Red Boy did not answer; he was busy installing a device on the puppet and examining parts that made up the joints.
Red Boy: It’ll be fine.
It seemed more like he was talking to the puppet than to his mother.
Red Boy: This puppet can handle it.
A Demonic Savant came in search of Bull King’s mystical sphere. Elves resisted with all their might, but faced failure in every battle. Being left without other options, Red Boy had to put the mystical sphere into a puppet he had made. The mystical sphere worked as the power source of the puppet, turning it into fighting force; that way, Red Boy could have time to escape the Demons’ encirclement.
Red Boy: Sorry...This is the only way.
The sphere in the helmet sparkled, as if asking Red Boy a question.
Red Boy: Demons are your enemy. Commit to a fighting retreat. Once you have diverted them, escape!
Red Boy: Protect your core. Maintain your operation. Avoid situations that could render you beyond repair.
Red Boy: Be a mark on history like my father was! I’m counting on you!
“Escaping” is endless, so the metal puppet kept proceeding. It only rested when there was adverse weather. In the light of Red Boy’s ingenious skills, the puppet was never captured by Demons; it even brought down wrongful Demons on its way...
Headless Clown: That’s him! The guy sought by Inferno Savant!
Demons swarmed the puppet; but it did not retreat and instead, it charged forward, moving swiftly in the Demon ranks.
Headless Clown: That’s him! The guy sought by Inferno Savant!
Headless Clown: This guy...how come he is so strong...
These low-level Demons did not join the army in the battlefront. They merely lived by looting and naturally, they could not rival the puppet assembled from the parts of magnificent artifacts. Its high-pressure air blasts thrashed the Demons. The puppet’s gun was now pointing at the head of their leader; the frightened clown had to use its ace in the hole, transforming into the most important person in the puppet’s memory.
Red Boy: Don’t kill me!
The puppet hesitated. The Demon, now as a child, took the chance of its hesitation and leapt far away. The puppet could not get within range again. It thought back and could only recall the image of the Demon jumping, as if it had never transformed to a child.
However, it was clear that the puppet stopped its attack because of the Demon’s change...From this, the puppet determined that it was malfunctioning. To fix the problem, it had to find the person who gave it its power. It allotted an area in its database to temporarily store its mind, so as to avoid contamination of other areas. Before the error is fixed, it decided to disable reading and writing of the area; to scan for data, it used only its superficial consciousness.
The puppet no longer “escaped.” Instead, it started to look for a person with the ability to repair it. Fortunately, it earned a positive reputation for eliminating Demons, smoothing its journey across the realm. It synthesized a voice with wind, asking if anyone understood its “error”. However, even mechanics were unable to tell. Not only did they fail to understand its structure, they also could not comprehend its “image” issue.
Mechanical Sapper: You said you have error in your record...do you mean memory?
Mechanical Logistician: But...I don’t dare take apart your armor and look inside!
In the end, the mechanics suggested the puppet to seek the wandering genius mechanic — Agnesi...
Mechanical Sapper: But she has left for so long. She should be far away by now.
With the help from the mechanics, the puppet located Agnesi in a metal boat stranded in rocks. She was repairing the boat with her companions. Mark told Agnesi again of its situation. Meanwhile, she examined its body, but she did not notice any damage.
Gusty Puppet: Can you fix me?
Agnesi the Exorcistic Scholar: So you’re asking for my help? You know if you want someone to scratch your back, you have to scratch that someone’s back first, right?
On Agnesi’s request, Mark helped the mechanic to rebuild the boat. Mark even allowed her to build devices modeled after its limbs. Agnesi later told Mark that the floating technique of the Lost Ruins might help. Then she calculated a trajectory for Mark to soar through the clouds.
The sky was clear above the cloud cover. A gigantic object floated beside the sun. The magnificent yet dilapidated architecture stood on a giant rock, appearing like an enormous mountain sitting in a sky-blue lake. Mark channeled the power of its core and sought ancient power in the Ruins. The Gusty Sphere in its helmet shone with blinding light; Mark burst into the mysterious Ruins without thinking...
Armored Metallic Wolf: ‘Intruder...’
Savage Metallic Rhinoceros: ‘You are...like us...’
Savage Metallic Rhinoceros: ‘Who...created you?’
Mark searched through the Lost Relics and successfully located the Court of Sagittarius — Hertz, who was leaping around the Ruins. He seemed to be shocked by the puppet’s appearance; Mark sensed no ill will from the warrior and hence stretched out its hand.
Mark: ‘Hello. I am Mark. Can you fix me?’
Court of Sagittarius - Hertz: You are...
Mark: ‘Compared to the tools you use, my structure is definitely simpler.’
Mark: ‘Please examine me. Resolve my errors.’
Court of Sagittarius - Hertz: Why do you have a perfect body but such a simple mind?
Mark: ‘Please define “simple”. I will create an entry for this term.’
Court of Sagittarius - Hertz: You...Who created you?
Mark: ‘No records.’
Court of Sagittarius - Hertz: Even if you don’t say ‘I don't remember’...
Court of Sagittarius - Hertz: ...at least you should have answered ‘ I don't know.’
Hertz was palpably disappointed as from what he had seen, this elemental mind was only capable of searching for an answer. It does not know how to think about the question first and process it according to its status.
Court of Sagittarius - Hertz: Why do you call yourself Mark?
Mark: ‘Because “Mark” is my only entry that has no definition.’
Mark kept silent. Its tall and wide body appeared like a metal pillar, or maybe a metal wall, standing in the square of Stirling Ruins. Mechanics were having a heated debate over the stay of Midgley.
Adjoined Android - Gretchen H.: Mark, what do you think?
Mark-II: Long-term future is hard to predict; but you do need a technician for adjusting the energy system right now.
Agnesi the Exorcistic Scholar: Look! Even a God’s emissary agreed!
Mark-II: I am not a God’s emissary.
Cyborg Craftsmen - Lisa: But you’re a painstaking product of a Court of Zodiac.
Mark-II: Yes. But I was not born in the Zodiac Courts.
People returned to the discussion on Midgley, while Mark fell into the memory of the conversation just now —
Court of Sagittarius - Hertz: ‘Come on. Fight as much as you like! Learn to master your new body!’
Nightfall Savant: ‘So you’re the Court of Sagittarius’ new toy?’
Nightfall Savant: ‘You have always had the Ruins’ resources all to yourself. I envy you!’
Gusty Puppet: ‘Think of the question first. Process the factors. Then generate the answer. Do not search for the answer blindly.
Gusty Puppet: Answers should not be the first target, but the result of a series of complex processes.’
Court of Sagittarius - Hertz: ‘This is how mechanical organisms think...Interesting.’
Gusty Puppet: ‘But my thoughts always loop around meaningless matters. Can you resolve my errors?’
Court of Sagittarius - Hertz: ‘In my opinion, this is not an error. Instead, your way of thinking has transformed from that of a machine to that of a person.’
Gusty Puppet: ‘I am not a person. This is obviously an error.’
Court of Sagittarius - Hertz: ‘This is not an error.’
Gusty Puppet: ‘You have created so many artifacts. Could you not distinguish me from a Human?’
Court of Sagittarius - Hertz: ‘I only reassemble them. I have never created anything.’
Court of Sagittarius - Hertz: ‘This technology, even the power to support such technology...They all come from the world itself.’
Mechanics of different races exchanged secretive whispers and reached a conclusion. Together, they will “accept” their new companion who was now imprisoned. Mark stayed silently at the square, as it was too big to enter the depths of the fort. Mark could only stand on the square, serving as the first line of defense.
Court of Sagittarius - Hertz: ‘As to the difference between organisms, aren’t you the answer to the question?’
Court of Sagittarius - Hertz: ‘Even a puppet driven by a mystical sphere can have “life”.’
Court of Sagittarius - Hertz: ‘What the Astralists, who have existed since ancient times, have been protecting is this earth that nurtures all.’
Court of Sagittarius - Hertz: ‘As long as you exercise your duties, what errors can you possibly generate?’
Mark listened to the sounds emitted from inside the fort, ensuring Midgley was not resisting. It listened to the Court of Sagittarius’ advice and helped the mechanics gratis. Mark safeguarded the power of the Ruins from being exploited, the ancient power which originated from the same source as Mark itself...