Chapter 151 – News
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The metal door shut quietly behind Yuki and the room was dark for a few moments, only a few dim lights illuminating the space. The Uriel appeared in front of him, a glowing mass of golden particles. Screens appeared beside her and floated toward Yuki.

“Give me the basic run down first,” he said as he received the screens. “Just a brief summary starting from when I was last here.”

“Alrighty,” Uriel replied. “You don’t want information from our reconnaissance, right?”

“Not yet.”

“Great. So from when you were last here, a few significant events happened that I think you’ll be interested in. First thing is that there has been a lot of movement in the political world recently. More than usual.”

“Many people’s terms end this year so that’s to be expected.”

“Yeah, but one of the big events in the political realm that happened is related to the King. The selection for a new King is happening this year and very soon. A few months from now I believe.”

“What happened to the King?” Yuki asked. “Did he die?”

“I think he resigned,” Akira said. “I saw a news segment on it before on the few occasions I watch the news.”

“That is correct,” Uriel confirmed.

“Resignation?” Yuki rubbed his cheek. A screen floated in front of him and he read the article displayed on it. “That’s odd, very odd. Kings rarely resign. Most of them serve their terms before handing the seat over or just going for another term.”

‘The current King’s term still has two years in it. I think he’s only been King for three years so far.’

“That’s why I’m mentioning it to you,” Uriel said. “The resignation of a King is big news and a very rare occurrence that hasn’t happened in the last two hundred or so years. I think the last time was during the Demon Wars.”

“Did the King state why he was resigning?”

“I think he said something about him not being the right person for the job and that there are others more qualified and capable or something like that. The usual excuse.”

“Okay. So what was the actual reason? Do you have any information on it?”

“Information, yes. Conclusions, not so much,” Uriel replied. “From what I’ve been given, the King only started discussing resignation about a week ago at most.”

“Interesting.”

“So besides the King, the positions that the King had elected people for are up for grabs as well now that he’s resigning. The other government positions haven’t changed.”

“When’s the tournament taking place for those open positions?”

“The same time as the King selection. The entire details haven’t been announced yet but if it follows the traditional format, the positions will be filled by whoever the new King selects out of the top competitors.”

“I see,” Yuki nodded. “It might be a little before or after the Academy tournament. I hope it’s not during the Academy tournament. I think I might need to attend the King Ceremony.”

“Speaking about the Academy,” Uriel said, switching the topic. “The tournament reward is a position in the LIA Task Force.”

“I know.”

“Well, I have some interesting news on why there’s so many new spots open on the task force that they’re willing to accept current Academy students into their training program.”

“Do tell.”

“They’ve recently suffered from quite a few deaths,” Uriel said. “Their trainees have been filling those vacant spots but now they’re running out of trainees so they’ve offered a few spots to the Academy to help fill out their training program.”

“I see,” Yuki said, grabbing a screen that blinked a bit. “A few officers died as well?” 

“Yes. That’s the more surprising and possibly dangerous part. If officers are dying, that either means there have been recent developments in the surrounding wilderness around Libra or they’re being targeted by an unknown group of people.”

“And if they’re being targeted, I can take a guess as to who that group is.”

“Well, we can’t say right now if it’s the Shikaku. I believe that they already have members within the task force so if they are killing officers, they must be preparing for something.”

“They always preparing something. We just don’t know what just yet,” Yuki said. “But yes, it’s also a possibility that there are developments at the border that are resulting in their deaths.”

“Monsters?” Erica piped up. “Those must be quite evolved monsters if they can kill enough L-taf members for them to be worried.”

“Might not be monsters. Maybe an irregularity or two?” Akira mused.

“Possibly. It could even be disputes between neighboring countries but that’s a stretch,” Yuki said. “They wouldn’t risk it and if they wanted something then covert killings does nothing for them.”

“In other news, I’ve been watching for anything related to the things you’ve been doing recently, Boss,” Uriel shifted. “You’re assassination of that Mason Incorportated member got quite a lot of coverage and an entire squad was dedicated to the case. Nothings been found yet and the public’s been losing interest fast.”

“Excellent. How’s Tiar adjusting to his new position?” Yuki asked.

“Quite nicely actually. He now can force people to stay and talk with him.”

“That’s nice. Anything else? Was a break in every announced for our little trip into the Mason Inc. building?”

“Nope. Not a word of it was announced anywhere.”

“That’s what I thought would happen,” Yuki nodded. “If it was mentioned, then they risk exposing what they’ve been doing. How are they quieting people? Like the families of the people I killed to get in?”

“Most of the guards in that facility don’t have family,” Uriel said. “They all have problems in their lives that made them rejects. A few of them are chronic gamblers, a few former criminals for nonviolent offenses like drugs and such. The ones that don’t have those problems don’t have families in the sense that they’re all dead.”

“So the perfect choice for jobs like an illegal prison.”

“Exactly. The ones that may have family that still care for them have quieted with money to be frank. Tiar’s been going around to those families and making them sign contracts to never speak of the death in exchange for monthly payments.”

“Interesting. That’s smart. Is there anything else that I should know?”

“That’s mostly it,” Uriel said. “Some news in the entertainment world if you’re interested in. You did say that you were interested in those things, right?”

“What kind of news?”

“Just some award nominations and charts. That artist you told me to look into seems to be growing quite fast~.”

“I don’t need to know about that right now. Maybe later,” Yuki said, pushing it aside. “So that’s it for the summary?”

“For the most part, yes. That’s all of the generally important pieces of information and news that happened.”

“Okay. Let’s move on then. I was told that you’ve been giving out more specific instructions to our members for the reconnaissance missions.”

“That would be correct,” Uriel replied cheerfully.

“Are you preparing for something?”

“That would also be correct. I’ve been analysing the data that we’ve been receiving lately and I’ve been starting to find a pattern.”

“Show me,” Yuki said.

“Sure.”

A multitude of screens flared into existence and Yuki began to grab them one by one. With practiced movements, he manipulated the holographic screens, scanning through each and everyone of them before merging them together into one window. His mind absorbed the sudden influx of information before him as his eyes flickered about, trying to find the pattern Uriel did.

“Wait. These are the records of the items that we plundered from the supply trucks we raided,” he said as he went through the data.

“Yup,” Uriel replied.

“And if I’m reading this correctly, what you found interesting was the items that were being transported over time.”

“That’s right.”

“Specifically, the way the materials that are being transported seem to be growing in value. And their uses are becoming more and more specific.”

“Mhm.”

“And more dangerous, I see.”

He scrolled through more and more of the list and his eyebrows knitted as he considered every item that was shown carefully.

“They’re building something,” he muttered.

“Building something?” Akira asked. “What kind of something?”

“I’m not sure because I don’t even know what some of these components are. I haven’t run into these as well,” Yuki replied. “Uriel, did you get this information from Tiar? For the custom components I see here?”

“That’s correct. The ones later on in the list are from Tiar and not the raids. Since he manages those shipments anyway.”

“I take it you have some educated guesses as to what those parts are for?” Yuki asked.

“Of course. Otherwise I would be giving out those instructions you know? Going by chronological, we first have many shipments of relatively normal parts. Materials like metal and such. Nothing unusual that wouldn’t be normally shipped to a technology company right? Especially if it’s R&D.”

“Mhm. But then the things being shipped start to become more and more specific as time goes on,” Yuki continued for Uriel. “Some machinery as well which was broken into parts to disguise them. Which makes them only more suspicious.”

“That’s right. To add onto that, I’ve documented each new addition to the shipments and their uses.”

A screen pulsated and Yuki grabbed it.

“As you can see, in the beginning, most of the shipments were in bulk and were generic materials and items. Many generic materials and items.”

Yuki nodded as he scrolled through the spreadsheet.

“Then we can see the variety of items exponentially increase. The materials get more and more expensive and the items get more and more specialized. This also coincides with the increase in protection and security of the transportation vehicles.”

“I think that was caused by us. Increasing protection is expected but the amount that it increased is too much to be just to protect materials.”

“I believe so. Anyway, like I said, the things being transported are becoming more and more diverse. And so, I looked into each of the materials and items being transported and compiled categories according to what they are used for and how they are used.”

Yuki flipped through a few pages and landed on one titled materials. It seemed to be in chronological order from the latest to the earliest. The top were a multitude of common construction metals that Yuki recognized such as enhanced steel and eurodium. Then later down the list, the materials became more and more expensive and rare. Enriched orichalcum and dark taltum were ones that caught his eyes. Taltum was something used to absorb excess mana and was an excellent sink. It could be used in lining to prevent leakage or to hide strong magical signatures. It was also incredibly difficult to produce.

“Enriched orichalcum as well. Could be for energy but that would be like using a nuclear reactor for a single light bulb. Most likely a catalyst,” he mused.

“That’s what I believe. They also have ridyst.”

“Two of them. Wow. That must have cost an entire nation.” 

“Um, what’s ridyst?” Erica piped up.

‘Oh yeah. I forgot that they were here.’

“Ridyst is a jewel,” Yuki answered, turning to face her. “It’s extremely rare. So rare that me saying that it’s rare doesn’t cut it. It’s by far the best mana battery there is in the entire world.”

“How good is it?” Akira asked.

“One piece the size of a pin would probably store enough mana to power the entire capitol for a year by itself.”

“That much?” Akira’s eyes widened.

“Yes. And they have two of them. So unless they’re planning the greatest dance party the world has ever seen, something is odd here. Uriel, continue.”

“Gladly. Like you said, they have enriched orichalcum as well which normally is used in small amounts as a fuel source and rarely as a mana focuser. The amount they’ve imported though seems to point more towards fuel source.”

“And from what I saw, it was about two hundred pounds worth?” Yuki said, scrolling back to the correct line on the screen he held. “Yup. Two hundred pounds. That’s enough to power a reactor for hundreds of years.”

“Mason Inc. already has orichalcum reactors,” Uriel continued. “And so importing this much is extremely suspicious. The same with the dark taltum and the ridyst. Based on those three things alone, they’re using the orichalcum to generate mana to be funneled into a ridyst battery. The taltum would be used to insulate the entire process, soaking up any excess mana or stray mana. It’s actually a pretty cool system. The ridyst is so powerful that it would just absorb whatever stray mana the taltum picked up.”

“How about machinery and items? What did you find?” 

“Look for yourself.”

Yuki flipped another page and found the list of items. Two large categories were displayed. One was labeled “Generator” and the second was labeled “Beam Tech.”.

“The generator part makes sense already based on the raw materials,” he muttered. “Most likely to power whatever they’re building with the items in the “Beam Tech.” category.”

“That would be the most logical assumption. And the one I would go with,” Uriel agreed.

“But they don’t seem to have a focus besides orichalcum,” Yuki said, tilting his head.

“No, and that’s something that struck me as odd. Everything else points to some kind of beam that will be powered by an absurd amount of mana.”

“And I guess that it’s not going to be one giant laser pointer.”

“No. It probably won’t be.”

“Wait. Yuki,” Akira said. He turned his head. “If we say that they do have a focus, it would be used to focus the mana, right?”

“Yes,” he nodded. “For the beam. Without something to focus the mana, it would just disperse.”

“So if we say that they do have a focus, then the beam that would result from it would be how strong exactly?”

“I wouldn’t know as this is something outside of my knowledge, but based on some basic things I do know, it would be very strong at the very least,” he said. “Like, slice through metal skyscrapers powerful.”

“Oh god,” Erica groaned.

“Basically a big weapon then,” Akira frowned.

“Oh. I see where you’re getting at,” Yuki said. He considered the idea for a few seconds. “I didn’t really think about that. That would be bad.”

“You think?” Erica said, a nervous laugh coming out from her.

“Akira’s idea is something that I’ve considered,” Uriel interjected. 

“And what’s your thoughts on it?” Yuki asked.

“It’s the most logical one there is. Mason Inc. is building something that could very well be a weapon. A weapon that could destroy countries.”

 

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