I closed the lid now that I was ready to leave. In the next instant, the box began to sink into the floor by itself, until the surface was perfectly level with the rest of the floor. For a moment, I wondered if there was some kind of trap, and I frantically turned around. But there was nothing to suggest the doors were going to close on me or that some guardians were going to appear out of nowhere. It was merely signaling the end of the attraction. And so I picked up the two pairs of glasses and left the room.
The hallway seemed a lot shorter this time, now that I wasn’t nervous. I felt like I reached the Automata again in no time.
“Well, well, what should I do about it…”
I tried appraising it with the glasses, and it was indeed an Automata.
‘Automata type F. Out of order due to lack of reactor core.’
You needed something called a reactor core to make it move. Type F must be for female… But what was a reactor core? Where did one acquire it? I tried flipping it over and searching. There was a barely visible slit on the back of its neck. I dug my finger into it and the skin rolled back.
Underneath the skin, I could see bones that were similar to the other dolls in the room.
“…Ah, it’s no use. I don’t think I’ll be able to fix it.”
I wasn’t an inventor or scientist. Any more tinkering would probably result in permanent damage. I gently returned the skin flap to normal then searched through the dolls that had exposed bones. Upon searching one that was a similar model, I saw that there was a lid in between the shoulder blades and a hole which something could be inserted in. This was probably where this reactor core thing went.
So that was the next thing I searched for. I used the appraisal glasses to search each doll and see why they were out of order. If it was for a reason unrelated to the reactor core, there was a chance the doll still contained one.
“I haven’t found any so far…what about this one?”
I looked at one doll which had no arms or legs.
‘Automata type F. For lovers of sadism. Inoperable due to bodily damage. Currently out of order due to lack of magic energy.’
Sadism…? So it was broken by a sadist? Okay, these ancient elves really were perverts. Complete, total perverts.
However, there was good news too. If the reason was that it was out of magic…
“I knew it. So this is the reactor core.”
I opened the lid on its back and a multifaceted crystal-like object came out. It was like a large super ball. When inspecting it through the appraisal glasses, it displayed, ‘reactor core for Automata.’
‘Automata Reactor Core, Remaining Magic: 0’
So I could probably recharge it by sending magic into it. But I felt a little bad for the broken one… To end your run on such a note. I brought my hands together for a moment of silence.
Then I tried sending magic into the reactor core in my hand. It was pure void magic. Would it work?
‘Automata Reactor Core, Remaining Magic: 5%’
Well, it worked a little. Good.
I recharged and rested a few times. After this, I would sleep and meet up with Daniela tomorrow. It was safe down here, so I decided that this would be where I spent the night.
After repeating the process a few times, I checked it again with the appraisal glasses and saw that it had reached 100%. Now the Automata should move. …But it was kind of difficult to move that skin flap. So I decided to practice on a nearby doll.
That night, I forgot to eat dinner as the time went by and I tinkered with the machines.
□ □ □ □
“…Mmm… Ahh…I fell asleep…”
I awoke in the room that was littered with the Automatas. As I had slept on the bare floor, my body hurt all over. And plus, it was very cold.
“I want a bath…and food…”
Though, there was no one there to make my wishes come true. I now had four more of the reactor cores in my hand. I had removed them from the other machines that I was tinkering with. Though, these ones were empty.