Chapter 59: Secret Ruins Under the Capital
The first thing I felt was a fresh warm breeze when the door opened.
I took a step into the room. The room was dimly lit, but what I experienced was a… variety of red, green and purple lights.
“What… is this?”
The room was so large that it was hard to believe that this was underground. The ceiling was also very high, but that wasn’t the surprising part; the surprising part was the true nature of the various colours in the dimly lit room.
“Is this a magic circle…?”
“Yes. I believe that they all have some kind of meaning, but unfortunately, those meanings are unclear to us now.”
The walls, ceiling and floor were covered in shining patterns of various sizes. Looking at the patterns alone, one would believe that this was from a developed civilisation, but in contrast, there were parchment books, bricks and wooden structures.
I would have no idea what these things are before my reincarnation, but now I know what they are.
“How much magic is in this room…? What kind of magic is this?”
Daniel walked straight into the room despite my fright. I rushed after him.
These magic circles frightened me because I understood magic. Someone could at least understand what kind of magic this is even if they don’t understand the principles of magic, but these magic circles were different. I couldn’t understand them.
But their position gave me some idea of what their roles were. The thin pattern stretching across the ground was probably a kind of cord. The parchment was for display, and the wooden structures were to store something.
It was clear that this was different from Earth’s civilisation at a glance. If Earth was a civilisation based on science, then this was a civilisation based on magic.
But this… was more advanced than Earth’s civilisation?
“What is this? What is this place?”
“It is… the remains of an ancient civilisation.”
Lost technology. A product of a lost advanced civilisation. This was also something that existed on Earth, but I thought it was only a fable.
Now it was in front of my eyes.
“Why is this thing in a basement in the capital?”
“Of course, it’s because the Empire has ambitions. They want to control the world with the technology in these ruins.”
I see. It was certainly an ambition that a monarch may have.
“The Empire? That means…”
“It was the Guardian of Lothar who looked after this place before I took over.”
What…? You mean the Lothar Empire already knew of this?
“But… this wasn’t the capital until Emperor Cardinal set eyes on it.”
“Yes. The only part that mattered to the Lothar Empire was the underground. These ruins were both a mystery and a threat to them. Emperor Cardinal only made this the capital because of his boldness.”
I see. So, that’s why it was named ‘Founding Hill’. Emperor Cardinal saw this and wanted the technology, so he made this the capital.
“We could conquer the world if we possess such overwhelming magic, but no one has been able to analyse it.”
“All they were able to do was take advantage of a part of this facility’s original use…”
In front of him were a number of swords held in place by a magic circle in the air.
“The original purpose of this facility… was to make artificial holy swords.”
Holy sword. It was a special weapon that appeared in myths and legends on Earth. It was thought to be a fantasy object.
These swords were real in this world where magic was no longer fantasy.
“Holy swords exist, do they not?”
“There are a few of them left because they were made before the ‘Blank War’.”
… This isn’t good.
“I can’t keep up with your explanation. Explain in plain words.”
“As you wish, Your Majesty. Otherwise, we can’t get into the main topic.”
“There were many races in this world in the past, and their magic knowledge was much more advanced than what we have now. They started a war with their advanced knowledge. A war for the survival of their species. This is known as the ‘Blank War’ in our eleven lore.”
“The Blank War?”
――― The ground sunk, the seas split and the sky ripped open.
――― And the continents shifted for hundreds of years after.
―――The worst man-made disaster that could have destroyed the planet.
“Everyone lost about 80% of their population and some races even became extinct. There were no winners; it was just a foolish war that left the planet on the verge of death. A war that wiped away civilisations…”
“You’re saying that this facility is from that time?”
“Yes. This was a weapon factory used to create artificial holy swords. A weapon used to kill other races.”
It sounded unbelievable… I wanted to brush it off as a tall tale or wild idea.
“But that was in the past. Those things don’t matter to us now.”
I said and the old elf pointed at a sword.
“The problem is that Emperor Cardinal has designated one of the powerful man-made holy swords as a ‘ceremonial sword’.”
That was terrifying, a disaster. An unadorned sword oozing with murderous intent and madness. This sword, which had stored an unbelievable amount of mana, couldn’t be called a ceremonial sword.
It was truly a ‘weapon’. I broke out in a cold sweat just from looking at it.
“… I don’t want to look at it directly. It makes me feel sick.”
“Anyone who understands magic would think that, but Emperor Cardinal did not understand how terrifying this sword was. So, he only focused on its ability and turned it into a ceremonial sword.”
Then, he gave a small shudder and called the sword’s name.
“The man-made holy sword, Warstadt, makes people around it obey unconditionally.”
… Whoa! That’s not even magic anymore. It’s heinous.
“Emperor Cardinal declared two things when he made this into a ceremonial sword. The first was that it should only be used for the coronation ceremony and that it should never be touched again afterwards.”
During the coronation ceremony in Bungdalto Empire, the Emperor is the only person who can be armed with the ‘ceremonial sword’, and after being crowned, they draw the sword and declare their accession to the throne. In other words, this sword was used to force everyone to acknowledge the Emperor’s accession.
“He must have wanted to make unstable accessions into a stable accession. He was an excellent warrior and politician, but he also had his shortcomings as a monarch.”
“… He must have trusted his descendants.”
“He must have.”
The 1st Emperor established this rule. He believed his descendants would abide by it.
Of course, they wouldn’t. People are stupid.
“I have always wondered why the emperors of the past could do whatever they wanted, and no one stopped them… For example, Edward III, the 6th Emperor, repeatedly committed all kinds of foolish acts and caused the Empire to decline, and yet no one assassinated him and he remained the Emperor until just before he passed away from illness. So it was because of this sword?”
“Yes. He always wore this ceremonial sword with him.”
… So, the sword that Emperor Cardinal left behind to help future emperors has ruined the Empire this much.
“The ‘Guardian of Lothar’, who had managed this place until then, concluded that they could not manage it when they failed to stop the 6th Emperor, and the role of managing it was passed onto me.”
“… You say it as if that was what you were aiming for.”
“It is. I infiltrated the Western Church, so that I could manage it, and it is also related to Ain’s third wish.”
… It doesn’t seem like you’re trying to… use this facility from the way you’re talking.
“I’m going a bit off topic… but do you know the story about Ain and the heretic shamans?”
“Yeah, it’s mentioned in the scriptures.”
The heretic shamans tried to deceive Ain with ‘false oracles’ created through magic to undermine the Holy One Religion which was rapidly gaining believers, but the scriptures state that Ain saw through their attempts. I hadn’t paid much attention to this story since I thought it was a so-called ‘saved by righteous faith’ story.
“Actually, Ain could not use magic, so he had little means to discern whether the shamans’ magical ‘oracles’ were real or not. There was only one way he could tell. He kept the secret of what God called him until just before he passed and did not tell anyone.”
“… What did God call him?”
“The Interventionist of Past Knowledge… was what God called Ain.”
The Interventionist of Past Knowledge?
Does that mean he knows the past?
“Ain knew what happened in the past. Of course, he knew about the ‘Blank War’ as well. God had entrusted him with another mission aside from spreading the knowledge of another world.”
“… To destroy ancient ruins like the one here?”
“Yes. That was why he came to this continent.”
… So, he didn’t come here to escape persecution in the Eastern Continent?
If he didn’t, then his main job must have been to destroy ancient ruins like this.
“In Ain’s lifetime, he succeeded in demolishing all the ruins found to the east of the Heavenly Mountain Range, where the Holy One Religion was easily accepted, but he could not demolish all the ruins to the west of the Heavenly Mountain Range because the Holy One Religion was not accepted in this region in his time. So, he left us a third request which was to demolish all the ruins that remain on this continent.”
If the ‘Blank War’ was the ‘world ending itself because it went in the wrong direction’, then the world that a reincarnator lived in was ‘a world heading in the right direction’. And ‘Ain’s Storytellers’ who want the world to head in the right direction would want to demolish the ruins.
“Why didn’t you demolish them before? Why did you lead me here?”
“I can stop people from entering the ruins, but I cannot demolish them. Failure is not an option, and it takes a lot of time and effort to demolish these ruins. I concluded that it would be impossible to demolish it in secret, and it is also under the capital.”
It would certainly… take a lot of time and effort to demolish it without losing control of your magic.
“So, we waited eagerly for a ruler who would understand why they must be destroyed.”
The old elf said before kneeling down again.
… I see, so that’s his second request.
“Our wish is that tragedy will not strike again. We are aware of the value of this facility. We may be able to unify the continent if we analyse the ancient technology and use it well, but there is no future beyond that. Your Majesty, I beg you to abandon this facility. If you will accept this request, then…”
“No, the only option is to abandon this facility.”
“… I probably should not be the one saying this, but are you really sure?”
I would rather have no other choice.
This was like alien technology from an overwhelmingly advanced civilisation. Using it was nothing more than… a flag for destruction.
Ambitious emperors would have used this facility long ago if it were possible to analyse the magic of this facility.
“You don’t have to set that as a condition. This facility is beyond our control. How would we be able to use it? It’s not possible to use this facility. If we try, we would be destroying ourselves… but you can help with demolishing it, right? But I guess that will have to wait until the civil unrest settles down.”
“… Thank you very much. We can finally carry out his will.”
I probably wasn’t imagining it when I heard his voice cracking.
But I pretended I hadn’t noticed.
For now, we’ll continue to forbid entry into the facility like before… and I’ll think about how to demolish it later. I’ll have to conduct experiments above ground to safely demolish it in a way that wouldn’t cause my magic to run amok.
The problem was…
“What should we do with the ceremonial sword?”
What can we use to replace it if we abandon ‘Warstadt’? The aristocrats would get suspicious if we suddenly started using a different sword…
“We could use… this sword?”
Daniel said as he presented a sword from the floor instead of one of the ones lined up in the air.
“Hey, isn’t this a man-made holy sword too?”
“This facility has two processes. The first is to manufacture swords which will become holy swords, and the second is to turn swords into holy swords by channeling them with magic over a long period of time. The second process seems to take at least a hundred years. I am just guessing, but Warstadt must have undergone the second process for about 1,000 to 2,000 years.”
“So, this is a sword that hasn’t undergone the second process yet?”
“Yes, it was made as a weapon. It looks the same as ‘Warstadt’. I guess they did not want the enemy to be able to tell its abilities based on its appearance.”
So, it was possible to replace it.
“But this sword looks like a magic tool too.”
“It is, but its abilities are quite simple. It stores mana and releases it. That is all it does. It is at a technological level that can be produced today, so it should be fine to use.”
… Oh. Isn’t… that good for everyday use?
“I see… By the way, it would be bad to use this sword on a regular basis, wouldn’t it?”
Even though it was a different sword, I couldn’t go against the order of the First Emperor.
“You should be able to. The ‘Guardian of Lothar’ may disagree… but they obey Lothar over Bungdalto, so they will follow your decision.”
“Alright. Then I’ll use it.”
I picked up the sword. This one didn’t feel ominous or terrifying.
I might be able to walk around alone at the coronation ceremony… with this sword.
“Then, let us return to the ground, Your Majesty.”
“I’ll be counting on you from now on.”
Honestly, it was a heavy conversation. I had more things I had to think about now.
But I got two new powers, this sword (which wasn’t as powerful as a holy sword’ and the ‘Ain’s Storytellers’. This was a massive gain.
… There are only five days left until the coronation ceremony.