Polymath Redux Annex
Chapter 45 – She's an alchemic genius
“Then, you go back to the tavern and turn in the quest. I’ll need to see ‘that bastard’ to report on what happened at the Manatite Forest,” said Cecilia as soon as they arrived back at the capital city. The second time around, Mordred only had to show the gate guards the mission request to enter without a search.
“That bastard?” Mordred asked for clarification. Clearly, she was not talking about Roland with that kind of tone, ‘or maybe she is?’ her fickle personality made it hard to guess how exactly she treated everyone.
“Tch, it’s that retard at the head of the Royal Knight Commission,” she shook her head as the thought sent chills down her spine. It was obvious that she didn’t want to meet with that person but apparently that would help in some way?
Mordred inquired further with a suggestion, “I don’t think it’s necessary at all to report what happened since you’ve already defeated the monster in question. From what I last saw of the Labyrinth, it had returned to its original state… well, at least as far as I understood.”
“Yeah, but it’ll be a lot safer if they do a thorough investigation of it just in case.” Even as she pouted her rather soft inner personality shone through. Mordred let out a small chuckle at this and nodded in agreement.
“Very well. Please come down to the tavern once you’re done and I’ll split the rewards with you.”
“Yeah, yeah… Haa…”
When he arrived back at the tavern, the sight of a young girl immediately caught his attention. It was hard not to notice with that bright white lab coat that was clearly a few sizes too big for her. Large rounded glasses sat on her face, slipping down every few moments as she tried to prop it back up. ‘Twintailed blonde loli… well, it’s not the strangest nor most cliched thing I’ve seen from this world yet,’ Mordred thought to himself as he observed the girl- almost childlike in her demeanour and atmosphere. Although the dishevelled state of her hair and loose collar made her seem more like a frequently dazed person, those were the types that usually had a lot going on in their heads.
She kept muttering to herself inaudibly as she continued to prop back up her ever-slipping glasses with those small hands of hers covered by the long sleeves of her lab coat. Looking at her, it felt as though a childish BGM was playing- specifically in the set of a music box churning out a lullaby.
Seeing the Crystal Flower faintly glowing in Mordred’s hands the girl perked up her expression and rushed over. “Gimmie! Gimmie!” she shouted out as she raised both hands forward like a child trying to receive candy.
“I’m sorry, but this is for someone else,” Mordred apologized. Well, considering the lab coat, he had gotten a faint idea that perhaps this small child was the requester. However, there was an order to how things should be done and introductions were in order.
“I’m the one who requested for that,” she points.
“Ah, is that so? And who might you be?”
“Mmm…” the small child withdrew a few steps. Even she must’ve understood that proper etiquettes were in order. She took out a small bag of coins and presented to him, “this is what you wanted right?” Money interested Mordred none. When he shook his head, the small girl thought about it for a moment before arriving at the correct conclusion, “I think Caroline said I should… ah! I’m ‘Del Granate’, the head of the ‘Royal Alchemist Commission’. I’m the one who asked for that flower, so please give it to me. I need it for my alchemic experiments.”
“The Royal Alchemist Commission?” Mordred muttered under his breath, but his thoughts were cut short by the silent stares of the child. “Forgive me,” he handed over the flower and took the small sack of coins. With a quick peek, he counted about one gold coin and seventy-five silver coin- only slightly better than air for Mordred. What interested him more than money was what this small child was planning on doing with that flower. “May I know what kind of experiments you’re planning on doing with that flower?”
The girl peeked up, “Even if I told you, commoners wouldn’t understand.”
Though not a thought that wouldn’t make sense in context- like a nuclear physicist trying to explain his research to a janitor. Mordred insisted, “please try me.”
“Mm… well, if you’re that curious.” As though someone had just switched the girl with someone else, her personality took a complete one-eighty as she began to explain her ‘theories’ and the results of her ‘experiments’ to him. “Those ‘Labyrinths’ are an anomalous area with heavy doses of irregular mana pollution. Just getting close to those places is enough to make a person feel nauseous. Theoretically, that kind of mana isn’t supposed to exist; an irregular type of mana outside the natural ones. Not much official research has gone into it since the war began and the government doesn’t want to spend money on sending soldiers to a Labyrinth for no reason. Anyway, since that mana is so irregular, I thought that if we can extract its essence then it might be possible to develop newer types of magic and spells.” She then took out a small note pad from the pockets of her lab coat and presented it to Mordred. “See, I’ve already compiled a list of possible new development of spells and magic that normal magicians can’t use. Even something like a different type of mana potion could be created if we studied this.” She then thrust the Crystal Flower to Mordred’s face. “This flower grows at the inner most depths of the Manatite Forest and therefore stores a massive concentration of that ‘irregular’ labyrinth mana. That’s why I want this, because it’s basically like the crystalized form of that strange mana.” Her eyes started to glow as she continued to explain. “Do you get it?”
These types of explanation only felt like the ramblings of a child going through puberty, but in this world, it was all real. To her question, Mordred nodded, “I understand the gist of what you’re trying to say. If I recall correctly, the monsters within the Manatite Forest were all supposed to be magical constructs of some sort created by the mana. If it was truly possible to recreate that kind of technique, then certainly, I can see vast improvements being made to already existing magical techniques and even emulating what the Forest does. Even new alchemic formulas might not be too farfetched.” Though he replied with such an answer it was all basically summaries and inference from what the girl had already said.
When the small girl heard his response, her rounded green eyes flared up even more brightly- like she had just found a soulmate or a comrade. “That’s right! You do get it!” she smiled so happily. “And then! And then! If we can somehow unlock the secrets of this irregular mana, then we might even be able to understand the essence of ‘divine magic’!”
“Divine magic?” now that was something that piqued Mordred’s interest by a logarithmic level.
The girl nodded, “yeah! There’s a theory going around that these ‘Labyrinths’ were actually formed by the residue of divine magic. Apparently, long ago there was some kind of war between gods or something, but I’m not really too familiar about that kind of historical stuff. But if we can understand this mana, then maybe we can learn the truth!”
‘A war between gods?’ Mordred wondered to himself, ‘a worthwhile investigation theme.’ “I see, then I wish you success. Please do inform me when you’ve unlocked its secrets.” The small girl suddenly tossed over a small badge. “Hmm? This is?”
“That’s the crest of the Royal Alchemist Commission. If you’re really interested, then drop by sometimes so we can talk more! We can even start an experiment together sometimes! You’ll always be invited.” She cheerfully told him as she waved goodbye.