72: Puppet extermination!


The royal capital Industria is a city that is surrounded by three city walls.
The castle in its center is so gorgeous, that it actually looks more like a palace.
I was accompanied by knights and was guided into said royal palace.

The audience hall is on the palace's second floor.
It's a large room about the size of a gymnasium. A red carpet is spread out and there's a throne placed one step higher in the back. An elderly man is sitting on it.
Knights in full armor were standing side by side close to the walls.


I'll greet him courteously for now because I'm the hero of the Daphnes Kingdom.
"It is a pleasure to meet you, your majesty King Ronheim. I am the hero of the Daphnes Kingdom."
"Y, Y, You say, you're ...a hero?"
--Hmm?
The king's behavior was somewhat strange.
--------------------
[Status]
Name: Ronheim IV
Gender: Male
Age: 51
Race: Human
Job: King
Class: King Lv51
Attributes: "Earth"

State: Puppet Manipulation
--------------------
--He is manipulated by someone.

Ronheim pointed at me with his trembling finger after he stood up from his throne.
"Th, this guy, he's an impostor! He's a spy from the Daphnes Kingdom! Arrest him!"
"I'm not a spy, I'm a real hero."
For the time being I tried to argue.
The knights, who were lined up at the walls, made rattling sounds and drew their swords.

"Prepare yourself!" "Give up!"
I avoid the swords of the knights one after another.
I pass through the knights, grab their wrists and let them crash into each other.
The knights are moving slowly in their heavy ceremony armor.
They were easier to deal with than children.


Then the large door to the audience hall opened and an important-looking man brought soldiers inside.
They are lightly dressed and are holding spears.
The important-looking man gives orders.
"The fake hero tried to kill his majesty King Ronheim! Kill him! Protect his majesty!"
They line up the spears and attack.
These are more troublesome.

Just to be sure, I use "Truth Sight" and look at the soldiers' status.
They should get cold feet in the face of an overwhelming opponent.
Hmm? There's a strange fellow... or rather, a Magic Doll. That's unexpected.

I draw my Tachi and murmur.
"--'Wind Blade Grant'"
I cut off the tips of the spears with my green glowing Tachi.


Well then, what should I do?
It seems that they aren't brainwashed or enticed, but just following orders.
In that case.

I casually cast a spell during the fight.
"Oh gentle breeze, become a curtain that blocks all waves-- 'Eight Crossings Boundary'"
An octagon with two superimposed squares was drawn under the king's feet.
The king is wrapped in a dazzling light.


The soldiers make a noise.
"Ki, King!" "Your majesty!" "Bastard, what have you done!"
"'What', huh? I only let him regain his sanity"
"What!?"

The king shakes his head after he fell onto the floor with his back. He touches his gray hair to smooth it down.
He raises his voice while he pulls a wry face.
"Everyone, be quiet! Lower your swords!"
The low, but well-projected voice lets you feel the dignity that was piled up over many years.
The knights and soldiers are catching their breaths and stand as if they were petrified.

I speak to him while holding my Tachi.
"Your majesty, how are you?"
"Well. I feel somewhat groggy. You are a hero? Thank you for curing my strange condition."
"It's not over yet, so please don't leave the barrier. The magic that manipulated you is still active."
"Manipulate, you say?"


I turned towards the door.
"Let's see. Hey, that old man with the short mustache! You're the one who manipulated him, right?"
It's the important-looking man, who brought in the knights. He's probably a minister.
He was a Magic Doll.

The old man shouted.
"You failed to assassinate the king and now you're mocking me!? Where's your proof, you fake hero!?"
"Proof? Who are you to say that?"
"I am Gatro, the defense minister! Hurry up and kill that fake hero!"
"Heh"


I ran past the red carpet. Like the wind.
The stupefied soldiers can't react fast enough.

I run though them and behind Gatro.
"The proof is-- this!"
*zann!*

I swung my Tachi in one go from his head to his feet.
The minister's body splits and falls to both sides.
Springs and parts are scattering about.
His limbs still rattled for a while after they fell down onto the floor.
Of course, there was no blood.


Suddenly the atmosphere in the room shakes.
"Eh, it must be a lie..." "He's not human!?" "The minister was?" "Si, Since when"

I approach the king.
"Do you have a grasp on the situation with that?"
"Ye, Yes... who would've thought that Gatro wasn't human... I give you my thanks, Hero!"

"It seems that he was trying to set up a war with his position of the defense minister. It looks like he wanted to execute me as a spy and use it as justification to attack the Daphnes Kingdom."
"You might be right. The situation was dire."

"Also, the craftsmen were desperately complaining because he ordered a large quantity of goods for a really low price. They asked me to help them."
"Hmm, was that so. Certainly, I can somewhat recollect, that I gave him the permission... I'll do something about it immediately."
"Thank you very much. The craftsmen's displeasure should settle down with this."

"Our Fabrica Kingdom is protected by the strength of the craftsmen. Our country will fall to ruin if we don't cherish them. --Hero, please tell me your name."
"I'm Hero Keika"

"Keika, I sincerely apologize, that we pointed our swords at you-- Everyone! This man is a real hero! Burn his strength and sincerity, that let him see through the truth, into your hearts!"
"""Yes~!""" "Hero Keika, Banzai!" "Thank you, Hero Keika-sama!"

Everyone present lowered their heads to me. Then they applauded.


After that, I passed a cloth, that was imbued with a magical reflection barrier to the king.
"Please always keep this close to your body. There's a chance, that you'll be manipulated again, so don't let go off it even if you're injured."
"I see. Not only did you save my country, you even take further measurements. This is the least I can do for you on short notice-- Chamberlain"

The king ordered an elderly man to bring a bag.
Inside it were two holy gold coins (10 million yen).
I lowered my head when I received it.
"Thank you very much, your majesty King Ronheim."
"No, this isn't sufficient by a large margin... is there anything else you want?"

"Let's see... I'd like to investigate as a hero since demons are involved. I'd like to join the search of Gatro's house."
"Such a selfless request! ...Certainly, it'll be dangerous with just the soldiers. Keika-sama, I'm counting on you."
"Please leave it to me"

I lowered my head, stepped back from the king and left the palace accompanied by several soldiers.

======

The mansions of the aristocrats and senior officials were located around the royal palace.
I arrive at Gatro's house, which is already surrounded by soldiers.
A girl with flowing blond hair approached me. And behind her was a girl with cat ears, who was carrying a bag.
"Keika-sama, you're safe"
"Keika-oniichan. Thank goodness."
"Ah, everyone. Thanks for coming."
I called Celica, Minya and Lapisia beforehand. Since they are registered as my hero party, they were able to pass the city wall that surrounded the royal palace.
Lilille, Fioria and Rii are house-sitting at the inn.


The captain is approaching.
"Keika-sama. What shall we do? Should we attack first?"
I invoked "Clairvoyance" and "Truth Sight", and examined the house.
"Yes. You'll take control of the first and second floor, I'll investigate the basement."
"Understood-- Everyone, make arrangements! We'll attack!"
Along with the command, the soldiers forced their ways into the mansion.

We follow behind them.
We hurry to the basement.
When we got down the dark staircase, there was a workshop, and tools and machines were scattered about. It was about the size of two connected classrooms.
Hands and feet of dolls are stacked up at the walls.

But there wasn't anything outstanding when I looked at them with "Truth Sight". But there was something in the back.
"Celica, Minya, there are Magic Dolls in the corners of the room. Destroy them!"
"Yes!" "Understood"
Celica waved her red skirt as she turned around.
Minya's Miko clothes are fluttering as she follows behind. Her black tail is standing stiffly.

The two Magic Dolls are starting to move. They didn't have any hair nor faces yet.
"*haa!*"
Along with a loud scream, Celica thrusts her slender sword forward.
She slashes at the two legs of a Magic Doll and ice is immediately spreading. It stops moving under the Frozen Rapier's effect.

Minya, who ran past her, swung her kitchen knives that she held in both hands.
The neck and torso were cut and fell onto the floor.


"Don't be careless. You have to further destroy it because it will continue to move."
"Understood"
Minya follows up.
Celica turned to the other one.
--I guess I'm not needed.

I confidently entrusted this room to them.


The room in the back has the size of about 8 tatamis.
A large bird cage was installed in the corner of the room. It is as high as my waist.

But inside wasn't a bird, but someone who was about 30 centimeters tall.
She was about four heads tall and wore a red, pointy hat.
I looked at her status with "Truth Sight".
--------------------
[Status]
Name: Haya
Gender: ?
Race: Small Fairykin
Job: Slave
Classes: Magic Tool Engineer Lv99 Fairy Magic Lv33
--------------------
A Magic Tool Engineer can make tools with magical effects.
I was thinking, that ties to this fairy may be a great help when making the holy sword.


Haya looks bored while she swings on a swing. It was rusty and made creaking sounds.

She looked up to me with her round and cute eyes when I approached.
"Are you a human?"
"Don't worry, I'm a hero"
"Can you help me to get out?"
"Please help me as well when I've rescued you."
"--I feel the power of the princess. I'll do whatever I can."


She immediately trusted me because of the Fairy's Blessing.
She let me see into her small eyes and smiled.
I broke the cage and let her out.

She jumped into my chest and clung to me.
"Thank you~"
Pretty cute.


"Where is the slave crest?"
"It's here~"
She rolled her shirt up and showed her stomach.
A round magic circle is drawn there like a seal.
"Hm~. It seems that this will cause you pain if you leave the house."
"*hii*"
Haya is trembling. Her pointy hat is shaking.

"Let's leave the erasure for later. I'll only deactivate it for now."
I pushed several points with my fingertips to disable the slave crest.
"My body got lighter"
"Very well. This looks good."
--I'll rely on Lilille later.


I left the room while carrying Haya.
The battle at the workshop was over.
"Minya, put her into your bag to hide her."
"Yes"
She moved her cat ears and put the bag down that she was carrying on her back.

Haya quickly understood and jumped onto the workbench.
"I'll take my tools along~"
"That should be for the best. But please hurry"
"Yeees"
She started to collect miniature hammers and pliers and put them in a sack.

It seems that she was indeed working here. It appeared, that the Magic Dolls were made by Haya.
Although she couldn't go against the orders, there is still a possibility that she would be charged for it.
I went ahead to prevent her from being taken into custody by the soldiers.


Haya shouldered her sack like Santa Claus and jumped into Minya's bag.
She slightly shows her face from the bag and speaks.
"Somehow, it smells like beasts."
"Well, we put materials in there. Please endure it."
"Yeees"
Minya silently takes the bag.

"Very well, let's go. Next is the second floor."
I said this while I looked a the ceiling.
The soldiers on the second floor were fighting against Magic Dolls and were struggling hard.