In the many years she had served as an agent of the enemy in the inner circle of the bloodthirsty tyrant whose single finger flick could mean the death of thousands, Eterna Hazenbach had faced numerous strange and awkward situations.

But here, in the middle of the battlefield, fifteen feet deep underground in a hole created to shelter them from the Magicide barrage above, with a frail little girl who heaven knows where she came from or what she was, right after betraying a master who wouldn't hesitate in punishing betrayals in the most brutal way possible, no experience in all those years of experience could stump her more than this.

"Illusion disperse! Argus eyes, Argus ears! Show me the enemy which just disappeared! Inarimi toko o sumariremi! Rekugaha, inai! Oculu-…" She was spluttering strings upon strings of spells of seeing, phantasm dispelling and illusion cancelling.

"Wah! Don't curse me! No, don't curse me! Don't turn me into a washing board!" the unknown girl in front of her pleaded with utmost panic in her voice. "Don't blast me into bite-sized smithereens! Don't turn me into an old moldy knee-sock! I'll do anything, I'll do anything! If you want to kill me kill me quickly!"

"You're real?" Eterna asked. "You're not an illusion?"

"I'm rea-bfeh!" the girl's cheek got pinched roughly by Eterna's gloved hand.

"You're not a demon in disguise, or-?" Eterna inquired harshly, but knew better than to merely ask. She yanked the glove off her right hand, and muttering inaudible words, the hand turned translucent. It went into the girl's chest like a hand into water, and a glow lit it from within. "You're… human?"

"Of course I'm human!" answered the girl with the jumpy attitude any person would have, if seconds after meeting a stranger, said stranger was already rummaging her insides, feeling her entrails with her bare hand. She could actually feel the hand move inside her, as if yesterday's dinner was alive and slithering inside, which, easily put, was a feeling beyond disconcerting. "No, don't… don't pull apart my organs! Not the musical instrument type of organ, wait, what am I babbling, you won't kill me for talking too much, I talk too much when I'm-, blargh-," the sentence ended in foamy-mouthed convulsions after Eterna purposely tripped a nerve connection, aggravated by the incessant chatterbox.

Eterna Hazenbach was hyperventilating. She couldn't find any traces of Rinyaka, or any traces of magic that suggested an illusion, a substitution-teleportation (i.e. teleporting away by switching place with another object at the destination, crudely named Substitution Jutsu by the masses), a transfiguration, or a teleportation. Ignoring the still convulsing girl sharing the cramped hole with her, she tried using a ridiculous amount of magical energy to teleport a pebble.

The pebble shook and coughed out sparks, but nothing more.

This place's anti-teleportation hexes are impervious, she thought. If Rinyaka is not here, then…

Her gaze fell on the girl in front of her, who was now hugging her knees in fear. The girl was garbed in her master's clothing. A sudden thought struck her. "What's your name?"

"Rin," the girl replied.

Eyes widening, Eterna hurriedly pursued the topic, "Where do you come from? How did you come here?"

"I don't… I don't know! I remember nothing! Usually I never forget what I had for breakfast, but I can't seem to remember even that! Or two days earlier, or-"

"Where the heck are you from, Rin?" Eterna impatiently pressed on.

"Uwah! Don't, I'm… I'm scared, I'm-," upon seeing Eterna's forceful stare, teary eyed, she stuttered, "Sch-Scharpel Hill, what village is this?"

"Scharpel Hill? On Angrim?"

"Y-yes? Wagh-!" she gasped in fear, as the translucent hand dipped into her head and into her brain.

"Hold still, unless you want me to pop one of your blood vessels and kill you instantly," Eterna muttered. The girl was already shaking uncontrollably. The result of her probing puzzled her. This girl… is speaking the truth… and her memory has no signs of being tampered with. I'll check some more, she thought, not pulling out her hand yet. "In year 2007 of this Cycle, what happened to you and your family?"

"Wait, I don't know the future! How should I-"

"What year is this?"

"2006 of this cycle! It's year 2006, right? What happened?"

"Do you know me?"

"No, t-tell me your name, please, I'll even do anything you'll say, you're not a bad guy, are-"

"How old are you?"

"Fourteen by the end of this year, right, wait, is this 2006?"

"Do you know the lady in this picture?" Eterna made a small photograph materialize in the palm of her other hand, a picture of the dreaded dictator Rinyaka the Third.

"Sh-she's the leader of some nation, or some world, right? I don't know, I'm sorry, I don't know!"

Seeing a person from Angrim who did not recognize the visage of the ruler was so uncanny that it strengthened her theory. In fact, each of the girl's answer supported her suspicion so well that it scared Eterna. "You never even heard of The Angrim Massacre?"

"I don't-maybe I'm not born yet at that time, I don't know!"

"Ahahaha, Rin, you sneaky bastard!" Eterna broke into a fit of strangled laughter. "You regressed back to your childhood!"

"I-I'm fourteen," Rin corrected, doubting Eterna's sanity and fearing for her life.

"After all the trouble I took, risking my neck, all these years trying to stop you, to capture you, even to kill you and put a stop to all those killings! I lost count how many times already I offered to poison you, but 'No!' said the shut-in higher-ups in the Confederation, 'We will capture her and give her a trial so that justice can be served!' Now how are we going to put you into trial, huh, huh?!" Eterna pinched Rin's cheek hard, and shaking her like a rag doll.

"Uh, wammore shing."


"I wedded myshelf," Rin mumbled in fear, cheek still not released. Which spontaneously made Eterna notice the smell.

"Yeesh!" Soil moisture, my foot!

A few seconds later, a very moody Eterna contacted her superior, saying, "Done. Captured. Waiting. Complications happened. Explanations later."

Overhead, the battle raged on, but Eterna didn't care.Who cares about the battle anymore? With this we won the war. And Rinyaka won the trial, she thought moodily.

Eterna stared at the girl hugging her knees opposite her in the hole, hard. How am I going to explain this? This is the girl who years later, is responsible for the death of 28 million civilians. This is the one whose orders I barely dared to defy all these years, the person whose single nod of the head could haunt my nightmares and conscience. For years I lived in fear of my cover being blown and a fate worse than execution by the Tempus Chair, to bring the downfall of this girl!

She pinched the girl's cheek, hard.

"Owowow! What, what did I do wrong?" Rin, flushed, put her hands over the hurting part, staring with teary eyes.


Author's Note:

Yeah, a messy chapter. I'm as confused as Eterna was. Uh, maybe as confused as Rin was, too. What kind of story is this going to be? Well, beginnings are awkward, I know. Don't worry, things will get better and better as the story progresses. I hope.

As usual, comments and support are what keeping me going. Haha, I sound like an attention seeker.

Wait warmly for the next installment. And thanks again!