Paprika: Mercenary Youth

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Operator Record
Mercenary Youth
Paprika icon.png

A naive Sarkaz like her will have no future. I hope your luck is good enough, brat. Enough to live a little longer than we do.

Unlock conditions

  • Raise Paprika to Elite 2 Level 1.
  • Have at least 50% Trust with Paprika.
Bounty Hunter A icon.png
Black Market Brawler
Bounty Hunter B icon.png
Black Market Brawler B
Sarkaz Mercenary B icon.png
Mercenary Captain (Grimm)
Sarkaz Mercenary A icon.png
Sarkaz Mercenary
Village Outskirts
Cold Forest
Paprika's mercenary team is on their way to Londinium.
<Background 1>
[A Sarkaz mercenary captain asks a merc,]
Mercenary Captain How's she doing?
Sarkaz Mercenary She's still here, following along.
You know what a stubborn runt she is.
Mercenary Captain Try to talk to her again...
Sarkaz Mercenary Damn it, Grimm, you're going senile, aren't you?
If you're going to regret it now, why did you even bring her here?
Grimm Cut the crap.
We were in sticky situation with that deal at the black market. Both of them moneybags wanted each other dead. And with the merch gone, they'd only blame us for the mess.
If we hadn't brought the kid with us, she would've died in the city.
Sarkaz Mercenary I know that, but now you're chasing her away, and she's got nowhere to go.
Grimm Just gotta find her a random town... As long as there's work, there's still a way out for her.
Sarkaz Mercenary You really believe that?
I mean it. For her sake, you should just train her. Has she ever seen blood? I mean real blood, not a couple hornbeasts getting slaughtered.
Grimm ...
Sarkaz Mercenary Grimm, enough daydreaming. We're already on our way to Londinium. We'll run into more clashes.
And she's a Sarkaz.
Grimm Yeah. Shut up already.
I know what to do with her.
<Background fades out and in>
He's not the first one to try to talk me into this, and I know he won't be the last.
Am I too soft on that Paprika kid? I'll admit it. Maybe a little.
When the rotten girl came onboard a few years ago, she was still a kid, through and through. She lost her parents and had to make a living to keep herself and her grandma back home from going hungry.
I figured I'd take care of her some, given how young she was.
When I was her age...
Whenever I had nothing to eat, I had to pluck out all the metal trinkets from the dead bodies' at the burial sites. A bag got me a big loaf of bread.
When you think about it like that, life may still be tough for kids these days, but they have it much better than our generation.
They've got food, clothes, and the strength to scream about how unfair Columbia treats the Sarkaz–What do kids like her know?
Does she know what this trip to Londinium is about?
Hah, like hell she would.
Her little punk ass hasn't even seen Kazdel for real.
<Background 2>
[Paprika runs through the forest.]
Paprika Jerk, jerk... you great big jerk...
Treating me like a kid again... I'll make you regret this someday!
Sarkaz Mercenary Hey.
Paprika –! A raid?!
Sarkaz Mercenary If this was a raid, you'd be dead already.
Paprika Oh... what? Don't scare me like that.
Sarkaz Mercenary I don't have time to come scare you. You're scaring yourself, not being alert enough.
Paprika I'm a medic. I wasn't that good at fighting to begin with.
Besides, I was... I was thinking about things. That's why I didn't notice.
Sarkaz Mercenary Fine, whatever you say.
So? Still mad about Old Grimm?
Paprika Hmph... Of course!
He wanted me off the team now? Don't you think that's awful?
Sarkaz Mercenary Ugh.
Paprika I'm a merc. I'm part of the team. Why'd he want me gone?
Why doesn't he want me to come with you guys to Londinium? I've been on so many missions with you!
Sarkaz Mercenary This gig's different.
Paprika I don't see what's so special about it... It's a bit far, but there's lots of money in it!
If there's one thing that's not the same as usual...
It's when Grimm came back that day and said we had to pack and leave right away. I'd never seen him so worked up.
Usually, nothing matters to him, but not then. He even said that if we win this time, we'll have a much better future.
Is that true?
Sarkaz Mercenary Who knows?
I just want my money up front. The rest I haven't thought about.
Paprika Eh, that's fair.
Grimm thinks I don't know nothing, but what does it matter as long as we make money?
As long as Nana doesn't go hungry, all gigs are the same. What else do I have to know?
If we really get that much money... I want to buy Nana a better house. The place she's living in now has a leaky roof, and she keeps telling me her knees hurt.
Oh, right. If Grimm wants one, I could even buy him a decent birthday present.
Sarkaz Mercenary You want to celebrate his birthday? Does he even remember something as pointless as his birthday?
Paprika How is that pointless? It's like the opposite of pointless!
If you don't remind yourself every year, you might just forget that a year has come and gone, that you've gotten a year bigger, a year older.
Doesn't that sound scary to you?
Sarkaz Mercenary Kinda?
Paprika What kind of lame answer is that?
Sarkaz Mercenary Fine, whatever you say.
The way I see it, if you told Grimm himself what you just told me, he might just agree... No, he might even be less inclined to let you follow us.
Paprika Huh? What's that mean...?
Sarkaz Mercenary (And I was going to convince her to leave...)
(Forget it.)
Never mind. Keep following, then. I'm heading back to the front.
[The merc leaves.]
Paprika Sheesh, what's with that? I hate people who don't finish their thoughts.
Acting all mysterious...
The man has already walked away. There are roughly twenty men in the team up ahead. Paprika can only faintly make out the shadow of the last man in the group.
The girl stays quiet for a moment. She looks down and pulls something out of her pocket.
A finger sleeve made of wool and bright in color.
Paprika Grimm's definitely gonna say it looks too colorful.
Well, what does it matter? It looks prettier when it's colorful.
If he tells me to go away one more time...
I won't give him his present!
[A rustle is heard.]
Paprika –!
(What's that noise?)
[Paprika looks around and sees nothing suspicious.]
Paprika (...)
(Was that just my imagination?)
[As Paprika walks through the forest...]
Paprika ...
[A rustle is heard.]
Paprika Who's there? Come out!
[Paprika smaks a nearby bush, revealing a man behind it.]
??? ––!
Paprika Got you!
Who are you? And what are you after?
[The man runs away.]
Paprika Hey, you–
Wait... Don't even think about it!
[Paprika goes after the man.]
<Background 3>
[Paprika corners the man.]
Paprika Huff... hah...
G-Got you...!
Black Market Brawler I never expected a young lass like you would spot me.
Paprika What does that make you? You got yourself caught by a young lass.
You won't get away. Now spill it! Who are you?!
Black Market Brawler Hah, what a naive kid. I'll admit you're not half bad. The Sarkaz really live up to their reputation.
But you...
It doesn't matter how good a naive, boneheaded kid fights. It doesn't change the fact that you're a kid.
Paprika Why you...!
(No, Paprika. He's provoking you on purpose... Don't fall for it. Calm down.)
I'm warning you. Don't you try to buy time with stupid stuff.
Now answer my question, if you know what's good for you!
Black Market Brawler ...
Here's a free lesson, Sarkaz punk.
Paprika Answer me!
Black Market Brawler If you know someone's stalling, you shouldn't hang around and let things drag out–
Paprika What? You...
[Another brawler shows up.]
Black Market Brawler B Are you done yet?
Having a nice chat with your new girlfriend, are you?
Paprika Shit! Y-You...
Black Market Brawler –Do it!
Paprika Dammit! You... crooked sons of bitches!
(No, if both of them attack at once... I can't dodge!)
<Background fades out and in>
Grimm Eyes open! Look at your opponent. Raise your weapon and block!
Paprika Ungh!
[Grimm shows up.]
Black Market Brawler Ugh, here comes the nasty bastard.
Grimm Don't worry about anyone else. Focus on your target.
Don't worry about getting hurt. In battle, never let go of your weapon!
Paprika Yes, sir!
Black Market Brawler B Don't you underestimate me!
Grimm Now! Attack!
Paprika Haah!
[Paprika smacks the first brawler.]
Black Market Brawler Gah!
Paprika Hah... Haah! Don't underestimate you?
Right back at you–You jerks. Don't–Don't underestimate me!
[Paprika swings her staff at the second brawler, but misses...]
Black Market Brawler B Hah, where're you aiming at, punk?!
[...much to Grimm's chagrin.]
Grimm What are you doing?!
Have you forgotten everything I've taught you?! Aim for his vitals!
Paprika I-I know...!
<Background fades out and in>
Paprika *pant*... *pant*...
Got them.
You see that? I took them both down myself!
Grimm ...
Paprika Grimm...?
What's wrong? A-Are you mad?
Grimm What did I teach you before?
Paprika Don't underestimate the enemy, don't hold back, and aim for the enemy's vitals in one go.
Grimm And what were you doing?
Paprika I... I didn't miss on purpose. I... uh...
I mean, you're here. It's not a problem.
Grimm ...
What if... in the future, I'm not around?
Paprika But why would you ever not be around?
Grimm No one sticks around forever. Don't be stupid.
Black Market Brawler Ugh...
Grimm They're still alive?
Paprika Uh... yeah. I-I knocked them out...
Grimm Why didn't you kill them outright?
Paprika Well...
That's not really necessary, right...?
Hey, how about I tie them up?
That way, they can't call for help...
Grimm ...
Sometimes I wonder.
What exactly can I teach a kid like her?
Should I teach her how to become a "real Sarkaz merc?" Should I teach her those so-called rules I've put together from my experiences?
Would she really accept anything I teach her and eventually grow up to become the kind of Sarkaz I've met aplenty. The kind of Sarkaz like me?
That's definitely not a future I'd look forward to.
But if I teach her nothing...
A naive Sarkaz like her will have no future.
Grimm Paprika.
Paprika Hm?
Grimm Watch carefully.
The old mercenary unsheathes the sharp blade he is carrying at his waist and drives it into the defeated men's throats as the young girl watches.
Their red blood spatters onto Paprika's knees and her shoes; the scalding heat seeps through the fabric and reaches her skin.
Paprika But... Why...?
Grimm They're from the black market, and they came for us.
If I hadn't noticed their movement just now, it could've been you who was lying on the ground here.
Paprika I know!
I know they were up to no good! And that if it wasn't for you, I would've been in danger...
There's one more. He's my quarry. I'll end him.
Grimm ...
[Paprika approaches the other brawler.]
Paprika ...
(I need to kill him... Right, I have to.)
(Just stab him. Relax, Paprika. This isn't hard...)
Grimm What are you hesitating for?
Paprika I'm not...!
(I'm not hesitating... I'm a merc. This is just killing... just killing my enemy!)
(What is there to hesitate about? I... I...)
I'll waste him right now... right now!
Grimm ...
That's enough.
Paprika What? But Grimm, I still haven't–
Grimm You can't bring yourself to do it.
Paprika No! Trust me... I can!
Grimm You still don't understand a thing.
If you can't even kill a man like him, I can say for sure there is no future for you as a merc.
You will die soon. Dying on a battlefield somewhere is still a half-decent outcome, but you could die somewhere that doesn't even matter, and I'd have to go collect your body.
[Paprika lets go her weapon of the brawler.]
Paprika But I am a merc!
All of us mercs will die one day. Didn't you say that yourself?
Grimm All of us?
Hah, you're not one of us.
Paprika What?
Grimm, sometimes, I'm scared...
Grimm Of what?
Paprika Just like you said, it could've been me who got killed here today. If it wasn't for you, I would've been killed for sure.
It could take you guys a long time to find me, and then it'd take an even longer time for Nana back home to find out.
That's what happened when Fred died. I still remember.
Grimm Death and parting are a normal part of life.
Paprika Yeah... I know. You always say that.
I'm not scared of dying. I really am not.
But I'm scared of keeping Nana waiting for me to go home, even if I won't ever make it back.
Grimm ...
I'll let you off this time.
Paprika Grimm...! No, wait, I really can–
Grimm I've seen enough of this charade. We're done here.
But, kid, remember this. If you follow us, sooner or later you will run into a situation where you gotta kill.
Paprika Yeah... I get it...
Grimm Do you now? I don't see it.
This might end up killing you.
Don't go to Londinium. You're not cut out for it.
Paprika But...
Didn't you say that as long as we win this war, we'll have a better future?
I can fight. I will definitely be helpful!
Grimm This is about more than just fighting.
I'm putting everything on the line for this mission. Because I've seen it before.
Paprika Seen what before?
Grimm I've seen us Sarkaz with a home.
Paprika Home...
Grimm Maybe it won't be all that good, but as long as there's a shred of hope, I'm willing to fight for it.
But you're different. You still have a choice.
Paprika I... I have a choice?
I don't know...
Where else could I go, if I don't go with you?
I want to head back to my hometown and live my days like before, but... can we really do that?
Grimm ...
I know what kind of path I'm on.
Becoming a merc is never a Sarkaz's choice, but throwing yourself into war is. Setting out on this journey is the best and only choice I have.
The kid says she's not scared of dying.
I didn't argue.
I know it's not that she's not afraid. She never had the chance to understand and never faced anything like that before.
Fear has always kept at bay two kinds of men:
One is like me, and the other like her.
<Background 1>
[As Paprika and Grimm walks through the countryside...]
Paprika I've thought about this before. This mission in Londinium will be harder than all the missions we've been on, right?
Grimm Maybe.
Paprika One day, you might collapse on the ground somewhere and lose your life just like that.
Grimm Yeah.
Paprika In that case, I'm not gonna prepare a birthday present ahead of time next year.
Here. Your present for this year.
Grimm A finger glove?
Paprika Don't you say it's too colorful, a waste of time, or that it's not something you need!
Grimm ...
Paprika I-I'm not gonna be sad if you die. I promise you. Death and parting is nothing to us Sarkaz.
But if we can avoid dying... even if we get the living hell beaten out of us, even if we don't get paid...
None of that matters. I won't even be bothered if we don't earn a single dime after this long trip!
At the very least...
I hope we'll all come back together after the mission is over.
Grimm How naive.
Are all young Sarkaz these days this naive? My kind of Sarkaz never think like that.
Paprika Why are you digging at me again?!
Can't Sarkaz wish for the people around them to be safe?
That's really how I feel... and I'm a Sarkaz!
Grimm ...
Sarkaz like you die on the battlefield.
And I'd rather not have your death on my conscience, kid.
Let's go.
Paprika What's that supposed to mean...? Hey, wait for me!
[Paprika runs after Grimm.]