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405 Magi Craft Meister
12-55 Paternal Rights
Elsa's father, Georg, laughed in mockery upon hearing Reiko's warning.
“Hmph, what's a mere doll like you prattling about?”
“A mere doll, you said?!”
Jin was irate and raised his voice when hearing the insult directed at Reiko. Taken aback by the sudden las.h.i.+ng out, Reiko had almost forgotten about her own rage for a moment and found herself staring at Jin's face.
Marcus added fuel to the fire and said,
“Despite a mere doll, you're acting like his daughter, eh?”
Jin was parroting back, but Marcus paid no attention to it and continued,
“If she's a full-fledged adult as he said, why not make her prove it, Viscount?”
The Viscount was enticed by that idea.
“… I see. That would be interesting. Marcus, how many golems and Automata of the latest version have you created so far?”
“Let's see, there are 5 giant golems, 2 Automatas, and 3 military golems.”
Georg sneered as he learned this information.
“… Jin Nidou, if Elsa is your disciple, she would be able to show her Master's skills. I'll reconsider if she can win against the golems Marcus had created.”
“… What does Elsa's true ability have anything to do with my skills?”
“Everything! I can't acknowledge a disciple of a fake Magi Engineer as a full-fledged adult.”
“I won't hold it against you if you withdrew because of lack of self-confidence.”
None of Jin's words would have mattered unless he could earn Viscount Georg Randol's recognition.
Besides, Jin was quite offended by the Viscount's insult directed toward Reiko by calling her a mere doll. And hence, he decided to accept the challenge.
“… Understood. What's the method? And when will it be?”
“Huh, so you accept? How brave. It will be a compet.i.tion in Gonkurrenz*, where each party will take out a golem or an Automata. The compet.i.tion will be held tomorrow. It will be perfect because there will be some spectators.”
“You don't know what it is? It's a golem compet.i.tion held in this Shoro Empire. For more information, ask that guy over there.”
Due to the commotion, Jin did not realize that Reinhardt was standing there listening in.
“Uncle, challenging Jin will only bring you embarra.s.sment.”
Reinhardt tried to warn against it indirectly, but the Viscount paid no heed at all.
“Hmph, we shall see who will lose face in the end.”
On the other hand, the curious onlookers started a ruckus upon hearing the challenge.
“Oh! They said Gonkurrenz!”
“Is it the first time in a year and a half?”
“That Jin Nidou and Marcus will compete!”
Under Secretary of the Ministry of Magical Technology Christoph Valde Von Tarnat, who was also a member of the Technology Expo Executive Committee, got wind of the commotion and came rus.h.i.+ng.
“Viscount, Lord Jin! What in the world is going on?”
“Executive Committee? Oh, it's nothing. It's just that we have agreed upon a Gonkurrenz tomorrow, where Magi Engineers Marcus and Jin Nidou will compete.”
“These onlookers stand witness to the declaration of our compet.i.tion in Gonkurrenz. We can't back out now.”
According to Shouro's law, a declaration of Gonkurrenz would be publicly recognized at the presence of at least 5 witnesses.
“Coincidentally, it will be a suitable performance for tomorrow, as it is the last day of the Technology Expo.”
“Uh, oh ….”
“… That being said, I'll leave the preparation of the Gonkurrenz compet.i.tion to you. Elsa, come with me.”
Viscount Georg Randol grabbed Elsa's arm again.
Elsa's face distorted in sadness.
Out of concern, Jin shouted in an attempt to stop him.
“What? I am Elsa's father. Do you have a problem with a father taking his daughter? Right, Elsa?”
Being scowled at by Georg, Elsa could only hang her head down and nod. Though reluctant, her compliance was witnessed publicly. Jin could say nothing more in front of so many spectacles.
“As I mentioned earlier, I'll reconsider about Elsa if you win tomorrow. That's a promise. See you.”
After saying that, Viscount Georg Randol pushed his way through the crowd of onlookers, and walked away while dragging Elsa. Marcus followed.
Jin and Reinhardt who were left behind felt bothered.
“… Lord Jin, pardon me but would you please explain the situation?”
Feeling the need to obtain more information, Technology Expo Executive Committee Christoph invited Jin and the others to a meeting room.
“… So, that's what was going on ….”
Jin explained the situation.
“I see, regardless of how it started, seems like there's no choice but to do Gonkurrenz.”
“What is this Gonkurrenz, by the way?”
“Oh, you probably aren't familiar with it, Lord Jin. Let me explain.”
Gonkurrenz is a duel between golems or Automatas, so to speak.
Although it's called a duel, instead of destroying each other, it's a place to show off each party's skills.
The compet.i.tion is based on the following events:Footrace (500 meters run)Heavy throw (throw an object with a specified weight and compete for the throwing distance)Long-distance swimming (during this time, most likely the route will be a round trip swim in Lake Tosmo)Exploration diving (underwater search)Combat techniques (martial arts like swordplay or hand-to-hand combat like wrestling)
The compet.i.tion consists of these 5 events.
On rare occasions, opponents may add other events after prior discussions and agreements.
“You can have different golems or Automatas, or you can have just 1 of them competing in all events.”
“Lord Reinhardt is the previous champion. Were they called Schwarz Ritter and Lorelei?”
They were Reinhardt's golems who partic.i.p.ated and won in the previous Gonkurrenz that was held before Reinhardt and Elsa embarked on this journey.
“Let me guess, Lorelei partic.i.p.ated in the swimming and exploration diving, while Schwarz Ritter partic.i.p.ated in the other remaining branches, correct?”
Reinhardt nodded indicating Jin was right on target with his a.s.sumption.
“Then, the compet.i.tion will start at 9 tomorrow morning in the plaza where the presentations took place today. Of course, swimming and exploration diving will be held at Lake Tosmo.”
After prompting Jin with the information, Christoph Valde Von Tarnat left the meeting room.
“… Good grief, just when the trouble regarding the Marquess was under finally settled.”
Jin blurted out his discontent.
Jin thought it would have been better for Elsa to fix her disguise before leaving the room. But it was too late for regrets.
The plan was to be in disguise for three days, and then made the self-introduction after the announcement of the partic.i.p.ants' ratings at the end of the 3rd day of the Technology Expo.
If the personal approval of her Majesty the Empress was publicly announced, there would be no more doubts regarding Elsa's full-fledged status.
But when Georg claimed paternity rights like today, it became difficult to refute. It was quite unexpected to see Georg in the Expo.
“I'm sorry. It seems that I didn't my information gathering was inadequate.”
In the first place, Reinhardt did not have the information regarding the appearance of Elsa's father at the Technology Expo.
He was sure that the eldest son Moritz who would show up at the Expo. His a.s.sumption was based on the fact that Viscount Georg Randol had never once attended the previous Technology Expo.
For this very reason, it was as expected of Laojun that the measure against Georg was included as a precaution.
“I should have been more careful because I saw him in the arena … Well, since he is Elsa's biological father, I guess there's no need for me to worry about him causing her any harm.”
It would be different from when she was caught by the Unifiers.
After a long sigh, Reinhardt wished to clarify something that bothered him.
“So Jin, the matters with the Marquess was handled well?”
Jin elaborated on the details of what happened.
“I see. I'm glad that matter was handled better than I had expected. But, poison, huh …?”
Elsa's matters had made Jin readily forget regarding the high possibility that someone was trying to a.s.sa.s.sinate the Marquess with poison. That was another problem in itself.
“Ah, this is troublesome ….”
Jin and Reinhardt were silent for a while.
Jin broke that silence.
“Hey, Reinhardt. I feel like Elsa's father's behavior was a bit abnormal.”
Reinhardt agreed with Jin's observation.
“Yeah, I think so too. … Could someone have cast 'Seduce' upon him, like what happened to Fritz?”
“I wouldn't know. … Reiko, what do you think?”
Since Reiko was there as well, she might have noticed something Jin overlooked.
“There was nothing suspicious about Viscount Georg Randol. Rather, I felt that the Marcus guy was a little strange.”
“Yes. How shall I put it …. Oh yes, I would say that his memory has somehow been tampered with. The pattern of his magical power that leaks out was sometimes disconnected**.”
Jin understood the meaning of the expression, but could not find the cause of it.
“I contacted Laojun earlier and tried to consult with him. According to him, some of Marcus' memories were erased using the spell 'Amnesia', then new memories were planted in place of the erased ones. Laojun said it would be the most likely case.”
Theoretically, it would be possible to erase memories in general. But to replace them with new ones was not something that could be done readily. No matter what, there were bound to be some lapse.
Laojun speculated that this lapse in memory could become a potential instability factor reflected in the magical power.
“If so, who tampered with Marcus's memory?”
Reinhardt asked an obvious question. But no one knew the answer.
Through Reiko, Jin ordered Laojun to contact the SP attached to Elsa as her security detail to perform further investigations.
*Author's note: Gonkurrenz is an abbreviation of Golem Konkurrenz (compet.i.tion).
**Translator's note: I chose “disconnected” to describe Marcus' magical power. The literal translation of the word was “full of little holes, like it was bitten by insects”. Magical power from a healthy mind (original memory intact) should flow out steadily. The flow of Marcus' magical power looks like there was some kind of interference with intermittent “holes”.