Chapter 12 – Low Melting Metal
“The method of smuggling? You found out already?”
“It’s all just circumstantial evidence. Though, I don’t really like that so much of it is built on assumptions.”
Tor thought it was rather impressive that they could infer much at all after just one night of questioning. But it all depended on what they would say next.
It was still possible that they had come up with some absurd idea.
Mailey was writing information down on a piece of paper.
“First, let’s say that the smuggled goods are gold coins and silvercraft. These things seem to be disappearing and appearing, so it’s practically undeniable at this point.”
In other words, there needed to be a method for transporting these two things.
“When it comes to smuggling, the biggest hurdle would be getting past the wall that surrounds Durande. The Durande officials had known about the smuggling, and had been tightening security. However, they have yet to catch the culprits by the tail.”
There were various possibilities.
Hidden spaces under the floors and secret shelves. Or having humans and animals swallow them so they could be taken out later.
And while magitec lanps were more common now, they were still expensive, and so candles were still in demand, allowing objects to be hidden in the wax.
“But the Durande officials would be investigating these old methods.”
“And did you two investigate them?”
“We did check to see if the Ubaz company carriages used for transportation had been altered in any way, as well as the products and boxes for any empty spaces. We found nothing.”
If the experienced Durande soldiers could not find anything, then it must be a very elaborate method.
Mailey continued to write on the paper.
“Now, if Magic Centipede were to be used as guards for the Ubaz company’s products while they are being transported, what is something they can take with them that will not invite suspicion?”
“Yes. Weapons as well. After all, there are monsters and magitec beasts out there. But that’s not what it is.”
“So, magitec arms and legs?”
“Yes. That is what we should be focusing on. Especially since we heard about the magitec arm you picked up this morning.”
Upon hearing this, Tor realized what had also been bothering him. In the end, he had never been able to figure out why the magitec arm had been left there in the alley.
And there was one other thing.
“Yes, I did feel that something was wrong when I picked it up.”
Mailey looked at him expectantly, as if some new information was coming. Tor gave her an apologetic look.
“But I was really drunk, and couldn’t really grasp what it was that was wrong.”
“…Did you sense that something was wrong when you first saw the magitec arm?”
“Huh? No, it was after I picked it up.”
He had felt that it was very poorly made. But that couldn’t be the only reason that it felt off. After all, that was something clear to him, and wasn’t the cause for this sense of unease that he felt but could not put into words.
And it wasn’t that the joints were bad, or about any other features.
However, there was definitely something wrong with it.
Mailey turned the pages of the book she had opened on the desk, and seemed to be searching for something. Then she made a suggestion in hopes of jogging Tor’s memory.
“Perhaps it was heavier than the average magitec arm.”
“Weight, huh. Yes, it might have been on the heavy side. But the weight would vary quite a lot from arm to arm, and… Ah, I see.”
Tor finally realized what it was as he looked down at his hand. He was wearing chainmail gloves.
“Mister Tor. Did you realize something?”
“…That magitec arm. There was money inside of it. It was inside of the thick metal plates on the back of the hand and also the outside of the arm.”
“Wait a minute. Not within the gaps between the parts, but inside of a metal plate?”
“Don’t ask me how I know. This information is directly related to the way that I fight. Don’t tell anyone.”
“But Euphie will know?”
“I suppose you can’t hide anything from each other.”
“There is no need to.”
Maily grinned and then passed the open book to Tor.
“I don’t know how you figured it out, but we too considered the possibility that gold coins were hidden within the metal plates of the arm. Not only would they not be visible from the outside, but no one would ever suspect that you are hiding something.”
The page that the book was opened to had the headline ‘low melting medal.’
“What is this? Is this about mercury?”
“No, an alloy. Unlike mercury, it is solid at room temperature. Though, there are various temperatures where it turns into liquid.”
Maily pointed at a chart for alloys with low melting points.
Tor recognized some, like solder, which was used to fuse metal together.
“Among alloys with low melting points, there are some that melt from just having hot water poured over them. For instance, wood’s metal.”
“Hot water? …Ah, so that would be the reason that Magic Centipede are using so much firewood.”
Wood’s metal. An alloy that melts at seventy degrees.
The melting point of agar was generally considered to be eighty-five degrees. So it was hard to imagine that a metal could be lower than that.
If that was the necessary temperature, then you would be able to seal coins within a magitec arm without any special equipment. You just had to place the coins on a board and pour the melted wood’s metal over it. The coins wouldn’t melt or be affected. And you could later extract them with hot water.
It was certainly an interesting metal. Tor thought with amusement as he looked at the composition.
“Lead, tin, cadmium? Bismuth? Hey, leaving the first two aside, cadmium and bismuth would not be easy to acquire. I’ve only ever seen them mentioned in textbooks from highschool.”
“Indeed. However, I didn’t expect you to get stuck there, Mister Tor.”
“Stuck? What do you mean?”
“Mister Tor. Have you already forgotten what you are? What this book is?”
Mailey asked as she tilted her head. Her golden hair moved smoothly, reflecting the lights of the magitec lamp.
As her clear blue eyes stared at him, Tor wondered about where the wood’s metal had come from.
“A lost item.”
“Yes. That being said, there is likely not very much of it. If they did have a lot, they would use hammers or a large magitec machines instead. They could even use precious gems, which can be converted to gold, and put them into wooden boxes before sealing them with wood’s metal.”
“So they only have enough wood’s metal to make carrying golden coins the most efficient to carry.”
“Yes. And since Magic Centipede are Adventurers, it’s highly likely that they would find lost items in the dungeons.”
It was said that lost items often appeared in dungeons. Like Tor, sometimes they were found outside of them. But if you wanted a lost item, it was still best to search the dungeons.
Mailey closed the book.
“There are several incidents throughout history revolving around lost items. But it’s quite exciting when it happens close by.”
“Exciting? This is criminal activity.”
“But the lost items are not to blame. It is the people who use them.”
Mailey used a hand to hide a yawn. And then she continued.
“And so they must be punished.”
She then gave Tor the paper which had their conversation recorded on it. And asked that he hand it over to Euphie.
And just as Mailey went to bed, Euphie woke up.