Zero-knowledge Proof

 


Translator: SFBaka

Editor: Thor’s Stone


The two Silhouettes continued advancing through the huge underground passageway.

A sturdy and secure-looking bulkhead rose up and allowed them to advance to the deepest part of the facility.

「Asia!」

Kou couldn’t help but shout Asia’s name aloud.

There was a huge computer-like structure at the back of the innermost chamber, and struggling in front of it was a bound Asia, who looked older than when he first met her. She seemed to be about 15 or 16 years old in appearance.

She still had her long silver hair and white dress but was currently bound by chains. Her mouth was also gagged by chains. She seemed so tightly bound that her beautiful brown-colored skin was marred with red marks in several places.

Even her waist-length silver hair was bound by the chains.

And what was even more surprising was her size. Her size was actually on par with a Silhouette’s.

The moment she noticed Kou, Asia became teary-eyed. Her sorrow-filled eyes appeared like they were seeking help.

「Kou, what are you seeing out there? Is Asia really here?」

「You can’t see her?」

「No. I’m sorry.」

「Kou, the video feed from Unit 5’s camera also hasn’t captured anything.」

Both Blue, who was together with Kou, and Aimer, who was watching the camera feed on the hangar carrier’s monitor, couldn’t see anything.

「So I suppose I’m the only one with a matching wavelength right now huh. So it’s kinda similar to having a knack for seeing ghosts. Uh, but in this case, it’s actually a goddess.」

「What’s Asia’s situation?」

「You really can’t see her, Blue? There’s a Silhouette-sized silver-haired young girl bound in chains right in front of us.」

「So that’s the image that represents the current state of Asia huh.」

「How should we free her though……?」

Kou and the others couldn’t come up with anything.

「Kou, can you hear me? I’m analyzing the situation from here.」

「Master!」

Master spoke to Kou in Aimer’s voice. They were currently in an emergency situation, so she must have switched with the girl.

「We’re now at the critical point of this operation, so let’s do our best. I believe you’re currently in front of some sort of central computer. Asia should be sealed with quantum chains in a higher dimension.」

「Quantum chains?」

「Asia’s main data, which was originally stored via a planetary level cloud storage network, is currently being held in an end node. She’s being bound by a blockchain within a higher dimension that’s maintained using her own power. The image you’re seeing should be a visual representation of her actual status. Her bindings are so strong that it’s even affecting the physical dimension. The release key would probably be obtained through clearing a zero-knowledge proof.」

An isolated computer unit in a cloud network is what’s called an end node.

Hence, it was only natural that humans usually couldn’t get in contact with Asia as long as they were incapable of interfering with the network.

「So how do I solve it?」

「The seal wasn’t done by Asia herself, but…… the enemy sure has used a very nasty seal. They used Asia’s power, but Ashia herself isn’t aware of what the solution is, and the verification system itself doesn’t know either. There has to be some sort of trigger, but even I can’t come up with anything definite.」

「Can’t we decode the encryption?」

「There has to be a correct solution. It should be related to Asia herself. Since you are the Development Engineer she personally chose, you should be able to come up with the right solution.」

「But…… Oh, right. Unit 5, help me out here. Can you use the Fennel OS to see if it can get us out of this deadlock?」

Unit 5 stood perfectly still and seemed like it was staring directly at Asia. Ashia also seemed like she was staring back at it.

『Please try to say things to Asia that would remind her of her previous interactions with you, pilot. That will serve as the key.』

Unit 5 presented its analysis with its usual synthetic-sounding voice.

The ladies back in the hangar carrier and Blue all focused their attention on Kou.

「Let’s see. Asia, you were the one who saved me. You told me to move my feet and run. If you didn’t do that, I might have already died back then.」

Kou started talking about his memories involving Asia.

「You asked me if I thought Master and Unit 5 had souls. And you told me to treasure all of the machines I’d encounter during my lifetime. You also granted me the qualification to be a Development Engineer.」

Kou talked about what happened between him and Asia, who still looked like a young girl back then.

「Finally, the one who led me to find Astraea was also you, Asia. It was you. You told me to ask Master where our next destination would be. And there, I was able to meet very reliable comrades who I now treasure dearly.」

After hearing Kou’s words, Nyanta and Aki became teary-eyed. Aimer clenched her dainty fists.

「I promised that I would definitely save you. So what should I do? What should I do in order to save you?」

Kou asked with full sincerity.

『High-dimensional consciousness link with Asia, complete. Zero-knowledge proof between Asia and the pilot, cleared. Matching zero-knowledge proof asymmetric emotional domain. Clear. Quantum chain release is now possible.』

Unit 5 announced Kou’s success.

「So the asymmetric-model zero-knowledge proof made use of emotional wavelength huh. If so, then it really was impossible to create a key directly. It can only be shaped by two individuals with a shared emotional experience.」

Master finally understood. Zero-knowledge proof. It was a method in cryptography where one party needed to prove to another party that they truly knew of a particular value without conveying any other information apart from the fact that they knew of it. Hence, the shared experience itself proved to be the release key.

「Ashia, can I ask you something? Is this your main body? If so, is it possible for us to only move your data alone instead of moving this entire central computer? For example, is it possible for you to move to Astraea?」

It just wasn’t feasible for Kou and Blue to take the entire huge central computer with them. Hence, Kou brainstormed for a solution.

Asia nodded in response. That meant it was possible.

If so–

「Aimer, transfer Asia’s data to Astraea as fast as you can. You’re observing the situation too, right, Astraea?」

「Roger. Initiating data transfer. In addition to direct transfer to Astraea, I will also perform a simultaneous transfer to the hanger carrier to speed up the process.」

『Data transfer process will be placed as the top priority. Preparations complete. Process start. The planetary control AI Asia will now be transferred to the arsenal fortress central control facility.』

Astraea also gave her response.

「The quantum chains haven’t been fully undone yet. Let’s go, Unit 5.」

The chains that were binding Asia were high-dimensional quantum chains. Hence, Unit 5 should be able to sever them using its Whis-infused great sword.

As expected, the chains were quickly cut down. As Kou thought, it was possible to affect high-dimensional items using Whis-infused weapons.

「Is Kou actually cutting down the dimensional disturbance? So Whis-infused items are actually able to interfere with the 5th dimension……」

Blue, who was observing the goings-on at the back, witnessed what Unit 5 had done. Unit 5 was effectively cutting down the dimensional cracks.

In her eyes, it looked like Unit 5 was only cutting thin air since she couldn’t actually see Asia herself. However, there were definitely changes occurring in the observation data.

Unit 5 appeared to be performing an elegant sword dance.

As the quantum chains continuously got cut down, the data transfer speed concurrently improved as well.

Kou finally severed the chains blocking Asia’s mouth.

「Kou!」

「Don’t move yet, Asia. I’ll get you free in just a bit.」

「You came…… You really came!」

「Of course, I did. I promised, right? Just hold on a little more. I’ll be done soon.」

Asia stared straight at Unit 5 with moist eyes.


 


One Comment

  1. Thanks for the chapter! Awesome translation! May God bless you!

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