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You are Subaru Kurokawa, son of Vice Admiral Kagetora Kurokawa of the Zipang Combined Fleet, and the battle chief of the super battleship Yamato. With your country under the subjugation of an ascendent Tengar Khaganate, the remnants of Zipang’s military establishment, along with powerful allies from the East Europan Imperial Alliance, came up with a daring plan to restore your country’s independence: Operation Ten-Go.

Despite some rough run-ins with the Khaganate’s Beiyang Fleet, your crew was successful at hijacking the Valkyrur-powered Yamato, seizing not only the battleship, but also several fighter prototypes, and unexpectedly, a princess in tow. Now, after a short skirmish with the Nanyang Fleet in your trek south, Yamato has finally reached her first destination: Formosa.

It was also here where you were given your first shore leave. Then, singling you out during dinner, the acting Captain of the Yamato, Nagamasa Suwabe, revealed a great secret about Zipang’s national treasure and his intention to use said treasure to rebuild a new ‘Zipang’ somewhere else. At the same time, he also issued a grave warning about foreign actors who had their eyes primed for said treasure.

As the preparations in Formosa continued, it appears that the Khagnate has began making their moves as well, starting off with a direct attack upon Amekou, Formosa’s northernmost port. You emerged unscathed and proceeded to investigate a downed enemy bomber, and after a brief skirmish, managed to capture one of its surviving crew members.

Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Pacific%20Theatre
Twatter: https://twitter.com/Turkroachistan
Character Sheet (Updates as the story progresses): https://pastebin.com/FtzLDyHr
Mechanics and Stats (Updates as the story progresses): https://pastebin.com/ZCzrjrcL
Updates: My updates usually come in the form of long posts, and also takes some time to write. But alas, I would try my best to put out at least 1 long update per day. Every update will receive a notification on my twitter.

Also, I'm working on a map for this story. Once that's finished I'll be using that for the OP from then on
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Margaret, Satoru and I stood before the full glory of Amekou port, the largest port of Formosa, as well as the location of its naval headquarters. The headquarter’s main, three-story architecture stood tall and mighty in the center, flanked by two smaller, two-story structures. Unlike the naval bases of the mainland, Amekou’s naval base was nowhere as militaristic, with civilian fishing and utility ships dotted casually around makeshift wooden piers just a few meters away from the warships.

A few large, installed coastal guns stood on the hills overlooking the port like sentries, ready to fight off any attempt of invading or blockading this final stronghold of our navy. Newly installed gun placements littered amongst the various ledges and fortifications along the coastline made to strike back against air and sea assault. Right next to the naval complex rested the Yamato, her magnificent hull casting a shadow over the entire complex against the glowing orange sky.

While It wasn’t my first time here, it has been a while since my last visit. While the basic layout of the complex was largely the same, the high alert and war preparations certainly made it feel quite different, for better or worse.

“Denisov-san, I believe you have something that belongs to me,” Akane said half-jokingly as she disembarked from the truck’s driver seat to join us, pointing on the frightened girl Margaret still held on her shoulder.
“Ah, of course!” Heeding the reminder, Margaret lets go of the girl on her shoulder. “Here you go”

The prisoner did not get a chance to react before Akane seized her by the hand. In a swift motion, she was subdued, restrained with an excruciatingly painful-looking wrist lock, then dragged off towards the holding cell.
“I’ll assist her with the questioning. She’ll need a translator, for one.” Satoru closed in beside me and said. “I’ll catch up with you later.”
Finishing his sentence, Satoru followed Akane’s footsteps and left for the holding cell, leaving Margaret and I alone at the front door

I guess it’s time to carry out my duty as well.
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“Margaret-san, I will be heading off to give the Captain a sitrep-”
“Oh, I’ll come with you!” Margaret eagerly held a hand high, like a school child trying to catch the attention of her teacher.
There was a part of me that objected to Margaret tagging along. I have yet to verify her intentions and where her true loyalty lies, given that neither the Captain nor I trusted her brother. On the other hand, she was above ground during the attack, making her the only witness that may be helpful in recreating the scene of the strike.

“Sure, follow me.” I ultimately decided to accept her offer, though I assume she wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. “There are quite a few turns to make, so please stay close.”
As we entered the main building, dozens of sailors, armed personnel, and other staff hurriedly zipped past our side, highlighting the immediate fallout of the attack.
Considering the dire circumstances, I figured I needed to formulate an apt and concise report for the Captain, at least sort out what is known for now.
“Margaret-san, what do you remember about the assault?” I asked the person who was at the heart of the battlefield. “Other than shooting down that plane.”

“I was protecting Aono-san from the debris.” She answered and held up an arm over her hand, imitating the position where the Valkyrian spiral shield would be held above her head like some spearmen from ancient times. “Sister Vione always said to never let go of the shield!”

While I’ve never directly witnessed Margaret in combat before, I could definitely imagine her knocking away large chunks of concrete with her shield. From what I’ve read on the second Europan War, Valkyrian shields were said to be durable enough to take on direct field artillery fire and return unscathed.

“More important than the lance?” I wondered. Compared to the spiral lance capable of launching pure, concentrated energy, an extremely durable shield with no special abilities seem quite lackluster, especially when Valkyrurs were capable of protecting themselves by channeling their energy to form a near impenetrable barrier around their body.

She nodded with absolute certainty “A Valkyria’s lance can take down any enemy it pleases, but it is the shield which protects the user and those who she treasures.”

“That sounds more like a motto, or a creed.”
“It is!” The Valkyria exclaimed proudly “It’s what Sister Vione taught me during sparring sessions.”
“So she wields those fantastical powers too?” I took the chance to clear away some of the obfuscating fog that surrounded the Denisovs. If I could keep up with the topic this time around, maybe it could shed some light onto our sponsor’s background and intentions.
“She does!” She puffed out her ample chest. "Sister Vione wears our heritage proudly, and so do I!”
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According to the contemporary archeology, the Valkyrur arrived and settled in the Europan continent at around 0 EC. Assuming Margaret’s ancestors arrived around the same time, that’s over a thousand years of family history to cover.

“My family keeps a long and detailed record of our ancestry, tracing back to the 8th Century.” Margaret kept going, eager to shower me in the glory of her heritage and family history. Thinking on my feet, maybe I could actually get some non-vague answers now that she’s in her ‘My heritage is wonderful’ state.
“Ah, we’re here!”
My attempt at a further inquiry was sadly cut short as the two of us made it right outside the Captain’s office. Well, there was always time later.

“This is Kurokawa” I gave the old wooden door a light two knocks and waited for an answer.
“Come in.” came a sore, yet a calming voice from behind. After all that has transpired, I pretty much had an idea what sort of face the man within this room would be wearing.
“Subaru Kurokawa, reporting for duty,” I reported in with a salute, Margaret followed up with her own, almost hitting her forehead as she came in.

Captain Suwabe Nagamasa looked exactly the way I pictured him to be: pale and shriveled. The man looked as if he had lost even more weight than he was just one night before, which only added more pressure to his already sickly and frail body. On the bright side, he appeared to have reasonably masked his situation with limited applications of makeup, though it was still painfully obvious for me.

“Kurokawa, give me a status report,” he ordered, clear and direct.
“At approximately 1500 hour, Amekou city proper was struck with an airstrike. The raid was carried out by HouRai bombers belonging to the Khaganate air fleet...”
While I normally would include the enemy’s strength, branch, and other details, I realized I knew little else aside from the type of aircraft they used.
“Casualties and damages?”
“The railway hub and one of the power plants were destroyed. Multiple structural damages all over the industrial and commercial sectors.” I recalled what Hibari has told me earlier. “Casualty report is impending, but most that were afflicted were civilians.”

“They deliberately avoided the port and targeted civilians.” The Captain cursed under his breath, visibly displeased upon hearing the message. “A morale blow, typical Khagan move. Any more details on the attack?”

“I counted 32 fighters and 18 bombers. They appeared from the west and flew southward after the strike.” Margaret came to my aid, flashing me a wink. Taking the hint, I continued with my report.
“Denisov-san managed to down one of the bombers. It crashed into the bamboo fields near the southwest of the city, Aono and I went to investigate.”
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“Did you manage to recover anything?” The captain assumed a steepling posture, inquiring with a hint of curiosity.

Well shit.
Only then did I realize the mistake Satoru and I made earlier, followed by an overwhelming urge to slap myself on the forehead. Both of us were so caught up in the heat of the firefight that we neglected to make a thorough search of the wreckage for anything of use. Thankfully, we didn’t return completely empty handed.

“We managed to capture a surviving crew member.” I resumed, elucidating on our only achievement. “The prisoner is currently in the holding cell, with Akasaka-san in charge of the questioning.”
“Good work.” He brightened up, comfortable with the result. “We shall see what information she will be able to gather.”

With my report done, I felt obliged to know our next course of action
“Captain, what should we do now?”
“I reckon the Khagan will be preparing for a full scale invasion soon, as for now…”
As grim as his prediction was, it was the inevitable progression of this conflict. From what I have witnessed during the war, raids like these will continue and grow progressively more intense by the day until the very end. This may be more manageable a problem if our forces were properly staffed, resourced, and ready, but unfortunately they are far from being so.

The Captain gently pinched the center split of his moustache with a thumb and the middle phalanx of his index finger, pondering the next course of action. Meanwhile, Margaret and I stood stiff across his work desk, anxiously awaiting for the next order.

After a brief, awkward silence, the Captain finally opened his mouth.
“Finish off your day first. Try to make the most out of it.”

My mind short circuited for a moment from the words I’ve just heard.
“Captain, are you sure?”I couldn’t hide my surprise. Is this really the best course of action, given what has just transpired?
“Indeed.” His replied, quick and to the point. “Don’t forget to report back here 0600 tomorrow. You’re dismissed for now.”
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“Y-Yes sir!”
Following a salute, I stepped out of the Captain’s office, still dumbfounded by his words earlier.
“Subaru-kun?” Margaret brought me to her attention as we exited the office. “Is there something on your mind?”
“Well…” I took a deep breath. “I don’t understand why he would want us to finish off the day, when the enemies are already at the gates.”

“He probably doesn’t want us to worry about the task in hand. That’s why it’s called a break, isn’t it?” She replied with a smile. “Why not accept his goodwill?”
“I… I guess you’re right.” I conceded. Captain Suwabe was very much the sort of person who would do something like this, but that would also mean we’ll be leaving within the next day or two.

Despite this, I felt an intense calling for me to return to my duties, or at least make the situation slightly more bearable for my comrades amidst this chaos. Surely there must be something I can do to help…

>Attend the interrogation
>Return to the city to help with the relief progress
>Stick together with Margaret
>Write in
>Go cheer up Yanagi
>Return to the city to help with the relief progress
>Return to the city to help with the relief progress
It's probably the best we could do now
>Stick together with Margaret
>Stick together with Margaret
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“I’m joining the relief progress,” I stated, taking the direction towards the exit. “I cannot be slacking off when everyone else is busy.”
“I’ll come with you!” Margaret was determined to tag along. “We can use the truck from earlier, that way we can ferry some supplies back as well.”
That was actually a good idea. If we are returning to help with the relief effort, we might as well do so alongside delivery of much-needed supplies.

“Then we should head to the logistics branch.” I said, stepping out of the entrance of the main building. “We would need some paperwork to take anything out. Don’t worry, it won’t take too long.”
“I don’t think we’ll need to, Subaru-kun.”
Margaret raised her arm and pointed towards the same truck we arrived in. Alongside the light truck were half a dozen soldiers busy loading crates after crates of medical supplies onto some other trucks parked right around the entrance. The sweat permeating from the back of their uniforms were a clear indication of how laborious the task must be.
However, with the lives of so many on the line, everyone around here was more than willing to work themselves to the bone. This was the same motivation that made me join the war effort in the first place- and I fully intend to keep up the work.

“Margaret-san, our comrades sure look like they can do with some help.” I pointed out, “What do you say we lend them a hand?”

“Leave it to me!” Margaret approached the crew, greeting them confidently before heading to the stockpile and stacked four crates onto her shoulders, two on each side. She effortlessly moved and loaded what must have been tens of kilograms of supplies onto the trucks, much to the awe of the soldiers who were struggling with them moments earlier.

In the end, Margaret ended uploading all of the crates onto the trucks including ours, finishing what would’ve been an hour’s worth of backbreaking work for a small group in just ten minutes, with minimal assistance no less.

“We’ll deliver these to the medical station at the post office,” I told one of my fellow comrades, pointing at the crates loaded onto our truck. “Good luck out there.”
“You too, soldier,” he replied, still panting hard from the work earlier. “And thank you, ma’am.”
“Don’t mention it!” She smiled cheerfully, barely breaking a sweat.
Together, we bid the soldiers farewell as we boarded our trucks to be ready to go our separate ways.

“Margaret-san, you know how to drive trucks too?”
“Of course!” The Valkyria squeezed herself into the driver’s seat. While it didn’t look that jarring earlier when Akane was driving with the three of us in the back, the seat did look a good two sizes too small for someone her stature. “Or does Subaru-kun prefer being ferried on my back?”
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“No, this would be fine,” I answered upfront, quickly buckling up my seatbelt. The last time Margaret used herself as a transportation device, I was carried around like a princess. Even if piggybacking wasn’t as embarrassing, it still won’t appear anywhere near presentable.

“Hmm… It would’ve been nice if a bike was available” Margaret wriggled in her position as she tried to adjust her seat for a more comfortable pose. “Maybe I can... ”
She let out a soft ‘oops’ as a loud clack escaped below the cushions. That definitely sounded like metal getting bent in a way that it wasn’t supposed to.

“Margaret-san, are you alright?”
For a second, her snow white cheeks were tainted by a gradient of pink.

“Ah, yes! I’m fine!”
She quickly attempted to hide away the embarrassment by acting as if nothing has happened. But as comical as that little mishap may be, I assume she’d prefer not to have it addressed.

“Let’s head back then, shall we?”
“Definitely! Hold on tight, Subaru-kun!”
Despite sitting on a possibly broken and immensely claustrophobic seat, Margaret started up the engines nevertheless.
As it turned out, the drive back only took about two-thirds the time it took on our way here.

We quickly disembarked the parked vehicle as we arrived back at the post office for the medical staff to start unloading the supplies we brought along. Margaret threw her hands in the air, stretching out her body as soon as she left the vehicle. She never once complained about it on the way, but the ride for her was obviously a rather uncomfortable one. It was a rather uneasy trip for me as well, albeit for a totally different reason.

Never in my life have I thought I’d see someone drift with a light truck, let alone riding shotgun in one carrying fragile medical supplies. Despite the speed and bold, she maintained a surprising amount of control over the vehicle, so much so the crates stuffed behind were barely displaced during the journey.
While quite an awe-inspiring feat, I will definitely not call ‘sitting in the front seat of a speeding light truck’ a pleasant experience I’d want to repeat any day soon.

I’m starting to doubt whether or not there was something she’s not capable of doing.

“I’ll go search for more survivors!” Margaret announced, eyes darting towards the affected part of the city. “Shirataki-san should be around somewhere…”
“Before you leave, Margaret-san, let’s help them unload the cargo first,” I suggested, pointing at the medical crew obviously struggling with the sheer weight of the crates. “Then I’ll...

>Go look for Tewi and help tend to the wounded
>Go look for Yanagi and help her with whatever she’s doing
>Join you in search for more survivors
>Write in
>Go look for Yanagi and help her with whatever she’s doing
>Go look for Tewi and help tend to the wounded
>Join you in search for more survivors
>Go look for Yanagi and help her with whatever she’s doing
>look for Yanagi and help her with whatever she’s doing
On a non character/waifu bias standpoint, it's more important to restore communications now as opposed to digging through rubble
>Go look for Yanagi and help her with whatever she’s doing

“I’ll go look for Yanagi. She might need help with something.”
“I think I saw Morishima-san down the street earlier!” Margaret notified me of my friend’s general position. “She was carrying something as well.”
“Thanks!” I replied, lending a hand in unpacking one crate of supplies and handing it over to the medical staff. Meanwhile, Margaret made quick work of the next few batches.

With my job done here, I followed Margaret’s given directions and went down the street. In no time, I spotted a familiar figure standing beside a flagpole right across the post office.

Yanagi Morishima was in her full working gear, her hands covered by thick rubber gloves complemented with a pair of working boots and a trusty utility belt strapped on her waist. A straight aluminum extension ladder sat beside her, alongside a bundle of wires and other electronic parts that sprawled out messily beside it.

“Yanagi!” I called out to my childhood friend, who turned around with a surprise look on her face.
“Subaru? Where did you go?”
“Went to report to the Captain.” I approached the mess of equipment lying on the floor. “So… you need help with anything?”

“I’m halfway done with setting this thing up.” She smiled while holding up an end of a long piece of wire. I traced the wire’s origin and noticed the other end of the thing hanging off from the roof of a nearby building, extending its length all the way here. “I’ll just have to nail this to the other end.”
She pointed to the top of the flagpole she was under, towards the hemispherical metal that decorated its tip.

“You’re climbing that high?” I glanced at the designated spot, then back at Yanagi, questioning her judgement.
“Yeah, and you know what,” She tapped the teak ladder leant against the pole beside her. “Steady this for me. I’d hate to fall to my death if this ladder failed me.”

Death? I looked worriedly at the wooden tool. Are we so down on resources, to the point we can’t even afford proper, sturdy step ladders anymore?
“How about I go up instead?” I stepped in, placing both hands on her shoulders. This action, however, caused my friend to burst into gleeful laughter.
“Do.. do you even know what this is?” She held up what looked like a gigantic porcelain screw right in my face, waving it around like some sort of bait.
To be honest, I really did not know better.

“Exactly.” She gently brushed my hands away. “Just hold still for me, please.”
“Leave it to me. I’ll make sure you’re safe.” I declared, dead serious on the task. However, this proved to only fuel Yanagi’s laughter even more.
“Ease up! That was just a joke,” She gently poked me on the forehead. “Don’t worry about me, Subaru. I can do this.” Wearing a confident grin, Yanagi hopped on the ladder and swiftly made her way to the top, ready to finish installing whatever she was working on.

Despite her reassurance, I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming surge of anxiety as I watched her work her magic. There was a full three meters between Yanagi and the ground, with only miniscule steps of ladder to balance herself on. It felt very much like watching circus stunt, except there were no safety measures and the only thing between her and the ground is well, me.

This placed me in a somewhat awkward position, as she was wearing a skirt while I had to absolutely glue my glance on her from below to make sure she’s not in danger. Fortunately, she had yet to realize this, and I fully intend it to stay that way. My utmost priority now was to keep her safe, and I spared no thoughts on anything else.

“So, Subaru, what did the Captain say?” Yanagi inquired casually as she hooked a large spring to the pole, then attached that gigantic porcelain screw onto the spring.
“We can talk about this later” I yelled back, concerned at her callousness at handling the situation. “Shouldn’t you be focusing on the task at hand?”

“Relaaax. I’ll be just fin- Ahaaaa!!!” Her words transformed into a shrilling scream as a sudden gust of wind knocked Yanagi off balance, forcing both of her hands off the ledge she held on earlier.
“Yanagi!” I screamed in panic as her body swayed dangerously backwards. Paying attention to every single movement of her silhouette as she swayed her arms back and forth perilously from the heights above.

“Aaaaaha! Got you!” In a swift step, Yanagi locked her legs firmly onto the steps on the ladder. In this pose, her upper body was left lingering in the air, giving her the looks of some acrobat performing a dangerous stunt.

“What the hell?”
“Don’t tell me you seriously thought I’d fall from this.” She taunted smugly at a bewildered me, then effortlessly yanked herself back onto the ladder with the power of her core. “I’ve been doing these since I was five, Subaru. Disappointed you didn’t get to catch me in your arms?”
“Very funny.” I sighed in dismay while Yanagi made her descent, still chuckling at my reaction as she finished off her work and climbed down from the ladder.

“So, what exactly was this supposed to be?”
“Believe it or not, it’s an antenna. A wire antenna to be exact.” Yanagi set herself back onto solid earth. “It’s far from perfect, but at least this part of the city’s out of signal limbo now.”
I gave it a nod and took a fair look at Yanagi’s finished work. With the communications of this city back online, the relief effort can proceed much more efficiently.

“Oh and, before I forgot...” Yanagi walked up to me and, to my absolute surprise, wrapped her arms tightly around my torso.
“What are you waiting for?” She whispered gently over my ear. Maintaining the same posture, Yanagi took my left arm, then slowly placed it on her waist. “Take a hint, you dimwit.”
While I’m not exactly sure why she’s doing this, I’m not stupid enough to not take action. With that in mind, I raised my right arm naturally and wrapped Yanagi in a solid embrace, just as she did to me.

We stayed in this position for a good few seconds before Yanagi lets go, still wearing that smug grin from before.
“There, you’ve caught me in your arms.”

>You should be more careful
>I can’t believe I keep falling for this
>To be honest, I expected a bit more
>Write in
>I can’t believe I keep falling for this
>To be honest, I expected a bit more
>You should be more careful
>Offer her a handkerchief
I think Subaru is more of an 'accidental parent' type character. He lacks the experience and acumen of a smooth swindler, but at the same time he's also not harem MC levels of dense.
So succeeding in being a dad where our dad failed? I'm okay with that
>I can’t believe I keep falling for this
>thank you
>I can’t believe I keep falling for this, but thanks.
Not really, for now he acts like the male protagonist of a josei manga. I'm inclined to believe this is what happens when a QM tries really hard to not write a dense harem protagonist, but wants to retain certain qualities of that character type.
>I can’t believe I keep falling for this
“I can’t believe I’m still falling for this." I ceded her the victory with a sigh. “But thanks, I really appreciated that.”
I’ve known Yanagi for... how long now? Yet every time when it came to her pulling one of her pranks, it always goes down the same path as written in her playbook. The only noticeable distinction between now and a while back was the escalation of the intimacy involved… for some reason.
“Well, at least you still got something out of it!” She replied, gathering whatever tools and parts lying on the floor. “And you don’t have to be so formal with me, dummy.”
It might not be the clearest view due to the direct light from a setting sun, but for a moment, I caught a glimpse of the blush on my childhood friend’s cheek.

“Since we’re done here,” she declared, passing the linen bag of parts to me. “Lets head back to the post office.”
As I picked up the bag and joined her on the way back, I was dazzled by the sight of the sun setting on the horizon, tainting the sky, along with the rest of Amekou in a brilliant shade of orange. Like time itself, the day has come near its fleeting end without us even noticing.

By the time we got back to the post office, most of the crew were already there. The good bulk of them gathered at the makeshift stands around the entrance, some resting while others continuing to work.

Itaru and his crew, who were all covered in dust from debris, sat in a messy collective on the stairs, resting from the day of hard labor. Ayafumi sulked by a supporting pillar right beside the entrance, dozing off at the chance given. Hibari and Amile were busy walking about, handing out cups of water to those at the medical stand. The former tended to the marines, while the latter worked on with everyone else. To the side of the post office was my sister, standing beside a medium water truck. She likely went to fetch the truck and put herself in charge of managing and distributing water to those in need.

On the other side of the post office, Margaret sat quietly on the cargo hold of the truck that ferried us here. A neatly folded shirt rested beside her as she drank from her cup. Despite probably doing the most heavy lifting than anyone else here, the Valkyria barely showed any sign of fatigue; however, she did at least break a sweat, evident from her unwinded shirt, leaving her with her cropped but form-fitting top.

With the exception of Satoru and Akane, just about everyone was here.
“Hey, Kurokawa!” Itaru stood up and approached us the moment he noticed Yanagi and I approaching. Like many others, he was soaking wet with sweat and fatigued, but the bright glint in his eyes was an assertion that his spirit still burned like a wildfire. “So, any new orders?”
“There are.” I answered, unsure how the rest of the crew will take it. “The Captain wants us to rest and finish the day off as usual.”

“Alright, looks like it’s set.” After letting my words hang for a moment, the head of our marines sighed with arms crossed. I expected a more aggressive response from him, given the situation, but a reluctant acceptance makes things a bit easier for me.

“Shirataki-senpai, is there anything else you want to know?”
“No, I’m just making sure. Denisov-san told us the same earlier.” He answered. “Since Suwabe-dono commands us to do as we please, then I suppose my men and I will be staying out here for the night. Just in case if more people are in need of help.”
Itaru looked over to the post office’s entrance. Aside from his men resting on the stairs, there was the occasional flow of medical personnel shuttling in and out of the building, and some lightly wounded civilians who took the time to have some fresh air.
The next batch of personnel from the naval base had already arrived to change shift for the disaster relief, but I can see where his concerns were coming from.

“And you, Kurokawa? Where are you planning to do for the night?”

>I’ll stay in the city too. There must be something I can help with as well.
>Back to the inn, I still have some unfinished business there.
>I’ll need to escort the VIP back on the Yamato. She’s much safer there.
>Write in
>I’ll need to escort the VIP back on the Yamato. She’s much safer there.
>I’ll stay in the city too. There must be something I can help with as well.
>I’ll stay in the city too. There must be something I can help with as well.
>I’ll escort our VIP back on the Yamato. She’s much safer there.
Going for this because it's likely that we're gonna bail out of Formosa next morning.
>I’ll stay in the city too. There must be something I can help with as well.
“I'll stay around too,” I answered, motivated by Itaru’s sense of duty. “There should be something I can help with as well.”
“Sure thing. But go get some rest now.” He gave me a pat on the back before leaving. “Everyone needs a recharge. Don’t worry, the lads will be up and running in no time.”

While I do believe in the resilience of Itaru’s lot, I couldn’t but feel the exhausted marines needed more than just some rest. The sheer amount of intensive physical labor they’ve gone through today must’ve taxed heavily on their energy consumption. I would know- I had quite a banquet during lunch with full intention of skipping a proper dinner in favor of a light meal in case the girls wanted to do something for the night, but the unexpected hard labor today had pretty much worn all that energy out. I believe it’d be the same for the lads here.

It'll be nice to get some local food from around town, but I don't think there would be any stores left open after today's incident. Since we aren't going back to the inn, I suppose I’ve just found out what I can do here.

With a plan in mind, I approached the water truck, heading straight for my sister.
“Ah, Nii-san, came here for water?” Tewi gave me a casual welcome and offered a cup. However, I wasn’t just here for a drink.
“Thanks, but I’m not here for this.” I took the nearly filled cup from her hand. “Tewi, have we got any food left back home?”
“Yeah, I keep some supplies.” She took a sip from her own cup. “Why, you’re hungry?”
“No, but I think we should also get them something good for dinner.” I made a gesture to Itaru and his crew.

“Get them dinner?” Tewi turned her attention back to me. “Using our stock?”
“Tewi, we aren’t going to stay around in Formosa for much longer.” I told her, speaking out my true fears for what might await us tomorrow.
“I suppose… But I doubt we’ve got enough supplies to feed this many.”

"Not just ours, I’ll try and get some rations from the base too. It’s getting cold, and I want to get everyone something warm for the night.”
Then, I narrowed my eye on my sister.
“You wouldn’t be hiding away the good stuff, would you?”
“Like I would do that!” She bantered back playfully. “But otherwise… it’s a good idea. I’ll go fetch our stuff with Denisov-san, along with some kitchen utencils. You can start a fire while we are at it.”
Start a fire? I guess it makes sense, providing that we aren't going to use whatever crammed services the post office might offer.

My sister got to her feet as quick as she made her declaration, leaving my side and headed straight towards Margaret and the emptied supplies truck. Seeing my sister that eager and dedicated to the job, I was motivated to get my part done just as quick.
With that part addressed, I went back to Yanagi.
“What was it?” She questioned inquisitively, arms crossed under her chest. “Or is this something just between you siblings?”
“Well, I need to make a call back to the base. And start a fire.”
“Huh? Fire? A call to the base?” She gave me a puzzled look. “Okay, but why?”

“Tewi and I are planning to prepare some food for everyone here, since no other restaurant is going to be opened for today.” I explained. “And since the base only offers canned rations, I’m going to make use of some leftover stockpiles from my house.”
“But how much of those do you have left?” Yanagi continued, genuinely curious about the topic. “Do you even have enough to feed so many mouth?”
“Of course not, that’s why I need that call to the base so they can send their canned goods here too. You know, do some little mix-ups here and there.” I answered, glancing at the radio transceiver strapped onto Yanagi’s waist. “A direct call from to the base should work now… right?”

“Theoretically yes.” My friend gleefully took out the transceiver earpiece and placed it on my palms. “Why not find it out yourself?”
Let’s see…
Holding the transceiver, I started tuning it to the optimal frequency.
“This is the Formosan Naval Headquarters, who is calling?” a muffled, static voice came from the palm-sized device. The sound quality wasn’t the best in the world, but I could make out what he said clearly enough.
Turns out Yanagi’s quick fix was working better than expected.

Thanks to a restored communication, the general efficiency of things had risen back to its usual standards, which included all forms of delivery. After learning of the circumstances here, my request for rations were swiftly greenlit. They even relayed that the Captain had ordered to send “those of better quality” down here, meaning at least we won’t be getting canned beef that tasted and smelled like squid.
While we waited for the deliveries, I figured we could use this opportunity to start a fire… and maybe get someone to lend a hand?

>Ayafumi? He might not look the part but here have been rumors about his culinary prowess.
>Ask Hibari to join, she fit the part quite nicely back when we were undercover
>Bring Amile, she might not know much, but having her involved helps Tewi on her job too.
>Bring Amile, she might not know much, but having her involved helps Tewi on her job too.
>Ayafumi? He might not look the part but there have been rumors about his culinary prowess.
Remember, this is not just for us, but for the whole team.
>Ayafumi? He might not look the part but here have been rumors about his culinary prowess.
>Ayafumi? He might not look the part but here have been rumors about his culinary prowess.
>Bring Amile, she might not know much, but having her involved helps Tewi on her job too.
While normally I would have asked Hibari for help, there was one other candidate here I eyed with increasing curiosity - Ayafumi Haruta.
It’s hard to picture this samurai-brained, old-school traditionalist nut peeling potatoes in a kitchen, but I’ve heard rumors about his culinary prowess while on the ship. His ‘talent’ would be really appreciated right now, assuming those rumors were genuine

However, I’m also not certain about how to approach him. We were never that acquainted with each other to start with, and I’m not exactly sure how kindly he would take a request from me, given our backgrounds.

“The two of you…”
As I pondered on an appropriate way to get Ayafumi’s attention, my thoughts were halted by this deep, yet familiar voice.
“Ha… Haruta-san!?”
Appearing just when I had him in mind, the masked man has already got up and quietly approached us like a mountain lion stalking its prey. He most likely meant no harm, but his sharp, tired gaze and obscuring facial mask, unfortunately, gave him the perpetual vicious stare that just felt unwelcoming.

“I saw Denisov leave with your sister earlier, Kurokawa. What is going on?” His spoke flatly, yet conveying no malice whatsoever.
“We are planning to set up a field kitchen,” Yanagi explained in short. “We’ll be getting a ration delivery, as well as some of Subaru’s house special.” She ended by giving me a punt with her elbow.

His gaze slowly locked onto me, then asked in a completely serious, deadpan monotone.
“What sort of ingredients are you talking about?”
“There should be miso, katsuobushi, nukazuke vegetables, and ginger.” I explained, trying to recall the last time I asked Tewi about it on a phone. “Along with some radish and sweet potatoes, and rationed goods like sugar.”

“Quite plentiful.” he delivered his answer in the same manner, but this time with a nod. “That’s enough ingredients to make two different soups. A sweet one with ginger and sweet potato, and a katsuo miso soup.”
Sweet soup and miso soup? While I have a rough idea on what we’ll have, I haven’t yet put thoughts into what to make. This could be a sound idea, but there was still one obstacle.
“But what if we only have one pot?”
“Then we will find other ways to prepare the rest.” He replied, “But we need to start a fire first.”
Diligently, he began searching around for bricks and dried bamboo along in the bamboo forest Satoru and I went to earlier. Yanagi and I joined him with gathering said materials, which were not hard to find considering where we were.
Using some of the collapsed bricks collected, Ayafumi stacked them up into the shape of a small rectangular stove, a small opening by the side and a ‘chimney’ exit on top. We then began chopping up and splitting the dried, withered bamboo with a hatchet we borrowed from the post office to make them better firewood.

As things went on, Ayafumi gradually ended up taking over the part as the lead. His intense zealotry and dedication to the task was admirable, but also somewhat terrifying at the same time. If anything, this was still the same person I met back in our operation in Aki, and I could see why this sort of commitment to one’s task would attract a following.

Once we had a good amount of split chunks of bamboo for fuel, Ayafumi took the last piece of bamboo with split and made several cuts were made in its smooth interior. This loosened up the fibers, making some of the interior bits of fiber to peel away, which was then covered up by dried leaves.
“Give me one of your cartridges,” Ayafumi said, pointing at the rifle I used earlier, now lying on the side as I had no use for it.
“Um, excuse me?” Why would he need something like that? Not that I won’t spare him one, but how does this have anything to do with what’s at hand?

“A cartridge. I need it to start a fire.”
While Ayafumi’s response was short and concise, I was left puzzled by what he intended to do.
“Here.” I handed him one of the spares I carried in my pocket. “But how-”
“You shall see.”
Ayafumi swiftly removed the bullet from the rest of the cartridge, then placed the blank among dried leaves, with the primer facing upward. Then, he took a sharp stone, aimed its edge at the primer, then stuck the rock with another rounded rock-

This application of force was enough to ignite the primer and fire the blank, and with a loud bang ignited the leaves and bamboo fiber. He then quickly picked up the newly flaming bamboo by the edge, shoved it into the bottom of the brick stove, then began adding some of the split dried bamboos in to let the fire grow.

>Where did you learn all this?
>You camp out often?
>What’s on your mind? Sweet soup or miso?
>So, why the mask?
>Where did you learn all this?
>Where did you learn all this?
>What’s on your mind? Sweet soup or miso?
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“Where did you learn all of this?” I inquired curiously, watching Ayafumi fan the flames with his cap.
“Basic survival skills.” He replied without looking back. “Every soldier should know.”
I should have expected this answer. In a sense, it was the exact kind of reply he gave me back when I bumped into him in the flower shop a while ago. However, this time his answer made much more sense in context. Given the harsh times the army had while wrestling with the Khaganate’s invading force nonstop during the conflict, good survival skills can be a deciding factor between life and death.

“And your…”
I was about to dive into the rumors on his culinary skills, but the sound of truck engines arriving from a distance made me save it for a bit later.
“They have returned.” The army man stood up and fixed his cap.

As soon as Ayafumi finished his words, a light truck pulled up not far before us.
“Subaru-kun! We’re back!” Margaret’s head popped out from the driver seat, followed by my sister stumbling out from the passenger seat, breathing heavily and looking all traumatized.
“Tewi, you alright?”
“Ye-yeah… I guess.”
Tewi barely made out those words, pale from what I presume to be carsickness. I can hear the fatigue in her voice too. From the way she looked, it’s not hard to imagine what her way here must’ve been like.

“We brought everything!” Margaret’s energetic exclamation as she disembarked the vehicle caught. “What are we going to do with these?”
“Denisov-san, could you kindly unload the cargo? I think my sister needs a little… rest.”
“Ah, of course!”
Margaret immediately began unloading everything from the vehicle, with Ayafumi joining the process of unpacking to inspect the ingredients at hand.

With the preparation in progress, I went back to my sister.
“You sure you’re alright?”
“Who the hell inertia drifts with a light truck to avoid rubble?” My sister didn’t hide her frustration and surprise at the roller coaster of a ride she just went through “How's that even possible?”
“Beats me.”
Honestly, I couldn’t come up with a more apt response.

“How is it? There is only one pot, though.” Margaret asked Ayafumi as she unloaded the last crate of supplies from the truck. From the look of the jars and piles of root vegetables, what was here was exactly as Tewi had stated before.
“This will do.” Ayafumi declared as he finished inspecting the last of the crates. “We shall use the miso to make a soup, then use the rest in other ways. I shall take over from here.”
Just as Ayafumi claimed, he did indeed take over the role of spearheading the task.
As the five of us worked on preparing the abundance of raw materials ferried here, it became clear that the rumors surrounding Ayafumi were not only true but severely understated.

With his tanto in hand, Ayafumi took the piece of rock hard katsuobushi and began shaving thin, almost translucent flakes off the surface, a task that was usually only possible with specialized tools, where the flakes of fish ended squarely into the pot of water on the stove. Once done, he immediately moved on the preparing the carrots and the burdock root, wasting no time to peel off their outer skin and sectoring them into bite-size chunks before placing them into the pot.

Though Tewi and Margaret were there to help him, it eventually became a one-man-show as the two became more and more enticed by his craft.

“I’m going to show this once. Watch carefully.” He explained in monotone while picking up a daikon radish. Using the same tanto, Ayafumi gave the vegetable a shallow vertical cut down its side, then stick his thumb into the cut, peeling off the outer layer all in one go. “Remember to peel off at least 1 cm of the exterior, else it will still leave a lingering bitter taste.”
The two girls nodded enthusiastically with eyes wide, then went for to work on their own radish.

“He’s surprisingly good at this...” Yanagi commented, poking a stick into a pile of smoking, dried leaves. “He must’ve been a chef before all this. Oh, is the fire hot enough?”
With a twig in her hand, she poked the fire we started with a large pile of bamboo leaves on the side, with the sweet potatoes buried deep within.
“I guess.” I poked a hole into the pile of leaves as well so more air could enter to help the fire grow. “That or his family ran a restaurant somewhere.”

With Tewi and Margaret at the pot assisting Ayafumi, Yanagi and I were relegated to cooking the sweet potatoes, something I used to do with Tewi. Well, baking sweet potatoes was an activity we usually did in autumn, but this works too.
“Morishima, Kurokawa! Remember to keep the fire going!” He hollered to our side while expertly slicing up another radish.
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“Roger!” The two of us shouted in unison.
“You think he would be willing to open up on this a bit more?” Yanagi whispered across the pile of smoking leaves.
“He’s probably going to say something similar to ‘It’s my duty’ or ‘It’s normal for a warrior to know this’.” I shook my head at her mention. Yet despite this, I cannot deny that Ayafumi had done quite a splendid job at assuming command over the task at hand. His pure dedication to the cause is truly admirable.

“Look, that must be the supply truck from the base!” Yanagi suddenly exclaimed as we worked with baking the sweet potatoes, pointing at an approaching vehicle from a distance. The truck halted right in front of the post office’s entrance, and as soon as it stopped the driver began unloading the cargo- crates labeled with the word ‘rations’. Lest to say, the delivery was given the most excited and warm welcome by Itaru’s band.

>Help distribute rations (Amile and Tewi)
>Continue cooking those sweet potatoes (with Yanagi)
>Go and check on the pot (Margaret and Ayafumi)
>Write in.
>Go and check on the pot (Margaret and Ayafumi)
>Continue cooking those sweet potatoes
Makes more sense for us to stick to our duties.
>Continue cooking those sweet potatoes (with Yanagi)
>Continue cooking those sweet potatoes (with Yanagi)
>Continue cooking those sweet potatoes (with Yanagi)

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