oneill: Scrapped Princess - Text: This is Christopher Armalite. You can call him Chris . . . right before he fucks your shit up. (Chris kicks ass.)
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Scrapped Princess | Canzonetta of the Unforgiven | The SpecOps Combat Technician, Once Again | Part 3/3

Towns have something of a distinctive flavor1 about them, and those who live in one town for a long time gain the ability to scent it out.

Of course, a town's citizens are not usually conscious of that flavor, but when a resident encounters an outsider, it comes back to the forefront of the mind. When that expected sensation is missing, the gaping hole left in its absence is filled by a different air.

It is filled by either the flavor of the town in which the outsider was raised, or of the people to whom she belongs. Even solitary travelers like wandering minstrels have the flavor of their mien coiling about them.

Perhaps that was what people meant by presence . . . For one reason or another, that was what Winia thought.

"How do you do?"

But the boy before her eyes did not have that.

His was a terrifying lack of aura. To the point that, for a moment, she thought he might be a doll. In truth, his face and figure were flawless, as though he were a calculatedly manufactured doll. His coldly beautiful aspect seemed likely to attract equal measures of admiration from the opposite sex and envy from the same sex. Those in their mid-teens ought to retain a certain innocence through adolescence, but he lacked that as well. Lacked it completely.

". . . Can I help you?" Winia asked the chestnut-haired boy who stood before her eyes, barring her path.

The streetscape at eventide. The crowds of people hurrying home. Lamplight began to shine in the windows, and the scent of supper streamed out from here and there. Distant, motherly voices could be heard calling for their children.

However, in the midst of it all, this boy's being was out of place. If you had asked what it was that set him apart, even Winia could not have given a clear answer, but something about the boy clearly did not fit into his surroundings.

Like a nocturnal predator that has hidden itself within a herd of herbivores.

"Shannon Casull . . . You're acquainted with him, are you not?"

At those words, Winia's body stiffened.

No matter how detached her life may have been from such things as combat and assassination, she could still guess the meaning of those words. This boy was an enemy of Pacifica and her siblings.

"No, I--"

"Now, now, Oneesan. You shouldn't lie."

Just as Winia tried to run off, a sharp pain bit into her shoulder. The boy had seized her shoulder in a grip that seemed strong enough to crush an apple.
Scrapped Princess - Christopher Armalite seizes Winia Chester's shoulder.
"Someone! Someone help--"

"Winia?"

Could this have been a gift from Providence? Before she could even finish a proper scream, a strapping youth happened to pass by.

He was an acquaintance of hers. While it would be difficult to call his work first-rate, he was a young smithy who had earned a reputation in the neighborhood for taking even the finickiest of orders to heart . . . Falke.

"What's wrong? He hassling you?"

Small, tea-colored eyes in a broad-featured face . . . He had a good-natured sort of face, but he stood a full head taller than Winia, so it made quite an impact when he came to stand beside her. Of course, had he lacked that sort of build, he probably would not have undertaken such heavy labor as blacksmithing.

"Listen, kid, maybe you got your reasons, but you can't go dragging girls off against their wills."

"This has nothing to do with you. It would be safer to stand aside," the boy said in a thoroughly cheerful voice, and he then lightly waved one hand. His white hand was reminiscent of a delicate girl, and the path it traced led to Falke's body.

"Urgh?"

Letting out a muddy sound--as though he were vomiting gastric acid--the young blacksmith's body floated through the air. He flew back several paces and fell to the ground.

"Y . . . you . . . ?"

A commotion spread out around the boy and Winia, and Falke as well. People stilled their legs and fixed their eyes upon the three, seeming to wonder what had happened.

As Falke picked himself back up, an anguished expression on his face, the boy smiled at him.

"I went easy on you, but . . . for a civilian, you're quite impressive."

"It's 'cause my boss is so strict. I've been getting walloped since I was a kid."

So saying, Falke struck a pose with both hands in front of his chest. Rather than a stance he had learned by studying unarmed martial arts, it was more likely one he had developed naturally while brawling.

"I see. But that half-baked strength of yours puts you at a disadvantage. Getting knocked out just now would have been easier on you."

"I ain't too impressed by kids who underestimate adults like that."

"I'm not too impressed by amateurs who underestimate professionals, myself."

Falke started toward the boy, both hands outstretched in the intention of pinning him down. In spite of it all, he probably would have felt ashamed to strike an enemy that was still young enough to be called a child. However extraordinary the brute strength this boy possessed may have been, there was a fundamental difference in their body weights, so Falke could win by pinning him down . . . That was what Falke must have expected.

However . . .

A dull sound rang out. Winia realized that a rod had shot out from under the ash grey cloak the boy wore . . . from the place where the two edges met.

"Ngh . . . ?" Falke groaned.

With a swing of the boy's arm, the rod that had bitten into Falke's solar plexus rotated swiftly and--with a metallic ring--stretched out even farther.

In the blink of an eye, it had grown into a weapon that rivaled him in height . . . a halberd.

"Sweet dreams," the boy murmured to Falke, who was doubled over in pain. At the same time, he used the handle of his whirling battleaxe to deliver a direct blow to the back of Falke's head. This time, Falke sank soundlessly to the ground and fell still.

There were screams. Screams from Winia, and from those curious onlookers who had witnessed what had happened.

". . . Now, then."

Seeming entirely unaffected by the screams and tremors that came from all around him, the boy turned back toward Winia. Bringing down a grown man had not affected his breathing in the slightest. Quite the contrary, the hand gripping Winia's shoulder had not loosened even for a moment.

"I'll have you act as bait, Oneesan," the boy declared, a bright smile on his face.



Sensing a presence draw near, Shannon looked up.

He exchanged glances with Raquel, who was beside him, using a fruit knife to peel an apple. Raquel closed her eyes and confirmed the information from Ásgarð, the alert barrier magic formation that she had previously activated.

After sensing something like bloodlust that evening, Shannon had asked Raquel to set it up, just to be safe.

Once activated, Ásgarð will continue to operate for one full day--even while the mage himself sleeps--and will detect the presence of any living thing that comes within range. However, the downside to this convenience is that it is an extremely high-level spell, and keeping it active over the course of several days can have an adverse effect on the mage's spirit.

"No metal on hand that could be considered a weapon. Height, weight, stride length . . . hm . . . I think it's probably Colt-san, from the Wild Horse."

Having instantaneously read all this from the information screen that was delineated in her mind, Raquel nodded.

Shortly thereafter, there was a knock at the door.

Pacifica (who was sprawled out over the table) sprang up like a cat reacting to a noise.

"Winia?"

"Doesn't sound like it, kid."

"Ooh, I'm so hungry."

Pacifica flopped back down on the table. Shannon gave her a wry smile as he walked past and opened the door. Before he could open it properly, though, it was impatiently hauled open.

"Shannon!"

There, just as Raquel had predicted, stood a little old man--the owner of the Wild Horse, Safir Colt.

". . . Did something happen, sir?" Shannon asked, dispensing with pleasantries as well. He sensed something in Safir's expression.

Safir opened his mouth and started to say something . . . then he closed it again. Unless he composed himself, he would end up blabbing meaninglessly.

"Winia--" Safir said, taking a deep breath. "Winia's been kidnapped by a strange boy!"

At those words, the expressions of Shannon and his sisters all froze.

---

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Notes:
1) The text has nioi (匂い). Over and over and over again. It's especially difficult to translate when used in reference to Chris (恐ろしいほどに匂いがない。). In the end, I couldn't figure out a single word that would work in every instance, so I translate it as flavor, air, and aura (as well as just plain it), depending on the context. Back




Wait, wait. I get it now. Chris is a redeemable version of Johan Liebert.

That said, Chris really ought to be wearing a smile, rather than that overtly menacing frown. Oh, well.

Date: 2012-04-24 05:54 pm (UTC)
evey_w: (Default)
From: [personal profile] evey_w
Man, I kinda forget that Chris is supposed to be kinda young sometimes, which adds to be badassery. How old is he again?

Date: 2012-04-25 05:29 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] badtzhobby
Thank you.
What a tense part. Poor Falke! Chris is totally scary.

"Chris really ought to be wearing a smile, rather than that overtly menacing frown."
I can't imagine Chris with "overtly menacing frown." His smile or nonchalant look is much more colder and detached, I think.

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sutepri: Scrapped Princess - Pacifica Casull beams while the sun rises in the background. Also, Shannon's shoulder. (Default)
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