"The Napoleon you knew... What kind of person was he?" I asked cautiously, but Hye-ran answered as though the answer was really obvious.
"He? He's the great hero of the dwarves tribe and the Emperor who founded the great Empire. Why are you asking me something like that?"
I was perplexed by the unexpected answer.
It was true that there were popular beliefs that Napoleon was short, but it was a distortion caused by the misinterpretation due to the difference in measurements between France and Britain, so it was unreasonable for him to be categorized as one from the 'dwarves tribe'.
What more, her voice was filled with a clear sense of pride.
'Ahhh, don't tell me?'
And at that moment, I looked at Hye-ran and realized the sense of foreignness that I had continuously felt. It was not only because she looked extremely young compared to her age but also because of her petitely cute features. Above all, it was also because of her height, which was only around the height of an elementary, middle or high school student.
But what if it was not her unique trait, but a unique trait of her species?
And so, I asked to confirm, "Is the dwarf tribe a species?"
"Ah, now that I think about it, pure humans are the only ones that live on Earth-34…" Hye-ran muttered and then equipped a Magic Hand that was at one side of the workroom.
Magic Hands were commonly used to pilot Gigas, but they had countless other uses apart from that. It could also serve as a substitute for a keyboard or a mouse to surf the Internet or play games, and to control the maintenance machine with close precision just like what Hye-ran was doing now.
"Napoleon, I'll start the maintenance."
I'll leave myself in your good hands.
The 10.5-meter Napoleon kneeled down, unequipping all his armor to reveal the inside.
For a Human-rank Gigas, Napoleon was relatively small, standing at just 10.5 meters tall, but looking at his kneeling figure from the front, it looked like a collapsing mountain.
Wiiiiinggg. Clang! Klikkk!
And just like that, the maintenance started for Napoleon who had unequipped his armor.
Hye-ran continued, "There was an incident 400 years ago."
"It's no big deal, it's just the alter ego of the Creation God who managed the Great Universe. Asura was trying to destroy the whole universe."
Even though I was somewhat good at managing my facial expressions, I couldn't keep my poker face on then.
'How is that not a big deal?'
And was it maybe because she saw my expression? Hye-ran laughed.
"You don't have to make that kind of face. Of course it was a big crisis, but it was something that happened to the people of that time, and to us, it was a great 'blessing' instead."
The expression she gave in response made me feel as though she found me pathetic for giving such an unexpected reply.
I didn't know how old she actually was, and despite the fact that she looked like a little brat, I still felt a great sense of humiliation when she wore that kind of expression.
"You didn't study at all after your orientation, did you?"
"Oh, I was a little bit busy."
I was just spouting gibberish. I was actually looking into this and that, but I knew almost nothing about the key contents.
I didn't learn the history via the concept of textbook-oriented learning, but instead surfed the net for information. Because of this, I was able to build up various miscellaneous knowledge, but I did not composedly learn about the history from the basics.
Of, of course, it was also because I spent most of my free time playing games.
"Tchh. The 'us' also includes you too. If that incident hadn't happened, we wouldn't have been born."
The screws were unscrewed. The electrical connections were unplugged. The left and right arms were separated. Several parts were replaced.
Hye-ran continued with her explanation, "I don't know the exact circumstances since it was between the transcendental Gods. But the only thing that mattered was that the Asura, the alter ego of the Creation God who was the administrator of the Great Universe, wanted to reset the universe, and the rulers of the Six Realms stopped that from happening."
I knew all too well about the Six Realms.
The God Realm, inhabited by the Gods who transcended the Six Realms that made up the Great Universe.
The Spiritual Realm, inhabited by many spiritual beings that construct and manage the world which included the saints and spirits.
The Nether Realm, where all those who die go to.
The Celestial Realm, inhabited by the celestial tribe that had the form of angels.
The Demon Realm, inhabited by the demon tribe which possessed demonic tendencies and were at enmity with the celestial tribe.
And there was also the Physical Realm, inhabited by us, which boasted the largest size of all the existing dimensions.
But I suddenly thought of something that I didn't understand. "Is there a separate Ruler for the Physical Realm?"
"No. Instead, the Human God Milleon took on that role and became the hero who successfully saved the whole universe. And in that process, one of the outskirts planets, the Earth 400 years ago, became a place that attracted the attention of the whole universe as the place of history where the universe could have been destroyed and also as a special planet that split into 100."
I organized my thoughts while listening to her explanation.
I think I have seen talks about the Human God on the Net a few times, but that isn't what's important right now.
Because now she is talking about the true identity of the Earth that I've lived in till now.
"Earth... was split? Don't tell me Earth-34 is…"
"That's right. Earth-34, where you come from, is the 34th out of the 100 Earths. It's one of the 99 Earths that are made to be 'almost identical' to the first Earth which can be said to be the original. It's not exactly classified information, so everyone who should know about it does, but it's confidential, so don't spread it around too much."
Clang clang clank!
Hye-ran was still able to skillfully replace the parts and test the performance while rattling along. Unlike her looks, she was quite the skilled engineer.
I stared for a moment at Hye-ran who didn't even turn her head my way and then organized my thoughts.
1. The most common species in the Great Universe is supposedly human.
This is an indisputable proposition. It goes without saying that, even by numbers, 70 percent of all the intelligent bodies in the universe are humans, or beings similar to humans. Though it is biologically impossible, it's possible if it's from the theological point of view which Celestia mentioned in the past. If the transcendental beings who created the world designed humans, then it wouldn't be weird if we evolved and became human beings through normal processes.
2. Even though we are all humans of the same, if they exist on another planet, then they will develop completely different cultures.
It's a given of course. There are countless languages and letters on Earth alone. Just by crossing over a mountain and you would be exposed to a completely different culture - this is what made human humans. It's impossible to have a similar culture just because we're all humans.
"The Leonhardt Empire is a force created by the gathering of the 100 Earths that was split apart. No, at least they're the main forces. Right?"
Hye-ran, who was almost done with her task, smiled and shaked her hand that was equipped with the Magic Hand. The maintenance machines that were busily moving around scattered aside and returned to their original places.
"You're pretty smart. That's right. The Leonhardt Empire is a country made up of the gathering of 47 of the 100 split Earths. It is an organization created by the First Emperor, Leonhardt, who fought against the foreign enemies and united the human race of the Earths. The 100 Earths are like parallel universes and although they had some differences, they also had so much in common that they could be merged very quickly into an Empire-class country."
"Then if so…"
"Ahhhh~ there's no end to your questions. Enough!" Hye-ran stuck out her cute palms at me to stop me from asking more questions. She squinted her eyes when she saw that I paused at her abrupt actions.
"I'm not a historian, I'm an engineer. Why don't you just ride Napoleon instead of messing around?"
"No buts, search it on the net if you have anything else you're curious about! How dare you act like this in front of Napoleon!" Hye-ran screamed grumpily and kicked my butt. Before I knew it, the maintenance was already completed and I was in front of Napoleon's chest.
His chest was open wide, and a cockpit was visible.
Fortunately, the piloting method was Magic Hand.
As soon as I entered the cockpit, the armor on the front end closed and a mirage wave that spread out from the Iron Heart began to fill up the inside of the cockpit.
'Oooh! This is the Avalon System. It's the first time I've personally experienced it.'
The Avalon System was a built-in system of the Iron Heart which can be said to be the heart of the Gigas. It was a system designed to sync the pilot with the Iron Heart - the most important part when it came to controlling a Gigas. And at the same time, the Avalon System served to protect the pilots from battle-induced impact. The mystical power of the Iron Heart enveloped the cockpit like a water tank filled to the brim with water. It completely isolated the outside and inside of the cockpit to block off any damage, including physical shock or tremors, until just before the cockpit was destroyed. Without the Avalon System, the pilots would die if the Gigas were to be hit with a single cannonball. No matter how strong a Gigas armor was, the shock waves would still reach the pilot.
Nice to meet you, partner. I'm Napoleon.
"I'm Kwan Dae-ha. Same here."
I could feel Napoleon's enormous mystical energy. The mystical energy from his Iron Heart completely filled the cockpit and started to synchronize with me. It was an important process. If one side's capabilities were superior, it would be possible to fine-tune it somehow, but there was basically something like compatibility between a Gigas and a pilot.
If I couldn't synchronize properly with Napoleon, he wouldn't accept me no matter how good my piloting skills were. In fact, there were many pilots who were frustrated that they couldn't even get past the process of synchronization and spent a long time searching for a Gigas that was compatible with them.
"...It's nice to meet you too, partner."
Of course, for someone like me who had never been denied by any Gigas yet, I had no experience of something like that.
The Iron Heart started operating. It was like a car engine starting up. If Napoleon could only make routine moves in the standby mode just now, the Napoleon right now could display his own power with all his might.
"Ehh!? How is the synchronization this fast!? Have you ever ridden Napoleon?"
I stood up after hearing Hye-ran's voice. A dimensionally different feeling from when I was piloting remotely while using Ares enveloped my whole body. Come to think of it, this was the first time I actually physically rode on a Gigas.
"This is great." I smiled.
Of course, I was still having complicated thoughts. It was still hard to accept that there existed a God that created humanity, and the fact that the Earth we lived on was just a replica of another planet gave me mixed feelings too. It was also extremely absurd that the extraterrestrial beings I met were 'other Earthlings'.
'But so what?' I shook off all those petty thoughts. That's right. Why does it matter?
Even 10 years ago, I was already a precocious child who was pondering over the existence of the world itself. Wasn't it much believable that the Earth I lived on was a replica of another Earth, rather than a game that someone made or a program that was created seconds ago.
Napoleon kicked against the ground.
An enormous 10.5-meter-tall Napoleon jumped twenty meters from where he stood and did a handstand in the air. Despite its huge size, only a soft sound could be heard as if he was hitting the floor lightly with his palm. And perhaps thanks to the Avalon System, there was no burden on my body at all.
While doing a handstand, Napoleon kicked the air and somersaulted with the rebound. It felt light and nimble as if I was moving my body directly.
'Of course, I can't actually do somersaults with my own body.' I laughed vainly and stepped on the ground gently.
Hye-ran, mouth agape, was displayed on the front screen.
Partner, there's incoming communications from the bridge deck. I'll connect you.
I didn't know if he hadn't fully acknowledged me as his owner yet, or if these were the default rules, he connected the communications without my authorization.
Did you get on Napoleon properly? Did the synchronization finish well?
As soon as the communications were connected, I was flustered at the sudden voice.
A loud noise was heard over the voice of Major General Chun Hyun-il. Somehow it felt like an urgent situation.
"Yes. What's the matter?"
Get a move on right this moment!
"Huh?" I questioned back because I was puzzled. I just got on, so what's this bear talking about?Previous Chapter Next Chapter