I was almost freaking out as I quietly followed Dakota and the giant down the alley and onto the main road. Having left my sword in the hands of the giant, I was left without many ways to defend myself, on the other hand, I couldn’t help but feel that the giant was more than capable of protecting both me and Dakota with ease.
And Dakota… well, after his incredible act, he had to double over and let out his breakfast after a wave of nausea hit him. So much for looking competent.
At least I wasn’t forced to use a handcuff like the three thieves, two of which were walking ahead of us while the remaining one was still passed out on the giant’s shoulders.
But none of that was why I was shocked. Instead it was the scenery before me once we reached the main street. First thing to come into sight were the metal towers. Except that there were dozens of them, and that was only what I could see, and it was pretty clear that there were more spread around the city.
And my shock didn’t just end there. The sheer number of people I could see on the streets was staggering, to the point that I even thought for a moment that some kind of parade was going on. However, the people with their strange clothes went by without stopping to look the dozen or so flying metal carriages that crossed the streets every second.
Another thing that left me baffled was the sheer amount of glass I could see around me. Not only every building had tons of it around, but all the carriages, and even the people were using glass in devices they carried in their hands or using it as a way to fix their vision without worrying that it might fall down and break.
Just how many fire or earth mages would be needed to create so much glass like this? While I wondered in shock, I received a tap on my shoulder from Dakota, who urged me catch up to the giant.
“This place… how can such place exist?” I asked in shock. No matter how I looked at it, the sheer amount of mana being used was entirely off the charts, ashaming even the capital of magic, Avalon. Yet, I could feel nothing. Absolutely nothing.
“Right?” Dakota said with a strange chuckle. “Where else would you find a girl with such a nice bottom and still have a cute face?” I wonder why I expected something decent from him. I probably was only having a delusion earlier when I thought he looked intimidating.
Still, I AM a man, so I couldn’t help but follow his gaze curiously, and indeed, it was a beautiful girl who was on the opposite side of the streets. Maybe she’s a noble or something? Still, that’s quite the riskè outfit. Such tight pants didn’t really leave much to imagination…
“Sir. You’ve already damaged your reputation enough. Please refrain from doing such acts in public.” The giant said, her cold tone serving as a wake up call for me and making Dakota click his tongue.
“Tch. It was Layla, wasn’t it?” Dakota asked annoyed. “Can’t she let me have my fun at least once? That flat-chested devil.”
“She also requested me to record and broadcast your response.” The giant replied.
“…I’ve done fucked, didn’t I?” Dakota said in a defeated tone.
With Dakota hanging his head lifelessly, I wondered what exactly had happened. Record and Broadcast? Are those some kind of spell? At least I never heard of them.
After that scene, it took us around ten more minutes of walking to reach the place where we were supposed to go, and in the way, Dakota asked twice if they couldn’t call a ‘patrol’ to take us, but the Giant quickly denied saying that it would be a waste of fuel.
By fuel, they mean the thing they use to light up oil lamps, so it would be animal fat, right?
While I wondering why picking someone up would waste oil when it’s still clear in the day, we arrived at the building we were heading to. I stared in awe as we walked through a metal gate and stopped before a stone building. It wasn’t as tall as the metal ones, but it looked a lot more intimidating, with it’s black and blue paint, a few dozen of dangerous looking metal carriages and ten or so uniform wearing men and women.
They all looked at us and gave awkward smiles when seeing Dakota being held. A few of them quickly approached us and took the three thieves away, while another one helped me up with Dakota.
Meanwhile, the giant walked towards the metal flying carriages that were parked nearby and crouched down behind them. Just as I was about to ask what exactly it was doing, it’s back burst open.
My eyes widened in shock and confusion at the scene, and noticing that the lights that shone around the giant’s bodies died down, I couldn’t help but think that it just had died. Watching horrified as its entrails appeared from the grievous wounds on its back, I quickly started to think that we had to do something before it could truly be too late.
However, looking around, I noticed that none of the people around me were even batting an eye at the scene.
And just as I started to think that things couldn’t get worse, I saw movement on the giant. Or rather, from its open back came whistling and whirring sounds that I had never heard before. And from the back of the giant, a knight came out.
I was horrified at the scene of the armoured woman pulled her hands out from the giant’s entrails and stepped out.
I’ve been to one of the most massive war in history back at my world, and in those years I’ve seen many gruesome and vomit-inducing imageries during battles. From people being disemboweled before me to the torture of a prisoner of war. There are many rumours of how these tortures are handled, on how gruesome and cruel they are. They never get close.
However, even for me, this scene was disturbing on a whole new level. The very idea of destroying someone from inside like that was on a whole different level.
I instinctively reached for my sword after watching that scene, feeling that the knight who was leaving the body of the giant must be some kind of monster to be able to rip apart metal like that. However, since the giant had confiscated my weapon, I was left in a tight spot.
Then, much to my surprise, the knight woman headed towards the hand of the giant and took the sword before heading towards me.
Seeing the knight by the front for the first time, I gasped in shock at her appearance.
Her entire body was covered in a white and blue armor, with a chestplate that covered her entire upper body following her body-line closely, from the neck to the waist, where a peculiar skirt-like formation from three large blade-like panels expanded from her waist, leaving the front open. However, the lack of skirt-armor wasn’t a problem, seeing how even her entire lower body was protected by a strange and edgy armor.
I couldn’t see any kind of weapon in her hands or waist, however, from her right gauntlet a light-blue blade protruded, while from the left one a strange barrel appeared from right above her hand, making me recall that strange magical instrument that the bandits had with them.
Although the idea was a bit scary, but I couldn’t help but feel that her armor was many times better than my own, even though it had been crafted with mythril by the two best dwarven armorsmith of my world. Heck, how can she even move so naturally with that? It’s almost like it’s part of her body!
As she approached me, the helmet that covered her head shone brightly along its middle axis before suddenly splitting itself in half. I took a step back surprised as the helmet split up and revealed her face, while the rest folded into the split up part, looking like some sort of wing-shaped accessory that sprouted from her temple.
However, what shocked me the most wasn’t her armor, but the face beneath the helmet.
“What the…” I said in shock at the clearly non-human face.
It’s not like she had some sort of grotesque and monstrous face. In fact, it was actually very exquisite and beautiful, being probably a bit younger than me, on her eighteens or nineteens. However, it was very clear that it wasn’t flesh., and instead some sort of metallic skin. Her eyes were also a solid blue, with no iris whatsoever, which only made her expressionlessness all the more chilling. A pair of lines left from the bottom part of her eyes and stretched towards her neck, where a soft pulsating blue light would occasionally course through and spread through her armor. Instead of actual hair, she had instead some metallic plates in a form that resembled it, with three long palm-wide strips of material that went all the way to her lower back, ending with some sort of triangular metallic accessories. All in all, it made me think of a girl with long hair, although I wasn’t quite sure what that was.
“Data indicate that a form like this lays right before the psychological effect of the ‘uncanny valley’, which means that it’s also the most indicated when one tries to enter negotiations with humans, as going further would increase the chance of reaching what’s considered an unsettling appearance. A female form is also considered to be less aggressive, and thus more adequate to avoid generating unneeded conflicts. ” She told me in the same voice as the giant, leaving me stunned for a moment. Was she answering to my question? “Now that I have answered to your inquiry, I ask of you to follow me to the interview room.”
As she said that, she turned towards the building and slowly walked forward. Feeling even more confused and lost at the actual situation, I looked around for Dakota, and saw as he called out to the metallic girl.
“PX. I’ll handle him myself in just a few moments, so just wait for me, kay?” Dakota said.
“Acknowledged, sir.” The woman replied before turning to me.
Dakota also looked in my direction and gave me a brief nod with a playful smile. Feeling hesitant, I sighed before following her into the building, only to be stunned even more as I saw a dozens of uniformed men and women running around. They gave the knight a brief look of curiosity, but when their gaze turned to me, they became either confused or amused.
Feeling a bit out of place, I was guided by her through a maze of small walls, people, paper and glass until the back of the building.
“I must inquire that you remove your protective equipment here.” She suddenly said while turning to me and extending her arm. I blinked surprised.
“Erm… you mean my gauntlets?” I asked while raising my hand.
“Affirmative. Your greaves too.” She lowered her head slightly, directing her gaze towards my feet.
I blinked surprised before nodding. I quickly unfastened the buckles of my armor and removed them, passing it to the woman who locked them away in what I believe to be a locker of sorts. She also asked me to remove my cloak, which left me with only the linen shirt and woolen pants.
The rest of my armor had been far too damaged on my last battle, so I had to remove it, which lead me to my impromptu death. But that means I probably brought only what I had with me when I died, right?
“Now, I need to do a body check.” Huhh… What? “Please face this wall.”
I wasn’t entirely sure what she meant by that, but seeing that she had no intention of backing away, I reluctantly approached the wall and faced it.
Not soon after, I almost jumped surprised as I felt her hand on my body, passing around under my arms and around my legs as if she was searching for something. Being caught completely by surprise, I didn’t get a chance to react, but after being told that she was done, I couldn’t help but feel that this metallic knight might be a pervert in disguise.
I mean, why would she even do that?
Stepping away slowly from her, she didn’t seem to mind my worries, as she nodded before opening a door to a nearby room.
“Now, would you please wait in here?” She asked while motioning for me to enter.
After a moment of hesitation, I finally conceded and walked in. Only to find myself in a completely white room with nothing else but a table and a couple of benches. She walked around the table and pulled the farther-most bench before looking at me.
I took it as a sign that she wanted me to sit there, so while carefully walking around the opposite side of the table, I took the chair and pulled a bit farther away from her before sitting down.
She seemed satisfied, as she walked away and stood on the opposite side of the table, the one a bit nearer the door.
“Before the captain arrives, I’d like to go through the general procedures.” She said emotionlessly. “Please state your name.”
“Ermm… Gerstalt.” I said a bit hesitatingly. She awaited for a moment before saying something.
“I need you to state your complete name. Given and surnames.”
“I’m not from the inner city, so I never received a surname.” I said.
“You do not posses a surname?” She asked, a slight hint of doubt in her tone.
“Well, yeah? I’m not some kind of royalty, so I never got one.” Strange question.
“…” She stayed quiet for some time and her eyes started to glow slightly. I stared at her in worry for a moment, but she quickly went back to normal. “Limiting the research by ‘no surname’ greatly increased precision, however, I am still unable to locate you in the database.” It sounded like she was explaining me something, but even then I was completely lost in her words. “Have you gone through any kind of appearance modification procedures recently?.”
Huuuh… Change my appearance? Well, I do look a lot less imposing without my full armor set, but I don’t think that’s what she means by that, so I simply shook my head.
“Understood. I will need you to inform me your citizen registration number or your digitals to proceed then.”
“…I have no idea what those are.” I replied confused.
“Acknowledged. Please show me your hand with the palm up.” She said as she laid one of her hand on the table with her palms up, as if awaiting for me to give her something.
I hesitated for a moment. Why would she need my hand? This doesn’t mean that she just want to touch me again, is it? Feeling hesitant to heed to the request of a pervert, I stared at her in defiance for a moment, but seeing her perfectly serious expression, I gave up and laid my hand besides hers.
She ignored my attempt at a personal space by gently grabbing my hand and raising it, using her own hands to gently move my fingers around so she could look straight at my fingertips.
“No satisfactory matches were found.” She said. “I am unable to determine your location with the data you have offered me. I request data on your birthplace, such as planet, origin country and city.”
“…Aren’t you asking a bit too much?” I asked weirded out. “I mean, what does knowing my birthplace even help you with?”
“By knowing about your birthplace it might be possible for me to narrow out your origins and find your registry within the database. Or at least why there isn’t a registry in the first place.”
“What’s even that database you keep speaking about?” I asked confused. “You keep saying that you are searching it, but I don’t see you doing anything like that.” For a brief moment she stared at me blankly, almost as if she was thinking over my words.
“Your lack of knowledge on the existence of the database represents a lack of basic education.” She mentioned briefly.
“Well, sorry for being a bloody peasant and not some kind of rich noble who can afford education, okay?” I said while crossing my arms annoyed. I’m already fed up with all the nobles to point out that they are oh so more educated than me, just because they were born in a bloody rich family.
“My apologies. It was not my intention to offend you.” She replied readily, getting me off-guard.
“Huh… No… It’s alright.” I said a bit awkwardly. “I might have burst out a bit too easily. It’s just that… Sorry, I just… I had a really horrible day yesterday, then was thrown in here without any idea of where I was and what the hell was going on, being tasked with some weird task by those guys…” I sighed and laughed weakly while leaning back on the chair. “Well, it was partly my fault to be honest, but I wouldn’t mind a bit of a rest.”
“I assume that means you are under great stress, is that correct?” She asked me, leaving me surprised for a moment before nodding. “I see. I should have taken that in consideration.”
“Well, it’s not like it’s obvious anyway.” I said with a shrug. “Why don’t you explain me why I need to tell you all that… Errmm… What was your name again?” Wasn’t it something like Pi-something?
“I do not possess something such as a name.” She suddenly said, making me blink surprised.
“…What do you mean you don’t have a name?” I asked confused.
“As you can see, I am an AI controlled android, therefore, I do not possess a name.”
“Huuuuh… ” I became confused what’s this ‘AI controlled antoid’ she says she is? Is it some kind of elemental?. “Then, what do people call you?”
“Most officers just call me Droid, the captain and some others call me PX.” She said nonchalantly.
“Then, aren’t those your names?” I asked confused.
“No. Droid is a shortened version of the word Android, while PX stands for the initials in my model, which is AI-controlled Automated Police Enforcer, Prototype Zero Zero Zero Zero-X.”
“…And how’s that different from your name?” I asked confused.
“Model is the generic name given to any android who shares a certain specification, it is not unique to the individual product.” She stopped for a moment.
“Then, that means that there are a bunch of others from the same race as you?” I asked, partly curious that such exotique species could exist, partly horrified by the idea that they might all kill giants like the one from earlier.
“No. As of now I am the only one of my kind and possess the serial number zero, since I am only a prototype.” She explained.
“…Then you are called Zero?”
“…You could say that my unique code is indeed, zero.”
“Okay, I’m not going to ask on why it’s a number, but what’s the difference between that serial thingy and a name? Aren’t both the way that we call a certain person?” I asked confused.
“…I am unable to answer your inquiry.”
“What’s with that…” I said confused before sighing. “Anyway, we digress.” I shook my head before sighing. “So, Zero, going back to the matter earlier, can you explain me what’s exactly happening here?”
“Affirmative. Right now I am trying to locate you in my database, which is a sort of virtual archive where I can access data from various things.” Okay, now it’s making a bit more sense. “Through that, I can find some details such as criminal records, personalities traits and possible personal and emotional issues that should be avoided or explored during the interrogation.”
“I…Interrogation?” I asked surprised while recalling the interrogation rooms I’ve seen previously. “Y-You don’t mean that I’m going to be interrogated, are you?”
“That’s would be the case.” She nodded. “We’d make you some questions and define whether you are a dangerous person or an innocent. However, since I am unable to find your registry on the national database, it leads to the result that you might be an illegal immigrant. With that, it might be needed to restrain you to avoid political conflicts.”
“…Just ask questions?” I asked, worrying about the main point.
“The act of torture has been abolished by the law for hundred of years.” She replied coldly.
“I see…” I replied a bit relieved. “For a moment I was worrying that I might lose my fingers. Or worse.” Taking a deep breath, I sighed in relief. “And the reason you were asking me so many things was so that you could have a better grasp in that base of data of yours?”
“Indeed. Singling out one’s name, digitals and such helps in identifying the possible origin of said individual.”
“I see… I guess it makes a bit more sense now.” I wasn’t entirely sure of that, but at least it was starting to become a bit more reasonable. “And how were you… Erm… Accessing it?”
“Via an encrypted connection to the precinct’s systems, and from there to the national database, both using a quantum-entanglement based connection for maximum security.” Doing what how now?
“…I’m just gonna take it that it’s magic.” I said tiredly. Too many complicated new words to bother asking. “Then, should I take it that this base of data have information on everyone in this world?”
“Then I’m almost sure that you won’t find me anywhere in there.” I waved my hand away. “I’ve been sent here by the gods of my world, and just arrived a few minutes ago. No chance of you finding me there.”
For some reason, she spent a long time simply staring at me, probably in shock. A bit hard to tell since she barely have any expressions to be honest. But, well, when I say that the gods themselves threw me in here, it would make sense for her to be shocked. Even I wouldn’t believe it myself, after all.
After a long while, she finally nodded.
“Understood. In that case, I may need to create a temporary entry for you. I’m going to need your age, date of birth and a blood sample.”
“Twenty two. Born in the fourth day of winter.” I replied readily while reaching for my sword, only to remember that it was left on the outside of the room. “Erm… Could you lend me your knife?”
She quickly extended her right arm, where the blade protruded from her wrist. I lightly poked my fingertip on it, becoming surprised at how sharp the blade was, as it immediately let my blood flow.
As I offered her my finger, the door to the room opened in one loud bang as a large man walked in.
“Hooh boy! Nothing like a good extra large mug of coffee to help with a hangover!” Dakota said as he walked in. Turning towards us, he nonchalantly took a seat besides Zero and looked at her. “So, you got the boring part done?”
“Yes. I’ve made my assessment of this individual.” She said while staring blankly at the drop of my blood in her palm for a moment.
“Oh, let me hear it.”
“Gerstalt. Male. Age twenty two, born roughly around december eleventh. Blood type O negative.” What’s that december eleventh? Didn’t I say fourth day of winter? And what’s this blood type? “Illegal immigrant suffering from delusion. Psychological aid might be needed.”
…Did she just call me crazy?