City Series:Volume5b Chapter21
Chapter 21: Heaven
August 6, 1944
Message from the German Army Paris Branch: To All Personnel
Today at 03:00, four enemy companies approached from the outskirts of Paris. Some have engaged our troops. Everyone must hurry to your post and intercept them. The alert level has been increased to 4. Keep your communications open at all times.
Beretta’s Write Bring: Entry in Heavy Barrel Grazie’s Memory Bank
Grazie runs down a hill. When I look down from this 8-yard height, I can see Paris burning in the night.
The Germans tried to fortify their defenses and lock down the city, but they could’ve done a better job. France has tons of catacombs you can use as underground passageways. The Resistance used those to transport Heavy Barrels during the uprising and they are far more complex and numerous than the Germans know.
While the diversion unit was attacking the wall directly, another unit entered Paris through the catacombs. Once inside, they would perform some sabotage and attack the wall from within.
My Heavy Barrels unit’s job is to charge in from the outside after that. Hence why I’m running.
<The dawn approaches. The chilly wind blows hard across my armor as I travel along a hilly road. I can hear the footsteps of the three Heavy Barrels barely keeping up with me.>
They’re all so slow, but maybe I’m just overexcited.
I have no hint of doubt anymore.
Yes, I’m fighting to liberate this world and prevent my grandma from being erased.
I can’t let anything happen to that old woman who tried to act tough but was really just too kind to tell me.
I’m feeling so optimistic. Even though I have no idea if I really can keep her from being erased if we use the Wort Bombe.
I’m just going for it while assuming it’ll work out.
But I can’t not do it. Because that would mean giving up.
<My view down the slope shows me the lines of light of the German Soldat and Ritter-class fighters scrambling from the airport in northern Paris. I can hear the roar of them tearing through the night sky.>
Way too slow. We’ve already brought the fight to the city itself. Which means I just have to keep running.
<The slope ends and I enter the city.>
My Heavy Barrel’s legs give me a speed of nearly 100mph. I might be shattering windows and tearing roofs from the houses I pass by. Sorry, but I need to keep going.
I speak through the communicator the Allies equipped me with.
“Assault Heavy Barrel Unit, we’re about to break through the blockade. Eastern Attack Unit, please fall back immediately.”
<Up ahead, I see the blockade wall on the road past a row of houses. It’s about 5 yards high. It looks like they gathered sandbags and unneeded vehicles to create a quintuple wall. A large checkpoint door is installed dead ahead.
A flare launches into the night sky from near the wall. That’s our allies saying they’ve finished falling back.
The checkpoint troops notice us at the same time, delivering a spray of machinegun fire.>
That’s fine. I charge in with my spear raised on the right and my shield raised on the left.
The hits must be delivering a powerful shock, but that’s not enough to stop a charging mass of metal that weighs 24 tons all told. Besides, my steel shield has been engraved with a traditional defense emblem, so you’d need at least a Tiger’s tank gun to punch through it.
<I arrive within 300 yards of the wall.
The checkpoint door bursts open and two large figures appear from within. They’re Heavy Barrels.
Three armored trucks loaded with machineguns hurry through after them and then the door closes.>
Oh? Three armored trucks and two Heavy Barrels? You don’t stand a chance against me.
“Sight Devices: Omnidirectional Sight: Sign.”
My field of vision widens. I can see the night sky reflecting Paris’s flames and I can see the wall. That wall is in the way. I want to see Paris.
I crouch low and charge in. And I move fast. I need to run fast!
<The three sets of footsteps behind me grow more distant. My speed is definitely rising.
I rapidly approach the two Barrels up ahead. Neither one has a shield, so they raise the sword in their right hand.>
They’re both righthanded, so going for the one on my right would be the standard tactic.
I run to close the space between us. I hold my spear below my right arm and move to tackle one of them.
Before that one can swing down their sword, I swing my spear up, using my underarm as the pivot point. I aim for their left side – the side without a sword.
<It slices through.
The enemy Heavy Barrel’s left arm is severed at the shoulder and flies through the air. They lose their balance but just barely manage to remain on their feet.>
You could’ve not done that!!
To rid myself of my charging momentum, I throw a kick straight into the one-armed Barrel in front of me.
If they collapse, they’ll crash right into the armored truck behind them.
<With a loud crash, one Heavy Barrel and one armored truck slam into the blockade wall, taking them out of the fight.
At the same time, the Barrel’s left arm falls from the sky and hits another armored truck.>
Okay, that last part was pure luck. But that isn’t all. The left Barrel will probably try to swing down their sword in a hurry. But that won’t work. I use the force of the kick against the other Barrel to spin myself to the left.
I take circular evasive action to the left, making a full spin with my shield extended.
<The enemy strikes at the spot Grazie just vacated.>
Do they think they cut me down? They clearly don’t know when to Point. Pointing to check just as you make an attack is standard practice. Like this.
<A superb backhand blow slams into the enemy Heavy Barrel with Grazie’s 21 tons and the shield’s 3 tons plus centrifugal force.
Beyond the shield, I can feel the enemy’s bulletproof armor breaking.
The 9-yard-tall male Heavy Barrel flips end over end in the air.>
Sorry, but I need your help to clear the way ahead. And I kick.
<Grazie’s roundhouse kick slams into the chest armor of the male Heavy Barrel flipped upside down in midair.
With a loud clang of heavy metal, the chest armor shatters and the entire Barrel crashes into the checkpoint door.
I hear the deep crashing and smashing of steel and other structures and the large door collapses in the opposite direction.
I can now see the streets of Paris that the wall had been blocking from view.>
Hell yeah. There’s still another armored truck, but I’ll let the unit I had fall back take care of it. Have the other three in my unit still not caught up? I send them a transmission.
“Sword Lady here. I’ve cleared a path into Paris. I’m about to enter the city to continue the mission. Over.”
Okay, time to run. We’re taking the road alongside the Seine until it runs into the Louvre. Then to the Eiffel Tower.
If we can settle things there, we should manage somehow. The broadcast station should be telling all of France about the fight for liberation by then and that transport plane will have been stopped from taking off.
Then I just have to borrow that broadcast channel.
I just have to say I’m Beretta McWild and that I want to liberate France and make it real.
I have to do this. Time to get running again.
Message from Resistance Branch 2 Infantry Company 3: To the Commander
Urgent. At 04:13, one of Branch 2’s units entered Paris. The two sides are in equilibrium at the moment, but our morale is high we are about to send more troops into the fight.
Heinz Berge’s Journal
Today at 04:28, I arrived in the Boulogne forest.
I have already Verbesserunged the cause of the commotion and chaos in eastern Paris, but I have used the independent authority of the Attesor Project Investigation Team to not join the fight. I do not know the cause of my urge to continue with this mission. HQ has instructed me to pursue the Attesor Project and protecting Paris does not fall under the scope of that mission.
The Paris Branch has not summoned me, presumably due to the confused situation, so I am simply listening to the distant sounds of chaos while in the forest.
The sky is growing brighter and the moonlight is still bright as I view the Balleroy residence’s garden. For some reason, four-o’clock flowers are growing there. I briefly think about how bright the flowers must look in the sunlight.
My inspection of the residence is scheduled to begin at 06:30. I will now Schreiben.
Message from Resistance Branch 1 Assault Unit 1: To the Commander
Report: At 04:43, we broke into Paris’s international airport. We have taken the control tower, but the enemy’s defensive line is too strong to enter the runway. The transport plane carrying the Geheimnis Agency has left the hangar. Requesting reinforcements.
Beretta’s Write Bring: Entry in Heavy Barrel Grazie’s Memory Bank
I’m using my Heavy Barrel to run through the streets of Paris now that it’s been plunged into the devastation of war. First, I had my two damaged companions evacuate while I, the other remaining Barrel, and two light tanks we rendezvoused with act as bait to guide the enemy away.
We’ve broken through the defensive line – the enemy’s main force on the northern end of Paris – and they’re chasing after us now. I need to keep running so I can guide them to the Eiffel Tower’s Champ de Mars.
The light tanks are keeping up pretty well. Their metal caterpillar tracks slide on the stone paving when they take a corner, but they aren’t falling behind. They’re like puppies.
<A shot from behind passes by overhead and crashes into an appartement.
The enemy is just as desperate as I am.>
But this will be over soon enough. The gigantic Eiffel Tower is dead ahead.
<Enemy fire comes from up ahead as well.>
The enemy’s main southern force is fighting with another of our units.
<The current time is 4:56 AM.
The sky is growing brighter and I can see the shape of the city’s buildings even without the streetlights.>
I have 4 minutes until the scheduled time at 5. I’ll make it.
The enemy chasing us – or being lured in by us, I guess? – probably thinks they can pin us between themselves and their friends at Champ de Mars.
We’re 500 yards from there.
<An enemy Heavy Barrel suddenly appears from a side street.>
I ready my spear and leap. I slam a kick down while almost directly above them and I also jab my spear down toward their shoulder.
<A direct hit. But I can’t pull my spear from their shoulder as they start to collapse.
They also manage to pull one leg back to just barely avoid collapsing.
Then they raise their sword to->
Outta the way, buddy. I draw the Third Flame Emperor from my hip and swing it.
<The slash severs the enemy’s right arm at the shoulder.
Then one of the light tanks fires a shot into the enemy’s chest armor. The Barrel collapses, bringing down the front wall of a bistro behind them.>
Damn, I so want to retrieve my spear…but no. Not enough time.
<The current time is 4:57 PM.>
I need to drop the shield too. It’s too heavy. All I need from here on is the Third Flame Emperor in my right hand.
I resume running. The Champ de Mars awaits. Our victory awaits.
The sky keeps growing brighter and it even looks a little blue now. Dawn is fast approaching.
<A transmission arrives.
“Resistance Branch 1 Combat Engineer Unit 1 to the Commander
“Report: At 04:58, we finished our work below Paris. All preparations for the coming operation are complete. All we require is the attack from Sword Lady.”>
So they’re done. I bet this didn’t happen during my grandma’s time. There really was something they could only pull off with me here.
I keep running.
<It’s a straight shot down the road. I see a large space past the homes and appartements lining the road. The Champ de Mars is 800 yards long and 300 yards wide.>
I can see it.
<But the shots from behind are a much greater threat on this straight road.
The Heavy Barrel accompanying me stumbles forward and collapses after taking a hit from behind.
That one word is his final transmission.>
I’m less than 300 yards from the Champ de Mars.
Sorry. I feel bad for everyone with me, but I need to focus. I hold Third Flame Emperor in both hands and raise it as if resting it on my shoulder. From here on, I’ll need the powerful flames of its attack.
I can feel the hilt in my hands. The cannon on my secondary cockpit aims straight up and fires.
<The fired bullet is a ball of light with no real attack power. The blue bullet rises high into the sky and I essentially leave it behind me as I continue to run. It turns to blue spray and vanishes in the sky, which is still fairly dark.
After a short pause, I see a similar light rise in the sky to my left, more toward the Champ de Mars.
I signaled my approach and my allies responded.>
Does that mean they’re ready? Then let’s do this. I duck down as if crawling on the ground, and…
<Another transmission arrives.
“Resistance Branch 2 Unit 3 to the Commander
“Report: At 04:59, we took control of Paris’s central broadcast station. We will now relay the state of the battle to all of France. Everyone, keep fighting for victory. Your actions will spread a spirit of liberation across France.”>
Yes, yes, yes! Everything’s in place!!
<I enter the Champ de Mars.
My field of vision quickly opens up. I have a wider view of the cloudless early morning sky.
I arrived at about halfway up the park. To my right, I can see more than 20 enemy tanks and around 15 Barrels of all weight types. There are even more armored trucks and infantry, so they certainly look like they have the upper hand.
My allies are descending to the east on my left, but the enemy has moved out in front of them.>
I do not hesitate to burst out in between those two armies.
<An impressive number of shells are flying back and forth.>
Not a problem. I know how to dodge those. I just have to liberate my excited emotions a bit while I run.
Grazie’s Over Emblem, Ange, is all about mobility, but I also have the Third Flame Emperor.
<Ether light wraps around my running legs and the arms wielding the Third Flame Emperor. The Over Emblem is activating.
The transformation only takes a moment. My four limbs don ether armor from within the armored combat dress.
And the Third Flame Emperor reacts to the Over Emblem by activating its own power.
The emblem engraved into the sword’s blade absorbs the ether flowing in from Grazie and fierce power is unleashed from the entire blade. As the name suggests, it is fiery power.>
Flame Emperor, the weapon he left me, lend me your power here!
“Whoever’s in the broadcast station! I’m about to deliver a decisive blow toward Paris’s liberation, so make sure everyone in France knows!! Let them know that France can be liberated!!”
<From Grazie’s shoulder to its back, the long flame sword grows at a faster rate than my own breathing.
It is now approximately 30 yards long.
The air shimmers above the sword as it heats up as if rejoicing at its own activation.>
I swing the sword as if to slice through the oncoming hail of shellfire. A simple swing like that is all it takes to transform the flying shells into steam. No attack in this world can surpass the all-consuming flames of this sword.
<Ihave arrived near the center of the Champ de Mars.>
I have a single goal: leap full strength toward the fountain in the center.
<Grazie leaps into the warming morning air. The jump surpasses 10 yards in height.
Grazie twists around in midair to swing the flame sword around and down.>
I take aim at the central fountain.
A major branch of the catacombs running below Paris is located directly below that fountain. It’s almost like an underground version of the park that gathers nearly all of the city’s underground passageways.
A combat engineer unit set up explosives and Phlogiston in there. I just have to detonate it with this fiery attack. It’s the same principle as the crust destruction that finished off the black dragon. I forcefully swing down the Third Flame Emperor.
This will end it.
<The large central fountain is cleaved in two by the flame attack from that Device which had been made into a divine spell weapon. The attack triggers a Live transformation in the stone of the fountain structure and even the water itself to ignite them both. They are instantly set ablaze.
The fire burns strong and the result immediately shows itself in a horribly simple fashion.
Guilliaum’s Letter: To a Far Distant Friend
My friend. I will soon-
<Out the window, an enormous pillar of fire erupts from below the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
A moment later, a ripple-like movement of air races out through the morning sky.
The atmospheric movement spreads and approaches while blowing away the roofs of Paris’s buildings, tearing leaves from the trees, violently shaking the Boulogne forest, and finally hitting my mansion.
All of the mansion’s windows facing the Eiffel Tower shatter.>
What in the devil is this!?
<It does not end there. The pillar of fire becomes an explosion and sends dark smoke about half a mile up into the sky and the Eiffel Tower is leaning over. The angle of that lean continues to grow.
That 300m tower of steel is falling. Slowly – agonizingly slowly – it collapses toward the Champ de Mars as if to signal the end of something.>
Okay, this has got to be that girl’s doing. But this is taking things too far. Only a foreigner would be able to do this without batting an eye.
But, girl, hurry on back here. Heinz Berge is standing in front of my mansion while ignoring everything else going on. And Rosetta is still feeling down. If you truly are a Lourd de Écrivain, then protect me and Rosetta from that man. I will give you the guidance you need.
So come here and start by saving Rosetta.
I will do the one thing I can do to help you there. Do you remember the promise I made about that Lourd de Marionnette?
I promised not to let anyone know about that secret.
And do you remember what you said you would do if I broke that promise?
You said you would take every last bit of happiness I possessed.
Well, it’s a deal. You can have all of my happiness.
I will throw open the window and tell Heinz Berge who you are and why you have come here! I will tell him you are the true Beretta McWild and that you are here to liberate France! So come here, girl!
Beretta’s Write Bring: Entry in Heavy Barrel Grazie’s Memory Bank
Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.
Damn, how far was I thrown?
<I see the tip of the Eiffel Tower half-buried in the broken ground.
The large Champ de Mars has collapsed, forming a giant crater.
The Eiffel Tower has collapsed onto its side like it slipped and fell and the enemy Barrels and tanks are buried in rubble next to it. A lot like seashells buried in the beach sand.
I am seated with my back against the long point at the very top.>
I see. That was a bit much even for me.
“Auditory and Communication Devices: Malfunction Defected: Restarting”
Something is playing in my ear, but there’s too much static to make it out. I hope this is being broadcast to the rest of France.
I need to stand up and get a better look of things.
<Static plays from the communication device in my ear while I look around and find the crater is about 20 yards deep. It covers more than just the Champ de Mars. The nearby residential area and parks were also destroyed, covering an area of at least 1000 yards.
The northern city visible from the slope, the same area I was running through before, is now somewhat slanted and has sunk lower than before. It no longer looks as well maintained.>
Now that’s what I call cataclysmic. The ground below the Eiffel Tower must have given way, so it fell over and slid into this crater.
<Half the collapsed Eiffel tower has bent and broken under its own weight, but the framework remains intact. The angle from top to bottom makes it look something like a ramp toward the sky while lying on its side like this.
The sky above is still dark since it still isn’t dawn. The stars are twinkling in that purplish sky that shimmers from the heat rising from the crater.>
The enemy is motionless and silent.
That may have been overkill, but I dealt with the enemy’s main force.
<Grazie is unharmed. The armored combat dress is burned and torn, but the Third Flame Emperor must have provided some resistance against heat.>
It’s hilarious that the person at the very center of the blast wasn’t harmed by it.
<The static in my ear gradually clears up. My communication and auditory devices are being retuned. I should be able to hear the blowing wind before long.>
I want to hear everything soon. Then I’ll be able to hear the broadcasted call for France’s libera-
<My shoulder armor is suddenly struck from behind. As if demanding I look that way.>
<I turn around to see one of our male Middle Barrels standing behind me.
At some point, the Allies and the Resistance have gathered on the east side of the crater and they’re waving this way.
I can’t hear any of it, but I can tell they’re giving me a standing ovation.
A few step into the crater and the rest follow.
A wave of people begins to move.>
“Auditory and Communication Devices: Retuning Complete”
Paris Central Broadcast Station: To All of France
I repeat, Allied Special Forces Unit 10 has a message for all the French people.
Operation Flame Glide is complete. The main German force in Paris has been lost and Paris has been liberated. We are currently on our way to the German Army’s Paris Branch where we will ask they surrender for a peaceful resolution. If you wish to continue what we have begun, then resist. If you would prefer to fall into resignation, then please think about what it is to come.
Even Paris, the center of France, has been freed, so France can be liberated. As long as you do not give up.
Beretta’s Write Bring: Entry in Heavy Barrel Grazie’s Memory Bank
It’s like music to my ears.
Anyway, that’s one problem down. The people of Paris are sure to break free of their fear and seek liberation now, so-
<“Resistance Branch 1 Assault Unit 1 to the Commander
“Urgent: At 05:06, we took the international airport, but we were too slow to breach the enemy’s defensive line on the runway. The transport plane carrying the Geheimnis Agency is preparing to takeoff and all of our units with AA equipment have been destroyed. Over.”
When one of our tanks plays that message over a loudspeaker, we all freeze in place.>
The plane is taking off!?
<I hear a roar from the north.
That is the transport plane preparing to take off. Its metal wings are slicing through the air to transform the morning air’s resistance into lift.>
German Army Paris Branch Emergency Broadcast: To Our Allies and Enemies Across France
This is the German Army Paris Branch. We are using our emergency communication network to send a message to all our allies and enemies within France.
Half an hour from now, the Wort Bombe, the ultimate weapon developed by our Geheimnis Agency, will be dropped on France.
That weapon will ensure that the sun never again rises on France.
There is no avoiding it.
Death may claim us, but defeat shall not. We will never accept an enemy nation’s mercy by surrendering. We thank all our allies for their hard work. All glory to the Third Reich.
Beretta’s Write Bring: Entry in Heavy Barrel Grazie’s Memory Bank
<That broadcast has clearly shaken our troops.>
Now they’ve done it!!
Crap, announcing their intent to bring the entire country down with them is the worst card they could have played against us. Did that shake France’s resolve!?
<The roar of the transport plane taking off seems to surround me.>
You idiots, the Wort Bombe is onboard that. If we can’t stop that, we’ve given France a reason to do the Format!
We have no aerial troops here, but if that isn’t shot down, the Wort Bombe will be detonated.
France will be Formatted if we don’t do something.
I want to stop it.
I refuse to let the Format happen. I will stop it.
I know that now. I really do want to stop it no matter what.
I want to stop the Wort Bombe.
Yes, that’s right. I hold the final card needed to liberate France.
<The morning wind blows in from the east and washes across the bottom of the crater.
Grazie’s armored combat dress flutters and the roar from the sky drowns out the sound of the wind.
I look up and see the plane there.
A transport plane is rapidly ascending into the sky which is at the midpoint between night and morning.>
I need to do this. I need to bring that down. I don’t know if I can, but there’s no use in wondering if I can if I’m not even trying. Success is the only option here. If I tried, I could probably think of plenty of reasons why I would fail, but thinking about failure would only waste time.
So I just have to go for it.
I ready the Third Flame Emperor and approach the Eiffel Tower.
<The tip of the giant tower is pointing toward me.>
I approach it and slice off the tip of the giant spike with the Third Flame Emperor.
<Grazie carries the 8-yard-long and 2-feet-wide metal spear under her left arm.>
I make a slight jump while no one else is moving and that roar continues in the sky.
I attach the Third Flame Emperor at my hip, ready the metal spear, and stand on the fallen Eiffel Tower.
<Once on top, I can see the Eiffel Tower’s uprooted leg really is pointed toward the sky.
I receive a transmission.
“Sword Lady, what are you doing?”>
“You can’t tell? I’m bringing down that transport plane.”
I don’t have time to explain how, so I focus my willpower and carry my emotions.
Let’s do this, HLP018 77-LL – Grazie.
I shift the engine output to max power.
“Engine System Max Power: Sign.”
I then trigger a focused release from the engine system.
“Full Drive Ready: Sign.”
The preparations for the full drive are complete. It’s time to use every last bit of our strength.
Heavy Barrel Grazie’s System Message
To begin full drive, the Write Bringer’s thought connection was shut down for 0.0001 seconds.
Beretta’s Write Bring: Entry in Heavy Barrel Grazie’s Memory Bank
He gave this Barrel wings when he repaired it, so it’s time to make use of them. I imagine wings sprouting from my back while I fly high into the morning sky. I sharpen and strengthen my imagination.
<It takes no time for my willpower to take form.
Light surrounds the Barrel as it transforms into a slender angel woman in armor.
Six giant wings burst through the armored combat dress and rise toward the heavens from my back.
The white wings tense and scatter glowing feathers while whipping up a powerful wind and spreading out as if to cover all of the earth.
“Sword Lady, our AA attack has failed. You are our only hope now. Good luck.”>
“Roger that. I do have one request, though.”
<“What is that?”>
“Connect my transmission to the broadcast station so my words reach all of France.”
I can feel the air gathering at my back.
But it’s too soon. If I take flight now, I’ll stall out before reaching the enemy.
I have to build up the internal pressure, so I glare up at the sky while gathering my willpower and emotions. I shrink down and lower my hips to stop myself from taking off running while I imagine catching up to the enemy.
<My wings cry out with tension, each individual glowing feather spreads out to catch the air, and air builds up between them. The air currents multiply and I can hear the sharp sound of air intake without end.
A transmission reaches me within the wind.
“Sword Lady, the communication line is open, so say what you have to say.”>
Then it’s time to speak to France and the people living there! I need to tell them where I came from and that completely closing yourself off is not possible.
“This is Beretta McWild of US Intelligence. I will now bring down the German transport plane that recently took off and retrieve their suicide weapon. Watch the sky, everyone. A visitor from the outside world will stop France from closing itself off.”
Speaking distracted me just enough that I can’t hold back any longer. Time to do this!!
<The air explodes behind me and I began racing forward.
I instantly pass the sound barrier, breaking through a film of light refraction and water vapor.
My body feels so light, without any resistance at all. And it is supported by my running feet and the wings on my back. I’m moving so fast.>
My senses are directly linked to my body.
My vision rapidly rises. I can see the city of Paris, the collapsed residential area, the rising smoke, and the hilly region in the distance. All of it happens in a split second, of course.
My sharpened senses had simply Signed the image as a little self-indulgence.
I flap my wings to make it a reality.
<The six wings slam against the air to further accelerate me.
The roar of speed alone fills the silence to announce its presence.>
I race up the toppled Eiffel Tower. Once I take flight, I just have to strike the enemy.
“Can you all hear me? I’m from the outside world, yet here I am fighting within Paris. That means France has yet to close itself off. You only think it’s been fully closed off. So…so…”
I think about everything while running through all that speed. There is only one way to save my grandma, even if it is a gamble.
I want to try it.
I already said what I have to say, so all that remains is to act on it. Can I, someone who shouldn’t even exist in this world, really bring down that transport plane? And can I show everyone that I can?
<I am only 5 steps away from the end of the Eiffel Tower’s leg where I will make my leap into the sky.>
I cover that distance in less than the blink of an eye.
All I need is the willpower to go further than anyone else and the actions to do it.
With that final step, I speak the crucial words.
<All six wings flap at once, the air explodes violently, and my female Heavy Barrel is launched skyward faster than an artillery shell.>
Earlier my master came to me while I was crying in that small room and took me outside.
I followed him while carrying my journal and Jack McWild’s journal which I had partially read.
Jack McWild’s journal was full of technical things. I could tell it contained information on his research on me – actually on my Belle de Marionnette predecessors – and on Lourd de Marionnettes. They – the hundreds of Belle de Marionnettes – were talked about like a single product in his journal.
I am thinking about that and sitting on the garden ground while writing this.
My master is seated next to me but I do not know why he wants me here.
<The roar of an airplane shakes the air around me.
But that is not the only sound. I hear a louder and higher-pitched sound that reminds me of a shouting voice.
He taps my shoulder and points out ahead of us.
The Eiffel Tower is lying on the ground. It is an amusing visual. And a single contrail extends toward the sky from the tower’s leg pointed skyward.>
The cloud forms a perfect line. It looks like a white blade bisecting the sky as it grows bluer.
<When I follow it with my eyes I see an angel woman soaring through the sky.
She flaps her wings to move ever onward. While trying to fly higher she suddenly raises the spear in her right arm and throws it while white clouds appear from various parts of her body.
The spear flies in a straight line toward a large airplane.
It easily pierces the airplane’s wing. The wing seems to burst into pieces and the airplane tilts on its side and falls.
Several white parachutes emerge from the falling airplane. But the angel is not done yet. She lowers her speed to match that of the falling airplane – which is far larger than she is – and she raises a pillar of fire in her hands.
The rest happens in a split second. The giant airplane is sliced through by the flames and it burns in midair.
The angel leaps into the fiery blossom and breaks through.>
That angel looks so familiar to me.
It is Lady Beretta. It has to be her.
<I stand up and Jack McWild’s journal falls from my lap.
It lands with a page in the latter half sitting open. Something was held between the pages as a bookmark.>
<It is a single photograph. A Belle de Marionnette is seated in that small room with a middle-aged man standing behind her. A young girl with short brown hair is sitting on the Belle de Marionnette’s lap while reaching up to rub the Belle de Marionnette’s head.
The Belle de Marionnette’s eyes are still closed but there is a slight smile on her lips.>
Jack McWild’s Journal
June 18, 1929
This will be my last entry in this journal. This girl – the previously nameless Sein Frau – has woken up. This was my first time bringing Beretta here, but I never imagined she would smile just because Beretta spoke to her.
I really wanted to bring her with me to America, but I do not want to raise an Attesor Sein Frau during the naval journey by ship or in the uncertain lifestyle that will follow. So I plan to leave her with Guilliaum, the master of this mansion, and let him take care of her and manage her growth. Maybe it’s selfish of me, but I hope she can become his daughter by the time he finally feels he has atoned for his sins.
Maybe it’s wrong to say this, but once she grows up, I think she is bound to be so much like that nameless Sein Frau who was always by his side during the 5 years of the Attesor Project.
But I need to make sure he knows that this girl already has a name. Earlier, Beretta gave her a name: Rosetta.
That’s the same as the true name we gave to our research – that we took from Rose, who we all viewed as our heroine. I asked Beretta if she would consider choosing another name, but she’s such a stubborn girl.
“You made her, didn’t you? Then she’s your daughter and my little sister. So I took mom’s name, Rose, and added the end of my own name to get Rosetta. Clever, right?”
I wonder what he will think about this. Although given when they were actually born, Rosetta would actually be the older sister. And while Rosetta is my daughter, she is also his daughter and that nameless Sein Frau’s daughter.
The name Rosetta might have a horrific ring to it since it brings the reversed version – Attesor – to mind, but I feel like I can finally view the name free of all that baggage. When her mind was finally born into this world, it was through a smile. She was not born to fight. That is what I choose to believe.
Now I must finally bid farewell to a life I could not even reveal to my wife during my years here in Paris.
Heinz Berge’s Schreiben: Entry in Grösse Panzer Rot Löwe’s Memory Bank
“The current Schreiben reaction speed is approximately x83.”
Earlier, I saw the transport plane loaded with that silly suicide weapon brought down from the sky. The attacker still had their full-body Ober Emblem active as they held something and fell into a lake within the Boulogne forest near the Balleroy residence, but I did not react. I simply sent a single Mittel Panzer to investigate.
“The current time is 05:14:32.”
Paris has fallen and I expect the German army will lose, but I still have not settled things with my past.
There is still some time until my assault begins, but there is no need to rush. I have not been ordered to withdraw, I have no intention of doing so, and neither do my men. I will strike down all enemies who try to stop me.
<A light from the east illuminates the smoke rising from Paris.
The four-o’clock flowers in the mansion’s garden shine yellow, red, and white.>
I feel a memory reviving within me as I view those flowers. I recall flowers, a young woman, and a small child. I recall the scene from that photograph. I think that memory is inspiring some kind of emotion within me, but I cannot say for sure.
<I hear breaking metal from the direction I sent the Mittel Panzer.
The Mittel Panzer collapses out into the road. His shield flies through the air, his spear has fallen to the road, and he himself is lying motionless on his back.
Then someone else emerges onto the road.>
Beretta’s Write Bring: Entry in Heavy Barrel Grazie’s Memory Bank
I step out onto the road and I steal the spear dropped by the Middle Barrel I defeated with a kick.
But I can’t believe this. I managed to get down safely with the Wort Bombe, but its timed fuse was activated. It’s set to go off in about 20 minutes from now. Just like the documents I was given before “transferring” here said, the Wort Bombe is going to explode at 5:32:18 AM, so I have to make a decision in the next 20 minutes.
Will France carry a spirit of liberation?
I really think it will.
Let’s see, where’s the communication device to contact the others?
“Communication Device was damaged upon impact with the lake surface. Device is not repairable.”
Damn, not again. I hope the exciting scene of me bringing down the plane was broadcasted. If it was, it should have rekindled France’s spirit of resistance.
I look forward.
<The Balleroy mansion is down the road and a familiar Barrel stands in front of the main gate along with a few armored trucks. It is Rot Löwe, Heinz Berge’s Barrel.>
Oh, I’m super close to the Balleroy home. But what are you doing here? You’re not raiding the place, are you? This is getting interesting.
<Rot Löwe readies his sword and shield.>
Damn, what am I supposed to do? I don’t want Rosetta and the old man to be raided, but the impact of landing took out both my extra fuel tanks. I only have my reserve fuel. I also twisted my left arm while forcefully landing with the Wort Bombe and its stand in that arm.
Plus, I need to contact the others to get the Wort Bombe defused. …Actually, wait. Can’t I just head to the old man’s mansion and use that telegram-style communicator?
If so, I just need to defeat Rot Löwe.
<A thin layer of black light covers the blade of Rot Löwe’s sword. It is a divine spell weapon.>
Whelp, it’s all or nothing. If I can just defeat Rot Löwe, I’ll have a communicator I can use to check on the situation and I’ll have protected Rosetta and the old man.
Let’s do this. I dash forward, breaking the asphalt below my feet.
I go full speed from the very first step.
<Grazie runs forward. I’ve lost track of how many charges just like this I’ve made today.>
I can see the enemy. That pitch black Heavy Barrel is standing there alongside the armored trucks. Kicking his ass is my only option.
Wait, that’s being too harsh. I need to calm down some. Hm, the four-o’clock flowers in the garden are at full bloom – wait, no, that’s too calm and carefree. Getting careless here at the very end would not end well.
So I pour all my strength into running straight ahead.
I charge in without any hesitation.
<The enemy takes a deep fighting stance and the armored trucks move out in front of the Rot Löwe.>
Won’t work. I use my metal legs to jump over the armored trucks and thrust out my spear as if tackling the enemy.
<Rot Löwe is as absurdly quick as ever. He turns around while swinging his shield to catch the spear head on. The tip of the spear breaks.>
<The black Heavy Barrel already has his sword at the ready. His reaction speed is crazy.>
I shudder because I’m still in the air. I’m defenseless.
I kick off the roof of the armored truck I’m still passing over and leap even higher but also to the side.
<The slash arrives. It slices into my left thigh. The hydraulic system spurts hot oil.>
I was lucky. The leg wasn’t severed and there was no shockwave.
<That was because I drew the Third Flame Emperor from my hip and pressed it against Rot Löwe’s sword at the moment of the slash.
The Third Flame Emperor is knocked from my grasp and I see it stab down into the mansion’s garden out of the corner of my eye.>
Does that mean Phillip just saved me? I’m going to say it does. Anyway, the next attack is mine. This time, I’m definitely going to hit him.
I grab the butt end of the spear and forcibly spin myself around. I don’t even think about landing as I build up centrifugal force in the spear and swing it horizontally towards my opponent.
<The same attack I once used in that festival Heavy Barrel battle just scored a direct hit in actual combat. Rot Löwe had just made a slash and could not adjust his balance before the spear shaft sliced through the air and crashed into him.>
Did it hit!?
<It was not a direct hit. Rot Löwe let go of his sword and held his shield with both hands.
But his giant black body topples over, crashes into one of the armored trucks, and tumbles along the asphalt road.>
How in the world is his reaction speed so high? Plus, I didn’t even defeat him and have no more weapons.
My left leg is close to breaking. Once I realize that, I Sign the pain. Ow, ow, ow, ow. But I’m a good girl, so I won’t cry. I won’t. Anyway, I jump forward.
<I clear the main gate and reach the mansion at the top of the small sloped path.
I collapse down onto my stomach and my peripheral vision sees the black Heavy Barrel getting up from the road.>
Crap, is he coming for me? What should I do? The Resistance and the Allies won’t have noticed any of this is even happen-
<My vision suddenly grows dark.
Then a great mass lands on the ground next to me. Something enormous is standing right next to me. I can see its metal legs.
This is not Rot Löwe. He is still back on the road, up on his knees but unmoving.
Then who is this standing next to me?>
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