City Series:Volume5b Chapter16
Chapter 16: Mountain
07/19/1944 – 07/28/1944
I want to be
A resident of
July 19, 1944
Rose Francisca’s Journal
Beretta has stayed at home staring at a map in her room for two days now. She wants to climb the mountain before long. She did not get mad when I commented that idiots always do like to climb to high places. That was strange.
I taught Rosetta how to treat wounds this evening. She is a good learner. She worries me sometimes when she zones out, presumably in thought, but she has what matters most when it comes to being a nurse: she does not feel fear when she sees someone hurt. But will she still feel no fear if she ever needs to hurt someone herself?
<The calendar shows 16 days remaining, including today.>
There are only about two weeks left until August 3 when this village is destroyed.
The earthquake in question happens tomorrow night.
The mountain route between Dijon and Autun will be blocked and the mountain pass will entirely collapse.
If things continue as usual, the mountain route to Autun will recover by the 28th.
My prophecies say Beretta and Rosetta will use that route to return to Paris and thus avoid the dragon attack.
Then they will participate in the uprising begun by Monsieur Guilliaum in Paris.
It would normally take Heinz Berge 5 days to return to Paris by Lourd de Marionnette, but he will instead take an emergency transport train from Nevers to enter Paris during the day on August 1.
And then many people will die.
A general resistance force led by the Allies will attack the blockade line in the early morning of August 6. Beretta and Rosetta will participate using the Lourd de Marionnette that led to their meeting.
Of course, this will happen after my own death. Most of it is meaningless to a dead person. Jack’s letter that Beretta gave me is similarly meaningless.
I will not read it. I wrote many letters with no addressee in the few years before the Primitif. I wrote them to him and to my daughter. The two of them can never read those letters, so why should I get to read this one? If I could somehow find myself outside of this repeating loop of time, then I would want to read his letter and hold it to my chest along with the letters I wrote.
<It is currently midnight.
Outside this hidden room, someone knocks on the examination room door despite the late hour.>
Who could that be? I doubt they will discover this place since the door is locked, but I need to be quiet as I leave. Once I close up the wall, no one will discover my secret.
1: I have started cooking
I am sick of heading out in search of a bistro that is still open during this wartime.
2: I met with Phillip Missel
Phillip Missel is the key to the coming uprising, so he came to my place along with Old Blue Eyes to make our usual two-person meeting into a three-person meeting. He is apparently in charge of the Lourd de Marionnette drills for the Germans. He is using that position to gradually appropriate some useful components, so his house’s workshop is removing the power limiters on the 8 Lourd de Marionnettes that participated in the school festival’s Lourd de Marionnette battle. His presence means the Missel family workshop counts as being under German management, so they have a lot of freedom to do whatever they want.
“Also, another 6 went in for ‘repairs’ about a month ago.”
His confident tone when reporting this shows he is quite the Lourd de Écrivain.
3: We discussed when to hold the uprising
We had tentatively planned on August 1, but then we realized something.
“If Heinz Berge manages to return to Paris, the uprising will end in failure.”
Our plan relies heavily on Lourd de Marionnettes, but that Heinz has never lost a Lourd de Marionnette battle. Thus, he would greatly increase our odds of failure. In that case, we must begin the uprising before he arrives in Paris. He is rumored to be on standby in Nevers, but we must be on the lookout to see if he makes any more moves.
That is all for today.
Today was a very busy day. I must write this journal entry but I am kind of tired. Mother Rose examined my body again after my bath and it turns out the individual muscles in my butt and shoulders have begun to develop. That has apparently built up my exhaustion.
Lady Beretta remained at the house all day today. The two of us went out in the afternoon to do the wood chopping and to repair the iron pot out back. It was incredible how she chopped the wood with animalistic speed.
After we finished that we washed our hands in the pond in the backyard. Lady Beretta slipped on a rock and fell. The fish approached and poked against her – they were the ones she had caught in the river – but she looked so confused about what had happened that I could not help but laugh.
She started splashing water at me and I fell too.
We were feeling hot after all the work anyway so we removed each other’s clothing – I recall Lady Mallette referring to that as “stripping” someone – and had fun splashing each other. I tried to catch one of the swimming fish but living fish struggle a lot. I was surprised at how strong it was.
I realized something while floating in the pond in only my underwear.
My body has almost the same relative density as a human one. Back when I had prosthetic arms and legs I had the weight of steel. But now many parts of my body have flesh and blood and strength just like humans.
When I told Lady Beretta this she gently rubbed her stomach while praising my body. But there are still several parts of my body that are not fully formed. For example the area from the center of my stomach to between my legs still has only the lines that become the foundation for stretch marks. So I am still not entirely human.
What I know about that comes from what Mother Rose taught me. Simply put my unevolved parts mean I cannot have children. I do not know if that really matters. Perhaps I will evolve once I have figured that out. The human body does so many different things.
When we left the pond and wrung out our clothes we realized the backyard was fully visible form the road out front. I was not all that surprised but Lady Beretta quickly pulled me inside. Even though she was the one who spread her legs for stretches while in the nude within the Lourd de Marionnette hangar at the school festival. I was the only person there at the time but I still do not see why she was embarrassed here.
“I mean uh you know. I don’t want other people to see me naked. C’mon.”
She would not give me a clear answer but I think she will eventually explain.
Today was a fun day. It had been a while since I could laugh with and speak with Lady Beretta like this. And she asked me something else earlier:
“I know this is sudden but will you climb the mountain with me tomorrow or the day after that?”
I immediately asked Mother Rose if that was okay. She was doing some kind of work in the examination room with the door locked but she emerged after a short delay and gave me approval.
We will climb the mountain tomorrow morning.
<Lady Beretta is sleeping in the other bed with the covers removed and while scratching her side.
She is very talented.>
After pulling the covers up over her, I will go to sleep myself.
That is not my job but I want to do it. It is that kind of thing.
Heinz Berge’s Journal
At 10:35, I began Rot Löwe’s final inspection. Both knee joints check out. The damage to the heels has been repaired. The damage to the arms has been repaired for the right arm only. The shield I let go of during the battle was destroyed and abandoned.
At 11:28, my 2nd Aide requested an emergency meeting while I was preparing for lunch. He said the combat visuals from Rot Löwe’s sight devices had been printed and he had discovered something unusual in the bird’s eye view photograph taken while I leaped up toward the sky. There is a large table sticking out from the rock wall approximately 4 miles north of our current location. That isolated section of land is a semicircle with a radius of about 7 miles.
Part of the forest on its upper surface shows signs of an unnatural pattern and, while the angle of the photograph was too shallow to tell for sure, we all agreed there appears to be a large clearing near the center of the table’s forest. There is likely something there.
At 16:52, I used a truck to meet with the two scouts pursuing the black dragon. The black dragon had vanished in the peaks of the Morvan Mountains and has not moved since. I assume it is working to heal the damage to its body.
At 18:20, #02 Mittel Panzer discovered a lot of metal on an old mountain path near the rock wall table while it was out in night gear to search for a path to the top of the table. According to its report, it appeared to be the remains of 2 Klein Panzers, 1 Mittel Panzer, and 1 Grösse Panzer. They had all been weathered away beyond the point of identification, but the Grösse Panzer had French-style curved armor.
We will all head out at 24:00.
Phillip Missel’s Letter: To the Former Royal Guard Chevalier
Thank you for everything you did for me today. I am not the politest person in the world, so here I am writing this kind of letter after only just meeting you.
Now, I do feel bad since I am just awful at writing letters, but please hear me out even if you must view it as a child’s nonsense. When discussing the uprising, you said you would take command and stay inside that mansion holding a telegram transmitter, but I must ask that you do not leave the mansion no matter what happens.
To be blunt, a one-legged Lourd de Écrivain would only get in the way.
And however you view it, you are the leader who binds together the 1500 members of the Paris Resistance. The structure of the Resistance means only a select few know who you are, but your presence is still extremely important.
A lot of people will only Ajouter your words for the first time through the telegram transmitter I brought you today. That will determine their morale during the coming battle.
100 receivers were distributed to the Resistance cells and 15 transmitters were given to the commanders. With those and you, our defiant spirit can reach every last resistor in Paris. So do not leave your mansion. Your presence should allow everyone to recover even if – and my grandfather will probably deck me for even suggesting it – the operation fails.
I would like for you to give some thought to your own position during the coming strategy meetings. Fighting is our job and supporting us is your job.
July 20, 1944
Rosetta’s Journal: Today’s First Entry
It is before dawn and I am inside the shrine on the mountaintop.
If my memories are accurate this is my first time mountain climbing. It was my first time for a lot of things. The mountain path was dimly lit with dawn approaching. We used the fading moonlight in order to climb the mountain.
I could see the forest on the valley side of the mountain path at first but we quickly moved up above that. At some point the sky came into view there. The valley river slope was not too steep to descend but it was still dark and I did not want to take a peek down.
While climbing the mountain path I realized my legs were working well. I usually only use my legs to walk but I started to think about what it meant to “move forward”.
<It has grown a little chilly.>
My sweat may have grown cold. I do not know the current time since there is no clock. But I do know that it is shortly before dawn.
<The sky has grown purple and a scattering of cirrus clouds is visible as if blown in from the east. The sky in that direction is a little bit yellower and brighter. The sun will probably rise soon.>
On the mountaintop the north side is a steep cliff. The east side contains the mountain path we climbed. And the south and west sides are gentle forested slopes. The mountaintop is about the size of the mansion’s courtyard.
<The mountaintop shrine is not a shrine with a connection to a god. It is a bowl-shaped hut of about 2 yards high made of stone and cement. The inside has a drafty window and a hole to let smoke out. There is also a strange rectangular hole near the smoke hole.>
Lady Beretta says the strange hole is a whistle that emits a tone to keep the black dragon away.
She has been using a pair of binoculars to view the area around a distant cliff face.
We had brought some firewood with us so I placed that in the shrine’s sunken hearth and started a fire. I am preparing some breakfast.
I was right to gather some water on the way up the mountain path. There is no water on the mountaintop.
<Lady Beretta has walked over.
“The sun will rise soon. Come on out.”>
This is my first time seeing the sunrise from atop a mountain.
I saw the sunrise.
I was excited to see it rising but it took an awfully long time to do so.
The eastern sky grew too bright to look directly at and it stayed like that for several minutes. After that light shined up from beyond the eastern mountains and then the large round sun seen in picture books rose up. I could not help but stare in wonder.
This was very different from the small sun I saw from beyond the rows of buildings in Paris.
<The sunlight is sweeping away the purple remaining in the sky. The sky shines a bright yellow and it eventually changes from a light blue to a rich azure.
The sun has already shown its full form and it has risen high above the eastern mountains.
The front of my body feels warm in its light. My back still feels the chill of the night.>
Lady Beretta has still said nothing about breakfast or tried to eat anything which is unusual for her. She is once more looking through those binoculars. Since she is jotting things down on a notepad I assume she is interested in something that has fallen into the forest below. She must sometimes accidentally aim the binoculars toward the sun because she will suddenly cry out in pain. Is she okay? I wonder what she is looking at. If she is willing to tell me I would like for her to do so after we head back.
While bathing in the morning sun I noticed a cluster of flowers growing toward the mountain path. They were the same as the flowers in the Paris mansion’s garden. There were a lot of yellow and white and red flowers spread out within the small leaves.
Lady Beretta told me what they were.
“Those are four o’clock flowers in English but aren’t they known as belle-de-nuit in French? The French add ‘belle’ to a name to say it’s cute. That means these flowers are cute and it means Belle de Marionnettes are cute.”
I see. Apparently these flowers were my cousins as far as names are concerned. I wonder if the ones at the mansion are blooming like this right now.
“What was the language of flower meaning for belle-de-nuit again? Was it shyness?”
At the very least that word did not apply to Lady Beretta in the slightest.
I would like to pick one but I know I should not.
I will instead invite Lady Beretta to eat breakfast.
Heinz Berge’s Telegram: To German Army General Headquarters
I am reporting as the Attesor Project Investigation Team Leader. At 04:22 today, we recovered the wreckage of 2 Klein Panzers, 1 Mittel Panzer, and 1 Grösse Panzer within the Morvan Mountains. The production numbers discovered on the Klein and Mittel ones revealed them to be from a battle fought 25 years ago. We are currently transporting out the wreckage of the unidentified Grösse Panzer. At 05:11, we began traveling along the mountain path discovered by our scout team. At 05:56, we discovered the ruins of some kind of structure within the Morvan Mountains. At 07:01, investigation of those ruins led us to identify them as the Attesor Laboratory. We have discovered the origin point of the Attesor Project and we will begin excavation based on related documents. That is all.
This is bad. It is 10 PM and I am writing this while waiting for Rose Francisca in the waiting room of the mayor’s home. The village’s leaders are on the other side of the door in front of me discussing what to do about the Germans. I was in there a bit ago telling them about the Germans I saw.
I am sharing the large waiting room with the wives waiting for their husbands.
I did not bring Rosetta with me. I said that was so she could look after the clinic while we were out, but I was honestly worried. She’s been acting weird. Her normal careless attitude is gone and it kind of scared me today.
Although if she hadn’t been acting weird, we wouldn’t have found the Germans or the Attesor Project’s lab.
On the way down from the shrine this morning, we washed our dishes in a river along the way. We set them out on the sunny valley side of the mountain path so they could dry and then the morning wind blew one of the cups down the slope.
The 5-yard slope led down to the forest below.
It was a ceramic cup, but it caught on the slope without breaking. I started to climb down to get it, but Rosetta climbed down ahead of me. Just as she was about to reach it, the cup rolled the rest of the way down the slope.
I could laugh about it up to that point.
The two of us ended up descending the slope to retrieve the cup. That was when I noticed we were on top of that rock table.
Then Rosetta started walking all of a sudden. She walked into the grassy forest with the cup in hand.
When I quickly grabbed her to stop her, I found she was crying. For some reason, she was looking up at the trees while silently weeping.
“I am sorry. I was overcome by the sudden urge to see some things around here.”
She apologized and I sighed. I mean, I wanted to take a look around too. From what I had seen next to that mountaintop shrine, the trees were growing in an odd way at some points atop that rock table and I had seen a few clearings.
Just as I jokingly suggested we go exploring, we heard an explosion in the distance.
I felt the need to investigate, so we went to take a look together.
Once inside the forest, we quickly found a wide path between the trees.
It was covered in underbrush, but it was a definite path with no trees growing on it. We heard another explosion, so I had Rosetta stay behind me while I got down on my knees and advanced through the underbrush. There was a fork in the path up ahead.
Then a green command vehicle suddenly cut by in front of us. It was German. I panicked, of course. We quickly moved off the path and into the forest as we continued forward while crouching low. On the way, we saw that same vehicle return the way it had come.
After walking another half hour, we found a clearing about the size of the Balleroy mansion’s yard.
The clearing was surrounded by tall trees and a lot of four o’clock flowers covered the ground.
Most of the clearing was filled by a pile of rubble. The mossy and crumbled cement buried about half the clearing. There were a ton of German soldiers surrounding the rubble.
They had a single military vehicle, two trucks, one Light Barrel, two Middle Barrels, and a Heavy Barrel, but what was Rot Löwe doing here?
This was no laughing matter. A boxy reddish-brown object lay at Rot Löwe’s feet. I’m pretty sure that had to be the remains of the rumored Heavy Barrel related to the Attesor Project. In other words, the spare for the Sourire that was left with the mayor.
I could only say it had been stolen, but I was helpless to do anything about it. When I saw them walking toward us, I fled. I frantically grabbed Rosetta’s hand and pulled her away.
<All of a sudden, the waiting room is shaking and the walls are creaking.
It is an earthquake.>
Heinz Berge’s Journal
There is little need to write a journal entry today since I recorded the day’s details in the telegram.
At 21:08, there was a powerful earthquake and I Verbesserunged the sound of a collapse, so we must hurry to check the surrounding area.
At 23:42, I canceled my Schreiben and investigated the Panzer and ruins myself.
My memories of the battle 25 years ago have still not returned, but the sensations remain in my body. I definitely fought here at some point. And all the records confirm this. I was injured by that rusty Grösse Panzer and, by the time I arrived back in Panzerpolis Berlin, the war was just about over.
While investigating the site, I also viewed the flowers growing around the clearing. For some reason, my memories tell me they are known as four o’clock flowers, but I am unsure what that has to do with me. I am unable to find related information in my memories.
Since that could lead to some kind of question, I instructed my aide to pick one of the four o’clock flowers as the key to whatever memory this was from. The men patrolling the area while we worked confirmed that someone was spying on us. They discovered a freshly-washed teacup. A closer inspection of the area showed signs of someone standing on or moving along the dirt and underbrush. Based on the map, I expect this was a Resistance member from the neighboring region. I decided to send a telegram suggesting a nearby unit be dispatched and I instructed my 2nd Aide to send it.
Now I will wait for a report on the collapse.
Attesor Project Investigation Team’s Telegram: To German Army General Headquarters
This is a report from the Attesor Project Investigation Team. Today at 18:30, we finished dismantling the Grösse Panzer wreckage and completed the standard investigation of the ruins. At 19:38, we discovered signs of surveillance by a local scout. At 22:31, we finished packing up what we intend to bring back with us. However, the earthquake that occurred at 21:08 caused a collapse in the mountain path leading up to this location, so we are concerned about finding a way back tomorrow. And given the aforementioned scout, we hope that a unit will be quickly dispatched from a neighboring region to bolster security in this region. That is all.
Rosetta’s Journal: Today’s Second Entry
There was a powerful earthquake. It happened while I was sharpening a knife so I cut my finger a little. I normally would not have made that kind of mistake but something was worrying me and I think that distracted me.
I cut myself at the base of my right thumb.
I held it tightly with my other hand to stop the bleeding like Mother Rose taught me and I walked to the examination room.
Some of the tools were scattered across the floor inside but most everything had been placed on its side or strapped down as if someone had been preparing it for a major earthquake.
I treated my wound with disinfectant and lightly tied it in gauze before taking a break.
That was when I Ajoutered something strange inside the examination room.
<The wall has opened up in the back of the examination room. There is a room behind it.>
I knew it was wrong but I peeked inside out of curiosity. The dimly-lit room appeared to have originally been a storage closet. There was a desk and a bookcase inside and some papers attached to the wall.
The papers were covered with complicated text. It made me think of the things Correcteurs worked with.
The only thing I could understand was the handmade calendar on the front of the desk. It had the dates written out up until August 6 but the notes on the days ended on the 3rd.
The note for the 3rd simply said ‘The End’. I am unsure what it was saying was ending though. That would be after we have returned to Paris so I think I will write a letter then and casually ask what it meant.
Is that room the same as the torture room in the mansion? But when I peeked inside there I sensed an atmosphere of incredibly kind exhaustion. That is the only way I can think to describe that place. That must be an important secret place for Mother Rose. That is why she did not tell us about it but why she built it so close by.
I shut the door tightly and found it was impossible to distinguish from the examination room wall.
I am now waiting for Lady Beretta in this second floor room.
She is afraid of earthquakes so I wonder if she had any trouble with this one. It shook a lot so I am worried about her.
There is something I must tell her.
She told me I should not tell anyone about what we saw in that forest. We hurried out of the forest and back to the mountain path and then took the truck back to the village.
But during all that I must have dropped the cup we had gone to so much trouble to collect. I checked the things we brought back and it really was not there. This is a problem.
I have not told Lady Beretta about this. I think I will tell her tomorrow. And I think I want to tell Mother Rose what I found and apologize. I want her permission to know about it.
And I realized something else as well.
I can bleed.
I am feeling more and more tired. Lady Beretta told me I could go to sleep so maybe I should do just that. But I also want to tell her about the cup.
I will do my best to stay up.
I made so many secrets today.
German Army General Headquarters Telegram: To Attesor Project Investigation Team
This is a report to the Attesor Project Investigation Team. Today’s earthquake in the Bourgogne Region appears to have left the east-west mountain pass impassable. We would normally order you to return to Nevers, but we have decided you should instead confirm the presence of that scout as soon as possible. To handle this swiftly, you should split your unit in two. One half should continue your covert transportation of the secured items, take the shortest route through Dijon, and do whatever it takes to reach Paris. The other half should command the police in Herlde, Autun, and Dijon to set up an information blockade to prevent the Resistance from communicating. This is a crucial mission and it takes top priority. We have been sending commands and receiving reports from the local police since before your unit’s arrival, so they acted quickly and have already sent us a detailed report on the collapse and the estimated recovery time for the mountain pass. No one can be sent there while the war is ongoing. We ask for a detailed report of your investigation materials from the closest communication post. That is all.
July 21, 1944
Beretta’s Write Bring: Entry in Heavy Barrel Sourire’s Memory Bank
I am Write Bringing while still tired from all the waiting last night and from the general lack of sleep.
Some trees more than 15 yards long rolled from the lumber yard and onto the mountain road during yesterday’s earthquake. There are about 30 of them in all and none of the vehicles can head up the mountain to work with them in the way.
It would take a week to move them out of the way with simple manpower. And since Sourire is being taken to the Resistance at the foot of the mountain anyway, I decided to use it to move the trees out of the way while loading it onto the truck.
I mean, the Heavy Barrel can complete that week’s worth of labor in just three hours.
“Sight Devices: Sign.”
<My vision is situated fairly high despite being down on one knee. It must be more than 9 yards up.>
It would be even higher if I was in the secondary seat on the back.
I see the gentle midday sunlight and…
<All the villagers are looking up at me. I can see Rosetta as well.>
There are only about 100 villagers. I hadn’t woken Rosetta because she looked tired this morning, but it looks like she actually got up. Good for her. Now, time to stand up.
“Hearing Devices: Sign.”
I focus on my knees to stand up.
<My vision rises up and I can hear the villagers cheering.
The crowd parts and the mayor’s truck drives up while facing the mountain road. The mayor says something to Rosetta and she awkwardly climbs into the back of the truck. She will apparently act as the Heavy Barrel’s navigator. She looks up at me and speaks.
“Can you hear me?”>
I can, I can.
<“If you walk in a weird direction, I will tell you. Is that good enough?”>
It is, it is. The powerful cry of her warnings will become a Point and smack some sense into my careless Signing. That mayor knows what he’s doing. Doing it this way is much safer when you’re using an unfamiliar Barrel and aren’t very enthusiastic about the job. I probably should have had her climb into the secondary seat, but whatever.
<Rosetta is trying to tell me something.
“Lady Beretta! I was not able to tell you last night, but you know that cup?”>
That cup? Oh, the one we retrieved yesterday? Did she break it after going to all that trouble or something?
<“Yesterday, when I checked the things we brought back-”
The truck starts to move and Rosetta’s body shakes.
She holds a hand over her mouth in a shocked way. She must have bitten her tongue.>
Ah ha ha. I’m not sure if that’s extremely Rosetta-like or not Rosetta-like at all, but we can discuss whatever it is later. We need to get this work done first, okay?
I need to walk forward.
<The truck drives forward.>
This is the same road we drove the truck along yesterday. Today I have to walk.
<Once on the mountain road, the villagers have stopped following us.
Both sides of the road are covered in forest. Sourire’s elevated vision is just above the canopy of trees and it rises and falls a little as I walk. I can hear Rosetta’s voice.
“Lady Beretta! Please watch where you are going!!”>
<I see a family of foxes cut across the mountain road. The parent fox is more concerned by the truck than the Heavy Barrel, but the children are playing with each other as they walk along.>
Come to think of it, how are those three-tailed fox children doing back in Paris? I hope they’re doing well. …Am I starting to feel homesick? I’m glad I already got the tickets to Paris for the 28th.
<The fox children somehow manage to cross the road.>
Once we arrive in Paris on the night of the 28th, I want to head straight to Phillip’s place.
I so want to get back to Paris. One more week, huh? All this Attesor Project stuff-
<“Lady Beretta!! Almost there!!” shouts Rosetta.>
She has a really loud voice. Is that a sign of how much she cares for me?
<Lumber is spread out, scattered across, and piled up on the 6-yard width of the mountain road.>
That Point was expressed kind of repetitively. Maybe I need to work on my vocabulary.
Well, whatever. For now, I have to lift them up one by one.
<I hear a low metallic groan from the other side of the scattered lumber.>
Hm? What’s that? I activate my omnidirectional vision to get a better look.
<In my wide-open vision, I see something walking this way on the narrow mountain road. Narrow for a Heavy Barrel, anyway. It is a somewhat small Middle Barrel and a Heavy Barrel accompanied by a truck.
The Heavy Barrel has a pitch black body and a torn armored uniform.
The shoulders of that uniform bear the insignia of a German Heavy Barrel Platoon and a red lion crest.
That is Rot Löwe, Heavy Barrel of Germany’s greatest Panzer Kavalier.>
Wait, what is he doing up here!? History says he should be headed for Nevers!
1: I can cook now.
I might just be a genius.
2: Phillip Missel’s Visit
He is off duty today, so he went shopping and says he plans to go horse riding on the outskirts of the city after returning home. Such a fancy lifestyle he lives. Maybe I would have hobbies like that if my mansion was on the outskirts like the Missel family’s is. Or maybe that way of thinking makes me old.
While he was here, I showed him Protected Empress in the underground storeroom and told him about that girl. He was surprised, but he ended up laughing. The Resistance has no female Lourd de Écrivains, so I suppose that Lourd de Marionnette won’t do anyone any good. He said he would like to take it to the Missel workshop if possible, but is there any way to transport it there?
The girl said she would return from Bourgogne on July 29 and the uprising is currently scheduled for August 1, so will she have a chance to use Protected Empress?
To be honest, I do want to see that thing in action.
No matter how strong Heinz Berge is, Lourd de Marionnettes are controlled by people’s willpower. Their speed and destructive power are of course formidable, but their greatest attack is the Excède Emblème transformation that surpasses the normal rules of the world.
Back in my day, Lourd de Marionnettes could use their Excède Emblème to fly in the sky and race across the battlefield. Instead of using their power and speed for destruction and slaughter, they used your willpower to transform into a god and conquer all that lay before you.
Very few Lourd de Écrivains can use that power to protect people these days.
I can’t believe this. Here I am complaining about modern times. I should really end this here.
Phillip Missel’s Letter: To the Former Royal Guard Chevalier
I apologize again for how bad I am at writing letters.
I know I was the one that asked if I could take in the Lourd de Marionnette you have in your mansion, but that is no longer an option.
The Missel Lourd de Marionnette workshop is being used to manage the repair parts and perform the repairs for the German Lourd de Marionnettes and also to manage all of Paris’s Lourd de Marionnettes. Like I said before, I am using that role to remove the power restrictions placed on those Paris machines. Now, we have also built a separate location on Missel land that can be used to repair a single Lourd de Marionnette, but that is currently being used to store a special one. We want to make sure it is ready if it is needed.
Thus, I would prefer for you to keep the female Lourd de Marionnette named Protected Empress.
But I was unaware you were helping Beretta in that way. I assumed she was only interested in your Belle de Marionnette Rosetta due to her life in America, but life is full of strange coincidences.
Now, to change the subject.
I know this is sudden, but I plan to crush my right arm in the workshop’s machinery and receive a prosthetic.
Have you heard of the Panzer Ritter Project? In May, Heinz Berge mentioned it on a few occasions and, based on his present situation, I can make some guesses on what level of prosthetics would be needed. In addition to the basic prosthetic itself, you need to modify the nervous system that leads back to the brain since that is the center of the sensory devices during Recréa.
I do not know if just my right arm will be enough, but even if I did modify my entire body’s nervous system now, I would not have time for the necessary adjustment period. No one but Heinz Berge is any match for me and I have no chance if he shows up.
But if the nerves of my right arm are directly linked to the decision-making of my brain, I should fare much better. I feel bad since this basically shows I do not trust the plan all of you are putting together, but this might give me the power to protect someone else. Also, I trust Heinz Berge as a Chevalier. I trust him to show up when it is time to fight, so I want to do what I can to stand up to him.
I have not told my grandfather about this, of course. And I have no intention of telling her about it either. But I wanted you to know since you know all of them and are managing this operation. I promise you I will be back in fighting order in just a few days, so do not worry no matter what my grandfather says. Man, I’m selfish, aren’t I?
After crushing my right arm in the workshop, I will take injury leave from the German Army and prepare for the uprising.
Heinz Berge has no emotions. He controls his Lourd de Marionnette with the bare minimum of willpower and uses his mechanized body to increase its power. I will mechanize my body while retaining my emotions and fight based on the greater willpower that leaves me.
The mechanization is no more than support for my willpower, since I am a Lourd de Écrivain. Or am I wrong?
After writing one more letter I need to write, it will be time to say goodbye to this right hand.
Tomorrow, I will create the body I need to fight. Wait for me.
July 22, 1944
Rose Francisca’s Journal
Something odd is happening. Things are straying from the prophecy. And they are doing so rapidly and shockingly.
I realized that when Heinz Berge’s unit arrived in this village.
That never happened before. To be honest, I was probably the most flustered by the turn of events.
The previous records and facts never show him heading to Paris from the Autun region. He always appears in Nevers on July 30 and hurries to Paris from there.
Yet here he is in this village.
And oddly enough, it was only him and four of his men who arrived. I have repeated this war-torn year more than 20 times, so I know how his Lourd de Marionnette unit is structured. He is acting separately from the transport truck and the rest of his troops.
I can guess why he is here, though.
The day before yesterday, Beretta and Rosetta discovered his unit investigating the area and a meeting was held at the mayor’s house. For that and other reasons, the mayor must have decided they needed to hurry up and load a Lourd de Marionnette he had – I had no idea that was in this village – on a truck.
But a mistake had been made along the way. Yesterday morning after Beretta went to board the mayor’s Lourd de Marionnette, Rosetta rushed down from upstairs where she had been sleeping.
“I am sorry, but I dropped one of the cups we borrowed from you.”
They had taken the cup from the kitchen when they went mountain climbing. They had discovered Heinz Berge’s investigation after dropping it down the slope, but she had apparently dropped it again while they were running away.
She then left the house to see Beretta, but the result is what I mentioned earlier.
Heinz Berge must have found the cup Rosetta dropped and learned that someone had seen their investigation here.
So to prevent that information from getting out, they moved to seal off the Morvan area themselves.
“We are on our way from Nevers to Dijon,” one of his men told us. “But we cannot find a way back after the earthquake last night, so we had to take a detour that brought us to your village. If possible, we would like some food and a place to rest.”
Instead of panicking, they had taken control of the police department and the postal and telegraph office in Autun and then contacted their superiors to request a nearby unit be sent in to clear the mountain pass. It had apparently taken a lot of convincing, but the higher ups had eventually agreed to send a unit.
The mayor and Beretta are currently in a holding cell in Autun’s small police department.
Rosetta was briefly questioned, but she was released since she did not seem to know much.
Nothing too bad should happen since those two girls had gotten their story straight in advance. In fact, the entire village backed up their claim that they were working in my clinic that day and had not been mountain climbing. The mayor and Beretta are only being held because they were operating a Lourd de Marionnette not registered with the Germans. If this had been about Beretta’s investigation, things would have been much worse.
According to Rosetta, when Beretta had come across Heinz Berge’s Lourd de Marionnette with the lumber between them, she had immediately canceled the Recréa and surrendered.
It was lucky that the Germans do not know Jack’s name. They are investigating the Attesor Project, so if they had come across the name Jack McWild, they would likely have arrested Beretta and me both after checking our papers.
In that sense, you could say Jack and Monsieur Guilliaum saved us by erasing all records of our sins – of all those wills we drove to suicide – after the war.
But they seem to be having trouble confirming Beretta’s identity. Based on her papers, she lived in France, moved to America, and then moved back to France for school just before the war began, but they apparently need to contact someone in Paris to confirm that. The mayor will likely be released before her.
Fortunately, Heinz Berge’s men have the integrity you would expect of Lourd de Écrivains and the Autun police department has a gentle atmosphere. She is not being put through any physical pain and the investigation is being carried out by the book.
Also, when I view her as a Correcteur after her baths, I sometimes see another presence in the color of her Formules. She may be pregnant. That is worth looking into at some point.
Now, the Germans will apparently leave one of their men in Autun to manage the police department. The other three and Heinz Berge plan to leave tomorrow morning to reach the Dijon region using a mountain path that circumvents the collapsed mountain pass.
But how much will history change if Heinz Berge travels to Paris from Dijon? It is supposed to take him 10 days to leave Nevers because he must avoid the black dragon’s territory, but the collapse in the Autun region was light and about half of it can likely be moved.
Whether or not Monsieur Guilliaum is aware of their actions will likely have a great influence on the Resistance uprising in Paris.
If Heinz Berge does not arrive in time, Paris may be liberated.
No, that is still my optimism talking. What if the uprising occurs before Beretta and Rosetta return to Paris and the Resistance is defeated? It is Beretta seeing the Resistance’s defeat that leads her to the necessary spirit of liberation. If she does not see it happen, then the Resistance will die in vain. And I was the one that guided them to that defeat.
We have strayed from the prophecy, but I cannot make any corrections because the collapse prevents me from sending Monsieur Guilliaum a letter. There is nothing I can do.
What will change and by how much? When will Beretta be released? When will the black dragon attack?
I do not know. I can only say that I was naïve to assume it would be so easy to keep everything following the prophecy.
Telegram from the German Combat Engineers Unit in Dijon: To German Army Southern France Branch
We arrived in Dijon today and have begun repairing the mountain pass to Herlde and the mountain railroad to Autun. Work has begun with cooperation from the locals. Both repair jobs should be complete on the 27th. Once they are complete, we will work to repair the mountain pass to Nevers in order to meet up with the unit in Nevers that has been working from that side of things. That is all.
Heinz Berge’s Journal
Today at 12:45, we began examining the unregistered Grösse Panzer seized from Herlde. I have spoken with the arrested female Panzer Kavalier a few times and she has provided brief responses. I have not mentioned the Attesor Project in those conversations and neither has she.
At 20:30, we completed the examination.
At 23:03, we began preparations to depart tomorrow. I discovered a wilting four o’clock flower in my things. I placed it between two pages of my journal to preserve it. I also confirmed the presence of the clothing and insignia left behind by the Klein Panzer Kavalier killed by the black dragon.
I must make the appropriate arrangements once we return.
Our investigation of the ruins on the night of the 20th and our examination of Herlde’s unregistered Sourire Grösse Panzer have revealed an important fact. I should send a report after hurrying back to Paris on a transport train from Dijon.
My one concern is that female Panzer Kavalier who was Schreibened with Herlde’s Sourire. She is definitely the one I fought once back in Paris. I suspected she is part of a Resistance cell tasked with pursuing us, but she claims to be on vacation with a friend. She has a parent in Herlde and the villagers trust her. It could just be a coincidence, but it still seems unusual.
Herlde is the village rumored to have some connection to the Attesor Project and a female Panzer Kavalier arrived there at the same time as us.
And she happens to be the daughter of a local and an American.
I feel like there has to be a connection to the Attesor Project there, but I have no solid proof. And if she really is searching for the Attesor Project, bringing it up myself would be dangerous. I ordered my 2nd Aide to continue investigating her and to not release her until her innocence has been proven.
1: Heinz Berge’s Appearance
The Resistance in Dijon sent a late-night telegram to inform us that a few German troops led by a black Lourd de Marionnette have appeared in Herlde and Autun to investigate the Resistance.
They described the Lourd de Marionnette as having a red lion emblem on its shoulders, so that is undoubtedly Heinz Berge’s Rot Löwe.
2: A German Combat Engineers Unit was dispatched to Bourgogne
The Germans have taken action to clear the mountain pass between Autun and Dijon after the earthquake in Bourgogne the night before last. Rosetta and the girl cannot return until that works is complete, can they?
3: Phillip Missel’s Injury
The imbecile really did it. According to Old Blue Eyes, he stuck his arm into a piece of heavy machinery. The kid must be out of his mind. By my estimate, it will take another three days to heal even with Correcteur healing. So he will be back on the 26th.
That is all for today.
July 23, 1944
Heinz Berge’s Journal
At 04:32, I left the remaining work with my 2nd Aide and departed Autun.
I told my 2nd Aide to request for the transport train to wait in Dijon for us.
At 08:11, we came across the collapsed portion of the mountain pass and moved to a side path. We found a marker left by the transport unit sent out ahead of us and marched on accordingly.
At 14:50, we met up with the transport unit at a mountain lake. We exchanged what information we had.
At 20:51, we set up tents alongside the path for the night. I checked on the items being transported. I also checked on our travel progress. We are currently halfway between Autun and Dijon, but we are expected to leave the mountains at a position approximately 20 miles south of Dijon. We will arrive in Dijon three days from now on the 26th.
I hope the transport train will have arrived by then.
After some discussion with the combat engineer who had examined the wreckage we collected, I gained a nearly full understanding of what the Attesor Project entailed and another of my memories came back to me.
My discussion with that combat engineer told me that wreckage I had defeated was a modified version of the Sourire model. And I have determined that unregistered one we discovered in Herlde is the same.
The Panzer in Herlde was left with my 2nd Aide and I ordered him to have it sent out once the mountain pass has recovered.
Simply put, the Panzer in Herlde had none of the sensory device modifications that German Intelligence predicted was the point of the Attesor Project, but I still believe it was a part of that project.
When I saw the anti-moonlight emblems and the expansion tank point while examining it yesterday and when I heard what the Herlde mayor had to say about it, all of that Grösse Panzer’s features matched the faint memory inside me.
That faint memory is an image of the past that was briefly resurrected within me in the moment I faced that Sourire with the lumber between us on the 21st.
Something felt off to me about the Sourire Grösse Panzer standing on the other side of that lumber. For some reason, I could tell it had not originally been shaped like that.
I printed out the memory bank’s record of my memories in that moment and Verbesserunged it.
<I predict that Panzer’s true form is not a mass of metal wrapped in an armored uniform like that.
It should resemble a female angel with wings, a large spear and shield, and an armored uniform. It had raced through the forest slaying the Panzers around me.
It was a Grösse Panzer yet not a Grösse Panzer.>
Yes, it was using an Ober Emblem. I knew Sourire’s Ober Emblem.
Approximately 25 years ago, I encountered Sourire in the Bourgogne mountains, lost my fellow Panzer Kavaliers to its Ober Emblem, and screamed when I was injured. But Sourire could not control its Ober Emblem and went berserk. I assume I used that opening to defeat it.
As a result, I entered the Panzer Ritter Project and lost my scream.
I can now guess what kind of project the Attesor Project was. Proving the details will require examining the discovered items once we arrive in Paris. More than simply improving the Grösse Panzer and the pilot’s reaction speed, that project intended to create the strongest Panzer by drawing out almost all of its power, including use of the Ober Emblem.
The only person who would know more than this would be the French soldier POW I dragged out of Sourire’s secondary seat at the time. Once back in Paris, I must recall what I can about that POW and investigate him.
I will now go to sleep.
July 24, 1944
I can’t believe this. I never imagined this would happen now.
I ended up complaining to Rosetta when she came to visit me yesterday.
“Don’t you think this must be some kind of mistake?”
And what does she say?
“Yes, it probably was a mistake to use that unregistered Lourd de Marionnette.”
That isn’t at all what I meant. Well, she brought me a new journal which is what I’m using to write this, but I can’t let my guard down since they’re still looking into my identity. I am relieved that it seems they don’t know about my great-grandfather Jack McWild. That group must have erased all their information even more thoroughly than I thought.
But when I thought about it, I realized Heinz Berge would probably have responded in some way if he had recognized the McWild name back when we fought in that Heavy Barrel battle. I was super nervous the day before yesterday until I realized that. Now I’m just taking it easy getting some rest in this cramped cell.
But what am I supposed to do?
The mayor was released yesterday, but I’m still stuck here. I want to get out as soon as I can. That German old man is surprisingly nice and he let me have the books sitting around in the police station, but I’m not exactly in a literary mood.
I want to get out of here by the 28th because that’s when our tickets home are scheduled for. Then again, will they have recovered from the collapse by then?
A lot of weird things are happening.
Why did Heinz Berge appear here on the 21st instead of showing up in Nevers on the 30th? I have no idea. But I do know history is changing. And I think this is a major change. After all, this is sure to greatly change his arrival in Paris.
I’m altering history here, aren’t I? The world as a whole is being replayed according to France’s memories, but everything related to me – that is, the Heavy Barrels and the Attesor Project – are definitely straying from history.
If I don’t know what’s going to happen, I want to hurry back to Paris and speak with people there.
I want to ask several people about the future I want and I need to do that before I’m booted from this world by the Format. But what will happen then? If I do meet with those people again, I know I’ll want to stay in this world. I figured that much out on the train here.
I want to be a resident of this world.
So I want to do everything for this world I can. That way I won’t have any regrets.
Right now, all I can do is wait to be released.
Once I am, I can discuss some things with Rosetta on the train home. I’ll tell her I am a visitor to this world. And once I do that, I’m sure I’ll become someone entirely separate from my grandmother.
That will mean accepting that I am not from this world.
But I may have created a reason why I won’t want to do that. My period is late and it’s been more than a month since I slept with Phillip.
Could it be an irregularity caused by the change in living environment? If not, then this is going to affect how I look at things. I might not be able to say the modern world is really the real one. Because I will have gained something so important here.
I need to get to sleep. It’s still daytime, but I’ve always been good at sleeping.
Guilliaum’s Letter: To My Far Distant Friends
My friends, I am having trouble getting across what it is I want to say here.
For now, let me tell you this: This time, I will face the war head on.
My best friend told me something after leaving me with a certain Belle de Marionnette.
“You need to get outside. Quit sitting around in here.”
The time may have come to follow that advice. The date has been set.
That is when I shall test myself. Until we speak again.
Telegram from the German Combat Engineers Unit in Dijon: To German Army Southern France Branch
Today, we finished clearing away the collapse on the mountain pass between Dijon and Herlde. 80% of the pass is usable at this point. Tomorrow, we will try to join with the unit coming from Nevers and continue our work with them. The mountain railroad should be running again on the 27th. That is all.
July 26, 1944
Phillip Missel’s Letter: To the Former Royal Guard Chevalier
I was released from the hospital yesterday. I have done everything I could. My Recréa into Expert de Épée will undoubtedly be greater than ever before. And more than that, I am feeling great myself.
While in the hospital, I discovered a surefire way of defeating Heinz Berge if he does show up. The biggest problem is how it requires a large flat area and some pretty crazy preparations, but I will spring a trap just as the uprising begins tomorrow.
The method is…let’s just say it attacks an unavoidable flaw in Lourd de Marionnettes and a prosthetic body.
The communicators have been directly linked to the memory banks of the Lourd de Marionnettes as instructed. They will be able to hear your instructions at any time.
We can send 13 Lourd de Marionnettes out to Paris the day after tomorrow. We are preparing to have them sent out in trucks tomorrow night. In that sense, I suppose we will have to work out the rest on site.
I have one question. If this is our war, does that make us comrades in arms? I have never fought seriously as a Lourd de Écrivain. Well, there was when I saved Beretta, but other than that. So am I facing this war as seriously as I should?
Heinz Berge’s Telegram: To German Army General Headquarters
I am reporting as the Attesor Project Investigation Team Leader. Thank you for the many arrangements you have made. Today at 11:06, we arrived in southern Dijon. At 15:33, we arrived at the freight loading zone of Dijon Station. 1 Grösse Panzer, 2 Mittel Panzers, 1 Klein Panzer, and the truck carrying the other important items were loaded onto a military freight train. We intend to depart for Paris at 18:00. We will resupply and exchange information on the way and should arrive in Paris by 14:00 the day after tomorrow. Then I will visit the Paris headquarters.
July 28, 1944
Guilliaum’s Letter: To Phillip Missel
To answer your question, I am not your comrade. My only comrades are those who have since left me.
So you join your actual comrades.
I have only one thing to tell you here.
Survive. That is all.
Rosetta’s Journal: Today’s First Entry
This was a very busy morning.
For the past few days there have been frequent small earthquakes and those caused a lot of commotion in the forest. But about four hours ago Mother Rose and the mayor took the truck to Autun because the mountain railroad has been fixed since yesterday.
“You planned to return to Paris today right? We will go negotiate for Beretta’s release!”
That is true. But I do not see why we could not get tickets for another day since the trains to Paris are running again. A lot of soldiers visited Herlde to receive water before heading further up the mountain. They are apparently working with the people on the Nevers side to clear away the collapse from both the east and west sides. I think that is a wonderful thing to work on.
We can leave at any time thanks to them. And yet Mother Rose insisted on going to Autun to rescue Lady Beretta. She must be worried about her.
Speaking of Lady Beretta. When I visited her yesterday she did seem as restless as a chicken inside her cell. When I brought her some new pajamas she told me this:
“It’s looking like we won’t be able to return on the 28th. I just hope we can get back by August 1.”
I think I will only start to worry about getting back if we are still here then. If we cannot return today I think I will write the master a letter.
But Lady Beretta did seem in a bit of a bad mood yesterday. She gave me a serious look from the other side of the visiting table and told me this:
“Hey Rosetta. There’s something I want to tell you on the train home. Remember that there is something I have to tell you.”
I do remember it. And I will not forget it now that I have written it in this journal.
<The view out the window shows the truck returning out front.
Only Mother Rose steps out exchanges a few words with the driver and then bows.
The truck slowly drives away.>
It seems Lady Beretta has not returned.
That means I will be doing my usual job again today. I boil a lot of water in the iron pot using the gas piped in from the mountain – from near the burned-down remains of the inn we saw when we first arrived. I also help heal the injured and the sick.
There is so much to learn here.
I have learned what is most important when dealing with the injured and the sick. It is to listen to what they tell you.
“People will be worried when they are in pain. So we can relieve their pain by listening to what they want us to know.”
Is that what I am doing when I tell Lady Beretta all sorts of things? I have learned so much.
But. I also want Lady Beretta to be released soon. Especially on such a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky.
<It is sunny out.>
The mountain pass heading down has apparently been cleared. I wish she could have brought me to the river just once.
<I hear Mother Rose calling to me from downstairs.>
I must prepare lunch soon so I will be going.
Guilliaum’s Transmission: To All Personnel
At 13:00, the citywide uprising will begin. Make sure you are ready.
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