City Series:Volume5b Chapter22

From Baka-Tsuki
Jump to: navigation, search

Chapter 22: Earth

City v05b 341.jpg

08/06/1944



Always

And forevermore

August 6, 1944

Rosetta’s Recréa: Entry in Lourd de Marionnette Protected Empress’s Memory Bank

“The current Recréa reaction speed has been set to approximately x120.”

I… Recréaed.

Jumping over the mansion’s roof was a lot easier than I expected. My memories know how to use this body. Most likely, those are my foundational memories as an Attesor Belle de Marionnette.

<A female Lourd de Marionnette is collapsed at my feet.

Lady Beretta cancels her Recréa and climbs out of the secondary cockpit with her clothes loosely gathered around her.

She looks up at me in surprise.>

She seems to know that it is me inside the Protected Empress. Just like I could always tell it was her inside a Lourd de Marionnette.

I’m so happy. I may have been a terrible older sister so far, but now it’s my turn to protect my younger sister.

This will be my first time doing that. This will probably turn me into a different person. From someone who was always protected to someone who can protect.

The two are different. They seem entirely different, but they are both me.

I’ve thought about something similar before. It’s like the difference between a comma and a period.

I kind of get the difference now.

A period is always placed at the very end of a sentence, but with a comma, the writer is free to place it wherever they think it should go to add in a breath and make things easier for the reader. A comma is not a period because you are free to place it where you want instead of following mechanical rules.

That means I was mistaken about something. I used to think Lady Beretta was like a period, but she is not. And neither am I.

<Lady Beretta’s expression changes from surprise to focused.

“I only came here to use the communicator.”

She takes a breath.

“I don’t want you to do die, Rosetta.”>

That is the same thing I always felt about her.

I do not think that will happen. Because I have been given the greatest power for protecting people. I believe I can protect her and myself.

<The black Lourd de Marionnette kneeling in front of the main gate finally stands back up.>

He tosses aside his broken shield and looks up at me with his sword in his right hand.>

I can sense his gaze on me. I know this battle will make me into a new person.

The only other thing I have to write about is my master. I can tell now that he avoided making me human because he thought it would only bring me sadness. Thank you for that.

Jack McWild was my father, but I will Signe here that my true parents were Guilliaum Balleroy and the nameless Belle de Marionnette who was by his side.

Now, to get started.

Heinz Berge’s Schreiben: Entry in Grösse Panzer Rot Löwe’s Memory Bank

“The current Schreiben reaction speed is approximately x120.”

I have encountered a new enemy. I have never before seen this female Grösse Panzer, but the shape of the armor suggests it is of American design.

“The current time is 05:16:28.”

I rush toward it. The time it takes to make a single step is horribly long with my accelerated thoughts. The nerves of my prosthetic body have already been accelerated thanks to the previous scuffle.

I take a step forward, bringing me through the gate. My first step within crushes the four o’clock flowers growing in the garden there. The sensation of the flowers, leaves, and stems being crushed reaches me 120 times more slowly than for a normal person. I sense how soft each individual flower is, how damp with dew the leaves are, and how the stems audibly snap.

The mixture of sensations reaches my sensory devices through my metal foot.

Why? Why do I sense it all so vividly? The name “four o’clock flower” brings something to mind.

A memory? Did something happen in a memory I can no longer recall?

Crushing the flower may have only lasted a second in real time, but with time sped up 120 times, it lasts around 2 minutes for me. The memory returns to me while I essentially relive the sensation 120 times in a row.

I recall the faces of a woman and a girl. I recall what I have become. I recall the flower. I recall a scream.

Why do these things bother me so much? And what started this?

Was it that earlier spear attack? That attack was identical to the one I took in Bourgogne 25 years ago, but unlike then, it failed to reach me.

But in that case, why are all these feelings coming back to me?

Could it be that attack-

Grösse Panzer Rot Löwe’s Geschäftlich Schrif

The Psyche Outer device installed in the cervical vertebrae was damaged in the previous fall. It is now malfunctioning.

13% probability of safe memories resurfacing. Reconnecting in 0.00000013 seconds.

Heinz Berge’s Schreiben: Entry in Grösse Panzer Rot Löwe’s Memory Bank

“The current Schreiben reaction speed is approximately x130.”

The memories are rushing back to me through the Grösse Panzer.

I remember now. All of my senses are filled with emotion and willpower. At the same time, the pain I had been rejecting from the Panzer is hitting me directly. The Psyche Outer device was cutting off all this feedback from the Panzer.

But that is fine. I have my emotions, my willpower, and the memories to support them.

My memories tell me everything.

Belia. Susanna. Those are the names of my wife and daughter. I lost them and then chose to join the Panzer Ritter Project. Because of the scream I wanted to-

No, a Panzer Kavalier should not write that.

This Panzer in front of me must be piloted by a completed product of the Attesor Project. She can draw out the Panzer’s full power using her willpower and emotions.

And the girl who left the previous Panzer is one I have encountered a few times before. Did you know the truth this whole time?

No point in asking. But…my past, please let me redo things just once more.

Let me reach a new conclusion to that loathsome battle that was settled when my opponent lost control.

I have everything I lacked back then. I have the power to use the Panzer to its fullest, the experience to make rational decisions, the willpower to no longer fear my scream, and the emotions to push me to fight.

So for the very first time, I can truly use all of my strength.

“Wide-Range Vision Enhancement: Lernen”

I have the vision needed to view both heaven and earth.

“Armor Configuration ‘Normal Drive → Full Power Attack’: Lernen”

Memory and function – willpower and machine – struggle for control of it all.

“Preparing max power from all systems: Lernen”

I will use max power to show the ultimate respect for the ultimate opponent.

“Full Drive Ready: Lernen”

Rosetta’s Recréa: Entry in Lourd de Marionnette Protected Empress’s Memory Bank

“The current Recréa reaction speed has been set to approximately x137.”

My opponent has activated his Excède Emblème. I do not know what an Excède Emblème is, but my foundational memories tell me and activate my willpower.

<The black Lourd de Marionnette’s armored combat suit swells out as crimson armor juts out like fangs wet with blood.

The face of the Lourd de Marionnette becomes the face of a warrior wearing a lion mask.

It is colored red and black with the occasional glimpse of a gold metal. Crimson hair grows from the back of his head and flutters in the wind. That is no longer a machine.>

My foundational memories have decided that is dangerous and that I need to prepare to fight back, so all sorts of information reaches me after a short delay: how to keep the optimal distance, how to intercept attacks, how to use my weapon, and that I too can use an Excède Emblème.

I immediately make up my mind.

I choose to fight. I choose to protect Lady Beretta at my feet, my master in the mansion, Mallette, everyone else I know, everyone else I do not know, and everyone I will ever meet.

I need strength and mobility for that.

For some reason, the words needed to achieve that come from my foundational memories in English. In the language of America, home of Jack McWild.

“Activate Full Drive for all weapons and functions.”

I will end this!!

Heinz Berge’s Schreiben: Entry in Grösse Panzer Rot Löwe’s Memory Bank

“The current Schreiben reaction speed is approximately x137.”

The enemy activates her Ober Emblem.

She is a female warrior – or perhaps the goddess Marianne – with a massive spear launcher on her right arm. Beautifully curved armor can be seen below her armored combat dress.

It is a splendid Ober Emblem and it reminds me of the one I once saw in the past. Not its shape – its nature. It is a body born of the machine and of the empty air’s ether and fueled by her willpower and emotions.

I pressurize my output to 21 times to fight back.

<The fangs created by transforming my back radiator emit powerful heat and begin to grow even further. To increase their heat radiation, the fangs audibly quiver in search of air. They sound like a rapid vibration.>

All of my actions will now exist in the supersonic realm.

Can she keep up with this? Can she handle this?

I had eliminated all my emotions and willpower to make my power the strongest, but now I move forward.

I stand on the battlefield that is the hill in front of the Balleroy residence.

<The air surrounding Rot Löwe suddenly explodes.

All resistance vanishes and my feet kick off the ground.>

I approach and the enemy’s eyes respond to my movement. But she does not move. Yes, her reaction speed may be high enough, but her movement speed is a different story.

A Grösse Panzer’s speed is influenced by the Schreibener’s ability and imagination. Sein Frau, you may have combined with a Grösse Panzer far more powerful than my own, but do you have the experience needed to activate that power?

If not, you are no match for me. I shall cut you down in a single blow.

The grip of my heavy cleaver rests in my right hand. I do not raise it or ready it – I simply attack.

<I launch an attack.>

It must have hit.

<But my opponent no longer exists along the path of the slash accompanied by a blast of air.

She has fallen back by a small amount.>

Did you outdo my Lernen? Then do you carry as much power output as me?

<Marianne is slower than me as she falls back along the mansion’s wall, but her speed is definitely rising.

She continues to provide quick bursts of greater power output. Instead of choosing the optimal time to hit her opponent with a burst of power as I do, she seems to be searching out her own limits. She is testing herself.>

I see. I can guess she has no experience using this power, but she has memories of it.

I pursue her.

<Marianne falls back. The speed and power in that action is only slightly below my own.

But we stand atop a narrow hill. She trips on the slope and stumbles.>

I use that chance to move several steps closer.

I make a powerful attack from below.

<But she tries to move toward me at the same time. She moves forward.>

Are you tackling me? It is too late for that. I will slice through you first.

<Nevertheless, she moves forward as if getting up from the slope. Her right arm is directed toward her own feet as the spear launcher on that arm launches a glowing spear 8 yards long.

The spear stabs into the ground like a pile bunker and her body is launched forward.>

Well played.

<She slips below my raised sword and slams her left shoulder into me.

The air circles around us and creates a powerful impact. Her left shoulder is broken before it hits my chest and cracks run through my chest armor.

Then the air explodes around us, producing a roar and an impact.>

That was a splendid attack. She seems to understand the value of forward movement.

<She does not stop.

She repeatedly launches her right arm’s spear to attack. It reminds me of something I have seen in the past.

Specifically, what I saw in Bourgogne.>

Rosetta’s Recréa: Entry in Lourd de Marionnette Protected Empress’s Memory Bank

“The current Recréa reaction speed has been set to approximately x138.”

My body moves however I want.

My willpower is moving my body.

<A roar spirals around me, shaking my ears.>

My surroundings move so slowly, I can see the wind, the dust and dirt appear to me as individual grains, and it takes 30 seconds or more for the glass shards to drop to the ground.

I am moving within all that.

<Spear clashes with sword and sword clashes with shield.

The concept of sound is no longer present and the impacts propagating through my body take its place.>

The metallic vibration is a pleasant thing.

This may be how I was always meant to sense things.

Speed.

Impacts.

Steel.

Reflexes.

Willpower and emotion.

I am a Belle de Marionnette developed to need those things.

I was born to fight, but I was not raised to fight. I am a fortunate machine.

So I see so many unrelated things while I fight.

<The enemy’s black blade collides with the shield portion of the Valkyrie Strike spear launcher and darkness scatters out.

I can see the city of Paris beyond that dark spray.>

I can see it so clearly.

I can see the outside world.

I can see.

<The enemy deflects my many spear strikes with his sword.

And the enemy makes his own attacks.>

I either dodge those or deflect them with my shield.

Our reactions and movements have reached perfection, so there are no openings to take advantage of.

We have created a series of actions that only the two of us could follow.

Is this something like a dance? I never did get to participate in the dance at the school festival.

I hope it is.

The noises roaring in my ears act as the music.

Our dodging and leaping act as the dance steps.

We make forceful turns, we do not take each other’s hand, and there are no rules.

We simply move in the hopes that our hand can reach our opponent.

<Our attacks continue to cry out in the form of impacts.

Our movements are supported by our willpower and emotions.>

So much cannot be heard as sounds.

So much cannot be seen with the eyes.

I entrust my body to all of those things to move in a way I never have before.

My entire body rejoices.

I feel tension but also fulfillment as I accelerate myself further and further.

“The current Recréa reaction speed has been set to approximately x145.”

Faster, sharper, stronger.

<With each attack, sparks of light and darkness scatter.

The next spray is born before the previous can fall and the movement never ceases.>

Heinz Berge’s Schreiben: Entry in Grösse Panzer Rot Löwe’s Memory Bank

“The current Schreiben reaction speed is approximately x145.”

She is fast.

My output is already fixed at a rate of 21 times, but she is matching that.

Who is she?

Who in the world is she? I thought the Attesor Project ended in failure and was abandoned.

Yet here she is fighting like this.

There is no hesitation, joy, fear, or anger in her actions. She only seems to be testing herself as she matches my every move.

I can tell her power is growing with each and every attack.

Can she go further? Can she carry this even further? She fights like a baby bird testing out its wings.

<My horizontal attack creates a dark spray when blocked by her shield. The combined spear and launcher has to be heavy, but she wields it quite nimbly.>

That is a good Panzer. More than that, she must have powerful willpower and emotions.

I wish I could meet her.

If she is an Attesor Project Sein Frau, then she must be 25 this year.

That is about the age my daughter would be if she were still alive.

I had forgotten all about that until just now.

Did you say your name was Rosetta, combat Sein Frau?

Until now, I had forgotten all about my daughter and about you.

But no more.

Answer me.

Answer me on this battlefield surrounded by flowers and in this territory only we can reach. Answer me through our memory banks of Lernens and Verbesserungs.

Answer me, Belia and Susanna – my wife and daughter who exist only in my memories now.

Can I protect you two?

Can I continue on without forgetting you?

Answer me.

Answer me, product of the Attesor Project.

What does it mean to truly be the strongest?

Is it what I have been doing all this time?

Or is it something you have yet to show me!?

<My heavy cleaver hits her shield head on.

She takes a step back.

The ground below her crumbles away.

The hill’s slope collapses from the location she hit with her pile bunker earlier.

She loses her balance.>

Rosetta’s Recréa: Entry in Lourd de Marionnette Protected Empress’s Memory Bank

City v05b 359.jpg

“The current Recréa reaction speed has been set to approximately x142.”

Oh, no.

My foundational memories were unable to prepare me for that. The ground crumbled below my feet and I lost my balance.

The dance stops and this opponent will not overlook that.

<The next attack is a straight horizontal one.

A pitch black color draws a line in the air in order to slice through my torso.>

I need to dodge it.

Heinz Berge’s Schreiben: Entry in Grösse Panzer Rot Löwe’s Memory Bank

“The current Schreiben reaction speed is approximately x148.”

I launch an attack.

And I step forward as if to break through the barrier of air.

<The air tugs on me and I hear a shattering sound as Rot Löwe’s fangs crash into and tear through that air, turning it to white clouds that scatter behind me.

The wind blows in from all directions and Rot Löwe attempts to incorporate that into its movements.

Using a slashing strike.>

I break through the barrier of raging air.

I complete the horizontal swing of my heavy cleaver.

<Just then, Marianne stabs her spear deep into the slope while lifting her body up alongside it.

Then she triggers the pile bunker.>

What is she doing!?

<The spear cannot stab any further into the slope.

So Marianne herself is instead pushed outwards. That armored female shape slides upwards along the rails of the giant spear.

She uses a sublime combination of speed, strength, and balance to send her 8-yard form to the peak of the glowing spear of the same height.

My heavy cleaver can slice through logs, so it easily does the same with the spear.

The light makes a sound like a metal wind instrument as it crumbles and turns to a glowing mist.

As the spear audibly shatters, the launcher is destroyed too. The right arm supporting that great weight breaks at the elbow and bends at an odd angle.

But she spins around as if doing a midair handstand and she leaps. She moves herself toward the patch of four o’clock flowers at the bottom of the slope.>

Well played again.

But now you have no weapon. Your left arm is broken at the shoulder and your right arm has lost its spear and broken too.

<Marianne lands in the patch of four o’clock flowers. The wind whips up around her, sending the flowers and their leaves flying.

She is about 70 yards away.>

Time to finish this.

Rosetta’s Recréa: Entry in Lourd de Marionnette Protected Empress’s Memory Bank

“The current Recréa reaction speed has been set to approximately x128.”

I need to steady myself.

<He has stopped moving as he continues to look down at me from the top of the hill.>

I can tell he is watching me.

Enough silence has passed to count it using ordinary units. One second, then two.

He is not moving.

<A gentle wind blows through and blows the dust away from the slope

The sky has already grown very blue, but the sun has yet to rise.>

Today will probably be a sunny day.

In true August fashion, it should also be a hot day.

<Meanwhile, I hear his voice coming from his Lourd de Marionnette’s voice device.>

I want to hear it.

<“Attesor Sein Frau Rosetta, can you hear me?”>

I can only nod because my body has no voice device.

<But he responds to my nod with one of his own.

And…

“Let us get straight to the point and end this with a single attack.”

He lowers his hips as if gathering strength.>

Is he readying an attack? If so, there is something I wish to say to you too.

I cannot do so vocally as I lack a mouth, but I will write it here in this memory bank.

You can make this final attempt, but I will not give up.

I will demonstrate for you why the Attesor Project was said to be the strongest.

I will demonstrate a level my predecessors never could reach.

I will show you why only Belle de Marionnettes could be used for the project.

I will show you why I am the final product and what my master belatedly told me about the Attesor Project.

<He nods as if he read my thoughts.

And he speaks.

“You’re on.”>

Here he comes. There is but one thing I must do in response. I swing my left arm to pick up what I had noticed earlier.

Yes, the sword that Lady Beretta’s Lourd de Marionnette had dropped.

<Marianne picks up the sword stabbed into the ground.>

And!!

Heinz Berge’s Schreiben: Entry in Grösse Panzer Rot Löwe’s Memory Bank

“The current Schreiben reaction speed is approximately x145.”

My will is ordering me to continue forward, so I take a step with a cloud of water vapor trailing behind me.

Instead of walking normally, I spread my legs to the side and run down the slope like I am mountain climbing. I pick up speed in a mere three steps, transforming Rot Löwe into a 30-ton projectile.

<I reach top speed about halfway down the hill.>

Then I jump.

<With a creaking of straining metal, my black armored combat suit flutters behind me and the Grösse Panzer soars.>

The sonic boom created by my Panzer destroys everything around me. I aim to jump approximately 100 yards. My path will take me right through the enemy and I will use the road outside the gate as my landing runway.

I make the jump.

If she thinks she can stop this, then she can try. Let’s see if the Attesor Project has any more tricks up its-

<She moves.

She swings her body to bring her sword-wielding left arm alongside her broken right arm.>

Does she plan to counterattack with the Third Flame Emperor?

That is not possible. My speed is so much greater.

<But she readies the weapon.

For some reason, ether light gathers around her right arm.

Her Ober Emblem is already active, yet new ether is gathering on top of that.>

This is not my first time seeing more ether surrounding an Ober Emblem.

This should not be possible.

Ober Emblems are fixed. Once they activate, no further ether can be emitted.

Yet she is doing it.

I have seen this before.

When the Sourire lost control in Bourgogne, light surrounded it in much the same way!

<First, the ether surrounding her right arm transforms into a right arm.

Except this arm is even more curved and humanlike than the original one.

This is Ober Emblem healing.

But the transformation does not end there.

More light gathers at her right arm and rapidly takes a certain form. A new launcher is being created with the Third Flame Emperor contained in the center.>

Is that-

<Her Ober Emblem was destroyed once, but that only triggered a further evolution.>

I remember now.

When a Sein Frau evolves, she gains whatever functions she desires.

<She aims this new launcher at me.

She aims it and silently fires it.>

It scores a direct hit.

Rosetta’s Recréa: Entry in Lourd de Marionnette Protected Empress’s Memory Bank

“The current Recréa reaction speed has been set to approximately x100.”

It all happens in an instant. Fortunately, I dismantled a simple gun and inspected how it worked earlier today.

The Liberator was crudely made, but it came in handy.

When the flame spear hit him, he lost the entirety of his right arm, but he still refused to fall.

He had lost some momentum, but at the instant he crashed into the ground, he kicked off with his right leg. He adjusted his positioning without giving any thought to the recoil that would hit his limbs and frame.

The wind whipped up and he somehow managed to avoid falling.

<He slides approximately 30 yards along the garden and comes to stop while down on one knee.

His Excède Emblème has vanished and heat shimmers from the radiator on his back.>

Two minutes have passed like that.

But I have not removed my Excède Emblème. I am waiting. Waiting for him to stand up.

<His right shoulder is missing all the way to his chest and his remaining limbs were nearly torn off as well.>

What does that matter?

We still have not found an answer. We still have not discovered what it means to be the strongest.

<His body begins to tremble.>

Is this it?

<The black Appareil stands up as if to answer me.

His body strains and he falls to his hands and knees, but he still tries to get up.>

He just fell again.

<But he has not given up.

Oil flows from him like blood, his armor has split, and his frame is exposed, but he still tries to stand.

He lifts his left knee, places his left hand on it, and stands up.

Slowly. So very slowly.>

The wind is blowing through. The pleasant morning air arrives through the brick city.

<The wind washes over that male Lourd de Marionnette said to be the strongest while he shakes as if convulsing and he pushes himself up with just his left leg. His left hand restrains the shaking of the leg and he leans forward while trying to somehow get his trembling right leg underneath him as well.>

Can he stand?

<The black Lourd de Marionnette nods as if he could see my thought.

He places his trembling right foot on the ground and removes his left hand from his left leg.

He straightens his back and tries to stand tall in the morning air as he looks my way.>

Our eyes meet.

<The dew on his sight devices makes it look like he is crying.

And just as our eyes met, he suddenly collapses.

He is falling.>

Yes, I know exactly what to do when that happens.

I catch him in my arms.

<Metal and ether crash together with a sound like a metal wind instrument, but Marianne successfully supports that broken and weary Lourd de Marionnette. I hold him close as if burying his face in my chest.>

It’s okay. Everything will be okay.

<I hear something like a breath from his speech device which is so close to my ear.

But he is not breathing. It is a song sung with a set rhythm.>

I believe he is speaking German, but I recognize the rhythm. It is the final section of the song Lady Beretta taught me:

So that no one would grieve again.

That which is endless and cannot be grasped.

That which is vast and cannot be held.

I am with thee.

Yes, yes. Your grief and everything else are over now.

I heard what you had to say, so rest now. So that you may stand back up someday.

<I lay him down in the patch of the garden with the most four o’clock flowers. The flowers scatter like feathers and land atop the Lourd de Marionnette as if to decorate him.>

It is now over.

Lourd de Marionnette Protected Empress’s Phrase

Canceling full-body Excède Emblème. Shifting back to standard mode.

Rosetta’s Recréa: Entry in Lourd de Marionnette Protected Empress’s Memory Bank

“The current Recréa reaction speed has been set to approximately x3.”

My Excède Emblème is gone now.

I am so, so very tired. The dawn still has not arrived as I stand in the garden as a Lourd de Marionnette, which is what I was always meant to be.

<The mansion has not quite collapsed, but its wall is crumbling and part of the roof is missing.>

Is Lady Beretta okay? I climb the hill to find out.

And…

<My master and Lady Beretta emerge from behind the mansion. Lady Beretta is still only draping her clothing around herself, but she now has a white bandage around her left thigh.>

She looks up at me.

She does not know that I am an Attesor Project Belle de Marionnette. And she has thought a lot about what it means to be a Lourd de Écrivain. And I have-

<Lady Beretta scratches her head while looking up at me.

“Hey Rosetta, can you hear me? You made a mess of the mansion, so I can’t really use the communicator or anything else. Do you feel bad about that?”>

I can only nod since I have no voice device. I consider canceling my Recréa, but I do not know what I am supposed to say to her when I do.

<“Also, I’m not really sure how this happened, but you’ve Recréaed into that thing and…”

She briefly looks over at my master and then back at me.

“Are you okay? Are you hurt?”>

City v05b 371.jpg

My strength leaves me and I fall to my knees.

I recall that it was always like this. Even at the school festival’s closing ceremony. Whenever I would ask her something important, she would answer in the same way.

<“That’s just how it is, Rosetta.”>

I do not know if that was just my memory replaying or if she actually said it again.

But it makes me cry all the same.

I look up to the sky and cry. I have no voice and there are no actual tears, but I am crying. I do not have to consciously try to cry. I simply know the tears are flowing.

<Lady Beretta steps up on my thigh an climbs up my kneeling form.

She stands on my right collarbone, places a hand on the brim of my head, and gives me a serious look.

“Hey, Rosetta, can I ask you just one thing more? Earlier, I fell from the sky holding this happy old bomb called the Wort Bombe.”

She points toward the Boulogne forest. There is a large lake there.

“I left it over there. Stop it from detonating and you can liberate France, but a single person will be erased from the world. But if you let it detonate, then that person will remain and France will be liberated, but only if everyone across France – enemy and ally alike – want to be happy.”

She takes a breath.

“The thing is, if everyone in France still carries unease in their hearts when it detonates, France won’t be liberated. So what do you think?”>

What do I think?

<“Can you trust everyone? We only have about 5 minutes until it goes off, so it has to be a quick decision. So if you can’t trust everyone, then hurry into that forest to stop the Wort Bombe. But if you can trust them, let it go off while we leave from these gates to go meet everyone. So what do you think?”>

I know exactly how I should respond to her serious look, but am I really allowed to say this? When I carry the power of a weapon?

<I suddenly notice something moving at my feet.

It is Mallette. She ran out into the garden with the bandage still around her stomach and she is looking up at me. And that is not all. Another Fantasmé Renard appears from the hill.

“Oh, it’s Beretta,” says Lady Beretta.

They both slowly, slowly run toward the main gate to leave the garden and they stop to look up at me once more.>

They almost seem to be waiting for me. Or inviting me outside.

I think about Lady Beretta who is right there next to me. And I sense just how calm my thoughts are. I think about my own body.

I pushed myself really hard, so can I really still move like normal?

<While I think about that, Mallette and Beretta begin to run again.

Toward the main gate.

I see several people on the main road beyond that gate. They are the people of Paris.

They must not have been able to bear staying indoors any longer, so they ran outside.

Men, women, the elderly, and children all raise their voices as they walk toward the center of the city.>

I can hear all their voices.

Yes. Yes, I understand. I know what they are thinking.

And I know how to respond to Lady Beretta as well.

<Some of the people walking or running along the road wave when they see me.

I hear them calling me an angel or Marianne. Some of them must have seen the previous battle and Lady Beretta’s Excède Emblème.>

I cannot speak right now, but I can provide a much clearer answer.

I stand up and my willpower moves my body.

<My vision rises up and I can look down on the city of Paris.

The morning sun has begun to rise beyond the city. It is so bright. That light is different from the moonlight that my mechanical parts as a Belle de Marionnette love so much.

The people on the road come to a stop, look to me, and cheer.

Down by my feet, my master nods once and begins walking toward them all with his cane.>

I will go too. There is nothing to fear now. The two Fantasmé Renards lead the way and Lady Beretta accompanies me. I am sure the man I fought just now will join us eventually. Always forevermore, we will fight to protect someone.

<On my swaying shoulder, Lady Beretta speaks someone’s name and smiles. Then she raises her voice while pointing toward Paris and not the forest.

“Okay, let’s head out, Rosetta! No point in sitting around here!!”

I hear more cheering.>


Back to Chapter 21 Return to Main Page Forward to Final Chapter