The Forbidden Box
Hilda guided us to one of the laboratories owned by the Imperial Ministry of Magic.
A security guard standing by the entrance asked us for identification.
Given how tight security was around here, you could tell just how important these laboratories were.
As we made our way inside, I saw a lot of experiment tools that I didn’t recognize and there were lots of researchers around that were somewhat dressed like alchemists.
The researchers all appeared to be of various different ages, which was most likely a result of Dorothea’s meritocracy as it ended up gathering most of the elites together.
When they noticed us, they shifted their gaze towards us for a moment, but they lost interest immediately and returned to their research.
‘Is it really okay for them to have this sort of reaction towards outsiders?’ I thought to myself before I realized that most likely, dealing with outsiders is a job for the security guards and that the researchers’ job was to concentrate on their experiments.
Hilda invited us to a room located in the back of the laboratory.
The room was small and covered about 132 square feet. There was no furniture to be seen, but in the middle of the room was a safe-like box that sat on top of a pedestal.
“This is the item known as the ‘Forbidden Box’.”
The box, which had a rather pompous name, was a cube that measured to be around 50 square centimeters and made out of some kind of strange material that was neither stone nor regular metal.
There were three stones embedded on the surface of the box, with each one glowing black, blue and red respectively.
“You mentioned that this artifact belonged to Tred Magik, but isn’t he in Bauer right now?”
“Yes, that’s right. Tred Magik, the tri-caster. Before he left for the Kingdom, he used to be a part of the Empire.”
Just in case, I’ll go over it again.
Tred Magik was the only tri-caster in the Kingdom, and he was the same Tred-sensei that used to teach magic to me and Claire-sama.
He became the principal back at the Royal Academy, but it was thanks to his achievements that the Kingdom saw such amazing development in their magical techniques.
Tred-sensei proved to be a huge benefactor to the Kingdom, which originally came to a halt with their military development and lagged behind in magical technology.
Before the revolution even happened, Tred-sensei received the status of a knight.
Thanks to RevoLily, I was aware of the existence of the Forbidden Box, but I had no idea that Tred-sensei used to be a part of the Empire, nor did I know that the box was originally in his hands.
The event in RevoLily that brought the existence of the box up never mentioned Tred-sensei by name, after all.
“So you can’t get this to open?”
Philine asked as she stared at the box.
“Yes. Many researchers have tried various methods to get the box to open after Tred’s departure, but nobody has been able to open it. The box is so sturdy that not even Her Majesty Dorothea’s sword was able to leave a single scratch on it.”
Well, that was to be expected.
According to the game, the box was made out of a special metal called ‘adamantite’.
This special metal was said to have been forged by the Spirit God, and that anything other than magic would not be able to open it.
The metal had very strong physical resistance.
“It is said that this box contains secret magical techniques that Tred discovered. Many people have lost their lives for the sake of research on this.”
“And that’s why it’s called the ‘Forbidden Box’, huh.”
“This box has been a long-standing problem for researchers. If you can somehow find a way to open it, I’m sure the Ministry of Magic would be more than happy to lend you their strength.”
“But is this really okay? You’re showing outsiders something so important, after all. Plus, we don’t even know if we’ll be able to open it or not either.”
Claire-sama raised a good question.
“It’s somewhat of a risky gamble. However, it’s not like I was expecting you to open it by yourselves.”
“What do you mean?”
“Tred now belongs to the Kingdom, and Claire and Rei are both from there as well―― not to mention that the three of them are colleagues too.”
Basically, what Hilda was trying to get at was:
“In other words, you want us to get Tred-sensei to tell us how to open it, am I right?”
“I appreciate how quick you are at catching onto these things, Rei Taylor.”
If we couldn’t open it ourselves, the next best bet was to ask the person who created the box himself.
It was a really simple idea.
“But don’t you think Tred-sensei had whatever is in here sealed for a reason? I don’t think he’ll tell us how to open it.”
“Please try your best. This is the only compromise I can provide you. I know I’m asking for the impossible.”
Hilda said with a bitter smile.
“Hey, Hilda. Is there any way we could take the box――”
“That is prohibited, Princess.”
“If you end up learning how to open it, please let me know. Once I witness the seal being broken successfully, I’ll arrange for the magical technology department to provide you with their political support. This is all I can give you.”
“I understand. That’ll be more than enough.”
Philine seemed like she had made up her mind.
“Now then, it seems like we’ve got ourselves a deal. I wish you all the best.”
“After all that is said and done, it seems like everything is actually on your shoulders, Claire, Rei.”
We were on our way back from the laboratories.
It was already dark out.
We had Dor-sama look after Mei and Alea at home, but since Dor-sama was somebody that couldn’t handle basic household chores, Alea was probably starting to prepare dinner by now.
Or perhaps Dor-sama had taken them out to eat instead.
While we were rushing to get home, we discussed what we would do going forward.
Perhaps it was because negotiating with Hilda took such a toll on her, Philine appeared to be a bit exhausted.
“That can’t be helped. Besides, you did your best when it came to negotiating with Hilda too. Now it’s our turn to make a debut.”
Claire-sama praised Philine earnestly.
Well, the Philine from earlier was really cool, after all.
“That’s right. You know what, Philine-sama, my impression of you has changed. You’re no longer just a good-for-nothing princess.”
“Hey, Rei! What do you think you’re doing, saying such rude things to the princess of a nation!”
“Oh dear, my mistake.”
“No, it’s fine. It’s true that I’ve been nothing but incompetent up until now, anyway.”
“Ahaha,” Philine laughed wryly.
“But I’ll act properly from now on. With Hilda’s cooperation, once I somehow manage to convince the rebellious forces to join me and get my mother to change her mind, we can change the future of the Empire.”
“That’s the spirit, Philine-sama.”
“We’ve still got a looong way to go, though.”
I mean, I’m not really good with serious moods.
“We’ll try writing a letter to Tred-sensei tonight and have it sent to the Kingdom.”
“Yes, please do. If Tred-san wants a reward of some kind, please let him know that I’ll prepare as much as I can for him.”
“I feel like Tred-sensei isn’t really that kind of person, though. If he turns us down, I don’t think any amount of compensation will be able to convince him, though?”
“Likeー Iー saidー! Rei, why have you been saying things that might hurt Philine-sama’s motivation!”
“Ehhー, I mean, it’s because you kept on praising Philine, Claire-sama.”
“That’s because you haven’t even done anything this time around yet, Rei.”
Well, she was right about that.
“If you want to be praised, then show me some results.”
“You’re right. Well, that time will probably come soon.”
Yep, and probably even sooner than you’d think.
Because even if Tred-sensei doesn’t end up telling us how to open the box――
I already know how to.