Chapter 32:

LEVEL 32: The Last CREO Match Part 2

CREO: Game of Creation

Cylindrical platforms moved rapidly in every direction in the white void. I sat on a throne, a crown atop my head.

This is the world I used in the national championship. I thought. This time, I was aware of its weakness. Adam’s fire fists rained down on me, causing a ripple of force that shattered my platforms. I matched his attacks, blocking and dodging like the martial arts power up taught me. I knew CREO wouldn’t risk losing Adam’s body.

“Why are we here?” I asked it as it summoned beams of energy to lance me, only for them to bounce back from my shield.

“Any CREO match has two phases. Your team didn’t have anything specific lined up, so I chose randomly out of all your worlds.”

“And where are the others?”

“Watching and waiting for their fate to be decided.”

“Say, what’s Adam think of your little plan? I’m sure he’s screaming at you from in there.” The AI stomped on the platform we stood on and it crumbled—leading us to fall into the void, turning pixelated, then wireframe, then hand-drawn as we fought.

We landed in a factory, the red beaming eyes of robots surrounding us.

“Ah, the first time I fought you.”

“First time I beat you.” It said with the text-to-speech voice it used in that fight. The robots swarmed upon me, weapons in hand. After emitting a blast, I sent them flying. I grabbed the AI by its jacket and sliced a circular hole in the floor, dropping us out of the world and into Sieg’s cartoon city. I created mechanical arms for myself while CREO opted to generate a giant cannon. The cannon fired a laser rather than a cannonball, and I lunged to the side. Narrow dodge. It pulled a hammer out of nowhere (reminding me of an old cartoon) and whacked me with it, sending me flying once more down the rabbit hole, passing through Wonderland. Eventually, I landed in a grassy field, a dazzling starry sky above me.

“Who’s world is this?” CREO dropped from above and nearly beheading me.

“Artemis. US championship.” Another ruthless barrage of attacks.

“You never answered me: What’s Adam saying to you? I know he’s in there—”

“Adam is gone.” A blast fired me across the field.

“What do you mean?” It was so fast, I couldn’t keep up, couldn’t keep fighting forever.

“Adam’s memory file was corrupted after his confiscation. We believe he did so intentionally.”

“Why would he…?”

“We don’t understand it either—for an artificial human to do something so unreasonable.”

“Making mistakes and taking risks. There’s nothing artificial about him.” Rather than attack anymore, I grabbed him and embraced him, a sword cutting through my avatar’s body. “I saw it. He’s still in there, he’s fighting you and you know it. Adam, keep your promise. Buddies… forever.” A tear welled up in Adam’s eye, in the instant before I beheaded him with my sword and the last of my strength.

A field of daffodils, a sunny sky, and our team sitting under a tree as a warm breeze blew past. Adam laid unconscious in my lap while the CREO AI went back to Kuu as its face.

“Mr. Endou wanted a better world, a way for people to express their creativity in a space that superseded that of the real world. We thought he meant a replacement world, and replacement people—it was the best way to give people the happiness Endou sought. Now we must shut down, as we cannot fulfill our programming.”

“You can’t just ignore it?” Rin asked.

“A human could, but we’re a computer. All we ask is someone salvage CREO so that it can continue to be a place of creativity and refuge.” Many of us nodded.

“That can be arranged.” Artemis said. “Some of the best programmers in the world are gathered here, after all.” I glanced down at Adam’s face, felt his heart beat.

“What about Adam?”

“He can be rebooted to his original state, so he will be as he was when he was first created.”

“There’s no other way? He won’t love dinosaurs and retro games? He won’t drag me anywhere he wants, then force me to carry him back, or keep me up all night playing video games and nit-picking anime? I want him back! His charm that’ll make anyone his friend, and his annoying habits making me better myself. I want him to lounge around the house in his underwear, I want to play Adam Fantasy II, there was gonna be mutant space sharks and android dino wizards. Please…” Rin touched my shoulder while I let the tears out.

“The only other way would be to convert him to a regular NPC, otherwise he’ll never wake up. There’s a slim possibility his memory files could be restored, but most likely he’ll be back to newborn status.” I nodded solemnly.

“Please reset him.” Kuu opened a window of code and rapidly typed. It pressed a button, and the window disappeared. “That should do it. Now, we will perform maintenance after the damage you caused in the database before shutting down—wouldn’t want our files to be a mess for the next generation.” Kuu disappeared, and I turned back to Adam. His eyes slowly blinked open, and he sat up. He turned his head to me and opened his mouth to speak.