Chapter 52 - The War Inside the Torture Chamber (5)

'That means... If it's me, it's possible?'

That's right. So say it. Order me. Though this is something that's absolutely impossible and unimaginable.

Ares continued with a voice full of anticipation and a little excitement.

If you order me... I think I might be able to do it. 

I stared at Ares. He wore a vest-shaped gold armor with his arms clearly exposed and his gray hair was hanging loose. Though it was just a Character Image created by his function, I could feel his sincerity nonetheless.

Yes, he was serious about it. It might be a laughable sentiment as it was coming from an artificial intelligence, but... At the very least, I sensed sincerity and faith from him. It was no exaggeration to say that he trusted me unconditionally.

'Ares.' I called him by his name. I wasn't certain if it was because of the distance or the defense system protecting the Great Sky, but his faint appearance became clear.

'Connect with me this instant.'  I ordered. And at that moment, my vision turned white.

*

It's done.

That's right. By the way, this is annoying. What's the point of retiring? I'm called upon once every 100 years.

Sorry, Professor. It's impossible for us to revitalize the topological stature of the Iron Heart.

Tch tch. So why don't you just quickly expand the world in your mind and connect with the Sky Library? We, the Kendler tribe, rule over the Universe, so does it make sense that I'm the only Intermediate-rank God in our Universe? There's three of them among the lizard bastards.

Haha, that's a perplexing remark.

I could see masses of light that were shining subtly gathering around me. No, to be more exact, I could feel it. This wasn't my vision.

Who are you guys? Who are you to look down at me?

I, no, the owner of the vision I was looking at was growling. It was a spirit that was enough to frighten ordinary people, but the ball of lights disregarded it and continued chatting amongst themselves.

You have a pretty aggressive disposition. What kind of God are you? 

Ares. 

Ares? Aha, you're the God of War, famous even among the Olympians. But didn't you already die and become a Voided God?

As if trying to convey feelings of remorse, the most brightly lit mass of light flickered. I wasn't sure, but it seemed to convey a tinge of pity as well.

Tch tch. There's still nothing good about using the stature of Gods who are still in good shape. We might get into trouble if we rub them up the wrong way. If it's our kids, we'll make sure they tread carefully, but there's no guarantee that the guys who buy the Gigas will do the same.

As I looked at the ball of light elaborating, it was then that I realized.

'I see. This is the first sight that Ares saw when he was born.'

To be exact, it was the scene when the Iron Heart of Ares was produced.

Iron Heart was the Alpha and Omega of Gigas, and it was the source of all Abilities and Transcendence Skills. And most of all, the Iron Heart was imbued with enormous soul energy and a control persona.

Answer me! Who are you guys? No, that aside... What the hell, what am I? Why am I here? Who am I?

Along with a voice mixed with annoyance and anger as well as doubt and bewilderment, an intense soul energy spread around like wildfire. And after widening my point of view, I could finally see Ares' Iron Heart.

'No, wait... What is this?'

And I was taken aback by the sight of the Iron Heart. This was because I totally didn't expect the Iron Heart to look like this. It was…

*

It's done! It's a success!

I came back to my senses as I heard a joyous exclamation. I looked around and realized that I was in familiar surroundings again.

'Isn't this the Albatross ship?'

Yes, you connected successfully! Can you sense me?

'What do you mean by that? Sense? But, certainly... You're right.'

I could clearly feel the connection with Ares, and I was in his domain. I could see what he was looking at, and what I was looking at was transmitted to him.

How is it? The perfect version of the Eye of Ares?

'I'm losing my mind.'

I could feel an enormous amount of information thrown inside my brain by the dozens of visions I was sensing. I wouldn't normally come across this much information, but it was even more so because Albatross was in the middle of a guerrilla warfare against the demi-humans.

Kabooom! Booom!

As soon as I focused on one of the visions, the information became concrete. From my perspective, it felt like I was teleported to the battlefield personally.

'Oh, it's Napoleon. Who's riding him?'

I moved my point of view. I did it so that I could see inside Napoleon.

Wiiiiing-!

But I was reflected away. I paused with a light headache as Ares showed up next to me.

Didn't I tell you that you can't go into other Gigas recklessly? If it was so easy to enter a Gigas as you wished, it would've been possible to steal enemy Gigas. 

'Oh, that's right… You did mention something like that.'

The Eye of Ares had a very unusual limitation where it could only be activated when there was a battle happening around. Aside from that, it was literally an ability that exceeded expectations, but it was not omnipotent.

If there was a barrier made up of a shield-like energy field, the vision would be blocked. It was also possible to detect Ares' vision if there was an enemy with detection capabilities. If the opponent was at the level of a transcendent, it would be possible for them to attack just by looking at the target, so it was imperative to be cautious.

As a matter of fact, it was actually impossible for Ares' vision to enter the Great Sky. I assumed that the Legion girl, who could be considered my good neighbor(?), led to some changes in variables, so it became possible. But under normal circumstances, it was out of the question.

"Then, I have to control a broken Gigas after all?'

If I could contact Albatross right away, they'd certainly be able to provide one, but... Things are tough right now. The bear dude is exerting all his strength now, so it's hard to even approach him. The only one who could see me, the Imperial Princess, was taken captive along with you. But even if it's a broken Gigas... It wouldn't matter if it's you, right? 

'That's true.'

I smirked at Ares' words and broadened my senses.

'You're right.'

Wiiiiiinggg---!

Partially destroyed after receiving the attacks of the enemy, R-13's eyes were lit with fire. Although the front armor was shattered and the cockpit was exposed to the outside, it did not matter because it would be controlled remotely anyways. The R-13 would be usable as long as the Iron Heart was still alive and functioning.

I'll control the system. It's a Tool-rank, so I won't need help.

There was no such thing as a control persona for a Tool-rank Gigas, which was the lowest in rank among the Gigas. Of course, there was a system present to assist with control, but it was not a high level artificial intelligence. Ares' King of All Armaments could control all the armaments and weapons, but if the weapon had a control persona that had full control over it, Ares would require permission from the control persona. Even if it was the Ability of a God-rank Gigas, it would still be difficult to force a control persona with soul energy into submission.

If the control persona had been shut down by Legion just like when the demi-humans invaded in the past, then it might've been plausible. However, it was rare for a control persona to have received high enough damage in an ordinary battle and ended up destroyed. Before that could happen, it was common for the pilot to die, or for all Gigas' parts except the Iron Heart to be destroyed, which led to the Gigas being in a state where they were rendered unable to fight.

Of course, if I was nearby, I could give a command and obtain the right to control the Gigas. As a matter of fact, since I was controlling remotely, I wouldn't be able to actually give an order out of the area that my voice could reach.

What do we do about the corpse?

'Let's put it properly in the cockpit. So that we can properly retrieve it on a later date.'

We found a broken Gigas, so there was a pilot inside it.

Since the cockpit was destroyed to the point that it could be seen from the outside, the pilot wouldn't have been able to survive that. The front armor seemed to have been penetrated cleanly by a melee weapon, and the upper half of the body was crushed.

I watched Ares took over control of R-13 and carefully dealing with the corpse for a brief moment before I checked my Ability of the day.

<Repair>

<Conservation>

<Flash>

<Penetration>

'It's pretty neat.'

There were no rare ones such as a Rare Ability or a Unique Ability, but it was pretty neat, as I had offense, evasion, as well as support Abilities. It was a bit disappointing that there was no defense Ability, but I only had to evade properly. Needless to say, I also checked R-13's Basic Ability.

<Sniper>

'Okay.'

I clenched my fists (although I was in Astral state) and connected my brainwaves according to Ares' senses. Even though the piloting method I was familiar with was Magic Hand, the current situation called for something else, so I had no intention to make a fuss. I would probably pick it up in no time once I'd fought a little.

'Ahh, come to think of it, Ares.'

Hmm? What's up?

'I mean, have you ever seen what your Iron Heart looked like?'

There's no meaning behind the form of my Iron Heart. The shape of the Iron Hearts are all the same. 

'...How so?'

It's hexagon-shaped. But the sizes are all different. The small ones are the size of a fist and the big ones will reach the size of a decent-sized room.

"Putting the big ones aside, there are also fist-sized ones huh… But then again, there are Gigas that can be worn just like a suit of armor, so it's no wonder that there are small Iron Hearts.'

I frowned as I recalled the memory I saw when I connected with Ares. But then it wouldn't make sense if it was like that though? Moreover, looking at the situation, Ares seemed to have really lost his memory from when he was born.

What's wrong?

'No, it's nothing.'

I was curious, but I collected my thoughts because the secrets of the Gigas and its birth wasn't important right now. A fierce battle was still unfolding around. None of them paid any attention to the half-destroyed Tool-rank Gigas, but it would be dangerous to be swept away by an explosion even before I was prepared.

Whoooosh—

I activated the <Repair> Ability and the destroyed R-13 began to return to his original form little by little. Although perfectly repairing him was impossible due to the parts that got blasted and flew far away, it was possible to repair him to the extent that there was no inconvenience when moving.

Are you ready?

'Of course.'

I nodded and looked at the battlefield. We only had two Gigas. There were eight fighter jets within our ranks, but in comparison, the demi-humans' Gigas and fighter jets were flooding their ship.

They're all sacrificial pawns.

'Yeah. It's like a kind of… shield.'

Looking at the battlefield, there were a huge amount of Gigas and fighter jet's remains around. These enemies were defeated not because the Leonhardt Imperial Army did well. The enemies were decimated because of Albatross' artillery fire. In other words, the Gigas here were not deployed to defeat the enemies, but rather to act as defensive forces to prevent the enemies from approaching Albatross.

'But, even so, it's not like they will be annihilated, right?'

Of course. Everyone looks like they're on a highway to death right now. So we need to convey some good news to them. 

Listening to Ares, I took out the photon cannon and applied my Ability. Then, I locked onto all the shield energies.

Kabooom!

The heads of the enemy Gigas, which activated a complex evasive maneuver to bypass the Leonhardt Imperial Army, flew away easily. That wasn't all.

Kabooooom! Kabooom!

The photon cannon shot through the seemingly Beast-rank Gigas and refracted up at an angle, shattering two more heads and struck the fighter jets which were right above their heads, and then dispersed. It was an attack that fully utilized the remaining amount of energy left in R-13. The fighter jets staggered and soon regained their balance. But right after, it was hit by the bombardments of our fighter jets.

'Triple kill!!!'

I screamed in joy and kicked the ruins of the Gigas which had been rushing at me. I then repositioned myself. All the lasers and bullets that were aimed at me stopped.

'And 1 assist!'

In actual fact, I had been restraining myself to a certain extent while participating in the war.

At the thought of my life being in danger, as well as my circumstances and safety, I had been working pretty hard. But, I was an ordinary citizen and not a soldier after all, so why would I put my life on the line to exterminate the enemy? Even if the enemy weren't human, it wasn't as if I was some sort of psychopath, so I didn't enjoy going around taking another's life. But…

Kabooom! Boom!

I grabbed the arm of the Gigas charging towards me and threw it towards the artillery behind me that fired at me but missed its mark. The Gigas exploded with a loud sound. His body was surrounded by a barrier, but I imbued my hand with the Penetration Ability, and I was able to thrust my hand inside the barrier for a brief moment.

Huh, what's this, Dae-ha. For some reason, you seem different than usual eh?

In an instant, I destroyed two enemy Beast-ranks and three enemy Tool-ranks. I laughed as I sensed that Ares was taken aback.

'Oh, it's nothing. It's just, after a long time...'

I clenched my teeth as I recalled the images of the demi-humans who tortured me.

'I'm just trying to get a little serious.'

I didn't care about the aftermath or whatever because there was a fire burning within me; I was furious.

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