Azur Lane - Postwar Records


Well-Known Member
Posting out of curiosity.

Chapter 1: Lingering Cold

The war is over.

While not as bustling as it once were, the streets of the Imperial Capital is still teeming with people going about their daily routines previously disrupted by the conflict, as well as Eagle Union soldiers cautiously patrolling the area. None of them are smiling.
Among them is one peculiar woman - The aircraft carrier, Shoukaku, formerly of the Fifth Carrier Division of the Imperial Navy.
Many of her peers who chose to fight in the war had been hiding just for the sake of avoiding persecution, but she made no effort to do so; she does not need to. The Union forces occupying the country, for the most part, is content to leave her alone, all courtesy of her "Great Senior."

Walking past workers clearing out rubble and removing the dead, remaining serene amidst the looks of contempt directed at her, she made her way towards a small park.

Looking around, Shoukaku could not help but sigh - such a sorry state for the place she was so familiar with; it is nearly bereft of living trees, having been hit by stray firebombs once or twice or even thrice, leaving charred, bone-like remains in their wake.
There are people there, but they are definitely not there for sightseeing - most likely, they are merely people who lost their homes and possessions in the war; here they huddled together to ease the lingering cold left by the winter.

'Cursed beings...' she heard some whispering as she walked past them. There is some degree of truth to it, she conceded. Still, some others are quite less hostile and only gave her a wary look - a few even looked downright remorseful.
Eventually, she rests under a lone, blooming ume tree - one of the fortunate few to have survived - sharing the place with a vagrant occupying one side. The man does not seem to be bothered by her presence - he's been drinking and already fallen into a drunken slumber, surrounded by empty bottles.

Here, she would have all the time in the world to ponder the scattered thoughts within her mind, though one thing, in particular, seems to beg to be brought to the forefront.
Her sister's last words.

'Please, take care of each other.'

A melancholic smile made its way to her face; it was such an impossible request. If only Zuikaku knows that person is dead, she surely wouldn't ask this of her sister.

Were she a more sentimental person, Shoukaku would have believed they have been reunited in the afterlife by now. Then again, in the first place, they never got together.

"Zuikaku, forgive your sister for not being able to fulfill your wish; but I at least would play a song for his soul."

Reaching under her coat, Shoukaku took out the flute she had not played for a long time; having been brought into the heat of many battles and withstood countless abuse, the instrument is, by all appearances, on the verge of breaking apart; perhaps only through a miracle, it is still in one piece.

Recently she had been seeing a bit of herself in it.

"Maybe this one can at least play one more melody..."

Bringing the instrument to her lips, Shoukaku soon learned the flute failed to produce any sound. It should not be surprising - the cracks covering its entirety certainly would not allow it.

"Really, why am I fooling myself? This flute barely keeps itself together..."

Even if she was unable to find an excuse to keep it, Shoukaku tucked the flute back under her coat; though she did, for a brief moment, considered throwing it away. Maybe, as much as she hates to admit, she always finds it difficult to accept that things can, and will, change.

If she could, things certainly would feel bittersweet instead of just bitter.

If she could, she would curse her obstinacy.