Kimon, the Second Facility
We went through the open door and were greeted to the familiar sight of an ancient elven hallway. While the entrance had been big, it was narrower as you went in. It was just about wide enough for three people to walk side by side.
Daniela and I walked down the hallway. It seemed like some kind of magic was affecting the door, and none of the fumes were able to get in. And so I was able to let her down and the barriers were deactivated.
Though the place looked familiar, we were still in an ancient elven ruin. And so we were cautious. Daniela spread out Presence Detection. I stood in the lead and kept my hand on my sword as we walked.
The reason that I didn’t unsheath it, was because it might be interpreted as hostile. At least if I kept my hand on it I would be ready to fight if necessary, but could also quickly show that I wasn’t a threat by taking my hand off of it.
While the Nova was cut off from the network, how hard could it be to reconnect? The Karma said that they would be on our side, but they could be controlled… Anything was possible.
And so we couldn’t treat this like a walk in the park.
“There’s a door up ahead…”
“Should we look in? I do not sense anything through Presence Detection.”
In the past, we had found the Automata and Appraisal Glasses. So it would probably be worth looking into.
“I just hope it does not set off any alarms.”
I had been about to put my hand on the door, but then pulled it back.
There were several other doors after that, but we ignored them and continued on our way. My curiosity was driving me crazy, but I held back the urge. After a while, the road ahead split into two.
“None of the other ruins had split paths like this…”
“Well, there were a lot if you count Reserentrible. But that was because the defense systems had been activated.”
“Are you saying that they are activated now?”
“No… I do not think anyone else would come here.”
There had been so much dust when the doors opened. It was proof that no one had been here for a long time.
“So, this is just an ordinary split path.”
“I guess. So, which one to choose…”
Right or left. There was no hint at all. No signs or markings. I tried using Presence Detection, but there was no one to detect.
“Right or left… Which do you think it is, Asagi?”
“…You should take the one that isn’t the one you’re thinking about. Let’s go this way. Trust my instincts.”
“That worries me greatly… Still, if there is nothing to base our decision on, then it may not even matter.”
We could just turn around if we have to, I suppose.
Daniela nodded, and we took the right path. Everything continued to look the same. And yet I had a feeling that we were headed towards our goal. It was my instincts telling me this. Like something was pulling my arm.
After we had walked for quite a while, I became sure that I was right. After all, there was a large door in front of us. Surely the Karma was behind it.
“I remember these. It is the door that opens when you touch it.”
“I remember that you didn’t like them.”
“That is not true. I was just unaccustomed.”
Daniela glared at me from the side and touched the door softly. There was the sound of air escaping as the door opened. Then Daniela peered inside and made a fist in the air.
She had seen the triangular console in the center of the room behind the door. The lights on the walls and the ceilings all gathered towards it.
“As always, I will enter first.”
We were both registered to the network. Still, it seemed safer.
After staring ahead for a moment, Daniela took one step forward and entered the room. The lights that had shot towards the console became blindingly bright as they filled up the room.
And then a voice echoed from within the light.
‘Welcome. This is Kimon, Facility II. We have been waiting for you. Miss Daniela. Mister Asagi.’
The light faded as the voice rang. And I slowly opened my eyes. There was a woman with platinum blonde hair, hovering over the console. While she had a different face, she was also a Karma. Usually, there was a little reservation, but this one had apparently been waiting for our arrival.
“Waiting? What do you mean?”
‘It is as it sounds. I have received the report that you acquired the key in Facility III, Urbesertrus. So I knew you would come to Kimon next. All I had to do was wait while preparing this key.’
As the Karma said this, a square below the console glowed, and then it opened. The key that we had come for was inside.
“We can take it?”
‘Yes, of course. Deal with the Nova…’
“We will. We will stop its plans.”
Daniela said as she picked up the crystal key. The Urbesertrus key had been a light blue color, but this one was a light red.
“Do you have any information for us?”
‘I have one thing to tell you.’
A report for us… My body tensed up.
‘Someone has invaded Eres, Facility I to the north.’
“Do you know who it is?”
Daniela was stunned, and so I asked for her. The Karma looked at me and nodded with a smile. I couldn’t tell what the smile meant.
‘It was invaded by Rindo Kizugawa and Lemonfrost Grasilf.’
I had not been expecting this. And I was startled by how loud my voice was. But why? Manager and Lemon were in Eres?
When we had left them, they did say something about setting out on a journey together…
‘According to the report from Eres, this was the first invasion in hundreds of years, and so they were going to activate the defense system. However, further observation showed that they were people who had accompanied you two in Reserentrible. And so they were ultimately led to its core.’
“Yes, Rindo and Lemon were with us…”
‘When they were asked what their business was, they said that they had been searching in order to be a help to you two. And they had found the place by accident. Like you, Asagi, Rindo is from another world. And so the information was disclosed to her.’
“In other words, Manager knows that Daniela and I are trying to stop the Nova and…”
‘Indeed. She was furious.’
She hadn’t been angry with me since I was a part timer. The memories came back, and I shuddered. The Karma watched this and chuckled. It was a very sophisticated laugh. She was covering her mouth.
‘I shall play the recording to you.’
“No. I don’t care to hear it!”
‘That damn idiot bastard!! How dare he hide this from me…!! The nerve… I won’t forgive him the next time we meet!!!’
Manager’s angry shouts echoed in the once quiet chamber. I shuddered.
‘That is what she said.’
“Asagi… Do not let it bother you.”
How could she say that…
I felt so exhausted that I sat down on the floor.
‘While it was a coincidence, a meeting was held after Miss Rindo appeared in Facility I. And we decided to give her the key. And so Miss Rindo holds the last one.’
“I see… Well, it will be comforting if she is on our side…”
“She’d follow us even if we told her not to… That’s why I didn’t say anything.”
Manager had taken it very badly when she discovered that there was no returning to our world. At least, there was no way, currently. But I couldn’t tell her that. I didn’t want to. I couldn’t tell her that we were stopping the Nova.
Because…even if it was so unlikely, she would feel that it was possible. Wouldn’t she?
If we could be summoned here, surely there was a chance. Even if it was just one in a million. The Nova could reverse it and send us back.
And so I didn’t tell her about it. And decided to stop them.
I didn’t want this Reincarnation to continue. Other people would be summoned eventually. And it wouldn’t end well for all of them. They might take it even worse than Rindo did.
Even just thinking back on Rindo and Matsumoto’s reactions… I couldn’t even consider trying to control the Nova.
“I wish that you wouldn’t have told her.”
‘…I am sorry. But we were not able to ask for your opinion.’
“No… I’m not blaming you. I think it was because I was weak.”
I thought about her anger upon finding out the truth. That personality.
Yes, I think she had really decided to lie here in this world, from the bottom of her heart. She had laughed defeatedly in Reserentrible, but she had likely found a new goal. A new reason to live. At least, I wanted to think so.
But Manager was Manager. Surely she could not be weaker than me. But it was my inability to believe that that had caused me to hide the truth.
“Alright, if she is going to help us, then we’ll be unbeatable!”
“…Yes. Rindo is one person I can trust to have my back.”
“What about me!?”
“You have a tendency to get distracted. I cannot trust you at all.”
I was best in combat when moving around, so you couldn’t expect me to stay in the same spot…!
“Well, you will be able to run around to your heart’s content if Rindo is around. Is that not right?”
“Uh, well… Yeah, I guess…”
“There it is.”
She slapped me hard on the back and I lurched forward. My back stung a little, but I felt reinvigorated. Like I was scared of nothing.
‘It seems that you resolved the matter.’
“Aye. Thank you for giving her the key. We have a reliable ally now.”
‘I am glad to hear it. Now, I will give you some newly acquired information about the Nova.’
So this was a different report…
Daniela and I listened quietly and waited.
‘Facility 204, Elminata has exchanged its functionality for a connection to the Nova for reconnaissance purposes. The Nova has troops comprised of over a thousand Automata at its disposal.’
“A thousand!? And functionality… Is that like…death…?”
‘Yes. Elminata has ceased all functions. As it connected to the Nova, destructive agents were sent through the connection. But this was all expected. That is why I said that it was an exchange.’
“But… Are you saying it killed itself to give us this information?”
‘Yes, you can put it that way.’
My hand slapped the floor. I hadn’t intended to do that.
“Look here… Don’t do stuff like that. No one needs to die just to give us information.”
‘However, information is a powerful weapon. Whether or not you have it can greatly influence…’
“I don’t care! We don’t want it if that is the cost. No matter what kind of hell is waiting.”
We had never met this Karma or knew where it was. And yet it had given its life for us. I didn’t see how that was right.
“I know you’re going to tell me that you’re tools that do what you are told. But I don’t care. I don’t want you to die.”
“Aye. I do not know how much weight my words have to you, but as a representative of the light elves, and as someone involved in this matter, I would also ask you to not throw away your lives.”
‘Very well. It will not happen again.’
The Karma bowed politely. I sighed. At least they understood.
“…But, thank you for the information. Will this Elminata ever come back?”
‘In order to be repaired, one would have to actually go to the facility and rebuild the circuits and reinstall the personality program.’
“I see… Well, we will have to pay the place a visit when this is all over.”
“Yeah… Alright. But first, let’s go and meet Manager and get the key!”
I slapped my knees as I got to my feet. While it wasn’t in our possession, all of the keys had been acquired now. We just needed to go to the misty hills and confront the Nova!
“Before we leave, there is something I would like to ask you. There were several rooms that we passed on the way here. Do they contain anything that will help us fight?”
Oh, I had forgotten about that. Treasure!
‘Yes, there are various weapons, armor and magic tools stored there. If you think they will help you, please take them.’
“That will be a great help. Thank you.”
‘No, it grieves me that we cannot do more.’
That was ridiculous. They’ve done nothing but help us. Including sacrifice themselves for information. One thousand Automata…
‘Goodbye then. I pray that your future will be a happy one.’
The Karma said with a smile, and then there was a flash of light as she vanished into the console.
“Alright, we should go and get what we can.”
“You’re quick to switch gears… Yeah, let’s go.”
Levee was waiting for us. We should grab what we can and get off this island.