Magi Craft Meister - Volume 9 - Chapter 49
09-49 IF #1: Had Jin Been the One to Find Elena
Content warning: violence, pain
Please think about this tale as something like a parallel world.
One day, one of the Quinta dispatched everywhere reported encouraging news through Laojin.
“My Lord, on the western shore of the Lake Azul there are ancient ruins that have been turned into a tourist attraction, but underneath it there seems to be a large room.”
“Mh-hm, has that not been found before?”
“It hasn’t, My Lord.”
“Hmm, seems interesting. Let’s try going for once.”
Jin muttered, and Reiko raised an objection.
“Father, it’s dangerous to go personally to an unknown place like that.”
“Mmh, I’ve got Reiko and since they’re ancient ruins let’s have Ann come along this time too. And I’ll be wearing the reinforced clothing and taking Muramasa and Masamune with me.”
Reiko was still looking a bit sullen yet,
“There’s no other way, is there. I’ll take Peach Blossom and the Magi Cannon. Let’s also have the SP carry a Paralyzer, a Vibration Blade, and an Induction Radiator each.”
She said. Jin who heard that wondered about what on earth she was going to wage a war on. But he kept his mouth shut since it seemed like Reiko would’ve asked him not to go since it was dangerous had he said it.
“If we go through the floatsink base in Lake Azul it won’t take long. Let’s wait until it’s midnight on the other side when we arrive.”
＊ ＊ ＊
Jin’s personal VTOL, Pegasus-1 flew out of the floatsink base in Lake Azul, and in about three minutes it was above the ruins they were looking for.
“The Quinta is coming to meet us. No humans have been found on the surface.”
On top of the search by the Quinta who found the ruins, detection by infrared rays and sight revealed that there were no people around.
Judging that the risk of being witnessed was low, Jin made Pelican-1 land in front of an open space in front of the ruins. It was stone-paved just perfectly so landing was easy and done without raising any clouds of sand.
First the SP went out to watch the surroundings. A minute later, Reiko, then Ann left. Finally Jin got out.
“Good work on coming all the way here, Chief.”
The Quinta in charge of the western shore of Lake Azul bowed.
“Thanks for greeting me. So, the ruins in question, where might they be?”
“Yes, over here.”
Jin tried lighting the surroundings with a [Light Ball]. There buildings all around supported by pillars of stone strengthened with magic. However, the strengthening magic had completely faded and the structures had begun weathering.
Guided by the Quinta, Jin headed near the ruins. The Quinta came to a stop between two large pillars and said while pointing at the ground,
“There is a large cave underground here.”
Jin examined the surface with [Sonar] and understood that there clearly was a large room underneath the ground. Jin then gave orders to Reiko.
“Reiko, try hitting here with 30% of your power.”
After confirming that Jin and the others had retreated a bit further away, Reiko swung her pretty fist and struck the ground.
Along with a thunderous noise, the earth cracked and caved in. Reiko nimbly leapt away and avoided falling.
Once the dust settled, a large hole could be seen there.
“So dark. [Light].”
Even when using light magic to illuminate the hole, the bottom couldn’t be seen. The Quinta then said,
“Chief, I will try going down first.”
And jumped into the hole.
A little while later a report came in through a ManaCom.
“I’m fine, there’s nothing out of the ordinary here. Please go ahead and come down.”
Jin’s group then headed to the middle of the hole. Jin was carried by Reiko, while Ann and the SP went by themselves.
Once down the hole in the ruins, they found a rather wide room with passages to the left and right. Either direction would’ve been good but Jin decided to head for the smaller passage.
After continuing on for a while the passage sloped down. Although dim, there were perpetual light emitters that ran on Ether inside the walls of the hallway.
“They’re of lower grade than those in the research laboratory, aren’t they.”
Reiko looked at the dim lights and commented.
Finally they saw a door. It was made out of iron, was covered in red rust, and once in front of it Ann said a few words.
“Master, this seems to be the emergency shelter room of the ancient fortress.”
“Hmm, so is it likely there’s something inside?”
Jin asked Ann.
“Yes, the likelihood of there being Magi Tools or weapons and such for emergency use is high, I think.”
“Alright, let’s try opening it.”
Jin tried pushing but the heavy door barely budged. Reiko took over for him and pushed. The hinges creaked and broke midway, and the door fell to the inside of the room with a loud sound. It raised dust into the air.
“*Cough*, this is terrible. [Wind].”
Jin expelled the dust out of the room with wind magic. Now he became able to inspect the inside of the room.
Inside the room were, just like Ann said, quite a lot of Magi Tools. There were ones that had broken through the passing of years, but about a third seemed still u sable.
Jin ordered the SP to recover the tools. Then he noticed something at the very back.
It was a human shape. Jin could immediately tell it was an Automata. Its figure was that of a girl. But it was leaning on the wall while sitting on the floor without any life. Its left arm was broken, gone from the elbow down.
“That’s, it can’t be… the ‘Golden Princess of Destruction’?”
“It’s just what I think is probable, but this Automata is the ‘Golden Princess of Destruction’. She was a mysterious Automata that in the early days of the Great Magic War went around destroying my brothers and sisters.”
“Hmm, I see…”
After hearing that Jin proceeded to examine the Automata making sure not to touch it.
“The craftsmanship isn’t bad.”
In the corner of his eye, Jin saw Reiko puff up her cheeks after hearing that and he hurriedly added.
“…Although it can’t hold a candle to Reiko.”
Reiko’s expression returned to normal.
“Hmm, supposing we collect all the ancient Magi Tools, just leaving this Automata would be regrettable. Alright, Reiko, please carry her and then let’s go hom.”
“Yes, I understand.”
While carrying the Magi Cannon on her back and Peach Blossom on her waist, Reiko lifted up the Automata.
Feeling the faint Magic Energy coming from Reiko the Automata woke up.
“Are you the one… who woke me up? …H– hey, wait, what are you doing!?”
“Ah, she woke up. So she really had configured herself to wake up after detecting Magic Energy.”
“Wa-wait, release me! I am the queen of Automata! Listen to what the queen tells you!”
She kicked and struggled, but Reiko’s solid grip was like a vise and no matter how much the Automata tried to shake and untangle her it didn’t matter.
“Y-you’re, could it be, you’re Adrianna’s…!!”
“Be quiet please. My Mother is indeed called Adrianna Balbora Ceci.”
“I–I knew it! Le– let me gooooo!”
“I said be quiet.”
Reiko put more strength into her arms that were carrying the Automata.
Along with a cracking sound the Automata’s skeleton was bent.
It seemed that the Automata possessed some degree of feeling. Her scream echoed.
“You’re too loud. Father, please silence her.”
Once asked by Reiko Jin got closer to the Automata and put a hand on its neck. Then,
He had the Automata turn off half-forcibly.
“Ah, it became peaceful.”
“This Automata really does seem to be the Golden Princess of Destruction, doesn’t she.”
Ann said while looking down at the Automata Reiko was carrying.
“Hmm, I wonder why did she come to have a personality like that. I’m a little interested.”
Jin said while watching the Automata that had gone limp.
＊ ＊ ＊
They were able to exit the ruins without anything happening on the return trip. When they were exiting the hole Jin was pulled up with a rope hung down by the SP who climbed up ahead of them.
They then boarded Pelican-1 and returned to Hourai Island via the floatsink base.
Now the examination of the Automata that had been brought to the workshop in Hourai Island’s research laboratory was underway.
“Hmm, the skeleton is Light Silver, the muscles are Magical Muscles. There’s a Mana Driver but no Ether Converter.”
“Father, what does that mean?”
Reiko asked while holding down the Automata for hazard prevention.
“Mh-hm, you and the others use the Ether Converter to change the Ether in the air to Mana, then use the Mana Driver to convert the Mana to energy, correct?”
“This Automata has no Ether Converter and instead has an Ether Tank, and appears to use an Ether Driver to convert that to energy.”
“What’s the result of doing it that way?”
Reiko had enough knowledge to tell the differences between the structures, but didn’t know anything about their efficiencies and such.
“Normally a Mana Tank and a Mana Driver are combined, but this Automata’s combination appears to sacrifice efficiency for a higher power output.”
“I see, this is the first time I’ve heard of something like an Ether Driver. So you’re saying the efficiency is worse when converting Ether directly to energy?”
“That’s right. If you think about it, then probably before the Ether Stampede occurred the Ether in the air was thicker than now, so this must’ve been good back then.”
Jin stated his guess.
“But Mother made me with the method I’m utilizing now though?”
Reiko asked a question regarding that.
“Ah, that’s just natural, since you could say that the predecessor had an ideology in her designs on top of the technology.”
There’s the structure of increasing the power output with heavy work, and then there’s the structure that increases the power output by delicately managing the performance. It’s needless to say which one is better.
“What’s more is that this Control Core is somewhat strange.”
“What might you mean?”
“Well, it looks like it’s been recycled and used twice. Although faint, here and there the old Magi Formula remains.”
Jin said while gazing at the comparatively large Control Core.
“Isn’t this one of the reasons this Automata went out of order?”
While saying so, Jin completely cleared the old Magi Formula.
“And also, there’s the possibility that the manufacturer’s last words have something suspicious in them.”
While talking, Jin freely used the Craft Magics [Read] and [Decompile] to search for that portion. And after searching for 30 minutes, he found it.
“This is it. ‘You are the best’, huh.”
“‘You are the best’ is it. That indeed does seem like something that could make one odd if there was a single error.”
Reiko could understand the danger as a similar Automata who had lost her manufacturer once.
“Hmm, but ‘You are the best’.”
Jin tilted his head in confusion.
“It’s got to continue somehow, doesn’t it. You are the best ‘and stay like that’, or you are the best ‘and the brightest’ or something.”
Jin thought of it a lot. Then,
“If it were me, I’d have wanted to say you are the best ‘daughter I could hope for’.”
“Well, normally you’d say something like that, wouldn’t you.”
Jin also agreed with Reiko.
“Well, let’s for now try repairing the parts that have deteriorated or faded with age.”
Jin mended the flaws in the Automata. He then tried restarting it. Reiko was of course also monitoring her. Although more accurately Reiko was watching her restraints.
“…Where is this?”
The Automata opened its eyes.
“Are you the one who repaired my arm?”
There was no madness in the tone of her voice.
“Yeah, that’s right. Are there any other places that feel weird?”
Jin said and had Reiko slowly release her from her restraints. The Automata then tried moving its body and,
“No, not at all. I’m in very good condition. Thank you very much.”
She said and bowed.
“To thank you for repairing me, I would like to work for you. Would you please give me a name?”
She said and bowed once more.
Jin thought for a while, then suddenly a name popped to his mind. It was rather unusual for Jin.
“Hmm, I suppose, in that case how about ‘Elena’?”
“Yes, my name is Elena. Please take care of me from now on, master.”
Elena said and gave a deep bow, turned to face Reiko and Ann, then bowed her head and said,
“Pleased to meet you too, my sisters.”
This is the world of ‘what-if’. The world that would’ve been if Jin had found Elena. A story about a world of ‘what-if’ that would probably be a happy one for Elena afterwards.