Recent Statuses

11 mos ago
Current Why am I bothering to update the status anyway? No one's gonna care
1 yr ago
"Remember to look at the stars not down at your feet." Inspired me ever since. Rest in peace Professor Hawking
2 yrs ago
I don't know why, but the boredom is killing me slowly
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Welcome to my crappy profile front end. I hope you will enjoy your stay here.

To be honest, I haven't had much experience in RP, since I just started recently. But to reassure you, I am a writer, and my fic has received a bit of attention now, and so you don't have to worry about grammars and spellings, just rules of roleplaying.

I have written many types of stories and I am confident to say I can fit in into any categories when I switch to RPing, but my favorite genre is probably fantasy and science fiction. Currently so, I am taking part in a few of the RP, and is still looking for more. Hopefully we can find a common interest among them.

Thank you for reading (it's quite short really, but I don't have anything else to say)

Most Recent Posts

Seeing how his words seemed to fly over Diana's head, he simply sipped the remaining of his tea while he enjoyed Reyna's dance session. Her naivety did not go without surprises, but the amount was fairly small. Michael did read more, know more and understand more than an average Edinburghian for his fairly humble age. So of course he'd expect people to scratch their heads and turn his gears into a toy

"Well, I agree. You have to keep your hopes high. Of course, there are chances that she won't listen, but hey, if she's such an intelligent individual, she may actually be able to sit down and talk."

It's never too late to present an intelligent person a good-willed argument.

The rest of the night was uneventful, as Michael's fatigue from sleeping on the armchair the previous day soon caught up to him as soon as night fell. So he made his way up to his room to enjoy his bed while he still could. Once Jean told the squad to be sleeping in his uniform, he knew it was probably the end of the stay in this inn. It was fun while it lasted.

The allure of the bed kept him on the mattress for the entire night, even surpassing his normal sleeping time. While in his dream world, it didn't even occur to him that Lucia was sleeping right next to him for the whole night, willing to pay him back the favor when he guarded her on top of Hill 58. She slept after him, and woke up before him. His long-sleeping habit at home was probably resurging now that had happened.

What he woke up to, however, was not the soft call of the girl he dearly likes, but a squeal of terror. Was she in danger?! Michael's eyes shot open at the scream before bolting upright on his bed. Fearing an attack or a bombardment, he instantaneously grabbed his gears, equipment, ammunition, gun and...the mask. Now that someone had called for that mask to be put on, it must have been it. He knew masks were used, perhaps for his tunnel attack, but strangely enough, everybody else also got it. Now it made perfect sense, as that yellow particles of death was slowly creeping into the room. That yellow...he had seen..., no read, it somewhere before.

"Is that chlorine?"

Oh shit...that's not a good thing to be in touch with your lungs.

"Yeah, let's do it. And let's get out of here first."

He could figure out what was going on later. The sound of the coughing and screaming downstairs was simply made even more haunting as Michael tentatively knew what such a gas could do to your body if you inhale too much of it. However, just as he put on his gas mask, to which he had to lay his gun on his bed, he was soon ambushed. Two Imperials. Two...familiar ones. He saw them in the inn just yesterday from now. They were so friendly, perhaps a little too much of an alcoholic to his taste but still, and yet seeing how one of their eyes were completely red, both from the bit of the gas and the terror it was spreading beneath its surreal and semi-transparent body, it brought him a sense of fear as well...and sympathy?

But all of that was by the split second, as the officer quickly demanded his and Lucia's masks. By the revolver in his hand. Now that latter part of sympathy disappeared. The former began to take hold. Give him the mask? Let live? What do you think you're talking about? He'd rather get shot than be let to live, only to die in a violent hellfire. But what could he tell them now? The revolver was on his forehead, and he wouldn't listen to reason. No one would listen to reason this instant, no matter how intelligent he was. Was he to give him the mask now? Then...he'd die. He'd die in this inn. Done nothing. Nothing but leave pain in his mother's heart who was still praying for him to return safely. And Lucia, who was increasingly relying on Michael's wisdom and philosophy to counter Middleton's toxic and morally-degrading ones. She'd be left alone, with no one to defend her now. He'd...die. He...could not.


As the officer's hand was getting closer to his mask, Michael had made up his mind. He'd not die here. He'd not give them his mask undefended. He apologized, but he was going to have to fight for it. His life was his own. His future was his to define. And it would not end with sacrificing himself for a bunch of Imperials.

His hands tightened. He was gonna have to act fast to get that revolver out of his sight. Just when he grip on that mask, it would create an opening. He could do this. He could-

Just before he even got ready to retaliate, the officer was grimacing in pain as he was pushed right back. By Lucia?


That shot would have connected with Michael's head, ending his scared life right there, leaving sorrow in everyone's wake, if he hadn't made that split of half a second's decision to jerk his head to the right. Not even a fraction of a second could describe how close he had come to certain death that moment. But for a cost of surviving that encounter was a deaf ear. He quickly fell on his butt on the soft mattress of the bed, clenching his ears before witnessing the fight before him. Or rather a massacre.

The brief temporary deafness of his ear was over soon before he knew it. And the moment he regained his hearings, the second shot rang out. And on the ground was no longer a person anymore. Or even a corpse per say, from neck up. It was a horrendous muddle of disgust that no one could have imagined coming out of himself. For that time, Michael had just the same expression as that scared Imperial in front of Lucia. Sadly enough for him, the one behind that work was on Michael's side. He was spared from such a brutal death, but a slit of a throat was not a better fate. Two souls, dead in a violent hellfire and depraving pain. For this to actually happen, it would have taken a sadist or a psychopath. And was from Lucia. The innocent girl from Hill 58. The girl who inspired him to live that day. The girl whom he initially thought couldn't hurt a soul. She was still holding onto that knife, silent in the heat after battle, blood still hot and fresh on the blade.

Her first enemy couldn't have started any more horrifying than that.

For a while, Michael stood up from his bed, his gun on his hand, and was just looking at the carnage she had just left behind. Now the silence began to creep in again. The silence like that night on Hill 58. Or that cavalry charge. Lucia was still standing there, perhaps also looking at her own work as well. She probably couldn't believe that just happened right in front of her, just as surprised as Michael was. Who could have thought she could be so...monstrous? And yet.

She just protected him. She saved his life there. Without her, he would have been dead.


He called out to her. To see if she even responded to him. But no matter. Michael immediately stepped over the corpses, over to her before he wrapped an arm around her back, over to her shoulder, pulling her briefly into him. To let her know that he was here, not a dead body. That he was here, he was alive, and he was thankful.

He knew they both have to move soon, so he released her after a few seconds. But that few seconds was probably the most precious ones he never thought he would cherish.

"We have to go. Our squad's rendezvousing."

Michael couldn't help with a little pain circulating within him when Diana broke down crying in front of him and Britta. She did it so freely and so...immediate, it must have been something really serious. But then again, he wasn't the one to talk about such seriousness when he couldn't do such a thing himself when he wanted to. He wondered if he had turned cold-hearted now, or that the time wasn't ripe for his feelings to come out. Michael hoped that it was the latter. It couldn't be the former, right? He was always told of how nice he had been, and how caring he was to others. They couldn't have been wrong, right?


Perhaps now wasn't the time for that answer, as Diana continued on with her story. It was perhaps surprising to hear a girl so unreserved like Diana to be tormented in childhood. But the identity of the man wasn't much of a surprise though. Michael knew the man. Personally at that. Even though they did not clash, his display of beliefs fluttered the red flag that the Donsters should not be associated with. He is a rat, just like the rest of the family. His degeneracy was to the point that Michael's father almost abandoned his religious conviction to wish eradication upon these individuals, and to be honest Michael did not blame him. It was that bad. Castleton was probably having parties all day with that kind of people living there. He also knew that Diana's sister, Astra, was going to marry Richard, who was also participating in this war with Diana and the rest of them. Great, the Earth is so round. He couldn't help but feel bad for Diana's family, whom, to her words, sounded like some pretty decent individuals.

He was expecting to just sit quietly and listen with sympathy, or add encouraging words to Diana, but what he faced rather was a question. It was perhaps common sense to some people, especially the cynical, that people would act greedily to each other. That people would trample upon others to achieve their selfish goals. But how many people had asked themselves why people do so. Perhaps a lot, but it was easy to dismiss. It is a trend on many different levels of society, from personal to institutional to even government policy: to cater a reason for a negative action to be solely the result of individual's moral failing. So even though the question was thrown around a lot, there was no answer.

"I'm really no psychologist. But if you ask me..." Michael turned around to face his back against the bar, the cup of tea still on the plate on his hand. "Just think of this for a moment. Think of the time when you have to share something with your sisters, or your friends. Something both of you really love. Something both of you really enjoy. And now think of how many times you want it for yourself."

Michael waited a couple of seconds for her to come up with an answer on top of her head before continuing. "If you're thinking that you always share, that's not what I meant." He said. "Imagine yourself in the scenario where your sisters or friends do not want it as much as you do. It's still a shared item, but they just don't use it as often anymore. Do you prefer to keep it more to yourself, use it more, or you spend just as much time with it as when your friends also want it?"

His tea cup separated from the plate now that he took a quick break, the edge of it met his soft lips as he sipped the tea, wondering if she got the idea he was going for.

"Let's just say that we have the mindset of private ownership. We want to own things we love." He explained. "And those people you say, your sister Astra. It's just it but on a whole different level."

But after all the cold talk, he sighed a warm compassionate tone. "But that doesn't make it any less wrong."

Then he placed a hand on Diana's small wrist, just as small as he was. Really reminded him of Lucia, both of whom looked just as frail as the other. But he was certain that they weren't weak. To stand with all those burdens on their shoulders, he did have a lot to compliment such strength. To both bear it, and to share it.

"So I share your viewpoints. It is quite saddening with some clear examples. It should not have been at all." Michael said. "But at the end of the day, I still pray that your sister find the errors of her own ways."
@Landaus Five-One

A cup of tea, a sip of milk poured in afterward. A rather optional cube of sugar and a thorough spoonful stir. It would do much to keep the man at ease with the current predicament he was in. In a time of war, a cup of tea still reminded him of before all of this happened. The gentlemanliness, the civility of it all. And perhaps at the same time as a rewind of the past was the time machine to the future. If he could live to the end of this, he would still get to enjoy a tasty cup of quality herbal tea, more than he could afford at this moment.

Michael silently sipped on his small cup, one of his hands hovering the plate slightly below the cup. The flavor immediately melted his senses. It was a delightful taste. The mild sweetness of the sugar touched upon his feelings like a soft caress of a mother's hand on her child, the milk poured so delicately precise it was like a kiss, while the smoke from the cup reminded him that the world was not as cold as he had imagined and experienced. He wondered when he would be able to receive another treatment like this again. After the war, of course, but when would that come to pass? Humanity had normalized themselves too much for this horrid activity. What would be so much better than just stabbing and shooting other people? A cup of tea, shared with your adversaries sitting right in front of you, and a dialogue that does not involve threatening people for their beliefs and values, or for personal advancement. All of it sounded fantasy. An unachievable utopia for a naïve and foolish child. But hey, on the other hand, to call it impossible would be using a fool's dictionary. The doors weren't entirely closed...

His contemplation did not cease with Diana's morning, or rather afternoon, greetings. But even though he was still wandering in his own thoughts, he still found himself replying to her, not simply just for politeness.

"I'm good today. How about you? You look tired."

He didn't know what happened the day before, and probably he should not. Just let his mind wander into his own thoughts, speculation, reflection...and ambition. But he was snapped back to reality soon enough with Diana's mutter, perhaps unbeknownst to her that Michael was right there to hear her shaking words. And he wasn't the only one who got worried.

"Do you mind us accompanying you with your problems?"

He'd want to help, but she'd have to let him though.
@Landaus Five-One
Acion Nakamiji

Acion knew by the very nature of this whole condition was like putting a person on a half-sunken boat. He had never been in a relationship before this, but he knew the feeling of anticipation and the disappointment of rejection. These aspects come hand-in-hand unfortunately, and, as Acion witnessed first-hand as Hitomi's breathe disappearing as he spoke, it could have made him doubt his own decision. Those guys in class did have a code of their own to never say these things after all, regardless of circumstances. But to Acion, it would just be disingenuous. Even if it hurts, Acion knew that the consequences of a lie exposed is a lot greater than the bitter truth.

"Hey, even if it didn't work out now, I wouldn't let you out of my life either." He said as gently as possible to sooth the heavily pouted girl in front of him. A girl with two adorable sheep horns that he liked dearly. "Since for the record, I like you too...I've liked you since that outdoor picnic outside the dorm."

It was his turn to grow red from all this romantic talk. But it was true. It was an unfortunate time to be kicked out of the dorm, and not even entirely his fault. And nobody even cared about it. Nobody but her who was willing to spend her time with him outside in the blazing sun. A random act of kindness that captured his feelings clean.

With slight initial hesitation, Acion leaned in to take Hitomi's arm, holding her gentle palm with his two.

"It's official now, do you agree?"
@Silver Carrot

The room outside of him began to settle down, but the moans of drunken stupors began to daunt the Daunte from taking a step out of the room. And perhaps it was best that he did not, for there were already embarrassments that should be kept within the small circle of witnesses. But for another reason that Lucia was still asleep on the armchair right next to him that he couldn't really bring himself to break his own promise he made. Even though it was made out of impulse when the girl was barely even conscious, it was still something he said in broad daylight. Damn his shoulders that he could not really bring her to his room, otherwise he would have, so he had to makeshift his own bed to be this chair. But thanks to his gradual adaptation to the humanity-degrading quality of life that the military offered him to, Michael found the size of the chair fairly generous.

As the night grew, and silence sank in, so was Michael's appreciation of his books as the words continued to echo into his minds, even when their main purpose was to pass the time that he could have been using for resting. He had decided to use the study as his bedroom tonight. Michael slumped a little into the chair, making his small silhouette comfortable in the huge chair as he listened to the gentle breathe that the girl next to him murmured in her sleep, the girl he fell in love with. He wondered if she was having a goodnight sleep. If she was dreaming, then what was in it? Hopefully not Hill 58 again, or wherever she found herself in. He hoped it would be some place else. Somewhere that she wanted.

For Michael's part, the words in his book became his lullaby. His armchair was his bed. And the study he found in this one of a kind inn that humbly did their purpose in this universe well amongst those who failed miserably and didn't even realize it took him back to his own home back in Tyrella, back to his beloved childhood days. That old grand study where he would fall asleep on the carpet among the wonders of human knowledge. To fall into the warm, cozy darkness of his childhood, it really was an unexpected feast. But it was good when he could still feel it.

Michael barely knew how long he had been asleep. Fatigue combined with his injury and the lullaby of printed alphabetical letters pushed him deep down the depths of unconsciousness. The next thing he realized, his neck ached. He found his cheek resting on the back of his arm that was resting on his armchair, as his head was almost sideway with his body still glued to the armchair. The sun was pinching on his nose to signal a new day for him, a new day that would not perhaps be his last. A bright sunny day of optimism.

'Damn, I probably squandered the beds here.'

Who knows what Jean wanted to do with the squad's time here at the inn. Of course if he chose not to leave at all, that would be completely ok for Michael. But that would be desertion, and the Feds would take it very seriously. So sooner or later, Michael and the squad would have to leave this inn. He'd figure today would be, but who could say. He was still sleeping quite soundly when everybody was up, signified by the empty chair next to him. Lucia had already woken up and had left the room, perhaps to get her breakfast or something. Judging by the intensity of the sun, Michael was probably quite late. But the squad was letting him take his time, so perhaps they had no intention to leave yet.


But they had all the intention to make him leave this room.

Louder than anything he had heard of the night before, Michael, with his eyes still trying to open the blinds, stood up and walked over to the door, finally taking a step out of the study for the first time in the day.

"You people never know how to get settled."

With a grumble and a roll of an eye, Michael trotted over to the bar and sat right on the stool, denying almost all the bartender's suggestion for a refresh of souls - her ignorance of his religion did not sit well for the devoted, for he accepted nothing but a cup of tea. Whatever tea they had sat well with Michael, but it would go sour either ways without a bit of milk poured in right after. And the bartender would probably not want this picky fellow to be unsatisfied after all he had been through, though she had to admit that he had some fancy taste.
@FalloutJack@Bushman501@LetMeDoStuff@Landaus Five-One

After the departure of Heinz, Michael's personal space and time was slowing down like water building up in a well. For once, the yellings, smashings, coughing, and screamings outside the study had began to drift away from his hearing. True quietness and aloneness had never been so good. The type of aloneness that he always loved and spent hours on end. Recent days, the ropes had gone untied, so his hours without the company of anyone was unbearable. Like a bird travelling south through a vast ocean, longing for home, unbeknownst that the ocean was too large for his insignificance, and that he would either fall into the water and drown of exhaustion, or that a hawk, or hawks, would pick him into pieces, as he was helpless in the struggle. He desired a companion. Even if they weren't gonna do anything, just sitting right beside him as he did his stuff was alright. And he had got it. A squad. His squad. And now he wanted some time alone. What irony.

But that didn't mean he didn't enjoy their companies. In fact, they were the ones who gave him the reason to be alone this time. They gave him safety, nurture and care. They made his time alone at ease. And perhaps more importantly, they were the reason why he was growing. It wasn't the training done by the vigilant and austere superiors of the Federations. It wasn't even the propaganda or the beliefs that he carried with him into the hellfire. It was compassion. It was care and nurture of everyone in this squad that gave him the strength to rise from his own misery. It was compassion that brought him up when the rest of the world wanted to shut him down and dissolve him into tiny particles for Mother Earth. And he would do anything, anything to pay them back, to protect them from harm caused by bickering politicians and kings and queens. But he had to start with himself first.

Time continued to pass, as Michael continued to go through the book he was given to by Heinz. Slowly, page by page, word by word, as he indulge in the true beauty of knowledge and science. The Imperials, whilst having a lot of ideological crap, did have a lot of technical stuff right. Like how they managed to design a car with engines so optimized the car's top speed in practice was out of an expert at the time's prediction. Or how they managed to reduce mortality rate and driving comfort so significantly with merely the introduction of a power steering wheel in their car. They had a lot that the Feds or other countries could learn from. A shame that this book was probably limited to this inn only. He probably should finish this, so he could continue to delve more in them. Just like old times in his father's study, but perhaps this time he would take it with more courage.

His concentration on the book was so significant that his sense also began to drift away in the air as well, as he failed to notice the girl coming from behind him. When he realized it, his response was a quick gasp and a short inhale. Then he realized it was Lucia. His muscles began to soften. He thought someone was about to murder him or something, that this was an Imperial conspiracy to eliminate the squad silently. But the softening was fairly short-lived. The Imps weren't gonna murder him, but she could murder him by suffocation if she continued to be hug so tight.

"Oh Lord, you too?"

As her soft as pillow flesh met his, the alcohol in the breathe and on her body was getting thick. Lucia didn't seem to care all that much about Michael's remark as she continued to climb all over him again, but this time like she was glued onto him. All of that, it wouldn't be surprising if Michael's cheek began to glow. But thankfully nobody was there to see. Just like how his heart was beating like a war drum. Again, like a mold in the ribcages, it felt strange. Every time with her in recent days, his chest felt like he was being eaten, by his own breathe. Only her. Did he really...

"Ok ok, I will." Michael instinctively followed her request, as he had her hands around her waist and belly. "There, I'll be with you for now. You feel safe yet?"

If he could perhaps let her sleep for a while, it would serve to calm her down. She would probably not gonna have a good sleep, but how in the world was she gonna cut it until night comes. much did she drink for this? Judging by her reaction, like ten glasses?

His hugs did not cease up until he could feel her arms that were held up sideway began to fall down. Every pat of his palm assured her that he would never let her go. If that could ease her mind of the alcohol for a while, or of her painful trauma that she was still dealing with, he'd gladly hold her tight. But eventually, he was getting uncomfortable on his seat, now that he had doubled his weight with a girl on his lap.

"I'll be right nearby. I'm gonna put this back." He whispered to her. The lack of an audible response from her made it look like she was really sleeping. It was probably safe to shift, as Michael gently move her to sit right beside him on the same armchair, as it was pretty big for the two of them. He then quickly placed the book on the table, and then proceeded to push the other chair closer to Lucia where she's sitting. Placing the chair a little diagonal from her chair, he gently lifted her feet onto that chair. Then he let her head lay a little back. It wasn't the comfiest bed out there, but he couldn't really bring her to his room now. He could easily carry Lucia on Hill 58, but here his arm was torn, so he'd have to make do.

He watched her petite body loose, defenseless and motionless on the armchair. It made him really wondered what had Middleton do to this young girl. He saw it. He may have been under trauma, but he could see it. The look that could easily become a weapon of destruction from her eyes the moment he was hurt, and then the moment he was changing in that room from that ruin. It wasn't just as simple as a short order to kill a friendly. What kind of a man, no a human, was he to stoop so low to that point? But then again, he was born one of him. He was capable of sinning. And he did that without a care. Michael hated that snake, but he wasn't a long thin piece of organism. He probably had a lot of reasons to sin. But whatever his reasons are, he did do it with a choice. He did have the choice whether or not to sin or not, the latter would probably end up a lot worse for him, but nevertheless he had chosen it. No matter what life put you through, losing your own morality is perhaps the most catastrophic, and the most cowardly.

But the irony was, even though she seemed like the girl who needed protection the most, she was the one who protected him. The one who gave him a reason to continue when he was shot on that particular street. It occurred to Michael that she wasn't as weak as he initially think. In fact, she was perhaps stronger than anyone here was. And for that, he was grateful.

"Thank you...for back then..." He inadvertently muttered. The mold continued to eat his chest once more. It felt...not uncomfortable, somewhat pleasant as well, yet he felt like he was going to suffocate.

"I don't know what I'm feeling right now, it feels strange." He continued. It was also his night of firsts. He definitely hadn't developed this behavior of talking to someone sleeping, but now for some reason... "But I may have feelings for you."

He wasn't certain, but when everything seemed to revolve around her, he could always deduce. She was probably it. And he wondered if she actually knew it too, or even what is it to begin with?

"Now you see..." The Imperial soldier continued the session. The clock had ticked onto its second hour, yet to both soldiers, it felt like time was just a stranger passing by the train, as the room was filled with discussions. The history of Europa, the history of the Federation, Gallia, Edinburgh, the Imperial Alliance. Politics of the century, and especially the race for resources. A rare ingenuity of two minds from opposite sides of the war, one if history had recorded could be a memorable tale of friendship transcending animosity and emnity of human races.

"We aren't exactly new to the history of the continent, really. We definitely come after everyone had already assembled, but we were a strong, united and most importantly industrious world power. People march to work everyday in chants for a greater future, for themselves, for their family and for their nations. It was a happy time I was told."

"But we denied you that happiness, didn't we?" Michael tried to keep his tone as neutral as possible. He knew his place here.

"Just like you said." He replied. "Ragnite was our lifeline basically, from the factory assembly lines the heaters in our house. And yet, these simple commodities we were actively denied. The imports were just a waste of our brother's sweats and tears to serve a bunch of lofty arses. That's why you can ask any Imps you want, you get the same answer. We don't like the Feds at all. This is not a matter where we can agree to disagree."

"It is most often the case for this world sadly." Michael said, and the Imperial simply shook his head in dejection. "But that's our government though. It's not the same light as us. You were pretty cold to me when we first met."

"Well, most often I don't have the luxury of time to get to know a soldier who I am supposed to shoot at." He replied. "And the rare moments I do often ends up in frustrations, so I abandoned that long ago."

And settle for universal hatred? That's just hypocritical. Michael's circulation of thought existed the voice that he was desperate to suppress. He wasn't nearly as different as most Imperials that Michael had the luxury to discover their life story, just add on a couple of intellectual brain cells into his head and in front of his eyes it materialized. But he had gone so far. He had said he had no place to judge. He was a listener, a note-taker. He couldn't change his mind. He couldn't change anyone's mind. Not with a condescending tone of voice, and certainly not in two hours of chatting.

"I couldn't agree with the sentiment, but it wasn't that uncommon for it to happen. Wartime breeds more intolerance...But what about me though?" Michael said. "We've talked for two hours when I thought it would be cold tense silence. Surely you'd have a different opinion than what you think."

"Hmmm..." The Imperial soldier hummed for long. "Ideologically, it's not in my liking to show approval...But perhaps you're a different light."

Michael turned his head in confusion.

"At least you seem to be self-aware. Of yourself and the things surrounding you. That, I can respect."

He gave a light smile just as he stood up and offered the sapper his hand. A goodbye it seemed, and an acknowledgement of his words. Michael eagerly took it with graces.

"Thank you for listening though. It's a rare thing to find in this hellhole." The Imperial said. "Maybe I'll add another respect to the list."

"You can feel free. Humanity in ourselves isn't dead yet." Michael shook his hand.

"We have to leave soon. Hope I won't meet you in my gunsight, but if you do, I won't hesitate." He said. "By the way, what's your name?"

"Michael Daunte."

"Oh, the Viscount's son. That's fascinating." He nodded before releasing his hand. "I'm Heinz. Heinz Noel."

"It's a pleasure. Wish you well."

The Imperial nodded as he exited the room. Michael knew not that saying this in front of some of his squadmate would probably end up alienating himself out of the group. If it was Middleton, then chances are he'd suck his blood dry. But what else could he say? The man Heinz wasn't agreeable, but he was a different man. Despite disagreements, it did not end with bitter remorse in the two hours spent. Michael learnt something from Heinz, and Heinz learnt something from Michael too. It was a rare first time he had tried something that did not involve pointing a gun at someone else's head, but with dialogues. And it felt...oddly good. Perhaps it was a radical alternative to guns and bloodshed. Ones that are desperately needed...

His dreams had ended long ago, as Michael's vision had long drifted away into the cozy, comfortable and unconscious darkness. And the day slowly passed. Or does it? Even though the sun had given its light touch of its beauty onto the world, it could never do to make amends the ugly painting created by the sinners and heretics of this land. The sky was just as bleak and cloudy as yesterday. The chilly humid morning fog began to creep into the room like a crawling snake running through the corners of Michael's cheeks, trying to leak into his unseen, unfelt, unheard darkness yet manifested into his jerking knees to the chill. And then Jean's call and tap on his shoulder began to pull him out of the otherworld, and back to his battered body, tattered by gunfire and fatigue.

To his own eyes, he was among the first to return to the lands of the living. His eyes were heavy, burning like sticky hot rubber as he slowly sat up from his bed. On normal weekends, back then, he would have been lying on the beds for hours on end, his breakfast skipped, his lunch delayed. Everyone said that it would not reflect good to be so tardy, but hell, you couldn't blame the physiology born from the love of the Lord to be a mistake. But here tardiness would earn him punishment. Once and twice he had automatically learnt to obey the call, even if he didn't like it or not.

Then he felt like he was holding something. At the very end of his arm was still that delicate hand. Both of them were still connected. That light chest movement and the cute purr of her lips. It was just like Hill 58 now and then. As much as he would like to let the angel be, he couldn't go anywhere without her releasing him. Literally. She had an abnormal strong grip. After a couple of tap on Lucia to make sure she woke up as well, Michael finally got his freedom. And he took that liberty to slowly make his way on his feet then onto the previous room he had dried his clothes the day before. He slammed the door shut and quickly checked on his bandages, seeing if it needed any replacement (it does), retrieved his hat still hanging dry along with Lucia's, put on his uniform properly then left for the squad's meetup.

It wasn't anything too surprising. They'd have to leave this ugly ruin as soon as it could get. The mission awaited. And Michael knew that. Autonomously, the sapper just nodded to Jean's command as they moved out into the fog. The chilly mist tightly embraced the squad in the fear of yet another ambush, but the same fear and thoughts had begun to grow old. He was still lightly but visibly shaking but nullified. Instead, he began to look around. The squad. Isaac, Britta, Kalisa, Reyna, Jean and everyone surrounding him, trying to protect him from threat. Did they have a good sleep? Probably not, but were they rested enough? It felt surprisingly homely to be at the very center at this cold morning, with the fear equalizing everyone.

The journey stopped right before an old house. No, it looked a little big to be a house. Perhaps a public house. A quick conversation was carried out by Jean and the Imperial, to Michael's surprise was Green Fox. No joke. The guy who Michael had feared for long appeared right in front of him. The man who Michael was afraid of ending his own lives now saving lives from misery. The whole idea of a neutral no-fire no-hostility seemed like a joke to Michael, but the way he spoke, the absence of stress and non-eye contact, it was messing the cogs in his mind. But then again, miracles come in the most unexpected of places. When the mere absence of humanity birthed more of them.

He was still staring in disbelief to what was offered in the inn, to which he had been informed as White Hart, when Luke offered him his support. A note of gratitude was given to the man as Michael was generously given a two-man bedroom thanks to his reference. It was nice getting a big room for himself. It felt like his old mansion a little bit. Not at all by much, but hey, at least he still got to enjoy the soft comfortable bed for himself only...but why though? Didn't the inn already have a couple of soldiers here already, along with his squad too? It would be pretty wasteful of a huge room for a tiny hulk of flesh like Michael. Was he actually serious about getting Michael a girl?

He waited for a bit, but no one actually came. Well, maybe he could offer a share to save spaces. But for this moment only, Michael enjoyed the solitude of his own company. His first task was simply unpacking his heavy equipment and then quickly removed his dirty uniform. The bandage had gone dry from the rain yesterday, and it was beginning to glue onto his skin. He spent the next hour just to deal with his wound. He'd never have the chance to have this peaceful of a day to regain his sanity after everything that just happened.

Gradually the bar downstairs and the loudmouths of a couple of Imperials and some who he personally recognized caught his allure. He left most of his stuff up the room before closing the door gently behind him. Down the stairs to the laughter and drunken ramble of so many people losing their minds in booze and alcohol, Michael couldn't help but half-jokingly muttered his thoughts.

"You all sinners..."

An amused smile spread across his face as he tiptoed past the new Europan War that had been established in this small inn. He enjoyed the happiness of his comrades and the peaceful, highly improbable but totally not impossible, treaty between the Federation soldiers and the Imperials. Between humans and humans. It was a sight of God's creation after all. It was his teachings that was universal love and respect, even to those who deserved it least. And that's where it was happening right now. But he really should excuse himself from the crowd. It was not in his keen.

From the ground zero of the war that probably would end up with both on the floor, preferably but probably not vomiting, with the hammer drilling in their heads the next morning, Michael retreated to the silent and more personal corner of the inn. Inside this cozy room was a couple of armchairs and bookshelves. The dim yellowish light perfectly carved the complete white to the blacks of the energy outside: the scene of calm, serenity and aloneness. His private study. He could probably spend hours on end on just one single spot on a soft cotton cushion of the armchairs.

But then he realized that he wasn't at all alone. In one of the armchair, almost obscured from Michael's point of view was a brownish figure. A man with ginger-like hair combing over his head, sitting with his legs crossed, his arms one on his cheek and the other holding a book that Michael could not see what it was about. He was silent. Dead silent. One could even think that he had suffered a stroke, having died in that exact spot with that same posture and that nobody had noticed him. His breathe was almost non-existent - his chest didn't even move. The only thing that Michael could discern the alive from the dead was his active eyes, as the thin layer of liquid seemed to serve only to magnify the curiosity and passion to learn more about the knowledge of humankind. The eyes that seemed to speak ambition and intellect. The eyes that quickly detected the presence of the Edinburghian sapper in the room.

His instinct almost caused him to reach for his gun, which wasn't even there to begin with. But upon seeing an injured man with a shallow chin and hopeful eyes, his muscles rested. But his voice did not. And the frost came almost defensively.

"What do you want Fed?"

Michael was taken aback by the cold response. But he was calm enough to stand up properly to him.

"Just to see if you mind a company next to you?"

His icy glare did not cease.

"No. But don't talk to me."

His eyes quickly went back to the book. Tentatively, Michael went for the bookshelf and grabbed one for his own before sitting down on the chair right opposite of him, making himself comfortable. Anywhere though but the book for his eyes, and his mind. He couldn't really keep an eye away from the other book, or the man holding it. His eyes found its way back and forth between the book cover page and his own almost withering yellowish paper. The dance of irises also caught the attention of the Imperial, as expected to Michael really. Seeing that he was acting suspiciously, Michael simply just closed the book and was about to voice his thought before...

"I said don't talk to me." Again the ice cold responses.

"I'm sorry I can't help but be curious." Michael replied, a little modestly at first.

"About what?"

"The book you're holding." The Fed pointed at the cover page. Engineering At Its Finest. A not very known book out there, but it was one of the best selling books of the field of engineering science. A must-have for any car or machine enthusiasts. Something that the Imperial found a little intriguing to say the least. He never knew this Fed, and he had nothing to lose from his solidly carved ideologue of the ignorant and arrogant pricks from the Federation, but the young Fed's restless eyes seem to say something beyond the veil he had been seeing.

"What about it that you are curious about?" The temperature began to rise.

"Well...everything." Michael could then finally rest his head on the chair. "I've always wanted to find this book, but it's not sold anywhere."

"I wouldn't be surprised." The Imperial sneered.

"I was going to try my university library, but I was never there before all of this happened." Michael didn't mind the passive-aggressive remark. "Maybe I will try there when I come back."

The Imp was now even more surprised. This Fed is university educated? That's rare. And yet he's at the frontline? With nothing on his sleeve to show his authority? Was this guy a humble individual and a complete idiot or he was actually for real in this one the soldier was trying to weigh the chances. But he was university educated. He couldn't be the former case.

"Say..." His glacial eyes were down. "I just want to know how well you know before I can lend it. What is the Royal Rose's first car ever made?"

"First car?..." Michael pondered shortly. "A 10hp, I remember. There is also the 15hp, 20hp and 30hp model soon after that also."

The Imperial's eyes seemed to miss a blink just as he tilted his head over to the right. "Impressive." He commented before handing Michael the book.

"You know..." Michael also found some newfound interest in this adversary in front of him. "Instead of enjoying books by ourselves silently, how about we uncover the veil to our common interest."

The Imperial shrugged indifferently, but with a light smile. Today had been his day of firsts. And the ground was grassed with wonders and knowledge...

The passage of time could not sway these two individuals from their shared endeavor. The two individuals who were once adversaries on the battlefield, archenemies who would spare nothing of the other party, now engage in a battle of wisdom and knowledge. A ground that ironed itself out of the bonfire that humanity had created for itself. Michael was surprised at himself as well. He'd probably had said much more in a couple of hours than during the two months he had spent inside that training camp and even during the time on the train. It felt so good to have a like-minded individual who knew what they were talking about, and understood what the other party was saying. And surprisingly so from an enemy.

"You know this has turned out unexpectedly." The Imperial sat up straight on his chair. "The most intellectual person I've met is my enemy."

"Likewise." Michael smiled briefly. "Not even my best friend could force so much out of my mouth."

The Imperial chuckled at the gesture, though his tone dropped quite steeply just as he made his point clear. "Though don't get me wrong here, that does not change my mind at all about you Feds."

And then there was the whole propaganda ideology from the Imps. It was probably inevitable that it came to this. His irritation clogged in this throat, but he couldn't find himself speaking out loud what he was about to say. He knew he wanted to return the favor. He knew he wanted to say shits about the Imperials too. They committed numerous atrocities. They weren't innocent at all. And many Imperials were even oblivious and proud about it. It was just hypocritical. But then again, like an unknown hand reached out and stopped his vocal chord from formulating a word. What good would it do to turn the table? The man had had such an interesting conversation with Michael. His morality aside, his intellect was something to be admired. Would he want to throw that all away? But perhaps more importantly...why? Like every intellectuals, the fundamental question had begun to formulate. Why? Why would he think what he thinks? Why would he judge people by simply their association with something? And why could both of them having two different viewpoints just like that, and both believed it to be from God's teachings? He wanted to know. As a discoverer, he wanted to know.

"...I'm not here to judge anyone. That's not our job." Michael muttered. "I just wanted to know...why?"

"Hmmm..." It was the first time it had ever occurred to the Imperial. He was expecting contempt, anger or frustration, or outright disrespect and condescending sneer. But yet before him wasn't that. It was something that had been sorely lacked ever since he decided to part way from his father, far away from his protection and love. It was something called...respect.

"Well, if you want to know then..." The Imperial sat up once again, now with a smile on his face. Not a confident, smug or condescending smile, but the one with the one intent to return what was given. And the talk continued. Man-to-man. Earnestly. Straightforwardly. And respectfully.

It still hurts. Of course it would. It was just a makeshift to patch up the mess that was once his tool to manifest, to create and nowadays to kill. But it was certainly not a sloppy attempt. It was something meant for him at heart, done out of their own kindness and desire to see him standing on his feet right by their sides, not just because it was their duty. The rag of cotton that was once a lovely shirt was double knotted that hugged his arm like a human hand grasping sweetly yet gently on his arm. Like how his mother did when he was only eight when he fell on the pavement and she helped relieving the pain like an angel. It was good times, the times when he had not to worry a single thing about life, the times he did not have to worry about getting shot, getting enough food, enough rest or enough shelter for himself and for others too. He was just playing around the house and the city everyday, going to school, being loved by his friends, and especially being taken cared of by someone he could still not differentiate with an angel in the heavenly sky. He wished he could come back any day, when the war is over. He'd have to survive the war first though. It had proven itself difficult, but he had only one direction now.

But as he was still remembering the angels in his life, he turned around to the sound of another one.

It was Lucia. Again with the intrusion it seemed. He had clearly closed the door anyway. But for after everything she had done for him, it would just be petty complaints. As Michael turned around, the close proximity of her eyes intertwining with his like fiber strands dancing around each other and braiding into a strong thick rope made him take a step back in surprise. Her soft, soaked yet still silky silver hair fell down on her small shoulders, so gently yet for some reasons, it never did reflect her the same way he did. She wasn't the Lucia Michael knew at Hill 58, yet it was the Lucia he had always known. It was simply beautiful, nothing less.

"...But you still did a lot for me. Really much, I'll cherish this."

It did not slip his mind of how she had been so aggressive and determined to protect him, to the point that he began to feel abnormality in it, but it never came to his consciousness to make him ask. Not yet. For now, he was simply lost in thoughts just as Lucia wrapped her small palm around his wrist as she led him out of the room and onto his bed. Led but he never was not free. He just simply lent Lucia to her guidance. He didn't question one bit what she was going to do. He knew it, from holding his wrist to sliding her fingers and sewed it with his own, he knew it. He knew he was not going to go anywhere with this, nor did he want to go anywhere. His gentle descent into the dreamland did not come any longer after hers, and finally, for once in a while, he actually saw his cherished. Like Lucia said, he had arrived at his favorite place - nowhere further than his sweet home, his large yet cozy mansion, his favorite spot next to the fireplace in his study, on a nice comfy armchair with a book. But for today, that familiarity was broken. On that same spot, in front of his armchair was another one, and on it was a girl with long silver hair...

It felt just like Hill 58 again, but this time the stench and the taste, it was all in one place, nowhere to go, just like how they were now. The atmosphere could drive any weak minds to insanity. As the squad was gathering up after the car had retreated, Michael took a quick look in the rooms that were once a battlefield, and now a graveyard. There were no time for grace and respect for these brave but tragic individuals. It was a horrible fate for such brave souls. Michael didn't know whatever sins they had committed, and hoped that if they did, they would face appropriate salvation, but he knew that to be standing in front of the guns, and to go down in a fight, was something not many people could do. Not that he could do properly. Damn it, he could've sworn he wanted to take someone down right now, but his shoulder had been shattered. This wasn't a game that he could undo at anytime. His mistake costed him his arm, and now he had to bear the consequences.

But at least he could hope for the tunnel. That's right, they were supposed to be heading there as one of the objectives. He couldn't run away from that. Nor could he shelter in the tunnel. It's a fight or die, or both. He could definitely be able to cause some serious damage though. Now that he remembered that map, it may look a little sophisticated to the untrained eye, but a man of expertise could see through the fact that the tunnel's weakest links would be at three different locations. Not that it would collapse the entire tunnel but access to the upper floor would be cut off, and rescue would take a lot of time. If he managed to pull that one through, then god help the ones who got stranded inside.

Still, that time would have to wait, as Jean began to gather the squad together with Michael agreeably moving gradually into the center as he was injured. Michael had no objections at all to such a plan. The higher ups had been assholes to the entire squad so far, yet displayed ambiguity, if not no guidance at all, of when they should reach the tunnel. And he had been injured as well. In a narrow, dark, humid and claustrophobic tunnel, fighting underhanded and handicapped would be the worst thing you could be facing. A nice break he wouldn't complain.

Time began to march as the squad began to shift away from the relics of the old building, old battlefield, into the cold wet street of Amone as the echo of the guns began to distance themselves. But never could he once walk in a true sense of safety. Even though he was surrounded by comrades, he knew that a shell could kill him and his squad right there. A sniper fire, maybe from Green Fox himself, could take his head off. Or even an ambush just like before could also send him walking to the pit. If that wasn't enough, the rain was trying to replicate each and every bullets that had been fired that day onto the poor exhausted squad. Dragging his wet boot as it flopped with every steps on the street, the sapper was crying inside in joy the moment the squad found a shelter for the entire squad. A crumbled, depressingly ugly ruin that was once called a house. But nevertheless, that was a place to shelter from sniper fire, one that they desperately needed.

Michael was given the bed as he was the injured one. Not that he would complain about being given the privilege, but it passively did give him the more impression that he had been a deadbeat of the entire squad. At least Thomas probably had been doing a lot of damage before getting pummeled like that. But still, after he lay his tools down on the bed frame, Michael went to the room next door as he took off the outer layers of his upper clothing and forced the water out of his own convenience. His hat as well, but he could always let it dry. But this shirt he'd have to put this back on again. He wouldn't last through the night without it. To sleep on wet clothing, that cozy warm feeling of new uniform surely didn't last long.

"They did a good job..."

He uttered silently as he looked down at his arm and shoulder. It would probably need some proper dressing, but he owed this to those two.
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