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Mini1BOSS

  • East Laos
  • Joined Jun 10, 2020
  • 26 / M
Mini1BOSS
Mini1BOSS Feb 23, 4am
made a recommendation
“Aaah—” Everything went dark, and the scenery shifted as if a curtain had fallen over it. “What…is this place…?” Rain exclaimed, clearly confused. After a short pause, he cried, “Why am I on the battlefield again?!” He was riding in an Exelia, hidden between the trees. The view was far too familiar for him not to realize he was on a battlefield. This was the Karval Satellite Base, a midsize base positioned in the Northeast. He’d been dispatched here as a reserve soldier in the past, making this his third time visiting the area. Though that hardly mattered to Rain, who had been in Alestra Academy mere moments prior. Yes, he was no longer in the safety of his classroom. Somehow, he had been transported to the middle of a battlefield. Again… It happened again! “Whoa, Rain, what’s wrong? You look out of breath all of a sudden,” Athly said to him from the driver’s seat of the Exelia. Her voice was thick with concern, which made sense, since her partner had suddenly gone pale. “…Athly?” “Huh, what’s the matter? You nervous after all?” “No…” There’s no mistaking it… Rain realized the truth from the way she was acting. Athly seemed to think he’d been here the whole time. “Then what is it? You look like shit.” “I don’t look like shit!” But I definitely feel like it…, Rain thought as he paused for a moment to take a deep breath. “No… Um, I mean…” Rain trailed off as he paused once again to gather his thoughts. After a short while, he continued with a simple question: “Say, have we been back to school the last few days?” “Huh? Of course not,” Athly replied. Apparently, they’d been away from school for two whole weeks already. I think I might be losing it… Taking out his pocket watch, Rain confirmed the time and date. And just as he’d thought, it was September 9…and the dials indicated that it was around 9:00 AM. That meant it had been mere seconds since that mysterious silver girl had appeared in the classroom and shot Wilson dead. And that was why he had to ask her the most pressing question on his mind. “Hey, Athly…” “What’s up?” “You know First Lieutenant Wilson, right? Our logistics instructor…” This phenomenon was all too hard to process. “Who? Our logistics instructor is Second Lieutenant Sari.” “Seriously, get your act together!” Rain had confirmed his suspicions by questioning Athly. The Karval Satellite Base was currently in a state of alert. It was under the East’s control, but patrolling soldiers had detected western forces nearby. They could have just been scouts, but there was no definitive proof pointing in either direction, so the students had been sent to help shore up the base’s defenses. Still, no matter how many times he’d heard that story, no matter how many sources he’d checked to verify the facts, he found no indication they had returned to Alestra Academy in recent days. And, of course, no one remembered any bizarre silver girl, either. “Are there even any regular soldiers left in this base?” Rain asked. “I think so,” Athly replied. Though after a moment, she elaborated by saying, “But for some odd reason, this base is short on hands.” For some reason, huh...? Rain knew exactly why. It was because First Lieutenant Wilson and his company had previously been stationed at this base, which meant that his disappearance had left a void. So Wilson really is gone… He had disappeared along with all his achievements. Goddammit, this is messing me up! The world had shifted a second time. Rain had been thrown onto the battlefield once again, and he was trying to get a grasp on the situation. However, the world wasn’t so kind as to indulge him… “Kh…” A cannon roared in the distance with a sound characteristic of Bullet Magic. Dust and fire dispersed in the air, and despite the distance of the blast, the air around them became heavy with tension. All the soldiers in  the Exelias started their engines, which roared into action. “We will now allot tags to the cadets.” A message from a senior officer arrived through the comms. “You will be given individual orders via intercom! This is live combat, not a test run nor a trial. And as such, you will be treated as a combat unit. Fight to the best of your abilities!” Code 44. That was the tag allotted to Rain and Athly. Unlike an infantry division, an armored unit of Exelias consisted of several pairs of soldiers. Each pair contained a single manipulator, whose main responsibility was to drive the Exelia, and a gunner, who was in charge of Bullet Magic. Together, they formed the smallest tactical unit on the battlefield. In other words, they formed a partnership in which both individuals shared the same fate. The death of one spelled the demise of the other. “Codes 7 through 25, move to A3.” “They’re in the forest! Widen the line of fire!” Instructions came through one after another. “Rain!” Athly cried out to warn him. “They’re coming, ten o’clock!” As soon as she said that, Athly switched gears, turning the vehicle around. A metallic groan resounded as the Exelia activated, sliding rapidly across the terrain on all fours. The next moment, a form of Bullet Magic called Voldora, or the “Bluefire” spell, burst out from behind them. This particular Bullet Magic produced massive shock waves and unleashed unique blue-colored flames, covering everything with ash as it tore the ground apart. And from behind that pillar of flames— “Shit!” An enemy AT3 suddenly appeared. “Tch, hang on tight!” Athly shouted as she stomped on the rear pedal to evade, resulting in a sudden brake. The enemy’s bullet whizzed past them at paper-thin margins. “Shoot them down, Rain!” “I’m on it!” This was a battle between mages, so the only choice was to counterattack with Bullet Magic. Normal firearms weren’t all that effective against mages, meaning the only real choice was to fight fire with fire. There’s no chance of us shaking them off, so we have to take them out here. Hiding in the flames, the enemy swiftly turned to circle around behind them. They were strong. That much was obvious to Rain from how they were moving. Exelia combat began and ended with manipulators predicting each other’s movements. Those endowed with magical power, regardless of how much of it they had, possessed an ability called Qualia. In simple terms, Qualia was a sixth sense of sorts, an ability to observe the future, which worked most effectively during life-and-death situations. It was this ability that enabled mages to evade bullets moving at supersonic speeds. Even dozens of soldiers armed with heavy firearms would fail to serve as a distraction against a single mage. Their superior future sight allowed them to evade any ordinary weapon’s line of fire without fail. So a battle between mages was a battle between individuals capable of reading the future, which was why the mage who could see further forward came out on top. In other words, a battle of mages depended on who could position their Exelia better. I see. Two seconds. That was all the time it took for their enemy to cut through the conflagration and get in position, aiming to burn them down the moment they stopped to reload. The new model AT3s easily outstripped older Exelias, forcing them into an unfavorable position in the blink of an eye. Three seconds. The enemy gunner would be sure of his victory. He likely believed there was no way for them to retaliate in their older machine. However— “Sorry, but…” The next moment…the enemy soldiers were the ones who burst into flames. “Wha—?” one of them cried out in confusion as the massive blow hit them. They couldn’t comprehend what had happened…and it was hard to blame them. After all, the bullet had flown in from behind them. “This is the end, then,” Rain said. “Good-bye,” he added frivolously as he pulled the trigger and activated his magic. As the enemy soldiers stood there, still dumbfounded, Rain fired bullets laced with the Illuminal Bullet Magic, also called the “Void Splitter,” a spell that could penetrate even steel plates, and they crashed through their driver’s seat windshield and pierced their hearts. The enemy AT3 stalled with a screech. The shells rolling at Rain’s feet had the names of those two soldiers carved onto them. The Bullet Magic Rain Lantz had employed was called Pharel, or the “Phantasmal Bullet.” “Figures the enemy wouldn’t see it coming,” he claimed. “No one would imagine a bullet would rebound on them. I mean, a spell that deflects and rebounds bullets? Come on!” “…When you put it like that, it sounds dumb.” “That’s because it is dumb,” Athly proclaimed. Then she continued to speak, pointing out how no one used it. “Any mage can use the Phantasmal Bullet spell, but no one tries to use it in real combat, because it puts the user in danger of getting hit by the bullet. I think most mages just shoot it off for fun a few times, and that’s it.” If one were to examine Pharel purely on its mechanics, it looked fairly straightforward. All it did was make bullets rebound. And that simplicity was why it was one of the first things taught to students at Alestra Academy, alongside how to clean their guns. Logically, a bullet randomly flicking around the battlefield at supersonic speed was little more than a lethal, dangerous bomb waiting to explode. Predicting its trajectory was too complex, which was why no one tried to make practical use of it. Still, the fact that it was hard to use meant that so long as it could be controlled, it could become a secret weapon against other mages. “I’m surprised you can actually make use of it. I’d never be able to pull it off. Is there some trick to reading the trajectory correctly? I’ve never seen you miss.” “Well, yeah, there is a trick to it. But if it was something I could put into words, everyone would be using it.” “…Figures.” The outcome of an Exelia battle was dictated by Qualia. One needed to calculate multiple factors, from information on the enemy, to their surroundings, all the way down to the details of the strategy itself. A good mage needed to piece all of those together individually with their Qualia and base their decisions off the result. And obviously, one of the most important factors to take into account was the trajectory of bullets, since a mage could use that to avoid enemy attacks. That meant Rain’s trick was rather simple. He simply used Pharel to make bullets whiz about. But when combined with future sight strong enough to predict such complicated patterns…it became a weapon with lethal accuracy. “Code 44 to HQ. One enemy Exelia eliminated at point B2,” Athly reported. “Good job. Satisfying results for cadets on a real battlefield. But there are still many enemies left. Change of orders: Code 44 is to proceed to point C1 and join the front line.” The response came promptly. And with that, the transmission cut off. “…Maybe I should’ve waited a bit before reporting our success.” “Agreed.” Unfortunately, it was too late to change their minds. And as such, Athly accelerated the Exelia toward the designated point to offer assistance to their allies. However— “Ugh…” When they reached point C1, all they found were corpses. “How many people is this…?” “…Don’t count. Just confirm the status of their rigs.” Five allied Exelias had defended this position…and all of them were now scrap. Their thick armor had been peeled away, and the characteristic high- speed legs were bent to the point that discerning their original shape was difficult. The wreckage was smoldering, and the multiple machine guns employed for defense had been destroyed. Only the remains were left to mark the overwhelming loss. “Shit…” The enemy has…ten units? Bullshit! Maybe three times that number would explain this. Right as that crossed Rain’s mind… “Huh?” …it happened. “Who’s that…?” Athly asked in confusion. And perfectly understandable confusion at that, because a lone girl was walking over the remains and corpses. It’s… No, not just any girl. A lone silver girl with two oversize rifles on her back. It’s her...! It was the girl on the forefront of Rain’s mind, the one who’d shot Wilson in the classroom. What is she doing here...?! All he could think of in that moment was the silver bullet, as well as the unfamiliar, unknown girl who possessed it. “…Wait here, Athly. If any enemies appear, I’ll drop everything and come back, understand?” “Ah, wait—!” Not sparing an ear for Athly’s attempts to stop him, Rain disembarked from the Exelia, which drew the girl’s attention. The girl simply watched Rain as he approached her, then she gently hopped off the Exelias’ wreckage, landing with an awfully soft thud. The sound was so light that it seemed the firearms she was carrying carried no weight at all…as if everything about her was made of air. As if she wasn’t even human. There was only a short thirty-foot gap between them. And at her back, along with her two cannons, Rain spotted the moonlit night sky. “Don’t move,” he barked as he pulled out his pistol and aimed it at the girl. After a short pause, he asked, “Who are you?” “…Why the sudden questions?” “Answer me!” “…Pipe down, child,” the girl chided him without sparing him a single glance, then continued, “It’s such a still, soothing night. The wind has finally died down, but I keep hearing crackling coming from all over the place. Such a racket… Can’t you children fight a little more quietly?” “Answer me. Who are you?” “What is your problem? Why are you so…upset?” She wasn’t giving him the time of day. …No choice, then. “The silver bullet.” “Oh my…” Silver… The moment he said that word, the girl’s expression changed. “May as well lay all my cards out on the table, I guess…,” he said. “I’m a student of Alestra Academy who still remembers First Lieutenant Wilson. I know he still existed earlier today, so I checked to see if anyone else remembered him. But everyone I asked said they’d never heard of him and acted like I was crazy. I could tell they weren’t lying, but I won’t let you say you don’t remember him.” This silver girl’s presence felt faint, as if she might disappear at any moment along with the flickering pale flames. But Rain didn’t let up, since he knew it was her. He knew that she was the one who had murdered Wilson. “I saw it. I saw the silver bullet you loaded into his gun before you shot him.” With his pistol’s muzzle still fixed on her, Rain reached into his breast pocket, pulled out something he’d kept hidden inside it, and presented it to the girl. It was a bullet’s shell that proved Rain had killed Beluk the Butcher. A dull gray shell that yet shined with an uncanny luster. It was clearly the source of all the strange phenomena around Rain. The name on this bullet was the only remaining evidence that the man had ever existed. And so, with that bullet in hand, he asked the burning questions on his mind: “Answer me. What the hell is this bullet? Why do people shot with one disappear without a trace?” How long did that silence last? It was honestly hard to tell. Eventually, however, after acting as if she was pondering all the while… “Oh, I see. So it’s you…” …the girl… “You’re the one who picked me up.” …said something completely incomprehensible. Picked…me up? “Kh…!” Those words sent shivers down Rain’s spine. “Well, you look a bit weak, but so be it. Say, what’s your na— Whoa!” Before she could finish her sentence, Rain fired a single bullet at the girl’s feet. “What’s the big idea?!” “I’m the one asking questions here. Answer me. Who are you?” “…Children these days are quite impatient.” Who’re you calling a child...? You’re definitely younger than I am! “Petite” was the perfect way to describe her. It was easy to forget her short stature before her powerful sense of pressure, the massive rifles on her back, and her mysterious silver eyes, but it was still impossible to deny. “Hey, stop talking about children, and just answer the damn question.” “Air.” “Huh?” “I am a Ghost, Air.” “Ghost?” The hell does that mean? “And I am likely the one with the answers you seek. I can tell you all about the bullet you’re holding, of course, and so much more.” “In that case—” “I gave you my name, but you haven’t given me yours. Haven’t you heard of manners? If you don’t tell me your name, I won’t know what to call you.” Air interrupted Rain to chastise his lack of courtesy. Though given the situation, manners were the last thing on his mind. “I’m Rain. Rain Lantz.” “And your affiliation?” “Third-year student at Alestra Academy. Currently Code 44 of the cadet corps.” “Code 44. I see.” And just as the girl said, “A fine number,” it happened. “Rain, get back! Hurry!” Athly cried out to him. And at that exact moment, an inferno exploded out from behind them. “Wha—?” His field of vision turned red as a deluge of flames rushed by his face. Damn, it’s hot… It was a long-distance bombardment from the enemy. “Ugh…” “Athly!” The sight of her broken body from the other day flashed before his eyes. But this time, luck was on her side. The bombardment missed its mark, and she avoided a direct hit. But unfortunately, her body jolted violently in the driver’s seat, and she fell limp. The attack had knocked her out. “…Kh!” This was an extremely dangerous situation. What the hell do I do? Rain thought. He couldn’t drive the Exelia on his own. Sure, he could at least move the machine, but it was an armored vehicle that only select elites could drive. Proper use required a great deal of training, so any actual combat measures were impossible on his own. Still, he didn’t have the time to second-guess himself. He could already see the enemy Exelias approaching. Dammit… He was out of time. So Rain picked up Athly’s limp body and moved it to the back, vacating the driver’s seat. He had no choice but to take the wheel. If I’m going to die either way, I should at least— “Up we go.” Right when he started steeling his resolve, someone hopped into the driver’s seat instead. “…Huh?” “My word, you’re helpless.” It was the silver girl, Air. She straddled the Exelia’s driver seat as if it was the most natural thing in the world and said, “Let’s move.” Rain didn’t even have time to object. Within a moment, a jolt swung his body. Wha—?! The Exelia groaned as if it was tearing itself out of the ground, then suddenly began accelerating. The next moment, it braked hard enough to blur their surroundings, and the wheels dug into the ground, moving them forward with a slide. “Whoa, whoaaaaaa!” “Keep your mouth shut. You’ll bite your tongue,” Air stated as she adjusted her course to avoid a tree. The vehicle continuously creaked as she rapidly switched gears. Exelias had steering wheels, so simple movements didn’t require extensive training. However, the most unique aspect of the Exelia was the mobility granted by its nature as a quadruped vehicle whose four wheels could each be moved independently. It was the same as operating four unicycles as once. That was what set it apart from other vehicles. It wasn’t a single unit unified by brakes, a clutch, and gears. Each of its four legs had to be controlled manually to allow for the overwhelming mobility that gave the Exelia its value. Of course, that required an innate disposition for the task and rigorous training. Even Athly, who had often been praised for her natural talent, needed six months before she could make any sharp turns. And yet… “Wait, how…? How are you doing this?!” The silver girl’s skills were impeccable. While maintaining peak speed, she cruised through the dark forest. Switching gears nimbly, she controlled the wheels as if they were her limbs, and she whizzed past the trees as if she were the wind itself. Who the hell is she...?! Air was an unfamiliar girl who called herself a Ghost, which was odd enough, but Rain doubted there was anyone in the army who could handle an Exelia as well as she could. She was like a war hero who had lived through countless battlefields. Frankly, the sight was so incredible that Rain was in awe. “Who the hell are you…?” “Didn’t you hear me? I’m a Ghost.” “That’s not what I mean!” “Chatting is fun and all, but could you at least fire a few warning shots?” At her advice, Rain noticed two enemy units in hot pursuit of them. Air’s driving may have been perfect, but the difference in machine specs was all too real. It was as unfair as an adult joining in on a children’s game of tag. And that unfairness allowed the enemy units to make up for the gap in their piloting skills. Warning shots...? No way, their machines are far better than ours… Rain’s hands shivered as they gripped his gun. It seemed his ability to think clearly had faltered in the face of encroaching death. However, her composed voice broke him out of his despair and into action. “…Hmph. Shaking them off will prove to be difficult, it seems. Well, I suppose this is about as much as I’d expect from this bucket of bolts…,” Air said in a nonchalant manner and then added, “…and a child.” “Where do you get off calling me a child?” “I’m going to make a turn soon. Get your next Bullet Magic ready.” “What?” “If we can’t shake them off, our only option is to fight them.” The Exelia lurched forward. Her driving was just as perfect as earlier, but the enemy was still closing the distance. “I’ll turn the rig around and dive straight at the enemy. At that point, they’ll be straight ahead of us. There are four enemies across the two units, but I want you to aim at the gunner in the unit to the right. Match your timing with mine.” Air barked her orders at Rain. And a moment later, she added, “Oh, and the bullet you’ll be using is the Devil’s Bullet.” Devil’s Bullet...? “That silver bullet you have. That’s what it’s called,” she explained. “Normally, it’s a special bullet only I can produce, but you had the misfortune of finding some. Make sure you don’t miss.” As soon as she finished explaining her plan, Air flipped the Exelia around. She used a tree as a spring to do a one-eighty, then rushed toward the approaching enemies. Holy shit, this lunatic… There was no turning back, no other chance of survival, which meant Rain had no real choice in the matter. Oh, to hell with this...! He loaded the silver bullet, the Devil’s Bullet, into his rifle. I have to make this shot...! The enemy reacted swiftly, firing off one Bullet Magic after another. Air avoided a lethal bullet by the skin of her teeth, and then another, leaving the ammunition to burst behind them. The enemy had been so close to hitting them that Rain almost believed Air had dodged by accident. The next moment, Rain focused his Qualia. It felt as if time had ground to a halt… They were 140 feet away from the enemy as he picked up the enemy’s visage through the scope on his rifle. It was dark out. Only scant moonlight shined down. But he could still see the one he was looking for illuminated by the raging flames. There he is… Rain saw the face of the gunner peeking out from behind the windshield. So he acted according to Air’s instructions. He couldn’t make any sense of the situation, so his best option was to take out the gunner. Out of habit, he examined his pocket watch. The time was 7:15 PM. Eat this! he thought as he squeezed the trigger. Suddenly, a whiff of gunpowder filled his nostrils, and recoil ran through his entire body, starting at his index finger. The bullet he’d fired didn’t miss its mark. It exceeded the opponent’s Qualia and lodged itself straight in the enemy gunner’s abdomen. He couldn’t see the spray of red blood in the darkness, but he could still tell. He died instantly. Air braked at the perfect moment, which ended up augmenting Rain’s shot. Like a puppet with its strings cut, the enemy tumbled off the vehicle, hitting the ground and soaking it with blood. That was when it happened. “Well done.” As the silver girl’s voice echoed around him… “Ugh…” …the world swirled and shifted. And everything faded to black. “        ” The phenomenon wasn’t as extreme as the previous times. The change hadn’t transported him to an entirely new location. All he’d felt was a swirling sensation of motion. “…Ah.” “Oh, you noticed?” “This is…” “Looks like the battle’s over for now.” Rain jolted awake, apparently having been seated against a tree in the forest. And right next to him was… “Athly…!” “It’s fine—she’s just asleep.” Like Air said, his partner was sleeping on top of a tree stump. She was unharmed, simply resting due to exhaustion. Nothing seemed off about her. …I need to calm down and get a handle on the situation. Checking his pocket watch, he noticed it was 7:15 PM. Less than a minute since he’d shot an enemy gunner who’d been chasing them. There was no mistaking it. It had happened again. This is nuts… Their Exelia was parked beside them. And there, sitting on top of the fuselage, was a silver girl with two large rifles strapped to her back. “We seem to be pretty far from the front lines,” Air commented. “Well, I suppose everything went as planned.” The girl looked around cheerfully. “Normally, you’d probably contact the East’s headquarters in this situation, but I’ve never been one for plunging headlong into anything, and waiting until we receive further instructions is… Ah!” “All eastern forces, incoming orders.” And that was because she was surprised by the orders flowing out through the radio. “Our enemies are retreating. Victory is ours. However, some details about the situation are still unclear. Codes 3 to 21 are to remain on the front lines. All cadets are to conclude hostilities and return to base.” —Our enemies are retreating. —Victory. —All cadets are to conclude hostilities. It seemed the battle was drawing to a close. The night raid had concluded. Did I…end it? The world had shifted… This is absurd… “Really? That’s so boring.” Air seemed upset upon hearing the order to retreat. “I knew I picked the right person to erase, but it feels rather dull when things go this well. Is the West’s condition so shaky that removing one unit is enough to turn the tide? Or are they just a cautious bunch? I wonder what the point of this operation even was… Something feels off.” The silver girl was whispering to herself, but Rain picked up that she was saying she’d engineered this whole situation. That made perfect sense, as she was the one who’d picked Rain’s target earlier. “Ugh, what the hell is going on?! You…” “Hmm?” “Who the hell are you…? None of this makes any sense!” “Seriously, you’re still asking me that? How many times do I have to tell you?” Air replied as the night wind moved through her lovely silver locks. “I am Air, a Ghost.” Ghost… “And I’m also the rightful owner of the Devil’s Bullet you possess.” The Devil’s Bullet… “What do you mean by ‘Ghost,’ exactly?” “A dead person.” Rain knew that much already. The word ghost was rather common, after all. But he couldn’t understand why the girl described herself as one. Was she saying she was the spirit of a person who had passed away? That description didn’t fit the girl in front of him, as she seemed all too corporeal. Air stood on top of the Exelia, forcing Rain to look up at her, but no matter how hard he looked, he didn’t find any hint of her being dead or transparent. “What, are you trying to say…you’re not human?” “Well, I’m not sure what your definition of human is, but I’ve still got my legs.” “Your legs?” “Isn’t that what they say in the West? That the dead don’t have legs.” “Huh?” “See?” Air said as she rolled up her skirt. “Mgh!” “Ha-ha-ha-ha! What’s with you? I know you’re a cadet, but you’re still a soldier. I didn’t think you’d be this demure!” Air chuckled teasingly. She was laughing at his expense. “Quit messing with me!” “I must say, that blush on your cheeks isn’t very intimidating.” The girl looked down on him as she switched from outright laughter to a smug smirk. That haughty attitude didn’t really fit her girlish appearance, but she seemed to have a mean streak all the same. This little...! She had an elusive air about her, and her appearance felt removed from reality. Instead of a child’s innocence, she carried a sense of unperturbed composure that stemmed from accumulated experience. And she definitely had more life experience than him…a fact that was made all too clear by how Rain had reacted to her rolling up her skirt. “Don’t look down on me, dammit!” Rain exclaimed as he raised his gaze back to the girl. “Have another,” Air said as she flashed him a second time, flipping up her skirt. “Gah!” This time, Rain got a clear glimpse of her panties. “Ha-ha-ha-ha! Did you hear yourself?! You actually went ‘Gah’! Who even makes those kinds of noises?! Ha-ha-ha!” “…I told you to quit messing with me! Look, I’m trying to have a serious conversation with you.” “Please. If you’re that wet behind the ears, then you’re the one who’s not taking things seriously,” the girl claimed as her cheer was replace by a much more intense glare. Ugh… A chill ran through Rain, and he felt goose bumps on his skin. It was an ominous warning that this girl, Air, was far from ordinary. And upon seeing Rain’s reaction, she exhaled audibly. “Let me ask just in case, then. Do you know anything about the war between the East and the West from one hundred years ago?” “Huh?” Why’s she asking that? “One hundred years ago… You mean the first war?” “Yes, that one.” Her tone implied that she didn’t expect anyone to remember what had happened. It was the source of the current conflict, so the events that had transpired were taught in history classes. However, since political affairs and weaponry were so different back then, his teachers never went into too much detail. One hundred years ago… “How would I know exactly what happened?” “It seems the children of this age are far more illiterate than I thought.” “This again…?” Who’re you calling a child? You’re definitely younger than I am, you stubborn brat! Rain thought, overcome by his anger. “Well, no matter. Let’s put that aside for now. The important thing here isn’t me, but this,” Air said as she reached into her breast pocket and pulled out a silver bullet. “The Devil’s Bullet…” “Right. This bullet has my own personal Bullet Magic sealed into it. It’s called the Devil’s Bullet.” The light reflected off its lustrous surface, much like it would have with silverware. “And since you’ve used it more than once already, you probably already know what it does. You may be rather dense, but as they say, the third time’s the charm. Don’t disappoint me, now. This is a test.” Rain didn’t understand how or why she was testing him, but he intended to answer anyway. In the end, all he could do was form an opinion based on his experiences. The first time, Rain had shot Beluk the Butcher with a silver bullet, and the world had shifted. The second time, Air had shot First Lieutenant Wilson in the classroom, and the world had shifted again. The third time, Rain had shot the gunner in an enemy Exelia, and the outcome of the battle had changed, concluding the enemy raid. He’d already considered the possibility, but common sense had kept urging him to discard the notion. But by now, he’d been convinced. “This bullet…,” Rain said, ready to explain the Devil’s Bullet’s world- changing powers. “This bullet deletes the very existence of those it kills.” After a short pause… “Correct,” Air finally replied. “Though to be more precise, it erases everything relating to whoever it kills from this world. That is the power the Devil’s Bullet holds.” Her explanation sounded rather ridiculous, but Rain didn’t feel the need to cut her off. “This is my unique form of Bullet Magic. No one else can use it, and even if someone managed to reproduce the methods behind it, no one would be able to activate it. It’s my very own personal brand of Bullet Magic.” The Devil’s Bullet… A magical bullet that erased a person’s existence. “That explains it…” They disappeared from everyone’s memories. “It does more than just erase its victims from everyone else’s memories and records, though. It also undoes everything they’ve achieved in their lives, rendering all their accomplishments null and void. So if, for example, you were to shoot the inventor of the automobile with this bullet, the ensuing world would not have cars, as they had never been created. And if Person B killed Person A, and you shot B with this bullet…the world would shift to one where A survived.” The Devil’s Bullet eradicated the very existence of anyone it hit, shifting the world into one where that person never even existed. “The shift to a world without that person is known as ‘Reprogramming.’” “Reprogramming…” That was the name of the phenomenon that shifted the foundations of the world. “Well, this will have to do for tonight,” Air stated as she turned around and started walking away. “Hey, where are you going?” “Back. For today, at least. I’ve completed my objective.” “Your objective?” “Finding you.” Once again, she said something that made no sense. Finding…me? “I transferred into Alestra Academy for that purpose. Though I did want to get rid of that useless officer while I was at it. Originally, hundreds would’ve died in vain here because Wilson prolonged the battle for no reason, but now it’s peaceful.” The girl walked away, praising herself on a job well done. However, Rain did not intend to just let her go on her merry way. She still hadn’t explained everything that had happened to him thus far. Rain set off after the retreating girl, jogging to catch up. Thankfully, she was walking at a leisurely pace, so he closed the gap within ten seconds. But right when he reached out to grab her shoulder… “Ah!” screamed Rain as his body was lifted off the ground and flung back down. “Ugh, that hurts!” “Don’t touch me,” Air muttered in a voice cold enough to freeze the blood in Rain’s veins. “I may be a Ghost, but I have the same flesh as you. I get tired after running; I can sweat, and I can die of starvation. But that does not give you the right to lay your hands on me.” —Don’t touch me. —I have nothing in common with a human like you. Rain could immediately tell he had been rejected. What...? However, he was also sensing a kind of dissonance. Where the hell did that come from...? Her reaction seemed unnatural. Sure, Air had always treated human lives flippantly and referred to most people as fools. But this? It felt excessive. Though in a way, it was the first truly human reaction Rain had seen from her. Something’s… Something was wrong. She had to have a specific reason she hated people touching her. “Whatever, it’s fine.” Before Rain could dwell on the matter, Air dispelled the tension. “We’ll meet again soon enough. Until we do, keep training your Bullet Magic and get used to combat.” “Wait, I still have some questions.” “Oh, and get used to being around girls, too.” “……” “I hope the next time we meet, you’ll be mature enough to not go red at the sight of a girl’s panties. All right, Rain Lunch?” With that teasing farewell, Air walked off into the forest, and silence settled over the area once more. Even the sound of the wind felt fainter than before. “…Who’re you calling Lunch?” I’m not your damn food. It’s Lantz, dammit! Rain Lantz! “…Ah, shit.” Now alone, Rain could only look inward to make sense of what she’d told him. A Ghost. The Devil’s Bullet. Bullet Magic that erases people’s existence and shifts the fabric of the world… “What the hell?” Five minutes later, Athly woke up, and they made their way back to base.
Mini1BOSS
Mini1BOSS Feb 22, 4pm
made a recommendation
Part 1 Inside the labyrinth that was covered in red blood-like splatter, I sat on the ground while leaning against the wall. I have yet to digest the flow of events that led to this outcome. According to  that monster who insisted that he was the God’s slave, this place should be the worst dungeon of another world called Rookroa, 《Cocytus》.() Instead of killing me, he sent me to this place for a tasteless show (though it’s even more disgusting to make a show of someone else’s life). 「…. It’s not like I can stop it. Let’s think of a way to get out of this place first…」 I told myself. According to Nyarlhotep, this place was the home of the most dangerous monsters. I couldn’t stay in this place for too long. I don’t know if there’s an escape skill or not, but at least I wished to be spared from a horrifying death. In the end, Nyarlhotep didn’t give me any special power at all. But…. it seems that it’s mandatory that all those who were transported to another world must be given 《Rookroa Language Comprehension》, and 《Status Check》 skill. These two skills could be useful. 《Rookroa Language Comprehension》 was, perhaps,  the common language of this world. Nyarlhotep had said that he(temp.) had sent many people from earth to this world for a show. So giving those people language comprehension was a must, so as to allow them to communicate with the natives of the world. … Moreover, he(temp.) had even told me that the setting was similar to those in the novels about a journey to another world. I had really gotten nothing special, aside from language comprehension. As for 《Status Check》, let’s see……. It could be the ability to see another person’s and my own status. I’ve read about this too in those transmigrated novels. 「……《Status Check》」 Let’s try to use it on me first. I tried to confirm my own status as I prayed in my mind. It felt like I could see something in my mind. The act of confirming my own status felt as natural as moving my own limbs. I felt something, like a terminal screen, appeared in my mind. ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ 『Kanata Kanzaki』 Race : Human Lv :1 HP :3/3 MP :2/2 Strength :1 Defense:1 Magic :1 Agility :1 Special Skill : 《Rookroa Language Comprehension[Lv:–]》 Common Skill : 《Status Check[Lv:–]》 ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ I-IT REALLY APPEARED! Though I’m lacking on information since there’s no other target to compare with… Well, to me, this felt like the initial stage. Though I doubted Nyarlhotep when he(temp.) told me about level, it did exist. It was the thing about the rules of this world. I might be able to raise my level if I defeat some monsters out there. I adjusted my breathing after calming my mind. I wouldn’t be able to survive unless I adapted myself to this environment. There should be something that I can use to survive. " " Part 2 Nyarlhotep had said this place was the den of the most terrifying monsters.. 『In short, it’s like an “Extra Dungeon” in the game of your world. Numerous high tiered items in the world and the worst kinds of demons will be waiting for you in there.』 Yes, this place…….. Was also the house of cheat items. I might be able to stave off the danger as long as I can find one of those cheat items, before I met any demons. After that, I could slowly take my time to leave this place and gather  information about the outside world. 「Yosh… Time to go.」 Ear on the wall, I walked forward while shuffling my feet in order to avoid making any noise. It’d basically be  checkmate for me once I met my first demon. I did have experience playing a game of the roguelike dungeon exploration genre. [TL : subgenre of dungeon crawling]() A game where one basically advanced through a randomly generated labyrinth by defeating enemies with one’s equipment. And with my case it was akin to when I was thrown into the deepest part of the dungeon at Lv. 1.() Without even an escape skill, it was obvious that I was bound to get insta-killed the moment I met a demon. 「Somehow, my head felt like it’s working better…..」 I noticed that I was slightly thrilled about the current situation instead. Well, optimism was one of my virtues. 「N…….? 」 After walking for a while, I noticed that I had arrived at a dead end. There was a black rotting corpse leaning on the wall. The air was full of putrid stench. It was creepy but…. not to the point of grotesque. The corpse of someone who had died a tragic death aside. However, if it’s just a corpse, I have seen those at the funeral services. Moreover, I think that I had hit the jackpot. This corpse’s hand was tightly grasping the hilt of a golden sword . This was definitely a rare item. Now that I’d found this…. I may be able to somehow deal with a  demon, if i happen to come upon one. 「Well then, I’m going to borrow your item for a while. 」 I grabbed and tried to pull the sword. I unintentionally leaped back when the bones crumbled. ……. S-Somehow I feel the need to offer a prayer for that corpse. I tried to use 《Status Check》 on the golden sword, but… my gut was telling me that it was impossible. It seems that the holder of the skill knew the extent of his own capabilities with the said skill. Mine could only be used for living creatures. Though I might be able to use this skill on another item or with another skill…. When I tried to use it…… The golden sword suddenly vanished. 「EH」 It was followed by a sharp pain coming from my arm. The thing that had been gone wasn’t just the golden sword. My right arm all the way till the elbow was lost too! 「GOGOGO, Thanks for… The treat.」 A huge mouth suddenly appeared from the dead end of the wall in front of me. The mouth was moving, and then spit out the golden sword and the bones of my right arm which had turned black. ――My arm! Part 3 ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Name : Gluttony Mimic Lv :1381 HP :9027/9027 MP :5919/5919 ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ I used 《Status Check》 on it immediately. The digits completely surpassed my expectations. 「AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! 」 Holding on to my bitten arm tightly, I ran while screaming as loud as possible. 「Thanks… For the treat.」 The inorganic voice of the Gluttony Mimic resounded in the passage. I fell as soon as I turned  the first corner. I felt that I couldn’t run anymore, my body simply refused to move. My heart was beating like crazy. It felt it would leap out of my mouth. I’m too naive. Rather, I was trying to run from reality by thinking that I was too naive. Though this world bore some resemblance with a game world, this wasn’t a game. Though I tried to be positive by tricking my own feelings and worries, it would be the end if I were to die in this place. From the very beginning, I couldn’t survive in this place. That was the kind of show presented to those GUYS. While it might be true that there’s a little bit of amazing weaponry here and there, that wasn’t enough to kill those monsters. 「Aren’t I checkmated in this place from the very beginning? What kind of a shitty game is this…」 Oh whatever! I at least want to die while lying face up on the floor. 「My bad, Kuromaru…. I’ve already….」 When I fell prostated on the floor….. I heard a loud sound of something approaching me. I raised up my head. There was the figure of a more than two metres tall headless man. Its pale skin and physique made it seem like a wrestler. On it’s abdomen was a huge mouth as if to replace it’s head. ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Race : Predator Lv :1821 HP :9418/9418 MP :5081/6054 ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ I’d known even before coming to this place but…. here was basically the den of ultimate monsters. This is the end for me for sure… I’ve resolved to die in this place.
Mini1BOSS
Mini1BOSS Feb 21, 6am
made a recommendation
It took only a moment. What was the best way to describe the sensation? Like film suddenly being rewound, perhaps? “Ah…” The world had changed before his very eyes, leaving him dumbstruck. “…Huh?” A sense of confusion overwhelmed Rain. He was no longer in the midst of a battlefield. “Hurry up, Rain. It’s your turn.” …What? Rain’s fingers were gripping a hand of cards, and he was sitting down comfortably. As far as he could tell, he was playing a game with his friends. “What, something wrong, Rain? I said it’s your turn.” “My…turn…?” Rain mumbled as he looked around. But the entirely peaceful scene only served to deepen his confusion. There was no mistaking the place. He was in the rear base’s courtyard, where Major Beluk had first struck. It was the location that had become hell on earth a mere thirty minutes ago. Or so it should have been… “Ah… Aaaaaah, aaaaaaaaah!” Rain couldn’t help but throw away the cards in his hands as he panicked. “Whoa, what the hell, Rain?!” “C’mon, you don’t get to screw around just ’cause you have a shitty hand!” His friends complained, making their disdain known. But their reactions could not have mattered less to Rain in that moment. What is this?! What the hell is this?! What am I doing here?! “G-guys! The enemy! Where’s the enemy?!” Why am I just sitting around playing poker...?! “Enemy?” His classmate Orca frowned at him. He was a rather crude, built young man, whose major redeeming quality was that he never lied. “Why the hell would there be enemies around here? We’re in the rear, man! The closest thing I’ve got to an enemy right now is you!” “Sleepwalk and daydream all you want, but you better pay up!” His friends complained again, but Rain still couldn’t accept the situation. “…A dream? As if! That was definitely real!” He remembered it all too clearly. The attack had started at 1:30 PM, around the time they usually alternated watch. No one had even predicted it, since this was just a standby base for the rear guard. However, Beluk the Butcher had struck them anyway, sending Rain and his comrades running. After the cadets were scattered, they were hunted like rabbits. But by some stroke of luck, he’d reached a spot that put him in range of Beluk. And despite the tension, his aim hadn’t faltered. At exactly 2:00 PM, Rain had sniped Beluk… Right, the time… Rain pulled out his pocket watch to confirm the time, but the sight shocked him. “What the hell…?” The hands clearly indicated was still 2:00 PM, meaning it hadn’t even been a minute since he’d shot Beluk… “What’s with you guys? What’re you even arguing about?” Four female cadets approached the table after hearing the commotion. Just like Rain, they doubled as students and reserve troops. And among them was… “Athly…” A girl with chestnut hair that was tied back and amber eyes that felt out of place on a battlefield. A girl whom, a few moments ago, Rain had seen… “Huh? What’s wrong, Rain?” “I thought you’d been blown to bits…” “What’s gotten into you?!” Athly yelped with shock, dead but now alive. Athly. Athly Magmet. Rain’s classmate from the officers’ academy. He was sure he had witnessed her death with his own two eyes, but… “This is messed up… How are you not dead?!” “If anyone’s messed up here, it’s you!” “Stop it, Orca! Rain’s gone off the deep end because you’re shaking him down, hasn’t he?! I can’t believe I got blown to bits over your nonsense!” Something… Isn’t there something? I need proof… Proof that what I experienced really happened— “Wait, I know…,” Rain muttered as he grabbed the rifle beside him. Then, after opening up the chamber, he inspected the ammunition. Bullet Magic, as its name implied, was a means to imbue ammunition with various effects and properties. It was also currently the most common weapon in modern warfare. And one of its many applications was the “Engraver” spell, Gale, which imprinted the name of the deceased into the shell of the bullet that killed them. It was magic meant to identify who killed whom, and as such, falsifying results was exceedingly difficult. Lucky for Rain, since the shells weren’t ejected from the chamber, he found what he was looking for. “It’s there…!” Sitting in the ejection chamber was evidence of Major Beluk’s death. Namely, a shell that had Beluk O. Koihen imprinted on it. …This is it. Proof that everything I experienced actually happened! Rain had real, definitive proof that he’d claimed Beluk’s life! “Here, take a look at this!” “At what?” “I swear, Rain. You’re usually so quiet—if you keep shouting out of nowhere, people will think you’re crazy.” Get off my case. Wait, forget that… “See? It’s proof I killed Beluk the Butcher,” Rain claimed as he presented the shell to his friends. He knew that would be more than enough to convince them. After all, Beluk was a prominent enemy commander. Sure, they may have been students, but they were also reserve soldiers. There was no way they hadn’t heard tales of his horrific deeds. However… “…Yeah, silver bullets aren’t exactly common, but I guess you’re right.” “Mm-hmm. Though I wouldn’t go around showing that thing to just anyone, Rain. It’s proof you killed someone.” Their replies made no sense to Rain. “I don’t even know who this Beluk person is, though.” He could tell there was not even a hint of falsehood in their words, and he let out a feeble “Huh…?” in response. “Who’s Beluk? Someone from the West?” No one present knew who he was. Even after he returned to the East, Rain desperately scoured every source of information he could to look into Beluk, but he couldn’t find a single person who knew of him. There was no trace of him having ever existed. He’s gone. Everything about Beluk had disappeared. It was as if… It was as if he’d never existed in the first place. The land of the East was called O’ltmenia; the land of the West, Harborant. The friction between the two countries had led to the outbreak of the first war a century ago, and the conflict had been ongoing ever since. The root cause of the dispute, which had eventually led to the fourth war, was a major historical arms race. Exelias, the quadruped, four-wheeled, small armored vehicles, had first been invented one hundred years ago. And thanks to their superior mobility and defenses, they had constantly evolved ever since. Rushing through the battlefield, crushing all in its path, the Exelia had become the symbol of war, the apex of weapons technology. However, the graimar nuclear alloy that made up the Exelia’s tough yet lightweight fuselage could be mined only in extremely specific, limited locations that were unevenly distributed across regions. That became the justification for the fourth war. An initial conflict over limited resources, in which soldiers fought to pillage enemy stores, soon turned into a greater conflict. And four years after the start of the war, the flames had not dimmed in the least. “Kinda feels like the means and ends swapped at some point,” Orca said. “We’re fighting to get our hands on the alloy, which we then use to make Exelias for further conflict, right? But if we weren’t at war, we wouldn’t even need the alloy, so what are we really fighting for?” “Orca.” “Yeah?” “You’re way smarter than you look.” “That’s just your way of saying I look dumb, you little…!” Athly and Orca bickered in a lively fashion despite the confined space. Do you have to be so damn loud when I’ve got important things on my mind? “…It wasn’t a dream, right?” Rain questioned himself as he rolled the silver shell around in his hand. The name etched onto it was the only proof that he hadn’t imagined everything. “Haaah…” Rain heaved a sigh. They were currently on a transfer train. In the end, no one had targeted them during their three-day garrison period, so they had spent the time in relative peace. The students of Alestra Academy were on their way back from the front lines. Except there weren’t enough train cars, so they were loaded into the luggage car as if they were worth no more than the military equipment around them. Rain looked to the side, catching sight of Athly and Orca grappling, as well as the heavily armored Exelia units behind them. The small armored vehicles called Exelias were tactical surface weapons said to be so expensive that a single unit was worth the sum of three houses. They could traverse any terrain and were powerful enough to cut through dense forests. Those mechanical beasts had become the primary weapons of war, optimized for use alongside a mage’s Bullet Magic. As Rain studied them, Orca called out to him, “Why so serious, Rain? Chill out already.” “I am calm. I’ve been calm.” “Yeah, no. I’m not giving you a free pass on that when I apparently died horrifically in your delusions,” Athly chimed in. She was one of the few female cadets in the academy, a stubborn girl who had volunteered to become an officer despite her family’s objections. She’s from a rich family, so I bet her parents bawled their eyes out. “But I guess it’s not outside the realm of possibility…” “Huh? What?” “It wouldn’t be strange for any of us to get blown to bits, just like in your daydreams,” Athly said. Then she continued, “The hundred years of balance between the two countries was destroyed a long time ago. We’ll lose at this rate. From what I hear, a lot of soldiers have died, so there are less and less people on the front lines. Pretty soon, they’ll start rounding up high-ranking students to use.” “Are you…?” “Totally serious. Who knows, they might even send you two out soon. You’ve got good grades, after all.” As they spoke idly, O’ltmenia’s capital came into view, where the Alestra Academy cadets trained. Bullet Magic. A technique in which mages imbued live rounds with mana to produce special effects. Magic itself was a technique inherited from the distant past. Theory couldn’t decipher its mechanisms, but there were clearly hidden principles at work in its operation. However, over the course of a century of warfare, people had sought a more practical application of magic. The result was the development of technology that laced bullets with magical effects, making Bullet Magic widespread among soldiers. It was developed for the express purpose of murder. A weapon through and through. And given the state of the world, it was the technology in highest demand. Obviously, the country desired a place to pass down the knowledge, which made Bullet Magic a compulsory subject at Alestra Academy, an institute established to train military officers. The basics of Bullet Magic were taught there, in a classroom setting, but the students were sent out on missions to master it. And once a student completed three years of training, they were given “gun straps.” Or in other words, permission to carry a firearm. …Seriously, what the hell was that? Rain Lantz, a third-year student at Alestra Academy, was fiddling with his beloved BB77 as he attempted to put his muddled thoughts in order. In the end, he’d failed to find any further proof that Beluk the Butcher had ever existed. What happened...? What had happened on that day? It was surely some bizarre phenomenon, but he had no possible explanation for it. Why couldn’t he find any trace of Beluk’s existence? Why did no one remember him? Even after he returned to the peaceful atmosphere of Alestra Academy, the sight of that atrocity lingered freshly in Rain’s memory. And every single time he thought of it, his gaze fell to the silver shell. This silver bullet is the only proof I’ve got… Unfortunately, it was a bullet he’d randomly picked up, so he had no way to trace its origin. After Beluk the Butcher had attacked the rear base, Rain had run into the nearby forest with Athly to take cover. And as he’d tried to hide, he’d found five of those bullets. He’d used one only because he’d run out of all his other bullets, but as far as he could tell, the only difference was its color. Could it truly have been the cause? “Hmm?” His gaze fell onto a newspaper spread out near him. “Another defeat.” “Mission to retake the Libra Mountain Region has failed.” “State of the war unfavorable. Estimated loss of 7.8 billion zels in damages this season alone.”   “We keep losing…” The articles were the same as ever. They spoke of how O’ltmenia was slowly giving ground to the western country, Harborant. It had been four whole years since the start of the fourth war, and O’ltmenia was not faring well. There were two major factors to consider in a modern war. One was Bullet Magic, and the other was the Exelias produced from the graimar nuclear alloy. The countries hadn’t displayed any major differences in either category at the outbreak of the war, but over the last few years, the West had placed it bets with heavy investments into Exelia development and had eventually reaped the rewards of its success. As a result, the West’s Exelia technology had jumped far ahead of the East’s. And as its new Exelias rampaged through the battlefield, everyone came to realize that the East was… “Hey, gun nerd.” “I’m no gun nerd.” Orca called out to Rain from the neighboring seat. He’d reached out, probably out of boredom, picked up one of the disassembled parts of Rain’s gun, and held it up against the light. Rain felt a chill run down his spine; the silver bullets were sitting right next to the parts. “…Don’t touch it directly—the oil will stick to your fingers.” “Why do you even need to keep your gun maintained?” Rain moved the silver bullets out of sight. Orca didn’t seem to notice and kept turning the part in his hand as he used the light to inspect it. “It’s not like we’ve seen any action.” Haven’t seen any action, huh...? Was that day…really an illusion? Orca’s words brought Rain’s doubts to the forefront of his mind once more. Just then, the bell rang. “Whoa.” Class was starting, so Rain swiftly put his rifle back together and moved it off to the side. Oddly enough, the teacher was late. “What do you think happened?” “I dunno, but I heard something interesting earlier.” “Oh, what?” “Seems we’re getting a transfer student today.” “Huh?” A transfer student? “This is an officers’ academy. We don’t even have a student exchange program, doofus!” “Why’re you getting all mad at me…? Ever heard the saying ‘Don’t shoot the messenger’?” Orca whined, then said, “Apparently it’s a girl.” “Oh?” “Don’t get too excited, though. Any chick who’d choose to go to an officers’ academy is gonna be as self-centered as Athly.” “I heard that!” Athly, who was at the front of the class, turned around and shouted at Orca. …You’ve got better hearing than I give you credit for, Rain thought. Before their snarling had a chance to develop into an actual scuffle, the classroom door slid open, and two people walked in. One of them was First Lieutenant Wilson, who was in charge of logistics. He doubled as an Alestra Academy instructor and an active company officer. However, he wasn’t the one who drew their attention. “Whoa…,” Orca exclaimed. Luckily, Rain had managed to keep his voice down. Though he was certainly just as amazed by the sight. Wow… This girl before them was clad in the same uniform as the rest of the female students, but she was utterly...mystifying. Her white hair was tied up neatly behind her back, her limbs were so dainty that they seemed ready to snap at the slightest touch, and most striking of all… She’s tiny… She was so petite. However, there was something about her that made her hard to dismiss as a child… “Do you think those are real?” “No way…” There were two rifles strapped to the girl’s back. One black, the other white. Those were presumably the girl’s weapons. One of them was as white as a polished blade, while the other was as black as the darkest of nights. Some mages wielded absurdly large rifles in order to help fire their Bullet Magic, but the ones on her back seemed far too large for her to handle. Even a single one of them seemed large enough to strain an average person’s back, but she carried two as if they were nothing. Who is this girl? She clearly wasn’t normal. The power in her presence, coupled with her two oversize rifles, was frankly unsettling. Everyone continued to stare at the girl as she cast her gaze around the classroom. And once she raised her face, Rain could see the color of her eyes. They were a silvery hue, matching that of her hair. Wait, silver...? A mysterious silver-haired, silver-eyed girl who radiated a suspiciously familiar air. And she had appeared right after Rain had used those silver bullets— Who is she...? Eventually, the silver girl parted her lips to speak, only to say: “I see I’ve walked into the pigsty of a defeated country.” “……” The girl’s clear voice resounded through the classroom. Her tone sounded somewhat authoritative, making everyone’s face go blank with surprise. That word, pigsty, seemed to hang in the air. But… “What a wretched sight,” the girl continued. And she wasn’t about to let up. “So this is what Alestra Academy, the pride and crown jewel of its country, has been reduced to?” She sighed in abject disappointment. “You may only be children, but in a few years, you will become officers. If the people leading the organization are so weak-minded, I can see why this country is hurtling toward defeat.” …Children? The same thought passed through the entire classroom. The appellation sounded wrong coming from her, since she looked a good deal younger than them. “Really, things haven’t changed at all since back then—” Bam! A sudden sound rang out as the girl attempted to continue her speech. First Lieutenant Wilson, who’d accompanied her, had punched her square on her cheek. “Kh…” The students couldn’t keep up with what was happening. Which made perfect sense, really. A girl with two veritable cannons strapped to her back had walked in, called them all pigs, and earned their instructor’s wrath. “Very interesting introduction, transfer student. But I’d say it was a bit too grim,” Wilson said, then continued, “Now listen here, and listen real good. Never deride our country in my presence. Are we clear?” His tone seemed to shake the very ground beneath their feet. That was how Wilson spoke when he was angry. “Take this as a warning. The moment you stepped foot in this academy, child, you became no better than an insect. You will obey your superiors’ orders. Act out of turn again and I’ll burn off that cheeky tongue of yours.” A chill ran down Rain’s spine. First Lieutenant Wilson gave off a gentle first impression, but his true nature could be summed up with one word: severe. He didn’t hesitate to beat his students and didn’t forgive those who reported him to superior officers. He had a soldier’s mindset, unlike that of most who graduated from an officers’ academy. Due to all those factors, he wasn’t very popular among the cadets, but he was still a leading figure in the military. And yet… “Oh. Deride, you say?” The silver girl showed no signs of stopping her tirade. Instead, she continued speaking without so much as touching her bruised cheek. “Enlighten me, then.” “What?” “Do you really need me to explain? Fine. Putting aside these cowardly brats—as a company officer, you can try to prove me wrong. Tell me, what parts of this country don’t call for criticism?” She was incredibly calm for being in front of dozens of people, and especially for having spent no more than a minute in the classroom. It was as if her entire objective was simply to come and level complaints… “It’s been a century now… For the past hundred years, this country has been on the back foot in terms of both Bullet Magic and Exelia technology. The West is looking ten years ahead, while this country is fixated on calculating how much alloy it can mine, never sparing any effort for research and development that would benefit it in the long run,” the girl explained in a sharp tone. “What are you saying…?” Wilson asked. “The extremely obvious facts,” the girl stated plainly. Then she continued her rant by saying, “You really are just a bunch of pigs. The only thing on your mind is eating the fodder in front of your eyes. I must say, even dogs are smarter. At least they have the mind to hide their food.” “You little…” “What? Are you going to claim you’re a dog and not a pig? Prove it, then. Bark. Go on. Let me hear you go woof.” Wilson’s hand went to his waist…and he pulled out his M7 military pistol. With the grip in an overhand hold, he swung the barrel down on the girl’s head to shut her mouth with a blow from a metal object. However— “…No. You’re less than a dog.” The girl…didn’t dodge. Wilson had moved to strike her without a hint of hesitation, but she didn’t budge an inch. The metal hit her head with a dull thunk. It was clearly a severe injury. Blood trickled down from her head…but the girl remained stock-still. “What the…?” The girl didn’t so much as retreat a single step, and that confused Wilson. Seeing that brief opening, the girl finally moved. No, she wasn’t just moving. She was launching a counterattack. The girl twisted her arms in a smooth motion, snatching the same pistol that had split her head. “Ah, you little…!” “Too slow.” The pistol swiftly settled into the girl’s hand. Wilson had been taken by surprise, but he soon came to his senses and tried to reclaim his stolen weapon. “Stay still. You disgust me. I don’t want your filthy dust touching me.” “Grr…” The girl pressed the stolen pistol between Wilson’s eyes, threatening him. In seconds, she’d completely disarmed him. “Use your head instead of your body, why don’t you…? Oh yes, I know all about you, First Lieutenant Wilson. Two months ago, you commanded retreating forces and led fifty soldiers to their deaths because of your reckless orders, didn’t you?” “…So what?” Wilson responded unflinchingly. Then he claimed, “Soldiers should be proud to die for their country.” “Perhaps. But no one wants to die because of an incompetent commander’s orders.” The girl’s finger settled on the trigger. “What kind of idiot are you? Do you have any idea what you’re doing?! This is a blatant violation of military regulations… A felony…!” And… “A crime, huh?” …at that exact moment… “Well, whatever… I supposed my transfer-student facade ends here.” …Rain noticed something that no one else had. That’s...! The girl had pulled out a single piece of ammunition…a silver bullet. Then she’d swiftly exchanged it with the one in the gun, loading it into the cartridge. Only Rain, who’d been carefully observing her movements, caught it. It took only a moment, but… That bullet! It was the mysterious object Rain had happened upon, and the one that proved Beluk the Butcher was no mere figment of his imagination. The very same tool that was clearly intrinsically linked to whatever phenomenon he had experienced. The girl somehow possessed the very same thing. And— “Foolishness is the greatest transgression of all.” “Don’t—” Bang! The deafening sound of a gunshot cut off First Lieutenant Wilson’s words, and blood flew through the air as the bullet drilled into his skull. And at that exact moment— —the world shifted with a thump.
Mini1BOSS
Mini1BOSS Feb 21, 6am
made a recommendation
It took only a moment. What was the best way to describe the sensation? Like film suddenly being rewound, perhaps? “Ah…” The world had changed before his very eyes, leaving him dumbstruck. “…Huh?” A sense of confusion overwhelmed Rain. He was no longer in the midst of a battlefield. “Hurry up, Rain. It’s your turn.” …What? Rain’s fingers were gripping a hand of cards, and he was sitting down comfortably. As far as he could tell, he was playing a game with his friends. “What, something wrong, Rain? I said it’s your turn.” “My…turn…?” Rain mumbled as he looked around. But the entirely peaceful scene only served to deepen his confusion. There was no mistaking the place. He was in the rear base’s courtyard, where Major Beluk had first struck. It was the location that had become hell on earth a mere thirty minutes ago. Or so it should have been… “Ah… Aaaaaah, aaaaaaaaah!” Rain couldn’t help but throw away the cards in his hands as he panicked. “Whoa, what the hell, Rain?!” “C’mon, you don’t get to screw around just ’cause you have a shitty hand!” His friends complained, making their disdain known. But their reactions could not have mattered less to Rain in that moment. What is this?! What the hell is this?! What am I doing here?! “G-guys! The enemy! Where’s the enemy?!” Why am I just sitting around playing poker...?! “Enemy?” His classmate Orca frowned at him. He was a rather crude, built young man, whose major redeeming quality was that he never lied. “Why the hell would there be enemies around here? We’re in the rear, man! The closest thing I’ve got to an enemy right now is you!” “Sleepwalk and daydream all you want, but you better pay up!” His friends complained again, but Rain still couldn’t accept the situation. “…A dream? As if! That was definitely real!” He remembered it all too clearly. The attack had started at 1:30 PM, around the time they usually alternated watch. No one had even predicted it, since this was just a standby base for the rear guard. However, Beluk the Butcher had struck them anyway, sending Rain and his comrades running. After the cadets were scattered, they were hunted like rabbits. But by some stroke of luck, he’d reached a spot that put him in range of Beluk. And despite the tension, his aim hadn’t faltered. At exactly 2:00 PM, Rain had sniped Beluk… Right, the time… Rain pulled out his pocket watch to confirm the time, but the sight shocked him. “What the hell…?” The hands clearly indicated was still 2:00 PM, meaning it hadn’t even been a minute since he’d shot Beluk… “What’s with you guys? What’re you even arguing about?” Four female cadets approached the table after hearing the commotion. Just like Rain, they doubled as students and reserve troops. And among them was… “Athly…” A girl with chestnut hair that was tied back and amber eyes that felt out of place on a battlefield. A girl whom, a few moments ago, Rain had seen… “Huh? What’s wrong, Rain?” “I thought you’d been blown to bits…” “What’s gotten into you?!” Athly yelped with shock, dead but now alive. Athly. Athly Magmet. Rain’s classmate from the officers’ academy. He was sure he had witnessed her death with his own two eyes, but… “This is messed up… How are you not dead?!” “If anyone’s messed up here, it’s you!” “Stop it, Orca! Rain’s gone off the deep end because you’re shaking him down, hasn’t he?! I can’t believe I got blown to bits over your nonsense!” Something… Isn’t there something? I need proof… Proof that what I experienced really happened— “Wait, I know…,” Rain muttered as he grabbed the rifle beside him. Then, after opening up the chamber, he inspected the ammunition. Bullet Magic, as its name implied, was a means to imbue ammunition with various effects and properties. It was also currently the most common weapon in modern warfare. And one of its many applications was the “Engraver” spell, Gale, which imprinted the name of the deceased into the shell of the bullet that killed them. It was magic meant to identify who killed whom, and as such, falsifying results was exceedingly difficult. Lucky for Rain, since the shells weren’t ejected from the chamber, he found what he was looking for. “It’s there…!” Sitting in the ejection chamber was evidence of Major Beluk’s death. Namely, a shell that had Beluk O. Koihen imprinted on it. …This is it. Proof that everything I experienced actually happened! Rain had real, definitive proof that he’d claimed Beluk’s life! “Here, take a look at this!” “At what?” “I swear, Rain. You’re usually so quiet—if you keep shouting out of nowhere, people will think you’re crazy.” Get off my case. Wait, forget that… “See? It’s proof I killed Beluk the Butcher,” Rain claimed as he presented the shell to his friends. He knew that would be more than enough to convince them. After all, Beluk was a prominent enemy commander. Sure, they may have been students, but they were also reserve soldiers. There was no way they hadn’t heard tales of his horrific deeds. However… “…Yeah, silver bullets aren’t exactly common, but I guess you’re right.” “Mm-hmm. Though I wouldn’t go around showing that thing to just anyone, Rain. It’s proof you killed someone.” Their replies made no sense to Rain. “I don’t even know who this Beluk person is, though.” He could tell there was not even a hint of falsehood in their words, and he let out a feeble “Huh…?” in response. “Who’s Beluk? Someone from the West?” No one present knew who he was. Even after he returned to the East, Rain desperately scoured every source of information he could to look into Beluk, but he couldn’t find a single person who knew of him. There was no trace of him having ever existed. He’s gone. Everything about Beluk had disappeared. It was as if… It was as if he’d never existed in the first place. The land of the East was called O’ltmenia; the land of the West, Harborant. The friction between the two countries had led to the outbreak of the first war a century ago, and the conflict had been ongoing ever since. The root cause of the dispute, which had eventually led to the fourth war, was a major historical arms race. Exelias, the quadruped, four-wheeled, small armored vehicles, had first been invented one hundred years ago. And thanks to their superior mobility and defenses, they had constantly evolved ever since. Rushing through the battlefield, crushing all in its path, the Exelia had become the symbol of war, the apex of weapons technology. However, the graimar nuclear alloy that made up the Exelia’s tough yet lightweight fuselage could be mined only in extremely specific, limited locations that were unevenly distributed across regions. That became the justification for the fourth war. An initial conflict over limited resources, in which soldiers fought to pillage enemy stores, soon turned into a greater conflict. And four years after the start of the war, the flames had not dimmed in the least. “Kinda feels like the means and ends swapped at some point,” Orca said. “We’re fighting to get our hands on the alloy, which we then use to make Exelias for further conflict, right? But if we weren’t at war, we wouldn’t even need the alloy, so what are we really fighting for?” “Orca.” “Yeah?” “You’re way smarter than you look.” “That’s just your way of saying I look dumb, you little…!” Athly and Orca bickered in a lively fashion despite the confined space. Do you have to be so damn loud when I’ve got important things on my mind? “…It wasn’t a dream, right?” Rain questioned himself as he rolled the silver shell around in his hand. The name etched onto it was the only proof that he hadn’t imagined everything. “Haaah…” Rain heaved a sigh. They were currently on a transfer train. In the end, no one had targeted them during their three-day garrison period, so they had spent the time in relative peace. The students of Alestra Academy were on their way back from the front lines. Except there weren’t enough train cars, so they were loaded into the luggage car as if they were worth no more than the military equipment around them. Rain looked to the side, catching sight of Athly and Orca grappling, as well as the heavily armored Exelia units behind them. The small armored vehicles called Exelias were tactical surface weapons said to be so expensive that a single unit was worth the sum of three houses. They could traverse any terrain and were powerful enough to cut through dense forests. Those mechanical beasts had become the primary weapons of war, optimized for use alongside a mage’s Bullet Magic. As Rain studied them, Orca called out to him, “Why so serious, Rain? Chill out already.” “I am calm. I’ve been calm.” “Yeah, no. I’m not giving you a free pass on that when I apparently died horrifically in your delusions,” Athly chimed in. She was one of the few female cadets in the academy, a stubborn girl who had volunteered to become an officer despite her family’s objections. She’s from a rich family, so I bet her parents bawled their eyes out. “But I guess it’s not outside the realm of possibility…” “Huh? What?” “It wouldn’t be strange for any of us to get blown to bits, just like in your daydreams,” Athly said. Then she continued, “The hundred years of balance between the two countries was destroyed a long time ago. We’ll lose at this rate. From what I hear, a lot of soldiers have died, so there are less and less people on the front lines. Pretty soon, they’ll start rounding up high-ranking students to use.” “Are you…?” “Totally serious. Who knows, they might even send you two out soon. You’ve got good grades, after all.” As they spoke idly, O’ltmenia’s capital came into view, where the Alestra Academy cadets trained. Bullet Magic. A technique in which mages imbued live rounds with mana to produce special effects. Magic itself was a technique inherited from the distant past. Theory couldn’t decipher its mechanisms, but there were clearly hidden principles at work in its operation. However, over the course of a century of warfare, people had sought a more practical application of magic. The result was the development of technology that laced bullets with magical effects, making Bullet Magic widespread among soldiers. It was developed for the express purpose of murder. A weapon through and through. And given the state of the world, it was the technology in highest demand. Obviously, the country desired a place to pass down the knowledge, which made Bullet Magic a compulsory subject at Alestra Academy, an institute established to train military officers. The basics of Bullet Magic were taught there, in a classroom setting, but the students were sent out on missions to master it. And once a student completed three years of training, they were given “gun straps.” Or in other words, permission to carry a firearm. …Seriously, what the hell was that? Rain Lantz, a third-year student at Alestra Academy, was fiddling with his beloved BB77 as he attempted to put his muddled thoughts in order. In the end, he’d failed to find any further proof that Beluk the Butcher had ever existed. What happened...? What had happened on that day? It was surely some bizarre phenomenon, but he had no possible explanation for it. Why couldn’t he find any trace of Beluk’s existence? Why did no one remember him? Even after he returned to the peaceful atmosphere of Alestra Academy, the sight of that atrocity lingered freshly in Rain’s memory. And every single time he thought of it, his gaze fell to the silver shell. This silver bullet is the only proof I’ve got… Unfortunately, it was a bullet he’d randomly picked up, so he had no way to trace its origin. After Beluk the Butcher had attacked the rear base, Rain had run into the nearby forest with Athly to take cover. And as he’d tried to hide, he’d found five of those bullets. He’d used one only because he’d run out of all his other bullets, but as far as he could tell, the only difference was its color. Could it truly have been the cause? “Hmm?” His gaze fell onto a newspaper spread out near him. “Another defeat.” “Mission to retake the Libra Mountain Region has failed.” “State of the war unfavorable. Estimated loss of 7.8 billion zels in damages this season alone.”   “We keep losing…” The articles were the same as ever. They spoke of how O’ltmenia was slowly giving ground to the western country, Harborant. It had been four whole years since the start of the fourth war, and O’ltmenia was not faring well. There were two major factors to consider in a modern war. One was Bullet Magic, and the other was the Exelias produced from the graimar nuclear alloy. The countries hadn’t displayed any major differences in either category at the outbreak of the war, but over the last few years, the West had placed it bets with heavy investments into Exelia development and had eventually reaped the rewards of its success. As a result, the West’s Exelia technology had jumped far ahead of the East’s. And as its new Exelias rampaged through the battlefield, everyone came to realize that the East was… “Hey, gun nerd.” “I’m no gun nerd.” Orca called out to Rain from the neighboring seat. He’d reached out, probably out of boredom, picked up one of the disassembled parts of Rain’s gun, and held it up against the light. Rain felt a chill run down his spine; the silver bullets were sitting right next to the parts. “…Don’t touch it directly—the oil will stick to your fingers.” “Why do you even need to keep your gun maintained?” Rain moved the silver bullets out of sight. Orca didn’t seem to notice and kept turning the part in his hand as he used the light to inspect it. “It’s not like we’ve seen any action.” Haven’t seen any action, huh...? Was that day…really an illusion? Orca’s words brought Rain’s doubts to the forefront of his mind once more. Just then, the bell rang. “Whoa.” Class was starting, so Rain swiftly put his rifle back together and moved it off to the side. Oddly enough, the teacher was late. “What do you think happened?” “I dunno, but I heard something interesting earlier.” “Oh, what?” “Seems we’re getting a transfer student today.” “Huh?” A transfer student? “This is an officers’ academy. We don’t even have a student exchange program, doofus!” “Why’re you getting all mad at me…? Ever heard the saying ‘Don’t shoot the messenger’?” Orca whined, then said, “Apparently it’s a girl.” “Oh?” “Don’t get too excited, though. Any chick who’d choose to go to an officers’ academy is gonna be as self-centered as Athly.” “I heard that!” Athly, who was at the front of the class, turned around and shouted at Orca. …You’ve got better hearing than I give you credit for, Rain thought. Before their snarling had a chance to develop into an actual scuffle, the classroom door slid open, and two people walked in. One of them was First Lieutenant Wilson, who was in charge of logistics. He doubled as an Alestra Academy instructor and an active company officer. However, he wasn’t the one who drew their attention. “Whoa…,” Orca exclaimed. Luckily, Rain had managed to keep his voice down. Though he was certainly just as amazed by the sight. Wow… This girl before them was clad in the same uniform as the rest of the female students, but she was utterly...mystifying. Her white hair was tied up neatly behind her back, her limbs were so dainty that they seemed ready to snap at the slightest touch, and most striking of all… She’s tiny… She was so petite. However, there was something about her that made her hard to dismiss as a child… “Do you think those are real?” “No way…” There were two rifles strapped to the girl’s back. One black, the other white. Those were presumably the girl’s weapons. One of them was as white as a polished blade, while the other was as black as the darkest of nights. Some mages wielded absurdly large rifles in order to help fire their Bullet Magic, but the ones on her back seemed far too large for her to handle. Even a single one of them seemed large enough to strain an average person’s back, but she carried two as if they were nothing. Who is this girl? She clearly wasn’t normal. The power in her presence, coupled with her two oversize rifles, was frankly unsettling. Everyone continued to stare at the girl as she cast her gaze around the classroom. And once she raised her face, Rain could see the color of her eyes. They were a silvery hue, matching that of her hair. Wait, silver...? A mysterious silver-haired, silver-eyed girl who radiated a suspiciously familiar air. And she had appeared right after Rain had used those silver bullets— Who is she...? Eventually, the silver girl parted her lips to speak, only to say: “I see I’ve walked into the pigsty of a defeated country.” “……” The girl’s clear voice resounded through the classroom. Her tone sounded somewhat authoritative, making everyone’s face go blank with surprise. That word, pigsty, seemed to hang in the air. But… “What a wretched sight,” the girl continued. And she wasn’t about to let up. “So this is what Alestra Academy, the pride and crown jewel of its country, has been reduced to?” She sighed in abject disappointment. “You may only be children, but in a few years, you will become officers. If the people leading the organization are so weak-minded, I can see why this country is hurtling toward defeat.” …Children? The same thought passed through the entire classroom. The appellation sounded wrong coming from her, since she looked a good deal younger than them. “Really, things haven’t changed at all since back then—” Bam! A sudden sound rang out as the girl attempted to continue her speech. First Lieutenant Wilson, who’d accompanied her, had punched her square on her cheek. “Kh…” The students couldn’t keep up with what was happening. Which made perfect sense, really. A girl with two veritable cannons strapped to her back had walked in, called them all pigs, and earned their instructor’s wrath. “Very interesting introduction, transfer student. But I’d say it was a bit too grim,” Wilson said, then continued, “Now listen here, and listen real good. Never deride our country in my presence. Are we clear?” His tone seemed to shake the very ground beneath their feet. That was how Wilson spoke when he was angry. “Take this as a warning. The moment you stepped foot in this academy, child, you became no better than an insect. You will obey your superiors’ orders. Act out of turn again and I’ll burn off that cheeky tongue of yours.” A chill ran down Rain’s spine. First Lieutenant Wilson gave off a gentle first impression, but his true nature could be summed up with one word: severe. He didn’t hesitate to beat his students and didn’t forgive those who reported him to superior officers. He had a soldier’s mindset, unlike that of most who graduated from an officers’ academy. Due to all those factors, he wasn’t very popular among the cadets, but he was still a leading figure in the military. And yet… “Oh. Deride, you say?” The silver girl showed no signs of stopping her tirade. Instead, she continued speaking without so much as touching her bruised cheek. “Enlighten me, then.” “What?” “Do you really need me to explain? Fine. Putting aside these cowardly brats—as a company officer, you can try to prove me wrong. Tell me, what parts of this country don’t call for criticism?” She was incredibly calm for being in front of dozens of people, and especially for having spent no more than a minute in the classroom. It was as if her entire objective was simply to come and level complaints… “It’s been a century now… For the past hundred years, this country has been on the back foot in terms of both Bullet Magic and Exelia technology. The West is looking ten years ahead, while this country is fixated on calculating how much alloy it can mine, never sparing any effort for research and development that would benefit it in the long run,” the girl explained in a sharp tone. “What are you saying…?” Wilson asked. “The extremely obvious facts,” the girl stated plainly. Then she continued her rant by saying, “You really are just a bunch of pigs. The only thing on your mind is eating the fodder in front of your eyes. I must say, even dogs are smarter. At least they have the mind to hide their food.” “You little…” “What? Are you going to claim you’re a dog and not a pig? Prove it, then. Bark. Go on. Let me hear you go woof.” Wilson’s hand went to his waist…and he pulled out his M7 military pistol. With the grip in an overhand hold, he swung the barrel down on the girl’s head to shut her mouth with a blow from a metal object. However— “…No. You’re less than a dog.” The girl…didn’t dodge. Wilson had moved to strike her without a hint of hesitation, but she didn’t budge an inch. The metal hit her head with a dull thunk. It was clearly a severe injury. Blood trickled down from her head…but the girl remained stock-still. “What the…?” The girl didn’t so much as retreat a single step, and that confused Wilson. Seeing that brief opening, the girl finally moved. No, she wasn’t just moving. She was launching a counterattack. The girl twisted her arms in a smooth motion, snatching the same pistol that had split her head. “Ah, you little…!” “Too slow.” The pistol swiftly settled into the girl’s hand. Wilson had been taken by surprise, but he soon came to his senses and tried to reclaim his stolen weapon. “Stay still. You disgust me. I don’t want your filthy dust touching me.” “Grr…” The girl pressed the stolen pistol between Wilson’s eyes, threatening him. In seconds, she’d completely disarmed him. “Use your head instead of your body, why don’t you…? Oh yes, I know all about you, First Lieutenant Wilson. Two months ago, you commanded retreating forces and led fifty soldiers to their deaths because of your reckless orders, didn’t you?” “…So what?” Wilson responded unflinchingly. Then he claimed, “Soldiers should be proud to die for their country.” “Perhaps. But no one wants to die because of an incompetent commander’s orders.” The girl’s finger settled on the trigger. “What kind of idiot are you? Do you have any idea what you’re doing?! This is a blatant violation of military regulations… A felony…!” And… “A crime, huh?” …at that exact moment… “Well, whatever… I supposed my transfer-student facade ends here.” …Rain noticed something that no one else had. That’s...! The girl had pulled out a single piece of ammunition…a silver bullet. Then she’d swiftly exchanged it with the one in the gun, loading it into the cartridge. Only Rain, who’d been carefully observing her movements, caught it. It took only a moment, but… That bullet! It was the mysterious object Rain had happened upon, and the one that proved Beluk the Butcher was no mere figment of his imagination. The very same tool that was clearly intrinsically linked to whatever phenomenon he had experienced. The girl somehow possessed the very same thing. And— “Foolishness is the greatest transgression of all.” “Don’t—” Bang! The deafening sound of a gunshot cut off First Lieutenant Wilson’s words, and blood flew through the air as the bullet drilled into his skull. And at that exact moment— —the world shifted with a thump.
Mini1BOSS
Mini1BOSS Feb 21, 5am
created a manga custom list