Chapter 1: Remembrance

Time and age had made him much more experienced and composed. The red second lieutenant rarely showed vehement emotions, but he was rather delightful today. His request to be switched to another base had just been approved, and now he was packing up his belongings.

He gently picked up the various trophies and medals he had been awarded and carefully laid them inside a cardboard box. He turned around and accidentally knocked down a hanger stand. An old, worn belt was hanging on the stand and had fallen onto the floor.

"Ay," he muttered to himself as he stood the stand up. Then he bent down to pick up his treasured belt. He had long stopped wearing the belt since his numerous victories and decorations. The belt still meant a lot to him, but he had decided that in order to preserve it, he should stop wearing it. The belt had become a thing of the past, important nevertheless, but faded and buried.

The rusty, metal case on the belt had opened when the belt hit the ground. There, within the case, was a yellowed, faded picture of a red-haired young girl. He stood there, shocked. A wave of memories and emotions swept through him. His lips and hands trembled as he gently caressed the picture.

He remembered his promise to her and admonished himself for forgetting it. For the past few years, since the war, he had been focusing on his duty as a soldier. In the midst of chaos, he had risen in ranks quickly as he led victories after victories. The promise had been forgotten as he basked in his success, but now he was suddenly reminded of it and he felt a pang of regret.

Perhaps it was already too late, he sighed to himself. He had become much more composed and wise through age but he had also lost his youthful rashness and ambitions. Somehow his younger self had been stirred up by the picture; it urged him to live to his promise even though it might be too late. Yet his older, supposedly wiser self was telling him that he should let go of that memory. The proud Second Lieutenant Giroro of the Keron Army was, for the first time in many years, caught in a battle with himself, no, between himselves.