“Oh, by the way, Professor Vilkin. Since we’re here, could you address the side effects of the Hyrule Menace that shorten the user’s lifespan? I would greatly appreciate it if that were possible.”

If feasible, Inglis could allow Leone and Silva to utilize the weaponized Eris, making a weaponized Hyrule Menace always an option.

“Well~ That~ Would be technologically complex, I suppose~? Structurally speaking~? Plus, if I managed that, the Duke of Art would have my head~ It’s a massive issue, not just for Illuminas but for all Highlanders~”

“I see…”

He gently yet firmly rejected the idea. However, Inglis believed that eliminating the lethal side effect wasn’t technologically out of reach.

The circuit that drew mana from the Special Grade Rune and the circuit that drained the user’s life force were distinct. That allowed Inglis to block the life-draining circuit with Ether and use Hyrule Menaces without repercussion. She had essentially found a loophole, similar to the method employed by the Black Mask with Cystia.

“That means, Miss Eris’ preferences come first… A new feature is enticing, but the thought of not training with Miss Eris for a year or two is disheartening… Especially now that she’s warming up to the idea of sparring with me… Choosing is difficult.”

“Honestly, most people would think more about the implications for their country or the world…”

“I don’t fight for such reasons.”

Inglis declared, her smile unwavering. Inglis Eux doesn’t align her strength with grand causes or ideologies. She believes those who do are seeking power for a cause, not for the sake of power itself.

Yet, she would reconsider if Rafinha desired it. That flexibility was also intrinsic to Inglis Eux.

“Well, that’s just like you… You haven’t changed at all since we first met.”

Eris sighed.

“Thank you for the compliment.”

“That wasn’t meant as a compliment.”

She retorted coolly.

“…Alright. Rafinha, what do you think?”

Eris looked towards Rafinha.

“M-, me…?”

“She tends to value your opinion above all.”

“Miss Eris and everyone rely on me because I listen to you, meaning your words carry the most weight, Rani.”

“Uh, well, aside from that… I support the idea of implementing the new feature! It’ll be sad not to see Miss Eris for a while, but… it would be a problem if Glis lost to Lord Jil…! I don’t want Glis taken to Highland as his bride! Glis must stay in Ymir as the future Marchioness…!”

“No, I’m not interested in getting married at all…”

“Exactly, we need to prepare for any stronger enemies that might appear in the future, so… yeah, I’m in favor!”

“Then I’m in favor as well!”

“…I understand. I’ll side with you two then. We can’t ever be too powerful… Let’s inform Special Envoy Theodore and proceed with the process once we have his approval.”

A prolonged absence of Eris would significantly impact Charalia’s operations, especially within the Holy Knight Order. Reporting and obtaining approval would be necessary. Though she wasn’t directly part of the Holy Knight Order, Arles had recently been recognized as a member of Charalia, suggesting they would likely consent to Eris’ leave of absence.

“That’s our decision, Professor Vilkin. Please proceed with installing this new feature.”

“Okie dokie~! Oh, this is getting exciting~ Hurry up and get that approval~ I’ll start preparing on my end~!”

First Professor Vilkin rose from his seat with evident excitement. Inglis then spoke up.

“Professor Vilkin, there’s something else I need your help with…”

“Hm~? What might that be~?”

“Before we discuss it, could you tell me… do you think your superiors are listening to our conversation right now?”

They had another task from Special Envoy Theodore: addressing Cyrene, who had transformed into a Magic Stone Beast.

“Superior…? The only superior I have here in Illuminas is the Duke of Art~ With the Levitation Magic Formation malfunctioning and our crash landing, he’s been silent, so I doubt he’s listening~”

“We’ve noticed everyone panicking, but… what do you mean by the Duke of Art being silent?”

A particular phrase from Professor Vilkin piqued Inglis’s curiosity.

“Essentially, this entire island of Illuminas acts as the Duke of Art himself~ He’s the central system that oversees various controls within Illuminas~ Everything here is automated, which is quite handy, right~? Battleships assemble themselves~ Doors open automatically~ Flygears arrive and transport you anywhere upon command~ All these automated processes are overseen and managed by the Duke of Art~ He has transcended his physical form to become the central system guiding us all~”1

“I see… The technology here is incredibly advanced, so that explains it…”

In essence, Illuminas, a highly advanced region of Highland, operated with one of the highest-ranking Highlanders, the Duke of Art, as its central system.

From what Inglis had learned from Duke of War Jeldegrīva, the Duke of Art had his own personality and could communicate. However, with the Levitation Magic Formation down, communication was cut off, leading to widespread panic. Yet, First Professor Vilkin seemed as calm as if it were just another normal day.

This situation worked in Inglis’ favor if the Duke of Art couldn’t monitor them currently.

“…That’s fortunate. We have been entrusted with a sensitive matter…”

As Inglis spoke, Leone’s eyes widened in realization.

“That’s right…! Rene, it’s time to come out…”

Typically, Rene’s preferred hiding spots were within Inglis’ cleavage or with Leone.

“Geez…! N-, no, Rene, stay still…! Hyau!?”

With Inglis in her child form, Leone was now bearing the full brunt of it.


Chapter 404: 16 Year Old Inglis and the Highland on Distance Sea (13)
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