Chapter 1:

How the Authorities (Almost) Got Involved

Ranna-chan, Oblivious to the End

"I knew I should have joined the Navy."Bookmark here

But knowing really had nothing to do with it. Truth be told, knowledge rarely ever had anything to do with any of the decisions Ranna made. And besides, knowing wasn't the reason she had settled on the Army anyway.Bookmark here

"I'm not moe enough to captain a ship anyway," Ranna finally settled with, cutting her losses with a sigh as she sat up.Bookmark here

Getting ready army-style was as easy as following a step-by-step guide. And about as boring and dull as reading a step-by-step guide for getting ready too.Bookmark here

Twisting her long red hair into a sloppy braid, Ranna changed into her uniform before proceeding to the mess hall for breakfast as she did every morning. Knowing that yet another military ration of bland oatmeal or some other form of essential grain awaited her, Ranna couldn't help but lament the days of toast.Bookmark here

But with the reality of a battle looming close overhead, the problem of rations was at least lessened in comparison (though it didn't make the food taste any better).Bookmark here

"Ran-na-CHAN!"Bookmark here

The surprise attack was launched with such precision that Ranna had no time to react before arms wrapped around her tightly from behind, cutting off both her breath and a chance at escape.Bookmark here

"Good morning, Ranna-chan!"Bookmark here

The attacker's grip finally loosened, and relief flooded Ranna as she realized from whom the words had sprung.Bookmark here

"Private Mei, I nearly got the authorities involved just now! What are you thinking so early in the morning?!" Ranna couldn't help but sound angry; she had nearly screamed after all. And that of course would have ruined her reputation when the other soldiers came running in with weapons drawn only to find a false alarm.Bookmark here

The smaller private bit her lower lip and looked at the ground, letting her short hair fall over her face to cover her embarrassment. As always, Ranna had completely misunderstood her intentions. Not that her latest idea to be the first one to greet Ranna in the morning had been the most thought out or straightforward though.Bookmark here

"S..sorry." Mei muttered, head still down. Her former confidence had fled at the first sight of misunderstanding.Bookmark here

"It's fine this time. But address me properly next time, okay? I am a Lieutenant."Bookmark here

The position, of course, was only awarded to Ranna due to a sudden absence by another. That didn't stop her from taking pride in it though.Bookmark here

"S...sorry, Lie..lieutenant Ranna." Mei found herself apologizing once more, face burning a deeper shade of red. She couldn't bring herself to explain how the added chan to Ranna's name hadn't been an attempt to undermine Ranna's rank but an attempt to show affection. Because explaining defeated the purpose, as well as likened her feelings to an ill-received joke.Bookmark here

Somehow in trying to become closer to Ranna, Mei had ended up deepening the rift between the two.Bookmark here

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