"Hello there," I said with a smile-
...that they cannot see due to the mask. The smile disappeared upon that realization.
they seemed surprised before the blond-haired guy finally dared to speak up, "Uh, hi! my name is Kaval and these are members of my team; Eren, Gido." he said before thumbing at the black-haired lady, "the lady in the white mask is a traveler that decided to go with us for companionship. her name's Shizue."
"I see, so what is your business here on this fine day?" I said nodding along, crossing my arms while my mask opened up and revealed my flawless face that seemed to charm the men and girls of the group. Interesting, I can't read the masked women beyond superficial details.
I had Striker silently analyze whatever they have.
"Well, Miss, you see we were..." he hesitated as if debating whether or not to tell me a secret or not. Kaval eyed me up and down before a glint can be seen in his eyes, a glint that I do not like. "You see, weeks ago we had found this knife, this crystal knife that has flames erupt around it if it's swung quick enough. Our Guild Master tasked us to find whoever made the knife."
A haunted look came over my face before it's squashed down by [Acting]. What the hell? That can't be right, that knife was made in a cave, with pieces of stones scattered around on the floor.
How is it still active? This was before I got [Longevity].
"Are you perhaps the owner of this knife?" He pulled out the smoking gun, that being the knife I had given to them.
The only reason I gave them that due to a strong belief in the status of exchange even if it's not equivalent.
Flinching involuntarily being the final nail in the coffin, I saw Kaval and Eren's faces lit up in pure joy.
[Silenced Emotion: 80%]
Closing the faceplate, I growled out, "How?"
It's either due to obliviousness or the voice regulator, Kaval happily continued with his deduction and the masked women tensed.
"Well it's obvious, isn't it? the first thing that tipped me off? Just look at how fine your metal armor is, and it's not made with any magic! There's no way anyone short of the creator of the knife can create such an armor that also is capable of flight. The second one? Your unnatural beauty just screams you aren't human. The Guild Master literally asked if we had met a god. The third one? Your thunder weapon that annihilated those giant ants that-" He was cut off as he realized the 'thunder weapon' that decimated the ants was now targeted towards his group.
Moments later, another Twin-Magline Railgun came out of my right shoulder, a port on both of my arms opened up to reveal laser projectors that follow where ever my forearm points at, essentially arm lasers.
"I'm sorry" my voice grim, even though the voice regulators, "but I cannot allow you to leave with that knowledge."
I said and-
-fired 5 shots of the metal shell at Mach 4 speed that caused a vacuum in that air, kicking up a large amount of loose dirt as it flew.
Just as I was turning around and flying out of here, Striker interrupted me, "Lady Scientia, I detect 4 life forms still present in the kill zone."
What? I felt my face scrunched up in confusion at the impossibility. The fastest human reaction is nowhere nearly quick enough to dodge a bullet, much less a Railgun round moving at speeds near that of a sniper round.
I turned around and readied the guns at the dust, the trigger ready to be pulled at a moment's notice.
(AN: Play Luke Leon - Ants)
As the dust parted, I saw the silver gleam of a sword before it is suddenly engulfed in bright fire. Magic? I wondered when looking at the sight.
How? I was sure the masked woman is a human. I had installed Biometric Scanner on the Mk.1-A just in case I had to know what kind of enemies I'm up against!
Did the scanner malfunction? This 'human' move 4 meters in the span of mere milliseconds! [Mathematics] and [Biology] is screaming at me about the anomaly in front of me, [Magicule] staying oddly quiet, as if it wants to say something but doesn't have the authorization.
Using [Acting], "so you wanna tell me how you blocked that?" I said casually as if I hadn't just tried to murder the 4, "because I highly doubt that anyone could just casually block rounds moving at Mach 4, which is moving at speeds faster than the eye can even register."
Whoever this...Shizue...is, she ignored my attempt at probing for answers and charged straight at me-
It was only due to [Martial Artist] that I was able to move my body to the left quick enough to avoid the stab from her single-edge flaming sword. Unfortunately, the stab had destroyed the Twin-Magline Railgun on that shoulder, leaving me only one left.
Holy hell that was fast, I thought as I felt myself be outclassed the first time ever in this new world.
[Martial Artist] whispered to me dozens of ways to disable or even kill the women in the span it takes for the woman to retract her blade.
Using this chance, I tried to blast my right-hand repulsor because the laser would take too long to charge up.
However, the masked woman dodged it at the last second by pushing herself out of the way with a kick to the ground, causing part of her cloak to be torn off by the concussive force.
Only to be met with another Repulsor blast from my other hand as she moved into the firing range, [Martial Artist] planned everything ahead of time.
Impressively, the woman managed to bring her firey sword up that absorbed the blast, only distinguishing the flame along the way.
That's not how physics works! The blast alone should've been able to bend any steel!
Just as I was about to follow up with another right hook that'll lead to a palm blast, I cocked my head and therefore my upper body along with it to dodge an icicle lance coming from the mage girl whom I took the cloak from, now wearing a new one.
This gave the woman a false opening that she, unfortunately, did not take. Just as I finished dodging the lance, I used the repulsor one more time aimed at the masked women. Unfortunately, this time it wouldn't be lethal due to the distance, however-
The beam of concussive air still caused her to fly for a few meters, allowing me enough breathing room to prepare the thrusters.
"Hit the thruster, Striker!"
Zooming up dozens of meters into the air, I stopped when I was confident that the women wouldn't reach me here,
"Activate Minigun mode!"
The 2 rails that run parallel shifted into 3 sets of smaller, parallel rails, allowing for a 3 barrel Gatling railgun.
The women seemed to realize what's happening and moved between the stupefied adventurers and me.
"Full speed, and FIRE!" I unleashed a rain of death upon the targets, every second many hundreds of shells are being shot out of the triple barrel shoulder-mounted railgun
A massive inferno erupted from the sword in defiance of my rain of death, a tornado of fire that the internal display said is thousands of degrees formed a protective shield, a covering that ate up all the metal shells while leaving the occupants safe.
The sound of a railgun makes when shooting is different compared to that of gunpowders. The sound primarily came from the breaking of the sound barrier, ergo, every bullet makes a mini-sonic boom right before it leaves the barrel as it speeds towards its target.
Since it's not a chemical reaction that propels the bullets, there's no muzzle flash.
Ah, it seems I'm out of shells, shit. My brows furrowed. This Shizue person clearly knows what they are doing, probably an elite warrior if they can fight at least somewhat on par with me despite having so many charges into [Martial Artist].
The fire tornado that darken the area finally disappeared, revealing them to be unharmed.
"Okay, what the hell?" [Material Science] running high as I tried to comprehend what had happened to the hundreds of railgun rounds I shot out of my Twin-Magline Railgun.
The only logical answer is that the tornado had such high temperatures that it managed to vaporize the metal as it flew while also somehow not melting the women and the adventurers.
"Was that magic?" I said to no one. "Hey, was that magic?" I said out loud through the speakers.
The woman stared at me as if she couldn't believe that I'm asking this question. And then she leaped towards me at frightening speeds, blowing up a dust cloud as she jumped.
Realizing she's gunning for me, I crossed my arms and finally activated my trump card:
The Slicer Beam.
You see, the laser on my forearm isn't a normal type of laser, it's only Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation by a technicality- more rather, this beam is coating an extra stream of positrons, the antiparticle version of the electron.
The energy coated the positron beam to ensure that the stream would be isolated from any air or dust particles when it flies out of the projector, that way when it does touch normal matter it'll leave a nasty explosion which will further guarantee a kill.
However, it seems that I miscalculated when a burst of flame underneath Shizue's feet caused her to fly up even faster, and out of the way of the intersecting beam.
But it was not quick enough as instead of a fatal wound, I cut off her legs at the knee area during her upward thrust. It seemed the small amount of positron wasn't enough, since instead of causing her legs to explode; it only cauterized the wound near-instantly with the annihilation of the antiparticle.
As she reached the peak of her leap, she grabbed her sword and brought it down with the intent to kill me with a stab into my head.
[Martial Artist] snapped me out of my stupor upon seeing her utilizing magic in such ways, realizing her intention, I pushed the thrusters to the limit to try and fly out of her path.
It was not fast enough, evident when it almost took my left arm off in its entirety as it stabbed into my shoulder, missing any vital organs but utterly shattering the bones.
I can FEEL the arm dangling by a few muscle fibers, any significant amount of force can easily tear the arm off in its entirety and force me to use [Surgery] to reattach it or wait for it to heal.
And the feeling is not nice at all. If [Silenced Emotion] wasn't running so high I'll probably have panicked at the thought of losing an arm.
(AN: stop music)
I bite back a scream as we crashed into the ground, however just as I was about to finish her off with a repulsor blast, I was suddenly engulfed in a blue gelatine-like substance, completely unable to move yet able to breathe somehow.
what...? my thought wondered at what's happened to me, only to realize that I'm inside Rimuru's stomach.
They pulled me apart from the lady, the sword still in my should. Rimuru tried to pull it out but ended up causing me to hiss from the pain until it's fully gone, a cold nothingness was felt from the wound as wetness clung to the area around the shoulder.
Blood began to dye the blue slime red before he had injected some sort of magical healing potion, ensuring that the almost severed arm reattaches itself into the socket.
Suddenly, I'm on the ground, wetness clings to my frame as I rip off the faceplate to get fresh air. Even if I don't need to breathe, being unable to be like constantly holding your breath, i.e. uncomfortable as hell.
Spitting out some liquids that got in my mouth, I felt disgusted, deciding that I'll get a shower after this fiasco is done and the problematic elements are dealt with.
Next, I got on one knee and trained my repulsors on the women and the group, even if I can't kill them at this range, I can at least stun them long enough for me to close in.
That was the plan...at least until the Slime shaped its body back into the Elf's and stood between the two of us, Shizue in a fighting stance that even [Martial Artist] is impressed by, since she's still technically legless. The rest of the 2 men had finally gotten their acts together and backed up the mage who's got a spell ready.
The stand-off was intense, each of, or rather, Shizue and Kaval's group readied their attention at both us and Rimuru when the latter is just trying to be neutral.
"Wait!" the silence was broken when Rimuru decided to speak up. "There's no need to fight! We can all talk this out!"
However, Kaval wasn't having it, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN NO NEED TO FIGHT!? Your friend over there started this whole thing!"
He looked sheepish before turning around and seeing my determined face, the repulsor ready to fire at any time but [Psychology] and [Mathematics] says Rimuru will stretch himself to block any attack I or the others make.
damn, we're in an impasse.
Powering down the repulsors, the light from the center of my palm dimming itself, I got up from my kneeling position and massage my now healed-yet-still-sore shoulder.
"Fine, we'll talk." This ensures that I am no longer the aggressor.
Looking at the 4, I had a smirk on my face, the ball's in your court now, if you attack me you would incur the wrath of both myself and Rimuru ensuring that you would not get out of this alive.
"I must apologize for the action of Scientia, she's usually very secretive and gets extremely upset when said secrets are found out," Rimuru explained with an apologetic bow. "As I'm sure you could've figured it out."
"Heh, no kidding, sheesh," Eren said as the magic spell lowered.
Rimuru then looked at Shizue with a pained expression before getting on his knees and-
What the hell is he doing? is this a cultural thing in Japan? I wondered as I saw Rimuru bowing on the ground to Shizue, who froze like a statue, "please! allow us to make up for our mistakes by treating you all tonight and healing your wounds! believe it or not, Scientia is our best healer who can heal any wounds!"
"Rimuru what are you doing!" I whispered aggressively, "are you seriously inviting them into the half-completed Metropolis!?"
He ignored me, the fool ignored me before answering me with a glare of his own, causing me to falter due to how rarely it happens.
Kaval bit his lips in indecision, debating what to do before, "fine, but just so you're aware, the Guild Master already know where we are headed," he then gestured at me, "so if we don't return within the next week, he'll know and will send search parties for us, got it?"
[Psychology] tells me he's bluffing.
Shizue, seeing no other choice (I mean really what other choice does she have? Ask the naive adventurers who trust so easily?) nodded at his request and took his hand, Rimuru giving the disabled woman a piggyback ride to the city.
As Metropolis came into view, the newcomers were shocked at seeing everything it had to offer.
Due to the currently low population, every single market, service, corporation, and governmental department surrounds the Egg like plants to a water source in the middle of a desert, what was once living homes turned into private stores or factories that currently operate on governmental subsidies, representing the beginning of capitalism.
Rigurd and the rest of the Conservative and MPPs besides Rimuru were confused by the ideas of capitalism, citing how every other nation used some form of regulations or nationalized means of production as well as questions concerning how does private ownership of said means of production and their operation would help with generating wealth.
It took me 6 hours to get the more hardliners within each Party to agree to the new Capitalism subsidies wherein, every month I would give out free or auctioned blueprints of different products to different people for them to begin their own privatized businesses. Each blueprint has an exclusivity clause attached to it saying that, essentially for the next 1-5 years, the owner of the blueprint has the monopoly on the production of this product. It took only a week for some of the smarter hobgoblins to jump on the capitalism train, take out a loan from the National Bank, and start their own businesses, hiring many unemployed workers that were living on the money given through the Uplift Program.
Now as these workers grow richer from the wages, they'll be more content on spending it on other luxury products they weren't able to afford before, which lead to those business owners and workers becoming richer as more and more of their products were sold, this became a cycle of spending and earning, Dollars trading between different hands, transactions, consumerism becoming more and more popular as more and more money is put into the economy. Be it through long or short-term debts.
My eventual hope is to be able to end the Uplift Program and have the hobgoblins become self-sufficient.
And to be able to use the Corporations as soft power. Having them go into other nations, coercing their people to rely on the corporations, thus making it an invaluable part of their daily life. Once this is done, we essentially now have an enormous amount of economic influence within the nation and can use the corporation as mere proxies to do our biddings.
A Trojan Horse, if you will.
Only upon seeing the wide eyes of the adventurers and the shocked silence of Shizue still on Rimuru's back did it sink in just how...different? strange? to them, it must have been like someone living under communist rule their entire life stepping into the 50s or 60s America and seeing children going to school, adults earning large wages, and everyone going to bed with full stomachs.
I plan to later create an entrepreneurial course so that there'll be more competition since as of right now, there exists a small elite of hobgoblins who own a large percentage of shares in each of these businesses in the form of debt.
Oh, and did I mention it took 3 days after the first blueprint was given that some hobgoblins sought to form their own privately run banks that offer better interest rates? I have highly underestimated these buggers I tell ya.
Walking down one of the roads in Metropolis is like taking a walk in a strip mall, with shops everywhere selling all kinds of products and trinkets like luxury food or tools, except this 'strip mall' is outside, has no roof, and has concrete slabs for roads. Occasionally, you'll see one or two hobgoblins in tricycles transporting goods to the seller while other times it's vice versa.
It honestly shocked even me at how everything is coming together, multiple charges into [Urban Planning], [Economy], [Capitalism], [Free Market Economy Design], and [Planning] allowed.
I got in front of them all, holding my helmet under my shoulder before grabbing it and spreading out my arms as if I am about to embrace someone.
"...To Metropolis, the City of the Future."
[Inspired Inventor]- a Unique Skill that borders on the strength of an Ultimate Skill. Every day, the owner is given 5 charges that can light up 5 different specialties.
-[Scientific Intuition]: This skill allows one to have an intuitive understanding of science.
-[Engineering Aptitude]: This skill grants one the ability to easily apply all user known sciences into physical machines.
-[Endless Shard Knowledge]: A library locked deep within the recess of the owner's soul, containing the information to everything in existence, an Akashic Record that knows how everything functions. The only way to access this information is through the many keys that are given to the owner daily that are burned away the moment the clock resets.
-[Escalation Engine]: this skill demands to be used, and it shall be used. It will subconsciously influence the owner into building more and more powerful machines without end.
-[Final Ascension]: [Unknown]