“Fuuuck fuuuck fuckiiing fuuuck,” sang a girl as she scattered fresh red blood about Baggage City.
She was in Baggage City’s garbage disposal facility. The hot water pipes and passageways connected there as well. In fact, the heat produced by burning the garbage was used to run the hot water heating facility, so it could even be called the core of Baggage City.
A few different facilities such as the thermal power station and the oil refinement plant functioned as the cornerstones that kept the hot water heating facility running, so if all of them were to be knocked out, Baggage City would be sent to a hell of below -20 degree temperatures.
The battlefield had distorted like an amoeba.
It had gone from being a safely maintained circular ring to a garbage disposal facility where human life was viewed as holding no value.
From how her attacks were mass producing the color red, it may have been hard to tell that the girl was actually on the side of the defenders.
Her silver hair was braided.
She had brown skin and wore glasses with red frames.
As she was wearing overalls over her bare skin, her outfit was a bit odd for walking around town or for heading through a snow-covered area. She held a hammer and a saw made of gold. Normally, pure gold was resistant to corrosion and oxidation but had low solidity. In other words, it was too soft a metal to use as a blade. However, that standard knowledge meant nothing to that brown girl. Her gold tools could cut steel, break concrete, and “alter” humans in psychedelic ways.
She was a formal member of Gremlin.
She was a living Dvergr.
She was Marian Slingeneyer.
She was not actually moving very fast. In fact, she was moving quite slowly. Her speed was no quicker than a normal girl wasting time on the way back home.
“Woof, woof. Growl,” muttered Marian as she stabbed her gold saw at the wall.
For some reason it stuck. As soon as she let go of it, the saw shot toward the enemy line at the speed of an automobile. The Academy City assassins had assumed her range was only that of the saw, and they could do nothing but stand still in shock at the sudden change in her reach.
Blood sprayed in to the air.
“Grease! Did she cover the wall in grease so the saw would slide on it!?”
The gold saw left the wall and arced complicatedly through the air, chopping the multiple soldiers to pieces as they stood in place.
But immediately afterwards, their bodies were whole once more. None of them had bled a drop of blood this time.
“Hmm? You should take a good look at your arms and legs.” Marian grabbed the saw that had returned to her via the wall, spun it around a few times, and then pointed at the soldiers with its deadly tip. “Doesn’t it look like they’ve been forcibly stuck together? It’s like pieces from multiple jigsaw puzzles have been mixed together.”
“Oh, and I never performed any compatibility tests, so if you don’t hurry, a transplant rejection is probably going to start. If you don’t want to die, you’ll need to get your own parts back.”
It was unclear if they really intended to attack their fellow soldiers, but those around them reacted.
The unharmed soldiers who had been swallowed up by the bizarre atmosphere decided the others were going to attack, so they treated them like enemies and shot them.
“What a tragedy,” muttered Marian Slingeneyer quietly.
In the time their attention had been drawn away due to fear, she had approached much closer to the surviving soldiers.
That was when an assassin hiding among the collapsed bodies shot at her at close range with a handgun.
However, Marian swung her golden saw without even looking over.
Immediately afterwards, both the assassin’s hands disappeared.
They had not been severed.
Instead, everything beyond his two wrists had been turned into a single golden faucet. This put him in a similar situation to having his hands cuffed and the components making it up were nothing more than his normal arms and a normal faucet. However, the scene they created together was simply too grotesque.
Her Dvergr techniques went beyond the realm of surgery and actually functioned as combat techniques.
As the assassin stared blankly at his changed hands, Marian Slingeneyer patted him on the shoulder.
“Good try.” She grinned. “But accomplishing nothing still gets you 0 points. Too bad.”
Without hesitation, she turned on the faucet.
With the sound of flowing liquid, the dark red liquid that gave him life easily poured out.
“With both your hands turned into a single faucet, you can’t even turn it off. Now, how much blood loss is lethal to humans again? Well, I’m sure a bucketful is enough…hm? He’s already unconscious?”
The assassin convulsed as he sank into the pool of his own blood.
Showing no concern, Marian Slingeneyer continued to walk forward.
“I’m really not the combat type, so I thought this would be harder. I’m quite disappointed in Baggage City—that is, the Anti-Academy City Science Guardians—for being so utterly defeated by nothing more than this. They might not even buy us the time we needed.”
With that annoyed comment, Marian pointed the end of the gold saw toward her feet. Before an assassin hiding behind cover could fire his rifle at her, she tore through the throat of a soldier who was collapsed on the ground and was just barely breathing.
When she did, a loud child-like soprano scream that seemed to exceed the limits of the human vocal cords erupted out.
A young scream. The frequency that humans found the most irritating.
While the assassin behind cover’s body froze in response to that sudden explosion of noise, Marian Slingeneyer approached him head on with long strides.
She swung her gold hammer like a baseball bat.
The assassin’s entire abdomen was blown away. The blunt mass of flesh shot out like a shell and crushed another assassin located a distance away.
“You’re still not dead?” Marian scratched at her head. “If you had just died here, you could have gone to your grave without getting too messed up.”
With long strides, Marian approached the assassin who had been hit by the abdomen of his fellow assassin that had been removed like he was a toy. Giving up on his dropped rifle, he tried to pull out his handgun while collapsed on the ground, but she crushed his arm underfoot and took out both his legs with one blow of the saw.
His two legs became two wheels.
The assassin screamed at the disgusting yet painless change.
“You have a straight path to the compost tank. Have fun suffocating in the rotting trash☆,” Marian whispered as if to a lover.
It was too late for him to even try grabbing at the floor with his fingernails. Still collapsed, the assassin was dragged along the ground at high speed, disappearing down a passageway. The scene was similar to a victim being swallowed up into the sea in a horror movie featuring a giant shark.
“Is this all you’ve got?”
Marian Slingeneyer spun around her golden weapons.
She suddenly realized the great noise had vanished. Silence surrounded her. It was not that all of the assassins had been defeated. Only about a third or a fourth of them had been killed. However, the corpses and transformed piles of flesh she had created were enough to cause those unharmed to drop their weapons and fall to the floor.
That was a fate worse than death.
That hackneyed term was often used in movies and novels, but it had a way of destroying all thoughts in one’s mind when it was actually seen.
People were meant to wish for life and fear death. When that basis of thought was no longer functioning, all other thought patterns were cut off as well.
“Is that all the great Academy City can do? Then I’m a bit disappointed. I thought you guys were the winners of World War III?”
All of them held their breath and desperately tried to hide the fact that their heart was still beating. The slight sound of breathing that still escaped their mouths caused Marian to frown. She would use her gold saw and hammer to kill some and transform others into some inhuman form. The remaining assassins could no longer move. Their hearts had been utterly defeated. They did not even have the courage to flee. Or more specifically, they did not have the courage to take any action that would draw her attention.
However, Marian Slingeneyer did not hesitate.
If they resisted, she chased them down and killed them. If they did not, she chopped them down like weeds.
“Sigh. It’s so much easier when I can get them to take each other out. Like this, I actually have to fight. This is why I don’t like combat. Hmm, I’m a bit worried about my diet.”
Marian stuck a hand inside her overalls and rubbed her stomach while using the other hand to swing about the gold saw. By accurately targeting the internal organs and immediately sealing the external wounds afterwards, she killed them such that they filled up like water balloons due to internal bleeding and did not dirty the area.
Just as Marian was satisfied with the absolute silence in the area, she heard the sound of creaking metal.
“Oh, dear. I don’t recognize—Oh, dear. Oh, dear. Where am I?”
A woman wearing pajamas was there. From the fact that she was in a wheelchair, she must not have had full use of her legs. She had a wired button sitting on her lap. She may have been a patient from a Baggage City hospital who had taken the chaos of the Academy City attack as an opportunity to get outside the hospital.
Her expression was very gentle.
She had likely not yet seen the “things” Marian had created.
“Who are you?” asked Marian.
“Oh, are you…umm, is that the uniform of a garbage disposal facility worker?”
“The furnace I use is a bit different. It does get to some high temperatures, though.” Marian scratched at her head with the hand holding the grip of her gold saw. “If you want the exit, take a right there and you’ll find the door two hundred meters down the passageway. You should be quick about it. This is a pretty dirty place.”
It may have been hard to imagine from the gruesome things she had been doing, but as stated before, Marian was one of the people protecting Baggage City. For the moment at least. As such, she had no real reason to modify the people of Baggage City.
The woman in the wheelchair bowed her head forward and said, “Thank you very much. …Oh? I’m caught on this cable on the floor. It’s just too high…Oh, dear.”
“Oh, god. What a pain.”
Marian Slingeneyer casually approached the pajama-wearing woman and circled around behind her wheelchair. She grabbed the handle and leaned her weight on it to raise the wheels over the thick cable.
“Ngh. This is a heavy wheelchair. Is it electric?”
“Electric assisted, yes. If I don’t exert myself some, my body will just get weaker and weaker, so it’s set so I don’t have it too easy. See, this box is the controller.”
“Yeah, I get it. I’m the indoor type, too. I do have to swing a hammer for my job though, so I do have a bit of upper body strength.”
“Are you a carpenter?”
“Not quite. I have no interest in building a castle. By the way,” Marian said as she pushed the wheelchair. “Is it hard getting around in a wheelchair?”
“It can be, yes. But it does give you plenty of opportunities to meet kind people. Like this for instance.”
“I see. But with how many cables and unlevel areas there are in this garbage disposal facility, how did you get this far in a wheelchair?”
“It doesn’t make any sense. It seems to me you purposefully got yourself stuck on that cable in order to draw me in close.”
Marian’s eyes narrowed and she tightened her grip on the gold saw.
Meanwhile, the pajama-wearing woman was still grinning.
Suddenly, the sound of metal clashing with metal rang out.
Marian Slingeneyer had simply swung the gold saw straight down.
What the pajama-wearing woman had done was unclear.
The handle of the wheelchair had suddenly jerked from Marian’s grasp and the wheelchair had rotated 180 degrees. That much Marian understood. However, that was all she understood. Something had knocked away her saw, but even afterwards, she had no idea what it had been.
Marian Slingeneyer’s body was knocked violently back and her back struck and crushed the equipment against the wall.
The woman’s wheelchair had left smoking tire marks on the floor in the shape of a perfect circle. While sitting above that circle, she pressed a button on the wired box in her lap.
It was unclear how they fit inside or even if it was possible given the law of conservation of mass, but an arm-like light machine gun and a shotgun (or cannon?) with a caliber great enough to fit a human arm within emerged from the back of the wheelchair.
Both guns had the same thing written on the side using the alphabet.
“If you’ve figured it out, I guess there’s no point in holding back!!”
The sound of the gunfire alone sounded loud enough to damage one’s internal organs. A storm of steel flew through the air. In an instant, Marian Slingeneyer’s silhouette was utterly destroyed as she lay sunk into the crushed machinery. Her upper body was turned into a thick red liquid. And her lower body was…
“What, is that kind of joke popular in Academy City?”
The voice had come from the remaining lower body. No. Another Marian Slingeneyer was crouching down at the feet of the crushed one.
However, that was not accurate either.
The pajama-wearing woman using the name Kihara quickly re-aimed her weapons.
“So that’s the real one!?”
“That’s a decoy too, you idiot,” said a voice from right next to her.
The pajama-wearing woman turned around and saw a third completely naked Marian Slingeneyer swinging down that gold saw that had turned only the outer appearance of some defeated Academy City soldiers into a smooth girl.
But once more, the wheelchair made a short, quick, blurring movement and some kind of equipment clashed with Marian’s saw, causing orange sparks to fly.
Tire marks were left on the floor and smoke from the friction rose up.
By Marian’s reckoning, the woman could probably fence and win while sitting in that wheelchair. Whether she could hold the sabre was another question.
(Tch. This is why I hate these freaks. And why I hate combat.)
She must have left spares scattered about her territory because Marian pulled a new pair of overalls out from behind some equipment and put them on.
As the wheelchair moved back with a squeaking noise, it moved frighteningly smoothly as if the cables and other obstacles were not there at all.
The pajama-wearing woman was grinning as always.
“So you were faking it. You can handle yourself well enough even if you can’t stand up.”
“I, Kihara Byouri, am a pro at ‘giving up’. I have given up on all sorts of things myself and I have made others give up on all sorts of things. So give up, Gremlin.”
“…Ohhh, I see. That’s quite a nice way to live.”
“But is it really that surprising? I’d say there are very few people who have never once faked needing help. I’d say the desire to give up is one of the major desires of humanity.”
Kihara Byouri’s job was to preserve order in that way.
If a terrorist group planned to destroy Academy City, she would “make them give up”. If someone was trying to leak information on Academy City tech, she would “make them give up”. If someone was developing a new weapon of mass destruction in a negative way, she would “make them give up”. Making people give up and give up and give up was how Kihara Byouri formed her trophy collection. She had a pile of ruined ambitions that had been twisted, broken, and crushed.
But then, this was nothing more than the result of taking her natural disposition and mixing it with society.
Kihara Byouri herself was one to “give up” on things.
Marian Slingeneyer clicked her tongue while staring at the wheelchair that was covered in lies.
“Kihara, was it? If I recall, there were more of you. But coming here like this will only lead to your defeat.”
“I have given up on Ransuu-kun, but there’s still Enshuu-chan.”
“So there are at least three of you. And from the way you said that, I doubt there are hundreds or thousands of you here. In that case, I would think your methods would be a bit different.”
“Your methods aren’t much different.”
“You invite in five or ten combat obsessed idiots and the entire plan falls apart from the inside. What a pain,” muttered Marian. “Well, I hope you don’t mind if I do my best to crush you.”
With a whoosh, Marian swung her saw.
The wall the saw blade dug into bled. No. It was a soldier that had been transformed to look just like the wall. He burst open like a balloon, and blood and fat splattered across the wall and floor. It was likely some kind of ritual for better using the gold tool.
Before, Marian had sent that saw racing across that wall that was now covered in fresh gore to attack the soldiers.
However, Kihara Byouri’s smile did not waver even upon seeing that grotesque scene.
“Is that your best? What a disappointment.”
Marian held up her gold hammer and saw, and Kihara Byouri pressed the button on her lap in response.
The wheelchair’s wheels disassembled.
The multiple spokes split apart and the evenly-divided portions of wheels were brought to the ground. What remained was a unit supported by multiple legs like a spider.
She may have been impressed with the craftsmanship because Marian let out a whistle.
“Now that must have taken some doing. You remind me of ‘Lone Wolf and Cub’.”
“But it is a baby carriage.”
After that slight exchange, the two monsters clashed at top speed.