TNG Vol. 19 Chapter 3 Part 1



“Now then, shall we?”

Having rested well and in tip-top condition, Shin and his party set off.

With Owl serving as their guide. The other dolls were tasked with keeping the monsters away in case a fight broke out.

The Choraltus were nowhere to be seen, perhaps anticipating what was about to happen.

“It’s just beyond those mountains.”

Shin peered at the mountain Owl indicated.

The destination seemed to be a place about four hours away from Miraltrea.

He had thought it would be some distance away from the mountain where Maganna was, but it turned out to be much closer than he had expected. It was as if the two mountains, Iira and Venna were looking down on them.

“It’s here, alright.”

A marker appeared on the map, perhaps because it was quite close.

In a color indicating a neutral party.

Normally, the default color for guild members’ support characters would be blue to indicate an ally, but as it would appear, it didn’t seem to apply to dolls that had awakened in the current world.

“Let’s grab a quick bite while we can.”

It was just past noon. They had a light meal in case things go south.

As soon as they got back on their way and crossed the mountain, Shin activated Far Sight.

“Looks like it hasn’t fully recovered yet.”

He saw the target within a crack that looked like giant claw marks.

Dressed like a knight in full-body armor and a full-face helmet, was Reed’s masterpiece, the EX series number 08.

Its entire body was a little over 4-mel. Although it would pale in comparison in size to most divine beasts, its entire body was made almost entirely of rare metals, so it wouldn’t falter even if it charged at them head-on.

Its weapon of choice would be its fists.

They considered arming it with a sword or a spear, but those would have been too large and difficult to maintain. The amount of materials for repairs would also be enormous, since they would need to be acquired separately from the ones for the dolls.

After much discussion, they decided to go with a “Get ‘em before they get you” setting, and reinforced both of its arms abundantly. Weapons could easily come off, but the chance of that happening with just its arms would be near impossible.

As such, 08’s arms, especially the fists, were about three times the size of a typical gauntlet gear.

Its sturdiness and durability were outstanding compared to the other EX series. If it had been the fist that had been hit by Maganna’s attack, it would have recovered by now.

Shin could see across the distance that 08 was still on its knees.

He could also make out the wound it had sustained from Maganna. The wound had not yet closed and was only about 70% fixed.

“It won’t do to sneak around, so we’ll go in directly.”

He wasn’t hiding his presence to begin with. And even dared to circle around to the front, facing 08 so that it could see them approaching at a glance.

The cracks in its helmet lit up. Signaling that it had switched from standby mode to battle mode.

08 slowly rose up from its initial position reminiscent of a knight kneeling before the king. Even without eyes, Shin could tell that it was watching them.

“It looks very intimidating.”

Tiera said in a nervous tone.

Even though 08 might sometimes appear small before divine beasts, its huge body could only be gazed upon from below in the presence of humans. Not to mention possessing arms and legs double the size of a typical knight armor design.

The sense of intimidation of being looked down upon was no less than that of a divine beast.

“It’s quite huge alright, but its magic power is nothing to scoff at as well. I wonder if it has anything to do with it recovering in a place with dense magic power.”

“Maybe. Since Chimeradite has high mana affinity.”

Sety and the rest, who were accustomed to fighting divine beasts, were calmly analyzing it.

Its high mana affinity was also related to its recovery speed when on standby. As places with high concentrations of magic power were prone to increase its speed of recovery.

“I’ve never seen it like this before, though.”

Shin, who examined 08 using his Magic Vision, which allowed him to see the flow of magic power, was alarmed by the magic power that seemed to be emanating from its entire body.

Weapons clad in magic power weren’t anything new. Owl and his crew were also more or less clothed in magic power. This was especially true for the EX series, which were made of rare metals.

Although a fixed amount was normally maintained on the surface of the body in a passive state.

It would change as they channeled magic power, but with some exceptions, it would enshroud their bodies like armor.

However, that of 08 was distinctly different from what Shin had seen. The magic power flickering like flames was closer to one emitted by a person, not an armament.

As Shin also noticed using Magic Vision in this world, the magic power of a person was unstable and would flicker in response to their will, even though it covered their body like armor.

The magic power that would be seen enveloping a tool was quite different from one that would be observed on a person. However, the magic power currently on 08 was similar to one of a person, or an exception in armaments, a cursed armament.

While Shin and the others approached, 08 did not move even slightly from its upright position. It was staring at Shin and the others.

“I’m Shin. Remember me?”

 Shin asked, standing in front of 08.

Although they didn’t carry out a start-up test, they actually activated it for a short time once, while still in development to confirm its character settings.

Since Shin was deeply involved, he was also present.

The question was meant to set a baseline that could help with the negotiation if it remembered.

“I do. A friend and collaborator of my lord. One who stands alongside my lord.”

Fluent words sounded from where a person would have a mouth.

Mouthless doll types had built-in devices that function like a speaker, from which their voices were emitted. Since 08 was humanoid, its was built into the mouth position.

“So, you do remember me. How about Berett?”

“I’m Master Reed’s Support Character No. 1. Berett. It’s my first time speaking to you like this.”

Berett was also present at the start-up along with Shin.

“Berett Kilmar. My lord’s first and only human retainer.”

“Yeah. Master Reed didn’t create any other retainer than me, because he thought that with dolls, there would be no need for more support characters.”

Listening to the conversation between 08 and Berett, Shin thought the story sounded familiar.

Even dolls could be used as storekeepers, and when there were still few doll masters and exorcists, the store was once famous for one where non-humans were storekeepers.

“Do you know why we are here?”

Berett cut to the chase. They were still in the negotiation stage, but the atmosphere was that of a battlefield.

“I presume it’s to return to Miraltrea and go into suspension mode.”

“I would like you to return, but going into suspension isn’t really necessary in my opinion. We may be in different positions, but we both serve the same master. I believe we can work together.”

Hearing Berett’s words, 08’s magic power wavered a little.

“Why not think about it. I’m sure that If Master Reed saw you now, he would also stop you.”

Its magic power wavered strongly and clearly this time.

The phenomenon seemed to express 08’s state of mind.

Shin was able to move because he could see it.

08 raised its fist. And slammed it into the ground in front of it.

The earth cracked and shattered. The fallout reached Shin and Berett.

Thick ice as hard as bedrock and the frozen and hardened earth rose up, and debris of mixed sizes came flying at them. Shin kept his ‘Scorching Blade’ in its sheath and repelled the flying debris.

“If he saw me…?”

A voice echoed from within the swirling torrent of earth and ice that appeared as if they had just exploded.

It was nothing like the monotonous, machine-like voice until now. But more raw, and filled with emotion.

“What do you reckon he’ll say exactly?”

Its magic power was swaying vigorously. 08 looked at Berett as it pulled back the fist that it had struck down.

“To the creation that he abandoned and never used or even activated since it was completed!”

An outburst of emotion that belied the lack of inflection up to this point. The magic power, which had been slowly wavering, transformed drastically and was now raging like a flame.

“Please listen to me! Master Reed didn’t abandon you! ”

“Then why won’t he use me! Why won’t he show himself to me? Because he’s given up on me and deemed me unworthy of use!”

The cries echoed through the mountains. They were filled with such raw emotions that it was hard to believe they were from a doll. The content, however, was sad.

“I remember vividly. The voice of my lord that I heard when I first awoke. He spoke passionately about my perfection, and I have never forgotten a single one of those words.”

Suddenly, the tone of its voice dampened. As if to match it, the fury of its magic power lessened in intensity.

“I am his masterpiece. I have the perfect gear. Excellent performance. I was made to be of use to Him.”

It was a fact. Both Shin and Reed had no doubt that 08, completed using the best of the technology available today, was the best.

However, that was only in theory, and its performance were going to become clear after actually fighting a divine beast.

Nevertheless, based on their experience up to number 07, they knew that it would almost certainly demonstrate strength in accordance with the specifications.

And this was proven by 08 itself.

Shin also became convinced that they were indeed not mistaken after learning it had already defeated several divine beasts without any supplies.

However, 08’s mumbling sounded more like he was reminding himself of the fact rather than stating the fact.

“But my master never came back without so much as booting me up even once. Even after a long passage of time enough to have recorded the rise and fall of a nation, I never caught even a glimspe of his shadow. So why did he say those words? Or devote that much time He did? What about those precious materials he invested in me? What exactly am I supposed to be, abandoned halfway?”

It placed its palms on its head. Clearly looking like someone in agony.

“The answer is obvious.”

Holding his head, 08 stopped moving.

“It’s trash. Like a piece of scrap iron left in the corner of a warehouse, no longer needed.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Otherwise, why would he leave me to collect dust for five hundred years? Nowhere to be seen.”

Unused tools may as well be garbage. No point existing.

That was what being unused meant to 08.

“Master Reed isn’t the only one who hasn’t been seen. Master Cook, Master Cain, Master Hecate, Master Cashmere. None of them have returned. So far, only Master Shin has returned. And it hasn’t even been a year. Until then, we were all suffering the same as you.”

Why hasn’t he come back? Schnee and the others wondered the same thing about Shin, too.

He will come back someday. They all lived day after day believing that.

“Master Shin.”

He mumbled and looked up ploddingly, as if it just noticed him.

“It’s not Reed’s fault, but——”

“Where is he?”

08 asked, interrupting Shin. No need to ask whom he was referring to, obviously.

“…In the real world, but you probably have no idea what I mean.”

“How do I get there?”

The reply came without a moment’s pause.

If he wouldn’t come, it might as well go to him. It figured.

“No idea. I’m in the process of figuring that out myself. Though this may sound harsh, you should probably give up any hope of going there.”

He wasn’t going to string it along on a false hope.

Whether or not he’d succeed aside, the possibility of Shin, whose physical body still remained in the physical world, making it back, couldn’t be written off. Even former players would stand a fair chance.

But it wasn’t the same with 08. Far from worrying about the condition of the vessel to return to, it didn’t exist in the real world to begin with.

Even Shin would like to let them see each other if it were possible. But it wasn’t.

“…I defeated Divine Beasts.”


“I’ve achieved the desired parameters. I’ve also acquired real battle experience. I can now display performance well beyond your expectations.”

“That’s true.”

“Even that, is not enough?”

Desperate appeal apparent in its voice. Still, Shin shook his head.

Maybe there was a way to make 08’s wish come true.

But that only meant that the probability wasn’t entirely nil, theoretically. Though not entirely nil because it had yet to be determined, may as well be at this point.

It wouldn’t be half as cruel as giving it a reason to cling onto a pipe dream.

“… …”

Seeing Shin’s response, 08 stopped moving as if in a daze. It hung its head and its hands were placed helplessly on the ground.

No one could say a thing.

“Listen, Reed actually——”

“…Light up my hands.”

How long it went on was anyone’s guess.

And just as Shin was about to tell it the name it was going to be given, at least for closure if nothing else, 08 suddenly spoke up.

The glow behind its helmet turned red. In addition, its hands, which were on the ground, lit up.

Seeing this, Shin immediately activated his skill and deployed a barrier.

With both of 08’s hands held up wide. Radiating in gold, with some pretty menacing magic power coming off of them.


It slammed both hands into the ground as it roared.

The ground exploded with a force incomparable to the previous blow.

Cracks running in all directions shattered the ground for more than 100-mels, and the impact of the blast blew away even the rocks that were all over the place, causing the ground to rise in some areas.

“This ain’t good.”

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