The Experimental Log of the Crazy Lich - lightnovelgate.com
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As I idly roamed the streets of Diffindor and enjoyed the summer sunshine while everyone else worked so hard with their busy affairs, I felt that this day seemed quite joyous.
Those foolish tin cans wanted to find me? All I had to do was slightly modify the age that my ring displayed, put on some old tattered leather armor, and equip myself with a normal black iron sword, and a downcast-seeming middle-aged mercenary that could be seen anywhere appeared. They could just go ahead and continue searching for that child prince that vanished in front of them.
"What’s the matter? You’re still in a bad mood? You’re that depressed at not being able to watch all of the Axilo troupe’s performance?"
The only part that wasn’t so joyous was that the cat on my shoulder had a sour expression, as if someone owed her money.
"…The Axilo troupe is supposed to be a famous roaming musical troupe. Their ace star Aliyas is skilled in seventeen different ancient classical singing styles. In the whole world, there are probably no more than three people who are capable of singing the climaxes of heroic ballads, and she’s the only one that I had the possibility of hearing—do you know just how much I was looking forward to hearing her performance?"
Harloys seemed to understand better and better how to enjoy life after reobtaining it. I won’t bother mentioning anything like gourmet food, even her natural pursuit of artistry as an elf had reawakened as well.
"To be honest, you should thank me. Do you know why I pulled you away and ran off? Do you know who that guest who volunteered to give a performance was?"
"Isn’t she Gria? I knew her back when she was still living. Ancient dragons like her all really like to use the forms of high elves since humans back then were pretty much like ants."
High elves? I nodded as I recalled Harloys’ adult form that seemed like such a pretty flower. While I didn’t understand the specific differences between high elves and normal elves, at the very least high elves definitely had a greater average height, and they all knew how to act, which was quite sultry.
"Why do I feel like you’re thinking something bad about me?"
"Heh heh, that’s just a mistaken impression. Right, Harloys, do you know Gria’s nickname?"
"Isn’t she called ‘Death Breath,’ which signifies how powerful her Dragon Breath is?"
"No, looks like you don’t know it. If you still stayed in that auditorium to listen, you would have learned. I feel sorry for all those youngsters that remained. I hope that there won’t be too much damage to their minds."
"You’re saying… that her singing is even worse than yours? She’s actually capable of being worse than you who’s ranked the worst out of everyone I know?"
"…If my singing is at a fireball’s level, her singing is at a forbidden spell’s level. Although this may be a terrible analogy, it should help you understand what I mean."
The emergency rescue personnel that hurriedly ran past us immediately proved my point.
Still, although I was being humble, my heart was bleeding. This silly cat just wouldn’t let go of my weakness in singing.
Hmph! Just wait and see. I’m going to switch out all your candy for that pickled cabbage flavor! Those people from the Allis Kingdom are quite something, actually treating that as the best delicacy. Just one lick of that actually gave me +1 to my food achievements.
But the weird thing was that even though it barely counted as edible, and I somehow forced myself to eat so many, they actually counted as only one in total. How stingy of my System.
[System: No matter if it’s pickled cabbage flavored candy, pickled carrot flavored pancakes, pickled fish flavored hamburgers or even pickled dragons, they all have the same name—kimchi. No matter how much you try to talk about it, if you use kimchi to make a hundred different dishes at a tremendous feast, even if you think of a thousand different ways to make kimchi, it’s still kimchi. Can you stop trying all that Korean cuisine now? You dare to call me stingy? Why don’t you ask yourself—when eating all those different flavors, was there really much of a difference?]
Alright then, I really did think over it for ten or so seconds and found that I couldn’t counter this at all. After all, I wasn’t one of those Allis Kingdom residents that came from the mountains. I was unable to taste the delicate differences between the hundreds of kinds of kimchi-flavored candies.
"Hey, shouldn’t you be telling me the truth now? We’ve known each other for so long; why are you still attempting to fool me?"
"…I just didn’t want you to be frustrated; you saw through me?"
"Did you forget that I used to be the person in charge of information gathering back at Xiluo? You think that your little techniques can fool me? Weren’t you the one who notified Gria to come and mess things up? I’m no novice; I obviously know that roaming troupes and circuses typically consist of over 50 percent spies. A high-ranked silver elf actually has to stoop to the level of becoming a singer? They must think that everyone else are just idiots; those elves are definitely spies from the southern elf kingdoms."
If she didn’t bring this up, I really would have forgotten. The type of undead known as banshees had the power of possession, and information obtaining was akin to a natural talent for them. As the Banshee Queen, Harloys had always been the head of information back in Xiluo.
"Yep, their ace singer Aliyas[NG1] ? Heh heh, more like the silver elf Baroness Lia.[NG2] But, they haven’t done anything as of yet, and they can’t do anything in the barrier of the ‘Crimeless City’ either. But, it’s still no good to just let them be. Although it’s not possible to put them in jail as they haven’t committed any crimes, I don’t want to make it so obvious that I’m antagonizing these elves, and making them disgusted to the point of not being able to eat for weeks and having headaches every day is a simple task for me."
Harloys nodded in contemplation upon hearing my words, but then she licked her lips, now seeming to be afraid.
"Is Gria’s singing that astonishing? Could it just be a rumor?"
"It’s more than astonishing; I’d use vicious to describe it. Just imagine; when I heard her singing, my bones continuously reverberated for three days and three nights in a row while that demonic noise caused me to lose all of my five senses. Her singing actually caused Emperor Yongye to have a headache for three days and three nights, and all the low-level undead that were present at the scene directly reentered the cycle of reincarnation. How could the word astonishing possibly be sufficient to describe it? Her singing is basically an AOE massive weapon."
But the strange thing was that even though I was clearly complaining, Harloys was obviously laughing more and more as I continued speaking. By the end, this silly loli even transformed back to her cat form and rolled around on the ground laughing.
"Wah! So—so—so… Your Highness didn’t want to hear my songs —so, in Your Highness’s mind… Wahh! I’m nothing more than an AOE massive weapon! Wahhh! So everyone saw me like that."
Alright, even without turning around, I knew that Harloys had dug a trap for me to fall into.
When I did turn around, as I expected, I saw Gria inconsolable with tears. But as expected of the Bone Dragon Queen, even her teary expression was so special, with a large hole appearing in the ground as each teardrop fell, which truly was scary as hell. Even her tears could corrode the ground.
After that, the silly cat stepped on my shoulder and made my head into her nest. The fact that she kept sweeping her tail in front of my nose was the best evidence that she was in a great mood; she was probably receiving great joy from my misfortune.
"Based on classical love scenarios, misunderstandings are the best opportunities to improve a relationship romantically. As long as the female lead is in tears, a series of accidents will occur, such as anemia, a car accident, sudden amnesia, or recovering of memories and so on. After that, there will be a series of misunderstandings that will make you want to vomit blood and mentally abuse both of you to death. If you still want to have any opportunities like that, go chase after her immediately."
"…I’ve heard that stories like that all originated from the Allis Kingdom. You must have seen those visitors from that kimchi Kingdom—you should stop watching such performances. I’ve heard that if you watch too many of their dramas, you’ll lose intelligence points." 
Why chase after her at all? That was what I wanted to say, but I couldn’t say it out loud with how she was looking at me. This was perfect, though. I could save a big expenditure each year—it would be much more beneficial to use the cannon fodder undead I had to prepare each year for Gria’s yearly concert as labor workers, after all. That’s right; not only that, the zombie and skeleton workers in town have been charging more and more for their salaries recently. Should I change my job class to undead mage and go make some money?
While I was daydreaming, the silly cat spoke up, seeming to have come to a realization.
"The most important part about information is its veracity, and the most trustworthy information isn’t something a novice can obtain. Personally obtaining information is always the most reliable method. So, the past few days, you were actually obtaining local information about the current state of affairs in Diffindor?"
"…Just along the way while slacking off, yes. East Mist’s information department is still too much of a greenhorn; it has too many useless members. That mountain of reports they gave me is basically useless. It’s not even a bit as effective as me personally investigating things."
"When you were buying snacks, you were recording food prices by category? Were you checking out the food market?"
"Yep. An area’s snacks, side dishes, alcohol types and so on are directly connected to the residents’ extra stockpiles of food, as well as directly related to their confidence in the future. If they can’t even fill their stomachs next year, where will they have the extra food stocks to create alcohol or sell snacks? At the very least, the market seems to be abundant in food stocks, and the situation is quite healthy."
Harloys nodded slightly as well. Actually, she had the same conclusions.
"You even went to the blacksmiths’ district and explored over one hundred blacksmith shops just to smith a normal black iron sword worth five gold coins for your disguise, and even explored two flea markets and numerous equipment shops just for a tattered piece of leather armor? So, you were inspecting the average equipment craftsmanship quality and battle resources available in Diffindor? What’s the result?"
Hearing this, I shook my head. East Mist’s industrial technology level was still too low. In order to improve this area, it would take far more than just one day.
"Terrible. Most blacksmiths are only capable of smithing low-quality farming implements, and the smithing technology for crafting weapons hasn’t improved in the past three hundred years. After searching through the entire blacksmithing district, I found only one Silver-ranked great blacksmith. Even if they were provided with information on the newest technologies, with their current foundational knowledge, unless there were expert masters teaching them personally, these blacksmiths won’t be of any use without at least a decade of training. However, we don’t have a decade to wait around."
My investigation had proved what I expected. Due to master-level engineers from Sulfur Mountain City joining Diffindor, along with Olive and company’s research group, Diffindor’s engineering and alchemy levels were probably at the top of the world. Plus, now that the gray elves had joined us, we could compete with the best in enchantments, but this made our shortcomings all the more obvious.
Creating the products of engineering as well as excellent weapons and equipment needed industrial knowledge as the foundation. Without smiths working away with clings and clangs on the basic things, even the most complex mechanical titan’s blueprint would be nothing more than a useless piece of scrap paper. Without a first-class sword, even the best enchantments wouldn’t even come close to making a renowned sword.
Although the gray elves had numerous elven smiths among them that had technology levels far surpassing the human smiths, when one considered that famous "elven armor" incident and how the elven smiths would casually make even a bow into a piece of artwork, I never expected anything from them the very start.
If our smiths also learned the elven smiths’ attitude and production rate of only producing one sword every three years, that would be the end of us.
From start to finish, I preferred the rough and simple style of dwarven equipment—they were easy to use, sturdy, effective, and had no useless decorations. They were also highly suitable for mass production.
"How about we go to the Underground World and recruit some gray dwarf smiths to come here? But, those long bearded dwarves aren’t easy to deal with; they won’t possibly stay without rich mining resources. We’d have to first get some mining resources from the barbarians’ territory. Right, we can also bring some smiths from Sleuweir, to at the very least teach these blockheads how to make something besides farming implements."
Harloys nodded without saying anything. In this era of metallic weapons, blacksmiths were forever one of the most important resources of any country. Their average level and quantity immediately determined the frontline warrior’s quality of weapons and armor. Every country treated blacksmiths as a treasure, and this was no easy problem to deal with.
"If this was Xiluo, things would be simple… forget it, forget I said anything."
There was no need to say anything else. I naturally knew what she meant when she mentioned Xiluo. Only one hundred or so years after their establishment, their technology level was terrible as well, but undead countries had their own methods of dealing with such a problem. Apart from having a bunch of human slaves working as laborers, they also had a different method of improving their technology that couldn’t be used by other countries.
"Make cursed swords and armors out of bones? I don’t want to become the enemy of all humanity, and besides, if a living person uses such equipment for too long, he’d die."
"How’s the combat resource situation? You seem to be satisfied with your leather armor?"
"Equally terrible. The lower-class equipment shops have nothing but low-quality goods, the middle-class equipment shops all have half of their stock being fakes, and there’s not even a single high-class equipment shop. Let’s organize things in this aspect after we return."
In my eyes, this problem seemed difficult, but it was actually much easier to solve. We just needed to increase our trade with other countries. As long as other countries’ products would be able to sell for a good price here, merchants would naturally flock to us, and once the Mist Alliance’s policy of zero internal tariffs was established, I fully expected there to be a massive amount of trade creating an astonishing amount of profit.
But this was only a band-aid fix; it did not solve the foundational problem. Purchased products were always unreliable, nor would true top-level equipment be able to be purchased. If we couldn’t come up with our own method to produce top-level equipment, no matter how much equipment we purchased, we would always be under the control of others.
And, so, I secretly set a goal.
"Every magical beast material obtained during the winter hunting competition for this celebration shall be purchased by the East Mist royalty. Even if we lose money, we need to be able to help our smiths cultivate their equipment crafting skills."
But, the national treasury wasn’t well off. We still needed to see if weapon trading and selling would be successful or not during this festival. If we weren’t able to take care of it now, then we could only leave it to the side.
We reached today’s final stop, the floating airship dock where the Borealis was parked.
And, right now, "Envy" wasn’t by itself. By its side was a pitch-black combat airship, with countless undead working busily around it, reinforcing the airship’s body and putting down the materials for its deck.
Yes, that’s right—undead, not human smiths. Although they were undead mages and believers of the shadow that most people viewed as enemies, they were currently working as the most hard-working smiths of all.
This was an undead airship that was currently under construction. Its body was made of real dragonbone, its pitch-black mast was enchanted with evil undead magic, and dark winds whirled around it. Marsolit’s report also rang in my ears.
"The Dragonbone Battleship’s construction is proceeding smoothly. Team 1, Airship 2’s construction is on schedule to be completed. The ‘dragonslaying plan’ will proceed as scheduled."
1. Yes, all of this is a sarcastic barb against Korean TV dramas.Yes, all of this is a sarcastic barb against Korean TV dramas.