“–That’s enough. Just leave the rest to me.”
“Nothing we can do. Have a good sleep.”
Claymore”, the first defense force in the 28th battle area. Raiden Shuga, the vice-leader, stood up from the creaking chair.
He exited the shabby room of the barracks, realized something, and turned back.
“Even if anything happens, don’t connect. If you connect in this delirious state, you’re going to cause everyone confusion.”
The hand by the blanket waved weakly in understanding, and Raiden closed the door.
He arrived at the hangar, where the few members were ready to sortie, and they all turned towards him.
The mortality rate of the Processors were extremely high, and no matter the squadron, they had to fight with excessively dwindling numbers. There were few of them this time however, not because most of them were killed in battle, but that a few of them, Shin being the most prominent, were bedridden due to flu. Even the oldest of them were in their teens. For the Processors who grew up in shoddy environments and incomplete physical developments, the flu was commonplace whenever winter began.
Leaving aside the unreliable rookies that were not to be taken as fighting strength, Raiden himself was a little bothered that both Shin and Daiya were unavailable, though his face did not betray that notion.
Thus, they could only rest for the moment. It was a good thing that they had lots of veterans around however.
Unlike them, most squadrons had to send everyone to battle, including the wounded and the sick, and it was practically a death sentence. In fact, most that were forced to sortie in such situations never got to return from the battlefield.
Suddenly, he noticed a boy giving an uneasy look.
“…We’re going to be fine, right…even though our leader isn’t around…”
The boy probably never meant that, but Seo grimaced, for they were not out of the woods even with him around. Kurena, who was of similar age to the boy, was suddenly furious.
The boy’s platoon leader, Anju, gave a kind smile.
“A little advice for you since you like to be around him so much, Rito…you will be the first to die if you rely on Shin in battle too much.”
Ehhh, so Rito widened his eyes. On this battlefield, their squadron leader was a ‘terrifying’ ally.
“You have to prioritize orders and warnings based on the situation. After all, you have been receiving help all the time. Children who decide for themselves and not rely on anyone cannot survive after all. But…Shin, and us, we cannot be protecting all of you forever.”
The tender looking little face of the pre-pubescent boy froze up, having recalled the reality they were in.
The battlefield they lived on was one where every single person could die as easily as they lied.
Rito was on the verge of tears, and Raiden rubbed the little head that was a lot shorter than him. It was normal for him as the vice-leader, so he did not say much more,
“Well, we have enough people today…so relax, we’re not going to let you die. He looks like he doesn’t care, but he really is worried.”
Don’t connect when you’re not in good shape man. Raiden really had the urge to strangle Shin with cables.
As Raiden had said, every single person returned safely after defeating the “Legion”. Shin probably already knew it, for he had already left the bed, and was waiting for them. Raiden frowned.
“Didn’t I say that you should rest a little more, you idiot?”
“Feeling a little better. Better inform everyone of the bad news.”
Shin said, looking fresher than he was in the morning, but still suffering. What’s so important? So Raiden thought, swallowing his voice back.
“We’re notified of where we’re to be deployed next.”
Daiya, lying on the bed as well, got up in a jiffy. The usually jovial blue eyes were completely awake.
The deployment at each area was to be half a year, as a precaution against the Processors colluding for a rebellion. Once the period expired, they would be temporarily disbanded and regrouped. Shin and Raiden had been at this squadron for five months, and it was not strange for them to be regrouped and redeployed elsewhere.
Raiden stared back quietly with a skeptical look, and Shin said with his unflappable stoic tone.
His bloody eyes was a little icy.
“Including me, all platoon leaders and above are assigned to the first defense force, area 1.”
An eavesdropping Rito gasped. Raiden narrowed his eyes grimly.
First battle area, first defense force.”
The defense squadron located on the frontmost, the harshest battlefield on the Eastern front.
It had the most KIA on the battlefield with no deaths.
Their squadron leader, given the nickname of the ‘death god’, showed a cold, tragic smile, even though it was for a single moment.