After Tanya killed their commander, I led a heavy assault, causing the anthropoids to flee. I didn’t pursue them; instead, I dismounted to grab Tanya’s shoulder, as she was going to go after them.
Tanya looked at me, feeling slightly surprised, but she didn’t say anything; instead, she lowered her head with a nonchalant look.
“Your Majesty, Tanya is Socina City’s hero, please do not…”
“Don’t speak right now, Karana.”
I had no idea how violent my expression looked, but I saw Karana take two steps back, with a terrified look on her face. That made me realise just how frightening the expression I just looked at Tanya with was.
I took in a deep breath to ease my expression. I looked at Tanya and stroked her cheek, only to end up getting my hand covered in blood. I sighed, and then raised her small head up. Tanya resembled a doll that let me do as I pleased. She looked at me with her lifeless eyes. She didn’t show the disappointment or mellowness that I was worried she’d be feeling.
Perhaps she has no other thoughts other than to kill the anthropoids.
She was more similar to a machine than a kid.
I wiped the blood off her face without saying anything. I just wiped away the blood that covered her face. Karana and Ling Yue looked at me strangely, but they didn’t say anything, either. Tanya let me wipe the blood away until the end where she revealed a confused expression after.
“Sorry, I was too aggressive with you just now.”
I stroked her head under her hat and sighed. I said, “How should I put it? You are, indeed, Socina City’s hero, since you broke the siege on the city, but… you can’t charge forward the way you did. If you failed to kill them and got in danger, what are we going to do? Your father entrusted you to me, so I can’t let something happen to you when we’ve just gotten together. You are very brave; that said, you need to learn to protect yourself when you act on your bravery.”
With my hand on her head, Tanya softly replied, “I just want to kill anthropoids.”
“You need to protect yourself when you kill as well. You’re no longer yourself anymore. Since your father entrusted you to me; you’re my soldier now, my Tanya. You must protect yourself. That way, you can be of more assistance to me.”
“I’m just a tool…”
Tanya raised her head and looked at me with an odd look. She softly explained, “My parents were killed by the anthropoids… I was adopted since I was young. I need to kill anthropoids. I need to kill them. They were the ones who destroyed my family. They destroyed us. I must kill all of them…”
I stroked Tanya’s head and responded, “You’ll get to kill enough of them if you follow me, Tanya. However, I need you to live to do that. I shall now give you your first command as your current commander. Your order is to make sure you learn to protect yourself. You are not to charge before I give the command. But I also promise to give you the chance to get revenge. I’ll give you lots and lots of opportunities. I’ll let you kill more and more anthropoids.”
Tanya seemed to feel a bit puzzled. She looked up at me with an odd gaze and replied, “I don’t understand the point of that order. Your Majesty… I just want to kill anthropoids. I don’t care about whether I live or not… I…”
I gave Tanya’s head a firm rub. I crouched down and looked into her eyes with sincerity. I explained, “But I care! You’re my Tanya. If you die for a pointless kill, I’ll be very sad. You’re my Tanya. Your life belongs to me from now on, and so, I won’t let you waste your value.”
“… Understood, Your Majesty. I will not do that again.”
Tanya looked into my eyes. An incomparably complex gaze appeared in her eyes for the first time. I nodded then stood up. Somebody then suddenly tugged my cloak.
I turned around to see Tanya grabbing my cloak with a light grip. She softly apologised, “Sorry…”
“Uhm, it’s all right.”
I lingered for a moment, and then scrubbed Tanya’s head with a smile. She shuddered then held onto my cloak without letting go.
I looked at Ling Yue. She had kept silent the entire time. She lowered her head to look at the corpses on the ground and spaced out. The anthropoids didn’t put up much of a resistance, but they did leave behind a field of corpses.
Ling Yue looked at the corpses in silence. I walked up behind her and patted her on her shoulder. I asked, “What’s wrong, are you a little sad?”
It was the first time Ling Yue responded so docilely. She looked at the corpses all around with a sad look. She softly said, “There was no way I would ever have interacted with these lowly anthropoids; but, they are my companions, living on the same continent, nonetheless. Now, however, they want to kill me, while I also want to kill them… This feeling really… really makes me feel uncomfortable.”
“I don’t know what happened on that side, and you won’t tell me what happened, but what I see is them trying to kill you and invade my land. That makes them my enemy. Since they want to bring war to my land, I’ll be sure to take the war back to them.”
I looked at Ling Yue and solemnly said, “They’re no longer your companions. They’re now your enemy; therefore, you don’t need to show any pointless kindness. Ling Yue, I’ve always wanted to ask you something.”
Ling Yue turned her head. There was a hint of sadness in her eyes. She looked as though she was particularly small in the moment despite her usual proud and conceited self. She resembled a young girl, who got abandoned at a department store, with the massive department store behind her. She’d be standing in the ground shaking, but was too small for anyone to notice.
I looked at her and asked, “Are you willing to help me?”
She looked up at me with a dumbstruck look. Her long ears shook, and then in a shaky voice, asked, “What did you say?”
I looked at her and replied in a serious tone, “I said, are you willing to help me? I want to get revenge. I want to go to the North. I need a map. I need to know the races there. I need to know much more, and then more. You hold that information, so I want to ask you to help me with all sorts of things.”
Ling Yue looked at me. Tears slowly formed in her eyes. She looked at me with her crescent-moon eyes. She suddenly extended her hands out and grabbed my collar. She thumped my chest with her head as she sobbed, “Please… help me… I want to return. I want revenge… I will provide you with my knowledge, my body, my soul… I can give you everything, but please… I beg you… Let me get revenge… Let me avenge my father… Let me avenge my tribesmen…”
I looked at her and sincerely responded, “I guess it’s a deal, then. You provide me with your knowledge, your body and soul. I’ll avenge you, and give you to the revenge you want, and I’ll avenge your family.”
Ling Yue nodded then released my collar. Her reliable confidence and pride was restored to her red eyes, “Let’s go with that, then. I’ll give everything of mine to you, and you must give me the revenge I deserve.”