`Love is a bizarre malady of the mind that causes anyone misfortunate enough to fall under its sway to behave irrationally, putting aside all sense of reason and self preservation. It is much like religion in these respects, except that whilst those under the sway of divine illusions believe themselves to be serving some more gradiose purpose, love is primarily motivated by an exceptional dedication to one individual. Love is unique in other regards. The subject might fervently deny their condition, repressing their feelings, but ultimately their irrationality is evidenced erratic behaviour with regard to the object of their presumed affection. Such appears to be the case regarding the individual referred to throughout this document as “Subject A”.’
Xavier paused. Clearly more research materials were required. Typically his first response would be to question Lucian but he had been unable to locate him at the temple. He turned towards the door of his study, pausing only briefly to admire the transcendent beauty of the equation scrawled across his walls, and headed into the corridor of the headquarters of the Wayfinders’ Guild. It was not long before he came across the mechanical figure standing outside one of the meeting rooms.
“Hello, robot, can you tell me what is love?”
Clockwork eyes studied Xavier, the cogs that made up its mind seeming to whirr as it turned over the question.
“Guild Councillor,” came a voice from behind the figure, “How are you today?”
Xavier peered round the mechanical figure to see the voice was coming from a bespectacled young woman, who was crouched down screwing something into place.
“I am very confused.”
“Do be careful, the mechanism is very delicate and Guild Councillor Walker has said you’re not to touch anything.”
“Did he specifically say I’m not allowed to touch anything?”
The young woman rose to her feet. She was Felicia, a member of the Clockmaker’s Guild and a regular visitor to the Wayfinder’s Guild.
“He did actually say that I shouldn’t let Councillor Sarmandastra interfere with it.”
He had actually said ‘that idiot Xavier’ but Felicia figured the omission would be more diplomatic.
“Oh,” said Xavier, looking downcast.
“This is Unit 05,” said Felicia beaming proudly, “I was loaning it services to Councillor Walker.”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“What is love?”
“That’s far from a straightforward question.”
“Subject A seems to have been terribly affected.”
“Who or what is subject A?”
“Subject A is a conundrum.”
All individuals were merely facets of his own psyche, of course, but the individual in question was one that defied all explanation. His behaviour during the time in which Xavier had observed him had been increasingly erratic and unpredictable.
“Well love is… tell me Councillor is there someone you care about deeply?”
“Hmmm… maybe Lucian?”
“Would you be willing to risk yourself in to protect him?”
Xavier thought for a moment. Lucian was a very entertaining aspect of himself and he would certainly be very sad if he disappeared. On the other hand he had always had this niggling fear that his whole world would cease to be if anything bad happened to the identity he called himself.
“Well… love is when you care about someone so much that you’d be willing to put their needs before your own.”
“That sounds very irrational.”
“Well, love isn’t exactly supposed to be rational.”
“Then it is a sickness of sorts?”
Felicia started to laugh.
“Yes, I suppose you could think of it like that but you see, the thing is, that love can also make you feel very good inside. When you’re with the person you love every silly little thing they do can make you smile.”
“Subject A did not seem happy.”
“Well love can be painful too. Like if you find out that the person you love does not love you back or you can’t be with the one you love.”
“Hmmm… that seems very irrational. Why would you be in love with someone that hurts you?”
“Well, I suppose you don’t really have a choice.”
Xavier gave Felicia a sceptical look, clearly unsatisfied with these answers.
“I’m going to find James and ask him.”
“I’m sure he’ll enjoy that!”
As Xavier disappeared down the corridor, Unit 05 regarded his retreating back.
“Right you’re all done!’ said Felicia at last.
“Operating capacity 100%. Modules installed: basic combat, alchemy. This Unit's upgrades are ready for field testing.”
“Yup, we’re good to go!” said Felicia, grinning proudly.
“Observation: The Councillor has an unusual disposition.”
“I’d be surprised if anyone could figure that one out.”
As Unit 05’s clockwork brain ticked over it did not quite realise what the idea that had been planted was. The strange notion that refused to go away.