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Chapter 2 - Reunion, Duel, and The Great Escape



    Swoosh!

    The enemy's hammer comes down with a roar. My Souga dodges to the side.

    Bam!

    The hammer goes roaring into the ground. Shaking, shaking, the ground moves from the impact.

    "Woah!"

    My sweat turns cold, and drifts down my face. Now things are getting a bit serious.

    While stepping across the shaking earth, I reposition my posture and prepare for the next jump.

    This is my first time taking on such a large Zoid, but it's surprisingly difficult to fight.

    Because the key target points of the enemy are up high, I have to jump to attack, and regardless of our outward appearance, my liger's body isn't that strong, it's built to be swift and agile and shouldn't be left exposed. Then, the next moment the hammer is swinging down again, aiming to land where I stand. These kinds of attacking and defensive moves have been happening for a while.

    But while fighting, I'm starting to get a knack for it. It takes a bit of time for the Zoid to swing its hammer down, then readjust its posture.

    "Okay."

    So! I deliberately add a pointless move. The hammer swings down.

    "There!"

    We jump while dodging the hammer.

    "Got it!"

    I raise Souga's front leg. I try to swing Souga's claws down into the enemy's skull... At that moment another Zoid crosses right in front of my eyes. It's Ken's Hound Soldier. I panic and hurriedly retract Souga's claws. Souga and Hound Soldier leap over the enemy's head while passing by each other.

    We land with a thud and jump away from the enemy. Then I say to Ken,

    "What is it?"

    Ken answers.

    "Didn't you hear the Captaim's orders?"

    Now that he mentions it, Jin had indeed said something in a communication before...

    "I didn't hear it."

    Ken looks dumbstruck on the screen.

    "I was in the middle of a fight."

    Ken recovers on the screen, and replies.

    "We're supposed to capture the enemy alive, without actually hurting them."

    That seems like a difficult order.

    "No way, that's impossible."

    "We can do it. If we work together."

    I see. We couldn't do it alone, but with two of us... we can do it."

    A strategy comes to mind.

    "All right. Follow me."

    I circle around to join Ken, and we run at the enemy. Ken's coming with us.

    The enemy raises his hammer. Souga makes a small jump towards our opponent. Only, it's a bluff, we land immediately and dodge to the left.

    Booooom!

    The hammer crashes down next to Souga. For a short time, the ground shakes and shifts. Souga twists his flexible body, jumps on the enemy's hammer, and digs in his claws with both front paws. Yes, if we can manage to hold down his hammer...

    Gaaaaahhhhh!

    The enemy is scared. It feels like he might lift the hammer up, even with Souga on top.

    Aaaaahhh!

    Souga's body is starting to lift up from the ground.

    "Ken, hurry!"

    As I turn around, I can see the Hound Soldier rushing around the side of the hammer. The tip of its lance is shining, and he points it at the enemy's throat.

    Ken speaks with a dignified voice.

    "I suggest that you surrender! I don't want to hurt you!"

    Hmm, I guess I can't really say that Ken isn't cool anymore.

    There's a new communication. On the screen is a middle-aged man.

    "Wow, what a bummer. Well done, well done."

    The old man lets out a hearty laugh "Wahahaha!" I'm not sure what's going on, though.

    Ken withdraws his weapon, and the old man releases the hammer that I'm holding down.

    "Its been a while, Midori."

    Huh? By any chance, is this old man an acquaintance of mine?

    "You probably don't remember me, Midori. When I met you before you were still so small."

    The old man raises his hands up to his shoulders. So I met this old man when I was a baby?

    "Umm..."

    "Mm, I know. Let's get to work immediately. Come on."

    The old man goes on alone, walking ahead and still speaking freely, as he starts walking around the village. I don't understand it all, but I decide to stick with him for the time being.


- Chapter 2: Part 2

    We enter a building with a tall ceiling. It's full of swealtering heat. Our Zoids advance inside.

    "Leave the Zoids here."

    The old man points to the back of the room with a hammer.

    "I have to take down their dimensions, so your Zoids will be kept here for a while."

    I'm a little lost. It makes me feel uneasy to leave my Souga alone with other people. But, in the end I decide to leave him there. I think this old man's a trustworthy person. It's kind of crazy for him to speak so casually to me, though.

    The old man is coming out from his Iron Kong. He exits the cockpit and leaves his Zoid there as well. Ken's face is red for some reason. Is it because the room is so hot?

    "It's amazing."

    Ken says. The old man laughs loudly.

    "Are you Ken, the boy mentioned in Hakukuu's letter?"

    "Yes, and the Zoid you fought earlier is the Hound Soldier."

    "I'm Masakuni. Is it your first time seeing a workshop?"

    "I've heard about it."

    "Mm."

    Masakuni starts talking as he walks.

    "Humans are more than enough to make weapons for people to use, but when it comes to weapons that Zoids can use, that's just not the case. There's a big size difference. Only Zoids can make weapons for other Zoids."

    Masakuni points his finger.

    "Brastle Tiger. It's your job to heat the furnace."

    The Zoid stokes the fire to match his instructions.

    Roar!

    "That Zoid there is the Hammer Rock. Its job is pretty obvious."

    The Zoid is pounding a hammer. Clang, clang, clang...

    "Amazing."

    Ken looks flushed when I look at him. Certainly, all of these Zoids working with people is a powerful sight. Although, the image of the Brastle Tiger stoking the furnace's fire is a bit of a gag...

    "Your weapons will be pounded with this hand... No, with my Zoid, the Iron Kong's hammer... Let me strike them for you. That's why..."

    Masakuni turns around to look at me.

    "I fought you before."

    "Huh?"

    "Oh, you mean earlier..."

    "Yes. It was written in Lord Hakukuu's letter. 'Please spar with Midori, and make a weapon based on her personal aptitude.'"

    How extra. It was certainly pretty dangerous.

    "If... If you say so..."

    "I do say so.... If it hadn't been a serious match? It'd have been completely pointless."

    Masakuni laughs loudly.


- Chapter 2: Part 3

    As we leave the studio, Jin's just arriving. The cockpit opens and he emerges from it.

    "Are you Masakuni?"

    "Mhm."

    Masakuni, after turning a glance to Jin, turns his eyes to the Rez Wolf's sword.

    "How nostalgic. That's Kazuchi. It was one of the swords I crafted back in the old days. So you're the current user?"

    "That's right"

    "There's not a single speck on the blade. You seem to be using it carefully."

    "Of course."

    Jin smiles.

    "It's a precious sword that I inherited from my father."

    That must be why, when we first met, it seemed so easy for him to use his sword to knock down my Souga...

    "Hmm"

    Masakuni's eyes turned towards Jin.

    "That means that you're..."

    "It's my first time meeting you. I'm Jin. This Zoid is the Rez Wolf."

    "Yes, I see."

    Masakuni narrows his eyes.

    "Sir?"


- Chapter 2: Part 4

    It took days to make the weapons. During that time, we stayed at Masakuni's house. Even so, Masakuni was almost always at the studio, so it was actually his wife and daughters who took care of us.

    We spent the day hiking the nearby mountains and rivers. During that time, Jin and Ken practiced their martial arts wherever we went. Räte and Seki chatted away. Seki said "Its been a long time since we had a day off". She seemed thankful. I was also enjoying myself. Yet, I wasn't happy that I couldn't be with Souga.

    My Souga, because of the extent of work being done on his leg, wasn't allowed outside of the workshop at all. I went to the studio to see Souga, but he seemed to have a sad look in his eyes. At one point, one of the workers who was working on Souga's adjustments impatiently asked "Do you need something?"

    I laugh and answer. "It's Master's orders. I don't know why, but if you really want to know, you can ask him."

    As I try to go see Masakuni, the man at the workshop intervenes.

    "It's not a good time. He's concentrating. If you interrupt him and say something while he's striking the sword, it'll get smashed by the hammer."

    That would be bad. I decide to refrain for now.

    "Hey, look at his armor. It's splendid, isn't it? This is the village's treasured armor, passed down from generation to generation. There's no armor better than this anywhere in the world."

    It's certainly is a spendid armor... well, I think. I don't have an eye for how valuable it actually is. That being said, I feel like it's too light, and I don't think it fits Souga. I mean, when this is put on Souga, he'll be a different Souga than he is now. I feel like he'll become a different Souga all together. What a loss that would be.


- Chapter 2: Part 5

    "It's done."

    It was the evening of the seventh day when the assistant told us that.

    Ken and I run to the workshop. Jin and the others will catch up later.

    At the entrance of the workshop, a smiling Masakuni is waiting.

    "I've done it. Its been a long time since I've made something this good. Do you want to see it?"

    Masakuni stands ahead of us, then enters the studio without even waiting for our replies.

    First is Ken's Hound Soldier, near the entrance of the studio.

    "Do you understand?"

    Masakuni asks.

    At first glance it looks the same as before, but if you look closely... The front is equipped with the same armor on the left and right, but now it's a bit different.

    "Yes."

    Ken sees the spear on the left.

    "It's the shine of Metal Zi."

    "Mm."

    Masakuni responds.

    Certainly, the radiance of Metal Zi is somehow different from other metals.

    "No armor can protect from the thrust of this spear."

    "Amazing!"

    Ken sounds excited.

    "Can I try it now?"

    "I don't care, but before that..."

    Masakuni looks to the back of the studio.

    "This one's great, too!"

    Masakuni walks forward. Then, at the back of the studio, there's an incredible sight.

    "Huh?"

    The sound escapes my mouth.

    "Woah!"

    Ken raises his voice in marvel.

    "It looks amazing."

    Masakuni puffs up his chest in pride.

    It's amazing? ... I mean... This... It really is amazing.

    There's a sword equipped to Souga's shoulder, and it's decently sized.

    "Um, it's amazing, but..."

    I hear a voice. It's Räte. Looking back, Jin and Seki are also coming this way.

    "I mean, isn't it too big?"

    Räte asks the same question I want to.

    "Hahaha. What do you mean?"

    Masakuni doesn't budge.

    "I calculated Souga's agility 5 times and this is a good balance."

    Masakuni turns towards me.

    "Well, why don't you give it a try? When you actually swing your sword, you'll understand the balance."

    Suddenly, I feel anxious.

    "I guess I should..."

    I turn to Ken.

    "Ken."

    I point my finger at Ken.

    "A match!"

    Ken grins and laughs.

    "If it's a request for a formal match..."

    Ken corrects his attitude quickly and responds in a proud voice.

    "I accept."

    Masakuni laughs loudly.

    "Interesting! Do you know how to play a formal match?"

    "Yes."

    Ken answers. I... I don't know how, though. When I look at Ken, he laughs a little.

    "Okay, I'll teach you."

    "That's fine, but..."

    Masakuni makes a straight face for a moment.

    "Don't aim the blade at your opponent. The sharpness of a Metal Zi blade is more than you could ever imagine. Just strike each other's blades, instead."

    "Of course."

    Ken answers.


- Chapter 2: Part 6

    I go to Souga, Ken goes to his Hound Soldier, and we exit. Once we're out in front, me and Ken turn our backs to each other for 10 steps, then turn around and face one another. Jin's watching. Him and Masakuni have their arms folded. Räte is smiling and Seki seems a little worried.

    I speak to Ken.

    "Are you sure you want to do this?"

    Ken smiles and laughs.

    "Of course."

    "Well then."

    "Now!"

    "Oh!"

    Me and Souga run forward. The Hound Soldier also starts running. The gap between the two quickly closes. I grip the sword while running.

    "My song is the sound of slashing, and my dance is the twinkle of a white blade."

    Those words enter my heart. I know it from Jin. These are the thoughts of the sword. Perhaps Ken is also listening to the thoughts of his spear right now. What kind of words do you hear, Ken?

    "The path we take is a wicked road, and those who obstruct it, we will kill."

    As I run, I swing my sword down.

    "Let's go, Souga... break it!"

    Ken shoves upwards with the spear.

    Clang!

    There's a sharp sound, and pale sparks scatter in the evening sky.







    Clang!

    The sound of blades echoes in the sky.

    My Hound Soldier's body is leaning far to the side as it thrusts the spear. It's the same for Midori's Souga. If you lose your balance and fall, you lose. Hound Soldier, while barely keeping its balance, runs past Souga.

    Souga's strong. When our blades clash with each other, I can feel that strength behind the blades.

    However, me and Hound Soldier have swiftness and technique. And next...

    We do a U-turn after 10 steps. We face each other again.

    "Now!"

    Midori calls out first. Her fighting spirit is constant.

    "Haahh!"

    I answer. We start running towards each other. Then,

    "That's the end of it!"

    Someone jumps up while shouting. It's Commander Jin.

    "Wait! Hound Soldier—"

    I stop the Hound Soldier in a panic. I get anxious and it feels like I'm going to fall, but I manage it. When I turn to Souga, it looks like they managed to stop too. The commander runs out in front of the zoids.

    Souga's cockpit opens and Midori appears.

    "What's wrong!? That was dangerous!"

    She's a little angry.

    "Nevermind that."

    The commander raises his hand and responds.

    "It's important that we continue our journey tomorrow. You don't want to be injured."

    "Mm. That's a good point."

    Masakuni says.

    "There's more..."

    Masakuni turns his back.

    "Souga's armor has arrived. Let's try it on."

    The armor was being carried in. I saw it several times in the studio, it's a good armor. I'm a bit jealous.


- Chapter 2: Part 7


    "Woooowwww!"

    Räte speaks up.

    It was Masakuni's disciple's Hammer Rock.

    It was equipping Souga's armor by hand.

    "This armor, it's no ordinary thing."

    Makasuni laughs.

    "Do you understand, miss?"

    "I understand."

    Räte puffs up her chest.

    "If it's about Zoids, you can ask this big sister, Rätelme Faironess anything."

    Pause; she points to Souga's head.

    "First of all, this piece of armor. It's protective gear to protect the head of the Zoid, but its effects aren't limited to just that. It's an important item that gives a sense of security to allies, and intimidation to enemies. Thanks to the strong gold and black design..."

    Räte's tone changes. It's almost like a commentator.

    "Of course, ease of movement is also an important factor. Let's take a look at this knee pad. While the power bar is completely on point, its exquisite balance doesn't affect the movement of the joints at all..."

    Räte's commentary continues. To be honest, even if she didn't comment, you could see these things.

    Jin narrows his eyes and watches the situation.

    "Commander."

    I speak up.

    "Hmm?"

    The commander answers and looks at Souga.

    "Why did you stop us earlier? It was a good match."

    The commander laughs.

    "It was getting serious."

    Maybe it was. It was our first match in a while, and Midori is strong.

    "Err, yeah, a little."

    "If you continued the match like that..."

    The commander glances at me.

    "Would you have won?"

    "Huh? that's..."

    I think... It certainly seems like Midori and Souga aren't familiar with the game.

    "Maybe."

    "And that's why I stopped it. If you defeated Souga, afterwards, you'd be eating Midori's fist."

    Well, that would be a problem.

    "On the contrary..."

    The commander redirects his gaze to Midori.

    "She's a girl. Maybe she'd cry."

    That... would be even more of a problem.

    Maybe the commander had such a bitter experience? By any chance, was that the reason why the Commander wouldn't fight a woman? I want to ask, but decide to move on.

    The Commander continues his point.

    "Sometimes it's better not to win."

    Somehow I feel like I understand.


- Chapter 2: Part 8

    That night we have a farewell party. Masakuni is always busy, so this is my first time being able to have a leisurely meal with him.

    "Mmm."

    Masakuni drinks his cup dry and looks at the commander.

    "Does this mean some areas have already suffered terrible damage?"

    After drinking, Masakuni and the commander are talking about Bio Zoids. Midori doesn't seem interested, so she goes with Seki to help hand the desserts out to the little kids. Midori's alterior motive is to get a dessert of her own.

    "The number of reports to the city is increasing every day."

    "Its been said for a long time that 'The seal of the sword is not eternal. The day will come when the seal will be broken.'"

    Masakuni looks up at the ceiling as if sinking into thought.

    "A huge fossil from underground. An endless number of invincible Zoids gushing from it. A fierce battle involving the whole land. A sword with a special powers. Two heroes who head towards the fossil. A sword that's sealed... Where in our history is truth, and how much is mere legend..."

    "I heard that the Gusoku armor that was equipped to Midori's Souga is the same armor that the hero Zoid was wearing back then."

    "It's only a legend. No... It might be true. Anyway, it'd be nice if that armor was useful for something..."

    Masakuni returns his sight to the commander.

    "Well, do you know the location, the place where there's some sort of Bio Zoid nest?"

    "If we combine all of the information we've received throughout the emergence of Bio Zoids, there's a clear direction that they're spreading from. We'll follow it in reverse."

    "Is the legendary sealed sword still there?"

    "I don't know. First, I have to find the place. The other day I encountered a Bio Zoid that was only half a day from here..."

    Masakuni raises his eyebrows and stares.

    "They're that close."

    "What about you, have you heard any eyewitness reports of Bio Zoids?"

    "I haven't heard anything. Things have been peaceful without incident... Though, there was a suspicious event at a lake ahead of us..."

    "A lake?"

    A high pitched voice rises up. Turning around, Midori is looking at me.

    "Do you have a lake?"

    "Mmm, it's just in the direction that you're heading. It's a small lake..."

    "I want to see it!"

    Midori's eyes are shining.

    Seki smiles.

    "Oh, Midori, have you never seen a lake?"

    "Nope, neither a lake or the sea."

    "Lakes are nice."

    Räte joins the conversation.

    "The light of the sun pouring down. The refreshing wind blowing across the lake."

    "So..."

    The commander ignores Räte and continues talking to Masakuni.

    "What's so suspicious?"

    "Oh, right. I hear that the fishermen's nets are being broken pretty often. It seems there's something huge hiding in there."

    "No way, it couldn't be a Bio Zoid..."

    "I don't believe so..."

    "That's it!"

    Räte shouted.

    "That's definitely a Bio Zoid. We have to thoroughly investigate. If necessary, we may have to set up camp at the lakeside for however long it takes..."

    "Camp at the lake?"

    Midori's voice bounces.

    "Yeah. Midori, do you have a swimsuit?"

    "I don't have one, since the rivers that flowed near my village were too steep to swim..."

    "That's okay. I'll bring everything we need. What should I get? A red two piece? A pink bikini? Or maybe a black T-Back?"

    "That's, um, really bold..."

    "So no black swimsuit?"

    Seki's tone seems excited.

    "A black swimsuit only looks good on someone with very specific proportions."

    Ahem.

    The Commander clears his throat.

    "Hey, you guys, hold on, I haven't decided we're going yet..."

    "I'd prefer to lend you my bathing suit. It's a white one piece with a flower pattern."

    "No, that's weird. Besides, I prefer something that shows off a woman's assets."

    "Um, I..."

    "Hey, guys, we're still not going yet..."

    "Yeah, Midori, you have a determined style, so something bold..."

    "Hey, you guys..."

    So, we decided that we were going to set up camp on the shores of the lake.


- Chapter 2: Part 9

    The next morning, the people in the workshop rush in and attach special equipment to my Hound Soldier. Instead of a pole, it has a powerful reel, with a long and durable thread... I mean... rope, and a huge fishing hook. To me, it isn't a welcome change, because it looks bad.

    For some reason, Midori hasn't equipped Souga with the Gusoku armor yet, and so far she's been reluctant to equip it at all. Even when the Commander asks why, she only answers with "He's fine as is." Personally, I think Gusoku's the best, and I think it'd be better to equip it to Souga. I've tried giving my brief opinion, but when I see the look on Midori's face, I choose not to say anything. Midori and Souga have had a long relationship, so maybe there's some special reason. In the end, she decides to take him out without equipping the armor.

    It's a day's journey to the lake. We were seen off by Masakuni in the morning, and we arrived at the lake in the evening. We set up camp, spent the night, and the next morning I set out to capture the huge creature... but...

    Huuuaaahhhhh

    Finally, I yawn.

    "I can't fish, can I?"

    Huuuaaaaaahhhhhh...

    The commander answers with another yawn.

    Fishing was my role because the Hound Soldier was the only zoid that could equip the fishing gear. The commander came along, just so I wouldn't have to work alone. He had placed a deck chair near the Hound Soldier's cockpit and was sunbathing. I, too, had the cockpit open and was carrying out the ever graceful fishing work while basking in the sun.

    Yaaaawwwwnnnnn

    I'm just bored, though.

    We started in the morning, and it's almost noon now. Sometimes I try to pull the hook up, but there's only signs of fish feeding on it, no trace of the big guy. Now I'm wondering, will a Bio Zoid even bite this kind of bait? Or for that matter, I wonder what Bio Zoids consider food in the first place?

    I hear laughter carry on the wind.

    "This is fun."

    The Commander says.

    I turn my head and look over the edge.

    The three women are there, and Midori can't swim... or she never swam... either way, they were having a special swimming class. No matter how you look at it though, it just looks like they're playing around.


    "Are you sure there's a Bio Zoid in this lake?"

    "No way. Maybe there's a huge fish, though."

    "Are there fish that big?"

    "It seems so. Humans stop growing once they hit a certain age, but fish continue to grow throughout their lives. So, as long as they're not sick and they don't get eaten by another fish, they can live long enough to get pretty big."

    "What?"

    I wonder if that's really true.

    "Yyyyep."

    I hear Räte's voice.

    "Let's have lunch. It's already made."

    The commander answers.

    "Where do we eat?"

    "Here."

    The three girls, including Räte come over to the Hound Soldier.

    "You want to eat here?"

    "Wouldn't that be better? If we eat here, then Ken can also eat."

    Apparently, I'm not allowed to leave my spot for lunch.

    "Ken, you still haven't caught anything?"

    "Thanks a lot."

    "Are you working hard?"

    The people were asking as they climbed into the cockpit. The look of all those swimsuits is a little bit dazzling.

    Thoom!

    Suddenly there's a shock. Hound Soldier's body shakes.

    "Kyaaa!"

    "Woah!"

    "What happened?"

    "I caught something!"

    "Are you sure you didn't catch a rock?"

    That's not it. Something's moving at the end of the rope. Something with tremendous power. Hound Soldier's still shaking, and getting wobbly.

    "It's something alive. I have no doubt!"

    "Good, pull it in!"

    I wind the reel. The shaking becomes more and more intense.

    "No! Cut it loose!"

    "This is dangerous. Let's get inside."

    The people who are sitting outside come down into the cockpit. The cockpit is pretty spacious with just one person in it, but now there's five people. Everyone's crowding behind me and focusing on the screen.

    Before long, the creature at the end of the line appears on the water's surface.

    "Woah—!"

    The commander covers his mouth.

    "What, what is that?"

    "Let your big sister explain."

    Räte starts explaining.

    "That's a Wardick. It's a fish Zoid. 17 meters in length. It weighs 32 tons. It can move up to 70 kilometers an hour in water. Equipped with beam guns, sonic blasters, and anti-surface missiles. Its missile strength in particular is extraordinary..."

    "Yeah, I got that."

    The Commander opens his mouth.

    "I know that part, but why is it here?"

    "That's right, because... Why? Uhh, Kyaa—!!"

    On the screen, the Wardick's missile launcher is aiming this way.

    "Uhhh, anti-surface missiles won't impact the ground, right?"

    "I don't think that's true. Missiles are missiles."

    Bam!

    A missile has been launched.

    "Waaa! What should I do?"

    The commander shouts.

    "I don't know!"

    Everyone's voices are blending together.

    "Run away—!"

- Hound Soldier


    The color scheme conforms to the Genesis colors, but the Generations concept idea gives it individuality by adding additional parts. The Hound is characterized by a barrel-shaped sensor and a Metal Zi spear. The prop for it was also made by me so that I could visualize its three-dimensional shape, which made it very easy to draw. The dog-like run of the Hound is difficult, and I ended up correcting the draft many times...

- Heavy Rhimos


    Following is Räte's machine, Rhimos, which replaces the drill with a hammer design. The design of the limited model kit was changed to prevent accidental ingestion by those in the target audience's age bracket... And the engineering episode around it made it difficult to commercialize. At the time of serialization the canopy is blue, not red, orange, or green, or maybe a 4th color? It's the color I chose from my personal imagination, but it also matches the sky people, so it's fine (laughs).

Chapter End


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      This book was translated using Google Translate. Please be aware that there will be errors! If you notice anything that needs corrected, feel free to contact us and let us know.