City Series:Volume1 Chapter 8
Final Chapter: The Legend Arrives
At 4:05 PM, the change arrived gradually but clearly.
Else gathered strength in her eyebrows and kept her eyes open.
The Kaiserburg pierced through sound, split the sky, and broke free of gravity. It was desperate. The view outside the window changed from blue to indigo and from indigo to black. The stars looked like a sprinkling of sand in that black expanse.
The ship seemed to let out a scream, but she did not mind. She did not feel that she was going to die. She simply felt a need to keep her eyes from closing.
The moment she had been waiting for arrived almost too suddenly.
The inertia the ship had been unable to neutralize vanished from her body.
They were free of the bonds of gravity. They had left the earth.
This was space.
They had arrived in outer space.
She felt like it had happened too quickly.
She felt a pain her chest, but it was nothing compared to the difficulties back on the surface.
She remembered everything that had happened.
She had disobeyed her father.
She had met Walter and Paul and they had shown her the Kaiserburg.
She had ridden a bicycle as the military pursued her.
She had flown through the sky.
She had learned why Walter wished to go to space.
She had learned what it was she wanted.
She had convinced her father and argued with Mayer.
She had repaired the Kaiserburg and flown it.
She had fought and ended that final battle.
It may not have been a very long time, but it had been a dense, weighty, and passionate time.
It was all of that which had led to this moment.
She realized her body had grown tense. The great speed pressing her into her seat was gone. She looked down and found her clenched fists had grown white. She spread her hands and found marks from her nails on her palm.
She spread her arms as if to embrace something. She deeply embraced the expanse of emptiness before her eyes and she wrapped her arms around her shoulders. Her body was trembling.
She had arrived in the world of stars that she had always seen in the sky and reached a hand out toward.
Not even she knew what exactly was amazing, but she had a feeling it would be a lot less fun if she did know. She simply had to think that something about this was amazing.
She held in the feelings that threatened to escape her chest and she gave a meaningless and deep nod. She nodded again and again.
She was truly thankful.
The two in front of her began to move. They both gave sighs of relief, so they must have tensed up as well.
“We’re here,” said Paul. “I’m thinking of stopping by the moon. Any complaints?”
“No,” replied Walter. “Let’s start by going as far as Huber’s Treasure Island.”
The ship moved slightly and the white moon came into view out the window. It was much clearer than on the surface. Else took her arms from her shoulders and asked a question.
“How long will it take?”
“About an hour.”
“The moon’s pretty far away, isn’t it?”
“We can accelerate like crazy, but it’s best to play it safe since the moon’s right in front of us. The engines are still roaring even though we gave them some moonlight resistance.”
“Will they still work if we get close?”
“Scared? Then I guess we’ll head back home.”
“Don’t be silly.”
Walter smiled at her sharp tone.
“Yeah, after trashing Berlin like that, they probably won’t forgive us if we don’t do something that makes it worth it.”
“Do you feel even a little bad about destroying your hometown like that?” asked Else.
He sighed as he answered.
“Yeah. I wish I’d done a more thorough job of it.”
“Try to keep that to just a wish.”
She frowned and removed her seatbelt. When she noticed that the metal seatbelt fastener was oddly light, she recalled the laws of the universe.
“Come to think of it, isn’t space supposed to be weightless?”
“Yes, but the ship is giving us half of Earth’s gravity right now.”
“Eh? But I wanted to try swimming through the air.”
“Your skirt would spread out and you’d have no way of holding it down. Also…”
Walter removed his seatbelt with his left hand and stood up. He turned toward her while holding his right arm.
“Without any gravity, the blood from my arm would get everywhere. That would be a complete mess.”
Unsure what expression to make, Else stood up. As she did, she placed a hand on the radar and accidentally altered its scale.
…Oh, that’s probably not good.
But then she realized there would not be any enemies up here anyway.
That was when she noticed something odd on the radar.
The scale was at its maximum which was meant for use in space. Every centimeter on the screen was a thousand kilometers, but all smaller readings would be ignored. Only something with as much power as the Kaiserburg would show up.
However, the display showed something unbelievable.
It was a wall of light.
The radar showed that wall directly ahead of them. The entire tip of the display glowed brightly, so a very powerful spirit stone had to be there.
“Does that mean…”
A giant mass of spirit stone lay in their path.
“You don’t mean…!”
She looked forward where she saw Walter and, over his shoulder, the moon.
Walter must have noticed her mouth hanging open. He followed her gaze, turned back toward her, and approached.
“Walter, look at this.”
He checked the radar as she asked.
Paul also removed his seatbelt and walked over.
The three of them stared at the radar display and sighed.
The first to speak was Walter.
“I see,” he muttered. “Professor, this is what my father was talking about at the very end, wasn’t it?”
“You mean the ultimate treasure he said was floating in space?”
Walter went on to say what they were all thinking.
“The moon is made of spirit stone. This is a tremendous discovery!”
“That explains why the engines resonate with the moonlight.”
“It does! It really does!”
He faced the moon and put a hand in his pocket. He pulled at a photograph, looked at it, and took a few steps. Slowly, while being careful about his right arm, he sat in his seat.
Else almost said something, but Paul stopped her with a gesture.
“That photo is the only one that shows all three members of his family.”
“It was torn in two. The half he has shows Huber…and the other half shows his mother and him as a kid.”
Else said nothing. She simply listened to what Paul said next.
“Huber took that other half.”
“Do you have anything like that?”
“Once you’re my age, you’re too embarrassed to tell anyone about things like that.”
That man had to have his reasons for coming this far.
That friend of Huber’s stared straight forward.
So did Walter.
Else felt her mood soften.
She felt much closer to that young man who always seemed so detached.
Then, a new question came to her.
…He came all this way for that, but where will he go now?
That question applied to herself as well.
She nodded and spoke to him.
He said nothing.
“Do you have anything to tape the photo back together? If not, I’ll lend you some tape.”
He remained facing forward, but she did not mind.
“Hey, Walter. What are you going to do now?”
He finally gave a weak response to that.
“What do you mean?”
She took a step forward.
“If the moon is made of spirit stone, a whole bunch of ships like the Kaiserburg can be made. Doesn’t that mean everyone can go to space? If so, there’s no need to sink the Kaiserburg in the ocean.”
“In hindsight, I suppose so.”
“Then what are you going to do?”
She placed a hand on his head and faced forward.
She saw the moon there. The man who had beaten them here would be orbiting it.
…Just like you, we desired to go farther and came here.
With those words in her heart, she spoke to Walter.
“This isn’t enough to satisfy me.”
“What about you?”
Walter looked up with a stiff expression.
He hesitated but finally spoke.
“You’re wearing lipstick, aren’t you?”
“Wh-why would you mention that now!?”
She had not expected this and grew flustered, but he only smiled. It was his usual smile, but it had a somehow cheerful look to it. She heard Paul laugh bitterly behind them.
She brought a hand to her lips and looked at Walter. He had already taken back control of the conversation, so he looked up at her spoke with strength back in his voice.
“Fine. But if you stay with me, you’ll end up regretting it.”
“And you’ll end up regretting it if you stay with me.”
“Because I dream big.”
She felt heat in her cheeks, intentionally looked away from Walter, and faced forward again. However, she was no longer looking at the moon. She was looking at the black expanse beyond it.
That was where she had to go.
“Can we really do this?”
“How far are you planning to go?”
“That’s simple. …Farther than anyone, farther than anything, and as far as possible. Can you keep up?”
“Farther than anyone, farther than anything, and as far as possible, you say?”
“Yes! Farther than anyone! Farther than anything! As far as possible!”
She stretched her arms out toward the scattered stars, the deep emptiness, and space.
The world spread out infinitely before her.
|Back to Chapter 7||Return to Main Page||Forward to Closing Words|