City Series:Volume6c Chapter7
Chapter 7: The Requiem Soars
05/31/1942 01:35 – 03:54
I actually had plenty of options
I just hadn’t realized it
But once I did…
The time-reading Sein Fraus installed inside Big Ben, England’s large clocktower.
The ultimate form of the trend in the 17-19th centuries of using Sein Fraus to control machines after Sein Frau creation techniques improved.
Three sisters were initially installed in Big Ben, but several more were produced after the installation of a fourth in Image City San Francisco’s Hyper Ben in 1898. In 1904, the designs were sent to Japan and used to create the four Amakashi-class Sein Fraus.
They are all girls who sing at the top of the hour and half of their body has been split away so they can be connected to a harp Device. The ultraheavy harp they use is at least 6 yards long with a pair of 2 yard acoustic amplification shells resembling spiral shells on the rear. Thanks to that, they resemble a living creature more than a harp.
Lowenzahn heard a voice coming from the car radio while they moved from Cologne to the mountains for shelter. She listened to Jeanne’s voice with a bitter-looking Schweitzer seated next to her.
“I must apologize for failing in the mission you revealed yourself for.”
“Understood. But we did hit Dog Berger with Ton bullets, didn’t we?”
“Yes, we have confirmed three hits by Bermark Vier.”
“Then withdraw your unit immediately. We are already in the mountains.”
Jeanne acknowledged the command and ended the transmission.
The car shook in the following silence. They were descending a dark mountain road.
The mountains were visible through the windshield. Only the backs of the mountains could be seen thanks to the red lights coming from distant Cologne.
“The sky looks incredible.”
There was a river flowing through the sky.
A river of bombers lit up by only a few searchlights.
A few explosions disturbed that river’s surface and more lights rocked the ground. From there, the constant explosions were low in volume but broad in sound range. Much like an echo.
Schweitzer groaned over those overlapping noises while holding the wheel in the driver’s seat.
“This is a first.”
“For what? Us being beaten so badly?”
“No,” he said. “For your prophecy to be wrong.”
She fell silent at that.
In that silence, their speed increased and they drove around a long right curve.
The red lights were a bit more distant than before.
“It’s certainly a problem.” Lowenzahn’s shapely eyebrows drooped and her voice was nearly drowned out by the wind. “Having trouble…trusting me anymore?”
“We managed to keep Dog Berger here in Germany…so it wasn’t entirely a waste of time.”
“True. But…this may be best for the Geheimnis Agency’s future.”
“In what way?” he asked.
“The Agency must throw me out eventually,” she briefly explained. “This failure gives them an excuse.”
Hazel tilted her head while viewing the collapsed school building.
The enemy Heavy Barrels appeared to have flown away into the sky. They didn’t attack.
She heard the blowing wind and the scorching heat enveloping everything.
The belly of a giant aerial warship hovered overhead.
Berger had just finished removing the bullets and applying first aid, so he began preparing Schwarz Löwe for combat. After Write Bringing into it, he would place her on the shoulder like he had in the past, shove Pale into the copilot cockpit, and get moving.
After attaching the transmitter to the Gard-class warship, they would evacuate and meet up with Corelle.
That much was all planned out.
Only after hearing her voice did Hazel realize she was approaching the school building. Part of her was amused, but she couldn’t stop either.
There was a fallen tree in her way, so she hopped over it.
The collapsed school was now right in front of her. The smell of the trees roasted by the surrounding heat was powerful. It reminded her of when she would mop the wooden floors of her school back when she lived in Germany.
The school had a large chunk taken out, like someone had dug it out with a giant shovel.
She looked inside using the glow of the burning city and found the second-floor classroom was almost entirely destroyed. The first floor ceiling had collapsed and the second floor’s desks and concrete had poured down to fill the classroom below.
There was a window on the hallway side of the classroom too, so she could see the hallway past the rubble. The glass was broken, but the classroom must have had a very open design even when everything was intact.
All of the desks were made for two. The top opened up to reach a space to store the students’ bags.
…That’s almost identical to my old school.
She dropped her eyes to part of a broken desk lying at her feet.
The desk had been so old the wood fibers were visible.
…You couldn’t have written on any paper sitting directly on the desk.
She nodded and then noticed something else.
There was some fresh graffiti carved into the desk. It appeared to be some kind of map. There were houses and a river she guessed was the Rhine. The river’s surface was decorated with several faces drawn with circles and dots.
She heard Pale’s voice behind her, but she did not turn around.
“Sorry, but could you leave me be for a bit? I really am sorry.”
She looked overhead.
A giant black ship hovered there. They were about to help destroy it. However…
“That ship is protecting this place, isn’t it?”
She lowered her gaze again. All the carved faces on the desk were smiling.
Those faces and the carving reminded her of what she had seen during the day.
Of the brother using the blackboard to teach his sister something in the Village of Pardons.
She nodded, held her sword in her right hand, and lightly struck the metal frame at the edge of the classroom.
It made a metallic sound.
She immediately struck it again, making a louder sound.
The Device’s blade was amplifying and purifying the sound to spread it around and help it rule the space around her.
Tension shook the air and even the heat began to cool.
She focused her mind on that sensation and spoke the words that came to mind.
“U-um, I…I think…”
Sounding awkward and unsure, she struck the frame with her sword again.
The sound rang loud and the classroom rubble shook in response.
She let that sound reverberate through her while shutting her eyes.
She could still see some things with her eyes shut: the Lives. She listened to the word color with her ears and found the Lives around her were still very much alive. Even the rubble had not fully accepted its destruction.
“I think this school wants to remain a school after the war is over.”
“I think the school’s students want the same thing.”
“I think it would want that no matter how badly it was damaged or destroyed.”
She kept striking it, each note ringing loud like a piano.
With an extra loud tone, the entire building vibrated, blowing away the heat hanging in the air.
A chilly wind carrying the scent of the trees answered her music by blowing out from the school.
She heard the loud sound coming from her Device – the sound of the Lives.
Her sword continued ringing even without further strikes, so she raised it overhead.
The answer came from Schwarz Löwe’s vocal device in the distant container, so she smiled.
“I think I’ll be a Tuner.”
“To assist the destruction? Tuners are sent to the battlefield to heal the destroyers.”
“That is far better than doing the destroying. …I am choosing healing over destruction. And once this war ends…I want to be a teacher and teach people that once you lose something important, you can never get it back.”
There was a pause before he responded.
“This isn’t a decision to make lightly, kindhearted fräulein.”
“I’m not. Because…” Her smile grew. “I have already seen the other side of the wall.”
…Ever since I couldn’t write my plans for the future at school five years ago.
She finally completed her action. Tuners directly addressed the Lives of their surroundings and transformed them.
That address was known as an Up and the simplified Over Up was the most common version in Europe.
…But I could never use anything as rushed as a simplified version.
She opened her mouth to sing the more authentic Wind Up.
“780 thousand Lives dancing before me – the motherly chatting voices awaiting the return of the temporary visitors. Can you hear the voice of my Lives?”
Her voice came out smooth and flowing.
There was no hesitation in her swinging sword.
A single tone left her throat. It gradually changed pitch with a gentle rhythm. This was the sound the school was meant to carry.
The sword struck the Lives of the air and emitted a loud sound to support her own tone.
Without warning, she spun around.
She did not need to check to see what had happened.
Her eyes were on Pale standing with the burning city and the floating ship behind him.
He scratched his head
“Are you okay, miss? You’re acting weird.”
“I’m fine,” she insisted with a smile.
She hopped back over the fallen tree and walked past Pale.
She approached Schwarz Löwe’s container.
“Berger,” she called, still walking and raising her empty left hand toward the night sky.
“What is it, Hazel?”
“Let’s go. I’m not afraid of anything anymore. Not this war and not the future.”
She snapped her left hand’s fingers.
Immediately, she heard the sounds of something beating at the air.
They were the sounds of wings, of flapping, of flying.
Hundreds and even thousands of those sounds combined to sound like a crashing wave as they rose into the sky.
She knew what had happened. It was exactly what she had wanted.
“First, I turned the school into white doves.”
She looked up to see a flock of doves soaring like feathers carried by the wind.
The small white shapes spread out and flew high to dance in the empty night. The red sky and black shadows could not erase their white color.
Schwarz Löwe removed the top of the container and stood up.
“Pretty flashy, Hazel.”
She responded with a smile in her voice.
“You’re just too boring, Berger.”
At 3:42 AM, the Big Signal finally received a transmission from Germany while it was waiting above the North Sea after completing its incantation.
Now that it had an accurate location for the Babel Cannon-equipped ship, the Big Signal wrote the Reqiuem’s message information into its bullet based on the range data it received. That gave the bullet homing capabilities.
After a minor adjustment to its position, it ordered every friendly craft within firing range to temporarily ascend.
To provide the final tone needed to complete the bullet, the loading section’s barriers opened. The exterior armor opened with a mechanical hum. The first noise to leave the interior came from the escaping steam.
Bendaughter was illuminated by the moonlight.
Her empty eyes looked past the white steam and up into the sky.
The emotionless Sein Frau’s face was placid and her hair was windswept. She had sweat beading up and dripping down her forehead and chest.
There was no strength in her gaze, but her cheeks were a touch red. That was due to singing for nine hours straight.
A quiet sound of escaping air came from the pipe connecting her to Sunshine.
At the same time, she leaned back like a spring-loaded doll.
Her hair was thrown back as she arched her back as if to stare into the sky. That tension was broken by a single large tremor running through her body.
Then she bent forward, steam rising from her sweaty body.
With her body bent forward and her head lowered, bloody saliva dripped from her open lips.
But when she raised her head again, there was already strength in her gaze.
Sweat dripped down skin that had gone cool and even pale and she directed her eyes upwards.
Toward the moon.
She viewed the moon as she spoke.
At 3:47 AM, Big Signal finally launched its first shot.
Rose tensed on the central #6 ship’s bridge when she sensed something hit her on the port side.
“I can load the Babel Kanone’s next round in just a few minutes, so if I can hold on a little longer…”
Then she heard the wind through the downpour of bombs.
It came from port, where she had been hit.
A black figure was flying up from below, producing a soaring sound from its rapid ascent.
She had seen it before. But it vanished high into the sky a moment later. And…
With countless sounds of wings, her vision was filled by the color white.
It was a flock of doves.
Hundreds of flapping wings shook the air as they flew toward the night sky.
The white flock hid the black shape from view.
Rose could not hide her surprise as she tilted her head and directed her attention below.
No more antiair bullets were rising from the center of the city where Cologne Cathedral was located. The Requiem had lost a few of its own cannons as well.
But the enemy remained overhead, dropping bombs.
The Requiem’s armor, defense emblems, defense through inertial control, and the ship control and damage reduction provided by Rose’s Erklärung all worked to stop those bombs and protect the city below.
But the enemy was relentless.
She saw the colors blue and red arrive from either side to meet that enemy.
Those were Grösse Panzers. The two who served Alfred.
“Lady Rose! We are here to support you!!” shouted Neue Blau.
Rose smiled back with a troubled expression.
“What are you two doing here? Does this mean my big brother is already on his way?”
“Indeed it does. Sir Alfred is hurrying here as well!”
“I see,” she said, tapping her right foot’s toes against the bridge’s floor.
Then her voice spoke from the entirety of the Requiem.
“Big brother, can you hear me?”
After a short delay, she received a staticky response.
“You can? I’m glad. Right now…”
She looked overhead.
A light resembling a silver shooting star approached the bombers and fighters from outside the Requiem’s firing range. A silver Grösse Panzer raced, spun, and leaped through the sky while fighting something.
The opponent was colored black. That was the Panzer that had ascended earlier.
It was named Schwarz Löwe and it had fallen into enemy hands three years ago.
But while she watched the clash between the two Panzers…
“How long has it been since my big brother and bigger brother fought the same opponent?” she muttered, eyebrows raised.
The exhaustion vanished from her face and she shouted toward the blue and red Panzers.
“I will be your general. You two move further forward and meet with your master.”
“But we are Sir Alfred’s-”
She cut them off with a thin smile.
“Since when can a mere Sein Frau talk back to the eldest daughter of Karlsruhe, the bloodline of generals!?”
After a pause, the blue and red Panzers nodded.
They spread their wings and accelerated.
The bursts of wind struck Rose from either side and she assessed them with satisfaction in her voice.
The blue and red winds drew twin curves up into the sky. They flew over the river flowing through the sky.
Rose watched them leave and then sighed.
At the same time, an even louder alarm blared from within the Requiem.
“I have a feeling something more is coming. The bombers are slowly ascending.”
She raised her head and the Babel Kanone bullet loader at the rear of the Requiem expelled a cascade of white steam from its ejection port.
She narrowed her eyes at the sound.
She mouthed the name of a certain man.
“In response to the fourth alarm, all ship sectors shall be opened, command authority shall be shifted to me and me alone, and all of you shall evacuate.”
She repeated that a second time over the sound of the fourth alarm.
“This is a strict order.”
Just as she finished, one of the enemy aerial warships succumbed to its damage and fell.
The bombers ascended instead.
“Something is definitely coming,” she muttered to herself, spreading her arms.
Wind was whipped up all around the Requiem. The ship’s defense field was changing shape.
That wouldn’t do much against a direct hit from the aerial warship, but it would be an effective wide-range umbrella against the scattering wreckage and the shockwave when it exploded. She spread out that field and continued firing the cannons while looking to the sky.
Silber Löwe was still battling Scwharz Löwe. They were both moving quickly.
“Are you enjoying this, bigger brother?”
Immediately after directing her question into the sky, her Requiem-linked senses picked up something. A great power was rushing in from the distance. It was like a punching fist and it brought her pain just to view it.
She spun her body to face that way – to the north.
Her entire body radiated puzzlement and surprise and Heiliger questioned her over the radio.
“What is that, DLP-444LSX!?”
She could not get the answer out of her throat.
She knew exactly how powerful it was because she had the same power herself.
So she raised her voice.
“Flee, bigger brother!! That’s my-!!”
Hazel was tossed around all over the place atop Scwharz Löwe’s shoulder. A container created from one of the RB-21’s fixed seats had been installed there, presumably a rush job by Corelle.
She braced her legs against the inside of the container to holder herself in place and faced their opponent with her hair dancing in the wind.
Her right eye was already colored red. And she was linked to Scwharz Löwe.
The enemy she saw was colored silver. It was surrounded by the waves of bluish-white Lives carried by the wind.
The silver Heavy Barrel left the empty sky and the crimson-burning land behind to rush toward them. It emitted a powerful but wavering wind from its wings.
“The Messiah’s presence here is beyond anything I predicted.”
“I can’t say I predicted getting a chance to fight a bigshot like you while just trying to escape, General Graham Karlsruhe, second in command of the Geheimnis Agency!”
Berger spoke through Scwharz Löwe’s vocal device.
The wind was on the move.
They raced through the sky, Scwharz Löwe’s sword and Heiliger’s sword clashed before Hazel’s eyes, and sparks flew.
This time, they didn’t have the equipment necessary to remake Gelegenheit for use by a Heavy Barrel.
The battle came down to pure sword skills and a rapid series of strikes had begun.
<The Messiah travels the deserted field.>
Even when they dodged and escaped, Silber Löwe would circle back in front of them soon enough. He used only the machine’s abilities, never using an Ober Emblem, yet he fought equally with the Messiah-assisted Scwharz Löwe.
“I will take the Messiah from you, divinely-named young man.”
“She isn’t just some thing to be taken!!”
Berger attacked once and Heiliger attacked thrice in return.
<The Messiah does not fear power.>
They dodged it. She read the wind and conveyed the information to him. But the next attack was already coming.
“I will end this here and fulfill our commander’s prophecy.”
Berger did not respond.
He was too preoccupied.
Silber Löwe suddenly accelerated through the sky like it had loosed all the power it had built up.
It charged in even faster than before, never letting up on the attacks.
Berger made an attack just before the moment of impact, but it was deflected.
Silber Löwe’s shoulder crashed into them.
They heard a voice in that moment.
“Reflex speed: approximately x180. Power pressurization: x20.”
Silber Löwe emitted white steam from its entire body and then broke through the cloud of steam.
Its shoulder dug into Schwarz Löwe’s gut, breaking both their armors, and…
Schwarz Löwe was launched backwards.
The sound of breaking metal was accompanied by a powerful impact pushing up at them from below.
Hazel doubled over, feeling like her organs were being pushed up on, but then she realized the force had left her.
She shut her eyes for a moment and reopened them to see the night sky.
She saw the moon shining in the terribly calm heights.
She was flying through the sky. She had been launched from Schwarz Löwe’s container.
Only when she felt the wind blowing up at her long hair and skirt did she realize she had begun to descend. She had entered one of the simplest of actions: a fall.
A brief cry escaped her lips, but then it felt like her lungs were out of air.
She had nothing to support herself and nothing to orient herself. Her hands only clawed at empty space while her head and shoulders felt a wall of air.
The only things nearby were the Lives of the night breeze.
She was falling.
Schwarz Löwe and Silber Löwe accelerated simultaneously to pursue Hazel.
“You’ve got a hell of a violent way of acquiring your supposed Messiah!”
“Says the man who once sliced open the Sylphide.”
“No, I’m willing to give you the title of the world’s most violent man.” Berger took a breath. “It’s a race then.”
They accelerated, the black Ober Emblem competing against the silver machine’s pressurization.
Their goal was the girl falling from an altitude of approximately 6000 yards.
Schwarz Löwe used its black wings to fly ever onward and downward.
It flew faster and swifter.
The air resistance grew, so it closed its spread wings and focused on gravitational acceleration.
The tips of the wings formed vacuums as they tore through the night, splitting the air and summoning the wind.
The river of bombers lay ahead.
It charged through them without hesitation or fear.
It passed by and through in an instant, shooting down past the falling bombs.
Silber Löwe did the same.
They left sound behind in the sky above while dropping toward the burning city below.
They both accelerated.
White clouds formed along the points of their armor, drawing out lines leading far behind them.
Those were vapor trails.
The curved aerial armor attached to their Panzer Kleids began to strain. The light metal armor was designed to reduce air resistance as much as possible, but even they were protesting from the powerful wind pressure.
There she was.
At first, she was only visible as a golden color. Her hair fluttered above the crimson of Cologne.
Silber Löwe broke through the white vapor umbrella to move out ahead.
Scwharz Löwe muttered to himself while hearing the low percussion noise of the atmospheric impact.
“This fall wasn’t enough for you to Alter, Hazel?”
The black Panzer flapped its wings for more speed, breaking through its own vapor umbrella and coming up alongside the silver one.
The black one opened the area where its vocal device had been and let out a roar.
The indistinct roar continued as it moved out ahead.
Hazel was there. And a new color was visible behind her.
The many white colors was the flock of doves Hazel had Tuned into existence. They were flying behind her.
The two Panzers accelerated and reached their hands out toward the gold visible among the red of flames and white of wings.
The black one’s willpower-powered Ober Emblem and the silver one’s high-level machinery provided endless acceleration that let them form two white lines that split apart the night sky.
The two shooting stars linked the black sky to the red earth.
The wings at the very end of those lines guided their speed.
They both raised bestial cries.
They could reach Hazel. She was right there in front of them, her tears scattering into the air rushing around her.
But she reached out her hand.
She shouted something and smiled while crying.
She fell with explosive speed and directed her hand toward the bearer of destiny.
The black one roared and answered her.
The white color scattered as if clearing a path for the black Panzer.
The black one moved forward and placed its hand protectively below the golden person.
Just then, a loud voice pierced the night sky.
A girl’s voice.
“Flee, bigger brother!! That’s my-!!”
The silver Panzer reacted to that clear cry while pursuing the black one.
With a sound like an umbrella forcefully opening, Silber Löwe braked in midair.
Without warning, it flew up toward the Gard-class warship floating above.
Still falling, Schwarz Löwe changed the direction of its acceleration. Shifting a bit to the side to escape this airspace.
“Is that what I think it is!?” asked Hazel from Schwarz Löwe’s hand.
The attack had arrived.
Rose immediately changed the shape of the Requiem’s defense field she had just altered to protect against the burning enemy warship falling toward the ship. She focused on stopping the power flying her way.
<The Requiem march shall not be defiled.>
She had ordered an evacuation, so the escape boats were trying to leave from the bottom of the ship.
The city of Cologne was below it as well. One small but nearly-untouched portion of the city remained below.
So Rose did not hesitate.
She fully eliminated the defense field on the Requiem’s upper surface and directed all of its power into the umbrella that protected its bottom side.
The rest occurred over a series of moments.
First, the enemy aerial warship crashed down on the starboard aircraft carrier’s connection point.
The heavy impact caused the half-mile warship to shake and list to the side a bit.
The enemy aerial warship exploded and shattered the Requiem’s armor with a sound like a splitting bell. A few of the connecting frames broke and the tremor propagated across the rest of the Requiem.
The Kurz Babel bullet struck at the same moment.
It started just as light. Then as an impact.
It hit the Requiem’s starboard side at a diagonal angle, tearing through the #2 aircraft carrier and the #4 landing ship and piercing through to the lower central #5 ship as well.
A hole with a diameter of more than 7 yards was torn from the colossal aerial warship’s right collarbone to its gut. The power of the attack was released into the area around the hole.
The hole rapidly spread further, producing explosions.
The attack collided with the Requiem’s inertial control force and the defense field opened below it.
As powerful as the attack was, the Requiem’s solid construction and defense field kept the attack from spreading downwards. All of the force was directed upwards causing the Requiem to rupture skywards.
The atmosphere burst over a wide area and the sky glowed bright.
The sky itself split and changed color. Even with the air blasted away, a soundless tremor radiated outwards. Ten or so of the bombers and three of the aerial warships in the sky above were torn apart instantly.
The Kurz Babel had scored a direct hit.
But the Requiem remained afloat within the storm-like winds. Its upper armor had mostly been stripped away and the #1 ship that formed the bridge was crushed in like a giant club had smashed into it from the left.
The starboard aircraft carrier was gone and the #2 ship behind that was badly damaged. The central #5 ship had taken a fair amount of damage as well.
Conversely, the port aircraft carrier was only bent to the right and the #2 ship behind it was only mildly damaged.
As for the crucial cannon…
<The Requiem-singing dragon’s fangs remain unbroken.>
Its armor had been stripped away, but the barrel had miraculously retained its shape.
Rose stood at the end of that barrel, but the image of her and her white dress was faint and fading fast.
The city below was still safe. She had not fully eliminated the force of that attack, so she could see some damage from that and the winds it had caused. But…
“It fared much better than the surrounding areas.”
Most of Cologne was gone.
Everything outside what the Requiem had protected was little more than city streets with a crater torn into them by the powerful shockwave. The crater had a radius of about a mile and was about 200 yards deep. Cement, rebar, and other remnants of buildings were piled up at the bottom of the crater.
The area protected by the Requiem appeared to stand on a raised platform at the center of the crater.
Past the crater, all the buildings had collapsed in a strip of destruction extending north to south. The Rhine was outside the range of the explosions, but it was flooding its banks and the trees in the nearby mountains had lost all their leaves. The attack from the Kurz Babel had added to the damage done by the bombing. The city had been destroyed a second time.
Everything had been destroyed outside of what she had directly protected. But…
“This is the beginning of a war.”
With that, she began to dance. She twirled, swung her arms, smiled, and swept her hands forward.
A moment later, the Requiem fired its Babel Kanone for the second time that day.
She knew where the enemy was located. She only had to follow the ballistic path back to them.
Unlike the bullet-based Kurz Babel used by the Allies, the Requiem’s Babel Kanone accelerated and stretched the bullet’s power within the long barrel to form a beam instead. The beam of light stretched across approximately four miles and sent out a powerful shockwave as it was launched.
At 3:53 AM, the Big Signal floating above the North Sea and the 3rd Aerial Fleet protecting it were hit by a massive beam of light and instantly obliterated.
The Big Signal’s defense field and the various aerial warships’ armor were all vaporized.
Even the singing Sein Frau was engulfed by the light, burned away, and vaporized.
All that remained was electrified air and a white-hot mist.
Everything had been eliminated.
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