so he could act as their commander, but Kou was not experienced enough in group battles to take up the role of the advance guard. He had experienced it once in the time he was using the Horned Bear, but his ability was still unknown. For the convenience of the other members, this was the formation that they had decided on.
However, the presence of the huge composite Golem behind the squad’s top two fighters would be quite intimidating. In addition, there would be an offensive caster and an archer aiming at them from the back, so this formation was optimal for forming a wall to defend them. They would be able to apply quite a lot of pressure to their opponents.
「Are we going to have Kou using magic from the beginning?」
「This depends on our opponents, too, but I’d like to keep it as a trump card if possible.」(Gawiik)
「... I have a suggestion.」(Lef)
Lef suggested a change to Kou’s role. If they attached an insect to Kou’s body, he could store the body in the other dimension and use the insect to move around the battlefield freely. If used properly, this ability could be a greater trump card than the Golem casting a few spells.
「Hmm. We can’t use it too often, but it seems like it could be effective.」
Kou was unique and this was a strategy that could be used only by him. Gawiik added it to his battle strategy as a limited surprise tactic, so that they would not be overly reliant on it. The rules of the tournament favored going on the offensive, so they would be going with a battle style where Kou would be in the center and Gawiik and Mandel would attack with the backup of Lef and Karen.
「Alright, we’ll go with this formation and test it a few times, then we’ll focus on matching our individual movements.」(Gawiik)
After training with the group until dusk, they decided to return to the inn. Kou found a rhinoceros beetle in a clump of bushes and possessed it, storing the composite Golem in the other dimension. He then attached himself to Lef’s hood.
Because they needed to keep as much information hidden as they could, they did not want Kou’s composite body to be seen with the group if possible.
「Kou-cha~an, why not a cat~?」(Karen)
“If I find one nearby, okay?”
The stray cats in the city did not always allow him to possess them easily. Dogs and cats could see Kou’s spirit form. Unless his target had its guard down or had enough interest in him to come close enough for him to possess him, they usually ran away.
Karen had been looking forward to her daily cat hugs, but now she murmured a disappointed『I see.』
The day before the preliminary round of the tournament.
The tournament’s chart where the names of unknown fighters, famous adventurer groups and accomplished mercenary bands gathered from all over the land had been written. The pairings for the preliminary round had been posted on the notice board at the front of the arena and the participants could decide to proceed with the match or drop from the tournament after checking who their opponents were.
The pairings had to be rewritten each time someone decided to drop out, so there had been fourteen versions today before the pairings had finally been confirmed. The posting of the pairings could be called the preliminary round before the preliminary round.
From this point, the entry fees needed to be paid and dropping from the tournament would not be allowed. The rules stated that deliberately killing your opponents would not be allowed. If lucky, defeated participants would get away with mere injuries.
Of course, some injuries could be beyond recovery for an adventurer, but these injuries were uncommon for the most part as the participants’ reputations with both their fellow fighters and with society as a whole were at stake.
Captain Gawiik and Vice-Captain Mandel stood in front of the notice board.
「Our opponents are the “Crimson Wolf mercenary group”, huh.」(Gawiik)
「They’re a traditional, middle-class mercenary group. Well, it shouldn’t be too hard.」(Mandel)
As they checked the pairings on the notice board for any famous groups they saw the name of the adventurer group led by Prince Layos, the “Golden Sword Dragons”. The origin of the name was probably their goal, the legendary title: the “Golden Sword and Dragon” medal.
They also took note of the other groups they needed be careful about before returning to the inn.
「There was one troublesome group, wasn’t there.」
「Yeah, the Varow group… That’s not a group I’d want to face.」
The Varow group that Gawiik’s group was cautious was a fighting group with the same “Battleaxe and Serpent” medal. However, while Gawiik’s group specialized in dealing with Monsters, the Varow group specialized in fighting human enemies such as bandit groups.
Unlike mercenaries, who accepted jobs from the Adventurers’ Association, the Varow group found and exterminated bandits independently. Instead of receiving a reward or payment, they simply took the treasure that the bandits had stolen as their own, so they had a bad reputation.
They had no reputation given by the Adventurers’ Association and were judged solely on the work they had done slaughtering bandits when they received their “Battleaxe and Serpent” medal. In that regard, they had higher fighting strength than Gawiik’s group and were an exceptionally formidable opponent.
「Well, the prince’s group is almost on the level of cheating as well. It’d be great if they just matched against each other.」(Gawiik)
「Hahaha, you’re right about that!」(Mandel)
Around the time Gawiik and Mandel left for the arena, Kou visited Professor Andagi’s laboratory as usual to tell him that he would be participating in the tournament tomorrow as a member of Gawiik’s group, so he would not be able to help with his experiments for a while. Everyone at the lab were already aware of this, so they offered him words of encouragement.
「Do your job properly so you can spread my fame. Here, I’ll give you a gift.」(Andagi)
Kou was invited into the experimental room in the back of the laboratory.
「It’s a magical weapon built based on Miss Saya’s description of her world. You should take it with you.」(Andagi)
「Only you, with that composite body, could use it anyway.」(Sarta)
The magical weapon that the professor had created based on the information of the other world. Holding its box-like body, it felt somewhat familiar to Kou. As if he had some memory of holding it before. It had a long belt attached, and this was wrapped around the shoulder while the weapon hung near his waist. It was quite heavy.
「The magical vessels in the main body produces flame projectiles which are fired forwards from the tubes, but its recoil is very powerful.」(Andagi)
At first, it had been a single tube firing the flame projectiles one at a time, but the flame projectiles fired from the narrow tube were not very powerful. It was far from the powerful non-magical weapon from her own world that Sayaka had described. It could not even really be called a weapon.
Not giving up, the professor started to work on improving the magical vessel, his area of expertise. Using the small amount of knowledge Sayaka had, he turned his attention towards the idea of using an explosion inside the weapon to increase its power. By causing small explosions inside the magical vessel, he was able to increase the velocity of the flame projectiles and the prototype internal-combustion weapon was born.
However, as a result of increasing the power of each individual projectile, the explosion that happened inside the weapon when it was fired became too powerful for the weapon to withstand. Once the durability of the weapon was improved to contain the internal explosions, it became too heavy for a person to carry.
In this form it was simply a smaller version of large siege-type magical weapons that already existed. The professor, saying it lacked impact and was not interesting enough, asked Sayaka whether there were any good ideas among the projectile weapons from the other world -
「Yeah, now that you mention it, the monsters used it in that zombie movie… Umm...」
- Sayaka got an idea from a famous game that had been turned into a film. Thanks to this idea, the weapon now had multiple internal-combustion magical vessels and multiple tubes. It was now a magical weapon capable of shooting multiple flame projectiles in quick succession.
Now it had enough power and impact, but the final product now was left with the problem of its huge recoil.
「We only performed some experiments by attaching it to a pedestal in the back room, but I can guarantee its quality. You should try firing it before you go.」(Andagi)
「It’s really hard to aim, so you can’t shoot it near your allies, okay?」(Sarta)
This was a present from the professor that Gawiik’s group did not know about. Their training was finished yesterday, so he would have to use his own judgment on when to use it.
『That’s right, I’ll keep it as as my own trump card, as Gawiik and the others said.』
Deciding to do that, he stored the magical internal-combustion weapon into the other dimension.