HEAVY OBJECT:EX Chapter 4

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Chapter 4[edit]

Part 1[edit]

The Battlefield Country of the Antsiranana District was also known as Experimental Battlefield Madagascar.

Baobab trees known to live for more than 5000 years rose from the vast land that was dyed orange in the evening sunlight. The ground was crawling with insects found nowhere else in the world, but few of the soldiers realized their value.

They were inside the Faith Organization’s maintenance base zone.

Several large military vehicles were surrounded by barbed wire barricades. Most of their base was covered by giant thick tents that would have looked more at home at a circus. Some of them were even larger than a school building.

But their maintenance base was made from more than just cutting-edge scientific rapid-response materials.

“Getting irritable is not going to improve the situation.”

That gentle comment came from a girl of about 18 who wore a skintight green special suit with a loose cloth wrapped around it like a swimsuit to avoid exposing the most important parts. Her long golden hair was bound in a single braid which increased her overall gentle atmosphere.

She was one of the three sisters who piloted the Faith Organization’s Second Generation Norn.

Her name was Urd Silent-Third.

She had set up a folding chair, table, parasol, and spot cooler on the orange wasteland and a variety of fruits were lined up on the table. The coconuts, mangoes, bananas, and sugarcane were normal enough, but the fon’omby[1] and tamarind were more unusual.

HO EX 04 005.jpg

They seemed to be local produce, but they would not have simply been bought at the market. Pilot Elites single-handedly influenced the outcomes of modern wars, so they were too valuable for that. To ensure a foreign spy had not mixed in some poison, the lowly soldiers would have gone to a lot of effort to procure them.

Another girl sighed. She had a harsh look to her eyes and her similarly blonde hair was crudely tied back into twintails. Instead of taking the seat her older sister had prepared for her, she crossed her arms and leaned against the thick stone wall.

Her name was Verdandi Silent-Third.

That girl of about 16 was also one of the Norn’s Elites.

If all three sisters had been together, it would have been clear that they all used the exact same hair bands.

“Is life as a vegetarian really that much fun?”

“A glance inside the bug cage should tell you what the base’s burgers and fries are made from.”

But despite that gentle comment, Verdandi took a bite of the burger she held in its wrapper.

Her food was also a special provision for the Pilot Elite, so it was a 100% pure beef patty, unlike the normal ones on base. However, the normal soldiers were unaware of the “bug cage”, so there was no jealousy there.

The second sister was not leaning up against one of the school-sized tents the Faith Organization had prepared. Instead, it was the kind of cathedral that one could find anywhere in a European safe country, but its majesty was not lost in Africa. And that was not the only building; there were enough of them to qualify as a small village. Or perhaps it would be better to say they had chosen to build their maintenance base alongside the remains of a village.

The term “Africa” probably brings a great variety of things to mind, but these European-style buildings were surprisingly common. There were historical reasons for that, but the familiar environment was probably a comfort for the people deployed here from afar. There was no fear of morale dropping for a reason as silly as homesickness.

Verdandi looked at the burger she had bitten into.

“Skuld had no trouble eating those things.”

“I think it had more to do with how she enjoyed eating alongside the normal soldiers. That little sister of ours has always prioritized what satisfies her heart over her body.”

“…”

The two sisters fell silent as they thought about the missing third sister.

And then they both resumed speaking.

“…We can’t just leave her out there.”

“No. And the higher ups will know how dangerous that would be. That is why I am not letting my irritation keep me from eating. Stress can influence our condition and that could influence this clean war.”

“So do you think we can make it in time?”

“Of course.”

Urd smiled.

With a sticky sound, she stabbed her fork into a ripe slice of fruit.

“If the alternative is allowing Skuld to escape to a foreign safe country, we must kill her here. No matter what. On that we agree.”

Part 2[edit]

The twilight burned red.

The Legitimacy Kingdom soldiers had gathered outside and they were chatting curiously.

“Why is the major sitting on top of Quenser and beating him?”

“Because she found out he was making honeycomb toffee in secret.”

“Sugar is one thing, but where did he get the baking soda? Is there a hot spring around here?”

“He apparently took apart a fire extinguisher to get at the foaming agent.”

“If you make candy, she’ll climb on top of you with that tight skirt? C’mon, hit me too!!”

Meanwhile, busty silver-haired Frolaytia must have wanted to take a break because she tossed Quenser over toward the other soldiers.

“Sorry about that distraction. Everyone line back up.”

The pre-mission briefing was beginning.

“Our satellite has detected the Trinity Style starting to move.”

The soldiers were gathered outside rather than in the usual briefing room. That meant there had not been enough available indoor space for the briefing. They had yet to recover from the damage done by the genetically modified insects.

The enemy was approaching while their equipment was malfunctioning and that was likely intentional on the enemy’s part.

“It will attack soon, but we are not yet ready to withdraw. At this rate, we would be hit as we tried to leave. Sending out the Baby Magnum and coming up with a countermeasure against the Trinity Style is looking like the more realistic option.”

As the rows of soldiers listened, Heivia muttered a complaint next to Quenser.

“And what are puny soldiers like us supposed to do? Go jack off in our bunks until the Princess wins?”

“I heard that, Heivia. And I have the perfect job for a volunteer hero who wants to stand out.”

“Why’d you have to say something!? Now we’re all being sent to the front line!!”

Frolaytia ignored the soldiers ganging up on Heivia and continued with the briefing.

“Currently, the Trinity Style’s combat ability is an unknown. The Princess had trouble last time, but that was partially due to it making a surprise attack after pretending to be defeated. However, we can’t be too optimistic. We have no idea what will happen in a fair one-on-one battle. It might be an easy victory and it might be a harsh battle. If we knew how we would fare, we could decide how much distance to keep between us, but we don’t know anything. We simply have too little information, so we have to assume this is the most dangerous situation. It’s 50/50…either side could win.”

The busy commander inhaled some smoke from her kiseru.

“Furthermore, the Trinity Style is a Second Generation made from small work robots that allow it to use entirely different shapes, main cannons, propulsion devices, and strategies. The thickness of its armor and most damage can be changed or repaired by shifting the position of those robots. …They’re sure to create a situation we can’t read and then move in to wear us down. The Faith Organization was able to put together a strategy in advance while we have to adlib, so they have a major advantage. Do you understand now that we can’t rest easy and leave this to the Princess?”

But Quenser hesitantly raised his hand because he did not want to set foot on the battlefield.

“But what can flesh-and-blood soldiers do? And I’m pretty sure the Trinity Style’s acoustic scans will locate anyone who’s hiding.”

“Does that mean we have to change back into those athlete’s foot suits!? What a pain the ass!!”

“Anyone without a death wish, listen up.” Frolaytia sounded indifferent. “I’ll start with your objective. The biggest problem in the Trinity Style battle is the changes to its armor and armaments. We are constantly monitoring it by satellite, but we need as many information sources as possible. You will infiltrate the battlefield and use various cameras and sensors to constantly scan the Trinity Style in real time to gather data on its shape, abilities, and armor. That data will be sent to the Princess so she can fire her main cannons at the thinnest point.”

She used her kiseru to point at the map on the whiteboard.

“This time, the Objects will be firing at each other from across a giant river. Large bodies of water are the enemy of static electricity systems, so that will function as a barricade. But that’s only true if it is using static electricity. If the Dvergr secretly rearrange to an air cushion system, it might suddenly cross the river. That is another reason to continue scanning and sending out the data. Static electricity and air cushions both have their unique traits and weaknesses. If we know its movable range, it shouldn’t be difficult for the Princess to predict its next move and fire her main cannon where it will be next.”

“Wow, setting up hidden cameras gets us praised as heroes now? Everything I thought I knew is crumbling away. War sure is scary. …But I think we’ll get more than a slap if their goddess notices.”

Frolaytia responded to Heivia while placing her kiseru back in her mouth.

“You don’t need to worry about the anti-personnel acoustic sensors this time. This will be an all-out battle between the Princess and the Trinity Style, so the entire area will be a vortex of explosive blasts. It’s going to be worse than a fireworks show, so the precision of those acoustic sensors is sure to drop and you can also set up plenty of those disturbance speakers that worked so well last time.”

“And the real reason for that?”

“I said this would be an all-out battle, right? A small infiltration team was one thing, but we don’t have enough soundproofed suits for all of our infantry. Unfortunately, the budgets for these clean wars are heavily biased toward the Objects.”

In other words, this had less to do with a safer situation and more to do with a cobbled-together way of making up for insufficient equipment. Quenser and the others only grew more disheartened.

“By the way, do we have a guess as to which form the Trinity Style will use?”

“That is what we need to interrogate Skuld Silent-Third about. Quenser, you come with me. You seem to have earned the POWs’ trust since the bug panic, so they might have a looser tongue around you than a strict intelligence officer.”

Part 3[edit]

“I don’t know.”

Quenser pressed his forehead against the table when that was the very first thing she said.

The student and Skuld were not speaking in specialized detention barracks meant to hold war criminals and POWs. That facility had collapsed during the attack by the genetically modified Draupnir insects, so the infantry barracks had been divided in two with the Faith Organization occupying one half. They had of course added locks to the doors and welded scrap materials to the windows to prevent the POWs from escaping.

As Quenser slumped down, the twintail girl was lying directly on the table.

Not only that, but she wore no clothes and only had a white sheet covering her.

“How am I supposed to know what exactly the Norn will try to do? I mean, there are two other Elites besides me and-…what is it?”

“…”

Quenser kept his head pressed against the edge of the table and glanced to the side. The green special suit, boots, and gloves were all draped over the back of a nearby chair.

After a moment, she finally caught on.

“Is this any time to be getting distracted?”

“It’s kind of hard not to.”

“It is my right as a POW to receive the treatment necessary to for my vital fine-tuning as an Elite.”

“Well, yeah. But still…”

“And in my case, that means this.”

As the twintail girl lay face down below the sheet, she tapped at the corner of the table.

A few aroma candle containers sat there.

The music player situated on a small stand was playing highly soothing environmental music at a moderate volume.

Perhaps to reap the benefit of negative ions, there were even pots with mossy plants growing inside.

Her pillow was small but made from an expensive-looking low-resilience material.

And this riddle led Quenser to a certain answer.

“Come to think of it, the Trinity Style’s cockpit was full of sleep products too, wasn’t it?”

“Honestly, I was pretty sure you wouldn’t have any of it, so I wrote down everything I could think of. But look at all this. You had pretty much all of it. I’m not sure if that means you’re well-prepared or overrun by personal items.”

Curse that busty commander. What kind of a luxurious life are you living? wondered Quenser as a grinding sound came from his mouth.

“It’s not so much about sleeping though. It’s really about using the hallucinations seen on the verge of falling asleep.”

“Oh, you mean that thing where you can easily have a mystical experience by playing the right kinds of low frequency noise?”

He thought that sounded exactly like something the Faith Organization would do. Then again…

“But why are you naked?”

“Unfortunately, I can’t make that tightrope walk without the optimum performance. I can’t be awake and I can’t fall asleep either.”

But Quenser had to question whether he was really close enough to Skuld for her to let him approach while she was so defenseless. He had protected her from the Trinity Style before and maybe the bug panic had been the final push.

The battlefield student coolly analyzed the situation.

(Hm. Whatever the case, a naked girl is a wonderful thing. Hmm!! It feels something like waiting to remove the ribbon from a present, but I am 100% okay with that!)

“?”

“Now, don’t worry about me. Don’t worry about me at all and continue! If it’s a humanitarian thing, I guess it can’t be helped! Yes, if you don’t do this, you’d probably get a migraine, lose your appetite, or feel sick!! So we have no choice in the matter!!”

Quenser stared at the smooth curves visible through the sheet and did his best to activate any latent clairvoyant powers he might have, but Skuld got back on topic with a blank sleepy look in her eyes.

“So, um, where was I? …Mumble, mumble… Oh, right, right. The Norn has two Elites besides me. Urd and Verdandi. The distance they fight from and the way they attack are completely different.”

“…The way they attack?”

“Urd fires a thorough barrage to cut off her enemy’s escape in something like a chess problem. Verdandi goes for a one-hit kill and never wastes a shot. Completely different, right?”

“Wow…”

“Urd prefers long-range attacks because she focuses on taking no damage while Verdandi prefers close-range attacks because she tries to finish off her target as quickly as possible to reduce the overall damage. But even that is only the standard. It’s possible they will move in close while pretending to be Verdandi only to attack with Urd’s tactics.”

That difficulty to predict worked to the Trinity Style’s advantage. A battle began before the actual fighting did, but this Object destroyed any pre-battle preparation and forced its enemies to adlib. Just as Frolaytia had said.

(But this time the battle is divided by a large river. If the Princess can use that to keep her distance and continue fighting, she can seal off the close-range attacks. That might just draw out Urd who prefers the long-range.)

“Skuld. Tell me how exactly Urd fights. Long-range battles can take a lot of different forms, right?”

“Chemical warfare.”

Quenser initially had trouble comprehending what the twintail girl said.

But as he repeated it under his breath, he grew pale.

“Chemical…warfare?”

The term was enough to distract him from the sheet-covered feast before his eyes.

It seemed to linger on his tongue.

Skuld must have felt she misspoke because she clarified.

“Oh, I’m not talking about poison gas or anything like that. Although it is possible it might produce some gas as a side effect.”

Skuld rolled over under the sheet.

She was now facing up and the curves around her chest were especially emphasized.

Plus, the sheet nearly pulled back from certain areas as she turned, so Quenser’s focus grew to more than 400% of normal. He felt like he was going to blast off into space at this rate.

“The Trinity Style’s main cannon is basically a laser space elevator tilted on its side. Urd’s container-style shells tend to contain various chemicals.”

Quenser replied coolly.

“When you say chemicals…you don’t mean an anti-personnel gas weapon, do you?”

“No matter how large the scale is, Object armor is still essentially special steel. And there are a variety of chemicals that can dissolve or damage steel, right? Sulfuric acid, aqua regia, liquid nitrogen, aluminum and iron oxide, etc.”

“…”

This was different from railguns or coilguns that punched through with overwhelming mass or kinetic energy.

Nor did it burn through with tremendous heat like laser beams or low-stability plasma cannons.

It used a chemical reaction.

It cut through the Object armor using a chemical approach.

“My sister Urd is an expert at that. She doesn’t just fire a chemical-filled container; she sometimes fires several containers to mix them directly on the battlefield. The Capitalist Corporations fearfully named it the murder cocktail strategy. Yawwwwn…”

She must have been growing drowsy because Skuld yawned and twisted her body. This stuck a full bare leg out in front of Quenser’s eyes. The student debated whether to lightly nibble at the thigh or to see how far up to the base of the leg he could see, but he made the mistake of hesitating too long and failing to do either before the bare leg was pulled back inside the sheet.

With a smile on his face and tears in his heart, Quenser replied with a cool voice.

“That doesn’t sound good… Even if it isn’t meant for flesh-and-blood soldiers, she’ll be firing a bunch of sulfuric acid around and the dissolving metal will produce chemical smoke.”

“Even if Urd isn’t after them, you should probably have your infantry prepare some chemical warfare defenses.”

But could they do that?

They already knew they lacked enough soundproofed suits for everyone. A small team would be one thing, but did they really have enough special equipment for a group of hundreds?

(The gas mask filters use activated charcoal, right? Maybe we should take apart some deodorant and try to figure something out.)

He made a mental note of that and Skuld made a comment.

“You seem confident.”

“Does this tearful face really look confident?”

“It does.”

The twintail girl answered his joke while squirming below the white sheet.

“I honestly thought you would line up the Faith Organization POWs on the front line, aim machineguns at us from behind, and order us to charge. No, it isn’t just that. When the detention barracks were destroyed, you didn’t build some fences outside and keep us there like farm animals. Giving up your own living space isn’t normal.”

“There are two major reasons for that. Do you know what they are, Skuld?”

“?”

“First, soldiers who are being forced to fight are useless. And if we carelessly sent the Faith Organization soldiers in front of the Trinity Style, it would probably blow up only our armored trucks to bring you all back to your unit. Plus, an infantry charge isn’t going to change anything here. We have to infiltrate the front line, so a machinegun induced charge would be meaningless.”

“What’s the second reason?”

Quenser grinned at that.

“It’s about our barracks. We’re actually quite thankful for that one. After all, we’re all crammed in together due to the reduced space. The guys and girls are normally separated, but now we’re all living together! But we have no real choice!! I mean, it’s only humane to give the POWs a roof over their heads! Ah hah hah hah hah!!”

An officer like Frolaytia and a Pilot Elite like the Princess had their own private quarters and their defenses was still as strict as ever, but that was a different matter.

And the twintail girl naturally looked at him like he was a dung beetle.

She still looked sleepy, but she grabbed the edges of the sheet and curled up like a human spring roll to protect herself.

“…You’re utter trash, aren’t you?”

“Bloodline is everything in the Legitimacy Kingdom, so our culture can’t exactly reject the act of baby-making. But I guess that might look strange to the Faith Organization and all its strict ideals that ignore our biology. Wait, but isn’t Norse Mythology pretty lax about that stuff?”

Quenser did not seem to mind at all.

“Personally, I find it stranger that you’re so willing to give us information on the Trinity Style.”

“Does it seem so easy that you’re starting to suspect a trap?” Skuld sighed with just her head poking out of the sheet. “Didn’t I tell you my sisters are going to kill me? If the entire Faith Organization sees it that way, I can’t return to the Norn. I don’t gain a thing by holding onto its secrets.”

“Then are you trying to defect to the Legitimacy Kingdom?”

“It’s hard to say.”

Skuld seemed to be enjoying the situation rather than keeping her cards close to her chest.

But if she really did try to join the Legitimacy Kingdom, the Faith Organization would never allow it. Having information on the Trinity Style leaked to another world power would be especially bad for Urd and Verdandi who had to continue piloting that Object and could not switch to another variety.

So they would kill her, no matter what it took.

It did not matter if she was their blood-related sister.

“I’m expecting a lot from you.”

That was all she said.

One of the world powers that colored the map was after her life and had sent in one of the Objects that had ended the nuclear age. A student like Quenser could not imagine what kinds of feelings were whirling through the girl’s chest.

Part 4[edit]

The mission began.

Before the Baby Magnum was sent out, Quenser, Heivia, and the rest of the infantry set out into the orange-dyed wasteland aboard multiple military vehicles.

However, these were not normal armored trucks. There was no thick hose, obvious siren, or crane-like ladder attached to the rectangular body and the color was different, but they had a familiar silhouette. These were the maintenance base zone’s damage control firetrucks.

The soldiers clung to the flat roof and even the sides. It looked like the images of trains packed absolutely full.

Quenser was on the roof, but Heivia had failed to secure a spot there and was on the wall.

“This is ridiculous. We’re sending out chemical firetrucks now? We’re here to fight a war, not provide disaster relief.”

“The Trinity Style’s elevator main cannon might fire a ton of container shells. Those things are worse than giant Molotov cocktails. And even in this wasteland, chemical incendiary rounds will spread a fire like crazy. We want every chance we can of avoiding being baked to death.”

“Either way, these obvious targets will get hit as soon as the battle begins! They’ll be blown away by the Object’s shells before anything else, and it’ll be just like a well-shaken beer!!”

Just as Heivia got heated up, the firetruck drove over a large stone. The vehicle shook violently and the idiot noble shut up. He must have almost fallen off.

And he nervously looked down below.

“And what is this? We’re supposed to be using the colossal nuke-resistant weapon as a shield, so why are we out front? If the Trinity Style fires a shell, we’ll be blown to pieces.”

“We just have to try to stay positive. If we do die, we won’t suffer. Think of it as saving us the cost of anesthetic and you can laugh it off.”

As they joked back and forth, Frolaytia contacted them via radio.

“The battle is moving at the Faith Organization’s pace this time. We’re fortunate to have the giant river between us, but we’re still at a disadvantage when it comes to placing our pieces on the board. Simply put, our maintenance base zone is close to the front line. Their top priority will be assassinating Skuld. That goes for the Trinity Style too of course, but make sure they don’t use that giant thing’s rampage to distract us while they send infantry across the river. If that happens, you all need to fight. Shoot them or hit them with a shovel; I don’t care which. Just don’t let them get close.”

“How has the Trinity Style been crossing the rivers so far?”

“We don’t know. Maybe they temporarily dammed the rivers or built makeshift bridges.”

Quenser and the others’ job was to hide within the battlefield and scan the changeable Trinity Style in real time. By sending that data to the Princess, she could locate and fire on the weakest point.

That meant the infantry could not gather in one place. They had to spread out as much as possible, so the chemical firetrucks would stop here and there while the soldiers set out into the wasteland on foot.

Quenser and the others arrived at a river that looked 100 meters wide.

As far as they could tell with the flame-like evening sun reflecting off the water, it did not seem to be all that deep. That said, it was still enough to stop the Princess’s static electricity propulsion device.

When the firetruck stopped alongside the river, Quenser and some others climbed down. Nearby, a giant vehicle was folded up like an accordion, but then it extended forward with a crane-like sound.

It slowly but surely formed a bridge long enough for a truck to cross the river.

“Since she sent that bridge truck with us, it looks like that busty commander was prepared to send us on quite the exciting field trip.”

“But we only have the one, so they’ll have to swim back if it’s destroyed.”

The two idiots watched the chemical firetrucks cross the river and disappear. Since the battle would take place with the river in between the Objects, they needed more soldiers on the other side if they were to scan the Trinity Style.

And that was of course Faith Organization territory.

“Did you see the rifles the POWs had? They had a long staff-like magazine attached along the side. With that, they can fire 200 times without swapping out for a new one. I don’t want to even think about running across some of them.”

“Yeah, their infantry are called berserkers, right? But didn’t the old lady say the grouping was pretty bad and they’re essentially useless beyond 300 meters?”

“So you think we can push them back with a sniper rifle? Their fear has been deleted, so they’ll just gather together and climb over their comrades’ corpses. And the second we’re within range, all hell will break loose against us. They’ll take us all out with reinforced rifle rounds that can punch through bulletproof armor.”

They could use the river as a natural barrier to keep the Trinity Style back, but if the bridge truck was destroyed, the retreating soldiers would have nowhere to run. The thought of being ordered to infiltrate enemy territory with no guarantee of a way back sent a shudder down their spines.

“I’m glad luck was on our side this time,” commented Quenser.

“Ksshh. Are you sure about that, Quenser?” said Frolaytia over the radio. “The Trinity Style will be stuck at the river, so near the river where you are is sure to have the strongest stench of death.”

“And that’s why it’s the best place to observe the Trinity Style!! Oh, to hell with it! I’ll just have to steal a ton of lucrative tech from that pile of treasure!! Yes, I really was lucky! The goddess of luck is on my side!!”

“Hey, you positive SOB,” interrupted Heivia. “If you really want to survive, you need to do more than pray to some goddess. I’ll give you some of the disturbance speakers, so help us set them up all around here.”

Heivia handed him a bag and all of the soldiers scattered. Once the battle began, they did not want to be anywhere near that noticeable military truck. Even the bridge truck’s driver and crew had likely left and gone to hide somewhere.

And their lives were reliant on the disturbance speakers. A small speaker slightly larger than a baseball was supported by a small tripod and it came with a remote device that sent commands wirelessly.

They spread out the tripods and set up the speakers at 50-100 meter intervals but with some level of randomness.

“Honestly, can’t they scatter these from the air like with landmines?”

“Do that and they’ll figure out what we’re up to right away.”

There was no clock tower on the orange-colored wasteland, so something else had to signal the beginning.

“Here they come,” said Heivia once they had set up all of the disturbance speakers.

One was the Baby Magnum which approached from behind them.

The other was across the river.

Now that they could see it, their lives were reliant on the disturbance speakers. The speakers produced the chirping of insects to mask the sounds of breathing, cartilage, and joints from the soldiers.

From what?

The answer was simple.

Like a trendy lamp, the giant form’s propulsion device was shaped like an Island Nation mitsudomoe and the main cannon and giant magazine on the left and right were connected by a belt.

Quenser stared at its magnificent form without bothering to use binoculars.

“So we meet again, Trinity Style!!”

Part 5[edit]

It was a hellish exchange from the very first shot.

“…!!!???”

Quenser and Heivia dropped everything and dove down onto the orange-dyed wasteland. The Baby Magnum and Trinity Style fired shell after shell from several kilometers apart.

From a distance, it might have looked like a light show.

They used low-stability plasma cannons, laser beams, railguns, coilguns, and rapid-fire beam cannons.

But for the people there, they were like the fingers of death itself.

If one merely stroked their back, they truly would lose their life. Merely being exposed to the tingling shockwaves felt like having years worn off their life.

As soon as a soldier frantically jumped out of a chemical firetruck’s driver’s seat, a laser beam pierced it.

The long bridge truck that crossed the 100 meter river was more melted than broken when a shot hit it.

“What are we supposed to do with all this going on, dammit!?”

“At least we’re not the Faith Organization soldiers on the other side of the river. Looks like they were trying to cross the river too, but the Princess’s Killer Squall made short work of them.”

The Killer Squall was a laser beam weapon shaped like a planetarium lens and it was the kind of anti-personnel weapon not seen on more recent Objects. It fired more than 100 lasers at once and they scattered like an actual squall to vaporize the waves of approaching people. The First Generation Objects had been built on the multi-role concept, so they were built for anti-Object, anti-encampment, anti-vehicle, anti-ship, anti-air, and anti-personnel purposes.

The single-focused Second Generations were certainly terrifying, but it was the older First Generations that made the puny soldiers’ throats dry up.

“Hey, what’s going on? The Princess is falling back as she fires. Is she leaving us behind!?”

“Have you already forgotten our strategy, Heivia? Urd prefers long-range and Verdandi prefers short-range, but with the river blocking their way, they’ll be forced to use Urd if the Princess falls back. We’re limiting their choices before blowing them away.”

And the Trinity Style’s main purpose here was to prevent the Legitimacy Kingdom from withdrawing. If the Trinity Style did not take the bait and they simply glared at each other from a distance, the Princess would be outside of her attack range, but that was fine.

If they could buy some time, they could finish their withdrawal preparations.

And that made it more likely that Skuld would escape.

So the Trinity Seven would rush things.

It would approach as close to the river as it could.

That clearly worked against it in the short run, but that left a possibility of destroying the Princess. Urd would be forced to fight in that mindset.

Or so they thought.

They could not have been more wrong.

A moment later, something unbelievable happened.

The 200,000 ton mass leaped as if jumping over the river.

Quenser gasped on the ground and it took him some time to grasp what had happened.

First, the Trinity Seven’s horizontal laser space elevator of a main cannon aimed downwards. And with a deafening roar, it had fired something toward the ground.

But it had not used that blast to make the jump.

Instead of a heatwave or shockwave, a strange sticky liquid spread out from the blast. It hardened in just a few seconds, creating a giant upwards slope made of plastic.

The Trinity Style raced up that at full speed.

It had used a ramp.

And that provided a powerful enough jump to cross the river.

“Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wahhh!?”

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!!”

The two idiots shot to their feet and ran as far away from its expected landing point as they could get.

The Trinity Style would have landed at least 100 meters away, but with a crackling and air-splitting explosion, bluish-white sparks scattered in every direction. The two idiots fell to the ground more due to the fear than actually being hit by something. The massive amount of static electricity keeping the 200,000 ton mass afloat had reacted with the repellent scattered across the ground. It turned the air into ozone, scorched the ground, and nearly blew Quenser and Heivia away.

The Trinity Style did not care about them at all.

It accelerated straight toward the Baby Magnum.

And the Princess was caught off guard by the unexpected development.

“You can’t fall back any further, Princess!!” warned Frolaytia. “The maintenance base zone is far closer to the front line than usual. Any further and the base will be in range!!”

“Kh…understood!!”

The Princess had been gradually falling back, but a definite change came over her actions. She moved forward to meet the Trinity Style.

Heivia gave a shout while trembling on the ground and uncomfortably sweaty.

“This wasn’t supposed to happen!! This puts the Princess at a geographic disadvantage! Now they can switch back and forth between Urd and Verdandi! This thing was enough of a black box already, but our odds of victory are slipping further and further away!!”

“But it’s not like we can just tell them to stop. Heivia, keep the observation equipment focused on the Trinity Style. We need to figure out whether that’s Urd or Verdandi, how the Object is structured, and where the armor is thinnest. We need to get all that data to the Princess in real time! Hurry!!”

“What? Hey, wait! Where do you think you’re going!?”

Quenser did not answer as he approached a chemical firetruck that had rolled onto its side nearby. One of the packed-together military vehicles had been hit by a small laser beam, but the rest were fine. He traced a finger along the side and recalled its structure before pulling out some Hand Axe plastic explosive from his backpack. He stuck a fuse in the clay-like explosive, pasted it to the rolled-over firetruck, and detonated it.

Meanwhile, the two giants continued their shootout a short distance away.

The Baby Magnum and Trinity Style were only a kilometer away from each other now. In an Object battle, that was like infighting with their foreheads pressed together. The Trinity Style was moving quickly in every direction to confuse the Princess. While making quick steps forward and back or left and right, it would occasionally fire a container shell full of sulfuric acid or liquid nitrogen. Even without a direct hit, they created toxic swamps that restricted the Princess’s movement and sometimes damaged her armor or sensors with their vaporized gases. It also used its ramps made of a special plastic. Those gave the Trinity Style a new axis of movement in addition to the existing 360 degrees of horizontal motion.

“What do we do? What the hell do we do!? It’s all over if the Princess loses, but I can’t think of any way to help! And Quenser, what the hell are you pulling out!?”

“Baking soda.”

The student pulled a few tanks out of the chemical firetruck. They were about the size of industrial beer containers.

“It’s a foaming agent used in chemical fire extinguishers. Mix it with sugar and place it over a fire and you can make honeycomb toffee.”

“And what good is that? That thing is 200,000 tons of steel and not even a nuke can stop it. That isn’t going to help!”

“Just watch. More importantly, Heivia, check your handheld device’s map. Pay special attention to the ramps the Trinity Style is making.”

“?”

It was a foolish action when up against an Object’s sensors, but Quenser ducked low as he ran along the orange-burning wasteland. He was fortunate that the Second Generation was not built specifically for anti-personnel attacks and that its acoustic sensors were less accurate with all the explosions. He felt a squeezing in his chest when tingling shockwaves reached his skin and a strange chemical smell burned his nose, but he still tried to approach the region of intense fighting.

“Heivia, you’re supposed to be a radar analyst, right? Try to predict where the Trinity Style will place its ramps based on where they are on the map. We’ll get there ahead of it.”

“Sure, but then what!? This isn’t an opponent we can trip up!”

“Don’t be so sure.”

Quenser grinned and pasted some Hand Axe to the bottle of baking soda he had brought with him.

“Those ramps are probably made from cyanoacrylate. You might know it as instant glue. On its own, it’s used to stick things together, but mix in some baking soda and it will expand and harden into a plastic. It’s used with figurines and dioramas and I knew someone who was into that kind of thing back at my safe country school.”

“Baking soda? Wait, you mean…?”

“It’s probably releasing a calculated amount of cyanoacrylate and baking soda from those containers. It’s just like making a perfect circle with a firework. But what if we throw some of our own baking soda into the mix after it’s fired into the ground but before it fully hardens? Their calculated design will fall apart and they’ll have a twisted failure to deal with. If it tries to use it, it’ll trip up and this will all be over!!”

Heivia compared the empty spots on the map to the Princess’s distance and position and managed to predict where the Trinity Style was likely to place a ramp.

Quenser threw over the bottle of baking soda.

Then they waited while he held his finger over his radio’s detonation button.

And…

And…

And…

Part 6[edit]

Like a quick record scratch, a brief disturbance came over the Trinity Style’s actions.

Part 7[edit]

Had the Trinity Style noticed Quenser and Heivia’s plotting or not?

Either way, something happened a moment later.

“Wha-…?”

Quenser was dumbfounded.

The Objects were already infighting at around a kilometer apart, but the Trinity Style moved even further in. Without firing another wasted shot, it accurately dodged the Princess’s seven main cannons and forced its way forward.

It moved close.

So very close.

They were only around a dozen meters apart. No, it was closer to being only a few meters.

“…!?”

The Baby Magnum tried to force herself away.

Meanwhile, the Trinity Style’s main cannon transformed. It was just like baseball fans using multiple signs to form a single message and flipping them over to form a different message.

The main cannon moved from the side to the front. The magazine split in two and attached to the upper left and right of the spherical main body as balancers.

A blinding flash scorched the eyes of everyone watching.

“What!?”

“A laser beam!!”

It was not the laser’s own light. It was the light created as the laser burned the dust and other impurities floating in the air. Instead of firing the laser at the bottom of the container shell to expand the air and fire it, the Object had simply fired the ultra-high power optical weapon. Quenser felt an unpleasant tingle in his spine when he saw that.

“Does that mean…they switched?”

No.

That tingle was the finger of death.

“They switched from long-range Urd to short-range Verdandi!?”

It did not even last an instant, but far too much happened.

The first laser beam scorched the edge of the Princess’s armor as she just barely dodged it. But that was only the setup leading to ruin. After being forced into that sudden evasion, the Baby Magnum was swung around by its own inertia and had a split-second restriction to its actions. The Trinity Style used that moment to further adjust itself and circle to the Baby Magnum’s side.

In that position, its main cannon could hit the Princess, but hers could not hit it.

A surefire attack did not always refer to exceptional firepower or a strange new method.

Sometimes it meant taking up the position that would ensure the next attack would hit.

It was the declaration of checkmate.

It set up the ideal situation.

And that surefire attack took the form of a second laser beam that thrust the Legitimacy Kingdom into absolute despair.

The world was filled with light.

The sound had surpassed the limits of their senses.

The intense heat burning through the Baby Magnum was scattered in every direction. The air expanded explosively and that invisible wall struck Quenser and the others. He could no longer see Heivia who had been right next to him. He only felt a strange sense of floating, but he did not know if he was flying up or falling down. He had lost his sense of direction and even his sense of gravity.

It seemed to last an instant, but it also seemed to last for half a minute.

Even his sense of time was lost and he may have even seen his life flashing before his eyes.

At any rate, he found himself lying pathetically on his back once his thoughts recovered.

“Zh…gwah…!!”

The entire area reeked of chemicals. His throat stung. A sharp pain continued to stab him deep in his eyeballs.

But none of that mattered to him.

As he shook his blank head and got up, he thought his breathing would stop.

He saw the Baby Magnum.

That 200,000 ton mass of steel was more than 50 meters tall.

That First Generation’s overwhelming firepower and armor had ended the nuclear age.

It was the symbol of war and the parameter both enemy and ally used to determine who would win.

But now it seemed to have blossomed like a giant flower.

The right half had been blown away, melted, and torn up.

Part 8[edit]

The Legitimacy Kingdom called it the Trinity Style.

The Faith Organization called it the Norn.

Inside that Second Generation’s cockpit, the 16-year-old girl named Verdandi Silent-Third slowly exhaled.

She used the internal line to communicate with the other cockpit separated by a thick wall.

“Target destruction confirmed.”

“Verdandi, it’s still moving. Wouldn’t it be safer to finish it off here?”

“With no room left for negotiation, the defeated soldiers will do everything they can to oppose us. Our goal is confirming whether Skuld is alive or dead. We can settle this after that.”

“Yes, there are times when a cornered opponent strikes back… Understood. You were the MVP this time, so I’ll leave it up to you.”

Nuke-resistant Objects could only be opposed with the firepower of another Object.

A few of the enemy’s main cannons were still functioning and that was all it would take. But it would be unable to move properly with its own armor torn up like a giant flower. Not to mention that Verdandi had approached to point-blank range while avoiding all of its main cannons when it had been at 100%, so no desperate last ditch effort would be able to hit.

They did not want to waste any more time.

When things went south during a battle, the standard response was to send the officers and computers full of classified information out the back entrance first. If Skuld was placed in that same category, this would all be for nothing. They had to secure her before she could vanish. If that was not possible, they would kill her. That was Urd and Verdandi’s shared understanding.

Verdandi let go of the control stick to trace her fingers across the thick cable connected to her navel.

She narrowed her eyes in thought.

Then she grabbed the colossal weapon’s control stick once more.

“Okay, let’s go finish this already.”

Part 9[edit]

“Heivia…”

Quenser grabbed the shoulders of his awful friend who was lying on the ground surprisingly close by.

He violently shook the boy.

“Heivia! Get up!! This is no time to be avoiding reality!!”

“”No…I’ve had enough…”

Heivia was not just passed out. He held his head in his hands and he grimaced like the stress was twisting his stomach into an S-shape.

“The battle is over. We lost. So just leave me alone. What else can we do against that monster!?”

“We can’t just sit here.” Quenser pulled out his radio. “The White Flag signal hasn’t been sent out. I don’t know if something happened back at the base or if all those bugs destroyed the equipment, but the battle hasn’t ended yet. I’m worried about the Princess too, but we can’t open her hatch with the tools we have on hand. We need to hurry back to the maintenance base zone. If we don’t go rouse Frolaytia and get her to raise the White Flag, we’ll all be slaughtered!! The Trinity Style will stop by the base first and then take us out on the way back like a souvenir or something!!”

“Please no!! I’m a noble!! Winchell family blood isn’t supposed to be lost in a place like this!!”

“Fine, then stay here and get blown to pieces!! How about I stick a bomb on your back!?”

He forcibly motivated the boy.

He pulled Heivia to his feet like he was a child throwing a tantrum in a department store toy aisle.

They were less than ten kilometers away from the maintenance base zone. Quenser looked around in search of a firetruck that had escaped destruction, but then Heivia started moving.

The Faith Organization soldiers had started crossing the river now that they knew there would be no more resistance. Heivia set his sights on one of the large motorcycles they were using and he swung his rifle to knock the driver off with a lariat.

He then beat down the soldier on the back seat before he could recover.

Gasping for breath and wiping an unpleasant sweat from his brow, Heivia spoke with bloodshot eyes.

“Pant, pant! D-dammit, if we’re gonna do this, then we’ve gotta go all out. Let’s change into their uniforms to blend in, Quenser.”

“I knew you could do it if you tried. I just wish you’d recovered a little sooner.”

The size of the uniforms was a little off and one of the motorcycle’s side mirrors had broken when it fell over, but it was far better than driving across the wasteland in Legitimacy Kingdom uniforms. Heivia took the driver’s seat and Quenser sat in the back seat as the two idiots made their way back to the maintenance base zone among the Faith Organization soldiers.

The sky was changing from the blazing orange to the dark curtain of night.

It was twilight, the color of parting.

They were returning to the familiar base they had woken up in that morning, but it was already filled with the tingling stench of death.

First, the mountain-like Object yelled a message down through its speakers.

“Attention Legitimacy Kingdom!! We have no intention of slaughtering you! Immediately disarm yourselves, move where we can see you, and put your hands in the air!! Hiding will be seen as intent to resist and we will attack!!”

Despite the announcement, the countless cannons covering the Object’s spherical main body were intermittently firing. Whenever it spotted someone moving or trying to hide behind cover, it mercilessly vaporized them.

On the ground, the Faith Organization soldiers were shining their flashlights around.

Those flashlights were attached to the end of their assault rifles. That would normally reveal their position, but boldly walking around with such obvious light sources was another symbol of their absolute victory.

They seemed to be searching inside the buildings, below the large vehicles, and in other possible hiding places to drive out all of the soldiers. Quenser and Heivia saw several of their comrades being kicked in the back or butt to toss them out into the open.

“This is awful…”

In his stolen Faith Organization uniform, Heivia sounded like he was having a nightmare as he slowed down the motorcycle so as not to stand out.

“I supposed it’s better than lining them up and shooting them or stripping only the female soldiers naked, but we can’t function as an army at all now. There’s no chance of turning this around…”

“Since they’re using the infantry for the search, the Trinity Style’s acoustic sensors really must not be working right. And it isn’t just the disturbance speakers. Did the Princess manage to destroy the actual sensors in that extreme situation?”

Whatever the case, Quenser and the others were faced with the exact opposite of the situation a few days before. Quenser could now imagine just how difficult it had to have been for Skuld to wait in that tiny cockpit for the hatch to be pried open.

“Captured Faith Organization soldiers, you also come out with your hands up! We do not wish to accidentally take your precious lives!! Please assist us so we can avoid any misunderstandings!!”

With vulgar laughter and relaxed behavior, the Faith Organization soldiers kicked the kneeling Legitimacy Kingdom soldiers to the ground mostly just for fun. At this rate, they might start pretending to surf on their backs.

“Where’d our busty commander get off to? She hasn’t been captured, has she?”

“That’s one question, but why wasn’t the White Flag sent out? I know the control tower collapsed, so was there a problem with the communication equipment?”

The two idiots discussed the situation while blending in with the Faith Organization soldiers on the stolen motorcycle, but as Quenser looked around, his face tensed up.

“You’re kidding…”

“What, did you find our busty commander?”

“No, but it still isn’t good. Heivia! You keep looking for Frolaytia and dealing with the White Flag. I’ve got another job to take care of!!”

“What is it!?”

“I found Skuld. If I don’t do something, she’ll be captured and killed!!”

Part 10[edit]

She would be killed.

She would definitely be killed this time.

Skuld pressed her back against the collapsed control tower’s wall and did her best to hold her breath. Faith Organization soldiers were swinging around the flashlights on their assault rifles and the Norn was loudly demanding everyone surrender. But Skuld did not have that right. When she was found, her fate was sealed. The war treaties did not matter.

She knew that, but she could not escape.

She knew the Norn’s specs better than anyone. She knew exactly what would happen to her if she tried making a mad dash out into the wasteland.

She heard footsteps on the dry ground on the other side of her cover.

Fear and panic grasped her heart.

Whoever it was sounded like a complete amateur in how little they were worried about being heard. These were the arrogant footsteps of someone who could hunt down the enemy without worrying about any resistance whatsoever. Tears welled up in the corners of her eyes when she heard them. Her mind seemed to shake.

“Attention Legitimacy Kingdom soldiers! Answer honestly when you are asked a question!! What we want most of all is Skuld and only Skuld!! If you do not unnecessarily shelter her, no unnecessary blood will be spilled!! Comply immediately to all commands!!”

It was hopeless.

If she did not escape from here, she would be found, but if she moved even a step, she would be found. How was she supposed to turn this around?

The footsteps continued.

They circled around toward her!!

“Skuld!! I finally found you. Are you okay?”

Then she saw a Legitimacy Kingdom face instead of a familiar Faith Organization one.

She was so surprised that her legs gave out beneath her.

She sat limply down on the ground.

“U-uuh…”

Unable to stand back up, the twintail girl wrapped her arms around Quenser’s waist and buried her face in his body to suppress her sobs the best she could.

“Uuuuuuh!!”

Quenser said nothing for a while.

He placed his hand on her head, slowly rubbed it, and then crouched down to her eye level.

“Skuld, now is your only chance to escape.”

“How? How!? There are Faith Organization soldiers everywhere. And Urd and Verdandi are covering everything with the Norn. If they use their acoustic sensors, they’ll find me right away no matter how far away I am! They’ll catch up and kill me!!”

“Don’t worry.”

Quenser gently spoke to her to help her escape her panic.

“The Princess did it. She destroyed the Trinity Style’s acoustic sensors. So if you can slip past the soldiers’ eyes, you can escape. You can do it now.”

“But even then…how!? More than 100 soldiers are trying to find me!!”

“I’ll give you my uniform.”

Skuld’s tear-damp eyes widened at that.

Quenser patted at the side of his waist in the Faith Organization uniform he had stolen.

“I don’t know if it’s because Urd specializes in chemical warfare, but this thing has a mask. That means you can hide your face. Skuld, change your hairstyle, put on the mask, and change into the same uniform as them. Then you can hide in their midst. Follow them until you can find an opportunity to feign engine trouble with your motorcycle to stray from the trip back to base. No one will suspect it now, but you only have one chance at this. Got that?”

“B-but…” Skuld looked like she could not believe her eyes. “Then what about you?”

“I’m a civilian student. If I raise my hands with the other soldiers and show no sign of resisting, they won’t kill me. But you’re different, Skuld. You have to escape this. You understand, right? We only have one uniform and you’re the one that needs that safe zone.”

He did not let her say anything more as he quickly stripped down to his underwear. He did not have to wait for Skuld to change. He held out his hands to stop Skuld from saying whatever it was she wanted to say and then he staggered out into the open so the Faith Organization soldiers would find him.

“Why? Why would you go this far for me?”

“Don’t ask me. Does this look like a situation where I’ve had to time to put all my feelings in order?”

Part 11[edit]

“Freeze!!”

“Put your hands up!!”

Quenser felt his lifespan shrinking as several flashlights shined on him. He knew each of those lights was a gun barrel aimed his way.

But he played dumb in only his underwear.

“Wow, wow, wow!! I was napping off duty and I’m still half asleep, so can you explain this nice and simple so even an idiot could understand? What’s going on? Was my unit with the Faith Organization???”

He received a blow in lieu of an answer.

An assault rifle stock struck him in the bridge of the nose and he collapsed to the dry dirt.

Then some relative of a large radio was passed over his entire body.

A high-pitched beep sounded.

One Faith Organization soldier contacted someone by radio.

“I picked up the ‘scent’ of the Pilot Elite rescue locator on him. Saint Skuld should be nearby.”

“Then search the area,” replied the radio.

“Wait a second. Dammit!”

A soldier who had circled behind the collapsed control tower clicked his tongue and returned.

He held a special suit in his hand.

“It’s only the Elite’s special suit! Some of the scent will remain on Saint Skuld herself, but it won’t be enough to track her if she changed clothes. We might not be able to track her down even if we release the dogs!!”

“Well, then. I wonder what Skuld might look like after her makeover. Legitimacy Kingdom? Faith Organization? Or perhaps a civilian medical volunteer? She would have had a number of options.”

Everyone turned toward Quenser who was holding his nose.

As soon as he shook his head, a storm of kicks rained down on him.

Once he was covered in bruises and coughing up blood, the voice on the radio stopped them.

“Wait.”

“But, Saint Urd!”

“You found Skuld’s scent on a boy in only his underwear, right? He might be someone Skuld befriended after betraying us. If he assisted her escape, he might know where she is hiding, how she intends to escape Experimental Battlefield Madagascar, or what route she will use.”

“Then…?”

“Bring him to our temple. We can have a professional interrogator handle the rest. At the very least, that should provide more information than beating him to death here.”

“But Saint Skuld might be escaping as we speak…”

“I know that. This is second best. Capturing Skuld here and now would of course be best. Search the entire base zone and then widen the search area. Assume the next 24 hours will decide everything.”

The transmission ended there.

The Faith Organization soldiers looked down at Quenser who was covered in sand and blood and could not move properly.

After one more kick to the boy’s side to vent his frustration over the extra work, one of the soldiers spoke.

“Stand up.”

“…”

“We will guide you to our temple. Some enjoyable recreation awaits you.”

Part 12[edit]

A girl heard that voice.

She was wearing the Faith Organization uniform that was her one and only hope of escape.

She joined the many other soldiers mocking and beating her savior.

Her face was covered by a gas mask and her hairstyle was changed.

She hid her expression from everyone.

And Skuld Silent-Third clenched her teeth and did her very best to suppress the tears and sobs.

Part 13[edit]

The hellish night passed and the morning sun rose into the sky.

The Legitimacy Kingdom finally sent out the White Flag signal, but the Norn had no reason to care. They had already done a complete search of the maintenance base zone and the White Flag would not stop them from searching the surrounding area.

The Faith Organization were the absolute winners, so they were relaxed. Even though they were continuing to search for a full 24 hours, not all of the soldiers were active the entire time. They were divided into three shifts, so they did not have to work more than eight hours and a lot of them found chances to take a break during that time as well.

They all knew the truth.

There was nothing a single individual could do if they were thrown out into that vast wasteland. Escaping the island was only a dream. With no support, a human without claws and fur would dry up in only a few days. And even if she did not, she would be caught by the Faith Organization search program. Either way, this was the end for Skuld.

“…”

More time passed.

Evening fell.

The girl in a Faith Organization uniform stared at the distant line of military trucks as they left.

She threw aside her chemical warfare mask and fell to her knees in exhaustion.

She had escaped their search.

But in exchange, the boy who had abandoned his own safe zone had been captured by them and was being taken back for interrogation.

“Heh heh…”

It was all too much, so a weak laugh escaped her lips.

She had no idea why she was laughing, so she punched her own face as hard as she could.

And then…

“So you were safe…”

Major Frolaytia Capistrano arrived with a few bodyguards. Skuld slowly looked back while still kneeling on the ground and she asked a question while ignoring affiliation and rank.

“What are we going to do now?”

“We have two main options. The first is to use the transportation unit to withdraw by sea. The second is to pretend to do that but actually bring in plenty of supplies, repair the Baby Magnum as quickly as possible, and send it back out there. The top brass chose the withdrawal 8 to 2. We’ve already destroyed the ‘flower garden’ infected by foreign pollen which was the entire reason we came here, so they see no reason to lose any more lives.”

“…”

“Although their real reason is because they want to bring back as many prizes as they can. Skuld, you are a Faith Organization Pilot Elite, so your body is filled with classified information. It would be very valuable indeed if we could bring you back along with the Dvergr work robots that form the Trinity Style.”

The Legitimacy Kingdom was going to withdraw.

They had never even considered a rescue of the POW taken back to the Faith Organization base zone.

For one thing, there would be no POW mentioned in the official announcement. After all, Quenser was a student and not a soldier. In war, unofficial cooperators were not counted among the dead. In other words, no one would be blamed if they gave up on rescuing him.

But Frolaytia had more to say.

“…I think this is an excellent opportunity.”

“?”

“The Baby Magnum was badly damaged. It will take a week for the transportation fleet to arrive and repairs to be made. Even if we withdraw, it will take time. That means The Faith Organization will have nothing to fear and will grow lax. …We might just be able to sneak some people into their maintenance base.”

Skuld did not understand what she was being told.

She first looked to Frolaytia and then to the bodyguards.

Not one of them was smiling.

“Hey, Skuld. I don’t know how the Faith Organization does things, but in the Legitimacy Kingdom military, there’s one thing they make sure to beat into our heads during training. Yes, I’d always thought it was a nice thing to say but ultimately meaningless, but I have it to thank for my decision to head back at the very last moment during that Alaskan hell. Do you know what it is?”

Frolaytia looked Skuld right in the eye.

And she took a breath.

“No matter what, the Legitimacy Kingdom never abandons a comrade in arms!!”

Her voice felt like a slap to the face.

Or perhaps it hit Skuld in what could be called her soul.

Meanwhile, Frolaytia continued speaking.

“Whether we withdraw or continue on, we will rescue Quenser. And we will use whatever we can to do so. I’ve already heard Heivia’s report. Since you were hiding from them with a Faith Organization uniform, I assume that boy was the one who gave you that safe zone.”

“…”

“Even if you were from enemy nations, this means a professional soldier survived in exchange for a civilian’s life. To be blunt, you are worth less than a dung beetle now. You are the ball of dung it rolls around. But we are kind and we will give you the chance to regain the value of a dung beetle. …Help us, Skuld. You must know the layout of their base zone better than anyone.”

Frolaytia did not ask for a handshake.

She did not even wait for agreement.

She simply clicked her tongue in annoyance and turned her back with her bodyguards. They all left.

Just one soldier remained to the end.

It was Heivia Winchell who had changed back into Legitimacy Kingdom equipment.

“Don’t blame yourself so much, little lady.”

The frivolous boy spoke while pointing his thumb at his own chest.

“There’s nothing to worry about. You’ve got the cavalry with you this time.”


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Volume 1 Novel Illust. - Prologue - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Epilogue - Afterword
Volume 2 Novel Illust. - Prologue - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Epilogue - Afterword
Volume 3 Novel Illust. - Prologue - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Epilogue - Afterword
Volume 4 Novel Illust. - Prologue - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Epilogue - Afterword
Volume 5 Novel Illust. - Prologue - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Epilogue - Afterword
Volume 6 Novel Illust. - Prologue - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Epilogue - Afterword
Volume 7 Novel Illust. - Prologue - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Epilogue - Afterword
Volume 8 Novel Illust. - Prologue - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Epilogue - Afterword
Volume 9 Novel Illust. - Prologue - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Epilogue - Afterword
Volume 10 Novel Illust. - Prologue - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Epilogue - Afterword
Volume 11 Novel Illust. - Prologue - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Epilogue - Afterword
Volume 12 Novel Illust. - Prologue - Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5 - Day 6 - Day 7 - Epilogue - Afterword
Volume 13 Novel Illust. - Prelude - Track 1 - Track 2 - Track 3 - Track 4 - Track 5 - Track 6 - Track 7 - Track 8 - Track 9 - Track 10 - Track 11 - Track 12 - Track 13 - Postscript - Bonus
Volume 14 Novel Illust. - Prologue - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Epilogue - Afterword
Volume 15 Novel Illust. - Prologue - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Epilogue - Afterword
Short Stories Short Story 1
Volume EX Novel Illust. - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7 - Chapter 8
Crossover Novel Illust. - Preface - Prologue - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Epilogue - A.E. 02 - Aterword
  1. Malgache (a native language from Madagascar) name of the introduced tropical fruit custard apple, also known as bullock's heart.