Strike Witches

Pacific Suns

Battle of the Pacific

Chapter 7

Sealed Powers

Takeuchi Shion POV

I was rather worried about the entire event. When shou-sa asked us Fuso witches to stay behind, I was thinking that she was showing favour to the others squadrons, but as it turns out, she had placed us behind the Britannian witches because our units were more reliable to react to any situation. Unfortunately, while we could not stop the witch from going wild and taking off, shou-sa had ordered the fast moving Liberion witches to chase after her. Of course, they could only go up to a certain speed in that old unit, so shou-sa actually went up there herself. I did not know what she did, but she calmed the witch down immediately. At the same time I also felt a strong magical impulse.

It was hard to explain, but it was like having your soul sucked away. Everything seemed to freeze up for that short moment. Fear would grip you as your entire body would feel drained of life, of willpower. It was a somewhat frightening feeling. Soon, it was over, and shou-sa landed back down with the witch unconscious. The striker unit that crashed and exploded was quickly doused of the flames that were spewing from its wreckage and the unit was brought in to the hangar. I looked up to see the Liberion witches still continuing their training, probably ordered by shou-sa to continue training as I saw the Britannian witches do the same. Not all, though, as it seemed the Tian Shang witches were doing something else. They were all heading back into the hangar while the rest of the witches took off. Was there another problematic striker? From the engine tests they performed just now, it did not seem like it. So what was going on?

"Tai-i?"

"Kaoru, take over, would you? I need to check up on something."

I told my wingman as I docked my striker unit and jumped out. Something was amiss at the Britannian hangar. As I neared the Britannian hangar, I could hear panicked voices from within.

"... what do we do?"

"Calm down! She told us what to do."

"But still-"

I peered into the hangar and was unsure of what I was seeing. The Tian Shang witches were all huddled together by shou-sa's striker unit. Was something wrong with it? Then I saw it. Shou-sa's body was slumped against the platform. I panicked, rushing into the hangar.

"Shou-sa!"

"Wha- when did she-"

"Shou-sa! Shou-sa!"

"Calm down! She isn't dead."

One of the witches said, pulling me back.

"She used too much magic and she's just unconscious."

The witch explained, though I did not seem to hear it right.

"Wha- what do you mean by that? !"

"The Major managed to tell us before she completely slipped unconscious. She doesn't want to cause a scene so she requested that we all continue our training session."

"But-"

"What we can do now is to believe in the Major's words."

I was not convinced by it. I could not be. How can shou-sa give such an order? Even if she did, how can she not say anything to us?

"... Move her to the infirmary."

I said, shrugging off the Tian Shang witch's hold.

"But-"

"I'm the one currently the only ranking officer around here. So MOVE HER."

The witches all seemed to be taken back and nodded, carefully lifting shou-sa up and carrying her off. I guess I would need to cancel training for today. But what was it that shou-sa did? Using up almost all of her magic? Was it her ability? Just what was it? I had a strange feeling that if I looked deeper into it, I would be able to get a glimpse into who shou-sa really is. But at the same time I also had a feeling that I would only end up further from her.


Sepheria L. McKnight POV

I slowly opened my eyes, feeling my entire body aching sore. I slowly got up and noticed that I was in a bed in the infirmary. Didn't I tell Chi Xue and the others to just leave me by the platform? I would usually recover this lost of energy within an hour's time. It usually did not cause any need for concern, though this time round the backlash I received was far more severe than I had ever experienced before. Was it because of my age? Or was it because I was reluctant to use it on my fellow witch? I did not know, but what I was convinced about was that it was getting dangerous to use this ability again. I would not use it again as not only does it injure me, but it is painful for me to watch it being applied upon my fellow witches.

"Ah, Major, you're awake."

I turned and saw that sergeant Liu Chi Xue was standing by my bed along with her sister, sergeant Liu Yu Xun.

"... Who told you to move me here?"

I ask, sitting up.

"It was.. er... Captain Takeuchi."

The sergeant explained, somewhat nervous. I see, so it was Takeuchi who ordered them to bring me up here. I did not know whether to scold her, or to praise her. While a bed is better to rest on than the cold steel platform of a Striker, it would only cause unnecessary problems with morale of the base. It would also bring my ability to command into question. This was slightly troubling. I swung my legs off the bed and slowly got up.

"Major! You should still rest-"

"I'm fine."

I cut her off, slowly regaining strength back in my legs. I can't stay cooper up on the bed all the time.

"How long was I out for?"

"About an hour."

"An hour... I see."

An hour, this has to be the longest time for me to be out by using that skill. But the last time I passed out using this skill was years ago. Maybe the first time I used it? I could not quite remember. The first I used it, I did not know how to control it and so it led to me passing out. But what was wrong this time?

"How was the training?"

I ask, trying to change my thoughts. Chi Xue looked to her sister, slightly unsure of what to answer. She then took out a small piece of paper to read from.

"... E-each squadron went about with their own training. The Liberion squad was able to execute a good level of training. The Fuso air brigades were able to take off and perform even when one of their squadron leaders was missing. Britannian air squads 232 and 226 were able to do a stage 3 training session."

"... And yourselves?"

The two witches looked to each other, then shook their heads.

"We were looking after you, Major, throughout the entire time."

They were? I can't believe I caused more problems. Again.

"... Alright, then let's go."

"Go? Go where?"

I looked at them, then smiled.

"Why, to train of course."

The training exercise had begun with the two Tian Shang witches quite enthusiastic about testing their new units. I'm sure they were quite eager to get off the ground since their maiden flight was rudely halted mid-way.

"Are you sure we can just take off without clearance?"

Chi Xue asked me. I simply nodded and pointed to the insignia on my arm.

"This allows me to do anything I want, at least to a certain extent. I'm allowing this exercise to continue, so just take off. I'll deal with the formalities later."

Though I say that, I knew that no one would question this once they realized I was the one who authorized it. There were many perks with being a Fidei Defensor, though it does matter when and where to use it. Still, I hated being one and would try to refrain from using this authority too much. Then I noticed that the hangar was still quite noisy with engine roars. I turned and saw that the two Tian Shang witches were still here.

"... What are you two waiting for? Go!"

I shouted at them, causing them to jump and fly immediately out.

"... Girls these days.."

I sigh, shaking my head as I took off shortly after them. The skies above was certainly a good way to stretch my muscles after collapsing, though I should not push it just yet. I was already reaching the age where my magic should be waning, thus it would be strange for me to collapse after using 'that' spell. But something was still not right. What was it? I had a strange feeling that I was missing something extremely crucial, something that I had always used before for this spell. I shook my head after a while of mulling it over in avail.

Nothing was coming to mind. Best to focus on the training. I could look up on it some other time. I instructed the two witches on some basic flying, something which I had previously thought they were properly trained in. I was wrong. Apparently they weren't taught anything BUT the basics. They lacked any knowledge on advance dog fighting tactics or maneuvers. I knew that to get them to practice such things would require the entire squadron plus an additional one squad. Oh well, there wasn't much I could do now, was there? A siren suddenly sounded down below at the base. An alarm at this time without my knowledge could only mean one thing. And enemy attack.

"You girls, get back down to base, load up on live ammunitions and wait for my orders. Relay that to the others as well."

I told the two Tian Shang witches before diving straight down. Because this was a private training exercise, I had forgotten to bring along a radio. I'm definitely going to get scolded by Captain Takeuchi. I flew straight down and spotted a nearby soldier.

"Sergeant! What's going on?"

I shouted. The soldier heard me and ran over to me.

"It's been all over the news, Major! Neuroi! The Neuroi have attacked Pearl Harbour! And they have now moving towards our position!"