City Series:Volume7 Layer 2

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Layer 2: Power[edit]

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While I was eating in the crowded cafeteria, you sat next to me with a docile look on your face.

“Hey. How important is power to you?”

“Where did this come from all of a sudden?”

“Well… I was thinking about doing more and putting in some hard work.”

“I’m not sure what you mean, but I see. …Hard work sounds like a difficult thing for a girl. You just don’t seem like the type.”

“I’m not saying I’ll create a field of power with my words or anything. …But is it really that difficult?”

“Yeah, it is. Just think about it. How do you write the kanji for ‘hard work’? You take a woman’s crotch and-…”

“And add ‘heart’ to get ‘anger’!”

You hit me with an angry punch with the force of your hips behind it.

“Wh-what was that for!? I hadn’t even gotten to the punchline yet!”

The next blow hit me, no questions asked.

Ah, wait, stop. Don’t go for a full barrage. Don’t clench your fist tight and thrust it straight forward either. But the low sound of the blows is pretty cool.

No, it wasn’t. Anyway, I dodged as much as I could and ended up out of breath. You and I faced each other with a chair between us.

“Wait, wait, wait just a damn second. This is the cafeteria. Listen. If you have a problem with me, then let’s take this outside.”

As soon as I said that, every last student in the cafeteria made a mad dash outside.

A closer look showed that I was one of them.

Author Comment:

This isn’t really about the story, but the guy to the right drawn in horizontal lines is kind of creepy. More importantly, he looks just like a friend of mine I’ll call N, so what’s up with that? There were a bunch of other people there too, but they were covered up by “You”.

Record 101: I Can’t Find You[edit]

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It was late at night on Christmas and I was sitting below the chilly sky in Boss’s convertible.

We were on the bridge connecting the city we lived in with Akishima. Roasted by the frozen Tama River below, everything was absolutely frigid. Blue flames of snow-summoning gas lit the gas lights lining either side of the large four-lane bridge.

Boss was down below the red car repairing it and I sat in the passenger’s seat. On top of the sounds of Boss’s chiropractic car treatment, I heard the lively sound of an electrain running through the city.

Given how late it was, that was probably the last one for the night. The electric guitar tones running along the continuous track railway sounded a little lonely.

“Boss. I joined you because you said you were headed to the site of a carjacking in Akishima, right?”

“Yeah, that’s exactly right.”

“But now that I think about it, why are you going to the site of a carjacking in a car?”

“If you’re going where a car was attacked, of course you’re gonna take a car.”

“When you put it like that, I guess it makes sense. …But you aren’t 18 yet.”

“I’m old enough if you use my mental age. I’m 27 then. By the way, my mental birthday is May 5.”

Boss continued his repairs as he spoke.

“More importantly, why’d you need to go to Akishima? You’re off duty today, aren’t you? Are you supporting the whole Babel thing?”

“No, I’m entirely single, so I have way too much time on my hands. I need to go to that Akishima department store’s atrium and spit on the couples flirting down below or get a feel of some girl’s ass.”

“That’s quite a specific master plan you have there, so it’s too bad I’m holding you up here. This is what you deserve.”

“It’s not like either of us has anyone to give a present to. I mean, you’re checking out the site of a carjacking on Christmas.”

After a dry snapping sound, the car sank down a fair bit.

“I got out the little bone that was caught in there. Now we can push it by hand…”

Then he cleared his throat a little.

“The thing about me is…I need to learn how to drive things like cars and motorcycles as soon as possible.”

I responded while putting up my feet in the comfortable and spacious seat.

“Do you have a reason for that?”

“A few. The time is coming when I’ll need to move faster than time.”

“I see,” I said without questioning him further.

As I looked up into the sky, I heard a voice from behind.

“What are you two doing? The last thing I heard you were headed to Akishima in the evening…”

I looked back and saw Snowy wearing an overcoat and riding a ladies bike.

“I was curious and decided to stop by, but what is this? …Did the car break down?”

She grabbed the car’s trunk and activated her Mobilized Writing.

Anything a woman’s hand touches becomes a weapon.

She grabbed Boss’s car as a weapon and stored it in her breast pocket.

She bent her eyes a little and spoke with the distant electric guitar tone in the background.

“I will be taking this red car as a Christmas present from the two of you.

Author Comment:

The Akishima department store mentioned here actually exists north of Akishima Station. In fact, it’s right next to the station.

The bridge also exists, but that’s getting pretty local.

Record 80: Everything About the Past[edit]

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It was kind of dark inside a bomb shelter. Which wasn’t too surprising.

At any rate, our odd job for the day was to investigate the one that was discovered over summer break. If it looked usable, we could probably turn it into a living room for the Chancellor’s Officers since it was next to the Student Council Room.

I walked through the narrow passageway with a maglite in hand.

Lady was with me to record everything. She must have been worried because she asked a question.

“Um, is it just me or have a lot of things been passing by us?”

“Well, this bomb shelter has been forgotten about since the end of World War Two, so it’s desperately trying to fill in the holes in the memories. That way it won’t be lost to the people of the present.”

Lady quickly hid behind me to clear the way for something to pass us by. I looked back and saw her pushing her largish glasses up her nose.

“Did you see who just passed by? It was the sun. And it held a large paper bag.”

“Really? To be honest, I couldn’t see at all who it was that passed by.”

“Then only I can see it? I wonder why.”

“Maybe this bomb shelter likes you. In Tokyo, it can’t exist unless it remains in someone’s memory, so it really wants someone to remember it.”

“But I’m not very smart. What if I make a weird assumption, create a memory that shouldn’t exist, and create a fake version of this place in my memories?”

“If it happens, it happens. Memory is power, so you just have to believe that it’s true.”

I turned around again and found a wall there.

Lady was gone.

Oops. Apparently there had been a real-time discrepancy between the internal layout I had seen and the one Lady had imagined and written to her memories. I quickly shined my light on the wall and saw an old metal door.

The door opened from the other side and Lady stepped in with her face pale.

“That was scary. I was searching and searching for you. For quite a while.”

“Sorry, sorry. I should have shined the light around more to give us a better shared understanding. Okay, let’s get going.”

Lady tilted her head when I said that.

“What are you talking about? …We’re outside.”

I looked around and found that we were indeed behind the school building. It had been morning before, but now it was evening. And Lady held out a piece of record paper that was filled with blue glow-in-the-dark ink providing the bomb shelter’s internal layout.

She looked between my face and the record paper.

“I omitted a fair bit on the way. Can you go get the missing parts filled in at the Time-Seer’s shop later?”

“If you want. More importantly, did you go all the way in? Did you find anything there?”

“There was nothing at all. Just a big room with something spray painted on the wall.

She smiled a little.

“It said, ‘Welcome back’.”

Author Comment:

Lady appears. The map she’s holding is the first basement of a certain game, but it’s made so it works with the hidden doors, one-way pathways, and the rooms mentioned later on.

This is a little off topic, but I think there were a fair number of abandoned bomb shelters when we were kids during the early 80’s.

Record 93: What Really Matters[edit]



I punched some kids my age as part of my Chancellor’s Officers work and an adult emerged from behind them.

It happened on the platform at Kodaira Station. Right next to the stopped electrain. Senpai and Snowy were taking care of the other various enemies behind me. My opponent aimed a handgun at me from a distance of about 10 meters.

That was a problem, so I kind of had to fight him. I was pretty sure that was against the school rules, but that shouldn’t matter when he picked the fight with me. Probably anyway.

“Why is an adult playing along with this nonsense while the east and west are fighting over Babel?”

What did this mean? I didn’t have a clue, but I was gonna kick his ass regardless. It had been a while, so I was really into it.

He gave me a threatening look and fired. He fired three freeze bullets.

I smiled back at him and activated my Mobilized Writing.

If you throw a punch with belief in your heart, all things will receive the blow in accordance with the conservation of energy.

When you compared it to the kinetic energy of the bullet’s weight and speed, my fist clearly came out on top. I punched away each bullet flying my way and moved in.

What was an adult doing behind the students? The school rules were still in place even after relations between the east and west were restored after the Reconciliation Riot, so our world should still have been separate from the adult world. My best bet was to punch him until he explained it for me. My fists can turn common sense, ethics, reason, emotions, light, dark, gravity, and probably even time into a striking force. So while I prepared a corrective punch for the disobedient part of his head, I gave him some polite reassurance.

“Don’t worry. I’m a gentle guy…maybe?”

Author Comment:

I think the protagonists are probably being monitored by the adult.

Record 107: Oh, That’s Right[edit]



On my one night off during the week, I spent all night alone in the underground Officers’ clubroom.

They were playing some boring old film on TV. It was so boring I lightly revved the TV’s accelerator and shifted up a gear. Then a tower appeared on the screen.

It was a news program talking about Babel, the giant Word broadcast tower under construction in Osaka.

That 3km tower uses Word Resonance to send a voice across this entire planet covered by the Great Canopy. Students across Japan are competing for the right to use it first.

It was built by a company, but they’re temporarily lending it to a student.

The so-called Battle of Babel is being fought using a PR sales battle governed by a set of rules. I recalled that everyone was really excited about the result coming out soon, but if that thing was activated in Osaka so soon after the east and west were reunited, it would shift Japan’s power balance toward Kansai.

That’s why a lot of people were working in secret to keep the current power balance intact. Heh, I was being awfully intellectual, wasn’t I? Hard to believe.

Maybe I’m just more serious when I’m on my own.

Anyway, the black phone next to me rang and I picked up the receiver like a serious person should.

It was Senpai.

“I am currently at Tachikawa Airfield. A strange group was lying in wait for me here. I will cut them down and head back.”

He hung up there, but he never did return.

Author Comment:

After the discussion with Senpai in the previous chapter, the final night begins.

The protagonist is watching movies on TV because that’s his hobby. It will later be revealed he watches a lot of different things.

Record 26: And the Power to Fight[edit]



My daily life had gotten to be pretty extreme ever since I left my training at the Mountain.

I stopped running in front of the railway crossing not far from Tachikawa Station. Hearing festival music in the distance, I look over to see a street lined with festival stands. You ran past me in a yukata, so you stopped and tried to catch your breath.

“Our Mountain training has really made us quick to fight, hasn’t it?”

“You mean it’s made you that way. I quite like the peace and quiet. The trick is to keep an open mind. And a shallow one too.”

“You do not want a shallow mind. And you were the one who blew him away first. I’m sure that’s just how your Mobilized Writing works, but do be careful. Don’t forget that accident from way back when, okay?”

“Fair enough. I am Mountain-trained, so I shouldn’t use this power carelessly. I need to be more peaceful.”

I sighed. I was basking in the summer heat when the heat said he didn’t want any guys basking in him, so I threw him to the ground.

After a careless and unpeaceful fistfight with the heat, you ran up and stopped me.

“Stop that, you idiot! A commoner like you can’t hope to defeat a part of nature.”

“Damn, I’m gonna be so unecological when I grow up!”

I clicked my tongue a few times like a thug and walked down the festival street. The entire street smelled of ginger pork and it was covered in festival stands lit up by brown lamps and people dressed in summer clothing or yukatas.

I heard some cheers coming from near the station way down the street.

You stretched up to peek past the crowd.

“Come to think of it, the Pleiades are descending tonight, aren’t they?”

“Those six gaudy sisters? I don’t get why everyone likes them so much. So what are they here for?”

“You know that Tower of Babel under constructed in Osaka? They’re spreading word about it.”

I looked over to see them holding a brown tower-like work of art on top of the festival stage.

You crossed your arms.

“Once that is activated next year, it will reconnect the global radio network that has been cut off ever since the war. It will act as a massive broadcast tower.”

“That will make it easier to get information out from remote areas and easier to pick up rescue signals. Also…”

“It will make Japan the center of the world.”

“Osaka, not Japan. This will overturn Tokyo’s position. Haven’t you seen the debates on the news and talk shows? They’re all discussing where the real center of Japan is.”

It looked to the festival stand to the side and my eyes met with the guy running it.

“Want to try it? No charge,” he said to me. “You beat up the heat earlier, didn’t you? The heat tends to damage my products, so I’m thankful.”

“What are your products?”

“Legitimate fortunes.”

“And what does the heat do to them?”

“Makes them too lazy to get off their rears.”

“Then I will take one before the heat returns,” you said, drawing one.

The man unfolded it and read what it said.

“You hit the jackpot! This is the best fortune we’ve got! You’ll find money, your financial luck is excellent, you’ll get a pay raise, and you’ll even have some nice temporary income! But these fortunes all belong to me, so that ‘you’ is actually me.”

You and I both carelessly and unpeacefully beat him up.

Author Comment:

This is one of the aforementioned chapters I initially wrote. A lot of information and “the way things are” created contradictions upon contradictions, so I had to rewrite it. The Pleiades sisters are actually mixture of gawdy and plain girls.

Tachikawa’s festivals are really lively, but I haven’t been in a while…

Record 65: It Can Be So Hard to Notice[edit]

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We have a problem. Some weird thing has taken over a dorm room.

Me, the Professor, and Snowy are in the B3 hallway lined with doors to the accelerated rooms for exchange students. The Professor holds a stethoscope against one door.

“Yes, it certainly has been taken over by some weird thing. I suspect it may also be suffering from liver disease.”

“Would cutting it with a sword help?” asked Snowy.

“The problem is this isn’t a physical thing.” The Professor pulled out a record-keeping camera. “So I’m not sure it actually can be cut.”

“Probably not. I questioned the students and they said it first sounded like something was crawling around the room. They tried to ignore it at first, but then the room’s colors started to change and then they there was the whole window incident.”

“What window incident?”

“The three residents woke up this morning to find themselves hanging from the art room’s 3rd floor windows. They had been stripped of all their clothing, they were all sprawled out on their backs, and they all had ‘loser’ written on their stomachs in ink. Pretty incredible, right?”

“Are we sure it wasn’t some kind of punishment game?”

“It wasn’t that. After trying to peep on the girl’s dorm last night, we were sent on a no-rope bungee dive from those same windows, so their alibi is airtight. The crime must have happened in the really pleasant part of the early morning.”

“You two are always up to something, aren’t you? Anyway, there must be something here that did all that.”

Snowy took a look around the area. The “keep out” tape drew out barrier emblems and talismans on the walls, ceiling, and floor. With a pentagram, hexagram, magic circle, Arabian number circle, Mexican angry face, and Tsuru-san wa Maru-Maru Mushi, we had to be protected from pretty much anything. It was honestly pretty cool.

After viewing all that, Snowy suddenly opened the door.

There was an endless expanse of stars on the other side.

The wind blew, so we were nearly sucked inside. No, we nearly fell inside. The wind roared.


Snowy and I grabbed at the doorframe to avoid falling in and also grabbed the door that had opened the other way. The “keep out” tape whipped in the wind and I shouted behind me, telling the Professor to help shut the door.

But he was too busy snapping photos with that camera.

“Yes, I do like the look on your face. This will make an excellent record of what happened, so say cheese. Now, how about another one?”

Bastard. After we got the door shut, I punched him once. That seemed to knock some sense back into him.

“This truly is a weird thing. I estimate about 80% of what has happened was meant as a feint against us.”

Just then, the door opened from the other side.

You emerged with Daitarou in your arms.

“What are you three doing?” you asked while letting Daitarou hold your finger in his mouth. “I entered through the window everyone was talking about, but there was nothing inside.”


We quickly checked inside the room and there really wasn’t anything there. It was just a normal dorm room.

But we never did find the window you said you had entered through.

Author Comment:

The poster on the right side of the illustration lists 5 rules for enjoyable battling: “Do not use modern weapons. Go all out when you fight. Never show an opening. If they show their back, make your move. Sniping is a valid tactic.”

Record 60: We Need to Hurry[edit]



I was racing east along National Route 20 on the Boss’s motorcycle late at night.

The bike had been so thoroughly customized I’m not even sure what it originally was, but it could carry three. Lady sat on the Phlogiston Tank, the Boss sat at the front, and I sat in the tandem seat.

The package we were delivering was Lady herself. Kanda’s House of Time needed her Mobilized Writing.

I pulled out my pocket watch in the wind to find it was just past 2:30 AM.

“Boss! Can’t you speed it up!? At this rate, the rooster’s gonna crow before we get there!”

“Let the birds cock-a-doodle-doo all they want! There’s not much I can do with this package weighing us down!”

“How could you! I am not that heavy! I have a low Rohrer’s index too, so I protest!”

The upset Lady’s Mobilized Writing let her make sounds that resonated with specific objects.

And it turned out Kanda’s House of Time had run into a problem tonight.

“The House of Time’s time-telling Sein Frau’s song is out of tune, right? I hope I can play the correct tune for her.”

“This is because she’s aging, so she’ll just slip out of tune again even if you fix her today. But the House of Time’s clocktower resonates with the world’s time, so a mistake there would have disastrous consequences.”

“So will the grownups call me in again each time it happens? That sounds awful.”

“You can worry about that later,” said the Boss. “Senpai was right: the enemy’s here.”

I looked back, but I didn’t see anything on the road behind us.

I wondered if the Boss had just gotten scared, but then a great emptiness filled my vision.

That was the Great Tokyo Fault.

The massive fault split Tokyo west to east from near Kunitachi to Mitaka. National Route 20 had been made into an elevated highway, you could see a cloudy night sky below the road, and the lights of Surface Tokyo and Underground Tokyo formed a double horizon far to the east.

The enemy the Boss had mentioned had arrived within the wind.

They were in the sky.

Four shooting stars curved toward us with white trails slicing across the night sky.

“Wh-what are those!? Are they after us!?” shouted Lady.

So that’s our enemy, huh? I sighed and the Boss explained in a bitter voice.

“There are people who want time to be out of whack. They want Tokyo to take the fall for failing to manage it properly! And they must have hired this meteor shower force.”

I wasn’t going to say it in front of the Boss since he’s from Kansai, but they were likely hired by a Kansai corporation.

I silently stood up on the tandem seat and readied my fists with the wind roaring around me. The Boss activated his Mobilized Writing at the same time.

Acceleration stacks infinitely.

He began kicking his motorcycle up to higher gears. After speeding up all the way to 6th gear, he suddenly dropped down to 1st gear. Our current speed became our 1st gear speed, so he could then reaccelerate on up from there. He called it his 6-Stage Infinite Acceleration.

“Don’t underestimate Tokyo’s student defenders.”

When the motorcycle’s speed produced tire smoke on the road, the meteor shower force hesitated. The four shooting stars had slowed down enough that our speeds were about equal as we raced down the elevated Route 20 side by side. The battle had begun.

Author Comment:

It turns out no one uses the Rohrer’s index anymore. You will be hearing more about the House of Time’s Sein Frau later.

Record 19: Remember Your Power[edit]



I spread my arms and thought in the setting sun.

I was facing a wet rock wall and a large waterfall.

I clenched my right fist with my arms raised as if to embrace the scarlet-tinged waterfall. I was pretty sure the clenched fist was closely related to my power. My true power.

This wasn’t the fake power I had believed in due to a weird false assumption and misunderstanding.

This was the real power that was mine alone and that I could place absolute trust in.

I was sure it had to do with my fist – with punching. But…what was it beyond that?

Was it destruction? Violence? Sexiness? All wonderful options. Yes, I would be satisfied with one of those.

But that wasn’t it. So what was it? Everyone has their own power. And it’s always found nearby.

Most everyone who had traveled deep into these Ibaraki mountains to join the Chancellor’s Officers already knew what their power was. I’d heard Snowy had gotten pretty far in training hers.

If I found my power while training here, it would become a real power by the time I returned to Tokyo and all of this would be no more than a memory to look fondly back on. I would have those memories to tell me my power is very real and I never have to doubt it.

I knew it had to do with my fist. But what kind of power would come from that fist? And what would I think when I learned the answer to that question?

I hoped it wasn’t a power I disliked. I mean, if it’s my real power, I have to place my trust in it. I might hate it and want nothing to do with it, but I would still have to place my trust in it. So a fun power would be best.

Everyone obtains their own power. That sometimes happens when they’re faced with a situation requiring it and sometimes it happens when it’s taught to them and they make it their own.

I had figured out on my own it had to do with my fist, but I had been taught at the Mountain how to clench and throw that fist.

When I eventually find my true power, will I be able to look back on this time and make that power real?

If so, maybe I can discover something in an even older version of me.


For example, it was in my second year of middle school that I developed my Punching is #1 philosophy. One sunny Tuesday morning on the way to school, I saw you waving to me and running toward me.

“Then you punched away the three wheeler that nearly ran me over.”

I heard your voice and turned around, but there was no one there. Only the riverbank in the sunset.

Did I imagine that? No, maybe I was becoming the past self that my future self was looking back on. And my future self decided to use your voice to give me a hint since I kept rambling on about nonsense.

“You blew away the waterfall before too, right? What were you trying to punch then?”

I smiled bitterly when I heard your voice again. I decided to raise my fist toward the waterfall.

“Could you keep it down? These moments are only cool if you think through them on your own.”

Author Comment:

A look at the protagonist’s Mountain training. I expect you need to ask permission to train at night. I have been to the mountains and a waterfall at night, but it really does feel like something is following you around.

Record 64: The Repairable and the Unrepairable[edit]

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The Itsukaichi Line derailed, so we were sent out on a job this spring night.

We needed Lady’s Mobilized Writing to repair the continuous railroad track, but fixing a derailed track was a real pain in the ass. The track bent up and down and twisted left and right, so I just used a general Mobilized Writing to punch it back into place. The others were also working hard.

“Or so I thought! Why are you just sitting there on the curb!? No fair!”

“Cutting the track would only make it worse.”

“I’m no good at anything other than driving.”

“I am not interested in turning the track into a weapon.”

“We’re giving you moral support, so you should thank us really.”

Of course they all had an excuse. But now that I had gotten the track somewhat straightened out, Lady attached her keyboard to it with a few cords.

“Good work. I’m all set. Now try making a noise over there.”

Kh, at least she was a good girl. I needed to touch her butt later on as thanks. For now, I punched my gauntleted fist against the fixed track.

That produced a loud, metallic note. Lady used that as a starting point for her Mobilized Writing.

All that resonates is the same.

She played her keyboard, sending perfectly straight and uncurving music into the tracks.

I sighed while watching the tracks resonate and stretch themselves out straight once more.

Author Comment:

Lady uses her Mobilized Writing. She only has to play some music, so she is probably close to all-powerful.

It really doesn’t matter, but I find it incredible that the JR Oume Line part of the Itsukaichi Line is still a single track.

Record 31: Am I Really Enough?[edit]



It was time for my final exam at the Mountain. I had to win battle after battle using only my Mobilized Writing and my weapon. I had arrived at the championship match with just my gauntlet. My opponent was Snowy. She held a bamboo sword at the center of the 10m-radius sparring ground.

I took off running as soon as the starting pistol sounded. I could see the scenery around me: the sunset, the forest, the temple we had been staying at for a few months, the sparring ground itself, our friends encircling it, and you holding Daitarou.

I looked away from you to focus on Snowy in front of me. She was swinging her bamboo sword.

I planted my foot out in front of me and punched the base of the sword. With a light thud, the sword was launched into the air. That gave me an opening. I briefly considered copping a feel of her boobs while I was at it, but she kept her distance and activated her Mobilized Writing.

Anything a woman’s hand touches can be used as a weapon.

The air Snowy touched became a blade, so I quickly dodged. The windy attack roared past me on the left.

I continued forward and threw my fist toward Snowy as she tried to grab the wind again.

At the same moment, she gave up on grabbing the air and grabbed my fist instead.

Anything a woman’s hand touches can be used as a weapon.

My first tried to harm me, but I wouldn’t allow it.

If you throw a punch with belief in your heart, all things will receive the blow in accordance with the conservation of energy.

“I won’t let anyone else wield my power.”

I punched Snowy’s Mobilized Writing and everything else.

The solid impact echoed through the twilight sky.

Author Comment:

More about this battle with Snowy will be discussed later. I think it was a pretty heavy thing for the protagonist.

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