“The Second Test,” Cɪrthsta activates the portal, and passing through it brings us to another dungeon doorway. These doors appear as large and robust as the first dungeon’s did, but these doors have a different scene etched onto them.
The depiction here takes the form of a humanoid figure lying on a table surrounded by what appears to be clutter. Special emphasis has been made on select items (these items have higher relief than the others), and a couple areas in the humanoid have been “made hollow” perhaps implying parts of it are “missing.”
“Are we putting something back together in this one?” Esscie asks Cɪrthsta.
“In a way, yes,” she replies. “Mr. Apothecarian will have the best idea what to do once we enter. Basically, we gotta retrieve a handful of parts strewn across a floor full of clutter in order to return the android shown to a complete state. He’ll reactivate, and then open up our way out of there.” How Durittal is gonna “know what to do” if his specialty is apothecary, but I guess we’ll find out once we begin for real.
“I suspect the rest of us will have to stay still and quiet, like last time?” I ask.
“I think that’d be best, to avoid accidentally dooming us all,” she affirms. I can do that.
“I should state beforehand,” Durittal speaks with a serious tone. “While I’m an Earthling, I haven’t touched a mechanism since before I became a Watcher. I can’t guarantee I’ve retained anything from when I was growing up.”
“I’m sure you’ll be fine,” Cɪrthsta reassures him. “You’re our best shot at this one, so be sure to do your best!”
“What’s an ‘Earthling’?” asks Kess.
“My people used to be the blacksmiths of the Gods and their kin, but that was before the Five Waves and the invasion of the Archivists,” Durittal explains. I remember coming across books recounting people like that, but like other things the Archivists have snuffed out the Earthlings have been considered as mythical beings that didn’t actually exist.
“If it’s absolutely necessary, I guess I could offer any help I can manage,” sighs Cɪrthsta, then winking at him.
We enter to a room whose ceiling is nearly as high as the First Test’s room, but length-wise this room is only half the size. The room lights up, and a partially-disassembled clockwork humanoid lies motionless on a stone table. Strewn about the place, on the floor and on various shelves on the walls of this room, are gears, metal rods, other pieces of clockwork, as well as a number of items that seem clearly unrelated to the being in any way (like strips of cloth and pieces of wood). On the other side of the room is the other closed doorway; this one, though, has a keyhole lock mechanism to it that, I gather, only the android can use.
I spot a section of floor that’s mostly clear of objects, and head over to that place. The others decide to follow me while Durittal makes his way to the automaton.
He pulls himself up onto the table and proceeds to inspect it thoroughly. After his inspection, he raises his head up, looks at us, smiles briefly (which I didn’t really expect him to do), and then climbs down from the table.
He begins scouring the floor for the pieces he requires for the humanoid. He finds one of them fairly quickly, and soon after locates a second. After some time, he collects a third piece and returns to the android to fit them in.
He hops back down and resumes searching for more parts. It looks like he knows exactly what he’s looking for, but this time around he’s having more trouble finding them. He found a piece on the floor near where Dass and Kess are standing, but after several minutes of searching realizes he’ll probably only be able to find the remaining pieces on the shelves.
His stoutness proves particularly difficult on him in searching the wall shelves for the required parts. He proved capable of surpassing those difficulties, however, and though he took longer than someone my height would’ve taken in the end all the remaining missing pieces had been collected and placed in their proper slots inside the automaton.
Fully completed, the machination suddenly comes to life and sits up. Without acknowledging our existence, it shuffles down from the table standing on its feet. It walks in an expected clockwork fashion over to the second door. It stops before the locking mechanism, and then “coughs up” a unique-looking key from its mouth. It inserts the key into the lock, turns it clockwise twice, and then stands back as the two massive doors slowly swing open.
We exit, and congratulate Durittal while the doors close behind us.
“To be frank, I hadn’t felt such an interest towards clockworks since my teenaged years. I was sure glad I could rely on a long-lost intuition more than actual knowledge on clockworks.” That would probably explain why he seemed so happy after initially inspecting the automaton. Regardless, we’ve made it through a second Test and again we can relax for the rest of the day.