In A Different World With A Smartphone - Chapter 182
First chapter for the week. Enjoy…
Arc 22: If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
Chapter 182: The Demon Country and the Puzzle
「So you say that a Babylon's ruins have been discovered? Where?」
『Yes. It's at the center of the demon kingdom Zenoasu. In its mountain region』
I brood a little bit after hearing Kougyoku's report.
Demon Kingdom Zenoasu, is it? It's a kingdom which closed its borders and where demonkins live. I heard that country is being ruled by a person they call a "Maou" and which doesn't have a desire to have that much connection with other countries. It is also said that the environment there is severe thanks to the special properties of the land itself. Various species live there and magic beasts and their subspecies are still rampaging a great deal. They say it's a terrifying land.
Should I abruptly go to that kingdom that's entirely unknown….? For the sake of confirming my concern a bit, I have summoned the demonkins serving in our household's knights order.
「You are asking about Zenoasu?」
The one I have summoned is a youth from the vampire tribe with pointed ears, red eyes, and pale skin. His name is Rusheed and he is an oddball in such a way that he is not good with blood even if he's a vampire. According to him, blood is purely an indulgence and is apparently not entirely necessary in order to live.
This guy has totally destroyed my image of vampires. To start with, they are cool with sunlight, and they eat garlic cuisine if it's their preference. They are calm in front of crosses and silver weapons aren't necessarily needed to kill them. They don't change into bats and more than anything else, they are also weak with blood.
It seems that aforementioned dislike of blood isn't a personal trait, but is rather a general trait of the vampires of this world. Ah, transforming someone into a vampire after, say, that person's blood is completely sucked out doesn't happen here as well.
Vampires do have a night vision, superhuman strength, high regeneration and other useful abilities, but it doesn't quite make sense to me. I wonder, is it because of this youth's unreliable image?
Furthermore, the vampire clan is considered to be one of the more dignified households in Zenoasu, so I summoned him while thinking whether he knows something. It's a riddle to me why he who had been born in such a clan with high position came to our household. At the time of the interview, he said that that he wanted to become independent.
「Are there no humans in Zenoasu besides demonkins?」
「No. Although they are a minority, there are humans and demihumans living there normally. Just because the country doesn't want to proactively involve itself with the other countries doesn't mean that the country is particularly closed to foreigners. However, there are various hardships involved with living there, so there are only a few of them」
「Hardships？ Like what?」
「First of all, there are extreme atmosphere changes, you see. If I compare the hotness of midday to that of midsummer, then the evenings feel intensively cold similar to when there's winter. Second, magic beasts are numerous, and the possibility to be attacked springs up just as you step outside from the town. FInally, it is about the meals. There may be not that many things that are edible for humans. Do you want to eat things like slime jelly or orc meat?」
Are you saying that there are orcs? The pigmen. They are fellows that have a human body but with a head of a pig that looks like Zhū Bājiè. Are they eating those !? Well, it might taste like pork, but still! They should eat ordinary pigs!
And there's the aforementioned slime jelly too….. Yep, sounds sickening. I suppose there is a vastly huge difference in food culture between them and me…..
I tried asking whether there is slightly less objectionable food there, but things like "mini-worm soup" and "grilled giant bat" came up. No good, no good, no good. Those are no good for me. Okay. Should ever I eat those, the visual aspect may be hopeless even if the food itself may be deliciously cooked.
「It took quite a while for me to get completely accustomed to that meal too…… Though there is cuisine that I occasionally want to eat as well」
Rusheed floats a bitter smile after saying this. Well, I can agree that it is hard to lose the so-called "hometown flavor".
Be that as it may, there shouldn't be any problems if it isn't strange for humans to be in Zenoasu. Rather, let's sneak into it, go to the ruins of Babylon and take it. Should I be found, it will be fine if I call myself the third son of a poor vassal or something. Though I cannot act violently. There is no shogun there either.
Okay, shall I try going there for the time being? It is a shame, but it seems that Rusheed hasn't traveled in the neighborhood of those ruins, so I decide to fly there by using [Fly] after transferring to Yuuron.
I have decided to ask everyone to wait in the castle since I will go there with [Fly] this time as well. When I tried to choose someone from Kohaku's group to take along so that I could make contact in case something happens, they almost broke into a fight and it was really hard to get them to stop.
Thanks to the [Lottery] which Yumina made by hand, it was decided to take Kohaku along. We then transferred with [Gate] to Yuuron where we had fought against Fureizu a while ago.
That place is still a wasteland same as how it has been left before. Since I have no business here, I spring into the sky and fly to the direction of Zenoasu with [Fly] at once after making Kohaku float with [Levitation].
I have made us transparent with [Invisible] in advance because it will be troublesome if I am seen here.
As we entered the skies of Zenoasu, there was someone in front of us flying in our direction for some reason. While I dropped my speed and continued inquiring about them, I noticed that they seem to be a pair of demonkins whose upper half is that of a woman and whose arms and lower body are that of a bird.
『Those are Harpies. It's said that the talons on their lower halves are considerably powerful that it can kill even a bear. They shouldn't do anything unless we challenge them』
It's just as Kohaku have said. The pair of harpies pass us by without doing anything and fly away. Though it's unlikely that they have seen anyone like us before. After I am done deploying a magic barrier, I must make their scent disappear as well.
Those were surely not magic beasts, but demonkins, right. Apparently, those called demonkins are people who are close to humans and capable of mutual understanding even if that borderline is murky. That's the basics. It has been decided that the likes of Dullahan, who are incapable of mutual understanding even though they are close to humans, and the likes of unicorns, who are far distant from having a human form even though they are capable of understanding each other, are magic beasts. Though I don't understand that delicate line.
「I suppose that we should take care for now just in case. There seem to be unknown magic beasts here as well 」
Once again we fly to our destination. When I look down, there were wastelands, rocky mountains, and dense forests spreading out. Now I am certain that living here is a great deal.
Though there are locations that more or less resemble towns, it appears that the soil hasn't been leveled very much.
「It pretty much feels like a savage land. Though I think it will be different if we go to the royal capital」
『It seems that the density of the magic elements is strong and the magic beasts are numerous. This place looks difficult for people to live in. Though it's nothing for species possessing strong bodies like demonkins….. 』
In a certain sense, this place has become a country that definitely suits demonkins to the strictest sense.
Nevertheless, it surely is hot here. Does this place even have winter? The sun is fully exposed in its dazzle. It feels like the sunlight is somehow getting more powerful just by being in those skies. I wonder, does it have anything to do with the density of magic elements here?
My coat has a heat-resistant property, so I should be okay in that regard.
As I continue flying while gazing down below, something is once again flying from the opposite side. Are that harpies again?
No, it's a bird. It looks like a blue condor. That's got to be Kougyoku's familiar.
The condor has come flying in order to guide us. Before long, we began approaching a mountain area, and the bird guided us to the valley in its corner.
Being caught in between the rocky mountains, the ruins looked like a triumphal arc.
After we descend to the ground, I try examining the arc's material, and it does resemble the same material which the ruins of Babylon are made with. I suppose this is a success.
The height of the arc is about three meters When I tried entering it, there was a six-mat room inside with some letters engraved into the wall. There are of five different objects similar to polygons lined up vertically on the left side.
At the center, there is only one stone pillar which has the height up to the waist. A fire-attribute magic stone is shining above it. It's a cavity….. Or rather, it looks like a Hokora. Everything around it is made of the usual marble-like material though.
(TL: hokora –mini shinto shrine for offerings https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokora)
「Mmn? It is different from others thus far…. What is the meaning of this?」
For now, I pour magic power with fire-attribute into the stone pillar in front of me. Upon doing that, I heard a sound similar to buzzing as if I did something wrong. Mmm? It sounds completely like the "miss" sound you get at quiz shows. Is it saying that I have to do something different? That my solution is incorrect?
「As I thought. Are those polygons and letters on the wall a hint? Does that mean that those are letters of an ancient civilization? [Reading/Ancient Magic Language]」
With the magic being invoked, it becomes possible to understand the letters carved into the wall.
『Line up the figures on the right in the correct order from the top. There's no need to actually sort them. Just imagine it in your head, it will be fine as long as the magic stone is touched and magic power is poured in it』
What the hell is that? A quiz? By "figures", does it mean those five circle and triangle-like polygons next to it?
A square, a half-moon, a star, a circle and a triangle are lined up starting from the top. There are small dots in each of their centers. Five, three, one, four, and two of those stars are struck into them.
「If those dots in the center are the lineup order…. It shouldn't be that simple, right?」
Nevertheless, I sort those shapes (star, triangle, half-moon, circle, square) in my head and pour magic power into the stone pillar. However, the buzzing sound was made again, thus making it an incorrect solution. Well, I have thought it would be like this.
「Hmm….. Ah, is that maybe, a number of straight sides?」
The circle has zero lines, the half-moon has one line, the triangle has three lines, the square has four lines and the star has five lines. There is no polygon that can render two straight lines, so….. Eh?
If the half-moon is excluded, won't it be fine to have a figure divided into four parts like a yen to get two lines?
For now, I try sorting it in order of circle, half-moon, triangle, square, star.
Buzzing. Wrong solution.
「As I thought. Does it have something to do with those dots?」
『What if those shapes represent different things?』
「Hmm…. Circle….. If that's the [Sun], then this half-moon should be the [Moon]. If the star is the [Star] as implied, then….. Are they describing some heavenly body? In that case, what do the "triangle" and the "square" mean? 」
By arranging them from the top….. Are they lining up in order of their distance to the ground? In that case, the most distant is [Star], then [Sun], and then [Moon]….. The triangle is [House], and the square is [Ground]? I try lining them up in that order.
「Kuuu. Mmmm…… I thought as much. The dots in the center are the hints, but….」
Since then, the polygons and I have been glaring at each other for some time now. It returned into continuing with the trial and error. And so, several minutes have passed.
Ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong.
「GIVE ME A BREAK ALREADY ！！」
『L~ Lord! I understand your feelings, but please calm down !』
*rumbling sound*…… Though I considered landing a kick on the wall into the polygons which are sliding to the side were carved in, I stopped on the verge of doing it because Kohaku clung to me.
「So THAT's the answer !? What's with this question!! 」
『Well, I agree with Lord, but….』
Kohaku shows a cramped smile. The answer to the question from before, that is,
『There are no shapes to the right』
That's it. Doesn't that make me sound dull!? That's right, the polygons were placed to the left side, but still! Doesn't that make it anything besides [riddle] ?!
As I calm my feelings down and reach the next room, it has similar letters carved in its wall and there is a stone pillar with a blue magic stone inserted in it. Are we doing it again ?!