Chapter Seventeen: The First to Run

8 1 0

It had been two days since The Long Slope. Luce had been given a digital map by Arnold, and she had periodically been marking their positions, tracking their journey and time. She wanted to be able to retrace their steps if needed, and to know roughly how long it would take for them to get back to the continent of Eltar should things go south - figuratively speaking - as they were already heading south. At the moment, they were west of Citidale and travelling towards the abandoned storage outpost Shou and Arnold had taken as their own.

She stood up shakily in the truck on the uneven road and walked slowly to the front. "This is it? It's so close to Citidale. I'm surprised they didn't send a squad after you."

"It's all about the cost. We're not actually doing anything, and it'll be expensive to fight a mech just to get to three deserters."

"I wished I had a mech when I deserted. Would have made things a lot easier."

"It's harder to move around with a giant following us. But it does make for a great bodyguard."

Outside their window, rugged wind swept light shades of brown. Most of it was likely dirt, but a not an insignificant amount of the windy breath was the rusty Taint. She expected the first thing to see as the hills rolled down would be the roof of the warehouse. However, what greeted them instead was the barrel of a cannon the size of their truck, mounted on the shoulder of the Regalia mech called Reggie, standing guard before the building materialised.

Arnold fumbled for his radio. "Um... Shou? This is Arnold."

The radio crackled. "Arnold? Aw, man. I thought you were bad guys."

"Don't sound so disappointed."

"Wait, I'm detecting unregistered life signs. Is this a kidnapping? A hostage thing? Because if it is, I am totally fine with killing you to save our lives."

"No, Shou," Arnold groaned. "This is not a kidnapping. I'm just bringing some work home."

"Are you allowed to do that? I thought we said not to do that? Is it important? Why are you doing that? Reggie is asking why you are doing that? It must be big if you're bringing strangers here."

"Look, things are just-wait, Reggie?"

"Yeah. You remember Reggie? Giant robot that acts like a puppy?"

"Reggie can't speak."

"Reggie's speaking to me."


They could hear the grin in Shou's voice. "I've finished the neural network."

The truck slowed as Arnold's stunned feet left the pedal for a moment. "Wait. What?"

"I've finished the neural network."

"Without me?"


Luce held on tight to the side of the truck as Arnold slammed the gas pedal. They rocketed off into the rocky landscape, bumps and humps be damned. The warehouse closed in on them, the Regalia mech larger than life before it. The cannon had retracted to its back, like a staff slung over the shoulder. They pulled up before it and Arnold slid on with his mask and jumped out. Luce was captivated by the scenario, her heart pounding with excitement as she pulled up her scarf and pushed out the back doors hastily, rushing up to their Guide's side as they stood before Reggie, looking up to the giant.

Shou's voice echoed out of the robot's speakers. "Hang on. Give us a second." Immediately, the mech started to turn, revealing the orb-like pilot compartment behind where Shou stood within, body held in place by bars and hydraulics. He waved, and the mech copied the action behind him.

Tearha: Titan WarWhere stories live. Discover now