Chapter 0:

Fire and Brimstone


The day that had started as a celebration for the end of the war was now very close to one of the scenes soldiers would see during it.

Fire covered all the eye could see and even the running rainstorm wasn’t enough to defeat the flames. In fact, they seemed to be expanding with time, and the explosions and gunfire weren't helping.

At ground zero of the disaster, where a parade was happening earlier, both the audience and the parading vehicles had been turned into fiery remains. Still, a figure was moving around the hellish landscape.

In the perfect center of all the fire and ruin, a young man of no more than nineteen years watched all around him turn into ruin.

He was wearing a dark-grey double-breasted trench coat with a blackish belt and a same-colored fedora, all of which only made his perfectly clean existence weirder. 

The disinterest in his gaze as his handicraft slowly expanded in scope only furthered this feeling, but that wasn't all. Deep into his expression, some surprise was brewing due to the number of affected blocks being beyond his expectations for such a small period of time.

He soon lost interest in all that though and instead started to walk towards a certain wreckage that still had some movements inside of it.

It was an overturned armored jeep half buried into a nearby building and mostly in flames, but its insides were glowing in a different color. It seemed that someone inside this car, be it by luck or skill, had managed to react in time and pull up a barrier just strong enough for the survival of its occupants.

“That’s some useless fight you’re putting there…” The man said as his steps approached the vehicle. “Shouldn’t a commander just accept his… Huh?!”

Before he could finish his sentence, the barrier inside the vehicle broke and a hail of glowing bullets came in the man’s direction, scraping his cheeks as they were dodged. And following this first attack, one of the doors of the jeep went flying and a small figure left through it.

“You’re not who I’m looking for…” He muttered while trying to get a good look at the figure, but failing every time.

The man’s eyes followed the fast movements of the figure around the fiery ruins as they tried to elude him into giving an opening. It was curious to see this fighting style considering who the occupants of the car should be.

In the end, though, he ended up failing to follow the figure until a small clicking sound was heard on his back and another bullet came in his direction. It wounded the man’s shoulder as he rushed to dodge it, but the gunner was kicked many meters away by his instantaneous counter.

“A little underwhelming, aren’t you?” He said while removing the bullet from the wound and turning around as it healed. “I was expecting something a little…”

He never finished his phrase. His focus vanished as he tried to understand why that figure he had kicked away just a moment prior was there.

It was an unexpectedly known face and one he wished to not be seeing. Even so, he still had to keep going.

The figure struggling to get up after being sent flying was a young female, fifteen years old at most, holding a pistol that was too big for her hands and barely managing to stay on foot.

She was wearing what remained of a charred black and red sailor uniform and trying to focus her remaining blue eye on her foe as her other one was bloodied and shut close. Other than the charred clothes, her straight red hair was more dirt and blood than hair by this point and she had some piece of metal stuck to her belly. Even so, the girl was still forcing herself to stand against the fedora-wearing man.

“So that’s why…” He muttered before turning back to the wounded girl. “You shouldn’t be here. What about letting me take what I came for and forgetting it all?”

“Y-ya… How dare ya!” The girl answered with her real voice slipping while trying to aim her gun at the man.

“Don’t try to understand what’s happening here and lower this weapon. All this is for the best of the world.”

“Can’t y'see how many people you killed 'ere?! How is this fer any good?!”

“Sacrifices are necessary. I always heard commanders saying this, so why can’t they comply with it once in a while?”

“It explains nothin'!”

“No, it explains everything. You should be able to see it by how you’re treated and how you live. Someone who’s such a perfect example should for sure…” The man talked as if reminiscing about something, but his words were cut halfway.

“Never! Why break the order fer some vague reason like this? What do I have to do with it? Why would... Nay… It doesn’t matter.” She shook off the words on the tip of her tongue and then gave the coldest glare she could ever manage. “Surrender or I’ll vanquish ya, demon scum.”

The man under her aim seemed shocked by the girl’s words for a minute, but his expression soon changed to a derisive smile.

“You know it’s not happening.”

“So be it…”

Without saying anything more, the girl’s body started to glow in the same hue as the jeep’s insides earlier, which then spread to the runes on her weapon. And as if mirroring her, the man pointed one of his hands in her overall direction, forming a bright red magical circle in front of it.

Just a moment later, a trigger was pulled and a spell was fired.

A lightning bolt fell squarely over a person and a bullet hit another. One of them fell backward with the hit on the head and the electrocuted girl wobbled and fell forwards with her consciousness barely holding.

This much was enough of a victory to her right now though.

Her family’s car still had unconscious bodies inside. She was the only member who managed to stay awake after the initial impact, so she was the only one who could save them. A draw was more than enough to her.

She was but a minor piece in the machine that kept the country running without much to be proud of, but her family was different.

As long as they lived, it would all be fine.

Feeling the little she still had slowly going away as her body started to feel all the damage it took, the girl simply smiled and accepted her end. Even if she would have some troubles to solve before reincarnating, that was fine…

Just as she was closing her eyes for a final time though, her calmness was shattered as the fallen man got up and removed the bullet stuck in his skull without causing much damage. And as she was dispairing on the ground, he gave some words she could barely register and turned to his real target.

After that, as if she was unworthy of even watching what would unfold, the girl finally blacked out.

Infina's Crest