46 – The Emperor’s Trap – 1

I had another Kin now. Panda, the monkey.

The phrase ‘Demon’s Kin’ made them sound like they were some Big Bad Evil Monsters that fought on my behalf, but really, both Blobsy and Panda were just there to be cute.

Still, it wasn’t like they were all useless otherwise. Blobsy really helped with the laundry, cleaning, and disposal of evidence. I was sure Panda had some kind of helpful ability too.

“Hey, Panda, what can you do?”

“Oook!”

He presented to me a tiny banana as his reply.

Bananas…? I guess bananas were important too. The two of them were munching on the fruit again.

 

…well, whatever. Even if they had a hundred times their current combat power, I wouldn’t take them out to fight anyway.

I had destroyed and revived four out of the ninety-nine Saplings of this world. To me, it was just the first steps. To the parasitic human race, it was an unprecedented disaster.

The corporation’s mana gathering must have stalled. They were likely to get even more careful now, to keep their players – their sources of money and free labor – from getting suspicious.

I had no idea what they could be up to anyway. In the end, the only thing I could do was to keep my guard up as I continued on my quest.

[Shedy] [Race: Bunny Girl] [Lesser Archdemon Lv. 5]
・The rabbit demon of Laplace. Trickster and guide of man’s fate.

[Magic Points: 22,300/25,400] 
[Total Combat Power: 24,800/27,900] 
[Unique Skill: <Causality Alteration> <Cyber-Manipulation> <Absorption> <Materialization>] 
[Racial Skill: <Fear> <Mist Form>]
[Simple Identification] [Human Form (Wonderful)] [Subspace Inventory]

My magic had passed twenty-five thousand, and my combat power was nearing thirty. Compared to the wild rabbit that I used to be when I just started out, I might as well be a dragon now.

Having to get stronger all the time was really such a pain, but I didn’t have any other choice. If I took too long, the secret beta testers would catch up in power.

 

“Ook.”

*boing*

Sure, sure, Panda. Actually, where are you getting those bananas from?

 

***

 

The World Tree and its Saplings were the cornerstones that held up Yggdrasia. The mana taken from them was an indispensable part of life to the human race, and also the backbone of human prosperity.

Mana had allowed for the creation of high-quality weapons, the monster-repelling barrier, and the large-bore, long-range magical cannon that could slaughter a young dragon – a monster with over ten-thousand combat power – with ease (even if it required a direct pipeline to a Sapling, consumed a huge amount of mana, and needed several people to operate).

Weapons weren’t the only thing mana had helped create. From the intense heat of magical flame came refined iron and other metals, which served as crucial materials for the manufacture of high-quality industrial goods. Spells were used to reinforce structures. The people had even discovered the secret of constructing high-rise buildings not too long ago.

More directly relevant to the common person’s life was the protection the Saplings granted against the climate. Mankind no longer needed to fight against nature itself just to live.

Produce grew quickly in lands abundant with mana, and even quicker when subjected to further mana injection. Hunger was non-existent.

Magical stoves had removed the need for wood and coal, and water was effectively limitless with the help of magitools.

With the technology and industrial equipment granted by God, humans had developed high-speed transportation in the form of express trains and airships. The reach of humankind was slowly growing to cover the whole world.

 

Yet now, four of those Saplings had been destroyed in succession.

Despite losing the blessing of mana, the people still clung to their land. They struggled in desperation to get back on their feet. But with the cessation of the railway – and accordingly, the circulation of luxury goods – the wealthy and the merchants were the first to leave. The country was devastated. Some people had resorted to looting just to survive, which gave birth to a deluge of refugees.

There had been whispers, rumors that this was a plot by a demon to destroy the world. All the same, with how the rest of the world was still having the leeway to accept the refugees, the people living far away from the incident were yet to be alarmed. They only tightened their security, at most. They weren’t seeing this as the crisis it was.

If anything, countries all over the world were even trying to capture the rabbit beastman girl they called the Fluffy Bunny (a nickname that had spread from the adventurers since who knew when) who was purported to be behind it all. To that end, they seeked the help of the adventurers and the Temple to set a trap for her.

 

Touze Empire, a large country in the Central Continent, was no exception.

 

“Damn that Shedy, what the hell is she thinking?!”

Within his office, the young emperor Tischlar von Touze muttered in exasperation. His eyes were scanning over pages after pages of newspapers from all over the world, all delivered after just a single day’s delay thanks to the airships.

His country had made quite a bit of a fuss when they heard he issued a bounty of five thousand large gold coins for a single beastman. He shut them up by paying from his personal pocket.

With how much the bounty was worth, he had expected information about her to be pouring into the Empire. Yet despite there being not a single trace of Shedy using the airships, she was still popping up all over the world out of nowhere, practically making a mockery of the Empire’s intelligence network.

His aged butler, the man who had watched him grown up since he was a baby, was preparing his tea. He chastised Tiz with a small sigh.

“Boy, your face doesn’t match your words.”

“Heh. That so?”

Even with his exasperation, Tiz was faintly smiling. He looked like he’d found something fun.

As long as the prosperity of his Empire and citizens wasn’t being threatened, Tiz couldn’t care less for whatever disaster was befalling the other countries. He didn’t see the hand behind this atrocity to be the world’s enemy. To him, Shedy was his possession. His toy.

 

Salia de Lence, leader of Tiz’s personal bodyguards and an Imperial Knight, ground her teeth in frustration as she looked upon his smile.

The vile beastman girl had stolen the attention of her beloved lord. He might be thinking to take the girl as his pet, but Salia swore that once the opportunity showed itself, she would kill the girl with her own hands.

 

“However, there is no guarantee that rabbit beastman girl is truly ‘Shedy’. According to eyewitness reports, she had looked halfway through her teenage years, around 14-15 years old. We should be prepared for the possibility the two are different people. With that said, I don’t think there could be any other white-colored young rabbit beastman girl.”

“Yeah. So how’s our preparations for the trap?”

“It seems she might be avoiding the Central Continent. At the very least, she would not be easily lured to this Empire where she knew you were, boy.”

“I told you, stop it with the ‘boy’ already, gramps.”

Tiz leaned back on his chair, crossing his arms and lightly frowning at the implication. He stared at the old butler.

“So what’s your plan, gramps?”

“It is not exactly a plan, per se… The one to have reached the conclusion that she was avoiding the Central Continent was a scholar of the Temple, and he had requested an audience with you. I have scheduled it for this afternoon.”

 

The scholar who showed up was a man around Tiz’s age. He called himself Mason.

The young maids staying back near the walls started tittering and squeeing as soon as they caught sight of him. He was tall, with short, neat dark-brown hair, fine features, and an aura of calmness. At the same time, his eyes glinted with the ferocity of a shark. If there were players here to see him, they might have thought he was an elite businessman coming from one of the top corporations of Earth, instead of just a simple Temple scholar.

 

“I am honored to have been granted an audience, Your Majesty.”

“Can it with the greetings. Talk.”

Mason nodded for a fraction “Then I shall begin…”

He was a researcher in the field of human psychology and statistics. He claimed to have calculated the likelihood of where the rabbit beastman girl may attack next by looking at the locations and order in which she appeared, her movement path, time between attacks, and other data points.

 

“We have discovered three countries that were likely to become the target. On top of the list is a certain small country. We humbly request the full cooperation of Touze Empire to set a trap for the rabbit there.”


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21 thoughts on “46 – The Emperor’s Trap – 1”

  1. Thank you for the chapter!
    This ending raises a couple of questions:
    1) Why is a specialist in human psychology predicting what a demon is likely to do?
    2) How good a read does he have with just four data points?

    Like

    1. “Mason” is probably a staff member of the corporation, since he’s from the Temple which served as a front for the corporation IIRC. At the very least the temples house the devices used to (re)spawn players, as well as the apparatus used to siphon mana from Yggdrasia to Earth (may as well be the same thing honestly).

      Considering this point, it’s probable that they’re using computation back on Earth to try and predict her next target, as even with just 4 data points a pattern can begin to be inferred. I have been wrong before about things though so this is ultimately just a theory.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, yes. Him being from the corporation is likely. And that does explain the idea of tracking her like a human.I just also know enough about statistics to surmise that trying to get a meaningful pattern from four data points is, at best, ill-advised.

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      2. A pattern could be inferred if and only if she did not bounced away from her route once.
        It was said in one of the previous chapters that while she was going for a specific sapling, she bounced on the shield and ended up closer to another one, and decided to go there instead.
        So… One of the 4 data points is an outsider and could lead to a mistake in their guess.

        Thought… I don’t think the author would have written a discussion like this for nothing, so at the very least, one of those 3 countries should be visited in her next deforesting spree.
        But, we should be honest :
        At best (for them), they would be able to chase her away once.
        At worst, which is more likely, they would be utterly crushed after basing their trap on their previous data about her abilities.
        Any case, they would be surprised by her absurd power-up, and they would probably infer that she power-up with each sapling.

        By the way, I bet a cookie that Tiz will survive till the end.
        I bet another one that he will become more and more obsessed with Shedy as time pass.
        I won’t bet one on this one, but I think he would eventually consider changing side to get closer to her, or asking her to become his pet in exchange for his help (before being kicked, in the jewels, hard, with every man’s condolence)

        Liked by 1 person

    2. 1) The humans seem to understand that Beastmen can think like humans. They probably work on a “philosophical zombie” system or similar… Calling in a human psychologist is probably not that ridiculous and Tiz doesn’t seem one to think about such things.

      2) Assuming that the corporation is doing this? And know that Shedy is The Rabbit is Thirteen? They have a great many more data-points. They may not know why she is killing saplings, but they can see that she is, and can make guesses as to how she would go about that based upon how she acted back in her early game-play. This along with common human norms and cultural osmosis of tactics and strategy.

      That and the author is most likely not a statistician… nor a psychologist…

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      1. So they don’t quite know her objective or motivation and only have access to her behavior before she was really invested in her current activities. Plus, she’s at least abnormal for a human.

        It does make more sense when you put it like that, though.

        Like

  2. Thank you for your work.
    Though given that even traveling by airship takes at least a day they shouldn’t try the next target but the one after. At least I assume because the temple (Corporation) contacting Tiz means they can’t do it alone.

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