AN; I've been thinking about going back and giving each chapter a proper title. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to tell me.


Chapter 17: History Lesson

«Floor 7-Dark Elf Capital, 『Forgotten Sanctuary』»

The four present stood at the ready, weapons out and facing the colossal figure rising. Even with the minimal light from the now dying crystal, they could make out what they were facing. A metal giant covered in metal plates with a dull steel and bronze shine. Gears and pistons could be seen in motion whenever the plates moved. The energy from the now deactivated beam coursed through wire like veins, similar to how it ran throughout the cave system. Standing at its full high, the metal colossus was around forty meters, near the height of the ceiling.

"... H-hey, guys," stuttered Kaine, "maybe the treasure isn't worth it."

"Now is not the time to get cold feet, Kaine." Keeping a careful watch for any sudden movements from giant, Mugetsu removed a «Divine Flare» from his inventory. The flare was quite normal, other than having the ability to fully illuminate the darkest of places for up to four hours. When activated, it would vanish and light the surrounding area to the extent that one would believe the sun was responsible. The «Divine» part of its name was only for show, a mark proving the church's involvement in its creation.

『 Lord Jack,』 the mechanical voice of the giant resounded,『 how may I serve you after so long? Do you wish for me to aid in the construction of another monument, maintenance of Aincrad, or the destruction of enemy forces?』

The four present stood shocked at the kneeling machine before them. They were unsure if it possessed a will of its own, or it had an automated protocol. With no other way to determine so, the defacto leader was the first to speak up.

"Err... Excuse me?" The three to his sides shot his disappointed looks.

『 Lord Alister ,』 it exclaimed with a tone of surprise. 『 Forgive me, it seems only my motor, speech, and audio function are operating, and not at full capacity. It will take some time for my auto reconstruction programming to restore all my functions to within standard minimal capacity. Please bare with my temporary disposition and tell me how I may be of service. 』

'What the hell,' thought Mugetsu. 'Can it be that it's hearing is also damaged and it confusing me for someone else?' A quick glance at the others' faces told him that they were thinking around the same lines. 'Well, might as well make the most of it will we can.' "Alright then, start by identifying yourself and stating your last orders!"

『 Sir, I am the fifth automaton in the Delta model series, created by your brothers and sister. The last directive given to us in the Delta series was to choose from the two options presented to us by Lord Jack. The options are exactly as follows; "leave into the world or report to our individual storage rooms. Should you choose the first, you may not provoke unnecessary destruction. Instead, focus on finding an individual purpose for existence. I chose the latter and have been in a statement of hibernation for nearly a century.』

'How the hell can it confuse me for its master if it's been over a century!? Wait, what if he wasn't built by humans?' With no point in asking further about his creators at the moment, Mugetsu proceeded with his questions. "A moment ago you said something about maintaining something, can you explain?"

『 The maintenance of the original directive we were tasked with building, Aincrad. Each of my kin has the knowledge necessary for any repair need for the floating continent. Any anomaly , whether structural, temporal, or spacial, we can fix it.』

'So these guys are the ones responsible for building Aincrad, according to the game's story. Maybe I should ask more about its creators.' Before he could follow this line of questioning, their friend spoke up.

『 Restoration at 70%, visual functions are starting up.』

"Shit," he said under his breath. "Hey uhh, Delta? There's something you should know know before you see us. We- I'm not really..." 'Wait, will attack if I tell him the truth? Still, if he attacks regardless...'

『 Go on.』

"My real name is not Alister, it's Mugetsu," he sighed. "I had no knowledge of what I just asked you. My friends and I just found a map and it lead us straight to you."

『 Your words just now, they are only half true. Before proceeding further, I must ask for you to identify yourself. Failure to comply will be seen as grounds for suspicion. 』

"What? But I just told you-"

『 An alias. Your voice and body language suggest that you are hiding your true name. 』

'What in the world? I thought that I've grown so use to the name Mugetsu. In a way, hearing that I myself still see it as a false name subconsciously is reassuring.'

『 Ten seconds to comply.』 Snapping out of his thoughts, he raised his hand in the air.

"Wait," he yelled. "I'll tell you. My real name is Ichigo, Kurosaki Ichigo."

『 Confirmed, Ichigo Kurosaki. Please state reason for my reactivation. 』

"Like I said before, we followed a map to this place. We thought there would be something of value here and- Hey!" Argo pulled his arm and brought his head down.

"What do you think you're doing?! You don't just go around telling people you are looting their place."

"Well what do you expect? It can tell when we're lying, and I am not about to anger something with an auto-repair function!"

『Might I see this map you speak of. The location of our resting places should only be known by our masters and ourselves. 』

"Err- right! Just give me a moment to look for it." Quickly, he opened his inventory and took out the «Mirage Sphere». With surprising delicacy, Delta grabbed it between his giant metal fingers. "We had to fight two supposed guardians, a tiger that shot lightning and a fire breathing dragon. Does it ring any bells for you?"

『 To be called as such, someone else must have bestowed upon them said title. Depending on the nature, the one to do so can range from a divinity, to a simple mortal. The fact that they carried something marking my exact location is curious.』 As Delta spoke, he meticulously scanned the «Mirage Sphere» between his fingers. Seconds pass and none spoke a word until, the sphere opened on its own and fell to the floor. From it sprung not the projection of a map, but that of a man. 『 I see now... The one responsible for guiding the four of you here is Lord Victor.』

"Greetings," spoke the man's projection. His face and black and white hair, reaching his mid back, made him appeared in his mid forties. "My name is Victor," he said while talking a bow. "Victor Van Klies."