City Series:Volume6a Chapter5

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Chapter 5: The Wind Accelerates[edit]

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12/21/1937 10:21 – 11:37


I will move

To redo everything

And this movement

Will be a new thing

For me

Nonhumans[edit]

City v06a 150.jpg

A general term for all nonhuman beings with intelligence equal to or greater than humans. In addition to the standard monsters and fantastical beasts, it includes gods, demons, automatons, and intelligent dragons. Also known as Heidengeists in Germany.

Their origin is as shrouded in mystery as the origin of humans and it is said many new species were created not just from the world’s World Concept Lives – the Lives that created the foundation of each new world as the world was repeatedly destroyed and remade – but also from people’s wills and from the dregs left by nature’s renewal process.

They are found all over the world, but in Europe, most of them moved to England when so many people left it for the New World. England was enveloped in a special field making it a “fictional world” then and it became a country of nonhumans.

The structure of their Lives tends to be more complex and sturdier than with humans, so their willpower can manifest itself more powerfully, they can reproduce with other species, and they have powerful regenerative abilities.

Part 1[edit]

The airport grounds covered a large space.

The winter wind blew unobstructed down the western apron where Berger began running after hopping down from the truck that had lost its tires and come to a stop.

Bullets flew after him and tore into the ground.

He repeatedly hopped to the side while facing forward. The final enemy formation was about 50 yards ahead. The blockade in front of the 5-story officer barracks and general barracks extended far to the left and right to half surround him. The collection of armored trucks and uniformed soldiers were colored in deep greens and blacks while they gave off a wordless air of intimidation and fired their weapons.

But Berger did not seem to care. He spoke to no one while running toward them.

“Someone who abducts a girl is pretty obviously a villain, right?”

With a flash of motion, he pulled something from his black coat’s pocket.

He raised his left hand to reveal a total of four “potato masher” grenades held between the fingers.

He swung his left arm.

A moment later, the four explosives were airborne. They flew high over everyone’s heads.

“So let’s go villain hunting!!”

The four grenades detonated in midair.

The vibration that raced through the air was more shockwave than noise.

Smoke spread out and Berger ran for the center of it. He had plenty of speed and his black coat flapped behind him instead of dragging on the ground.

He arrived in front of the enemy in less than an instant. This close to the barricade, the enemy could not use their heavy firearms if they wanted to avoid friendly fire.

Berger, of course, did not care about their concerns.

A single soldier stood directly in front of him. The man wore a bulletproof jacket and held a shotgun, but he had been blinded by the grenade smoke. He held his empty hand to his face and shouted something, but he could not move.

Berger showed no mercy whatsoever.

He threw a horizontal kick from low to the ground within the smoke.

He leaned his body forward to throw the kick, so it looked more like a gymnastics maneuver than an attack.

His boot swept the soldier’s feet out from under him.

The soldier was now airborne, but Berger had already moved on and calmly stood back up.

He moved his legs in two different ways: he moved his right leg forward while standing back up and he threw another kick with his left leg.

His eyes were directed dead ahead. Past the airborne soldier, another similarly-equipped soldier was trying to aim a submachinegun at him.

Berger did not hesitate to kick the airborne soldier.

“!”

With a powerful impact, the kicked soldier crashed into the one trying to ready the submachinegun behind him.

The soldiers tangle together and staggered back, but the submachinegun one managed to throw the collapsed one aside and raise his weapon.

However…

“Too slow. Is that insignia on your shoulder just for show?”

Berger slipped his left shoulder underneath the right arm holding out the submachinegun.

He only had to raise his shoulder a bit to bend the soldier’s right arm in an odd direction from the center.

It sounded like a dry branch breaking and the soldier’s face twisted in front of Berger.

Berger yanked the arm up with his left hand while looking completely disinterested.

Bending the arm further produced a scream from the man and the submachinegun slipped from his hand. The shiny black gun flew through the air.

Berger ignored that while he grabbed the screaming soldier’s face with his left hand.

He casually tossed the man to the left.

The man tripped and fell over the soldier Berger had kicked away earlier. He grabbed at and crashed into another soldier who was trying to attack Berger with a shotgun from the left. That stopped the shotgun blast from happening.

Berger glanced to the right where a knife-wielding soldier was raising a battle cry and charging at him.

He ignored the knife and moved just his eyes to look left again. The soldier he had thrown was collapsing down while still holding onto the shotgun soldier. The shotgun soldier was trying and failing to support his collapsing comrade.

The man’s eyes were wide and mouth hanging agape. He was apparently trying to shout something and his trembling right hand was aiming his shotgun at Berger’s face.

Berger instantly grabbed the short barrel with his left hand and pointed it elsewhere.

The gun fired, but it was now aimed outside of the half-circle blockade and did not harm anyone at all.

“I don’t know why I bother helping you guys out,” spat Berger as he pushed forward with the hand holding the gun barrel.

The shotgun soldier was forced back by the gunstock pushing at his chest.

Then Berger yanked the gun back.

It slipped from the soldier’s hands while the back-and-forth motion also loaded the next round.

Then he twisted his body to the left, swinging the shotgun around wide, as if enjoying the tug of centrifugal force.

“Gah!!”

The knife soldier roaring and rushing in from the right was knocked away by a shotgun stock to the face.

Berger paid him no further heed as he walked forward with his black cloak continuing to flip around behind him.

An armored truck sat in front of him and a middle-aged soldier with a combat knife stood in front of it. The black military coat he wore suggested he was a Geheimnis Agency soldier, so he was probably an officer.

The officer silently stepped forward and began to draw his knife.

He did so with practiced hand. That was a movement informed by battlefield experience, not mere training, and it was the movement of someone who knew exactly what weapon he was best with.

“Sorry, but you claim to have the world’s best bulletproof tech, right?”

Berger pressed the shotgun’s muzzle against the man’s chest.

He had flipped the gun around and taken aim even faster than that veteran soldier had drawn his knife.

The officer looked Berger in the eye, paused for a brief moment, and gave a smile that did not reach his eyes.

“Don’t die,” was all Berger said before pulling the trigger.

With a dull boom, the officer was blasted backwards and slammed into the armored truck.

The metallic crash was soon replaced by the sound of a flesh body falling to the ground. The officer was not seated in front of the armored truck and he had stopped moving. Berger looked up into the sky in an exasperated way.

He heard repeated metallic sounds from his left.

Five soldiers had lined up and aimed their submachineguns from beyond his reach.

He kept his eyes in the sky instead of looking their way as he asked a question.

“Are you all confident in your bulletproof tech too? You still haven’t decided to run away?”

“Si-!”

The soldier never got the “lence” out.

Berger cast aside the shotgun with such a natural movement that no one thought to stop him.

No, he did not actually cast it aside. He simply let go of it, as if placing it in midair.

With that weight gone, he raised his left hand toward the sky where his eyes were pointed. He spread out his fingers and stretched his hand up as if trying to reach something.

And reach something he did.

A submachinegun fell from the sky. It was the one that had flown up into the air after he knocked it from a soldier’s hand earlier. That mass of metal designed to launch bullets fell precisely and silently into his hand as if to say he was its rightful wielder.

He swung his hand down while pulling the trigger.

The spray of bullets blew away three of the five to his left.

He swung his arm down diagonally and ducked as if letting his hand pull the rest of him down.

The bullets fired by the two surviving soldiers whizzed by over his head.

The deadly force flew along straight lines that all pierced his shadow.

Once he was down on the ground, he reached for the shotgun he had abandoned in the air earlier. His left hand snagged it just before it hit the ground and he swung it around. That action cocked it for him.

And he fired.

One of the soldiers spraying machinegun fire was blasted back while leaning backwards like he had taken an uppercut.

But Berger did not even bother seeing what happened to the man as he rolled to the right along the ground. The final remaining soldier’s bullets slammed into the spot he had just vacated.

The din of gunfire seemed to pursue him as he stood up and ran.

He poured in his full strength from the very first step. He tossed the shotgun behind him in that speed.

The tumbling shotgun knocked aside the last soldier like a strike from a club while Berger ran toward the armored truck and readied Gelegenheit in his right hand.

“So what about you, armored truck? Are you gonna fight or not?”

The machinegun attached to the top of the truck aimed at him before he was even done asking.

He simply smiled in response. He ran in with Gelegenheit in hand.

Part 2[edit]

Hazel and Bermark walked down a hallway in the airbase’s officer barracks.

The König Pseudo-Drach aircraft was ready to take her from the airbase, so they had to hurry through the adjacent general barracks to reach the hangar beyond.

The only thing visible outside the 1st floor hallway windows was the group of storage buildings to the north. Transport trucks were coming and going in a hurry to carry materiel from them.

Hazel tensed her shoulders at the explosions and gunfire she heard coming from the airport in the distance.

Meanwhile, they passed by two heavily-equipped soldiers with bandoliers over their shoulders.

They exchanged information on their posts and unit names in an abbreviated and jargony way that she could not make heads or tails of.

She suddenly looked to the right, but Bermark remained silent with a somewhat indignant look as he walked alongside her.

She started to say something and then paused to choose her words.

“Um…uh.”

She wanted to find something to fill the silence while an explosion sounded in the distance.

“That sounds…exciting.”

“They are not up against your average opponent.”

Bermark responded calmly while some soldiers wielding spears that were probably Werkzeugs approached from up ahead. The armbands on their right arms bore red crosses, marking them as medics that instantly healed people with Tuning.

Hazel watched them as they rushed past.

Their six pairs of military boots produced heavy footsteps. They were all wordlessly focused on the path ahead of them.

Another explosion sounded from the distance and one of the six clicked their tongue. The man in the lead turned back toward the other five and confirmed that each of them knew their respective destinations.

After coming to a stop and watching them leave, Hazel frowned and asked Bermark a question.

“For what and for who does your Geheimnis Agency exist?”

“We were created to save this country.”

With that, Bermark removed the glove covering his right hand to reveal a ceramic hand that used wire cylinders to move.

“!?”

He moved fingers that appeared to be made from no more than a framework and asked a question with a smile.

“Fräulein, what if I told you my entire body was made like this?”

She was unsure how to respond.

But she hesitantly reached out and touched his body.

It was hard.

She felt nothing like flesh, only solid curves reminiscent of armor.

“Is that what the Titel that Berger mentioned meant?”

“My name is Bermark Vier. The Vier means I am the fourth in my model line.” He put his glove back on. “I am a male Airam-style Sein Frau created in the Flanders region as a model and example for all Germans. That makes me the one and only type of Heidengeist allowed to exist in Germany at the moment.”

Hazel removed her hand from the old man and waited for him to say more.

He soon gave her what she wanted.

“It is said all Sein Fraus are destined to seek out a heart, but right now Germany needs the power to survive in this City World more than it needs a heart. We need the power to have our voice heard by the world. …You failed to become our Messiah, but the knowledge of our colleague that resides in your prosthetic eye is sure to aid our cause.”

Hazel said nothing, so Bermark pushed on her back to get them walking again.

But just then…

“?”

She felt a pain in her right eye.

It was faint, like something small was pricking at the surface of the eye.

This is a lot like last night, but…weaker?

Feeling uneasy, she placed a hand on her right cheek, which caused Bermark to look back.

“Is something wrong?”

“I think it’s just an ingrown eyelash. It’s kind of…”

Weird, she finished in her mind, but she forced a smile for him to see.

Her cheek remained a bit stiff due to the eye pain. And…

“Oh?”

Something was wrong with her vision. For some reason, she saw something blue instead of Bermark. It was like she had a thin layer of blue cellophane over her eyes because she could see Bermark through it.

“What is this?”

The blue in her vision was growing stronger. At the same time, she could see something white floating within the blue. The flocculant whiteness spread out flatly into the distance.

I swear I’ve seen this somewhere before.

But her memory of it was unclear. The blue space and the whiteness spreading through it felt off, like she was remembering something wrong, so she could not find a clear answer.

She held a hand out in front of her face, but even that was obscured by the blue shape.

The two colors extending infinitely in front of her gained a more distinct color and shape and she seemed to be accelerating forward within it. She seemed to be moving so quickly she could not keep any specific point in view, even though it only existed in her vision.

She saw a blue expanse spread out overhead and a fluffy white land beneath her. Her vision seemed to move as if sliding forward above that.

“Fräulein?”

She could hear Bermark’s questioning voice, but it did not register in her mind.

She was hearing something else instead.

The wind?

The sound was of course only in her imagination. Her ears were creating this imagined sound based on the visual information she was receiving and that phantom noise made the visual seem more real.

But the flowing white and endless blue expanse fit that imagined wind perfectly.

I’m pretty sure my dad said the clouds look different when viewed from above than when viewed from the ground. Is that what I’m seeing below me now?

Her vision rotated as if to show her what that whiteness was.

Her vision made a roll to the right.

“!?”

While her vision flipped around in that roll, it changed angle somewhat.

In response to her rightward roll, the white waves below her rose up from the bottom right and filled her vision. Then it was the blueness that rose up from the bottom right.

The sound of the wind was joined by the loud roar of impacting air.

Her vision suddenly filled with the blue.

But the blue was not absolute. There was a single white circle at its center.

That was the sun. Hazel muttered to herself after seeing that light.

“I’m above the clouds…but why?”

She received an answer immediately thereafter.

Her vision showed her everything.

The roar of the wind enveloped her. Or it seemed to.

Just as the sun appeared in the center of her vision, it dropped down.

The sun at the peak of the heavens seemed to flow further and further down because her vision was flying…

“A loop-the-loop.”

She stretched up without thinking. The upside-down cloudy horizon entered her vision from the top.

The white horizon gradually moved down her vision and she could only see clouds a few seconds later.

She was oriented straight down as if doing a handstand.

She could see the cloudy sea with a hint of blue where the sunlight shined on it.

Above that, she saw a series of small antlike dots.

Are those aerial warships?

Judging distances was hard with nothing to compare them to.

She dug up all the air force knowledge she had picked up from her father. The shapes below that looked less than an inch long had to be the newly commissioned warships that made up the main force of the 7th Aerial Division.

Her vision suddenly moved straight ahead, in other words down and toward the ships below.

There was no hesitation in that movement.

“!?”

She was charging toward them to attack, but attacking an entire air force division with a single craft was insanity.

With no answers and not even time to ask the questions, Hazel could only raise her voice.

“S-stop!!”

However, her shout was tinged with hesitation.

At the same time, she felt a horizontal impact disconnected from what she was seeing. She felt it on her cheek, which did not exist in that world of pure vision.

Then the white clouds and the warships all vanished from view.

Part 3[edit]

The vanished clouds were replaced by Schweitzer’s face.

He was crouched down and peering into her face and he breathed a sigh of relief when Hazel met his gaze.

“I apologize for the rough treatment.”

With that, he pulled back the left hand held up in front of her face and let it fall at his side. That gentle motion told her that his slap had fixed her vision.

She took a rough breath.

“I thought I was going to Flektieren. But what was-?”

She started to say something, but she gasped when she looked the man in the eye.

She saw her own face reflected upside-down in his blue eyes. Her right prosthetic eye had lost its blue color and was instead emitting a bright red light.

Schweitzer said nothing.

He shut his eyes and straightened up before silently picking her up in his right prosthetic arm.

She followed her instincts and struggled when that cold metal arm lifted her.

“H-hey, let go!!”

“Your legs look too weak to walk,” he said while removing her sandals and tossing them back to Bermark. “Hold onto those. We need to hurry. The Sylphide has appeared above here.”

“You don’t just get to decide I can’t walk!!”

Her shout put a bitter smile on Bermark’s face and Schweitzer picked up his walking pace.

The explosion she heard now was much less distant than the previous ones.

Part 4[edit]

Berger ran alone, leaving the wreckage of the armored trucks behind him.

He could see two buildings about 300 yards away. The one on the right was the officer barracks and the one on the left was the general barracks. The airport control tower and the various storage facilities would be diagonally back and to the left of those, but he could not see them from here.

Two soldiers on motorcycles with airport security plates approached from the right while spraying bullets his way, but he ignored them. He looked to the two barracks buildings instead.

“There!!” he shouted while narrowing his eyes on his target.

Two figures were walking down the walkway connecting the two barracks buildings.

One was Bermark, the elderly soldier in a Geheimnis Agency black coat. And the other was…

“Schweitzer!!”

Schweitzer heard the shout and turned his way.

As did Hazel who was held by the man’s right arm.

Berger sped up. The wind blew through his hair and turned his breaths visible.

He was about 200 yards away as Schweitzer shouted at him from the walkway.

“You made it this far!? I should have known, Dog Berger!!”

“Thanks to her! By which I mean Gelegenheit here!!”

“Are you still not ready to use your Text!? Your own Text that will activate Gelegenheit’s Ober Beweisen!?”

“You haven’t used Der Held’s Ober Beweisen either!!”

That retort put a smile on Schweitzer’s lips.

Schweitzer adjusted his grip on Hazel and began to run.

Berger ran too. He ran forward with a click of his tongue.

“This ain’t good. Are they gonna get away with her? I can’t let that happen.”

Just then a bullet whizzed past his nose. It came from the two motorcycles approaching from the right.

They were only about 10 yards away and approaching fast.

“That should come in handy,” he said before leaping to the right.

Thanks to their relative speeds, he instantly arrived above one motorcycle soldier’s head.

His foot swished through the air and then audibly collided with flesh, followed by a scream.

That left a driverless motorcycle continuing unsteadily forward without falling thanks to inertia. He landed, spun around, ran, and hopped onto the motorcycle.

He casually raised his hand toward the other soldier who made a rapid braking turn after losing his companion.

“I’ll return it later!!”

He squeezed the clutch and lowered the gear. He threw on full acceleration and the clutch suddenly engaged.

The front wheel hopped up and the motorcycle moved forward.

The tire screeched and he placed his upper body on the handlebars to force the front wheel down. Then he shifted up.

That added enough speed for the only wind to be coming from head on.

He twisted the accelerator further and the air ahead of him briefly felt like a solid wall, but that was shattered by his speed.

He tilted the motorcycle for a leftward lean to direct it toward the barracks entrance.

He made sure his forward movement never slowed as he charged into the barracks on the motorcycle.

The black-cloaked figure burst into the dim lighting past the large entrance.

Part 5[edit]

The barracks seemed dark after being outside.

The wind was gone and the air-conditioner heat surrounded Berger and the motorcycle.

A long hallway stretched out in front of him. The outside windows were on his right and 150 yards of barracks room doors were on his left.

He could see two men at around the midpoint of the hallway. One was Schweitzer and the other was Schweitzer’s aide Bermark.

Berger pursued them.

He shifted into 3rd gear and slammed on the accelerator. The rear tire slipped a bit on the hallway’s wooden flooring, but a moment later, the rubber fully dug into that wood.

The speedometer needle shot up as he prioritized forward movement above all else.

He moved fast.

The 350cc BMW engine provided him with 50 mph in an instant. That was around 24 yards per second, so he would catch up to those two in 4 seconds.

A wind whipped up around Berger.

That wind rattled the windows to the right as if that noise was chasing the fleeing figures as well.

The wave-like noise continued without end.

Berger wordlessly pushed his sunglasses back up and then grabbed the handlebars with both hands.

In that instant, he heard a sound from behind him. It was the refreshing sound of shattering glass.

It sounded a lot like a clear spray and it was joined by many more identical sounds. All the windows he passed by were noisily destroyed one after another. The continual destruction sounded like shattering ice.

More than just the winter air came in where those transparent panels had been

Bullets did as well.

Machinegun caliber bullets were fired toward Berger from outside.

The bullets shattered what glass was remaining and continued on to punch into the wall on the other side or destroy the barracks room doors.

All that noise pursued the roar of the speeding motorcycle’s engine.

Berger did not even look back.

He only needed to see the 5 armored trucks aiming their guns his way from the road alongside the large storage buildings to his right.

“What kinda childish game is this!?” he shouted as he looked out ahead.

He was now only about 20 yards away from Schweitzer and Bermark, but those two were approaching the building’s western exit. The rectangle of sunlight shined bright at the end of the dimly-lit hallway.

If they made it to that light, they were outside.

And they were almost there.

“Is this all the Geheimnis Agency can do!? Turn tail and run!?”

As soon as the words were out of Berger’s mouth, a giant armored truck slid into the sunlight at the western exit to seal up that opening.

And its gun was already aimed at Berger.

“!?”

He saw Bermark press his back against the wall while Schweitzer jumped to the right onto the stairway up to the second floor. The armored truck’s machinegun opened fire at the same moment.

Berger frantically tilted the handlebars to the right and locked the rear wheel’s brake. He diagonally lowered the motorcycle’s height and began a powerful inertial drift.

The floor tore at the tires and the leaning motorcycle’s exhaust pipe let out a scream by the floor, but the machinegun fire passed by overhead.

In no time at all, he slipped past Bermark and onto the stairway landing.

He looked to the stairs and did not see Schweitzer. The man must have continued on up.

The armored truck was blocking the barracks entrance and its machinegun aimed down to compensate for Berger’s lower position.

“Outta the way.”

He tossed a grenade underneath it.

Without seeing it through to the end, he released the rear wheel lock and twisted the accelerator.

The tires slipped a bit, but then they caught at the floor and he was jerked forward.

He accelerated ever forward, which meant up the stairs now.

He lifted the front wheel while approaching the stairs. He shifted down two gears but kept the accelerator on full.

He lifted his hips and prepared for impact as the front and back wheels caught the edges of the stairs.

The motorcycle more hopped up the stairs than climbed them.

Without a break, he arrived at the midway landing between the 1st and 2nd floors where the stairs turned 180 degrees.

He twisted the accelerator further as if pushing the tire into the joint between wall and floor and then used the inertia of climbing the stairs to push the motorcycle forward, like it was crawling along the bottom of the wall.

He let the back wheel slip while he tilted the motorcycle to the right. He moved the front wheel toward the next flight of stairs and kicked his right foot against the floor as soon as it was oriented right.

The motorcycle tried to straighten itself out, but Berger did not wait for it to finish.

“Go!”

The motorcycle was still tilted diagonally as he climbed the stairs in a lean out pose.

He did all this in a short period of time that could not even be measured in seconds.

The motorcycle bounced up onto the 2nd story landing.

The hallway cut by perpendicularly in front of him. It led to an emergency exit on the right, but that did not appear to have been opened. The hallway continued for a ways to the left, but the corner wall got in the way and he could not see its full length from the landing.

But he did glimpse something gold out of the corner of his eye.

It was Hazel’s hair.

It vanished into the part of the hallway he could not see from the landing.

His only response was to smile.

He squeezed the accelerator to move forward.

The motorcycle took off, the roar of its engine rumbled through the stairway behind him, and he entered the long hallway.

Now the windows were to his left and the barracks room doors to his right. He was now moving east, the opposite of when he had first entered the building.

He looked out ahead and saw Schweitzer about 50 yards dead ahead.

The man was running. Quickly.

“But I’m faster!!”

With that, the motorcycle shot forward with a roar of its engine.

Part 6[edit]

Berger quickly closed in Schweitzer.

The roar of the engine had risen to the high whine of a wind instrument. The acoustics of the hallway allowed it to sound loud, long, and powerfully.

The distance between them shrank as the engine’s music sounded.

Schweitzer took a sudden action while running.

He raised his prosthetic right arm and threw Hazel forward.

Berger could see her face over Schweitzer’s shoulder. Her eyes and mouth were opened wide as she tried to shout something.

At the same time, Schweitzer calmly adjusted his running position.

He crouched down and swung his arms while running forward.

His boots thundered unusually loud over the engine’s roar.

He seemed to be pounding footprints into the floor and those steps increased his forward momentum.

He pulled a bit away from Berger.

“Damn you dragoon descendants!!” shouted Berger as Schweitzer slipped below airborne Hazel and actually overtook her.

Then he jumped a bit and twisted his body to the right.

His black coat flapped as it followed his rightward rotation and he ended up facing Berger.

At the same time, he ducked down and landed facing back while holding his prosthetic right arm out toward Berger. The staff launcher was aimed at the ceiling above Berger’s head.

Once it was aimed, the staff was launched.

With a loud noise, ether light shot from the staff and the striking portion at the end of the staff slammed into the air.

A square pattern of bluish-white light appeared on the ceiling over Berger’s head.

<Heaven aids the Hero.>

That portion of the ceiling was cut free and it dropped down.

<Heaven’s wrath knows no mercy.>

City v06a 177.jpg

He fired the launcher again and again. Over and over and over again, empty cartridges were expelled from his prosthetic arm and it stopped at 11 times in quick succession.

He finished just before Hazel’s parabolic arc dropped her right on top of his outstretched right arm.

Just as he pulled her in to carry her again, the 11 empty cartridges clattered against the floor and the ceiling collapsed. The final Text of his Erklärung was stated.

<Heaven will save the Hero as many times as necessary.>

Space was torn apart with the slight time lag of his rapid-fire attack, so the ceiling fell down with a wave-like movement. More and more of the ceiling fell near Berger.

The 3rd floor hallway was visible through the first bit of ceiling that fell.

But Berger ignored the great pressure of the falling ceiling. He kept his eyes dead ahead.

Schweitzer had landed while facing toward Berger.

His inertia remained, so he was sliding forcefully backwards while crouched low. Frictional smoke rose from the soles of his boots, but his stance remained intact. He was still facing backwards – in other words, facing Berger in defiance.

The only change to his expression was a slight wrinkling of his brow. He did not have a drop of sweat on him.

“Nice try, Schweitzer!!” shouted Berger.

He let go of the handlebars with both hands, grabbed Gelegenheit, and raised it vertically.

He pulled Phlogiston Tanks from his black coat and attached them to the back of the weapon.

The first caused a 2-yard dark blade to burst out.

The second extended the dark blade to 4 yards where it severed the ceiling’s “destiny to fall”.

The shadowy blade sliced right through the ether fields decorating the falling ceiling, returning the ceiling to its original form.

He was about 20 yards from Schweitzer now.

He raised Gelegenheit and swung it down.

<Not even heaven can escape the threads of Destiny!!>

A lightning-like slash tore through the ceiling in a straight line, repairing it.

The mesh of bluish-white squares covering the ceiling were sliced through by the darkness and the falling ceiling instantly returned to its original position.

It had severed the thread of “destiny” created by Der Held to tell that area of space to collapse.

The attack ran along a straight line. That all-severing blade never changed course as it repaired the ceiling. The black line ended at Schweitzer’s biological left arm.

Schweitzer took new action within the roar of the engine and the slicing of the dark blade.

He looked up at the hole in the ceiling, shifted Hazel to his left arm, and thrust his prosthetic right arm forward. A moment later, he opened his mouth to speak.

“Der Held, Erklärung, Ober Beweisen.”

“What!? You’re using your Ober Beweisen here!?”

Berger’s voice was drowned out by Der Held emitting far more ether than before. An intonated cry and the shining light rewrote the meaning of that space.

Instead of the changeable and adaptable Beweisen, this Text was the fixed but powerful Ober Beweisen.

<Stars spread across the light-scattered sky

Excellence is determined in the sky above

Do not compare your height to others
All power is lost before them
The heights are for the soaring dragon
The depths are the foundation of the earth>

That was the true and unchangeable Text of Schweitzer’s Tons.

That limited and honed Text was launched along with the staff, striking the space around Berger.

The darkness emerging from Berger’s Gelegenheit was immediately returned to light before it scattered and vanished.

The roar of the motorcycle’s engine also vanished.

“!?”

The Phlogiston – a fuel made from ether – suddenly cut out.

With all the machines stopped, Schweitzer threw Hazel forward and up with his left arm.

The thrown girl let out an incomprehensible scream as she soared above the falling ceiling.

She passed through the hole in the ceiling and onto the 3rd floor.

“Dammit!!” cursed Berger, but it was too late.

He squeezed the clutch to keep the motorcycle from toppling, but he had passed below the hole by then.

Hazel was on the 3rd floor.

Schweitzer took off running a moment later.

The young man in black asked a question as the motorcycle and soldier passed each other by.

“Do you really want Hazel this badly!?”

“Her Messiah implant’s power must not be allowed to fall into another country’s hands.”

“That’s not what this is about and you know it! You just don’t want to lose the same will we lost 2 years ago!!”

Berger held the handlebars tight, stepped on the rear wheel brake, and locked that wheel.

The motorcycle’s rear end swung around wildly and it slid about 40 yards before stopping.

He kick-started the motorcycle, changed gear, and performed an accelerating turn.

The engine roared as it turned around 180 degrees.

He could see Schweitzer running toward the stairway landing at the end of the hallway.

He also heard the man’s voice.

“Are you going to pursue me to the top, Dog Berger!?”

Berger was already moving before the question was complete.

He removed the Phlogiston Tanks from the back of Gelegenheit now that it had lost its darkness and he inserted some new ones.

These ones were twice as long as the ones he had used before.

“AA size? No, I’ll go straight to C!!”

He instantly attached 10 of them with perfect precision.

He raised Gelegenheit overhead with his right hand and simply placed his left hand on the hilt.

He let out a breath and followed that slowly-falling breath with the activation of the dark blade that seemed to burst from Gelegenheit.

Its darkness did not even try to stop the extension of its destructive power.

The blade grew to more than 30 yards long. It pierced through the ceiling diagonally back from him and continued to grow.

Through his sunglasses, he saw the base of the darkness grow a bit thicker.

“Pursue you to the top? Is that any way to treat a guest?”

His expression was hard and his eyes were focused on the darkness extending overhead.

But that did not last long. First, his mouth moved.

<Destiny comes to you itself!>

He swung Gelegenheit around while still straddling the idling motorcycle. He had raised the weapon as if to swing it diagonally down, but he reversed his wrist to swing it around behind him instead.

“Come to me, Hazel!!”

The darkness left an afterimage as it wrapped around and produced the sound of blowing wind.

Gelegenheit accurately rotated all the way around and stopped on the ceiling diagonally behind him.

He had severed the barracks’ destiny along a straight diagonal line.

The darkness vanished.

A moment later, a diagonal crack appeared from the hallway’s ceiling to its floor.

The crack connected back to itself in a circle and it did not stop there.

With a low, dull rumbling, the scene before him bent. No, it shifted.

The part of the hallway beyond the crack fell forward and down.

The collapse picked up speed.

The 2nd story’s ceiling fell away in front of him and the 3rd story’s floor dropped down.

The windows of the fallen 2nd story hallway were shattered by the pressure from above.

The sound of dozens of windows shattering at once sounded a lot like the roar of a waterfall.

The 3rd story hallway dropped down toward the same height as Berger’s 2nd story hallway.

Berger saw Hazel at the center of the dropping 3rd story hallway. Nothing looked out of the ordinary except for the red glow of her right eye.

She was fine.

He sighed and narrowed his eyes.

She was about 50 yards away.

Beyond her, Schweitzer had just arrived on the 3rd floor, putting him at about the same distance from her.

With the loud sound of shattering stone from below, the falling 3rd story hallway shook and then came to a stop at only about 2 inches off from the height of Berger’s hallway. Theirs was the higher one and his the lower.

Hazel stood in place and looked to him with her hands lightly clasped in front of her chest.

He accepted her gaze and spoke to her.

“Come to me, Hazel.”

Part 7[edit]

Hazel started to say something when she heard him call her name. Her eyebrows lowered and her mouth opened.

“…”

But she shut her eyes instead. She could tell her breathing was heavy.

Unlike the night before, she was not just being asked to run away. She was caught in the middle of a real battle.

A force trying to keep her in this country and a force trying to take her from this country were clashing.

But I still…

Berger spoke, as if to say he understood what she was thinking.

“Hazel, you still don’t know what you should do, right?”

She reflexively tried to say something in response, but the words would not come.

He was right. She could not find the thoughts necessary to make a decision.

So she hung her head, lowered her gaze, and expressed herself with a simple action.

She nodded.

I don’t know.

That she did know.

She moved just her eyes to look up at Berger and found him looking back at her.

“Last night, you said you wanted to stay in Germany,” he said. “That is certainly an option thanks to that eye of yours. It looks like the Geheimnis Agency will make you quite comfortable here. …But is that really what you want, Hazel Mirildorf? You know what that means, don’t you? Do you want to stay here so badly that you’re willing to let them shelter you?”

She responded to that quietly and almost on reflex.

“Then…what are you suggesting?”

“That we leave here, Hazel. Leave the country. Once we’ve done that, you can take all the time you need to figure out what it means to not run away.”

Schweitzer immediately shouted over from behind her.

“Quite the silver tongue, Berger.”

She turned back toward him.

The large man from the Geheimnis Agency was calmly walking over to her. The thump thump of his boots matched the pulse of her heartbeat.

And Berger’s voice from behind her drowned out those footsteps.

“Give it up, Schweitzer. You understand what’s going on here, don’t you?”

“What might that be?”

“The Eingeweide eye named Messiah was created from Marsch’s eye, but why was it implanted in her and not one of you? That wasn’t your decision, was it? You wouldn’t be making such a fuss over it if it was.” He smiled bitterly. “The Messiah was implanted into her in Berlin’s general hospital, right? I bet it was done in secret by some doctors who received it from Marsch.”

“So what if it was?”

“Don’t play dumb, Schweitzer. You know full well why Marsch would have felt the need to keep that hidden.”

Schweitzer continued forward in silence and Berger’s quiet laughter echoed down the hallway.

Is he laughing at himself?

For some reason, Hazel heard an emotion other than anger or joy in that laughter.

And Berger spoke to the approaching man in the exact same tone of voice.

“Schweitzer, Marsch gave up on your Geheimnis Agency. He knew his knowledge would be used for war. With Germany the way it is, he knew it wouldn’t be used to develop the country. So,” he continued. “Ironically enough, he told the doctors to implant the Messiah in a Heidengeist. A Heidengeist can never join the German army or the Geheimnis Agency and they’re more compatible with prosthetics to boot. …Quite the ironic betrayal. Marsch wanted the Messiah to leave the country.”

Schweitzer responded with a very simple thought.

“Do not view everything from a single point of view, simpleton,” he spat out while coming to a stop.

He was only 5 steps away from Hazel and he continued speaking from there.

“Most of what you say is admittedly true, but you have said nothing of justice.”

“Then enlighten me. What is your idea of justice here?”

Schweitzer responded to Berger’s question by looking to Hazel for the first time.

She read the question in his eyes: do you want to know that as well?

I…

She hesitated for a moment between the two of them, but she finally looked Schweitzer in the eye.

“Please tell me.”

“Very well.” He pointed his biological left hand toward her. “Two weeks ago, M. Schrier contacted one of the doctors left with the Messiah and thought up a way to acquire it: implant it in a patient and have them leave the country.”

“So he could later contact that patient and swap it out for another prosthetic eye?”

“Correct, Berger. And chance would have it, a former officer’s daughter – and a half-Heidengeist at that – had taken a turn for the worse after being blinded at a Heidenheim. M. Schrier made arrangements behind the scenes, so-”

Before he could finish, Hazel shouted her speculation from between the two men.

“The girl was given a prosthetic eye even though Heidenheim residents would normally never receive that kind of treatment!?”

“Yes, that is the truth of the matter.” Schweitzer took a breath. “Do you see now? Whether or not you are the Messiah, everyone inside and outside this country are after your Messiah eye so they can use it for their own ends. You have no escape. This is your destiny.”

The meaning carried by that final word briefly blanked her mind, but…

!

She punched her hand against the wall behind her and used the light sound and pain to help her look back.

Toward Berger.

He was seated on the motorcycle and looking at her with no readable expression.

She spoke to the blue eyes visible past his sunglasses.

“That means it’s all the same whether I run away or not, doesn’t it? I can’t become the Messiah and all I have is this prosthetic eye bearing that name.”

Her eyebrows drooped, but Berger tilted his head and questioned what she had just said.

“Hey, don’t you two leave me out of this. …You can’t become the Messiah? Says who?”

“Says the 9th Section of the Ruling King, Berger.”

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

Schweitzer recited the verse in question.

“The letter sent to you was in fact a prophecy spread throughout the Geheimnis Agency three months ago.”

“What? The 9th Section of the Ruling King is a prophecy?”

“That is correct,” said Schweitzer. “Our leader told us the Messiah is sure to arrive and save Germany when that prophecy is fulfilled.”

“But I’m not that. I’m just an eye socket to carry the prosthetic eye around,” muttered Hazel while letting her head droop.

But then she heard Berger speak with a sigh.

“Cut the childish narcissism, Hazel. It’s boring.”

“!?”

She froze and looked up while he placed his hand on the accelerator.

“The Messiah? Just an eye socket? Who cares? Only one thing matters here, Hazel. You said it yourself: you don’t want to run away.”

“But…but that doesn’t matter anymore! If it’s the same no matter where I run, what does it matter what choice I make now!?”

“Find an answer for yourself, Hazel. That answer will be your true destiny.”

With that, he engaged the clutch.

The motorcycle shot toward her while the engine roared.

By then, she had also noticed Schweitzer running toward her from behind.

Part 8[edit]

The two men raced toward the girl between them.

The distance shrank over time based on units of speed and their paths were trailed by sound and wind.

Berger squeezed the accelerator with his left hand and went full throttle. He kept his acceleration going and spread out his empty right arm to snatch up Hazel.

He approached the scared-looking girl.

Schweitzer was approaching beyond her, but Berger still continued forward.

His right arm wrapped around Hazel.

“!”

He pulled her in with a motion that could only be described as forceful and he grabbed the handlebar again.

Schweitzer was out ahead of him, so he pulled on the handlebars to lift the front wheel.

“Are cheap arguments all you soldiers have!?” he shouted while the front wheel slammed into Schweitzer.

The audible impact caused Schweitzer to slide backwards.

But he did not fall. He slid, but he lowered his hips to stay standing.

“Not good enough, Berger.”

“Same to you,” said Berger while pulling on the handlebars again.

The motorcycle stood up almost vertically and the belly of the frame crashed into Schweitzer. Berger shifted down a gear at the same time. That increased the torque, so the motorcycle pushed forward.

Schweitzer was lifted from the ground and they really did shoot forward.

“Wait, no, let go of me!!”

Berger ignored Hazel’s protests and shifted up again.

The raised motorcycle sped forward while still caught on Schweitzer’s body.

Berger shifted up another gear.

The gear fit nicely into place and their speed jumped up.

A wind was born around them.

“Kh!!”

The exhaust pipe on the bottom of the frame was pressed against Schweitzer and smoke rose from where the pipe contacted his coat. The engine’s heat was passing through the pipe to burn his coat.

Berger twisted the accelerator.

But Schweitzer ignored the heated smoke and readied his right arm.

He raised that powerful metal arm.

“Still not good enough, Berger.”

“And still the same to you. Take a look out front, dumbass.”

Schweitzer looked over his shoulder in the direction they were traveling.

Berger ducked low and supported Hazel while looking out ahead.

The emergency exit was right there.

A moment later, the motorcycle and the three of them crashed into the emergency door.

Part 9[edit]

Just as Hazel saw the sky, she was hit by an impact.

Something hard as a wall slammed into her shoulders, back, and hips.

It hurt. It hurt worse than anything she had experienced in her everyday life. Unlike when she had been hit, this pain crashed into her with no warning whatsoever.

The impact seemed to circle around her body to hit every last part of her.

Am I rolling along something?

Once she realized what this was, she could react appropriately.

She used her feline balance to twist her body faster than she was rolling and to swing her hips around. She moved her spread legs to horizontally distribute her sideways kinetic vector.

She tensed her arms and legs to finally stop her roll. She saw a gray sheet iron roof in front of her.

She suppressed the nausea brought on by the rolling and worked to remember what had happened.

We drove through the emergency exit, right?

A certain object in her vision answered that question for her.

She looked up to see something falling right in front of her.

A giant slab of metal crashed down like a guillotine blade. It was the emergency exit door and it easily stabbed down into the roof mere inches away from her.

Her pulse quickened at the deafening sound and the shaking of the metal door filling her vision. She was a Werecat, so she would Flektieren into a cat when her pulse raced and her body sensed danger.

I need to avoid a Flektieren here.

With that rational thought, she tried to calm herself. To do so, she opened her mouth and gathered her thoughts.

“Th-this is the roof of the hangar next to the barracks, isn’t it? The one surrounded by soldiers.”

She caught her breath and stood up. After stepping out from behind the door, she found herself only a few steps away from the edge of the roof.

She looked up.

The barracks they had just left were about 40 yards away.

About half of the building had been sliced through diagonally and the upper half had slid and crumbled toward this side of things. That was the result of Berger’s attack.

And just as she sighed…

“Hi, you doing okay, Hazel?”

That question came from behind and a bit below her.

She looked back on reflex and saw about 30 yards until the other end of the roof. Down below, she could see a road wide enough for something as large as an aircraft to navigate.

A storage building about the same size as this one existed across that road.

Berger was looking up at her from in front of its wall. He was about 8 yards lower than her.

He looked unharmed except for the blood that was still flowing from his right hand.

The motorcycle was partially embedded in the wall behind him about 5 yards above his head.

“I’m glad no one was hurt in the crash. I wouldn’t want to get my license revoked.”

“Um…so I take it you’re doing fine then.”

Relieved, she walked forward while keeping her eyes on him.

The sheet iron roof felt surprisingly pleasant below her bare feet.

More of the wide road below came into view with each step.

Soldiers were gathered on it.

“…!”

The soldiers were so numerous they hid the pavement and they were surrounding Berger from a distance.

He literally had his back to the wall.

The windows on that wall showed heavily-armed soldiers waiting inside the storage building as well.

They were not going to let him escape no matter what.

All of the soldiers had their weapons drawn and aimed at him.

None of them said a word, so the rustling of her clothing and her own footsteps rang loud in Hazel’s ears.

Even her hair tangling together as it fluttered in the wind behind her sounded like waves to her.

It was quiet. She was the only one moving here.

Even Berger remained motionless as he simply looked up at her.

But one person spoke in a deep voice instead of moving.

“This ends here.”

The words came from Schweitzer who had taken a step forward from the surrounding soldiers to stand in front of Berger. His black coat and giant prosthetic arm were impossible to miss once he moved to the front of the crowd.

Hazel gulped while viewing the enormous man from above and behind.

He held a handgun in his left hand and it was aimed at Berger.

“Um, p-please wait!”

He was not going to wait. He asked a question with the gun still aimed at Berger.

“So we finally have some closure after two years.”

“You’re wrong there, Schweitzer. You didn’t do anything two years ago. No, you couldn’t do anything. You couldn’t stop me and Alfred, you couldn’t stop her, and…”

And…

“You couldn’t stop Marsch now. So are you going to imprison Hazel just because you never want to lose anything again? Hazel, who carries the same will as Eryngium.”

“…”

Hazel realized Berger was looking her way.

She looked to him and he asked a question to no one in particular.

“The Marsch we knew is dead, isn’t he?”

He was answered with silence.

After a few seconds that felt both too long and too short, Schweitzer answered.

“That is correct.”

Berger did not nod as he continued speaking.

“Marsch and I did a lot of research with that upperclassman in university, but once that upperclassman joined the military, our research hit a dead end and then the Armored Hammer of God Incident happened two years ago. But Marsch completed it since then, didn’t he? He completed the new kind of engine that runs on the same principle as the Kaiserburg,” said Berger. “Marsch made plenty of other inventions too. Such as the Eingeweide Ausbildung and how to use a Panzer’s Schreiben system in other machines.”

Schweitzer adjusted his handgun’s aim in response.

The gun made a metallic sound, but Berger shouted at him all the same.

“It’s coming, Schweitzer! When Marsch’s eye turned red last night, that blue craft showed up. And the same is happening now. The eye and the craft call to each other!”

His shout was followed by a certain sound.

It was a loud, low, and muffled sound. The long and vast rumble came from the sky above.

“…?”

Hazel looked up while placing a hand on her red right eye in response to what Berger said.

She saw clouds there. At some point, the clouds had spread out to thickly cover up around half the blue sky. The sharp rifts in the clouds signified valleys of atmospheric pressure.

When the rumbling came from the sky again, she realized what it was: an explosion.

“It can’t be!”

Her question was first answered by the wind gusting down on her like a physical blow.

She could hear the metallic clattering of guns and the uncertain muttering of soldiers from the road below.

But all that was drowned out by another rumble from the sky.

The loudspeakers installed around the airbase began to play an alarm as if to fight back against that sound.

It was the fourth alarm.

“Evacuate the premises immediately!?”

The sound of the alarm was distorted by the blowing wind that slammed into her back as she stood there. Her footing felt unsteady, so she leaned against the metal door stabbed into the roof nearby.

Then she saw Berger still staring up at her amid the chaos of wind and noise.

He had a smile on his lips and he raised both hands and waved like a symphony conductor.

Then the sky gave a roar.

The clouds bent and swelled out.

“–––––!?”

They spread wide like a blossoming flower too large to reach her arms around.

The blue sky and the sun were visible through that giant hole in the clouds.

And at the center of the hole, a giant boxy shape was silhouetted by the sun behind it.

“An aerial warship.”

When she had hallucinated the blue sky in the barracks earlier, she had seen just such a warship looking antlike as it flew above the clouds. The warship built for high-altitude maneuvering dropped down with its distinctive protruding sides that allowed for the air intake needed for the fuel.

It was spewing flames. The warship could only really be called a 300-yard hunk of metal as it dropped upside-down from the sky.

Multiple explosions erupted from its side, it shuddered, and fires erupted from the top and bottom halfway along its length.

While pulled down by gravity, that impressive mass pushed down the air, creating a complex series of deep sounds.

The only thing capable of rivalling those rumbling noises were the high-pitched emotional wails of the alarms.

Hazel could only sense the wind and the sounds crashing into her.

The warship was dropping straight down from above.

“!”

Its shadow fell on the airport, robbing everything of light. Hazel cowered down in its shadow, but she did not shut her eyes. Which is why she saw what happened next.

With an especially loud roar, the long aerial warship was split down the middle.

“You’re kidding!”

Flames and smoke erupted from the break, staining the sky black and red.

But that attack altered the trajectory of its fall. The two pieces of the warship continued to explode while falling to the north end of the airport where Berger had arrived.

It all happened in an instant.

The noise of metal and explosions reached its peak and you could hardly even call it noise anymore.

It could only be described as destruction.

First, the front half of the warship crashed as if stabbing itself into the ground. Before the giant wreckage could break and fall apart, the other half crashed into it. Two 150-yard hunks of metal shattered like a squashed cake and scattered shrapnel everywhere.

At the same time, both halves ruptured together, like they could no longer stand up to even the small explosions.

The fire looked small, with only something like an orb of flame appearing, but a white shockwave spread out horizontally from there.

The whirlwind of destruction spread out like a ripple, destroying the pavement, pushing the wind out of the way, and tearing away even the concrete of the buildings as it went.

!?

The dancing shockwave drowned out all sound while the wind and heat it carried produced a frenzy of destruction.

Hazel hid behind the metal door stabbed into the roof and curled up.

But it was not enough. A piece of the warship wreckage was thrown her way by the explosion.

The yard-long piece of lightweight composite armor had a float emblem engraved into its surface and it penetrated both barracks like they were made of paper before it grazed the metal door.

“No!?”

She started to scream, but stopped.

The wreckage was moving at the speed of sound as it slammed into the metal door like a blast of wind.

The door was torn from the roof and Hazel was blown away with it.

She was launched into the air.

There was nothing below her feet and she could only see the clouds. She felt terribly uneasy.

She could not see the blue sky. Or she shouldn’t have been able to.

But as her heart raced and her mind grew abnormally focused, she saw a faint color in the center of the white clouds.

She saw blue and that color grew larger and larger.

Were the clouds split apart again?

No, her mind told her.

She recognized this. She had seen this same craft in front of the moon just before she Flektierened the night before.

Bermark had told her the name of that blade-like blue craft.

“The Sylphide!?”

It rushed straight toward her like the wind.

It soared, dropped, and accelerated all at once to circle below her in mere moments.

Something like a wall reached her back before she could even feel surprised.

A floor!?

She could see a blue surface below her. It was as hard as metal and painted blue.

It was the Sylphide’s back.

The Sylphide tilted against the wind as if to protect her from the shockwave.

“Um, wh-what is happening here?”

She looked around to see hangar walls on either side of her. The Sylphide had definitely circled below her and caught her as she fell.

She was surprised to realize it had acted with clear intent like that.

She realized her heart was racing.

O-oh, no. It’s happening.

The Flektieren had already begun.

She ducked down just as a wind whipped up around her and steam burst from her.

The sound of her transformation was drowned out by the rumbling around her and by the alarms.

All that remained was a gold-furred kitten and her clothing which was nearly blown away by the wind.

The Sylphide slowly moved forward with that tiny passenger onboard.

A change came over it. A portion of the craft had begun to transform.

Bluish-white ether light ran through the blue armor forming the roof of the cockpit. The light created lines and planes that pulsated while forming the emblem drawn on the armor.

The Tons determining the armor’s shape were rewritten by the power of the emblem.

The craft would discover its weaknesses through combat and seek evolution when it understood what was necessary to achieve strength.

The inorganic machine’s transformation evolution took only a moment.

The armor rose up around cat Hazel like growing plants and partially came apart to form a mesh. The pieces of the mesh tangled together to form a thin dome over her head.

That dome spread out to cover the entire roof.

Before she could even react, the flat and angular roof armor had become curved and sloped. She had been taken in below the armor.

Part 10[edit]

Schweitzer ordered the soldiers to withdraw while he looked up into the sky.

The Sylphide floated calmly in the air while even the sheet iron roof of the storage building was stripped away and made airborne.

It was an angular 30-yard craft. It had five emblem engines on the rear. Its fixed weapons were the two Kunst Eyes on the front and the three on the rear.

It was shaped subtly different from the night before. The angled portions had extended further out and the rear curve was smoother.

“A craft that launches into space with its final evolution, hm? So much like a Sein Frau.”

He started to raise Der Held toward the Sylphide, but that was when it started to ascend.

“!?”

Its shape grew miniscule in no time and he heard a voice as he watched it go.

“I heard that. You say it’s gonna launch into space with its final evolution?”

It was Berger’s voice.

Schweitzer started to turn around until he felt something hard jabbed into his back.

It was the tip of Gelegenheit’s hilt.

Berger stood behind him and spoke within the remaining wind.

“Schweitzer, I want your help to save her.”

He took a breath.

“Don’t you move, old man! I hear you back there!”

Schweitzer heard a loud rustling of cloth from even further back than Berger. He turned just his head to see Bermark frozen with his hand in his coat to pull out Freischütz.

Berger gave a snort of laughter.

“Calm down, soldier. If that craft really is the same as the Kaiserburg, then its engines are made from spirit stones that fell from space, so it’ll instinctually want to return to space.”

“You mean the Sylphide will fly to space with the girl onboard?”

“Yes, and never come back. I can tell.”

“How?”

“That craft was activated by incorporating Marsch’s Tons into its own using the Schreiben system we developed in university, but it lost control, right? The machine is already running on pure instinct! So it’ll continue fighting and evolving while it yearns for space. And just now, it took in the final component it lacked when it was activated: that eye.” Berger adjusted Gelegenheit’s aim and a quiet metallic sound came from its hilt. “We have to do it all over again! Including your prophecy. We need to secure her again. And this time, the girl carrying the Messiah is riding a flying dragon by the name of Sylphide, one-armed man!!”

“Are you suggesting she could still become the true Messiah?”

“Yeah, I am. But for that to happen, we have to save her and return her home! So help me out there, Schweitzer! To confirm the prophecy! To confirm her will!”

“So it is the same as the Unreif Germane.” Schweitzer nodded. “A thousand years ago, the Messiah, accompanied by a soaring dragon, was unsure if she should use her power to save the people or not.”

“Then don’t you want to find out the answer? And don’t you want to see which of us can guide her back home? A thousand years ago, the Messiah and a man with a divine name descended to the surface where she protected the land of the dragoons – the land that became the foundation for the Geheimnis Agency.” Berger took a breath and uttered a decisive statement. “The Messiah still doesn’t know what her purpose is in this world, so Destiny and the Hero can’t exactly abandon her now, can they?”


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