Gun Princess Royale - Book 3 - Intro (v2)

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Dear readers of the Gun Princess Royale series,
I'd like to present the new and improved Introduction to Book Three, The Thousand Yard Princess.
This is the version that wasn't written by the seat of my pants while suffering from sleep deprivation and too much Coca Cola.
I hope you find it more to your liking.

- I -

There is a marked difference between the other girls and I.

If they take a bullet to the head, it is the mechanical avatar that dies – the Gun Princess and not the Meister.

If I take a bullet to the head, I die – both the Gun Princess and the Meister.

There is another significant difference between them and I.

It takes more than one bullet to the brainbox to bring down a Gun Princess because they have very hard heads.

In contrast, I don’t have an adamantine skull or adamantium coating over my skeleton.

Thus, all it takes is a single armor-piercing round to the cranium, and it’s Game Over for me.

Farewell Mirai, and better luck to your next incarnation.

It’s true that the Sanreal Family, that is House Elsis Novis, and my cold-hearted bitch of a sister could imprint the most recent archive of my neural map into another copy of Mirai…but that’s only if they can make one.

You may recall from the previous installment of my progressive memoires that Erina called me a miracle. A miracle she said, with a zealous light in her eyes. So producing another Ultra Grade Mirai doesn’t happen at the snap of the fingers, although it does start with the push of a button. However, in the event that they are successful, and the archive of my neural map can be implanted into the new brain, the new Mirai wouldn’t be me.

It wouldn’t be the me that I am now.

That me would die, and perhaps fly off to Heaven or Hell, depending on whether I’ve been a good or bad girl because I do believe that Mirai has a soul. At least, I want to believe that she does. She has Angel wings, so why not a soul? Nonetheless, the existence that I am now would perish in this reality, and the copy would only be a copy.

The real Mirai, the first Mirai, would be no more.

I have asked Erina what would happen to me if I was shot in the head.

Would the Angel Fibers repair the damage? If so, then perhaps installing the latest archive of my neural map would compensate for the loss of information in the regenerated portions of my brain. But there would certainly be a lot to repair because Mirai’s skull – as strong as it is – isn’t armor plated.

Erina said she didn’t know.

She and her research team that developed Mirai are continuously collating the data they collect on me, so they have yet to determine the extent to which the Angel Fibers can heal my wounds. But if I died from head trauma and the Angel Fibers subsequently put me back together, would I be the same person I was before? Perhaps, it really does come down to whether Mirai has a soul or not.

Yet even if Mirai could survive a bullet to the noggin, I have no intention of finding out, and I don’t want a copy to be made of me because I am the true, one-and-only Mirai.

I want to survive and I want to live.

That’s what I decided for myself as I listened to the bullets whiz by, ripping through the air, not quite indiscriminately tearing up my surroundings.

Maybe I’m jumping too far ahead, revealing too much too early in this the latest volume of my memoires.

Maybe I should let the story run its course, but having said that I’d resolved to live, I would like to explain a little of my circumstances at the time.

Just a sneak peak, a teaser, of what is to come.

– II –

I’d heard the term once before, spoken in conversation during a rather stressful period of my life.

It was something I’d forgotten about until blared out by the Game Master circling high overhead in the Battle Commission’s observation airship, a giant zeppelin the size of a cruise ship.

I certainly knew what the term meant in my reality, but it should have been clear that terms from my universe may not carry the same meaning in the other universe.

But knowing what I did know, a shiver of fear trickled down my spine as I watched the giant gunmetal grey egg fall from the airship, and crater the middle of the plaza when it landed with a deafening boom that smashed permaglass shopfronts, buckled the nearby mag-lev station supports, and caused the ground to undulate and ripple, tossing the Gun Princesses and I like plastic dolls into the air.

Some of them crashed through shop windows and deep into the stores.

Others rolled along the ground like helpless tenpins.

A few collided with walls, benches, tables, and signs.

And I crashed into an interactive information board, snapping its supports, and knocking it to the ground.

In a heartbeat, the center of the plaza was ruined, and the girls and I were scattered about.

Lying on the wrecked board, I looked up to see fireworks launch from the Game Master’s airship.

They exploded brilliantly in the evening sky, signaling a start to the festivities.

Then the gunmetal grey egg broke apart…and it emerged.

Of course, I couldn’t see it because the middle of the plaza was shrouded in a dense cloud of powdered rubble.

But I could hear it and I could feel it due to the deep thrumming that spread through the air and resonated with my bones.

I could smell it too – the scent of ozone that follows a lightning strike.

One by one the mechanical girls either picked themselves off the ground or hurried out from the shops they’d crashed into.

In quick succession, they checked their weapons and readied themselves for whatever would come bursting out of the cloud filling the center of the plaza.

I too prepared myself, first rising from the wrecked information board, and then checking my weapons – two Mag-Hauser railguns – as I took cover behind the remains of a permacrete fountain mostly demolished by the egg’s explosive landing.

Maybe those Meisters thought they’d be ready for what was to emerge.

Maybe I thought so as well.

After all, there were fifteen Gun Princesses in the plaza…and only one opponent.

However, I didn’t know how wrong we would be.

I didn’t know that we'd be facing something that wasn’t from my reality, but from a harsher realm.

A realm where a war had been fought and it razed the face of an entire planet.

Then a century later, the survivors fought another war.

A war that began with Simulacra.

A war that ended with machine versus machine.

Not long ago, Ghost told me that a Gun Princess has no natural enemies because her enemies are all unnatural.

They are all machines, metal predators, and among their ranks is one that even a Gun Princess has reason to fear.

The Gun Slinger.

As a Gun Princess, I too learnt to fear the Gun Slinger.

But a Gun Slinger has never met a Gun Princess like Mirai, and I was determined to cut my name into the metal demon that emerged from the cloud of rubble to the tune of six Gatling guns and a swarm of missiles.

Before the night was out, I promised to make this Gun Slinger tremble at the mere whisper of the name, Mirai.

And then I would blow the metal mother frekker up and send it straight into the machine afterlife!

I would like to take this opportunity to let readers know that the Gun Princess Royale - Book Two - The Measure of a Princess has finally been released to Amazon Kindle Select and Kindle Lenders Library.
Those of you who are interested in purchasing the eBook version can find it by following the link below, although Amazon does retail it in thirteen other countries:

The eBook version is significantly improved and noticeably different in important places from the draft posted here. Also, it is complete at eight chapters, rather than six, so it's roughtly 30% longer than the TG BigCloset release.

I will be serializing the draft of Book Three starting late in August. I need some time to get things together before then.

So please be sure to read the complete Book Two, because the ending is particularly important to where Book Three picks up.
And if you enjoy it, please let other readers know by posting a review on Amazon.

Thank you for your time, and best wishes to you all.

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