Heat… smoke… those sensations that burned against her skin… but that didn't matter. She made it outside with this last little girl from the burning building. "I got her!"
"Bring her over here!" She moved to the medical station as quickly as she could and placed the child's body down and grabbed a ventilator before placing the mask section on the child's mouth. A quick check showed the magical battery in place.
She looked down at the child. "You're gonna be okay. You hear me?"
There was no response from the girl, even as the ventilator did its job of pumping oxygen.
"She's… she's not breathing? Why isn't she breathing?"
The nearby medic ran scans. "Her respiratory system has sustained burns. She's inhaled too much smoke."
An older male voice tried to pull her away. "Nakajima, that's enough. Let it go."
"She just needs to get direct oxygen into her lungs, right? I can save her!"
It was April 28th MC 0077. A nice spring day on TSAB Administrated World #3, Vaizen. Subaru Nakajima would have agreed if thoughts on the last disaster mission did not plague her.
After being granted a leave of absence from her commanding officer, she figured that she could travel to Vaizen for a training trip to clear her head and get stronger. This way, when the next disaster hit, she would be able to save everyone. It was hard trying to get in the mood for training though, especially when her mind kept replaying that scene over and over.
The morning was a bit of a write off so she decided to prepare lunch. Hopefully, she would get her mental well being back on track after a full meal. Her lapse in concentration however caused her to put too many ingredients into the pot. Even if she was a big eater, she was certain that she wouldn't be able to finish all that food, which meant some of it would go to waste.
A rustle in the bushes behind her shook her out of her thoughts along with the ramblings of a young male child. "Alright, time to catch some fish for… lunch?" From out of the bushes, a small boy with brown hair and light blue eyes emerged. He was dressed in a light blue and white shirt and a pair of jeans and carried some fishing gear.
'A local kid?' Hm… perhaps he could help make sure this food doesn't go to waste. She gave a small smile in order to make the child at ease. "I've made a bit too much food. You mind joining me for lunch?"
"My mom says I'm not supposed to talk to strangers or take any food from them," said the young boy with a guarded look.
"Um, that's true… but I'm not a bad guy! I'm a Bureau officer." Subaru fished out her identification to show to the boy. "See?"
He looked at it for a moment before asking another question. "… um, can I bring my mom with me? If we eat here, we can save our fishing supplies for another trip."
"Sure! There's plenty enough for everyone!" As soon as the boy disappeared back into the bushes, Subaru decided that since he would be bringing a guest, she would need to carefully season the stew for maximum taste. "Let's see what I got here… garlic? Hmmm… thyme?"
"Mom, over here! The officer lady's over here!"
Wow, that kid was quick. 'Looks like I'll stick with plain old pepper,' thought the young woman to herself as she reached for the small container…
"Hold on, Touma! Don't be so hasty!"
… And nearly dropped it as she heard a very familiar female voice call out for her son. 'That woman… it can't be…'
She turned around just in time to see the boy pull his mother along, a young attractive woman in a white sundress. But two particular features stood out and those were her eyes and her hair colour. They were the exact same colours as…
"I beg your pardon?" asked the woman with a polite smile.
"S-sorry, I got you mixed up with someone else. She has the same eyes as you." Yeah, that's right… Vivio's just a kid and she's back at the home world with school so there's no way…
"Really? I always thought I was unique." The mother and son took a place at the picnic bench nearby while Subaru brought the pot over so she could serve lunch.
"Whaaa… that's a big pot there, officer lady!" exclaimed the boy while Subaru brought out some bowls and spoons along with the serving spoon.
"Please don't call me that! Kinda feels awkward. Just call me by my name, Subaru. Or you can call me Su-chan if you like! What are your names?"
"Olivie Segbrecht. And this is my adopted son, Touma Avenir. A pleasure to meet you!" replied the other woman in a sunny tone.
'Olivie… Olivie… for some reason that name sounds kinda familiar,' thought Subaru to herself.
'That's the name of the last Saint King, you moron!' sounded a voice in her head that sounded awfully familiar to her best friend.
'Ah, that's it! Just as I expected of Te-'
That was when all thought processes came to a screeching stop causing her to drop the serving spoon.
"EEEEEEEEHHHHHHHH? ! ? ! ? You… you're…!" Subaru was trying really hard not to sputter but considering the name given from the figure across from her, she couldn't be faulted for having such a reaction.
"Su-chan dropped the spoon. Now it's all dirty," commented Touma.
"Would you mind cleaning it up, sweetie?"
"Okay, mom!" The young boy took the spoon and went to the lake to clean it up as best as he could, leaving the two young women alone.
"You're really the last Saint King? Sankt Kaiser Olivie Segbrecht?"
Olivie's smile never left her face. "I am who I am. It's up to you whether or not you believe me on that account."
Subaru paused, choosing her words carefully. "I… really don't know what to say. History said that you perished to put an end to the Saint King Unification War."
"So that's what history says, hm?" The blonde woman closed her eyes for a moment. "It probably would have been true if my original plan had gone as intended. However…"
"If seeing a world with a blue sky, beautiful flowers and free from the ravages of war is what you truly desire, then let this Myrddin grant your wish."
"I couldn't understand what he meant at the time but before I knew it, I had arrived in this world."
Subaru couldn't believe what she was hearing but she didn't have a chance to ask more about it as Touma came back with the serving spoon. "All clean!"
"Then let's dig in!" exclaimed Olivie in that cheerful tone of hers.
The meal passed by before Subaru knew it, with all the miscellaneous chatter that had gone around the table. She had been hoping to use the time to pry some more information from the mother and son pair but somehow she ended up talking more about her job as they were interested in what type of officer work she did. It was somewhat puzzling for her since they were residents of an administrated world and have some basic knowledge about the Bureau's structure and getting access to services.
Okay, Olivie she could understand, assuming her implied story of being flung to this world from her timeline is true instead of the more likely story in that she was a very well made clone of the last Saint King. But why did Touma not know more about the Bureau?
When she posed that question to the young boy, he replied that it wasn't something that was commonly talked about in his village. They had more important concerns, such as working on the mine and digging for ore and metals to fulfill their employer's quota.
'So he came from the mining village that was destroyed three years ago, the one that was classified as a wide scale accident because of improper mining explosive storage.' She remembered reading that story one day during her orientation sessions with the Disaster Relief division. But something still nagged at her.
"Ahhh… that was a good meal! You make a mean stew, Su-chan!"
"Eh?" Upon hearing the young woman's comment, Subaru's vision turned towards the pot she had cooked earlier. One look inside the gigantic pot showed that there was pretty much nothing left in there. "Wow, you really polished off a lot of that stuff… and I didn't even get seconds!"
Olivie giggled slightly. "Hehe… I like to eat healthy when I can!"
Both the mother and the son stayed around to help with the clean up. Touma went back to the lake to rinse the smaller dishes while both Olivie helped with scrubbing down the giant pot. Since they were by themselves, Subaru took the opportunity to try and clear some things. "But when the Bureau investigated the village three years ago, they found no survivors. Why was that?"
"The day I arrived on this world was the same day I found him. Among the wreckage of his ruined home and about to be executed by those two…"
"What?" Thoughts began racing through Subaru's head. 'Was that incident actually a massacre?'
"I don't know who they were and they had some odd power to them that reduced the impact of my spells. But I was still able to drive them off."
"I see." This changed a lot of things. With this woman's testimony, the case of the destruction of the village could be reopened and re-examined.
"The first year was the hardest. Along with finding a suitable place to live, I had to juggle raising Touma and a plan to sustain ourselves. But eventually, we managed to put together a sense of routine and here we are, doing fine three years after I found him."
While Olivie went back to scrubbing, Subaru pondered on how she could get this woman back to Mid-Childa so that she would be well guarded in case the culprits behind the village massacre came back with a lot of friends. The Saint Church would undoubtedly go out of the way to be of assistance. And it would be in the Bureau's best interests to keep her in their sights since in addition to providing insight on the case, if this woman truly had the blood of the Saint King, she could probably trigger Lost Logia just be being in their vicinity. The question was how to go about convincing her to leave this world. It seemed that Olivie and Touma managed to build a life for themselves here.
Then it came to Subaru. Touma would be the key. Olivie had spent the last three years raising Touma as her own son. Therefore, she would want to do what's best for him. She rapidly formed a plan as she attacked a particularly dirty spot on the pot. "I see you've done well for yourself and Touma but…"
"To be honest, Vaizen may not be exactly the best world to be raising a child like him." Subaru reached for the bucket of water that had been gathered earlier by Touma and began to rinse the inside of the pot.
"What do you mean?" asked Olivie curiously.
The other woman went into her explanation. "On one hand, you have the technologically advanced cities. In order to thrive there, you have to be very well educated either in business subjects or the sciences in order to get a job with one of the major employers there. If Touma-kun truly wanted to become a scientist or a business man, then he may be able to adjust to city life in Vaizen but to me, he doesn't seem to be that type of person."
"I guess that makes sense…"
"Then you have the smaller towns and cities that are primarily established by the bigger corporations in order to gather natural resources. They're usually tight knit communities so it might be difficult trying to fit in there if you dropped by one of them with the hopes of settling in. Or you could keep doing what you have been doing, living off the land by yourselves. But living in isolation wouldn't be healthy." She paused for a moment before laying out the hook. "Especially for a child like Touma-kun."
"He should be growing up with peers to naturally interact with. He needs to make friends and build relationships with those his age." That should plant some interesting questions in Olivie's mind.
"That's true. Then where would you suggest I raise Touma?"
With a calm smile, Subaru made the pitch. "How about coming back with me to Mid-Childa? There are a lot of people raising their families there so Touma will have plenty of kids his age to spend time with.
"That sounds nice…" There was a bit of uncertainty in those green and red eyes of Olivie's.
"You don't have to give me an answer right now. I'll be staying on this world for a few days to train so just take the time to think it over. Okay?"
The blonde woman paused for a moment before smiling. "That's very kind of you, considering you've given me quite a lot to think about."
That evening, Olivie brewed herself a cup of tea while pondering what to do in regards to Touma's future.
She liked to think that she had done well so far in the three years that she raised him. Along with getting him involved in important tasks like house work and hunting for food, she had been teaching him some of the basic aspects of her combat arts. He had taken to it quite well since it was an easy way to work off any extra energy he had during the day. And his progress meant that he would be able to fend for himself if a fight broke out.
Granted, he doesn't have the physical conditioning to be able to withstand some of the more advanced enhancement spells. He could do smaller ones for temporary boosts of speed and strength. By her estimates, he was probably strong enough to defeat a squire that was on the threshold of reaching knighthood back in her era. With a few more years of proper training (and nothing insane like what she had went through as a child living on the Cradle before being sent to Shutra), he could probably go toe to toe with the average battalion vice-captain.
Even with that, Olivie realized that she wasn't fully meeting all of Touma's emotional needs. Sure, she provided a home, a sense of stability and security and her son had her maternal love and attention. But as he grows older, he will encounter certain issues and aspects of life that could only be spoken about between men. Her dear friend Claus was like that and spoke with his knights whenever something bothered him that he couldn't share with her.
The thought of Claus caused her to pause for a moment. Her memories of him had served as the foundation for her vision of the type of man Touma should become. However, tales of her friend can only do so much to help her son determine for himself the path to develop into a proper young man. Perhaps this Mid-Childa world would be able to offer some suitable male role models who could influence Touma in a positive manner.
Her eyes spotted the young boy entering the kitchen, clad in a t-shirt and shorts that served as his regular sleepwear. "Yes, Touma?"
"Is there something bothering you?"
"I wouldn't say bothering… but Su-chan laid out an interesting offer. She said that she would be willing to take us to Mid-Childa."
Touma sat down across from his mother at the table. "Mid-Childa? That's the Bureau's home world."
Olivie idly stirred her cold tea. "She said that it might be a better place to live for the two of us compared to this place. What do you think?"
"I'll go wherever you want to go, Mom. You were there for me ever since that day."
"Would you feel comfortable moving to a larger area? Or do you want to stay at this home?"
"As far as I'm concerned, the only place I can call home is a place that has you in it," said the boy softly.
Olivie smiled at her son. "I'm glad to hear that."
"What about you, Mom? If you were my age and had your mom or dad ask you the same question, how would you respond?"
She went quiet for a bit as her mind went back to her childhood on the Cradle, which wasn't a particularly warm and loving one. Her daily activities had been carefully planned in advance. Mornings were for strict training in her combat arts and magic. Often, the elders of her family would test the limits of the Relic that they had fused with her Linker Core shortly after she had been born.
It wasn't very fun at all.
Afternoons were a little better when she would study military strategy and learn more about the army she was to lead to invade worlds who broke away from the Belkan Empire. She had gotten to know many different battalions of knights and found a sense of companionship with them, despite the difference in age and status. And any time she heard news of these brave men falling in battle, all she could do was silently mourn for them while life went on in the Cradle.
The evenings were often spent familiarizing her with the controls of the Cradle and learning how to operate those defensive machines. Those things bothered her with their razor sharp sickles.
And that daily routine would continue on until an arrangement by her father allowed her to leave the Cradle and stay in Shutra. It was quite possibly the happiest time in her life and even better when she found some friends about her age. The young prince of the land, Claus Ingvalt… and that quiet smaller boy who was studying to become a Court Magus, Myrddin. She hadn't been certain how Claus would have taken it if he knew that she had another friend like him. He probably would have been jealous and acted irrationally and caused a huge mess.
Then again, she wondered how things would have turned out if they had been a proper united trinity. Myrddin had a talent for certain Rare Skills and Spells in the Belkan magic system and combined with her combat arts and the Kaiser Arts of Ingvalt, they could have brought the Unification War to an end without anyone having to make a sacrifice.
"Sorry… I was just thinking for a bit…" She paused for a bit before she addressed her son again. "And I think that if I had the chance, I would have liked to move there and meet new people and find new friends. If I never left the Cradle, I don't think I would be the person I am now."
Touma gave a little smile. "Then I guess you have your answer."
Olivie smiled back at the boy. "So it seems."