If you missed the start, here's a link back to Part 1.
There was also the 'Research Squad' that studied the Marchen, Jail itself, Blood Style Girls and more. And then the 'Self-Defense Squad' that maintained the few remaining weapons, and protected people from the Marchen. The 'Livelihood Squad' that handled distribution of food, trash cleanup, and keeping an orderly city. The 'Relief Squad' that healed the injured of their wounds and the sick of their illnesses.
The people called this place supported by Dawn's various activities the 'Liberation District'.
With a crooked back and injured right eye, the man ran his eyes over the characters on each page. From behind him, a figure approached.
"What're you reading so intently?"
"Nn....ah, Haru, is it."
The one who spoke to Professor was an unkempt man with a cigarette in his mouth and an eyepatch. The man in charge of equipment maintenance, Haru. Haru was the closest to the Professor of anyone, and the only person besides the Blood Maidens who didn't speak formally to him.
Professor turned around slowly and showed Haru the book he was holding.
"We got a bunch of books from our expedition the other day, do you recall? Among them, I found the story of Tsuu's roots."
"Hmm, a fairy tale, right?"
"It appears so. Yuuzuru, it's called. A woman called Tsuu appears in the story. As I thought, she's the same as Red Riding Hood and Cinderella.
Blood Maidens. That's what they called the rare girls with mysterious powers inside Jail. When splashed in the blood of Marchen, their eyes glow pink and their combat prowess increases greatly. Dawn was researching them in hopes of using them as a trump card against the Marchen.
Those Blood Maidens never remembered where they were born or where they came from, but they always somehow remembered their names.
As of this moment so far, all their names were from characters in leading roles of fairy tales.
The first Blood Maiden, Red Riding Hood. The second, not yet introduced to the other members yet, Cinderella. The third and fourth, Little Mermaid and Tsuu.
Professor already knew the stories of Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid. However, he didn't know what fairy tale the name 'Tsuu' was from.
"Tsuu was a crane that got caught in a trap. She changed into a human form and asked the man who saved her from that trap to take her as his wife."
"Yes, that part doesn't quite match up with the story, but...well, there are still lots of things we don't know about Blood Maidens. I never imagined we'd find two of them at once like this, we have four now. My research will benefit greatly.
Stepping closer to the Professor whose scientist's eyes were gleaming with excitement, Haru wrinkled his brow a bit.
"...They're all still just kids. Don't overdo it."
"Of course, I'll be careful with them. They're our great hope, after all."
The Professor said with a warm smile. It was true that he raised the Blood Maidens with care and dedication. Even during research, he'd proceed while doing his best not to do anything too dangerous.
"Still, I think we can take a step forward now. I was worried about what would happen when two different Blood Maidens meet, but it seems we now know that's not a problem."
"What do you mean?"
"I think it's time to let Red Riding Hood meet with Cinderella."
From behind the Professor, a fidgety, embarrassed looking blue-haired girl poked out her head. Red Riding Hood's eyes gleamed, and Tsuu and Mermaid held hands as they waited for her to speak.
"I...I am Cinderella."
"Dad! Is this girl..."
"That's right, Red Riding Hood. She's a Blood Maiden, just like you."
"I knew it! Nice to meet you Cinderella, I'm Red Riding Hood!"
Red Riding Hood jumped at Cinderella and scooped her up in a mighty hug. Tsuu and Mermaid smiled while looking at the frazzled Cinderella's face.
"Wh, what is the meaning of this? This is quite painful, would you kindly release me?!"
"So cute! The way you speak is so cute too, Cinderella! Dad, how come you kept a girl this cute a secret from me?"
"I'm sorry about that. There are a lot of things we don't know about Blood Maidens, and we didn't know if something bad would happen if two of you met, but since we found Tsuu and Mermaid, we know that it's not a problem now."
"That's right, there's no problem! How could anyone this cute ever cause a problem?!"
Red Riding Hood happily smushed her cheek against Cinderella's. Even though she was shy and trying to hide just a bit earlier, Cinderella was beginning to get more serious as this went on.
"Will you release me already?!....It's hot! My cheeks are hot!"
"Alright Red Riding Hood, you're making trouble for Cinderella, it's about time you let go of her."
Seeing that Cinderella was moving from simple embarrassment into actual discomfort, Tsuu and Mermaid gently pulled Red Riding Hood back from her. Tsuu was younger than Red Riding Hood, but it seems she had a splendid, princely sense of chivalry instilled in her already.
Turning to the girl who was finally freed from Red Riding Hood's hug, the two of them introduced themselves.
"Nice to meet you, I'm Tsuu."
"I'm Mermaid. Nice to meet you."
"I...I am Cinderella. It's a pleasure to meet you."
Cinderella was older than Tsuu and Mermaid. Seeing the younger girls give her proper self introductions allowed Cinderella to slowly regain her composure.
"Are the two of you Blood Maidens, as I am?"
"Yeah, that's what they said. I don't really understand yet, though."
"That's right, we're all Blood Maidens! The three of you are like little sisters to me, so you can all call me big sis if you want!"
Upon hearing Red Riding Hood say that so enthusiastically, a cloud came over Cinderella's face for a moment.
Cinderella didn't understand why she was reacting the way she did, but Professor who was watching the girls understood.
In her origin story 'Cinderella', she was abused by her older sisters. Perhaps that was the reason.
What was the relationship between the origin stories and the Blood Style Girls who possessed them?
"Aah, not so stiff and formal like that! But I guess that's not so bad either, you sure are cute, Cinderella!"
"Oh dear, not again...!"
Red Riding Hood enveloped Cinderella in a big hug once again, and Cinderella's dark expression was erased.
"Release me! RE-LEA-SE ME!" Haah, aaah, goodness, how can I call someone with as little composure as you my older sister?"
"Hnn....Hey, Tsuu and Mermaid, you two will call me big sis, right?"
"I dunno, I like 'Red Riding Hood' better."
"No way, not you too, Tsuu..."
"I-I'll call you it! Ok, Big Sis?!"
"Mermaid! Mermaid, you're so cute!"
Red Riding Hood's demon embrace turned towards Mermaid. Standing in her way with arms held wide in a protective stance was Tsuu.
"Stop right there!" The only one who can hug Mermaid is me!"
"Otsuu-chan, that's so embarrassing..."
Mermaid said, but her expression didn't look embarrassed at all.
"I got it, geez. I won't take Mermaid from you. The two of you are a married couple after all -"
Hearing that, Cinderella tilted her neck.
"A couple? Miss Tsuu and Mermaid are a married couple?"
"You don't need to call me Miss, Cinderella. That's right, I'm Mermaid's prince."
"Mmhm. I'm Otsuu-chan's princess..."
Looking at the two of them, Cinderella tilted her neck back in the other direction this time.
"But...Tsuu, you're a girl, are you not?"
"Yeah, I am. But who says a girl can't be a prince?" being able to say something like that so smoothly - Tsuu wasn't perfect at the role yet, but her princely persona was steadily taking root.
"At first, Otsuu-chan asked me to take her as my wife. So I told her that it was okay as long as she became my prince."
"Yeah. And then the two of us got m...m..."
"...Married. Right, Otsuu-chan?"
Cheeks a bit flushed, Mermaid was smiling. Tsuu's cheeks weren't just flushed, they were beet red and sweatdrops were running down them.
It was the first time Cinderella had thought about the possibility of girls marrying each other, but looking at the two of them, Cinderella found herself feeling a bit jealous.
"...How very lovely. I hope that some day, I can find a prince..."
"No! Men are wolves, they're beasts! You've got me here, Cinderella!"
"Not again! Oh, alright, alright, I understand, so release me! Enough with the cheeks-!"
Tsuu and The Little Mermaid. Red Riding Hood and Cinderella. The Professor smiled like a friendly old man admiring youth, watching how well they were getting along with each other.
A still nameless, large scale orphanage.
It was many decades after this city sunk beneath the earth. On one hand, there were the many children whose parents had died, and on the other, the many adults whose children had died, acting as substitute parents for them.
That orphanage's history went back far before Dawn's establishment, back when there was little way to resist the Marchen, with people just running away and protecting one another.
By combining their strength, they were able to bring order little by little into this pit at the bottom of Hell. With the establishment of Dawn, the orphanage made contact with them and they figured out ways to help each other. They remain an organization just as important to humanity as the Dawn Liberation Front is.
In that orphanage, there were five children who were particularly loved by the people.
"Snow, Sleepy, over here, over here!"
"Wait Thumbelina, wait please, big sister~!"
An energetic oldest sister, an introverted and shy middle sister, and a silent youngest sister who moved at her own pace.
Three sisters that were found together two years ago.
Their names were Thumbelina, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty.
Along with them, a sister and brother named Michiru and Chiaki rounded out the five-person group, and they always brought joy to the adults who looked after them.
At that time, those adults had no way to know of the heavy fate that lay on the backs of those five children.
As you can probably guess, next time we'll meet the three sisters, as well as the siblings of the Church of the Sun, and how they interact with Tsuu and Mermaid. Until then, hope you enjoyed!