This story uses characters and locations based on the Gunslinger Girl manga written by Yu Aida and published in monthly shōnen magazine Dengeki Daioh. The characters of Kara and Michele are original to myself.

Chapter Five – Sampo [Stroll]


"Are you ready?" Henrietta asked.

"Yes, Henrietta!" Rico replied with a smile.

The two girls left their hotel room and headed out onto the street. Even though it was November, the weather was still mild in the Sicilian commune of Taormina. Henrietta wore an olive-green and white dress with white stockings and black patent leather Mary Jane flats. Rico was wearing a grey long-sleeved sweater, blue jeans and red sneakers.

It was a clear fall day and the temperature was mild. As they were not on a mission, neither girl was armed, though they were hardly defenseless thanks to their cyborg bodies. Their handlers had left earlier and had left them instructions to meet them at a trattoria a few blocks down for lunch.

As they walked, Henrietta started humming a merry tune and they skipped along the sidewalk.

"Henrietta, what song are you humming?"

"It's from a cartoon movie about two girls living in the woods with this giant grey and white stuffed animal and a cat that was a bus and they have all these great adventures!"

As they rounded the corner, Rico squealed with joy and ran past Henrietta.

"Eh? Rico?" Henrietta called, chasing after her.

Rico was standing before a small yellow car, bouncing up and down.

"It's so cute!" Rico said.

"It's a car, Rico," Henrietta noted.

"But it's such a pretty yellow, Henrietta! Like a sunflower! And you can lean back against it and feel the sun on your face!" Rico then proceeded to do just that, a large smile plastered on her face and her eyes closed in happiness.

"It would be nice if Jean would buy such a car," she said.

"But Jean has such a nice car!" Henrietta exclaimed. "It's so big and has such soft seats."

"But the doors are so tall it's hard to see out, Henrietta. And I feel so small in that big seat with that wide console between Jean and I. This car is smaller so I could see out the windows and be closer to Jean."

Henrietta could relate to those comments. Her handler's car was a small convertible so it was easy for her to look out, especially when the roof was down. And there was only a small console between the seats so if she scooted over to the left as much as possible, she could almost rub shoulders with Giuse. Henrietta had sat in the back of Jean's car with Rico and the console between them was so wide they could almost have put a third girl there. She shuddered with the thought of such a distance separating her and Giuse on a long road-trip.

"Come on, Rico. We don't want to be late."

"Okay, Henrietta!" Rico took one last look at the little yellow car and followed after her friend.