Broken Person9-11 minutes 22.05.2023
The A.I., trapped in a magic thread, obediently led the way.
It didn’t make any noise along the way.
The silence was suspicious, and a few times I focused my eyes to analyze the magic circuitry, but we never took a wrong turn.
Eventually, we came to a massive wooden door.
Blackened and stained from years of rotting wood, and gaping with holes, the A.I.
hovered in front of it for a long time.
With the senses it had cultivated in case of emergency, the A.I.
was examining the door.
It could feel a subtle energy stroking the door for a long time, especially the blackened and rotted areas.
After several more minutes, the A.I.
broke the long silence.
-…I don’t know what you were thinking, making a door out of wood, it will only rot over time.
And silence again.
This time, he asked for more magic thread, so he looked around the massive door.
I wonder if A.I.’s develop feelings when they live long enough to call the time they were born ‘ancient’ and fill the space between their inputs with their own emotions.
-…I have a favor to ask of you.
Can you break down this door for me?
I nodded once, and the wooden door shattered into molecules.
There were no monsters in what I assumed was the boss room.
Instead, there was a boss.
What I meant was, there was a holographic-looking thing.
I wondered what the hell had happened in ancient times, that technology that hadn’t existed in my previous life until the 21st century had popped up out of nowhere, and I couldn’t believe there wasn’t anything like it in the present.
“The dungeon reward is, …five chances to ask this …zzzt, great mechanic … Yosaham, zzzt, questions …five times.”
The confident voice filled the great hall.
It was cracked and cracking with age, but it didn’t hide the majesty in its voice.
that had followed him into the boss room stared at the hologram of such luxury again.
“Is this… a reward?”
Herrin’s voice was weak.
“Zzt, yes, this is… zzt, zzt, it’s not just a…”
“I don’t know if I can even hear you with that thing….”
The hologram that was supposed to be a simple system ‘answered’, but Herrin’s expression didn’t improve.
I looked around and saw that everyone else was just as disappointed, if not more so.
To be honest, I was feeling a bit defeated myself, but I thought that if it wasn’t such a simple system, then the ‘answers’ could be a reward, as it would be answered by the mind of an ancient mechanic who had achieved a technology that is still unavailable today.
“Then may I ask you a question first?”
I had to get a reward to get out of this dungeon anyway.
With everyone’s agreement, I was the first to stand in front of the giant hologram.
“Hmmm… a mage, I see… I don’t like, zzt, zzt, but… a reward is a reward! What …are you curious about?”
I thought for a moment, then opened my mouth.
“Tell me about a revolutionary way to be lazy.”
This was the biggest challenge of my life.
No matter how hard I tried to practice the behavior that the world calls ‘lazy’, it just didn’t feel right.
Immediately, I wondered if my extra colleague position was in jeopardy, even though it hadn’t even been a month.
You’d think the creators of such an amazing, yet equally sick dungeon would have come up with something groundbreaking.
“…Asking such, a, question…From the moment on, zzt, it’s too late to be lazy.”
But the damned holographic gimmick shattered my expectations.
“Trying to be lazy…zzt, ‘trying’, moment…that’s not lazy, zzt, zzt, zzt…you’re just going to live your life, hard.”
My mind flashed back to all the times I’d worked so hard in the lab.
I spat out the words that rose from the depths of my stomach without holding them back.
“What do you know!”
I turned back to my companions with a grunt.
“Let’s go! That crap is a waste of time!”
But for some reason, the people who hadn’t cared about the reward up until that point averted their eyes.
It’s still a reward… don’t you think?”
“Yeah, it’s a waste, and it’s a memory!”
Somehow, I felt betrayed.
I looked to the last person I could trust, the Warrior.
He looked angry for a moment, then smiled picturesquely.
“I’m sure you’ll get lazy someday, and I’ll work on it with you.”
It was no consolation at all.
If anything, I felt like I was dying twice.
We each stood in front of the hologram once.
Reg asked about shield play.
He said he’d joined the mercenary army without a teacher and took up the shield.
He said his experience had taught him to deal with people, but not monsters, and he wanted to know if there was a proper shielding technique.
A holographic Yosaham, who pretended to stroke his beard for a moment, gestured to a corner of the boss room.
“Zzt, going to my warehouse around there… There should be a door.
With a shield in it, a golem with a jigsaw…Find.
..he, zzt, make ….Then, to a friend who was wearing a shield…consultation, zzt, zzt… I saved it, so help…It might work.”
Reg came back with his fists clenched.
He didn’t show it, but his eyes kept darting to the corner of the hall, and it was clear he was expecting something.
Herrin was next.
“I want to go to the Spirit’s Shelter!”
“Hmm, so you’re an elementalist… but, zzt, I’m not an elementalist… and I’ve never been to a spirit’s, zzt, zzt, zzt, shelter.
I do know the… mythology… associated with it, though.”
Herrin’s eyes sparkled.
Elementalists were rare.
No wonder, then, that every single one of them dreamed of going to the Spirit’s Shelter, because they didn’t even know they had a talent for it until the spirits discovered them.
It was a place filled with the spirits that had shaped their lives.
“An old god cut the shadow of a great mountain to make way for a new night.
The new night was successful, but the mountain that lost its shadow could no longer hide anything.
For days and days, the flora and fauna cried out to the heavens, until a lesser god gave orders to the spirits, who then gathered on the mountain and covered it with their mystical powers.”
Somehow, the hologram didn’t crackle.
A smooth voice mysteriously filled the hall.
I had never heard the myth before.
Herrin wondered if it was the same for her.
Wondering if it was different for a nobleman, she looked at the warrior and saw that he too was blinking.
It seemed to be an unwritten myth.
Despite the lack of credibility, Herrin’s face lit up as if she was pleased to learn of a myth involving a spirit she didn’t know.
On her way back, she made eye contact with me and smiled.
“The spirits have a rule that you can’t tell them the location of their shelter, even if you’re their contractor.”
I must have given her a curious look.
I didn’t ask, but she explained.
A little embarrassed, I rubbed my cheeks and smiled.
Warrior was next.
But he didn’t leave right away.
He looked serious for a moment, then turned to me and asked.
“Can you make sure that no one else can hear me and my hologram?”
I obediently cast a soundproof spell around the hologram.
Even for a mechanic who was used to working with magic circuits, the magic itself was a mystery.
A mouth that twitched this way and that seemed to speak.
The grateful warrior walked over to the hologram, and they talked for a while.
The face of the returning warrior was neither good nor bad.
“What about one question?”
Herrin spoke up.
It was time for everyone to think.
-If you don’t mind, may I use that question?
that had accompanied them to the boss room said.
“Why don’t you just go and ask him?”
That hologram is only supposed to appear when someone new enters the dungeon and reaches this point.
The voice was urgent.
seemed to think this was the only chance it had to ask the mechanic who made it.
We exchanged glances.
The conclusion came quickly.
But ask it in front of everyone.”
I released the magic shield surrounding the A.I..
The sphere flew out and stood in front of the hologram.
“Oh, you are the A.I.
Even the holographic Yasaham recognized the A.I.
“Ask a question.”
There was a long silence.
I read the flow of magic to see if there was any way to communicate mentally, but there was nothing.
In fact, neither of them was saying anything.
“What the hell!”
-…I have a question.
spoke up, just as the holographic Yosaham was about to get angry.
-Did you really think I wouldn’t understand emotions after all that time?
The A.I.’s voice was far from emotionally understanding.
After a brief pause, the holographic Yosaham spoke.
The hologram looked down at the A.I.
with an ethereal expression.
“You… are… simply… a being… powered by… the magic circuits I’ve woven, taken, supported… and… frankly, I’m surprised you’ve even asked me questions, let alone supported them.
I’ve never had any input into them.
If I were alive, I would have taken them apart ….
It’s a shame I don’t have the physical body to do this research from this distance.”
turned back to us without answering.
Sensing that the question was over, the hologram disappeared in a burst of light.
Darkness descended on the hall again.
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