[86 Side Stories] May 19th – Shin’s Birthday

――Let us all celebrate together.

Yes, she did say that.

“…Well, he slipped off to accept another mission.”

“Ehh……”

Annette took a sip of the replacement coffee as she said this. Lena knew of the mission’s importance, but was dejected about his absence.

May 19. Shin’s birthday.

He himself had forgotten about it, but Lena learned of the day through the remaining records of the Republic, and wanted to celebrate for him.

They were at the headquarters of the 86th Mobile Strike Package, Rüstkammer Base, in a corner of the officers’ mess nobody else would visit in the day. Lena was like a white, fleeting flower pelted by rain, sprawled upon the handrest of the sofa alone.

Good thing her subordinates aren’t seeing her like this, Annette thought as she picked up a Savoiardi served for tea.

The hazelnuts and precious cocoas, luxurious produces of the Federation’s South, were the real deals. They are really delicious.

“You’re dispatched to the United Kingdom, right? That place is another important frontline.”

It would be May, including that day, and it was expected that the 86th Mobile Strike Package would be deployed for missions into various countries.

“We are soldiers…we should be prepared for this…”

“What you say is different from what you feel, Lena.”

If she were a kitten, her ears and tail were clearly dropping in disappointment.

“…Speaking of which, didn’t you say you want to celebrate Shin’s birthday? You haven’t talked much to him recently.”

“That…”

Moreover…she did that foolish thing.

After their dispatch mission to the Republic, Lena heard from Annette about what was going on with Shin.

Well, it was to be expected then, but ever since, they had been shunning each other.

The excuses from them are pretty flimsy though, so Annette thought as she slipped another Savoiardi into her coffee.

If she had taken a photo of Lena’s current gloomy look, that would probably be a nice present for Shin.

Such a prank should be fine, especially for Annette, a childhood friend of Shin, and someone the latter was comfortable with as a comrade.

“Well, it is not just Shin; the other 86ers have forgotten about their birthdays, and will not celebrate them. We’ll know if we just look into it, right? And even if we do know, we can just pretend not to.”

Various administration means were done for the entire Strike Package to see if there was an appropriate day to celebrate their birthdays and years. The 86ers did not really care about it, but there were plans to celebrate everyone’s birthday (as there were thousands of them, every day would have been a celebration).

However, it was impossible for them to celebrate every day, so Grethe instead suggested that ‘everyone born in the same month celebrate together on the same day’. Shin and Kurena were born in May, that seemed harsh.

Lena suddenly leaned forward.

“I cannot pretend not to! …I failed to notice, and now that I know, I have to celebrate his birthday…I think…”

Thinking about this, Lena was dejected once again.

Well, that is really troublesome, so Annette suggested.

“Anyway, how about giving a present?”

“Eh?”

“I bought one before you quarrelled. One for Shin, one for Second Lieutenant Kremy and one for Second Lieutenant Rikka, even though it was a month later. Spent an entire day on the next street choosing them.”

One could easily imagine how difficult and time-consuming it would be to choose a person’s present. Any more persons involved, and it would get ugly if they ended up arguing about the fairness of the gifts instead.

“But…the Captain should be busy preparing for the dispatch…”

Once again, Lena started to dither.

This might get a little troublesome, so Annette thought as she took that thing out. Ahh, seriously.

If Lena is unable to hand the present over to him, then let her find an excuse to pass my present on instead.

“So, useless Miss Lena, on your best friend’s behalf…you listening?”

Ahh seriously, why am I being the good guy here?

“――Captain Nouzen. This is a lost item. It’s yours, right? This book is a little hard to understand.”

“? Ah, sorry.”

Typically, a corporal had no need to deliver a lost item over. The hard covered book was once left in the waiting room, but disappeared somehow.

Shin had read that book before, but it was a mean to break free from the “Legion” voices. Guess it’s probably a prank from the cat, or Frederica, so he thought initially.

“…Hm? ”

Shin realized something, and opened the book with one hand. The thick pages naturally flipped to another side.

Stuck between the pages was not a note slip placed in place of a bookmark, but a metal bookmark, a silver plate with fine carvings.

He took it out, and a heavy, embossed card fell upon the page. There was faint fragrance, a familiar sweet violet.

The words were written in Heliotrope in, in the elegant handwriting he was acquainted with over the past month and the half year two years ago. The card was specially designed with outlines of Licorice and a standing Juggernaut.

“We shall do the celebration next year…happy birthday.”

“…Isn’t it a little too early, Lena? There’s still half a month.”

But by then, they would be on the battlefield. Guess there’s no helping it, so Shin thought as he closed the book.

In July–if they would return, he wanted to celebrate the birthday of a certain person, currently scampering down the hallway.

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