Owari no Chronicle:Volume10 Chapter 4
Chapter 4: Night of Guests
Tonight, they visit
Tonight, they come
The chilly night air filled a certain space.
That large and dark space was inside an old fifty square meter prefab building.
The smell of oil lingered in the air and it had a slight industrial bitterness to it.
A deep hole covered almost the entire cement floor and the bottom was too far down to see.
The factory contained only a single light: a fluorescent desk light sitting on the round table in the balcony-like space in front of the southern office.
Next to the desk light, a filthy radio-cassette player played a tape of pop music.
Next to the table were an electric stove dirty with paint and two people.
One of the people was an elderly man in a work outfit and the other was a girl.
The man spoke quietly while reading a horse racing newspaper.
“Mikoku, this is the last song, so turn the tape around.”
“Not only does it not play CDs, but it does not have auto-reverse either? Why not buy a new one?”
“It’s an old companion and having some flaws makes it cute.”
The old manager reached for the table and grabbed a cigarette.
“It’s nice being able to smoke around you.”
“Does Shino complain that it is bad for your health?”
“She doesn’t say anything, but that’s exactly why I can’t smoke.”
He placed it in his mouth and lit a cheap lighter with just his right hand.
“The two of you haven’t been getting along lately, have you?”
“We get along fine,” said Mikoku while hiding her expression from the faint white light and holding one knee in her arms. “I only want her to stop fighting.”
“You know you both just want the best for each other, right? She’s not an enemy, so you need to actually talk to her about it.”
Her silhouette nodded at those words, but the old manager filled the air with some cigarette smoke and his voice.
“But I’m sure that isn’t happening anytime soon.”
He inhaled and gathered the smoke in his mouth.
“You’ve always had trouble telling people things. You’re afraid of being rejected or disliked by the people you care about, so you just avoid talking about it. But…”
He added “I know I’m meddling, but hear me out” before continuing.
“Doing that means you’ve lost, Mikoku.”
“I have not los-…”
“Shino-san wants to win alongside you. The enemy is opposing us through combat, so why are you so busy pushing your allies away? It doesn’t make sense.”
Those words silenced Mikoku and the old manager gave a smoky laugh. His shoulders shook in the darkness.
“You’re such a child, Mikoku. You’re a poor excuse for a girl. …You should really learn how to cook. That’s a skill you’ll need if you plan to live alone for the rest of your life.”
“No one here can cook either.”
“Yeah, and that’s because Shino-san always brings food for us. The others all left for Hachioji when they heard you were coming today.”
“So that’s why they always look so displeased when I show up.”
“Forgive them. They’re still young and inexperienced. They don’t know how to treat a girl. …Then again, the city’s a much better place to celebrate finishing our work on all the equipment we need.”
The old manager exhaled a long stream of smoke.
The expelled smoke stretched toward the giant hole in the floor. Alex had once filled that hole, but several other forms stood there now.
They resembled people and they formed ten columns and thirty rows.
“With those remote-controlled mass-produced dolls, this factory’s ten workers can run an entire army.”
“Whose decision was it to make them all female?”
“I thought it would help teach those young guys how to handle a girl. …But to be honest, we didn’t have enough materials to make them male. They’re based on 3rd knowledge and we didn’t have time to develop a male frame. …We also have a secret weapon hidden in the cargo hold.”
He gave a bitter smile.
“I feel bad for taking Alex’s spot. We should’ve used the big underground room below the front clearing. …Of course, that’s in use now too.”
“We don’t have room to spare with the attack so close, do we?”
Mikoku’s silhouette muttered in the darkness.
“It’s already tomorrow. The Army will finally attack Japanese UCAT.”
The decision to move tomorrow certainly came suddenly, thought Mikoku.
However, their preparations were steadily progressing and the enemy was nearly done gathering the Concept Cores. The conditions were right.
…I just don’t think it’s time yet.
Shino, on the other hand, seemed to have been waiting for this moment.
That may be the difference between someone who will gain their role there and someone who will complete their role there, thought Mikoku as the old manager spoke to her.
“But apparently UCAT was attacked today. Tatsumi mentioned it when she stopped by, remember? Two people in black showed up at Izumo UCAT.”
“And yet the Army has not been doing anything recently. …Is some other organization opposing them?”
“It’s hard to say,” muttered the man.
Suddenly a noise reached them from behind.
The two of them quickly turned around.
The loud noise came from the intercom on the wall next to the office entrance.
The electronic tone was set loud enough to be heard over factory machinery and the old manager scratched his head and sank back into his seat.
“You answer it, Mikoku. I can’t even taste the cigarette when things are this loud.”
Mikoku nodded, stood from her chair, and turned around.
She picked up the receiver and wondered who it could be. It could have been Shino, worn out from the weight of all the food she had brought for dinner.
Whoever it was, it had to be someone from the Army if they had reached the factory within the concept space.
“Who is it?” she asked into the receiver.
A slightly withered yet powerful female voice responded.
“Hey, there. You’re under attack, so open up.”
Mikoku had no idea what that meant and she did not recognize the voice.
And what were they talking about?
…We’re under attack?
Her disbelief made her hesitate and the old manager’s voice reached her from behind.
“Who is it? Is it Shino-san?”
His question was the way things should have been, but the voice from the receiver was definitely not Shino.
She tried to say something, but she was cut off by the same withered yet powerful female voice.
“Oh? No response? I don’t like kids who do that. I don’t like them at all. So sorry, but I’m going to take this into my own hands. …I assume you have no response for that either.”
Mikoku tried to say “wait”, but she was cut off again.
“Don’t respond only when it’s convenient. Don’t block out what you don’t like.”
Those words were accompanied by red light, a great sound that pierced through Mikoku’s body, and wind.
It was an explosion.
The factory’s four-layer steel door bent in.
And it was destroyed.
She did not even finish her thought.
Instead, she began to move. Before the old manager could finish standing in surprise, she ran toward the scattering metal fragments of the door.
She dashed straight toward the attacker as if her body desired a fight.
A conditioned reflex sent her flying toward the explosive flames spreading from the factory’s entrance.
Her hand grabbed the Japanese sword in a cloth wrapping leaning against the table, her feet kicked off the floor, her body tore through the explosive blast, and her skin felt the heat and light of the flames.
“Who are you!?”
She spoke the thought that had finally caught up to her and she shot outside.
She charged forward to strike the attacker waiting there.
A dinner table was a table carrying food.
If it was surrounded by smiles, that was even better.
A particular table contained a lot of food with plenty of variety.
Four people sat around it, two male and two female. Three of them smiled and one had a harsh look.
Of the three with smiles, the man facing the harsh look spoke.
“What’s the matter, Chisato? Izumo-kun is here for once, so don’t look so upset. You’re ruining the good looks you got from your mother. Now, why are you angry? You can tell your papa…yes, it can be our secre- Actually, mama is smiling this way, so how about telling your papa and your mama!?”
Kazami responded to the question by stabbing her chopsticks into the top of the pile of croquettes sitting in front of her father.
It was a direct and forceful jab.
After the red chopsticks pierced into the light brown croquette, she lifted them and pointed the tip between her father’s eyes.
“Sorry, dad. It’s nothing, so don’t worry about it. And if you insist on worrying…”
She stabbed the chopsticks into another croquette on the way back and placed the skewered food on her plate.
With the two croquettes unable to move, she slowly poured some dark sauce on top.
The sauce splashed a little, but the dark liquid stained the croquettes as if they had spewed it out themselves and it spread out across the plate.
She skillfully lowered and raised the chopsticks to tear the two skewered items in two.
With the two croquettes split in half, she carefully wiped the oil off the chopsticks.
“Something unpleasant happened today. Do you understand, dad?”
She noticed her father had paled a little as he looked at her, so she tilted her head and grabbed the 500 mL can of beer set in front of him.
“What’s wrong, dad? Aren’t you going to eat?”
She pulled the can’s tab, the sound of carbonation escaped, and a glass approached from the side
It was Izumo’s.
She sighed toward the glass and poured the can into it while wondering if he was trying to be considerate.
She heard the foam and the pulsating sound of the flowing alcohol.
“Kaku, we have work at IAI after we eat, remember? Don’t you have to drive your motorcycle?”
“We’ve probably got the night watch. I’ll be sober enough by then.”
“Right, right. Izumo-kun’s a real man. A young guy’s glycogen has to be able to handle that much. But I won’t lose! Mama, bring papa a beer too! I’ll do my best!”
Kazami’s mother immediately pulled out a five liter beer she had waiting below the table.
It made a deep sound as she placed it on the table and she spoke to her husband.
“I want to see a little of what you can do, papa.”
“Ha ha ha. A little of what I can do? Is this only ‘a little’, mama?”
She next pulled out a fifteen liter beer she had waiting below the table.
The sound it made when it was placed on the table was more or less an impact and she spoke to her husband again.
“I want to see a lot of what you can do, papa.”
“Dad, I think you should hurry up and admit defeat.”
“Oh? But Chisato, he can easily handle this. When he married me, he drank my papa under the table. And you know my papa is from a very influential family, right?”
Kazami silently swore she would never ask for details about that.
She noticed the foam rising to the top of Izumo’s glass, so she quickly stopped pouring and sighed quietly enough that no one else could hear. She decided to change the subject both to be considerate and to save her father.
“By the way, what’s your next job, dad?”
“Well, while working on the Christmas concert, I’m thinking about doing a Christmas TV special. Since it’ll be the end of the year, we can have a debate about the more unfortunate. It’ll be called ‘Why Are They Still Alive? – A Discussion on Unmarried and Unemployed Men in their Thirties’.”
“Sorry, but I think you’re taking the word ‘unfortunate’ in a dangerous direction there.”
“Hmm.” He brought a hand to his forehead. “Are you still too young for that one? O-oh, I forgot to mention. I’m also working on some educational history anime for the December theatre. There’s ‘Dr. Guillotine’s Invention’, ‘Fight, Mr. Gatling!’, and because it’ll be Christmas ‘Santa Claus Loves the Color Red’. All three are uncensored and full of great lines like ‘Your ear is next!!’ ”
“Dad, did the pamphlet say those would leave the audience in tears? Just not in the way you would expect?”
“Ha ha ha. Of course. You may not remember, Chisato, but when you were little, I brought you to a historical theatre anime I helped produce. It was called ‘Magical Girl Sta☆Lin’ and it was about a magical girl who fought for everyone’s equality.”
“Did you? …That title definitely stands out.”
“Yes, and just like in history, she purges her magical nation and dies alone. You were really sad and wouldn’t stop crying, but were you so sad that you forgot all about it?”
“I’m pretty sure I was suppressing the trauma!!”
She shouted back, but her mother brought a finger to her own nose.
“Chisato, you’ll disturb the neighbors.”
“When the stress builds up in your heart, let it out by consulting someone, not with anger. Okay?”
Kazami nodded and lowered her head with the beer can in her hands. She also glanced over at Izumo.
…Why is he so focused on eating the croquettes?
She noticed her father had had begun attacking the croquettes now that he was freed from that hell of beer and Izumo was apparently competing with him.
Seeing that, she brought the can to her lips.
She tilted the can and then tilted her head back to chug the contents. She told herself she would wait until after she finished drinking before deciding whether to talk about it or not.
There was a lot she had to say, but one was the most important.
…Sayama’s selfish announcement about Team Leviathan disbanding.
She could not tell her parents about UCAT, but she could alter it to be about where she worked part-time. Or she could make it be about her band or a group like that.
While thinking, she audibly gulped down the alcohol and heard her father speak.
“Izumo-kun, did something happen to Chisato recently?”
“It seems like it, dad. I think she’s feeling hesitant about marrying me.”
She was shocked by what they said, how politely they said it, how they addressed each other, and the tone they said it in. She expressed that shock by slamming the can down on the table while almost choking.
“Wh-what kind of nonsense are you talking about, Kaku!?”
“It’s coming out your nose, Chisato.”
She frantically grabbed a tissue from the table and blew her nose. Meanwhile, her mother brought a hand to her cheek.
“I’m sorry, Izumo-kun. Chisato has a hard time coming out and saying things.”
“I know, mom. She always uses her fists before her words.”
She gave a demonstration.
But after knocking him away, she realized that put their household belongings in danger, so she immediately grabbed his collar and pulled him back.
“W-wait just a second, Kaku!”
“I-I will if you will.”
“Just listen to me.”
He smiled as she held his collar.
“Oh? You have something to say? Fine. Speak, Chisato.”
Ah, she thought when she heard that.
…He tricked me into this.
“Fine then,” she said while facing forward.
There, she found her parents leaning forward with their heads resting in their hands.
“Y-you don’t have to wait so expectantly.”
“But it makes me feel a little happy and a little sad to see the two of you fighting like a married couple already.”
“I’d like it of you showed a little more sadness,” said Izumo. “Especially toward me.”
Her father ignored him.
“How long has it been since Chisato consulted us about something instead of just asking questions? Has it been since that middle school cooking class where her food numbed the other girls in her group and they buried her up to her neck in the sandbox?”
“That was when she started practicing how to cook, wasn’t it?”
She was annoyed that they remembered that, but Izumo looked oddly happy as he listened. She had no idea how to react to the ticklish feeling that sight gave her, but she still decided to speak.
“Um, at work…”
“Is your boss being mean to you, Chisato!? Now I’m mad! I’ll hijack tomorrow’s TV special debate and retitle it “24 Hours of Observing and Mocking My Daughter’s Mean Boss’! …Gah!”
She was slow to throw the plate, so he managed to say a fair bit.
She told herself to be quicker next time.
“We had created a group to make our work easier. We had just gotten some good new members and it looked like we could really get some work done, but then the guy at the center of the group suddenly said we should disband. …And our work is just about to get a lot busier too.”
“So were you wondering why you should disband when you have so much work ahead of you and you have all the people you need? Is that it, Chisato?”
Her mother gave a small smile as she asked and Kazami nodded.
Unsure what to do, she began using her chopsticks to chop up the croquettes that were soaking in the sauce.
“After ordering us to disband, he named me as the leader for the time being. …But in his mind, we really have disbanded. And yet we’d gathered the best people for the job.”
She gave a sigh that almost sounded like a laugh and she gave an exaggerated shrug.
“If there’s something we’re doing wrong, we can fix it, but he didn’t give us anything like that. We don’t know the reason behind this at all, but he doesn’t seem to care. …Then what did he think of those of us who had gathered together for our job? Does he think we’re so lacking that we couldn’t even understand his reasoning?”
“Well, what are your coworkers to you, Chisato?”
“Well… I can trust them, they’re skilled, they use all of that skill, and they’re fun to be around.” She hesitated. “So even if some things were painful or troubling, I put up with it. …I put a lot of effort into this.”
“But it sounds like it was different for him.”
Her mother’s words rang clear in her ears and she raised the head she had lowered at some point.
She saw the usual small smile and that smile opened to speak.
“You can’t accept it, can you? You worked so hard and you gathered plenty of people and strength to work with you, but it was all brushed aside as worthless and you weren’t even given a reason. All your efforts to help that leader were treated as worthless.”
Kazami simply nodded, but then she felt that was not enough.
“All this time, we had…”
While speaking, she recalled everything since meeting Izumo and joining UCAT.
She had gained G-Sp2, she had completed several missions, and she had eventually been placed in Team Leviathan. She had then shot the werewolf in that Okutama forest to save Shinjou and Sayama and that had led to the present.
…Why am I working such a dangerous job?
She had wondered that countless times, but she had been trying to ensure she never had to do so again.
…After all, only I can do this.
She had worked to make sure she could say that, she had nearly died several times, and she had also saved lives.
Then she had gained teammates. She had even saved Sayama in that forest.
But for some reason, he had ordered them to disband.
Despite knowing how dangerous it was, he had chosen to act alone instead of working with the others.
It felt like he was saying their strength, efforts, and everything else were meaningless.
“Why won’t people recognize all the effort you’ve put into some things. Our job had just gotten to be so much fun, too. Am I really that useless?”
At the very end, Sayama had said to look into their pasts to find the reason for the disbanding.
But they all had different pasts. Sayama and the others would investigate their pasts by following in the footsteps of their parents who had been in UCAT, but Kazami was a normal person with none of that. She had no relatives with a connection to UCAT, so her connection had first appeared during the attack by 6th and 10th two years ago.
…He isn’t saying everyone can stay but me, is he?
Was he saying the rest of the fight would be too hard without a past giving her a reason to fight?
“What is he thinking? Was I just being patronizing? Should I have stuck with a dry attitude?”
While muttering her worried questions, she realized how timid she was being.
She looked up and found her parents quietly looking her way.
She had a feeling she only spoke because she could not stand their silent gazes and she knew she was complaining more than consulting with them, but she quickly spoke up regardless.
“Wh-what am I supposed to do at times like this? Do you know?”
“Well,” began her father before pausing. “There’s not much you can do, so just do whatever you want.”
Her father placed a croquette on his plate.
“This is your problem, so if you don’t know what you should do, how can we? But if you have some kind of idea, we’ll support you even if it seems hopeless. Unfortunately, you don’t seem to have any ideas. …That’s what’s happening here, Chisato. You still haven’t reached the same place where he suggested you disband.”
“I haven’t reached the same place as him?”
“Right. He has an idea, but you have nothing to oppose that idea. Simple, isn’t it? If you had an idea to oppose his decision to disband, you would be able to understand why he made that decision and you could find a way to solve this. And…” He split the croquette. “Whether you can understand his reasoning is entirely up to what you hold inside you. It depends on whether the answer exists inside you as a past experience.”
“You sound a lot like him.”
“Really? Then he must be an amazingly cool, gentlemanly, smart, and wonderful person!”
“Kyah! Papa, you’re unbelievably overconfident!”
“Ha ha ha. Just unbelievably leave it to me, mama! Your croquettes are so lovely that-…”
His words came to a sudden stop when he placed the croquette in his mouth. He also stopped moving.
His frozen expression gradually grew pale and then red. The woman sitting next to him began clapping.
“Papa just got tonight’s winner! Too bad, Izumo-kun.”
“Dammit, I’ll make sure I win next time!!”
“U-um, mom, dad? We were kind of having an important discussion here. So, uh, does this family have a rule that absolutely everything must end on a joke?”
As soon as she asked, her father shot to his feet and ran from the table.
Izumo tilted his head and grabbed a safe croquette but still made sure to split it open and check what was inside.
“What was in that one?”
“I copied what Chisato made during her middle school cooking class. Has she ever made it for you, Izumo-kun?”
Izumo slowly turned a glare in Kazami’s direction.
“Chisato, you don’t need to go digging through too many of your past experiences. I think the latest version of you is the best.”
“You don’t have to choose your words so carefully!!”
Mikoku did not hold back.
She understood how inexperienced she was in combat, so she did not have room to hold back.
She immediately went all out.
She leaped through the center of the explosion and wind that blew through the factory entrance and she pulled her Japanese sword from its scabbard.
She launched herself from the dark factory and into the dark night.
The night air reached her skin and the bitter-smelling smoke enveloping her was swept away.
The yard was quite large.
…And the enemy is…
She found them.
Someone in white stood in the center of the one hundred square meter clearing.
She first thought it was a UCAT armored uniform, but it was simply a white combat coat.
A woman wore the white outfit.
She was tall and well-built and a long braid of brown hair dropped down along her back. Mikoku judged her to be in her late forties.
To make herself hard to target, Mikoku ran along a gouging arc to circle in from the right.
“Who the hell are you!?”
“Do you really think a woman is going to answer to that?”
The woman swung both arms up and forward and something came from her sleeves.
“What a boring idea. Now I want to hear you cry.”
The objects that came from her sleeves resembled hammers.
Attached at the ends of the white-painted metal staffs were fifteen centimeter cylindrical warheads made of white metal.
Mikoku gasped as she charged in.
“They’re for more general use than that sword of yours. They were made so even women and children could use them.”
The woman pressed the firing switch on the staff portion.
A jet of smoke must have shot from the other end hidden up her sleeves because her coat swelled out. At the same time, Mikoku heard the warheads launch.
After a bursting sound, she saw the two warheads fly toward her from only two meters away. The two explosives flew quickly while trailing a clockwise spiral of white smoke.
It was so sudden that she missed her time to evade.
The two warheads spiraled as they approached, so she could not move in between them.
If she focused on one, she would be able to avoid just that one, but that would leave her in the path of the other one. And so she continued running.
She did not hesitate.
She moved to avoid the one arriving on the right. As soon as she evaded it, the clockwise spiral path of the left one would bring it right into her gut from the lower left.
She knew that, so she only just barely avoided the right one. It whizzed right past her ear.
But if she had not made such a tight evasion, she would have fully exposed her to the other shot.
Meanwhile, the left one arrived.
Its clockwise spiral sent it toward her from the lower left, but she took action.
She took a step forward and toward the warhead.
She made the step with her left foot and it turned her to the side.
She immediately moved her sword to her left hand and held the back of the sword forward.
She swung the sword as if scooping something up from below.
With a crash of metal, her blade tip struck the bottom surface of the flying warhead.
She used the curve of the blade’s back to scoop it upward.
To keep the spiral trajectory going, she rotated the warhead with the back of the blade pressed against it.
She rotated her entire body, felt the weight and momentum of the warhead in the tip of the blade, and changed its direction without interrupting its proper motion.
After a single rotation, she looked like an athlete performing the hammer throw.
“This New Year’s gift is a little early, but take it!”
She used her sword in place of a ballista and threw the warhead back at the woman in white.
It flew toward the woman with its initial acceleration and the centrifugal force of its rotation still intact.
A moment later, the warhead Mikoku had avoided landed and exploded behind her.
The blast, noise, and light rushed past her and supported her forward acceleration.
And while launching herself forward, she saw the woman swing her arms down.
More weapons came from her sleeves.
This time, they really were guns.
But these were white-painted heavy machineguns that were two-thirds her own height.
Mikoku was less surprised by the appearance of the guns than she was by something else. The explosive warhead was still flying toward the woman after she had thrown it back, but the woman smiled and held the heavy machineguns beneath her arms.
The blast was more like a collision of wind than an actual explosion. After the first explosion behind Mikoku, the blast from near the woman’s chest struck her from the front.
With the sound of tearing paper, Mikoku’s cheek split open. The air had struck her with enough force to create a vacuum. She also felt chilly tearing on a few other parts of her skin, but she did not care.
She saw the red flames and the smoke swell into the sky.
The sound of the explosion seemed to belatedly race across the world.
An instant later, Mikoku visually confirmed that her opponent was still alive.
Despite her question, the truth before her eyes said it all.
The woman in a white combat coat took a step toward her as if casting off the black smoke.
The woman was completely unharmed.
Her hair, face, smiling teeth, and expression were untouched. Not a hint of soot could be found on her clothes.
Her weapons were the same. The two muzzles were unharmed and facing Mikoku while the woman pulled their triggers.
The lingering notes of the explosion vanished into the sky along with the smoke.
A moment later, Mikoku realized her right arm was gone.
She felt no pain, but she did feel heat in her shoulder. The impact shook the core of her body more than her shoulder and the word “reverberation” entered her mind.
Still, she forced herself to keep running. If she ran normally, the reverberation in her body would pull her down and more of her body would be lost, so she leaped leftward with all her might.
The sound of the gunfire arrived afterwards and it quickly swept in from the right without waiting.
Before she had even finished her jump, Mikoku kicked off the ground and ran.
She sent the sand of the clearing flying backwards as she raced onward.
On the second step, she could tell something was spilling from her right shoulder and that part of her body grew cold.
She could not stop the strength from leaving her.
…But what kind of defense is this woman using!?
If it was concept protection, it was quite powerful. After all, her warhead had destroyed the factory’s door which had its own concept protection. So if she was unharmed by the same blast…
“Are you some kind of monster!?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. I’m a god.” The woman turned toward Mikoku with a smile. “All of my power is divine. Remember that, little girl. I am armed with God Panzerfausts and God Machineguns. Also…”
She tossed aside the machinegun in her right hand to switch weapons.
That was the perfect opportunity.
Mikoku’s sword had a concept applied for the coming battle with UCAT. It was a refined version of the popular “slice and pierce” concept and it was made to cut through the gaps in defense concepts.
This opponent’s defense concept had withstood that explosion, so it could fully defend against a force radiated across an entire surface.
But how could it handle strikes to a single point?
The opponent would be defenseless while switching weapons.
…And if she has absolute confidence in her defense, she will let her guard down!
The difference between confidence and negligence was paper thin, so Mikoku charged in to transform the woman’s confidence into negligence.
She moved forward.
Her missing right arm affected her balance and swinging her entire body to swing her left arm and sword could easily destroy that balance.
That was why she went for a direct jab by swinging her left half forward.
She targeted the spot where the defense concept field would be weakest. That was not the gaps in movable parts that normal armor had. Concepts had no thickness, so they were distributed evenly without folds. However, she still knew one place where it would be weaker.
…The center of the chest where it already activated!!
The woman’s warhead was made to destroy defense concepts, so her own defense concept would have been annihilated by the blast.
That was why Mikoku charged in.
She stepped forward in the instant the woman swung down her arm and launched her attack just as the woman raised her arm again.
She threw her left leg forward.
As soon as she landed, she rotated her heel outward to rotate and build up momentum.
As if extending her bent left elbow, she sent the sword tip in to the center of the woman’s chest.
Its path was an almost perfectly straight line.
The timing of the attack could not have been better.
And an instant later, she saw the blade shatter.
As soon as it touched the woman’s white coat, it broke with the sound of shattering glass.
Cracks did not even have time to form. It immediately shattered all the way to the base.
Her questioning eyes stared at the sword that was now only a hilt.
The sword’s guard shook and then fell from the end of the hilt.
But Mikoku did not watch it fall.
The woman in front of her raised her right arm as if to scratch her own face.
She went on to reach into her back collar and pulled out a weapon.
It was a shoulder-fired anti-tank rocket launcher.
“I apologize for that other one. It was pretty old. Would this suit a modern girl better? I studied this world to create this God Anti-Tank Rocket. Nice, isn’t it?”
The rifle-like object had a thin diamond-shaped warhead on the end.
Mikoku saw it press against her chest. She felt its cold surface and its weight.
“Some people in black attacked Izumo UCAT today. Was that you!?”
“Attackers in black? Don’t know anything about that. What kind of idiot would do that? …Just to clear your suspicion, I’ll tell you who I am. I’m a god of 10th-Gear. You can call me ‘Betrayed Expectations’ Jord. I accepted an invitation from Hajji, so I’m here to help the Army. But once I set off some fireworks for my welcoming party, some idiot ran out and attacked me.”
“Your welcoming party!?” shouted Mikoku. “Why would you attack us like that!?”
“You don’t know?” replied the woman named Jord. “It’s the end of October, so it’s time for the ‘Beat or Treat’ festival. Happy Halloween and all that. Then again, it’s my first time taking part.”
Mikoku heard a voice.
“You’re a girl, aren’t you? Then wear something more appropriate to the occasion.”
What she experienced next was not defeat. She experienced having her entire body blown to pieces.
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