City Series:Volume6a Chapter4

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Chapter 4: The Wind Runs[edit]

City v06a 117.jpg

12/21/1937 04:00 – 10:01


When this question was asked in the past

No answer was found due to a mistake

But what about now?

Do I know the answer?

Berlin Conflict[edit]

City v06a 118.jpg

The military fought an internal conflict in 1935. It has since become known as the Armored Hammer of God Incident.

For a mere week, the military fought over an emblem engine built at the Wagner Laboratory which was performing aircraft R&D for the military.

An emblem engine was built using a spirit stone excavated from the Alfheim Meteor Crater in the Black Forest, where the lab was also located, that engine functioned as a semi-perpetual motion machine by refining and taking in ether from the surrounding space, and while the military hoped to use that technology to rise above the Geheimnis Agency, the developers P. Wagner and W. Talstrasse (with the assistance of E. Breuer) launched the aerial warship dp-XXX into space using that emblem engine.

As a deterrent against the nations of the world, the dp-XXX announced itself an independent craft not affiliated with any nation. By ’37, it had chosen to wander mostly around America.

Part 1[edit]

Two things filled a large, dark, and cold enclosed space: many tall bookcases positioned in orderly rows and the tones of a wall clock announcing it was 4 o’clock.

This was the first floor of the central library at Berlin’s university late at night.

Only the moonlight shining in through the tall windows created pale shadows. That light seemed to carry a set rhythm that endlessly but gently illuminated the library.

Then that light falling on the floor was disturbed.

Footsteps sounded and a figure walked through the library. The shadows cast by the moonlight made them look even darker than usual.

It was Berger.

He walked briskly between the bookcases and suddenly reached out to brush his hand along one shelf.

“History Shelf 3: Investigations of how the Obstacle Era led to the City Era.”

He touched another.

“Political Sociology Shelf 21: From the collapse of the First Reich to Bismarck’s Blood and Iron speech.”

And…

“Miscellaneous Shelf 13: Information on this library.”

The dark figure sat in front of one bookcase. The hem of his coat spread out below him as he reached out to touch the floor composed of black and white tiles.

His expression was blank. He did not speak a word as he pressed against various parts of the floor in a seemingly casual way.

“Here it is.”

He suddenly lifted his hand from the floor and stood up.

His right hand touched the end of a bookcase in front of him and he swung his hand outwards as if trying to brush it aside.

The bookcase slid to the right with no resistance whatsoever. It moved about 2 yards.

And a hole appeared in the floor where it had been.

“…”

He set foot in that hole without hesitation. There was a stairway within and the floor swallowed up one step’s worth of his body.

As he continued walking, the library floor soon rose above his head and the stairway’s ceiling was overhead instead.

There was no wind or anything else in that space. It was a dark and still pit.

His clothing and hair blended into the darkness and the rustling of his clothing grew louder than his footsteps as he took the last few steps down.

After a total of 21 steps, even that sound vanished.

But there was a voice.

“Feels weird to be back.”

He knocked lightly on a wooden panel and an oblong strip of bluish-white light appeared in the darkness. The light spread to the side and illuminated him.

A door sat open in front of him and it led to a small room.

He set foot in that room full of bluish-white light and some dust rose from the high pile carpet below his feet.

“…”

He looked up without a word.

The small room’s walls were only 5 yards long. Other than a sofa in the center, it only had bookcases covering all four walls. The bookcases were stacked about 20 yards tall, continuing all the way up to the conical ceiling.

The small skylight in the ceiling distributed light throughout the small space using the mirrors installed on the conical interior of the ceiling. The light filling the room was moonlight.

“I might be the last person left who knows about this secret archive since it was traditionally only revealed to each successive library director.”

He removed his black coat and swept it over toward the sofa. It beat audibly at the air and dust spread out from the sofa before scattering into the stagnant air.

Nevertheless, he placed the coat over the sofa and sat on top of it.

He sank down and looked up above the entrance he had used.

A picture frame was hung above the doorframe and the bluish-white light illuminated the photo of a middle-aged man with his arms around two children: a girl on his left and a boy on his right.

The man had the distinctive cat eyes of a feline Heidengeist, as did the smiling girl to his left. They both had bright brown hair, so they were clearly father and daughter.

But the boy on the right had black hair and different eyes.

Berger’s eyes met those of the boy and his lips twisted into a bitter smile.

He removed his sunglasses, put them in his vest’s breast pocket, and brushed a hand through his hair. He did that a few more times before stopping and covering his face with that hand instead.

“Director, Marsch is probably dead. That inventor loved flying around in aircraft so much…but now he must have joined you in the afterlife.” A bitter laugh escaped his mouth. “That means one of us has failed to keep our promise. The promises that I, Marsch, Schweitzer…and Alfred made with Eryngium.”

He looked up and reached for the pendant on his necklace as he spoke. It was a woman’s pendant set with a red jewel that shined in the moonlight. It was also a cheap one like the ones you could buy from most any street vendor.

A slight metallic sound came from the pendant as it split in two and opened.

A small piece of paper was pasted within.

It was part of a photo. That image of the past had lost its left and right sides, but it clearly showed a man and a woman. The woman was bending her cat eyes with a smile and the black-haired young man was standing behind her.

They stood at an airport with an airplane on a runway behind them.

“That’s one less person who knew me back then.”

He had trouble saying any more and shut the pendant.

A few seconds passed.

Once he managed to compose his expression, he looked up at the white ceiling that reflected the moonlight.

“Eryngium, I just know Marsch died to keep his promise. And now I know what I must do. I’ve met someone who…who is saying the same thing you did before you vanished from our lives.”

Definite strength filled his words now.

“I…”

He hesitated, clenched his fists until they grew white, and continued.

“I want to see where those words lead, even if you failed to see it yourself.”

He stood up, picked up his coat behind himself, swung it around to get the dust off, and put it on.

The air swirled around and the sound echoed through the small room.

His lips mouthed the words of the 9th Section of the Ruling King.

He spread his hands in the center of that sound and motion and took in a deep breath.

He glanced up at the picture frame above the entrance immediately after reopening his eyes.

“––––––”

Without a word more, he began to walk.

He walked out of there.

Part 2[edit]

The morning sun shined into a room where Hazel sat across a table from Schweitzer. The table had a tablecloth over it and a simple but nutritionally-balanced breakfast was laid out on top.

It included brot, gemüsesuppe, wurst, fried eggs, a variety of fruits, and kaffee with cream floating in it.

Hazel slowly ate that while viewing the man in front of her.

Schweitzer ate with just his left arm and he did not look at her at all, but the way he moved his arm seemed awkward.

He’s going out of his way to eat with me.

With that on her mind, she moved her gaze to view the room. It was a large room with 6 yard walls. The ceiling had beautiful wood paneling, the wallpaper had an arrowhead pattern, and the high pile carpet felt nice even with bare feet.

The bed affixed to the wall was large too. Overall, the room was brown and warm.

She suddenly glanced to the bed.

The end of the blanket was a mess because she had dressed while sitting on top of it. She had been laid in the bed in her cat form, so she had woken up naked.

“…”

She looked back to Schweitzer, but his interest was not in the bed.

She breathed a sigh of relief and looked around the room again.

The air conditioning had formed condensation on the window that overlooked the interior of Tempelhof Air Base. When Bermark had arrived earlier to ask if she needed any daily items, he had explained that this was the 5th floor of the officer barracks and that she had been given a vacant room.

This certainly is a warm welcome.

That thought entered her mind while she saw a transport plane finish taxiing and begin taking off outside the condensation-covered window. It shook the atmosphere, creating a roar of air.

The plane looked like a small toy at this distance as it accelerated along the other side of the brown winter grass. It moved from the right side of the window and vanished off the left side. And then…

“Do you like aircraft?”

She turned toward the voice to see Schweitzer was indeed still eating.

His gaze was lowered toward the wurst he was slicing in two with his fork, so he was not looking at her.

“Do you like aircraft?”

“Not particularly.”

She answered promptly, but he did not look up.

She realized her expression had grown stiff as she continued her answer.

“If not for aircraft, my dad probably wouldn’t have had to ‘regretfully retire’. Um, do you know what happened after that Armored Hammer of God Incident? The German military used that chaos as an excuse to oppress the Heidengeists in the country. They declared without evidence that the Heidengeists had been behind the incident.”

“That was in fact a witch hunt meant to extract all the foreign wealth held by the Heidengeists.”

“Yes, it was. You knew?”

“The Geheimnis Agency was tasked with that job at the time. That was my third year in the Agency.”

Schweitzer still did not look her way.

She tilted her head while he resumed eating in silence.

“Then why aren’t you hunting me down? Um, I am a Heidengeist.”

“That was made clear yesterday. And like I said before breakfast, your eye is crucial for the protection of Germany and that Messiah implant began to adapt to your body last night.” A breath. “It is no longer possible to simply remove the prosthetic eye. Normally, we would be searching for someone who can accept that eye now that it has made itself a part of your body.”

“Um,” she said while rolling that idea around in her mind. “And if you do find a compatible person?”

Will they gouge out my eye and send me to be made into a Phlogiston Platte like the other Heidengeists?

She could not ask that part out loud, but she did hold a hand to her shoulder. The shoulder which bore a branded number.

He must have known what she was thinking because he responded in a deep voice.

“I said ‘normally’, remember?” He was speaking with his eyes still lowered toward his food. “Germany refuses to accept anyone with Heidengeist Tons as a citizen. We reject Heidengeist to ensure our racial superiority. Thus…we will not find anyone compatible with an eye that has been tainted with Heidengeist Tons.”

She looked up at the ceiling when she heard that.

She thought about it and scratched at her hair for a mere three seconds before finding an answer and looking back at him.

“Thank you.”

“I have done nothing deserving your thanks.” He continued as if restating that. “Listen, we must research that eye of yours and that requires preserving your physical and mental health. We cannot allow you to come to harm.”

She listened to him, but then she removed her hand from her shoulder.

“What power does this eye – the Messiah – hold that makes it so important?”

“From what I have been told, its Beweisen can apparently resonate with and control any Eingeweide device. That makes it the foundation of all Eingeweide devices.”

“Then…what did you mean last night about me becoming or not becoming the Messiah?”

He seemed to choose his words more carefully when answering this question.

“We believe that a Messiah will appear to become our leader and save us when Germany faces a crisis in the near future. …Our Geheimnis Agency is currently leading the country, but a Neue Kavalier is meant to serve a leader who guides them.”

“And that’s the Messiah?”

“However, certain conditions must be met to become the Messiah. You were a likely candidate, but destiny did not fulfill those conditions when we secured you last night. …You carry the Messiah implant, but you failed to become the true Messiah.” A breath. “However, that does not make your Messiah implant any less important.”

“If I had fulfilled the conditions to become the Messiah, would I have received an even warmer welcome?”

She smiled a little and ate a spoonful of soup now that steam had stopped rising from it.

And she asked something else purely out of curiosity.

“But why are you working so hard to make all this happen?”

He finally looked up upon hearing that.

He started to say something, sighed, and spoke more quietly.

“I once promised I would live a life that protected this country.”

He looked down again before answering and Hazel looked to him after hearing it. Her eyes landed on the woman’s earring he wore on his left ear. She kept her eyes on that as she asked something else.

“Was that promise with…Eryngium?”

Schweitzer stopped moving altogether.

Part 3[edit]

When Hazel saw that, she stood up and turned her back on him.

“Dog Berger mentioned the name Eryngium and nothing else. Who is she and what does she do? He said she thought the same thing I do and he mentioned a promise made to her.”

She walked the four steps needed to reach the window, placed her hand on the condensation-wet sill, and opened the window.

The wind blew in.

The chilly air flowed into the room, eliminating the warmth from the air conditioning.

But she opened her eyes and stared into the distance. Tempelhof Airport had been converted into an airbase, so several transport planes were stopped on the wide airfield to quickly bring in and send out materiel.

She could only hear the blowing of the wind and the rumble of engines.

She narrowed her eyes.

Why?

“Um…why is everyone so fixated on the fact that I don’t want to run away?”

The wind blew in, causing her hair to dance and flutter in the room behind her.

She turned around as if pulled back by her hair.

There she saw Schweitzer had stood from his seat and was starting to leave the room.

She started to say something, but he turned just his head toward her and looked her in the eye.

The strength in his gaze was enough to silence her.

Her shoulders drooped in the wind as he spoke.

“The woman named Eryngium is no more.” He paused slightly but did not look away from her. “Because I hunted her down as part of the Heidengeist suppression following the Armored Hammer of God Incident in ’35.”

“…!”

“We each made a promise to her 3 years ago over drinks. I promised to protect the country, Marsch promised to develop the country, Alfred promised to strengthen the country, and…”

“Dog Berger?”

Schweitzer responded to her question by ignoring it.

He opened the door without saying a word more. The wooden door creaked and the wind whirling through the room escaped into the hallway. As did the man whose prosthetic right arm bore the name Der Held.

“Um.”

She started to run over, but before she could ask him to wait, the door slammed shut in her face.

“…”

She fell silent with a weight in her heart and she placed her hands on the table and looked outside with a frown.

As if in response to her gaze, a sudden change occurred in the cedar forest surrounding the airport.

Black smoke rose into the sky with fire in the center.

“––––!?”

At the same time, screams rose from the airport. All the loudspeakers on the Tempelhof Airport buildings began playing deep, long, and carrying alarms.

“The second alarm? They’re going on alert.”

Hazel suddenly held her body when she saw the black smoke vanishing into the sky. She seemed to be covering up her shoulder.

She smiled bitterly, but that smile gradually faded away. All that remained was a complete lack of expression.

Her eyes calmly turned toward a point on the table. A knife used for breakfast remained there.

She reached for and grabbed that silver-gleaming knife.

“I don’t want to run away…but what does that mean? What does it mean to run away?”

She looked around.

The large room was very neat and tidy. People had brought her food here and said they would protect her while she was here.

Am I running away if I stay here?

She looked around again and then pressed her left index finger against the tip of the knife.

The tip was not all that sharp, but when she stabbed it into her fingertip with a bit of a twisting motion, a drop of blood welled up.

She felt pain. That was not something to be done out of curiosity, so she frowned.

“Do I have to be hurt if I don’t want to run away?”

She licked her finger. It tasted of iron.

Then she approached the window and sat with her back against the wall.

She held her own body and curled up as if holding the small blade to herself.

The blaring alarms pierced and permeated her body.

Part 4[edit]

Berger was running along Prinzenstrasse on the east end of Berlin.

The wound on his cheek was a mere scratch from a bullet that grazed him. He licked away the flowing blood and his nimble feet pounded loudly on the pavement as he moved south along that large road. The torn hem of his black coat fluttered behind him as he made a beeline for Tempelhof Airbase.

No one else was on large Prinzenstrasse. Everyone else was hiding in the buildings.

He sped up his running legs as if riding on the second alarm sounding all around.

“They declared martial law and then they opened fire the instant they saw me? Looks like someone’s made a name for himself.”

The stone-paved road was covered by the blaring alarms, the chilly winter wind, and people’s abandoned vehicles.

The shops had all shut their doors, but countless gazes peered out from the many windows to see what was happening.

Berger faced forward with all those eyes on him.

“Just when I think I’ve taken out their sniper, they bring out the real big guns.”

A large shadow was cast on the intersection about 100 yards ahead of him. Heavy metal footsteps had sounded on the pavement as the owner of the shadow appeared from behind a building on the right.

It was a single Grösse Panzer. It was black, just like the ones he had seen in front of the university’s main gate.

“HMP109, Br’s 18th child, the Panzer Fuchs designed for urban warfare. Why would they send this into their own city? Do they think they can blow up their problems along with the city itself?”

The Grösse Panzer had arrived within about 20 yards of him.

He was within its range, so the Panzer Fuchs drew the short sword at its hip and took a step back.

For use in cities, the gun turret had been removed, its Panzer Kleid and limbs had been lightened, and it had plastic claws on its feet, allowing it to make shockingly nimble movements.

Its metal engine and joints roared nicely while carrying its weight.

The giant mass’s movements whipped up the wind as if sucking in the air.

But Berger did not stop running toward it. He simply muttered to himself.

“I really should have gotten my own Grösse Panzer for this.”

He took a step to the right just before a silver wall rushed in on his left along with the roaring wind.

That was the Grösse Panzer’s short sword. It was 1.5 yards wide and at least 5 yards long.

The white blade jabbed in while perfectly parallel to the ground and it simply shined there without touching him.

“Decent skill.”

The blade pulled back before Berger was done speaking. On its way back, it angled itself diagonally to try to slice through him.

He spread his limbs below him like a crawling lizard to drop to the ground and avoid the path of that silver line.

The blade pulled back in an instant and then launched an attack from the side.

The silver line was now so low it could easily hit him even while crawling, so he got back up, pulled out Gelegenheit, and blocked the attack.

The Grösse Panzer’s white blade probably could slice right through a building, but it failed to do the same to gold-glowing Gelegenheit.

However, the weight difference was overwhelming.

“…!!”

Before he was launched backwards, he pressed Gelegenheit toward the white blade and angled it upwards. He used the force of the white blade to shift his own body weight upwards as if rolling.

He used that momentum to twist his body around and over the blade.

After passing below him, the horizontal slash sliced through three trees lining the road.

The blade sounded like it was tearing through flesh three times in a row. And after a slight delay, Berger crashed into one of the remaining stumps. The felled trees crashed down onto the road, cutting off his escape.

“Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!”

He kicked a branch away, stood up, and quickly slipped between the trees just before another jab of the sword. And this time…

“Its Ober Emblem!?”

Berger saw armor made of ether light wrap around the Grösse Panzer’s right arm while the sword held in that hand grew to more than 20 yards long while emitting an icy chill.

“Hm, so the emblems on the armor are activated by the Schreibener’s willpower and that modifies the Tons of the ether to transform a portion of the Panzer into something else, huh?”

He moved away from the trees, righted himself, and stood up with a slight smile on his lips.

The blade swung horizontally while giving off frigid air that seemed to pierce through him.

He twisted around and dropped onto his back instead of onto his stomach.

The sword surrounded by all-freezing “frost” ether passed by just in front of his nose. Even the wind was frozen and scattered as frost as the bluish-white blade passed by.

The white attack shook the air and was pulled back with even more speed.

At the same time, Berger pulled a “potato masher” grenade from his hip and used his finger to switch the timed fuse to the shortest setting. He tossed it between the sword and the ground.

“This was fun, but I’ve really gotta run!!”

His words were punctuated by the grenade exploding.

The shockwave rushed out more powerfully than the fire, smoke, or wind. A loud boom echoed out and the bluish-white sword was launched upwards by the blast.

The Ober Emblem shattered, the ether turned to dust, and the blade appeared from within.

The metal right hand on its giant hilt was pushed upwards by the explosion.

The ultra-heavy weapon would not stop shaking thanks to its mass. The Panzer Fuchs tried to regain control of the sword by grabbing its hilt in both hands and Berger chose that moment to jump up on top of the blade.

“The German military’s policy is to send Panzers against powerful Heidengeists, Tuners, and Busters, but that seems naïve to me.”

He ran along the blade and set foot on the heavy metal hands.

He immediately used the Grösse Panzer’s fingers as a launch pad to jump forward.

The black cloaked figure soared up to its shoulder.

The Grösse Panzer frantically let go of the short sword with one hand and pursued the black cloak fluttering in the wind, but it was too late.

Berger slipped below that hand and landed on the narrow right shoulder for just a moment. He was within arm’s reach of the metal face.

“Have a gift. And I’m feeling generous today.”

He pulled out four grenades and slipped them into the gaps between the different facial devices.

Then he leaped behind the Grösse Panzer.

While he dropped down behind it, he heard the heavy sound of the Grösse Panzer scratching at its face in a panic.

He did not look back.

The explosion sounded overhead and behind him just as his feet reached the ground. A large shadow fell on him and extended out ahead of him. The shadow had a humanoid form with limp limbs.

He whistled as he took off running.

“Now, I really do need to hurry.”

As soon as he escaped from below that shadow, he heard the loud crash of a great mass falling directly behind him. He heard a harmony of metal shattering and breaking against the stone pavement.

He still did not look back. “That was a little too acrobatic,” he commented as he picked up speed.

Up ahead in the distance, he saw several armored trucks racing down the road toward him. He saw a Panzer Fuchs standing up in the back cargo area past each of those armored roofs.

“Hm, they get persistent when you piss them off.”

He looked up to see an area of woods beyond the armored trucks and Grösse Panzers. Those were the woods surrounding Tempelhof Airport.

The enemy was approaching with those woods as a backdrop.

“Berlin is a fairly nondescript city, but it does have a childish love of big weapons.”

His tone remained light as he pulled a Phlogiston Tank from his pocket and attached it to the bottom of Gelegenheit. Then he attached another. And another.

He poured their power into Gelegenheit while speeding up his feet. He ran ever onward with the alarms blaring in the distance.

Part 5[edit]

Hazel remained entirely still while the alarms soaked into her body.

She only moved once a slight change came over the alarms.

They had been a single long and shrill wail, but now they gained an intermittent, almost footstep-like rhythm while also growing louder.

“The third alarm.”

She had some knowledge of what the different alarms meant thanks to her father. Hearing that indication of an emergency, she looked up, stood up while dropping the knife into her breast pocket, and looked out the window.

The lines of black smoke rising past the woods around the airbase had grown in number.

Someone’s fighting and I just know it’s Dog.

A knock came at the door behind her as if responding to her thoughts.

The door opened before she could turn around and an old man entered with a paper bag held in his gloved hand.

“Excuse me. It is Bermark Vier. …I am here to drop off the daily items your requested, but there seems to be some trouble at the moment.”

Hazel lightly slapped her own cheek when she heard that.

She drove out her timid thoughts, composed her expression, and asked a question.

“You mean what’s happening out there, don’t you? Um…is this destiny too?”

“Too?”

City v06a 141.jpg

“That lieutenant mentioned that it was destiny that prevented me from becoming the Messiah.”

Bermark smiled a little and nodded.

“He is a stickler for the rules, so I imagine he did not explain to you the details of the prophecy concerning the Messiah’s birth.”

He looked out the window and sang a short song while holding the tune perfectly.

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

The gently flowing Text carried enough pressure to drown out the alarm.

Bermark placed the paper bag on the table, cleared his throat, and asked a question of his own.

“To what do you think that Text refers?”

“It’s a passage from the Unreif Germane, isn’t it? It’s referring to the Heidengeist Messiah who commands a dragon and the youth with a divine name.”

“You would think so, but no. That Text was recited three months ago as a prophecy for the appearance of the Messiah. It is strange, but…” He gave a deep nod as if to encourage himself. “For about a year now, our prophet’s prophecies have often been identical to parts of the Unreif Germane. Most likely, a portion of Germany’s Tons are growing identical to their state a thousand years ago.”

His calmly-stated explanation briefly left Hazel speechless. And finally…

Germany’s Tons?

She tilted her head, but Bermark continued to look out the window.

“The ether forming all of space contains Tons and those Tons are inherited. Over time, Germany’s Tons have permeated this land so thoroughly that the humans born here all contain Germany’s Tons.”

“Do Heidengeists like me also contain them?”

Bermark’s smile sank and he cast his gaze downward.

“No. Unfortunately, most Heidengeists do not have…”

He trailed off and all strength left his voice, so Hazel panicked.

“U-um, sorry, I didn’t mean to trouble you. But…but is that what the German government means when they say Heidengeists and foreigners are being hunted down because we possess inferior Tons?”

He confirmed that with a silent nod. Then he composed his expression and cleared his throat.

“Pardon me. That conversation took an unpleasant turn. Anyway, do you understand now? Reading Germany’s Tons is the same as reading the destiny of all pure-blooded Germans.”

“And that acts as a prophecy?”

He nodded and flicked the insignia on his shoulder with a white-gloved hand.

“Our Geheimnis Agency’s leader commands a total of 207 people including the Fünf Leithammel who head the Five Offices of the army, navy, air force, military development, and military intelligence. She is a Sofort Leser who can read the destiny of this land. Three months ago, she presented the previous Text to the entire Geheimnis Agency.” He placed his right hand on his chest and bowed. “She said the Messiah will one day become our leader and save this land if this Text is fulfilled by next April when the Greater Germanic Reich is announced. So she said we must contact the Messiah in accordance with the prophecy.”

“Um, then is that what you two are doing?”

“We are but a portion of the untapped talent that was deployed to fulfill the prophecy. The entire Geheimnis Agency has been seeking the one worthy of the Messiah title for the past three months.”

“And I was a candidate because of this eye?”

“Yes. Sir Marsch, a colleague who knew of the prophecy, created that eye and named it Messiah two months ago, but it was lost and we were searching for it.” A breath. “We did not know if it would truly become the Messiah, but we had to trust that our colleague had created it for a good reason. We wanted to see whether or not the prophecy Text would come to pass when we secured you.”

“And I didn’t live up to that prophecy at all, right? Sorry, but I guess I’m not your chosen one.”

“Do not let it bother you at all. We were only hoping for a greater purpose here, but your eye remains important to us.”

She smiled bitterly at that.

“But there are others who are getting worked up over this for different reasons, aren’t there?”

More dark smoke rose beyond the woods visible outside the window. An explosion rumbled out after a short delay and the windows rattled.

Hazel asked a sudden question.

“Like Dog or that blue craft I briefly saw while I Flektierened last night?”

Bermark turned toward her in apparent surprise, but he said nothing and nodded.

Then he gave a shallow bow and shut his eyes.

“I cannot tell you anything about that craft other than it is named Sylphide. Our only job now is to deliver you and the Messiah implant to Geheimnis Agency HQ and then search for a new Messiah.” He raised his head. “Army reinforcements have arrived here at Tempelhof Airbase, so its defenses have never been stronger. Also, the 1st Aerial Fleet’s 7th Division has been on patrol in the sky above since this morning, so once we are ready to depart, you will be taken to the Geheimnis Agency HQ in southern Germany.”

“Depart?”

“We will fly there using one of the Geheimnis Agency’s König Pseudo-Drach strategic reconnaissance crafts. We would have preferred to give you a more comfortable flight aboard one of the new Silber strategic transport crafts, but we are in a hurry.”

Once done speaking, he swung his arm in a way that pulled his sleeve tight and made a solid snapping sound.

At the same time, military boots could be heard beyond the door behind him and a young man spoke through it.

“The König Pseudo-Drach is ready for takeoff! Everything is progressing smoothly!!”

“Very good.”

Bermark swung his arm back to its original position.

Hazel gulped as she heard the footsteps departing beyond the door.

But Bermark gave her a relaxed smile like this was a perfectly ordinary situation.

“Do not worry. I am a born servant, so I will treat the daughter of the Mirildorf family with the utmost care.”

“Did you know my father?”

“Our Geheimnis Agency often finds it necessary to work alongside the military and we have learned to appraise those we see there. Major General Oscar had the highest mission success rate at the time.”

“Yet he allowed the Kaizerburg to escape in the very, very end.”

That weak comment was all Hazel said about that bitter memory.

She then asked Bermark a question.

“Um, what does it mean if you don’t want to run away? No, I guess what I mean is…what does it mean to run away?”

“To run away is to survive.”

His immediate answer made her gasp, but then she smiled a little.

“Then if you don’t want to run away, does that mean you want to die?”

He said nothing and her pulse raced a little as she simply looked out the window.

Armored trucks, motorcycles, and Panzers were moving along the airbase’s roads. From above, she could see them blockading the roads and creating defensive formations at strategic points.

The only thing she could hear over their movement was the endless wail of the alarms.

They were all pointed toward the back entrance on the northeast side of the airport.

They’ve mobilized so many people.

They were taking this intrusion seriously and that showed just how well-known Berger was, but she could also tell it showed just how much they wanted to protect her prosthetic eye.

Past the large open space that doubled as a parking lot, she saw a giant empty truck trying to enter the airport through the back entrance.

There was of course a barricade of smaller armored trucks in front of that entrance, so it could not get in.

Bermark seemed to notice something while watching the truck’s movements.

“Is the battle outside over?”

Just then, a figure in black stood up atop the accelerating truck’s roof.

Hazel and Bermark instantly knew who it was and they both spoke his name – one with excitement and one in a deep groan.

“Dog Berger!?”

Just then, the truck crashed into the entrance’s gate. It was meant to carry a Grösse Panzer weighing more than 30 tons, so the metal gate was bent, torn from its base, and thrown into the air.

The roar reached them where they were, but the truck only trembled without slowing and crashed into the first blockade.

The armored trucks forming the barricade toppled over, flipped, and flew through the air with a metallic cacophony.

Hazel heard Bermark speak with great force within that festival of noisy destruction.

“So the halfbreed has arrived.”

“Halfbreed?”

“You hadn’t heard? Dog Berger’s mother was human, but his father was a resident of England. The military discovered this the other day, so he too is one of the Heidengeist who must be expelled from Germany.”

She watched the distant young man in black with eyes wide.

“Wait, so shouldn’t you be the one running away right now!?”

He was not running away, so she thought about what that meant.

Does he want to die?

She asked that while she watched the truck crash into the second blockade set up within the airport. It slammed into the wall of armored trucks while soldiers fled.

The sound of crushed metal rang loud and the armored trucks spun outward to clear a path for the larger truck.

At the same time, several gunshots rang out and the battle within the airport began in earnest.


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