City Series:Volume6a Chapter3
Chapter 3: The Wind Begins
The battle begins
And I am merely protected.
He asks me
What I meant when I said
I don’t want to run away.
A steel enhancement technique developed during the middle ages. A portion of the user’s body has its Lives broken down and combined with the created machine’s Lives to create a link between their willpower and the machine. The idea is said to have come from a Panzer’s Schreiben device.
When the user focuses their willpower, the machine will react and emit ether into the surrounding space while also emitting an Erklärung text which triggers a Live transformation that rewrites the surrounding space. Their willpower and the machine textually rewrite reality.
That process is known as Erklärung.
There are two types of Erklärung: the Beweisen that is modifiable based on the machine and the Ober Beweisen that uses the user’s own Lives. The former is easy to use and can create a wide variety of effects, but it is weak. The latter can only have the one effect but is powerful enough to call a miracle. Also, the device must be the tool best suited to represent the user’s will.
Hard metallic sounds rang through the Berlin night.
The loud clangs of steel sounded once, twice, thrice, and on and on without end. They grew into a complex cacophony but never did cease. The noises were also traveling quickly through the city.
They currently rushed into the university at the center of Berlin.
Solid metallic sounds continued from within the school with 13 tall and modern-designed buildings on its large campus. They showed no sign of stopping.
Two new sounds came from the center of the courtyard surrounded by a circle of black cedar trees.
One was a gunshot and one was an Erklärung.
<The Freeshooter pursues his prey.>
Bullet after bullet was fired from Bermark’s handgun as he ran through the center of the courtyard.
All the bullets became glowing arrows that drew curving arcs to pursue his enemy.
Those glowing arrows were directing their obvious hostility toward the young man in black carrying a girl under his arm.
He spun around without a sound to dodge the auto-seeking arrows and knocked a few from the air with the hilt of Gelegenheit. But he was stuck on the defensive.
The pursuer fired rapidly and reloaded in the blink of an eye. Bermark’s voice rang through the courtyard.
“Is run all you can do, ‘Wild Hund’!? If you hope to defy me, then use those canine fangs of yours!”
He dropped an emptied magazine and swung his right arm to produce a new one from within his sleeve.
He grabbed it with his gloved hand and immediately loaded it.
“Now, beat once more, Freischütz! Produce the beat of destructive gunfire for our great nation!”
<The Freeshooter corners his enemy.
Hounds are needed to corner the wild dog.
His shots are numerous and swift.>
He rapidly emptied the new magazine.
The gunfire scattering from the barrel took the form of bullets with unbelievable force. The curves of light bent to the left, right, top, and bottom to pursue the enemy as a heavy barrage.
All of that attack power flew toward Berger, the young man in black standing in front of the large glass entrance of a school building with a girl under one arm.
He did not even glance back at the incoming bullets as he adjusted his grip on the girl and spun around.
He twisted his body as if in preparation to tackle, stuck his leg out, and kicked through the glass door behind him like his foot was a battle axe.
The glass shattered and the chilly winter wind washed across him as he ran through the hole he had created. The girl in his arms cried out in surprise.
The bullets immediately crashed into the spot he had vacated, creating explosions and rubble.
When Hazel reopened her eyes, she saw a white linoleum ceiling overhead.
That ceiling was rushing by with a rising and falling speed reminiscent of a heartbeat. Berger was carrying her while he ran. She noticed his face was shockingly close by.
…We’re running through a school building, aren’t we?
That strangely calm thought was followed by the ceiling collapsing behind them where something had slammed into it. A line of destruction ran through the ceiling and it instantly caught up to and surpassed them. The ceiling collapse along that line, causing pillars of rubble to crash down.
Berger clicked his tongue.
“Does that gun get more destructive the more worked up he is? Damn that excitable old man.”
They were surrounded by rumbling and Berger weaved through the falling rubble as he ran.
Hazel noticed something like oil drip onto her cheek while he carried her.
“D-Dog! Put me down!!”
“Yeah, I don’t think so.”
She ignored his casual tone and tried to break free of his arm around her hips.
It was no use. She gulped at how unexpectedly strong his grip was and pressed herself up against him instead.
Instead of breaking his grip, she worked to wriggle free of it.
“Wait, you moron.”
“You’re the moron!”
Once her feet were on the cold hallway floor, she began to run.
She ran alongside him with the sounds of destruction behind her, but her feet got tangled up below her.
She looked down to see she was wearing sandals. Those things were slowing her down.
“I’ve had about enough of you!”
She voiced her protest against the sandals before kicking her running feet to launch the sandals from them.
She resumed running with her bare feet and snatched the sandals from the air in front of her.
“That’s a neat trick for a girl with such a well-to-do family,” commented Berger.
She ran up alongside him on the left and noticed a trail of blood from his forehead to his cheek.
“Um, a-are you okay?”
“This is nothing as long as you aren’t hurt. I’m doing the best job I can given the circumstances. I take my work seriously, after all.”
The collapse of the ceiling picked up speed. It spread to the sides as well.
They frantically sped up, but then a pillar of wreckage fell right in front of Hazel. Ceiling panels, soundproofing material, insulation, metal, and concrete were stacked up like the layers of a cake in the falling pillar.
“Eh!?” she shouted just before an arm in black reached over from the side.
The horizontal strike shattered the pillar that should have crashed into her head from above.
“I won’t let anything hurt you. Don’t forget that.”
“You really do take your work seriously, huh?”
“You too will eventually understand why, Hazel. Assuming you aren’t all talk, that is.”
He did not clarify what he meant and instead asked her a question.
“But, Hazel Mirildorf, why do they want you so badly?”
“Can’t you figure it out? Isn’t your perception the second best in the world or something?”
“Perception? I’m the second worst in the world when it comes to that. …Also, um, yeah.”
“Can you swing your left arm like this?”
Still running and looking utterly confused, she mimicked his motion by swinging her left hand and the wooden sandal she held in it. At that very moment, they came across an intersection in the hallway.
One of Bermark’s men ran out from the left.
Her swinging sandal slammed into his face.
He spun around a full rotation from the impact and vanished from view as she continued to run.
The solid impact had felt unexpectedly fulfilling from her end. But…
“W-wait, are you having me help you with your violence?”
“Think of it as a way of showing that overexcited old man you won’t do what he says.”
“Um…what happens if that guy does catch me?”
“The simplest guess would be…well, you know. They send you back to the Heidenheim. But…”
“Why is the Geheimnis Agency here? Those Dragoon descendants have always worked behind the scenes in this country, but now they’re keeping the police and the MPs away in order to pursue you. The city must be under martial law at the moment. But why?”
“Don’t ask me. I guess they could use me as a hostage to threaten my dad.”
“Only the military would want to do that, but that old man’s from the Geheimnis Agency. Or is the agency hoping to recruit your dad? Even after he failed to stop what happened 2 years ago?”
Hazel frowned at how those words seemed to stab into her heart.
But Berger kept talking.
“Nothing to say to that, huh? I know what you must be thinking: your dad isn’t the type to budge even if they take you hostage.” He took a breath and raised his right index finger before continuing. “I agree that Oscar Mirildorf isn’t the kind of soldier who would act on a private matter like that.”
Hazel had started hanging her head without even noticing, so Berger slapped her on the shoulder.
She looked up to find he was looking at her as he continued to run. The look on his face was sincere.
“So can you think of any other reason they’d be after you, Hazel? Has anything happened recently? For example…”
The look on his face grew even more serious.
“Well, I’m not sure how to put this tactfully, but…”
“What?” she asked with a hint of concern.
“Have you been a naughty girl?”
“No!” she shouted back.
He gave her a bitter but toothy grin and she looked away from him.
…He’s teasing me!
But she said something else.
“The only thing that’s happened recently is this eye.”
“I was blinded in one eye when they hit me during my arrest. Then I got a fever in the Heidenheim, and-”
“Hold on. Are you saying they gave you that blue eye in the hospital?”
“I didn’t want them to, but the doctors seemed in a real hurry to get it done.”
She noticed a change in him as she explained this. He grew a lot more tense.
She slowed her pace as they approached the end of the hallway.
She found him staring straight at her eye.
She met that gaze for a few seconds and his expression gradually grew into one matching a sigh and his eyebrows lowered.
“I don’t know what it means, but that must be it!”
She did not understand any of this.
…What must be it?
Before she could ask that, a voice reached them from behind.
<The Freeshooter does not let an enemy escape.
He releases the hounds and looses his arrow.>
Hazel looked back to see a line of gathered light flying down the hallway toward them.
She frantically looked forward to see them running toward a large glass door. Breaking through that to escape outside would not allow them to avoid the pursuing shot.
And the enemy unleashed a second shot as well.
Bermark’s Text rang loud. His deep voice pierced through the hallway.
<Racing hounds, pursuing hounds.
Grow faster, grow swifter, grow stronger, grow sharper.>
She looked back to see a third arrow beyond the first and second ones accelerating their way.
She gulped and slowed her pace while Bermark’s ordinary voice reached her ears.
“Are you still willing to mock my Freischütz, ‘Wild Hund’!?”
“Shut it, hound. Your ferocity doesn’t change that you’re just someone’s pet!!”
Hazel heard Berger raise his voice.
“Don’t worry. I won’t let anything hurt you.”
He slammed his feet against the floor to stop and circled behind her.
He placed himself between her and the incoming magic bullets.
She too came to a frantic stop.
She staggered forward, but looked back to see that dark back standing within arm’s reach.
He was thin, but his back gave off the pressure of a solid wall.
He thrust his right hand out into the darkness with Gelegenheit in his grasp.
That was when she noticed a change in Gelegenheit’s shape. A commercial Size D Phlogiston Tank had been inserted into the connector on the bottom of the hilt.
It took her a moment to realize he had spoken her name.
She lost her chance to react, so he spoke again.
The magic bullets were approaching. They exchanged words in what felt like a mere instant.
“What are your thoughts on leaving this country?”
“I-I don’t like it. Because I didn’t do anything wrong. I…” She hesitated. “I still don’t want to run away! That’s my one and only answer!!”
“Hah, that kinda nonsense shows you’re still just a kid. You should be embarrassed.”
With those words, a dark blade jutted out from Gelegenheit.
It was the polar opposite of the glowing Schwerts and Lanzes used by dogfighting fighter craft. This blade was clearer and more transparent and it seemed to be made from pure willpower given a cutting edge. It was a darkness that had abandoned even beauty.
The pitch black blade extended to a length of about 2 yards and stopped.
Berger did not even glance toward the approaching arrows as he spoke to her.
He held Gelegenheit overhead.
“But, Hazel – Hazel Mirildorf! Do not forget that feeling!”
Then he took action.
After a casual swing of Gelegenheit’s blade, Hazel saw the entire hallway – from ceiling to floor, sliced through in a clockwise circle. Only a severing line remained along the hallway’s wall and ceiling.
The single Text she heard came from empty space, not from Berger’s mouth or from Gelegenheit.
<My Destiny does not yet bring death.>
That was all.
That was all it took for the three magic bullets to pass behind Berger and Hazel.
Hazel tried to question what had just happened, but Berger pulled on her hand.
A moment later, the magic bullets hit the glass door behind them.
She turned toward the loud noise to see light and explosions blowing away the door.
…They didn’t hit us!?
She looked and saw the black blade had vanished from Gelegenheit in Berger’s hand. He flipped the hilt around in his hand and flicked the Phlogiston Tank with his thumb. The screw holding it in loosened and he removed it from the weapon.
“You used it up already? But those things will run a radio for a full year.”
“I cut through our destiny of death. That’s worth at least a year of radio, don’t you think?”
He pulled on her hand and crossed over the heated wreckage of the door to run outside.
The full moon shined in the sky overhead.
They had crossed the courtyard and passed through that building, so they were now by the trees lining the road out front. It was a wide road with black cedars on either side. They were only 200 yards away from the main gate onto campus. Climb the metal fence there and they were out in the city.
Hazel’s breath was visible in the chilly air as she worked to run faster.
Her right eye felt that chill more strongly.
…Is that because I’m still not used to the prosthetic?
She rubbed her eye, assuming the faint piercing pain was due to the cold air.
Then she looked to Berger running alongside her and asked the question on her mind.
“Dog, what did you mean earlier?”
“About you being a naughty girl?”
“No! Why are you so fixated on the idea of people not wanting to run away? And…” She hesitated but decided to ask. “Who is the person who vanished from your life? Who is Eryngium?”
She fell silent after that.
…I probably shouldn’t have asked that.
She said “sorry” and looked away from him. She focused on running.
Then she heard a bitter laugh from him.
A moment later, she heard a sound like shattering glass.
…What was that?
By then, it was too late.
<The Hero holds everything in his hand.>
The scene in front of her changed. She should have been looking at the main gate dead ahead, but then the black cedar trees and the sidewalk on the left suddenly rushed in toward her.
Berger’s voice sounded so far away on her right.
Her sensitive inner ear as a cat told her something was wrong.
At some point, she had turned 90 degrees to the left.
But it was too late to do anything about it.
Her running legs hesitated for a moment and she stumbled on the curb before the sidewalk.
Her skinny body grew airborne and she flew head-first toward the trees. Dry cedar leaves were falling from those winter trees.
…This is going to hurt.
Her thoughts remained oddly calm as she tried to curl up.
But then something caught her in midair.
Before she could even question it, she realized a thick manly arm had grabbed her and lifted her high.
She opened her eyes to find herself around 3 yards high. She could see everything from there.
Dog Berger stood on the main road with his black coat flapping in the wind.
Bermark Vier stood to the right with his handgun at the ready.
And on the ground directly in front of her, she could now see what had caused the previous oddity.
Across a 10-yard square, the ground had been rotated at a right angle.
Needless to say, it had not been like that to begin with.
…Did some kind of field spell rotate the entire space including the ground and me? It must have rotated inertia along with everything else.
She gulped at how wide a range had been affected and she looked down.
A man was carrying her over his shoulder. His enormous body was covered by a black military coat and his right arm was a giant prosthetic with a launcher attached. She had seen him just that morning at Berger’s used bookstore.
Berger called his name.
“ ‘Schallmauer Zerstörer’ Hellard Schweitzer!!”
“Indeed,” replied Schweitzer while tapping the sidewalk with the metal staff sticking out from his prosthetic arm’s launcher.
A solid, clear sound rang out and a light appeared before its reverberation faded.
Several silver searchlight beams shined in from beyond the woods alongside this road. More lights appeared on the roof of the school building to the right and atop the wall separating the campus from the city.
Hazel squinted at the brightness.
…What is going on?
She was answered not by light but by sound.
She heard the low thrum of engines and the squeak of metal wheels following a rail.
She reflexively turned that way and saw the main gate opening.
The black metal fence of a door opened with the painfully shrill cry of its wheels and 8 armored vehicles entered through it.
That was not all. She heard giant metal feet crashing against the pavement with a heartbeat rhythm.
Two large forms appeared beyond the armored vehicles.
Her question was answered by the presence of humanoid masses of metal standing 8 yards tall. They were male Grösse Panzers. They stood alongside the armored vehicles in Panzer Kleids and with their hands on the swords at their hips.
…What? It’s like they’re ready for a war.
She panicked, but did not know what to actually do.
Schweitzer seemed to ignore her entirely as he struck the ground with the metal staff once more.
This clang caused all the light to waver. Soldiers had begun to gather in front of it. She heard the rustle of clothing and the hard footsteps of military boots. The metallic clattering of countless firearms overlapped into an indistinct roar of noise.
Feeling inundated by the many sounds, Hazel held her own body and looked around.
Figures in military uniforms emerged endlessly from the woods as if brushing up against her gaze. Their numbers rapidly grew into the dozens as they wordlessly used the trees and underbrush as cover while surrounding Berger from a distance and aiming their weapons at him.
After a few seconds, Schweitzer let out a shout.
They all obeyed. Even the light and wind seemed to stop along with them.
The tension of the stillness and the cold now ruled the scene.
The air felt bound by a silence appropriate for a winter night and Hazel asked a silent question.
…What’s going to happen?
She absentmindedly rubbed her right prosthetic eye and looked to him.
…My right eye kind of hurts.
The pain had been coming and going for a bit now. Wondering if she was imagining it, she looked to Berger.
“Quite the party you’re throwing us, Schweitzer.”
“What is your point?”
“Why does the Geheimnis Agency need Hazel?”
“We need that girl to protect Germany.”
Hazel saw Berger’s expression change.
“That girl? She has a name, Schweitzer, so why aren’t you using it? Yeah, you know the answer, don’t you? It isn’t Hazel you need; it’s that prosthetic eye!” A breath. “I’m betting that eye is an Eingeweide and it’s made from-”
“Yes, it was made from Marsch Gant’s eye. From one of his blue eyes.”
Schweitzer turned to face Berger while spitting out the words.
Since Hazel was carried over his shoulder, this turned her so her butt was pointed toward Berger. She twisted around so she could see where their gazes were colliding, but she also brought her right hand to her right eye.
The prosthetic human eye she was given at the hospital had been aching for a while now.
Berger provided an answer to that.
“I don’t know what it does or what its power is, but if Marsch did make it, then I already know what it must be called. Based on that song Eryngium loved…that must be the Eingeweide eye Messiah.”
“Indeed it is. But unfortunately, that appears to be no more than a name.” Schweitzer sighed but kept all emotion from his face. “We have secured the Messiah, but we do not find ourselves in the destiny we had hoped for. This girl cannot become the Messiah. …Nevertheless, this Messiah implant is still crucial.”
“Wh-what does that mean!?” asked Hazel. “What does it even mean to become the Messiah?”
She shouted and tried to escape his grasp, but his arm had her waist fully pinned. She heard his voice right in her ear.
“Stop struggling. I would prefer not to kill you.”
There was no hint of emotion in his voice or on his face, but she stopped all the same.
She heard a quiet laugh followed by Berger’s voice.
“I think I get what this is about now. And why Marsch sent me the 9th Section of the Ruling King. It’s slowly coming together for me.”
He opened his mouth and a calm song echoed out into the night air.
The one-armed youth holds the Messiah
The moonlit pair returns to the earth
The dragons gather and dance tonight
Every last thing returns home
“That song was written in a time when German land was under attack by an outside enemy. The Heidengeist Messiah was unsure if she should save that land or not, so the man with a divine name convinced her to do so and they descended to the earth.”
“I get it, Schweitzer. An implant called the Messiah and the song about the Messiah’s descent to the earth? Marsch created that implant because he wanted to create the Messiah, didn’t he?”
“But remember this, Schweitzer. Hazel has no intention of letting me take her out of the country to be with her parents. She says she wants to stay in Germany. Do you know why that is?”
“She says she doesn’t want to run away.”
Hazel noticed extra strength suddenly gather in Schweitzer’s arm.
…Does that mean something to him?
She looked to the large man while wondering about that. She had a good view of the face below his close-cropped blond hair and Berger’s voice rang in her ears.
“You get what that means, right!? We already heard that sentiment two years ago. But the feeling ruling Hazel now is contrary to Eryngium’s will! Because Hazel still doesn’t know what those words mean!”
When he called her name, she realized he was pointing at her.
“Use this chance to think carefully, Hazel. You said you have no obligation to run away and you said you want to use your right to stay here. …You said you don’t want to run away!”
“So figure out what that means! What does it mean to not want to run away!!”
Hazel gasped at what he said.
…Doesn’t it just mean that I don’t want to run away?
Just as she thought that, pain reverberated through the front of her head.
It came from her right eye. Instead of the previous prickle of pain, this was more distinct and excruciating.
When receiving a prosthetic, there was a chance your body would reject it.
…Is that what’s happening here?
She did not know because it had started so suddenly.
It felt like her right eye was being forcibly pulled from the eye socket, so she squeezed her eye shut.
She frantically held her hand over it, but the eyelid was shut and nothing was wrong. Except for the continuing pain.
She tried to suppress the impatience, panic, and consternation filling her thoughts.
Her sudden doubt was cut short by a second wave of pain.
“–––! ––! ––––!! Ow!!”
The second wave of pain was longer and more powerful than the first. It spread from the eye and pounded on the inside of her skull.
She tried to bear with the pain when a third wave hit.
It felt like a hooked finger was digging around in her eye socket.
She could no longer bear it.
She reflexively arched her back like her body was being squeezed too tight and she screamed up toward the sky and the moon.
The cry of pain and sorrow sounded like an animal howling.
Hearing a scream by his ear, Schweitzer looked up into the sky.
Hazel had been positioned on his shoulder like a priestess praying toward heaven, but all of a sudden, she held her right eye, curled up, and took the fetal position while releasing a quiet breath.
He viewed the limp girl’s face.
Her right eye had undergone a change. That eye remained open like it had a mind of its own and its blue color had changed to a deep crimson.
“Is this the Eingeweide eye Messiah?”
Without responding to his voice, Hazel shut her eyes.
She had passed out.
A moment later, the air erupted and scattered above his shoulder. A chilly smoke of water vapor spread out from the wind and was scattered by the wind. Only one thing remained.
“So that cat this morning was her.”
Some half-human Heidengeists would undergo a defensive transformation when they were in danger. As a half-Werecat, this girl had that ability.
A kitten with white and gold fur was sleeping but breathing heavily on his shoulder while practically buried in clothing.
He gathered the transformed girl in the clothing and raised his voice.
“Withdraw immediately! The Sylphide is coming!!”
His warning came too late.
A shadow appeared over the moon as something descended from the sky.
The first thing to reach them was a powerful gust of wind dropping straight down on them with incredible pressure.
Then came the giant shadow of blocked moonlight. The rumbling of the air arrived third.
It all happened seemingly without warning.
It was all so powerful and heavy.
The wind, shadow, and noise were all mere preparations for what flew down from the sky.
It whipped up the wind as it dropped toward them. Schweitzer kept his eyes open in the blowing wind and saw a blade-like shape descend within the moonlight. The ship was bluer than the moonlight.
It flew along a sharp arc that nearly tore into the ground as it charged toward them.
With a roar, it instantly passed over their heads.
Then it vanished into the sky above the city while whipping up further wind there.
The soldiers let out relieved sighs.
But that was when the blue craft returned along the exact same path like watching a cinema film played in reverse.
At less than 20 yards off the ground, it whipped up the wind and slid overhead in reverse.
It was large. The sharply angular blue craft was around 30 yards long.
Its mere size overhead seemed to create waves of pressure. It slid slowly above that pressure as if searching for something and it passed above the campus’s main gate.
On occasion, it would tilt as if checking below it and then continue on in reverse.
That giant mass of metal was floating in midair and moving.
It did not produce the flames of the spirit rockets and jets used for airplanes, not did it have any nozzles those flames could come from. It was no more than aerodynamically-shaped metal, yet it floated and moved.
No one – not even the Grösse Panzers on the road – dared move, but not just because of its oppressive presence.
The two devices on its front and three on its rear were Kunst Eyes which could weaponize ether. Some light had already gathered on the surface of those orbs, so they could attack at any time.
They all knew it would attack the instant any of them did.
And one person identified the craft.
“During the Armored Hammer of God Incident two years ago, a single aerial warship obliterated the German Air Force’s 5th Division. It used inertial flight and transformed each time it fought.” A breath. “It’s said the Kaizerburg was modeled after the Messiah’s dragon in the Unreif Germane and its presence as history’s strongest warship pushed the world toward militarism. …But this is shaped differently. It looks more refined than the Kaizerburg.”
Schweitzer realized Berger was looking to him, so he explained.
“This is the Sylphide prototype built by Marsch Gant.”
He started to say more but was cut off when the blue Sylphide suddenly dropped down as if it were feeling blue after giving up on finding whatever it was searching for. It almost seemed to be sinking down on a spring, so he barked a command again.
“Withdraw immediately! Shockwave incoming!!”
The blue craft immediately hopped skyward as if it were making a side flip.
The air burst around it with a sound like tearing paper.
The atmosphere was shredded and a chilly white ring spread out and burst, producing a shockwave.
Their surroundings were pummeled by a heavy roar reminiscent of a waterfall.
The soldiers on the road were blown away and their weapons skittered across the pavement or flew through the air. Their screams joined together as one, but Schweitzer remained motionless as he stood their holding Cat Hazel.
The figure in a black coat was no longer on the road in front of him.
Schweitzer simply held the sleeping cat there on his shoulder.
“All that remains is a girl with a will much like hers and the Messiah implant!?”
His words were drowned out by the wind. The wind of that winter night grew stronger and stronger as it crashed into him.
The wind never stopped blowing.
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