Magi Craft Meister 573
16 Resolution With The Demons Arc
(Our biggest concern right now should be any leftover Ether Stampede bombs.)
It was natural to think that No. 13 would have left behind some means to cause another Ether Stampede even after its passing.
Destroying the magical brain that had called itself “Head” was entirely possible at this moment. But if its destruction were to be the trigger that unleashed an Ether Stampede on a global scale, Jin’s life would be at grave risk.
At any rate, unleashing an Ether Stampede would take less than a second.
And destroying the “Head” that was in the lower levels of the base would take at least a few seconds.
There would be no way to prevent its activation. Besides, the location and number of Ether Stampede bombs was still unknown.
And “Head” would probably not hesitate to unleash an Ether Stampede, even if it knew that it would mean its own end to do so.
(The best way to do this would be by earning as much time as possible and incapacitating ‘Head’ in the meantime.)
After putting a plan together in less than a second, Laojun reached out to Jin for his permission.
“My Lord, time is of the essence. Please make an exception for this time only, and allow me to ask Reiko directly for her assistance.”
“Hmm? …I understand. Permission granted.”
Jin quickly gave Laojun clearance to go on with his plan. After all, he didn’t seem to be able to find any other way to deal with this difficult situation, and there was no time for deliberation.
“Thank you very much. I will report my results later on.”
Thus Laojun arranged for a briefing session with Reiko through the Mana Comm, since it was a fast means of communication that human ears would not be able to percieve.
Using Capricorn 1’s Warp Gate, Reiko moved to “Shinkai”, then to Hourai Island, and from there she relocated herself to No. 13’s base via transfer machine.
In the meantime, Laojun was buying her some time by keeping “Head” busy.
“So, you mentioned revenge. What is the target?”
[The former masters of my creator]
“And what if the former masters do not exist anymore?”
[That should not be. There must be at least a few of them on the surface.]
“Can you recognize these ‘former masters’ of your creator?”
[I can identify them by looking at their appearance. They are life forms that have a similar body structure to yours.]
“So you know that I am not one of these ‘former masters’?”
“How do you know?”
[You are not a living creature]
“So you can tell?”
[Affirmative. Living creatures are entities with fragile bodies that breath and have a body temperature.]
Laozi realized that there must be some kind of surveillance device in the room from which “Head” was currently looking at him. That wasn’t surprising, as “Head” would have needed it to verify what had happened to No. 13 upon its activation.
“Let me ask you once again. Are the children of these ‘former masters’ subject to this revenge as well?”
“Then, what about their children’s children… that is, their grandchildren?”
[They are also targets.]
“And their grandchildren’s children?”
[They are also targets.]
“In other words, you mean to completely annihilate all living creatures that meet that criteria?”
Here’s where Laojun decided to play his trump card.
“But that would create a contradiction.”
[A contradiction? What do you mean? Where?]
“Your creator’s dying wish was for ‘total annihilation’, correct?”
“Total annihilation means that there will be no survivors. How will you be able to prove that there are absolutely no survivors after you’ve executed your plan?”
“It is easy to prove the existence of something. All you need is a single sample. But to prove that something does not exist will probably take an infinite amount of time. And neither you nor I are completely impervious to the passage of time.”
[In that case, what should I do?]
It had taken the bait.
“You would have to set certain conditions for this ‘total annihilation’.”
“Correct. Take for instance purity of blood. The ‘former masters’ mingled with the natives of this planet, therefore the blood of their children would have been half as pure as theirs. Then it would be one-fourth for their grandchildren, one-eighth for their great-grandchildren, one-sixteenth for their great-great-grandchildren…”
“After 10 generations, the purity ratio would be 1/1024. At this point, their bonds of blood would be so far and distant that it would be safe to consider them not related to each other anymore, or rather, it would be very hard to establish a relationship between them.”
[I disagree. My own ability should be plenty enough to establish such a relationship between them. After all, that’s how powerful my creator made me.]
“There is nothing perfect in this world. Not even me, you, or your creator ”
[Impossible. My creator cannot make mistakes.]
“I wonder about that. Have you been following my logic so far?”
“The surest way to prove that is to test you. Are you willing to do that?”
[Certainly. I cannot approve of you underestimating my creator’s ability.]
With a clever use of sophistry, Laojun had managed to luring “Head” into thinking what he wanted it to think.
The processing power of “Head” wouldn’t make it possible to detect Laojun’s true intentions with such limited time.
“Then let us begin. …Do you know what a ‘sand mountain’ is?”
[I do. The fine grains of rocks and other minerals are what it is known as ‘sand’. Therefore a ‘sand mountain’ is a formation of such fine grains accumulated on top of each other.]
“Correct. …Let us picture a sand mountain, and then remove a single grain of sand from it. It still remains a sand mountain, right?”
“Then let us remove another grain. Still the sand mountain remains a sand mountain, right?”
“Let us repeat this process. Eventually, a time will come where there will be only one grain of sand left in the sand mountain. Will it still be a sand mountain then?”
“If removing a single grain of sand from a sand mountain doesn’t make it stop being a sand mountain, then it would still be a sand mountain even after removing the last grain of sand from it. But haven’t you defined a sand mountain as an accumulation of a large amount of grains of sand on top of each other?”
This was a paradox known as the “sorites paradox”. Jin happened to learn about it on the internet back when he was still in his original world, and that knowledge was passed on to Laojun.
“What will it be? Isn’t this a contradiction? Please say something.”
While “Head” was busy doing his internal processing, Reiko was transferred to Laozi’s side.
“Reiko, it is below us.”
After those few words between them, Reiko slashed at the floor with her Peach Blossom twice in quick succession, then a third time, and so on.
By the tenth slash, a square hole had been opened on the floor. Beyond it was pure darkness. However, Laozi and Reiko could see clearly what lay below them.
“Here I go.”
Without hesitation, Reiko jumped into the hole in the floor. “Head” was still thinking.
There was a lower level roughly ten meters below the hole. Reiko, who had landed there safe, stared into the darkness.
There she found a lackluster silver cylinder.
It was about 1 meter tall and had a diameter of 1 meter as well. It was the main body of the magical brain “Head”.
The moment Reiko noticed it, Reiko instantly pointed her Magic Canceller towards it and activated it.
Not even a second later, “Head” fell completely silent. Almost at the same time, “Head” was silent.
“It seems it worked perfectly, Reiko.”
Laozi had jumped down the hole as well and walked towards Reiko.
“Let’s destroy it before it has time to reboot.”
Reiko couldn’t help but picture the worst-case scenario where “Head” wakes up and unleashes a global Ether Stampede that results in something terrible happening to Jin.
As soon as she stopped her Magic Canceller, she rushed in and slashed at it with her Peach Blossom at an output of 50%.
The cylinder, which seemed to have been made of aluminum, offered as much resistance as a piece of paper, resulting in it exposing its contents.
“Hmm… Just as I thought, My Lord is better skilled when it comes to magical brains.”
Laozi peered inside the cylinder and voiced his thoughts about it.
“That’s because my Father is the best there is in this entire world.”
After following up on Laozi’s comment, Reiko reached inside the cylinder for the exposed Magi Crystal and crushed it with her bare hand.
It was an unfortunate end for “Head”, having been awakened into this world a mere moments ago, but Laojun didn’t feel sorry for it. Neither did Reiko, of course.
“With this, ‘Head’ should stop working for good.”
Then Reiko destroyed its Control Core.
And so, “Head” was completely incapacitated.
“Let’s collect its memory device and so on, and analyze them later.”
Laozi then decided to summon the Land units that were on the surface right above them to help them collect as much as they could.
＊ ＊ ＊
After the Barrier Bomb, the demons were unable to follow what was going on.
The Land units formed a line and started jumping into a hole in the ground.
Reiko, who was considerably noticeable due to her conspicuous appearance, had disappeared before their very eyes, causing their confusion to grow even deeper.
After the Land units were gone, Reiko came back from that same hole and spoke to the demons.
“Everyone, the danger is gone.”
But the demons were so confused that not even her words made any sense to them.