A little boy with extremely pale skin was laying prone along the base of the main cannon of Judgement Day, gripping a black assault rifle with both hands. He was slowly adjusting the night vision scope and ignoring the freezing sensation on his hands, feet, face and ears. Someone else though, was shivering constantly, with tears welling up in her eyes.
“Li-Little Bruh-Brother… We should ga-go back in-in side~!”
Beatrix sighed, grumbling “Yes, you should go back inside. Why did you come out here anyway?”
“Ha-How could I let ya-you ca-come out here~, alone?” It had been ten minutes since the little boy set the gun down with the bi-pod and started fiddling with his scope. He still hadn’t fired a single shot or even tried to find a target.
He looked over at the freezing Gnome and complained “If you keep making all that noise, then you’re going to scare away all the animals. Just go inside and-Get down!” Even if the gun was incredibly heavy, a massive amount of adrenaline suddenly rushed through his body.
An enormous white owl swooped down and tried to grab Linda by the shoulders. However, Ares lifted his gun and pulled the trigger a single time. The first bullet fired and struck the creature’s abdomen, the second hit it in the chest, while the third penetrated straight through the center of its head. It was a three-round burst, which he fired on instinct, rather than actively aiming towards those vital points.
Even though it died, the giant bird still crashed into the tiny Gnome and knocked her off of the tank. Beatrix lost his balance between the recoil and simply lifting the rifle, so he also fell at the same time. Fortunately, there was plenty of soft snow piled up to the top of the treads, so they receive any serious injuries… Except for the fact that Linda fainted.
That tiny little boy had to first take the unconscious girl back inside, then he had to go out and dig his rifle out of the snow, finally… He needed to use a meat cleaver to cut the hundred pound owl into smaller pieces, so that he could bring it inside to be butchered properly.
“Wake up.” Ares slapped the Gnomish girl’s left cheek lightly, then turned the water in the shower on.
“Ah~?! Master I’m sorry~?! Please forgive me~!” She had a few deep lacerations across her back from the bird’s talons. However, there were also many old scars from when she was nearly whipped to death as a child. That was before Sariel ‘purchased’ her though.
“Pathetic. What the fuck happened to you?” Beatrix scowled and complained “Was there ever a time when my sister was this weak and cowardly? Where’s the Bronze Ram, Linda Day, who went through countless battles as the vanguard?”
The little girl opened her eyes and stopped crying, then groaned in pain, asking “Little Brother, what happened? I remember you yelling and then I got the wind knocked out of me…”
Beatrix scowled, shaking her head in disappointment. Linda stood up in the shower and noticed that she was bleeding a lot… After that, her eyes started welling up with tears again.
“I don’t wanna die~!”
After she screamed, the small boy shouted “Enough!” Then he casually explained “You aren’t injured that badly. As long as you keep the wound clean, it shouldn’t get infected. Now, make sure to use plenty of soap as you wash yourself. I need to butcher that damn owl.”
His mood was sour, mainly because he wasn’t sure if Linda was actually his sister or not, but it also had to do with his powerlessness.
‘I can’t believe how weak this body is… Was I ever like this in my past life? It’s so hard to remember the old world… The one without mana. No, even back then, didn’t I still have powers? Was there ever a lifetime when I couldn’t use magic or at least telekinesis and telepathy to a certain extent?’
If she had even an ounce of power, she could have sensed that owl long before it even came close to them. Not to mention the fact that she would never have to worry about recoil, no matter how weak or small her body was at the time.
Although she was known as a ‘general’, Beatrix was never really a soldier in the conventional sense. Thus, she never underwent any sort of military training. At first, she was merely a survivalist, but after the mana-cataclysm… The only people who were able to survive, were the ones who were either lucky or skilled. She was a little of both.
There was a time when she was an excellent leader, tactician and strategist. However, over the decades and as her power grew, none of that really mattered anymore. Everything turned into a magical arms race, where brute force was the only thing that made a difference. Once she hit the plateau, it became impossible for her to advance any farther. She stagnated and became complacent. It wasn’t necessarily her fault though. Unlike many of her friends and enemies, she reached the peak without ‘cheating’… But none of that mattered in the end.
As the little boy was busy butchering the giant owl, he tried to remember his past life. However, dismantling the creature triggered a memory from much farther back…
“Lorelei? Whatever happened to that annoying girl? No, what happened to Alfirin? Michael…” When he was murmuring to himself, Linda finished her shower and followed the blood-trail into the kitchen. The moment she saw those two bright-yellow eyes staring at her, she let out a shrill scream and sprinted into the cockpit area, totally naked. There were no towels, so she couldn’t even dry off. Her only piece of clothing, that ragged tunic was in the washing machine.
Beatrix sighed dramatically, then shouted “Don’t run around! Get back here and help me butcher this stupid bird!”