The Borhelic Kingdom.
Located south of Faudo, is a vast country boasting the Eld mine which produces the most magic stones on the continent.
The magic stones produced in this country have high purity. In terms of easy processing, not only is it useful to the continent but also to the foreign countries across the sea. It’s one of the valuable economic resources of Borhelic Kingdom.
「What the hell is going on?! 」
Out of frustration, the man hit his chair’s armrest.
Eclair Von Löwenherz.
The prime minister of this country and also the person in charge of the trading of magic stones.
Mountains of papers are piling up on his desk.
Precious papers were used unsparingly to record everything about this vital information.
That’s right. The most significant problem he’s facing now seeds from the valuable magic stones.
「As we have thought, the purity of magic stones mined in the past year from the Eld Mine is definitely dropping, and it’s getting worse with each passing month. 」
Standing beside him is a young woman.
With black-rimmed glasses and black uniform, she looks precisely like a secretary.
「I already know that. Don’t you see? I’m troubled right now because of it. 」
“Damn it,” he muttered in annoyance.
「How’s the report from the research team? 」
「The same. The cause is still unknown. Eclair-sama, if this goes on, the finance of this country…」
「I know. I know more than anyone else about our country’s financial situation. 」
High purity magic stone from the Eld Mine.
For some reason, recently, the magic stones produced here are containing less and less magic.
To begin with, a magic stone is just an ordinary stone. It became a magic stone after it absorbed magic power over a long time.
Under normal circumstances, it can’t be excavated immediately.
However, the transformation cycle of stone to magic stone in the Eld Mine is rather short.
For example, even if you unearthed a hundred grans of magic stone from the place, it will only require several months to get the same amount again.
Therefore, the Borhelic Kingdom is the largest magic stone producing country on the continent.
That’s why the country’s economy, which relied on magic stone exports, is about to plunge right now.
Although there are some stocks of magic stones left, if they were exported at the current pace, they’ll surely bottom out within a few months.
It’ll be horrible if that happens.
Before long, the economy of this country will collapse.
Should we limit the export volume?
No, the other countries will be against it. More than anything else, it will not solve the root cause.
No matter what it is, we can take appropriate countermeasures as soon as we know the cause of the problem.
Although we have to clarify it as soon as possible, the report from the research team and magicians is always the same.
It’s only this.
To be honest, this piece of information is useless.
Based on the data obtained, the magic concentration in the Eld Mine hasn’t changed at all.
Nevertheless, the purity of magic stone or to be exact, the amount of magic contained in the magic stone are decreasing.
「The magic concentration of the Eld Mine hasn’t changed at all…. So then, is it from the outside? That’s not possible since anything involves with subversive activity will immediately be caught by the court magician’s barrier…… Then, is it because of the magic source? No, the magic flow, where it’s flown to….? 」
And he grows impatient.
I shouldn’t be like this.
I should be cool-headed instead.
I am the prime minister of this country.
If it’s not me, who else will maintain this country?
Eclair took a deep breath.
「Sorry Paldi but could you please bring me some tea. Make it darker than usual. 」
The woman with black-rimmed glasses gracefully bowed before leaving the office.
「Now then, should I read the other reports until the tea comes? 」
Regaining some of his composure back, he proceeds to go through everything with precision and speed of a machine.
And at one point, his eyes stopped.
「…….This is? 」
It was not about Eld Mine. It’s a report on the Eld Desert, next to the Eld Mine.
「A report of sighted monsters in the Eld Desert. 」
The Eld Desert.
Beyond the Eld Mine, is the largest desert of the Borhelic Kingdom.
And a renowned ominous and terrifying place on the Faudo continent.
Because of the type of monsters living there, the border separating the two is heavily monitored.
However, it’s only monitored, entering the place is an outright foolish act.
The report is from the patrol.
Initially, it doesn’t go up to someone in a position like him.
However, he had looked over almost all of the documents from the large pile passed to him every day to investigate the problems of the Eld Mine.
The report contained the information on monsters that appeared recently in the Eld Desert.
There are very few monsters that live there.
The reason why is simple.
It is because the monsters reigning at the top is simply too strong.
The White Wyvern and Accurate Crow.
The two great monsters of the Eld Desert.
It can be said their strengths are recognizably superior to any other monster.
However, their natures are opposite to each other.
The White Wyvern is relatively docile and harmless. Also, since it’s meal intake is the same as a plant that does photosynthesis, it rarely attacks humans or any other monsters.
Therefore, it’s not regarded as too dangerous for its overwhelming strength.
The problem comes from the other.
The Accurate Crow.
This dangerous monster is subjected to first-degree subjugation due to its ferocity and a big appetite.
With few preys within the Eld Desert, it often appeared at the nearby Eld Mine to look for meat. The numbers of miners who became its sacrifice are not a little.
The same fate befell the knights who protect them.
Accurate Crow is very strong.
Ten knights with the best defense are barely enough to fight it back.
At best, it’s only sufficient to drive it away.
Because it nests such monsters, the Eld Desert is considered as the Land of Death and shunned both by the human and monster.
「Within the past year, in addition to these two species, the eyewitness reports that there’s an increase of the Killer Ant….?」
The Killer Ant.
An insect-type monster the size of a meld that possesses a pair of sharp mandibles.
It’s weak in single combat. An ordinary monster that even an average civilian can beat if they have a weapon.
However, they attack in groups. Rumour has it that if you see one, there are ten more in the area. A troublesome fellow indeed.
Nonetheless, it’s not that unusual.
The report state that their number is increasing, perhaps the Killer Ants have built their nest there.
But it feels off to him.
「Just like any typical monster, it should’ve instinctively felt fear of the Accurate Crow. Yet, why…..? 」
Why did they take the risk building there?
It’s the only thing that been bothering Eclair.
Is it a coincidence? Or…
「….on purpose? 」
If so, what’s the reason?
They build a nest to protect themselves from the enemies.
But that doesn’t explain why they chose the Eld Desert.
They are an excellent food for the Accurate Crow.
There are plenty of places that are much better and safer to make a nest.
Why do they even build it in the Eld Desert?
「To protect themselves from the enemies, no, there’s something else they are protecting…. aren’t they? 」
However, that is unlikely.
“That’s impossible.” Eclair immediately gave up on that idea.
Indeed, the Killer Ant is one of the few that forms a symbiotic relationship with other monsters.
Even so, the Killer Ants only coexist with the weak Honey Caterpillar and the Knob Pigs for their honey and meat. In exchange, the Killer Ants will shelter them in the nest from the enemies.
But there are no monsters in the Eld Desert the Killer Ant can coexist with.
Even if they build a nest underground and cheat the eyes of the Accurate Crow and White Wyvern, the lower-class Killer Ant and the intermediate-class Earthworm will eventually fall prey to them.
「The question is, why did they build a nest despite knowing the danger? 」
Eclair contemplates for a while.
Properly speaking, the Eld Desert got nothing to do with it, it’s just a report.
It’s fine to ignore it.
Even so, for some reason, Eclair can’t let go of it.
Simply put, it’s an “intuition.”
A theory based on feeling.
At that moment, Paldi, the black-rimmed glasses woman, returned with the requested tea.
He took a sip of the tea.
「Sorry to bother you Paldi, but can I ask you one thing? 」
「What is it? 」
He passed the report to her.
「It’s about the Killer Ant in the Eld Desert. 」
He shows no sign of worry.
Not even by the slightest hint.
Until now, that’s how he managed to maintain this country so far.
A supplementary explanation
It’s a caterpillar-type monster that can produce a body fluid with a honey-like sweetness. It’s the lowest class of monsters.
Their honey-like substance is sought after. Farming of it is active among the human.
As the name implies, it’s a pig with meatballs on its back. It’s of the lowest class of monsters.
The meatballs on its body will instantly grow back when plucked.
Just like the Honey Caterpillar, they are also considered as livestock. It can grow up to the size of a piglet.