Hellping

—Thud thud.

There was a crisp sound of a rattling wire unbefitting of the abandoned city, which was ravaged by the battle for nine years, and Kujo stopped in his tracks. The tall man was wearing a desert camouflage field uniform that was in the Dead Stock and did not fit the terrain. His black hair was tied in a braid behind his head, and he had the distinctive black skin of his people.

“…What?”

The intermittent voice echoed through the mostly ravaged residences after the previous day’s battle. They were akin to the whispering of a broken star. Or the prayer of a dying warrior.

Shin had determined that there was no “Legion” activity in the surrounding area on this day. Despite that, Kujo did not let out his guard as a precaution, and reached his hand towards a detached door….

Entering his eyes through the gaps between the broken bricks and wood of the original ceiling and pillars was light, which he unused to.

 

“…Undertaker. Is it fine now?”

“Yes, Handler One, if you don’t mind our work here.”

The sudden silvery-bell like voice of the young female Handler girl who was of the same age came out of the Para-RAID. Shin was not taken aback, and did not stop moving his hands.

This Para-RAID was a device for people within the walls to monitor the Eighty-Sixers in the distant battlefield. Shin was already used to his feelings being ignored in his nearly five years of fighting.

“Work, huh? I do not have a report about that, so—”

“……”

It was about Kujo.

“I’m sorting through the remaining belongings of “Sirius”, who’s KIA days ago.”

Ah, Shin could hear the Handler’s little gasp.

“…My apologies.”

“Don’t mind. It’s nothing to us Eighty-Sixers.”

They would fight on the battlefield In place of the citizens of the Republic until they died.

“I,”

“—This.”

Shin ignored the Handler who was about to say something, and picked up the object that caught his attention.

He was holding a very light silver bird cage artefact that was smaller than his palm. The exquisitely carved blue bird was perched on the supporting wood, which itself wrapped with vines and inlaid with precious stones. It looked very delicate and clever, completely unlike Kujo’s interest…

“A music box…huh?”

“The surface is a little dented, but the inside should be fine. It probably can ring.”

So said Daiya, who repaired the bird cage base that was thicker than a real one. He had an interest in repairing complex machinery.

Whenever there is no battle, everyone in the squadron would like toc gather in the mess hall of Spearhead. For some reason, the Handler on the other end of the Para-RAID held his breath like a kitten showing curiosity for some reason. But this is not just as simple as a simple playing device, it should exist as something like an orchestra.

It was hard to see something this fancy in the 86th district, and Kurena, being all sparkly eyed,

“It’s so beautiful… ah”

“Ah, it’s pretty, and complicated inside. It’s the beauty of precision machinery.”

Daiya gloated away for some reason, and Theor snorted.

“I didn’t expect Sirius to to be like this. Only girls would like such things, no matter how you look at it.”

“Maybe he gt it back for Artemis. Sirius always spoiled her like a little sister.”

Anju responded, ahhhh, and Theo clammed up. They, who were well experienced in combat, were already used to such things.

Raiden muttered.

“We’ll be able to catch up with that “Sirius”.”

Kaie spun the nut of the music box, seemingly to break the silence. It had been placed indoors for nine years, but the structure was still in working condition, and the sound was exceptionally crisp, a delicate sound of a crystal craft being tapped at spread in the dusty air.

It was a short and simple tune. Its internal structure was complex, unbefitting of an impression of a music box, until the moment when the solemn musical sound came through the open mouth of the delicate bird.

It was serene, like a fleeting prayer.

“… What is this song? Handler One?”

Theo’s offhanded question left the Handler momentarily speechless. She said in a slightly flustered tone

“Erm…my apologies. I do not know much about music…”

“So…Undertaker, do you know? Just asking.”

Shin recalled his few memories, and said,

“…It’s probably an old folk song. It’s a language that’s no longer used.”

“I see. What’s that song?”

The tune was short because the lyrics themselves were short. There were only a few words used. The translation was—…

“Saying goodbye, one day.”

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