Hina's parents died when she was five. At that time, Hina didn't really understand what death truly is. In fact, nobody really knew Hina's existence until the landlord asked some movers to clear out the house. By that time, Hina has already been starving for 2 days.
Hina's parents rarely interacted with the neighbours, not that they have any neighbours to begin with. The only person living remotely close to them is the 84-year-old woman 2 houses down the street. Hina's parents found the house on sale at a cheap price because it is far from the city centre and they didn't want to spend too much on a house. The only thing Hina can vaguely remember about her parents is how her father wasn't at home most of the time and her mother kept feeding her carrots because carrots are one of the cheapest and most abundant food in Asupar. It got to the point where Hina absolutely hates carrots.
Once the landlord found Hina, they decided to give her some food and threw her out on to the streets. Somehow, the fact that the landlord constantly repeating to her that her parents are not coming back before throwing her out convinced her she is on her own now. Hina kept on crying but nobody really cared about this wandering child, until Hina somehow wandered into the train station and board a train to the city center. Once she is there, she smells the aroma of food and decided to follow it. Relying purely on her survival instincts, she manages to steal her first bun from an unattended stall. She still remembers the feeling of ecstasy when she got that steaming hot bun in her hands and the satisfaction of consuming it.
This goes on for a while, with Hina sleeping in the small space of the carriage owned by the bun seller at night. Hina was a genius though, she manages to keep herself clean from the nearby tap and make sure she stays hydrated by picking up an empty plastic bottle to use as her bottle. She never really wandered anywhere too far off from the city center because it has all the essentials she needs to survive.
However, even the greatest genius sometimes makes a mistake. The stall owner has already noticed that he seems to be missing a few buns regularly. He decided to set up a little trap for the thieving bastard that was stealing his buns all the time.
The stall owner pretended to be distracted. He worked with a friend and acted as if he was talking to him while the friend was eyeing the stall closely. Hina saw the owner back against her and decided to quickly scurry out from her hiding place and aimed for the bun sitting at the top of the steamer.
"Caught ya!" Just as Hina was about to land her hand on the bun, the owner gripped it tightly and pull it back.
Hina's heart stopped. Her survival instincts kicked in again as she struggled wildly, but her strength is no match for an adult that is thrice the size of her.
"Let me go!" Hina cried out.
"You little thieving bitch, watch how I punish you!" The owner's face was contorted with rage as he raised his hand, ready to smack down on Hina's face.
Just then, a hand caught on to the owner's, stopping the owner from slapping Hina.
"Let her go." A man dressed in a steampunk suit, those that the upper-class people of Asupar wears, and a top hat with gears on it, turning every now and then, said in a deep, commanding voice. He has a monocle and was smoking a fat cigar. Every part of him screams out he is filthy rich.
"She stole my buns for a few weeks now!" The owner retorted.
"Here." The man reaches into his pocket and flashes out a wad of notes. The owner immediately lets go of Hina and took the money.
The man walks over to Hina and bends down, smiling warmly.
"Hey there little girl, what's your name?"
Hina looked at the man with disdain and replied coldly, "Hina."
"Got an attitude, huh?" The man chuckled, "where are your parents?"
"Dead." Hina did not flinch or looked sad, "dead" is the same as "abandoning her".
The man's expression changed a bit, it seems to hint a mix of sorrow and surprise.
"Dad!" A high-pitched voice sounded behind the man. A woman holding the hand of a little girl walked towards them. The woman was also wearing some elegant steampunk style dress, also part of the upper-class image. The little girl looks about the same age as Hina, except her costume is drastically different from Hina's. She was wearing a coat with machinery on it, making clicking noise once in a while, long pants with clock designs, and high heeled boots. She has short brown hair and unlike her dad, she was wearing spectacles.
"Oh Maya, come and say hello to Hina!" Maya's father gestured for Maya to come.
Maya takes a look at Hina's dirty clothes and immediately looked away with disgust. Hina didn't like that expression.
"Honey, let's go. Don't bother with these beggars who are trying to cheat your money." The woman also looked at Hina with contempt.
"C'mon, she has no parents..." Maya's father took a puff of his cigar.
"That's what they all say..."
"Dad, can we go? It's hot here..."
"I am taking her with us."
"What?!" Both Maya and her mother shouted out loud with their mouths wide open.
"I said I am taking her with us. There is something about her...she has potential..."
"Potential to do what?! Look at how filthy she is! Besides, you already have a goddamn genius daughter!" Maya's mother protested.
"She...she is definitely special, I see it in her eyes." Maya's father sighs.
"Do you know what are you saying? You're literally adopting another child! And she might just be lying!"
"Hey, you! Bad woman! I am not lying!" Hina shouted at Maya's mother, her eyes filled with rage.
"Look at her! So rude!" The woman was astonished.
"She got attitude." Maya's father chuckled, "that's it! I am taking her with us!"
Hina gave a smug look to the mother and daughter pair. Maya's mother clenched her teeth and said nothing while Maya was pouting.
Hina managed to get into the Yamato family.
The Yamato family lived in a huge mansion overlooking the sea. They even have people guarding the gates, making Hina wonder if they are related to the Queen.
"Welcome to your new home, Hina!" Maya's father spread his arms out wide when they entered the house. Hina took a look around before saying to Maya's dad.
"I prefer sleeping outside...I saw a nice little house near the gate!"
"That's..." Maya's dad looked perplexed.
"Yes, a poor little girl like you deserves to sleep in the shed." Maya's mother laughed hysterically.
Hina gave the woman a dirty stare.
"Alright then, I will just ask the butler to clean it up and prepare a bed there..." Maya's father pats Hina's head. And that is how Hina started living with the Yamato family.
Hina finally did not have to sleep in the cold anymore, nor has she had to steal food to survive. But she didn't like staying in the house all day, she preferred exploring the region of Asupar.
Years passed by quickly and Hina grew up to be increasingly smart and knowledgeable. Maya's father actually has a motive of his own when adopting Hina. Ever since Hina started living with them, he taught her physics and chemistry, two very important subjects in his career. He is a well-known weaponsmith and even created weapons for the army of Asupar. And Hina did not disappoint him, in fact, Hina is even quicker in picking up things than her daughter Maya. However, Hina has a tendency to be lazy. She likes to go out and play, and sometimes, for the whole day, but Maya is the opposite. She likes staying home, tinkering with her tools, and studying the theories that revolve around the creation of weapons.
Unfortunately, when dealing with weapons, one tends to attract danger to themselves. Maya's parents were assassinated when she reaches the age of 20 by an underground mobster gang because Maya's dad sold weapons to a rival gang. Maya's dad left the mansion and all his assets from the years of weapons trading to Maya. Maya then went on to create the greatest creation she now currently possesses, the Stingray. The Stingray is a weaponised drone that is capable of flying long distance and annihilating an entire squadron of soldiers without even leaving your house. That is how Maya managed to take revenge for her parents, wiping out the mobster gang that killed her parents, and the rival gang.
As for Hina, ever since the Yamato couple died, she left the mansion quietly. Also reaching the age of 20, she is very well capable of finding a job of her own and surviving herself. But what she did not expect is that the stranger that once saved her from the perilous state she was in when she was five, gave her a final gift. Maya's dad bought the house that Hina once lived in, the one that her parents bought when they came to Asupar, and modified it into a workshop, then gave it Hina. Hina did not expect to inherit anything since she never really did contribute to the Yamato family, but Maya's dad admired her so much that he knew, Hina will have the potential to be the best weaponsmith ever, one that could even rival her own daughter in the future. Thus he gave her this workshop, hoping she will continue his legacy.
Hina did not reject this gift and fully utilized it to her advantage. By creating weapons and selling them, she managed to get a reputation among the underground community, as well as the police force. She understood the risk of dealing with weapons, thus, she created a backup plan in case she ends up like Maya's father. First, the reinforced shutter of her front door, capable of withstanding a missile barrage. Then, an underground tunnel that leads to the docks, for her to escape if things ever go south. And finally, her suit was reinforced with some precious metal she managed to buy from the black market, called Scarlet Steel, which made her clothes impenetrable to regular steel, including those that made up the bullets of a gun or the blade of a sword.
Everything was going well, until one day, she received an invitation from the Queen of Asupar.
Hina entered the metal fortress, it was the largest structure she has ever seen, completely made of metal. She was not that amused by it, considering she has already seen the Yamato's mansion before, but this is 5 times bigger than that.
Hina entered the palace floor, where the Queen sits above her throne that towers above her.
"My Queen, I have brought her here." The soldier bowed.
"Hina Hikawa." The Queen leans forward, eyeing Hina from head to toe.
"Hiii! Waaaaa this place is so big! Pretty and boppin toooooo! Except it is a little cold because of the metal and all-" Hina waved at the Queen and started talking to her as if she was a friend of hers.
"How dare you speak to the Queen like that?!" A yellow-haired girl that stands beside the throne shouted at Hina.
"It's okay, Chisato," the Queen waved away Chisato's comment, "so Hina, tell me, I heard stories about you being the best weaponsmith in Asupar, is that true?" The Queen narrowed her eyes.
"Eh? The best?" Hina raised a finger to her lips, thinking for a while, "well I don't know, I just like making weapons because they are fun!"
"Fun?!" Chisato snicker.
"Well, then I want to hire you to make new weapons for our army, are you up to the task?" The Queen questioned.
"Hmmm...how much do I get?" Hina asks back.
"Well, you name your price."
"Really?! Okay okay! I want full access to the fortress at any time I am hired, meaning I can come in and out anytime and explore anywhere I want to go plus free meals!" Hina giggled playfully.
The Queen frowns as she thought for a while. Chisato was grinding her teeth and looking at Hina with rage.
"My Queen, you can't allow that, there are many places in this fortress that are out of bounds!" Chisato whispered anxiously to the Queen's ear.
"Deal. But there are terms and conditions." The Queen replied.
"Ooooohhhh, what is it?" Hina's eyes sparkled.
"You cannot enter any living quarters or rooms of the royal family, also the treasury is out of bounds."
"Hmmmm..." Hina thought for a while, "alright, give me a large bowel of fries now and it is a deal!"
The Queen gestured for Chisato to make the necessary arrangements, at which Chisato walks away grudgingly.
Hina managed to get what she wanted as she slowly settled into her new job.
One day, as Hina was exploring the castle as usual during her free time, she managed to overhead a conversation. The voice was strikingly familiar to her, which made her stop in her tracks. Hina hid behind the door and listened in.
"She is starting to hone her sword skills. I don't understand, why is she always trying to snatch everything from me." This disgruntled voice, it was clearly Chisato's.
"Chisato-chan...I don't think Eve-chan is trying to snatch your position..." This voice is slightly more nasal, a bit more high pitched.
"You don't understand Aya-chan, she has the looks and is popular among the soldiers, and the Queen likes her gunslinging abilities too. If I don't do something, she is going to take over everything I have one day..."
"Chisato-chan, what are you going to do?"
"Hmm...I can definitely frame her for something."
"Chisato-chan, I don't think that's a good idea...I don't want Eve-chan to be hurt..."
"Aya-chan, look. It is for the future of the kingdom. If she takes over the whole army, she can easily overthrow the Queen, it is dangerous!"
"Really? It's so bad?"
"T-Then I guess...you should do what you must do. I don't want mother to get overthrown..."
"Thank you, Aya-chan. I know you will always support me."
This Chisato is a sly one. But to be honest, the princess is pretty dumb considering her age seems to be the same as me...
Hina tried to stifle a giggle. She could hear Chisato's footsteps approaching the door and quickly jump into the next room. Luckily, the room was empty, or else Hina would have broken the terms and conditions she has set with the Queen.
"Chisato-chan, what happened?"
"No, nothing...I just thought I heard something..."
I need to keep an eye on this Chisato...It seems like Eve-chan is an innocent party who is going to suffer because of Chisato-chan's greed...better make sure to keep an eye on the both of them.
Hina exited from the room and quickly scurry off quietly. She has to find out more about Eve first...
"No! She is lying! I didn't write that!" Eve protested as she struggles through her restraints.
The Queen crushed the paper and hurl it at Eve. "You still dare to lie before me! This is obviously your handwriting and you are asking for reinforcements?!"
"I didn't! I didn't!" Eve cried out, tears flowing uncontrollably.
"Chisato already told me everything. She has been reporting to me all your movements. The recent expedition to Aglow Kingdom is part of your plan too isn't it?!" The Queen slammed her fist on the throne. Chisato stood beside the Queen with her arms crossed, smiling smugly.
"Please, believe me, my loyalty is towards you, my Queen!" Eve kneeled down, desperately trying to explain herself.
"To betray the throne means betraying the kingdom. You will receive capital punishment. Guards-"
"Ah, my Queen. Pardon me for interrupting. I would like to handle Eve's execution personally." Chisato bowed respectfully.
The Queen paused for a while, then she nodded.
Chisato gestured for the guards to lift Eve up as they followed Chisato away. Hina was the one who knew the truth. She has been stealthily following Chisato whenever she goes for the past 2 weeks and witnessed some horrible things she has done to frame Eve. She even killed off her own second in command just to frame Eve for attempting to start a revolt.
Hina followed behind the group as Eve kept on crying, claiming she is innocent and begging Chisato to let her go.
Chisato went up a carriage and gestured for the soldiers to throw Eve behind in a metal cage. Soon, the group sets off to an unknown place. Hina started panicking as she didn't have any transport to follow them.
Hina took out her radio that her long lost acquaintance gave her.
"Hi who is this?" A voice crackled over the radio.
"Maya-chan! It's your sister!"
"I am not your sister, don't call me that. And how the hell did you find my private frequency again?!"
"C'mon don't be so mean. We lived together for a while too you know~"
"Just...what do you want?!"
"Grr..." Maya seems frustrated, "this is the second one. I am recording it down by the way..."
"I know I know, look this is life and death okay? I need a drone to track a carriage with a metal cage attached to it, heading south away from the metal fortress."
"Just tell me the final location. Thanks!"
"Don't ever try to contact me on my private line again! Use the public one!"
"Eh but your publ-"
Maya cuts off the frequency. What answered Hina is the sound of static.
"Fufu~ I will figure out your private frequency again~" Hina muttered under her breath.
After a good 30 minutes, Hina's radio crackled to life again and there was a series of coordinates read out to Hina. Hina quickly rushed to the train station and made her way to said coordinates.
"Please...Chisato-san, you have to believe me...I didn't betray the Queen..." Eve was chained to a chair in an abandoned warehouse.
"Oh, Eve-chan...so so naive..." Chisato grinned evilly as she approached Eve, she whips out her dagger that was tucked on her belt.
"C-Chisato-s-san?" Eve struggled wildly in her restraints as her eyes widen in horror.
"I believe you Eve-chan...because I WROTE THAT LETTER HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" Chisato's face was contorted with pure madness as she throws her head back, letting out a spine-chilling cackle.
"Y-You..." Eve was speechless, she never expected it was Chisato who set her up.
"You see...I was always jealous of your looks..." Chisato's face darkened immediately, and it was frightening to see the sudden transition. She brandished the dagger in front of Eve's face, running the blade across Eve's cheek.
"C-Chisato-san, I-I am s-sorry..." Eve's lips quivered.
"Oh, I forgive you." Chisato stood up.
"R-Really...?" Eve's eyes lit up as she looked at Chisato.
"Yea." Chisato giggled, then she turns around and stabs Eve in her right eye, slashing the blade to the side of her face. Blood immediately stained the white-haired girl, flowing down her face.
Eve screamed in pain, she felt like her right side of her face got ripped off.
"Oops, I meant after I stab your right eye out..." Chisato giggled again.
"YOU'RE A MONSTER!" Eve shouted, the pain was excruciating as her whole body twitched violently.
"What do you say?" Chisato's smile disappeared, her face turned dark again.
Eve couldn't form any words, she felt like she is slowly losing consciousness.
Chisato pulls out her sword from her sheath, the metal blade reflects the light from the lamp hanging on the ceiling of the warehouse.
"Now for your second mistake. Which is to contest my authority as the melee general." Chisato smirked. She gestured for one of the guards to untie Eve's right hand, straightening it out. Eve was too weak to struggle and escape.
Chisato smirked and swung the sword down, amputating Eve's right hand.
Eve screamed again, her voice filled with pure agony. Her right arm dropped on to the floor, with fresh blood spurting out of her shoulder. Eve blacked out from the pain, her body went limp.
"Let's go. We are done here." Chisato wiped the blood off her face with her sleeves, looking at Eve with disdain in her eyes. Then, she turned around and walked away with the guards.
And then there was silence. Eve's body was bent over as she was half tied on to the chair. Blood was everywhere and she was slowly bleeding out.
Hina saw that the guards have left and quickly rush towards Eve, untying her from the chains. Suddenly, Eve grabbed Hina's arm with her other hand.
"Help...me..." Eve managed to cry out in a weak voice before passing out. Hina quickly tore off the fabric of her pants and wrapped it around Eve's wounds. She carried Eve to her carriage, her heart was racing wildly.
Please stay alive...please stay alive...
Hina silently prayed as she started the engine of her carriage and slammed the throttle.
Eve wakes up in an unfamiliar room. She could feel something was hindering her vision as she raised her right hand to touch it. It was a thick bandage.
"Where..." Eve tries to sit up but her body would not obey her.
"Oh you're awake!" A teal-haired girl entered the room. Eve could recognise her face from somewhere...
"Don't move, you're under heavy anesthesia! This is for you to not feel pain." The girl quickly rushed over to Eve and sat beside the bed.
"Pain...?" Eve muttered, memories of what happened slowly came back to her.
"I am Hina, the weaponsmith hired by the Queen, you're at my house now," Hina explained.
"Hi...na..." Eve winced, she remembers, Hina was the one who created the 5th generation guns that the army uses.
"Ahh... I managed to stop the bleeding in time, but you still need some time to recuperate. Unfortunately, your eye and your arm..." Hina looked away.
Eve teared up. She remembers everything. Chisato, the dagger and the sword.
"Although...I think I can help you..." Hina rubs her chin, deep in thought.
"Help...?" Eve looked up at Hina, tears flowing down from her right eye.
"Yea...but it would take another surgery and I might need help..." Hina frowns deeply.
"I will give you a new arm and eye, and if it is a success, you will be even more boppin than you are before!" Hina grinned widely.
"Huh...? Why...would you...help me...?" Eve whispered.
"I have been following you, Eve-chan! Well, technically I stalked Chisato-chan, but you're part of her plan. I can't stand her disgusting actions and manipulation, and you're an innocent party, so I decided to help you!" Then, Hina looked down, her expression turned grim, "Sorry, I couldn't stop her from hurting you...there were 3 people there at that time..."
Eve reaches out to Hina with great difficulty and grabs her arm, "Thank you...Hina-san...for...saving me..."
Hina looked at Eve as tears welled up in her eyes, "I promise I will make you better Eve-chan! You rest now, okay?"
Eve smiled and nodded as she closed her eyes, drifting off to sleep once again.
The surgery went on successfully. Hina and her acquaintance, an underground surgeon, managed to attach the metal parts on to Eve's body. Hina was in charge of creating the metal parts while the doctor links the nerves together so Eve will have full control over the prosthetic eye and arm.
Eve woke up after the surgery, still feeling a bit groggy. She saw Hina was lying her head on the bed, her body slumped over, she was still wearing the surgical gown.
Eve realised she is able to look with her right eye again. Although every time she looks around, there is a soft mechanical whirr. Eve tries to move her right hand and she can see it was a mechanical arm. She was extremely touched by what Hina has done for her. Someone that she barely knew, has saved her from the depth of hell and gave her a new life.
"Hm...?" Hina slowly stirred awake as she rubs her eyes, "Eve-chan...? Oh, you're awake..."
Eve reaches out and hugged Hina tightly.
"Eve-chan?" Hina jumped.
"Thank you...thank you so much..." Eve cried tears of joy.
"Ahaha...I didn't really do much..." Hina laughed joyfully.
"No...you gave me a new life...my life now is yours...I will listen to whatever you say..."
"It's not that serious...ahaha...oh by the way!" Hina quickly stood up and went to the closet. She took out something from the closet that resembles a longsword. Its handle was made out of metal instead of the usual wood in normal longsword.
"Here you go!" Hina passed Eve the sword.
Eve took over and slowly unsheathes the sword. The sword gleams as it was revealed slowly. The handle was connected to the blade, all of it fully made of metal. As Eve holds the sword with her metal arm, the sword started glowing orange and steam emerges from the blade.
"W-What...?" Eve seems slightly scared and confused.
"Ahahahaha!" Hina giggled playfully, "a slight modification I made! Only you can activate the molten blade!"
"H-Hina-san...how can I ever thank you....? Uuuuuu!" Eve dropped the sword and pounced towards Hina again.
"Eve-chan!! You're hugging too tightly! Hahahaha! It's okay! I did all these willingly and you seem like a nice person too!" Hina smiled.
"Please! If I can do anything for you, please let me know!"
"I guess you owe me a favour then?" Hina teases Eve.
"I owe you my life!" Eve bowed to Hina.
"Ahahaha it's not that serious! I want you to take care of yourself, okay? Get stronger so you can take your revenge hehe~"
"Yes. I will. I will take my revenge." Eve nodded with determination in her eyes. She sheathed back the sword and swore under her breath that one day she is going to cut Chisato down.
"Eve-chan..." Hina opened the door to Eve's room.
"Hina-san? You look tired, what happened?"
"Well...it was a rollercoaster today...my sister came to visit me..." Hina yawned and sit beside Eve.
"Yea, a long lost twin sister of mine. She looked just like me which is super boppin! Ahahaha but she got long hair!"
"Wow, that is so interesting!"
"Oh but she brought a girl with her and she is super cute and boppin too! Ahhh I love Tsugu-chan so much!"
"Tsugu-chan?" Eve looked confused.
"She is the princess of Aglow! And her name is called Tsugumi but she lets me call her Tsugu-chan! She is super kind and has short brown hair, boppity brown eyes and she is so warm when I hug her and she smells so good..." Hina rambled on and on about the qualities of Tsugumi while Eve listened quietly, chuckling softly at Hina's love for Tsugumi.
"Fufu, seems like you like her a lot~"
"I love her so much!!!! Anyways, we are going to steal something from the metal fortress in a few days..."
"Eh?" Eve's expression changed, the mention of the fortress triggered bad memories for her.
"Tsugu-chan needed something from the treasury, and we are going to steal it!"
"D-Do you need my h-help?"
"No, you stay here. Chisato-chan will recognize you if you go and it will be a suicide mission. She doesn't know I saved you. You'll be my backup plan to help onee-chan and Tsugu-chan. It is not going to be easy if Chisato-chan is there and I need you to take them away from here if anything happens to me." Hina looked at Eve seriously and said sternly.
"Look, everything might go smoothly and we can all escape here together, I am just saying if something happens..." Hina tries to put on a reassuring smile.
"I...I understand..." Eve nodded, "I will protect them if anything happens!"
"Thanks, Eve-chan! I know I can count on you!" Hina placed a hand on Eve's shoulder, "I shall sleep here for tonight!" Hina yawned and dive into Eve's bed.
Eve smiled softly and lay beside Hina who is already snoring loudly.
Hina-san...I will help you no matter what...but please stay safe...