“Think of magic circuits as a substitution for rituals, or as a certain kind of engine. In the same way steam powers a cog wheel or a gear, the flow of magical energy allows magic arts to be born. Obviously, compared to the simple turn of a wheel, magic arts allows for more complicated outputs—”
A cruelly curt and efficient voice was accompanied by the monotonous scraping of chalk on a blackboard.
The lecture room was shaped like an old theatre. Students sat in neatly arranged seats, the seats getting higher as they went further back. Raishin was somewhere in the middle, and was currently in Kimberly’s lecture.
This was the first time he was attending a lecture in person, but to tell the truth, he was feeling sleepy.
Stifling a yawn, he took a quick look around the classroom.
The students had serious expressions on their faces and automata were mixed in with the student body. The only automata he could see, however, were those that had human-like shapes or those of small animals. The ones with large bodies had to wait outside the lecture room in a specially constructed space.
Next to Raishin, Yaya was diligently copying down notes. Since Raishin could neither read nor write English, Yaya copied what was being written on the blackboard in his place.
Suddenly, he was aware of a pair of blue eyes staring in his direction.
It was Charl. Three rows in front of him, seated to his right, she was furtively stealing glances in his direction.
Once their eyes met, Charl quickly turned to face the front.
Several seconds passed with her hiding her face behind a textbook.
This time she only moved her eyes as she glanced behind. Their eyes met again, but now they bore killing intent, her thorny gaze piercing through him.
(Just what does she want now…?)
While Raishin was pondering over whether to return her glare—
Something hard hit him between the eyes.
“Raishin! Are you ok, Raishin!?”
Yaya was flustered. Wracked with pain, Raishin rubbed his forehead.
It was a white fragment that felt powdery— Chalk dust.
Gingerly lifting up his head, he saw Kimberly staring right at him. Behind her glasses an icy shimmer filled her eyes.
It looked like she had thrown the chalk. What scary control.
“You have some nerve ignoring my lecture, Second Last. For whose sake do you think I’ve dumbed down the lecture and have to teach in this boring way?”
“New students like me, and students who have poor results?”
“Wrong. It’s for the new student who has poor results.”
“I apologise for that, Professor Kimberly. It’s just that I haven’t gotten enough sleep.”
“I see. And I suppose you’re going to tell me you’ve been having bad dreams as well?”
“It’s like you see right through me.”
“You’ve got guts. Fine, I’ll let you off this time but in exchange, answer this question. What is the most popular magic circuit right now?”
He thought it was a simple question, but he couldn’t answer promptly. Raishin tilted his head.
“Heat… No. Kinetic… That’s not it either. Photic… generation?”
Kimberly let out a long, deep sigh, like she was challenging her own lung capacity.
“Tell him, Charlotte.”
Charl was caught by surprise at the sudden change in target,
“… Eve’s Heart.”
There was a buzz amongst the students.
“Demerits to those idiots who just opened their mouths.”
With a fresh piece of chalk in hand, Kimberly wrote down the word ‘Vital’ in large letters on the blackboard.
“Just like Charlotte said, it’s the magic circuit that gives all automata life— Eve’s Heart is embedded inside them. This circuit is the reason why automata have autonomous movement.”
She continued on in a matter-of-fact tone.
“Two different types of magic art cannot reside in the same body— this is the fundamental basis of machine physics, the Magic Activity Dissonance Theory. However, there is one exception to this theory.”
In other words, that was the Eve’s Heart circuit. Almost all automata came equipped with a different magic circuit, in addition to Eve’s Heart.
“You could say the history of Machinart only began after this circuit was discovered. Whether you want to call it the source, origin, beginning, or the starting point, to this day it’s very much an unexplained black box. Reproducing the circuit itself is comparatively easy as opposed to developing it further, which is said to be pretty much impossible.”
Because the circuit had been popularised to such an extent, every workshop had at least one master versed in reproducing it. Because this ‘Life’ was easy to generate, automata themselves were ubiquitous as well.
“Eve’s Heart is an extremely flexible circuit. Not only can it confer intelligence to puppets, in the hands of a skilled puppeteer both breathing and perspiration functions can be reproduced, as well as digestion of food. Although how useful these functions will be in battle, I cannot say.”
Kimberly’s lips twisted into a cynical smile.
“If you wanted a reason for mimicking a human, then it would be for situations where your automaton has to mingle amongst humans— Infiltration or intelligence gathering. Having said that, all puppeteers like to have their dolls be pseudo human, in terms of both outward appearance and inner functions. I mean really, what a bunch of fanatics. Isn’t that right, Second Last?”
While saying that, Kimberly’s gaze was focused not on Raishin but Yaya who was sitting next to him. Embarrassed, Yaya wished there was a hole in the ground for her to hide herself in, but since there wasn’t she could only hang her head slightly.
“I don’t know what you’re trying to imply by saying that, but…”
Slamming his elbows onto the table, Raishin spoke in a threatening voice.
“This one here is the world’s greatest automaton.”
Her black eyes becoming moist, Yaya stared at Raishin, overcome with emotion.
“Because she was created by Shouko.”
A vein popped.
“… Yaya, what’s wrong? What’s with that demonic look on your face? Wa-wait a minute, calm down!”
“Again with Shouko… Always Shouko this and Shouko that…”
Yaya was sobbing while throttling Raishin, violently shaking him back and forth.
The surrounding students were unable to hold back their laughter.
“I see. So my lesson is that boring, is it?”
Kimberly had an icy expression on her face as she pointed outside the window.
“Then to stave off the boredom, go clean the great hall. — Get out now!”