The final update of Allison I.
mobi version here, courtesy of Andyy.
Confession time: I wasn't a huge fan of this volume. It's pretty obvious that Sigsawa wasn't quite as skilled at writing when he worked on this book, and some parts actually made me roll my eyes as I translated. But really, that just means that things can only get better from this point onwards. What I really like about the Allison series is that the biggest conflict in the world is solved in the very first book, and the rest of the 19-volume series deals with the fallout. So please look forward to the rest of the series! I'll be posting the first Allison II update sometime in the next couple of weeks.
Chapter 8: The World of Two People
Lowe Sneum Memorial Secondary School was situated between farmlands and plains.
There was a boy sitting on the grass, with his back against the red brick of the school building. The air was humid. Fluffy clouds were passing by in the distant sky.
A group of first-years were sitting the shade of a large tree ahead of him. The boy watched them blankly.
“It was neither! Neither! Neither Roxche nor Sou Be-Il was the ancestors!” Cried the tall, middle-aged teacher. “What a find! What a find!”
Drawn on the blackboard was a diagram of the beacon made up of the two emblems.
“When I was your age, I was taught that Sou Be-Il was an evil empire. A bull-headed and proud race in spite of being founded later than Roxche—a people we should subjugate. But that wasn’t it! What a find!”
The teacher was holding a newspaper. On the front page was the title, ‘Sou Be-Il pilot announces historic discovery to both nations’. Photographs of the mural and ‘Second Lieutenant Carr Benedict’ also decorated the page.
“It says here that he ended up flying into the Roxche side of the buffer zone by mistake while flying. He then crash-landed due to mechanical trouble, and that was how he came by the murals in the cave. It was such a marvelous discovery that instead of hiding it for himself, he announced it to both sides at the same time. What a heroic act. And—”
Suddenly, Wil heard footsteps approaching. He turned.
“Hey, Wil. Finally out of your bandages, eh?”
It was his classmate, who was being held back for remedial classes.
“Yeah. Wait, are classes finished already?”
“Yeah. The teacher just left the class part of the way through. Said something about listening to the radio broadcast about the mural. Well, I’m happy to get out early. But take a look at that.”
Wil’s friend gestured at the man teaching the first-years.
“From this point onwards, East and West will co-exist in peace. It’s all thanks to this discovery. By the time you graduate from school, you might be able to travel to Sou Be-Il. There’s another fascinating article in the papers—the President just announced that they’ll be building a bridge between the nations! Don’t you think it’s incredible? A bridge over the Lutoni River! And it says that it’ll be opened for service on Lestki Island, where the conflict ten years ago took place. They’ll be connecting the two military-use railways on Lestki Island! From this point on, we’re going to have to pour our efforts into building good relations with these people who share our origins. And—”
Wil’s friend was astonished.
“He’s completely changed his tune. Back in third year, the old guy wouldn’t stop raving about how Roxche has to rule over Cross-River. Those poor first-years. Now they’ll never believe in adults ever again.”
“I see… Anyway, it looks like there’s a lot of work ahead. For both Roxche and Sou Be-Il.”
Wil’s friend plopped down on the grass next to him.
“Ah, well. Whatever happens, happens. Anyway, Wil.”
“Did you go somewhere with that girl? No—where did you go with her? For two whole days, even?”
“I told you. We snuck out at night to go camping, and I ended up falling and getting hurt. And then I couldn’t move.”
“As if I’d believe that, Wil. I’m not as naive as the matron! I bet you did something more exciting! C’mon, buddy. I’m your friend. Be honest. Something not even a five-page reflective essay and two days of hall cleaning duty would excuse! Something that might get you expelled on the spot! I won’t tell a soul! C’mon, Wil!”
“All right. I’ll make an exception for you.”
“That’s what I’m talking about! So what happened?”
Wil’s friend sat up and listened intently.
“Allison and I… we stole an aeroplane and flew into Sou Be-Il. We were chased by a fighter craft and ended up crash-landing, but a Bezelese noblewoman living in the woods helped us out. Then, we infiltrated an army base and wreaked havoc before stealing a fighter plane and escaping. Then we found a heap of gold and silver. I even shot one of the people who came after us, though I don’t know if that was the right thing to do. And then, a pilot from Cross-River gave us a ride back to Roxche in the middle of the night. That’s how we got back in one piece.”
Wil’s friend looked disappointed.
“So it was just a camping trip after all, Wil?
“I told you.”
Wil’d friend lay on the grass again and looked up at the sky.
“Never mind. By the way, Wil. What’re you planning for summer break? Stay at our place for a while, same as usual? Let’s go fishing.”
“Maybe. I just want to have a normal summer vacation.”
“All right. Don’t feel too self-conscious, though. It’s great having you at our place! Summer homework is a ton easier with you around. Not because I’m stupid; because you’re smart.”
“Heh. All right. I’m going to have to go now. It’s almost time for the train.” Wil said, grinning.
“Huh? So you’re the one who signed out the motorcycle? Who’re you picking up at—…oh, that girl, right?”
“Yeah.” Wil nodded. His friend waved.
“All right. Have fun.”
Wil nodded and began to walk.
“Ah, Wil. About that crazy story just now. Did you see it in a book somewhere? Sounds like something I’d like to read sometime.”
“Trains are the most boring things in the world!” Allison complained at Makkaniu’s small train station. She was wearing a plain dark red air force uniform with a necktie. She was carrying a small suitcase.
“And you know what people say to me now? ‘Since there won’t be any wars from now on, the air force is going to be disbanded’! As if! Flying’s not going to end this way, no sir! Start with the army, damn it! The army!”
They climbed onto the motorcycle and the sidecar. Wil drove, leaving the village and going along a narrow country road.
“Wil… you really don’t regret anything?” Allison asked.
“No, I don’t. But maybe I shouldn’t have done what I did, for your sake at least.”
“I just stuck with you, so I don’t regret it one bit. So don’t feel sorry about me. Next time we meet Major Carr, we’ll just have to ask him to buy us dinner.”
“‘Major’? The morning paper said he was a captain.”
“I heard it on the radio on the night train. He just got promoted to a major. Apparently he’s the youngest major in Sou Be-Il history.”
“Must be tough.”
“Well, he’s the one who said he’d do anything, right? I’m glad we stayed out of the spotlight. Sometimes, if you get promoted, they don’t let you on aeroplanes. And…”
“If we weren’t out of the spotlight… we wouldn’t be able to relax together like this.” Allison said shyly.
“That’s true.” Wil replied.
After a long drive, they saw a small house in the distance. Allison spoke up.
“Did you end up going?”
“No. This is my first time back. I felt a bit uneasy about going alone…”
It was a little red house made of brick. So small was the building that it probably contained only the bare essentials. In front of the well was a small motorcycle that looked like a bicycle with an engine.
Allison and Wil stepped off the motorcycle without a word.
When the knocked on the door, they heard a woman’s voice.
“Excuse us.” Wil said, opening the door.
A woman in her late forties was cleaning the room in an apron. There was a teapot and teacups inside a neatly-packed wooden box.
“Oh… it’s you two. I’m afraid the old man won’t be coming back.”
“You’re Norma, right?” Allison asked. The woman nodded.
“Mr. McMillan… he told us to give you his regards. He can’t to that himself anymore, so… so we came in his stead.” Allison said slowly. Norma nodded and offered Allison and Wil a seat.
“So he told you where the mural was, didn’t he? And you went to find it with a trustworthy Sou Be-Il pilot.”
Norma said with a smile. Allison was shocked.
“So… you knew? You knew everything…?” Wil asked.
“Of course. That man never lied to me.”
“I see… I get it. After we found the murals, we left the announcement to the pilot. Would you like to hear how everything happened?”
Norma shook her head.
“No, it’s all right. I’m sure that man can rest in peace now. He always used to say—when the time came for the murals to be revealed, he would already be gone. He probably took his own life after leaving things to the two of you.”
“But why…? Why couldn’t he announce the discovery himself when the time was right? I don’t understand.” Allison said.
Do you know why that man returned alone from his mission during the war?” Norma asked. Wil and Allison looked at one another and shook their heads.
“I see… then let me tell you. That man—Lieutenant Colonel Walter McMillain—shot and killed his own men. Right after the poison gas attack.”
“I see. His subordinates must have seen the murals, too.” Wil commented. Norma nodded.
Allison looked at Wil. He continued.
“The subordinates must have thought, ‘we don’t need to get along with Sou Be-Il. Let’s destroy the mural’.”
“That’s right. Apparently they were just about ready to throw grenades at it.”
“The old man—Lieutenant Colonel Walter McMillan—he must have wanted to protect the mural, so he ended up—”
“Yes. He always regretted what he did. He probably killed the men in a moment of panic. But he always wondered if there could have been another way. If that really was the right thing to do. He used to weep sometimes, calling the names of his subordinates one by one. So he swore he would never announce the discovery himself. He told me everything, and left me with the decision of what to do if he died. But sometimes, he couldn’t bear the burden of that secret alone. That’s when he told other people while disguising it as a lie. He told all sorts of tall tales, mixing in the true story about the treasure sometimes.”
“I asked him once—what would he do if someone actually believed his story? He told me that if the person was interesting, he would tell them where to find the treasure. If not, he would just make up another lie. I suppose he must have taken a liking to the two of you.”
“Yeah.” Allison nodded, smiling.
“Thank you for taking the time to come see me. I’m going to leave this house now, too. And I’m not going to blame the two of you for what happened. But I suppose I’ll miss waltzing with him to the radio broadcast next week… although I can’t imagine he would have been any good.”
“Thank you for having us over. Thank you for telling us everything.”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t serve you anything.”
“Not at all. Let’s go, Allison.”
Allison and Wil walked over to the door. Suddenly, Wil stopped. Allison nearly bumped into him.
“Ms. Norma. There’s one thing I want to ask you.”
“What is it?”
“If Mr. McMillan died here… what would you have done? Would you have announced the discovery?”
Norma smiled gently.
About four kilometers south of the school was a lake and a wetland.
Groundwater from the Central Mountain Range created a lake in a large hollow in the plains, which was surrounded by a marsh.
There was a motorcycle parked by the docks, where several boats were moored. Wil stood next to the motorcycle, looking out at the lake. Allison was standing next to him.
“It really is a beautiful place.”
“Oh, one more thing. I just got this in the mail today.” Wil said, holding out a postcard. It was international mail that had been put through customs. The sender was Travas Ladia, and the address was somewhere in the capital of Sfrestus.
The contents of the message were short.
[I heard everything from the pilot. Please come back to return what you borrowed. P.S. This time, we’ll have them roasted whole.]
“Roasted whole? What’s she talking about?” Allison asked.
“The potatoes we’re having for breakfast.” Wil answered.
Allison chuckled and returned the postcard to Wil.
“All right. Let’s go to Sfrestus sometime.”
“Didn’t you get into trouble, Allison?”
“Hm? Oh, about my badge of rank. Yeah, I did. They even docked my pay. 40% for three months.”
“But everyone in my unit said I did good. They said that the captain’s the only one in the unit who hasn’t gotten into trouble now. And they didn’t take away my flying privileges, either.”
“…Isn’t coming here today considered ‘getting into trouble’?”
“It’s all right. I’m just dropping by for a quick visit.”
“Wait a second…”
Wil looked up at the sky. Four seaplanes were flying in formation. They were biplanes with a pair of floats underneath. One of the planes suddenly descended rapidly, passing over their heads. On the side of the frame was the Spear of Seron. Hand-written under the emblem were the words, ‘Not to pierce, but to illuminate’.
The seaplane circled the air before finally coming to a stop on the lake. Allison took out her jacket and aviator’s hat and put them on.
The plane made a showy swerve and stopped at the edge of the docks.
“Thanks, Wil. I’ll come visit again.”
“Any time, Allison. But make sure you contact me ahead of time.”
“Okay. See you later.”
With that, Allison ran over to the docks. Halfway through, she turned and waved to Wil.
Jumping onto the floats, Allison climbed into the back seat. Soon, the engine roared again as the seaplane taxied along the water before taking to the skies.
Wil watched the seaplanes until they disappeared into the distance.
He then returned to his motorcycle and started the engine.
Wil lazily rode his motorcycle on the road through the plains.
The sky was a clear azure. The smooth earth was covered in green.
In the distance loomed the Central Mountain Range. Some of its great peaks were still capped with snow.
When the winds began to blow in from the south, summer would arrive upon this land in full force.
-To be continued in Volume II-