The sky was leaden, and the sound of breaking waves could be heard in the distance.
In a deserted cemetery facing a beach on the outskirts of Portsmouth, a row of irregular crosses extended out into the horizon. Walking alone, Teletha Testarossa made her way through the silent dead.
She was clutching two bouquets of red flowers in her hands.
The cold North Atlantic wind stung her cheeks.
She remembered the location very well. It was just ahead. Ah, there it is...
She finally came to a stop in front of a pair of crosses lined up close together. Engraved on each were the names and the dates of birth and death of her parents.
Tessa bent down and gently placed a bouquet on each.
It was six years today.
It felt like such a short, as well as such a long amount of time.
So many things had happened since then. So much had changed.
There was no more warm fireside. She was no longer able to freely exhibit the vast amount of knowledge she had so innocently learned. She would probably never again see those people on the street who would smile and say hello.
Because she could never go back.
That little girl, who, with no one else to depend on, had thrown herself sobbing on the sleeve of her twin brother, was gone.
The mad wheels of time would probably never turn back.
So she had chosen to fight. Whether or not that would connect her with something to save, even that was uncertain.
A gentle voice said, “Well, this is a surprise.”
A young man was standing in the middle of a cluster of gravestones. His silver hair waved in the wind, and his eyes were as peaceful as a spring. He- Leonard Testarossa, was also carrying two bouquets.
“But, I see you came after all.”
“I’m also surprised,” she said, not looking especially astonished.
“It seems you still remembered about Mother and Father.”
“I remember. That’s the problem.”
Leonard smiled innocently.
“You’ve grown, Teletha. You’re stronger and more beautiful than ever. I wonder if riding around on that toy has been a good experience for you.”
She stared at him, dispensing with the small talk.
“I’ve lost several of my subordinates. If I haven’t learned anything from that, then I disgrace their lives.”
“The dead have no honor or dignity.”
“If that’s true, then why are you here?”
“I thought I might be able to speak to you. And- that maybe here, I might be able to take you with me.”
“It’s no use. Because, you see-”
The silver-haired girl messed with the scarf wrapped around her neck, and slowly untied it.
The wind caught it and flapped it around.
“You’re my enemy now.”
An instant later, the space behind her shook. A pale phosphorescence appeared and danced around. A white AS appeared as if it had seeped in through the atmosphere. It was the ARX-7 Arbalest.
Having now cancelled its ECS, the Arbalest was in a kneeling position, pointing the end of a shot cannon straight at Leonard.
At the same time, however, Leonard gracefully raised his right hand over his head, as if he were conducting a waltz. The same phenomenon then took place behind him. The figure of a red AS instantly appeared wrapped in a small flash of lightning. It was Venom.
There were now two giants, each accompanying the brother and sister.
It was gun muzzle opposite gun muzzle. They each held their own in the cold, blustery wind.
Finally, Leonard broke into a smile.
“I see. It seems you’re ready to finish it. However- let’s call it quits for today. Doing it here would, in your words, disgrace the dignity of the dead.”
The Venom, still carefully holding its gun, presented its right hand to Leonard. With refined and polished movements, he sat down gracefully in its palm.
“Goodbye, Teletha. And to you over there, as well.”
The Venom stood up. Through the dancing wind, Tessa yelled, “This is the final warning. Stop helping them.”
“Teletha. You yourself should wash your hands of those people.”
“I can’t do that.”
“Take care of the flowers. Lay them on the graves for me.”
The Venom, stepping backwards, operated its ECS.
There was a squall of wind and dust. A flash of light and a crash.
The enemy was gone. The sound of its propulsion system moved off.
Tessa and the Arbalest were left behind in the empty graveyard.
“...Captain. Are you hurt?”
The dark voice of the pilot- Sousuke Sagara, resounded over the white AS’s external speakers.
There were a number of chaotically broken gravestones. He had probably left them- Tessa, picking up the dropped flowers, feebly mumbled, “No... I’m fine. Let’s withdraw. Please call the helicopter.”