TNG Vol. 19 Chapter 2 Part 8

The man’s name was Owl, and the woman, Mighty. Since dolls were treated as gear, they didn’t have jobs or levels.

If expressed in terms of grade, they would be Superior-Ancient grade.

They didn’t have stats like players, so there was no way of knowing their exact figure, but Shin and his party had established that they average around 700.

“What impeccable timing. Did you know we were coming?”

“Yes, we did. We were able to establish a cooperative relationship with the Choraltus, whose territory is in this area, and based on the intel we obtained from them, we concluded that the characteristics match those of Master Shin, Schnee, and the others.”

Their source of information seemed to be Choraltus, who observed us and left.

“And the fact that we didn’t encounter any monsters on our way here?”

“Yes. An effort on our part to save you trouble.”

It was Owl who gave the order, but before that, apparently, the Choraltus had determined that Shin and the others were bad business and had the monsters in their territory stay away.

Perhaps it could be related to the Crimson Blizzard back in the game era. It too was seen leading the monsters in its territory.

“I guess you know why we are here.”

“There is only one matter, at present, that could make a member of ‘Rokuten’ to personally make a move. It’s about the EX Series, right?”

Shin nodded in response to Owl’s question.

Seeing this, Owl and Mighty kneeled down on the spot and hung their heads. Perhaps because they were dolls, there wasn’t the slightest deviation in their movements.

‘We apologize for the inconvenience we’ve caused due to our blunder, Master Shin.’

Even the pause in their voices were exactly the same. Even though their movements were mechanical, the emotion in their voices was genuine.

“First of all, shall we head to Miraltrea? You can tell me what happened there.”

“Yes, sir.”

He urged Owl and his second up and asked them to lead the way.

Deep in the Grandmost Mountains, they hopped their way through rocks and ice with no decent paths.

They weren’t attacked by any monsters along the way, perhaps because it was the Choraltus’ territory.

There were occasionally reactions from monsters, but they never made any attempt to approach.

After six hours, they arrived at Miraltrea.

Miraltrea remained in the same spot marked on Berett’s map. It would appear it hadn’t moved even after the sighting.

“This place is like a buffer zone with different monster territories surrounding it. Originally, it seems that there was a dispute over which monster would claim the area as their territory, but it’s been quite a while and still unresolved, so we’ve been helping ourselves to it.”

Some of the monsters attacked Owl and his crew when they suddenly appeared, but they had fought alongside Reed and were well-equipped and experienced in combat. So, they ended up wiping the floor with them.

Instead of killing them, they sent them back to the fields with the impression that fighting them would be a futile endeavor.

As for the Choraltus, apparently, they were able to quickly establish a friendly relationship with them, partly because the non-humanoid γ-series were able to communicate with them, albeit poorly.

As Shin and the others approached, one of Miraltrea’s cars rumbled and the doors opened. It seemed to have sensed Shin’s arrival.

Upon entering, they saw a row of dolls standing in a line.

At the end of the row of dolls were tables and chairs with cups and pastries.

There was no sign of messages being sent, so it could be that the dolls used mind chat.

As Shin and the others took their seats, Mighty and other female-type α- series poured tea into their cups. The taste and aroma were quite familiar, so it must have been something that was always available at Miraltrea.

“May I begin from when we woke up?”

“Yes, please.”

After a short rest, Owl cut to it.

Owl and his crew woke up about two years ago. In a cave at the northern end of the continent.

They were buried along with Miraltrea with no memory of the time leading up to it.

The last thing they remembered before waking up was hearing a voice saying that the game had been cleared.

He restarted the dolls that had also stopped functioning, and went on to check the condition of the Miraltrea, he found that the hatch of the vehicle storing the EX Series had been opened with the doll gone before it was activated. It appeared that a tunnel had been dug through the cave, leading to the surface.

After activating Miraltrea, Owl and his crew set out to investigate the whereabouts of the EX Series.

He couldn’t reach out since he didn’t know how to use the message card. Nor the whereabouts of Berett and the rest.

He didn’t even have a clue as to where they were, so he started gathering information about their surroundings.

He knew that Reed wasn’t logged-in through the Miraltrea function, and immediately understood that he was not in this world.

“It was only by chance that we found traces of 08.”

08 was the doll’s serial number. Reed’s masterpiece was literally the eighth doll, and since it wasn’t yet named, Owl and his crew were apparently calling it 08 for the time being.

Upon activation, he discovered through the investigation that the hatch of the Miraltrea had been opened by force. Therefore, he assumed that 08 might have been snatched before activation.

While gathering information, he heard about a giant clad in metal armor, and upon closer inspection found that it had the same semblance as 08.

Knowing its strength, he chose to track down 08 rather than join up with Berett and the others whose whereabouts were unknown.

“We’ve already made contact with it several times. But it just wouldn’t listen to us. And we’ve confirmed that it’s not doing it against its will either.”

It had awakened its ego as configured, and was able to communicate and fight without any problems. However, when Owl and his crew asked that it return to the dock at Miraltrea, it refused and continued to act separately.

They could have put it down using Miraltrea’s ordnance.

Though it was before the activation, 08 was one of them. He couldn’t bring himself to employ such powerful weapons used in battle between guild houses.

They had been continuously tracking, monitoring, and attempting to persuade it, just in case, but it appeared unresponsive thus far.

“We thought maybe it was on a rampage. But looks like that’s not the case, is it?”

“No. It’s never engaged in indiscriminate destructive behavior except in the battle against the divine beast, and on rare occasions it’s helped merchants and travelers who were being attacked by monsters. We’ve determined that it wouldn’t exhibit such behavior if it was on a rampage.”

Except for the divine beast, it would randomly rout monsters and then move on, neither trying to finish them off nor chase after the ones that fled.

It even spared the divine beast and stopped attacking once it became incapacitated, and didn’t finish it off either.

“Is it able to communicate effectively? Rather than just speaking unintelligibly, can it comprehend and respond appropriately to spoken language?”

“No doubt. We are able to communicate with each other, just like the rest of us do now. However, it rarely listens to anything we have to say.”

Owl and his crew were demanding that it put an end to the hostilities and return to the docks. As long as it complied, it was all good.

“What about the other EX series? They should at least be able to keep it at bay.”

There were other EX series dolls besides 08, which were currently acting separately.

While they may be classified as experimental machines with inferior overall performance, their specific purpose was to combat divine beasts.

Shin thought that if it were to be outnumbered, it ought to be enough to subdue it. But the damage would be terrible.

“We could probably take it down with numbers. But if we were to seize it by force, what happens next becomes the real problem. Don’t forget that it pried open the hatch of Miraltrea and broke out. We were able to repair it easily since the damage wasn’t too extensive, so it wasn’t too big a hassle. However, there’s no denying that it did destroy the guild house of its own volition. If we shove it into the docks, and it shakes off its restraints and goes on a rampage, the mess this time won’t be something that we could easily fix nor will the hassle be anything less.”

Owl said with a reluctant expression on his face.

Owl and his crew seemed unhappy that their first task upon awakening was to repair the Miraltrea, which was entrusted to them by their creator, Reed.

And, as Owl said, even if it were to be subdued, the possibility of it going out of control couldn’t be ruled out. The Miraltrea docks weren’t equipped with restraining devices.

If they were to proceed with that, they would need to deploy multiple units of another EX series to detain it. What would happen if it were to break free after that?

Though it wasn’t a complete sabotage, it did ruin the hatch previously. If it were to seriously go berserk, the damage would be unimaginable.

Notwithstanding how tailor-made Miraltrea may be for guild warfare, it wouldn’t withstand a significant amount of damage if an entity designed to combat divine beasts went out of control inside it.

“As a last resort, though, can’t say we haven’t thought about it.”

“For now, it seems that its primary area of activity is the remote, dominion field controlled by the divine beast.

If it had been rampaging about anywhere, Owl and his crew would have mobilized all the dolls to suppress it.

However, the purpose of the EX series was clear, and Owl and his crew believed that it hadn’t gotten to the point where they would be forced to consider suppressing it.

Shin, too, didn’t want to see the characters left behind by his friend hurting each other. He felt bad for the divine beast that was being challenged to a fight, but he couldn’t refute Owl’s view.

“But I’m afraid you may not be able to keep behind that decision this time.”

“Because its opponent might not be a divine beast, but a god?”

“You knew?”

Shin was trying to be vague, but Owl clearly articulated his words.

“We still have Venna Vaal and Iira Suura’s battle data. Their mana reactions were detected in these parts.” 

“Mana reaction?”

Shin inquired about the mana reaction.

Owl nodded and turned to Mighty, who was sitting next to him.

“I’ll take it from here. What we call mana reaction is the wavelength of a monster’s unique magic power. Players, as well as special monsters such as gods and divine beasts, have a specific mana wavelength depending on their individual characteristics. They are recorded within the Miraltrea system, which tells us that there are gods here.”

Shin heard something similar when his guild card was being made. That the monsters too had something like a mana fingerprint recognition.

However, this method could only be used for the most special of monsters, and not for low-level goblins, slimes, and the like.

“Was there a system like that?”

“I remember that the members of ‘Rokuten’ used it as a monster dictionary. Although it appears it was only used in the guild house for a very short time. I found out about the mana reaction when I was checking the functionality of the system.”

“Monster Dictionary? Oh, right. That one.”

Shin was wondering whether it was a feature that became available in this world, but Mighty’s comment jogged his memory.

The Monster Dictionary had a function that automatically recorded the habitats, weak points, and drop items of the monsters they fought.

One could read more detailed information and descriptions of the monsters if they fought enough times or got items containing information about the monsters.

In the guild house, it was also possible to view the monsters in 3D to use in building strategies to fight the monsters. This was explained in the tutorial section of the dictionary.

Thinking back, Shin thought that the location of the monsters that appeared in a fixed spot were recorded in the dictionary. Mighty and her crew were using a more advanced version of that.

“I guess they stopped using it over here since it’s now available through the player’s personal menu after the update.”

Shin called up the menu at the edge of his vision and called up the monster dictionary with his mind. The list of monsters displayed seemed to be the same as it was in the game.

It would appear that it didn’t reset when he came over here.

The monster dictionary was a function that also came in handy for Shin when collecting materials.

The only hassle, however, was that players had to go back to the guild house every time to use it.

After receiving complaints from players who didn’t have a guild house, a simplified version with limited functionality that could be accessed anytime via the menu was made available.

And the fact that the system was improved at a very early stage, along with the fact that the simplified version was sufficient for providing players with the information they sought, most players didn’t know that they could access the system from the guild house before it turned into a death game. Even Shin had forgotten all about it.

“But, shouldn’t it show unknown for the dwellings of gods, divine beasts, and other special monsters whose whereabouts are unclear? Or has that changed?”

“The function of being able to see the recorded reactions of nearby monsters was originally implemented. However, as far as we know, it has never been possible for players to access the monster dictionary while exploring an area.”

Shin thought that this was a new feature, but, according to Mighty, it had always been available.

Thinking about it again, players accessed the monster dictionary in safe areas such as towns and guild houses, and rarely went out of their way to access it in areas where monsters were likely to appear. Let alone walk around while accessing it.

Moreover, whenever players headed to a location with gods or divine beasts present, they usually were already aware of their presence, defeating the purpose of any need to access the monster dictionary.

“So you’re saying that by walking around with the dictionary open, we might have been able to locate the gods in the past without waiting for them to appear?”



When Shin heard that it was a technique that could be used even in the game era, he couldn’t help but be in awe of the hidden function.

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