“……In their current state, I cannot see them being of any significant help in a real battle. The Magic Soldier Training Facility should be discontinued immediately.” (Gio)
I am currently in the audience hall of the Magician’s Guild, speaking to the Lelis branch top brass.
Guildmaster Heldol, 2nd Seat aka Vice-Guildmaster Yahman, and 3rd Seat Nasaria. I also recognize 5th Seat Claura and the two magic soldier guards, but today the 4th Seat is also present, a man by the name of Tashin.
Having their ten-year long project openly slammed is causing all of their faces to be twisted…… or not.
Heldol and Yahman, definitely. Especially Heldol—he is trying really hard to keep a smile on his face, but it’s obvious that he’s grinding his teeth. On the other hand, Nasaria and Claura are frowning but nodding. Tashin just looks interested in hearing what I have to say next.
“Though it may be true that the fighting strength of the magic soldiers may be insufficient at the current moment, it should increase with the research and improvements from here on, right?” (Yahman)
Yahman is looking back and forth between Heldol and me and trying to intermediate. The children that die or suffer injuries due to that ‘research’ of his must not even register in his eyes.
“That increase is pretty difficult, isn’t it? The whole concept is to mass produce soldiers capable of using weak magic, right? Mass producing soldiers that use powerful magic would be a different premise altogether.” (Tashin)
Tashin retorts in a slightly high-pitched voice while readjusting his glasses. This guy, he’s the type that can’t read the atmosphere…… but this is good going.
“Then how do you propose the Magician’s Guild gain fighting strength?! Are you suggesting that we gather normal soldiers??” (Yahman)
“Isn’t the only alternative to focus on quality over quantity in our magic soldier production?” (Claura)
“Excuse me…… in the first place, wasn’t the whole point of asking Margils-dono here to have him help with the strengthening of the magic soldiers by teaching them wizardry……?” (Nasaria)
It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve heard Nasaria’s voice. I had anticipated that question.
“I’ve had a good look at the training being conducted at the Facility…… if a trainee becomes capable of using only one or two spells after going through all that, then it can be said that it will be nigh impossible for them to learn my wizardry. And even if they could, it would take 5 years for them to use the most basic spell only once. Furthermore, only 2 students can be taught at any given time. I, for one, do not think it practical at all.” (Gio)
The first half was a forced excuse, but I’m serious about the second half. Either way, I have to make them give up on the very idea of trying to make the magic soldier project work.
“I am fully aware how hard this must be to swallow for all of you have who cooperated on this project for so long. However, one must not look away from the truth.”
“If we terminate the project now, it will void everything that we’ve spent on it up to now!” (Yahman)
Heldol is just staring at me with his mouth shut.
After the contention that Yahman voiced in his stead, Claura opens her mouth.
“It is easy to just say ‘terminate.’ But do you have any thoughts about it? Do you know of a way to produce higher fighting strength than magic soldiers but at lower cost?” (Claura)
“That’s exactly right. If you do, we would love to hear it!” (Yahman)
“…… I do.” (Gio)
At my declaration, Heldol’s shoulders jump.
I take out a few magic items and toss them out.
Along with a dull sound, six lumps of metal the size of a fingertip roll around the floor.
“What…… are those……?” (Yahman)
“Oh loyal soldiers, arise.” (Gio)
After I chant the command phrase, the magic items ‘Soldiers of Bronze’ activate.
The six lumps expand with a pulsatory motion and, in the blink of an eye, transform into six life-sized soldier statues.
True to their name, the statues are completely made of bronze, equipped with shield, spear, helmet, and armor in the fashion of Roman heavy infantry.
“Such a thing……” (Yahman)
“This is amazing……! Although no magical power was used…… Margils-san, are these golems?!” (Tashin)
“That is correct.” (Gio)
Actually, sorry. They’re just magic items and not real golems. But the usage is the same, so I’m using them for this demonstration.
“What I’m offering to the Magician’s Guild is the method to create golems. These…… the explanation is long, but in short, the process has absolutely no relation to magic power and relies purely on crafting technique, so anyone can learn it, as long as they put in the time and effort.” (Gio)
The technique to create golems falls under ‘Monster Construction Techniques,’ a section that gets added to the D&B rulebook upon reaching Super Rank.
According to the rules, the prerequisite experience and cost for golem production are all fixed, but there aren’t really any profession restrictions. As proof, there were even several NPCs who were famous as golem creators but weren’t wizards. If The Overlooker had reproduced even that part faithfully, then the people of this world should also be able to learn.
As such, as long as there are the needed materials and technique and time, golems can be mass produced without limit. When they break, they can just be fixed, and don’t incur labor costs. Although there is the demerit of always needing a command from someone, their superiority over magic soldiers as mere fighting strength is clear to see.
And there is one more advantage to them.
“Do you have evidence that those golems are stronger than magic soldiers?” (Yahman)
“You only have my word to go off on, but I assure you that one of these golems can take on 10 fully trained magic soldiers. If we are to think in anti-Shadow Demon terms, that translates to 30 small demons, or one or two large demons.” (Gio)
“Testing…… clearly is not necessary. But it would surely have been a sight to see.” (Tashin)
Tashin looks completely engrossed with the golems. Heldol and Yahman look sick.
“Is there any likelihood of us learning these golem creation techniques?” (Claura)
“There is indeed. Rather, the likelihood is quite high. If it is the weakest version—the wood golem—that we’re talking about, it will take around a year and a half. However, since I will have to teach at least the first batch myself, I would need a bit more time to make the necessary preparations before I begin.” (Gio)
“How much would it cost to make one of those Wood Golems?” (Claura)
“I estimate that it will cost somewhere in the vicinity of a thousand gold coins. Certain unique materials will be needed, the gathering of which might be slightly troublesome. However, for soldiers that need no rest nor salary that can be repaired after being damaged, I believe the price well worth it.”
“How wonderful! By all means, please impart these techniques onto me!” (Tashin)
“Wait wait wait wait. How on earth can we ever explain this to the nobles and citizens who’ve supported the magic soldier project up to now?! The Guild would completely lose all face!” (Yahman)
Tashin eagerly leans forward, but Yahman pulls him back while wailing.
“I do feel apologetic towards the applicants and their families.” (Gio)
I lower my head towards the two standing behind Heldol whose faces have frozen stiff. I must think about their futures too.
“As for the 18 current trainees, I plan on taking custody over them. Of course, if the 3 graduated magic soldiers wish so, I can also take responsibility and find them places to go.” (Gio)
Despite my words, the magic soldiers’ faces do not relax. I guess it’s only natural……
“And although it is indisputable that the ‘source’ of the golems is myself, if we make it so that only the Magician’s Guild can ‘produce’ them, that should help the Guild maintain its influence, yes?” (Gio)
Heldol still remains silent, but I can see the anger in his eyes slightly wavering.
“You yourself will not produce any golems? Even though you can create your own army of golems?” (Yahman)
“Well, I may make a few as my own guards, but I do not have the time to produce enough to be of much significance in the larger scheme. That, I will leave to the Magician’s Guild. If the technique is shared with all of the Guild’s branches and not just this one, then it can turn into a rather reassuring fighting force, don’t you think?” (Gio)
“…… The Guild as a whole, huh.” (Heldol)
“I merely wish to defeat the Shadow Demons…… and to protect people from them. From my standpoint, having the Guild bear the full brunt of the golem production is actually a welcome thing.” (Gio)
By now, Heldol’s expression has softened quite a bit. It must be because he’s understood that we share the same stance on Shadow Demons.
“T-, this must not be, Guildmaster! Relying on outside techniques to maintain our influence…… Even the Council has provided us a significant amount of financial support!” (Yahman)
This Vice-Guildmaster. He normally just acts like Heldol’s hanger-on, why is he being so resistant now of all times?
“Wha-, what is it?” (Yahman)
Although she had remained silent for a while, Claura is now calling out to Yahman with a troubled look on her face.
“If the funds we received from the Council bothers you so much, I suppose I can be the one to go to the Council and give them a clear breakdown of how their money was used, complete with the exact numbers.” (Claura)
With those words, a lightbulb goes off in my head and the thought “adults sure are dirty” rises unbidden.
“D-, don’t say unnecessary things! I’m the Treasurer!” (Yahman)
“I have a few personal connections within the Council, so I can……” (Claura)
As Claura mutters with her characteristic (feigned, definitely) troubled expression, Yahman’s face twitches.
In short, he must have been embezzling or somehow misusing the money that the city had put towards supporting the Magic Soldier Training Facility. No wonder he doesn’t want it to close down.
“Why are you two talking about that? It’s not related to the discussion at hand though.” (Heldol)
Heldol does not seem to have caught the meaning of Claura and Yahman’s side conversation.
“Oh, please pay it no mind, it seems that I said something forward of me. Of course Vice-Guildmaster is the most apt person to explain to the Council.” (Claura)
“Tha-, that’s right…… If, if the project really does become terminated, I’ll take responsibility and explain to them.” (Yahman)
In contrast to her words, Claura’s eyes look sharp enough to stab. Like a deer caught in headlights, Yahman could do nothing but nod while breaking out in a cold sweat.
While Heldol closes his eyes trying to get his thoughts in order, 3rd Seat Nsaria, who had remained quiet up to now, raises her hand hesitantly.
“I think that Margils-dono’s proposal is indeed wonderful. The only worry that I have though, is whether an army of golems would be too powerful. Would the Magician’s Guild be exposing the world to a new danger?” (Nasaria)
“Ue, there’s no need to be that worried, is there?” (Tashin)
“N-, no, that’s a definite worry.” (Yahman)
This woman has accurately hit the heart of the matter.
“I have also considered that point. The usage of a golem requires setting a unique command word or phrase. If the Guild and the city both know this key, and if even guilds in other countries all share the same key, then there will be no need for any worry on that front.” (Gio)
“Hou…… indeed, it is a good idea to make them unusable against other humans.” (Heldol)
Another way of putting it is that golems would be absolutely useless in wars between humans. This is the other advantage to using golems.
“If there is still any suspicion, set in place a regular inspection by the city. But well, I doubt the Guild will ever get to a point where it loses so much trust with the city as to warrant such a thing.” (Gio)
“My question has been fully answered. Thank you very much.” (Nasaria)
Nasaria smiles while respectfully bowing to me. Then she turns towards Heldol.
“Guildmaster. I believe that we should accept Margils-dono’s proposal.” (Nasaria)
“…… I do as well.” (Claura)
“Naturally, I too.” (Tashin)
“I-…… I’ll support whatever Guildmaster decides.” (Yahman)
Heldol slowly rises from his seat. The first thing he does is turn to the magic soldiers behind and lower his head.
“Please accept my apologies, you two.” (Heldol)
“G-, Guildmaster!” (Magic Soldier)
“It’s our fault for being so weak!” (Magic Soldier)
The young boy and young girl kneel down with their heads hanging low. Their voices are also quivering.
According to [Detect Enemy], his hostility towards me still has not disappeared. However, he nods decisively.
“We shall thankfully accept your proposal. The Lelis Branch of the Magician’s Guild thanks Gio Margils-dono for his friendship.” (Heldol)