Owari no Chronicle:Volume10 Chapter 1
I want to be with you
—He who does not accept that is alone
Chapter 1: Your Usual Self
Have I grown lazy?
Am I a pleasant person?
As evening approached, the colors of the sky faded but did not yet turn scarlet.
In this vague time of day, the air contained a slight chill and a single sound could be heard travelling below the sun setting in the west.
It was a motorcycle engine.
The large black motorcycle drove north in the left lane of a road with a long wall to the east.
Riding it were a large boy with a brown coat and a girl with a beige half coat.
The name Izumo was sewn inside the collar of the boy’s coat as it waved in the wind and the girl’s coat similarly said Kazami.
Kazami held a white convenience store bag in her left hand and her right hand held Izumo’s shoulder.
“Kaku, a lot of the leaves have fallen here too.”
The trees lining the road all had their branches exposed and the fallen yellow leaves flew up like a wave as the motorcycle passed by.
Kazami was focused more on the trees than the walking people.
“Will nothing but the evening dew cover them before long?”
“Don’t get so realistic, Chisato. More importantly, were you able to buy it at the convenience store?”
“Yes, they had the usual coffee, ‘Blue Mountain – Human Mountain Range’.”
“You can be really picky.”
“You’re the one that told me about it.”
“My interest in coffee came from my mom, so I’m technically just the messenger.”
That silenced her for a moment, but she finally spoke.
“Don’t say that,” he replied while speeding up.
The racing motorcycle turned the early evening air into a chilly wind.
Kazami glanced at her watch and saw it was 4:00 PM.
…Has everyone started going all-out with the afterschool festival preparations yet?
They only had about a week to go and Kazami was planning to perform in a band, but something else was more important.
“The next Leviathan Road should be coming up soon, right? We need to keep up our training. With Harakawa and Heo, we actually have some air support, so we can do things differently now.”
“But how long will that last?”
Through the wind, she heard his back reply to her confusion.
“The negotiations are complete for the Concept Cores of 1st-6th and 10th. UCAT already has 8th and 9th, so 7th is really the only one left.”
She understood what he meant, so she shrugged a little.
“Yes, this Leviathan Road should mostly finish it. …I guess there won’t be any more large-scale battles.”
“Is there at least a small part of you that thinks that’s a shame?”
“Eh? No, I, um, I’m a normal person, so of course I wouldn’t-…”
“There’s a part of me that thinks that.”
“That was mean,” she muttered before carefully choosing her words. “I suppose…I do think it’s a bit of a shame. I’m proud and happy to have such powerful comrades. And we put so much effort into gaining this power and into fighting.”
While saying that, some nostalgic memories came to mind: when she had quit her sports team for a certain reason and when she had trembled upon entering her first battle.
It had been over half a year since the werewolf she had shot to save Sayama and Shinjou had chosen his own death.
She had worried about a lot, but she felt it had been her duty as an upperclassman not to let it show.
She wondered if the new additions who had made things so much more fun were her reward for that.
That was why she asked him “Right?” and felt them speed up while he nodded back.
“A lot really has happened. …But there’s another problem, Chisato. There’s still the Army.”
“Oh, right. Will they really show up, though? Well, it is true they seem to appear around Shinjou a lot.”
“But she refused them when they asked which side she was on, right? …So they’ll show up. After all, the Leviathan Road is essentially over once we get 7th’s Concept Core. But if they stop us now, they can both keep us from completing the Leviathan Road and steal all the Concept Cores besides 7th’s. If it was me, I would make an all-out attack during the Leviathan Road with 7th-Gear.”
“You’re right,” she muttered while leaning against him and letting him feel her nod.
…The time to settle this is coming.
She did not know what the Army’s goal was, but it seemed they knew some kind of truth and were opposing UCAT based on that truth.
And based on what she had heard from Shinjou about the girl named Mikoku and the information Ooshiro and the others had let slip…
“The Army was created shortly after UCAT’s blank period. Just like the current UCAT.”
“Do you think there’s a connection between UCAT and the Army?”
She had trouble choosing her words, but she still answered.
She used her cheek to send a nod of confirmation into his back and he continued after a pause.
“I think so too. And I think they have more information than we do. Part of me wonders what we should do if it turns out righteousness is on their side.”
“I-I seriously doubt that.”
“Because Low-Gear is acting as the villain and completing the Leviathan Road by accepting the evil we did to the other Gears. That means we’re already facing the righteousness of each Gear. What other righteousness could there be?”
Her answer was meant to eliminate her unease over that unlikely possibility and Izumo’s reply came in his usual carefree tone.
“You’re right about that. The Army’s supposed to be made up of remnants from the other Gears. If that’s true, their righteousness can’t be any greater than what we created in our negotiations with the Gears.”
“See?” she said while noting that only applied if they finished facing the righteousness of all the Gears. “If there is righteousness beyond that, it would have to be something that precedes the righteousness of the Leviathan Road or the other Gears. It would have to be a kind of righteousness that says the very act of negotiation is evil. And the only example of that I can think of would be the righteousness of terrorists who refuse to compromise.”
…What else could it be?
As she tilted her head, Izumo’s words reached her.
“You might be right,” he began. “But either way, the Army is probably prepared to fight. They’re a smaller organization than UCAT, but they’re specialized toward crushing us. Gyes said they have almost nothing to use as bargaining chips, but that means this won’t come down to negotiation.”
“This is starting to smell bloody.”
Kazami tried to grasp this unseen enemy.
“But even if the Army proclaims their own righteousness, they have nothing to negotiate with afterwards. Their righteousness is nothing more than the reason why they want to defeat us; it doesn’t justify anything. In that case, let them come for a fight. We’ve grown plenty strong as well.”
“I-I thought my future wife was only violent, but she’s started having dangerous thoughts, too.”
“Shut up,” she said while sending a light punch into his back.
She then smiled bitterly and warmth filled the wind.
The motorcycle was slowing as they approached the entrance to Taka-Akita Academy.
“But,” she said as inertia gently pressed her against his back. “We should probably be on our guard. I feel bad doing that to Sayama and Shinjou, though.”
“Doing what to them? Oh, because they’re heading out tonight?”
Sayama was going to Okutama to search for Professor Kinugasa’s house.
Shinjou was going to Sakai to pursue Shinjou Yukio.
“As their comrade, I think they should show some self-restraint. I feel bad, but I think we should stop them from leaving and instead go ahead with 7th-Gear’s Leviathan Road. It would be safer if we stayed together instead of splitting up.”
Izumo said nothing and that silence urged her to continue.
“Manager Kashima is visiting the school tonight, right? It’ll be pretty late, but he wants to use the Kinugasa Library to give us a lecture on the formation of the eleven Gears. I’ll tell Sayama and Shinjou then. I’ll probably have to bow down to them, but looking at the big picture, I think that’s for the best.”
“Hold on. If you start rationalizing why you’re going to bow down to someone, it’ll turn into a habit.”
Izumo sounded fed up with this, but Kazami smiled bitterly.
“I’m just going to ask them to keep things like normal. Normal is best in busy and dangerous times like this. When we’re all together like normal, we’re unbeatable, right?”
The wind twisted and the scenery rotated to the right.
She could not see directly ahead due to his back, but the trees on either side changed and they entered the school grounds.
She heard hammering, shouting, and grinding in the distance.
This was their usual school and their usual everyday life.
Scarlet began to fill the light behind them and she saw the color dye his back.
The evening sun slowly began to sink below the horizon.
A certain color spread through the bottom of the night.
That color was a light. It was a red light. Specifically, the red light of flames.
A fire as large as an ocean flickered as it ruled a large portion of land.
And that fire flowed. Even if a building stood in its way, the fire would flow like a river along that rectangular path, cover it, and envelop everything.
The city burned like kindling.
The sound of overheated burning passed between the buildings again and again. The scorching wind was blasted into the blazing sky and released.
But that was not all.
All of the city’s structures had cracks running through them. The larger ones looked like similarly sized blades had cut through them and the smaller looked like they had threads running through them.
The city’s elevated highway and the high-rise buildings were slowly but surely collapsing.
The electronic sign on a certain building was still active.
It gave the date and time as 12-25-1995 4:32 and the temperature as 68 degrees.
From the center of the breaking and burning city, a certain structure was visible to the north.
It was a castle.
The castle’s main tower had an aqua-colored tile roof.
It was Osaka Castle.
Even that giant castle surrounded by white walls had not escaped its destructive fate.
The castle’s collapse began with cracks in the lower wall. With the sound of splitting rock, horizontal cracks ran through the wall and the area above and below the cracks tilted and collapsed either outward or inward.
The giant castle collapsed like a bellows being pressed together. Once that process reached a certain point, the weight of the upper structure caused a landslide to the west.
The entire castle toppled over as if sliding down.
The top of the main tower remained relatively intact, but it was torn apart as it slid atop the avalanche of the collapsing castle.
By that point, most of the buildings in the city had been reduced to rubble.
The elevated structures, the high-rise buildings, the streetlights, the street signs, and everything else that supported the city were gone.
All that remained was the wind, heat, and the dark sky that looked down upon it all.
Someone could be seen there.
They were running through the deserted and destroyed city as if rushing into it.
That person was not alone and not all of the people there were running.
There were countless people and they travelled both along the surface and through the sky.
This power that managed great numbers was known as a military force and their advance was swift.
Some wore white and black armored uniforms, some wore black and white ones, some wore blue and white ones, and others wore a few other color combinations. They would leap across several dozen meter areas of destroyed ground as they ran and similarly colored forms flew above.
In the lead was a young man wearing a white and black armored uniform. His features could be described as sharp and he was accompanied by a woman in an identically colored armored uniform.
The short-haired woman said something to him with a pale look on her face.
Her words formed a question, but the young man did not verbally reply.
He simply shook his head.
A voice came from overhead and he looked up toward it. Far above, a woman in a black armored uniform rode a broom.
Similarly, mechanical dragons flew into the sky in a dispersed formation. They were moving to intercept something coming from up ahead.
Then, a man ran up from behind the young man and woman.
Instead of an armored uniform, he wore vest modified into a mountain climbing jumpsuit.
His waist-length hair fluttered in the wind and he drew the long sword on his back as he ran.
As he did, he gave a parting remark about moving on ahead.
However, the others could not hear what he had said.
Nevertheless, the sharp-featured young man replied with a silent look.
That was all, but it was then that the young man faced straight forward.
He turned his harsh gaze forward to look at the crumbling city and at the sky. He then took a breath and spoke.
He spoke the words that would bring an end to this feast of destruction.
His voice called in something active to take the place of the passive collapse.
“Go ahead!!” he shouted.
She did so because something suddenly grabbed her butt.
A tight grip latched onto both the left and right side.
Despite the unexpected situation, no question filled her mind. The very action itself had already led her to the answer.
“S-Sayama-kun!? What are you doing!?”
She shot up from her face-down position and cried out, but that was when she truly woke up.
Her brain and body could not keep up with her waking.
While sitting on all fours with the blanket over her like a turtle, she looked at the head of the bed before her and then at her surroundings.
The clock said it was six in the evening, the room was dimly-lit, and only a bit of light came in through the window.
She spent seven seconds unable to remember why she had woken or why she had been asleep at this time. Once blood reached her brain, she understood what she was seeing, but it took another dozen or so seconds for her memories to return.
Her recovered memories chose the question with more temporal locality: why she had woken.
…Um, I think it was because something grabbed my butt.
Indeed something had. And still was.
Wondering what was going on, she looked behind her and found the blanket over her back. For some reason, that blanket was supported even further back than her own body.
It seemed there was something behind her.
“That’s you, isn’t it, Sayama-kun?”
“Ha ha ha. What are you talking about? I am only a modest butt spirit. Your butt was simply so wonderful that-…”
She kicked the spirit and it descended to the floor, blanket and all.
…I see. Now I know why I woke up.
And now that she had knocked the blanket to the floor…
“It’s cold in here.”
November was arriving soon and the room was nearly dark at only six.
However, she could hear a number of intermittent sounds outside.
They were the same sounds she had heard during May. She heard nails being hammered and transport carts rolling down the pathways.
…They’re preparing for the school festival.
That’s right, she thought. The day the festival preparations begin is…
“The day I leave for Sakai.”
A black binder and a night train ticket sat at the head of her bed.
That was why she had been asleep at this time. She was taking a sleeper train to Sakai late this night. The train left Tokyo at eleven, so she had wanted to take a nap ahead of time.
It had been before the athletic festival in October that she had decided to visit Sakai.
She wanted to pursue the woman named Shinjou Yukio who was the grandchild of Shinjou Kaname, a member of the National Defense Department.
She felt the woman was a stranger. The age fit for being her parent, but she was female. If she had gotten married, she would have taken on her husband’s surname.
But she had a reason to pursue her despite that: the hymn titled Silent Night.
…She most likely knew the song that was my only memory.
They had a few points in common: the surname, their lack of parents, and that song.
That was enough to give her a curious desire to pursue the woman.
And as far as her schedule was concerned, she would soon become much busier with the student council and UCAT.
That made this her only chance.
All she knew was that Shinjou Yukio had been taken in by an orphanage church in Sakai after she had lost her parents.
Shinjou had done some searching online and had found a few different churches, but all she had learned was that none of them had existed during the sixties when Shinjou Yukio had been born.
Most of the earthquake volunteer websites were no longer functioning. She had emailed and called the places with reduced operations, but had not learned much of anything.
She could not think of any other way to draw information to her while remaining in Tokyo, so she would travel to Sakai and visit the city’s municipal office and the local volunteer office. That would likely be the quickest method.
In truth, she felt it would be easier to ask Sayama, Ooshiro, or the others for help.
…But this is my problem. Also…
“Sayama-kun said he was going to search for Professor Kinugasa’s house in Okutama.”
He would be entering the mountains at night. She thought that was irrational, but he was an irrational person. She doubted he would be able to restrain himself and she was almost certain stopping him would make him even more likely to go.
“Are you simply going to ignore me, Shinjou-kun?”
The floor spirit spoke to her, so she ignored it. She was fairly certain a 1st-Gear teaching said listening to the voices of evil spirits would allow them to drag you into space-time.
…Well, that doesn’t matter. But…
She felt like something important had happened just before the spirit had grabbed her butt.
…I had a dream before that woke me in surprise.
The word “dream” triggered her memories.
The dream had been of the city of Osaka burning.
It was obvious why she had had that dream. Baku was here and Sayama was with her too.
When she realized that dream was something that had actually happened, she shuddered and took in a breath.
She then remembered the people who had run through the center of crumbling Osaka in the dream.
She flipped over, got down from the bed, and ran over to the blanket curled up on the dark floor. She ignored the chill of the floor on her bare feet as she did so.
“S-Sayama-kun, were the people running in that dream your…?”
“They were likely my parents.”
“R-right. Then that was Osaka, wasn’t it? Based on the date given on that electronic sign and your parents’ presence, was that a scene from the past when they went to help with the Great Kansai Earthquake?”
She assumed he would agree, but his response was not that, yet not quite the opposite either.
He used a vague wording that was unusual for him.
“Was it really?”
Shinjou tilted her head at that question coming from the blanket.
Her tone of confusion must have reached Sayama because he peeled away the blanket to reveal himself.
He wore white pajamas and Shinjou sat down nearby when she saw the paleness in his face.
“Oh, are you okay? Does your chest hurt?”
“Yes,” he admitted.
He gave a look that was both relieved and expressionless, but the lack of light kept her from seeing it properly.
Instead of moving away to turn on the lights, she approached so as not to miss the look on his face.
“Thank you,” he said. “I was in a lot of pain and I found myself relying on you. You helped a lot.”
“Do you really think that’s the part of me you should be relying on?”
“No, but you were asleep. I wanted to avoid interrupting your peaceful sleep, so I decided to use a part of you far from your brain. …Did I do something wrong?”
“Butt spirits sure are making awful excuses these days.”
Despite her words, she gave a silent sigh of relief.
Sayama would often keep silent about anything related to his relatives, especially his parents. This was the same, but she was glad that he had come to her when he was in pain.
…Even if his method couldn’t have been more wrong.
“Anyway, to get back on topic, why do you think they weren’t on the way to help with the earthquake?”
“Well,” he said while crossing his arms with his back against the side of the bed. “Simply put, German Inspector Diana-kun and the mechanical dragons were zooming along through the sky. If anyone from Osaka had seen that, their utter astonishment would have led them to give one hell of a tsukkomi.”
“I sense a bit of a prejudice about people from Osaka there, but you’re right.”
“Yes. We may be used to those crazy scenes, but it makes no sense for those things to exist in the real world. And you do not need swords or other weapons for earthquake relief. Also…”
He crossed his arms even tighter and raised his eyebrows a little.
“Not only were there were no normal people in that Osaka, but Osaka Castle was half-destroyed in the Great Kansai Earthquake, yet it was completely destroyed there. …In that case, the answer is simple. A concept space covered the entirety of Osaka and a battle occurred there. In other words, it is possible the secondary damages that killed my father did not actually exist and some other event occurred instead.”
Sayama looked to her with a small smile on his pale face.
“Their enemy was likely the predecessor to the Army, which is now plaguing us. They fought that organization in Osaka…and my father and many others died. The one piece of good fortune is that it occurred in a concept space. Creating the space only requires a few percentage points of the world’s child string vibration, so the destruction inside is not what caused the Great Kansai Earthquake in reality.”
“The Army will probably arrive before long, but there is something we must complete in a hurry before that. You and I will be separately pursuing our pasts, but there is something else we must do first.”
“Hm? There’s something we have to do before our trips?”
When he heard her question, Sayama gave a sigh of confusion while still looking pale.
“Yes. I have already sent a proposal to the old man. We can discuss it more once I check on the current situation. …And listen, Shinjou-kun. I have a request.”
“Wh-what is it?”
He closed his eyes and suddenly collapsed toward her.
“Eh? Ah, wait! Sayama-kun!?”
“My apologies. It seems I saw too much of the past. I am about to pass out, so could you lend me your lap until I come to? After all, we are leaving on our trips after Manager Kashima’s lecture on the Gears’ formation. I want to touch you while I can.”
With that, he went limp and laid on her lap as nothing but weight and flesh.
She frantically held and supported him, but he had already lost consciousness.
She gulped and slowly spoke to the pale face on her lap.
“You just said something very important, you know? If your father and the others died in a battle with the Army’s predecessor instead of in secondary damages from the earthquake, it would completely overturn the reason for and meaning of UCAT’s blank period.”
Of course, even if that was true, the battle occurred in Low-Gear after the Concept War came to an end. It had nothing to do with the other Gears. Even so, something still bothered her.
…But in that case, why did Ooshiro-san and the others make the blank period in the first place?
…What is it Sayama-kun said we have to do before our trips?
“What could it be?” she asked herself without expecting an answer and while brushing a hand through Sayama’s bangs.
She wiped away the sweat on his forehead and lowered the ends of her eyebrows.
“And you know I was taken in by UCAT right after the Great Kansai Earthquake, don’t you?”
After pausing to take a breath, she slowly asked a question.
“Does that mean I was taken in during that battle?”
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