Owari no Chronicle:Volume11 Chapter 25
Chapter 25: Beyond Understanding
If you are there
Your hand will reach
This was a space that lacked understanding.
One’s eyes could see, their ears could hear, and their senses of taste, smell, and touch worked, but they could not understand any of it.
Everything existed, but the information on its existence did not get through.
Heo stood in that world.
The faint repelling force on the bottom of her feet was the internal sensation her feet being pressed on by her own weight.
That alone was certain.
She shrank down because it felt like only the bottom of her feet existed. It felt as if lifting a leg would divide her existence in half.
“What do I do?”
She could speak, but she would receive no answer.
Her eyes could see around her, but they gave her no information.
Nervous, she shouted a name.
She wanted that cry to get through.
But there was no response.
Even after several seconds, she was not swallowed up by the machine.
If she was, she would feel it in the repelling force she could feel, but it never happened.
Calling for the blue and white mechanical dragon was no use.
…Does that mean he really is someone else?
That thought sent a chill down her spine.
She and Harakawa could not fight on their own. And from what Sibyl had told her in the hospital, Mitsuaki had a scroll concept weapon. It had been sealed below Izumo UCAT, its origins were a mystery, and it could bring out a world.
…According to the report, the automaton named Gyes was hit by a small sun bullet.
That was when Heo felt something on the right side of her skin.
It was heat.
She felt heat in her skin just like after a trip to the beach, and that meant…
“That small sun is flying in from the right.”
She knew she had to avoid it. She had to escape to the left, right, front, or back.
But not knowing anything about the world around her left her frozen in place.
Was there an obstacle in her way? How was she supposed to fight after escaping? She knew nothing and her anxiety locked up her legs, but that was exactly why she cried out.
A moment later, she felt a force down below.
Just like with the sensation on the bottom of her feet, she could tell something was holding onto her right ankle.
Before she could ask what this was, some kind of force struck her.
A white building stood below the night sky. It was a wide hospital.
However, there was something odd about this hospital.
It was empty and there was a large hole filled with shimmering heat in the second floor of the southern building.
The walls had melted and the scorched hole had been torn open from the ground level. The hole continued through the second and third floor ceilings and into the emptiness above the roof.
Everything behind the hole was melted, torn away, or simply gone. The edges of the hole still glowed with a scarlet light and the shimmering heat rose thickly into the sky.
A single person looked up into the hole and shimmering air.
He was an elderly man in a white coat standing in the front parking lot. He held a thick scroll below his arm and his hands remained in his white coat’s pockets.
“I suppose my concept space is a little too much of a handicap. Only my brothers and I can continue as normal inside it.”
Mitsuaki turned around as he spoke.
“Perhaps I should go help Brother Ikkou. No, I should remove this concept space first.”
A moment later, he froze in place.
He had heard a sound from the hole in the hospital’s second floor that the small sun fired from the scroll had produced.
Something was moving.
…It can’t be.
“How did she avoid it? It should have been a direct hit.”
He turned around, looked up, and saw two figures standing up on the edge of the hole in the second floor.
He muttered the names of the two who were filthy, injured by a few fragments, yet alive.
“Heo-sama and Harakawa-sama!!”
Harakawa judged the extent of his injuries from the pain he felt.
The pain was not too bad, but he could not let his guard down since any pain on the surface would be cancelled. Still…
…I don’t feel my pulse anywhere in my body.
Confident that he had not had an artery cut, he got up.
He felt pressure in his arms.
It was the pressure of the weight produced by holding Heo.
“That was close.”
When speaking with Brunhild at school, they had discussed a few plans for the four old men’s concepts.
Mitsuaki’s concept prevented you from understanding anything beyond yourself, but any pressure inside your body was treated as “yourself”.
The first countermeasure was to get down.
When on the ground, it was harder for bullets or other attacks to hit.
…Plus you can’t fall over and you can feel your entire body as it presses against the ground.
From there, they could crawl forward while feeling around by hand. The heat had warned him of the small sun, but he had been lucky enough to reach Heo’s ankle the very next moment.
It was also pure luck that he had been able to quickly stand and tackle her to the ground.
He touched the girl in his arms to confirm his relief.
The feeling would also be reaching her as pressure.
…I hope this is enough to calm her.
He spoke silently to himself while touching her with his finger. After confirming it was a large part with his palm, he pressed his finger down.
He used the pressure of his fingertip to write on her body.
In this world of no mutual understanding, he wrote words into her body to get his thoughts across to her.
He continued writing.
Heo’s pulse was racing.
She did not know what exactly had happened, but she knew Harakawa had saved her.
She had been unable to avoid the enemy’s attack, but he had somehow reached her, embraced her as if to cover for her, and knocked her to the floor.
She could feel his presence from the sensation of him holding her in his arms. It was a welcome sensation.
But when he had approached her feet and stood up to push her down…
She brought her hands to her cheeks and shouted at the boy who could not hear her.
“Harakawa! Wh-why are you sticking your head up my skirt!?”
When he had stood up at her feet, his head had gone right up her skirt. On top of that, he had wrapped his arms around her hips and pushed her to the ground.
“No. Wh-what are you doing…a-at a time like this?”
His hand was currently groping around at the skin between the waist of her skirt and her underwear.
The way his finger searched around almost seemed to be writing something.
His finger moved complexly below her navel and even poked at her navel as if dotting an “i”.
She squirmed on the floor and his finger wrote a straight line down.
“Ah, n-no! Not in front of your mother! We’re in the hospital, Harakawa! My chest is one thing, but it’s too soon to go there!”
His finger continued down her skin as he pulled down her underwear.
“Nooo! Not here!! And not like this!!”
Partially due to her struggling, his finger quickly pulled her underwear all the way down to her knees.
…Did you hear that, Heo Thunderson?
Harakawa’s questioning thoughts were cut off by a sudden knee to the jaw.
“Gwah! Wh-why are you struggling, Heo!?”
But speaking would not reach her.
He felt around in the air and his left hand found something. He pulled on it to bring her close and realized it was her shoulder.
But he felt the hand on her shoulder quickly rising and falling.
He also felt a bit of heat.
He wondered why and his thoughts reached a certain emotion.
…Did that last attack scare you? Did you knee me because you’re panicking?
Realizing that, he decided he had been in too much of a rush to get his thoughts across.
He hesitated for a moment, but wrapped his arms around her again, felt around for her hand, and found it.
“Sorry. I was in too much of a hurry. We definitely have an enemy here, but know this.”
He squeezed her hand.
“It’s going to be okay.”
Heo felt Harakawa take her hand, pull her close, and wrap his arms around her.
It surprised her a bit, but she breathed a sigh of relief at the strength in his arms.
This was his usual self and she felt his usual strength, so she figured out what had happened during his previous offense.
…He must have been scared and he panicked.
In that case, I can forgive him, she decided. That’s the mature thing to do.
She felt heat fill her cheeks as she sat up on the floor.
That was when she realized something: her panties were gone.
They must have come off when she had kicked Harakawa away.
…W-well, it’s not like anyone else can see me right now and I can find them right after this ends.
She placed a finger on what she thought was Harakawa’s chest. She moved in close and realized how she could get her words through to him. She had seen this in a romance movie a long time ago. The characters in the movie had been lying naked in bed, but…
…She wrote his name with her finger.
In the movie, the guy had replied in kind.
Soon, her wish was granted. He used his finger to write a message on her tightly held right hand.
“Are you okay?”
He stopped writing after that answer.
She assumed he was trying to figure out why she could not call in Thunder Fellow, but she was wrong.
She quickly realized the real reason why he was not responding.
She felt heat.
This heat was larger than last time, but it came from slightly below just like before.
He called her name via writing.
“I can’t call in Thunder Fellow,” she quickly wrote on his skin.
She then gave an abbreviated explanation.
“He’s someone else.”
However, he immediately replied.
She reflexively trembled and shouted out even though it would never reach him.
“I tried and it didn’t work! He really is someone else!”
As if responding, Harakawa continued to write and the movements felt irritated.
“He isn’t someone else.”
“He’s you and…”
As soon as she realized what that final word meant, the second heat arrived.
She took action. In order to endure her worry and strengthen her thoughts, she wrapped her arms around Harakawa, clung to him, and closed her eyes.
…Yes. That’s right.
She trusted in the words he had spoken to her.
…Thunder Fellow isn’t someone else. He’s the power that was given to me.
She opened her eyes and faced that unseen world and all the unseen things it contained.
…He’s the power that connects us.
So she cried out the name of that power, the name of the great power they always possessed.
“The family of thunder unhesitatingly speaks its desire for the power of the evening star!”
She understood why he had not responded when she had called his name before.
She had been calling for someone outside of herself.
But now her dignified voice was directed within herself.
“Come forth, Thunder Fellow!!”
A moment later, it appeared.
The thirty meter blue and white mechanical dragon broke through the empty hospital’s southern building as it was summoned behind Heo and Harakawa.
First, the wall behind them dented in and filled with cracks as if a giant fist had punched it.
A wave of destruction ran through the wall as if pushing in on the center of the cracks.
The destruction and appearance happened simultaneously.
With a sound of breaking and a shaking of impact, the hospital broke under the weight of the mechanical dragon.
It was destroyed.
The dragon was now piercing straight through the center of the three-story building.
The first floor had been crushed and the third floor had collapsed with its support gone.
As the piles of debris were further smashed, Thunder Fellow observed his surroundings.
He could understand nothing, but the vibrations of rubble pouring on his armor allowed him to predict the situation.
Low-Gear’s laws of physics were simple. The movement of all objects had a cause and an effect, so if one could perfectly read the movement of all objects, they could predict where everything was, what it would do, and where it was going.
Similar to using sound for sonar, Thunder Fellow calculated the strength and direction of the rubble hitting him down to the last pebble and used that to view the world.
This was much like making predictions based on all the sounds one could hear.
However, Thunder Fellow pulled it off.
He made the calculations in an instant and predicted the locations of the two things that mattered most: Heo and Harakawa.
They were approximately one meter in front of him and two meters down.
He raised his canopy, swept aside the falling rubble with his atmospheric defense and gravity barrier, and spoke.
“It has been a day since I last saw you, Heo and Harakawa. …What happened?”
The two climbed into the cockpit.
“Do you need my help?”
“Yes, we do!”
He heard their voices through their synchronized senses.
He closed the canopy and used the vents to expel the dust that had gotten inside.
He lifted his body and raised his head from the rubble of the crumbling hospital.
“Thunder Fellow, please turn to the right! The enemy is to the west!”
“Why are you so sure?”
“The previous heat attack came from that direction. More importantly, Yui said we had a visitor just before we entered the concept space. …And she could only see outside the window.”
All of Thunder Fellow’s senses and all of his predictions also told him that was the enemy’s location.
“I am predicting our surroundings using my tactile devices and I will send those predictions to all of your senses in real time. That is the only power I can give you. After all, my body and weapons have already been given to you. So fight. 5th-Gear’s power does not wish to be stopped. Use your acceleration, speed, and flight to teach a lesson to the dragon standing on the earth. Teach him that simply standing on two feet is no different from standing still.”
Thunder Fellow determined this was no longer a problem.
“This is my first battle with another Gear, so please win.”
Harakawa’s senses returned to him.
He saw light and darkness.
He was wearing his uniform and he sat in Thunder Fellow’s cockpit as the hospital crumbled around them.
However, a few things were not right.
First, he knew he was injured, but he could not see those injuries on his skin. Second, the world outside the canopy was limited.
…The horizon is too close. No, the world doesn’t even reach the horizon.
He realized what was happening.
“Thunder Fellow, are you showing us a predicted world you calculated out?”
Beyond the falling rubble, he saw a few cars in the parking lot, but he could not see through their windows. Also, the vending machines along the road had no sample cans beyond the plastic covering them.
Thunder Fellow had predictively constructed this world with the bare minimum of information and he was transferring it to their senses.
It felt off, but he had no time to worry about it.
“If I can see this much, it feels real enough!”
The hospital collapsed slowly in his vision thanks to Thunder Fellow’s synchronization.
They would be trapped under it soon, so…
“We need to escape!”
He grabbed the two roll bars and tried to stand up.
But he was stopped by a voice.
After combining with Thunder Fellow, Heo cried out with panic in her voice.
He just about told her that was impossible, but Thunder Fellow and the hospital were struck by a wave several times the building’s height.
The wall of water instantly swallowed up the dragon and hospital.
The rubble mixed around in the water, accumulated, and tried to snag Thunder Fellow on the bottom.
The water pressure and current tossed them around and the outside of the cockpit filled with a dim green with almost no visibility.
…Damn! Which way is up!?
He could see a light in one direction in the water, so he forced Thunder Fellow through the swirling water. He shook the dragon’s body and rotated once to blow away the surrounding sand.
He pointed the nose toward the light, grabbed the roll bars, and leaned his entire body forward.
After a slight time lag, the dragon began to move forward.
A deep rumble and vibration seemed to rise from the bottom of his gut.
He kept the course straight.
Thunder Fellow shot forward and thus up. He parted the water so quickly that a path of vacuum appeared behind his giant form, but the surrounding water pressed in on that path and produced an underwater explosion.
A radiating shockwave ran behind him and shook the sea.
His own shockwave caught up to him and washed across his armor, so he accelerated.
The speed came in an instant.
The blue and white mechanical dragon shot from the sea and into the sky.
The black sky he saw was dotted with light. It was an endless night sky of twinkling stars.
“Where are we?”
After flying into the night, Harakawa saw a black sea below and that expanse of water seemed to continue endlessly.
“Harakawa, I cannot calculate the extent of the sea.”
“Impossible. We’re in a concept space, aren’t we? It should have a limit.”
He looked around again, but he could only see the night sky and ocean.
“Where’d the hospital go? This is like a mythical flood or something.”
“I-I was thinking the same thing. And Harakawa, about the sky…”
Drawn by Heo’s weakening comment, Harakawa looked up in the night sky.
He saw the color black.
The vast sky was dark. Countless stars covered that black celestial dome, the moon was so close he felt like he could reach out and touch it, the valleys on Mars’s surface were clearly visible, and Jupiter’s Great Red Spot was facing their way.
“What is going on? Why are the heavens so close?”
Not only did they appear to be in arm’s reach, but the planets looked small enough to hold in his arms.
“What is going on?” he asked again just as the ocean below vanished.
Next, he heard Mitsuaki’s voice.
“This is the power of my concept weapon. This scroll tells the story of a certain world. You passed the sun earlier, remember?”
He could not tell where the voice was coming from, but he understood what the man meant.
This attack had begun from the moment they had avoided the initial projectile of heat.
“That sun was the beginning. From there, the enemy is brought inside the concept weapon.”
“We’re inside the scroll?”
“Correct, Heo-sama. You are inside a false world drawn inside a hanging scroll. That is preventing my concept from reaching you, though.”
Hearing that, Harakawa spoke quietly.
“So this is like those unreasonable miniature garden worlds from old stories?”
“U-um, Harakawa? I’m glad you can observe this so calmly, but how do we get out?”
He faced forward and saw something coming.
However, it was not anything concrete.
“That is correct, Harakawa-sama. I am close to fully opening the scroll. And the story depicted on this scroll begins with the ‘good morning’ of creation and ends with the ‘good night’ of destruction. You have the privilege of seeing it all. But before it is fully opened…”
A bitter laugh rang in their ears.
“You were supposed to escape. But…oh, dear. It seems it is already fully open. Too bad. …Now please be destroyed along with that world.”
The darkness approached head-on.
It was noticeable because the stars were vanishing and the density of the black was growing.
The dark curtain up ahead was swallowing and eliminating the stars.
Mercury had looked so large, but it was devoured and then the comets circling the heavens were swallowed up by the black.
Space was silent and so Thunder Fellow made a suggestion.
“Harakawa, Heo. Would this have more intensity with sound? I can simulate the sounds based on my predictions.”
“No, thanks,” answered Harakawa.
“Oh, I kind of want to hea-… Sorry, I won’t say it again.”
“That’s the spirit, Heo Thunderson. But we don’t have time. We need to think about what to do.”
As he spoke, Venus was devoured, so he clicked his tongue.
“Is running away our only option?”
“That would be difficult, Harakawa.”
He frowned at Thunder Fellow’s comment.
“What do you mean? If we’re just running, all we have to do is fly. Isn’t that your specialty?”
“Harakawa, Heo. Listen carefully. …There must be an exit to this concept space.”
“An exit? Doesn’t that mean we can escape?”
“No. Based on the readings I have been receiving, this world is only thirty centimeters wide and a meter long.”
That made the world only as large as an unrolled scroll.
“Are you saying the inside was expanded with concepts, but the exit is still only thirty centimeters?” asked Heo.
“Yes,” answered Thunder Fellow. “A thirty centimeter exit exists somewhere in this space. Finding that would mean our victory, but…”
He briefly hesitated.
“I was not made to function in space. I can fly using gravitational acceleration, but turning will not be easy and, without the necessary oxygen, you will have almost no air to breathe when flying in a vacuum. I am currently running in a short-term underwater mode, but it truly is only a short-term solution.”
He spoke to Harakawa.
“If it comes to it, I will ensure the purpose of my existence by cutting the cockpit’s oxygen supply and preserving Heo in a state of suspended animation. I will shut off all functions save her combination with me.”
Harakawa replied to the proposal with a bitter smile and a shrug.
“I see. That’s a good decision. I have no complai-…”
Heo’s shout filled the cockpit. It was enough for Harakawa to freeze in place.
“Thunder Fellow! Please remove my combination!”
The dragon did not reply no matter how many times Heo called out to him.
Meanwhile, the darkness approached the sun and all of the light dimmed.
As darkness fell, Heo’s angry and exhausted shouts continued.
Harakawa heard her tearful voice in that darkening world.
“Don’t leave me behind and go somewhere else because of me.”
“We’re all together. I am, you are, and the others are.”
Those words brought sudden movement to Harakawa’s heart.
He called for her, but it must have been too sudden because she did not reply.
“Can you hear me, Heo Thunderson?”
“Eh? Oh, y-yes! What is it?”
He nodded at her question and spoke slowly as if checking on what was inside his own heart.
“You already know the answer.”
“My mom asked you why you would go to the battlefield. I think I know what you asked yourself about that: why am I here? It sounds like a line from a youth dream journal, doesn’t it?”
“W-what’s wrong with that? And, um, what about it?”
You still don’t get? he thought while grabbing the roll bars.
He had once asked himself a certain question.
…If we’re still fighting 7th-Gear after disbanding, why are we so focused on the name “Team Leviathan”? I know why now.
“Because we don’t want to be alone.”
“Do I have to say it again?”
But it was a simple and definite thing.
“Heo. Heo Thunderson. You already know the answer to this question, so I’m only going to give it to you once.”
“What question is that?”
“Why are you where you are? Why did your parents and my parents fight? The answer is simple and it isn’t because of strength or duty.”
He smiled bitterly as he spoke.
“It was because you and they didn’t want to lose what was important, no matter what. Isn’t that right?”
“You can put it in your own words later and I’m not saying it again, so don’t forget it, Heo Thunderson. Now, I’ll tell you one other thing.”
“Wh-what is that?”
“Escape from here isn’t impossible, so don’t cry, Heo. And you know how to escape. If you realize that and tell Thunder Fellow, we can make it through this.”
He squeezed the roll bars in his hands and faced forward.
The approaching darkness had fully swallowed the sun. They were surrounded by darkness, but he did not care.
“It’s gotten dark, but that’s perfect. We won’t have to see any fakes.”
Strength gathered in his body and he thought about the best time to take off.
“You already have the answer, just like your former self. …Long ago, in the very beginning, you had sensed the answer. You knew where to find the exit in this strange, confusing world.”
Mitsuaki stood alone in the nighttime parking lot.
The wind blew. It was the west wind of late autumn. It descended from the Akigawa Valley far to the west, it had gathered the scents of Hinohara and Itsukaichi, and yet it retained the aroma of the forest and rivers.
The man enveloped by that wind was illuminated by a single color.
It was the scarlet of fire.
The thick scroll in his hands was burning from the tail end.
“It is powerful, but it takes time to activate. And the destruction on the inside causes the automatic sympathetic destruction of the actual object.”
Over half of the scroll had burned by this point.
It is over, he thought.
He generally played the support role out of the four brothers. He was powerful enough, but he was not as skilled with a weapon as Ikkou, he did not focus on strengthening is his body as much as Nijun, and he had not been given a tool like Yonkichi.
However, he did not hold it against Chao.
…Everything is in balance.
His fixed concept was enough to leave his opponent almost entirely unable to act.
If he had any real offensive power, there would be no need for his brothers.
He had only switched from support to attack now because he had acquired such a powerful concept weapon during their attack on Izumo UCAT.
“I wanted to know what would happen if I fought with my own power, but…”
He had successfully eliminated what could be called 5th-Gear’s strongest mechanical dragon.
The burning flames were proof of his victory.
He had expanded his fixed concept to rob his opponent of their freedom and then he had spread out the scroll’s internal space to envelop them.
The initial small sun had fallen out when he was spreading out that internal space.
With how long it took to activate, it was hard to use as a weapon, but he had succeeded using his concept.
…I did it.
“But,” he began with a tilt of the head. “It was not very beautiful.”
Linking technique to strength for a victory was the true essence of a support role.
However, the battle was over.
Only a quarter of the scroll remained and the fire was shrinking.
“I defeated a 5th-Gear mechanical dragon.”
He felt he had won, but at the same time…
…I won too easily.
The reason for his lament was simple. Since he had won so easily…
…I might be even stronger.
How far did his skill go?
Wouldn’t he only be able to say he had fun with no regrets once he reached his absolute peak?
He looked at his left hand which did not hold the scroll. The palm was white and cracks were forming in it. The hand still felt soft, but it was being destroyed in a way in which such physics did not apply.
“Is it over?”
He looked up at the moon in the night sky.
That was when a voice reached him from the hospital.
It came from the single window on the second story that contained light.
“Mitsuaki-san, was my child not good enough?”
“He was not, Yui-sama. Unfortunately.”
“I see,” replied Yui with an exaggerated shrug. “I thought that might be the case. …Or maybe not.”
Mitsuaki frowned at that.
A moment later, he felt heat in his right hand.
He saw a mass of fire at the end of his hand.
The scroll had yet to be completely destroyed, but it was spewing scarlet flames.
With the sound of something fluttering in the air, the heat of the burning paper burned his hand.
His right hand exploded.
Harakawa saw the night sky appear in an explosion of light.
In only an instant, the world rapidly grew and expanded before his eyes.
Below the sky of the real world, he saw the hospital’s parking lot.
“Thunder Fellow, activate your optical camouflage! The concept’s been deactivated!”
He saw smoke. It looked black in the darkness and it was wrapped in what looked like a mist of bluish-white light.
“I can guess that the enemy’s concept weapon was destroyed,” announced Thunder Fellow.
“Th-then we…” began Heo.
“Escaped,” finished Harakawa.
Harakawa had Thunder Fellow crouch down because Mitsuaki would be inside the smoke spreading out in front of them.
Another attack could come at any time.
On top of that, his mother and others were inside the hospital behind them.
He gripped the roll bars while planning to use Thunder Fellow as a shield if there was an attack.
However, he heard Mitsuaki’s voice from beyond the smoke.
“This is… This is a surprise. How did you escape that universe?”
“That was easy.”
Harakawa continued squeezing the roll bars as he spoke.
“You fired that small sun like a bullet at the very beginning, right? It had to have been fired from the scroll, so the exit from the scroll would be along its path. We just had to work out its trajectory from the angle Heo had felt the heat in and then compare it to the shape of the universe that Thunder Fellow had calculated out. We didn’t even have to fly to the ends of the universe. The exit was right next to us.”
“You certainly took your time in leaving for it being right next to you.”
“Yeah,” he answered with a frown. “Once we knew how close it was, a certain idiot felt calm enough to say the stars in the distance were pretty and Thunder Fellow stayed still so she could watch them for a while longer.”
“S-sorry. …Oh, but I did manage to wish three times on a shooting star.”
“What did you wish for?”
“I can’t say, I can’t say, I can’t say.”
He ignored her and faced forward. The smoke was clearing and the attack would come once it did.
The moment came suddenly.
If he desired to attack, Thunder Fellow would respond.
However, he saw something unexpected.
Mitsuaki was damaged.
“Ha ha ha. What is the matter, Harakawa-sama?”
The man laughed, but he had lost not only his right shoulder but most of the right side of his body.
The wind blew across his body which had broken from the right collarbone to the right hip.
The surface of the break was white and hard and the smile turned their way was stiff.
“It would seem fighting truly is not my thing. I thought I was familiar with the weaknesses of my equipment, but I had not fully grasped how they would affect an actual battle.”
“You probably would’ve won if it hadn’t been us.”
“I am delighted to hear it. However, it also proves that I cannot defeat you.”
His smile grew.
“But this is not over yet. I am not enjoying myself yet. After all…”
He sank down. He lowered his hips, which caused the base of his right leg to shatter.
Just as Heo gasped, he prepared to leap on his one leg.
“It seems Yonkichi promised to tell you about the past, so I will tell you one thing. …The ones once known as the Five Great Peaks were Diana, Hiba Ryuuichi, Sayama Asagi…”
“...James Thunderson, and Alberto Northwind.”
“What!? Why is my dad on the list!?”
“That was a temporary command structure quickly put together with Asagi-sama as the leader and the other four below him. If you wish to know more…search elsewhere. Now, I will go fight how I fight best! I will help my brothers!!”
The remaining smoke was blown away and Mitsuaki jumped up into the sky and vanished.
A great roar travelled westward and vanished into the night sky.
“H-Harakawa! He must be headed to where Kazami is!!”
“I know that, but we’re injured too. And about what he just said…”
Harakawa opened the canopy and looked up into the hospital window and his mother’s eyes.
However, Yui waved her hand.
“I can’t tell you that. If you want to search for the answer, you’ll need to travel down the Leviathan Road.”
“I see. So it gets back to the Leviathan Road, does it?”
He sighed and belatedly realized that his body was covered in the heat of injuries.
Heo must have realized it too because the back seat split to the left and right and Heo appeared from below.
She held her skirt down while climbing over the front seat and running toward him.
However, her expression froze when she looked up at him.
“Ah,” she said while staring motionlessly at him.
Just as he wondered what this was about, he heard his mother’s voice from the hospital’s second floor window to the left.
“Dan, I was meaning to say something, but…check your head.”
I don’t think I’m injured there, he thought while lowering his head a bit to use the inside of the canopy like a mirror.
He saw his face but found he was wearing something white on his head.
It was not his usual bandanna. It covered his head and it had two large holes in it.
“Wh-why are you wearing my panties on your head!?”
“How should I know!?”
He grabbed them off and heard his mother on the second floor.
“Dan, I won’t get mad, so just tell me. What did you do to Heo-san?”
“I didn’t do anything.”
He saw Heo cover her cheeks with her hands and seriously shake her head.
“D-don’t lie like that! You stuck your head up my skirt and pushed me to the ground. I told you to stop, but it wouldn’t get through to you. …And after you attacked my belly button and stomach, you pulled down my underwear! Just because you were lonely in that world of no understanding is no excuse!”
“I was not lonely!!” He shouted as his mother glared at him. “What’s with this world of false accusations and no mutual understanding!? Is this some new concept!?”
A nighttime city was filled with streetlights and the lights of people working.
A single figure flew above that bright city.
The black winged figure travelled east at an altitude of about three thousand meters.
The ten meter metal giant was wrapped in wind as it flew.
A girl stood on its right shoulder near the back. She grabbed at its back armor with both hands and her orange jacket fluttered in the wind.
“Wow, this is fast. We’ve already passed the peninsula I saw to the right, so are we above Nagoya now?”
“I think so. Are you cold, Shinjou-san?”
It was Mikage who answered Hiba’s question and she sounded like she was tilting her head as she did so.
“She should be fine since Susamikado’s gravitational control is covering her to a certain extent.”
But Hiba replied with a scolding tone of voice.
“Mikage-san, only she can tell whether she’s cold or not.”
“Right. Sorry, Shinjou and Ryuuji-kun. I don’t give people rides very often.”
“It’s fine,” said Shinjou with a bitter smile at their exchange.
At the speed they were moving, she would normally be blown off by the wind. That was not happening, so Mikage had to be holding her in place.
“But does that mean you’ve given people rides before?”
“Yes. Sometimes I take Ryuuji-kun’s mother to go shopping. Especially on mornings with a really good sale.”
“And no one notices?”
“Not as long as I land in the woods too quickly to be seen and immediately remove the combination. But my control wasn’t good enough once and the eggs broke and some kind of internal connection in his mother’s back slipped out of place, so I don’t do it much anymore.”
“Y-yeah, it’s best if people don’t always take the easy route.”
“Right,” replied Mikage.
Shinjou sighed and looked down at the night scenery moving by at tremendous speed.
One light was different.
It was moving slower than the rest.
A long line from east to west was travelling east just like them.
“That’s a bullet train. Is it the one I was supposed to take?”
Hiba trailed off and he asked something else a moment later.
“What should we do?”
It took Shinjou several seconds to realize what he meant.
However, she quickly grasped it all and spoke.
A man stood on the roof of the train travelling down below.
The one-armed elderly man wore a brown leather flight jacket and a white work outfit.
It was Yonkichi.
He raised his one hand in greeting as his clothes flapped in the wind.
“What should we do about this guy who’s acting like someone in an ’80s tokusatsu movie?”
“Hm? Isn’t this kind of thing popular now?”
“Ha ha ha. Shinjou-san, it’s no longer the Showa era.”
She frowned, but then heard Mikage speak.
“Let’s go, Ryuuji-kun, Shinjou.”
“Are you sure, Mikage-san?”
Mikage nodded as the four wings slowly expanded behind her.
“We lost once,” she said. “So it’s time we won once.”
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