Rise of Glie Chapter 36
Previous: Rise of Glie Chapter 35: Kagami's Terror
FHD Remix: The Rise of Glie
Chapter 36: Kagami's Choice
"Oh, no," Kagami sobs as Bangou lets her down, "How come he can fly and I can't?"
"The Saviour gave him a chance to redeem himself," Washi says, "and so he has. Fushoku, your delta radiation report; he brought it over the wall, mostly by himself, a couple strips at a time. All the engines we have in town, he told the Toga where to find them. By warning of enemy attacks, he's saved hundreds of Toga lives. This is all top secret, by the way. Not a breath of it may leave this garden. You are forbidden to discuss it, even amongst yourselves."
"Sir, did he really do all that?" Kagami asks.
"Yes, little sister, he did," the Communicator says softly, "and now he seeks your forgiveness, not for his own sake but for yours. You can't heal, and you can't Fly ... until you forgive him for what he has done to you."
Kagami slowly walks up to the desk. The crow waits patiently. She extends her hand and holds it next to the crow. He presses into it, facing away. Soon both her trembling hands surround him. He cocks his head curiously.
"I could ... kill him," Kagami squeaks.
"You may," the Communicator says, "and he won't mind. Glie will not punish you, and neither will I, but ... If you do, your Day of Flight will never come, and your wings will fall off by the end of the month. That's only for starters."
A finger touches the top of the crow's head, and Kagami's eyes fill with tears.
"Oh," she sobs, "I-" she struggles. "Daddy, I forgive you," she utters at last.
She hears a metalic clank and ringing, and turns to see. The light of her halo was restored so quickly that Aware was startled and dropped it.
Stopping Aware, Washi stoops and picks it up with the tongs. As the black recedes from her feathers, Washi holds it over her head. She bows slightly, and in moments it is reattached. Then it flickers.
"Washi, what's wrong?" Aware asks with alarm.
"Nothing," the Communicator replies happily. He stoops and looks into Kagami's eyes, "Little sister, you will lose it again, but you will not die. You only die once, thanks to the blood of the Saviour."
"You mean I get to Fly?" she squeaks.
"Yes," Washi says, "You know from where, don't you?"
"The man in my dreams whispers," she says, "the one who won't let me Fly. He's telling me to go to a place..."
"That used to be called Defense Tower Five," Washi says softly, "I know. I had my chance. Now go, your place is no longer in Glie."
She slowly walks away from the desk towards Bangou, who's confused at the look on her face. Suddenly Kagami jumps on her, "I'll miss you!" she bawls.
"I'm sure we'll meet again, little sister," Bangou replies, struggling for breath. Grasping the younger's head softly, she whispers, "I'll miss you too, Kagami-san," and kisses her on the cheek.
Kagami releases her and walks up to Aware and Fushoku and says, "Hi, sorry for being all chicken, you guys."
"Oh, my pleasure," Bahitsu says, "I never want to hear the word panties again."
Kagami tucks her head down and blushes, "Oh, sure," she teases.
"I guess her sense of humor's grown up with the rest of her," Aware says at a purple Bahitsu, "I'd be careful."
"Give this to Crystal, for me," she says, pulling a white bell nut from her pocket. He hands it to Bangou, "Now I must be going."
"We'll go with you to the road," Aware says, "from there, I don't know where you're going, but I know there's only one way out of here."
"Two if you don't mind getting really wet," Fushoku giggles.
Kagami gathers the crow up and puts him on her shoulder, then climbs the path under her own power. As predicted, they part at the end of the road, with the haibane taking Stanley's truck along it west, while Kagami walks north into the grass.
That night, a brilliant beam of light splits the sky. Tears of happiness, as well as loss, flow from Glie-jin eyes.
The next morning, Fushoku and Haoto yack at each other about things that matter less than things that don't. They're discussing the third wind turbine...
"Where's Bangou?" Bahitsu suddenly blurts out, "It's not like her to sleep in on one of your breakfasts," he nods to Fushoku.
They hear her attenuated voice screaming, "Tahei, Tahei!!" along with the sounds of her possibly falling down the stairs from the second floor. She bursts into the kitchen panting.
"What's up?" Haoto asks, as though what's on her mind can't be any larger than a dandilion seed.
"Two of them!" she squeals, "in Room 203. Come see, come see!" she grabs his hands and starts dragging him and his chair towards the door.
"Whoa, wait a minute," Fushoku tries to moderate, "Two what?"
"Cocoons!" she bellows like it should be as obvious as the nose on her face, "They're tiny, like walnuts, must have just landed. Come see, come see!"
"We'll have to tell Washi," Aware says as he gets up to follow.
Bahitsu, taking up the rear as unscrews something from his right ear, grumbles, "I bet he knows already, I can hear <<Tahei>> bouncing off the wall."
The other haibane take the morning off to come celebrate, but then it's back to work.
A couple of adobe houses begin to rise next to the Wire Factory, while inside, Fushoku and Bangou bunny up with their two apprentices, Hane (羽, Feather) and Teisei (低声, Whisper)
"This is what?, Batch Three?" Fushoku asks.
"Four," Hane says, gathering up her ruddy blonde hair into a less attractive bun to hide under her bunny hood, "I guess you're getting used to these yields."
"Hardly," Fushoku laughs, "but still, twenty-five percent is better than none at all.
"I'm glad we're going to get some more help," Teisei says, "if those new feathers come out big enough. I miss Kagami, I think she was just starting to get used to me." Teisei is a short, relatively mature teenaged boy with short and really blonde hair as bright as adobe bricks.
"We don't know they're here for that," Aware cautions, "Are you sure they're ready for final assembly?"
"Not quite," Bangou says, "What I am sure of is that we have enough we can start on the box."
"How many?" Aware asks as he ties up his mask.
"Oh, probably about twenty thousand before we move up to the next generation," Fushoku says, "We'll be making improvements along the way obviously ... cheaper ... longer-lasting-"
"No, I mean, how many boxes per computer?" Aware clarifies.
"Just one," Bangou notes casually, "but it's entirely too large for just thirty-seven instructions at a single megahertz and a single pipe that needs twelve cycles to add," she almost grumbles. "I can't wait until Fushoku gets his end down to ten microns, then we can actually do something with these chips."
"Just the one?" Aware asks, almost breathlessly.
"Yeah," Fushoku says as they head into the working area, "and Haoto's best battery lasts only two hours. I hope the Toga actually buy enough that we can make it to the next generation."
"Battery?" Aware asks curiously.
"Uh, yeah," Bangou says, "The Toga specified a rather loose power tolerance, so we need quite a bit of filtration in the supply to get the power the chips can use. They also specified a run through a three second outage, along with a generator start command. We might as well put enough in for an hour or two, eh?"
"It's meeting their specification, right?" Aware asks.
"Oh, yes," Fushoku says, "I mean, Bangou's brilliant-"
"Not exactly..." she blushfully whispers, nearly unnoticed in Fushoku's ongoing lesson.
"...she's found ways to reduce the transistor count to one-fifth of what their logic design wants, and the logic design isn't binding-"
"So, it'll be one fifth the size of their design?" Aware asks.
"Oh, no," Bangou shakes her head, "It's still going to be bigger, 'cus the power management is more complex. I'd say about a third."
"They did say that if we can choose between faster and smaller, that we should go smaller," Fushoku says, "I hope this is small enough," he guides Aware to his workbench.
"Oh," Aware sits down with wide eyes.
Bangou guides him through the module layout and schedule, shows him the schematics and harness diagrams, and the battery.
"Do you think they'll like it?" she asks at last.
"Come on Tuesday," Aware quietly suggests, then puts up a finger, "but stay on the cart and keep your hands shut."
"Okay," she says gratefully.
Next: Rise of Glie Chapter 37: One Box