It was a silent drive. The night outside was calm, the driver wise enough to avoid the dinner time rush hour by taking more barren roads. Then again, this road wasn't really commonly traversed by the populace as it lead to the outskirts of the suburbs.

"Cecilia-sama, you seem unwell.", a young man sat across a stunning blonde woman no older than fifteen.

Said teen-aged girl looked across from herself with critical sapphire eyes, assessing her escort. Blonde hair cut boyishly short and a fittingly formal tuxedo. She sighed at his question, "I'm just wondering why there was need for someone to assign me a bodyguard. I am very much capable of protecting myself should anything happen.".

The young man kept silent and smiled cryptically at her, as if laughing at a joke only he was privy to.

A reassuring hand fell on Cecilia's bare shoulder, alerting her to the words of her close friend, maid and confidante, Chelsea. "Don't worry, nobody thinks any less of your skills. It's just that they're afraid of a possibility that you might not be able to handle certain situations on your own.".

"Hmph.", Cecilia turned away from the girl seated beside to pout to the window, "There's no situation that my Blue Tears cannot overcome.".

"Ah, about that. Th-"

"Excuse me lady Alcott, but we have arrived.".

The sudden interruption by the driver cutting into Chelsea's words. Cecilia sighed once more, schooling her features to a familiar expression she commonly wore. With a grace that could only be described as regal, she awaited for her maid and current body guard to disembark before doing so herself.

The moment her stilleto wearing feet touched the red carpet, dozens of cameras flashed to capture the dazzling sight that was Cecilia Alcott in a shoulderless azure tube dress. It was stylish and glistening with light diamonds, making some comment that it was a lavish design despite its simplicity. The blonde heiress to an unthinkable fortune, she didn't mind the comments much as she held out a daintily gloved hand for someone to assist her off her limousine. A firm grip kept a strong support on her as she easily alighted with the help. Cecilia wondered who did so and saw the bodyguard she disliked so much. Frowning internally, she gave him points for having experience in these kinds of social functions.

Cecilia turned back to the waiting crowd, turning her demure smile dazzling as she made her way inside the large military hall for the party.

Inside the party screamed of opulence and luxury. A refreshments bar to one side, a collection of artworks to another. In the middle of it all was a raised platform covered with silken cloth. Very important individuals, delegates, generals, majors, political figures, even investors and industrial heads were present, dressed to impress and show off their wealth. Despite the sickening feeling that threatened bile to rose up her throat at all the fake well wishing these people were giving each other, she kept it hidden under an easy smile and returned their pleasantries. She wondered how long it had been since she last attended one of these. Maybe a year? Maybe half?

She felt as if her senses had dulled a bit within this cold blooded world of business, perhaps she was even going soft as she felt herself earnestly saying her "Hello"s and "Good evening"s. A probable side-effect of attending ISA she assumed. Cecilia stopped and grabbed a drink from a passing waiter, excusing herself with reasons of enjoying the evening though all she really wanted was to be alone to think.

Separation for barely two weeks and already Cecilia felt incredibly lonely. That was how it had always been for her. The only person she could ever talk to honestly was Chelsea. All the others she spoke to was strictly in for business or trying to take advantage of her, men in particular. Only her beloved Ichika would speak to her on equal terms with no ill intent. As far as she knew, he was honest, something she wasn't used to, as well as determined, a combination she had come to respect. Everyone of their group was like that as well. Except maybe Ling Yin who had her streak of scheming. But those served to make her more endearing to the blonde, especially when she failed. Cecilia giggled lightly at the memories.

"Ah, target found."

Cecilia stopped her laughter and turned to the source of the voice.

"Switch successful.", the voice announced cheerfully as the heiress finally got a good look at them.

"You... the bodyguard.", she quickly recognized the plain looking blonde man. Registering something else, he had a champagne flute in his hand much like hers. "Are you supposed to be drinking on the job?", she asked of his work ethics.

The young man shrugged, "It's fine. A few bottles here and there won't hurt me a bit.". He downed the whole glass in one swallow and Cecilia was amazed he didn't even seem remotely stung by the alcohol.

Reminded of her own glass, she lifted the cup to her lips and nearly spat out the contents in surprise. "O-o-orange juice?", she stuttered in a gasp. When did her champagne turn into orange juice? In fact, when did her champagne flute turn into a drinking glass?

Eyes widening in realization. "You!", she glared pointedly at her bodyguard as he handed off the empty flute.

He turned to her non-plussed, "Hm? How may I help you milady?", he offered her.

Resting one fist against her hip, Cecilia complained, "Why did you take my drink? And why did you give me orange juice of all things in this party?".

Her bodyguard stared at her as if she was, for a lack of better word, stupid. "Ofcourse. You're still a child after all.".

"I am not a little girl. I am a lady.", Cecilia stomped her heel, in a tantrum more befitting a child.

The bodyguard sighed. "You're fifteen, hardly a lady.", he pointed out to her.

"You don't look that much older. Why are you drinking?", she shot back.

He shrugged, "All part of the job. Besides, I'm nineteen so it's all legal.".

Cecilia opened her mouth to protest but closed it as the man approached. "What are you doing?".

He raised a questioning brow, "Taking the orange juice off your hands. You don't seem to like it too much.".

In truth, Cecilia found the drink refreshing. It was cold, citrusy and exactly what she needed to wake her up from all the boring drones of the guests. But she wouldn't tell him that. "I'll finish this.", she protested, walking away from him.

The young man sighed as he watched his charge storm off like that. "Was it something I said?", he sighed to himself.

"Don't worry about it.", a light voice giggled at his puzzled face.

He looked to the speaker before turning completely to her. "I wasn't worried Chel.", the young man told the maid in front of him. The bodyguard handed Chelsea his empty glass before taking another in her grasp and promptly chugging it down.

"Then why are you drinking so much?", the red-head quirked an eyebrow at the overly stubborn actions.

The young man gave her a stare before saying, "I've had assignments like this before, taking care of upperclass snobs. If there's anything I've learned.", he sighed as he realized she carried no more alcohol on her anymore, "it's better to do it drunk.".

Chelsea sighed, "Look Al, Cecilia-sama's just had a rough past with men.".

"So I'm not special?", he mused with dismissive sarcasm. "I wish you hired my sister for this instead of me.".

"She hates me. You know that right?"

"Is she still angry about me saying you're cuter than she is?"

"Yes.", Chelsea rolled her eyes at him and his demented family member.

Alfred shook his blonde mopped head as he muttered about women and their messed up priorities. "Well I wonder if it'll make her feel better when I tell her that a fifteen year old has a better bum than you do."

"I suggest you not do that.", Chelsea smiled with a shaking fist promising more pain than anything else. But being serious again, the maid just looked at her bodyguard friend somberly as she pleaded, "Just do me this one favor okay? As your childhood friend.". Chelsea began to head back to the party in search of Cecilia before remembering something else she wanted to say. She gave Alfred a shifty look, "Oh, I almost forgot. Hands off, Knight.".

"Do I look like that kind of person?", Alfred exaggeratedly protested.

Turning his head to the side, Alfred quickly caught sight of his charge again. He smiled when he saw Cecilia refilling her glass, "Huh, so you do like orange juice after all.". The bodyguard moved towards the girl. After all, his mission didn't completely revolve around protecting her.

Cecilia wasn't having much fun. Even though this was called a party, it really was just the government pulling a little publicity for its proposed new Blue Tears unit, number 03. As the pilot of 01, she had been invited to witness its initial flight firsthand and judge its pilot, Elizabeth Hurty. There really wasn't much to enjoy, not even the food which mostly consisted of hors-d'œuvre and finger sandwiches. Sometimes, the girl could not help but curse her position despite the fame and power it bestowed to protect her family name.

"Everyone! May I have your attention please?"

A loud voice resounded over the speakers, prompting everyone including Cecilia to listen in to the man standing on the exhibition platform.

"I understand that everyone here is deeply entwined with our IS project. I also understand that the recent news has reached many of you who are now skeptical about continued support of the project. However, despite the failure of the Blue Tears unit 02 which was a very big blow to both our economy as well as our pride."

Cecilia humphed at the sad excuse. The unit 02 was by no means a failure, it was actually a smashing success. The only failure there was when those dunderheads let someone steal it from right underneath their noses. But no one would ever know besides those deeply involved with the project since it was covered up pretty quickly. Cecilia herself might've believed the farce had she not have a good information network within the research center. Those female lab techies were pretty gossipy after all.

"We have recovered!", the male speaker boomed with gusto. "Today, we present to you a new variation of the Blue Tears unit!", with a wave, the silken cloth that had covered the platform was pulled off to expose a sleek azure machine. "The third Generation which boasts greater precision, greater power, greater speed, greater control. And most important of all, greater ease of production! That is the unit Blue Tears 03".

The crowd clapped politely, some cheering in support.

Cecilia herself eyed the machine in appraisal. She had yet to see unit 02 before but she was sure this machine was at least more heavily armed. There were six individual heavy BT bits. Each one was shaped like a tear and were all rumored to run in a reversible flight path. The heaver ends sported a heavy beam shooter while the thin end shot high intensity piercer beams. The new Starlight X rifle was unique in that it split into a magnetic particle launcher as well as a beam carbine. But overall, the performance wasn't that far off from her own Blue Tears.

"Now! To welcome the BT-03's new pilot, Ms. Hurty!", the man threw his hand out.

The spotlight followed the direction in which the hand pointed, but no one was there.

"Um... Miss Elizabeth Hurty!", the announcer echoed his earlier introduction.

But the girl didn't appear. The awkward silence just minutes before suddenly broke out into the buzz of gossip.

Getting hot under the collar, the man on the stage looked for assistance to no avail. His completely nervous face turned to terror only he could see from his look to the technical box beside the spotlight.

Cecilia noticed and tried to follow his sight.

BOOM!

An explosion rocked the hall as the announcer was sent flying off the exhibition platform the BT-03 was placed on. The platform simultaneously fell in as a dozen or so masked individuals broke the glass skylights and stormed into the complex with guns blazing.

Danger senses spiking, Cecilia instinctively reached one hand over to her earrings, Blue Tears in closed form. But a hand clutched her wrist and she half turned with a left hook that would have knocked a man twice her size into next Tuesday.

"Oi, it's me!", Alfred shouted to a surprised heiress. He had blocked her punch with his free hand and still held her fist in his grip as if it was nothing. Shaking his head, Alfred adjusted his grip on the girl's hand before pulling her along, "Come on. We have to get out of here. Chelsea should be getting the car as we speak.".

But Cecilia pulled back, almost dragging the blonde bodyguard to the ground. "No.", she stated, "We have to stop them.". The representative candidate looked around her to see a few men gun down a rather old couple. A feeling of sick lurching up her stomach. Cecilia held it in and continued, "Let's save these people.".

"Let the police handle it.", Alfred forced.

"The police won't make it!", Cecilia screamed back, the primal urge to help, to preserve life, to fight death overwhelming her common sense.

The bodyguard ran a frantic hand through his short hair in frustration. A stunned look, he grabbed Cecilia's head and ducked them both underneath a table. Bullets flew and reduced the table top to toothpicks and splinters. Alfred sneaked a peak underneath the table cloth that hid them and saw their attacker approaching them slowly with caution. He cursed before turning to his charge. He grabbed her by the shoulders and noticed she was trembling. Cecilia's face was completely stoic but her eyes were shaking. Alfred gripped, "Look. I know you must've been in dangerous situations before and that your training with the special forces helped you get out of them. But this is different. This is the first time you've probably seen someone die, right?".

The young man searched the heiress for an answer and her silent downcast look gave him what he needed. He told her, "This isn't like mock war or dealing with first time assassins and thuggish criminals. These are professional terrorists who've survived wars and filled with about as much hate as they can find in racism, sexism and religious differences. This is real! If you want to save anyone, then save yourself first!".

A pair of boots stopped right by their hiding spot.

Acting fast, Alfred stood and slammed the remains of the table up into their would be assailant. The automatic rifle that should have been aimed at them sent spewing lead at anywhere but. Following up, the young man punched the man twice in the gut before delivering a devastating palm strike up to the chin.

Groggily, the assailant kept conscious and tried to swing out at the bodyguard. The young man just sidestepped and pulled out a blocky gun like gadget. He grabbed the terrorist in a choke hold from behind and stuck it in his neck to send a near lethal amount of amperes through the body.

Alfred pulled Cecilia to her feet as she looked continued to spy around at the genocidal chaos around her. Her hand reaching for her earrings again. The bodyguard caught it with a pointed glare.

Cecilia reciprocated with a question, "Why? I can stop them.".

"Not like that.", Alfred grunted. "I'm as much here to keep you from launching your IS without authorization as keeping you safe.".

"So you were more of a babysitter than a bodyguard.", Cecilia replied with venom in her voice.

"It's for your own good. The government's patience is getting short with your reckless sorties and the only reason your inheritance is still safe is because ISA keeps vouching for you. Here in England, you have no such ally."

Cecilia kept silent as she was told those unexpected facts.

The bodyguard shook his head, "Let's just go while they haven't noticed us yet.". He grabbed her hand and ran towards the entrance.

That turned out to be a rather bad idea as two heavily armed men were standing guard. When the teens came into sight, they quickly unloaded on the two blondes who scrambled back for cover.

"Chelsea!", Cecilia gasped in horror as she remembered that her best friend left to pick up the car.

Alfred put a calming hand on her shoulder, "She's alright. I helped her out the balcony before these clowns showed up. Have a little faith in her.". His charge nodded numbly.

Reckoning it was safe enough to keep his eyes off her, he looked around the corner to the entrance hallway. The two black garbed men weren't moving. Their face masks not even twitching as they trained their guns for anything that went into their line of sights. They must've been ordered to-

Alfred pulled back before a barrage of lead filled his face with holes.

Those two were definitely posted to kill stragglers. The bodyguard cursed. "Okay. Cecilia-sama, I need you to-". Turning to where his charge should have been, a bloody string of curses exited his mouth at realizing the girl was gone.

Sounds of scuffling feet alerted Alfred of oncoming foes. The bodyguard pulled out a second taser and slammed it to the closest enemy's torso armor. It was just a light shock but bought enough time for a follow up grab for a second taser to the neck. The terrorist's partner barely moved in his surprise at what occurred in barely a second and a half. By the time he started to shoot at Alfred, the young man grabbed hold of the slumped body and used it as a human shield. He charged forward and tackled the panicking gunman with the dead body. Dislodging his arms from their hold, the bodyguard brought up both tasers and slammed them on either side of the pinned terrorist's neck.

"Dammit!", Alfred raged as he turned his back on the now open entrance. A few frightened survivors stumbled past him with thanks but he paid them no mind. Cecilia had rushed back in there and that was all he had to know.

The scene was still chaotic. People were still dying as the terrorist were sweeping the grounds. Those unfortunate enough to meet with the angry bodyguard were either incapacitated or left for dead from electric shock.

"Twelve.", Alfred counted to himself the number of men he'd taken down, including the three from before. He guessed there would be more but the remnants who saw him take down three of their men at once decided to runaway instead of trying to face him down. He'd hunt them down later.

Turning to a familiar shade of blonde hair, Alfred watched as Cecilia desperately tried to shake an elderly gentleman awake from unconsciousness. But it was too late, the pool of blood and the paling face was enough confirmation. The man was wearing a military uniform which classified him at least as general.

Looking around, it wasn't just military personnel who died. The attack was indiscriminate. It was as if they didn't care who died, they just took as many down as they could. But what was the point?

Sobs caught Alfred's ears and he decided that it may have been better to pull his charge away from the carnage before any more damage could be done.

"Authorize it."

The bodyguard paused. He wondered if he heard right.

"Please authorize it.", the heiress begged as she shook the corpse. "Please let me use my IS to save everyone. Please.".

The young man shook his head. She was hysterical now. There was no way that such a thing would be authorized against infantry class opposition. Even if it did get approved, the terrorists were all long gone now.

"Alfred! Alfred!"

Surprised, the young man in question clutched at his ear which sported a transceiver. All communications had been blocked earlier, probably by the terrorists. The return of communications probably indicated that they packed it in already.

"What is it Chelsea?", Alfred tried to calm the panicky maid down. "Slow down and tell me what's wrong."

"I- It's- I'm just glad I finally got in touch with you.", Chelsea spoke, relieved on her end. "Is Cecilia-sama safe? Is she okay?".

The bodyguard took one look at the pitiful figure. "She's fine.", he told her. At least physically.

"Good. Now listen, you have to get out of there."

"We will."

"No! I mean you have to go right now. The attack earlier was nothing but a distraction. The delegates, the VIPs, that wasn't the goal."

"Wait what?". Resting the butt of his palm against his head, Alfred demanded, "So this whole thing wasn't just a random hit?".

"No."

"Then wha-"

"They were after the Blue Tears 03"

Alfred's eyes widened in realization. The first thing that had happened as hell broke loose was the IS falling down into the collapsing platform. Then that means.

"For some reason the military couldn't contact Cecilia-sama. They want her to pursue and retrieve the unit as soon as possible.".

"Where was the unit last scene?"

For a moment, Chelsea hesitated to speak.

"It has yet to leave the immediate airspace.".

Above.

"Cecilia!", Alfred tacked the moping girl out of the way as a blast of energy descended from the roof. Plaster and cement raining down in large lethal blocks.

Dust choked Cecilia as she hacked through her daze. She barely registered the body of a man pinning her down as she looked up to the moonlit sky.

Against the faint light, the figure of an IS stood. It was magnificent in her hazy state of mind. Oh so blue and beautiful, just like her own machine. She felt the night was chillingly cold. Searching for warmth, she hugged the closest body she could find. She purred at the wonderful warmth, but sniffed as she felt something sticky soaking into her gloves and oozing over her bare arms.

Cecilia raised one hand in front of her face. Red, stark against the sky. It was an offensive color, one she hated. She hated this color a lot. It reminded her of-

"Authorize it! Let me use my IS!"

No response. She moved to another.

"Hey! You're high in rank aren't you? You can give me authorization to sortie can't you?"

She stared down at the lifeless body. Red, red, all red.

BLOOD!

"AAAHHH!", Cecilia screamed. She screamed and she screamed and she screamed. She hated it! She hated the color red. The color of weakness. Red of blood that stained her hands, those she couldn't save. Red of wine, reminding her of her father's uselessness. She hated red!

A hand clapped sloppily against the crazed girl's mouth.

"Shut up.", heaved Alfred.

Cecilia looked down at him and noticed his body. It was pinning her down, but at the same time it was protecting her from the worse of fallen debris, some of which were crushing the young man on top of her. She connected the facts and breathed through his fingers, "You're bleeding.".

The bodyguard sarcastically snorted, "Clearly.".

"Hey. Don't die.", Cecilia imagined the lifeless eyes of those people she'd tried to revive.

"Tch. I've been through worse.", Alfred Grit his teeth.

If that was reassurance, it didn't work. Cecilia became doubly worried and tried to push the heavy slabs off them both.

"Hey.", Alfred called for her attention.

"W-what?", Cecilia strained.

An unnerving smile was on the young man's face. "Remember just a few minutes ago you were begging for authorization to use your IS?".

"That isn't important now."

Alfred laughed at that irony of the situation, but ended up coughing blood. He pointed a shaky finger up. "There's your authorization right there."

Cecilia followed the pointed direction and saw the stolen unit charging its Starlight X rifle.

A grim line set in on Cecilia's face as the light came barreling down on them.

The resulting explosion was huge, engulfing a little under a third of the function hall. Eyes looked around for any survivors. Noticing none, the female pilot smiled as she scanned the empty structure to find a target for her new toy. Her mission after capturing the unit was to level the exhibition hall as a test drive. Fortunately for them, none of the representative candidates present were able to board their units before the organization could disable them. Those who escaped the purging were probably miles away. She sneered down at the smoldering crater beneath her as she remembered that sniveling brat of a girl. She remembered that person was also a representative candidate. Despite all that special training they got, they weren't real soldiers, just little girls with toys turned into playing make believe gladiator.

It took the terrorist pilot by surprise when her unit suddenly took a hit, sending the unsuspecting IS tumbling to the ground. Scanning once more, the terrorist noticed the form of an IS similar to hers. She gripped her rifle tightly as disbelief etched on her face. Impossible, she was sure she'd destroyed that brat in one shot.

Cecilia's frown did not leave her face. From her being pinned down beneath hundreds of pounds of concrete, to finally activating her IS, till now as she stared down this felon trying to make off with an irreplaceable piece of equipment, as well as innumerable lives. She would not stand for it, the honor in her would not accept such a thing.

"Bodyguard.", she called to the unconscious body behind her. "Stay here and don't die.".

Saying what she wanted to, Cecilia charged with impressive speed. The enemy pilot was clearly inexperienced, panicking in her reaction as the English Representative Cadet slammed into her, carrying the fight outside.

Once outside, Cecilia kicked away the terrorist before firing her own Starlight Rifle again at close range.

Beam particles sparked against the automatic IS energy shielding. Waving away momentary blindness, the enemy found Cecilia climbing altitude, probably for a better sniping vantage. Not letting that happen, she roared as all six of the bits of the BT-03 launched in pursuit along with wild shots from her split Starlight X.

Cecilia, alerted by the stray shots, looked down and launched her own set of bits as well.

In the velvet sky, twelve sapphire bodies flit about. From afar they almost resembled fireflies that were playing tag. Which wasn't that far off from the truth. One touch from either side's beam fire and they'd most likely be out.

Cecilia cursed as she could not shake off her pursuer who was still unable to draw a bead on her. However, her bits were having no such luck. Slowly but surely the numbers were working against her as she willed her four mobile turrets away from the caging assault of the enemy bits. What's more, they had built in shielding that easily deflected the attacks of her bits. She was at a definite disadvantage.

Deciding a change of pace was necessary, the representative braked in mid-air. Her instantaneous stop impossible to copy for her pursuer who flew past her.

Experience guided Cecilia's hands as she fired off three shots at her opponent's back. A momentary pause and three small sparks in the distance told her that she hit her mark. That victory was short lived however as she felt the connection to one of her bits get cut off. Again cursing, the blonde turned her attention to the other fight.

Taking aim, she steadied her hands as the bits were much smaller as a target in comparison to an IS. Locking on, she fired a shot.

As if sensing the oncoming danger, the targeted bit was joined by another two. They opened up to expose their shield generators and met the blast of energy head on. After the resulting spark, Cecilia was surprised to see that none of the bits sustained any damage at all. She surmised that they probably combined their shield outputs to be able to block her starlight rifle. How could the enemy pilot be so skilled with her bits despite clearly being much more inexperienced with piloting IS overall?

"Ack!", Cecilia shrieked when focused lance of light grazed her shield.

The enemy pilot had recovered from the triple burst and was now in a sniper's vantage point.

Pointing and firing as if it were as natural as moving her arms or legs, Cecilia's shot raced to counter the assault. Somehow, the enemy managed to duck under the shot, but not without suffering a similar graze. Cecilia didn't let up the pressure and sure enough she was at an advantage despite her lower altitude.

But why? She was stronger in marksmanship and piloting than this novice pilot but her bit control was worse. How was that possible?

Another bit went down, causing Cecilia to grit her teeth as she lost one more connection. She couldn't focus on both sides of the fight at once, and it was odd that the enemy focused so much on the bit combat.

Continuing her attack, Cecilia realized something. None of the enemy bits were attacking her. She set her own body to fire on reflex as she dove into the fight of her two bits. The six enemy bits still continued the round about way of fighting as well as the shielding whenever she tried to fire back. It was almost as if they were stuck in a pattern.

Pattern!

The BT-03 must've been loaded with a bit control flight pattern. That's why the bits weren't attacking her, because her own four bits were the target and trying to attack her would break the caging pattern. Knowing what to do, Cecilia ordered her two bits to return. She barely flew them out in one piece before another one went down. A lucky shot from the enemy who was firing wildly again.

But that wasn't important right now. The six BT-03 bits were coming.

Cecilia held her Starlight rifle in her left hand and called up her Interceptor combat knife. She never imagined should would actually fight close range like this willingly. She flew forward, meeting the oncoming swarm that quickly engaged their programmed flight paths.

It was confusing, it was aggravating. Every time Cecilia shot at one, it would dodge and another would take its place to fire a counter from another angle. Should one of her rifle shots ever hit, they would deploy their shield and block it. Adding to the six continuously alternating shots of the bits was the BT-03 main unit. The pilot still continued her wild assault but thankfully the bits didn't discriminate between enemy or friendly fire, shielding themselves as they continued to surround Cecilia in a constricting cage.

Closer, closer, Cecilia watched as their formation tightened and her dodging space shrink equally so. The enemy was dropping out of sight as her bits now hid her from sight. A little more... and it was now or never.

The terrorist outside the cage was shaken. The girl had been alive and she'd put up one hell of a fight. Despite having a tentatively high compatibility to IS, the terrorist pilot didn't really know how to fly one so fighting like this put her on edge. She assumed it was like walking or fighting normally, and for the most part she found herself to be right when first boarding the IS. But in live fire, it was completely different. The pace of fighting, the scale of ranged combat. It was completely distorted compared to ground combat. There was probably no way for her to win normally against the representative candidate at her current state but thankfully her drones had a built in program to give her the edge. There was absolutely no way that anyone could escape six bits working in machine like precision.

BANG!

A connection lost.

BANG!

Another one.

BANG!

And another.

Panic filled the woman again as she felt her bits dwindling in number. She looked back to the cage of blurred azure her bits made up in time to watch a fourth unit go down.

With only two left, Cecilia was clearly visible. The Blue Tears unit 01 was practically falling in on itself with chips and burns accentuated by a visible crack along the last remaining bit and the loss of one bit holder.

How? The BT-03's bits were designed to be able to handle optical weapons. Why did they get shot down?

Then she saw it. The knife in the representative cadet's hands. She knifed them all? That was crazy! Impossible even. But just as she thought it, before her eyes the blonde lashed out to a closing unit and cut it in half while dodging the attack of the bit behind her. Flipping gracefully, the representative cadet continued her strike to bisect the last remaining bit as it traveled to its next position.

"I-Impossible.", the terrorist openly spoke for the first time in the fight. "That's impossible!".

Cecilia watched with focused eyes as the sapphire machine rushed down at her with both guns blazing in either hand. She took a one handed aim with her laser scuffed rifle, unperturbed by the hail of lights around her, and fired. Aim true, the shot hit the particle launcher in unit 03's hand but overloaded Cecilia's heavily damaged rifle to explosive bits.

Smoke clouded the blonde's vision for a moment before her IS compensated for it in a moment. The oncoming point blank blast from the beam carbine was parried with ease before Cecilia followed what little she could remember of CQC training to lock her opponent in a hold with the knife against their neck.

"How?", the terrorist grit out. "How are you stronger than I am? I'M FAR MORE EXPERIENCED IN COMBAT! I'VE SURVIVED COUNTLESS WARS WHERE PEOPLE DIED! HOW IS IT IN THIS FIGHT TO THE DEATH YOU'RE STRONGER YOU FAKE SOLDIER!"

Cecilia looked at her with impassive eyes. Her usual arrogance at this victorious point in battle absent as she said her piece.

"Because my resolve is real."

Metal screeched on charged particles as Cecilia dragged the knife down the neckline. She slashed twice more, once on the chest and another on the stomach before flipping open her hidden missile bays and fired.

Falling from the gunpowder cloud, the Blue Tears 03 fell, reserving its last energies to save its unconscious pilot from the fall with absolute defense.

Cecilia watched the body drop with emotionless blue eyes. Her body and mind both tattered and weary. She opened a connection her surprised aide. "Chelsea.", she began with an imperious command to her voice.

"Ce-Cecilia-sama?", the elder girl stuttered back in surprise at the maturity of the tone.

"Send in a medical team. My bodyguard is heavily injured. I'd like him to live through this if possible.", the noblewoman closed her eyes.

"Alfred? Immediately milady!"

"Wait.", Cecilia stopped the bustling maid, opening her eyes. "Tell the military that I've picked up on the retreating terrorists and that their path is projected to be headed for Ireland.".

"Y-yes. Will you be pursuing Cecilia-sama?"

The blonde shook her battle dirtied locks as she descended to the ruined hall beneath. "Tell them that the IS related threat has been neutralized. I'll send over detailed data on their transport as well as their combat strength. Also place a request for sortie of my Blue Tears.".

Chelsea paused at the extreme change in demeanor of her mistress. She was unsure what to make of it, but decided that maybe this was better for her. Such a cruel event to happen before any girl's eyes would normally break one of her age. But Cecilia was stronger than that. She would grow from this.

"Understood."

Cecilia let go of her earrings, now out of her pilot suit and back to her ruined azure dress. Her eyes were somber, looking down on the battered body of her protector through this night. She knelt down and brushed away grimy bangs from his face.

"Be glad, this is only a once in a lifetime chance."

Cecilia knelt down over him and silently pulled away. A sad smile on her lips as she began to realize the true weight of her station.