City Series:Volume6a Chapter8
Chapter 8: The Wind Soars
12/21/1937 16:01 – 16:21
Prophecies? Species? Country? Myths?
I still don’t understand any of that
But I have realized what it is I want
All I’ve done is realize it
A humanoid machine a level above both the Klein Panzer and the Mittel Panzer. Its every body part is built from machines providing functionality modeled after the human body and their designs are divided between male and female models. They are effectively mechanical humans without a will of their own. Their creation is often spoken of alongside the creation of Sein Fraus, so they likely originate from the same place.
The pilot enters a cramped coffin-like room known as a Studio where all their body’s Tons are broken down, sent through the Grösse Panzer’s conduits, and combined with the Grösse Panzer’s own Tons. So instead of operating the Grösse Panzer, they become one with it.
This is known as the Schreiben process.
A weapon unique to Grösse Panzers is the Ober Emblem that uses emblems carved into the surface of the armor and other components to transform the machine. The Grösse Panzer’s Ton structure is altered to give it different functions and the process is later adopted for armor emblems and emblem bullets.
The wind had died down in the cockpit, but Hazel was still curled up and holding her knees in the seat.
Her vision had not been taken from her. There was still a white line down the center of the window in front of her and she could see the blue sky through that.
Things were rushing by outside even more quickly than before.
“Were you born to take the Messiah anywhere she might need to go?” she asked while watching the sky outside.
She already knew the answer to that.
After a short pause, she lowered her gaze to look away from the sky and think.
…You actually want to return home, don’t you? To the planet or asteroid belt of the meteor used to make the spirit stone you use for fuel.
She smiled bitterly.
“Do what you want to do, Sylphide. Because I’m not the Messiah.”
The Sylphide’s engine roared as if to say it did not care. It was still accelerating.
She squeezed her knees between her arms to curl up in an even smaller ball.
She realized her gaze had strayed a bit to the left. Her seat’s position had slipped. The rotating stand below the seat had turned a bit to the left before fixing itself in place.
She knew why. Sylphide had angled the seat to protect her from the previous bisection and blowing wind.
She laughed quietly in a resigned sort of way.
“Are you sure you want me of all people to be the reason you’ve never been able to run away?”
She let go of her legs, undid her four-point belt, and left the seat. The communicator in front of her remained silent with the needles still on the right frequency.
She started to switch it on, but then she noticed the photo of a young Marsch was still stuck in the gap between the control panel and the window, but the bracelet hanging on the switch was gone.
…Did it fall?
Feeling like she would be to blame if it was lost, Hazel frantically looked around for it.
She spotted it on the floor, right on top of the seam created during the evolution and repairs.
She rushed over and picked it up.
It was lighter than expected. She started to put it on her wrist but stopped. She held it in her hand and turned toward the control panel to put it back where it had been, but that was when she noticed something unpleasant.
It was an arm. Someone’s entire left arm, from shoulder to fingertips, had fallen below the navigator’s seat she had been in. The seat itself had blocked it from view before, but now it was hard to miss.
“Is that Dog’s left arm?”
A black cloth was wrapped around it as if to tie off the shoulder. It was soaked with blood, but it was undeniably a piece of his black coat.
…Did he throw it in here?
She found her own question sounded oddly carefree given the circumstances, but then she noticed something.
The severed arm was lifeless now, but it held a piece of paper tightly in its hand.
“Now I know it didn’t fall in here on its own.”
The edge of the paper was sticking out and it said “For Hazel Mirildorf”.
That was puzzling enough, but then she heard a metallic sound.
It was a painful sound of metal being torn away.
She frowned and looked around.
“What is this sound?”
Silber had been designed primarily for carrying cargo, so 70% of its internal space was taken up by the 1st Cargo Bay. That large space was 15 yards wide and tall and 60 yards deep.
Their rapid flight caused the cargo bay’s contents to shake somewhat, including a blue male Grösse Panzer in a landing pose that was going through its final pre-Schreiben inspection.
They had no time.
The work was being swiftly completed by a few of Bermark’s men and they all wore various military uniforms instead of work jumpsuits.
Someone was watching them while leaning against a shield-reinforced pillar to the side of the cargo bay.
It was Berger who had lost his entire left arm and now had bandages wrapped around the wound.
He was not wearing his black coat. He had also removed his shirt, so the bandages were the only thing covering his upper body.
He toyed with Gelegenheit in his right hand while he watched the Grösse Panzer’s final inspection.
Until he heard some solid footsteps approaching from his left.
He turned his head toward the noise to see Schweitzer there. He was not looking at Berger. He was looking up at the Grösse Panzer.
“Bermark does love his gambles.”
“He just wants you to return alive. He’s a good aide.”
Berger smiled and stared more intently at the Grösse Panzer.
“HMF309 Blau Löwe.”
“It is a ship-defense Grösse Panzer developed by the Geheimnis Agency. Its weight has been reduced as much as possible while maintaining sufficient power output and its Ober Emblem called Luft Fang allows it to deploy its wings and fly. …Assuming you can activate the Ober Emblem, that is.”
“You’re looking at the second best Grösse Panzer in the world here. Give me 3 minutes and it’s done.”
“I never imagined I would need this much of your help.”
Berger clicked his tongue at Schweitzer’s attitude.
“We just so happen to want the same thing here. Once we save her…well, we’ll have to see what happens then, right?”
Berger’s snide tone got Schweitzer to turn toward him.
“Why won’t you use your power as a Heidengeist? With that, you could solve this like you did 2 years ago.”
“Because I keep my promises, Schweitzer.”
Berger’s tone said he was not accepting any more questions on the matter and he reached up to touch the pendant he wore at his neck with the same hand holding Gelegenheit. The chain he wore it with jangled quietly before he said something more.
“Marsch promised to develop the country, so I think I get why he activated that craft and why he decided to implant the Messiah eye in a Heidengeist.”
Berger answered Scwheitzer’s confusion by raising his right index finger.
“There is a single word that links Marsch to that prophecy you people are obsessed with.”
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
“It’s the Messiah,” said Berger. “Hazel isn’t the Messiah yet. If that really is a prophecy, then she becomes the Messiah only once the prophecy has been fulfilled. Which means…”
“Which means what?”
“To return to the earth, you must first rise above it. To return home, you must first leave it. Do you get what I’m saying?”
“That Marsch created and activated the Sylphide in order to create the Messiah?”
Berger spread his right hand with three fingers raised.
“You said everyone in the Geheimnis Agency was given a prophecy based off of the Unreif Germane three months ago, right? And you were told to search for the Messiah based on it. Marsch was probably building the Sylphide when it occurred to him that the Sylphide might be necessary to fulfill the conditions needed to create the Messiah.”
“So he gave the Messiah implant to a Heidengeist to match the Unreif Germane?”
Schweitzer’s question was followed by the ship’s lighting turning red.
A shipwide announcement played.
“Enemy craft located! The V-0 is approaching from seven o’clock. We will arrive within the V-0’s firing range in 1 minute and 18 seconds. Matching altitude and preparing for counterattack. Cargo Team and Docking Team, complete your inspections ASAP!”
“Also, something odd is happening with the Sylphide out ahead. We thought the craft was done evolving, but now it…appears to be falling apart!”
The surprised voice spoke quickly but did not rush.
“These soldiers are well trained,” said Schweitzer before turning to Berger. “Why would it fall apart?”
Berger smiled bitterly.
“The Nein Ton rounds the military hit it with are only now taking effect. Now that it’s done evolving, the Sylphide’s Tons are no longer in flux and that near-forgotten poison it swallowed can do its damage.”
“Do you still not get why Marsch sent me the 9th Section of the Ruling King? His will no longer exists in the Sylphide. The machine’s own instincts and duty are driving it to carry the Messiah into outer space. Marsch may have wanted to prevent that and make the song come true.” Berger’s smile grew even more bitter. “The trouble we go through for that man.”
Schweitzer sighed, removed his coat, and handed it to Berger.
“Here’s a spare coat. Put it on.”
“I’d rather not receive clothes from another guy.”
“It was weirding me out to see you without any black on.”
With that, Schweitzer turned around and did not look back again.
An alarm sounded in the large cargo bay to indicate something was activating.
With his work complete, a soldier hopped down from the shoulder of the Grösse Panzer named Blau Löwe wearing an armored blue Panzer Kleid and sitting on a cargo platform in the center of the cargo bay.
He and the other workers ran over to the cargo platform’s controller and began operating the buttons.
A large tremor ran through the Grösse Panzer’s cargo platform.
An eyepatch-like device extended from the back of the platform to protect the sight devices, but that was removed, revealing Blau Löwe’s face. The compound eye devices already contained a light carrying a powerful will. Berger had Schreibened into it.
The voice device in Blau Löwe’s mouth produced Berger’s somewhat muffled voice.
“All systems go. Preparing to depart. Standing up.”
The workers repeated that all back as the cargo platform rose up.
The back of the platform was oddly shaped to surround the secondary cockpit and the Götter Kanone on the Panzer’s back and it attached to the bottom of the secondary cockpit to push up on the Panzer.
Blau Löwe stood up and planted its feet on the floor. It no longer required the support of the platform to remain standing.
“Standing up. Everything looks good. Removing restraints.”
The workers repeated that back again.
With the sound of crackling electricity, the restraints were removed from the Panzer’s parts: the shoulders, the thighs, the wrists, the feet, and the stomach.
With the restraints gone, the giant steel doll was free.
“Restraints removed. Beginning to move.”
It took a step forward. Its body tilted a bit to the left.
After correcting for that, it took another step forward and reached out its right hand. A Grösse Panzer sword was hanging on the wall. It grabbed that and attached it to the weapon latch on the Panzer Kleid’s hip.
“Equipment retrieved. Preparing for free-fall transportation.”
“Opening virtual barrier. Cargo bay crew, withdraw immediately.”
That announcement was followed by a solid panel of light covering everything from ceiling to floor behind Blau Löwe.
Two more of them appeared equidistant from each other in front of Blau Löwe.
The men who had been in front of the cargo platform’s controls were now waving from behind Blau Löwe. Blau Löwe must have seen it with its omnidirectional vision because it gave a thumbs up back at them.
The men cheered while falling back toward the barrier within the ship.
As soon as they were done, the cargo bay door opened vertically.
A 15-yard opening appeared, the dark sky came into view, and the entire ship shook.
But no wind blew inside the cargo bay. The three panels of light surrounding the Grösse Panzer kept it out. Those Ton barriers redirected the energy that passed through them, creating air barriers.
Blau Löwe’s Panzer Kleid fluttered from what little wind got through and the Panzer ducked down.
“Fully activating Ober Emblem Luft Fang. What’s the Sylphide doing?”
“The Sylphide is currently having some armor stripped away. Based on its rate of collapse, it will not last another hour. Once it loses inertial control, it will break apart in midair.”
Just then, a shipwide broadcast blasted into the cargo bay.
“We are receiving a radio transmission from the Sylphide!! The pilot wishes to speak with Dog Berger!”
“Dog Berger! What is the meaning of this!?”
Bermark’s voice entered the broadcast to ask that question and Blau Löwe explained.
“I ‘handed’ her the frequency and encryption code we’re using. And I added a simple message: say what you want to say.”
Ether light formed orbs below Blau Löwe’s Panzer Kleid and those orbs scattered into the air.
The ether burst and turned to a glowing mist that covered the armor and caused it to undergo a change.
The intricate emblem engraved into the Panzer’s armor glowed as it reacted to the ether. The Ton rhythm contained in that emblem transformed the Panzer into something other than a machine.
A girl’s voice arrived via the shipwide broadcast while the transformation occurred.
“Dog…can you hear me?”
It was Hazel.
“I can, Hazel. …Let me be blunt – that craft is dying. Can you tell?”
The Ton conversion caused by the emblem moved past the armor and altered the power system as well.
“Yes. It’s making some weird noises, so I had a feeling.”
The changes began at the limbs. Light sprayed from the joints for just an instant and that light dissipated to reveal an entirely different shape. The connections made with cylinders were now an actual metal body held together by giant white tendons.
This created a fusion that was not quite biological and not quite mechanical.
The Götter Kanone and secondary cockpit on the back began to transform with ether light, as did the extra armor for the wing expansion located between those other two components.
“Then I have one question, Hazel. Do you want to be the Messiah? We’re looking at a pretty literal fulfillment of the prophecy here, so if you choose to abandon the Sylphide and return home, the prophecy will be fulfilled.”
Ether light swelled out from the back of the shoulders and branched off into a top, middle, and bottom sections on either side. The six lights jutted out as giant fang-like wings.
These were the six wings of a Seraph, a powerful type of Nein Engel.
“Also, it’s looking like the Sylphide was made for this purpose. To create the Messiah, I mean. So how about it, Hazel. It might feel nice to be a Messiah.”
“That would mean abandoning the Sylphide though, wouldn’t it? And it would mean this prosthetic eye is being used by the state for that prophecy, right? Also…” She took a breath. “What do you mean the Sylphide was made to create the Messiah!? This thing has worked so hard to search out the Messiah and take her to outer space. Are you saying it was actually made to do something else entirely?”
“It looks that way, yes. The Sylphide might want to go to space and protect the Messiah, but it was made and activated to fulfill the prophecy.”
“Are you serious!?”
The light intricately weaved the metal together to create the impressive wings.
The base of the wings was blue and the wings themselves were yellow. They looked like enormous fangs standing up toward the sky.
“Then are you willing to die along with the Sylphide when it breaks apart? Since it was built to be used by the state, you sympathize with it so much you want to die with it?”
Berger smiled bitterly at that.
“You’re still a child, Hazel. I said I only have one question, so you don’t have to answer or even think about that one.”
Blau Löwe’s facial devices were bathed in light as a mask-like face was created.
The conduits extending from the back of the head became tendons and the radiator tubes became long hair that danced in the wind.
“Dog.” Her sigh reached him as static. “Why are you doing this? Who even are you?”
Blau Löwe…no, Luft Fang raised its head to look outside.
“I’m…well, a god.”
“A god!? I’d heard you from Aerial City.”
“That’s right. My mom was a human prostitute and pure humans are pretty rare in London, a city of Heidengeists and gods.”
Its left arm had finished transforming, but it did not move.
Instead, Luft Fang clenched its right hand once, twice, thrice.
“Then your father was a god?”
“Yeah. Which may explain why my mom was fond of saying her customers were all-knowing.” Berger sighed, paused for a moment, and then continued. “Wait, no. She said ‘the customer is always right’. That’s not quite the same thing, is it?”
His joke earned only silence until that was broken by Bermark.
“Someone throw that man off my ship.”
Berger ignored him and took another step forward.
The 8-yard metal giant was truly walking now.
“Hazel, keep in mind that the Sylphide will die eventually.”
“And it is unsure if it should obey its machine instincts and fly into space with you or if it should obey the duty given by its creator and protect the Messiah. None of that has to do with what the state wants.”
“Hazel Mirildorf, what will you do? You are not the Messiah yet, so will you continue deceiving the Sylphide?”
On the fourth step, it fully passed through the virtual barrier.
Luft Fang stood on the edge of the opened cargo bay door and it spread its wings while its Panzer Kleid flapped in the blowing wind. The 6 wings spread out wide and air gathered in the gaps between their metal feathers.
It prepared to take flight.
The wings’ air intake produced a whistling loud enough to be heard over the general roar surrounding everything. Luft Fang’s body began to shake, but it did not take flight yet. More air pushed in behind it to create a vortex.
The shipwide broadcast could barely be heard over the wind in the cargo bay.
“The V-0 is approaching! We have visual confirmation!!”
The open cargo bay door gave a view of a boxy black shape positioned at the center point between the dark sky and the sea.
Luft Fang’s eyes stared straight at its opponent.
A black craft rose from below as if to fly right into the center of the Luft Fang’s vision. It was a König Pseudo-Drach. Its Luftram was active and its canopy was missing, giving a view of Schweitzer piloting it.
They were ready to go and the girl’s voice spoke on the communicator.
“Dog!! I don’t know. I don’t know what I should do! That’s the only answer I have right now! This craft is trying to protect me, but it’s also trying to fly into outer space with me onboard.”
“Remember, Hazel. You said you didn’t want to run away.”
“But you said any country I went to would only try to use me. And the Sylphide is the same, so I…”
“Shut up.” Berger cut off the girl’s doubts. “Be destroyed or be the Messiah? There must be an answer beyond those boring paths of death or subjugation. You need to seek that out, Hazel!!”
He said nothing more. Luft Fang remained silent as well.
The giant fusion of metal and man silently jumped out into empty air.
The six wings on its back closed as if beating at the air and Luft Fang began to fly.
The battle grew intense from the word go.
The V-0 was more than 100 yards long and it spewed bullets from the diffusion Kunst Eyes on its upper surface to attack the Grösse Panzer approaching from head on.
The V-0 had been originally built as the same model of ship as Silber.
It was a strategic transport ship capable of ultra-high-speed movement. It was loaded with divine spell explosives, its autopilot would take it to the target, and its weapons would automatically intercept any unexpected attacks it encountered on the way.
It was an unmanned auto-ramming ship.
A total of 48 freezing rounds loudly burst from the six Eyes on its upper surface.
Luft Fang responded by drawing its sword. Ether flowed through the drawn sword and the Ober Emblem affected it just like the Panzer itself. Light raced along the steel of the blade and it transformed into solidified light.
Electricity erupted from the blade like a mini-waterfall.
The fang jutting out into the sky was truly a bolt of lightning.
A horizontal swing of that lightning instantly vaporized the freezing rounds.
The electrification sent smoke into the salty air and the Luft Fang flew forward through that.
Their relative speeds instantly brought the giant ship right in front of it.
The V-0 was flying just off the ocean surface to avoid detection. It was less than 50 yards up. At that altitude, no enemy could fly below it to attack from there.
That was because the slightest maneuvering mistake would mean crashing.
But the Luft Fang did not hesitate to accelerate even more with its wings.
It flew forward.
The V-0 responded by firing again. The unmanned auto-ramming ship fired a much denser barrage toward the approaching Luft Fang.
The Luft Fang flapped the blue and yellow wings on its back.
With a roar, the forward-moving Luft Fang flew upwards.
A moment later, a white cloud burst in an explosion of air.
The barrage of bullets passed by below the Luft Fang.
The steel ship was now dead ahead, so the Luft Fang twisted its body to stand upright in midair. It swung down the lightning sword with its right arm while slightly applying its brakes.
The wind whipped up and the V-0 passed by the Luft Fang.
The Luft Fang used that movement to let its line of light slice into the V-0’s top surface from front to back.
Sparks flew and the wind roared.
The Luft Fang immediately circled behind the V-0 and resumed accelerating so it would not be left behind.
Two of the Kunst Eyes on top of the V-0 had burst into flames.
But this did no damage to the ship itself. A line had been burnt into its upper armor, but the attack had not reached the internal structure.
The way the armor panels burnt away suggested the armor was designed to automatically detach from within when it self-destructed. It was tough on the outside but fragile on the inside.
Its transport ship design worked well as a bomb.
The Luft Fang repeatedly accelerated to make up for its reduced speed and the distance between them.
The V-0’s side Kunst Eyes began to fire backwards.
A barrage of freezing rounds flew behind it, but a few of them flew straight down toward the ocean.
Once those freezing rounds hit the water, the pillars of water were transformed into hunks of ice that were then shattered by the V-0’s shockwave.
Chunks of ice as large as several feet long flew through the air. Crashing into one of those would be devastating, so they effectively sealed off that area of the sky.
The Luft Fang spread its main wings toward the cold and starry sky. It was preparing to accelerate.
The atmosphere warped and the air behind it grew distorted.
Then the Luft Fang flew along a course that avoided both the barrage of bullets and the ice pillars.
It flew down to skim just above the ocean.
It was oriented face down with its chest just barely avoiding the tops of the waves.
The wings on its back caused it to fall down chest first.
Its main wings flapped, its side wings spread to improve stability, and its small wings made minute adjustments to correct its angle.
The Luft Fang prevented itself from falling while flying ever forward.
Back behind its feet, the waves burst up into the air.
This was the pitch-black airspace of the Arctic Ocean.
The Luft Fang caught the darkness on its wings to race through the sky.
It slipped below the ice pillars launched upwards by the V-0.
It made a slight course correction to the left so it would pass below the V-0.
It flew right on in.
The great pressure of the atmosphere and the wall of air pressure from the V-0 were right in front of it.
It opened its mouth and roared.
The cry of man and machine sounded like a lion’s roar.
The lion never ceased accelerating while it roared.
The shockwave produced by a strike of its sword shattered and negated the wall of air in front of it.
The Luft Fang flew forward. It moved to the starless darkness of the shadow cast by the V-0.
It flew right below the V-0.
The giant ship produced a rumbling of air that slammed into the Luft Fang and threatened to shatter its wings.
But the ether light coming from the wings solidly preserved the wings and allowed it to continue fighting.
It looked straight ahead.
Even after accumulating so much speed, it worked to fly even faster.
A black craft was visible ahead in the gap between the V-0 and the ocean.
That was the König Pseudo-Drach.
Bullets flew toward the black craft from the top of the V-0.
The König Pseudo-Drach was a diversion meant to protect the Luft Fang.
For a brief moment, the Luft Fang reduced its acceleration.
But a moment later, it fearlessly spread its wings. Even with that ceiling so low overhead, it spread its 6 yellow wings toward the sky.
The wings produced a metallic sound.
It built up pressure.
The spread wings gathered air.
And it moved forward with a roar.
That one sound continued on and on and on.
It shot forward like it had kicked off the ocean surface. The explosion of air it produced caused even the massive V-0 to shake.
But the Luft Fang’s flight did not end there.
It shot out from below the ship and ascended while slicing through the ship’s boxy nose with its lightning sword.
The ocean was split by the shaking of the air as it ascended and waves burst up into the sky.
Before the spray could reach it, the Luft Fang moved up above the V-0.
It twisted around to change direction and face the V-0.
The ship focused its bullets on it.
An unmanned barrage was fired on the giant that had ears of its own and could race freely through the sky.
The Luft Fang was currently rotating around with its large wings, so it could not fully avoid the high-speed barrage of noise and light.
The flame bullets hit, producing deafening explosions.
The noise reverberated off into the distance while components flew from the Luft Fang.
Threads of fire seemed to grow out from the black explosion and metal parts flew along after them.
The V-0 did not stop firing.
It tried to fly right through the explosive flames spread out before it.
But then a few of the components, which had become little more than flying fireballs, did something somewhat different.
Most of them were falling down to the ocean and would be blown away once hit by the wall of air created by the V-0’s movement, but some of the fire flew perpendicularly out to the right of the V-0.
About 30 yards to the V-0’s starboard, the Luft Fang hung in the sky.
Its left arm had been destroyed and was spewing smoke, but its Ober Emblem was still active.
Bluish-white ether light drew out a large 3D object in the space between the explosive flames and the Luft Fang.
The orientation of that space had been instantaneously reversed.
The V-0 reflexively fired all its Kunst Eyes toward the Luft Fang, but then the König Pseudo-Drach flew forward from behind the Luft Fang.
Schweitzer was standing up in the canopy-less cockpit.
<The Hero abandons no one.>
Schweitzer returned his right arm to the controls.
The Luft Fang flapped its wings in response.
It flew in a beautiful arc up above the incoming barrage.
It held its lightning sword at its hip and flew straight toward the V-0.
The Luft Fang crashed shoulder-first into the V-0.
Metal was smashed and the Ober Emblem burst with a spray of light.
The giant weighing more than 20 tons used its inertial force to break through the V-0’s armor. Even the toughest armor was meaningless once an opening was torn in it.
The Grösse Panzer’s weight and momentum opened a massive hole.
The Kunst Eyes on top of the V-0 lost sight of the enemy and began to turn uncertainly as if tilting their heads.
After a few seconds, all of the Kunst Eyes exploded as if something had thrust up at them from below.
With a deafening roar of destruction, a 20-yard blade of darkness burst up through the V-0’s upper armor and sliced through the wind.
That was Gelegenheit.
<Destiny can destroy even the strongest metal.>
The V-0 was sliced through every which way before rapidly falling silent.
It suddenly lost speed and smoke erupted from the damaged portions. The most smoke came from the hole the Luft Fang had entered through.
A small figure jumped out from that hole. The one-armed youth in a black coat was Dog Berger. He ran to the left atop the V-0 and leaped out into the open air with Gelegenheit in his right hand.
The König Pseudo-Drach flew up from below to catch him on its back as if scooping him out of the air.
The black craft accelerated out ahead of the V-0.
The giant self-destruction weapon slowly descended behind it. It would soon crash into the ocean below.
|Back to Chapter 7||Return to Main Page||Forward to Chapter 9|