Note: This is the end of the chapter, the first part can be found on Baka-Tsuki
Huh? Tomoko stared in puzzlement. Ostmark was a country that was situated between Karlsland and the Neuroi. The reason it ‘was’ situated, is because around half a year ago, it was annihilated by the Neuroi invasion. These days it’s nothing more than a barren and desolate land, dominated by the Neuroi’s miasma.
But, she was there? Why?
Beurling conducted herself in a manner which was as overbearing as ever, disregarding Tomoko’s puzzled facial expression and continuing her story.
“A short while before the Neuroi came to attack; my unit were dispatched to Ostmark… We were a wing dedicated to the observation of international Neuroi. We were carrying out routine work on the primary Neuroi from the Great War. When our half a year term of office had finished, we would probably return to our country.”
Beurling continued her story with an air of indifference about her.
“At that time, there was someone who was something of a rival. She and I would compete to be the first and second most skilled in the unit; we’d have many sham battles, competing with skill. She was an unreasonable girl. She assumed that it was fine to put faith in your own skill, but regardless of that, there would always be someone who could surpass you. Because of her, I’d frequently get mad here too. Things like quarrelling all the time. So, back to the time when the Neuroi came to attack… We thought it was time to reach a conclusion. Which one will surpass the other? It was simple. We’d decided that the one who could shoot down more Neuroi would be superior. Every day, we would make an effort to compete in sorties. The Neuroi seemed to attack with an infinite number – the enemy had nothing to worry about. It was a lost battle, we would retreat one after another, yet our fighting spirit was strong.”
“We were as extremely unreasonable as each other. Our shoot down count was just about the same. Then… something happened. I went out on my own, pursuing the enemy to try and get one up on her. Suddenly I was surrounded by 10 enemy aircraft. It was a stalemate. There were 3 enemy aircraft to my back, I was receiving fire simultaneously. It was at that time…”
Beurling’s tone of voice dropped considerably.
“She threw herself into the line of fire. She received blows from large calibre machineguns, yet she was using her magic shield, which was degenerating slowly. Immediately after that, my ally provided covering fire, advancing against the enemy, and as the enemy began to back off, I was saved. It came at a price. As her body dropped next to me, her breathing had already ceased.”
Tomoko was at a loss for words.
Who would have thought that someone who appears cranky like Beurling would have a past like this?
“This Hurricane was the piece of equipment that she used.”
Beurling murmured whilst she stroked her beloved machine.
“….So, is that all you want to say? Did you drag me all the way to here just so that I could hear your old story?”
Tomoko responded, biting down onto her lip.
Beurling shook her head.
“I came to Suomus to die.”
Tomoko felt as if all the blood had rushed from her face.
That time when Tomoko threatened her with her sword… She had said "kill me." That had been the real deal.
“It was my fault that she was killed… and now I even equip her striker unit. I thought that death was my only atonement.”
“It’s absurd to die on your own accord.”
“Ah. That’s right. But… back then… when I saw the orphanage that had been bombed in the town, I began to change my mind. Before I die, I want to do whatever I can to stop the amount of people left with nowhere else to go from increasing.”
It was the first time Beurling had called her by her name.
“The real enemy isn’t the Laros. There’s no real meaning behind the number of them that are dispatched.”
“Well then, what is our real enemy?”
“The bomber formations. If we can take them down, it’d shut them up. The Neuroi will probably… dispatch a large bomber formation. If a mid sized formation has no effect, then there will be no doubts about it. There is nothing more important when taking down a large bomber formation than ‘Co-operation’. The ability of an individual will be rendered useless against them.”
Beurling’s words made Tomoko feel re-assured and confident that she wouldn’t just have to rely on the strength of those with actual combat experience there.
She still shook her head.
“Your rival may have died…, but my rival still lives. And so, I’m waiting until the day when I can surpass her. I’ve still not had the chance to succeed her… ”
“There is no reason for me losing to her. I can’t lose to her, that’s all I thought up until now, which is why I continue to fly. That is why…”
Beurling seemed to be lost in thought for a while.
"Is that so," she murmured in a lonely tone, before leaving the aircraft hangar.
Tomoko stood motionlessly in the hangar - absolutely still.
Outside, the blizzard continued to rage on.
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