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|Written by||Eishima Jun|
|Printed in||A Short Story|
|Date of copy||27.10.2017|
I made my way through the dimly lit factory, taking great care to hide the sound of my footsteps. Well…I suppose footsteps don’t really apply here, since I’m only a head right now. My body was destroyed a while ago when I fell from a cliff on my way back home.
My head is harder and sturdier than a rock, but my body is not quite as durable, and breaks down pretty easily. It would be nice if I could make a body as durable as my head…but…I guess that’s impossible.
Plus, my body needed to be practical. I once tried making this “armored vehicle” thing in pursuit of more durability, but I wasn’t able to pack much of anything in it despite its size.
Then I tried my hand at a “mini truck“, supposedly a vehicle specialized in transportation, but that didn’t even last a day. How can I hope to do business in these city ruins with something that won’t even survive a fall from a cliff?
Indeed, for I am a shopkeeper. I run what you would call a mobile shop. I got into this business because of…umm…what was it again? There was a reason behind it, but I forgot. It happened a long time ago, after all.
Anyways, since I needed to build a new body for myself, I’m infiltrating this abandoned factory in hopes of collecting plenty of materials.
I plan on using a three-wheeled vehicle instead of a four-wheeled one for my new body. I recently found the remains of an abandoned three-wheeled vehicle the other day. The body was all rusty and the wheels really worn down, but no problem, I can fix them up with magic!
I looked into some past records, and it seemed like that type of vehicle was known for its performance on uneven roads. There were plenty of visual records of it as well, so I’m sure I can recreate it perfectly!
So here I am, searching for materials. First up, natural rubber. I gotta do something about those wheels first.
Though there is a slight problem. This place is rather dangerous because of all the machine lifeforms running around. Well, this place used to be called the ‘robot mountain’, so maybe the machine lifeforms like it here? I have to be careful to not run into any of them.
Hmm? Is that a piece of natural rubber I smell? Is it here? No, over there! My senses are tingling in the presence of high quality materials!
Excited, I headed towards the direction of the smell. However…
A sudden blast of steam rendered my field of vision blank.
“Hm? Something’s moving?”
My head’s being carried somewhere. Am I on what is known as a “conveyer belt”?
“Woah! W-what’s happening!?”
Materials that would clearly go into the making of a robot were lined up all nicely and being carried towards somewhere.
“I have to run….huh!?”
My head got locked in place by a mechanical arm from above. Furthermore, two cylindrical covers were approaching from my sides.
With a huge clank, my vision blacked out.
“Nooooo!!! Let me out!!!!!!”
No matter how much I struggled and shouted, my vision remained black. After a while, I passed out from exhaustion…
“!? Where am I!?”
My field of vision brightened considerably, and I found myself face to face with an unknown woman and boy. “What is that...?” He said as he tilted his head. You know, I’m just as confused as you are!
Who are these two? More importantly, where is this?
“Umm…and you are?”
I figured that they were androids, but…
“This thing’s weird, 2B. Let’s kill it.”
“W-woah!! Wait! Hold on!!”
I am not weird at all! If anything, you’re the sketchy looking ones! What with your pitch black outfits and your pitch black blindfolds!
Using my high speed movement, I got out of that place as fast as I can. I think I bumped into something…might have broken through something…but now’s not the time to be worrying about that!
…have I come far enough yet?
I lowered my speed and turned around to check.
I bumped into something soft and rolled backwards.
“Hmm?? This feels like some sort of fur?”
And there’s some warm breeze coming from above…
Two white fangs loomed above me. The warm breeze was…a boar breathing down my figurative neck. In other words, I bumped into the soft sides of a boar. I did lower my speed, so I don’t think it was fatal or anything, but I’m sure being hit by my harder-than-rock head must’ve hurt…a lot.
So….the boar must be very angry….right?
Oh no! It’s chasing after me! I really hate boars! They chase me around all the time, and they hit like a truck!
“Don’t come here!!! Don’t come hereeeeee!!”
Getting away is more difficult than I imagined! I’m getting a face full of leaves, and I hear twigs snapping all around me, but the boar is still chasing after me!
Aahhhh! I’m going to crash!! I’m going to crash into that huge trunk!
I made a sharp turn and avoided that fate! Great! I must’ve lost that boar...or so I thought! It’s still chasing after me! Seems like that boar knows how to drift. I guess they do exist...those incredibly capable boars, that is.
Not that it’s time to be distracted by those thought-....huh? Where’s the ground!?
I tumbled off a cliff...it hurts. It hurts so much I thought I was gonna die. It feels like I got beaten by a hard club again and again. Though what actually happened was... I got knocked from a rock...only to bump into another...and another.
I don’t know how long I’ve kept rolling, but when I came to, I found myself in a dim ravine. My world is still spinning.
Sigh. What terrible luck. But I guess that did get the boar off my heels, so that oughta count for something.
“Hm? This place..smells like iron?”
Iron ores are necessary to make a body as durable as my head!
I thought I was unlucky to get knocked into a ravine after getting chased around by a boar, but looks like that wasn’t all bad luck. Let’s start mining!
Yep, yep, here they come! High quality iron ores! This place is overflowing with them! This is so much fun!
“Alrighty~! Gotta pick em up, and pick em up~♪ Till there’s none left~♪ Huff!”
I sang myself a merry little tune, with sounds of clanking metal as the background...clanking metal...almost like...a machine…
It is a machine lifeform! And not just one, but many! I thought my luck turned around, but I guess that was just my imagination…
I used magic so the iron ores stuck to me as I rolled around, leaving the ravine behind me. I returned to my residence before taking off for another abandoned factory tour to gather natural rubber. At last, I have all the materials.
And now I can begin! First, I made new tires from the natural rubber I collected. Three brand new tires. Very sturdy ones that won’t bust even if I run across debris!
The iron ores began melting from the heat. According to some records, the ideal temperature during the smelting process is around 2000C. This is so you can separate the pig iron and other impurities. Of course, I’m not just throwing away the impurities. I divided them into small bunches and cooled them down again for future usage. I’m sure they’ll come in use...somehow.
And now the race against time begins! I need to hit the iron while it’s hot! That’s what I read from one of those ancient records, anyways.
And it’s done! After applying a coating of pig iron with my magic, the rusty car now looked brand new! I replaced the tires, and that’s the end of it.
After that, I used some screws to affix my head to the body so it wouldn’t fall off quite as easily. Doing this instead of completely glueing my head to the body leaves more room for air and feels more comfy.
Not only did I load the cart with merchandise, I even paid close attention to the shop display. I found this in the past records: “How you design your booth’s layout can drastically change your sales!”. Another piece of important advice was “Your shop must be eye-catching even from a distance!”
So I decorated my card, put a flag to make it clear that this is a shop, and even got myself a megaphone. I hope I’ll get a lot of customers…
Oh, that’s right! Since I completely remodeled myself this time, I have to take some notes about the durability and ease of use!
And finally...tomorrow will be the first day of the grand re-opening of Emil’s shop!
My new body feels great. I can plow through all kinds of terrain, be it debris filled slopes or grassy plains! I can see why this vehicle was valued for its performance on uneven roads!
But just as the records mentioned, it can tip over pretty easily when turning, so I need to put some effort into balancing myself. Gotta be conscious of that.
And there’s some clipping going on with the megaphone, so maybe it needs some adjustments? But at least it’s got the volume.
I just hope I’ll get some customers. Oh well, I’ll do my best tomorrow!
My new body still feels great, but my sales...not so much. I have to get myself some customers. Gotta work even harder tomorrow!
The weather’s great today. I sped between the buildings in a cheery mood.
“Proposal: Use Pod fire to force him to stop.”
Before I could ponder those words, I heard the sound of bullets. My world spun a few times before I felt a huge impact...and my engine stopped. I guess that’s what they meant by forcing me to stop…
I brought myself upright again, and I saw someone running towards me. I was taken aback by their faces.
“Hey! I remember you from the other day!”
Yes, they were indeed the same black-clothed androids. And quite a bit more violent than the rest of their kind, if their threats of destruction upon first seeing me are any indication. Hm, that kind of reminds me of someone. It’s almost as if...as if she’s...huh? Who was I thinking of again?
Oh well. I gotta focus on the sales more! I finally got a customer, after all.
“Anyway, my name is Emil. And this is my shop. Wanna buy something?”
They’re my first customers after my re-opening, so I have to make them buy something!
“How about the rusted clump? I also strongly recommend the rusted clump! Oh, and let me tell you this, but there’s a huge deal going on for rusted clumps!”
The woman in black is 2B, and the boy is 9S. The two of them bought titanium alloy. But I really did think highly of that rusted clump…
“Thank you for your purchase. I look forward to serving you again!”
I hope they’ll become regulars. Gotta get down to the sale pitch, then!
“..what was that? You want to know where I live?”
“I didn’t ask that.”
It’s all about the sales. A good salesperson answers questions before he gets asked!
“Well, I live deep, deep underground. Picture something deep, then go DEEPER! Feel free to visit me anytime you want!”
After watching 2B and 9S leave, I decided to close shop for today. I have to clean up my house so that they can drop by whenever they want.
I kicked off the morning with some repairs. Since I tumbled quite a bit from yesterday’s Pod fire, parts of my body were slightly damaged.
The repairs don’t require that much work. Easily doable before breakfast, which, uh, I’ve already had.
Anyways, let’s start from damage inspection. Hmm...seems like the sides aren’t as strong as I’d like them to be. I should expect to tumble a lot in these city ruins, after all. Maybe I should use the leftover materials to reinforce them.
Well, no use in delaying it. Like always, I line up the iron ores next to each other.
And out went the impurities. Oh, right, maybe I should mix in some titanium alloy to further strengthen the material. And maybe some memory alloy too.
The melted iron got mixed with the titanium alloy and memory alloy. Now I just need to use magic to make it into coating.
Yep yep. That turned out well. I’m done repairing and reinforcing my body. And now it’s time for food.
“Hm? Did I...already have breakfast? I feel like I might’ve...but maybe not..?”
I can’t quite remember. Every time I repair myself, it seems like I lose a bit of my memory.
Time for breakfast.
I’m swapping out all the goods for sale today, because I took the time to polish up some weapons yesterday. And they turned out much cooler looking than I thought! Absolutely splendid!
I have to go and sell them now. I’m sure those two will be happy!
I rushed out of my residence in a hurry. The city ruins flashed by in an instant. I’m going all out today with the high speeds. I really, really want someone to buy these, after all!
But maybe I’m going too fast? My thoughts were immediately disrupted by the sounds of bullet shots, and my world began spinning again, aaand here comes the impact….yep, it is 2B and 9S.
2B keeps to herself most of the time, but 9S is very talkative. He’s very curious as well, and always talks to me with an interested look.
“Hm? Why am I selling like this? Well..there’s no end to that topic if we get down to it…”
Those are the kinds of topics that should be discussed over a cup of tea, maybe when you guys finally visit me? It is a really long story, after all. A long, long time ago...long ago...huh? What happened?
Nevermind, not the time to be thinking about that! Focus on the sales, and only the sales.
“Anyways, would you like to buy something? I have some great weapons in stock today. Like Type-3 Fists and Angel’s Folly. Type-3 Fists and Angel’s Folly.”
I had to repeat myself because those two weapons are just that awesome. And it paid off in the end - 2B and 9S bought both of those weapons. They seemed pretty happy with their purchase, so I’m glad.
I inspected my body for any damages as soon as I got back. But thanks to the reinforcements I made, I didn’t get any significant dents today. Just a couple of scratches.
On another note, my brakes weren’t working quite as well as I’d like them to. I don’t think I should be putting out too much speed, after all.
I made a slight deviation from my usual route and headed towards the steel tower instead. Doing the same things over and over again can lead to a quick decline. It’s important to explore new options and venues for sales.
There’s quite a bit of grass surrounding the steel tower, so it’s a little bit hard to navigate. I can’t let something like that defeat me, though! How else am I going to be successful in this business? I am a professional, I go wherever my customer wants me to! It’s my duty to transfer materials, no matter what happens! Yes, because I am...umm….umm? What was it? I was just about to recall something…
“Oh! Over there!”
A couple of figures dashed across the hanging bridge. Judging from those black clothes, it must be 2B and 9S.
The two of them crossed the bridge and headed towards the remains of the shopping mall. The place of our first meeting! How nostalgic...and just a little bit scary.
That’s right, I need to ask their opinions on the weapons they bought recently, how easy they are to use and such. What if I offered them free maintenance too? Would they like that?
I decided to cross the bridge to go after them, but...the bridge looks dangerously unstable. Will it even hold my weight without breaking?
Oh, but I just need to use magic! That’s what it’s there for! I don’t know if I can levitate all that well in this form though…
“Here I go!”
I did it. My body is pretty heavy, so I can only manage to float about 50cm above ground, but it’s more than enough to cross the bridge.
I made it across the bridge in a hurry. The entrance to the shopping mall was surrounded by rocks and debris, so I decided to keep floating for ease of movement.
“Hmm. That’s a strange flower.”
I heard 9S’s voice, followed by the floating box beside him answering. They call those pods, right?
“Analysis: It is a plant known as a Lunar Tear.”
My eyes widened at the pod’s words.
Lunar Tear? I feel like...I’ve heard that name before. I looked closer and saw a white flower blooming at 9S and 2B’s feet. It looked familiar to me.
“Huh? When did you get here?!”
9S turned around in shock.
“So this flower is called a Lunar Tear..”
Where have I seen this flower before? I really want to remember, but I can’t…
“Seeing that dredges up all kinds of memories. Some of them are a bit strange, honestly. Like the one where I’m being attacked by a giant boar over and over again…”
I’m sure that’s where my fear of boars came from. Though I have a tingling feeling that I was always with someone else during those boar assaults, and that I tried really, really hard to look for them...is this just my imagination?
“Or another where I keep trying out new parts every time my body is damaged…”
My body isn’t quite as tough as my head, after all. I’m trying out a new body model right now.
But I probably had another type of body back then...that’s strange, though. Why would I need any sort of body that doesn’t specialize in transportation?
“Something about this flower fills me with an emotion I don’t really understand. It’s like something’s pushing down my chest really hard…”
What is this feeling? A little bit of sadness, a little bit of loneliness. It fills my heart with warmth, but also pain. It feels like a mix of everything, yet unlike anything else.
“So, um...do you mind if I ask you a favor?”
I probably shouldn’t ask my customers for a favor, but I couldn’t help it. I got the feeling that I must get to the bottom of this.
“If you find Lunar Tears growing anywhere else, would you let me know? I want to try and figure out what this feeling is about.”
Where does this feeling come from? What is it directed towards?
“So please, if you find another Lunar Tear, just let me know on this frequency, all right?”
2B’s response was curt, but also gentle. I was immediately reminded of “someone else”.
I received a transmission from 9S while I was doing my rounds next to a tipping building.
“Hey there, what’s up?”
I felt my heart pounding as I answered. This must be them telling me about the Lunar Tear they found.
“We found a Lunar Tear. It’s located at-”
Their location data indicated that they were in the desert. And I’m right at the entrance to the desert. What a lucky day!
“Stay right there! I’m coming!”
I have to go there! As fast as I can! Not a second to spare!
….here we go!
“Sorry to keep you!!”
9S exclaimed in surprise. I don’t think it’s that shocking, though. Anyways, I need to see the Lunar Tear. I looked at the ground where 2B and 9S stood.
A pure white flower blossoming from the sand shook against the breeze. The color...this combination of sand and white petals...I’ve definitely seen this color before.
“Oh hey...now that I think about it, this whole area was once…”
“Are you remember something?”
“It’s all pretty fuzzy, but I seem to have a memory of caring for this flower a long time ago…”
The Lunar Tear was a picky flower, so I remember taking accurate measures of the temperature and humidity, and I would always water on a set schedule…
“But the sand kept expanding, and the flowers gradually wilted.”
I didn’t want them to wilt. I can’t have them wilt. But the sand and dryness of the desert showed no mercy.
“Now that I think about it, that was around the same time I stopped seeing people.”
“You mean humans?”
The desert was soon overrun with just wolves, and the cities around the desert became devoid of people...and I was left alone.
Hmm? That’s strange. I don’t think that was quite the time I became alone. But why? It felt like the fragments of my memories were getting mixed up.
“Thanks a bunch for finding this. Really. Oh, and let me know if you find any more, okay?”
Maybe I’ll remember something when I see this flower in other places. My memories were probably wonky because I was missing so many pieces.
“I’m gonna...stay here for a bit.”
I wanted to look at this flower just a bit longer.
The next transmission from 9S came when I got my tire stuck in a pile of debris.
“Hey, what’s up?”
I can already see where this is going. 9S is probably going to tell me that they found a Lunar Tear.
“We found a Lunar Tear. It’s located at…”
See? I was right!
“Stay right there! I’m coming!”
This is not time to be stuck! Getting from here to the amusement park that 9S was in won’t be an easy task.
I gotta hurry. I have to get there. Faster! And faster!
….here I go!
“Sorry to keep you!”
9S looked super shocked this time. I mean...is it really all that surprising?
But more importantly, the Lunar Tear. I looked towards the ground around 9S and 2B’s feet. A white flower blossomed below a set of rusted stairs, almost buried within all the debris.
Sounds of fireworks intermixed with the music that the robots were playing. Low and irregular tones.
“That’s it, I remember now…”
The sounds and heat of cannonfire. The smell of something burning.
“Back when the aliens first invaded...I fought as hard as I could to save Earth.”
I had to defeat the aliens. I had to chase them away from this planet.
A new fragment surfaced in my memories. Memories of a battle, so intense that the mere thought of it rendered me breathless.
“I think...I had something to protect. Something really precious to me. But I don’t know what it was…”
That piece of information wasn’t in any of the fragments I recovered. It was an important piece of memory that I never wanted to lose, but it just...wasn’t there anymore.
“Thank you for finding this. You’ll let me know if you find more, right? ….I’m gonna...stay here for a bit.”
I wanted to look at this flower just a bit longer...but...looking at it also brought me pain.
The third transmission from 9S came when I was on my way to the abandoned factory for materials.
“Yes, what is it?”
They must’ve found another Lunar Tear. Gotta bring up 9S’s location data.
“We found another…”
“I’ll be there!”
There’s quite a bit of distance from here to the sunken city that 9S is in. I found myself panicking slightly.
Gotta get there right away! Faster and faster!
...here I go!
“Sorry to keep you!”
9S appeared more resigned than surprised this time. But the Lunar Tear is more important! I looked behind 2B and 9S.
A white flower was blooming from the cracks between rocks, almost as if it was clinging on to the rocks so it wouldn’t get blown away by the ocean breeze. The sound of waves resounded within me.
“Oh, that’s right...”
This coastline. The sunken buildings and the cries of the seagulls.
“What happened here, Emil?”
A battle against aliens, I answered. Yes, I was responsible for this coastline area.
“I was fighting the aliens. It...wasn’t going well. So I decided to create multiple versions of myself to help with the fight.”
To fight an enemy whose might was in numbers, I had to resort to playing the numbers game myself.
“But the aliens just kept coming...I lost so many friends that day.”
There wasn’t even a spare moment to mourn for my friends’ deaths. I focused on replicating myself even more, throwing myself straight into the frontlines, and suffering just as many losses...rinse and repeat.
“It was a long time ago.”
I see, 9S nodded in acknowledgement, then tilted his head.
“Emil, how old are you anyway?”
“I’m not sure.”
Maybe I’ve lived for so long I don’t remember it all. Maybe I haven’t lived for much at all. I don’t really know.
“I didn’t need that memory to fight.”
Me and the others...we just needed to focus on protecting the earth from the aliens. That’s all there is to it.
“Thank you for finding this. You’ll let me know if you find any more, right? I’m gonna...stay here a bit.”
I wanted to spend more time looking at this small white flower, trying its hardest to survive. At the same time, I didn’t want to recall any more memories. I’ve grown scared of remembering.
I looked up 9S’s location data before his transmission even reached me. I knew I had to get to where 9S was.
...here I go!
“Sorry to keep you!”
“I didn’t even contact you yet!”
The moment I saw 2B and 9S appear before my eyes, I realized I had been using teleportation magic all along. That’s how important the Lunar Tear was to me. A precious, important flower that I simply must get to, no matter what.
So I used magic unconsciously. Such potent magic that I didn’t even realize I was using it.
I see. This powerful magic originally belonged to….and this flower…
“Emil? Are you okay?”
9S’s worried voice brought me back to reality.
“I just remembered...I...”
“Thank you again. You’ve helped me remember an important place.”
“A place very special to “him”...”
I forgot about “him”, who dearly treasured this white flower and the memories surrounding it.
“In thanks, I’ll show you how to visit it..”
I took out an old key. Though I’ve forgotten about its existence, I never once let it slip from my grasp. I kept it with me, not even knowing what this key is used for…
“It’ll let you access the elevator in the shopping mall.”
Now that I think about it, maybe meeting 2B and 9S there, and seeing them find the first Lunar Tear...wasn’t so much of a coincidence.
“I’m sorry, I need to stay here for a while. You go on ahead..”
I found my resolve wavering again. I remembered too much of everything, and the memories left me in confusion. I needed some time to calm my emotions and organize my thoughts.
But actually, it didn’t take that long for me to sort it all out. Maybe I’ve already made up my mind before this. To not get overwhelmed if I ever remember everything, so that I can carry out my mission.
The elevator in the shopping mall still functioned like it did in the past. Everything remained the same, from the sound of the doors opening and closing, to the irregular shaking of the elevator itself.
I heard 9S’s voice as soon as the elevator reached the lowest floor and the doors opened. Those two didn’t get here much earlier than I did.
“Wow! Look at all the Lunar Tears!”
“Where are we?”
The two of them surveyed their surroundings in surprise. Never in their dreams would they have expected an area deep below the shopping mall to house so many white flowers.
“Thank you for coming.”
“Emil, what is this place?” 2B asked, slightly disoriented.
“It’s the place from my memories that I worked to hard to protect. Or, to be exact, the place protected by the person I used to be.”
9S tilted his head in confusion.
“Er, sorry, I don’t get it.”
He prodded me for more information, so I began my tale. The tale of ‘us’, that I never thought I’d tell to another being.
“A long time ago, I was created to be a weapon.”
Long before the aliens came to earth, in a time when humans were everywhere. I….the person I used to be...was a normal, human child. Until he was transformed into an experimental weapon.
“When the war against the aliens started, I decided to strengthen that weapon by creating copies of myself.”
“So in truth, I’m only one of the countless Emils.”
To correct my earlier statement, I wasn’t the one who made the copies, but the one I used to be. The original Emil. He wanted to protect this planet, no matter how heavy a price. This place where his friends, whom he valued more than himself, had once lived.
“I...or we, I guess, worked with each other to keep our defensive lines intact. But the more of ourselves we created, the more our original memories began to fade. ”
I didn’t have many memories from when the original Emil still had a human form. The fact that he had a different form to begin with was something I’d heard from another Emil. On the other hand, that same Emil didn’t know about this place. The memories each of us held were fragmented in different ways.
“The original Emil liked this place a lot.”
Everything important to him could be found here. He recreated the small hut his dear friend lived in, and grew flowers that the person he loved once nurtured, remembering all the good times they had together…
“There were tough times...and sad times.... But the memories of that journey were the original Emil’s greatest treasure.”
Though I’ve never experienced it personally, his emotions remained in the memories left with me. But they’re very faint, and feel like they could disappear at a moment’s notice.
“Where is the original Emil right now?”
“I don’t know. There were so many of us that after a while, we just…”
Though we made tens and thousands of copies, many of them perished in the war. All to fulfill the original Emil’s desire to protect this world that he and his friends spent time in.
“Thank you both. You’ve helped me find some of my precious memories.”
Though I was once scared of these memories, I can say with full confidence now that I’m glad to have them back.
“Now I’ll be able to keep pushing forward, even if I’m alone.”
I will keep on fighting, even if I became the last one standing. As long as I have these memories…
I stayed home for two days after I showed 2B and 9S to the place beneath the shopping mall. I needed some time to think over some things.
After that, I ran around the city ruins as usual and waited for my customers. However, nobody approached me. Not even 2B or 9S.
I went to check out the shopping mall as well, but neither of them were there.
There was an intense battle at the sunken city a couple of days ago...I wonder if they’re alright? My worries are probably for nothing, though, I can see how strong those two have grown since our first meeting.
Maybe they moved somewhere far, far away. I kinda did want them to visit, at least once…
I wanted to say goodbye…
I saw 2B and 9S today for the first time in a long while. I wanted to call out to them, but they were currently locked in combat, so I restrained myself.
A couple of small machine lifeforms and two quadrupeds. There’s quite a number of them, but neither of them seemed particularly bothered by it. They fought so splendidly that I was sure I would only get in their way if I were to join.
I took my leave quietly and crossed the bridge. I wanted to see a Lunar Tear for one last time.
It’s a legendary flower that’s said to grant any wish, but will it grant mine?
I’m pretty doubtful of that legend, though, because no matter how hard he worked to nurture these flowers, he couldn’t cure his sister’s sickness.
And she who received the Lunar Tear hair accessory as a present, never did….no, but that’s just pure guesswork from “the person I used to be”.
There’s no way my wish will come true, either. I know this. So I don’t expect anything. But even with the knowledge that my wishes won’t come true, I can’t help but try anyways.
I turned around to face 2B. Thought they fought off waves of enemies, the two of them got out of that battle completely unscathed.
“Wow, you’ve sure gotten strong.”
And I don’t meant to claim that the weapons I sold you had any part in it. I’m sure those two can keep on defeating enemies even without those weapons.
“I doubt you’ll be needing my help anymore.”
“What do you mean?”
“Um, nothing. Don’t worry about it.”
I’m glad I caught you guys here. Now I can say my farewells.
I took off in a hurry. It was a race against time. I had to stop them before it was too late.
My duty during that war was providing support from the back. I never stopped moving, carrying the materials needed by the Emils that were fighting on the frontlines.
My body was made this small so I could run around the battlefield easily, and my body was shaped like this so I could carry materials.
We were assigned different sizes and shapes according to our responsibilities. The Emils on the frontlines who were responsible for attacking the enemy had high firepower, and the Emils responsible for holding the defensive lines had reinforced armor.
The original Emil seemed to think that ‘variety’ is the key to achieving victory against a foe that had superior numbers. Just like how humans flourished by adopting different lifestyles and cultures.
Day after day, I would run around on my own. Every day I would head towards what is now known as the sunken city, taking supplies with me. I brought with me materials required to repair those who were damaged and materials needed to recharge those who ran out of mana.
And my companions grew steadily more solemn as the days passed. Though we once cheered each other on as we took to the battlefield together, the amount of words we exchanged became far more sparse with our diminishing ranks.
At the same time, more and more of my own memories disappeared. Every time I replace a part of my body for repairs, I lose a bit of memory. The fewer parts I have left on me from the original Emil, the fewer memories of the past I retain.
Unlike the Emils made for battle, I was not equipped with durable armor. Since I was lightweight, I would often go flying whenever enemy missiles landed near me. I was a near constant presence on the battlefield, and so was perpetually damaged in some shape or form. I had to repair and replace parts of my body every day, and out went the memories of the original Emil.
But that was also a form of salvation. At some point, his memories became too much to bear for me. Those memories belonged to the original Emil, and not me. Even if I had them, they might as well be fake to me.
Every time a memory slipped away, I felt a sense of relief. Eventually, I even learned how to shut them all out. I ran away from the bad times and sad times.
By then, our defensive lines were all but broken. No matter how many copies we made of ourselves, we couldn’t catch up with the rate at which new enemies were appearing. The aliens strengthened their own forces with machine lifeforms. Just like us, the robots were able to adapt to any kind of environment.
However, it wasn’t a completely one-sided battle. A large number of androids came and joined the fray. They took over the battle against the aliens, though it wasn’t going so well for them either…
Ever since I got separated from the rest of my companions, I lost even more of the memories I inherited from the original Emil, and ended up running a shop and selling goods to androids in the city ruins. Strangely enough, I retained my drive to ‘deliver materials’.
If I’d never met 2B or 9S, I would’ve never regained these memories, and would have kept running around the city ruins without remembering who I truly was...without realizing how much suffering my companions were going through.
I’ve been hearing their screams and laments for a while now, but I never understood what they meant. I wrote them off as strange and somewhat unnerving sounds from the desert.
But I have to go now. To where everyone else is.
I used the teleportation magic I’d just learned. The remnants of buildings disappeared from my view instantly, and I found myself surrounded by sand.The huge round objects I saw before me were the Emils that specialized in offense.
I remembered the days when I carried materials to them in the frontlines. They were all kind. Though they were exhausted, worn, and beaten, they would always thank me for my work.
We joined our forces and fought as hard as we could. The Emils on the battlefield really treasured their companions, and it felt like they were part of a big family. I was just a little bit jealous, since support types like me basically operate alone most of the times, and rarely do I ever run into another Emil of the same type.
But I’m sure their camaraderie made it worse for them to lose more of their companions. Because they treated each other like family, it must’ve been painful...unable to do anything as they abandoned their powerless companions to their fates.
I don’t think they recognize me anymore. I heard growling that sounded like it was coming from a beast. Those were the Emils that had gone insane. It hurts, it hurts...they cry out. Save me...they scream.
“Eternity...it hurts...it hurts…”
A few thousand years have passed since the aliens’ arrival. These Emils were constantly fighting during that time, a time that felt like eternity.
Copies were made, over and over again. Necessitated by the countless numbers we’ve lost.
“We...we must...kill them all!”
“No, you can’t!”
“We don’t need this world!”
“Please, I beg you!”
But my voices didn’t reach them. I didn’t even know what to say to persuade them. Because I knew...that their suffering is endless, no matter what.
“All of you, stop it!”
I was blown away the moment I shouted. They had the power to wage war against the aliens, there was no way I could stand up to them. But I needed to stop them.
I headed towards them, again and again, only to be knocked back each time. My body dented, my tires loose...and eventually...I laid upon the sand, unable to move an inch.
I heard 2B’s voice.
“Are you alright?”
9S looked worried. They must’ve picked up on my strange behavior and followed me.
“Those are...what happened to my clones...years of multiplying...years of fighting in wars...their sense of self just...deteriorated…”
My companions lost their sanity while in possession of great power. I can’t just let them be.
“I need to settle things with them...on my own.”
“Enough! You just stay here!”
The two of them left me for the gigantic Emils. I didn’t even have the strength to stop them. Every now and then, the sounds around me would fade out and I could feel myself slipping into unconsciousness. Is this what it means to die?
“We tried our best! In the rain. In the wind. In the storm.”
La la la….la la la...they sang.
“Even when our companions died, we kept on fighting!”
I remembered the Emils who grew more and more withdrawn. They could only withhold their words, because otherwise they would give in to cursing their own fate and bitter resentment…
“But the eternal war...our eternal pain...the eternal pain! It screamed at us! It told us there was nothing of value to protect in this world...the world had no meaning! It screamed at us!”
Their ugly laughter echoed. “Alert: Elemental output of magical weapons increased”, the Pod warned.
“You...all of you! This pain! This sadness! This desperation! You know nothing about it!!!!!”
I understood immediately what they were attempting to do. They were trying to self-destruct by releasing all of their pent up magic at once, taking with them the world that brought them such suffering.
The world? This world? This mad world?
A voice broke into my thoughts. It was rough and curt, but also somewhat gentle...yes, it’s her voice, the one I thought was familiar to 2B. I could also hear a voice that sounded like a lecturing grandpa, and a third, calm and gentle voice.
Memories of the original Emil flooded my mind. The memories that he so treasured; memories of his journey.
“But even so...all of this is wrong!”
I yelled, hoping to rekindle the same memories, slumbering deep within my companion’s hearts even as they lost their sense of self.
“No matter how hard or how painful...they never gave up! They kept fighting because they believed they could overcome someday! Isn’t that right, Kainé?!”
I was inferior in every aspect from offense to defense, but I have to do this. I can’t give up!
“Because this is the world my friend tried to save!”
I felt a shock ripple through my companions. Though the memories we share are fragmented, with only mere traces left...in the end, we still remember...him.
I gathered up all the magic within me. One final struggle to prevent my companions’ self-destruction.
Everything became quiet. I can only hear the sounds of the wind. I’m still alive.
“I can’t believe...I remembered something so important...right at the end…”
Even though they weren’t my memories, the sadness of losing someone precious to me cuts deep. I found that painful, and so I sought escape. I put a lid on those memories, and tried my hardest to forget. And I ended up letting go of memories I shouldn’t have.
I couldn’t hear my companions anymore. Seems like we managed to stop their self-destruction. 2B and 9S probably had a hand in it.
“I’m sorry...for causing you so much trouble...2B, 9S…”
2B shook her head silently. 9S tried to cheer me up by saying that he could repair me. What kind-hearted people they are.
The two of them were caught in an intense war themselves, but they certainly didn’t act like that. Why were people able to remain kind even in the midst of these repeating, merciless battles? That’s right, he was very kind too..
My consciousness is slipping away. Many memories, some of which were not my own, started disappearing as well.
But that’s fine. I’ve done enough, I thought to myself as I let myself go.
Emil, I heard a voice calling out to me. It was neither 2B or 9S, but a voice that brought back memories. I lifted my face in surprise. Don’t tell me…
Through my hazy vision, I saw people smiling and waving at me. There’s even a floating book!
I got to meet them...I really did. The Lunar Tear granted my wish.
“Welcome home, Emil. You did good.”
I got up immediately and ran towards the ones I so longed to meet, calling out that name, so dear to me, over and over again.