176 Ancient Industry
The iron puppet lurching towards Ssaul was in bad shape, limping and leaking oil as at lurched towards them, so it was not really a threat to him. That being said, the glowing red eyes made him uneasy. He wished to be rid of its gaze already.
He stepped forwards and with a mighty swing, brought his axe down on the exposed cables and hoses that ran from the thing's head to the rest of its body. Sparks flew from the metal-on-metal contact, but Ssaul's strike had been well placed. The iron puppet crumpled to the ground with a crash as oil sprayed from the severed hoses where Ssaul had struck. Its limbs flailed about in a futile effort to stand up, but too many of its cables had been severed and it had lost its coordination.
"It seems like these puppets are weak at the neck," Ssaul said as he waved the young warrior and the boy past the fallen machine.
Ssaul watched it warrily until the oil stopped flowing and the puppet finally went still, its red eyes dimming until they went completely dark. He now knew that they could be killed, and as long as that was true, it was all he needed to know to keep his adoptive clan safe.
All he needed to do now was to find them.
"Ssaul, he's waking up," the young warrior called out to him.
Ssaul quickly came up to the two and comforted the boy who was panicking as he tried to make sense of where he was all of a sudden. Ssaul did his best to reassure the child, telling him it would be ok, and they would find his mother soon. Once he was calm and not panicking, Ssaul could relax a little.
"Come, let us continue. We must find the others," he said as he led them further into the dark corridors towards the next signal.
They had much ground to cover.
Another mechanical puppet fell to the ground with a crash, oil from its cracked iron cranium pooling on the floor as it twitched for a while, then went still.
Baiken took a breath as she looked around to make sure there weren't any more of those blasted things nearby before continuing on her way towards the only Eve signal she had been able to find after she had woken up.
The big metal wrench she was carrying had been useful to her as an improvised club. Its hefty weight was able to crack the iron heads of those things wide open, and they didn't seem to be able to survive when she did that, so she would keep doing it. Whatever those metal skeletons were, they were everywhere around her and kept trying to attack her, so her progress had been slow.
She had woken up in an area that seemed like some sort of production plant. It was all broken and dilapidated now, and it seemed ancient by the look of the place, but the huge buildings she was passing through were lined with furnaces and machinery that she knew was some kind of manufacturing setup. She had never seen or heard of anything on this scale before, but Ssaul had told her stories of smaller operations like this in his homeland.
"You're sure this place isn't working anymore? What if those puppets start it all up again and it turns out to be a factory for more puppets? They aren't a problem now, but if they were brand new, these iron boys would be a pain in the ass to deal with."
Her Eve blinked blue, then responded, "Miss Baiken, I can assure you this place is not going to turn itself on again. By my readings, it has been dormant for centuries and the disrepair is too great, not to mention the lack of power."
Baiken snorted as she readied her wrench for another iron puppet staggering towards her.
"You say that, but these things are still kicking, more or less."
Oil sprayed across the floor as Baiken treated the puppet with some blunt force trauma, felling it with a single stroke.
"The mechanical droids seem to be running on a form of oil powered hydrostatic system. This system is rather well made to last this long, but as you can see the droids are mostly at the end of their operating cycles," Eve said as Baiken kicked the last one she dropped to the side and continued on.
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"I'm going to pretend I know what most of those words meant, but what did you call them? What's a droid?" Baiken asked.
"Droid is short for android, which is an automated humanoid mechanical construct. Also commonly referred to as a robot." Eve replied.
"Droid, android, robot... I have never heard these words before. Are they from that big library? You called it a database I think?"
"That is correct," Eve answered. "We are almost to the signal Miss Baiken."
Baiken found herself at the end of the manufactory she was in, facing a large door. It took some effort, but she was able to make the door seal finally crack and start to open. It made a rather large squeal as she pushed it, but eventually she got it open enough to get through.
Outside Baiken was treated to open air for the first time since she had been snatched from the bridge of the Stella Tenebris. She found herself in awe, with the massive structure of the city stretching out above her and the empty void below that ended in the storm that encapsulated the floating city.
The majesty and marvel of it all was captivating, making her wonder what manner of power it had taken to raise this behemoth into the sky. Before meeting Zoey, she would have thought that only the gods could accomplish this feat... But ever since their clan had been rescued by that beautiful and mysterious woman, her horizons had been expanded. Perhaps it had been Vekt, or humans, or maybe the Carzivore that had built this place. Anything was possible.
After she had appreciated the view, she turned her attention back to her original goal. Her current location was a platform that stuck out from the factory she had been inside, located about halfway between the lowest point she could see and the bottom of the actual city above her.
Eve was telling her that the other Eve's signal was around here somewhere... The locator pointed Baiken to a pile of trash next to the building behind her, and sure enough, there was a leg sticking out of the rubble.
Baiken quickly went over and pulled the person out, making sure they were alive and breathing. Luckily they were fine, but Baiken then noticed another problem... The person she had pulled out of the trash was none other than Markus Rellen himself!