Owari no Chronicle:Volume10 Chapter 12
Chapter 12: For a Conclusion
I was told to be hurt
I was told to be destroyed
What is the answer?
Hiba rode the destruction of the land.
He had assumed Yonkichi’s actions would lead to some kind of attack, so he had used all his strength to avoid it.
It could have been an impact, a slash, or a projectile.
Thanks to his two losses during the summer, he took an evasive stance before even seeing the enemy’s attack.
That decision proved wise.
The entire space within three meters around him was destroyed.
It was almost an explosion.
As the bursting air knocked him away, he spun around and took a landing pose.
…What was that!?
He could tell it was some sort of spatial strike. In the instant the space was compressed and made to burst, that space was acclimated to the surrounding space. That caused anything in the bursting space to burst along with it.
He understood the idea behind it.
…But how does he do it? What does he use?
He landed with those questions in mind, held a hand up to block the whirling wind and scattering fragments of the ground, and looked forward.
The second attack was coming.
He forcefully leaped backwards again to leave the three meter range of destruction, but…
“This one’s bigger!?”
That instinctual decision led him to increase the force of his leap. He flew a full five meters back.
A moment later, the bursting space closed right in front of him. The range had been five meters instead of three.
…Does this mean he still isn’t going all out!?
Everything split and burst before him.
The wind and torn ground caused him to frantically pull back.
He watched the air explode and corrected his fighting stance.
…But what do I do?
He clenched his right fist, but he doubted it could do much against this destructive power. And their previous battle told him the old man had a slight edge when it came to a pure exchange of attacks.
His enemy had the advantage in power, skill, and speed.
If I think about it, there has to be a way, he told himself.
And so he cleared his mind of all idle thoughts.
…I will empty my mind!
A sudden image of Mikage in the nude appeared in his mind.
…And I will stay positive!
He decided this image was a message from the god of beauty that he needed to stay positive. As long as he had no other idle thoughts, nothing else mattered.
…Mikage-san hasn’t been letting me in the bath with her recently.
It had started two weeks before. She had said she wanted to practice bathing alone and had not let him in. His mother must have supported Mikage’s independence because she had tried to stab him with a spear through the peephole he had tried to use.
That meant his only images of Mikage in the nude were images of the past.
…But that’s fine too. Imagination!!
At that point, he suddenly realized he needed to focus on the battle, so he gently crossed his arms in front of his face to clear his mind.
“Stop throbbing, my heart. Stop throbbing, my heart!”
“Are you really taking this seriously, puru?”
“I don’t want to hear that from you, Mr. Puru!! Are you listening? Please listen, ma,am!”
With that shout, Hiba suddenly took action.
There were a few ways to overcome a difference in power, skill, and speed.
One of those was to take the initiative.
He would find an opportunity and take advantage of it. It was also called taking the enemy by surprise.
His opponent’s attacks affected a range, but that range started at three meters.
If he made his way within three meters of the enemy, that enemy could not use that power for fear of hitting himself.
Hiba took a low leap and jumped again without slowing down.
He was not running; he was making consecutive leaps. He approached Yonkichi without letting his initial speed drop.
Once he arrived within five meters of the man, Yonkichi reacted by raising his left arm and clenching his fist.
He swung it down.
The three meter area around Hiba, a six meters sphere of space, burst.
It bent, compressed, and eventually exploded.
The sound rang clearly, but Hiba was alive.
He had not been torn apart or broken and he continued to fight.
He had approached his enemy.
He was in the air.
He was falling from approximately five meters over Yonkichi’s head.
The principle behind this great leap was simple.
His enemy’s attack took a spherical form, so if he jumped up and spread himself out over the curve of the sphere, the force of the explosion would throw him upwards.
The enemy had set the center of the sphere close to the ground in order to hit him, so half of it had been buried.
He jumped over it.
The speed he had built up while approaching maintained his forward momentum even as he rode the blast radiating from the sphere.
This was what it meant to predict what would happen next.
And he continued fighting.
In the air, he twisted his body and made a dropping savate kick.
He did not simply drop his heel. Doing that would send his center of gravity into the ground if he landed. It was all over if the enemy evaded.
But with a savate kick, he could twist his body around and keep moving when he landed. The impact of landing could be transformed into a rotation. The attack was harder to read since it did not move in a straight line and people’s plummeting opinion of him would rise if he won here.
Hiba used this attack as a way of killing four birds with one stone.
However, he saw something in front of him.
Yonkichi had moved his left arm. However, the man did not raise his hand.
…He pulled back his hips and formed a fist!?
If he created a spatial explosion here, he would be caught in the blast too.
Nevertheless, he moved.
A sound similar to an impact but with some flexibility added in came from behind Yonkichi.
The ground sank down behind him but not because something had gouged into it. Something had appeared there and crushed it.
Hiba knew a similar phenomenon occurred when Mikage summoned Susamikado, so he knew what was appearing.
“A god of war!?
Hiba saw bluish-white light behind Yonkichi that resembled an electrical discharge.
At the same time, the objects producing the spatial explosions appeared behind his arms.
They were giant arms.
The two red and yellow arms were at least three meters long and they resembled both armor and muscle. They rose alongside his arms while copying his movements.
“I will take this a little more seriously, puru. This is the reproductive offensive shell known as the Great Sage, puru. It is a collection of the greatest byproducts of 7th-Gear’s bodily modification techniques and this is my first time to use them outside of fights with my brothers, puru.”
Instead of simple spatial compression, he sent out a straight-line three-meter uppercut.
The attack was much like the movement of a pile driver.
Meanwhile, Hiba temporarily lost all understanding.
He had trouble with unexpected actions. He had lost before due to that weakness and it was happening again.
…I can’t let that happen!!
He woke his mind as if clinging to a thought.
More on reflex than conscious thought, he used the crisis response abilities and physical abilities built up inside him.
He twisted his upper body, swung his arms, and raised the speed of his savate kick.
He swung his right leg as if pouring it down on the fist that shot toward him like it had teleported.
It hit the middle finger of the giant fist. His heel struck the base of the finger and he placed the sole of his foot on it.
He absorbed the force, bent his ankle, bent his knee, lowered his hips, crouched down, spread his arms for balance, and even lowered his head.
He took all those actions in an instant to absorb the coming impact with his entire body.
He stored the force of the rising Great Sage fist’s movement in his body.
That fist reached the end of its movement and stopped.
With nowhere else to go, the force inside Hiba’s body threatened to explode, but a moment before, he jumped diagonally backwards into the sky.
He stopped the force building inside him by leaping accurately in the direction of the giant fist’s path.
He more flew than jumped.
He had a high initial speed and Gs pressed down on him to send him down into the darkness.
…But it’s better than taking all this as damage!
After jumping around a dozen meters, his speed suddenly vanished. His blood flow quickly rose to his head and his mind cleared.
He had reached a face-up position in midair, so the sky lay before his eyes. That sky was shifting from early morning to morning and it contained some faint clouds.
He bent backwards so his head pointed down, so he saw the upside-down mountains and then what lay below.
About five meters down were the open-air dojo and the house.
The tall girl that replied awkwardly ran into the open-air dojo in a yukata.
Hiba rotated his body to land in front of her, spread his arms as he stood, and spoke with her.
The wind spiraled behind them and a black giant almost ten meters tall appeared behind Mikage.
It was Susamikado.
The black god of war’s frame, power source, sensory devices, etc. linked together and armor appeared over them all.
The bolts to hold its black body together audibly fit in place, Mikage was lifted by gravitational control, and she was taken inside Susamikado.
“Too slow, puru.”
Hiba realized Yonkichi’s voice came from behind.
The appearance of and combination with Susamikado happened in a mere instant. He should have been able to board 3rd-Gear’s greatest weapon without leaving an opening, but Hiba realized something in that split-second.
…Our enemy is 7th-Gear!
3rd-Gear could not fight without the power of a god of war, but this higher Gear had managed that.
Yonkichi interfered using pure speed.
Hiba turned around and saw the man riding the Great Sage’s extended hand.
The Great Sage’s shoulders were linked with a backpack-like curved component and shimmering heat rose from behind it.
Yonkichi extended his right hand forward from atop the giant palm.
His hand held Mikage and his grasp prevented her from entering Susamikado.
Her eyes opened wide and she turned toward the man.
Still riding the Great Sage’s right palm, Yonkichi casually raised his left hand.
That was when something strange happened.
The Great Sage’s left hand grew. It inflated like a balloon and yet appeared to remain just as solid. The giant arm grew to about ten meters long.
“Ever-changing and absurdly powerful. That is the ultimate form of 7th-Gear,” he said. “Oh, I forgot to say ‘puru’.”
The Great Sage’s even greater left arm punched Susamikado.
With the sound of breaking glass, the god of war doubled over and floated up in the air. Mikage had yet to combine with it, but she was swung up into the air due to being under its gravitational control.
Red warning lights appeared across Susamikado’s body to inform them of errors. It then vanished so it would not be influenced by anyone but its master.
That left Mikage alone in the air.
She had not actually been struck by the blow, but she had been thrown by its momentum and she flew toward a closed rain shutter on the house.
Hiba hurried, but he would not make it in time.
Even so, something helped him: an attack from Yonkichi.
The old man jumped down from the Great Sage’s hand and slammed his right fist into Hiba’s side.
Hiba’s breath was forced out from his mouth and nose and he heard a sound from his side.
The counterattack sent him flying through the air toward Mikage.
In exchange, three of his ribs were broken.
The pain had not yet reached him, but it would once he took in a breath and his blood circulated. But first…
Something that was not quite a breath burst from his mouth.
He then stopped breathing. Once he caught up to Mikage in the air and held her in his arms, he found she had passed out.
He embraced her.
They slammed into it, but the impact was surprisingly soft.
He was stopped by something that felt more absorbing than flexible and his back slid down to what felt like the ground.
An instant later, the sky above grew dark.
He was seeing the ceiling. He saw the old ceiling panels of the house.
He had slid after landing and only stopped once he hit a cabinet inside.
The pain arrived. Simply inhaling felt like fingers digging into his left side.
He frowned as the pain filled the core of his being like the inside of his muscles were being directly twisted. Only then did he realize that someone had opened the rain shutter and laid out a futon for them to land on.
Harakawa walked past Hiba who lay motionless with Mikage in his arms.
He was leaving the house with something like a large log over his shoulder.
He clicked his tongue toward Hiba.
“Sorry, Hiba, but it took some time getting Heo ready.”
Heo was wrapped in the Swiss roll of a blanket over Harakawa’s shoulder and she lowered the head sticking out the back. As the contents of the Swiss roll, she turned toward Harakawa who was moving outside.
“Wh-what are we going to do, Harakawa?”
“It’s a pain, but we need to drive that guy away. Can’t you see what’s happening here?”
“B-but if we attack with Thunder Fellow, that puru guy will be…”
“He isn’t holding back either, Heo Thunderson.”
“He knows the past of our parents that you want so much. Is that not enough motivation? If not, then what do you really want?”
Harakawa felt the Swiss roll’s contents shake and hold its breath.
“Listen, Heo Thunderson. This is our duty.”
“I’m sorry.” The Swiss roll’s head turned weakly toward him. “B-but how are we going to fight?”
“That’s the question,” he said as he stepped outside.
Hiba was collapsed, a portion of the house was destroyed, and Ryuutetsu was out at the field with his wife.
…This is like something from a shounen manga.
Yonkichi was approximately eight meters away. The Great Sage was back to its original size, but its backpack had not vanished. It had moved quickly enough to interfere with Susamikado’s appearance, so Harakawa doubted they had time to board Thunder Fellow.
“Heo, does Thunder Fellow understand our situation?”
“Eh? Yes, it seems he can see the outside world a little.”
The Swiss roll tried to turn toward him, but it threw them off balance. This isn’t as easy as the delivery job at Yokota that I’ve been keeping alongside my UCAT work, thought Harakawa as he left the side of the building.
“U-um, Harakawa. You’ve been grabbing my butt through the blanket for a while now.”
“Enough false accusations. I can’t tell where I’m touching through the blanket and I haven’t been infected by Team Leviathan enough to want to do that right now.”
“What is the deal with Team Leviathan anyway?” sighed Heo.
Harakawa suddenly thought about that question from a different perspective.
…What is it really?
Sayama had temporarily disbanded it, but did it make any difference when they were still fighting like this?
And if not, why had Kazami protested so much when Sayama had made them disband?
However, he could not quite grasp what exactly he was asking.
…Why are they so concerned with what is nothing more than a name?
He felt as if that was where he would find the reason Sayama had them disband.
“The past, hm?”
…What about the past gives such meaning to the name Team Leviathan?
However, he decided this was not the time to think about it.
He stopped thinking, stood in the yard, and faced Yonkichi who was in the center of the open-air dojo to the west.
“Listen. Unlike Susamikado, Thunder Fellow is intelligent. If you try to interfere while we’re boarding him, he can decide on his own to crush you. So…”
“So you’re telling me to leave, puru?”
“No. I’m telling you to get lost.”
Harakawa spoke to the contents of the Swiss roll supported by his shoulder.
“Heo, I warned him, so summon Thunder Fellow.”
“Eh? B-but how am I supposed to do that? He has trouble appearing when he doesn’t sense me in danger.”
Harakawa wordlessly stripped away the Swiss roll.
Having lost its support, the blanket fell across his right shoulder like a cloak and the contents exposed her flesh-colored body with her stomach resting on his shoulder.
“Ee,” she shrieked. “N-noooooo!! Thunder Fellowwwww!!!”
Yonkichi did not interfere with Thunder Fellow’s appearance.
Harakawa had already explained why. The mechanical dragon had a personality so interfering would be the same as placing himself in front of his enemy.
Wind wrapped around Thunder Fellow as he appeared in the parking area made from a dirt clearing in front of the house.
He was only eight meters away and he filled their vision like a mountain or a wall.
It only took an instant for the blue and white dragon to open the cockpit and let the two humans inside.
After a moment, he let loose a mechanical roar.
He was over thirty meters long, how much he weighed was anyone’s guess, he had appeared already in his close-quarters combat form, and shimmering heat rose from the accelerators on the back of his body.
If he charged forward, there would be no escaping his speed and size and there would be no defending against or enduring his weight and solidness.
However, Yonkichi stood still without running.
He saw Thunder Fellow hold his head and reluctantly speak.
“H-Harakawa! That was just mean!! I don’t want anyone but you to see me like that!”
“Relax, Heo Thunderson. The microbes in the bath are always watching.”
“How could you say that?”
The voices stopped.
Yonkichi saw Harakawa moving inside the cockpit. He grabbed the roll bars sticking out on either side and leaned his entire body forward.
That Harakawa boy was one of the last to join Team Leviathan, but he knows how to commit to a fight, thought Yonkichi.
…But can he keep that balance with Miss Heo with him?
He did not have time to add the “puru” to his thoughts.
He then saw something happen in what could only be called an “instant”.
Thunder Fellow’s limbs pulled up and the mechanical dragon fired a wave of shimmering heat behind him.
He charged forward.
In only eight meters, steam exploded in front of his nose.
Wind expanded in a ring and the house’s roof tiles floated up a little before being blown away.
However, Yonkichi calmly watched the high-speed charge and realized what Harakawa was after.
His senses were synchronized with Thunder Fellow’s so he could make minor adjustments to his course even at this speed.
And Thunder Fellow was flying just a bit left of Yonkichi’s center line.
If the man did not evade, he would be killed instantly. Even if he did, he would be badly injured. And if he used some special method to completely avoid it, it could lead to an escape.
Yonkichi knew what Harakawa had to be thinking.
…He expects me to use a special method of dodging.
Even if he expanded the Great Sage to more than ten meters, he could not hope to match the mechanical dragon named Thunder Fellow. To prove that, Harakawa had opted for a direct charge instead of a cannon blast.
…An excellent decision.
But, thought Yonkichi.
As his reflexes saw through the speed, he paused briefly and then spoke.
A moment later, words filled the air.
—The world is reversed for an instant.
The result showed itself immediately afterwards.
Thunder Fellow’s thirty meter form struck something and was blown away.
With a rumbling sound, armor fragments flew and Thunder Fellow pitched forward.
Harakawa and Heo gave confused voices as they crashed into the forest beyond the open-air dojo.
Their momentum broke through and knocked over the trees, armor fragments scattered from the parts that were bent, and the mass of destruction that was Thunder Fellow smashed the forest.
The forest covered a rising mountain slope, so the toppling mass of metal tore into the dirt for about five seconds before stopping.
After that, the mountain crumbled away for about one hundred twenty meters.
Yonkichi saw birds fly from the forest.
“Now, then,” he muttered. “Does this make you angry, puru?”
He turned to his right.
Someone stood behind him there.
The girl wearing a school uniform stood less than a meter away with a small bird on her head.
Brunhild did not understand.
Thunder Fellow had suddenly been knocked away during his charge, so she could assume something had attacked him. What she did not understand was why Yonkichi was no longer in the open-air dojo.
“Why are you here?”
She frowned toward the white flight jacket which she had found right in front of her after leaving the house.
She was in front of the house where Harakawa had opened the rain shutter to the room the girls had been staying in.
“Isn’t this near where Thunder Fellow was?”
What had happened? As she tried to find the answer, the black cat walked up and spoke to her.
“The world was reversed, Brunhild. So…”
“You’re a sharp one. …Yes, I reversed Thunder Fellow’s position with my own.”
The old man smiled at them over his shoulder.
“I reversed them at the moment of impact, so Thunder Fellow collided with himself.”
“Then I just have to do this.”
Brunhild threw a piece of paper too quickly to see the movement of her hand.
She threw it toward her own neck and it had a certain image written on it.
“If I add the final dot for the word ‘sever’, it will slice off your head instead. Isn’t that right?”
“Care to try?”
“Are you provoking me?”
“I am stopping you. That is why I asked that. …Care to try?”
Brunhild’s frown grew. She pulled a pen from her pocket and brought the tip to the paper on her neck.
Just as she began to pull it across the paper, the bird flew from her head and a voice reached her.
The black cat jumped up from the ground to keep her hand from moving.
Her finger moved the pen and activated the paper.
A moment later, the paper’s severing power activated.
However, it affected her and not Yonkichi.
…Why!? I thought a reversing concept was in effect!?
The unexpected outcome left her unable to move, but the severing power was obstructed by something else.
That something was the black cat.
She had instinctually twisted away from him as he jumped toward her, so she had avoided the severing power. Instead, the black cat’s back jerked in midair.
Before she could say anything, the cat fell into her arms.
She held him there, but he was completely limp.
He was so soft she was not sure where to hold him, a pink line ran across his back, and something red appeared on his fur there.
The question “Why?” entered her mind.
Wasn’t this a reversed world? And why had this happened to the cat?
The cat lifted his head a little in her arms.
“From that, I take it you’re fine.”
She did not hesitate to jab a finger into his stomach and he bent backwards.
“Ow ow ow ow! Now my stomach and my back hurt!! And Brunhild! Aren’t you going to thank me!?”
“You lost your chance when you worried me with that cheesy act.”
“Oh? So you were worried?”
“Just go to sleep.”
She stuck a hemostatic paper and sleep-inducing paper on him and faced Yonkichi again.
“I get it now. The world is reversed for an instant. In other words, you get to choose when that instant is. If you don’t create an instant of reversal, the attack continues as is, but if you do, the attacker attacks himself.”
“So how about it? Will you fight me, 1st-Gear Inspector?”
“Was fighting those four not enough?”
Brunhild looked over toward them. Inside the house, Hiba was unconscious yet still protectively holding Mikage. In the forest, Harakawa was lying face down inside Thunder Fellow’s cockpit.
Yonkichi glanced toward them as well.
“Do you really think that was enough?”
“Then look at your left arm.”
Yonkichi did so and they both saw that something was missing.
It had vanished all the way up to the base.
His eyes opened wide when he noticed, but Brunhild only casually held the cat.
The bird flew back to her head as she spoke.
“You didn’t notice that Hiba and Mikage got a small attack in on you when you knocked them away? The damage was so small you probably didn’t even feel it, but it caused you to miss the timing of your ‘instant’ just a little bit. …Quite a heavy price to pay for underestimating them.”
Yonkichi took in a breath and looked at his left shoulder. Flesh and bone could be seen there, but it was not bleeding.
His structure as a living weapon had likely sealed off the blood vessels automatically.
Brunhild then heard his voice.
His breaths repeated the syllable “ha” again and again.
While laughing, he brought his right hand to his forehead, bent back, and held his stomach with the Great Sage’s hands.
“Now this is entertaining! It’s not much, but it is certainly entertaining! It is enjoyable! This is so wonderfully enjoyable, brothers!!”
Brunhild heard his laughter and words travel into the sky.
“When four of them work together, the people supporting Low-Gear can entertain one of us at least a little bit!”
With that, he twisted his body.
“I never expected to lose my left arm! I am both surprised and astonished! I am a little confused at the moment, but you know what? This is oddly entertaining. …Thirty points!”
“Then I assume taking off your head would be worth one hundred points.”
Yonkichi did not agree with Brunhild, but he did smile and reply.
“Your prize then would be the Concept Core and the past we hold.”
“Is that so? But why do you want to die so badly?”
“Die? That may be the case, but we have no time.”
“Yes,” he replied while glancing toward Hiba and Mikage’s collapsed forms and Thunder Fellow in the distance. “We four brothers age as we lose interest. And if we die before accepting this world as entertaining enough to leave the Concept Core to, that Concept Core will be destroyed.”
“Then the best option would be for you all to enjoy yourselves and die.”
“Yes,” agreed Yonkichi with a look into the sky. “I had thought there was no chance of that, but it seems some hope remains. I fought with no explanation this time, so I assume the next encounter can be more serious. However, I do not want to be seen as going easy on you, so I will leave you with this.”
His smile deepened and he swung up his remaining right arm along with the Great Sage.
As soon as he clenched his fist, destruction burst overhead.
It covered a radius of one hundred meters. The center burst in the forest beyond the open-air dojo and it almost looked like the earth’s crust was breaking.
Simply put, the ground collapsed.
The Hiba dojo, house, open-air dojo, and forest were all broken to pieces, thrown about, and crumbled.
In an instant, everything gathered into piles.
Only the morning wind remained.
Only that wind which told of the change from early morning to morning.
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