Follow us on:
Facebook   Discord   RSS

Chapter 82: Re-encounter (7)

Leave a comment

Author: Shizuku Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3293 characters
Translator: Nomad English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1484 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

–––Olivia’s Perspective

Cleaning the mana dust is a major task. No matter how resilient Natalia’s body is, her Sorcery Core and the neighboring regions are literally her heart. I heard small wounds regenerate on their own for her, but I don’t know if that applies to important places like this, so I have to be extremely careful.

Annabelle still didn’t figure out exactly what caused Natalia’s shutdown though, so she warned me that there’s a chance cleaning the dust might not do anything. But I still kept going. It took a long time, but I feel like it was a good job for someone as clumsy as me.

It really had taken way too many hours. The sun is already rising and the people in the city are preparing for the day ahead of them. But Natalia is still unconscious. I need to figure out what else is stopping her from waking up.

“Hmm… There’s nothing more to do here. You two should prepare for class now, or if you’d like to sleep since you’ve been up all night I’ll call your teacher.”

Annabelle told us to go to class, but there’s no way I can do that.

“But Natalia still hasn’t woken up! School is the least of my worries!”
“Calm down.”
“I won’t! I made sure to clean all the mana dust, so why is she still not waking up?! There has to be something else… right! Maybe her Sorcery Core itself got damaged!”

I desperately try to think of ideas, and the first one that comes to mind is the Sorcery Core, Natalia’s heart. I had cleaned all the mana dust there, but we hadn’t done anything with the core itself. If that was damaged, then her mechanisms would get no mana, and she’d never wake up.

“That’s not it. Natalia’s Sorcery Core is in good shape.”

But Annabelle instantly shot down the idea.

“Come, look inside the hatch again. You can clearly see the light from the Sorcery Core. The burn on her shoulder has also started healing already. That’s proof that mana is circulating through her body now.”

She’s right. I can see a faint blue glow inside Natalia’s chest. The burn she got on her shoulder when she protected me looks smaller too.

Then why is she not waking up? I’m not a specialist, so I can’t think of anything.

“Olivia, there’s nothing else you can do. I’ll take care of the rest, so be a good student and go to class.”
“Again, there’s nothing else you can do.”

The words get stuck in my throat.

She’s right. Even I realized that earlier. I don’t really know anything about magic automatons, even the magic devices I use regularly are like mystical black boxes to me. There really isn’t anything I can do here.

I’m worried about her, so I want to be at her side. But that’s just me being selfish.

“Okay… I’ll return to the dorm to get ready.”
“Please do that. I’ll keep investigating to see if I find anything here.”
“Thank you.”

I bow deeply to her and leave the laboratory. I’m still not sure what to do though. I told Annabelle I was going to class, but I already know that if I go, I won’t really understand much (even less than usual).

“Ah, um… Olivia!”

I turn around and see Chris trotting after me.

Oh right, she also stayed up all night to look over Natalia.

“Chris, thank you for everything. I hope you aren’t mad that I made you stay up all night.”
“Not at all. Natalia has also helped me before, and I think of you as a good friend, so this is the least I can do. I was already planning on staying there to have Miss Annabelle teach me all night anyway.”

Now that I think about it again, social status might not have any weight in the Academy, but she’s still a noble’s daughter, so having her stay away from home all night was bad on many levels. I was so worried about Natalia that I didn’t even stop to think about that.

“Just um… try to cheer up, okay? I’m sure Natalia wouldn’t want you to be depressed either.”
“…Yeah, you’re right.”

She’s right. Natalia is always worrying about me first. If she saw me being depressed I’m sure she would get really worried too.

“Thank you, Chris. I’m okay now, I don’t want to make Natalia worry.”

I reply trying to smile, I don’t want to make my friend or the person I love worry. At least I understood what she was trying to tell me, but I still didn’t feel like I could smile properly.

–––Annebelle’s Perspective

Once Olivia and Chris left the laboratory, Annebelle went to look at Natalia on the couch. Just like she had mentioned to the girls, the Sorcery Core was in good shape and producing mana.

She tried poking her finger into the hatch, but was stopped by a protective barrier around the Sorcery Core.

Breaking through the barrier would require skills on par with Ophelia, Natalia’s creator. Annabelle knew that ruled out the majority of people and monsters out there. The Sorcery Core was more than likely intact.

“That means her soul might be the cause, but I’m not really well-versed in that…”

Annabelle was specialized in magic devices and alchemy, so magic automatons were only an extension of that, intricate but useful tools. The only automatons she built and employed accomplished specific physical tasks, their ability to follow orders being their focus. Fully autonomous ones that could come up with decisions on their own, or had souls in them that controlled their movements, was something out of her expertise.

“I still have to try anything I can though.”

Annabelle adjusted her posture on her chair and looked at the blueprints on her desk again. She turned page after page, eventually stopping at one which had plenty of empty spaces.

That page described Natalia’s minor functions, but that was not why Annabelle was looking at it. She held the page up and imbued a small amount of mana into the page, which revealed writing in the empty areas.

The first time she noticed that page she was so surprised she almost raised her voice, but somehow managed to calm herself until a more appropriate time. The information on the page remained the same.

Concealing words in a way that made them visible when a small amount of mana was applied was something Ophelia had invented as a way to teach minute mana control to Annabelle as a child. They would use that method to exchange secret messages ever since, and when Annabelle noticed all the empty spots on the page she decided to give it a try, finding a hidden message on the page.

To Annabelle,

If Olivia ever comes to you asking for help with Natalia, please do everything you can to help them. You can take all the secrets from these blueprints as payment. Thank you.

Yours truly, your teacher.

Annabelle placed the page on her desk and sighed.

“I’ve already overcome my desire to catch up to you, master. But you’re still as prepared as ever.”

As Annabelle muttered to the empty room, the secret writing slowly faded into nothingness. A small amount of mana would reveal it again, but there was no need for that now.

“But well, this really is a large reward for her pupil, so I’ll need to do my best, hehehe…”

Annabelle stood up in a good mood and went to examine Natalia again.

–––Olivia’s Perspective

I rush to Annabelle’s laboratory as soon as my last class ends.

“Miss Annabelle! How’s Natalia?!”

I open the door and go inside. My hope of finding Natalia awake and well shatters quickly. Annabelle’s gaze continues switching between some books and the blueprints, and Natalia is still lying down without moving.

“Miss Annabelle?”

Still, I tried asking one more time. But she only shakes her head a little, not looking away from the book.

I’d be lying if I said that didn’t crush me. But a part of me had already anticipated this. Thanks to that I can remain calm.

“Natalia is built with the best materials in existence, exceeding common magic automatons by far. That’s why there must be some very specific reason why she won’t wake up.”

Annabelle speaks without looking away from the book.

I can’t even begin to imagine what that specific reason could be. I don’t even know much about common magic automatons, so I also don’t know what counts as a special situation or not.

I’ve really failed as Natalia’s master. This isn’t the time to be depressed though. I need to start doing whatever I can.

After that I ask Annabelle for permission and start reading all the books about alchemy and magic devices in the laboratory.


Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Your Gateway to Gender Bender Novels