City Series:Volume5a Chapter7
Chapter 7: Outside
I watched them until they vanished into their den on the slope.
April 20, 1944
The Prophetess's Letter: To the Former Royal Chevalier Guilliaum
Excuse me for using a pseudonym once more. This is Rose Francisca. I received your question-laden letter the other day, but I believe it would be meaningless to answer the majority of them.
You are fighting this war to liberate France from Germany and I assume you want answers to these questions in order to accomplish that. But what France needs now is the true liberation found in escaping the Primitif of the Rondeau. With France as it is, even someone who leaves the country remains bound by France's Formules and cannot escape this cage of time.
Everything that has occurred outside the country during this year is a false world created from the memories within France's Formules.
You had Jean Missel negotiate with people outside the country back in February, didn't you? But those negotiations are held every year and Sir Jean is negotiating with France's memories of that group outside the country.
France is a meticulous creature. It so fears the outside world that it refuses to Ajouter, uses its immune system to fully establish its own Signe, and even includes the actions taken outside the country during that year. You could say the world we Ajouter is a world created by France's Signe.
The outside world has decided to let France close in on itself.
Because if France were liberated, the world would be forced back 55 years.
The outside world is currently 1999 while our France is connected to 1944.
If we liberate France into the world of 1944, the outside world of 1999 will be annihilated by a 55-year paradox.
So in just a few years more, all external intervention will be cut off and France will fully close up. Once that happens, France will come to a stop with no chance of moving forward. It will repeat this year forever, with us closed inside.
You asked in your previous latter why France wishes to close up.
I think that is because the explosive known as the Wort Bombe had the power to transform the word structure of the spatial Formules. When the Wort Bombe detonated above France and caused the first Primitif, an all-encompassing change occurred to the Formules that form France. Formules are easily affected by the Messages that carry people's wills. Plus, this is a city formed entirely by journal entries. My view as a Correcteur is that the gathered wills of the majority acted as a Message which changed France.
That would mean the people in France at the time were filled with regret and doubt.
"Why is this happening?"
"Can't we redo the past?"
"Why do I feel nothing but anxiety about the future?"
Those thoughts are a given during times of war and they are likely what changed France. They remade it into a world where France could redo itself over and over again while preventing anyone from harming it.
Knowing that, what do you think of France?
I have nothing but contempt for it. And I know how to liberate it. There must be someone in the outside world who knows that as well. Someone on the outside has sent a key here so that this loop can determine everything. And I have a good guess who that person is.
So I believe everything will be decided this time. If it does not work this time, then any further attempts would be meaningless. That is how perfectly everything has been set up.
But this liberation is not something that can be forced onto France.
This world was closed by the will of the people, so it can only be opened by the will of the people. All of the people must break free of the Rondeau or it will be meaningless.
Now, I have a request for you.
Could you think about truly liberating France?
If you agree, then I will send you prophecies at regular intervals from now on. Those prophecies will combine the victory and sacrifice needed to liberate France.
Please think about it.
Rosetta's Journal: Today's 1st Entry
A lot of happy things happened this morning. I have so much to write that I will be writing this first entry now. I think I will try to use the ! and ? that Lady Beretta taught me. The nuance for those two is tricky but you can apparently decide whether or not to use them at the end of a sentence by reading the sentence aloud. I will now write another thing that Lady Beretta taught me.
"You need to include a decent space after using ! or ? unless they are followed by a closing quotation mark. That's apparently meant to make your writing easier to read. A really old teacher taught me that when I was little so it must be a pretty old rule."
Isn't that a strange rule? Okay. I hope I did that right. Those symbols do signify a pause for a breath just like the period so the space is probably for the best. And the text is definitely easier to read with a decent gap breaking up the sentences.
Now I will write about myself.
For three days now I have seen strange images whenever I go to sleep. But I know what they are now.
I think they are dreams.
I cannot prove it and I do not know why I am having dreams now.
Yesterday's dream was very strange. I was surrounded by trees much like in Boulogne Forest. I was very tall and I was viewing the trees from the same height as the flying birds.
It was a strange dream. The land from which the trees grew was sloped like a hill and the trees grew as thick as a wall. And the sky was unbelievably blue.
I could see the heavens and the earth at the same time. I could see the blue sky, the green earth below the trees, and the drifting wind.
I woke up immediately after seeing all that.
Was that a memory of Boulogne Forest? Or was it a memory of looking up at the sky from the mansion's garden? I am not sure.
But it was not a bad feeling. I felt an emotion different from happiness. I am not sure what it is called. Even a machine like me has only vague memories of her dream.
I think I will have a dream today as well. That makes me happy.
I will now move on to the next topic. It is something that just now happened. I took the bucket of morning kitchen garbage out the back entrance and placed it on the wheelbarrow. I crouched down to remove the stopper on the wheelbarrow wheel and something tugged at my hair.
I turned around to see what it was and saw a three-tailed fox. That is a variety of Monstrum called a Fantasmé Renard. It lives in the den that Lady Beretta found. There was an entry for it in the Monstrum encyclopedia that Lady Beretta has.
They are docile Monstrums and their only notable feature is the ability to transform into a person just once in their life.
I sometimes see them in the mansion's garden. But the one tugging at my hair was clearly smaller than the ones I had seen before. I have determined it was a child.
I removed my hair from its small paws and told it not to be so mischievous. The strange meeting made me happy as I pushed the wheelbarrow to the garbage area next to the mansion's gate. I looked back while descending the hill to the gate and saw the Fantasmé Renard following me. And there was another one behind it.
I wondered what this was about as I walked through the gate. But neither of them followed me out. They instead hid behind the plants growing from the mansion's hill. Colorful flowers naturally bloom from those plants each year. But the master told me to look after them this year. Those flowers that bloom in summer seemed to be a hiding place for the Fantasmé Renards. The mansion's garden may be their home. I lowered the bucket and returned to find the two had become three.
The three creatures followed me as I pushed the wheelbarrow up the hill. They would sometimes struggle with each other and cry out as if fighting over who got to go first. I intervened and stopped them whenever that happened.
I arrived back at the top of the hill and found the two parent Fantasmé Renards there. They did not run away when I approached and they were focused on the three behind me.
Then the three were reunited with the two. Only then did the two look at me and make a sound like a small door creaking.
The larger two turned around and ran off. The smaller three followed after them.
I realized what had happened while I watched them go. The larger two had three beautiful tails each. Those tails swayed when they walked and the smaller three were reaching out toward them and trying to play with them.
It was just like how the one tried to play with my hair. The three had probably thought my hair was the same as the parents' tails. I watched them until they vanished into their den on the slope.
They were good neighbors.
<The bell is ringing. It seems someone is at the door.>
Oh. I have to end this here. I will continue it tonight.
Today, I'm writing this at the Arc de Triomphe.
Now, about a month has passed since that incident, but I still haven't been arrested. Looking back at my journal entries from back then, you can tell I felt cornered and it barely sounds like me. But that's probably the real me, so I'm going to use this entry to sum up my thoughts on recent events.
1: Rose Francisca's house
The landlord of my grandma's old appartement has not contacted me and all the change of address paperwork is under the German army's control. I assume that is because they want to know and keep secret what species and race people are for their race management policies.
2: Phillip will be participating in the Heavy Barrel battle
There was an announcement on the school message board yesterday. I asked the student affairs office and it seems to be legit.
And yet that idiot still hasn't come to see me since that party a month ago. I thought he was back home riding horses around or something, but what is he thinking? And what am I supposed to do about it? Is he doing this because I chose to participate after he told me not to?
3: Lieutenant Colonel Heinz Berge will be participating in the Heavy Barrel battle
This was also announced yesterday. He's said to be the strongest Knight Striker of this age and yet he has not been made one of the 16 Sword Masters. Heinz Berge will be fighting the winner of the Heavy Barrel battle. For a normal Knight Striker, that would be an honor, I suppose.
They must really not want this to end with a French victory.
4: I am being much more cautious
I can no longer carelessly ask people about the Attesor Project, so I'm doing my best to research it on my own using the information I have access to. I haven't gone completely taciturn, but...
"You can be scary sometimes."
I get that a lot now. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I may be like this for the next 4 months.
5: Rosetta is secretly famous
After she made a lunch for Mallette and Mallette brought it to school, there have been a ton of requests to meet her. I went to meet her today and asked if she would be willing to help out at the school festival beginning on the 10th of next month. She said yes.
Rosetta has grown really sharp about a lot of things. That can be a problem but it also makes me happy. This may be how an older sister feels. She asked me about my family the other day, so I took on my grandma's identity and told her about the Sein Frau factory in San Francisco, but it was difficult to talk about Jack McWild like he was my dad.
And it was hard to explain what kind of work is done there. In America, Sein Fraus are targets of discrimination and treated as no more than tools. Rosetta has such a peaceful life here in Europe, so telling her about their tears and suicides would only worry her.
I just know she wants to be human. I still remember what she said on that first night she slept over:
"I feel even happier."
She must be remaking herself for that purpose. That's a relief, but I'm also a bit jealous because I wish I could do the same with myself. It's only about 4 months until the Format, but I want to stick with her to the end.
6: About Knight Strikers
I'm still thinking about this one. My great-grandfather, Jack McWild, tried to create the strongest Barrel, but what is the connection between seeking power like that and working to protect people? I know I'm getting argumentative here, but it scares me to think he only wanted that power to win the war.
"What kind of power is it I hope to wield?"
I don't know what that power is or if I would be able to wield it.
I hope to find some answers during the school festival's Heavy Barrel battle. Heinz Berge is known as the strongest, so if I see him fight, I might be able to see what a Heavy Barrel's true power is.
But how will that festival turn out? To be honest, there's a lot of pressure on me. I never imagined Phillip would take part. Rumor has it he went to ask Lieutenant Colonel Berge to nominate him just as the Lieutenant Colonel was preparing to do so. What a strange coincidence.
This must be a change to history. And it's not overestimating my own importance to say I caused it. That idiot is almost certainly doing this to send a message to me.
If I started Signing about him, I have a feeling I would gradually start writing worse and worse things. I just hope he loses somewhere along the line. Well, assuming I'm not arrested beforehand.
I think it's about time I got back home. What time is it now anyway? Surely it isn't nine already.
<The plaza clock says it is 8:46 PM.>
1: Paris Liberation Strategy Meeting #7
I call it a meeting, but it was only Old "Blue-Eyes" and me. Still, he seemed in a really good mood today. He boasted that he could remove the power limiters on all the Lourd de Marionnettes in Paris by the end of July. All of the ones in Paris have a few of their cylinders removed, but his grandson is in the German army and can apparently get his hands on some of the spare parts.
His grandson will apparently be using the family Lourd de Marionnette at the Sorbonne Lourd de Marionnette battle, but they're probably plotting something there as well. According to Rosetta, that girl and Heinz Berge will be participating too. Who knows how that will turn out.
2: Cleanup after the High Priestess
The things the High Priestess had been preparing to send out were discovered in the neighboring room. The neighbors are a 4-person family with no connection to the Resistance, but when Old "Blue-Eyes" was nonchalantly passing by the High Priestess's room (which is now empty), they called out to him. He is quite well known in Paris after all.
"We didn't want this to fall into German hands, so we hid it away."
The old man's grandson is in the German army, but it seems everyone in Paris assumes it's some kind of plan. They are correct in that assumption, but I hope it doesn't put that grandson in danger.
That family handed him the letters and packages given to the High Priestess between March 20 and 23 for delivery out of the country.
We are taking responsibility by sending them out ourselves.
3: The Germans have begun pursuing the Attesor Project.
And the head of their research team is Heinz Berge. If he still had his memories, he would remember a certain incident almost immediately. He would remember our sole point of contact. And if he did remember, I couldn't stay here in Pairs. I would have to go to Bourgogne.
But it also seems his memories were not fully removed by the Psyche Outer surgery. He was promised the position of the strongest with the Panzer Ritter Project and yet he is pursuing that abominable project from the past. The past is not yet dead.
4: Proof of Rose Francisca's prophecies
On the way to the meeting with Old "Blue-Eyes" today, I saw an old man sitting drunk in front of a bakery. That bakery was hit by a robbery about a month ago and the entire family was killed.
I was curious, so I asked the old man what he was doing there. He spoke on and on in what I would normally have written off as the ravings of a drunk. He said the baker's son had fled the country in June of last year. He also claimed to be that son. He said he had lived outside of France until he returned last year. He said everything about our France is a lie. He said he had tried to stop his family from being killed but they had not believed him. He said he had tried to stop the robbery and gotten shot. He said it had all been over by the time he woke in the hospital.
And he said he wanted to liberate this France that he called a lie.
"Please don't let my family to be killed again."
The way he said that told me he was not lying.
That is all that happened today.
Rosetta's Journal: Today's 2nd Entry
I will now continue where I left off. Lady Beretta visited before lunch today. She leaned her bicyclette against the mansion's door with her bag on the luggage rack. She took my hand and said the following.
"Can I ask you one thing? I want you to run a stand at the school festival. There are going to be several different stands set up in the university yard and we'll all be eating and singing and dancing there. Just think of it as doing a bunch of unproductive things at the end of the month."
"I see. So it is like the Witch's Sabbath. That was in one of the picture books you gave me."
"Not quite. But I guess it's close enough."
"What do I need to do at this Sabbath? Chop up a sacrifice?"
"Unfortunately there won't be any sacrifices or sacramental bread there. Our department is managing a stand and this one girl who knows how to cook...how should I put this? There were some issues related to filial piety and she's had to drop out."
I do not know what filial piety means. But I asked if I would really be a sufficient replacement for that person.
"Of course. Mallette has been bragging about you. She keeps telling people that a girl who really knows how to cook has been visiting our appartement."
Is knowing how to cook really something worth bragging about?
The two of us then entered the kitchen and made lunch. Lady Beretta said she would be visiting the library that afternoon. I have learned a lot about her after speaking with her over the past month. In America, she piloted Lourd de Marionnettes and helped a vigilante group in Image City – San Francisco. Her family runs a Belle de Marionnette maintenance factory. She came to France in order to give someone a letter.
But there are some things she will not tell me when I ask about them. Like why she cannot get along with Sir Phillip. Or why she looks after me so much.
There is a lot I do not know about her. But there is also a lot I do not know about myself. Who is my father? Why was I made? I simply do not know.
I think there are just some things that will never be known.
But I asked about Sir Phillip during our conversation today.
"Do you fight with Sir Phillip because he is important to you?"
She smiled a little without saying anything. It was not what I would normally describe as a small smile. I am not quite sure how to describe it.
Seeing that smile made me feel like something was caught in my chest.
It was a strange feeling. It was like I had stopped breathing. It was like something could not pass through my chest properly. I thought about the logical reason behind it and asked a question.
"Do you not fight with me or my master because we are not important to you?"
My thoughts here were much like a profit-and-loss calculation. I am not sure how to explain it. But it was like when I choose the best of the vegetables brought by the deliveryman and cook them first. It felt like she had made a decision like that.
It was a strange feeling. It was the feeling of being not chosen. I felt it when I thought Lady Beretta had chosen Sir Phillip over me. Happiness made my chest feel like it was opening up and this was the opposite. It felt like my chest was tightening up.
I realized that the opposite of happiness was not a good thing.
Lady Beretta stopped smiling when she saw my face. And she placed her hand on my head with a look of relief that was different from a smile.
"Unfortunately I can't exactly say I've acted like you or that old man are important to me. And it's all because I jumped into this mansion that one night. Rosetta. I have already gotten you and that old man caught up in all this and I have to take responsibility for that."
"By not getting you involved in any more danger. By protecting you."
She smiled again there.
"That's the duty of a Lourd de Écrivain. But I can't protect everything."
"There are things not even you can protect?"
"It was because I was injured that I got you two involved. I can barely even protect myself in this war."
The word "war" stuck in my mind. Yes. The master had mentioned that France was about 70% occupied by a country called Germany. We are apparently being given some limited prosperity at their mercy.
I do not know what that means. But Lady Beretta is involved in it. She even bled. I doubt she wants to bleed for people like us who do not know what is happening.
Realizing that removed what was caught in my chest.
I apologized to Lady Beretta. She said nothing and simply rubbed my head.
It was a familiar feeling. Perhaps the father buried somewhere in my memories did the same thing to me before I became self-aware.
We then prepared a light meal in the kitchen.
I decided to chop up and fry the pommes de terre. I noticed how they were all shaped differently.
And I realized something strange.
I am a machine. I can grow and evolve to become more human. But I am not completely human.
I am inferior to a human.
So why did I feel that emotion when I thought Lady Beretta was comparing me to Sir Phillip? I questioned the result of that comparison despite knowing that I am inferior. Why was that? I do not know.
Do the differently-shaped pommes de terre think things along those lines?
I felt like I would not be able to chop them up if I kept thinking about that. So I peeled them all and steamed them and crushed them. I then rolled them all into the same shape before adding bread crumbs and making them into small croquettes.
I finished frying them and sprinkled salt on them. That made them all the same shape.
I lined them up on a plate while telling Lady Beretta what had happened in the garden. She was very interested in the Fantasmé Renard story. She said that such things appear a lot in France. She told me a strange story about the Beast of Gévaudan.
Then I heard three sounds from Boulogne Forest. They sounded like stone being struck.
Lady Beretta did not even turn around and said they were gunshots. She said some of the Germans mistook the forest park for a hunting ground and hunted the animals there.
"That must seem horribly savage to the French."
She sounded exasperated. But there was also disapproval in the way she stated it. She is a participant in the war. I do not really understand what that means. But will I also be involved in the war if I begin to feel some kind of emotion in response to those gunshots?
Lady Beretta had a gunshot wound to her leg when she first visited the mansion. I had no emotional reaction to it then. But would I now?
I do not know.
That is what happened today.
Guilliaum's Letter: To a Far Distant Friend
My friend. I am glad to have so many opportunities to write you of late.
A lot has happened recently. It seems things are becoming more difficult.
Here is what Old "Blue-Eyes" told me today:
"The Germans are apparently investigating that weird Attesor Project."
Can you believe it!? And I doubt that old man has realized I was involved in that project!
As far as he knows, I was a "nameless" Lourd de Écrivain who ran around France. And the Attesor Project has been effectively erased from existence. Almost no one involved still lives. And most of the documents and research reports were burned, so it shouldn't be possible to Signe them here in Paris either. My military records are missing for that time period, so when the Germans took me prisoner, they assumed an unofficial unit like mine would not leave any records. But they were mistaken about that. I was actually involved in the Attesor Project which was even more unofficial than the unofficial unit.
Come to think of it, that bastard Heinz was the one and only German who came in contact with the Attesor Project. Because I met him and was defeated by him during a test.
But I never thought he would pursue that project after all this time. Are the Germans feeling the pressure and want to gather all the Perdus Artifice? Are those Gard-class aerial warships not enough for them?
Today, we finally established a new route to get things in and out of the country. We will be using that to make deals with the Allies. I need some specialized parts to fully repair the Lourd de Marionnette that has ended up at my home.
Also, Old "Blue-Eyes" seems to have settled on gathering parts to repair the Lourd de Marionnettes within France. He was very excited about it.
My task there is to create a list of the Lourd de Marionnettes in Paris. Since we have no tanks or airplanes, we must use those as our weapon. With my old connections and Old "Blue-Eyes"' connections, we should find a fair number of them. If we are to hold an operation to liberate Paris, it will probably happen in August. I predict the Allies' western front will go on the offensive sometime around June. We must keep careful watch so we can take action of our own once they arrive near Paris.
I am going to be busy.
That about sums it up for me. Rosetta is, well, cheerful. She didn't used to be this way, but now I can tell the difference between her cheerful days and her non-cheerful day.
I guess that's a good thing?
But she has been making an awful lot of vegetarian dishes lately. She may have come to dislike blood after everything she has learned. I hope that's something I can change.
Also, I'm starting to feel like I should fully believe what Rose Francisca is saying. I've just been Ajouter-ing so many disconcerting things of late. I'm starting to wonder if I really am a lie.
Goodbye for now. Until next time.
Heinz Berge's Journal
Today at 10:00, I led the training at the training grounds. At 12:30, Phillip Missel joined us in Expert de Épée. He fought five mock battles with the others and swiftly won each one. According to him, the new cylinder system was causing issues and he could only fight short battles.
At 18:20, training ended. I predicted Phillip Missel would have earned the others' approval through the mock battles. I did indeed see him at the center of their group as they left.
At 20:31, a direct telegram arrived from HQ.
"You will be assigned leader of the Attesor Project Research Team on June 1. Your wellbeing is very important for another project, so you must make appropriate adjustments before that date arrives."
At 22:18, I discovered a part of my own past while researching the documents related to the Attesor Project. I will Lernen the newspaper clipping here:
"The funeral for the family of Captain Heinz Berge, who has returned from Bourgogne, will be held at Grunewald Park Graveyard today at 2 PM. The forecast is for rain, so be careful."
The date was from just after the end of the previous great war. Thanks to my Psyche Outer surgery, I had no memory of or emotion about the revelation that I had a family, that they were dead, and that I had likely attended their funeral.
I was only interested in the fact that the newspaper article mentioned that I had been in Bourgogne. I cannot recall any battle-related memories of that time. Why is that? All my memories of the previous great war exist in the back of my mind, so why are the ones from the Bourgogne Region the only ones missing? Was the article merely mistaken? I have no way of knowing.
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