Content: SHOUNEN BOSSFIGHT. Unfortunately, the cost of victory is dear.
Setting: The desert
Time: Not too long after Optimus Prime's post and final log.
Warnings: Even more character death
When he'd seen the captain's post, Ichigo's first instinct had been to rush to the mech's aid. A year ago, he would have done so without hesitation. But now, there were other factors to consider. For instance, he and Watanuki were out in one of the makeshift camps for displaced and panicked people. Ichigo had been working with the doctors. He couldn't treat the severe injuries, but he knew enough about first aid to make himself useful. If Ichigo left now, he'd be abandoning Watanuki in this camp, and how did Ichigo know Bradley wouldn't attack the camp before Ichigo found him?
No. No, Ichigo wasn't going to go off half-cocked on a mad chase. Instead, he'd shut his difference engine, shoved it in a bag, then headed straight for the kitchen where he'd last seen Watanuki working. The safest place, in Ichigo's opinion, was within Ichigo's line of sight, and that was where he intended to keep Watanuki until they made it back to the ship. Watanuki had been the only one from the Convoy in this particular camp, so that was why they were trekking through the Badlands desert under the hot late-afternoon sun, making their way towards the Convoy as fast as Watanuki could go. Ichigo's mouth was pressed into a thin line, his eyes narrowed, focusing on one thing: keeping the people he cared about safe.