HEAVY OBJECT:Volume11 Epilogue
“This is a tragedy.”
After being pulled up onto a naval supply ship while soaked to the bone, Quenser spoke and Heivia replied.
The student threw his exhausted body onto the railing, but he seemed to have a surprising amount of energy left.
“You have to ask? I have to have worn years off my life here and I kind of saved the world from disaster, yet I have nothing to show for it! Goddammit! The Destruction Fes’s greatest strength was its ability to ignore a manned Object’s inertial limits thanks to the Orchestra System, but the Object itself was really just a First Generation! The Black Uniform named Meena took a trip to heaven when her brains were blown out! And Azureyfear was taken away as the big boss of that drug war! What the hell!? I wasn’t fighting for justice, you know!?”
“Yeah, you really are the worst.”
“Tch. You can only say that because you’ve got your girlfriend!! This all goes back to a mess in your Winchell family!! It was all some horrible sibling rivalry, so why did it all work out great for you!? The world doesn’t care that you managed to confirm your love for each other! Pay up!! Pay me a nuisance fee or consolation fee for putting up with your lovey-dovey crap!! The Legitimacy Kingdom needs to introduce a couples tax!!”
“Oh, shut up. If you’ll accept payment in punches, I’m more than willing to pay. Besides, that’s the position I’m always stuck in! How do you like getting a taste of your own medicine, idiot!? How about apologizing once in a while!?”
The two idiots grabbed at each other’s hair and began their own Round 2 of the final battle.
“Not to mention that Frolaytia said we were supposed to visit the beach with all the girls in swimsuits after retrieving the container during that inspection at the very start!! What happened to that!?”
“Eh? Are you serious!? Okay, I’ll make a fuss too!!”
“Swimsuits! Swimsuits!! Swimsuits!!!”
They called a truce after finding some common ground.
Most wars ended in compromise after both sides split the benefits or when they grew tired of fighting. Even the greatest chess or shogi champion who could beat the latest supercomputer could not hope to take every single enemy piece. Some might say not to wage war in the first place, but unfortunately, even those champions’ brains were not evolved enough to determine the winner and loser while still lining the pieces up on the board.
“So what’s going to happen to Azureyfear? While I kind of want to see her again, I’d be terrified if she casually showed up for revenge thanks to skirting the laws as a noble or something.”
“Don’t worry. Not even the noble or royal council will cover for the leader of a drug war. It would look way too bad. The countless stealth subs and satellites of the Orchestra System used ten thousand people, right? There has to be a ton they want to ask her: about any accountants managing secret bank accounts, her men inside the safe countries, how much the hawks of the main Winchell family were involved in this below the surface, who she used to contact the Information Alliance, how connected the entire Eggnog royal family was, and more. She’ll be stuck behind bars until the entire backbone of the drug war has been dismantled.”
“Aren’t you afraid of her making a plea bargain?”
“When it could take years just to go over all of the charges against her? She might go to her grave still waiting for her trial. She’ll be a princess chained up in a tower.”
“Great, that just makes her a rarer catch.”
“It takes a special kind of genius to say that kind of thing in front of her brother, you know?”
Quenser sighed and relaxed his shoulders.
“But that means I can rest easy.”
“Well, knowing her, she’ll probably end up being some kind of legendary prisoner who controls everything in her maximum security prison. She might even make some strange mutation into an armchair fixer who controls the world from behind bars or into a master jailbreaker who incites the normal people into revolting and attacking the prison.”
Heivia laughed and showed no concern for his blood-related sister.
Or rather, he seemed to trust her in a negative way.
He did not see that girl as someone who would spend her life in the miniature garden provided to her.
“Y’know, it’s still a shock. It comes back to me whenever I let my guard down.”
“Hm? Are you still dragging around that stuff about the Black Uniform or Azureyfear?”
“What is this? I hope I haven’t picked up a habit of only falling for really dangerous women. But it’s summer! So maybe I can’t help but search out some kind of exciting adventure!!”
“Haven’t you always had that habit?”
As Heivia rested on the supply ship’s railing, he pointed his thumb back toward the ocean.
A Legitimacy Kingdom First Generation was slowly cutting across the water there.
It was the Baby Magnum.
“How can you say that after all the time you’ve spent pursuing the most dangerous girl in the world?”
“First Prince Flag of the Eggnog royal family of the Legitimacy Kingdom’s Warta District sought to defend his honor in a duel aboard a ship in the South Atlantic and lost his life. According to the witness, he fought courageously and majestically without giving a single step to the very end.”
After just barely protecting the Celestial Flowers fireworks festival, the 37th Mobile Maintenance Battalion visited the nearest naval port.
As they resupplied, Frolaytia Capistrano crossed her legs in the room provided to her as an officer and threw a newspaper onto the table.
The elderly brigadier general on her laptop spoke up with exasperation in his voice.
“Now, now, Frolaytia. You mustn’t treat the news of His Excellency’s death with such disregard. We must at least frame a painting of him on the wall.”
“If I may be frank, I question your credibility when you’re red in the face and chugging down a bottle of cognac.”
“This is nothing compared to what’s going on in public. And what do you think is happening there? Nothing. The commoners are the epitome of cruel and uncaring.”
That may have been true.
The people with their busy lives in the safe countries could not care less about a war in a distant country or the issues of the privileged classes.
A drug war had come to an end.
A lull had come over the conflict between the Winchell and Vanderbilt families.
“To be honest, I was pretty nervous,” said Frolaytia.
“Well, one of your men did abandon his duties, begin a personal duel, and end up killing the first prince of a royal family. But duels are viewed as a means of resolving crises, so they’re given higher priority than normal duties. War is a type of crisis and all that trouble was resolved with a duel. That means everything was handled appropriately. At least according to the Legitimacy Kingdom’s traditions of kings and knights.”
“Everyone kept saying that and it seemed too convenient, so I was worried it was some kind of trap.”
“Ho ho! Being cautious is good, but you shouldn’t suspect people’s kindness, Frolaytia. You might be trying to keep yourself safe, but that will only bring unnecessary trouble.”
“I will keep that in mind.”
“Good. And there won’t be a problem with the Eggnog family. The second and third princesses are truly excellent, you see? The first was just in the way, so all of their aides had apparently been worrying over how to omit him from the line of succession.”
“My apologies. I may have said too much.”
He apologized, but he did not stop drinking his alcohol.
Frolaytia was bothered by this unheard-of behavior for a superior officer, but the old man had more to say.
“What is it?”
“Who is it that starts wars?”
His voice had an oddly dry ring to it.
These were the words of an old man who had been given his high rank after commanding so many victorious battles in the past that sending him to the battlefield was only seen as an extreme show of force.
“Countless gears interact and no single person can stop it. That is war. But if you can say those who do not work to stop it are actively supporting it, then you could say it is actually the residents of the peaceful countries that cause war. The taxes they so innocently pay fill the national treasury, allow for uncaring foreign policy, and provide a mistaken sense that the nation can continue its wars. We have battlefield countries and safe countries, but no matter how much water you scoop from the floor with your bucket, you won’t accomplish a thing without first shutting off the faucet. War has become a seemingly painless sport that may never end as long as that distinction between countries remains.”
Frolaytia could not immediately reply.
This was not limited to the drug war. No conflict would end if its root cause was not eliminated. Just like the centuries of hatred behind the Winchell and Vanderbilt families’ conflict. And just like drugs, could people even rid themselves of that? That driving force behind conflict had been with man for all of history. In fact, it may have been with them even when they were still animals.
That was a difficult question.
The young woman gave up on giving a deep answer and simply gave her honest impression.
“I am too inexperienced to answer that.”
“Ho ho. There’s no need to think too deeply about it. And I’m not being very nice to ask you a question without a set answer like that. You can ignore it as the ramblings of a lonely old man.”
The two of them continued their insignificant chat for a little bit after that.
Just like with the old maintenance lady, Frolaytia was no match for those with so much more experience than her. Her weaknesses always showed themselves in front of him.
Finally, the brigadier general said one last thing.
“But a drug war, hm?”
“Yes. What about it?”
“That is an unpleasant term, Frolaytia.”
She could not help but laugh at his far too direct statement.
That may have been how it was with the truly wise statements.
One did not need an intentionally complicated wording that made people tilt their head. Something off the top of one’s head would hold the kind of meaning that could reach the entire world.
And he could only do that because he was a famous commander who had left his mark on history. His soul had been honed to the point that his ample experience and deep thoughts naturally brought those statements to his lips.
People like him were very different from the strategically-made heroes. No one worked to make them appear impressive. Word of them would naturally spread from person to person until they were spoken of forevermore. Unlike those who were forgotten by the history books, these people would continue to shine all on their own.
Everyone understood they were someone who could not be ignored.
(I really do have a long way to go.)
Frolaytia Capistrano did not bother hiding her smile as she agreed in a more casual tone.
“Yes, it may be the worst term in all of history.”