Professor Andagi was part of the magical weapons research and development department, but he never worked in the normal research facilities. Instead, he spent all his time holed up here, in this special laboratory built solely for his use. He called his creations unique, but they always went wrong somewhere, causing problems by going berserk or exploding. His ideas, concepts and the technical ability he possessed were incredible, but many of his inventions were completely useless.
But the emperor had taken a liking to the professor, so he allowed the professor to conduct research as he liked.
「Hey Professor, you’re friends with the king, right?」
「Hmm, well, he was a prince back then. In the era of the previous king, he often came to visit my research room.」
「Yeah, people have always said that the kings of this country are a bit odd.」
「The story about the barrier strongbox is famous, isn’t it?」
Looking towards the storehouse at the back of the laboratory, Kou spotted suits of armor lined up on both sides of the passageway. The suits of armor had the strong glow of magical energy in each piece of the armor, and they were connected to each other by single threads of magic. As Kou flew from one helmet to another, following the threads of magic, the professor gave him a warning.
「Those are experimental products that I thought I could use to replace the city’s guards. Don’t poke them too much, alright?」
The professor had recently been absorbed in the development of new magical weapons that could be used as servants. Not living summoned beasts, but artificial ones with both magical technology and fighting power. It was common to carry around catalysts for summoning, so that one could conveniently summon familiars wherever he or she wished, but it came at the cost of the summoned beast having a limited operation time.
The professor’s experiments involved combining the Golem technique, the original method of summoning beasts, and the methods used to tame animals to have them do one’s bidding. As a result, he created a new technique.
He developed magical soldiers with the flexibility of summoned beasts and the stability of tamed animals. The suits of armor lined up in the corridor were the result of his research.
「The command system is unstable, so they go berserk.」
「I’d like to point that that you shouldn’t leave such dangerous things lined up like that.」
「There’s no such thing as a safe summoned beast, anyway. Kuwakakakaka!」
Incidentally, the three times that the magical soldiers had gone out of control, the Knights’ Order of the army had to step in to suppress them. Even so, the King was delighted to see their power.
「Anyway, what are you planning on having Kou do?」
「Oh it’s nothing, just a small present.」
Gawiik held in his urge to point out that one would not call something given as part of an agreement a present. As they reached the storage room in the back, Sarta held up a pendant over the door like a key. The semi-transparent film-like barrier in front of the door disappeared. It seemed to be the same mechanism as the barrier strongbox.
Behind the door was what appeared to be an impressive-looking suit of armor stored inside a coffin-like container, buried in magical sealing equipment.
「This is... Another one of your magical soldiers, isn’t it?」
「Yes, but this fellow has different hair color from the others. How about it, Kou, can you see the hole that you mentioned earlier?」
“I can see it. Is this armor some kind of living creature?”
「I suppose it is a kind of artificial life form. Well, the other magical soldiers are artificial life forms too, using the mechanism of summoned beasts as their base. But this one has been constructed from flesh.」
To maintain a summoned beast’s form and ability to understand orders, a magical catalyst would be used to grant it an artificial personality that governs the beast’s mind. A significant amount of magical energy would be used to create this beast.
The experimental magical soldiers that the professor had created used suits of armor in place of the body that is normally maintained through magic, and to animate the armor, he used magical vessels that provided a constant supply of magical energy, so that there was almost no limit on the time that the soldier could be used.
Though the soldiers’ operation time was lengthened by this method, various problems within the summoned beast formula had surfaced. The magical soldiers that had gone berserk were given armor bodies instead of bodies made from magic, and could not sense that the armor was a part of themselves. Whenever they tried to move a part of their body, there was an overflow of magic and they went out of control.
Even simple movements such as moving an arm or taking a step were done with enough force to kill a person. The suits of armor had collapsed, unable to endure such movements.
What he tried making next was to construct a small part of the body through magic, enough to allow the soldiers to sense their own bodies. But within a day or two, the artificial personalities of the soldiers began to break down and enter an identity crisis.
Most of the soldiers’ personalities disappeared after they broke down, but some felt an urge to destroy things and went out of control, and this was one of the occasions where the Knights’ Order had to step in.
He tried making adjustments like simplifying the artificial personalities or limiting their thoughts, but such methods would require the soldiers’ masters to be a high level magic-user that could delicately fine-tune these factors, so it would not be practical to use in real battle situations.
The professor changed his way of thinking, and went back to the original Golem technique. He developed a Golem that could only understand the most fundamental, basic commands, but in exchange, it had a powerful body. The Golem sealed here in this back storage room was the composite Golem that he produced.
「I used the flesh and blood of various Monsters as materials to build this one. It can gather magical power on its own, without needing a magical vessel to supply it.」
In other words, this was a living suit of armor that acted as its own magical vessel to maintain its body.
「Theoretically, it can operate semi-permanently.」
「So you did something crazy again... I’m surprised you got the approval to do it.」
「Technically, it’s not approved.」
Gawiik had nothing to say in response to this, and the professor explained the problems with this composite Golem. This problem was less of a problem and more of a fatal flaw. Golems were originally designed in a way that they cannot process complex commands. All of the composite Golem’s consciousness was constantly in use by the active processes of its artificial life, such as repairing and maintaining its own body. As a result, it was unable to process any further external commands.
A normal Golem used around 60% of its consciousness for the maintenance of its body, and the remaining 40% could be used for things like following orders. But the unorthodox body of the composite golem required close to 90% of its consciousness to maintain, leaving it unable to do anything else.
「Huh? So doesn’t that make it a suit of armor that just lives, but does nothing else?」
「Hmm, you’re exactly right. It’s just like an expensive, living doll that could be hiding a wonderful amount of power.」
He had also thought of embedding an artificial personality into the Golem using a catalyst, but the potential power of this Golem would not be on the level of a mere magical soldier, and it would be far too much of a problem if it were to go berserk. He had decided to keep the Golem sealed until he had stable control over it.
「I see, so by having Kou be the one moving the Golem, you could safely test its abilities.」
「Indeed! So, how about it, Kou? If you help out in my experiment, I wouldn’t mind giving you this composite body, you know?」
「Pyuripyuriri~」『I’ll give it a try~』
During this long, difficult conversation, Karen had been rocking back and forth, dozing off. The messenger bird Kou hopped off her head and landed on the shoulder of the sealed composite body, and attempted to possess it.
「Sarta, turn off the sealing equipment.」
The composite body had been in a seated position with its back rigid and straight. As the restrictions on its movement disappeared, its shoulders dropped and its back curled forward. In the next moment, it suddenly raised its head and stood up.
「Oh! It moved!」
「It seems he managed to possess it, doesn’t it?」
『It feels like I’m really used to it already... Maybe it’s because this thing had no will of its own to begin with?』
With a body nearly two meters tall, buried in sealing equipment, the composite body seemed too big for the small storage room. Standing in a hunched posture, Kou tried raising his arms lightly and testing the movement of his fingers.
「Still, that was easier than I thought. It isn’t spitting out smoke or launching any magical shockwave attacks.」
「It’s your own creation, Professor...」
「No, no, I meant that Kou’s possession is something of a foreign interference, so I imagined there might be some side effects or such.」
「Well, Kou isn’t some parasite...」
But Kou’s possession did not cause such large changes, as could be seen in the messenger bird. In any case, Professor Andagi’s unapproved product, this composite Golem that had been sealed away for so long because of its various problems, was finally able to see the light of day thanks to Kou.
「Would you mind doing some experiments with movement for today?」
Andagi’s magical weapons development facility was in a plaza separate from the other magical research facilities.
This plaza and research laboratory was built solely for the professor’s use. This was partially due to the special treatment that Professor Andagi received from the emperor, but mainly as a step to avoid collateral damage to the other research facilities from his inventions.
The gears on the walls turned and the bell attached to the roof of the facility rang out, signaling that Professor Andagi was beginning a weapons test, and the nearby research facility that faced the plaza immediately put up their magical defenses. This was measure to prevent their walls from being destroyed each time a weapons test was run.
The research Magicians of the nearby facility that was now covered in a faint defensive barrier peered out into the plaza through the windows. Standing next to Professor Andagi and his assistant Sarta, they saw a man who looked like an adventurer, and a glamorous woman with a messenger bird perched on her shoulder, who also looked to be an adventurer. They asked each other,『Who are they?』
「That looks like a Golem to me... Is it a magical soldier?」
「He made a new one? I wonder if he managed to solve the control problems of the artificial personality.」
「No, if I’m not mistaken, he said he was planning to make a Golem with a focus on maneuverability.」
The Magicians worried about whether the Golem would run out of control again, barging into the other research facilities. Perhaps thinking the same, the Knights’ Order were on standby at the entrance to the plaza after hearing that a new magical soldier experiment was about to happen.
「Kuwakakakaka! They’ve noticed that it’s looking promising this time!」
「It just looks like they’re being cautious.」
「Ufufu, it’s almost always like this, anyway.」
「You’re pretty popular, aren’t you, Professor?」
Kou, inside the composite body, had been carried outside on a cart, along with all of the sealing equipment. As he made sure that all of the pipes that had connected the body to the sealing equipment were detached, he slowly set his feet on the ground and stood up. Compared to the times he had possessed the demon dog or the horned bear, he had a much more profound control over his body.
「How does it feel?」
“I’m already really used to it.”
「Mhmm, then would you kindly start trying to walk around?」
“Then I’ll just walk around in a circle around the plaza, alright?”
The suit of armor that looked heavy on first glance had surprisingly light footsteps. Kou walked from the front of the laboratory to the end of the plaza, and from there, he gradually increased his speed to a half-jog.
Unlike summoned beasts, which had some degree of basic intelligence, Golems were designed to only obey simple commands. It was normal for them to have clumsy movements and slow reactions, and even the longest-operating of the Professor’s experimental magical soldiers had not demonstrated such smooth movements.
It seemed that the professor’s intention of creating a golem focused on maneuverability was true, and as they saw this new Golem magical soldier increasing its speed to that of a running horse, the research Magicians praised it.
「Wow, it’s fast, it’s fast!」
「Hmm... That large built and that speed are definitely dangerous.」
「Its balance of its movement is quite satisfactory.」
「It looks like he’s moving it as if it were his own body.」
Karen was jumping up and down in the air while clapping, and next to him, Gawiik was trying to judge how strong the composite body would be in a battle. As Professor Andagi checked to see that there were no problems with the operation of each individual part of the composite body, Sarta analyzed the extent of the control of Kou’s possession, judging from the smoothness of his movements.
The testing of the composite Golem’s movements under Kou’s possession was a success.
As Kou ran around the plaza, he had a strange feeling about this body that he could move so easily as if it really were his own.
『Hmm, something’s strange... What could it be?』
After running a lap around the plaza, he looked left towards the professor’s lab where Karen and the others were. Straight ahead of him was the entrance to the road that led to the other research facilities. As Kou saw the members of the Knights’ Order waiting there, one of them removed a piece of his own armor that was not attached properly, and reattached it. Suddenly, Kou thought of it.
『Ah! Could it be -』
Bracing his legs and coming to a sudden halt, Kou half-extended his spirit form out from the composite body, wanting to test out what he had just thought of.
As expected after seeing Kou’s composite body suddenly stop moving, Professor Andagi and Sarta began to rush over to see if something had gone wrong. Gawiik and Karen followed behind them. The research Magicians from the research facility and the members of the Knights’ Order were on guard, fearing that it might go berserk, after all.
「What’s wrong, is there some kind of problem -」
As the professor called out to him, the huge body of the composite Golem suddenly vanished in front of his eyes. Professor Andagi and Sarta suddenly stopped running. Gawiik quickly looked around, checking their surroundings, while Karen stared blankly at the space Kou’s composite body had been standing with her head tilted sideways.
The messenger bird that had been perched on Karen’s shoulder let out a “pyui~” as it flew out and landed on the spot that the composite body had disappeared. It spread its wings again, and this time it flew close to the research facility. As it raised its wings and flew higher into the air, the golem reappeared with a loud thunk as it landed on the ground.
「Teleport...? No, is it spatial movement...?」
「No, that’s not it. I think probably... Kou and that messenger bird brought it here.」
「Ooh~ Pii-chan, that’s amazing!」
When Kou had entered the composite body, unlike when he possessed animals or Monsters, he did not get the feeling that he was manipulating the body according to his will. Instead, he felt like he was simply wearing a costume, and moving around as he wished.
Rather than possessing the body, it felt like he was wearing the body like clothes. Though the composite golem was an artificial life form, it was a suit of armor without a soul. Therefore, he realized that he should be able to store it like any other tool in his other dimension.
『Wow, this will be convenient to store and carry around with me.』
Kou thought nothing of it other than『That was a great idea.』But the research Magicians from the research facility and the members of the Knights’ Order who were watching the professor’s experiment could only assume that it was some kind of spatial movement. They were dumbfounded at the Golem’s teleportation through space and time.