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Well, sorry for the delayed update. Been out of motivations and such, plus I’m on my final term, so final project comes first (though I'm too lazy to even think about it).
[ ] tell the story of your struggle against the implacable Nazi war machine, how you lost your comrades holding out against the evil tide. And then…
[ ] tell the events of what took place during the last few days up to now, to the point of your arrival here.
“I’m not sure if you’d be interested,” you tell her, scratching the back of the head as you do. “It’s… quite complicated, you see.”
“Oh, come on! I’ve told you I’d listen to anything, remember?” Kaguya urges.
You stop. The rabbit stops as well and looks up at you. You stare at Kaguya, who in turn returns the stare. Your heart skips a bit when both of you have eye contact. Those eyes, they’re the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in your life.
After a long time of inner debate, you give it a shot.
“To begin with, as soon as the Nazis invaded our land we got drafted into the army,” you speak. “I was… an anomaly among the people as I had graduated from university months earlier.” You laugh a bit when you remember the days you were going through at boot camp. “I mean… a graduate joining the army as conscript? I should’ve been looking for decent job and looking after my family, but then Mother Russia needed to be protected from the fascists.”
“Well, you surely the not one I’d call conventional soldier,” You notice that Kaguya is smiling. For what reason, you cannot tell. “Tell me more about you and your comrades.”
You cough. “There was I, the strange zaichata. Then there was Kamarov… everybody knows him better for his body odour, and man, he was actually proud of that.” You pause as to take a second to recall your memory. “There were other people I knew apart from Kamarov. There was Sasha the silent bullet, Boris the hyperactive and Gorky the heavy duty guy. We all shared our passion to defend the Motherland and we had sworn upon our blood to become her shield.”
“You’ve got quite an interesting bunch of people back there,” Kaguya coos.
You nod. “My brother was supposed to be with me as well, but he decided to join the air force,” you continue. “I assume that he had things for flying, and he doesn’t talk much about it either, but we understood each other.”
You continue again. “We continued our training and even got our first taste of combat during the defence of Moscow. Then news reached boot camp that the Stalingrad had fallen.” You take a deep breath when you mention the name. “Stalingrad.”
“Battle of Stalingrad… home to the bloodiest conflict ever to take place. I think I’ve read about it,” Kaguya says.
You nod. “Of course, whoever doesn’t like to see their homeland invaded by bloody fascists? I was angry; Kamarov was angry; Boris and Gorky were angry. Sasha? Well, he just wanted to give the Germans a good headshot with his rifle.”
“It was dead winter when we arrived and the city was in its most sorrowful state. The five of us were ordered to find the remaining soldiers in the city, and in doing so we became aware of how grave the situation was.” You pause again. “The Germans… they seemed to have our heads marked: sniper rifles, machineguns, grenades, anti-armour rockets, tanks… even this.” You show her the 30mm amulet dangling over your neck as a proof of how ‘up close and personal’ the encounter was. “It was very close. The German plane would have gotten us if it weren’t for the soldiers we were ordered to look for. They… they bought the plane time so that we could escape and fight another day. They… didn’t make it. This amulet… it’s a reminder of that day.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Kaguya apologizes.
You shake your head. “Lots of them had fallen, yes, but their sacrifice was not in vain as we were able to drive the German fascists out of Stalingrad,” you speak, now gaining some degree of morale. “I was more than satisfied to be able to avenge their fall, and I was sure the rest of us were feeling the same.”
You look at Kaguya again. This time you can see her eyes lighting up in admiration. You can tell that she’s becoming more interested in you. “Well?” she asks in excitement. “Do you have more stories to share?”
You decide to go for it and tell Kaguya of how after Stalingrad, you and your division were sent to an outpost outside Kursk, how you had to spend the passing days without any skirmish with the Germans. It was a stark contrast compared to the chaotic days of Stalingrad, and you recall a day when because there was practically nothing better to do Boris proposed the division a game of ‘domination’ where the objective was to secure a waypoint and defend it with any methods for as long as the game went.
The atmosphere of the storytelling switches from amusing to sombre when you reach the part where your outpost was under attack by German artilleries. You start by detailing out how the division was caught completely off-guard and was forced to throw everything it had at the Germans despite being overwhelmingly outnumbered and outgunned. One after another, your comrades fell to the Germans although Boris would not let them pass by charging at them with hands and body full of grenades. And that left you, the zaichata, alone in the mayhem and in spite of your insistence to hold the ground the Commissar had ordered you to retreat to Headquarters.
“And that’s when I found the cave and went in. Figured that I could use it as a hideout until the Germans left,” you speak. “Until I realized that the cave was connected to this place. I decided to go deeper and…” You pause. You take a deep breath. Then you continue. “And that’s how I got here.”
You scratch the back of your head, sighing to know that you’ve done your part. “I hope you find the story interesting. I’m not really good in storytelling, so…”
“That was wonderful!” Kaguya exclaims. “Never before in my life have I listened to a story this engaging! You should tell this to everybody else when during dinner.”
“Ah… hah…” You can only sigh.
By the time the moon rises from the horizon, the three of you have reached your destination. “I certainly never thought our trip would be this lengthy,” you say, looking up at the entrance gate. “So I assume this is the place I’ll be staying in for tonight?”
“I’ll have the accommodations ready, so don’t worry,” Kaguya assures and approaches the gate. As she does so, she’s approached by a person who seems to be flattered by Kaguya’s return. You also notice Kaguya saying a word or two to the person who just nod without any objection. “Mister Ivanov!” she shouts from beyond the gate. “Come over here.”
You oblige. You walk in, closely followed by the rabbit and approach Kaguya. There you can see the person she was talking to earlier. It’s another girl.
[ ] Reisen.
[ ] Eirin.
[ ] Tewi.
[ ] Random earth rabbit.
[ ] greet the said girl. (Write-in is encouraged).