Roughly a week went by since we were given the task of finding a way to open the Forbidden Box.
When we came back from school, we received a response letter from Tred-sensei all the way back in Bauer.
『My sincerest apologies, but please give up on that box. There are things in there that cannot be released into this world. Those things probably infringe upon the taboos of this word. If you do not want to be put under permanent surveillance for the rest of your lives like me, then please do not involve yourselves with it.』
The neatly written characters in his letter detailed as such.
“Since this is the reply to our request that we got from Tred-sensei, it looks like we can’t do anything, huh.”
Claire-sama grimaced as she read over the letter.
Even with her forehead wrinkled, Claire-sama was still cute.
“What should we do? Do you think you can do something about the box with your knowledge?”
“I know that it’s possible to open the box, but I’m a little bit worried after reading Tred-sensei’s warning.”
Taboos of this world, being put under surveillance―― both of those were such jarring phrases.
“Rei, do you know what’s inside the box?”
“Yes. There should be a certain magical tool in there that Tred-sensei studied during his time in the Empire, as well as a notebook summarizing all of his research.”
“What does the tool do, and what is inside the notebook?”
“The tool is a ring-shaped device used to amplify the wearer’s magical power. It’s not exactly what you could call a finished product, but if you have the aptitude to wield the ring, the tool could greatly amplify one’s magical power by a lot.”
“I see, I see.”
You might’ve been able to guess it by now, but the person that has the aptitude to wield the ring is none other than the protagonist, Philine.
“I’m not really familiar with the details of the notebook, but it contains data of human experimentation that was conducted in the Empire, and the remorse he felt over it. Tred-sensei was never mentioned by name in RevoLily and was just introduced as some researcher, but if we’re following the original work, it was said that Tred-sensei ended up losing his daughter during those experiments.”
If I recall correctly, the details in the records were actually quite descriptive.
A lot of inhumane experiments were conducted.
I never would’ve imagined that the warm and kind Tred-sensei was the author of those records.
“I don’t know what to expect when I see things like ‘taboos of this world’ or ‘being put under surveillance’, though. Perhaps we can just open the box now, and then ask Tred-sensei about it again later.”
“We’d have to be prepared if he gets angry at us, though.”
It’s true that Tred-sensei might end up getting angry at us, but it’s that Tred-sensei, after all.
It can’t be helped if we somehow manage to open it on our own, so he’d probably give up on feeling angry pretty quickly.
More than anything, considering how he used words like “taboos” and “surveillance”, I doubt he’d leave things be.
I’m sure he’ll end up explaining everything to us.
“So, in the end, how do you actually open the box?”
Claire-sama was starting to grow impatient.
As expected, she seemed to be quite curious about it.
“You know how the box has those magical stones embedded on it?”
“Yes. The black, blue and red stones – with each of them representing earth, water, and fire attribute magic, correct?”
“Yep. You’d need to activate the stones by using the respective magical attributes on it simultaneously.”
“…… Was it really something that simple all along?”
Claire-sama somehow seemed defeated.
“It’s not. It really isn’t as simple as just using three different attributes of magic on it. If it was that easy, the researchers in the Empire would have opened it by now. The magic has to come from a single person alone.”
“Eh……. So in other words……?”
“Yes. You’d need somebody that can use earth, water, and fire magic. In other words, only a tri-caster or anybody ranked higher can open it.”
In this world, where even dual casters were rare to come across, there were very few tri-casters and quad-casters.
There may be some that I don’t know about, but within my scope of acquaintances, the only people that I knew of were Manaria-sama, Tred-sensei, and Mei.
In RevoLily, during a visit to the Empire, Manaria-sama was asked for her cooperation in opening the box, but given our current circumstances, it would not be realistic to get Manaria-sama to come to the Empire right now.
“So that’s what we have to do, huh.”
“Yes, we’ll need to get Mei to try her best.”
“Did you call for Meiー?”
When they heard her name being mentioned, both Mei and Alea came out of their rooms and walked over to us.
“Yeah, there’s something we need you to do, Mei. But before that, can I ask you a question?”
“Mei, you can already use magic now, right?”
“Which attributes can you use?”
“Hm? I can use all of them already?”
“…… My child is such a prodigy, it’s almost troublesome.”
Her abilities still had so much room for growth, but even with that, she was already a full-fledged quad-caster at the age of six.
“I see, I see. You’ve been giving it your best, huh. So then, do you think you can use three different attributes all at the same time?”
“Hmm…… I’ve never tried it, so I dunno.”
Using multiple attributes simultaneously was not a very common technique.
For example, I’m used to it since I used a fused technique called “Water Meteor” back when I fought against Manaria-sama, but most ordinary people wouldn’t even be able to think of such things.
“Let’s practice it for a bit, then. Let’s start with two. Try using earth magic in your right hand, and water magic in your left…… Do you think you can pull it off?”
I cast both attributes of magic in each hand to demonstrate.
Without really doing anything fancy with the magic, all I did was circulate the magical power.
After staring at me with strong fascination, she poured all of her concentration into her hands.
“…… Something like this?”
“Wow, you actually did it. Are you a genius?”
It was supposed to be a difficult technique to learn, but Mei easily managed to use both attributes simultaneously.
“In that case, let’s try it again. This time, try using fire in between those hands.”
“Okay, I’ll try.”
From here on, this was something I only knew about in theory.
Even if Mei couldn’t do this right away, I was planning to watch patiently for several days if I had to, but――
“Ah, I think I got it.”
While she mustered up her magical power, in addition to the other two attributes of magic she had in her two hands, she managed to get fire attribute magic circulating in between them as well.
Compared to Alea, Mei wasn’t as quick when it came to remembering things.
But it wasn’t like she was particularly slow at picking things up either.
However, perhaps she was a natural when it came to learning magic.
“Yeah, that’s perfect. You can cancel it now, Mei. Thank you.”
“Haah…… That was exhaustingー”
Mei said that as she hugged Claire-sama.
“It’s unfair if you’re just spoiling Mei! I want to be spoiled too!”
“Yes yes, come here.”
“It’s fine if you come to me instead too, you know?”
“Rei-okaasama is lacking in comfort and fluffiness, though.”
…… I’m not sad at all.
“If this is the case, then I think it’ll be okay if we ask Mei to do it.”
“You’re right. Well then, I think we should contact Hilda to let her know that we can open it.”
“But there’s something that I’m concerned about.”
“What would that be?”
“To be honest…….”
I explained to Claire-sama what might end up happening.
“I can’t take Mei to a place where that might end up happening!”
“No, but without Mei’s help, we don’t have any other options.”
“No! If it’s going to put her at risk of danger, I’ll think of something else!”
“Claire-sama, I understand how you feel. I’m not really on board with it either.”
“Please calm down, Claire-sama.”
I put my hands on Claire-sama’s shoulders as she was getting heated up in order to soothe her before continuing.
“It’s true that I can’t guarantee her safety one hundred percent. However, I’ll do something about it. Claire-sama, please keep Mei safe.”
“But I wouldn’t want you to endanger yourself either, Rei.”
“It’ll be fine. I have knowledge of the original work, after all. I know exactly how to get everything to blow over.”
To be honest, I was actually a bit worried, but for the sake of trying to convince Claire-sama, I didn’t mention it.
“…… I understand.”
She seemed a bit reluctant, but for the time being, I was able to get Claire-sama to voice her approval.
Now then, it was time to open the Forbidden Box.