Dream Life Vol II Chapter 82.1: “The End of a Certain Civilization”

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T/N: Three-part chapter. This chapter is a solemn one. Very dialogue-y but world building-y. I enjoyed this chapter and I hope you do too.



 October 16, 316 of the Tria calendar.



 I entered the ruins and met the master of the ruins. I only heard his voice to be exact, but I strongly felt that he was indeed present.


 I was told that this was a different space separated from the world we were in and that the flow of time was sixty times faster.


 I chose to interact with the owner of the voice who wanted to have a conversation with me while I watched the other party’s response.



 I try to start a dialogue by asking, “May I ask you a question?”



(What is it?) (Voice)



 To me, he seemed like a teacher answering a student’s question.



(Great, I feel like I’m talking to Professor Ruspede. He must be a researcher too…) (Zack)



 I regained my composure and started asking questions.



“First of all, how long have you been here? I mean, in terms of the world I was in, how long ago?” (Zack)



(I don’t know exactly, but I’d say roughly 4,000 years.) (Voice)



 I couldn’t hide my excitement at that fact.



“So, then! You know our lost history before the world we live in now!” (Zack)



 The owner of the voice replies with amusement at my excitement.



(Lost History… You can certainly call it that. After the chaos of the “Great Calamity”, the world had somehow turned out to be like this…) (Voice)



 At the end, he sounded deeply emotional, nostalgic, yet optimistic. But my curiosity didn’t stop.



“What do you mean by that? What exactly does the ‘Great Calamity’ refer to?” (Zack)



(Yes… then, let me tell you what comes to my mind. The time in which I lived was a time of technological development called magical engineering. Magical Engineering is the art of converting the energy that makes up the world, which we call “mana,” into a form that is easy to use. We mastered this technology and furthermore constructed a transfer system in the world called the Transition Gate. Looking back, it was a world worthy of being called a utopia…) (Voice)



 In his time, it seems that he used a unique technology called magical engineering, which is a mix of magic and science technology, and he was prosperous.  A transfer system called the “Transition Gate” was used to network the entire world and realize travel with no time lag. They also used what we call “power of the spirit”, the energy that exists in the natural world, and used that power to create mechanical systems and support devices like the golem I saw as their workforce. They also seemed to have built an information and communication system like the Internet, solving problems like poverty and conflict with nearly unlimited energy and a hundred percent efficient communication system.



(…The “Transition Gate” allows you to go anywhere in an instant. This eliminated the barrier of “distance” between cities. The Industrial Revolution, using mana as an energy source, has removed the gap between rich and poor nations. Mana was an energy source that was ubiquitous, easily accessible, and plentiful. It could be converted into any form and used easily by anyone. We left the labor to the machines and used the spare time for creation and research that only we could do. And we immersed ourselves in it…) (Voice)



(I don’t see how that alone would eliminate conflicts between nations. Maybe there is some other reason. Maybe there’s something this person doesn’t know, maybe it’s a different mentality than ours…) (Zack)



(…But such a world didn’t last that long. Yes, it came to an end after only five hundred years.) (Voice)



“Five hundred years… I think it’s a pretty long period of time.” (Zack)



(Five hundred years? That’s only half a lifetime, based on our average lifespan.) (Voice)



 Apparently, the ancients had a lifespan comparable to that of elves. If you think about it, that’s about fifty years for us humans. I guess you could say it’s short.


 When I remained silent, he started talking again. I don’t know if it was by nature or because he had endured solitude, but he seemed to be quite a talker. He slowly tells me about himself, reminiscing of his past.



(At that time, I was a researcher in the life sciences. I was studying the relationship between the human body and mana in particular. …Of course, I had a family, too. Yes, my beloved wife was always by my side… But she suddenly fell ill. At the time, I never dreamed that my wife’s illness would lead to the destruction of the world. But her illness and the destruction of the world were actually caused by the same thing…) (Voice)



 His wife’s disease was caused when the cells that make up the human body are replaced by completely different cells when they are regenerated through her metabolic process. At first the error is negligible, but gradually the error grows, and at some point it progresses all at once. It is like a kind of cancer, but the fundamental difference is that the organ created by the new cells functions as something completely different. In other words, it was such a horrible disease that it changed from a person into another creature.



(…At first, the cause of the disease was completely elusive. Our researchers’ first thought was that it was a genetic abnormality. However, there were many things that could not be explained by that. It was so far removed from and incompatible with our knowledge and common sense. …But with information from a completely different source, we slowly began to understand what was going on. Not only us, but all life forms were seeing the same phenomenon. Furthermore, in serious areas, not only the organisms, but even the information was changing. It was there that we realized that this was not just a disease…) (Voice)



 They learned that all information was being rewritten and hypothesized that the very formation of the world itself was beginning to change. At first, it was dismissed as an absurd hypothesis. However, when a survey team was sent to an area undergoing rapid change, spatial distortions were observed. The fact that there was an influx of unknown energy was confirmed.



(…And soon we noticed, the corruption had spread all over the world. The network of Transition Gates had backfired. Of course, we had taken quarantine measures. But we didn’t know what caused it to spread…) (Voice)



“What caused the corruption to spread?” (Zack)



 Like he’s being crushed, he replies, “It’s mana.”



(Mana, our energy source, was the medium. The energy that moves the transition gate is also mana, of course. The mana coming in from the corrupted area caused the corruption to spread.) (Voice)



 I could hear nothing but despair in his voice. I understood what he was thinking and could say nothing. I changed the subject, trying to change the heavy atmosphere.



(…the first aid treatment I gave my wife happened to save my life.) (Voice)



“What is the treatment?” (Zack)



(What I did was to transport her to a laboratory and slow down the flow of relative time. Then I myself went to another lab to research how to save her. The lab I went into was the exact opposite of that lab, where the flow of time was faster. Yes, it was a procedure that slowed her progress while I was researching…) (Voice)



 He isolated his wife in a place where time flowed at a factor of fifty, while he himself conducted his research in a place where time flowed ten times faster than the opposite. Relatively speaking, he gained five hundred times as much time, and he thought that if his research was successful, he could save his wife.



(But I could not find a fundamental solution until the very end. And in just one year, and this is with the normal flow of time, the world collapsed in just one year. The network of Transition Gates and the information and communication network using mana… We cut it off with our own hands. But the highly divided world could not exist without mana…) (Voice)



 As I hear more about it, the network through the Transition Gate has developed low-cost logistics, so that everything, including food, is produced in places with optimal conditions. Grains are produced in sub-tropical areas where the climate is stable, various fruits and spices in the south, and industrial products in the north are produced according to the characteristics of each region, and these are exchanged through the Transition Gates… The people’s lives were made possible by this huge network. The supply-demand balance of goods was disrupted everywhere because the network, which could be called the lifeline of life, was cut off.



(We did not sit idly by, but without access to mana-based equipment, it was extremely difficult to produce food. There was a slight chance of survival in places with good weather conditions. However, the results of the simulation analysis showed that civilization could not be sustained, no matter what favorable conditions were given. I have no direct confirmation of what actually happened. But from what you say, our civilization must have died. That is consistent with the narrow range of findings I have made. Perhaps there are others like me who have survived, but it is highly unlikely.) (Voice)



“Why is that? If you have all this technology, wouldn’t others have survived as well?” (Zack)



(As I said earlier, my survival is a matter of chance. I owned this laboratory before the Great Calamity. I needed to accelerate and preserve it in the course of my research, and as a result, this lab was spared contamination. I did not bring in anything contaminated except my wife’s body. And my wife’s body was immediately discarded. I extracted her soul and memories…) (Voice)



“Extract her soul and memory?” (Zack)



(Yes, as I said before, I did not find a way to save my wife. In the meantime, my wife’s body was slowly being consumed. I made the decision to abandon her body at a relatively early stage. I had to give up her body relatively early on because my research was on immortality through the reconstruction of the human body and the transference of soul and memory to artificial life.) (Voice)




“Researching immortality…so you’re taking your soul and memories and transplanting them into a new body?” (Zack)



(That’s right. The human memory is in the brain, but where is the soul? Do you know?) (Voice)



 I shook my head and answered, “I don’t know, but most of us think it resides in the Magic Crystal.”



(Magic Crystals… Huh? Do you mean Magic Crystal Stones? Do you mean crystals that can be extracted from living organisms?) (Voice)



 I nod deeply.



(The soul dwells in the Magic Crystal Stones, the Magic Crystals you call them. I thought so too. And I was right. The proof is what I am now.) (Voice)




 It seems that he thought that souls resided in magic crystals, what they called magic crystals, and developed a technique to extract them and transfer them to new magic crystals. He also made it possible to take memories directly from the brain and transfer them to storage media. Apparently, it was a fairly advanced civilization that surpassed the Earth I lived in at the beginning of the 21st century.




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